Category: Religion

Mike Pence, who signed religious discrimination into law in Indiana, will likely be Trump’s running mate

Multiple media outlets are reporting that Indiana Governor Mike Pence is likely to be picked by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to be Trump’s vice-presidential running mate. This has not been confirmed by Trump himself; Trump intends to officially announce his VP pick sometime tomorrow.

For those of you who have heard of Pence, and for those of you who have not heard of Pence, he’s not worth any pence, and he’s a right-wing bigot with a track record of enshrining bigotry into Indiana state law.

Pence is most infamous for signing into law Indiana’s religious discrimination bill, which allows ordinary Hoosiers to discriminate against people who aren’t like them by, for example, allowing businesses and businesspeople to refuse to serve people because of the religious beliefs of the business owners. That is a law primarily designed to discriminate against Indiana’s LGBT community, and Pence made himself and Indiana a national embarrassment by signing the religious discrimination bill into law.

When it comes to working-class Americans, Pence is solidly against working-class Americans every step against the way. Pence repealed Indiana’s common construction wage law, which was Indiana’s version of a prevailing wage law for state-funded construction projects, and Pence also supports President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed international trade agreement between the U.S. and countries like Vietnam, a country that killed tens of thousands of American troops in a war the U.S. should have never been involved in, and a country where workers are paid far less than the U.S. federal minimum wage. It’s no wonder why the White House is actually praising Pence, despite the fact that Pence is likely to be the running mate of perhaps the single most bigoted presidential candidate to win a major-party presidential nomination.

While Illinois lacks a state budget, Bruce Rauner holds a religious event on state property

Showing complete disrespect for the separation of church and state that is mandated by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner held a prayer breakfast at the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield earlier today.

It’s bad enough that Rauner chose to hold a religious event on state government property. It’s even worse that Rauner chose to do so while Illinois lacks a state budget due to Rauner’s right-wing hostage politics of demanding anti-worker policies designed to drive down the wages of working Illinoisans in exchange for a state budget.

I hope that Illinois’s next governor decides to end the unconstitutional tradition of holding a state prayer breakfast.

VICTORY! Georgia Governor Nathan Deal VETOES religious discrimination!

I rarely agree with Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA), but I strongly agree with his decision to veto Georgia House Bill 757 (HB757), the bill that, if the Georgia General Assembly were to override Deal’s veto, would allow businesses and individuals to discriminate against people, including LGBT people, on religious grounds.

While supporters of legislation like Georgia’s HB757 claim that the legislation that they support “religious liberty” legislation, the legislation that they actually support is religious discrimination legislation. That’s because the legislation would allow people and businesses to discriminate against people because of who they are. That is not the character of the people of Georgia, and it’s not the character of the people of this great country.

Hillary should condemn anti-Semitism by her supporters immediately

It’s been brought to my attention that one of the many Nevada precinct captains in the Nevada Democratic caucuses a couple of days ago said that caucus-goers at his precinct shouldn’t support Bernie Sanders because he’s a socialist Jew:

Now, to be fair, a Bernie supporter was prohibited from talking to undecided voters after making some kind of remark about Hillary’s gender, but bigotry doesn’t justify bigotry. This is the kind of stuff you expect from racist, sexist, and xenophobic Donald Trump supporters, not from supporters of Democratic presidential campaigns.

Much hay has been made about Bernie supporters saying offensive things and being rowdy online, but there are many Hillary supporters who are worse than the most vile of the Bernie supporters. Bernie has condemned bigotry by his supporters. It’s time for Hillary to do the same in regards to her supporters.

New York Daily News cover on San Bernardino shooting: “God Isn’t Fixing This”

God Isn't Fixing Gun Violence - NY Daily News Cover
December 3, 2015 cover of the New York Daily News (image courtesy of New York Daily News)

Earlier today, a mass shooting took place in San Bernardino, California. The mass shooting occurred at the Inland Regional Center, a facility for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, California. As of the writing of this blog post, at least 14 people were killed by the perpetrators of the mass shooting.

This is yet another example of lax gun laws in this country allowing people with violent intentions to carry out a mass shooting in America. As someone who has a developmental disorder (Asperger’s syndrome), I find it sickening that a mass shooting was carried out at a place designed to help those with developmental disabilities.

At the other end of the country from San Bernardino, in the New York City metropolitan area, the cover of tomorrow’s New York Daily News will feature the headline “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS”, as well as tweets from three U.S. Senators who are seeking the Republican presidential nomination (Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)) and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). As an atheist, I fully understand that prayers aren’t going to do a damn thing to prevent mass shootings in this country. Only implementation of common-sense gun safety and gun control measures, such as universal background checks on all gun sales, closing the gun show loophole, and banning the sale of assault weapons will prevent mass shootings from occurring in this country.

 

Yes, anti-Muslim bigotry is un-American

Charles Blow, a columnist for The New York Times, wrote this column about how anti-Muslim bigotry that has become prevalent in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the aftermath of the Paris attacks is un-American. Last time I checked, “Anti-Muslim is Anti-American”, the title of Blow’s column, is trending on Twitter, and I strongly encourage reading Blow’s column.

He’s right…opposing an entire religion is an un-American ideal.

Republican presidential candidates, most notably Donald Trump and Ben Carson, have gone all out in recent days to pander to the lowest common denominator in American society, bigots, in order to support their crackdown on an entire religion. Trump has supported closing mosques (Islamic places of worship) and creating a national registry of Muslims. Carson has publicly compared Muslims to rabid dogs. What Trump, Carson, and other Republicans are supporting is absurd and offensive. Proposals to crack down on Islam from Trump and other Republican candidates blatantly violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and comparing Muslims to rabid dogs is downright offensive. Even worse, what Republicans like Trump and Carson are saying is eerily reminiscent of the rhetoric that Nazis used to justify their hatred of Jewish people in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Not all Muslims are members of an Islamic fundamentalist terror group like ISIS, al-Qaeda, or Boko Haram. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Muslims here in America live peacefully and regard those Islamic fundamentalist jihadists as barbaric militants who don’t represent their view of Islam. We should embrace religious freedom in this country, not crack down on it.

 

47 House Dems side with ISIS and Nazi-like bigotry from the GOP

47 House Dems side with ISIS and Nazi-like bigotry from the GOP

A total of 47 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for anti-Syrian refugee legislation straight out of a Nazi Germany mindset. Here are the House Democrats who voted for the legislation:

Pete Aguilar California 31st
Brad Ashford Nebraska 2nd
Ami Bera California 7th
Sanford Bishop, Jr. Georgia 2nd
Julia Brownley California 26th
Cheri Bustos Illinois 17th
John Carney Delaware At-large
Gerry Connolly Virginia 11th
Jim Cooper Tennessee 5th
Jim Costa California 16th
Joe Courtney Connecticut 2nd
Henry Cuellar Texas 28th
John Delaney Maryland 6th
Lloyd Doggett Texas 35th
Tulsi Gabbard Hawaii 2nd
John Garamendi California 3rd
Gwen Graham Florida 2nd
Gene Green Texas 29th
Janice Hahn California 44th
Jim Himes Connecticut 4th
Steve Israel New York 3rd
Marcy Kaptur Ohio 9th
Bill Keating Massachusetts 9th
Ron Kind Wisconsin 3rd
Ann McLane Kuster New Hampshire 2nd
Jim Langevin Rhode Island 2nd
Dan Lipinski Illinois 3rd
Dave Loebsack Iowa 2nd
Stephen Lynch Massachusetts 8th
Sean Patrick Maloney New York 18th
Patrick Murphy Florida 18th
Rick Nolan Minnesota 8th
Donald Norcross New Jersey 1st
Scott Peters California 52nd
Collin Peterson Minnesota 7th
Jared Polis Colorado 2nd
Kathleen Rice New York 4th
Raul Ruiz California 36th
Tim Ryan Ohio 13th
Kurt Schrader Oregon 5th
David Scott Georgia 13th
Terri Sewell Alabama 7th
Kyrsten Sinema Arizona 9th
Louise Slaughter New York 25th
Marc Veasey Texas 33rd
Filemon Vela Texas 34th
Tim Walz Minnesota 1st

When I say that these 47 Democratic traitors sided with ISIS, I mean that they are effectively fueling ISIS propaganda by refusing to take in the very people who have been oppressed by ISIS and the Syrian dictatorship of Bashir al-Assad. When I say that this legislation is straight out of a Nazi Germany mindset, I’m referring to public opposition here in the U.S. to accepting Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Holocaust and the Nazi Germany regime of Adolf Hitler in the late 1930’s.

It’s not just moderate and conservative “Democrats” who are effectively siding with ISIS and repeating the history of the Nazis by opposing Syrian refugees. Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson have used racist, Nazi-like language to stir up fear of Syrian refugees among white racist Americans.

Here’s what Trump recently said, courtesy of Yahoo! News:

“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” Trump said. “And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

Yahoo News asked Trump whether this level of tracking might require registering Muslims in a database or giving them a form of special identification that noted their religion. He wouldn’t rule it out.

“We’re going to have to — we’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely,” Trump said when presented with the idea. “We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”

Here’s what Carson recently said, courtesy of NBC News:

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Thursday suggested that concerns about Syrian refugees in the United States are akin to a parent’s concerns about “mad dogs.”

“If there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you’re probably going to put your children out of the way,” he said during remarks in Mobile, Alabama. “[It] doesn’t mean that you hate all dogs, by any stretch of the imagination, but you’re putting your intellect into motion and you’re thinking ‘How do I protect my children? At the same time, I love dogs and I’m gonna call the humane society and hopefully they can come take this dog away and create a safe environment once again.'”

Any Democrat who voted for the anti-Syrian refugee legislation has effectively sided with right-wing racists like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who are using Nazi Germany-like language in opposition to allowing Syrian refugees to enter the United States. Supporting requiring that Muslims have special identification is eerily reminiscent of the Nazis forcibly tattooing identification numbers onto Jewish people in concentration camps, and comparing Syrian refugees fleeing war and terrorism to mad dogs is eerily reminiscent of Nazi propaganda comparing Jewish people to rats (in fact, at least one British newspaper, the Daily Mail, actually compared Syrian refugees to rats). Normally, I’m not a fan of Nazi comparisons, but, if there’s actual historical context behind a Nazi comparison, then I’m all for it.

One last thing, I find it ironic that the number of House Democrats who voted for the anti-Syrian refugee bill (47) equals the number of Senate Republicans who signed a letter to Iranian leaders in an attempt to undermine diplomacy in efforts to stop a nuclear deal designed to keep Iran from producing nuclear weapons (47), as well as the percentage of Americans that 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney claimed were dependent on the government (47).

An Arkansas pastor speaks the truth about conservatives and their un-Christian ways

Melanie Tubbs, a college professor and Christian pastor from rural Arkansas, wrote this piece a little more than a month ago on the progressive website Liberal America about how conservatives in this country, while promoting their Christian faith at every opportunity, act in a very un-Christian manner. The piece is certainly a must-read, even if you’re not of any kind of Christian faith (I’m an atheist, and I’ve read the piece).

Here’s a couple of points that Pastor Tubbs made in her piece:

I live my life for God, but I do not think God belongs in our Constitution. Separation of church and state; It’s a thing. Look it up.

[…]

Consenting adults have a constitutional right to get a government document certifying their legal marriage. The 14th amendment guarantees it. Not only that, marriage is love, what this country is needing to combat the hate and violence we are infected with. Love and marriage are not what we should be focusing on. Starving children, mass shootings, immoral lobbying, planet destroying, violence, and hate, those are our problems.

I strongly encourage other progressive-minded people in Republican strongholds to speak out about their values. There are many progressive-minded people in this country, even in the strongest of right-wing strongholds.

Time to abolish the United States Embassy to the Holy See – Tempus soluere Iunctus Civitas Legationem ad Sanctam Sedem transmittat – È ora di abolire la ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso la Santa Sede – Tiempo para abolir la Embajada de los Estados Unidos ante la Santa Sede

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: This article, originally written by the administrator, was originally published to DailyKos.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: This article is provided in four languages: English (the author’s language), Latin (the official language of the Vatican), Italian (the official language of Italy, which completely surrounds the Vatican), and Spanish (the de facto national language of Argentina, the birth country of Pope Francis). English is the primary language of this article, whereas the other three versions of the article are translations of the English-language article, courtesy of Google Translate.


With Pope Francis visiting the United States tomorrow, I’d figure that I’d take this opportunity to call for the Embassy of the United States to the Holy See, also called the United States Embassy to the Vatican (although the embassy is physically located in Italy) to be eliminated by the federal government.

The Vatican is a sovereign country, but it’s not your typical sovereign country. The country is a tiny country, measuring only 110 acres in area, that serves only one purpose: serve as the world headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, which the Pope is the head of.

The fact that the United States is spending taxpayer money on an Ambassador and an embassy to a country that serves exclusively as the headquarters of an organized religion blatantly violates, in my interpretation, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(Establishment Clause shown in bold print)

While I’m not an attorney, I find it sickening that American taxpayers’ money is being spent on an ambassador and an embassy to the headquarters of the Catholic Church, which has repeatedly tried to shove its anti-abortion, anti-equality, and anti-science political agenda down the throats of everyone in this country, especially under previous popes. Furthermore, the Establishment Clause in our constitution could easily be interpreted as prohibiting the United States from engaging with diplomatic relations with a country that serves exclusively as the headquarters of an organized religion.

It’s time for President Obama and Congress to do the right thing and abolish the United States Embassy to the Vatican.


In Iunctus Civitas visitare Franciscus Pontifex cras hac occasione ego vellem dicere, quod instar pro Iunctus Civitas Legationem Sanctae Sedis in Iunctus Civitas Legationem etiam Vat (quamvis corporaliter Legationis sita in Italia) tolli per foederati imperium.

Vat potitus est, sed ne eam patriam summi ordinis. Depopulata est regio exiguo metientes solis CX acres in area, nisi in ordine ad finem mundi, ut sit principium, quo sancta Romana Ecclesia, quae caput est papa.

Quod an legatus Civitatum Foederatarum exigens pecuniam et legatos Arpinis purgantibus servit unice patriam et effrenate violat religionis praetorio ordinat in interpretatum Primo Emendatione Constitutionis Civitatum Foederatarum:

Congress faciet an nihil de instauratione religio, aut prohibendo liberum exercitium eius libertatem vel minuere vel typis vel ius convenire pacem populo, et orare pro publica censerent querellis.

(Ostensum est in instauratione Clause audax litteris)

Sed non sum Advocatus, invenio quod sensus American coeperat pecunia consumpta est legatione fungor in praetorium et Ecclesiae catholicae, quod saepe conatus rutila rerum agendarum ordinem politicae contra abortum, consilia cogitationesque contra aequalitatem quandoque deveniunt, inter obstantis et scientia per medium iugulumque in patria praecipue universum Orbem. Praeterea facile intelligi materiam Establishment clausulam in prohibendo confligendi publicas rationes cum Civitatum Foederatarum a patria religione ordinat praetorio exclusive sicut ministrator.

Praesent tempus Praesidis Obama Civitatum Foederatarum Congressus facere rectum abrogandi Legationem Vaticano agro.


Con Papa Francesco visitare domani negli Stati Uniti, mi piacerebbe capire che mi piacerebbe prendere l’occasione per chiedere l’Ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso la Santa Sede, chiamata anche la ambasciata degli Stati Uniti presso il Vaticano (anche se l’ambasciata si trova fisicamente in Italia) ad essere eliminati dal governo federale.

Il Vaticano è un paese sovrano, ma non è il vostro paese tipico sovrano. Il paese è un piccolo paese, che misura solo 110 acri nella zona, che serve un solo scopo: servire come sede mondiale della Chiesa cattolica romana, che il Papa è il capo.

Il fatto che gli Stati Uniti stanno spendendo i soldi dei contribuenti in un Ambasciatore e un’ambasciata di un paese che serve esclusivamente come la sede di una religione organizzata palesemente viola, nella mia interpretazione, il Primo Emendamento della Costituzione degli Stati Uniti:

Il Congresso non potrà fare alcuna legge per il riconoscimento della religione, o per proibirne il libero esercizio; o per limitare la libertà di parola, o di stampa; o il diritto del popolo a riunirsi pacificamente, e di presentare petizioni al governo per la riparazione di ingiustizie.

(Clausola Istituzione indicato in grassetto)

Mentre io non sono un avvocato, lo trovo disgustoso che i soldi dei contribuenti americani viene speso un ambasciatore e un’ambasciata alla sede della Chiesa cattolica, che ha ripetutamente cercato di spingere la sua opposizione all’aborto, l’opposizione alla parità, e opposizione alla scienza agenda politica giù per la gola di tutti in questo paese, in particolare sotto papi precedenti. Inoltre, la clausola stabilimento nella nostra Costituzione potrebbe essere facilmente interpretato nel senso che vieta agli Stati Uniti di impegnarsi con relazioni diplomatiche con un paese che serve esclusivamente come la sede di una religione organizzata.

E ‘il momento per il presidente Obama e il Congresso per fare la cosa giusta e abolire l’Ambasciata degli Stati Uniti in Vaticano.


Con Francisco de visita en Estados Unidos mañana, me imagino que me gustaría aprovechar esta oportunidad para llamar a la Embajada de los Estados Unidos ante la Santa Sede, también llamada la Embajada de Estados Unidos en el Vaticano (aunque la embajada se encuentra físicamente en Italia) para ser eliminados por el gobierno federal.

El Vaticano es un país soberano, pero no es el típico país soberano. El país es un pequeño país, que mide sólo 110 acres de superficie, que sirve sólo un propósito: servir como la sede mundial de la Iglesia Católica Romana, que el Papa es la cabeza de.

El hecho de que Estados Unidos está gastando el dinero de los contribuyentes en un embajador y una embajada a un país que sirve exclusivamente como sede de una religión organizada flagrantemente viola, en mi interpretación, la Primera Enmienda de la Constitución de Estados Unidos:

El Congreso no hará ninguna ley respecto al establecimiento de religión, o prohibiendo el ejercicio libre de la misma; o que coarte la libertad de expresión o de la prensa; o el derecho del pueblo para reunirse pacíficamente y para pedir al gobierno la reparación de agravios.

(Cláusula de Establecimiento muestra en negrita)

Aunque no soy un abogado, me resulta repugnante que el dinero de los contribuyentes estadounidenses se gasta en un embajador y una embajada a la sede de la Iglesia Católica, que ha intentado varias veces para empujar su oposición al aborto, la oposición a la igualdad, y la oposición a la ciencia agenda política en las gargantas de todos en este país, sobre todo bajo los papas anteriores. Por otra parte, la Cláusula de Establecimiento en nuestra constitución fácilmente podría interpretarse como una prohibición de los Estados Unidos de participar con las relaciones diplomáticas con un país que sirve exclusivamente como sede de una religión organizada.

Es hora de que el presidente Obama y al Congreso a hacer lo correcto y abolir la Embajada de Estados Unidos en el Vaticano.

Westville, Illinois Lions Club condemns anti-LGBT postcards sent out by local Catholic parish

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: The following blog post is an update to an earlier blog post, which I’ve linked to below.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: The blog post has been corrected to include information provided by Westville, Illinois Village Board member Darren VanDunyn, who also is the head of the local Lions Club chapter here in Westville.


Here in my hometown of Westville, Illinois, it’s rare for major controversies to occur in local politics. However, a recent political controversy involves St. Mary’s Church, the local Catholic parish here in Westville, sending out “public notice” postcards spewing anti-LGBT bigotry and railing against homosexuality.

The parish’s decision to send out these postcards to area residents has now cost the parish a major partnership. The Westville (IL) Lions Club chapter, which is led by Westville Village Board member Darren VanDunyn, is no longer partnering with, or promoting events held by, St. Mary’s Church here in Westville because of the anti-LGBT postcards sent out by the parish not reflecting the local Lions Club chapter’s values:

The Lions Club wants to make sure a controversial mailer doesn’t affect a big event this weekend. Now, they’re distancing themselves from St. Mary’s Church.

The church sent out an anti-gay mailer last month. On the other side was information about the upcoming Labor Day celebration and parade. The event is partially sponsored by the church.

Members of the Lions Club decided to drop that partnership. They say the message does not reflect their club in any way.

While I’m not Catholic, it is an indisputable fact that, in his tenure at the helm of St. Mary’s Church, Father Sauppé (I’m not sure what his first name is), the current head of the local parish, has repeatedly embarrassed Westville and has alienated a ton of people. Now, the local Lions Club here in Westville is distancing themselves from St. Mary’s due to Father Sauppé’s actions.