Category: Religion

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.

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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.

Westville, Illinois Catholic parish “welcomes” LGBT people with bigotry

St. Mary’s Church, the local Catholic parish in my hometown of Westville, Illinois, is very desperate for membership these days. They’re now sending out postcards asking people from the LGBT community in Westville (which is a very small target audience, and possibly a non-existent one, since I don’t know of any LGBT people in my hometown), and welcoming LGBT people…with a ton of bigotry. I have received one of their postcards containing the statement in question, even though I am an atheist who does not attend any place of worship.

Here’s the full, unproofreaded (except for line spacing between the header and the body that doesn’t exist on the actual postcard), statement from St. Mary’s regarding the recent Obergefell v. Hodges U.S. Supreme Court decision, which made marriage equality the law of the land across the entire country:

A PUBLIC NOTICE

I am Fr. Sauppé, pastor of St Mary’s Catholic Church & the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!  The US Supreme Court has issued a new “civil right” recognizing same-sexed “marriages”.  However, Justice Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority, also states that citizens & institutions holding religious and/or philosophical beliefs do not have to condone this new “civil right”.  (It seems this is also a Constitutional civil right not to condone!) The Catholic Church does not condone for both religious & philosophical reasons.  The Biblical condemnations are too many to list, but Romans 1 is based on the Natural Law i.e. two men or two women cannot produce, naturally, any children.  We also hold that children have a natural right to a mother & a father at the same time (if at all possible) and are not to be used as pawns in the homosexual culture war.  While we are all affected by Original Sin, the Grace of Jesus Christ can help anyone and everyone to live a holy life–regardless of orientation!  I invite all to repent and to live a holy life and worship God on Sunday–either at St. Mary’s or at a church of your choice!  If you have no church or want to learn more about defending your children, your family, and your faith please call 267-3334 & may God Bless!

(In case you’re wondering, Westville is in the 217 area code, so the phone number for St. Mary’s Church is (217) 267-3334.)

I have a ton of issues with this postcard and the statement on it:

  • The heading of the statement stated that it was a “public notice” from the church. The only time an entity of any kind should be sending out anything with “public notice” on it is if said entity is a government agency or other type of government entity, which is not the case in this instance.
  • There are a ton of grammar errors in the body of the statement, most notably double spacing between most of the sentences, although there are quite a few other grammar errors.
  • The statement, while asking for LGBT people to attend their church, included a ton of LGBT bigotry. Examples of this include:
    • Putting “civil right” and “marriage” in quotation marks in a manner that would imply that the church thinks that civil rights for LGBT people and same-sex marriages are somehow fraudulent in their view, which, sadly, is in line with Catholic teachings and right-wing bigotry towards LGBT people.
    • While organizations of worship, such as the Catholic Church, don’t have to recognize marriages that violate their religious beliefs, the statement implied that individual people have a “civil right” to discriminate against LGBT people, which is in line with the right-wing mindset that has also produced religious discrimination laws in states like Indiana.
    • While it is scientific fact that two people of the same gender cannot conceive children through normal means, same-sex couples can have children though other means. Additionally, marriages are not only for those who want to have children, but for any two loving people.
    • The statement claims that children “are not to be used as pawns in the homosexual culture war” and asks people to “learn more about defending your children, your faith, and your family”, which are textbook talking points used by right-wing bigots opposing LGBT rights.
  • Amidst all of the bigotry that was directed towards LGBT people in that statement, St. Mary’s called for people, “regardless of orientation”, to attend their church. This amounts to trying to welcome LGBT people to their church while, at the same time, spewing a ton of hateful remarks towards them.

To their credit, St. Mary’s does some good in the Westville community, such as serving as a polling place for much of the Westville area (although elections are administered by local election officials, not by the church) and having a Red Cross-certified disaster shelter on-site. However, St. Mary’s, like a lot of Catholic parishes across the country and around the world, has repeatedly advocated for right-wing political views on social issues.

If you want to call St. Mary’s Church in order to tell them that you’d never attend their church and complain about their statement on the recent U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality case, call them at (217) 267-3334.

A country music and NASCAR-loving atheist responds to Si Robertson’s offensive remarks about atheists

Si Robertson, who is a member of the cast of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, publicly claimed that atheists don’t exist because the calendar that we Americans use is based on Jesus Christ:

Duck Dynasty star Si Robertson doubts the existence of atheists. The TV reality show star recently said that he doesn’t believe it is possible for a person to not believe in God but still use a calendar.

“There’s a lot of skeptics,” Robertson told the Christian Post. “I don’t believe there’s such a thing as an atheist. Because there’s too much documentation. Our calendars are based on Jesus Christ.”

There’s two reasons why Si Robertson’s claim is absolutely false:

  1. Atheists do exist, in fact, I’m one of them. I like country music, NASCAR, and some other aspects of Southern culture, but I don’t believe in God; I believe in reality.
  2. The only part of the Gregorian calendar, the civil calendar of the United States, that is based on Jesus in any way is the number of each year, and even that is inaccurate. This is because year 1 in the Gregorian calendar is supposed to represent the year in which Jesus was born, when, in reality, Jesus is believed by scholars, who have studied the Bible and events that occurred in the Roman Empire during and around the time of Jesus’s life, to have been born approximately 4 to 6 years before year 1 in the Gregorian calendar. The months of the year were all named by the Romans, and the days of the week were named after objects in our solar system.

You can view my video response to Si Robertson’s offensive remarks about atheists, featuring me speaking in an Southern accent instead of my normal voice or my announcer voice that I normally use in YouTube videos, here:

How taxpayers effectively subsidized the Charleston shooting

You might be shocked to find out about this, but taxpayers effectively subsidized the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which was perpetrated by 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof and claimed the lives of nine people, including Reverend and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney (D-Ridgeland).

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI), a non-profit investigative news organization, detailed how taxpayers effectively subsidized the mass murder at Mother Emanuel in their report:

Alleged Charleston gunman Dylann Roof wrote that he was never the same after discovering a website with “pages upon pages of these brutal black on white murders.”

The pages that left Roof in disbelief were the product of a white-nationalist group subsidized by American taxpayers.

The Council of Conservative Citizens Inc. is listed by the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization that promotes social welfare, also known as a 501(c)(4). Such groups pay no federal taxes, a form of government subsidy.

To summarize all of that, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist organization, incorporated as a nonprofit “social welfare” organization, legally exempted itself from federal taxation, and published racist screeds on its website that prompted Roof to perpetrate a mass murder in a place of worship. In other words, the federal government effectively subsidized the Charleston shooting by exempting the CCC from federal taxes.

The CCC may legally be a “social welfare” organization, but, in reality, they are not a social welfare organization. The CCC is a white supremacist organization that, among other things, publicly supports far-right, anti-immigration politicians and political parties, glorifies black-on-white violent crimes, absurdly blames Chicago’s high murder rate on a misperceived lack of guns in the city, and has posted ads from at least one company selling Confederate flags online to its website. Furthermore, the CCC’s president, Earl P. Holt, has donated to many Republican politicians, including, among many others, Joni Ernst, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Jim Oberweis, Louie Gohmert, Todd Akin, Tom Emmer, Allen West, and Steve King; in fact, in some campaign finance reports, Holt listed himself as a “slumlord”. For the federal government to effectively subsidize such a hateful organization is, in my opinion, absolutely disgusting.

Refusing to provide a certain type of product is not the same thing as refusing to serve customers because of who they are

In the wake of Republican-controlled state governments in Indiana and Arkansas passing religious discrimination laws, right-wing bible-thumpers have tried to frame small businesses who refuse to bake cakes containing messaging that LGBT people would find highly offensive. The bible-thumpers are doing this by trying to order a cake containing anti-LGBT messaging and, when the business refuses to make such a cake for them, claiming that the business is discriminating against them.

Azucar Bakery, a Denver, Colorado small business that makes cakes and Peruvian-style desserts, was the target of a bogus legal complaint for refusing to make a cake that contained offensive anti-LGBT messaging. Bill Jack, an anti-LGBT bigot from Castle Rock, Colorado, tried to order a cake from Azucar Bakery that featured icing depicting two groomsmen with a red “X” over them and messages claiming that homosexuality is a sin. Marjorie Silva, the owner of Azucar Bakery, refused to write the messages that Jack wanted on his cake, and Silva offered to bake a cake that contained no messages whatsoever and give Jack a pastry bag and icing so that he could decorate the cake with bigotry himself. Jack filed a state civil rights complaint against Silva and Azucar Bakery, and the Colorado Civil Rights Division rejected Jack’s complaint, ruling that Silva and Azucar Bakery did not discriminate against Jack. Azucar Bakery is selling t-shirts with anti-hate messages printed on them; you can buy the t-shirts here.

Cut the Cake Bakery, a Longwood, Florida small business that also makes cakes, has been subjected to threats and negative online reviews for refusing to provide bigoted televangelist Joshua Feuerstein with a cake decorated with anti-LGBT messaging. After Feuerstein uploaded a video of his phone call with Cut the Cake Bakery to YouTube, Feuerstein’s bigoted followers posted negative reviews of Cut the Cake Bakery online and left phone messages threatening the owner of the business, Sharon Haller. Cyndol Knarr, Haller’s daughter, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to support Cut the Cake Bakery; you can donate to that campaign here.

What the bible-thumping bigots in this country don’t understand is that refusing to provide a certain type of product, in this case, cakes decorated with hateful messages that gays, lesbians, bisexual people, and transgender people would find highly offensive, is not discrimination, so as long as their policy to not provide certain types of products is applied equally to all customers. What is discrimination is when a business refuses to serve customers because of who they are, such as the Walkerton, Indiana-based pizza parlor Memories Pizza publicly refusing to cater to the weddings of same-sex couples because the people who are getting married are of the same gender. Business owners have the right to refuse to manufacture and/or sell a product that they don’t want to provide to anybody, whether it be because the product in question conflicts with their values or otherwise.

I strongly oppose this effort by right-wing hate mongerers to frame small businesses who are unwilling to sell anything with bigotry and hate speech on it.

With a stroke of a pen, Mike Pence legally eliminates Hoosier Hospitality

Hoosier Hospitality has been legally eliminated in Indiana. I’m not kidding.

Mike Pence, the far-right Republican Indiana Governor, signed into law a religious discrimination bill that, among other things, will allow business owners to refuse service to gays, lesbians, and other groups of people because of the owners’ religious beliefs.

The effects of the religious discrimination bill on Indiana’s economy are already negative and far-reaching. Gen Con, the largest tabletop game convention in North America, stated its intention to move the convention from Indianapolis to an as-of-yet-unspecified location in another state or country prior to Pence signing the religious discrimination bill into law. Additionally, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is looking to move its scheduled 2017 General Assembly from Indianapolis to a location outside of Indiana. The NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, has signaled that they’ll hold the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis (presumably because moving the Final Four to another venue on nine days notice would be a logistical nightmare, if not virtually impossible, for the NCAA), although the NCAA has publicly condemned the religious discrimination legislation, and it’s possible that the NCAA may refuse to hold future NCAA championships in Indiana and move the NCAA headquarters to somewhere outside of Indiana.

Also, a special note to Democrats and progressives regarding religious discrimination legislation: Don’t use the Republican/conservative framing by referring to the legislation as “religious freedom” legislation, as all you’re doing by using their framing is reinforcing the right’s narrative. Refer to it as religious discrimination legislation, as that’s what it is: it allows business owners and other types of employers to discriminate against others based on religious beliefs of the business owners and employers.

Scott Walker has a problem with Christians

Wisconsin Governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker put his foot in his mouth yet again when he claimed that he didn’t know whether or not President Barack Obama was a Christian: