Ramona's picture

    About that Contraceptive Controversy: If it's phony and you know it, clap your hands

    (Breaking news:  President Obama just moments ago provided a brilliant compromise to the contraceptive controversy, as I mention at the end of this piece.  I wrote this before he made the announcement, but the arguments still hold and they bear remembering.  These are the kinds of battles we'll go on fighting, and a major victory such as today's doesn't mean the war is over.  Not by a long shot.)  

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Birth Control Makes Catholicism Work

    The brilliant Ramona and Destor have been especially brilliant this week on the Catholic bishops' outrage at having to pay for full employee health insurance. Destor is so smart about the church and state principles involved, and Ramona so good on the women's-health issues, that I have nothing left to add but my own personal experience. I am a former employee of the Catholic Church.

    Ramona's picture

    The Catholic Contraceptive Controversy: Where's the Health Care Part?


    Effective August 1, thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, most working women will have their contraceptives fully paid for, without a co-pay. That's the good news. The bad news (you knew there had to be bad news, right?) is that the unenlightened among us see it as nothing more than an unconscionable threat against virile manhood.  Especially Catholic virile manhood.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Lies My Pastor Told Me

    The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC) is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) Education Corporation whose purpose it is to become the first-in-mind champion of Christian religious liberty, domestically and internationally, and a national clearing house and first line of response to anti-Christian defamation, bigotry, and discrimination.

    As America slides down the slippery slope into secular abyss, Christianity itself has come under attack. Nowhere is the assault on religious liberty more ruthless than in our schools. Just last month, a malicious little atheist forced a Rhode Island high school to remove its students' inspirational prayer from the wall of the gymnasium.

    But one brave man refuses to stand by as the secular state annihilates our childrens' religious liberties. Rev. Gary L. Cass, president of the celebrated Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, has recently launched a new organization called DefendStudents.org, which is dedicated to defending religious liberty in our schools.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    What's the Matter With Mormons?

    Last week, blogger MuddyPolitics wrote a piece that took a swipe at Mitt Romney for his Mormon faith. The article provoked a passionate debate, one that is likely being repeated in various forms across the country this election season.

    The question is this: Should we consider Romney's religious beliefs when assessing his fitness for the presidency?

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Romney Paradox (and the Crybaby Bishops)

    Mitt Romney used to be Governor of Massachusetts, a commonwealth which has at various times been A) the closest thing to a theocracy America has ever had and B) the poster child for tolerant secular liberalism. Many vocal religious conservatives now insist that the tolerant secular liberalism is an infringement on their religious liberty, and that they can only fully exercise their religion when the state actively endorses and promotes their religious values for them.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Nostalgia for Hypocrisy (and the War on Christmas)

    It's Christmas time, which means "War on Christmas" time, which means a whole bunch of bizarre complaints about persecution by members of an overwhelmingly privileged religious majority group. This bad behavior is often understood as part of the most intense and fire-breathing American Christianists' fire-breathing intensity.

    Ramona's picture

    Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. (And I mean that sincerely)


    On Christmas Day, 1914, only four months into the brutality of World War I, a spontaneous miracle happened on the Western Front.  On that day German and British soldiers laid down their arms and gathered together in No Man's Land to share food and cigarettes, sing Christmas carols, and play a few games of football.

    Ramona's picture

    FRIDAY FOLLIES: On Limousine Meals, the Crush of Wine, Absurdity, and Occupation


    I'm not one to laugh at the plight of others, especially at elderly ladies whose family makes a request for meals on wheels, and I'm certainly not going to do it now, but can I at least laugh at the picture in my mind of people delivering those charity meals to limousines that will then whisk them off to a millionaire's mansion?

    Ramona's picture

    The Religious Test is Alive and Kicking in American Politics. Again.


    As a non-religious person I have faith that religion will always be with us.  It's the way of the world, and if I'm baffled by its constancy, by its influence, by the sheer numbers of people involved, I'm even more befuddled watching the successful move away from any pretense at goodness and mercy by the Religious Right in favor of a peculiar form of public, political bullying.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Islam's Secret Strategy to Destroy America "Exposed"

    For research purposes, I subscribe to a newsletter from the Christian Anti-Discrimination League.

    The organization's title is a deliberate imitation of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League. Its stated mission is to combat "anti-Christian defamation, bigotry, and discrimination."

    But its actual mission is very different. The CADL employs a common hate-group tactic by offering a veneer of "anti-discrimination" to rationalize its intolerant objectives. Another example is David Duke's National Association for the Advancement of White People. (I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out what organization it purports to imitate.)

    I used the word "rationalize" rather than "mask" because groups like the CADL do not deliberately misrepresent their motivations. Dr. Gary Class, president of the CADL, very likely sees himself as a righteous defender of Christian civil rights, as do many of his subscribers. They really believe that they oppose discrimination.

    That belief is not a lie for the general public. It's a delusion--a lie to themselves. It allows them to feel comfortable with their own bigotry by projecting those feelings onto the people they hate. By imagining that they are defending tolerant Christians from intolerant Muslims, for example, they cast themselves as innocent victims rather than predatory bigots.

    If you look, you can see this tactic employed over and over by the right wing, and I have written extensively about it in Blowing Smoke.

    Below the fold, please find the latest newsletter from the so-called Christian Anti-Discrimination League. The subject line is "Islam's Secret Strategy to Destroy America Exposed."

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Longing for the End of the World

    So, for most of May Christianity has been in the news. Or rather, a tiny splinter of Christianity has. The leader of a tiny religious organization predicted the Rapture on May 21, and there was lots of news coverage.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Breaking: Rapture Came & Went Three Weeks Ago - No One Noticed

    SALT LAKE CITY – The Rapture came and went three weeks ago, say researchers at Brigham Young University. The entire episode took five hours and 45 minutes, and few if any took notice.

    “Yeah, Christ was here, he looked around, played a round of golf at Pebble Beach and split,” said one researcher. “It’s a little disappointing really. We expected serious fireworks.”

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Tiberius: No investigations in Jesus Christ ‘Advanced Crucifixion Techniques’ case

    ROME (April 28, 1) — Emperor Tiberius Caesar Augustus has announced there will be no investigations into the purported torture and crucifixion of convicted heretic and enemy of the state Jesus Christ. In a statement from the Emperor’s office, Tiberius stated that Christ’s crucifixion did not meet the empire’s definition of torture, and that it was time for Roman’s to begin focusing on the future.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Pope Blood! Get your Pope Blood!

    In 2011, showcasing someone's blood is usually left to the likes of eccentric celebrities or psycopaths. But when it comes to religion, blood lust is not just a hobby, it's part and parcel of the whole thing. Which explains why Pope John Paul II's blood was on display at the Vatican.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    God Smites the Living Hell Out of Fred Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church

    HARRISBURG, Pa — After years of fielding complaints that he had not taken a hard enough stance against Westboro Baptist Church and its hate speech, Almighty God today unleashed what onlookers have described as a “shitload of smiting” against the controversial group that just won a Supreme Court case on free speech.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    About the Muslim Brotherhood

    The protest movement in Egypt has suddenly alerted many Westerners to the existence of the Muslim Brotherhood, a newish group who did not emerge in Egypt until almost the end of the Coolidge Administration. Furthermore, this fast-breaking development has alerted Western pundits, bloggers, and politicians to the urgent need to say something about the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Ramona's picture

    When prosperity preachers hustle, they're making your God a shill

      "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."  2 Peter 2:3

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Pope John Paul II's final miracle - making child molestation seem like no big deal

    VATICAN - Pope John Paul II will be beatified on May 1, after Vatican officials judged that the deceased pontiff's ability to make child molestation and sexual abuse charges seem like no big deal was officially a miracle.


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