Sunday, October 31, 2010

You're doing it wrong!

WND's writers have a lot of opinions about a lot of things. This isn't surprising, given that they have over 40 op-ed folks syndicated through their site. They are, in effect, a clearinghouse of crazy.

But I have to admit this one did make me sit up and scratch my head.

Linda Harvey is a lady on a mission. She's mad that the American Psychological Association published a paper about how to deal with demon possession. Apparently if the patient is Native American, the author recommends having a "spirit depossession" in which the spirit is coaxed out of the body, rather than aggressively confronted a-la the Exorcist.

Now, there are a lot of reasons I can think someone would be miffed by this. Most obviously, there's the fact that demon possession is silly and shouldn't be getting anybody's research dollars, or written up in the APA journal. You could also point out that New-Agey crap is stupid and sometimes incredibly patronizing towards indigenous people.

Harvey, on the other hand, is pissed because psychiatry seems to be putting some (limited) stock in "spiritual" neo-paganism while still ignoring Christianity. For instance, that possession thing:
This can be resolved, she explains, by engaging in "spirit depossession." But far from the "forceful banishment" of an exorcism, here the spirit is safely conducted back to its place of origin, which for most of them has been discovered to be Washington, D.C. ( Just kidding – she did not say that.)
Anyway, this gentle exit is accomplished with "skill and compassion" (presumably lacking in Christian exorcisms) and with minimal trauma. Jesus could have learned a lot from the APA! No need to send demons into herds of pigs, none of that teeth-gnashing stuff. All very civilized, indeed.
Lady, really, it's ok. You're arguing over the best way to cure imaginary demons. It's just bullshit. It doesn't matter if you use a spirit guide or the healing power of Jesus. Calm down.

Harvey's other big issue is that New Age is taking over American psychiatry as a whole:
Now, to understand where Suzan McVicker is coming from, one must go to the source of her belief system, and it's this: We all have a "within direction" where "ancient knowing" can produce healing of body, spirit, mind and energy. Sounds very much like there's a little god in there, putting us right back at the original Edenic conflict. But McVicker calls it "sacred space" where we can heal ourselves, a big relief for those of us dreading cutbacks under Obamacare.
How does this occur? Trance states, "mindfulness" meditation and accessing the unconscious as in Jungian psychology are key techniques. Ms. McVicker and the pseudo-Christian emergent-network advocates of "contemplative" prayer share a lot in common. Neither fear much in the spirit world and believe it can be accessed quite comfortably, thank you. It's all about us and our hearts and minds and intentions. And, of course, it's skillfully orchestrated by the APA-trained counselor, with no heads spinning or green stuff allowed to be puked up anywhere.
I talked about this paper with my friend Dr. Peter Jones, president of TruthXChange and an international scholar tracking trends in the global neopagan revival. Dr. Jones said, "Carl Jung would be deliriously happy to see this turn of events, he who had his own spirit guide, Philemon. In view of his influence in the psychological world, this move is inevitable."
And Yosef Karo thought he had nightly visits from the spirit of the Mishnah. Some otherwise brilliant guys happen to be a little crazy. It happens.
The recognition of God as the ultimate authoritative Spirit would throw a real monkey-wrench in this self-absorbed dabbling, so apparently a Christian model of the "unseen world" is off the table, yet tribal and folk perceptions are valid and honored. Welcome to the American left, rediscovering ancient paganism and calling it marvelous progress.
Now, we shouldn't be too hard on Ms. McVicker, because she is just riding the wave of a trend. A blossoming specialty called "indigenous mental health" takes seriously the notion that animals and even plants are the ancestors of certain people groups. Some Hawaiians, for instance, maintain that the taro plant is an ancestor, and this leads to the claim that separation from certain land areas can result in an "alienation and unmooring of the self." Far from naming such ideas bizarre and primitive (or conveniently covetous), the culturally sensitive counselor may place this ideology as the cornerstone of mental health treatment and leave antiquated "Eurocentric" notions in the dustbin.
Hang on, so you're annoyed that psychiatrists are entertaining bizarre or primitive ideas like being descended from taro plants, but advocate supporting the notion of an "unseen" demonic world and Christian exorcisms instead? Finicky, aren't we?
The APA also takes seriously the notion that homosexuality and gender confusion among tribal groups is what is termed a "two-spirit" phenomenon... "First peoples" may also suffer from distrust of government (a remnant of "colonization"); historical trauma from genocide and oppression; and may cling stubbornly to tribal notions of wellness..."Rituals," cleansings and the typical practices of folk shamanism, even voodoo, are to be given serious consideration – animal skins, rattles and all.
One can only hope that soon, the APA announces the discovery of fire.
Absent is any consideration of one sizable, worldwide cultural and religious group: biblical Christians. How many believers have sat on cushy couches and suggested to counselors the involvement and presence of "unwanted spirits" and been patronizingly dismissed as Neanderthals?
Here's the big problem with Harvey's argument: she claims to be fighting against a double-standard, and indeed, she's correct that encouraging spiritually-oriented therapy for patients of one religion but not for another seems inconsistent at least (though I would suggest this may have less to do with the APA being explicitly pro-paganism and anti-Christianity and more to do with the fact that "biblical Christians" may be more suspicious of psychiatry as a science/industry and consequently do not seek out therapy in a large group. Compare this with, say, Jews).

However, her snide words about the "primitive" traditions of non-Abrahamic religions suggest that she is not particularly interested in having doctors use those religions as an entry-point into mental health. Rather, she's just pissy because Christianity isn't being validated the way she thinks it should be. So she's using the pretense of even-handedness in pursuit of her bias in the opposite direction. Classy.

News flash, Linda. You can't make fun of Hawaiians for thinking they're the great-grandkids of taro root or ridicule animal skins and then pout because people think that Christian demon possession is BS. Yes, the APA should be consistent-- but while we're at it, so should you. Being open to faith is good, but let's try to keep all superstitions out of science, shall we?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fun Halloween Trivia

I always find such useful information from Tzvi's blog. For instance, one commenter, explaining how happy he is now that he's moved his family to Israel away from the terrible influences of American holidays (in Monsey, NY of all places), said the following:
While Monsey is a lovely community for those who are unable to come to Israel, one of the reasons we left was the opposite of Mr. Hacohen's claim. Perhaps he believes that a Jewish education includes trick or treating on Halloween like everyone else, even though it is a gentile holiday (All Saints Day) with very unJewish customs like soaping windows of those who don't give out candy and placing razor blades in apples.
Razor blades in apples? That's considered a "tradition" now? Funny, I thought that was a crime. I didn't realize Rockland county was such a rough neighborhood. I'd hate to see what they do for Arbor Day.


There's breaking news from the Christian Post. Apparently the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict has been solved.

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself:

"Palestinians and Jews reconciling through Jesus Christ"

Really? Hmm, Jesus as the ultimate uniter (not a divider)? I wonder how the CP figures this could possibly work...

Oh, by fudging the facts.
Shadia Qubti, a Christian Palestinian Israeli from Nazareth, and Dan Sered, a Messianic Jew from Israel, discussed how believers are helping to reconcile the opposing people groups... Qubti works with Musalaha, an interdenominational initiative seeking to expand reconciliation between Christian Palestinians and Messianic Jews, while Sered directs Jews for Jesus in Israel.
Wow, I didn't realize that the biggest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were between Palestinian Christians and Messianic Jews. Isn't that sort of like saying World War II was principally about Albania wanting to occupy New Zealand?

It's an interesting commentary that in the eyes of most Jews and Muslims, it seems "natural" that Christians (Messianic Jews included) would be naturally sympathetic to each other. However this article demonstrates that the respective national/ethnic identities seem to play much more of a prominent identity role for these groups.

I don't disagree that it's good to see people getting along, and I'd much rather see Palestinian Christians getting along with Israeli Messianics (or Israeli Christians, for that matter) than otherwise. However it's hard to take these folks seriously when they say things like this:

CP: Is it possible to have peace in the Middle East? How?
Qubti: I believe in grassroots movements starting with smaller groups that come from the people. I believe as followers of Christ we have a lot of work to do. If we can establish unity among us, between Israelis and Palestinian Christians first, I think that will have a domino effect within our countries and regions. But first we have to try to get along together as a smaller community, as a prototype that this works. Christ is able to do what the world is not able to do. I think peace is possible in the Middle East and we need to be very proactive.
Sered: I couldn’t agree more. I think peace is not only possible in the Middle East, [but] I also believe it is inevitable. When Jesus returns there will be peace in the Middle East and all over the world. Right now, immediately, it is also possible. One by one as Israeli Jews and Arab Palestinians come to faith we are going to see more and more reconciliation and more and more peace. It is only because of the reconciling power of the gospel that we see that, through proclaiming the gospel, through working more and more towards an understanding of reconciliation between men. But first and foremost we must seek reconciliation between men and God and that only comes through faith in Jesus.

Get gospel, get peace. Good to know. After all, it worked so well during the English Civil War.

Honestly, I wish these partners luck with their endeavors. But I hope the Christian Post recognizes how misleading it is to claim that the answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is believing in Jesus-- and imply that "the Jews" are already on board.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hebrew Hullabaloo, part 2

This installment of my "Jews Behaving Badly" series takes us to Soviet Russia not long after the revolution. By the early twenties, the Soviet courts were already in full swing meting out party justice to the masses. Today's interesting historical footnote looks at one of these court judges, a 20-year-old Jewish girl named Anna Gluzman. Gluzman made headlines in 1923 for her "cold-blooded" sentencing of seven armed robbers to death in Moscow. (The eighth member of the gang was only 18, so he got off with ten years.)

Further research by journalists revealed that Gluzman was originally from Kishinev. She had quit school to work in her early teens but had studied law at the university in Odessa and had served two years as a local judge in Kharkov in the Ukraine. In April 1923, when she had her brief moment in the sun, she estimated she had sentenced 25 people to death in only a two-month period (A later article in July claimed 50). She had never witnessed an execution but claimed this was just because her schedule hadn't permitted it.

Funnily enough, most of the stories focused on her appearance, remarking on how unfeminine she was. One noted, "She was brown-eyed, plainly dressed, not pretty." Another said, "Slim and short, not at all pretty; her brown wavy hair is bobbed and parted on the side like a man's; her jaw is stern." Yet another wrote, "A pleasant smile saved her from positive ugliness, but there was no hint of feminine finery in her rough boots, black skirt, blue denim workman's blouse, buttoned high at the neck, and an old brown sweater." One paper, upon getting a snapshot, quipped, "Note the boyish features of this girl whose word has sent many to their deaths." Various reporters focused on her constant smoking, another androgynous marker. And people thought the media was rough on Hillary and Sarah Palin!

Perhaps the best line, though, belongs to the Kansas City Star:

For three months in 1923, Anna Gluzman was big news, a symbol of just how far the new Soviet state was turning over centuries old mores and customs. A young person, a woman, a Jew, in such a position of power, holding life and death in her hands... no wonder reporters were fascinated with Gluzman. As one paper put it, "Citizeness Anna Gluzman has probably no ancestors worth mentioning, but she has the power to inflict the death penalty upon those who come before her. Ten years ago the parents of Anna Gluzman were being driven from pillar to post by the minions of the Czar... but presiding in the district court of the ancient capital, she has more power than the whole caboodle of counts, princes and grand dukes in all of Muscovy."

Gluzman represented everything awe-inspiring-- and terrifying-- about the new Soviet society. How on the one hand it was willing to put real power in the hands of those who had for so long been powerless... and yet how it was also using this power to ruthlessly purge its undesirables. As Gluzman told reporters, "the question of individual lives could have no consideration when the welfare of the state and the public were involved." After interviewing her, one journalist compared the executions in the USSR to the French revolution, and remarked that "Citizeness Gluzman is a natural product of the madness, stress and storm that grip Russia now as they plagued France in Jacob's days." The Soviet drama showed America and the world all the possibilities that could come with a total social upheaval... for good and evil.

Sadly, I haven't been able to discover any information about Gluzman past 1923. Did she remain a judge? Was she part of the great Jewish purges of the 40s or 60s? Did she stay in the USSR through to the very end, or did she emigrate when she had the chance? Was she a loyal Bolshevik, or did she come to have doubts?

The writer in me worries that it's just too perfect, too pat, to have the young judge who handed down execution sentences wind up in front of a firing squad herself. But stranger things have happened...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The secret is to be shameless

Those of you who still bother to read the blog may wonder, just how do some of these evil geniuses manage to churn out such... impressive work, week after week, especially when so much of their material seems to be based on BS? Dennis provides the secret in this week's column.

Apparently, Dennis' secret is to just not give a crap. Certainly not about trifling things like truth or fairness. Nope, in Dennis-land it's all sensationalism, all the time. He's like if Frankenstein mated with William Randolph Hearst and then went around bragging about his Jew-dentials.

For example, on Dennis' planet, the upcoming midterm elections are not merely elections, they are a referendum on America. Oh yes, he knows that lazy hack media pundits say this about every election since the 1800s, but trust him on this, it's real this time. Showing his great grasp of history and perspective, Dennis provides us this quip:
this off-year election is not simply the most important of my lifetime. It is the most important since the Civil War.
See, now to me this just seems lazy. Dennis throws this random reference out there and then does nothing to explain it. Why not the Revolutionary War? Why not World War II or Vietnam? Was Reagan's election not a referendum? Dennis just wants to poke people for shock value and rehash the old trope that America is super duper divided. Stonewall Dennis rides again!

In the world according to Dennis, if the Democrats win the election, it means the American people want the following:
- A "fundamental transformation"...of America from a liberty-based state of limited government into an equality-based welfare state with an ever-expanding government.
- A change from a country that emphasizes producing wealth to a country that emphasizes redistribution of wealth.
Ah yes, the old theory that anyone who votes for a party supports that party's agenda taken to its most extreme position. By that logic, of course, a vote for the GOP is a vote to deport illegal immigrants back to their home countries in cattle cars and to appoint Sarah Palin the new Secretary of Education.

There's more? Oh goody.
-America will produce increasingly narcissistic citizens.
Here Dennis argues that welfare creates entitlement and narcissism. Never mind that you can be narcissistic without welfare. For instance, thinking that the rest of the world either doesn't matter or should be subservient to America's interests, or thinking that because Christians form a large percentage of the US population that therefore national and civic culture should be tailor-made to their personal beliefs and tastes. I think there's enough narcissism in politics and media to go around, personally.
-America will further reinforce the conviction that minorities are victims – who must be protected from their fellow Americans by the state.
You can keep beating this minority victimization drum if you want to, but no matter how you slice it, having an African-American nominee and President isn't encouraging victimhood, Dennis. Also, I know you really want that silly SIXHIRB acronym of yours to catch on, but I'm really not buying it.
-America will continue to undermine its unique ability to Americanize people of all ethnic, national, racial and religious backgrounds.
News flash, Dennis. Spending lots of time screaming about how people aren't American if they don't have the right papers, don't speak the right language, or pray to the wrong God does not encourage Americanization. It pisses people off and makes them uncomfortable. Slight difference. (Side note: what data are you using to categorize America as "unique" in its assimilation model? Surely there are other countries who have a pretty fluid identity process, too. What about Canada?)
Last and certainly worst (to Dennis),
-America will become increasingly secular.
Oh no, not the S-word! Dennis blames this on Leftism being a :jealous God," and blames the Left for "the Judeo-Christian roots of this country...ceasing to play the indispensable moral role they have played since before 1776." This, of course, is a strawman. Rather than recognize the varied and complex religious thoughts and identities of the Founders, and how these viewpoints informed their shaping of American government and policy when it came to things like civic religion, Dennis rewrites history to turn the generation of Washington into the Pilgrims. There is a difference between having a government and culture which is secular and one which is hostile to religion. One does not necessitate the latter.

Not only is Dennis' scare-mongering about the upcoming Stalinist state dishonest, he's also refusing to own up to his own biases. Instead of talking about how his personal preference is for religiosity over secularism, Dennis appeals to a nostalgic fiction about how the Founding Fathers were all super religious and how religiosity is the default. You see, he's neutral, America is religious. He makes crap up reports, you blindly accept his arguments.

In this version of history, not only are secular folks wrong about how the country and culture should run, they're also falling short of the Founders' noble example and ideal about what America was supposed to be. I guess this is supposed to operate as a kind of national version of Catholic guilty? Anyway, nice try, Dennis. That's certainly annoying, but it's not very convincing.

So after building up all the expectations for what this election means, Dennis finally does a favor and defines at least one of his terms:
And what would constitute a Democratic victory next Tuesday? Anything other than a Republican landslide. 
Hmm, a surprising feint toward even-handedness. Let's wait and watch what Dennis says after the election. Personally, I'm suspicious about what a "landslide" might be interpreted to mean if things wind up not going certain people's way.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Blowhard who cried Wolf

One of the first Internet forums I ever participated in was a somewhat rough place. There were lots of cliques, lots of arguments, and the environment was very sink-or-swim. In that spot, one of the first things I learned as an observer and participant in online discussions was to always be very suspicious of people that claimed they were taking their cyber-ball and going home. Anyone that made a big deal of "leaving forever" was almost always full of it and milking their hurt feelings for sympathy. Eventually my natural response to such announcements became to ignore them.

Apparently no one's told this to Tzvi Fishman, though. Over the years, there have been a few times where Tzvi has threatened to shut down his blog (my reaction is always the same: "Promise?") And of course, it never happens.

So, for the record, here's the run-down:

- October 20: various commenters insult each other on Tzvi's blog. Tzvi is greatly offended.

- October 22: Tzvi has an e-tantrum and announces that "Until you children stop calling each other bad names, this blog is shut down." Tzvi muses that maybe his "piercing insights, controversial use of visuals, and the exaggerated style of my writing are responsible for the locker-room tone of the talkbacks" Yes, Tzvi, I'm sure it was all about how "piercing" your insight was. After all, who'd have thought that comparing the Diaspora to a toilet could lead to people treating your blog like a locker room? It's just shocking how some people behave, isn't it?

- October 25: A record three days later, Tzvi's blog miraculously returns! And how has he managed to reach his high standard of having his readers stop calling each other bad names? Why it's by removing their ability to write back at all! What great wisdom you have, Reb Tzvi.

Three cheers to Tzvi, the biggest crybaby on the Internet. Maybe now that he's silenced his readers, he'll stop threatening to quit every time he gets upset at something. Or he'll do us all a favor and finally make good on his promises. Either way is good.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dumbass Roundup

I'm busy these days, but so are all the idiots out there. In the interests of efficiency, here's some of the dumber stuff I came across this week:

In breaking news, it turns out people are still cheating welfare. Saint Chrissy thinks this means we should abolish the welfare system.
This money was meant to feed and clothe struggling families. It's supposed to help families get back on their feet. All it's really doing is enabling them. What they need is an intervention. But our government doesn't see it that way. The raging liberals in California will support welfare until their last breath. I don't know if it's out of spite as in "We'll show these Republicans who's boss," or if they're really that dumb to think this is the way to help American families.
My mother was a single parent with two kids. She didn't have help from her parents or anyone else. She provided a roof over their head, food in their bellies and clothes on their back. Not once did she resort to welfare. So don't tell me that it's necessary. It's obvious through this study that it's another useless tool in the liberal belt.
In related news, I once saw a woman cheat on her written test at the DMV. By this logic, rather than create stricter guidelines to make cheating harder and catch people, we should instead eliminate the written test (or maybe get rid of the DMV altogether).

Les Kinsolving is mad about the prospect of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but would have a hard time milking an entire column out of "Ew! Gross!", so he tries to re-frame the issue as one focusing over health and human rights:
The recruitment of self-announced homosexuals would also cause a major medical problem given the sexual orientation's high rates of AIDS and syphilis.
Uh, why? Has the military stopped administering physicals?  I'm pretty sure we have tests to check for syphilis nowadays. Also, aren't there regulations banning troop fraternization? Why does Les assume that once we let gays in every base from here to Kandahar is going to be throwing bug parties? Is it because he's stupid?

Les also claims that forcing heterosexual troops to bunk with homosexual ones would be a violation of "basic rights", noting that the US Naval Academy segregates its students when it comes to housing. This is kind of funny considering all the various things that members of the military have to go through, first in boot camp and then when on active duty. It seems to me that if the worst thing that ever happens to you in the Army or Marine Corps is having a gay roommate, you're coming out ahead. But even conceding Les' stupid point about some people not being comfortable bunking with gays: you don't need to build separate gay quarters, any more than you needed separate quarters for blacks when you started integrating the armed forces. Just the opposite: to support the new policy, you should have gay troops bunk with straight ones, and anyone too weirded out can be separated. If DADT is repealed, it becomes the new normal. Les' problem only persists as long as we assume that everyone will continue to think the way he does.

Incidentally, Les, you know whose armies do accept openly gay recruits? Among others, there's Australia, Canada,  Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, the UK (along with most of Europe), and of course, that darling of the right, Israel. Last I checked, it seems like their armies all continue to function just fine. Maybe instead of talking out of your ass you should actually do some comparative research. You know, as long as you're still pretending to be a journalist.

Les has one more argument up his sleeve, though, and it's a doozy: An expert witness. Well, expert enough.

One Marine Corps veteran is Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.
He declared that Judge Phillips is "playing politics with our national defense. Once again, an activist federal judge is using the military to advance a liberal social agenda. There is still strong opposition to changing the law from military leaders."

Boo-ya! In your face, judges! A Conservative activist who also happens to be Marine Corps veteran has an opinion! Looks like we sure showed you. (Shut up, Mullen! Who let you in here?) BTW, I love how when liberals have policies about the military, it's playing politics, but when conservatives have policies they're somehow politics-free. Must be magic.

Finally, Janet Folger had no ideas this week, so she fell back on an old standby: When you don't have anything to bitch about, just make crap up. This week's hypothetical complaint: Obama micromanaging Halloween.
Under an Obama Halloween, in addition to the permits, children must report all candy intake and leave 96 percent of it at ACORN offices and various union drop-off sites.  They will be redistributed to purchase votes in the coming weeks.  Any leftover candy will be given to those Obama/Democrat supporters who are unwilling or too lazy to trick or treat for themselves.
If the government schools still have your children believing that Obama is worthy of the praise songs they sing, give them a "taste" of what that really means. After working all night collecting candy, inform them of all the restrictions and income, sales, health-care, "stimulus" and other taxes that will leave them with about three candy corns – two of which you, as parents, are entitled to for "property tax" for their bedroom in your house.
What's at stake in this election can be communicated to your little tots as simply as "candy or no candy."  "Trick or Treat."  Which do you prefer?
Nice indoctrination bit at the end. I guess this is supposed to be funny, instead of just incredibly sad and creepy? Well, I suppose there's a reason Folger's organization is called "Faith2Action" instead of "Faith2Humor", "Faithfully Funny," or my personal favorite, "Ha-Ha-Ha-Faith."

Oh stupid Internet. What would I do without you?

Oh right, be productive.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Look Timmy, a one-man Republican Pride Parade!

A while ago, Dennis wrote about how politics (specifically, liberalism) had become its own religion for many Americans, particularly Jews. He shared an anecdote about how he felt much guiltier the first time he voted Republican than the first time he ate ham (apparently not considering that for many people, political involvement is reflective of an all-encompassing worldview, whereas keeping kosher is merely one component in maintaining Jewish observance/identity). As always, anything that happened to Dennis is presumed to be reflective of all humanity. Because he's modest.

Anyway, since then Dennis has been beating the Republican drum a little louder, first trying to nudge the Latino vote rightward, and now trying to galvanize the troops by talking about how he's bursting with pride at how awesome the GOP is. Sock it to me, Dennis. 

After I became a Republican in the early 1990s – in a recent column, I explained how emotionally difficult it is for a Democrat to vote Republican, let alone become one – I concluded that I had left the dangerous party and joined the stupid party.
Wow, off to a great start. You should be in PR.
President Obama and his left-wing party have given his country three enormous gifts:
First, they created a level of political/moral clarity that it has not had in this baby boomer's lifetime.
Second, they induced a consequent eruption of conservative activism – i.e., activism on behalf of limited government – that may be greater than at any time since the founding of the country.
And third, they are producing a Republican Party that actually stands for something other than being an alternative to the Democratic Party.
Let's work these backwards. While I agree that of course parties should actually believe in their principles, my impression has been that party Republicans are still pretty low on ideas and policies. By contrast, the Tea Party is such a loose confederation of activists that they have too many ideas, and wind up coming off as incoherent, scattered, and, thanks to some of their wackier candidates, downright loony. Last, the moral clarity Dennis alludes to seems to be more rhetorical than anything else. Obama has not been great, but he
certainly hasn't been the Socialist dictator the right has tried to sculpt him into. If anything, he's just been plain old ineffectual. Hardly the evil catalyst for moral clarity.

Dennis says the proof of principled politicans and voters can be seen by the total Republican refusal to vote for new federal regulations from the Democrats. As always, he refuses to provide links, so I'm not quite sure what he's talking about. If anything, though, I would guess that this simply shows politicians paying attention to the polls and the upcoming midterms. The Republicans know their base is pissed, riled up and getting ready to vote. Therefore, they're toeing the party line. Why so shocking?

Dennis also says that Republican voters are finally standing behind their core beliefs. Assuming this is actually happening to the degree he claims I agree that, as a concept, it's too bad that Democrats aren't doing the same. That said, politics is always about more than merely people's personal philosophy. There will always be elements of practical gain and basic pragmatism that will be involved as well. Until you get a critical mass of people on the left who care about and vote for specific issues enough to be noticed on a national scale, it's just not happening.
And if all this is not enough to fill a Republican with pride, there is a development that is as dramatic and unforeseeable as was the unanimity of Republican opposition to the transformational Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda: The quality of many Republican senatorial and congressional candidates in the 2010 election is the highest in modern memory.
Here Dennis just seems to be throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks. He gives some details about individual candidates, but doesn't give you enough to make any meaningful comparison between this years' and those of "modern memory" (what's that, a 20 year spread?), he just says it and lets it hang there. Gee, Dennis, thanks for anecdotally wasting our time.

One last thing-- California-resident Dennis makes a point of singling out Fiorino and Whitman as examples of upstanding Republican challenges to career politicians like Boxer and Brown. As both these races immediately affect me, I have some thoughts:

I haven't exhaustively researched either of their records, so I won't claim them to be perfect. But to argue that the "powerhouse women" CEOs are more accomplished and are on "an incomparably higher level" than the incumbents who have a combined 60-plus years in public service is nonsense (to say nothing of unsubstantiated). However you feel about Boxer and Brown, you have to be pretty dumb to argue they've spent their careers sitting around twiddling their thumbs. What Dennis calls "working to be re-elected" most people would call "serving their constituents", or "doing their jobs." I'm not going to say that businesspeople can't be successful public servants, but the implication that between an established politician and a businessperson you should naturally favor the latter over the former because business is good and government is bad just doesn't make any sense. They're two entirely different jobs and skill sets.

Are the Republicans going to get some victories in the midterms? Of course they are; that's usually how midterms work. But the idea that the GOP is turning into a more principled, more talented, and more moral party... well, good luck to you, Dennis. Let me know how that works out. I still don't think it'll be enough to make Jews vote Republican, though.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Choosing Authenticity over Honesty

Lots of people care about being authentic. In a cultural or religious context, some people are positively obsessive about it. In Jewish circles, this can manifest in different ways-- be it the Reform struggle over what a Reform prayer service "should" look like, or the Orthodox infighting in Israel over whose conversions are (or aren't) acceptable. Throwing his hat into the ring this week is eminent leap-before-he-looks master Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. I admit before going into this that I have a strong anti-Shmuley bias, not because he's always wrong but because he's always so damn full of himself. That said, let's hear Shmuley educate us about "Living Judaism in the West Bank."

To start, Shmuley wants you to know he objects to the word settlers.
The first thing you discover about the residents of Hebron, whom the world derisively describes as settlers - as if Jews living in their own ancient capitol are newcomers - is their warmth, friendliness, and hospitality. 
This, of course, is pure politics. The fact that Hebron is an ancient Jewish site has zero ramifications on its Jewish occupants' legal status, which is at issue. Neither, incidentally, does the fact that they were friendly and said hi.
All around us children were playing, utterly carefree, on pristine playgrounds. So many Jews in Hebron have been killed in terror attacks over the years. Yet the residents in general, and the children in particular, live unafraid. They are also liberated from hatred.
Ah yes, that must be why we never hear about any conflict in Hebron. Nope, not ever.
When their friends die - as did the four two weeks ago - they mourn them, bury them, commemorate them, and get on with their lives. There are no calls for revenge attacks, there are no mass demonstrations braying for Arab blood. Their response, rather, is to demonstrate, in the most peaceful manner, that they are there to stay.
Except when they machine-gun a college, attach bombs to buses, attack foreign volunteers, NGOs and diplomats visiting Palestinians, break into people's houses and beat them to a pulp, desecrate Muslim graves, or just go rioting in the streets. You know, little things like that. Honestly, Shmuley, do you just not do basic research, or do you not expect us to bother with Google? Look, either you're stupid, gullible, or just a terrible liar. Those are your choices, decide now.

Shmuley goes over the tragic history of Hebron (no argument here), and points out that the Muslim residents are not exactly friendly to their Jewish neighbors. Fair enough. However, the argument that the settlers' biggest problem is that the media hates them-- as opposed to the decades of ongoing, double-sided violence which anyone can look up and verify for themselves-- is nothing but blatant partisanship.

There are no fluctuations in the commitment to pray by the graves of those who gave the world monotheism.
Yet these residents have been demonized by the entire world. They face daily character-assassination in the media by those who would decry their simple desire to walk in the footsteps of Abraham. 

Oh please. Sorry Shmuley, the settlers aren't saints. They're real people, making real choices, and some of them, frankly, are bad ones. They're armed, hostile, and antagonistic. I'm not saying I wouldn't be some of those things if I was in their shoes (though, personally, I would never put my family through such a situation), but let's at least call an automatic-rifle-wielding spade a spade.
Abraham, at whose tomb I prayed with my children tonight, is the father of all peoples, Jew and Arab alike. The Arabs are my brothers, equal children of G-d in every respect. And Arabs and Jews must learn to live peacefully together in the land. 
Quite right, which is part of what makes the Hebron situation so upsetting and painful. On an ideological level, I agree with Shmuley that well-meaning Jews and Muslims should, in principle, have the right to live where they want as part of the two-state solution. However, let's also think about what this entails: In any final status agreement, Hebron will be part of a Palestinian state. If the settlers' real attachment to Hebron is its religious significance, and not as part of a political stance or ideology, this would mean committing to becoming Jewish citizens of a Palestinian state. I have yet to see or read any evidence that indicates any members of the Hebron community think this way. They are not interested in being part of a two-state solution, certainly not in Hebron. Part of the settlers' raison d'etre in Hebron (or at least a very satisfying side-effect) is the smug knowledge that their presence acts as a permanent spoiler to Palestinian sovereignty in the city. Any appeal to "tolerance" is mere cynical sophistry. To have Shmuley parrot these recycled arguments as if he's discovered some new truth is both boring and pathetic.
It is not the spiritual-seeking settlers who threaten the peace, but rather the murderous groups of Hezbollah and Hamas, who wish to make all of Israel judenrein.
Again, you're either being disingenuous or incredibly naive, take your pick.
Could it really be that a community who simply wish to live aside the earthly remains of Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, are obstacles to peace?
As long as they see themselves as human Israeli "outposts" whose job is to preclude a Palestinian state, yes. By definition.
But don't take my word for it. The next time you're in Israel, come and immerse yourself in the city chosen by Abraham as the eternal resting place for a wife he so loved to forever rest in peace.
And there you have it: anyone who opposes the Hebron community does so because they hate that Jews, especially religious Jews, are living in a place that has historical and religious significance to Judaism. It has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with the settlers' own questionable behavior or troublesome ideology, it's all anti-semitic, anti-Israeli, and anti-Orthodox bias. To Shmuley, the mere fact that the settlers are living in Hebron (and, of course, that they were nice to him) already seems to elevate them. They aren't hardliners, they're spiritual. They aren't intractable, they're committed to "walking in the footsteps of Abraham." The way Shmuley tells it, the Hebronites are hippies on a commune, as opposed to hardcore radicals whose beliefs, actions, and choices continue to cause massive problems for their neighbors and fellow citizens. In short, Shmuley sees the settlers as good, authentic Jews, living where Jews "should" live. Everything else, even terrorism against their neighbors, is secondary (i.e., doesn't exist).

Take my advice, Shmuley: drink less Kool-aid. Even if it's kosher.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Claiming the Victim

Today we have noted thinker Kevin McCullough, responsible for such brilliant witticisms as "Removing job protections for pro-life physicians is like forcing abolitionists to own and rape slaves", and "Being a feminist mother is like being your daughter's pimp." With such a great (albeit unhinged) mind, you can tell we're in for something really special.

Of course, Kevin does not disappoint. Discussing the suicide of gay college student Tyler Clementi, McCullough says this:
The assumptions made on many of these broadcast, print, and web based reports follow the idea that Tyler felt so bullied by the roommate and girlfriend who evilly and immorally taped him, that he had no option but to turn to suicide. This has been quickly adopted as the authoritative version of what happened and the need for psychologically profiling both the bullies who did it and other youths who engage in homosexual behavior.
So far, this is technically true. A lot of assumptions do get made in the modern-day 24/7 newscycle, and they aren't always accurate. Journalists like a good narrative, and sometimes one gets constructed before all the information is available. However there's a world of difference between merely pointing out the construction of the narrative and proposing a radical counter-narrative, which is what McCullough does. In his view, there is another compelling argument for what happened:
Perhaps Tyler had a genuinely sensitive conscience, perhaps he had great respect for both his family and his God, perhaps he felt ashamed of actions because he knew they were immoral. Hence a completely different narrative could be told, one that encourages young people towards moral choices.
Excuse me? So he committed suicide because he was "sensitive," "had respect" for his family and God, and therefore was filled with such incredible shame he killed himself? How is that a better narrative for young people?

When I first read this, I thought McCullough was saying that suicide was a "moral choice" for gay people, and I was infuriated. Then I realized that by "moral choices," he meant, "choosing not to be gay." Which is idiotic, but not surprising, and at least marginally better than telling gay people to jump off bridges.

McCullough is trying to re-write Clementi as a conflicted Christian martyr, so ashamed of how he had disrespected God that he was left with only one way out. This is beyond disgusting; it's obscene. It is true that Clementi was active in his church, an evangelical conservative church that requires gay members to be celibate and apparently includes an "ex-gay" ministry. But that to me only reinforces the point that a huge part of Clementi's shame was due to the fear that, aside from merely being humiliated at his school, he was now going to be ostracized and possibly kicked out of his church. That's got far more in common with bullying and social isolation than deciding that you're so conflicted between your sexual orientation and your religious beliefs that you have to kill yourself. Give me a break.

There's something else that's deeply disturbing about this bit of rhetoric. Some Christians are using Clementi's death as a catalyst to take a close look at themselves and their attitudes towards gays. Even the freaking Southern Baptists are doing a double-take. But McCullough will have none of it. For him, there was no outside issue that lead to Clementi's death; it was all due to his internal struggles; his fault. Rather than having the cautionary tale be about the terrible danger of people invading others' privacy and humiliating them, the cautionary tale turns into "don't be gay or you'll be so morally trapped you'll ultimately kill yourself." What a bastard.
The truth is Tyler was doing something he did feel shame and embarrassment for. Just like the thirteen year old who gets caught with a stash of pornography in his bedroom, or the college student that gets his girlfriend pregnant, Tyler was seeking sexual satisfaction in secretive ways that he hoped certainly would never come to light.
Yes, and just like any decent person would be appalled at anyone, particularly a young person, who was so filled with self-loathing, shame and fear that they were willing to kill themselves rather than let people know  they had a porn stash, so too this case is a loud warning about the climate that is still fomented in many churches, whether consciously or not. Even if you believe that being gay or looking at porn are sins, the concept that people who commit these sins are so far gone they don't deserve to live is heading into the crazyland theology of the Westboro Baptist Church.

McCullough is quick to attack the "radical anti-God activists" allegedly exploiting Clementi, claiming they are trying to remake him in Matthew Sheppard's image. Maybe he should look in the mirror. McCullough is doing the exact same thing, trying to make Clementi over in his own image-- a conservative Christian who sees being gay as incompatible with being moral, decent, or made in the image of God. A man who sees being gay and being Christian (or moral) as mutually exclusive. Never mind that there's far less evidence to support his theory than the one he's objecting to. McCullough would rather make crap up than go down the slippery slope of acknowledging that being gay is still not a bed of roses, or that the abuse GLBT folks get isn't self-deserved. After all, what kind of message does that send to the kids?

Clementi doesn't have to be a mirror image of Matt Sheppard to be important. But suggesting he was Jesus on the cross, crucified by his own "moral shame"-- and that it was entirely his fault because, after all, he was gay-- is beyond outrageous.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My father and I go to shul

Abbot Yid and I were at a Jewish Renewal synagogue for a wedding last weekend. Much hilarity insued:

Abbot Yid: So what's this place all about?
Me: Well, it's Renewal, which means it's neo-Hasidic.
AY: Uh huh... And what the heck does that mean?
Me: It takes the escatic joy of Hasidism but has a more modern viewpoint on it. It's more counter-cultural and more spiritual than religious.
AY: Wait a minute, wait a minute... Hasidism? Joy? Since when?
Me: Well... ok, this guy (pointing to a picture) this is the B'aal Shem Tov, and his whole shtick was that he was focused more on the joy that could be found in everyday religion as opposed to Torah study.
AY: If you say so. I certainly never got that vibe.
(Long pause)
...For that matter, you know what never came up in any of the Conservative synagogues we went to?
Me: Well, lots of folks in these congregations tend to be refugees from places like that.
AY: That explains a lot.
Me: Like what? 
AY: Like why no one's wearing a yarmulke. Or why the rabbi is wearing a rainbow poncho.
Me: I think that's actually a tallis.
AY: Wow, things have changed since I was a kid.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is hyperbolic jackassery the new normal?

According to Ellis Washington, oh yes.

Ellis, you may recall, can be distinguished by two major factors. Number one, he's got quite the chip on his shoulder. Number two, he loves his overblown Nazi/Soviet comparisons. Just the guy you want to hang out with, I'm sure.

Today, Ellis is pissed about the environmental, or green, movement. Or, as he succintly puts it, 
Is green the new red (communism?)
Um, Ellis, I'm not sure if anyone told you this in op-ed school, but the whole point of a good comparison/cultural reference is that you shouldn't need to explain it in parentheticals. Give your audience some credit, man. What other "red" did you think we would associate with? Red-hots?

Anyway, Ellis is talking about a distinguished physicist who recently resigned from the American Physical Society (sounds like a group promoting P.E., but apparently isn't) because he says global warming is a scam. Rather than give us good useful data about the specific incident, Ellis uses it as a springboard to compare liberals to jihadists. No, seriously.

Remember, to the Democratic Party and RINO Republicans, truth doesn't matter, because to them truth is relative. All that matters to liberals and progressives is Nietzsche's "Will to Power" and control over the people. Like the Islamic doctrine Taqiyya, which sanctions deceit to further Islam, to progressives the end justifies the means; therefore, lying, stealing, killing and perverting the Constitution and science is acceptable to utopian socialists as long as they "change the world."
Recall the words of New Deal brain-truster Stuart Chase who, after visiting the Soviet Union in the 1920s, asked with incredulity, "Why should Russians have all the fun remaking the world?" Progressives are very resilient, so when Soviet communism finally collapsed after 70 years of world wide tyranny, progressives and liberal Democrats pushed the existential green movement to the forefront, which was in reality the same old exhausted red communism in a new disguise.
Green is now the new red (communism).

Damn it, Ellis, you already used that line AND explained it in your title! Stop repeating yourself. Oh, and those comparisons really don't make any sense. What's up with that?
I realize it's hard to accept that progressives and liberals, our fellow Americans, or anti-Americans, are so hell-bent on remaking the world while destroying society and allowing our minds, intellect, soul and spirit to degenerate into the abyss of socialism.
Yeah, not the least because it's not really true. Funny how that works.

Leon Trotsky called this tactic "perpetual revolution." Always keep the revolution going; always have a crisis before the face of the people; always keep society in a controlled state of chaos. 

Right, like keeping the war on terror going by heading into Iraq two years after going into Afghanistan. Or invoking 9/11 during the 2008 elections. Oh, you were still talking about Trotsky. Sorry, go on.
Saul Alinsky, Hillary Clinton and Obama's intellectual mentor, furthered Trotskyite tactics in his book, "Rules for Radicals"(1971), and now President Obama is forcing America to live out the Democrats' green socialist nightmare, which stopped the Reagan economic revolution dead in its tracks while plunging America into a second Great Depression.
Wow, so the Great Recession that started before his election is not only Obama's fault, it's his fault because of the green movement. You know, I really hadn't realized that "being green" was such a big part of Obama's agenda. Good to know.

Still not convinced? Ellis made a list.

Note some of the sophistic ideas liberal Democrats and progressives have used to control and denigrate society over the past 250 years:
  • The Age of Enlightenment (humanism, atheism, skepticism)
  • Karl Marx (socialism, communism)
  • Charles Darwin (evolution, eugenics, separation of Christianity and science)
  • Jeremy Bentham, John Austin (advent of positive law, end of natural law)
  • Sigmund Freud, Alfred Kinsey, Benjamin Spock (sexual promiscuity, family deconstruction)
  • Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Obama (welfare state)
  • Walter Lippmann, Herbert Crowley, John Dewey, H.G. Wells, Margaret Sanger, George Bernard Shaw (education propaganda, progressivism, moral relativism)
  • Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao (state socialism, totalitarianism)
  • Rachel Carson ("Silent Spring" [1962]), Ira Einhorn, Al Gore, Van Jones ("Green New Deal")

My god, a list of "liberal" ideas? That's... totally... wait, what is this supposed to prove? Also, I'm pretty sure Silent Spring is a movie, not an idea. Incidentally, if you think the "free market" does not control or have any negative effects on society, you're just as much a fundamentalist as the liberals and socialists you're bashing. Incidentally, what does any of this have to do with the green movement?
Green is now the new red (communism).
Damn it Ellis, we talked about this.

I don't know Dr. Lewis personally, and I'm not attacking him. I simply am using him as a metaphor against green lobbying groups, like Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, which are making millions peddling lies to useful idiots – people who are too cowardly to stand up and speak truth to power.

Wait, so the reason you don't like the green movement is not so much that you think it's based on shaky science, like Dr. Lewis, it's that you think it's being used as a means of totalitarian control?


Um... why?

Having successfully invoked Jihad and Trotsky, there is only one area of the Strawman trinity left for Ellis to mine to complete his certificate in Douchebag Studies: the Nazis. He does so, of course, in the most tasteful fashion:
Thank God for Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), that great German Protestant minister who for years suffered in Nazi concentration camps for his outspoken Christian beliefs in the face of Hitler's genocidal madness and Aryan supremacy...
[Shameless use of Niemoller poem]
...During the Age of Obama and FDR's welfare state, part 2, Niemoller is one of my heroes, and that's why we must speak out against this 40-year-old green movement, which is fascist in conception and a cynical backdoor attempt by the Democratic Party to destroy liberty of contract, free-market capitalism and to subvert society gradually through Fabian socialism.
Hey jackass, if Niemoller is one of your heroes, try respecting him a little more as a thinker and concentration camp survivor by not raping his legacy to further your own petty agenda against a movement that, at worst, veers into irritating nanny-stateism, which last I checked, was still a damn long way from godamn concentration camps!

Just a thought.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

When Jewish Names Aren't

It seems like a while since I've been able to find some good Jewish content for the blog. Luckily, there are a number of high-quality Jewish websites out there, and plenty of them have nice, chunky bits of bizarre goodness. Take the "Ask the Rabbi?" section of As anyone who reads the blog knows, I am a huge fan of "Ask the Rabbi" segments, be they Lazer Brody or random Chabad dudes on Arutz Sheva. .

Lots of times the questions are above my head, like whether women are allowed to say amen to certain prayers or whether you're allowed to eat a slice of bread on a bus if there's nowhere to wash your hands (not even kidding). But there are some basic categories I think I can handle, like what names are kosher. I particularly liked this question:
My spouse is very interested in giving the name "Adam" to our son who was recently born. I am concerned about this because I truly believe that the name given to a child affects his future and I heard that the name Adam is problematic, perhaps because of Adam’s sin, what should I do???
Wait, so you can only name kids after sinless people? Guess there's going to be a lot of Jesus Goldbergs going around.

The rabbi tries to play both sides:
The Chida (Rabbi Chaim Joseph David Azulai) in his book Birkei Yosef quotes Rabbi Moshe Miterani (1500 – 1580) in his Responsa Hamabit 1, 276, that it is not proper to give the name Adam or Noah or Shem and Eber because one should not name after people, only from Abraham onwards, and one who is called by the name Japheth etc. from the names prior to Abraham is not amongst “whose labor is in the Torah and who gives pleasure to his Creator”. 
Wow, those are some harsh standards. I know a lot of Adams and Noahs who are going to be pissed. (Other names this would disbar from the Jewish canon: Seth, Jared, and of course, Tubalcain.)

Oh wait, fake-out! Looks like all the other rabbis thought this one guy was a few matzot short of a full box.
The Rabbi author of Kenesset Hagedolah wonders at him, as we find R’ Benjamin son of Japheth, and Heaven forbid that the father of R’ Japheth breeched a safeguard and so forth, see there. Similarly should be noted from Akabia ben Mahalalel. The Chida concludes that people are not concerned about this and do give the names Adam Noah etc. 
So you can trust these great sages Rabbi Chaim Benveniste author of the "Kenneset Hagedolah" (Constantinople 1603 - Izmir 1673) and the Chida (Jerusalem 1727 - Livorno 1806) and give your son the name Adam. And particularly in this case that it involves Shalom Bayit (domestic harmony) and great is peace. There is another option to give the child a name in addition to the name Adam.
Man, no fair! Being reasonable? Trying to promote compromise? What kind of rabbi is this guy? I bet this guy is really some half-Jewish, hippy-dippy Reform faker. Hear that, "Moshe Leib Halberstadt," if that is your real name? I'm calling you out!

Other entertaining name questions: Why do stupid people name their kids Nimrod, (answer: they're stupid) and OMG, my namesake married a Goy, what should I do? (answer: nothing, stupid.)

And apologies to Beit-El Yeshiva, which is apparently not as nutty as I thought.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Condensed Dennis

Cramming Prager into shorter, hopefully marginally less-painful sound-bites. (Based on the impeccable logic of Homer Simpson as seen here.) Now with real Dennis-quotes!

On "non-leftists" voting Democratic: You're emotionally prejudiced against Republicans! Because liberalism is a religion to you! Even more than actual religions! So you're overly-emotional anti-Republican, religion-hating jerks. Not only that, you're ideologically inconsistent! Only 20% of Americans consider themselves liberal, based on some random unsourced poll I'm using. The only logical explanation is that most Democrats are intellectually lazy, in addition to being illogical, emotional, religion-hating anti-Republican bigots. Oh, AND to remember how unfair and lazy Democrat arguments are, I coined a new acronym of various slurs they slander Republicans with: "... nearly all Democratic and leftist reactions to conservatives and Republicans are to avoid argument (remember, on the issues the left has few supporters) and smear them as SIXHIRB, my acronym for "Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, Bigoted." You can tell I'm right because nearly all high-profile Conservatives have been slandered with one of these insults at some time or another, which just goes to show that every one of those times was an unfair bit of character assassination by left-wing jerks. Did I mention that since you can't ever win any arguments, you always resort to demonizing your opponents? Bastards.

On Hispanics waffling over which party to choose: I understand you moved here because your country sucks. Believe me, I understand how much it sucks. But if we let everyone in then it will destroy our culture, you know, the static and unchanged whitebread, Judeo-Christian one we've had since the 1620s. What you have to understand is that anyone who claims that people who oppose illegal immigration are racists are full of crap. We don't hate you, we love you, that's why we hire you to mow our lawns, harvest our fruit and sew our clothes. Would I let you near my lawn if I didn't trust you? Think about it. You can also tell that there's no racism in America because so many non-Hispanics are marrying Hispanics. The birth-rate doesn't lie: "We are the least racist place on earth." I know, you didn't even know there were empirical ways to measure or prove that. But your old pal Dennis pulled an all-afternooner and found a way, and the results are in: we rule. So seriously, stop complaining, and start voting for Republicans, instead of Democrats who appeal to your emotions just to get votes (the nerve!) Incidentally, did I mention the Democrats are left-wing, just like the governments of all those shithole countries that you came here to escape? Do the math, Pedro.

On Liberals and God: Liberals pooh-pooh how religious America is. But it's really a compliment, because our religion is awesome. See, our Judeo-Christian God is the source of American liberty, as opposed to Islam's God, who is about submission. (Hey! No fair bringing up Shakers, Amish or Haredi Jews, I'm trying to make a ridiculously broad argument over here.) Anyway, even though the concept of all men being endowed liberty by their creator sounds rather Deist and reeks of the European Enlightenment, it actually shows what major God hard-ons the Founding Fathers had. You can tell because they put Bible verses on public buildings and large bells. Also, the less religious a country gets, the more totalitarian it gets. (Exception for Muslim countries because they contradict me, and also I'm going to ignore the silly argument I made up before that leftism is a religion in its own right because it's inconvenient right now.) Where was I? Ah yes, why I'm right. You see, as America gets more totalitarian and liberal, it uses the courts to remove God and religion, so that the state can steal people's liberty. Get it? Oh, did I mention that the present-day culture war is actually a Civil War? To show how apt my comparison is, I rewrote some history while watching a documentary on the History Channel: "To use a Civil War simile, the secular Fort Sumter took place in 1962, when the United States Supreme Court (Engel v. Vitale) overthrew the decision of the highest court of New York state and ruled that the following prayer, said in New York State schools, violated the Constitution: 'Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.'"
In this scenario, of course, I would get to be someone bad-ass like Stonewall Jackson, in as much as I am borderline insane and spend much of my time sucking lemons while pointing out to anyone with ears how great I am. Anyway, anytime a liberal sues someone over Christmas, or anyone feels marginally discomfited by someone telling them to stop preaching God at them, an angel gets sodomized by Al Franken. And that's why Obama is bad.