March 11, 2008

Tuesday rant

It has been a while since I really ranted. Unfortunately, item one is from here in Oklahoma where State rep Sally Kern said that the gays are a bigger threat than terrorism and even compares homosexuality to cancer. Today (or yesterday) she responded to the national uproar over such comments:
"“To put this simply, as a Christian I believe homosexuality is not moral. Obviously, you have the right as an American to choose that lifestyle, but I also have the right to express my views and my fellow Oklahomans have the right to debate these issues."
Absolutely, Sally, you have the right to spew whatever. But when you say things like this, it makes you look bigoted and small. And I suspect that if I were to suggest that religious fundamentalism was a "cancer" you might object. Such as when you and other fundies pass legislation making it against the law for an earth science teacher to count a student wrong for dating the earth at 6000 years? (Will legislation follow that makes me allow students to say that the Constitution was written by God?) Or when they elect a President like George Bush?


Oh, Elliot Spitzer, what the hell were you thinking? Not only hiring a prostitute, but evidently arranging for her to cross state lines thus violating the oddly-named Mann act. While the facts appear clear that he did use prostitutes and that is clearly wrong (and illegal) the hypocrisy appears a little troubling. First, the Bush people seem to be investigating Democrats much more than Republicans. And second, the same Republicans who will no doubt be tsking at the immorality of this act (and were apoplectic about Clinton's hummer) gave David Vitter a standing ovation.

Why is it that John McCain is given a pass for the fact that he cheated on his first wife before divorcing her for a much younger and richer woman? Why is it that the family values crowd gave us the first divorced President (Reagan) while it is the Democrats who are supposedly the immoral cheaters?

(Former Republican rep) Mickey Edwards suggests that it is because Newt Gingrich turned politics into a zero-sum game.
(W)hile I was in the House, Newt Gingrich sort of rose in power. And Newt decided that the purpose of the Republican in Congress was not to carry out the fundamental principles that they had originally believed in, but to defeat Democrats. That was all that mattered. And it became how do— it’s always war Democrats versus Republicans, all the time. And when you look at it from that mindset, you have a Republican president — you know, he is not any more the head of a different branch of government. He’s your team captain. He’s your quarterback.
To hell with the rest of the country. Cheney appears to operate by the same rules.


I may have posted this before, but have had to really work on my instinct to give the finger to anyone in a Hummer. Something unbelievably obscene about those "vehicles" in today's world. Since they seem to be giving the finger to the planet, our troops, and anyone else on the road, it only seems fitting.


And finally, one of Sully's readers sends in a good reason why today's conservatism is off the rails crazy:
The same people who say the government is incapable of providing basic health care for its citizens are the same who say that it’s capable of torturing people responsibly. Of course that will change in January now won’t it?
The same goes for the death penalty. The incompetent and corrupt justice system is fine when it is executing the poor and minority prisoners. Can't be trusted to address the telecoms, mind you, but can oversee killing. Or torture.



Bootleg Blogger said...

Streak- This is a fairly interesting read. While I tend to think sex scandals, when the sex is between consenting adults, are pretty much none of my or anyone else's business, the hypocrisy when it affects "law and order" or "character" types can't keep it out of the main media. Some people "make their bed" as it were. Unfortunately, this will dominate for too long and divert us from real issues. Of course, a governor isn't above the law (or shouldn't be, at least), but if this were some unpaid parking tickets or tax evasion we wouldn't be getting the 24/7 coverage.

Btw, a quote from the second article which is from 2004 says, "This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multi-tiered management structure," Spitzer said. "It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring, and now its owners and operators will be held accountable."
Later- BB

steves said...

I was going to say it hadn't been that long since your last rant, but you came up with some good ones.

I wonder what Sally would think of gay terrorists. Probably keeps her up at night.

I am not a science person. My degrees are all in non-sciences and I haven't had much since since high school. I will admit that in most science discussions I am likely to keep my mouth shut. As a Christian, I just don't understand where some Christians are coming from. The Earth is billions of years old. I just can't buy the science that says otherwise. I recently came across some other Christians on the net that insist the Sun and everything else revolves around a stationary Earth. WTF, didn't Copernicus prove this wrong hundreds of years ago?!?!?

Elliot Spitzer, according to my NY friends, was pretty harsh on prostitution. What a jerk! McCain is given a pass by Republicans because he is the only Republican choice at this time. This isn't anything new.

I am not a big fan of Hummers and I have wondered the same thing when seeing them on the road. That being said, that is one of the most immature, stupid stunts I have seen in a while. While I wonder about a person that drives a Hummer, I also wonder* about a person that feels the need to make some obscene gesture, photograph it, and place it on the internet.

*I would like to assert that my wondering does not in any way mean that I think the acts of flipping off another driver has the same impact on the environment as a huge SUV. It doesn't. There is just something classless about it, IMO.

Streak said...

I don't think I made it clear that I think Spitzer was hypocritical and I am not suggesting that he should get away with this. I AM suggesting that Republicans play the moral outrage card when it suits them. Outraged at a gay senator, but having no real concerns about David Vitter. Outrage at an affair for Clinton, but really unconcerned about serial marriages for Newt and company.

Steve, there is no "science" that suggests a 6,000 year old earth. Any more than there is history that suggests that the Constitution was divinely inspired.

I am not a big fan of Hummers and I have wondered the same thing when seeing them on the road. That being said, that is one of the most immature, stupid stunts I have seen in a while.

:) Sorry. I have to disagree. Not only have I seen much more immature things on the web, I think that the obscenity of these gas guzzling hogs is more than deserving of a finger.

leighton said...

There was good, solid science two hundred years ago that pointed to a solar system that was at most a few thousand years old. This was when, as far as we knew, the continental plates were sedimental and subject to the same erosion that beaches are, rather than igneous materials laid down by subterran processes. This was also before we knew about nuclear fusion, and thought the sun was just a routine explosion that burns its fuel as quickly as the fires we see routinely, rather than the slower "burn" of atom-splitting.

But we've learned a lot since then. Well, most of us have. Scientists, and their predecessors the natural philosophers, never put stock in "The Bible says..." arguments. Even before Isaac Newton's peers shifted the paradigm from God's constant action to a functionally autonomous universe, students of nature would cite Aristotle rather than Genesis. Contemporary young-earthers' history is arguably worse than their science.

steves said...

":) Sorry. I have to disagree. Not only have I seen much more immature things on the web, I think that the obscenity of these gas guzzling hogs is more than deserving of a finger."

By a while, I meant a few weeks. There is far worse stuff on the net, but usually the debate here is more substantial and less "tee hee, ur suv sux, i will flip you off."

; )

Tony said...

usually the debate here is more substantial

Please. We're talking about giving an inanimate object the finger. That is deep? :)

I was once a stalwart young-earther; not so much anymore. Plain and simply, the text itself just isn't conclusive--which is one of the problems with the inerrant approach.

Typically, the young earth crowd espouses inerrancy, and argue young earth creationism is part and parcel. However, there are no genuine supporting texts for young earth.


I have no problem with "the Bible says"-type arguments, as long as the one who is using it knows what the Bible says. :)

Streak said...

I still say that giving a finger to the Hummer is more than simply trivial. It is raging against stupidity and obscenity. It is sending a message that this selfish, self-centered, self-worship is anti-community, anti-human, and anti-earth.

Or something.

Tony, I guess you are suggesting that a lot of inerrancy people actually read their own issues into the text?


Leighton, I forgot the old "science." I always do.

And now I am going out to find a Hummer to flip off.

leighton said...


To be fair, most professional YECs (at e.g. Answers in Genesis or Institute for Creation Research) spend more words misquoting and misinterpreting scientific papers than talking about actual Biblical texts, which implies pretty clearly that they're more interested in lying about what scientists say than in doing exegesis. "Know them by their fruits" and all that.

When push comes to shove, though, I still argue that the Bible is irrelevant for doing science. Years ago I would've argued in favor of the point you raise, rather than just stopping with "It doesn't matter," but I don't have the energy anymore to spend time on inerrancy discussions.

I like the middle-finger-at-hummers page, but I've always had a thing for mass participation art that has no pretensions to high culture.

Monk-in-Training said...

I am simply appalled at the pompous and hateful speech given by State Rep. Kern.

And then to have the nerve to say that she was 'at risk' for saying those comments?!

In Oklahoma gay people are victims of actual hate crimes, shot, beaten, have words carved on their bodies with knives, and this woman equates opposition with 'risk'??

Perhaps she senses that her world view is under pressure and dying like the dinosaurs and that is why see sees other viewpoints as so threatening, or perhaps it is more emotional since it is said that her son is Gay. (I have not been able to confirm that, but it would add emotion to her viewpoint.)

steves said...

"Please. We're talking about giving an inanimate object the finger. That is deep? :)"

Many of those pictures were of Hummers being driven by animate objects who probably thought they, and not their SUV, were being flipped off. I was just pointing out that maybe there was a more creative way of dealing with the issue. Where is Sheryl Crow when we need her?

I am off to look at redneck wedding web sites.

Streak said...

Steve, I believe that everyone who drives a hummer knows why they are seeing that middle finger. One of my friends reported a wealthy realtor in her town having a hummer but getting rid of it because he was flipped off around town.

I am sure there is a more creative way. But if people still buy/drive hummers when we are at war, climate change is ongoing, gas edging toward $4--then I don't think subtleties work. These are the people who essentially started the obscene gesture by telling everyone on the road that they don't care about their safety, or their planet.

Streak said...

Oh, and Monk, didn't mean to go past your statement. Interesting about Sally Kern. I have no real knowledge of her despite having lived here for as long as I have. She wouldn't be the first to have a gay child and respond this way.

It is weird though how people respond. So many people I know become that much more tolerant or understanding when they discover that someone close to them is gay. But some do not. And those puzzle me very much.

But as you say, we don't really know one way or another. But we do know that people who are gay in Oklahoma actually are at risk. Fundy Christians are not, though as you note, perhaps their worldview is.

steves said...

I hope this isn't the start of a trend that encourages people to express disagreement with an obscenity. How is this different from the nasty right-wing rhetoric that you complain about? Would you feel the same if it were people flipping off Prius owners?

Streak said...

Ok, I will leave this topic alone. No more flipping people off in web form. Personally, I have never had that much problem with that, nor with obscenity. It didn't bother me when Dick Cheney told Leahy to go fuck himself. What bothered me was the right wing's hypocrisy about that and many other things.

No, I don't want obscenity to be more front and center in our political dialogue than it is. But I will take the middle finger over just about anything that Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity spew out every damn day.

steves said...

I had just logged on to remove my post, hoping that no one had read it. : (

It was more argumentative than it had to be and dealt with a topic that wasn't even all that big of a deal. I apologize.

Streak said...

Steve, no worries. You presented a valid point. I think this is just one of those areas where my anger overtakes my decorum.

steves said...

I have those too. Anyway, this is your blog and you certainly don't need someone coming here and giving you a bunch of grief.

Tony said...

Wow. I feel like I started something. Sorry about that. My comment was purely tongue-in-cheek; in no way did I mean to instigate a tussle.

Streak, I do see your point and sometimes the most hateful things can be done without using an obscenity.


Without wearying you further, I think we are closer than you think. I was at one point a die-hard YEC guy. It took some time for me to see the self-imposed disparity that forcing young-earth back into the text isn't exegesis and that my own personal viewpoint was interpreting the text for me instead of vice-versa.

My point was that the young earth crowd always fall back on "Well, you just aren't reading your Bible." I am, and I don't see any exegetical or textual evidence for a 4,000-6,000 year old earth.

Like I said, I don't want to weary you but I think we are very close on this issue.

steves said...

I recant everything I said about flipping off Hummers. I went out to get gas for our minivan and found out that gas was $3.44/gal. Any Hummers I see today will get a special salute!

leighton said...


I didn't mean to suggest that this conversation was wearying; I should have said I don't have the energy for inerrancy debates rather than discussions.

I do try to avoid debates over inerrancy even when I do have the energy, though, because I don't believe I can argue in good faith. That isn't to say I think my view is mistaken or dishonest, but rather, I don't believe it is important enough to justify the time I spend on it, and I believe it would be discourteous for me to pretend otherwise.

That's what really pisses me off about people reciting BS arguments about radiometric dating and fossils and the speed of light. They talk about epistemology and scientific methodology as though they actually think (for instance) that the age of the earth is important, but they don't; they only want to sound smart so their conversational victims will agree with their stunted view of religion. People who argue that the founding fathers were all evangelicals pretend to care about history, but they don't; they could care less about the past except insofar as it provides a tool for more Christians-like-them being given more social and political power now and in the future.

It seems like the only way to have a reasonable debate is to come to some sort of consensus on how important each issue on the table is relative to the others; if this is impossible, having a discussion about importance will almost certainly be more fruitful than trying to argue X vs not-X when the real schism is between X-and-important vs don't-know-and-not-important. People who lie about what their real concerns are are definitely arguing in bad faith.

In this respect, I imagine our views of the matter are probably pretty close.

Anyway...hummers! They are bad.

Streak said...

Tony, I agree. I remember someone noting that one of the more hateful things she had ever heard was from a church member with no obscenities at all, and had been encouraged greatly by one of her swearing friends. Sometimes we get so caught up in the words, that we forget the broader meaning. not you, but others. I have friends who seem to be more offended by swearing than they are by torture. Something very wrong with that.

Steve, that is funny. On one hand, I hate the increased gas prices because I know many people cannot afford it and have to commute to work. But on the other hand, I feel a giddy little laugh when I see one of those monstrosities being filled by a pinhead. And I know they are pinheads. Only a pinhead would buy a worthless hummer in this day and age.


Festus said...

Rep. Kern's comments were true. Our society's acceptance of moral perversion will lead to our downfall. And, homosexuality not only damns those who practice it, but those heterosexuals who reject God's moral standard, which condemns homosexuality, will also be damned.

leighton said...

Neat, it's been a while since we had a "Everyone who disagrees with me is going to hell" troll.

Wasp Jerky said...

"Rep. Kern's comments were true. Our society's acceptance of moral perversion will lead to our downfall."

Or maybe our downfall will come when our reliance on cheap energy results in our economy collapsing once gasoline costs $10 a gallon in a few years. But, you know, Po-tay-to, Pa-tah-to.

Monk-in-Training said...

That meme of a "society never survives the acceptance of homosexuality" simply isn't true.

I challenge anyone to name a single one. Really, Name one.

Don't start with Rome, the Empire was fully Christianized by the time of the fall, and sexual laws were quite strict.

Festus said...

The world (the flood), one of the world's sins very likely was homosexuality, Sodom, Gomorrah, Rome (Rome was Christian in name only, not in practice).

Monk-in-Training said...

There isn't any evidence whatsoever of homosexuality being the cause of the flood, and saying it was 'likely' doesn't make it so.

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God, even IF and it is hugely debatable that homosexuality was the issue there (cfr Isaiah 1:10-17, Jer 23:14 ,Ezekiel 16:49).

Rome, well you went ahead and used it, and had the perfect 'out'. LOL, like ANY NATION has ever lived out God's commands!

So, I suppose no other societies come to mind? That is the problem when we start actually looking at some of the statements flung around by Christians, as if they were so.

Streak said...

Wow, I leave for a few days and a discussion erupts.

Festus, as several have suggested, blaming the gays for issues is problematic.

Personally, I just find it interesting that conservatives are having a hissy fit over Obama's former pastor's comments--while having no problem with John Hagee blaming America for causing Katrina.

Nice God you have there, btw. Destroys entire civilizations including moral and honest people because of some perceived sin. Of course, in the conservative reading, that reason is never abandoning the poor, or embracing war, or hatred. Only the gays or the abortion supporters bring God's wrath.