Jesus Spoils a Picnic

The Pope’s fantasy of a new inquisition centered in the USA is beginning to see some fruit. The target is an exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery about gay love which the ironically named Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights managed to have censored yesterday.

The exhibit, which has been called “bold and courageous” by Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik, contained a number of videos by AIDS victims. Gopnik describes the offending material this way:

“As part of “Hide/Seek,” the gallery was showing a four-minute excerpt from a 1987 piece titled “A Fire in My Belly,” made in honor of Peter Hujar, an artist-colleague and lover of (film maker and artist David) Wojnarowicz who had died of AIDS complications in 1987. And for 11 seconds of that meandering, stream-of-consciousness work (the full version is 30 minutes long) a crucifix appears onscreen with ants crawling on it. It seems such an inconsequential part of the total video that neither I nor anyone I’ve spoken to who saw the work remembered it at all.”

The Brown Shirts at the Catholic League say the brief moment was “designed to insult and inflict injury and assault the sensibilities of Christians.” The Smithsonian, doing its best Barak Obama imitation, caved quickly, implying that the disputed art was not an important part of the exhibition, and apologizing to the offended Christofascists.

The official statement: “One work, a four-minute video portrait by artist David Wojnarowicz (1987), shows images that may be offensive to some. The exhibition also includes works by highly regarded artists such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Thomas Eakins and Annie Leibowitz.  I regret that some reports about the exhibit have created an impression that the video is intentionally sacrilegious. In fact, the artist’s intention was to depict the suffering of an AIDS victim. It was not the museum’s intention to offend. We have removed the video.”

Score one for the Pope’s efforts to convert the USA by force. It is, of course, worth noting that the Catholic League was not without the usual cadre of hysterical supporters. There was the entire Fixxed News Network, which trotted out Glenn Beckmann and Shorn Handready and the rest of the blathering dumbasses.

And, of course, the confederacy of dunces that recently took over Congress expressed shocked indignation and immediately began to threaten the Smithsonian’s funding.

There it is. The war for truth and justice and basic American values goes on. For the benefit of the new inquisitors, here is a real insult: “Get your hands off that Altar Boy!”

Acts 17:30

A new study shows that, if you ask 10 Roman Catholics in America about transubstantiation, 4.5 of them will look at you blankly and go “huh?” This despite the fact that this, the belief that the wine and the wafer one consumes during Communion ACTUALLY BECOME the blood and the body of Jesus Christ, is a basic, foundational tenet of their faith.

Nearly half of Protestants in America do not know who Martin Luther was.

And atheists and agnostics know more about religion than anybody else.

I think this study belies a sad truth about these Untied States of America: A hell of a lots of peoples are staking their entire lives on a big pile of lies and misinformation. Many of our friends on the “conservative” side of the aisle base many of their political ideas on their religious faith. And now, according to this study, many Americans are actually even illiterate regarding that.

Isn’t that something?

What Nobody’s Aksing About the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

Will it be tax exempt?

How about if you tea-bagging morons stop making idiotic Reductio ad Hitlerum analogies and find that out so you can make an actually rational argument, would you do that for us, please?

Because, my tea-bagging friends, if this frackin’ thing is tax-exempt, then you might very well have a couple of allies over here at the Serious Poo-Poo Institute of Technology. Last thing we need is more damned real estate in NYC that’s tax-exempt because some a-holes talk to their imaginary sky-friends there.

Hoosier Daddy

I’m only half-kidding when I say that I think that candidates for President, Senate, and Congress should be allowed to take a “Family Values Exemption,” that is, they swear never to harangue their constituencies about so-called “family values,” and then if it comes out that they’re fucking around, they get a free pass.

It should be clear to most people that political power helps men get laid, and I wonder if our current policy of throwing a guy out just because he wanders into a faraway enchanted forest doesn’t remove an incentive from public service. If the candidate hasn’t waggled his finger at us about abstaining or hasn’t rehashed the Murphy Brown speech at us, why in the hell do we care if he’s getting a little strange?

There are of course exceptions to this idea. If you, say, run for President, and you’re not a family values prosthelytizer, but a central brick of your campaign is your loving devotion to your cancer-stricken wife, and then it’s revealed that not only have you been dipping it into one of your campaign volunteers, but that she’s given birth to your child, it’s still the same principle—Mr. Edwards was revealed as a stone-cold, scuzzy hypocrite, even though he was no abstinence evangelizor. Had he not thrust Elizabeth and her disease into the spotlight to garner votes, then he might have had a little more room to breathe. I say it’s not the sex that’s the issue. It’s the hypocrisy.

This is where Clinton fell apart a bit, too. He did, you’ll recall, get on 60 Minutes with Hillary and bite his lip and point atcha, an appearance that telegraphed, “Yeah, I’m a dawg; I’ve done it with ladies other than my wife. I won’t any more if you make me Prez.” Of course, if you actually believed that at the time, I’ve got a shitload of derivatives I’d like to sell you. Clinton’s hypocrisy was slight because you knew when he smiled crooked and winked that his snoogling up to Hillary was just a veneer.

So, in the case of Indiana Republigoat Mark Souder, I says hells yeah, put him on a horse blindfolded, take him to the county line and slap the horse’s ass. Did you know that the broad he’s alleged to have been banging was his co-star in some “pro-abstinence” video he’d made? I am not making this up.

Last November, Souder’s office posted a video of Jackon “interviewing” the Congressman about an abstinence-only education hearing. The caption of the video noted that Souder was “one of the only voices speaking in defense of abstinence education.”

They’ve pulled the video itself off of the YouTube, but I can imagine how it might have gone:

TJ: So, Congressman Souder. Your campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why is abstinence-only education so important to you?

Souder: Stand up. I want to ogle at your buttocks.

TJ: But Congressman. Doesn’t the Lord command us to refrain from sexual intercourse? We have to keep ourselves pure.

Souder: If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?

TJ: Congressman!

Souder: Get it? Get it? Get it?

Oh, dear. Republigoats are FUN.

Lord, Hear My Prayer

Since I’m at a hotel this week, I get to read the USA Today, America’s favorite short-attention-span news delivery vehicle.

There is a story in there on page 6D about how Franklin Graham of the Jesus Grahams is all upset and junk because the Pentagon has nixed his plans to have a prayer meeting in the Pentagon.

You know. The building where they plan all the wars. That’s an excellent place to pray.

If President Obama fails to intervene to allow controversial evangelist Franklin Graham to lead a National Day of Prayer event Thursday inside the Pentagon, “it will be a slap in the face of all Christians,” Graham said Tuesday.

Graham says that if his rescinded invitation is not restored—bear in mind, it was rescinded because Graham is an exclusionist scumbag—he will stand outside of the Pentagon and pray.

Here’s where MY prayer comes in.

Dear Lord. Please, while Mr. Graham is praying, please let the Pentagon break from its foundation, rise, and hover in the sky. Please, Lord, let Franklin Graham finally accomplish what Abby Hoffman never did. Lord, let Franklin Graham inadvertently levitate said Pentagon, bringing joy into the hearts of all of us wannabe Yippies everywhere. Amen.


I am sitting down to a fine plate of Tex-Mex food and am now watching Dook just widen the gap to ten vs. West Virginia with 5:42 in the first half, and I realize that I have yet to do my duly duty by sitting down to Blog Against Theocracy.


What to write for the blog-swarm…if only there were some dramatic example I could discuss about how this country already has drifted into what Chief Hungry Freak Daddy Frank Zappa once described as a “fascist theocracy.”

Like if, say, a Mormon ran for President of These Untied States, hell, even if he ran as a Republigoat, maybe, and then he had to give a big speech, you know, justifying that he was a Mormon running for President, even though the country in question’s most revered founding document specifically says that there is no religious test for running for said office…

No, that’s a crazy example because, even though they believe that God is a man who lives in outer space, Mormons still worship the Christ and all. So that’d be silly.

Though, what if the candidate happened to be a black guy? Would both he and his opponent, say, a crotchety old white guy who can’t lift his hands over his head, would they be required as a matter of course to stick their noses up the ass of a prominent evangelist minister just to get in the door?

And, let’s say in the most unlikely event that the black guy did get elected, maybe then one of the worst insults people would think they could hurl at him would be to accuse him of being a “Muslim.” Now, THAT might be a theocracy. Maybe. But only, of course, if you factored in that most people don’t understand that Black Islam is actually a movement that is rather independent in its thought and evolution from the Islam that originated in Mecca, so that, even if the black guy was a Muslim, he might not be considered to be one of THOSE Muslims, or even if you factored in that blonde-haired, blue-eyed Christian assholes are just as capable of blowing shit up and killing people as are assholes of the brown-skinned praying faced east variety.

I know what might make you think that we lived in a theocracy. What if a Muslim actually DID get elected to our federal legislature? And then a whole bunch of people started shitting themselves about which BOOK the guy put his hand on when he took his oath?

Even though the Constitution specifically says the following on that very matter:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.


Or…oh, wait, here’s one that’ll kill ya. This would NEVER happen. Like if a bunch of congressmen rented a house? And they were all big-time Christians and shit? And if the house got a tax exemption as if it were a church? And if they’d been found to be redirecting U.S. foreign policy toward bigoted, hateful policies? And if…oh, hell, I could go on and on, but Rachel does it a lot better than I do.

I dunno, Frank. I think you mighta been onto something there.

There's Always Home Schooling

Home schooling has, traditionally, been a resort of conservatives. This trend is likely to change now.

For the record, if you’re a Thom Hartmann listener, you’ve known for quite some time that the Tejas Bored of Edumacation could possibly decide to gut its curriculum in favor of “conservatism.” You also understand that the bizarre changes made to that state’s curriculum actually affects that of at least half or more of the country. Since Tejas is one of the biggest customers for textbooks, their curriculum decisions affect more than just Tejas.
My favorite part of the story, I think, is thus:

The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum’s world history standards on Enlightenment thinking, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

“Replacing” him? “Replacing” him? There’s only enough room in a kid’s head for so many historical figures?

Here’s another one, a head scratcher considering point #1:

“Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation’s Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. ‘I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,’ said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. ‘I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.'”

So, if you’re convinced that a separation idea doesn’t exist, why do you need to banish the dude who first said it was in there? Brainiac.

There is so much more to this lovely story. Of course, there is the insistence in the new curriculum that the United States is a “republic” (because, you know, “democracy” sounds too much like that other political party) (and by the way, the United States is actually a “constitutionally limited representative democratic republic”).

Here. Giggle at this:

“Board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, objected to a standard for a high school sociology course that addressed the difference between sex and gender. It was eliminated in a 9-to-6 vote. She worried that a discussion of that issue would lead students into the world of ‘transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else.'”

It is this quote from this board member that I think is most revealing. Because the problem with this is that this school board is so willing to trivialize truth. Transvestites exist. Transsexuals exist. I just recently watched a (very very bad) boxing match with a transsexual person, as a matter of fact. Thomas Jefferson existed, and he did write to the Danbury Baptists mentioning a “separation” of church and state. And, oddly enough, he wasn’t writing to admonish them. He was writing to reassure them, for they had complained to Jefferson that, without such a separation, government might be liable to force a particular religion in Connecticut. In essence, Jefferson argued (correctly) that the wall is required to protect religious freedom.

So, of course, I guess he’s out.

When the mighty Frank Zappa said on “Crossfire” that he feared this country was becoming a “fascist theocracy,” Bob Novak, who liked to reveal the identities of covert CIA operatives in the newspaper, scowled at him, oh wait, that was just his normal face, and said, oh, come on, Mister Zappa.

What do you think now, Bob?

(Oh, wait. You don’t think anything. You’re dead.)

Yeah, That 'Haiti Sold Its Soul' Stuff Was Bad, But…

…if you listen even more closely to Marion “Pat” Robertson’s comments today, you hear something even more nefarious than what’s being cropped and reported to you.

Here are the comments you will hear. And, yes. They are reprehensible.

[The Haitians] under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.’ True story. And so the devil said, ‘Ok it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another…

By the way, when Robertson says they were “under the heel” of the French, what he means to say is that they were “slaves.” And, I’m just taking a wild guess here, but I betcha the theory that a pact was made with the Prince of Darkness stems from the fact that yellow fever took out a lot of the a-holes who had returned there to refortify the slavery regime following a revolt by the natives. I dunno. Whatever. It’s not worth speculating; Marion Robertson is a crazy old fucker.

But. As I’ve said. There’s more.

During the broadcast, Robertson asks Bill Horan, President of Operation Blessing, the following question:

Well…if all those buildings are down, I understand more have fallen than are standing…it may be a blessing in disguise; there might be a massive rebuilding of that country. Is that possible?

That, my friends, is the sound of a disaster capitalist licking his salivating chops in anticipation. And it is far more terrifying than any moronic, lip-doodling evangelism.

The Brit Hume Puzzler

I don’t know why I bother to read Tom Shales.

I usually don’t. Dude’s got the sweetest job in the world, but he’s not very good at it. But in today’s column, he took on Brit Hume’s comments about Tiger Woods’ religious faith. In case you missed it:

Shales is onto something to start:

It sounded a little like one of those Verizon vs. AT&T commercials—our brand is better than your brand—except that Hume was comparing two of the world’s great religions, not a couple of greedy communications conglomerates. Further, is it really his job to run around trying to drum up new business? He doesn’t really have the authority, does he, unless one believes that every Christian by mandate must proselytize?

Later on, though, Shales misses the boat entirely. Just watch.

The easiest mistake to make would be to associate Hume’s off-the-cuff, off-the-wall remark with the pathology of Fox News, a cherished target of the left just as the left is a cherished target of certain Fox personalities. Some of us cling to our faith that there is no institutional bias at the network, and that the business of Fox, to paraphrase Calvin Coolidge, is business.

Sorry, Tommy. Hume’s comments here actually further belie institutional bias on the part of Fox “News.” Look, I’m the last guy to begrudge Mr. Hume his faith, especially since—as Shales mentions—he came to it via a poignant personal tragedy, the suicide of his kid. But your average broadcaster on the set of your average cable news setup would never feel comfortable saying what Hume said. Sheri Sheppard of “The View,” okay, maybe. But I don’t think Wolf Blitzer would feel comfortable offering Woods such clumsy spiritual advice on the set of “The Situation Room.” And I guarantee you won’t be hearing any such thing out of John McLaughlin’s set—and he’s been an ordained priest.

No, no, Mr. Shales. It is well-documented that Fox “News” has made its way by forging a spiffy new newsroom culture, a culture that thrives on politics that driven by Christianity’s sometimes uncontrollable lust to evangelize. That Hume felt perfectly free to throw Buddhism under the bus on the air live was just the latest of many thousands of symptoms of this network’s “pathology.”

‘Tis the Season to Be Jelly

On today, the eighth day of the exalted holiday known as Zappadan, which is really going great gangbusters, guys, it is time for what is becoming an annual rant about that other holiday, that of Christmas.

You know, Ted Baxter’s moronic pronouncements of the liberals’ “war on Christmas” just occur earlier and earlier every year.

This year, he started in even before Samhain, having that blonde Frankenstein (John Gibson) on his show to pitch yet another hateful, evil book about how much liberals hate Christmas. It’s awful. And, it’s wrong. So. Let’s roll out the truth yet again about who, exactly, is pooping all over Christmas.

Christmas is a holiday so old and rooted in so much ancient history that the urge to celebrate has likely by now been scrubbed into human DNA. Ancient Romans celebrated Saturnalia on Dec. 17. Scandinavian Pagans celebrated Yule. Christmas itself is referenced in print as early as 354 CE. Celebrations and praise at wintertime go way back with humanity; such holidays are likely as old as agriculture. Which makes sense. In winter, you roll out your stocked goods and party because you had a pretty darned good harvest. Thanks to the gods and whatnot.

Now. Believe it or not, there was a time when Christmas wasn’t such a big friggin’ deal in these Untied States of America. In the mid-1600s, you’d get a five-shilling fine in Boston for celebrating it. And the Revolution put a bad taste in our mouths regarding anything that seemed kind of English, so they weren’t too crazy about it in the late 1700s, either. But in 1819, Washington Irving, the 19th century’s Steven Spielberg, wrote The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, gent., which included stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house and which reflected on Christmas as a peaceful, warm-hearted holiday bringing groups together across lines of wealth or social status. By 1870, Congress and President Grant at last declared it a legal federal holiday, along with New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Independence Day.

My point: This country did not come to Christmas out of a profound need to celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. It came to Christmas because humans and nations require a vast winter holiday. And it did not choose Christmas because we were of the Lord. It chose Christmas because we were of England.

I was reared with no consideration of God, and for the most part, I retain this belief system today. Yet, I was reared with Christmas, and I continue to celebrate it every year. We had the tree, the presents, the family, the fellowship, Santy Claus, yeah, we did all of that. And we weren’t bashful about wishing anyone a Merry Christmas.* See, in these Untied States of America, Christmas is supposed to be the inclusive, national secular holiday that we can share with our friends, our neighbors, and our families. But some folks, and I’ll betcha our bloated friend over at Fox “News” is one of them, just can’t have that.

“Political correctness” isn’t what saps the joy out of this holiday season. It’s the “remember the reason” assclowns.

Look, folks. The more you insist on dragging your church’s crap all out in to our Public Square, the more Nativity scenes you insist on erecting, the more you tut-tut if someone abbreviates it to “x-mas,” the less inclusive our treasured national holiday is allowed to be. So our Jewish friends over there, they’re made to feel all weird about Christmas and Hanukkah, which isn’t even their Main Event anyways, and so then your Wal-Mart greeters have to start saying “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings,” and then Ted Baxter’s enormous bloated head fills up more with steam.

I guess what I’m saying is, why can’t these people just shut the hell up and let us all stand back and look at how pretty the tree is?

It’s Christmas.

*Though, to be fair, I did grow up in a somewhat more homogeneous community than where I live these days.