Oklahoma Supreme Court abolishes Christianity…


Look, Oklahoma Supreme Court,  if I don’t have a public display reminding me of my Christian faith, then all we have left are our bibles, our churches, Christian books, Christian radio stations, Christian movies and TV shows, Christian T-shirts, Christian breath mints, and novelty Christian chotskies like Precious Moments figurines.

How am I expected to maintain my faith with such a paucity of reminders not to go out and worship idols?

A helpful primer for Christians regarding SCOTUS’ decision today…


So what happened today?

The Supreme Court has legalized gay marriage today in a 5-4 decision that applies to all 50 states. Meaning that gay people can now marry one another anywhere in the country.

So what does this mean for me? 

Honestly? Probably nothing. I’m assuming if you’re a Christian concerned about this ruling that you’re not gay, so it doesn’t really affect you at all.

So this doesn’t invalidate my marriage?

Nope. You’re still married.

But isn’t my marriage less special now? 

Is it? Do you still love your spouse?

Yeah. 

Then no. You’re marriage is the same as it was yesterday.

But what about religious liberty? 

What about it?

Isn’t the gay agenda going to force all Christians to accept their lifestyle and outlaw the bible and preaching that homosexuality is a sin from the pulpit as ‘hate’ speech? 

Okay, first, I would guess that most gay people aren’t evil monsters out to destroy you personally. Second, you mention religious liberty, so you’ve obviously heard of the First Amendment, which would prohibit any attempt by the government (Federal, State, or Local) to suppress you or your pastor’s ability to call being gay a sin all day long.

Now, that won’t stop gay people from saying that your insistence on saying that makes you a bigot, because that is also personal speech protected by the 1st Amendment.

I’m not sure I like that.

Well, then you probably shouldn’t go around telling random gay strangers that they are depraved sinners.

What about my church or my church’s school? Will they be forced to hire gay people and offer benefits to gay spouses? 

Are they forced to hire gay people now?

No.

There’s you’re answer. The courts have typically given religious institutions a great deal of latitude when it comes to who they hire. Typically, the employees must agree with a statement of faith and conduct. If you’re church or church school doesn’t want to hire gay people, they don’t really have to.

Where the law gets a bit murky is if a religious institution is running a for-profit business that serves the general public or runs a service that accepts state or Federal funds. In those cases, you may be held to existing anti-discrimination statutes by the courts.

Well… what if I own a business like a bakery and a gay couple want to buy a wedding cake? 

Personally, my answer would be to bake them the cake, go to the wedding if they invite you, hug them, dance with them, wish them the best, befriend the couple, and when you’ve earned the right to do so, then you can bring up your faith.

I’m not sure Jesus would approve of that. 

Jesus was constantly accused of hanging out with sinners, prostitutes, and traitorous tax collectors that defrauded the people. He was also accused of loving wine a bit too much. Even if Jesus thinks that gay folks are sinners, I’m sure he’d understand.

What if I still don’t feel comfortable baking that cake? 

One answer is that you should do it because it’s your job. And part of that job is serving all customers under the law regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or creeds.

Another answer is which would you rather you and your faith be known as, the person who said “No because your love and marriage are sinful and God will judge you” or the person who bakes the best damn cake ever, greets them with a smile, and hugs them?

Yet another answer would be to ask why you don’t feel comfortable doing that? Is it just because the customers are gay? Would you a heterosexual divorcee’s second wedding? Would it occur to you to ask them about their past marital status?

But I don’t like the government telling me I have to cater their wedding! 

I don’t like speed laws or paying taxes. It’s the price we pay to live in a civilized society. So render to Caesar and all that.

Okay, but what about Sodom and Gomorrah and fire and brimstone and all that?

Somehow if God didn’t destroy America for slavery, ethnic cleansing, Jim Crow and the “strange fruit” of Southern trees, Imperialistic violence and massacres in the Philippines, rampant gun violence, and hell, let’s throw in the Iraq War, I think we’ll be okay now that Adam and Steve can say, “I do.”

Relax.

So, there’s really nothing in this ruling that affects me? 

Nope. Not at all.

Then why is everyone so angry? 

Beats me. Probably fear of change. Politicians using fear to con people into giving them money or to distract them from realizing how badly we’re all getting screwed by the constant collaboration between corporations and governments, but that’s just my guess.

So, uh… how about those Dodgers? 

I’m an Angels fan.

I’m so sorry. 

Yeah, me too.

Life with a Preschooler – a three act play


I love my daughter. I really do… but some days…

Act 1 – The Family Dinner

Child: What did you make for dinner, Daddy?

Dad: Meatball soup.

Child: I don’t like that.

Dad: Yes, you do. It has potatoes, meatballs, and soup. You like those things.

Child: I don’t like that.

Dad: Eat it. And you’re welcome.

Child: Aw, man…

Dad: If you eat your dinner, you can have apple pie afterwards with mommy, daddy, and your brother.

Child takes two bites of the broth.

Child: Can I have dessert?

Dad: No.

Child: (Whining voice) Why nooooooot?

Dad: Because you haven’t eaten your dinner.

Child: I did eat it!

Dad: Eat. Your. Dinner.

Child stares at bowl for ten minutes, stirs the soup around for a bit. Stares at it again.

Child: Can I have dessert now?

Dad: No.

Child: (Whining voice) Why noooooot?

Act 2 – Dessert in the living room.

Mom, Dad, and Brother are eating pie in the living room watching TV. Child climbs up on couch next to Dad. Puts her hand in his apple pie.

Dad: No! What are you doing? Moves her hands away.

Child puts her feet up by Dad’s face.

Mom: Knock it off now.

Child sits up and puts hands on Dad’s plate near pie. Dad moves hands away.

Dad: Last warning, kiddo.

Child ignores Dad. Puts hands back Dad’s arm near the plate as he’s trying to take a bite of apple pie.

Dad: Okay, go get me a toy. I told you to stop and you didn’t. Now you owe me a toy.

Child: NO! I just wanted to hug you!

Dad: That isn’t what you were doing. Go get me a toy, or I’ll choose one myself.

Child: No! No!

Mom: Okay, Dad can choose the toy to take away and now you owe us a time out.

Child: No!

Dad goes to get a toy. Child tries to physically block him from her room. Dad ignores her. Picks a cheap happy meal toy Child has had buried in  a drawer for six months.

Child: NO! THAT’S MY FAVORITE! NO! TAKE THIS OTHER TOY YOU BOUGHT ME AS A PRESENT! I DON”T LIKE THAT ONE ANYMORE!

Dad contemplates inventing time machine to go back in time and warn past self to wear a condom.

Mom: Go to timeout.

Child: NO!

Mom: You don’t say no to us. Go to time out or Dad will have to take another toy.

Child: NO!

Dad takes another toy.

CHILD: NO! I’m SLEEPY! I’m so tired!

Mom: Then you can go to bed if you’re not going to listen.

Child: NO!

Act 3- Early bed time.

Child uses whining voice throughout entire act.

Dad: Get in your pajamas, please.

Child: No!

Dad: Does daddy have to dress you like when you were a baby or are you going to be a big girl and put on your pajamas?

Child: I don’t want to go to bed.

Dad: Your choices are bed or time out. Pick one.

Child: I just want to watch TV

Dad: Well, you could, if you went to timeout and sat quietly for four minutes.

Child tries timeout. Plays with a toy she found buried under a chair. Dad takes it away. Child puts feet up on the wall. Mom tells her to stop. Child ignores Mom.

Dad: Well, this isn’t working, so back to bed.

Child: No!

Dad carries her to bed. Child kicks and cries the entire time.

Dad: Okay, put your pajamas on.

Child: No!

Dad: Do you need help with your dress?

Starts to unzip the back of dress.

Child: I”LL DO IT!

Dad: Okay, Sweetie. You do it.

Child changes Clothes. Dad tucks her in.

Dad: You know, I don’t like punishing you. I just want you to listen to mommy and daddy.

Child cries, then starts playing with a toy.

Dad: (Sigh) Fine. Good night.

Child comes out of room four more times, loses two more toys. Dad almost starts dropping F-bombs on multiple occasions. Manages to refrain, but does mutter, “Jesus Christ….” under his breath once before drinking a few glasses of wine and wondering about that time machine again. 

End scene.

More bodies for Moloch…


Yet another isolated incident.

But this isn’t about guns, because it’s never about guns. And it’s definitely not about race, because it’s never about race.

God damn it.

In which Franklin Graham steps on a rake


If you’ve been watching TV and all lately, you might have come across a Wells Fargo commercial in which two women have decided to adopt a daughter who is deaf and they meet her and speak in sign language with her introducing themselves as her new mommies.

While some may find the spot heart warming and even commendable with its positive message about adopting children with special needs, Franklin Graham sees it a little differently:

He characterized the touching spot as just another example of “the tide of moral decay that is being crammed down our throats by big business, the media, and the gay & lesbian community,” and urged his flock to follow his lead by boycotting Wells Fargo.

Well, okay… I mean… wow… that’s certainly your right. But you do know that most companies these days not named Hobby Lobby are pretty cool with gay folks and have realized that the best way to compete is to attract a diverse workforce and customer base, right? And therefore it might be a bit difficult to find an institution that takes its business strategy from the book of Leviticus. (They also had a really strong objection to the ‘no usury’ bits.)

Apparently not.

As Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch pointed out, it appears that if Graham wanted to distance his father’s money from those who support “The Homosexual Agenda,” he should have done a little more research.

In the past year, BB&T sponsored the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade...

Oops. THWACK!

Nor is BB&T merely paying lip-service to the LGBT community. Earlier this year, the bank hosted a gay couple’s wedding reception in its South Beach branch.

Double Oops…

No doubt, he’ll have a good laugh, calm down, and live and let live… or you know… start the First Bank of Graham.

Historical stupidity


“Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, ‘Accept the Nazis. Yes, they’ll dominate the continent of Europe, but that’s not our problem. Let’s appease them. Why? Because it can’t be done. We can’t possibly stand against them.’”

This is a quote from Ted Cruz. I saw it today in an article about extremism in the Republican party, but I couldn’t get past this quote, which has become one of my major pet peeves: the complete ignorant or purposeful bullshitting of history.

So no… just no, Mr. Cruz.

England and France did not say, “We can’t stand up to Nazi Germany because they’re too tough so let’s give them all of Europe and surrender” in 1938.

What was on the mind of Neville Chamberlain in 1938 to give him pause on the march to war was the war that had ended 20 years earlier. A war in which Great Britain had lost in total 800,000-1,000,000 people, plus another 1.6 million people who were wounded, some of whom would bear the horrific effects of artillery shells, poison gas, or psychological trauma for the rest of their lives. That calculates out to approximately 2% of the British were killed, and about 3.5% of their population being wounded.

France bore more deaths, about 4% of their population, with another 4 million wounded on top of that.

To extrapolate that, let’s split the difference and imagine a war in which the modern United States, though ultimately victorious, suffered the deaths of 3% of its population or 10,500,000 people.

That’s a city the size of Los Angeles just vanishing off the face of the Earth. Add in another 15-20 million wounded for a war that wasn’t really about national survival or to stop world domination. World War I was an unnecessary war that didn’t have to happen and didn’t have to continue as long as it did.

Imagine the toll that kind of loss would take on the American psyche. Now it’s 20 years later and the people you fought are talking about expanding and reclaiming a small bit of land in a neighboring country and if the neighboring country doesn’t give it up, there will be war.

Without the advantage of hindsight, would we be so ready to go to war and possibly lose another 30 million people?

So let’s discard the whole, “France and Britain were scared and willing to give up anything to the Germans” canard. When Germany continued its aggression, they were the ones that stood up first to fight and both suffered again for it.

And while we’re at it, let’s retire this particular butchering of history when we talk of modern day ‘threats’ to our security.

In the course of the war, Adolph Hitler would employ 20,000,000 soldiers, a cursory count of tanks puts it at around 19,000 total in pre-war and wartime (give or take), and 117,000 aircraft, plus artillery, plus a navy, plus anti-tank weapons. Along with the industrial capacity to manufacture and roll out new equipment to a certain degree and a civilian populace who supported the war effort. (Historians feel free to correct me if any of those numbers are too off.)

Now, do any of our current foes or would-be foes match that capacity? No? Then stop comparing them to Hitler.

At worst, our current geopolitical foes are minor annoyances.

Bible Family values, Part 7: Marriage is between one man, one woman… another man, and his many, many other wives.


20 Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the South country (the Negeb) and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur; and he lived temporarily in Gerar.

2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister. And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah [into his harem].

Good to know your status in the world, eh, Sarah?

Abraham lies about Sarah being his sister and then sells/gives her away to the local chieftain to be his bride without a word of protest or objection. And Sarah goes along with it. I mean… I guess if I were here and my husband that I thought loved me was ready to just trade me to another man, I’d be pretty angry about it and probably want to leave him, but… wow.

3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said, Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken [as your own], for she is a man’s wife.

4 But Abimelech had not come near her, so he said, Lord, will you slay a people who are just and innocent?

5 Did not the man tell me, She is my sister? And she herself said, He is my brother. In integrity of heart and innocency of hands I have done this.

6 Then God said to him in the dream, Yes, I know you did this in the integrity of your heart, for it was I Who kept you back and spared you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not give you occasion to touch her.

7 So now restore to the man his wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not restore her [to him], know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.

This is a weird passage and one that seems pretty common in the Old Testament where Yahweh shows up and is ready to pronounce judgment upon someone, but is talked out of it to the point where He relents.

I mean, the first thing God supposedly tells Abimelech is “I’m going to kill you for taking another man’s wife.” Seems pretty clear and final.

But Abimelech protests and says, “Hey, I really had no idea and thought she was single. Her husband lied to me.”

And God says, “Yeah, I know. Okay, maybe not so much with the death thing, just send her home and have the guy pray for you and we’re good.”

Of course, if God really did know that Abimelech took Sarah thinking she was single and didn’t realize he was sinning, why is the first thing He says to the man, “I’m going to kill you…”

8 So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things; and the men were exceedingly filled with reverence and fear.

9 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, What have you done to us? And how have I offended you that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me what ought not to be done [to anyone].

10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, What did you see [in us] that [justified] you in doing such a thing as this?

11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely there is no reverence or fear of God at all in this place, and they will slay me because of my wife.

12 But truly, she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father but not of my mother; and she became my wife.

13 When God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, This kindness you can show me: at every place we stop, say of me, He is my brother.

Abimelech is rightly angry with Abraham and wants an explanation. Abraham says, “Well… you’re filthy godless pagans who I thought would murder me for my pretty wife, so my bad.”

Abimelech: Hey… thanks, dude… thanks a lot.

14 Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham and restored to him Sarah his wife.

Gotta love how the human slaves are mentioned right along with the livestock.

15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before you; dwell wherever it pleases you.

16 And to Sarah he said, Behold, I have given this brother of yours a thousand pieces of silver; see, it is to compensate you [for all that has occurred] and to vindicate your honor before all who are with you; before all men you are cleared and compensated.

17 So Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his female slaves, and they bore children,

18 For the Lord had closed fast the wombs of all in Abimelech’s household because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Okay… just how long was Sarah with Abimelech? If they noticed that Abimelech’s haram had stopped having children, that implies months or possibly over a year. In which case… what is up with that? Did Sarah live with this guy as his wife for more than a year? Did Abraham just sort of write her off for that long?

The Old Testament is pretty messed up.