Monday, July 02, 2007

BlogSwarm Against Theocracy - Happening Now

I don't know how this will turn out, but they're having a BlogSwarm Against Theocracy, July 1st through the 4th. It looks like there are a couple dozen links there already.

Theocracy is a government run by religion or religious leaders. Our American society, and especially our form of government, grew out of an Enlightenment commitment to reason and skepticism. Yes, the Puritans made their mark in the early days, but by the late eighteenth century, after the Revolutionary War, when it came time to put a federation together, the guys who did it were hard-headed and clear-thinking. They went to a lot of trouble to set it up so that people could practice their religions without interference by the government, while making sure the government wouldn't be able to impose a religion on anyone.

Our group exists to fight for comprehensive and inclusive sex education in Montgomery County, Maryland. We shouldn't have to do that, you know, the people of this county want comprehensive and inclusive sex-ed. But those of us who formed the original core group of Teach the Facts were shocked to attend an early organizing meeting of the RecallMontgomerySchoolBoard.com group, now Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, to hear what they were saying. It was an attempted coup by an extreme element, a tiny handful of people who felt that their religious views should dominate the wishes of the great majority of people who live here. The coup failed, but even though they are weakened and disheartened we still need to keep an eye on them, they are always threatening to pull one more thing.

They would like to say that we're against their religion, but that's wrong. They have every right to believe as they do, to worship as they wish, we don't have anything against that. They just want everybody to come to their pity-party.

It's not their religion or their faith that we object to. The problem is only when they try to force everybody else to go along with it.

Americans are religious, mostly Christian, and it makes sense that our elected representatives would reflect that. A serious candidate for high office is expecded to display some amount of religious conviction, usually Protestant but that's not necessary. I don't think people vote for atheists, maybe sometimes but it would definitely make it harder. We are a religious people, but most Americans don't support the religious right's platform.

As we have found, it is a tough battle, fighting them back. They have the right to ask for things to go their way, but they need to learn that no means no. You may find it an interesting way to spend your lunchtime, clicking through the BlogSwarm links.

50 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Our American society, and especially our form of government, grew out of an Enlightenment commitment to reason and skepticism. Yes, the Puritans made their mark in the early days, but by the late eighteenth century, after the Revolutionary War, when it came time to put a federation together, the guys who did it were hard-headed and clear-thinking."

Jim doesn't understand history and is flat-out wrong here. A new book by David Gelernter called "Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion" explains how American democracy is rooted in Protestantism. Here's the book description from Amazon:

"What does it mean to “believe” in America? Why do we always speak of our country as having a mission or purpose that is higher than other nations?
Modern liberals have invested a great deal in the notion that America was founded as a secular state, with religion relegated to the private sphere. David Gelernter argues that America is not secular at all, but a powerful religious idea—indeed, a religion in its own right.
Gelernter argues that what we have come to call “Americanism” is in fact a secular version of Zionism. Not the Zionism of the ancient Hebrews, but that of the Puritan founders who saw themselves as the new children of Israel, creating a new Jerusalem in a new world. Their faith-based ideals of liberty, equality, and democratic governance had a greater influence on the nation’s founders than the Enlightenment.

"Gelernter traces the development of the American religion from its roots in the Puritan Zionism of seventeenth-century New England to the idealistic fighting faith it has become, a militant creed dedicated to spreading freedom around the world."

"They went to a lot of trouble to set it up so that people could practice their religions without interference by the government, while making sure the government wouldn't be able to impose a religion on anyone."

This is a correct statement but doesn't apply to anything today. No one has suggested that the government should interfere with religious practice or impose a religion on anyone.

July 02, 2007 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It was an attempted coup"

In what sense was any coup attempted? They worked through the system all the way. Are you still ticked because you lost a court case?

"by an extreme element,"

This is a joke. Since when has a desire to maintain the status quo been called extreme?

"a tiny handful of people"

Attendance at their events usually exceeded those of TTF.

"who felt that their religious views should dominate the wishes of the great majority of people who live here."

The members of CRC belonged to different religions. The religions they belong to have sects who support TTF. They simply had traditional views not religious ones.

July 02, 2007 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They would like to say that we're against their religion, but that's wrong."

I don't think they said that. I think they may have said that TTF is against all religious belief. You don't have wade far through these logs to discover that.

"They have every right to believe as they do, to worship as they wish, we don't have anything against that."

They also have every right to promote and seek converts to their religion. You have something against that.

"They just want everybody to come to their pity-party."

Ironic statement coming from supporters of the party of victimization.

July 02, 2007 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's not their religion or their faith that we object to."

You have put plenty of posts up here objecting not to any policy viewpoint but simply to their religion.

How about when you all went out to picket the Love Won Out conference? There was no political advocacy at the conference, no request for any governmental action. It was simply a conference for those whose religious beliefs and sexual desires conflicted. So why was TTF out there? They oppose religious viewpoints.

"The problem is only when they try to force everybody else to go along with it."

This is America. We're all "forced" to "go along" with each others religious beliefs. It's in the Bill of Rights.

July 02, 2007 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out Dinesh D'souza's latest blog entry on Ten Great Things About America. One is that we have no religious conflict and strife terrorizing the country despite the diversity of religious belief. This has been achieved by allowing all religious views to be fully voiced and expressed, and not allowing supression of certain religious viewpoints, out of fear, as TTF advocates.

July 02, 2007 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The forced secularization of America era begun in the mid-twentieth century by the Warren court ended last week when the Supreme Court ruled in "Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation" that government funding of religious-based charities is proper and they will hear no more challenges to it.

July 02, 2007 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that there are only two references to God or religion in the Constitution, our guiding document for running this country. The first specifically says that there shall not be a religious test to hold public office. The second is the date, "in the year of our Lord ..." Cleary the founders, be they Puratins or not, saw the wisdom of not having to make the representative of the pople be "believers."

July 02, 2007 11:26 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Inane-Anon,

Your reliance on extremists such as David Gelertner and Dinesh D'Souza says it all.

The vast majority of Americans -- Democrats, Independents and even some Republicans, with the exception of the 22% who still respect Dick Cheney -- are on the side of the Enlightenment.

July 02, 2007 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Cleary the founders, be they Puratins or not, saw the wisdom of not having to make the representative of the pople be "believers.""

Actually, no one has suggested having to make the representative of the pople be "believers".

The representative of the pople should be whoever the pople trust to represent them.

July 02, 2007 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Your reliance on extremists such as David Gelertner and Dinesh D'Souza says it all."

Labelling is not an argument.

"The vast majority of Americans -- Democrats, Independents and even some Republicans, with the exception of the 22% who still respect Dick Cheney -- are on the side of the Enlightenment."

In what sense do you mean this vague statement to apply? I think they believe in the pre-eminence of the "ideals of liberty, equality, and democratic governance" over materialism. Science has its place but I believe most Americans see the importance of not letting it get ahead of our values. It's been a common theme in our culture for some time.

July 02, 2007 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the doctor:

"A two-week evangelical campaign designed to bring Jews to Jesus is underway in Washington, taking this question to Metro stations, Nationals games and popular spots like U Street: Is Jesus the Jewish messiah?

That is the core belief of the international missionary organization Jews for Jesus, the best known of dozens of messianic Jewish groups that have sprung up in recent decades. Followers believe that Jesus was the messiah mentioned in Jewish scripture. The group, which has a $17 million annual budget, defines its mission as "making the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to Jewish people worldwide."

The campaign, which began last Saturday and ends July 8, is the second push that Jews for Jesus has made in the area, which has one of the nation's larger Jewish communities with 215,000 Jews, according to a 2003 study.

It comes at a time when congregations of messianic Jews are growing. There are about 300 such congregations in the United States, up from none around 1970, according to the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. Jewish groups that work to oppose conversion efforts estimate that 200,000 American Jews have become believers in Christ in the past three decades.

The issue of missionizing to Jews is becoming more explosive as evangelical Christian groups -- the primary backers of messianic organizations -- draw closer than ever with Jewish groups over their shared support of Israel.

"How can you say you love Jews if you withhold the messiah from them?" asked Stephen Katz, director of the local Jews for Jesus office, who handed out brochures to commuters at the Foggy Bottom Metro during Tuesday's morning rush hour.


"Jews for Jesus is true Judaism, because Jesus was the king of the Jews," said Michaela Curtis. "It makes perfect sense to me."

July 02, 2007 12:05 PM  
Anonymous youwish said...

Separation of Church and State. That is what our Constitution states, and it is our duty as US citizens to abide by it. It's not like the Bible, there is no room for "interpretation" here.

July 02, 2007 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Separation of Church and State. That is what our Constitution states, and it is our duty as US citizens to abide by it."

Actually, it's not in the Constitution. I was just at the Archives reading the thing this weekend. Most historians trace the phrase to remarks by Thomas Jefferson and the context was something to do with the Barbary Pirates, who were the Islamic terrorists of the days when our country was young.

What the Constitution does say is that the government can't interfere with the religious convictions of individuals. Those who want the government to cleanse the public square of any mention of religion are the violators of the Constitution.

"It's not like the Bible, there is no room for "interpretation" here."

I hope you realize this remark puts you in the company of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

July 02, 2007 2:27 PM  
Anonymous youwish said...

Not everyone is a Christian, are you not OKAY with that? If not, perhaps you need to go somewhere, such as a communist country, where practicing another religion is punishable under law. Then, just maybe, you will be satisfied with yourself. I am a Christian male who happens to be gay and I know that Jesus my Saviour, loves me not matter what. Just like he loves you, even though you are an obvious sinner, judging others. He still loves you, just the way you are, hateful and sinful.

July 02, 2007 3:18 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous quoted Gelernter saying one of the most profoundly ignorant things I've heard in a long time "Why do we always speak of our country as having a mission or purpose that is higher than other nations?"

If the United states had a purpose or mission that is higher than that of other nations it would be pursuing fairness and equality for all its citizens through equal marriage, it would never have relied on slavery to build its economy, there wouldn't have been segregation and Jim Crow laws. The united states is not a world leader in justice and what's right, countries like Canada, Spain, South Africa and Western Europe are.

It is the taint of religion that keeps the United States behind secular countries in terms of justice and equality, religion is an us versus them philosophy that seperates people and encourages conflict.

Anonymous said "They simply had traditional views not religious ones.".

The hatred and oppression of gays is based in religion. The entire "exgay" industry is steeped in mysticism and "Jesus". Even the supposedly secular Narth is based on religious condemnation of gays lead by religious people.

Anonymous said "The forced secularization of America era begun in the mid-twentieth century by the Warren court ended last week when the Supreme Court ruled in "Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation" that government funding of religious-based charities is proper and they will hear no more challenges to it."

The conservative judges ignored 40 years of precedence to come to that faulty decision. No one forced secularization on anyone, people have always been free to practice their religion. It is solely the religious people who seek to force their religon on others and government support of myth-based charities is a good example of tha. No one should have to accept the religion that's going to be part and parcel of such charities "services" but that's going to constinue to be forced upon them. Myth-based charities will continue to refuse service to gays thus demonstrating that contrary to Gelernter's lies the theocracy based U.S. can't be trusted to put the higher values of fairness and equality into place.


Anonymous said "What the Constitution does say is that the government can't interfere with the religious convictions of individuals. Those who want the government to cleanse the public square of any mention of religion are the violators of the Constitution.".

No, what it says is that the government shall make no law establishing a religion and that means that government promotion of any religion is unconstitutional. People are welcome to worship their religion however they want to in private but are not entitled to a government promotion of it in the public square.

Studies show that higher levels of public belief are associated with higher levels os social dysfunction and that the secular democracies have been the most succesful at developing cultures of life. The U.S. would be well served to disgard its religious superstitions as the destructive force they are.

July 02, 2007 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YW, you're kinda not making sense.

"Not everyone is a Christian, are you not OKAY with that?"

Well, no, I'm not OK with that. It wouldn't be charitable to be indifferent to those in spiritual need.

On another level, however, Christians should be looking for places to spread the Word. Therefore, a place with no non-believers would make a lot of scripture obsolete.

"If not, perhaps you need to go somewhere, such as a communist country, where practicing another religion is punishable under law."

Have you been listening? Christianity only seeks sincere converts, not those under threat. This idea, traced to the Protestant reformation concept that individuals are accountable to God directly, is what lead to the ideas of freedom of speech, press and religion in our nation.

July 02, 2007 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No, what it says is that the government shall make no law establishing a religion and that means that government promotion of any religion is unconstitutional."

Read it again. You left out half. It also says the government can't prohibit the free exercise thereof. Telling people they can only speak of religious beliefs in private, clearly violates this.

"People are welcome to worship their religion however they want to in private but are not entitled to a government promotion of it in the public square."

I don't think promotion and establishment are the same thing but, in any case, no one is suggesting the promotion of a certain denomination by government. TTF, however, used to support it back when the Fishback revisions did just that.

"Studies show that higher levels of public belief are associated with higher levels os social dysfunction and that the secular democracies have been the most succesful at developing cultures of life."

You talking about Western Europe with their abortion, euthanasia and unemployment. Yeah, sounds lively. The place is dying.

I don't know what studies you're talking about but I'm sure they'd be easy to see through. No need though. What's produced the ideals you profess to believe in, what's lifted us out of the jungle, is religion. Our civilization began thousands of years ago when Moses responded to a revelation from God:

might is not necessarily right, but right is might

"The U.S. would be well served to disgard its religious superstitions as the destructive force they are."

Oh, brother. And where would the world be without a benevolent U.S.? To take one example, how would WWII have turned out without us?

July 02, 2007 4:03 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

And your post on "Jews for Jesus" was for what purpose? Your insistent proselytization? I find the concept extremely annoying, if I may be so bold.

July 02, 2007 4:54 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

For anyone serious about the issues discussed on this thread, I strongly urge you read Jonathan Meachum’s American Gospel. It is an excellent discussion of how our nation has navigated the church/state issue.

Just a couple of other responses:

1. In asserting that TTF is anti-religion, Anon says, “How about when you all went out to picket the Love Won Out conference?”

Well, Anon, if you look at the pictures of the vigil, you will see that its theme is largely religious, and was organized in great part by the Congregational Church of Silver Spring with the participation of those from other faith communities, including Baptists, Methodists, Unitarian/Universalists, and Jews. The theme was that gay people do not have to choose between religion and being true to their own sexual orientation. See
http://www.jewsonfirst.org/06b/vigil_june10.html

http://www.gazette.net/stories/060706/montcou192659_31939.shtml

http://www.fuuse.com/calendar_event.php?eid=20060517211221218

http://straightnotnarrow.blogspot.com/2006/06/demonstrating-against-love-won-out.html

http://www.equalitymaryland.org/News_2006/News2006.05.25.htm

http://www.teachthefacts.org/2006/06/love-won-out-vigil.html

http://brucegarrett.com/brucelog/236

http://www.thesentinel.com/291273813187599.php

2. Anon reports: “‘How can you say you love Jews if you withhold the messiah from them?’ asked Stephen Katz, director of the local Jews for Jesus office, who handed out brochures to commuters at the Foggy Bottom Metro during Tuesday's morning rush hour.”

Wow, I never heard of Jesus before. This is really new information that I, as a Jew, need. Hmmm. Somehow I do not think that it is possible for Jesus to be withheld from Jews in America. All we have to do is to do any shopping during any December.

Seriously, if people wish to proselytize for their faith, that is their right. But the principal theological difference between Christians and Jews is over whether Jesus was the Messiah. The “Jews for Jesus” moniker is as bogus as Muslims for Jesus would be, or Buddhists for Jesus. If a Jew wishes to convert to Christianity, that is his or her right. But one should not pretend that they are still Jewish.

3. Responding to the comment "Not everyone is a Christian, are you not OKAY with that?" Anon says "Well, no, I'm not OK with that. It wouldn't be charitable to be indifferent to those in spiritual need.”

To say that people are “in spiritual need” simply because they do not share your particular theology is an insult. Our acceptance, in America, that there are many roads to spirituality is one of our great strengths. Those who would undermine that part of our social compact may do great damage to the fabric of what holds us together and what prevents us from being in severe conflict.

July 02, 2007 8:50 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Anon postulated:

"Christianity only seeks sincere converts, not those under threat."

Given the history of Christian conversion, beginning with Constantine and Theodosius, all the way through religious education of young children, you absolutely have to be kidding, right?

rrjr

July 03, 2007 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wow, I never heard of Jesus before. This is really new information that I, as a Jew, need. Hmmm. Somehow I do not think that it is possible for Jesus to be withheld from Jews in America. All we have to do is to do any shopping during any December."

Have you ever heard of the missing lines from the old Joni Mitchell song?:

"I've looked at Jesus

from both sides now

from shopping to snow

and still, somehow,

it's Jesus illusions

I recall

I really don't know Jesus at all"

"Seriously, if people wish to proselytize for their faith, that is their right. But the principal theological difference between Christians and Jews is over whether Jesus was the Messiah."

David, no scripture says that. Some Jews believe that. Others don't. According to this article, 200,000 in America alone believe in Jesus' version of Judaism- and the source of that number is a group that doesn't believe it. Jesus was a Jew, based his teachings on Jewish scripture and was followed first by Jews. He denounced the religious authorities of the day as blind hypocrites so they rejected him. That doesn't make him or his followers any less Jewish nor does the passage of time.

"The “Jews for Jesus” moniker is as bogus as Muslims for Jesus would be,"

Actually, Muslims would say they are "for Jesus".They believe he is an important prophet, was born of a virgin and will someday return to defeat a villain called Dajjal.

"or Buddhists for Jesus."

Actually, a large number of Buddhists are "for Jesus". They believe he is a "bodhisattva" who was dedicated to the welfare of humanity.

"To say that people are “in spiritual need” simply because they do not share your particular theology is an insult."

It is not an insult to disagree with someone. It would be more of an insult to think that I've found the truth but certain people aren't worth sharing it with.

"Our acceptance, in America, that there are many roads to spirituality is one of our great strengths."

Not only is it not a strength, it's not a predominant American trait. Most here believe there is only one road to spirituality. One of our strengths is that we have learned to live with those who disagree about what that road is. Religious freedom works well in America. It doesn't work well where there are attempts by the government, or any other party, to suppress religious expression.

"Those who would undermine that part of our social compact may do great damage to the fabric of what holds us together and what prevents us from being in severe conflict."

Again, I think you're confused about the nature of the compact. Go ahead and tell everyone your beliefs. Tell everyone you think you're right. It just words. It doesn't constitute disturbing the peace. The founders designed it that way and it's worked. You don't have to stop promoting what you believe is true.

July 03, 2007 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Christianity only seeks sincere converts, not those under threat."

If this is the case, why did I have to go through "confirmation" ceremonies when I was 12 knowing full well that if I did not my parents would have beaten my butt to no end (no pun intended). If I was old enough to choose a religion then surely I am old enough to learn about human sexuality (getting the discussion back to the curriculum).

July 03, 2007 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If this is the case, why did I have to go through "confirmation" ceremonies when I was 12 knowing full well that if I did not my parents would have beaten my butt to no end (no pun intended)."

You might want to ask them. It certainly wasn't because of anything that Jesus or any Christian scripture mandated.

"If I was old enough to choose a religion then surely I am old enough to learn about human sexuality (getting the discussion back to the curriculum)."

Who said you weren't?

The issue is who should teach it and what should be taught about it. The Bible certainly teaches about it.

July 03, 2007 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Given the history of Christian conversion, beginning with Constantine and Theodosius, all the way through religious education of young children, you absolutely have to be kidding, right?"

Some have been misguided over the years but they weren't following scriptural guidance. Constantine and Theodosius are bad choices for your argument though.

Constantine became a Christian and ended Roman persecution against Christians and returned confiscated Christian property. While he promoted and encouraged Christianity, he wasn't very coercive. The majority of official in his government remained non-Christian.

Theodosius did make Christianity the state religion and ended Roman support for paganism. Still, one has to take this in context since Christians throughout the empire were subject to violent attacks by pagans at the time.

A better choice for your argument might have been Queen Isabella but the truth is, with the widespread impact of Christianity throughout world history, some abuses and misuses of power are not surprising. What's more significant is that concepts like individual rights and equality grew in the Christian world and out of Christian scripture.

As for the education of young children, surely you don't object to anyone raising their kids in the truth they've found. They grow up and are free to embrace or reject the faith of their youth.

July 03, 2007 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attorneys with Liberty Legal Institute – on behalf of Texas' Ector County School District – have filed an answer to a lawsuit that challenges the right to offer an elective Bible course.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged the district in May, alleging that it's unconstitutional for schools to teach the elective course on the Bible's influence in society.

Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for Liberty Legal Institute, said the lawsuit should be tossed out.

"The allegations are untrue," he said. "It's a shame that the ACLU guys out of New York didn't bother to contact the district before they said a bunch of things and filed a lawsuit that never should have been filed."

The U.S. Supreme Court has already come down with a very clear decision, Shackelford said, that schools can offer an elective on the Bible and its influence on our history, culture and literature.

"And that's what the school district's doing," he said. "Officials are standing strong and refuting what the ACLU filed, saying 'This is totally constitutional and we're going to stick by our guns.' "

What this is really about, Shackelford said, is the ACLU's intolerance for anything to do with Christianity.

"They know that this particular curriculum is the most widely used in the country," he said. "They know if they knock it down here, they can knock it down all across the country."

July 03, 2007 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, I wonder how the Roberts court will rule on this one....

July 03, 2007 12:02 PM  
Anonymous realguy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 03, 2007 12:27 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I just removed the above comment due to some language we try to avoid around here. Here is "realguy's" comment with the objectionable words deleted. Please keep in mind that students read this blog and we try to keep the language clean. Thank you.

Christine

realguy said...

Hey, Anon and Orin-

I want you to tell me and everyone else on the blog right now that you think the kid below deserved what he got, since that is the persona you guys give off on here. I want you to tell us that just because this kid was gay he deserved to be attacked, come on tell us, you sick m...

www.cnn.com
HOUSTON, Texas (AP) -- David Ritcheson hated being known as "that kid" -- the teenager who was beaten unconscious and sodomized with a plastic pole during a party where one of his assailants shouted "White Power!"

Ritcheson didn't want to stand out from his classmates because of the assault, but he acknowledged in an interview that "it was just really hard to hold your head up, even to walk outside with everyone almost in the world knowing what happened."

That anguish may have contributed to his decision to leap Sunday from a cruise ship to his death in the Gulf of Mexico.

A man at Ritcheson's home who identified himself as the teen's father confirmed the death Monday to The Associated Press. He declined to give his name or comment further, saying the family would issue a statement later.

Ritcheson, 18, rarely discussed his feelings and declined to get counseling after being attacked at the drug-fueled teen party in April 2006. A year later, he testified before Congress in support of a hate crimes bill.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle this past April, he said: "I shouldn't care what people think or say. It's just the fact that everyone knows I'm the kid. It was bigger than Houston. It was bigger than Texas. It was bigger than America. Everybody in the world knew what had happened and everybody knew the details of it."

Ritcheson, a Mexican-American, was beaten and sodomized with a patio umbrella pole. He also was stomped and burned with cigarettes, and his attackers poured bleach on him before leaving him for dead. He was hospitalized for more than three months and endured 20 to 30 operations.

On Sunday, he was pronounced dead after being pulled aboard the Ecstasy, a cruise ship en route from Galveston to Cozumel, Mexico.

A spokesman for Carnival Cruise Lines said several witnesses saw Ritcheson jump from an upper deck of the ship Sunday morning. Officials aboard the Ecstasy notified the Coast Guard before recovering Ritcheson's body.

Mike Trent, the prosecutor who handled his case, said the small, quiet youth always seemed positive and upbeat about his recovery.

"He certainly wanted to see justice done in the case and wanted his attackers punished, but I thought that -- considering everything that had happened to him -- he had come through things remarkably well," Trent said.

He said Ritcheson had used drugs before the attack but realized that played a role in his assault and promised to quit. According to testimony, the attack was triggered by Ritcheson's drunken pass at another teen's 12-year-old sister.

Ritcheson's death is "just very tragic because I thought he had turned a corner and was trying his best to make something positive out of what happened to him," Trent said. "He thought that he could handle everything on his own."

Although he remembered nothing of the four-hour attack, Ritcheson testified about it during congressional hearings in April on a hate-crimes bill. That bill passed the House and is pending in a Senate committee.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said she hopes to have the measure formally named "David's Bill" in Ritcheson's honor.

"I could not have been more moved by his commitment to getting things right," Jackson Lee said Monday. "He was able to dig deep over all of the pain and all the humiliation and try to be of help to someone else."

The Anti-Defamation League was one of several civil rights groups that organized Ritcheson's testimony.

"Our hearts go out to his family and friends, who already have endured so much pain," the ADL said Monday in a statement. "We pray the same strength, courage and dignity they displayed after David's attack will help them make it through this very difficult time."

Two men were convicted of aggravated sexual assault in the attack. David Henry Tuck, then 18, was sentenced to life in prison. Keith Robert Turner, then 17, was sentenced to 90 years in prison. Both must serve at least 30 years before being eligible for parole.

Ritcheson, Tuck, Turner and two other teens were partying at a suburban home at the time of the attack, drinking and taking cocaine and Xanax. E-mail to a friend

July 03, 2007 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hey, Anon and Orin-

I want you to tell me and everyone else on the blog right now that you think the kid below deserved what he got, since that is the persona you guys give off on here. I want you to tell us that just because this kid was gay he deserved to be attacked, come on tell us, you sick m..."

One of the more horrible drug-related crimes I've heard of in recent years. Didn't know the victim was gay. I thought the story said the incident involved him making a pass at someone's sister.

Someone should have given the kid counseling. He seemed to think he was more recognizable than he was. Especially being young, he would have overcome that.

I'm personally not in favor of the death penalty although this crime seems to warrant it if any does.

Hate crimes law wouldn't have added anything here. The perpetrators were tried and convicted to the max.

July 03, 2007 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it true that Jim's in England for 4th of July?

I guess someone has to stand up for the royalists.

July 03, 2007 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now Anon dislikes the British, our #1 parnter in the coalition of the willing. Some people just don't like anyone at all. Perhaps it's time for Anon to find out just why he is so filled with hatred for others who are not exactly like him and be more appreciative, like President Bush:

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 27, 2007

President Bush Pleased by Appointment of Tony Blair as Quartet Representative in Middle East

Earlier today I spoke with Prime Minister Blair. It has been my pleasure to work with Tony Blair over the last six and a half years. He is not only a friend, but is also a visionary leader who has prepared his country to face challenges and opportunities over the horizon. Tony is a man who stands up for his beliefs and has the courage of his convictions. Because of his steadfast resolve in the War on Terror, millions of people around the world now enjoy the great rights of freedom and democracy.

I am pleased that this capable man has agreed to continue his work for peace in the Middle East. I welcome the appointment of Tony Blair as the Quartet Representative. In his new role, Tony will help Palestinians develop the political and economic institutions they will need for a democratic, sovereign state able to provide for its people and live in peace and security with Israel. I thank him for his willingness to give his time to this goal, which would be a historic step toward peace in the Middle East.

As he leaves the post of Prime Minister, and as he undertakes a new role as Quartet Representative, the people of the United States of America express our gratitude for his strong friendship and his continued efforts to lay the foundations for freedom in the Middle East.

July 03, 2007 3:40 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 03, 2007 4:00 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "You talking about Western Europe with their abortion, euthanasia and unemployment. Yeah, sounds lively. The place is dying."

You've got it exactly backwards.

Note from the this study published in the Journal of Religion and Society:

http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html


"In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies (Figures 1-9). The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a “shining city on the hill” to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health. Youth suicide is an exception to the general trend because there is not a significant relationship between it and religious or secular factors. No democracy is known to have combined strong religiosity and popular denial of evolution with high rates of societal health. Higher rates of non-theism and acceptance of human evolution usually correlate with lower rates of dysfunction, and the least theistic nations are usually the least dysfunctional. None of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing high levels of measurable dysfunction. In some cases the highly religious U.S. is an outlier in terms of societal dysfunction from less theistic but otherwise socially comparable secular developed democracies. In other cases, the correlations are strongly graded, sometimes outstandingly so.

[19] If the data showed that the U.S. enjoyed higher rates of societal health than the more secular, pro-evolution democracies, then the opinion that popular belief in a creator is strongly beneficial to national cultures would be supported. Although they are by no means utopias, the populations of secular democracies are clearly able to govern themselves and maintain societal cohesion. Indeed, the data examined in this study demonstrates that only the more secular, pro-evolution democracies have, for the first time in history, come closest to achieving practical “cultures of life” that feature low rates of lethal crime, juvenile-adult mortality, sex related dysfunction, and even abortion. The least theistic secular developed democracies such as Japan, France, and Scandinavia have been most successful in these regards. The non-religious, pro-evolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator. The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted. Contradicting these conclusions requires demonstrating a positive link between theism and societal conditions in the first world with a similarly large body of data - a doubtful possibility in view of the observable trends."


Anonymous said " What's produced the ideals you profess to believe in, what's lifted us out of the jungle, is religion.".

Nonsense. My ideals are fairness first and working together to maximize the benefit and minimize the negatives for all in an equal fashion. Religion is decidedly against that, it is an "us versus them" philosophy that encourages people to believe that the world was created just for their group and all others are the enemy. "The Jews are gods' chosen ones" and islam's exhortion to "kill the infidels" and all abrahamic religion's belief that non-believers deserve to be tortured for an eternity. My ideals come from the enlightenment, a time when people were overcoming the domination of religion that was apropriately known as the dark ages. People didn't come out of the jungle because of religion they came out in spite of it. Note the horrors religion has been responsible for:

The First Crusade was launched in 1095 with the battle cry "Deus Vult" (God wills it), a mandate to destroy infidels in the Holy Land. Gathering crusaders in Germany first fell upon "the infidel among us," Jews in the Rhine valley, thousands of whom were dragged from their homes or hiding places and hacked to death or burned alive. Then the religious legions plundered their way 2,000 miles to Jerusalem, where they killed virtually every inhabitant, "purifying" the symbolic city. Cleric Raymond of Aguilers wrote: "In the temple of Solomon, one rode in blood up to the knees and even to the horses' bridles, by the just and marvelous judgment of God."

-- In the Third Crusade, after Richard the Lion-Hearted captured Acre in 1191, he ordered 3,000 captives -- many of them women and children -- taken outside the city and slaughtered. Some were disemboweled in a search for swallowed gems. Bishops intoned blessings. Infidel lives were of no consequence. As Saint Bernard of Clairvaux declared in launching the Second Crusade: "The Christian glories in the death of a pagan, because thereby Christ himself is glorified."

-- The Assassins were a sect of Ismaili Shi'ite Muslims whose faith required the stealthy murder of religious opponents. From the 11th to 13th centuries, they killed numerous leaders in modern-day Iran, Iraq and Syria. They finally were wiped out by conquering Mongols -- but their vile name survives.

-- Throughout Europe, beginning in the 1100s, tales spread that Jews were abducting Christian children, sacrificing them, and using their blood in rituals. Hundreds of massacres stemmed from this "blood libel." Some of the supposed sacrifice victims -- Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, the holy child of LaGuardia, Simon of Trent -- were beatified or commemorated with shrines that became sites of pilgrimages and miracles.

-- In 1209, Pope Innocent III launched an armed crusade against Albigenses Christians in southern France. When the besieged city of Beziers fell, soldiers reportedly asked their papal adviser how to distinguish the faithful from the infidel among the captives. He commanded: "Kill them all. God will know his own." Nearly 20,000 were slaughtered -- many first blinded, mutilated, dragged behind horses, or used for target practice.

-- The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 proclaimed the doctrine of transubstantiation: that the host wafer miraculously turns into the body of Jesus during the mass. Soon rumors spread that Jews were stealing the sacred wafers and stabbing or driving nails through them to crucify Jesus again. Reports said that the pierced host bled, cried out, or emitted spirits. On this charge, Jews were burned at the stake in 1243 in Belitz, Germany -- the first of many killings that continued into the 1800s. To avenge the tortured host, the German knight Rindfliesch led a brigade in 1298 that exterminated 146 defenseless Jewish communities in six months.

-- Also during the 1200s, the hunt for Albigensian heretics led to establishment of the Inquisition, which spread over Europe. Pope Innocent IV authorized torture. Under interrogation by Dominican priests, screaming victims were stretched, burned, pierced and broken on fiendish pain machines to make them confess to disbelief and to identify fellow transgressors. Inquisitor Robert le Bourge sent 183 people to the stake in a single week.

-- In Spain, where many Jews and Moors had converted to escape persecution, inquisitors sought those harboring their old faith. At least 2,000 Spanish backsliders were burned. Executions in other countries included the burning of scientists such as mathematician-philosopher Giordano Bruno, who espoused Copernicus's theory that the planets orbit the sun.

-- When the Black Death swept Europe in 1348-1349, rumors alleged that it was caused by Jews poisoning wells. Hysterical mobs slaughtered thousands of Jews in several countries. In Speyer, Germany, the burned bodies were piled into giant wine casks and sent floating down the Rhine. In northern Germany Jews were walled up alive in their homes to suffocate or starve. The Flagellants, an army of penitents who whipped themselves bloody, stormed the Jewish quarter of Frankfurt in a gruesome massacre. The prince of Thuringia announced that he had burned his Jews for the honor of God.

-- In the 1400s, the Inquisition shifted its focus to witchcraft. Priests tortured untold thousands of women into confessing that they were witches who flew through the sky and engaged in sex with the devil -- then they were burned or hanged for their confessions. Witch hysteria raged for three centuries in a dozen nations. Estimates of the number executed vary from 100,000 to 2 million. Whole villages were exterminated. In the first half of the 17th century, about 5,000 "witches" were put to death in the French province of Alsace, and 900 were burned in the Bavarian city of Bamberg. The witch craze was religious madness at its worst.

-- The "Protestant Inquisition" is a term applied to the severities of John Calvin in Geneva and Queen Elizabeth I in England during the 1500s. Calvin's followers burned 58 "heretics," including theologian Michael Servetus, who doubted the Trinity. Elizabeth I outlawed Catholicism and executed about 200 Catholics.

-- Protestant Huguenots grew into an aggressive minority in France in the 15OOs -- until repeated Catholic reprisals smashed them. On Saint Bartholomew's Day in 1572, Catherine de Medicis secretly authorized Catholic dukes to send their soldiers into Huguenot neighborhoods and slaughter families. This massacre touched off a six-week bloodbath in which Catholics murdered about 10,000 Huguenots. Other persecutions continued for two centuries, until the French Revolution. One group of Huguenots escaped to Florida; in 1565 a Spanish brigade discovered their colony, denounced their heresy, and killed them all

-- The Anabaptists, communal "rebaptizers," were slaughtered by both Catholic and Protestant authorities. In Munster, Germany, Anabaptists took control of the city, drove out the clergymen, and proclaimed a New Zion. The bishop of Munster began an armed siege. While the townspeople starved, the Anabaptist leader proclaimed himself king and executed dissenters. When Munster finally fell, the chief Anabaptists were tortured to death with red-hot pincers and their bodies hung in iron cages from a church steeple.

-- Oliver Cromwell was deemed a moderate because he massacred only Catholics and Anglicans, not other Protestants. This Puritan general commanded Bible-carrying soldiers, whom he roused to religious fervor. After decimating an Anglican army, Cromwell said, "God made them as stubble to our swords." He demanded the beheading of the defeated King Charles I, and made himself the holy dictator of England during the 1650s. When his army crushed the hated Irish Catholics, he ordered the execution of the surrendered defenders of Drogheda and their priests, calling it "a righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches."

-- Ukrainian Bogdan Chmielnicki was a Cossack Cromwell. He wore the banner of Eastern Orthodoxy in a holy war against Jews and Polish Catholics. More than 100,000 were killed in this 17th-century bloodbath, and the Ukraine was split away from Poland to become part of the Orthodox Russian empire.

-- The Thirty Years' War produced the largest religious death toll of all time. It began in 1618 when Protestant leaders threw two Catholic emissaries out of a Prague window into a dung heap. War flared between Catholic and Protestant princedoms, drawing in supportive religious armies from Germany, Spain, England, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, France and Italy. Sweden's Protestant soldiers sang Martin Luther's "Ein 'Feste Burg" in battle. Three decades of combat turned central Europe into a wasteland of misery. One estimate states that Germany's population dropped from 18 million to 4 million. In the end nothing was settled, and too few people remained to rebuild cities, plant fields, or conduct education.

-- When Puritans settled in Massachusetts in the 1600s, they created a religious police state where doctrinal deviation could lead to flogging, pillorying, hanging, cutting off ears, or boring through the tongue with a hot iron. Preaching Quaker beliefs was a capital offense. Four stubborn Quakers defied this law and were hanged. In the 1690s fear of witches seized the colony. Twenty alleged witches were killed and 150 others imprisoned.

-- In 1723 the bishop of Gdansk, Poland, demanded that all Jews be expelled from the city. The town council declined, but the bishop's exhortations roused a mob that invaded the ghetto and beat the residents to death.

-- Islamic jihads (holy wars), mandated by the Koran, killed millions over 12 centuries. In early years, Muslim armies spread the faith rapidly: east to India and west to Morocco. Then splintering sects branded other Muslims as infidels and declared jihads against them. The Kharijis battled Sunni rulers. The Azariqis decreed death to all "sinners" and their families. In 1804 a Sudanese holy man, Usman dan Fodio, waged a bloody jihad that broke the religious sway of the Sultan of Gobir. In the 1850s another Sudanese mystic, 'Umar al-Hajj, led a barbaric jihad to convert pagan African tribes -- with massacres, beheadings and a mass execution of 300 hostages. In the 1880s a third Sudanese holy man, Muhammad Ahmed, commanded a jihad that destroyed a 10,000-man Egyptian army and wiped out defenders of Khartoum led by British general Charles "Chinese" Gordon.

-- In 1801 Orthodox priests in Bucharest, Romania, revived the story that Jews sacrificed Christians and drank their blood. Enraged parishioners stormed the ghetto and cut the throats of 128 Jews.

-- When the Baha'i faith began in Persia in 1844, the Islamic regime sought to exterminate it. The Baha'i founder was imprisoned and executed in 1850. Two years later, the religious government massacred 20,000 Baha'is. Streets of Tehran were soaked with blood. The new Baha'i leader, Baha'ullah, was tortured and exiled in foreign Muslim prisons for the rest of his life.

-- Human sacrifices were still occurring in Buddhist Burma in the 1850s. When the capital was moved to Mandalay, 56 "spotless" men were buried beneath the new city walls to sanctify and protect the city. When two of the burial spots were later found empty, royal astrologers decreed that 500 men, women, boys, and girls must be killed and buried at once, or the capital must be abandoned. About 100 were actually buried before British governors stopped the ceremonies.


-- Late in the 19th century, with rebellion stirring in Russia, the czars attempted to divert public attention by helping anti-Semitic groups rouse Orthodox Christian hatred for Jews. Three waves of pogroms ensued -- in the 1880s, from 1903 to 1906, and during the Russian Revolution. Each wave was increasingly murderous. During the final period, 530 communities were attacked and 60,000 Jews were killed.

-- In the 1950s and 1960s, combat between Christians, animists and Muslims in Sudan killed more than 500,000.

-- Religious tribalism -- segregation of sects into hostile camps -- has ravaged Lebanon continuously since 1975. News reports of the civil war tell of "Maronite Christian snipers," "Sunni Muslim suicide bombers," "Druze machine gunners," "Shi'ite Muslim mortar fire," and "Alawite Muslim shootings." Today 130,000 people are dead and a once-lovely nation is laid waste.

-- The lovely island nation of Sri Lanka has been turned hellish by ambushes and massacres between Buddhist Sinhalese and Hindu Tamils.

-- In 1984 Shi'ite fanatics who killed and tortured Americans on a hijacked Kuwaiti airliner at Tehran Airport said they did it "for the pleasure of God."

Obviously, people who think religion is a force for good are looking only at Dr. Jekyll and ignoring Mr. Hyde. They don't see the superstitious savagery pervading both history and current events.

During the past three centuries, religion gradually lost its power over life in Europe and America, and church horrors ended in the West. But the poison lingered. The Nazi Holocaust was rooted in centuries of religious hate. The pope and the Catholic hierarchy embraced Hitler and never condemned his actions.

It's fashionable to say that religion isn't the real cause of today's strife in Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, India and Iran -- that sects merely provide labels for combatants. Not so. Religion keeps the groups in hostile camps. Without it, divisions would blur with passing generations; children would adapt to new times, mingle, intermarry, forget ancient wounds. But religion keeps them alien to one another.

Anything that divides people breeds inhumanity. Religion serves that ugly purpose.

Anonymous said "As for the education of young children, surely you don't object to anyone raising their kids in the truth they've found. They grow up and are free to embrace or reject the faith of their youth.".

I most certainly do object to people encouraging children to believe without evidence. I object to people brainwashing their children before they're too young to judge for themselves. Faith by definition is the enemy of science and reason.

July 03, 2007 4:16 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Randi's list is chilling. But religion has also taken us beyond barbarism. For example, in our own lifetimes, religion was the underpinning of the Civil Rights Movement, which led America from apartheid without the conflagration that so many had reasonably feared.

Relgion is like fire. Understood properly and handled with care, it illuminates the dark night and brings warmth against the cold. But let it get out of hand and it can burn down our homes and destroy us all.

Some sense of spirituality and a desire to be connected with the infinite seems to be a natural feeling for most people. Whether it is divinely inspired or a matter of genetics and chemistry -- or both -- no one can be absolutely sure of. We can use that fire to make the world a better and more comforting place, or we can give way to the fire -- to the holocausts to which the human race has so often endured. Those are, I believe, our real choices.

July 03, 2007 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Higher rates of non-theism and acceptance of human evolution usually correlate with lower rates of dysfunction, and the least theistic nations are usually the least dysfunctional."

Don't know what kind of study this is, since the least theistic nations of the modern age, the Soviet Union and Maoist China in the mid-twentieth century were hell on Earth for their citizens and relentlessly agressive in their quest for empire internationally. That alone should show the objective observer that it is not the religiosity of a nation that produces evil people in power, it is simply the sinful nature of man.

Take your favorite straw man, Hitler. Ruling a protestant nation, he fervently pushed evil racial ideas based on evolution, and allied with Shintoist Japan, Atheistic Russia, and Catholic Italy. His maniacal quest had nothing to do with religious tribes fighting each other.

Judeo-Christianity alone seems to have a basis for restraint of evil built into scripture, which is full of tales of people being turned back to God. The religious leaders of Jesus' time were hypocrites abusing their power. Jesus resisted not by renouncing religion but pointing to it.

In America, slavery was rationalized by the religious but abolitionists rose in the Church and didn't renounce religion to fight those who twist it but pointed people to scripture.

As long as scripture is preserved and preached accurately, there is hope.

"None of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing high levels of measurable dysfunction."

Ever been to a British soccer game. They now keep the fans in cages.

These societies that you adore are dying. In thirty years, they'll likely be either Islamic republics or in civil chaos.

"In some cases the highly religious U.S. is an outlier in terms of societal dysfunction from less theistic but otherwise socially comparable secular developed democracies. In other cases, the correlations are strongly graded, sometimes outstandingly so."

The U.S. is diverse and constantly absorbing masses without any other hope. It may make the statistics look messy but, that's alright, we continue to be an assimilation factory, creating futures for millions that previously had none. We embrace diversity here and encourage religious discussion rather than suppress it, seeing this is the path to restrain evil.

July 03, 2007 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Relgion is like fire. Understood properly and handled with care, it illuminates the dark night and brings warmth against the cold. But let it get out of hand and it can burn down our homes and destroy us all."

This is somewhat correct. Religion without a scripturally sound basis can do more damage than good. But it's when men try to inject their own interests and ignore divine revelation that problems occur.
So, it's not when it gets out of hand so much as when it's twisted.

Again, it's important to make a distinction between Judeo-Christianity and other religions. The fruit of these different societies have not been the same. One example is how women are treated in societies with a Judeo-Christian heritage contrasted with virtually all other societies.

July 03, 2007 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Don't know what kind of study this is

Then you should go and find out about it instead of talking about something you admit you don't know about.

The study:

http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/pdf/2005-11.pdf

The Journal of Religion and Society:

http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/toc/About.html

July 04, 2007 9:49 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous, just like religion Stalin and Mao insisted that people have blind faith, but rather than in a traditional god in themselves as gods. The most certainly didn't base their leadership on rationality and truth which is the basis of atheisism.

Anonymous said "Take your favorite straw man, Hitler. Ruling a protestant nation, he fervently pushed evil racial ideas based on evolution, and allied with Shintoist Japan, Atheistic Russia, and Catholic Italy. His maniacal quest had nothing to do with religious tribes fighting each other.".

Hitler was a christian and pronounced his faith over and over in one public speach and proclamation after another.

"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited."
-Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

Dozens of examples of this can be found here:

http://www.nobeliefs.com/speeches.htm


Anonymous said "As long as scripture is preserved and preached accurately, there is hope.".

If you hope for genocide there is. Its time you actually read that bible of yours, its full of one story after another of your god ordering the slaughter of entire nations simply for believing differently, the murder of millions of innocent men, women, children, and even babies. The bible demands that Christians mercilessly kill any non believers that try to convert them to other religions. I suggest you take a read of Deuteronomy in particular, our only hope for peace is that people put aside these barbaric ideas and ignore what's in the bible.

July 04, 2007 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theocracy? What theocracy?

From a Fourth of July speech at Martinsburg, West Virginia, given by George W. Bush:

"There are many ways for our fellow citizens to say thanks to the men and women who wear the uniform and their families. You can send a care package. You can reach out to a military family in your neighborhood with a mom or dad on the front lines; you can ask somebody, 'What can I do to help you? What do you need?' You can car pool. You can be on bended knee and pray for a soldier and their families."

http://tinyurl.com/29lcvv

July 05, 2007 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Then you should go and find out about it instead of talking about something you admit you don't know about."

RS already posted the link. Intelligent people should be able to summarize findings rather than throw up links- or post hundreds of lines of text on a discussion blog.

Anyway, no one talked about the studies. Real in-depth analysis, as was pointed, is not really necessary unless someone wants to obscure the completely obvious fact that these most atheistic of all regimes were among the most evil, disproving the point that religion is the problem. Truth is the corrupted nature of man is the problem.

Actually, Randi made an valid point, though, that these regimes weren't really atheistic but constructed false idols out of their party leaders.

There really is no way to survive without a god. Something will fill up the vacuum. It's the character of that unaviodable object of worship that determines the character of a society.

July 05, 2007 9:28 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "these most atheistic of all regimes were among the most evil, disproving the point that religion is the problem.".

The most evil regime was the Christian regime of Hitler. All the Nazis had "Gott Mitt Uns" (god with us" on their belt buckles. Stalin and Mao placed themselves as gods demanding blind faith in their actions. In every instance it is blind faith, believing without evidence, an ignorance of rationality and logic that is the enemy of humans. Those nations such as in Western Europe that have put the rationality of atheism first have achieved the highest levels of functional society.

Anonymous said "There really is no way to survive without a god.".

Mankind has been surviving without a god for millions of years. All gods are false gods.

Anonymous said ""Not everyone is a Christian, are you not OKAY with that?"

Well, no, I'm not OK with that. It wouldn't be charitable to be indifferent to those in spiritual need.".

The Mustlims and Hindus are just as convinced you are in spiritual need. What makes you think your religion is right and theirs is wrong? They have just as much reason to believe they're right as you do and Islam teaches that you should be forced to convert by the sword. How can you object to their attempts to convert you when you feel you have a right to attempt to convert them?

July 05, 2007 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you hope for genocide there is. Its time you actually read that bible of yours, its full of one story after another of your god ordering the slaughter of entire nations simply for believing differently, the murder of millions of innocent men, women, children, and even babies."

"Full of one story after another"?
Could you start at the end of the Bible and let us know how far you must go back before you hit the first such story? Indeed, could you count up how many books of the Bible contain these stories?

"The bible demands that Christians mercilessly kill any non believers that try to convert them to other religions."

Never.

"I suggest you take a read of Deuteronomy in particular, our only hope for peace is that people put aside these barbaric ideas and ignore what's in the bible."

It appears you read the Bible with a slanted idea. Most committed Christians have read Deuteronomy and all have read an extensive commentary on it called the New Testament. Try Matthew 4-7 and the Book of Romans. Reading those two sections wouldn't take long and would clear up most of your misconceptions.

July 05, 2007 11:52 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said ""The bible demands that Christians mercilessly kill any non believers that try to convert them to other religions."

Never."

Always. Deuteronomy 13:6-10

13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

July 07, 2007 4:37 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said ""Full of one story after another"?
Could you start at the end of the Bible and let us know how far you must go back before you hit the first such story? Indeed, could you count up how many books of the Bible contain these stories?".

Let's start at the beginning. The old testament is your bible too, or do you want to deny that it is a part of your bible?

Genesis
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/gen/cr_list.html

Exodus
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/ex/cr_list.html

Leviticus
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/lev/cr_list.html

Deuteronomy 1
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/dt/cr_list.html

Joshua
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/jos/cr_list.html

Judges
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/jg/cr_list.html

And it doesn't get any better as you go on from there, in virtually every book there is boundless evil perpetrated by your god character.

And if you want to start backwards it isn't much better:

Revelation
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/rev/cr_list.html


So there you go, if you start at the end of the bible right off the bat you come to stories of genocide and incredible cruelty of your god.

July 07, 2007 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"its full of one story after another of your god ordering the slaughter of entire nations simply for believing differently, the murder of millions of innocent men, women, children, and even babies"

OK, Randi, so all you could come up with for the entire NT is a string of verses from Revelation. Now, which one shows God ordering the slaughter of "innocent" people?

July 09, 2007 12:03 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "OK, Randi, so all you could come up with for the entire NT is a string of verses from Revelation. Now, which one shows God ordering the slaughter of "innocent" people?".

I never checked the entire new testament, you asked how far back does one have to go to find such stories and I showed you not very far. Revelation is full of examples of god slaughtering the non-believers - those are the innocent people. If you need a specific example a quick browse shows Revelation 2:23, he kills the innocent children of Jezebel.

July 09, 2007 6:26 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

If you want other specific examples of god ordering the murders of innocents start with Deuteronomy 7:2

And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

The bible is rife with this stuff, I'm not going to quote it all for you verse by verse, look at the links I gave you and read it for yourself.

July 09, 2007 6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said "OK, Randi, so all you could come up with for the entire NT is a string of verses from Revelation. Now, which one shows God ordering the slaughter of "innocent" people?".

I never checked the entire new testament, you asked how far back does one have to go to find such stories and I showed you not very far. Revelation is full of examples of god slaughtering the non-believers - those are the innocent people. If you need a specific example a quick browse shows Revelation 2:23, he kills the innocent children of Jezebel."

Randi, you are a liar who keeps trying to confuse two ideas. Rev 2:23 doesn't show God ordering anyone to kill anyone. He says he did. That God is sovereign and determines the hour of each person's death is disputed by no one. If that's all your talking about, so what?

Also, where do you get the idea that Jezebel's children are innocent?

July 11, 2007 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The bible is rife with this stuff,"

Actually, it's not. This is all in connection with the founding of the promised land. You have no idea what kind of society God was bringing judgment on.

"I'm not going to quote it all for you verse by verse, look at the links I gave you and read it for yourself."

If anyone follows the links they'll see that they contain pages of verses distorted by atheist fundamentalists. If you have specific verses you want to point out, cite them.

July 11, 2007 1:05 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous, take a look at Deuteronomy 7:2 again. God demands that ALL be killed, women, children, babies, even if they try to make peace with the Jews. Your god demands that they innocent be killed. In exodus your god hardens Pharoahs heart so he won't let the Jews go and then kills all the Egyptian first born because of what he himself has forced to be.


In Deuteronomy 17: 2-7 God demands that anyone whose religious beliefs differ from your own be put to death.

In Joshua 8:22-26 your god demands ALL inhabitents of Ai be killed, that means including innocent women, children and babies.

This sort of thing happens dozens, if not hundreds of times in the bible and is shown over and over in the links I posted.

July 11, 2007 3:42 PM  

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