Thursday, March 20, 2008

Oh, Good: CRW Has Backup Petitions

The Gazette has the story from the Citizens for a Responsible Whatever's point of view this week.
A citizens group mobilized to fight a change to a county anti-discrimination law defended the methods it used to collect signatures to bring the measure to the ballot in November.

Equality Maryland, a gay rights group based in Silver Spring, filed suit Friday saying the Montgomery County Board of Elections erred in accepting the petitions collected by Citizens for Responsive Government.

‘‘Equality Maryland is doing what they think they have to do,” CRG spokeswoman Michelle Turner said. ‘‘We collected 32,000 signatures and the Board of Elections validated nearly 27,000 of them. We also have backup petitions. We just have to wait and see what the Board of Elections says. We followed the guidelines and all the rules set forth by the Board of Elections and we stand by it.” Group defends signatures collected in petition drive

Okay, tell me, do you get that? The petitions were due a month ago. What is a "backup petition?"

Of course they have to defend their signatures. They told people that the law allowed pedophiles and predators to go in the ladies locker room, people signed the petitions, and now there may be a problem, weird. Who would have anticipated that one?

Oh, also, she is a little wrong here. We don't have to wait and see what the Board of Elections says -- they've already said their part. Now we just have to wait to see what a judge says. It appears that the CRW broke nearly every law regarding the collection of signatures for a referendum, now the court has been asked sort it out.
At issue is a bill, approved by the County Council and signed by County Executive Isiah Leggett, that would extend anti-discrimination protections to transgendered people.

The lawsuit listed 12 plaintiffs, including two transgendered people identified only as Jane Doe and John Doe for fear of losing their jobs. Enforcement of the anti-discrimination law was put on hold after CRG began the petition drive to put it to a referendum.

Bad to think somebody could lose their job for participating in our American democracy. Oh, I see, it's says here they are transgender, they can lose their jobs. That wouldn't have been the case if the new law had been allowed to go into effect. These people had better be careful, don't use your name.
After it was passed, CRG created a Web site, www.notmyshower.net, which provided ‘‘inflammatory, inaccurate, misleading and untrue statements about the bill, its proponents, the individuals it protects from discrimination, and its effect if enacted into law,” according to the lawsuit filed by Silver Spring attorney Jonathan S. Shurberg, who was hired by Equality Maryland.

State and county election codes require petitioners to provide ‘‘fair and accurate” information to signers, Shurberg said.

The elections board followed state election law in certifying the signatures, board spokeswoman Marjorie Roher said.

The web site: not my shower dot net. Funny they wouldn't call it "re-legalize discrimination dot net," or "forced conformity dot net." To these people it really is all about the shower.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Emproph said...

Don’t worry if this check doesn’t clear, I have back up money. Now if I could just get the keys to the car?

What! Are you infringing on my religious right to pay you whenever the hell I want to?

***Breaking ADF News: Car Dealership Indiscriminately Discriminates Against Christian Consumer***

March 20, 2008 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a Good Friday post for all you Christian believers who post here:

"The historicity of Christ, including his death by crucifixion, is a fact that about as well attested as any in the ancient world. The evidence for Christ's existence is much stronger than that for Socrates, Alexander the Great, and numerous figures of ancient times whose historicity no one doubts. Historians are unanimous that Christ was born, that he developed a following, that he antagonized the Jewish and Roman authorities, and that he was put to death. But what about the resurrection?

"If Christ had not been raised," Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:17, "our preaching is useless and so is your faith." The resurrection is the most important event in Christianity. (For this reason, Easter is actually a more important holiday for Christians than Christmas.) Other religions such as Judaism and Islam may feature miracles but miracles are not central to their theology. Christianity, by contrast, is based on the miracle of the resurrection.

Since the nineteenth century, some biblical scholars have refused to accept the biblical account of the Resurrection because it was produced by people obviously biased in Christ's favor. Interestingly Christ's followers, by their own admission, did not expect the resurrection. Arriving three days after his death, the women brought spices to his tomb to anoint and preserve his body. Only then did they observe that the stone had been rolled away and the tomb was empty.
The fact of the empty tomb was admitted by the Roman guards and also by the Jewish magistrates, who told the Roman authorities that Christ's followers must have stolen the body. In Jewish polemic against Christianity, this has been the standard explanation for the empty tomb. Yet it is prima facie implausible, since how could a handful of female disciples have subdued Roman guards and moved the stone blocking access to the tomb?

The apostles were deeply skeptical about reports of a resurrection, and Christ had to appear to them several times before these doubts were dispelled. Paul writes that Christ "appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, although some have passed away." Paul here appeals to direct empirical evidence: the testimony of multiple witnesses who actually saw Jesus alive after his execution. Of this group, Paul says that many are still alive, which means they are in a position to refute him if what he is claiming is wrong. In the history of hallucinations, is there a single instance in which five hundred people all saw the same person--a figure known to them--and were all equally mistaken?

But is the testimony of the early Christians reliable? Well, let us see. The disciples became so convinced of what they had seen that their dirges of lamentation were replaced with cries of joy. Proclaiming Christ crucified and Christ risen, they launched the greatest wave of religious conversion in history. Historians tell us that the number of Christians increased from around 100 at the time of Christ's death to around 30 million by the early fourth century, when the Roman emperor himself converted to Christianity.

These conversions occurred in the teeth of fierce political opposition and the persecution of the greatest empire in the ancient world, the empire of Rome. The early Christians did not hesitate to identify themselves with a man who had been branded a traitor and a criminal. They endured imprisonment, torture, exile, and death rather than renounce their commitment to a resurrected Christ.

Imagine a disputed event in court where numerous eyewitnesses gave evidence of the same fact and stood by their testimony so firmly that they would be willing to endure life imprisonment or even the death penalty rather than say the contrary. Would any jury doubt that such people, who would have little to gain and everything to lose, were telling the truth?

"Yes," an atheist friend of mine conceded. "But aren't the radical Muslims also willing to die in order to get the virgins in heaven?" Perhaps so, but the two cases are not comparable. The radical Muslims are taking on faith that their actions will take them to an Elysian place where the virgins will be waiting. By contrast, the Christians who went to their deaths at the hands of the Romans did so because they refused to renounce an event in their own experience. Why would someone be willing to die for something that he knew to be a lie?

Even from a secular point of view, the evidence for Christ's resurrection is surprisingly strong. It might even be sufficient to convince an impartial jury in a court of law. The big question surrounding Good Friday and Easter is not: did all this happen? It did. The big question is whether we will let Christ into our hearts, so that he can raise us up on the day of judgment."

March 21, 2008 1:25 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Backups are generally good things. Backup generators, backup computers, backup epi syringes, defibrillators, tires, flashlights, etc.

But backup petitions? Maybe for use in an alternate universe.

March 21, 2008 6:49 PM  
Anonymous JN said...

Oh goodie! More DINESH D’SOUZA drivel in the form of his Good Friday message. Of course DD never mentions that the myth about death followed by resurrection 3 days later was known in the ancient world, well before Jesus' time.

The rebirth of the sun from the dead is known as the Winter Solstice. Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the "Invincible Sun" in the third century as part of the Roman Winter Solstice celebrations. Shortly thereafter, in 273, the Christian church selected this day to represent the birthday of Jesus, and by 336, this Roman solar feast day was Christianized.

Mythology -- Old and New reports ...one of the biggest holy days of any pagan calender was the winter solstice. It was the holiest because it was the end of one solar year and the start of the next. On December 21st-22nd the sun had reached it's nadir in the northern hemisphere. (where most ancient civilisations were located.) The ancients said it had "died." By even the most rudimentary of observations/calculations it had begun its journey back to life and it's full summer strength, by the time 3 days had passed. The pagan/ancients would then have a massive celebration of the sun's rebirth on their calender's equivalent of December the 25th.

This idea of death and resurrection is also found in the story of Tammuz: In ancient Babylon these three were called Nimrod, Semiramis and their son, Tammuz. Tammuz was a "great king amongst men". He was murdered in his 30's by being hung on a tree with a lamb at his feet. They laid his corpse in a tomb and 3 days later the tomb was found open, with the body gone!

The Pagan Origin of Easter is an interesting piece about some of the common modern traditions often associated with Easter such as the Easter Egg Hunt.

The founders of the early Catholic church liked the powerful story of death and 3 day later resurrection so they used it in the New Testament. They didn't like Judas the traitor which is why the didn't include The Gospel of Judas in the New Testament, and they didn't like Mary Magdelene the whore very much either, so the men who formed the first Christian church, the Catholic Church didn't include The Gospel of Mary in the New Testament. Come to think of it, there were many accounts reportedly written during the life of Jesus that the early church formers didn't include in the New Testament such as the Gnostic Gospels found at Nag Hammadi.

March 22, 2008 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

March 22, 2008 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

March 22, 2008 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"DD never mentions that the myth about death followed by resurrection 3 days later was known in the ancient world, well before Jesus' time."

JN, there were many prophecies and foreshadowing of Christ's life long before his birth. If you'll read Psalm 22, for example, you'll read a fairly detailed description of his crucifixion a thousand years before it happened. Oral prophecies went back even further. Babylonians and ancient Israelites were in contact from the earliest recorded history. It wouldn't surprising if the Babylonians borrowed some stories.

"The rebirth of the sun from the dead is known as the Winter Solstice. Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the "Invincible Sun" in the third century as part of the Roman Winter Solstice celebrations. Shortly thereafter, in 273, the Christian church selected this day to represent the birthday of Jesus, and by 336, this Roman solar feast day was Christianized."

It was a common missionary tactic of the early church to take over the superficial trappings of pagan festivals and capture them for Christ in order to ease the way for the pagans to hear the gospel. I don't see the problem.

"Mythology -- Old and New reports ...one of the biggest holy days of any pagan calender was the winter solstice. It was the holiest because it was the end of one solar year and the start of the next. On December 21st-22nd the sun had reached it's nadir in the northern hemisphere. (where most ancient civilisations were located.) The ancients said it had "died." By even the most rudimentary of observations/calculations it had begun its journey back to life and it's full summer strength, by the time 3 days had passed. The pagan/ancients would then have a massive celebration of the sun's rebirth on their calender's equivalent of December the 25th."

No offense intended, but this is a pretty flimsy point.

"This idea of death and resurrection is also found in the story of Tammuz: In ancient Babylon these three were called Nimrod, Semiramis and their son, Tammuz. Tammuz was a "great king amongst men". He was murdered in his 30's by being hung on a tree with a lamb at his feet. They laid his corpse in a tomb and 3 days later the tomb was found open, with the body gone!"

Very interesting. Still, see above. Prophecies about the coming Messiah were around from the beginning of history. The biblical view is that all men are descended from a common ancestor so these truths should be widespread even if distorted in some lands. This is confirmation not rebuttal of Christianity.

"The Pagan Origin of Easter is an interesting piece about some of the common modern traditions often associated with Easter such as the Easter Egg Hunt."

See above. Capturing pagan customs and Christianizing them has always been a catalyst to spreading the gospel. Don't what you find disturbing about this. There is even a biblical precedent: when Purim was instituted to celebrate the fall of Haman who was persecuting the Jews in Babylon. Purim has superficial similarities to a Babylonian holiday.

"The founders of the early Catholic church liked the powerful story of death and 3 day later resurrection so they used it in the New Testament."

As D'Souza points out, it wasn't that they liked it. They knew it was true. They were willing to die rather than forsake what they saw with their own eyes. N.T. Wright wrote a whole book detailing all the evidence for the Resurrection about five years ago. Pretty convincing. If you have the courage, you should read it.

"They didn't like Judas the traitor which is why the didn't include The Gospel of Judas in the New Testament, and they didn't like Mary Magdelene the whore very much either, so the men who formed the first Christian church, the Catholic Church didn't include The Gospel of Mary in the New Testament. Come to think of it, there were many accounts reportedly written during the life of Jesus that the early church formers didn't include in the New Testament such as the Gnostic Gospels found at Nag Hammadi."

There were many accounts. They deserve academic consideration as historical documents. While these accounts are as imperfect as any reported account, they add to the evidence that those who says Jesus didn't exist were wrong. Only four gospels were singled out, however, as divinely inspired and inerrantly correct by the consensus of early Christians.

March 22, 2008 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Thanks for the history lessons, JN.

Anon said This is confirmation not rebuttal of Christianity.

You're entitled to your opinions Anon, but to this rational person, all these historical facts are confirmation that the story of the resurrection is likely a copycat myth and that the formers of the early church weren't interested in the whole truth, only some parts of it.

This reminds me of certain TTF commenters of late who fully support *one* statement by the APA but not others.

March 22, 2008 2:08 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

An interesting article in the Gazette called “Targeting prejudice by exposing stereotypes”: http://www.gazette.net/stories/031908/burtnew214629_32365.shtml
Wish I had heard about it before… I would have liked to attend.

Peace,

Cynthia

March 22, 2008 2:13 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron, there is no confirmation of Jesus independent the bible. Dozens and Dozens of writers from the time made no mention of the supposedly miraculous and well known Jesus. The fact is that such a figure never existed - he is imaginary.

March 24, 2008 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Priya is correct. There are no contemporary, non-biblical references to Jesus. Pontius Pilate, Herod and the emperor are attested to in historical sources, but none of the other figures of the New Testament.

rrjr

March 25, 2008 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Priya and Robert

One of your sympathizers, JN, wrote this last week:

"Come to think of it, there were many accounts reportedly written during the life of Jesus that the early church formers didn't include in the New Testament"

Beatrice congratulated him on his history lesson for all of us.

Yet Priya says:

"there is no confirmation of Jesus independent the bible"

and Robert says:

"There are no contemporary, non-biblical references to Jesus."

Do you two disagree with JN and Beatrice? Were there or were there not not many written accounts of Jesus' life that are not in scripture?

I know the answer myself. I just have to ask because arguing with you two always requires the suspension of disbelief and acceptance of an imaginary set of circumstances. In order to participate, I have to find out which of your fantasy worlds we're inhabiting today. What's so interesting is that, even accepting your flights of fantasy, it's usually no trouble shooting down your points with basic logic.

Robert goes on:

"Pontius Pilate, Herod and the emperor are attested to in historical sources, but none of the other figures of the New Testament."

Robert, Josephus, the non-Christian Jewish historian, also mentioned John the Baptist and James, brother of Jesus. He also mentioned Jesus, although some scholars in the 16th century questioned whether the passage was in the original script. Modern scholars have begun to rethink some of the assumptions of the medieval scholars, however, and, thus, there is currently no consensus.

Beyond all this, however, is the simple fact that there are few historians who believe Jesus was not a real character. There is no plausible scenario that would explain his being a fictional character.

You have to wonder about those who so desperately want him to not exist. Beatrice, for example, rarely comments anymore and yet felt compel to jump in here.

Why? What is it about Jesus so threatens some? Is it the same problem the authorities of his time had with him?

March 25, 2008 11:12 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 25, 2008 1:46 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron, none of the 38 writers listed here from the time or shortly after the time of the supposed Jesus ever mentioned him:

http://englishatheist.org/indexz31.shtml

That a magical being performed miracles and was a major political figure and none of these writers saw him as significant enough to mention is simply unbelievable - Jesus never existed.

As Josepheus was born in 37 CE he couldn't have been contemporary and eyewitnesse of Jesus. More problematic for the supposed account of Jesus by Josepheus is that Josepheus lived and died as a Jew. That he would claim Jesus was the Messiah and never have converted to Christianity simply isn't believable. The story of Jesus is intrusive in Josephus' narrative and can be seen to be an interpolation even in an English translation of the Greek text. Right after the wondrous passage quoted, Josephus goes on to say, "About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder..." Josephus had previously been talking about awful things Pilate had done to the Jews in general, and one can easily understand why an interpolator would have chosen this particular spot. But his ineptitude in not changing the wording of the bordering text left a "literary seam" (what rhetoricians might term aporia) that sticks out like a pimpled nose. Moreover, the disputed passage was never cited by early Christian apologists such as Clement of Alexandria (ca.150-ca. 215 CE), who certainly would have made use of such ammunition had he had it! The first person to make mention of this obviously forged interpolation into the text of Josephus' history was the church father Eusebius, in 324 CE. It is quite likely that Eusebius himself did some of the forging. As late as 891, Photius in his Bibliotheca, which devoted three "Codices" to the works of Josephus, shows no awareness of the passage whatsoever even though he reviews the sections of the Antiquities in which one would expect the disputed passage to be found. Clearly, the testimonial was absent from his copy of Antiquities of the Jews. The question can probably be laid to rest by noting that as late as the sixteenth century, according to Rylands, a scholar named Vossius had a manuscript of Josephus from which the passage was wanting.

As we can see there are no non-biblical accounts of Jesus because, as historians acknowledge, he did not exist. The Jesus myth was borrowed from earlier god myths in other civilizations. Some of the supposed quotes of Jesus were taken directly from Aesop's fables. There is nothing new in the fabrication of the Jesus character.

March 25, 2008 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Priya

You go to quite a length arguing against something that I said was questionable to begin with. The point is that Josephus undisputedly mentioned John the Baptist and Jesus' brother, James. No doubt you didn't metion this because your knowledge, as always, is limited to what is highlighted on atheist dogma webpages. And although some historians have disputed the passage with Jesus, there is another question about whether an earlier mention of Jesus was deleted because there are writers from the period not long after Josephus who discuss his reference to Jesus. That is why 20th century scholars have resurrected the possibility of Jospehus writing about Jesus specifically.

Also ignored by you is the citing by JN and endorsement by Beatrice of the fact that many other accounts of Jesus' life were written. The difference between them and the Gospels is that the early church didn't believe they were divinely inspired. So the idea that no mention of Jesus exists other than in the Bible is flat out wrong.

You have heard of these other accounts before, right? How could you make such a stupid error?

March 25, 2008 2:12 PM  
Anonymous JN said...

Talk about making a stupid error. I'm glad you have professed your faith in the Gnostic Gospels. You will be heartened to learn of this exchange in The Gospel of Thomas:

Simon Peter said to them, "Mary should leave us, for females are not worthy of life."

Jesus said, "Look, I shall guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter heaven's kingdom."


Finally we have Jesus' word that transgender men will enter heaven's kingdom! Amen!

March 25, 2008 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JN, you must be suffering from "hear-what-you-want" syndrome. I never said I had any faith in Gnostic gospels. I said they are further proof that Jesus existed. It is unlikely that such a plethora of accounts would be produced within a generation of the death of any fictional character. The multitude of witnesses, reliable or not, says something.

BTW, actual scripture has an instance, in Acts, where a eunuch is converted to Christianity after talking to one of the disciples. Some people say that eunuchs are like transgenders. Maybe that would be a better avenue for you to pursue.

March 25, 2008 6:36 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Anonymote

You mention suspending disbelief in reference to what I say. I'll be honest with you: in reading any ancient historical sources, one must suspend some disbelief, since historiography just wasn't up to modern standards (quite frankly, even current histories must be taken with large chunks of salt: all historians have an axe to grind; I read recently an interesting revisionist history of Caligula).

But when you get to things like holy scriptures, which are to be taken as the given word of God, to me it get's silly. How in the world can you tell which scripture is given by God in the first place? I've been asking that question since I was a little boy in Sunday School, and have never heard an answer that convinced me. Are you really persuaded by the answers you give yourself? Talk about suspending disbelief.

BTW, I think your snide style of writing is quite rude, but it's fun to read your stuff and get riled up about it. It reminds me of Sally Kerns and the Bitch Boy feature in the Blade (you should read it; great fun).

I'll admit to speaking a little bit out of my (donkey, shall we say?). I'm not really and expert on classical histories, certainly not the gnostic gospels. I'm pretty familiar with the New Testament, though.

March 26, 2008 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You mention suspending disbelief in reference to what I say."

Actually, I probably shouldn't have included you when I said that, Robert. You've actually been a generally honest fellow in your posts.

The whole theory that Jesus is fictional though is pretty far-fetched and you seemed to be endorsing it. Historians who believe that are few and far between.

March 26, 2008 2:10 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 27, 2008 5:54 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron, there are no historical accounts of Jesus independent the bible.

none of the 38 writers listed here from the time or shortly after the time of the supposed Jesus ever mentioned him:

http://englishatheist.org/indexz31.shtml


There is not one single piece of archaeological, forensic or documentary evidence that shows Jesus was ever alive. There are later writings by people who think a person like Jesus existed, but none that exist from the supposed time of Jesus.

No letters exist that mention Jesus the preacher or miracle worker. No Christian letters or diaries, no Jewish ones, no Greek ones, no Roman ones. Nobody wrote about a single aspect of his life while he was living it. Just think for a moment about what the man was supposed to have done. He was supposed to have had meetings with thousands of people. He was supposed to have cured people, even raised a man from the dead. He was supposed to have entered the city of Jerusalem at the head of a triumphal procession and yet nobody wrote anything about it at the time. Not a book, not a diary, not a graffito, not even a sale or return catering order for loaves and fishes.

That a magical being performed miracles and was a major political figure and no one from the time saw him as significant enough to mention is simply unbelievable - Jesus never existed. The existence of fictional works of Jesus are readily explainable just as are the the fictional works of other religions - people often start stories that are repeated by others.

March 27, 2008 6:23 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 27, 2008 6:28 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Get your head out of your bible for a change Red Baron and read something objective:

http://mwillett.org/atheism/jesusmyth.htm

Just as the passages about Jesus in Josepheus's writings were forged so were the references to James. As I pointed out to you previously, Josepheus did not live at the time of Jesus so could not have been a contemporary or eyewittness of any of them. The Gnostic gospels were all written well after the supposed death of Jesus and ARE NOT historical eyewittness accounts of such a person - NONE EXIST.

March 27, 2008 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, Priya, any writing contradicting your preconceibed notions, just like scientific studies that do, are forged and faked. It's a shiny little bubble you're living in, isn't it? Impervious to popping and protected by sheer denial.

Jesus was not a political figure. Your description is inaccurate. He started the idea of a separation of church and state and he refused to become involved in politics despite the urging of others. He did, however, tell enough truth to irritate the powers that be. They controlled the records and were threatened by him, just like you. They made sure he was kept out of official records, most of which were destroyed in 70 AD by anti-semitic Romans. Four gospels were written by eyewitnesses and included in scripture. Other eyewitness accounts were written and not included in scripture. The gospels are obvious depictions of real events attested to by the uncanny accuracy of the emotional drama describe. If fabricated, they would represent easily the most brilliantly insightful work of fiction in history.

I realize that it's possible that a burger flipper in the western provinces of Canada knows more than the plurality of modern historians but do you have any idea how these esteemed academicians could be so mistaken?

And how did a work of fiction take over the most powerful empire in the world within a few centuries and gain 30 million converts while undergoing horrific persecution?

Indeed, why were Christians so more intensely persecuted than any other religious belivers?

And why is this work of fiction the most potent force in the world today, two millenia on, while other fiction from this time are mere intellectual artifacts?

And why is Jesus still as influential as any figure living on Earth while Herod and Pilate are only remembered because of their connection to him?

Man, those first centuries Jews sure got a lot of mileage out of plagiarizing Babylonian myths. You have to wonder why the Babylonians never complained. Why didn't they raise the issue?

March 27, 2008 11:18 PM  

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