With God, everything is permitted

Like killing children. Charlie Fuqua, candidate for the Arkansas House of Representatives, recommended child execution in his book, “God’s Law: The Only Political Solution”:

The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. … This passage does not give parents blanket authority to kill their children. They must follow the proper procedure in order to have the death penalty executed against their children. I cannot think of one instance in the Scripture where parents had their child put to death. Why is this so? Other than the love Christ has for us, there is no greater love then that of a parent for their child. The last people who would want to see a child put to death would be the parents of the child. Even so, the Scrpture provides a safe guard to protect children from parents who would wrongly exercise the death penalty against them. Parents are required to bring their children to the gate of the city. The gate of the city was the place where the elders of the city met and made judicial pronouncements. In other words, the parents were required to take their children to a court of law and lay out their case before the proper judicial authority, and let the judicial authority determine if the child should be put to death. I know of many cases of rebellious children, however, I cannot think of one case where I believe that a parent had given up on their child to the point that they would have taken their child to a court of law and asked the court to rule that the child be put to death. Even though this procedure would rarely be used, if it were the law of land, it would give parents authority. Children would know that their parents had authority and it would be a tremendous incentive for children to give proper respect to their parents.

I can think of at least 3 problems with this plan. First, in order for a threat to be effective, it has to be credible. The target of the threat must believe there is a possibility that it will be carried out. That’s what makes it so ridiculous for Fuqua to try and walk the line of “we need this as a disincentive to bad behavior, but I’m sure no one will ever actually execute their kids!” If it never happens, it starts to lose its power to influence anyone, as it becomes difficult for people to believe it could actually happen. If he really finds child executions so dreadful that he seeks to downplay how likely this is, maybe he shouldn’t want to make explicit legal allowances for it. And if he does believe that the goal of discouraging disobedience is so overwhelmingly important that it warrants the execution of children, then it makes no sense within his own value system that he would want to get in the way of doing what he believes is necessary to achieve the very objective he considers so crucial. It’s almost like the guy who supports child execution is being irrational or something.

Second, people have killed their children for religious reasons on plenty of occasions, both intentionally and unintentionally. People also kill children for reasons other than religion. What grounds does he have to be so certain that parents have never, ever wanted their children dead? And how can he possibly believe that the world he envisions, with a religious community that has a social norm of executing children for parental disobedience, would be at all averse to doing just that?

Third, you seriously want to make mere disobedience a capital crime for children when there’s already substantial debate over whether the death penalty, an irrevocable act which allows for no reevaluation or correction or pardon after the fact, is appropriate even for morally culpable and mentally sound adults? What is wrong with you? Knock it off!

With God, everything is permitted
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Sally Quinn’s hollow faith

At the Washington Post, Sally Quinn said something that’s probably much more true than she thought:

This is a religious country. Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.. We’ve got the Creator in our Declaration of Independence. We’ve got “In God We Trust” on our coins. We’ve got “one nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. And we say prayers in the Senate and the House of Representatives to God.

Claiming a belief in God. Even if you are not Christian. It really shows just how much religion matters to Sally Quinn: enough for her to cite America’s unfortunate habit of plastering pointless professions of piety onto our pledges and currency, but not enough for her to care about whether anyone truly believes in this god. The only thing that’s important to her is that we keep on saying it, even as it’s separated from all meaning by her notion that people’s actual beliefs are irrelevant, and her demand that they say the words anyway. Quinn is simply representing the religious America of today: a nation of faithful who have so prioritized devout appearances over walking the walk, they don’t even bother to hide this anymore. They plainly state their expectation that we all do the same, saying the magic words no matter what we believe. It’s so out in the open, it’s right there in the Washington Post for anyone to see.

Sally Quinn’s hollow faith

Sally Quinn's hollow faith

At the Washington Post, Sally Quinn said something that’s probably much more true than she thought:

This is a religious country. Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.. We’ve got the Creator in our Declaration of Independence. We’ve got “In God We Trust” on our coins. We’ve got “one nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. And we say prayers in the Senate and the House of Representatives to God.

Claiming a belief in God. Even if you are not Christian. It really shows just how much religion matters to Sally Quinn: enough for her to cite America’s unfortunate habit of plastering pointless professions of piety onto our pledges and currency, but not enough for her to care about whether anyone truly believes in this god. The only thing that’s important to her is that we keep on saying it, even as it’s separated from all meaning by her notion that people’s actual beliefs are irrelevant, and her demand that they say the words anyway. Quinn is simply representing the religious America of today: a nation of faithful who have so prioritized devout appearances over walking the walk, they don’t even bother to hide this anymore. They plainly state their expectation that we all do the same, saying the magic words no matter what we believe. It’s so out in the open, it’s right there in the Washington Post for anyone to see.

Sally Quinn's hollow faith

“I want to bury this evil, and never have to talk about it again.”

The final swing of the scythe which cuts an already blighted society to the ground.”

None of them lasted past the third generation from the time that they embraced it.” “The devil is moving forward with energy and aggression.” “Something so feebly rooted, so fragilely constructed and imposed cannot last.”

Only more loneliness, desperation, and death.” “True love isn’t able to be found in those types of relationships.” “It’s the kind of sin that defiles the land.”

Absolutely nothing good to contribute to family life”. “What father would want his children exposed to this presence, this behavior?” “Beneath the dignity of human beings as free and rational creatures.”

“Trying to put a bullet in the head of one of the greatest traditions that has ever existed and has built our society”. “Enemies of the human body”. “Fundamentally dysfunctional on many levels”.

“Internationally the greatest threat“. “Choosing to perform immoral acts“. “Just like during the times of Hitler“.

They’re intolerant. They’re hateful. They’re vile. They’re spiteful.”

LET THE BIBLE KILL YOU“.

That’s what the religious right has to say about Jill and Nikki:

When it comes to abstract theological histrionics versus the human reality right before our eyes, this is how we’re winning.

“I want to bury this evil, and never have to talk about it again.”

"I want to bury this evil, and never have to talk about it again."

The final swing of the scythe which cuts an already blighted society to the ground.”

None of them lasted past the third generation from the time that they embraced it.” “The devil is moving forward with energy and aggression.” “Something so feebly rooted, so fragilely constructed and imposed cannot last.”

Only more loneliness, desperation, and death.” “True love isn’t able to be found in those types of relationships.” “It’s the kind of sin that defiles the land.”

Absolutely nothing good to contribute to family life”. “What father would want his children exposed to this presence, this behavior?” “Beneath the dignity of human beings as free and rational creatures.”

“Trying to put a bullet in the head of one of the greatest traditions that has ever existed and has built our society”. “Enemies of the human body”. “Fundamentally dysfunctional on many levels”.

“Internationally the greatest threat“. “Choosing to perform immoral acts“. “Just like during the times of Hitler“.

They’re intolerant. They’re hateful. They’re vile. They’re spiteful.”

LET THE BIBLE KILL YOU“.

That’s what the religious right has to say about Jill and Nikki:

When it comes to abstract theological histrionics versus the human reality right before our eyes, this is how we’re winning.

"I want to bury this evil, and never have to talk about it again."

An especially pointless lie

Matt Barber of the homophobic right-wing Liberty Counsel recently tweeted a photo of a massive crowd gathered at a rally, which he described as “Media report support for Romney dwindling. Media lie”. In no time at all, blogger Jeremy Hooper found that this was not a gathering of Romney supporters, as Barber implied, but actually a photo of an Obama rally from 2008.

What exactly did Barber think he would accomplish with this? To bolster his claim that support for Romney is actually more substantial than is being reported, he had to find a photo of a huge crowd that had not turned out for Romney at all, but rather for Romney’s opponent. It doesn’t get any more self-defeating than that.

An especially pointless lie

Linda Harvey: “Strong feelings are not proof of anything.”

Linda Harvey, homophobe extraordinaire, has composed an amateurish flyer “for your older grade school or middle school children about homosexuality”. In the middle of the standard array of homophobic tropes, she makes the following contention:

Some people claim they were “born” homosexual. But there is no well-accepted science that backs up that idea. Strong feelings are not proof of anything.

“Strong feelings are not proof of anything.” I’m going to have to remember that one. Like Brian Brown’s incredible declaration that “Just because you believe something is wrong, it doesn’t mean that you make it illegal”, Harvey says this without a hint of irony or awareness of just how applicable it is. Against all odds, they’ve momentarily achieved a remarkable clarity, but utterly fail to recognize its relevance to their own positions. This one crucial realization essentially negates everything else in her ridiculous pamphlet. For instance:

But once in a while, a man wants to date and love another man, or a woman wants to date and love a woman.

Most cultures long ago decided this was very wrong. And they made rules against it, for a lot of good reasons (more grown-up stuff). First of all, two men can never create their own child. Neither can two women. And two men kissing– well, it just doesn’t seem right. That’s because it isn’t!

Sure, some people might feel that same-sex affection “just doesn’t seem right”. But strong feelings are not proof of anything.

When God made the world, in the beginning, He created just two types of humans: a man and a woman. He told them to join together and become husband and wife (Genesis 2:18-25).

After some time passed, sin came into the world, and people started doing things they shouldn’t. Some of those things involved having homosexual feelings. This sin is described in the Bible, and it’s always wrong. When a few people stubbornly did this anyway, they made life very hard for people in their community. God was not pleased (Genesis 19).

One man and one woman is the way our Creator God designed us from the start.

Linda Harvey might believe two individuals were directly formed by a deity at the beginning of time, and that some of their descendants had their cities orbitally bombarded by that same god for trying to gang-rape some angels… but strong feelings are not proof of anything. Especially not that.

Still, God has standards that don’t change, and that’s a good thing. God is always willing to forgive us if we ask Him.

Yes, she believes in some kind of metaphysics where a certain god will forgive you for things, and this forgiveness is somehow meaningful and important, but strong feelings certainly aren’t proof of that.

God had very, very strong words against homosexual conduct (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27). So even though it’s not the only sin, it’s still a very serious one.

When Jesus came, He repeated what God said about marriage –that it should only be one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6). And we should not forget that Jesus was really God on earth, so He should know!

And yes, some people believe that a certain book actually contains an accurate record of the moral commands of a real deity, that these commands define an enduring and absolute structure of morality, and that one particular man was a human incarnation of that deity… but strong feelings that a religious book is axiomatic, or that someone is literally a god, are not proof of anything.

And, a lot of people who don’t even believe in God agree. From Asia to India to Africa to Latin America, most people now and throughout history agree that being homosexual or “gay” is wrong.

Large numbers of people have historically held a variety of positions like this, such as belief in the inherent inferiority of women, the inequality of certain races, the inhumanity of people with disabilities, and so on. But those strong feelings were not proof of anything.

So if you hear that everyone thinks being “gay” is okay, don’t believe it—even if that person is a grown-up, or even if he leads a church. There are many, many people who still follow God’s teachings, still believe their common sense, and believe that romance, dating and marriage are for a boy and girl, a man and woman.

Their “common sense” might tell them certain groups of people are fundamentally immoral because of some interpretations of some religions which some people hold to be fact – but strong feelings are not proof of anything.

BUT… it’s not right to tell someone that being homosexual is okay. The person may be feeling sad because of being bullied, but never try to make him or feel better by saying “gay” is okay.

Harvey may think that opposing bullying based on sexual orientation is somehow compatible with telling people they’re in direct violation of moral injunctions from the creator of the universe and in need of “forgiveness”, but such feelings are not proof that this is anything but hateful, unnecessary, counterproductive, fictional nonsense.

I think this is my new favorite thing.

Linda Harvey: “Strong feelings are not proof of anything.”

Linda Harvey: "Strong feelings are not proof of anything."

Linda Harvey, homophobe extraordinaire, has composed an amateurish flyer “for your older grade school or middle school children about homosexuality”. In the middle of the standard array of homophobic tropes, she makes the following contention:

Some people claim they were “born” homosexual. But there is no well-accepted science that backs up that idea. Strong feelings are not proof of anything.

“Strong feelings are not proof of anything.” I’m going to have to remember that one. Like Brian Brown’s incredible declaration that “Just because you believe something is wrong, it doesn’t mean that you make it illegal”, Harvey says this without a hint of irony or awareness of just how applicable it is. Against all odds, they’ve momentarily achieved a remarkable clarity, but utterly fail to recognize its relevance to their own positions. This one crucial realization essentially negates everything else in her ridiculous pamphlet. For instance:

But once in a while, a man wants to date and love another man, or a woman wants to date and love a woman.

Most cultures long ago decided this was very wrong. And they made rules against it, for a lot of good reasons (more grown-up stuff). First of all, two men can never create their own child. Neither can two women. And two men kissing– well, it just doesn’t seem right. That’s because it isn’t!

Sure, some people might feel that same-sex affection “just doesn’t seem right”. But strong feelings are not proof of anything.

When God made the world, in the beginning, He created just two types of humans: a man and a woman. He told them to join together and become husband and wife (Genesis 2:18-25).

After some time passed, sin came into the world, and people started doing things they shouldn’t. Some of those things involved having homosexual feelings. This sin is described in the Bible, and it’s always wrong. When a few people stubbornly did this anyway, they made life very hard for people in their community. God was not pleased (Genesis 19).

One man and one woman is the way our Creator God designed us from the start.

Linda Harvey might believe two individuals were directly formed by a deity at the beginning of time, and that some of their descendants had their cities orbitally bombarded by that same god for trying to gang-rape some angels… but strong feelings are not proof of anything. Especially not that.

Still, God has standards that don’t change, and that’s a good thing. God is always willing to forgive us if we ask Him.

Yes, she believes in some kind of metaphysics where a certain god will forgive you for things, and this forgiveness is somehow meaningful and important, but strong feelings certainly aren’t proof of that.

God had very, very strong words against homosexual conduct (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27). So even though it’s not the only sin, it’s still a very serious one.

When Jesus came, He repeated what God said about marriage –that it should only be one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6). And we should not forget that Jesus was really God on earth, so He should know!

And yes, some people believe that a certain book actually contains an accurate record of the moral commands of a real deity, that these commands define an enduring and absolute structure of morality, and that one particular man was a human incarnation of that deity… but strong feelings that a religious book is axiomatic, or that someone is literally a god, are not proof of anything.

And, a lot of people who don’t even believe in God agree. From Asia to India to Africa to Latin America, most people now and throughout history agree that being homosexual or “gay” is wrong.

Large numbers of people have historically held a variety of positions like this, such as belief in the inherent inferiority of women, the inequality of certain races, the inhumanity of people with disabilities, and so on. But those strong feelings were not proof of anything.

So if you hear that everyone thinks being “gay” is okay, don’t believe it—even if that person is a grown-up, or even if he leads a church. There are many, many people who still follow God’s teachings, still believe their common sense, and believe that romance, dating and marriage are for a boy and girl, a man and woman.

Their “common sense” might tell them certain groups of people are fundamentally immoral because of some interpretations of some religions which some people hold to be fact – but strong feelings are not proof of anything.

BUT… it’s not right to tell someone that being homosexual is okay. The person may be feeling sad because of being bullied, but never try to make him or feel better by saying “gay” is okay.

Harvey may think that opposing bullying based on sexual orientation is somehow compatible with telling people they’re in direct violation of moral injunctions from the creator of the universe and in need of “forgiveness”, but such feelings are not proof that this is anything but hateful, unnecessary, counterproductive, fictional nonsense.

I think this is my new favorite thing.

Linda Harvey: "Strong feelings are not proof of anything."

A stunning lack of self-awareness

“Bill Nye really doesn’t understand science.”

Such a claim would be laughable coming from anyone. But it’s a full-on mind-shattering BSOD of irony when you realize this statement came from Ken Ham of the infamous Creation Museum:

Perhaps the most ridiculous moment comes at 3 minutes in, when Ham claims:

He doesn’t teach children how to think critically. He doesn’t teach them how to think about science. He wants to teach them what to think.

This is, of course, coming from the founder of Answers in Genesis, an organization with a statement of faith that says:

The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.

The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth, and the universe.

The special creation of Adam (the first man) and Eve (the first woman), and their subsequent fall into sin, is the basis for the necessity of salvation for mankind.All mankind are sinners, inherently from Adam and individually (by choice), and are therefore subject to God’s wrath and condemnation.

Freedom from the penalty and power of sin is available to man only through the sacrificial death and shed blood of Jesus Christ and His complete and bodily resurrection from the dead.

Those who do not believe in Christ are subject to everlasting conscious punishment, but believers enjoy eternal life with God.

It is the duty of Christians to attend a local Bible believing church, as portrayed in the New Testament.

Scripture teaches a recent origin for man and the whole creation, spanning approximately 4,000 years from creation to Christ.

The days in Genesis do not correspond to geologic ages, but are six [6] consecutive twenty-four [24] hour days of creation.

By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.

That’s Answers in Genesis for you. Clearly they never teach children what to think. They teach them to think critically – until they hit Bible.

A stunning lack of self-awareness

“Introduces”

Nancy French has a warning for parents about a new kids’ movie: “ParaNorman Introduces Children to Homosexuality”.

However, the second scene involves one of the subplots. Norman’s sister has a crush on a kid she tries desperately to impress throughout the movie. After she fails to turn his head, she finally asks him out.

“Sure,” he responds. “You’re gonna love my boyfriend. He’s like a total chick-flick nut.”

My friend saw the film in a “red state” and she reported that “you could hear the gasps in the theatre from parents” at the unexpected line. “I should have known something was up when the theatre manager made a huge disclaimer and offered refunds if we did not like the movie,” she wrote.

As a resident of a reddish state, I almost want to go see this movie just to witness the reactions. It must have been incredible to watch the sudden failure of these parents’ homophobic delusion that they can isolate their children from any knowledge of same-sex relationships. I find it implausible that the film actually “introduces” children to homosexuality itself; that would suggest that all these kids had never once encountered the concept of homosexuality before they saw ParaNorman, which is vastly unlikely.

I have no sympathy for these parents – while I’m sure they’re trying to raise their kids in a way they believe to be right, just as we are, the problem is that these people want our son’s classmates and friends to believe that his moms simply don’t exist. These are the people who would protect their children from being “introduced to homosexuality” by keeping them away from us. Say what you will about our family, but we don’t keep our children ignorant of the fact that homophobes, Republicans and religious people exist. We don’t even try. Why would we? These are concepts that they are, unfortunately, going to encounter in their lives – and likely sooner rather than later, thanks to people like Nancy French who think our truth is something their children can’t handle.

We can’t teach our kids that something is right or wrong if they don’t know what it is. I don’t know how these parents intend to do it – the statement “homosexuality is wrong” is meaningless to someone who you’ve prevented from knowing that homosexuality exists. By swaddling their children in ignorance, they’ve placed themselves in the double bind of expressing their disapproval of something without letting their kids know just what it is they disapprove of. Either they must finally address the topic they’re so reluctant to talk about, or attempt to avoid any mention of the subject at all until a movie like ParaNorman blows the whole thing wide open (and not a moment too soon).

William Bigelow of Breitbart.com also objects:

It’s a time-honored technique of the gay community to hide the fact that a character is gay until the audience has developed a real affinity for him/her, then catch the audience off-guard by divulging that the character is gay. …

If they really were “brave” they’d announce from the start that Mitch was gay and see just how many parents would take their children to see this movie.

Of course, this just mirrors how coming out often proceeds in reality: being LGBT usually isn’t the first thing you learn about someone, even if you know them well. And when this particular facet of who we are comes to light, the homophobe takes umbrage at the revelation that upends their previous assumptions. After all, they consented to love or raise or befriend or laugh at a straight cis person – not some queer. It’s remarkable how much this resembles the classic “pieces of flair” argument that transgender people should always disclose their history to romantic partners so that they can be rejected outright just for being trans. Bigelow takes it further, saying what even homophobes rarely state openly: that members of invisible minorities are obligated to announce their status in advance, so that bigots can simply hate them before getting to know them or developing any attachment or connection to them as individuals. It doesn’t sound quite so reasonable now, does it?

“Introduces”