I grew up in a blue-collar steel-town in the Rust Belt, schooled by nuns, during the papacy of “The Good Pope” of Vatican II—John XXIII, and the presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the first Catholic President of the United States. It doesn’t get more Catholic than that.
Those were the days, my friend . . . change was in the air. And little Catholic school girls, like myself, were growing into natural liberals. We were the children of American Dreamers and veterans who had fought to make the world safe for Democracy. Nothing would hold us back from making the world a better place for all God’s children to live.
So, imagine my surprise when, as a young adult, it became increasingly clear to me that the Church that had been partially responsible for shaping my political beliefs was becoming more and more conservative—and Republican, as I watched.
As time went by and Americans actually talked about issues like abortion, contraception and same sex-marriage, the clergy, anxious to protect their own social policy agenda from the attack of modernity, found natural allies in the GOP’s growing base on the Religious Right.
It was a marriage made in heaven. Mature, hard-working, mostly white people with conservative social and economic values were welcome under the GOP Big Top.
Thank God it’s Thursday and American Culture has finally spit up a hairball that will effectively distract us all from real problems like expiring unemployment benefits, minimum wage and Republicans newest threat to blow up the global economy if they can’t have their Canadian pipeline.
Evidently the crusty old patriarch of the Duck Dynasty had a few colorful thoughts to share with a GQ interviewer recently (WTFGQ?) on the illogic of being gay and the “good times there are not forgotten” cheerfulness of Louisiana’s black tenant farmers in pre-civil-rights days:
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person,” Robertson is quoted in GQ. “Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
I’m thinking Duck Daddy went to the wrong nightclubs and somehow missed “strange fruit” season on the Bayou.
Anyway, what he had to say about gays was pretty inflammatory, too, with the usual references to sin, hellfire and bestiality.
Well, it was bound to happen . . . Republicans have found a new way to distract America from Obamacare getting fixed by spreading the Too Stupid for Prime Time whopper that President Obama is closing the US embassy to the Vatican as retribution for Catholic resistance to certain employer mandates in the ACA.
Conservative media has lit up like a Hannukah bush. Drudge shrieks “Obama’s call to close Vatican embassy is ‘slap in the face’ to Roman Catholics”; WND opines “OBAMA ‘INSULTS’ CATHOLICS IN VATICAN-EMBASSY SHUTDOWN”; and the ever thoughtful dead-heads at Breitbart, seeing right to the heart of the matter report:
. . . the Obama administration is trying to diminish and discredit the Vatican’s role in the world because it’s pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom values is at odds with the Regime’s pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage stance.
[Note to Roasters: By the time this is published many of the links in this post may have 404d. The subject of the post is doing some pretty extensive damage control on his own links so I’ve tried to provide alternatives with clips from original.]
Every once in a while, on a Sunday, I’m moved to check up on what the God-botherers are up to, just for the hell it. It just so happens that this week the hot story along those lines has to do with one Justin Lookadoo (I know?) whose current “ministry” is as a motivational speaker for high-schoolers [and any other age group that can cough up his speaker’s fee].
From what I can tell, the cool thing about being a Christian motivational speaker is that you don’t need any qualifications outside of being a Christian to make a full-time job of it. Lookadoo couldn’t peddle his public speaking skills to bankers, for example, because he doesn’t know squat about high yield funds or T-Bonds.
But no-one has any problem signing him up to entertain 4th period hump-day assemblies because he, like his audience, was a teenager, attended high school and he’s Christian and that’ll do the kids some good, right?
Granted, in public schools, guys like Lookadoo have to “hide their light under a bushel” because . . . separation of church and state. But, Texas, which is different, in many ways, is sort of relaxed about such quibbles.
And, so it is that Justin Lookadoo found himself before an auditorium full of teenagers at a high school in Richardson, TX, this week, just like thousands of other school speaking engagements he’s done over the years.
Except that this one broke bad and went viral. The kids in the audience started critiquing Lookadoo on Twitter and to say that they “pwned” him is something of an understatement.
Apparently, Ted Cruz is feeling a little insecure these days what with his highly publicized catalog of freshman fiascoes and the fact that dear old Dad, Senor Crazypants, is upstaging him at every turn, lately.
The most recent sign that Cruz is making a course adjustment was news, last week, coming out of a closed-door Republican luncheon, that Cruz has promised to “not actively campaign against” his Senate colleagues or “help raise money for their primary opponents.”
What a guy!
So. What does a megalomaniac do when he’s not getting enough attention? well, this one goes out to his own backyard and barks at the president in a typically Cruz-ian display of tastelessness and deplorably bad timing.
President Obama should take his broken promises tour elsewhere so Texans can continue focusing on the solutions that have allowed our state to become and remain the nation’s economic and job creation powerhouse.
We’ve all recognized for some time now that Cruz et fils is a slightly creepy sideshow especially when both the senator and Papi share the same stage and the same awkward adoring glances.
It started out innocently enough, proud father sharing some triumphal moments around election time. And the occasional human interest backgrounder interview in which Cruz, Sr. shared a few memorable anecdotes from “daddy’s little prodigy’s” past.
Like how Cruz, Sr. introduced his precocious middle-schooler to Austrian School libertarian economics and ultraconservative interpretations of US history at the Free Enterprise Education Center (FEEC). And how Teddy and a few of his little friends from FEEC created a group known as the Constitutional Corroborators who toured local Rotary luncheons to dazzle diners with their compendious knowledge of free enterprise and the US Constitution.
We’re almost a year into Cruz Jr’s reign of terror in the US Senate, though, and Cruz, Sr seems to just be hitting his stride, warming up for the Big Push. If things go according to plan, Cruz & Cruz could get a whole lot creepier.
You know what? On second thought, maybe it’s because he has said the most gee-gosh-darn things. You know, like joking that the president was going to disappear him and that hecklers were probably paid OFA shills. Because obviously. Nothing succeeds like flaming paranoia. (Unless you are appealing to the fringe, in which case paranoia is best known as “fitting in”.) And amongst the values voters, that enlightened bastion of Godwinning for Goobers, Homophobia for Herp-Derps, and Bible-Banging for Bigots, he actually has a crowd in which he doesn’t stand out. Good going, Ted.
If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair . . . and don’t shake hands with anyone, especially in the Castro. Today, on the 700 Club, Christian Capitalista Pat Robertson exposed a little known local habit of the denizens of the World’s Gayest City—infecting people with AIDS via poison rings.
As Robertson explained to a caller:
You know what they do in San Francisco? Some in the gay community there, they want to get people so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger. Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder.
See, as Robertson knows, his unwary flock are probably expecting gays to put aside aside their homicidal rage and enjoy triumphs like SCOTUS striking down DOMA and Prop 8, and same-sex wedding bells ringing from sea to shining sea. But nooooo, rapacious homos are still murdering straighties with gay abandon.
Some of the Christians at Christian Broadcast Network [shake that little money-maker, Uncle Pat] saw fit to edit Robertson’s homophobic paranoia out of the online version of the program but not before it aired on cable television. Right Wing Watch was there to catch and send it—in all of its unChristian hatefulness—down the intertubes to glory.
The whole episode is causing me to wonder when, exactly, Uncle Pat ran out of God-stuff to talk about on his TV ministry? or is this 21st century God-stuff? and also, do actual people really watch this moronic grifter and think of it as a religious experience? and, finally, do people still give Robertson money???
On a more anthropological note, I’d simply like to reassure Robertson and his followers that, as a gay woman, it has been simply ages since I’ve seen a poison ring in the Castro [that’s so ‘70s]. But you still might want to give gayz with iPhones a wide berth because GAY LASER DEATH RAY!!1! . . . [there’s an app for that].
Robertson issued a non-apology to The Atlantic, saying that he “regret[s] that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said.”
Of course, unlike CBN, we provided the entire exchange:
I was asked by a viewer whether she had a right to leave her church because she had been asked to transport an elderly man who had AIDS and about whose condition she had not been informed. My advice was that the risk of contagion in those circumstances was quite low and that she should continue to attend the church and not worry about the incident.
In my own experience, our organization sponsored a meeting years ago in San Francisco where trained security officers warned me about shaking hands because, in those days, certain AIDS-infected activists were deliberately trying to infect people like me by virtue of rings which would cut fingers and transfer blood.
I regret that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said. In no wise [sic] were my remarks meant as an indictment of the homosexual community or, for that fact, to those infected with this dreadful disease.
This has to be one of the funniest, most telling, FoxNews clips I’ve seen since Karl Rove’s election night freakout last year.
Reza Aslan is a scholar with a number of popular books on religion to his credit. His latest is a book about Jesus’ life and times titled Zealot. Zealot has created quite a hubbub amongst the books-about-Jesus-audience, who are upset, to say the least, about some of Aslan’s premises and conclusions. Amazon Reviews is burning up with some old-time religion hate. That’s predictable.
Down through the ages lots and lots of religion scholars and enthusiasts have weighed in on the sparse facts of Jesus’ life and come to varying conclusions. Those writers have come in every shape, color and religious background. It’s an interesting topic to some. Admittedly, I haven’t read the book, I’ve only listened to interviews, but none of what I’ve heard of Aslan’s ideas sound like revolutionary departures from what’s always been kicking around on the subject.
I’m also old enough to remember the fuss that surrounded the debut of Jesus Christ, Superstar on Broadway. For a short while, it was an apocalyptic event (which certainly didn’t hurt ticket sales) and eventually the show, deemed blasphemous by some, was permitted to make millions of dollars in performances and license fees forever and ever, amen. Because, as we all know, from the Dominionists, Jesus is a free market fan.
The thing that is astonishing about this Fox incident is that it takes over nine minutes of airtime for this veteran FoxNews correspondent to wrap her mind around the idea that a Muslim has written a book about Jesus. She projects, without overtly saying it—“how dare you?” That’s really the whole [only] point of the long-ish segment.
A lot of folks have already taken a swat at the following religio-comic-absurdist story and moved on but, as I’m a gay woman of the 21st century, I feel a certain sense of entitlement to get my own licks in when the anti-gay crusaders of the Religious Right make particular fools of themselves.
Twinkle Cavanaugh (real name) is the duly elected President of the Alabama Public Services Commission that oversees statewide public utilities. Twinkle called a hearing to discuss state utility rate structures and asked John Delwin Jordan to testify at that hearing. It’s unclear to me what qualifies Jordan, a Baptist minister and President of the Prattville (real name) TEA Party, to address utility rate structures but, then, lots of things bewilder me these days.
Nevertheless, testify Jordan did—he testified for JESUS! Here’s that, captured on tape.
I have been in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and, I am not entirely averse to admitting, reasonably certain I have broken a few of their retrograde antisex laws while I was there. Actually, I think I was probably there with the explicit intention of probably getting around to doing some of the things their legislators in times of yore believed were, ahem, “icky”.
I have to admit to complete and total mystification regarding a candidate for governor who persists in being, you know. That guy. But I have a larger point to make, other than admitting to being at least kind of sort of the exact people Cooch is interested in legally persuing for, I guess, having some kind of fun in Virginia not explicitly associated with, like, a water park or maybe Colonial Williamsburg. Did you hear about this thing regarding the current governor, Bob McDonnell, who was kind of warned against as being a total retrograde antisex theocrat who sort of kind of turned out to be also a grifter? Well, some of that grifterism allegation is looking to backwash on Cuccinelli.
Huh. Taking gifts as a government official? That blows. Probably should be, like, illegal or something, right? I guess ethics is what you make of it. Or at least, if you’re Ken Cuccinelli, you legislate bedroom morality, but in the taxpayer-funded office? Anything goes!
As more information comes to light about the Beantown Bombers, it becomes increasingly clear that Uncle Ruslan was right all along: The brothers were / are a pair of not-too-bright losers. Mother Jones offers a list of odd and stupid things the Boom-Boom Bros did that directly resulted in their death and/or capture. These items include leaving their carjacked hostage alone in the vehicle while they went into a convenience store for Red Bull and then failing to toss their escaped victim’s mobile phone, enabling the cops to track their every move.
They’re murderers, sure, but sophisticated terror kingpins? Please. And yet the very lawmakers who most frequently have to pause to wring the accumulated ball-sweat out of their much-humped personal copies of the US Constitution are now ready to torch that document because of the supposed existential threat posed by clowns like the Boom-Boom Bros.
Senator Lindsey Graham, perpetually trying to butch up sufficiently to head off a possible tea party primary challenge, took to the Senate floor yesterday to baldly declare a thought-crime and ethnic-caste standard that would eliminate due process for certain American citizens:
“Here’s what we’re suggesting, that the surviving suspect—due to the ties that these two have to radical Islamic thought and the ties to Chechnya, one of most radical countries in the world—that the president declare preliminarily that the evidence suggests that this man should be treated as an enemy combatant.”
The “we” in that first clause includes Senator John McCain, the Hanoi Hilton survivor who is apparently transformed into a squealing candy ass at the sight of a teenage jihadi-wannabe’s wispy moustache. Senator Kelly Ayotte rounds out the new neocon triumvirate in lieu of the departed Joe Lieberman. She’s an improvement over her predecessor only in that her mouth isn’t bracketed by alarming skin-pleats and she doesn’t have a mewling voice that tempts listeners to drive chopsticks through their own eardrums to escape its range. But on foreign policy, she’s pretty much Joe in a dress.
In the interest of civility, let’s assume that these three and their fellow Republicans aren’t corrupt, cynical hucksters who are attempting to transform the blood of innocent people into political gain. So they must be cowards instead, sniveling, bed-wetting chicken-shits who are ready to toss our national experiment with free speech and equality before the law into the toilet and hide under the nearest rock—and not before the very real and powerful threats arrayed against it from within and without, but before a pair of moronic clowns like the Boom-Booms. Some “Daddy Party.”
There’s so much seasonal WTF in this clip from FilmOn TV Networks (via Battlecam TV) which is going viral.
There’s a fairly graphic trailer near the beginning for their stunt at the weekend, when they plan to crucify a guy identified by a usually reliable source (Daily Mail) as Robert Garrison, “a 30-year-old sado-masochist from Florida,” so presumably as long they’ve found some card-carrying sadists to do the nailing, everybody’s cool with that.
Then there’s the increasingly tetchy mobile unit interview between Joe Fioranelli of FilmOn TV and David Phelps—which, for the by now no doubt growing increasingly nervous, I’ll excerpt below, but sounds like it’s an outtake from SNL.
As the scene begins, Phelps—who starts off the interview as grumpy as Hell, and doesn’t get any sweeter as it progresses—kicks off with the charming opener, “I’m David Phelps. And God hates fags. If you hear nothing else I say, I need that message to get out.” Then Fiorelli cites biblical reasons for some skepticism about Jesus’ heterosexuality, which doesn’t go any way toward making make him Phelps’ BFF.
Phelps: This is a mockery. It’s been a mockery from the very beginning. Is this what you plan for your mock crucifixion as well? Fioranelli: It’s not a mock crucifixion, we’re actually crucifying the guy. I mean, he is actually gay. Phelps: Do you have any idea, do you have any idea what it is to receive the payment for your sins from a wrathful, an angry God? Romans 12 says He will pile it on your head like hot coals from a fire. ... May God bring His wrath in a way that all will know it comes from Him.
Things don’t get any better from there on in for Phelps as he makes a bid to abandon the interview, and the fate that awaits him may have made him pray for a visitation from a nice cozy bushel of hot coals. Whatever, he will verily have been in no doubt that It hath come from Him, who moveth in mysterious ways.
For at this point (at 1:30 for the impatient), yea, a 500-pound stark naked ex-wrestler MC by the name of Billy the Fridge emerges from the closet (imagery!) where he’s been waiting and lurches ominously toward Phelps.
Phelps: What do you want?
Now, in the circumstances, most of us might agree that’s not the sort of leading question you want to be asking. Never mind, since Billy ignores it anyway.
Billy the Fridge: THE LEVIATHAN! WE WILL GET YOU! LEVIATHAN! THE LEVIATHAN! WE WILL GET YOU!
At this point Phelps makes an extremely rapid getaway through the door, with Billy in hot, hot pursuit. Over to the Mail again:
An eye-witness later claimed that he saw Phelps being pursued down the street outside the mobile studio by a naked fat man.
Rob Cutler, from Topeka, Kansas, where the church is based, said: ‘I was amazed, first I see David run out of a motor home and the next thing I know he’s been sat on by this giant naked man who is screaming “who’s your daddy now Davey?”’
The way the Phelpses have been bailing out of the hitherto lucrative family cult over the past few years, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Davey—his cherry now well and truly popped, possibly along with some vital organs—and Billy are an item. Happy Easter.
I’ve been fascinated by some of the overwrought “revolution!” language that the usual Christian right trolls are using regarding the case against Prop 8 being considered by SCOTUS. It’s not that I’m comfortable that the pendulum has swung so far that there’s little resistance to marriage equality—it’s that I just don’t see that many people be invested enough to start a civil war over it. Regular folks just aren’t thinking about gay folks getting married all the time. It doesn’t really impact them because, well, it just doesn’t. Gay people getting married doesn’t raise anyone’s taxes or take away any right that any has previously enjoyed.
I think we’re going to win these cases. But say the worst happens and we lose in a broad way – that means that the Court somehow does a Roe, aRoe v. Wade, on marriage and says that all these state constitutional amendments are overturned, gay marriage is now a constitutional right – well, we’re going to press forward on a Federal Marriage Amendment. We’ve always supported a Federal Marriage Amendment, and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. Some people try and argue, ‘Well, this is against federalism.’ No, our founders gave us a system where we can amend the Constitution. We shouldn’t have to do this, we shouldn’t have to worry about activist judges, you know, making up out of thin air a constitutional right that obviously none of our founders found there and no one found there until quite recently. But if we do, for us, the Federal Marriage Amendment is a way that people can stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free. We can’t have a country on key moral questions where we’re just, where we don’t have a solution. And if the Court forces a solution, the way we’ll amend that is through the Federal Marriage Amendment.
“Half slave, half free.” I can kind of understand wanting to do a Lincoln quote-pull because Lincoln, you know, was kind of a big deal. It’s just funny that Brown seems to think that people living in the states where marriage equality is recognized would be morally the people living in the “slave states”. Because those poor beset-upon long-suffering religious people would lack the freedom to…