Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Week In Bad Faith Issue #1, 2009-02-03

Every great (or, like this one, pretending to greatness) political punditry outlet (you might say sphincter, and I wouldn't exactly argue with you on that, only maybe object with respect to my prolix output maybe) politiblog has an ongoing series. Here, begins mine.

Of all the deleterious influences on American public life we've seen since the 1980s, the open admixture of religion into politics is one of the most unfortunate. I, rightly I think, believe that sanctimonious religionists of every stripe attempting to immanentise thier creeds via implementation into (up until then) secular law, or, as the less wordy might say, "forcing your religion down my throat".

I personally believe that, whatever you believe, it's your duty as a freedom-loving American to, if you see a secular practice that you don't like, unless it's openly calling for, for example, Federally-mandated strangling of kittens, you need to sit the frak down and shut the frak up.

If you object to more specific things, like denying Federal funds for abortion, that's fine, as long as your advocacy also includes constructing an economy that doesn't force women to choose betweeen getting a back-alley abortion or bearing yet another prole into the bondage of poverty (we use this as an example; for the record, we are in favor of women having full control of thier reproductive processes, and for you who are against such a thing to, as someone we once knew in the military would say, "suck it up, Cupcake!")

But we are really straying here. The point we're making is, no matter how you try to mix religion into politics, it actually winds up tainting everything it touches with judgement and misery for those who just don't care to agree with the belief. It is important to know the quality of that ingredient we are always in such a hurry to mix in, so if you really insist on trying, then we insist on explaining to you why you're a dumb*ss for wanting it.

After all, once you let a little religion in, it wants more, and before you know it, it's American Taliban time. Hope you're on the right side of them. For us, we prefer a secular society.

And so begins the first issue of The Week in Bad Faith, intended to be a regular chronicle on how the people who claim to honor and love Jesus bend over backwards to prove that Jesus probably died in vain. Here we go.

1. LDS on Proposition 8 Support: $190,000? Oh, That $190,000.

In advocating for California's Prop 8 (you all know), the Mormon Church has managed to get some pretty stinky mud on its countenance.

I know it's all Biblical and stuff, but I still cannot get my brain around how letting gay people marry is somehow going to destroy mine. As far as I'm concerned, what with divorces and custody battles and deadbeat dads and moms and Britney Spears and stuff, hets make far more of a farce of marriage than gay people ever could.

But during the Proposition 8 campaign, the LDS Church has made a complete ass out of itself, coming off as not only sanctimonious but meddling. But all the while, despite a behind-the-scenes PR orchestration that Madison Avenue is still awed by, they claimed they did not funnel money to it.

"Oh no, just $2,078 to fly a Church Elder to California" cryed they, playing the victim all along.

Well, hey, what's this?

Mormon church officials, facing an ongoing investigation by the state Fair Political Practices Commission, Friday reported nearly $190,000 in previously unlisted assistance to the successful campaign for Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.

The report, filed with the secretary of state's office, listed a variety of California travel expenses for high-ranking members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and included $20,575 for use of facilities and equipment at the church's Salt Lake City headquarters and a $96,849 charge for "compensated staff time" for church employees who worked on matters pertaining to Prop. 8.

"This is exactly what we were talking about when we filed the suit," said Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate, which opposed the same-sex marriage ban. "They spent money on the campaign and were supposed to report it."

Church officials were not available for comment Friday night.

Yeah, I'd hide too. This looks kinda ... well, bad.

Now, it could be the efforts of a church who really made an honest mistake to put thier money where their mouth is (if you're going to hold these beliefs uncompromisingly and unafraid even though they're appalling, at least I can respect the intellectual buttress thereon). Or, it could be the efforts of a group who loves them some temporal power and isn't above meddling in the affairs of gay people who aren't hurting anyone and make them miserable and moreover has so much utter contempt in the population at large that they would hide stuff and lie about it until they were caught.

I'll leave the answer as an excercise for the reader.

2. Holocauster? We Hardly Knew Her!

Pope Benedict XVI has really cut a swath in the short time he's been the Vicar of Christ. Why, in a spirit of healing, he forgave Marcel LeFebrve for what ever the hell it was he did (I can't really quite remember either)

But he's really outdone himself. In a move seemingly calculated to disenchant and alienate Catholics around the world, he's rescinded the excommunication of a certain bishop illegally consecrated by the good Archbishop LeFebrve: Richard Williamson.

This is particularly awkward because Bishop Williamson denied the Holocaust.

Not in an offhand remark to a friend or near an accidentally-live mike, but on Swedish TV, in front of millions of viewers.

Unless you're obviously drunk, you've got to be considered serious if you're going on TV saying this stuff. Not only does this make an embarrassing situation for the Mother Church, but it's paning Germans, who were–up till now–over the moon about the first German pope in ... does anyone know how long it's been? ...

When Joseph Ratzinger became pope in 2005, people in his native Germany were over
the moon. But his rehabilitation of a Holocaust-denying priest is turning this delight into embarrassment and shame.

pope has made a grave mistake. The fact that it is a German pope of all
things makes it particularly bad," the mass-circulation Bild said in an
editorial on Tuesday.

"Pope Benedict XVI is inflicting great
damage on Germany's image in the world ... If someone in Germany denies
the murder of six million Jews they are prosecuted."

News of the
pope's decision to lift the excommunication on British bishop Richard
Williamson -- who said on Swedish TV there were no gas chambers -- came
just days before the 64th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

They do say that timing is everything.

That's what we have this week in the first installment of The Week In Bad Faith, the chronicle that proves that the last people who should be trusted with the Christian faith are actual Christians.

If any fellow-traveller has something interesting to share, please submit it. In the meantime, we'll set our Google alerts and see what comes up. Finding at least one good thing to write about per week might prove difficult, but knowing the way we treat religion these days, this column just might write itself.

Until then, God bless!

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