Thursday, November 6, 2008

By the Way...

...good riddance Elizabeth Dole. I was pleased to see her voted out after she went out of her way to accuse her Democratic challenger of hanging out with atheists. True, the challenger denied it and distanced herself from atheism, but it was good to see that such stupid "attacks" did her no good.




Since we are talking of religion in politics in this thread, your rockin' friend Barry Lynn has this for ya...

"Americans United Asks IRS To Investigate N.C. Baptist Group That Hosted Obama Rally
Thursday, October 30, 2008

Event Featuring Michelle Obama May Have Violated Federal Tax Law, Says Watchdog Group

The General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina may have violated federal tax law by hosting Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, at an event that appeared to be little more than a campaign rally, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

During her Oct. 29 appearance before the group, Obama praised her husband and told the crowd he is qualified to be president because of his past struggles. “Don’t we deserve a president with that kind of experience?” she asked. “Barack Obama gets it because he’s been there.”

Obama also told the crowd, “I also come here as a wife who loves my husband, and I believe my husband will be an extraordinary president.”

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, said the event was not the type of non-partisan activity that churches are permitted to host.

“This was an Obama campaign rally taking place during the meeting of a religious group,” Lynn said. “Federal tax law simply does not allow religious organizations to sponsor events like this.”

In a letter to the IRS today, Lynn requested an investigation of the matter.

“This appearance took on the trappings of a campaign rally, and during it Ms. Obama promoted her husband’s candidacy and appealed for votes,” wrote Lynn in the letter.

Americans United maintains a special initiative, Project Fair Play, designed to educate religious leaders about the requirements of federal tax law. In cases of egregious violations of the law, AU asks the IRS to intervene."

You have posted in the past that there are things you have a problem with concerning Obama; just leave it to me to cloud the luster a bit.

csm said...

Not a fan of the religious aspect of the Obamas, but I am also a pragmatist, and realize that anyone who is electable as POTUS will have to be a christian in the USA - at least for the foreseeable future.

And I have no problem with Michelle Obama doing what she did. I do think, though, that the General Baptist Convention of North Carolina has some problems here, and this needs to be investigated. If they are a tax exempt religious organization (and I'm sure they are) then that exemption should be in jeopardy.

Ceroill said...

Just thought I'd mention that Slate currently has an article about whether religion makes people nicer.

csm said...

No need to go to the Slate to know that the answer to that one Bob.


But I'll go over and read The Slate tonight anyway... thanks for the heads up!

csm said...

I couldn't resist - I went over to The Slate and read the article. Not bad, but not good either. For example, where does this (unsourced) information come from (and I quote) "Most Americans who describe themselves as atheists, for instance, nonetheless believe that their souls will survive the death of their bodies."

Huh? I don't know any atheists who "believe" any such thing!


I believe my life source energy goes back into the pool of life source energy that any new living thing will have to take from, but I don't think that is quite what they are talking about. But maybe it is.

csm said...

And just how would you define what "life source energy" is (he ask, hesitantly, though quite assured that the answer will not be "my soul")?

Ceroill said...

csm, yes, I figured you'd notice that little tidbit too. I did find interesting the idea that the thing about religion that can positively affect someone's behavior is the sense of community and that 'someone is watching you' at all times.

I guess what this boils down to is that what makes some religious people nice isn't an internalized moral code, but rather the basic desire to be nice to one's extended family, and the thought that there's an invisible sociopath constantly looking over your shoulder.


As I have posted before, I consider "life force energy"(and that is what I call it)is the energy which every living thing has which makes them one of the living. I don't differentiate between plant and animal; the life force energy which I received at conception could have just as easily come from a mighty oak as it could have come from a lowly deer mouse. I believe it is finite and if man were to kill off all other living things(probably won't happen because of the detriment to our species)there could not be any more people until one of us met our end. Sounds like an interesting storyline there, huh?

And because I am talking of an energy, I believe it is possible, because energy can do many things, that there could be some sort of memory component. I find people who generally and honestly believe in deja vu or even a past life could be telling the truth if that person was lucky enough to have received the "energy" of a past human instead of a mighty oak.

And as I have posted before I believe this kind of dialogue is very personal and I don't go around espousing any of this to anyone who doesn't ask. You just happened to ask. Besides that, at some point I just might get locked up as a madman, eh?

csm said...

Well, thanks for sharing Bawdy. I wish you well with your personal belief system. I am curious as to how you came up with it?

If you are not comfortable sharing, no problem. I guess I just don't see where any proof for such a belief system comes from any more than I see proof for any gods.


I came up with it myself. I asked myself what happens to the energy once something dies. It has to go somewhere if you believe the Law of Conservation of Energy. Anything I have seen doesn't disprove it and it kinda fits with everything I have seen scientifically, but I haven't gone to great lengths to prove it. It doesn't mean that much to me enough to go to great lengths to prove it or disprove it(probably one of the reasons I don't go around vehemently espousing this theory); it just makes sense to me. If you were to come up with evidence to disprove it, I would be willing to listen.

csm said...

Well, the law of the conservation of energy only holds in an isolated system. I suppose you could postulate that the universe is isolated, but that has not been proven. And the "memory component" does not have any scientific underpinnings, does it?

But I have no desire to try to prove or disprove anyone's personal beliefs - especially when they are not trying to force feed them onto others.


This planet is relatively isolated, IMO, and this "memory component" is just a side adjunct I use for myself to explain phenomena like deja vu. I certainly am not hard and fast with it.



It happens all the time; one of us posts something and a news item pops up to give us a current illustration. That Slate article about whether religion makes people nicer, well take a gander at this...

"Monks brawl at Christian holy site in Jerusalem
By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer Matti Friedman, Associated Press Writer Sun Nov 9, 12:06 pm ET

JERUSALEM – Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity's holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus' tomb.

The clash between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks broke out in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

The brawling began during a procession of Armenian clergymen commemorating the 4th-century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus.

The Greeks objected to the march without one of their monks present, fearing that otherwise, the procession would subvert their own claim to the Edicule — the ancient structure built on what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus — and give the Armenians a claim to the site.

The Armenians refused, and when they tried to march the Greek Orthodox monks blocked their way, sparking the brawl.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were forced to intervene after fighting was reported. They arrested two monks, one from each side, he said.

A bearded Armenian monk in a red-and-pink robe and a black-clad Greek Orthodox monk with a bloody gash on his forehead were both taken away in handcuffs after scuffling with dozens of riot police.

Six Christian sects divide control of the ancient church. They regularly fight over turf and influence, and Israeli police are occasionally forced to intervene.

"We were keeping resistance so that the procession could not pass through ... and establish a right that they don't have," said a young Greek Orthodox monk with a cut next to his left eye.

The monk, who gave his name as Serafim, said he sustained the wound when an Armenian punched him from behind and broke his glasses.

Father Pakrat of the Armenian Patriarchate said the Greek demand was "against the status quo arrangement and against the internal arrangement of the Holy Sepulcher." He said the Greeks attacked first.

Archbishop Aristarchos, the chief secretary of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, denied his monks initiated the violence.

After the brawl, the church was crowded with Israeli riot police holding assault rifles, standing beside Golgotha, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, and the long smooth stone marking the place where tradition holds his body was laid out.

The feud is only one of a bewildering array of rivalries among churchmen in the Holy Sepulcher.

The Israeli government has long wanted to build a fire exit in the church, which regularly fills with thousands of pilgrims and has only one main door, but the sects cannot agree where the exit will be built.

A ladder placed on a ledge over the entrance sometime in the 19th century has remained there ever since because of a dispute over who has the authority to take it down.

More recently, a spat between Ethiopian and Coptic Christians is delaying badly needed renovations to a rooftop monastery that engineers say could collapse."

It's pretty bad when the hierarchy can't keep from fisticuffs, eh? Nicer my fucking ass!

Ceroill said...

Well, in the article I referenced, I think the author said that's only really somewhat true here. The author noticed that Europeans are capable of being nice without claiming a deity was responsible.

But this certainly is one more example of the kinds of trouble that tend to brew up around religions.

csm said...

RE: isolated system

The Earth is most certainly NOT an isolated system. This is the mistake that the young earthers and ID crowd make all the time.


I'll give in to you on this religilous conversation(and I did say relatively, could there be other planets with life on them, sure, are we part of a bigger system, you bet, are there other intergallactic forces which interact with this orb, I believe so, but does this disprove my internal theory which I try to keep to myself?) if you give in on the free market conversation. :)

csm said...

You do not have to give in to me on this, or anything, Bawdy. Your personal beliefs are just that, your beliefs. I have no desire to change your beliefs (or anyone's). I do, however, try to make sense of things as I assimilate them into my own little world. And to me these beliefs of yours seem to be not much different than a Catholic's or a Muslim's... that is, some made up stuff to comfort the ease of knowing we all are going to die.

(Yes, I know, there is more to religion than that, but not much).


My beliefs have nothing to do with making myself comfortable about dying(actually many times the idea OF death makes me feel more comfortable); they have everything to do with making sense of the world around me, and the shit which does happen around me locally and around the world makes me more comfortable OF the idea of death.

csm said...

That's cool... Still, I gotta ask, have you ever encountered a disembodied memory?


Not personally.

Ceroill said...

I wonder what a disembodied memory would look like.

csm said...

There's gotta be a joke here somewhere, but it is late and I can't think of it :(


It's a good thing csm didn't ask me if I had encountered a disemboweled memory. :)

csm said...

OK, Bawdy, have you ever encountered a disemboweled memory (he asks in trembling anticipation of a phenomenal answer)?

Ceroill said...


BAWDYSCOT said..., I was just helping with the, er, joke, you know... it's late..... and, ah, fuck it.