1. says

    And Jeremiah Wright is offensive?

    And why are no mainstream news outlets running with this?

    I’ll take Reverend Wright any day.


  2. says

    I find it interesting that he could of picked any number of GOOD speakers, like Billy Graham or Gandhi but he chose the scary ones… what is going on in his head?

  3. Eric says


    “For his part, Bishop Robinson, who in December said he had shared his feelings of betrayal privately with the Obama team about the choice of Mr. Warren, now praises the final ministerial lineup.

    “I’d be the last person in the world to say that Rick Warren should be excluded,” Bishop Robinson said in an interview this week. “Frankly, I think it is a magnificent, symbolic statement that Rick Warren and I will be praying for the new president and the nation. I think that’s fantastic.”

    I’m beginning to really believe the whole world has lost its collective mind. Is this a political maneuver by Robinson? Is there something we don’t already know that’s going to be sprung upon us on inaugeration day?

  4. Rick in Ohio says

    I’m against using words like “crazy”, “insane”, and “delusional” because 1) it’s too easy and 2) mental illness is serious stuff, but what else can possibly describe this?

    I just looked up “appease”:

    …to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.

    We (the United States and all other nations) should not be appeasing these people. (Looking right at you, Barack.)

  5. rayrayj says

    What a megalomaniacal nutjob. Hopefully all that lard has overworked his heart to the point he’ll meet Jesus before Tuesday.

  6. Derrick from Philly says

    Y’all know how much I love our new President, and I defended his decision to invite this wretched preaching pig to give the invocation on Tuesday; but President Obama must be saying to himself (or Michele), “What the hell was I thinking?”

    It’s all right–Warren is bound to make a fool of himself on Monday or Tuesday or soon. I don’t think he’s very smart. He’s what they used to call a “confidence man”.

  7. says

    Apply his “Whatever It Takes” mantra to civil rights and maybe we’re getting somewhere.

    One problem with radical (his word) fundamentalists is that they don’t really follow Jesus; they follow their cult leaders with Hitleresque egos who spew hate and nonsense.

  8. PM says

    I wouldn’t normally use such written language, but : UNholy shit !

    On the negative side – this is just the level of creepy that reaches all across the Atlantic ocean to freak us out even in the UK.

    On the positive side – surely this is approaching camel-back-breaking levels of straw?
    If this story goes mainstream and STILL doesn’t get Warren uninvited, then I’m not sure what more it would take short of him wearing a Nazi uniform to go kitten-kicking.

  9. noah says


    You know the reason why the press won’t touch it: Warren’s a white, Right-wing conservative. They’re expected to say racist, sexist, and homophobic B.S.

    As much as Right-wingers say they hate “Commies,” they love the tactics of authoritarian dictators:
    1. Secret Prisons? Check!
    2. Torture? Check!
    3. Absolute party loyalty? Check!
    4. Extreme nationalism? Check!
    5. Political persecution/prosecution? Check!

    Look at how Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh have made millions dispensing hate. They all are invited to speak amongst “good Americans” about their beliefs. Coulter can call for forced conversions of Jews and Muslims to Christianity or call John Edwards a fag but she will never have to worry about not getting an invitation to appear on NBC’s Today Show.

    How any decent person could call upon another to act like the minions of Hitler, Lenin/Stalin, or Mao is breath-taking in disrespect for the MILLIONS who died under the boot of some 20th Century’s worst dictators is astoundingly twisted.

    Satan and crew must be having a Hell of laugh.


    Also, the Reverend Wright may have said some stupid things, but the guy had a long history of being a progressive who supported gay rights, including marriage.

  10. Jay says

    What. The. Fudge.

    @ Eric: Robinson, IMO, is just playing his cards smart. No attacking, just grab the talking point of togetherness and then let actions speak louder than words.

  11. Alex says

    Does Godwin’s Law apply when someone compares their own side to the Nazis? Looks like we may need a Warren Corollary. And what do the good people at Ebenezer Baptist Church think about this rhetoric?

    I can think of other dedicated people who changed the world. Dr. King and those around him. Ghandi. And those are just the easy ones.

    I honestly cannot fathom why he’d choose Hitler in this situation.

  12. Woodroad34 says

    It’s, frankly, apropos that ‘Dick’ Warren should invoke Nazi practices. Remember the documentary “Jesus Camp” ( The indoctrination scene where the woman screams at the kid? I went through the same thing as a kid in my aunt’s Baptist church in Michigan. I had nightmares for years afterward. They use Jesus as a thin veneer to cover their hatred and small values–there is no concept in their minds of who Jesus really is. It’s power, cult status, being a star, media whoredom, and ego. This is a window into Warrne’s soul. No Christianity there. He’s a snake oil salesman and a pharisee (you know someone that Jesus fought against).

  13. Br!on says

    Ok, I’m just curious, because everyone is concentrating on the Rick Warren side of this arguement. But what exactly does this say about our future president?

    I like Obama. But, this is a serious blunder. And one that kicks off a presidency.

    Can someone justify this choice?

  14. says

    I can’t take the media exposure of these hate-mongering douchebag liars anymore. It’s making me so jaded that I think everyone I have to do business with is most likely an untrustworthy liar… I hate this…

  15. christopher says

    Not only does he look a bit like Jerry Falwell in this picture, but he really sounds like the old windbag. Uh oh, do we have the reincarnation of Falwell here? Shit.

  16. TANK says

    Gene Robinson is a perfect example of a so-called religious moderate protecting and defending religious zealotry and intolerance. He is without impact or effect, and the only significant thing about him is his orientation which catapulted him into global consciousness when he was ordained. The ordination of a gay man was significant, not who that gay man happened to be.

    Religious moderates are a part of the problem with their inconsistent criticism of fundamentalism, praise of fundamentalist leaders and willingness to work alongside them in spreading the message of their SHARED faith. They are just as much a part of the problem of religion as the exploitative huckster preachers.

    Is this surprising in the least? Rick Warren is an uneducated slob whose congregants are mostly constituted of malleable, prejudiced, fearful and superstitious people. The scary part is that many think that these tactics and a subsequent christian holy war would be a blessing and sign of the end of days…they simply have no regard for this planet, its inhabitants and this life.

  17. christopher says

    Not only does he look a bit like Jerry Falwell in this picture, but he really sounds like the old windbag. Uh oh, do we have the reincarnation of Falwell here? Shit.

  18. Derrick from Philly says

    “But what exactly does this say about our future president?”

    Well, BRION, it says that President Obama is a politician who thought he was making a politically smart move by inviting a neo-conservative, white evangelist to give the invocation at his inauguration. It was to reassure white conservatives that SlimJim is not a “Manchurian Muslim Candidate” created by Al Queda decades ago to take over our Blessed America.

    It was a mistake. But it seems that the only Americans who are outraged by this mistake are gay people and some Liberal Democrats who support gay people’s civil rights. Most of the our Blessed America doesn’t seem concerned.

    We shall overcome the President’s mistake.

    (and if I spelled Al Queda wrong again, most Americans don’t care)

  19. Dave says

    “Pastor” Warren is not the first prominent evangelical to reference Hitler. “Pastor” Hagee, Senator McCain’s former spiritual adviser, made a bizarre statement about Hitler as a great “hunter of Jews” before he was discarded by the republican campaign. (Hagee was referring to the establishment of Israel, but entirely as an agent of his own salvation).

    As a Jew, as a gay man, I find these references INCREDIBLY painful and bizarre. My mother’s relatives in Lithuania, around 30 people, were murdered by the Nazis. The United States fought a devastating war against fascism to end that criminal ideology in Europe. How many people were tortured or killed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution?

    “Pastor” Warren must come from the same fascist ideology. Can’t these idiots find some other metaphor – maybe in the bible – to spew? It’s incredible that they have the chutzpa to equate Christianity with the Third Reich!

  20. clint says

    This is unsurprising in the least. Those who are surprised have not been paying attention. This type of thinking and theology is so pervasive and so culturally ingrained in some areas of the country as to go unnoticed and unchecked because it’s assumed. But this type of thinking is poisonous, and there must be found a way to counter it without, at the same time, allowing these loons to put on the mantle of intellectual and cultural martyrdom, which is a big part of how we all got to this point in the first place.
    Hosea Ballou and the Universalist movement in the 19th cent. came the closest to doing just that because he and his folk, unlike their cousins the Unitarians, were working class Christians instead of upper-class intellectuals. I would recommend any one of you take a look at Carlton Pearson’s books to find out what happens when a modern fundamentalist leader (Oral Roberts’ left-hand man) becomes convicted (in both senses of the word!) of Universalism. The evangelical outrage is caustic and extreme.
    Those with the stomach and the heart MUST re-engage with the Rick Warrens of the world, and MUST have the ammunition of hundreds of years of tradition and belief behind them, and life and writings of such luminaries such as Ballou, William Channing and Joseph Priestley in their heads and on their lips, or this will go unchecked.
    The New Atheists are winning some hearts and minds, the Buddhists others, the liberal Christians like Spong and Borg, yet others; but there is yet more light to be shone on this, and this time, one that appeals to more than the well-read must be found or the situation will only get worse.
    And we’re just talking evangelical Protestant fundamentalisms. What about the Catholic or Orthodox? Hmmmm…

  21. paul c says

    It’s not that Obama is a typical, calculating, two-faced politician…he just wasn’t aware of what Warren was like.

    More HOPE and CHANGE you can believe in.

  22. Dave says

    Clint, I’m not a Buddhist (not yet anyway), but whats your beef with an entirely different, non-middle eastern, cultural root – unless you are referring to Buddhist Theocracy in Asia? Please expound.

  23. Dave says

    Ah, Clint I re-read your post and think I see that you are SUPPORTING “The New Atheists …, the Buddhists …, the liberal Christians like Spong and Borg.”

    OK, I get it, just a bit confused after Robinson, a protege of Spong, was earlier called on the carpet. Peace.

  24. Celia says

    The only way I can spin Obama’s selection of Rick Warren right now as a good thing is if Warren was chosen to thrust him into the limelight and encourage people to dig up this dirt on him that would otherwise go unreported. But I don’t know if this is why Warren was chosen, since I don’t live in Obama’s head. So he might really be thinking that this choice is bridging some gap somehow. In which case, I find it hard to sympathise with his ideas.

  25. nikko says

    In other words, Warren wants a christian theocracy-typical christian teaching. He used the evil dictators as an example of fervent devotion to one’s leader-in this case, Jesus Christ. We all want a good world minus the dictatorship.

  26. Dave says

    I’ve also got to say that this white gay Jew-boy never totally understood why Reverend Wright got kicked to the curb – besides politics – and understands the tradition and purpose of “Jeremiad” preaching by anyone – especially minorities – to criticize the status-quo and express the profound hope for a better society for all.

    I’m not proud of *everything* America is or does: are you? I’m still proud (the last 8 years were tough) to be an American.

  27. JJ says

    Posted by: christopher | Jan 16, 2009 1:09:46 PM

    You are exactly right. This is all about politics. It was definitely a miscalculation, Obama is trying to steer down the middle and try to bring people who are a little further to the right into the tent. This is how he gets a second term.

    The problem is, now that he has invited this fat loser, he can’t un-invite him lest he rankle the right and the mistake blows up even worse than it has.

    Obama isn’t even in office yet and he had to spend his day yesterday lobbying the house to get the second half of the TARP money released. There are hefty demands for his political capital.

    Gene Robinson is a very smart guy who has been managing the middle for a long time. It is documented that he and Obama have had a number of personal discussions, so I would’t be surprised if they’ve discussed this one.

    Billy Graham is profoundly anti-gay, but he is also smart enough to keep his mouth shut. These evangelicals are all the same. They are the current face of bigotry.

    The real question is going to be whether we ever see Rick Warren in the presence of Obama after the inauguration.

  28. JJ says

    Ooops – picked up the name before my post, not after. Intended to concur with: Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 16, 2009 1:09:48 PM

  29. Jeffrey says

    I wonder if Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow
    will run with this?
    Warren should have been dis-invited because of his rabid anti-gay prop 8 support.
    But he wasn’t.
    Then he should have been dis-invited over his support for rapid anti-gay nut jobs in Africa.
    But he wasn’t.
    If he doesn’t get dis-invited for holding up Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, and Mao as terrific motivational speakers then I give up.

  30. jimmyboyo says


    something few actually talk about is the xtianity of Hitler

    See, it all comes around in a circle.

    Hitler’s quotes are very specific in his xtianity

    “My lord and saviour dictate I war against the secular and the jew.” Hitler-Berlin

    etc blah etc blah etc blah

    I am never surprised when right wing xtians mention hitler/nazis because they are just being true to form. Heck, there are tons and tons of pics of lutheran and catholic priests daily blessing the SS etc

    Anyway: we would be much better off if their were no priests, preachers, rabbis, mulahs, imans, budhist monks, whatever involved with the inauguration.

    The oath is to uphold and protect the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic not some religous book.

  31. Brandon says

    2 comments. I don’t think anyone in the Obama administration had seen or heard all of Rick Warren’s stuff. He’s known for his book not this. If this stuff had been found earlier, I’d bet he wouldn’t be speaking.

    And Jimmyboyo: what’s your issue with Buddhist monks? Do you know anything about Buddhism or are you just lumping all religions together?

  32. MAJeff says


    I’d agree with Jimmyboyo’s lumping all religions together in the context of his statement, which I read as a call for a secular, wholly non-religious ceremony. I’d be in favor of that as well. Some of us would actually like to rebuild and reinforce the wall of separation between religion and state. For me, that would include no religious actors in civil ceremonies (I’d even go so far as to not allow clergy to certify civil marriage contracts), and no special offices for “faith-based programs.”

  33. Brandon says

    Majeff: thanks for the response although I’ll still leave it Jimmyboyo to let me know what he meant.

    I’m not sure that a purely secular ceremony is necessarily better, but I don’t have an issue with one either.

    I do think that your vision of wall between church and state is new and not a rebuilding. The architects of this republic were all religious men and I think their intent was to avoid creating a state religion. This makes sense in light of English history– particularly the battles between the Church of England and the Catholic Church. That’s very different than removing any trace of religion from public life.

    At the end of the day, just because Rick Warren is loco doesn’t mean that there’s nothing useful to be gained by spiritual/religious speakers. King & Gandhi were religious men. Were they still with us, I hope they’d be allowed to participate in public events.

  34. jimmyboyo says

    brandon I was being general in my denunciation of religious figures taking an active role in the inauguration.


    Siddhārtha Gautama (later titled the buddha)

    1- Left his wife and son to pursue “enlightenment”. leaving a wife husband-less in a society that did not treat such women well = SELFISH shirking of responsibility. The myth man should have fulfilled his responsibility and then after his wife’s death gone to seek “enlightenment”

    2- specifically condemned the act of homosexuality. the myth man taught that homosexuals were female souls reincarnated into male bodies and the sexual act of homosexuality was a bad thing that would result in a lower reincarnation if acted upon

    3- the supposed teachings of the buddha were ALL ORAL for close to 400 yrs before being written down. 400 yrs after his supposed existence. A lot of time for a lot of myth and foolishness to be created (xtianity , judaism, all religions have almost the same exact problem)

    Anyway; anti-materialism was not new to the supposed myth man buddha. Just like the golden rule for xtianity was not original to xtianity. Just like monotheism was not original to the jews….etc

    One could even argue from a buddhist perspective that all modern day buddhist monks are far from the supposed buddha’s teachings by venerating the buddha to begin with as vs turning within to find enlightenment and accepting no teachers/ sources of wisdom outside of one’s self.

    This is not to solely denigrate the particular myth of buddhism. ALL religions are myths and lacking in historical evidence for their supposed beginings and beliefs = judaism, islam, xtianity, hinduism, buddhism, etc etc etc

  35. jimmyboyo says

    PS Brandon

    The architects of our nation were not all religous men

    Thomas Jefferson wrote the freaking JEFFERSONIAN BIBLE that has NO miracles in it what so ever because he considered it all myth.

    Madison considered a government set up for the common good had NO NEED of cleregy

    Ben Franklin was an avowed agnostic and accused of heresy. blasphemy, and for being an atheist. He enjoyed going around denouncing cleregy and xtian myths.

    The constitution is based upon pagan bristish common law (predates the arrival of xtianity to british isles by centuries) + pagan iriquious nation confederation + germanic tribal law + pagan greco roman idesa of democracy

    The wall of separation as coined by Jefferson was “….to protect the government from religion.” due to his and the others seeing first hand in europe the evils perpetrated when religion gains control over secular power in government

  36. MAJeff says

    Brandon, also recall, though, that Jefferson refused to allow a chapel to be built on the campus of UVa. All 18 of the prayers at the Inauguration have taken place in the past 17 years (39 had no prayers). Part of the founder’s avoidance of entangling religion with the state involved providing absolutely no state funding for religious groups.

    The rise of the religious right in the past few decades has moved all political discourse toward the inclusion of more religion in politics. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on his Catholicism would guarantee he lost the presidency in 2008. We’re retreating from secularism.

  37. shane says

    Am I the only one who listened to this without prejudice? JUST AS EVIL HAS BEEN MOBILIZED BY FORCE OF WILL IN THE PAST, SO SHOULD WE COMMIT OUR WILL TO THE WAYS OF GOOD AND ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS. Isn’t that what he said? Seriously. Listen again.

  38. TANK says

    Wheel of samsara, homophobia, gender roles…all practiced by buddhists. It’s all the same garbage. The only difference worth mentioning is demonstrable harm that can be caused. Jains don’t cause any harm…their insane false beliefs are repugnant to rational people as are the beliefs of any religion/cult whatever, but they don’t cause harm.

    As to brandon’s insistence that the separation of church and state is a NEW idea and that the founding fathers were all deeply religious men, if you want information behind what you say (for example, ben franklin was basically an atheist and Thomas Jefferson was no christian…), start with a history book, and then move on to some biographies. Thomas Jefferson worshipped hellenistic philosophers and roman orators and poets more than any christian deity.

    As to the separation of church and state, we see this in the antiestablishment clause and also the specific writings of Thomas Jefferson. It is a deeply held value that predates this xtian reconstructive history in which the founding fathers were all prostrate in church wailing to jesus for salvation. This tradition is as old as this republic, and is confirmed in the federalist papers, and many supreme court rulings.

  39. jimmyboyo says


    lets do so and what do we see???

    We see a message totally opposite to Obama’s message of acomplishing good things.

    Warren top down even if the top is a myth while Obama at least verbally proclaims from the bottom up to promote good

  40. TANK says

    No, Shane, but you are perhaps one of the only commenters who listened to this without a…brain. As a cultural jew (yeah, it’s bullshit–but apparently I’m a jew on a technicality…ha ha), I’m particuarly offended in light of warren’s antisemitism, and then coopting the REICH tactics to spread that message…it’s despicable.

  41. jimmyboyo says

    Let me add in some fun trivia about good old ben

    He was denounced and ridiculed as an agent of the devil for his lightning rods. he designed lightning rods to protect homes and farms from burning down due to a strike.

    The cleregy all considered such acts of “g-d” and to put up one of Franklin’s lightning rods an act of blasphemy against the supposed divine will.

    It didn’t take long for the fools to see that those who used the rods to protect their homes and farms didn’t suffer anymore fires from strikes while churches (generally being the tallest building in town with their steeples) were burning down right and left from gawddddsss divine lightning strikes.

    The cleregy buckled under to Ben’s science and started putting up rods as quickly as they could all the while never tanking good old ben. Instead they continued to denounce him as a heretic and blasphemer.


  42. MAJeff says

    ***The cleregy buckled under to Ben’s science and started putting up rods as quickly as they could***

    Too bad….

  43. Brandon says

    Jimmyboyo: that is a very interesting and, I would argue, highly incorrect view of Buddhism. First, there are many different sects of Buddhism and you’ve just lumped them all together. Second, you conflate the Buddha with Buddhism. That’s a serious mistake. Buddhists don’t pray to the Buddha (who is simply considered an enlightened person). Third, you haven’t mentioned anything about core Buddhist philosophies. Compassion, loving-kindness. You just left those out. I’ll leave it at that because there’s no way to have a true discussion about this issue on TRoad.

    In conclusion, IMHO it’s unfortunate to be so dismissive Buddhism or any faith. It is possible that you could learn something useful.

  44. jimmyboyo says

    LOL Tank

    “As a cultural jew (yeah, it’s bullshit–but apparently I’m a jew on a technicality…ha ha)”

    not a jew jere due to a technicality. My maternal grandfather is the jewish genetic line in the family as vs maternal grandmother. Oh, if bubby was the Jew as vs gramps then………….

    But it does explain my love of motza and gefeltifish


    passover meals are my fave though i’m considered the goy in the room despite gramps genes and I don’t hold much value in the myths.

    technicalities :-)

  45. jimmyboyo says


    You are confusing western interpretations of buddhism with eastern buddhism from whence you spring

    The majority of eastern buddhists due venerate the buddha to such an extent that it could be considered worship by offering dishes of food to his statues, having statues, heck even incoporating local pagan deities and prayers to them that predated budhism’s arrival

    Western versions of eastern myths are always sanitized to the point that they do not truly resemble the eastern original. For example western re-incarnation doesn’t teach like eastern version that one can be born to a lower form like a bug for current acts. That is too messy for the west so it is never part of western version

  46. MAJeff says

    It’s also possible, Brandon, that all of the woo accompanying religious faith gets in the way of recognizing compassion as a basic human experience and value by attributing it to something beyond humanity.

    “Spirituality” seems to be little more than attributing extreme emotional experiences to something outside the human experiencing them. No need, no use.

  47. Ian says

    It’s unsurprising Warren would say something controversial and repulsive in the days before the inauguration. It’s a win-win for him and lose-lose for Obama. If Warren gets dis-invited he’d claim victim hood, that a “secularist” President is opposed to “christians” and rally his base for money and support. If he remains invited then he can claim “Christians” like him have the real power because Obama was too weak to stand up to him. He may also deliver a truly revolting prayer which Obama will have to renounce thereby rallying Warrens base. Warren also secures that attention will be on him, not on Obama. So what ever happens, Warren wins and Obama looses. That’s a good lesson for Obama, unreasonable people cannot be reasoned with. Obama took a chance at playing with fire and got burned.

  48. TANK says

    Ah, yes. Well, it does need to originate from the maternal side. It’s the only religion I’m aware of that you can’t renounce no matter how much I literally don’t believe in any of it…so there’s a silver lining to your predicament, jimmyboyo.

    Jew food’s peasant food. It’s good, though…some of it, anyway. I can’t do gafilte fish or creamed picked herring or any of the other disgusting “delicacies” featured at obnoxious family get togethers with my orthodox grandparents and the rest of them. However, my favorite food’s nova on a bialy.

  49. Brandon says

    Tank: Sigh . . . I did not say that separation of church and state was a new idea. I said that the vision of this sort of bright line where no religious figures can even participate in state functions isn’t what was intended.

    Since we’re quoting Jefferson, Jefferson wrote:

    No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested . . . but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.” (That’s different from suggesting that you cannot have a religious figure even participate in an event.)

    As for Jefferson not being religious:

    In his 2nd inaug address he said:

    “I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations.”

    He also wrote:

    “I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its conscience to neither kings or priests, the genuine doctrine of only one God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian.”

    I actually have read works on Jefferson. He was a complicated man, but to suggest that he wasn’t religious at all is a bit much. And, it supports my point that while a statesman like Jefferson didn’t want religion corrupting government or want state mandated religion, he had some sort of faith in a higher power.

  50. Brandon says

    Jimmyboyo: I think I said in my post that you’ve lumped all Buddhist sects into one pot. By drawing a distinction between east and west, you’ve actually PROVEN my point. Of course that raises a fundamental question as to what constitutes ANY religion. What is Christianity? Hinduism? What is the core? Bishop Robinson said his deity is different from Rick Warren’s. Bottom line: by simply dismissing religion in its entirety in the way that you appear to do, means you can’t even take whatever positive message or perspective it may bring.

    Majeff: it’s funny because the first book on Buddhism that I read was Waging War in Times of Peace by Pema Chodron. In that book, this Buddhist nun wasn’t talking about compassion as something outside human experience. Her point is that compassion is core to the human experience. A spiritual/transformative experience for me was actually having the tools and framework to forgive a friend who had done something REALLY hurtful– which he acknowledged he’d done. Years before the same thing had happened and I dealt with it totally differently. And when I realized I was in a different place, for me that was spiritual. It had nothing to do with prayer. It had nothing to do with a supreme being. It was being able to see the world, and him, and me, and what happened in a whole new light.

    Believe, don’t believe. Whatever. I just think the categorical, generalized dismissal of religion or people of faith doesn’t do any good.

  51. Brandon says

    Tank: one more thing. You said, “Wheel of samsara, homophobia, gender roles…all practiced by buddhists. It’s all the same garbage.”

    So there’s nothing worthy in Buddhism because of homophobia and the conceptions of gender roles for some Buddhists? Hmmm. Last time I checked their were people of all faiths that were biased. I hope that you’re not arguing that atheists or agnostics are devoid of prejudice. I’m pretty sure that’s empirically false. The implication behind your statement would devalue atheism or agnosticism by linking the actions of one to either philosophy. We could also draw a generalization about gay people based upon the behavior of some.

    Yeah, the guys in Burma are ostensibly Buddhist but they slaughtered monks. I’m not arguing that Buddhists are perfect or Buddhism is perfect. However, let’s not assume that we cannot learn anything from any religion.

  52. TANK says

    MAJeff’s vision is new, you claimed, being to purge the inagural of official religious invocations and whatnot. Immediately proceeding that was your claim that the founding fathers were all religous men, and desired to avoid a state religion. Aside from the founding fathers all being religious men…false…the other part is true, but additionally, if you have read the correspondence between Jefferson and the dansbury baptists referring the antiestablishment and free exercise clauses, respectively, as establishing a wall separating church from state–you would know that intent is contested. That, specifically, it would not include having an evangelical pastor deliver the invocation COULD come from the fact that as president, Jefferson never issued a prayer of thanks…not a single declaration. Madison, however, wanted a separation of church and state powerful enough to exclude any religious figure from having any official role in the inauguration–so perhaps it can be argued to mean that, too. And given the circumstances of the rise of fundamentalism and the weakened state of the separation–which both madison and jefferson would definitely decry–perhaps it is even more relevant to ban the likes of rick warren and any religious person from having an official role.

    Perhaps another reason to support the view that, particularly, Jefferson would have believed that the separation clause would apply to RIck warren would be that rick warren has and does favor dissolving the separation, an act which jefferson might think treasonous.

    To purge the inauguration of religion enitrely, however, is discretionary [in fact] as it is symbolic.

    I’m not suggesting that jefferson wasn’t religious at all, merely that he wasn’t christian, and did not worship the christian god. the deist bible is not a christian bible, and he was far more impressed with the works of ovid, plato and aristotle–which he grew up reading–than the bible, which he considered poorly written garbage.

    “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

    “…difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a common censor over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.”

    “I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.”

    “I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.”

    “They [preachers]dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live.”

  53. TANK says

    If a single person has suffered due to buddhist teachings and beliefs (of any and all sects), and they would not have if not for those beliefs about the way the world is, then it is void no matter how many “worthy” happy feelings one gets when reading it, or sects which ARE indirectly implicated by virtue of being buddhist in said depraved indifference and bloodshed and misery. Further, if you were to just focus on the things that please you or that you find worthy of buddhism, then that is not buddhism; for to do that you must ignore most of it. There is simply no reason to believe in any of it for buddhism is as baseless a religion (as are ALL of its sects) as any other, and provides no evidence for any of its claims. Clearly the good that is attributed to buddhism can be and IS performed without it, but if actual harm is attributed to these beliefs (and it is), then it’s not worth the price of entry. The entire religion is not worth a SINGLE person suffering for a second.

    Faiths that do cause harm and are toxic in their messages of division and bigotry regardless of how many nice aspects there are to them– are unethical. I’m not singling out buddhism here. There are secular ethics that cannot possibly be linked to harm acting upon their prescriptions and yet also have good reasons to believe in their specific guidelines…unlike even “harmless” religions like jainism which do not have any good reason to sign up and have faith.

    “I hope that you’re not arguing that atheists or agnostics are devoid of prejudice.”

    There is not a single act of violence that can be traced to the lack of religious belief (atheism). The cunard the likes of dinesh d’souza uses that Stalin (who worshipped himself) and Mao were atheists does not account for the violence they perpetuated–which had NOTHING to do with their atheism. I mean, d’sleeza’s tactics seemed to have rubbed off on religious gays…which is odd. There isn’t any way that one can possibly correlate atheism (the lack of religious faith) to violence and harm…as it is not a philosophical outlook; not a belief about the way the world is, even…it is simply understanding that any suffering anywhere is inconsistent with a benevolent creator, an that for one to be rational, one must accord one’s beliefs to the EVIDENCE.

  54. Brandon says

    Tank: ok so to say that they were “all” religious men was not exact, but you cited Jefferson’s not being a Christian to rebut my point about them being religious. I was simply showing that Jefferson was a person of faith in some sense.

    The initial post about which I speaking talked about rebuilding a wall. To me it seemed to suggest that there was some sort of impenetrable wall. What I am trying to do is challenge the notion that there WAS some impenetrable, CONSTITUTIONAL wall between church and state such that having a religious figure speak necessarily breaches the wall.

    Your post suggests that there was debate about the height of the church/state wall– and that’s partly my point.

    I’m not making a normative argument about whether there SHOULD be the type of division that many propose. I like the fact that you actually cite historical sources in our dialogue. I was pointing out that it was a bit ahistorical to argue for the separation of church and state by suggesting that this is how it always was in the past. If you want to argue that things SHOULD be separate that’s one argument, but history demonstrates that there wasn’t a golden era where “religion” never appeared in public events. I’m not going to go down the Supreme Court rabbit hole, but there is certainly a very lively debate as to what the Constitution says about the separation of church and state.

    You want to prevent Rick Warren from speaking: ok. I do think your point about possibly banning any religious person from having an official role is an interesting one. How far does that go? Is it the mere presence of a publicly identifiable religious personality? Is it the content? If Rick Warren doesn’t actually “pray”, do we have an issue?

  55. caton9ntails says

    Smug, isn’t he?
    He’s showing his people. especially the kids, that he has the POTUS under his little finger.
    I’m tired of this kind of entertainment, but it’s like watching a train wreck: horrific as it is I can’t take my eyes off it.

  56. MAJeff says

    Brandon, your final question is a bit disingenjous. Obama himself is a religious man, while maybe not a religious figure (we can argue the semantics between those terms). I don’t want to speak for Tank, but from my perspective: there should be no invocation or benediction. We’re supposed to have a secular state. The imposition of religious activity into state activities is a violation of that separation, and the use of an invocation and a benediction in a special state ceremony definitely violates that principle. Having them on stage, probably not so much, but having them take part in the ceremony in an explicitly religious position definitely does. Their actions are making the ceremony a religious one. So, yeah, I take issue.

    And, as an atheist, I know I am probably rejected to a greater degree by my “fellow” citizens than I am as a gay man. Hell, Shrubby’s daddy said it was probably acceptable to consider me a non-citizen, and recent polling data has showed that group to be the least trusted, least respected social group in the country–Americans like gays and Muslims more than atheists.

    The reaction to the rise of the religious right has been to say, “We need more of a religious left!” How about, we need less religious discourse in our politics? What “God/Allah/Rama/whatever” wants is absolutely worthless as a political statement. Demonstrate for me the deity’s existence, show me their citizenships status, and get it to make a statement about it’s policy preferences, and maybe I’ll listen. We live in this world, and only this world matters.

    In the broader society, however, believing in woo, no matter what kind, is what matters. Those of us who reject that woo are rejected as members of the nation. Hell, even those of us who may not reject all the woo, but who desire a strongly secular government with a solid separation between the religion and the state are deemed traitors or militants, and bad people either way. Rejecting woo–be it Christianity or homeopathy–renders us total outsiders.

  57. Brandon says

    Tank: I just read your comments about Buddhism. For someone engaging in argument, you’ve taken very extreme views. You’ve again lumped the entire religion into one mass– which ignores differences in belief. You’ve also said that there is no evidence for it’s claims. Wow. So there is nothing in Buddhism that’s “true.” Ok, so one of the four reminders is that human existence is precious/finite. Are you arguing that there is no evidence for that claim? Human existence is infinite?

    And there’s not a single act of violence that can be traced to the lack of religious beliefs? That’s a huge generalization. You accused me of being incorrect when I made an overgeneralization earlier, but I think you’ve gone much further than me. How can you actually prove something like that?

    There are so many assumptions in what you’ve posted that, that it would take a while to unpack them. I’ll just mention a couple. You say that atheism “is simply understanding that any suffering anywhere is inconsistent with a benevolent creator.” I actually AGREE with you that there isn’t a benevolent creator. But, I know plenty of people that see suffering as totally consistent with a benevolent creator. Accordingly, atheism isn’t merely an understanding. It’s a perspective. To assert “that atheism isn’t a belief about they way world is” cannot be true. It is a belief. It’s a belief, some would argue, that what you see is all that there is OR that there is no supreme being. I don’t think that there is, but I sure as hell can’t prove that there isn’t.

    You also assert that Buddhism is void if one person is worse off than they would have been if they “if not for those beliefs about the way the world is.” That’s quite an assumption. It assumes that your opinion about what does or does not make something void is correct. And, if 100 million people are better off and only person is worse off, is it STILL void? There are a lot of people that would take issue with that assumption.

    And can’t you make the same argument about atheism? Can’t I argue that if one person is worse off because the atheist belief/perspective about the way the world is that atheism is void.

    The funny thing about this is that one of the things the Buddha is purported to have said is test what I’m saying which supports empiricism. (You seem to be a fan of that.) One of the other very useful perspectives in Buddhism is of course, the nature of perspective and reality. Generally, very few things ARE true. Many things are the result of perspective. You are taking positions and trying to assert them as fact based upon other underlying assumptions that can be challenged and broken down.

    So while I may agree with your conclusions, I also have the perspective to see that your assertions are based upon perspective– as are mine.

    That said, one fact is that I’ve enjoyed this discussion. I’m happy to be able to engage in exchange of ideas without resorting to name calling which happens too often on here. Unfortunately, I gotta go. Good night & Good Karma :)

  58. TANK says

    It is true that atheists are some of the most reviled people in american society. The hostility is explained by general ignorance of what atheism is fomented by the propaganda and empty rhetoric of believers.

    I can tell you that there will be a gay president before an atheist president. Er, rather…since we’ve had both…there will be an OUT gay president before there will be an out atheist president.

    The woowoo realm! I haven’t read that term in a while.

    Well, let’s have an normative discussion about whether or not rick warren or any religious figure should, in the capacity of their religious role, be allowed to take part in the inauguration.

    One argument comes down to who funds the inauguration. Rick Warren is not everyone’s pastor, and tax dollars fund the show. Thus, the use of tax funds to include and support an inauguration in which a religious figure is giving a specifically religious invocation is tacit endorsement of that figure’s religious values and those expressed in the invocation.

    But let’s have a more interesting argument. Let’s bring up the fact that Rick Warren and his ilk have been implicated in spreading bigotry against lgbt americans which manifests in increased hate crimes against these respective communities under the guise of religious values. Additionally, does it behoove the united states to give such a position of honor and distinction to a religious person, thus endorsing the irrationality that represents the bells and whistles of that person’s specific faith? I don’t think so. We don’t need to respect irrationality, nor encourage it through such means. And let’s be honest, religion is all about the miracles (at least the abrahamic faiths)…for one doesn’t need jesus in their life to be empathetic.

  59. caton9ntails says

    Smug, isn’t he?
    He’s showing his people. especially the kids, that he has the POTUS under his little finger.
    I’m tired of this kind of entertainment, but it’s like watching a train wreck: horrific as it is I can’t take my eyes off it.

  60. TANK says

    To say, brandon, that that is a “buddhist claim” is to say that before Jesus, there was no such thing as ethics… The fact that it is a claim buddhist’s make is incidental and thus not what buddhism is…that claim, in isolation, is not equivalent to buddhism…and once again, if a person suffered under the banner of buddhism (there is no TRUE buddhist faith just as there is no true christian faith…all of them claim to be in possession of the true faith, and none of them could POSSIBLY resolve this), it invalidates all of it…you have blood on your hands even if you are of a different sect for appealing to the same texts and upholding similar traditions. I could go into greater detail, but I’ve this conversation so many times during the course of my life–and given the venue–that it’s hardly worth it anymore. The only interest I have now in the philosophy of religion is debating the technical points of logical contortions with hardcore theists…it’s fun to make them squirm. As to atheism in the public square, that is a moral obligation in my view…not entertainment.

  61. Brandon says

    Majeff: (Ok I took one more peek before heading out). As I said with Tank, I’ve enjoyed our discussion. I agree that there is too much hating on the atheists. I think there’s a lot of hating on the religious folks too. What I want is world where people can believe and not believe as they see fit and can coexist. One my coworkers is an evangelical Christian. People assumed she was anti-gay marriage, etc. When someone actually talked to her about it, she said that she doesn’t even think religion has a role in the discussion and that she’s all for gay marriage because marriage is a civil right. There’s just too much assuming. I say that to say that you can be religious and be fully behind the principle that your beliefs don’t need to dictate what happens in a public sphere. Anyway, good night :)

  62. jimmyboyo says

    Back from watching BSG on a coldddddddddddd winter night. Way too cold to head out to a bar.


    “..peasant food..” LOL The other side of the family is corn bread and collard greens which I love as well. Peasant foods are always the best feel good foods.


    You do understand that the so-called buddha’s teachings weren’t even written down till 400 yrs after his supposed existence. 400 years is a long time to rely on oral tradition. Why base your entire world view on the supposed teachings of someone who might or might not have existed (more likely many different figures that over 400 yrs of oral tradition became 1 person. Teachings who main claim to fame/ beneficial core value = anti-materialism isn’t even original to it.


    Yeah, atheists always get the short end of the stick.

    Anyway; my original post was about not being surprised at warren the snake oil salesman citing hitler. It was also about having no religous figures directly involved with the inauguration. Spectators like the rest of us? By all means but no official parts.

    The ideal situation would be taking the oath “…to uphold and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” with a hand on a glass case actually containing the constitution. It is what it is all about as vs upholding and defending some myth book. What better way to unite america than by the constitution that binds us all together no matter who or what we are.

  63. MAJeff says

    **** “…to uphold and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” with a hand on a glass case actually containing the constitution.*****


    And then a feast with all of the best foods of Americans’ widely disparate traditions…bratwurts and pierogis and gefiltefish and lutefisk and sushi and pho and corbread and greens and chili and barbecue and stuffed-baked lobster and enchilada and clam chowder and alaskan king crab legs and smoked pacific salmon and Iowa chops and midwest corn on the cob and new england cranberries and washington apples and wines from napa and the columbia and beers from everywhere. Celebrate the *real* that makes the best of the nation. The real values, the real food, the real people. Work to overcome the ethnic/racial/religious differences and the imperial impulses. A call to our better selves.

  64. TANK says

    More appropriately, saying that life is finite is no more a uniquely and specifically buddhist claim than that mars’s atmosphere’s about 100 times less dense than earth’s a uniquely and specifically “nasa” claim…nor does it make any specifically and uniquely buddhist claim true.

  65. MAJeff says

    What can I say? I’m a fan of breaking bread together, and *conversing* while eating, really communicating…..

    The dinner table is one of the places of greatest multi-culti American. Yes, there’s an aspect of devouring and consuming the other without knowing them. But, dining with someone completely unknown…and really dining in a sense of coming together–breaking bread–it’s tacky but it’s also often a global exercise in hospitality (born on the back of women’s labor, admittedly)….

    As I’ve been writing this stuff, I’ve also been watching Michael Franti’s “I Know I’m Not Alone”

    Well worth it. (I”m going to be showing it this semester).

    I don’t need woo. I have food and music.

    Power to the Peaceful! And to the cooks!

  66. MAJeff says

    ****More appropriately, saying that life is finite is no more a uniquely and specifically buddhist claim than that mars’s atmosphere’s about 100 times less dense than earth’s a uniquely and specifically “nasa” claim…nor does it make any specifically and uniquely buddhist claim true.****[Damn, I wish there were some kind of blockquote or italic function on the commenting software]

    I made a similar statement in the Mars thread, where I posted a link to a picture of our Mars Lander taken while it was descending onto the planet by our Mars Orbiter. We were photographing our own activity from another planet. I’ll admit that this little ol’ atheist was so emotionally overwhelmed by that that I just started crying. It was so amazing to deal with how incredibly and how insignificant we are all in that moment. It was almost cathartic. Who needs woowoo when we’ve got science and the natural world and the universe surrounding us. The glorious connection of life that has occured via evolutionary processes is so much more majestic and wonderful than any fairy tales religious groups have come up with to explain it.

    Reality is pretty fucking awesome–in the original sense of the word.

  67. Brandon says

    1) Majeff: I experience the same awe as you did when I watched a NASA movie about trips to the moon. To realize that we are all on this ball of rock in a huge void, is majestic. I don’t have to believe in a supreme being for that.

    2) I never said that the claim about the finiteness of life was solely a Buddhist claim. I’m saying that the perspective contains things that are “true” and that because it’s true you cannot dismiss everything about Buddhism as you want to seem to want to do. You try to attack every point by saying that it isn’t solely Buddhist. Don’t other philosophies incorporate or refer to other philosophies? The notion that a philosophy is a portion of the Buddhist philosophy doesn’t make it make it non-Buddhist. Are you a democrat if you believe in some what is in the party platform, but not all of it?

    3) Jimmy: the Buddha isn’t a prophet. It appears he’s said some interesting things about the nature of reality and, more importantly, gotten other people to think about the nature of reality. You act like there’s no engagement with texts. Or people aren’t asking questions. It’s not like someone handed down ten commandments and that’s it. There is discussion among Buddhists about the true nature of Buddhism, what does it mean to be a Buddhist, etc. The philosophy/religion requires that level of engagement. Hell, there’s discussion about the Buddha said at all. Again, that doesn’t mean that the perspective has no value.

    4) Have any of you ever read a Buddhist text? If so, which one(s). I’m just fascinated how you’ve characterized every ‘sect’ of Buddhism and seem to know what it is. I mean Tank, you said that all religions, Buddhism included, seem to claim that is it the true faith. The Dalai Lama (one Buddhist) has said the people don’t have to be Buddhists. I’m not aware of Buddhists who say that their is the faith over other religions. What I see a lot of is, this is a useful framework. It’s useful for me, but there’s no attachment to one framework. And isn’t interesting that unlike many other religious figures, the consensus is Buddha said test what I’m saying and find something else if it doesn’t work:

    “Do not go by revelation or tradition, do not go by rumour, or the sacred scriptures, do not go by hearsay or mere logic, do not go by bias towards a notion or by another person’s seeming ability and do not go by the idea ‘He is our teacher’. But when you yourself know that a thing is good, that it is not blameble, that it is praised by the wise and when practised and observed that it leads to happiness, then follow that thing.” Does that sound like “woo?”

    I actually found a quote from some Jewish guy about Buddhism.

    “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both natural and spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual and a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.” Oh, the Jewish guy was Albert Einstein.

    5) I challenge you guys to read the first book I read, Waging War in Times of Peace by Pema Chodron and tell me if you think it’s all bs. I like to take good ideas and perspective from a variety of sources. Why limit yourselves by dismissing their entire that in hand. Don’t become a Buddhist. But at least take a look to see if it what you really think it is.

  68. TANK says

    All set here, thanks anyway. But to address 2., it’s just not a buddhist claim anymore than the mass energy equivalence is einstein’s claim…do you understand? One would expect only buddhists to make it if it were…but ya know, they don’t so it’s not…or if it were a buddhist claim of any kind, then it sure wouldn’t be true independently of buddhism…but that’s just silly talk. Not solely or any other way, actually.

    It’s a claim made by buddhists, maybe–but even christians can say things like the earth revolves around the sun and be christian…that’s incidental, though–and not what christianity is. And it’s not that buddhism contains a true proposition–for that proposition isn’t buddhism, or a buddhist proposition. That proposition isn’t somehow separate from buddhism…itself subject to its own evaluation. The simple fact is that you haven’t shown that the claims of buddhism are true or supported by any evidence by providing a claim that simply isn’t buddhist, viz., that life is finite…

    These are trivial little mistakes like the ones that christians make about revelation and prediction…”well, it’s true…though…the bible predicted it and it happened! therefore, the bible’s right!…” C’mon, brandon, don’t make it so easy for people to disagree.

  69. TANK says

    To send this home even more…there’s no “my fact!” No ownership of the truth or the case…the truth is the truth is the truth…and it’s the same across the universe for all and every thing and person. It applies to everyone, and there’s no such thing as “realities”–only reality. SO there’s no such thing as a buddhist “fact”–there are, however, facts about buddhism– like life is finite…to say that it’s not “solely” a buddhist fact is basically to say the same thing–but with some wishful thinking attached to it that the claims of buddhism are somehow justified by evidence, which none of the buddhist claims are. To this, I’m done.

  70. Brandon says

    Tank: I understand your point, but I disagree. I think you’ve made an unstated assumption. You’ve assumed that if something was a Buddhist claim only Buddhists should espouse or believe it. You’re an atheist and believe there is no god. So, other religions/philosophies like Buddhism take the position that there is no supreme being. Does that mean that idea cannot be shared? That ONLY atheists can believe that there is no supreme being? Clearly, that’s not true.

    And I think I like your last post the best: the truth is the truth is the truth. That’s your belief/perspective about reality. I understand and respect that. However, how much of philosophy and science has been involved with ascertaining the truth? I thought that this was a fundamental question with which humans were grappling. Apparently, Kant, Aristotle, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Foucault, Nietzche, were just wasting their time.

    I, unlike you, am not really invested in proving that Buddhism is right or wrong/fact or fiction. I am not interested in challenging atheism. Where I am quite frankly very concerned is that you take very rigid positions and are incredibly dismissive of all religion by saying that it is void.

    I’ll discuss two reasons for that. (1) If this dialogue is ANY indication, I understand why there is antipathy to the atheist position. It isn’t enough for you to simply be happy with your position, you have to effectively denigrate all religion. While I don’t believe that Jesus Christ rose on the third day, it doesn’t mean that I treat all of Christianity as void and having nothing of any redeeming value. I respect that people disagree with me on this point. This is where I believe you make a mistake.

    (2) Your position about truth ignores scientific research concerning infra-human bias and other biases that directly addresses how people see themselves and others. We see the same sort of rigidity in the dialogue about gay rights except this time Rick Warren is in the in-group. His group is correct and just as cocksure about truth as you. Those that disagree, well they are infrahuman. It’s interesting what we ascribe to others.

  71. glennmcgahee says

    What was it you said about Obama’s judgement? Yea, from the bowels of Chicago’s corrupt politico’s, we now bring you Rick Warren to help Obama lead the nation. I expect to hear “he’s not the person I thought he was” very soon.

  72. Rowan says

    To Brandon, Majeef, Jimmy, Tank…


    Shit, I’ve learnt a lot from your dialogue, how interesting. I didn’t know or realise al that stuff about the old US pres…

    It’s shitty this thing with Warren but it’s all very fascinating.

    The US is such a complexed place….like an experiment..

  73. TANK says

    “You’ve assumed that if something was a Buddhist claim only Buddhists should espouse or believe it.”

    Ya, that was one of ’em, and I’m stickin’ to it. In this case–life is finite/ends…–can be understood and believed by many people, but the fact isn’t anyone’s or any ideology’s (no one owns the truth), shared or not. If it were, its truth value would somehow depend upon them believing it…but that’s nay nay. So it’s not “a part” of any ideology, either, just as it is not any ideology’s “truth,” or one of them.

    Sorry for the confrontational tone, brandon.

  74. Brandon says

    Tank: no worries! Like I said before, I appreciate having dialogue. It HAS been VIGOROUS, but respectful and I thank for you, Jimmyboyo, and Majeff, for engaging with me. And while we can’t agree on everything, I think we can agree that a lil’ guy on guy action ain’t too bad. 😉

  75. nic says

    i stumbled upon these facts today.

    every 3.5 seconds, someone dies of hunger.
    every 11 seconds, someone dies of AIDS
    every 15 seconds, a child dies from a waterborne illness.
    1 billion people have no access to clean drinking water.
    2.6 billion live without basic sanitation.
    1.08 billion live on $1 or less per day.
    5 million live in refugee camps.
    11 million children die before age 5.

    every year, more than 16 million people die from hunger, AIDS/HIV, pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria. all preventable if reason had its way.

    not a good argument for jebus and a benevolent god.

    i am not an atheist, because atheism is just another -ism (a belief in a notion); in this case, that there is no god. the truth is, i don’t know for sure. what i do know is, if there is a god, then he might be what thomas hardy called a “pur-blind doomster.” a mere, more “pwerfuller than i.” if so, fuck him. he deserves no respect and certainly no reverence.

    i am closer to the founding fathers’ thinking: a “creator” set in motion a clockwork universe in which reasonable people do reasonable things. there is a de facto understanding that what is good for you is good for me, and what is good for me and you is, by extension, good for the community (providing for the commonweal, anyone? anyone?). hence, hillary’s much-maligned-by-the-right-wing book, “it takes a village.” blacks and browns and many of our white brethren know all about that. there is an interconnectedness between human beings, or more simply stated, lincoln’s “a house divided” metaphor. any clear-thinking person must realize that an absent or uncaring god (or at worst, a spiteful, vain god) is not going to help us. i repeat matthew arnold’s words:

    Ah, love, let us be true
    To one another! for the world, which seems
    To lie before us like a land of dreams,
    So various, so beautiful, so new,
    Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
    Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
    And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night.

    our salvation does not rest with a god. our salvation lies squarely upon our own human shoulders. i am with the anti-christs and the existentialists. i deplore facile christianity. if we are thrust into absurdity, then what is our recourse? we need to look out for, and take care of, each other. what diminishes one, diminishes all. there is a universal ONE.

    despite obama’s most egregious choice of rick warren, his using lincoln as a role model is somewhat appropriate, and proof-positive that his mind is in the right place, while his brain has an “off” switch.. to paraphrase DERRICK, what the hell was obama thinking? his choosing of warren was a kick to the stomach of every self-respecting liberal democrat. it is way too late to unring that bell.

    however, after 8 years of bushshit, we have nowhere to go but up. and i can’t think of anyone more inspirational than obama (“barack the magic negro,” as david erinstien (sp?) stated, and fat pig limbaugh had a field day with).

    all things considered, i am hitching my wagon to that smart, sexy man’s ass.

  76. Drake says

    >That’s a good lesson for Obama, unreasonable
    >people cannot be reasoned with. Obama took a
    >chance at playing with fire and got burned.

    That’s what I think too, Ian. I think Rick Warren is going to deliver a truly odious speech – one that will embarrass Obama and one which Warren will possibly use to launch his own campaign for President in 2012.

  77. says

    Wow. As a politically liberal evangelical (yes, we exist!), I’m used to seeing conservatives that are blinded to understanding by their personal prejudices. I forgot that liberals can do that, too. I read through this blog post and the following comments and saw all sorts of people bemoaning a pastor who compares himself to Hitler; am I the only one who watched that video and heard Warren call Hitler “the personification of evil”? I’m sorry, but this is idiotic.

    Warren’s clear point, whether you agree with his views or not, is that evil people throughout history have been incredibly good at showing their dedication to a cause, and it’s about time that good people started doing the same. (Not to say that Christians are “good people”–I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of us are assholes–but that hopefully people committed to Christ will have good intentions. No crazier than anything John Lennon ever sang about, unless you count “I am the Walrus”.)