Dismal theology-related tweet of the day

This is a good example of saying something that is “sort of” true in order to lie. Yes, it is “sort of” true that none of the majority-Christian nations routinely persecute minority religions. Donohue would have us believe, however, that it is because Christians are better people and all those other religions attract human scum; that is a lie.

Christianity has a long, bloody, and well-documented history of abusing minority religions. In Salem the Godly hanged witches. The KKK was a Baptist and Methodist undertaking, and routinely attacked Jews and Catholics. Once upon a time, mobs of devout Christians seized proselytizing Jehovah’s Witnesses going door-to-door and beat them senseless — and then they were arrested for disturbing the peace and denied medical care. (One famous case was just a few miles from the Bush family’s summer home in Maine, at Kennebunkport). This was at the same time that Christian Germany was trying to exterminate Jews, incidentally.

Christianity did not reform itself. After all, how is it possible that the keepers of the Eternal Truth could need or be reformed? The Enlightenment (barely) civilized Christianity from the outside — and that is why such as Albert the Pious relentlessly disparage the Enlightenment. And why Bill Donohue deserves to be a figure of public ridicule

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Meet my neighbors, ctd

What do you know? A North Carolina-based televangelist has been indicted for tax fraud.

North Carolina televangelist Todd Coontz – author of numerous books on faith and finances – has been indicted on charges of tax fraud spanning more than a decade.

“As a minister, Coontz preached about receiving and managing wealth, yet he failed to keep his own finances in order,” Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, said as she announced the charges. “Coontz will now receive a first-hand lesson in ‘rendering unto Caesar’ that which is due.”

Yeah, well — ho-hum; there’s plenty more where that came from.

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The unrepentant

In her magisterial account of Adolf Eichmann’s trial for war crimes, Hannah Arendt tells the story of the Allied search for lesser criminals. Even after the story of the Nazi death camps was well-known, investigators were astounded to learn that the majority of Nazi war criminals had simply returned to their homes after the war and resumed their lives without any public opprobrium whatever. Indeed, their families and friends rationalized that it had unfortunately been necessary to kill the Jews, because they were dirty and carried diseases and raped children … on and on ad nauseum.

Even after the needless death of tens of millions of people all over the world, and the ruin of their own country, an extraordinary number of Germans simply could not face the truth that they had been gulled by an amoral cynic — Hitler — and participated in mind-cracking barbarisms.

I was reminded of that dismal story as I watched this morning’s round of television news shows and the attempts to discuss the Senate health care bill — the bald evasions of legitimate questions, the subject-changing, the plain lies. The Republicans are not the Nazis, of course, but they have utterly abandoned the indispensable elements of civilized society — ordinary decency, common sense, and reality itself. We are in uncharted waters, and piloted by madmen.

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Evolution banned in Turkish schools

A report in the Guardian says that Turkey has banned the teaching of evolution in secondary schools.

Turkish schools to stop teaching evolution, official says

Evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish schools, a senior education official has said, in a move likely to raise the ire of the country’s secular opposition.

Alpaslan Durmuş, who chairs the board of education, said evolution was debatable, controversial and too complicated for students.

Oh, boy.

First, notice the phrase “secular opposition.” This decision undoubtedly is animated by wrongheaded religious beliefs, but secularism is merely the belief that government must be religiously neutral; it implies nothing regarding the conclusions of science. Many religious people believe in evolution, too. But the enemies of modernity are redefining secularism as “hostility to religion.” Seriously: Listen to some nitwit Baptist preacher in this area, and you will hear ‘secularist’ used routinely as a pejorative.

Second, evolution is not debatable, controversial, or too difficult for schoolchildren; those are lies intended to cast this backward-looking decision as informed by concern for children, though of course the goal is to arrest the progress of modernity.

What is afoot — globally, including in this country — is an epochal paradigm shift. The Bronze Age mythologies have lost their explanatory power, which has passed to science. The implications touch upon the norms of everyday life — technology, governance, ethics. And the people who are confronted with an evolving world they can no longer understand are reacting against it.

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Tweet series of the day

Of course, we’re talking about The Donald. I wouldn’t be surprised a bit if someday a microcasette is discovered in a bottom drawer of his desk which is indeed a recording of the conversation between Trump and Comey, and which shows that Trump did try to bludgeon Comey into ending his investigation of Flynn.

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