Quote for the day

Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.

Donald Trump

This is either another lie, or Donald Trump is the dumbest man to ever set foot in the White House. Everybody knows it is complicated, that there are a bazillion moving parts. Some of us even remember that a solid year of public debate and discussion preceded passage of the ACA, and that there have been countless courthouse brawls since then.

Seriously? He thought it would be easy to repeal, or repeal and replace, or repair, or whatever? Or is he merely preparing a feeble excuse to his base, at least some of whom are doubtless acquiring at least a glimmer of a suspicion that The Donald is nothing but an amoral con man?

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Close encounters of the annoying kind

It was announced last week that astronomers have discovered seven more exoplanets, planets that might be able to sustain our sort of life. Naturally, Albert the Pious hastens to take the fun out of dreamy speculations about other life in the universe.

Now at this point Christians should immediately recognize we’re talking about what some scientists call the Cosmic Anthropic Principle. That is, the principal that makes very clear that planet Earth happens to be calibrated along with our own solar system and universe in such a way that it is precisely right for the emergence and nurturing of life, that is, precisely right. The Cosmic Anthropic Principle reminds us that if planet earth were just slightly outside its current orbit, life would be impossible because it would be to cold. On the other hand, if planet earth were to be even slightly inside its current orbit, the Earth would be too hot for life also to be possible. So we are in effect as a planet right in the middle of our own Goldilocks zone. The question is, why?

This is where Christians understand that this is a tremendous and direct testimony to the divine creation of the universe and to God’s intention on this one planet to create human beings and other forms of life. That is what is crucial to the Cosmic Anthropic Principle. In other words, it takes a great deal of denial to suggest that somehow this is just a tremendous cosmic accident. But if you do believe that it is a cosmic accident, then you must wonder if it’s an accident that has happened elsewhere also.

Notice: “… what some scientists call …” By an overwhelming majority, scientists reject that so-called principle. What most scientists believe — excepting that unidentified some, most of them associated with the Creation Museum or the Discovery Institute and unfit for academic appointments — is not that the universe was created to accommodate us, but that we evolved to survive on the earth we’ve got with its magic-number distance from the sun, et cetera, et cetera.

But this raises some fun theological questions. If there is other life in the universe — and, at least statistically, it is almost a certainty that there is — is that life, too, tainted by Original Sin? And imperiled by an eternity in hell if it doesn’t accept that a 1st-century hippie, on a different planet, served as a blood-sacrifice for their sins?

And how is that message conveyed? “Long, long ago, in the beginning, on a planet far away …” Ha! I’ll bet there’s no shortage of skeptics on the planet Xeno, either. And wouldn’t it just figure that it’s the True Believers who want to ZAP earth with a high-energy photon beam?

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Meet my neighbors, ctd

Another whackjob Christian cult that beats, imprisons, and regulates the sex lives of its members.

Congregants of the Word of Faith Fellowship were regularly punched, smacked, choked, slammed to the floor or thrown through walls in a violent form of deliverance meant to “purify” sinners by beating out devils, 43 former members told The Associated Press in separate, exclusive interviews.

[ … ]

Those interviewed — most of them raised in the church — say Word of Faith leaders waged a decades-long cover-up to thwart investigations by law enforcement and social services officials, including strong-arming young victims and their parents to lie.

They said members were forbidden to seek outside medical attention for their injuries, which included cuts, sprains and cracked ribs.

Several former followers said some congregants were sexually abused, including minors.

Well … you know: When you’re no damn good, when you’re nothing but a putrid blot on a cosmos that is stoking hellfire even now, there’s nothing to do but take it.

Now, I grant that Word of Faith is not a typical church, but there should be no confusion about this, either: The difference between Word of Faith, and the little white church around the corner from your home, is one only of degree. Each is able to thrive only by degrading its members and turning them into obedient automatons, and after that is achieved the difference between the two churches hangs exclusively on the complex of psychoses found in the pastor.

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Headline of the day

Lawsuit: priest demanded sexual favors for Boy Scout badges

I’ve been sharing stories about sexual abuse by clergy for so long that I thought I’d seen it all, but … no. Somehow, this one tops them all.

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Tweet of the day

This is bizarre, by even the dismal standards of the Tweeter-in-Chief. After all, Barack Obama had no influence on the budget during the first month he was in office, and The Donald hasn’t exercised any influence over the budget for the first month of his tenure.

Does he not know that? Does he think the rest of us don’t know that? Are the people who voted for him so abysmally ignorant that he is betting they don’t know that? Are they so abysmally ignorant that they’ll chock it up as one more indignity visited upon The Donald by the enemies of the people?

Seriously: What gives here? At face value, it looks goddam crazy.

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