Pious poll-workers

It should not even need to be said that a Bible — Inerrant or not — has no business being displayed in a polling place. After all, this is a secular country shared by Jews, Bahai, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Unitarians, atheists, agnostics — on and on. When a Christian Bible is prominently displayed by poll-workers, however, it says that everybody else is other and doesn’t really belong.

As obvious as that is, it’s too subtle for some Godly poll-workers in the Philadelphia area.

“I have asked these poll workers nicely why the Bible is displayed at the polling place. I have tried to explain to them that they cannot leave it out after they are sworn in because it is intimidating to non-Christian voters,” says a Philly resident and self-described “middle-aged white woman” who goes by Veronica.

In June she shared a video with PW that she had taken at her Olde Kensington polling place upon a confrontation with poll workers about leaving a Bible out on the table during elections. Poll workers are given the option of swearing-in on a Bible before beginning work for the day, but then instructed to return the book to its box, not display it.

Follow the link to watch a short video of the confrontation.

Unfortunately, stoked by ignorant pastors and cynical liars like gen-u-ine pseudo-historian David Barton, these poor fools probably think they’re exercising their religious freedom, standing up for Jesus, and have no idea that they’re committing an offense against their country’s Constitution. I doubt, even, that they have the imagination to wonder what they’d think if they saw a Quran or Bhagavad Gita sitting on the table. Indeed, their ignorance and belligerence is a good example of the reason the Founders took such care to establish America as a secular state.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Abusive, post-priesthood priests

The Associated Press moved a story a few months back about a Catholic organization that helps disgraced priests rejoin society following removal from the priesthood because of sexual abuse of children. I thought then that, with appropriate safeguards, there is nothing innately improper about that, and it still seems to me to be worthwhile work. After all, priests don’t live in the real world, and it has to be hard to suddenly get booted out of the priesthood and put on the street; they need help, and society should provide that help as a matter of self-defense.

I wish, in fact, that more priests took advantage of the assistance.

As thousands of abuse victims across the U.S. continue to search for justice and closure decades after being molested by some of the most trusted people in their lives, these men have become the priest next door. They live near schools and playgrounds, close to families and children unaware of their backgrounds or the crimes they’ve been accused of. In some cases, they’ve taken on leadership roles in new communities, becoming professors, counselors, friends and mentors to children. Their movements are unchecked by both the government and the Catholic Church in part because laws in many states make it nearly impossible for victims to pursue criminal charges decades after alleged abuse.

So, basically, they’ve been booted-out of the church and … abandoned. Some, doubtless, continue to offend, and the church has blissfully washed its hands of them.

Clearly, there needs to be some sort of ongoing psychological counseling and continued monitoring, and it’s not at all clear that a volunteer organization, however compassionate and well-intended, can meet the need.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Tweet of the day

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Folksy intellectuals?

The New York Times’ Timothy Egan explains why Elizabeth Warren is unlikely to win the presidency.

One of the biggest takeaways from the recent New York Times/Siena College survey of battleground states is that Elizabeth Warren is not connecting with the very people her policies are supposed to help. Trump beats her or runs even in every tossup state but one. The persuadable voters in these states, many of them working class, say political correctness has gotten out of control, and they prefer someone seeking common ground over someone with a militantly progressive agenda.

It’s worth remembering that nearly two-thirds of all American adults do not have a four-year college degree. Warren, the Harvard professor who recently suggested that moderate Democrats belong with the other party, could be more effective with these folks if she showed more of her daughter-of-a-janitor side.

The unhappy truth is that Warren has shown her daughter-of-a-janitor side — she spearheaded the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has returned billions of dollars to those defrauded by slick financial services. She has lived borderline poverty, and done something about it.

What Egan means is she should be more … regular — answer her front door wearing hair-curlers, for instance.

Warren grew-up hearing “Get an education! Go to college! Make something of yourself!” So she did all that — and the people who didn’t are never going to forgive her for it. Though she is the only candidate with a real record of trying to defend the beleaguered middle-class from the serial predations of the 1%, she is the candidate least likely to enjoy their support.

The great divide in American life is education: It isn’t race, ethnicity, gender, religion — it’s education. The well-educated went to schools where they competed for grades against a broad cross-section of races, ethnicities, religions, and both genders, and largely abandoned those kinds of tribalism. Those who didn’t added another box to the tribal checklist: education.

The Constitution’s balance-of-powers relies upon economic self-interestedness on the part of the public, upon the assumption that people will consistently act according to their own best interest. That assumption has now gone awry, with people voting for the very interests screwing them into the ground in order to stick it to the smartypants they despise.

Among the people I love is a sibling who works at Walmart cleaning toilets at night in a thinly populated part of eastern Oregon. She’s been there more than 25 years and has trouble saving a dime and certainly no path to retirement. She’s likely to vote, again, for President Trump.

No matter how much I point out that Trump is trying to take away her health care protections by litigating to kill Obamacare, that his tariffs have made it harder to pay her bills, that he is the most repulsive and creepy man ever to occupy the White House, she holds firm.

She’ll vote against her self-interest in order to stick a finger in the eye of people like her … brother, who writes for the dread New York Times. You cannot reason with people like that; you can only defeat them.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Embarrassing tweet of the day

Just so’s you know, Trump’s so-called foundation was a scam and he was fined $2-million because he diverted donations to his presidential campaign and personal obligations.

Posted in General | Leave a comment