Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another Supreme Court Abomination- and the Cheerleading of the Pseudo-Righteous

Sadly, it seems one abomination (Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission) wasn’t enough for the conservatives on the Supreme Court, they now had to spit at the Establishment Clause as well. In their earlier, egregious decision (which readers may recall President Obama upbraided them for during his State of the Union Speech) the clique of Five basically overturned all limits on financial expenditures for corporations and their lackeys.

Unless reversed by a future court, or more likely nullified via congressional legislation, this insidious ruling will clear the way for total corporate rule, which of course, is the same as fascism (in its classic definition). This is made possible by the stupid expedient of conflating money with speech and assigning it as a right to corporate “persons” – itself an abomination from the 1886 Santa Clara ruling.

Now, in the latest ruling, an obvious sectarian marker (cross set up in the Mojave desert to honor WWI vets) which conveys an iconic message of one religion, has been deemed acceptable despite lower federal court rulings that it violates the Establishment clause. But what do these five care, driven as they are to steer us into a corporate fascist theocracy?

As Justice John Paul Stevens correctly observed in his dissent, there have been thousands and thousands of non-sectarian markers to honor ALL vets who fought and died. So why choose one now that offends and excludes those vets who are non-Christian? Don’t those vets count? Are they less worthy because they espouse the Jewish faith, or Buddhism, or Muslim or no faith at all?

Of course, in the middle of this there are those who couldn’t resist parlaying the existing abomination into some kind of pseudo-defense that the nation is actually founded on God or God’s laws, or some such nonsense. One such person is a certain irrepressible Florida Pastor who never misses an opportunity to try to compound a judicial folly or ruling into some kind of wise decision with constitutional backing.

Let’s look at some of the codswallop spouted on his most recent blog:

“Now , granted, we may not see the name of God in the U.S. Constitution; but we see the hand of God. “

This is totally egregious and no more valid than claiming there are actual faces in clouds, or Satanic images in the debris cloud from 9-11 (which observed from a slightly different angle disappear). Thus, the claim here is entirely subjective, without any objective support.

Undaunted he continues:

"In reality, God is found throughout the U.S. Constitution, for the very basis of justice and freedom begins with a morally perfect God. Any attempt to separate God from a desire for justice and freedom is the height of ingratitude and ignorance. "

Of course, no where does he give actual examples of “God found throughout the Constitution”, he simply makes the bald claim. As for “justice and freedom” these are human definitions, and even a superficial reading of the Constitution will make evident the hand of intelligent humans.

The very fact that the Constitution contains the basis for its own continual revision via additional amendments (Article V) discloses it to be a human document, which is subject to constant alteration and not set in stone – like the pastor’s KJV.

Further, we know that many of the tea party brigade (though they claim the mantle of Christianity) declare certain aspects of the Constitution off limits and not to be followed or accepted. For example, they blanch and froth at Amendment XVI which provides the basis for congress “to lay taxes on income”. But IF the Constitution is really a document of God, originating at a deity’s behest, then why would so many millions of tea baggers reject the taxation amendment? Obviously, because they recognize human hands at work in writing up, revising, then voting on additional amendments and not any "hands of a deity"! They certainly don't accept Amendment XVI like John 3:16!

Justice and freedom themselves are not even taken to be permanent by the Founders! They are seen to be tenuous at best, and indeed, in the Declaration of Independence the Founders even write in this provision:

Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.”

So clearly, the founders recognized the ephemeral and provisional nature of ALL governments by acknowledging the possibility of their abolition and replacement. Further, via the very separation of powers inhering in the Constitution, they disclosed a wise precaution in applying and inserting cross-checks, hedges and impediments (e.g. 2/3 majority to pass an amendment) to prevent the document from ever being misused. If they did this ab initio, it clearly and logically meant they recognized an imperfect government predicated upon an imperfect document. So, is the goodly pastor finally admitting his deity isn’t perfect….or what? (Since if it can't be "separated" from the document then it must ipso facto be as imperfect as the document).

Indeed, to put a firmer point on this, Amendment IX of the Bill of Rights allows for the explication of “unenumerated rights” – ones not explicitly stated in the Constitution. The amendment reads:

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”

In other words, the authors –founders fully well foresaw that they might not be able to think of or identify every single right of the people. This amendment then served as the ultimate redundancy plan so no future tyrant could say: “No, that’s not a right, it isn’t listed in the Constitution!” Again, this example reveals the understanding of an imperfect document – a HUMAN document, that may not have covered all possible bases.

He goes on, in his pastor-preachy way:

"History has proven that atheism and evolution were the demonic ideologies behind brutal Communism , as well as Socialism . The common allegation that most of the wars throughout history were fought over religion, does not take into consideration the fact that most religions are FALSE RELIGIONS ! "

Actually, history has “proven” no such thing other than in the pastor’s feverish neurons. While again demonizing atheism, he neglects to mention that the Communist totalitarians – such as Mao and Stalin- killed more than 15 times as many atheists in their pogroms and political purges as they did Christians. (Mainly because not that many Christians were living in either place at the time of Stalin’s purges, or Mao’s “Cultural Revolution”). Atheists were slaughtered by the teeming millions in Russia if they were suspected of being Trotskyites (followers of Leon Trotsky, deemed to be not a “true communist believer”) and by the millions in Mao’s China for being “intellectuals” and “purveyors of foreign culture”.

But then, it’s much easier to spout shlock and hope people are dumb enough to swallow it than to attend to facts.

The last statement made is a neat copout. The pastor escapes the fact that most wars through history were fought over religion by artificially narrowing the definition of religion! In other words, we have most religions being “false” so only a few (like his, I presume) are “true”. Thus, if only the occasional “true” religions made or conducted wars, then it is no longer true that most wars throughout history were fought over religion”.

But this gets old fast. The fact is, there is an explicit definition of religion (from my Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary):

Any entity or system comprising a group of like-minded persons who believes or accepts that a transcendent Being has created the world, or governs it, or controls its destiny and intervenes occasionally and which also mandates certain specific rituals, exercises, readings (from sacred texts) and prayers, either to fulfill a human need or propitiate the deity or transcendent being accepted

Notice there is no specious declaration or artificial demarcation of what is “true” or what isn’t. Under the above rubric all the known world religions qualify: Islam, Judaism, Catholicism and Protestantism – under which rubric the pastor’s rigid KJV-based system belongs as a growing cult.

Under this definition, mankind’s history indeed has mainly been permeated by wars over religion or religious belief, or which group had the “true belief”

More codswallop:

"Some people blame God for everything. The God of the Bible is a fair and a just God. The Bible is brutally honest, and some people have a hard time coping with that - ESPECIALLY the atheists and the ACLU !"

Actually, as I’ve shown in numerous earlier blogs the Bible is a human interpretation of legends from long ago, many copied directly from antecedent pagan sources. (For example, Genesis was almost entirely plagiarized from much earlier Babylonian creation myths). Thus, the “God of the Bible” is a purely human invention and construction, a product of semi-literate and limited intellects – which makes total sense given he acts like a psychopath most of the time. (Which is why the savvy Gnostics referred to it as “demiurgos” and insisted it was a fraud, not to be worshipped by any sane human)

And predictably, we see this bit of nonsense:

"In other words , all mankind are divided into two parties or dominions; that which belongs to God, and that which belongs to the wicked one (i.e., Satan ). True believers belong to God: they are of God, and from Him, and to Him, and for Him; while the rest, by far the greater number, are in the power of Satan and his earthly demons; they do his works, and support his cause. This general declaration includes ALL unbelievers, whatever their profession, station, or situation, or by whatever name they may be called !"

Which is taken right out of the book of the Inquisition, or Oliver Cromwell! We must “divide” humanity into the sheep and the goats. And even the sheep must be further divided into those who are “true believers” (presumably so vetted by this pastor) and the others…."false believers" (most likely Catholics, Jews, Mormons, JWs, Buddhists, etc. – to go by his previous ‘false doctrines’ page on his I-Net All Souls church site)

To top it off, to put the icing on the cake, the ‘non-true believers” are all in “Satan’s grip” while the unbelievers are….what….well I guess actual agents of Satan. Or maybe allies of his “earthly demons”.

Ordinarily this tripe would be laughable, but then that assumes people don’t take it seriously. The problem is that so many interpret this claptrap as having an actual grain (or more) of truth.

And so, in that sense, the pastor follows right along in the ranks of Stalin (who separated “true communists” from the false ones), and Mao (who separated true believers in the Cultural Revolution from false ones) and the Inquisition (which separated true believer Catholics from the false ones or heretics – that didn’t cop to every doctrine).

And now – some apt quotes from one of the Founders, Thomas Jefferson:

"Our civil rights have no dependence upon our religious opinions more than our opinions in physics or geometry." --Thomas Jefferson: Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779. ME 2:301, Papers 2:545

"I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendency of one sect over another." --Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1799. ME 10:78

And finally, Article 11 from the Treaty of Tripoli:

“Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."


janidebar said...

"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion"

And this part of the treaty is correct. The Founders who actually wrote the Constitution were deists not theists. so, the government of the U.S. was actually founded on deism if it was founded on anything. But the deist deity is a passive one.

According to deism a creative principle created the world, and this is called the "Creator" for example in the Declaration of Independence. But the "Creator" when finished with his job then left the universe to itself.

So, obviously HUMANS had to have bene the ones that devised the Constitution. They formed the amendments and principles and also built in the checks and balances.

The fundy Christians will never get that this country isn't a Christian nation "under God", because they con't want to believe it. They are what we call in denial: bending facts to suit their beilefs, instead of adaptinng their beilefs to ocnform to facts, reality and history.

Copernicus said...

janidebar wrote:

According to deism a creative principle created the world, and this is called the "Creator" for example in the Declaration of Independence. But the "Creator" when finished with his job then left the universe to itself.

Basically true. As I pointed out in my book, 'Atheism: A Beginner's Handbook:

Strictly speaking, Deism treated in its orthodox and traditional manner is not Theism. Deism is, in fact, only one step removed from atheism. The only real difference is that in deism some kind of non-specific "first cause" is proposed, but after that all distinctions collapse. The atheist avers there is no one or nothing "minding the store" and so does the deist.

Deism, to give an analogy, is analogous to a child who makes a toy with a gear wheel, and the toy has the ability to move after being wound up and released. Thus, the child makes the toy (he's a clever kid) winds it up, releases it down the sidewalk, then walks away never to glance at it or its final outcome, destination. In this case, the child plays an analogous role to the ambiguous first cause of deism and the toy is analogous to the universe.

In terms of the Christian "Constitutionalists" (like Mike) I also added:

"Many of the right wing, fundamentalist Christian persuasion, in order to attempt to hijack the Constitution as a “Christian document”, have asserted the Founders were “Christians.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact most, like Jefferson and Madison, were deists. The only reason this palaver gains any credibility or circulation today, is because most people (especially the lackadaisical corporate media) are ignorant of deism and so naturally are prone to conflate it with standard, monotheistic Christianity of the fundamentalist mold.

The truth is that deism is as remote from their acquaintance as wicca or some form of Eskimo aurora worship. Therein lies the tragedy, because by virtue of applying the axiom that “the squeaky wheel gets the attention,” fundamentalists have managed to get millions of otherwise sober, rational people to swallow their goop."

But, as you indicate, the likelihood of any of them atending to this and adjusting their belief system is about as likely as the next tea bagger party being abducted by space aliens from Tau Ceti and taken back there to serve in alien slave labor camps.