One more reason for some people to hate Barack Obama

Another version of this quote here:

Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all. Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what’s possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It’s the art of the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.

Amazing how I can totally see this pissing off people I know who don’t like Barack Obama, but this is why I like him.


Noam Chomsky on Ron Paul, Kutztown University Nov. 21, 2011

If you die without health insurance, that’s a tribute to our liberty?

Uploaded by Hedstrom1973 on Jan 10, 2012

Noam Chomsky Comments on his views on Ron Paul.
Courtesy of Kutztown University, full video can be found HERE:

Also check out this quote that Cynical C Posted:

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has campaigned on cutting the size and cost of government, but it turns out the Texas Republican is a big spender when it comes to air fare.

An Associated Press report published Monday found that since May 2009, Paul had billed taxpayers for 31 round-trip flights and 12 one-way flights, all first class.

In all, taxpayers paid $52,000 for flights where cheaper tickets were available. AP found that Paul’s office could have saved $27,621 by selecting economy tickets instead.

What the Christian kids are posting

Friend of the blog and Christian Julie Ferwerda recently posted an interesting update over at Facebook. Since we have several believing readers here, I thought I would pass it along.

She wrote:

“ALL CREATION anticipates the day when it will JOIN God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” (Rom. 8:21). Which part of creation is left out of this verse? What can be lost that is not part of this “all creation”?

The above screen capture is only a part of the conversation, but I thought it was interesting for two reasons:

  1. In her view of faith, everyone — and I mean everyone — is going to heaven after they die. We’ve talked about it before, and she has some sound rationale for thinking it. I’ll say it again, I don’t agree. But I definitely think if there were a type of faith that seemed attractive, you gotta hand it to Julie here.
  2. From this perspective, even Satan is going to heaven. Read above. I thought that was hilariously true within that framework of thought.

Read Julia’s blog above or I bet she would be friends with you if you want to follow her. She just got back from a trip to the holy land. She’s a great mind, and I admire her for sticking her head out there to promote a version of Christianity that I can get behind.

NASA’s photo of the day: Iapetus

I should invest in a lens that can get details like that on Saturn’s moons.

Here’s the description from NASA:

Explanation: What has happened to Saturn’s moon Iapetus? Vast sections of this strange world are dark as coal, while others are as bright as ice. The composition of the dark material is unknown, but infrared spectra indicate that it possibly contains some dark form of carbon. Iapetus also has an unusual equatorial ridge that makes it appear like a walnut. To help better understand this seemingly painted moon, NASA directed the robotic Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn to swoop within 2,000 kilometers in 2007. Pictured above, from about 75,000 kilometers out, Cassini’s trajectory allowed unprecedented imaging of the hemisphere of Iapetus that is always trailing. A huge impact crater seen in the south spans a tremendous 450 kilometers and appears superposed on an older crater of similar size. The dark material is seen increasingly coating the easternmost part of Iapetus, darkening craters and highlands alike. Close inspection indicates that the dark coating typically faces the moon’s equator and is less than a meter thick. A leading hypothesis is that the dark material is mostly dirt leftover when relatively warm but dirty ice sublimates. An initial coating of dark material may have been effectively painted on by the accretion of meteor-liberated debris from other moons. This and other images from Cassini’s Iapetus flyby are being studied for even greater clues.


Progress in Greensboro, NC

Yesterday I heard a story about MLK’s preaching as an art form. He used a method of oral traditions where he borrowed from other writings that he liked and created his own.

The report danced around the idea of it being a sort of music sampling, the art of combining sounds from existing music and making your own.

I love that idea.

I like, also, seeing how other people posted  information, too. Clusterflock posted the photo (below) that put a Woolworth’s drug store in Greensboro, NC on the map back in February 1960:

Read more about this story here.

I spent a lot of time in Greensboro growing up, and — you know what — I never heard this sit-in story while living there.

I waited till I got to Chicago. At the time, I worked at the Merchandise Mart, a company who owns buildings in High Point, NC where I grew up. High Point neighbors Greensboro. I heard a story about the head boss, one of Robert Kennedy’s kids, and how he took his executive staff on a field trip while in North Carolina. They visited the place where Woolworth’s was.

This person told me how the sit-in meant a lot to Kennedy — you could tell by the look on his face — but you could tell that the others were kind of bored. The trip was anticlimactic, because I don’t think the place exists as it did. From what I remember, they spent a while trying to look through windows of a closed-down building.

What is racism? 

Growing up in the south, racism just was. And I knew very little about it, except that there were lots of people around me that got whispery when they talked about black people.

I’d love to say that I’m not racist, but I can’t say that. I don’t believe anyone is absent of racism. Maybe I’m wrong about that. I hope I am.

I need these stories like the ones at Woolworth’s. I need stories on the radio. I need more exposure and time with people of different cultures and skin colors. I need more understanding.

We all could use more. The best way lots of us can end racist talk is by discontinuing the use of the phrase, “I’m not racist, but …”

Screeching tires segue

I was hoping to somehow drift toward another story that happened in Greensboro lately, but it doesn’t feel right to do. But I’m going to force it in like the dude in the previous post shoving the Tower of Pisa into his friends rectum.

Go check out this story over at Friendly Atheist in which a Greensboro, NC atheist, agnostic and skeptics group helped remove prayer from city council meetings in their city.

I don’t think anyone is going to memorialize the podium that the atheists spoke at like they did the counter at Woolworth’s, but it’s a big deal.

Ahhh, progress

Social conservatives yap on about the old ways of life, when everything was peachy and great. But the Woolworth’s thing, that happened only 52 years ago. That’s a little drop in the bucket of human history.

And the prayer thing happened over the last year.

We don’t need to go back to racist America. And we don’t need prayer to one deity, when the world has many. This is a country of freedom. And freedom means you can worship what and who you want. And I can have the freedom not to. And if that steps on your toes, you fail at understanding the meaning of freedom.

I don’t want sit-ins at Woolworth’s. I don’t want prayer to one deity at my city meetings. Not because it makes me feel uncomfortable, but because it might make someone else.

I care about other people. I try really hard to do so anyway.

I hope you do, too.