Category: Religion

Poor old Noah – he doesn’t qualify for an $18 million tax break

A Noah’s Ark-themed amusement park may have sprung a financial leak after being denied millions of dollars in tax incentives.

The Ark Encounter, a Genesis-themed attraction with a 500-foot-long wooden replica of Noah’s Ark, was denied approximately $18 million in tax breaks from the state of Kentucky. Why? According to Think Progress, it may have something to do with refusing to comply with the state’s existing nondiscrimination policies…

This isn’t the first time that Ark Encounter and its parent company Answers in Genesis have been tied in with state taxes. When the park was announced almost four years ago, MSNBC reported that it would be eligible for $37 million in state tourism incentives, despite worries that taxpayers were funding a religious theme park.

Fast forward to early October, when the park’s president Mike Zovath let it slip that he only planned to hire creationists. Ark Encounter had received preliminary approval for $18 million in sales tax rebates over the next 10 years, but the Secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet had warned Zovath that companies which discriminate on religious bases cannot receive these incentives.

And it turns out that the Cabinet was true to its word. In a letter, Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart noted that “the use of state incentives in this way violates the separation of church and state provisions of the Constitution and is therefore impermissible…”

Is there a Christian nutball in the country who doesn’t also feel it’s their fundamental[ist] right to be given taxpayer dollar$ to fund their personal religious beliefs?

Thanks, Mike

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When do we get back to the Constitution affirming separation of church and state?

Cartoon-Shan-Durango-News

A federal judge Thursday granted a Minnesota auto dealer the right to exclude emergency contraceptives and I.U.D.’s from his company’s employee health plan.

U.S. District Judge Frank Magnuson issued an injunction against the federal government, enabling Hastings Automotive’s primary owner Doug Erickson to remove contraceptives from his company’s plan without facing penalties.

“It’s long been by conviction to run these businesses according to my faith, and I really believe I’m stewarding these businesses and operating them as God would have me operate them,” Erickson told KARE…

Birth control is treated as basic preventive care by the Affordable Care Act, meaning that it must be included without co-insurance in all health plans. But the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case carved out an exception for faith based organizations and private for-profit companies, accommodating the religious beliefs of company owners.

“The very bottom line here is that we believe that the decision to use birth control is between a woman and her doctor, not her boss,” Jennifer Aulwes of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and South Dakota, told KARE.

Birth control is basic health care for women and 99 percent of women have used it at some point in their lives, so today’s ruling is very troubling for us.”

Jeremy Dys – a lawyer who specializes in representing idjits – contends that emergency contraceptives prevent fertilized eggs from attaching to lining of the uterus, causing what he termed a “chemical abortion.”

The makers of the drugs, on the other had, cite research that shows the drugs prevent ovulation and fertilization, essentially keeping a pregnancy from starting…”if a pregnancy is already established emergency contraception will not affect that pregnancy”.

The idjit judge – relying on the conservative idjits in the Supreme Court – said he wasn’t interested in science or the medical findings on contraception. He was just worried about the religious rights of the car dealer.

About right for law and order in America, today. Any religion receiving any level of recognition can impose their precepts over the rights of their employees – according to the distorted views of law currently supreme over our constitution.

Christian sharia being the accepted standard, of course.

Catholic bishops at U.N. conference call for end to use of fossil fuel

Catholic bishops attending a U.N. meeting on climate change in Peru have called for an end to the use of fossil fuels.

The group also urged Catholics to become involved in efforts to secure a new treaty on climate change. In a statement, they called for a “deepening of the discourse at the COP20 in Lima, to ensure concrete decisions are taken at COP21 to overcome the climate challenge and to set us on new sustainable pathways.”

The statement from Peruvian bishops and their colleagues from other countries attending the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the first by a group of Catholic prelates. Catholic leaders joined with those from other faiths to sponsor a seminar on the religious response to climate change.

At the seminar, Msgr. Salvador Pineiro, president of the Episcopal Conference of Peru, described how his own concern with the issue developed. Pineiro said that growing up in Lima he had little reason to worry about climate change, but when he became archbishop of Ayachucho in the Andes in southern Peru he heard from a poor potato farmer how his crop was being damaged.

Who knows? Times may be a’changing sufficiently to find myself sharing a cell – again – with a priest after a demonstration for civil rights. for the rights of people before profits.

It’s only been fifty years since the last time.

Patent Office rolls over for the Morality Police — No balls at all!

comfyballs

The Norwegian manufacturers of Comfyballs underwear said the U.S. patent office told them the brand name is too “vulgar” to trademark.

Company founder Anders Selvig said officials filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this year with an aim toward bringing the products to the North American market, but the office’s reply said the name was too “vulgar” to trademark.

“The mark does not create a double entendre or other idiomatic expression… When used in this way, the word ‘balls’ has an offensive meaning,” the office said in its reply to Comfyballs.

The ruling came after lobbying against the brand by One Million Moms, a wing of the American Family Association aimed at fighting “indecency…”

Selvig called on the patent office to review its guidelines.

“The trademarks ‘Nice Balls’ and ‘I love my balls’ have recently both been approved by the USPTO,” Selvig told The Telegraph. “Luckily, Europeans have a softer view on what is deemed to be vulgar and the European Union allowed Comfyballs to trademark without hassle earlier this year.”

Comfyballs is named for its “PackageFront technology,” which the company says creates “ultimate comfort by reducing heat transfer and restricting movement.”

If you thought the Christian Taliban was going to mellow out anytime soon – have another think. With a Republican-controlled Congress we will be seeing support for the Morality Police in every possible form for the next couple of years.

Don’t be surprised if they bring back the stocks and the mandatory wearing of Scarlet Letters.

America in the Dark Ages — The cult of kiddie danger

Lenore Skenazy is a public speaker and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids. Her show “World’s Worst Mom” airs on Discovery/TLC international.

The Richland, WA, school district is phasing out swings on its playgrounds. As the district’s spokesman recently told KEPR TV: “It’s just really a safety issue. Swings have been determined to be the most unsafe of all the playground equipment on a playground.”

Ah yes, those dangling doom machines. All they sow is death and despair.

But while this sounds like yet another example of how liability concerns are killing childhood (seen a see-saw anywhere in the last 20 years? A slide higher than your neck?), it’s deeper than that. Insurance underwriters are merely the high priests of what has become our new American religion: the Cult of Kiddie Danger. It is founded on the unshakable belief that our kids are in constant danger from everyone and everything.

The devout pray like this: “Oh Lord, show me the way my child is in deathly danger from __________, that I may cast it out.” And then they fill in the blank with anything we might have hitherto considered allowing our children to eat, watch, visit, touch, or do, e.g., “Sleep over at a friend’s,” “Microwave the macaroni in a plastic dish,” or even, “Play outside, unsupervised…”

What’s more, this is a state religion, so the teachings are enforced by the cops and courts. Those who step outside the orthodoxy face punishment swift and merciless…

We think we are enlightened in this quest to keep kids completely safe. Actually, we have entered a new Dark Ages, fearing evil all around us.

If we want the right to raise our kids rationally, even optimistically, it’s time to call the Cult of Kiddie Danger what it is: mass hysteria aided and abetted by the authorities. But as earlier holy books so succinctly instructed us, there is a better way to live.

“Fear not.”

Bravo!

Lenore Skenazy makes her case with the thoroughness of a pedant. With the heart of a warrior. Which, of course, she must be, every day.

We have added another brick to the wall of state religions. All are considered innocent until proven guilty – unless you are charged with possession of kiddy porn, accused of rape, admit to being an atheist…regardless of charge. More dangerous than someone who cuts those little labels off pillow cases that say “Do Not Remove”. Carrier of an evil more dangerous than the Interwebitubes.

This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine,The Weekly Wonk.

Kentucky Baptists vote to expel church for being too tolerant


Crescent Hill Baptist Church — Looks pretty solid to me

Kentucky Baptists have voted to sever ties with a Louisville church that is open to performing same-sex marriages.

Baptist leaders from around the state gathered Tuesday in Bowling Green for the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. They voted overwhelmingly to end their longstanding relationship with Crescent Hill Baptist Church.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Jason Crosby, has said the church is open to performing same-sex marriages and ordaining gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual members. Crosby made a plea Tuesday to allow the church to remain a part of the convention. He said the decision came after much discussion and a process that lasted two months.

“We looked at what is sexual orientation and gender identity,” Crosby said. “We took a vote in which we decided that we would fully welcome and affirm gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals in the life of this church.”

Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood said same old blah, blah, blah!

Crosby said his congregation supports the new stance and believes that in years to come, the church will be on the right side of history…

Bigots will continue to build themselves a tightly-fenced world on a piece of ideology steadily shrinking, diminishing as ignorance is diminishing. The process is often slow; but, it is inexorable.

The question was “Who votes for an idjit?” The answer in Colorado was – “idjits”

One of the GOP candidates swept into office Tuesday in Colorado was a former Navy chaplain who believes gays are “unhuman” and once performed an on-air exorcism of President Barack Obama.

Gordon Klingenschmitt won just under 70 percent of the vote in the state’s 15th House district, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Republicans outnumber Democrats in that district by more than 2 to 1.

Klingenschmitt heads up the Pray in Jesus Name Project, which is designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The former chaplain hosts a daily “Pray in Jesus Name” program, where homosexuality is by far his favorite topic of discussion.

Right Wing Watch has a great round-up of Klingenschmitt’s most extreme statements. Here’s a sampling:

On gays: “They’re cooperating with the Devil and there is something unhuman inside of them.”

On “curing” a transgender teen: “The parents are encouraging that and really what the parents ought to do is take that boy to an exorcist, take that boy to a minister or at least discipline the boy, maybe give him a spanking…”

On exorcising Obama: “Father in Heaven, we pray against the domestic enemies of the Constitution, against the demon of tyranny who is using the White House occupant and that demonic spirit is oppressing us.”

Apparently, Klingenschmitt himself has realized that those extreme statements could prove problematic during his time as a legislator…”I would say it is time for people of good will on both sides of the political debate to come together to have reasonable discussions about these issues,”

Like most Republicans whose self-image is bound up in the constipated world view of the 14th Century – Klingenschmitt is a liar. Like most of his peers who ran for state and federal office in Colorado – he is a liar. Like most of his peers who ran for national office throughout the United States – he is a liar.

But, that’s OK with the folks who voted for him. They know he is a liar. They accept he is lying to the public in general to get elected and they are smug about being in on the lie. It’s all for a good cause in their tiny little brains – thoroughly absent the part that requires ethics and understands that a changing society offers a chance to learn more about the world and life.

Lying is good. Especially if it leads to Christian Sharia rule.

Thanks, Mike

Secular victory in Federal Court

A federal district court in Oregon has declared Secular Humanism a religion, paving the way for the non-theistic community to obtain the same legal rights as groups such as Christianity.

On Thursday, October 30, Senior District Judge Ancer Haggerty issued a ruling on American Humanist Association v. United States, a case that was brought by the American Humanist Association (AHA) and Jason Holden, a federal prisoner. Holden pushed for the lawsuit because he wanted Humanism — which the AHA defines as “an ethical and life-affirming philosophy free of belief in any gods and other supernatural forces” — recognized as a religion so that his prison would allow for the creation of a Humanist study group. Haggerty sided with the plaintiffs in his decision, citing existing legal precedent and arguing that denying Humanists the same rights as groups such as Christianity would be highly suspect under the Establishment Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which declares that Congress “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

“The court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes,” the ruling read.

I’m not certain a democratic nation in the 21st Century needs such tortured reasoning. But, I’ll take it.

The decision highlights the unusual position of the Humanist community, which has tried for years to obtain the same legal rights as more traditional religious groups while simultaneously rebuking the existence of a god or gods. But while some Humanists may chafe at being called a “religion,” others feel that the larger pursuit of equal rights trumps legal classifications.

RTFA for a bit more discussion. There will be lots more around the Web, certainly punctuated by whining from any of the dozens of flavors of traditional religion kept in business by their freedom from taxation.

Thanks, Mike

Utah coppers raid Halloween party — because of dancing! WTF?

This is absolutely not a joke. Police in St. George, Utah raided a family fun center that was hosting a Halloween party because the event included (gasp!) dancing:

The “Monster Mash” was an event organized by the Heart of Dixie event group that advertised unlimited access to the bumper boats, go-karts, mini golf and a dance party. The event was to run from 9 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday.

Sometime between 9:30-10 p.m., around five-six St. George Police officers arrived on scene instructing that no dancing was to take place, said Brett Crockett, owner of Fiesta Fun Center…

The city issued a permit. We applied for a special event permit for a “dance”. It was issued. Then when they had no way to shut it down they produced additional pages to the permit that we were not given on which they had hand written that the dance was not allowed. Not to mention we were on private property, it is a first amendment right to dance, we weren’t playing music loud enough to be heard off the property and when the police were there NO ONE was dancing. They sent 6 officers to make sure no one was dancing! DANCING IS NOT A CRIME.

Did you think that “Morality Police” were only limited to fundamentalist countries in the Middle East? Welcome to the heavenly land of Utah.