Christian Football Prayer Opens Door to Hordes of Darkness

Satanic Temple - BremertonHigh school football coach Joe Kennedy has opened the door to Texas lawyers and Satan in Western Washington by insisting that he has the right to lead Christian post-game prayers in his official role as a public employee.

Kennedy, who is now suspended from his job for refusing to comply with district (and federal, constitutional) rules, has attracted the attention of the Liberty Institute, a Texas-based Religious Right legal group that is threatening to sue, calling Kennedy’s paid leave a “hostile employment action.”

Many outsiders, by contrast, see Kennedy as yet another public employee who thinks he’s entitled to keep his job without just doing it—like Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who insisted on denying marriage licenses to gay couples rather than either resigning or following the Supreme Court equality ruling.

The editorial board of the Seattle Times in comparing Kennedy to Davis commented that, “[Public employees] don’t have to abandon their religion at the door. But a condition of the job is that they must accept limits, respect the nuances of the Constitution and know that it’s for the greater good. Some refuse to accept these terms of public service and should find another job.” To take Davis’s refusal to its logical, biblical extreme, and understand why these rules serve the public good, see “A Biblical Guide to Marriage Licenses.”

As conservative Christians rallied around Kennedy, likening him to Daniel in the lions’ den or even Jesus on the cross, other members of the Bremerton community including Bremerton High’s senior class president, Abe Bartlett, contacted to The Satanic Temple, a fringe religious group with a history of church-state activism.

The Satanic Temple appealed to the Bremerton School District for their own right to hold public football prayers. In an email exchange with Hemant Mehta of The Friendly Atheist, they described the ritual they had planned:

We’re going to be in black robes, heads covered like Sith Lords. If Joe Kennedy starts to pray, we will begin our solemn march accompanied by a gong to the 50 yard line in a V-formation, with Lilith in front. She will have an incense burner in each extended arm. When we get to the 50 yard line, she hands the incense off to people behind her and begins the invocation… With each sentence the gong will ring.

The invocation will likely end with a repeating “Ava Satanas!” (Hail Satan) led by Lilith.

We encourage any student or attendee to wear black to show solidarity.

The Satanic Temple explicitly states that they don’t believe in a literal Satan or any form of supernaturalism for that matter. Rather, their spiritual icon is the Satan of literature, a rebel against tyranny. (In the mythic literature of the Bible itself, Satan is a rebel figure who—in contrast to the figure of Yahweh modeled on an Iron Age war lord—kills fewer than a dozen people and then only with Yahweh’s permission.) After Kennedy and his prayer were suspended, the temple dropped their prayer plans, encouraging members simply to attend the pre-Halloween game. About a dozen members from Seattle gathered quietly outside the stadium, dressed in hooded black robes, and waved at student.

Many Conservative Christians are victims of their own superstition, seeing all of life as a battle between the forces of evil and good aligned against each other on an unseen spiritual plane. Some supporters of Kennedy panicked at the thought of Satanists coming to their small city, which sits across Puget Sound, a ferry ride from Seattle. To his credit, Kennedy himself offered some reassurance to his Facebook followers, “They are just people, . . Their beliefs are . . . Well it’s their beliefs.”

One of the paradoxical ironies of Christian belief is that it often blinds Christians to their own bad behavior, leaving them with a sense of martyred victimhood known as “Christian persecution complex” when they themselves have acted badly. Until the Satanists made their move, Kennedy’s followers failed to see how their claims of religious privilege might undermine civil society and even the very religious freedom they claim to value.

Government endorsement of religion, even a popular religion—especially a popular religion—means that individuals are less free to follow the dictates of their own conscience. Unless anything goes, it puts government officials in the role of weighing which prayers pass muster and which don’t. In a world where 18,000 children die daily of starvation, one might question the priorities of a coach who models seeking God’s assistance in beating the Wolverines rather than, say, bringing rains to drought-stricken Africa. One might.

At a lighter level, a public official tasked with managing football prayers might even ask whether praying before football games is cheating.

But what gives me license to pose these questions here, in print, in an article about high school education and sports, is the fact that Joe Kennedy chose to do his praying in a public institution, in his role as a public servant, on the public dime. America’s founders established separation of church and state because they knew all too well what happens to both religion and government when the two become fused.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org.  Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel.  Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

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About Valerie Tarico

Seattle psychologist and writer. Author - Trusting Doubt and Deas and Other Imaginings. Founder - www.WisdomCommons.org.
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50 Responses to Christian Football Prayer Opens Door to Hordes of Darkness

  1. Howard K. says:

    Once upon a time, Christians had high regard for that well-known liberal and supporter of church-state separation, Roger Williams. Apparently they now hold him in contempt.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Susan Kennedy says:

    May I add my Amen to Valerie’s post. To explain it to those Christians, just think of 30 years from now when a Muslim football coach wants to invoke a Muslim prayer before a game. ( And may I add that this Joe Kennedy is not known to be my relative.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Howard K. says:

      Your comment is very good. One thing that intrigues me about these Christianists is that they apparently never stop to think “now suppose it was someone of some other religion or belief….what would I think?” It’s really quite amazing that that thought never seems to occur to them. Hmm….perhaps their beliefs have short-circuited their thinking abilities?

      Like

      • Gunther says:

        As President Obama stated …..”And put yourself in their shoes. Look at the world through their eyes.”

        Like

  3. john zande says:

    I’m appalled the Great Lord Veles isn’t being represented!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bill West says:

    As a former resident of Bremerton I am rather surprised that this stupid, foul mouthed human being (knuckle dragging with open mouth) was ever allowed to preach his sermons of religiously virused distastefulness to HS (it used to be East Bremerton long ago) students.
    Love all of your articles. Few, since Christopher Hitchens, are as erudite and meticulous as you and I am enjoying everything.
    Thanks, BillofJazz (Go Hawks????)

    Like

  5. Paul Douglas says:

    You can’t make this crap up? The arrogance of christianists is breathtaking.

    Like

  6. “At a lighter level, a public official tasked with managing football prayers might even ask whether praying before football games is cheating.” I love that! Actually If the team that did the praying won a victory, then they really couldn’t take credit for being the better players could they ?

    Like

      • Sha'Tara says:

        A bit of humor, on topic. The following came into my “In Box” late in 2012. Apparently it’s a true story:
        MT. VERNON, TEXAS BEER JOINT SUES LOCAL CHURCH OVER LIGHTNING STRIKE!
        Drummond’s Bar began construction on an expansion of their building to increase their business. In response, the local Baptist Church started a campaign to block the bar from expanding with petitions and prayers.

        Work progressed right up until the week before the grand reopening when lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground!

        After the bar burned to the ground by the lightning strike, the church folks were rather smug in their outlook, bragging about “the power of prayer,” until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church “was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means.”

        In its reply to the court, the church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building’s demise.
        The judge read through the plaintiff’s complaint and the defendant’s reply, and at the opening hearing he commented,

        “I don’t know how I’m going to decide this, but it appears from the paperwork that we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that does not.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Charlie says:

      But maybe if both teams prayed prior to the game then they would know who has a better connection to god.
      Or maybe even which team has the better god.
      Actually maybe the gods could just play god-ball and the youngsters would not have to take the chances on getting severe football injuries.
      Yeah, I like that last option best.

      Like

  7. Gunther says:

    If believing that praying will help you win a game, then why bother to play at all? One thing I have learned about this website and Military Freedom From Religion website, is that when people mention different gods, it gets me curious into exploring the background of these gods that I have not been exposed to when I was in school.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jim Krasas says:

    It is amazing the amount of people that do not understand what the 1st Amendment is about and the precedence in the Courts that distinguish the difference between a government employee promoting religion and students expressing their religious beliefs. The 1st Amendment Center does an excellent job of explaining the difference.

    “This idea that government is forbidden from instructing, guiding or even encouraging people towards any particular form of religious worship is at the core of modern establishment-clause jurisprudence. It is important to note that the violation of the establishment clause is not based on someone’s being offended or being able to avoid the prayers, but instead on the government’s involvement in and active promotion of a religious activity.”

    http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/school-prayer

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Frank says:

    Nice article, Valerie. Thank you for correctly identifying both the philosophy and goals of members of the Satanic Temple. I contacted them (Lucien, specifically) awhile ago when my teenage son expressed a passing interest in “Satanism.” My son’s interest would have had me panicked when I was a believer, but Satanic-panic isn’t a problem now and the replies I received were thorough, insightful, and intentionally helpful to relieve most of my concerns. Briefly, I learned that Satanism is NOT the same as devil-worshipping . . . whew! And IMHO, the activities of the temple members remind me of a similar religious group, “Lamb’s Players,” who used to do street evangelizing using theatrical presentations. Bravo to the temple members for their courage to endure the consternation of the crowds.

    .

    Like

  10. Lowell Bushey says:

    Hi, Sha’Tara,

    Regarding MT. VERNON, TEXAS BEER JOINT SUES LOCAL CHURCH OVER LIGHTNING STRIKE!, great story; I love it! Even though it’s 3 years old, I’ve got to search the internet to see if I can find the story.

    Given the gullibility of a large portion of the American public, it’s entirely possible that the bar owner believed this stuff. Nonetheless, it’s noteworthy that, when push came to shove, the church was more than willing to admit that their spiel was b.s.

    Like

    • Sha'Tara says:

      That’s the point: that when confronted with the need to take responsibility for their actions, the entire church congregation, ostensibly led by their pastors, chose to renege on their faith! In the Catholic church catechism we were taught that it was a mortal sin to renege on your faith stance. You have to be willing to lose everything, even to die by torture rather than do such a thing. This is pure hypocrisy, and they’re not even smart enough to realize they’re doing it on front of the whole world. Then we’re supposed to let these people into our doors and listen to their spiel about how wonderful their religion is? There’s another “mortal sin” listed in the Catholic list of sins: presumption. These people are presuming upon their god to save them even when they blatantly deny the power of said god to shut down a “sinful” establishment, which the church prayed for, with lightning. But there’s one positive thing in this story: it reveals the true identity of their god: he’s Zeus!
      And yes, it is a true story and here’s a Youtube video about it:

      Like

  11. Lowell Bushey says:

    Hi, Valerie,

    I’m amazed at how often these cases persist. The A.H.A.’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center is nearly always willing to take such a case. Not only do the claimants end up losing, they often end up paying the AHLC’s legal expenses!

    Given the opinions of the current Supreme Court, perhaps the claimants think that they might get lucky. Unfortunately, Burwell v Hobby Lobby, has emboldened the Religious Right. In this decision, the Supreme Court overturned years of legal precedent, as demonstrated in Reynolds v United States (polygamy, decided in 1878) and Bob Jones University v United States (prohibition of interracial dating, decided in 1983) that sincerely held religious beliefs do not constitute a valid reason for violating a law.

    Like

  12. Lowell Bushey says:

    Hi, Valerie and Sha’Tara,

    IMO, it’s important to point out the extent that lame religious arguments have been “recycled” throughout American history. The “religious freedom” argument was used in both the cases that I cited, and rejected by the Supreme Court. In fact, the justice that wrote the opinion in Reynolds v United States stated (using human sacrifice as an extreme example) that “to permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”

    Similarly, the argument against gay rights and/or gay marriage has been “recycled” numerous times as a justification for other forms of bigotry. For example, Bob Jones, Sr. (founder of Bob Jones University) stated that “God is the author of [racial] segregation,” [and that if you are against it], “then you are against God Almighty”. (I’d also note that, to this day, Bob Jones University claims to be founded upon Biblical principles.)

    In the past, I’ve used Hitler and the Taliban as examples, and (although, IMO, they are totally legitimate!), I suspect that doing so turns people off. In fact, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to; quoting “Bible believing Christians” provides me with everything necessary for my argument. :)

    Like

    • Lowell Bushey says:

      Hi, Valerie and Sha’Tara,

      It hasn’t escaped me that, in 2014, the “Christian counselors” at Bob Jones University became notorious for blaming sexual assault on its victims. Although it wasn’t directly relevant to the topic being discussed, I should have included this information at the end of my post. My apologies for not doing so!

      Like

      • Sha'Tara says:

        Thank you, Lowell, and I remember reading that on this blog also. I still believe that the root of human misogyny lies directly in organized religion. I think Valerie explains it as some remnant of “Iron Age” thinking which was authoritatively patriarchal.

        Like

      • Lowell Bushey says:

        Hi, Sha’Tara,

        “Christian counselors” (not necessarily at Bob Jones University) have taken a similar attitude toward domestic violence, telling women that, if they only were better spouses (followed the Iron Age gender script) they wouldn’t get beaten. The thing I find appalling about the “blame the victim” attitude toward both rape and domestic violence is that it effectively legitimizes such behavior, and makes it acceptable.

        I agree with you completely about organized religion, and I’ve not been afraid to say that, IMO, there’s nothing more misogynistic and sexist than religion. One need not look very far to find examples.

        “Abstinence education”, IMO, is blatantly misogynistic and sexist. “Abstinence education” was proposed by the Religious Right as an “alternative” to programs that, as Valerie pointed out, have been extremely successful at reducing the teenage pregnancy rate (and the teenage abortion rate!). The “program” is nearly 100% focused on females to be “good girls” and not engage in premarital sexual activity, blissfully ignoring the fact that “it takes two to tango”. It’s latest incarnation, “used bubble gum”, subliminally implies that it’s OK for women to be “used” but only by husbands.

        Also, IMO, the latest incarnation of the effort to defund Planned Parenthood (This effort has persisted for at least 20 years!) has nothing to do with abortion, and everything to do with the fact that Planned Parenthood provides women with the tools that they need to make their own reproductive choices.. This, of course, drives the Religious Right crazy!

        Like

      • Sha'Tara says:

        Power is always power over. Power comes from the ability to control. Male-dominated power structures extoll physical strength as paramount. This is demonstrated in military might and in popular organized sports that emphasize violence: hockey, football, but almost all sport because they are competitive. That’s it in a nutshell: Control through physical strength expressed through violence against the less strong. The way modern technological societies are developing, the “physical strength” concept can be applied by proxy: religion, politics, military. Each organization is made up of a “ground force” of goons/mercenaries who provide the brain dead muscle. Also, inherent in every organization is this latent aspect of dominance by force. Simplification but essentially true. How to overcome this? Not through counter-force or counter organization. It’s up to you, to me, to change this from within. Compassionate self-empowerment. From political/environmental activism that copped me a divorce and loss of my immediate family I came to realize that I cannot change “others” through organized power, which is what any organization needs to hold and spread its place at the trough. Forget the trough and walk away upstream from the herd to drink, and discover grass that hasn’t been despoiled by passing hoofs. Go it alone. Detachment, that’s what works for me now.

        Like

      • Howard K. says:

        I suspect that we’ve all noticed, usually years ago, that there is a certain (nutty) consistency to the beliefs of extremists (of all kinds–religious especially, but also political) and the way they are held, and expressed.

        My guess: this consistency, along with other aspects of the behavior of nuts, tells us that belief in nutty ideas ultimately arises from something in the personality structures of these folks.

        Like

      • Lowell Bushey says:

        Hi, Howard K.,

        You might have a point. Religion certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on nutty beliefs, although it’s a major contributor. For example, I’m amazed at the number of [college educated] people who believe that the full moon influences human behavior.

        Like

      • Gunther says:

        Hi Lowell. I can’t believe that highly educated people feel that you need religion to explain the universe and math and science to kids consisting the fact that if it wasn’t for math and science, those educated people would still be living in caves instead of living in a nice house with air conditioning and central heating plus wearing different clothes depending on the time of the season.

        Like

  13. Lowell Bushey says:

    Hi, Sha’Tara,

    I tend to agree with you that one should “Forget the trough and walk away upstream from the herd to drink, and discover grass that hasn’t been despoiled by passing hoofs.” No one who has “gone along with the crowd” has ever accomplished anything historically significant!

    However, I also agree with the following Susan B Anthony quote: “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences…”

    My experience tells me that, when misinformation and lies go unchallenged, they become “truth”. The first time that I realized this was in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. Then Vice President Spiro Agnew described a certain piece of legislation as “Pablum for permissivists”. NO ONE rose up and said “democracy is, by definition, permissive; am I to assume that you’re against democracy?”

    Perhaps a far more egregious example is the pro-choice movement. Roe v Wade was decided in 1973. The misinformation and lies promulgated by “pro-lifers” went virtually unchallenged for more than 30 years!

    Climate change and evolution are also examples. Scientists have been aware of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, and its possible consequences, since the 1950’s; evolution has been SCIENTIFIC FACT since the 1970’s. Clearly, scientists do a horrendous job of communicating these things to the public.

    Interestingly, I’ve had similar difficulties with relationships. Two of my three siblings are self-righteous Fundamentalists; we haven’t spoken in years. I’m similarly divorced. although I chalk that up to being young and naive. (I was 21 when I got married.)

    I’ve never thought that being true to myself should preclude a romantic relationship with someone, although it seems to have worked out that way. :) I’ve attributed this mainly to demographics. IMO, to be compatible, I need someone who is an Atheist/Agnostic or a Liberal (preferably both!). In my age group, (I’m 67) women having those characteristics are in short supply.

    Given rape and domestic violence, I can understand your feelings regarding power and control. (Note that, at 5’4″ and 130 pounds, I’m no giant. :)) Politically, however, I disagree with you, 23% of the U.S. population has no religious affiliation, and they are overwhelmingly Liberal (between 2 and 3 to 1, depending on the issue). I’ll admit to a bit of male bias, bit I firmly believe that unless and until we “punish” those who pander to the Religious Right, and ensure that doing so is a sure fire way to lose an election, the current situation will continue. Furthermore, we have the votes to accomplish this goal!

    Like

    • Sha'Tara says:

      Hi Lowell,
      Certainly can’t disagree with the Susan B. Anthony quote! The problem with people in First World so-called democracies is, they don’t know what democracy stands for. The USA and Canada are not democracies, not even close. They are plutocracies, at best oligarchies with a large dose of religious authoritarianism thrown in. The Plutocrats don’t have to actually sit in some boring parliament to ensure their desires are ensconced in law, they buy their puppet politicians and the media to ensure those get “elected” through the brute force of propaganda and disinformation or character assassination of opponents. Also, a proper democracy demands that all members of the republic participate in the political process, and that freely, without duress. Good luck with that one: how long did it take women to get the vote and how many were ILLEGALLY jailed in the process? How long before UNCONSTITUTIONAL segregation of blacks was overthrown and how many were jailed, beaten, raped and killed in the process? What democracy? What constitution? What open government? What due process of law? What assurance of personal safety when standing up to those elected through lies and misdirection who then pass laws that benefit the rich against the poor? The US has yet to find out how much the 2008 illegal bailouts are going to cost the US taxpayers. The “people” have yet to realize how much the corporate wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan are costing. The “people” have no idea how much their billionaires and banksters are sucking off the public trough to fatten themselves. The “people” have no clue why America has such a high percentage of its population in jails compared to any other nation on the planet. Democracy is supposed to be open and free government. With the possible exception of Iceland, I can’t think of one place that functions that way.
      As for “punishing” the religious right, that only stirs up their martyr complexes and ensures they get the juicy headlines. But that’s the way of this world and it’s no longer my way. My power comes from within and that is as good as I care to make it. External power is what earth’s history is made of and it’s not a pretty picture.
      As for evolution, I can readily see, having experienced such, that there is mind evolution. Physical evolution? No. And a science as prostituted to the power of money and greed as it is, is certainly not about to convince me of anything-not by a long shot. I won’t believe, i.e., accept, anything a scientist from a renowned private institution or corporate funded academic institution publishes or claims. I’ll look at it, but it’s like elections: I watch the politics and refrain from voting as a way of saying, thanks but I wasn’t born last night. I rank scientists in the same category as politicians and lawyers and allow for rare exceptions, as in all cases, always remembering that there is no longer any demarcation between government and the corporate/military-industrial complex world. For “man to be the measure of all things” that has to be someone self-empowered and living it through detachment, and that works for me.

      Like

      • Lowell Bushey says:

        Hi, Sha’Tara,

        I do share a lot of your opinions, although we clearly disagree about what action (or inaction) is necessary. It does appear as though we can disagree without being disagreeable, however. :)

        I believe that I’ve achieved the same degree of self-actualization as you; nothing that happens, good or bad, will change that. However, I am affected by the actions of others and of government. For example, a large share of my income comes from Social Security, and I have to be vigilant about opposing cuts to same. (The fact that a majority of seniors vote for the party that’s out to screw them over doesn’t help!)

        There seems to be some miscommunication about what I meant by “punishment”. Agreed, one can’t “punish” the Religious Right. However, one can “punish” those politicians who kowtow to them, and make it clear that doing so is a surefire way to lose an election. Note that the NRA has been extremely successful at doing this with regard to the issue of gun control. Only now, after umpteen gun massacres, are politicians challenging them.

        As to “First World” democracies, and the influence of religion on same, it all depends on how you define “First World”. There are many “democracies” where religion has an undue influence on government. However, I wouldn’t classify any of these countries, except the U.S., as “First World”.

        IMO, Canada provides one of the best examples of “punishment” by voters. In 2005, corruption in the the Liberal Party was rampant, and the voters “punished” them by throwing them out of office. In 2015, (in fact, within the last couple of months) the voters “punished” the Conservative Party for kowtowing to its more extreme elements, and the Liberals are back in power!

        I agree with you about “propaganda and disinformation or character assassination of opponents.” However, the problem, as I see it, is that too many people believe that b.s. If not for ignorance and stupidity, the Kochs and others would be wasting their money!

        I also agree with you about voting rights, and it’s still going on today, with “voter ID laws” that have no other purpose except to keep Blacks, Hispanics, and other groups that traditionally vote Democratic from the polls. In 2000, over 60,000 Black and Hispanic voters were unlawfully purged from the Florida voter rolls. Even the Democrats never suspected that Republicans would go to these lengths to “rig” an election. (Republicans tried again in 2012, but Democrats were vigilant, and prevailed in the courts. Surprise; Democrats won Florida!)

        Republicans have also tried a more insidious trick: drawing congressional districts so as to “pack” Blacks and other minorities into a single district. This, of course, achieves the same result as keeping minorities away from the polls. A “token Black” or “token Hispanic” can achieve very little, effectively rendering minority votes irrelevant!

        You seem a bit fatalistic when it comes to government; IMO, the WORST thing citizens can do is to think that they’re powerless. In these situations, I like to play “devil’s advocate”. Even though I think that it’s an exaggeration, for the sake of argument I’ll assume that that “all politicians are scumbags”. Do you want a scumbag that votes your way, or a scumbag that votes the opposition’s way? :)

        Although we agree on a number of issues, we clearly disagree about what can, or should, be done to fix any inherent problems. Perhaps we’ll have to “agree to disagree”. :)

        Like

      • Sha'Tara says:

        This is stretching out, and may not be in keeping with this blog’s rules. We could switch to private email if you’d like, or we could just let it go. Agree to disagree and all that stiff upper lip stuff, eh?

        Like

      • Thanks, Sha’Tara. Taking a long conversation offline is probably a helpful thing.

        Warmly,

        Valerie

        Like

    • Gunther says:

      “I also agree with the following Susan B Anthony quote: “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform.”

      Susan Anthony was definitely right about people only caring about their reputation and social standing considering the fact that many of them made a mess of their businesses and the world and then tried to justify their decisions, tried to minimizes their role in creating the mess, and/or blame someone else for it and plead innocence to the whole affair.

      Like

      • Lowell Bushey says:

        Hi, Guenther,

        Here’s another Susan B. Anthony quote that I like: “The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God. I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do to their fellows, because it always coincides with their own desires.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sha'Tara says:

        Throwing my paddle in with a couple of quotes:
        “Once self-supported by conscience, once embarked on a career of manifest usefulness, the true Christian never yields. Neither public nor private influences produce the slightest effect on us, when we have once got our mission. Taxation may be the consequence of a mission; riots may be the consequence of a mission; wars may be the consequence of a mission: we go on with our work, irrespective of every human consideration which moves the world outside us. We are above reason; we are beyond ridicule; we see with nobody’s eyes, we hear with nobody’s ears, we feel with nobody’s hearts, but our own. Glorious, glorious privilege! And how is it earned? Ah, my friends, you may spare yourselves the useless inquiry! We are the only people who can earn it—for we are the only people who are always right.” (The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins) … and…
        “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” (Anne Lamott)

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Gunther says:

    Lowell, thank you for the another Susan B. Anthony quotation regarding religion.

    Like

  15. Lowell Bushey says:

    Hi, Sha’Tara,

    My conversations with you are nearly always engaging and interesting. Even though both of us have strong feelings on certain issues, we’re always able to keep the conversation at a civil level. However, it’s possible that we’re annoying the heck out of everyone else. :) I don’t know whether there’s too much more to add to the current conversation; however, here’s my e-mail address. It’s Petalflower12345@yahoo.com. Obviously, whenever you feel that a conversation is too drawn out for others, but wish to continue it, you need only say that you’re taking it offline, and e-mail me. :)

    Like

  16. Lowell Bushey says:

    Hi Guenther,

    I agree with your comment regarding education and religion. Perhaps a bigger question is why ancient religious dogma persists despite increased scientific knowledge. Over my lifetime, due to increased scientific knowledge, I’ve gone from “agnostic” (The god of most religions, with disgusting prejudices and loony ideas, doesn’t exist. However that doesn’t necessarily preclude the existence of some “higher being”.) to “weak atheist” (The probability that god exists is very small, but one cannot prove a negative hypothesis.) to “strong atheist” (The probability that god exists is so minuscule that I can safely call myself an atheist.). The proportion of scientists who believe in God has also decreased markedly during this same time period.

    Like

    • Gunther says:

      Hi Lowell,
      The number of scientists who believe in God may have decline over the years; however, if the scientists want to get hired in American federal government or at America’s high school, elementary school, and colleges (private and public), they are still vulnerable to take some form of litmus test by the school administrators or the government officials regarding science and religion (or rather inserting the Bible into science). The Koch Brothers have taken over some colleges in Florida so they are going to have powerful control on the purchasing of textbooks and the hiring of teachers. It was either during the Bush 43 or Bush 41 administration, where there was a minor scandal at a federal science agency (can’t recall the name of it) where scientists were asks religious questions regarding the formation of the universe and other scientific matters. The entire scientist community got ticked off and raise a ruckus about it and Congress did not like it either when they had heard about it, and the presidential administration had to back off.

      Like

      • Lowell Bushey says:

        Hi, Guenther,

        I’d never heard this one, so, for the moment, I won’t comment. The Kochs are indeed having an undue influence on our school system, although as far as I know, it’s more toward pushing a “pro-business” agenda, rather than a “pro-religious” one. The Kochs, of course, support “religious right” political candidates, because they know that those folks will vote against their own economic interests to advance their religious interests. (After all, the “rapture” is coming soon, so it doesn’t matter. :))

        Like

      • Howard K. says:

        1. As a general rule, it’s quite dangerous for a person hiring in the Fed Gummint to ask such question–risk of blowback. I recall the case of a woman I think in the Bush 43 gang (I think from Pat ROBert$on’s “university”, or maybe that of Jerry Falwell) who was asking such questions, and eventually had to leave the gummint when that was made known.

        2. Re scientists, my recollection is that research shows that “elite” scientists have much lower rate of belief in god than those who are less accomplished.

        Like

  17. Lowell Bushey says:

    Hi, Sha’Tara,

    Thanks for the quotes. Your first quote is eerily descriptive of many of the “fundies” that I’ve known. Your second quote is somewhat similar to my second SBA quote, and a few others that I’ve amassed. Obviously, the implication that gods are the creations of humans (not the other way around :)) is shared by many.

    Like

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