Oh, THAT Theocracy

One of the most ridiculous myths of the American left is that any American president or candidate who is a Christian and doesn’t shy from mentioning his faith is going to institute a theocracy over America.

I’ve never fully understood how that theocracy thing was supposed to work.  Who exactly was going to establish that theocracy, and who in heck was going to impose it and who was going to support it?  I mean, sorry, even Heinlein who believed the American people had an impulse towards theocracy didn’t think this was possible without a second revelation, i.ee. someone who claimed himself a prophet and instituted a new religion.

Yes, I know Atwood had a fundamentalist theocracy ruling America.  Look, the woman is British [It has been pointed out to me she’s Canadian.  May I say she’s a very British Canadian?  I get British from her writing.  And Canada IS so near and yet so far away in sensibilities.  However I have no other excuse for her thoughts, other than she lives in a progressive bubble.]  I doubt she understands American religion, mostly because even Americans have trouble understanding American religion, and everyone else abroad just reads what our press prints.  Our press likes to fancy themselves special and everyone else in fly over country uniform fundamentalists who all believe the same things and think the same things.

Good heavens, people, I have friends who are both Baptist and not only interpret their religion in completely different ways, but have severe disagreements on what could be considered “theological” laws like blue laws.  And that’s without touching the multitude of evangelical sects, the Catholics, the Presbyterians, the Methodists…  Even I don’t fully understand the difference between a hundred flavors of protestant, more or less.  Hell and damnation, people, these are Christian sects, and they completely disagree on practically everything of importance.  And that’s not counting the less mainstream Mormons, and then the non Christians: Jews, Wicca, Asatru, Muslims even.

The truth is that we’re the world’s oldest multi-religion society.  Yes, there are others, but they are different.  Probably part of the reason that Atwood thought a theocracy was likely, let alone possible, is that she thinks we have some sort of evangelical state religion and the others are tolerated.  Because that’s how it works in all the other “multi-religious” or religious tolerance societies.  Great Britain has anglicanism as a state religion, even if they allow other religions.  The Scandinavian countries have state religions. Portugal does.  I suspect every country in Europe has one “state” religion, no matter what they tolerate.

That as you must understand makes it far more likely to have a theocracy.  Not LIKELY since even in Europe there are many other religions.  But it’s a matter of 80% of people, at least nominally (in Europe very nominally) believing in the same religion.

I don’t remember what the largest denomination in the US is, but the largest mainstream churches are a sort of European Christianity and more “nominal” than not.  And last I heard, the most any denomination commanded was around 30% and even that I bet has rifts within the the religion that would make a theocracy impossible.

The result of freedom of religion for a long time is an amazing panoply of religious belief that makes it impossible to have any religion become law.

Yes, the country is mostly Christian in many denominations and ranging in fervor from nominal to very devout.  But none of these has enough of a primacy and enough of a unified belief to become law.

Now because the country is mostly religious, and mostly Christian, it means that a lot of the possible presidents will be religious and Christian.  If you believe, it is only sane that you’ll talk about your faith.  If you are religious it is very important to you.  And if it’s important to you, the electors are entitled to know about it.  Same way we should have learned about Obama’s status as a fourth generation red diaper baby.

Deeply held beliefs influence how you act.  Granted.  So a fourth generation red diaper baby raised on internationalism will act like all the international problems are the fault of the Us and like you can bring about world peace by making the US less relevant.  It’s not true, but it’s a deeply held belief that can affect our national security.

So a Christian should disclose being Christian, and shouldn’t be ashamed or afraid to speak about it to/solicit the vote of other Christians.

And the left is totally justified in fearing a Christian president, because we know that Christianity teaches you to hate those not like you and punish them and make them bheave the way you approve of.

Oh, wait, no, Christianity doesn’t teach ANY of that.  Not one thing of that, even though this is how TV represents Christians and it’s probably the closest the leftists have ever come to a person with a religious faith that is NOT Marxism (which is a religious faith at this point.)  And they reveal it every time they open their mouths, or more likely like words spill from their fingers in places like facebook.

After Iowa, Facebook was full of leftists throwing tantrums.  They were going on about Cruz instituting the Land of Gilead (does anyone know what in holy fuck they’re talking about?  Forgive the swearing, but if he mentioned Gilead at any time, it was clearly a metaphorical reference, like to the Body of Christ, not a literal one.)  They were promising to leave (for some of the most godawful spots in the world) because if he won he was clearly going to institute a theocracy.

I gave their craziness the consideration it deserved.  None.  For one because they’ve been saying this since Reagan, and not one of them has left the country.  Which is a pity since the people most hysterical about that are some of the most screwed up creatures on this green Earth.

But you know, thirty five years in, with Reagan and Bush and the other Bush all failing to establish a theocracy, put all atheists in camps, forcing all Jews to convert, etc etc etc, including those infamous gay concentration camps W was going to establish, they’re still convinced that if a presidential candidate says the word “G-d” or Jesus, they’re going to establish a theocracy RIGHT NOW.

And to them that’s the greatest danger, not electing people who think they can create a managed economy or who preemptively leave us defenseless in a dangerous world.  In fact, the only system of beliefs they don’t think is dangerous is the one that is destroying the west.

THAT is the only system they can tolerate because since it’s a religion without a god, they believe it is no danger and can’t possibly create a theocracy.

Instead of trusting in the rich diversity of belief of their fellow countrymen, and allowing their countrymen to believe in G-d or not, and worship in any way they wish to, the Marxists and their duped followers want everyone to believe and worship as they do: a lot of little secular obeisances in political correctness and self-denunciation, a lot of expecting “the best people” to bring about an Earhty paradise in which humans themselves are transformed into either angels or ants (it’s difficult to tell with these guys.)

In other words, they expect anyone who mentions Christianity to institute a theocracy, because they know if they were the majority of the population, they would institute one, and make it impossible for anyone to behave or believe in ways other than they do.

In other words, it’s their old projection yet again.

You know, among the people who were very relieved with Cruz’s victory, whom I talked to after Iowa were an observant Jewish friend, and a gay friend.  Neither of them was terribly worried that Cruz is going to institute a theocracy, but then neither of them is a Marxist fellow-traveler, and both of them are willing to let other people believe and worship in their own way. Because they don’t feel a need to control others.

Yes, Cruz references his faith.  I find that polite.  Both because we have the right to know, and because he’s appealing to the vast majority of voters who believe somewhat like him.  what he’s telling them is that he hews to a system of belief that orders him not to murder, and not to steal, and not to covet other people’s possessions.  Some of us find that … reassuring.

This is very early days yet, and Cruz might or might not win the nomination, let alone the presidency.

However, the one thing I can tell you for sure is that if he wins it is far less likely that he’ll interfere with your way of believing and worshiping or not believing and not worshiping than would Bernie.

The fact the left is incapable of seeing that is our country’s tragedy.

901 responses to “Oh, THAT Theocracy

  1. Meanwhile, Bernie expects us to all title to the Church of Socialism to pay for everything, including ‘free college educations’ that are indistinguishable from a high school education 25 years ago.

    • err, tithe

      • Oh, I interpreted it as “hand over the title”….

      • If it was *only* a tithe, it’d be a considerable improvement.

      • I’m Tithing now to the god of government? I wish. Bernie wants you to keep the Tithe and hand over the rest, if you make over an amount to be defined later. Draven you have the right of it. The only question is what percentage of the carcass do you get to keep.

        • I have seen proposals that (big daddy) government should collect and process all wages and then provide a portion to you (as an allowance).

          • Who proposed that? And took it seriously?

            • It was a proposal floated to ‘simplify’ taxes and eliminate tax evasion. After concluding that it was not going to be an immediate threat I put it aside in the ‘be aware it has been proposed’ part of the brain. (Because what may seem ridiculous today may become tomorrow’s affordable health care act.)

              I am sorry. As it was during a period when other issues were occupying most of my attention and I cannot recall where to find it.

          • I can all but guarantee that, unless something changes, nationalization of retirement accounts is coming. It’s still a ways off, but it’s coming. Lawmakers have already started floating proposals (that have thus far been largely ignored).

          • I believe that was floated a few years ago in Great Britain. Didn’t go anywhere, but you could see the greedy bastards salivating over it.

            BTW, that is *exactly* what Cuba does for its serfs employed in hotels run by European hotel companies – they pay a “living wage” to the Castros and they in turn pay the workers the standard $20 per month in non-convertible pesos.

            • See: Tax Expenditures.

              From: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/dems-cave-agree-to-huge-spending-cuts/article/2582500

              At a House Budget Committee hearing, Moore described money that finds its way to taxpayers as a government program, or “spending through the tax code.” All those deductions for housing and childcare and charitable organizations and countless other activities are essentially a federal program.

              Here are her own words:

              “The tax breaks that we all voted for on Nov. 15 is spending, people,” she told the hearing. “It’s spending. You can say we’re putting monies back into our constituents pockets, whatever you want to say. It’s spending.”

              She even presented a chart showing that these “tax expenditures” are equal to about $1.45 trillion in “outlays.” That’s much bigger, she said, than the $889 billion being spent on Medicare and Medicaid.

              • The minute she started with this line of argument, the Republican chairman of the Budget Committee should have informed her that she was not allowed to present false testimony based on the demonstrably false premise that all money belongs to the government. And that her only two choices were to sit down and STFU, or leave — with or without an escort.

                The fact that this did not happen is why the GOPe is useless.

                • You’ve got to give them some rope if you are going to let them hang themselves.

                  Rather than shutting her down the Chair should have polled the committee to see how many were willing to go on the record in support of that interpretation. Who knows, there may have been enough of them to topple Guam.

              • I got into it with someone who calls himself a “Constitutional Conservative” on Facebook on that idea. His premise was that the mortgage interest deduction was a “subsidy” and that it was Unconstitutional because “nowhere in the Constitution does it give the government power to help people pay their mortgages” and that a deduction for some (home buyers) that didn’t apply to everyone was, thus, unconstitutional.

                Questions about whether this extends to all deductions, including all those that businesses take on revenue before determining profit, went unanswered. Also unanswered was whether the 1791 Whiskey tax was a subsidy for, say, tobacco growers.

                • The mortgage interest deduction is an abatement of the cost of investment in long-term fixed assets and is thus consistent with government treatment of all such investment.

                  It is also a demonstration of the futility of such FB debates — say you concede Constitutional Conservative’s argument: so the eff what. Is Congress likely to revoke that deduction? Is it probable the president would sign legislation to that effect? Is the SCOTUS going to rule against it? Not bloody likely.

                  • Oh heck — beyond that, it is a weak argument. If you oppose the mortgage interest deduction the stronger arguments are that it is bad economics and discriminatory in its effect.

                    Bad economics because it largely has the effect of raising net interest by reducing effective interest. That is, if you are willing and able to pay a 5% interest rate on your mortgage and the effect of the deduction is to reduce your cost of carrying by 25%, then you will accept a 6.67% interest which, after deduction, will cost you 5%. The actual benefit thus flows to lenders, not borrowers.

                    It is discriminatory because its benefits flow disproportionately to certain borrowers, particularly those in higher tax brackets or carrying higher mortgages (typically the same, but not always.) That deduction is more valuable to a person in a 35% tax brcket than one in the 15% bracket. Further, for many people the mortgage interest deduction is of little or no value because it is either insufficient to permit itemizing their deductions or is barely above that standard deduction (e.g., saying your mortgage interest is $10K, with a standard deduction of $7.5K the net benefit of the mortgage interest is only $2.5K — not chicken feed but not as valuable as the borrower is prone to imagine it.)

                    Nexxt to those two arguments, the Constitutional one is nada.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Tom Kratman had an interesting comment some time ago on “Constitutionality” of certain Federal programs.

                    Basically he stated that IF the Supreme Court ruled that the Social Security program was unconstitutional, there would like be a successful push to amend the Constitution to make it Constitutional.

                    • I’m not sure, Paul. Most of my generation never expects to see a cent. Right now, maybe. In ten years? I don’t know.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      You have a point on the survivability of Social Security but I think Tom Kratman is correct concerning many popular Federal programs.

    • Thereby providing access of the noble true believing Marxist/socialist professors, dedicated to bringing enlightenment to our world, four years to directly indoctrinate the population.

      Bah.

    • The only “bright side” to this is that most Europeans don’t bother to go to college even though it’s “free.” Sadly, those who do are more likely to go for wish-fulfillment degrees like “xyz studies” than ones that will get them real jobs. This is a twofold problem since it (1) creates a new cadre of indoctrinated youth, and (2) who have powerful incentive to vote themselves goodies.

      • If it’s like in Portugal and Germany (Portugal now has private colleges too, but it didn’t in my time) most people CAN’T go to college. Sure it’s free, but to get in you have to be… well… mine wasn’t the lowest entrance requirement but it was lower than Engineering or Medicine (besides being a different branch chosen at 9th grade) but it still only admitted the top half of one percent of high school students by grades and tests.

        • Bjorn Hasseler

          At some point, I think tracking people into a certain level of occupation that early such that you can’t aspire to something else means that country isn’t really free.

          • That’s why I consider one of the most truly awesome things about the United States is that it truly is “The Land of Second Chances”:

            http://thewriterinblack.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-land-of-second-chances.html

          • I’m not sure about not really free, but it’s stupid. I spent a whole summer crying, and then my parents more or less pushed me into humanities based on the fact that “you’re bad at math.” Yeah, I had a B average in 9th grade due to truly despising the teacher who was a communist party member and made no secret of it (it was mutual. The despising. To manage to give me a B she once removed half the points on a test because I “drew numbers funny.” No joke.)
            I never liked/felt I fit in my profession. It was chosen as the least of all possible evils, and the one that gave me the hypothesis to do SOMETHING beyond teaching. Which I did. I translated for about five years. I am good at it. I hated it. And that’s how I ended here.
            If I had my life to do again, I’d be a mechanical engineer. (Though I’d probably write, too.)

        • I was thinking of England, where I actually lived when I was in high school. The vast majority of students in the comprehensives didn’t even consider college. Too much “swotting” to be appealing.

        • … it still only admitted the top half of one percent of high school students by grades and tests.

          With the present social humbug in our nation – diversity – I doubt that we would see high scholastic achievement and ability to test well as the hurdles to accessing a seat at ‘free’ college.

  2. Of course the left projects. They have done their best to implment a theocracy based on some kind of watermelon earth mother worship. They’ve even got their church partly established with state support via such ministries as the EPA.

    They simply don’t get that the other ‘side’, for the most part, doesn’t want to interfere as long as you don’t disturb the neighbors.

  3. “In other words, it’s their old projection yet again.”

    SJWs always lie, always project, and always double down.

    Replacing SJW with Leftist, Progressive, Marxist, etc. doesn’t invalidate the thesis.

    • ” It’s why the left dominates the movie industry — they know all about projection.” (Seen on the ‘net)

    • *waggles hands like she’s weighing something*

      I think it’s less something special to any of those groups, and more that only a few groups do not use…well, emotionally powerful but rationally lacking methods.
      What is more satisfying, saying “yes, my mom is unfaithful to her husband, but I love her no matter what,” or going “my mom is better than most women– she may cheat, but they’re all whores”? Only the last part would actually come up, most of the time, of course…..

  4. You need to remember that, to a lot of the SJWs, every single thing that’s ever gone wrong in the US happened because of religion – and all religions are exactly the same.

    One of them was ranting on Facebook (I know) about how slavery was pretty much an invention of the US church, and that Evangelical churches were founded mostly to excuse slavery. When I pointed out that the anti-slavery movement was instigated by churches, she refused to consider the thought, because a number of Southern churches went with the urging of their more powerful members and supported slavery.

    Heck, it’s nearly impossible to convince most lefties that Islam isn’t the same as Fundamentalist Christianity. Never mind that, despite the current use of the term, you have to search high and low to find an actual Fundamentalist church (even our “Fundy” churches are mostly Evangelical, with only a smattering of actual Fundamentalism).

    • How in the name of the thirty four blue and frilly hells can she possibly imagine that slavery was an invention of the U.S. church (even laying aside the fact that there’s no such creature) when slavery predates the US by several millennia?

      • because they really believe it never existed anywhere else and was invented just for here, or something similarly silly. All references to slavery in the bible were put in after the fact.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Also ignores that churches, black and white, were at the forefront of the civil rights movement.

      • Because it was DIFFERENT then. You know, kinder, not real slavery slavery. Only European evangelicals practiced real evil bad slavery. (I wish I was kidding . . .)

        • I know you’re not. I heard this said to me.

        • There may be some exceptions made to that position if you limit the subject to the historical enslavement of womyn …

        • Facepalm! It was the return of Roman law that brought slavery back in Europe after Christians had done away with it. And no, serfs were not slaves. One of medieval historian Regine Pernoud’s pet peeves was folks who mis-translated the word “servus” in medieval documents as “slave” rather than “serf.”

          • Of course, you do have to gauge carefully the semantic drift of the term.

          • Roman law had, to my understanding, some very specific protections for slaves — indeed, if a Roman wanted to smear someone, he’d claim that they abused their slaves.

            • IIRC, abusing slaves was no more serious than abusing horses, and in some cases, abusing horses was considered worse (depending on the relative value of the slave and the horse). Will have to look it up again some other time.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                Probably also depends on the period. I do know that Roman law had very few protections as far a child abuse was concerned.

                If the Romans had the technology for abortion, they would have used it as part of their “father’s right to choose” that extended into the child’s adulthood.

                One actual protection they had was that after the third time a father sold his son into slavery the son was no longer obliged to obey the father.

                There was a man named, perhaps, Lucius whose treatment of his son was so outrageous that the Romans attempted to intervene legally. The son, later known as Torquatus, held a knife on the official responsible until the thing was called off. Torquatus then started his career from that matter.

                Torquatus later gave his own son a military execution in the field for disobeying orders.

      • It doesn’t matter what the REALITY was, they’ve got their opinion and they’re not going to be dissuaded by cold, hard facts.

      • Blue and frilly hells. Now there’s a contradiction of the traditional image. I like it.

      • Patrick Chester

        For that matter, slavery predates Christianity by a few millenia.

        • The rules about the proper treatment of Hebrew and foreign slaves in the Old Testament pretty much presuppose slavery as an institution that has existed from time out of mind, is part of the human condition, and needs regulating, rather than something being instituted (compare the rules for various kinds of sacrifices and offerings, which are being newly instituted for the Children of Israel).

        • Naw, that is just improper translation. For example, the Hebrews were merely resident migrant laborers in Egypt up until Moses broke the contract, refusing to pay off their accumulated debts and fleeing across the Red Sea ahead of Pharoah’s debt collectors.

          • The Other Sean

            Do we need to send you some solvent to unstick your tongue from your cheek?

            • I hear ethyl alcohol works well for that purpose.

            • No, I’ve become quite accustomed to its being there. I do have a persistent ache in my right shoulder which Beloved Spouse suggests comes as consequence of patting myself on the back so often.

      • I have seen a rather compelling argument that it was the invention of the plow that led to the institution of slavery. Before that time, on balance the “unskilled labor” of one person could support one person. After the invention of the plow the labor of one person could support more than one person. This made labor valuable.

        As a result, this gave people something to do with prisoners taken in raids (or taken in fending off raids) rather than sacrifice them to “the gods”. Thus the institution of slavery.

        • I don’t think so. Hunting gathering societies have slavery.
          BTW I read that line as the “invention of the pillow” …. until I went back. 😀

        • In the same vein, it is said the invention of the cotton gin is what prolonged slavery in the United States. But plows and the cotton gin are nothing but after the fact excuses for the institution of slavery.

          • Eli Whitney’s patents for the gins were largely disregarded, making it nearly impossible to collect royalties on his invention — he made almost no net profit on the invention. Ironically, because of this he eventually became a major supplier of arms to the Union Army:

            During his difficulties in receiving compensation for the cotton gin, Whitney’s next big venture would involve the production of arms and champion the interchangeable-parts system. With a potential war with France on the horizon, the government looked to private contractors to supply firearms. Whitney promised to manufacture 10,000 rifles within a two-year period of time, and the government accepted his bid in 1798.

            At the time, muskets were generally assembled in their entirety by individual craftsmen, with each weapon having its own distinct design. Setting up base in Connecticut, Whitney devised milling machines that would allow laborers to slice metal by a pattern and produce one particular, specific part of a weapon. When put together, each part, though made separately, became a working model.

            Whitney still faced many challenges with this new system. After the first few years of production, he was able to produce only a fraction of the promised order. It took 10 years for him to complete the manufacture of 10,000 arms. Yet even with the delay, Whitney soon received another order for 15,000 muskets, which he was able to supply in two years.
            http://www.biography.com/people/eli-whitney-9530201

            Wiki adds: When the government complained that Whitney’s price per musket compared unfavorably with those produced in government armories, Whitney was able to calculate an actual price per musket by including fixed costs such as insurance and machinery, which the government had not included. He thus made early contributions to both the concept of cost accounting, and the concept of the efficiency of private industry.

        • Some Indians who definitely didn’t have plows had slavery– I remember because a high school teacher sang great praises about how wonderful and lovely it was that they’d “adopt” the people…whose entire family they’d just slaughtered. They’d be forced to work, but it wasn’t bad slavery….

          *gag*

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      On “Fundamentalist Christianity”, it is basically the idea that Christians should base their Faith strictly on the Fundamentals based on what the Bible says are the “Fundamentals”.

      It started out IIRC in the 1920s as many “Mainstream Churches” appeared to be going away from what the Bible said and were paying more attention to the “Proper Secular Ideas” of the time.

      It’s interesting that the “Label” Fundamentalists was used as a slur toward the Christians who were more interested in “what the Bible says” than the “Proper Secular Ideas”.

      It was ironically (unlike the term Religious Right) accepted as a term by some of those Christians.

      Of course, most “Fundamentalists” have strong disagreements about “what the Bible says” which would make it “interesting” if any “Fundamentalists” wanted to create a Theocracy. 😈

      • The term goes back to the publication of a set of essays in book form entitled “The Fundamentals.” (Guess who had a professor who red-penciled any reference to Christian Fundamentalists prior to 1924?)

      • Yep. I remember my father saying, around the 90’s or so, that he used to describe himself as a “fundamentalist” because he thought we should be paying more attention to the fundamentals of Christianity: reading the Bible for its plain meaning rather than trying to twist its words into pretzels, that sort of thing. But after seeing how the news media was starting to use the term — constantly blaming attacks on “Islamic fundamentalists”, for example — he explained to me that they were trying to poison that word, so he was going to stop using it to describe his own beliefs. (His beliefs were unchanged, he just decided to use different terminology to describe them). I was about twelve at the time and didn’t quite get why he was saying that, but now I fully understand and agree with his decision.

        • Reality Observer

          Well, the term is still accurate.

          Which is why this agnostic does not worry about a Christian fundamentalist theocracy all that much. A Muslim one, though…

          Very different books, when you have read both of them with a literalist viewpoint.

        • Yep, the interesting thing is that in some ways those that think Islamic fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists are the same… are correct.
          No, not that they have the same beliefs, but that Islamic fundamentalists take the Koran at face value, and believe the fundamentals put out in it should be followed, and Christian fundamentalists believe the same about the Bible. The difference, of course, lies in the difference between the two texts. Since Leftists would never sully their mind by actually reading religious texts, they are not only unaware of what the fundamentals outlined in the Bible and the Koran are, but are unaware of the differences between the two.

        • Well, Progressives/Socialists/Liberals/Democrats are constantly changing their name after poisoning the current one, so it is only fair that your Dad changed his after the Progressives/Socialists/Liberals/Democrats tried to poison it as well.

    • One of my little contributions to Wikipedia was putting in the point that slavery pre-existed written records.

    • The Other Sean

      I think you’re exaggerating. They don’t blame everything on religion, at least not solely. To them, everything is the fault of religion, capitalism and the patriarchy.

    • Excellent point.

    • Bjorn Hasseler

      It probably wouldn’t do any good, but you could drop the names Granville Sharp, William Wilberforce, and the Clapham Sect on them. A few people observing the discussion might look them up.

    • Researching my family tree, I’ve discovered a few interesting things about churches and slavery in the United States. The Quakers, from the start, were anti-slavery, period, end of discussion. Quite a few Quakers who emigrated from New Jersey down to Virginia converted from Quaker to Baptist or Episcopalian because of the Quaker prohibition against slavery. Including, I’m sorry to say, some of my ancestors. Some of whom were influential preachers.

      But, I had ancestors on both sides of that war that brought an end to slavery in the United States. And I wasn’t around then anyway, so I carry no guilt. That was then, this is now. Else I’d really have to rant about the way my English ancestors treated my Irish and Scottish ancestors…

      • My significant ancestor who was in the US at the time of the Civil War – Granny Jessie’s family who came on about the second or third boat after the Mayflower and settled a Penn land grant – were die-hard Quakers and ferocious Abolitionists. According to family legend, Granny Jessie’s grandfather was slung out of Quaker Meeting because he was such a ferocious Abolitionist that he fully approved of Mr. Lincoln’s war, to a degree that the local Meeting was … embarassed. (supposedly he also was active in the Underground Railway, too) He stomped off and joined the nearest Protestant congregation – which happened to be Lutheran.

        (My personally most disgusting parish pot-luck luncheon dish was the lime Jello with cottage cheese and crushed pineapple in it. Yuck.)

      • I joke that Gettysburg was a family fight.

  5. Christopher M. Chupik

    Atwood is Canadian, sadly.

    • The Other Sean

      You didn’t have to admit it, though I admire you sense of honesty in doing so. 😉 You won’t find me admitting Scalzi is an American.

  6. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    What’s also annoying is when Liberals compare Conservative Christians to Radical Muslims but God help anybody who talks too much about the dangers of Radical Muslims. 😦

    • And meanwhile, as Instapundit points out, they’ve set up an incentive system for Christians to act like Muslims in order to be left the Hell alone.

      • And when Christians continue* to not act like Muslims despite the incentive system they’ve put in place, they will completely fail to learn the appropriate lesson from that. (Which would be that Christians actually believe what Jesus taught about loving your enemy.)

        * For the most part; I’m sure there will be a few outliers. There always are.

        • Yep. They just tell us that “You aren’t REAL Christians” because we don’t conform to THEIR stereotype. It really happens to me.

          • I have read an online joke that turned on the fact that Catholic priests don’t drink alcohol. And the teller of which refused to admit that his fact — wasn’t.

            • When we first came to Alabama in the mid ’80s I was watching a local news show that featured a mature male commentator and a rather young black female. He made some off hand remark about communion wine which totally astounded the obviously hard shell Baptist girl. She had a most difficult time wrapping her mind around the concept that some churches actually used real alcoholic wine rather than grape juice.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Well, I heard a joke about a Catholic Priest who got whiskey on his clothing and some helpful lady offered perfume to mask the smell of the whiskey.

              The Priest politely replied that he was allowed the whiskey. [Smile]

            • Wayne Blackburn

              (Wobbita wobbita) So those beer brewing monks* never drank their own creations, eh?

              * I could see them assuming an exception being made for the Communion wine, as it’s done in the practice of the faith, not as part of an unorganized social event, or at dinner, for example.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                Erm, that was supposed to mean that I could see the claimant making that exception, not the monks.

              • Beer brewing monks I can take or leave, it’s not like they have the corner on the market. Let’s not eliminate the Benedictine monks, who produce a rather potent and warming liqueur. 😉

                • Note: Legend reports that Bénédictine was first made in 1510 by a monk by the name of Don Bernardo Vincelli and that it was produced by the monks in France until the destruction of their monastery during the Revolution. Some now believe this story to have been a marketing ploy of a Frenchman of the name of Alexandre Le Grand. I like the legend. The company continues to print it.

                • It’s not just the namesake liquor, the Benedictines are responsible for a large number of the alcoholic beverages we consume, even champagne.

            • I am amused by this, partly because in one of his books on “Ninjutsu” Stephen Hayes was talking about deception and tradecraft regarding spy roles. He specifically used the example that having a beer in a “role” as Catholic Priest would be OK but not as a Mormon missionary.

            • Baptists, maybe. Some of them. But we don’t have priests.

              • richardmcenroe

                Baptists have a unique Christian superpower. They are invisible to each other in a liquor store or strip club. (Hooters, combining elements of both, produces erratic effects, much like red Kryptonite).

            • Catholic priests don’t take communion? Wow, you learn something new every day.

          • Ah yes, the famous No True Christian argument.

    • Behold, The First Church of Turnip

    • Patrick Chester

      Well, it’s safe to attack Christians.

      Criticize Muslims? Well, they don’t want to be Charlie… :-/

      • And that is the incentive system they are creating.

        When bombs start going off on the road show of Book of Mormom they’ll wonder what they hell happened.

        • The LDS Church had a better response – it purchased an ad in the program offering to talk about what’s really in the Book.

          Of course, given that it was the creators of South Park who wrote the musical, and 1.) they’re willing to go further to upset the Islamics than their own network will allow, and 2.) I’ve heard that the South Park episode on Mormons was at least somewhat positive, they get at least a partial pass in my book.

          • I heard about the ad in Playbill and considered it classy and very clever.

            And the part about Parker and Stone is very true and I agree it gives them more of a pass than I give others (like the NYT hiring Serranto of Piss Christ fame to write an article on the evils of flushing the Koran).

        • I went to it expecting to be insulted on behalf of Mormons. It was mocking, but it wasn’t awful; more a game of Telephone with the Book of Mormon. I recommend seeing it if it plays near you.

      • Depends on the Christians. The anti-Prop 8 protesters who crashed black churches in Los Angeles didn’t do it twice.

  7. Christopher M. Chupik

    “They were promising to leave (for some of the most godawful spots in the world) because if he won he was clearly going to institute a theocracy.”

    Promises, promises.

  8. You have a good grasp of reality when it comes to religion in America. Wish more did.

  9. Sweden disestablished the Church in 2000.
    (And rebuffed Swedenborg in the cathedral 150 years after running him out of the country.)

  10. Sweden disestablished the Church in 2000.
    (And rebuffed Swedenborg in the cathedral 150 years after running him out of the country.)

  11. And, just for fun and giggles, they will accuse us of being unChristian for not supporting a leftist program — such as Obamacare — though haughty counter-accusations of Christian theocracy usually work there.

    And a lot will openly say that the Civil Rights Acts are fine because of their content, not getting this whole “First Amendment” thing.

  12. “Yes, I know Atwood had a fundamentalist theocracy ruling America. Look, the woman is British. ”

    And that is the least of her problems.

    • It was billed as SF. I read it, looking for SF.

      Gaah.

      It was soft-core masochism porn. Not SF. And you’re right – the woman’s got… issues. (Trying to be polite.)

      Makes me wonder if she was really, really enjoying the writing of it. (IYKWIMAITYD)

      • I always found Atwood in the general fiction section. Was it really shelved as sci-fi?

        • The Handmaid’s Tale is often found on lists of the best Sci-Fi novels of whatever.
          I felt compelled to finish it just to see how bad it would get. In some sense, it did not disappoint.

          • My then-GF was reading it in Dutch translation. I started reading until I gave up. Note that I was a leftie and an agnostic at the time and had enough prejudices about the USA that I might have bought the message. The book just sucked pachyderm appendage.

      • Had to read it for one of my high school English classes. I specifically remember my teacher saying that it was sci-fi, so anyone who enjoyed Star Wars or Star Trek should love it. I liked both, and distinctly remember wondering when we were going to get to the sci-fi parts. Bored me to tears. Heck, the only excitement the book provided was when my socially-conservative family found out I had to read it and promptly freaked out.

  13. Notice how the people ranting about the awfulness of TheChurch are always the same ones sneering at us for being divided?

  14. Usually, these morons getting all hot and bothered about a theocracy – if they know anything about Christianity at all, it’s from catching one of the nuttier TV evangelists, and extrapolating from that.

    I laughed and laughed when I read A Handmaids’ Tale. I couldn’t imagine three Lutherans agreeing on much of anything, except maybe that tuna hot dish was best topped with crumbled stale potato chips.

    • I was raised Lutheran, and I will disagree as I refuse to eat stinky cat food (tuna). Though I suppose that would be one way to dispose of stale potato chips. And I avoid ‘casserole’ as they oft have tuna and/or peas in them. Hotdish is another matter. ($HOUSEMATE claims the two terms are the same, but I suspect $HOUSEMATE spent too much time downwind of a refinery or such.)

      • No. As someone who is currently Methodist but has spent plenty of time at Lutheran Churches, the potato chips should *not* be stale. Fresh potato chips are the best topping, though if you haven’t got any, corn flakes are okay.

      • What is your position on congealed salads?

        • SheSellsSeashells

          As far away as I can get, personally.

        • ‘Carrot salad’ (shredded carrots in orange Jell-O) was a dish normally seen at holiday meals. Pa would have some white ‘sauce’ (I think it was mainly Mayo/Miracle Whip) but I don’t recall anyone else using it. I was bewildered once to hear of people using lime Jell-O for the color contrast.

          Other than that, Jell-O was just Jell-O. Not even in a specific mold, but just left to set in a smaller mixing bowl.

      • Also raised Lutheran. Fortunately in a small midwestern town where several of the members were farmers with a booming egg business. Meant our default hot dis was a casserole with stewed chicken, mushroom soup, and veggies of one sort or other. Poured over biscuits of course. Oh, and for the adults an endless pot of strong coffee.

      • Bjorn Hasseler

        Also raised Lutheran. Insert joke about the jello salads being in liturgically-appropriate colors.

        • I never had jello till I came to the US. Will everyone despise me if I confess I’m very fond of jello salad?

          • Of course not!

            Here, you can have mine. 😉

            • Jello molds. So many different molds. Mom was jealous of one woman who had a new jello mold for each potluck.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            I know several people who like jello salad. But for me, the textures don’t usually work together.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Well, you chose to become an American, that excuses plenty of sins. 😈

          • Reality Observer

            Not at all. This “old family” agnostic likes it too. (Well, some of them. My favorite is cherry jello with diced apple. Hum. Should see if the sister has unearthed Mom’s jello molds in her clean-out for remodeling project…)

            • I also like (Mom’s) cranberry jello salad. The abomination with canned pears and cream cheese (and green food coloring) will not be spoken of.

              • The pears I comprehend. And I can see the convenience of canned. But… cream cheese?!? Was this the rest of losing a bet, or one of those things that seems a good idea after a good many bottles have been emptied?

              • 7up Salad is my families “salad”, personally I’m considered a heretic by much of the family because I find it merely edible, rather than something to fight over.

          • I prefer my jello straight.*

            *When I was younger and used to drink, I didn’t mind substituting vodka** for a portion of the water, but I still didn’t mix it with salad.

            **If you ever try to make jello shots with Bacardi 151, be warned, they remain liquid and do not congeal.

            • Probably the evaporation that’s getting it. Have you tried putting it in the freezer to cause it to set faster? I used to make jello shots with… oh, pretty much anything alcoholic on hand, including moonshine. It worked pretty well.

              • Actually yes, we did try putting them in the freezer. This produced shots about the consistency of honey. Never tried making them with shine, I suspect, when using either shine or 151 you would get similar results, but I never tested the theory.

                • Higher proof seems to get slurry faster. Sometimes more jello mix fixes this, sometimes not, and on that I have no idea why.

                  The shine we were using was local, made from honey oddly enough. I wouldn’t recommend it as a jello shot, though- tasted something like wine cooler jelly by that point. Blackberry shine turned out better.

                  • 151 gave a distinctly odd flavor to cherry jello shots, but was much better with strawberry or orange.

                    Blackberry shine, I’ve had blackberry wine, Mmm, but never shine. The shine I have had was either plum, apple, or the old standby, corn. Actually had some made out of grain (I don’t recall, what type, probably barley or wheat) once, but it is what is commonly depicted as white lightning. Definitely high octane, looked like water with oily shine to it, and tasted like drinking saw gas.

          • It’s yummy with fruit in it. what’s your favorite flavor?

          • Super jello fruit “salad” half the water of the recipe, a can of your favorite fruit pie filling (I like dark cherry) and usually some more fruit of other flavor – Mandarin oranges (canned), peaches (canned), and blueberries. Turns out pretty sweet but I cut 50% with yoghurt.

          • My junior year I was sent to a Quaker boarding school in a very small town in the eastern Tennessee mountains. The students were required to attend Sunday services in town. A few of us preferred the little Methodist church which had a circuit preacher. They didn’t treat us as if we were oddities, which, looking back, we must have been. They also had the best pot-lucks. It was there I first encountered the true art of the congealed salad — many were truly awful but some of them were quite good.

      • I have been told it is easy to identify Southern Baptists in the line at the Pearly Gates. They are the ones that are bringing a covered dish with them to Heaven.

    • I enjoyed ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ more when it was called ‘If This Goes On — .’ 🙂

      • My main question involving Atwood’s relationship to “If This Goes On …” is whether or not she knew of or had read the story prior to writing The Handmaid’s Tale. If she did, then she was a liar in her claim to extreme originality. If she didn’t, then she was an exceptionally-ignorant fool, considering that this was one of the classics of the genre in which she was writing.

        • Mainstream lit writers pride their lack of knowledge of that icky genre stuff so I vote b.

        • SheSellsSeashells

          Lord knows she pitched a fit over being told it was science fiction, so I tend to believe she had no clue. Besides, I can’t imaging Atwood voluntarily reading Heinlein. And if she did, I would’ve wanted to be there to see it. 😀

      • If this goes on had a better world building

    • LOL, okay, I am totally thrilled to know that other churches have their “standard food for get-togethers.” For Mormons, see, it’s funeral potatoes and jell-o with weird bits in (was carrots in my childhood, but I think they’ve fallen out of popularity).

      • what are funeral potatoes?

        • Don’t know for sure what Sara means, but where I grew up, it was custom to take food to a bereaved family so that they wouldn’t have to cook. Au gratin potatoes were a popular choice.

          • ^ That pretty much, although there is a variation that involves…sour cream, I think? Different to au gratin (I can’t remember if au gratin has sour cream or not), anyway. But for whatever reason, in the Mormon culture lexicon, they have become known as ‘funeral potatoes’ and there are many families who have their own recipes.

            (Me, I don’t like ’em much, and consider it an affront to perfectly good potatoes.)

            Those horrible peanut-butter-ish cookies with hershey’s kisses stuck on top are a common sight as well.

            • Those horrible peanut-butter-ish cookies with hershey’s kisses stuck on top are a common sight as well.

              But, but, but…..I like those!!!

            • Funeral potatoes are the best LDS recipe. There’s a contest in Utah, did you know?

              Take boiling potatoes, dice them, cover them with heavy cream, top with a couple pounds of cheese, bake. Maybe but not necessarily add other things. That’s Mormon Funeral Potatoes in a nutshell. If Cedar ever does an Eat This While You Read That for Larry Corriea, I hope she gets Mrs. Corriea’s Mormon Funeral Potatoes recipe.

              They’re funeral potatoes because the LDS do post-funeral potlucks because they’re good people and know that the bereaved should not be working around hot stoves, and there never was an LDS potluck that didn’t have funeral potatoes. The rumor that they cause funerals is base calumny, and should be totally and unequivocally rejected, never mind that there is enough dairy fat in them to clog a calf’s arteries.

              Note: I am not LDS, but I grew up in Mormonville.

              • ‘Base calumny’…that made laugh, so hard.

                But yes, it’s pretty much true: if you allow them, whether because of funeral, baby birth, or whatever, Mormons will give you more food than you know what to do with. (Even if you’re not in Mormonville, but *especially* in Mormonville.)

                I also laughed harder than I should have when, attending a “Writing Post-Apocalyptic fiction’ panel at Baycon, almost the first thing out of the lead panelist’s mouth was “make friends with your neighboring Mormons, because they’re usually a really good source on ‘how-to prep for disasters’…and also, in case of the end of the world, they will probably share their food storage with you.’

                I realize I’m weird and in the minority when it comes to the hershey-kisses cookies…but I’m unusually picky about my cookies. (I am the person who makes the lavender sugar cookies, so…okay, yeah, cookie snob here.)

                But the truth of the matter is that, while Mormons in general don’t drink alcohol or smoke or any number of other vices…our great vice is in fact food. (One of the few things I miss about living in Utah is the abundance of ice cream parlors. Which, y’know, take the place of bars in some counties…)

                • As someone who lives just north of Utah, the food thing is certainly true.
                  What amuses the heck out of me here is that drinking coffee has become a non-LDS signal, and our little town supports about three times the number of coffee shops it should support for the coffee drinking population.
                  There are some other amusing cultural influences here: the non-LDS birthrate is significantly higher than the national average. Presumably in part because of all those adorable little old LDS ladies who come up to you in the grocery store and congratulate you on your adorable toddlers and then ask when you plan to have another and it’s so nice to see young families . . . and everything is planned around large families so it’s easy, and everybody tolerates kids well. Schlepping six kids around in Mormonville is easier than three in Liberalville.
                  Also, you can buy or rent any old house and it will have a decent pantry that will hold a year of food for a family of a dozen. Even if it has only one bathroom and two bedrooms.

                  • I’ve heard it said that the gas station in Franklin, Idaho (just north of Logan, Utah) had the largest lottery sales in the state, the lottery being Idaho’s cunning scheme to tax Utah.

                    In much the same way that the tollbooth New Hampshire used to have in I-95 (IIRC) just north of the Massachusetts border was New Hampshire’s cunning scheme to tax Massachusetts.

                • The Other Sean

                  The ice cream parlor vs. bar things – I have to wonder if this is in any way related to the term “dairy bar.”

                • our great vice is in fact food.
                  ———————–

                  That’s because after removing all of the *other* vices, it’s the only thing we have left!

                • I am the person who makes the lavender sugar cookies, so…okay, yeah, cookie snob here.

                  *eyes light up*

                  I have a new goal… work on my mad oil extraction skills until I can make my own leaf-or-petal flavored sugar cookies.

                  Mint would be the first goal, but eventually rose water sugar cookies.

                  • Oh wait, she means lavender FLAVORED cookies, not lavender colored? Err, a friend of mine who makes wine, made lavender wine once; it tasted just like you would imagine it would. As he put it, “it is supposed to be an aphrodisiac, but nobody has ever been able to drink enough to see if it has any effect or not.”

                  • Feather Blade

                    You could always just use lavender sugar in them, instead of plain white.

                    Apparently it’s just a matter of sticking some sprigs of lavender in a container of sugar. I have a gallon bag, received from my stepmother, sitting on my bedroom vanity. (Don’t ask)

                    I suppose putting it into cookies is as good a use for it as any.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    Hmm… I tried to make a mint extract a while back, using a method I found in a couple of places online, but the leaves turned black and nasty. How do you do it?

                    • I haven’t tried it yet, but there’s steam extraction, oil extraction and alcohol extraction.

                      I’m thinking alcohol extraction, but it’s on hold until we’re in a state where you can buy everclear without a medical/vet license.

                • This convinces me. Y’all are just displaced Southerners. The much rumored kind that left because they didn’t like sweet tea! *chuckle*

                  All seriousness, when my grandparents died and we were divvying up the cellar, it took *five* truckloads to empty the pantry.

                  I got lucky and managed to snag most of the spice cabinet grandma specifically told me to keep from the aunts who kept wanting her pumpkin pie recipe. Now I know why… *grin*

              • “Mormonville” do you mean Salt Lake City or Mesa?

                • Actually, I’m in the part of Idaho that thinks SLC is our capital city.

                • Heh, and let us not forget the super-crazy version of Mormonville also known as Star Valley, WY. (Seriously, I’m a lifelong Mormon, and I think those people are freaking nuts. Some of ’em, anyway.) It’s worse than Idaho on the ‘insular old Mormon familes’ front… o.O

                  • Have you seen that cop show supposedly set in WY–Longmire? Seen lots of Indians and Anglos and even some Amish, but no Mormons.. The author of the Longmire series of mysteries,Craig Johnson lives near Buffalo, WY.

                    • Mennonites, dear.

                    • Ah. Like Stargate. Colorado springs has no slums and no high rises. 😛

                    • My wife watches Longmire, which means I watch Longmire. Until just now, I didn’t associate Wyoming with Mormons.

                      If you like cop shows, it’s actually not a bad one.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      “Cop shows”. I first read that as “Cow shows”, and I was wondering what kind of stuff that would be. Dairy Farm Diary? Or a reality show about really fat women?

                    • 4H kids show cows.

                      Ever tried handling farm animals while wearing head-to-toe white? On the last day of a fair?

                      I was well trained for the Navy’s dress whites. 😀

                    • Oh, yeah, in Casper the “you know about Catholic girls” type stories were about Moron girls instead.

                    • The (fictional) county the show/books are set in is not, I think, supposed to be anywhere near the Star Valley area. I live in the Platte Valley, and we have a couple of families that hail from Star Valley (a couple generations back). They are still very much Star Valley Mormons. (Which is not really a compliment, I’m afraid. But then, I’m an Outsider Mormon, so…)

                      And I’ve seen a good chunk of the first season. It’s the first time I’ve seen something supposedly set in Wyoming that actually *looks* like the part of Wyoming it’s claiming to be set in! The show is, I believe, actually filmed in some part of Nevada–but it’s a part that looks a *lot* like the high desert/forests/mountains that make up chunks of Wyoming. So that’s nice. The only thing that makes me sputter-laugh is when they have Longmire driving from his town (supposedly on the far western edge of the state) to Laramie (which is the far southeastern part of the state–only about an hour from the Colorado border, in fact) and back in the same day. In truth, a drive like that would take–at bare minimum–six hours. Probably more like eight or nine. Other than that, though, they’re doing a very fine job of portraying Wyoming. Especially compared to other shows, where they tend to think parts of Vancouver can pass. (Nope, sorry, Cheyenne is neither hilly nor full of trees. It’s very, very flat, and out on the very windy plains…) Or that Wyoming has a larger population than it actually does. (No, it really *is* barely 600,000 people. There are more deer in the state than there are humans.)

                    • “Ah. Like Stargate. Colorado springs has no slums and no high rises.”

                      And no zoo! :-p

                    • no, it has a zoo. Cheyenne Mountain zoo. Half a mile from the old Heinlein home. When I took the kids to the zoo, I would stop in front of the Heinlein house for two minutes of silence. The kids do it now, when we drive near there 😉

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Well, I took the “no zoo” as referring to the Colorado Springs in the Stargate series not the real Colorado Springs. [Smile]

                    • Having spent some time in Buffalo, WY I have to say I have never seen an Amish person, and very few Indians; a fair number of Basques though (who could pass as Indian to someone unfamiliar with them) and a healthy smattering of Mormons. Nothing like Utah or Southern Idaho, but definitely common enough not to raise a comment.

                    • I believe that the show is filmed in NM. One episode featured a Basque sheep ranching family.Hubby told me it was Mennonites not Amish.

                    • Patrick Chester

                      Also in Stargate a lot of planets seem to have pine trees common in and around Vancouver… 🙂

                    • common around one specific gravel pit near vancouver, too.

                    • Patrick Chester

                      Cool, I can scavenge staff weapons over there!

                  • But they do make good neighbors. Though our particular neighborhood is mostly Jack Mormons, even being insular old Mormon families. “Yeah, so my family line comes from Brigham Young, hey, wanna beer?”

                    • I thought Mormons aren’t supposed to drink? Is that like nonobservant Orthodox Jews? Steve is the one who watches Longmire.

                    • Jack Mormons are genetically LDS but don’t follow the rules.

                      I think there are similar terms for at least Catholics and Jews, but I forget what they are.

                    • I don’t know about the Catholics, but the Jewish version of is known as Reform Judaism. 😉 Aka Democrats.

                      Perhaps the Catholics are Pelosites?

                    • Cafeteria Catholics.

                    • No. that’s a level up. The others are “We don’t necessarily believe in G-d, but we believe Mary was his mother.” Once a year Catholics is the common name. (Christmas.)

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      “Christmas and Easter Christians” (or C&E Christians) are a type that can be “Protestant” or “Catholic” (perhaps Orthodox as well).

                    • In my case it’s non-observant Orthodox Jew. I don’t keep kosher or go to shul etc. And my husband is Methodist.

                    • Jack Mormons are genetically LDS but don’t follow the rules.

                      I think there are similar terms for at least Catholics and Jews, but I forget what they are.

                      Cultural Catholic.

                      Step lower than C&Es (Christmas and Easters) in observation of the faith– mom called them something like “Black Suits,” because that’s what you wore to weddings and funerals. 😀 (Past tense, because she realized I could hear her!)

                    • Amusingly, Jack Mormon was originally a term used to refer to people who weren’t Mormons, but were friendly to them. Now it means someone who is technically a Mormon, but doesn’t adhere to the tenets of the faith.

                    • ^ Yep, that. Funny how the lexicon shifts.

                    • My step family are mostly Jack Mormons. My dad converted “in name only” in order to marry his second wife. Dad never quit drinking. No true Elk can be a teetotaler. I’ve gotten drunk with many Mormons.

                    • Sarah, I have heard of the term as ‘Easter Christians’ i.e. they appear at church for Easter and Christmas.

                    • “genetically LDS”?

                  • You won’t beat White Bird, ID, where back in 1971 the local grocery (and only source of food for miles around) refused to sell us anything at 5 minutes before closing, on the basis that we weren’t local and therefore weren’t Mormons. (I forget what the clerk said, but that’s what it boiled down to.)

                    • Oh, for… ::facepalm::

                      I hate it when people act like that, it gives everyone else a bad name. (And also is the precise opposite of being Christian.) I suppose that’s why I have a low opinion of the Star Valley clans: most of the (non-Mormon) folks I got into conversations about religion with when I went to school in Laramie all told me, at some point, that mine was the first friendly conversation they’d ever had with a Mormon. And about 80-90% of the time, the Mormons they’d encountered in the past were from Star Valley or similar areas, and treated non-Mormons like bugs.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      On the opposite side of that, I recently met a Mormon lady who seemed a bit defensive, as if she had had a number of unpleasant conversations regarding her faith. I didn’t have much chance to investigate it, as it was a birthday dinner for another of our friends at a restaurant, so I don’t know for certain. Too bad about that, too. I would have liked to reassure her that I had no animus towards her simply for that.

                    • Wow, this has to be the first time I have ever seen White Bird mentioned on the interwebz, and I wouldn’t have named it as a bastion of Mormonism at all. In fact of the half a dozen to a dozen people I know from there, 0% are Mormon.

                  • I thought Arizona City on the north rim of the Grand Canyon (you can’t get to it from the rest of Arizona, you have to go through Utah) was ground zero for the LDS fringe.

                    • What it is, see, is that these areas are the old Mormon “colonies.” When the Saints first settled in the Salt Lake Valley, families and groups were assigned to set up outlying colonies, stretching all the way up into Canada, west to parts of California, and all the way down into Mexico. Some of them…ended up a touch crazier than others.

                      So if you see references to the polygamist colonies in Mexico–those are the holdouts who didn’t want to comply when the Church nixed the practice of polygamy.

                    • so that’s why there are LDS stakeholds in Dallas?

                    • Mormon settlement down through Arizona and into Mexico started in the late 1870s, just about the same time the Feds started getting serious about persecuting polygamists, but quite a few of them were forced out of Mexico in the Mexican Revolution in the early 1910s. Most of them stayed fairly orthodox.
                      Colorado City and vicinity was a more practical refuge for diehard polygamists: Since they weren’t in Utah’s jurisdiction, and were cut off by the Grand Canyon from the rest of Arizona, they were pretty much left to themselves. Arizona Governor Howard Pyle tried to clamp down on the polygamists there in 1953 and only managed to create a public-relations disaster for himself.

                    • Feather Blade

                      that these areas are the old Mormon “colonies.”

                      I’ll give Brigham Young this much: He was an excellent city planner, and his settlement plan would be perfect for colonizing other planets.

                  • Since the new villains in the Honor Harrington universe are inhabitants of the planet Mesa, is this a joke or reference on Weber’s part?

                    • No, Mesa, Arizona has more Mormons, per capita, than SLC.

                    • SLC is more non Mormon than not; this sometime causes friction with the rest of the state. Utah County is the heart of Mormondom on earth. 😛 It’s very much a bubble but one that I can appreciate since I’ve lived enough places that didn’t even know what Mormons were.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Don’t know but I chuckled when the Mesan corporation called “Manpower” was introduced.

                      There was a period where I worked for Manpower. 😈 😈 😈 😈

              • Wayne Blackburn

                When I was taking French in high school, we had a project to cook a French recipe. The one I did was pretty much that, but with about 3 tbsp garlic. I thought we were trying to make a potluck lunch, but apparently everyone else thought we were making dessert. I was probably the only one who ate any of mine.

                My family does post-funeral potlucks, too. Except that after my mother’s funeral, we had sort of a catered lunch, courtesy of Whole Foods, because my niece’s husband was manager of the local store. First time I ever had Brussels Sprouts at an after-funeral get together.

                • This winter I tried roasted Brussels Sprouts for the first time, YUM. I based it upon the instructions that our esteemed hostess gave on a Dave Freer post over at Mad Genius (named Brussels Sprouts) — adding copious amounts of crushed garlic. The Spouse and I thought they turned out quite good. One note: the second time I tried using a hotter oven, which worked better for me.

              • Ah, my mom started making those for potlucks (and Thanksgiving/Christmas dinners) a few years ago. It is very probable that she got the recipe from some of my Mormon relatives. Personally I prefer the scalloped potatoes (au gratin for you high falutin’ folks, but I never heard them called anything but scalloped, growing up) that she used to make all the time growing up, of course they had a healthy helping of sliced sausage (whether hot dogs, smoked sausage, kielbasa, or whatever else happened to be available) added to them, and I am a confirmed carnivore.

            • “Different to au gratin (I can’t remember if au gratin has sour cream or not), anyway.”

              Are they really funeral potatoes if they don’t involve cream of mushroom soup?

              • To Momma cooking with tinned cream-of-anything soup was an anathema.

                Before it was a movie, before it was a book Momma worked her way through a first edition (the only one available at the time) of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Mind you — she skipped some of the concoctions calling for pricier ingredients and all those steak sauces were served on hamburgers. Daddy was working his way through law school at the time and the budget was tight.

            • Au gratin spuds aren’t half bad if slathered with a good bit of ketchup.
              Better yet if served along side a big medium rare steak.

              • The accompaniment of a big medium rare steak will improve many dishes, although it can also make it more difficult to remember to eat them too.

                • wait. there are other things served with steak?

                  • Not unless the steak is too small.

                    • potatoes or corn.

                    • How does 72 oz. strike you?

                      “The Big Texan Steak Ranch is a steakhouse restaurant and motel located in Amarillo, Texas, … is best known for its 72 ounce (4.5 pounds or 2.04 kg) steak, nicknamed “The Texas King.” The steak is free to anyone who, in one hour or less, can eat the entire meal, consisting of the steak itself, a bread roll with butter, a baked potato, a shrimp cocktail (now three fried shrimp), and a salad; otherwise, the meal costs $72.
                      [SNIP]
                      “The record for the shortest time to finish the entire Texas King meal had been held by competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut (at 8 minutes and 52 seconds), breaking Frank Pastore’s 1987 record (of 9 minutes 30 seconds, which stood for 21 years) on his March 24, 2008 visit. On May 26, 2014, he was bested by 125-pound competitive eater Molly Schuyler, who polished off the meal in just 4 minutes 58 seconds, and came back for seconds (14 minutes and 57 seconds for two meals). She did not, however, eat a third steak meal in the same hour. Schuyler returned on April 19, 2015 and would finish her first meal in 4 minutes 18 seconds, beating her own record by 40 seconds. She had defeated four other teams of competitors in the challenge, devouring two more meals in twenty minutes. The unofficial record (for all animals, including humans) is held by a 500-pound Siberian tiger, who ate the steak in 90 seconds.”
                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Texan_Steak_Ranch#The_Texas_King

                      Obviously, this is a tender steak.

              • SheSellsSeashells

                I personally prefer Random Act of Kindness Potatoes (long story), which are twice-roasted potato chunks. The second time you roast ’em, top them with a mixture of cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon and blue cheese, preferably thick enough that the potatoes cannot be distinguished beneath their protective coating. THEN serve ’em up with a medium rare steak.

                • Also try butter and crushed corn flakes instead of the bacon. Broil until crispy, fight over who gets to lick the pan. 🙂

                  • I’m cheap and lazy when it comes to potatoes. Roasted in olive oil, seasoned, and done. Seasoning is mostly salt, garlic, pepper, parsley/oregano, and rosemary. Pre-mix the seasoning and you can have spicy tasty redskin potatoes done about the same time as a medium steak and corn on the cob when you make them all at once!

                    And that’s probably what I’ll do for dinner Friday night. *grin*

        • Funeral potatoes are type of potato casserole, with lots of cheese and covered with corn flakes or some other crunchy substance. They were typically brought to funerals (hence there name), but then became a popular dish to bring to church socials.

          And I never liked carrots in my jello.

        • Funeral potatoes is the term generally used for a potato casserole. Said casserole typically involves a mix of grated potatoes (peeled and boiled first), cream, cheese, and possibly some additional odds and ends depending on the specific recipe being used. Au gratin potatoes are similar, but not exactly the same thing.

          The term apparently came about because most LDS congregations have at least one version of the recipe circulating about. And it’s a relatively easy and filling dish to make when providing food for an event (say, a funeral at the church) or a family that’s temporarily unable to provide for itself (say, because a family member died and everyone’s in mourning).

      • I suspect it depends on where in the states you are. Garishly colored, often multi-layered, congealed salads still hold a place at church pot-luck gatherings in many areas of the southeast.

      • My wife (born and raised California girl, Chinese-American flavor) is in the midst of adapting to the differences between California-ish church potlucks and our new Minnesota equivalents. Same denomination, very different foods offered.

        I’ll have to remember to let her know that hot dish /= casserole. Should be interesting to watch.

      • Feather Blade

        Heck, some congregations put together their own cookbooks

        I inherited the local Presbyterian one from my Grandmother.

      • In most long-established communities I know of, each family had a specific dish in addition to the “church food.”

        There were actual fights over which daughter got “Mom’s dish” as what she would “always” bring, and a joke that my mom moved out of town because her sister would have won. Oddly enough, we don’t actually eat mexican chicken bake….

        With my own ears, I heard discussions along the lines of
        “We’ve got Sally, Mary Minor, Mary Major, Sweet Mary, English Mary, Dolly and Happy– there’s a new girl in town, wants to know what she should bring.”
        “How about a potato or salad?”
        “No, English Mary is going to be there, that covers the peas-and-potatoes salad.”
        “Oh, how about have her bring some kind of a bean dish that isn’t sweet? Then it won’t cross Happy, and we know she won’t get upset.”

      • I’m a Methodist by marriage and am informed that the favorite dish for Methodist get-togethers is the OMG-we-forgot-to-make-something-quick-somebody-stop-by-KFC-and-get-a-15pc-bucket-of-Original-recipe special.

        • Dickey’s BBQ is much better.

        • I thought that was a Seventh Day Adventist specialty? I tend to bring 2 kinds of alfredo lasagna when I’m going to kosher potlucks (one chicken, one vegetarian) and was surprised to see I was the only person who didn’t bring takeout, a frozen dinner or pie. There was lots of pie. And no lasagna leftovers, dammit.

      • In England, as I recall, the potluck everyone bring a dish thing isn’t the usual way f doing things, Rather, in much the same way as you buy rounds at the pub etc., there tends to be a rota of people who do the cooking for parish events. And another one for post-service coffee, flowers, and anything else that needs regular work by someone.

        And the rule seems to be that you invite the bereaved around to eat out so they “aren’t on their own” and then spend the entire meal in awkward silence as you wonder whether its going to cause more pain to talk about the dearly departed or alternatively talk about something completely different.

  15. Congress approved a National Cathedral in 1983. It’s Episcopalian.

  16. 18 93. Not 19 83. Argh.

  17. When Ted Cruz called on “the body of Christ”, “news” media screamed that he had said “hat Jesus should rise from the grave and resurrect himself for Ted Cruz.” Never mind that it is a REAL fundamental belief of Christianity that Jesus is not in any grave.
    http://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2016/1/12/on-cnn-did-ted-cruz-really-call-for-jesus-to-rise-from-the-grave-to-help-his-campaign?rq=Cruz

    And the Washington Post reported that Rubio has referred to Christ as “the God-made man”.
    http://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2016/1/27/oh-my-triune-god-washington-post-edits-heretical-hyphen-into-mouth-of-marco-rubio?rq=hyphen%20god%20made%20man

    But they think they are automatically experts on Christianity just by being born in this country.

  18. Theocracy is always descending on the United States, but somehow it always lands in the Middle East.

  19. > I’ve never fully understood how that theocracy
    > thing was supposed to work.

    It’s not always wahhabi mullahs. Where I grew up, it was the accepted and instutionalized system of sticking it to anyone who didn’t profess to the faith, in order to prove that you were solid with the pack.

    I grew up under that kind of system and have no desire to see anything like it come back.

    Imagine you’re an SF writer, and the only publisher is Tor. That’s what life under a theocracy is like.

    • Yes, well, when all the publishers were the big five (and Baen, but Baen can’t take everyone) we all pretended.
      I DO understand what a theocracy can be like. But it takes place in small, homogeneous places (or communities like SF writing.) The US is VERY non-homogeneous. I’m not saying small towns can’t be effective theocracies, or even big ones like NYC. I’m saying it’s impossible over the entire US.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        On the other hand, part of what TRX is talking about is “Civil Religion”.

        IE There was the idea that a good American would be religious.

        It didn’t matter what branch of Christianity or what branch of Judaism you held, it was important to be religious.

        Mind you, that’s far far from a theocracy.

        But then most people who scream about a theocracy don’t really know what a theocracy is. :frown:

        • I recall reading that Eisenhower, as president, made a point of attending church every Sunday because he thought it set a good example for the nation.

          A quick glance at the internet brings up this reminder of his deep religious commitment:

          “As the Cold War loomed, Christian leaders encouraged Americans to turn to God and away from secularism. Eisenhower agreed, saying, ‘Our form of government makes no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious belief, and I don’t care what it is.’ Eisenhower showed his commitment by joining the Presbyterian Church, in which his wife, Mamie, had been a longtime member, just weeks after taking office. He became the first president to be baptized while in office.”
          http://www.pbs.org/godinamerica/god-in-the-white-house/

        • It didn’t matter what branch of Christianity or what branch of Judaism you held, it was important to be religious.

          That’s a dangerous position for an agnostic to hold; I’ve noticed a rather high rate of those who are not actively hostile– as opposed to thinking it’s not true but willing to try to reason folks out of it– becoming former agnostics, and generally entering quite rigorous sects at that.

    • Well, I think your best bets would be to look at Calvin’s Geneva or the Massachusetts Bay Colony, particularly early. The significant difference is that Calvin was stuck with his population, but the colony was trying to keep the bad elements outside from the word go.

      • The leaders of the Mass Bay Colony couldn’t have been trying that hard. They let MY family in and that was definitely letting bad influences in.

        • There were complications from the start. And the first fervor didn’t last because they were always admitting new people through birth, and you can’t filter there.

        • That damn need to have competent people to survive in the wilderness helps bring a lot of people in who would be excluded otherwise.

  20. You also have to remember that, to a leftist, saying, “No, you may not murder your infant” or, “No, he is not required to bake a cake for your ‘wedding'” is the same as instituting a theocracy.

    • Had to go to wordpress.com and their Reader mode to hit the Like button on your comment, but it was worth it nonetheless.

    • Patrick Chester

      Apparently, a local Post Office having a “God Bless America” sign put in by the people who work there is “establishing a state religion” to some atheists.

      Except there’s no state church and this sign wasn’t ordered by the government. It’s just a sign some locals put up in their post office. But nope, it’s icky awful violation of the “establishment” clause!

      Oh and if you’re agnostic and don’t object to it, you’re a “doormat” to the icky Christians. *eyeroll*

      • Yes, but a local printer started producing God Bless America signs and giving them away free. Now the signs are sprouting up on lawns all over the town. Talk about a Pyrrhic victory. LOL

        • Last count I heard was 2500 of those signs. Saw a short video of cars lined up as far as you could see to pick up a sign from a curbside distribution point.

          • “And after you get the bumper sticker on your car we’re all going through the Drive-Thru at Chick-fil-A.”

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Oh and if you’re agnostic and don’t object to it, you’re a “doormat” to the icky Christians.

        Yeah, well, this doormat says they can kiss my lily-white ass (I don’t know how a doormat can have an ass, but I’ve got plenty). :-p

    • I never quite understood that. Force someone to make a cake for you. And then EAT it? Are you crazy?

      • The evidence is clearly that yes, they are crazy.

      • Yeah, still working on that one myself…seems…poorly thought out.

      • I’ve seen people go off on a flapping rage against order clerks and wait staff.

        “No, I’m not with him…”

      • No, no, the cake is just fiiiiiine. Nothing for any concern there.

        Do not ask how I got that sheen to the frosting. Also, forget I said anything about F U & the cake you rode in on. Just a mild invocation.

      • Exactly! I always wondered if a bakery that was forced like that “accidentally” did something like leave the cake in the oven a little bit too long? Or perhaps get the flavor wrong (happened at a friend’s wedding)? “Um sorry your wedding cake wasn’t to your liking. Oops! Here’s a refund.” What would/could the government DO about it?

        Disclaimer: I’ve been for marriage rights for gay couples for many many years. Of course, my personal faith doesn’t have the anti-homosexuality provisions that Christianity (and others) do. However, while I understand the reasoning behind the court decision that forced the bakery to make the cake, I disagree with the basis on which that reasoning was built.

      • Keep in mind that by the time the court cases are over, the original event that the cake was “needed” for (note the use of quotes) is long over. So the litigants are in no danger of having to eat something that may have been “accidentally” contaminated by the individual who made it.

    • That is because you are denying their right to worship the only deity they recognize: themselves.

    • Or, you know, “buy your own birth control.”

    • Amazingly, in the UK, actual Gay Rights Activists are coming round to the idea that having the state force a gay baker to bake them a cake is a bad idea.

      http://www.samizdata.net/2016/02/peter-tatchell-changes-his-mind/

      Peter Tatchell, mind you, isn’t exactly a young mindless drone and has consistemt principles. For example he is just as anti- gay bashing by people of a dusky arabic persuasion as he is about it by people of paler and darker persuasions, no matter what version of god each professes

  21. The Other Sean

    “Our press likes to fancy themselves special…”

    Well, in the “rides the short bus to school” sense, the press may be correct in considering themselves special.

    • and licking the windows.

    • I’d cite the original if I still recalled it:

      $JERK does jerky things, departs.
      $PERSON_1 says, “Wow, he must ride the short bus.”
      Just about everyone else draws a breath, as one of the people there does ride the short bus, not being quite as… developed/integrated into society.. as the rest.
      $PERSON_1 has a look of horror that they had said that.
      $SHORT_BUS_RIDER: “No. WE have standards.”
      *laughter all around*

    • I recall a 4-Part PBS series a couple decades back on the role of Religion in American Politics. Part 1 addressed the withdrawal of the “religious” following the Scopes Trial. Part 2 looked at the return to the political realm of people of faith … during the presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter.

      Beloved Spouse and I rolled on the floor over one clip illustrating the Press’s confusion over his claim to have been born again. It featured, IIRC. Morley Safer standing in front of campaign headquarters or some such, doing his best Reassuringly Serious Gaze Into The Camera, intoning that “While many have had questions about Mr. Carter’s claim to have been ‘born again’ we here at NBC news have looked into the matter and found that this is a phenomenon familiar to well over half the nation.”

      Not the half the nation that NBC News had been hanging with, apparently.

      • …and Safer is a Canuck anyway.

        • In all fairness, it might not have been Safer. I was watching a Night Court episode last night and he was name-dropped in a joke, so he was who came to mind. That NBC found it necessary to inform and reassure its audience about something familiar to over half the country was revelatory.

  22. According to Wikipedia, in Atwood’s little – okay, anyone want to give odds that this was a wank-piece for her? Slavery/submission/bondage/breeding fetish? Fifty Shades of Gray, thirty years early?

    Anyway, in The Writer’s Tale Of How The Most Powerful Man In The World Needs Her Untainted Womynlyness As The Mother Of His Children, the nation is called the Republic of Gilead.

    So Hillary’s Harpies and Bernie’s Bowzers are entertaining a fantasy of Ted Cruz coming for their wombs.

    Seems kinda racist, if you ask me. But that’s lefties for you.

    And here’s a horrifying thought: Some of them may even be getting off on it.

    • Considering one of the people posting it was a supposedly hetero male…

      • In Progressive World, sexuality bends as ideology dictates. Fantasy is the only place where he doesn’t have to be cismale het scum. Or something.

        • There are a few things in Atwood’s tale that could be considered erotic (at least by me) but not as they’re written (again, for me) so I can see some people getting off.

          I mean, the illicit affair with the chauffeur clearly is generic people get off on stuff. The comment about how the women certaining the aphrodisiac drugs and the lesbianism are again straight down the middle.

          The things I’m thinking about are outside that.

          If it is supposed to be some weird D/s porn it suffers from the same fate most Gor books do…it’s trying to be that and something else and fails at both.

          • If there’s one thing the internet has taught me it’s that porn isn’t always recognizable as such. The book could be some of the most amazing porn in the world to the author and individuals with similar interests, but nonsense to anyone else. It wouldn’t be the first time something like that happened.

            • YES. LOL. Sorry, just ran across this, downloaded it because it was free and the reviews were like “this is astounding.” It doesn’t even rise to ast much less ounding.

              • Hmmmm … I hadn’t previously considered this, but how much of what is being passed off as “literary” SF is merely a form of porn?

                Not porn in the sense of being sexually stimulating, but as in appealing only to certain preferences:

                “2: television programs, magazine, books, etc. that are regarded as emphasizing the sensuous or sensational aspects of a nonsexual subject and stimulating a compulsive interest in their audience.
                ‘a thrilling throwback to the golden age of disaster movies—weather porn of the highest order’ “

                • You probably don’t even need to limit it to scifi..most liteary fiction is porn at this point.

                  Then again, I have friends who watch Downton Abbey as “service porn”.

                  • BBC clothes porn.

                    • That too, but I like the Pride & Prejudice better in that regard.

                      The people I was talking about getting excited when their SOs plan very formal dinner parties where the people in question will be the servers while all the servers’ SOs are guests. Hence their description of the kind of porn.

                • I have seen Twilight described as “emotion porn for girls.”

                  From that perspective, it probably works. 😉

                  • wow. It is exactly what it is.

                    • Except far and away the majority of those girls are 35+ despite the target clearly being 13.

                      Not that there is inherently anything wrong with that. I’ve called Heavy Metal a movie for 13 year old boys of all ages and sexes. However, I do that realizing at 49 it isn’t the most adult impulse to enjoy Heavy Metal that much. I didn’t see that knowledge in Twilight Fans

                    • In that context it precisely depicts the gender bias in our culture — what boys enjoy is nasty and demeaning, what girls enjoy is laudable and empowering.

                      A po on both houses or neither, says I.

            • When it comes to erotic material the internet certaining expanded the meaning of “it takes all kinds” for me.

  23. I know Atwood had a fundamentalist theocracy ruling America. Look, the woman is British.

    Even then her theocracy:

    1. Required large scale disaster (“the populations” involved in clean-up are the clue), probably of the environmental kind admittedly. It is in the background but it is clearly there and played a role in the theocratic takeover.

    2. Suffered a large scale resistance indicating it lasted less than a decade.

    3. Was arguably set in an “every nation” as much as specifically the US. It is much less tied to the US than say 1984 is to the UK. Beyond some references to Boston and a Tammy Faye Baker like character there isn’t much US about it.

    4. Claim as the swinging pendulumn to a much more libertine America than we have even today (the main character remembers “Feels on Wheels” trucks in her neighborhood).

    That’s a far cry from the typical liberal fantasy about theocracy in the US. Their ignoring #4 is especially galling given in that sense you could argue she was warning progs about their own culpability in bringing such a theocracy about. While not as extreme as RAH’s conditions it isn’t just a Ted Cruz or Rick Santorum getting elected either.

    • Oh, and Land of Gilead is a reference to Atwood’s novel.

      • Yeah — I have no memory for small crap, and I might have KIND of skimmed after the first few pages — (rolls eyes.) I should have asked the guys, it was required reading for them in high school.

        • I didn’t hate it as many people seem to do, but I cannot see it as required reading. It was cute novel with some interesting ideas. It certainly isn’t great literature nor is it the great feminist screed warning about future America so many claim it is.

          Hell, it doesn’t even read like it was written to be that screed…too generic in location and too centered on the main character. There were much more interesting characters in the book to be the center of the feminist screed (the leader’s wife who could have been a great lesson in “be careful what you wish for” or the main character’s lesbian friend who wound up in the brothel).

          What it had were some fun idea including, yes, some fun ideas on how a weird reading of the Old Testament as the model for a community would create gender roles. The idea in the utility wife of the lower classes, who wore all three colors and had to serve all three roles: womb, domestic, and companion, was barely mentioned and yet has tons of potential.

          Knowing what I know now about publishing and the shape of parts of the book I could probably swallow a story that it was originally set in a generic Iran post-revolution and had to be changed to Christian and US instead of Islamic to get published. Now that I think about it that would work very, very well. The change in the status of women, in particular, maps nicely.

          • I believe she has argued that it’s not SF because none of the elements in it are actually speculative — they really exist.

            • What an idiot. (Not you, Atwood.)

            • Ritual killings in Harvard Square do not exist therefore they are speculative thus the book contains a speculative element.

              That’s before we get in the Marthas, etc.

              What I’m curious about now is why I didn’t think the book was as bad as everyone else here appears to think.

              • SheSellsSeashells

                I enjoyed it as science fiction and thought the worldbuilding was surprisingly good. Got bored to itty-bitty pieces with the sex and ESPECIALLY that long-drawn-out “affair”. But throwaway bits like “careful, or you’ll wind up an Econowife” were intriguing and I would’ve liked to see more like that.

                • Econwife…that’s the word I couldn’t remember.

                  I agree about being more interested in the glimpses we got than the story we did get.

              • I had already read a lot of Seventies feminist post-toasties. Mostly classified as fantasy instead of sf, but mostly the same.

                Yes, I used to have a high tolerance for boredom in my youth, and any reading material was better than none. But most of that Seventies stuff was a higher grade of paranoia, and it was obvious that Atwood personally knew no fundamentalists. It was just stupid.

                • it was obvious that Atwood personally knew no fundamentalists.

                  True but that’s related to why I listed my, now, five points. Even as clueless about the fundies as Atwood is anyone screaming “It’s the Republic of Gilead” after Iowa is having to edit out entire swaths of the book. Even a Canadian clueless about religion in American and fundamentalist Christiantiy in general assumed that the past required to create the theocracy:

                  1. Was much more libertine than today’s American (which is 30 years more libertine than when the book was written).

                  2. Had undergone some kind of environmental disaster that, in addition to leaving large numbers of men sterile (women were blamed but if you read the report on the in world sources for the historical account at the end of the book plus events of the novel it is clear men are the problem) left large areas unlivable. It could have been some kind of chemical warfare or mass chemical spills worldwide but it was there.

                  3. Still required an armed takeover (ie, wasn’t an election).

                  Oh, and mentioning the report at the end the only contemporary real world government mentioned in comparison to The Republic of Gilead in terms of policies was Ceaușescu’s Romania.

                  If they’re going to be alarmist and start making literary references they could at least make ones that make sense.

          • It was required reading for me in high school. I went into it expecting to love it since our teacher said it was “like Star Trek.” I’d love to know (actually, no I wouldn’t) what Trek episodes he’d seen to enable him to make that comparison with a straight face.

          • nor is it the great feminist screed warning about future America so many claim it is.

            I am under the impression that many on the Left do not actually read books, given how they so regularly misrepresent what any given book is about. I know that back in the early days of Amazon there would be many one-star reviews of books by John Ringo by people who could not possibly have read those books, and it was common knowledge that any new book by Ann Coulter would receive multiple denunciations as evil by people even before its release date.

            And in those instances where Leftards have read a book they review (see recent discussions of Larry C’s Grimnoir series) they quite clearly did not read the same books we have read. It is as if they read everything through red-colored glasses and missed all the words in blue.

            (pause – it has been a long long time since I wore those red/blue 3D specs; did the red lens cause the blue ines to disappear, or the red ones? Please rephrase sentence above to conform.)

            At any rate, it is clear that they are reading impaired.

            • That’s kind of what I suspect…they read a summary or the back blurb and fill in the blanks with their prejudices.

              I’m not defending it as some great book but as middling soft-sci-fi from the 70s (yes, I know, it’s not from the 70s but trying to give its feel) it is just that: middling…meh characterization, interesting world building never followed through on, and more missed opportunities than anything else.

              Clearly, it was interesting enough I remember a lot of it although it fails on LeGuin’s character test, the “did it spawn answers/imitators test”, and on my “would I ever bother to reread it test”.

              On one level I’m amazed it was required reading yet on another it surprises me not one bit. It can be easily read through the narrative and most of the missed opportunities are places it would have made you think more. Even though some of those would be “thinking deeper into the narrative” encouraging thought would be too risky.

              And in a callback to something Foxfier said yesterday about feminists and PUA types being opposite sides of the same coin, you could point out the PUA’s could write about the misandry in this book: certain men get harems (the lead character’s master? owner? had her, a Sarah (his wife wife) plus the brothels, and two Martha’s) while successful soldiers were rewarded with an Econwife which implies other men were denied access to women.

              Of course, I wouldn’t recommend a high school boy forced to read this use that as the basis for his paper.

              • Herb, sweetie, because when I was young I had a high tolerance to boredom, I read A LOT of middling 70s sf. By ANY SANE definition most of it sucked badly.

                • Hmmm…true but even then I just don’t get the hate on…

                  Then again, I don’t get the hate on in my other community for the 50 Shades books. I get some very real concerns those of us to the right of the slash had about our expected influx of newbies but those had nothing to do with the books per se and everything to do with certain tendencies of 35+ year old never married or divorce women when they discover the scene.

                  But the hate? Not worth the energy (kind of a sunken cost thing with respect to the energy you spent reading it).

                  And, as I said above, my larger point in the bullets was even if you use Atwood as a model there is a hell of a lot from here to The Republic of Gilead than just Ted Cruz getting elected or even re-elected or either with 100 GOP Senators and 425 GOP House members. People who claim Ted’s win fulfills her model are idiots at best.

                  • Your larger point is largely irrelevant because the real purpose of these exercises is for them to get “all wee-weed up” and run around like their hair’s on fire. Facts aren’t important, the oppressive fear they’re suffering is what you need pay attention to.

                    Note – their oppressive fear, not our unreasonable fear of [Communism/Islamic Extremists/Coercive Government] is what is important, because we’re all a bunch of doody-heads who want them to cry.

                    • Yeah, well, I like to laugh at them for not even doing a good job at setting their hair on fire.

                      The older I get the more I admire and crave competence, just simple competence, in any field from adultery to zoology. – H.L. Mencken

                      If I can’t get rid of the screaming ninnies is it too much to ask for competent ones.

                  • You’re a slasher Herb? Landsman! Galandaria! What fandoms?

                  • The hate?

                    “Because someone else is having fun, and we must disapprove of it.”

                    See also: motorcycles, bungee jumping, and skydiving

                  • It’s kind of like Ron Paul– I don’t mind him, don’t agree on basically anything outside of the country but there are only a few instances beyond that of opposition.

                    His Ronulan fanboys, on the other hand… there is a LOT of extra baggage, there, beyond the bare “basic reader reading the dang book.”

                    Sometimes there’s a deeper flaw– like when RP’s philosophy about right to life met up with the philosophy that made me dislike his foreign policy, and lost– and sometimes there’s not.

                    I managed to escape the book, so I don’t know.

            • There’s a fun little game (can’t remember what it’s called) that some have started playing with books and online reviews. You read through the reviews, and find the ones that cite actual passages in the book. Then you read through the book, and figure out where in the book all of the cites come from. If you operate under the assumption that the majority of people citing passages in the book are merely doing so to “prove” that they read the book, then the distance into the book that the cited passages are found will tell you how much of the book the average person is actually reading.

              In short, if none of the reviews ever reference anything from the end of the book, then very few people are reading it all the way through.

              Apparently people playing this game with obviously prog online reviewers have determined that not many of the progs are actually reading the books that the progs are “reviewing”.

              • Ahem. See recent blog discussion about certain people who admit to keeping a running tally of women, minorities, etc until her head explodes and she stops reading.

    • Oh, and #5: It came about in a coup which is, again, not the same as electing Ted Cruz. Election != coup despite the evidence of their hero’s presidency which we are currently stuck in.

  24. The Handmaiden’s Tale describes the wealthy gay purchase of wombs so they can have children far more than some imaginary religious stuff. Has anyone asked her about the hijab?

    • The Handmaidens did have prescribed dress but I don’t remember the exact nature. It changed when they got pregnant.

      I think that novel gets more abuse than it is due more because of how progs think it is the right’s version of what they consider 1984 to be, a guidebook.

      It isn’t the best worldbuilding ever but it has some interesting ideas and is much more a generic tale about human nature and especially women’s place in the world and society than an anti-US screed (see my point #3 above).

  25. Dad Red did a search last night to see if he could find a definition of “Evangelical.” According to various sources on the ‘Net, America is 4% Evangelical, 53% Evangelical, or 64% evangelical, and Roman Catholics are Evangelicals. And so are Jews (!?!).

    • Wow, I expect a lot of Roman Catholics and Jews would be very surprised about this news…

      I’m pretty sure if you ask four different U.S. people what “Evangelical” means you’d get six different answers…

      • Let’s not even get into how ignorant most Americans, even most American Christians, are of the second largest Christian communion in the world, the Eastern Orthodox, and unaware of the existence of ancient communions like the Oriental Orthodox or the Church of the East.

        • This is true. I knew next to nothing about it until I lived in a country where a form of Eastern Orthodox was pretty much the state religion. (I don’t know if there are any significant differences between Romanian Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox in general, but I did kind of get the impression that they had split off from the main body of Orthodoxy and kind of did their own thing. I could be wrong about that part, though–some things really are hard to grasp no matter how well you learned to speak the language.)

          And I can say from firsthand experience, a lot of folks still believe some really weird stuff about Mormons. (Though not as hilarious as some of the stuff I encountered abroad. At least most Americans know the Amish are something entirely different.)

          • The Romanian church is in communion with other Orthodox churches, so they didn’t split off in any significant way, as the Catholic Church did in 1054 AD. There are mild differences in ritual among the various Orthodox churches, but those aren’t considered impediments to members of one church communing with members of another. There were no problems, for example, when I transferred from the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).

            • You went to ROCOR…son, you are hardcore.

              Me, I’m enjoying being a parish full of Arabs 🙂

              • I just got tired of OCA financial shenanigans, and the local ROCOR parish was renovating an old church, which played to one of my tropes. 🙂

                • Every time I’ve gone to an ROCOR church it’s been standers. We stand enough at my church but the entire liturgy including the homiliy is hard core.

                  • I guess we’re progressive ROCOR. We get to sit on the floor during the homily if we want. 🙂 Otherwise, standing, of course.

                    • No pews? How long is the service?

                    • HOURS. But they have frescos to look at. Or the church I went to did.

                    • that’s really hard core. Dati Jews only do it on Yom Kippur.

                    • Well, in our parish the liturgy is scheduled to start at 10 AM (although if there is a long line for confession the priest may be delayed–I’ve seen the liturgy not start until 10:30 or 10:40 at times). It seldom goes past noon. Then we all go to the parish hall for the trapeza (coffee/fellowship time) meal.

                    • I should also say, there are seats available along the walls for the aged and infirm. However, the default worship position for the Orthodox is standing.

                      I’d like to invite everyone participating in this discussion: if you ever find yourselves in east Tennessee, please come visit us on Sunday at St. Nektarios Russian Orthodox Church in Lenoir City!

                    • For St. Elias Atlanta (Your Parish May Verify) with a +/- 15 minutes:

                      The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: about a hour plus homily and communion (typical Sunday, half an hour) for 90 minutes total.

                      The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great: about a hour and a half plus homily and communion (call it 45 minutes as this is used on special Sundays when everyone comes to church) for a total of 135 minutes.

                      We sit and stand for most of the service depending on what is happening. Once we stand for The Lord’s Prayer we’re up until after the dismal when we sit as rows go up individually to get blessed by the priest.

                    • The dismal, Herb? Surely you mean the dismissal. 😀

                    • Depends on the homily…we had to get a loaner priest from the Greek Cathedral once..he verbally bullet pointed his homily. 🙂

                    • Ummm…Sarah, those are icons, not frescoes. 🙂

                    • oh. Right. Mediterranean, remember?

                    • As a personal favor, I will now refrain from discussing the history and meaning of iconography. 😀

                    • meh. You can give me a recommendation for a book to read on it. Kate Paulk, who is agnostic, was for a time enamored of orthodox theology and kept sending me titles of books to read. So I’ve done some of that.

                    • Let me get back to you on that. I’d like to speak to Fr. Job (my priest) to get his recommendation on the best book for this.

                    • And I thought Father Kurst (pronounced “cursed”) got a lot of jokes….

                      Long suffering fellow, eh?

                    • The Newman Center at UofA had a Polish priest whose surname was Buda (yes, pronounced just like Buddha). Everyone was greatly amused.

                      (He actually became an American citizen while I was still attending Mass at Newman.)

                    • I think I just found my alien Catholic’s patron saint….

                    • (so that he can pray to Buda, of course.)

                    • If it helps you flesh it out, his full name was Fr. Jacek Buda, O.P. As a boy he wanted to be a fighter pilot and had a picture of a MiG-21 as the background on his laptop, (he would have been in the Polish Air Force after all).

                    • I’m debating having it be a bunch of monks that convert his people, so it would have to be a distant cousin.

                    • Well, until I get his recommendation, I’ll mention “The Art of Seeing: Paradox and Perception in Orthodox Iconography,” by Maximos Nicholas Constas and Maxim Vasiljevic, primarily because it’s available in Kindle format on Amazon for a reasonable price. A quick browse of the excerpt in the Amazon listing looks pretty good.

            • That’s good to know, thanks!

              It wasn’t easy to get most of the Romanians I knew to talk about the Orthodox church, for various reasons. And the priests didn’t want to talk to us either, on account of me being, at that time, a missionary for another faith. :p I’m always interested in learning more about other people’s religions, though.

              I did attend an Easter service while there, and it was very interesting. Although the Romanian used in the service must have been a particularly formal or archaic version, because I had a hard time following it–and I was quite fluent in other areas, at that point.

              (I attended a Catholic Christmas service as well, and only realized midway through that–since most Catholics in Romania are Hungarian–it was actually in Hungarian. Explained why I couldn’t understand a darned thing though. Trying to guess the dialogue for the pageant was interesting, though.)

              • If you find an Orthodox church with a large number of converts rather than “cradle” Orthodox, the liturgy will probably be in English. That may (may, I say 😉 ) make it more understandable.

                If you went to a Paschal liturgy, I assume it went from perhaps 10:30 PM Saturday evening until about 2-2:30 AM Sunday morning. If not, the Romanian church is quite a bit different from all the Orthodox churches I know. 🙂

                • Our local Greek Orthodox does a festival every year, including tour and question and answers. Maybe yours does likewise. Which might be very helpful in understanding indeed.
                  I got the general idea that we were all on the same page in the same book, but theirs was a handwritten illustrated manuscript and ours (United Methodist) was the kindle version.

                  • Ours just have food. It counts against my happiness in selling the last house that we’re no longer near the annual food festival at St. Gabriel’s.

                    • Frankly, I think one of the best methods for encouraging interfaith ‘getting along-ness’ (at least in the US) would be for everybody to throw a big food festival.

                      Although I suppose you would then have competition in ‘who does food better’ but in terms of conflict I would far rather that than some of the other methods.

                    • What about problems with Kosher and Halal?

                    • We’re talking American Christian here, Emily. Kosher=tastes good. 🙂
                      Of course nowadays you have a Halal parallel in the people who don’t believe in eating GMO foods. 😦

                      If you wanted to have other faiths present (sorry, I wasn’t trying to be exclusive, but I think Sara was talking about the myriad of Christian sects) you could put little cards up warning about a dish not being Kosher or Halal, kind of like how they often do to warn a dish has peanuts in it.

                    • Sarah, the Greek Orthodox where I went to college participates in the local food fest near football time (big in the South- city population doubles on college game day). They sat right next to and shared tent space with the Koreans and I *think* our local rabbis.

                      There were about five labeled tables, one kosher, one not, and one seriously spicy- the other two were duplicates I think (the non-kosher got some serious competition from the spicy). That’s one thing I miss about the big city, like our host- proximity to the food fest.

                    • There’s a Greek Orthodox festival with lots of food near Colorado Blvd and Leetsdale. Not *near* if you’re moving closish to me but not all that far, either.

                    • Um… I’d heard of it. Maybe next year.

                    • Just saying, you’re not giving up *all* the good food 😀

                    • Well, and I’ll be about 15 to 20 minutes from Pete’s, which, you know…

                    • Totally worth the move

                    • It means the Hoyts will OWN that corner booth. Definitely on Saturdays. And I might end up in a booth during slow time, scribbling frantically on a notebook and mainlining coffee…

                    • I get some of my best work done in the strangest spaces. If Pete’s helps with the writing, I’ll buy the coffee.

                • We are in English unless Father George is speaking in which case it is sometimesin Arabic. Also, at Easter we do “He is risen; Indeed he is risen.” in English, Arabic, Spanish, and a Balkan Slavic language (can’t remember which one).

                  That’s something I love as I consider the Troparion of Second Antiphon the single most beautiful thing I encounter on a regular basis.

                  • For Pascha, all the churches I’ve ever been to do “He is risen; Indeed he is risen.” in as many languages as possible. English, Slovenian, Arabic, Inuit, German, Spanish, French, Romanian, Ukrainian, etc. One church included things like Japanese, an Amerindian language I don’t recall, and Syriac. Part of the reason for that was that that church had a fairly large number of translators and interpreters as parishioners.

                    • There was a call for other languages as well but I don’t remember any others except at Pascha service proper (and I forget the others) but for all the period after Easter we did those four.

                    • We were all given “cheat sheets” with the phrases written out in both the native script and phonetic roman letters. 🙂 I don’t know if those were locally prepared or acquired from somewhere, but I do know that the German wasn’t grammatically correct (PA Dutch, remember).

                      But they went like this:

                      Cristos es resusitado; El es verdadero resusitado!

                      Crist ist erstanden; Er ist wirklich erstanden!

                    • I know the Romanian version of that, which translates to “Christ resurrected, truly, he resurrected.” 😀

                      Is the dyed-red eggs thing widespread, or local to Romania?

                    • The red eggs are pan-Orthodox (unless Herb tell me the Antiochians don’t do them. 🙂 ). Here’s a good explanation:

                      http://greece.greekreporter.com/2012/04/13/why-we-dye-eggs-red-at-easter/

                    • No, we do them which was really weird for an old Presbyterian boy my first Orthodox Easter (I suspect that Presbyterian upbringing is alway why I gotta have my pews).

                    • I did actually know the symbolism behind the red eggs–and I like it a lot better than the pastel colors thing. Dying them red seems to fit the point of the holiday better, I think. 🙂

                  • I once went to a Russian Orthodox Easter service. Ukrainian friend wouldn’t go without me, and wanted to go. It’s one of the most beautiful services I ever attended and afterwards we went to the priest’s house for breakfast. Beautiful family.

                    • The Paschal liturgy is absolutely the most important one in the Orthodox church. We all go, and stay until the end in the early morning. Most parishes have the Paschal feast immediately after in the parish hall, although some say, go home, sleep a bit, come back for the feast in the afternoon. 🙂

                    • We went to the priest’s home for the feast as special honored guests, being exchange students. They had three little boys and one baby girl. We ended up going back for services a couple more times because we liked the priest and his family so much.
                      STRANGE. They were people I meant to look up when I first got married and moved here again… then life happened. Strange to think that baby girl is now 35 or so.

                    • I can’t guarantee you that every Orthodox church will give you the same feeling, but in the churches I’ve been in that have large numbers of convert members the feeling has always been one of intense welcome and joy to see you.

                      Having said that, I have been in a few Orthodox churches with primarily members of one or another ethnic group where the feeling has been (never openly expressed, but still felt) one of, what are you doing here?

                  • I more commonly hear “He is risen; He is risen indeed.”

                    Makes me wonder if somewhere along the line the focus of worship got switched to the Pillsbury Doughboy.

              • Probably some kind of Old Church Slovenian.

        • I attended a Greek Orthodox service once. Or part of one, anyway. On Crete. Was on shore patrol on a Sunday morning with 3 others, 2 M, 2F, passing by a church. And the greeters (ushers?) at the top of the steps motioned for us to come on in when we paused to look. So, we went in, and stood where they directed us. After 15 minutes or so, we realized some of the looks we were getting were because we were all standing on the men’s side. (But it was where they directed us all- didn’t try to point the females to the other side…) Quite interesting. Very elaborate. We just followed along for about 45 minutes, then left. People were wandering in and out the entire time. An hour or two later as we wandered past again it was still going on. And people were wandering in and out. Although we didn’t understand a word being said, because it was all Greek to us, we did recognize all the rituals and most of the music.

          And to add to the confusion of people who think they know about Christians and the different denominations within them, I have a relative in law who is a married Catholic priest- Eastern Rite Catholic. In full communion with Rome. Here in the USA.

          BTW, there is a difference between Holiday Catholics (or Christians) and Cafeteria Catholics (or Christians), as I understand the terms when I use them. Holiday Catholics show up on the major holidays, but subscribe to the tenets of the Church. They’re just not vey good at showing up. Cafeteria Catholics pick and choose what tenets to believe. IOW, they’re not really Catholic. Because you don’t get to choose. There’s probably a significant overlap between the two.

          • Yep, most people don’t realize the Catholic Church is really 26 (I think, might be off one or two) churches in communion: 1 western rite church (which is the majority by a long shot) and 20 something eastern rite churches which have strong cultural ties to Eastern Orthodox (and probably some Oriental Orthodox) Churches. We work quite closely with the local Melkite Catholic Church given the community ties (especially on relief to those in Syria).

            When I’m cynical I wonder if the reason the US media’s stock view of Christianity comes from Joe Bob’s Non-denominational Seminary founded two weeks ago, which is a sliver of one kind of Protestantism which itself is smaller and younger than most churches even excluding the big two communions because it makes their narrative easier to create. If they seriously engaged the Roman, either kind of Orthodox, or even the core of the major Protestant denominations they’d be unable to steer the narrative of Christians as idiots.

            • A few years back had an interesting conversation with a women of my acquaintance going to a church apparently headed by a graduate of Joe Bob’s Non-denominational Seminary. She knew my wife was a good Catholic, and I wasn’t Catholic at all, and invited me to a service. So I asked, “What denomination is it?” Her: “Christian.” Me: “So it’s non-denominational Protestant.” Her: “It’s not Protestant, it’s Christian.” Me: “In what denomination was the pastor ordained?” Her: “Christian.” Me: “Can he trace his ordination in an unbroken line back to the Catholic Church?” Her: “What? What are you talking about?” Me: “If he can’t trace his ordination back, then he’s a pretend Christian pastor, and you’re not attending a Christian Church. You’re just a bunch of people getting together on Sundays studying the bible and singing songs… And he may very well be an agent of Satan sent to disrupt the Church with false teachings.” She walked away in a huff. And never invited me back. That Church and congregation, BTW, no longer exists. Less then 10 years in existence.

              • Free-range Oyster

                Hmm. Most of that makes sense, but I’d like some clarification: when you say a Christian Church, what do you mean? If a group of Christians organize themselves into a group to worship and serve, is that not a church? Or do you mean something more specific, e.g. a church carrying the proper authority to continue the ministry of the Apostles? The latter is debatable but completely logical; the former reminds me a great deal of the sectarians I’ve known who accused me of not being a Christian because I differed from them on points of doctrine. It’s the difference to me between a fascinating discussion and a frustrating, fruitless one.

                • A church carrying the proper authority to continue the ministry of the Apostles. As for a group of Christians organizing themselves into a group to worship and serve, The Knights of Columbus and the Assemblies of God’s Royal Rangers are not churches, although they get together and worship and serve.

                  Perhaps I’m a bit anal on this, but IMHO, in order to be a Christian Church, the church leader/pastor/minister must be in a string of unbroken apostolic succession. Else, a group calling itself a Christian Church is a sect.

                  I don’t pay much attention to the differences between Protestant denominations. I was baptized Methodist, attended an Evangelical Free Church while in HS, and in the Navy, attended Protestant services with whatever faith chaplain was presiding.

                  • I guess my definition was always simpler. A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Christ (ie the Bible, in particular the New Testament) therefore a Christian Church is one that teaches the Bible. According to the Bible “the church” is the “body of Christ”* and while they are continuing the ministry of Christ and the Apostles, nowhere in the Bible do I see mention of a “proper authority” other than God himself.
                    Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t think it is a good idea for ministers to have to have attended seminary and become ordained, but I am certainly not going to claim that a group of believers who are following Christ’s teachings are not a “church” because their pastor cannot trace an unbroken lineage of teachers (isn’t that what seminary is, a school for ministers?) back to a church that wasn’t in existence until considerably after all the Apostles were dead.

                    *The body of Christ is defined as all the Christians who follow him, a definition the media obviously is unaware of.

                    • “A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Christ ”

                      A Christian is someone who has been baptized. The problem with your definition is that we know the wheat and the tares will grow together until harvest, so there will be many in the Church who don’t follow them, and also that it makes it impossible to use the term because you would have to evaluate who is following the teachings of Christ. (And how would you evaluate whether they are following the Bible when the Bible itself says it’s not subject to private interpretation?)

                    • Problem– what’s the authority of the Bible, other than that it was written by those directly appointed by Jesus, and collected by a whole group of those who were appointed by folks appointed by them? (to whatever remove)

                      We might wanna make this as academic as possible to avoid it becoming the banned sort of discussion… I’m actually interested in what folks will say, though.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      IMO The Authority Of The Bible is The Authority Of God.

                      I believe that God had a strong hand in the writing of the Bible and a strong hand is which Books are Part of the Bible.

                      As for “The Church”, it is made up of Fallen Individuals that could be wrong.

                      I see the Word Of God (ie the Bible) as a touch-stone for judging the actions/beliefs of Fallen Individuals both within the religious organizations and outside the religious organizations.

                      Mind you, the Value of any religious organization is in the meeting of minds that may be touched by God in understanding what the Bible say and relates to the issues facing individuals or groups.

                      I know that my understanding of the Bible can be wrong so IMO it is important to hear & discuss how others understand the Bible.

                      Person A, who understands the original languages and customs of the times that the Bible was written in, would have plenty to say about understanding what God has said.

                      More so than Person B, no matter how good or intelligent B is, would have to say.

                      Mind you, Person B might be more touched by God than Person A so both should IMO be listened to.

                      ::Hey! Where Did This Soap-Box come from? I got to get ready for my Doctor’s Appointment!:: 🙂

                    • *avoids the part about what people in specific think as being way too close to trouble*

                      I agree that the Bible is the inspired word– but the chain of custody, so to speak, needs to be looked at; the newer parts are letters written by those appointed by Jesus to various churches– and they do mention selecting leaders, don’t they?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Here we’re IMO getting into the tricky part about the differences between Catholics/Orthodox Christians and Baptists like myself.

                      I get the idea that “you” see God giving anointed priests/bishops/etc. “special insight” into God’s Word that an ordinary scholar wouldn’t have.

                      IMO there’s little basis for that idea in the Scripture discussing the choosing of Church Leadership.

                      I’m not saying that God doesn’t give certain people such “special insight” but I doubt that all priests have been given that insight.

                      I think we could both think of priests, Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox, that didn’t show this “special insight”.

                      Now there are people in all branches of Christianity that have shown “special insight” from God.

                      Personally, I suspect C. S. Lewis may have been given such insight (although I doubt that he would have claimed it) and I suspect that G. K. Chesterton may have been given such insight.

                      Now, if I have misunderstood your position on the Catholic/Orthodox churches, I welcome your correction as I definitely don’t think I have a “special link” to God. [Smile]

                    • Personally, I suspect C. S. Lewis may have been given such insight (although I doubt that he would have claimed it) and I suspect that G. K. Chesterton may have been given such insight.

                      We are all in His image– why wouldn’t that mean something a lot deeper than physical appearance?

                      ****
                      Is very much a tricky area; I’m trying to avoid it. 😀

                      I get the idea that “you” see God giving anointed priests/bishops/etc. “special insight” into God’s Word that an ordinary scholar wouldn’t have.

                      More like He’s always chosen people to do things in His name– being a priest doesn’t make you any better at knowing what God meant, but it does have a real… CHANGE in who you are.

                      I know some of the younger churches don’t believe some parts of this, but:
                      It’s like baptism– it actually changes part of you, washing away original sin, forgiving the debt from Adam and Eve.
                      It’s like marriage– in a valid marriage, you are really united, made one.
                      Blessings aren’t just symbolic; they can be a route for actual graces.

                      When my kids were baptized, they were anointed with blessed oil to be prophet, priest and king– anointed, just as Christ is the anointed one, just as each of those “jobs” were anointed before He came.
                      We were having them adopted into the Lord’s own household– and just like the blood relations, even if you’re mad at them or can’t stand them, they’re still your blood. If you really adopt a friend, that can’t be broken, either. (even if our culture doesn’t have a very firm framework for that)

                    • Bjorn Hasseler

                      Yup. Sometimes the verb is “appoint”. A couple times in Acts there’s a word used whose etymology is “by show of hands”. So possibly there’s more than one acceptable way of selecting church leadership.

                    • #defineirony: The principle of Sola Scriptora isn’t found in the Bible…

                    • *laughs* That is the old joke, but I’m pretty sure I could work up a decent argument — maybe from Jewish precedent or something? Jesus did reason with people about the meaning of scriptures, not just say “Uh, I’m God. Kinda have the authority, here.”

                      Sola Scriptora does kinda have a lot of baggage in the name, too, so it seemed more useful to do kind of a baseline reason-from-where-we-agree thing.

                      My head hurts too much for it right now, though.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Nod, if we don’t have scriptures in common, we don’t really have anything to discuss.

                      IE I don’t accept “your authority” and you don’t accept “my authority” so what do we have to discuss. 😉

                    • And the single thing that makes Islam (and Leftism, another variety of religion) incompatible with a civil society is they will never accept that notion and leave you alone.

                    • “As for “The Church”, it is made up of Fallen Individuals that could be wrong.”

                      then either it could have been wrong about what the Bible is, or God could have a strong hand in guiding said Church.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      True but I put my Faith in the Bible the Word Of God, not men who insist that I don’t question their Decrees on what the Bible says.

                      Note, Kevin Creek has commented on Baptists who blindly follow Baptist Pastors.

                      So IMO this “blindly following” of Religious Leaders is a danger that can occur in any Christian Religious Organization.

                      From my readings on the History of Christianity, it is obvious that from time to time, the Christian Churches have gone astray only to be revived by Good Men touched by God.

                      IMO at the time of the Reformation the Catholic Church had gone astray and had gotten stuck in the “mindset” of “we’re right and anybody who tells us differently is wrong”.

                      I’d note that part of the Counter-Reformation was a House-Cleaning by the Catholic Church of things that people like Luther had spoken against.

                      I’ll end this “rant” by saying that when I stand before God, I doubt that “I was just obeying orders” would work if He Sees that I was wrong in my actions.

                    • I get the idea that “you” see God giving anointed priests/bishops/etc. “special insight” into God’s Word that an ordinary scholar wouldn’t have.

                      Actually, the priest in the Orthodox world has no special insight just by ordination. In fact Orthodox theology has a strong lay element throughout its history.

                      The various offices reflect not insight per se but a roll in the Church. The Bishop’s job is to be the chief Christian of the district and help guide the flock and the priest and deacon are his aids. They lead the liturgy and hear the confessions of the flock (the latter a simplification of the early church’s confession to the congregation due to churches getting bigger).

                      No Patriarch or bishop has the authority to set dogma, only a council of churches can do that in order to avoid the waywardness of one man marring the church’s teachings (which is why it has been well over a millennia since a recognized council has occurred).

                    • “A Christian is someone who has been baptized.”

                      Well, I guess I always saw being baptized AS following the teachings of Christ. Actually upon review, I prefer FreerangeOyster’s definition to either of ours. ” Christian simply means one who accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God and their Saviour” is IMHO a much better definition.

                      Of course, if you believe he is the Son of God and accept him as your savior, you should follow his teachings and get baptized. 🙂

                      “And how would you evaluate whether they are following the Bible when the Bible itself says it’s not subject to private interpretation?”

                      Erm, as opposed to being subject to governmental interpretation? /ducks/ Sorry.
                      Seriously I would like to hear your definition of that, because interpretation by a minister, whether Protestant pastor or Catholic priest or even the Pope would be a “private interpretation” in my eyes. I always read that to mean that the Bible says what it means, and doesn’t need a special “clergy” to interpret it. As opposed to many other religions, which do NOT encourage laymen to read and understand their religious texts, but rather require a special class of religious officials (clergy) to interpret it for the masses. This is not to say that someone who has spent years in seminary studying the Scriptures and learning the original languages they are written in (in large part in order to catch interpretive errors or inconsistencies) will not, most likely have a better understanding of them than Joe Bob, who picks up the Bible and skims Genesis, Exodus, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I’d like more details on what’s not “private interpretation” as well.

                  • Free-range Oyster

                    Ah, the imprecise nature of language. You use your terms a little differently than I am accustomed to. As I usually hear and use them, Christian simply means one who accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God and their Saviour, a group of congregations that share the same doctrine make up a sect, a sect is roughly synonymous with a denomination, all of the varying Christian denominations are part of the body of Christ, and the word ‘church’ can be used synonymously with any of them. Thus my confusion. I don’t disagree on the necessity of ordination, both to teach authoritatively and to perform the rites and ordinances necessary for salvation, but you might want to use a more precise term than Christian Church to refer to the people and organization(s) that bear that authority.

                  • You’re describing the (little-e) episcopalian model; but it seems to me (a non-Christian) that the (little-p) presbyterian model has historical grounding as well.

                    • Whether or not they admit it, all of the protestant sects are descended from the Catholic church, which along with the Orthodox is the original Christian church.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Of course, there’s the question about how close the Catholic/Orthodox Churches were to the original Christian Church of the time of the Apostles/Early Church Fathers. [Wink]

                      Many Baptists claim that they are closer to the original Christian Church.

                      Not that I’m going to claim that Catholics or Orthodox Christians are not real Christians.

                      While only God can say definitely Who Is His Own, I see nothing in the Bible that states Catholic Christians or Orthodox Christians will not be seen as His Own. [Smile]

                    • OTOH I see not that we are told that there will be a number of people who will be surprised when they are informed they are not known.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      “You Called Me Lord But I Know You Not”!

                      There was a story about some man that got to Heaven and was surprised by the people he saw there that he thought won’t be in Heaven and some of them were surprised to see him in Heaven. [Smile]

                    • If you see me there, you’re not in the right place. OTOH if I DON’T see a friend of mine there, I’ll know I’m in the wrong place. (The man has fulfilled all the sermon on the mount plus some.)

                    • Bjorn Hasseler

                      Except that before the Synod of Orange adopted a semi-Augustinian theology in 529 and Gregory I made the pope more than first among equals (590-604), the Church looked very different from later Roman Catholicism.

                    • Problem: the Bishop of Rome was formally specified as being able to overrule everybody else, singled handed, at the Council of Sardica in A.D. 342.

                      Gregory I made it famous (for lack of a better term) but it was already there; looking at his biography, it’s probably because he was the first Monk to become Pope, and he applied a different style than others had.

                    • Bjorn Hasseler

                      The Council of Sardica may have specified that – but that’s not how things were done before or after. The Nicean/Arian controversy continued up to 381 when the Council of Constantinople acted decisively (whereas individual bishops of Rome and local councils had not succeeded in doing so).

                    • Er, there are those (who do not call themselves Protestant) like my Grandmother who “goes to Meeting” who claim to predate the Catholic Church. As a matter of fact they claim that the Catholic Church descends from them, that they are actually still following the original model, of meeting in peoples homes and sharing the gospel, as Jesus and his followers did, before there was any hierarchy or any organized church.
                      I’m not saying they are right, and as far as I know there are no records to prove their claims one way or the other, but that also means there are no records to prove your claims that the Catholic/Orthodox Church is the original. The term Catholic* wasn’t used until the 2nd century so while they obviously originated in meetings of the followers of Jesus, there is definite room for argument that they are not the “original church”. Original organized church, I know of no counterclaims to that.

                      *Interesting fact, that most non-Catholics probably don’t know. The term Catholic means; universal, or all encompassing, which this discussion tends to make somewhat ironic, and definitely shows the semantic drift.

                    • This is like the wiccans who think their grandmothers are following the old Celtic model. Don’t happen.

              • I am stealing that, switching it back to “apostles,” and using it next time my obnoxious protestant aunt tries to drag me into her church of the week.

            • The US Media can always be relied upon to find representatives conforming to their prejudices expectations; religion is no safeguard against this talent. Because intelligent (wise, even) Christians are (obviously) not representative of the Media’s biases they are not representative of believers (as the Media understands them.)

              #NoTrueChristian

          • I once attended a service at a con. While we were gathering, we exchanged terms on “person who shows up for the major holidays.” We all had one.

          • Celebacy is a discipline, not a doctrine. 😀

            Found out something kind of cool– one of my favorite guys on Catholic Answers, Father Mitch, is bi:
            Father Pacwa is fluent in twelve languages and has a unique understanding of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East. Father’s extensive travels throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the Holy Land has inspired him to write the “Holy Land Prayer Book,” which has been published by his own apostolate, Ignatius Productions, and can be used as a prayer book guide for any pilgrim traveling to the Holy Land. Father Pacwa also has the privilege of being bi-ritual, which means he can also celebrate the Maronite Mass of the Eastern Catholic Church.

        • I still remember the day on a Catholic blog where someone showed up in the comments, someone else thought him fundamentalist because of what he said, and he loftily declared he was Greek Orthodox — and launched an attack on a Catholic doctrine that is also a Greek Orthodox one, using a bog-standard fundamentalist attack.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Nod, I’ve seen people use the term Evangelical as “those evil religious people who want to force you to follow their religion”. [Sad Smile]

      • Patrick Chester

        …then there’s the loony who asks how many are Evangelion.

        *raises AT field*

    • How can we be evangelical if we don’t proselytize?

      • The same way we can be fascist if we don’t believe anything the fascists ever said or did. The left just uses these terms as codes for “people we don’t like.”

      • I have always been amazed at how hostile some folks seem to be to proseltyzing. Okay, sure, everyone out there has probably at one time or another pretended not to be home when the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormon missionaries come knocking at the door but that’s rather different. Some of the folks I’ve talked to who get all huffy about proselyting seem to have it in their heads that if you talk about your religion in any way, or make it known that you’d love to answer questions about it, or otherwise share something that means a lot to you somehow that’s ‘forcing’ people to follow their religion. I’m always left scratching my head and going “WTF?”

        Of course, these are usually the same folks who declare you the devil incarnate if you disagree with their political (or pseudo-political) views. So perhaps it’s merely a matter of fantacism: fanatics tend to view any viewpoint different to theirs as a hostile attack, so…

        • Online discussion tend to get sniffy when I point out that proselytizing is a religious duty for Christians. The time when a person argued against the Great Commission on the grounds that “If I were a Christian, I would pay more attention to what Jesus said than what Paul said,” was particularly epic.

          And then there are those who publicly talk about how THEIR religion says that religion is private (to insinuate that people of other religions ought to shut up) who never have a coherent answer to, “If that were true, you would have kept it to yourself.”

          • (Blinks) Wait, what? Idjit gets all up on his high horse of red letters and doesn’t know what the letters actually say to that level?

            • But it was something he didn’t like. it MUST have been Paul.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Reminds me of the idea of “Don’t attack the King, just attack the King’s ministers”. [Sad Smile]

            • Doesn’t care. His purpose was not theological or even historical accuracy, it was demonstrating his own virtue while condemning Christians.

          • Thanks; I was thinking that myself a few comments back. Perhaps one of the “main-line” / evangelical divides is the teaching-baptizing balance. You gotta do *both*. Else you wide up with a bunch of newbies who don’t know what they don’t know or church full of gray heads that dies out, plus letting all those fish get away.

      • In their minds refusing to suppress our beliefs is proselytizing (see: Freedom from religion) so that putting a mezzuzah on the door jamb or putting the menorrah in the effing fer gawdsake window constitutes rubbing their noses in our faith.

        The only way to not proselytize (them) is to be absolutely neutral about your faith, in which case they will denounce you as hypocrites for not living according to your faith (typically, living according to what they imagine your faith requires.)

        • If you really want to make that sort mad, call them ‘evangelical atheists’…

          I have no objection to atheists, provided they’re not the ones who spend all their time either insulting anyone who is not, or who take offense at anything remotely religious. Thankfully, as far as I’ve experienced, they tend to be rare-ish outside the internets. Most of the real life atheists i’ve known are very polite, and usually interested in discussing differing points of belief.

          • fundamentalist atheists are the most fun. those are the ones who know that no true Christians disagrees with the interpretation that the (non-existent) Holy Spirit inspires them to believe.

    • the h*ll? Seems like they’re making it “people of the book.”

      • They are agin “people of the book.”[1]
        We are agin “people of the schnook.”[2]

        [1] One suspects they do not include CRC manuals, but those would be equally incomprehensible to them.
        [2] If I dare speak for “us” – which I do not truly claim.[3]
        [3] I also do not speak for the trees. I am not the Lorax.[4]
        [4] Onceler was a moron. Forestry would have been an investment in a steady supply of material.[5]
        [5] But if Truffula had been mined.[6]
        [6] Yes, I agree: Enough already.

        • SheSellsSeashells

          My child’s Seuss-reading phase included occasional maternal rants to the effect of “the Lorax was a self-righteous control freak who would’ve done much better to partner with the Once-ler and teach him all about responsible lumber management”.

  26. Yes, I know Atwood had a fundamentalist theocracy ruling America. Look, the woman is British. I doubt she understands American religion,

    She also implicitly claimed not to know about the Heinlein example you’re referencing (If This Goes On …, 1940), which if true made her remarkably ignorant of the genre in which she was writing. In which she also claimed to not be writing, which elevates her level of self-delusion if honest to truly stratospheric, possibly ionospheric, heights.

    The truth is that we’re the world’s oldest multi-religion society. Yes, there are others, but they are different.

    That’s an extremely good point. It’s difficult to see how the religion behind the hypothetical theocracy would avoid arousing the wrath and extreme opposition of all the other religions. Come to think of it, wasn’t one of the strengths of the resistance in If This Goes On …? I seem to remember there being a strong Mormon</i. contingent in the Resistance. Or was that a different “revolt against evil theocracy” novel?

    (The “revolt against evil theocracy” story has been done a lot in science fiction, which is why Margaret Atwood’s claim to have been doing something Amazingly New and Origiinal in The Handmaid’s Tale was particularly absurd).

    Sorry if I go on about Margaret Atwood, but she annoys me, with her pretentious claims to originality coupled with her obvious imitations of earlier science fiction — while claiming to not be writing science fiction.

    • coupled with her obvious imitations of earlier science fiction — while claiming to not be writing science fiction.

      Actually, it is those imitations which get to be believe the later.

      She was writing warmed over late 20th century feminist general literature. Her target wasn’t genre sci-fi readers and certainly that was not her publisher’s target audience.

      That she used obvious and unoriginal sci-fi tropes is to be expected. It’s like the many “fantasy” novels written in the 80s to cash in on fantasy. They rarely rose to the level of warmed over Tolkien that early Sharnarra is.

      Now, if you want to contend that shows she’s contemptuous of sci-fi I won’t argue but that describes general literature writers in general.

      • Well, no. She was writing “science fiction,” whether she wanted to or no, because The Handmaid’s Tale fits the definitions of the genre. Just as if I write a story in which two people fall in love and have semi-explicit sex as a main plot element, I’m writing “erotic romance.”

        Now, a book can fall into more tan one genre. For instance if my two lovers are the crew of a spaceship exploring Pluto, then I’m also writing “science fiction.” If they are spies behind the Iron Curtain in 1955, then I’m also writing a “historical espionate” tale. And so on.

        One can’t take one’s story out of the genres into which definition it fits by an act of denial.

        • One can’t take one’s story out of the genres into which definition it fits by an act of denial.

          You’re not familiar with how “literary” writers view genre fiction at all are you 🙂

          They honestly think there is nothing worth learning from it and that even if they write it in total ignorance of the genre their stuff will be better.

          • We are perfectly familiar. It’s just that we accord them no more consideration than the work of haruspices.

            • I was mostly joking in the “not familiar” comment…I was trying to be as obnoxious as them.

              I personally consider such an attitude proof you’re a tool. That she produced a book I enjoyed with such an attitude is at best a happy accident.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Nod, they also have a “strange” definition of the genre in question.

            Atwood gave a “strange” definition of SF when she claimed her work wasn’t SF.

          • “I have this great new invention, I call it the ‘wheel’.”
            “I have this great new invention, I call it the ‘wheel’.”
            “I have this great new invention, I call it the ‘wheel’.”

            “Here, a puncture-resistant pneumatic tire, with a strut suspension system for a nice, smooth ride, and…”

            “I have this great new invention, I call it the ‘wheel’.”
            “I have this great new invention, I call it the ‘wheel’.”
            “I have this great new invention, I call it the ‘wheel’.”

            It shore gets tiresome, doan it?

          • I am old enough to remember Kurt Vonnegut’s angry denunciations about his works not being SF. I don’t recall what he thought they were, nor his arguments in support, but he was insistent that Slaughterhouse 5 was NOT SF.

            I also recall discussing the (recently released) film A Clockwork orange with a psychiatrist (thus adult and presumably educated) who claimed the film was not SF but a relistic depiction of (near) contemporary Britain (and this was a while before Thatcher took office as PM.)

            They keep using that phrase but I think it does not mean what they think it means.

            Perhaps they think SF has cooties and thus anything which does not give them cooties is Q.E.D. not SF?

            • There is a view among some that “real” authors don’t write science fiction and/or fantasy, and that books in those genres can’t be “serious” literature. I remember a college class in which the instructor mentioned this while we were discussing Ursula Le Guin (we were reading “The Left Hand of Darkness” at the time). Apparently Le Guin’s insistence on writing that silly science fiction stuff was quite distressing to some among the literati set who couldn’t believe that she’d waste her time and talent on fluff like that.

            • It’s just more of the long-standing elitist/hipster crap: if it’s popular, it can’t POSSIBLY be really good, not truly, because the unwashed masses think it’s good.

              As a recent example: witness George Lucas whinging about how Disney has ‘ruined’ Star Wars (by making it super popular again). My days of not taking that man seriously are definitely coming to a middle.

    • And a Catholic battalion.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Man, that drives me nuts. Every year I see a few mainstream authors release some pretentious piece of crap full of SF clichés from 40 years ago to universal critical acclaim for how bold, daring and fresh it is.

      • And then they try to do it in SF too. Coff Ancillary Thingy coff.

        • Be careful about giving them ideas

          We could get Ancillary Handmaid and as bad as the original might be…well, you think crap wins Hugos now.

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Ancillary Handmaid: all the characters are called “she”, including the woman-hating misogynists.

            • Yep…in fact, within 30 minutes of writing that I wanted to really, really, write it or at least a summary.

              Hey, that list, “Gor novels we’d like to see” (http://www.rdrop.com/users/wyvern/data/funny.novels.html)* could be a model for a list of “Ancillary Noun novels that will one day win a Hugo”.

              Because of that list, when the retired Spartans were a thing at the Dragoncon Parade I tried to recruit a cadre of Drag Queens of Gor (book #61) to line up behind them and pretend to be their war booty. Unfortunately, I could only find one taker.

        • When real SF fails to match their straw dog they deny its existence or shrug it off “because I was never into that old-timey stuff.”

          Or, of course, it is likely we are lying about what’s gone before, because they hadn’t thought of it and they’re so much smarter and more enlightened than those old fossils that it isn’t possible anybody already thought of this.

  27. > Yes, Cruz references his faith. I find that polite.
    > Both because we have the right to know,

    *Do* you have a right to know? It’s not in the Constitution, and my (admittedly probably inept) attempt to find a Congressional act or Supreme Court decision haven’t turned up anything.

    There’s quite a bit of “right to privacy” law. You’re assuming your “right to know” trumps that. In what other private matters do you feel your rights trump the candidate’s?

    • It is reasonable to expect to know what informs the judgment of those who you are selecting from on the basis, in part, of their judgment.

    • knowing about his health. Actually there isn’t a right to privacy — that would be utterly alien to the eighteenth century. It was found in penumbras and emanations.
      HOWEVER I’m not a government and they’re not a citizen. They’re someone applying to the sovereign people for almost limitless power (since the pen and phone are mightier than the constitution.) What do you need to know about a prospective employee? Now multiply by a hundred.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I’m not seriously concerned about a candidate’s religion.

        I’m more concerned about “how he’ll behave in office”.

        His “religion” is important only if his religion was a factor in how he misbehaved in office.

        Every time somebody “moans” that a candidate is “too religious”, I ask “show me what he’s done wrong in public life”.

        I don’t remember any answer to that question.

        It’s always “What He Might Do” not “What He Has Done”.

        • I recall a senator complaining that his opponent was running “attack ads” that dared to… bring up his voting record. Attack, huh? That wound was self-inflicted.

        • Well, certainly I will look askance at a candidate/incumbent who claims to be and then proceeds to prove he/she doesn’t even have a nodding acquaintance with the life tenets of . They have the freedom to not live their religion, and I have the freedom to think them a hypocrite for it, and vote accordingly.

          Personally, I find a candidate who is coy about their religion easier to stomach than one who makes a ton of noise about how “Christian” they are and then proceeds to prove themselves anything but. I don’t expect perfection, but they should at least be *trying*…

          • Oh, you mean like Pelosi claiming to be a Catholic, while at the same time being vehemently pro-abortion? Or Harry Reid claiming to be Mormon? It isn’t the “religion” of either of those that disqualifies them in my mind for public office. But their obvious hypocrisy, which is shown through their claims to said religion.
            I read a commenter today, that stated it very well in regards to Rick Santorum. They said they did not agree with his socially conservative views, but respected him as holding true to his beliefs, and would have been highly disappointed (and lost their respect for him) in him if he had endorsed Trump, as it was speculated he would. They stated that they might not agree with his beliefs, but they trusted that believed what he said he did, because he obviously lived it.

  28. adventuresfantastic

    As a Baptist, I must relate the following anecdote, I mean joke. A joke, really. No resemblance to reality.

    Q: What do you get when you ask 5 Baptists to interpret a passage from the Bible?

    A: Six mutually exclusive answers.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      I’ve heard it as “Two Baptists, Three Opinions”. 😉

      Of course, the Jews say we stole the joke from them but my response is that “We only steal from the Best Places”. [Very Big Grin]

      • adventuresfantastic

        I taught at an Orthodox Jewish high school for two years (all the general studies faculty were goyim), and the similarities between Jews and Baptists can be staggering at times.

      • Good Lord, NO. With Jews it’s three Jews, twelve opinions. I’ve seen people argue against themselves…

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I think I’ve done that, and I’m not Jewish.

        • Jews argue like Blacks play basketball. It’s a national obsession.

          • It’s genetic. It carries on in my family centuries later. AND the other day while involved in a particularly satisfying argument with a Jewish friend on FB someone accused us of having “escalated.” We were both surprised. We’d been having FUN! He answered with something like what you said, and I said “and I think it’s genetic, because I still do it” and my friend said “clearly.”

            • Really need to get that DNA analysis done. We resemble that remark over here. But we don’t think we have Jewish. Well, you never know: my ancestors were always big fans of miscegenation.

              • There’s an old saying that Indians are one of the 10 missing tribes of Israel.

                • Ah. No, that was not a saying, it was a widespread 19th century belief. Weirdly genetics seem to lend some credence, but not…
                  Well, a lot of Amerindians are of Jewish descent. Apparently round about the 17th century there was a Spanish Jew, who probably came in with the conquistadors, who REALLY liked Amerindian women and whose sons were similarly prolific. (Grins.)
                  Because at the time Portugal was part of Spain, I like to imagine this guy was related to dad’s side of the family. They’re well known to use a wide-dispersal hose and have a lot of children all sides of the blanket. (Not dad. That we know. But uncles and great grands.)

                  • Well, and there’s also the LDS belief that the natives of the American continents (North and South) are descended from a couple of different groups that fled the Holy Land (or what would become the Holy Land) at different times. Interestingly, I’ve heard (anecdotal) stories of some Amerindians who agree that the events described in the Book of Mormon mesh with their respective tribes’ passed-down histories.

                • And here I thought they had only misplaced two of the tribes.

                  • got it backwards. only 2 are known. the other 10 are missing.

                    • The Other Sean

                      A number of Jews did long ago go off to far and diverse place such as Ethiopia and South Africa.

                    • There were once upon a time Jews in India. Native Jews not British.

                    • That’s not what the other ten are claiming.

                    • Depends whether you count the partial tribe of Levites that we still have

                    • The Other Sean

                      Those Jews really got around back in the day. Er, so to speak.

                    • We’ve lived everywhere!

                    • Re: your India comment above, there is an entire cuisine created by the Jewish community of Calcutta. It is quite Kosher and Indian at the same time, employing no beef in respect of the neighbors.

                      The Jewish Book of Food includes an amusing story reported by a Rabbi David D’Beth Hillel who in the early part of the nineteenth century traveled the world looking for communities of the Diaspora. While in India the Rabbi met a Cochin Black Jew who told of finding a Jewish community that lived within walls in China. They had met with him outside the wall of their town and served up a dinner that included beef cooked in milk.

                      The Cochin Jew refused to eat this and asked his hosts how they could eat what was forbidden food to Jews in India and other parts of the world. They replied that Moses only forbade the seething of a kid in its mother’s milk. This meat, they explained, was not boiled in the mother’s milk — they kept rigorous check on the animals and made sure of that. The Cochin Jew insisted that according to the Talmud flesh must not be eaten with milk of any kind, and they replied with a question: ‘Who is greater, Moses or the Talmudists?

                      I collect cookbooks. What of it?

            • When I was in college, a friend of mine and I were having an argument about some rule in a boardgame. After a few minutes, another fried interrupted and pointed out that we were both arguing the same point.

              We responded with something like “yeah, so?” and he then asked us why.

              “Practice.”

          • No we don’t — stop pandering to goyische stereotypes.

        • It’s not just about religion, either. I remember years ago, when I was working at a 24/7 suicide prevention and information referral hotline, that one of my friends was Irish (I’m PA Dutch). We’d usually pick some nearly random topic and argue about it, purely for the fun of arguing. If one of us started to win, the other would say, “you know, you have a point,” and we’d instantly switch sides so we could continue the argument. The argument was the point, after all, not the issues being argued about.

          • Wait, are we related? That was my German great-aunts and uncles at Thanksgiving, totally. Only you could “argument-surf” because n relatives could generate n-1 arguments and with practice, you could participate in several at the same time. It was considered rude to agree for the sake of peace, and suddenly coming up with a vehement opinion (on the other side) of a previously unsuspected topic was sporting and aided digestion. 😀

        • The Other Sean

          Thank you. I now know to blame… er, credit, the Jewish side of my family. 😉

        • I’ve done so more than once with my “work” hat on.

        • Wait, I’m Jewish?!?

    • They also have never been at a Southern Baptist Church Business meeting. These meeting make herding cats seem easy.

    • Six mutually exclusive answers.

      That’s six each, right?

  29. I think the progs believe that reality is only what’s in their heads. If it isn’t then it isn’t reality.

  30. As a lifelong agnostic, please consider me your Theocracy Early Warning System. 😀 If I suddenly go dark, then you can head to the bunkers/bewail your fate/set your hair on fire. In return I would like to request at least a token rescue attempt. Maybe a nice bundt cake with a file baked in? Or deadly ninja throwing hamentaschen? I’m not picky …

  31. the Land of Gilead

    Really!?! Gilead, most of which had been apportioned by Moses to the tribe of Gad, had fallen to the false practices instituted by King Jeroboam for the tribes which followed him after the Kingdom Judah split at the ascension of Rehoboam on the death of Solomon.

    I have no idea what the various worriers mean by their reference to Gilead, but then again. I doubt they do either. That is other than it is a handy straw man / bogie man they can use to gin up their vote.

    • See above…they are reffering to the Atwood novel in question. Now, why a Jim and Tammy Faye Baker lead government would call itself the Republic of Gilead is beyond me.

      • probably intended as an allusion to “balm in Gilead.”

        • But was that not a reference to a passage where the question is whether or not one could find the solace of following YHWH in Gilead? — Is there no balm in Gilead?

          • Pffft. Might as well turn for your theological interpretations to a cat.

            • SheSellsSeashells

              Feline theology is simple and therefore reassuring. “Bast = goddess = me = WORSHIP, MORTAL. PREFERABLY WITH SKRITCHIES AND TREATS.”

              • Dogs feel similarly about Anubis. Although some dogs prefer wolf worship. And they prefer people food to treats. Actually people food is a treat.

                • SheSellsSeashells

                  Small Dog is psychologically built along these lines, yes. ‘Course, we’re firmly convinced he’s also a Trump supporter, due to being loud and territorial as hell. Large Dog is a heretic and firmly in the people-worshipping camp. (All people. Any people. That person? TOTALLY COOL I LOVE YOU YOU ARE WONDERFUL, ETC.)

                  (Small Dog weighs 80 pounds. This should give you an idea about Large Dog.)

                  • Our 14 lb Terrier/Toy Poodle mix AKA Toodle thinks he’s a dire wolf in heavy disguise. He howls along with the tornado siren and my cell phone if I don’t turn it off promptly. He loves people, hates the vacuum cleaner and has a running feud with birds and squirrels.

                    • SheSellsSeashells

                      Bator (full name Bator Q. Smalldog) has had it in for mockingbirds ever since one zipped past his head on a walk and vanished into a handy cranny in the wall. “Can they DO that? They can’t DO that!! Why can’t *I* do that???” He was deeply displeased at this violation of the laws of physics.

          • Balm from Gilead was a medicine. Therefore, it was asking metaphorically whether there was a treatment.

            • I think the herb it was derived from still exists, but it’s rare and difficult to get hold of.

      • These people are getting their knickers twisted because they assume that anyone else’s use of the reference must have the same implications as that of Atwood’s?

        Interesting.

        On The Daughter’s advice that I not waste my time I have not and do not plan to read Handmaid’s Tale, so I guess I disqualify myself from conversing with them. I hope I can bear the loss.

    • Apparently it was in Atwood’s book-like thing. (I skimmed.) BUT I’ll point out that it could have come from his saying “There is a balm in Gilead” because they’re that illiterate.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Also a kingdom in the Gunslinger series.

  32. she lives in a progressive bubble.

    I initially scanned that as “she lives in a progressive bubbie” and immediately thought, “Oy! That’s the worst kind.”

  33. The biggest denomination in the US is Catholic, but the second biggest is ex-Catholic, they say….

    • And yet those Catholic overlords folks screeched never materialized. Not even when there was a Catholic President… 😉

  34. I have to admit I operate on the semi-reflexive assumption that whenever anyone talks about “Christianity” as a restrictive, repressive, hostile force that stifles people and teaches them to hate, what they’re really doing is identifying “Christianity” with “how my parents tried to stop me hanging out with people I wanted or doing what I wanted, or how my community looked down on the stuff I liked as immoral”.

    The flip side of Christian prevalence in a culture: whenever anybody’s Christianity is self-proclaimed or demonstrated as sufficiently important to them, people tend to blame whatever they don’t like about that person as due to that Christianity. Christians being human, we regularly do enough stupid or evil stuff that this association always has a regrettable tendency to look plausible, if seldom logically justifiable. But the assumption that freeing oneself from a religious cast of mind will somehow cure us of being stupid or evil is one I’ve never understood.

    • It seems their tendency is to identify contemporary Christian believers as the heirs of the Puritanical beliefs they were mis-taught in school. This is about as sensible as their belief in the “Great Cleansing” occurring (when the Democrats’ “Solid South” lost the Civil Rights plank and discovered that was the only thing connecting them to the Democrat Party) and the Democrats were washed clean of their racist origins and the GOP splattered with the racists.

      What has happened is that the true heirs of (imagined) Puritanism are the SJWs and their demands that every place be made safe 9for them.)

  35. richardmcenroe

    Heck, Deb knew an Iranian family back in L.A. who were still Zoroastrians.

  36. … they’ve been saying this since Reagan, and not one of them has left the country.

    They’ve been saying that since Nixon, although I must in fairness acknowledge that a number of them (generally young adult men between the ages of 19 – 26) did leave the country.

    They were probably saying it when Ike was running in 1952, but I was merely a conception in my mother’s heart and wasn’t following the political news.

    • It’s the watered-down remnant of “election betting”, which seems to have gone away before WWII.

      The country was just as polarized and party-driven as today, if not more so. And people would make bets with absurd forfeits, not just cash. Eating crows, wearing embarrassing clothing, etc.

  37. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    My Position On Heinlein’s “If This Goes On…”.

    First, I agree with Sarah that Obama is the closest we’ve had to a Nehemiah Scudder in the White House and I suspect that Heinlein’s Scudder could have been elected.

    It’s what comes after the election of Scudder that I find unbelievable. Heinlein wrote that story in 1940, before the US’s entry into WW2.

    Thus (perhaps) before the big build-up in the size of the US Military and before the Cold-War build-up.

    Prior to the Cold War, the US had never had a permanently large army (compared to our population) and our army has always shrank after a major war.

    Now Heinlein has Scudder converting a large percentage of the graduating classes of West Point.

    But that’s extremely hard for me to believe.

    How could Scudder do this without anybody noticing?

    Remember that the US of the 1940s was as religious (if not more) as the US of today.

    How could Scudder “convert” the vast majority of the religious army-personnel to “his” new religion?

    I’d also note that Heinlein had Scudder elected in 2012 and that there were “no elections” in 2016″.

    How could Scudder create a US army completely loyal to him as First Prophet in only four years.

    Nowhere is it said that Scudder had the technology to brain wash people.

    In fact, the Rebellion apparently developed that technology around the time of the Rebellion openly fighting the Prophet (and wisely chose to not use it on a wide scale after the victory).

    No, IMO Scudder could not have created a US army that saw him as the First Prophet and could not have created a US army large enough to take over the US.

    Heinlein said that he could not write the story of how Scudder took over the US because it was such a terrible world (ie the good guys lost) but I wonder if he looked at his own idea and thought “what was I thinking about, Scudder couldn’t win”.

    • I think the key for Scudder was he came at the end of the Crazy Years if memory serves. It is much easier to believe in a religiuos pendulum swing now than in 1940.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Perhaps Herb, but it makes little sense for a “back-woods preacher” to go from that to the First Prophet of a Theocratic US.

        I could more easily accept a series of “Prophets” gaining support during the Crazy Years with Nehemiah Scudder being the one who became President and finally created the Theocracy that his predecessors had preached about creating.

        IE The followers of the Prophets were a fairly large percentage of the American people with Nehemiah Scudder as the last in a line of Prophets.

        • I don’t deny your idea makes more sense. I suspect Heinlein was also riffing on the now mostly forgotten initial emergence of what we call televangelists on the X stations out of Mexico. Certainly, Pat Robertson went from a televangelist to GOP hopeful. We have the advantage of seeing it fail but with the first wiff of religion via mass media being less than a decade old I’ll give the old man a mulligan on using his crystal ball. He saw what was possible but accidentally amped it up to 11.

          Also, we don’t see the rise of Scudder directly. It is pencilled in on the history but RAH admitted the loathed the man so much he doubted he could have written it. Could that have led him to unconsciously make him less viable?

        • The Other Sean

          Consider for a moment that roughly a quarter of Americans were listening to Father Charles Coughlin radical broadcasts right up until the late 1930’s. He was thought to have sufficient influence with the populace that Huey Long was cozying up to him when Long was planning to take on FDR in 1936. The Vatican, the Roosevelt administration, the American establishment, and miscellaneous Catholic clerical leaders in America all went to great lengths to silence him. I doubt that a theocracy was even a goal of Coughlin, let alone likely, but he definitely had a lot of people worried. I think that at the time Heinlein wrote “If This Goes On…” Scudder seemed much more plausible because of Coughlin.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Other Sean, there’s a big difference between somebody like Father Charles Coughlin and somebody who is attempting to create a Theocracy with himself as First Prophet.

            Of course, I doubt that if Father Charles Coughlin became President, he could not have used the US army to become “First Prophet” within four years.

            • Consider the possibility that there may have been a Scudderite teaching at West Point for a decade or two prior to the event. After all, the foofaraw over Christian Fundamentalism at the Air Force Academy is not that long ago.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Considering how “fast” that Air Force thing blew up, I find it hard to accept a Scudderite being able to do any “good” at West Point.

                Of course, please remember that Scudder was “preaching” a new religion.

                A follower of Scudder at West Point before Scudder became President would not be protected by “President” Scudder.

                • That might depend on what values you assign for “new” and “religion.”

                  Had Heinlein ended up developing that (as opposed to black boxing it as “then a miracle happens”) I suspect he’d have had Scudder draw upon existing trends, interpreting them in a new way (hence picking an influential teacher at WP, say the Moral Philosophy teacher.) We’ve seen enough politicians pull such scams to admit it can happen. Throw in a widely publicized miracle or two and Nehemiah’s your uncle, Sam.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    “Then A Miracle Happened” fits my unbelief in Heinlein’s Scudder.

                    What “bits” Heinlein gives us about Scudder isn’t enough for me to see his rise to power as believable.

                    Yes, I could see him becoming President but I can’t see him becoming First Prophet based on what Heinlein gave us.

                    Note, I did make a suggestion to Herb about a possible method but it doesn’t match the “bits” Heinlein gave us.

                    Mind you, I have thought about a possible future that while not a theocracy would not be something our SJWs would like.

                    Basically, it’s a future US where to vote or serve in Public Office, who had to be a member of an organized religion. Jewish, Christian, or what ever.

                    Of course, I’ve thought that it could only happen as a backlash against Radical Secularists who attempted to make religious people second class citizens. IE unable to vote or hold Public Office.

                    Mind you, I think the “Radical Secularists” attempting that is only slightly more likely than Christians creating a True Theocracy. 😈 😈 😈 😈

          • The Nineteen-Thirties were a period new to the world, one in which people such as Coughlin, FDR, Mussolini and Hitler were demonstrating the persuasive power of mass communication, particularly radio. It is useful to remember that Germany was considered among the most scientifically advanced, the most civilized of nations — and the world had seen it turn into a madhouse in under a decade.

            It wouldn’t have been all that much of a stretch to assume a) methods of mass persuasion would accelerate and b) a nation as young and volatile as the US could go overboard faster. RAH was unquestionably highly conscious of his fellow citizens lack of sophistication and long-festering antagonisms and in 1940 he still held positive perceptions of socialism.

            The idea of a Scudder in the time frame he contemplated was not much of a stretch, and because it was merely a rough concept he never had to seriously develop that idea. Given the “longevity” of SF stories in that time, it seems improbable he would have expected anybody in 2015 to be seriously debating such a footnote.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I looked up Father Charles Coughlin and I see one enormous difference between him & Scudder.

            He had a political message rather than a religious message.

            Scudder, as President, wanted a new religion with him as First Prophet.

            Scudder would have to convince large numbers of the American army, who likely had their own religious beliefs, to support Scudder’s new religion.

            Yes, Father Charles Coughlin reached a lot of people but he wasn’t telling them to change their religion.

            Mind you, I’m extremely skeptical about how “dangerous” Father Charles Coughlin actually was.

            I’ve heard too much nonsense about how powerful/dangerous Jerry Falwell was and about how powerful/dangerous Pat Robertson is.

            • The Crazy Years and Scudder? I am not sure that it does not reflect the zeitgeist of a time which also produced Seven Days In May.

              And now, for some reason I am pondering the effects of mobocracies … The Terror and Napoleon… there is a reason that many of the founders feared the effects of full out democracies.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                “Mobocracies” are always a danger.

                Of course, sometimes a tyrant can harness the mob to gain power over the “other powers that be”.

                My problem with Scudder has always been the strong likelihood that he would have been opposed strongly at the beginning by other religious people.

                Heinlein used “a miracle happened” to explain how he got complete power.

                As I said earlier, I suspect that Heinlein realized later that Scudder (as he wrote him) couldn’t have succeeded.

                IMO Heinlein wanted to write a story about a Revolution and made the Revolution against a Theocracy but never really thought about How The Theocracy Came Into Being.

          • He was normal enough that he got hired by CBS for that slot, was one of the populist helpers for FDR, and that his Bishop (the guy who had the authority to tell him to stop it) at least passively supported him against other Catholic authorities* who found him odious.

            It took being at war with folks he supported for his views to be considered bad enough to shut down.

            It may look a lot more believable from where we’re standing.

            *some of whom were actually “higher ranking,” but weren’t in the correct “chain of command.” I can see how a non-Catholic wouldn’t have any idea about the…compartmentalization, I guess, since a lot of CATHOLICS don’t get it, but the Pope in those days couldn’t have dropped in and said “Yo, Father Coughlin. Can it with the insults and the fascism, ‘k?”
            There’s an infamous priest who does not believe several binding teachings of Catholicism (I seem to remember that he doesn’t believe Jesus was divine, for starters, but I don’t have links on hand and do not wish to slander, especially not needlessly) and last I heard was teaching in Japan. Goes by the web-name “Spirit of Vatican II.” Not ironically, for those who just shuddered and wondered.

            • Wasn’t the whole “Jesus is not divine” heresy supposed to be settled in the 2nd century?

              How do you get ordained and miss essential Church history?

              • The sixties and seventies.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Sadly, it predates the 60’s & 70’s.

                  Its roots are IIRC from German “Progressive” Theology starting in the late Nineteenth century.

                  Again sadly, most of these “theologians” were Protestant.

                  It was a mindset that talked about both the Old Testament and the New Testament as more Myth than History.

                  The idea that the Christ was “just a religious teacher” was started by this Progressive Theology.

                  It should be noted that the “Fundamentalist” movement in the 1920 (in the US) was a reaction to this “Progressive” Theology becoming popular in many mainstream Churches.

                  • I keep thinking there is something about learning from history that would be relevant here but I can’t figure it out.

                  • Well, you don’t get to be a prestigious scholar by saying what everyone knows. And probably not by agreeing with everyone else.

                    “Hume, and other sceptical innovators, are vain men, and will gratify themselves at any expence. Truth will not afford sufficient food to their vanity; so they have betaken themselves to errour. Truth, Sir, is a cow that will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull.” Samuel Johnson

                • Oh, that explains Fr. Emeric who taught Religious Studies at Benedictine College in the mid-eighties; he was called Fr. Heretic by the Cradle Catholics I hung out with.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                The mindset of the “Christ isn’t Divine” is basically “Oh, Modern Folks know better than those old-time folks”.

                It’s not that they don’t know Church History.

                They “just know better”. :frown:

                • I have recently run across someone who actually argued that Jesus didn’t mean to found a religion. Reason why not? He was a Jew.

                  Followed by appeal to authority.

                  • Free-range Oyster

                    That might be plausible for someone who rejected the veracity of the resurrection, and therefor could safely ignore all of the subsequent instructions and exhortations. Otherwise His intent regarding the establishment of an organized body is fairly clear in the directions given to the Apostles and other disciples. And if you reject the atonement and resurrection, why pay the rest any mind? *shakes head* I cannot grasp the mental contortions necessary to think He was “just a virtuous teacher” or some such; either He was the very Son of God, or by his own given standard he was a liar and a fraud. I see no room for half measures there.

                    • I think it was Chesterton who put it that “Either Jesus of Nazareth was everything He claimed to be, or he was simply a raving lunatic. There is no third option. Choose which you believe.”

                    • C. S. Lewis gave three options, Jesus was who he claimed to be, he was a fantastic liar, or he was a lunatic.

                      Charles Colson famously argued that the early church could not have been built on known lies. He knew just how hard it was for even the most dedicated men to maintain a conspiracy. He concluded that the Church Fathers must have believed that for which they were dieing.

                    • I read it in Lewis. Which doesn’t mean that Chesterton didn’t say it first. Or that that both didn’t borrow it from someone else.

              • I just heard a one-up at our PE group– one of the moms is a military mom, and one of the parishes she tried right after they moved… the PRIEST looked at her when they came in, and said: “Oh, you’re one of those Catholics.” (Four kids, pregnant with #5.)

              • Recycling has been around a long time.

    • Being an Annapolis grad it is possible RAH had a … low opinion of West Point graduates’ intelligence and susceptibility to zealotry.

      • Well, the last line of the national anthem is “Beat Army” for a reason.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Chuckle Chuckle

        Off topic RES, but that comment reminds me of the origins of the phrase “Tell it to the Marines”.

        The original phrase was “Tell that story to the Marines because the Sailors won’t believe it”. 😈 😈 😈 😈

  38. Even worse is FALLEN ANGELS (from people who are supposed to be on OUR side), where “the ruling coalition of proxmires, rifkins, falwells and maclaines” comprises people who regard each other as agents of the Devil, sometimes literally.

    • I enjoyed Fallen Angels. But, yeah. Completely unbelievable that way.

      • Kind of like it’s utterly ridiculous that far left liberals and radical Muslims would make common cause?

      • The Other Sean

        Weirder stuff can happen. Politics do make strange bedfellows. Look at recent European politics. You see, for example, center-right parties making coming cause with the far left against the right. Or some of the coalitions LBJ* secured to pass legislation. Or the 1886 NYC mayoral race, where the Republican leadership basically threw their support to the Democratic candidate in order to prevent Henry George of the United Labor Party from winning.

        * I loathe the man, but he was very effective at this type of thing.

  39. Pingback: Meekly Confronting the Beast – Yard Sale of the Mind

  40. amiegibbons15

    You’re making the assumption that they don’t want Bernie messing with people’s lives and beliefs. As far as I can tell, that’s exactly what they want. To rid the earth of the evil of capitalism one convert at a time. The fact that there’ll be no one left to work unless the go full totalitarian turnip and force people to do jobs assigned by the government for whatever the government decides to pay them.

  41. I was nine in 1960 but still remember the huge controversy over the fact that JFK was Catholic. Vaguely recall someone, either Kennedy himself or maybe an American Catholic Bishop making a statement to the effect that if elected when he was sworn in his primary allegiance would certainly be to America and the constitution and only secondarily to Catholicism and the Pope,.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Some of that was because the Catholic Church was against segregation. JFK made a big speech down South about “he wouldn’t obey the Pope”.

      • later, Catholic legislators were excommunicated for voting for segregation. The New York Times cheered, of course.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Yep, they applauded when the Catholic Church “interfered” in Politics where the Church’s position was one they agree with, but God forbid that Churches and/or Religious people take Political positions that the NYT dislikes. [Frown]

    • Well, and there had been fears about “the Catholics taking over” pretty much since the US’s foundation. Which I expect was inherited from those English fears about “Catholics taking over” that had been around for a few centuries.

  42. I would trust a Christian (or, really, any other religious person) who truly believes in and supports the Constitution and the ideals behind it far, far more than an agnostic/atheist who doesn’t.

    Politically speaking that is my “religion.”

  43. Yes, Cruz references his faith. I find that polite. Both because we have the right to know, and because he’s appealing to the vast majority of voters who believe somewhat like him. what he’s telling them is that he hews to a system of belief that orders him not to murder, and not to steal, and not to covet other people’s possessions. Some of us find that … reassuring.

    *big grin*

  44. Late c4c

  45. ” They were promising to leave (for some of the most godawful spots in the world) because if he won he was clearly going to institute a theocracy.”

    You know, I am really getting sick and tired of the Left NEVER doing what they promise.

    • Now, you know that isn’t fair! They often (try to) do exactly what they’ve promised (once they feel secure in their power.) It is just the wreckers and saboteurs who obstruct their wonderful utopias.

      For example, you can be confident Bernie will do as he’s promised, as will Hillary (do what Bernie’s promised, that is) but she just won’t admit it.

    • Like Soros abandoning his fortune and joining a monastery if GWB won a second term. *Sigh* Not that I would wish that individual on any religious order.

  46. “Look, the woman is British. I doubt she understands American religion…”

    Most Brits don’t really understand America at all. The sensible ones realize that this may be true. And then there are the ones are sure they know everything about us–better than we do–and are always ready to tell us what ignorant God-bothering colonial hicks we are.

  47. We all bring with us, to our day to day lives, the sum total of our prior experiences, and we all react to things in the context of our experience.

    As a child, I was told, to my face, that I was an evil person because my mother didn’t take me to church.

    As a teenager, I grew up knowing that in most of the country, if I acted on my sexual desires, I could be punished *with jail time* as a result of laws which many Christians supported keeping on the books.

    My formative experience with the Christians I grew up around was that they were (largely) self-interested hypocrites who were quick to point fingers and tell other people what those other people should do, and very reluctant or unable to adhere to those principles in their own lives.

    As an adult, I do not assume that Christians are hypocrites who believe I am evil because I don’t go to church and who want me in jail; but I had to do a *lot* of work to get there.

    So I have a hard time judging too harshly those who developed similar impressions as children and did not get beyond them.

  48. Why would any church want to control the state? It’s not the state that gets corrupted by the church, it’s the church that has it’s interests and doctrine twisted to meet the political needs of the state.

    It’s happened everywhere it’s been tried. Look at Europe – from the Avignon popes to the Inquisition being used to ferret out potential security threats in Spain – the church ostensibly in charge became the tool of the secular. It’s happened in Iran since ’79; Islamic doctrine serves the interests of the Revolutionary Guard that rules that country. It’s even happened in the US. Once upon a time Progressives were religious. They forced their beliefs on the rest of us, preaching Prohibition from the pulpit and using black ministers as front men for the eugenics movement. Look what it did to the mainline liberal churches. Anglicanism, Lutheranism, the Episcopalians, Unitarians – all of them could hold their weekly services in a closet. State supported European cathedrals have become tourist spots, not places of real worship. (Sarkozy did propose making Islam a state religion and regulating it. No fool he. It’d kill Islam in France quicker than you can say ‘Charles Martel’.)

    Meanwhile, the churches that have prospered have been the ones that let Cesar handle his own problems. Those seeking to distance themselves from the worldly have done quite well.

    • I don’t know if it is paywalled or not, but the Wall Street Journal on Friday had a “Houses of Worship” column about the current crack-down by the Chinese government against Christian churches that had previously been considered OK by the state. Apparently supporting the government and trying to espouse approved ideas is no longer enough.

    • The worst thing that happened to Christianity was becoming the official, and then only, religion in the Empire. The best thing that’s happened to Catholicism in the past two hundred years was the dissolution of the Papal States.

  49. Moving down for space:
    accordingtohoyt | February 7, 2016 at 11:47 am |
    I’m not sure, Paul. Most of my generation never expects to see a cent. Right now, maybe. In ten years? I don’t know.

    It’s going to be a major mess.

    I know my mom was told, in high school, that there would not be enough money when she got there– it was repeated in college during some of her required-for-a-teacher’s-license classes. So mid-70s, everybody should have heard it.

    But. People still aren’t preparing.

    A lot didn’t have kids to take care of them.
    Those who did didn’t have enough– my husband and I are already planning around having my parents live with us (well, on the same plot of land. Opposite ends of it….) in a few years, because they are so much older, but his parents? He only has one sister, and she isn’t married, and they’re town people. No “taking over the family business” as an option for the unmarried youngest.

    And that’s before the way that most people don’t think like that– it’s more like “mom and dad will be retired and we’ll visit them on weekends, maybe a week or two in the summer, Christmas break.”

    We think this way because when we were told Social Security wouldn’t be there, we listened. Most folks haven’t.

    And everybody here knows that the program won’t function without a bigger pyramid base. 😦

    • Pretty sure the “nationalize the 401ks” plan will be happening, just a question of when.

      • That’s what scares me spitless. If/when the Feds grab my parents’ retirement, I’ll have to help them. Since the Feds would be grabbing mine as well, that right there terminates a lot of plans and goals, including medium and long-term medical planning. (I assume Sib will be helping with sib-in-law’s parents, since they are on an eastern state’s teachers’ retirement fund . . .)

        • AND my parents are in Europe. Which is further down this road. Think on it.

        • Then there’s the folks who can’t have kids/never got married– there’s only so much we’re going to be able to do, especially since they’ll be taxing us even more.

          My husband is in the Knights, and that might be a route– mutual aid societies.

          But we’ll have to fight like crazy to keep that from being nationalized, too.

    • So mid-70s, everybody should have heard it.

      Oh, they “fixed” it again in the 80s, for certain (Media-Friendly) values of fix. That was when they raised the SSW/H rates and put the “excess” in a “Trust Fund*.”

      Wiki:
      1983 Amendments[edit]
      After the 1977 amendments, the economic assumptions surrounding Social Security projections continued to be overly optimistic as the program moved toward a crisis. For example, COLAs were attached to increases in the CPI. This meant that they changed with prices, instead of wages. Before the 1970s, wage measurements exceeded changes in price. In the 1970s, however, this reversed and real wages decreased. This meant that FICA revenues could not keep up with the increasing benefits that were being given out. Continued high unemployment levels also lowered the amount of Social Security tax that could be collected. These two developments were decreasing the Social Security Trust Fund reserves.[54] In 1982, projections indicated that the Social Security Trust Fund would run out of money by 1983, and there was talk of the system being unable to pay benefits.[55] The National Commission on Social Security Reform, chaired by Alan Greenspan, was created to address the crisis.

      The National Commission on Social Security Reform (NCSSR), chaired by Alan Greenspan, was empaneled to investigate the long-run solvency of Social Security. The 1983 Amendments to the SSA were based on the NCSSR’s Final Report.[56] The NCSSR recommended enacting a six-month delay in the COLA and changing the tax-rate schedules for the years between 1984 and 1990.[57] It also proposed an income tax on the Social Security benefits of higher-income individuals. This meant that benefits in excess of a household income threshold, generally $25,000 for singles and $32,000 for couples (the precise formula computes and compares three different measures) became taxable. These changes were important for generating revenue in the short term.

      Also of concern was the long-term prospect for Social Security because of demographic considerations. Of particular concern was the issue of what would happen when people born during the post–World War II baby boom retired. The NCSSR made several recommendations for addressing the issue.[58] Under the 1983 amendments to Social Security, a previously enacted increase in the payroll tax rate was accelerated, additional employees were added to the system, the full-benefit retirement age was slowly increased, and up to one-half of the value of the Social Security benefit was made potentially taxable income.[59][60]

      Social Security Trust Fund[edit]
      The neutrality of this section is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met. (February 2011)

      The 1983 Amendments also included a provision to exclude the Social Security Trust Fund from the unified budget (to take it “off-budget.”[citation needed]) Yet today Social Security is treated like all the other trust funds of the Unified Budget.[citation needed]

      As a result of these changes, particularly the tax increases, the Social Security system began to generate a large short-term surplus of funds, intended to cover the added retirement costs of the “baby boomers.” Congress invested these surpluses into special series, non-marketable U.S. Treasury securities held by the Social Security Trust Fund. Under the law, the government bonds held by Social Security are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
      [Emphasis Added]

      *As in, “Trust us, you’ll never see those funds.”

  50. Sorry guys, I am delurking just to rant about this. Margaret Atwood is Canadian, not British. She’s grew up in rural Ontario and half of her books are about People Who Grow Up In Ontario. She even wrote a study on Canadian Literature. She is the Canadianest of all Canadians, the proto-Canadian, quintessence of Canadian literature and its tremendous suckitude. In fact “The Handmaid’s Tale” is one of the few books of hers that is actually readable, because unlike most books by Canadian authors, she tells a damn story with things that happen rather than just navel-gazing, describing trees and virtue signalling about racism, sexism etc. My country simply has the worst national literature of all literatures. Almost none of it is enjoyed for its own merits, but is foisted on the populace through national radio contests and course requirements. Canadian books are sheer dreck. Well written and awful. Aesthetically pleasing toilet paper.

    That and I personally think the premise of the Handmaids Tale comes from the Left’s fever dreams about the Reagan years. If I remember correctly it was written in the 80s

    • You have my sympathy on the “things I’m expected to like because it’s all part of (group).”

      Even when the group is really awesome, that tends to select for horrible.

    • I should specify, I am not ranting about your post but rather the steaming, frothing pile of PC awful I had to suffer through the four years of an English degree. You remember Elaine Benes’ reaction to the English Patient? That’s me and Canlit. Did I mention that The English Patient was based on a Canadian book? Argh

      • Look, I got an English (well, majored in English) degree, 30 years ago, but it was in Europe, so… I feel your pain. I do.

      • From the above I conclude that Canadian literature, provides one more example to celebrate Indy, the rise of the small press, the advent of e-publishing and the fall of the established publisher’s wall around access.

        Sure a great deal of dreck will get out there with Indy, but having the oversight of organized of publishing does not guarantee that what is available is not dreck.

    • Pretty much. Canadian Content is one of the reasons I cut my cable. Boring, navel gazing pap which no one would put on the air unless required to by regulation (which they are, so little effort to provide entertainment is made).