The Indiana Senate has fortunately already solved all the other problems in the world…

Senator Tomes, joined by Senators Kruse and Holdman, of the Indiana Senate, introduced this: a bill to “require” the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in school.  The content is pretty much this:

Sec. 4.6.
(a) In order that each student recognize the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen, the governing body of a school corporation or the equivalent authority of a charter school may require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. The prayer may be recited by a teacher, a student, or the class of students.
(b) If the governing body or equivalent authority requires the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer under subsection (a), the governing body or equivalent authority shall determine the version of the Lord’s Prayer that will be recited in the school corporation or charter school.
(c) A student is exempt from participation in the prayer if:
(1) the student chooses not to participate; or
(2) the student’s parent chooses to have the student not participate.

What exactly is the point of introducing this kind of legislation, other than wasting legislative time? The governing body "may REQUIRE" the recitation of a particular prayer, but the student doesn't have to do it if they don't want to. I'm not sure they understand what "require" means. It's such a dog whistle statement to people in certain constituencies, since it will never make it through to be law, but then the Senators can complain that they introduced the legislation and it was struck down because of a "war on religion"... not because it's a blatant attempt to introduce unconstitutional laws that promote one religion over another.

Regardless of whether or not you are religious, why would you want your child to be forced to perform a rote recitation like this every day? And how about if you are paying attention to the context of the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:5-15, where it stresses the importance of PRIVATE prayer and worship? And how about if you're religious, just not specifically Christian?

The reasons we have Separation of Church and State are to make sure that the state gives NO preference to one religion over another (or over a lack of religion).  This was actually introduced to protect your religious freedoms, not to limit them: or would you feel this was an appropriate law if a non-Christian prayer were required every morning? Because I guess a Muslim or Hindu prayer can't teach "the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen."

The Pope’s vision of the future of humanity has him in charge, of course

This article just makes me sad: read the full statement here.

I would suggest that a bigger threat to humanity’s future and human dignity is probably blind adherence to a rich, totalitarian authority figure who claims to be THE inerrant spokesperson for God… but @whatdoIknow.

I would also note that someone who claims that contraception is not permitted based on his interpretation of a 2500-year old myth is far more of a threat to humanity (see: AIDS and poverty in the third world) than anyone who just wants to commit the rest of their lives to a loving partner.

You know what, Benedict? There are billions of people who disagree with you, and there are a lot of them who are gay. They ARE humanity. What they are a threat to is not “human dignity and the future of humanity”, but to your power, as well as your position as official interpreter of your particular warped brand of God-ese.

Twyla Tharp-level choreography

I’ve noticed that I do not need coffee in the morning if I follow these simple steps:

1. Wake up.
2. Go into bathroom to pee.
3. While peeing, notice spider on shirt.
4. Negligent of the effects of wind currents and direction, attempt to blow the spider OFF of shirt.
5. Watch in slow-motion, Matrix-style horror as spider lands exactly in the worst place it could land under these circumstances.
6. DANCE, MONKEY BOY, DANCE!

The wall is there, but some people try to just walk through it.

Americans United for Separation of Church and ...

Wouldn’t it be fantastically refreshing if 7 or 8 of the GOP candidates woke up tomorrow morning after losing badly in the Iowa caucus and admitted that, since they are tanking in the polls and have no real chance to succeed, it probably wasn’t “God” that they heard “calling” them to run for President? And if they accepted with some degree of humility that perhaps, since they don’t have the kind of special revelation, access and/or insight they assumed, they are not the right people to interpret “god’s will” for the whole country??

This is one of the main reasons Jefferson wanted separation of Church and State: it’s not that anyone wanted to completely remove options for people to participate in their religions, it’s that the framers of the Constitution knew that it wasn’t a good thing for people who claimed special knowledge of “God’s will” to develop secular law that applied to everyone… including those who didn’t believe in their version of god. Because, you see, that would actually end up limiting freedom of religion, which was exactly the opposite of what they wanted.

“I guess it wasn’t ‘god’ telling me what to do,” the candidates would say in this fantastic utopia, “and therefore I have to conclude that I don’t really know what god wants. I will henceforth stop trying to pass laws that restrict other people’s rights based on what is very possibly a misinterpretation, and most probably just a projection of my pre-existing personal assumptions and beliefs. Sorry folks: my bad.”

A guy can dream.

Congrats to Hawaii and Delaware for becoming the two newest states in the union to allow same-sex civil unions, joining Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Not as good as same-sex marriage (see my previous postings on why), but a huge step in the right direction.

A recurring note for those of you who are still on the fence about “why can’t same-sex couples just get civil unions? Isn’t that the same thing?” Note from the article the quotes from groups like the Catholic Church who are opposed even to civil unions because they are “too similar” to marriage. If you think that everyone will be happy calling it something different, and the opposition is because of the use of the word “marriage”, you do not understand the opposition. Gov. Walker in Wisconsin asked the courts to give the state the option to stop defending the state’s new same-sex domestic partnerships against a lawsuit that claimed they were “too close” to providing the same rights as marriage, and since Illinois has a constitutional amendment declaring marriage as ONLY one man/one woman (like the one on the ballot this year in MN), therefore the same-sex unions were unconstitutional.

If the hangup were about the words being used, this wouldn’t be as contentious an issue. Don’t ever believe that calling it something different will make the opposition go away.

Minnesota: your turn is coming up very soon.