What a difference a generation makes

What a difference a generation makes. Voter youth calling with MN United in St. Paul, calling voters mostly in their early 20’s, I got a majority of people pledging to vote “No” on the “Limiting Marriage” Amendment, and zero people voting “Yes”.

The younger generations recognize that love is love, and anything you would do to restrict a loving, consenting couple from sharing happiness is not right. It’s a lesson that many in the older generations, having been raised in a world where the rules were different, are still struggling to wrap their minds around.

Want to help me change more minds? Come and join me at the Loring Park offices of MN United this Thursday at 6:30pm. I’m training, so you get to listen to me make dumb jokes for a while, then we go and call voters to see what they think, and talk to them about our experiences with love, with LGBT folks, with marriage and relationships and commitment. It’s easy, and it’s fun: want to join?

We need you. We’re not winning outright in the polls, and we need to make sure that everyone who supports equality comes out to vote. Come in and help turn it around.



Interesting results.  As one of the interviewees commented in the article, I tend to agree that this has less to do with people actually losing their faith and more to do with people being more comfortable with declaring their atheism as the stigma is lost.  Thanks in the most part to the public awareness raised by people like Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris and Dennett, but also to advertising, awareness campaigns and more public participation in political events, as well as pushback on separation issues, from groups like American Atheists, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the FFRF and the ACLU (PS: support them with your voice and your money. They are the ones who protect your religious freedom just as much as they protect freedom from religion)

More people seem to be starting to understand that being a good, moral person does not require belief in a deity, and never has… and I love that.  You might be surprised how many people argue that it IS required, but the number of people who have used that argument has steeply declined recently (in my experience).

Now if we could only convince more people that fighting for plurality and religious freedom and preventing people from imposing their beliefs on others does NOT mean they are being “persecuted”…

A year or a few centuries, same difference.

Republican Presidential candidates at the Ames...

Republican Presidential candidates at the Ames Straw Poll. From left: Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Thaddeus McCotter, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A year ago today Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race after coming in 3rd in the Ames Iowa straw poll, behind Michele Bachmann (who came in first) but ahead of Rick Santorum (4th).

It sure feels that it was a lot longer ago, doesn’t it? Like, mid-17th century?

You would think that a Presidential campaign that included Bachmann and Santorum would be more contemporary with, say, Galileo’s trial for heresy or the Salem witch trials, than with a country putting an nuclear-powered robotic exploration device on Mars.

I’m an X, so I believe Y

It’s fascinating to me how the phrase “I’m a Christian, so I believe <Y>” is almost completely non-predictive to what <Y> is. Pro-life or pro-choice? Pro- or anti- same-sex marriage? Spank your children or not? For or against the death penalty? Welfare supporter or “welfare queen” detractor? Will the Rapture happen in our lifetimes or not, or is it impossible to know? Is divorce OK or not? Evolution: “real” or not? War: “turn the other cheek” or “eye for an eye”? Ghosts? Global warming? Universal healthcare? Or to go back in time a little: pro-slavery or anti? Or even further: does the Earth go around the Sun, or vice versa, or neither?

To put it another way: in the phrase “I’m a Christian, so I believe <Y>”, there are a greater number of non-trivial beliefs than can be substituted for <Y> (including contradictory ones) than those that are universally considered unacceptable by all who speak the phrase.

It’s especially fascinating when the sentence is followed by the supposed final word on the matter: a biblical quote. If you can equally support both sides of the argument in the same collection of books, while at the same time claim the other side is taking their quotes (from the same book) “out of context”, or confusing literal statements with metaphor, or using a mistranslation of the “true meaning of the text”, or applying other factors to decide which parts still apply and which no longer do… it should give you pause as to the usefulness of the text, and a little humility over proclaiming that one happens to have been born into the only small subsection of the population that got the interpretation just right.

Why if I didn’t know better I’d think that people just generally believe what they already believe (read: what they were taught by their parents, largely determined by where in the world they were born) and then just pick and choose the parts of religion that fit. It helps that they use a book written over centuries by people who had wildly different and inconsistent beliefs, therefore can justify practically any position you take.

But that’s just my belief, and we all know the Devil can quote scripture for his own purposes (Luke 4:9-11).

Wait… I read Fox News?

Wow, this opinion piece got accidentally posted on the Fox News website!  Someone’s going to be SO FIRED!

It’s an article that:

  • Admits that Obama’s quote is being deliberately taken out of context (and although it’s not stated in the article, it’s well known that it’s Romney, his campaign and the GOP who are doing so)
  • States that the taxes the rich pay are too low
  • In fact, implies that the low taxes that the rich pay are UNAMERICAN
  • Allows for the necessary role of the government in helping business succeed
  • Says the words “Obama’s right”, without being sarcastic

Rupert Murdoch’s going to be so angry he’ll probably suck the blood out of a whole baby. Go read it before he sees it!

And in America, we don’t get ours and then yank away the ladder of opportunity for the next generation.

Thank you.


MN United volunteer/training opportunity for you!

Hey Minneapolis friends! I’ll be training volunteers for MN United voter contact phone banks tomorrow from 6-9pm at All God’s Children, 3100 Park Ave S. It’s my first training, and I could use your support (as could MN United, obviously): care to join me? Ping me if you can, or just show up.

We’re looking for volunteers to train and call voters to survey them about their position on the Amendment to Limit Marriage, trying to determine how they will be voting. Come on over!

Someone else seems to have a “brain condition”

Congratulations, Dana Ford.  This has to be the dumbest article I’ve read in quite some time. And I sometimes even read birther conspiracy theory articles in WND.

Hi there! Millions of years ago I caused evolution to give some number of people a relatively rare condition in their brains. I did this so that millions of years later, I would make a crazy person fail to kill you, while succeeding in murdering 12 others that I… well, I guess I didn’t plan that far ahead for. By the way, it’s possible that thousands or millions of people have had this condition for no discernible reason, ’cause I made it for YOU! Special!

Now, don’t get me wrong: he doesn’t kill you per se, but you’ll still have to go through painful therapy, tons of expensive surgery, facial reconstruction, you’ll probably have some sort of PTSD from this… and oh: your mom still has cancer in her liver, bones and lungs. I mean, there’s only so much I can do, right? Who am I, Sanjay Gupta? Amirite? Love that guy.

Right, well I guess I could have made the crazy person get discovered and arrested on his way to the theater, I suppose. Or just made his brain not have the condition that made him crazy. Or made the gun jam. Could’ve given the guy a heart attack or something. Or kept you away from the theater that night, or changed the path of the bullet so that it missed you. Technically, I guess I have the power to just make this horrifying bloodbath-slash-massacre not happen in the first place! Oh well… hindsight, huh? LOL!

Hey, the news article didn’t mention the amazing team of doctors and nurses that actually saved your life, by any chance? No? Good, wouldn’t want stories about their expertise, hard work, dedication and skill to eclipse all the… evolution… brain work thing I did millions of years ago. Screw those guys, don’t even want to hear their names mentioned. Might just give one of THEM cancer too! ROFL! How ’bout them “mysterious ways”, science!

Now praise me. I did a miracle!

Oh Mitt Romney, you anti-business socialist big-government interventionist, you

“I know that you recognize a lot of people help you in a business. Perhaps the bank, the investors. There is no question your mom and dad, your school teachers. The people who provide roads, the fire, the police. A lot of people help.”

– Mitt Romney, July 2012

Wait, that quote reminds me of something… but what?

Uh oh! A little hate boo-boo!

Congratulations to the Lifetime network, who have seen fit to show us footage of little 3-year old Tripp Palin angrily calling his aunt a “faggot”, to which his mother and aunt respond by cracking up. I bet that little rascal learned the word in a hateful way from the “lamestream media”, amirite Real Americans? No way a young child could have picked it up from regular casual use around the household, right?

Such a proud moment for the whole family.

Ten bucks it’s a ploy to get the show canceled so it can be blamed on “liberal political correctness”, and not the show’s dismal ratings. It could have been turned into a teaching moment, too: it would have been so wonderful to see Bristol telling little Tripp that words can be hurtful, that words can bully, and that certain words are not acceptable to use in that way because that’s not the kind of people we are and not the way we treat other people.

If she had done that, I think I would have considered actually watching the show. Instead, they just giggle nervously while the “Uh oh! Whoopsie-doodle!” music plays in the background. And now we know that the words “hate” and “faggot” go hand-in-hand in the Palin household.

No link, in case people following it accidentally leads to someone at the network reaching the conclusion that there is any interest in the show.

It’s your fault I don’t believe in evolution

The author of this piece in the Star Tribune this Sunday on his conversion from creationist to evolution “supporter” starts out OK, explaining that his rejection of evolution (in favor of creationism) was caused by his ignorance of the science. But then proceeds to place the blame on the scientific establishment itself for not educating him.

When you look at the amount of information available–websites, books, online lectures, classes–the claim that it was the scientific establishment’s fault for not reaching out to him *personally* rings hollow. Especially when he himself admits that he had regular debates against pro-evolution thinkers, and would smugly (his words) reject their facts out of hand. How much more would he have needed? A personal phone call from the Darwin Society?

I have had discussions and debates with the kind of person the author was before. Here’s a clue: there is no official “scientific establishment” to reach out to them. It’s individuals, people like me, who try to talk reason and facts only to find them rejected out of hand due to pre-existing beliefs. When you close your eyes and cover your own ears, you don’t get to complain about the lack of information after you open your eyes and find the mountains of brochures scattered around you, dropped in frustration by people who have given up talking to you.

I’m glad he’s been through his own personal “evolution” on this matter. But he can only blame himself and the leadership of the organization that promoted his ignorance for their own agenda.

And do yourself a favor and don’t read the comments on the article…