Archive for February, 2012


Santorum: JFK’s Speech on Separation of Church and State Makes Me Want to Puke

Catholic Fascist Freak Rick Santorum | Pukes Over Separation of Church and State | Vomits On American Constitution
As Rick Santorum’s star continues to rise, his rhetoric just keeps getting more and more extreme. Today on ABC News, Santorum said that John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on the separation of church and state makes him want to puke.

And in Santorum’s opinion, every American should feel just as nauseated as he does.

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said today that watching John F. Kennedy’s speech to the Baptist ministers in Houston in 1960 made him want to “throw up.”

“To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?” Santorum said.

“That makes me throw up and it should make every American who is seen from the president, someone who is now trying to tell people of faith that you will do what the government says, we are going to impose our values on you, not that you can’t come to the public square and argue against it, but now we’re going to turn around and say we’re going to impose our values from the government on people of faith, which of course is the next logical step when people of faith, at least according to John Kennedy, have no role in the public square,” he said. …

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country,” said Santorum. “This is the First Amendment. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion. That means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square. Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, ‘faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.’ Go on and read the speech ‘I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.’ It was an absolutist doctrine that was foreign at the time of 1960,” he said.


New observations from the Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the planet GJ 1214b, shown orbiting its star in this artist’s conception, is 6.5 times the size of Earth and composed mostly of water. Full Story David A. Aguilar

Eggs may be made throughout adulthoodThe discovery of stem cells in human ovaries suggests that women are not born with a lifetime’s supply of gametes.Read the full story. | Feb 26th 2012Found in: Genes & Cells

seperator

Wasps airlift annoying ants In a scrap over food, being big and able to fly is an advantage A matter of gravity Map of planetary field is sharpest ever Brain’s mirror system loves the robot Experiment may suggest why we feel sad for Wall-E
        2.19.12        –        Scientists capitalize on ‘natural’ experiment to chronicle how ecosystems will change as oceans continue to acidify        Found in: Environment

Church & State

Report Says Religious Right And Catholic Bishops Dominate ‘Faithful’ Lobbying

January 2012 People & Events

In D.C. A report issued by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life finds that religious advocacy groups in the nation’s capital are growing and that most of the largest organizations are affiliated with the Religious Right or the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

The November report, “Lobbying for the Faithful: Religious Advocacy Groups in Washington, D.C.,” surveyed more than 200 groups that engage in advocacy and/or lobbying in the nation’s capital. It found explosive growth in such groups, noting that the number of these organizations jumped from 67 in 1970 to 212 today.

Furthermore, the groups raise and spend significant sums of money. One of the largest religious advocacy organizations in Washington, for example, is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has an annual budget of $26.6 million.

Other top spenders include the Family Research Council ($14.2 million), Concerned Women for America ($12.5 million), the National Right to Life Committee ($11.3 million) and Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink ($10.8 million).

Collectively, the 212 groups surveyed raise and spend $390 million a year.

Of the top 15 groups listed, 10 are Religious Right organizations or take stands in alignment with the Catholic hierarchy. Groups that failed to make the top 15 but that still have considerable budgets include the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission ($3.2 million), the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty ($2.2 million) and the Eagle Forum ($2.2 million).

While many of the groups listed are Christian, the report shows growth in the number of advocacy organizations affiliated with other religions. The biggest group on the list is the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, which has an annual budget of $87.8 million. The American Jewish Committee is fourth on the list at $13.3 million.

Other groups include the Muslim American Society ($3.9 million), the Muslim Public Affairs Council ($2.9 million) as well as groups representing Sikhs and Hindus.

The reports lists total budget figures for the groups surveyed. Not all of that money is spent on direct lobbying because the organizations advocate for their views in other ways. Still, the report is a good indication that the power of religious lobbies is in no way waning.

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, told The Washington Post that the growth of religious lobbying groups has been nothing short of remarkable.

“Religious lobbyists used to be like subsistence farmers, and now it’s like agribusiness,” said Lynn.

In an article for the popular progressive website Alternet, Church & State Assistant Editor Rob Boston noted that Religious Right organizations can hardly claim to have no influence when so many of D.C.’s top religious lobbyists are in their camp.

“Right-wing religious groups may claim persecution, but the numbers tell a different story,” wrote Boston. “If you doubt this, just spend a day shadowing their employees in Congress, where, increasingly, they are greeted with warm smiles and open arms.”

The full report is available online at http://www.pewforum.org.


Livni Slams Haredim And Pols Who Are Corrupted By Them

Tzipi Livni

“I believe Yeshivas have place in the state, but they have turned into a haven for people who don’t serve and don’t work, even though they can.”

Tzipi Livni

Tzipi Livni

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni of Kadima attacked haredim and members of her own party who are corrupted by them. This is how Ynet quotes her:

“These political tricks that are employed by my fellow party members, who take into account the haredi parties’ calculations… are invalid and compromise the people’s ability to unite. I believe Yeshivas have place in the state, but they have turned into a haven for people who don’t serve and don’t work, even though they can.”


The Catholicization of the American Right

Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In the past two decades, the American religious Right has become increasingly Catholic. I mean that both literally and metaphorically. Literally, Catholic writers have emerged as intellectual leaders of the religious right in universities, the punditocracy, the press, and the courts, promoting an agenda that at its most theoretical involves a reclamation of the natural law tradition of Thomas Aquinas and at its most practical involves appeals to the kind of common-sense, “everybody knows,” or “it just is” arguments that have characterized opposition to same-sex marriage. There is nothing new about Catholic conservative intellectuals — think John Neuhaus, William F. Buckley, Jr. What is new is the prominence that these Catholic thinkers and leaders have come to have within the domains of American politics that are dominated by evangelical Protestants. Catholic intellectuals have become to the American Right what Jewish intellectuals once were to the American Left. In the academy, on the Court, Catholic intellectuals provide the theoretical discourse that shapes conservative arguments across a whole range of issues. Often these arguments have identifiable Thomistic or Jesuitical sources, but most of the time they enter the mainstream of political dialogue as simply “conservative.”

Meanwhile, in the realm of actual politics, Catholic politicians have emerged as leading figures in the religious conservative movement. Again, there is nothing new about Catholic political leaders nor Catholic politicians, although from Al Smith through John Kennedy they were more often Democrats than Republicans (Pat Buchanan is an exception). What is new is the ability of self-identified Catholic politicians to attract broad support from the among the evangelical Protestant religious right.

Rick Santorum is a case in point. Santorum’s is a specifically Catholic form of faith. The recent flap over contraception is only an example of a much deeper phenomenon. As observers have noted, he talks frequently about natural law, but rarely quotes the Bible directly — his arguments draw on a theologically informed view of the nature of the world, not a personal relationship with the text.

Indeed, in the past Santorum has been quite forthright about the fact that he does not look to the Bible for guidance, he relies quite properly on the guidance of the Church. There is obviously nothing wrong with that … but it sits very curiously with traditional Evangelical Protestant attitudes.

It is important not to overstate the significance of Santorum’s success. For all Santorum’s recent ascendancy, here is the breakdown of actual Republican votes cast thus far: Romney, 1,121,685; Gingrich, 838,825; Santorum, 431,926; Paul, 307,975. The count of awarded delegates produces a somewhat different result: Romney, 99; Santorum, 47; Gingrich, 32; Paul, 20 (The difference among those numbers reflects what political scientists call “malapportionment.”)  But two facts remain: one, with 1,144 delegates required for the nomination this thing is nowhere close to a resolution, and will not be even after Arizona, Michigan, and Super Tuesday; and, two, thus far in the Republican primary campaign, a majority of the votes cast have been for Catholic candidates. It’s not just Santorum; before him it was Gingrich, after all. At the national level, Catholic politicians have emerged as leading figures in the GOP… and  evangelical Protestants are flocking to follow their lead. Why?

The answer is not that evangelicals have become any less Protestant.  In a 2011 American Values Survey, 93% of white evangelicals say it is important for a candidate to have strong religious beliefs, versus 69% for Catholics saying the same thing. And 36% of white evangelical voters said they would be uncomfortable voting for a candidate who had strong religious beliefs that were different from their own, up from 29% in 2010, a change that may reflect the effects of a prominent Mormon candidate in the mix. In other words, evangelical voters care a great deal that a candidate’s religion accord with their own… and they are supporting Catholic candidates.  So what is going on?

To understand what is going on, we need to move from the role of Catholic individuals to a broader, more metaphorical idea of a Catholic style of political reasoning. “Catholic” in this exercise means responding to leadership; focusing on outcomes (think “doctrine of works”); and a Manichean view of the world in which the Church — as opposed to mere churches — stands as a bulwark against equally great opposing forces, so that outside the Church there can be only chaos. In this sense a Catholic Republican voter would be someone looking for a commanding general to lead Christian soldiers on a crusade, would care about a candidate’s policies rather than his soul, and respond to a call to view the Republican Party as the last bastion of civilisation in a howling wilderness.  Extending the metaphor, a “Protestant” conservative should reject the idea of leaders in favour of grass roots communalism; local self-direction in the congregationalist model; care about character and personal values more than specific stances or doctrines; and see the world as a mass of sinners who are to be judged  individually by the quality of their soul rather than by their enlistment in one party or the other.

In this metaphorical sense, the “Catholic” political style is strongest among evangelical Protestant voters, not actual Catholics. The eagerness of Catholic bishops to jump into a fight over contraception, for example, does not reflect that attitudes of their parishoners, but it gets strong support from evangelicals. Similarly, in one recent poll more than two-thirds of Catholic voters supported some sort of legal recognition of gay couples’ relationships, with 44% favoring same-sex marriage; in very sharp contrast, an outright majority of evangelical voters said there should be no legal recognition of a same-sex relationship.

In political terms, the evangelical Protestant Right has become Catholicized. They do not see Catholicism as a religion very different from their own because it leads to the same positions on the battlefield, call it Fortress GOP. It is a political worldview that is singularly well suited to negative politics. Who cares whether your guy is actually a bit of a nut-case or has some sleaze in his history if he will defeat the forces of darkness? Liberals tolerate venality in their candidates if they believe they will do good; “Catholic” conservatives tolerate venality if they believe their candidates will defeat evil.  (Ironically, all of this has moved the American religious Right in the direction of becoming more and more like a traditional European right-wing political movement, rather than a populist movement in the American Jacksonian tradition.)

In this metaphorical sense, the one person who did the most to push the Catholicization of conservative politics was Newt Gingrich back in the 1990s, long before his personal religious conversion. The most obvious illustration was the infamous GOPAC memorandum entitled “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control” that instructed Republican candidates to describe their Democratic opponents using words like “destructive,” “sick,” “pathetic,” “they/them,” “betray” and ” traitors” (relying on the research of the almost incomprehensibly amoral Frank Lutz). That kind of rhetoric and the scorched earth, anyone-who-is-not-with-must-be-destroyed tactics that go with it has been the defining style of Gingrich’s brand of politics ever since. And who Gingrich’s man in the Senate in those heady days of unabashed viciousness? Rick Santorum. And not just as an ally — Santorum was Gingrich’s hatchet man, the one who did the “dirty work” as one Republican congressman put it. Or in the words of a Republican staffer at the time, “[Santorum] is a Stepford wife to Gingrich… If you took the key out of his back, I’m not sure his lips would keep moving.” (These quotations appear in a 1995 Philadelphia Magazine article — you can find a link to the pdf file here

Can this carry Santorum to the nomination? Probably not. There are already signs that Santorum is slipping, as the extremity of his religious dogmatism becomes evident to voters, which may eventually force evangelicals to recognize the differences between the tenets of his faith and their own. The fit with Tea Party conservatives is even more tenuous, as that movement is an expression of a deeply “Protestant” brand of politics that sit uneasily with the rhetoric and worldview of “Catholic” conservatism. And Santorum has yet to be called out for his role in the 1990s; if people really want to vote for Gingrich’s old pet attack dog, why not simply vote for the owner? With time, Romney’s claim to be the only electable candidate (and adult) in the field may regain its traction. Meanwhile, Gingrich is looking ahead to the South, and possibly even as far as Texas and California. It has been a campaign of suddenly arising candidates who flamed out just as quickly, and Santorum shows signs of being the latest in that line — as I said, even after Super Tuesday there is going to be a long way to go.

There is the potential for deep divisions appearing in the GOP along an axis of “Protestant” versus “Catholic” religious conservatism. But regardless of what happens next, the rise of first Gingrich and now Santorum as the candidate of choice for the Religious Right is a profound sign of how Catholic the American religious right has become.


[They’re worse than fundi Muslim fanatics, imagine a world if these ultra Orthodox,  Jewish-religious crazies numbered in the 100’s of millions?!]

Video: Jewish Punch Up In 770

Fist Fight in 770 2-23-2011 Tzefatis v Americans

Students from Chabad‘s yeshiva in Tzefat, Israel – known for believing Chabad’s later rebbe, dead since 1994, is actually alive, well and living in 770 Eastern Parkway – spark more fighting in Chabad’s main synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

PANDEMONIUM: The Inmates Run Wild in the Asylum

CROWN HEIGHTS [CHI] — No one ever believed 770 would devolve into utter chaos as it did this afternoon – not even the biggest sympathizers towards the Tzfati cause. Two members of the yeshiva’s hanholo, Rabbi Kuti Feldman and Rabbi Zalman Labkowski, were both physically and verbally attacked by the same hooligans who have been running wild and unrestrained these past few weeks.

Today’s episode began when Rabbi Labkowski was about to give his weekly Thursday Shiur at 1:30 in the downstairs of 770. About a half hour before the Shiur began, a Tzfati Bochur, Tzachi Cohen, stole the microphone that is usually used for the Shiur in retaliation for the revocation of one Tzfati’s visa.

Bochurim who wanted Rabbi Labkowski to give his shiur set up an alternative microphone – the Gabboim’s system (with their permission), and the Shiur began on time.

As the Shiur began, a Tzfati Bochur, Eliyahu Singawi – the one who had his visa revoked, ran over to the cabinet where the microphone system is kept and grabbed the wire, pulling it away in order to tear it.

[This point is where the first video begins]

Rabbi Kuti Feldman went after the Bochur to get the microphone back, and was attacked by a gaggle of Tzfatis who kicked, punched and slapped him, eliciting cries of outrage from the hundreds of people who were present in 770.

[This point is where the second video begins]

That wasn’t enough; another Bochur began yelling at Rabbi Labkowski, while spitting at him and throwing things. He shouted: ‘you should die today,’ ‘yemach shimcha,’ and ‘you menuval.’

According to witnesses, all this took place in the presence of Gabbai R. Menachem Gerelitzky and R. Yosef Braun, both of whom did not intervene.

One bochur told Crownheights.info that a Poilisher chossid happened to be present, and he asked him if this was regular occurrence in the shul, and why nobody did anything about it. The bochur couldn’t answer.

The incident concluded when Rabbi Labkowski left 770, and Shiur was canceled.

[Hat Tip: WSC.]


Kuhner Claims Obama is ‘Our Lenin‘; Mefferd Afraid He’s More Like Stalin

Crazed Catholic Fascist Jeffrey Kuhner Blathers Absurdities Against Obama

Submitted by Miranda Blue on Wed, 02/22/2012 – 3:14pm

Right-wing columnist Jeffrey Kuhner visited the Janet Mefferd show earlier this week to discuss a recent column he wrote for the Washington Times, positing that “Obama is America’s Lenin.” In the column, Kuhner attacks the Obama administration’s recent birth control regulations, claiming that “like many secular leftists, [Obama] seeks to destroy Judeo-Christian civilization,” that he is “in the pocket of the pro-abortion feminist lobby,” and that “Mr. Obama is our first non-Christian president.”

Kuhner went into more detail in his interview with Mefferd, saying “I never thought I would see the day in America, that I would see the ugly specter of Leninism, the ugly specter of Marxism” and claiming that while the president is not a practicing Muslim he is “clearly a cultural Muslim.”

Mefferd not only agreed with Kuhner’s analysis, she was willing to go even farther, warning, “We know what Stalin ended up doing to millions and millions of people who would not bow the knee to him.”

Kuhner: This is a violation of the First Amendment. This is a violation of separation of church and state. This is a blatant war on Christianity. It is a war on our conscience rights. It is a war on our basic human freedoms. And I never thought I would see the day in America, that I would see the ugly specter of Leninism, the ugly specter of Marxism, where you now have state coercion of religion, where you have a blatant, flagrant attempt to purge Christianity from the public square, being so openly and blatantly embraced by the president of the United States.

Janet, if this mandate goes through, if Obamacare is not repealed, I believe it will break the back of our constitutional republic, I believe it will be the end of the First Amendment as we’ve known it, and I believe we are on a path towards radical, secular liberalism, which in many ways is just a form of cultural Marxism.

Obama is our Lenin. He is embarking on a cultural, social, political transformation of this nation, and that is why Christians of all denominations, of all faiths, must stand up and vote this man out of office in November.

Kuhner: So I believe he is somebody who’s the product of the multicultural, neo-Marxist left. He despises Christianity. He despises our biblical principles. He despises the civilizational roots of American society. And he’s also, I believe –and there’s no getting around this – not that he’s a practicing Muslim or a believing Muslim, but he’s clearly a cultural Muslim.

And Janet, I have to say this, many people don’t understand this aspect of communism. Communism never sought to completely eradicate religion. Even they knew that was impossible. What they said was this: ‘We don’t want it in public. If you want to worship, that’s fine, do it in your own home, do it in your own head, do it in your own bedroom. But don’t take your faith outside the home, it doesn’t belong here.’

Mefferd: Well, I tell you, that sounds awfully familiar, and we know what Stalin ended up doing to millions and millions of people who would not bow the knee to him.