Liberty University will no longer recognize its campus Democratic club because, officials say, the national party's platform goes against the conservative Christian school's moral principles.I guess the liberty to have an opposing political view is not in Liberty's mission. Liberty later decided that the Democratic club could use the college's resources if certain conditions were met:
Officials at the private Lynchburg school, which was founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, said they made the decision after receiving complaints from trustees, parents and donors.
"They really are great kids and good friends of mine," said Jerry Falwell Jr., who became the school's chancellor after his father died in 2007. "It's just an issue of what Liberty's mission is."
According to Falwell, whose father founded LU in 1971, Democratic clubs have existed at Liberty University over the last several decades but as unofficial student clubs not endorsed by the school.Translation: You can have your Democratic club as long as all of the members are Republicans.
Then, last fall, the College Democrats asked the university to officially recognize their club, thus granting them permission to use Liberty University’s name, hold public events on campus, and receive a small financial subsidy that only officially recognized clubs are eligible for.
To be recognized, however, Liberty asked the club to insert two clauses into their constitution – one stating that they are a pro-life organization and the other that they support the traditional view of marriage.
The drama doesn't end there though. Americans United for Separation of Church and State has decided to get in on the act:
Americans United for Separation of Church and State is asking the IRS to review the tax-exempt status of Liberty University after the school’s decision to “unrecognize” the student-run College Democrats.
In a letter to the IRS, Americans United (AU) president Barry W. Lynn said he believes Liberty University (LU) may have violated federal tax law in denying recognition to the College Democrats while extending it to a Republican organization.
“As a tax-exempt institution, Liberty is barred from intervening in elections or showing preference for one political party over another,” Lynn wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday.
“By banning a Democratic club while permitting a Republican club to exist and offering funding to the latter but not the former, university officials appear to be operating in violation of federal tax law,” he added. “I urge you to investigate this matter and ensure that the law is enforced.”
Meanwhile Liberty University did the legal equivalent of NO U by filing their own complaint against Americans United:
Liberty Counsel plans to file a complaint on Monday, June 1 against Americans United for Separation of Church and State on behalf of Liberty University in response to claims that the University did not abide by IRS regulations for a nonprofit organization when it dropped endorsement of the school's College Democrats club.So round and round it goes. Where it stops, nobody knows...
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, said Liberty's recent action "had nothing to do with the political nature of the club" and was "solely based upon the moral issues of abortion and marriage."
"Liberty will not lend its name or funds to support any group -- Republican, Democrat, Independent or non-political -- that supports abortion or same-sex marriage," he said. "Liberty's action has nothing to do with favoring Republicans or Democrats."
From Toothpaste for Dinner
Here's a great video of a lecture they gave at PopTech back in 2006. There are quite a few clips of them in action too. Enjoy.
(Hat tip to Wooster Collective)
PS. Fox already has an American version of the show in the works. I fully expect it to be neutered and unfunny.
Cabal leader JohnnyFuckingBrainwash lay's out the manifesto thusly:
Shut up. Really. You’re an idiot. You have no fucking clue what you’re talking about, and yet there you go, spouting off like you’re entitled to an opinion.I'm still not 100% sure what the site is going to be about but the front page of the blog currently has an anti-anti-vaccinationist post by Nigel, a pair of anti-George Will posts, and an anti-abstinence only education post by Bus Mall Socialist Ranter. Looks like some place I'd fit in. I've signed up for an account there. I'll try to cross-post some of my stuff over there if I think it fits. It could end up being a really cool place for us Discordians who are liberally and skeptically minded to come together.
I don’t expect brilliance from you. I don’t expect eloquence. Shit, I don’t even expect you to be right. All I ask is that you have some fucking clue before you open your mouth. I don’t care if you pull ideas out of your ass- just don’t inflict them on me. Please.
Look, you don’t get swine flu from pork chops. That bad ice storm last winter doesn’t disprove global warming. Reagan didn’t defeat the Soviet Union, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, and “god” does not appear once in the US Constitution.
Shut up! You are an idiot.
(Hat tip to Telarus and Nigel)
William Dembski, the "Isaac Newton of information theory" *snort*, on the other hand decided to try his hand at the Common Designer gambit. He quote-mines some hay from an evolution for dummies book, builds a strawman and promptly lights it on fire. The argument basically goes that animals that seem similar only appear that way because they were made by the same "Designer" (wink, wink). Forget for the moment that this doesn't explain things like endogenous retroviruses, homologies, and the twin-nested hierarchy that all living things fall into. This argument should be considered sacrilege by almost every theist. This arguments puts the "Designer" into a very small box. If this "Designer" is of the omnipotent variety then it should be trivial for "It" to similar creations with very different genetic codes. Plus the fact that the codes for similar creatures fall into a specific hierarchy where it appears that the creatures evolved without any supernatural assistance make this "Designer" into a trickster that wants humans to chase their own tails when it comes to the natural world. As a Discordian, I have no issue with this but I doubt it's the message the Discovery Institute wants to send out.
Thankfully Thunderf00t has put up a better explanation to why the "Common Designer/Common Design" argument fails mightily.
So in summary, the Discovery Institute feels like it's not their job to put forth any actual evidence for the intelligent design hypothesis. They seem to think that if that they muddy the waters about naturalistic evolution enough that they will somehow win by default. To that I will quote philosopher Francisco Ayala at the McLean v. Arkansas trial almost 30 years ago:
“My dear young man, negative criticisms of evolutionary theory, even if they carried some weight, are utterly irrelevant to the question of the validity or legitimacy of creation science. Surely you realize that not being Mr. Williams in no way entails being Mr. Ayala!"
As she says:
This is an Art Piece I created as a reaction to Ray Comfort's blatant and willful ignorance. If you don't "get" this piece, that's a sign that you still have your faith in humanity. I realize this piece is somewhat anti-feminist, but so is Ray. Profits from the sale of this item will go to a program supporting young female paleontologists. Tampons ARE included.
And it can be your for the low low price of $10 (plus S&H). Act now! Operators are standing by!!!
(Hat tip to Unreasonable Faith)
Atheism: I don't believe in any gods.Ignosticism is covered very well in Oolon Colluphid's award-winning book 'Who is this God Person Anyway?' Or at least, it would be if that book actually existed. Instead, in this universe, the idea of ignosticism was put forth by the Rabbi Sherwin Wine founder of Humanistic Judaism.
Agnosticism: I don't know if any gods exist.
Ignosticism: I refuse to take a position until "god" is defined.
Ignosticism is very closely related to theological noncognitivism which states that all religious language is purposely vague and cognitively meaningless. "God" is intentionally left as a vague idea because if you define something then it is possible to prove or disprove that it exists. Therefore "God" (and all things supernatural) live in a linguistic nowhere-land forever in search of a meaning. All of this is because no one has ever been able to come up with a positive definition for what "God" is. He (or She) is always defined by things that He (or She) is not. Ignosticism takes this position of theological noncognitivism and simply states that since no one can put forth a definition I will withold judgement until a definition is presented.
There is always that fourth non-religious position but it doesn't really warrant it's own blog post. Apatheism is just the position of "I don't know, and I don't care." Almost nothing is written about the topic because... well, yeah. It'd be interesting to know exactly how many humans fall into this category though.
Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, May 18, 2009 | Published in
But now the gauntlet has been thrown down. Youtuber C0nc0rdance (with the help of thunderf00t) has put up a challenge to Discovery Institute:
All the Discovery Institute needs to do is go through the 180 or so complete genomes that have been sequenced and show just one gene that was intelligently designed. Just show the world a gene that is irreducibly complex and could not possible have evolved through natural causes. Should be simple enough. The thing is that the Discovery Institute won't do it. They have never been about science or scientific research. From day one they have been an apologetics organization that seeks to wedge Christianity back into public schools. The challenge was posted today, May 15, 2009. Let's count to see how long it takes them to respond.
(Note: A follow up post can be found here: Part II)
Now, let's talk about you. Hi! How are you doing? What do you think of the blog so far? I know that there aren't that many of you out there (at least, in comparison to other blogs). I'd appreciate a little feedback though. What do you like about the site so far? What do you dislike? What kind of blog posts do you enjoy the most? Which ones should I get rid of? What would you like to see me focus on more? Let me know what you think in the comment section. And thanks for reading!
A very bold stance. On the other hand we have former Republican presidential candidate
"I don't agree with the belief that we should use any means necessary to extract information," said Land. "I believe there are absolutes. There are things we must never do under any circumstances.
"For me the ultimate test is: Could I, in good conscience, do whatever I am authorizing or condoning others to do? If not, then I must oppose the action. If I could not waterboard someone--and I couldn't--then I must oppose its practice."
"I consider waterboarding torture," Land said. "One of the definitions of torture is that it causes permanent physical harm. I can't separate physical from psychological. And I can't imagine that being repeatedly subjected to the feeling of drowning would not, in some cases, cause lasting psychological trauma."
"There are a lot of things Jesus wouldn't do because he's the son of God," hesaid. "I can't imagine Jesus being a Marine or a policeman or a bank president,for that matter. The more appropriate question is, 'What is a follower of Jesuspermitted to do?'"Call me crazy, but I don't think that the guy who (allegedly) died from one of the most cruel tortures ever conceived by mankind would be in favor of waterboarding. Maybe Mr. Bauer's Bible doesn't include that whole Beatitudes. I guess it's too un-American.
Bauer said the answer is "it depends" — but the moral equation changes when the suspect is not a soldier captured on a battlefield but a terrorist who may have knowledge of an impending attack. He said he does not consider water-boarding — a form of interrogation that simulates drowning — to be torture.
"I think if we believe the person we have can give us information to stop thousands of Americans from being killed, it would be morally suspect to not use harsh tactics to get that information," Bauer said.
All of this back and forth must be confusing because recent polls show that the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists:
More than half of people who attend services at least once a week -- 54 percent -- said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is "often" or "sometimes" justified. Only 42 percent of people who "seldom or never" go to services agreed, according to the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.I guess after sitting through an hour long sermon, waterboarding doesn't sound so bad.
(Tip of the noodly appendages to the Friendly Atheist)
A student at a fundamentalist Baptist school that forbids dancing, rock music, hand-holding and kissing will be suspended if he takes his girlfriend to her public high school prom, his principal said.Yes, you read that correctly. Young Mr. Frost is about to be punished simply for wanting to dance with his friends. For everyone's sake I hope he finds a good abandoned warehouse to practice his moves in. And I hope that the preacher shouted, "If our Lord wasn't testing us, how would you account for the proliferation, these days, of this obscene rock and roll music, with its gospel of easy sexuality and relaxed morality?" I kindly suggest that Mr. Frost to tell them to stick their diploma where the sun don't shine.
Despite the warning, 17-year-old Tyler Frost, who has never been to a dance before, said he plans to attend Findlay High School's prom Saturday.
Frost, a senior at Heritage Christian School in northwest Ohio, agreed to the school's rules when he signed a statement of cooperation at the beginning of the year, principal Tim England said.
The teen, who is scheduled to receive his diploma May 24, would be suspended from classes and receive an "incomplete" on remaining assignments, England said. Frost also would not be permitted to attend graduation but would get a diploma once he completes final exams. If Frost is involved with alcohol or sex at the prom, he will be expelled, England said.
One man's religion is another man's belly laugh. - Robert Heinlein
A question that I've never fully seen anyone address is whether Discordian is or is not a religion. This question is doubly difficult to answer because both terms are almost impossible to define. The word "religion" seems to cover everything from the ancient Abrahamic Big Three to ancestor worship to Scientology. It's hard to give a concise definition that covers everything most people consider "religion". And "Discordianism"... well, it seems like everyone has a completely different definition for that. There are as many different versions of Discordianism as there are Discordians. Probably more since some of us seem to have split personalities and like to change our minds a lot.
So, how do I resolve this conundrum? Well, a basic religion would have all of the following characteristics: belief in the supernatural, sacred and profane objects, ritual acts, a moral code, prayer, an overall worldview, and a social hierarchy. I think most of us can agree on those. But now you can see why it is so difficult to put Discordianism into this box. Let's take them one by one:
1) Belief in the supernatural: Yes, no, maybe. Some Discordians fully believe in the supernatural. Some (like me) think that it's all hooey. And some believe that the word "supernatural" is just a stand-in for Man's current shortcomings in knowledge about the universe. Discordianism does not require that you believe in gods, goddesses, fairies, or wood imps but you can if it makes you feel better. This one is a question mark.
2) Sacred and profane objects: I can't think of any one object in Discordianism that would be considered sacred or profane by every Discordian. Mosbunall feel that the PD is pretty special, but I don't see anyone willing to kill or die over it. No one worships it. There don't seem to be any established sacred places either. I'll mark this one a no.
3) Ritual acts: This is a big fat maybe. A ritual is defined as "an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite". NOTHING in Discordianism is established or prescribed. Things are generally suggested rather than required. Many Discordians like a bit of the Chaos Magick but that is not a prerequisite either. The Turkey Curse would almost fit here, but who actually does that in public?
4) Moral code: Again, a big fat maybe. As I posted the other day, Discordian morality is wide open. "Goddess forbids nothing, but nobody likes an asshole." But some of us like being assholes anyways.
5) Prayer: I'm going to say this one is a No. "We Erisians seldom pray, it is much too dangerous." But there is that pesky word "seldom". Plus some Discordians like to play around with conjurations and invocations in Chaos Magick. In my humble opinion I don't see a difference between that and prayer.
6) Overall worldview: So yeah...
7) Social hierarchy: Big fat stinkin' emphatic HELL NO! One of the reasons Discordianism was started in the first place was to subvert the idea of religious hierarchies. That is why everyone is named a pope from the very beginning. No one voice is more or less important than the other. Ideas are important no matter who they come from.
So where does that put us?
It's been a bit since I've posted a vid by Tim Minchin so here ya go. Don't ask me how he remember all of the lyrics and manages to say all of them in one breath.
Rep. Mike Pence from Indiana's 6th District (roughly two over from the one I'm living in) was asked a fairly innocuous question by MSNBC's Chris Matthews: Do you believe in evolution? Should be a fairly easy one to answer. It should be as easy to answer as "Do you believe in gravity?" or "Do you believe in the theory of relativity?" But, alas, nothing is ever that easy in American politics.
Pence goes all over the map talking about global warming and stem cells and doesn't answer the question. Matthews does a great job of nailing him on the fact that (mosbunall) Republicans are actively anti-science. They have been wrong on stem cells, climate change and evolution. They almost always choose ideology over reality. I'm glad their party is spending a little time in the wilderness to think things over a bit. Maybe it'll give them to some time to see that fighting science is always a losing battle.
Please die of the swine flu.
Hugs and Kisses,
(Hat tip to the Friendly Atheist)
Well, we have a real problem with the word "should", because people usually use should like "I am better than you, and therefore I say that you should ...." Legally speaking, there are no de jure Discordian "shoulds", but there are a lot of de facto ones.BTW, if you haven't read the Summa Discordia before, WAYSA? In my not so humble opinion, it is the second best Discordian text. Even then it is often better than the Principia Discordia because it doesn't use all of the mystical mumbo jumbo. You can find it on Geocities (until Geocities locks their front gate for good) or on good old Scribd.
As far as issues of morality are concerned, it's pretty wide open. One writer put it pretty well: "Goddess forbids nothing, but nobody likes an asshole." Being mean to weaker people isn't seen as very positive. Neither is going out of your way to mess with somebody who is minding their own business. You'll have a wider latitude when messing with an institution instead of an individual, but pointless destruction won't impress anyone.
You really should try to be creative, though, and funny too. If you finally wake up to the enormous, beautiful freedom of your existence and decide to spend it sitting passively in front of the tv, well, that's just sad. And you should have some courage, too - figure out what you think is the right thing to do, do it, and accept the consequences.
The most important thing is to realize that you are FREE! And, unless you feel like wasting it, freedom means becoming something, making choices, and taking responsibility for all the choices you make. If you are still spending your life just getting by, eating-and-excreting, then you don't quite Get It.
PS. If anyone has any info about the author(s) of the Summa Discordia please contact me. I haven't been able to find anything on this The Beatus Ffungo character.
The part of resolution I do agree with is the fourth part which "expresses support for designation of a 'American Religious History Week' every year." I love this idea because we, as Americans, don't talk honestly about religious history enough in this country. I know too many people who just go along with whatever right-wing meme is floating around. And lord knows our high school textbooks have been sanitized within an inch of their life! What we need to do is go back through the history of the continent and discuss where religion has gotten us.
We should start with the fact that the Pilgrims were batshit crazy enough to get thrown out of both England and the Netherlands. We could also point out that many of the Founding Fathers were Deists, including Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Thomas Paine. We could have a whole day dedicated to Jefferson's thoughts on the Separation of Church and State. Might want to throw something in there about the time Jefferson took a pair of scissors to the Bible to make it more appealing to him. We'll have to have something on the Treaty of Tripoli which very clearly states "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion". Follow that up with the fact that the Protestant doctrine of Manifest Destiny helped to spur on the genocide of millions of Native Americans. And we can't forget to mention how Christians ended up on both sides of the slavery issue with many denominations (including the Southern Baptists) splitting off thanks to it. We could round all of it off by talking about the Utah War, where members of the Latter-Day Saints church actively fought against the US government and killed about 120 people at the Mountain Medows massacre. We wouldn't want anyone to feel left out.
So there, doesn't an American Religious History Week sound like fun? Make sure to contact your representative now to make sure this passes.