Io Saturnalia!

IdiotsThis post was originally from 2005, with some edits. So I’m recycling I guess. (In 2005 I was either living in, or had just left, a marina run by a bunch of truly annoying evangelical Christians. My feelings showed through.)

Nanovirus: The war on Winter Solstice. When I was a kid, Christmas celebrations started after Thanksgiving. Not that long ago it was traditional to put up Christmas trees on Christmas Eve after the kids had gone to bed.

Today Christmas decorations appear before Halloween – I guess retail never figured out how to make money on Samhain or Turkey Day. And yet everywhere you turn you hear about the “War on Christmas.” Actually there seems to be a war on all non-Christian Solstice Celebrations. (How many other religious holidays are also federal holidays?)

What happened to the idea of tolerance?

For example, while it remained customary for one Christian to say Merry Christmas to another, to a stranger it was considered more thoughtful to say “Season’s Greetings,” or “Happy Holidays.” Such was the beauty of tolerance: all faiths were able to be true to their origins while respecting their fellow humans’ right to do the same.

Do you doubt there is a war on non-Christian holidays? The war is long-standing. Consider the date.

The Romans honored Saturn, the ancient god of agriculture, each year beginning on December 17 in a festival called the Saturnalia. This festival lasted for seven days and included the winter solstice, which at that time fell on December 25 (today, following calendar reform, it falls on December 21).

The Catholic Church’s calendar reform did 2 things; it fixed the problem with the calendar, and it MOVED the solstice away from December 25th. The 25th was the birthday of Mithras (at least according to some scholars) and celebrated in the Roman Empire. The solstice was also the focus of many winter celebrations.

So “Happy Holidays,” whatever flavor of holiday you observe.

Seyran Ates – Someone you should know

This woman has tremendous courage. Despite threats, woman who opened liberal mosque in Berlin keeps fighting for religious freedom | Fox News

Since founding a liberal and controversial mosque in Berlin last month, Ates has been constantly targeted by those who have a strict interpretation of Islamic law. She vows to fight for religious freedom and challenge radical Islam – even if it puts her life in danger.

Read the whole thing. Her life has been one long struggle for change.

[repost] Read This Before Patheos Deletes it.

religion and politicsPatheos was once a place where various religious views came together. Mainstream and not so mainstream. Recently however, they have been purchased by an evangelical Christian organization, and apparently have not taken kindly to some of the not-so-mainstream folks who were there. [repost] Read This Before Patheos Deletes it. – GODS & RADICALS

don't be stupid I never agreed with most of the things at Patheos, but as a firm supporter of the First Amendment, I believe that there should be room for all beliefs in this country. Or at least any belief that is compatible with the first amendment to the constitution. Voltaire is credited with saying, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." That should sum up the position of anyone who holds that Freedom of Speech matters. (Instead today we get riots on college campuses because they don't want to hear anything that might upset the tender babies.)

The following is a repost of an essay deleted by Patheos Pagan detailing the changes they’ve made and their intention to censor their writers. The essay was written by John Halstead on his Patheos-hosted wordpress blog, Allergic Pagan.

We are republishing this because it was deleted by Patheos and the author was locked out of his account, effectively censoring it from the internet.

Please consider reposting this widely, and even hosting it on your website in case of legal threats to us.

The deleted post follows. You can find John Halstead back at his blog, Allergic Pagan.
___________________________________________________________

I’ve been writing at Patheos for 4 years now (blogging for 6 years in all). In that time, Patheos has changed in some significant ways. The three editors of Patheos Pagan that I’ve known — Star Foster, Christine Hoff Kraemer (who hired me on), and Jason Mankeywere each very different in their own way.

The biggest change, though, is that in the last couple of years, there has been increasing pressure to make Patheos profitable, and that has resulted in changes like increasing use of invasive ads (I still can’t read my own blog on my iPhone 4) and pressure (albeit of the soft variety) from the editor to post more frequently. Most recently, Patheos was purchased by Beliefnet, which is owned by an evangelical organization.

Today, the other shoe dropped. Our editor, Jason Mankey, gave me the heads up late last week that a new contract would be coming with a different pay structure, but what he didn’t say was what else was in the contract.

Under my original contract I make $50 a month. Twice in the 4 years I have been writing here, I made $100 because of especially high page views. (Incidentally, neither of those posts was anything to be proud of.) Fifty dollars is not much, but I know it is a lot more than most writers at Patheos Pagan make. I have it on good authority that only three of us at Patheos Pagan make that much. Under the new contract, I would make a little less, but since I’m not reliant on the income from Patheos, I really don’t care about that.

Others Patheos Pagan writers would make a little more, which I am glad for. But while five or ten dollars a month is more than nothing, it is still a pittance. Jason has repeatedly told me that Patheos is suffering financially, the implication being that we should be happy with what we get. Of course, we haven’t seen their books, so we don’t know how much revenue Patheos receives from ads and other sources, or where it is going. Needless to say, it is common for miserly employers to claim poverty when employees demand a living wage. (I do find it interesting, though, that Patheos can afford to fly its editors out to visit their corporate headquarters and to other events, but they say they can’t afford to pay their writers more than third-world wages.)

The new contract also requires writers to post with a certain frequency, two to three times a week. While I don’t care that I will be earning less, it does irk me to have my income cut and then be told I have to write more in order to earn it. Jason has assured us this provision of the contract will not be enforced, but in my experience as a lawyer, the only reason to include a provision in a contract which you say you don’t intend to enforce is so you can later spring it on the person. It’s a classic way for employers to fire someone for a discriminatory reason, for example: They decide to suddenly start (selectively) enforcing a contract provision which was not previously enforced so they can claim to have a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for the termination.

But the real problem with the new contract is the increased editorial control. The new contract reserves the right to edit any of our posts, and even to change the format of the post or to use the content to create a quiz (?). We are explicitly prohibited from using profanity (with some minor exceptions) and the “tone” (a very subjective term) is expected to resemble that of other online media with which Patheos compares itself, like Slate or Huffington Post. The contract also prohibits advertising or self-promotion. We are also barred from posting a “farewell” post without approval, and even approved farewell posts will be deleted after 7 days. (What is that about?) And Patheos can delete any post it deems, in its sole discretion, to be “offensive”another subjective term.

Now, here’s the thing: In the contract, Patheos compares itself to Slate and Huffington Post. But I write for the Huffington Post, and I didn’t have to sign anything like this to write for them. Nor did I have to sign anything like this to write for Witches & Pagans. Or Gods & Radicals.

Finally, we are prohibited from “disparaging” Patheos “or any of its related companies”. This is potentially the most problematic part of the contract. For example, one of the other writers here brought to my attention that the American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a group founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson, is a partner with Affinity4, which is itself listed alongside Beliefnet and Patheos on the BN Media page. The ACLJ lobbies for the death penalty for gays in other countries. Under the new contract, ACLJ could be considered a “related company” that we’re not permitted to disparage. (And that’s just one related company that we’ve discovered in less than 24 hours.) Well …

FUCK THAT SHIT!

Oops, I used profanity. Actually, this whole post would probably be considered “disparaging” of Patheos. So don’t be surprised if this post is deleted soon.

[UPDATE: Here’s a list of some of the groups that may be considered “related” to Patheos and whom we cannot “disparage” under the new contract: National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, Promise Keepers, Concerned Women for America, American Family Association. Citation here.]

While some of these contractual provisions are common in the industry, I’ve learned that “standard in the industry” is code for “we can screw you over and there’s nothing you can do about it.” And while some of these changes might be dismissed if considered in isolation, the fact that it all comes at once, the fact that it was sprung on most of the writers with little to no notice, the fact that it was written unilaterally by Patheos corporate without input from the writers, and the fact that it goes into effect tomorrow, makes it all seem pretty suspicious (not to mention draconian).

It’s difficult to avoid the observation that the situation at Patheos is a microcosm of some of what has been happening on the national stage recently, with the power of corporations expanding and those same corporations (through their political lapdogs) trying to put limits on our freedom of speech. It makes me wonder if the timing isn’t coincidental: An evangelical company acquires Patheos. Trump is elected and sworn in. A number of Patheos bloggers are critical of Trump. And now, the new owners of Patheos want to exercise more editorial control. Coincidence? Maybe.

Jason has assured us that Patheos will not be censoring its writers. But you know, it usually doesn’t happen … until it does.

The Washington Post Defends Chip and Joanna Gaines (Amazing I Know)

Buzzfeed doesn’t like Evangelical Christians because they MIGHT not like same sex marriage. (They don’t know how the Gaines feel, but that didn’t stop the attack.) BuzzFeed’s hit piece on Chip and Joanna Gaines is dangerous – The Washington Post

So it seems that the Washington Post, at least has learned some of the lessons of the Trump campaign. You can’t just attack people for being conservative or religious out of hand.

A gay man is writing for the WaPo, on the subject of respecting other people’s religious convictions. And well.

A few years ago, gay activists decided the best way to win arguments in favor of same-sex marriage was to shut up their opponents. All they had to do was lob a charge of homophobia and the argument was won. Or they tweeted at the companies that employed the “homophobes” until they were fired. Conservatives were bullied on social media and mocked for being ass-backward (and indeed, some of them were and are). But they were never taken seriously.

Bullying is not the same as winning an argument. It is only bullying. And eventually it will stop working. Maybe it already has.

Trump stood up to the bullying. I hope HGTV and the Gaines can stand up to it as well.

Because it isn’t over. They are going to have to make a statement. And if it doesn’t meet the exact requirements of the liberal bullies, HGTV will be pressured to drop the show.

BuzzFeed is probably at the forefront of discussions surrounding diversity in entertainment. Do their reporters think diversity refers only to skin color? Does ideological diversity count for nothing, especially when it is representative of, again, a sizable chunk of the American public?

That chunk is at least 40% of the American public.

But the LEFT has never been into diversity of ideas, and it has gotten worse lately. Look at the way conservatives are shouted down on college campuses. Only Right Think will be allowed.

‘Indonesian jihad’ as Christian churches burned

What a shock. Christians facing ‘Indonesian jihad’ as churches burned on imams’ orders: report | Fox News

The Southeast Asian nation, where about 90 percent of its 250 million people are Muslim, has long been seen as seen as an example that a large Muslim majority can live in relative peace alongside minority religions, like Christianity and Hinduism. But in October, there was a troubling outburst in violence in the Sharia-law governed region of Aceh. At the urging from Islamic leaders, hundreds of Muslims took to the streets with machetes and torched area churches.

As for the religion of peace propaganda…

“We will not stop hunting Christians and burning churches. Christians are Allah’s enemies,” one Islamic leader said

A quick search of the news indicates that none of the Left’s big media outlets are covering this. Christian Science Monitor is the first relatively mainstream outlet to be listed on the first page of a Google news search. I guess this doesn’t fit the narrative, and is easier to ignore than say attacks on Paris.

The First Amendment Wasn’t Supposed to Apply to EVERYBODY!

And especially not where the Air Force is involved. Maryland Air Force Contractor Fired for “Bringing Demons Into the Office”

The Air Force has a history of “mandating” that cadets and others attend “seminars” that are little more than Christian revival meetings.

In this case a practicing Hindu was called a witch, and told yoga was cost her, her soul. When she filed complaint, she was fired.

Within hours of Schoenfeld filing a formal complaint about the harassment, she was fired in a total coincidence that absolutely was not retaliation for her complaint.

Because that would never happen.

Christians are the persecuted minority in this country. Just ask one. (Has Bill O’Reilly started his diatribe about his “War on Christmas™” yet?)

But then this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last that a member of a minority religion in the US faces this kind of thing.

“Ritualistic” Blue Moon Killing That Didn’t Happen on the Blue Moon

Religious prejudice is an ugly thing. Homeland Security worker's triple homicide was blue moon ritual killing, says Florida Sheriff – Boing Boing.

The sheriff “claims” that this was a Wiccan killing done on the blue moon. But there is a problem with that statement…

That’s a little confusing. The recent blue moon (a second full moon within one calendar month) was on Friday, July 31, not the Tuesday date the sheriff referenced. “The sheriff did not explain the discrepancy and his office did not return a telephone call seeking clarification,” AP reports.

So it didn’t happen on the blue moon, but it was timed to happen on the blue moon. Really? Maybe the Sheriff (Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan) is a bigot as well as an idiot. Maybe he should revisit the West Memphis Three – 3 teenagers sent to prison for murder because they were outside the mainstream, not because they were really guilty. Maybe he just hates Wiccans.

Even if the killer was Wiccan, does not mean it is a ‘ritualistic murder.’ A hammer – the weapon used – is not a Wiccan ceremonial object. And are all killings by Christians ‘ritualistic Christian murders?’ Of course not. But it is still tough to be a religious minority in this country.

Treaty of Tripoli, November 4, 1796

Time to publicize this again. It keeps coming up because Christians don’t like to to believe it. Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796.

Surely this is a country founded on Christian principles. Well, the founders didn’t think so.

ARTICLE 11.

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

This treaty was negotiated during the end of George Washington’s administration and ratified by the Senate in 1797 – shortly after Washington retired from office.

There was disagreement then (and later) about the translation, but this was the language the Senate voted on.

It has been upsetting to Christians for 200 years, but there it is.

This country is founded on Enlightenment Principles. That and Democracy, which hails from ancient Greece. Oh, and the Representative form of government – where the smaller jurisdictions send representatives to the larger jurisdictions’ assemblies was mostly borrowed from one of the Native American nations. (Cherokee, I believe, but my memory isn’t what it used to be.)

If you doubt the Enlightenment connection, well all I can do is point you at the important documents. There is Locke, who wrote several treatises that outlined a just government. And I like to include De Tocqueville, who chronicled American Democracy in action in the 19th Century. (This obviously wasn’t the “basis” of anything, but it showed the results.) Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations should be included on the free market front. (“Capitalism” is a term coined by Karl Marx, in an effort to say that free markets are bad. He advocated dictatorship of the proletariat. “Capitalism” = Bad, “Communism” = Good. That is a term also coined by Marx and/or Engels.) You could also read Hobbes’ Leviathan, as that had some impact on the thinking of the time. He started the West thinking about individual rights, the “social contract” being the reason that we cooperate with one another, and the idea that people should be free to do what the law does not forbid.

If you are looking for a general introduction to Western thought, I like Six Great Ideas by Mortimer Adler. The six ideas are Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Liberty Equality and Justice. Seems like 6 things worth thinking about – the 3 ideas we judge by, and the 3 ideas we govern by.

Christianity, on the other hand, is bound up with stuff like “the divine right of kings,” and the like. The best thing the Founders did for us was to keep religion out of government. The zealots have been trying to put it back in ever since.

This is Why Religion Has No Place in Government

Bigotry is an ugly thing. Even when Christians practice it. Silent protest, boycott greet Wiccan priestess at Iowa House.

The Christians expect everyone to be civil and accepting when a Christian invocation is performed. But they can’t even show up or show a modicum of respect. Because you know, they are right and everyone else is wrong. (It says so in their book.)

If he were a member of the Iowa Legislature, Rep. Rob Taylor believes he would peacefully protest the morning prayer by a Wiccan priestess.

So the West Des Moines Republican turned his back Thursday and prayed silently as Cedar Rapids Cabot witch Deborah Maynard appealed to “god, goddess, universe, that which is greater than ourselves.”

He considers any religion he doesn’t know about/approve of a “demonic influence.” Way to promote tolerance in a diverse society Mr. Taylor.

About half the legislature just didn’t show.

So if they are so upset when a non-Christian gives a prayer, why don’t they just cancel the whole thing? Anyone could say their own prayers to their own gods on the way to the chamber and be done with it. But no, they wouldn’t go that far.

And just standing quietly by respecting other peoples’ beliefs is not what the Levant does.

A Musical Interlude in Honor of the Asatruar Building a Hof in Iceland

Odin with Hugin and Munin (the ravens) and Freki and Geri (the wolves)You may have heard earlier in the week that the pagans in Iceland are building their first temple in 1000 years. I don’t know why journalists can’t be bothered to get the names right, but it seems they can’t. And a Hof is more meeting house than temple, but I guess we have to let them slide.

Asatru (which probably should have an accent mark somewhere) is the religion of the Vikings, mostly. The Vikings were not the only ones who followed the Æsir.

The news coverage would have you believe that 1000 years ago, Iceland decided that it would be a good idea – from a business point of view – if they all became Christian. That is a comforting story, for the Christians, but the truth is a bit more complicated. They basically got a message, “Convert or Die,” from the Scandinavians. I must admit that my command of European history from that era is a bit lacking, but at a guess I would say that message came either form Olaf the First of Norway, or his son, Olaf Olafson, later Saint Olaf. (St. Olaf was known for cutting the tongues out of people who dared to sing the old songs.)

Anyway, religious freedom is the order of the day, and Asatru has come back to Iceland. So let’s enjoy a song by Krauka, a Danish folk/rock band with a Viking attitude. (It always makes me smile that while singing about Odin, they spend most of their time standing in front of a statue of Thor.)

Krauka – “Óðinn”

This song is a recitation of some of the many names (kennings) for Odin, lifted mostly from Snorri’s Edda. (A kenning is a descriptor used in place of a name, so Helblindi is Hel Blinder – Hel being both the name of a woman and the domain she rules.) Lyrics are after the break
Continue reading

The Air Force Recognizes the Asatruar

You can be excused for missing this story, since I can’t find a single article in the mainstream press about it. (I certainly missed it!) I can’t even find a conservative Christian rant on the subject, which is pretty amazing really. Guest Post: Air Force Adds Asatru and Heathen to Religious Preference List.

I used to cover minority religions quite a bit on this blog, because I think it says a lot about how the country views “the other.” (Icht Bien Ein Auslander!) The last time I covered the topic regularly was a few years back when the Wiccans were suing the Department of Veterans Affairs for the right to have the pentacle placed on grave markers and on cenotaphs. Well, that seems like it wasn’t the end of the story.

It seems that none of the regular services would recognize Asatru or Heathen members. As of July 29, 2014, the US Air Force does recognize them. And the amazing thing is, they were able to move that mountain without resorting to a law suit. (The Humanists had just sued the Air Force – and won.)

HammerOfThorThe Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard still do not recognize Asatru. The VA apparently already recognizes Heathen beliefs, as the Hammer of Thor (the most-used symbol) is available to be ordered on a grave marker.

The Air Force has been sued in recent years for making cadets attend Christian programs. Then they got beat up by the Christians when they designated an area for the Wiccans and other nature religions. (The Asatruar will have to speak for themselves, but my understanding is that although a lot of ceremonies happen outdoors, they do not practice a nature religion.)

Religious Freedom is supposed to be a cornerstone of our republic. But a lot of people only want that freedom for themselves and their friends. (They like to discount things like The Treaty of Tripoli – and in particular article 11 of that treaty – which was negotiated under George Washington’s administration, and sent to the Senate by John Adams’ administration. It was ratified by the Senate on the tenth of June 1797.)

If you don’t support freedom of speech for everyone, even the people who upset you, then you don’t support free speech. If you don’t support freedom of religion for all religions, then who is it that you want to suppress?

In an interesting coincidence, there is an article in Der Spiegle about why Germany has been (and remains) utterly incapable of prosecuting Nazi war criminals.

According to historian Andreas Eichmüller, of the 6,500 members of the SS who served in Auschwitz and survived the war, only 29 were convicted in West Germany and reunified Germany, while about 20 were convicted in East Germany.

How you treat people who are not exactly like you, matters. Maybe more than you think.

The State of Our Educational Institutions, or WTF?

This is the kind of thing you expect to see in the Onion. Student expelled for casting a spell | firstcoastnews.com.

An Oklahoma high school suspended a 15-year-old student after accusing her of casting a magic spell that caused a teacher to become sick, lawyers for the student said on Friday.

Aside from questions of freedom of religion – if the student was Wiccan (she isn’t, she’s Catholic) – what the F were these “professionals” thinking?

“I, for one, would like to see the so-called evidence this school has that a 15-year-old girl made a grown man sick by casting a magic spell,” [Joann Bell, executive director of the ACLU’s Oklahoma chapter] said.

And if the administration of that “school” really believes she can cast a spell and make someone sick, exactly how is sending her home going to make anyone safe? Is there a range on magic spells I am unaware of?”

I am not Wiccan, but tracking how Wicca and Wiccans are viewed in the culture is a pretty good indication of cultural tolerance. Or intolerance. Not to mention the general level of insanity in the culture. And in this part of Oklahoma, I would say that the level of tolerance is low, and the level of insanity is off the charts.

That’s Gonna Leave a Mark – A Politician Gets Schooled on the Origins of Christmas Customs

Evergreens and holly and mistletoe don’t have squat to do with Christianity. Here is a history lesson in the form of a smack-down. The Tyee – An 'Infidel' Writes: Dear Mr. Pallister, Since You Asked.

For example, when some ill-informed zealot tells me Jesus is “the reason for the season” it’s only generations of WASP-y repression preventing me from launching into a history lecture on the spot.

Sure it’s Canada, but it’s still fun.

Creationism Still an Issue – School in Ohio Considering It

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. Americans United Warns Ohio School Board To Keep Creationism Out Of Science Classes | Americans United.

Any public school contemplating teaching creationism might as well just hang up a giant banner that reads “Sue Us Now,’”said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United [for the Separation of Church and State].

The last school district to go up against Americans United. Lost. Had to pay Americans United 1 million dollars (attorneys fees), and everyone on the school board who voted for the Creationism insanity was voted out of office. (That last is actually surprising, but it seems Americans are finally starting to pay attention to how tax money is spent.)

Why Were They Even Wasting Taxpayers’ Money?

Oh, because Jesus told them too, no doubt. Missouri library agrees not to block witch websites : News.

The headline is a bit misleading. The girl who the suit was for, was trying to research Native-American spirituality. (I think the plaintiff has some Native-American heritage, but I can’t find that today…) Something that was forbidden by the powers-that-be (or think-they-are) in the Salem, Missouri library system. Guess what is the majority religion in Salem. (Hint: It is isn’t the worship of Freedom.)

“Even libraries that are required by federal law to install filtering software to block certain sexually explicit content should never use software to prevent patrons from learning about different cultures,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, in a prepared statement.

A lawyer for the library could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

The director of the library had previously refused to unblock certain sites, or only unblock the main page of each site. She then said she had a duty to report if people were going to “misuse information.” How exactly do you misuse information on minority religions?

Religious Freedom is supposed to be a cornerstone of this country. It would be nice if everybody thought so. Or at least acted like they believed it.

UPDATE: “Hunter was researching death and death rituals in minority religions in an effort to get more in touch with her Native American roots through spirituality”

Where is the Fox News Outrage?

Surely this is more insidious than a university having a religious-diversity policy. Wiccan inmates can sue to gain chaplain – SFGate.

This story hasn’t generated the vitriol I expected after the Tucker Carlson/University of Missouri kerfuffle of the last week or so. I mean this is a government agency having to change the way they spend money (maybe) on religion.

The appeals court told a federal judge in Fresno to determine whether the state prisons are unconstitutionally preferring majority religions over Wicca and other minority faiths without paid chaplains, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. The judge had dismissed the Chowchilla inmates’ lawsuit, a ruling the appeals court overturned Tuesday.

By some counts there are more Wiccans than Jews in CA jails, but there is a full-time, paid Jewish chaplain. Because hey, Judaism is just cooler in the eyes of the establishment (and folks like Tucker Carlson). The Appeals Court has said that may be distributing resources in a way that favors one religion over another. Neutral criteria are required.

As I said before, I am not Wiccan. But following how Wicca is treated (and other minority religions) is a pretty good indicator of the level of Freedom in the Land of the Free. The historical record isn’t good. And the recent record isn’t much better.

U Missouri and Religious Holidays: Wiccans 8, Christians 7, Jews 11

Fox News has been going on about how the University of Missouri has asked professors to be accommodating to religious groups. Fox is upset that one of the religious groups is Wicca. On Fox & Friends: Tucker Carlson Attacks Wiccans As Christianity Haters! – NewsHounds.

They talk endlessly about how many holidays the Wiccans have. But they don’t even have the most number of holidays.

And the guide published by the university never said to NOT schedule anything on these days, just to take it into consideration.

Perhaps Tucker Carlson thinks that major events should be scheduled during the Jewish High Holidays. (The University of Chicago did not start classes in the fall until AFTER the Jewish high holidays. Maybe Mr. Carlson has a problem with that. (It made the fall term pretty short, and spring term run very late, but what are you going to do when the faculty wouldn’t be available for a big part of 2 weeks?)

Fox News and Tucker Carlson aren’t upset about religious holidays; they are upset about Wicca. They are upset because it is no longer possible to cram Christianity down every non-Christian throat. Otherwise, they wouldn’t lie by omission. If they are upset only because Wicca has one more holiday than Christianity (as far as this UMissouri guide is concerned) why are they not upset about the extra 4 holidays the Jewish faith enjoys?

Minority Religions and 113th Congress

You find interesting things surfing the intertubes. I am often interested in how minority religions are treated in America. It is a reflection of how other minorities are treated. (Hint: the track record isn’t too good.) Historic Religious Firsts in the 113th U.S. Congress | The Wild Hunt.

This article is a profile of 3 new members of Congress: Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Mazie Hirono also of Hawaii and Representative Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona. Not one of them is Christian. Continue reading

Christians Distressed that Non-Christians Are in Congress

That is the basic beef. Tulsi Gabbard isn’t Christian. And so when she has a private swearing-in ceremony, she won’t be using a Christian text. What a shock! First Hindu Elected to U.S. Congress to Take Oath on Bhagavad Gita Instead of Bible.

Tulsi Gabbard, 31, a Democrat, won her bid for election in a heavily Democratic area of Hawaii earlier this month. Now, she will be representing Hawaii’s second district in Congress beginning in January.

She replaces the first Buddhist ever elected to Congress.

Gabbard served in the Hawaii state legislature, and after that tenure joined the Hawaii National Guard. She served in both Iraq and Kuwait.

But all of that isn’t good enough for the hard-core Christians. They don’t believe anyone but Christians should be elected. (Even Rick Santorum had bad things to say about Hinduism and Gabbard’s faith.) They just don’t get it.

There are no religious tests for public office. That is in the Constitution. (The Right LOVES the Constitution, except when it doesn’t.) And the idea that a state might elect an non-Christian, and even someone not tied to the Lavant, is just puzzling to them.

In response to Santorum’s disgusting statement, Gabbard responded with a little class.

“It is stunning that some people in Congress would so arrogantly thumb their nose at the Bill of Rights,” Gabbard wrote in response in a statement to the media. “When I volunteered to put my life on the line in defense of our country, no one asked me what my religion was.”

Actually, they may have asked, but that would only be so she could get religious support for her faith – assuming it was available – and the correct grave marker if it ever came to the point where she had to give her life for her country. But they wouldn’t ask to screen her out. And it is stupid of folks like Rick Santorum to say anything negative about her faith. Her faith isn’t the issue. (And as long as Republicans like Santorum think it should be the issue, they will probably continue to lose.)

Why Republicans Are Losing Ground – Hate Doesn’t Work

Hate is not winning elections. For a long time, Republicans could count on Hate and Fear to swing elections. But that time is past. If you didn’t read that in Tuesday’s outcome, you are missing something. Every anti-gay proposition was defeated, and the first open lesbian was elected to the Senate. Wisconsin's Baldwin becomes first openly gay senator – Chicago Tribune.

I don’t expect Republicans to learn anything from any of this.

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – Wisconsin Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin made history on Tuesday with her election to become the first openly gay U.S. Senator, defeating former Governor Tommy Thompson in the most expensive Senate race in state history.

Not too much of a surprise in Wisconsin that a Democrat won the Senate seat.

But it was a surprise in Indiana. Well, not so much after the Republican candidate said that he though rape – if it resulted in a pregnancy – was “God’s will.” Really? God willed violence against women? Interesting take on the divine.

Republicans INSIST this is a Christian country, and then are confused why the Jewish vote is strongly Democratic. Really? You can’t see it?

It is too bad really, because democracy works better when there is at least 2 parties, but I think the Republicans are heading the way of the Whigs…