Archive for December, 2013

This story got a lot of play about ten days ago, such that I saw it on a lot of websites, including WND. The story is brought to you by the words “Christian Love™” and “Equal Access to Public Accommodations/Businesses.” The idea is that the law in most states in the US states that a business that offers its services to the public cannot discriminate based on numerous things, including sexuality. But, Masterpiece Cake Shop, owned by Jack Phillips, in Lakewood, CO, did just that. And now, Judge Robert Spencer, has ruled that Mr. Phillips broke the law and cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation, despite his desire to because he’s a Christian and, well, Jesus.

Let’s get all the links out of the way now that you have that intro:

I’m sure you know what I think of this issue by this point. I will make one observation and then skip to the WND commentary. Fifty years ago, this happened with segregation in the southern United States. “Separate but Equal” was not equal. If you provide a public service, if you are a business open to the public, it was decided that you cannot discriminate based on the color of someone’s skin. Doing so in most places in the United States (or around the world) would be considered ridiculous, but fifty years ago, it was just a given, and in many cases it was based on someone’s interpretation of their religious text(s). To me, this is the exact same thing. Discriminating based on whether one likes to get frisky with a member of the opposite or same gender is discrimination, and if we have a non-discrimination law on the books, religion does not offer you a get-out-of-lawsuit-free card. Yes, you are a private business, but you offer a public service. And I think my thoughts on this have changed a bit over the last several months or years.

On the other had, if there isn’t a law on the books about it, then you’re free to discriminate. And the rest of us are free to point out what a bigot you are.

On the third hand, if you know that the baker, or the butcher, or the candlestick maker, or whomever else is a bigot but still required by law to serve you, why would you want to go to them? I’d be afraid of a drop of arsenic in my cake, or spittle. Or that my wedding photos would look like crap. Or my candlesticks would be mostly air.

All that in mind, we have WND. Which of course is against The Gay. There’s a reason that the baker, Mr. Phillips, is being (was being) interviewed by FOX “news” almost exclusively. Mr. Minor has started out his piece with, “Another judge has ruled homosexuals have a right not to be offended that supersedes First Amendment religious rights.” No, it’s not that we don’t have the right to not be offended (try reminding Christians of that these days), it’s that you are a business open to the public, you must comply with public anti-discrimination laws.

Meanwhile, Mr. Newcombe started out his story this way: “The ACLU is busy chipping away at religious freedom in our country again. They have successfully brought suit in the Denver area to force a Christian cake-maker to violate his own beliefs or face a fine. This story is becoming increasingly common, where a Christian baker, florist or photographer in good conscience cannot support the homosexual lifestyle. Yet the authorities are forcing them to violate their conscience or lose their livelihood.”

The first WND story has 29 ratings (4.07/5 stars) but a massive 656 comments. The latter has 10 ratings (4.10/5 stars) and a relatively minuscule 31 comments. I’m not going to bother with the first one’s comments, they’re what you’d predict. We can just look at the top-rated one (23 up, 0 down votes) by “Cahal the Mad™” to get a sampling: “No made up “civil rights/gay rights” will ever trump the Constitution The so-called “judge” is a leftist hack who is in violation. Watch how much support gays get now, when people see that their own rights are meaningless when compared to the ultra-selfish whining of hate-filled homos.”

Okay, now that that’s over with, what’s fascinating is the second one. It, as with another post I recently did, seems to have been hijacked by normal people. Take “Patrick” who has the highest-rated comment with 4 up-votes and 0 down-votes:

I think you’d set a very dangerous precedent by accepting this man’s argument. It would basically exempt anyone from any law just because their religion said they didn’t have to listen to it. There’s already the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which just started as a joke. If we let anyone ignore any law regulating commerce, how long would it be until the Church of No Taxes sprung up?

“Jack” has the second-highest with 3 up and 1 down vote:

It’s very simple, Jerry. Colorado law doesn’t allow businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation: “It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or a group, because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.”

So Phillips can either do business with the public or he can refuse to serve gay customers. He cannot do both. Religious beliefs don’t give someone license to ignore the law, no matter how loud a tantrum he throws.

Just curious: would you have the same reaction if a baker who was religiously opposed to heterosexuality refused to bake a wedding cake for a straight couple?

Every other comment but three are in response to him. I will end this lengthy report with the last comment (“girl” with no votes) and response (“Andrew Patton” with 1 up and 0 down votes):

“He can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck. … If Jack can’t make wedding cakes he can’t continue to support his family.”
What a whiny little ***! “If I can’t cheat at CandyLand I’m just going to flip the board and go home and cry – and YOU should feel about trying to make play by the rules!”

We Christians do not whine, but we will assert our rights. We have the right to work to support our families, and we have the right to obey our God without the State interfering. If the State violates our rights, we will defy the State even to the death, for it is not only our right but our duty to do so.

Why end with that? Because I love that statement about how “Christians do not whine.” Read probably half the posts on this site and you’ll see Christians whining. Or, well, even this post!

Edited to Add (January 23, 2014): WND keeps the story alive, this time with a post by its anti-gay anchor, Bob Unruh: “State ‘Imposing’ Its ‘Gay’ Beliefs on Cake Artist.”

Edited to Add (June 16, 2014): Perhaps we’ve seen the end of this case, for Jack Phillips was found in violation of the anti-discrimination rules by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and on June 1, 2014, WND put out a story copied from CBS News: “Colorado Baker to Stop Making Wedding Cakes.” And, two days earlier (but for some reason later in my archive), on May 30, Bob Unruh wrote: “Christian Baker Ordered to Endorse Same-Sex ‘Wedding.'”


I was surprised when I saw this World Net Daily story, “Phenomenon Throws Twist Into Age of Earth.” Why? Because it seemed familiar and yet old at the same time. Searching back through my archives, I found this post from Eye on ICR, “Not Enough Lightning Strikes.” Except, that blog post was from November 15, 2013, while WND’s Bob Unruh’s story was from December 8, 2013.

What Mr. Unruh wants to say is this:

Two South African research scientists have documented a phenomenon that indicates a particular type of soil erosion might have taken place in a split second rather than eons, as mainstream scientists have believed.

The conclusion could upset widely accepted estimates for the age of the Earth. […]

Brian Thomas, the science writer for the Institute for Creation Research, said the new research findings make “earth’s old age assignment even less credible.”

Most scientists long have estimated the earth is more than 4 billion years old, while many who believe the Genesis account of creation took place in a literal six days believe it’s only thousands of years old.

The finding that lightning can accomplish in a millisecond what previously was thought to take generations calls into question “old age assignments for earth’s land features,” Thomas wrote.

After the ellipse, the second part of what I quoted, is where Bob is directly citing the Institute for Creation Research for his conclusion. Which is why it reminded me of the Eye on ICR post from a month ago. Which completely eviscerates Thomas’s and hence Unruh’s claims. The crux of it has to do with erosion rates, which themselves are an incredibly stupid way to estimate the age of Earth (as opposed to estimate the age of a young landform). In fact, I addressed this myself back in 2011. But, while I’ve “debunked” WND stories before on this blog, I’m a bit tired and think I’ll just leave it to you to check out Eye on ICR‘s post, or just read on for WND’s reaction.

And, there were a lot. Of the stories that I accumulated over the last month and have been putting out at a pace of four per day, this one has the most number of ratings (649, for an average of 4.52/5 stars), and there are 606 comments. And, they are what you’d expect, highly religious, highly creationist-ic. And the very top-rated comment, by “normanramsey” with 20 up and 0 down votes, is directly relevant to what I put up a few posts ago: “As my first science teacher taught me years ago, all science is assumption based. If you change your assumptions your reading of the facts change as well.”

“Nunya” has 34 up and 2 down votes (which somehow ranks it lower than 20 up and 0 down?): “More scientific evidence of God that the atheists can ignore. Nothing to see here.”

I don’t really think it’s worth quoting much more.

This is another story that I think is better told by The Friendly Atheist and then going to WND for commentary. Otherwise, you lose the important context. Here are the three TFA posts that are relevant, from December 4 and 10, 2013:

Let’s review the basics: In the USA, the First Amendment to the US Constitution requires that the government remain religiously neutral, that they cannot establish or hold one religion above another. Of course, many Christians think that this is just a wink-wink-nudge-nudge that THEIR religion DOES get special treatment, and that no others may be held equal to or above it. But, what the First Amendment means, and what it has been time-and-again held to require by the court system, is that when one religion has a favored position, other religions MUST be allowed to have the same type of position, in equal prominence.

So right now, we have:

The Satanic Temple, an established New York City-based religious organization, has offered to donate a public monument to Oklahoma’s Capitol Preservation Commission for display upon Oklahoma City’s capitol grounds. Described as an “homage” to Satan, the purpose of the monument is to complement and contrast the Ten Commandments monument that already resides on the North side of the building. The donation offer has been submitted and is currently awaiting the commission’s reply.

Ten Commandments Outside the Oklahoma Capitol

Ten Commandments Outside the Oklahoma Capitol

TFA has an interview with the Satanic Temple at that first link, and I recommend reading it if you’re interested in this. In the second article, we have this:

A week after the Satanic Temple said they wanted to put up a monument outside the Oklahoma Capitol building (in response to a Ten Commandments monument already on the grounds), a Hindu group is following in their footsteps. […]

The lawmakers in Oklahoma brought this upon themselves. If they wanted a Christian monument, they should’ve known that others would ask for representation of their religious beliefs, too. I guess they didn’t anticipate that the requests would come from normally silent groups.

Moving on, I highly recommend reading the last in the list of TFA posts. I’ll quote just a bit that I liked the most:

When a Christian display is allowed on government property, you might as well take advantage of the floodgates being open and demand a display of your own. Along the way, if legislators decide to ban religious and non-religious displays altogether, that’s just too damn bad… and if they ban your display, it’s an easy victory in court.

Oklahoma legislators are aware that the Satanists want to erect their own monument and they have no clue how to respond, so they’re just putting their collective foot in their mouth and crying “Christian privilege!” left and right:

“This is a faith-based nation and a faith-based state,” said Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville. “I think it is very offensive they would contemplate or even have this kind of conversation.”

Yes, how dare non-Christian groups contemplate using their First Amendment rights?! It’s totally a faith-based nation… even though nearly 20% of Americans use no religious label and even though our Constitution says it wouldn’t matter if 100% of them did. […]

“It is not going to get approved here without a court battle,” said Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove. “I can assure you.”

… a statement no politician has ever said to a Christian group wanting to put a Ten Commandments monument.

“I am somewhat disappointed we are facing this sort of thing,” said Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa. “We sort of knew this might happen. I know nothing of about this group. I have never heard of them. I think we opened the door and have to have a process to have it vetted.”

That may be the worst one of them all. We sort of figured other groups might want to take advantage of this opportunity, but I just can’t believe any of them actually did!

The story is almost good enough on its own, but this is the “WND Watch” blog, so what does World Net Daily think about it? They ended up doing two posts on the subject, but they were only the normal three-paragraph clips from other sources. The first was on December 8 from The Guardian, and the second was from ABC News and was posted on December 10: “Satanists Plan Statue Next to Ten Commandments,” and “Satanic Monument to Have Interactive Display for Kids?” The first has received 7 ratings (4.43/5) and 29 comments, and the second has garnered 5 ratings (3.80/5) and 17 comments.

Very, very surprisingly, the top-rated comment on the first post is by “American Standard” who got 19 up-votes and zero down-votes: “If you want faith in the public square you have to be prepared to accept all faiths in it.” What is a sane, reasonable, and competent comment doing on WND … and what is it doing as the highest-rated comment!? I’m actually thinking that the post was linked to on some popular atheist-leaning blog considering that all the top-rated comments are along this line.

We have to go down to comments like from “kingdad” with only 2 up-votes before typical WND thoughts start to come through: “I guess they might have the Right to do this, but that doesn’t make it right.
I would suggest the re-enactment of the opening Moments of the “Simpsons” Show where the two young men are disfiguring the “Big-uns” Statue. I’m sure such a lawless act of vandalism might be overlooked in this case. Since it is for the Public Good. That or a nightly egg toss to help decorate that Statue.”

Or, a comment from “Pi10107” with 2 up-votes: “I’m praying that lightning will strike the Satanists monument shattering it into tiny particles while leaving the Ten Commandments completely untouched.” And yet, the top-rated response to him was 7 up-votes and 1 down-vote, by “Shermer” who wrote, “I think you will be disappointed, but please keep us updated.”

On the second WND post, however, we get the typical WND thinking. “kingdad,” for example, has the highest-rated comment with 8 up-votes and 0 down: “Just another Satanic Object for Happy Pigeons to poop on! Dog’s to pee on! and People to Vandalize! Those Satanist will have to work overtime to keep that monument even standing much less free from fecal matter.”

Edited to Add (December 21, 2013): Another TFA post, pointing out that Oklahoma State Capitol officials have called a moratorium on all additional monuments. As Hemant put it, “we’re not saying yes or no to any of these other monuments because we’re already dealing with a lawsuit from the first one.” Though, “It’s interesting how the moratorium was declared now, even though the ACLU’s lawsuit was filed on August 20.”

Edited to Add (January 8, 2014): In “Satan Statue Unveiled for Oklahoma,” WND updates its readers.

I was attempting to come up with some sort of pithy, intelligent title for this very short post, but in the end, anal probing was all I could think of. The story is, “Same-Sex Weddings 17% of Washington Marriages.” Because if you don’t let a sub-group of people do something that everyone else can do, and then you let them, they will form a disproportionate number who do that for awhile.

I didn’t plan on doing a post about this very poorly-read WND story (2 ratings, 3.00/5 average; 5 comments). But some of the comments just struck me as, “Hmm … maybe THAT’S what they’re afraid of with respect to The Gay.”

Of the five comments, two of them follow this vein. First is “rbtark62” who wrote, “If you drop a quarter, your safer to just leave it rather than bending over to pick it up.” And he also wrote, “Don’t bend over in Washington should be a traveler advisory.”

Is that the issue? Are homophobes just afraid that they are so attractive and their butts so inviting that if gays can get married, then logically they’re just going to grab you and “probe” your butt? Really?

The story from December 7, 2013, comes from the Associated Press, and it’s one that I think is generally true, but one that is SO easily misinterpreted: “Nobel Winner: Scientists Wrong Most of the Time.” I’ll quote the three paragraphs that WND did:

One of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates says learning how to handle failure is key to becoming a successful scientist.

American James Rothman, who shared the medicine prize with countryman Randy Schekman and German-American Thomas Sudhof, said Friday that doing scientific research almost always means not getting the desired result.

The difference between “a great scientist and a not-so-lucky one,” Rothman, told reporters and students in Stockholm, is the former fails 99 percent of the time, and the latter 99.9 percent.

This is how science works! You get an idea, you test it, and if your test shows your idea was wrong, you suck it up and move on. It’s of course the opposite of how religion works (as a gratuitous comparison — but, this is my blog), where you get an idea, and you check to see if it agrees with the Bible, and if it does then your idea is right.

The problem with a blunt, blanket statement like this is that most people do not understand the process, and a statement like this is very easily misinterpreted. It’s not that 99.0 or 99.9% of scientific theories are wrong (those things that are tested over and over and over again and only when every single test has failed to falsify them are they considered a “theory”), it’s that 99.0-99.9% of hypotheses are wrong (those initial ideas).

Of course, of the two ratings (5.00/5 stars) and 17 comments on WND to this article, the WND readers do not fail to ignore this subtle difference. “bluesky” with 6 up-vote and 0 down-votes epitomizes it:

Let’s see, global warming, evolution, the sun revolves around the earth. Around, and around it goes, where it stops nobody knows. Some times these people are to smart for their own good. They over think things.

Or “kingdad” with 5 up and 0 down-votes:

Seems like the gentlemen has met with many Global Warming types. Since the failure rate there has been 100% so far. Then there are the rest of the pseudo-sciences and their so-called scientists.

This is why we need better science popularizers and better scientific literacy.

In a link to an Associated Press article, WND posted on December 7, “Obama Offers 30-Year Eagle-Killing Permits.”

I admit that the image in my head was of former governor, former VP candidate Sarah Palin now not going elk hunting in her helicopter, but going eagle hunting.

This visage in my head is because, typically, I read and hear about how conservatives are against any hunting restrictions, are against wildlife protection, want to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency, and think it’s insane that if you kill an animal on your property that’s threatening you, it is you who could be doing something illegal and could be punished. That’s what you typically hear about, right?

This story is about President Obama’s administration granting permits to some startups that want to make wind farms to generate electricity, but those startups are afraid to do so because of the danger of killing a bald or golden eagle that may fly into the blades. The illegality of killing those eagles makes many balk at trying to start it up, because lawyer fees may cost as much as the equipment (maybe? — you get the idea). This permitting process is meant to ease that so more will be encouraged to make these wind farms.

It seems like a win-win from my point of view between the small (but growing) wind power industry and conservative ideas in the sense of easing restrictions on killing wildlife accidentally. Environmentalists, won’t be happy, but that’s a third party that WND certainly doesn’t care about in this story.

What I don’t understand is why WND readers are so ticked about this. The story does only have 3 ratings (3.67/5 stars) and 14 comments. The highest-rated is “Tosheba” with 10 up and 0 down: “Oh, man, this dude is dangerous.” “Looking4Sanity” (who won’t find it on WND) responded with, “The worst is yet to come. Brace yourself.” That person got 8 up votes and 0 down. Other comments are similar but longer.

I seriously do not understand this. It it that bald eagles are different because they are the national bird? Then what about the golden eagle permit? Or, is it as I proposed that they really would be for this if anyone except President Obama had been the one to authorize it?

The sub-heading is, “Exclusive: Matt Barber spotlights threats made in response to assaults by topless lesbians.”

Okay, I know I just did a post about The Onion. I also just did a post about Todd Starnes and, effectively, faking a news story. I fully recognize that this may seem like my attempt to “punk” you, the reader. It isn’t. You can go read the WND story for yourself: “Blogging ‘Gays’ Urge Murder, Castration of Christians.”

At issue is Matt Barber, an all-’round jerk and one of the big ‘uns in the religious conservative anti-homosexuality movement. He is the spokesperson for the Liberty Council.

At issue is that a prominent gay blogger, “Joe.My.God” by Joe Jervis, wrote a quick post awhile back about an abortion rights rally in Argentina where feminists (note that feminist ≠ lesbian, though I would be surprised if many lesbians are not feminists) “spat upon and sprayed paint into the faces of Catholic men outside a cathedral.” JMG, since his blog is widely read, got a lot of comments. He does not moderate comments, but he does tend to skim them to look for clear crazies and threats, and he removes them and will look at those that readers flag.

Matt Barber apparently reads the JMG blog, and he found some comments that were, well, “unkind.” Matt Barber explained:

Jervis, who’s [sic] blog has a long history of anti-Christian extremism and violence-charged rhetoric, nonetheless permitted several of his regular posters to not only condone the feminist attacks, but to illegally call for a steep escalation in anti-Christian violence in general (up to and including church bombings, and both the castration and even murder of Christians in the U.S.).

Barber complained for several paragraphs, and then he concluded with:

Will GLADD now publicly disavow Joe Jervis for allowing (and perhaps tacitly condoning) such violent (and very likely illegal) rhetoric? Will this self-styled “anti-defamation” group rescind its “Outstanding Blog” award?

Don’t hold your breath.

Even still, a bigger question remains: Will federal authorities investigate these threats? If it were Christians threatening “gays,” Eric Holder himself would kick-in the door with MSNBC in tow. Every newspaper in America would give it above-the-fold coverage.

But it wasn’t Christians threatening “gays.” It was “gays” threatening Christians.

And that just doesn’t fit the false “gay victimhood” narrative.

Now, if one were objective and completely ignorant of World Net Daily and Matt Barber, they may think this is a little blown out of proportion, but it is still uncalled for on the part of the Bad Gayz. That is, of course, if one is ignorant of WND and Matt Barber. If you read this blog, you are not. If you read JMG, then perhaps you say the next paragraph in the story:

The almost-hilarious hypocrisy here, of course, is that anybody who has EVER endured five minutes on WND knows that they not only allow their own commenters to advocate for the death penalty for homosexuals and that they cheer on violent anti-gay hate crimes, WND columnists themselves have called for executing people who oppose the Christianist agenda, as, for example, when WND’s Erik Rush did last year when he declared that journalists should be executed after Mitt Romney won the election. Erik Rush: “Trials for treason and the requisite sentences would apply, and I would have no qualms about seeing such sentences executed, no matter how severe.” Earlier this year WND’s Erik Rush declared that all Muslims should be murdered and underscored that sentiment with this tweet: “Yes, they’re evil. Kill them all.” And just last week WND’s Erik Rush called for the execution of the president of the United States.

Yeah. Hypocrisy? I think so. Cognitive dissonance even? Perhaps.

Being responsible, Joe took down the original blog post so that the offensive comments would not be there. Thus, really, doing what Matt wanted in the first place and censoring them. Which, of course, Matt complained about:

UPDATE: Barber is pissed that I’ve blocked his link by taking down my post. Needless to say, if my post was still up, he’d be tweeting “Militant gay refuses to take down post.” SNORK!

(By the way, all those quotes and images are from the JMG story about this.)

Joe, on his post about this, at this time has 415 comments. “Oscarlating Wildely” has the top-rated comment with 135 up-votes and 0 down-votes:

If Mr. Barber wants a quotation, he is welcome to quote me:

Dear Sir,

Bite me.

With love,
One of the thousands of Queers that you and your ilk attempt to frighten, bully, intimidate, and harass into solitude, suicide, and back into the closet. We’re not going anywhere, Matt.

Oh, and by the way, we’re winning.

Matt Barber’s column on WND has gotten 51 ratings (2.57/5 average). It has gotten only 210 comments — while that’s a lot relative to the recent posts I’ve done, that’s just over half as many as Joe got on his post. And, the top-rated only has 11 up-votes and 0 down-votes, and it’s by “Deborahreed”: “It is truly a barbaric society that slaughters its unborn children and profanes the act designed to create them. As the culture of our country, and the world, descends into darkness and chaos, the separating of sheep and goats is accelerating. “Test everything. Hold onto the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 21-22″ Fairly vague, but I’m assuming she is talking about a general moral decline because of The Gay.

Because of the huge amount of coverage on Joe’s blog, many of the normal WND readers’ comments got into a voting war and were down-voted. Many of the more highly rated comments are actually pro-equality rather than not, though here’s a taste of the more highly rated anti-gay ones, by “rationalist”, with 11 up and 2 down votes:

Here’s what the gay rights agenda is really about…

Demanding tolerance gave way to demanding recognition which gave way to demanding equality which is now giving way to demanding superiority.

So much for the Stonewall excuse that all they wanted was to be “left alone”…

Gay fascists won’t be satisfied until they’ve silenced every opposition – especially true born again Bible believing Christians…

Examine evidence where Christianity is being intimidated through bullying, threats, intimidation, laws or lawsuits – Christian business owners who are approached by gay couples trying to force them into compromising their beliefs and then suing them when they won’t…gays picketing churches who’s ministers preach that homosexuality is a sin – does that sound like “tolerance” ?

It’s happening more and more – so it’s not just about marriage equality anymore –

it’s about eradicating any ideology that disagrees with homosexuality.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Gotta love how they seem to need to quote Bible verses in order to make their point.

Edited to Add (December 19, 2013): I had this in my queue, but in the wrong place, so here’s another post on JMG that shows Matt Barber posting the story “across Teabagistan” and that Joe is “still waiting on that visit from Eric Holder.”