Joy. Oh joy oh joy oh joy

It’s not bad enough that St. Louis in August is characterized by hot, muggy days, with lousy air quality.

It’s not bad enough that we’ve just had our first human case of West Nile Virus in the county, and that the dangerous tick alert is still ongoing.

It’s not terrible enough that the dog days of summer in St. Louis make you want to embrace the cat and kill the pooch.

No, no, it becomes worse.

The National Federation of Republican Assemblies is being hosted here, this upcoming weekend. The event’s tag line?

“Show me your Values”

I can just hear the opening statement now: This here meetin’ of the white trailer park trash of the south is now come together. Anyone around you not waving a cute, little American flag is a godless, commie, liberal, no good spy. Shoot ‘em.”

But wait…it gets even more worse…worser…whatever.

What are the ‘beliefs’ behind this organization?

That all political power and influence should flow from the grass roots upward.

That all human rights are granted by God, not government and that government exists primarily to protect the God-given rights of its citizens.

That the Constitution was written by wise men under the inspiration of God and that the original intent of the Founders is as valid and binding today as it was in their day.

That the Constitution was written to govern a moral and religious people and it is being destroyed by those who are neither.

That the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. That sacred right extends to all persons regardless of age or infirmity and also would not allow for euthanasia, assisted suicide, or public funding for any of these practices.

That the traditional family is the foundation and cornerstone of our society and we will oppose any attempt to undermine or redefine the family unit.

That the founders never intended to separate God from government but did intend to prevent government from establishing a single state religion or inhibiting the citizen’s right to the free exercise of religion in any setting, public or private.

That free market capitalism is the only economic system that creates the opportunities and incentives that will allow maximum productivity and prosperity for its citizens. It is the necessary partner of political freedom.

In the necessity of national sovereignty, we also consider it crucial to return to appropriate state sovereignty under the 10th amendment.

Yes, let’s forget separation of church and state. Tedious thing being tolerant, idna it?

Let’s forget the fact that the ‘traditional’ family in the country typically consists of a single or divorced parent, trying to raise kids with, or without help, from the spouse no longer living at home.

Let’s forget that capitalism and the ‘free market system’ has brought us Enron, big tobacco and drug companies, and health insurance that costs too much and covers too little.

Let’s also forget that most serial murders in this country are typically committed by Christians, so are most lynchings and beatings, and that no war has ever been caused by an atheist. In fact, I can’t think of one single negative act ever committed in the name of atheism in this country. So as the whole ‘moral’ thing goes, the religious suck at it.

But it’s in the principles that you see the real purpose behind such a group: it’s all about taxes and support for capitalism, and a Darwinian survival of the economic fittest that would bring down the house. Oh, and claiming our ‘god given right’ to beat the crap out of other countries. Well, other countries that have something we want, that is.

Such noble spirits. Such statements of openness and generosity. Why I feel like I’ve just walked into a cramped, dusty, and dark closet when I read sentiments such as these.

Makes me wonder about the Presidential candidates, though. They’ll allow themselves to be associated with racist, ignorant, self-serving po’dunks, like the people in NFRA, but they won’t answer questions from YouTube. I mean, no matter how many potential “Romney girls” or men in white hoods get thrown at the GOPers, it has to be better than lunch with Phyllis Schafly.

Yes, that’s the topping on this little overbaked cake: Phyllis Schafly is keynote speaker. Why, I feel like donning my apron and running right on down, if My Man will let me. After all, I just love Phyllis, I really do; almost as much as Tom DeLay who is also attending.

Oh, rapture! And did you dig the cute little RINO hunter thing? I love it, I really do. The more groups like this shoot down moderate Republicans, the more Democrats win office. Hallelujah and pass the ammo!

You’d think that people in the Lou would have enough problems, what with the heat, the humidity, bugs, and smog — but Phyllis Schafly, Tom DeLay, tossed together with generous servings of self-interest, greed, bigotry, and the smallest minds found anywhere outside of the Shuars in Ecuador and Peru–well, it’s more than a people should be expected to bear.

The only redeeming thing about all of this? You all lost the Republican Party the Congressional vote in 2006, cupcakes. And you’re going to help the Party lose the Presidential race in 2008, too.

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36 Responses to Joy. Oh joy oh joy oh joy

  1. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Tolerance

  2. “HOOOYAA!!
    kin i park the winnebago in yer driveway? jest ta show ya i aint no freeloder or commie, I bring ya a coonskin hat and a black velvet pitcher of our presidint fer yor wall.
    hell I will sweeten the pot and bring my cusin leroy along for some courtin and sparkin too. settle you right down, an mebbe we can become kin!

    How sure are you that the Arch in St. Louis isn’t a NSA microwave mind control transmitter?

  3. Shelley says:

    Typically I would never lash out at a group for it’s ‘religious beliefs’ but this is the worst of America. This is racist, sexist, and bigoted, all rolled up into one. And it’s going to be in St. Lou,

    I feel unclean.

  4. Not tolerating Intolerance will make some people’s heads explode, true. This isn’t any different in principle from the great GPL vs. BSD flamewars, in which some folks asserted that restricting the ability to restrict the freedoms of others is itself a restriction.

    Well, DUH.

    The point is that it is the minimal necessary restriction to ensure the broadest freedom for users.

    Just as being intolerant of intolerance is the minimal social restraint necessary to ensure the broadest freedom of thought for all citizens.

    The world is going to see a lot more of these boundary debates in this century around such issues as free speech, religious freedom, cultural ethnicity and assimilation, self-determination, community integrity, and minority rights, so I would recommend that folks become a lot more familiar with the contours of these arguments.

  5. Ed says:

    I didn’t follow all of the references as I’m not so familiar with US politics but, as far as I can see, Shelley didn’t say anything I’d see as intolerant. She argued for a point of view in a fairly sarcastic and inflamatory way and expressed contempt for certain people but that’s not intolerance; at worst it might be considered rude by somebody who didn’t share her views, I suppose. In particular, it should be noted that she didn’t argue for any coercion against anybody.

    Having a fair, objective, and permissive attitude to something doesn’t mean you can’t criticize it, gently or forcefully.

  6. Zo says:

    “Show me your Values” … Isn’t that the line in “Girls Gone Wild”? I swear it is …!

  7. jd says:

    Good on you, Shelley, for calling out the hate-mongers & racists, the miserable nativist bastards who have turned the American democratic experiment inside out.

    I know you are supposed to write about tech & I am supposed to write about poetry, but the times call to us to speak out. Courage, sister.

  8. Shelley says:

    Ah well, sometimes I think I’m a three dimensional, multi-faceted person. Usually a good night’s sleep takes care of it.

    Anyone up for a RINO hunt this weekend?

  9. James Snell says:

    Ed: Shelley’s post was neither fair, objective or permissive and I think she’d agree… mainly because she wasn’t in any way trying to be fair, objective or permissive. As far as I’m concerned, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a political, philosophical and religious bigot so long as you’re completely honest about it.

  10. James, since she was being an anti-bigotry bigot, she should be commended rather than chastised. Even as mildly as you are doing so.

  11. James Snell says:

    Hmm.. I guess the anti-Christian bigotry kind of obscured the anti-bigotry bigotry; but then again, I fully understand that many folks consider those to be one and the same. Nevertheless, I reserve my God-given right to mildly chastise anyone at anytime for any reason.

  12. Ethan says:

    Nevertheless, I reserve my God-given right to mildly chastise anyone at anytime for any reason.

    Have you filed a 27B-stroke-6? I’m afraid I’m a bit of a stickler for paperwork. :-)

  13. Shelley says:

    Anti-Christian bigotry?

  14. Phil says:

    Well, there are Christians and then there are Christianists. (Or, there’s Christianity and then there’s Christiness…)

  15. James Snell says:

    Shelley: I was referring to the entire “serial killer” paragraph.

  16. Shelley says:

    “Shelley: I was referring to the entire “serial killer” paragraph.”

    Anti-Christian bigotry?

  17. Doug Alder says:

    James – it’s not bigotry when it’s true.

    Well said Shelley – St. Louis has my sympathies.

  18. James, I didn’t see anything Anti-Christian. Perhaps Anti-Bigoted-Christian, or Anti-Hypocrite-Christian…

    That said, I do understand that when Christianity is being used as the major justification for the bigotry or hypocrisy in question, that at first glance criticism of the bigotry or hypocrisy can be superficially similar to criticism of Christianity per-se, but really, it’s not that hard to distinguish between the two.

    Note: Edited slightly for clarity.

  19. Pingback: Doug’s Dynamic Drivel » Quote of the day

  20. James Snell says:

    Doug: “Bigotry” has nothing to do with the veracity of a statement and everything to do with an unwillingness to be tolerant of a differing point of view. For instance, Shelley’s comment about no war ever being caused by an atheist is a bigoted statement in favor of atheism regardless of whether it is true or not.

  21. Sam Ruby says:

    James, I beg to differ. Consider the following statements:

    No green dogs have fleas.

    Some purple dogs have fleas.

    Only purple dogs have fleas.

    All purple dogs have fleas.

    I avoid purple dogs as I don’t want to get fleas.

    Let’s assume for the moment that the first two are true. As you point out this argument isn’t about truthiness, it is about prejudice and bigotry. Neither statement are prejudicial or bigoted.

    The third statement may follow from the first two, but it is neither prejudicial nor bigoted. A person with a purple dog may find the statement to be unpleasant.

    The fourth statement does not follow from the first two and is prejudicial in that it jumps to a conclusion (judges) before (pre) obtaining all the necessary facts. But it isn’t bigoted as it isn’t intolerant. A person with a purple dog will likely find the statement to be unpleasant.

    The last statement is a bigoted and prejudicial and represents an overreaction to the first two. This statement is not of the same form as the one that Shelley made.

    Even if you find the comment about no war ever being caused by an atheist to be both unpleasant and untrue, doesn’t make it intolerant. (I realize that you didn’t say it was untrue, I’m just reinforcing your statement that intolerance is orthogonal to truth).

    You can, however, make a good case that such statements are inflammatory. Far be it for somebody who associates herself with the online persona of “burning bird” to make inflammatory statements.

    I presume that Shelley is aware that there are people of faith in St. Louis. I also presume that Shelly co-exist peacefully with the bulk of them. But a small percentage of people with faith use their faith to support their intolerant views. (Similar statements can be made about atheists, though the percentages may be different).

    In this case, Shelley has identified specific people as being of the religious right and furthermore, and not by mere implication but by the explicit platform that they put forward, have demonstrated that they use their faith to justify views that are both prejudicial and intolerant.

    No statements to the effect that “some people of faith are tolerant” changes the above fact.

  22. Sam, bravo. Your comment is a model of clarity. Thanks.

    James, I’ve said this several different ways, but I’ll try again: a “willingness to be tolerant of a differing point of view” as you put it does not require tolerance of an intolerant POV. It just doesn’t. In fact, as a tolerance-maximizing strategy, demonizing the intolerant works rather well.

  23. Shelley says:

    I can’t add much to what Sam and others have said here, James.

    There are some views, some statements, I can never be ‘tolerant’ of. The most I can do is support their right to say their crap, to live their lives as they wish, to believe as they want — all freedoms they would like nothing more than to deny to others.

  24. James Snell says:

    Hey Sam,

    First off, I just have to say that I love conversations like this ;-)

    Here’s another way of looking at it:

    I have a particular world view.
    That world view causes me to interpret and judge things in a particular way.
    In particular, I have come to the conclusion, for a variety of reasons, that religion is generally a negative and that those who are “religious” are generally hypocritical and dishonest, and likely dangerous.
    It is unlikely that anything will change this conclusion.

    By definition that is a bigoted point of view. Now, please in mind that I am not using the term in a derogatory sense. Also keep in mind, as I mentioned, that I’m talking about only a single paragraph in Shelley’s post (I’ve got no problems at all with the rest of it).

    Let’s look at the statements:

    Let’s also forget that most serial murders in this country are typically committed by Christians, so are most lynchings and beatings

    It may be true that most serial murders in this country are typically committed by people who claim to be Christians; however, people can claim to be lots of things that they are not. It’s also true that most (all?) serial murders in this country are typically committed by people with serious mental illnesses that have absolutely nothing to do with religion. Shelley’s statement is a gross oversimplification of the facts that leads one to a specific prejudged conclusion about Christians and Christianity in general. For me, this is generally equivalent to the “I avoid purple dogs as I don’t want to get fleas” statement.

    …no war has ever been caused by an atheist In fact, I can’t think of one single negative act ever committed in the name of atheism in this country

    Let’s look at it a bit differently. In my immediate neighborhood, there is a fairly decent mix of nationalities. As far as I know, no crimes have ever been committed in this neighborhood by the Caucasian residents, in fact, I can’t think of a single negative act ever committed by a Caucasian in this neighborhood. Most of the crimes that are committed around here are by Hispanics; so as far are the whole law-abiding thing goes, the Hispanics suck at it.

    Now, of course, this is just illustrative and completely untrue but how does that statement come across? Regardless of truth. It simply does not matter what else is being said or why, that one statement is not just unpleasant, it is prejudicial and completely unnecessary.

    I am all for pointing out hypocrisy. Heck, I’m a middle-class, white heterosexual male who attends church regularly and typically votes republican and I generally can’t stand the overwhelming majority of these organizations due to their overly dogmatic and intolerant point of view. I have absolutely no problem with Shelley’s criticism. The only issue I have is that I think that one paragraph was entirely unnecessary within the context of the larger discussion.

  25. Shelley says:

    I’d say from this discussion that the one paragraph was absolutely essential.

  26. James Snell says:

    I’d say from this discussion that the one paragraph was absolutely essential.


  27. Sam Ruby says:

    In particular, I have come to the conclusion, for a variety of reasons, that religion is generally a negative and that those who are “religious” are generally hypocritical and dishonest, and likely dangerous.

    I’d suggest that you came into this discussion with that expectation (prejudice), read Shelley’s words in a way that reinforced your preconceived notions, and then condemned Shelley for the conclusion you came to.

    I will suggest that an open mind would see that there is an alternative point of view, fully consistent the facts; namely that Shelley finds some people who are “religious” to be absolutely awesome (I note that from time to time AKMA peeks into these parts, perhaps he would do), and some are… well, let’s just say somewhat less so. Many of those in the latter category use their professed faith in ways that are somewhat exploitative and duplicitous. Given the evidence that she cited, Shelley fears that the people who are about to descend on her fair city are in this latter camp.

    Nah, on second thought, let’s not give Shelley the benefit of the doubt. You find the tree, and I’ll fetch the rope.

  28. James Snell says:

    Sam, go back and check what I’ve posted. I haven’t condemned anyone. All I have done is pointed out what, in my opinion, is a somewhat hypocritical (or at least extremely ironic) statement. That opinion carries just about as much weight as anyone else’s, which is to say, it doesn’t carry much weight at all. I really don’t take myself *that* seriously.

    I have come to highly respect Shelley for her insights and her point of view, despite her obvious immoral atheist commie pinko beliefs ;-).

  29. Arthur says:

    This discussion reminds me of this excellent video (CBC TV) on very similar issues: a debate between religious leaders, philosophers and Richard Dawkins. (The discussion has a tame start but is fireworks at the end: also, Dawkins comes over unprepared. He fumbles a lot and disappoints and gets (unexpectedly) help from the Muslim lady).

  30. Sam Ruby says:

    I haven’t condemned anyone

    You are correct, you didn’t condemn her to eternal damnation. You merely pointed out that Shelley tends to produce statements that are both a dishonest and bigotted. I believe that the term for such people are liars and bigots, but I digress.

    I stand corrected. My apologies.

    P.S. For those who just joined, I feel compelled to point out that James and I are friends.

  31. James Snell says:

    You merely pointed out that Shelley tends to produce statements that are both a dishonest and bigotted

    No, I pointed to a single paragraph in a single post and said that, to me, it came across as somewhat hypocritical and bigoted.

  32. Shelley says:

    I’m glad you’re both friends, and appreciate the honest dialog between the both of you, Sam and James.

    I wrote a very strong statement. The cost to such is that people may not like what I’ve written. I can live with this.

    I appreciate the comments.

  33. James says:

    A term that’s more specific than “Christian” is “Dominionist”, but I won’t presume that’s what Shelley meant.

  34. Sam Ruby says:

    I pointed to a single paragraph in a single post and said that, to me, it came across as somewhat hypocritical and bigoted.

    You’ve also brought up honestly repeatedly in this discussion, both here, and on your weblog. What I read you as saying is that (1) you had an issue with that one paragraph, and (2) it is OK to be hypocritical and bigoted as long as you are honest about it.

    From that, I conclude (and I will readily admit that it is my conclusion) that you were questioning Shelley’s honesty.

    Of course, you are welcome to say that those were just inflammatory statements about certain classes of people, and were not meant to apply to Shelley. But wouldn’t that be a bit hypocritical given what you have posted so far?

    A much better way to resolve this is to join with Shelley and condemn (in the secular, not in the biblical sense) the small percentage of the Christians who draw entirely specious connections between their faith and their intolerance.

    Boy, I’m enjoying this *way* too much.

  35. James Snell says:

    Had I been questioning Shelley’s honesty I would have said so explicitly. On the contrary, she’s been refreshingly honest about the way she feels and I respect that. I do, however, believe that it is extremely easy to lose sight of ones own intolerances and prejudices when criticizing those of another, and that when doing so we can tend to rationalize it away with statements like “it’s not bigotry if it’s true”. It’s bigotry either way… some forms of bigotry just tend to be more socially acceptable than others. I also believe that when arguing one point of view, it is entirely too easy to intentionally and unintentionally ignore facts that do not necessarily support the argument you’re trying to make. Everyone is guilty of this, including myself. You see examples of this when atheists make statements about how most serial murderers seem to be Christians and when Christians make statements about how all atheists seem to support murdering little children and killing sick people (e.g. euthanasia). Everyone likes to think it’s the other side that is most guilty of ignoring all the facts but in my experience it tends to be pretty well balanced.

  36. Sam Ruby says:

    I refuse to accept that providing factual counter examples to the following statement is ipso facto and by definition both an act of intolerance and bigotry:

    That the Constitution was written to govern a moral and religious people and it is being destroyed by those who are neither.