You may have read my dad’s post about Tuesday’s election in Dover, Pennsylvania, wherein voters ousted the Board of Education members who introduced “intelligent design” into the town’s biology curriculum. Well, there are new developments to report. Proving once again that his design is anything but intelligent, Pat Robertson had some choice words today for those voters:
“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city,” Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, “The 700 Club.”
“And don’t wonder why He hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for His help because he might not be there,” he said.
Okay… not that he deserves it, but let’s take Robertson seriously for a moment. Let’s suppose that the citizens of Dover really have “rejected God” by siding with evolution over intelligent design (a preposterous idea, but I want to assess Robertson’s statement on its own terms). Even if that were true, isn’t the idea that God would reject their prayers — that they shouldn’t bother to repent and turn to Him, because he “might not be there” — completely antithetical to everything that modern Christianity teaches? I’m not exactly a biblical scholar, so correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Robertson basically stuck in the Old Testament here? Even on his own terms, isn’t he completely full of sh*t?
Back in the aftermath of 9/11, Robertson seemed to agree with Jerry Falwell’s repugnant comments about how gays, feminists and the ACLU were responsible for the terrorist attacks. Falwell eventually “apologized” under political pressure, but it’s fairly clear that Robertson’s views on such things haven’t changed. Indeed, as far back as 1998, “Robertson warned the city of Orlando, Florida that it risked hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorist bombs after it allowed homosexual organizations to put up rainbow flags in support of sexual diversity,” according to CNN. Unlike mainstream Christians, Robertson believes in an angry, vengeful God — one who is apparently willing to turn His back on whole communities, perhaps even inflict disaster upon them, because of political decisions made by non-unanimous voting majorities in earthly elections.
Does anyone out there take this guy seriously? And if so, why?
Yes folks, Weird Science is gonna be All Over in Dover, where the electorate ~ evidently not altogether Bored by the notion of actual Learning ~ has intelligently redesigned the Board of Education. / Joe Loy, guestgloating. :)
All eight members up for re-election to the Pennsylvania school board that had been sued for introducing the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in biology class were swept out of office yesterday by a slate of challengers who campaigned against the intelligent design policy.
…The election results were a repudiation of the first school district in the nation to order the introduction of intelligent design in a science class curriculum. The policy was the subject of a trial in Federal District Court that ended last Friday. A verdict by Judge John E. Jones III is expected by early January.
…The election will not alter the facts on which the judge must decide the case. But if the intelligent design policy is defeated in court, the new school board could refuse to pursue an appeal. It could also withdraw the policy, a step that many challengers said they intended to take.
“We are all for it being discussed, but we do not want to see it in biology class,” said Judy McIlvaine, a member of the winning slate. “It is not a science.”
The vote counts were close, but of the 16 candidates the one with the fewest votes was Mr. [Alan] Bonsell, the driving force behind the intelligent design policy…
One incumbent, James Cashman, said he would contest the vote because a voting machine in one precinct recorded no votes for him, while others recorded hundreds.
Tough stuff, Jimbo, them’s the Breaks. :> WAW haw haw :) OKOK so since it was Close, Preacher Cashman probably will end up Re-elected after That’s all Sorted out; so there’ll be one ID-eologue ;> remaining on the board. The voice Roaring in the Wilderness, so to Squawk. :) [My professional retired-state-elections-officer Guess: James was suffering from what We in the Trade call Pointer Bounce. ;> This can become a very Troublesome condition. :} As can the Misapprehension that evolution is “Merely a Theory”. :]
Read the whole Thing. No really, Do: because it is hereby Stipulated that my above Truncations might possibly be somewhat ~ though of course only Slightly :> ~ tendentious. :)
Kansas has (for the third time in six years) rewritten state education standards to include intelligent design as part of the science curriculum. My (Republican-leaning biology teacher) wife rolled her eyes when she saw this; a shame, it is. Said board member Janet Waugh:
“This is a sad day. We’re becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that.”
Indeed, and I’d go so far as to say that this reflects poorly on our country as whole, not merely the squarish states in the middle.
P.S.: Keeping with tonight’s election motif, it’s interesting to note that
All six of those who voted for the standards were Republicans. Two Republicans and two Democrats voted against them.
Elections for the State Board of Education are in 2006, so maybe they’ll flip again.
Posted by Brian (Briandot)
Emily says Pope Benedict XVI’s replacement in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church’s new doctrinal enforcer, “manages to reconcile Catholicism with Westernization while remaining true to fundamental Catholic doctrine.” Sounds good to me.
This week, the Veritas foundation, a Christian apologetics group, is holding a series of talks at Stanford, which I found out about last Thursday. Yesterday, two of the talks were by Dr. Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, and the author of DarwinÃ¯Â¿Â½s Black Box, in which he advances his claim of intelligent design in biological systems and that certain biochemical systems are irreducibly complex and could not have evolved by natural selection. As an evolutionary biologist, I felt the need to attend his talksÃ¯Â¿Â½and since IÃ¯Â¿Â½m BrendanÃ¯Â¿Â½s unofficial science correspondent, I figured IÃ¯Â¿Â½d take the opportunity to report on what happened, and my take on the issue as a whole. Be warned, this is an extremely lengthy post, as IÃ¯Â¿Â½m trying to balance the desire to be technically precise (always a strong drive with me, as some may have noticed) with the desire to make my points understandable to people without substantial background in biology and chemistry.
If any of you read the Wall Street Journal religiously, you may have glanced over Dorothy Rabinowitz’s two-day installment on the clergy abuse scandal. Specifically, she argued in favor of the defrocked Gordon MacRae who received his sentence in this great state of NH. Some good research by the staff at the NH Union Leader, however, gave Dorothy a good wake up call. After she insisted upon her objectivity in reporting, NHUL staff writer Denis Paiste recalled documents from as far back as fall of 2001 that expressed her involvement in Diocesan legal affairs, as well as her involvement with the settlement in March 2003. Her response?
“I haven’t been involved in this case,” Rabinowitz said. “I cannot help somebody using my name. There was no litigation going on. They were discussing the possibilities of getting an attorney, I knew this attorney. . .this attorney did not take the case.”
Next, she said:
“I read the documents and I have the same documents that you have,” she said. “Gordon MacRae is in prison, and I hadn’t even met him.”
But THEN she said:
“Robert Rosenthal was an attorney who does very well in appeals cases. . .and so when asked for a name, I produced that name.”
Asked who had asked for the name, she said, “Father MacRae, and I believe it was Father Diebold, the canon advocate for Father MacRae.”
The list goes on. To make matters worse, despite her status as a Pullitzer Prize-winning commentator, she revealed confidential information (including a previously undisclosed name) of one of the victims of MacRae’s abuse.
Dorothy, go back to Journalism 101. You really aren’t in Kansas anymore.
Pope Benedict XVI, back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, asserted that the Church was above the law when it came to sexual abuse of children by priests, according to The Observer. He also reportedly threatened those who violated the “pontifical secret” with, among other things, excommunication:
[A] confidential letter…which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001…asserted the church’s right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II’s successor last week.
Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a ‘clear obstruction of justice’. …
Ratzinger’s letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been ‘perpetrated with a minor by a cleric’. … It orders that ‘preliminary investigations’ into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger’s office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the ‘functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests’.
‘Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,’ Ratzinger’s letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.
Of course, keeping the evidence confidential for that long causes serious statute-of-limitations problems. As a lawyer for two of the victims points out. “If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10, the priest will get away with it.”
This does not make me feel particularly friendly toward the new Holy Father.
Conservative Catholic Domer blog Being! Or Nothingness has a very interesting post (quoting Sando Magister of the Italian magazine L’Esspresso) about the possible elements of Benedict XVI’s agenda. In light of all the discussion around here about birth control, this excerpt is particularly noteworthy:
The encyclical of Paul VI forbidding artificial contraception produced one of the most serious ruptures between the papal magisterium and the practice of the faithful in recent decades. But today the focal point of the Churchâ€™s preaching has shifted: more than the pill and the condom, the Church’s attention is concentrated on the defense of every life from the moment of conception. The result is that even at the summit of the Church’s leadership calm discussions have begun again about the prohibition of “Humanae Vitae” as not definitive or rigid, but open to future corrections. Cardinal Georges Cottier, official theologian of the papal household, gave an authoritative first sign of a shift one month before John Paul II died: he admitted the use of the condom as a defense against AIDS, under accurately described special conditions. It is possible that the new pope will take further steps in the same direction.
I don’t know how reliable this blogger’s account is, but it’s at least food for thought.
Why on earth does the New York Times keep Maureen Dowd on its payroll? An excerpt from her latest “masterpiece”:
[The new pope is] Joseph Ratzinger, a 78-year-old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler Youth.
That’s all she says about the issue — she doesn’t mention that membership was compulsory, or that Ratzinger eventually deserted his post in the Nazi army, or that the ADL says he “has great sensitivity to Jewish history and the Holocaust” which he has demonstrated “countless times.” Those essential factual details would take away some of the “zing” from Dowd’s trademark snark, and obviously that’s more important than the truth, let alone a man’s reputation and good name. So Dowd just says that Benedict XVI “once belonged to the Hitler Youth” and leaves it at that, thus deliberately leaving her readers with the false impression that the new pope is a Nazi.
I realize Dowd is a columnist, not a reporter; she’s not required to be “balanced,” and she’s entitled to her opinion. But she’s not entitled to her own facts, and this is a factual distortion, plain and simple. It might be a distortion by omission, but it’s still a distortion.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Dowd has a well-documented history of lies and egregious, uncorrected factual errors. Moreover, her writing is the sort of utterly uninspired tripe that might qualify as mildly clever, column-worthy stuff if she was writing for a college newspaper, or perhaps a small Upper East Side alt-weekly. That she continues to hold down a coveted columnist spot in the pages of the New York Times truly boggles the mind.
P.S. It’s almost like Sean and Dowd get their news from the same biased lefty sources, or something.
P.P.S. More on the “Nazi pope” slur here. Also, German outrage over the Sun’s “Hitler Youth” front page here. And here is an article saying the new pope is a cat-lover, which makes me instantly like him more. :)
It seems a shame, really. The man hadn’t been pope for two hours when the lefty blogs went (literally) profane and disgraceful (and - of course - adolescent) and the press was hardlining their memes and caricatures of him.
Benedict XVI, it seems, is a relentless and remorseless hard-ass who takes-no-prisoners and wields a clumsy and undiplomatic sword, cutting a path of hard-hearted destruction no matter where he goes, and he will be a disaster for the church, and oppressor of women, gays, people of girth, people of mirth, … little puppies, small furry rodents and children he doesn’t like.
Or, something like that.
I bet Notre Dame theology professor Richard P. McBrien is wishing right about now that he didn’t return the Washington Post’s phone call:
“If Cardinal Ratzinger were really campaigning for pope, he would have given a far more conciliatory homily designed to appeal to the moderates as well as to the hard-liners among the cardinals. … I think this homily shows he realizes he’s not going to be elected. He’s too much of a polarizing figure,” McBrien said.
Might the newly elected pope, widely seen as an archconservative traditionalist hostile to reform, be open to the possibility of allowing priests to marry?
Carpe Bonum links to an article in which then-Cardinal Ratzinger is quoted (about two-thirds of the way down the page) as saying that priestly celebacy is “not a dogma of the faith, but something that has grown in a human way and clearly contains the dangers for those who undertake it of a headlong fall.”
The quote is devoid of context, and it’s hard to tell exactly what it means. The article’s author says it suggests the new pontiff is “provokingly relaxed in regard to…the question of celibacy.” Carpe Bonum says this places Benedict “perhaps at odds with John Paul’s strong view” on the issue.
The post by Carpe Bonum (which I found via The Moderate Voice’s excellent roundup) re-affirms Benedict’s reputation as a hard-liner on other hot-button issues: abortion and euthanasia, homosexuality, female priests, etc. But the celibacy thing is tantalizing.
Dunno what, if anything, to make of it, though. We link, you decide.
I realize that over-the-top crudeness is The Sun’s shtick… but this front page is pretty outrageous, even for them:
It’s one thing to see something like this on a nutty left-wing blog… but in an actual newspaper (albeit a tabloid)? I’m offended, and I’m not even a practicing Catholic, nor a Ratzinger fan!
UPDATE: The article at least specifies that Benedict was “forced into the Hitler Youth as a boy.” The final sentence of the article adds, “He was 14 when forced to join the Hitler Youth. He later manned a German anti-aircraft battery â€” before deserting.”
Still, the front page is outrageous. But like I said, it’s The Sun, so I suppose it’s not exactly surprising.
On the extreme end of the other side of the spectrum, some idiot is calling the Holy Father “Pope Adolf I,” and one commenter on this blog thinks he’s presumptively guilty just because he’s German. But I’m pleasantly surprised that the “Nazi” slur (discussed previously here and here and here) is being roundly denounced on the uber-liberal blog Daily Kos: