Monday, June 20, 2016

Trump & Guns

This is too much to believe!  Donald Trump and guns!  Let us do a chronological review:

"In November (2015), Trump told a crowd of several thousand at a rally in Knoxville, Tennessee, that "Paris is one of the places in the world that's toughest on guns" so Parisians were left vulnerable when the terrorists struck.

"There was nothing anybody can do," he said. "I know one thing, in this room, it's a whole different story, right?" The crowd cheered.

He was right that it was a different story than Paris — but that was because of the Secret Service people in the room, not citizens packing guns.

Asked about the rules after that rally, Secret Service spokeswoman Nicole Mainor said, "Any assumption that non-authorized law enforcement personnel at this venue or any other Secret Service-secured protected event were armed would be inaccurate." She said if someone who did not have authority to bring a weapon showed up with one, that person would be arrested by local authorities."  (Go to .)

So here he is criticizing Paris for being tough on guns while his own event banned guns and only law enforcement could legally have guns.  As usual, the facts seem to have an anti-Trump bias.  More facts...

"GOP front-runner Donald Trump said Sunday that he will take a closer look at an online petition calling for the Republican convention this summer to allow guns into the convention space has received tens of thousands of signatures on  The petition notes that Ohio is an open-carry state, but that the website for the Quicken Loans Arena--the site of the convention in Cleveland--says the venue forbids "firearms and other weapons of any kind."  "This is a direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk," the petition reads. "As the National Rifle Association has made clear, 'gun-free zones' such as the Quicken Loans Arena are 'the worst and most dangerous of all lies.'"  (Go to .)

Yup, for the sake of the safety of Republicans, no guns are allowed at the convention.  But all guns allowed everywhere else, apparently.

Fast forward to June 13, 2016 after the horrible mass murder at the Pulse nite club at the hands of a crazed Muslim gunman:  "Trump said on Friday night, "If some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here — right to their waist or right to their ankle — and one of the people in that room happened to have it and goes 'boom, boom,' you know, that would have been a beautiful sight folks."

Speaking on "The Howie Carr Show" on June 13, Trump said, "It's too bad some of the people killed over the weekend didn’t have guns attached to their hips, where bullets could have thrown in the opposite direction. Had people been able to fire back, it would have been a much different outcome."  (Go to .)

Afterward, after an outcry of criticism (even from the N.R.A.!) Trump tried to claim he was talking about arming authorized guards at the club even though it was well known that the club had an armed guard who actually fired at the perpetrator.  He was simply outgunned by the assault weapon equipped killer.  Everyone believes Trump as actually referring to the club goers and for good reason - why would he refer to security guards as "those wonderful people."  This is not to say that security guards are not wonderful but it  is doubtful that was Trump's intent. In my book he is bald-faced lying.

Finally, after the Orlando tragedy:  "Michael Steven Sandford was arrested at the Saturday rally after grabbing at the holster and handle of a gun at the hip of a Las Vegas police officer who was providing security at the event for the presumptive Republican nominee.

A federal magistrate on Monday found that Sandford was “a danger to the community and a risk of non-appearance” and ordered that he be held without bail, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, who also confirmed that Sandford is a British citizen... 

The complaint, which was filed on Monday in the US district court for Nevada, says Sandford “knowingly attempted to engage in an act of physical violence against Donald J Trump ... by attempting to seize a firearm from Las Vegas Metropolitan Department Officer”.

Sandford allegedly told a US agent, referred to in the complaint as special agent Swierkowski, that he had driven to Las Vegas from California in order to kill the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

According to the complaint, Sandford had gone to a gun range called Battlefield Vegas on 17 June in order to learn how to shoot. There, he fired 20 rounds from a Glock 9mm pistol, which, the complaint says, was the first time he had ever fired a gun.

The document also states that Sandford told Swierkowski that if he were on the street tomorrow, he would try it again. He claimed he had lived in the US for approximately a year and a half and had been planning to attempt to kill Trump for about a year but finally felt confident enough to try it on Saturday, according to Swierkowski’s report."  (Go to  .)

Before we go further, give  the arresting security person a raise - job well done!

But why didn't Mr. Sandford just buy a gun at a gun show or wherever they cannot do background checks and bring it to the rally and shoot Mr. Trump?

Answer: Oh yeah, guns are banned at the rallies and only authorized law enforcement such as the Secret Service are allowed to have guns.  That is why he had to try to take a gun away from an officer and fortunately he failed.

Yes, Donald Trump may be alive because of being "tough on guns" but sees no reason to share his good fortune with others.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Terror in Orlando: You Can't Make This Stuff Up: Texas Lt. Governor believes "Something is Good Because God Says So!"

You can't make this up!  As if on cue, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick tweeted the following, appearing shortly after the terror in Orlando, Florida.

My previous blog entry had a simple choice that we all, as moral individuals, have a responsibility to decide and then live by: Is Something Good Because God Says So?  Or is Something Good Because it Makes the World a Better Place?

Obviously, Lt. Governor Patrick has made his decision.  If God says so, it is good.  This would probably be comforting to those who sympathize with the terrorist perpetrator.  Am I exaggerating or misconstruing Mr. Patrick's intent?

Here is what he said afterward in defending himself: “The verse has nothing to do with God’s judgment on any one person or a specific group of people. If some chose to read into it what they wanted they either have never read Galatians Chapter 6 or have misread it,” he said.  “Some wanted the post pulled down and others did not. Let me be clear, I didn’t pull down the FBI post & tweet because God’s word is wrong. His word is never wrong,” Patrick wrote. “Taking down his word would be like tearing a page from the Bible because we didn’t like what God was telling us. I took it down to stop the hateful comments and the misinformation being spread of God’s message to all of us- straight or gay.”

Yup, God is never wrong so the perpetrator had no choice, did he, Mr. Patrick?  And who says we can't agree on religious matters?

The Terror in Orlando: Is Something Good Because God Says So?

It is perhaps the central philosophical/theological question of all: Is Something Good Because God Says So?  Or is Something Good Because it Makes the World a Better Place?

What do YOU believe?

The perpetrator (I will not repeat his name here) of the horrific killings in Orlando, Florida earlier today, June 12, 2016, probably believed the following; that gays were an abomination and that God (the one that he believed in, not the one YOU might believe in) endorsed the killing of gays and their sympathizers.

From the Koran (7:80 - 7:84) "And (We sent) Lot when he said to his people: What! do you commit an indecency which any one in the world has not done before you? Most surely you come to males in lust besides females; nay you are an extravagant people. And the answer of his people was no other than that they said: Turn them out of your town, surely they are a people who seek to purify (themselves). So We delivered him and his followers, except his wife; she was of those who remained behind. And We rained upon them a rain; consider then what was the end of the guilty."

The "rain" referred to above is probably something like "brimstone" which would lead to the death or "the end of the guilty."

This is not much different than the following from the Old Testament which is actually more clear in  its viciousness: (Leviticus 20:13, New International Version) "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

One would think that since the source of belief in the Christian God and the Muslim God (and Jewish God) are the Holy Books quoted above, that opposition to homosexuality would be common among Christian and Muslims.   One would be correct in thinking that.  It is only very recently in the history of Christian society that homosexuality has approached majority acceptance and indeed not nearly all American or other Christians are on board with that opinion just yet.  Ted Cruz was infamously endorsed for President by a Pastor this year who prefaced his endorsement with his reminder that homosexuals should be executed according to his infallible Bible.  Ted was pleased with the endorsement.  (Go to "Why Is the Media Ignoring Ted Cruz’s Embrace of ‘Kill the Gays’ Pastor?"" .)

So I ask you again; what do YOU believe?  Is Something Good Because God Says So?  Or is Something Good Because it Makes the World a Better Place?

Of course I can hear you objecting by saying that the "True God" would NEVER tell you to do something that is wrong.  The problem is that the perpetrator of the horror in Orlando would agree.  Yes, ISIS would agree.  Bin Laden would have agreed.  ALL the terrorist fanatics would agree.  That is the problem - if God says to do it, it becomes the RIGHT thing to do.  It becomes the thing you MUST do.  This argument is of no use.

This leaves basically the final feeble argument against where we are inevitably heading; the objection that the perpetrator did not believe in the one "True God."  His God was a "false" God and the answer/solution is to believe in the "True God."

What is a "false" God?  Answer:  Basically a "false" God is what  the other guy believes in.  What you believe in is the "True God."  And what your "True God" says to do is, of course, "good."

And, of course, the perpetrator believed he worshiped the one and only "True God."  That was his opinion and your opinion is no more than that - an opinion.  As much as you'd like to transform your opinion on the  nature of the "True God" into a fact, you cannot do it anymore than the perpetrator could do it.  At the very best all you can do is present the evidence for the one "True God" and test your conclusion.

Unfortunately even believers often admit that their God cannot be tested.  The Book of Job reminds us "who are we to question God?"  The evidence for which God is the "True God" is not evidence at all; instead belief in the "True God" is built upon faith - and faith is supposedly a gift from very the same True God whom we are trying to test and by no definition of the word can "faith" be considered reasonable evidence.  Furthermore I have never heard a rational process for determining which faith is a "True  Faith" and which faith is not.  To claim that there are many contrary "True Faiths" is to accept that sometimes 2 = 3.  Is a God that is Jesus the same as a God that is not Jesus?

Is your faith the "True Faith"?  Is your Holy Book the "True Holy Book"?  Is your God the one "True God."  For all of these questions the perpetrator of this act of terror and all other religiously inspired acts of terror, would  answer "yes".  These fallible humans all elevate their fallible opinions to indisputable facts.  Conversely, reasonable persons understand that the "facts" they believe are true are conditional and probable - not certain and taken on faith.  Reasonable persons use evidence, logic, and science and accept that "facts" can be tested and subject to disproof.

Those who instead rely on faith for determining their absolute truths all uniformly and conveniently claim that reason, evidence and science cannot answer the deepest questions of human existence while implying that their personal opinions CAN answer them in an absolute manner.  This certainty on the part of the faithful in knowing the Truth is seen as a virtue by them as opposed to the incredible danger and arrogance it actually presents.  The scientific viewpoint is uncertain, conditional, testable and ultimately far more  humble.

If you have managed to read this to this point, I will ask one final time: Is Something Good Because God Says So?  Or is Something Good Because it Makes the World a Better Place?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Has the Republican Party Become the Anti-fact Party? The Birth of Lie-based Initiatives!

Like many others, I have taken my shot at explaining Donald Trump's appeal to Republican voters.  In this matter I have a great advantage over the mainstream media; I do not have to avoid explanations that paint a less than  flattering portrait of the voters who, in turn, are the customers of that same mainstream media.  How many people would stop patronizing a media outlet that came to the conclusion that Donald Trump's appeal to his party was based on the willful ignorance, bigotry or the irrational fear of many millions of Americans, the very people that a media outlet needs to appeal to in order to stay in business?

Yet the evidence is overwhelming; Trump's initial appeal was to birthers.  About 50% of the Republican Party was on board with the idea that Pres. Obama was not born in the U.S.  A small minority of Republicans believed that Ted Cruz was not born in the U.S. when, in fact, he was
NOT born in the U.S.  Neither fact is a secret, but this is what they believe anyway.

Start adding up the other things that a majority of Republican voters believe that are contrary to the facts as best as we can know them; many believe in Creationism, and Young Earth Creationism at that; most deny that Global Climate change is a result of human activity as if the effects of Greenhouse Gases is debatable.   But now you can add an impressive new list of willfully ignorant items or outright lies that Republican voters are willing to accept, overlook or even embrace.  What about the total lack of negative push-back by voters when Trump re-tweeted a

2015-11-23 11_56_07-Donald J. Trump on Twitter_ __@SeanSean252_ @WayneDupreeShow @Rockprincess818 @C.png
fictitious, false, inflammatory and racist chart (see above);  or when he implied that Ted Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of JFK; or when he accused Hillary Clinton of abusing women who had affairs with her husband; or when he suggests that former Clinton aide Vince Foster did not commit suicide but may have been murdered with Clinton involvement; or when he said that John McCain was not a war hero; or that he saw thousands of Muslims on rooftops on TV celebrating 9-11 in New Jersey; or when he calls Bernie Sanders a communist...  I am sure I've missed dozens of whopping big lies.  (Go to .)

The one common thread in all this is that what Trump supporters like about Trump is precisely his dislike of fact; facts have become "politically correct" and possess what Colbert has described as a "liberal bias."  Of course facts really do not have such a bias but yes indeed many people now oppose "facts" because it is "politically incorrect" to oppose facts and being "politically incorrect" is a good thing!

That is why Trump can lie about other Republicans as well as Democrats, Conservatives as well as Liberals, because it is the opposition to fact that his supporters adore.  Do not get me wrong on this - I am not saying that left leaning ideologues do not do the same thing - they do, such as in those who believed that Bush and Cheney somehow were in on 9-11 and "allowed" it to happen.  It's just that those leftist ideologues have not quite taken over the Democrat Party.  The ideologues/believers and anti-fact yahoos have taken over the Republican Party and their main goal is to oppose all kinds of facts that contradict their beliefs.

This is the mess that Republican leaders have created with their years, if not decades of pandering to the willfully ignorant in their ranks.  By promoting the "faith-based" initiatives the party has embraced in the past, not surprisingly the party members have evolved into demanding "lie-based' initiatives.  Trump is delivering.

You read that here first.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Is Ted Cruz OK with Executing Gays? Are Republican Voters?

Would you vote for a candidate for President that welcomes the endorsement of someone who openly advocates for the execution of homosexuals?  We're not simply talking about some candidate who merely opposes same-sex marriage but someone who was present when the killing of homosexuals was urged and then immediately afterwards accepted the endorsement of the person doing the urging and never protested or mentioned or admonished them for promoting the execution of gays.  Would you, under any circumstance, vote for this candidate?  You may get the opportunity.

The gay-execution advocate is Pastor (what a shock!) Kevin Swanson and you can hear his advocacy of gay executions here ( ) where he chastises Bob Jones III of the infamous Bob Jones University for apologizing last year for advocating executions of gays 35 years ago.

The candidate is Ted Cruz, and at an event in November 2015 accepted Pastor Swanson's endorsement shortly after Swanson railed against gays and thought that their execution was just because, well, God wants them executed and God is just!  That pretty much settles it.  Go to )

From  "From his radio program we learn that "As far as I know," Swanson said, "the Apostle Paul has not backtracked on Romans 1, in which he refers to the unnatural relation between males and males, females and females, and says such who does these things are worthy of death ... I'm going to be the last guy who stands up and says whatever Paul was saying when he said they're worthy of death, whatever Moses is saying in Leviticus 20:13 as communicated to God's people as the very law God, from the lips of God himself, I'm going to be the last person to say, well, God's law is unjust. And if anybody wants to say that, I'm going to be standing about 40 feet away, whatever the diameter of lightening is."

Later in that same broadcast, Swanson took issue with those who get outraged at the prospect of the government putting people to death for homosexuality, saying that it is no big deal when compared to the prospect of gay people spending eternity in Hell.

"When people focus on the civil penalty for the sin of homosexuality," he said, "they're diverting attention from the real issue, and that is the judgment of God upon that behavior ... Capital punishment? Execution at the hands of the state? Big deal! Big deal! That's nothing. That's nothing. In comparison with the judgment of God, the judgment of the civil courts, of the human courts, as compared to the judgement of Almighty God? No comparison!""

25% or more of Republicans prefer Ted Cruz as their first choice; 35% or more prefer Donald Trump, who has re-tweeted openly racist fraudulent libel against African Americans, painted Mexican undocumented immigrants with a broad brush as rapists and killers, insulted women, both generally and specifically for their appearances, wants to ban Muslims from entering the country based on nothing more than their religious beliefs, and has mocked a disabled person's disability. Oh, did we mention he was the leader of the Obama birther movement?

So 60% of the Republican Party either seeks to nominate someone who happily accepts without reservation the endorsement s of a would be gay executioner or someone who has basically viciously insulted pretty much every group aside from white non-Hispanic Christian males and has trouble drawing rational conclusions based on the evidence!

The problem, it would seem to me is not simply the candidates - it's the general public who seem to prefer viciousness, dogmatism and thoughtlessness instead of empathy, reason and thoughtfulness.  Correct me if I am wrong but there seems to be a strong correlation between anger, irrationality and ideological fervor.

What to do?  Although the media is reluctant to draw attention to the danger of religious dogma, the rational among us most continue to point out the danger inherent in all ideology, religious or secular and the threat that dogmatic political leaders pose to our country.
I wrote the article below in July of 2005 and it certainly could be updated with further instances of the late Justice Antonin Scalia's apparent arrogance and hypocrisy.  I think of the late Justice as one of the great rationalizers of all time and his great talent was no more than to artfully justify his very dogmatic religious and political beliefs.

There is no doubt in my mind that he would, on the one hand, use his great writing abilities in favor of some professed judicial principal such as "equal justice under the law" in a case such as Gore v. Bush, and then, in some other case, argue in the exact opposite direction and minimize that very same concept, such as in cases involving affirmative action or gay rights when it suited him ideologically.

I believe that what is missing from most commentary on Justice Scalia is that although he had a sharp intellect, he was so dogmatic and such an ideologue that ultimately he had a terribly negative influence on his country and fellow citizens.  It's just another example of how so many praise ideology and strong beliefs when they should, if they care about humanity's well being, instead be repulsed by dogmatism and arrogant certitude.

Gerry Dantone, 2/14/2016

Justice Scalia and Church-State Separation
By Gerry Dantone

Now that the elections are over, a primary question that many are asking is “what kind of Supreme Court will we have to look forward to?”  Keeping in mind that a number of the Court’s judges are elderly or infirm, it is a certainty that President Bush will have the opportunity to nominate a number of prospective new judges who will then serve – for life.

“In 1999, Fred Barnes asked Bush what kind of judge he'd select.  "I have great respect for Justice Scalia," he said, "for the strength of his mind, the consistency of his convictions, and the judicial philosophy he defends." There you have it.  Someone like Scalia, assuming all other qualifications are met, would be the best choice for the Court.”  (Weekly Standard,

So what does Justice Scalia have to say on Church-State separation, religion and secularism?  Plenty!
From the Positive Atheism website ( and other sites are the following Antonin Scalia quotes:

* “Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society.  We are fools for Christ's sake.  We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world.”

-- Antonin Scalia, in a speech at the Mississippi College School of Law (April 9, 1996) (quoted from Dr. James Dobson, "Was America a Christian Nation?" 1996.)

* (Sarcastically) “It is a Constitution that morphs while you look at it like Plasticman... That is contrary to our whole tradition, to "in God we trust" on the coins, to Thanksgiving proclamations, to (Congressional) chaplains, to tax exemption for places of worship, which has always existed in America.”

-- Scalia once again falsely linking some of these “traditions to the era of the Founders (in, Gina Holland, "Justice Discusses Church-State Separation," AP: January 12, 2003).

* “If critics of the Pledge of Allegiance persuaded the public it should be changed then we could eliminate under God from the Pledge of Allegiance, that could be democratically done.”

-- Anton Scalia said this knowing full well that the rights and interests of minorities are never obtained through democratic means.  Scalia suggested that decisions such as the Newdow “Pledge of Allegiance” case should be handled legislatively, by politicians who depend upon the popular vote for their livelihoods (from Gina Holland, "Justice Discusses Church-State Separation," AP: January 12, 2003)

* "Did it turn out that by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America?  I don't think so."

-- “Born in 1936, Scalia is old enough to remember the photographs that came out of Germany when he was a boy - they were all over the newspapers and news magazines at war's end.
Image result for bishops and nazi saluting in 1930s
The photos that can be seen, for instance, at of the Catholic Bishops giving the collective Nazi salute at the annual April 20th celebration, declared by Pope Pius XII of Hitler's birthday; the belt buckles of the German army, which declared "Gott Mit Uns" ("God is with us"); the pictures of the 1933 investiture of Bishop Ludwig Müller, the official Bishop of the 1000-Years-Of-Peace Nazi Reich.  That... photo should be the most problematic for Scalia, because Hitler had done exactly what Scalia is recommending - he merged church and state.

For Scalia’s edification, Article 1 of the "Decree concerning the Constitution of the German Protestant Church, of 14 July 1933," signed by Adolf Hitler himself, merged the German Protestant Church into the Reich, and gave the Reich the legal authority to ordain priests.

Article Three provides absolute assurance to the new state church that the Reich will fund it, even if that requires going to Hitler's cabinet.  It opens: "Should the competent agencies of a State Church refuse to include assessments of the German Protestant Church in their budget, the appropriate State Government will cause the expenditures to be included in the budget upon request of the Reich Cabinet."

That new state-sponsored German church's constitution opens: "At a time in which our German people are experiencing a great historical new era through the grace of God," the new German state church "federates into a solemn league all denominations that stem from the Reformation and stand equally legitimately side by side, and thereby bears witness to: 'One Body and One Spirit, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father of All of Us, who is Above All, and Through All, and In All.'"

Scalia made the comments about Jews being safer where Christians rule than in countries where Church is separated from state in the synagogue that is home to America's oldest Jewish congregation.  Scalia noted that in Europe, religion-neutral leaders almost never publicly use the word God.”  (Go to  The Associated Press reported this on November 23, 2004.)

* So it is no accident, I think, that the modern view that the death penalty is immoral is centered in the West.  That has little to do with the fact that the West has a Christian tradition, and everything to do with the fact that the West is the home of democracy.  Indeed, it seems to me that the more Christian a country is the lesslikely it is to regard the death penalty as immoral.  Abolition has taken its firmest hold in post–Christian Europe, and has least support in the church–going United States.  I attribute that to the fact that, for the believing Christian, death is no big deal.  Intentionally killing an innocent person is a big deal: it is a grave sin, which causes one to lose his soul.  But losing this life, in exchange for the next?  The Christian attitude is reflected in the words Robert Bolt’s play has Thomas More saying to the headsman: “Friend, be not afraid of your office.  You send me to God.”  And when Cranmer asks whether he is sure of that, More replies, “He will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to Him.”  For the nonbeliever, on the other hand, to deprive a man of his life is to end his existence. What a horrible act!

-- Scalia in “God’s Justice and Ours” in First Things available at

In a recent Supreme Court decision, Scalia displayed not only his religiously oriented Constitutional point of view, but his enormous hypocrisy as well, arguing directly in opposition to his own previously stated views.

The Court decided, 5 to 4, to ban the death penalty for those under the age of 18.  Of course, killing someone, as Scalia has said before, is “no big deal” so he of course, supports executing minors.  Scalia, in his dissent said: “The court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our Nation’s moral standards…”

Yet the Constitution bans “cruel and unusual punishment.”  If Congress passed a law allowing a person to be cruelly tortured to death, would Scalia rule it Constitutional?  If the Supreme Court is not the arbiter and interpreter of the Constitution, who or what is?  Using Scalia’s “logic” consistently, he would have to rule that cruelly torturing someone to death was not “cruel” because the Court was not the arbiter of our Nation’s moral standards!

Yet, of course, when the issue suits him, he wants the Court to be precisely the moral arbiter in HIS way: By assuming the supremacy of HIS specific religious beliefs!

On June 26, 2003, the US Supreme Court stuck down a state ban on same-sex relations, and of course, Scalia dissented writing, “If, as the court asserts, the promotion of the majoritarian sexual morality is not even a legitimate state interest,” laws against “fornication, bigamy, adult incest, bestiality and obscenity” cannot survive the justices’ basis in their ruling…  If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is ‘no legitimate state interest’ for purposes of proscribing that conduct … what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits to homosexual couples exercising the liberty protected by the Constitution.”

Scalia is shameless in demanding that homosexuals be deprived of rights accorded others on a moral basis (based on his entirely religious morality devoid of concern for the common good) while lashing out at the Court for prohibiting the executions of minors for moral reasons!

* “St. Paul had this to say (I am quoting, as you might expect, the King James version): Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.  Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?  Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good.  But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Romans 13:1–5)

This is not the Old Testament, I emphasize, but St. Paul.  One can understand his words as referring only to lawfully constituted authority, or even only to lawfully constituted authority that rules justly.  But the core of his message is that government—however you want to limit that concept—derives its moral authority from God.  It is the “minister of God” with powers to “revenge,” to “execute wrath,” including even wrath by the sword.

-- Antonin Scalia in an article in First Things, May, 2002 declaring that government derives its moral authority from God – which of course is completely absent from the Constitution.  At the same time he believes in a “Dead Constitution,” one that must be interpreted in the context of the time in which it was written.  In other words, as he claims the authors meant it.

In hearings in early March 2005 on the legality of Ten Commandment displays in public facilities such as Courtrooms, Scalia disagreed that the Commandments were secular saying, "If that's what it means, it's idiotic.  I don't think anybody is going to interpret it that way.  You can't get the Declaration of Independence out of the Ten Commandments."  He believes that the officials who put up the displays were saying that "these basic principles that we're governed by come from God."
This is not a problem for Scalia.  "We're a tolerant society religiously," he said during the Texas argument, "but just as the majority has to be tolerant of minority views in matters of religion, it seems to me the minority has to be tolerant of the majority's ability to express its belief that government comes from God, which is what this is about.”  The Ten Commandments, Scalia says, are “a symbol of the fact that government derives its authority from God.”

The combination of the idea that God is the moral authority of the government and that the Constitution is “dead” is Scalia’s method of introducing theocracy to the US.  If the bible demands it, and a law was on the books at the time the Constitution or Bill of Rights was written, then it allows him to interpret the law in concordance with the Old Testament.

If a law in the late 1700s allowed for a state religion, or a death penalty for gay sex, etc., Scalia would argue that such laws were Constitutional today.  A problem deliberately overlooked by Scalia would be the Bill of Rights applying to only the Federal Government until the application of the 14th Amendment.  Before the 14th Amendment, states could indeed enact some laws that would now be un-Constitutional.

The above quotes are pretty revealing and Scalia reiterated these ideas using many of the exact same phrases in a speech at a Red Mass, a tradition for Catholic lawyers in DuPage County, Illinois just recently in November 2004.

And what is a Red Mass?  According to John Swomley, Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics, St. Paul School of Theology” (

The Red Mass, a colorful religious ceremony of the Catholic Church, is celebrated in the United States before members of the Supreme Court, members of Congress, and other high government officials…

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is undoubtedly the More Society’s best-known spokesman. He not only attends national and some state Red Mass celebrations, but speaks on occasion to those lawyers who meet after the Mass.  In a formal address to a Catholic audience in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on October 14, 2001, following a Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Scalia was reported by The National Catholic Register as saying, “We attorneys and intellectuals who don’t like to be regarded as unsophisticated can have no greater [role] model than St. Thomas More.”

Speaking of the beheaded advisor to King Henry VIII, the Register indicated that “the saint died because he refused to recognize a king’s authority as being higher than the Pope’s, and his conviction was rejected by society, friends, and ‘even his wife,’ Scalia said” (National Catholic Register, November 4, 2001). Scalia, in effect, was promoting the idea that papal policy is superior to the U.S. Constitution and secular government…

It is obvious that the purpose of the Red Mass and the St. Thomas More Society is not only to promote the Red Mass as a Catholic cultural event in the United States, but also make papal decisions influence the law of the land.  The chief resistance to such influence comes from progressive Catholics who oppose patriarchal rule and support women’s rights.  Most Protestant denominations are silent under the influence of the ecumenical discussions instituted by the Vatican.  (End of excerpt.)

Though there are no recordings of Scalia’s speech, nor a transcript, his point of view is clear.  Also clear is certain duplicity: Before a Jewish Congregation in Manhattan shortly after his Red Mass speech, he dropped references to Jesus and claimed that “There is something wrong with the principle of neutrality… The true goal is not neutrality between religiousness and non-religiousness; it is between denominations of religion” (reported by Errol Louis, NY Daily News).

The history of Scalia’s decisions is evidence that this is not true.  He has often shown a disdain for minority religions or beliefs, and his stated position that rights can be legislated away contrary to the protections offered to minorities in the Bill of Rights, would seem to back this up.  Indeed, Scalia has often shown that he is not interested in neutrality even between religions.

And there is something obviously dishonest about promoting only neutrality between religions and not promoting it between religion and non-religion as well.  Is Scalia actually claiming to support neutrality between Catholicism and Zeus-belief?  Or Catholicism and Scientology?  Or Catholicism and Ethical Culture?  Or Catholicism and Islam?  Or Catholicism and Buddism?  Absolutely not!

It seems probable that Scalia would not normally consider atheism or secular humanism a religion when he states that government should only be neutral between religious denominations.  However, you might consider betting the house that he’d reverse himself if considering atheism a religion furthered his purposes instead. Scalia’s infamously uneven use of the concept of “equal protection under the law” in the past is a revealing comparison.

Without ever presenting a compelling case for his belief system, Justice Scalia not only believes, he has made his supernatural beliefs – not the Constitution - his basis for his legal decisions at the nation’s highest court.

Would Justice Scalia prefer death to being made to recognize the authority of a President, Congress or even the Constitution over the authority of the Pope?  If we only would believe our ears: isn’t that exactly what Antonin Scalia is trying to tell us?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Surprise - Many Americans Have No Idea of What Religious Freedom Is!

Although it comes as no surprise to me, an Associated Press - NORC poll released in December 2015 indicates that many Americans see "Freedom of Religion" as something quite different than our Founding Fathers and the Bill of Rights intended and different from what Webster's Dictionary and ordinary common sense would lead you to conclude.

From the report: "Americans place a higher priority on preserving the religious freedom of Christians than for other faith groups, ranking Muslims as the least deserving of the protections, according to a new survey.  Solid majorities said it was extremely or very important for the U.S. to uphold religious freedom in general. However, the percentages varied dramatically when respondents were asked about specific faith traditions, according to a poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research."  Go to the web site linked above for details.

The problem as I have noticed for a very long time is that many persons confuse "Religious Freedom" with "Religious Privilege."  To many, they believe that their religious beliefs should override the rights of others, even including those who do not share their religious beliefs.  Many people actually think that the  rights of gay persons should be subject to their religious beliefs even if those gay persons do not share their religious beliefs.  How is this "religious freedom" to gay persons?  The answer is, of course, it is not Religious Freedom; it is Religious Privilege for those who want to dominate and impose their beliefs on others.  It is Freedom only if it is Freedom for all of us.

The media has difficulty in reporting this kind of news even though it explains a great deal.  The explanation is that  much of the General Public does not know what it is talking about - they are either stupid or ignorant, willfully or not, or just plain selfish.  There is no pleasant explanation.

This conflating of freedom and privilege for many explains how a Donald Trump can rise to the top of the polls while targeting Muslims (or Mexicans, the disabled or women) while at the same time promising that when he is President, everyone  will be saying "Merry Christmas" and not "Happy Holidays."  Yup, Religious Privilege is what so many crave, not Religious Freedom.