More Aurora fallout: preachers blame tragedy on atheism, claim that only Jesus-loving victims will go to heaven

What saddens me about the murders in Aurora, Colorado, beyond the immeasurable pain it’s caused to the families and friends of the victims, is how readily people continue to embrace—or even intensify—their faith in light of a demonstration of either God’s impotence, his apathy, or his nonexistence. Prayers are being offered, people are turning for consolation to their faith, and so on, not realizing that a loving God would never have allowed this to happen, even if he wanted “free will” for the shooter (which of course that shooter didn’t have). Now I won’t deny that some people find consolation in their faith in this tragedy, or try to deny them that consolation, but it’s sad that the tragedy doesn’t even make them question their faith.

But what’s worse is the unspeakable stupidity of American preachers who have to somehow work God into this tragedy.  Now we’re not sure whether mega-Pastor Rick Warren really blamed the tragedy on evolution (some readers have their doubts, and I’m beginning to wonder if I was not too quick to exculpate him), but the usual group of moronic men of the cloth is standing up with some idiotic statements.  According to PuffHo:

In an article published on OneNewsNow, evangelical Jerry Newcombe wrote:

“I can’t help but feel that to some extent, we’re reaping what we’ve been sowing as a society. We said to God, “Get out of the public arena.” Lawsuit after lawsuit, often by misguided “civil libertarians,” have chased away any fear of God in the land — at least in the hearts of millions.”

Why, then, do the more Godless countries of Europe have so many fewer mass shootings?

Newcombe couldn’t stop himself:

Perhaps more disturbing were Newcombe’s comments on a segment on the American Family Association dedicated to understanding the shooting tragedy in Colorado. In taking about the deaths, Newcombe separated the afterlife fate of those who died as Christians and those who did not:

“If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place.. on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ.. if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.”Newcombe then turned the tragedy into an opportunity for people to become Christian and avoid the fate of hell:

“For those who are not ‘in Christ’ and see this incredible tragedy, this would be a good time for soul reflection and consider why have you not accepted Jesus Christ.. I would urge anyone who is not in Christ to repent of your sins.”

Finally, many of you have probably heard U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert’s unspeakably stupid remarks:

On the day of the shootingRep. Gohmert of Texasalso insisted that the shootings are the result of “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian Beliefs”:

“People say … where was God in all of this? We’ve threatened high school graduation participations, if they use God’s name, they’re going to be jailed … I mean that kind of stuff. Where was God? What have we done with God? We don’t want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present.”

Yep, we’re back to a petulant Yahweh who decides to smite everyone because they don’t give Him proper obeisance.

______

UPDATE (h/t to reader James below): On his Fox News show, Arkansas governor and now right-wingnut Mike Huckabee, on his Fox News show, also blamed atheism for the tragedy:

“Ultimately,” Huckabee concluded, “We don’t have a crime problem or a gun problem – or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we ordered God out of our schools and communities, the military and public conversations, you know, we really shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.”

Stay tuned: all hell breaks loose in Sweden and Denmark, those most godless of nations.

100 Comments

  1. Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    OneNewsNow, Lou Gohmert, et. al. What else could we really expect from this gang of lunatics? Insightful, critical, contemplative thinking?

    These people are all seriously intellectually impaired. There’s no hope for any of these morons. What they’ve offered is all they’re capable of offering. For them, it can only get worse. Dumb leads to nothing but dumber.

    I fail to understand how any of these dolts are viewed as anything other than laughable bonobos by the press. Why they get ANY time to address an audience w/o wearing a straight jacket is, quite frankly, way beyond my intellectual abilities.

    • microraptor
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      How dare you slander bonobos by comparing them to these dolts!

      Bonobos are intelligent problem solvers and don’t show any evidence of religion!

      • Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        My sincere apologies. You’re absolutely correct.

        What was I thinking? Me makum big mistake.

        • Goodforyou
          Posted July 24, 2012 at 4:51 am | Permalink

          LOL. Apologies accepted. Bonobos are well known for their bi-sexuality and using sex to resolve conflicts. I can’t hardly imagine these uptight wingnuts being so decent.

  2. Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Do you remember Elizabeth Smart? She claims to have redoubled her faith in the LDS church after being kidnapped and raped. There’s a YouTube video of her telling how she’s looking forward to serving a mission. Why didn’t jeebus simply NOT put her through a terrifying ordeal?

    • Sunny
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      It was a test!

    • MadScientist
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      What’s the antonym to an aptonym?

      It’s like some kind of Stockholm Syndrome, isn’t it?

    • gravelinspector
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:42 am | Permalink

      By “LDS church”, do you mean the “Mormons”? If so … When did they acquire an euphemism? Why did they acquire an euphemism?
      That’s almost weird enough to make me Wiki-research where “Mormon” came from.
      They’re back out on the streets, locally. It’s several years since a saw a pair of them marching in lock-step along the street, and without noticing it, I’d thought they’d died out locally. Oh dear, what a pity, never mind. If they’re back, then there’s just a new range of people to laugh at in public.

      • Steve in Oakland
        Posted July 24, 2012 at 1:31 am | Permalink

        My brother would hire Mormons when he could because he said they have “a good work ethic; don’t smoke & don’t drink.” Generous, too, he said, because they would give you a free copy of The Book of Mormon if you showed even the slightest interest in their religion.

        A few years back the “Mormon Missionaries” were working Market Street in San Francisco. There were a bunch of them, and I had to go by them every day coming to and from work: I called them “The Mormon Gauntlet” because they were so aggressive and obnoxious. Even being mean to them wouldn’t get them to back off. I found the most effective way to get them to go was to simply say nothing and keep on walking. The next time the same guy [they were all men] saw you he’d start back in, like it was all a big do-over, no doubt figuring you may be more in a conversion mood than you had been the last time. One day they were just not there, no doubt having moved on to easier pickings somewhere else.

      • truthspeaker
        Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        “LDS Church” isn’t a euphemism. They’ve always been called “Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints”. “Mormon” is a slang term.

        • gravelinspector
          Posted July 26, 2012 at 1:34 am | Permalink

          It looks like someone making a pun towards “LSD church.”
          “Mormon” is a term of contempt in British English, so here, to refer to a Mormon as anything other than a “Mormon” is an euphemism. Languages differ – I assume that you’re writing in en_US, rather then en_GB?

      • Posted July 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Nescience = ignorance. The Church of Nescientology. Christian Nescience.
        Mormonism= Smith’s Fraud. White’s Black Magic, Christ-insanity, Moses’ Folly [no Moses!] Muhammad’s Fits, the Dao NoWay, the Hindu Illusion, the Bhuddist Wrong Path, Zoroastrianism = the Parsee Rump
        I found that nice term Christinsanity from a defunct atheist news letter years ago, and lately found out the some Christians themselves call their superstition that, in line with Paul’s sophistry about the wisdom of the world and the foolishenes of his relgion.
        Jefferson,unlike Spinoza, advocates mockery to the heights the nonsensical!
        Sky Pappy
        Then again the use of the high-faluting Tillichian term Being Itself calls for mockery!
        Theologians rank with James van Praagh,John Edward and Sylvia Brown[e].
        I “ran’ William James out of pragmatism in one of my many blogs! William Kingdon Clifford and David Hume reflect reality!

  3. Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    And now Mike Huckabee can be added to the list of those who blame the tragedy on God being removed from schools and public life…

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/07/mike-huckabee-and-americas-sin-problem.html

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I’ll highlight one of Huckabee’s comments in my post. Thanks!

    • Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      The quesrion is: what do we do about America’s idiot problem (Huckabee)?

      • Goodforyou
        Posted July 24, 2012 at 4:55 am | Permalink

        Nothing. Huckabee (and many more) are America’s village idiots that’s all. Every village has some!

        • RF
          Posted July 24, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

          The problem is that the village idiot isn’t supposed to get elected mayor.

  4. Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    But what’s worse is the unspeakable stupidity of American preachers who have to somehow work God into this tragedy.

    “Unspeakable stupidity”? No, not at all. It is a brilliant way of scamming the gullible.

    </cynicism>

    • Tim
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Unspeakably opportunistic is the more apt description.

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Sad that the emergence of these self-appointed sanctimonious fuckwits is so predictable.

  6. microraptor
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    There’s never a tragedy so great that people can’t use it to peddle their religious woo.

    Also, I notice that “free willists” never seem to take the victims’ free will into consideration. Dog won’t stop a person from going on a shooting spree because it would interfere with the shooter’s “free will,” but the “free will” of the people who got killed apparently doesn’t matter.

    • Posted July 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      And we have choice determinism, determined volition or Dennett determinism, not free will
      The theists have the colossal problem of Fr. Meslier’s the problem of Heaven that eviscerates all defenses and theodicies,particularly of the inconsistent use of free will and soul-making! What souls anyway?
      Where lies the evidence for free will, Heaven, Hell and the future state in the first place!
      Theists revel in using misinterpretations of evidence for evidence.As Stenger notes, where mountains of evidence should exist and in line with Charles MOore’s auto-epistemic rule, here evidence of absence is indeed absence of evidence and no argument from ignorance!
      Remember the arguments from personal incredulity and from ignorance underscore most of theistic arguments!
      Theism = reduced animism and is just as superstitious as full animism and polytheism as both rely on non-existent intent!
      Theistic woo makes me a gnu atheists as well as the wrongs of theism.
      [To] Know God = no God!

  7. sunkern
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    This is so unspeakably vile. To use such a horrific event in such a way is just beyond reason. We Swedes sure have our problems, but for public officials to say stuff like this…

    • Harry
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      No, not yet anyway. But I think that we will be hearing garbage like this in the not too distant future. Sweden has the world record in tolerance of religious statements and is ripe for the taking by the religion who wants to put the effort in. As of yet, Islam has been making great headway and people like Newcombe and Warren are likely to attract disciples of the Christian bent. Their opinions may today be viewed as being on the lunatic fringe but they may very well become mainstream in the next few years.

      • Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        God forbid

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted July 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        I think that is the wrong conclusion. What is happening is that swedish secularism is making great headway in making some people who would otherwise grow up as fundamentalists or moderates become moderates or non-believers. It is estimated that of swedish muslims ~ 5 % are practicing, as compared to ~ 4 % of the old lutheran church.

        Of course we can only absorb so many believers at a time. Muslims and catholics have been Swedens most rapidly growing beliefs, currently at some 200 – 400 000 or ~ 3 % of a population of ~ 9.5 million.

        On the other hand the lutherans currently loose ~ 0.9 % of their members each year or ~ 60 000 members of a population of 6.5 million members (2011).

        Unless muslims and catholics all immigrated in less than 5 years, we are still good for the time being. Religion is a loosing proposition in Sweden.

  8. Ken Pidcock
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    “If a Christian dies early…”

    How thoughtful of Newcombe to remind American Christians that this actually is what they are supposed to believe, that their non-Christian neighbors are literally condemned. Commendable refusal to accept this puts many a person on the road to reason.

    • MadScientist
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      But he’s No True Christian and he obviously didn’t read enough sophistimacated theololgy.

    • RF
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      Of course, if you take Christianity to its logical conclusion, the most loving thing you could do for your fellow humans is to get them to convert to Christianity, then immediately kill them before they have time to reconsider.

  9. DV
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Where was Allah during the shooting? Where were the Hindu deities? Has any Christian thought to ask why none of the gods to whom other people pray for daily protection and deliverance did anything to prevent this tragedy? They don’t ask of course because the answer is obvious – none of those gods exist. They can see this plainly and clearly about most gods – that other people are delusional. Unfortunately is completely predictable that the thought that they themselves could be in similar error will never occur to them.

    • Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Where was Allah during the shooting? Where were the Hindu deities?

      A long time ago, I heard a joke which answered the question by positing that the deities were deliberating among themselves as to which one of them had to be assigned the job.

  10. Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Tell people they are animals and they will act like animals.

    Tell them they are sheep and you are their shepherd and they will behave like sheep, obey you and give you money.

    Try it! It works.

    • Cliff Melick
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Just ask L.Ron Hubbard. Oh, that’s right, he’s dead.

      • TJW
        Posted July 24, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        He may be dead but he was right. He managed to make up a religion and recruit a lot of wealthy and famous people.

        • Steve in Oakland
          Posted July 25, 2012 at 12:25 am | Permalink

          & amass worldly riches while he was on Planet Earth. The fact that people can still “start religions” and rake it in bigtime is a sad commentary on the intelligence of “the masses.”

    • Posted July 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Steven,yes, that intellectual and emotional scam of the ages can be that monetary scam!

  11. Daniel Engblom
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I was hampered in reading about this madness by the “PuffHo” nickname, as I started immediately playing with variations, like “Puffington Hoes”, or just “Puffing Ho’s”.
    I’m a bit tired, no need to worry, I’ll soon be outraged by the sanity-levels of public debate.

  12. DV
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    >>“Ultimately,” Huckabee concluded, “We don’t have a crime problem or a gun problem – or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we ordered God out of our schools and communities, the military and public conversations, you know, we really shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.”

    Is Huckabee suggesting God can be ordered around by atheists? What about the believers who beseech and pray to God to be near them and protect them? Is Huckabee suggesting God ignores those who believe in Him and instead submits to the will of those who don’t believe? I mean if He’s the all-powerful creator of the universe why is it so easy to subvert his will?

    • Cliff Melick
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Not exactly (notice the use of “we,” which I suppose would include believers). More likely he is just trying out for the position that Pat Robertson currently fills.

  13. Vaal
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    So according to this logic some secular people managed to scare God away. God has just said “Some of you won’t invoke my name? Screw you! You, and people who pray to me alike, can all get slaughtered for all I care!”

    Unbelievers can’t help noting that when Christians tell us about their judging God, God just happens to be mirror the ridiculous and petty attitude of the person pushing the story.

    Se do not see this as a coincidence.

    Vaal

    • Vaal
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Ugh.

      “We do not see this as a coincidence.”

    • Occam
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Aurora proves divine intervention: It was god who jammed the AR-15, wasn’t it?
      (Question is, who loaded the AR-15 in the first place…)

      So now, after the god of the gaps, we’ll get the god of the jams.

  14. B.R.
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Well, my faith in humanity just decreased by another point. But this is what religious leaders do. They’re all vultures who try to twist tragedy for propaganda purposes. From the Black Death to the world wars to 9/11, every disaster is their “loving” god trying to get our worship by murdering large numbers of us in one fell swoop. Anyone who buys into that kind of thinking is mentally ill.

  15. John Edwards
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Why do more godless countries of europe have so many fewer mass shootings? I suspect it has something to do with there being less of a gun culture enforced by strict gun laws as in the UK. All this handwringing, communal angst and banging on about the loss of respect for God is a smoke screen to avoid talking about the elephant in the room – America’s shocking attitude to guns, even your president appears to have been reluctant to acknowledge it in the comments that have been reported here in the UK media.

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Michael Bloomberg (Mayor of New York) is actually asking both presidential candidates, why they are not addressing the 48,000 gun deaths that will happen in the next four years of their presidency.

      Huge no-win either way, that’s why.

      • Scott near Berkeley
        Posted July 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        … and that’s why I advocate election for one term in office, and then, no possible election to another office. One and done. Mayor of Omaha? That’s it. No Congress for you. Senator from Nevada? OK, ran once, Thanks for your public commitment, you are retired after six years. POTUS? First time, only time. Ross Perot, thanks for running. Run again, you didn’t get elected. But, serve once, and retire.
        Look, we have a super-surplus of skill and information in this world. It’s not as if we have 30% literacy rate, as in 1776. Which Senator read the entire 3,000 page Affordable Care Act before voting? Even the Supreme Court would not read it.
        All elected officials get 97% of their work done by HIRING professional help. So, whether they have “experience” is irrelevant, and actually harmful. Lobbyists=campaign money. You have to determine everything you do, as to HOW it affects your re-election.
        If no re-election, then you’ll do what is correct and patriotic!

        • Marella
          Posted July 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          It’s hardly democracy though is it? You’re advocating making it so that people can do unpopular things in office without fear of repercussions, this is really not what ‘the will of the people’ means! And it wouldn’t work anyway, the president isn’t up for re-election in his second term, but he’s still got to think of his party member who will be up for election and who will bear the burden of his decisions.

          • Filippo
            Posted July 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            Over time, the “democratic-ness” (for lack of a better term off the top of my addled head) seems to go up and down. For the sake of “the will of the people,” ought not a president be able to run for re-election without limit?

            (By the way, why not do away with the Electoral College? THAT seems to diminish democracy. How is it that Gore got the popular vote but Bush got elected?)

            The Senate was a ritzier club when its members were elected by state legislatures.

            Politicos spout platitudes about “The Rule of Law.” Who controls the specific content of The Law? Not the common citizen.

      • Guy
        Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        You’re shitting me!!
        48 THOUSAND gun deaths in 4 years!!
        Are you sure you didn’t put to many zeros on that number?
        That number blows my mind. I know the US has a totally spastic gun culture, but 48,000 is insane.

        • heleen
          Posted July 24, 2012 at 2:43 am | Permalink

          A Dutch quality newspaper gave the following data yesterday:
          Murders in the US per year, with gun and otherwise (graph readout):
          2005 10,000 5,000
          2006 10,000 5,000
          2007 10,000 5,000
          2008 9,500 5,000
          2009 9,000 5,000
          2010 8,500 5,000

          Mayor Bloomberg’s data must be accurate: 48,000 gun deaths in 4 years.

          More than any other source of death?

          The same newspaper had the following statistic for 2007:
          Fire arms in private hands, world total: 875 million
          270 million.
          That is: 31% of privately owned fire arms were in the hands of US citizens in 2007.

          The estimate for fire arm possession in the US for 2012 is 300 million, 30 million more than in 2007.

          In the US, 90 privately owned fire arms are present per 100 persons. Highest for the world.
          Next Jemen, with 61 private fire arms per 100 persons. Jemen, of course, is a notably unruly country ….

    • microraptor
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Pro-gun lobby groups, chiefly the National Rifle Association, hold a massive amount of political power in the United States. Anti-Obama people have been spreading rumors about his secret plan to take away our guns since before he was elected, much to the delight of gun manufacturers and vendors as the demand such rumors created meant that they were able to raise prices substantially while still selling firearms, ammunition, and accessories as fast as they could stock them.

      And that’s with President Obama having done nothing to actually increase gun control regulations in America. Were he to actually make any attempt to pass new restrictions or regulations, the resulting backlash and fearmongering from FOXNoise and the Tea Party, Birther, Truther, Bible-Thumper, Confederate Flagger moron brigade would not only be likely to cost him the election but cause the defeats of a massive amount of progressive politicians and risk turning a large chunk of the US into Texas.

      • will
        Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:38 am | Permalink

        Hey, I live in Texas, it would be more accurate to say, uh , Red China or Gaza. Both of those places are more liberal than Texas

        • microraptor
          Posted July 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Nope, I meant Texas. The pro-gun, anti-women’s rights, anti-evolution, anti-edumication wingnuts would turn out enough force to start spreading the stoopid out beyond the state’s borders.

      • heleen
        Posted July 24, 2012 at 2:45 am | Permalink

        Would fire arm control not be a good job for a second-term president? Especially if it came without warning.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          Contrary to the impression you might get from the press, the president cannot change laws. He can veto or sign laws approved by Congress but that his only involvement in the legislative process.

          • Steve in Oakland
            Posted July 25, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

            Thank gawd for small favors! Imagine a country where the president can create and change laws “with no warning.” I think things are bad enough as they are without having to deal with that sort of thing.

            • microraptor
              Posted July 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

              Indeed. Just imagine the shape the US would have been in in ’08 if Bush had had that ability.

    • RF
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      “Why do more godless countries of europe have so many fewer mass shootings?”
      Question assumes facts not in evidence.

      “I suspect it has something to do with there being less of a gun culture enforced by strict gun laws as in the UK.”
      I rather doubt that there is Less of a “gun culture” in the UK because of gun control, rather than the other way around.

      “America’s shocking attitude to guns, even your president appears to have been reluctant to acknowledge it in the comments that have been reported here in the UK media.”
      You mean, shocking to you. The idea that Republicans are putting up a smokescreen to avoid talking about something they don’t have a problem with is silly. Personally, I find the idea of restricting guns to just the government and criminals rather shocking. If there’s a special group of people that are the only ones that have such a basic right as the right to bear arms, then what you have is not a democracy.

      “Michael Bloomberg (Mayor of New York) is actually asking both presidential candidates, why they are not addressing the 48,000 gun deaths that will happen in the next four years of their presidency.”
      Maybe Obama is too preoccupied by the millions deaths due to medical issues to spend much time on the thousands of deaths due to guns.

      “If no re-election, then you’ll do what is correct and patriotic!”
      Addressing all the silliness of this post would take a ridiculous amount of time, but the idea that legislators who disagree with you are not acting in good faith and doing what they honestly believe is best for the country is wildly arrogant.

      • SLC
        Posted July 25, 2012 at 5:18 am | Permalink

        48,000 deaths in 4 years due to guns? That many people die every year in automobile accidents.

        • Filippo
          Posted July 25, 2012 at 5:38 am | Permalink

          “48,000 deaths in 4 years due to guns? That many people die every year in automobile accidents.”

          Which testifies to the monumental carelessness and recklessness of drivers, even more so now in an era of death by texting-while-driving.

          Wonder why it is expressed as 48,000 per four years? Why not 12,000 per year?

          I notice that it is occasionally reported in the press that the amount of federal gov’t appropriation and expenditure, e.g. loss/increase of tax revenue due to tax cut/increase, as some amount “over ten years,” as opposed to 1/10 of that amount per year.

          Is this some fatuous journalistic conceit, an effort at “framing” and “spinning” to manipulate reader perception?

          A comedian once said, in response to a question about the length of his stage act, that he was “good for an hour and twenty minutes.”

          Ask a group of grade school kids which is longer, an hour and twenty minutes or eighty minutes. Way too many will say the former.

          Too many unthinking adults are similarly swayed by such “framing” of questions.

          • RF
            Posted July 26, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

            There was one case where the total cost of something was given over *eternity*. That is, after an infinite number of years, it would be a certain dollar amount.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, after the Falwell/Robertson comments on 9/11, none of this surprises me anymore, although it continues to disgust me and always will.

    There are scholars who think the Book of Job was originally a work of scepticism of religion before the later addition of the opening and closing chapters. Whether or not that is true, I wish these pretentious self-righteous moralizers would read it, and understand they are in the stance of the “comforters” lambasted by this book.

    • Posted July 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      That lousy book glorifies might is right as Yahweh insists on His might!

  17. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Here is James Holmes appearing in court. Wow.

    If politicians are mirrors, Louie Gohmert needs a spit-shine.

  18. mikespeir
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    These people have no feel for history. Unless they’re referring to that five and a half minutes of April 12th, 1833 when everybody in this country believed in Jesus and nobody brained anybody else with an axe.

  19. MadScientist
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Gohmert’s such a goober. Since when has anyone been jailed for violation of the establishment clause? He’s such a liar for Jesus – what a loser. It’s people like him who should get decent folks thinking that christianity is a path to a life full of hatred and lies.

  20. Sastra
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Why, when believers imagine a criminal “getting religion” do they imagine the criminal renouncing his life of crime? It is so much easier to instead see yourself revealed as the tool of God, obediently helping your divine master balance the scales of True Justice. Crime? Not if God says it isn’t.

    If Holmes had been a religious fanatic with a bunch of guns, ammunition, and a plan, it wouldn’t have helped.

  21. Newman
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Several of my friends have posted this link. It makes me sad.

    http://aminiatureclaypot.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/so-you-still-think-god-is-a-merciful-god/

    • gravelinspector
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 1:36 am | Permalink

      What a stupid woman (the “clay pot poster”) : dumping the contents of her purse then scrabbling over the ground looking for her car keys (which she has just thrown to the ground, at midnight). If the couple of seconds to rationally search through the purse for the keys was going to make a difference, then using those couple of seconds to run away would have been much more effective at getting away. (Driving the first car away from the lot would also probably have drawn fire if the shooter was outside (I’ve not actually heard any eyewitness reports apart from this one, so I don’t know if the shooter came outside), so that may not have been the wisest thing to do either.)
      Clearly not a rational woman. Having bred already, she’s ineligible for a Darwin Award, unless she kills her children along with herself. Which being irrational, she’s likely to do.

  22. Marella
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    “I can’t help but feel that to some extent, we’re reaping what we’ve been sowing as a society.”

    Well he’s got that right, your gun laws are indescribably dreadful and you’re reaping the consequences of them every single day.

  23. Steve in Oakland
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Robert G. Ingersoll used to say that man created God in his image. What a pathetic, megalomaniacal, petty being they have created in their minds – and then, to demand that we all believe or go to Hell, straight to Hell, and do not pass go.

    Here’s a poem about evangelical Jesus Jazzers, and their Holy Babble:

    “God published a tale of a girl and a ghost, Of devils in pigs, and His son on a cross, &
    demanded our race believe it or roast, for his mercy endureth forever!”

  24. Posted July 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on i n s i g h t e s t.

  25. Neil
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Let’s face it. God is a charter member of the NRA.

  26. Sponge Bob
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    God rested on the 7th day, and still seems to be resting 6,000 years later.

    One would think he could take a break from knapping and throw the starving kids of the world some food once in a while.

    • Steve in Oakland
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 2:11 am | Permalink

      NOT intervening is so central to Jesus Jazzer ideology: According to them, we’re what the whole thing is about, although humans were written off by the big guy long long ago. We’re all “born in sin,” but have free will to either redeem ourselves or not. Totally inane logic, it is not a big leap for them to believe that God is content to kick back and let humans stumble along on their own, with the long-term plan being death and destruction, with most people then spending eternities in “lakes of fire.” What a guy!

  27. Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    “Stay tuned: all hell breaks loose in Sweden and Denmark, those most godless of nations.”

    Hell is pretty close to Sweden and Denmark. It’s a village in Norway.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell,_Norway

  28. jon0001
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the time is upon us to make a sweeping and radical change to the way that society is structured. There is increasing divisiveness between those who follow the word of God, through His word in the Bible and those who reject His revealed truth and choose to live their lives based only on what scientists tell them is the truth, even though the ‘truth’ is only a collection of theories.

    I believe that all those who live in Jesus Christ and accept the truth of God’s revealed word should separate themselves, physically, from the non-believers whose only desire is to lead those of faith away from God.

    The Bible teaches that God will provide for all His followers so, all we have to do is locate a suitable land where all true believers can live together in harmony and prayer.

    Meanwhile, those of us with the intelligence we were born with, who view this life as a journey of discovery and who strive for the improvement of all through science, can stay exactly where we are and continue to develop our lives, learning more every day.

    Since almost all scientists are atheists, they get to use their skills and apply their knowledge to carry on their important work in the interests of that part of humanity that understands the benefits of science and which will not put irrational beliefs in the way of advancement.

    As each day passes, I get more fed up of reading the latest rectally derived biblical nonsense issuing from the religious. It seems to me that they would be much happier preaching their verbal diarrhoea at each other rather than making themselves look even more stupid than they already are in front of intelligent, rational people.

    Of course, the religious theme park I propose would be home to all those who have religious beliefs. Being so godly, peaceful and everything and with there being only one, true religion, there should be no problem with them all living together in peace and unity.

    • gravelinspector
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 1:45 am | Permalink

      Of course, the religious theme park I propose would be home to all those who have religious beliefs. Being so godly, peaceful and everything and with there being only one, true religion, there should be no problem with them all living together in peace and unity.

      So – in theory – there would be no need for building strong walls, topped with razor wire and machine-gun posts manned by gimlet-eyed guards ; because none of “the saved” in their wonderful land of Gilead (child of Atwood, about 1990) would have any desire to leave.
      In practice … the border guards would be on the inside of Gilead, eyes lit with religious fervour, to prevent the ones of insufficient faith from apostasy.

      • jon0001
        Posted July 24, 2012 at 2:17 am | Permalink

        I think that they’d all be too busy preaching to other about how their god is the only true god – and then killing each other to prove their point – that the Berlin Wall approach wouldn’t be needed for quite some time. And anyway, since they would be going in without any technology, including guns, it would take quite a while for them to consult their numerous religious texts to work out WDOGD (what did our god do) when he was out there smiting all and sundry to protect his chosen people.

        And then there’s the praying. Prayer is the ultimate weapon. It is so effective that it solves everything. All these religious nuts would be praying so hard for their own salvation, and the smiting of the other religions, that years would pass before they copped on to the fact that their god just couldn’t be arsed to get involved (probably because he’s in a serious game of Texas Holdem with all the other gods up there).

        So, no defences needed until after all the smiting and the few remaining could be subjected to brain research to find out why they are so mentally damaged and how a genetic modification could be introduced to ensure it never happened again.

    • Mike Lee
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 4:02 am | Permalink

      You mean, like follow the example of the Amish…?

      • jon0001
        Posted July 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        The Amish! I’ve heard of them – who can ever forget “Witness”?

        I think they inhabit part of Pennsylvania, if I remember correctly. Mind you, I think they chose to live on their own and stay away from others, thus not bothering us about their god.

        I think we have to understand that evangelicals can’t keep their mouths shut and just have to spout their rubbish at rational people and, of course, the militant Islamists just want to kill all non-Muslims… and other Muslims who are not in their sect (because they’re not REAL Muslims).

        No, I was thinking about something along the lines of the “B” Ark in ‘The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’ but, since we don’t have the technology to build a space-ship that big (yet), I guess we’ll just have to settle for a land mass where all the religious can go without having the opportunity annoy normal people with their inane ramblings.

        • microraptor
          Posted July 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          I believe there’s some perfect real-estate located at about 90 Degrees South Latitude…

          • jon0001
            Posted July 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

            Ah, I see what you did there. You used science! I trust you mean 90 degrees north, 90 degrees south has clever people doing research there called ‘scientists”.

            Also, it would help with global warming. Obviously, the gods these people worship would have to reverse the greenhouse so the ice cap wouldn’t shrink too much.

    • RFW
      Posted July 25, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      To paraphrase a comment made by Baron Bodissey in his famous multi-volume opus “Life”, a necessary and sufficient condition for the rise of sectarian violence is the presence of two believers.

      • jon0001
        Posted July 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        I haven’t come across that one before but, to paraphrase Basil Fawlty, it’s stating the bleeding obvious. Which, of course, often needs to be stated to remind us what we are about.

        Thank you.

  29. Posted July 24, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Here’s a graph of percentage of households with a gun versus number of intentional firearm deaths by country. ‘Nuff said. http://www.leftfootforward.org/images/2012/07/Gun-ownership-gun-deaths-correlation.jpg

    • Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Actually, not “’nuff said”. Why is the US so far above the best-fit line?

      /@

      • jon0001
        Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Hi Ant,

        What the graph is showing is the number of people intentionally killed with a firearm against the percentage of homes in possession of firearms for a number of countries considered to be western democracies.

        For example, in Switzerland around 35% of homes have a firearm (if I recall correctly, this is to do with the fact that Swiss military reservists are required to store their weapons in their own home) but, in spite of this very high percentage of homes that have firearms, only just over 6 people a year, on average, are intentionally killed with a firearm for every 100,000 of the population.

        At the other end of the scale, in England, Scotland and Wales, where it is illegal to own virtually every type of firearm apart from shotguns (and then only in the countryside) only about 3% of homes have a firearm and, as a result, only about 0.25 people a year are intentionally killed with a firearm for every 100,000 of the population (about one every four years).

        The USA, where the number of households with a firearm is around 34%, sees over 10 people a year intentionally killed with a firearm for every 100,000 of the population.

        I cannot answer the question that you asked. Is the question “why do Americans like to kill each other more than in any other ‘civilised’ nation”? Is the question “why does the US government continue to allow its citizens to possess anything from a BB gun (illegal in the UK and Ireland, by the way), through machine guns to gas grenades and high explosives”?

        Quite simply, I don’t understand why people feel it necessary go around with guns. Even the policemen in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland do not carry guns.

        Irrespective of what the nutty NRA says, guns do actually kill people. Actually, a gun killed 12 US citizens in Aurora the other day. Sure, someone has to pull the trigger but it’s as plain as the nose on your face that, if they hadn’t got the gun in the first place, they couldn’t pull the trigger.

        I understand that US cinemas are talking about letting people take guns in when they go to watch a film. That should help the USA’s position on the graph to move vertically up. But, if that’s what the citizens want, that’s what they get. As we say over here, you get what you vote for.

        • Dick Veldkamp
          Posted July 25, 2012 at 1:41 am | Permalink

          It seems to me there is a religious flavour to the gun debate in the US, since ‘the right to bear arms’ is derived from one ambiguous sentence in a document over 200 years old.

          Needless to say, the framers could hardly have foreseen the present day situation with about 1 weapon per person on average (not to mention automatic weapons, etc. etc.), and so many gun deaths each year. So why should that one sentence be relevant to today’s discussion at all?

          Also in this case belief (‘Guns do not kill people, people do. More guns make you safer.’) trumps common sense, that it would have been much harder to kill so many people if it had not been so easy for the killer to obtain his weapons.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted July 25, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          Interestingly, more than 90% of gun deaths in Switzerland in 2008 were suicide: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Number_of_gun_deaths_goes_down_in_Switzerland.html?cid=29125162.

          Whilst the graph shows a fairly direct correlation between ownership and deaths in most countries, Ant has pointed out an interesting discrepancy. America is definitely batting well above average for some reason. All the more reason to introduce sensible gun control.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted July 25, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          In fact, if you strip out the suicides, the gun homicide rate in the USA would appear to be around 7 times that of Switzerland (comparing rates from different years: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate)

        • microraptor
          Posted July 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          I understand that US cinemas are talking about letting people take guns in when they go to watch a film.

          I definitely need to get Netflix now.

          • jon0001
            Posted July 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            I live in rural Co. Meath in Ireland. Fibre-optic cable is very much like religion out here, you’ve heard of it but there’s absolutely no evidence that it exists.

            I have to use satellite internet. 10Mbps (with a latency) and a data allowance (up and down combined) of 25GB per 30 days. It costs €150.00 a month (US$182.00). So, Netflix isn’t really an option.

            What I do is buy films I want to watch on Blu-ray. I have a very nice surround sound system and I find it actually costs less to buy the disc than it does to drive to the cinema, pay to park the car, buy the tickets and maybe a drink. And I get to watch it again whenever I like.

            Mind you, given that guns are illegal over here, the chances of being murdered in a crazed attack by a mad gunman in a cinema, or anywhere else, for that matter, are as slim as an anorexic on in Ramadan.

      • Posted July 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, perhaps not ’nuff said, but I think the graph makes a decent point nonetheless. If we assume the line of best-fit to be appropriate, then number of households with guns may well explain about 2/3 of American gun deaths. Undoubtedly the nature of the weapons allowed and other factors are involved too, granted.

    • RFW
      Posted July 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      That’s an interesting graph. If anyone feels a compelling desire to calculate a straight line fit to the data, a warning: don’t use least squares, as it gives outliers too much influence. Use, instead, the L1 approximation, which minimizes the sum of the absolute values of the deviations. The L1 approximation has the interesting characteristic that under some circumstnaces it totally disregards outliers.

      The L1 approximation is a linear programming problem, and you’ll have to dig around to find the algorithm.

  30. saguhh00
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    In 1410, at Segovia, an earthquake was blamed by the Christian priesthood on a host desacration perpetrated by the Jews, and as a result, the local synagogue was confiscated and leading Jews were executed; the event continues to be celebrated as a local feast of Corpus Christi.

    The Red Khmer believed that the intellectuals in Cambodia wanted to take over the government and started to persecute anyone seen as an intellectual.

    Preachers blaming the shooting on atheism just want to promote the persecution of minorities.

  31. lijebaley
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    And the reaction of the general, god-fearing public, is….

    ….to but yet more guns:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18980974

  32. Kevin
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    “Stay tuned: all hell breaks loose in Sweden and Denmark, those most godless of nations.”

    This quip is in poor taste, given that this week saw the anniversary of the massacre that took place in the other Scandinavian country.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted July 25, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Oh give me a break: only someone looking to be offended could say something like this. That massacre was in Norway, not Sweden or Denmark.

  33. Posted July 25, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    “Newcombe separated the afterlife fate of those who died as Christians and those who did not”

    While of course all reasonable people think this is rubbish, because there is no afterlife, it is just standard religious thought. It is not particularly extreme in any way.

    I am always amazed when religious people are labeled “extreme” when they do nothing more than quote their standard doctrine. I might not like that doctrine, but surely “extreme” should apply to someone with a bizarre minority opinion, not something basic like “only the saved go to heaven”, which is pretty much the definition of Christianity.


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  1. [...] shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.I find Huckabee’s analysis (which others have also voiced), far from being a call to appropriate religious introspection, an attempt at blame-shifting. [...]

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