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Thursday, October 06, 2005

How Many Angels Can Dance on a Couple of Pinheads? 

Think the Sunnis and the Shia have a few issues to iron out between them? Well, we were reading Molly Ivins ('we are now beset by people who insist on dragging religion into governance -- and who themselves believe they are beset by people determined to 'drive God from the public square'"), and now that church and state are about to start interbreeding again, it occurred to us that our very own Supreme Court might soon be the locus of some goldarned lively debate about the nature of the Supreme Being. Sneak a quick peek at a body part only Mr. Bush has been privileged to check out so far, namely the heart of Harriet Miers:
Late Sunday night, shortly after President Bush asked her to be his nominee to the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers called her longtime Dallas minister and his wife and - without revealing why - asked for their prayers to give her "grace under pressure."

That call to the Rev. Ron and Kaycia Key illustrates the depth of Miers' spirituality and years of devoted worship at a conservative nondenominational Christian church that preaches against abortions and gay marriages.
Words like "conservative" and "nondenominational" look so much more respectable, in print, anyway, than the loaded, judgmental, and altogether more accurate terms "evangelical" and "fundamentalist." It would not be appropriate for a newspaper article to come right out and call the President's "work wife" a dimwitted Christer hick. That task is best left to the "What We Believe" page at the Valley View Christian Church website:
We believe the Bible to be the only infallible, inspired, authoritative Word of God. As such it is our final authority for all matters of faith and Christian practice. (2 Timothy 3:14-16)
And from Tapped we learn that the VVC "Useful Links" page ("This is not an endorsement just some links we enjoy") takes us directly to the website of the Creation Evidence Museum, the Texas outfit run by Dr. Carl Baugh, who can at best aspire to be the second most brilliant man Ms. Miers ever met, the top spot already having been claimed, in perpetuity, by President Wile E. Coyote, super-genius-in-chief:
Dr. Carl Baugh, the museum’s Founder and Director, originally came to Glen Rose, Texas to critically examine claims of human and dinosaur co-habitation. He conducted extensive excavations along the Paluxy River, with appropriate permission of the landowners. These original excavations yielded human footprints among dinosaur footprints (see the Director’s doctoral dissertation). He then realized that a museum needed to be established in order to appropriately display this evidence, along with sustained excavations and other areas of scientific research for creation.
If you hadn't heard, the basic tenets of geology, which contradict Genesis, are no less fraudulent than the basic tenets of biology, which also contradict Genesis -- as Dr. Baugh proves quite conclusively, citing the very latest scholarship:
Man-made artifacts – such as the hammer in Cretaceous rock, a human sandal print with trilobite in Cambrian rock, human footprints and a handprint in Cretaceous rock – point to the fact that all the supposed geologic periods actually occurred at the same time in the recent past. (11)

(11) Carl Baugh, Ph D –- WHY DO MEN BELIEVE EVOLUTION ... AGAINST ALL ODDS?
So let's assume that our next Supreme Court justice buys what her church is peddling. What happens when the glossolalian collides with the sesquipedalian -- when the homespun cracker of Valley View squares off against the sophistic superfreak of Opus Dei, noted orgiast Nino Scalia, who recently explained that government derives its authority from God, and not, as your civics teacher perhaps misinformed you, from the consent of the governed? A week ago we might have expected them to get along just famously. But that was before Nino's padrones issued the following heresy:
THE hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true . . . .

Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in schools, believing “intelligent design” to be an equally plausible theory of how the world began.

But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this country’s Catholic bishops insist cannot be “historical”. At most, they say, they may contain “historical traces”.

The document shows how far the Catholic Church has come since the 17th century, when Galileo was condemned as a heretic for flouting a near-universal belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible by advocating the Copernican view of the solar system [Pope Ratzi, by the way, famously awarded that bout to the church, on points -- S.]. Only a century ago, Pope Pius X condemned Modernist Catholic scholars who adapted historical-critical methods of analysing ancient literature to the Bible.

[The bishops] go on to condemn fundamentalism for its “intransigent intolerance” and to warn of “significant dangers” involved in a fundamentalist approach.

As examples of passages not to be taken literally, the bishops cite the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and that they could not be described as historical writing.

Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.
So there goes fundamentalism, right into the Dempster Dumpster, and the entire Left Behind phenomenon with it. Now you might expect Mr. Scalia as a matter of noblesse oblige to be a gentleman about the whole issue, to bite his tongue in the presence of the deeply devout, albeit primitive-minded and dead wrong, Ms. Miers. But that kind of faux-politesse will only land him in dutch with Benny-16:
The Pope opened a three-week synod of Roman Catholic bishops yesterday with a call to strengthen the church's influence in public life . . . .

"A tolerance which allows God as a private opinion but which excludes Him from public life, from the reality of the world and our lives, is not tolerance but hypocrisy," he said in his opening homily.
We can only rub our hands in anticipation of the doctinal slugfest it will be our great pleasure to watch for the next couple of decades. Quite obviously, each of the agonists -- Ms. Miers and Mr. Scalia -- believes the other is going to hell, and if there is a hell, one of them is certainly right; perhaps, as we like to think in our less generous moments, both of them.

But which one goes first?

UPDATE (via Zemblan patriot K.Z.): Talk about passing the buck -- !
President George W. Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals . . . .

[Palestinian foreign minister] Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"
Nice to know that two thousand Americans and untold thousands of civilians have died because of the voices in the President's head, isn't it? And almost as nice to know that he is eager to share this datum with other world leaders, completely unaware that it makes him sound like a paranoid schizophrenic in dire need of a Risperdal fix. ("Then I'm prayin' and I start to get hungry. And God says, 'George! Go fix yourself a P.B. and J. With maybe one o' them tasty Kosher dills on the side!'")

But then again, who can blame him? After all, the disembodied voices in his head got him through three presidential debates with John Kerry.

(And by the way -- Connor Oberst's "When the President Talks to God" is still available for free downloading -- freeloading? -- over at ITunes.)

UPDATE II: From the BBC:
The White House has dismissed as "absurd" allegations made in a BBC TV series that President Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq.

"He's never made such comments," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
The problem, of course, is that Mr. McClellan's denial comes more than two years too late. The White House should have expressed its outrage to Haaretz back in the summer of 2003, when the Israeli paper quoted Palestinian PM Mahmoud Abbas thus:
Abbas said that at Aqaba, Bush promised to speak with Sharon about the siege on Arafat. He said nobody can speak to or pressure Sharon except the Americans.

According to Abbas, immediately thereafter Bush said: "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

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