The Occasional Tendown: Easterdown 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dear Internet:

It's a Tradition unlike any other.  Easterdown!

153 is here. This is Tendown 154.

1. Meanwhile, in Florida
About 15 years ago, when I was just starting to teach, I had a lesson on symbolic speech where I asked students if my tearing up an American flag would be offensive.

After getting some measure of equal action on both sides I took a piece of loose leaf notebook paper, spent about 30 seconds pencil drawing a flag, that, while having the appropriate sections where 50 stars and 13 stripes might be located, was really just a collection of squiggles that I nonetheless called "An American Flag" before I tore the paper in half to a healthy howl of protest.

The discussion then unfolded about the nature of personal offense and when it is that legislation is an appropriate remedy to protect from offense and finally about why it is that students saw an American flag in that piece of paper, despite (more evident upon my reconstruction of said paper) only the label to reasonably indicate such.

But this was an Age Before the Wars.  Not the actual wars, the ones in the Middle East with hundreds of thousands of fatalities, but instead before the right wing noise machine's imaginary wars on Christmas and Easter.  So, when a Communications professor at Florida Atlantic University taught a similar lesson by having students write the word "Jesus" on a piece of paper and step on it -  the result was the university apologized, the lesson was removed from the curriculum, and the instructor has been shifted to online only courses given resultant death threats.

Which I guess is a good demonstration of the power of symbolism.  Or the power of power.

2. Almost Always Wrong.  
Absent the ability to argue "Gays Make Jesus Sad", the anti same sex marriage arguments in the Supreme Court this week were awfully toothless.  More fun would be walking through a recent history of right wing attacks on marriage equality get ready for some man on dog excitement!

3. Hannity Ends Ben Carson's Presidential Aspiration
Right here.

4. Coming A Theater Near You...
The Criminalization of Christianity!

5. I Thought Rodman Fixed This?
Have you considered the relationship between the Supreme Court hearings over marriage equality and potential nuclear attack by North Korea? The President of the Southern Baptist Convention has.

6. Yet Another Clue
My affection for Survivor has not diminished despite Mark Burnett's clearly playing to the crazies with the "Obama=Devil" makeup for his mini-series.  And those crazies exist.  The radio host from #4 - here was his view.

I believe Mark Burnett and his wife and the History Channel. I don’t believe they intentionally portrayed the Lucifer character to look like Mr. Obama. I think God guided the hand of the makeup artist and blinded the eyes of everybody on the movie set while it was being recorded, and the spiritual blinders were removed Sunday night when the program was broadcast nationally on the History Channel. How many clues do we need from Heaven to understand that the man in the White House is a devil from Hell?

How many indeed.

7. A Bible I Can Get Behind

Good stuff.  2215 entries under "absurdity" 1313 for "cruelty and violence" 472 "contradictions.   

8. Equal Opportunity
I don't care whose name you stomp on.  Here's the annotated Quran.


10. Baseball's Back.

Flags fly forever.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,



Anonymous said...

What I cannot process with Atheism is, without God, what basis is there for moral judgment? Why would all atheists want to build hospitals? Are there not some that would want to slaughter every person in sight? If not God, then who is to judge what behavior is promoted above others?

Jim said...

There are plenty of moral philosophies that aren't based on divine figures. The Categorical imperative, utilitarianism...

Consider, if you became convinced there were no gods - does that mean you would choose to slaughter every person in sight? Assuming not, why?

Be it because it feels wrong to kill, or taking for yourself the power to decide who lives or dies is wrong, or that causing that much harm is wrong given the lack of benefit - there are all sorts of moral calculations that can exist outside of morality based on fear of divine judgment.

Anonymous said...

But Atheism itself doesn't imply such moral calculation. By whose authority does this Madalyn chick you quoted get to proclaim that all atheists are tree-hugging hippies that love humanity? Why should I believe her propaganda?

The hypothetical person who chooses not to slaughter people on sight is more likely to be dissuaded by the potential consequences of his actions, rather than some feeling of brotherly love that inexplicably springs forth from proclaiming the absence of deities.

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