Catholics not allowed to pray for GLBT people

Uproar over prayer service for gays grows

The archdiocese is now dictating to people who they can and cannot pray for.

WWJD? Seriously, what the fuck would Jesus do? He would be at this prayer service.

As an ex-Catholic atheist, I see St. Joan of Arc Church as one of the few good Catholic churches left in the world.

Catholics not allowed to pray for GLBT people

Let's have a good, clean Presidential campaign

We have 2 good presidential candidates in Barack Obama and John McCain. I like John McCain more than I ever liked Bush and I like Barack Obama better than either Al Gore or John Kerry. These are two good candidates and two good men.

Now it’s inevitable that the extremists in either party will sling mud and pull all sorts of dirty tricks. All they need to do is hide behind empty shell companies and buy advertising. Given the current laws we have, we can’t stop these assholes from playing dirty. Thus we must do our best to ignore it. The candidates on both sides should denounce it emphatically and ask people who are supporting them to not do it.

The fair game, in my opinion, is 2 issues:

1. What qualities does the candidate have as a person and a leader.
2. What are his positions on the issues.

Those are the only two valid discussions we should have.

Now to the issue of guilt by association — it’s a gray one, in a sense, because whom you choose to associate with does lend insight into #1 above. On the other hand, we should never take some other person’s views as a proxy for the candidate’s views. The candidates can speak for themselves! So if some advisor to Obama is a racist, for example, we cannot infer something about Obama’s views from this. If McCain has a supporter who is an ardent theocrat, we can’t assume that McCain shares that view.

If McCain, though, goes to Bob Jones University (or Obama goes to, say, The Sierra Club) and proclaims what a great institution it is, then he is inviting assumptions.

Above all I’m praying to God (and that from an atheist) that the candidates themselves take the moral high ground. Both campaigns will be looking for every advantage, but being above the pissing match should be an advantage. Let’s pick the candidate who stays on the issues, has intelligent views on the issues and who avoids the slash and burn bullshit of “Swift Boat” politics.

Let's have a good, clean Presidential campaign

The War on Science

The folks at Effect Measure have a great post on the war on science and they make a very tangible point:

The attack on the science has two components. The first is the most obvious: to use what appear to be scientific arguments to cast doubt on what the scientific community deems valid arguments about climate change. But the second may be the most important: to do it in a way that casts aspersions on all kinds of scientific argument. The attackers don’t care if they are accused of political or economic bias in making their own scientific arguments because one of their objectives is to establish a covert narrative that says science is always biased and tainted by political corruption. The aim is to destroy the moral authority of science, not its factual basis. They then erect a new standard based on economic promise and the virtues of “progress” and modernity.

I’ve said before that scientists tend to be liberals. It’s just a fact, just like big business guys tend to be conservatives. I don’t think either side needs to apologize for this. But the Right Wing hates this because science does hold a special place in our debates. You can’t argue about issues like climate change, embryonic stem cell research or natural selection without involving science and the fact that all the scientists are on the Left makes it seem, to some, that “science” is just a political tactic to win debates. The above quoted paragraph makes quite clear how the Right Wing has chosen to fight this: just claim that all science is biased!

I interviewed a particle physicist lately (which I will soon post over at Slacker Astronomy) and he said, and I quote, “I don’t believe anything.”. He has trained himself as a scientist to not believe things — he either knows or he doesn’t know and “knowing” involves a file cabinet full of data and research. He has purged himself of belief because it is a liability as a scientist.

So, I’m sorry, you sad little Righties. Science is not a tactic and when your beliefs are in opposition with science your beliefs needs to be modified.

The War on Science