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Horrible people of faith: Paul Ryan

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan right wing zealot, devout Catholic.

Born: January 29, 1970.

Ryan, an Ayn Rand Objectivist Libertarian, has worked tirelessly to undermine and abolish medicare medicaid and social security. Notably as a child he directly benefited from social security benefits. He is also a notorious liar, having been caught in an outright lie about his marathon times, claiming a sub-three hour personal best time, when his fasted recorded time was over four hours.

Ryan was called out on his hypocrisy by Sister Erica Jordan at 2017 town hall event:

“I know that you’re Catholic, as am I, and it seems to me that most of the Republicans in the Congress are not willing to stand with the poor and working class as evidenced in the recent debates on health care and the anticipated tax reform,” Jordan said. “So, I’d like to ask you: how do you see yourself upholding the church’s social teaching that has the idea that God is always on the side of the poor and dispossessed as should we be?”

Ryan defends his faith:

“Sister, this may come as a surprise to you but I completely agree with you,” he said, as sister Jordan stared at him stone-faced. “Where we may disagree is on how to achieve that goal. We exercise prudential judgment in practicing our faith. For me — for the poor that’s key to the Catholic faith. That means mobility, economic growth, equality of opportunity.”

He went on to add: “I think we need to change our approach on fighting poverty. Instead of measuring success on how much money we spend or how many programs we create or how many people on those programs, let’s measure success and poverty on outcomes.”

Denying poor people access to health care is of course the lord's work.

Quotes from Think Progress

Horrible people of faith: Joseph Kony

Born:July 24, 1961.

Leader of the Lords Resistance Army.

While initially purporting to fight against government oppression, the LRA allegedly turned against Kony's own supporters, supposedly to "purify" the Acholi people and turn Uganda into a theocracy.[2] Kony proclaims himself the spokesperson of God and a spirit medium and claims he is visited by a multinational host of 13 spirits, including a Chinese phantom.[2] Ideologically, the group is a syncretic mix of mysticism, Acholi nationalism, and Christian fundamentalism, and claims to be establishing a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and local Acholi tradition.[sources 1]

Kony has been accused by government entities of ordering the abduction of children to become child soldiers and sex slaves.[20] 66,000 children became soldiers, and 2 million people were displaced internally from 1986 to 2009.[21] Kony was indicted in 2005 for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, but he has evaded capture.[22] Kony has been subject to an Interpol Red Notice at the request of the ICC since 2006.[4] Since the Juba peace talks in 2006, the LRA no longer operate in Uganda. Sources claim that they are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), or South Sudan.[23] In 2013, Kony was reported to be in poor health, and Michel Djotodia, president of the CAR, claimed he was negotiating with Kony to surrender.[24]


A New Wikileaks for Religion Publishes Its First Trove of Documents

FaithLeaks, a young transparency organization focused on religious communities, published its first big trophy this week: a collection of 33 letters and documents from an internal investigation into alleged sexual abuse within a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Like other whistle-blower organizations, FaithLeaks provides sources the ability to anonymously submit sensitive documents, which the site then posts publicly. FaithLeaks uses SecureDrop, an encrypted open-source system that is also used by media outlets including the New York Times and ProPublica. SecureDrop uses the anonymizing Tor network to facilitate submissions that leave no trace online. Founded by two former Mormons in November, FaithLeaks believes that “increased transparency within religious organizations results in fewer untruths, less corruption, and less abuse.”

The documents released this week span from 1999 to 2012, and they’re devastating. They include details about accusations by three women against one church member. The first case involves allegations made by the man’s adult daughter, who accused him of sexual and physical abuse that began when she was 5 years old. (Names have been redacted in all the FaithLeaks documents.) Another daughter and an unrelated woman later came forward to make abuse accusations against the same man; the second daughter said her father had begun to “fondle and touch” her at the age of 3, and began raping her at 8.


Shithole crosses the Rubicon.

And by shithole I mean both the shithole in the white house and his use of the term shithole to refer to assorted countries filled with people he apparently hates.

And by "crosses the Rubicon" I mean that like his previous traversal of that metaphoric boundary with his defense of Nazis in Charlottesville, the shithole has put himself and his administration outside the limits of normality. He has instead put his administration over on the Overt Fascist side of the political equation.

This would be another moment when "Republicans with integrity", if there are any, could take a stand and put an end to the disintegration of the Republic. I do not think there are any such persons in leadership positions in Congress.

Its ok to use the shit word here.

Can we please stop with the disemvoweling already?

As a criminal prosecution looms, the Vatican takes control of Catholic movement in Peru

The Vatican has announced that it has taken control of the Sodalitium of Christian Life, a society of consecrated laypeople and priests. The group was founded in Peru in 1971 by a layperson, Luis Fernando Figari, who prosecutors in Peru are now seeking to detain. The move comes just days before Pope Francis begins a visit to Chile and Peru.

Members of the leadership in the society, known by its Latin acronym S.C.V., have been accused of authoritarian lifestyles and financial mismanagement. Its founder and other leaders have been accused of sexually abusing minors in the group. The S.C.V. includes about 20,000 members and is governed by a group of celibate laymen known as “sodalits.”


Some of Sodalitium's victims have denounced the Vatican's handling of the case, saying the six-year delay in taking any action and subsequently allowing Mr. Figari to live in retirement in Rome was anything but satisfactory.


Mr. Figari was a charismatic intellectual, but he was also "narcissistic, paranoid, demeaning, vulgar, vindictive, manipulative, racist, sexist, elitist and obsessed with sexual issues and the sexual orientation of S.C.V. members," according to a 2017 investigative report commissioned by the society's new leadership.

The report, by two Americans and an Irish expert in abuse, found that Mr. Figari sodomized his recruits and forced them to fondle him and one another. He liked to watch them "experience pain, discomfort and fear" and humiliated them in front of others to enhance his control over them, the report found.


plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Freedom From Religion Foundation to broadcast new, weekly talk show

The Freedom From Religion Foundation will broadcast a weekly television show beginning today.

“Freethought Matters” will be a half-hour talk show hosted by the foundation’s co-presidents, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, and featuring notable “freethinking celebrities,” Gaylor said.

CBS affiliate WISC-TV Channel 3 will air the program at 11 p.m. Sundays with photojournalist Chris Johnson as the first guest. Johnson recently produced the book and film “A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God.”

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation was founded in 1978 to promote the separation of church and state and to educate others on atheism, and Gaylor said the show will work toward the same goals.


Why Europes wars of religion put 40,000 witches to a terrible death

It was a terrifying phenomenon that continues to cast a shadow over certain parts of Europe even today. The great age of witch trials, which ran between 1550 and 1700, fascinates and repels in equal measure. Over the course of a century and a half, 80,000 people were tried for witchcraft and half of them were executed, often burned alive.

And then trials disappeared almost completely.

Their appearance was all the more strange because between 900 and 1400 the Christian authorities had refused to acknowledge that witches existed, let alone try someone for the crime of being one. This was despite the fact that belief in witches was common in medieval Europe, and in 1258 Pope Alexander IV had to issue a canon to prevent prosecutions.

But by 1550 Christian authorities had reversed their position, leading to a witch-hunt across Christendom. Many explanations have been advanced for what drove the phenomenon. Now new research suggests there is an economic explanation, one that has relevance to the modern day.

Economists Peter Leeson and Jacob Russ of George Mason University in Virginia argue that the trials reflected “non-price competition between the Catholic and Protestant churches for religious market share”.

As competing Catholic and Protestant churches vied to win over or retain their followers, they needed to make an impact – and witch trials were the battleground they chose. Or, as the two academics put it in their paper, to be published in the new edition of the Economic Journal: “Leveraging popular belief in witchcraft, witch-prosecutors advertised their confessional brands’ commitment and power to protect citizens from worldly manifestations of Satan’s evil.”

The Guardian

Faith in the existence of dark matter.

In 1933 Fritz Zwicky was studying a galactic cluster and observed that the rotational speed of galaxies in the cluster was impossible unless there existed a huge amount of unobserved mass in the cluster. He, following in the footsteps of Lord Kelvin 50 years earlier, called this unobserved mass "dark matter".

The Zwicky observations have been confirmed over and over again in other galactic clusters and in the late 70's Vera Rubin and Kent Ford published new observational results using spectrographic analysis to confirm that most galaxies must contain approximately 6 times as much "dark matter" as visible mass.

Over the last 40 years numerous experiments have been conducted to test the two main hypothesis about what sort of particle dark matter might be composed from, WIMPS and axions. All those experiments have failed to detect the existence of either particle.

Dark matter has never been directly observed. Astrophysicists do not know what dark matter is. They believe however, absent any direct evidence, that dark matter exists. They have it seems "a faith based belief in the existence of dark matter".

Physicists generally have enormous faith in the existence of this unobserved entity (some don't, there are alternative theories.) But their faith in the existence of dark matter is entirely different than faith in the existence of gods.

While there have been no direct observations of dark matter, as noted earlier "dark matter" itself is just a placeholder for a problem with repeatedly confirmed observational data. There is plenty of indirect evidence. Something is causing the observed problem, one set of theoretical explanations assume the existence of large quantities of mass from an unknown new type of particle.

Research institutes across the planet invest resources into the search for dark matter based entirely on faith that this research, even if it, as it has so far done, fails to find any evidence for the constituent particle or particles. Their research is probing into one of the great mysteries in human knowledge, it is research into the boundaries of the unknown. It is part of the great project of the enlightenment to understand the universe we inhabit.

While faith in the existence of dark matter is pervasive among astrophysicists, this belief is not "unshakable". In fact, quite the opposite. If one of the alternative theories, for example that galactic clusters contain enormous numbers of very small black holes, proves valid, the search for dark matter particles would likely come to an end. Unlike irrational faith, scientific faith is based on theory, observation experimentation and analysis. New evidence can obsolete current knowledge.

I think we need better advocates for gods here.

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