On Heading Off to Hate Church

It’s not a secret that hate churches are on the rise in the US, the prototypical one being the Phelps clan; Westboro Baptist tends to castigate Homosexuals and other religions, such as Judaism.

The Phelps hate church is really just the tip of the iceberg however, and a convenient focus for media and others who would define hate churches – those who would point at the Westboro Baptist Church and say “See? We’re not as bad as them…”

However the reality belies that argument — from the Churches that pray for our President’s death to those that hate Islam and want to hurry a Civilizational apocalyptic war with all of Islam, to those that hate gays, to those fed by foreign lobbies with arcane goals, these hate churches are on the rise.

The two themes you find constant among these groups are hate for other religions (Judaism, Islam, etc.) and hate for Gays. Occasionally you will find racial prejudice fed as well, but that’s inconstant.

So why does religion sometimes foster hate? More importantly: why does a minority of church goers in the US pick a church that extolls hate? This is something I will be discussing and speculating upon over the next few weeks, since most people who are religious cannot begin to fathom where these fringers are coming from.

In the Baylor study, college students recruited from introductory psychology classes were primed with either religious-word letter strings like “Bible,” “faith,” “Christ” and “church” or neutral words like “shirt,” “butter,” “switch” and “hammer.” Researchers found that religiously primed students demonstrated “a slight but significant” increase in racial prejudice.

Previous studies show a complex relationship between religiosity and racial prejudice. Some dimensions of religion have been shown to increase levels of prejudice, while others reduce it. Those studies all rely on self-reporting, however, and are therefore skewed by the phenomenon of “social desirability,” meaning that some people report more positive racial attitudes than they actually hold.

The Baylor study is thought to be the first to test whether exposure to religious concepts may contribute to racial prejudice.

Gay Marriage, Swine Flu, and Dissension in the Ranks of Evolution Supporters

Gay Marriage, Swine Flu, and Dissension in the Ranks of Evolution Supporters

Gay Marriage
Iowa has become the third state to legalize Gay Marriage, and as a supporter of Gay Marriage that’s good news to me. I don’t however see a tidal wave of states rushing to adopt similar legislation, most will go for Civil union instead. That’s problematic in it’s own right due to federal code that prevents SSI and other benefits from going to children of gay parents, which doesn’t seem too “pro family” to me. It would be good if the sections defining benefits as going only to married heterosexuals were extended to permit that, otherwise there will be no compromise in states proposing civil union as opposed to marriage.
I like the idea of this controversial social issue working at state level with the sole exception of that benefits question. Given time and test social issues are best initially solved state by state: because in a legislative labratory of fifty states eventually someone will hit on method that’s best for everyone and then it will become adopted in widespread manner. I dislike the contentious and hysterical people trying to decide this issue yesterday at both ends of that spectrum.

Flu Outbreak
A good article at Pajamas Media goes into the panic attack over the flu outbreak, and states that some might be profitting from the panic. I agree; it’s the flu, and people die every year from variations of it. The panic posts might get hits, but it’s sliding into yellow journalistic ground to artificially inflate panic by not comparing to the flu outbreaks we have every year:

With the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle, there always has to be something to say. You need excitement. “We’re all gonna die!” sells papers and gets people talking. What’s missing is a sense of proportion. Somehow, the way these things get blown up is never a big story — and hardly anyone is appropriately horrified.

Evolution, Pragmatism or Agnosticism?

In the Evolution discussion Richard Hoppe at Panda’s Thumb dissents from the Coyne/PZ Meyers view. I’m in agreement with Hoppe, but it’s not pragmatism alone that makes it so.

The pragmatism goes like this: Since we hope to convince more conservatives that teaching religion in science class is a bad thing, then we shouldn’t hand out the big smackdown to religion by essentially agreeing with Discovery Institute’s dichotomous view that to be a good Christian you must be opposed to science, since the Coyne/Meyers version of that is just the obverse wedge: If you support science then you must automatically deny G-d.

One is philosophy, the other religion – neither wedge should be allowed in science. Ayn Rand said “Politics is philosophy in action.” If we allow the teaching of a politics in science that denies G-D, then not only are we diminishing Science and being unpragmatic, we are also proselityzing a philosophy.

That’s probably just as unconstitutional as teaching religion as science, and as you will see below it’s not scientific. If the rabid atheists  must have that view taught then like religion it belongs in history, philosophy, and social classes, but not in science classes.

One of my heroes in this ongoing political struggle is Genie Scott and she explains this much better than I in the video below.

Even as a child I did not have faith, and PZ in many ways is like an ex-smoker in that he had faith and changed his mind – now he wants everyone else to. So he’s taking a hardline and saying that Evolution’s defenders should go on offense in his reply to Hoope here.

Huckabee vs Stewart on Gay Marriage

Mike Huckabee and Jon Stewart talk Gay Marriage:

Anti-Prop 8 Demonstration

Ringo the Gringo has a great photo essay on the anti-prop 8 demonstration at the Los Angeles civic center. The photo essay is grouped by the themes of the signs, and there were even a couple of Phelpsian counter protestors there. Please stop by to view the whole thing.

In a previous article here I outlined why the social conservative stance against gay marriage is highly counter productive.