The "war on religion"

I'm not a political guy, but Rick Perry's latest campaign ad has really got my dander up (who knew I had dander?).

I've embedded it above, but I'll post the transcript here (taken from here):

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.

Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.

I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.

I had no idea that the President (a self identified Christian) was waging a war on religion, but I figured he must have some help from the folks in Congress. What with the whole design of our government and all being set up with a system of checks and balances to prevent a crazy president from doing something like waging a war on religion.

That got me thinking, I wonder what the religions of all the people in the Congress and Senate are. Surely, given our country's continuing war on religion, both Houses must be populated with hateful non-believers.

I was shocked to find out that atheists had invaded Congress! Well, atheist. That's right, one congressmen identified himself as an atheist (Pete Stark, who is a Democrat from California… so maybe he doesn't count).

Two other members of Congress don't list an affiliation, so I suppose that could mean they're atheists but they won't come out and say it.

That leaves 432 members of Congress who self identify as being a member of one religion or another (see the full list here).

Damn those religious representatives! Maybe the war on religion is being waged in the Senate. According to Wikipedia 2 members of Senate don't list their religions. That leaves 98 who are members of one religion or another (85 Senators are some flavor of Christian).

It would seem that war on religion is failing.

I'm an atheist myself, but I'm all for protecting the rights of others to practice whatever religion they want. Who cares, as long as you aren't hurting anyone (which is how I feel about a person's sexuality as well) and you don't try too hard to convert me. I wonder if Rick Perry would be as supportive of my rights as an atheist to not say "under God" during the Pledge of Allegiance (not that I often recite the Pledge of Allegiance, though when I was growing up I said it in school every day after prayers. Yep, I went to 13 years of Catholic school).

So, to my Christian friends who must hide your religions away in the many churches, Christian charity organizations, and many Christmas displays and celebrations I offer my support. Though you are represented by an overwhelming majority in the House and Senate, I am sure it is tough. I hope you aren't suffering too much for your religion.

How Fabian became my Confirmation Name

ambrosevsfabian.gifI was raised Roman Catholic and that means that one must participate in the various rituals of the Church, chiefly amongst them the Holy Sacraments. One of the Sacraments is Confirmation which is done when you're around 13 and it marks your transition into adulthood (at least in the Church) and according to some website, it signifies that you are a Soldier of Jesus Christ.

One of the first things a person who is to be confirmed must do is to choose a Saint's name that they would like to take as their confirmation name. Keep in mind that there are a lot of Saints, so this isn't an easy thing to do. Also, at least at my grammar school, you had to write a report detailing why you picked your Saint and present it to the class.

The graphic to the right represents the choice I faced, though I couldn't find a picture of St. Fabian so I used one of Nell Carter.

I was a strange boy (and I'm a strange man), so I wanted to pick something other than Michael or Peter (the old standbys for Catholic teenage boys everywhere). Luckily for me my mother was in possession of both a tattered book that listed many Saints and hands off approach to confirmation name management.

I quickly narrowed to field to Ambrose and Fabian (surely no one else in my class would pick either). Doing some research I found out that Ambrose was your classic martyr: elected to an office he didn't want (bishop) he cast off all his worldly possessions to be at one with his religion and was killed by a Roman emperor for his trouble. Pretty standard issue martyr.

St. Fabian, on the other hand, had a very interesting story. He was a young lay person (i.e. not a priest) and he had made a pilgrimage to Rome. When he got to Rome he noticed a large crowd and he joined in wanting to know what was happening. It turns out a new Pope was to be elected, but who was it to be? Like the Holy Spirit a Dove descended from the sky only to perch upon Young Fabian's head. He was elected Pope then and there and the rest, as they say, is ecumenical history.

How could I say not to some dude who was elected Pope because a bird landed on his head?

Ambrose, now with 2 gigs of RAM

We need more power

Fun Scott fact: Ambrose was nearly my Confirmation name, but since I decided against it that left it available for my Powerbook.

Fun Scott fact II: My previous Powerbook's name was 'Timmy.'

Fun Scott fact III: My confirmation name: Fabian. Yes, I'm secure in my masculinity, and there a slight story behind the choice which I will write up post-haste because I know people are interested in the smallest bit of Scott trivia.

James Lileks on Star Trek

kirkspock.jpgI love Star Trek, we all know this. I may, in fact, love it a little too much, but that is a topic for another day.

That is why I took great pleasure in reading this:

And that was what hung in the Smithsonian that day they opened the Star Trek exhibit. All the cast showed up, except for Bones. I met them all: press tour. On the way out I found myself standing next to James Doohan under the big model of the Enterprise, floating above in the hall. I walked up next to Scotty. We looked up.
"Ah, she's a beautiful thing, isn't it?" he said.
That she was.

Elisa introduced me to James Lileks, and I must say I read his site more out of a sense of 'well, she seems to like it,' than any real interest, but with this post he redeems himself, and I'm sure he cares what I think.

Talk about holding a grudge

Pope, apologize!:

The formal request for reconciliation to the Vatican has come from an English-based sept and is signed by the "Council of Chaplains, for and on behalf of the acting Grand Master". The letter asks for "an apology from the Vatican for the persecution of our brothers of the Knights Templar and the torture and murder of our leadership, under Pope Clement V during the 14th century AD".

Death is result of debate about God

I disagree with alot of people, about a lot of things, but as the Vulcans believe, 'Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations' is what life is all about, and it is what makes a stronger. At least one person disagrees:

A Taylor police dispatcher took the call at precisely 12:44 p.m. on Oct. 18.

A 49-year-old man said he'd just blasted a man with a revolver and a shotgun because the man said he didn't believe in God.

The dispatcher said the alleged shooter told him he'd just shot "the devil himself" and was still armed and standing over the body of the 62-year-old victim "in case he moved."

"I want to make sure he's gone," the alleged shooter told the dispatcher.

The dispatcher asked the suspect how many times he shot the victim.

"Hopefully enough," was the suspect's chilling reply, according to the dispatcher.

How can people who supposedly believe in a higher power act in such a way. The world is a crazy place.

Steak, God's favorite meal (and mine too)

I am a big fan of steak, in fact if I could I would eat it at least once a day. Yeah, I said it, once a day.

So imagine my surprise when I happen upon Barclay Prime, Stephen Starr's newest restaurant, a mere stone's throw away from Blankbaby HQ.

I can assure you that I will not be getting a hundred dollar cheesesteak any time soon, but I doubt I will be able to resist the siren's call of an expensive steak for long.

Now I just have to find a lady friend with which to eat with, and I am good to go.

Mmm, a lady and a steak, does it get any better?