Thursday, February 14, 2008

Black and white and women and God.

I've been watching the US presidential doings with some interest. Purely academic interest because I'm on the other side of the planet and so nobody over there cares what I think about it, nor should they.

It's interesting to us Brits because we don't get the option you have. Our political parties choose the leader themselves. We only get to vote for the party. The current Head Buffoon, Gordon Brown (a name just begging for a parody of the old Stranglers' song, Golden Brown) took over from the Prince of Lies, Tony (I smile because I have no idea what's happening) Blair even though the Brown one was not voted as Prime Minibrain by the public. There is much resentment about this as well as about the lunatic ideas he keeps coming up with. He has proved to be as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle and has a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp. We really don't want the world to think we all look like that.

It seems you US folk get to decide who's going to be presidential candidate for each party first, then have an election to see who gets into the White House. I think that's a good idea. I also have the impression (not sure if it's right) that your President can't just hand over to anyone he likes if he gets a better offer.

Anyway, we get to hear about your candidates over here too.

Barack Obama looks like the leading contender at the moment. I like him. He gives the impression of honesty, which is good for a politician. I don't believe any politician in the world could possibly be really honest, but one who at least makes the effort is worth backing. There is contention in the press that he might have converted to Christianity for political ends. Well, he might have, he might not have. Who can tell, and does it matter really? Every politician knows that America would elect a syphylitic blue gay toothless gibbering basilisk before they would elect an atheist. Whether he's honest, whether he's Christian, doesn't matter. He looks the part. In politics that's most of the battle right there. Politics is a game of bluff. If he's bluffing, he's good at it and therefore good at politics.

The Press love to say he's running as 'the first black President'. From what I've seen, he's not. He's not pushing his skin colour (well, I only have filtered coverage over here. I don't know for sure).

Hilary Clinton is running as the 'first woman President'. It's not working for her because she whines too much. We had a woman Prime Minister once and she had more balls than the entire current government put together. There was none of this 'tears will get me my way' crap with Mrs. Thatcher. Stand in her way and she won't go around or over you. She'll go through. Politics is not for the tearful. Crying won't sway the UN or the Russians and everyone knows it. If Hilary wants to win she should have spent some time with the Iron Lady. There would then be no begging, and definitely no tears.

The only one that worries me is Mike Huckabee. He's running as 'the first President to sound rather like a Mark Twain character' or something and as far as I can tell, his only policy is to get creation taught as science.

Creationism is not science. It's belief. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, it's perfectly reasonable to believe in whatever religious doctrine you choose (except Scientology which is just mad). But it's not science. That's a different thing altogether and whether you think it's right or wrong, it's science. Huckleberry wants to impose Christian dogma on the science class but isn't likely to force the church to teach evolution as a potential alternative to creation. That's beyond unfair. It's silly.

If science, which holds evolution as a central tenet of geology, biology, history etc has to compromise, why doesn't religion?

I see no objection to teaching religious matters in schools. In a class labelled 'Religious Studies', all these things are legitimate. I recall my own experience of such a class at school, where the diminutive but determined catholic teacher taught us the Bible, over and over and over. We had only one immigrant at the time, a Pole who cared less about the subject than we did. We pointed out, often, that there were other religions to learn about such as Druidism (we were British children after all) but really we did this just to watch her face change colour. In fact, her class worked rather well because some of us spent a fair bit of time researching other religions to annoy her with.

Teaching religious beliefs in a science class is like teaching Spanish in a Latin class. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the material, it's just in the wrong place. The Latin teacher would be well within his/her rights to demand equal time in the Spanish class. Try that with the creationists. They believe the Earth is 6000 years old. Science believes it's older. Why is science's viewpoint less valid on this matter? Why do churches not present evolution as a valid alternative to creation? Evolution doesn't even preclude creation as far as I can tell. It could have been built in by a creator who recognised that things would change. Still, it's not science, and has no place in a science class.

Huckleberry is a fundamentalist and any fundamentalist is dangerous. Fortunately he's not doing too well as far as we in the UK can tell.


James H said...

HUckabee supporter here.

First, I am not sure where you think that Huckabee wants to impose Creationist thought in schools. He was Governor of Arkansas for 10 years(they are in charge of education) and yeah they are still teaching evolution. All is fine

Further the PResident has nothing to do with what some school board wants to do. THey are more worried about other matters.

Huckabee is not some scary Fundamentalist. In fact that term is thrown around way too much. Forintance you imply that Huckabee believes the earth is 6000 years old. No he doesn't.

Anyway Huckabee is a serious person that had a serious job that including balancing budgets, getting his schools performing, building roads , and working to improve his state's economy. All of which he did well

Romulus Crowe said...

Greetings James

As I said at the start, I'm in the UK so nothing I say has any influence on what you rebel colonists do over there. It's all opinion. No hay banda (still waiting for someone to tell me where that reference comes from).

Huckabee might well be a great guy. I've never met him and probably never will. However, we in the UK have had no good experiences with fundamentalists, whether they be from the IRA or
Islam in recent years, or from Cromwell or Henry VIII in long-past years.

Religion is okay. Fundamentalism is bad for everyone. We have learned through painful experience.

It's bad for you lot too. Nobody wins when there's no possibility of compromise. A fight to the death usually kills both sides.

Romulus Crowe said...

James - one more thing. Serious question.

The Pope is training up a whole lot of exorcists. Now, in my line of work that's an interesting development. I study ghosts but I don't exorcise because I have no expertise in doing that.

Does the Catholic church believe that genuine demonic activity is on the rise, or are they combating perceived activity (as in all those hokum mediums on TV)?

I am not making fun here. Far from it. I want to know the prevailing opinion on the subject.

ThatGreenyFlower said...

"Every politician knows that America would elect a syphylitic blue gay toothless gibbering basilisk before they would elect an atheist." --That, dear Rom, was absolutely hilarious. And true. Both.

Huckabee scares me. He misused so many state funds during his tenure as the Governor of Arkansas that it would make your head spin--yet somehow, even though everyone knows about it, nothing happened. No legislative hearings; not even a hand-slap. Why?

He also lies, even about silly little nothing-things. Take the Lava soap tale, for example...
If he'll lie about the soap he uses, what else will he lie about?

Anonymous said...

I am facinated to hear the Pope is training up a bunch of exorcists. Point me in the direction of that information source please.

Romulus Crowe said...

Anon - the original article was on Yahoo news, but they don't tend to stay long. Searching on 'pope exorcist training' gives a few good links.

Here's one UK newspaper's take on the matter:

The link will likely break into pieces so you'll need to reconstruct it in your browser bar.

The story isn't too hard to find - I think every newspaper (in the UK at least) certainly mentioned it.

Anonymous said...

Much obliged. :)

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