Some (Weakly) Related Points

So I was going to post something about intelligent design because I’ve received a fair number of emails and a comment about it, but, once again, I’m preempted by other things.

First, the good: Chris Mooney, who has a great website dealing with science issues, answered some questions about stem cell research; it’s worth a read.

The Bad: Missile defense crapped out again. The Pentagon’s response? Pentagon officials “have insisted that the decision to declare [the system] operational would be made independent of the outcome of the flight test.” Too bad this method doesn’t work for publishing science papers…

The Ugly: This one just burns me up. Cultural conservatives have decided that their new offensive will be direct at the “anti-Christmas jihad.” Really. I couldn’t make this crap up if I tried. Apparently, according to Bill O’Reilly, those of us who don’t think that other religions should be forced upon us actually “fear the exposition of the philosophy of Jesus.”

“When confronted by a Jewish caller who worried about “the secularization of Jews and about Christmas going into schools [note that the caller was defending ‘faith’, not attacking it”, O’Reilly retorted, “overwhelmingly, America is Christian. And the holiday is a federal holiday honoring the philosopher Jesus. So, you don’t wanna hear about it? Impossible. And that is an affront to the majority. You know, the majority can be insulted, too. And that’s what this anti-Christmas thing is all about.” O’Reilly then told the caller, “Come on, if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then.”

According to Salon, as part of the same ‘defense of Christmas theme’, conservative columnist Don Feder wrote, “Myron may fear the onset of another Crusade if he hears the strains of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ drifting through the hallways…. The brave men who fought and died for America in every war from the Revolution to Iraq, overwhelmingly were Christians. Count the number of crosses in Arlington National Cemetery (on federal property, no less). Add the Stars of David.”

William Donahue, head of the Catholic League, a few days later said, “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It’s not a secret, OK? Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes.” [The Mad Biologist: As a moderately secular Jew (I keep a kosher home), how does one intellectually segue from staunch secularism to anal sex? These guys think about anal sex a whole lot…].

Within the span of a week, “moral values” supporters have called Jews outsiders, cowards, and sexual degenerates. How long until the blood libel charges begin?

I’ve said this before in the context of race (and where there’s racial hatred, Jew hatred isn’t far behind), the Republican base is not “culturally conservative”, it’s bigoted. Hatred is the Republican base. This doesn’t mean that most Republicans are bigots (although what the hell is going on in Alabama?), but an essential core group of the Republican coalition are those who hate.

At some point, we’re going to have to start calling out Republicans on the whole issue of pandering to (or even embracing) hatred; they can’t be allowed to have it both ways. We’re also going to have to repeat over and over again that any candidate who speaks at the segregationist Bob Jones University (except to attack their racism) is outside acceptable political boundaries–this includes John McCain.

Update: Regarding the Jewish war comment made by Feder, a letter by Jack Martin points out that at Arlington Cemetery has no Stars of David, or crosses–just gravestones.

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