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I am a former middle and high school science teacher pursuing a doctorate in Science Ed. at George Mason University, with a concentration in cognitive science and the evolution of cognition and learning. Postings on this blog represent my own views, not those of my employer or school. All writing displayed on this page is original work unless otherwise noted, and thus copyrighted.

29 March 2010

But Christians Aren't Dangerous... wait..wtf?

Christian Militia accused of plotting to kill cops.

Nine alleged members of a Christian militia group that was girding for battle with the Antichrist were charged Monday with plotting to kill a police officer and slaughter scores more by bombing the funeral — all in hopes of touching off an uprising against the U.S. government.

Classy, especially the plan to bomb a funeral, that's a nice touch. There are sure not to be any children or anything like that at one of those. Before we simply condemn these people as domestic terrorist wackjobs, and claim that religion has nothing to do with it, we should examine some of what the people associated with them say about this group, as well as what the group itself says.

"It started out as a Christian thing," Stone's ex-wife, Donna Stone, told The Associated Press. "You go to church. You pray. You take care of your family. I think David started to take it a little too far."

Started?! No, lady, I think he's gone well beyond started here.

Hutaree says on its Web site its name means "Christian warrior" and describes the word as part of a secret language few are privileged to know. The group quotes several Bible passages and declares: "We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. ... Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment."

A secret language that other people aren't given to know, there's a spectacular way to make your followers feel special. Actually, all sarcasm aside, that may be the only intelligent thing this loon put together, if he didn't believe it himself. Notice the reliance on Iron-Age mythology to support their position?

The wife of one of the defendants described Hutaree as a small group of patriotic, Christian buddies who were just doing survival training.
"It consisted of a dad and two of his sons and I think just a couple other close friends of theirs," said Kelly Sickles, who husband, Kristopher, was among those charged. "It was supposed to be a Christian group. Christ-like, right, so why would you think that's something wrong with that, right?"
Sickles said she came home Saturday night to find her house in Sandusky, Ohio, in disarray. Agents seized the guns her husband collected as a hobby and searched for bomb-making materials, she said, but added: "He doesn't even know how to make a bomb. We had no bomb material here."
She said she couldn't believe her 27-year-old husband could be involved in anything violent.
"It was just survival skills," she said. "That's what they were learning. And it's just patriotism. It's in our Constitution."

Of course. How could something based on the idea that this life isn't important in the face of one you'll live after you die be dangerous? What could possibly be wrong with that? They're just a bunch of good Christian men practising survival skills in the hopes that they get to use them when they bring about the downfall of the U.S. and plunge us all into a civil war. And the Marxist guerillas in Central American were just a bunch of poor people who decided they wanted to practice survival skills in case their democratic (or dictatorial) but capitalist regimes fell apart, rather than a bunch of violent individuals who were preparing for a coup. (Notice I've avoided the fascist comparison here, because it's too easy, not to mention overused.) The man's wife is clearly not in denial, either.

Rather than continuing to quote from the news story, let's have a look at the website of this group, shall we? (Warning: the writing quality on that site is on par with with of a middle school drop-out, and the thinking doesn't even meet that pithy standard. Some things cannot be unseen.)
Hutaree Home Page

The site itself has a camouflage background, complete with links that explain their bizarre doctrine and a reference to something called the "Christian Colonial Republic," which is something I certainly don't want to see come to fruition. Among their listed information sources are the World Nut Daily (unsurprising, that), Jack VanImpe Ministries (you can find him on cable Xian broadcasts along with Benny Hinn and the rest of them), and Real Truth magazine, which appears to be nothing short of really conservative, really obsessed with apocalyptic fantasy, and really like something out of a Hal Lindsey novel.
The doctrine of the Hutaree reveals that they think they're actually out to save the world in the name of their zombie god, and that they will in turn receive eternal life for their efforts. Remember, Xianity isn't supposed to be dangerous (see quotes above).
As for the passages from teh Babble, for any religious readers, we can give those a fair examination as well. The site itself cites Luke 22:35-37 as the reason why they are supposed to prepare themselves for war in the name of their deity, which reads:
And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.” 36, Then he said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37, “For I say to you that this which is written must be accomplished in me: ‘And He was numbered with transgressors,’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”

(followed by the statement that this clearly justifies the position of the militia).
Context might have some bearing here: this passage is part of the discussion before Jesus' betrayal and the Peter's denial, where he seemingly tells his followers to defend themselves against the priests that are coming to take him. The verse immediately following the quote states that two swords is enough, which might also seem to imply that there is no need for everyone to arm themselves, or , just possibly, for them to form a militia? I'm certainly not a theologian, but they seem to be taking things just a wee bit out of context.
The synopsis? These people are seriously deluded, and while they have severe right-wing leanings, the stated reason for their training, and ostensibly for their planned attacks, is explicitly religious. Can we quit pretending that these are just harmless stories that give people comfort now?


Jim Jefferies on Religion

Not original for me, but worth having archived... Enjoy.

16 March 2010

Well, the Pledge is safe...

The Federal Court of Appeals for District 9 ruled against Newdow. Again.
The Yahoo article is more depressing yet, and I'd happily rebut some of the fucktards on there if they could grasp the words.

Here's a better suggestion for their pledge:

From "Life in Hell", 16 Dec 94,

I pledge allegiance to and wrap myself in the flag of the United States Against Anything Un-American and to the Republicans for which it stands, two nations, under Jesus, rich against poor, with curtailed liberty and justice for all except blacks, homosexuals, women who want abortions, Communists, welfare queens, treehuggers, feminazis, illegal immigrants, children of illegal immigrants, and you if you don't watch your step.

08 March 2010

Just for lolz

I've been wanting to share this sign since I saw it. 95th and Columbus in NYC.

01 March 2010

Fun with Physics

I don't post on things like this often, but I should do so more. My students completed an inquiry lab today, wherein they were asked to use foam pipe insulation to construct a "roller coaster" track for a marble, and then later determine how Newton's Laws apply to making their design work, as well as calculating the kinetic energy of the marble at the bottom of each hill. Here're some videos (I'm not posting the ones that clearly show faces, as I'm not certain who has given permission and who hasn't. Besides, the permission slips were from the school system, and this isn't their site.)

And no, they don't always work as planned.