Quote of the Day: David Glasner

So what’s that you say, Galileo? The sun is stationary and the earth travels around it? You must be kidding! Why any child can tell you that the sun rises in the east and moves across the sky every day and then travels beneath the earth at night to reappear in the east the next morning. And you expect anyone in his right mind to believe otherwise. What? It’s the earth rotating on its axis? Are you possessed of demons? And you say that the earth is round? If the earth were round, how could anybody stand at the bottom of the earth and not fall off? Galileo, you are a raving lunatic. And you, Mr. Einstein, you say that there is something called a space-time continuum, so that time slows down as the speed one travels approaches the speed of light. My God, where could you have come up with such an idea? By that reasoning, two people could not agree on which of two events happened first if one of them was stationary and the other traveling at half the speed of light. Away with you, and don’t ever dare speak such nonsense again, or, by God, you shall be really, really sorry.

— David Glasner, parodying Stephen Moore’s latest WSJ article (Federal Trade Commission)

What to Read on Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann’s Holy War — Matt Taibbi

Bachmann was mentored by a crackpot Christian extremist professor named John Eidsmoe, a frequent contributor to John Birch Society publications who once opined that he could imagine Jesus carrying an M16 and who spent considerable space in one of his books musing about the feasibility of criminalizing blasphemy.

She was soon mobilizing against an educational-standards program called Profile of Learning, an early precursor to No Child Left Behind. Under the program, state educators and local businesses teamed up to craft a curriculum that would help young people prepare for the work force — but Bachmann saw through their devious scheme. “She thought it was a socialist plot to turn our children into little worker-automatons…”
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Bachmann likewise rejected AmeriCorps as an attempt to build “re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward,” and blasted a schools program started by Bill Clinton for trying to brainwash kids into accepting “government central planning of our economy and our way of life.”

[Bachmann] railed against various dystopian indoctrination plans, including the U.N.-inspired International Baccalaureate program, offered in some American high schools. Bachmannites despise IB because its “universal” curriculum refuses to recognize the superiority of Christianity to other religions. You and I might have thought William Butler Yeats, for example, was a great poet who died half a century before the Age of Aquarius, but [Bachmann] calls him a “New-Age Pantheism Guru” who was aggressively “undermining Christianity.”

In 2009, after she saw a news story about the Chinese calling on the world to abandon the dollar as its reserve currency, Bachmann somehow took this to mean that the Obama administration might force ordinary Americans to abandon their familiar green dollar bills for some international and no doubt atheist currency. To combat this possibility, Bachmann introduced a resolution to “bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency.”

Bachmann’s anti-gay crusade in Minnesota…trying to outlaw an already outlawed practice. “This is probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in, at least, the last 30 years,” she said. She called gay marriage an “earthquake issue,” insisting that failure to pass her proposal would mean that “sex curriculum would essentially be taught by the gay community” and that “little K-12 children will be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal, natural, and perhaps they should try it.”

Bachmann’s Unrivaled Extremism — Michelle Goldberg

Speaking to a Christian radio station about gay teenagers last year, [Michele Bachmann’s husband] said, “Barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined, and just because someone feels this or thinks this, doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to go down that road.”

In 2004, Bachmann gave a speech warning that gay marriage would lead to schoolchildren being indoctrinated into homosexuality. She wanted everyone to know, though, that she doesn’t hate gay people. “Any of you who have members of your family in the lifestyle, we have a member of our family that is,” she said. “This is not funny. It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say that this is gay.”

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What to Read on Christmas

Faith and Modernity — Alan Wolfe

Yule as we celebrate it today owes more to Charles Dickens than to Thomas Aquinas. Our major solstice holiday is…a “cultural construct” rather than a sectarian ceremony… Mistakenly believing that Christmas is sacred, those who defend it find themselves propping up the profane. The Christ they want in Christmas is a product not of Nazareth but of Madison Avenue.

Axial Tilt and the Numinous — Doctor Science

Christians celebrate Jesus’ birth in late December…because there were already seasonal celebrations there that were thematically appropriate, especially the Birth of the Unconquered Sun. The season itself is the reason; Jesus became attached to it, not the other way around. The Christmas tree, the presents, the lights, the foods — none of these are in origin Christian, though there are Christian glosses or justifications for all of them.