Indiana state trooper pulls woman over and asks “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your savior?”

A lot of Christians criticized me when I pointed out that WranglerStar, a YouTube content creator, should keep his religious views to himself after he spent the last minute of a six minute, ostensibly secular, video proselytizing.

While that persons behavior was inappropriate the behavior of Indiana State Police Trooper Brian Hamilton is so egregious he should be fired immediately. According to this Daily Kos story Trooper Hamilton used his position of power to proselytize for his religion after stopping a motorist for a chicken-shit offense for which he issued a verbal warning. While detaining the motorist he asked multiple questions unrelated to the traffic infraction. For example, “Did she accept Jesus Christ as her savior?” He also handed the driver a pamphlet from his preferred church. Holy shit! What motorist in the same situation would not feel intimidated to provide the answers Trooper Hamilton wanted to hear rather than tell him it’s none of his fucking business?

Fortunately the ACLU has filed a lawsuit.

Updated 2015-10-18: Sigh. This story is a year old. I really, really, hate it when an otherwise reputable site like Daily Kos doesn’t make it clear that they’re talking about ancient history.

I had to scroll to the seventh page of Google search results to find this link to PacerMonitor.com that provides some details about the lawsuit. It says the case terminated 2015-04-03 but provides no details regarding the disposition of the lawsuit.

After a lot of searching the only web page I could find that was not about the original incident and dated October 2014 was this article dated 2015-09-24. It talks about an accident to which Cpl. Brian Hamilton gave an official statement. Is that the same Brian Hamilton that was working for the Indiana State Police a year earlier? I would bet it is the same individual but the name is common enough that it could be coincidence. So, as all too often happens, it appears a “bad apple” simply moved from one police department to another.

FRC whines that they are only halfway to their fundraising goal of $2.5M

Long ago I signed up for email from the Family Research Council (FRC) under a nom de rude (h/t The Rude Pundit). Once or twice a week I receive an email from them. Today’s begging for dollars email warmed my heart. I learned that even with a $500K “matching” donation from someone they’ve still only managed to raise $1.3M of their $2.5M goal. The deadline for raising another $1.2M is tonight. Bwahahaha. The sooner people stop giving money to grifters like Tony Perkins (head of the FRC) the sooner our world will improve as the money is put to more useful purposes.

Michigan representative Todd Courser wants to make it hard for non-hetero Christians to get married

Updated 2015-09-11: Todd Courser, bigoted homophobic Republican state representative, has resigned. His coworker, that he was having an adulteress affair with, has been fired (technically “expelled”) by the rest of the state legislature. Please excuse me while I experience some schadenfreude.
Updated 2015-08-08: I just learned that Todd Courser, the elected representative responsible for the Christian motivated legislative bill I discuss below was having an affair (i.e., committing adultery) with legislator Cindy Gamrat. You can read about it in the Detroit News. Honestly, what the fuck is with these moralizing assholes who insist on imposing their religious morals on everyone else when they themselves are breaking that very code of conduct?

I read this article at The Friendly Atheist blog. It so outraged me I took the time to send the following email to Rep. Courser:

Mr. Courser,

Have you actually thought about the ramifications of your proposed legislation? What about atheists? Mixed faith couples? Religious couples who simply don't want a religious "leader" involved? No one is asking that government officials responsible for issuing marriage licenses agree with the beliefs of people seeking to be married. If a government official is incapable of doing the job they were hired to do they should be encouraged to seek another job.

To my surprise I received a reply:

from:      toddcourser@house.mi.gov
to:        krader@skepticism.us
date:      Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 9:56 AM
subject:   Re: so you believe atheists shouldn't be able to marry?
mailed-by: email.nationbuilder.com

Dear Kurtis,

Please read the bills.  You will see that you will not be required to be married in any faith.  In fact, the marriage does not have to be religious.  There does not have to be a ceremony.  The marriage can be recognized by an affidavit signed by both parties and given to the county clerk.  The bills are taking the government out of the marriage process, not determining who should be married and how.  There will be more freedom, not less.

Respectfully,
Karen Couture
Legislative Aide
Rep. Todd Courser

Hmmm, perhaps Mr. Mehta and other sources I’ve read about this legislation have drawn the wrong conclusion. So I did read each of the three bills: HB 4731, HB 4732, HB 4733. There is also an announcement at gophouse.org regarding the three bills. This is the reply I sent Ms. Couture and Mr. Courser:

Ms. Couture,

I just finished reading all three bills (HB 4731, 4732, 4733). What you say is literally true in as much as the bills do not require the  applicants to affirm a specific faith. However, the bills expressly require the applicant to have their "MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY CLERGY"(from page one of HB 4733 but similar language and provisions are in the other two bills). At the top of page two it says "AS USED IN THIS ACT, "CLERGY" MEANS A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL, CLERIC, OR RELIGIOUS PRACTITIONER."

The bills also explicitly modify the language to read "minister of the Gospel" rather than simply "minister" which makes it quite clear Mr. Courser favors Christian sects. These bills quite clearly make it more difficult for anyone not a member of a Christian, Muslim, or Jewish faith tradition to get married. The bills effectively make it impossible for an atheist to be married in your state unless they're willing to disregard their beliefs regarding religion and beg a "minister of the gospel" to grant them the boon of a certified marriage certificate.

You should hang your head in shame for lying like that. Lying for Jebus is still lying and not acceptable in civilized society.
Rep. Courser’s office sent me another email pointing out that section 1A (page 3, line 13) of HB 4733 does provide for registering a marriage by filing a notarized affidavit. I’m not a lawyer but it does appear that section allows for atheists, homosexuals, and any other minority group to have their marriage recognized by the state of Michigan.

Nonetheless I find the bill odious. It clearly signals that Christian marriage is preferable to marriages not recognized by Christian sects. There is absolutely no legitimate secular (i.e., government interest) for doing so. Rep. Courser could simply omit section 1 and require everyone follow the requirements in section 1A and his goal of protecting the fragile religious sensibilities of state employees would still be met.

Wealthy Californians should pay dearly for their ornamental lawns

The Washington Post published an article titled Rich Californians balk at limits: ‘We’re not all equal when it comes to water’. It’s getting a lot of attention. Such as this article at Daily Kos. The article includes many memorable quotes including the one in the title. Here’s another one from a self-centered, entitled, oblivious asshole throwing a tantrum:

What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our house on four acres?

I should point out that as a software engineer in Silicon Valley my income is only slightly less than the median for the community that was the focus of the article. And yet I can’t identify with the douche-nozzles featured in the article. Nor do I have any sympathy for their situation.

This quote caught my eye:

Once the water goes through the meter, it’s yours.

You know what? I agree. However, I think the cost of that water should be progressively priced with a steep increase in each tier. For residential use every home should receive an allotment large enough to meet the basic living needs (drinking, bathing, toilet) for, say, a family of four at a base rate. The next tier might allow enough water for plants, but no lawn, on a typical 1/8 acre single home plot and be priced at double the base rate. The third tier would provide double the allotment of the second tier and be priced at eight times the base rate. That should give you enough water for a decent size lawn and to wash your car every week. If that still isn’t enough water for your landscape, pool, jacuzzi, and to wash your four cars twice a week then you can purchase even more water but at a rate 50 times the base rate.

People should be free to piss away their money in pretty much any manner they see fit. If that means wasting potable water when there isn’t enough to meet the needs of the entire society they should be free to do so. But “free” only in the sense they can make that choice. The financial cost of wasting that resource should most decidedly not be “free”.

Adam Miller, faith-healer, fraud, and all around scumbag IMHO

Check out this story about Adam Miller.

View post on imgur.com

Apparently Mr. Miller believes he is Jesus Christ. If he can prove he is capable of healing any of the illnesses or injuries he claims to be able to cure I’ll eat my hat and agree he should win his libel suit against Stephanie Guttormson. There has never been a documented case of faith healing. There have been a huge number of self proclaimed faith healers proven to be committing fraud. So I feel pretty comfortable stating that in my opinion Mr. Miller is a scumbag bilking money from desperate people.

Note too that as I write this his web site returns a page that only says “Site Unavailable” (not a HTTP 404 status). It seems he doesn’t care for the attention he’s getting. Fortunately Google has a cached version.

Update 2015-05-20: There has been a biblical flood of articles, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc. about the douchebaggery of Mr. Miller since I wrote my original post. For example, this [Salon article](http://www.salon.com/2015/05/07/atheist_trans_blogger_exposes_snake_oil_salesman_faith_healer_and_get_slammed_with_lawsuit/) and [Ring of Fire](http://www.ringoffireradio.com/2015/05/scared-faith-healing-bully-gets-called-out-online-decides-to-sue-everyone/) blog post. Also, shortly after I posted this article the first time Mr. Miller’s web site was back online. As I write this it is once again inaccessible because the hostname “`www.adam-healer.com“` doesn’t resolve to an IP address. And I wish that wasn’t true because I’d like to verify that he has the quack miranda warning on his website that his services are for “entertainment purposes only” as reported by others.

FRC complains that Indiana businesses won’t be able to tell black people to FOAD

I just received another “action alert” from the FRC (Family Research Council) urging me to contact Indiana Governor Mike Pence because

The “fix” being forced through by legislative leaders actually guts Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and empowers the government to impose punishing fines on people for following their beliefs about marriage.

Furthermore, Mr. Perkins says we should

Urge him [Governor Pence] to protect people like florist Barronelle Stutzman, bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein, and wedding photographer Elaine Huguenin by vetoing this “fix.”

Of course Mr. Perkins doesn’t say what those fine upstanding business owners need protection from. Is it that they might “decide” to become homosexuals after helping two same gender individuals get married? Because, after all, it’s a tenet of the right-wing that being gay is a “choice”. And we wouldn’t want a good example of a loving couple to entice someone who had “chosen” to be heterosexual to reconsider that choice.

The Christian faith as understood by the FRC and the people they are reaching out to also calls for them to refuse to do business with the “sons of Ham“; i.e., African-Americans, aka “black people”. Hell, the Bible can be interpreted to conclude that “those” people should be treated as slaves. So excuse me if I am unmoved by all the wailing and gnashing of teeth at the prospect that hideous law will be made less odious.

Update: See The Friendly Atheist where I am reminded that the bible also requires discriminating against couples where the wife leaves her head uncovered. Not to mention the husband who shaves his beard, persons who eat shellfish, the person who wears clothes of mixed fibres, etcetera. If these sanctimonious assholes were consistent and didn’t cherry-pick from their religion they would soon be out of business.

Last Week Tonight tackles Big Tobacco #JeffWeCan

I’ve known that the tobacco (aka cigarette) industry was evil incarnate since I was a teenager in the mid 1970’s. I’ve watched the movie “The Insider” a couple of times. After watching that movie I though tobacco companies had been defanged.

So I was appalled to learn that tobacco companies like Phillip Morris International (PMI) are actively suing entire countries for implementing common sense labeling laws about the danger of smoking tobacco. This excerpt from “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Tobacco” explains why I, and hopefully you, are angry. It makes me wonder why the USA does not impose the death penalty against these companies given that they are mass murderers and considered “people” by our judicial system.

If you know someone killed by the tobacco industry tweet #JeffWeCan.

Yet another Christian who can’t resist proselytizing in the wrong context

I don’t recall how “The Wranglerstar” YouTube videos came to my attention. I found the first two videos I watched very interesting (at least for a woodworker who thought he might become a USA forest ranger as a teenager circa 1979). And then I watched his latest video wherein he can’t resist spending the last minute proselytizing for his Christian faith. That behavior is the hallmark of a fundamentalist/evangelical xtian that is unable to separate their religious beliefs from their interactions with the secular world. “Wranglerstar” is the type of person who would make me a second class citizen or kill me if they could achieve sufficient political power. I don’t say “kill me” lightly. As a former Presbyterian I am now an apostate. Something the Christian Bible lists as a capital offense. I have also engaged in adultery, blaspheming The Lord, working on the Sabbath, and several other “crimes” the Christian Bible deems worthy of death.

I want people like “wranglerstar” to understand it is not appropriate to impose their religious beliefs on others. Frankly, evangelizing your religious beliefs in inappropriate contexts (like the YouTube video mentioned above) makes you an asshole.

Updated 2015-01-08: I received many replies, mostly incoherent and with spittle figuratively flying, asking for clarification as to why I think wranglerstar was an asshole for his behavior in the last minute of that video.

Consider this scenario. You and I are at Home Depot to buy some glue. You ask me for advice. Since I know a bit about the pros and cons of various glues I answer your question. You thank me for my help. Noticing you are wearing a symbolic Roman torture device around your neck I then deliver a monologue about the stupidity of taking myths written by Bronze age goat herders literally. Not to mention that were a human to exhibit the characteristics of your God he would be committed to a psychiatric hospital or life in prison (or death if he lived in Texas). Not exactly the type of person you should worship. Would you think I was an asshole? Would you think that was the appropriate context for me to share my views on religion?

Updated 2015-06-13: For yet another example of a xtian who insists on injecting his religious beliefs in the wrong context see this article I wrote yesterday. I sent an email to an ISP about an attack on my web server and received a response from a support representative for that company telling me “maybe u r the 1 blacklisted from heaven”. Which just goes to show that religious assholes don’t just upload videos to YouTube.
Updated 2015-10-17: For the Christians reading this please also read this article about a state trooper evangelizing to a motorist he stopped for a traffic infraction. Do you believe that is acceptable? What if the state trooper (i.e., police officer) was a Muslim or a member of some other faith you find distasteful?

Answers In Genesis, Ark Encounter, whine some more

After Kentucky informed AIG they would not be receiving $18M in tax incentives due to their discriminatory hiring practices AIG responded that they are being discriminated against. You’ve got to love this statement in their whine:

Nobody seems to want to force the group American Atheists to hire Christians (and we do not advocate it).

American Atheists and every other secular organization doesn’t require “statements of faith” (or non-faith) in order to be hired. They only require that you are competent to perform the duties of the job. Regardless of whether or not you believe in a deity.

If AIG/Ark Encounter had their way it would be legal for businesses to refuse to hire (i.e., discriminate) based on the color or your skin. Sorry, but religion does not deserve that secular privilege.

James Mitchell: Please FOAD

Having recently finished reading James Risen’s book “Pay Any Price” I was already predisposed to spit on James Mitchell, war criminal and the American equivalent of Josef Mengele, if our paths ever crossed. But after reading his whine I’m inclined to think something more proactive is needed:

Mitchell told Kelly that this ordeal “is like being caught in a bad spy novel.” He said that those who released the CIA report knew the results they wanted beforehand. “They didn’t give us a chance to explain anything,” he said. Now, Mitchell said that interrogators are getting death threats, and he fears for his life. “I do not mind giving my life for my country, but I do mind giving my life for a food fight for political reasons between two groups of people who should be able to work it out like adults.” Mitchell alleged that no one from the Senate committee has ever asked him a single thing about the interrogations. “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has the opportunity to address the charges against him, but I don’t,” he said. Mitchell told Kelly that he feels horrible because this report puts Americans at risk. “It shows al Qaeda and the al Qaeda 2.0 folks, ISIL, that we’re divided and that we’re easy targets, that we don’t have the will to defeat them because that’s what they know. In fact, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told me personally, ‘Your country will turn on you, the liberal media will turn on you, the people will grow tired of this, they will turn on you, and when they do, you are going to be abandoned.'”

As Charles P. Pierce points out he should have his professional license burned in front of his face. I’d go further and suggest he should then be consigned to cleaning toilets at a prison for the rest of his life.