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.

Let’s treat gun owners like we treat pregnant women

This is making the rounds but can’t be repeated often enough, so…

The text from the image (so it’s searchable):

“Gun violence problem solved. Or, “hey, how about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion” — mandatory 48-hr waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence, an ultrasound wand up the ass (just because). Let’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a guantlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.

It makes more sense to do this with young men and guns than with women and health care, right? I mean, no woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, right?” — via a friend of a friend

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.

Nine months after I called WranglerStar an asshole for proselytizing in the wrong context another Christian berates me

Nine months ago I commented on a YouTube video and wrote a blog article about a hyper religious individual who can’t resist proselytizing in the wrong context (i.e., an ostensibly secular YouTube video). Yesterday someone named “Tommy Rad” replied to my comment. A full month since the previous reply.

Devout Christians, and highly religious people in general, just cannot let criticism of their beliefs pass without a comment. I stopped responding to those replies to my comment long ago but this most recent reply was too good to ignore. What follows are the statements from Tommy Rad with my replies.

“Well it IS his YT channel”.

Thanks for that information. I thought this channel was owned by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (http://ffrf.org). I completely missed the blindingly obvious fact that Cody created this channel to publish videos he creates under the pseudonym Wranglerstar. </eyeroll>

“did you send letters to CBS, NBC back in the day when they would sign-off with a prayer at midnight?”

I was born in 1961. I’ve seen plenty of broadcast TV sign-offs and never once saw a prayer. But then I grew up in Portland, OR where religion isn’t a big part of life for most people. I don’t doubt that specific stations may have done so (especially in the “bible belt”) but it was clearly not a uniform policy of NBC, CBS, ABC. And, yes, if I saw any channel that is not explicitly religious (e.g., TBS) in nature do what you describe I would complain to that station.

“The world has become a cesspit under the philosophy of secularism at the reins of the ‘progressives’.”

Really? That will come as quite a surprise to most European countries; especially the Scandinavian countries. Even in the USA measures of societal health show that the most religious states have the most problems (teen pregnancy, drug use, crime, poverty, etc.).

“Have you heard the utterly disgusting, life-hating vitriol coming from the lips of your secular 3rd-wave feminists?”

No, I haven’t. Perhaps you can provide some examples.

“Good job my friend, good job.”

Thank you. It is good for our future that people are abandoning religion in favor of secularism and humanist values.

The FRC wants you to “Help free Kim Davis from jail”

Todays I received the following email from the Family Research Council (FRC) headed by Tony Perkins. A theocratic grifter of some renown.

Kim Davis is the county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky. She has been jailed by a federal judge for refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. And Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D) wants to keep her there.

Gotta love the gratuitous swipe at a Democratic governor. Especially since he has no control over whether Ms. Davis is in jail or for how long. Also, she wasn’t jailed for refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. She was jailed for contempt of court.

Her refusal is based on her belief that God has ordained marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Regardless of the recent Supreme Court decision claiming same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, Kim is standing on a higher law, one she believes derives not from the decision of any court but from the hand of our Creator.

Apparently the FRC believes that everyone should be able to flout civil law if they hold a belief incompatible with that law. Not to mention all the people who want to be paid to do jobs that conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs. What do you want to bet that they will hastily modify that assertion once it is pointed out that by their reasoning

a) A Protestant paramedic can refuse to give aid to a Catholic and vice-versa.

b) A Muslim working at the DMV should be able to refuse to give a drivers license to women.

c) A Hindu working at McDonalds should be able to refuse to cook or serve hamburgers.

d) An Amish bus driver should be able to refuse to drive busses but still be paid.

Etcetera.

Our Constitution guarantees Kim Davis the right to practice her faith. It's called "freedom of religion," and is the first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights.

Yes, Ms. Davis is free to practice her faith. She can attend the church of her choosing as often as she wishes. She can give that church as much of her $80K/year salary as she wishes. She is free to read and write about her religion without government interference. What that right does not include is violating civil law and refusing to do the job for which she is paid.

The couple demanding she issue them a marriage license claims Kim's exercise of her freedom of religion has imposed a burden on them. Yet they have had many other options for obtaining a license and have, in fact, now gotten one.

Irrelevant point. Also disingenuous. Ms. Davis’ behavior imposes an unreasonable burden on the members of her community she is obligated to serve.

Apparently Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is more concerned with imposing a moral and personal burden on Kim Davis than he is with accommodating her deeply-held Christian convictions. So, he is keeping her in jail.

Yawn. Repeating a tiresome lie doesn’t make it true. A federal judge is keeping her in jail. You’re asking that Gov. Beshear provide her a “get out of jail free” card.

This is wrong. We jail criminals, not people of conscience. We penalize wrong-doers, not people who simply decline a service for moral reasons -- a service which is readily available in other places.

We do jail people of conscience. All the fucking time. People who protested the Vietnam war were jailed. People who protest nuclear war are jailed. And by telling a federal court she won’t abide by their ruling in a matter she has committed a crime known as “contempt of court”. What the FRC really means is that Christians shouldn’t be jailed for following “biblical law”. But only the parts of biblical law they feel like following. Not those other bits like killing adulterers (I’m looking at you Ms. Davis) or people who work on the sabbath.

American Christians need to stand with Kim Davis's right to stand by her religious convictions. You can help by signing our petition below to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear asking him to issue an accommodation to Kim Davis allowing her to live and work according to her beliefs…

I followed that link. A full 48 hours after I received the FRC’s email they had 32,158 signatures including mine. Yawn. And, of course, the petition page had the obligatory prominently placed “DONATE NOW!” button. Grifters gotta grift.

Tony Perkins gives us another book about persecution of Christians

Just what the world needs — another book about how Christians in America are persecuted. Tony Perkins, head of the FRC (Family Research Council) just emailed me to inform me that I can pre-order his book “No Fear”. I love the first sentence of his email to me:

What could God do through you, if you had no fear of man?

Clearly the world needs more religious fanatics willing to martyr themselves by committing acts of terrorism so they can be rewarded with 47 virgins in paradise. Oh, wait, that’s the other “one true religion”. Still, it’s nice to know Mr. Perkins is doing his part to ensure Muslims don’t hold a monopoly on religious extremism.

Mr Perkins goes on to tell us what we’ll find in his book:

Containing stories of young Christians facing intense opposition, No Fear shows the dramatic influence one person can have as they stand resolute for biblical truth in the pursuit of fairness, justice, and compassion.

Hopefully he explains in the book how “biblical truth” differs from simple “truth”. But I suspect “biblical truth” just means “shit I pulled out of my ass.”

70 years ago the nuclear nightmare begins

The following movie came to my attention thanks to Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog. Since today is the 70th anniversary of America’s bombing of Hiroshima the following video showing when and where nuclear explosions have occurred from 1945 to 1998 is relevant and sobering.

I was born in 1961 and remember “duck and cover” drills at school. When going shopping at the local mall or department store meant looking for the nuclear civil defense fallout shelter signs indicated you should go in the event of a nuclear explosion. I didn’t know anyone who had a bomb shelter in their back yard but it was certainly discussed and magazines like Popular Mechanics had articles about building one. So when I watch todays GOP representatives argue against the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear agreement I think about stuffing the lot of them into a suburban backyard bomb shelter without food or water and padlocking the door.

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.

Ben Carson wants to implement the East German Stasi in the USA

If you haven’t watched The Lives of Others you should do so at your earliest opportunity. It’s necessary to provide context for 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson’s remarks regarding the need for our own secret police:

The pediatric neurosurgeon-turned-candidate told a crowd of Iowa Republicans he is “thinking very seriously” about adding “a covert division of people who look like the people in this room, who monitor what government people do.” Carson suggested people would work harder if they suspected their coworkers of monitoring their work. “And we make it possible to fire government people!” he said to loud cheers.

As Charles P. Pierce is known to say: “We are indeed very fcked.”

Email I receive: “maybe u r the 1 ‘blacklisted’ from heaven.”

This morning I noticed an interesting series of fetches from my web site with the user-agent value

Domain Re-Animator Bot (http://domainreanimator.com) - support@domainreanimator.com

Nearly every URI was requested at least twice. One of the URIs was requested five times in a row which triggered one of my blacklisting rules. So I sent an email to support@domainreanimator.com pointing out that their crawler is rather stupid in its behavior. This is the response I received:

From: Nate Fischer <support @domainreanimator.com>
Subject: Re: Your web crawler is broken
Mailed-by: email.freshdesk.com

Hi Kurtis Rader,

I'm afraid u r the grosssly imcompetent 1... i pray sum day u accept jesus as ur lord n savior.  maybe u r the 1 'blacklisted' from heaven. 

I am not making this up. That email is a direct copy-paste from my inbox. I think that will stand as the most unprofessional response I will ever receive from a company. For some context the URI that was fetched multiple times in quick succession was my blog post Yet another Christian who can’t resist proselytizing in the wrong context. Apparently Nate is a God fearing, everyone but me is going to hell, Jesus freak.

Also, as you can see from their website it appears the business model is to assist scumbags in performing “search engine optimization”. Which itself deserves the Internet Death Penalty. So that user-agent value is now in my blacklisting rules:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^Domain\sRe-Animator\sBot