The faint creaking of cardboard and wires.


Via slacktivist:

Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights offers one of the painter’s more vivid depictions of Hell—a “doctrine” based more on such paintings and works of literature than on anything in the actual Bible. Included in Bosch’s scene is a damned musician, being eternally crushed by a gigantic lute while a frog-tongued demon tattoos a musical score on his buttocks. Would you like to hear the song written there? Of course you would.

I don’t mind taxes, I use them to buy civilization.

The great creeds of the church make no mention of homosexuality — let alone singling it out for particular and pre-eminent condemnation or suggesting that such condemnation plays a central role in the faith. Yet now the majority of Christians and non-Christians alike view this as the primary defining characteristic of Christian faith, practice and spirituality.

The Bible gives us the word “shibboleth,” but the Bible is more than a book of shibboleths. And the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of the kingdom of God, was never supposed to be about just listing a bunch of shibboleths that distinguished Us from Them.

So how did this happen? How did gay-hatin’ come to be the “most-common perception” of Christianity?

Fred “slacktivist” Clark is writing “something book-like”. This is the second-happiest thing about today.

Many of the conservative Baptists among whom I grew up believe that dancing is a sin. I have never heard any of them suggest that weddings are invalid if there is dancing at the reception. Nor did any of them argue that professional dancers ought to be relegated to second-class citizenship — forbidden to marry, to adopt children, to serve openly in the military. They didn’t argue such things because it wouldn’t have made sense.

The leap from “dancing is a sin” to “dancers are subhuman and should not have rights” is illogical and it’s bad theology by their own standards. The belief in a religious prohibition against homosexuality can be exploited by demagogues to produce and nurture bigotry among those who are prone to bigotry, but that religious prohibition is not, in itself, the cause or the source of that bigotry.


The least evil is still evil. The least monstrous is still monstrous.

When, as will happen, you are yourself forced to choose between two bad things, then choose the lesser of the evils and choose it boldly. That will be the right choice and, if circumstances are truly as circumscribed as you believe them to be, that will be the right thing to do in that situation.

But it still won’t be a good thing. It isn’t a good thing and cannot be made good.

When history perversely forces us to break the rules, then we must break the rules. Violate them. But we must not then pretend that this was not a violation. We must not say that the rule did not apply or that the rule does not exist or that there are no rules.

Broken rules must be mended. They must be rebuilt and reasserted with more vigor than before. This is why we say “never again,” even though every time we say it we are soon proven wrong.

Because next time we’re going to need that rule more than ever.

Real genius doesn’t stop there on the threshold, proud of its unrealized potential. Real genius creates, invents, discovers, envisions, unmasks and reveals. It gives something to the rest of the world — the phonograph, Atticus Finch, polio vaccine, Landscape at Auvers in the Rain, the Bo Diddley beat, key lime pie, the First Amendment, the theory of relativity, the 14th Amendment, the Chrysler building…
The only extent to which hate-crime protections pertain to “thought” is in the way that all criminal law does, which is to say that motive matters. If you truly believe that the law should make no distinction between accidental manslaughter and premeditated first-degree homicide, because you truly believe that any such distinction constitutes the establishment of “thought crime,” then I will accept that you are making this “thought-crime” objection to hate-crime legislation in good faith. (I’ll think you’re kind of an idiot, but at least a sincere idiot.)