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11th Sunday after Pentecost 2013

Righteous anger

It’s not an easy topic. Certainly there are things in this world to be rightly angry about, so long as anger doesn’t drown out everything else. Even the teacher of universal love, Jesus, had some angry words to say. In one translation Luke attributes this to Jesus:

Damn you, Chorazin! Damn you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have sat in sackcloth and ashes and changed their ways long ago. But Tyre and Sidon will be better off at the judgment than you. And you, Capernaum, you don’t think you’ll be exalted to heaven, do you? No, you’ll go to Hell.

Luke 10:13-15 Scholar’s Version

The evidence was right in front of their faces, but they refused to change their ways. No great cleverness is necessary to substitute birtherism into that text.

The prophets in the Hebrew scriptures railed against con men (false prophets) and those who would take advantage the weak—widows, orphans and aliens. Character assassination and smears were elevated to the level of getting their own commandment among the Ten:

You are not to testify against your neighbor as a false witness.

Exodus 20:13b, The Five Books of Moses, Everett Fox

While belief in conspiracy theories is in the main just a human quirk, a visible sign of an underlying psychology that we all share to some degree, there are factors contributing to birtherism that deserve condemnation and anger, specifically racism, xenophobia, and fraud. I will continue to apply harsh words where they are deserved.

Birther prayer list

I mention my “birther prayer list” sometimes. Its content varies over time. Jerome Corsi is the first on the list, and Mike Zullo isn’t on it at all. The saying, “hate the sin, love the sinner,” sounds trite but it isn’t. Nobody is truly represented by one issue unless they are totally consumed by it. Recognizing the depth and complexity of our fellow humans is part and parcel with following the commandment about false witness. The difficulty about putting Mike Zullo on the list is that everything I know about him proceeds from his birtherism, which itself is characterized by false witness. The only way someone can see him who does not know him personally is as a cartoon villain, and I cannot pray sincerely for Lex Luthor.

We’ve heard examples in comments here about how birtherism has split families and ruined relationships. It can’t be easy being a birther and being shunned by society, and outcast for being a crackpot.

Birthers are easier for me to deal with if I separate them into the hateful bigots and liars, and the deluded victims. In reality, those neat categorizations are made with significant bias on my part, and they may be just a convenient way to escape some hard judgments. That problem I just have to live with. In the mean time, if you’re a prominent birther, and you feel your ears tingling about 10:30 on a Sunday morning, it might be that your name is being spoken in prayer.

45 Responses to 11th Sunday after Pentecost 2013

  1. avatar
    richCares August 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Orly constantly spouts hateful things, she spouts insults about Obama and his family. She is a very nasty person Zullu doesn’t spout hateful things, but he does spout lies. He knows full well that an informational PDF cannot be consider a forgery, he just wants birher bucks. He should be careful, some bucks have horns.

  2. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    richCares:
    Orly constantly spouts hateful things, she spouts insults about Obama and his family. She is a very nasty personZullu doesn’t spout hateful things, but he does spout lies. He knows full well that an informational PDF cannot be consider a forgery, he just wants birher bucks. He should be careful, some bucks have horns.

    Aren’t lies hateful? I’m not arguing with you but just wondering how the smoothest lie can be any less hateful than the most vile.

  3. avatar
    Goal Poster August 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    “While belief in conspiracy theories is in the main just a human quirk,”

    Is that the belief that conspiracy theories exist?

    confused.

  4. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Humans because of their neurophysiology, tend to see pattern in random data. This tendency along with some other factors in human psychology make us prone to believe conspiracy theories. Some people have the psychological factors in different degrees and so some believe more in intelligent agents behind events while others are less likely to do so.

    Belief in conspiracy theories is like catching cold or becoming overweight.

    Goal Poster: “While belief in conspiracy theories is in the main just a human quirk,”

    Is that the belief that conspiracy theories exist?

    confused.

  5. avatar
    Goal Poster August 4, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    But you believe in conspiracy theories, right?

    I mean aren’t there bunches of conspiracies prosecuted in state and federal courts every working day? Doesn’t the prosecution present a theory of the case that involves conspiracy?

    I guess what I’m trying to say is how do you separate out the conspiracy theories that exist that accurately describe some kind of conspiracy with those conspiracy theories that don’t?

    It seems like you’re lumping them all together.

    And like, did you ever read Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”?

  6. avatar
    richCares August 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    “I mean aren’t there bunches of conspiracies prosecuted in state and federal courts ”
    .
    NO

  7. avatar
    scott e August 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    too biblical Doc. I just knew that expression “you go to hell” didn’t come from Seinfeld.

    hey has anyone seen this stockman bill yet ??

  8. avatar
    Bob August 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    The Birther’s Prayer

    God grant me the serenity to accept that Barack Obama is eligible to be president;
    The courage to stop repeating known falsehoods;
    And the wisdom to support democracy.

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    The word “conspiracy theory” has a particular meaning beyond simply “belief in a conspiracy.”

    See a dictionary, or any number of books on conspiracy theories for more information (some are listed under Recommended books in the right sidebar).

    Of course there are conspiracies: criminal and political, but that’s not the same thing.

    Goal Poster: I mean aren’t there bunches of conspiracies prosecuted in state and federal courts every working day? Doesn’t the prosecution present a theory of the case that involves conspiracy?

  10. avatar
    Goal Poster August 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    my dictionary offers this:

    conspiracy theory
    noun
    a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for an event.

    I don’t see how that changes anything, though.

  11. avatar
    Arthur August 4, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Bob:
    The Birther’s Prayer

    God grant me the serenity to accept that Barack Obama is eligible to be president;
    The courage to stop repeating known falsehoods;
    And the wisdom to support democracy.

    I like it Bob, but your prayer sounds like something a reasonable person might wish a birther would say. When a birther bows his head at the end of the day, I imagine he might mutter the following:

    “God grant me the insanity to deny that Barack Obama is eligible to president, the ignorance to keep repeating falsehoods, and the belligerence to oppose democracy.”

  12. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 4, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Goal Poster:
    my dictionary offers this:

    conspiracy theory
    noun
    a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for an event.

    I don’t see how that changes anything, though.

    Conspiracy theories and criminal conspiracies are two entirely different things.

    A criminal conspiracy takes planning and overt acts that can be proven in a court of

    Conspiracy theories are nothing but smoke…..unprovable and irrefutable: The perfect territory for keyboard warriors.

  13. avatar
    Benji Franklin August 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    richCares: Zullu doesn’t spout hateful things, but he does spout lies. He knows full well that an informational PDF cannot be consider a forgery,

    So does Carl Gallups – that’s the real reason Carl Gallups isn’t pestering Mike anymore for a year or decade certain, when Obama will be criminally charged – because Carl Gallups now knows the accusations are just part of an anti-Obama crap megaphone. They are reduced now to hoping they can get one imbecelicTea-Party fearing Congressman to believe there’s something worth looking into here, and who will actually publicly advance the prospect of considering an investigation that would go up in flames, but which would give Birtherdumb another focus for their unseemly public Obama anti-reign dance.

    Imagine the disdain legitimate law enforcement people and the legally knowledgeable folks who personally know Zullo and Gallups, have for Zullo and Gallups when they hear them spout their pseudo-legal nonsense.

    And you know, if the White House would have managed to publish online, a PDF file that allowed a monitor to display, or a printer to reproduce, a full size Obama LFBC likeness which displayed no anomalies which the Birthers bothered to call suspicious with a straight face, then they’d be saying that he had illegally counterfeited his LFBC by making too authentic a copy, and wanted him prosecuted for that!

    It’s almost like these Birthers don’t like President Obama.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    In that particular definition, I would focus on the word “belief.” A conspiracy theory is neither a theory in the scientific sense, nor a hypothesis. It is a belief.

    At some point, evidence might be found to confirm that a conspiracy is responsible for an event and the belief becomes a consensus view and enters history, but then it wouldn’t be called a “conspiracy theory” but just a “conspiracy.”

    Goal Poster: a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for an event.

    I don’t see how that changes anything, though.

  15. avatar
    jayHG August 4, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

    Arthur: I like it Bob, but your prayer sounds like something a reasonable person might wish a birther would say. When a birther bows his head at the end of the day, I imagine he might mutter the following:

    “God grant me the insanity to deny that Barack Obama is eligible to president, the ignorance to keep repeating falsehoods, and the belligerence to oppose democracy.”

    Damn that missing “like” button!!

  16. avatar
    aarrgghh August 5, 2013 at 6:12 am #

    and from the book of birfer, zampolit zullo edition:

    o lord zullo, grant me another smoking gun to cloud my eyes and distract my enemies;
    gallups, another empty update to keep my false hopes alive;
    and queen orly, another shrieking spectacle to slake my seditious bloodthirst.

  17. avatar
    Suranis August 5, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    How can you see something that doesn’t exist?

    All Zullo said was that Stockman was “considering” it. But don’t worry, Zullo was promising congressional movement on the issue “in six months” a year and a half ago. And that he had VIPs signed up and ready to go. I’m sure this time he isn’t lying, and that Stockman didn’t just say “yeah, yeah, I’ll consider it” as he was booting Zullo out the door.

    You are just too gullible scott. For a prime example of this, WHISTLEBLOWER WEDNESDAY.

    scott e:

    hey has anyone seen this stockman bill yet ??

  18. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    scott e: too biblical Doc. I just knew that expression “you go to hell” didn’t come from Seinfeld.hey has anyone seen this stockman bill yet ??

    What bill? Zullo is already backpeddaling saying that Stockman said he might consider a bill. It’s funny how gullible you continue to be

  19. avatar
    JD Reed August 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    scott e: too biblical Doc. I just knew that expression “you go to hell” didn’t come from Seinfeld.hey has anyone seen this stockman bill yet ??

    What Stockman bill? A very simple question to answer. Give us the bill’s number, and the smart people here can look at it themselves.

  20. avatar
    Benji Franklin August 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    scott e: hey has anyone seen this stockman bill yet ??

    Yeah, well here’s the only Bill you need to understand to know there isn’t going to be any “Stockman Bill”

    It’s the letter from “Bill” ,Arizona’s Mar County Attorney confirming that anytime a sane and honest and legally competent person evaluates this ludicrous “forgery” accusation, it becomes obvious that there’s no crime here on Obama’s part at all!

    Here’s the real elected VIP closest to the Zullo stinkpot of a pretend investigation, telling the truth about the biggest non-scandal in the history of the republic (the parenthetical words below are mine):

    September 26, 2012 8:30 AM
    Dear Mr. Reilly,

    …a criminal charge …requires that some conduct had to have occurred in Maricopa County … the Sheriff’s Office investigation into suspect documents produced by the White House to date …has not revealed any evidence that conduct occurred in Maricopa County. I have discussed this with the Sheriff. …(additionally) the criminal statute you cited in your message requires additional evidence that the MCSO investigation to date has not uncovered. Specifically, we would need evidence to affirmatively prove that Mr. Obama is not a US citizen. To date, there has been evidence presented leading to (only) speculation that documents have been forged and other documents do not exist. That alone, though, is not sufficient evidence to present to a grand jury …Sincerely,

    Bill Montgomery
    Maricopa County Attorney

    (See original full text at http://tinyurl.com/lj4zwrf)

    That’s what an honest, sane, competent person sees through the lies of the Obama haters.

  21. avatar
    Jim August 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    scott e:

    hey has anyone seen this stockman bill yet ??

    No one has seen it, however I heard it’s being kept in the same place as Arpaio’s arrest warrants for the forger and the President. You’ll see them all at about the same time…it will be very cold and the place where Arpaio, Zullo, and Taitz end up will be frozen over.

  22. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    scott e:
    too biblical Doc. I just knew that expression “you go to hell” didn’t come from Seinfeld.

    hey has anyone seen this stockman bill yet ??

    Why don’t you do your own research, scott?

    It’s really pretty simple. a list of all the bills Congressman Stockman has introduced is right there on the old internet:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/R?d113:FLD003:@1%28Rep.+Stockman+%20Steve%29:

    Nothing about the President’s birth certificate, right?

    Now you know where to go and check so you don’t have to keep asking here.

    Oh….something you might also want to note is that there isn’t a word about Obama’s birth certificate on the Congressman’s website:

    http://stockman.house.gov/

    Lots of stuff about Obama but not a syllable about the birth certificate.

    Any day now, I guess.

  23. avatar
    Rickey August 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    scott e:

    hey has anyone seen this stockman bill yet ??

    You really believe that there will be a bill?

    If Stockman had any clout in Congress he wouldn’t need a bill. He would just have to persuade the appropriate House committee to commence an investigation.

    Even if he could figure out how to fashion a bill which would lead to an investigation, it would never get out of committee because Boehner and Cantor realize that it would make them look like fools. But even if it could get it out of committee and have it passed by the House, how would you persuade the Senate to pass it?

    Try doing some critical thinking for once.

  24. avatar
    Bob August 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    Perhaps scott e could fill in #2 for everyone:

    1. Stockman’s vague innuendo.
    2. ?
    3. Obama removed from power.

  25. avatar
    Hektor August 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    You know, the funny thing about the supposed bill by Stockman is that this was tried over four years ago by Bill Posey (he’s still in Congress). I think it even got cosponsors. While he was in Congress, Nathan Deal also sent a letter to the President regarding his birth certificate. Strangely, here it is 2013 and President Obama is still President.

  26. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Rickey: You really believe that there will be a bill?

    Whether it’s a bill or a resolution the chances of anything he might write and introduce getting past committee is slim. Chances grow quickly to none when you think about it getting out of the House to the Senate and after that it’s fantasy-time.

    Any day now. Send money.

  27. avatar
    Thomas Brown August 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Bob:
    Perhaps scott e could fill in #2 for everyone:

    1.Stockman’s vague innuendo.
    2.?
    3.Obama removed from power.

    Why not go the whole South Park direction?

    1) Collect underpants.
    2) ?
    3) Obama removed from White House.

    Birthers as Underpants Gnomes. Delicious.

  28. avatar
    donna August 5, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Rickey: If Stockman had any clout in Congress he wouldn’t need a bill. He would just have to persuade the appropriate House committee to commence an investigation.

    flashback issa november 8, 2010: ‘I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks,’

    certainly, issa could have fit an obama birth certificate/eligibility investigation in since then

  29. avatar
    Northland10 August 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    scott e:
    hey has anyone seen this stockman bill yet ??

    What would it take for you all to realize that Zullo and Gallups are playing you for a fool? Their game of, oh a big announcement will happen soon, has been played repeatedly for over a year now. Don’t you, by now, see that as rather odd?

  30. avatar
    Suranis August 5, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    You see this is “Alynsky tactics.” Everytime we laugh and call Scott an idiot he knows that we are really totally freaked out by him even mentioning the Stockman bill. HE’S GOT TO US!!! *cries*

  31. avatar
    scott e August 6, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Northland10: What would it take for you all to realize that Zullo and Gallups are playing you for a fool?Their game of, oh a big announcement will happen soon, has been played repeatedly for over a year now.Don’t you, by now, see that as rather odd?

    what is odd is that this doesn’t seem to go away. look at the big picture. nobody plays me for a fool, especially here.

    I understand there is a “birther channel” coming soon. just to publicize both sides of the case.

  32. avatar
    scott e August 6, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Bob:
    Perhaps scott e could fill in #2 for everyone:

    1.Stockman’s vague innuendo.
    2.?
    3.Obama removed from power.

    understand, non binding resolutions or “bills” won’t replace a congressional investigation. I like the part where they must obey the law and investigate. sort of the opposite of what Obama does (with the law).

  33. avatar
    Suranis August 6, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    The jokes write themselves, don’t they.

    scott e: what is odd is that this doesn’t seem to go away. look at the big picture. nobody plays me for a fool, especially here.

  34. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 6, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    scott e: what is odd is that this doesn’t seem to go away. look at the big picture. nobody plays me for a fool, especially here.

    Really you’ve been doing a pretty good job of showing yourself for a fool here and everywhere else.

  35. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 6, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    scott e: understand, non binding resolutions or “bills” won’t replace a congressional investigation. I like the part where they must obey the law and investigate. sort of the opposite of what Obama does (with the law).

    In which cases has he done this?

  36. avatar
    CarlOrcas August 6, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    scott e: nobody plays me for a fool, especially here.

    Have you asked Zullo what he’s doing with the money that’s been donated to the Cold Case Posse?

  37. avatar
    Majority Will August 6, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Suranis:
    The jokes write themselves, don’t they.

    Funny and sad at the same time.

  38. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    To me, scott is showing himself a troll. I’ve been deleting lots of comments that don’t say anything but demand a response. The latest tack is basically “there must be something to this, and you must be really worried” because you’re talking about it. That’s log8ical nonsense, but it really begs for one or a dozen people to say “no it isn’t” and that’s a waste of time.

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater: Really you’ve been doing a pretty good job of showing yourself for a fool here and everywhere else.

  39. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater August 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: To me, scott is showing himself a troll. I’ve been deleting lots of comments that don’t say anything but demand a response. The latest tack is basically “there must be something to this, and you must be really worried” because you’re talking about it. That’s log8ical nonsense, but it really begs for one or a dozen people to say “no it isn’t” and that’s a waste of time.

    It’s the game of heads I win tails you lose. If we talk about it we’re obviously worried since we’re still talking about it. But if we don’t talk about it we’re obviously worried because we’re covering it up. This is the same nonsense Scott pulls everywhere.

  40. avatar
    Arthur August 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    scott e: I understand there is a “birther channel” coming soon. just to publicize both sides of the case.

    Well, why not? There’s probably also a creationist channel. Creationists and birthers share so many traits, maybe they could open a museum together . . . how about a diorama in which Stanley Anne Dunham gives birth to Obama in Kenya, while Jesus walks by riding a dinosaur, and Moses comes down from mountain with a fake birth certificate? Scott, you compose the background music!

  41. avatar
    Judge Mental August 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    Such a Bill would be great. Even better if it progressed right through the Senate stage. What is it that happens to a Bill after that again, I forget?

  42. avatar
    Majority Will August 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    Judge Mental:
    Such a Bill would be great. Even better if it progressed right through the Senate stage. What is it that happens to a Bill after that again, I forget?

    😀

  43. avatar
    Benji Franklin August 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    Doc, you introduced this article writing among other things, that:

    “Birthers are easier for me to deal with if I separate them into the hateful bigots and liars, and the deluded victims.”

    That is a slightly over-forgiving scale of categories in my humble opinion

    How about these 3?

    A) The undeluded and lying hateful bigots, like Zullo

    B) The eagerly deluded birther troops who are willing to parrot any anti-Obama allegation and put their PayPal money where Zullo’s other mouth is

    C) The low-information citizens who are truly deluded by the snake oil of Zullo’s (and all the other Big Birthers’ misleading fabrications

  44. avatar
    Kiwiwriter August 9, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Well, there are conspiracies and conspiracies…if five politicians and businessmen set up a kickback and bid-rigging scheme to defraud the public and fatten their wallets, that’s a conspiracy, and that’s done all the time, as we see in the news. So are a bunch of guys getting together to rob a bank or run a drug ring.

    But “conspiracy theories” are really about grand, overall, massive world-controlling conspiracies, which are simply impossible in the face of the realities of logistics, human nature, and physical reality. There’s a huge difference.

    They get swallowed because they make a complex, random world, full of ambiguities, gray areas, loose ends, and shifting situations, comprehensible, orderly, and black-and-white. It reduces the world to simple paradigms of good and evil, in soap opera, espionage thriller, and Aesopian terms that poorly-educated people can easily understand.

    It’s like my irritation with “The Walking Dead” and “Falling Skies:” In the former show, zombies have taken over the world. In the latter, space aliens. In both shows, the various characters, fighting off or on the run from the enemies in this post-apocalyptic nightmare, have plenty of time for soap opera love triangles, petty feuds, jealousies, and personal squabbles. And the public is rivetted. Concepts like those are easy to understand. How the world was taken over by zombies or space aliens is more difficult for the TV audience to relate to. But they can follow a love triangle perfectly.

    People expect the world to be like one of Anton Chekhov’s dicta about drama: “If you hang a gun over the fireplace in the first act, you must fire it in the third act.”

    In real life, that doesn’t happen. Squeaky Fromme had no connection to Sarah Jane Moore. But both tried to shoot President Ford. To a conspiracy theorist or a dramatist, that automatically means a connection.

  45. avatar
    G August 10, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Ah, two shows I regularly watch as well. Yes, I too would like to see more “backround” on the how/why in these shows, but I understand both the reasons, the necessity (and to an extent) the “reality” of the human drama element there. For one, character development is important and essential to making stories something that one can relate to on some level (as well as to invoke one or more emotional attachments towards the characters represented – whether positive or negative). Second, we as humans are essentially a social animal. Rest assured, even in the most hostile environments and war-torn / famished lands in the real world, there are likely a good number of “love triangles, petty feuds, jealousies, and personal squabbles” taking place, in the midst of all the other chaos and struggle that shapes their daily lives…

    But then again, there are some overused and unrealistic sci-fi tropes in the social drama aspects that can really bug me too. For instance, I really loathed that Falling Skies had to lower itself to adding a hyper-intelligent fast-growing hybrid alien baby into the mix. I *hate* that particular macguffin. *sigh*

    Kiwiwriter: It’s like my irritation with “The Walking Dead” and “Falling Skies:” In the former show, zombies have taken over the world. In the latter, space aliens. In both shows, the various characters, fighting off or on the run from the enemies in this post-apocalyptic nightmare, have plenty of time for soap opera love triangles, petty feuds, jealousies, and personal squabbles. And the public is rivetted. Concepts like those are easy to understand. How the world was taken over by zombies or space aliens is more difficult for the TV audience to relate to. But they can follow a love triangle perfectly.