Two Gunmen Killed In Apparent Attempted Attack On Anti-Islam Event In Texas

Two men were killed last night before they could carry out what appears to be a planned attack on an anti-Islam event in Texas.

Garland Texas Shooting

An event being held late yesterday in Garland, Texas featuring cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, among other things, was the site of an apparent attempted attack by two gunmen who were shot dead before being able to enter the building:

Two gunmen were killed after they opened fire Sunday evening outside an event hosted by an anti-Islam group in Garland, Tex., featuring cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, local officials said. According to the authorities, the two assailants shot a security guard and were, in turn, shot and killed by police officers.

Officials did not name the gunmen or assign a motive for the attack. A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. in Dallas said the agency was providing investigative and bomb technician assistance to the Garland police.

The City of Garland confirmed the episode in a Facebook posting.

The shooting began shortly before 7 p.m. outside the Curtis Culwell Center at an event organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an anti-Islam organization based in New York.

As today’s Muhammad Art Exhibit event at the Curtis Culwell Center was coming to an end,” the Facebook posting said, “two males drove up to the front of the building in a car. Both males were armed and began shooting at a Garland I.S.D. security officer.”

The Garland Independent School District said in a statement that its security officer, Bruce Joiner, was shot in the ankle and taken to a hospital. He was later released.

The police, fearing that the gunmen’s car might contain an explosive device, dispatched a bomb squad and evacuated the center and nearby businesses, including a Walmart.

The event included a contest for the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, with a $10,000 top prize.

Drawings of the prophet are considered offensive in most interpretations of Islam. In January, gunmen in Paris attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper known for printing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, killing 12 people.

A live video stream of the Garland event on the organizer’s website recorded the moment when the crowd was interrupted by a private security guard in military fatigues, who bounded onto the stage to announce that there had been a shooting outside. “Were the suspects Muslim?” a man shouted.

“I have no idea right now,” said the man in fatigues.

Geert Wilders, an anti-Islam leader in the Netherlands for the Party for Freedom, attended the event and delivered a speech. After the attack, he wrote “never surrender to terrorism!” in a Twitter post, and he posted a picture of himself with what he said were SWAT forces taken before the gunmen opened fire.

Pamela Geller, an outspoken anti-Islam activist and an organizer of the event, said the group decided to hold the event in the Curtis Culwell Center because members had heard that a Muslim group had a conference in the same room after the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office.\

Ms. Geller described Sunday’s event as pro-free speech, and said that Muslims had become a “special class” that Americans were no longer allowed to offend.

The attack itself does seem to have been preplanned given the fact that there were apparently postings on Twitter accounts that have previously made comments supportive of ISIS in anticipation of the attacks, although it doesn’t appear that anyone noticed the message before the attack or in enough time to provide the police in Garland with any warning. The tweets, one of which was shared by CNN’s Carol Costello, refer to the attackers as “mujahadeen” and make other comments generally supportive of the attack. Although the police have not formally named any suspects, other reports indicate that the attackers were Elton Simpson of Phoenix, Arizona and his roommate. This morning, police were executing search warrants at the apartment the two men shared, and other reports have indicated that Simpson had previously come to the attention of law enforcement in connection with a terrorism investigation, and was convicted on some sort of terror-related charge in 2011, although it does not appear that he was under surveillance of any kind in the time leading up to last night’s attack. Simpson is also, allegedly, the person behind at least one of the Twitter accounts that sent out messages regarding the attack before it happened, leading to the conclusion that he likely sent the messages shortly before committing the attack itself.

While the investigation is still in its early hours, the obvious implication is that Simpson and his unnamed partner targeted this event in Garland in retaliation for some perceived insult to Muslims in much the same way that the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was targeted by terrorists earlier this year, an attack which resulted in multiple death and a standoff across France that was in the news for the better part of a week. Some reports this morning quoted law enforcement officials a saying that there had be increased “chatter” from some Islamist sources regarding the event, which is apparently one of the reasons why there was an increased police presence along with the private security that the organization running the event had provided for. As is usually the case with these one-off events, it doesn’t appear that there is any international connection between Simpson and groups such as ISIS or al Qaeda. Instead, as we saw with the Times Square Bomber, the Tsarnaev brothers, and the man who attacked the Canadian Parliament Building last year, it appears that we are dealing with another “lone wolf” scenario in which someone is essentially self-radicalized via the Internet and then plans some small-scale action on their own. In this case, the attackers were fortunately unable to even get inside the building, where they might have been able to cause some real damage.

Pamela Geller, who runs the organization that held the event last night, and Geert Wilders are, of course, not strangers to people who have been following anti-Muslim rhetoric since the September 11th attacks. Through her blog and the organizations that she has been affiliated with, Gellar has promoted a message that is quite often offensive even to non-Muslims and has, as a result, become somewhat popular on the right over the years. She is perhaps best known as one of the leaders behind the movement to stop construction of the Islamic Community Center in lower Manhattan that came to be called, incorrectly, the “Ground Zero Mosque” because of its proximity to the sight of the September 11th attacks. She has also been behind the placement of anti-Muslim ads in mass transit venues in cities such as New York, Washington, and elsewhere. Wilders, on the other hand, is known as the leader of a right-wing party in The Netherlands and member of the Dutch House of Representatives who has a long history of making anti-Muslim statements both in his political campaigns and elsewhere. Much like Geller, Wilders is someone that many people consider to be offensive and disreputable.

Because of this, some in the media have made comments that should be disturbing to anyone who supports the idea of free expression of ideas. For example, New York Times foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi had this to say:

And Morehouse University Professor, BET Host, and frequent CNN guest Marc Lamont Hill echoed similar sentiments:

I understand on some level where Callimachi and Hill are coming from. As I’ve said before, I find Geller and Wilders, and others of their ilk, to be utterly offensive and the idea of holding an event that is specifically designed to offend people says as more about the organizers than it does about the people they are trying to offend. That being said, phrases such as “Free speech aside,” and Hill’s statement that he understands and respects free speech “but…..” are bothersome. It should not matter that someone exercising their rights under the First Amendment is doing so for the specific purpose of offending someone, their rights are as important and as worthy of being protected as the speech of someone standing on a soapbox preaching flowery rhetoric about peace and understanding. Additionally, it’s hard for me to understand how someone says that they “understand and respect” free speech and then go on to make statements that appear to concede that there might be some excuse for a violent response to supposedly “offensive speech.” Whatever one might think of Geller, Wilders, and people who apparently enjoy spending their Sunday evening looking at Mohammed cartoons, there is as little justification for Simpson’s actions last night as there was for the murders of the staff of Charlie Hebdo. The fact that speech like this is provocative and even offensive is, in the end, irrelevant. Speech of all kinds is often intended to be provocative and offensive, and the fact that it is should not be grounds for someone like Callimachi and Hillwho makes their living in an industry that exists because of the First Amendment, to question its legitimacy. Finally, of course, regardless of the content of the speech, there is no justification for violence of the kind the Elton Simpson had planned in Garland. Fortunately, he was stopped by police before he could carry out whatever it is that he had planned.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Doug:

    The fact that I think the organizers of this event are ridiculous twats aside. . . You’re right. Free speech is free speech even when the speech involved is “offensive.” That’s kind of why we have the First Amendment, after all. We don’t need a law protecting speech involving cute kittens and maternal love, the Constitution is there to protect the people we don’t necessarily like.

    And it had the side benefit of flushing out a pair of jihadi wanna-be’s.

  2. JohnMcC says:

    Now if only a huge sinkhole would open and swallow both the jihadis and the anti-islamists. The general moral climate of the planet would increase measurably.

  3. Mikey says:

    Free speech aside, why would anyone do something as provocative as hosting a “Muhammad drawing contest”?

    Because if the provocative isn’t permitted, “free speech” is a sham. If limits aren’t pushed, “free speech” is meaningless.

    @michael reynolds:

    Free speech is free speech even when the speech involved is “offensive.”

    That’s the only time the concept of free speech as a protection against forcible retaliation is even operational.

  4. Moosebreath says:

    “Gellar has promoted a message that is quite often offensive even to non-Muslims and has, as a result, become somewhat popular on the right over the years.”

    A succinct description of what currently passes for conservatives these days.

    And I am not seeing much difference between calling the gathering “provocative” or “disgusting”, and your phrase of “utterly offensive”. None of them are calling for the event to have been supressed.

  5. aFloridian says:

    I really think you’re being too bothered about their comments. The way I read them, they are pointing out the crassness of hosting a purposely provocative and offensive event.

    One can respect free speech while also condemning the speech freely uttered.

    I do believe, however, that one of the things that really sets us apart from other Western countries with respect to civil liberties is our expansive tolerance for freedom of offensive speech. I strongly support this right. I see it a good thing that, in America, I can deny the Holocaust (especially), fly a Confederate Battle Flag, trample on an American flag (“Sheppard’s Challenge”), or otherwise utter ignorance and prejudice.

    That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences. For example, the Mozilla exec that was removed was not entitled to free speech protections. He said something his bosses disapproved of (and an increasing number of Americans find offensive) and he was removed for doing so.

    That’s why I don’t understand why people don’t get that burning the flag is one of the best illustrations of why the flag is such a powerful symbol. It’s almost a sacrifice story. The flag ought to stand for freedom, particularly the freedom to utter opinions outside the norms and against the majority. The more offensive something is, the more important it becomes that we protect that speech (outside already excepted areas like threats of violence, fire in a theatre). So in that way the flag fulfills its purpose too perfectly when it is set on fire. I would get upset to see the flag burned, and feel a deep respect for its symbolic power, but it’s at the edges of acceptability where the right starts getting curtailed.

  6. Jeremy R says:

    I don’t really see the issue with Hill’s tweet. He acknowledges that hate speech events are legally allowed, but also calls them disgusting. So free to be organized and held, but not free from criticism, though obviously they should also be free from violence (or the threat of violence).

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Gellar has promoted a message that is quite often offensive even to non-Muslims and has, as a result, become somewhat popular on the right over the years.

    Hate has become a Republican cottage industry.
    Gellar is protected by the First Amendment and rightly so.
    That does not make her any less of a disgusting human.
    The tragedy here is that Republicans will use these two wanna-be’s to tar and feather every single one of the 1.6B Muslims. Because racists are gonna hate.

  8. george says:

    What Reynolds said.

    Drawing cartoons of Muhammed is no worse than the piss Christ. I wouldn’t expect either Muslims or Christians to be happy about either, I can understand boycotts and other such reactions.

    But violence is never excused. If you’re not free to insult what other people find sacred, then you’re not going to be allowed to criticize anything at all, because there are very few things that at least some people find sacred (flag, political ideas, you name it), and for many people disagreement of any kind is insulting (anyone who’s spent time in academia has seen this).

  9. Mr. Prosser says:

    There a many who think free speech is free of consequences. They remind me of the Terry Pratchett quote, “He/she’d be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armor and shouting, ‘All gods are bastards!'”

  10. Jack says:

    Drawings of the prophet are considered offensive in most interpretations of Islam.

    Are the drawers Islamic…no? Then these Muslims need to shut the hell up.
    Many religions, including Islam, frown on alcohol and smoking. Does that mean they should dictate the behavior for all mankind?

    Just as many here dislike the Hobby Lobby case because a “business” gets to dictate its beliefs for its employees, here we have a religion that is practiced by 1.6 billion trying to dictate to the other 6.4 billion how it should act.

    When will liberals finally stand up to the Islamists and their ilk? Hmmm?

  11. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Hate has become a Republican cottage industry.
    Gellar is protected by the First Amendment and rightly so.
    That does not make her any less of a disgusting human.
    The tragedy here is that Republicans will use these two wanna-be’s to tar and feather every single one of the 1.6B Muslims. Because racists are gonna hate.

    Did you not just broad brush every Republican? Oh, that’s not a religion so it’s OK. Hypocrite.

    BTW, Islam is not a race, cupcake.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    You are right of course. My bad. Bigots are gonna hate.
    As for Republicans…you don’t have to be a bigot to be a Republican…but if you are a bigot, Jack, then chances are very good that you are a Republican. Do you really think that’s a coincidence? The entire party is based on Xenophiobia…from gays, to migrants, to Muslims. It’s all about denying the “others” for y’all.

  13. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    but if you are a bigot, Jack, then chances are very good that you are a Republican.

    My, my. You just described half of Baltimore City. And here I didn’t think they voted Republican.

  14. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    but if you are a bigot, Jack, then chances are very good that you are a Republican.

    And yet, 93% of the blacks voted for Obama…yeah, who’re the Bigots?

  15. Gavrilo says:

    Remember, kids:

    Larry Flynt = First amendment hero
    Pamela Geller = Disgusting human being

  16. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    I did too…does that make me a bigot? I don’t get your point. Do you want to go back to where you copied it from and get more detail about what you are supposed to be thinking?

  17. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    When will liberals finally stand up to the Islamists and their ilk? Hmmm?

    The liberal-in-chief, Mr. Obama, has sent more jihadis to meet Allah than any conservative, something I realize you’re unable to credit him with.

    But, that said, I agree to an extent. Liberals don’t like hate, they do like underdogs, these are characteristics baked into the liberal mindset and both are admirable characteristics. In this country we have folks who hate Islam and thus we have an underdog and the liberal predilections come into play.

    But do I think there’s a problem with Islam? Yes. I also think there’s a problem with Judaism and Christianity: monotheisms are inherently intolerant.

    The difference I think is that Judaism and Christianity have both been slapped around thoroughly by centuries of civil government, intellectual critiques, schisms, reformations, etc… What we have now are chastened, constrained forms of Judaism and Christianity. In the West we have deprived religion of its real-world weapons. We have defanged them.

    And still Christian extremists blow up abortion clinics and subject gays to crude brainwashing. But we have managed to more or less stymie their more murderous religious impulses. For now. So that’s good, and all liberals agree it’s good that we’ve boxed religion in and liberated it to focus on things like making money, building giant tasteless eyesores, making money, helping people, molesting children and of course, making money. Progress!

    The problem with Islam is not that there’s something inherently wrong or inferior in the religion – it’s all nonsense, whether you package it as a Jewish, Christian or Muslim bit of nonsense. The problem is that no one has yet effectively found ways to control Islam’s worst impulses. The fault for that lies less with Islam per se than with corrupt, backward, thuggish governments, particularly in the middle east, that have relentlessly destroyed every institution capable of challenging the religion.

    The fault lies most directly with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but Egypt has sure done its part to demonstrate all the ways a government can fail. And then we have the complete monsters, men like Saddam and Gaddafi and Assad.

    The way you balance extreme religion is with competent government, government that defends the right of dissent and allows a free exchange of ideas. You know: liberalism.

    Needless to say, American conservatives oppose the very idea that government, academia, media, etc… should in effect impose the very limits that have allowed conservatives to say, “See? We Christians are tolerant!” The disconnect is amazing.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Jacks says:

    here we have a religion that is practiced by 1.6 billion trying to dictate to the other 6.4 billion how it should act.

    but thinks I paint with too broad a brush when I say:

    The tragedy here is that Republicans will use these two wanna-be’s to tar and feather every single one of the 1.6B Muslims.

    Self-aware, much, Jack?

  19. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: You said that if you are a bigot, then you are likely to be a Republican.

    I show you the statistics, based upon the 2012 election that blacks voted as a block 93% for Obama, largely because of his race. The logical extension of that is that those 93% of blacks voted against Romney because he was white. So, you can then say that the 93% of black, or whatever subset that voted for Obama because he was black are in fact bigots. And yet, they cannot be Republicans because they voted for a Democrat.

    Thus, your logic fails because in fact, if you are a bigot, then you are not in fact a Republican.

  20. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Are you denying that 1.6 billion Muslims are trying to dictate to the other 6.4 billion how it should act? If your answer is no, then where on earth do people get the idea that drawing Mohammed is wrong and punishable by death?

  21. Pinky says:

    A person shouldn’t mock another’s religion. A person shouldn’t shoot at people for mocking his religion. At a time when both are happening, I think it’s reasonable to be harsher toward the latter than the former, both due to urgency and to scale.

    Rukmini Callimachi called the event “provocative”. Marc Lamont Hill called it “disgusting”. They’re both right, but I don’t think now is the time to be saying either. Callimachi’s statement bothers me more – rejecting something for being disgusting makes sense, but rejecting something for being provocative doesn’t.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Jack: So you feel voting for your own best interests is bigotry? Maybe that explains why you non 1% conservatives keep voting against your own best interests. Look up the Black vote for Gore and Kerry, both of which, you may recall, were white. Then explain to me again your bigotry theory.

  23. Paul L. says:

    The Tuscon/Palin standard should now be applied to Media Matters CAIR and the SPLC
    They need to tone down the “toxic rhetoric” of the Left that created a “climate of hate” that enables this violence against Pamela Geller
    http://www.academia.edu/3994718/The_Rhetoric_of_Violence_Sarah_Palins_Response_to_the_Tucson_Shooting

  24. Mikey says:

    @Jack:

    I show you the statistics, based upon the 2012 election that blacks voted as a block 93% for Obama, largely because of his race.

    That’s an inference you’re drawing. Is it supportable? How do we check? Well, we can look at how blacks voted in other elections.

    2008: Obama received 95% of the black vote.
    2004: Kerry received 88% of the black vote.
    2000: Gore received 90%.
    1996: Clinton received 84%.
    1992: Clinton received 83%.
    1988: Dukakis received 89%.
    1984: Mondale received 91%.
    1980: Carter received 83%.
    1976: Carter received 83%.

    Seems to me the differentiator hasn’t been the candidate’s race, but rather their party affiliation. Every election for the past 40 years the Democrat, be he black or white, has received over 80% of the black vote.

    (Source: http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/polls/us-elections/how-groups-voted/)

  25. Jack says:

    @gVOR08: Many said they voted for Obama just because he was black. They didn’t care about his positions or policies.

    Search your feelings, Lord Vader. You will know it to be true.

  26. CB says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Yeah no. Both “heroes”, both disgusting.

  27. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    1.6B Muslims are no less trying to dictate than 2B Christians are.
    And any minority voting in their own best interest is not tantamount to racism…although I know you feel you are a victim.

  28. Tony W says:

    @Jack:

    Did you not just broad brush every Republican? Oh, that’s not a religion so it’s OK. Hypocrite.

    Republicanism is a religion in every sense of the word:

    Consider
    – They worship their version of St. Ronnie / the Founding Fathers and ignore all kinds of evidence that those exalted folks would have disagreed with a huge proportion of their platform
    – Articles of faith are not to be tested (global warming, evolution, racial/economic superiority of whites)
    – Willful disregard of fact is honored, not condemned
    – Donations are gleefully accepted
    – The guys running the show don’t believe in it any more than I do, but there’s money to be made and power to grab

  29. Jack says:

    @Tony W: I could easily come up with a similar list for Democrats.

  30. Mikey says:

    @Jack: Growing up in the Detroit area, I knew plenty of Muslims. After moving to the D. C. area, I have had several Muslim (Middle Eastern, North African, and Indonesian) neighbors. Not one–ever, in my entire life–has had anything negative to say about me quaffing frequent beers and consuming mass quantities of my wife’s delicious German pork roasts.

    I never drew Mohammed in front of any of them, though, so who knows? That could have been the thing that caused them to snap and behead me!

  31. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    1.6B Muslims are no less trying to dictate than 2B Christians are.

    When was the last person targeted for murder or beheaded because they drank alcohol, danced, failed to take communion or even just for practicing another religion other than Christianity?

    Yeah, about that comparison…

  32. Pinky says:

    @Mikey: Shouldn’t you take voter registration and turnout into account?

  33. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack: @Mikey:

    Jack, Mikey just killed you. Mr. Obama only beat Mr. Mondale by 4 points among black voters. Mondale was about as white as a man can be.

  34. lounsbury says:

    @michael reynolds: Evidently grossly incompetent wannabes.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    Depends. Want to do the same for Mormons? Or JFK and Catholics?

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pinky:

    A person shouldn’t mock another’s religion. A person shouldn’t shoot at people for mocking his religion

    Agreed. I think maybe this one should be filed under “when idiots provoke other idiots, mayhem ensues” …

  37. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: Sure, why not?

  38. Pinky says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Right. Don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing. But when idiots provoke other idiots, then gunfire…you can’t equate the idiots.

  39. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: But none of those voters, in any previous elections, claimed they voted for a president, solely because he was black. However, after both the 2008 and 2012 election, there were numerous accounts of black people stating, for the record, that they voted for Obama because he was black.

    Let’s call it the black bump. There were people who voted for him, and supported him, because he was black, people who wouldn’t normally vote democrat or vote at all.

  40. Jack says:

    “Stacey Dash, who also has Mexican heritage, is best known for the 1995 film “Clueless” and the recent cable-TV drama “Single Ladies.” On Twitter, she was called “jigaboo,” ”traitor,” ”house nigger” and worse after posting, “Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future.””

    Yeah, only Republicans can be bigots and racists.

  41. Jack says:

    Mods, please release my last.

  42. Jack says:

    @Pinky: Funny, I don’t recall this same behavior after “Piss Christ” or “Elephant Dung Madonna”.

  43. Mikey says:

    @Pinky: We’re talking straight percentages here because that’s how the initiator (Jack) framed the discussion.

  44. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Again…your bigotry is forcing you to conflate radicals with an entire religion.
    It’s like saying skinheads and the KKK or the guy that killed George Tillman are representative of Christianity.
    Or that Netanyahu speaks for all Jews.
    It’s ridiculous stand.
    Which is why you are being spanked all over this thread.

  45. Pinky says:

    @Mikey: OK, but those are bad numbers, right? I don’t know the actual numbers of black votes since 1976, but showing the percentages of black votes over that time seems meaningless to the discussion, no matter how Jack framed it.

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Dude, you’re digging a hole and there’s no oil down there. You’re not saying anything. Your point is silly and discredited by the data.

  47. JWH says:

    It probably doesn’t help that Twitter limits folks to 140 characters. But is it really that disturbing if somebody simultaneously defends a provocateur’s freedom of speech while questioning the quality of that provocateur’s speech?

  48. HarvardLaw92 says:

    OT – the police officer that was shot in NYC died this afternoon.

  49. grumpy realist says:

    I think this really is a case when one simply roots for injuries. Pam Geller is a despicable human being and the other two didn’t do Islam any benefits by showing that unfortunately in some cases she is right.

    Islam is going to have to learn how to turn the table on the people trying to provoke it and make them look silly, foolish, and like bratty children. Which is what such provokers are.

  50. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    I show you the statistics, based upon the 2012 election that blacks voted as a block 93% for Obama, largely because of his race.

    John Kerry, in 2004, won 90% of the black vote.

    Al Gore, in 2002, won 88% of the black vote.

    Being black, therefore, won Obama about 3-5% extra percentage points over the usual baseline. African-American voters didn’t, therefore, vote for Obama because he was black — they voted for him because he was a Democrat.

  51. gVOR08 says:

    @JWH: You know, I really don’t get this – from either you or Doug. There are a lot of things I can do legally, that it would be stupid to do. No one suggested that these people should be prohibited from holding their cartoon contest. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re grifters making a living from pointless anti-Islam posturing, and that the world would be a better place without them. The two Tweets didn’t say these fools should have been prevented from playing their games, they said it was provocative and disgusting. What part of that do you really disagree with? Or do you really feel we should insult and offend people just to prove we can?

  52. Davebo says:

    You know, I really don’t get this – from either you or Doug. There are a lot of things I can do legally, that it would be stupid to do.

    That doesn’t change the fact that they’re grifters making a living

    It seems you’ve answered half of your own question.

  53. Mikey says:

    @Pinky: It’s just not relevant to Jack’s assertion that most blacks voted for Obama because of race. Blacks vote 80%-plus for Democrats regardless. They’ll vote 80%-plus if they have 20% turnout or 90% turnout. They’ll vote 80%-plus if registration equates to 3 million or 6 million. As MR pointed out, in ’84 they went 91% for lily-white Mondale in an election in which he won only a single state.

    Whether such an overwhelming allegiance to a single party is good or bad for the black community could certainly be discussed, but it’s pretty obvious race wasn’t the major factor in Obama’s high percentage of black votes, his being a Democrat was. Whether his being black caused more blacks to actually show up at the polls is irrelevant. They’d have voted Democrat in any case.

  54. JWH says:

    @gVOR08:

    I have no idea why you address this to me. I specifically said that there needs to be a way to condemn the provocateurs while defending their free-speech rights. How is this in tension with your own statements?

  55. Pinky says:

    @Mikey: I don’t think any voting percentage proves why people come out to the polls. But clearly, if you’re looking to measure intensity of support, there’s a difference between 80% of a few people and 80% of a few million.

  56. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    To all the people talking about how awful Gellar and her fellows are for insulting a religion: I assume you’re equally vocal about how awful the Gay Pride marchers in San Francisco are when they dress up as priests and nuns, or hold their “Hunky Jesus” contests. And I presume you’ve been equally vocal about how “The Book Of Mormon” is deliberately hurtful to Mormons.

    Or do you only stick up for religions that have such a strong recent history of killing those who insult them?

  57. Mikey says:

    @Pinky: We weren’t discussing why people come to the polls. Jack asserted Obama received 93% of the actual votes cast because Obama is black. I countered that Democrats have received over 80% of the actual votes cast in every Presidential election since 1976 and therefore the more correct conclusion is Obama received that percentage primarily due to party affiliation rather than race.

    Could some blacks have said “I voted for him because he’s also black?” Sure, but would they have voted for McCain or Romney had Obama been white? I think that possibility is negligibly minute.

  58. gVOR08 says:

    @JWH: Apologies, misread. Distracted by day job. Consider it directed at Doug.

  59. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mikey:

    I countered that Democrats have received over 80% of the actual votes cast in every Presidential election since 1976

    Whoa …Which vote are we speaking of? Certainly no presidential candidate, of any party, has received 80% of the popular vote since 1976. I suspect that it has never happened in our history, but it definitely hasn’t happened since the 1970s.

  60. JWH says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And I presume you’ve been equally vocal about how “The Book Of Mormon” is deliberately hurtful to Mormons.

    A bit difficult to make this stick when the Church of Jesus Christ of Lattery-day Saints advertises in the theater program …

  61. george says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Its a sad day when I’m forced to agree with Jenos. But its true – if feeling insulted is grounds for violence, then there’s probably only a handful of people in America who don’t have grounds to get a gun and start shooting.

    Either insulting every religion (or political belief or anything someone holds as important) is wrong, or insulting them all is okay. Double standards don’t fly here. And if you don’t allow insults you’re not going to allow any kind of criticism, because there’s almost nothing you can say that doesn’t insult someone.

    Geller and all are idiots. So is the guy who made the Piss Christ, or the “Book of Mormon”. But if idiots aren’t allowed to talk, then no one is, because all of us are idiots in some way or another.

  62. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92: LOL…yeah, and too late to edit. I meant that to refer specifically to the actual votes cast by African-Americans.

  63. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mikey:

    OK, understood & no problem. I was having a “what did I miss??” moment there.

  64. michael reynolds says:

    Only a very obtuse Mormon would object to Book of Mormon, and in fact, Mormons have not objected as @JWH notes.

  65. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    To all the people talking about how awful Gellar and her fellows are for insulting a religion: I assume you’re equally vocal about how awful the Gay Pride marchers in San Francisco are when they dress up as priests and nuns, or hold their “Hunky Jesus” contests.

    I don’t know, Jenos. Does supporting Gellar make you also want to support the Gay Pride marchers, or does this attempt to draw a false equivalence just fall categorically flat.

    I will say, however, that this incident undermines one “sentimental narrative” and bolsters another. I’m not sure that’s a good thing. From a CW perspective, “The Muslims are coming to get us” is up, and “Killer cops are awful” is down.

  66. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I had no idea that the LDS had actually embraced The Book Of Mormon; the last I’d heard, the creators (the guys behind South Park, as I recall) had a serious mad on for them, and were pretty savage. But if the church is actually going along with it, good for them.

    Still, it’s interesting that the only faith that is defended for fighting blasphemy is also the one that is most well known for killing people who insult it. One might think that the defense isn’t so much motivated by principle, but simple cowardice…

  67. mantis says:

    “Free speech aside, why would anyone do something as provocative as hold a Nazi march in Skokie?”

    “I understand and respect free speech. But to organize a Nazi march in a town with a large Jewish population, purely because you’re legally allowed to, is disgusting.”

    Are the above statements excusing a violent response? Questioning the legitimacy of free speech? Or are they just expressing opposition to the bad taste and poor form of assholes who do things purely to piss others off?

  68. Liberal Capitalists says:

    … as an avowed atheist, I am always bemused by the tone of the comments following these types of events.

    Sad for the specific deaths, but not surprised at all.

    The circular firing squad over deities has been going on for millennia. Hasn’t stopped, won’t stop, as long as 51% of the world believe in a deity. To quote: “If religious people could be reasoned with there would be no religious people.”

    Knowing that “faith” does not require facts, actions like this will continue onwards. People will die.

    Just spare me the outrage. If you participate in the root cause… you are part of the problem.

  69. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I had no idea that the LDS had actually embraced The Book Of Mormon; the last I’d heard, the creators (the guys behind South Park, as I recall) had a serious mad on for them, and were pretty savage. But if the church is actually going along with it, good for them.

    Parker and Stone (the South Park guys) are really good at having no mercy on anyone, but also having a bunch of compassion for them too. It’s a rare skill, one I don’t really share really.

  70. Another Mike says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Because racists are gonna hate.

    See, that’s the point. You can let your bigotry and hatred hang right out there, and you are protected by free speech. That’s how it should be.

  71. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Only a very obtuse Mormon would object to Book of Mormon, and in fact, Mormons have not objected as @JWH notes.

    Good to hear, I’d only heard criticism of it. Maybe that’ll become a pattern – no Christians objecting to things like the Piss Christ or Life of Brian (which was brilliant), no Muslims objecting to cartoons of Mohammed.

  72. Jack says:

    As BigFurHat accurately opines:

    […] This event was to see if ordinary Americans could draw a F*CKING CARTOON without the penalty of death.

    Apparently not. So why would you be sympathetic to hair-trigger unreasonable monsters in our midst? Why would you cower, rather than say, “ya, right, if I doodle your prophet I’m going to die. Not in America, Omar.”

    http://iotwreport.com/

    Showcasing this absurdity is exactly the purpose of the event. Why do marchers march? Why do protesters protest? Why can every American carry their soapbox to any street corner or public square and stand atop it? Because the central tenet of our foundational principles says We Are Free To Speak. Period.

  73. Tillman says:

    Uh, just so we’re clear, on citing Piss Christ as an equivalent thing to these guys drawing caricatures of Muhammed: it really isn’t. For one, Christianity’s never been as iconoclastic (Wikipedia’s using the word “aniconic,” which actually conveys it better) as Islam. We draw angels and crap everywhere, just look at a cathedral.

    Second, and I think this should be noted, Piss Christ is a photograph. It’s not the jar of piss with a crucifix in it (which might be offensive to multiple senses), but a five-foot by three-foot print. If the title didn’t include “Piss Christ” in it, you might think the whole thing was done in some other liquid. It also is a really neat photograph: the lighting is perfect and he saturated the colors quite nicely. (Or he was bleeding slightly into his urine when he set the photograph up.)

    Third, the photographer’s a self-identified Christian who was brought up Catholic, which for me at least adds all sorts of subtext. He claims he wasn’t denouncing religion with it. Also, he photographs crap submerged in bodily fluids: that’s his gimmick or artistic flourish.

    Compare this info to the context of the Muhammed caricature contest, sponsored by such noted barkers as Pam and Geert.

  74. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    It was not about showcasing…it was about inciting.

  75. Another Mike says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Pam Geller is a despicable human being

    I might be that she is doing all of us a big service, whether we realize it or want to believe it or not.

    Many people have died at the hands of Muslims because of these cartoons. Others are in hiding and living under guard. There have been riots and destruction because of these cartoons. Most newspaper editors refuse to show the cartoons, even as news to illustrate to readers what these people died over. Newspaper editors are as a rule timid and cowardly. But maybe they are prudent in not wanting to bring down retribution and violence and death upon themselves and their employees. So, freedom isn’t free. It might even require the blood of a few editors and journalists now and then. Or maybe just roll over and admit that that free speech stuff isn’t that important after all.

    But Geller is not rolling over. She more or less flips them the bird. Her message is that this is still a free country, and we still have free speech here. So if you don’t like it, too bad. How does the song go, Land of the free, and the home of the brave. Dig it.

  76. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    It was not about showcasing…it was about inciting.

    Free Speech, you either have it or you don’t….

    ….there is no “but”.

    In your world apparently, if I stated that anyone doing X should be killed and that I carry out that act, then you doing X is incitement.

    Yeah, the courts have said differently.

  77. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Actually I ridicule all religions…while you support the one with pointy hats and velvet robes that rapes little boys.
    Telling.

  78. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Free speech can be incitement.
    Try thinking instead of just randomly cutting and pasting the ideas of others.

  79. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Actually I ridicule all religions…while you support the one with pointy hats and velvet robes that rapes little boys.

    That offends me. You should die.

    See how that works?

  80. ElizaJane says:

    Are you denying that 1.6 billion Muslims are trying to dictate to the other 6.4 billion how it should act?

    It would be more accurate to say that a few hundred thousand Muslims, at most, are trying to dictate how the other 1.59 billion should live. Relatively speaking, they don’t care a lot about the rest of us, pace Pamela Geller and her friends.

  81. michael reynolds says:

    @george: @James Pearce:
    I saw it in NYC and it blew me away. Matt and Trey rose to a whole new level. Brutally funny but with so much heart that my wife and I just walked out at the end shaking our heads in disbelief. Jon Stewart said it was so good it made him mad and that was exactly our experience. I think a lot of writers probably had that experience. Very nice work.

  82. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Free speech can be incitement.

    Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court held that government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless that speech is directed to inciting, and is likely to incite, imminent lawless action.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_v._Ohio

    This speech is not directed to incite. Just because someone might do something, does not make it incitement, cupcake.

  83. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Authentic Islam, carried out to it’s fullest political construct, is antithetical to our U.S. constitutional freedom.

    If the central tenet of any belief commands a person to kill another person for drawing a picture – it’s the belief that must be confronted within a society that values freedom, not the artist drawing the picture.

  84. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Another Mike:

    Gellar’s intent is, and IMO always has been, pretty clearly to engender a sympathetic attitude and support, for Israel in general and for Netanyahu in particular – by serving up Islam as the enemy.

    Now, radical Islam is problematic, no disagreement about that, but don’t allow that fact to cloud recognition of a snake oil saleswoman selling snake oil.

  85. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    You believe in myths that ignorant people like Geller tell you.
    Try thinking for yourself.

  86. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Lose the cupcake BS.
    It just makes you look like an ass.

  87. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: You, like Obama do not mind slandering Christianity but the two of you will not stand with those who “slander the prophet” ..how very Un American!

  88. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Cupcake, the slutty sister of the muffin.

  89. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    That’s the great thing about the internet…pussys like you can type anything without fear of retribution. Enjoy your cowardice.

  90. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Aw, did I hurt you feelings, cupcake?

    I must say, I am impressed with both the sophistication of your prose, and the originality of your epithets. No wonder you defend stupidity with such voracity…You are a prime example thereof.

  91. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Brutally funny but with so much heart that my wife and I just walked out at the end shaking our heads in disbelief. Jon Stewart said it was so good it made him mad and that was exactly our experience. I think a lot of writers probably had that experience. Very nice work.

    It makes me wonder about the nature of their collaboration. Is it really possible that there are two people who have that long knives/big hugs sensibility, or is it constantly a process of one guy stepping to the line and the other guy pulling him back? Is it sheer raw talent or just discipline?

    If I had to put money on it, I’d say it was both.

    @Tillman: It’s actually a bit sad that Piss Christ gets mentioned at all.

    Piss Christ was, what, 87? Slayer released South of Heaven in 88 and many other Satanic albums since. There’s a whole subculture of metal devoted to trashing religion (its popularity in Europe contributing to its religious decline or vice versa?) and we’re talking about Piss Christ? Whut?

  92. Matt says:

    @Jack: ALL the Abrahamic Religions are.

  93. Another Mike says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Now, radical Islam is problematic, no disagreement about that, but don’t allow that fact to cloud recognition of a snake oil saleswoman selling snake oil.

    Yes, I have read criticism of her tactics by well meaning people who share her objectives. I don’t follow her and usually only hear of her when she makes the news. I think we need people like her though as the tendency is to knuckle under and offer up our free speech rights as a doormat for bullies to trample over. And there is no bigger bully that a Muslim who will kill you for what you say, and bring great honor upon himself in so doing.

  94. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    No wonder you defend stupidity with such voracity…

    He’s eating large quantities of food in defense of stupidity?

  95. C. Clavin says:

    @Another Mike:
    If you think Geller is about free speech you are truly confused.
    This event was about inciting a reaction in order to further limit the rights and oppress Muslims.
    There is no defense of these two terrorist wannabes.
    And Geller is free to say what she wants.
    But for you and Jenos and Jack turn her into some kind of 1st Amendment hero just shows what dupes you are and how easily your thoughts are manipulated.

  96. Jack says:

    Hairstyles of a spiky and unorthodox nature have reportedly been banned in Iran because they imply devil-worship, while tattoos and other male bodily adornments also being outlawed.

    http://news.yahoo.com/iran-bans-devil-worshipping-haircuts-133817263.html

    Like I said, Islam, carried out to it’s fullest political construct, is antithetical to our U.S. constitutional freedom.

  97. bill says:

    @george: southpark had mohammed on years ago- before 9/11 and no big stink was raised. it was after the dutch or someone close got after them that it turned into a bfd.

  98. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    This event was about inciting a reaction in order to further limit the rights and oppress Muslims.

    Again, I direct you to Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court held that government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless that speech is directed to inciting, and is likely to incite, imminent lawless action.

    No matter how many times you say it, this is not incitement, although I’m sure you will continue to say it, cupcake.

  99. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: you upset that a cop dropped two wannabe sheetheads? maybe if muslims dragged themselves out of the dark ages and tried to join civilization…..nah- i forget who i’m talking at sometimes. go back to the “right wing hate” bs, it’s you.

  100. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Islam, carried out to it’s fullest political construct, is antithetical to our U.S. constitutional freedom.

    So are Judaism and Christianity. Scroll back up toward the top, I explained it for the history-impaired.

  101. michael reynolds says:

    @bill:

    I kind of have to love the sheer bizarre idiocy of you denying right-wing hate while using “sheethead.”

  102. An Interested Party says:

    Like I said, Islam, carried out to it’s fullest political construct, is antithetical to our U.S. constitutional freedom.

    It is a good thing that no religion will ever be allowed to be carried out to its fullest political construct in this country…

    And there is no bigger bully that a Muslim who will kill you for what you say, and bring great honor upon himself in so doing.

    Unless, of course, it is a Christian heterosexual white male who whines about how he is mistreated in this country and is a victim of said mistreatment…

  103. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: And yet, Judaism and Christianity were the foundation of this country and Constitution, so, yeah there’s that.

  104. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Still, it’s interesting that the only faith that is defended for fighting blasphemy is also the one that is most well known for killing people who insult it. One might think that the defense isn’t so much motivated by principle, but simple cowardice…

    I don’t think it’s that at all. I mean, odds are low that any of us is going to be killed by Muslims. It’s more the classic liberal virtue of siding with the oppressed, combined with the classic liberal provinciality of assuming that the whole world is just like what they see around them. They assume that everyone who who they identify as powerless within their line of sight must be (a) powerless everywhere, and (b) always right. No thuggish behavior by some tinpot dictator ever catches their notice, because the US is strong. No urban unrest can ever be the fault of the rioters, because the police have power. No wacky theory about the patriarchy can ever be examined and faulted, because they’ve seen men be aggressive. The virtue of sympathy turns dangerous when it’s unmoored from sober analysis. If there’s cowardice, it’s in the fear of challenging one’s own assumptions.

  105. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Thank you for demonstrating the concept of non sequitur.

  106. Tillman says:

    @Jack: Montesquieu, Locke, and a bunch of other Enlightenment dudes were more of a foundation than Christianity was.

    Christianity’s role in fostering the sort of thinking that led to conceptions of human rights and ethical humanism is established, but that was foundational to Western Europe specifically, not necessarily America. We borrowed from the Europeans when it was convenient. This is not a Christian nation, it is a nation with a lot of Christians in it. If this was a Christian nation, our safety net programs and redistributive taxes would be crushing since Christ wasn’t big on rich people or ignoring the poor.

  107. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    You’ve never sped without being stopped for speeding.
    How stupid are you?

  108. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    Gee, you had a moment there when you were saying some things that were kinda true. Then you went right off the rails. Let’s fisk, shall we?

    No thuggish behavior by some tinpot dictator ever catches their notice,

    Um, who was it who backed the thuggish Central American governments of guys like Samoza? That would be not liberals. Liberals also opposed tinpot dictators in Argentina, Chile, Guatemala — all supported by conservatives. Liberals also opposed Apartheid South Africa – loved by conservatives. Liberals opposed Franco and the fascist/colonialist government of Portugal. I could go on on and on. But suffice to say: bullsh!t.

    No urban unrest can ever be the fault of the rioters, because the police have power.

    Really? Here’s a New York Times poll, just came out. It won’t allow me to cut and paste, but when asked whether the unrest in Baltimore is generally justified, the white and black numbers are surprisingly close. 64% of whites, 57% of blacks, say not justified.

    No wacky theory about the patriarchy can ever be examined and faulted, because they’ve seen men be aggressive.

    Reference? Or is this just a fever dream? Are these mystery theories related in any way to the right-wing theories that Mr. Obama is a Muslim socialist from Kenya? Or the other 9,000 idiot theories you people have?

    The virtue of sympathy turns dangerous when it’s unmoored from sober analysis. If there’s cowardice, it’s in the fear of challenging one’s own assumptions.

    Yes, that is a problem you have. You should work on that.

  109. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: Actually, he replied on-point. You may not have liked it, but it was directly to the conversation.

    a – Islam, carried out to it’s fullest political construct, is antithetical to our U.S. constitutional freedom.

    b – So are Judaism and Christianity. Scroll back up toward the top, I explained it for the history-impaired.

    c – And yet, Judaism and Christianity were the foundation of this country and Constitution, so, yeah there’s that.

  110. Jack says:

    @Tillman:

    This is not a Christian nation, it is a nation with a lot of Christians in it. If this was a Christian nation, our safety net programs and redistributive taxes would be crushing since Christ wasn’t big on rich people or ignoring the poor.

    Considering the first hospitals and charities were founded and run by the Catholic church, your argument is blatantly false. Christ never criticized wealth, he criticized those who had wealth and kept it to themselves. (Matthew 25:14-30). Those who have been blessed with wealth must share generously with the poor (Matthew 25:31-46), and avoid the sins of arrogance (1 Timothy 6:17-19), dishonesty (Exodus 20:15, Mark 10:19, Luke 3:12-14) and greed (Luke 12:13-21).

    .”Deuteronomy 8
    18 “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

    Many of the people obviously approved by God in the Old Testament were wealthy. Job, Abraham, Jacob (Israel), and Solomon are good examples.

  111. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    No, it was not on point. We were discussing religions taken to their extreme and the effects on civil society. Stating (wrongly) that this country was founded on Judaism and Christianity has nothing to do with whether or not religion X or religion Y taken to their extreme are injurious, since I don’t think even he believes the Constitution represents an example of religious extremism. In fact part of the myth of the Founding is that we were fleeing religious extremists. Remember? Puritans escaping intolerance and whatnot?

  112. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Gee, I wonder why Jesus kept telling people to give their wealth away and then warned that it’s damn near impossible for a rich man to enter heaven?

    And I wonder why no mention of God is made in the Constitution, and why religious oaths are expressly forbidden, and no church was established. And why did the Constitution expressly place the justification for government in the will of the people, in direct contradiction to centuries of appeal to divine right?

    @Pinky, you want to take another stab at rescuing this idiot?

  113. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Christianity is based upon Christ and HIS teachings. Show me anywhere in he New Testament that demands believers kill anyone. Most of what Christ teaches is live and let live. That is perfectly compatible with our Constitution and civil society.

  114. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tillman: If this was a Christian nation, our safety net programs and redistributive taxes would be crushing since Christ wasn’t big on rich people or ignoring the poor.

    To elaborate on Jack’s point, that is pure BS. In Christianity, you aren’t allowed to subcontract out your good deeds. You have to do them yourself, of your own volition, for them to count. You don’t get credit for doing what you are required to do, nor do you get credit for making others do what you think is a good deed. You have to exercise your own free will and choose to be virtuous for God to count it.

    In a true, ideal Christian nation, there would be NO “safety net” for the poor, because the wealthier citizens would take care of that without being coerced by the government.

    But back on track: blasphemy is a wonderful thing. It gives religions the opportunity to demonstrate their true natures. And we see exactly one faith that is so insecure that those who mock or insult it do so at risk of their own lives.

  115. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    That’s brilliant. And since the rich seem more interested in shopping than taking care of the nations poor, we should what? Just let them die?

    In Christianity, you aren’t allowed to subcontract out your good deeds

    Speak for yourself Skippy, neither you nor Jack are spokespeople for the church. Every month we give Christ the King a check, and it helps real people in Central America. It’s not a big deal, but it is a good deed.

  116. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    Most of what Christ teaches is live and let live. That is perfectly compatible with our Constitution and civil society.

    But not with modern conservatism.

  117. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: What oath occurs at the beginning of every US Supreme Court session?

    Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United States and this Honorable Court!”

    Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, nearly half (24) held seminary or Bible school degrees.

    George Washington – 1st U.S. President
    “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”

    John Adams – 2nd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence
    “Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”

    .”Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System.”

    Thomas Jefferson – 3rd U.S. President, Drafter and Signer of the Declaration of Independence
    “I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”

    John Hancock – 1st Signer of the Declaration of Independence
    Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”

    Benjamin Franklin – Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Unites States Constitution
    “Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped.

    “As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see;

    Samuel Adams – Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Father of the American Revolution

    “And as it is our duty to extend our wishes to the happiness of the great family of man, I conceive that we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world that the rod of tyrants may be broken to pieces, and the oppressed made free again; that wars may cease in all the earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among nations may be overruled by promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all people everywhere willingly bow to the sceptre of Him who is Prince of Peace.”

    James Madison – 4th U.S. President
    “Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”

    James Monroe – 5th U.S. President
    “When we view the blessings with which our country has been favored, those which we now enjoy, and the means which we possess of handing them down unimpaired to our latest posterity, our attention is irresistibly drawn to the source from whence they flow. Let us then, unite in offering our most grateful acknowledgments for these blessings to the Divine Author of All Good.”

    John Quincy Adams – 6th U.S. President
    “The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made ‘bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God’ (Isaiah 52:10).”

    Roger Sherman – Signer of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution
    “I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance equal in power and glory. That the scriptures of the old and new testaments are a revelation from God, and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. That God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, so as thereby he is not the author or approver of sin. That he creates all things, and preserves and governs all creatures and all their actions, in a manner perfectly consistent with the freedom of will in moral agents, and the usefulness of means. That he made man at first perfectly holy, that the first man sinned, and as he was the public head of his posterity, they all became sinners in consequence of his first transgression, are wholly indisposed to that which is good and inclined to evil, and on account of sin are liable to all the miseries of this life, to death, and to the pains of hell forever.”

    Benjamin Rush – Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution
    “The gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations!”

    John Witherspoon – Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Clergyman and President of Princeton University

    .”While we give praise to God, the Supreme Disposer of all events, for His interposition on our behalf, let us guard against the dangerous error of trusting in, or boasting of, an arm of flesh … If your cause is just, if your principles are pure, and if your conduct is prudent, you need not fear the multitude of opposing hosts. .”What follows from this? That he is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind.”

    I could go on, but I’m getting bored proving you are a liar.

  118. Jack says:

    @anjin-san:

    But not with modern conservatism.

    Yeah, because Liberals are so tolerant…as long as you believe like them.

  119. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    You incredible lazy moron. Here, just one example, the supposed quote by Madison that “cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ”:

    Not by Madison. The author of the original passage, here misquoted, was John Knox Witherspoon, who was president of Princeton when Madison attended the school. In a sermon published in 1768 (“Glorying in the Cross”) Witherspoon wrote, “Accursed be all that learning which sets itself in opposition to the cross of Christ!” It has been misquoted in the form given above since at least 1845. How this came to be attributed to Madison is unknown.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/James_Madison#Misattributed

    Seriously, can you ever get ANYTHING right? You’re as bad as HarvardLaw92.

  120. Jack says:

    Test.

    I will fire my AR15 into a Bible, a Torah, and a Koran, then dump them all into a filthy outhouse and post the video online.

    Which religion will protest the loudest and issue death threats?

    You get one choice…and the answer is not Christians or Jews.

  121. HankP says:

    @Jack:

    Considering the first hospitals and charities were founded and run by the Catholic church..

    completely untrue. Anti-catholicism was a major influence in the US until the mid twentieth century. Google “Blaine amendments” for a late 19th century example.

  122. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Thomas Jefferson – 3rd U.S. President, Drafter and Signer of the Declaration of Independence
    “I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”

    Here’s the full quote, from a letter Jefferson wrote to Benjamin Rush:

    “To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be [that is, the sense in which Jefferson thinks Jesus would have meant it]; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every huma excellence; and believing he never claimed any other”.

    The meaning, plainly, is that Jefferson is NOT a church-going Christian who recognizes Christ’s supposed divinity — he plainly doesn’t. He regards Christ as a human philosopher with a lot of good ideas.

  123. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    Considering the first hospitals and charities were founded and run by the Catholic church,

    Total crap. Do you simply make up stories as you go along?

  124. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Considering the first hospitals and charities were founded and run by the Catholic church,

    A blatant lie. Just for one example, charity to the poor is a central precept of Buddhism, which predates Christianity by about 500 years.

  125. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: .

    “Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.” Was this misattributed too?
    And the rest of the quotes? Are they all misattributed or does the one mistake devalue everything else I quoted?

  126. Jack says:

    @anjin-san@Rafer Janders: : I was talking about the first charities and hospitals in the U.S….not in the world.

  127. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    cupcake

    Gee Jack, between little cuts like this and the guns, it’s almost like you are a man.

  128. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    And the rest of the quotes? Are they all misattributed or does the one mistake devalue everything else I quoted?

    Yes, many of the rest are (a) misattributed, (b) taken out of context, (c ) misread by you, and/or (d) written in the vernacular of the time, which to our ears sounds more religious now than it was meant at the time. Just because an 18th century man thanked “Divine Providence” doesn’t make him a Christian any more than crying out “Jesus Christ!” when I stub my toe makes me one.

    I mean, c’mon. It’s not news to you that you often screw up the simplest bit of research, is it? How many times has it been proven to you on this site alone that something you claim is a blatant falsehood? Do you think we all have nothing better to do than chase down your constant risible lies and mistakes?

  129. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    : I was talking about the first charities and hospitals in the U.S….not in the world.

    Of course you were 🙂

  130. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    I was talking about the first charities and hospitals in the U.S….not in the world.

    So therefore it’s an entirely meaningless statement, isn’t it? I mean, the first charities and hospitals in the U.S. couldn’t very well have been Hindu or Jewish or Muslim, now could the, given the fact that the U.S. began as an English colony?

  131. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Excellent cut and paste work, Jack.

    Now show me God in the United States Constitution, the document that is the founding law of this country.

    See, because all you’ve done is to cause me to realize how very strange it would have been had genuinely religious men managed to overlook the Big Guy when they were writing our laws. You end up making the case that the omission was deliberate and for some cause.

  132. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    I mean, think about it. If a bunch of priests or pastors had written the Constitution they absolutely would have mentioned God, right? How about a bunch of church elders or deacons? They’d definitely have mentioned God. In fact, even a half-assed Christian would drop God into it, right? You can’t see a touchdown scored without some 350 pound dude thanking God. People on Dancing With the Stars thanks God for a good samba.

    And yet. . . Not a single, solitary word.

    It really kinda looks deliberate, doesn’t it? Almost like a secret signal. A secret, conspiratorial wink to the people of the future where they say, “Hey, future American, you notice what we deliberately left out? Take the hint.”

  133. Matt says:

    @Jack: Muslims believe Jeesus Christ was a prophet….

  134. Gustopher says:

    @Jack:

    Thomas Jefferson – 3rd U.S. President, Drafter and Signer of the Declaration of Independence
    “I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”

    Um. Jefferson rewrote the Bible to remove all miracles or signs of Christ’s divinity. He clearly didn’t mean Christian in the same way you do, assuming the quote is even accurate.

    I’m not going to bother looking into any of the rest of your claims, because you are so wildly, laughably off track on this one you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. The stupid, it burns.

    Literally rewrote the Bible. Picked up the holy book and said “I can do better.” Jesus isn’t resurrected in the Jefferson Bible.

  135. Grewgills says:

    @Jack:
    African Americans have been voting solidly Democratic since at least the 1930s and overwhelmingly Democratic since the 1960s, peaking in 1964. I know this will shock you, but in all but two of the presidential elections those African Americans were voting for a white man. 94% of non-Whites (then overwhelmingly African American) voted for Lyndon Johnson. A greater percentage than for Obama and I know this will shock you Jack, Johnson was white. You see when one party makes it clear certain people are not welcome, often those people choose a different party.

  136. Grewgills says:

    @Jack:
    Might I suggest a trip to Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, or Chad. There you can find plenty of Christians that will do exactly that. Where religion is not constrained by secular society religion oppresses all opposition, usually violently.

  137. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    Voter turnout among African Americans was about the same in 1964 as it was in 2008 and 2012, then again overall voter turnout was greater in 2008 and 2012 than it was in 1964. African American turnout has generally stayed between 50 and 60%. The election of Obama was part of an upward trend in African American voter participation in presidential elections starting in 1996. So, yes there was additional excitement from African Americans at the prospect of the first ever African American president. There will no doubt be some additional excitement among women at the prospect of the first ever female president. To call the former racist or the latter sexist is to be willfully obtuse. A barrier was broken, that is a momentous occasion.

  138. Grewgills says:

    Please pull my comment out of moderation

  139. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    People on Dancing With the Stars thanks God for a good samba.

    Do you know how hard it is to do a good samba? I’m an atheist and I’d still thank God, the Buddha, Shiva, Cthulhu…

  140. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Every month we give Christ the King a check, and it helps real people in Central America. It’s not a big deal, but it is a good deed.

    I thought you were at least a bit smarter than some of the regular idiots here, but you’re starting to convince me you really are as stupid as they are.

    You send that check (if you really do) because you have chose to do so, and it does you credit that you do so. You don’t do it because a bunch of people got together and decided that you should send it, under penalty of law. And that is the point — you exercise your God-given free will to do good deeds and help others.

    That’s how it works, “Cupcake.”

  141. Another Mike says:

    @Tillman:

    If this was a Christian nation, our safety net programs and redistributive taxes would be crushing since Christ wasn’t big on rich people or ignoring the poor.

    I seemed to have missed the part where Jesus explained how government should function. Jesus said a lot though about how we as individuals should conduct ourselves.

  142. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    This just in: ISIS is now taking credit for this attack. Setting aside whether or not to believe them, why the hell would they want to take credit for such an Epic Fail? It took two Islamist thugs dead to shoot a single security guard in the ankle, and he’s already out of the hospital. Why the hell would they want to take credit for such a lousy showing?

  143. gVOR08 says:

    How does @Gustopher: get a down vote for accurately citing historical fact?

  144. C. Clavin says:

    @Another Mike:
    So you are thinking Christ expected individuals to act one way and Government to act in a completely opposite way??? You’re thinking Christ was actually a supply-sider???
    To quote someone else: “the stupid – it burns”.

  145. C. Clavin says:

    @gVOR08:
    There are a number of trolls here for whom historical fact is anathema.
    Apparently they are more interested in cupcakes.

  146. gVOR08 says:

    @Another Mike: Observing conservatives for many years, one thing I’ve noticed is that nothing is ever about what it’s about. For liberals, feeding the poor is about feeding the poor. For conservatives it’s about their own virtue and personal morality. Christ may have wanted you to be virtuous, but when he said we should feed the poor, he meant we should feed the poor.

  147. Another Mike says:

    @C. Clavin:

    To quote someone else: “the stupid – it burns”.

    You are a noted bigot and not a person I care to have a conversation with.

  148. Zachriel says:

    @Jack: And yet, Judaism and Christianity were the foundation of this country and Constitution, so, yeah there’s that.

    Actually, republican government has its roots in pagan Greco-Roman culture, as the Founders were well aware.

    @Jack: Considering the first hospitals and charities were founded and run by the Catholic church, your argument is blatantly false.

    Again, hospitals date at least to pagan times, though Islamic culture made big strides in public medicine.

    @Doug Mataconis: Two Gunmen Killed In Apparent Attempted Attack On Anti-Islam Event In Texas

    What if, like, I really don’t like them?
    http://crooksandliars.com/2015/05/jon-stewart-takes-lone-star-lunatics-texas

  149. Tony W says:

    @Jack:

    I could easily come up with a similar list for Democrats.

    Still waiting…. I’m sure there is some adherence to doctrine on both sides, but your list will not be anywhere near as compelling.

    The main problem with your “both sides do it” argument is that liberals, by definition, change their viewpoint when the facts change. We do not fear change, rather we embrace it; particularly when it means a better life for our friends and countrymen. That is about as anti-religion as you can get.

  150. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It took two Islamist thugs dead to shoot a single security guard in the ankle, and he’s already out of the hospital. Why the hell would they want to take credit for such a lousy showing?

    Because conservatives will wet their pants in fear that ISIS sympathizers somehow crossed the big ocean and they are now in ‘Murica. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not.

    Fear, rather than destruction, is the end game for these groups. In other words, OBL ‘won’ when we rebuilt our airports after 9/11 so that you couldn’t go to the gate unless you had a ticket. Al Qaeda laughs every time you remove your loafers to go through security at the airport.

  151. george says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    In a true, ideal Christian nation, there would be NO “safety net” for the poor, because the wealthier citizens would take care of that without being coerced by the government.

    But since most of the poor were never taken care of until the government did it (every reading of history will make that painfully obvious), you’re basically saying that America was never a Christian nation – that is, America was in fact not founded by Christianity, because real Christians (the ones you say choose to give their money to the poor) were so scarce that poverty was huge problem until the 20th century.

    In practice, America was founded on the philosophy of keeping most of your money for yourself; as you say, this is not a Christian philosophy.

  152. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tony W: The only conservatives with dampened drawers are the ones laughing. These idiots tried to outgun Texans. In Texas, terrorists were outgunned by the good guys at an art show.

    I’m still waiting for the “we fear a backlash against all Muslims for this act” stage that always follows an attack by Islamists. Maybe it’s because this one was so poorly carried out that there is more a sense of amusement than outrage.

    As NR notes, there’s a mosque in Garland, Texas. And since the would-be massacre failed in so epic a fashion, it’s been completely unmolested. These two Jihadi wannabes turned out to be as incompetent as William Ayers or the underwear bomber or the shoe bomber or the Times Square bomber.

    I think that might be a sign that a terrorist attack is considered successful — there’s a huge rush of Muslim apologists screaming about how they fear retaliation against innocent Muslims. It’s usually louder than the expressions of sympathy for the victims, and dwarfs the condemnation of the attackers.

  153. dmhlt says:

    @Paul L.:
    Speaking of “toxic rhetoric” – just remember it was Geller’s toxic rhetoric, as contained in her Atlas Shrugs blog, that inspired her acolyte Anders Breivik to kill over 30 children, becoming Norway’s leading homegrown terrorist.

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/01/284011/pam-geller-race-mixing-breivik-right/

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/07/25/277631/breivik-influenced-by-american-islamophobes/

  154. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @george: America certainly never was an ideal Christian nation. For one, it would be unconstitutional. For another, I don’t think it’s possible to achieve such an ideal. For a third, I don’t think I’d want it to happen.

    And my initial remark was to counter the statement that the true spirit of Christianity would demand a socialist welfare state. That is so laughably idiotic it could not be allowed to stand unchallenged.

  155. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I thought you were at least a bit smarter than some of the regular idiots here, but you’re starting to convince me you really are as stupid as they are.

    Ah, so I guess tomorrow is the day you will devote to whining about name calling on OTB.

  156. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    “Cupcake.”

    Perhaps you and Jack should get a room while the grownups talk…

  157. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: God, you make it so easy to make you dance. Just give you the slightest excuse to avoid the topic, and you pounce on it like Bill Clinton on a chubby intern. A little baiting at the beginning and end of my comment, and you glom all over the chance to avoid the nutritious filling.

    Which I know you read, because you quoted the stuff before and after it, but chose to focus on the shiny wrapping instead. You really are allergic to substance, aren’t you, “cupcake?”

  158. C. Clavin says:

    @Another Mike:
    I’m a bigot???
    Where in the fwck do you get that?

  159. Ben Wolf says:

    @Another Mike: Jesus did not specify any distinction betwen individual and community action. Christianity is a communitarian religion.

  160. Pinky says:

    @Ben Wolf: There’s a difference between voluntary communities and government.

  161. Andre Kenji says:

    Religion in general is not a matter only of religious beliefs or practices, but it´s also an identity. That´s why there should be separation of religion and state, and that´s why a Christian/ Jewish /Muslim nation is a horrible idea. The idea of Jewish-Christian tradition is also ludicrous(Civil law – used mostly in the former British colonies – is a different from Common Law, widely used in Catholic countries).

  162. Rafer Janders says:

    @Another Mike:

    I seemed to have missed the part where Jesus explained how government should function. Jesus said a lot though about how we as individuals should conduct ourselves.

    And who selects, staffs, and runs government? Um, individuals. Or, to put it another way, governments are people, my friends. Jesus’ instructions to take care of the poor apply in all areas of life, whether through purely individual action or collectively through government. He didn’t say “act one way but vote another.”

  163. Mikey says:

    @Rafer Janders: It often puzzles me that American conservatives, who claim to be the staunchest adherents to and upholders of the Constitution, so frequently seem to forget how it actually begins.

  164. Another Mike says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Christianity is a communitarian religion.

    We do not live in a Christian community. There are plenty of people here who will tell you we are not a Christian country. But even if we accepted that we are, there are still all the messy details and differences of opinion to be worked out when two or more minds get together and decide to do something through common action.

  165. Another Mike says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    He didn’t say “act one way but vote another.”

    Ok, I’m scratching my head on this one. What I am coming up with is that Jesus is on your side, and you are a Democrat, so unless one is voting Democrat, he is voting against Jesus.

    You ought to be able to get a slogan out of that.

  166. An Interested Party says:

    We do not live in a Christian community.

    Which has many conservatives shouting, “Thank God!”

  167. Rafer Janders says:

    @Another Mike:

    Ok, I’m scratching my head on this one. What I am coming up with is that Jesus is on your side, and you are a Democrat, so unless one is voting Democrat, he is voting against Jesus.

    Scratch harder.

  168. Blue Galangal says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Apparently they are more interested in cupcakes.

    “Mmmm… cupcakes…” /Homer Simpson

  169. Pinky says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Scratch harder.

    I don’t even really understand the debate at this point, so I can sympathize with the head-scratching. Are we arguing whether the Framers envisioned this as a Christian society? Or envisioned a Christian government? Or what the branches of Western Judeo-Christian jurisprudence have been? All these things can be determined by studying history. We don’t need assertions of opinion on them, when there are historical facts that can be asserted. But it’s like no one’s interested in the answers to the questions that they’re raising, or toying with raising. All of these issues have nuanced answers.

  170. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    To elaborate on Jack’s point, that is pure BS. In Christianity, you aren’t allowed to subcontract out your good deeds. You have to do them yourself, of your own volition, for them to count. You don’t get credit for doing what you are required to do, nor do you get credit for making others do what you think is a good deed. You have to exercise your own free will and choose to be virtuous for God to count it.

    According to Christ’s standards, you’re not going to get anything counted because you are human, and even the thought of sinning can be equivalent to the sin. God will forgive this because, hey, you couldn’t have been anything other than human but at least you made the effort. Giving altruistically can still cause you to feel pride in your own righteousness; this is why being perfect requires giving it all away.

    Further, if you can’t subcontract a good deed, then the only charity that “counts” is personally, physically giving to poor people. This is absurd, requiring ignorance of changes in human society over two thousand years for a literalist, noncontextual application of Christ’s words. I’m also fairly certain an omniscient deity looks better on subcontracted good deeds than the lack of any.

    In a true, ideal Christian nation, there would be NO “safety net” for the poor, because the wealthier citizens would take care of that without being coerced by the government.

    The true, ideal Christian state wouldn’t have wealthy people to begin with. While you can be wealthy and considered Christian, you can’t be considered perfect as Jesus says in Matthew 19, and I imagine a true, ideal Christian state would embody such perfection. Otherwise it wouldn’t be ideal or true.

  171. Tillman says:

    @Jack:

    Many of the people obviously approved by God in the Old Testament were wealthy. Job, Abraham, Jacob (Israel), and Solomon are good examples.

    The only person there who has any historicity attached to them is Solomon, who was a king. Solomon’s favor from God suffers from a Judaic nationalist narrative coloring his portrayal as well. Abraham and Jacob are mythical figures, what with being present only in Genesis. Job is a literary character since his book belongs in an ancient poetic genre.

    The New Testament has more, ah, historical sources in it, and none of them are particularly favorable to the rich.

  172. J-Dub says:

    recipe makes 16 cupcakes

    1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

    1/4 teaspoon baking soda

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    1/8 teaspoon salt

    3 tablespoons butter, softened

    1 1/2 cups white sugar

    2 eggs

    3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1 cup milk

    Directions1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
    2.In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.
    3.Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with your favorite frosting when cool.

  173. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: Also considering that a heck of a lot of the Founding Fathers were a bunch of Freemasons and there’s Masonic imagery all over Washington D.V. and that pyramid with the eye on the back of the dollar bill…

  174. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: Speaking as a Catholic, I have to say that you, Jenos, and others are overlooking a huge amount of Christian tradition. On the natural level, that means you’re skipping over what a majority of Christians have thought about these issues, as well as the common heritage of Western political and philosophical thought. On a supernatural level, Catholics consider that tradition points toward the Holy Spirit’s guidance (noting that the guarantee of the Holy Spirit only applies to knowledge, not to the actions of historical individuals).

  175. george says:

    @Tillman:

    On the other hand, Charlie Hebdo and others have made cartoons of Christianity and Judaism as insulting as the ones they made of Mohammed, so even if the Piss Christ isn’t at that level (not sure personally), other things were.

    And I’m not convinced that when early Christians allowed icons, they meant to allow negative ones. I’d be willing to bet against it – I suspect Charlie Hebdo’s satire of the Pope wouldn’t have been ignored by the Church ten centuries ago. In fact, isn’t there a commandment about taking the Lord’s name in vain?

    But it doesn’t matter in any case. Every culture, probably every person has things they consider sacred. If its wrong to draw cartoons of Mohammed because it insults some Muslims, its just as wrong to draw cartoons of say Marx if it insults some Marxists, or cartoons of rich, fat capitalists because it insults some capitalists. Either its okay to insult what anyone finds sacred, or its wrong to insult what anyone finds sacred.

  176. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: Well I would, being Protestant. Or at least ignore that whatever I write might be based on Catholic thought since, y’know, the Pope is the Antichrist and whatnot. 🙂 Seriously, look at that Argentinian bastard. Whore of Babylon if I’ve ever seen one.

    Actually haven’t read much on what counts as charity in the church aside from Aquinas, and the sections I read didn’t cover charity in the practical sense (reading was part of a course examining virtue-based ethics systems). Just indulging my Luther-given senses and going off the text like a kid who smashes sandcastles irreverent to who made them.

  177. C. Clavin says:

    @george:

    If its wrong to draw cartoons of Mohammed because it insults some Muslims

    Again…and again…that’s not the point.
    It’s wrong to do everything you can to incite a response which you then use to oppress and marginalize Muslims.
    Charlie Hedbo was about satire. Gellar is only about hate. There is a big difference. At the end of the day Gellar is free to spew her hatred…but she is no 1st Amendment hero. To the contrary…she only wants to stifle the rights of Muslim-Americans.
    And in any case…it’s wrong to attempt to kill anyone that happens to offend you.

  178. george says:

    @C. Clavin:

    At the end of the day Gellar is free to spew her hatred…but she is no 1st Amendment hero. To the contrary…she only wants to stifle the rights of Muslim-Americans.
    And in any case…it’s wrong to attempt to kill anyone that happens to offend you.

    I agree, she’s a nut case (or perhaps just extremely manipulative – the controversy might be a good thing for her personally though not anyone else), not a hero.

    But you have to allow nut cases like her and the Westborough Church and people who think the world is 10,000 years old and people who think the moon landing was faked, and the birthers and the truthers. Because sometimes the nut cases are people who think time and speed are relative, and a particle doesn’t have both an exact position and momentum. And as you yourself say, that is the point – it doesn’t matter why someone is being insulting or say stupid things, they have to be allowed to do so, even if it insults others.

    As bad as Geller is, she didn’t resort to violence. That’s a very important line, and the fault for the shooting lies entirely with the two who did it.

  179. Tyrell says:

    There have been rumors, chatter, reports, and other talk on the waves that ISIS has established a base camp south of the border somewhere out in the Mexican badlands. From there all they had to do was imbed themselves in the hordes of illegals flocking across the border, then pick up rides with truck drivers, hippie vans, soccer moms, or traveling salesmen to their destination of mayhem. This sort of thing has been predicted and it will get worse.

  180. C. Clavin says:

    @george:

    As bad as Geller is, she didn’t resort to violence.

    Attempting to incite violence is not that different.
    O’Reilly is just as guilty as the guy that killed George Tiller.

  181. george says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Attempting to incite violence is not that different.

    Actually its very different when we’re talking about adults (kids are different, hence the laws rightly not holding minors to adult standards).

    There are always a thousand people inciting you to do a million different things, everything from politicians to advertising people to sales people at stores to your well meaning relatives. Its always your pick which to follow. The person doing the violence is always responsible for their actions.

    Off-loading the blame for our own mistakes on others is never anything but a cop out. Its not good for the individuals involved, and its not good for society. Its a lose-lose situation.

    O’Reilly is a moron, but he didn’t do the killing. Its the same reason I don’t care that some people who urged and influenced Bush Jr to go to war, the decision to go was his and is his fault alone.

  182. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: What a surprise. Cliffy has his own view of rights — whether or not you have the right to do something depends on whether or not Cliffy approves of you and your motives.

    While it might work that way in your little liberal fascist fantasyland, it ain’t that way in the real world. And thank God for that.

  183. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    How tediously predictable. A thread about how a group of militant Islamists want to impose their views on blasphemy on non-Muslims in the US — punishable by death — degenerates into yet another talk about how Christians, conservatives, and Republicans are really, really bad. And how the people who got together to look at pictures are at least as bad, if not worse, than the people who showed up to shoot them for drawing and looking at those pictures.

    How the hell do people reconcile their statements above with their assertions of moral and intellectual superiority?

  184. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: You can see why it seems weird to me to get a movie review from someone who walked in in the last 20 minutes.

  185. Matt says:

    @Tyrell: That’s absolute insanity. The drug cartels don’t want anything to do with DAESH or the inevitable harsh crackdown that would come as a result. The drug cartels are quite happy with the status quo and without a doubt consider any true DAESH member to be an enemy.

    Aside from that this kind of thing is inevitable. Of course when it’s a white Christian male no one cares.

  186. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Why would ISIS take credit for a pitiful flame-out? Because they’re losing, and they’re losing badly. No one cares anymore about their beheading videos, their brand is tarnished by defeats and retreats and failures. Plus their leadership kind of went boom! And now they’re scurrying around hiding from Predators, just like Al Qaeda.

    The Obama-haters can’t bring themselves to admit it, but even the pitiful Iraqi Army has beaten ISIS in head-to-head battle. Caliphate? Hah! Good one.

    There’s a second interesting omen: Assad is losing, in part thanks to the FSA. Assad is running out of men and the Turks have managed to co-ordinate the opposition groups.

    Want a third fun databit? Mr. Obama got the Iranians to turn around a convoy they were sending to Yemen.

    Want a fourth? The Russians are sidling away from Mr. Assad.

    Want a fifth? Polls show Pakistanis are suddenly much less anti-American, and they’re even starting to grudgingly admit our drone attacks might be useful.

    Go for six? Here’s one: It’s Spring, so where’s the big Taliban offensive that will overrun Kabul?

    I’m sure your feverish mind will manage to weave that into a tale of Mr. Obama’s terrible failure, so I await your efforts with great anticipation.

  187. anjin-san says:
  188. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Why would ISIS take credit for a pitiful flame-out?

    You’re thinking about this as a Westerner. This attack wasn’t a failure. Two people struck at a target and attained paradise. That’s a win. It shows successful recruitment (to the extent that these two were affiliated, or could be claimed to be affiliated), successful pressure on the enemy, and successful martyrdom. Some stupid exhibition of sketches was turned into a battlefield, on the enemy’s soil no less, and thus into an international story about evil Americans celebrating blasphemies and getting attacked for it. Terrorism isn’t about kills, it’s about threats. No one can insult Muhammad without looking over his shoulder, not even in Texas.

  189. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    Terrorism is theater. This show closed.

    ISIS attracted recruits when they were winning,but no one joins a losing cause. Not even someone with a martyr complex. Don’t forget, the reason ISIS drew support was that they were the crazier Al-Qaeda and they were promising territory. Now they’re just another bunch of nuts in a desert, like Al-Nusra or AQIP.

    ISIS screwed up by raising expectations too high (Caliphate), by attempting to hold territory in a desert against an opponent with a really good Air Force (USAF) and they screwed up by trotting out their full horror show in the first act, leaving them nowhere to go unless they can pull off a 9-11.

    That last is the same mistake Al Qaeda made with the WTC and Pentagon. Never go full crazy in the first act. You build to that over time. You have to leave yourself a direction for escalation.

  190. Tyrell says:

    @Pinky: “without looking over their shoulder”: scary indeed, when you consider there are a lot of religious leaders, pastors, professors, authors, and others who give sermons, talks, seminars, classes, and writings that are critiques of Mohammad and the Muslim religion. These sort of violent attacks could definitely have a chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas, information, and opinions.