December 05, 2011

Penn Jillette on the current elections

He has an interesting take on the origins of 'Christian' politics in the US and how politicians use religion.

(Via Jeff at Have Coffee Will Write.)


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I sort of appreciate it what he is trying to do but there is too much lumping of Obama with the GOP. Note how he opens and closes with Obama and compares the church he attended as proxy to the atrocities the GOP candidates have said and done.

I guess I am oversensitive to the "whitewash and gloss over the extremism we see on the right and playing the “both sides” false equivalencies game" (language from Crooks and Liars.

Posted by Somite on December 5, 2011 05:22 PM

Great video. Two things stood out: (1) As a mental health professional and religious studies student, I have for years wondered why, if a patient comes in and says she is talking to god, why that automatically is diagnosed as a delusion. I always thought, "If we say we are a Christian nation, then shouldn't someone out there be talking to god?" Penn's point on the legal system was right on. (2) I really appreciate Penn's willingness to avoid calling people "batshit crazy" I thought I was the only person who suspected Christian leaders as speaking in code ... and not have the Rosetta stone, either. Thanks for posting.

Posted by Tim on December 6, 2011 09:37 AM

I, too, enjoyed this. But he allows too much when he lets "the Christians" win the argument that America was founded on "Christian values."

The founders were, for the most part, Deists. While they did believe in a divine creator (and it would have been tough not to in those days), they did not believe in divine revelation or intervention. The Bible was not the literal word of God and, contrary to Michele Bachmann's ravings, God did not insert himself into the events of our daily lives. (Can you imagine Bachmann trying to deal with that one on national television? It would be even more hilarious that her assertion that John Quincy Adams was one of the founders who opposed slavery.)

Revisionist historians like David Barton are trying to erase these facts from our national consciousness, and Penn's willingness to concede the point is not helpful. For those of us who aren't quite as optimistic as he is (and living in the Deep South can easily erode optimism), we cannot afford to cede one inch to these fanatics in their attempt to redefine America in their own image.

Posted by Richard Frost on December 6, 2011 10:22 PM