Sunday Morning Open Thread

Kulcha! Since it’s Palm Sunday, here’s Dan Savage in performance, discussing his late mother and his own lapsed Catholicism:
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[Trigger warning: Savage is not as polite towards the church hierarchy as the more devout Catholics among us would prefer, nor as dismissive as the militant aetheists will consider just.]

So… What’s on the agenda, for the rest of the weekend?






74 replies
  1. 1
    Joey Maloney says:

    My weekend is over. Sunday here is “logical Monday” – as my friend at Google Israel puts it.

    But I spent the weekend writing a Roller Derby-themed hagaddah for my upcoming seder.

  2. 2
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Sunday is the Everlovin’ Story Apocalypse Blitzkreig for me. I cancelled my cable, so I get to watch all my shows at a friend’s house who watches everything I do…

    And that would be The Killing premiere, Once Upon A Time, Game of Thrones premiere, Shameless finale, Mad Men, House of Lies finale, plus catching up on Awake, Grimm, Fringe, and Person of Interest. I feel tired just typing all that out.

    Plus today’s the first day of Script Frenzy and I need to get at least three pages in.

  3. 3
    Raven says:

    OMG, only one more college basketball game, the Masters and then the vast wasteland of MLB and NBA until the Olympics!

  4. 4

    The antique car club that I belong to is having a show today on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, Florida, so I’ll be doing that. It should be fun; it’s a nice place to do it and we usually get some nice antiques… along with the old cars [rimshot].

  5. 5
    WyldPirate says:

    90s@Raven:

    For a long period of my life I lived for baseball. I suffered from the late 60s through the late 90s as a diehard Braves fan. Twenty years of ineptitude listening to them on the radio or catching every game I possibly could on TBS then the 90s came. Every year of the 90s it seemed they would be so good until the end when they found some way to fuck it up. By the end of the decade, I could no longer stand having my hopes dashed and gave it up.

    For me, the wasteland has been much longer between football seasons since I barely pay attention to baseball any more. Now I’m beginning to find my interest in FB waning. I can’t get enthused about recruiting and I no longer follow spring practice reports or roll out to spring games. I dropped my booster club donations when I was laid off and haven’t renewed.

    My enthusiasm for the sport is slipping fast and I don’t know why. It seems different than my loss of interest in baseball. Perhaps it is the crass commercial enterprise college football has become and the way ESPN, the schoolsand the NCAA exploit the game in the people involved.

  6. 6
    WereBear says:

    @Joseph Nobles: It’s more fun to watch with a friend :)

    Mr WereBear’s schedule is messed up, so we are just now concluding our “evening” movie watching. Then he is crashing and I’m moving to the living room with the cats.

  7. 7
    serge says:

    Thank you, AL

  8. 8
    jurassicpork says:

    Mitt Romney Pleads With America: “For Fuck’s Sake, Can’t You See What an Utter Fucking Asshole I Am?”

  9. 9

    The sad thing about America is, there’s a good chance the rich asshole will win the election because we’re just THAT blinded by racism and partisanship.

  10. 10
    the Conster (f/k/a Cat Lady) says:

    On Feb. 20th my youngest daughter got married, on Mar. 4th my mother died, on Mar. 9th I buried her, on Mar. 28th my father in law died and had his service yesterday, and next Saturday his burial will be in the same cemetery as my mother’s. Is there a BJ Circle of Life of the Month award? There should be cuz I’d win.

  11. 11
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Plans are complete for the daylight hours – walk, ice skating, grocery shopping.

    The evening is tough — GOT is a given, but there is also Great Expectations with Gillian Anderson (yes, I know the reviews are bad, but she was so great in Bleak House), Mad Men, and the SI Channel’s documentary on a 48 foot snake who lived in South American 60 million years ago.

  12. 12
    greennotGreen says:

    Thanks for the Savage piece, AL. I love to start my Sunday morning off in tears.

    I didn’t participate in the recent religion sort-of-open thread because I get so tired of the atheists here telling me that because they don’t experience reality the way I do, I am wrong. Dan Savage doesn’t experience my reality and I don’t experience his, so why would I fault him for comporting his belief system with his experience? I just ask the same respect from atheists.

    I love the Flying Spaghetti Monster because he’s a reminder that we have no idea what God “looks” like or even if God could ever be seen, or even what “God” is. I just believe there is More. I feel it. I move through it. When I touch a table, there’s the table, and there’s the energy of the table. Some people hear the music of the spheres, other people think they’re delusional. Maybe some people are deaf.

  13. 13
    greennotGreen says:

    @the Conster (f/k/a Cat Lady): Actually, you’d probably be in the running for the annual prize.

    Condolences for your losses. Best wishes to your daughter. Be thankful for the spring.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Phylllis says:

    Mostly lazing about and trying to avoid the all Masters all the time on the local channels here (I live about 60 miles from Augusta).

  16. 16
    Phylllis says:

    Mostly lazing about and trying to avoid the all Masters all the time on the local channels here (I live about 60 miles from Augusta).

  17. 17
    the fugitive uterus says:

    @greennotGreen:

    I just ask the same respect from atheists.

    same here. it’s quite tiresome and it would be nice if they had as much tolerance and respect for our beliefs as we do for theirs.

  18. 18
    Donut says:

    @Raven:

    I am with. Haven’t been interested in the NBA in a long time, and while I love the game of baseball, I absolutely loathe watching it on the tee vee. Were it not for Olympics, I’d just be counting the days to NFL opening weekend.

  19. 19
    the Conster (f/k/a Cat Lady) says:

    @greennotGreen:

    I just got a call from my brother that his wife is being rushed to the hospital with what they think is bleeding on the brain. My life has suddenly become 2012: Final Destination, and no, this isn’t an April’s Fools joke, sadly.

  20. 20
    greennotGreen says:

    @the Conster (f/k/a Cat Lady): Your family will be in the thoughts of many of us here at BJ.

  21. 21
    Phylllis says:

    @the Conster (f/k/a Cat Lady): Good thoughts being sent your way. Keep us posted.

  22. 22
    Smedley the uncertain says:

    @the fugitive uterus: Bi-Lateral tolerance is not common these days. My beliefs or lack thereof are kept close. However when faced with pedantic pontification, my atheism does come to the fore.
    In other words it is “in you face” your gonna go to hell that brings out my views. It is not my job to point the error of someones’ ways nor is it theirs.

  23. 23
    Lojasmo says:

    @the fugitive uterus:

    Okay. I believe all religious people are going to hell. Feel better?

  24. 24
    Mnemosyne says:

    @the fugitive uterus:

    It’s not fun being a believing liberal. On the one hand, we get ripped by the right wing for not doing it right (try explaining to a fundamentalist sometime that evolution is clearly the way God designed the universe). On the other hand, those same right wingers drive our atheist fellow liberals so insane that it’s tough to have a reasonable conversation about the place of religion and belief in public life, because apparently we’re supposed to be able to convince those same right-wingers who hate us to tone things down because all believing people are exactly the same. Aargh!

  25. 25
    greennotGreen says:

    @Mnemosyne: Aye, aye!

  26. 26
    Professor says:

    @greennotGreen: Hah you are Wrong. We know how God looks like. We are told in the good book, the bible. God looks just like YOU. He created you in his/her own image! Now deal with it!

  27. 27
    gbear says:

    Thanks for posting that A.L. I needed to hear a kind and thoughtful voice this moring.

  28. 28
    greennotGreen says:

    @Professor: Sorry, not a follower of that tradition, don’t have to answer for their beliefs. Also, see @Mnemosyne: above.

  29. 29
    Gex says:

    I just learned that a friend of mine’s mother is one of the women the Catholics stole a baby from to give to a deserving family. Milwaukee – home of the 8000 unreported cases of child abuse.

    The Catholic Church is the most evil institution I can think of. Taking a child from a mother the day it is born? And then they dare to preach to us family fucking values?

    They deserve ZERO politeless. Catholic laity maybe. The institution? Not one whit.

  30. 30
    Gex says:

    @greennotGreen: If fucking religious people would let us live the way we want, they’d get no guff. But because religion is afforded special status in our society and it tromps all over our lives, we see it for exactly how harmful it is.

    It’s fucking metaphysical libertarianism. It benefits them personally, so fuck everyone else. And don’t talk to me about works. 1) Non believers can be good also 2) Catholic Charities gets $3billion a year from taxpayers, and mainly use it to protect child rapists and persecute gays.

    So boo fucking hoo. Do something about your club’s bylaws and actions and get back to me.

  31. 31
    danielx says:

    For the rest of the weekend…since I was correct when I thought I heard thunder at 6 am, I won’t be finishing the half of the yard that I didn’t get cut last night because I had to watch the second half of Kentucky v. Louisville. As I feared, the eeeeeeevil Wildcats won – I always favor ABK University, i.e.; Anybody But Kentucky.

    The rest of the day is going to spent doing taxes and devoutly hoping that tornadoes pass us by, since it appears the weather in these parts is going to be a little sporty this afternoon.

  32. 32
    hitchhiker says:

    I love me some Dan Savage!

    Also I am a church-going nontheist who cares not a rap for the bible, organ music, or any church hierarchy. I do know that churches can be places to build a tribe (mine is) that’s there for everybody in the way that our species seems to need. That I seem to need.

    So, yeah. I’m going to my church in downtown Seattle in a little while, where I’ll see the ironic, interesting people I’ve come to feel part of, and mostly ignore whatever feels like leftover meatballs. Liberal church is gonna reinvent itself in the next 20 years, or vanish like it almost has in Europe . . . odds are on the latter, and I think it will be a loss.

  33. 33
    Gex says:

    @Gex: ETA: And if Catholics don’t like to hear us rip the Church for stealing babies, persecuting gays and women, and running the oldest chapter of NAMBLA in the world, they can do something about their institution or find one that doesn’t do those things.

    Seriously. What do other sects of Christianity differ on with the Catholics that is so serious it is better to stay with the NAMBLAs instead of switch? Is it just transubstantiation?

    ETA2: And if you aren’t willing to do something about this shit, I don’t think you necessarily deserve to be treated politely. A polite society wouldn’t allow privilege men to rape children without accountability.

  34. 34
    piratedan says:

    @the Conster (f/k/a Cat Lady): having worn similar shoes late last year, all I can tell you is that while I empathize with your grief, make sure to allow yourself to enjoy your daughter’s wedding and share her joy and use that to help the memories be bittersweet. The aftermath of the passing of folks is its own set of trials.

  35. 35
    gaz says:

    I like Dan Savage.

    He’s neat.

  36. 36
    gaz says:

    @hitchhiker: heh. your spiritual inclinations sound vaguely like mine.

    Maybe it’s something in the seattle water. =)

  37. 37
    redshirt says:

    @the Conster (f/k/a Cat Lady): Just words, but for what they’re worth: Life is a gift, with so many strings attached. Loss is part of the gift.

    My thoughts are with you.

  38. 38
    WyldPirate says:

    @greennotGreen:

    When I touch a table, there’s the table, and there’s the energy of the table. Some people hear the music of the spheres, other people think they’re delusional. Maybe some people are deaf.

    You feel the energy of the table, hmmm? Tell me, what does it feel like. Do you feel the wind that used to rustle its leaves when it was once a tree? Do you feel the pain of the chainsaw as it rips through each cell’s wall in every fiber of the former living piece of woods being?

    And this music “some people” hear that these spheres are making; what kind of spheres are they? Are they the “tiny bubbles, in my beer”? Are they bowling balls? Do the spheres sing to them in a specific language?Or are these spheres high quality audio speakers from the Orb Audio?

    Seriously, many atheists make fun of and ridicule religion and things like this “force” you claim to experience because it is the imaginings of people–to borrow a phrase from Carl Sagan–“living in a demon-haunted world”. Most of those folks have latched on to old “just so” stories where they can insert their God in as an explanation for the things in our lives they can’t understand or that cannot be understood at present. Then they whip out their handy “god delusion” and boom–into the gaps it goes. Far easier and settling to people than: a.) Educating themselves as to the cause of phenomenon, or; b.) Understanding we as humans may not have developed the tools to answer or ven ask the proper questions.

    I’m an agnostic simply because I try to stand by the concepts of methodological naturalism and realize science can’t disprove the existance of supernatural entities. That said, I doubt that gods or mystical “forces” exist.

    I’m willing to let people have their little comforting “just so” stories when it comes to religion; just keep them the hell out of public policy and don’t force your delusions on me.

  39. 39
    Frivolous says:

    That was a pretty nice and moving speech by Dan Savage.

    Thank you for posting it and thank you to Mr Savage (if he visits Balloon Juice) for making it.

    I’m a lapsed Catholic, too. I get bored easily and endless repetition of meaningless ritual is not good for me.

    Plus it’s annoying not having any say at all in how the Church is run or what doctrines are true.

  40. 40
    Dave says:

    How about devout atheists and militant Catholics?

  41. 41
    Hujo says:

    coming in on a different computer

  42. 42
    greennotGreen says:

    @WyldPirate: “Seriously, many atheists make fun of and ridicule religion and things like this “force” you claim to experience because it is the imaginings of people…”

    You are making my point for me. You don’t sense this energy I feel and you have never heard the music. Fine. I accept that and I think it’s only appropriate that you create your belief system and live your life according to your experience. But when I do the same thing, it’s the “god delusion.”

    “Understanding we as humans may not have developed the tools to answer or [e]ven ask the proper questions.” That’s absolutely true. Even so, some atheists will say, God cannot exist. Though we have neither the tools to answer or the proper questions to ask.

  43. 43
    Jeff says:

    @greennotGreen: @WyldPirate: This post pretty much sums up the negative karma that these threads embody. Seriously, the poster wasn’t coming at you with a knife demanding that you agree with him or her, but pointing out that every one feels life in their own way.If you dont feel that way fine, but there no need to insult them.

  44. 44
    Jeff says:

    @greennotGreen: @WyldPirate: This post pretty much sums up the negative karma that these threads embody. Seriously, the poster wasn’t coming at you with a knife demanding that you agree with him or her, but pointing out that every one feels life in their own way.If you dont feel that way fine, but there no need to insult them.

  45. 45
    WyldPirate says:

    @greennotGreen:

    You are making my point for me. You don’t sense this energy I feel and you have never heard the music. Fine. I accept that and I think it’s only appropriate that you create your belief system and live your life according to your experience. But when I do the same thing, it’s the “god delusion.”

    Yes I do. I think “musical spheres” are a delusion. And you get in the right situation and start babbling about spheres making music and you might rightly earn an overnight stay in a psych ward for observation. But you’re entitled to your delusions as long as you hurt no one.

    Christians are more immune to being hospitalized for having imaginary beings talking to them. Hell, people will flock to watch certain con artists who babble on about what God supposedly told them. Then people will give these con artists obscene amounts of money. They have a lot of power and this cons have damaged hundreds of millions of people and their lives.

    Religion to me is a con game that is the biggest threat to humanity today outside of whackos who justify denying reality because of their beliefs. New Age mysticism and horse manure like it are just new twists on an old con.

    That said, you have a lovely Sunday afternoon playing with your energy crystals or whatever it is you folks play with.

  46. 46
    greennotGreen says:

    @Jeff: Read 44 and tell me WyldPirate’s not insulting people of faith.

  47. 47
    the Conster (f/k/a Cat Lady) says:

    @Phylllis: @greennotGreen: @redshirt:

    Thanks. She’s not going to make it.

  48. 48
    WyldPirate says:

    @Jeff:

    Perhaps, but I did ask her to explain her examples even though I knew he or she wouldn’t.

    This blog is full of people who rant and rave about conservative’s bullshit experiences of life on a daily basis. Plenty of insults are hurled not only at the conservatives but anyone who deviates from the BJ hive mind regarding the “hive mind approved” interpretation. Why should this person’s particular “experiences” be above questioning or even ridicule?

  49. 49
    WyldPirate says:

    @greennotGreen:

    I’ll save him the trouble–yes I am.

    I don’t, however, seek to deprive the religious of their rights to their beliefs. Conversely, I have the right to ridicule those beliefs. Except I don’t really. I have to be bombarded with emails and utterances from my boss every day about having a “blessed day”. I constantly read religious nonsense on FB and endure all my neighbors and people I meet asking me which church I go to. Mostly, I bite my tongue and I’m polite about the matter or I change the subject. To say what I really thought in a non-anonymous manner could threaten my job and my relationship with those I work with and live near. A site like this is one of the few places I feel comfortable saying what I think

    There are plenty of places in this country where folks are ostracized for being atheists. You won’t see anyone running for President anytime soon who is an “out” atheist or even claims to be agnostic. You won’t see but a very few that would run as an atheist at the state or local level. Don’t give me the “woe is me he is insulting or persecuting those of faith”; I know all about that shit.

  50. 50
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Savage is not as polite towards the church hierarchy as the more devout Catholics among us would prefer, nor as dismissive as the militant aetheists will consider

    Ah, a variant of both sides do it (or, the cry of liberal believers who diss both). The truth isn’t necessarily in the middle.

  51. 51
    greennotGreen says:

    @WyldPirate: Okay, I’m going to try to explain my examples.

    Maybe you’re familiar with an experiment in which the experimenter put a helmet that blocked sight and sound on a subject and then either did or did not stimulate a part of the brain. (Sorry, my Google search was unproductive.) Those who had the stimulus had the strong sense that there were other people in the empty room. The experimenter hypothesized that that area of the brain was responsible for a belief in God. Now, I took from the interview that the experimenter believed that stimulating that part of the brain produced a *false* belief that there were other people in the room, but it is also plausible, (to me, at least) that stimulating that part of the brain allowed subjects to sense the nonphysical presence, that “energy” I was talking about, that many people cannot otherwise sense. I don’t know. I don’t claim to know.

    Music of the spheres is easier. Some people hear music all the time. An agnostic musician friend of mine thinks it comes from her brain. I think it’s more like being tuned to a different radio station that’s at a completely different frequency, but for me, at least, it’s actual music.

  52. 52
    jnc says:

    [Trigger warning: Savage is not as polite towards the church hierarchy as the more devout Catholics among us would prefer

    Jesus Fucking Christ.

  53. 53
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I think a lot of the reverence older Catholic liberals have for the church is less spiritual and more cultural-sure, they may be gay men who smoke pot in their spare time, but totally going all Dawkins (or Protestant) aint’ right, because a part of them still believes Rome is the True Church, and you know what happens to schismatics and heretics in the afterlife.

    Also a part of it is the nostalgia for the 50s/60s that older Catholics have, and the desire for a past that Catholics who came of age post Vatican II (when a lot of those stereotypes massively broke down) never experienced themselves.

  54. 54
    greennotGreen says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: And some people find a lot of comfort in ritual.

  55. 55
    BonnyAnne says:

    @gaz:

    It might actually be the water. (Or the beer.) That’s exactly how I roll, these days.

    As an added bonus, it makes it even more delightful to glare at the Mars Hill crown when I am trying to do my Sunday morning grocery shopping.

  56. 56
    WyldPirate says:

    @greennotGreen:

    I appreciate the attempt to explain your experiences. While I have read or heard about each of those phenomena in passing, I’m not qualified to speak about the specifics of each of your examples or the evidence supporting those observations until I read more in depth about them. Even then, I would be a poor substitute for a neurologist even though I’m a trained scientist.

    While I’m a bit short on time, I would like to say that this description illustrates what I was talking about In my first post. These are natural, testable and falsifiable phenomona. What these scientists were doing IS science. Because we don’t fully understand the meaning of the data (and we may understand an awful lot of it), that doesn’t mean we can shove some “God’ or “mystical explanation” into our void of knowldge and say “yep, this means goddidit

  57. 57
  58. 58
    Emma says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yep. Same here. Though I think that the Catholic hierarchy is going for a slow bleed here,and by the time they realize it the congregations will be one third the size. One of my dearest friends, a woman much involved in the Catholic charity world and an eucharistic minister, is slowly but surely walking away from it all.

  59. 59
    greennotGreen says:

    @Gex: Somehow I missed your comment until Ruckus replied.
    First of all, one’s spiritual belief system is internal and is not an observable phenomenon (at least, not yet.) Religion is a collection of observable social phenomena, the major purpose of which, I believe, is to maintain the status quo. I probably have as many disagreements with religion as practiced in the United States as you have, probably for many of the same reasons. However, as a private, spiritual person who belongs to no group of believers, I don’t think I’m responsible for the actions of a club of which I am not a member.

  60. 60
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Dan Savage went to North Carolina and told a bunch of students that the anti-gay-marriage amendment was going to pass there, so really, fuck him

    That proves to me that he is totally fucking full of himself

  61. 61
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @greennotGreen:

    First of all, one’s spiritual belief system is internal and is not an observable phenomenon (at least, not yet.)

    Claims made about the world based on those beliefs, however, attach to observable and testable phenomena, and should be rigorously and scientifically tested to find out whether they are true or false

  62. 62
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I would also like to point out that “trigger warning” is totally goddamned inappropriate to use in the context of the FP considering the actual physical and psychological trauma visited upon children by the Catholic priesthood

  63. 63
    Jeff says:

    @greennotGreen: I’m sure of it- and the vitriol is inappropriate to say the least

  64. 64
    Jeff says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Why do you say that? You make it seem like he somehow approves of that.

  65. 65
    Gex says:

    @greennotGreen: Fail. Atheists do not say God cannot exist. They say that absent evidence of God, the assumption is that God does not exist.

    Religious people always fail to understand that science doesn’t express certainty, because that’s how they operate.

  66. 66
    Gex says:

    @WyldPirate: BECAUSE RELIGION MUST BE RESPECTED!!!

    Why is the Catholic Church above the law? Bishops who knew about rapists, wrote them down in books, moved them around, etc. are not charged for their complicity in these rapes because our society demands religion be respected. Religion believes God supercedes everything, so our measly secular government cannot touch them.

    To hear Christians feel like atheists are being mean to them and acting like they are the victims in the culture wars is fucking tiring. They’re leaders keep using their power to wage war on everyone else, the laity does little to nothing to stop it when they don’t support it outright, and now that atheists are sick of it and fighting back they cry.

  67. 67
    Jeff says:

    @Gex: What makes you certain that religious persons are certain?

  68. 68
    Gex says:

    @Ruckus: What you see is privatized benefit, socialized costs. People go to church for their personal needs. Their churches pass the costs on to women, gays, children, atheists, etc.

  69. 69
    Gex says:

    @Jeff: Because they believe in God. It’s kind of definitional.

    @greennotGreen: So when we talk about religion, you take that as a shot on you. But when religion does things that take a shot at others, that has nothing to do with you. Got it.

  70. 70
    KS in MA says:

    @Gex: You’re talking about some churches, not all, and some Christians, not all.

  71. 71
    Jeff says:

    @Gex: There is nothing in “faith” in gods, goddesses, pan transcendental entities, call them what you will, that imply certainty. If anything I would think the opposite is true, that there is no way to know,apart from dying find out what is true. Anything else is whistling past the graveyard.

  72. 72
    Jeff says:

    @Gex: No, when you take a shot at her, she takes it as a shot at her.

  73. 73
    Jeff says:

    @Gex: The Catholic Church is not above the law. And any member of the heirarchy or the laity who new and did nothing sheould be prosecuted.

    To hear Christians feel like atheists are being mean to them and acting like they are the victims in the culture wars is fucking tiring. They’re leaders keep using their power to wage war on everyone else, the laity does little to nothing to stop it when they don’t support it outright, and now that atheists are sick of it and fighting back they cry.

    To the extent that the Right acts victimized when they are the victimizers is indeed nauseating, But dont subsume all Christians or spiritual people under the same tent of the Christian Right . I don’t live there, and I resent being told I do.

  74. 74

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