Tuesday, 9/28/10, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

17 responses to “Tuesday, 9/28/10, Public Square

  1. wicked

    It’s always nice to learn there’s been a study to back up things you’ve known from simple observation for years.

    Survey: Americans don’t know much about religion

    A new survey of Americans’ knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.


    The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little about religion.

    Respondents to the survey were asked 32 questions with a range of difficulty, including whether they could name the Islamic holy book and the first book of the Bible, or say what century the Mormon religion was founded. On average, participants in the survey answered correctly overall for half of the survey questions.

    Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants overall averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15.

    The rest of the story:

    • Yes! We did know this and those who didn’t will dismiss the study. Probably because knowledge brings questions. If you don’t have any curiosity you more easily swallow what you’re told.

      • paulasayles

        This brings to mind a great quote from Thomas Jefferson:

        “Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”

        I always felt that Christianity without question was cheap in God’s eyes, else why would He have given us free will?

    • prairie pond

      I always thought it was funny on tbtsnbn that the atheists and deists were the ones who knew the most about religion and the bible!

      • Zippy

        Heh, I actually tried to read the King James bible cover-to-cover. I didn’t get past Exodus. My eyes were glazing over.

        And it’s totally unsurprising that fundamentalists are so ignorant of their sacred book. They don’t need to read it–just do what the preacher tells you to do.

        “What’s that? God told you to skin your kids alive?”

  2. The Tea Party claims to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about Kerry’s medals.

    Tea & Crackers
    How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster


    • Even if you don’t read the above linked article, click over just to see the illustration.

    • wicked

      As always, Matt Taibbi writes a superb article. I first saw him on Real Time with Bill Maher and always enjoy hearing what he has to sway when he’s there.

      Here’s my favorite line from the article:

      The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them.

      All we can do is ride this out and hope that we and others like us have taught the next generation to think, reason, and look for the truth, even if it hurts.

    • A few of my favorite lines —

      The dingbat revolution, it seems, is nigh.

      A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it.

      The Tea Party today is being pitched in the media as this great threat to the GOP; in reality, the Tea Party is the GOP. What few elements of the movement aren’t yet under the control of the Republican Party soon will be, and even if a few genuine Tea Party candidates sneak through, it’s only a matter of time before the uprising as a whole gets castrated, just like every grass-roots movement does in this country. Its leaders will be bought off and sucked into the two-party bureaucracy, where its platform will be whittled down until the only things left are those that the GOP’s campaign contributors want anyway: top-bracket tax breaks, free trade and financial deregulation.

      • wicked

        Yes, those are good ones! Matt has a way with words and isn’t afraid to use them. He especially likes the F-bomb and sometimes overuses it, at least in person. I suspect even RS reins him in on that. LOL But his description of Tea Partiers is not only colorful but spot on.

        My oldest subscribes to RS and never misses reading Matt’s articles. There was a series of them about Wall Street and the causes of what brought us to the bailout and beyond. If I’d had the time, I would have read them. Unfortunately she sent a stack of RSs with me to the recycle center this weekend. It was almost painful to put them in the bin, but after watching Hoarders on A&E religiously for the past couple of months, I didn’t want to add to my own personal magazine stacks that also need to find a new home in the recycle bins.

  3. I have and old political article that I found at a family reunion this summer. I would like one of the blog authors here to check it out and do a post on it, compare it to current times and detail the comparison and outcome.

    Email me please: (email addy removed by fnord)

  4. Guess the Senate might as well just pack it in and hit the road early: South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint has said that he will block all legislation that isn’t “hotlined” by tonight. The Senate is set to adjourn on Wednesday or Thursday; typically, a slew of bills that were put off until the end of the legislative session are passed by “hotlining,” a process in which they are sent out to all senators’ offices, and if no one complains, they pass by unanimous consent. Other senators have requested that the Senate allow more time for senators to consider the bills; however, DeMint is the only one to actually demand it and hold the whole legislative process hostage. The Senate will not be able to take up the bills again until the lame-duck session after November’s election.


  5. Ruling allows stem cell research to continue during appeal

    (CNN) — An appeals court has permanently lifted an injunction imposed by a federal judge, thereby allowing federally funded embryonic stem-cell research to continue while the Obama administration appeals the judge’s original ruling against use of public funds in such research.


  6. tosmarttobegop

    Well today I lost any respect I had for Alan Grayson, I guess it really is unrealistic to expect any integrity out of any Politician. I applauded Grayson as most of the time he was saying what needed to be said.
    I get sick of the fake pleasantry of not saying anything about how another congress member is acting.

    No matter how badly they are acting you can not describe it honestly as to how they are acting.
    Grayson was saying it like it is, but today his ad was found to be a distortion and he was revealed on MSNBC!

    In his ad he paints his Republican opposition as so extreme that he was telling women to submit to him!
    It repeated him saying ’Submit to me… Submit to me!”.

    The Problem? Grayson has edited the audio taking that phrase out of context and the Republican was actually saying that he did not believe that women should be subservient to men even there husbands.
    That even though it is in the Bible people should not pick and choose verses to justify their own personal bias and to put others down.

    Grayson went on the defensive and actually accused the female anchor of being supportive of the idea of women should be submissive to men! He seemed offended that he would be called on his deception and by doing so she was being the enemy of the party!

    He kind of reminded me of someone we know, if you do not agree with his stance you are not a Liberal!

  7. Zippy

    . . .and in an alternate universe, the The Tea-and-Crumpets Party

  8. Zippy

    The money quote from the Rolling Stone article: Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”

    “Well,” he says, “there’s a lot of people on welfare who don’t deserve it. Too many people are living off the government.”

    “But,” I protest, “you live off the government. And have been your whole life!”

    “Yeah,” he says, “but I don’t make very much.” Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it’s going. But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of shit. All of them. At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry’s medals and Barack Obama’s Sixties associations. The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them.

    I well remember an article in 1992 in Rolling Stone, written by Bill Maher, who I’d never heard of then. He talked to Republicans. The gist of it: “Clean up my river. Help me. Not that lazy SOB who doesn’t deserve in my imagination (BTW — I looked for a link, no luck).

    The more things change, the more they remain the same.

  9. Zippy

    Maybe small gestures make a difference, sometimes:

    Southern Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was not among the 47 Democrats who signed the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, even though she is part of the Blue Dog Coalition that was prominent among the dissidents.

    Giffords campaign spokeswoman Anne Hilby said Giffords “is committed to extending tax cuts for the middle class, but she will not support more tax cuts for the richest Americans -that will just balloon the deficit, which needs to be brought under control.”

    But the main headline is depressing nonetheless.


    The Democrats Obama should be scolding are the ones who have spent the past two years “running for the hills.”