Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pat Robertson Wants to Take Rand Paul's Doughnuts Away From Him

Photo Credit: Spiegel Online

Yesterday, Pat Robertson lit up a corner of the Internet when a parent wrote in to ask what she should do about her 16-year-old son who just came out as gay, and Pat wondered if maybe her kid is gay because a coach molested him:
“Is there really a biological thing going on, or has he been influenced?  Has a coach molested him?… These kids are in a formative state, and sure, they may have some attractions to people of the same sex—they don't know what they're doing, they're teenagers…”
Disturbing and repugnant to be sure, but is anyone really all that surprised that Pat Robertson resorted to digging up a chestnut about gays having to "recruit" teens into homosexuality?

Meanwhile, over in another corner of the Internet, Tea Party star Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) just launched a new front in his War on Government Protecting Us From Bad Things by claiming that the Food & Drug Administration's decision last week to ban trans fats means the Feds are coming after your doughnuts.  Except, or course, it turns out that most doughnut companies already stopped using trans fats and no one noticed the difference—and we should have all realized that our doughnuts aren't really being threatened because if they were, Chris Christie would be the one sounding the alarm, not Rand Paul.  (No, that was not a "Chris Christie is fat" joke.  It was a "Chris Christie likes to eat" joke.  There's a subtle difference.)

How are these two stories connected?  While everyone was pointing out Robertson's "ask your gay son if he was molested" comment, no one noticed his remarks on the same broadcast supporting the ban on doughnuts trans fats:

“I'm not a great fan of the FDA, I think they make some errors, but in this case, they need to get active and I'm for activism.  I'm sure Mayor Bloomberg will be thrilled—he's getting criticized because of the ‘nanny state,’ but that's a good thing to do.”
Now, some of you may be wondering, Wait a minute, I thought conservatives opposed "nanny-state" Big Government!  Actually, like most religious conservatives, Robertson's all for Big Government—provided that the government imposes what HE wants on everyone's lifestyles.  And not just forcing God and Jesus back onto public schoolchildren (like the good old days when Jews were ostracized and no one cared about Muslims and Buddhists because there were hardly any of them around back then anyway), and keeping you from using contraception because sex is just for procreation, don't'cha know.  No, Robertson also wants to ban porn from the Internet, as it's not, he insists, free speech; prohibit tobacco (because prohibition worked so well with alcohol); and force food-stamp recipients to eat more healthfully, to cite just a few examples.  The Religious Right is completely on board with a "nanny state"—so long as they're the ones playing nanny.

Okay, I don't really think that the American right wing is about to be torn asunder over trans fats and fictional doughnut bans.  But as the Religious Right tries to make common cause with the libertarian wing of the Republican Party—for instance, Pat Robertson's own Christian public-interest law firm is representing over 40 Tea Party groups in a lawsuit against the IRS—the differing approaches to the trans fat ban serves as a reminder that these two factions have philosophies that are fundamentally incompatible in many areas.  And while libertarian Rand Paul might be fighting over the future of the Republican Party with moderate-conservative Chris Christie right now, in two years' time he may find himself outflanked on the right by an evangelical candidate like Rick Santorum.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

No, It Is Not News That Pat Robertson Thinks the Earth Is Older Than 6,000 Years

In November 2012, in answer to a viewer question on whether the Bible allows for the existence of dinosaurs (spoiler alert: apparently, it does), Pat Robertson dismissed the idea that the Earth is only 6,000 years old (via Right Wing Watch):
“Look, I know people will probably try to lynch me when I say this, but Bishop Ussher—God bless him!—wasn't inspired by the Lord when he said it all took 6,000 years.  It just didn't.

And you go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating, you've got all these things, and you've got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time… And so there was a time that these giant reptiles were on the earth, and it was before the time of the Bible.  So don't try to cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years.  That's not the Bible.  That's Bishop Ussher.  And so if you fight revealed science you're going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was.”
Turns out that for once, Pat Robertson had a prophecy come true, because in June, the Young Earth creationists over at Creation Today lynched him (okay, maybe not lynched exactly) for what he said:
“Do you assume, then, that Archbishop James Ussher had no actual evidence for his proposition when he wrote such a big book?  People talk about this ‘six thousand years that Archbishop Ussher came up with.’  Pat Robertson is claiming, then, that the 6,000 years comes from Ussher's book, not from the Bible.  The point is, where did Ussher get his figure of 6,000 years?… [Y]ou will find that he takes those dates from the Bible!  So the figure of 6,000 years comes from the Bible.  Now then, Pat Robertson, are you claiming that the Bible is not inspired, when the Bible clearly tells us that the world is 6,000 years old?”
The Bible clearly tells us.  I mean, it's so obvious that Archbishop Ussher had to write such a big book to explain it!  Anyway, they go on with a lot more creationist b.s.—most of which turns out to be nitpicking Robertson's choices of terminology—but you get the idea.  (If you keep watching the video, you get to hear one of the creationists actually invoke Occam's Razor in support of God and the Bible and creationism.  Take that, Carl Sagan!  Take that, Jodie Foster!)

As I said, that aired in June, but for some reason The Raw Story only found it yesterday:

Now, I'm not saying this isn't news because The Raw Story is just discovering a spat from 5 months ago (based on a comment made a year ago)—although curiously their article doesn't mention any of these dates, so their readers naturally assume this all just happened.  And why online news syndicators think it's fresh.