Hooser rips Aiona, bucks for state job

Former state Sen. Gary Hooser has moved his blog to garyhooser.wordpress.com and promises to update it more often now that he has time on his hands in the wake of his unsuccessful race for lieutenant governor.

He comes out firing, with his first post calling Republican candidate for governor James “Duke” Aiona “a right wing religious zealot” who “believes that everyone who does not agree with his particular theology is going to hell.”

You see, Duke is the “righteous one”. Duke has been chosen by God to save Hawaii from burning in hell. Visit the churches hosting the Duke signs out front and they will tell you this. They will tell you that God has sent them a sign, and that Duke has been chosen by God to lead us all down the path to righteousness.

So how can it be possible that 48% of Hawaii residents are ready to elect him as Hawaii’s next Governor? Are people so shallow, so busy and so uninformed that they will vote for him just because he’s young, he’s Hawaiian and he’s pretty? Is it the religious dogma and tea party frenzy of the “new right” that drive his numbers? Has our democracy become so broken and so driven by money, marketing and media that substance matters not at all?

It is on days like this that I wonder. I wonder about the wisdom of our forefathers. I wonder if perhaps our system is broken and in need of radical perhaps revolutionary change.

Hooser’s post drew the ire of Republican spokesperson Erin Kealoha, who e-mailed: “I know you’ve written about Jonah’s now infamous letter to Christians and the role of religion and politics in Hawaii, especially so I had hoped you might be willing to share the other side of the story, especially with some inflammatory, loaded words coming from a former State Senator and LG candidate to criticize a candidate for their faith.”

Noted, but to be honest, I was more interested in one of Hooser’s final posts on his old livejournal.com blog in which he appeared to be encouraging a Kaua‘i group that’s promoting his appointment as chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources in a Neil Abercrombie administration.

The Kaua‘i environmental blog Island Breath provided sample letters to be sent to Abercrombie lobbying for Hooser to be given the job. A publisher’s note suggested Hooser was down with the idea:

After his defeat in the primary we spoke with Gary on this issue and he was interested in the idea. He said it would be like taking the lemon of losing to Shatz and turning it into lemonade. So many of Hawaii’s problems go back to the mishandling of our resources by the DLNR. On Kauai that includes PMR, GMO and Kokee land leases as well as Kalalau and Napali Trail land management (just to name a few). We hope that Malama Kauai, the Sierra Club, Surfriders organization and others will join in urging Neil Abercrombie in appointing Gary to lead the DLNR.

In his own blog, Hooser said he appreciates the confidence and is “willing and open to serving wherever our Governor may need me, but for now he needs me and everyone else working very hard to make sure his election is successful.”

If Abercrombie is elected, we’ll see if he thinks it a good fit to put a guy with little administrative experience and a tendency to bash the opposition in charge of one of the state’s largest and most multi-tentacled agencies that runs by necessity on diplomacy.

***

Another interesting new local blog worth noting is FreeCatholic808, a personal expression  by PR executive Dawn Morais Webster that explores “the intersection of religion and politics” and gets in the face of the Catholic hierarchy on policies she finds authoritarian and repressive.

It’s thoughtful, provocative and well-written; one recent post described a gathering of LGBT Catholics celebrating Solidarity Day Mass in an Episcopal Church and another took the Hawai‘i Catholic Herald to task for refusing to run a letter from the parents of a gay man.

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43 Comments on “Hooser rips Aiona, bucks for state job”

  1. Kolea Says:

    Erin Kealoha’s comment demonstrates how the Hawaii GOP just doesn’t get it. Aiona has repeatedly crossed the line with his religious zealotry. Hooser has not attacked Aiona for “his faith,” but for his view that it is OK to impose his faith on everyone elese. Aiona has pledged to place state government in service to God.

    That should freak out anyone who may have a different conception of “God” from Aiona’s kindergarten/Sunday School infantile notion of a fearsome God-Daddy in the Sky. Or people of another faith. Or people who understand the world without positing the intervention of some supernatural fairy.

    But Republicans have already had to adjust the boundaries of their Big Tent to include the large portion of their members who believe Obama was born in Kenya, is a secret Muslim and who see “tyranny” in healthcare reform after years of remaining silent as Bush established secret dungeons around the world where people were tortured.

    Sorry, Erin Kealoha. The world was NOT created 6,000 years ago and anyone who believes that is not suited to wrestle with the problems of the 21st Century. Though they may be marginally qualified to be a paid fabulist for a Republican Party.

  2. Kolea Says:

    Dave,

    You flip from “hopeless idealist” to cynical curmudgeon depending on which side of the bed you get up from.

    Gary lost his LG race. He wants to remain in public service. Think of a politician you admire, though you may have to return to your idealistic youth. Maybe Benjamin Spock is not the best example. How’s about Tom Gill? Can you not understand that a candidate who loses an election might then use their free time to help elect another member of their Party with part of their motivation being they hope to get a job out of it?

    When Ed Case endorsed Hanabusa, do you think that move was free from consideration of his own self-interest? When he denounced Mufi in such stark terms, was he trying to help defeat a future rival for the Senate seat? Do you believe he would have burned Inouye in that way if he didn’t think he had earned a favor from the future Governor in the process?

    Most Democrats, certainly most “liberal” or “progressive” Democrats, believe there is a LOT at stake in the race between Aiona and Abercrombie. Heck, the GOP and rightwingers have the same view from their side. I would HOPE any Democrat with free time would make it a priority to help Neil’s campaign in the closing weeks. And I would hope that an experienced legislator out of a job would want to serve in the new administration, applying their experience and creativity to the real challenges facing us.

    So I have NO PROBLEM with Gary helping Neil’s campaign or with him hoping to find a place in it after the election. Would he be a good fit for DLNR? I dunno. I know he is very knowledgeable on the subject matter. But DLNR may be the most unwieldy and difficult department in state government, riven with longstanding problems. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

  3. David Shapiro Says:

    Kolea, you say it’s not about attacking religious faith, then in the next breath you call his religious views “infantile,” ridicule “God-Daddy in the Sky,” and suggest many thousands of of your fellow Hawaii residents and millions of Americans worship a “supernatural fairy” and are not equipped to participate in a modern Democracy solely on the basis of their constitutionally protected religious beliefs.

    I’m not a Christian or a Republican, but your rather astounding display of elitist intolerance and outright religious bigotry freaks me out as much or more than anything Aiona has said.

  4. WooWoo Says:

    I think that it’s a little bit much to pretend that the Christian religion hasn’t had a huge influence on the worldview of even ardently anti-Christian liberals.

    I am not christian; I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times I have actually attended a non-wedding related Christian church service (all in 7th grade; I was told there were cute girls at church). But I have the humility to understand that the values I do hold did not spring up out of my own brilliant insights.

    Every day, we reap the benefits of living in a society aided in no small part in its success by centuries of priests admonishing parishoners to live by the ten commandments; to follow those rules and live virtuously even when you think no one is watching, because there is literally hell to pay if you don’t. Human beings are imperfect, and religion has been a way to provide both carrot and stick to our individual and collective improvement.

    It’s wrong make the argument that a public policy position is any more or less valid because it has a religious source. Liberals are happy to embrace those religious leaders and denominations that support liberal views; so is your problem with God, or is your problem with a God that disagrees with views that you think you were brilliant enough to come up with on your own without the aid of centuries of religious tradition?

    I think many liberals need to honestly ask themselves if they disagree with the views of conservatives or if its just that they plain dislike conservatives, and find excuses (like religion) to disparage those they disagree with. (Aaron Sorkin, in the acknowledged liberal leaning West Wing TV show, was insightful and honest enough to put that exact theme into a scene)

    How many liberals drive around with “Free Tibet” stickers on their cars? The Dalai Llama is treated like a rock star by the left. Hey, I think he’s pretty darn cool myself… one of the greatest human beings around. But what if a republican president invited a christian that believed he was the reincarnation of one of the apostles to the white house? Aha! An excuse to bash Christians and conservatives! A “free Tibet” would mean a return to a religious theocracy… I thought that the left was against that?

  5. waialuahaole Says:

    I would really question the wisdom of appointing to the DLNR chief position a man who includes on his “daily reading list” the 9/11 conspiracy theorist website http://www.whatreallyhappened.com.

  6. A Christian Says:

    Wow, it all makes sense now. Thanks for making all of your rants in perspective Kolea and WooWoo. Of COURSE you aren’t Christian. But guess what? Unlike you I am a tolerant of other peoples rights and faiths. Maybe you should consider moving to a country who are less tolerant, I think you’d fit in better.

  7. ppcc Says:

    When Hooser states “I wonder about the wisdom of our forefathers” is he referring to his Caucasian “forefathers” who sailed from Europe and colonized North America at the American Indian’s expense? Or is he talking about the ancient Hawaiian “forefathers” who sailed from the South Pacific Islands and then made Hawaii their home probably close to almost a thousand years ago and then overthrown by the other “forefathers” a few centuries ago?

    Seems Hooser is calling the kettle black when he states the only reason people would vote for Aiona and Finnegan is because we are “so shallow, so busy and so uninformed”? Is Hooser encouraging Caucasian voters to vote for Neil and Schatz solely because they are both Caucasian?

    Whether inherent and/or fostered by the environment around them, racist tendencies are part of the human psyche. However only an idiot would post their racist rants on the Internet for the world to see AND then expect to get hired or appointed to a job in the government sector!

  8. Scott Goold Says:

    Aloha WooWoo ~
    You love to tell the world what liberals believe. I’m a liberal. We’re capable of stating our position openly. And, let me give you the position of liberals on GOD …

    First, liberals aren’t a homogenous group – similar to independents or conservatives. But we have some themes in our beliefs. With respect to religion, we DON’T KNOW if god exists; we don’t know if god is a man or woman; we don’t know if there is one god, three gods or many gods.

    These aren’t not questions of FACT or TRUTH – they are matters of FAITH.

    Individually, we may believe with ALL our HEART in a god – or in no god. Yet because we accept that this is not truth, but FAITH, we prefer not to have these debates in public. I respect your right to your faith; and, I ask you to respect my right to my faith. It’s that simple. This is also why Founding Father Jefferson, for example, is referred to as a Diest. He had faith in a higher power but was not locked into a particular dogma.

    When Glenn Beck infuses politics with his mormonism; Palin with her evangelical christianity; or Aiona with his religious zealotry, liberals become uncomfortable.

    We fought a war of independence to escape a National Church. We do not want to return to this prison of faith.

    So, believe how you want; vote your conscience. Liberals are not here to prevent or discourage this. We simply become nervous when a leader claims s/he has the ONLY and TRUE religion.

    For example, if you do not accept gay marriage, vote as you please. Yet do not quote to me from the bible, torah or qur’an. Use logic; use reason; apply an emotional appeal – yet leave FAITH where it belongs – in one’s heart.

    p.s. Good for Senator Hooser! He demonstrated strong leadership in our legislature and continues to do so.

    A*L*O*H*A

  9. Michael Says:

    Gag me!

    I have said in the past and stand firm on my comment.
    One who is a Christian does not mean that they will go to Heaven. God was here way before Jesus and Christianity was born. Believe in God, (Praise his name).

    Why would a child learn to Hate unless taught? One touch a hot stove and get burnt, one learns to avoid.

  10. Earl of Sandwich Says:

    Hey Christian, you need to re-read WooWoo’s post. Sounds to me like WooWoo is very tolerant, to the point of standing up for the benefits YOUR religion has bestowed up society.

  11. Scott Goold Says:

    Aloha pppc ~
    I know Senator Hooser well. He doesn’t think in racial terms as you suggest. He sees people – people who are struggling; families who are trying to raise their keiki in difficult times. He works for greater happiness and less stress for all of us.

    Yet when he uses a term such as forefathers, he is referring to those who suffered and shed blood to bring democracy to what is referred to today as north America. These were not perfect people. Times were less sophisticated than today. Primarily White invaders didn’t consider the indigenous people to be fully human. This was wrong.

    Primarily White settlers relied heavily on the suffering and toil of Black human beings to build this new nation. This was wrong.

    A century later, primarily White visitors aligned with sympathetic Kanaka Maoli and overthrew the legitimate kingdom in these islands. This was wrong as well.

    We have all lived a brutal history. We all have ancestors who made tragic and terrible mistakes. Yet in these errors, primarily White male thinkers devised one of human history’s most cherished democracies. This philosophy has expanded as we have matured to include women and people of color.

    We have not corrected all the wrongs. We never will. Yet leaders like Gary Hooser now ask us to put this complex history – failures and successes – into perspective.

    And, Senator Hooser poses an important question, if one believes in participatory government, “Has our democracy become so broken and so driven by money, marketing and media that substance matters not at all?”

    Please drop the false accusations and slanted allegations. This is what Hooser is referring to overall. Let’s talk issues and policy. Drop the drama. Such strategies move us backward, not forward.

    A*L*O*H*A

  12. David Shapiro Says:

    Democrats make a serious mistake when they confuse the national evangelical opportunists with the good citizens who line up at the Hope Chapel and Word of Life every week. These folks are interested in a wide range of local issues and their votes are up for grabs like anybody else’s if they’re treated with respect instead of having their honest faith smugly denigrated.

  13. JJ Kahala Says:

    Wow. Thatʻs a pretty sharp knife at Hooser for wanting to be at DLNR.

    David apparently has some insight into running the department that no one else does. That diplomacy works there seems crafted out of thin air. As far as I can tell, nothing works there, or at least nothing thatʻs already been tried.

    Does anyone but Shapiro think that Hooser would be a disaster at DLNR, that the whole idea is a non-starter?

    This is the kind of column that makes people wonder about newspaperfolk.

  14. Kolea Says:

    Dave,

    O call BS on your “tolerance” of Christian fundamentalists. You simply don’t want to endure their scorn so you don’t call them on their infantile and authoritarian conception of God.

    Someone can believe the world was created 6,000 years ago and still be a wonderful person, but their understanding of science is infantile. They have abandoned adult reasoning in favor of a fairy tale.

    Unless you believe in the fairy tale yourself, you agree with me, even if you would not say it so bluntly yourself.

    I know and like people of all faiths. To each their own. But Christian fundamentalists are using their church organizations to rile up people to vote to use governmental power to stifle peoples freedom and equality.

    If you are more offended by my frank talk in condemning them for that than in “anything Duke Aiona has said”, your head is screwed on off-kilter. But I suspect the problem is that you feel smug criticizing “liberal elitists” in the hope the barbarians overlook your own “liberal elitism.”

    You appear to lack the courage of your convictions, preferring instead to drift in relativism with the illusion that sort of “independence” is somehow more virtuous than taking a firm stand for your beliefs.

    You appear to be saying, “Don’t pick on me, I’m not a liberal. Go after those guys over there. SO you throw them Hooser in the hopes they will leave you alone.

  15. Michael Says:

    Fine line between Liberal and Radical. Crusader or Jihadist. Genius or Insane. Many have crossed the line and think they are still the same person.

    One thing is for sure. The line going to Heaven is getting shorter and shorter. Walk backwards and time won’t move forward. Logic? The confusion between Gold and Iron Pyrite. “Horatio” I knew him well.

  16. Michael Says:

    The annes
    brays Hee Haw.

  17. David Shapiro Says:

    Kolea, even one of your superior intellect and absolute knowledge of the secrets of the universe should be able to see the irony of a guy who writes under an alias accusing a guy who writes under his real name of not having the courage of his convictions.

  18. Doug Says:

    Okay, then, I’ll second what Kolea said, and my name is Doug White. Care to respond to the substance of his/our comment now, David?

  19. David Shapiro Says:

    Doug, my response to the substance is that you both seem to think that you’re higher on the evolutionary food chain than people of certain faiths and that your views are therefore of inherently higher value. I don’t agree. I think you’re as narrow-minded as the Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins, just lining up on the other side of the ball.

  20. Doug Says:

    Enough with the sophistry.

    Don’t tell me what you think that I think. I know what I think, and I don’t much care what you think I think. Tell me what YOU think about what THEY think. That’s the issue here.

    Since you brought up evolution, that at least suggests that you’re not buying any of the(ir) “6,000 year old Earth” fantasy. True?


  21. David –

    Please check this out:
    http://www.honolulunotes.com

    I know there’s a bunch of political blogs in town but looking at the “About” link indicates they’re a bit different.

    Aloha.

  22. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    I am supporting another Gary – Gary Gill – for chairing DLNR.

    As for Gary Hooser, I have concerns about his ability to be able to deal with people who do not share 100% of his beliefs & points of view or whom he believes are irrelevant or unimportant or have little to contribute to whatever is up for discussion.

    I also believe that his lack of administrative experience other than being a small business owner is a negative in evaluating his resume. Perhaps he should be appointed as a deputy administrator in one of the departments – DLNR, DBEDT, DOH, DOT – and then move on up in a couple of years when new positions open up.

    With respect to the religious issues – those of us who are quote secular humanists unquote are about to be caught in the crossfire between two national cults, two major conservative Western Christian religions, Judaism, and Islam. Maybe we should step aside and sit this one out and let them do battle with each other – and then step back in to clean up the mess later on.

    Assuming, of course, that the earth has not been destroyed by warfare and the impacts of climate change.

    Wonder what God thinks about all of this?

  23. Michael Says:

    Too bad one has to ask that question “Wonder what God thinks about all of this?”

    One should know the answer before asking the question.
    If one don’t know, then one shouldn’t ask. God won’t tell! Why should he? Others who think they are equal in status to God that wear designer clothes.
    Hooser is not the only one who wears Prada.

    Planet of the Apes. Lady Liberty sticking out of sand. Donkey and Elephant replaced by Apes and Monkeys. Let’s see what happens December 21st, 2012.

  24. WooWoo Says:

    Kolea-

    “Someone can believe the world was created 6,000 years ago and still be a wonderful person, but their understanding of science is infantile. They have abandoned adult reasoning in favor of a fairy tale.”

    Science, in its own way, is a religion. The high priests of science have changed their views over the centuries at least as much as the popes.

    But science vs. religion is not the true debate. They rub up against each other in some areas, but they address different questions.

    Science tells us how the universe works. By understanding the laws of the universe, we CAN create technological solutions to every “problem” imaginable.

    Religion tells us whether we SHOULD or should not take certain actions.

    For many centuries, religion infringed upon the territory of science because science was in its infancy. It tried to explain the sun, moon and stars, and was proved wrong in those explanations. Science has grown enough now to beat religion back into its own appropriate turf.

    Now, many have swung the pendulum the other way. They throw out the baby with the bathwater; since Christianity is (probably) wrong about the creation of the earth, then the rest of the Bible is automatically bunk. And, I agree with Dave on this point, too many equate believing in Christ with being dumb.

    It all just depends which worldview you come in with. Many people believe fervently in Christ; they are somewhat skeptical about the creation stories, but they are willing to take it as part of the package deal of being Christian. It gets the benefit of the doubt. The message of Christ becomes the excuse for believing in the rest of the stuff.

    Others approach it from the opposite direction. The creation story becomes the excuse for dis-believing the rest of the stuff. Everybody sees what they want to see.

    In time, science will allow us to do almost anything. What happens (the very near day) when we can engineer children? Order up a 6-foot, 210 pound son with a high probability of scoring 99th percentile on his SATs and the hand-eye coordination of a .300 hitter? How will science guide us in answering the question, “Should we be doing this?”

    Of course science won’t answer that question. That is something we have to answer as a society. Of course, anti-religionists will list a set of values that guide them… and will probably claim that they made up these values on their own. Christians will list a set of values straight from the Bible. Lo and behold, we will see that they overlap 98% of the time. Who’s copying who’s homework?

    Trace every moral value you hold dear back far enough, and you will find someone with a strong belief in God and the humility that comes with it. As I have said in previous posts, I am not Christian, but I have a very healthy respect for the accomplishments of those who have been guided by the holy book.

    As we debate the future of this grand experiment called America, it would be wise to remember the central role religion has played in our birth and success. You don’t have to believe that our success was guided by the hand of God; but you can’t deny that it was driven by the followers of his word.

  25. Michael Says:

    It took God 6 days to Create his Kingdom. 7th day he rested. In the Bible there is no accountable time. What is a minute? A day? A year? Abraham was said to have lived for 600 hundreds year plus.

    Religion was created when Mankind could not explain why things happen. Faith in God since no one alive has seen God. A burning bush once. Yet it is said that God created Man in his image. Dead men don’t tell tales. Science and Physics have even proven that Einstein’s theory of relativity is wrong. Darwin challenged the making of Humans saying we came from Primates. There is the missing link. Scientist are dumb founded when something new shows up. Science cannot cure an illness yet it is said Jesus did with his bare hands.

    Ancient people would have said something about Gods are angry and this is the outcome. Yet simple life, Many Believe there is a God when yet noone has seen Him. One hopes by being a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist that one day they will see God. One God with the power to be in Many places at one time and look differently in appearance on location. Religion is having Faith in something that Science is trying to prove for facts. Religion is like an opinion. Everyone has an opinion.

    Iraq is an interesting place to be. Babylonia was there as we Know the Story of the Tower of Babel. Hanging Towers of Babylonia was one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Where different Nationalities with different languages came from.

    One does not need to be a Christian to believe in God. Christians through time were prosecuted. Jews were prosecuted.
    History says that Jews and Muslims fought together against Rome. They split when Christians started gaging non-Christians. Jews fought against Muslims in Crusades and Now Muslims fight with Jihad against non-Muslim people. Religion has been a good thing and bad. One wants to prosecute one because of their beliefs, then that person too will be prosecuted by another.

    I believe in God and may not be a Christian. I am open to Allah, Buddha, Jesus, and other Religious beliefs. One wants to be enlightened then one should be tolerant of all. Who am I to judge? Judge not since ye be judged. Books cannot teach you knowledge. Books only teach one to be educated but closed minded. One wants to learn then be open to anything, stupid or not. Is Hanneman really educated by saying He went to Harvard?

    As Dave, wrote earlier Tolerance!
    Or forever hold your Peace.
    One who fights will get tired or die trying to prove the world wrong.

  26. jaded Says:

    Dave,

    I’m surprised and disturbed that you are “freaked out” over Kolea’s assertions rather than Aiona’s association with the International Transformation Network.

    http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/04/21/gop-2010-candidate-for-hawaii-gov-tied-to-eliminationist-movement/

    http://www.kitv.com/news/23456532/detail.html

  27. Kolea Says:

    WooWoo,

    You are fighting against a straw man if you believe your comments were appropriate to my views. I do not begrudge people their religious beliefs. I recognize many people do good things because their views are rooted in a moral code which is derived, either directly or (agreeing with you) INDIRECTLY from religious teachings.

    I was fortunate to have been raised in a secular family, so I do not have to rebel against any particular church or fight against internalized religious feelings. Which means I am not fixated on promoting atheism and attacking religion.

    I fully recognize that my own moral code is bond to my personal roots as a late 20th Century American, forged by such varied influences as Boy Scouts, Rin Tin Tin, Martin Luther King and Gandhi. Maybe even a little bit of Matt Dillion and Pa Cartwright as well.

    Perverse fellow that I am, I have adopted as a standard, “Judge a tree by the fruit it bears.” Not sure where I picked that up. Maybe Saul Alinsky? 😉

    I know Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists, some of whom are wonderful people because of (or despite?) the religious roots of their beliefs.

    But applying that standard, judging people by the fruit they bear, has led me to dislike Christian fundamentalists qua Christian fundamentalists. These people, through an act of Free Will (see, I get it) have CHOSEN to believe a God who wants to burn foir Eternity those who do not WORSHIP him through “His Only Begotten Son.” Sorry, these people have CHOSEN to believe the Universe operates according to the principle of hatred.

    And these people are being mobilized by hypocrites and opportunists for political purposes in the hope of denying equality to gays and lesbians most immediately now. Without even the slightest awareness that these same churches, sometimes with the same religious leaders, used very similar arguments to oppose the civil rights movement in the 50s, 60s and 70s. (Falwell and Robertson as the most obvious leaders who started off as open segregationists).

    It is Dave who refuses to use the “fruit they bear” standard. BECAUSE this reactionary movement is clothed in a religious garb, he gives them a pass. Sort of an “affirmative action” policy towards religious bigotry.

    You know enough of American history that I expect you will concede the current Tea Party and religious right movements are current expressions of a recurring tendency in US history. I have no problem with Christians whose values lead them to oppose racism, war, slavery, etc. But THESE folks are a reincarnation of the RELIGIOUS folks ON THE OTHER SIDE of each of those movements. These people are an echo of those who used the Old Testament/ Jewish Bible to justify slavery, segregation, wars and the oppression of women. This is yet another eruption of “Knownothingism” on the American political scene.

    You or I could pull from the Bible(s) scripture to justify EITHER a message of love and equality or of hatred and oppression. God Bless those inspired by Jesus or the Hebrew prophets in favor of justice. But I will not flinch from condemning those who CHOOSE to believe in an authoritarian God-Daddy in the Sky who WANTS them to promote inequality, warfare and discrimination.

    There are people who believe the world is 6,000 years old who are MUCH nicer people than I am, good to their neighbors, etc. But unless you (or Dave) actually believes their belief in Adam and Eve is more accurate than my belief (and Dave’s, probable..and yours, probably) that the process is better explained through physics and the biological sciences, please don’t PRETEND I am wrong if I believe operating according to a scientific outlook is superior to the Fairy Tale version of creation.

    One CAN be a Christian, draw inspiration from the life and message of Christ, even believing in some way that He is unique among men through a special relationship with God and not allow this to prevent them from viewing the world and society through a rational lens. I do not believe THOSE people have an infantile understanding of the universe. I will not argue with them over the meaning of existence, unless they want to venture into that terrain over a glass of wine. And it will remain good-natured.

    Because they are not using their religious beliefs to build a political movement to deny justice to their fellow humans.

  28. zzzzzz Says:

    @Woowoo–Interesting post, but I’m not sure about the part about a strong belief in God. Aren’t there societies whose knowledge of God is only fairly recent? E.g., many non-European societies? It sounds like you are saying any such societies haven’t provided any current moral values.

  29. David Shapiro Says:

    Jaded, before you get too disturbed with me, I was the first to reveal Aiona’s involvement with the Transformation movement and his fundamentalist beliefs – at least in the mainstream media. That 2005 column has been quoted often by those who share your concerns and is still online here.

  30. Teddy Freddy Says:

    Christopher Hitchens debates his atheist-turned-Christian brother on civilization, God

    *But elder brother Christopher remained resolute, saying that nothing could persuade him that “a human sacrifice several thousand years ago vicariously redeemed me.”

    http://bit.ly/afIrdv

  31. Michael Golojuch, Jr. Says:

    More people especially the media should take politicians to task just like Gary did in his blog.

    I am still waiting for ANY media outlet to do real investigated journalism into the churches that are violating the IRS code by allowing candidates to campaign at, during and after their services.

    This is even after Jonah told them all that both Mufi and Aiona were out there violating the churches non-profit status.

    David it is not too late there is this Sunday and if you go to ANY of the mega churches you will find these violations in the flesh.

    So until the media does their job we to thank people like Gary Hooser who are filling in the gap and exposing or at the very least reminding us what a nut job Duke Aiona truly is, before he green washes his back ground!

  32. Gargoyle Says:

    It is pleasing to watch these progresive implode in recrimination as Abercrombie’s lead slips away. This thread has been a very enjoyable read!

    Dave, you are violating the progressives’ freedom of religion by insisting they stop acting so arrogant and smug.

    Arrogance and smugness IS their religion.

  33. Michael Says:

    One dealing with a straw man is not the same as Dealing with a Scarecrow. At least the straw man had brains. Tin man had heart and the Lion had courage. Just follow the yellow brick road to the Land of Oz. We not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.
    Such of one with Buddhistic thinking. Male comment?
    I doubt it. Down to the last say. Psychology 201 deals with the principle difference between man and woman. One knows when to turn around in a dead end.

    Rip van Winkle, wake up and smell the roses. God was here way before Mankind. Adam or Eve. God if a woman so help me God! Forever hold my Peace. Certainly there is one who thinks so. Should study Philosophy to bring thoughts to religion.

  34. Kolea Says:

    I suspect if Dave had been blogging during the Scopes Trial, he would have focused his anger on any sign that Mr. Scopes or his attorney, Clarence Darrow, thought evolutionary theory to be “superior” to the Creation Story of the Christian fundamentalists.

  35. David Shapiro Says:

    If memory serves, Darrow’s basic argument wasn’t that evolutionary theory was “superior” to the religious view, but that there was no inherent conflict between the two. But I’m not arguing theology, just for showing people a little personal respect on the matter.

  36. Kolea Says:

    Dave,

    Your memory is a bit foggy. Darrow was quite clear in saying no intelligent Christian could hold to a literal interpretation of the Bible. You may remember, his star witness was his courtroom opponent, William Jennings Bryan, who admitted under oath that he did not interpret Genesis, literally when it refered to the six “days” in which God created the Earth.

    Dave, you may not want to recognize it, but the logic of your current argument is that Scopes and Darrow were insulting the Protestant majority when they argued, as they did, that Darwinian theory was a better explanation of Creation than a literal reading of Genesis. You are playing games in order to attack Hooser (and the rest of us) as “smug” and “elitist.”

    Re-read Thomas Paine’s writings and you will find a similar denunciation of Christians who choose to believe in a cruel God. Thomas Jefferson re-wrote the New Testament to remove all supernatural claims about Jesus, because he thought such an understanding was ********. (You supply the word. Try to find one which does NOT convey Jefferson’s view that such beliefs were childish.

    I think Hooser, Doug and I are in pretty good company with our disdain for literalist interpretations of the Bible.

    But go ahead, remain neutral on the question. You’ll offend fewer people.

  37. WooWoo Says:

    Kolea-

    Just curious, where does your account of Scopes come from? For my understanding of the trial, I rely on Dershowitz. I have not read the trial transcript, but he has. Dershowitz has several pages about Scopes in his “America on Trial” book, all of which is worth reading, but I’m not about to quote at length on my iPhone. I will quote the following:

    “All in all, a reading of the transcript shows Bryan doing quite well defending himself, while it is Darrow who comes off quite poorly- in fact, as something of an anti-religious cynic.”

    One of Dershowitz’s central themes in this book is that many historic trials have become fictionalized in the popular consciousness. He points out, for example, that the actual textbook at issue was one that applied Darwinism the human race and advocated eugenics.

  38. Kolea Says:

    WooWoo,

    The transcript is available online. I have not read the entirety, but the famous session where Darrow questioned Bryan is only a few pages and I have re-read it.

    Dershowitz always has an ax to grind and has some pretty obnoxious opinions. While I have not read him on this, I have read enough of him on other matters and would not regard him as reliable. One voice to consider perhaps, but ALWAYS balance him with a contrary opinion if you do not want his idiosyncrasies to drag you deep into the bush.

    You quote Dershowitz as calling Darrow him as “something of an anti-religious cynic.” I would dispute the word “cynic,” but he was clearly hostile to an interpretation of Christianity which cause intelligent people to shut down their critical thinking and accept as literal truth claims about history and science without subjecting them to the least bit of scrutiny. That comes through clearly in the questioning on Noah’s Ark and the age of the earth.

    Dave is partly correct in saying Darrow was trying to show “there was no inherent conflict between the two [science and Christianity],” but only if the “Christianity” under consideration were a less literal, less “fundamentalist” version than that advocated by Bryan and the movement he spoke for.

    Which is essentially Gary Hooser’s point as well. Gary did not attack Christianity per se. He is attacking an infantile, literalist version of it. In that, he is joined by Clarence Darrow, Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine to name just a few.

    Dave is perfectly free to selectively remember history according to his current needs. But he ends up insulting not just Hooser, but millions of other people, including those I have mentioned, by saying such views are the flip version of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

    And, I think he has allowed his attack to drag him into a position of basic dishonesty about his own views. I think he believes secular or religious beliefs which support human equality ARE better than those which promote inequality, that attempting to understand the creation of the earth and its pre-history using the scientific method IS better than believing the Earth is 6,000 years old and that all animals on it came from Noah’s Ark.

    He can, of course, speak for himself directly on these points. But despite a clear request from Doug that he clarify his position, he evades the direct question at the heart of his attack on Hooser: doesn’t he believe the same thing about religious fundamentalists, but just fears to say to directly?

  39. Kolea Says:

    Here is the transcript for the Darrow questioning Bryan session:
    http://personal.uncc.edu/jmarks/Darrow.html

    Here are some of the more pointed remarks:

    DARROW to Bryan: You insult every man of science and learning in the world because he does not believe in your fool religion.

    And later:

    DARROW: What about the religion of Confucius or Buddha?

    BRYAN: Well, I can tell you something about them, if you would like to know.

    DARROW: Did you ever investigate them?

    BRYAN: Somewhat.

    DARROW: Do you regard them as competitive?

    BRYAN: No, I think they are very inferior.

    And later:

    DARROW: We have the purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States, and you know it, and that is all.

    And Later:

    DARROW: I object to your statement. I am examining you on your fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes!

    Darrow clearly differentiates between “an intelligent Christian” and the “fool ideas” being presented by Bryan as the most prominent leader of the Fundamentalist movement in the United States. At the point he makes this final, exasperated statement, he has already shown that Bryan himself does not take the Bible literally when it suits his purposes. So it is not too far afield to suggest he is saying that Bryan himself, as an intelligent man, has trouble believing the position he is officially advocating.

    Some folks believe Darrow cross-examined Bryan simply to embarrass him. But the purpose of calling Bryan as an witness on a literal interpretation of the Bible was intended to demonstrate that EVEN Bryan contradicted a literal understanding of the Book. The defense was arguing that the statute used against Scopes did not simply require him to have taught evolution to be found guilty, but that he had attacked the Biblical account. If Bryan could be shown to disagree with a literal interpretation, it helped establish that it was not reasonable to demand Scopes follow it closely.

  40. WooWoo Says:

    Kolea-

    Dershowitz does have some unusual positions, but I find them to be all well thought out and argued. You my find them “obnoxious,” but I regard his work as independent minded liberal thinking. His legal, academic, and liberal credentials are unassailable.

    I try, in my limited free time, to read liberal thinkers because I don’t believe in living in an echo chamber. Dershowitz is one that I have found to have very convincing arguments. If you haven’t read any of his in-depth work, I highly recommend it. You may agree, you may not, but I always close the book wiser. He is undoubtedly among the small handful of great legal minds alive. His opinions should not be so quickly discarded.

  41. David Shapiro Says:

    Kolea,

    I have no problem with spirited debate about religion, theology and especially where the line should be drawn between church and state, but I think that framing your argument around name-calling such as “infantile,” “God-Daddy in the Sky,” “supernatural fairy,” “barbarian” and “childish” is childish in itself, unnecessarily drives people further apart and serves no purpose other than to satisfy an apparent need to feel morally and intellectually superior to others.

    In the video circulating online of Abercrombie’s speech to FACE (http://vimeo.com/15909954), he talks about not pushing people away from the table because they are in the wrong “category.” One of his quotes that stuck out to me: “My spiritual journey has led me to be very, very wary of making judgments of other peoples’ faith.” I presume he means it to cut both ways and I agree with him.

  42. Kolea Says:

    Dave,

    By now, this discussion is probably reduced to you, me and (maybe) WooWoo.

    I am a bit surprised by the bitterness in your tone against Gary and then me and on such a superficial basis. Let me lay out the context in which I see the conflict between the fundamentalist Christians and the more liberal Christians, and non-Christians.

    Gary’s harsh words against the fundamentalists, and my even harsher words, have been uttered (or “penned”) not in some ahistorical situation, but in the situation we find ourselves today. You think I am impolite in my choice of words (and underlying attitude). In fact, you say I am saying worse things than anything Aiona has said.

    These conservative religious forces have been organized for the purpose of denying equal rights to gays and lesbians. If they succeed at that, there next step, based upon similar efforts elsewhere by groups affiliated with them, will be to take away a pregnant woman’s right to decide whether to have a baby. The next item would likely be another attempt to get “equal time” for creationism in the schools.

    So we are not talking about each of us tolerating each other’s private religious beliefs. Heck, I will concede we ALL have eccentric beliefs, maybe even me. But these people are organized around a specific agenda. It is NOT correct that both sides are each trying to take away rights from the other. One side, the religious right, is being the aggressor.

    You chide me for using terms like “infantile” to characterize fundamentalist beliefs. And say my purpose appears to be solely to feel smug and superior. (You appear to find pleasure in feeling “smug and superior” to me with your generous tolerant spirit. With no trace of irony?)

    What ever character faults I may have, there is a more serious purpose. I believe people who embrace and propagate an authoritarian view of God adopt the authoritarian model for the family and the State as well. I believe people who willfully suspend rationality and the scientific method to the point of accepting a literal view of Creation, Noah’s Ark, the virgin birth of Jesus, etc., are being conditioned to abandon reason in looking at society and the problems facing us. Many of which require rationality if we are going to overcome them.

    I say I think I am superior to Christian fundamentalists. Not in all dimensions of my life, but on those most directly related to the political and scientific questions I am discussing here, yes I do. But what do they believe in turn? They believe that you, Hooser, Doug White, WooWoo, Neil Abercrombie and Linda Lingle (for that matter) are all going to burn in Hell for an eternity UNLESS we change our views and become like them. I think they are “infantile,” but they think I deserve eternal torment? And you accuse me of thinking my views are superior? Hey, but they’ve got God on their side.

    So your call for us to mind our manners for the sake of social peace is issued while they are amassing their army of intolerance in the hopes of “Transforming Hawaii” into a Christian-dominated state. They are welcome to their childish beliefs, so long as they keep them inside their churches. But when they organize to suppress my rights or those of people I care about, I am going to call them on both their actions and “their fool ideas.”

    Above, I quoted Darrow in my support. His remark about the fundamentalists’ “fool ideas,” stripped from their context, might come across as “elitist.” But he made those comments in the face of the fundamentalist attempt to suppress scientific education. Religious conservatives were trying to deny the right of teachers to share scientific information with their students. Just as today, Aiona, Sakamoto, Okino and others hope to impose their beliefs on the rest of us and deny us the right to make our own decisions on an equal basis.

    Let me close with Tom Paine, one of the primary shapers of the revolutionary vision which led to the revolution and helped shape the vision of a more just, more rational, social order. (Warning, you may think he feels superior to religious literalists).

    “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon that the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”
    — Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1794)

  43. anticoqui Says:

    I may be wrong but…..is a vote for Aiona a vote for a somewhat theocratic governor(ment)? He seems bent on leading this State via GOD’s will and scripture. Isn’t that almost Talibanic??!! A religious leader is not the same as one who leads by imposing his religious beliefs.


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