Sorry about the gaping silence from my end. Explanations will be issued tomorrow.

Pam already posted on this, but I thought I'd highlight this video and blog post from Right Wing Watch about the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, North Carolina that decided to mark Halloween by having a book burning. It didn't really have the dramatic impact they hoped that it had---or claimed it had after the fact---because they weren't allowed to actually burn anything, due to North Carolina's fire safety laws. Plus, it rained. So they tore up a bunch of offending material and threw it in a trash can, and then pretended that it had the dramatic impact of Jesus Christ himself coming down and taking a piss on some Harry Potter books.

But what was really interesting to me about this story was the extent of materials they found offensive. Right Wing Watch published their press release:

Come to our Halloween book burning. We are burning Satan's bibles like the NIV, RSV, NKJV, TLB, NASB, NEV, NRSV, ASV, NWT, Good News for Modern Man, The Evidence Bible, The Message Bible, The Green Bible, ect. These are perversions of God's Word the King James Bible.

We will also be burning Satan's music such as country , rap , rock , pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, southern gospel , contempory [sic] Christian , jazz, soul, oldies but goldies, etc.

We will also be burning Satan's popular books written by heretics like Westcott & Hort , Bruce Metzger, Billy Graham , Rick Warren , Bill Hybels , John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll , John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart, Mark Driskol, Franklin Graham , Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn , Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, Robert Schuller, Mother Teresa , The Pope , Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan Manning, William Young, etc.

Right wing Christians try to pretend there's some kind of yawning gulf between Islam and Christianity, but this sort of thing just goes to show that no matter what the technical religion is, crazy ass fundamentalists are all the same. The Cracker Taliban would happily ban art and music to prove their bona fides. The mentality that drives this sort of thing is inherently competitive and misanthropic. Misanthropic, because of the deep-seated hostility to pleasure (at least experienced by other people), and competitive, because religious nuts love to show that they're tougher than their competitors in the art of making people's short stays on earth as miserable as possible. No music, no entertaining reading, no diversion from sitting around hating life and wishing it could be over already. Meanwhile, the sadists get lots of pleasure out of hurting others.

This kind of goofiness is why it's really ill-advised for Democrats to think they can "compromise" with religious fanatics in their own party like Bart Stupak. Giving these people an inch to satisfy their craving for forcing suffering on others---especially on women---really does only encourage them to demand a mile. There is no such thing as a limit. The whole point is to keep pushing it, to prove how tough you are. The fantasy for anti-choice nuts is to get to a point where they can really prove that they are happy to sacrifice not only pleasure, but life itself for their principles. Not their own lives or pleasure, of course. Their pleasure is making others bend to their will, and that's not ever questioned. Their lives are too precious, of course. But a 9-year-old rape victim who could die if she gives birth is the optimal sacrifice to demonstrate that they are more hardcore than thou in the sadistic Jesus freak shit.

There's not much else more I can say on this. I just wanted to point this whole debacle out, because the end game of this kind of holier-than-thou crap is this, a complete denial of any kind of pleasure or diversion. There is always something else on the horizon that might give someone else pleasure, something that needs to be stomped out. I think a lot of Democrats, particularly moderate ones, would like to believe that the anti-sex crowd will be mollified if they are allowed to punish and scapegoat those unlucky enough to have an unintended pregnancy they can't carry to term. But all that these compromises do is raise the bar for the minimally acceptable sadism to be considered a True Believer, and encourages them to race down the road to flogging someone to death for humming a little tune that reminds them of more carefree days in the sun.