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Posts tagged ‘religion’

15
Mar

American politicians make me want to puke

Like that GOP goon, Sanatorum, recently said about hearing John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on the separation of church and state – that it made him want to “throw up…” well, I say, anyone who believes or takes these GOP operatives seriously make me want to puke!   Actually, they make me want to cry.

Any politician who also feels the need to stress their Christianity and tell everyone they are a good Christian, makes me want to puke.   Why in hell should you or I care about a politician’s religion?  Does it make a person a better person because they profess to believe in God and religion?  Never.  Never ever.

The Pope makes me want to puke because he is clearly a women hater.  The fact that the POPE can profess his hate for women on his world-stage is very frightening.

I’m angry.

I’m angry that men – in the 21st century – who are in the public eye – are actually making strides to destroy some of the basic rights that women hold dear such as the control over their own bodies.   And I’m angry that this country seems to have lost its way in the values department.

I’m so angry.

I’m amazed that we are even having a public discourse about, of all things, contraception!  I seem to recall that this is a war women already fought, and won!

Why are men again declaring war on women?  What is that about?

Why the hell can’t women in this country turn the tables on the contraceptive issue and DEMAND that ALL men who want to have sex become castrated? What’s the difference between a man being castrated and men demanding women give up their right to control their own reproductive system?  What’s the difference?

My body is my body no one has a right to tell me what to do with it – just like I have no right to demand a man be castrated.  If government and the church wish to control my female body, why won’t it then control the male body and require castration?

What’s the difference?

How can someone as morally corrupt as Rush Limbaugh, drug addict that his is, feel as if he can call women who use contraception sluts and whores, etc.?

If a woman has sexual relationships with men who are castrated she’d not need contraceptives and thus, using Limbaugh’s logic, they’d not be considered sluts or whores, correct Rush?

How dare any man or any church or any religion tell a woman how to respond sexually while a man can pop out his willy nilly willy nilly?

I need to talk about this but it’s late and I need sleep.

Here is a listing of my rants – for another day…..

I need to talk about immigration and the hate that goes along with that issue.  I need to talk about the killing of homosexuals in Uganda, and elsewhere. I need to talk about the war on women in this country.  I want to tell women in this country TO WAKE UP!  I want to tell idiots – total IDIOTS like those running against each other in the GOP race to SHUT UP and leave women, religion, marriage, and all social issues alone because you have no right to push a social agenda that is clearly meant to inflame those in our country who are uneducated because of the school system GEORGE CRIMINAL BUSH AND HIS ILK HAVE DESTROYED.

I need to yell and let loose with my anger about the dumb-ing down of America by the “Haves” who want it ALL and MORE.  I need to talk about what greed has done to this country.  Greed and Power, Power and Greed make this country tick and to hell with those living below the poverty level.

Money and power.  That’s it folks.

That’s why we cannot have a decent healthcare system in this country…. what would happen to the insurance and drug companies if healthcare were free?

If Americans would stop thinking about their next meal and get off the couch long enough to figure out what’s going on in this country, maybe they’d do SOMETHING to promote positive change?

Below is how I feel as a result thinking deeply about America and its politics, its religion, its values or lack thereof, and its MEN who want nothing more than  to see women BAREFOOT and WITH CHILD.

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9
Feb

Creative Whack #15: Let Your Mind Wander – mostly to the left

It’s been a while since I posted a Creative Whack.  This is number 15 of the 64 marvelous cards created by Roger von Oech – http://www.creativewhack.com/

This particular card, Let Your Mind Wander, is a very good mind-tussle for me today.  It’s timely since there are many startling and mind-bending things happening in the news lately and I have so much to say!  I have more to say than I can write here…  I’m going to try to get most of it, out.

One of the things I’ve wanted to write about is the mind-bending topic of the crazy, bordering on obscene, GOP primaries.  This whole GOP primary is a fiasco bordering on madness. Does anyone expect Newt or Romney or Santorum to be taken seriously?   If it weren’t for the fact that it’s really happening, it would be a huge joke, and a great movie. It would be like one of those “Focker” movies.  The Fockers are a focked up family who…..

Anyway…..How anyone over the age of 40 could actually vote for Newt Gingrich, after his despicable history in congress and as Speaker, is mind-numbing.

If Newt was president, wouldn’t you be afraid that he’d treat the U.S. and its allies like he treated his former wives?  Wouldn’t you be afraid that he’d bring back his proposal to send the children of people on welfare to orphanages?  Don’t laugh.  That was a Newt proposal during his dismal “Contract ‘against’ America” days. Maybe he’d try to make school-children janitors, after all.

If the inane ideas of some (not all) of the people in the GOP weren’t bad enough, their religiosity drives me crazy!   And yet, the GOP, with their heavy reliance on family values, are not even holding their collective noses when it comes to Newt.  Now that surprises me.  Unless it’s a matter of the GOP realizing that Newt can’t possibly win anyway.  Maybe the GOP just doesn’t want to play with Newt.  I don’t really think they like Mitt too much either.

But, really, to the GOP who would back Newt, I’d ask, “What about your marriage and family values? How does fig the Newt stack up with those principles?”

And now there’s Rick Santorum who, in the last three primaries, has trampled over both Newt and Mitt (Romney).  Last week Newt and Mitt were the players to beat in Florida.  Now Rick thinks that because he won Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, he’s joined the big boys….

Um, does anyone actually believe that Rick has a chance to be the GOP candidate?

Back to Newt and Mitt.… (There’s something about the iteration of those two names together…..  When I think of Newt and Mitt I think of the Little Rascal in Spanky and the Gang.)  

Newt and Mitt, they recall (for me) the days of Ozzie and Harriet, Denice the Menace cartoons, coming out of the 1960’s and segregation to be bowled over by the surprises of the seventies…. another story, the 70’s.

The Newt and Mitt Show.  The Mitt and Newt Show… No matter how you say it, it’s a lousy sounding title.  It doesn’t sell.  Neither does The Newt Show.  Or The Mitt Show.  Can’t take either seriously.  One sounds like it could be another Sid the Science Kid show with cookie commercials, and the other sounds like a story about a kitten who looses his mittens…..

With Newt and Mitt, or Rick – frightening men each one – in Washington, would Civil Rights be pushed back 50 years?  That’s what I am afraid of should either one win the presidency.

I was reading a book about the history of America yesterday.  From the Civil War, to WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, and all through the struggle for Civil Rights in this country.

And, I am reminded anew of the hard-fought battles for Civil Rights and equality for all.   And, not only did I realize that the lead-up into the Great Depression mirrors where we are today in our Great Rescission, but I realized that the GLBT is fighting just as hard for equality today as blacks (and women and other minorities), mostly blacks, fought for their rights.  It’s the same type of battle.  And the economy issues are the same issues today as the Great Depression.  There are many, many similarities!  Hoover’s failed state until FDRs New Deal… the rich v. poor, the banks, and on and on the similarities between today and the Great Depression continue!

The Hitler / Stalin Pact. Japan.  How this country treated Japanese American’s after Pearl Harbor is such a terrible blight, such a huge sore that festered until the US finally apologized, in 1988, I believe.  Can you imagine that happening now?  No?  I can.  You know why?  The people – not the government so much – the people of this country who are filled with hate and rage against “Muslim” or “Islam” that such isolation could happen all over again, like it did to the Japanese in this country.   I hate to think that… but, if we don’t remember our history, we’re bound to repeat it.

I pray we never forget the horrors that we put the innocent American Japanese through. I pray we continue to teach the bitter and ugly history of slavery.  I hope we continue to teach about what led to the murder of 6 millions, mostly Jewish, people. I hope we teach our children what hate does to people, to countries, and to us all.

Remember FDR?  He was a Democrat.  He followed Hoover who ran this country into the Great Depression.  FDR and the New Deal (and the lead up to WWII) got this country going again.  Anyway, FDR promised us that we need to hold sacred four freedoms:

The freedom of speech and expression.

The freedom of worship.

The freedom from want, and

The freedom from fear.

FDR's 4 Freedoms, painted by Norman Rockwell

FDR, of course, and his congress were not perfect.  Far from it.  But, FDR understood oppression.  He understood the need for equality.  FDR knew about fear when he consoled the American people by saying:  “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”

Whereas the Bush administration badly wanted an America who stood afraid so he could better control it, FDR wanted to warn AGAINST fear when he said, on January 6, 1941, in his speech that is now known as “The Four Freedoms” speech, the following:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor– anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception — the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

So, yes.  We must remember history.  We must believe in the bottom of our hearts that all men and women are created equal.  We MUST put religion back into the living rooms of our homes and in our churches or temples, where it rightfully belongs.  We MUST not care if a man loves another man, or a woman another woman, or if a man born a man but meant to be a woman, becomes a woman not by choice, but by necessity.  It is not our business.  Be happy for the men and women who marry each other.  There is no greater thing than the ability to be happy for someone else’s happiness.

There are mean and unhappy people in this world who wear their hate like a duck wears its feathers.  These people let happiness and thoughts of equality drop off of them like water on a ducks back. The trick is to deny them an audience – let them swim in a pond of their own making.  Ignore those who would wish ill on another person.

Our sanity depends on it.

February is Black History month, which reminds me of the enormous struggle, years in the making, that raged and raged, and to a large degree, still must rage.

However….. can it be there is light in the distance?

A wonderful and amazing and beautiful thing happened just the other day with regards to Civil Rights:  California’s Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional!  Which of course it is.

Other states, we hope, will follow suit and realize that equal treatment for all, means equal treatment for all.

Equal means just that.  Equality doesn’t measure sexual persuasion or gender into its equation.

The US Constitution never mentions the bedroom or the bed, now does it?  Does the Constitution mention sex at all?  Nope.

So, I would tell Mr. or Mrs. Jane and John Doe in Idaho who rails against abortion, same-sex marriage, and all GLTB issues —>  Keep your nose out of other people’s bedrooms, keep your hands off my female body, let me chose the contraception I alone want to use, and for Gods sake stay out of the marriage argument!

The only marriage argument any one person should have needs to pertain to their own marriage.  How dare anyone try to relegate my marriage?  I don’t think Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe would like to be told who they can or cannot marry.  Equal means equal.  It doesn’t mean equal for everyone but GLBT and women!

Oh, and while we’re at it, can we please remember to treat Muslims with the same respect we give our Christian brothers and sisters?  That would be wonderful.

And so, as I think about this 15th Creative Whack: Let Your Mind Wander, I think, well, this is a good exercise for opening the mind to the acceptance of other ideals or values that are different from our own.

For instance, I just read that Bill O’Reilly, the loud and wild man on Fox News who I am loath to listen to, recently stood up for Ellen DeGeneres .  Yes, he is on record, saying that to fire Ellen or to treat her differently because of her sexuality is akin to McCarthyism.  My, my, my!  Who would have thunk that O’Reilly would have such a heart?

I heart Bill O’Reilly!!!  Well, today anyway.

I think, therefore, we all can have new thoughts, just like Bill O’Reilly did!  If we use creative associations that trigger thoughts and beliefs that are potentially loving and kinder towards groups that have historically been targets of hate, it’s a great start!  After all, no one wants to continue to see children bullied to death or to suicide due to their sexual identity, right?

So, think of the children. Think of poor Robert Champion who was “hazed” to death by FAMU students.  Think of humanity…… Think of the Ugandan government who believes so strongly in Western religion they tried to pass a law to give homosexuals who are “caught” either a life sentence in jail, or the death sentence.  (Their legislation is “dead” but is still being “reviewed” by the government as of today.)

To start with, this creative whack uses the example of Work and goes on to compare it to play.  You’d think that work and play would be opposite, right?  Not true.  To be creative and make work meaningful, there are strong elements of “play” (though some would disagree).

Anyway, the trick here is to keep our thoughts positive and kind….

So, when we say:

Marriage, let’s associate it with Anyone.

When we say: Equal, let’s say Same Sex

When we say: Homosexual, say Love;

Equality: Everyone;

Children: Protection;

Reproduction: Women’s rights;

Differences: Blessings;

Religion: To each their own.

Respect: Women’s bodies; laws; rights of others; differences…….

And on and on we go!

3
Dec

What is marriage and what is hate?

Marriage is a symbol of love between two human beings, usually.  Well, unless those two human beings are the same gender.   If two human beings are the same gender, such a symbol is not available for them to own – well, only in a few states.

But, in the US, marriage is the union of two persons.  Simple, right?  Not for the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgender (GLBT) people.  Such a union is mostly outlawed, like in the wild-wild-west.

It’s difficult for me to understand what is the problem with same-sex marriage?

If Tom and Teresa can own the symbol, why can’t Tom and Terry?   Ahhhh, it’s how we perceive Tom and Terry or Sue and Karen – they are not like us therefore they are beneath us therefore they are not deserving of the basic human rights you and I enjoy.

To deny persons who are part of a GLBT community the right to marry, or to deny them anything at all based on sexual identity, is so obviously absurdly wrong! Well, to me it is.  Well, to most of us it is.

The people in power, those with religious power especially, cannot allow people who are hated as a group, any benefit that might encourage them to be happy.   Marriage would make people in the GLBT community happy.  That’s not good.  No no no no no.

If the GLBTs were happy the religious leaders would hate the political leaders for allowing that to happen.  That would be bad for the political leaders – they’d not get re-elected.   Then the religious leaders would put someone with more hate into power and everyone would be worse off.   If society got anymore hateful, a fertilized egg after a one-night-stand would have rights.   In fact, if the really hateful religious leaders had their way, a fertilized egg would have more rights than the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgendered person.

It’s bully-ism on a large-scale.  (Not sure bully-ism is a word, but you know what I mean, right?!)  I think hate is synonymous with Bullying.   GLBT (and too many others, namely immigrants), are the prime targets of school bullying.

We sit aghast at the stories coming from elementary and high schools about bullying and the resulting suicides.  But, do we realize that children, when they terrorize other children, are mirroring what they know adults and flaky pastors hate?

By the way, I don’t hate religion – I don’t hate anything, other than inequality.  I hate only hate.

I hate the hate of a Religious Right kind of hate because I see it becoming systemic in America.

What am I talking about?

I’m referring to the Religious Right who are not really religious but who thump the Christian bible because they think it will translate into political power.  I’m talking about the “Christians” who think God tells them to hate and to deny the rights of people they don’t even know.  I’m talking about the people who claim they take the bible literally but when push comes to shove they can’t but are loath to admit it.  I’m talking about the hate that is, religiously speaking, ironic because it promotes separation and racism.   I’m talking about the hate that denies equality to large  segments of society who are as deserving as you and I.

When two consenting adults wish to symbolize or honor their partnership, just as heterosexuals do, it should be a non issue.  It goes without saying that divorce trumps the statistics of those who stay married, that’s a non-starter though.  The issue is really not about that – that’s adding a negative to a the positiveness of love between the partnership of two people of the same-sex.

How in the world can people hate who they don’t know?  Why would anyone deny persons they don’t know the chance to experience happiness?  Who gives Sam – who has never left the state of Texas – the right to tell Joe, in Florida – a stranger to him, that he cannot have this or that piece of happiness?

So, what is marriage to the haters?  What is marriage to the GBLTs?   It’s the same thing – or will be when the GLBTs have the right to it.  The real difference between the GLBT marriage and the Hetero marriage is that one is more often made up of a love that is lasting.

This video explains it so much better than I ever could.

Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got.

9
Nov

no hasta la vista for the constitution, baby!

Tuesday’s votes in various states – many of which were extremely controversial – were for the most part defeated.  Mississippians rejected the Republican Personhood/Anti-Abortion Initiative… (phew!)

A story in The New York Times concludes:

And while voters in Mississippi, one of the most conservative states, turned away a measure that would have outlawed all abortions and many forms of contraception and had drawn conservative support from members of both parties, they tightened their voting laws to require some from of government-approved identification. Democrats had opposed the requirement, saying it was a thinly disguised attempt to intimidate voters of color.

In Maine, where Republicans recently had ended same-day registration at polling places, voters decided to restore the practice, which Democrats support.

In my view, it was a wonderfully DISMAL day for Republican Conservatives who want to set the clock back on women’s issues, LGBT issues, gay marriage, Unions, abortions, immigration in favor of Christian rule….  and so much more.

For the record, I have nothing against Christianity – I’m one, sort of.

Every religion has value – just as every human being has value.  Christianity should not define a person any more than Islam should.  Let people wear their religion proudly but quietly, please.

I get very cantankerous when it comes to categorizing the United States as a Christian nation.  It is not true.  Never has been.  Talk to the hand on that one.

Why do people have to shout so loudly about “being Christian?”   It seems unbecoming and counter-intuitive to the spirit of Christianity.

Anyone who has to press and press and ram religion down people’s throats is insecure in their own belief.  True “Believers” don’t need to call attention to themselves.

Christian Conservatives, and many of the tea drinkers, would like the rest of us to believe if you are not Christian, you’re nothing.   Excuse me?!!

How would the Christians like it if we became a Hindu or Islam nation?  They wouldn’t like hearing that anymore than non-Christians like to hear Christians shouting their superiority!

How does this sound…

We are a Jewish nation because Judaism rules!

I say we are a Buddist nation.

Excuuuuse me, we are a Islam religious nation.

Dammit, I said we are a Hindu nation!

Well, CLEARLY this nation is all about Scientology – duh!

Get outta town, you nut case – there’s no denying that we are becoming a Bahá’í people.

Gimme a freakin break people, we are a Tele-evangelist society, always have been, always will be.

Well, butter my biscuits, we are a nation of Yoga tele-novelas!

Butter your own biscuit buddy – you clown, there is no dispute here – we are an HBO nation.

HBO.  They don’t HAVE religion on there!

Hah!  That’s my point, you pea brained parasite – I like my religion ‘HBO Latino’ style.   So, hasta la vista to you, baby!

This country was built by immigrants of all religions. We are a diverse nation of every color and every religion known created by man.  Every one of them has a place behind the scenes and out of the workplace, out of government – not down our throats!

I get so angry when people can’t see WHY religion is the ultimate, dangerous divide.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.  ~ Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, (1818 – 1883)

8
Nov

ask “why?” Whack #2

Ask “why?”    Why is not always easy to answer – and you will never be able to get inside someone’s head to discover the “why?” of the “why.”

 Leonardo da Vinci…..

I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand.  Why shells exist on the tops of mountains along with imprints of plants usually found in the sea.  Why thunder lasts longer than that which causes it.  How circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone. And how a bird suspends itself in the air.  Questions like these engaged my thoughts throughout my life.   ~ Leonardo da Vinci

What are you curious about?  What probing questions can you ask? Where can you ask “Why?”

It’s necessary to ask why!  Why are shells on the tops of mountains?  Why are imprints of plants – usually found in the sea – found on mountaintops?

Was the earth so hot after the Big Bang that water formed and then flowed to cool what eventually became the earth?   Were there many Big Bangs?  Were there second and third Big Bangs so the entire universe could evolve, as it’s still evolving?   Could be.

What about the story of  “Adam and Eve” and the tree and the serpent and knowledge and all that silliness?

That Adam and Eve story sounds like a perfectly reasonable “Why?” to me.

(Yes, I am irreverent tonight…..Why?)

Why not!

6
Nov

alabama ignores justice department

 

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is well known to most Americans, and certainly to lawmakers, judges, attorneys and academia.   Any entity that seeks to disobey these laws is subject to rebuke via the Department of Justice.

Alabama is being sued by the Federal Government for its Immigration law, and now is seriously under investigations with regards to defying basic human rights.

George Wallace (center left) and the Stand in ...

Image via Wikipediahuman rights.

Alabama’s newly enacted immigration laws which, in no uncertain terms, intend to disrupt the government’s job of handling immigration, is also disrupting basic civil rights.

Alabama is essentially ignoring the Constitution of the United States.

The Alabama Attorney General, Luther Strange, is intentionally and cruelly sticking out his proverbial middle finger at the Department of Justice by asserting the Federal Government has no jurisdiction to challenge and investigate its newly adopted immigration law.  Not so, says the Federal Government.

In this country, a public education is available to all school-aged children regardless of their immigration status. Alabama’s cruel and illegal new “law” requires schools to check the immigration status of children and their parents.  The result of which is causing extreme disruption for children who (if they even continue to go to school), are harassed and bullied.  Parents, frightened about deportation, are keeping their children out of school.

This prompted the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General to issue letters to every Alabama school superintendent regarding the change in their enrollment numbers since the new “law” went into effect.  See Letter. http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/1710

Meanwhile, the Alabama Attorney General, Luther Strange, wrote his own letter to the Department of Justice advising they have no authority to request this information.  See Letter http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/opinion/downes/Perez.pdf?ref=sunday

To which Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General answered by saying, in essence, that the Federal Government, who is suing Alabama for its immigration policy,  will investigate allegations that Alabama is running rough-shod over Civil Rights.  (Think back to Governor George Wallace – the segregationist – who blocked the entrance to the University of Alabama, not allowing two black students to enter, in total defiance of desegregation. Constitution.  It was not until President John F. Kennedy who made the Alabama National Guard a federal entity so they could enforce justice and allow the two students to register for classes.   Think back to that time, and you’ll realize what is happening today in Alabama.)

It is deplorable. Shameful.  But, not surprising.  Since the election of Alabama Republican Gov. Robert J. Bentley stood up multiple times to say that people who had accepted Jesus Christ were his brothers and sisters.  He said: “if you’re a Christian and you’re saved … it makes you and me brother and sister.”   http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/19/nation/la-na-alabama-governor-20110119

Every lawmaker on earth has read the US Constitution and knows that such comments are unconstitutional.  Yet, the Governor of Alabama is clearly snubbing his nose at his role in Government!

Gov. Robert J. Bentley went on to say,

So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.  http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/19/nation/la-na-alabama-governor-20110119

Assistant Attorney General Perez advised in his letter to Perez that the US, as they

“…receive additional information, the Civil Rights Division and other Federal Agencies will be evaluating the potential for violation of Federal laws in Alabama, including civil rights laws – looking at violations of the Fair Housing Act, the Safe Streets Act, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, among others.

I don’t have the words right now to express the disgust I feel for the lawmakers in Alabama.

2
Nov

outlaw sex with your abortion amendment, Mississippi

Let me say this first.

Christian Right believers and politicians are digging the graves for women in this country as we speak.  And that is the purpose of  tonight’s rant.

I suppose I’ve had my head in the clouds lately because today is the first I’ve heard of Mississippi’s proposition 26.  I thought I must have been mistaken when I heard this story on NPR this morning.

No mistake.  It’s true.

And.  It. Has. Scared. Me.

It should scare all of us.

If you are a woman reading this, than worry about your female children, and your children’s female children.  If Mississippi’s successfully passes their anti-abortion – pro person proposition, and it goes to the right-slanted Supreme Court, we are all in trouble.

The story is this:  Next week, Mississippi will vote on their proposed amendment number 26, which defines person-hood in the Mississippi state constitution.   Yes. They want to define when a person becomes a PERSON.

Amendment 26 will claim that a fertilized egg is already a person.  A human being.  Of course, the amendment is aimed at knocking down Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court thereby making abortion illegal. However, amendment 26 goes further than just making abortion illegal.

Under this amendment, a fertilized egg is a person; so, in the twisted Mississippi mind, it follows that birth control is potentially premeditated murder, right?   Well, yes, since the egg is a person already, it would be murder.  What about a doctor who performs an abortion to save the life of the mother?  You guess it, Murder.

What about miscarriages?  Murder she wrote because the mother was probably reckless.

(See what I am getting at?)

What about using regular everyday birth control?  Condoms?   IUDs?  You got it,  Murder.

What about rape victims?  Sorry.  You shouldn’t have been raped, the law could say.

So, Mississippi wants birth control outlawed under this amendment.  This means more babies will be born in impoverished  Mississippi, which means more poverty, and more and more and more problems.  I would tell Mississippi to work on fixing the system to help people who are already born in your state.  Take care of your living people before you govern a fetus, Mississippi.

Unless, Mississippi wants more people to dumb-down.  I bet that’s the goal.

This same amendment is being pushed in more than a dozen other states.  There is a signature campaign in Florida, Montana and Oregon going on now.

A fetus is no more a person than a cell is.  A woman’s body is her own.

If abortion is going to be illegal, then sex for anyone under age 60 should be illegal too.  Makes sense, since men and woman over the age of 60 can’t really make children anymore (usually).

So, let’s get real here!  You can’t have it both ways, Mississippi.  If you want to rule that a person is a person at conception, then sex creates a potential person so sex has to be outlawed, too.

Oh my!  Now that may even be too conservative for the Mississippi Religious Right.

We need another Margaret Sanger – and quickly too.

31
Oct

for the good of all the people

Photo: Jefferson_on_Mt_Rushmore.jpg Thomas Jef...

Image via Wikipedia

The distinction between religion and the state is so important it is worth talking about at every turn, especially since I fear it’s not being taught in our elementary or high schools.

If we are going to be a sane and sensible America we must understand – ad infinitum – the critically important message of the separation of church and state.

As citizens of the United States we are protected by the Constitution – a non-secular treatise that applies to all people of America.

By no means am I an authority on the Constitution, or history or religion.  I do, however, understand the humanism and the freedoms the Constitution grants us.

I have learned the importance of keeping a wall between religious celebration and ordinary rules of law.  The founding fathers understood the harm that could come if the wall was torn down between religion and government. The Government, having more power than any single religion or person, respected religion enough to promise to never trample on religious freedom .

The constitution is the sanity that stops the government from supporting one religion over another, though in today’s society, the foundation of that wall is coming unglued and the “religious right” has for years tried to insert religion into our laws.  Why?  Because it’s a way to control the people. To start wars, to encourage the hate that starts wars in the first place.

Today, people want Jesus, God, and prayer to be part of our lives outside of our homes and churches.

Religion belongs in the church, in the home, and in the heart and minds of whomever wants to have it.  No where else.  Why?  Because not everyone believes in the same God.  Your God is not my God, and vise versa.

The founding fathers were unbelievably smarter than you and me.  They had the forethought to see what could come of religious idolatry being entwined in the rule of law. Think Hitler and Stalin for examples of this religious and social fanaticism.

Is there any other single subject that has been a war-starter more than religion?  I doubt it.

There has to be respect each others religion – treat it as if it were our own.  Respect is the operative word.  Having respect is to refrain from demeaning, discriminating or destroying another’s personal religious views or beliefs.

I don’t know when we stopped debating cordially about religion.  I don’t know why we stopped respecting the views of another’s religion.  Personal attacks have replaced the philosophical and enlightened religious discussions of the past.  Just listen to the Republican Presidential debates.  These men attack each other personally rather than discuss issues facing the country. Every single one of these candidates disgust me.  They are incredibly transparent.

I dislike using the word “Christian” to describe religious piety since when that term is used, it usually meant to portray its “rightful” superiority – which is not righteous any more than Buddism or any other “ism” is righteous.  Was this the reason why German-Jews had to wear their religion, as a yellow star, through the streets of Germany?  Was it to separate the righteous from what was considered vermin?     You better believe it.  Talk about racist profiling!

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peal...

Image via Wikipedia

But, let me get back on track.  What I want to accomplish here is to enlighten you with the words of  Thomas Jefferson  on this discussion.  The thoughts are brilliant and must have staying power for the good of all the people.

I’ve included two of his letters, and the third entry is Jefferson’s draft of legislation to maintain separateness between the church and the government- in this case, Virginia.

From Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association

Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge and Others, a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut

January 1, 1802

Gentlemen,

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

 To Rev. Samuel Miller

Washington, Jan. 23, 1808

Sir, 

I have duly received your favor of the 18th and am thankful to you for having written it, because it is more agreeable to prevent than to refuse what I do not think myself authorized to comply with. I consider the government of the U S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment, or free exercise, of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the U.S. Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority. But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting & prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the U.S. an authority over religious exercises which the Constitution has directly precluded them from. It must be meant too that this recommendation is to carry some authority, and to be sanctioned by some penalty on those who disregard it; not indeed of fine and imprisonment, but of some degree of proscription perhaps in public opinion. And does the change in the nature of the penalty make the recommendation the less a law of conduct for those to whom it is directed? I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct it’s exercises, it’s discipline, or it’s doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting & prayer are religious exercises. The enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, & the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands, where the constitution has deposited it.

I am aware that the practice of my predecessors may be quoted. But I have ever believed that the example of state executives led to the assumption of that authority by the general government, without due examination, which would have discovered that what might be a right in a state government, was a violation of that right when assumed by another. Be this as it may, every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, & mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the U S. and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.

I again express my satisfaction that you have been so good as to give me an opportunity of explaining myself in a private letter, in which I could give my reasons more in detail than might have been done in a public answer: and I pray you to accept the assurances of my high esteem & respect.

Thomas Jefferson – Public Papers, Revisal of the Laws: Drafts of Legislation

(1777, 1779)

Section I. Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments, or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time: That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness; and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion. is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous falacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.

Sect. II. We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

SECT. III. And though we well know that this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

26
Sep

Xenophobia

Merriam-Webster’s definition of Xenophobia:  “Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.”

I am on vacation this week, so my mom and I went to see the movie Sarah’s Key this afternoon.  We’d both read the book by Tatiana De Rosnay, and were both anxious and hesitant to see the movie, knowing the Holocaust is disturbing  subject matter.

I never knew about France’s role in the genocide of Jewish people, during WWII, until I read Sarah’s Key.  I’ve read many books on WWII and yet never heard of the Vel’d’Hiv Roundup.

The movie follows a young victim of the genocide in France.  In the Roundup, (Paris, 1942), the police and government set about to ensure the extinction of Jewish families.  During the Vel’d’Hiv Roundup, Jewish families were herded into the Velodrome, a large bicycling arena, where they were kept for days without anything to eat, no restrooms, or medical care.

And then, families were separated.  Husbands and wives separated, young babies torn from mothers, then older children dragged away from mothers desperate to keep them.

The events in France – the extinction of thousands and thousands of French Jews – was something, as I mentioned earlier, I’d never studied.  I was under the impression that France was of a different mind during the war.  As it turns out, they were as ruthless as the Germans.  (I’m reading some historians who say the French finally found their conscience and the genocide did end and was never repeated.)

The reason I am writing about this tonight?  I cannot get out of my head the reality – the harsh and brutal facts that people could be herded off to their deaths en masse.  French citizens allowed it to happen.  In the movie, some cheered as victims were herded out of their homes and into the streets, then removed.

How does society, or a community, allow this to happen?   It is mind boggling to think of the reality – the flesh and the blood, the fathers, mothers, sons and daughters purposely slaughtered.  Human beings like you and me, taken like they were property from their homes!

I’m a complete idealist, and have trouble accepting how prejudice can fester, like a cancer, in the hearts of  people.

Anne Frank wrote, in The Diary of a Young Girl, ” In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart… ”

It was not long ago that the horror of the holocaust happened.   The United States condoned slavery, the interment of thousands of Japanese Americans in 1942, and similar atrocities.  What would we do if such atrocities happened today?

I thought of Troy Davis.  I thought of the death penalty, and how our state governments murder people on death row.  And I thought, if a government will kill one bad person, what prevents them from killing masses of people perceived by them to have no value?

The Holocaust happened not that long ago.  The Spanish Inquisition (1492), and the Holocaust, (1939-1945), were made from the same religious fervor and  hate, only they were centuries apart.

I wonder if hate, prejudice, racism, or  sexism, etc., results from ignorance.  If that is true, I’d like to think that education is the cure.   Ignorance, lack of education and socio-economic disparities harm our communities, too.  The education our children recieve in our Public Schools (in Florida) is horribly burdened from the top down and bottom up.  This is the very reason I agreed to be on the Board of the YMCA in Broward County, Florida.  Our children don’t have the resources they need to succeed, especially in the inner cities.  Not to mention the problems with parental support, homelessness, hunger, and so much more.

People are in trouble today in our communities.  The fact that people are going hungry in the United States of America is something I never thought possible.  My fear is the longer our middle class is allowed to shrink and morph into the depths of severe poverty, the more we are in danger of increased crime and unrest.

And, the Death Penalty is not the answer!  The Death Penalty has no bearing on crime. It is not a deterrent, say the experts, and it’s far more expensive to carry out than are life sentences.

One of the characters in the film, while in the filthy, crowded and pestilent train-car that was taking the Jewish victims to the work camps, shows young Sarah the large ring on his finger.  He tells her there is poison under the false facade of the stone on the ring.   He says,  “No one, no government – nor anyone but I – have the right to tell me when it’s time for me to die.”

21
Aug

arlington cemetary shocker and some other rants

Have you read or heard the shocking news about Arlington National Cemetery?  This revered cemetery of hallowed ground is now facing a criminal investigation!  Reading this story nearly knocked me off my feet – it’s shocking and so sad.

The problems at the cemetery were apparently discovered in 2010, as noted in this recent msnbc article:

In June 2010 an Army inspector general’s report cited widespread problems at the cemetery, including more than 200 unmarked or misidentified graves.

In August 2010 officials revealed one grave site at Arlington was found empty, another contained the wrong remains and a third had two sets of remains, only one of which matched the headstone’s name. Read msnbc article.

Because urns of the veteran soldiers, many who died in battle, were unmarked, it has been difficult to identify to whom they belonged.  One clue, however, allowed the identity of Gwyn Stecher to be revealed.  A photo of a young ice skater was found with the remains of Gwyn Stecher.  The photo turned out to be that of 19 year old Granddaughter, Rachel Stecher, now a Cadet in the Air Force Academy, says the NBC report.

The urn containing the ashes of Gwyn Stecher were supposed to be buried with her husband, Adolph Stecher, a retired officer who served in World War II, and North Korea.

What does this say about society today?   I hardly know what to think.  It would seem absurd to place blame on the whole Arlington National Cemetery itself, though there obviously are individuals there without respect, concern or care for the honored soldiers, or family of soldiers.

This horrible story regarding Arlington National Cemetery makes me think conscientiousness and respect are in the process of eroding.  Aren’t we a God fearing society?

The Right-wing Extremists like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, and others, say you’re damn right we are!

I don’t look forward to the upcoming Presidential election, by the way.  The religious fervor in politics is alarming – that’s another post for another day.

The hypocrisy holler!

I abhor hypocrisy, especially as it relates to the actions of those who are supposedly beyond reproach like ultra-religious priests, pastors, ministers, clergy.  I’m also talking about the regular guy/gal wearing a big cross around their necks as they murder or rape or steal in between preaching engagements. That’s who I am referring to.

Speaking of hate, the judgmental pastors, who are more like loud car salesmen than anything else, who march up to the podium to condemn any state allowing Gay and Lesbians to marry, also also Politicians and Washington Lobbyists.  They are anxious to tell us, repeatedly, that marriage vows are exclusively for a man and a woman.  Really?  Yes, says the Bible.  Since the Bible says so, it must be true.

The good book also tells us that: “Entering the holy place without wearing bells can result in death.”   And, “A man has an obligation to produce a child with his brother’s widow. If he refuses, his sister-in-law is to spit in his face in front of the elders.”  Click for citation.

I don’t know a single Gay or Lesbian with those aspirations!

The Civil Rights that we depend on weren’t only for African Americans, and other minorities.  Civil Rights belong to everyone.  Nowhere do our Civil Rights discuss sexual preferences.

This is what angers me about politics today.  The fact that we are not screaming bloody murder over what some immoral politicians promote because they think it will get them elected.

There are too many Americans who have, stupidly, gotten swept up in a fervor, believing that a good politician is chiefly a good Christian.  A white Christian, at that.

I have a problem with religion that is taken to the extremes.  I respect all religions, as a matter of course, but religion has begun to scare me.

Religion is like an oxymoron when hate mongers threaten to destroy the rights of people who are different, like gay and lesbians.

It scares me to see Bible-Thumping goons promising to heal; their devotees shaking and shimmying with the spirit, singing, “Praise the Lord” as they fall to the ground, shaking and shuddering, writhing in pain.

Who wants to do that?

Wouldn’t it be nice if our religions were loving, caring, soft and private?  Religion is scary when it’s loud.  Religion shouldn’t be loud.

So, I am ranting about religion tonight because of the likes of Pastor Dale Richardson, held without bail for kidnapping and raping three women at gun point.  A serial rapist.  And a Pastor.

When rapists, murderers, and thieving criminals, are God-Fearing, what God are they listening to?  Is that the God you and I believe in?  It does make me wonder.

Dale Richardson believes and depends on the Word of God, say his followers.  If there is one God, I don’t think I want Pastor Dale’s version.

What God do the Catholic Priests pray to when they rape little boys?  When these God-fearing criminals are caught, I wonder if they blame God?

To those of you who will think me blasphemous, I don’t apologize.  I’m just a little fed up.  Sad, too.

Here is the story about Pastor Dale Richardson – this story is what prompted this post:

Preacher accused of raping women behind church – Members of the Freedom Free Will Baptist Church aren’t condemning pastor

2
Aug

life is eternal

This is a post about reflecting back to a time when, for a short but brutal time, I’d lost the ability to reflect on eternity.

This post is prompted by the lovely piece that I have included at the bottom of this post called: A Parable of Immortality, written by Henry van Dyke.

I recently came across these words as I was unpacking knick knacks.  This parable is printed on a sympathy card that I’d received in 2001.

I was having a terrible time in 2001 – unable to come to grips with the death of a friend.  I memorized these words like a mantra, thinking that it would give me solace, and it did.

In short, receiving this card coincided with being able to breathe again after my dear friend died so suddenly, without any warning at all.  Gone.  Leaving behind three children, a husband, me, and everyone else who loved her.

I was distraught at her death and was unable to see clearly; unable to see the good in anything.  I was angry.  I hated God.  I hated that life was so cruel. I couldn’t accept that I would never see my friend again.  But worse, I couldn’t accept that I would see my friend again – that life really does go on – in another plane, perhaps, but that we do go on and we will meet again.

The reality of the grief of my friends death tested my spirituality, or rather, my lack of it.

I was drowning in grief and the spirituality I’d thought was strong in me, was lost in the stars and beyond the reach of my waking reality.

Oh, I was so full of anger.  I remember crying (sobbing) and using the couch as a punching bag.  I was lost in grief. I was out to sea – drowning and flailing – every waking and sleeping moment was painful.  So, I memorized this parable.  It became one of the rocks that brought me back from the hell of thinking that there was no God, that life was just miserable heartache.

Thankfully, when I did emerge from the living hell, I was stronger and more whole than when I went down the hole.

It’s remarkable how resilient we are.  We go on and life goes on as it will – and it goes by so fast, doesn’t it?!

Perhaps eternity is really just a blink of an eye?  Perhaps the alternate universe is really just another consciousness – a separate reality that crosses and connects with our reality – only we are not always aware of it?  (There is more to the beyond than is written in our religious texts.)

Regardless, this card was like a gentle caress that quieted my volcanic thoughts – thoughts that would not keep still.   It so softly reassured me that life is eternal.

Like the Mariner, our soul goes on to a new sea or landscape that is just over yonder, a whisper away, maybe.  Or, is the beyond NOT measured in time?  Could it be that our dusk is an eternal dawn on the other side?  If dusk and dawn meet, perhaps that’s when we meet our loved ones again?  If that is so, we are just barely beyond time’s reach….Perhaps time is our concept only.  Perhaps there is no time in the beyond.

We can’t begin to know.

Anyway, I came across this card again recently as I was unpacking my treasures and I wanted to share its simple though profound message with you.

A Parable of Immortality

I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then some one at my side says: “There! She’s gone.”

Gone where? Gone from my sight- that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her; and just as the moment when some one at my side says, “There! She’s gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “There she comes!”

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