Category Archives: Religion

Actions vs. Opinions

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to non other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & 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 & State.”

[Emphasis added.]

Thomas Jefferson to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut,

January 1, 1802

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Religion

Bryan Fischer Wins the Comstock Award (again)

fischer

Bryan F Bloviating Into the Ether

Bryan Fischer, president of the American Family Association, has won the Anthony Comstock Award for Priggery again. The award, in memory of the famous man of morals, Anthony Comstock, salutes self-righteousness and superiority assumed without any basis by people whose true happiness comes from creating problems, pain, and suffering for others. Comstock (1844-1915) famously

Anthony Comstock in his prime.

Anthony Comstock in his prime.

began his moral crusade by complaining to his superior officers during the Civil War that other soldiers were using profane language. Naturally, there was no reason for the use of filthy language, considering that the troops were engaged in a filthy war in filthy surroundings, doing filthy things to filthy other men. Why would they even consider cursing?

The reason Fischer received the award is his moving statement on his radio program today declaring the fight against homosexuality to be the defining battle of our time. Notice that he doesn’t focus solely on same-sex marriage, but goes for the whole magillah. I’ll tell you it was a big surprise to me because I thought we had left the battle against homosexuality way behind us, like when most of the country said, “Yeah, so you’re gay. So???” But not for Fischer. It is his calling to drive all those gays back into the closet where they belong.

I admit it felt strangely empowering to have him put us all in the group he calls ‘Big Gay’, like we belong with Big Oil and Big Business. But maybe it’s just me, because Fischer says that every time Big Gay gains ground (say, like, when courts interpret the law against discrimination against us correctly) Jesus is forced “into retreat.” Wow, the strength we have! I had no idea that the lesbian and gay push for marriage equality was anti-Jesus, or anti-Yahweh, or anti-Mohammed. I thought it was a demand for the same rights that Comstock and Fischer enjoyed just by being born.

Fischer did say, though, that if the “forces of sexual normalcy” (can’t wait to see what their uniforms look like) prevailed, America would be returned to that “shining beacon of morality and decency for the entire world.” Whew! At least there’s a way out. But–there’s always a but–if the “forces of sexual deviancy” (now those will be some dynamite uniforms) prevail, “every part of our culture is going to be corrupted, it will be contaminated beyond repair, and America…will plunge the world into a moral abyss of darkness and depravity.” OMG! Really?

What is ironic in what these holier-than-thou reformers spew on the airways and in meetings around the country and beyond is that they’re right. If something doesn’t change, if people don’t fight the good fight, our culture will be degraded, it will be despoiled, and we will pitch headlong into a new dark age. But it’s not because of gays and lesbians’ existing in this country. It would be because of the narrow, sanctimonious, misguided moralistic views of crazy Christians like Bryan Fischer, who wouldn’t recognize Jesus if he came back and spoke to him directly.

See, here’s the thing. These religious fanatics would have us deny science, believe without proof of any kind, and leave the governing of our country up to them. As you can see by the breadth of legislation passed by members of the Tea Party, who embody this religious fanaticism, the country is essentially running in place. Oh, except for Obamacare, where people are getting insurance they couldn’t get before, and things like the Lily Ledbetter Act that empower women to demand the same pay as men for equal work. And the winding down of two unnecessary wars. Yeah, except for things like that, the far religious right has done shit-all in moving this country forward. I’m figuring that’s because they want to move this country backward and, at least for now, keeping it from moving at all is good enough.

Fischer and his ilk have got their linens in a lump because the world isn’t the same as the one they remember so fondly, when they ‘had it all’, so to say. When men could treat women as their property and take their marriage rights when and where they wanted them, when there weren’t many uppity blacks who didn’t know their place, when fags and dykes stayed as hidden as possible, when the poor were that way because they were lazy-that’s what he misses, and that’s what drives him to his extreme, unsupportable positions. He’s going to have a cow when the United States Supreme Court declares that the right to marry belongs to all Americans. But he has Plan B. I’m sure he’s already booked a flight to Uganda, where he can feel right at home.

Sorry he couldn’t be here in person to pick it up, but I am honored to present the Comstock Award to Bryan Fischer. (I hope he understands the symbolism.)

The Anthony Comstock Award for Breathtaking Stupidity

The Anthony Comstock Award for Priggery

3 Comments

Filed under Bible, Gay rights, Hatred, Homophobia, Hypocrisy, LGBT, Political, Religion, Tea Party, Uncategorized

Religious FB posts

Hi!

Glad to be back writing. Work had eaten up almost all my spare time, so I didn’t have the time to write. But now that I’m on pre-retirement training leave (that’s for another post) I hope to get back into a regular schedule.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

I’ve been noticing that many of my FaceBook friends are posting heavily mystical visuals about god. This started after the American elections in early November. Perhaps the results made them think the deity had his/her hand in our politics. Of course, it’s nonsense to think that. How would the alleged supreme being choose sides in an election like ours? We had the first black president running for a second term (an historical first) against a true blue Mormon who, I don’t doubt, believes that his religion is absolutely correct. I can’t see how a god could choose sides and still remain the same lovable, caring, sadistic, incompetent being he is described to be in the so-called holy scriptures.

But of course, that’s a silly statement because god simply doesn’t exist. If one finally has the balls to accept that premise, all the other claptrap, ritual, rules, and writings of all religions simply slips away. Amazingly freeing thing to do, you know.

Some FB friends continue to forward posts like one that shows a radiant figure in white and blue robes apparently standing effortlessly among gorgeous clouds against a blue sky. Hard to say how big he is, but you have to look carefully to find him because his colors blend into the sky. The message is from an entity called “Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior” and the substance of the communication is “Like in 2 seconds if you believe”. My dear FB friend ‘liked’ that message. I’m sorry to see that, because it suggests she is buying into all the bullshit religion is built on. I doubt she ever saw some heavenly being in the clouds, and if she did see that, she needs to see some professional for help.

Once again, religion feeds us what we’d like to believe, not what is. I’d like to own a Rolls Royce. Do I expect to get a post showing a picture of a Rolls resplendently alone on a lonely road in an American desert? Should I ‘like’ that image in 2 seconds if I believe in Rolls Royce? Such nonsense.

Rolls-Royce

Enhanced by Zemanta

4 Comments

Filed under Bible, Book of Mormon, Evangelicals, God, Quran, Religion, Roman Catholic Church

Gabby Cathy

Chick-Fil-A chicken strips

Chick-Fil-A chicken strips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A, waded hip-deep into the same-sex marriage debate on a recent radio show when he said “we’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”

Cathy’s religious convictions are well known, since no Chick-Fil-A store is open on Sunday. And same-sex marriage is still considered ripe to criticize, unlike miscegenation (destroyed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia in the late 1960s). Some day, Cathy’s comments will be seen for what they are: bigoted, biased, and archaic.

There have been swift denunciations of his stance. Boston’s Mayor Tom Manino wrote a scathing letter, agreeing he has the right to his opinion but suggesting that Chick-Fil-A had a snowflake’s chance in hell of opening in his town. The same goes for the councilman from Philadelphia. Their reactions are pretty much what you’d expect in a time when gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered folks are no longer unknown to the general public, when positive gay characters show up regularly on TV (an absolute imperative if we are to gain acceptance), and when some states do, indeed, allow same-sex marriage without the government or infrastructure falling apart.

Whenever something obscene or outrageous takes place in this country, one of our knee-jerk reactions is to ignore the rule of law and take matters into our own hands. But of course, that isn’t the way to deal with Mr. Cathy and his company. Boycott Chick-Fil-A if you are able to. That’s a positive way of showing your displeasure. Tell all your friends what a reactionary Cathy is. Think deeply about how organized religion fosters such bizarre thinking, and then think about ditching it for something more rational.

Protest outside Chick-Fil-A stores. Legally, of course. Make your point that way. But realize you will never change Cathy’s mind about what god has in mind for gays. (The answer is nothing, since there isn’t any god, but that’s for other posts to consider.) You can, however, change his revenue stream, by dissing the fast food operation every chance you get. Write letters to the editor, make it the subject of your blog posts (as I am doing right now) and alert everyone you know about the bigotry behind the chicken.

Someday in the not-too-distant future, this will be remembered as the minor event that it is. But for now, stand up and let Cathy know that you’re offended by his antediluvian statements. Tell him god told to you do it.

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under Bible, Evangelicals, Gay rights, God, Hatred, Homophobia, Human rights, LGBT, Religion

The Devil is the Catholic Church

His Emptiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has named a new archbishop for San Francisco, Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone. What makes this an unerringly unfit appointment is Cordileone’s militant homophobia. He was instrumental in orchestrating the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage in California, and he is also one of only 18 prelates who have signed something called the Manhattan Declaration, a pledge to protect “the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty,” even if doing so means violating the law.

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what has Benedict done? Installed one of the most prominent anti-gay Catholic officials in the United States in one of the gayest cities in the 50 states. If that isn’t a slap in the fact to gays and lesbians, then it is one of the most ignorant actions a pope has taken in some time. It is clear the Church intends to continue to make life more difficult–if it can, and that’s questionable–for gays who still believe in the pablum the Church calls its magisterium, its teaching authority.

The Church hierarchy has, for centuries, declaimed same sex attraction as a sin. That is true even though homosexuality was rampant in the religious orders of both genders. They still cling to the damnable lie that gay sex is wrong. But they have let go of the other sins in the Old Testament, like killing witches (“A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.” Leviticus 20:27) or trimming your beard (“Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” Leviticus 19:27).

The Catholic Church pursues this issue even though nothing in the New Testament indicates that Jesus had anything to say against gay men and women. That might be because the whole concept of sexuality was different in those times. The term ‘homosexuality’ was not even coined until the late 19th century. And still they persist.

While the Church avers that homosexual acts are the devil’s work, the truth is just the opposite. It is the Church that is the devil, pursuing what may be its final quarry because they have lost so much ground on the tenets of their faith. Very few Catholics in the US pay attention to the Church’s pronouncements. And why should they? The rantings of the old men in the Curia and an octogenarian pope who have never had sex (at least, that’s what they tell us!) have no relevance to the rest of us.

If you think about the issue of religion long and hard, and especially about Christianity, you will reach the point where you stop believing in god. And if there is no god, then all of the other crap churches, mosques, and synagogues have been broadcasting means absolutely nothing. The Catholic Church is now one of the enemies of progress, but unlike in the Middle Ages, when it had real power, it is a shadow of its former self. Benedict himself has proposed a smaller church with more hardcore believers, and the smaller the better.

For my brothers and sisters who still cling to the fantasy that is religion and are willing to suffer abuse and discrimination in this life in the hope of having an eternity of joy in heaven, I have two words for you: Stop It! It is bunk!

Enhanced by Zemanta

2 Comments

Filed under Gay rights, Hatred, Homophobia, Human rights, Hypocrisy, LGBT, Religion, Roman Catholic Church

On Cults-Part I: Mormonism

A 1893 engraving by Edward Stevenson of the An...

A 1893 engraving by Edward Stevenson of the Angel Moroni delivering the Golden Plates to Joseph Smith in 1827. From Reminiscences of Joseph, the Prophet (Salt Lake City: Stevenson, 1893), 21. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately I’ve had occasion to consider the concept of cults more carefully after listening to a fascinating podcast from Reasonable Doubts (see http://www.doubtreligion.blogspot.com/2009/07/episode-48-cults.html) on that topic regarding Scientology and Mormonism. Wikipedia defines a cult as:

 a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre.[1] The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices.

Under that definition Scientology and Mormonism would definitely be called cults.

Mormonism began in the mind of Joseph Smith when, in 1820, he was trying to decide which religious sect to join when he received a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Wikipedia then states:

Sometimes called the “First Vision”, Smith’s vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate beings was reportedly the basis for the difference in doctrine between Mormonism’s view of the nature of God and that of orthodox Christianity. Smith’s 1838 written account of this vision is considered by some Mormon denominations to be scripture and is contained in a book called “The Pearl of Great Price.” Smith further claimed that in answer to his prayer: “I was answered [by Jesus] that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”[6] By 1830, Smith reported that he had been instructed that God would use him to re-establish the true Christian church and that the Book of Mormon would be the means of establishing correct doctrine for the restored church.

An angel named Moroni allegedly appeared to Smith a number of times, promising to reveal to him later on in time that Book of Mormon. Eventually, we are supposed to believe that Moroni finally came through on his promise and showed Smith where to dig. The results? A number of gold plates on which were inscribed the holy Mormon text! Smith set himself to translating these plates (with the help of a magic dictionary supplied by Moroni). He used his neighbor as the scrivener, hanging a blanket across the room and sitting behind it, calling out the translation. No one–repeat, no one–ever saw those

English: Joseph Smith translating the Book of ...

English: Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

plates. But this religion was build upon their existence.

So if I’ve got this straight, an angel appeared to Smith but to no other, and he told Smith where to find these gold plates that were seen by no one else, and the angel gave him a dictionary to do the translation, but no one saw that, either. And, presto! A new religion is born.

I must say I see little difference between that beginning and the three well-established monotheistic boondoggles. So in the historical first, we’re to believe that God strolled in the garden with our ur-parents and everything was copacetic until that wicked Eve believed what the serpent told her (!) and went and ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Then they got kicked out and she was punished by the pain of childbirth, not to mention the loss of Eden. The historical second faith begins with a virgin birth (!) in a barn. (Does anyone believe that any more?) and triumphs in a conquest of death, at least for the central character, who has morphed into God for some versions of the faith and a separate entity for others. Then, in the third historical belief, an illiterate shepherd who meditated in the mountains has a revelation from the Deity when he’s 40. For 3 years this continues, and the shepherd memorizes everything he is told and shares with his followers.

So, like I said, it’s hard to point the finger at Mormonism as a silly little cult when the big guys have been dealing in lies, fictions, and mumbo jumbo for far longer. But they’ve grown up and taken on the mantle of established religions, while Mormonism is only an infant comparatively. That means that Mormonism has to be labelled a cult because its beliefs and practices are, indeed, abnormal or bizarre.

I mean, their insistence on wearing special white underwear might almost be considered cute, but the prohibition against coffee, tea, or caffeinated beverages makes you wonder. And their cosmology, which holds that, if you are ‘sealed in the temple’ on your wedding (meaning you are married for eternity), then when you die you will be given your own planet in the universe to populate. Oh yes, you get to keep your wife but more women are to be supplied, too. (Can’t wear her out, you know.)

That latter belief kind of goes along with the earlier Mormon practice of plural marriage–one hubby and many (often under-aged, but who’s counting–) wives. And we haven’t even chatted about their penchant to baptize as many of the dead as possible, including victims of the Holocaust! I might give them a pass on this because the unintended consequence is to provide genealogical data that we would never have had.

I ask you. Is there any question this is not a cult?

Photograph of the Sacred Grove, where Joseph S...

Photograph of the Sacred Grove, where Joseph Smith, Jr. had his first vision in 1820 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under Book of Mormon, Religion

Kinde, Küche und Kirche, Teil Zwei

In the late 1890s, a travel writer by the name of Marie Remick, in a book called A Woman’s Travel-Notes on England, made the following observation:

After Germany, where women apparently take no interest in public affairs, and seem to obey to the letter the young emperor’s injunction “Let women devote themselves to the three K’s, — die Küche, die Kirche, die Kinder“(kitchen, church, and children), the active interest and influence of English women on all great questions were refreshing.

Liberal writers used the triple K phrase numerous times throughout the 1890s and it became fairly well-known in the English-speaking world. The Nazis never used the term officially, but by deed they demonstrated that it still held sway in the Reich. For example:

Adolf Hitler in Yugoslavia.

Adolf Hitler in Yugoslavia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Hitler came to power in 1933, he introduced a Law for the Encouragement of Marriage, which entitled newly married couples to a loan of 1000 marks (around 9 months’ average wages at that time). On their first child, they could keep 250 marks. On their second, they could keep another 250. They reclaimed all of the loan by their fourth child. –Wikipedia

The phrase is reminiscent of the American concept that women should be kept ‘barefoot and pregnant’, and suggests that the speaker/writer believes women should be minimalized into birthing machines.

Republican Party (United States)

Republican Party (United States) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The German phrase indicates a woman’s place is with children, the church, and the kitchen, and nothing more. Clearly, a woman is not expected to have a career and a life of her own, and if she did work she should not expect to make as much as a man for the same labor. (Republicans do not support the Lily Ledbetter Act, giving women equal pay for equal work.) Is that not the same philosophy that drives the Republican right to pass 31 bills restricting or outlawing abortion but not one bill on job creation to date? The conservatives seem obsessed with controlling women’s bodies, passing laws requiring women to have transvaginal probes inserted in their bodies so that they may confront the fetus they plan to abort face to face, as it were. (Virginia) And are they not possessed by the fear that their Christian churches might be damaged by some federal law? (They don’t care a fig about synagogues and mosques, because they have convinced themselves that Christianity is the only correct religion.) And what argument do they make against same-sex marriage? That gay people can’t have children. So they are fixated on children, too. (They’re really off on this argument, given how far science has come.)

Of course, they are frightened. Their way of life is changing, the nation is moving from white domination to a mixed bag, and they fear that. So they want to keep those white Christian children coming. And they seem to want the mom to stay home, out of the workforce, and take care of the kids. How different is that from Kinder, Küche, und Kirche?

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under Conservatism, Conservatives, Gay rights, Hatred, Health care, Human rights, Misanthropy, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Rights, Sexuality, Status, Women, Women's rights