Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Complex Complex

Their claims are often disputed
and arguments easily refuted
but they play the game
and still make the claim
that Christians are still persecuted

Ed Brayton shared a trifecta of stories today about Christian "persecution" in America. On the face, those claims, they are laughable. Digging deeper into those claims, they are still laughable.

Christianity is, by far, the largest majority in the United States. Among Christians, Evangelicals are the majority group. These are the ones, it seems, that claim to be persecuted more often than any other group, religious or otherwise. These are the people who pass laws solely based on their beliefs, trying to legislate their morality on everyone, regardless of what each persons beliefs might actually be. They then cry "PERSECUTION" when a person or group fights back against the tyrannical majority.

I have a dream. I have a dream that, someday, hoping beyond hope, that people can congregate in a place that is solely devoted to worship. I have a dream that, someday, people can confess to the world that they believe in God. I have a dream that, sometime in the distant future, perhaps a politician can profess his belief in the God of the Bible and actually get elected to office. I have a dream that, somehow, they will remove the laws that are on the books in seven states that prohibit believers from running for office.

Someday, perhaps, my dreams might become reality. Until then, I suppose Christians will continue to be persecuted.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

If You Can't Stand The Heat...

With warming becoming the norm
we'll all have to weather the storm.
I was taken aback
when water that's fracked
is what Indians drank to keep warm.

In one of the most profoundly stupid things I've heard today, a Colorado state senator has come out and said that 'fracking', the act of hydraulically fracturing rock deposits to capture the trapped methane, is not only safe, but it is natural as well. Randy Baumgardner, it should surprise nobody, is a Republican. He was giving an interview to Gordon Klingenschmitt in Denver and said this:

“They talk about methane in the water and this, that, 
and the other, but if you go back in history and 
look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the
‘burning waters.’ And that was methane in the waters 
and that was for warmth in the wintertime.”

So...there it is then. He doesn't seem to adequately explain if they drank the water to stay warm or if they just caught it on fire and huddled around the flames.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

It's always a hard road to tread,
as demons tear your mind to shreds.
It's tough to decide
that ending your life
is the best way to escape your head.

Robin Williams, an extraordinarily prolific, extremely talented, occasionally funny actor, listened to his demons. He was found dead of an apparent suicide at his home in California.

I understand what he was fighting. On July 22nd, 2014, I attempted to take my own life. I can now say that I am glad it was an unsuccessful attempt, but the day after I was very angry that I was not dead. It was the darkest time in my life.

Mental illness is something that can affect anyone. It doesn't matter how rich or famous or intelligent or successful or pious you are. It treats people the same way as cancer or any other illness. It's just as insidious and just as deadly, and needs to be treated just as importantly.

My heart aches for his family. I can see now how my suicide would have affected my family, far beyond me just not being there. It is truly sad that he did not get all the help he needed.

Snip it in the Bud

Religions are stuck in a rut.
They're all full of regressive nuts.
They don't seem to care
'bout instances where
they get kids sick after they cut.

I have never tried to hide my feelings toward circumcision. I think it is an evil, barbaric practice that should be illegal in every civilized society. It should be looked down upon like most people look down on Female Genital Mutilation because, honestly, there is no difference between the two.

The Friendly Atheist shares a story about mohels, Jewish men and women trained to perform circumcisions. After performing the deed, they are required to draw blood from the wound. This is done by a suction device or, in Orthodox ceremonies, but the mohel sucking the blood away. With his mouth. On the penis of an infant.

Apart from the unsavory morality issues inherent with this, there are many medical complications that can arise. Infants, 8 days old as required by Jewish tradition, have contracted herpes as a direct result of this ritualistic disfigurement. Two babies have died.

The parents of children who have been given diseases by these practitioners have refused to name the mohels that got their children sick. New York City's health department has banned two mohels from performing circumcisions in NYC, but will not name them. Because, of course, we wouldn't want to prevent them from moving somewhere else and slicing up other infants.

This is, to me, just as disgusting and wrong-headed as the Catholic Church refusing to name priests who molested children.

Friday, August 8, 2014

By The Book

To convert them, by hook or by crook
you should always be seen where they look.
If you have the nerve
to sign up and serve
they'll make sure you see their "good" book.

The Pentagon has responded to a minor kerfuffle that has arisen recently. The have backed a National Guard recruitment center in St. Louis MO, which has been offering camouflage-covered Bibles to recruits as they prepare to serve our country. As long as every organization has the opportunity to offer their books, then I don't think there should be a problem. If they start excluding anyone, then lawsuits should be a-filed.

Anyone who has been in the military knows that this is not at all uncommon. I remember Bibles being handout out during in-processing at Ft. Jackson when I went there in '96. I was religious at the time, so it did not bother me at all. As I started sliding into un-belief, I started noticing more and more how insidious the Christian culture had infiltrated all ranks of whatever command I was in.

The worst part was when we were in the field. Out in the sun all day, training hard, playing soldier like a boss, eating MREs. Slogging back to base, dirty, dripping with sweat, hungry to the soul for hot food and a hot shower. Cleaning up a bit, we'd hit the mess tent. Regardless of how loud our stomachs protested, we could not sate ourselves.

Someone always had to open their big mouths to pray over our food. Not caring about what the belief of any other soldier might be, they would not serve any food until the magic words had been spoken.

It was not limited to meal time, either. If you wanted a promotion and your commander was religious, you best not miss his Prayer Breakfast every Sunday's drill. Religion is like a worm that has worked its way through the command structure, and woe betide you if you believe differently than some commands.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What the Internet is For

When you understand your demography
just wants political pornography
and they find that his'try's
too much of a mys'try
don't think that they'll get geography

Why yes, I do have a punchable face

I am seriously starting to get confused as to whether or not right-wing are willfully ignorant, incredibly stupid, or just liars. I know, I know, it's probably all of them. Also, I should probably just stop reading the news.

Todd Rikita, a Republican (duh) Congressman from Indiana has said that the children coming to the US from Central American countries are carrying the Ebola virus. This is an incredibly stupid statement that is either a lie or shows a disturbing lack of knowledge of geography and medicine. A quick search would show that Central Africa, where Ebola is prevalent, is not near Central America, from where the children come.

The most likely answer is that he's pandering to his political base, spreading lies to ensure his re-election.

Monday, August 4, 2014

With Rhyme, Without Reason

Though in the courts they were beaten,
it seems one more thump they are needin'.
A Bishop said priests'
names won't be released.
And why? He said "There's no reason."

Another day, another story about Catholics above the law but below civilized morality.

The Bishop in charge of the Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana has stated that the church will not release the names of priests who were responsible for the molestation of children. The Diocese was ordered to pay a $26 million settlement for those crimes. At least one of those priests, Gilbert Gauthe, was transferred between churches in the Diocese, allowing him to hurt a new batch of victims.

Bishop Michael Jarrell has refused to release the names of the priests who preyed on children. His reasoning? That releasing the names "would serve no purpose." There is an allegation, which the Church denies, that one priest is still in the same Lafayette church in which he victimized a young boy.

The purpose of releasing the names of EVERY priest who attacked children is to prosecute them for their crimes, and protect any other children from ever being harmed by them again.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Power and Glory

When you can't rely on providence
to support you in your opulence
just sit and relax.
It's all paid with tax!
We all pay for their extravagance.

CNN has a story detailing the prices of homes of bishops and archbishops in the United States. They range from a 'modest' 4 bed/4 bath house in which a single person lives to the $30 million mansion inhabited by the archbishop of New York. Because donations to churches are tax-exempt, all of these 'homes' are bought and maintained with tax-payer money.

Personally, I find it appalling that people who claim to follow Christ, who said that in order to get rewards in heaven you must sell all of your possessions and give the money to the poor live in luxury when there are hundreds of thousands homeless in this country, with millions more living in poverty and millions of children hungry. These are the same people who claim to follow the same man who said 

"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go 
through the eye of needle,than for a rich 
man to enter into the kingdom of God."

They might claim that it's not actually their wealth, because it technically belongs to the Catholic Church, but I believe that if you are reaping the benefits of the wealth, and you have control of the wealth, then it is your wealth. You can not live in a multi-million dollar mansion and then claim that your organization is bankrupt when you rightly get sued for protecting your employees over the victims of their crimes.

The whole organization is morally bankrupt.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Laws and Suits

Won't do what you're hired to do?
Your priorities are all askew?
Does the president
cause you great torment?
Then you should prob'ly just sue.

It's my party, I'll cry if I want to.

The congressional vacation just started. 5 weeks of paid time off. A glorious time during which politicians work separating fools from their money, all to get elected again so they can keep separating fools from their money. Before they left Washington, however, they had a full slate of bills that required immediate attention.

They held a vote on whether or not to sue the President.

On a party line vote (which 5 Republicans voted with the Democrats), the House of Representatives voted to move forward with a lawsuit that will sue President Obama for issuing an executive order that relaxed some of the requirements on businesses under the Affordable Care Act.

What did they not vote on?

A transportation bill, that would provide funding for vital infrastructure projects.

An immigration/border bill, that would provide much needed funding to help relieve the humanitarian crisis of tens of thousands of children who make their way to the United States in order to flee violence in their Central American home countries.

But they did vote to sue the president for issuing an executive order, which has been done since George Washington was elected to be our first President.

The irony of this situation is that the Republicans, one day after voting to sue President Obama, asked that he issue an executive order to help resolve the border crisis.

It would be humorous if these people didn't have power.