Tag Archives: belief

I am NOT Charlie Hebdo

This 2010 cover of the French publication Charlie Hebdo depicts a Muslim woman with a burqa stuffed up her ass. I, for one, wouldn’t publish such unnecessarily offensive material. Because you can doesn’t mean you should. There is an awful lot that we are free to do that we probably should not do.

First, the obligatory (but sincere) opening paragraph in which I proclaim that I support free speech on every square centimeter of the globe and that of course I do not condone the slaughter of human beings over the publication of things that some (or many or even most) have found to be offensive.

I’m sure that I’ve offended many people over the years, and I sure would prefer not to be shot to death because I’ve offended some fucktard’s precious sensibilities.

But missing in the discussion that I’ve heard and read regarding yesterday’s massacre of 12 people in Paris at or near the offices of the weekly French publication Charlie Hebdo is that the publication apparently has a frat-boy mentality (I dunno: is that a French thing?), the mentality in which other groups of human beings who differ from our own group exist only as fodder for our belittling attacks against them.

I don’t see that Charlie Hebdo’s many covers apparently meant to offend and provoke Muslims in France do anything to uplift the public debate. These covers seem to be meant to provoke and offend above all else, to shock, to scandalize, and to enrage Muslims, or, at the very least, to not give a shit if Muslims become enraged (because hey, they’re Muslims!).

“Charlie Hebdo insults all religions,” the ubiquitous Charlie-Hebdo-defending mantra goes.

Really?

Here in the United States, the equivalent cartoons, if they were about Jews, would be considered to be virulently anti-Semitic.

Why, in the West, is anti-Semitism widely condemned (and so much that isn’t actually anti-Semitic nonetheless is deemed to be “anti-Semitic”), but virulent Islamophobia so often in so many places is perfectly A-OK? (That was a rhetorical question, mostly, but I’ll answer it anyway: because in the West, Christianity and Judaism get preferential treatment. They always have.)

I don’t believe in God, so I have no dog in this race. Muslims, Jews, Christians, all (the fundamentalists among them, anyway) believe in things that I think are utter bullshit, such as ridiculous dietary restrictions (well, at least the Jews and the Muslims), creationism and other anti-scientific and anti-intellectual stances and hocus-pocus bullshit (“miracles,” virgin births, resurrections, being God’s specially chosen stenographer, etc.), patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and talking to a non-existent deity (a.k.a. “praying”).

Those who believe in God (as adults who should know better) more often that not are only going along to get along with the tribe that they were born into and/or want pat answers to all of the universe’s questions (and their religion gives them the veneer of having all of those answers) and/or they find the world to be a terrifying place to be and they find God to be the ultimate security blanket.

I disagree with them, and when theofascists piss and shit on my human rights, civil rights and equal rights (such as they did with Proposition H8) I will speak out, but, in general, I don’t see what good would come of my going out of my way to offend and provoke those who hold religious beliefs that I find to be ridiculous. For the most part, as long as the theists leave me (and my rights) alone, I can leave them alone.

Charlie Hebdo’s raison d’être, on the other hand, seems not to be to enlighten and to unify, but to offend and to provoke, especially Muslims, yet when the dog that it’s been stabbing with sharpened sticks for years now finally — and fairly fucking predictably — bites back in a big way, the rest of the world is supposed to feel sorry for Charlie Hebdo? Really?

I’m sorry that people were massacred over Charlie Hebdo’s low-brow, frat-boy content that, in my estimation, certainly wasn’t worth dying for. But it was preventable. The free speech that these people died for wasn’t very valuable speech, was it? A woman with a burqa stuffed up her ass? Mohammed thusly depicted:

Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoon

?

I won’t say “Je sui Charlie” (French for “I am Charlie”) because if I owned a weekly publication, I wouldn’t print shit like this, shit that causes more harm than good.

As an atheist on the outside looking in, I can proclaim that in the West, Muslims get the shitty end of the stick almost every time. The same individuals who preach about how we should respect their precious religious beliefs have no problem disrespecting Islam, and the Charlie Hebdo cartoons that I’ve seen of the pope and of Jews aren’t, in my estimation, likely to be nearly as offensive to Catholics and Jews as are the publication’s cartoons depicting Mohammed or Muslims to Muslims. (And, from what I can tell, the publication’s cartoons lampooning Islam are more numerous than its cartoons lampooning Christianity or Judaism.)

Charlie Hebdo repeatedly has poked the critter of Islam with a sharpened stick. In 2011, the publication’s (yeah, I just have a hard time calling it a “newspaper”) headquarters were firebombed, for fuck’s sake (the day after it published an issue calling itself “Charia Hebdo” and portraying Mohammed as a clown with a red nose).

What happened in Paris yesterday was predictable and preventable. And what was it for? For “free speech,” so many people proclaim, but no, ultimately it was for the freedom to continue to shit and piss on Muslims, including the freedom to offend them deeply in ways that are universally known to deeply offend them.

That is not a freedom that I believe is worth dying for. Defending against the spread of theofascism, whether the theofascists be abroad (such as the wonderful folks of “ISIS” [or whatever we’re calling them this week]) or at home (such as those who bomb abortion clinics and those who violate the U.S. Constitution and human, civil and equal rights when they do their damnedest to stop same-sex marriage), is worth dying for, but making unprovoked attacks upon others for their religious beliefs, no matter how ridiculous they might be? That’s not a defensive posture, that’s an offensive posture.

And yes, intentionally offending Muslims in the West is worse than is intentionally offending Christians or Jews in the West, because — duh — in the West Christians and Jews have greater numbers and greater power than do Muslims. Picking on the majority is not — not — the same as picking on an already-highly-picked-upon minority group. It takes a special kind of asshole to kick someone who’s already down.

I am not Charlie Hebdo, no matter how fashionable being Charlie Hebdo might be in the West right now.

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Democratic pussies cave to Repugs even during their convention

Updated below

I hope that I live to see the nation’s first openly atheist president. I suspect that Barack Obama actually is an agnostic, maybe even an atheist, but he’d never publicly admit it because, like most politicians do, he panders to the fucktards who still believe in mythology.

Leave it to the spineless fucking Democrats to capitulate to the Repugnican Tea Party “Christo”fascists yet once again — even during the Dems’ quadrennial convention.

Earlier today I read with glee that the word “God” didn’t make it into this year’s Democratic Party platform, which is great news, since “God” doesn’t belong in the party’s platform any more than does Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy or the Great Pumpkin.

Of course, we’re talking about the Democrats, so it couldn’t last. Reports The Associated Press today:

Charlotte, N.C. — Embarrassed by Republicans, Democrats amended their convention platform [today] to add a mention of God and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

Many in the audience booed after the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments had been approved despite the fact that a large group of delegates had objected. He called for a vote three times before ruling.

The party reinstated language from the 2008 platform that said “we need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”

It also reinstated its 2008 language that Jerusalem “is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

Democrats had approved a platform [yesterday] that made no mention of God or Jerusalem. Instead, it expressed “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Republicans pounced quickly on both omissions.

GOP officials argued that not taking a position on Jerusalem’s status in the party platform showed the president was weak in his support of Israel. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said omitting God “suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people.”

“I think this party is veering further and further away into an extreme wing that Americans don’t recognize,” Romney said.

The Democratic Party’s decision to restore the mention of Jerusalem reflected what advisers said was the president’s personal view, if not the policy of his administration. The administration has long said determining Jerusalem’s status was an issue that should be decided by Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks, but has been careful not to state that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Romney’s campaign quickly sought to capitalize on the slight, but important difference.

“Mitt Romney has consistently stated his belief that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” said Andrea Saul, Romney’s spokeswoman. …

The White House wouldn’t say whether the change in the Democratic platform language reflected a change in administration policy.

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the reinstated party language reflected “the policy of both Republican and Democratic administrations for decades.” … [Yes, because “That’s the way we’ve always done it!” is such a convincing “argument”! And surely, anything that the Repugnican Tea Party has always done must be
right!]

But the decision to amend the platform did not rest well with some delegates.

Noor Ul-Hasan, a Muslim delegate from Salt Lake City, Utah, said she felt it went against the principle of the separation of church and state.

“There are people who don’t believe in God and you have to respect that as well,” Ul-Hasan said. She also questioned whether the convention had enough of a quorum to even amend the platform. “There was no discussion. We didn’t even see it coming. We were blindsided by it.”

Angela Urrea, a delegate from Roy, Utah, said she felt it was sprung on the convention without any discussion.

“The majority spoke last night,” Urrae said, noting [that] the platform was approved [yesterday]. “We shouldn’t be declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Republicans declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel in the platform the party approved last week at its convention in Tampa, Fla. …

When was the last fucking time that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors changed their party platform in the middle of their fucking convention because of criticism from the Democrats?

Jesus fuck, you would think that the one God-damned time the Dems could show some fucking backbone would be during their fucking convention.

And what, exactly, does this last-minute capitulation to the “Christo”fascists get the Dems, politically speaking?

Committed “Christo”fascists already support the Repugnican Tea Party, which consists of millionaires and billionaires, but there aren’t enough plutocrats among us to win elections, so the millionaires and billionaires also pretend to love the white supremacists and the Jesus freaks and other assorted white trash, and that is the bulk of the Repugnican Tea Party: the plutocrats, the remnants of the KKK and the “Christo”fascists (with a lot of overlap among those categories).

Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel, but that’s one of at least a few things that the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party have in common: They both want Jewish dollars, so they can’t pander to the Israel-firsters enough. It’s treasonous to put the interests of a foreign nation above the interests of one’s own nation, but with the shameless money whores who comprise the “leadership” of both of the major parties, expect both parties to continue to lick Israel’s ass like no other nation’s ass.

And if God exists, then maybe God should be a suprise guest at the Democratic National Convention!

Yes, indeed: Barack Obama should scrap his acceptance speech and instead bring an empty chair on stage with him and have a conversation with God, a la Clint Eastwood. God could even endorse Barack Obama on live television!

What, that’s bullshit? It’s no more bullshit than is the utterly unprovable assertion that there even is a fucking God, who is like a reward- and punishment-doling Santa Claus on crack. (He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!)

If the Repugnican Tea Party traitors want to continue to pander to the dipshits who still believe in a God, fine, but it would be fucking nice if the Democratic Party “leadership” would respect the long-standing concept of separation of church and state.

The job of a political party is to govern, and our government is to remain neutral in affairs of religion. That is the only fair way to govern. Otherwise, you have a theocracy, and I, for one, just say hell fucking no to an American Taliban.

I don’t give a rat’s ass what the religion is, whether it’s Judaism, whether it’s what we actually call here in the United States “Christianity,” whether it’s Islam, whatever — I don’t want retards who believe in non-existent deities to shove their delusions down my fucking throat through the vehicle of government that my tax dollars make possible.

Atheism, agnosticism and other belief systems (such as the Eastern belief systems) are growing in the United States of America.

The Repugnican Tea Party and the “Christo”fascism that the Repugnican Tea Party espouses are going the way of the dinosaurs.

It would be fucking fantastic if the cowardly fucktards who “lead” the Democratic Party wouldn’t follow the Repugnican Tea Party traitors into the fucking tar pits.

P.S. Now comes the news that the Big Man Himself — no, not God, but Barack Obama — had the party’s platform changed. Reports The Associated Press:

Charlotte, N.C. — President Barack Obama personally intervened to order Democrats to change language in their party platform to add a mention of God and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, campaign officials said [today].

Scrambling to end the furor, Democrats abruptly changed the platform early [this] evening to reinstate language from the 2008 platform that said “we need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.” …

Democrats also restored 2008 language on Jerusalem, declaring the city “is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

Campaign officials said Obama’s reaction on the omission of God from the platform was to wonder why it was removed in the first place.

The officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about private discussions.

The platform changes did not sit well with some Democratic delegates gathered in Charlotte, N.C., for the party’s three-day convention. Many in the audience booed after the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments had been approved despite the fact that a large group of delegates had objected. He called for a vote three times before ruling.

The revisions came as Obama struggles to win support from white working-class voters, many of whom have strong religious beliefs, and as Republicans try to woo Jewish voters and contributors away from the Democratic Party. Republicans claimed the platform omissions suggested Obama was weak in his defense of Israel and out of touch with mainstream Americans.

Democrats had approved a platform [yesterday] that made no mention of God or Jerusalem. Instead, it expressed “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.” Republicans quickly pounced. …

Who fucking cares what the Repugnican Tea Party traitors think?

The Democratic Party’s platform had been approved democratically. It should have stood, regardless of what Barack Obama believes. Why should the members of the party vote on anyfuckingthing at all if they then can be overriden by one individual?

And no one caves in better to the thugs on the right than does Barack Obama, who makes them look like they are right by caving in to them almost every single fucking time.

Barack Obama has turned caving in to the radical right wing into a fucking Olympic sport.

Update: I just watched the video of the actual vote on the changes to the Dem Party platform. What a fucking weasel Antonio Villaraigosa, chair of the convention, is.

The change to the party’s platform required a two-thirds vote by the delegates, which Villaraigosa did on a voice vote. Villaraigosa had the delegates voice-vote three fucking times, apparently believing that the third time would be a charm, that the delegates would fall in line like good little lemmings.

Yet by even the third voice vote, it doesn’t sound at all like Villaraigosa reached the two-thirds threshold.

Nonetheless, the weasel-bastard, undaunted by the fact that sometimes democracy doesn’t go your way, declared that the changes to the platform had passed by two-thirds of the delegates.

This blatantly dishonest, anti-democratic, hierarchy-ass-licking bullshit is what you would expect from the Repugnican Tea Party Nazis, not from the Democratic Party — and this is yet another reason why I call the two parties of the partisan duopoly the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party: because there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two.

I place most of the blame on the Democratic Party’s worthless “leaders,” like Barack Obama and Antonio Villaraigosa, who apparently has gotten ahead in the Dem Party only by going along with the fucktards who outrank him, by putting blind personal political ambition — and thus blind obedience — far above decency and integrity.

Kudos to the delegates who at least tried to stop the anti-democratic coup that their party’s selfish, shameless “leaders” perpetrated upon them today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

YES, Mittens’ Mormonism MATTERS (and other heretical thoughts on this Easter Sunday)

Ah, Easter Sunday.

No better day (except Christmas, perhaps) to discuss religion.

The Los Angeles Times’ website had two interesting headlines this past week. The first, posted Thursday, was “Sen. Hatch Predicts Obama Campaign to ‘Throw Mormon Church’ at Romney.” It begins:

In a prediction of underhanded campaign tactics to come, [Mormon U.S.] Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told GOP delegates Tuesday that he foresees that President [Barack] Obama’s campaign will try to use Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith against him.

“You watch, they’re going to throw the Mormon church at him like you can’t believe it,” Hatch said.

He later reiterated his point on Wednesday in Draper, Utah.

“For them to say they aren’t going to smear Mitt Romney is bologna. It’s way out of bounds, but that’s what is going to happen.”

Hatch, also a Mormon, and seeking re-election in a state with more than 60 percent of the population following the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [the Mormon cult], specifically pointed his finger toward Obama’s campaign adviser David Axelrod and White House aide David Plouffe.

“Let me tell you something. The Obama people have some of the best political consultants in the country and they don’t get there because they’re always wonderful people. They’re very tough,” Hatch said. “I’ve met with Axelrod, he’s the best there is in the business. Plouffe, you’ve got to say he’s one of the best. And there is nothing they won’t do.” …

Yesterday, the L.A. Times ran another story, authored by someone else, with the headline “Obama Praised – and Pummeled – on Matters of Faith.”

Indeed, as the story points out:

… Few presidents have spoken about their religious faith as often, as deeply or as eloquently as Obama. “We worship an awesome God in the blue states,” he declared at the 2004 Democratic convention, and he has sought since then to rebuild ties between the Democratic Party and the world of faith.

Yet no president has faced such sustained hostility over issues of faith, including Republican charges that he is waging a “war on religion,” widespread suspicion about the sincerity of his Christian faith, and the persistent legend that he is a practicing Muslim. … [Emphasis mine.]

Indeed, Barack Obama’s having tossed some bones to the believers in God as A Super-Duper Wish-Granting and Punishment-Doling Big Santa Claus in the Sky on Crack — He’s making a list and checking it twice; he’s going to find out who’s naughty and nice! He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! — always has unsettled me, someone whose views on religion decidedly do not follow those of the pack of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

However, I’ve lived with Obama’s occasional God crap because (1) I’ve pretty much had no choice, and (2) I’ve never had the sense that he would govern the nation theocratically — and certainly not as a Muslim!

The problem that the “Christo”fascists have with Obama is not that he has waged an actual “war on religion.” He has not. He has not ordered that any churches or any church publications be burned or banned, that any religious leaders be burned at the stake or crucified or even just exiled.

Shit, the Obama administration allows “Christo”fascist organizations to, as I understand it, blatantly violate their tax-exempt status by openly participating in politics and in political campaigns, such as in the “Christo”fascists’ jihad against women, non-heterosexuals, non-whites, non-“Christo”fascists, et. al.

(Disclosure: I never will forgive the Mormon and Catholic cults for their hateful, mean-spirited, anti-Christian support of the incredibly hateful, mean-spirited, anti-Christian Proposition 8, which wrote the hatred of and the discrimination against an historically oppressed minority group into the state’s constitution here in California.)

It has been business as usual for the “Christo”fascist churches under President Obama*, and any drop-off in church membership can be attributed to the fact that the backasswards, anti-science and anti-reality “Christo”fascism, which picks certain groups out for continued persecution and subjugation, in direct violation of the actual teachings of Jesus Christ — I need only point to the “Christo”fascists’ ongoing war on women, in which both Catholic Prick Santorum and Mormon Mittens Romney are active, bomb-lobbing enemy combatants — doesn’t fucking work in 2012, if it ever worked at all (it did not).

But the right-wing fascists love to blame everything, even their own miserable failings — perhaps especially their own miserable failings — on the nation’s first black president.

The problem that the “Christo”fascists have with Obama is not that he is waging some “war on religion,” but that he is not giving favored status to the stupid white men — like the cabals of stupid, old, evil white men who lead the Mormon cult and the Catholic cult, who would love to get their hands on the White House via Mormon Mittens Romney or Catholic Prick Santorum — stupid, evil white men who use the names of God and Jesus to try to advance their own personal lust for power and money.

Historically there have been two broad visions of Christianity.** The historically dominant one is the one supported by the likes of Prick Santorum and Mittens Romney, the one in which certain power-grubbing men have all of the power and the only way to God and Jesus and “salvation” is through these men — which is awfully convenient for these men, but not so great for the rest of us. They have the monopoly on God and Jesus and “salvation,” you see, and they will defend this monopoly because no one with a ridiculous amount of power and money will part with it without a fight.

The other vision of Christianity is a minority vision. It views spirituality as a personal matter that the individual must cultivate within herself or himself. Indeed, under this vision some gargantuan “Christian” institution cannot somehow magically “save” the individual merely by the individual’s identification with or membership of the institution. The individual has to do the work of “salvation.” No one else can do it for her or him.

Indeed, Jesus himself is recorded to have said, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5 and 6:6)

I see no other way to interpret that than that Jesus was saying that prayer is an intensely personal, not a public, matter, yet the “Christo”fascists are all about prayer in public, even in our public schools, although Jesus himself clearly called such practitioners and advocates “hypocrites.”

Jesus also had choice words about rich people, such as “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)

Hmmm. Is multi-millionaire Mittens Romney going to heaven?

If his millions have bought him a method of shrinking himself so that he can squeeze through the eye of a needle, then sure.

But seriously, here is “Christo”fascist Mormon tool Orrin Hatch insinuating that all discussion of Mittens Romney’s Mormonism should be off limits, yet it’s been wide open fucking season on Barack Obama’s religious beliefs since before he took office. How conveniently convenient it is for the Mormon cult that we should be able to discuss Barack Obama’s religious beliefs (or supposed lack thereof) ad nauseam, but that to discuss Mittens’ religious beliefs is, according to Mormon cult spokesnake Sen. Orrin Hatch, “way out of bounds.”

This is the rank hypocrisy that Hatch and his “Christo”fascist ilk have been so steeped in for so long now that they apparently can’t even see it; they take it for granted like a fish takes water for granted.

Whatever Barack Obama does or does not actually believe about God and/or Jesus, I don’t much care, as long as he doesn’t try to govern the nation theocratically. In a nation of diverse believers and non-believers, to govern theocratically is to govern only for some and not for all. The only way to govern for all is to govern secularly.

I, for one American, don’t want theocracy. I want secular democracy. I have good reason to believe that Mittens Romney would take marching orders from the cabal of stupid, old, evil white men in Salt Lake City. Every Mormon is expected to obey and to answer to the cabal in Salt Lake City, which is to have the supreme authority in Mormons’ lives. Mormons ultimately don’t answer to their country. They answer to the cabal in Salt Lake City. I lived among Mormons in Arizona. I know.

Nor do I want Pope Palapatine’s puppet, Prick Santorum, in the Oval Office. I don’t have to worry about him being elected president, since he has a snowball’s chance in hell of that ever happening, but I’m not OK with him being vice president any more than I was OK with Sarah Palin being a heartbeat away from the highest political office in the land.

On this Easter Sunday, I want to tell the “Christo”fascists of the world: Fuck you. For centuries you have been calling the shots and persecuting your detractors in the names of God and Jesus Christ, using rank hypocrisy as your main weapon of choice. Your anti-Christian reign is ending. You know it, which is why you are in your death throes — and better, the rest of us who for centuries have been your victims know it.

*Indeed, as the L.A. Times notes:

Obama gets generally high marks from faith organizations for maintaining, and in some ways strengthening, the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships begun by [former “President”] George W. Bush. Obama faced pressure from secular liberals to scuttle the office, which was seen as blurring the line between church and state. Instead, he used it to reach out to faith groups across a broad spectrum of theology and politics.

“The president was very bold in deciding not just to drop something that a lot of people who supported him thought was not a great idea,” said Stanley Carlson-Thies, who served under Bush in what was then called the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.

Under Joshua Dubois, a Pentecostal minister Obama appointed to head the office, it has expanded its focus from primarily funneling government contracts to faith-based groups to also engaging religious organizations as volunteers. It has, for instance, trained churches and other religious organizations in disaster preparedness and response. It also enlisted more than 1,000 churches in a Job Clubs program to help the unemployed.

A rather different message has emerged from the Republican presidential contest. “This president is attacking religion, and is putting in place a secular agenda that our forefounders would not recognize,” his likely Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has said. …

**For more on this, see the writings of Elaine Pagels, perhaps especially her seminal The Gnostic Gospels.

She begins her conclusion of that work with this paragraph:

It is the winners who write history — their way. No wonder, then, that the viewpoint of the successful majority has dominated all traditional accounts of the origin of Christianity. Ecclesiastical Christians first defined the terms (naming themselves “orthodox” and their opponents “heretics”); then they proceed to demonstrate — at least to their own satisfaction — that their triumph was historically inevitable, or, in religious terms, “guided by the Holy Spirit.”

In her work, Pagels chronicles how Christianity, quite early on, was hijacked by power-hungry, ruthless men who wished to mangle the message of Jesus Christ into something that no longer freed people, all people, as it was intended to do, but into something that instead enslaved people and that served these power-mad men and their own selfish, ultimately petty interests.

This bastardization of the teachings of Jesus Christ began as early as with Bishop Irenaeus, who within the two centuries after the death of the historical Jesus determined which early Christian gospels (there were many of them, not just four of them) would become official and “true” and which would be deemed apocryphal and “heretical.” Irenaeus advocated for a rigid, all-male hierarchy that decided all matters, against the early gnostic Christians’ belief that spirituality is an individual practice, not an institutional or hierarchal practice, and that this is what Jesus Christ taught.

Once the early patriarchal/hierarchal “Christian” church gained the military strength of the Roman empire under Roman Emperor Constantine about a century after Irenaeus, this bastardized vision of Christianity as a rigid patriarchy that could persecute — even slaughter — others in the names of God and Jesus became the dominant form of “Christianity” that we know today.

The early gnostic Christians — the true Christians, in my book — who by definition opposed hierarchy and militarism, were no match against the unholy alliance between the early patriarchal/hierarchal “Christians” and the militaristic Roman empire. They were, in essence, crucified, and their teachings, including the gnostic gospels, deemed “heretical” by the early patriarchal/hierarchal “Christian” church, were lost. (Many of the gnostic gospels later were discovered, however, especially the find in Egypt in 1945, as Pagels chronicles in her books on the topic.)

Bringing this true Christianity back would be, symbolically, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that, in my book, is the real message of Easter today.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Desperate Mittens finally jumps on ‘war on religion’ bandwagon

In church

Associated Press photo

Mitt Romney obviously is running scared, with Prick Santorum running ahead of him as much as 10 percentage points in recent nationwide Repugnican Tea Party presidential preference polls.

Mittens hasn’t spoken much about religion thus far, I surmise, because he doesn’t want to draw attention to his Mormonism* and because he knows that many if not most of the so-called “swing voters,” who decide presidential elections these days, are turned off by hard-right “Christo”fascist rantings and ravings.

Romney for the most part has avoided going there, but with Santorum having gone there and surging as a consequence, what’s a poor multi-millionaire Mitt to do?

This:

Today Mittens proclaimed on the campaign trail in Michigan: “Unfortunately, possibly because of the people the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular agenda — they have fought against religion.”

Um, so President Obama is palling around with the wrong crowd? He can’t think for himself?

Here is the breakdown of religious belief in the United States of America (according to Wikipedia):

Protestant: 51 percent of Americans

Catholic: 25 percent of Americans

No religious affiliation: 15 percent

Non-Christian religions (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.): around 4 percent to 6 percent

My Internet research shows that there are about 6 million Mormons in the United States of America, which has a total population of about 313 million, which calculates to only about 1.9 percent of Americans being Mormon.

(The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life says that 51 percent of Americans are Protestant, 24 percent are Catholic, 16 percent are unaffiliated with any major religious group [4 percent identifying as atheist or agnostic], and 5 percent are Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu. And the Pew Forum puts the number of Americans who are Mormon at only 1.7 percent.)

So we have Catholick Prick Santorum, whose religious beliefs are shared by no more than a quarter of the nation’s population, and Mitt Romney, whose religious beliefs are shared by no more than 2 percent of the nation’s population, wanting to shove their particular brands of religious belief down all of our throats.

Is that fair? Is that right? Is that moral? Is that democratic? Is that American? Is that even Christian? (Whom would Jesus religiously oppress?)

Fact is, in such a religiously pluralistic* nation as ours, the only fair and just and sane way to handle such religious diversity — which includes, of course, atheists and agnostics — indeed is to govern secularly.

To do otherwise is not to be a government for everyone, but to be a government for only some.

Frankly, whenever I hear Barack Obama bring up God, I cringe. I would prefer that if my president actually believed in a non-existent, Zeus-like deity, he or she wouldn’t talk about it publicly. Because when I hear my president bring up God or Jesus, I don’t feel like my president is my president.

(For the record, I gravitate toward Buddhism and other Eastern belief systems, and while I agree with the majority of Jesus Christ’s actual teachings [but I don’t buy that he was more than a human being, so no, he was not conceived asexually, and no, he did not rise from the dead, and nor did he perform the other assorted “miracles”], I am not into the deity/Super-Sized Santa Claus in the Sky thing, and my opinion of the Western patriarchal religious belief system [Christianity, Judaism and Islam] is that it is so toxic as to bring about World War III any day now.)

However, the times that Barack Obama does mention God, I more or less bite my tongue. I know that I’m in the minority, and that for political reasons, Obama is going to make an occasional mention of God whether he would do so naturally or not. He is nothing if not shrewdly but shamelessly politically calculating.

The “Christo”fascists have a pretty good stronghold on the nation, it seems to me. But Mitt Romney, who is losing to Prick Santorum — which absolutely never was supposed to happen — at long last has jumped upon the “Christians are being persecuted!” bandwagon.

Bullshit. When we are tossing Christians to the lions again I’ll believe that they’re being persecuted.

As I noted recently:

The “Christo”fascists in the United States of America have the freedom to live their lives as they wish. If they believe that contraception and/or abortion are evil, then they do not ever have to use contraception or ever get an abortion. Neither contraception nor abortion is forced upon them by the government. If they believe that same-sex marriage is evil, then they don’t have to marry a member of their own sex. The government doesn’t force them to marry members of their own sex, either.

The “Christo”fascists are free to believe whatever insanity they wish to believe, a right that they exercise to the fullest. The government does not force them to believe in evolution or global warming, and if they want to shield their offspring from facts and science and sanity, then they may school their little spawn at home. (That’s child abuse, in my book, but they have that right.)

What really rankles the “Christo”fascists is not that they cannot live their own lives as they see fit, despite their ludicrous claims of victimhood, their ridiculous propaganda about a supposed “war on religion” when, in fact, Americans are free to pray at home and in their places of worship of their non-existent, Zeus-like deity, and are free to express and to disseminate their ideas about this non-existent deity, and U.S. churches remain untaxed, may with impunity blatantly discriminate against individuals based upon their sex and race and sexual orientation and gender conformity (and, of course, based upon their religious beliefs), and, despite their untaxed status, still the churches blatantly insert themselves in the political process (like the Mormon cult’s and the Catholick church’s involvement in Proposition H8).

U.S. churches long have had special rights and privileges and immunties that we non-“Christo”fascists do not possess (try not paying your taxes, or blatantly discriminating against women or non-whites or those whose religious views differ from your own in your workplace, for example), yet they cry “victimhood.”

No, what really rankles the “Christo”fascist minority is that there are tens and tens of millions of us Americans who reject their Bible-based bullshit, and, because the “Christo”fascists’ backasswards worldview doesn’t survive the scrutiny of reality and logic and reason, they need as many converts as they can get in order to be comfortable in their bullshit, backasswards beliefs.

If I were president of the United States of America, I never would make public mention of God. Not only because there is no God — certainly not as Christianity, Judaism and Islam describe God (again, as a Zeus-like figure, male, all-powerful and perpetually angry and ready to smite you at any moment) — but because as president I would want to be all-inclusive, not exclusive.

The 15 percent to 16 percent of Americans who consider themselves atheist or agnostic or otherwise unaffiliated with the major religions is a huge (and growing) chunk of the population.

As president I wouldn’t want to alienate even the 4 percent of Americans who call themselves atheists or agnostics.

I mean, there are more than twice as many of them as there are Mormons, yet Mitt Romney wants to shove his teeny-tiny minority religion down the entire nation’s throat.

With a President Romney, we might as well move the nation’s capital to Salt Lake City. (Romney isn’t beholden to the cabal of stupid old white men in Salt Lake City? Well, they get 10 percent of his income of millions and millions of dollars! Sounds like they pull some strings to me!)

And with a President Santorum, we’d have to move the Oval Office to the Vatican, because it would be Pope Palpatine controlling Prick Santorum like he controlled Darth Vader.

Under the “leadership” of a President Romney or a President Santorum, we would see in the United States of America the actual religious persecution that they falsely claim that they suffer.

One of the few good things that I can say about Barack Obama is that for the very most part, he has governed secularly, and that’s the only way to govern the very diverse United States of America.

— 

*An October 2011 nationwide CNN/ORC poll found that 17 percent said they would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who is Mormon, and 36 percent of the respondents said that Mormonism is not a Christian religion.

**Lest you wish to argue that the 51 percent of Protestants make a majority, and thus we don’t have a plurality where religious groups in the United States are concerned, well, the many, many Protestant denominations hardly are monolithic. As the Pew Forum notes:

The Landscape Survey confirms that the United States is on the verge of becoming a minority Protestant country; the number of Americans who report that they are members of Protestant denominations now stands at barely 51 percent.

Moreover, the Protestant population is characterized by significant internal diversity and fragmentation, encompassing hundreds of different denominations loosely grouped around three fairly distinct religious traditions: evangelical Protestant churches (26.3 percent of the overall adult population), mainline Protestant churches (18.1 percent) and historically black Protestant churches (6.9 percent).

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

They’re ALL cultists

Republican presidential candidate, former Governor Mitt Romney, speaks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Associated Press photo

Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirant Mitt Romney, fresh from having his Mormonism deemed a non-Christian “cult” by a backer of “real” “Christian” Rick Perry, assures “values voters” in Washington, D.C., this weekend that he hates the same people whom they hate.

It was a controversy/“controversy” this weekend that a Texas pastor and prominent supporter of “Christian” Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently referred to Mitt Romney’s Mormonism as a non-Christian “cult.”

“Poisonous language does not advance our cause,” Romney declared yesterday in Washington, D.C., at the annual “Values Voters Summit,” defending his Mormonism.

But Romney also assured the attendees of the Annual “Christo”fascists’ Ball that “he would oppose marriage rights for homosexuals and seek to overturn the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision allowing legal abortions,” reports Reuters.

Yes, indeed, “values voters”! Save that poisonous language for women, for non-heterosexuals and for the non-gender-conforming! They are the enemy!

The fact is that Mormonism indeed is a cult.

But so is Catholicism. So is Protestantism, the so-called-by-so-many “real” “Christianity.”

I define a “cult” as a group of people who enforce a cookie-cutter worldview that is not open to new information — and thus is not open to change and to growth (indeed, to evolution) — but that is a closed system. The members of the group (the cult) believe themselves to be superior to those who aren’t members; it is a “we”-vs.-“they” mentality, even if the cults sometimes pay lip service to tolerance or the like. Any cult members who don’t go along with the established cookie-cutter worldview and the cult’s mostly arbitrary rules are subject to being cast out of the cult.

Cults in the United States overwhelmingly are patriarchal and white supremacist (or otherwise racist), as well as misogynist and homophobic. Indeed, look at Mitt Romney assuring the “values voters” that he wants to oppress the very same groups of people (the “other”) whom they want to oppress.

This definition of “cult” of mine covers far more than the Mormons. It covers most who call themselves “Christians” of any stripe in the United States. And not to pick only on the “Christians”: conservative/orthodox Jews and Muslims, too, match my definition of a “cult.” In fact, all three of the Abrahamic religions are into oppressing women, non-heterosexuals and the non-gender-conforming. And all three to some extent oppose science, because science threatens their hocus-pocus superstitious bullshit. They have much more in common with each other than they acknowledge.

I respect Buddhism over what passes as “Christianity” because the Dalai Lama, to my knowledge, is the only world religious leader who has stated publicly that should scientific discovery contradict any of Buddhism’s tenets, then that Buddhist tenet has to go. When is the last time that Pope Palpatine or one of the stupid old white men who control the Mormon cult in Salt Lake City or one of the loony Pentecostal leaders ever publicly stated anything like that?

There is no God, no Santa-Claus-like father figure in the sky who pulls all of the strings and who will make the final judgment, so you’d better watch out, you’d better not cry and you’d better not pout. God, as the Abrahamic religions push God, is just a Zeus retread. In the year 2011 that so many “intelligent,” “modern” people believe in Zeus 2.0 is beyond pathetic.

But I’m more or less OK with — well, “resigned to” is more accurate — people believing in Zeus 2.0. People are stupid and they’re going to be stupid and they’re going to defend their right to be stupid to the death.

The problem that I have is that these lunatics who proclaim that they get their marching orders from Zeus 2.0 want to be president of the United States of America. They refuse to keep their stupidity to themselves, but feel the need to impose it upon the rest of us, whether we are OK with that or not.

I was OK with the Catholick and the Mormon cults just being cults — for me it was live and let live — until they decided to pool their theocratic resources into 2008’s Proposition 8, an attempt to restrict my equal human and civil rights here in California.

At that point, the Catholick and the Mormon cults declared war on me and my kind. We were minding our own fucking business, just trying to enjoy ourselves some life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and they inserted their bullshit, backasswards, hateful, bigoted beliefs into our lives. They have wished to limit our freedom. That means war.

Freedom from theocracy — whether it’s a “Christo”fascist theocracy or an “Islamofascist” theocracy or any other kind of theocracy — is worth dying for.

No president of the United States who professes a belief in Zeus 2.0 is worth a shit.

Yes, that includes Barack Obama.

How much Obama actually believes in Zeus 2.0 I am not sure. It would have to occur to any intelligent human being that there is at least a good chance that all of the Zeus 2.0 bullshit is just bullshit, is just centuries-old superstition that is passed down from one generation to another like a genetic defect.

I suspect that Obama at most is agnostic, but that he pays lip service to Zeus 2.0 because he’s an opportunistic assbite who will say whatever he deems he needs to say in order to get elected.

In 1996, for instance, when he was a candidate for the Illinois state Senate, Obama proclaimed that he supports same-sex marriage. You can click here to see the document (a questionnaire) that he signed that year that proclaims his support for same-sex marriage. Now, however, Obama claims that his view on same-sex marriage is “still evolving.”

Which is more likely — that he supported same-sex marriage in 1996 but now truly is rethinking that support, or that he will say whatever he thinks he needs to say in order to get elected or re-elected to the office that he is seeking? (Not to pick only on Obama — apparently Mitt Romney also was much more supportive of abortion rights and gay rights when it was more politically suitable for him to be so.)

A person who says only what he or she thinks that he or she needs to say in order to get elected is not worthy of a leadership position. The truth is not negotiable (and neither is the truth open to a fucking vote), and a true leader cannot also be a manipulative liar.

But even worse than the morally bankrupt Obama, admittedly, are the “Christo”fascists who are trying to out-hate each other in their quest for the Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination, who are bound together certainly not by love but by the groups of people whom they hate, such as self-respecting women who oppose patriarchy; atheists, Muslims and others who don’t identify themselves as “Christians”; non-heterosexuals and the non-gender-conforming; the brown-skinned “illegals” and other non-whites; those who oppose the crony capitalism and perpetual warfare that has pushed the American empire to the brink of collapse, those who oppose the class warfare that the rich and the super-rich declared upon the rest of us long ago; and those in other nations whose cultures, customs, languages, religions and appearances are different than the average “tea party” traitor’s.

Under the do-nothing Barack Obama, the United States of America has been experiencing a slow collapse.

Under a President Romney or President Perry, the final collapse would come even sooner.

That, it seems to me, is our choice in November 2012: a quicker death or a more drawn-out death.

You know, I think that I prefer the coup de grâce.

P.S. The Associated Press reports today that 19 people have been killed in riots in Cairo between Christians and Muslims. This is pretty much all that the Abrahamic religions — the three Gangs for God — have given the world: death and destruction, war, hatred and bloodshed — all over Zeus 2.0, who/which doesn’t exist in the first place.

P.P.S. This news article gives Romney’s fuller quote as “We should remember that decency and civility are values too…. Poisonous language doesn’t advance our cause. It’s never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind.” Wow. So rhetoric that only serves to oppress women, gay men, lesbians and other non-heterosexuals is decent and civil and softens hearts and changes minds?

Really?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Live-blogging the Apocalypse!

Um, nothing yet…

I’ll post immediately if this changes…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Obama’s religion doesn’t matter

Almost one in five Americans incorrectly believe that President Barack Obama is Muslim, The Associated Press reports, noting that more than 40 percent of those polled don’t know what Obama’s religious identification is.

What the AP doesn’t ask is why the fuck this even matters.

All that we have the right to expect of a president of the United States — or of any elected official — is that he or she respects the First Amendment and the separation of church and state that is necessary in such a heterogenous nation as ours. If he or she does so, it doesn’t matter whether he or she is a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a pagan, an atheist, an agnostic or even a Satanist.

That we should even care what Obama’s personal beliefs are (or aren’t) — as long as he isn’t violating the freedom of religion and the separation of church and state mandated by the First Amendment (which he isn’t) — is indicative of the fact that many if not most Americans expect the president of the U.S. to be, at least nominally, a Christian. Which is un-American.

That said, I have to confess that Repugnican Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, in my book, aside from his wingnuttery, makes him quite unpresidential.

The cabal of stupid white men in Salt Lake City should not have unfettered access to the White House via Romney, and under a President Romney (shudder), I am confident that they would.

But my concern here isn’t just that Romney is a Mormon — my concern here is that he would be unable to keep his religious beliefs and his religious institution out of the governance of the nation.

Thus far, Barack Obama has done that, and therefore, I don’t give a shit what he believes or doesn’t believe.

And neither should you.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized