Tag Archives: Christianity

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.

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No, we’re NOT all going Texan

A graphic of Texas divided into states

The lazy “journalists” at TIME have announced on the cover of the October 28 issue that “the Lone Star State [Texas, of course] is America’s future” — so much so that we’ll be “the United States of Texas.”

It’s popular these days to make such an assumption, perhaps especially after Gail Collins’ June 2012 book As Texas Goes…: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda.

But it’s also a ridiculous argument to make that any one state is going to take over the entire nation’s sociopolitical culture any decade soon.

Of course you can take the nation’s most populous states — California, Texas, New York and Florida are the top four, in that order — and find similarities between these states and the rest of the states.

We’re talking about the top two most-populous blue states and the top two most-populous red states, yet the combined population of California and New York exceeds 57.5 million Americans, whereas the combined population of Texas and Florida, by comparison, is around 45 million.

Texas and its red-state mentality aren’t exactly taking over the entire nation.

TIME helpfully notes that from 2010 to 2011, California lost 94,000 residents while Texas gained 110,000 residents, but the graph in the magazine does not give us the context of that, which is that California has just more than 38 million residents to Texas’ just-more-than 26 million — yes, Texas is a good 12 million people behind California, putting it at a distant second place — so we’re hardly talking about an exodus.

And comparing other red states to Texas is pretty fucking stupid because duh — they’re red states.

The God-awful red state of Arizona, for instance, where I lived for the first 30 years of my life, of course is much like Texas. In Arizona, like in Texas, the business owners, the plutocrats, the fat cats, call the shots. You, the commoner, probably especially in the workplace or as a consumer, have almost no rights, because that’s how these states’ laws are written: for the benefit of the plutocratic overlords and to the detriment of the working class and the poor. It’s set up that way.

Consumer protection? Employee protection? Environmental protection? Dream on! These Commie luxuries cut into the fat cats’ profits, and that’s anti-American! And anti-Christian, too (even though Jesus said to pay your taxes without complaint and that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of Heaven)!

This is how Arizona was when I left it for good 15 years ago, in 1998, so to claim that Arizona is copying Texas now is bullshit.

The red-state-blue-state divide has been with us since before the Civil War, and to claim that the entire nation is going to turn all blue or all red during our lifetimes is short-sighted and ridiculous.

Despite even the McDonald’s-ization of the United States of America — I refer to the monolithically capitalistic American culture, with McDonald’s and Wal-Mart stores in all 50 states, as well as movies and television shows that Americans watch in all 50 states — the regional sociopolitical and cultural differences throughout the U.S. persist, and they will for a long time to come.

TIME’s article quotes one person who puts the Texas “miracle” into a nutshell: “The Texas model basically calls for low taxes and low services,” TIME quotes Erica Grieder, author of the April 2013 book Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas. (Clearly, Grieder sees the Texas “miracle” in a different light than does Gail Collins, and I have to wonder if Grieder’s book was a response to Collins’.)

More emphasis needs to be placed on “low services,” the part of the red-state equation that almost everyone usually misses when singing the praises of Texas’ low taxes. There are low services because these red states don’t care about the individual, unless he or she is filthy rich. For the filthy rich — those who need the least amount of help — the red states can’t bend over backwards enough.

The commoner, however, is pretty fucking fucked in a red state. Those who need the most help in a red state are the most fucked, yet, ironically, these are the very same states that claim to be the most “Christian,” even though Jesus Christ was all about people helping other people (and not about claiming that the richer the plutocrats get, the more all of us will benefit — somehow!).

As far as taxes are concerned, you get what you pay for, and I experienced the “low-services” environment of Arizona, in which everyone except for the richest was pretty fucking miserable. The richest Arizonans could afford their own health care, education, transportation, etc.; the rest of us were quite on our own in this “low-services” environment.

So if you are a commoner and you want to pay lower taxes but stupidly don’t give a shit about your quality of life, then by all means, pack up your shit and move to Texas.

Concurrent with the myth that there is an exodus of commoners from California (and other blue states) to Texas is the myth that we Californians are so distraught over seeing anyone leave the state.

No, actually, we’re not.

The lower the population is, the lower the taxes can be, the lower the competition for resources will be, and the quality of life will increase for those of us who remain.

So: Go!

And most of us Californians are fine seeing greedy, unethical business owners packing up and moving their businesses to Texas (and other red states), where, without state regulations that protect the consumer, the employee and the environment, they can rape, pillage and plunder and profiteer far more effectively than they can do here in California, where we believe in protections for the environment, the employee and the consumer.

Most of us Californians aren’t abject fucktards, and so we are quite clear that the vast majority of plutocrats don’t exist to help out anyone else, but are in it almost entirely or entirely for themselves and their fortunes, which they gain at our expense as employees whom they under-compensate and as consumers whom they overcharge (and, of course, at the expense of our environment, which they destroy in their quest for obscene personal profits).

“Trickle down” is the fat cats urinating all over the working class, what little remains of the middle class, and the poor. The plutocrats don’t ensure that all boats rise. No, they keep buying larger and larger yachts for themselves while they foreclose upon our dinghies.

“Jobs!” is the mantra of the Texas-promoting plutocrats and those who love them like chickens showing love to Colonel Sanders.

Right: Jobs with shitty wages and shitty or even no benefits — in states with “low services,” so don’t expect any help outside of your employer, who only exists to fuck you over! Lots and lots of these shit jobs in Texas, but hey, they are jobs, in the strict, dictionary-definition sense of the word, right?

Again, does quality matter at all?

I say that it does, and so I’m staying here in California, where I’m happy to pay my fair share of taxes for a better quality of life — instead of evading taxes and living among the miserable in a dog-eat-dog, “low-services,” pro-plutocratic red state.

And again, when you are talking about the nation’s two most populous states, the blue state of California and the red state of Texas (states so populous and so influential that the two of them have the most influence on the public-school textbook industry, with, basically, Texas editions and California editions), it’s easy to compare the two states to other states — or even to the nation as a whole.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s accurate to do so.

I’m not a hypocrite on this matter; it works both ways. The New York Times on Friday apparently held out California as a model that, if followed, could break the gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Indeed, although wingnuts claim that California still has a state budget deficit, California for some time now actually has had a budget surplus under Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who after his November 2010 election reversed years of budget deficits under former Gov. Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, the Repugnican fraud who ruled the state from the do-over gubernatorial election of 2003 through early 2011, and under the nation’s shitty economy under George W. Bush from early 2001 through early 2009.

Because Brown has accomplished in less than three years what Baby Daddy never accomplished in more than twice that amount of time, Brown’s re-election in November 2014, should he seek it, is guaranteed. Because Brown — unlike his Texas counterpart, the blowhard Repugnican Gov. Prick Perry — just quietly does his job (which I define as doing what’s best for the majority of the residents of the state that he governs, regardless of their income) without a lot of fanfare and bluster, Brown’s accomplishments aren’t well known outside of California, but here in California, Brown is on solid footing with the majority of the state’s voters.

That is the truth of where California and Californians stand today.

“The turnaround [in California] from just 10 years ago — striking in tone, productivity and, at least on fiscal issues, moderation — is certainly a lesson in the power of one-party rule,” the New York Times notes. “Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in the [state] Assembly and [state] Senate and the governor, Jerry Brown, is a Democrat. The Republican Party, which just three years ago held the governor’s seat and a feisty minority in both houses, has diminished to the point of near irrelevance [in California].”

Gridlock doesn’t happen when the Repugnican Tea Party is as impotent as it is in California, and, the aforementioned Times article also notes, because in most elections in California a Repugnican candidate would have to be moderate (or at least campaign as a moderate) in order to win, most Repugnican candidates in California don’t have to worry much, if at all, about being “primaried” by a far-far-right-wing whackjob of the so-called “tea party.”

But, unlike those who tout the so-called Texas “miracle” — and only our treasonous plutocrats have anything to gain from the “miraculous” arrangement in Texas — I’m realistic.

Yes, as the New York Times at least insinuates, if the treasonous Repugnican (Tea) Party were as weak in D.C. as it is here in California, the nation would be much, much better off. We most likely would have no more gridlock and a return to prosperity. It would be great.

But like the Texas “miracle” is a right-wing fantasy, that the much-quieter California miracle will sweep the nation is a left-wing fantasy.

It’s not like the long-standing dynamic of the red states and the blue states is going to go away soon. The entire nation isn’t going to California-ize any year soon any more than it’s going to Texas-ize any year soon.

Indeed, the Civil War still wages. The red-state-blue-state divide is not an oversimplification. It’s a fact. (I could produce a lot of proof, but how about [once again…] a map of the slave states and territories and the free states and territories compared to a map of the 2012 presidential election results?:

Florida went to Obama in 2012, by the way.)

It’s a long, hard slog, and the change is slooooow, but, I predict, once it becomes clear to enough Americans what, exactly, the so-called Texas “miracle” actually entails, and once more Americans realize that the right-wing lies about how California is today are just that — lies — the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. will see their power diminish, as it has here in California.

It’s already happening.

After all, in all but one of the past six presidential elections (the 2004 election), the Democratic candidate indisputably received more votes than did the Repugnican; Texas Gov. Prick Perry, for all of the blather about the coming “United States of Texas,” couldn’t win even his party’s presidential nomination, much more the White House; and more and more it’s appearing that the Democrats might take back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2014 elections.

In the meantime, go to Texas and have your “miracle” there, while I enjoy the actual miracles that are happening here in California.

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Was the London murder a murder or a ‘terrorist attack’?

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Michael Adebolajo: Murderer or “terrorist”? Is he a “terrorist” because he’s Muslim? And of Nigerian descent?

First off, let me be clear: I am not at all OK with the grisly murder of 25-year-old British soldier and Afghan war veteran Lee Rigby just outside of his barracks in London yesterday. And I reject the idea of killing one person in retaliation for killings that other people committed. In my book, revenge, if it is going to be exacted, should be exact, not approximate.

One of Lee Rigby’s two very apparent murderers, 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo of London, “a British-born convert to radical Islam,” according to Reuters, notoriously calmly explained to someone with a video camera — while he still held a knife and a meat cleaver in his bloodied hands (see the video still above) — why he and his companion, also of Nigerian descent, according to Reuters, attacked and killed Rigby, whom they reportedly first ran down in a car and then started hacking with a meat cleaver and knives: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

In Greenwich Village this past weekend, 32-year-old gay man Mark Carson was shot to death in an apparent hate crime; reportedly, Carson’s accused murderer, Elliot Morales, 33, who was apprehended by police, had used anti-gay hate speech before he shot Carson to death.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said of the murder: “It’s clear that victim here was killed only because, and just because, he was thought to be gay. There’s no question about that. There were derogatory remarks. This victim did nothing to antagonize or instigate the shooter. It was only because the shooter believed him to be gay.”

Reuters reports that many posit that recent advances in same-sex marriage rights in the U.S. — including three states having gone for same-sex marriage earlier this month — might have been behind the murder of Carson.

Yet the murder of Carson is called a “murder” and the murder of Rigby is called, automatically, a “terrorist attack” or “act of terrorism.”

What’s the difference between an act of murder and an act of terrorism/“terrorism”?

The murder of Carson, I surmise, was meant to send this message to all gay men or even to all non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals: You are not safe walking the streets. You might be the next one to be shot (or stabbed or beaten up or whatever).

That’s not a form of terrorism — an act of violence (a murder, no less) apparently committed with the intent to strike fear within a whole class of people?

Michael Adebolajo very apparently was using Lee Rigby as an example — he killed him in effigy of all British soldiers, in effect — just as Elliot Morales very apparently was using Mark Carson as an example — he killed him in effigy of all gay men, in effect.

So if Adebolajo and his cohort are “terrorists,” why isn’t Morales a “terrorist”?

My answer to my own question is that when a member of a historically oppressed minority group (like gay men) is murdered, it’s not considered to be a big deal. We can call it just a “murder,” as though it didn’t extend beyond just the murdered victim at all, but was just one of those random things — an act of God, Wolf Blitzer might say.

But when even one soldier is murdered — even on a public/civilian street, and while not on duty, which very apparently is how Rigby was murdered — that’s considered an attack on the plutocrats, the elites, of whom the commoner-funded military (Britain’s as well as the United States’) is just an arm.

The plutocrats, the elites, can’t maintain their overprivileged status without whole armies at their command, and the plutocratic elites are far, far more important than any of the rest of us ever could be, so the murder of just one of their soldiers — even in a non-combat situation — automatically is branded as “terrorism,” a more serious crime than plain-old murder.

I disagree that Rigby’s murder was an act of “terrorism.” Rigby’s murder was much closer to a murder than to an act of “terrorism.”

If we’re going to call Rigby’s murderers “terrorists” instead of just plain-old “murderers,” then we’re going to need to call Elliot Morales a terrorist, too — because his crime very apparently was motivated by his religious and political beliefs, just as Adebolajo’s and his partner’s crime was motivated by theirs.

The act-of-murder-vs.-act-of-terrorism problem largely can be solved if  the usage of the “t” terms — “terrorist,” “terrorists,” “terrorism” — returns to the terms’ status before 9/11. Cases of murder committed by an individual or two people apparently acting on their own and not as part of a known terrorist/“terrorist” group — such as the apparent case with the Boston Marathon bombings (I refer to the two Tsarnaev brothers, of course) and the apparent case with the British soldier who was murdered yesterday — are probably much closer to murder cases than they are to terrorism/“terrorism” cases.

We don’t refer to the two Columbine High School killers as “terrorists,” for example, even though they slaughtered many more people than did the Tsarnaev brothers or Michael Adebolajo.

That’s at least in part, of course, because the two Columbine killers were two white “Christian” kids, and you’re much more likely to be branded as a “terrorist” if you are Muslim — and even more so if you are a non-white Muslim.

That shit needs to stop. We can’t have a two-tiered system of “justice” in which it’s only “terrorism” if the (accused) perpetrator is Muslim or non-white or both. If we must go hog wild with the “terrorism” thing, then it must apply to so-called “Christians” and to other non-Muslims and to whites and to other non-blacks as well.

Update (Sunday, May 26, 2013): Columnist Glenn Greenwald, who once wrote for Salon.com but now works for The Guardian of the United Kingdom, on Thursday also tackled the question of “Was the London Killing of a British Soldier ‘Terrorism’?”

In his column, Greenwald notes that

An act can be vile, evil, and devoid of justification without being “terrorism”: indeed, most of the worst atrocities of the 20th Century, from the Holocaust to the wanton slaughter of Stalin and Pol Pot and the massive destruction of human life in Vietnam, are not typically described as “terrorism.”

Yup. Here, I think, is the money shot of Greenwald’s analysis:

The reason it’s so crucial to ask this question [of whether or not an act of violence constitutes “terrorism”] is that there are few terms — if there are any — that pack the political, cultural and emotional punch that “terrorism” provides. When it comes to the actions of western governments, it is a conversation-stopper, justifying virtually anything those governments want to do.

It’s a term that is used to start wars, engage in sustained military action, send people to prison for decades or life, to target suspects for due-process-free execution, shield government actions behind a wall of secrecy, and instantly shape public perceptions around the world.

It matters what the definition of the term is, or whether there is a consistent and coherent definition. It matters a great deal.

There is ample scholarship proving that the term has no such clear or consistently applied meaning. … It is very hard to escape the conclusion that, operationally, the term has no real definition at this point beyond “violence engaged in by Muslims in retaliation against Western violence toward Muslims.” …

Actually, it seems to me, in the Western world, especially in the U.S. and the UK, “terrorism” has come pretty much to mean just “violence engaged in by Muslims.” Even the acknowledgment that such violence might be “in retaliation against Western violence toward Muslims” usually never is made in Westerners’ discussions of “terrorism,” since that obviously would be to bring Westerners’ guilt into the discussion, and most Westerners, it seems to me, will have none of that.

Greenwald also notes that “earlier this month, an elderly British Muslim was stabbed to death in an apparent anti-Muslim hate crime and nobody called that ‘terrorism,'” and adds that the term “terrorism” “at this point seems to have no function other than propagandistically and legally legitimizing the violence of western states against Muslims while delegitimizing any and all violence done in return to those states.”

Yup.

There are news reports, such as this one, of actions perpetrated against Muslims in Britain by non-Muslims in “retaliation” for the slaughter of the British solider in London. This report (from Slate.com) states that “The incidents [so far have ranged] from name calling and abuse on social media, to the painting of graffiti, attacks against mosques, and pulling off women’s headscarves in the street.” (“Attacks against mosques” is so vague as to be almost meaningless. I wish that the writer had given us the details there, or if he didn’t have the details, to have stated that fact.)

Of course, such low-level, “harmless” terrorism is what the Jews in Nazi Germany experienced before the Nazis ratcheted things waaay up.

This leads to yet another question: Is an act in which someone is not injured or killed “terrorism”? Is it only “terrorism” if someone is injured or killed? These thugs pulling Muslim women’s headscarves off — that is not done with the intent of terrorizing these women?

Is such terrorizing OK if it’s considered in “retaliation” of, or just in reaction to, another incident? Would this be “counter-terrorism”? Or would this be something like just plain-old “justice,” since we non-Muslims never use the “t-” word to refer to any of our own actions?

Anyway, as I wrote in my first paragraph of this post, “In my book, revenge, if it is going to be exacted, should be exact, not approximate.”

As a gay man, I’m never happy to read about the slaughter of a gay man because he’s gay. To use an example that hit close to home, in July 2007, 26-year-old Satender Singh, a Fijian of Indian descent, was killed in my area (Sacramento) because he was suspected of being gay.

Whether he was gay or not I don’t know, but the two men from Eastern Europe who were charged with his murder very apparently thought that he was, because, witnesses said, the Slavic thugs who attacked Singh expressly targeted him because he was, they said, a “faggot” and a “sodomite,” among other things.

According to the hate-group watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center, witnesses also reported that these Slavic thugs “bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a ‘good church’ like theirs.” This was right before one of the thugs delivered a blow to Singh’s head, a blow that later caused his death. (Great “Christians,” eh? Well, even the Nazis considered themselves to be great “Christians.”)

While I truly wish that the homophobic Eastern European immigrants here in California would fucking respect and honor how things are done and are not done here in California (and not act here as it’s OK to act in their backasswards countries in Eastern Europe) — and if they don’t like our freedoms here, including our freedom from their brand of theofascism, they are free to return to Eastern Europe — never would it have occurred to me that it would have been OK to randomly attack (apparent) Eastern European immigrants on the street in “retaliation” for the murder of Satender Singh.

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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.

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Mittens on the topic of money for nothing (he’s an expert)

Ann Romney, wife of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, attends the equestrian dressage individual grand prix special at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Greenwich Park

Reuters photo

Corporate welfare queen Ann Romney enjoys watching her horse compete in the Olympics in London today (seriously), while in the United States today, her hubby Mittens extolled the value of “good, hard work” — for the rest of us.

Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Mittens Romney, whacking the perennial political piñata that is the “welfare queen” or “welfare cheat,” declared today that President Barack Obama has reversed the “great accomplishment” of former President Bill Clinton’s welfare “reform” and declared, “If I am president, I will put work back in welfare. We will end a culture of dependency and restore a culture of good, hard work.”

Wow.

Let’s talk about “good, hard work” and a “culture of dependency” — a plutocratic elite who blatantly steal hundreds of billions of our tax dollars via such things as bogus warfare, which benefits the likes of Big Oil and the war profiteers, such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton (which was granted no-bid federal contracts for the Vietraq War that Cheney pushed), and corporate welfare, such as the hundreds of billions of our tax dollars that were just handed over to the “too-big-to-fail” Wall Street weasels as their reward for having tanked our nation’s economy.

That kind of welfarecorporate welfare — is perfectly OK to the treasonous, pro-plutocratic, anti-working-class right wing.

We can give hundreds of billions of American taxpayers’ dollars to those who already are filthy rich (who, being the Benedict Arnolds that they are, pay as little in taxes themselves as they can get away with).

But we can’t give a fucking penny of our own tax dollars to those poor and working-class Americans who supposedly just don’t want to work.

Welfare can be for a person only if we define a person as a corporation.

Gee, just how hard, do you think, does the typical multi-millionaire like Mittens Romney actually work?

Do you think that Mittens ever scrubs a toilet or mops a floor? Or ever even makes his own meal? Does his own laundry? Does he even drive himself anywhere?

Yeah, Mittens has it hard. He’s a hard worker. He does good, hard work.

I tell you what: Mittens Romney has not done tens of millions of dollars’ worth of actual work.

No. He has been the beneficiary of a sick and fucking twisted socioeconomic system that allows a few — especially those who, like Mittens, were born into wealth and privilege — to steal the wealth of the many.

The only way to become a multi-millionaire is to fuck people over. You pay your employees much less than the value of their labor and you charge your customers much more than the actual value of your product or service. That’s how you get rich. Not through good, hard work.

It’s legalized thievery is what it is.

The last thing that our plutocratic overlords want is for us, the masses, to realize that it is they, the plutocrats, who are our real enemy, the real drain on our nation, so they tell us that it’s actually the weak and the powerless who are destroying this nation: immigrants who want a better life for themselves, same-sex couples who want the equality that is guaranteed to them under the U.S. Constitution, “welfare queens” or “welfare cheats,” Muslims or those who look like they might be Muslims (especially as evidenced by their use of a turban), et. al., et. al.

No, I tell you, it is the strong and the powerful who are destroying this nation. The weak and the powerless are just trying to survive. They are not the enemy.

However, in the supposedly bad-ass United States of America, it’s popular to pick on the powerless,* including and perhaps especially the poor, even though we supposedly are a “Christian” nation and Jesus Christ’s Number One teaching is to love one another as we love ourselves and to take care of the least among us, including, of course, the poor, and of the rich, Jesus remarked that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Mark 10:25).

Multi-millionaire Mittens is a “Christian”?

Not if we define a “Christian” as someone who actually follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.

If Mittens were a Christian, someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, he would forego the houses and the cars and the car elevator and the thoroughbred horse in the Olympics, and he’d use his millions (well, our millions that he stole from us in the system that is rigged against us) to help out some people in need — instead of kicking the poor while they already are down for his own personal political gain.

That’s not Christian. That’s quite anti-Christian.

Not that Barack Obama is any fucking angel.

Team Obama will not be accused of going easy on the “welfare queens/cheats,” you see, and so also today, Obama’s mouthpiece Jay Carney declared that Team Mittens’ claim that Obama is trying to roll back Bill Clinton’s cold-blooded, right-wing welfare “reform” is “categorically false” and “blatantly dishonest.”

With “friends” like these so-called “Democrats” in our corner, who needs the fucking Repugnican Tea Party?

Seriously — the economy is our nation’s Number One problem (outside of global warming, of course, which makes pretty much every other problem that we might have pale by comparison), and we have both the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate and the Democratic Party presidential candidate fighting over which party will stick it to the poor the most, which party will kick those Americans who already are down and out the hardest.

We’re fucked.

Unless we revolt.

And soon.

When the system fails you this fucking miserably — when both parties of the partisan duopoly are against you and for the rich — it’s time to replace the system.

Not to “reform” the system — but to scrap it and start over.

This system is irfuckingredeemable.

*We never launch one of our imperialistic military invasions on a nation that actually can defend itself, do we?

No, we bomb a comparatively defenseless nation like Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan and then applaud ourselves, even though our “victory” is like that of an NFL team over a junior-high-school flag-football team.

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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.

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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).

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