acroyear: (literacy)
War on Christmas? Sign This Minister Up. -:
Today, Christianity is the dominant culture. So, instead of story of a olive skinned middle-eastern, unwed, pregnant mother, who was seen as little more than property, giving birth to what the world would surely see as an illegitimate child who was wrapped in what rags they could find and placed in a smelly, flea infested feeding trough in the midst of a dark musky smelling animal stall… instead of that story, we end up with a clean, white skinned European woman giving birth to a glowing baby wrapped in impossibly white swaddling clothes and laid to rest in a manger that looks more like a crib than a trough in the midst of a barn that is more kept and clean than many of our houses.

So, “War on Christmas?,” sure sign me up. I'm pretty sure I'd prefer the elimination of what our modern “celebration” has become to the increasingly white-washed version we hear every year.
acroyear: (space 2 ring)
God's Dear John Letter To The U.S. -:
I will keep sending my prophets. You will know them by their love. If the people you follow are teaching you to hate and fear, to exclude people for any reason, then they are not sent by me, even if they say they are. So, when your infatuation with this new god of extremism, nationalism, might-makes-right, and privilege is through using you... I'll still be here. Waiting. Loving.
acroyear: (perspective)
Robert Fripp's Diary for Thursday, 4th June 2009:
Blessed are the poor. The interpretation of this that rings my bell is blessed are those that see the poverty of their being; alternatively blessed are those that see the poverty of their inner life / spiritual nature. If this is so, I am blessed indeed.
acroyear: (normal)
...and why each side sees the other's form of expression as ANTI-American...

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Patriotism, Conservative and Liberal:
Watching Obama's inaugural address reminded me of an essay written by Peter Beinart in Time magazine last summer about conservative and liberal conceptions of patriotism. I thought he really nailed the key difference in how right and left tend to think about patriotism. For far too many on the right, patriotism is about mere symbols, about having a flag pin on your lapel and getting weepy eyed when the national anthem plays.

This is why, for example, one of the primary Republican attacks on Michael Dukakis in 1988 was that he vetoed a bill requiring teachers to lead students in saying the pledge of allegiance. For much of the right, patriotism is mostly about ostentatious displays of emotionalism and loyalty - and the ability to exploit such emotionalism for political gain. But Obama presented a very different version of patriotism in his inaugural speech.
The essay itself is, as one would expect, somewhat generalized on applying labels to behaviours, but it is useful for helping one's introspection of their own actions towards America and their own ways of expression "patriotism". In these distinctions, I find myself clearly "liberal", but really what is labeled liberal is more the libertarian side of liberal, and many self-proclaimed conservatives might also see themselves in the "liberal" camp as the essay described it because their libertarian attitudes, as codified in the Bill of Rights, trump their anti-liberal (in the socialism sense) attitudes.

But for any expression of loyalty to a community, how do you fit?  This includes your church and religion, your loyalty to your employer, to your friends and the community that might join them (say, the renaissance festival), or your country?

What is more important, the symbol today, or the attitude that inspired and created the symbol years or centuries ago.  Which will you follow when the two diverge?

When the Flag represents in action something different than what you thought it should represent in intent, which will you follow?

When the Cross represents in action something different than what you thought it should represent in intent, which will you follow?

I know my answer...
acroyear: (ohana)
Pam's House Blend:: The invisible, inaudible Bishop Gene Robinson:
Bless us with tears - for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger - at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort - at the easy, simplistic "answers" we've preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience - and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be "fixed" anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility - open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance - replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity - remembering that every religion's God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.
These were from Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson's invocation at the Lincoln Memorial concert, conveniently cut out of the mainstream media's coverage of the event as well as HBO's broadcast.

Maybe some of you know why...
acroyear: (fof good book)
...of "God's Love" bringing people together: NOT.

I'm having a shitty day with this, you know.

It started with hearing about yet more of the anti-gay hatred in the Anglican church, with some Anglican bishops not attending a conference simply because some American Episcopal Bishops who voted for and support the gay bishop from New Hampshire would actually be attending.

A man being nothing but what he is, called to minister to his church and people, and gay, has divided my church apart to the point where I simply can not attend in what I believe to be a Christian conscience.

It wasn't enough to hate the gay bishop - they have to hate his friends as well.

"Who is my neighbor?"

Jesus answered that.  He couldn't have possibly been any clearer.  Yet NOBODY seems to know what he said.

Ok, maybe 50% of the population.  But the other 50% are just ruining everything by hating that 50% for believing in Love before hate.

and I am just sick.
acroyear: (grumblecat)
Being Christian is neither the exclusive requirement of, nor fundamental evidence of, being a moral person.

I have met far too many moral, caring, sharing and contributing atheists to think that atheism is proof of amorality.

I have met and have read about far too many assholes who call themselves "Christian" to ever think that claiming to have faith (any faith) or being part of a church is automatically proof of leading a moral life.

If anyone throws out the word "atheist" like it is automatically proof of their position, I will redirect them to this post.  Regardless of whether or not the subject actually is an atheist, it is IRRELEVANT to their moral character.
acroyear: (don't go there)
Pharyngula: Sanctimonious monsters:
There's an evil tableaux for you: the callous torturer stands up with blood on his hands and a lie in his teeth, while the priest draped in guilt reassures him of his righteousness. How often has that scene played out in history, I wonder?
hmm...Henry II, Richard I, Henry V, Henry VIII, Mary I, Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I, and that's just the English Kings...nevermind the perpetrators of the Inquisition or the worst abusers of the Crusades (oh, sorry, named Richard I twice) or the Witch hunts or the 30 Years War or ...

cut for fear of offending, as my thoughts on the Church and its true role are revealed within )
acroyear: (fof good book)
Lord, lord, lord. Protect me from knowing what I don't need to know. Protect me from even knowing that there are things to know that I don't know. Protect me from knowing that I decided not to know about the things that I decided not to know about. Amen.

(with a coda)

Lord, lord, lord. Protect me from the consequences of the above prayer. Amen.

-- DNA
acroyear: (sigh)
I want to take a picture of a school board just after they passed some anti-science legislation and LOL-caption it

"Loving God and Loving Your Neighbor: You're doing it wrong."
acroyear: (don't go there)
evidence either in the specific individual (as you'll see), and evidence in the general. Being "religious" is not and should never e a magical panacea that suddenly allows one to either declare themselves nor be universally interpreted as being more moral than one who does not practice or believe.

We've had centuries of power abuse by the Catholics, scores of religious civil wars and strife throughout the planet (often among "Christians"), decades of revelations of violence, sex abuse, corruption, and hypocrisies among religious leaders and the political leaders who are supported by them, lies upon lies upon lies in the name of power or money, yet STILL the general populace and the courts (oh, especially the courts) put professed religious belief ahead of any actual evidence of (a)morality when making decisions that affect children's lives.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: New Ruling on Religion and Custody:
I've got a friend in New York who just went through this and I'm gathering all the legal documents to publicize that case. The outcome was beyond outrageous. The mother, who had full custody during the divorce and custody fight, lost custody because the father would make the child attend church while the mother would not.

This despite the fact that the father had multiple drunk driving arrests and even admitted under oath that he still drove with the child in the car after drinking. This also despite the fact that he had a history of violence, enough to warrant a personal protection order granted to the mother. But the judge felt that raising the child in a "Christian" environment trumped all of that.
Mitt Romney recently did a speech that absolutely disgusted me and pretty much anyone who believes that the Constitution was extremely specific in declaring that no religious test should be required for office.  In order to diffuse all the negativity he was (and still is) receiving over his Mormonism, he openly declared all atheists and agnostics to be the real enemies in order to win back support - the only way for "Christians" to stop hating (well, postpone it, really) other "Christians" is to declare that all "non-Christians" are the enemy.  And if you can't get away with openly declaring yourself anti-semitic or anti-islam (which they often are), you simply go for the one target that isn't "politically correct" and has no extended history of defending their rights.

Romney declared a new war of hate and that the media praised him for it, and that disgusts me.

Note: I'm not saying that Huckabee's stunt last week, where he said "I won't run this anti-Romney ad" loudly and publicly so that the media would run it for him and get his message out while his hands stay clean, was any better - it was simply more of the same hypocrisy and it strikes me as really odd that the media so lapped it up that they don't realize just how badly they are being abused and manipulated.

This pretty much sums it up for me...

*sigh*

By the way, Ron Paul is *hardly* any better - he doesn't support or accept evolution, is anti-immigrant and isolationist, and in the name of "freedom" would allow quack "medicine" to advertise and promote itself with impunity, and that's just the crap I can confirm...

Maybe later, I'll write up why none of the Democratic Party candidates are any better...
acroyear: (ponder this)
Pharyngula: We “amoral” atheists:
I do have a real and consistent reason for behaving morally, it's just one that doesn't require a supernatural foundation. I was raised in a happy family, one that reinforced that conventionally 'good' behavior, and that rewarded appropriate social behavior. I lived with good role models who offered love without conditions, who taught by example rather than with fear or threats. I live now in a family and with a community of friends who do not demand obeisance to superstition in order to give respect. I am rewarded materially and emotionally for moral behavior.

That's the recipe for building an environment that fosters moral behavior. [...] The surest way to create moral individuals is to build a stable society where desirable behaviors are rewarded [...]
I'd love to know how "Do Unto Others" became the exclusive privilege of "Christians" who insist on doing everything but...
acroyear: (mug shot)
Though its not the biggest news item in Athens, AL these days, it should be noted (as a followup to a post I made earlier this month) that Athens voters rejected (by 2 to 1 margin) the attempt by the churches to reintroduce prohibition and turn the town back into a dry locale.

Today's THV - KTHV Little Rock News Article:
Carl Hunt of the pro-alcohol sales group Citizens for Economic Progress said the effort was led by ministers who sought to control behavior rather than change people's hearts.
I'm impressed by this one, showing these manipulative monsters for what they are, creatures who have no idea who Jesus really was or how he taught yet claim to speak for him.

(the #1 news item of Athens, AL?  the nearby nuclear power plant was partially shut down as a result of their heat wave...)
acroyear: (they (sam))
Ala. city considers end to alcohol sales - Yahoo! News:
ATHENS, Ala. - Voters have a chance on Tuesday to return this northern Alabama city to the days of Prohibition.

A measure to end the sale of alcohol in Athens is up for a citywide vote, a rare instance where voters could overturn a previous vote to allow sales. Business interests are against repeal, but church leaders who helped organize the petition drive that got the measure on the ballot are asking members to pray and fast in support of a ban.

Christians who oppose drinking on moral grounds believe they have a chance to win, however small.

"If it can be voted out anywhere, it will be here because so many Christians are against it," said Teresa Thomas, who works in a Christian book store.

Business leaders argue that ending the sale of beer, wine and liquor would hurt tax revenues and send the message that Athens is backward.

"Economic impact is really the big issue," said Carl Hunt, an organizer of the pro-alcohol sale Citizens for Economic Progress.

The United States went dry in 1920 after the 18th Amendment outlawed the production, transportation and sale of alcohol. Prohibition was repealed in 1933.

Now, less than four years after they first voted to legalize alcohol sales, the nearly 22,000 residents of Athens will decide whether to prohibit alcohol sales within the city, located about 95 miles north of Birmingham. Possession and consumption would remain legal.

Such "wet-to-dry" votes aren't unheard of, but they're rare, said Jim Mosher of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, which tracks public policy issues including alcohol laws.

"In Barrow, Alaska, when they legalized alcohol sales, problems went through the roof," Mosher said. "Then, when they banned it again, it improved."

[...]

The Rev. Eddie Gooch feels good about the chances of ending alcohol sales in Athens, but he isn't taking any chances.

A leader of the petition drive, Gooch urged members of his United Methodist Church to pray and fast on election day and the two days leading up to it. Church volunteers have sent thousands of letters and made phone calls encouraging people to vote "dry."

[...]

Gooch isn't worried about the city losing businesses or tax revenues if alcohol sales are banned. Normal economic growth and God will make up any difference if residents dump the bottle, he said.

"We believe that God will honor and bless our city," Gooch said.
The circumstances, the quotes that lead up to a decision like this, are very important. The very fact that only the "Christians" are pushing for this will directly get its legality thrown out on First Amendment grounds as a sign of establishment.  The point of the First Amendment was protection from tyranny, whether majority or minority caused.  That they aren't declaring any secular reason why it should be banned, other than "Barrow, Alaska", is sign enough that this is blatantly unconstitutional.

Can someone please remind these "Christians" that the first miracle was turning water into WINE!  Sheesh.

As for "Barrow, Alaska", I am furious with the reporter at the AP, Jay Reeves, for giving their side a complete free ride on that.  There was no reason to mention it if you're not going to provide either an explanation of what exactly happened in Barrow (if anything).  All it does is give them a blank-check on saying that towns that repeal prohibition end up with problems which is patently untrue, and more importantly, completely untrue with regards to Athens, AL.  Its obvious that they have no evidence that crime went up, or teenage drinking, or any other socially negative consequence came out of the legalization of sales in their own town, so there was no reason to give their "Barrow, Alaska" a mention given that the situations can't be comparable if Barrow did have problems, and also that its possible Barrow didn't have problems and they're lying for Jesus like they do so often.

Seriously bad reporting...
acroyear: (with this ring...)
Pharyngula: Although the idea of living in sin with my wife is deliciously tempting…:
Here's a curious poll: "If marriage is a sacred institution authored by God, should atheists be barred from marrying?"

One answer is sweeping the vote (and I don't think sending the Pharynguloid horde over there will change the trend), but Austin is making an interesting point. If gay people can't marry because their union violates some religious requirement, then shouldn't atheist marriages also be invalid? It seems to me that if you are arguing that marriage is a divine sacrament — and obviously, I don't think it is — then a consistent fundamentalist ought to be arguing for the denial of married status to unbelievers.

Thank God fundamentalists aren't consistent.
acroyear: (if you can't beat 'em)
some seriously funny shit...

"Why go to church on Sundays when you can just go ride it"?
acroyear: (they (sam))
hidden behind the cut; not worth poluting the friends pages with church politics )

I'll post my personal statement later when I have the time. Just this comment alone took me half an hour to write because I needed to verify facts and spellings and all that crap on the 'net.
acroyear: (beers and bells)
Evolving Thoughts The new war on Christmas:
A new war on Christmas is being waged... by a pastor. Forget those secular humanists; the real danger to traditional Christmas is the religious. Santa is "a blasphemous stand-in for God who makes liars of parents and causes confusion among children."

Why do they hate Christmas? And, presumably, Democracy... damned terrorists.
Well, that's actually an OLD war. Back in the early 80s my evangelical neighbors were repeating anti-Santa rhetoric from some of the lesser-known TV evangelists at the time (granted, Baker was riding at the top of his game before his fall, and Roberts was one year away from testifying before a nation that God was a blackmail artist, so these lesser-seen ones had reasons to not be noticed by the general public at the time).

Mind you, that didn't stop them from having a tree and putting presents under it, but they didn't use "Santa" as a reason for it.

The war against "Santa", which goes with the wholesale replacement of "Christmas Carols" with "Holiday Songs" (see Uncertain Principles from yesterday), is an old war.  Oddly enough, self-proclaimed secular humanist, Charles Schultz, actually fired the first salvo for the "Jesus" side in the first Peanuts TV special.
acroyear: (with this ring...)
Robert Fripp's Diary:
Only snuggllng, assurances of love & devotion, a tickling of feet & toes (and on this occasion, sharing sweet bean treats returned from Japan), returns her to the person that promised to love, honour & obey me. I knew at the time that these three promises were already at least one too far, but it seemed inappropriate while the vows were being made to query details.
acroyear: (with this ring...)
slacktivist: All you need is:
3. 1 Corinthians 13 is sometimes called the "love chapter" -- which is apt, but always makes me think of Jack Jones singing about an open smile on a friendly shore. The subject of love is, of course, germane to the business of weddings, so it makes sense that this passage should be read so often in that context. But the chapter isn't really about marriage. It's universal. It's not about "this is how you should treat your spouse." It's about "this is how you should treat everyone." It's about "this is how you should be."

4. Having said that, it's still excellent advice for young couples about to be married.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ..."
As such, it's worth noting that this passage has nothing to say about "gender roles." Walk into any so-called "Christian bookstore" and you will find a section dedicated to books on marriage. Nearly all of these books go on, at great length, about the supposed distinct roles of husbands and wives. None of these distinctions is compatible with the universal imperatives of the passage above. These books will argue that manly husbands should always protect and that womanly wives should always trust, but that's not what the passage says. The passage itself will not abide having such notions of gender roles inflicted onto it.

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