If You Vote for ROMNEY You Believe…

Soap box time.  If you are a Republican and offend easily you can just ignore this but I feel this morning very strongly the need to soapbox.  Mostly because I’m afraid.  I’m very afraid and concerned for this country.

If you vote for Romney you believe that whatever reasons Republicans seem to consider important are of more importance than other people’s human rights.  You believe that a woman should have NO say over her own body if she gets pregnant–no choice whether or not she wants to be a mom or give birth. You believe that women should be punished by being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy for the “crime” of simply engaging in sex for pleasure–having a sex life like men do.

You also believe that any tax paying person born gay in this country should not be allowed to enjoy full rights as persons and citizens of this country. That is what you believe. If you don’t believe these things, then you have the opinion that human rights aren’t as important or should have as high a priority as some other things…so long as it isn’t your human rights that are on the table being endangered.

I am frankly dismayed and disgusted by what religion’s influence has done and continues to do in this country. In a world that is grossly overpopulated already (this is a fact–look it up), so much so that almost every wild species of animal on the planet is in danger of extinction (I cannot believe I would see the day that FROGS or HONEYBEES would be threatened, but they are), and in my lifetime alone the population of lions in Africa has dwindled from 150,000 to something like 20,000….we stupid Americans still discuss birth control like controlling our numbers is an option–all because of this archaic mentality that we must continue producing as many babies as possible to populate pews in churches. Never-mind that every day thousands of people–little children too–die of exposure and starvation, never-mind how many unwanted babies end up in foster care, live their entire childhoods feeling unwanted, and very often end up in their adult lives living in jail off the money of taxpayers, or mentally ill, or committing terrible crimes.

The other day I saw a bill-board in Seattle. I didn’t get a good look at it but it seemed to be encouraging some product or medication that increases the likelihood of having TWINS. The ad read “Because TWO are more fun!” or something like that. Are you kidding me???

President Obama has not cleaned up the mess completely no, and he has not been a perfect president, no.  He came in with very little experience.  But he has done some good and I really think he would have done more good had the left tried to meet him halfway across the aisle he tried to reach across.   I also have not seen President Obama caught in one lie after another, like I have seen all during Mitt Romney’s campaign.

One thing I know for sure, President Obama is not threatening to take away a woman’s right to have a say over whether she wants to have a baby or not. I think anyone who does threaten that right is a sick bastard on the level of the KKK and no I would not want a KKK member running this country either.

Nor is President Obama standing in the way of a whole group of people, tax paying citizens in this country, getting to finally enjoy the same rights and privileges as as any other tax paying citizen in this country. It is absurd that in a secular nation that has separation of church and state–or is SUPPOSED TO–that some people can be denied the right to marry (even by a justice of the peace!), because some religion says so. That’s bullshit. Sorry, but the CHURCH should have no authority over what free citizens of this country do with their lives, so long as it does not break any laws or hurt anyone.

No, I’m not gay.  I don’t think a person has to be gay to believe in or want human rights for ALL.

Why Can’t You Leave Religion Alone? blog by Seth Andrews

 

 

Why Can’t You Leave Religion Alone?

Seth    Jan 28, 2011 2:00:54 PM | Date Modified: Sep 5, 2012 4:13:14 AM

The protests come every day from the religious, and they go something like this:

* “Why spend your time disproving God?”

* “Why not just let people believe what they want to believe?”

* “Why can’t you leave religion alone?”

As one YouTube commenter said recently, “No one can explain to me why it is so important to convince theists to abandon their beliefs.”

The answer is simple. Pages like this one exist because religion exists.

Religion permeates our culture, shows up on our doorsteps with literature, scriptures and threats of eternal damnation, influences our science books, contaminates our political systems, indoctrinates our children and postulates that its doctrine must be followed, lest we be destroyed in body, in soul, or both.

Non-believers are simply responding to the avalanche of religious messages that bears down upon us daily.

Religion gets carte blanche to be as vocal as it wants, to knock on our doors and accost us in our homes, in our places of work, in our personal and professional lives. Believers are charged with a life mission to preach, teach, disciple, shout it from the mountaintops and to “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Religion…is everywhere.

Ask yourself. When’s the last time an atheist rang your doorbell with the Good News of Humanism? How often do you find Richard Dawkins books in the dresser drawers of your hotel rooms? When was the last atheist temple erected in your neighborhood? Have you ever attended an atheist revival? Has atheism demanded 10% of your household income? How many dedicated atheist television channels come through your satellite dish? How many atheist verses were you instructed to memorize as a child? When’s the last time someone thanked a FARMER (or even the cook) at the dinner table instead of God?

On a more radical front, what’s the name of the last atheist who sawed the head off of an “infidel?” Or sentenced a shrouded woman to death for displeasing an oppressive husband? Or strapped explosives to his belt in order to kill hundreds in a public square? Or publicly hung a gay person for his lifestyle?

It’s everywhere. Religion is a pounding drum that has gone mostly unanswered for a long, long time. And religion is not satisfied with merely existing quietly in the homes and hearts of the faithful. Its very nature compels the believer to proselytize, preach, promote, convince, convert and prevail. If you play on the team of the religious, your game plan is to stay, always, on offense.

Throughout our history, those who raise a simple hand of protest against these advances have been portrayed as the real problem. Religion has attempted to marginalize and defeat legitimate questions and concerns by indignantly portraying any resistors as misguided, immoral, rudderless, angry, miserable, lost and alone.

And when skepticism challenges wildly improbable (or impossible) stories found in the bible, the Qur’an and other holy books, the religious wail, “Why can’t you just leave us alone?”

The irony is thick.

And religion impedes curiosity and inhibits learning, as the much-maligned Creation Museum proves. It stymies critical thinking. It stretches us to believe the unbelievable. And it poisons the foundational teachings we are using to train up the generations of tomorrow.

Pages like mine exist as a response… a counter-argument to ensure that the cacophony of superstition does not go unchallenged. And if your belief system is so undeniable, so factual, so provable, so real and so true, certainly it can withstand the opposing viewpoints presented here and elsewhere. Certainly, it can survive the acid tests.

Just remember. Religion began the argument. It amplifies itself before the world. And it threatens all mankind with punishment upon its rejection.

We are atheists. We are moral. We are reasonable. We are thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate, happy, fulfilled and well-informed.

And as long as religion insists on fixing human beings who are not broken, we will respond with the evidence that we are not the problem.

-Seth Andrews (The Thinking Atheist, written 01/28/11

The Christian Nation Myth

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/farrell_till/myth.html

 

 

The Christian Nation Myth

Farrell Till

Whenever the Supreme Court makes a decision that in any way restricts the intrusion of religion into the affairs of government, a flood of editorials, articles, and letters protesting the ruling is sure to appear in the newspapers. Many protesters decry these decisions on the grounds that they conflict with the wishes and intents of the “founding fathers.”

Such a view of American history is completely contrary to known facts. The primary leaders of the so-called founding fathers of our nation were not Bible-believing Christians; they were deists. Deism was a philosophical belief that was widely accepted by the colonial intelligentsia at the time of the American Revolution. Its major tenets included belief in human reason as a reliable means of solving social and political problems and belief in a supreme deity who created the universe to operate solely by natural laws. The supreme God of the Deists removed himself entirely from the universe after creating it. They believed that he assumed no control over it, exerted no influence on natural phenomena, and gave no supernatural revelation to man. A necessary consequence of these beliefs was a rejection of many doctrines central to the Christian religion. Deists did not believe in the virgin birth, divinity, or resurrection of Jesus, the efficacy of prayer, the miracles of the Bible, or even the divine inspiration of the Bible.

These beliefs were forcefully articulated by Thomas Paine in Age of Reason, a book that so outraged his contemporaries that he died rejected and despised by the nation that had once revered him as “the father of the American Revolution.” To this day, many mistakenly consider him an atheist, even though he was an out spoken defender of the Deistic view of God. Other important founding fathers who espoused Deism were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, James Madison, and James Monroe.

Fundamentalist Christians are currently working overtime to convince the American public that the founding fathers intended to establish this country on “biblical principles,” but history simply does not support their view. The men mentioned above and others who were instrumental in the founding of our nation were in no sense Bible-believing Christians. Thomas Jefferson, in fact, was fiercely anti-cleric. In a letter to Horatio Spafford in 1814, Jefferson said, “In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer for their purposes” (George Seldes, The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey Citadel Press, 1983, p. 371). In a letter to Mrs. Harrison Smith, he wrote, “It is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read. By the same test the world must judge me. But this does not satisfy the priesthood. They must have a positive, a declared assent to all their interested absurdities. My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest” (August 6, 1816).

Jefferson was just as suspicious of the traditional belief that the Bible is “the inspired word of God.” He rewrote the story of Jesus as told in the New Testament and compiled his own gospel version known as The Jefferson Bible, which eliminated all miracles attributed to Jesus and ended with his burial. The Jeffersonian gospel account contained no resurrection, a twist to the life of Jesus that was considered scandalous to Christians but perfectly sensible to Jefferson’s Deistic mind. In a letter to John Adams, he wrote, “To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, God, are immaterial is to say they are nothings, or that there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise” (August 15, 1820). In saying this, Jefferson was merely expressing the widely held Deistic view of his time, which rejected the mysticism of the Bible and relied on natural law and human reason to explain why the world is as it is. Writing to Adams again, Jefferson said, “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter” (April 11, 1823). These were hardly the words of a devout Bible-believer.

Jefferson didn’t just reject the Christian belief that the Bible was “the inspired word of God”; he rejected the Christian system too. In Notes on the State of Virginia, he said of this religion, “There is not one redeeming feature in our superstition of Christianity. It has made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites” (quoted by newspaper columnist William Edelen, “Politics and Religious Illiteracy,” Truth Seeker, Vol. 121, No. 3, p. 33). Anyone today who would make a statement like this or others we have quoted from Jefferson’s writings would be instantly branded an infidel, yet modern Bible fundamentalists are frantically trying to cast Jefferson in the mold of a Bible believing Christian. They do so, of course, because Jefferson was just too important in the formation of our nation to leave him out if Bible fundamentalists hope to sell their “Christian-nation” claim to the public. Hence, they try to rewrite history to make it appear that men like Thomas Jefferson had intended to build our nation on “biblical principles.” The irony of this situation is that the Christian leaders of Jefferson’s time knew where he stood on “biblical principles,” and they fought desperately, but unsuccessfully, to prevent his election to the presidency. Saul K. Padover’s biography related the bitterness of the opposition that the clergy mounted against Jefferson in the campaign of 1800

The religious issue was dragged out, and stirred up flames of hatred and intolerance. Clergymen, mobilizing their heaviest artillery of thunder and brimstone, threatened Christians with all manner of dire consequences if they should vote for the “in fidel” from Virginia. This was particularly true in New England, where the clergy stood like Gibraltar against Jefferson (Jefferson A Great American’s Life and Ideas, Mentor Books, 1964, p.116).

William Linn, a Dutch Reformed minister in New York City, made perhaps the most violent of all attacks on Jefferson’s character, all of it based on religious matters. In a pamphlet entitled Serious Considerations on the Election of a President, Linn “accused Jefferson of the heinous crimes of not believing in divine revelation and of a design to destroy religion and `introduce immorality'” (Padover, p. 116). He referred to Jefferson as a “true infidel” and insisted that “(a)n infidel like Jefferson could not, should not, be elected” (Padover, p. 117). He concluded the pamphlet with this appeal for “Christians to defeat the `infidel’ from Virginia”

Will you, then, my fellow-citizens, with all this evidence… vote for Mr. Jefferson?… As to myself, were Mr. Jefferson connected with me by the nearest ties of blood, and did I owe him a thousand obligations, I would not, and could not vote for him. No; sooner than stretch forth my hand to place him at the head of the nation “Let mine arms fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone” (quoted by Padover, p. 117).

Why would contemporary clergymen have so vigorously opposed Jefferson’s election if he were as devoutly Christian as modern preachers claim? The answer is that Jefferson was not a Christian, and the preachers of his day knew that he wasn’t.

In the heat of the campaign Jefferson wrote a letter to Benjamin Rush in which he angrily commented on the clerical efforts to assassinate his personal character “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” That statement has been inscribed on Jefferson’s monument in Washington. Most people who read it no doubt think that Jefferson was referring to political tyrants like the King of England, but in reality, he was referring to the fundamentalist clergymen of his day.

After Jefferson became president, he did not compromise his beliefs. As president, he refused to issue Thanksgiving proclamations, a fact that Justice Souter referred to in his concurring opinion with the majority in Lee vs. Weisman, the recent supreme-court decision that ruled prayers at graduation ceremonies unconstitutional. Early in his first presidential term, Jefferson declared his firm belief in the separation of church and state in a letter to the Danbury (Connecticut) Baptists “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should `make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”

Before sending the letter to Danbury, Jefferson asked his attorney general, Levi Lincoln, to review it. Jefferson told Lincoln that he considered the letter a means of “sowing useful truths and principles among the people, which might germinate and become rooted among their political tenets” (quoted by Rob Boston in “Myths and Mischief,” Church and State, March 1992). If this was indeed Jefferson’s wish, he certainly succeeded. Twice, in Reynolds vs. the United States (1879) and Everson vs. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court cited Jefferson’s letter as “an authoritative declaration of the scope of the [First] Amendment” and agreed that the intention of the First Amendment was “to erect `a wall of separation between church and state.'” Confronted with evidence like this, some fundamentalists will admit that Thomas Jefferson was not a Bible-believer but will insist that most of the other “founding fathers”–men like Washington, Madison, and Franklin–were Christians whose intention during the formative years of our country was to establish a “Christian nation.” Again, however, history does not support their claim.

James Madison, Jefferson’s close friend and political ally, was just as vigorously opposed to religious intrusions into civil affairs as Jefferson was. In 1785, when the Commonwealth of Virginia was considering passage of a bill “establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” Madison wrote his famous “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments” in which he presented fifteen reasons why government should not be come involved in the support of any religion. This paper, long considered a landmark document in political philosophy, was also cited in the majority opinion in Lee vs. Weisman. The views of Madison and Jefferson prevailed in the Virginia Assembly, and in 1786, the Assembly adopted the statute of religious freedom of which Jefferson and Madison were the principal architects. The preamble to this bill said that “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.” The statute itself was much more specific than the establishment clause of the U. S. Constitution “Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise [sic] diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities”.

Realizing that whatever legislation an elected assembly passed can be later repealed, Jefferson ended the statute with a statement of contempt for any legislative body that would be so presumptuous “And though we well know this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding assemblies, constituted with the powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable, would be of no effect in law, yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right” (emphasis added).

After George Washington’s death, Christians made an intense effort to claim him as one of their own. This effort was based largely on the grounds that Washington had regularly attended services with his wife at an Episcopal Church and had served as a vestryman in the church. On August 13, 1835, a Colonel Mercer, involved in the effort, wrote to Bishop William White, who had been one of the rectors at the church Washington had attended. In the letter, Mercer asked if “Washington was a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal church, or whether he occasionally went to the communion only, or if ever he did so at all…” (John Remsberg, Six Historic Americans, p. 103). On August 15, 1835, White sent Mercer this reply

In regard to the subject of your inquiry, truth requires me to say that Gen. Washington never received the communion in the churches of which I am the parochial minister. Mrs. Washington was an habitual communicant…. I have been written to by many on that point, and have been obliged to answer them as I now do you (Remsberg, p. 104).

In his Annals of the American Pulpit, The Reverend William B. Sprague, D.D., wrote a biographical sketch of the Reverend James Abercrombie, the other pastor of the congregation Washington attended. In this work, Sprague quoted Abercrombie in confirmation of what White had written to Mercer

One incident in Dr. Abercrombie’s experience as a clergyman, in connection with the Father of his Country, is especially worthy of record; and the following account of it was given by the Doctor himself, in a letter to a friend, in 1831 shortly after there had been some public allusion to it “With respect to the inquiry you make I can only state the following facts; that, as pastor of the Episcopal church, observing that, on sacramental Sundays, Gen. Washington, immediately after the desk and pulpit services, went out with the greater part of the congregation–always leaving Mrs. Washington with the other communicants–she invariably being one–I considered it my duty in a sermon on Public Worship, to state the unhappy tendency of example, particularly of those in elevated stations who uniformly turned their backs upon the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. I acknowledge the remark was intended for the President; and as such he received it” (From Annals of the American Pulpit, Vol. 5, p. 394, quoted by Remsberg, pp. 104-105).

Abercrombie went on to explain that he had heard through a senator that Washington had discussed the reprimand with others and had told them that “as he had never been a communicant, were he to become one then it would be imputed to an ostentatious display of religious zeal, arising altogether from his elevated station” (Ibid.). Abercrombie then said that Washington “never afterwards came on the morning of sacramental Sunday” (Ibid.).

Here is firsthand testimony from the rectors of the church that Washington attended with his wife, and they both claimed that he never participated in the communion service. Writing in the Episcopal Recorder, the Reverend E. D. Neill said that Washington “was not a communicant, notwithstanding all the pretty stories to the contrary, and after the close of the sermon on sacramental Sundays, [he] had fallen into the habit of retiring from the church while his wife remained and communed” (Remsberg, p. 107). In this article, Neill also made reference to Abercrombie’s reprimand of Washington from the pulpit, so those who knew Washington personally or who knew those who had known him all seem to agree that Washington was never a “communicant.” Remsberg continued at length in his chapter on Washington to quote the memoirs and letters of Washington’s associates, who all agreed that the president had never once been known to participate in the communion service, a fact that weakens the claim that he was a Christian. Would preachers today consider someone a devout Christian if he just attended services with his wife but never took the communion?

As for Washington’s membership in the vestry, for several years he did actively serve as one of the twelve vestrymen of Truro parish, Virginia, as had also his father. This, however, cannot be construed as proof that he was a Christian believer. The vestry at that time was also the county court, so in order to have certain political powers, it was necessary for one to be a vestryman. On this matter, Paul F. Boller made this observation

Actually, under the Anglican establishment in Virginia before the Revolution, the duties of a parish vestry were as much civil as religious in nature and it is not possible to deduce any exceptional religious zeal from the mere fact of membership.* Even Thomas Jefferson was a vestryman for a while. Consisting of the leading gentlemen of the parish in position and influence (many of whom, like Washington, were also at one time or other members of the County Court and of the House of Burgeses), the parish vestry, among other things, levied the parish taxes, handled poor relief, fixed land boundaries in the parish, supervised the construction, furnishing, and repairs of churches, and hired ministers and paid their salaries (George Washington & Religion, Dallas Southern Methodist University Press, 1963, p. 26).

A footnote where the asterisk appears cited Meade as proof that avowed unbelievers sometimes served as vestrymen “As Bishop William Meade put it, somewhat nastily, in 1857, `Even Mr. Jefferson and [George] Wythe, who did not conceal their disbelief in Christianity, took their parts in the duties of vestrymen, the one at Williamsburg, the other at Albermarle; for they wished to be men of influence'” (William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, 2 vols., Philadelphia, 1857, I, p. 191).

Clearly, then, one cannot assume from Washington’s presence at church services and his membership in the Truro parish vestry that he was a Christian believer. Is there any other evidence to suggest that he was a Christian? The Reverend Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, preached a sermon in October 1831 in which he stated that “among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism” (Paul F. Boller, George Washington & Religion, pp. 14-15). He went on to describe Washington as a “great and good man” but “not a professor of religion.” Wilson said that he was “really a typical eighteenth century Deist, not a Christian, in his religious outlook” (Ibid.). Wilson wasn’t just speaking about matters that he had not researched, because he had carefully investigated his subject before he preached this sermon. Among others, Wilson had inquired of the Reverend Abercrombie [identified earlier as the rector of the church Washington had attended] concerning Washing ton’s religious views. Abercrombie’s response was brief and to the point “Sir, Washington was a Deist” (Remsberg, p. 110). Those, then, who were best positioned to know Washington’s private religious beliefs did not consider him a Christian, and the Reverend Abercrombie, who knew him personally and pastored the church he attended with his wife flatly said that Washington was a Deist.

The Reverend Bird Wilson, who was just a few years removed from being a contemporary of the so-called founding fathers, said further in the above-mentioned sermon that “the founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson] _not a one had professed a belief in Christianity_” (Remsberg, p. 120, emphasis added).

Dr. Wilson’s sermon, which was published in the Albany Daily Advertiser the month it was delivered also made an interesting observation that flatly contradicts the frantic efforts of present-day fundamentalists to make the “founding fathers” orthodox Christians

When the war was over and the victory over our enemies won, and the blessings and happiness of liberty and peace were secured, the Constitution was framed and God was neglected. He was not merely forgotten. He was absolutely voted out of the Constitution. The proceedings, as published by Thompson, the secretary, and the history of the day, show that the question was gravely debated whether God should be in the Constitution or not, and after a solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it…. There is not only in the theory of our government no recognition of God’s laws and sovereignty, but its practical operation, its administration, has been conformable to its theory. Those who have been called to administer the government have not been men making any public profession of Christianity…. Washington was a man of valor and wisdom. He was esteemed by the whole world as a great and good man; but he was not a professing Christian (quoted by Remsberg, pp. 120-121, emphasis added).

The publication of Wilson’s sermon in the Daily Advertiser attracted the attention of Robert Owen, who then personally visited Wilson to discuss the matter of Washington’s religious views. Owen summarized the results of that visit in a letter to Amos Gilbert dated November 13, 1831

I called last evening on Dr. Wilson, as I told you I should, and I have seldom derived more pleasure from a short interview with anyone. Unless my discernment of character has been grievously at fault, I met an honest man and sincere Christian. But you shall have the particulars. A gentleman of this city accompanied me to the Doctor’s residence. We were very courteously received. I found him a tall, commanding figure, with a countenance of much benevolence, and a brow indicative of deep thought, apparently approaching fifty years of age. I opened the interview by stating that though personally a stranger to him, I had taken the liberty of calling in consequence of having perused an interesting sermon of his, which had been reported in the Daily Advertiser of this city, and regarding which, as he probably knew, a variety of opinions prevailed. In a discussion, in which I had taken a part, some of the facts as there reported had been questioned; and I wished to know from him whether the reporter had fairly given his words or not…. I then read to him from a copy of the Daily Advertiser the paragraph which regards Washington, beginning, “Washington was a man,” etc. and ending, “absented himself altogether from the church.” “I endorse,” said Dr. Wilson, with emphasis, “every word of that. Nay, I do not wish to conceal from you any part of the truth, even what I have not given to the public. Dr. Abercrombie said more than I have repeated. At the close of our conversation on the subject his emphatic expression was–for I well remember the very words–`Sir, Washington was a Deist.'”

In concluding the interview, Dr. Wilson said “I have diligently perused every line that Washington ever gave to the public, and I do not find one expression in which he pledges him self as a believer in Christianity. I think anyone who will candidly do as I have done, will come to the conclusion that he was a Deist and nothing more” (Remsberg, pp. 121-122, emphasis added).

In February 1800, after Washington’s death, Thomas Jefferson wrote this statement in his personal journal

Dr. Rush told me (he had it from Asa Green) that when the clergy addressed General Washington, on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to disclose publicly whether he was a Christian or not. However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly, except that, which he passed over without notice….

I know that Gouverneur Morris [principal drafter of the constitution], who claimed to be in his secrets, and believed him self to be so, has often told me that General Washington believed no more in that system [Christianity] than he did” (quoted in Remsberg, p. 123 from Jefferson’s Works, Vol. 4, p. 572, emphasis added).

The “Asa” Green referred to by Jefferson was probably the Reverend Ashbel Green, who was chaplain to congress during Washington’s administration. If so, he was certainly in a position to know the information that “Asa” Green had passed along to Jefferson. Reverend Ashbel Green became the president of Princeton College after serving eight years as the congressional chaplain. He was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a prominent figure in the colonial Presbyterian Church (Remsberg, p. 124). His testimony has to be given more weight than what modern day clerics may think about Washington’s religious beliefs.

Dr. Moncure D. Conway, who was once employed to edit a volume of Washington’s letters, wrote an article entitled “The Religion of Washington,” from which Remsberg quoted the following

In editing a volume of Washington’s private letters for the Long Island Historical Society, I have been much impressed by indications that this great historic personality represented the Liberal religious tendency of his time. That tendency was to respect religious organizations as part of the social order, which required some minister to visit the sick, bury the dead, and perform marriages. It was considered in nowise inconsistent with disbelief of the clergyman’s doctrines to contribute to his support, or even to be a vestryman in his church.

In his many letters to his adopted nephew and younger relatives, he admonishes them about their manners and morals, but in no case have I been able to discover any suggestion that they should read the Bible, keep the Sabbath, go to church, or any warning against Infidelity.

Washington had in his library the writings of Paine, Priestley, Voltaire, Frederick the Great, and other heretical works (pp. 128-129, emphasis added).

In a separate submission to the New York Times, Conway said that “Washington, like most scholarly Virginians of his time, was a Deist…. Contemporary evidence shows that in mature life Washington was a Deist, and did not commune, which is quite consistent with his being a vestryman. In England, where vestries have secular functions, it is not unusual for Unitarians to vestrymen, there being no doctrinal subscription required for that office. Washington’s letters during the Revolution occasionally indicate his recognition of the hand of Providence in notable public events, but in the thousands of his letters I have never been able to find the name of Christ or any reference to him” (quoted by Remsberg, pp. 129-130, emphasis added).

The absence of Christian references in Washington’s personal papers and conversation was noted by historian Clinton Rossiter

The last and least skeptical of these rationalists [Washington] loaded his First Inaugural Address with appeals to the “Great Author,” “Almighty Being,” “invisible hand,” and “benign parent of the human race,” but apparently could not bring himself to speak the word “God” (“The United States in 1787,” 1787 The Grand Convention, New York W, W, Norton & Co., 1987, p. 36).

These terms by which Washington referred to “God” in his inaugural address are dead giveaways that he was Deistic in his views. The uninformed see the expression “nature’s God” in documents like the Declaration of Independence and wrongly interpret it as evidence of Christian belief in those who wrote and signed it, but in reality it is a sure indication that the document was Deistic in origin. Deists preferred not to use the unqualified term “God” in their conversation and writings because of its Christian connotations. Accordingly, they substituted expressions like those that Washington used in his inaugural address or else they referred to their creator as “nature’s God,” the deity who had created the world and then left it to operate by natural law.

Moncure Conway also stated that “(t)here is no evidence to show that Washington, even in early life, was a believer in Christianity” (Ibid.). Remsberg also noted that Conway stated that Washington’s father had been a Deist and that his mother “was not excessively religious” (Ibid.).

Christians have often claimed that most non-Christians make death-bed professions of faith when they realize that they are dying. These claims almost always turn out to be unverifiable assertions, but Conway made it very clear that Washington, even on his death bed, made no profession of faith

When the end was near, Washington said to a physician present–an ancestor of the writer of these notes–“I am not afraid to go.” With his right fingers on his left wrist he counted his own pulses, which beat his funeral march to the grave. “He bore his distress,” so next day wrote one present, “with astonishing fortitude, and conscious, as he declared, several hours before his death, of his approaching dissolution, he resigned his breath with the greatest composure, having the full possession of his reason to the last moment.” Mrs. Washington knelt beside his bed, but no word passed on religious matters. With the sublime taciturnity which had marked his life he passed out of existence, leaving no act or word which can be turned to the service of superstition, cant, or bigotry” (quoted by Remsberg, pp. 132-133, emphasis added).

Some Christians were of course involved in the shaping of our nation, but their influence was minor compared to the ideological contributions of the Deists who pressed for the formation of a secular nation. In describing the composition of the delegations to the constitutional convention, the historian Clinton Rossiter said this about their religious views

Whatever else it might turn out to be, the Convention would not be a `Barebone’s Parliament.’ Although it had its share of strenuous Christians like Strong and Bassett, ex-preachers like Baldwin and Williamson, and theologians like Johnson and Ellsworth, the gathering at Philadelphia was largely made up of men in whom the old fires were under control or had even flickered out. Most were nominally members of one of the traditional churches in their part of the country–the New Englanders Congregationalists, and Presbyterians, the Southerners Episcopalians, and the men of the Middle States everything from backsliding Quakers to stubborn Catholics–and most were men who could take their religion or leave it along. Although no one in this sober gathering would have dreamed of invoking the Goddess of Reason, neither would anyone have dared to proclaim that his opinions had the support of the God of Abraham and Paul. The Convention of 1787 was highly rationalist and even secular in spirit” (“The Men of Philadelphia,” 1787 The Grand Convention, New York W. W. Norton & Company, 1987, pp. 147-148, emphasis added).

Needless to say, this view of the religious beliefs of the constitutional delegates differs radically from the picture that is often painted by modern fundamentalist leaders.

At the constitutional convention, Luther Martin a Maryland representative urged the inclusion of some kind of recognition of Christianity in the constitution on the grounds that “it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism.” How ever, the delegates to the convention rejected this proposal and, as the Reverend Bird Wilson stated in his sermon quoted above, drafted the constitution as a secular document. God was nowhere mentioned in it.

As a matter of fact, the document that was finally approved at the constitutional convention mentioned religion only once, and that was in Article VI, Section 3, which stated that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Now if the delegates at the convention had truly intended to establish a “Christian nation,” why would they have put a statement like this in the constitution and nowhere else even refer to religion? Common sense is enough to convince any reasonable person that if the intention of these men had really been the formation of a “Christian nation,” the constitution they wrote would have surely made several references to God, the Bible, Jesus, and other accouterments of the Christian religion, and rather than expressly forbidding ANY religious test as a condition for holding public office in the new nation, it would have stipulated that allegiance to Christianity was a requirement for public office. After all, when someone today finds a tract left at the front door of his house or on the windshield of his car, he doesn’t have to read very far to determine that its obvious intention is to further the Christian religion. Are we to assume, then, that the founding fathers wanted to establish a Christian nation but were so stupid that they couldn’t write a constitution that would make their purpose clear to those who read it?

Clearly, the founders of our nation intended government to maintain a neutral posture in matters of religion. Anyone who would still insist that the intention of the founding fathers was to establish a Christian nation should review a document written during the administration of George Washington. Article 11 of the Treaty with Tripoli declared in part that “the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion…” (Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States, ed. Hunter Miller, Vol. 2, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1931, p. 365). This treaty was negotiated by the American diplomat Joel Barlow during the administration of George Washington. Washington read it and approved it, although it was not ratified by the senate until John Adams had become president. When Adams signed it, he added this statement to his signature “Now, be it known, that I, John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said treaty, do, by and within the consent of the Senate, accept, ratify and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof.” This document and the approval that it received from our nation’s first and second presidents and the U. S. Senate as constituted in 1797 do very little to support the popular notion that the founding fathers established our country as a “Christian nation.”

Confronted with evidence like the foregoing, diehard fundamentalists will argue that even if the so-called founding fathers did not purposefully establish a Christian nation our country was founded by people looking for religious liberty, and our population has always been overwhelmingly Christian, but even these points are more dubious than most Christian-nation advocates dare suspect. Admittedly, some colonists did come to America in search of religious freedom, but the majority were driven by monetary motives. They simply wanted to improve their economic status. In New England, where the quest for religious freedom had been a strong motive for leaving the Old World, the colonists quickly established governments that were just as intolerant, if not more so, of religious dissent than what they had fled from in Europe. Quakers were exiled and then executed if they returned, and “witches,” condemned on flimsy spectral evidence, were hanged. This is hardly a part of our past that modern fundamentalists can point to as a model to be emulated, although their rhetoric often gives cause to wonder if this isn’t exactly what they want today.

As for the religious beliefs of the general population in pre and post revolutionary times, it wasn’t nearly as Christian as most people think. Lynn R. Buzzard, executive director of the Christian Legal Society (a national organization of Christian lawyers) has admitted that there is little proof to support the claim that the colonial population was overwhelmingly Christian. “Not only were a good many of the revolutionary leaders more deist than Christian,” Buzzard wrote, “but the actual number of church members was rather small. Perhaps as few as five percent of the populace were church members in 1776” (Schools They Haven’t Got a Prayer, Elgin, Illinois David C. Cook Publishing, 1982, p. 81). Historian Richard Hofstadter says that “perhaps as many as ninety percent of the Americans were unchurched in 1790” (Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, New York Alfred A. Knopf, 1974, p. 82) and goes on to say that “mid-eighteenth century America had a smaller proportion of church members than any other nation in Christendom,” noting that “in 1800 [only] about one of every fifteen Americans was a church member” (p. 89). Historian James MacGregor Burns agrees with these figures, noting that “(t)here had been a `very wintry season’ for religion every where in America after the Revolution” (The American Experiment Vineyard of Liberty, New York Vintage Books, 1983, p. 493). He adds that “ninety percent of the people lay outside the churches.”

Historians, who deal with facts rather than wishes, paint an entirely different picture of the religious composition of America during its formative years than the image of a nation founded on “biblical principles” that modern Bible fundamentalists are trying to foist upon us. Our founding fathers established a religiously neutral nation, and a tragedy of our time is that so many people are striving to undo all that was accomplished by the wisdom of the founding fathers who framed for us a constitution that would protect the religious freedom of everyone regardless of personal creed. An even greater tragedy is that they many times hoodwink the public into believing that they are only trying to make our nation what the founding fathers would want it to be. Separation of church and state is what the founding fathers wanted for the nation, and we must never allow anyone to distort history to make it appear otherwise.

According To The Natural World — Homosexuality IS Natural

We are by-products of our environment.   I think even the religious minded will agree; what differentiates us from other species of Great Ape: religion.  Because as far as any of us can see, only humans require an explanation for everything, including the great unknown.

Human beings are rather like the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, or the Cowardly Lion from “The Wizard of Oz.”  All three already had what they wanted most,  but still felt they lacked.  This is true too, for humanity.   We already had the same understanding that all or most sentient animals have.  Christians call it “the Golden Rule,” but it’s been around forever, in every human civilization that’s ever been, and in the world of animals too.   Even despite the need to compete for food, we see animals work together, forming families or communities, building connections and bonds.  Elephants grieve their dead.   Many species of whales stay their entire lives in their family pods alongside parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts.  When an animal is sick, often another of its kind, a sibling or friend, stays beside it; even after it dies you might still find its loyal friend at its side, loathe to leave it behind.

Kindness to others, helping others, doing unto others as you would have others do unto you.  This is one of the basic laws of nature.  Not all animals have  it, but many animals do.  It doesn’t come from religion.  It comes from the instinct of knowing what it takes to survive in groups and get along.  Except religion wants the credit.   Without religion we’d all be savages, or so it’s said, murdering each other, not caring for anything beyond meeting our own primal needs.

Other intelligent animals aren’t like this without religion, so why would we be?

But we are conditioned to believe our goodness can’t come from within ourselves.  It must come from without, from above, from something greater than we.  Because we believe that we, unlike every other living thing on this planet, were born broken and in need of repair.  And if we don’t desire after or seek out the one way we can be repaired, we will be punished, forever, by the god who made us broken.

How close are we to other apes?   Very close.  Genetically two genes differentiate us from our closest cousins.  And in fact human beings are more closely related to Chimpanzees (or Bonobos) than Gorillas are.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Chimpanzee   (AKA humans)

http://williamcalvin.com/teaching/bonobo.htm   (Bonobos)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee

The only apes that mate for life–Gibbon Apes and Gorillas.  And yet we are more closely related to the Chimpanzee than we are to either of these.

Animals that mate for life:

Gibbon Apes (nearest relative to humans (that mate for life)

Swans

Gorillas

Black Vultures

Wolves

French Angelfish

Albatrosses

Coyotes

Termites

Barn Owls

Beavers

Bald Eagles

Golden Eagles

Pigeons

Condors

Sandhill Cranes

Red Tailed Hawks

Ospreys

Prairie Voles

Chimpanzees do not mate for life.  Yet humans do.  I believe this is a direct result of religion.  It seems to me that the effort to stay loyal and loving to one partner all your life is a noble one, and in many cases it proves the key to a happy life . But is it natural?   Why is it so hard for 50% or more human couples to make their marriages last?   When did mating for life become the norm for human beings?   Did our prehistoric ancestors stay loyal to their mates?  If so, what encouraged this behavior?  This way of life?

It is a myth that only humans engage in sex for pleasure, just as it is a myth that homosexuality is not “natural:”

http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/10/23/20718.aspx

1,500 animal species practice homosexuality

Published on October 23, 2006 at 4:28 PM · 290 Comments

Homosexuality is quite common in the animal kingdom, especially among herding animals. Many animals solve conflicts by practicing same gender sex.

From the middle of October until next summer the Norwegian Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo will host the first exhibition that focuses on homosexuality in the animal kingdom.

“One fundamental premise in social debates has been that homosexuality is unnatural. This premise is wrong. Homosexuality is both common and highly essential in the lives of a number of species,” explains Petter Boeckman, who is the academic advisor for the “Against Nature’s Order?” exhibition.

The most well-known homosexual animal is the dwarf chimpanzee (Bonobo), one of humanity’s closes relatives. The entire species is bisexual. Sex plays an conspicuous role in all their activities and takes the focus away from violence, which is the most typical method of solving conflicts among primates and many other animals.

“Sex among dwarf chimpanzees is in fact the business of the whole family, and the cute little ones often lend a helping hand when they engage in oral sex with each other.”

Lions are also homosexual. Male lions often band together with their brothers to lead the pride. To ensure loyalty, they strengthen the bonds by often having sex with each other.

Homosexuality is also quite common among dolphins and killer whales. The pairing of males and females is fleeting, while between males, a pair can stay together for years. Homosexual sex between different species is not unusual either. Meetings between different dolphin species can be quite violent, but the tension is often broken by a “sex orgy”.

Homosexuality is a social phenomenon and is most widespread among animals with a complex herd life.

Among the apes it is the females that create the continuity within the group. The social network is maintained not only by sharing food and the child rearing, but also by having sex. Among many of the female apes the sex organs swell up. So they rub their abdomens against each other,” explains Petter Bockman and points out that animals have sex because they have the desire to, just like we humans.

Homosexual behaviour has been observed in 1,500 animal species.

“We’re talking about everything from mammals to crabs and worms. The actual number is of course much higher. Among some animals homosexual behaviour is rare, some having sex with the same gender only a part of their life, while other animals, such as the dwarf chimpanzee, homosexuality is practiced throughout their lives.”

Animals that live a completely homosexual life can also be found. This occurs especially among birds that will pair with one partner for life, which is the case with geese and ducks. Four to five percent of the couples are homosexual. Single females will lay eggs in a homosexual pair’s nest. It has been observced that the homosexual couple are often better at raising the young than heterosexual couples.

When you see a colony of black-headed gulls, you can be sure that almost every tenth pair is lesbian. The females have no problems with being impregnated, although, according to Petter Boeckman they cannot be defined as bisexual.

“If a female has sex with a male one time, but thousands of times with another female, is she bisexual or homosexual? This is the same way to have children is not unknown among homosexual people.”

Indeed, there is a number of animals in which homosexual behaviour has never been observed, such as many insects, passerine birds and small mammals.

“To turn the approach on its head: No species has been found in which homosexual behaviour has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis. Moreover, a part of the animal kingdom is hermaphroditic, truly bisexual. For them, homosexuality is not an issue.”

Petter Bockman regrets that there is too little research about homosexuality among animals.

“The theme has long been taboo. The problem is that researchers have not seen for themselves that the phenomenon exists or they have been confused when observing homosexual behaviour or that they are fearful of being ridiculed by their colleagues. Many therefore overlook the abundance of material that is found. Many researchers have described homosexuality as something altogether different from sex. They must realize that animals can have sex with who they will, when they will and without consideration to a researcher’s ethical principles.”

One example of overlooking behaviour noted by Petter Bockman is a description of mating among giraffes, when nine out of ten pairings occur between males.

“Every male that sniffed a female was reported as sex, while anal intercourse with orgasm between males was only “revolving around” dominance, competition or greetings.

Masturbation is common in the animal kingdom.

“Masturbation is the simplest method of self pleasure. We have a Darwinist mentality that all animals only have sex to procreate. But there are plenty of animals who will masturbate when they have nothing better to do. Masturbation has been observed among primates, deer, killer whales and penguins, and we’re talking about both males and females. They rub themselves against stones and roots. Orangutans are especially inventive. They make dildos of wood and bark,” says Petter Boeckman of the Norwegian Natural History Museum.

END OF ARTICLE

So back to the religion thing.  Is homosexuality “unnatural?  NO, it is not.   And the only reason human beings are under the impression that it is– religion.

Whether various religions want to acknowledge this or not, human beings are animals and are a part of nature, part of the natural world.   Religion has taken what is natural for humans and changed the rules, directed the rules, put fear of punishment or hope for reward as motivations to bring about this change, this desire in all of us to shun our natural animal selves and behave contrary to nature.

That’s all fine and well, but not every human is the same as every other human, and not all humans are born homosexual, whereas some humans are.  And of the humans born gay, not all of them are capable of denying what and who they are, to live within the box created for all of humankind by organized religion.

So, for those people, do we have the right to punish them?  To deny them equal rights as human beings?  To judge them, label them “abominations?”  Tell them that their god (if they believe in him), or creator, hates them?  Yes, like any creator would create a thing he hates.

For this reason among many, I disagree that religious dogma and indoctrination has been healthy for humankind.  I submit that this artificial way of living that denies what nature designed us to be, causes hatred, bigotry, sexism–all manner of intolerance for our fellow human beings.   Do Bonobos shun or stone to death members of their tribes for being gay?  No.  Only humans do that.  Only humans stand up behind pulpits and preach that homosexuals are  unnatural and an abomination and evil and should be put behind fences or be killed by their own governments for being born as the natural world intended them to be!   Only humans use religion and made up doctrine as justification to kill or punish or gleefully and indignantly spread the poison of hate.

http://www.hlntv.com/video/2012/05/23/pastor-put-gays-behind-electric-fence

http://www.inquisitr.com/245722/kansas-pastor-curtis-knapp-government-should-kill-gays-audio/

First in Line To Promote Hate

Ah, yes.  Nothing like the kind of Christian love that mirrors the loving god we see in the bible, is there?  The god who puts “thou shalt not kill” far down the list of the Ten Commandments and then repeatedly breaks his own commandment, killing hundreds of thousands of people for being what he made them to be?  No wonder belief in the bible produces such wholesome, stand up guys like, oh I don’t know…Charles Worley: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZkcyddD7OpA

Or  hey,  Jesse Lee Peterson (to be fair this man also thanks whites for the hideous crimes against humanity they committed against blacks less than 200 years ago–so clearly the man is insane.), who blames all the troubles of America on “the woman” and the U.S. Government for “allowing” women to vote just as if they should have a say what happens to them or their country too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeFhA_sL38c

And now we reach the best example yet of Christianity at its very finest, Pastor Curtis Knapp, who’s approach to Christianity is much like Hitler’s was:

 http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/05/30/kansas-pastor-calls-on-u-s-government-to-kill-lgbt-people/#.T8eA89yt81I.facebook

The pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas says President Barack Obama has gone too far in supporting same sex marriage and it’s time for the U.S. government to begin killing gay men and lesbians.

“Terrorists are dangerous, the economy is a real and present danger,” Pastor Curtis Knapp told his congregation on Sunday. “But there is simply nothing other than the holocaust of the unborn which imperils the safety of our country or places our people in jeopardy as does the leader of the Western world publicly raising his fist at the heavens and declaring that the bedrock institution of society, ordained of God and meant to be protected by the state, is little more than a convention of convenience with the children of Sodom to transform the meaning of something, which is precious to Jesus Christ, and a living picture of his love for the church into a legally protected justification for perversion and a vehicle of hatred aimed directly at that love.”

Knapp went on to read from Leviticus 20: “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.”

“They should be put to death,” Knapp declared.

(Me interjecting, ah yes, nothing like invoking the bible (or Koran for that matter) whenever it supports personal bigotry or hate.   Cherry picking through the bible–ignoring this verse or that verse but oh here we go, one that says we should kill people we disagree with!)

“‘Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them, no?’ — I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.”

“You say, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you, you’re horrible. You’re a backwards neanderthal of a person.’ Is that what you’re calling scripture? Is God a neanderthal, backwards in his morality?

(Me interjecting again, YES.  I would say absolutely yes.  God is exactly what his primitive makers were and wanted him to be!)

Is it His word or not?

(Me interjecting–I don’t know, is it?  Says who, exactly?)

If it’s His word, he commanded it. It’s His idea, not mine. And I’m not ashamed of it.”

(Me interjecting again–I would be ashamed of it.  Absolutely I would.  But hey, god also commanded that insolent sons be put before the town and the whole town should stone them to death, and that girls found not to be virgins on their wedding night should be stoned to death.  He commanded a lot of rather horrible things.  Should we also start owning slaves and burning witches (or anyone who seems strange) to death too?)

“He said put them to death,” he continued. “Shall the church drag them in? No, I’m not say that. The church has not been given the power of the sort; the government has. But the government ought to [kill them]. You got a better idea? A better idea than God?”

(Me interjecting again. Yes, how about understanding that if a god exists he made gays too and everything that happens is according to his plan and we need to love and support and encourage each other?  That’s my idea.  Is it better than “god’s?”  I think so.  I also don’t agree that the GOVERNMENT of a secular nation should be the strong arm for religion.  No more separation of church and state, apparently.  What next?   The handicapped?  Jews again?  Blacks?  What other groups do you hate and want disposed of?)

Listen to Knapp’s entire 1-hour sermon on “The Curse of Homosexuality” here.

Calls to the New Hope Baptist Church were not returned by the time of publication.

Listen to this audio of Pastor Curtis Knapp via Good As You, recorded May 26, 2012.

(End of Article)

What I find most ironic.  Christians accuse atheists of being evil, bad, horrible, godless (and happy to be so, thank you very much) people.  And yet people who claim to have god, are always first in line leading the calvary charge against this minority group or that minority group, their bibles in their hands, usually turned to Leviticus, which has a heck of a lot of really ugly ultimatum kind of commandments, and is only referred to when Christians are needing biblical justification to hate.

Any other time, mostly Christians ignore the Old Testament.  But still it comes in handy whenever a new chance comes along to hate people, doesn’t it?  Then suddenly we hear Leviticus quotes.  Nice, wholesome commandments to kill spoken by this loving god.

But remember, it’s atheists who are bad horrible people.  Atheists.  

How funny but I have not heard of one single atheist in the past six months leading the charge to take away human rights from women, or deny equal human rights to gays and lesbians, or suggest that people they don’t agree with be imprisoned, or hey better yet, KILLED by the government.

When I was a Christian this is not how I thought Christianity was supposed to be.  But then again my church never mentioned Leviticus or Timothy or any of these other old testament books where god really spells it out just who the “abominations are,” and how they should be disposed of.   All my church ever did was preach about trying to emulate Jesus.

Not My America!

I am beyond being just angry by what I see happening to my country.  I am livid.  I am ashamed.  I am disgusted.

This is not my America.  How dare they rob me of the nation I know and love?  What gives them the right?  Who has suddenly decided that a twisted sexist and bigoted interpretation of the bible that I do not agree with, suddenly has more say over what our country does and what it stands for, than its own Constitution?

Almost on a daily basis I am seeing something else that makes me feel sick.  Here we have a global environmental crisis, an economic crisis, healthcare crisis, housing crisis, a prison overpopulation crisis…  What is the GOP focusing on?  What is the topic I have to be subjected to every single day? 

Alaska.  Arizona.  Wisconsin.  North Carolina.  Kansas.  In one state after another human rights are being decided upon  by not only one religion in a secular nation founded by Deists, but by just one flavor of that one religion.

Which state is next?   Which state is suddenly going to back-slide into bronze age thinking, deciding a fetus is a person before it is even conceived or that  women’s healthcare or mental well-being is now of secondary importance to the mass production and harvesting of potentially viable eggs or fetuses?  The new message here; women have rights only to a  point, and the Religious Right get to decide on a daily basis what rights women can or cannot have!

Now women can’t even…buy contraceptives if the pharmacist just happens to have a problem with population control in an already very overcrowded world where people die of starvation every single day because there’s not enough food?  You have got to be kidding me!

So then, following that same line of thinking, does this mean stores can deny cigarettes to smokers if the guy behind the counter doesn’t smoke or doesn’t believe in smoking, or alcohol if he thinks drinking goes against God?  Should bank tellers suddenly have the right to not give people with fancy clothes or fancy cars money because it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to get into heaven?

When does it end?  Or is this preferential treatment shown only to women?  Somehow because women have wombs they can become at any given time, breeding stock whenever a pharmacist decides its god’s will?

What the hell?

Now all of a sudden human rights are a privilege for some, not all.  Gay couples in love have to wait on pins and needles, hoping this time maybe the majority will finally vote that yes they may have the same rights as everyone else, while meanwhile heterosexual couples can marry any time they wish and that right is not subjected to a majority vote.

Since when should anyone’s basic human rights be subject to a majority vote?   If that’s the case then why aren’t traditional marriages subject to a majority vote?  Shouldn’t gays have the right to vote every four years if they think straight couples should be allowed to marry?

Protecting the sanctity of marriage–that’s the Religious Right’s war cry.  Yes, and we see so much of that among straight couples.  Gay marriage just isn’t natural the Right Wing claims.  Yes, and neither is riding in cars, flying in airplanes, drinking carbonated beverages, wearing contact lenses, false teeth or glasses. Should we do away with all these other things too because they’re not “natural?”

The bible is a book, and unproven–a book filled with errors and contradictions.  Bats are birds in the bible, unicorns exist, and donkeys talk, and yet, the bible should have equal or more authority over citizens of this country (regardless of their beliefs), than the United States Constitution???

Any divine inspiration the bible has is here say only.  I could say that J.R.R. Tolkien was divinely inspired and Lord Of The Rings is the one true word of god.  Does that make it true?

How come it is that the very same people who hold aloft the bible and point to the bits that says women should not have authority over men or gays are an abomination, can completely ignore the parts of the bible that say you should stone to death your daughter if she isn’t a virgin on her wedding night or stone to death your son in front of the whole town for being insolent?  Who are they to decide what is and what should not to be taken seriously in the bible?

This is not Christianity.  The Religious Right claim to speak for Jesus, claim to represent Jesus.  But what they represent is what they believe in.  Just like Hitler found bits in the bible to justify his actions, so does the Right Wing fundamentalist Christians find juicy little morsels to pick out of the muck that most of the bible is and say “Here!  Proof God hates gays!”

Anyone can at any time pick through the bible and find something there to support whatever opinion they want to have supported.  The bible says the handicapped or physically imperfect should not be allowed in god’s temple too.   And women should not wear braids or jewelry, or cloth of mixed material.

I’m sorry, but how stupid can we get?  What must the rest of the world think of us?  It’s embarrassing. 

This is not the America I grew up loving and believing in.  This is obscene and ugly and it needs to be stopped.  It doesn’t belong here.  Not here, the home of the free.

Your Equal Rights? Majority Vote Shall Decide!

I am disgusted and angered at North Carolina and any other State that makes equal human rights for all, subject to a majority vote.   Do straight people have to wait and hope that a majority of the population all agree that they should be able to marry?  No.   So why do gays?  Why do some people have to depend on other people agreeing what their rights should be, while some of us do not?   I thought this was America.  Bad enough that women in this day and age still have to battle every four years to hold on to their right to control their own body.  But to say some Americans have the right to express their love for each other through marriage, and some do not–how absurd.

The “sanctity of marriage” only applies to people who believe in a god.  And as usual, whenever god or religion is added to the mix we get hatred, intolerance, and a complete disregard for the pursuit of happiness for anyone who isn’t the same as we are.

I wrote this story this morning.  Homosexuality is as natural to human beings as it is to any other warm blooded species on this planet.  The very fact some human beings are born with a preference for their own gender proves this is natural because human beings, despite how artificial we’ve made our world, are still very much a part of the natural world.

I just thought–write a story to illustrate this same kind of discrimination toward people born “different” in a more obvious way–a way they obviously can’t help and don’t have any choice about.  Does this scenario seem cruel, unfair and absurd?  Well I know several gay people.  This is not a lifestyle choice.  This is not a choice at all.  It is who they are; how they were born.  For them it is as natural as being straight is for us.  Can a straight person suddenly decide not to be straight anymore?  Then how is it fair to treat gays like simply being who they are is somehow a choice?

Anyway, here’s the story:

 

A whisper of cool air.  I turned my head to see Janie cracking her window.  The old black van was fearsome hot in the blistering sun, the fabric of the front seat sticking to my thighs.  I too, put a hand to the crank and let in some air.  But it was only the van’s speed that made it seem cool.  When I leaned my cheek close to the open air, it was warm.  Easy Bake Oven warm.

“Are we there yet?” Ben asked from the back seat.  I turned to see his flushed face.  He was twisting where he sat, clearly uncomfortable.  Beside him his twin Charlie sat with his eyes closed, his cheek resting on Ben’s shoulder.  Being just twelve, the two boys had little patience for long drives, let alone in the summer heat.

“Almost.”  Janie.flipped on her turn signal.  I could see the kids in the stopped car next to us.  They were bouncing up and down in their seats, obviously headed for the same destination as we.

“It’ll be packed,” Janie said.

“At this point I don’t care!” I returned.  I kept my eye on my two little brothers.  Their life had not been easy; every day I felt more protective of them.  When at last the car crunched its way into the gravel parking lot beside the public pool, I saw Ben give Charlie a poke.  The slightly smaller boy awoke with a jolt, looked to where Ben was pointing and grinned.  As if on cue both boys seized their towels.

Getting out of the car was always awkward, but today it seemed my two little brothers had wings.  I laughed at Charlie when he suddenly lost a flip flop in his haste to get in line.   Ben at once stopped, and lowered himself just a bit so his brother could slip it back on.

The kids in front and behind looked curiously at my brothers.  Ben stuck out his tongue.  He was used to it.  Charlie was luckily turned in such a way that very often he didn’t get to see.   They were conjoined twins, both sharing one heart.  It was possible when they were older and stronger they might be separated; both twins were on the waiting list for a heart.

I came first to the ticket window.   “Three!” I sang out.  From behind the fence I could see the sunlight on the water, the play of its rays across the cool blue surface.  It was as packed as Janie predicted.  In some places kids were shoulder to shoulder.  Behind me I felt Ben pressing against me in his eagerness.  It was almost a hundred degrees and it was Wisconsin.  The heat itself turned to sweat beneath our clothes. 

The balding man behind the window eyed my two brothers.   I saw his eyes fix on the place where the two boys’ ribcages merged together.  A look of disgust raised his upper lip.   “You can go in,” he said curtly.  “But not them.  They’re not… natural.”

I felt a chill in that horrible heat.  Starting at the back of my neck it shot straight through my stomach.  “What?”  I stared at the man, not believing what I’d just heard.

“Sam,” Janie said softly beside me.  “Let’s go.”

“No way!”  I put myself between my brothers and the man’s cruel scrutiny.  “What is your problem?  Who are you to tell us we can’t go in?”

“YOU can,” the man barked.  “But not them.  Not them!   Holy shit, little girl, they’re unnatural.  I don’t want them in the water with my kids.  I don’t want the other kids seeing that!”

I took a step back, put my hands on my hips.  “Look,” I said, trying to suppress the anger in my voice.  I felt my body trembling: rage took me then.  I could hardly form words.  “This is America.  We are Americans.  My brothers have just as much right to go in that pool as anyone else!”

The man glared at me.  A slow cruel smile bent his lips.  He closed the window, came out of his chair; as I watched he came through the doorway to where we stood.  With a rigid set to his shoulders he went to the metal gate and thumbed it open.   “Ok!” he snarled.  “Right!”   I let out a yelp as he grabbed my arm, pushed me aside.  Then his hard hands caught Ben and Charlie by the shoulders.  With rough jerks of his arms he pulled the two boys through the gate, into the hard brightness of the sun.

A silence fell as the kids in the water stopped splashing, as the kids playing in the puddles beside the pool looked up.  Even the boy on the diving board stopped and looked down.  Suddenly everyone was looking at my little brothers as beside Ben, Charlie began to cry.

“Everyone!”  the big man shouted.  “This is America…that means we get a vote!   Who here’s in favor of these two freaks getting in the water with you?”

I stood rooted to the spot. Not a single kid raised their hands.   They stared at the man who they knew owned the pool, his loathing and hatred twisting his face, and not a kid raised their hand.  Even the lifeguards at their various stations were dumbstruck; too afraid of losing their jobs to make a sound.

Finally I found my voice.  “Come on, guys.”  I bit hard on each word.  “We don’t need their stupid pool.  There’s the lake, just down the road and I’m betting no one’s peed in it, either!”

I took Charlie’s hand.  He lurched beside me, hiding his face against my arm.  We turned away from the sight of the water, but then had to stop.  I saw Ben still standing with hope on his face, gazing at the other kids he ached to play with, the cool water he craved.  

“Please,” I heard him whisper.

I looked at the adult who had done his best to humiliate my brothers.   He was grinning now, and with gestures, getting many of the other kids to laugh.

“Come on, Ben,” I said gently.  With a look of pain and confusion, my little brother turned away. 

 

 

 

 

HATE Like THIS Is Destroying America

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/05/05/wheres-your-shame-woman

Where’s your shame, Jesse Lee Peterson?   

I guess I should be glad you speak like you’ve had very little educating.   Truly you are exactly the right person to represent people like you.  Do you have a white sheet you wear?  Burn any crosses lately?   And no, I’m not exaggerating.  If you walk like a duck and quack like a duck…

First they hate Muslims, then they hate gays.  Now it’s women.  The new “in” people to hate are women.  None of the ills of this nation would be happening if not for women being allowed to run wild.  We should have shame, like we did in the “good ol days.”  Shame of our bodies.  Shame of our own intelligence.  Shame to talk about having sex or enjoying sex or buying products to prevent us from having unwanted pregnancies. In society we shouldn’t dare try to reach our full potential, or to lead, or wield any power.  We should be docile, meek, trusting of the greater God-bestowed wisdom and strength possessed by men. 

Clearly this grandson of oppressed ancestors has become blinded by his religion inspired bigotry.  But it demonstrates what religion does, and especially what patriarchal religion teaches, about women.   In actuality this man is doing nothing more than expressing what is written in the Christian bible.  If more people actually read the book they hold above their heads, they would know this.   This is what God has ordained.  Women should be silent in church, women should not have positions of authority over men, women should not be allowed to teach men. 

Can I throw up now?

It might come as a surprise to some, but women are also human beings, and contrary to what the good book of myths written by men bent on subjugating women, we were not put on this earth merely to serve men or help men or be baby machines.    We are not here for men to decide what to “allow” or permit.  Our human rights are not decided by the majority vote–or should not be.  We are free thinking human beings, the same you who think you have the right to lord over us.

Sex takes two people.   What about all the men having sex out of wedlock?  Do we have a word for them?  Let’s see.  Women who do are called sluts and whores…what is the term we should use to describe men who do the same thing?  IS there a term? 

Sorry, but idiots like Mr. Petersson make me wish all the harder that the blight of bigotry and hate be eradicated from the face of the planet.  And soon.  If anything is harming our nation and our society, it is these close minded intolerant spreaders of this kind of poison who can’t feel good about themselves or superior unless they have someone else to step on and mock, to belittle and to hate.

People who judge others, should first look in the mirror.   People like this man have no business leading anyone. 

But hey, it does bode well for the future success of the Democratic Party.

Why Are Atheists “The Enemy?”

I was just reading/listening to Teresa Macbain’s story–

http://www.npr.org/2012/04/30/151681248/from-minister-to-atheist-a-story-of-losing-faith

Religion so often does the opposite of what believers think.  It makes people intolerant.  Why does Teresa’s community that she gave guidance and counseling and encouragement and support to, turn on her this way and treat her like an enemy?  Do Christians view Jews as the enemy?  Or Buddhists?  Or anyone who happens to have faith in something else?   Then why are atheists the enemy?  And especially atheists who were previously Christians?

Tell you what, listening to Teresa’s story…struck a chord with me.  I haven’t become an enemy like she has.  I am not seen as a betrayer of the faith as she is.  But I have lost friends since I made it clear I can’t believe anymore.   I also find myself suddenly having to walk on eggshells worrying how much should I exult in this new feeling of freedom?  How much singing out and speaking out and shouting out with joy can I do before I am admonished for offending someone?

Really, all it takes to offend a Christian is to say the words “there’s no such thing as god.”  Say those words and they are offended, personally and deeply offended.

It’s not meant to be an offense.  If I went 40 years of my life thinking I have a horrible singing voice and always being ashamed to sing, afraid to sing…and then one day I’m told by a voice teacher I have a really great range and wonderful potential as a singer, I’m going to want to tell people.    The same is true if I go my whole life believing in something that makes me feel I can’t ever be good enough, that I was born corrupt and I need to do this and this and this to be good or to be loved…and then one day I find out it’s all a lie and I was born into this world exactly right and exactly as nature meant me to be–I would want to sing that news from the rooftops!  I’d want to  tell my friends, my family, people I care about whom I still see struggling in the dark.   And yet…it offends people.

No Christian, especially not the ones who live for Jesus and give their whole life’s work to serving Jesus like Ms. Macbain, want or ask to lose their faith.   It’s not a road believers take intentionally.  It’s a path they stumble on.

We’re not supposed to ask questions.  I know a friend who was kicked out of her church for asking too many questions.  Why is that?  If Christianity is true–if any religion is true–it should be able to withstand any questions put to it.  It should  not shy away from the new discoveries of science either, but rather welcome those discoveries as further proof of its unshakable truth.

Instead when I asked questions, the kind of questions that put parts of the bible or god’s actions or Jesus’ actions, into doubt, I was given the same pat answers: “we are finite beings; how can we possibly understand god?”  Or, “god works in mysterious ways.”  Or, “have faith.  God will reveal this to you in time.”

And then that time never comes.

I look at the bible and I wonder, how can this loving god that the Christians believe in order little children dashed to pieces or pregnant mother’s bellies cut open with swords?   How can this just and merciful god order a man stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath or…allow his followers to teach that women are worth only half as much as men and should be silent, should not wear jewelry or braided hair or… speak aloud in church, and daughters can be sold into slavery.

These are the questions that catch us unaware.  We are like everyone else, Christians going along with what we’re told, assuming someone bothered to do the research and confirm it’s all true.  We nod our heads and sing our songs and high-light the appropriate verses in the bible.   But then one day someone points out something in the bible we didn’t know was there.  Or maybe one day it suddenly dawns on us that it makes no sense that Satan would hate the people who deny god, his enemy, and would want to punish them.    Or that god would punish Adam and Eve so severely for simply being ignorant, for making a mistake, and not just them but all of humanity.

Atheists are not the enemy of anyone.  Atheists simply do not believe in the supernatural–and have lately been brought to the point that we aren’t so silent about it anymore after having to hear politicians who should know better declare our country a “Christian nation” when it’s not, or for that matter have  Christianity shoved in our face wherever we turn.  How does this make us bad people worthy of hate?  How does this make someone like Teresa Macbain worthy of being shunned by the very community she served and helped for years?

Once upon a time God created himself an enemy.  I’m not sure why.  A lot of pain and suffering would have been avoided if he hadn’t.   But he made Satan and then punished Satan for being made.  Sometimes I feel like Christians want to have an enemy too.  So they hunt down people who dare to not agree, and attack them, call them ignorant or evil–arrogantly tell them they’re going to hell–basically punish them for daring to be, just like gays, true to who and what they are.

“Equal Opportunity For All?”

What “Equal Opportunity For All” means:

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F10710F6355E11738DDDA90B94DA415B878DF1D3

Americans are really good at lying to ourselves.  We have to be for so many of us to be Christian.

Many of our Founding Fathers were Deists, not Christian, and they did very good things: Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe.   And yet, take a listen to what the daughter of Billy Graham has to say about voting for a man (she doesn’t say woman–I assume she would be against a woman having authority over a man) who is atheist.  Apparently she and these people interviewing her all believe it takes religion to have any kind of reliable moral compass.  I have to wonder, would she vote for a Muslim man, or a Hindu man, or a Buddhist man?  I’m guessing not.  Only Christian men.  Rather like how the Mormon church only supports Mormons, here we see the Christian desire to only see capacity for good in other Christians.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/08/billy-grahams-daughter-i-would-not-vote-for-an-atheist/

I maintain that there’s no such thing as “Equal Opportunity for All” in this country, and there hasn’t been for a long time.  We like to rattle off these noble sounding platitudes but how much of it is meant?  Can a homosexual run for President?  Can an atheist?  Even though this secular country was founded by non-religious men who believed and fought for separation of church and state?   Separation.  So what does someone’s religion have to do with how fit he or SHE is for office?  Why is something like this even being discussed?  How absurd.

Single men (or women) likewise wouldn’t stand much of a chance to run for President.  And forget poor people. It doesn’t matter how great a leader you are or how true your vision is–maybe it’s even exactly what this country needs.  Too bad–unless you have money, influence and backing, forget it.

What other qualities makes one an undesirable as a Presidential candidate?  Obviously color was a huge road block that Barack Obama managed to knock down.  But look at the fall out from that?  There are still idiots out there certain he is (horrors!) a Muslim or worse (horror of horrors!) an ATHEIST!!!   And there are still the birthers out there dour faced from eating the sour grapes of having to have a black President.   Doesn’t matter how fucked up the nation was before our current President took the reins, it’s all OBAMA’s fault now, right?

Whatever.   The whole thing makes me sick.  Why vote, when atheists like me don’t have any chance of running?  Why vote when the only woman they finally do consider is for putting creationism and bronze aged thinking back in schools and sees Russia from her back porch?  Why give a damn when they already have the winner figured out before the election?  When the nation’s popular vote sides against the electoral vote, and yet the electoral vote wins?  Or when you live in the Pacific Northwest and you get to hear them announce the winner before your state’s ballot booths are even closed?

We vote because it’s all we can do.  And yet, time and time again we hear about this or that being decided that, funny thing, I don’t recall getting a vote on.

Social security going away?   How did that happen?  I’ve paid into it since age 15–involuntarily.  Will I get my money back?   How can I possibly afford to live–to retire–without it?

I’m sorry but the system is broken.  The whole system.  Nobody put Christians in charge and this is not a Christian nation.  Religious beliefs should not matter when someone is running for President.  That is not practicing separation of church and state and it is unconstitutional.