“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.

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Social Suicide

Very few things are truer than this.  Or at least in the U.S.   Unfortunately.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWHzIt4A_oo

Silent No More!

And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I deem the essential principles of our government. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected.
Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

“As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation.  But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?”      -John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816

“The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.  Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.” -John Adams

“The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession.”
                        -Spoken by Abraham Lincoln, quoted by Joseph Lewis

“Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause.  Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated.  I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.”
                            -George Washington, letter to Edward Newenham, 1792

“. . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.”  Benjamin Franklin
.

Tolerance.  For three years now I have been an atheist, after over 35 years of being a born again Christian.  What have I had to learn like I never had to learn before?  Tolerance.

When I was a Christian I thought nothing of not only proclaiming what I believed, but arguing about it, vehemently, sometimes even rudely.  Everyone else’s beliefs were wrong and mine were right.  And often I had other people back me up on it too, because mine was the acceptable, popular opinion.  I was indignant if anyone disagreed.  I couldn’t remotely entertain the thought that I might be wrong, or that my mother could be wrong, or her mother, or the church leaders I had grown up listening to and believing every word.  And the BIBLE!  The unblemished Word of God.   His might–at my fingertips if only I believed hard enough.  The “good book” that Christians arm themselves with in defense against Satan. 

I remember as a child I had cards in a box and each card had a bible verse on it.  I would memorize the card, and once I did, I’d put it aside and then memorize the next.  Until I could say one verse after the next correctly, and in order.   I did this because the church I went to preached that Satan is repelled by bible verses.  So I learned them.    And they sounded right to my young ears.

And of course they did.  They were cherry picked for the impressionable young.  There was none of the darker verses found throughout the bible. Nothing about burning witches or about women being forbidden to speak or ask questions in church, etc. 

At bible camp we sang our songs over and over, both morning and night, celebrating, among other things, having been “washed in the blood” or being “under the blood”–(a hold-over from the blood baptisms of pagan Mithraism Christianity replaced–where followers stood under a grate while above them a bull was sacrificed.).  To this day I can sing every song we sang then–I remember every single word.  Because that is part of belief.  It starts out as an idea.  It is repeated in verse and in song.  It is memorized.  It takes root inside your head –becomes a way of thinking and habit…until you forget when it started or where it came from.  That’s when you accept it’s always been, and it is true, absolutely true, so true that everyone should know!   Or so I thought.  Someone at some time must have done their research to prove it’s all true–so I didn’t have to–again, or so I presumed.  I just…accepted that the bible was history, and the tales in it–about real people.  But really, were they?   Did people like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… actually exist?  Jesus too?   No one seemed to question it in my little bible-camp world.  I never heard anyone at my church or at that camp question if these characters in this book ever lived at all?  No one asks this.  No one asks WHO exactly wrote the bible, or why, or who hired them to write it?  For what purpose?  What was the agenda?

As a Christian the religious holidays were wonderful. Filled with fellowship and wonder and reverence and even hope of the promise the birth represents, and the sacrifice on the cross represents.  I walked around with a cross around my neck.  I was never a bible thumper but I was a Christian and I loved getting the warm and fuzzy Christian spam emails I got, and if anyone asked me oh sure, then I’d talk about my faith because then I knew it was safe.  Here was someone who would agree with everything or most everything I did.  I could talk and they’d nod their head and then they’d talk and further feed my belief, strengthen my delusion that this whole thing really is true.

If i ever came across a Jewish person, or atheist or anyone who was obviously not a believer, like someone wearing a turban or veil, oooh, I’d feel indignant inside.  I wouldn’t want to start up a conversation with them because…well, two reasons.  One, what did they know?  They were the lost.  The unsaved.  The ignorant.   And two…they might know more about their religion or beliefs than I knew about mine and I didn’t want my precious beliefs I hadn’t bothered to research, threatened in any way!  I didn’t want to look foolish, or have to be put on the defensive or hear the painful words said that MY beliefs are not true!  I didn’t want to be insulted by hearing someone say my Heavenly Father doesn’t exist or his Son who DIED for my sins…doesn’t exist!  That kind of thing offended me, angered me, deeply upset me.  So I avoided talking religion to these people–and in fact avoided people like this completely. I even avoided reading any books or articles by non-Christians which might challenge or put into doubt for me, my “faith.” I didn’t want to doubt, or question. I wanted to be like a little child as the bible commands, and blindly BELIEVE without question as good Christians do.

That was then.   Fast forward to now and I am an atheist.  Suddenly I notice how often people talk about their beliefs as if they think everyone agrees with them.  Suddenly people are making a big deal about whether our current President is a Christian or not–while I’m thinking, what difference does THAT make when most of our founding fathers were not!

Learning to not defend my new non-beliefs has been difficult, because I grew up quick to get indignant and angry and upset any time anyone attacked my Christian beliefs.  But to defend my new beliefs as a secular person who doesn’t believe…that’s wrong.  That’s offensive to the majority–to all those Christians who, just like it once offended me, get angry and upset and take it personally when they hear anything contradictory or like an outright challenge to their beliefs.   So really, it’s ok for Christians to broadcast what they think and believe and why.  That’s called witnessing.  It’s trying to spread the good news.  It’s a wholesome, happy message of hope.  A positive message. So it’s okay because since it’s so positive, how can it possibly offend anyone?  Right?

Well, it does!  I didn’t realize it’s a two way street, not just a one way street, until I found myself at an intersection and changing directions.  It IS a two way street and believe it or not, people who don’t believe in Christianity or the Christian god do still feel all the same burning passions inside them for whatever it is they do believe, be it belief in another religion, or belief in science, in evolution, in preserving the balance of nature, of being humane to each other and to animals.  Whatever the belief, it is close to the believer’s heart.

So when we have Conservative Republicans fighting to be nominated, and they’re busy vocalizing about how America is a Christian nation…which it isn’t and never has been…it basically says to all the rest of us who are not Christian, get the hell out, you aren’t wanted here.

There’s a Reason Rally on March 24th, 2012–a coming out celebration for Secularism.   Why?   Really, why?  What do people who don’t believe in God have to defend?  To cry foul over?   To get indignant about?

How about the fact this is our country too?  And we love our country too?  And we aren’t deceived by the bullshit they’re feeding the mainstream  that this country was founded by Christians–when we know perfectly well it was not.   This is our country too, and yet can a secular person, someone who does not believe in god or gods, have any hope of running for President?  No.  And how come that is?  Since when has the word “Christian” become the replacement word for words like wholesome, kind, compassionate, honest, ethical, caring, fair, gentle, forgiving, merciful, loving or good?

For a very long time people with no beliefs have felt no need to speak out.  For a very long time atheists and agnostics and pagans and heathens or whatever else you want to call us–infidels–whatever, have held our tongues and allowed the religious to walk all over those of us who don’t believe.  To silently smile and meekly try to change the subject rather than disagree and risk hurting someone’s feelings or upsetting someone.   But now we have the Religious Right trying to tell all of us that we are all of us Christians, and their puritan ideas of what is right and wrong, should be accepted by us all!   We’re back to that old song and dance again about how women should have babies if they get pregnant, whether or not they want to, and women should not have insurance coverage for birth control–which of course will mean so many more unwanted babies coming into the world with parents who can’t afford them.

I think it’s time to speak out.  I think it’s time that the secular population join together and protest our right to not believe, our right to not have to be silent just because our opinion is the less accepted, minority one, our right to not be governed by doctrine that seeks to keep our society in the dark ages, women under the dominion of men, and further allow our planet’s overpopulation crisis to multiply.

In my view such religious doctrine that abortion is murder (which the bible does not say, by the way), and the people or organizations like the Religious Right who seek to make war against women and take away their rights over their own futures–their own bodies, are one of the main reasons why  why our planet’s environment is so out of whack now–why we have too many people and not enough food–and why we have killer storms in parts of the world where they have never been before.

So it’s not just for the sake of our pride, and our desire to be counted as patriotic Americans too.  Nor is it just for the purpose of defending/preserving our human rights.  It’s for the sake of our planet, and for the sake of the advancement of science and understanding–the only weapons we have to defend ourselves, against ourselves.

Hey Fundamentalists!

Hey fundamentalist, high and mighty Religious Right.

Who stand on a pedestal of your own making,

like you alone have special sight,

To declare what the mind of God thinks,

to declare what He doesn’t like.

Based on the book you hold,

A book written by men—do you even know who?

Do you not care about the authenticity of what you ground your ideas upon?

Ideas based on this book, or on the locality you grew up in,

the traditions you hold dear…

*

Tell me truly,

Had you been born to Muslim parents, or atheist parents—

To Jewish parents, or Buddhists—

Born in another land where these other beliefs are majority held,

If you had grown up believing on these instead,

Interpreting everything about your life around them instead,

their holy books,

Would you be a Christian right now?

Enforcing your moral code, your beliefs and assertions on

atheists and Jews,

Buddhists and Muslims?

As if no other beliefs or faiths are valid, no other traditions just as beloved?

Your bible speaks out against the folly of arrogance.

A quality your God is not fond of.

And yet you dare call a secular nation Christian?

A land founded by Deists forefathers?

Because of your influence–

preying on our propagandized fear of communism,

we now have your God printed on our money,

“Under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance as if we all agree.

And now you seek to convince us it’s always been this way?

Well, what would our Diests founders think?

Jefferson or Adams?

Washington or Abe Lincoln?

The twisting of their vision–

Home of the free, of the first amendment

Place where all may practice to believe, or not to believe.

Freedom of religion.

Freedom from religion.

That was their dream.

The original dream.

What our great men of history fought for.

Separation of church and state—

Equality for all.

For all persons are created equal.

Not one color, one language, one gender, one age, one religion.

But all.

*

So kindly not lord over me with your doctrine–

penned by the agendas of men.

Do not presume to be the mind and mouth of your God.

Let me live and follow my own moral code,

Which just like yours, cares for my fellow men and

urges me not to rob or kill.

Let me live my life unfettered by your scare tactics,

your lectures of hellfire,

Just because I don’t believe as you do.

Just let me alone, please, to decide for myself and on my own–

to have a baby or not.

To dream or aspire to whatever goals I want. 

Let me alone to decide what to do with my body–my life.

You are no more right than I am—than we are.

And my life is not yours to command or control,

not yours to make my decisions for.

This is my freedom, won for me by my forefathers–

it is not for you to take that away!

D. Fadden

REASON RALLY! I WISH I COULD GO!

The below article describes better than anything I have read  before, just exactly WHY I feel the desire to defend what I believe as a non-believer, and so I wanted to share.  Oh, and incidentally, I think it is WRONG that non-believers are deemed unelectable just for not believing in supernatural beings!

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201203/reason-rally-secular-coming-out-celebration

 

Reason Rally: A Secular Coming-Out Celebration

Nonbelievers are finding solidarity like never before
Published on March 14, 2012 by David Niose in Our Humanity, Naturally

 

In a show of solidarity that would have been unimaginable even just a few years ago, thousands will be flocking to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on March 24 in celebration of secularity. The Reason Rally, a day-long event featuring notable entertainers and speakers and attracting busloads of nonbelievers from all over the country, could be a watershed moment for the secular movement. 

The lineup for the day includes a mix of entertainers, public intellectuals, and representatives from various secular groups. All events are free. The band Bad Religion will be performing, and the crowd will also hear from comedian Tim Minchin, popular skeptic and debunker James Randi, and author and scientist Richard Dawkins. Lawrence Krauss, author of “A Universe from Nothing,” whose ideas inspired Miley Cyrus to tweet on the issue (thereby sparking a backlash from enraged Christian fans), will also be on hand, along with many others, to address the secular festival.

 The event is not a protest and certainly not a religion-bashing affair, but instead can be best understood as a coming-out party for an entire movement. This has caused some to belittle the rally, suggesting that demographic unity around the notion of disbelief is itself nonsensical. Such critiques, however, only reflect a failure to understand what fuels the modern secular movement.

It is very true that many Americans—even many who are themselves nonreligious—see the idea of personal secularity as somewhat insignificant. That is, even many nonbelievers rarely consider emphasizing their religious skepticism—their secular worldview—as a primary means of identification. Ask a typical American nonbeliever to describe her basic lifestance, for example, and she may use terms like “liberal” and “feminist” and “environmentalist,” and perhaps numerous others, before reaching any identifier that would raise the issue of religious skepticism.

For many in recent years, however, personal secularity has become an increasingly important aspect of their identity, a clear way of describing one’s basic lifestance in the midst of a political and cultural landscape that has become an anti-intellectual wasteland. As such, the Reason Rally, as its name suggests, can be seen as a public manifestation of the secular trend that vehemently opposes America’s descent into irrationality.

Ironically, the primary root cause of the growing secular movement is the Religious Right. Because politically mobilized religious conservatives have become such a visible force in America, nonbelievers increasingly feel the need to assert themselves as a demographic. Whereas America’s seculars previously went about their daily business without openly displaying their naturalistic, reason-based identity, this indiscreet approach has required rethinking in the face of religious conservatives constantly claiming moral superiority, attacking church-state separation, and tainting public policy . 

Indeed, as the Religious Right has consistently grown in influence for over three decades—to the point that religious fundamentalists are now routinely elected to office in much of the country and are even serious contenders for the presidency (while open nonbelievers are unelectable)—many who are personally secular have come to realize that they can no longer keep their religious skepticism in the closet. As modern America listens to high-profile conservatives talk seriously about limiting access to not just abortion, but now even birth control, the notion of reason has suddenly become important, an affirmative means of standing up and pushing back against faith-based absurdity.

Thus, the Reason Rally.

Some, still feeling uncomfortable with open displays of secularity, insist that we should go back to those days when religion was simply a non-issue, when polite public discussions avoided questions of religion altogether. The Religious Right, however, has made that impossible, and therefore those who are indeed secular are increasingly standing up to demand that the over-the-top exaltation of religion stop, that Americans carefully consider how counterproductive it is to stigmatize secularity in the modern world. 

Thus, the cry of the seculars: We don’t believe. We won’t leave. Get used to it!

Hang on America: On March 24—rain or shine—Secular Americans are coming out.

Pre-order Dave’s book, Nonbeliever Nation, here

Join Nonbeliever Nation on Facebook

Follow Dave on Twitter 

Dave will be tweeting from the Reason Rally all day on March 24

 

As a Woman, what Should I Be?

This is just me writing this time.  Nothing informative.  Just writing how I feel and how I’ve felt a very long time.  As long as I can remember.  It has to do with religion, and with society in general and how I was raised to think and how it has effected me as a person and how I feel it has effected other women too.  Based not on fact, but just what I’ve observed in my almost 50 years.

People have this idea that little kids are oblivious and ignorant of such things as human rights.  I guess as we get older we forget how it was to be young.  I still remember very well, and I suspect my experience is like anyone’s.  I was aware.  I had an opinion.  Things appealed to me or disgusted me or spoke to my heart then just as they do now.  I had perceptions, and a sense of fairness, of right and wrong.  In short, (literally) I was just a little person, as all children are.  When I’d hear adults refer to myself and my friends as “little ones,” ugh!  I hated that term!   I didn’t feel like a little one.  I didn’t feel like anything less.  Not then, and not now.  Because I’m not.  Nobody is.

I remember from a very young age being annoyed to the point of angry at the commercials we were bombarded with.  I was a tom boy when I was little…and I never completely lost my interest in playing in the dirt, as even as an adult I liked digging for fossils and splelunking and hauling up rocks or petrified wood or whatever treasure I could find.  But watching those commercials, what I could see of them through the often side-ways tilted or rolling black and white screen.  Women…raising their families. Women, making dinner.  Women, advertising mops and laundry soap.  Women using Windex, or irons or making cookies, cleaning house, or shopping.  Always made up and wearing dresses, perfect, wearing lipstick even in bed–never a hair out of place.  While men in those commercials washed cars, went camping, or fishing, or were shown building tents, lounging in hammocks, digging, climbing ladders, fishing, playing ball with their sons, working on cars.

Always in the TV shows I watched I would silently rage at the helpless females I’d see portrayed.  I liked the old campy Science Fiction shows back then, the old movies, and always whenever those rare moments would come that a woman would be needed in a scene, she’d faint, or stumble, or fall exhausted to the ground unable to go on, slowing down our heroes from the horrors pursuing them, just waiting to be rescued.  It was the most predictable thing.  I’d sit there and think okay, and now she’s going to fall down…and then she would.  I remember yelling at the TV, even as a small child, “run you guys!  Just LEAVE her!  Run!”

Recently I, out of curiosity, tried to watch some old “Lost In Space” reruns.  OMG…the mother and daughter Penny in that old show were next to useless.  They were only objects to protect…their job…to look astonished, or afraid, or confused, or helpless and vulnerable.  These were the kind of role models I had to grow up with.  If it wasn’t for Vasquez in ALIENS and Zena and Gabrielle in “Zena ,Warrior Princess…”

(I pause in silent homage to the pioneers that had the courage to write women that way–with grit, tenacity, strength–all the qualities I can admire!)

In my last blog some Muslim guy commented that that’s how men should be.  That’s their role and we women in Western cultures who get to actually live our lives and be (at least to some extent) more like what we were made to be, have forgotten this–the fact that some deity designed us to be soft, dependent, loving servants of men–be all those warm and fuzzy wholesome things while our great big sweaty bare-chested males thump their pectorals and lug home dinner to their adoring, families.

Oh please.   And yet it still exists.  Ever watch QVC?  Just watch and listen to the hosts when they’re selling what is traditionally something a MAN would want to buy, vrs. what traditionally a woman would want to buy.  If I called QVC during a presentation to sell a ladder, they might ask me if this was for my husband or my son or my father.  I would say no, you frickin idiot!  It’s for ME.

To be fair the opposite is just as true.  If a single man needed an iron and called QVC and got on the air, probably they’d ask him who the gift is for.

The point being, the programming continues on today.  It’s still apparent in our commercials, and in how we are treated.  I remember when I went to Cycle Barn the first time to look at buying a motorcycle.  The place was crowded with men or men with their sons and all the salesmen were busy.  It took over an hour of standing there looking interested before one of them thought to come over to me.

Happily so much has changed since I was young, since even when I was in my 20’s.    Happily now a young girl can dream big and actually have some possibility of obtaining her dream.  When I was little if I had said I wanted to be a fire fighter or a astronaut or President of the United States for that matter, it would have been a joke to any adult who heard me.  Oh, they’d say “good for you, Diane!” I’m sure.  But they know.  And they would no doubt think that as I grew older I’d put aside these childish dreams and discover a desire to hum as I work, dust as I walk, cook wonderful meals for my man and wait on him hand and foot, making sure a spotless house and well mannered children were there to greet him when he got home.

(Sound of Leave It To Beaver theme music.)

I think organized religion has made boxes and tried to tuck people away inside them.  Women, you go in this box.  It means you can’t be or have or experience anything that’s over here in this box, because this box is only for men.  And men, same goes for you.  Women can’t be masculine because then no man will want them and men, you can’t have feminine interests because that would make you a fairy…a gay…a homo…an undesirable by society.

In other words, anyone who dares to march to the beat of their own drummer…just better not if they want to be loved, accepted, appreciated, all those things we all want to be.

Well I never liked wearing dresses and my favorite color was blue and the only dolls I liked playing with as a child were my brother’s G.I. Joes…and all the cool helmets and fabric clothing and jeeps and guns that were their accessories.  As a child I liked catching snakes and tadpoles and frogs and I liked playing Capture the Flag and building forts with the few boys I found willing to play with me.  I liked to play rough.  I had no interest in jewelry or make up, and I scoffed at grade school girls who wore these things when being a kid was so much better.

Was I abnormal for a girl?  What would have happened to me had I been born and had to grow up in some of these Middle Eastern societies that have these ideas of what women should be vrs what men should be?  Could I have endured being denied the freedoms I saw my brother enjoying?  Hell no.  And if a book told me it was god’s wish for me because I was cursed by being born a female, I wouldn’t feel any love at all for such a god, and in fact I wouldn’t have followed such a deity. Ever!

I did follow the biblical god for over 30 years, because I had blinders on and I didn’t let myself see that the god in the bible is just as sexist, if not more so, than the god the Muslims worship that Christians like to point fingers at and criticize.  But now I see no difference between them, and in fact it seems if you just look at the Quran and the bible and not at the religions and how people interpret these books, it seems from what little I’ve read–the Quran is actually less harsh toward women than the bible is.
So that’s it.  Just felt like writing and saying WHATEVER.  I am glad I didn’t get born 20 years earlier than I did.  I’m glad I was born in the 60’s after all the hardest work was already done by the brave women before me who had the gumption to rail against being forced into boxes. I hope we never, as women, forget how hard our recent forebears had to fight to get the rights we enjoy today, and I hope we never give up fighting–that we never again believe in books written only by men telling us how we as women, ought to be.

What do Bigots Dream?

Just thinking about orders or organizations like the KKK.  Just the fact that people of equal beliefs (in how the world SHOULD be according to their view) exist in numbers great enough to form whole organizations. That’s scary. That’s a lot of hate.

To the members of the KKK specifically I would ask… why?   Nursing hatred is an accurate term because hatred needs to be fed.  And you feed it from within.  It depletes you.  It needs energy and fuel, and it needs to grow to survive.  Where there is hate it is next to impossible for love to exist.  Tenderness.   Caring.  Compassion.  Because hate hardens the heart, and burns away every other feeling.

That said, I’m trying to imagine this glorious utopia that would exist if such a group had its way.  Seriously.  This is just what I’m imagining a bigot might want to make his country his own again, and of course in the below example my bigot is a white male because I’m imagining he is KKK.   As I hope most of us understand bigots can be either gender and come in any color.  But what I see of hate spam email I sometimes get….a lot of it expresses indignation by whites toward non whites or people of other ancestries/languages.

So ok, what would be the possible changes we might see if the KKK or people like them (skin-heads, the more extreme conservative Christians, etc.,) could have their way.

Well, all or most people who aren’t white enough would be kicked out of the country, for starters.  Doesn’t matter if your grandparents or even their grandparents were born here in the good old US.  Doesn’t matter if the only language you speak or have ever learned is English and you have a respectable job in a nice neighborhood and drive a nice car and your kids are straight A students in school.  You’d be out.  Sent packing.  Because your skin isn’t white.  Because you clearly are therefore UN-American.

Doesn’t matter if you or your mom or dad or their parents fought or maybe even died fighting for this country in a war, either.  You’d be pointed in the general direction of the country where your ancestors are assumed to have originated from and you’d be told to “go home.”  Most likely you’d be allowed to pack a few suitcases but, really, with the guys swarming around your yard in white cloaks and throwing bricks and burning crosses, and brandishing guns & threatening your children, how motivated would you be to abandon your stuff to save yourself?

That’s if you’re lucky.  Some might not be so lucky.  Some might be told they can only stay if they give up their right to person-hood, their right to consider themselves human beings.  They’d be told you can stay but you’ll live in only crappy neighborhoods, only allowed to earn under minimum wage (if that) and be limited to menial labor type jobs, and you’d only be permitted to breed in small numbers.  Your kids, if they are allowed to learn to read or write, would never make it past the six grade, and certainly any hope of college would be cease to be.   You of course would not be able to use the same doorways as white people, or drinking fountains, or even go into many restaurants you used to enjoy.

Again, that’s if you’re lucky.  Perhaps those guys in white cloaks would deny you even the chance to live in slums and live independently.  Perhaps instead you’d be reduced to being thought of as livestock and forced to work for free, facing the terrifying possibility of being whipped or beaten to death or lynched or burned or have your ears, fingers and genitals cut off if you should try to run away.

As for women, well ladies, forget being able to vote.  Why would we need to, anyway, right?  We have our husbands to do it for us.  Or at least the 50% of women in this country who happen to be married do.  I’m sure we’d lose our right to own property.  Perhaps we too would be denied a higher education.   Certainly we’d be denied enough right of person-hood to have any say over what happens to our bodies.  We’d be forced to carry babies whether we want to have a baby or not.  In that way we’d be breeding stock, and of course this is a good thing because it would mean more white babies in a world where white people are (horror of horrors) fast becoming a minority.

I’d say too there’d be no inter-racial marriage anymore–in fact anyone of any other color just looking at a white woman would probably meet with a terrible end.   But would there even BE people of other races allowed to live here anymore?  Possibly not.

Let’s see.  What about the pros to living in this country once all the UN-Americans are driven out or taken control of?  There’d be less people here for one.  A lot less people.  Your opinion would again be the voice of the majority.  You could decide who gets to be successful and who does not.  Male only clubs would thrive once again and women would be denied the chance to play most sports.  White males would have their land of opportunity for ALL back but for only themselves to enjoy again.   Everyone else would be put in their place.   Children would address adult men as “sir,” and little girls would only be allowed to wear dresses and only cross their ankles.

As for gays, sorry guys and gals, but you’d be out too.  But in a much more permanent way, I’m afraid.  Because, you see, you are an abomination in the eyes of God, so you’d be perfectly okay to slaughter on sight–in fact they might put a bounty on you to encourage your demise until you return to hiding in closets and pretending with all your might to be something else.

Witches too, I’m thinking, would be in danger, or really anyone with a faith that isn’t the national religion, which of course would be Christianity in its most conservative form.  The bible would be taken literally.  Women would not be allowed to speak in church or instruct or have any authority over men (sorry Sarah Palin).   Women who committed adultery (or raped without crying out in a city) would be killed or severely punished, while the men could do whatever they please….

Hmmm.   Have I left anything out?

Of course I’m exaggerating here.  But by how much?  What do bigots dream?  If this country is so not right to them, what would they change about it?   What would they want to keep the same?  How far back in time would our society plummet?   What would be required to make them content?  I’m pretty sure i can safely bet that English would become THE only language permitted.   Of course if you’re lucky you might still be allowed to speak your native tongue in the privacy of your own home.  I’m also pretty sure discrimination would be okay to openly demonstrate/practice again.  Women would go back to having lower wage secretarial type jobs.  And as I said above, minorities would find their rights greatly diminished–assuming they’re even allowed to still live in this country.

So ok, this is getting long.  I was just in the mood to have a rant this morning and now I have.  Yes, I am white and yes, I also sometimes find having to hear Spanish and other languages being spoken around me rather annoying.  But nothing in this world remains the same.  It’s too bad that it can’t be the way it was–back in the day when immigrants came to the United States to become Americans rather than be whatever nationality they are, here.   Used to be immigrants would gradually learn the national language and become, well, Americans.

Perhaps this newest wave will too, eventually. At one point when Europeans first came here, Irish, Norwegian, German, etc., they too spoke their own language and were discriminated against by others who did not.  How many generations passed before they were mostly speaking English too?   I like to think that the great melting pot is still what it is, and we just happen to be seeing a new wave of first generation immigrants coming into our country.   Do we open our arms to them and adapt, which is what America has been tooting its horn about that this is what our nation stands for?  Hoping they too will make some effort to adapt to us rather than try to replace us which may be how it also seemed when the first non-English speaking Europeans came here?   Yes, our country will change.  Nothing stays the same, ever.  We have new cultures now pouring into the mix.  But this is America.   Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, and the equal chance to pursue happiness for all.

Or I would like to hope.

Can Heathens Have Integrity?

Let’s see.  Definition of Integrity:  1. Strict adherence to a standard of value or conduct.  2.  Personal honesty and independence.  3.  Completeness: unity   4.  Soundness

Can someone like myself who does not believe in supernatural beings have a standard of value or conduct?   I think so.  Long before the religions we know of today existed there was knowledge or a sense of right and wrong–the idea of what Christians call the golden rule.   You knew it when something upset you or hurt you.  You knew how it felt to be hurt.  So you had that as your guide how to treat with others.  Everyone knew what a fair trade looked like. People knew even without religion when to hold back the whole truth to spare someone’s feelings.  Native Americans running through the woods with their bows had friendships with each other, would fight and die to protect someone they cared about, or to protect their land, their way of life, or the harmony they revered with nature that sadly doesn’t exist anymore.  Even as far back as the Neanderthal there is evidence to show early human beings cared for their elderly, wounded and/or sick.

So yes, I do think the godless can have a standard of value or conduct.  I do not spit in the faces of people who displease me.  I do not run through the streets with a sword hacking at people.  I do not steal and I try really hard not to take advantage of or use people.  I try to be kind.  I try to treat others as I would like to be treated.  This is not difficult for me.  For me it’s merely doing what feels right.  So yes, I think, heathen though I be, I do possess some integrity according to this definition.

Personal honesty and independence?  What a strange combination, those two words.  What does honesty have to do with independence?  And what does independence have to do with honesty?

Ever…ignore what you really feel strongly about inside…and instead stand in agreement of something you know is wrong?   Join your friends in some activity you don’t feel right about, but you do it anyway because you want them to like you and you want to fit in?  I think that has to do with having personal dishonesty with yourself, and giving up your own independence–what you know in your heart is right–for the sake of some dependency you feel on having friends or keeping friends.  Someone with integrity will step away from the crowd holding stones ready to execute someone, and that person will say no, this is wrong. I’m not going to do this.  Even if it means the crowd suddenly hates him.  Even if it means it might cost him his own life.

That is honesty.  Being honest.  Not being afraid to be honest.  Putting who you are and what you really feel you stand for ahead of being something you’re not or being something less than who you are to fit in, not attract negative attention, etc.   That’s how I think the two words honesty and independence stand together to mean integrity.   You have to have independence to be that one who doesn’t follow the herd.  To be the one who says I’m taking a different road in order to be honest with who I am and what I have in my heart.

Can a heathen (and when I say heathen I mean specifically a person who has no religion or little to no belief in the supernatural (because many Native American tribes accused of being “heathen” were in fact very spiritual), have this combination of honesty and independence?  Yes, I think so.   Is it hard to achieve?  Yes it is–for both the godly and ungodly (ever wonder what godly means  from the examples we are given?).  Really, who wants to step in front of an angry blood-thirsty mob and risk being pelted to death with stones to make a stand–just to say something isn’t right?  How many of us, heathen or otherwise, have that kind of courage to achieve that level of integrity?   I won’t claim I could.  Oh yes, maybe if it was a dear friend or my child or someone I loved or a relative.  But put my life in jeopardy to save a stranger just for the sake of standing up for what I believe in?  I would certainly hope I could do it, but honestly–such an act would be exceedingly difficult for anyone with a strong instinct of self-preservation.  And what that means, I think; some definitions of integrity are harder to possess than others.

Completeness.   Another interesting word.  What is it to be complete?  Is a religious person any more complete than a non-religious person?  I’d like to say I’m complete, but I really think as long as I am wanting or needing anything I don’t already have, I’m not complete.  I should be happy with what I have.  Obviously it’s enough because here I am successfully surviving.  So why do I look around for more?  Why do I wish I had a garage for my car or a better floor in my kitchen, or a guy friend who isn’t romantically interested that I can just be myself with and be one of the guys with?

To be completely satisfied with everything and to no longer have any wants, needs, wishes, goals or destinations you’re trying to reach or accomplish, is to become stagnant and stop moving forward.   So in a way I think completeness is not altogether a good thing.  What is completeness?   Do I need to be married to be complete?  Do I need to have a child?  Do I need closeness with a supernatural being?

How do we define it?  Completeness?   I think the definition is bound to be different for every person.   I think completeness comes when you’re comfortable in your own skin.  You no longer care what other people think.  You’re happy with your life and what you have and you don’t feel you have to compete with Bob your neighbor or have such and such car to create the right image.  You don’t need outer trappings to give impressions, real or false.  You don’t need that kind of crutch.   You don’t need to go to church just so others will see or believe you’re a good person.  You don’t have to do or say things all the time to prove to others or yourself that you are.  You just are, and you’re happy in your existence and in the world.   You do still have desires, but you can be happy with or without them.  Take or leave them.  You have goals but you have a plan B or even a plan C if plan A doesn’t pan out.   Life happens and you enjoy the ride.  You enjoy what you are and are true to who you are.  That I feel, is completeness.  Whatever it takes to get you there.  If you need that special someone.  If you need a child.  If you need religion…that’s because you’ve decided those things are very important to you and you need them to feel happy and complete.  Do you really?  Only you can know and no one else.   So yes, I think the godless can reach the point where they feel completeness or completed.  I think anyone can.  And that is, according to my Webster II dictionary, another definition of integrity.  I also think it’s another one perhaps very elusive–very difficult for many of us to achieve, find, or possess.

Unity?   I’m going to skip over that one. I think unity and completeness are similar enough in their definition that the above thoughts I just tried to write, applies equally to both.

Soundness.   Ah yes, the most interesting definition of all, i think.  What is soundness?  I hear that word and I think of horses.   A sound horse is strong in his bones, tendons and muscles.  He carries his weight evenly and steadily on all four feet.  He can jump, land squarely, carry weight, pull a load, go the distance, endure.  He is not weak.  He is not going to be sore or fall lame from a day of being worked.  He is in shape.  He is fit.  He is reliable and dependable to perform the tasks put to him.  He is sound.

Applying this idea to human beings, I think for a person to be “sound” you would have to be someone who is reliable, there for friends or family in times of need, dependable, a shoulder to lean on.  A fair weather friend would not meet this definition.  A person who is a friend because he or she wants something from you…wouldn’t fit that definition either because he or she would vanish the moment their agenda is achieved.  Someone who is there even when it takes work, even when it’s inconvenient, even when it’s uncomfortable….   That friend who cares for you when you’re sick, or takes you to the hospital so you can have surgery when you have no one else who can drive you….   The friend who doesn’t stumble, who doesn’t turn away when adversity comes, but who after a rest now and then (because soundness is only maintained if this person first and foremost takes care of him/herself!), keeps coming back, keeping his feet, his balance and being true to who he is, and those who come to trust in him.

Again, I think any one regardless of their religious beliefs or non beliefs, can be “sound.”   There are other definitions of soundness as well, yes, but this is getting long and my fingers are cramping up.  I maintain however, that any other definition of soundness, if written down and scrutinized, would result in a same or similar conclusion that anyone can be sound–again supporting my theory that anyone can have integrity, regardless of what they believe or don’t believe.

What Are We Really Believing About Ourselves?

A nontract by: Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Organized religion always has been and remains the greatest enemy of women’s rights. In the Christian-dominated Western world, two bible verses in particular sum up the position of women:

“I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

–Genesis 3:16

By this third chapter of Genesis, woman lost her rights, her standing–even her identity, and motherhood became a God-inflicted curse degrading her status in the world.

In the New Testament, the bible decrees:

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

–1 Tim. 2:11-14

One bible verse alone, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18) is responsible for the death of tens of thousands, if not millions, of women. Do women and those who care about them need further evidence of the great harm of Christianity, predicated as it has been on these and similar teachings about women?

Church writer Tertullian said “each of you women is an Eve . . . You are the gate of Hell, you are the temptress of the forbidden tree; you are the first deserter of the divine law.”

Martin Luther decreed: “If a woman grows weary and at last dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing, she is there to do it.”

Such teachings prompted 19th-century feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton to write: “The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of woman’s emancipation.”

The various Christian churches fought tooth and nail against the advancement of women, opposing everything from women’s right to speak in public, to the use of anesthesia in childbirth (since the bible says women must suffer in childbirth) and woman’s suffrage. Today the most organized and formidable opponent of women’s social, economic and sexual rights remains organized religion. Religionists defeated the Equal Rights Amendment. Religious fanatics and bullies are currently engaged in an outright war of terrorism and harassment against women who have abortions and the medical staff which serves them. Those seeking to challenge inequities and advance the status of women today are fighting a massive coalition of fundamentalist Protestant and Catholic churches and religious groups mobilized to fight women’s rights, gay rights, and secular government.

Why do women remain second-class citizens? Why is there a religion-fostered war against women’s rights? Because the bible is a handbook for the subjugation of women. The bible establishes woman’s inferior status, her “uncleanliness,” her transgressions, and God-ordained master/servant relationship to man. Biblical women are possessions: fathers own them, sell them into bondage, even sacrifice them. The bible sanctions rape during wartime and in other contexts. Wives are subject to Mosaic-law sanctioned “bedchecks” as brides, and male jealousy fits and no-notice divorce as wives. The most typical biblical labels of women are “harlot” and “whore.” They are described as having evil, even satanic powers of allurement. Contempt for women’s bodies and reproductive capacity is a bedrock of the bible. The few role models offered are stereotyped, conventional and inadequate, with bible heroines admired for obedience and battle spirit. Jesus scorns his own mother, refusing to bless her, and issues dire warnings about the fate of pregnant and nursing women.

There are more than 200 bible verses that specifically belittle and demean women. Here are just a few:

(See Woe To The Women: The Bible Tells Me So for a more comprehensive list)

Genesis 2:22 Woman created from Adam’s rib
  3:16 Woman cursed: maternity a sin, marriage a bondage
  19:1-8 Rape virgins instead of male angels

 

Exodus 20:17 Insulting Tenth Commandment, considering a wife to be property
  21:7-11 Unfair rules for female servants, may be sex slaves
  22:18 “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”
  38:8 Women may not enter tabernacle they must support

 

Leviticus 12:1-14 Women who have sons are unclean 7 days
  12:4-7 Women who have daughters are unclean 14 days
  15:19-23 Menstrual periods are unclean
  19:20-22 If master has sex with engaged woman, she shall be scourged

 

Numbers 1:2 Poll of people only includes men
  5:13-31 Barbaric adulteress test
  31:16-35 “Virgins” listed as war booty

 

Deuteronomy 21:11-14 Rape manual
  22:5 Abomination for women to wear men’s garments, vice-versa
  22:13-21 Barbaric virgin test
  22:23-24 Woman raped in city, she & her rapist both stoned to death
  22:28-29 Woman must marry her rapist
  24:1 Men can divorce woman for “uncleanness,” not vice-versa
  25:11-12 If woman touches foe’s penis, her hand shall be cut off

 

Judges 11:30-40 Jephthah’s nameless daughter sacrificed
  19:22-29 Concubine sacrificed to rapist crowd to save man

 

I Kings 11:1-4 King Solomon had 700 wives & 300 concubines

 

Job 14:1-4 “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one . . .”

 

Proverbs 7:9-27 Evil women seduce men, send them to hell
  11:22 One of numerous Proverbial putdowns

 

Isaiah 3:16-17 God scourges, rapes haughty women

 

Ezekiel 16:45 One of numerous obscene denunciations

 

Matthew 24:19 “[woe] to them that are with child”

 

Luke 2:22 Mary is unclean after birth of Jesus

 

I Corinthians 11:3-15 Man is head of woman; only man in God’s image
  14:34-35 Women keep in silence, learn only from husbands

 

Ephesians 5:22-33 “Wives, submit . . .”

 

Colossians 3:18 More “wives submit”

 

I Timothy 2:9 Women adorn selves in shamefacedness
  2:11-14 Women learn in silence in all subjection; Eve was sinful, Adam blameless

Why should women–and the men who honor women–respect and support religions which preach women’s submission, which make women’s subjugation a cornerstone of their theology?

When attempts are made to base laws on the bible, women must beware. The constitutional principle of separation between church and state is the only sure barrier standing between women and the bible.

God Is Merciful…But Only If You’re A Man

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/31/women-religion-equality
Great article I found
God is merciful, but only if you’re a man

Jew, Christian or Muslim … whatever the faith, women are still treated with disdain or worse

There is plenty to criticise in Islam’s view of women. Last year, the Observer told the story of a man in Basra who stamped on, suffocated and then stabbed to death his 17-year-old daughter for becoming infatuated with a British soldier. The relationship apparently amounted to a few conversations, but her father learnt she had been seen in public talking to the soldier. When the Observer talked to Abdel-Qader Ali two weeks later, he said: “Death was the least she deserved. I don’t regret it. I had the support of all my friends who are fathers, like me, and know what she did was unacceptable to any Muslim that honours his religion.”

This was clearly extreme, but the truth is that the God many people believe in – whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish – hates women. Take America’s Southern Baptist Convention, which declares in its faith and mission statement: “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.” That’s fair enough, isn’t it? After all, he’s probably stronger than she is.

Or there’s the Catholic church. The Pope put things more suavely in an address in 2008: “Faced with cultural and political trends that seek to eliminate, or at least cloud and confuse, the sexual differences inscribed in human nature, considering them a cultural construct, it is necessary to recall God’s design that created the human being masculine and feminine, with a unity and at the same time an original difference.” The insistence on difference is the necessary first step to insisting on inequality and subordination and it is a step that popes have been taking at regular intervals for decades.

In November 2006, Nicaragua enacted a ban on all abortion, with no exceptions, even to save the mother’s life. The law was ratified by the National Assembly in September 2007. Both the original enactment and the vote in September 2007 were widely attributed to the influence of the Catholic church. In a report this month, the United Nations Committee against torture called Nicaragua’s total ban on abortion a violation of human rights.

Then there is Judaism. In one neighbourhood in Jerusalem, religious seminaries flank streets with yellow signs that warn: “If you’re a woman and you’re not properly dressed – don’t pass through our neighbourhood.”

So why is it so often women who fill the pews? Is it a form of Stockholm syndrome? Religions do a good job of training people to be obedient and loyal to the authorities and women in particular are raised to be both devout and submissive. Religions are sticky: they are hard to abandon and that is doubly true for women, given that subordination and unshakable fidelity are their chief duties.

The fact that women are defined as different from men (“complementary” is the religious euphemism) and confined to narrower, more monotonous lives as a result, means that they have more need of the excitements and passions of religion. For women, religion often is the heart of a heartless world. All they have to give up in exchange is their right to shape their own lives; as long as they behave themselves, all will go swimmingly.

The intimate and inescapable connection that contemporary liberal believers like to see between God and love, theism and compassion, is largely a modern invention. It’s far from universal now and it was vanishingly rare in the past. St Francis was an eccentric, not an exemplar. The painful truth is that still, to this day, most people who believe in a god believe in a god who is often vindictive, punitive and sometimes just plain cruel. The Ryan report on abuse of children in Irish industrial schools, released two weeks ago, provides a mountain of searing evidence for that. For decade after decade, generation upon generation, the religious congregations in charge of the institutions saw nothing wrong.

One survivor of Goldenbridge, the most notorious industrial school for girls, run by the Sisters of Mercy, told the commission: “The screaming of children will stay with me for the rest of my life about Goldenbridge. I still hear it, I still haven’t recovered from that. Children crying and screaming, it was just endless, it never, never stopped for years in that place.” Many of those children were there simply because their mothers were unmarried or divorced.

The God we have in the Big Three monotheisms is a God who originated in a period when male superiority was absolutely taken for granted. That time has passed, but the superior male God remains and that God holds women in contempt. That God is the one who puts “His” imprimatur on all those tyrannical laws. That God is a product of history, but taken to be eternal, which is a bad combination. That is the God who hates women.

So why do so many women put up with it? Partly because God gives with one hand what “He” takes away with the other – God consoles people for the very harshness that God creates. It’s the sad, familiar, heartrending bargain in which the victim embraces the perpetrator, in some complicated, confusing, all-too-human mix of appeasement, need and stubborn loyalty. The fact that the embrace is all on one side is resolutely ignored.