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.

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Speaking Out…Too Much?

When a religious person feels a calling, feels passionate and incensed by what he or she sees as fundamental wrongs in the world, and wants to make of themselves an adversary against that wrong, they become a church leader, or a pastor or a priest, or a reverend, and evangelist or missionary.  Do these people sit idly by and tolerate their views challenged, or maligned, or misrepresented, or contradicted, or blasphemed?  Or do they speak out loudly in defense of their truth and what they think of as morally right, sometimes with anger, sometimes calling themselves one with god’s army like they are at war?

What about when an atheist feels passionate and incensed by what he or she sees as a fundamental wrong in the world?   What about when an atheist has to hear his views on what is good and right in the world dragged through the mud and compared with Hitler or Stalin or called Satanism or worse?  Should the atheist sit idly by?  Or should the atheist likewise take up arms (verbally) and fight, even risking personal loss of family, friends and reputation (does the religious person risk losing these things?), for what he or she believes is reason, truth, liberating, and morally right?

A little while ago someone read the Richard Dawkins transcripts I posted on my blog from the 2012 Reason Rally.  This person criticizes Dawkins for his declaring proudly:

“Mock them! Ridicule them! In public! Don’t fall for the convention that we’re all too polite to talk about religion. Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off-limits.  Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated and need to be challenged and, if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt.”

Why is it wrong for Dawkins to encourage this?  If a person truly believes that his friends or family or society is being misled by a lie, a fraud, a scam, and not just a lie but what they see as an immoral and harmful one, shouldn’t he or she speak out?  Aren’t they in all good conscience obligated to speak out because to not would be tantamount to agreeing with or approving of that which they do not? 

If the atheist is wrong and the theist is right, surely what is true should have the stuff to stand all on its own!  Why would it require its challengers to be silent, or apologists defending or clarifying or explaining what it should have already made clear?  Truth is truth.  No amount of atheist arguments should be any threat; no amount of science, exploration or discovery should be a threat either–if in fact it is truth.

Should atheists be cowards before the religious who have no problem expressing themselves and speaking out?  Should we be silent and let what we see as a delusion continue unchallenged?   Or should we speak of what we know or think, add to the discussion what we have read, facts or questions that so often have been ignored or drowned out or swept under rugs, or worse, twisted to further some very human agendas?

Do atheists have an agenda?   Do we ask for money or seek to build mansions in the sky by pounding our beliefs into other people, finding fault in other people for not thinking the way we do?

I don’t particularly care, and I don’t think atheists do,  if there are more atheists in the world or less theists.  I try to be live and let live. But at the same time I am not going to be silent just because what I see as the truth is not what the majority in my society wants to see.  The truth is the truth, be it popular with the masses or not.   No amount of denial can blot it out.  No amount of speaking in the contrary can change it.

As for lies, they eventually fall to pieces under close scrutiny.  Don’t they?

When Is Abuse Not Wrong?

I really think hell came to be invented by disgruntled people who had to watch abusive people (toward them) get away with abusive behavior.  What is that phrase “only the good die young?”  Sometimes it sure seems so.   And so for some of us who have been on the receiving end of what a user, taker, sociopath, narcissist, sadist, or whatever felt it was perfectly okay to dish out, sometimes all we have is hope in such things as karma, or some kind of day of reckoning after death. 

The trick for those of us who have to watch our lives fall to shambles because of the damage done by such people, is getting past the rage or resentment at the unfairness of it all.  Having to watch the person who directed abuse at us, go his or her merry way unscathed, and even often still liked or friended by people we thought cared for us.

It happens everywhere, I know but…for me it happened in Edmonds WA at a rather popular restaurant across from the Costco on Aurora.  Just head’s up from someone who learned the hard way.  If you are lonely, depressed, sad, scared, have a low self-esteem or whatever, do not stay late at any bar, do not confide in a bartender who says he’s your friend or believe it when they tell you that bartenders never repeat what you tell them in confidence to others, and in the case of this person who targeted me I suspect not wearing white lacy crocheted sweaters would be a good idea too.

I don’t know why sexual harassment or targeting of a customer at a bar is tolerated behavior.  I suppose for some restaurant or restaurant corporations it wouldn’t be, but certainly for the one I had the misfortune of being targeted at, it was.   I don’t know if it falls under the definition of sexual harassment or not, but as a bartender, and especially a head bartender, it’s that person’s job to monitor customers to prevent them from drinking too much.  It’s also important for bartenders to know the physical and mental condition of customers because alcohol can affect people with health or mental problems differently than healthy people.   In my view for a bartender to exploit someone with depression, which is what happened to me, and use his position as bartender to his own advantage to go after a customer, a regular paying customer and therefore someone just as deserving as anyone else of basic safety to their person, this is harmful predatory behavior and funny thing, because there’s no way to prove it, people shrug it off like it’s no big deal.   I reported what happened to the police, the Better Business Bureau (because it did cause me and still does cause me, financial and emotional damage), and The Washington State Human Rights Commission and no one really cared.  This happens all the time, I was told.   And you know what?  It does.

Why isn’t it a crime?  Why are there not surveillance cameras set up at bars for after hours–or even during hours?   Why isn’t there some law that requires two bartenders stay on the floor to close the restaurant, not just one that everyone trusts and assumes would never do harm to a lonely depressed customer?

What’s really frustrating…you can’t even report your horrible experience on places like YELP.   If you try they filter out your comment like ooooh, you can only say nice things about the restaurant that let such harm happen to you.  

Anyway, I just think it’s wrong that anyone could be so hurt and have it be no big deal, and I know it and much worse has happened to many others–it’s that kind of hurtful thing that people look at you and say, “well, that’s what you get for staying late at a bar,” or “that’s what you get for drinking too much.”  Like depressed or emotionally compromised women (or men) for some reason are permitted to be made uncomfortable, coerced or pressured into acts they really don’t want to do, just for trusting that a bartender would not wish them harm for confiding in them.  When really, sometimes, when the conditions are right and that particular bartender might not be happy in his (or her) life, they do.