Showing posts with label War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label War. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Biblical Marriage & Traditional Christian Values

How can one argue with what's in the Babble?  

Come on, conservative Christians, let's stick up for "traditional" values and legislate these religious beliefs:
I came across this chart on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Correction to Yesterday's Post, Martin Luther King Jr. Quote Is Not Completely Accurate But Is Still as Scathing

     The quote attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. that I used in yesterday's post and that is being disseminated in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death is not completely accurate.  
     A Facebook user posted her own thoughts followed by King's quote.  Somewhere in the electronic game of "Telephone" that is social media, her original introductory sentence and the actual King quote were combined into a single quote.  Those little things called quotation marks make a huge difference.  (See Eats, Shoots & Leaves for more on the importance of proper punctuation.)

     The actual quote is from King's book Strength to Love, page 53.  It reads: 
     Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence.
     From Maschable.com:
     The Detroit Free Press reported that the first sentence — the part referencing “thousands” supposedly comes from Twitter user Jessica Dovey, who tweeted this morning at Jillette: “I am the original author of the ‘MLK’ quote. Somewhere my words got mixed with his.” Jillette then retweeted her tweet containing the admission.
     Even if the entire quote didn't come from King's lips, it doesn't devalue the meaning of what's being disseminated.  The unblemished King quote is stronger because it doesn't devalue the feelings of relief and redress belonging to those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. Also, the actual quote is  more universal and just as scathing of the condemnatory religious comments by Mike Huckabee, etc. and the actions of those who are boasting.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Passes, DREAM Act Dies; So Much Farther to Go in Christian America

     The Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal passed the Senate over the weekend.  This a great milestone on the way to LGBT equality.  Tragically, the DREAM Act failed, which I'm sure pleased Bigot McCain and our nations' other racist xenophobes.

     But things remain a bit confusing, so let me get straight.  Here's the Christmas-state of the union:  

     The ruling Christian class has now given me the right to kill many men, but still withholds the right to love just one.

     The ruling class did not include transgender soldiers in the DADT repeal.  So these individuals are free to civilly marry a person of the same biological sex (as long as the individual has had his or her legal sex changed), but this person is not allowed to kill transgender people in foreign lands.    


     In some of the United States, I'm forbidden to adopt and care for a child, but in foreign states I can use our tax-funded bullets and bombs to blow children apart.

     All praise and glory be to the just and compassionate god of the Christians, for He is a wonderful counselor, a prince of peace, wisdom and understanding, who wears righteousness as His belt, and cares for the poor, the widow and the orphan (unless they are a different color, religion, orientation, or nationality).  Thank dog that he came into the world roughly 2010 years ago (depending upon the heavily redacted and religiously syncretized source of your choosing).  Dog bless America, where the currency, 90% which is in the hands of the upper 10% of the U.S. population, reads: "In God [sic] We Trust."  No doubt.

     The fight for equality continues.  ENDA died in Congress this year.  Obama's justice department is still fighting to overturn the Federal Court ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional.  We've scored victories on DADT and Hate Crimes legislation, but there's much more to be done in the Land of the Free Institutionalized Homophobia, Hatred, Bigotry, Racism and Xenophobia.

Postscript:
     Update on Lt. Dan Choi; his response to the DADT repeal; how PTSD landed him in the hospital.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

President Obama Wants Pope Benedict Protected from Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

     So, while I was sick, I missed this story.  After reading it, I feel sick again.

     The Obama administration has made a rare foray into the Catholic sexual abuse crisis, backing the Vatican's claim it is immune to lawsuits in the U.S. because it is a sovereign nation.
     In a brief filed on Friday (May 21) before the Supreme Court, the acting solicitor general argued an appellate court erred in 2009 when it ruled the Vatican could be held liable for the alleged sexual abuse of a Seattle-area man in the 1960s.
     The Supreme Court is considering the Vatican's appeal of "Holy See v. John V. Doe." Lawyers from the Department of State and Department of Justice joined the acting solicitor general's brief, which asks the high court to send the case back to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
     With the Supreme Court stacked with six Catholic justices its not hard to guess, which way that ruling will go.

     The report continues:
     "Improperly subjecting a foreign state to suit can in some circumstances raise foreign relations and reciprocity concerns," the Obama administration's brief argues.  In 2005, the Bush administration successfully urged a Texas court to dismiss a suit against Pope Benedict XVI because he enjoys immunity as the Holy See's head of state.
     Whether its invading Iraq under false pretenses or protecting clerics that enabled and covered-up the rapes of thousands of children, the leaders of our institutions are consistent.  

     They place the protection of the members of their own class and elite club of world rulers above that of faceless and voiceless children being killed by bombs and raped by priests.  May the Catholic god bless America.
Image Credit: Reuters

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

John McCain and Lt. Dan Choi Respond to Proposed Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal

     In response to the Murphy Amendment that would put Don't Ask, Don't Tell on the track to repeal, Senator John, the Baptist, McCain had this to say (via The Hill):
     "This 'Don't ask, don't tell' issue, they're going to try to jam that through without even trying to figure out what the impact on battle effectiveness would be," McCain said on Arizona's KBLU radio.
     McCain is a liar.  The discriminatory policy won't be abolished until after an investigation into the policy's impact.  In the meanwhile, McCain should be happy to know that outed gays and lesbians will continue to be thrown out of the military.  The Hill continues:
     The White House announced a deal Monday night with Chairman of the Armed Services Committee Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) that would abolish the policy once President Barack Obama and his top civilian and military officials certify the repeal is "consistent with the military’s standards of readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruitment and retention."  The deal would allow Obama to move forward with his promise to do away with "Don't ask, don't tell" while still bowing toward concerns from centrists in Congress and some members of his administration that repealing the policy would negatively impact the military.
     When over 75% of the American public supports the repeal of DADT, how are the concerns to keep the discriminatory policy in place "centrist"?

     Here is Lt. Dan Choi's response to the Murphy/Obama amendment that will vote on repealing DADT somewhere down the road.  Choi's response is "When?"  When will LGBT persons have equality in the military?  Choi is in the over 75% that want DADT repealed.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Lady Gaga and Ke$ha Invade Afghanistan, Do Ask, Do Tell

     This video of U.S. troops in Afghanistan dancing to and lipsyching Lady Gaga's "Telephone" stars Privates Big Rob, Pilon, Conley, Castor, Eichor, Baker, and Malibu Milkshake Melcher.

     Besides entertaining hundreds of thousands of pro-military, anti-gay homophobes, the video does many things.  It:
Your tax dollars at work.
Tonight Lady Gaga, tomorrow village bombing.

And for all you Air Force lovers, here are your gay cadets hard at play in Ke$ha's "Tik Tok."


     For more on the gay Air Force experience read Here's What We'll Say by Reichen Lehmkuhl.


     Thanks to Towleroad for the video leads.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oklahoma Legislature: Rape and Incest Victims Must be Tortured before Getting an Abortion


     We should pass a law mandating that all Americans, who voted for George W. Bush and who supported the invasion of Iraq, be sent to the villages and cities of Iraq, the schools and hospitals, where they are required to listen to the beating hearts and laughter of children, to speak to child and adult alike about their dreams and hopes for the future, and to live for a week with them.  Then, those that support the war and voted for Bush (especially those that voted for him the second time) will be handed guns, grenades, or the launch codes to bombs.  They will have to pull the trigger.

     Or how about this?  Those good Christians, who claim that God can forgive anyone who is repentant (unless they blaspheme the Holy Spirit) and still support the death penalty, should be mandated to be spiritual directors to those on death row.  They should be forced to sit in a room and listen to the words of criminals, who have come to conversion and found forgiveness in their Jesus.  Then, those supporting the death penalty are handed the lethal injection needle and shown the vein.

     Or how about this?  Those who support the current Republican filibuster blocking increased regulation of Wall Street, those who support the ability of multinational corporations to strip the middle and lower classes of their dwindling wealth, should be mandated to live with a family who's living on food stamps, to live homeless in the streets with someone who lost everything, and be forced to go without food, a bath, and a bed for a month, before they allow the rich to get richer off the backs of the poor.

     Or how about this?  Let's pass a law allowing the government, especially the President, to lie to the American public about matters of national security and terrorism, so that the President, who is doing his god's will, can get the public to accent to the invastion of another nation and the slaughter of thousands of non-Christian pagans....oh wait.  We don't need a law to let that happen.

    Here's the information on Oklahoma.  The New York Times reports:
     The Oklahoma Legislature voted Tuesday to override the governor’s vetoes of two abortion measures, one of which requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion. Though other states have passed similar measures requiring women to have ultrasounds, Oklahoma’s law goes further, mandating that a doctor or technician set up the monitor so the woman can see it and describe the heart, limbs and organs of the fetus. No exceptions are made for rape and incest victims.
     A second measure passed into law on Tuesday prevents women who have had a disabled baby from suing a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in the womb. Opponents argue that the law will protect doctors who purposely mislead a woman to keep her from choosing an abortion. But the bill’s sponsors maintain that it merely prevents lawsuits by people who wish, in hindsight, that the doctor had counseled them to abort a disabled child.
     Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, vetoed both bills last week. The ultrasound law, he said, was flawed because it did not exempt rape and incest victims and would allow an unconstitutional intrusion into a woman’s privacy.  Of the other measure, Mr. Henry said, “It is unconscionable to grant a physician legal protection to mislead or misinform pregnant women in an effort to impose his or her personal beliefs on a patient.”
The Republican majorities in both houses, however, saw things differently. On Monday, the House voted overwhelmingly to override the vetoes, and the Senate followed suit on Tuesday morning, making the two measures law.
     Do I want abortions to happen?  Of course not.  But I'm also not a victim of rape or incest, who has my uncle/father/brother/grandpa/priest's sperm growing inside of me.  I can't make the decision for someone else as to whether they have an abortion. 

     The action of these Christians in Oklahoma is vindictive and hypocritical.  They are responsible for the estimated 100,000 civilian deaths that have taken place in Iraq, since their beloved George W. Bush invaded, after misleading the public.   But they would rather pick on victims of rape and incest, than face their own guilt in the murders of children and unborn children in faraway lands.

Image Credits:
Beginning Cheerleading by Y-Coach
Sooners are Bendy by PictureDepot
Oklahoma State Abs by Flickr

Saturday, April 10, 2010

god Will F You Up

Here's something light for a change, a little more religious art, so bad that it's good.

John Butler's "Song Hand of the Almighty" set to some old PD footage of biblical scenes.
*Republican Jesus from Rabbit Starvation

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Christian Militia Busted by FBI for Plotting Insurrection against Government

     As the old hymn goes: "We are one in the Spirit [sic], we are one in the Lord [sic].  We pray that all unity may one day be restored and they'll know we are Christians by our guns, by our guns.  Yes, they'll know we are Christian by our love (of guns)."
Photo from Hutaree.com.

     Last week, self-proclaimed new-Isaiah Sarah Palin wrote on Twitter: "Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: 'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!' Pls see my Facebook page."  This week a group of right-wing Christians heeded her advice, and they are the ones going to jail.

     A right-wing Christian group named the Hutaree (a word the group's founder David B. Stone Sr. made up that means "Christian warriors"), says Jesus would lock and load and fire at the U.S. government.

     The Hutaree Web site features the motto “Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive” and a video showing rifle-toting men in camouflage running through woods and firing weapons. “Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment,” the Web site says, adding, “The Hutaree will one day see its enemy and meet him on the battlefield if so God wills it.”
     Jesus wanted the Hutaree to use "equipment" to incite violence.  I don't remember that word being in the bible, just like stem cell research, abortion, global warming, evolution, etc., you know, the things right-wing groups claim the bible explicitly says are immoral or fake.  Proof-texting hypocrites!

     Thankfully, the FBI busted the Hutaree before they could start their parousia-inducing attack on the government.  (Palin also believes the apocalypse is near.)  The Times:
     In an indictment against the nine [Hutaree] unsealed on Monday, the Justice Department said they were part of a group of apocalyptic Christian militants who were plotting to kill law enforcement officers in hopes of inciting an antigovernment uprising, the latest in a recent surge in right-wing militia activity.  
     The court filing said the group, which called itself the Hutaree, planned to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer and then bomb the funeral caravan using improvised explosive devices based on designs used against American troops by insurgents in Iraq.  
    Why is it that if people of color or Muslims insight violence against the government it's call terrorism, but if a group of white Christians do it's called a militia?

     Eight defendants were arrested over the weekend in raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, the Justice Department said. The authorities arrested the Stones’ eldest son, Joshua M. Stone, 21, shortly before 9 p.m. Monday in Pittsford, Mich., about 20 miles west of his family’s home, an F.B.I. spokeswoman, Sandra Berchtold, said.
     I say lock them up and load 'em into the maximum security loony bin (especially for the mullet).   


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Texas' Terleton State University's Life Lesson: It's Easier to Burn than to Learn

     What would Jesus do if he were a Christian Republican in Texas and a student in a theatre class at a public university was doing a private class project composed of scenes from four plays, including the play Corpus Christi, that "tens and tens" of people were going to see?  Why he'd rile up the conservative masses, of course, to the point that rangers have to be called in to protect the students from angry, violence-threatening Christians, and he'd fan the flames of hatred until, for the safety of the students, the teacher cancels the class presentation. 

     This is the news coming from northern Texas and Terleton State University, where advanced directing student John Jordan Otte's choice to use a few scenes from the 1998 Terrence McNally play, Corpus Christi, in which, dog-forbid, Jesus and his disciples are portrayed as gay.  The private, in-class performance was canceled last night "after the school received a barrage of threatening calls and e-mails."

     The Star-Telegram reports the frightening level of hatred and threats that the school received:

     "Our department received calls of a threatening nature," he [drama professor Mark Holtorf] said. "I could not guarantee the security of my students. The administration was truly behind the academic exercise, but I could not justify the risk."  Officials announced Wednesday that the Corpus Christi performance would be moved from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday and staged before a restricted private audience. Campus police planned additional security.  But during the past three days, the threats "ratcheted up to such a degree, it made me nervous," Holtorf said, adding that the identities of those making the threats could not be determined. "One call was a fairly long rant of incredible expletives. It was a scary rant. It was actually frightening."
     So, once again, Christians threatening the sword, rather than offering the other cheek score another victory for their Gospel According to Hate and miss the opportunity to learn something that could have given them a deeper insight into their savior and the experience of those different than themselves.  No!  It's easier to burn than to learn. 

     Here are some politically powerful Texans' responses to the events at Terleton.

     "Every citizen is entitled to the freedom of speech, but no one should have the right to use government funds or institutions to portray acts that are morally reprehensible to the vast majority of Americans."
     Lt. Gov. Dave, does that mean that you support the use of public funding for abortion since the majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal?  You must have supported the healthcare reform, since 77% of Americans supported a public option, which didn't get past thanks to lying Republicans (like you) and their myth of death panels.  Since the majority of Americans also are against the war in Iraq and want the troops removed, I'm sure you support that, too.  Also, a majority of Americans are against the use of torture, so I'm sure you don't support that.  And finally, the majority of Americans favor letting homosexuals serve openly in the military and they also don't think that consenting sex between two adults of the same sex is morally wrong, nor is it a moral issue.  You agree, right, or are you just a another conservative Republican Christian who doesn't practice what you preach?

     University President F. Dominic Dottavio published an opinion piece in the Star-Telegram in which he explained:
     Although the university had not endorsed the play, it had no legal basis for stopping it. But Dottavio made clear that he didn't like it.  "I see no artistic or redeeming quality in the work," he wrote. "I believe, as many have opined, that it is offensive, crude and irreverent."
     Way to stand by your students and faculty, while still fanning the conservative flames and egging on the threats to your students' safety, Dom!  You might want to recall the etymology of "university," which comes from the Latin universus, meaning "whole" or "entire."  A university education is meant to be whole, entire; universal.  The quest for true knowledge does not come by stifling freedom of speech, academic exploration, and artistic expression.  By fanning the flames of those attacking the universal education of your students, you do your "university" and your post a disservice. 

     Hillcrest Church of Christ Preacher David Harris stated the following in an interview with The 33 News in a segment titled "What would Jesus do?":
     "Evidently they've got an agenda and it's a readical homosexual agenda that is being promoted and I don't know whether Tarleton is gettin it or not but they are using them as a venue for it.  Just leave Christ alone that's all, just leave him alone and quit defaming him."
     Defaming Jesus?  What of the wars, hatred, murder, sexual abuse, slavery, rape, abuse of women, child abuse, and lies committed in Jesus' name? 

     Conservative religious people get mad when Jesus is portrayed as gay, but cultures all over the world have adapted Jesus to be like them. 

     How many different skin colors does Jesus come in?  How many different shaped faces does Jesus have?  How many different cultural styles of clothing does Jesus wear

     Artistic portrayals of Jesus are as diverse as the world's individual Christians.  So, why wouldn't homosexual Christians follow suit and portray Jesus as gay?  But, when that happens it's a sacrilege and blasphemous, "defaming" and "misrepresenting" the white, crystal-blue-eyed, northern European, Soloflex Jesus that so many fundamentalist Christians adore.

     Lost in the political posturing and religious condemnations was the student's reason for choosing Corpus Christi and what he was saying with the work.  In an on-air interview by Tarleton’s Texan News Service, student director Jon Otte said that:
     ...he picked the play because, as a gay Christian man, he could relate to it. He did not feel the script was blasphemous, but he said it was, in fact, tasteful. "Never did I choose this play to attack Christians." 
    He further stated:
     This play deals with [gay] subject matter, I believe in a tasteful way. ... I don't believe in a God who hates me for who I am.  Never did I choose this play to attack Christians. I am one. 
     Imagine what David Harris, David Dewhurst, and their conservative brood could have learned had they listened instead of demanding fagots and flames.

Image Credits:
Photos of police cars guarding the Terleton State event: Whitney Lee, of the Reporter-News
Photo of white Jesus with blue eyes, from the Roman Catholic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.; photo from Notes of an Anesthesioboist

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Pledge of Allegiance, a Patriotic, Religious Test

     On a soupy August morning in 1980, I received my first lesson concerning the separation of church and state.

     After ringing the morning school bell, Sr. Mary Buttcrack wobbled into the classroom and peered down at us, her new first grade class, with dark, squinty eyes and barked for us to stand up. Frightened of the cello-shaped nun, whose Michelin-man-like rolls did not benefit from the post-Vatican II nuns' emancipation from the religious habit, we rose from our faux wooden desks and obeyed her orders. We turned our sweaty, sticky bodies toward the metal statue of a tortured, bleeding, dead body hanging on a cross, made the Sign of the Cross over our hearts, prayed the Our Father, and again made the Sign of the Cross.

     Without a pause, we were instructed to put our "crossing" hand over our hearts, to turn ten degrees to face the crucifix-adjacent U.S. flag, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Upon finishing, most of our pink hands made the Sign of the Cross again, thinking it necessary in order to end the prayer. Sister chastised us for this apparent mistake and threatened us with something like an eternity in hell or taking away our recesses, where we’d have to sit in the un-air-conditioned room with her ring-around-the-armpits and gelatinous, spoiled-cottage-cheese biceps.  I wasn’t sure which was worse.

     In middle school, my depreciation for the Pledge increased. Years of Catholic school had increased my religious "maturity," and now, the Pledge seemed a violation of the First Commandment: "I am the Lord your God [sic], you shall not place strange gods before me." Devout Catholic altar boy that I was, swearing allegiance to a mass of red, white, and blue fabric seemed idolatrous, if not at the level of worshiping Baal, then at least at the level of the golden calf.  Was Moses to return, I imagined him decapitating our principal, the mushroom-shaped-and-smelling Sr. Mary Mushroom, with one swing of a stone tablet and then making us heathen flag-worshipers chew off and swallow bites of Old Glory until our gums bled and our bowels exploded.

     My allegiance was to God [sic] alone, not to some nation or its flag, but Christians everywhere at sporting events, student council meetings, Boy Scouts, and governmental gatherings said the Pledge. They swore allegiance to a false god and then proclaimed their uncompromising devotion to Jesus Christ in the next breath. I continued to say the Pledge, but refused to put my hand on my heart, which belonged to Christ alone. During the Pledge, my hand was over my xiphoid process. This served the double purpose of protecting me both from God’s [sic] wrath and also the random fist of a passerby delivering a xiphoid-process-shattering blow to my lower sternum thus sending the xiphoid-shard into one of my essential organs and killing me on the spot. I thought of such things in those days, thanks to learning about the dangers of CPR in science class, but there was really nothing to worry about. If I died, God [sic] would forgive me for worshipping the flag, because I didn’t swear on my heart.

     After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the George H.W. Bush led invasion of Iraq, I quit saying the Pledge. I was in high school, and after a handful of years spent in the public schools where Catholics weren't the majority, my religious beliefs were emboldened. By the time I turned eighteen and registered with the Selective Service, I was prepared for the possible reinstitution of the draft, for in the wake of the Soviet's demise, America had a new enemies and a new cause: Islamic Iran and Iraq and the securing of fossil fuels. As a conscientious objector, I offered no allegiance to a country that would declare wars and kill innocent women and children so that we could drive cars that raped our planet's atmosphere. My New Testament God [sic], my peace-loving Jesus, would not approve of such reprehensible actions, and so I stood during the Pledge with my hand on my xiphoid process and mouthed the words. No one took notice of my silent dissent.

     As a priest in post-9/11 America, I found the Pledge even more infuriating. Catholic adults were still being lead in successive recitations of the OurFatherPledgeofAllegiance at Knights of Columbus meetings. The crucifix and the flag were still side by side, both demanding the faithfulness of our grade-school hearts. Gone were the days of blending, I was the priest, the educated Master of Divinity, and the one with the power of the Office of the Priesthood on my side.

     A man, I stood silently, hands in the pockets of my black clerics, and refused to say the Pledge. I received my parishioners' suspicious glares, which were followed by judgmental comments masked with humor. "You some kind of liberal, Father?" "Don't you support the troops in Iraq? Heh. Heh. Heh." "Do ya love yer country, or are ya a some kindda Bin Laden, Dixie Chicks lover?"

     Yes, that was it. I was a terrorist masking as an Iowa-corn-fed Catholic priest, and an atheist, Commie homo, too.
     Now that I am an atheist homo (The Commie distinction is FOX News-relative.), the Pledge continues to assault and insult my sensibilities. In a nation where we have freedom of speech, I don't observe a need for the Pledge's patriotic test before basketball games and beauty pageants. There's no need for a test to gauge who does and doesn't proclaim the McCarthy-era's paranoid addendum to the Pledge, "under God [sic], ." This “pledge” is a religious test that violates my freedom to choose between the extinct gods of the ancients or the various gods of the present. I also have the freedom to use my rational mind, to follow lead and history of scientific progress, and to choose not to believe in any god. This is my choice. I have blossomed into an atheist.
     In early March, the Religious Right won a huge battle in federal court.  A divided federal appeals court, reversed an earlier ruling in a 2-1 decision.

     The Los Angeles Times reports:
     A divided federal appeals court Thursday reversed itself, ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t violate the constitutional prohibition against state-mandated religious exercise even though it contains the phrase “one nation under God [sic].”
     The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 2002, which deemed that requiring students to recite the pledge violated their rights to be free of religious indoctrination by the government, was one of the most controversial to come out of the court that is second only to the U.S. Supreme Court in its power to determine law for nine Western states and two Pacific territories.
     The appeals court’s earlier decision had been reviewed by the Supreme Court in 2004, but the justices dodged the constitutional question on procedural grounds, throwing out the lawsuit brought by a Sacramento atheist and leaving intact the wording of the patriotic declaration.
     In "the land of the free," one is no longer free of the religious test that was added to the Pledge just fifty-six years ago.  The Pledge, like the scriptures, has been redacted over the years since it was first written in 1892, each generation's political/religious turmoil leaving a mark.  Bruce Ramsey of The Seattle Times provides a brief history of the Pledge:
    Several years ago an Oregon academic, Richard Ellis, wrote a history of the Pledge, which I reviewed in the Times. In the book he says each big boost for the Pledge, or change in it, came at a time when Americans were in fear of foreign influence. The Pledge was written in 1892, when Americans worried about the tide of immigrants diluting American culture and ideals, and the fading of patriotism from the Civil War. The Pledge was institutionalized in World War I, when patriotism was enforced. The first state to require the Pledge was Washington, which passed the law in January 1919, the month of the Communist-influenced Seattle General Strike. The first change in the Pledge's wording--from "my flag" to "the flag of the United States of America"--came in the early 1920s, around the time that immigration was stopped. And the phrase "under God [sic]" was added in 1954, at the end of the trials of Communist spies.
      In 2010, the era of the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and calls from southern states for secession because a crazed minority of of U.S. citizens believes that our nation's first black president is a socialist, commie-loving, Islamic terrorist, we have a conservative court ruling that the McCarthy era addendum "under God [sic]" is not a religious prayer or test.  Sister Mary Buttcrack, Stalin of North Catholic School, would be proud.
     I, for one, will not remain on the grade-school playground. I will cross neither my heart nor my xiphoid process. I will utilize my constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of/from religion. When the Pledge of Allegiance is forced upon me in secular situations, instead of "under God [sic]," I will proclaim as loudly as I can: "I don't believe in god." This is one religious test that I am proud to fail.

     After thirty years, I've finally passed the first grade.

Postscripts:

     To hear an interview of  Michael Newdow, who filed the lawsuit challenging the religious redaction of the Pledge, click here. (It's the March 20th podcast.)

     Here are a few quotes from the Associated Press via WTOP, article by Terence Chea.
     Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who was part of the three-judge panel that ruled in Newdow's favor eight years ago, wrote a 123-page dissent to the 60-page majority opinion. "Under no sound legal analysis adhering to binding Supreme Court precedent could this court uphold state-directed, teacher-led, daily recitation of the 'under God [sic]' version of the Pledge of Allegiance by children in public schools," wrote Reinhardt, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980.
     "The whole argument that 'under God [sic]' wasn't placed into the pledge for religious purposes is bogus," Newdow [who brought the case] said. "I hope people recognize this is not against God [sic] or people who believe in God [sic]. It's about the government not treating people equally on the basis of their lawful religious views."
     Go to Newdow's website http://www.restorethepledge.com/ for more information.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bull Sunday

     Super Bowl Sunday swooped in overnight with its usual recipe of subplots, masculinity, and patriotism.  Today is as close as it gets to an unofficial national holiday: the day that millions of people gather to stuff their round faces full of junk food and cheap American brew, while chiseled young men risk traumatic back and brain injuries for gladiator glory.  

     The military machine, a loom, will see its propaganda-weave payoff with strategically placed generals flipping coins, sportscaster-enhanced intel about how Joe Football did a tour in Iraq, and campaigns of pre and post commercial-break inserts that show off our digitally-camouflaged troops (unarmed with their weapons of mass destruction and terror) in some far away desert wasteland cheering on the Saints or Colts like good ole boys.  Since they scream like maniacs for football, just like you and me, then it's okay to occupy foreign nation with people just like you and me.  

     Peppered within the troops and amongst the players on the sidelines will be the periodic Roman collar or gold cross bearing chaplain which easily goes unnoticed under the bellowing of "God Bless America" by a Queen and all the religiously-correct signs of the cross after touchdowns or the non-Catholic finger-points to the heavens.   

     The biggest question leading into the game is which scripture passage will St. Timmy Tebow be wearing in his Focus on the Family sponsored abortion protest commercial, cowritten by CBS, which has changed its name from Columbia Broadcasting System to the Christian Bull Shit network.  And more than likely, the "My mommy didn't abort me, so shame on you sinners who did have or support something that is legal in this country" ad will no doubt be followed by silicon enhanced breasts, small panties, horny young men, and alcohol, encouraging young children to be American and fuck for god and country.  And if the sex-sells commercials don't follow St. Timmy's message, then surely an extreme closeup and slow fade from the heavily painted and scantily clad sideline cheerleaders' silicon-enhanced mammary ducts will do.  

     And this, my fellow Americans, is Super Bull Sunday.

     Now, I love football.  I'm not saying we should end football.  All I'm saying is that the way the Super Bowl has been being packaged, and even more so this year by CBS, is making the Super Bowl a mere vessel for the hetero, military, and Christian right wing complex of our nation.  Don' believe me?  Then ask yourself these questions, honestly.

     What would happen if Queen Latifah decided to hold the hand of her lesbian partner while singing "God Bless America," or if she turned and kissed her on the lips immediately following the last note?  Would that be viewed as American, as okay?  What would happen if a player scored a touchdown and immediately prostrated himself on the field facing Mecca?  Or if he shouted "Allah akbar!" as he pointed into the cameras?  Would he get a taunting penalty?  A stint at Gitmo?  What would happen if within the barrage of commercials inundated with heterosexual sexual images, a commercial with a product for homosexual patrons played?  What if in the midst of the "God bless our troops" and "Support our troops" comments and ads, a commercial protesting the wars and promoting military withdrawal and pacifism were played?  What if commercials from the Freedom from Religion Foundation supporting the separation of church and state aired?  What if a star football player was in a commercial and talked about how he's only alive because  years ago his mom's life-ending pregnancy tragically ended with a life-saving abortion and paved the way for her to give birth to three more children including her gay, ex-Catholic, atheist football-star son?   What if...?

     In all the news reports and blogging about St. Timmy Tebone and Focus on the Straight Family's anti-abortion commercial that will air during the Superbowl and four times during the pre-show today one thing is crystal clear: CBS is playing the hypocrite.  There's no doubt in that matter, especially after CBS refused to air MoveOn.org's commercial protesting the Iraq war half a decade ago because of it's political content, not to mention PETA or the gay friendly United Church of Christ's past denied Super Bowl commercial submissions.

     Focus on the Family is one of the leading benefactors and propaganda machines attacking  equal civil rights for LGBT persons, and Family's spot gets the nod, while gay dating website ManCrunch.com's spot got cut for its inappropriate gay material.  But just a few years ago, CBS aired a Snickers commercial with gay sexual behavior in it, not to mention the number of man-on-man hugs and butt slaps that will be aired during the game today.  (One of the original Snickers Super Bowl commercials was cut only after LGBT rights groups protested the commercials encouragement of violence against gays.)  So, CBS has shown where they stand: to the right and in favor of freedom of speech for the Christian Right, not all of America.

     So, what are those football fans who protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support a woman's reproductive choice, believe that LGBT persons deserve full and equal civil rights including marriage and ad time, and are not charismatic Christians to do?  Are we to exclude ourselves from the cultural holiday of Super Bowl Sunday?  Are we to protest and not watch the game of the year?  Will it even make a difference if one, two, or even twenty-five million people protest by not watching the game?

     I doubt it.  Because, we don't have the money.  We don't watch, and CBS won't care.  They already have the money in the bank that Focus on the Family paid them for St. Timmy's testimony.  CBS knows exactly what they're doing.

     Does this mean that political advocacy groups are now going to have to raise millions of not-for-profit dollars a year to get Super Bowl air time?  Why not?  We already have to spend millions of dollars paying for ad time to try to retain our equal civil rights from attacks by Focus on the Family and their Mormon and Catholic friends.

     CBS has made this an entirely new bowl game.

   Postscript:  If you TiVo (no, not Tebow) the game and start it an hour late, you can fast forward through all the propaganda and just enjoy the game itself.  Also, you can pause it when the men in tight pants show off their packages or pat each others' pretty butts.  Click here to watch the other gay-themed add that CBS rejected.









Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spiritually Transformed Firearms of Jesus Christ

Question:

     What would Jesus fire?

"The United States is not and will never be at war with Islam." -President Barrack Obama in his first speech to a Muslim nation, Turkey, in 2009

"I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will.  I'm surely not going to justify war based upon God. Understand that. Nevertheless, in my case, I pray that I will be as good a messenger of His will as possible. And then of course, I pray for forgiveness."  -President George W. Bush on his decision to invade Iraq in an interview with Bob Woodward in 2003
Answer:

     I'd like you introduce you to Trijicon, an American company, founded on good old-fashioned Christian values of honesty and integrity, with the following self described morality:
     We believe that America is great when its people are good. This goodness has been based on biblical standards throughout our history and we will strive to follow those morals.
     Yes, "those morals," such as killing in the name of Jesus Christ with what some in the U.S. military are referring to as their "spiritually transformed firearms of Jesus Christ," a onetime pacifist whom I'm sure would be proud of all the Christians who've killed in his name over the past two millennia.

     ABC news reports that Trijicon, holder of a $660 million contract to provide 800,000 gun sites to the U.S. military, prints Christian bible passages on their killing products.  How's that for hypocrisy? (The full Nightline report is embedded below.)


     The military claims that they didn't know, even though some of their soldiers refer to their Trijicon-enhanced weapons as their "Jesus rifles."  These are the same guns being used to train non-Christian Afghan and Iraqi soldiers to protect nations whose trust we are struggling to win.  We tell them we are not waging a Christian religious war, but our guns are inscribed with texts referring to Jesus as the "the light of the world" and being the way to move from darkness into light.  These are the same guns that any moron can find on youtube with gun enthusiasts bragging up the Christian scripture references and ignorantly taunting, "for those of you who aren't Christians, well you know, whatever, get over it!" and "I didn't know there were that many different verses on all the different optics," AND, "They chose some whoppers too!"

     The ABC report continues:
     "It's wrong, it violates the Constitution, it violates a number of federal laws," said Michael "Mikey" Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group that seeks to preserve the separation of church and state in the military."It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they're being shot by Jesus rifles," he said. He said coded biblical inscriptions play into the hands of "those who are calling this a Crusade." "This is probably the best example of violation of the separation of church and state in this country," said Weinstein. "It's literally pushing fundamentalist Christianity at the point of a gun against the people that we're fighting. We're emboldening an enemy."
     Pushing religion at gunpoint, torture in our military prisons, and religious rhetoric to justify our invasions?  We are no different from the "enemies" we seek to destroy.  I'm so tired of this America.

     When will the majority of people in our nation unite and stand up against the thinly veiled religious wars that our tax dollars are fundingWhen will Christians, who claim to be about love and peace, stand up for the true message of their Jesus and call for an end to the violence in his name?  Apparently not anytime soon.

     In response to the ABC News report,
Tom Munson, director of sales and marketing for Trijicon, which is based in Wixom, Michigan, said the inscriptions "have always been there" and said there was nothing wrong or illegal with adding them. Munson said the issue was being raised by a group that is "not Christian."
     Yes, Mr. Munson, blame the non-Christians for having the audacity to call Christians to their own loving and peaceful values.  You hypocrite!

     The military operates under General Order No. 1, which since 2003 says that there will be no religious prostheletizing by the U.S. Department of Defense personnel in Iraq or Afghanistan.  However, the ABC news report below shows U.S. Army Chaplain Ltc. Gary Hensley preaching the following sermon to our troops:
     We hunt people for Jesus.  We do.  We hunt them down.  We get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them in the kingdom.  Right?  That's what we do. That's our business.
     Mr. Hensley is a hypocrite, not only in violation of the allegedly peaceful gospel of Jesus Christ, but also of the Constitution of the United States and the separation of church and state.  But, he's not alone.  It seems that what we've known for quite some time is now blatantly inscribed upon the guns of our military: our military has been infiltrated by Christian fundamentalists and is what they would call the divine extenstion of their god's wrath and will in the world.  If this is not the Gospel According to Hate, I do not know what is.

     We have yet to see if the U.S. military will do anything to remove the scripture passages from their killing machines.  Until they are removed and General Order No.1 is enforced throughout every branch of our military, we will only continue to hypocritically embolden those who've declared a religious war upon us.