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I hear people talk about their “Christianity” as though they are wearing some kind of “badge of courage.”  I constantly hear these same people ask “what would Jesus do?”  As everyone who is a regular here knows I don’t care what religion you may follow.  I don’t care if you don’t follow any religion.  I don’t care if you don’t even believe in religion or god.

But, what I do care about is that if you truly believe in religion, you have a duty to actually live by the teachings you say you believe in.  As I have written before, all religions have their faults.  All religions, by definition are discriminatory.  That is just the nature of the religion business.  You can’t really believe in a religion unless you believe the “my god is better than your god” theory.

As we know, America is predominantly a Christian country.  That doesn’t mean that Christianity is the “official religion” of America as the Christian Cult want’s you to believe.  It just means that more people in our country count themselves as Christian than anything else.

Conservatives are the most vocal “Christians” we hear talking today.  So, I ask, if conservatives are so Christian, why are their policies so “Un-Christian?”  Why is it that Conservative Christians claim to have “accepted Jesus as their lord and savior” and yet go against 99% of his teachings?  How is it that Conservative Christians can claim to follow the “teachings of Jesus” all the while hating their neighbors and pass discriminatory laws and policies?

I ask these questions now because Christians are celebrating their most holy week, Easter Week.  This is when Christians are supposed to “reaffirm” their belief system and their acknowledgement of the teachings of Jesus.  It is also a time when we are seeing more and more discriminatory laws being passed by states whose politicians claim to be “Conservative Christians.”

We are seeing more anti-LGBT laws being passed under the false pretense of “religious liberty.”  Just for the record, Jesus never said a single word about the LGBT community.  What he said was that there were only two commandments:  “Love God with all your heart and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Now, I don’t care what version of the Bible you read, you will not find an asterisk after the “love your neighbor as yourself” quote.  There was no “exception” offered by Jesus to this law.  But, todays “Conservative Christians” want you to believe that asterisk exists.  That is the only reason there is such an outcry about same-sex marriage we see today.

Just in the great-thinking state of Texas, over 20 discriminatory bills have been introduced already this year.  All are in the name of “religious liberty” and of “states rights.”  Only these bills have been written by national organizations with their roots in the belt-way.  Hardly something that screams “states rights.”

There have been a lot of talk against the Islam “Sharia Law” in this country.  These discriminatory laws are nothing less than “Sharia Law.”  I guess it depends on which “Sharia Law” you support on whether or not it is good or bad.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday.  Many Christians were in church starting their Easter Week holiday celebration.  The Governor of Indiana was on television trying to defend the law he passed making it legal to discriminate against LGBTs.  In his interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos he utterly refused to answer the yes or no question about whether the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” would allow discrimination against LGBT Indianans with either a yes or a no. Eight times.

The funny thing is that Jesus did mention something about your yes and no answers.  It’s in Matthew 5:37 and it’s really very simple. Jesus said, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.”  If the Governor cannot give a simple yes or no to the question about discrimination, one has to wonder what the real purpose of the law is.  Another example of a so-called “Conservative Christian” claiming “religious liberty” all the while avoiding what his savior, Jesus told him to do.  Answer with a yes or no.

Look, I don’t care if discriminatory laws are intended to hurt LGBT, Blacks, Latinos, Irish, Germans, Muslims, Jews, or anyone else.  They are evil all by themselves.  Their intent is to create a multi-level citizenship status.  They are an attempt to force one person’s religious beliefs on everyone else.  There is no other reason for them.

Additionally, these same Conservative Christians are all in support of a budget blueprint that raises the budget numbers for DOD while paying for those increases by hacking the social safety nets for our most vulnerable people.  These are the same people who want to gut Medicare and make it a voucher system.  They want to make the VA a voucher system.  The want to gut food stamps.  They want to take away health insurance from the poor and needy.  And, they don’t want to raise the minimum wage so people at the lower ends of our society can earn a living through their hard work.

On the other hand, they refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy.  They refuse to close loopholes that allow the rich to “hide” their money overseas so they don’t have to pay taxes on it.  They claim they want to “balance the budget” but keep adding to the deficit by adding “breaks” and “incentives” to the wealthy without paying for them.

To me, these actions by the Conservative Christian Cult just don’t add up.  If you really are a Christian and claim to be “a God-fearing” person, how can you support laws that take away the civil rights of other groups?  How can you openly support what I call “hate laws?”

How can you be willing to let the most needy in our society suffer even more while protecting the income of the most wealthy?  Didn’t Jesus say “It is harder for a wealthy person to enter heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle?”  With policies like the ones they are pushing, I can see how that is so.

I guess the easy answer would be to say these Conservative Christians aren’t really Christians at all.  But, I won’t go to those lengths.  I won’t try to look inside the hearts of people to find their motivation.  But, I will say that if they truly believe in the teachings of Jesus, they have a funny way of showing it.

I once had a priest tell me that “religion is supposed to bring hope and comfort” to people.  If that is true, the policies of our Conservative Christian politicians are doing just the opposite.  It is more like the saying of “do what I say and not what I do.”

Sometimes I wonder that if Jesus lived today, if our Conservative Christians wouldn’t be the first in line to crucify him.  I believe their actions and policies say they would be.

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Our country sits on the crossroads in history.  For the last 100 years or so, we have what many people believe to be a model for democracy.  Yes, we have had our problems with race before like slavery and the Jim Crow laws.  But, beginning in the 20th century, we have basically been a country that passed laws that protected the rights of individuals.

All of that is changing in front of our eyes, and we don’t seem to give a shit!  The Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that abortion was legal.  Since then we have seen a strong opposition to that ruling.  In the last several years, several conservative states have passed laws taking that right away from women.  They have even passed legislation in several of these states that require doctors to tell women who want an abortion false information.  The object isn’t to protect the woman’s health, it is to make them change their mind about getting an abortion.

We have seen a so-called “church,” whose name I refuse to even mention,  protest at military funerals.  They claim that the soldiers were killed as “god’s punishment” for America’s acceptance of gay rights.  When the families object to their being there, nothing is done to keep them away.

There are voter suppression laws being passed in several states.  They are not-so-thinly veiled attempts to reduce the number of people who usually vote Democratic from gaining access to the polls.  In the last election just last year, several thousand people were denied their right to vote.  In some cases, it resulted in swaying the outcome of close elections.

Now, Indiana has taken the lead in authorizing legalized discrimination.  Governor Mike Pence signed the legislation yesterday.  It is called The Religious Objections Law.  Under this law, if you own a business and you don’t like someone, you can refuse service to that individual as long as you can say you have religious beliefs that says you don’t have to serve them.

The Governor says it is not a discrimination law.  He says “this law is not about discrimination.”  If it isn’t about discrimination, what is it about?  This law has come to fruition because the courts have ruled that same-sex marriage ban that was passed by Indiana is unconstitutional.  In order to fight against same-sex marriage, Indiana came up with this discrimination law to satisfy the far right-wing and the Christian Cult.

This is the reality in Indiana right now.  If you own any business, you can discriminate against anyone you want.  Pence may disagree with that statement, but it is true.  What if I owned a business in Indiana.  I decided that I don’t like Evangelical Christians.  I can deny business to any Evangelical Christian if I simply say it is against my religion to serve them because I consider them heretics.  This law gives me that right.

The laws about discrimination are very clear.  If you own a business, you are not allowed to discriminate against anyone.  Once you open your doors to the public, you are required to serve the whole public.  That is a very simple fact of doing business.  If you own a catering service and say you will cater all events except gay events, you are breaking the law.  This Indiana Law allows you to disobey anti-discrimination laws already upheld by the Supreme Court.

There is only one thing to do.  Businesses must boycott Indiana.  As a matter of fact, Salesforce.com co-founder and CEO Mark Benioff announced on twitter, shortly after Pence signed the bill, that he was cancelling programs that require his customers or employees to “travel to Indiana to face discrimination.”

The odd part is that Salesforce.com bought Indianapolis based marketing software company ExactTarget for $2.5 billion and kept several hundred employees in Indianapolis.  I hope he has the good sense to remove those jobs from Indiana so his employees don’t have to “face discrimination.”

Also, the timing is perfect for a national outcry.  Next week is the Final Four for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.  The Final Four is being held in Indianapolis.  For once, I would love to hear the NCAA do the right thing and announce on national television that this will be the last Final Four, or any round of the tournament held anywhere in the state of Indiana.  I am not holding my breath on that one, but it would be really nice if they did.

NCAA President Mark Emmert did say in a statement:  “We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Final Four are not impacted negatively by this bill.”  The law, by the way, doesn’t take effect until June.

He went on to say “Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it affects future events and our workforce.”  Sounds promising.  But, the NCAA isn’t known for always doing what is right.

Let’s look at just one example of a situation.  It is football season.  A team is due to meet Indiana University at Indiana.  One or more of their players have announced that they are gay.  What happens if the hotel the team is supposed to stay at refuses to allow the gay players to spend the night based on “religious grounds?”

Before you snicker, this is a very real possibility.  But, what if that hotel doesn’t say they won’t allow the gay players to spend the night until the team arrives?  That team will either have to find alternative quarters for the whole team, or follow the old Jim Crow laws and just find alternative quarters for the gay player(s).  What about pro-athletes?  There are a handful of openly gay players in professional sports?  Will they be denied a room when their team meets a team in Indiana?

Nothing will have a bigger impact on Indiana and this stupid law than the NCAA announcing immediately that they will hold no tournaments in the state due to this law.  Maybe that will make Indiana repeal this discriminatory law.

The only way to fight this kind of discrimination is through economic power.  If a state wants to legally discriminate against a segment of our citizenry, they should not be granted anything that would bring money into its economy.

Major sporting events like the NCAA tournaments, the Super Bowl, and others should not take place anywhere inside Indiana.  Wouldn’t it be great if the Indianapolis 500 was held without anyone attending?  Major corporations should sever their ties to Indiana.  Convention organizers should avoid Indiana like the plague.

At least two groups have announced that they were going to reconsider plans to events in Indianapolis because of this law.  These groups are the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Gamer’s Convention.  I hope both go elsewhere.

But, that is not enough.  Every person who lives in Indiana and opposes this law should boycott any business that is willing to discriminate against someone based on “religious grounds.”  Any business that openly discriminates against anyone does not deserve to remain open for business.  Boycott them and shut them down!

I have family in Chicago.  When I travel home to visit, I must pass through Indiana.  I promise you that I will make sure I have enough gas to get through the state and I won’t stop to eat.  I refuse to give any of my money to their economy.  I hope all travelers who need to pass through Indiana do the same thing.

If these things happen, the economic impact will be severe.  Not only to businesses who openly discriminate using this law as cover, but to the tax rolls in Indiana as well.

Since several other states are already looking to Indiana as the model to follow with similar laws, it is time to fight back.  By showing the economic implications of such legalized discrimination, maybe those other states will think twice before following suit.

To show just how much this law is legalized discrimination, Pence was asked if he would follow Illinois’ lead and add sexual-orientation to the state’s civil rights law.  He responded “That is not on my agenda.  I will not be pursuing that.”  Therefore, no one can argue that this law is anything but legalized discrimination sponsored by the state of Indiana.

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Well it is official, sort of.  Ted Cruz has announced that he is running for President in 2016.  At least he tweeted that he is running in 2016.  It is probably appropriate that he is the first to officially announce his candidacy.  I just wonder how many “birthers” are going to come out of the closet about his citizenship.  If one truly believes that you must be born inside the U.S. to run for President, they now have someone who was definitely not born inside the U.S. or even one of its territories.

But, that is not what this article is all about.  I said it is appropriate that he be the first to announce because he is the one who shouts the most about “liberty.”  Especially about “religious liberty.”  But of course, when he talks about “liberty” he doesn’t really mean personal liberty to be enjoyed by everyone.  He means only those “liberties” that fall into his definition of what “liberty” is all about.

Unfortunately, “religious liberty” has become the rallying cry for bigots of all shapes and sizes.  I am even going to go so far as to say the terrorists have picked up the rallying cry of “religious liberty.”  People like Ted Cruz who constantly cry about “religious liberty” continuously prove my point.  They are not interested in real liberty.  They are interested only in the parts of “liberty” that allow them to hate, disrespect, and discriminate against anyone who doesn’t agree with their twisted view of society.

Last week this came more to light when Jeb Bush said that we should “respect” those who wish to be involved in a lifetime same-sex marriage, but we should also have to the right to discriminate against them if we “hold religious beliefs” that do not agree with same-sex marriage.  That is the real issue here.

I would love for someone to logically explain to me how we can “respect” others all the while we are allowed to discriminate against them.  You won’t hear a logical explanation because there isn’t one.  Oh, people will talk about how if you own a business it is your right to not serve anyone based on your “religious beliefs.”  However, that is a fallacy, too.  Once you open your doors to the “public” you must serve all of the “public.”  You cannot pick-and-choose who you are going to serve.  The Supreme Court has already ruled many times that is discrimination, and that is illegal!

This “religious liberty” fantasy that Cruz and his followers are trying to inflict on society is all based on a lie.  The right to believe what you wish does not allow you to discriminate against a fellow citizen in the conduct of normal daily business or life.  This lie has grown out of the absolute hatred of the Cult towards same-sex marriage.

Since recognizing same-sex marriage is becoming more mainstream, the Cult is trying to make it legal to discriminate against same-sex couples in the name of “religious liberty.”  If this is allowed to continue, who will be the next group that “religious liberty” will go after.

Will we return to the days when it was illegal for a black to marry a white because someone’s “religious belief” doesn’t recognize it?  Are we going to base our immigration laws on what religion is allowed to immigrate into the country?  Will County Clerks be allowed to discriminate against people of different faiths getting a marriage license because that clerk doesn’t believe in inter-faith marriage?

The right and the cult want you to believe that religious beliefs trump the constitution.  They want you to believe that if their beliefs say you can discriminate against someone, you have that right.  They want to impose their “religious beliefs” on you as the law of the land.

But, I remember when Catholics were discriminated against in this country.  I remember the outcry that the right and the cult had when John F. Kennedy first ran for office.  I remember his speech about religion and politics.  I remember how he had to assure the country that his religion would not interfere with his responsibility to “defend the constitution.”

Now, the same things that the right and the cult were so worried about when JFK ran for office is their rallying cry.  Religion trumps the Constitution as long as it is “their” religion.  The same people, and groups of people who were so worried about JFK instituting Catholicism on the country, now want to institute “evangelicalism” on the country.

“Religious liberty” can be very dangerous buzz words.  Just for the sake of argument.  Let us assume that someone from ISIS is a citizen in this country.  That person kidnaps a “Christian” and kills him because he won’t convert to Islam.  That same person says he is acting under the banner of “religious liberty” to justify his killing.

I don’t think that anyone would try to argue that this killing falls under the guise of “religious liberty.”  Some of you will argue that this is an absurd comparison.  But is it?  Where do you draw the line when you talk about “religious liberty” being the basis for discrimination.  Murder is one of the most horrific examples of discrimination and intolerance.  Our history is rife with murder for the sake of discrimination.  Religious murder is just as horrific.

Yet, under the banner of “religious liberty” it may be considered by some to be justifiable.  If a person truly believes that they are acting in accordance with deep religious beliefs when they murder another person then say is was legal under the banner of  “religious liberty,” how can Cruz or anyone else who discriminates under the same banner argue against it?

Some will argue that this analogy is ridiculous because there are laws against murder.  There are laws against discrimination, too.  Yet under the banner of “religious liberty” you are willing to break those laws.  Even worse, make breaking those laws legal.

It really doesn’t matter how you slice it.  The common thread is that “religious liberty” has become nothing more than a rallying cry for bigoted people to express their hatred for anyone who is different from them.  They have forgotten, and/or want to erase, or at least change the words on the Statue of Liberty.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

With the announcement of Ted Cruz as a presidential candidate, we are going to hear a lot more about “religious liberty” in the coming months.  That will definitely be one of the major planks in his platform. But when you hear him, and others, talking about how it is “religious liberty” that allows you to discriminate, ask them a couple of questions.

How is it possible that people who profess a belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ who tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself” can convince themselves that he really didn’t mean “every neighbor?”  How can they justify that the person they claim to be their “savior” said “judge not lest you be judged by the same standard” didn’t mean “don’t judge everyone?”

I am positive that you won’t get a logical response to these questions.  That is because these people who claim “religious liberty” in the name of discrimination aren’t Christians.  They are bigots who have hijacked religion for their own nefarious reasons.  Listener beware!

 

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I have come to the grand conclusion that if the Republican Party was in charge of a two float parade, they would manage to screw up the parade.  I really don’t understand them anymore.  I remember a day when you could pick between two parties in an election.  The biggest difference between them was “how” they wanted to make things better for the average American.

Those days are long gone.  Now, instead of actually trying to make life better for everyone in the country, the Republican Party decided that nothing is beneath them.  They are willing to torpedo every bill that comes to the floor of either house all in the name of “power” for themselves.

There has been little news about it, but there is a bill in the Senate right now that should have passed with a huge bi-partisan vote.  It is the anti-human trafficking bill.  That sounds like something everyone could get behind.  And, for the most part it was ready to be voted on and passed.

Then the Republicans tried to make an end run on the bill, and got caught.  Seems that the Republicans added anti-abortion language to the bill.  There has always been a “gentlemen’s” agreement that when the majority changes the language in a bill, the minority is notified.  Democrats said the Republicans did not notify them that this language was being added.

What the Republicans did was add language from the Hyde Amendment to the anti-human trafficking bill.

Originally passed in 1976 in response to the Supreme Court’s legalization of abortion, the Hyde Amendment banned taxpayers’ money from paying for abortions for women receiving Medicaid.  It’s never been permanent law, yet it is customarily re-authorized every year.

What they did differently in the anti-human trafficking bill was add language that would permanently disallow fines collected from traffickers to pay for abortions sought by their victims.  It would still be possible for victims to get their abortions paid for because they could claim they were raped by their traffickers.  Even under the Hyde Amendment, victims of rape, incest, and danger to the life of the mother are exempt from this amendment.

When the language was discovered, Democrats balked at passage of the bill.  They argue that this fundamentally changes the Hyde Amendment.  With passage now in doubt, Mitch McConnell came up with a brilliant plan to force Democrats to see it his way.  He announced that he would delay the vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as Secretary of Justice until the Senate finishes its work on the trafficking bill, in effect holding Lynch hostage to an obscure anti-abortion provision that was added by the GOP.

So, McConnell has resorted to another “hostage taking” plan to “get his way.”  We have seen this circus several times during the last six years.  Anytime the Republicans don’t get their way, they hold their breath and take something or someone hostage.

But, there is another side-show that is about to hit the Senate floor as well.  Not satisfied with bottling up this bill over abortion, Senator Vitter of LA decided that the 14th Amendment can be “gotten around” as well with this bill.  The 14th Amendment has a citizenship clause that confers citizenship on ”all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” Supreme Court precedent dating to the 19th century affirms that the clause applies to the U.S.-born children of noncitizens.

But Vitter doesn’t like that part of the 14th Amendment.  So, he wants to add language to this anti-human trafficking bill that would deny U.S. citizenship to children born in this country to undocumented immigrants.  He basically wants to change the Constitution without going through the hassle of actually amending it.

Vitter defends his language by saying “There is a whole industry, an underworld, that is selling so-called birth tourism. This acts as a magnet — a potent, powerful magnet growing in power by the year to lure more and more folks to come across the border in specific cases to have their babies here, 300,000 to 400,000 per year.”

Maybe I should try to get in on that industry.  Imagine making money by simply getting tourists to have their baby while in the U.S. just so that child can become a citizen?  The only problem is that these numbers he is stating are wrong.  According to data for 2008, of the 340,000 undocumented immigrant women who gave birth in this country over 80% were here for more than a year.  If they came here under this “birth tourism” plan, they were really planning ahead.

So, there you have it.  A bill which should have soared through the Senate without hardly a word against it has become another political football.  And, the nominee for the head of the Department of Justice, who by the way the Republicans favor much more than Eric Holder, is being held up because of this Republican created mess.

When McConnell assumed the leadership, he promised no government shutdowns, and that the GOP would get things done.  Well Mitch, when are you going to get things done?  So far, you haven’t been too successful.  As I said, if the Republican Party was in charge of coordinating a two float parade, they would screw it up big time!

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We keep hearing the right-wing use the term “American Exceptionalism” anytime they want to criticize something.  When the AP History curriculum was unveiled, they cried that it didn’t offer enough history about “American Exceptionalism.”  Whenever they get the chance to use the term, they jump on it.  But, what does American Exceptionalism really mean?

Is it supposed to mean that Americans are an exceptional people?  Is it supposed to mean that America is an exceptional place?  When they use the term are they saying that all Americans are exceptional regardless of race, religion, national origin, sex, or sexual orientation?  Maybe they think that America can do no wrong and that is why it is exceptional.

Actually, “American Exceptionalism” is just another meaningless term that gets thrown around to make people feel good about the country.  It has no definition because it doesn’t exist.  In order to be truly exceptional, a country needs to learn from their past faults and correct them.  Have we really done that?

If you listened to Bibi yesterday, you could easily come away with the idea that he doesn’t think America is so exceptional.  Basically, he told us that we are not smart enough to understand how to negotiate with an enemy.  He even told us we were naïve about trusting other countries.  That doesn’t sound like he thinks very highly of “American Exceptionalism.”

In order to better understand this false term, we need to look at some of the less than exceptional things we did as a nation.

We are a country that held slaves.  Our Founding Fathers owned people in order to farm their plantations, serve in the house as maids and other servants, and complete general duties they were too lazy to do for themselves.  I never understood the economics of slavery, but they seemed to think it was cheaper to own slaves than to pay others to do the work for them.  As a matter of fact we were one of the last Western Nations to abolished slavery.

After slavery was abolished, discrimination was institutionalized through what became known as the Jim Crowe laws.  These laws made it legal to discriminate against people because of the color of their skin.  During World Wars I and II we drafted African-Americans into the army but segregated them from the regular, or white, troops.

When I was in school during the 1950s, we read a lot about World War II.  The Bataan Death March was very prevalent in our history books.  That was an atrocious, brutal violation of the Geneva Convention which the Japanese had not signed because they believed that they were exceptional.

On the other hand, there was very little mention of the “Trail of Tears” we forced upon Native Americans.  President Jackson decided that Native Americans were not welcome on the East Coast.  So, he rounded them all up and deported them to the Oklahoma Territory.  Thousands of Native Americans died along the trail.  Our history books said very little about that.

Although our history books talked about the Holocaust carried out by Nazi Germany, it did not talk about the genocide that America committed against Native American Tribes once we began expanding westward.  Our history books talked about Native Americans as “savages” who needed to be “tamed.”  They talked about the Indian Wars and how the Indians slaughtered hundreds of settlers.  They failed to mention that America slaughtered thousands of Indians in the name of progress.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from High School that I read about the atrocity at Wounded Knee.

Things like the AP History curriculum allows for discussions about these issues and others in our past.  What is wrong with that?  Look, America has done some wonderful things both at home and abroad.  But, we have done some horrible things both at home and abroad, too.

Our government was involved in overthrowing other governments, like the democratically elected government of Iran in the 1950s, because we were afraid they may get closer to the Soviet Union than us.  How is that exceptional?  Iran wasn’t the only country this happened in either.  We supported brutal dictatorships in Latin and South America that killed thousands of their own people.  How is that exceptional?

How is it exceptional when too many of our children attend underfunded and dilapidated public schools while states keep slashing education funds?  How is it exceptional to allow corporations to get rich, while paying their workers wages at or below the poverty line while refusing to raise the minimum wage?  How is it exceptional that too many people including low-income families, the elderly, veterans, and the disabled are forced to live in poverty and not have enough to eat while cutting food stamp funding?  How is it exceptional when it is necessary to put labels on people so we can differentiate between groups?

How is it exceptional when women get paid less for doing the same job as a man?  How is it exceptional when there are laws restricting voting rights?  How is it exceptional when legislatures pass laws that allow discrimination against our fellow citizens?  How is it exceptional when there are laws to ban people of the same-sex from getting married thus getting the same rights to inheritance, health insurance coverage as other married people?

We have heard other nations talk about their exceptionalism or superiority in the past.  Alexander the Great’s Empire, the Egyptian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Persian Empire, the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany all claimed to be superior to everyone else.  All claimed to be a “master race” of some kind.  Or, they claimed that God, or the gods, was on their side.  Now we are hearing how “God Blessed America.”  Is that why we are supposed to be exceptional?

Only when we recognize that we are all part of one race, the human race, when we recognize that religion is a personal belief and allow each other their own beliefs, when we recognize that all humans deserve the same civil rights as everyone else regardless of race, religion, sex, nationality, or sexual orientation, can we then maybe claim to be exceptional.

When I hear someone talk about “American Exceptionalism,” I only hear them claim that we, America, is better than everyone else.  That sounds too much like all the other nations and empires of the past.  They all ended up the same way.  Just a few pages in the history books.  Once America becomes exceptional at home, the world may then see us as exceptional as well.

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I just don’t know what the right-wing is thinking.  Or, if they are thinking at all.  We have seen the right-wing go completely off the rails.  This isn’t really anything new, the right-wing goes off the rails quite a lot.  But, things seem to be getting worse rather than better.

The other day at CPAC Gov. Scott Walker said he is ready to take on ISIS as President because he “took on 100,000 union protesters” in Wisconsin.  He also said that Ronald Reagan firing the air traffic controllers who went on strike in the 1980s was “the greatest foreign policy decision in my lifetime.”

I am sure that all workers out there who belong to the dwindling unions are very happy to hear how they are the same as ISIS or that fighting them has something to do with foreign policy.  How could we have ever let unions form in this country since, as Gov. Walker seems to think, they are foreigners trying to damage America?

We also heard all of the so-called “front-runners” for the Republican nomination compare themselves to St. Ronald Reagan.  However, if Ronald Reagan gave a speech at CPAC today, he would be booed out of the place.  All of these wackos seem to forget that Ronald Reagan was not interested in a balanced budget.  He ran very high deficits.

They all seem to forget that Ronald Reagan did not fight against abortion as these radicals have.  Yes, he professed his belief in god, but he was willing to let the Roe v. Wade decision stand.  In many ways, Ronald Reagan was a lot more of a “social liberal” than they seem to remember.  Even some of his past policy advisors agree Ronald Reagan would not stand a chance at CPAC.

Everyone at CPAC railed against ISIS and Sharia Law.  The all espoused how ISIS must be eliminated, and they all seem to think it will be easy, and outlaw Sharia Law everywhere.  Hell, last November, Georgia even had an anti-Sharia law initiative on the ballot.

Yes, the right-wing has gone off the rails again.  The Tea Party and their allies in the Conservative Christian Cult are trying to start another “crusades” against Islam throughout the world.  All the while they are quietly trying to set up their own version of a “theocracy” right here in America.  According to their “agenda” if you are not Christian, you should not have any rights.

In California, this has been taken to one of the most extreme measures you can think of.  See, in 1911, California changed their constitution to allow ballot initiatives.  All you need to do is pay $200 to file your initiative, then get signatures from 5% of the total votes in the last gubernatorial election.

Well, one lawyer in California ponied up his $200 and submitted a really dangerous initiative.  He calls it “The Sodomite Suppression Act.”  Yes, it is exactly what you think it is.  He wants to outlaw all forms of same-sex sex.  But, outlawing it is not enough for this wacko.  His bill says “that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

It also says:

No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.

His “law” makes it illegal for a “sodomite” to hold public office or even work for a government agency.  There is a lot of other stupid stuff in it, but one that really stands out, if you aren’t sick enough already, says:

The state has an affirmative duty to defend and enforce this law as written, and every member of the public has standing to seek its enforcement and obtain reimbursement for all costs and attorney’s fees in so doing, and further, should the state persist in inaction over 1 year after due notice, the general public is empowered and deputized to execute all the provisions hereunder extra-judicially, immune from any charge and indemnified by the state against any and all liability.

And why does he think this is so important?  Because he believes that if this law is not passed, we are all doomed to follow in the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.  His justification for this idiocy says:

Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God…..

He even stipulates that this law must be posted in “all public schools.”

ISIS is a barbaric and cruel group of wackos trying to establish their personal beliefs on a region of the world.  We all know that.  They are dangerous and most people think something needs to be done about them.  The debate is over what and how this “something” should be.

Okay, even if I agree with that, can someone please explain to me how this “initiative” is any different from ISIS and their policies?  Can someone please explain to me how “executing” gays in this country is any different from ISIS killing non-Muslims in Iraq?  The simple answer is you cannot explain the differences because there are none.  Both groups are “terrorists,” as far as I am concerned.

This initiative is just another step in the “theocracy” that the Conservative Christian Cult wants to unleash on America.  The only difference it this goofball isn’t trying to sugar-coat it.  If this type of hate continues, the word “sodomite” will be replaced with “Muslim” or “non-White” or “non-Christian.

I wonder which speaker at CPAC will be the first to say anything against this “initiative.”  I am rather wondering which one will be the first to endorse it.

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The right-wing in this country want you to believe that if you allow them to enact “Christian Laws” into State and Federal Codes, everything will be perfect.  They want you to believe that their interpretation of what they call “sacred scripts” is the only way America can be perfect.  They tell you that they “love everyone and are not bigoted.”

However, their actions, as well as actions of right-wing Christians everywhere tell a different story.  These actions say that Christians are just as hateful and bigoted as any other religious group.  We have constantly heard about how evil Sharia Law is.  We have been told, erroneously, that there are “no go zones” in Europe because Muslims have put Sharia Law into place locally and Christians are afraid to venture into these areas.

There is also something that they are not telling you.  That Christian fundamentalists all over the world are creating more bigoted laws than we have since the end of World War II.  Here are just a few examples of just how unloving and hateful Christians really are.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe.

We all remember our history and the stories about the Holocaust during Nazi Germany’s rule in Europe.  What the right is not telling you is that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe.  And, it is not just Muslims who are anti-Semitic.

We have seen the murders of Jewish people just because they are Jewish.  We have seen Jewish cemeteries desecrated.  In Strassburg France hundreds of Jewish graves were desecrated just last week.  We have even seen a video that was made in France where people were hurling insults at Jews as they walked down the street.  These were not Muslims hurling the insults either.

Anti-Semitism is nothing new in Europe.  Programs were initiated against Jews for hundreds of years.  Entire villages were either wiped out or their residents forced to move out simply because they were Jews.  Then Hitler took it even further with the Holocaust.

In its 2014 report, the Community Security Trust in the UK reported the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents it had ever recorded. In London, the Metropolitan police recorded a 120 percent rise in anti-Semitic crime in 2014. With hate crimes generally underreported, the real figures are likely to be much higher.

Pediatrician In Michigan Refuses To Treat Infant of Same-Sex Couple.

A pediatrician in Michigan refused to treat an infant because that infant’s parents are a gay couple.  At first the pediatrician, Dr. Vanessa Roi, agreed to treat the infant.  But later “after much prayer” apparently had a change of heart.  When the couple arrived for the infant’s first “wellness check” they were greeted by a different doctor.

That doctor told the couple that Roi would not be seeing them at all.  As it turns out, Roi was so firm in her beliefs that she did not even go into the office that day so she wouldn’t have to see the couple and their child.  The other doctor agreed to treat the infant.

The irony is that it is not illegal in Michigan for a doctor to refuse treatment of a patient based on sexual orientation.  Of course the American Medical Association’s ethics code says differently.  Roi has not been a member of the AMA since 2001 according to her website.  But she is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics which also says differently.

Since Roi “made this decision after much prayer” I guess she is saying that her Christian god allows discrimination against other humans.

Oklahoma Committee Sends “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act” To State House of Representatives

A Federal Judge has already ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.  But, those “god-fearing” Christians in Oklahoma will not be deterred from discriminating against the LGBT community by a “silly Judge’s” decision.

Once you understand the contents of the bill, you see that it is even more ridiculous than the title.  This bill prohibits taxpayer funds, including government salaries, to be used for any activity that supports same-sex marriage. It also says that those who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples can be subject to removal from office.

The state is trying to find a loophole where-by they can openly discriminate against the LGBT community.  Not by saying that same-sex marriage is illegal in the state, but rather by firing any official who issues a marriage license to same-sex couples.

Representative Emily Virgin, a Democrat who voted against the measure in committee on Tuesday, said: “No other state in the union has seen more anti-LGBT legislation introduced during this legislative session. The battleground is right here in Oklahoma.”

These are just a few examples of how right-wing Christians believe they will “make the world perfect.”  Of course there have been other stories about how they want to bring back prayer to public schools, place religious artifacts in court rooms, and allow business to openly discriminate against anyone they think goes against their beliefs.

This just shows that anytime we allow religious beliefs to bleed into society and our laws how other groups are targeted.   Christians have no more tolerance for those who believe differently than Muslims.  That is why the First Amendment says:  “The government shall not endorse any religion.”

I have said this before.  History is cyclical.  It is obvious that we have failed to learn from history, therefore we are doomed to repeat it.  Even if you agree with this nonsense, remember, at some point someone with more money and a louder bullhorn is going to come around and make your beliefs illegal.  That should be reason enough for everyone to fight this crap before it goes any further.

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