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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

All I can say is this has been some week.  We have seen everything from the sublime to the horrific.  We have seen mass murder by a white supremacist in Charleston, SC.  We have seen terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia and other places in the world.  We hear that “abstinence only advocate” Bristol Palin is still unmarried yet pregnant again.  We have seen the Supreme Court rule against conservatives in the Affordable Care Act.  And now, we see the Supreme Court rule that same-sex marriage is constitutionally protected.

I don’t know how to classify this week.  It has been a tragedy for sure.  But, it has also produced groundbreaking rulings from the Supreme Court.  There is so much to talk about, it is hard to pick and choose which topic should make it today.

I have decided that the wacko reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the same-sex case merits the most ink right now.  Not because the other items are not important, they are, but because I have not seen so much hate and bigotry openly spouted from conservative mouths since the 60s.  In his descent, Scalia said to “ask a hippie.”  I openly admit that I am a hippie.

If Scalia were to ask my opinion, I would say that he does not understand just what the Constitution of the United States is about.  The Constitution is not, and never was, intended to use religious beliefs to create the “law of the land.”  He also said this decision was a blow against democracy.  However, he misses the point that the Supreme Court was established for the sole purpose of determining which laws are and are not constitutional.

It has always been the duty of the Supreme Court to state which laws are unconstitutional when they turn out to be prejudicial against minorities.  Democracy, in order to work properly, needs “checks and balances” to ensure equal treatment under the law for everyone and not just those whom a majority believe deserves those protections.

This ruling by the Supreme Court has done exactly that.  It has decided that banning same-sex marriages denies equal protection under the law for a specific minority in this country.  That is unconstitutional!  I might suggest that Scalia take some refresher courses in Constitutional Law.

One of the biggest arguments is that the states should “define” marriage.  That may sound good, but there are federal issues at stake as well.  Remember, same-sex couples who have not been recognized or allowed to marry in those states that banned it are not protected when their partner dies.  Even if the will of the partner states the other is to inherit everything, the federal government can only give spousal relief and deductions to the Estate Tax if they are legally recognized as being married.  This goes for Social Security benefits as well.

A lot of this started because a woman sued because she was required to pay huge estate taxes when her partner died.  They were legally married, but the state they lived in did not recognize that marriage.  Therefore, the survivor was liable for Estate Taxes in the thousands of dollars.

Another factor deals with visitation and legal representation for terminally ill patients.  Same-sex couples in states that banned same-sex marriage were denied these rights by hospitals.  Even when a living will said the person’s partner could make a call on when to terminate life-support, if the state did not recognize that same-sex marriage, that right was taken away from the partner.

As a result, allowing states to define marriage, takes away these legal protections from same-sex couples.  That is not only wrong, it is unconstitutional.  That is one of the things this court ruling is about.

But, Scalia is just the tip of the iceberg.  The rest of the right-wing are all on oxygen bottles right now.  Their hysteria is liable to cause arteries to explode all across Conservative America.  America’s Crazy Uncle Louie Gohmert even says this ruling will cause our country to suffer major attacks because “God will remove his protective hand from America.”

I don’t believe in God’s wrath, but using his own words, maybe Crazy Uncle Louis should be asking if the flooding, drought, and other natural disasters in his own state may be because God is mad at Texas for being so bigoted towards their fellow humans.   Texas leads the nation in uninsured, restrictive voting rights, anti-Latino legislation, anti-immigrant policies, anti-women issues, and lots more.  Maybe Crazy Uncle Louie should be asking God’s forgiveness for his intolerance and using God’s name to justify it!

The list of crazies goes on.  The Canadian Senator Ted Cruz thinks we should elect the Supreme Court justices.  Mike Huckabee thinks we are on the road to a “Banana Republic.”  And Scott Walker is still trying to figure out a way to get around this ruling and ban same-sex marriages in Wisconsin.

The arguments these lunatics put forth are simply idiotic.  They claim that same-sex marriage is an attack on “traditional marriage.”  Just how it is an attack they never say.  We have had same-sex marriages for several years in some states, and I still haven’t heard of a single case where a “traditional marriage” couple got a divorce simply because two gays got married together.

Mike Huckabee even went so far as to say that this ruling is a “slap in the face to traditional married couples.”  Well, I am in a “traditional marriage” and have been for decades.  I do not feel like I have been slapped in the face.  Nor do I feel threatened because same-sex couples want to get married.

The biggest argument against same-sex marriage is always based in religious beliefs.  Crazy Uncle Louie says that one man and one women marriages are “biblical.”  So is polygamy.  How many wives did King Saul have?  Which “biblical” marriage is Crazy Uncle Louie in favor of allowing?

All of this is nonsense of course.  None of these arguments or sound-bites have any real meaning or reason why same-sex marriages should be banned.  All this ruling has really done is unloose the bigotry and hatred these people really hold for fellow human beings.

It has allowed the true bigots in government to show their true colors.  And, I am sure that it will get worse.  You will see more states pass things like “opt out” laws that allow government employees to discriminate against same-sex marriage by refusing to issue a marriage license based on “religious grounds.”

As I have written before, this ruling is proving just how tyrannical the conservative movement in this country really is.  They are not interested in the Constitution.  They are not interested in the rule of law.  They are only interested in controlling everyone else’s lives.  They want the power to say what is and isn’t legal.  They want the power to say who can and cannot be married.  They want the power to dictate how we each are to live our lives.

They are not interested in democracy.  They are not interested in anything except their own power.  Remember, this court has a conservative majority.  Yet, when the court handed down it’s ruling, the first thing out of conservative mouths is that this court is “making laws.”  No, they are not making laws.  They are determining which laws are and/or are not constitutional.  In other words, they did their job.

But, in case you haven’t noticed.  The really scary part about all of this hysteria is that it is coming from every single Republican Presidential hopeful.  And, if you think their bigotry won’t affect you, think again.  Bigotry is never satisfied.  You may be their next target.

 

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I am not sure which event yesterday is more disturbing.  As I wrote yesterday, nine people were shot and killed in an Historic AME Church in Charleston by a white man.  I outlined my arguments as to why this should be classified as Domestic Terrorism.

Since I wrote that article, there has been more information about the shooter.  This man, whom I refuse to name so he won’t get any ink here, was an avowed racist.  He let one woman at the church live so “she could tell the world what happened.”  It has also come out that he has been planning this attack for six months and wanted to start a civil war.  And, according to a witness he said:  “You rape our women and are taking over our country and you have to go.”

Now, after hearing all of this, I don’t know how anyone could classify it as anything but Domestic Terrorism.  Well, apparently I was wrong.  Yesterday, Fox News tried to call this another case that proves there is a “war on Christianity.”  That’s right, the white man who entered a church and killed nine black people because “You rape our women and are taking over our country” was really killing them because he apparently hates Christianity.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before such notable Presidential Candidates like Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, etc., were all chiming in with the same outrageous claims.  According to them, the real “hate” in this “hate crime” was a hate towards Christians.  Fox News host Hether Childers even said on-air:  “Could the shooter have been motivated by pure hatred for religion?”

President Obama spoke about the tragedy yesterday, too.  He even lightly brushed over the issue of gun control.  That was all the right-wing wackos needed to hear.  The outrage about how “one bad apple” is going to be used to “take our guns away” rantings began almost immediately.

Also, Ron Lott at foxnews.com said the main reason for this killing was that it took place in a “gun-free zone.”  He blames gun-free zones for all of the mass shootings that have taken place in our country.  Crackpots with guns aren’t the problem, gun-free zones are the problem.

Obviously, the most important part of any gun control law would be Universal Background Checks.  The purpose of Universal Background Checks is to ensure that everyone who purchases a gun must go through a background check first regardless of where the gun was purchased.

Currently, in most states, you can purchase a gun online, at a gun show, or from a private person and not have to go through a background check.  Why a background check?  Well, because even the NRA says criminals and people with mental health issues probably shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun.  Without Universal Background Checks, you never will know if the person you are selling a gun to falls into one of these categories.

But, no, not even something as sane at this is allowed to be even talked about after such an incident.  The wackos say it is just an attempt to take away their guns.  If thousands of people must die in this country each year by gun violence, so be it.  Gun ownership is more precious than people’s lives.  By the way, have you ever noticed that the people who cry the loudest about background checks always seem to be people who wouldn’t be able to get a gun if they had to pass one?

I checked Fox News website today to see how they are handling the reports of this man being a racist.  They have a headline that says he was a racist.  The piece that follows is something off the wires though.  There is no “opinion” about how racism was the motivation behind this attack.  I wonder why?  However, they were very happy to report that the President had attempted to pass meaningful gun laws after other mass attacks, but that those efforts failed.

If anyone had any doubts about there being a race issue in this country, Wednesday night’s event should cure you of that problem.  On the other hand, when you have news outlets like Fox News slanting the event into something they are trying to push, it is hard to overcome the real problem.  Fox News is pushing the war on Christianity as the real reason behind this attack because they want you to believe that there is no race issues in America.

Fox News is nothing more than a propaganda machine for the ultra-conservative movement.  Hell, even their Presidential Candidates fall in line very quickly with what Fox News says.  There are some people who are waiting for July 1.  That is when Rupert Murdoch steps down as head of his empire, which includes Fox News, and hands over control to his two sons.

It is reported that neither of his sons are very happy with Fox News.  There was even a report of a “smack down” of Roger Ailes by the sons.  Something that never happened before.   According to the reports, Ailes told his reporters at Fox Business to report that even though Rupert was stepping down, he – Roger Ailes – would still report directly to Rupert.  Later, a report from corporate headquarters at Fox’s empire said that Roger would report to the sons, and NOT Rupert.

I don’t know very much about Murdoch’s two sons.  I do know that the Murdoch empire has had some very sleazy news reporting around the world.  As a result, I am not as optimistic as others that Fox News will undergo a major change in the near future.  In the Murdoch empire, money talks very loudly!   I hope I am wrong because without that major change, stupid arguments like the ones being put forth at Fox about this event will not go away.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last attack on a black church.  There have been attacks against Mosque’s and Synagogues as well.  But you never heard Fox report them as part of an attack on Islam or Judaism.  This is the first time they even tried to report an attack on a black church as an attack on Christianity.  But, if you are wondering why they would try it now, just look at what Brian Kilmeade had to say in a lead up to this ridiculous claim:  “Is it a church that has white congregants as well as black?”

That is the key phrase behind all of this stupidity.  If a church has “white congregants” as well as black congregants, the reason for the attack cannot be race related.  At least in Kilmeade’s mind.  The bosses at Fox News must think the same way.  They hired this crackpot.

Fox News was never very good at “reporting” the news.  But, it has become more-and-more of a propaganda machine as the years have passed.  They don’t even try to hide that fact anymore.  The more outrageous the claim, the more they will sink their teeth into it and never let go.

The problem they have created in the Republican Party is exposed with one Presidential Candidate.  Lindsey Graham “told off” Fox News one day, and then he mouths the exact script put forth by Fox News another day because it suits his political agenda.

The attack at AME Church in Charleston was simply a domestic terrorist attack carried out by a white supremacist.  Nothing more, and nothing less.  But, the conversation about how to stop such attacks can not happen when a so-called news organization keeps changing the script about what it really was.  Fox News has really sunk to a new low in their reporting of this case.

I would say they should be ashamed of themselves, but in order to be ashamed of your mistakes, you must first have enough of a conscience to admit the mistake in the first place.  Since their “reporting” of incidents like this is very deliberate, you can be sure they have no conscience.  So none of them will ever be “ashamed” of their false reporting.

 

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There is a new budget proposal that Republicans are saying will save the government $4 Billion dollars.  They claim this money should be used for “more important programs” that will benefit the American People.  Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole said:  “This is a fiscally responsible bill that reduces discretionary spending by nearly $4 billion.  At the same time, by carefully reprioritizing where taxpayer dollars are spent, the bill increases funding for important programs that benefit the American people.”

That all sounds great.  Except, there is a major problem with Cole’s statement, and the proposal being put forth.  This “savings” will be at the expense of 4.7 million low-income people who rely on Title X for their preventative health services.  What it essentially does is kill Title X by taking away all of its funding.

Title X became official in 1970, under that great Republican Richard Nixon.  It helps connect these 4.7 million Americans to things like pap smears, cancer screenings, STD tests, birth control and counseling about how to space out pregnancies and plan for the families they want.  Title X was instituted for women who are not eligible for Medicaid and cannot afford to see a doctor.

In many cases, the services they receive at Title X clinics are literally life-saving.  “For many of these women and men, a Title X-funded health center is their only access point to the health system and the only health care they receive all year,” Clare Coleman, president & CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, said in a statement on the proposal.

But, in their current fever of denying poor people the Republicans on the Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee say this is “discretionary” spending that the country can do without.  Besides including language to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, the language they put in this proposal is outright dreadful.  They added language that would eliminate Title X funding unless the program meets a certain ideological (read: abstinence-focused) criteria:

None of the funds appropriated in this Act may be made available to any entity under title X of the PHS Act unless the applicant for the award certifies to the Secretary that it encourages family participation in the decision of minors to seek family planning services and that it provides counseling to minors on how to resist attempts to coerce minors into engaging in sexual activities.

But just to make sure you have no control over your health care, they added other wording that allows your school or boss to determine which forms of contraception or other health care procedure you can be covered under because they man they may not like them:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no provision of this title (and no amendment made by any such provision) shall… require a sponsor (or, in the case of health insurance coverage offered to students through an institution of higher education, the institution of higher education offering such coverage) to sponsor, purchase, or provide any health benefits coverage or group health plan that includes coverage of an abortion or other item or service to which such sponsor or institution, respectively, has a moral or religious objection, or prevent an issuer from offering or issuing to such sponsor or institution, respectively, health insurance coverage that excludes such item or service.

The other thing that these Republicans have failed to recognize, is the financial benefits to the government, especially state governments that eliminating Title X funding will have.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, each dollar invested in Title X saves $3.80 in Medicaid expenses related to pregnancy and childbirth.  In other words, this $4 Billion spent each year results in a return of over $12 Billion.

Another Guttmacher analysis found that the services provided by Kansas’ Title X clinics in 2010 helped save the state more than $61,000,000 in public funds. “That accounts for savings from reduced maternity and birth-related costs, along with reduced costs related to miscarriage and abortion and savings related to [sexually transmitted infection] screening and cervical cancer prevention services,” according to the report.

In other words, it could easily be argued that Title X funding contributes to “family values” that Republicans are always claiming to support.  Yet, they are very willing to eliminate the program all together.  One can only ask, why?  Is it because they have an aversion to helping low-income women?  Is it because they are more interested in saving money than lives?  Or, is it simply they want to control your life?

I have said before I believe they simply want to control your life!  There is no other explanation for these constant attacks against programs like Title X.  Or, allowing your boss to decide what type of health care you are allowed to have under their plains.  Or, allowing your boss to decide if you actually need birth control, and what forms they are willing to let you use.

Low-income people will be hurt dramatically by these proposed cuts.  It is almost like the Republicans, led by Rep. Cole are setting up their own “death squads” when it comes to health care.  If you deny people access to preventative medicine, they are more likely to die form something that could have been prevented.

This is just another case of those “god fearing, good Christians” denying those in need the services they require.  How very Christ-like of them.

 

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Every person who serves in public office, a judgeship, or any other government job is required to take an Oath of Office.  That Oath of Office varies depending on which position you are going to serve in.  When I joined the Coast Guard all those years ago, I took an Oath as well.

In that Oath, I swore to “defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”  I also swore to uphold all “legal commands” issued by senior authority and uphold the laws of the U.S.  This oath has been issued to service members for as long as I can remember, and far longer than that.

Even the President of the United States is required to take an oath as well.  I don’t know of a single position in federal, state, county, or local employment that is not required to take a similar oath.  These oaths are designed to ensure that all employees of the government are sworn to uphold the laws they are to serve.

That is until now.  In North Carolina, there was a law passed that was vetoed by the Governor, and then overridden by the State Legislature that allows Magistrates to disobey the law.  This is being dressed up under the guise of “religious liberty.”  But, in essence, Magistrates in North Carolina are allowed by law to violate the very laws they have sworn to uphold.

The law is known as SB2.  We all know that Gov. McCrory is a total nut-job himself.  However, even he was smart enough to veto the law when it was first passed.  SB2 states:  “Every magistrate has the right to recuse from performing all lawful marriages under this Chapter based on sincerely held religious objection.”  Note this particular part, the emphasis will be mine:  all lawful marriages.”  That is correct, a Magistrate can now recuse from performing all lawful marriages just by saying he has religious objection against it.

Now, we all know that this is intended to stop same-sex marriages.  But, the Legislature knows very well that would immediately draw a court objection striking it down since it would limit the action to only “some” marriages.  This law has more far-reaching consequences than you may think.

Just as an example, a Magistrate is Catholic.  That Magistrate does not believe in divorce and re-marriage.  As a result, that Magistrate could “recuse” himself from issuing a marriage license and performing a marriage that involves a couple where at least one of them was divorced.  Although this marriage is “legal” the Magistrate is allowed to take it upon himself to not perform said service.

This can run the whole gamut.  Inter-racial marriages, same-sex marriages, inter-faith marriage, all of which are “legal” but not recognized by certain “religious beliefs.”  What about a Magistrate who believes in polygamy?  That Magistrate  can now deny to perform a monogamous marriage based on his “religious beliefs.

You may read this and think I am being insane.  But, what would have happened back in 1967 when the Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia. It was in Loving—decided 48 years ago —that the court ruled it unconstitutional for states to prevent mixed-race marriages.  If SB2 had been on the books back then, a Magistrate could have denied to marry any inter-racial couple.

If you think I am kidding, in 1976, Carol Ann and Thomas Person, she white and he black, walked into their local courthouse in North Carolina to get their marriage license.  As she recently told the story in a column in the Raleigh News & Observer, the magistrate said no. A second magistrate on duty said the same thing, and one of them “took out a Bible and began to lecture us about their religious views and why Thomas and I should not be together.” This was nearly a full decade after Loving.

Religious Freedom is supposed to mean that you may believe or not believe in any form of religion you choose.  The one part of American History that the Conservative Christian Cult fail to remember is that the many of our Founding Fathers were not Christian as we now say.  They were Deists.  These included such figures as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and others.  Deists believed in the existence of god.  But, they did not believe in the story of Genesis.  They held that god started the universe and sat back and let nature take its course.  They did not believe in god’s interference in day-to-day life.

Since most of these Founding Fathers who were Deists were also member of the Free Mason’s it stands they would hold such beliefs.  In order to be a member of the Free Masons, you must believe in a god.  They call that god the “Great Architect”.  But, Free Masons do not necessarily follow normal Christianity.

As a result, our Founding Fathers put into our Constitution the Separation of Church and State.  They founded a “secular” form of government.  Democracy can only exist as a secular government.  Once Religion is brought into government, Democracy ceases to exist and you fall back to Theocracies that masquerade as Monarchies.  That was the one thing our Founding Fathers did not want to happen here.

As I wrote before, bigotry will not simply die and go away.  It must rear its ugly head and make life miserable for everyone.  Laws like SB2 are perfect examples of bigotry rearing its ugly head.  This law serves no purpose except to allow individual bigotry to invade the public trust.  It is allowing Magistrates to hide behind their religious bigotry and deny people “legal marriages” simply because they don’t agree with the couple wishing to be married.

It took until 1960 until a Catholic was elected President.  The primary rally against a Catholic becoming the President was because Protestants believed that a Catholic President would “take his orders from the Pope.”  John Kennedy needed to give his infamous speech telling the country that he was American first and that his religion would not hinder his allegiance to America.

Today, that “fear” has been turned on its head.  More than once, during an election cycle, I have been handed a list of candidates from people I knew.  They told me that I needed to vote for this slate of candidates because they were the “most God-fearing Christians” running for office.  These candidates were suppose to make sure God’s law was America’s law.  I don’t think I need say I did not vote for any of them.

Which brings me back to the main point.  Should a person’s Religious Belief trump their Oath of Office?  I say absolutely not!  When I took my oath, there was nothing that said “unless you have a religious belief against it.”  Neither should any other oath taken by any public official.

By not performing “legal” marriages in North Carolina, a Magistrate is violating that oath of office.  That Magistrate is supposed to “serve all of the citizens of North Carolina.”  They are bound by the State Constitution to do so.  If a Magistrate is so against performing “legal” marriages for whatever reason, he should resign his post.

In all honesty, if such a law were passed at the Federal Level, I would not hesitate to call it treasonous!  If you choose to work for a government, you are choosing to serve the people represented by that government.  Your religious beliefs have nothing to do with how you carry out your duties.  You are obligated to uphold all legal orders.

This law is a perfect example of how the right-wing is perverting our laws.  They are openly defying the very “law of the land”, the Constitution, that they claim they want to defend.  And, as I wrote before, this is how Fascism begins.

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I had a terrible choice last night.  What to watch on TV.  The Blackhawks played in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  The White Sox were playing the Texas Rangers.  The Duggars were on Fox News.  It took me all of five seconds to make up my mind.  The Blackhawks and White Sox were far more interesting than the Duggars.  But, I do write about politics and other things, so I recorded the interview and watched it later.

I have to admit one thing.  About one-quarter of the way through the interview, I had to go throw up!  The amount of stupidity and ignorance that came from the mouths of these two “parents” was too much to take.  Honestly, I couldn’t watch the whole thing in one sitting.  I felt like I was sitting in a torture chamber being questioned by Dick Cheney.

Here sat two people sitting in their lovely house, which is being paid for by Discovery by the way, trying to justify why they refused to report their child molesting son to proper authorities.  What was it they said?  “As parents we are not legally mandated to report our son for molestation.”  WHAT?  So, lets talk about the idea that parents are MORALLY obligated to report the crime.  Especially when one of the victims didn’t live in the house!

They also talked about how Josh was not a pedophile.  Michelle said “Pedophiles are adults who molest children.  Josh was only 15 at the time so he is not a pedophile.”  Again, maybe in the strict interpretation of the law that is true, morally, he is definitely a pedophile!

The excuses, the “explanations” and the hypocrisy was on full display during the interview.  Remember, these are people who have spread damaging and false claims about other people, all in the name of “their faith.”  Michelle gave a robocall about transgender people really being pedophiles who just want to get into a woman’s locker room.  They have fought against equal rights for the LGBT community.  All the while harboring a child molester.

To top things off, none of this is their fault, of course.  It is the fault of that nasty “liberal media” who has attacked them over the revelations.  It is the fault of those demons who released the records to the public about this tragic incident.  According to them, their daughters have “suffered more from the publicity” than they did from being molested by their brother.

Then the non-shocker came out.  This is all because we non-believers have “an axe to grind against true believers.”  Actually, they followed the Fox News talking points to the letter.  Hell, they even trotted out two of their daughters to cry on camera and “defend” their brother for molesting them.  Rupert Murdoch must have been smiling from ear-to-ear on that one.

This interview was a disgusting, vile, shameful act by the Duggars.  Kelly Meghan was just as guilty.  She asked some tough questions, but let them slide with their inane answers.  She never followed up with another tough question.  She merely sat there and allowed them to shun responsibility for their failures.

This was a real dog-and-pony show intended to save their miserable Reality TV show.  “I don’t know if the rest of our family should be punished for the act of one of our children,” he said. “Whether they film us or not, we’re going to live life and continue to spread God’s word.”  That quote provided the real intent for this “interview” on Fox News.  Save their pathetic TV show.

I haven’t talked about these idiots very much because I despise everything they stand for.  They are against every single so-called Christian principle I have ever heard about.  They hate based on whether or not you are willing to follow their very limited view of the bible.  They despise everyone who doesn’t believe that women should be subordinate to men.  They claim to be preachers of God’s Word.  But, they obviously don’t bother to follow it themselves.

I promise, this will be the last time you hear about the Duggars here.  I refuse to give them any more time or ink.  Sorry, but I need to go throw up again!

 

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Bigotry:  intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.  (Webster Dictionary)

I have written before that we all “suffer” from some levels of bigotry.  There seems to be something inside us that makes us decide what we want to believe and what we don’t.  That leads to a certain level of intolerance in all of us.  I don’t know why this is so, but it seems to be everywhere.  Simply having a “favorite color” could be considered as a form of bigotry.

The problem we face as we walk through life, is how we handle our own bigotry.  Do we recognize that we are bigoted, and fight our instinct to dismiss others, or do we simply give in to that bigotry and dismiss everyone who thinks differently.

I have found that most people in America actually try to fight their bigotry.  Maybe not successfully every time, but they do try.  That is one thing that has made our liberties possible.  We recognize our bigotry yet we try to make sure that our rights are equal among everyone.

In the past few decades, there has been a “movement” to allow bigotry to become institutionalized.  That is a major problem.  When we use political influence to foster bigotry as a “right” that is protected under some other imagined “right” everyone loses.

The primary battleground today is “religious liberty” which by definition is allowing everyone to believe in whatever religion they desire.  It is not putting labels on people simply because of their religious beliefs.  If the argument for “religious liberty” remained in this field, I would have no problem, and I do, support that concept.

Unfortunately, “religious liberty” has become a code phrase for acceptable bigotry.  That is not what “religious liberty” is all about.  It has gotten so bad, that people like Fox News has declared there is a “War on Christianity.”  That is absolutely absurd, but it rings true to many on the right.

The reason it rings to true to many on the right is because they want to be able to discriminate against others because of their “religious beliefs” which the right considers false.  Thus they wish to institutionalize bigotry so they don’t have to join the rest of society and be tolerant towards someone different.

Marco Rubio recently remarked “we are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech.”   Of course, Fox News is playing this up as “pure truth.”  The vast majority of Americans laugh at such a stupid remark.  I have heard no one arguing that “mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech.”

Yes, I have heard, and even argued myself, that super-conservative Christian cults do practice hate speech.  But, that is a far cry from “mainstream Christian teaching.”  What has prompted all of this?  The simple fact that same-sex couples want to get married.

That is what is behind this recent tirade about “religious liberty.”  It is the idea that a business which is “open to the public” should be allowed to refuse service to gay couples.  It is the same idea that allowed a business which was “open to the public” to refuse service to blacks before the Civil Rights Act.

That is what the ultra-conservative Christians really want.  They want to be able to decide that you are sufficiently different in your beliefs that they don’t have to serve you.  That may sound innocuous, but why should a consumer have to find out who will and who will not serve them?

There are those who argue that if you open a business, you have the right to decide who you will serve.  You have the right to “refuse” service to anyone you choose.  It is your business after all.  But, that is simply wrong.  Once you open the doors to the “public” you are legally bound to serve “the public.”  Besides, refusing service to anyone for any reason is very anti-Christian.

Once bigotry became politicized and put under the umbrella of “religious liberty” it became very dangerous to the very fabric of our way of life.  When politicians started distorting the very teachings they claim to believe in, bigotry reared its ugly head in the public discourse.

Think about this for one minute.  The biggest argument against same-sex marriage is that it attacks “traditional marriage.”  Even if that were remotely true, which “traditional marriage” are they talking about?  Today the argument is that marriage is between one man and one women.

In our past, marriage was between one man and several women.  It was an institution where one man could have more than one wife and concubines.  If you want to defend “traditional marriage,” shouldn’t we be protecting the latter?  Isn’t the concept of marriage being between one man and one woman an attack on the “original traditional marriage?”

It is this simple fact of life that shreds the conservative argument against same-sex marriage.  Simply moving to a monogamous marriage system attacked the “traditional marriage” of the past.  Guess what, both still exist today, and will continue to exist if same-sex marriage is finally legalized.

Bigotry is the intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.  And, I will say this openly, you have a right to be a bigot.  However, when bigotry is masqueraded as “religious liberty” in order to force your bigotry on everyone else, it is not only wrong, it is immoral!

Christians are not the only people who wish to force their bigotry on the general population.  All religions are just as guilty.  Anyone can find one phrase or word in any of the so-called religious texts to proclaim they are correct.  That doesn’t make it so.  But it is the reason there is so much hate between believers.  Religion, or at least interpretations of religion foster this hate.

The real fear of the ultra-conservative Christians in this country isn’t that they believe their religion is under attack.  It is the fact that most Americans are turning away from their religion.  Recent polls indicate that the country is becoming more-and-more secular.  Americans are simply not buying into the antiquated beliefs of our ancient past.

I would like to think that is because we are beginning to understand that religion is personal.  That we are beginning to understand that tolerance is much better for a peaceful existence than hate.  But, I believe it has more to do with turning away from the rigorous “blind faith” that religions need to exist.

Whatever the reason, becoming more secular is probably a good thing.  Especially when that secularism understands each of us has some form of bigotry, some form of beliefs, but we strive to be more tolerant of those who have different opinions.  To me, that is what secularism is all about.  If we can achieve this one simple thing, maybe hate, at least in our public laws, will disappear.  Now, that would be something to look forward to.

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I have had many reactions to my writing about inclusion.  I have been told that only Muslims are terrorists and that we can’t come up with any proof that Christians are terrorists.  Well, they are out there, but no one wants you to know about them.  Especially Fox News.

There is a small town outside of Hancock, NY known as Islamberg.  It is gathering of American Muslims, mostly black who left other areas of New York because of prejudice against them.  What they did not expect was to be the target of an horrendous attack by so-called “Christians.”

Robert Doggart, 63 is a man who lives in Tennessee.  As a matter of fact, he ran a failed campaign for Congress on far right-wing ideology.  I guess he decided that a town called Islamberg was a threat to his way of life.  He was captured on a wiretapped phone planning to go with his friends to Islamberg to burn down the mosque, school and cafeteria.  He also said they planned to shoot anyone from the community who planned to stop them.

“Our small group will soon be faced with the fight of our lives. We will offer those lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God,” Doggart said in a Facebook post, according to court documents. “We shall be Warriors who will inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace.”

Doggart was arrested April 10 by the FBI on charges that he solicited others to violate civil rights, attempted to damage religious property because of the religious character of the property and made threats through interstate communication.  He pleaded guilty to the charge of  interstate communication of threats.  A judge is still to accept the plea agreement and pronounce a sentence.

Do you notice anything funny here?  He was charged with soliciting other to violate civil rights, attempt to damage religious property and made threats through interstate communication.  Where are the charges for soliciting others to commit an act of terrorism?

Another funny thing here.  This story was never given a press release.  That is why you probably have never heard about it.  None of the major news outlets have had a single word about this case on the evening news.  Fox News who is convinced that terrorism will signal the death of us all, has said not one word about it either.

Why hasn’t Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly screamed at the top to their lungs about this terrorist plot to kill Americans?  Where is their outrage that the government isn’t charging these people with terrorism?  You won’t hear them say a single word because these “terrorists” are white Christians.

Of course others at Fox have called Islamberg a “terrorist training camp.”  No one who lives anywhere near the place believes that stupidity.  The town is actually peaceful.  But, anything called Islamberg MUST be a terrorist training camp.

“It’s kind of perplexing to us,” local Police Chief Craig Dumont said on New York’s AM 970. “All this recent media attention in regard to potential terrorist training camps and things that are going on there. We don’t see it. We just don’t find any of that to be valid at this time. … There are no active threats that we are aware of at this time.”

Do you really believe that if a Muslim did this kind of action the media wouldn’t be screaming about it being a terrorist act?  Of course it would, and Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity would be screaming the loudest.  Here is a case of a white so-called Christian planning to take a militia group with a cache of arms to a small town to commit a terrorist act, and no one seems to know about it.  Fascinating!

“Doggart is an example of the results of unchecked and rampant Islamophobia which has spread lies for years about our peaceful community,” the organization’s public relations director, Mathew Gardner, said in a statement. “This man plotted to mercilessly kill us, kill our children, and blow up our mosque and our school. We have sound reason to believe he has already visited our other locations around the U.S. What other murderous plans do he and his private militia have and where are his accomplices?”

“All would agree, if a Muslim did this, the perpetrator would be immediately identified as a terrorist then prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The examples are numerous,” Gardner said. “Therefore, we call on all branches of justice to see to it that this man is prosecuted for planning a heinous hate crime and terrorist act.”

That is still the unanswered question.  Where are his accomplices?  Why haven’t they been charged yet with any crimes.  To date, only Doggart has been charged.  He wasn’t planning on going alone.

This case brings up another point.  Why is it that no press statement or release was given over this incident?  Why has it been kept so secret by the Judicial System.  I am happy the FBI was able to head off this terrorist attack, but why did they keep it all so quiet?

Yes, Christian Terrorists are alive and well in the U.S.  The problem is we can’t see them because when they are busted, law enforcement won’t tell us what happened.  They won’t let it out that another Christian terrorist has been caught planning to kill American Citizens simply because they are Muslim.

Tell me again how the only terrorists are followers of Islam.

 

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