Friday, February 1, 2013

The BSA Just Might Go Gay! (Still not sure about those atheists though)

 In a recent story from the Religious News Service the idea of allowing openly gay men (as leaders) and boys (as members) may finally come to fruition. Personally, I think it's about time.  I did how ever find it amusing and disturbing that the BSA are still crazy scared of the godless...  So you can go against gods word and get an invite to the party,  but if you don't believe in god to begin with you're fucked.
The logic of the religious is baffling.  I'll be GLADD when the Girl Scouts follow suite.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DOMA Dogma

This started out as a response to a fuckwit on the interwebs on a DOMA thread a few months ago.  It got set aside (along with a ton of other first drafts) after my dad was in a pretty bad car wreck in August.  I've gone over it, adjusted it to a more "open letter" format and decided that I liked it enough to post it. 

   Let me just start by stating clearly and emphatically that I am an anti-theist.  Most religions at the very least, in their most innocent forms promote scientific ignorance and offer an apocalyptic end game as a means to reach paradise.  At its worst it subjugates women, criminalizes freewill and supports bigotry, xenophobia and hate. It allows pederasts to move freely among congregations, hunting and devouring innocence.  That being said, I would NEVER vote for any measure that would remove your right to be religious.  You are afforded that right in the constitution. Where you are mistaken, is in its application.   

  Freedom “of” religion also includes freedom “from” religion.  DOMA, by defining marriage based on religious text clearly violates the 1st Amendment. Offer me context as to where the definition came from and I’ll listen. Continue with your weak sauce fallacious arguments, and all you’re doing is continuing to sound like a parrot.  The “war on marriage” is tantamount to the “reefer madness” propaganda in the 20’s leading to the criminalization of cannabis.  Make no mistake, groups like the Family Research Institute, Family Research Council, American Family Association, National Organization for Marriage are fervently anti-gay based strictly on religious principals and would if they could, re-criminalize homosexuality (yeah, I said RE-criminalize) DOMA represents step one. 

  The sanctity of marriage, you’re kidding, right?  Religiosity seems to have little impact on divorce rates. An article I found in the The Christian Post gives statistics and poll research showing that now more than ever, God isn't saving marriages.  So if being religious isn't keeping religious people married, why are they so concerned about keeping homosexuals from getting married. I say (an excerpt from one of my previous blogs) “Feel free to ban people in mixed race marriages, same sex marriages, marriages of people from other religions from your church.  It's your little club, be as picky as you want to be.  Marry only the people you feel are an accurate representation of the dogma you’re pushing.  The validity of that marriage ends at the threshold of your building...  Want some legal rights? Get a marriage license.  The license won't discriminate based on race, sexual orientation, gender, religious preference, income, blah blah blah blah blah.  Two consenting adults (at least one being a legal citizen) can apply for and receive this license in very much the same way it’s done now, just without the discrimination, and will be afforded all the legal rights the licensees are granted.  See, both sides win!  People of religion can remain bigoted, hateful and ignorant inside of church.  But outside, we're all the same (citizens and human beings) and should be afforded the same fucking rights.  How is this even up for debate still?”

   The United States is for all intents and purposes for this argument a democratic republic, not a theocratic republic. The 1st amendment makes this clear.  As to the intent of the founding fathers, Jefferson is fairly clear about his ideas in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. The text reads "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." Also, in 1797, the United States Senate ratified The Treaty of Tripoli- article 11 reads- As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. You're not protecting "Democracy" you're pushing theocracy. Get your shit straight.   

  In regards to my level of tolerance for religion and faith, I'll offer you some insight into my personal views. To be "tolerant" of intolerance when intolerance clearly and directly impedes, prevents and/or takes away the rights of other human beings based solely on religion or religious doctrine is idiotic and presents no clear path to better the human species.  Rest assured, I'll concede your right to worship any god or follow any religion that tends to agree with your own indoctrinated world view.  But be clear- "The right to swing your fist ends at my nose." (Oliver Wendel Holmes Jr). When you overstep that right, I will politely demonstrate to you with my own fist, just how important that quote is.  What American Christianity is experiencing is not an attack on its beliefs. They are experiencing the defense of every one else's. We are not trying to pull the right to the left, we are pushing the right back to the center.  If it offends you to hear that your beliefs sound fucking ridiculous to me, consider how offended I am when you do the same. Before you get pissed, maybe do a quick recheck, because that shit you're selling is pretty fucking ridiculous

  So, I'll ask again, present an argument for denying homosexuals the same rights afforded to heterosexuals without delving into religion or theology and I would be more then happy to listen.  But since this isn't the first time I've had to do this dance, I’d probably shit my pants in shock if you could. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Punk You Ass Hole

  Blame it on the music. Punk has been fueling my desire to burn shit down and question just for the sake of questioning for as long as I can remember. I was 12ish (the fall of 1987) when a friend of mine handed me a cassette tape- The Dead Kennedys "In God We Trust Inc" on side A and The Misfits "Walk Among Us" on side B (I was to learn later that I only had half of Walk Among Us).  Punk wasn't the only music I was listening to at the time but it certainly flipped a switch in my brain like no other music had before.  If I have ever had anything close to a religion, it's been punk music.

  This is what hard core punk looked like when I was a kid.  No tattoos (I have plenty now) no fancy clothes, no mohawks, just something to say and shitty instruments.  I miss this level of sincerity,  the commitment to the message. It's still out there,  but you have to weed through the fashion to find it now.  Religious Vomit is one of my all times favorites.  The Dee-Kay's in their prime had a message that still resonates to the core of some of the current sociopolitical movements.  Here's a few of my favorites that still ring as true today as the day they where released.

Bad religion, You Are The Government from the Album Suffer released in 1988.

T.S.O.L.,  Abolish Government/Silent Majority from the T.S.O.L. E.P. released in 1981

Black Flag, Rise Above from the Album Damaged released 1981

Agent Orange, America from the Blood Stains E.P. released in 1980

  Most of these songs are more then 25 years old, and most of them still carry the feeling I would like to convey to my kids.  The feeling that action must be taken, that the time for politeness is done.  Shit has got to change and we have to get with it!  My wife and I still go to shows, but the perspective has changed.  It's more about how I can make a positive change in my immediate surroundings, how do I make my street, my neighborhood, my city better.  Changing the world is for the youth. Giving them the tools to do it, now that's right up my alley! When I was my daughters age, we read fanzines and went to shows to share ideas with like minded kids, it's way different nowadays! The funny thing is the way they share ideas and information is vastly superior  to the way I did it 25 years ago.  They get world perspective, 24/7 at their finger tips.  They get the raw data and process it themselves.  They are so much better geared to fight the revolution that is clearly on the horizon (and by fight, I'm more than certain that they will figure a way to do it with less bloodshed then ever before.)  These were my songs, the seeds that grew into the ideals and views I still hold dear to this very day. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

National Day of Prayer (or as I like to call it "Pretending to Masturbate" day)

  Well, it's that time of year again.  Time to bow our heads, clasp our hands together and murmur to which ever deity you currently worship to pretty pretty please with sugar on top and a big fat fucking cherry magically make this place, country, world, or your paycheck better.

 Welcome to National Day of Prayer 2012, Thursday May 3rd.  It's been going on since the early 50's and if you believe the rhetoric coming out of  the current "christian nation" regarding the state of this country and its downward spiral into godlessness it apparently hasn't done one bit of good.  If they have been praying over the last 70 years for the good ole U.S. of A. to become a more prosperous nation and to smite all of these godless, homosexual, liberal, socialist, communist, lazy, hippy, immigrant, traitors,  why the hell hasn't it worked yet?   What did Einstien (attributed quote, I couldn't find citation) say about doing the same thing over and over again, expecting the same results?

  Because prayer is like pretending to masturbate.

   What the fuck is this guy talking about??  Give me a second, I'll get us there. You see, at least with masturbation there is a real and positive outcome.  Regardless of how self gratifying the act is, it still accomplishes what it sets out to do.  Pretending to masturbate on the other hand (pun totally intended) is still a self gratifying act, but accomplishes nothing.   I equate prayer to exactly that.  It's a way to feel connected to something greater then yourself, while pretending to do something to help the world around you.  It is quite simply lazy.

  So, to all my agnostic, atheist, free thinking, skeptic, bright, anti-theist, irreligious, secular, or humanist NON participants in Thursdays pretend circle jerk, I offer you this alternative public physical gesture.   This can be done whether you're male or female. If you should happen upon any participants of National Day of Prayer, try this.

1. With your arm outstretched in front of you, make a fist.
2. Rotate your fist outward (clock wise for your right hand, counter clock wise for your left)
3. Bring your fist (thumb should be on top) to the level of your belly button.
4. Begin making an up and down motion (pointed slightly away from you) with your fist, bending at the elbow.
5. Continue to make up and down motion (feel free to vary your speed and range of motion) while hoping out loud for a problem to go away.  Things I like to say are "I hope these starving kids in the world get some food", or "I'm voting for [insert Republican nominee or bible based measure here]."  Sing a song, or just make a simple proclamation.  Try "Jesus Loves the Little Children" or shout out over and over "Mohammed is the man"...
6. Continue for as long as you'd like.
7. When you are ready to conclude your praying, on your final upstroke,  extend your fingers out as if you were tossing dice and yell "Hallelujah" or "Amen" (R'amen would be acceptable for my FSM friends.)
 or just moan
  If you haven't been arrested or verbally accosted by now,  you should thank whoever you've just "prayed" with and politely excuse yourself.  You have now participated in National Day of Prayer 2012.  Pat yourself on the back and continue doing whatever it was you were doing before you affected some great and positive change in this world by pretending to masturbate.

   Instead, maybe check to see if there are any National Day of Reason rallies near you.  Or maybe you could call a family member and tell them you love them,  volunteer for some community work, check in on an elderly neighbor, donate food to a food bank, or clothes to a secular charity.  Do anything at all, but just do something.  And instead of one day a year, shoot for once a month or one day a week. What ever your schedule permits.  I know we all have lives to live, jobs to work, kids to raise, spouses to love, pets to care for, we are all busy people. But we should all try to make some time to help out those less fortunate, to make a change for the better on our own streets, communities, cities, states, country and planet.

  Not because we want to go to heaven, not because we are afraid of hell.  But because roughly 237 million self identifying christians in America think that pretending to masterbate is really going to make a difference.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Finding My Balance

   I think the scariest part of self identifying as "atheist"  for me comes when it's time to face the people I love who are religious.   The ability to balance my own personal lack of respect for "god stories" and the people subscribing to them has been an effort of Olympic gymnast magnitude.  It's been difficult for me to reconcile my own duplicity in this.  The stranger (either on the interwebs, or on the street) doesn't get a warning shot.  If the topic of religion is broached,  I'm going in guns blazing. God help (pun intended) these people proselytizing in public or door to door.  And I refuse to apologize for this.  Yet when my brother-in-law or my mother-in-law wants to say a blessing at a restaurant I might give a little sigh and not participate, but I would never unleash the barrage of verbal vitriol reserved for a fellow human being that I simply haven't had the chance to develop a relationship with.

  Why is this?  How can I justify my own conceivably hypocritical behavior while condemning those acting the same way, but out of "faith".  From life long friends, to family-  I have religious people I love.  Every one of them participating in their faiths to varying degrees of commitment. I have open, continuous dialogue with some (my brother for instance) to a certain unspoken, sometimes uneasy agreement that it just wont be discussed with others.  But this still doesn't answer the why.

  I would like to think that it's because I have gotten to know these people.  That the reasons I respect and love them far outweighs the absurdity of their beliefs (and to be truthful, I do still think they are being absurd.) It seems as if I have always had a line in the sand,  a threshold of tolerance I have decided was acceptable for me.  The older I get though, the more it feels less and less like a line in the sand and more like a wall at a border.  The denizens have now become citizens regardless of their religious affiliations.

  This is where I have apparently become a tad bigoted. I can admit to and own that. Most people that feel strongly enough about their faith to share in a public forum are going to be the same people that would intrude upon my life and my rights by inserting their ideologies and moralities into policy or law.  And while I openly admit to thinking that my ideologies and world views are superior to theirs, its only in one simple aspect.  I don't want to take away a persons rights to believe in a supreme being, or the right to live their lives according to whatever doctrine they follow.  I am okay with you being scared of the spooky all powerful creator being in the sky who will dictate the rest of your eternity,  I'm just not okay with you telling me (or anybody else) I have to buy in as well.

  The last paragraph should be prefaced with it is my belief that there is never an acceptable time for those rules to be imposed upon anyone else, including their own children.  "The right to swing my fist, ends where the other mans nose begins." is I believe how the quote goes. The fact that the breadth of christianity accepts and participates in the mutilation of infant males sexual organs, but throws a fucking tizzy over a zygotes right to life blows my mind. And there is the conflict.

  So am I to tell other people they can't express their belief that homosexuality is morally wrong? Or that abortion should be banned because of your interpretations of a few verses in the bible?  To be frank, I'm nobody and I'm not.  I'm simply saying that laws shouldn't be made excluding homosexuals from rights afforded to heterosexual based on ancient religious texts. And that if you morally oppose abortion, then don't get one.  Can you see the distinction?

  But I'm getting away from it a bit.  It's difficult to remove my disdain for religion from the people practicing it.  If I could only meet this Jesus guy, so I could tell him how much of a total douche he/his dad is (this is not an admission of acceptance to the biblical Jesus being god.) Or explain to Mohammed that it's okay he's gay,  he doesn't have to hate women because of it.   But I can't, so I'm left to deal with the follows, and the leaders of these unscrupulous religions.

  So do I feel bad when I call somebody out over their religious beliefs?  No.   I don't have the time to get to know every believer in the world and decide whether or not they're a fucking shmuck.  I know they are a believer, and more often that not, that's good enough for me.  Will you get a chance to prove me wrong, should our paths cross?  Yeah, just don't expect to convince me by telling me how well you follow your doctrines.  Does that make me feel superior to them on a personal level? Nope.  Do I feel like I'm smarter? Nah,  I'm probably somewhere in the middle of average as far as measurable intelligence goes.  My family and my friends who are believers get a pass. My life, my rules.  Does that make me a hypocrite?  I'm sure that's up for debate.

  I find my thoughts and ideas constantly evolving, (a big difference between myself and somebody of faith) mostly I try to stay tolerant and positive.  Those closest to me do a wonderful job of pointing out when I'm being a complete and total prick, and I appreciate that.  I am in my own eyes a humanist first.  Atheism only describes a certain aspect of me.  I would also consider myself a very proactive anti-theist.  I'm just like most other people. I want to live my life freely. To find happiness and love, to try and make a positive impression on my children and the world around me.  I just do it without believing in any gods.  I have always had a hard time keeping my mouth shut.  Blame it on that damned punk music!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Who Are All These Moderates??

  The topic of moderate Christians (theists) has been coming up pretty regularly on the Facebook page I help admin, with some pretty interesting takes on it.  A good deal of the religious posters are generally pretty pissed off by the lack of sensitivity and the level of blasphemy in some of the memes.  To be certain- the page is blatantly and obviously atheist in nature, no trickery or shenanigans to get the poor Christian just wandering the inter-webs caught in our trap [laughs deviously while my rubbing my hands together].  But the Christians being offended is by far not the shocker.  It seems as though there is a fairly adamant faction of non-believers, agnostics, skeptics, and atheists that are (to put it mildly) repulsed by the notion that religion is up for scrutiny.  Okay, I'll admit I'm relatively new to the party, but WHAT THE FUCK???

  Most of the arguments seem to focus on two themes- respect and tolerance.  As in I (we) owe the theist who arrives on the page respect, or that our content in general should not disrespect anybodies beliefs as these beliefs are very personal things.  I call bullshit. Your beliefs don't deserve the slightest amount of respect from me.  I've got a prewritten response I use when the subject of respecting other peoples beliefs come up. I've had to use it often over the last few days.  It goes like this-   Personally, I've have no respect for woman haters, child fuckers, honor killers, suicide bombers, genital mutilators, creationism pushers, and choice robbers.  If you're going to identify with the types, expect me to show you little respect.  If you are going to excuse or dismiss these abhorrent behaviors by simply telling me that you don't participate but argue that these perpetrators have some magical right to not be scrutinized, then I have little respect for you as well.

  My biggest issue with the "moderate" theist.  Their ability to blend in to the religion when it does good things, and disappear or defend it when some crazy shit happens.  Let's use Catholicism for instance.  A good, moderate catholic might feel that homosexuals are against gods will. But- who are they to say homosexual shouldn't be allowed to get married?  Seems pretty reasonable, right?  But when the Pope tells Africans who are living among the highest percentage of HIV infected people in the world, that condoms may make the epidemic worse?  The moderates either shrink into shadows (cuz that shits nutty, folks) or worse, scream out against the people calling the pope a fucking moron, exclaiming "People should be tolerant of other belief systems and show him some respect!"   Are you fucking serious?  Lets take a look at the born again Christians. Maybe a church runs a food kitchen for the homeless- pretty sweet! The moderate believer may volunteer 10, maybe 20 hours a month in the kitchen. I commend the effort, sincerely.  Now what about when a state tries to pass a bill allowing creationism to be taught alongside of evolution in a public school science class?  Those mean and nasty atheists are at it again, bringing up that 1st Amendment (by the way, I know- we have that thing all confused.)  Again, poof- where did all those moderates go??  Or- comments like "How dare we disrespect your creator, can't we be more tolerant of your batshit ideas?"  I could go on with examples, but if you're not seeing it now chances are more aren't going to help.

  I know these are generalizations, and that every person in every different religion may not act the same way  every time.  I don't know about you but I live in a world that starts with generalizations, and filters down further and further until I reach specifics.  Is your neighbor Judy, a moderate Mormon who was totally and outwardly against Prop 8 and the churches funding of the propaganda?  I don't know. If she did,  I'd give her a big "Hell yeah!"  I would still wonder why somebody who could reasonably conclude that it's none of the churches business, is still be involved in the church.

  There was a blog I read regarding the hard wiring of the brain in its early stages of development that disables some cognitive reasoning abilities.  This rewiring allows very intelligent people to be able to understand complex ideas, but also the ability to compartmentalize religious beliefs away from this ability. Imagine Albert Einstein really, truly, believing that if you stepped on a crack you would break his Momma's back.  There may very well be some correlation between indoctrination, and a moderates ability to defend his or her religion against scrutiny.

  So do me, and yourself a favor.  Start policing your own shit.  For all those "moderates" who claim they are the good ones and who are unjustly getting persecuted- reign in the nut jobs. Throw a fucking blanket party, and be done with it.  Either step the fuck up and say something or shut the fuck up when I do.  I'll give you my word on one thing.  When (and if ) you do, I'll gladly focus my attention on any one of the other interests I have. I am an anti-theist.  I'm also pretty much a humanist and I try to be realistic about the world around me.  You're not gonna catch me holding my breath waiting for you, the "moderate" believer to get your religions shit together.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Declaration

  • The following is a portion of email correspondence between my brother and I.  It's written sort of ranty, I know, but that's how it came out when I originally wrote the email last September.  Let me preface this by saying that my brother and I have a wonderful relationship despite some fundamental differences on this very subject. He is an intelligent man, an good father, and wonderful husband.   I found myself reading these the other day, and felt compelled to share this one. It was my first vocalization, my first declaration to my brother that I had in fact decided to call a duck a duck (the duck being myself) 

  •    Look, I'm an atheist because actions speak louder then prayer. Because aligning myself morally with groups that preach misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia more than reason, logic science and tolerance seems medieval at best.  I'm not saying that all people who adhere to any sort of religious dogmas are "evil" or "ignorant".  I am saying that for those people who are not, I find it amazing that they WOULD! My success is my doing, so are my failures.  People can do wonderful things without religion.  In any other aspect of humanity, if we took things we knew 2,000 years ago and still did them today, we would consider those people fools at best.  If a parent took a child to get bled by leaches to cure a fever instead of giving the child Tylenol, WOW there would be some fuss! But let a President of The United States of America say that he's prayed, and going to war is what god told him to do, we (figuratively as a country) wave flags, sing God Bless America and load the guns...  Strictly as literature the Bible (which ever version you read) is an incredible work.  Same as the Qu'ran, the Torah, the Book of Mormon, the Tipitaka and so on.  Can we really take these things seriously and literally anymore??  I would hope not.  Do a little pokin around on the interwebs.  Everyday,  every single day, religions rules and dogmas are the cause for murder, mutilation, and torture committed against men, women and children. EVERYDAY!  Please don't come back with "serial killers" or atheists who have committed crimes against humanity. The statistics are overwhelming.  These institutions (not the occasional nut jobs) are preaching from a perceived position of authority claiming that homosexuality is abhorrent and unnatural, that women are lesser humans, and should be treated as such and that nonbelievers should be killed.  They protect pedophiles in their midst, and they teach that when the world ends (however it does) it's a good thing because eternal life is waiting for them!  They fight scientific progress with rabble rousing and fear.  How many of these ideals are conducive (in your opinion) to humanities success and survival?  I won't bug you anymore with this.  I love you, and I love your family as well.  Not much could ever change that.  Maybe we should go play 9, drink some beers and not talk about anything important.