Friday, July 29, 2011

The Air Force invokes God...and I think I agree.

A Facebook friend posted an article from the Center for Inquiry to my fb page. It seems the Air Force has included a discussion of religious/biblical justification for nuclear war as part of the training for those charged with launching nuclear missiles. Here is the short article, worth a two minute read:

I am ambivalent. Not sure where I land on this. My instincts tell me that with the hyper-religiosity inherent in the Air Force Academy (a major issue with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation) and throughout the military services that this is another proselytizing attempt at worst, or the unnecessary invoking of Judeo-Christian doctrine at best.

But on the other hand there is a reality that must be confronted. A vast portion of the military is in fact Christian. They were before they entered the military, and carry that affliction around with them on active duty. In the unique position these nuclear missile specialists are in, they would be faced with a life changing ethical/moral dilemma in the event they are asked to launch nuclear weapons. The very thought of such an event should send shivers up all of our spines as its ramifications, including global nuclear war, is the stuff nightmares are made of.

If any one of those airmen hesitates just long enough to ask the question "What would Jesus Do?” or start babbling prayers for guidance, or fumbling with their rosary beads and waiting for a sign from God during the critical moment, we could well be worse off as a nation than had the launch order been immediately executed...unquestioned and instantaneously. If by settling the religious issue or, shall I say, if by justifying mass killing on religious grounds as part of training it eliminates that hesitation, then this may in fact be a reasoned and logical approach.

So, it's not proselytizing to non-Xtians, or even the government endorsing one religion over another. It’s a matter of recognition that the job of these selected few, largely believing, must never be impaired by thinking too hard on how their deity perceives mass destruction. They lay it out and nail it shut: “He's done it lots of times, and He has endorsed it lots more... it’s all good. So be ready to push the button on command.”

I wonder if CFI has given it this kind of thoughtful consideration. I’ll give the Air Force a pass on this one.

[Thanks to Linda Mortensen for the inspiration for this article]

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Your Mom was Mistaken - Rape and Pedophilia are Next to Godliness

I was reading Mojoey’s latest report on a convicted clergy pedophile on his Deep Thoughts blog The convicted rapist minister of an 11 year old girl looks forward to continue to do god’s work when he gets out in eighteen years. Yes, he said “continue.” Mojoey was repelled by the deviate’s apparent cognitive dissonance. But while it sounds bizarre, a case of denial and delusion, the pastor’s comment actually makes perfect sense.

Your mom probably told you that cleanliness is next to godliness. Well, she was partially right. There are all kinds of laws in the Bible that mandated sanitary practices, not the least of which is where exactly to take a dump during wartime - albeit, your mom likely was totally unaware of that little detail [Deut. 23:12].

God sets the example for what “godliness” is, hence the term. How can one strive to be as God to any greater degree than emulating God’s example, applying God’s lessons in life? Taking a dump outside of the camp, not having sex with unclean (menstruating) women; sending a soldier outside of camp for having a wet dream are just the tip of the divine iceberg.

God encouraged child rape (Numbers 31; Deut 20). Among the 613 laws in the Old Testament not one prohibits pedophilia.

God punishes rape of an unattached young [Hebrew] woman with a $50 payment to her dad, and requiring the victim to marry her rapist (Deut 22). Jewish movie starlets, beauty queens and super models would have been in big demand back then, and constantly in hiding.

God gives instructions on how to rape your [non-Hebrew] enemy’s women (Judges 21).

There’s more. But the point is their God is one horny old bastard who encourages pedophilia, and doesn’t go out of his way to discourage rape ... openly endorsing it in many cases. How could a man of the cloth be expected to ignore God’s word? Does not God’s laws and example transcend earthly secular laws? Did Jesus/the New Testament have anything to say about ignoring his/his dad’s long standing example as the supreme cocksman? Nope.

Not only should the convicted pastor not be condemned by Christians, he should be considered among the blessed, a true follower of God’s divine word, a living example of the Holy Bible’s sacred practices. So too the thousands of priests, bishops, pastor, youth ministers who similarly are doing god’s work to children all over the planet.

His will be done.

Monday, July 18, 2011

OK, I admit it - I hate stupid

I hate stupid. There, I said it. I’m not ashamed and I’m not going to feign being penitent about it. Stupid is the cause of too many societal ills to be just politely ignored. It warrants ... no... demands unbridled disdain from those of us who eschew stupid.

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about people who through no fault of their own due to genetic or congenital defect, or for physiological reasons lack the full complement of mental acuity. Nor do I condemn people who were denied a basic education or exposure to human interaction. I’m speaking about people who are articulate, who can type, think, and navigate through the complexities of life, who are productive members of society in almost every way - people who are equipped to evaluate varied input, process it, and arrive at a logical and reasoned conclusion if they would allow themselves to.

Examples of obvious stupid include Young Earth Creationists, Intelligent Design advocates, and those who perceive Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, or Rick Perry to be qualified to lead the free world. Cultists, spiritualists, Flat Earthers; those who pay homage to urine stains that resemble religious figures; those who believe gayness is a choice; the Governor of Oklahoma who today, responding to the massive heat wave, has donned the mantle of Chief Shaman of Oklahoma declaring a day of prayer for rain (you’d think he’d go the whole nine yards and pray for a snow storm). The list goes on ad nauseum.

I give a pass to conspiracy theorists because there is a wiring problem in their psyches that requires them to dismiss evidence that doesn’t support their theories, in fact just providing debunking evidence has the effect of reinforcing their delusion. It’s just sad.

With that as a prelude allow me to describe my latest interaction with the profoundly stupid. It seems QVC has decided not to sell Jane Fonda’s latest book, fearing a backlash from people who haven’t forgotten nor forgiven her treachery during the Vietnam War. A facebook friend posted the story to his page and garnered mixed responses. One person in particular, who it seems is just to the Left of Chairman Mao, insisted that Fonda’s going to North Vietnam was a good and justified thing, since the war was unjust and we should have never been there. The final bit of stupidity was the comment that it was further justified because the enemy wasn’t the North Vietnamese at all, but Lyndon Johnson.

It doesn’t make any difference what one’s perspective is on the Vietnam War. I favored it when I went there, opposed it when I came home, and was active in anti-war protests. The war was a bad misstep. The “domino theory” of the spread of Communism was a fallacy (easy to say in hindsight), and came close on the heals of the McCarthy era when much of the populace was initially anxious to kill Commies for Christ at the drop of a hat.

But forget all that. The issue with Fonda was, and still is, that as a US citizen she went to an enemy nation with whom we were engaged in active combat, gleefully posed in enemy headgear on enemy artillery that was shooting down American planes; smiled and hobnobbed with senior enemy military officials; encouraged N. Vietnamese resistance; was manipulated into giving misleading information about the treatment of American POWs; broadcast on Hanoi Radio against her country; bolstered the resolve of the enemy giving them aid and comfort while demoralizing 18 and 19 year old American boys who were struggling to stay alive and in one piece.

I wouldn’t have cared if she had burned the flag, wiped her ass with the Constitution, or demanded Lyndon Johnson’s assassination just so long as she did it on US soil. One does not go over to the enemy that has killed 50,000+ of your fellow countryman and give them your support in order to make a political point.

Imagine if an actor or actress went to Afghanistan, met with the Al-Qaida’s leadership, donned their uniform, gleefully posed on their ground to air missiles, and broadcasted on their radio decrying US soldiers presence there as criminal, and the soldiers war criminals. Whether one agrees with the war or not, respects Obama or hates him, it would be roundly and rightly condemned by any thinking American as a despicable if not treasonous act.

In 1988 Fonda apologized for her actions agreeing that they were ill conceived and hurtful on a number of levels. She wished she hadn’t done them. I don't care if she is your gay icon, if you loved her in "On Golden Pond," or if she gave you a semi-fattie in "Barbarella," the fact is her behavior was dispicable and unforgivable and she knows it.

While I personally reject her apology as too little too late, you’d think that it would be enough to convince the most devout Jane Fonda worshipper, even the most rabid left wing self hating American, to drop their justification and defense of her actions. Nope. Not even the apologetic admission of Fonda herself sways their position. To this Facebook expert on Vietnam and patriotism (and two of her high-fiving sheep) Fonda’s behavior was good and reasoned; anyone not seeing that is a simply jingoistic, right wing Fox News watching, war mongering, imperialist running dog stooge of Lyndon Johnson, who is oblivious to the history of American foreign intrusions, the injustice of the Vietnam war, the subterfuge of the Military Industrial Complex, and just plain don’t get it.

That is stupid. I hate stupid

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Mormon Missionary meets his first Atheist Camel

I get awful tired of seeing those facebook ads promoting one Christian sect or another. I always click on them because it costs them money every time someone does. I have already been banned from a few of the fb pages they link to.

Lately the “...and I’m a Mormon” ad campaign has caught my attention. It seems to come up often throughout the day, almost every time I get on facebook. The link takes you directly to (“jeff” being that ad’s Mormon profile), so I can’t exercise my right to post troll messages as I am want to do from time to time.

The ads are designed to put a human face on what many people think of as a cult. Oh, let me be more direct: what I think of as a 19th century charlatan’s inventive rework of Christianity in order to scam money from credulous jerks of the day.

These ads feature normal everyday folk, who do normal every day things; who served in the military; lost a leg in an accident; raised a bunch of foster kids; or coach soccer. You know, “Everyman.” Naturally they do not get into the nitty gritty of what makes Mormons the red headed step child of Christianity (as opposed to the JW’s who are seen more as the insane relative who is best kept locked in the attic).

No, no mention of the coincidence that the church leadership had a revelation from God to give up polygamy simultaneous with the Federal Government’s threat to deny Utah statehood until they did. No mention of the lost tribes of Israel that occupied North America, rode elephants, had chariots, iron weapons, armor, horses....thousands of years before the Spanish came to the new world, and for which no trace has ever been found in spite of investing massive amounts of money on archeological works to find proof.

No mention of the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre when Mormons, arguably at the direction of Brigham Young, dressed as Indians and slaughtered non-Mormon settlers passing through Utah. No mention of the “delightsome” white people versus the accursed Black folk whose blackness is the eternal punishment of the mark of Cain. No discussion of institutionalized racism until the 1970’s, blacks being denied the right to the priesthood.

No mention of the doctrine that if they tithe enough, do missionary work, rise through the ranks, and lead lives of complete obedience they will become a God of their own planet.

Nope, they want to separate themselves from these things and other really nutty Mormon stuff, and just be perceived as Jesus loving Christians like you and me...well, you know what I mean... like any other Christian sect, except that they wear magical mystery undies. So I visited, and clicked on the “Chat with a Missionary” button to have my questions answered. Here’s how it went after a full five minute wait for the missionary to appear on the chat screen:

John: Hello, my name is John. Did you have a question about the LDS Church that I can answer for you?

Hump: Hi John, yes just a few questions if you don’t mind. When you die do you get to chose what planet you become the god over, or is assigned? Is Pluto still viable even though it’s been downgraded to something other than a planet? Does the population of that planet currently exist or do they come from Utah after you arrive? Are they human, and if not, if they are aliens, do they look humanoid? And if they don’t look humanoid, why would they accept you as their god? And if you are their god, does that mean they reject Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit as their deity, or just see you as a demi-god like one of the Hindu lesser gods? If the latter, will you have multiple arms, maybe a trunk, and have a bluish hue, or will you look like you do now... only with a halo?

John: Are you serious?

Hump: As serious as a heart attack.

John: I don’t really know about all those things.

Hump: Ok, well...give me someone who can give me the answers . This is really important because I’ve had an offer to join another cult and they guarantee I’ll command a planet of transformer like aliens to do my bidding when I die.

John: What do you mean “another cult”? We aren’t a cult. And I’m at home there is no one else here to speak to.

Hump: C’mon John, they aren’t going to stick you on a computer keyboard representing the LDS Church unprepared to answer some serious doctrinal questions, unsupervised, with only the most basic and boring info, and not prepare you for the “God of your own planet” queries.

John: Sorry, no, I mean, yes ... they did. May be I can have some one get in touch with you. If you give me your email...

Hump: OK John, And I’d like it to be a Mormon woman, preferably Julianne Hough, or Marie Osmond. I have some questions about institutionalized sexism and subservience.

John: What do you mean subservience?

Hump: Don’t worry John, they’ll know what I mean. Bye.

John: Bye.

I can just see his Mormon Overseer looking at this transcript and dressing John down for being such a dork. Everyone knows that Mormon’s morph into Klingons when they become gods. After all, who’d respect a god that looks like a pimply faced kid in a cheap black suit, white shirt and skinny tie who believes hair will grow on his palms if he masturbates. Well, I mean, besides another Mormon. They seem to believe anything.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On applying the “Golden Rule”

- “How do you decide to apply the Golden Rule?”
- “How can you so easily call another person stupid when you don't even know them?”

- “The Golden Rule is meant to be used as a means to find the humanity in others even when we don't like them or disagree with them. So what is your standard for applying the Golden Rule?”

These questions were posed to me by a friend who took exception with my dismissal of the Casey Anthony jury as grossly wrong in their decision and evidently too stupid to properly assess a preponderance of circumstantial evidence. It was also noted that I am rather liberal with my open disdain for and insulting of individuals and groups with whom I have zero patience and even less respect.

Her questions are worthy of serious introspection.

The Golden Rule, AKA the Rule of Reciprocity - to those who know that its doctrine predates the Jesus myth - by any name is at the foundation of civilization itself. Societies that do not practice treating others as you want them to treat you are destined for extinction. A culture that has no inhibitions against wanton murder, thievery, rape, deception, perjury, et all and which practices those things as social norms would self destruct in the chaos of disorder. The Rule of Reciprocity was born of the recognition that if you smash Og’s head with a rock and steal his dingo dinner, one of Og’s kinsman will likely return the favor.

In that regard I fully support and practice The Rule. I am a product of a civilized and flourishing society. I do not have any psychologically induced defects (that I am aware of) that prompt anti-social/sociopathic disregard for humanity, morality, ethics, and the law. Kind to animals, respectful of fellow travelers in the quest for sustained happiness and freedom, and tolerant of children with a modicum of manners, I try and do my part to ease the suffering of those I can help and treat them as I myself would like to be treated.

BUT, this does not imply that I endorse turning the other cheek when being beaten senseless; or ignoring the trespasses of others who do so with a sense of entitlement; or holding my tongue when the behavior and actions of others exposes an unsavory agenda, diminishes our freedoms or reflects abandonment of basic intelligence.

I treat people who embrace reason and reality with respect. I expect the same from them.
I also have admiration for those who demonstrate a concern for their fellow man and animals, and who see education-the expanding of ones knowledge- as a sacrament. I have no patience for, and no interest in courting the respect of, people who lack self-reliance, self-respect; who are dependent on myth; who reject reality; who are incapable of assessing evidence and formulating an intelligent and logical opinion in response. Society will not be irreparably harmed by my position.

The Golden Rule as I perceive it was never meant to suppress ones expression of outrage or disgust with the outrageous and disgusting. To gloss over, sugar coat, or otherwise acquiesce to such actions or thought with a smile and genteel admonishment is not who I am or who I’d want to be. I have no obligation to spare the feelings of those unworthy of my respect, nor do I have a desire to win their respect or admiration. If their sensibilities are injured; if they are emotionally damaged; or provoked to reply in kind I am unmoved. Besides...if I were an unthinking imbecile I’d expect to be treated like one.

I am one of many “umpires of life” and remain unapologetic about calling ‘em like I see ‘em. If my honesty hurts then correct the defect- don’t expect false civility. Going through life worrying about offending those who are offensive and offended is not who I am. That’s why you’ll rarely see a camel skin door mat.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Live Radio/Webcast with Humanists of Minnesota

Mark Your Calendar:
Sunday, July 10, 10:00 am Eastern/ 9:00 am Central

I'll be interviewing with Scott Lohman of Humanists of Minnesota about my blog, books, and pet rescue business. Should be interesting since nothing is prepared in advance and they have a listener's Call-in number: (952) 946-6205.

Radio and live streaming webcast:

See you on the radio.