Saturday, April 27, 2013
On the heels of the worst Muslim fanatic attack on America since 911, I read last week that some Christian clergy are calling upon their sheep to pray for the Boston mass murderer. And as good sheep always do the “prayers are pouring in.” They even have a poll asking readers if they would pray for the perpetrator. 59% said they would / are. Here’s the whole story:
From the story is this quote:
“Our God is a God of mercy AND just. As brothers & sisters of Christ, we must pray for the captured suspect, for he still is a child of God!”
Out of curiosity I posted a comment asking exactly for what they were praying. A week has gone by, not a single reply. Out of over 1100 comments, no one seems to really know the answer or they prefer to ignore the question.
I’ve wracked my brain and for the life of me I cannot figure out what the hell they are praying for. Could they be praying for his recovery? He's getting the best medical care available to humanity. Are they praying for his conversion to Jebus? Praying for his "soul"? Praying for his repentance; to what end? Praying he doesn’t get the death penalty? Praying he isn’t even convicted? Nothing in the story gives a clue as to what request or favor they are soliciting from their imaginary god on the murderer’s behalf.
Here's a thought for those baaing fleece baring drones of delusion: pray to your god for the sixteen people who lost limbs to the bomber’s indifference and inhumanity to re-grow those limbs. Or maybe just eight of those victims’ legs. Or just focus all your prayers to re-grow the legs of just one double amputee. Heck, play it safe and just pray to have that young dance instructor’s foot miraculously regenerate. No … not one of them would dare to offer that prayer, the potential for it’s quantifiable failure is so obvious that it would expose the uselessness of prayer and diminish the validity of their platitudinous and meaningless gesture.
When their devout mumblings are finished; when they feel as though they have done their duty as good Christians to help the bomber achieve whatever the hell it is they want to achieve through the intervention of this supposed supernatural power, I wonder how many of them will do something meaningful- like making a $20.00 contribution to www.onefundboston.org
Not many, I’d venture. It’s just so much easier to not lift a finger and mouth meaningless religious platitudinous tripe than to do something genuine, real and useful.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Every now and then I am heartened by the actions of the American public. When they elected the first Black president, I was astonished and proud; even more so when they re-elected him. When new poll figures reported 52% of Americans support gay marriage, I found hope for reason and modernity. When Pew reported that the religiously non-affiliated, the “Nones” have become 20%+ of the populace I saw the clear evidence that evolution toward the demise of religion was not just a pipe dream.
But then something comes along to stir up my disgust and rekindle my cynicism toward my fellow Americans. On April 6 the Huffington Post reported the results of their polling of 1000 Americans. They asked if they would support establishing Christianity as the national religion of the United States. Thirty-two percent (32%) said they would support a Constitutional amendment making Christianity the official religion of the United States. Forty-two percent (42%) of them said they thought it was constitutional or “weren’t sure”.
It won’t surprise you to find out that 55% of those favoring Christianity as the national religion are Republicans. You know, those people who wave American flags at the drop of a hat; claim the Constitution to be carved in stone and not open to interpretation; who will die to defend the 2nd amendment right to bear arms; and who call themselves the “true” Americans (as oppose to everyone else who is a commie, socialist, fascist , Femi-nazi, or surrender monkey.) Here’s the whole story:
While the much larger majority were opposed to such an amendment, and knew that it was unconstitutional, the fact that 1/3rd of our fellow Americans would happily establish a national religion horrifies me. While some of the supporters probably answer out of ignorance and think it’s just a nice “Xtian thing to do” (which doesn’t make them any the less dangerous), I’ll proffer that a majority of them know damn well its implications and have an agenda in mind.
My guess is that those favoring a Christian Nation amendment know it is the first necessary step toward establishing a theocracy where religious doctrine and Jesus are recognized as the supreme basis for civil law.
It would lead to biblical justification for the elimination of all gay rights; possibly even making homosexuality a crime. It would result in Roe V. Wade being overturned as abhorrent to Christ. It would open the door to persecution of non-Christians, and open the flood gates of unstoppable government sponsored or endorsed proselytizing. It would permit crosses and icons of Christian religious figures to be posted in every court room, every school room, and every government office in the nation. It would put prayer back in public schools; legitimize religious preference for promotion in the military; establish a religious test to hold public office; permit tax dollars to directly support Christian churches; permit hiring decisions based on religious preference; the possibilities are endless, and frightening. It’s the ultimate nightmare to those who respect the Constitution and a free nation.
I’m not suggesting that the Constitution and the vision of our nation’s Founders are on the brink of being desecrated. But when you see a Christian flag hanging along side or under the American flag in a town park or memorial, or if you see people equating religiosity to Americanism, or when you hear people decrying secularism in our government and our schools’ curriculum, or politicians who invoke the Lord’s Prayer at governmental meetings … just keep in mind, this isn’t some miniscule lunatic fringe these are 1/3rd of your friends and neighbors and relatives.
I’m no chicken little. But I’m going to sleep a little better this evening after I send in a contribution to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, American’s United for the Separation of Church and State, and the ACLU.
You will too.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
[NOTE from the Camel: The following article is a guest posting by my friend and atheist activist Rachel Harger. This important call to action should be of interest to all, but especially Texas freethinkers. If you reside in Texas, or know someone who does...please bring this important info to their attention. Thanks.]
In the war for Texas independence, there was a famous rallying cry, "Come and Take It", which referred to the cannon at the battle of Gonzales. In a struggle that will be far less hostile, but hopefully no less successful, the Secular Legislative Action Committee (SLAC) is creating a movement to inject reason into the Texas democratic process.
SLAC is an ad hoc group of Texas citizens seeking a rational state government. We support the Jeffersonian ideal that church and state remain separate as well as the Lone Star State`s long-standing belief in personal liberty and individuality.
Over the last two decades, these ideals have been eroded by a persistent few who wish to replace scientific principals and the First Amendment with their personal beliefs and a de facto state religion. Not only does this campaign of religiosity infringe upon our freedoms and impede progress, it also leads to unsound and wasteful legislation that negatively impacts our educational system, our health care system, and our economy.
The secular community in Texas is a fast growing segment of the population with 22% of Texans considering themselves non-religious, up from 12% just five years ago. That puts Texas above the national average as a home for the non-religious. For the legislators of Texas to truly represent their electorate, the voices of the secular community of Texas must be heard.
SLAC believes that all Texans should be able to compete for the best jobs with a quality education that is not distorted by religious fable and dogma, and all Texans deserve affordable health care and reproductive choice without the interference of religious doctrine. All Texans also deserve equality under the law, not discrimination based upon personal religious belief. We hold that these rights are directly linked to our state's economic vitality and that Texans deserve effective government policy based on scientific realities that will achieve these goals.
If you agree with these principles, then SLAC is advocating for you. If you are a Texas resident and state endorsed religious doctrine has affected your education, your health, your constitutional rights, or your employment, we would like to hear from you. Please send your stories and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SlacSecularLegislativeActionCommittee. Please include a telephone number or email address where you can be reached. Your personal testimony could be an invaluable tool in persuading our legislature.
The current legislative session is considering an array of proposed bills that would remove religious influence in some cases, and increase it in others. HB (house bill) 2014 and SB (senate bill) 197 would require the notorious Texas School Board of Education to have public oversight on all changes made to public school curriculum. HB 51 would require the posting of the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms, but this bill is likely to die a slow death in committee. HB 2364 and SB 25 would make abortion illegal after twenty weeks.
House Bill 1300 would legalize same sex marriage; and for the first time ever, the Texas Legislature held a hearing concerning LGBT discrimination which included testimony from Fortune 500 companies in support of LGBT equality. For a more complete overview of the current legislative session, visit our website at www.slactx.org. For daily updates, you can also follow us on Twitter @slac_tx.
We seek and support rational leaders that know time is better spent taking meaningful action than on their knees in prayer. It is time for the secular community of Texas to demonstrate that philosophy. As SLAC-ers, we believe our future depends on it. Join SLAC on April 22nd to make our rallying cry for "Rational State Government" heard loud and clear. We will be in front of the Ten Commandments on the northwest side of the Capitol at 12:30pm. See you there!
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The headline in the Huffington Post reads: How Many U.S. Christians Believe Christ's 'Second Coming' Will Happen Soon? More Than You May Think
The headline implies we’ll be surprised. Well, I’m surprised, but for a completely different reason.
The 2010 Pew Survey (resurrected for Easter 2013 it seems) asked Christians if they thought Jesus’ second coming will happen in the next forty years. Forty-seven percent said yes. Another twenty-eight percent said “probably not.” Fourteen percent said “don’t know,” and only 10% said “definitely not”. Whole story and chart here:
I don’t know about you, but I’d have guessed higher than 47%. That’s why I’m surprised. Let’s face it; we live in the most religious nation in the Western and Industrialized world. Our list of religiously inspired imbecility can’t be touched by any other. Just a few examples:
- Shyster televangelists who rake in millions of dollars from gullible sheep as “prayer offerings.”
- Snake handlers whose deluded adherents regularly risk (and accomplish) totally unnecessary death due to their beliefs.
- We have the second highest percentage of Creationist believers who reject evolutionary theory (49%); a level of scientific ignorance surpassed only by Turkey.
- School boards who want Creationism taught in science classes.
- Fanatics who time and again depend on prayer and withhold medical aid to sick children allowing them to die unnecessarily.
- National politicians who invoke God, Crusade, or demonic activity as justification for war; and who site the bible for their opposition to gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose.
- Religious leaders who regularly blame gays and/or the lack of prayer in school for natural disasters or acts of mass murder; declare our president “the Anti-Christ”; and demonstrate at military funerals spewing their homophobic hate. .
- Local governments that thumb their collective noses at the separation of church and state by insisting their government meetings be opened with “The Lord’s Prayer”; or that their religious symbols should be given a place of honor on government property.
- Judges whose decisions are guided as much, or more, by their interpretation of the bible than by the US or their state’s Constitution; or who see no conflict in sentencing a defendant to church attendance in lieu of a fine or imprisonment.
Given this and other indicators of US Christian crazy can anyone really be surprised that almost half of Christians think their dead man-god is going to be coming down from the heavens with a “sword in his mouth” mounted on a horse, trumpets blaring to end the world as we know it and rule over the planet within the next forty years?
After all, even though he is reported to have said he’d return in the lifetime of his contemporaries (Matt 24:34), every generation of Christians has expected Jesus’ return to happen in their life time, going back 1700 years - roughly 85 generations. No doubt each of them were surprised it didn’t happen. One would think that would be a hint, an indication, a suggestion that maybe, just maybe the fictional Jesus’ biographers were full of shit.
But at least believers are consistently foolish. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said :
”A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen, philosophers and divines.”