Hallowed Be Thine Own
Take a Left Turn:
Just a few days ago on November 26th, Pope Francis made a speech and in his homily titled ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ he expounds on the indifference of capitalist states when he professes, “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
He further claims, “Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. Trickle-down theories of economics were not proved, involved a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and were likely to lead to violence rather than wealth.”
The Pope sums up his apostolic exhortation in urging politicians to carry out ethics-based financial reform in stipulating, “money must serve, not rule.”
In this Pope’s unshackled speech he addressed society mired in the derived media quote of “unfettered capitalism” as the “new tyranny.” He took issue and he took sides insisting religion should hold dear to missionary impulse for the poor rather than seeking routes of self-preservation for the elite.
Pope Francis indeed appears as the pontifical legate for the people and doesn’t much emphasize the special interests of monetary power and authority. In other words, he is following the dictates of the Christ. Of course this has rubbed American right-wing conservatives in bristling fashion as the prevailing thought in the U.S.’s fundamentalist self-greed scheme is that vastness in wealth is a holy event. TV evangelists who own a mini vast empire that are tax exempt preach that God bestows incorruptible blessings onto the rich…being rich and holding onto that wealth is good…then they display the number for their viewers to send in donations. I even heard one TV evangelist stress to his relegated viewers to not send anything less than $50.00; if so, he wouldn’t accept it and God would not bless them.
Now, in their quest in making it rich off the Lord, these evangelist and like-minded wealthy businessmen are in stark contrast to the teachings of the Lord. As stated before, Jesus Christ was not only for the poor he was for the destitute and didn’t particularly take kindly for the well-off in his teachings.
Luke 6:20-21 ~ Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
Luke 4:16-19 ~ When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
Matthew 25:34-36 ~ Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
Matthew 25:41-46 ~ Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.” Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
Mark 12:41-44 ~ He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Mark 10:21-22 ~ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Luke 14:12-14 ~ He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.”
Luke 16:19-25 ~ Jesus spoke of, “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.’”
Luke 12:16-21 ~ Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Luke 11:39-42 ~ Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you. But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God.”
Pharisees were the high ranking socialite members of the Jewish community during the days of Jesus and along with the Sadducees, the Jewish sect holding governmental power at the time…the Christ head offended them to no end. Jesus was a constant nemesis to these Jewish factions. The same has unfolded in the American conservative’s reaction to Pope Francis’ speech.
On the conservative blog, Gawker.com under the title ‘Top Screw Capitalism Lines in Pope Francis’ Speech’ the conservative commenters had a fit in the Pope’s mentioning of, ‘“Thou shalt not kill’ setting a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life. Today, we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.” One of the blog site’s writers, Adam Weinstein responded by calling the Pope a commie in saying, “Is he el papa del communism?”
A Wall Street Journal opinion piece by conservative writer, Liam Moloney headlining the article as ‘Pope Assails New Tyranny of Unchecked Capitalism,’ rails against the Pope in criticizing capitalism in its extreme form accusing the Pope of being “a salvo against global economy.”
The Atlantic’s website asininely advocates, “The Pope has declared a new enemy.”
Jonathan Moseley, head of the Northern Virginia Tea Party went so far as to speculate that Jesus is crying over the Pope’s socialist philosophy. His exact words were, “Jesus Christ is weeping in heaven hearing Christians espouse a socialist philosophy that has created suffering and poverty around the world.”
The trailblazer in all these right-wing reactionaries to the Pope’s message though, is Rush Limbaugh’s tirade. Limbaugh railed, “This is pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope,” while attempting to ascertain how the Pope could even speak against capitalism, even less dare to on his own accord.
For ya see, it is totally beyond Limbaugh’s faculty comprehension that Pope Francis, a man of compassion and reason in fore thought, could really mean what he said. No, it must either be that someone put him up to it or the Pope is coming from shaking off one hard drunk from all the Jesus communal wine.
In Rush’s distorted mind…how else could the Pope attack extreme capitalism and money idolatry? How can one even imagine that the Pope is actually standing up for the masses instead of the privileged...he ain’t going to get the church aisle plates filled that way.
No, if the Pope is believing in his astute observations, then he must be a socialist or even a Maoist...Limbaugh might dare say if Pope Francis truly believes in his critical thinking formed from astute observation...then he has got to be commie red, not head of the Church...
Two Republican congressmen, one former and one current claim to be strong Catholics while they politically deride the poor instead of poverty and accentuate aggressively in their protectionist policies legislating for corporate and the wealthy elite. The two are, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and former senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. If these two are sticking to their political guns they certainly must not be happy Catholics right now.
Although Santorum backs capitalism inequality as a matter of faith, both Republicans have remained relatively quiet and understandably so, for the 1.2 billion global Catholics are hailing Pope Francis’ oration as a godsend. Heck, there are protestants even wanting to jump ship and become Catholic after this Pope’s speech.
In Ryan’s continuing budget quests to defund public program benefits and exclude corporate/wealthy elitist from sharing any burden in the United States’ ailing economy, he must be filling a little distressed after the Pope said in his sermon’s passage, “In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”
For myself, I see the discomfort in conservative deep seated viewpoints. They rationalize the world as ‘takers’ and ‘makers’ plotting the poor as the takers and the wealthy as the makers. They view the poor as the moocher on societies where the liberal views the world in stark contrast with the wealthy elitist as the moocher and the poor as the victim and perhaps as any true follower of Jesus would recognize…as rightly so.
The conservative wealthy elitist feel they made their life of leisure through hard work on their own, never minding whose backs they stepped over in getting there. They claim “self-made,” but nobody in a society ever makes it on their explicit own…there was a helping hand to pull them out of the rut when needed somewhere down the line. Their warped sense of patriotism allowed them to make all their money in America, but invest it elsewhere, not wanting to put back a dime into the nation that afforded them their opportunity to gain vast wealth. This is the true mooching.
A democratic society cannot stand if there is an unfair balance in wealth distribution. To share is a necessity for its maintenance and if one cannot give back a little to the society that made their vast wealth possible, then they need to take all their profusion with them and go move to a mountaintop or river bottom where they can be content beside all their money, but minus leeching off the advantages a society affords.
One time at a little social event in overhearing a discussion between a politically neutral person and a conservative libertarian, the noncommittal person stated, “I suppose we should help the poor,” while the libertarian fired back, “No…only if they help me.”
While waiting for the other person to respond, he did not, so I had to add my two-cents worth by filling in for the mute one. To the libertarian I questioned, “Are you Christian,” in which the reply was, “Very much so.” I further added, “Then are you saying the poor have no right to a social mobility ladder and the more secured in a society have no obligations to lay a foundation for the poor to climb out of the rut?” To which he snubbed, “You don’t help the poor in making them unemployable in society by raising the minimum wage. You do not educate them in government demanding a public education and you keep them being victimized in having to live in violent neighborhoods because government makes drugs illegal.”
Wow, here’s a conservative libertarian living in his cushy religious world with all the answers for those who don’t. I lit into him with my fiery brand of liberalism. Asking if he could name one instance where the minimum wage was raised and followed by steep unemployment or even a hike in consumer goods; he could not.
Asking if he went to public schools during his youth and if it benefited him where he is today, he said that was so, but only because of his way of utilizing it to benefit himself. My counter was…the poor cannot afford private education, so by keeping American youth ignorant and uneducated without any government stipulations to a core or basic public education, you don’t think that would be a continuation in their disparity and poverty and that perhaps a few of them might utilize that public education as well as you did in bettering themselves? A government is crucial in its educated society, culture and informed citizenry. His only reply was forcing kids into education is not beneficial. How? In his mind, who knows, for he did not elaborate.
On the final topic, I told him the victimization is due to poverty…drugs, along with the other ills accompanying impoverishment are secondary outlets to escape the throes of feeling destitute. Where without acknowledgement, he stated he simply disagrees. Now that is amazing grace.
The kicker to all this, is that most conservatives, in particular the political ones, did not want to publicly criticize the Pope, so went after a much easier target…the president in a warped way in being viewed as defending Catholicism.
The U.S. government is in the process of moving the Vatican embassy to be annexed to the Italian embassy. Republican Christians have poured out in demeaning this. Even Jeb Bush, whom they clarify as the “smart Bush,” although I don’t think so, for there is simply no such thing as a smart Bush…merely a leveled inequity of gray matter…anyway, Jeb had this to say on his 11/27/2013 tweet, “Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare.”
‘The National Republican Senatorial Committee’ (NRSC) deceitfully quotes that Obama has closed the Vatican embassy, while religious conservative Raymond Flynn, along with a slew of other conservatives had this to say about it, “It’s not just those who bomb churches and kill Catholics in the Middle East who are our antagonists, but it’s also those who restrict our religious freedoms and want to close down our embassy to the Holy See.”
The point is, the Obama administration is not closing down the Vatican embassy, they’re simply moving it to be annexed by the Italian embassy and will actually be 0.4 miles/0.64 kilometers closer to the Vatican square. There will be no redaction of the ambassador to the Vatican and the move aids in security and will save the taxpayer $1.4 million per year. Now isn’t security and lowering debt what Republicans always whine about?
Stuart Varney of ‘Fox Business News’ retaliated on his ‘My Take’ segment that financial marketplaces work well for everyone no matter what Pope Francis feels. He then promptly accuses the Pope of needling religion into politics when he stated, “I personally do not want my spiritual life mixed up with my political life. I go to church to save my soul. It’s got nothing to do with my vote.”
Oh really…Varney was born, raised and schooled in England, but has been in the U.S. since 2004 working for Fox News as a conservative economist. If he still claims saving his soul has nothing to do with his vote, then he hasn’t learned much yet on the party he panders to, for the glove of the Republican Party and fundamental Christianity slip quite smoothly onto one hand.
In one of my innumerable forays in political debating, concerning the government shutdown, the woman I was speaking with, who by the way had brought the topic up, all of a sudden became silent. She then proceeded to submit a lecture looking straight ahead as if reading from a lectern, emotionless yet frustrated on why I would chastise Republicans for the event.
She was insisting I always blame Republicans and was tired of it. She pointed out that I was blasting her religion. I had to say wait a minute…hold on a bit tighter to the reins of your horse…you undoubtedly know political views are fair game in my opinion and upfront you know full well that I am a heathen with no religious affiliation, but you also know I would not blast your religious beliefs. She then said still staring ahead…yes you do, my conservative political beliefs are the same as my Christian religious values.
Backing off a bit, as I could see she was visibly upset, I still inferred no ma’am, politics and religion in the U.S. may be on parallel tracks, but they are separate. She insisted, no they are not…they are the same.
With that, as once we were good friends, she has not spoken to me since and I have to respect her wishes. But her statement is so true for the fundamentalist Christian; they indeed do see politics and their form of religion as not just complementing, but as a fused agglutination.
In my former friend’s mind, there is nothing that can be done to ameliorate and renew our friendship, for her beliefs are embedded too deeply and reasoning will not relax her beliefs’ grip in what she insists to perceive as true. It doesn’t matter that the vast majority of Republican policy is geared only for 5% of the nation’s wealthiest populace, as long as the perception that the Republican Party is affixed to Christian values, they are one and the same to her.
For me personally, this is the problem with any government where religion creeps in and takes hold. Where there is a supposed free elective democracy as in Iran and yes Israel…it does not hide the fact that the full authority is based on a theocracy. One would not want to be a Jew, a Christian or even a Sunni Muslim in Iran. Just as well, one would not want to be a Moslem period or even a Christian in Israel. Both governments are biased toward their prevailing religion while bigoted toward others.
America’s founding fathers were instrumental in creating the USA and its federated government, but were not the founders of a new land. That title goes to Jamestown colonists in 1607 and the Plymouth pilgrims in 1632. By contrast in dates, George Washington wasn’t even born until 1732, Thomas Jefferson in 1743 and James Madison in 1751.
These men, though confessing to be religious wanted nothing to do with the tyranny brought about by religious dictum. The founding fathers totally comprehended the inclusive conditonalism that is borne from religion. In 1779, Jefferson and Madison wrote, lobbied for and got passed through the state assembly the ‘Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom’ that disestablished any main religion’s authority. Further, Madison and patriot James Gordon Jr. attached an amendment as the ‘Establishment Clause’ known more popularly as the First Amendment to the Constitution. The 1st amendment expressively prohibits the establishment of an official federal religion. Jefferson is the one who coined the term within the amendment, “separation of church and state” in a letter to the Danbury, Connecticut Baptist Association.
The only other mention of religion in the Constitution is Article VI where the third paragraph states, “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
For sure Article VI’s constitutional edict does not go down well in today’s mingled Republican/moral majority, for could you imagine, no matter how well qualified a candidate is for high office announced that he was agnostic, or worse…atheist? Forget winning the candidacy, he/she would be crucified by the religious public after being flogged and quartered by the media.
It is true that the early colonist puritans came here to lead a life dictated by their own religious choosing and beliefs. Fair enough, but everyone in their fold were expected to abide only by their exclusive religious teachings, so they had brought the factor with them they had left the European continent to escape from…and that was religious intolerance.
This self-proclaimed manifest destiny that God had ordained North America’s land to early European settlers and immigrants to own and control as they saw fit led to a deluge of anti-Christ acts. From slaughtering the original inhabitants to the present where the fundamentalist Christian American still feels approved by God in this manifest destiny sequence even to the point it was existentially extended into the excuse for Bush’s Iraqi invasion. Did ya know that scalping was not an original Indian act…they learned the horrid behavior from the early Christian pioneers that used an Indian’s scalp as bounty in collecting money.
National Religious Incorporated:
Instead of progressing, religion in the U.S. appears to be taking a back turn withdrawing to more primal times. The laws of the Old Testament are based on primitive beliefs and if you believe in one then you must believe in them all. The same goes in reverse, if you reject one you should reject them all. The religious right does not do this…they pick and choose to satisfy their belief…not to fulfill deified edicts. Case in point…homosexuality...
Ultimately, when arguing with a moral majoralist (a made-up suffixed word of mine) on gaydom (another word of mine), in condemning it, they will turn to the passed around phrase, “Because my Bible tells me so.” Assuredly, one can find numerous passages in the Bible damning homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 calls it an abomination, while a bit further in reading, Leviticus 20:13 calls for its punishment by death. In Romans 1:16-28 and I Corinthians 6:9 both books list homosexuality with all kinds of wickedness.
So, if one uses these verses as arguments to attack queerfulness (but another one made-up) why remain mired in the pick ‘n’ choose doldrums? Other primitive biblical laws state rebellious sons should be put to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21), or a child merely cursing at its parents be stoned to death (Exodus 21:17).
Do you still believe in witches as they did during the ‘Salem Witch Trials?’ If so then you should put them all to death according to Exodus 22:18. Dudes are not to escape the wraths of these primitive laws either, for wizards are to be executed as well in Leviticus 20:27.
If a groom deems his bride to not be a virgin on their honeymoon night, she is to be stoned to death in Deuteronomy 22:13-21. If a priest’s daughter is ever caught in any act of fornication, she was decreed by biblical law to be burned to death in Leviticus 21:9.
The Bible not only condoned slavery throughout, it gave specific instruction on how to own one person by another (Exodus 21:1-6, 20, 26 & Leviticus 25:44-46).
One had better not be too proud, for haughtiness is punishable by death in II Samuel 22:28 while reemphasized in Romans 1:28, 30, 32.
One who ministers from the Bible in a manner that is not specific to God’s liking should be executed (Deuteronomy 13:5). We got a lot of those running around today known as TV evangelists, in particular Pat Robertson. With all his deviant scriptural interpretations, he had better be looking over his shoulder, for God’s wrath in Deuteronomy 13:5 just might have the justification in annihilating Robertson. In Pat believing today’s female agenda is not about equal rights but a socialistic movement that is anti-family, enforces witchcraft and destroys capitalism and ‘Gay Day’ at Disneyworld will bring on hurricanes to destroy Orlando as set forth from the wrath of God, probably doesn’t appeal to Jesus much.
During the 2012 elections, Robertson swore to his millions of listeners that God had told him who was going to win the presidency. He did not come out and name names, no he was too clever for that to be pinned down, but during this rant of his he bashed Obama, while extolling virtues showered all over Romney. It was obvious to his viewers on how he wanted them to vote. Turns out, it appears God did not tell him, but lied to him. Surely portraying God in a lying manner does meet the punishment requirements expressed in the Deuteronomistic verse.
In the US, the religious right is exclusively conditional and wants to force that belief onto the national front through Republicanism. There are also religious progressives, but they push more for humanitarian inclusion. In the states, progressive religion that conforms more to aiding the poor, feeding the hungry and extending unemployment benefits to bereft families are much more quiet in that they do not pursue their quests in a national theater, but more on an individual level. In Europe though, that is not the case.
Where America’s religious right delves more on the sins of homosexuality, women’s rights and abortion and desires their beliefs to become national policies, European religious movements want to create national policies more on charitable and philanthropic grounds to benefit the public overall. The European religious groups seek justice from partiality and feel that under capitalism a society needs to prepare for the inequities of a market driven economy and promote a system of economic well-being and social stability for all. In this, they demand that their government denounce financial exploitation and that appropriate resources be availed for those that are being left behind, in particularly the poor. It’s exactly the opposite case with America’s religious right, for there is a notable exclusion of the poor…even a chastisement.
This past October, the religious right’s ‘Voters Value Summit’ detailed a lot of sociopolitical values, but nothing concerning ethics or humanitarian issues. The main focus of the Christian conservatives’ convention was the repeal of the ACA law and working out strategies to make national policy move more in line to their perceived Christian beliefs. What value is that for a society’s blanket benefit? Again, they were exclusive of the general public pushing only for their pretentious agendas as dictated by covetous beliefs.
Fueled by the SCOTUS decision in the Citizens United case, where the majority conservative judges deemed corporations as people, corporations on religious grounds are now once again at the Supreme Court doors. Since corporations are individuals entailing all the rights afforded, for-profit corporations led by Hobby Lobby are expressing the federal government cannot infringe on its religious rights by enforcing corporations’ insurance policy plans to include birth control to employers. They claim this is in direct violation in the freedom of individual’s religious rights, therefore corporations too. A decision is expected this month.
What this means in my most fervent opinion, is that if SCOTUS decides on behalf of corporations, then true individuals’ rights will be infringed on. A devout ‘Christian incorporated’ (whatever that’s interpreted as) has the right to take away employer rights in discriminating against healthcare, sexuality, religion and spirituality. Can Christians even imagine the breadth they would take in angst if a Moslem American corporation instilled its religious laws at the workplace?
In direct violation of First Amendment freedom of religion rights, the conservative religious right attempt to exclude other religions. In doing so, they are creeping over the wall of separation between church and state that is also implicitly implied in the First Amendment while verified and confirmed by the Everson vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.
Recited by a muezzin, the adhan is the call to prayer in the Islamic tradition. A Republican member of the city council in Clermont, Florida has decided to use the adhan as a tool to block the zoning approval in the construction of a mosque. This council member, Ray Goodgame wrote in an objection piece to the council, “Wailing may become a nuisance to many. There are other people who live within hearing distance of the property. I don’t want them to destroy the community with their music.” In using his political authority, Goodgame, like in many other regions of the U.S. are using this line for any religion that doesn’t appeal to their beliefs.
When Herman Cain was running in the GOP presidential primaries, he had this to say about a proposal in building a mosque in Nashville, Tennessee, “They are using the church, part of our First Amendment to infuse their mosque in that community and the people in the community do not like it, they disagree with it. I’m simply saying I owe it to the American people to be cautious because terrorists are trying to kill us.” What Cain is almost directly saying is that Muslims, deemed so as all to be terrorists, are using Christianity that he feels is the only exclusive religion for First Amendment religious rights.
In 2010, the Chung Tai Buddhist group wanted to build a temple on land they owned in Walnut, California. The city council denied them permission with the argument the temple would create too much noise and traffic even though they could not corroborate this argument.
In his letter titled, ‘Legitimate Conversions Must Be Supported,’ the Reverend Doctor George E. David stresses that all American Hindus must be converted to Christianity blaming Hinduism in promoting illiteracy and poverty in India. The reverend needs to look around him in his Christiane country first before sweeping Hindu porches, for in America’s dominated Christian communities poverty and hunger is abounding with conservatives blocking any public programs to assist in alleviating it.
Yoga PE exercises have even been attacked as anti-Christian by the conservative right. In a San Diego suburb the Encinitas school district was taken to court to have all yoga activity ceased. Fortunately, they lost the case. The conservative plaintiff’s lawyer, Dean Broyles though, had this to say after the trial, “The judge’s ruling was part of a broader bias against Christianity. Yoga is religious and has religious aspects. There is a consistent anti-Christian bias in these cases, and a pro-Eastern or strange religion bias.” Actually today, as yoga has been incorporated into American culture, I don’t think most of us even relate it to a religion…more so than just a healthy boring exercise.
What I do not appreciate at all is the religious right’s attack on science. One can believe anything they so desire, as long as they realize beliefs aren’t necessarily factual. But one cannot argue a belief without any proof against a substantive truth that is backed by proof. What the religious right and their church politicking are incorporating into school systems is in utmost fashion disgraceful to the education of our children.
In red states like my own Texas, where in 2010 the state school board banned any school books “that paint Islam in too favorable of a light,” conservatives are changing academic books to be molded around their fundamentalist beliefs. Here are some examples…
Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years. Life Science 3rd edition
God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ. America: Land That I Love, Teacher edition
The Ku Klux Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians. United States History for Christian Schools, 3rd edition
Ignoring 3,500 years of Judeo-Christian civilization, religion, morality, and law, the Burger Court held that an unborn child was not a living person but rather the “property” of the mother (much like slaves were considered property in the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford). American Government in Christian Perspective, 2nd edition
Is it possible that a fire-breathing animal really existed? Today some scientists are saying yes. They have found large chambers in certain dinosaur skulls…The large skull chambers could have contained special chemical-producing glands. When the animal forced the chemicals out of its mouth or nose, these substances may have combined and produced fire and smoke. Life Science, 3rd edition
The last one here is truly incredulous, for to promote their dinosaur living alongside man falsity, they use a myth to justify it and if they had paid attention in their own proper science class they would know that plesiosaurs weren’t dinosaurs, but marine reptiles…
Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur. One ACE textbook – Biology 1099
For cryin’ out loud, as the saying goes…It doesn’t matter how many people disclaim evolution and history…scientific data and historical fact are not determined by popular opinion or pervading beliefs. As I always insist…keep your religion out of our school rooms and I’ll ensure we keep science and rational history out of your Sunday schools.
Ya know, in this amalgamation of religion and politics onto America’s national scene is actually recent starting in the mid-1900’s, but has really taken off in the past fifteen years with the merger of fundamentalist Christianity to Republicanism.
America overall was perhaps more religious in times past, but they constitutionally adhered to the separation of church and state keeping religion as an individual identity and politics as a national identity.
Replacing ‘E pluribus unum’ with ‘In God We Trust’ became the official motto of the U.S. in 1956 and the motto began officially appearing on paper currency in 1957.
The Republican Joseph McCarthy 1950s communist witch hunts had a religious fervor and undertone to it as fundamentalists feel Satan works through communism to destroy families.
The socialist Francis Bellamy wrote the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ in 1892 and arranged it for students to recite in public schools. As a socialist, he originally wanted to add equality and fraternity, but in knowing state superintendents of education were against equality for African Americans and fraternizing with women, struck the two words off. In Bellamy’s original composition, it did not include the phrase “one nation under God,” just simply, “one nation indivisible.” The modification was added by congress in 1954.
Once the sixties came around, it put a halt on religious national creep, but once all the hippies grew older into yuppies religion regained its foothold onto the national scene. Ever since then, through the Republican Party, Christian fundamentalism has been leaching into governmental legislation.
The moral majority right should be commending instead of condemning the IRS right now. In the past few years, where they still vigorously do so and prosecute non-religious charitable groups, the IRS has not pursued investigations of tax exempt religious organizations and churches in political electioneering.
So much so that Billy Graham’s ministry has gotten a free ride when the ministry engaged in blatant electioneering and took out a number of advertisements urging fellow believers to vote with biblical principals in mind. Just days before, Graham and his son had met with the Romney campaign to discuss said principles.
Just before the presidential elections on October 07, 2012 designated by conservative churches as ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday,’ as many as 1,500 preachers flaunting their tax exempt status gave political sermons to vote conservative.
Meanwhile, the ‘Alliance Defending Freedom’ is fighting in courts by misconstruing rights to free speech to allow religious right organizations and churches to express their political views but still be tax exempt.
I don’t like this…I do not, for the ones who put intelligent design over evolution are forcing a belief policy onto the rest of us that do not particularly cater to their opinions. If there was a creator in intelligent design, he most certainly goofed up in a big way, for there is a long laundry list of missteps. For instance: death, disease, injuries, mental retardation, genetic mutations, natural disasters, bigotry, W. Bush and simply allowing human culture and knowledge to have to evolve in reaching more convenient comforts suffering through trial and error along the way.
The caveman most certainly didn’t have it as cushy as we do today. There were no arrows pointing out which plant is poisonous and which is edible. The caveman had to die in learning that for himself.
Speaking of death, in all of its finality, I disdain death. I am so saddened in losing a pet, feel deeply when youth passes, can hardly take a relative or close friend dying and of course am not looking forward to my final day in seeing a sunrise and sunset. I abhor death and can therefore understand why religious folk are absorbed in it as an extension of themselves.
I fully understand the concept in wanting to feel death is just another passage in your continuance, for it is a shaky sensation in thinking you will be eternally nonexistent once death arrives at your door. No one wants to know they will cease to exist, not see, feel and experience a loved one ever again.
With that said though, I’m rational enough to reason that for life to continue, present life must exit. However, we do continue on in our progeny. As long as there is life our genes hitchhike from one generation to the other after the other.
In seeking fun on a continual basis, I do my utmost best, even in stressful situations to live life in its fullest experiencing every essence it offers. I have no need, nor time to be hung up on what happens after death spending all my life concerned about that.
In living a non-religious, but spiritual life, I hope to pass on goodness far more than any negatives to anyone or any life form for that matter. For the fundamental Christian that is not enough, for no matter how good an exemplary life one leads, if he does not believe in the one deity…he is damned to Hell. It’s as if there is not enough room in heaven for all the goodness in heart souls.
Religion first came about to vanquish fear in one of the concepts man could not comprehend and that was death. It later evolved into an authority’s tool in shaping human events within a society. When rulers proclaimed a perceived enemy as evil, societal beliefs cast this other group as malevolent interlopers going against the will of their god. Blasphemy became an ingrained concept long before the word describing it ever came about.
This still holds true today. The former Soviet Union was reviled more by the conservative religious for being a “commie atheist” state than for being an inhumane totalitarian state. Surely off course, lest we never forget W. Bush’s combined imperial and religious undertone ‘Axis of Evil’ speech in vilifying.
Throughout the world, Christians are looked upon for their caring and giving except here in parts of the U.S. With the caudal marriage between Republican rhetorical ideologue and conservative religious right moral perceptions, Jesus’ teachings are being replaced. In the name of Jesus, the new order leans towards self-serving, greed, don’t blame the rich and revile the poor supplanting what Jesus actually taught.
Today’s religious fundamentalist moral majority Republican locks their door and shutters their windows shunning anyone in need. They’re all for defunding the few programs for the poor considering them beggars of society, but yet aggressively protect wealthy elitist/corporate welfare whom are not in need.
They constantly claim the commandment thou shalt not kill while packing concealed heat and being the first in line to pull the switch, tighten the noose or inject the needle into the arm of the condemned prisoner.
Incessantly defending the right to own assault weapons intended for battlefields to be distributed into our neighborhoods where children play, in displaying an angered political viewpoint, they are bringing warfare to our front doors.
Finally, spiritualism is not solely owned by religion. Spiritualism is an individual event and can occur through any context no matter the belief, opinion or affiliation of that individual. If you truly want to revere, tip your hat to Nelson Mandela. He died this week and truly was a man for the ages past, present and future. Mandela, just as Lincoln, Gandhi, Jesus...represented the spirit of the oppressed. Mandela’s story is never ending, so his story continues on. His legacy will live on. May his spirit eternally find peace…he was grace for us all in the humanities…
In Yuletide Giving