mijan: (Kirk: Gotta be fucking kidding me)
Aaah, you know what time it is. The Family Research Council (a homophobic organization in bed with the National Organization for Marriage and other fundamentalist dominionist Christian groups) had their head honcho post this piece of trash on CNN.com:

Apparently, Jesus was a free market supporter. Christ for Capitalism! WHEEE!!!

This is such a juicy piece of religion-twisting-for-propaganda. I've seen stuff like this in recent months - lots of folks pretending that Jesus was a pro-capitalism financial cheerleader. It's hilarious. Did you see that billboard? Yeah, that sort of shit.

See, just because I left the Jesus Fan Club years ago doesn't mean I don't remember all those years of Bible studies. I also happen to have a mother (Hi, Mom!) who was the odd combination of rational and religious. So... for being raised in the Jesus Fan Club, I had a very practical application of it. Science was reality. Religion is morality (sorta). But anyway...

This article twists one of the parables. Go on, read the article.

...

I said read it. Otherwise, how else will you know what I'm ranting about?

Read it? Good. So... here's what I want to say to the knucklehead who wrote this:

The parable of the King giving the minas to his servants wasn't about monetary profits. The parable was about growing the numbers of followers, making a spiritual investment, and also making the most of the gifts God gave to you such as your intelligence and compassion.

As far as the business of making money was concerned... wasn't Jesus the guy who threw the merchants out of the temple? Didn't he say (regarding money and taxes), "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's?" Didn't he say, "Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor?"

And... doesn't the Bible condemn usury? It does. Repeatedly. You see, we don't have a capitalist system. We have a corporatist system, and our entire financial structure is based on the lending of money at interest... a practice condemned in multiple places in the Bible. In fact, the Bible is significantly clearer on its stance against usury than "hot button" issues like gays and abortion. Go on... do a search for "Bible usury." Those two words will bring you plenty of references.

The Bible specifically condemns usury in regards to lending money to the poor. Good followers of God are supposed to lend money to those in need, but NOT at interest. NEVER at interest. Not to the poor, nor to family or friends. And if you charge interest to a wealthy person in a business transaction, the interest rate must not be excessive. Have you seen the interest rates on credit cards? THAT is usury, NOT free market as Jesus would have recognized it.

Of course, I'm not Christian. Wise man said, "I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ." Well, just because I'm not part of the Jesus fan club doesn't mean I can't read and comprehend. It doesn't stop me from holding your own behavior up against the religion YOU CLAIM and seeing whether or not you're full of shit. And having come from a Christian background and knowing your religion inside and out, I KNOW YOUR HYPOCRISY. It's an ugly, ugly thing you have going.

Someday, you're going to have to accept that the biggest reason (other than the Constitution) that we're not a Christian nation is because a nation that actually followed Christ wouldn't treat the poor, the sick, the hungry, the homeless, the outcasts, and strangers as we treat them. And as for OWS... yeah, Jesus would have been down in the Occupy Wall Street protests. Not just protesting along with them, but leading them through the lobbies of the huge corporate banks and throwing out the CEO's who are raking the poor people of the nation over the coals. Jesus would condemn the entire mortgage industry, the credit card companies, and all those making money through the exploits of usury and investment trading. Jesus would be a socialist.

Talk about an inconvenient truth.

The point is that we're dealing with people who have no qualms about manipulating and completely twisting the nation's dominant religion in order to sway public policy in the most insidious way. The point is that people listen to this shit. It's bad enough that people want to base public policy on ANY religion... but once there are no rules, and the religion can be bent to the whims of the people in power, completely gutting ANY positive message that the religion once had... we're in trouble.

So... in conclusion, I bring back this oldie-but-goody. Take it away, Stephen:

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it.”
― Stephen Colbert
mijan: (Stormtrooper - Loser)
This is NOT worksafe due to language.  A LOT of language.  This is a brilliantly and elegantly direct commentary on the Pope's defense (and feigned ignorance) of all the child-raping priests in the Catholic church. 

If you're Catholic, and you want the church leadership to come clean, ferret out the child rapists, and have those child-abusing criminals turned over to the authorities for punishment instead of allowing the papacy to protect them, then that's fine.  This shouldn't offend you.  I know a few Catholics who agree with this strongly.  Even before I escaped the Catholic church, I agreed with the sentiment of this video.

However, if it offends you because ZOMG RESPECT TEH POPE, and you think the pope us justified in sheltering and defending the child-fucking priests all over the damned world, then fuck you, too.  Sorry. 

If it offends you because of the excessive cussing... er... I write porn.  There's a lot of fucking on this LJ.  Really, this is nothing.

(Why do I ever feel a need to justify what I post on my own damned LJ?  I should examine that.)

Without further ado, enjoy the song.


mijan: (Stand back! Try science!)
As some of you know, the Boobquake on Monday was the inadvertent brainchild of a college student from Indiana who responded with delightful tongue-in-cheek humor to that Iranian cleric who said that promiscuous women cause earthquakes.  So the natural, scientific way to test that assertion was to dress provocatively and then check the earthquake frequency at the time of the experiment. 

Well, the RESULTS are in!  And as you can probably guess, these ladies' lovely cleavage did not shake the earth.  It might have shaken other wonderful things, but the tectonic response was neutral.  Besides, if that was the case, we would see massive earthquake activity on Mardi Gras, Cinqo de Mayo, Halloween, and Pride Days.  Who wants to bet that there's no correlation there, either?

Now, this cleric isn't alone in his assertions.  Religious nuts of all persuasions and creeds have been making claims like this for thousands of years.  That's nothing new.  In fact, back in 1998, Janis Walworth wrote an article about Pat Robertson's claims that gays were incurring God's wrath in the form of natural disasters: Do Gays Cause Hurricanes?  Read it.  It's a lovely bit of statistical satire that really proves its point.  It also proves that religious fundamentalists of all creeds tend to make crass, judgmental statements that have no basis in reality.  In the "highly amusing irony" category, you should also note that Pat Robertson made those comments in 1998. The first hurricane to make landfall in the United States in 1998, after Robertson's comments, was Hurricane Bonnie.  Bonnie landed in North Carolina  and caused a great deal of havoc and millions of dollars of damage to the Hampton Roads/VA Beach area of VA. And... VA Beach is the HQ of Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.

So... in conclusion, wear what makes you comfortable!  Have a wet t-shirt contest!  Wear a bikini!  Wear a corset!  Wear fishnet stockings and stilettos!  Your attire will NOT cause an earthquake!  It may cause your parents to have a heart attack, but you will not cause the earth to crack open and swallow cities whole while fire and brimstone rain down upon the earth.   Likewise, modest attire will not prevent these things from happening either.  Sometimes... an earthquake is just an earthquake.
mijan: (McCoy: Major Malfunction?!?)
Cross-posted from [livejournal.com profile] cluegirl 's LJ, HERE:

During the course of the case, the CDCR, other related defendants, and the Assistant Attorneys General who represents them have argued before the court that Pagans are not deserving of equal civil rights as are provided adherents of the preferred faiths. In one of their first arguments to the court, the defendants said that certain "traditional" faiths are first tier faiths and that those faiths were meant to have equal rights and protections under the United States Constitution, but that all of the other faiths, for example, Hindus, Pagans, Buddhists, Sikhs, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jains, are second tier faiths deserving of lesser rights, and therefore are not meant to have the same equal rights and protections under the United States Constitution as the first tier faiths.

Okay, read the article it's linked to.  Then read the articles and sources linked through that first link.  Take a look and see what this is all about.  Basically, this assholes want to re-define the term "religion" in the legal sense to only include the religions that they deem worthy or acceptable, on the grounds that they claim the founding fathers only meant the Abrahamic faiths when referring to religion.  Everybody else... sorry!  Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists... OUT OF THE POOL!  

Do I think any court will actually state that there are second-tier religions in this country?  I want to say no, but I don't want to be complacent about the notion.  There are wingnuts in this country who really do believe that certain religions should be legally designated to second-class status, or even forbidden. 

PLEASE REMEMBER that the wingnuts to whom I am referring here are a sub-set of Christians, not all of them, not by a long shot.  DO NOT BASH ALL CHRISTIANS ON MY LIVEJOURNAL.  But please, feel free to discuss this form of bigoted extremism that's being so openly displayed in efforts such as this one. 

PLEASE cross-post.  People need to know that cases like this are happening.  This is the sort of case that could lead to religious discrimination and bigotry on this continent on a level we've not seen since the Salem Witch Trials.  Wait... I'm wrong.  The recent President Bush declared that Pagan religions weren't real religions and shouldn't be allowed to be practiced on military bases.  *shrugs*  I guess bigotry never quite goes out of fashion, huh?
mijan: (Default)
Have you ever played with Google Trends? It takes one, two, or more topics, and graphs the amount of internet traffic on that topic over a span of time. Basically, you can compare trends to see if there are correlations between things. They can be totally random things, or closely related things.

Today, I decided to play with Google Trends, and tried THIS on for size:


Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of violence in all years.

religion
 
2.18
violence
 
1.00





(Pardon the blurry picture - I tried to enlarge it so you could see it better.  Click here to see the original page.)

Hmmm... a strong correlation between religion and violence? Let the data speak for itself; make of it what you will.  Please feel free to discuss.

Rules of engagement:  Do not insult any particular religion as a whole.  Do not get into a flame war.  We can agree to disagree.  Don't get nasty.  Use logic, facts, and rational discussion.  Do not cuss at people.

So... your thoughts?

mijan: (Default)
Why is it that I seem to attract these people?  It's like flies to honey, or mosquitoes to a bug zapper.

It starts in the cafeteria at work.  I'm waiting for the tomato soup, and this pleasant-seeming woman asks what soup is coming out.  I tell her that it's the tomato soup.  She says that she loves tomato soup with cheese sandwiches.  I off-handedly agree that lunches like those are one of those "things we all had as kids" things and I occasionally enjoy that.  She then tells me:

"You shouldn't eat things like that too often though.  The salt isn't good for you." 

Okay, so the second-to-last thing I care to hear is an obese person telling ME how to eat.  (Nothing wrong with a person being fat, but there's a twisted sort of irony in me - an athletic, trim, health-food nut - being lectured about healthy eating by someone who was clearly not practicing a healthy diet.)   So I calmly and politely tell her that I'm actually on a doctor-prescribed high-salt diet because my blood pressure is too low.  In fact, I continue, I'm on a prescription to raise my blood pressure intentionally because it's too low.

She starts by saying about how strange that is, and then rambles on about how she REALLY IS going to lose weight this year - her New Year's resolution.  To be conversational, while waiting in line, I comment that I used to be chubby and that I know losing weight isn't easy but you've got to put in the effort if you want the results.  She doesn't seem to believe that I could have been chubby, so I shrug and say, "I had a Jewish grandmother who thought that everyone was too skinny, and wouldn't be happy until everyone was absolutely stuffed."

She seems to accept that.  I give up on the soup and decide on a veggie burger.  She follows me.  Asks why I don't eat meat.  I just tell her that I DO eat meat, but I prefer the veggie burgers to the hamburger patties at that particular locations.  She decides to try one, too.  She tells me that she'd like to go vegan eventually because she likes fish.  I explain to her that vegan means no fish, no dairy, no eggs, and so on.  "Oh," she says.

Then, as I'm putting tomato slices on my veggie burger, she asks me if I'm a Jew For Jesus.

If having a fat lady telling me how to eat is the second-to-last thing I want to hear, that was THE LAST.

I tell her, no, I'm not a Jew for Jesus.  She assumes that just means that I'm Jewish.  Notice that I never told her that I'm Jewish - just my long-dead grandmother.  She makes all the rest of the assumptions herself.  So I tell her, no, I'm not a Jew for Jesus.

She immediately launches into telling me that Jesus is the only way into heaven and that I have to learn to follow Jesus and blah blah blah.

I wanted to tell her that I'm actually Pagan.  I wanted to tell her that I'm a lesbian.  I wanted to tell her that I find nothing more offensive than people who need to randomly preach at me, and that I don't want to lose my appetite when I'm about to eat.

Instead, I politely told her that my beliefs are simply different from hers, and that I'd appreciate it if she didn't try to preach to me.  At that, she brusquely said, "Well, have a nice day," and walked away from me as quickly as she could squeeze through the lunchtime crowd.

Where do I find these nutbags?   Why do they find me?  Why do they pester me at the most annoying times? Why did it have to be at work, where I couldn't tell her exactly what I think?  And where do they get this delusion that freedom of speech and freedom of religion only applies to their speech and their religion?

*sigh*

I think I'm going to start passing out Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster information pamphlets. 
mijan: (Default)

When it comes to religion, there are certain things upon which we can all agree.   We all agree that there's a God.  We all trust him.  No decent American taxpayer would be offended by a "non-sectarian" prayer.  And, of course, we all know that's why "in God we trust" and "one nation, under God" are in the Constitution.

And if you've been paying attention, you'll know that the first paragraph is COMPLETE BULLSHIT.

I just read a little article in the LA Times.  Take a look.  Then, think about it again.  This is all based on the notion that monotheistic, Judeo-Christian religious views are the only ones acceptable in this nation.  It's also based on the idea that atheists, polytheists, and other non-Judeo-Christian groups are not worthy of the same consideration.  You may think I'm taking it a bit far, but consider this: 

When your leaders are spending their public time - on your tax dollars - promoting prayer and "non-denominational" activities, are they actually doing their jobs?  Is it possible to fairly represent all religions in government without causing unconstititional offense to those whose religions differ in their absolutely basic, fundamental premises? 

No, and no.

Look at this article's discussion of the Bible verse suggested for use with the National Day of Prayer (a government-sanctioned event): 
But the Scripture verse the group recommended to the governor is neither an open nor a veiled endorsement of right-wing politics -- or of Christianity, for that matter. The verse, from
Psalm 28, says: "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped." That passage is similar to the non- sectarian sentiments expressed in prayers offered before sessions of the U.S. Congress or the exclamation "God save the United States and this honorable court" with which the Supreme Court begins its sessions.
 

Does that seem offensive to you?  Well, if someone else wants to pray it on their own time, I wouldn't care either way, but when my elected officials are reciting it in the halls of Congress on MY time, then yes, I find it offensive.  I don't agree with the statement, nor the source.  The gender-association of God as a "man" is a concept I find offensive, so the use of the pronoun doesn't sit right with me.  I don't agree with that verse's use of the term "Lord."  More to the point, I find the attitude of the quote to be offensive - in my belief, we should not cling to deities as a shield and a source of help - deities manifest within and through the natural world, and WE are the ones responsible for our own fates within this world.  Anything less is offensive.  And then, naturally, the idea of relying on any god for shielding and strength would be considered ludicrous or offensive by an agnostic or atheist. 

What would the chance be that our government would EVER permit a Pagan to offer an opening prayer or benediction?  I mean, hell, there was ONE Hindu who offered a prayer, ONCE, in Congress last year, and his words were met with shouting from protesters and disrespect from our elected representatives... and having read the text of the Hindu's prayer, I'd say that was the closest thing to a true non-denominational prayer I'd ever heard from Washington DC.

So, why must this stuff be pushed into the public eye by our government officials?  That's the thing about Separation of Church and State:  It CAN'T be a wishy-washy sort of blurred line.  It's impossible to have it both ways.  Personally, I'd love to hear the Preamble to the Constitution recited before each session of Congress.  I'd love to hear the Declaration of Independence recited before important events.  I'd love for our elected officials to get down to business, instead of trying to placate their constitutents with the empty promise of "I prayed."  As the article later states:
"Pushed to its logical conclusion, such 1st Amendment fundamentalism would forbid presidents of the United States from invoking God in their speeches or participating in the National Prayer Breakfast,"
I couldn't agree more.

A prayer given in a "display" of faith seems to me to be empty and arrogant.  I see no sincerity in the prayers of Washington.  I see hypocrisy and vanity.  I see people putting on a display that exists in direct contradiction to their other oaths and actions.  I see a waste of time and effort.  I see people who pray to their God, and who invoke their God's name to denounce others and to push their version of morality on others, but who don't actually follow their God's alleged morality themselves.  Even if I were a Christian, I'd find their use (and yes, I mean USE) of God offensive.

Now, that's not to say that I don't believe in the power of prayer.  Truly sincere prayers, in my opinion, do have an effect.  They help to influence the state of mind of the person praying, and when you change the state of your mind, and when you focus your intentions, you can have a real impact on your reality.  I also believe in absolute religious freedom of free individuals in this country, and I would fight to the death to defend your right to practice your religion, insofar as you do not use your beliefs to bring harm to others.  I AM NOT DENOUNCING PRAYER.  I AM NOT DENOUNCING RELIGION.  I am denouncing the notion that government-sanctioned prayer belongs in the United States of America.  Until the day comes when people of every religion, and of no religion, are given equal time at the podium before Congress to offer a profession of belief or non-belief, then we are violating our Constitution.  And until Congress becomes SO efficient that it can get all of its work done, balance the budget, and have spare time left over, then I think our elected officials have more important things to do than to pass religious resolutions, endorse the National Day of Prayer, and bicker over prayer-time.

*** Feel free to debate and discuss this issue.  The rules are as follows:
1. Do not insult anyone's personal beliefs.
2. Do not come into this discussion with the assumption that your religion should take legal precedence.  (You can certainly believe that your religion is RIGHT, but we're talking about legaltiy, not faith.)
3. No cussing at people.  You can cuss (I do all the time), but not AT people.  (You should know the difference.)
4. Make sure that you know the Constitution before you allude to it.
5. If you don't live in the United States, your opinion is still valid to the discussion.  In fact, I'd love to hear your opinion.
6. You are always entitled to disagree with me, but please debate with logic.
mijan: (Default)
Remember my anger over House Resolution 847?

That's nothing compared to THIS shit:
House Resolution 888.

No, it hasn't been passed.  However, the simple fact that this has even made it to the floor of the House of Representatives, and the grotesque amount of historical error and manipulation contained in this Resolution... it's enough to make me want to scream.

PLEASE... if you're American, call your Representative.  Tell them why they CAN'T, as Representatives who took an oath to the Constitution (and by default, the Bill of Rights), vote in favour of Resolution 888.  PLEASE pass this on to your friends.  This shit isn't going to stop.  Res. 847 was indeed just the beginning, and this is the start of a long, slippery slope.  Each "Resolution" will be one step further until we find ourselves with actual Bills and Laws establishing Christianity as a sort of default state religion.  STOP IT NOW.

Canada... will you welcome your Acadian daughter back home?
mijan: (Vader: Lack of Pants is Disturbing)
I've launched upon a personal mission this year.  I'm investigating the ways in which the evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are taking over our government and its agencies, forcing their beliefs down the throats of our troops (whether they want it or not), gaining special privileges, and enacting prejudice and discrimination against those of other faiths.  Even non-evangelical Christians are targets.  Pagans are the Devil-worshippers, and Atheists... don't even go there.

Before I go any further, allow me to post a disclaimer here:  This is NOT anti-Christian.  NOT at all.  What I'm doing is pointing out a gross violation of the principle of separating church and state.  TAX DOLLARS are being used to fund an EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN group, which then goes and force-feeds their religion to soldiers without restraint.  I have no problem with people believing in God, Allah, Jehovah, Apollo, the Green Man, the Goddess, the Maiden-Mother-Crone, Zeus, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  I don't care if you want to cover yourself in finger paint and dance the tango in honor of your preferred god-form.  GO FOR IT.  You can even print out "information" pamphlets for your religion and hand them out on the sidewalk if you wish (using your own money, of course, not tax dollars).  Just don't do it on government time.  Don't use the military to evangelize a captive audience.  And don't do what the Department of Defense is doing now with "Operation Straight Up", or "OSU" as I'll call it here:

There's a group that sends "entertainment" troupes to "boost morale" for deployed soldiers and marines.  This group is called the OSU, and they're basically an evangelical cover-group.  They're actually an OFFICIAL arm of the "America Supports You" group, which is part of the Department of Defense.  Non-religious entertainment isn't an option either.  The OSU is basically a government-sanctioned evangelizing force.  They even have a page on their website telling people how to get out of paying taxes.  It's NUTS.  Look:

The main page of America Supports You.
The Cover Page of the OSU.


The article in the Army Times, which is the big Army newspaper, and generally unbiased and reliable.  If anything, they're sometimes biased towards the conservative-Christian slant, but even here, they're neutral-to-disapproving of what the OSU is doing.  The facts are presented in a very straight-forward manner.
To quote my old Drill Sergeant: "What's REALLY going on here?"
The Evangelical Video Game BARELY stopped from being sent to all the troops.
Some insight and information.. well-written article.

This stuff is being paid by the government.  Your tax dollars are supporting an evangelical Christian propaganda group.  And they're force-feeding it to the troops to the exclusion of all other religions or beliefs.  In fact, most of the complaints have come from Christians of other denominations who are tired of being fed such offensive rhetoric.  Please, for the sake of the Soldiers, call your congressmen and senators.  Write some letters.  You want to support the troops?  Then help them to exercise one of the most basic freedoms of all Americans: freedom of religion.

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