Archive for September, 2009

Jesus and God as Political Tools

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, culture, faith, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 30, 2009 by chouck017894

Religious fanaticism in the United States has been growing like a malignant cancer ever since the early 1950s when the pulpit-pounders discovered that there was gold to be made in television.  Going hand in hand with radical religionism has been an intense drive since the early 1990s to install fanatical followers into positions of management in public interaction, from PTA in schools to infiltration of state offices up to national offices.  Jesus and God became little more to them than political tools, and any peaceful, spiritual content of Jesus’ alleged teachings that the New Testament extends as examples of conduct for attaining self-worthiness for salvation were tossed into the dumpster for grabs at mortal power.

There was/is and never has been any shortage of self-proclaimed mouthpieces of God.  Examples: Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Roberta Combs,  Jerry Falwell, Robert Grant, Ralph Reed, Donald Wildmon, Tony Perkins, etc., etc., etc.  Funny thing though, none of these theocracy advocates have ever produced any evidence of qualification as God’s mouthpiece.  Nonetheless, they attract hoards of vacant-headed cohorts too lazy to exercise their God-given mental faculties.  

So underhanded are these radical religionists that they have managed to misrepresent not only the teachings accredited to Jesus, but have perverted the ideals and counsel handed down by our nation’s forefathers.  There has been through the last fifty year an explosion of so-called institutes of learning that are nothing more than fronts for religious indoctrination, which commonly just happen to include counseling in political science.  And as they shaft the nation’s citizens, they operated under protective tax advantages!  No one seems to think it odd that God should have to stoop to such indulgence in deception and money-grubbing to have his wishes known.  

Why should God need the American Center for Law and Justice linked with Pat Robertson, for example?  Was it God who directed Pat Robertson in 1998 to form Freedom Gold Limited, an off-shore company registered in the Cayman Islands but based in his Christian Broadcasting Network  in Virginia Beach?  Did that actually bring followers closer to God?  And why should God need the Family Research Council, a Washington-based lobbying group headed by Tony Perkins?  Why should God need to dabble in politics or off-shore dealings at all?  Is he, God, who is said to be omniscient, incapable of communing with seekers on a personal level?

When did respect for a higher creative force become expressed through the practice of intolerance toward the diversity of life which that all-knowing power created?   But good old Pat Robertson’s inflated ego, for example, has always been tuned in to God’s holy hatred and he spouts his venom at every opportunity with the express purpose of destroying democratic traditions, rewriting national history, encouraging subversive conduct, and cheering on other terrorist indulgences.  Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, for example, raked in $278,738,060 in revenue in 2008.  The American Family Association, by “Rev.” Donald Wildmon pulled in revenue to the tune of $22,547,087 in 2008.  The so-called Concerned Women for America, founded by Tim and Beverly LaHaye, garnered $10,580,290 in 2008.  James Dobson’s lofty sounding Focus on the Family netted $145,194,701 in revenues in 2008. 

Other use of religion for profit examples include American Center for Law and Justice, whose founders were Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow, had a revenue in 2008 of $11,667,456.  Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council  in 2008 pulled in $14,646,344 revenue.  The lofty sounding American Defense Fund, whose president, CEO, and General Counsel is Alan Sears, funded themselves with $31,644,593 in 2008 revenues.  Maybe we should also mention the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission with the Southern Baptist Convention; together their 2007 revenue amounted to $205,716,834.  How’s that for holy work!

Faith should not be packaged as a product to be used for ego gratification and earthly wealth.

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Sinning Against Democratic Principles

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, Government, history, humanity, Inspiration, naturalism, politics, random, religion, secularism, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by chouck017894

Genuine freedom for everyone, as the US Constitution proclaims, certainly is not being served by persons who seek to bring down the Founding Fathers’ ideals of governing, which wisely stressed separation of church and state.  Nor should the right of free speech be twisted into a perverse interpretation that it is a license to proselytize to captive audiences of school students as the overly vocal bloc of Christian radicals, such as the noble-sounding Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), have chosen to interpret it.  This Christian rightwing legal affiliation has trained more than nine hundred lawyers in the art of sidestepping tolerance and compassion for any who may live or believe differently than they.

 If the idea that religious fanatics can influence the US Supreme Court sounds impossible, think again.  Since 1995 the Supreme Court has been leaning more and more toward passing judgments that threaten to undermine the safeguard of separation of church and state as championed by our nations’ Founding Fathers.

It all began with the landmark case Rosenberger vs. the Regents of the University of Virginia.  The charge brought forth by the so-called Alliance Defense Fund was that secular clubs were funded through student activity fees, but the fees were not available to fund religious student groups.  This shameless jargon used by the ADF to cause the Supreme Court to deviate from the Establishment Clause* was due to the fact that the university could not by law appear to endorse any particular religion—thus the ADF howled “viewpoint discrimination”!  (*Establishment Clause: one of two “religion clauses” of the First Amendment.)

 Since the religious radicals got their foot through the door, the Catholic dominated Supreme Court has bowed to the mythology of those claiming to be “victimized Christians,” and the  court has continued to deviate from earlier and wiser precedence and has leaned toward the “reasoning” that if secular clubs were funded but not religious proselytizing groups, then discrimination was present!

The irony of the very ones who so actively and loudly promoted discrimination against diverse lifestyles standing up and claiming to be victims of discrimination would be amusing if it wasn’t such a dangerous act of hatred and psychic terrorism.  They hide behind the trumped up claim that they are “biblically compelled” to condemn various groups; homosexuals, for example.  They like to use the Bible as their permission from god to indulge themselves in orgiastic hatred and intolerance.  In regard to same-sex appeal, discrimination is stirred up by using a half sentence verse of Romans (1:27); “…And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

 First, let us note that, as it is stated, woman was regarded as nothing more than an outlet to be used for man’s sexual release.  The line in question was not a religious directive and not reallly spiritual condemnation so much as simply reflecting the social etiquette of Rome c.100 CE, the time of the book of Romans‘ composing, the authorship of which has never been satisfactorily determined.  In addition, endless translations of “holy word” have not insured accuracy of what the verse-twisters like to allege.

Diversity is highly respected in the energy-mechanism of Creation, for it is only through an unlimited spectrum of life expression that the Source is made absolute and omniscient.  To pretend otherwise, as radical religionists do, is true irreverence, for such hostile opposition to the natural diversity expressed in life in the guise of religious superiority is not reflected anywhere else in Nature or the universe.  That odious pretense of favoritism radiates chiefly around the endless parade of self-appointed mouthpieces of god.  They may build their earthly power structures and influence by fanning indulgence in bigotry, but it remains highly unlikely that the ladder to Heaven is outfitted with rungs of hatred.

 

 

 

Embezzling for Faith

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, Government, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , on September 26, 2009 by chouck017894

There is a deception being widely practiced among too many members of the U.S. Congress who have underhandedly inserted last-minute special interest “earmarks” into bills just before consideration of the bill is taken up by all members of Congress.  Using federal monies for special interests for a senator’s home state is the traditional type of senatorial embezzlement.  But the most flagrant disregard for the principles of democracy set forth by the Founding Fathers are those sneaky little “earmarks” inserted into bills to actually subsidize religious groups!  That is a clear violation of the principle of church and state separation.

Faith that requires such deceptions and contempt for democracy is clearly anything but holy.  But past records show that our tax dollars—money meant for national welfare—have been repeatedly high jacked in earmarks for such religious fronts as:

  • A fundamentalist Christian group that claimed to offer extended Bible study as a means of helping young persons overcome drug and alcohol addiction.  Sounds good—but the group bragged openly of their true objective: converting Jews and other non-Christians with their Bible activities.  Earmarks provided this Christian proselytizing group with a half million of our tax dollars.
  • Then there was a “ranch” in Florence, Kansas, which claimed that it was “made available to all followers of Christ,” and concentrated on leadership training programs that included selected Bible studies and prescribed forms of devotion.  Earmarks enriched the “ranch” with $595,000.
  • Then there was the Christian Missions organization that advertised their mission was “to present Christ to the unchurched.”  Earmark trickery brought the “missions” the blessing of $282,000 from tax money to further their proselytizing.
  • In Chicago a church sponsored community center profited to the tune of $250,000 in earmark funds.
  • In Michigan a “rescue mission” that  promoted itself as “A Christian summer camping experience,” hiked off with $490,000 from the senator’s earmark sting.
  • In the “Show Me” state of Missouri, a “camp” where volunteers were counseled to “be ready to help spread the good news of Jesus Christ” received the very good news of $375,000 from earmark duplicity.

 These are but a small number out of thousands of how some members of Congress skirt the principle of separation of church and state.  Most all such faith-based organizations that get earmark booty screen prospective staff members for “doctrinal purity,” but have absolutely no qualms about using money collected (embezzled) from tax money that was gathered from people of differing faiths.  And the members of Congress who covertly channel that tax money into these religious groups certainly do not comprehend or respect the Founding Fathers’ resolve to keep church and state separate in order that all citizens are insured the rights of true democracy and freedom from religious persecution.

Breeding for God

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, ecology, environment, faith, freethought, history, humanity, life, nature, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2009 by chouck017894

Back in 1942 the world population was calculated to be two billion.  World War II then brought that number down.  Today, however, a mere sixty-seven years later the world population is hurtling toward a staggering seven billion!

 For some head-in-the-sand reason, world overpopulation has been pretty much treated as a taboo subject for far too long as a media concern.  This avoidance of facing responsibility for human over-breeding is indulged in despite the fact that global poverty and possible ecological catastrophe are directly tied to the explosive increase of human life.

The so-called sacred books of man’s religions alway catered to this preservation tactic, and encouraged in conjunction with that invitation  to sexual abandon the belief that exploiting the planet was humankind’s “divine right.”  In the Bible account of beginning, for example, god supposedly decreed: “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…” (Genesis 1:28).  Oddly, at this point in the priest-written tale, the untutored, abandoned couple, supposedly made in the image of the creative power, is charged with the obligation to replenish the earth.  The word replenish means to fill or make  complete again: to renew a supply.  Taken literally then, as the fundamentalists like to do, this word “replenish” indicates that the world and the life upon it had some previous embodiment.

The “revealed” instruction as presented by the priest-authors of these tales, unfortunately, rings with an implication that all entities are expected to become nothing more than breeders for god.  Leaders of  most religious sects and  movements eagerly subscribed to this interpretation for the self-serving reason that it assured an increase of their supporters.  This is still the mindset of those seeped in the illogicality of religious storytelling and look upon bearing many children as an expression of god’s abundance.  This irrationality is so pronounced that even today there are some national leaders who actually advocate childbirth bounties to increase their national political power structure.  Breeding was a “duty” expected of German soldiers in the early 1940s to increase Hitler’s subjects,  for example.

The fact remains, however, that the present world population is ecologically unsustainable.  History has shown that in periods when human population increased up to sevenfold there followed disasters of unprecedented food shortages, escalating prices for essentials, mass migrations, followed by rampage and riots—even cannibalism.

 But man’s fundamentalist religions tend to conscientiously ignore history, preferring their own edification of “truth.”  So today we still have religious resistance to contraceptives, sexual instruction, abortion, and they teach—in the name of god, of course—hatred toward any same-sex attraction—which just might be Nature’s way of keeping resources and life forces in balance for a habitable planet.

Big Bang = Science Fiction

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, culture, environment, life, nature, random, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by chouck017894

The biblical version of “beginning,” creation ex nihilo (Latin, “out of nothing”), has a strange counterpoint with the so-called Big Bang theory that has been clutched to the breasts of cosmologists and cosmogonists as virtually sacrosanct since around the 1920s.  That similarity of concept—a material universe out of nothing—has its link in Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, mathematician and astronomer who proposed a theory that came to be known, sarcastically at first, as the Big Bang.  Lemaitre’s idea of the origin of the universe was that it was from a “primeval atom” or “Cosmic Egg.”  The myths of numerous prehistory cultures had similar ideas of everything being brought forth from an “egg,” but Lemaitre explained the Cosmic Egg as “…exploding at the moment of the creation.”

Basically, the big bang and black holes and all the interlocking theories are closer to metaphysics or science fiction than documented science, but the media eats it up.   Totally ignored is the fact that the theory defies known physics principles and requires a belief in invisible and unproven “dark matter” and “dark energy” to shore up the theory.  Granted, there is much in the universe that mortal eyes cannot perceive, but space is not exactly a material object that can be warped as in Einstein’s geometric theory.  The universe, most likely, did not find it necessary to unfold through such a needlessly complicated indulgence as the bangers like to imagine.

Around the “science” of the bangers there hovers a shocking lack of explanation for the simplest phenomena associated with matter.  They remain totally mystified by such phenomena as mass, gravity, magnetism and light.  They can and do summon up complex mathematical descriptions to make a fit for any observable things, but mathematical exercises do not constitute an explanation of what we see as physical reality or how they were made manifest.  As with radical religionists, the mystery is their selling point, and it is their showmanship at telescopes and blackboards that brings the money into their coffers while those with more tangible answers have been effectively muzzled.

 There has long been a strange avoidance by the cosmology crowd against considering any other studies that could prove pertinent to their own field of interest.  They patently ignore, for example, high-energy experiments at Los Alamos National Laboratories and Sandia Laboratories in which have been observed results that show striking parallels with astronomical phenomena.  To the Big Bang advocates, those observable experiments show the heresy that suggests that the universe was initiated and shaped by electrical transference!  Worse for the bangers, there have been high-energy experiments that have reproduced the features of aurorae, sunspots, comets and similar mysteries that have constantly left cosmologists stymied.  But bangers loath the fact that the theory of a kind of cosmic circuitry better explains creative activity in the universe than does the esoteric theories of a big bang and galaxy-gobbling black holes.

Studying the behavior of electricity in gases may seem a long way from the sciences of astronomy-cosmology-cosmogony, but to watch the writhing life-like filaments in a container of plasma bears an uncanny likeness to the universal energies and their inclination for responsible life that we so yearn to understand.

  • Recommended reading: The Big Bang Never Happened: A Startling Refutation of the Dominant Theory of the Origin of the Universe by Eric J. Lerner.

“Charitable Choice”

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Government, history, politics, random, religion, secularism with tags , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by chouck017894

During the drafting of the Welfare Reform Act in 1996, the then-senator from Missouri, John David Ashcroft (R-MO) advanced the innocent-sounding idea of “charitable choice.”  The reference label was something of a misnomer, for the covert intention of the program was to provide a wedge that would permit the government to fund religious groups and ministries.

Within weeks after George W. Bush swore upon two Bibles at his inauguration in 2001 to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution, he was leading the charge in support of the “Charitable Choice” policy.  And GWB installed John Ashcroft as his Attorney General.  Bush, a self-proclaimed “Born Again Christian,” quickly sought to distribute federal tax money to ministries, ostensibly to provide social services that happened to already be provided for through secular grantees and government agencies.  Bush pledged eight billion dollars in expanding “Charitable Choice” so churches and ministries received federal funds for “social services” which allowed them to proselytize!    The “charitable choice” policy really sought to alter the existing laws in a manner that could utilize the power of the federal government to support Christian conversions—a move that is in direct opposition to the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Using tax dollars meant for public benefit works to fund churches and ministries to represent government social welfare is, in itself,  unconstitutional.  Add to this that Ashcroft’s so-called “Charitable Choice,” as attempted, intentionally avoided any protective safeguards that would prevent religious coercion and abuses.  Incorporating religion into publicly funded programs had always been avoided by the government, sometimes contracting separate entities of religious institutions and in that way established safeguards that protected the rights of the disadvantaged, the interests of all tax payers, and in this way insured the integrity of the representing groups.

Although “charitable choice” did become part of the welfare law of 1996, the constitutional concerns caused democracy’s representatives to hesitate in implementing the policy.  Many rightfully saw it as a disguised way of forcing taxpayers to subsidize religion whether they believed in its narrow spiritual worth or not–clearly a means of sabotaging the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.  It was telling that this knucklehead that pushed for “charitable choice” is the same guy who spent eight thousand dollars on blue curtains to hide the breasts of the statue Spirit of Justice and the male counterpart Majesty of Law

 But Bush at that time liked to think of himself as a god-chosen leader, and seemed hell-bent-for-leather on applying “charitable choice” to practically every aspect of government  funding.  The resultant unending “faith-based” hoopla made democracy tremble, alarmed civil liberties groups, and the educational and social service communities, and even the more rationally balanced religious communities.

Providing legitimate social service can be a noble endeavor for spiritually minded groups, but the “faith-based” initiative as attempted in the “charitable choice” ploy was a policy that was concerned with neither democratic nor genuine religious liberty.  But the radical religious right is still seeking to embezzle tax monies for their tyrannical beliefs.  American citizens must keep a watchful eye on these devilish anti-democratic insurgents.

Ashcroft took a teaching position at Pat Robertson’s Regent University after his stint as Attorney General.

Corporations Shaft America

Posted in Atheist, culture, Government, history, politics, random, thoughts with tags , , , on September 18, 2009 by chouck017894

Back in 1816 Thomas Jefferson—who wrote the Declaration of Independence and later served as the third president of the United States—was understandably suspicious of the rise of corporations.  He felt that such business structures would function as a perpetual threat to democracy and therefore had to be strictly limited.  Jefferson stated his fears regarding corporations assuming power saying of the looming threat that governing policies must “…crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of the country.”

 Today the United States is bound in shackles to corporations, and they have proven what Jefferson had feared: corporations are, just as are all organized religions, inherently antidemocratic and are presided over by a wealthy select few who have no concern for “the masses.”  Over the decades corporate shysters have underhandedly and intentionally chipped away at the noble democratic principles set down by the nation’s founding fathers to indulge themselves in amassing vast sums of money through corporate stealth, then use that wealth to elevate their private interests over the nation’s common good.  In the process they have managed to tangle laws for citizens protection—such as price controls, monopoly laws, etc.—so that those who invest in their shady work are absolved of any personal responsibility carried out under the umbrella of their corporations. 

Of course the Constitution gives no recognition to corporation rights, stating in that noble document the sovereignty and right of self-governing to “The People.”  Nowhere was there made allowance for corporate exercise of power over the citizens that we see in the U.S. today.  But oil, pharmaceutical, insurance, coal and similar conglomerates hold the nation in ransom with absolutely no regard for equality and fair exchange that makes democracy work.  And this abuse of corporate power has been aided and abetted by none other than the U.S. Supreme Court!

Especially the John Roberts Court.  Roberts, we should remember, held political jobs in both the Reagan and Bush I administrations, and he was active in crafting policy aimed at curbing personal privacy rights and religious liberty rights.  In fact, he authored a brief for the Bush administration that proposed allowing clergy-led prayers at public school events! 

Under the “guidance” of Roberts and abetted by Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Antonio Scalia, and Samuel Alito—all Catholic, all Republican sponsored—and antidemocratic elements have lurched forward with stunning favoritism toward corporate power and radical right religious trickery.  With their brand of  “justice” the nation’s workforce, taxpayers, environment, etc. have been repeatedly spurned in favor of corporate law-breaking and theocratic notions.

 This antidemocratic stance of the Supremes has been obvious from at least 1998 (thus even before Roberts), which then set about actually rewriting long standing laws.  In that year the Court rejected  legal precedent to rule that a woman claimant had no valid claim to antidiscrimination by a tire firm because she had not filed her disparity of pay suit within 180 days of first suffering the discrimination.  Totally ignored by the Supremes was that the claimant had not been aware that men holding an equal position had been earning forty percent more for years.  Snickering up their judicial sleeves, the Justices brushed her off and democracy suffered still more loss of integrity.  This is the same Court that struck down the majority wishes in the 2000 national election to put oil men Bush-Cheney in control of government.  That tramping upon the elective process revealed the extent of their alleged “impartial” judgment.

Thanks Supreme Court for giving the U.S. eight historical Bush years.  We’re still paying for it.