Archive for March, 2011

Ancient Star Wisdom

Posted in agnoticism, Astronomy, Atheist, belief, faith, history, life, nature, prehistory, random, religion, science, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by chouck017894

A Dominican scholastic philosopher, Albertus Magnus (1193-1280), who was church-blessed as a “saint” by Pope Pius XI in 1932, had this to say about ancient star wisdom: “The mysteries of the Incarnation, from conception to the Ascension into heaven, are shown to us on the face of the sky and are signified by the stars.”  A case in point: constellation Ophiuchus.

Every so often, as in the early months of 2011, some astronomer, or more likely an astrologer, announces that our understanding of constellation placements should be corrected.  Star charts, they say, should identify that there are thirteen major “signs” in the Zodiac lineup, not twelve.  And always that declaration pivots upon a group of stars known as constellation Ophiuchus, which does abruptly intrude upon constellation Scorpius (Scorpio).  Much like religious interpreters’ understanding of Creation’s scientific principles, those who advocate “correction” of a subject have not traced back sufficiently to the origin of what the prehistory representatives designated.  Always forgotten is the limited perspective which we Earthlings see of universal principles. 

Technical knowledge was essential for designating the star patterns which are seen from Earth as it completes a full orbit around the Sun.  Each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac was, from the beginning, presented in 30-degree portions of the 360-degree Zodiac circle.  Each sign, therefore, could serve as a subject heading for instruction purposes regarding causation, cosmology and life purpose.  With each sign there were also three sub-constellations, each of which added in-depth annotation to the subject matter.  These sub-constellations are commonly positioned within 10 degrees of each other or a similar distance from the principal constellation.  To present sky charts of such technical complexity required instruments and technical skills far beyond “primitive” levels that are said to have then existed. 

The figure that is outlined with the stars of constellation Ophiuchus does indeed hold an unparalleled position in the design of the Zodiac.  It is the only constellation passed through by the Sun that has never been presented as being a major Zodiac sign.  At first glance, this seems a peculiar situation since the Sun lingers only nine days in constellation Scorpius, the shortest stay in any Zodiac sign, after which the Sun passes directly into constellation Ophiuchus.  It is for this reason that there have been repeated attempts through many centuries to restructure the ancient Zodiac—the sky designations which are known to well over 10,000 years old. 

But, as mentioned, what we know today as the Zodiac was not conceived as a fortune-telling prop or as an amusement pastime.  One of its original purposes was to illustrate to the people of the world a series of detailed lessons regarding causation, cosmology and life’s purpose.  And from this ancient celestial picture book used to illustrate the principles of Creation to our primitive ancestors there evolved, after a number of planetary catastrophes, the varied written accounts that are now honored as “scriptural texts.”

For example, Scorpius is traditionally associated with sex, death, and transfiguration, and this theme had important bearing on the placement of the figure of Ophiuchus.  This star figure was a defining part of the ancient Scorpius lessons, and the up-soaring figure that is outlined with the stars present the most inspiring and promising feature in the entire Zodiac symbols and figures.  The figure of Ophiuchus is shown with one foot thrust downward as though the figure is rising out of Scorpius, which in the ancient lessons given with Scorpius taught of the animal kingdom.  It is after only a brief stay in the animal kingdom that the Sun enters Ophiuchus directly out of Scorpius.  This is the most ancient representation of the Life Principle at the stage where it is transfigured out of its primal configurations of energy-matter.

The hieroglyphic figure of Ophiuchus is shown with its southern portion immersed in a noticeably dense portion of the Milky Way, and the upper portion of the figure extends into an open expanse of northern sky.  In addition, this celestial figure is nearly equally divided by the celestial equator.  Thus, this figure’s position beautifully illustrated the ancient lesson regarding the emergence of self-aware consciousness from it limitation of this experience as matter and its consequent liberation into a higher vibratory plane where it is unencumbered.  (If this doesn’t make you think of soul ascension, which is the declared objective of any faith system, then your imagination is dead.)

Constellation Ophiuchus is notable for yet another feature: the figure is shown as holding out in front of himself another constellation, which happens to extend across the chest of the up-soaring figure.  He holds the constellation Serpens—a serpent.  He is not in battle with evil as has often been interpreted.  That idea flies in the face of ancient symbolism.  In the bulk of cultures throughout prehistory the serpent traditionally symbolized wisdomThis is even attested to in the Hebrew word for Serpent, nahash, which was derived from the Hebrew root NHSH, which means to decipher or to make out the meaning of.  An important characteristic of serpents also adds to the message, and that is that serpents  periodically shed a series of matter skins as they progress.  Together these two constellations, Ophiuchus and Serpens, thus present a modified cross form (arising out of the animal kingdom), and cross symbols have from time out of mind been used to indicate where the matter under consideration is to be found.  Just like we mark placement on a map. 

This mini astronomy session is offered here to show that the further back we trace out roots the more we find that we are indebted to the lost—or deliberately suppressed—wisdom of our prehistory ancestors.  And remnants of that astonishing wisdom, such as the instructive reasoning behind the constellation figure arrangements, should not be discarded out of hand.  They have served as the unacknowledged background from which all the “sacred texts” of the world’s faith systems have evolved. 

  • Ophiuchus information is abridged from The Celestial Scriptures: Keys to the Suppressed Wisdom of the Ancients, published 2002.

Where is the Divine Data

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, life, lifestyle, nature, random, religion, science, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , on March 21, 2011 by chouck017894

History has shown that from the timeframe of the mid-1600s, the awakening of a scientific approach to understanding the natural world around us opened the means for humankind to advance toward his higher potential.  Science has proven itself to be the exploration of the interrelatedness of all things, and as such it is not exactly a method intended for passing moral interpretations or guidance.  And this neutral position in the study of the amoral energy interactions that involve as Creation tends to traumatize those who feel that such a systematic study is in some way an affront to some divine Creator, Maker or Designer.

Science probes the unknown and benefits humanity by collecting testable information (data).  This long proven means of understanding the nature and functioning of life around us does not attempt to extend a system of moral guidance, however.  Any moral conclusions may be presumed only by how history within the data displays a customary outcome.  Data, plural of datum, refers to information that is organized for analysis and which is used as the basis upon which researchers collectively reach definitive  decisions.  In science and in the commercial world, unlike the faith business, a proposition may stand only as long as data supports the idea.  And herein is the major difference between science and mankind’s inconclusive faith systems. 

Blind faith, on the other hand, often declares itself as being in possession of soul-saving wisdom, but that wisdom is accepted without any cross-reference as “revealed wisdom.”  For at least a couple of millennia that approach to understanding the world and the universe around us was the imposed standard by which the human species coped with Creation’s mysteries. 

Science, however, seeks to understand the principles upon which nature and the universe function.  Delving into such mysteries does not extend to those studies the means to legislate how the Creation process fulfills itself any more than religious or political beliefs legislate those universal powers.  Strange as it may seem to the dutifully devout, a sense of spirit is always present in any scientific investigation.  In seeking to ascertain how some aspect of Creation functions only magnifies the researcher’s awe, which is further confirmed in their devotion to collecting more extensive data.  That awesome Creation process is not offended when mankind seeks to behold it. 

 Religious fanatics, on the other hand, feel threatened by every fact that scientific investigation discovers and will then labor devotedly to get Bronze Age speculations (religion) inserted into science classrooms.  In place of carefully amassed data, the faithful would install their favorite ego-pleasing scriptures.  The difference between these two approaches to enlightenment is obvious: The “faithful” seek ego-comfort from what they believe in, while those moved by scientific investigation find a higher serenity in what they have come to understand of Creation.  To the religionists’ disadvantage, their books of scripture, regardless of their age, do not confirm anything as does analytical data. 

Rationality is not a fundamentalist’s strong point, thus we have an army of Creationists that seek to impose upon academic institutions their religious interpretations of how the universe and life came into existence out of nothing.  (After a few God-saids.) Their characteristic indulgence in hypocrisy is in full bloom in doing this, for they dare to insist that the biblical version of Creation be a mandatory subject in classrooms.  It is deemed by them that to teach the scientific understanding that Creation took eons of evolutionary action is unfair to their improbable beliefs.  There is glaring hypocrisy in this fundamental stance.  Pre-college studies may, perhaps, include a fifty-minute-hour of biology five days a week where the concept of evolution may be briefly touched upon; but even so the principle of evolution is not addressed as being central in biology studies—or any other classes. 

The bogus squawking of alleged “unfairness” in school classes by religious bullies means only that fundamentalists want no free will choices offered to anyone.  The “fairness” balance that they claim to seek in school curriculum means that everyone else should ignore the fact that a school day averages out to be about seven hours of different classes for a student: the remaining 16-17 hours of each day—as well as the extra days of the weekends—are open for the fundies to program their offspring as they choose.  So how could offering a brief  investigative look at all the possibilities that are visibly present in a diverse Creation be such a severe spiritual handicap to the students?

Learning the facts and amassing data on how nature and the universe function has not yet disturbed the continuing process of Creation activities.  Could that obvious divine indifference to man’s curiosity perhaps mean that the “Maker” gave mankind an evolved brain with the expectation that he would use it for something more constructive than attempted domination of each other?

Mixing Religion with Medicine

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, biological traits, Christianity, culture, faith, life, medical, random, religion, science, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2011 by chouck017894

Corporation take over of medical care under the guise of religious insight is becoming a serious threat to democratic principles in the United States today.  The diabolical move by religious denominations to take over hospitals and health care facilities is not undertaken in the noble spirit of love or intellectual understanding of biological truths.  It  is all about materiality and a lust for control.  That these facilities receive generous public subsidies is simply coincidental, of course.  When life threatening situations arise there should never be injected into those threatening problems some religious supposition to further contaminate the situation.  Case in point: those hospital mergers in which Catholic standards, which prioritize unsupported theological doctrines, are made to supersede medical knowledge and the true welfare of patients. 

The ethical question of imposing strict religious dogmatic interpretations on medical situations remains firmly ensconced behind the facade of spiritual posturing, which ignores all laws of physical development.  As an extreme example, ignorance of biological processes instituted by the males who devised Catholic dogma reached the holy conclusion that surgical performance of abortion was forbidden by god.  It did not matter to god’s henchmen if pregnancy had been induced by rape or incest!  And the bishops declared that god didn’t like  individuals taking precautions during sex either, so contraceptives or any precautionary form of birth control was deemed unacceptable.  Not content with these inanities, the self-appointed representatives of  god then issued “ethical directives” regarding end-of-life issues which too often overrule the “living wills” and advanced directives of the terminally ill persons themselves. 

By imposing these things the Catholic hierarchy has never advanced much from the god-inspired “medical” advice given by such revered “saints” as Gregory of Tours (538-594).  His saintly view was that the practice of medicine was a godless science, for any medical attempts to heal interfered with the will of god.  This “saint” conveniently ignored that Jesus is alleged to have healed many medical conditions.  Thus “saint” Gregory dared to condemn as heretic anyone who sought a  physician’s advice.  Healing the sick, he declared, belonged to the realm of faith.  He therefore felt worthy to dispense prescriptions such as a pinch of dust from the Shrine of St. Martin as a cure for dysentery; or, as a cure for the inflammation of the tongue, he recommended that the infected should lick the rails at the shrine of a saint

This same mockery of spirit prevails in too many health care facilities supervised by religious orders—those governed by Roman Catholic directives in particular, which are anchored in doctrine-based rules imposed by a conference of non-medical bishops.  And those doctrines came  down through a hierarchy of other non-medical men at councils that date back from the first sitting of the Council of Nicaea in Bithynia in 325.  Even as late as 1973-74 the US Catholic bishops actually decreed that a woman did not have the right to choose what was to grow within her own body!  Their church-serving judgment was directly contrary to the religious premise that everyone possesses free will choice.  As always, the main objective of the haughty bishops was, first and foremost, to give themselves authority to run other people’s lives in the guise of supernatural guidance.

That the religious panels that tyrannize health care  facilities are wretchedly indifferent about biological issues is an understatement, and that is glaringly obvious in their judgments of when conscious awareness of self enters the development of human identity.  These allegedly celibate men (unnatural in itself) dare to pretend judgment of when a “soul” (ego?) is injected into the elementary stage of an energy formation.  A fertilized egg is nothing more than the cleavage of a cell.  To say that god is personally present in the uterine tract to inject a  soul at the moment when ejaculated sperm penetrates an egg is more obscene than it is divine knowledge.

With all the subversive attacks by Religious Right extremists on democratic principles in the United States today, 2011, and the accompanying recession, an alarming number of hospitals are considering merging with larger systems.  Far too often these merged facilities are run through publicly subsidized religious systems.  Thus what are supposed to be medical services, in this manner, operate more profitably than average hospitals, and they now account for around eighteen percent of the nation’s hospital beds.

But when the dogma of some faith system gets pumped into health technology when a person is at their most susceptible condition, the person’s best interests are callously made secondary to church interests.  Jesus must be so proud.

The Concept of Evil

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, life, nature, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , on March 12, 2011 by chouck017894

In all the scriptural texts of the western world, a devout seeker will find no judgment that directly addresses, clarifies or answers the problem of what really constitutes evil.  Perhaps that should not be so surprising since genuine history has shown that religionists of every variety often tend to make use of evil methods to foster their particular faith system.  Today, for example, we see reprehensible behavior being put into practice in the United States where religious extremists labor fanatically to undermine all the long-standing noble principles of democracy. 

Those who hold the Bible aloft as their standard for “values” while attempting to tear down those principles of democracy seem especially fond of the bloody tales of the Old Testament.  God did a lot of verbalizing in the early part of the Old Testament, and his fatherly participation is implied throughout the New Testament, but how often is it ever claimed that God proclaimed himself to be just?  The nearest thing that a seeker may find in either the Old or New Testament on the question of what supposedly constitutes evil is in the Book or Job.  And that “holy” tale happens to be a  plagiarized version lifted from Babylonian literature, which the Yahweh priest copiers doctored with the assertion that God, being benevolent, always makes things right.

There is subtle juggling in the scriptural evaluation of what constitutes evil, such as is presented in Job—a blurred distinction of what is evil and what happens to be an encounter with misfortune.  Properly, evil must be defined as a purposeful and/or intentional impairment imposed by a person or group of persons upon other persons, or upon other living creatures.  Evil is malevolent action that is deliberately taken against others.  Unfortunately, “good book” stories don’t make this clear, and the fundamentalists love to use these examples as their “values.”

For an answer to the problem of evil, the common clerical explanation inspired by scriptural tales is that evil arises from man having been given free will choice.  This is more hollow than holy, for such an explanation conveniently allows a faith system a lucrative market in the selling of anti-“sin” safeguards.  This is possible simply because the free will excuse allows the blame for any negative experience to be placed solidly on the victim by judging the victim as having done something wrong to deserve it!  That is the premise that hovers over the biblical version of Job.

Elsewhere, though, in 1 Samuel 18:10 it states “…and an evil spirit from god came upon Saul…”  This blunt admission in “holy word” of god’s negative aspects has bewildered countless biblical scholars and clergy.  They mistakenly proclaim that their personification of creative energies, which they call God, is good only.  But the negative principles that are part of creative energies cannot be denied; positive/negative polar interaction is also referred to in Isaiah 45:7 where god is quoted as saying, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil.  I am the Lord (law) of all these things.” 

The much older material upon which such biblical tales were structured explained that a blend of polar energies are responsible for any definable manifestation.  That more ancient knowledge pops up in only a couple of OT books, however: in Samuel and in Isaiah.

So the encounters with misfortune that people experience, such as debilitating diseases or natural disasters, are not the result of the victim’s having done something wrong in the sight of a wily god.  Those tribulations are traceable to biological malfunctions or to the exchanges of creative energies known as Nature.  Electrical storms, for example, can vary in intensity from gentle rains to raging hurricanes; they are natural energy interactions, not direct acts of God.  Ditto for other natural energy exchanges such as trigger earthquakes, and which are too often palmed off as being the “wrath of god.”

Out of this confusion a double standard is utilized in the biblical assessment of evil, for nowhere else in the animal kingdom has any creature of nature been branded as acting with evil intent.  Not even the carnivores.  In scriptural narrative it is only man that is branded as capable of  perpetuating evil, and this is attributed to man being influenced by some opponent (Devil, Satan, etc.) of god’s goodness.  But giving god credit only for all that is good but pretending that this personification of creative energy has no part in the negative aspects that accompanies life is nothing more than selective blindness.

That convenient premise certainly does not explain evil.  The predator/victim relationship that exists throughout all the rest of Nature makes the hypothesis of a benevolent god questionable.  If that god-permissable predatory activity is representative of intelligent design, it means that man’s concept of evil exists only in how man is taught to assess his encounter with negative experiences: it does not define how or why evil exists.  This conveniently leaves the field open for evil actions to be used in the selling of a faith system (or political scam).

And in choosing to hypothesize a benevolent God, we have been tricked into meeting our fears of victimization by labeling any negative experience as evil.  Around this fear of victimization organized faith systems have constructed the elaborate scaffolding of self-serving “values,” which are painted as different shades of morality.  Then, pointing to this man-erected scaffolding, the claim is made that it proves the existence of a moral God.

Unfortunately for man, these self-serving faith systems have slyly avoided any real guidance of man toward his higher potential.  And in ignoring the nature of what constitutes the “evil spirit from god” spoken of in 1 Samuel, these faith systems skate alarmingly close to being evil.

Puzzle of Faith and Profit

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , on March 7, 2011 by chouck017894

In the early years of Christian development the founders, movers and shakers of the cult were keenly concerned about the inequities between the rich and the poor throughout the Roman Empire.  Indeed, there are several New Testament verses regarding secular affairs and profits made from trade throughout the Roman Empire.  And it was an understanding in Christian practice that clerics and bishops were not to be involved in profit trades.  Remarkably, even into the Middle Ages the church kept in place strict restrictions on accumulating wealth and the pursuit of profits.

For example, the system of  profit taking was one of the concerns taken up at The First Lateran Council in 1123 under Pope Calixtus II, which adopted canons forbidding the sale of indulgences: that was rightfully seen as profiteering.  Contrarily, it was also at this Council that the canon forbidding marriage of clergymen became church law, which was put in place for the sole purpose of preventing the children born to a married clergyman from inheriting the father’s material wealth.  The marriage prohibition had nothing at all to do with spiritual purity, as claimed.  The Second Lateran Council in 1139, held under Pope Innocent II, renewed the canons prohibiting clerical marriage (for the same reason: to protect church profits).  Even into 1179 the Third Lateran Council addressed the trade of  money lending and virtually branded money lenders as outlaws.  This restriction of a particular trade practice was then reaffirmed at the Councils of Lyons (1273) and of Vienna (1312).

“Saint” Thomas of Aquino (1226-1274) was summoned to the Council of Lyons by Pope Gregory X, but he died en route.  Thomas’ position on church and profits was politically convenient for the church, however, for Thomas had clarified a distinction between usury and interest.  The “saint” had declared, “…to accept usury for a loan of money is by its nature unjust.”  Even so, Thomas provided an escape clause for church activities, saying, “…usury is gain from a loan; (but) interest is compensation for a risk of inconvenience.”  Thus it all got centered on motivation, and therefore Thomas’ hairsplitting judgment was that trading for a profit (usury) was not the same as trading at a profit (interest).

Later interpreters, not surprisingly, had a range of opinions on profit.  Martin Luther (1483-1546), German reformer, said that the Devil had invented the traffic in interest.  The reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) maintained that striving for excessive profits should be subdued for the glory of god.  John Wesley (1703-1791), evangelical preacher and founder of Methodism, on the other hand, used the NT book of Luke (16:9), stretching a point a bit, for a different slant on profits in which he reasoned three principles of money use.  1) Gain all you can;  2) Save all you can; and 3) Give all you can.  With the second principle Wesley also advanced eight points on how a Christian could be penny-wise and judicious.

In a sense, it can be said that the Calvinist interpretation of scriptures, which virtually ruled out a person’s good works as the sole means of salvation, set the approval for free market systems.  This is because Calvin placed more significance on following personal inclinations in fulfilling one’s calling—he called this “ritualistic behavior”—because the need one has for provisions was not deemed to be the person’s choice, but was put in place by god. This notion could then be rationalized that if a person sees a chance for profit, then the person must follow the call by pursuing the opportunity. 

In this interpretation of what a Supreme Being desired for mankind there then had to be established some justification for god’s allowance of owning private property.  That some people could lay claim to property, but others were limited, brought the question of justness and fairness in the role of society.  The idea of owning property necessitated an interlocking scheme to support it, and that was found in laissez-faire, the irrational but accommodating concept that government should not interfere with commerce.  Here, again, the Calvinistic assessment of an individual following their “ritualistic behavior” and applying effort could be rationalized as the holy reason for profitable results.  From this interpretation of god-privileged circumstances, it became accepted that self-interest was really a social blessing, and was a prime factor for receiving material compensation.  Once this excuse for selfish conduct became wrapped in divine propaganda, individuals happily came to believe that in satisfying their self-interests they automatically served society!

With this we are brought into modern western societies of today, especially in the USA.  In the United States this is glaringly exemplified in the shameless conduct of the Religious Right’s domination of the Republican Party since 1996, which has now become even further infected with the clueless Tea Party mob.  This is self-interest in its most degraded form, not an implementation of imagined social blessings.  Devotion to self-interest, as history has proven repeatedly, results only in oppression, coercion, exploitation, economic collapse, injustice, violence, torture, and even threats to the environment.

All of this is a far cry from the early teachings associated with the early Christian movement.  Few among the self-interest crowd calling themselves Christians pay any attention to what is said to have been taught by the teacher.  The message presented in the New Testament books of Matthew and Mark, however, is that one will find that it is in their greater self-interest to devote themselves in heartfelt service to others.

Somehow that teaching does not quite equate with misappropriating money that was gathered from everyone’s taxes and using it to finance vouchers for private schools of some faith system.

When Hatred Mocks Piety and Democracy

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Government, history, humanism, humanity, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on March 4, 2011 by chouck017894

…with the U.S. Supreme Court’s blessing.

On the third of March 2006 a 20-year-old Marine Lance Corporal, recently deployed to Iraq, was killed when the Humvee he was traveling in overturned.  This dedicated young man had volunteered for service in the spirit that democracy best serves the needs of most people.  But the idealistic youth died tragically only to become another  victim of persons who, as the soldier’s funeral was being conducted, spewed out hatred and dared to blaspheme that their deplorable conduct was in honor of God!

The perpetrators of this shameful conduct are some  of the very people that Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder USMC had volunteered to protect so they could have the human rights of free speech, free assembly, and freedom of religious belief.  And how did seven intrusive religious fanatics from Westboro, Kansas show their appreciation for the servicemen who place themselves in harm’s way to protect them?  By picketing near as they could to the funeral services while shouting hatred and swinging signs that said such things as: — Thank God for dead soldiers; Pray for more dead soldiers; Destruction is imminent (implying it is for America); God’s view (with a freak-face looking through a gun-site); God blew up the soldier; God hates the US; and God hates fags; etc.

This insanity is what the notorious “reverend” Fred Waldron Phelps, who presides over a cult group of extremists who call themselves the Westboro Baptist Church, traveled 1100 miles so he could exploit his perverted theology of what is unholy.  The “reverend’s” blessed insight is that American soldiers will continue to die as long as the USA is a democracy that tolerates Jews, Catholics, and those abominable gays (Phelps prefers the term “fags”).

Albert Snyder, the bereaved father of Matthew, would later bring a lawsuit against this offensive and hateful cult on June 5th, 2006, rightfully charging the Westboro Church with defamation, invasion of privacy, and the intentional infliction of emotional damages.  No money value was actually demanded, only that Phelps should pay Snyder’s court costs and  pay some cost in punitive damages.  In 2007 a jury awarded Snyder compensatory damages, but a year later a federal judge reduced the punitive amount!  And then the fickle justice system handed out by an appeals court in bible-belt Richmond, Virginia actually ruled that Snyder was to pay Phelps’ legal costs!

Albert Snyder was determined to fight the hateful cult in memory of his son, and had his lawyers petition the U.S. Supreme Court.  Uh-oh—the very court system that happens to be overstocked with Republican backed Catholic justices, and the group that gave corporations the same equal rights of single citizens—which then ruled 8 to 1 on March 03, 2011 that it was all okay for the Baptist hate-mongers to indulge themselves in raucous demonstrations during the sorrowful time of a serviceman’s funeral! 

How did the Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Roberts, whitewash this ruling?  Roberts laid out the incontestable opinion of the court saying the court protects “…even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”  Say what?  Public debate is not a situation that decent persons indulge in where a family is laying to rest a loved one.  What justice or evenhandedness is administered in saying that “public issues” are an excuse to invade the personal sorrows of others?  What type of spirituality or ethics or morality is that?  So the 8 to 1 opinion as guided and delivered by Roberts said the “…protection (granted in the First Amendment) cannot be overcome by a jury finding that the picketing (at the funeral) of Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder of Finksburg, Md., who was killed in a non-combat vehicle accident in Iraq, March 3, 2006, Lance Cpl. Snyder’s funeral was picketed by members of the Westboro Baptist Church, which believes military deaths are the work of a wrathful god.”

And trying to sound so righteously philosophical, Roberts shoveled it on a little deeper, saying, “Speech is powerful.  It can stir people to action, move them to tears of  both joy and sorrow, and—as it did here–inflict great (unnecessary) pain.  On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

Thus did compassion, ethics, moral comportment and common decency get a good kick in the ass.

The Phelps clan, of  course, was overjoyed that god favored their brand of hatred.  But from their apparent volatile mental state, they probably will soon become resentful that the Catholic dominate Supreme Court was such a helpful partner in their hate ministry.

Mass Distractions

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, culture, faith, gay culture, Government, history, life, politics, random, religion, secularism, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by chouck017894

Every year just prior to the beginning of the new U.S. Supreme Court term, the ceremony known as the Red Mass is played out in Washington D.C. in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.  And naturally the Catholic Diocese sends out invitations to the President, Vice President, the Supreme Court justices, and any other dignitaries that the church hopes to influence.

The Red Mass, first conducted in the early 1950s, is so-called because the officiating clergy wear red vestments to conduct the mass.  In that early 1950s timeframe the Catholic bishops were frothing at the mouth over the Supreme Court which, in 1947, had ruled unanimously in support of the clear separation of church and state.  (The case was Everson v. Board of Education.)  In addition, in 1948, the Catholic bishops had waxed indignant over the Supreme Court ruling that struck down a religious instruction course being imposed in public schools in Champaign, Illinois.  That, the clergy huffed, was “…the shibboleth of doctrinaire secularism.”  So, to show their displeasure with the rulings, the clergy donned their red costumes to indulge in a pretense of divine insight. 

Of course the annual Red Mass event is now propagandized by the church hierarchy as simply a traditional religious observance.  The noble intention, they say, is to beseech God to guide the administration in dispensing justice for the nation.  How God is expected to guide the dignitaries in attendance is usually broadly implied in how the Red Mass “observance” is conducted. 

Back in October of 2010, for example, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl practically slobbered a welcome greeting upon the Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Roberts.  And the Associate Justices, Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas—all devoted Catholics, and all Republican nominated—were each publicly praised for attending.  These five men happen to be of one assertive faith system, and happen to hold five of the nine benches of the U.S. Supreme Court: hardly a representation of diversity in a government that is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  The attention lavished upon these five justices at that 2010 Red Mass contradicted the so-called “traditional religious observances” that they were claimed to be, for the affair was a brash attempt to inject their religious philosophy into government, laws and sectarian doctrine.

The pompous affair was simply religious business as usual, for this has been the routine since that 1950 red-costumed circus.  The Red Mass provides the bishops with a captured audience, which in the case of the present Catholic dominated Supreme Court make for the opportunity to cajole five of the nine justices toward the Catholic faith system’s position on various issues.

From that 1950s feigned respect for the higher Source, the bishops then began to lobby for government aid to parochial schools.  In other words, they wanted tax money taken from diverse people who did not subscribe to the Catholic faith system to be utilized to pay for teaching Catholic beliefs!  From there the “holy” representatives then launched into sermons which opposed government allowance for abortion.  And today this is only one of the oppressive and hateful demands that Religious Right zealots are attempting to impose upon the widely diverse people that make up our democratic nation. 

Considering the amazing diversity that is displayed throughout all Creation, it seems highly unlikely that the creative power responsible for it all would find any reason to force any particular man-invented faith system upon the rest of Creation. 

The Constitutional advice of church and state separation was born of divine insight.  Many of the Founding Fathers of our democratic form of government had traveled to Europe, studied the history of other nations, and noted how governments inevitably sank into oppressive exploitation of citizens when dominated by religious factions.  The understanding that the church and state must stand apart if all citizens are to remain free is the major difference upon which the United States of America rose to greatness.  Separation of church and state was never meant to dishonor a higher Source, nor did it advocate the separation of law from morality.  The higher concept expressed in the Constitution that every person shares an equal playing field in their mortal existence is not a moral principle that religious tyrants choose to understand.

  • Related post: U. S. Supreme Court Set Trap for Democracy, December 2010.