Archive for the politics Category

Saving Souls With Threats of Death

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, enlightenment, faith, gay culture, history, politics, religion, sex taboos with tags , , , , , on October 30, 2013 by chouck017894

(Thoughts after attending a screening of a documentary concerning Uganda’s parliamentary consideration of an anti-homosexual bill which would mandate executing alleged “serial offenders.”)

All faith systems promote themselves by promising to lead their followers on the only approved pathway into an eternal Paradise. However, these faith systems can offer no testimonials from the beyond by their satisfied customers, no offer extended of money back if the product is found to be defective, no proof of their high rank as official spokesmen for the King of Heaven—except by their own public image diploma mills. There is next to nothing ever acknowledged by them regarding the great variety and diversity which is the working mechanism of the universe; their ego-gratifying concepts of the Maker does not incorporate the act of inclusion of that variety and diversity which the Maker openly prefers and has always displayed.

This assessment of common faith system sins is prompted by a recently released independent documentary “God Loves Uganda” (limited showing in West Los Angeles, California). The film covers the invasion, may we say, of missionaries from the USA to the African nation of Uganda. The faith system responsible for this sin of spiritual sabotage is the Kansas City-based so-called International House of Prayer, a Pentecostal Christian conglomerate specializing in stirring up hatred in the name of holiness. The missionaries, primarily in their early twenties, are filled with youthful zeal, if not genuine spiritual enlightenment.

The purpose of sending out these young missionaries to Uganda certainly is not in the name of godly tolerance; it is the deliberate misinterpretation of the interrelationship of all life in a selfish pursuit of self-aggrandizement. It is this inappropriate ego titillation, not spiritual enlightenment, which lures the inexperienced young into the army of spiritual misfits under the false claim of being “touched by grace.”

The youthful missionaries take to the street corners (of Kampala, Uganda for example), and there, dressed in dark suits and holding an open copy of holy word, they fervently preach with brainwashed zeal for the governmental murder of persons who are god-instilled with same-sex orientation. This hateful notion that a brutal God has to correct his own alleged mistakes by calling upon the predatory side of man is totally contradictory to the loudly declared assertions that the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator-God is a just and merciful God. The insanity of smothering all morality, ethics and conscience in a vacuum of hatred is made even more frightening by the fact that the Uganda parliament is actually being influenced by this gruesome manipulative propaganda that passes as spiritual shepherding!

There is the probability in their government’s willingness to deliberate over the call for murder of gay individuals is that the politicians are most likely blinded by fear–not especially of any alleged sins of same-sex attraction, but out of concern for the spreading epidemic of HIV, which the evangelicals improperly blamed upon the activities of gay persons. That passion for hatred, drawn from Old Testament savagery such as promoted in Leviticus, provides easy scapegoats for public sacrifice. Stirred into this brew of misinformation is the fact that these same religionists who call for murder of gays had earlier promoted abstinence as the means of deflecting youthful curiosity about sex. The holy hucksters from Kansas City had pontified that abstinence was preferable to God instead of safeguarding young minds through sexual education! Obviously the religionists encouragement of abstinence had not proven to be the holy answer to the HIV epidemic among the populace.

All of this senseless turmoil of cultivated hatred which the Kansas City evangelists trust upon Uganda is made even more hideous by the fact that the demagoguery of the brainwashed missionaries pays off in huge financial rewards for the home base. And these toxic seeds that the missionaries have spread across Uganda have also paid off handsomely in their sponsored mega-churches in that nation.

When will the world learn that the self-serving hypocrites who disguise themselves under holy garb have absolutely nothing to do with genuine spiritual enlightenment?

Ministry Abuses

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, Government, politics, random, religion, Social with tags , , , , on July 1, 2013 by chouck017894

Religious pretense can be very profitable. If in doubt, just ask the many televangelists that each year chalk up multimillions in tax free cash and which they freely dip into for their personal expenditures.

Religious activists and televalgelist promoters are permitted to live outside the purview of federal tax authorities, and that pretty much guarantees the shafting of all tax payers in the name of some self-serving faith system. From that sheltered position the holy schemers are free to intervene in partisan political campaigns while freely living lavish lifestyles. This applies in a large measure to the television “ministries” that cater to the stay-at-home armchair worshippers and for those seeking faith in the fast lane. For anyone who is personally familiar with the New Testament texts, however, that approach to “ministry” work does not exactly reflect what Jesus is alleged to have taught.

Among the goodies that the tax exempt loophole allows the self-serving faith systems is that the televangelical executives may freely take “housing allowances.” That these “housing allowances” too often pay for palatial homes, multi-million dollar condos, beach houses, etc., is indulged in while the “ministers” laugh up their vestment sleeves at the gullible “sheep.” It is common for the TV ministry setup to include family members and friends as “staffers,” so that all of them may also luxuriate under the big non-profit umbrella.

All faith systems should be required to file the same detailed annual information return that any other nonprofit organizations must file (Form 990). Simply saying that they “work for the Lord” is not enough to sidestep their legal and moral obligations to the democratic government which permits them to operate. Even Jesus, whom they mockingly claim to represent, was clear about that: “…Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s…” (Mark 11:17). In other words, the counsel which Jesus openly declared was that his representatives were to understand that proper spiritual conduct depends upon church and state being honored separately: for although both concern man’s conduct, the foundational forms of man’s earthly self-governments do not prevail in heaven’s diversity and liberty.

The antidemocratic criminality which is being indulged in in the U.S. in the name of the many self-serving ministries has evolved into the corruption of government which we have witnessed in the United States since the scheming and treachery of the Religious Right gained control over the Republican party in 1996. By November 2007 we had Republican Congressmen such as Charles Grassley of Iowa actually advocating that an independent commission, to be led by an evangelical agency, should study church tax issues! That “unbiased” commission that the congressman suggested to investigate tax issues was the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a Winchester, Virginia based agency. Grassley himself just happened to be a member of that “Fellowship”, also known as “The Family,” a controversial tax-exempt quasi-religious organization. Included in Grassley’s recommendation was the proposal to repeal the constitutional ban on churches from being actively involved in political campaigns! Church based politicking which would be anchored in tax-exempt security is in no manner a democratic pursuit, and it also runs counter to the teachings of the man whom the self-serving religionists pretend to represent.

There is a constant push by radical Religious Right leaders in the U.S. today to scrap or at least destabilize the wise Constitutional restriction set down by the nation’s founders which prohibited religionists from indulging in politicking. The undemocratic aim of these religious right conspirators is to establish a voting bloc for fundamentalists (themselves) whose idea of heaven on Earth is a theocracy. (Look to Iran for a glowing example of personal liberty under that type of governing.) But as late as the close of 2012, the Internal Revenue Service still avoided any serious investigation of these aggressive and deceitful religious conspirators.

The extreme Religious Right fraudulently claims that they are “renewed in Christ” but, as noted, they seem either strangely unfamiliar with, or just coldly indifferent to their Savior’s teachings. In the earliest books of Christianity (Mark and Matthew), followers are counseled to “…seek the welfare of one’s neighbor,” and to share compassionately. That is precisely the ideal of true democracy. Trying to covertly take over a government, therefore, clearly is not a “Christian value.” But today the self-interest of the radical religious right is displayed in their dishonorable overreach for political power, and they are doing this by using tax money which is gathered from citizens of every faith system and those with no connection to organized religion! The democratic structure of the U.S. is being placed in jeopardy today by this dishonest and dishonorable movement that disguises itself under the pretense of piety and spiritual values.

Fortunately the founding fathers of our democratic form of government in the United States clearly understood that genuine faith is not driven by a predatory fixation to dominate everyone. And history keeps trying to remind us that manipulative politicians, religious radicals and soiled baby diapers should be discarded quickly—–and for the same reason.

Betraying Democracy For Theocracy

Posted in belief, culture, faith, Government, politics, religion with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2012 by chouck017894

Theocracy is an ugly form of government which is touted by some faith system merchants as being presided over by God, while in real time all temporal management is to be dominated by a priestly order which claims rule by “divine sanction.”  In other words, it is sham authority.  In this twenty-first century the prime example of this type of governing is Iran.

Theocracies are alway ruthless and quick to condemn and dispose of any perceived threat to whoever happens to oppose the self-proclaimed mouthpiece for the ultimate being. All allegiance to such a set up is compulsory and the multitude is to accept it on blind faith even though there is never any real supportive evidence for the claims of godly choice of leader or the practices that are demanded.  It is this horror of social interaction that the forefathers of the United States sought to avoid, and they thus established the wise declaration that church and state must be kept separate.

That protective provision for maintaining true democracy as featured in the US Constitution has been the glue which bound diverse people from many lands in respectful acceptance of spiritual equality, which consequently made the US one of the mightiest nations in history.  Unfortunately, that strength and influential power which resulted from tolerance of diversity is a lure that cannot be resisted by ego driven conspirators.  If such persons can imagine that they speak for God, it is also easy for them to imagine that they should command the world.

Since the last half of the twentieth century and into this twenty-first there have been a glut of false prophets and self-proclaimed mouthpieces of God seeking to chip at that tap-root of the Constitution and replace it with their interpretation of “biblical values.”  All these ego driven pretenders of sanctity have attracted whole regiments of followers who are encouraged to mistake their ego for their spirit or their soul, and contribute multimillions to the “ministries” that would systematically destroy liberty and freedom for all.  Here, listed alphabetically, is a record of ten major “faith” pretenders that seek destruction of the constitutional mandate of separation of church and state.

  • “Alliance Defending Freedom” = (FDF) “Freedom” in this designation is deliberately misleading; the only freedom sought is to promote the prejudices of an Arizona based organization of TV and radio far right preachers as a tax-free religious group.  It is money and prejudice, not spirit, that guides them.  Gullible believers have shelled out nearly thirty-six million dollars to this group that seeks to overturn the federal law which bars tax-exempt churches (or other non-profit organizations) from intervening in partisan elections.
  • “American Family Association” = (AFA) “American Family” makes it all sound so reputable and patriotic, but this Mississippi based “association,” founded by Reverend Donald Wildmon, functions largely by abhorrent artificiality.  For instance, the AFA staffer Bryan Fischer alleges that Adolf Hitler invented church/state separation.  Apparently Fischer thinks that Hitler was present in the 1700s when the US Constitution was written.  Of course the AFA likes to portray abortion as sin, that gay persons do not deserve equal rights, that the AFA should be free to promote their faith system interpretations in public schools, etc., etc.  These bigoted hate mongers boast that they operate nearly 200 radio stations nationwide, and by stimulating their extremism the AFA has raked in nearly eighteen million dollars in 2012 in the name of God.
  • “Concerned Women for America” – (CWA) The “concern” is allegedly to “bring biblical principles into all levels of public policy.”  (Related blog: A Short Example of Biblical Values, Oct. 2012.)  The CWA was organized in 1979 by Tim and Beverly LaHaye (yeah, that Tim LaHaye, author of religious horror books), and it was started at that time as an opposition group to the Equal Rights Amendment.  Tolerance and trying to understand each other apparently is not a sacred obligation for them, and the CWA therefore opposes equal right for gays, promotes the teaching of creationism in science classes, and similar absurdities.  This is claimed to be “the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization,” and it garnered over ten million dollars in 2012.
  • “Council for National Policy” =(CNP) This “council” is small potatoes, drawing in not quite two million dollars in 2012, but it typifies the shadowy operations of the radical right.  The CNP is another Tim LaHaye scheme, and its purpose is coordinating meetings of “invitation only” religious right front men to develop strategy for political control (GOP).
  • “Faith and Freedom Coalition” (FFC) Founded by Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition.  Again the “freedom” striven for by this group is not to benefit all of god’s diverse people, but to entice conservative religious voters to certain (GOP) candidates which the FFC desired.  With revenues of nearly five and a half million dollars in 2012, the FFC hosted a forum of GOP presidential contenders in four states.
  • “Family Research Council” = (FRC) Here again a word in their title is deceiving; the word “research.”  This “council,” headed by Tony Perkins, is the principal religious right organization in Washington DC.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has actually designated this outfit as a hate group.  This “council” sponsors a program annually, the “Values Voter Summit,” to promote far-right politicians who favor bans on reproductive freedom and on gay equality, and who favor amending the Constitutional church/state safeguard, and who favor injecting creationism into public school science classes, and similar attacks on God-approved diversity.  But hate is profitable: nearly fifteen million dollars was collected by the FRC in 2012.
  • “Focus on the Family” (earlier known as Alliance Defense Fund) = (FOF) This outfit was founded by James Dobson.   The “family” that this outfit is concerned about is the right-wing political family, not the every-man family which embraces all diversities of human nature.  This Colorado based organization is really focused on pressuring state and national law makers in such things as abortion rights, denying equal rights for gays, and the rest of the typical hate obsessions.  Fanning such obsessions is lucrative, and the FOF revenue for 2012 was around one hundred and five million dollars.
  • Jerry Falwell Ministries/Liberty University/Liberty Counsel = Here is a multimillion dollar empire built on stilts of bigotry and hypocrisy.  With revenues of over five hundred twenty-two million dollars (principally from Liberty University), there is churned out a constant irritation of partisan politics.  Liberty Counsel, based at Liberty University, serves as a religious-right legal unity that specializes in lawsuits aimed at undermining church/state separation.
  • The Pat Robertson religious business empire = One of God’s most long-winded busybodies, Pat Robertson built a worldly empire for himself by selling ego-titillation as spiritual magnification.  The anchor for this fixation was the purchase of a broadcasting license that became the Christian Broadcasting Network, which allowed him to preach to stay-at-home seekers his bias take on what God allegedly wanted.  Mining the airways proved extremely lucrative, and in pursuit of shaping even more minds he established the Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA.  Featured in the private University are two legal groups; the Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, and the American Center for Law and Justice.  Ungrateful for his democratic springboard, Robertson has unendingly expounded in far-right and political invective, even stating that the church/state separation clause in the Constitution was a “myth.”  His ego-motivating “700 Club” is nothing more than a forum for promoting extreme right-wing ideology; it is imagined godly favoritism that brought in revenue for 2012 of over four hundred million dollars.
  • And lastly, we have the “United States Conference of Catholic Bishops” = Considering how the Catholic Church governed over most of Europe through the centuries which history records as the “Dark Ages,” we have every right to question the spiritual motivation for the bishops fueling the “cultural war” in the United States.  Catholicism has not exactly proven itself to be an infallible faith system through its two millennia of spiritual posturing.  When bishops indulge themselves in lobbying Congress in Washington DC, it is not for the benefit of all the diverse people that make up the citizenry of the nation; it is an attempt to force principles of the Catholic faith system upon everyone—just as they did in the Dark Ages.  The creative power that is personified as God has decreed that life is to be expressed in broadly diverse modes, and it is not up to any faith system to sit in judgment of that diversity.  The bishops’ formation of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty is pure hypocrisy when its purpose is an ultra-conservative stand on such things as reproductive rights, on who is allowed to love who, marriage equality rights, birth control, school vouchers, and seeking federal funding for their highly prejudicial church-affiliated social services.  With revenue in 2012 of over twenty-six million dollars, we can pretty much judge just where their true spirituality rests.

This short list of religious right groups certainly is not complete, but it does exemplify the most threatening pressure groups plotting against true democratic governing.  There is nothing of any genuine spiritual worth in attempting to force others into some man-formulated performance of honoring the creative Source: that is greed and pretense at its worst.  Under almost any other form of government such attempts at sabotaging the government’s founding principles would rightfully be construed as traitorous.

Seven Deadly Sins Still Popular

Posted in Atheist, belief, culture, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on February 13, 2012 by chouck017894

Pope Gregory I (540?-604), traditionally advertised as “the Great,” and also called a “saint,” is credited with warning mankind of the seven deadly sins which threaten man’s “fallen” condition.  In truth the pontiff simply built upon the musings of a fourth century monk, Evagrius Ponticus, who had pondered over a list of what he considered to be eight “evil thoughts.”  Undoubtedly the studious monk Evagrius Ponticus and Pope Gregory I built their insight on what led to sin from consulting the Old Testament book of Proverbs 6:16-19, which stated that the Lord was not pleased with “…a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood (verse 17), a heart that devised wicked imagination, feet that be swift in running to mischief (18), a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among his brothers (19).  [Loosely drawn from King James version.]

In Gregory’s revision he kind of- sort of dropped “sorrow” from Ponticus’ list of evil thoughts as being a condition of sinfulness.  (More on this later.)  The “sins” that Gregory mined into propagandist gold were:  1) lust, 2) gluttony, 3) greed, 4) sloth, 5) wrath, 6) envy, and 7) pride.  There is bittersweet irony encapsulated in this list, for throughout all the centuries of Catholic Church history the church itself has wallowed in all of them (and still does).  It is interesting to compare the religious and political extremists in the US today against this honored yardstick of sinful behavior.  [Roman Catholic Catechism revised Gregory’s order of sins as 1) pride, 2) avarice, 3) envy, 4) wrath, 5) lust, 6) gluttony, and 7) sloth.]

Gregory I listed the first sin as being luxuria, Latin, which means “extravagance,” but he wasn’t really referring to sexual thoughts or desires as the  word “lust” is commonly used in his sin list today.  “Lust” is an Old English interpretation of the Latin meaning “extravagance,” but both connotations can be easily applied to the extravagances of the religious and political extremists in the US today.

Second on Gregory’s list of sins was gulga, from the Latin gluttire, which actually referred to the gulping down of food or drink.  This is the common indulgence associated with over-consumption or over-indulgence, i.e. gluttony, the consequence of which is the habit of waste.  Thomas Aquinas (1226?-1274?), expanded upon this sinful aspect (one might say that he over-indulged himself in this) by listing six ways of committing gluttony.  By whichever standard it is easily applied to the typical conduct of the extreme rightists.

Third on Gregory’s list was avaritia, Latin, from avarus, meaning “greed.”  Like gluttony, the indulgence in greed/avarice is a sin of excess.  As commonly interpreted by the church, this is applied particularly to the acquisition of worldly wealth.  The sin lies in the fact that temporal things are treasured more than the  divine, and therefore is an abandonment of god.  Now this is a particularly easy one to associate with the radicals, especially the corporation-loving political right.

Acedia, Latin (variant of accidie) implied spiritual torpor, and was the fourth on Gregory’s sin list (as utilized by Thomas Aquinas), but it was not a reference to what is translated as sloth today.  Gregory had dropped “sorrow” from Evagrius Ponticus’ list of “evil thoughts,” but the inclusion of acedia by Aquinas can be better understood as the feelings of depression, apathy, melancholy, dejection, etc.  Such feelings, when allowed to dominate, were judged to induce spiritual indifference which would result in one’s failure to do “god’s work.”  Such an immobilizing state of emotion is not the same as laziness or not moving around more that is required as “sloth” means today.  So the old meaning of an unwillingness to love and care for the diverse works of god is what this listing as acedia originally meant.  And in that understanding it certainly applies to the religious and political radicals in the US today.

Number five on Gregory’s legendary sin list was ira, Latin, meaning wrath, anger, rage, or ire.  Such emotional concentration has the tendency to blind one to aspects of truth, both in regard to others and circumstances, or with self and circumstances.  This can lead to acts of vengeance—such as slander, defamation, assault, physical abuse, murder, and even genocide.  Sort of makes one think of the common far-right characteristics, doesn’t it?  Wrath—violent anger—is an emotion that is not always due to selfish reasons or self-interest, and thus smoldering fury commonly flames out explosively harming everything around it and within itself.  It is this feature of internal harm which is deemed to be a major transgression, for it amounts to a rejection of god’s gift of life—the same reasoning that the Catholic Church says suicide is the ultimate transgression.

Gregory’s sixth named sin was invidia, Latin, from invidere, meaning to look at with malice; in other words, envy.  Envy is often entangled with greed, but its distinction is the emotional state of resentment that another person or situation has something or achieved something that make them feel slighted by dame fortune or god.  The gnawing hostility called envy is the aspiration to deprive the others of their status.  Ask the people in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and others how malicious conduct of the radical Republican faction led to the betrayal of citizens equality laws which were once the crown of their states’ governments.

Last on Gregory’s sin list was superbia, Latin, translated as pride.  Roman Catholic Catechism placed pride at the number one spot, and there is logic to this.  Pride, hubris, vanity, conceit, narcissism, whatever it is called, is the blindly emotional indulgence of self-glory.  It has been characterized in the United States Congress by the Republican and Tea Party crowd who always say, “No!” to any compromise.  It is this emotional condition out of which all other sins arise.  With love focused upon oneself (self-interest) the result is the failure to  acknowledge the goodness which is active within the diverse gifts of others.  This type of behavior was seen by Gregory as the person holding himself apart from his proper position toward the Creator, hence sinful.

Whether the understanding of serious transgressions to which man is prone come from the book of Proverbs or Gregory’s list of deadly sins, it is obvious that the extreme faction which has taken over the Republican soul in the United States chooses to ignore the advice upon which they so loudly claim to place their faith.

Questions of Personhood

Posted in Christianity, culture, faith, Government, history, politics, random, religion, Social with tags , , , , , on January 1, 2012 by chouck017894

Having it both ways is a popular aspiration for those seeking to impose upon the United States citizens a mandatory faith system for acknowledging the Source out of which all things have been created.  On the one hand, some of the religiously obsessed have shamelessly insisted upon making a religious/political issue out of the process of biological development, declaring that pre-birth energy cells (protoplasm) are to be understood as a self-conscious person.  On the other hand, these same persons who declare themselves to be pro-life remain coolly insensitive when it comes to caring for the millions of babies that are born into life-robbing circumstances.

The so-called right-to-life harangue is nothing other than false piety used to disguise the fact that their clamor for personhood status of what is only a potential human has nothing to do with genuine right to life: it is all about trashing democratic style government and imposing dictatorial control.  And these phony issues have become increasingly prevalent since the radical religious right gained control of the Republican Party in 1996.  Attempting to enforce the claim of personhood for protoplasm is another case of ignoring facts that invalidate their claim.  Technically speaking, life is already present and at work in the sperm and the egg even before they unite, so is the egg and each sperm cell also to be regarded a person?  A half person?  How far is this absurdity to be pursued?

The protoplasm that results from the uniting of sperm and egg is the jellylike colloidal substance-form which becomes activated as the “living” energy-substance of animals and plant cells.  Basic functions for life are being initiate, yes, but the resulting unit of energy-substance is not endowed with the evolved sense of self-awareness.  In other words, that coagulating energy-substance has no conscious ability to declare, “I think, therefore I am.”

The activists for right-to-life reveal their true stripes in various attacks upon social structures that have served life and democracy well in the United States for many decades.  If they really are concerned about pro-life and right-to-life issues, why do they so adamantly insist upon cutting back on young life needs such as adequately paid teachers and even school lunch programs?  Why is education and developmental institutions such as libraries always among the first objectives that they want to cut?  How does keeping people dumbed down insure a more secure life for the infants coming into life?

The have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too crowd has slowly and religiously chipped away at voter approved democratic regulations for fair play and decency by pretending devotion to Christian principles.  Under the guise of biblical inspiration there has arisen an army of religious pretenders who have invaded the Senate, the House of Representative, the US Supreme Court, and political positions (governors) in various states.  The results in every case has been swift and ruthless attempts to severely limit citizen freedoms, commonly under the guise of a need for smaller government.  In actuality, the strictness they seek to force upon the people, and keep those restrictions in place, requires much more bureaucracy and organization than in democratic distribution.  Nazi Germany, which utilized the same tactics, stands as a testament of where that type of heavy-handed government can lead.

Carrying the pro-choice and right-to-life charade into even more extreme territory, they think that they can see god at work in conceptions that result even from rape and incest, which pretty much reduces their concept of god to something like a demented sex addict.  Their pretense that abortion under any circumstance amount to “sin” is presented as gospel even though the subject of abortion is never addressed anywhere in scriptural texts.  On the other hand, there are numerous priest-written accounts of pregnant women being killed and defenseless infants being destroyed with god’s approval—especially in those tales of Joshua, the Bible character from whom the name Jesus was derived.

But the pro-life, Bible pounding hypocrites are eager and willing to even carry spiritual corruption into the realm of psychosis, as witnessed by the US Supreme Court, dominated by five (out of nine) “Justices” who are Republican/Roman Catholic.  These five men, who apparently cling to a pope’s infallible assessment that a person suddenly exists at conception, then found it easy to judge that the nonhuman, manmade creations of corporations were to be regarded as endowed with personhood too!  In effect, this bloc of five devout Catholic “Justices” attempted to miraculously transform something that is unborn into a being that allegedly possesses the conscious awareness of “I am.”  That absurdity of extending to inanimate creations (corporations) the privileges of national citizenship and human rights is supported by neither the US Constitution nor by any scriptural texts.  That law interpretation, which is held to be incontestable—that corporations are persons—is all about materialism, and any spiritual standards claimed by those “justices” are merely utilized for camouflage.

As for the rest of the American citizens, these brainless perversions of democratic principles as determined by those five Republican/Roman Catholic Supreme Court “Justices,” intentionally reduced the living, breathing citizens to a surreal status suspended somewhere between the pre-born and the unborn.  That is not representative of the democratic values envisioned by the founding fathers of the United States of America.

A Priest’s Convenient Discovery

Posted in Atheist, belief, faith, Hebrew scripture, history, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , on December 1, 2011 by chouck017894

(Political Purpose of Deuteronomy)

The biblical text known as Deuteronomy, inserted as the fifth book of holy scripture, was composed for political purposes in Jerusalem in the newly established little tribal kingdom of Judah in the seventh century BCE. The little kingdom of Israel to the north had fallen to Assyrian expansion, and the inspiration behind the priest-written text was that the people could be mobilized by giving them an emotional claim to a national identity.

Deuteronomy is the alleged second corpus juris (body of laws) that had purportedly been given to the Israelites through Moses prior to the Israelites entering the land of Canaan.  The delivery of the supplements to the original “laws” had supposedly taken place in the plains of Moab (generally placed in the 1400s BCE).  So the Israelites were not then in the “Promised Land,” and yet the book containing the second corpus of “laws” supposedly had been carried into and inflicted upon those who already inhabited the land of Canaan.  Those undisclosed laws had apparently been lugged around through the Israelite invasion ordeal, even though the Israelites were unaware that what they defended predetermined the framework for a national constitution of Israel that would rise generations later!

The major feature of the top-secret text was the promise from god—or a covenant between God and Israel—to serve as the basis for the Israelites lifestyle in Canaan.  In the time of Moses, remember, no center  of Israelite government or religion existed in Canaan, the “Promised Land,” and yet that “for your eyes only” text supposedly provided the basic summary of every citizen’s rights and duties.  Strangely, those god-ordained laws were not found until the Temple in Jerusalem was being remodeled in the seventh century BCE, which was after the kingdom of Israel to the north had fallen to the Assyrians—or around 700 years after the traditional timeframe accorded to Moses and the Exodus (c. 1576 BCE).  Unlike the Ten Commandments the additional laws conveyed to Moses apparently had not been written on stone.

Whoever the real author(s) was (most likely it was the High Priest named Hilkiah and his secretary Shapan), he undoubtedly built upon already existing traditions, refashioning the legends according to his own outline and political goals.  There is no doubt of the genius of the creator(s) of the 7th century BCE who updated the oral traditions, for the early folklore and stories were woven together so skillfully that the characters, such as Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., exuded individual distinctiveness.  Equally telling that priestly hands were at work on the text are often detected in the alleged exhortations of Moses, which can only be characterized as preaching the law in a reproachful manner.  The heavy amount of the “laws” are not what can be termed juridical, but primarily concerned religious instructions and regulations for worship, even a festival calendar, and admonitions designed to program the public with a sense of obligation and duty toward God, which—surprise!—cunningly placed the priests in absolute management position.

In 640 BCE, after the assassination of tribal king Amon of Judah, his 8-year old son Josiah became king—and the High Priest Hilkiah became the young king’s tutor.  The convenient “discovery” of the book of Law in this same general timeframe also happened to coincide with the rise of literacy that accompanied the influx of refugees from the fallen kingdom of Israel to the north.  With the arrival in Judah of expatriates from the kingdom of Israel the political atmosphere changed, and until this timeframe there had been little means of producing extensive sacred texts.  With young King Josiah being tutored by the High Priest Hilkiah, the stage was set to institute a unifying code of alleged god-ordained laws within the boundaries that were then being claimed as the kingdom of Judah.

Deuteronomy is the only book of the Pentateuch that asserts that it contains “words of the covenant” which Israelites were instructed to follow faithfully (Exodus 29:9).  Biblical scholars have pointed out that the literary form of the alleged covenant between Yahweh and his people as presented in Deuteronomy has striking similarity to the seventh century BCE Assyrian vassal treaties.  In those Assyrian models the subjected people’s’ rights and obligations were correspondingly detailed.  The major difference from the Assyrian model with the holy “covenant” laws allegedly discovered in the Temple wall at Jerusalem is that Yahweh is acknowledged as Sovereign (with the priests acting as his representatives).  Typical cult ordinances were then stressed such as followers of Yahweh were charged to have no transactions or social interaction, and no intermarriage whatever with the native inhabitants.

The book of Deuteronomy also prohibited numerous Canaanite rites that had been tolerated for generations—rites that included sense-stimulants such as prostitution, ritual sodomy, and use of idols upon which devotees could focus their attention.  After the so-called “second law” was revealed, the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings were compiled in conjunction with Deuteronomy.  The groundwork was then laid down in the plotted reform measures that the High Priest and his scribe sought to impose at that time.  Thus eight years after Josiah had become king in 622 BCE, the suggestible adolescent observed the first-ever Passover sacrifice in the national shrine in Jerusalem.  Holy politics had triumphed.

The imposed cult-like obligations and the emphasis that believers in Yahweh were the only virtuous people—always self-portrayed as surrounded by wickedness and evil and godlessness—insured that Judaism would live at variance not only with neighboring people, but with Nature and universal forces as well.  Over time that spiritual virus would also contaminate the devout affirmations of two later faith systems that would arise to further splinter the western understanding of man’s relationship to the creative forces around him.

Pay to Play Politics and Phony Piety

Posted in Atheist, belief, culture, faith, freethought, Government, history, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , on November 14, 2011 by chouck017894

In the worst economic downturn in the United States since the Great Depression of the 1930s, members of the US Congress have tended to nonchalantly warm their congressional seats rather than to actively fulfill their oath to protect rank and file citizens.  They can afford to just sit on their butts (and just say no); their personal wealth continued to grow by an average of 16 percent.  Indeed, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that the median personal wealth for members of Congress grew from $785,515 in 2008 to $911,510 in 2009.  And that advantage certainly is not threatened in this 2011-2012 economy.

For the most part the professional politicians in the USA of today are not exactly the dedicated patriots as were the self-sacrificing men who founded this nation.  There is a super abundance of all those rah-rah politicos today who strut their stuff and wave flags and wear little flags on their lapels and shout “in god we trust” as they pretend devotion to democracy.  Ignored are the true workers who built this nation, and dishonored are the true defenders of democracy who physically protect the liberty which allows those professional blowhards the privilege to indulge in such charade.  Shamefully, the average combat soldier (such as those deployed in Afghanistan) earn a paltry $38,000 a year salary.  Meanwhile…

  • Retired US Presidents (such as born again G. W. Bush) receive $180,000 salary a year for life.
  • Members of the House/Senate now receive $223,500 salary for life.
  • Speaker of the House receives $193,400 salary for life.
  • Majority/Minority Leaders each receive $193,400 salary for life.
  • Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court receives $223,500 per year for life.
  • Associate Justices of the US Supreme Court receive $212,900 per year for life.
  • Rank and file members of the House and Senate each pocket $174,000 per year.

Out of the 535 voting members of Congress, 261 of the members, or nearly one half of Congress is composed of multimillionaires.  Results from the study conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics noted in November 2010 that “Congressional representatives on balance rank among the wealthiest of wealthy Americans and boast financial portfolios that are all but unattainable for most of their constituents.”   The executive director of the Center, Sheila Krumholz, pointed out that, “Few federal lawmakers must grapple with the financial ills–unemployment, loss of housing, wiped out savings—that have befallen millions of Americans.”  We should remember, the salaries of our so-called “representatives” are sucked out of tax payers’ wallets.  Such is the glory in the land of opportunity.

The recession in the US began in December 2007 under the G. W. Bush administration, and American workers found huge bites taken out of their paychecks.  But members of the House and Senate, while warming their seats in tax-funded marble halls, watched their salaries increase through 2009 by more than five percent—which has added up to $8,800 for each of  them from the time the recession began to 2009.  And their salary figures do not account for the many perks the lawmakers granted themselves—like health benefits, pension plans, etc.  In that same period, 2007 to 2009, the per capita personal income of citizens dropped from $39,392 down to $39,138–a drop of more than one half a percentage point.  But the far right, seeking to cut “deficits” that their own incompetence initiated, were clamoring to abolish Social Security, Medicare, and other safeguards for working American citizens!  Isn’t that rather like biting the hand that feeds them?

The loophole for these dedicated “representatives” of the citizens is provided in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 6, which allows Congress to determine its own pay.  From 1789 up to 1968—or for 179 years—members of Congress found it convenient to use that allowance only twenty-two times.  But in 1967 (Lyndon Johnson was President) Congress established the Commission on Executive, Legislative and Judicial Salaries (P.L. 90-206) through which salary increases could be recommended for top-level federal officials.

Then another method for determining pay increase (P.L. 94-82) was dreamed up in 1975 (Gerald Ford was President) by which the salary for Congress could be changed—through annual adjustments.  The annual”adjustments” could then go into effect automatically.  However, these raises can be voluntarily restricted if: 1) Congress selflessly decides to statutorily prohibit the adjustment; or 2) If Congress statutorily revises such adjustment; or 3) If the scheduled increase for members’ annual base pay has to be adjusted due to a formula using the Employment Cost Index, which would mean a lower rate of payment for members.  (The Employment Cost Index records private industry wages and salaries, which are not seasonally adjusted.)  By law Congressional Members may not receive an increase greater than the increase in the base pay of General Schedule (GS) federal employees.

After the “born again” and god-led Republican takeover of government in 2000 the payment rate for Representatives and Senators rose steadily.  In January 2000 their payable annual salary was $141,300.  January 1, 2001 their salary rose to $145,100; January 1, 2002 up to $150,000; January 1, 2003 an increase to $154,700; January 1, 2004 up to $158,100; January 1, 2005 up to $162,100; January 1, 2006 it jumped to $165,200.  And there it paused as the war on terror began to awaken public suspicion on national leadership.  But on January 1, 2008 Congressional pay rose to $169,300 a year.

Since the takeover of the Republican party by religious extremists in 1996, and later abetted by the tea baggers who were manipulated by the undemocratic wealthy, the lives of working  people are presently set up as sacrifice for material accumulation (in the name of faith).  And they loudly bray “in god we trust, but it is obvious that they pay little attention to the texts they consider holy.  Ignored is such wisdom as: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith…” (1 Timothy 6:10).  And it is observed in the book of Ecclesiastes 5:10, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: that is also vanity.”  Ignored too by those clamoring to put god in government, is Hebrews 13:5, which advises, “Let your conversation (such as in all your unproductive committees) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have:…”  (Schofield Reference Bible versions.)

If only our elected officials had a smidgen of the integrity and love for true equality as our nation’s forefathers.

  • Related blog: Abuse of Democracy Within US Congress, July 2011