Studying the non-religious: 8-11-09
A bit of Quaker history: 8-13-09

Confusing religion, patriotism: 8-12-09

I was at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday for the Royals-Athletics game and heard a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem before the game and then, in the seventh inning, an equally beautiful version of "God Bless America" by a male singer.

KLBates

It got me to thinking about the ways in which we sometimes confuse religion and patriotism. Our politicians do it all the time, claiming that God has a special mission of the United States, that God is on our side in various ways and so forth. I've heard everyone from Ronald Reagan to Al Gore do this.

But I noticed at least a hint of this confusion at the ballyard Sunday when lots of people took off their hats and placed them over their hearts at the singing of "God Bless America." Well, that's the appropriate response for our National Anthem, but it's not required of a hymn that is, in effect, an intercessory prayer. Oh, there's nothing wrong with removing one's hat and placing a hand over one's heart, but in some ways that confuses a patriotic gesture with a religious gesture.

This is a pretty good day to be thinking about all of that because it's the 150th anniversary of the birth of Katharine Lee Bates, a Wellesley College English teacher best known for penning "O Beautiful for Spacious Skies," also known as "America the Beautiful," a lovely patriotic hymn that is also a prayer.

Bates was born in Falmouth, Mass., which I visited in June, though at the time I didn't know she was from there. I might have checked to see how Falmouth remembers her.

Well, my point in celebrating Bates today is simply to remind us to draw a distinction between religion and patriotism. One of the hymns that helps me remember to do that is "A Song of Peace," sung to the tune of "Finlandia" by Jean Sibelius. The second verse, penned by Lloyd Stone, says this, "My country's skies are bluer than the ocean, and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine; But other lands have sunlight too, and clover, And skies are everywhere as blue as mine: O, hear my song, Thou God of all the nations, a Song of peace for their land and for mine."

Exactly.

* * *

WHEN TO GIVE HATE COVERAGE?

A Chicago Tribune reporter asks a good question: Are journalists required to cover the fringes of religion, such as Fred Phelps and his band of hateful goons? I have struggled with that very question. Most recently here on the blog I answered yes, though usually my answer has been no. Do you agree with my answer in that case? By the way, I was glad to see the Trib reporter quote my friend Rabbi Michael Zedek, a wise man who understands this stuff. 

Comments

Will Graham

The New Atheists aren't confused about foreign policy. Dawkins despises Jews, crying about the "notorious Jewish Lobby" that is the "most influential in Washington", pages 4 and 44 of TGD.

As to Christopher Hitchens, he was gung ho for the Iraq war from the beginning. Sam Harris? You couldn't kill enough Muslims to keep that psycho happy...he adovcated both the "Mecca Option" (nuke Muslim holy cities to keep them in line) and pre-emptive nuclear war in TEOF.

We can be thankful that the social ineptitudd of these "men" and other Militant Atheists will keep them blathering about how "delusional" and "psychotic" believers are, ensuring that they will never acheive political power over us.

Atheists here keep braying about the end of Christianity, and its duty to DIE, but the KEEP FORGETTING that their tactics HAVE BEEN TRIED BEFORE and ended in not only failure but the SELF DESTRUCTION of the countreis employing them.

The "new atheism" is just the warmed over hash.

http://www.alternet.org/belief/141336/why_the_%22new_atheists%22_are_right-wing_on_foreign_policy/

Will Graham

Bill, if you want to cover the fringes of religion, why don't you do the same for atheism.

After all, KCFreethinker called himself a Militant Atheist, and that is something that needs to be stood up to...they failed before, so lets be sure they fail again.

http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/what_is_militant_atheism.htm

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

********NON SENSICAL NEW TESTAMENT QUOTES*******

Still on John...

17:3 "The only true God"

How many gods are there? When you read the Bible there is NEVER ANY meaningful "analysis" of other false gods besides "plain" "Though shall not have any other gods" and nothing besides relying on what's in the Bible. So, the Bible says in the Bible that there are no other gods and the Bible relies on the Bible! This pretty much covers it.

(18:20) "18:20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing."

Did Jesus have secret teachings? Matthew 13:10-11
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

(19:7, 12, 14, 15)
"The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die."

John blames the Jews for the death of Jesus. Well, just the way the cookie crumbles - it was the law. The North Korean woman who was distributing Bibles and was hanged - she ought to have died according to Christian and Korean laws - Ceasar got what was owned to him. I am sure one can find a quote in the Bible about Christians dying for their religion, but how in the world can you wrap around your brain this? Yes you can! - when your brain is on religion.

(19:33, 36)
"They brake not his legs."
The soldiers didn't break Jesus' legs because he was already dead. Verse 36 claims that this fulfilled a prophecy: "Not a bone of him shall be broken." But there is no such prophecy.

So, are there any other verses missing in the Bible and maybe chapters and even whole books that were burnt and not voted on when the Bible books were assembled - you Christians know that the books were voted on, right?

Dolores Lear

Bill:
" ...today is simply to remind us to draw a distinction between religion and patriotism."

Me:
For the past 30 years or so, some citizens have been protesting Religion in Government for Equality for All Citizens, Religious or Atheists.

Without realizing it, the Christian Religion was added by Christian Citizens, ever since the USA became a Government. Not in the Constitution but by adding Rites, Prayer, Icons and Holidays.

Prayer in Congress ended with 'In Jesus' Name Amen', by Protestant Christian Chaplains, until recently.

http://www.bing.com/search?q=chaplains+in+Congress&FORM=SOLTDF&pc=SOLTDF&src=IE-SearchBox

As the Majority of Protestant Citizens changed, protests began and 'In Jesus' Name Amen' was dropped in Federal and State Government.

Public Christian Prayer was stopped, mostly in State Schools and Sports Events, etc. A Rabbi was used once in awhile in Congress.

We still use the National Anthem, 'with bombs bursting in air, gave proof in the night, that our Flag was still there'. What has this to do with the Christian Peace Father God/Us in Genesis? And their Lord Jesus, the Prince of Peace?

What does a Christian Government have to do with Toxic Pollution and Nuclear Bombs on Land and Sea, on their Home Planet that their God made? What does 'Proud to be an American mean', regarding the Peace God of Planet Earth? Mouth Worship in Pagan Temples, while their hands are Killing God's Life Temple, their Home Planet, and All Life on it?

Why has the Christian USA led the Planet with Pollution, and Atomic and Nuclear Bombs on land and sea?

"...today is simply to remind us to draw a distinction between religion and patriotism." For the Equality for All Citizens of the USA, Religious or Atheists.

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

*******YOUR NONSENSICAL NEW TESTAMENT QUOTES*********

(Continued from reading John) on breaking lambs legs...

It is sometimes said that the prophecy appears in Ex.12:46, Num.9:12 and Ps.34:20. This is not correct. Exodus 12:46 and Numbers 9:12 are not prophecies, they are commandments. The Israelites are told not to break the bones of the Passover lamb, and this is all it is about. And Psalm 34:20 seems to refer to righteous people in general (see verse 19, where a plural is used), not to make a prophecy about a specific person.)

(20:19, 26) "When the doors were shut ... came Jesus and stood in the midst."

After his resurrection, Jesus could walk through walls. Is "Just Thinking" still here? I am postitive, this is what he meant by quantum mechanical principles guided by god - we can walk through walls because the distance between atoms in any object (including people) proportionately wise larger than between planets in the Solar system, so with enough trying and time anyone can walk through the wall. Well, for that matter, with enough time "any crazy" idea (like Christianity and innumerable others) which were a "cutting edge" explanations of the Universe at the time can arise and die.

John 20:22 "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." - When was the Holy Ghost given? John 7:39 (before 20:22) The Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 20:30 - "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples." Did Jesus perform many signs?

Matthew 12:39, 16:4
An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.

Mark 8:12
And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

Luke 11:29
This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

Christians, Think!

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

Bill,

Reporters of all different stripes always look for stories about "fringe" - this is what sells and this is what attracts people from the "white noise" of dullness.

Evolutionary, this is what's it's all about - birds with brighter feathers, better dance, rich and powerful men attract women vs. dull and weak, etc. Sex, money, power, murder - are great stories to jar us out of complacency - and awake the evolutionary giants in our brains. Has been known since Adam & Eve's times :o) and we are paying for it (according to Je-Zeus and Co.) and will continue paying for it.

So, your musings about this are pointless from both angles #1 - evolutionary it will happen and nothing you can do about it and #2 - your god has a plan and the plan includes all the "fringes" of the society and there is not a single "god damn thing you can do about it" :o( Even god subject to Fate he has created himself, looks like he created a rock so heavy that as a god he cannot lift himself. Really, if you take a "bird's eye view" it's all #1 - naturalistically explained, even god. God cannot explain nature because you then have to explain god who is part of nature (unless you find a cop out - he exists outside time and space :o) - oh, yes, this has been known for a long time already.

Christians, Think!
____________________
Re: Patriotism and religiousity

How do you define patriotism? To defend the country against enemies "both foreign and domestic?" - you know oath like this is not required of American citizens unless they enter law enforcement, but foreigners naturalizing have to say it? Funny, how it works, huh?

Can you be patriotic and non religious? Of course you can. 21% of Ameircan miltary "self declare" non religious when they enroll (2008 study of US Military).

If you are equating patriotism and religion you are deluting itself and creating your own "moral relativism" - exactly the kind of relativism "crazies" accuse "non theists" of practicing.

PreacherDJ

To understand that God is directly involved in our nation is not "confusing" politics and religion.

Bill says to draw a distinction between religion and patriotism. But he seems to be saying more than that. He seems to be saying that patriotism is wrong.

Dolores Lear

Iggy:
"Really, if you take a "bird's eye view" it's all #1 - naturalistically explained, even god."

Me:
The naturalistically is explained by Evolution and High Tech Science. Humans Naturally 'Evolved' to High Tech, on another Planet, and brought to Earth. Life on Earth was Colonized by Humans in our Image.

The Unknown GOD made the Universe and all the Elements of LIFE as we know it. This High Tech Science cannot be made by Humans, nor, the Source Proved by Humans made from the Elements.

Genesis 1 Can Prove, how to Colonize a Planet by High Tech Humans, our High Tech ancestors. They did it 'Super'naturally by High Tech. That is 'super' Natural to Body Birth Humans that wrote and translated Scripture and Myth.

The Human Clone Helpmeets, were Reproduced by High Tech Cloning. Making a Human fetus in the Lab, 'is' Super Natural, to Natural Born Humans Sex Act Reproduction.

The Clones Reproduced Children, by Natural Body Birth, and lost their Supernatural High Tech Contact. Our Ancestors did keep track of how Life proceeded on Earth.

Once we accept all the Supernatural Writings and Myths, are Natural to High Tech Humans, then we separate the Peace God from the Killer God.

In all mysterious writings that Natural Man could copy, but not translate, they called God a Spirit, a Spirit 'Being', or a Higher 'Being' which is a High Tech Human. This can be translated today as Humans in our Image, with High Tech Science.

So do we want to Know this Truth about God, the High Tech Human Peace Society of Human, or just go ahead with our Business of Worshiping a Natural Born Man-Made God, and Killing our Home Planet and All Life on it?

memberofKCFreeThinkers.org

You want to get the Stadium motivated? - play some Rock & Roll : like “Free Bird” by the Eagles or “Oye coma Va” by Santana or some Stevie Ray or at least something more contemporary. Funny how we get stuck in the same old things. Status Quo sucks and that is why religion is dwindling and morphing, and non-religion is growing, We are more and more discovering we are in control of our own life. We are our own god. For some I suppose that is scary. Interesting surveys yesterday, Bill.

Of course you won’t catch me at the stadium unless there is a concert or special event. I believe interest ‘in what’ sports have become will slide away, too. We’ll eventually move away from our past gladiator roots. That’s life, evolution. Everything evolves. Some day there will be less Rock & Roll, there is less Rock & Roll. Oh, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, go figure. That’s another old boring saying. Hey, I might be some kind of prophet.

Our last Sunday church visit was enjoyable. What I keep seeing is how Xs think they have the true answer. Whenever a different X group was brought up – catholic, Mormon, whatever – these people said those were not real Xs. What does that mean? When I said the world is a better place to live than ever before and gave some reasoning on this, they looked starry eyed, then reverted back they believe it is worse because they believe it is worse. The Preacher said that. The simply stumbled around with it until the all agreed as if they were masturbating each other into the belief. I’m not opposed to masturbation, but when you do it to your brain it can’t be very helpful. Time to live in the real, natural world. We’ll get there. I’ll be dead, but I sure am liking the ride and watching it all transform…

Peace For the sake of Goodness Cole

Dolores Lear

Preacher DJ:
"Bill says to draw a distinction between religion and patriotism. But he seems to be saying more than that. He seems to be saying that patriotism is wrong."

Me:
For me it is Wrong To put Country above God, and Kill. No One can Serve Two Masters.

Matthew 6:21-24. KJV. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

No man can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Jesus goes on to teach about His Equal sharing Society.

Matthew 6:33,34. "For seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself, Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Matthew 7:3,5. "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye, and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shall thou sea clearly to cast out the mote out of they brother's eye."

Humans should Share God's Resources Equally, have War no More, and have Peace, instead of Killing Each Other and Polluting and Killing our Home Planet.

Susan

Bill, I agree with the sentiment that says, Let's not glorify hate-mongers like Fred Phelps and his followers ... Let's not waste our time and energy talking about what makes them tick and so on and so forth. At the same time, I think it IS very important to be aware of the possible effects of religious dogmatism.

Which brings me to a comment made by adamh last night. adamh seems to think I am blaming all Christians for the actions of fringe groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. But, adamh, you've really just erected another straw man -- because I most certainly have NEVER said that I "blame" all Christians for what this one sect is doing. What I blame is dogmatism -- the insistence that if we don't accept every jot and tittle of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, our faith is nothing.

Of course, for most of the Christians who believe in inerrancy, there's still a lot of selective interpretation going on -- so they are saying out of one side of their mouth that it's all God-breathed, while out of the other side of their mouth they explain away certain stuff. Which makes it safer, because they're not really TOTALLY basing their entire life on the Bible -- they just say and think that they are.

But every once in a while someone comes along who calls a spade a spade (or a spade as they SEE it when looking at the whole of life throught Bronze Age glasses). And then you get someone like Fred Phelps who says, What we are hearing preached from the pulpits is NOT the true word of God. Of course his version isn't true either -- but in some ways it seems a lot closer to the way people used to think in those days. (Continued)

memberofKCFreeThinkers.org

What do you think Aliens would think watching people group together with their hands and hats over their hearts and singing praise to something with so many interpretations, and invisible, and so mysterious you can’t know his mind? I think we all like talking to ourselves – we do talk to ourselves – 24/7- some think this is a buddy, like jesus or god or both. We all have this little secret world and too many want others to think like them. Funny. Well, it’s not working here. People, as a group, will finally realize this and do more good, like spend more time in sciences. That is, and will be, our salvation. Tough to get out of the box, for some, I suppose.

PreacherDJ, you go by that because you are like some kind of DJ? When will you get it? God is in your head? It’s you, dude. You are talking to yourself. Now have some fun with that. I do. I crack me up sometimes. I like all my little characters in my head. It’s healthy. It’s the way we are. You don’t need to make up an imaginary friend. You ‘are’ your own best friend. This is so damn funny, Relax and enjoy the ride, preacher.

Bill, I think a million people, well, a lot anyway, should surround Fred Phelp’s compound and sing “Sympathy for the Devil”, by the Rolling Stones. Better yet, a mini Woodstock, around Fred for days. But that would be against the law, wouldn’t it. But spreading hatred like Freddie isn’t… Strange world. But it is changing and his kind will disappear. We’ll simply give them a pill or go into their head and do a little adjustment. That is of course if religion doesn’t protest helpful sciences. And slow it down. That’s all religion ever does - just slow it down. They always loose in the end. Maybe that should stir things up. Huh?

Sing this at the Stadium.
Rolling Stones - Sympathy for the Devil - Bridges to Babylon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpNoniDH6IY

Peace For the sake of Goodness Cole

Red Biddy

I don't think Bill is saying patriotism is wrong at all, DJ. Honestly, if you can grasp the wrong end of the stick you will ! You are completely missing Bill's point that there should be a DISTINCTION made between religion and patriotism. Guess that's a bit to subtle a "distinction" for you !

Now, I disagree with Bill (a bit!) in his describing some of the patriotic songs like "O Beautiful" as hymns ! This makes them religious in essence doesn't it -being songs in honor of God, a god or gods (Webster)?

Having made the Oath of Allegiance in which we had to "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen..." I was delighted when we gave voice to "My country! 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing" sung to the tune of the National Anthem, of the "foreign prince, potentate, state etc....I had just supposedly abjured !

There is a rarely sung verse in the British anthem which compares very favorably to Bill's quote from "A Song of Peace" which recognizes that "other lands" have sunlight too..."

"Not in this land alone,
But be God's mercies shown,
From shore to shore !
Lord make the nations see,
That man should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world over.

Now I've no doubt this verse was penned at the height of the British Empire....but it's still a nice thought. Better than:-

O Lord our God, arise,
Scatter our enemies,
And make them fall
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks
On thee our hopes we fix
God save us all.

Although I must admit I always loved the "knavish tricks" bit (thinking of all politicians !)

Susan

(Continued) I realize dogmatists would like for us just to focus on the people who are applying the dogma in the "right" way. I.e., when someone talks about the abuses that can occur when people accept the "wifely submission" verses as God-breathed -- dogmatists will go on about how wifely submission is such a beautiful thing when husbands are doing their part by loving their wives with a totally self-sacrificing love, as Christ loved the Church.

But of course the dogmatists will also say the wives need to obey the submission Scriptures reGARDless of whether their husbands are being Christlike, so long as they're not asking them to do anything against Scripture.

As Iggy says, there's this insistence that the doctrine never fails -- so when things go horribly wrong it's always the fault of the people who must not be applying it right.

adamh, yes I realize that "The Stoning of Soraya M" is about a Muslim community -- and there are some differences between the Biblical handling of these issues,and the Koranic one. And of course, just as no truly-practicing Jew or Christian would condone such horrendous actions -- no true Muslim would condone them either.

So the "stoning" movie is not a direct picture of religious faith itself -- it's more a picture of the atrocities that can happen when societies uphold hierarchical systems that give certain individuals power over others. adamh, It's interesting that you feel Jesus condemned theocracy when He said render to Caesar what's Caesar and to God what's God's. The funny thing is, the Coalition on Revival proclaims a belief in Biblical Inerrancy -- so I wonder how they reconcile their goals with that particular Scripture?

Susan

Red Biddy, I was interested to hear your views last night, about the Atheist movement being somewhat male-dominated, just as religion has been.

Do you think this has something to do with the fact that we women often choose to take primary responsibility for caring for our children? -- At least for me and most of the moms I know, it's a choice and not something we feel has been put upon us. So, when children are small they tend to feel more distress if Mommy heads out the door than if Daddy does -- which I think leads to women feeling a more of a need to put some interests on hold (even though I must add here that I feel quite engaged in and excited about aspects of life I'd never thought of before becoming a mom) ...

Of course, the years when children are small pass pretty fast, but I think our different experiences as women sometimes make us more inclined to focus on interpersonal issues, family issues, that sort of thing -- and maybe not to have as broad of a focus as men tend to have. I think both focuses are important -- but I guess what I'm trying to say is that men are less likely to "break their strides" -- at least the ones who've totally trained their focus on a particular goal of whatever kind (career, political, or whatever).

Of course, it also may very well be that some Atheist men are sexist and not as inclined to listen to women -- but if they are, at least it's hopefully not some doctrine they are clinging to. Meaning, if something happens to prove them wrong in their sexist views, hopefully they'll be more open to modifying their views, than would those who are worried about messing up God's order of authority.

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

Cole wrote>>>>>PreacherDJ, you go by that because you are like some kind of DJ? When will you get it? God is in your head? It’s you, dude.
________________
Cole,

PreacherDJ goes by "PreacherDJ" because a) he maybe a preacher b) it can be his last name and DJ initials or he just uses "preacher" as a moniker and DJ are his initials in reverse c) or not and he goes by it just because or there maybe a hidden meaning only known to him d) the blog did not allow him to register how he wanted to and someone esle had that name and he had to change it - who knows and who cares? It's irrelevant, really.

What relevant is his ideas... God in his head? According to the Bible, Jesus and truth can only be found in your heart and your kidneys ("reigns") and they are tried in search of god - Psalms 7:9 "The righteous God trieth the hearts and reins."

And "My reins also instruct me in the night seasons."
Jesus will search your kidneys 16:7

"Yea, my reins shall rejoice."
("Reins" is the Bible's word for kidneys.) 23:16

"As he thinketh in his heart"
In the Bible, people think with their hearts not with their heads. 23:7

If this is not the case of "lingustic sodomy" implanted by LORD Satan (god #4) who is equal if not superior to LORD YAHWEH as he promises all the treasures to Jesus (how can he if he is not equal to god?), I don't know what is.

Rick Warren, a prominent evangelical and author of "The Purpose Driven Life" (sold d30 mln + copies) wrote in the book - "Don’t ever argue with the evil, he’s better at arguing then you are having had thousands of years to practice" - Wow! What a statement! How you can twist it is totally remarkable! From this angle and from that angle! And also "Surrendered people obey God's word, even if it doesn't make sense." Astonishing!

Maybe this is why this blog has in 1+ years have lost a whole bunch of religious people - they may have started understanding that what they believed "just doesn't make sense".

Hannibal Lector and the Flying Spaghetti Monster work in mysterious ways! Christians, Think!

Susan

In reference to my previous post about men being more likely to have a broader focus than women -- I actually just think there is a huge difference between how men and women see different issues.

I see it as totally-relevant in discussions about faith matters, to talk about how beliefs shape people's attitudes toward children -- and specifically how beliefs about human nature affect how we treat our children.

For example, when I brought up the breastfeeding issue here, I got some backlash from people who seemed to think I was trying to hi-jack Bill's blog and divert all the "real" discussion that was taking place. When really -- I think this is just the sort of stuff EVERYONE should be concerned about. We are the most intelligent mammals (besides whales I think), and yet we humans are the one species that creates myriad obstacles to babies getting their mother's milk. None of us should be willing to stand for that!

Not to mention some of the really barbaric childrearing practices that are accepted as mainstream here. Like "cry-it-out" -- or the practice of "Ferberizing your baby" by leaving him in his crib and letting him cry for longer and longer intervals until he eventually gets used to going to sleep alone, knowing there is no point in crying because he won't be picked up.

We are the only species of mammals that thinks it's "normal" for babies to sleep alone -- and actually even among humans, this is a minority practice, mainly just popular among Westerners. Some people in other cultures see separate sleeping arrangements for mothers and babies as positively-abusive. And just as they wouldn't deny a glass of water to their grandmother in the middle of the night, so they wouldn't dream of teaching a baby that there's no point in crying for his needs to be met.

It amazes me that more people aren't obsessed with wanting to know the WHY of all this.

adam harrison

Iggy, Hannibal Lector is a serial killer from fiction.

Think, atheist, think! It makes you look like you are threatening people.

Or is that your intention?

I mean, after all this time, what the hell is that supposed to mean?

adam harrison

Susan, you asked how the Coalition on Revival reconciles their views with Jesus statement, "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and give unto God that which is Gods."

Who cares how they reconcile it? I don't follow the Coalition on Revival.

adam harrison

Susan, here is Sam Harris advocating torture when he deems it necessary.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/2/hi/default.stm

Since you DO like Sam Harris, as hate filled a militant atheist as they come, how do you reconcile his views with your own?

adam harrison

Susan, you have previously suggested that it would be a good idea if men go breasts and breast feed, or take hormone injections, or whatever.

You obviously have had a lot of problems with your family growing up; would you like to see men castrated as well, to make everyone equal.

I don't mean to sound sarcastic, but its very Freudian; you seem angry, just as Dolores is about body birth, but in a different way.

Perhaps penises make you angry?

Red Biddy

Susan,
No, I don't think it's because women choose more often to stay home and take care of the kids - but then my life experience has probably been the complete opposite of yours so I may be wrong about that !

In the matter of education for instance, it has been noted that in mixed classes girls tend to "keep silent" in direct contrast to the boys who get more attention from their teachers than the girls do. Professor Camille Paglia (a very aggressive feminist) would not allow boys in her classes because she felt the girls would not be able to learn as well if boys were present and not have the courage to speak up and ask questions.

Remember Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter books and Professor Snapes comment "you are an insufferable know-it-all !" Not many girls would have the stregth of character to stand up to that kind of abuse would they ?

I know that is fiction but just to give you a real life example, when I went for my college interview my interviewer (male of course) said "I really don't know why you women want to do this !!!" No kidding.....this really happened !

I won't explain here what "this" was that I wanted to do as it is irrelevant - my point is that my interview was typical of the male attitude to women entering careers they considered to be a male prerogative. As one of my favorite poems says "We were to be diligently educated as fools." My first experience here in Kansas City, with an atheist group was to be relegated to making the coffee and doing the newsletter. I was terrified to speak out, ask a question or anything ! This is all above your pretty head dear, so go make the coffee.
I've learned - oh boy have I learned and now can give as good as I get but I still prefer to write out my thoughts rather than speak them in male company !

Red Biddy

I understand Bill's struggle with how the media should treat Fred Phelps and his goons. Giving them any publicity is just what they want.
I personally think some good healthy ridicule might do the trick. How about an in your face demonstration with big signs saying "Jesus was a Jew - didn't you know ?" "Gays for Jesus" "Jews for Jesus" "St Paul was a homosexual" (got that idea from Bishop Spong who cites good Biblical evidence for that possibility !) I dunno....they wouldn't get the point would they ?

Hollywood is doing its best to ridicule the Fred Phelps mentality with its True Blood series now in its second season. The last episodes have been a riot, about a fundamentalist type church dedicated to killing vampires (who have replaced gays for the purpose of the drama of course) their activities have been stopped by a 2000 old vampire who says he's older than Jesus but wishes he'd known him but the last episode ended with one of the church members walking into the vampire nest as a suicide bomber !
Got a great introductory song by Jace Everett, Bad Things. Not on a par with St Matthew Passion but very singable !
You might not have heard the news item that Britain has forbidden Fred Phelps to enter that country. The play Laramie Project was being performed there and the Phelps father and daughter were planning to demonstrate outside the theatre. The Brits said no way !
They could let him speak at Hyde Park Corner though - that way the crowd could throw rotten vegetabkles at him which is what they do if they don't like the speaker !

Red Biddy

I've always loved Samuel Johnson's famous comment: Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

And then there is Mark Twain that greatest of American satirists and proud son of Missouri who once wrote "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it."
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Is anyone here worrying about all this shouting and yelling going on at Town Hall meetings in regard to health care reform ?

Bill pointed out yesterday that some of the churches are getting involved in the debate. Although I'm an atheist I agree with the Good Samaritan approach to helping our fellow human being with his or her health needs - this really is a humanitarian issue isn't it ?

I had an interesting confrontation with a non-denominational missionary the other night who nobbled a friend and me, while trying to have a quiet meal. The sale's pitch was the prosperity gospel, with which I am all too familiar": "God loves you so if you want to be rich give your life to God. They were selling a pyramid scheme in Nutra Life or some other holistic rubbish.....
We let the young lady have her say and then threw the Bible right back at her. By the time we were done (my friend is ex Catholic and Jesuitical trained - boy can they argue !) I'm afraid we had reduced her to tears....These Prosperity gospellers are something else ! They don't want to hear that it's "harder for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven than a camel to go through the eye of a needle" or that believers are supposed to be taking care of the poor, the homeless, the widows and orphans not making themselves rich, and that it is by their "fruits" that you know them !
Poor kid, we were a bit rough on her but I think we made a dent ! And in view of the present debate about health care in this country we might throw some of these Biblical quotes at Congress right now so that they will understand that making health insurance mandatory for those who don't choose to pay for it, would be forcing the healthy pay for the care of the sick. They may not want to, of course, but if it is presented to them that it is both their civic and religious duty to care for the sick - so much the better !

Susan

Gee, adamh, you and your straw-man erections! Now you are claiming that I've said "I like Sam Harris" -- so my challenge to you is to either go find the post where I've supposedly said that, or retract your straw-man thingie!

I honestly don't know enough about Harris to know if I like him or not -- though I'll admit that I tend to feel an immediate affinity for anyone you and Will try to trash. Since I'm someone you frequently try to trash.

But Red Biddy has a point: maybe we do have good reason to keep our thoughts to ourselves in some sorts of male company.

Because I can't think of ANYTHING I've shared that would lead anyone here to believe I've got Freudian "penis anger" and might like to see men castrated to make us all "equal." My comments about men being able to bear children and breastfeed -- this stems from hearing my husband wish that HE could have this experience, and me being selfishly-glad that it is just "my" thing ...

And then me (theoretically) coming full-circle and deciding I need to be okay about men getting to do this IF THEY WANT -- meaning, if it ever becomes a scientific possibility, then we women need to accept that it's okay to share some of our turf. See, I think I am probably just as sexist as any man that I accuse of being sexist. But I am seriously not a proponent of castration -- that would be cutting off my nose to spite my face.

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