Archive for the 'Religion' Category


Still in the dark ages

Bikinis, Burkhinis, etc.

Just can’t figure out why it’s such a concern what women wear.


back to the 7th century; or the 1970s at least

Putin scares me. Just type “Putin and his quest for world domination” into your search engine and read a few of the links. I can’t help but wonder if we’re going to end up back like when I was a child, teaching our children to hide under their desks in the case of a nuclear attack. (Yeah, that’ll help.)

But ISIS and what it represents scares me more.

If you haven’t read Infidel yet, you should.

And this article is interesting. A bit long, but worth it, although I disagree with the author’s idea that we should encourage the “quietest” Muslim movement — I think the tenets of Islam are counter to those of modern civilization, and should be radically denounced.

I have this image as I drive down the road of men stopping my car at a stop light and dragging me out. Or being forbidden to work, or to have my hair or face seen in public.


(There were lots of these women in London when I was there last June. Beautifully made-up eyes, magnificent manicures, toting bags and bags from Marks and Sparks and Harrod’s. I couldn’t help but wonder why they were spending all this money on clothes no one would ever see, but I guess they have to have something to look forward to and this might be it.)

These concerns seem to be even more critical than the one for equal pay, or whether Beyoncé is or is not actually a feminist; and while less immediate, and we can all comfort ourselves (in the Western world at least) by its geographical distance from our actual lives, but I wish I were a screenplay-writer — there’s a kickass blockbuster dystopian book or movie here, where we’re all going complacently about our lives, trivializing the rising impact of “radical” Islam, until it’s staring us in our faces and we’re all back in the 7th century, where all the men have beards, all the women are property, and all of our children are raised to believe this is the One and True Way. Except it’s not purely a work of fiction, and it probably is something we should risk seeming paranoid about and actually do something.

And I agree with Sam Harris — liberals making excuses, while not actually addressing or distributing the threat to the point where it no longer exists, doesn’t help.




Open Letter to LGBTQ-phobic Pastor Sean Harris

Bad enough that he says this. Even more horrifying that there are people in the “congregation” saying Amen and laughing.

There is no hope. Punch your toddler boy who acts “girlish” and tell your girl that her primary role is to look pretty?

I’d like to punch him in the nose. Asshole.

And look at his wife, there, smiling. Criminy. Maybe somebody should punch her in the nose, too, just for encouraging him by her presence.

Raising My Rainbow

Homophobic North Carolina preacher Sean Norris recently gave a sermon in which he advocated physically assaulting gender variant toddlers.  Listen to it here.  This letter is my response to him.

Dear Pastor Harris,

Hi.  I’m C.J.’s Mom and boy would you hate me!  I have a little boy who likes “feminine” things and I’ve allowed him to do so.  I’ve even shared it with people on the internet.  But, not by taking pictures and posting them on YouTube, as you suggest — mostly because that’s not exactly how YouTube works, I think you have it confused with Facebook, but that’s not really the point I’m trying to get at anyway.

My point is my son is gender variant.  He’s a little boy who likes all things girly, like playing with dolls and wearing skirts.  My son started acting a little girlish at age two and a half and I…

View original post 300 more words


Not a war?

Sez who? (Lots of people; mostly male Republicans, but whatever.)


Just when you think it can’t get more ridiculous.

Maybe this can be a sign of hope?


missing the point, again

A University of Rochester economics professor blogged in support of Rush Limbaugh’s comments regarding Sandra Fluke.

Quoting him directly:

While Ms. Fluke [the law student] herself deserves the same basic respect we owe to any human being, her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves none whatseover [sic]. It deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty. I expect there are respectable arguments for subsidizing contraception (though I am skeptical that there are arguments sufficiently respectable to win me over), but Ms. Fluke made no such argument. All she said, in effect, was that she and others want contraception and they don’t want to pay for it,” wrote Steven Landsburg, the professor, on his blog, The Big Questions.

To his credit, Rush stepped in to provide the requisite mockery. To his far greater credit, he did so with a spot-on analogy: If I can reasonably be required to pay for someone else’s sex life (absent any argument about externalities or other market failures), then I can reasonably demand to share in the benefits. His dense and humorless critics notwithstanding, I am 99% sure that Rush doesn’t actually advocate mandatory on-line sex videos. What he advocates is logical consistency and an appreciation for ethical symmetry. So do I. Color me jealous for not having thought of this analogy myself.

Upon being sanctioned by his President, he has posted a follow-up, some of which I quote below:

The commenters [to my previous blog posts regarding this issue] have offered many bright and lively arguments and observations, some of which have led me to modify some of my views. This is a wonderful thing. It’s also the very opposite of Sandra Fluke’s approach, which amounts to a contemptuous dismissal of the very possibility of engaging these issues through intellectual discourse. I’d have expected a distinguished academic to feel the same way.

But he’s still missing the point. Or should I say points.

I’m curious as to whether Dr. Landsburg saw her testimony. It seems not.

Ms. Fluke DOES deserve respect, and was herself ridiculed, mocked, and jeered, quite appallingly so. Rush did not mock her position, he mocked her. This much is quite clear. It causes me to wonder whether Dr. Landsburg even saw or heard these himself, or was just reacting to the fray.

The concern regarding denial of oral contraception for women taking it for medical, non-contraceptive reasons is a real one.

And while Professor Landsburg congratulates himself on both his mastery of effective argumentative tactics and his open-mindedness, he does so in comparison to Ms. Fluke’s “approach” rather than to Mr. Limbaugh’s. As far as I can tell Sandra has been anything but contemptuous. One can certainly not say the same regarding Rush.

The fact that this clip is followed up with comments like these leave me very little hope:

This is just a few of them. Too early in the day for me to wallow around in such a misogynistic quagmire.

And it’s interesting how all of the “clueless” comments seem to come from men. Am I the only one who thinks that men should just stay out of this argument altogether? When you have ovaries, a uterus, and risk becoming pregnant every time you have sex, then you can talk about this.

Just sayin’.



a religion for everyone

Why is it that many people who are religious feel compelled, no, instructed to share their faith with everyone, but recoil if someone suggests that he or she does not agree with them, or, horror of horrors, doesn’t believe in “religion” at all?

Out-of-the-closet atheists are often treated as if they are, inherently, evil. As if saying you don’t believe in a god is saying that you molest children for fun or sacrifice virgins or puppies in the forest around raging bonfires on Saturday nights.

Is it really so impossible to believe that humanity would do good, or right, because it is the right thing to do, without the impetus of fear-of-eternal-damnation?

I often wonder if the people focused on their salvation, their redemption, in the next life are not, in fact, missing the point. So many relationships with the people here on earth sacrificed, in the name of “standing up for what [I] believe in” or, even worse, for “The Truth,” as if they know, with absolute certainty, what that is.

How can it be wrong to find wisdom and beauty and joy and morality and justice and love from works of Shakespeare, and Dostoyevsky, and Merwin, and Robert Frost, rather than from a book cobbled together over centuries by men with differing agendas?

And don’t we all see that if we argue morality through the lens of religion we’ll never agree?

A couple of clips to watch. You might not agree with everything said, but at least give it some thought.

(thank you treacle talks)

(the interview starts around minute 4)



why aren’t we (women) all screaming?

So the buzz on NPR this morning is that “Catholics” are upset about a new proposed law that would require all insurance companies to cover contraception.

At the same time, reportedly, 98% of the women in this country use contraception at some point in their lives.

There are approximately 313 million people in this country, and, according to this chart, 24% of them are Catholic. It seems safe to assume that approximately half of that 24% are female, 98% of whom apparently use contraception — 36,808,800, according to my calculations; would it be presumptuous to think that perhaps this 37 million are not at all upset?

Has anyone asked them?

And even if no one has, one can still presume.

So who’s upset?

The cardinals, priests, bishops, the POPE forcryingoutloud?

Why do they even get to voice their opinion? They don’t need contraception. They’re MEN, who can’t procreate, because they’re not supposed to be having sex. (If they are, they’re probably molesting young boys.) They shouldn’t get to decide this.

So either Catholic women are using contraception and not talking about it (shame on them), or, well, what? What’s the alternative here?*

Why is this even an issue? As we are living on a planet that’s about to collapse under the collective weight of humanity, can “they” possibly still believe that the “be fruitful and multiply” is a good edict to follow? I’m sure that’s useful to the woman in Kenya with 14 babies and living through famine.

Women who have a say in their procreation have more power. Is that the problem? We all know how “the Catholics” (not to mention the rest of the men world) feel about women with power.

Does anyone else have a problem with a religious organization, run by “celibate” men, telling women that they have no right to claim control over when and if they procreate?

And if we all have a problem with it, why don’t we say anything?

And now the biggest supporter of breast-health and breast-health-awareness has decided not to give money to Planned Parenthood to be used for breast cancer screening by women who maybe can’t otherwise afford it.


And then we have women putting themselves forward as viable candidates for this country’s highest office, namely Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman, (whose primary selling points seem to be general attractiveness and nice hair rather than intellectual rigor or experiential qualifications), questioning the fairness of laws protecting women’s rights to access to contraception.

Is this the best we can do?

We  should get to decide if and when we have babies or not — especially since women who have children are automatically considered to be less viable in the workplace. How many men give up their careers against their will because they had children?

And if the insurance companies are going to pay for Viagara, they should pay for our Apri, or our IUD, or our diaphragm.

*I have very good, self-aware, contraception-using, parents-of-gay-children, female friends who consider themselves to be “good Catholics.” I don’t get it. The people running your particular show are telling you that you’re sinning and you’re wrong and you and/or your children are going to burn in hell, but you go every week and find great comfort in the ritual or something. Maybe it’s the incense. I don’t get it. I. Don’t. Get. It.

Maybe someone can explain it to me?


my day

1. What’s up with needing an invitation to Pinterest? Do they actually do some kind of research or something to make sure you’re not some kind of a rabble rouser or derelict? And how can they tell from my email address? I can just hear the conversation: “She uses comcast; probably a Communist.” Or are they going to evaluate my time-management skills to determine if I can enjoy the site without it destroying my ability to meet the obligations of my employment?

You’ll be relieved to know I’ve been accepted, although it calls to mind Mark Twain’s comment about being reluctant to be a member of a club which would have him as a member.

And this must be done on purpose, right? They aren’t actually that stupid?

Oh, just found out that I can’t join Pinterest without linking it to my facebook account. The Plot Thickens.

And no, thanks. Big Brother watches me enough, thank you. (And just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean the world ISN’T out to get you.)

2. Drove an hour to pick up my mom at a meeting place after her last radiation treatment for a brain tumor. Was an hour early because Flaky Me transposed the hour of departure into the hour of arrival. Killed time at a book store that had more gifts than books, but I guess we all do what we have to to survive.

I did seriously consider buying a book of “Good Karma/Bad Karma” checks, but decided that, as entertaining as they were, I probably would never have the nerve to actually use one, although I would have liked to have had something to use on the the gum-chewing, rap-listening teeny-bopper ditz-brain who cut me off (from behind, which is difficult to do) at my last exit. A club might have come in hand. Apparently HER right blinker means she is going into the right lane, but MY right blinker doesn’t. Maybe I should award her a good karma check for her brazen tenacity in getting to that red light one car before me.

Anyway, I bought two promising novels off the remaindered table, for $5.99 apiece. It’s the end of the world as we know it; the fall of the Roman Empire. Combine that with the prospect of Rick Perry as president and I need to either kill myself or move to Canada.

He needs one of those Tshirts

Mom reports that doctor is encouraging re: her desire to donate her body to science, as her prognosis has exceeded the usual prognosis for this type of cancer by about 4 years. Her response is that prayer has made all the difference. Does that mean that the people who died within the first year of their diagnosis weren’t prayed for? Or God didn’t love them? Or the people didn’t pray hard enough? Or God had “some other message,” which, in His infinite wisdom Has Not Yet Been Revealed?

I was a good daughter, and only mentioned the possibility that other people may have been prayed for, too, and then changed the subject to, well, something, I don’t remember. Now I know that her faith gives her a lot of comfort and hope etc., etc., but I just can’t reconcile the whole idea of God healing some people because of prayer and not others. It just doesn’t seem fair to me, and if there is a God, it seems like he ought to be, at the very least, fair.

I then drove 2 hours to meet a friend of hers, who was picking her up to deliver her home. I felt like it was a relay, and she was the baton.

All went well, and only a little behind schedule, and then

3. Waiting for Only Daughter’s choir to finish rehearsing, and this huge storm blows in. Hail, and gale-force winds, and heavy rain and all of the kids are Ooooohing and Aaaaahing and the director is pointing out that there’s no lightning (flash, boom) and no tornado sirens ( Severe Thunderstorm Warning) etc. etc. to try to calm everyone down. Six minutes later it’s over.

I get home, and the power’s off.

4. Ate antelope stew from the slow cooker (I know, right?) and then washed the dishes with water from the dehumidifier. Prairie women got nothin’ on me.

5. Listening to NPR on the way home from O.D.’s choir. How cynical are we, that we report, with great aplomb, that the United States Government has seen fit to fund its activities for the next four days.


The power’s off until just now — 10 p.m.; 3 hours later.

This is typical for our neighborhood.

Only Daughter wonders if maybe we should move.

Now I need to go down and see if I can light the pilot on the water heater without setting my hair on fire. Like I did last time. And no, I wasn’t drunk at the time. They’re long, wussy, matches.


ashes to ashes

I don’t get it.

I did it, but I don’t get it.

Tonight’s reading, from Matthew — When one fasts, don’t disfigure your face as the hypocrites do so that those who see you on the street know that you’re fasting, for there your reward will be, but put oil in your hair, and go out into the world with a smile on your face, and your Father, who sees you fasting in secret, will reward you in heaven.

And then we have the pastor put ashes on our forehead.

For those of you who haven’t figured it out already, I am very !!! conflicted about religion. I have often in my life felt the presence of an enormous spiritual power, although it seems to me to stem more from our collective energy than from a Benevolent Dictator, but there it is — something enormous and beautiful and far beyond the understanding of my feeble little mind.

And, I have a church job. This church job allows me to a) teach ~ 4 fewer hours less every week, and b) play great music every Sunday, working with other wonderful musicians and for a congregation which really seems to appreciate what I have to offer from a musical standpoint. (After the service tonight, as I finished the Postlude — the second Barber Excursion, which conforms to the dark and somber mood of Ash Wednesday — my biggest fan, Paul, whom I believe to be in his 60s, gave a silent “whoop whoop” with his fist.) I don’t generally take communion, as I am usually playing during Communion, and am not really sure I’m comfortable with the cannibalistic-ritual of consuming the “body” of Christ anyway. But as I waited for the pastors to complete the imposition of ashes, and wasn’t playing the “background” music at the time, I listened to them intone repeatedly, “From dust you come, and to dust you shall return,” and decided there wasn’t really anything wrong with being reminded of that, so up I went.

But doesn’t this count as “disfiguring my face,” as do the hypocrites?

I do like the last line of the Matthew reading: “For where your treasure goes, so goes your heart.”

Nothing wrong with being reminded of that, either.


capitalism, foreclosures, and greed

A real-estate “agent for investors” was apparently a little disgruntled at a recent foreclosed-housing auction at the fact that prices are creeping up, making his clients’ buy-’em-cheap-and-sell-’em-for-more venture a little less profitable.

I think this is shameful.

Never mind the fact that he’s/they’re in the business of throwing people out of their homes; never mind that some banks would rather sell houses at fire-sale prices and lose more money than they would if they helped borrowers restructure their mortgages; never mind that regulations (a term we should all use loosely at this point) relaxed to the point that people who probably could barely pay their car payments were given mortgages for homes way beyond their means, and then allowed to refinance, repeatedly, based on the imaginary increased value of their already-overvalued homes; never mind that the tanking housing market brought the rest of the economy down with it, and one of the things that might turn this economy around once and for all is if people aren’t losing everything they have.

No, we’re supposed to feel sympathy that this man, and the people he represents, who make their living not really doing anything productive for society, just moving “money” around, aren’t able to make as quick or as easy or as big a buck as they did last month.

And what is this: “agent for investors” anyway? I hate to sound like dear-ol’-dad and hearken back to the “good ol’ days,” but weren’t mortgages created to help hard-working people own homes while they still had need for them? I’m reminded of Mr. Potter (the banker, not the wizard) in It’s a Wonderful Life grumbling about how people, (referring to a particular demographic, I believe he called them “garlic eaters”), shouldn’t be allowed to own a home unless they could pay cash for it. The idea that you could invest your money in your home, and have some value out of that investment at the end of your life was a good and noble one; a little appreciation couldn’t hurt either, and it sure beat throwing your your money down the proverbial drain paying rent. But maybe we’ve gone a little too far from the original intent of the home mortgage when people think it’s a good idea to package them up and trade them like baseball cards. It’s MY house, my appreciation, not yours, and I really hate the idea that the interest I’m paying isn’t actually reflecting the cost of the loan, but merely a means of lining other people’s pockets.

As I think about this further, I begin to wonder how many of the difficulties our country faces are, if not created, at least impacted by the fact that most people seem to confuse capitalism with democracy. Obama tries to make sure that we all have the right to one of the fundamental needs of our society, decent, affordable health care, and people hiss “Socialist,” which number one, it’s not, and number two, is it necessarily such a bad thing? Isn’t the Christian moral ethic (you know, the one that so many people seem to be shouting from the rooftops, ramming down people’s throats, and/or using as justification to villify anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with them), built around the idea that we take care of each other? The widow, the orphan, the poor, the disadvantaged. . .  And what about the statement on the statue of liberty: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, I lift my lamp beside the golden door. We presume “she” doesn’t mean give them to me so I can ignore their basic needs and discriminate based on their income.

People also tend to confuse Socialism — a system of economics that acknowledges that all have a duty and responsibility to themselves, their families, and their society, to do their best, and that everyone’s contribution is not only important, but necessary, while at the same time providing basic needs like health care, education, and support for the disadvantaged or the needy; with Communism — a system of economics that believes that people are not capable of the above beliefs and behaviors and therefore such must be regimented and controlled by the government. (It’s ironic, in a way, that early organized religion probably came about for much the same reason. People won’t behave honorably if left to themselves, so let’s create a system of fear, judgment, retribution and reward to control encourage them. Too bad so many atrocious acts are committed in the name of religion, from the genocide of the Old Testament, to the Crusades, the killing of doctors who perform abortions, and the people who feel they have a right to picket funerals declaring that God is happy about their deaths as He punishes this country for its tolerance of homosexuality.)

Hmmmm. I seem to have gone off on a tangent. What was I saying?

Ah, yes, the role of capitalism in society.

Capitalism can be a wonderful thing, especially when it’s a part of society which respects the rights and needs of others and includes recognition that we ARE all family; that what we do, or don’t do, impacts everyone; that what’s best for everyone might not seem, at any particular moment, to be best for one particular person, but ultimately probably is. Until that’s the case (my own personal version of Utopia), regulations are important, as are prudence, fairness, justice, equality of opportunity, and the awareness that the tyranny, pursuit, ethic of the mighty dollar might not be the one on which we want to build humanity.

I’d like to propose that we find a way to get money out of politics, but that’s probably a topic for another day. . .


(One of) the problem(s) with religion

Seen on a billboard:


__________ Church

Liars Welcome


That’s just terrific. In other words, you suck, your soul is black as dirt, but God loves you anyway.

What an uplifting message.

I wonder what the world would look like if instead of being told what miserable, sinning, waste-of-space creatures we all are we were told instead that we each held within us the power to change the world for the better.



the American way?

We all seem so busy finding ways to hate each other.

The “Reverend” Phelps

(This, and the following, in the name of “religion.” If your God decides to punish my son because my “country” has decided to accept homosexuality — which it hasn’t, really, although it should — then I want nothing to do with your God.  And notice the young teen making the posters; it’s important to start teaching them these things while they’re young and before they can start thinking for themselves. Wonder if the look on his face reflects distaste for what he’s doing. Or maybe it’s just the smell of the glue.)

Pamela Geller

This one makes me wonder — how does a woman who comes from one of the most vilified religions in the world decide that it’s a good idea to vilify another? You stab me in the back, I’ll stab you? (Duh? I guess this philosophy has governed a lot of political, inter-country, and sibling relationships for a long time. Silly me for hoping we could do better.) I am very reassured to find that she is able to afford maintaining her hateful blog because of her hefty divorce settlement and the sale of a nearly-two-million-dollar home.

I guess it’s not just us.

China resists the Nobel Peace Prize


Stoning and Iran

These from just one day. There are more. I’m going to stop now because it’s just too depressing.

Meanwhile, a colleague of my husband drove by this accident 5 minutes after it happened.

Those beautiful children, those poor families. They know, at least for now, what’s important. And they’ve lost it. For how many people does it take tragedy to remind them of this?

Is it really so hard for the human species to live a life of love?

Why CAN’T we all get along?


Tyler Clementi and Unexplainable Hate

Unless you’re living at the bottom of a mineshaft, you’ve heard this tragic story. A college student jumps to his death after an intimate encounter with another man is secretly videotaped and broadcast via the internet.

On NPR this morning there was a panel discussion about the lack of support groups for LGBT students on college campuses. This is tragic for two reasons. The first reason is obvious. The second is that there is a need for any kind of support system at all, as if they had cancer, or were alcoholics; as if there was something WRONG with them. Why do we still live in a society where people can be made to feel that they are “other” because of something which is now known to be a matter of biology?  (For that matter, of a different religion, a different color, a different country?)

We should all be better than that.

There are a lot of people and organizations that can be “blamed” for this, including religious organizations which insist that they are an “abomination” and misinformed people (way, way too many of those around, btw, and not just on this topic) who think that it’s “contagious” or something.

Let’s state the obvious: most people who are gay have been born to and raised by heterosexuals. Many many gay couples raise children, children who are loved and nurtured and respected, who grow up to be “straight.”

Let’s consider the argument that this is a “choice”: Most people who are gay struggle against this realization, and often risk familial and/or social ostracization if they reveal their true nature. Does anyone still believe that this is some kind of rebellion, enacted to seek revenge on their parents or to try to undermine the institution of marriage? For that matter, how does the fact of two people, of any gender, committing to a life together undermine MY marriage? Would it be better if they were single, promiscuous?

We’re not even really talking about an issue of “tolerance” here; what am I “tolerating”? The right of someone to correctly identify their own nature and live a life free of prejudice and hate?

This is merely an issue of respect. No one should be secretly videotaping anyone’s intimate encounters; no one should be posting these videotapes without the videotapee’s permission; no one should be made to feel that he or she did something wrong based on the disrespectful, heinous acts of others.

We should all be better than that.


Politics, Religion and the Truth

Apparently the willful ignorance of MFA continues to spread. We could spend a lot of time talking about the failures of our educational systems — the results being a citizenry who for the most part lack both a sense of responsibility about being informed and an ability to differentiate between a reputable news source (New York Times, Washington Post) and a disreputable one (Fox News, [irony alert] random blogs on the internet, Rush Limbaugh). We are also surrounded by people who harbor a general philosophy which prioritizes emotion and faith belief over fact. Another discussion could ensue as to whether the demise of so many reputable news sources is a cause of this or an effect; I would venture to propose the latter.

Unfortunately for all of us, politicians have decided that they are better served exploiting these shortcomings than dealing with all of us honestly and informatively. The short attention spans encouraged by network news programs, papers like USA Today, and the proliferation of sound bytes over substance only make things worse.

Meanwhile, 46% of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim and that he is responsible for both the failings of the financial system and the TARP program designed to bail it out.

To the first belief, I ask, who cares? and to the second, how hard are “you” working to remain in the dark about the actual happenings of the country in which you live?

The fact that he must repeatedly emphasize that he is a Christian is disturbing in a country that was founded on the belief that religion and governance should have nothing to do with each other.

In a related story, many continue to protest the proposed building of a mosque in the phantom shadow of the World Trade Center. Again, was this country not founded on the very principle of free practice of any, or no, religion? The same people that make the argument that “guns don’t kill people, people do” can’t seem to translate that into the possibility that all of Islam might not be the villain here. We should blame all of Islam for 9/11 like we blame Christians for the Crusades or all Germans for the Holocaust?

Those freedoms that are villified among practicers of radical Islam are those which we as a country should value and treasure and protect most vehemently: to live where and how we choose within the confines of universal principles of right and wrong; to worship (or not) the God of our choosing; to elect our own leaders; for women to work and drive and vote and marry who they desire and live without fearing death by stoning or clitoral circumcision or being sold into slavery or forced into marriage at the age of 11; in addition to that we need to recognize a moral obligation to treat all citizens of the world with the dignity and fairness and respect which we accord each other.

We fail at this, miserably, over and over again. We should all be ashamed.


New Dollar Coin

Received this email:

dollar coin

in my inbox today; it has been forwarded several times (Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:) and the original sender is unknown to me, but the fact that it has been sent to me as part of a mass mailing to dozens by the sister of my sister-in-law signifies its possible virulence.

(I have preserved the original grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. I have reduced the size of the largest fonts, but suffice it to say, I felt several times as if I were being electronically shouted at.)

I would like to take a moment to deconstruct this person’s arguments:

1. I resent the implication that I am  a “True American” only if I share your religious beliefs.

2. What has begun exactly? (Paranoid, party of ???)

3. You don’t have to repeat yourself. Telling me to do something based on a specious argument and then repeating it two more times does not make it more convincing, unless maybe you’re talking to a moron.

4. No, I didn’t guess it. I had no idea what your point could possibly be.

5. Maybe you could explain to me what exactly trusting in God has to do with our method, and use, of currency?

6. Don’t instruct me to “send it on to everyone”; if I think something is worthy of passing on, I am perfectly capable of making that decision for myself. But oh, that’s right, you think you’re talking to a moron.

7. You are perfectly free to trust in God every day; does this mean that if you aren’t reminded by the miniscule writing on a coin you might forget?

8. Your writing sucks. You have poor grammar, make persistently poor use of punctuation, and don’t even bother to proof something that you obviously hope everyone in the country will read. If your ridiculous argument didn’t reduce your credibility to zero, this will certainly do the job.

Is the argument really that the only way we can be unified is by a consistent belief in the same version of an Almighty Deity? If that’s true, then we’re doomed, as community, country, species.

Our versions and visions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, fairness, decency, and community can only be based on the recognition that we ARE already community — that what’s good for everyone is ultimately what’s good for us, that if we don’t look out for and take care of each other we have no hope for our future, that our survival depends not only on our individual abilities and intelligence and opportunities but on our variety of strengths and experiences, on our interdependence as well as our awareness and appreciation of it. Can YOU feed yourself? clothe yourself? keep yourself warm in the winter and safe from the elements and disease without the help of many other people? Do you know the faith of the person who raised the chicken you ate for dinner last night? or who wove the cloth that made the shirt on your back? If your child’s teacher is smart and compassionate and kind does it matter if the church they go to is a synagogue or a mosque or the woods?

I have some dollar coins in the change drawer in my car. I don’t have one with me right now to look at to see if it actually says “In God We Trust” or not. What I really can’t see, no matter how hard I look, is how it can possibly matter.


Liturgical Women

The Anglican church is among the most progressive Christian organizations, ordaining women, and homosexuals, while the rest of the “world” holds fast to their prejudicial, misogynistic views.

But apparently holdouts remain.

Even though women now account for nearly a third of the Church of England’s working priests (more than 2500 altogether), “not everyone is pleased” with the recent decision to remove the last trace of gender discrimination in Anglican canonical law, which would allow women ministers to become bishops.

What exactly are they objecting to? That they have a uterus? Too much empathy? Their ability to fold a fitted sheet?

I just can’t see the problem.

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