Today there was an article that Fred Phelps, the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, is in a hospice dying. I have thought about this day in the far past, the final days of one of the most hateful men is actually something I put thought into before.
Years ago I would have cheered his death. I would have hollered, hooted and made it a reason to throw a party. Even before my husband came out, I had many friends (including my at the time wife) who were either gay or bisexual. Not only that, but his treatment of pretty much everyone else made me hope for his death. It wasn’t just the protests of funerals, but the way he treated his own church members as well.
I would hope not only that he dies, but that he would die in extreme agony, alone and distraught that no one cared for him. I even hoped that maybe he would think at the end that it had all been a lie. I hoped for whatever last moment crushing of his spirit (and body) that could happen.
However, today when I heard about his impending death I realized a few things.
- I haven’t actually thought about him in a long time, even when I see the shenanigans on the tv, he leaves my mind as soon as the news article is over. I haven’t given him a single ounce of energy beyond the initial response everyone has to his church’s actions.
- I realized that I wasn’t ecstatic that he was dying. There is no overwhelming joy, and no desire to throw a party. In fact I kind of felt empty about it.
- After I read the article, my response was for me to hope that he found some sort of peace in these last few days. I know some people don’t think he was troubled by what he did, and that may be true. Something was broken inside of him though, I hope maybe he got some clarity.
I am not sure what the change in my outlook is, or really when it happened. I suspect as I grow older that maybe I take a longer view of the world, or maybe I have just seen enough hatred in the world that I don’t want to give it any more energy then it gets from me.
I don’t forgive him for what he did, and I wouldn’t weep if he ended up in his own hell (if something like that exists), but I don’t have the hatred myself towards him. Unlike a lot of people who are crowing upon his demise, I just sighed, clicked the link and moved on (well except for this blog post and my realization I didn’t have the hatred anymore).
Honestly I am really surprised at some of the reaction to my breaking apart of the hypocrisy of religion (especially Christianity). Several unfriendings on facebook later (and actually not sad at all about that) I think I need to reiterate, unlike my wife, I am not an atheist. My problem with religion lies not in their belief that there is something more, but their refusal to adapt their outlook based on what we have discovered. The whole head in the sand avoidance of science is where I have the issue. Most of my problems are with Christianity because that is the dominate religion of my area, and the religion I see the most hypocrisy in.
Here is a very brief list of 3 of my issues with Christianity (and not even close to all of them):
- That the bible was direct from god to man. Let’s be serious about this, it was written by man. They have already shown dozens of books from the bible are missing and were kept out due to politics. This doesn’t even count the fact it was written be sheep herders from two thousand years ago without the knowledge of any science or rational explanation. Also not including the issue that a lot of the stories were copied wholesale from other cultures that the hebrews traveled through. I am not saying that there may be something to it, rather that its possible that the authors misunderstood things, and the explanations were wrong. So its the literal belief that is wrong for me.
- That there is any rational reason from the outside to believe Christianity over another religion. There is no proof or reason an outside person should believe Christianity is more accurate then Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or the worship of the Greek Gods. It is a paradigm that isn’t even understood by most of its adherents. I would like someone to show me a reason to believe in Christianity over even the Greek gods that doesn’t involve “read the bible” or “faith”. What rational example can be used to show that the bible is any more accurate than what Homer wrote about the Trojan War (and to be honest the same story that Homer wrote about Greek gods actually helped archeologists discover the city of Troy, not sure the bible can claim to help archeologists find things that wouldn’t be found elsewhere).
- The hypocrisy of the believers. This is the absolute worst part of Christainity for me. From everything I read, the Quakers are by far the most adherent to Christian principles as spoken by Jesus. For some reason the right has decided to forget that Jesus was a socialist hippy (take care of the poor, give your goods away, render unto Ceasar and turn the other cheek). How a Christian can be pro-military, pro-capitalism and anti-help the poor makes it so mind twisting it hurts. People will try and point at either old testament or what Paul wrote but in my opinion neither works. Old Testament was superceded by Jesus (and if it wasn’t, then why aren’t those same Christians following the other Old Testament requirements) and the writings of Paul were from a man who claimed to be an apostle, but who never met Jesus (and none of the Apostles witnessed the whole scales over his eyes) and who had a dispute with Peter (whom Jesus is quoted as making the rock of Christianity). Everything I read about Paul makes him a mysoginistic rabble rouser who was in it for power and who never met Jesus, especially since a lot of what he wrote seemed to go against the words of Jesus.
- Ok, the whole Paul thing is probably a bias. Most of the catholic families I grew up with actually didn’t acknowledge Paul. I realize that isn’t the Church’s doctrine, which is why I claim to be from Pagan Catholics (also believed in Purgatory when that wasn’t sanctified by the Vatican). Our group of Catholics definitely were not traditional catholics.
I realize this all makes me sound exactly like an atheist, but it isn’t true. In the end I do think something is out there. Do I believe the adherents of Chrstianity are correct? Not at all, but it doesn’t make them totally wrong. Part of me hopes there is something after we pass on. Whether its a heaven/hell paradigm or a reincarnation situation I don’t know.
However, with that belief there are things that I think still qualify me as a skeptic:
- I am willing to admit part of my belief in something else is probably fueled by a fear that my family is mortal and only here for such a short time. Because of this I have to keep an open mind and not just stick my head in the sand in fear.
- I believe science is impartial, and my belief in anything must be subject to revision depending on what we learn about our world.
- I don’t believe any governmental or society decision should be based on religion. Government should at all times be secular in its outlook and not push religious doctrine. One god is no more provable as real then the others, and even if they were people should not be forced to follow religion.
- Morals are not based on a specific religion. Cultures learn naturally that murder is wrong, rape is wrong and theft hurts society. We don’t learn how to be a civilization because a “god” writes it on some tablets. Hell, the Code of Hammurabi (from Babylon) predates the hebrews by a thousand years and had no influence from the Zorastrian/Hebrew paradigm.
- Oh, and back to science, I firmly think science should be the most funded aspect of our society. Our quest to understand the world cannot be confirmed in religious texts, it can only be confirmed in science. So I will take science over religion anytime.
So, evidently I stepped away to handle something and have lost my train of thought when I came back. I thought I had something to wrap this up. I guess mostly I just wanted to reiterate that while I am not religious, I am not a stone cold atheist (which makes for some uncomfortable interactions at the atheist meetups as well for me).
Well I survived False Patriotism Day. Don’t get me wrong, its sad that 3,000 people died that day, but lets put it in perspective.
1. Iraq War: 4,474 (and slowly creeping)
2. Afghanistan War: 1,776 (and not so creeping)
3. Dead due to drunk drivers: Approximately 130,000 since 2001
4. Dead due to lack of Health Insurance: +45,000 PER YEAR (approximately half a million people dead since 2001)
5. Trillions spent on a war machine and on a Police State level worth of infrastructure.
We laughed at the USSR in the 80’s because of the checkpoints, pat downs, and abridged rights. I think Russia is laughing at us now (the terrorists certainly are).
While giving away our rights, the same people screaming NEVAR FORGET are the ones screaming they don’t want healthcare for all US citizens.
I think our priorities are screwed. We are declaring wars on multiple countries for the death of 3,000 (and at least one of the countries – Iraq, had nothing to do with it). Yet we wont take care of our own people when 15 times more people die yearly from lack of health insurance.
This doesn’t even really get into the lost of our freedoms because we are scared. I would rather take my chance that I get killed in a terrorist attack then to lose my freedom (3,000 people in 10 years, you have a bigger chance to be struck by lightning). Oh, and lets not even get into the idea we have been “protected” and thats why there haven’t been more attacks. Our new agencies only take our freedoms, they haven’t protected us.
Yep, ranting this morning to make up for the hypocritical BS that occurred yesterday.
edit: Evidently I woke up in rare form today.
I say here and now that this whole bailout is bullshit its a last desperate gasp of the corrupt administration and rich backers. I have been reading some articles and there are non banking institutions who are claiming money from the government (including Rudy Guiliani’s company wanting money to help with the bailout).
Not a single middle class American will be helped by this bill. Sure everyone is going to claim it saves our middle class by saving our economic capabilities. That is bullshit, it wont save any mortgages, it will only give the rich more money. I keep hearing how the market will take care of itself, evidently it wont and that was all bullshit. Does any of the poor or middle class get health insurance, no. Does anyone get help with their mortgages or credit card debt, no. Is there more jobs, no. This is the same trickle down theory that caused this bullshit.
Our best option would be to let everything crash and then rebuild. Yes it would be hard, but maybe what came out of the ashes would not be a house of cards. None of this fixes the inherent problems of wall street or banks, its just a “get out of jail free” card.
I have a feeling I will have a lot more rants about this coming up.
I was watching t.v. and saw that they finally approved Plan B. I am very happy to see it, anything to help prevent unwanted pregnancies is good, especially if its not invasive abortion. However, I noticed several fundie/conservative groups are up in arms about it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily blame people being against abortion. I can understand the thought that human life is inviolate, its just we disagree on when life starts. That is ok. My issue is these same Christian fundies who spout how human life, even one, is important, yet I don’t see any of these Christian Fundies objecting to us bombing another country, or objecting to the military being used for pretty much anything.
Fundie churches are like this to. I have never heard of a Fundie church (or honestly any Christian church, except certain Catholic Dioceses, ever objecting to our war in Iraq. The same churches that spout how important it is to save even a single human life that is lost to abortion, doesn’t even raise an eyebrow at us killing other people in other countries. The last time I read the bible, Jesus was pretty damn clear about not raising your fist against another, turn the other cheek, Thou Shalt Not Kill, and many other obvious things that indicated taking any human lives was wrong. Yet all these conservative “Christian” people are pro-Iraq. I don’t think Jesus approves of us going to another country period, hell he didn’t believe in protecting himself, he certainly would never agree to invading another country, even to give our country safety.
What is worse is when Christians start quoting things from the Old Testament. They start saying an “Eye for an Eye” and how the Isrealites were allowed to defend themselves. Well if they believe in the old testament then they should still be Jewish. Jesus supposedly changed all the rules, including sacrifices, warfare, etc. You can’t just pick and choose from the bible to match your need. Either you follow the teachings of peace and love that Jesus taught, making you a Christian, or you follow the old testament and your Jewish (well that is a simplification, I realize you need to follow more then just the Old Testament to be Jewish, but most Christians are not very informed and get confused of you start talking about the Torah, etc.).
I get confused, I know many Christians, about 1/10th of them object to war (the rest are either pro-war/Iraq or at the very least it doesn’t effect them either way), and half of that is they only object to Iraq, not warfare in general. It kind of turns my stomach when these same people claim to follow the teachings of such a gentle man as Jesus. If a Christian truly followed the path of Jesus, they would stand out of the pack and would garner my respect. Its funny, most of the people I know who protest the war are hippy/pagan types, types you don’t normally see in church (although there are a few that are church goers I am sure), yet those that proclaim their faith (and who drive huge, expensive, gas guzzlers and work for questionable places, but this is a rant for later), are the ones that object to Plan B birth control pills, but don’t even blink an eye when people are killed in Iraq (not even getting into the children killed by us in Iraq, just talking anyone).
This is why I am a Deist. Yes I believe in God/Divine, and yes I believe every single religion in the world has lost the true message in exchange for power/prestige/riches. If there is a rapture, I have a feeling all those who believe they are saved are going to be the ones burning in hell (oh, and later will be a rant on the hubris of those who have the “In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned” bumper stickers).
I would do more, but this is probably long enough right now.
So wtf is up with the movie United 93. I have a few objections.
1. We don’t know the real story, we have a few cell phone communications, by no means could we possibly know that the way shit went down, actually went down that way. So in my opinion its about as truthful to say its a “TRUE STORY” as it is to say that the South won the civil war.
2. Am I the only one horrified that Hollywood is profiting off such a horrible tragedy. It would be different if all profits for United 93 were pledged to the families of United 93, but they are not. Its purely Hollywood profit on a horrible situation.
3. Propaganda. Its a propaganda piece designed to re-stoke our outrage. Its purely a heart tugger meant to reassure us our war on terrorism and Islam is true.
That last part is what bothers me most. Our war in Iraq has the least support ever, as does our support for the prick of a president we have in George Bush. Yet now comes out the story of United 93. Don’t get me wrong, I dont think Hollywood made the movie as a propaganda piece, but I think the media and ultimately the government is pushing it. Three different news stations I have watched are now promo-ing on how its an accurate story that everyone should watch.
I firmly believe our shadow government has happened on the idea to try and reinvigorate our desire for revenge and to shore up support for Iraq and possible war with Iran by trying to “remind us” why we are doing this war.
Funny thing is, it only reminds me that Saddam had absolutely nothing to do with 9-11 and in actuality, even with as horrible as he was, he kept the Middle east, and especially Iraq stable. There was no home for the terrorists in his country and even though he saber-rattled, he had actually obeyed all the edicts. Our oil prices were lower, terrorism attacks were lower and our approval in the world was higher.
We were totally in the right with Afghanistan, but seeing as we never even finished there, the fact that Osama can avoid the most powerful country in the world and the fact we are getting our asses kicked in Iraq and we should pull out makes me believe its totally feasible that this piece of crap movie is being greenlighted and pushed so hard by our government in another not-so subtle attempt at manipulating us.
The problem is, Americans are sheep and they will follow where the big men point.
This morning I got up and started channel surfing. Of course there are a ton of religious programs. Four of the programs I watched stated we are in a religious war and we need to fight it out. One of them (Jimmy Swaggert) said the Koran is not written about love and that we need to end the religion. JS was quoting we need to go to war with Muslims in order to fulfill biblical prophecies. The other three Fundies were quoting almost the same thing.
So, did I read a unreal copy of the bible. I am pretty damn sure Jesus said love your neighbor, judge not, and obey the ten commandments (one of which is Do not Kill, not “do not kill a christian” just do not kill).
What the fuck is wrong with Christianity (not everyone follows this, but almost unilaterally the fundie preachers do). Yes, once again I am reminded why I am a deist, not because I don’t believe in god (I do), and not even that I don’t believe in Jesus (I do, but I also believe god approached us through buddhism, hinduism, etc, etc, not just Christianity) but because organized religion is the bane of real spirituality.
Organized religion is about power, not about spirituality. Its about arbitrary rules that Jesus or the ten commandments never said. Hell Jesus boiled it down to one commandment. Love your neighbor. This “go to war, burn the homosexuals because its wrong, and perform the death penalty” type attitude is the opposite of anything I read from any of the prophets, but especially opposite of Jesus.
Christianity is the anti-Christ, leading poor hapless unthinking individuals in the opposite direction Jesus preached. Love and forgiveness has disappeared into a dark pit of capitalism, rigidity, and pride.
I am pretty sure Jesus preached that the biggest responsibility of man is his fellow man. However 99% of Christians I have ever met don’t give regularly to the poor, let alone do what Jesus said (when he told his followers give away your riches, if someone asks for your shirt, you give it to them).
Christianity as a general rule (there are exceptions) is the most hypocritical of religions I have ever seen, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhists I have met actually follow their religion closer then most “american christians”. If you don’t give to the poor, if you don’t believe in loving your neighbor and not judging and if you are not against killing others no matter what reason (talking Iraq and even Death penalty here) then you are a hypocrite.
Oh, I am feeling a rant coming (lol not like this isn’t already a mini-rant) so I will stop.
WHAT THE FUCK, 3 of the 4 fundies just said Islam is our enemy. GOD DAMN HYPOCRITES.
I have been thinking a lot recently of the Conservative Christian movement (and God Warrior is the one that sparked it).
When did Jesus say it was ok to kill someone for any reason? I am pretty damn sure Jesus doesnt want anyone killed for any reason, not for your own safety, not for your family’s safety, not for any reason at all.
I am pretty sure there is a commandment stating “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. I am also sure that its not “Thou shalt not kill, unless its a terrorist or a non-believer”. So at what point did the memo go out to the Republican Christians that invading another country for the safety of our own (and I wont even go into the fallacy of that, nor compare it to Germany invading Austria for its own defense). Did the Republicans get a memo from Jesus that said ignore my message of peace?
I am also pretty sure Jesus said give the clothes off your back to the poor, walk away from your riches and follow his message, yet most of those Conservative Christians make a lot of money and don’t really do any good with it.
I am also sure that Jesus said “Render unto Ceaser that which is Ceaser’s” (indicating taxes), but the Republic Conservative Christians are the first to cut taxes, find loopholes or hide their money from taxes or at the very least complain (I have never complained about taxes, nor have I ever refused to pay or tried to hide money).
Where is the memo, I must have missed the Jesus II: The Clarification memo?
Sorry, this is a small rant, I wish I had time for the one that is in my head.
Oh, its confirmed, the oil companies this quarter have broken historical records of the largest profits in a single quarter in all of corporate history. Exxon led with 9.9 BILLION profit, with the other four large companies right behind.
Yesterday representatives of all five went before Congress, when a republican senator asked for them to be sworn in, the head Congressman in charge of the investigation refused them and told them that they would not allow forcing the CEO’s to be sworn in and be held under oath on why they charge what they do, hmm can we say oil money bought him. For some reason even with all the supposed problems and storms, their profits are actually officially up 62% since last year.
fucking thieving corporate assholes, I so can’t wait until the oil runs out and we have to go to biodesiel.
An Army Captain was found guilty of killing a wounded Iraqi they mistakenly thought was an insurgent. Now it wasn’t even that the Iraqi was killed accidently in the first salvo. They had stopped the car, killed one person and the wounded Iraqi was laying there bleeding. The Captain walked up, put the pistol to the Iraqi’s head and killed him “because he thought he would die anyways”.
How is that not the same as what we tried the Nazi’s for doing when they would take American prisoners and take them out to just shoot them? The Iraqi could not fight back (hell it wasn’t even an insurgent).
In the end, all the Army did to him was to kick him out of the service, no jail time, no other negative punishment. Considering how “noble and good” we are supposed to be, how is this any better then what Saddam, Hitler, Ho Chi Minh or any of them did.