The Ridiculous Claim of Philip Henry Gosse

Just prior to the publishing of Darwin’s theory of evolution, there occurred an event that may have actually helped make his ideas more credible even to devout Christians in England. In a desperate attempt to reconcile modern findings in geology with the teachings of the Bible, the naturalist Philip Henry Gosse published a book in 1857 titled Omphalos (Greek for naval) which was so badly received that even Gosse’s own son Edmond considered it to be an insult to his intelligence and publicly disowned it, even rejecting Christianity outright as well.

Gosse claimed that when creation occurred about 6,000 years ago, trees had been created instantly with tree rings, Adam with his naval, and birds had been made as adults even though birds today hatch from eggs as chicks, thus seeing the first birds would naturally lead someone to assume that these birds also came from eggs even though they did not. Thus even the fossil record, Goss claimed, could also be “evidence” for an ancient age for the Earth that did not really happen.

Many Christian clergy who read the book, including Rev. Charles Kingsley, thought this was blasphemous, in essence calling God a liar (which was actually part of MY motivation for attacking “scientific Creationism”). As a result, Gosse’s standing among scientists and Christians alike was destroyed forever and he retreated from the rest of society, a broken man, until his death in 1888.

Vangelis, the Dragon, and the Bullshit of Religious Fundamentalism Revisited

If you haven’t done so, read these two blog entries:

Religious fundamentalism is blasphemy!

The Bible CANNOT be the Word of God

Those are indeed among my earliest works, but until now I did not have a real life example to show an artist being misrepresented, much like I think God is misrepresented by those who claim the Bible is the infallible Word of God. My rejection of that dogma stems from my assumption that if God really gave his word to us, it would be vastly superior to the Bible. No historical or scientific errors, no contradictions and no excuses for ancient atrocities or injustices.

Anyhow……..in the late 1970s, the pioneering new age composer Vangelis was a rising star. He had already come to fame with albums like Heaven and Hell.

Indeed, some of the music from this album, and some of his other early works, would be used in the COSMOS series by Carl Sagan. And in 1981, he would win an Oscar for the Chariots of Fire movie soundtrack, which I to this day consider to be the greatest soundtrack of all time! The music is remembered and loved even by those who never saw the movie!

But in 1978, something happened to tarnish his reputation. Back in 1971, Vangelis teamed up with a group of musicians and they made two albums worth of material that were merely jam sessions and were soon forgotten. Vangelis did not compose music for these albums, nor were any plans that year made to release them. Fast forward to 1978, when an unscrupulous record company somehow got those recordings. Hoping to capitalize on Vangelis’ fame, the record label released the albums as “Hypothesis” and “The Dragon” without his permission. I tried to listen to those albums, but they were so bad I always stopped after a few minutes.

Vangelis then sued the record label to have these two albums removed from the market and won the case. Just as I wish God could sue to have the Bible, the Quran, or the Book of Mormon somehow eliminated from all human cultures in the world. Of course, someone did buy copies of these albums, and decades later uploaded them to YouTube. Sorry, Vangelis!

Thom Hartmann exposes the delusions of Republicans, once and for all!

Thom Hartmann is a liberal radio commentator, but he is clearly also a brilliant writer. Here is a piece he wrote about a month ago:

https://hartmannreport.com/p/why-the-reagan-revolution-scheme

Why the “Reagan Revolution” Scheme to Gut America’s Middle Class is Coming to an End

The signal was in Biden’s speech, but entirely missed by the press

As we stand on the edge of the end of the Reagan Revolution, an end signaled by one particular phrase in President Biden‘s speech last Thursday night (which I’ll get to in a minute), its really important that Americans understand the backstory.

Reagan and his conservative buddies intentionally gutted the American middle class, but they did so not just out of greed but also with what they thought was a good and noble justification.

As I lay out in more granular detail in my new book The Hidden History of American Oligarchy, back in the early 1950s conservative thinker Russell Kirk proposed a startling hypothesis that would fundamentally change our nation and the world.

The American middle-class at that time was growing more rapidly than any middle-class had ever grown in the history of the world, in terms of the number of people in the middle class, the income of those people, and the overall wealth that those people were accumulating. The Middle class was growing in wealth and income back then, in fact, faster than were the top 1%.

Kirk postulated in 1951 that if the middle-class got too wealthy, we would see an absolute collapse of our nation’s social order, producing chaos, riots and possibly even the end of the republic.

The first chapter of his 1951 book, The Conservative Mind, is devoted to Edmund Burke, the British conservative who Thomas Paine visited for two weeks in 1787 on his way to get arrested in the French revolution. Paine was so outraged by Burke’s arguments that he wrote an entire book rebutting them titled The Rights Of Man.

Burke was defending, among other things, Britain’s restrictions on who could vote or participate in politics based on wealth and land ownership, as well as the British maximum wage.

That’s right, maximum wage.

Burke and his contemporaries in the late 1700s believed that if working-class people made too much money, they would challenge the social order and collapse the British form of government. So Parliament passed a law making it illegal for employers to pay people over a certain amount, so as to keep wage earners right at the edge of poverty throughout their lives. (For the outcome of this policy, read pretty much any Dickens novel.)

Picking up on this, Kirk’s followers argued that if the American middle-class got too rich there would be similarly dire consequences. Young people would cease to respect their elders, women would stop respecting (and depending on) their husbands, and minorities would begin making outrageous demands and set the country on fire.

When Kirk laid this out in 1951, only a few conservative intellectuals took him seriously. People like William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater were electrified by his writings and line of thinking, but Republicans like then-President Dwight Eisenhower said, of people like Kirk and his rich buddies, “Their numbers are negligible and they are stupid.“

And then came the 1960s.

In 1961, the birth control pill was legalized and by 1964 was in widespread use; this helped kick off the modern-day Women’s Liberation Movement, as women, now in control of their reproductive capacity, demanded equality in politics and the workplace. Bra burning became a thing, at least in pop culture lore.

By 1967, young people on college campuses we’re also in revolt; the object of their scorn was an illegal war in Vietnam that President Johnson had lied us into. Along with national protest, draft card burning was also a thing.

And throughout that decade African Americans were increasingly demanding an end to police violence and an expansion of Civil Rights. In response to several brutal and well-publicized instances of police violence against Black people in the late 1960s, riots broke out and several of our cities were on fire.

These three movements all hitting America at the same time got the attention of conservatives and Republicans who had previously ignored or even ridiculed Kirk back in the 1950s. Suddenly, he seemed like a prophet.

The Republican/Conservative “solution” to the “crisis” these three movements represented was put into place in 1981: the explicit goal of the so-called Reagan Revolution was to take the middle class down a peg and end the protests and social instability. 

Their plan was to declare war on labor unions so wages could slide back down again, end free college all across the nation so students would be in fear rather than willing to protest, and increase the penalties Nixon had already put on drugs so they could use those laws against hippy antiwar protesters and Black people.

As Nixon‘s right hand man, John Ehrlichman, told reporter Dan Baum: “You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and Black people. Do you understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or Black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and Blacks with heroin and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.“

While it looks from the outside like the singular mission of the Reagan Revolution was simply to help rich people and giant corporations get richer and bigger, the ideologues driving the movement actually believed they were helping to restore safety and stability to the United States, both politically and economically.

The middle class was out of control, they believed, and something had to be done. Looking back at the “solutions” England used around the time of the American Revolution and advocated by Edmund Burke and other conservative thinkers throughout history, they saw a solution to the crisis…that also had the pleasant side effect of helping their biggest donors and thus boosting their political fortunes.

Reagan massively cut taxes on rich people and raised taxes on working-class people 11 times. He put a tax on Social Security income, tips income, and unemployment income, for example, all of which had previously been tax-free but were exclusively needed and used by middle-class people. At the same time, he cut the top tax bracket for billionaires from 74% to 25%.

He declared war on labor unions, crushed PATCO in less than a week, and over the next decade the result of his war on labor was that union membership went from about a third of the American workforce when he came into office to around 10% at the end of the Reagan/Bush presidencies. It’s at 6% of the private workforce now.

He and Bush also husbanded the moribund 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades (GATT, which let Clinton help create the WTO) and NAFTA, which Clinton signed and thus opened a floodgate for American companies to move manufacturing overseas, leaving American workers underemployed while radically cutting corporate labor costs and union membership.

And, sure enough, Reagan’s doubling-down on the War on Drugs was successful in shattering Black communities.

His War on Labor cut average inflation adjusted minimum and median wages by more over a couple of decades than anybody had seen since the Republican Great Depression.

And his War on Colleges jacked up the cost of education so high that an entire generation is today so saddled with more than $1.5 trillion in student debt that many aren’t willing to jeopardize it all by “acting up” on campuses.

The key to selling all this to the American people was the idea that the US shouldn’t protect the rights of workers, subsidize education, or enforce Civil Rights laws because, they said, government itself is a remote, dangerous and incompetent power that can legally use guns to enforce its will.

As Reagan told us in his first inaugural, government was not the solution to our problems, but instead was the problem itself.

He ridiculed the formerly-noble idea of service to one’s country and joked that there were really no good people left in government because if they were smart or competent they’d be working in the private sector for a lot more money.

He told us that the nine most frightening words in the English language were, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, billionaires associated with the Republicans built a massive infrastructure of think tanks and media outlets to promote and amplify the message. It so completely swept America that by the 1990s even President Bill Clinton was saying things like, “The era of big government is over,” and “This is the end of welfare as we know it.” Limbaugh, Hannity and other right-wing talkers were getting millions a year in subsidies from groups like the Heritage Foundation.

Which brings us to President Joe Biden’s speech.

Probably the most important thing he said in that speech was almost completely ignored by the mainstream American press. It certainly didn’t make a single headline, anywhere.

Yet President Biden said something that Presidents Clinton and Obama were absolutely unwilling to say, so deeply ingrained was the Reagan orthodoxy about the dangers of “big government” during their presidencies.

President Biden said, “We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s us. All of us. We, the people.“

This was an all-out declaration of war on the underlying premise of the Reagan Revolution. And a full-throated embrace of the first three words of the Constitution.

In March, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt talked about the “mysterious cycle in human events.” He correctly identified the end of the Republican orthodoxy cycle of the 1920s, embodied in the presidencies of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, of deregulation, privatization and tax cuts. 

(Warren Harding in 1920 successfully ran for president on two slogans. The first was “A return to normalcy,” which meant dropping Democratic President Woodrow Wilson’s 90% tax bracket down to 25%, something Harding did in his first few years in office. The second was, “Less government in business, more business in government.” In other words, deregulate and privatize. These actions, of course, brought us the Great Crash and what was known for a generation as the Republican Great Depression.)

Americans are now watching, for the third time in just 30 years, a Democratic president clean up the economic and social debris of a prior Republican presidency.

They’re starting to figure out that crushing the middle-class didn’t produce prosperity and stability, but instead destroyed tens of millions of people’s lives and dreams.

And they’re seeing the hollowness of the Republican’s promises as we all watch, aghast, as the GOP scrambles to mobilize the last remnants of its white racist base, at the same time waging an all-out war on the ability of Black, young and working-class people to vote. 

President Biden’s speech was the beginning of the end for the Republicans, although it appears only a few of them realize it. (Marco Rubio is apparently one of those who’ve figured it out: he’s now supporting Amazon workers who want to unionize in Alabama!)

Let’s hope the damage the GOP has done over the last 40 years isn’t so severe that America can’t be brought back from the brink of chaos and desperation.

Hopefully, it’s a new day in America.

My responses:

Kirk postulated in 1951 that if the middle-class got too wealthy, we would see an absolute collapse of our nation’s social order, producing chaos, riots and possibly even the end of the republic.
 
This is bullshit, of course. Prosperity for the majority (not just an elite few) results in the people being happier and therefore more loyal to the state that takes care of its people. A state that neglects and oppresses its people deserves to be overthrown.
 
Burke and his contemporaries in the late 1700s believed that if working-class people made too much money, they would challenge the social order and collapse the British form of government. So Parliament passed a law making it illegal for employers to pay people over a certain amount, so as to keep wage earners right at the edge of poverty throughout their lives. (For the outcome of this policy, read pretty much any Dickens novel.)
 
Well, if the social order is unjust, from a purely ethical perspective, it should be challenged! And the government wouldn’t collapse, it would be REFORMED. Equating progressive reforms with social breakdown is a damned lie!
 
Republicans were wrong, wrong, wrong, and EXTREMELY wrong to do what they did! Ever heard of the proverb, “No pain, no gain”? If the social and political reforms of the 1960s had been allowed to continue, we wouldn’t need a Black Lives Matter movement now! How many Americans, of ALL colors, might still be alive if Liberals have continued ruling America to this day?!
 

What’s infuriating about this is…..

Their plan was to declare war on labor unions so wages could slide back down again, end free college all across the nation so students would be in fear rather than willing to protest, and increase the penalties Nixon had already put on drugs so they could use those laws against hippy antiwar protesters and Black people.

…….

While it looks from the outside like the singular mission of the Reagan Revolution was simply to help rich people and giant corporations get richer and bigger, the ideologues driving the movement actually believed they were helping to restore safety and stability to the United States, both politically and economically.

That is EXACTLY the kind of attitude fascists in Europe had before World War II!

I should point out that we Americans went through a FOUR YEAR LONG CIVIL WAR in which over a million Americans on both sides were killed and entire cities were devastated, and yet the American republic not only did not fall, it came out STRONGER because we no longer had that slavery issue dividing us!

The entire premise of the conservative movements in both the United Kingdom and the United States was based on so many damned lies and delusions that I think we would be totally justified in CRUSHING IT COMPLETELY, just as we crushed the Confederacy in 1865! Instead, we tolerate it because we have forgotten our true principles.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Conservatism by its very nature DENIES that! It must be considered UNAMERICAN!!!

 
 

Why do religions produce so many hypocrites?

I used to think that hypocrisy in religious communities was exceptional and could be easily dealt with once discovered. Now I’m not so sure.

Look at this discussion:

I need some advice. My family has strong roots to the bahai religion . Both my mom and dad left Iran at a young age during the iranian revolution to practice their religion in America . My dad is part of the spiritual assembly. My parents hosts allot of feasts at our house and are well known in the community. As a kid I was made to go to Sunday school allot and made to attend some of those bahai youth camps . At the age of 15 I had to sign a bahai card in front of everyone at the feast because If I didn’t my parents would be embarrassed and be sad so I signed it . After that day I signed my card I told my dad I really don’t believe in this faith. I could never wrap my head around why Baháʼu’lláh had three wives and women not being able to serve in the universal house of justice. One of the main reasons that turned me off about the faith was the constant discussion of how to get more new followers . Every feast I attended we literally talked about how to get new members and discussing different ways to teach the faith to non believers. In Sunday’s school and in youth camps , this was always the topic for the most part . In spite of all of this I made an agreement with my parents not to officially make myself not a bahai but I let them know I don’t believe in any of this this . The reason I did this is because my parents would really be sad and it would be an embarrassing situation for my dad because he is part of the spiritually assembly . If I wanted to withdraw from the Bahai faith it would be brought up in one of his spiritual assembly meetings. Everyone in the spiritual assembly is my dads close friends and they always go over to each others houses . I’ve been trying to talk to my parents about leaving the faith and I always bring up really good points of why to leave it but they always are in denial and never give me answers to my questions . One day I asked my dad what makes you so sure about this faith and he said my great grandmother met Baháʼu’lláh. They get really emotional after I question the faith in front of them,sometimes angry at me or sometimes sad . They’re in there late 50s right now . My question is do you think it’s too late for them to leave the faith . Do you think they’re too far in it ? I really feel like they’re brain washed . They were taught about the faith at a very young age . Everything around them and all there friends were Bahai. Bahai everything . Do I continue question their faith in front of them or just let them be? Sorry for the bad grammar.

 

I offered some advice, but it is more interesting what others said there.

Wow, okay there is a lot to un-box here. Regarding your parents, yes from what you’ve shared it does seem they’re fully entrenched in their belief system. For you however, you need to ask yourself some questions.

  1. Is it safe to leave?

I don’t know what the finer details your situation are, but I have seen Persian Baha’i parents shun and disown their teenage sons and daughters over this issue. It’s truly heartbreaking. You would have to estimate how they would react to you rejecting their worldview openly, and what the fallout from that might look like. I understand reputation is of importance in Persian culture, and you’re worried what this might do to your father’s reputation. You will need to carefully consider that too when trying to predict how he will react.

2. Is it healthy for you to stay?

On the other hand, you need to consider the toll that living a life that is inauthentic will have on your mental health. I did that for years before I left and I still get emotional when I think of the regrets I have. Mainly regretting going through the motions to maintain an appearance of engagement in something I was starting to have profound disagreements with.

I really hope you’re able to make the right decision for yourself, whatever that may be. While many of us on this sub have differering affiliations now, we all went through difficulties when we started to move away from the faith. Best of luck to you!

Then a Baha’i barged in. A bit of background: This particular Baha’i was so much a contrarian that he was actually banned from the Bahai subreddit, so he went to the exBahai subreddit instead, where oddly enough, the mods there almost never took action against him. The reason for that will become clear soon.

I will defend the Faith a bit:

I could never wrap my head around why Baháʼu’lláh had three wives and women not being able to serve in the universal house of justice.

About the three wives, my view is that a prophet is above his laws. The religious book is there to help guide people to doing good. But if you can communicate directly with God, you do not need to observe what is in the book to do what is good.

As for women on the UHJ, my view is that women are just unfit to be in the highest position of authority. It is in women’s nature to follow whatever is the dominant trend, and this is not good for leading a religion. All moral laws would be compromised if they conflict with trends. For example, if women were on the UHJ, there is no question they would have already declared gay marriage to be permissible in the Bahai Faith.

One of the main reasons that turned me off about the faith was the constant discussion of how to get more new followers . Every feast I attended we literally talked about how to get new members and discussing different ways to teach the faith to non believers.

I think you are perfectly justified in being turned off by these people. But it is not Bahaullah’s writings that tell them to do this, but an insane proselytism culture that now dominates the Bahai community, which views converting others as being the main if not only goal of the Bahai Faith. If you read Bahaullah’s writings, you will find that this culture in no way stems from him. There are some passages where Bahaullah encourages teaching, but there are also passages where he discourages it in some cases. For example, Bahaullah says that you should teach yourself before teaching others. He also says that it is not acceptable for people who are not firm believers to teach. This is the exact opposite of what the Baha’i community does – for example, the entire goal of Ruhi is to trick non-believers into acting as missionaries for the Bahai Faith.

So we went after him!

Pretty sure you are alone in your views on this subreddit

“The prophet is above his laws?” “Women are unfit to be in a high position of authority,” but women and men are also equal? The mental gymnastics you have to do in order to believe what you said is astounding.

I do not think Jesus Christ or Moses would ever believe they were above the Ten Commandments or the Gospel.

You’re telling this to a teen who is about to leave this religion as soon as they can. You’re definitely not encouraging this person to stay in your faith.

Then he said:

I do not think Jesus Christ or Moses would ever believe they were above the Ten Commandments or the Gospel.

One of the commandments is “Thou shalt not kill” and Moses killed people on multiple occasions. Prophets do not follow their own rules for the same reason that a dog owner might make a rule for his dog that he does not follow himself.

Higher beings require less rules. The highest being, God, does not need to follow any rules.

Then I decided to nail him to the wall!

“Rules for thee, not for me” is the very definition of hypocrisy, which Jesus actually condemned.

And since you opened the door for this…..

https://dalehusband.com/2019/05/12/biblical-genocide-and-pedophilia/

https://dalehusband.com/2018/02/24/god-was-a-hypocrite/

When God (and his Messengers) do not follow their own rules, they open the door for rules to not matter at all. For anyone.

And that is why I, as a highly ethical ATHEIST and Unitarian Universalist, don’t need your kind of god-centered religion at all. I DO have strict rules and principles and I seek to obey them in all ways.

https://dalehusband.com/about-the-author/an-honorable-skeptic/

https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles

Racists should be consistent in their bigotry

I always assumed that most racists rejected and looked down on ALL members of minorities, without exception. But that appears to not be the case sometimes.

Take a look at this discussion:

gothlaw

“expat Shaun Cromber voted Leave but said he did not believe Brexit would end his Spanish lifestyle. He said: “Yes I voted out, but I didn’t realise it would come to this.”

So he voted for the UK to leave the EU, but then did not immediately leave the EU to return to the UK? Seriously???

InPatRileyWeTrust

This is literally the classic leave voter. Yeah we voted leave but didn’t think anything negative would actually happen.

_________________

‘Get those dirty Italian and Spanish foreigners out of the UK….but oh let me stay in their country so I can enjoy their lifestyle’.

Then the discussion went beyond the issue of Brexit.

I spent most of the past decade working (legally) in China. You wouldn’t believe the number of American “expats” I met there “teaching” English on tourist & business visas. For most I didn’t care about their status…except the ones who ranted on about “illegals” back home. I took great pleasure in discussing & highlighting their illegal status. Most didn’t get the irony of their situation due to exceptionalism.

Note: I was an economic migrant. I had a choice of being unemployed/redundant back home or move to China.

__________________________

A Trump supporter’s husband was deported in 2017 and she says that Trump was only supposed to deport “bad” people and not illegal immigrants like her husband. She Trump made a mistake, but still has her support.

____________

and then they interviewed other Karens from the same town. Apparnetly the genetleman deported had lived in the town for 20 + years, raised a family there, OWNED THE ONLY MEXICAN RESTAURANT IN TOWN, was loved by all the people there……

Interview after interview these white folks said they LOVED TRUMP and still supported his push to get rid of illegals, but they wanted him to make an exception for their illegal.

Just like every other thing and republicans…..they are filled with hate and anger until their policies affect themselves…..then they have an epiphany, say something akin to “I didn’t think the leopards would eat my face” and then keep on hating the next day.* (* explained at bottom)

Hate is their fuel. Just like old people’s medicine is for the robots that are going to take over and kill us all.

*: I just made a comment about 30 minutes ago about Republicans who protest outside abortion clinics. I’ve read countless interviews with abortion clinic nurses and providers who repeatedly state that many of the same women that protest wind up in their clinic receiving their services, but ALWAYS say something along these lines, “Well, you see, my situation is special. I wasn’t a whore like all the other girls that come here.”

And then after being treated with kindness and compassion, the abortion protestor is seen outside the very clinic they received an abortion at less than a week afterwards, yelling hateful things to the people that treated them with kindness. Just another example of someone who can’t fathom life outside of their own little minds until they are thrust into the same situation. Then, instead of it changing their viewpoint and becoming a better person, they think they’re the exception and go on right back to hating.

_______________

I listened to an NPR interview a couple months ago (up to 6 months ago I’d say, so I may get some details wrong) where the host did a segment on one gentleman. He was from Mexico, but his family got him US citizenship when he was a child and moved him up here. I think they said he joined the Navy for a time before getting out and joining Border Patrol. He was a distinguished border patrol agent, got several awards and a fair amount of recognition over his 10+ year career.
He talked about how he didn’t always agree with who he was tasked with deporting, but it was the law and how things worked and he left it at that. I was honestly kind of pissed with how he could view someone in such similar circumstances as himself, but because their family didn’t do their due diligence, they deserved to have everything taken from them in an instant. Him and his wife both voted for Trump, despite him being an immigrant.
And then they talked about how he was called into his supervisors office one day where he was met with a couple other federal agents. He was informed that his US birth certificate was actually a forgery and completely fake, and he had been illegally living and working in the US for a few decades. He was ordered to turn in his badge, his gun, and then told that he would need to fight it in the courts. Y’know, just like all the people he had arrested over the years. He had no idea, his parents/grandparents had lied to him since he was a boy.
Him and his wife were very upset, obviously, and got legal help. During the interview he had mentioned that they had been fighting in the courts for a couple years already, but they had just submitted their final appeal, likely in vain. They couldn’t believe that he, a distinguished federal employee and veteran, couldn’t be granted any sort of leniency to try and prevent him from being deported, or that Trump had enacted such tough immigration laws and had basically abandoned them when they felt they needed him.
The whole interview, like I said, pissed me off because I honestly felt the guy was getting what he deserved. He broke the rules, just like he said all those people he had apprehended over the years, and they needed to suffer the consequences. But once the shoe was on his foot, and he was the one being deported, all of a sudden it’s “this isn’t fair, this isn’t right, this isn’t just,” blah blah blah.
The most astounding part? I’m pretty sure they both said they (the guy and his wife) had or were going to vote for Trump again in 2020, and… Just, I don’t get people. The Republican Party and those who follow it are the epitome of “rules for thee, not for me,” and this guy was acting like he was unjustly being targeted when he was literally guilty of everything they said he had done.

________________

Teripid

And Trump himself is responsible for Melania’s parents.

__________________

I watched an episode of that show Ghosted on MTV. There was a white girl who had been ghosted by her black friend. She couldn’t figure out why. It turns out she was a Trump supporter and would post all kinds of hateful stuff on FB. When they found her former friend the ghoster was like you really don’t understand why I wouldn’t want to be friends with you?

__________________

That’s the very definition of hypocrisy.

There was the case of a German Army officer who had to deal with a Swedish diplomat (Sweden was neutral in World War II) who eventually revealed he was Jewish. The German officer said, “You are a good Jew. I wouldn’t consider you my enemy.”

That German was still a Hitler supporter to the end, of course.

______________

there was this saying that every German had their “good Jew”. You know, that one Jew who wasn’t like the others, all the others were terrible, but that one Jew they knew, he wasn’t like that.

It’s always easier to hate a big abstract group of people than the people you actually know.

_______________

There’s a very important corollary this that I want to note; despite what they claim, they don’t actually believe that abortion is wrong. They just believe that the wrong kind of people are getting abortions.

This is prevalent in Conservative attitudes to literally everything. It’s all about hierarchies, and making sure that the right kind of people are at the top of those hierarchies. Everything is acceptable, when the right people are doing it.

This reminds me of this earlier blog entry:

The Dumbest Kind of Trump Supporter

And the cases of Thomas Jefferson and Strom Thurmond come to mind as well. Both had relationships and even children with black women……and both were racists and championed racist policies. BOTH WERE HYPOCRITES!

And that’s why I have always said:

I believe in consistent standards of right and wrong and so I see no point in ever excusing something that is wrong because the wrongdoer is otherwise a friendly or nice guy. That’s how corruption sets in.

And corruption is the only thing Conservatives in ANY society seem to do. People enable that nonsense because it seems they only want to be good to a certain point and when that point is reached and ethical consistency starts to make their lives a bit less convenient for them (but beneficial for people that are different from them), they embrace corruption instead. And so they might as well not be good at all.

Rape Apologists, Round Two!

Start with this earlier blog entry:

A Horror Story of Rape, Ostracism and Triggering Memories

Focus on these passages:

I heard a group of fifteen year old girls discussing a girl in their high school who had been [raped] by a classmate talking on the train yesterday……As far as they were concerned, the girl who had accused their classmate of rape was probably not lying, but apparently should have known better than to have hung out with this specific boy because he was a “ghetto” kid who had a reputation for being a ladies man?

In other words, blacks are expected to be rapists and white girls can protect themselves by being racists. Which is bullshit, of course. Rich white men also rape!

I was raped by my puppt loves cousin as his uncle held my puppy love down to wait to take his turn on me. Fortunately, my bf finally got out of his much older uncles grasp and ran. His uncle chased him to the train station where he lost him and my puppy love called the cops to tell them his cousin was raping me…..In the year leading upto the trail, my entire neighborhood (mostly old school Italians) completely turned on me. I went from being a straight a student to a high school drop out within 6 months due to the insanity which ensued. Not only facing death threats, having guns pulled on me, having my family threatened by the family of the guy who raped me, but also being shunned by the very community I grew up in all because
a white girls like me must have been asking for it to have 3 Puerto Rican boys in my house alone. I guess that fact alone made what happened to me my fault.

The harrassment and bullying I endured at the hands of my community, including being jumped by the same Italian girls I grew up with almost every week and having their mothers who had known me as a little girl shun me and forbid me from talking to their daughters (one neighbor of mine went so far as to call me a slut and spit on me after telling me if she saw me try to talk to her daughter again she would personally fuck me up).

Not to mention what the so called “Justice System” put me through, maligning my character, questioning my morality, trying to paint me as a slut beforehand (which shouldn’t have mattered even if that had been true, which it certainly was not). As if wearing a short skirt or hanging out with a boy or two is tantamount to asking to be raped!

I see a connection between this and MRA’s making excuses for raping women.

Rape Apologists!

Women say “no” to me in one way or another on a regular basis, e.g. “no, you can’t have my number”, “no, I should go home”, “no, I’m not coming into your apartment”, and of course, the classic, “no, we’re not having sex”.

Yet somehow, when it’s all said and done, the woman is invariably happy that I didn’t listen to a single word of protest she uttered; that I barreled through her resistance nonchalantly and drove the ball to the basket. Women RESPECT this sexual insistence even if they aren’t acutely aware of it……….I’ve had hour or more long battles with a girl who had come to my room and then protested that she wasn’t going to have sex with me. Hell, it just happened again yesterday. In the end, of course, we got naked. And, she appreciated it after the fact. If a girl isn’t open to being seduced she will either not come in or will precipitate hastily from your room. Anything short of that is a green light.

Note: the website that posted those lies was eventually shut down.

But there are still people who believe the lie that rape can EVER be blamed on the one who was raped. Read this horrible story from India:

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/att/cm/outrage-16-old-girl-tied-133656911.html

Outrage after 16-year-old girl tied to her rapist and paraded through Indian village

A teenager who said she had been raped by a neighbour was punished by being bound to her alleged attacker and paraded through her village, in a ritual humiliation which has caused outcry in India.

Film of the incident showed villagers raising pro-India chants as the pair were led around by a mob of men.

Six people have been arrested after the incident, which campaigners said demonstrated the widespread shaming of victims of sexual assault.

Members of the mob struck and spat at the 16-year-old girl as they lined her path in the village in Madhya Pradesh. Those arrested included the alleged attacker and the victim’s brother, uncle and cousin.

“When I saw them doing that to her, I had tears in my eyes,” one villager called Tilak Ram Bhilela told the New York Times. “But no one could speak a word, the mob was so angry they would have killed us.”

Accounts of horrific sex crimes are commonplace in India, which has seen repeated waves of protest over the issue since the notorious 2012 rape and murder of a teen on a Delhi bus.

Yet campaigners say a culture of violence against women includes the harassment of victims, who are often considered shamed and not fit for marriage. Women are put under pressure not to report crimes and often face revenge if they do.

The teenager had told family members that their neighbour had pushed her to the floor, then gagged and attacked her. The relatives, with a number of villagers, found the man she had accused and beat him, before parading them both.

India’s government promised to do more to protect women after the 2012 Delhi rape sparked outrage. Yet despite regular protests and new laws, the number of assaults on women has not abated and prosecutions languish in the backlogged courts for years.

Recent notorious cases have included the murder of a woman in Unnao district, Uttar Pradesh, who was on her way to court in 2019 after alleging she had been raped. She was set upon by five men, including two alleged rapists, and set alight. She died soon afterwards.

Sexism is a problem because of India’s two main religions, Hinduism and Islam, both of which teach that women are to be property of men, or at best socially inferior.

In such an atmosphere, a man, even if condemned for rape, can argue that the sex was consensual. “She must have wanted it too, or she wouldn’t have been with me at all!”

Men can learn to not rape women and girls even if they have strong romantic and sexual feelings for them. It is sad that religions do not seem to teach that!

https://www.openbible.info/topics/rape

Deuteronomy 22:23-29

If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

But if in the open country a man meets a young woman who is betrothed, and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no offense punishable by death. For this case is like that of a man attacking and murdering his neighbor, because he met her in the open country, and though the betrothed young woman cried for help there was no one to rescue her.

If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.

Is that why my friend was scorned and why the girl in India was scorned, because they were raped in cities and not the countryside? Location has nothing to do with it!

I remember a discussion I had with another friend about sex with underaged girls.

Being Better Educated and Changing my Opinion

Teenagers do not process information the same way adults do. Their brains have not fully developed the ability to reason and understand consequences of their actions. They act on almost pure emotion. They process information using the amygdala and adults use the pre-frontal cortex. Children and teenagers do not have the ability to reason the way an adult does, which is why they are notoriously impulsive and they are easily influenced. Adults have the ability and responsibility to protect young people and, even if put in a position where a minor comes on to them, it is their responsibility to handle that situation appropriately and not use that as an opportunity to prey on that vulnerability.

So even in a big city, an adult can manipulate a teen into sex because the teen responds naturally to peer pressure (essential as a survival tool in a natural environment of small tribes, but dangerous in larger and modern communities where one can thus “disappear” after committing an offense or crime).

If the teen later regrets the sex act, it is because their sense of personal autonomy and justice kicks in later and makes them realize they were used purely for physical gratification by the older partner, and not for love!

Which makes this meme particularly insidious:

Any adult by definition has power over a child, so sex between them cannot logically be consider consensual once the child clearly says she was raped. If you want to avoid ever being accused of rape, DO NOT EVER HAVE SEX WITH AN UNDERAGED PERSON, PERIOD! If you can’t wait until the younger person becomes legally an adult, or better still, find an actual adult to satisfy your urges, you deserve to be locked up to protect others from you!

And yes, that includes that damned pervert R. Kelly!

Unitarian Universalists need to get LOUD and PROUD!

Christians, Baha’is and members of other religions are more than willing to thrust themselves into the marketplace of ideas, even in places where they may not be appreciated. Maybe once the Covid-19 pandemic is over its time Unitarian Universalists (UUs) also got a little militant, instead of just sitting in their churches and waiting for refugees broken and disillusioned from authoritarian religion to come to their churches. If lost souls learn about us faster, they can also heal faster.

symbol_gradient

We can start by buying and wearing things that proclaim our liberal religion to the masses.

https://www.uua.org/genre/apparel

Article or product image

Much better than those red MAGA hats!

Article or product image

Article or product image

There is also this collection from Cafepress:

https://www.cafepress.com/+unitarian-universalist+gifts

https://i3.cpcache.com/merchandise/632_550x550_Front_Color-White.jpg?Size=3x3&AttributeValue=NA&c=True&region={%22name%22:%22FrontCenter%22,%22width%22:2.8209307,%22height%22:2.845,%22alignment%22:%22MiddleCenter%22,%22orientation%22:0,%22dpi%22:200,%22crop_x%22:0,%22crop_y%22:0,%22crop_h%22:569,%22crop_w%22:564,%22scale%22:0.4817951,%22template%22:{%22id%22:38980089,%22params%22:{}}}

BUMPER unitarian 1

https://i3.cpcache.com/merchandise/7_550x550_Front_Color-AshGray.jpg?Size=L&AttributeValue=NA&c=True&region={%22name%22:%22FrontCenter%22,%22width%22:9.21,%22height%22:7.38,%22alignment%22:%22TopCenter%22,%22orientation%22:0,%22dpi%22:100,%22crop_x%22:0,%22crop_y%22:0,%22crop_h%22:700,%22crop_w%22:900,%22scale%22:0,%22template%22:{%22id%22:70636543,%22params%22:{}}}

https://i3.cpcache.com/merchandise/161_550x550_Front_Color-Black.jpg?Size=L&AttributeValue=NA&c=True&region={%22name%22:%22FrontCenter%22,%22width%22:10,%22height%22:10,%22alignment%22:%22TopCenter%22,%22orientation%22:0,%22dpi%22:100,%22crop_x%22:0,%22crop_y%22:0,%22crop_h%22:1000,%22crop_w%22:1000,%22scale%22:0,%22template%22:{%22id%22:20922923,%22params%22:{}}}

And how about this collection from Zazzle?

http://www.zazzle.com/unitarian+universalist+gifts

If wearing jewelry is your thing, look here:

https://www.etsy.com/market/uu_chalice_jewelry

https://www.cafepress.com/+unitarian-universalist+jewelry

We may occasionally find a Gospel tract left in restrooms for complete strangers to pick up (and perhaps discard). How about giving UU pamplets to people that we have earned our trust instead?

http://www.uua.org/publications/pamphlets/

https://www.uuabookstore.org/GetImage.ashx?Path=%7e%2fAssets%2fProductImages%2f3081.jpg&maintainAspectRatio=true

UU Views of God

Faith of Unitarian Universalist Christians

The Faith of Unitarian Universalist Humanists

Spiritual Home for LGBTQ People

And one that has special meaning to me:

Science and Religion

Indeed, just as Baha’is may do “firesides” in members’ homes, so UUs might often do “Dinners for Nine” in their homes as well. If non-church members were invited to these, then they would be a great way to share the faith in an relaxed, informal setting. No pressure.

So how about it? Wouldn’t our world be better if there were as many UUs in it as there are Roman Catholics or Muslims now? I think so!

A non-theist version of “One Man, One Woman”

This is a direct sequel to Jehovah, the Homophobe.

For reference, here is the video again:

What if the mother and daughter in that video had been atheists and not Jehovah’s Witnesses? Let’s rename the children and retell the story.

Debbie: “Look, Mom! I drew our family in school today!”

Mom: “Oh, wow!”

Debbie: “I didn’t have time to finish James’ face.”   (Mom chuckles.)

Debbie: “Carrie drew two mommies. She said they are married to each other. My teacher rejected her picture, saying Carrie’s mommies are living in sin. That made Carrie cry. What does that mean?”

Mom: “Your and Carrie’s teacher has a common view of gays and lesbians as sinners or even diseased because of their sexuality, but that is based mainly on religious bigotry. Thousands of years ago, when most of the world’s religions were being founded and spread, most people lived in tribal groups. Marriages were usually not just relationships between individuals, but also alliances between families or even nations. So fathers would often arrange for their children to marry members of other families and then those children would be expected to produce the next generation as adults. But the problem was that gays and lesbians couldn’t have children with each other, so they were useless for procreation. Because the founders of the great religions and the writers of the scriptures of these religions mistakenly believed that people could choose their sexuality, harsh punishments were often called for in an effort to force young people to avoid being gay or lesbian and try to be straight instead. Today, we understand how foolish and ignorant those people were and that’s why prejudice against LGBT people is fading away.”

Debbie: “What can we do to help Carrie?”

Mom: “Her rights are being violated by the teacher. If they haven’t done so already, Carrie’s mothers need to consult a lawyer and try to take legal action against the school. Let me talk to Carrie and her mothers so they can know what to do.”

 

My list for the Ten Worst Presidents of the United States

Here’s a list, based entirely on my opinions; feel free to disagree and make your own.

  1. Donald Trump (for reasons too many to list)

  2. George W. Bush (for starting the totally needless war against Iraq in 2003)

  3. Andrew Jackson (for being a racist who expelled entire Native American tribes to the west)

  4. James Buchanan (for doing nothing to prevent the southern states from setting up the Confederacy)

  5. Herbert Hoover (for doing nothing to end the Great Depression)
  6. Ronald Reagan (for the Iran-Contra scandal, his “Reaganomics” scam and removing the Fairness Doctrine)
  7. Richard Nixon (for Watergate and for his “southern strategy” of making the Republican Party appealing to southern white racists)
  8. Rutherford B. Hayes (for benefiting from an election stolen from the Democrats and ending Reconstruction without reforming the South enough to make it fair to blacks)
  9. Warren G. Harding (for appointing corrupt people to high positions that caused a lot of scandals)
  10. Woodrow Wilson (a racist who endorsed the Ku Klux Klan propaganda film “Birth of a Nation” and led the USA into World War I after being re-elected in 1916 on the slogan “he kept us out of war”. So, he lied!)

Joe Walsh, ex-Republican, anti-Trump, but still conservative

It’s no secret that as a progressive/liberal/leftist I bitterly despise most conservatives, seeing nearly all of them as hypocrites who deserve no respect at all. But there is one that I have noticed recently on Twitter that challenges that perception quite well and so he may indeed be the exception that brings redemption to conservatism as a philosophy. He is Joe Walsh.

But before I actually talk about him, read this first:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeelFaceTurn

Heel–Face Turn

When a bad guy turns good. This usually makes for a good plot, for three reasons:

  1. It lets the writer reintroduce the villain as a “darker, edgier” hero.
  2. It reinforces a desired notion of the inherent goodness within people.
  3. It prevents the Worthy Opponent from falling victim to What a Senseless Waste of Human Life.

There are also various in-story motivations for the bad guy to make the turn:

  1. An encounter with an All-Loving Hero or gaining a Morality Pet.
  2. Discovering that Being Evil Sucks or possibly that Good Feels Good.
  3. An Enemy Mine situation leading to Fire Forged Friendship or The Power of Love in the form of Deliver Us from Evil or Love Redeems changing their priorities. Conversely Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal makes them rethink their loyalties.
  4. Realizing that they are a Noble Demon.
  5. A Heel Realization, if they had never considered their actions evil or wrong in the first place.
  6. They become friends with a hero after fighting them.
  7. A case of Even Evil Has Standards, if one villain becomes a good guy to stop another villain from doing something so horrible that they just cannot allow it.

Now on to our actual subject:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Walsh_(American_politician)

William Joseph Walsh (born December 27, 1961) is an American politician, conservative talk radio host, former social worker, and former 2020 Republican presidential candidate who served one term in the United States House of Representatives representing Illinois’s 8th congressional district.

Rep Joe Walsh.jpg

Born and raised in the Chicago metropolitan area, Walsh began his career as a social worker providing education and job skills training to students in low income areas, gradually becoming more politically active. Walsh had unsuccessfully campaigned for Congress in 1996 and the Illinois House of Representatives in 1998, but was elected to the U.S. House in 2010, defeating three-term incumbent Melissa Bean. Though he received little Republican Party support in his bid against Bean, he was popular with the Tea Party movement. In the 1990s, he identified as a moderate Republican, but he later became a conservative and a Tea Party activist.

During his time in Congress, Walsh was criticized for his often personal attacks against members of the Democratic Party and, specifically, President Barack Obama. He accused the president of abandoning the U.S.–Israel alliance and bankrupting the country. Walsh maintained a no-compromise approach to legislating that included rejecting any tax increases. He consistently voted against raising the federal debt ceiling and authored a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. Walsh rejected the scientific consensus on climate change and supported tougher border control. Later, during his presidential campaign, Walsh expressed regret for some of the comments and stances he made during his time in Congress.

As a result of redistricting following the 2010 United States Census, Walsh’s district was redrawn by the Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly in 2012. While he initially planned to run in the newly drawn 14th district against fellow Republican Representative Randy Hultgren, he eventually decided to run in the remapped 8th district against Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth. Walsh was defeated by Duckworth in the general election on November 6, 2012. After leaving office, Walsh began hosting a talk radio show. Though initially a strong supporter of Donald Trump, Walsh became increasingly critical of the president and, on August 25, 2019, he announced his presidential campaign. He dropped out of the race on February 7, 2020, after a poor showing in the Iowa caucus, and subsequently left the party.[2] He later endorsed Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who won the election.

Say whatever else you will about this guy, but he is not (anymore, at least) a liar. He just doesn’t seem to be a backstabber like so many others I could refer to.

His Twitter account: https://twitter.com/WalshFreedom

And here are some of his actual recent tweets:

I’m going to be watching him over the next few months, at least. And maybe listening to him too.

http://fsilencepodcast.com/

If he really wants to make a difference soon, I think he should join the Libertarian Party and build it up to overthrow the corrupted Republicans.

https://www.lp.org/

Bigotry and laziness disgrace America’s medical profession

Look at this story:

https://news.yahoo.com/am-worth-why-thousands-doctors-194203051.html

‘I Am Worth It’: Why Thousands of Doctors in America Can’t Get a Job

Emma Goldberg

 

Dr. Kristy Cromblin knew that as the descendant of Alabama sharecroppers and the first person in her family to go to college, making it to medical school might seem like an improbable dream. Her parents watched in proud disbelief as she inched closer to that goal, enrolling in a medical school in Barbados and enlisting in the military with plans to serve one day as a flight surgeon.

Then came an unexpected hurdle: A contentious divorce led Cromblin to take seven years away from medical school to care for her two sons. In 2012, she returned for her final year, excited to complete her exams and apply for residency, the final step in her training.

But no one had told Cromblin that hospital residency programs, which have been flooded with a rising number of applications in recent years, sometimes use the Electronic Residency Application Service software program to filter out various applications, whether they’re from students with low test scores or from international medical students. Cromblin had passed all her exams and earned her M.D., but was rejected from 75 programs. In the following years, as she kept applying, she learned that some programs filter out applicants who graduated from medical school more than three years earlier. Her rejection pile kept growing. She is now on unemployment, with $250,000 in student loans.

“There are times you question your worth,” Cromblin, 43, said. “You wonder if you’re useless. I’ve had to encourage myself over and over: I am worth it. I am useful. I am damn good.”

Cromblin is one of as many as 10,000 chronically unmatched doctors in the United States, people who graduated from medical school but are consistently rejected from residency programs. The National Resident Matching Program promotes its high match rate, with 94% of American medical students matching into residency programs last year on Match Day, which occurs annually on the third Friday in March. But the match rate for Americans who study at medical schools abroad is far lower, with just 61% matching into residency spots.

Note the description of the doctor in question:

the descendant of Alabama sharecroppers and the first person in her family to go to college

A contentious divorce led Cromblin to take seven years away from medical school to care for her two sons.

Which indicates to me that she is black, and as a single mother as well she has TWO strikes against her!

Continuing the article:

Last year, the Association of American Medical Colleges released a study that found that the country would face a shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033, a prospect made all the more alarming as hospitals confront the possibility of fighting future crises similar to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet each year thousands of graduates emerge from medical schools with a virtually useless M.D. or D.O.; without residency experience, they do not qualify for licensure in any state.

Then don’t make residency experience an issue, obviously.

Residency directors say that although they are committed to diversity and consider many factors beyond test scores, they sometimes use filters in sifting through applications because they receive thousands of applications for just a handful of spots. “Nobody has the time or desire to read this many applications,” Dr. Suzanne Karan, an anesthesiologist at the University of Rochester, wrote in a 2019 blog post. “It makes my job a lot easier when I can filter your applications by M.D./D.O./foreign graduate.”

But Dr. William W. Pinsky, the chief executive of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, which credentials graduates of international medical schools, said residency directors who down-rank medical students from abroad were missing out on opportunities to diversify their programs.

“I understand program directors have to do what they have to do,” Pinsky said. “But if they put on a filter to leave out international graduates, they’re cheating themselves.”

Of course, but to a racist, cheating yourself doesn’t matter if in the end you can surround yourself with people like you. We need to stop making excuses for these biased hiring practices and just call these residency directors out on their bullshit.

Aspiring to help

The pool of unmatched doctors began to grow in 2006 when the Association of American Medical Colleges called on medical schools to increase their first-year enrollment by 30%; the group also called for an increase in federally supported residency positions, but those remained capped under the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act in 2019 to increase the number of Medicare-supported residency positions available for eligible medical school graduates by 3,000 per year over a period of five years, but it has not received a vote. In late December, Congress passed a legislative package creating 1,000 new Medicare-supported residency positions over the next five years.

Dr. Adaira Landry, an emergency physician in Boston, said of all the young doctors she had mentored, those who went unmatched were the most challenging to assist: “They want to be part of our health care system,” she said. “But they have this boulder blocking them.”

But it’s not just black doctors that are discriminated against.

At some point, Dr. Saideh Farahmandnia lost count of the number of residency rejection emails she had received. Still, she could remember the poignant feeling of arriving in 2005 at Ross School of Medicine in Dominica, thinking she was “the luckiest person in the world.” She had grown up in a religious minority community in Iran in which access to higher education was restricted. When she passed her licensing exams, she ecstatically called her parents to tell them they had raised a doctor.

After medical school, she spent two years doing research with a cardiothoracic surgeon at Stanford, thinking it would make her residency applications more competitive. But she applied to 150 residency programs, from rural to urban community hospitals, and received 150 rejections. She kept applying every year until 2015, when her mother died suddenly and she took a break to grieve.

“You leave your family to follow your passion and promise you’re going to help the country that adopted you,” Farahmandnia, 41, said. “At the end, you’re left with $300,000 in student loans and a degree that took so much of your life and precious time with your mother.”

Note this detail:

She had grown up in a religious minority community in Iran in which access to higher education was restricted.

Most likely, she is a Baha’i, and Baha’is in Iran ARE denied higher education. Even as a critic of the Baha’i Faith, that strikes me as stupid.

The average medical school debt for students graduating in 2019 was $201,490, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Students who match into residency positions soon advance and become attending physicians, making an average of nearly $200,000 a year. But unmatched students are left scrambling to find other areas of work that can help them repay their debts.

With the ongoing controversy over student debt in general, this is even more serious. I wonder if some kind of class action lawsuit would help.

Dr. Douglas Medina, who graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2011 and has been unable to match, says he pays at least $220 each month in loans, though some are now paused. “Just a couple of weeks ago I tried to decide between student loans or a stroller for the baby that’s coming,” he said. “It’s not just our careers being ruined, it’s our families.”

Remember this the next time you see some conservative in politics speak about the need for “family values”. They mean WHITE family values.

‘The cold smack of reality’

Students graduating from American colleges choose to go to medical school abroad for many reasons. Some have test-taking anxiety and prefer to apply to schools that don’t rely on MCAT scores for admission; others are attracted by the warmth and adventure promised by schools based in the Caribbean, which tend to have acceptance rates that are 10 times as high as those of American schools.

But many applicants, especially those coming from families unfamiliar with the intricacies of medical training, say they aren’t warned of the low match rates for international medical students.

“When I graduated, I got the cold smack of reality that all my credentials don’t matter, because you’re not getting past that match algorithm,” said Kyle, an international medical school graduate who asked that only his given name be used because he is reapplying for residency after an initial rejection.

Most frustrating, Kyle said, is being unable to work when he is aware of the urgent need for Black physicians like himself, especially in places like Atlanta, where he was raised. “It really hurts, because everyone thinks I should be a doctor,” he said. “They saw me pass my tests, they celebrated with me.”

Pinsky of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates said that the organization was working with the World Directory of Medical Schools to ensure that international schools described their credentials in a more clear and honest way.

“Unfortunately, there are schools that perhaps exaggerate a bit on their websites in terms of the success of their graduating students,” Pinsky said.

The 61% match rate for international students may understate the problem, some experts say, because it does not account for medical students who receive no interview offers. With those students included, the match rate for international medical students may drop as low as 50%.

Residency program directors said that in recent years they had increased their efforts to look at candidates holistically. “Straight A’s in college and perfect test scores does not a perfect applicant make,” said Dr. Susana Morales, an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “We’re interested in diversity of background, geographic diversity.”

Question: Why do medical students who study abroad insist on coming back to America to proceed with their careers?

Standing on the sidelines

Some international medical students struggling to match have looked for alternative pathways into medical work. Arkansas and Missouri are among the states that offer assistant physician licenses for people who have completed their licensing exams but have not completed residency. Unmatched doctors, eager to use their clinical skills to help in the pandemic, said that they had found the opportunity to serve as assistant physicians particularly meaningful during the crisis.

After she failed a first attempt at a licensing exam, then passed on her second try, Dr. Faarina Khan, 30, found herself shut out of the matching process. Over the past five years, she has spent more than $30,000 in residency application fees. But with an assistant physician license, she was able to join the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team in the spring, helping out in medical facilities where staff members had tested positive for coronavirus.

“Hospitals need to realize that there are people in my position who could show up to work in the next hour if we’re called,” Khan said. “I didn’t go to medical school to sit on the sidelines.”

Legislation allowing for similar licensure is being considered in a handful of states. This position typically pays about $55,000 per year — much less than a physician might earn — which makes it challenging to pay off loans, but it allows for medical school graduates to keep up with their clinical training.

Cromblin, in Prattville, Alabama, felt a similar urge to join the COVID-19 front line in the spring. She had defaulted on a loan and had little in her bank account, but as soon as she received her stimulus check she bought a plane ticket to New York. She spent the month of April volunteering with the medical staff at Jamaica Medical Center in Queens.

She applied again for residency positions this year, although she says her sons have a hard time believing that their mother will ever become a practicing doctor.

“Every time I get a rejection letter, I go through my positive affirmations,” she said. “I say, ‘There’s a place for me, this just isn’t the one.’ ”

I know a place that must be desperate for doctors to come help its people: AFRICA!

Two Reasons for Public Ignorance

There is a reason why I call Africa the Cursed Continent. It was almost entirely taken over and beaten down by European imperialism around the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries:

africa-partition

And even after the Europeans gave up control of those areas after World War II, they mostly left the Africans to fend for themselves. The results were horrific. The following cartograms, representing different territories in the world by size according to various statistics, show what Africans are suffering:

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=230

Malaria Deaths

https://i1.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/230.png
In 2003, 92% of malaria cases and 94% of malarial deaths were recorded as being in African territories. The other 6% of deaths were mainly in Asia Pacific and Southern Asia. The total deaths recorded were 0.15% of the total cases. Whilst there were most malaria cases in Southeastern Africa, there were most deaths in Central Africa. Symptoms of malaria include fever and vomiting. Most deaths occur in cerebral malaria.The term ‘malaria’ comes from the medieval Italian ‘mala aria’ meaning ‘bad air’. The term was coined at a time before the mosquito had been identified as the carrier of the parasite.

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Cholera Deaths

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Cholera deaths result from severe dehydration caused by diarrhoea. This is treatable: in 2004 the number of cholera deaths was only 2.5% of the number of cholera cases that year. Distributions of cholera cases and deaths differ due to differing availability of treatments.

In 1962, in Papua New Guinea, 36% of cholera cases, which was 464 people, died. In 2004, in the Central African Republic, 15% of cholera cases, which was 48 people, died.

In contrast, there were 73 territories where nobody died from cholera, because of good sanitation, clean water and available treatment. These territories have no area on this map.

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Yellow Fever

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Yellow fever is a disease that is spread by mosquitoes. Unlike malaria, also carried by mosquitoes, yellow fever is not found in Southern Asia. This disease is almost exclusively found in Northern Africa (68% of cases) and South America (31% of cases).

Yellow fever is also known as black vomit (vomit negro in Spanish). Both of these names describe some of the more severe symptoms. “Yellow fever” due to the fever and jaundice that can occur. “Black vomit” because of the congealed blood in the sick of its victims.

A vaccine against yellow fever exists, but not everyone has access to this. 1 in 10 yellow fever cases lead to death.

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HIV Prevalence

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HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection, attacks the immune system. It eventually causes AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. With cases first recognised in the United States in 1981, AIDS increases the risk of many infections and tumours.In 2003, the highest HIV prevalence was Swaziland, where 38%, or almost 4 in every 10 people aged 15 to 49 years, were HIV positive. All ten territories with the highest prevalence of HIV are in Central and Southeastern Africa.Transmission of HIV is through sex, using infected needles and in the womb. Infected children are not shown here. HIV/AIDS often has an acquired social stigma.

Despite Africa being the most disease ridden continent, it also has the fewest doctors to treat those diseases.

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Physicians Working

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A physician can also be called a medical doctor. Physicians may be general practitioners or may specialise. The Caribbean island of Cuba has the most physicians per person working there; the fewest physicians per person are in the Southeastern African territory of Malawi.In 2004 there were 7.7 million physicians working around the world. The largest number were in China, which is the largest territory on the map. If physicians were distributed according to population, there would be 124 physicians to every 100,000 people. The most concentrated 50% of physicians live in territories with less than a fifth of the world population. The worst off fifth are served by only 2% of the world’s physicians.

So there is the obvious solution: if you can’t get a position in America, MOVE TO WHERE YOU ARE REALLY NEEDED!

Rush Scumbaugh is dead

Read this story:

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/att/cm/rush-limbaugh-conservative-radio-titan-172612686.html

Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio titan, has died of lung cancer at age 70

Maria Puente, USA TODAY

Rush Limbaugh, the talk titan who made right-wing radio financially viable in American media and himself a Republican kingmaker years before Fox News, died Wednesday, after he revealed in 2020 that his lung cancer was terminal. He was 70.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Kathryn, at the beginning of Limbaugh’s radio show, from which he’s been absent for almost two weeks.

A longtime cigar smoker who stocked the humidors in his homes and studios with the finest, Limbaugh succumbed to cancer after battling drug addiction and loss of hearing earlier in his career (he was deaf by the end and broadcast his daily show in spite of it).

A Republican conservative and die-hard supporter of former President Donald Trump to the end, Limbaugh was among Trump’s most important enablers of his failed effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election with baseless claims of voting fraud.

At one point in December, Limbaugh declared he thought the country was “trending toward secession,” then had to walk the comment back the next day. He wasn’t advocating another civil war, he was only repeating what he had heard being said, he told listeners.

After a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, provoking outraged sputtering from Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives alike, Limbaugh stood out in dismissing the controvery.

“We’re supposed to be horrified by the protesters,” Limbaugh scoffed on his program on Jan. 7. “There’s a lot of people out there calling for the end of violence…lot of conservatives, social media, who say that any violence or aggression at all is unacceptable regardless of the circumstances…I am glad Sam Adams, Thomas Paine, the actual tea party guys, the men at Lexington and Concord, didn’t feel that way.”

Love him or loathe him, few would deny that Limbaugh was one of the most influential commercial broadcasters, if not the most influential, in American history, says Michael Harrison, founder and publisher of Talkers trade magazine, which covers talk radio.

Harrison believes Limbaugh’s legacy – his impact on public policy, on the national culture and on GOP politicians from the presidency on down – remains unmatched.

“Limbaugh’s radio talent an dedication to the medium are unparalleled in the modern talk industry,” he said. “At a time when the very future of radio and its talent pool could very much be on the wane in terms of cultural relevance and prestige, he raised it to a level of importance on a par with the most influential media platforms and players of our time.”

Journalist Ze’ev Chafets, whose 2010 biography of Limbaugh (“Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One”) grew out of a New York Times magazine cover story in 2008, says Limbaugh was one of the top two or three most important figures in Republican politics in the 1990s.

“The reason is his show was heard in every congressional district in the country, and certainly every state, by a huge number of Republicans who almost entirely made up his audience,” Chafets says. “He was able, at a granular level, to affect elections. The year Newt Gingrich became speaker of the House (1994), he gave Limbaugh an honorary membership in (the Republican caucus in) Congress because of his influence.”

“Coastal Americans” who didn’t listen to Limbaugh had no idea of his “gravitational pull” because they underestimated his communication talents and his smarts, at least initially, Chafets said.

“They didn’t understand because they thought he was a carnival barker talking to rubes,” Chafets said. “He talked about issues, not gossip. His show (consisted of) three-hour monologues without notes and included minute details about arcane matters that most talk-show hosts could not do.”

He was original, he was funny and he was adept at assembling key elements of broadcasting to produce entertaining and compelling radio, Harrison says.

“He was a consummate pro and even people who disagreed with him politically, most who are honest will tell you what a great broadcaster he (was),” Harrison said. “Because he used so many elements of great radio: pacing, his voice, satire, sound effects. The flow and feel of his show was very appealing in his use of sound and broadcast principles.”

Limbaugh’s show was the most listened-to talk radio broadcast in the United States, with an estimated cumulative weekly audience of 15.5 million listeners at his peak, according to Talkers’ tracking. “No one beats Rush in the political-news talk-radio format – he’s #1,” Harrison said.

His was a life and career of wild success pockmarked by controversies and health calamities, including years of chronic back pain and unsuccessful surgery, leading to long-term prescription opioid addiction and 30 days in rehab in 2003.

In 2006, he was criminally investigated and arrested for alleged “doctor shopping” to obtain multiple prescriptions in Florida, a charge eventually dropped after a plea agreement and his promise to continue addiction treatment (although Limbaugh continued to maintain his innocence).

Earlier, in 2001, he announced he had gone deaf over three months for unknown reasons, although his doctors said it could have been due to years of drug addiction. Eventually, he had cochlear implants to restore some of his hearing.

Then lung cancer struck. Limbaugh gave his legions of fans plenty of advance notice of the coming end. On Oct. 20, he told listeners that his lung cancer was terminal.

“You measure a happy life against whatever medication it takes. And at some point you decide, you know, this medication may be working, but I hate the way I feel every day,” Limbaugh said on the air. “I’m not there yet. But it is part and parcel of this.

“It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over.”

His listeners were shocked when he first revealed his diagnosis on his show in February 2020, not long after being told on Jan. 20 the grim news by “two medical institutions.”

“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me. I’ve known this moment is coming in the program…I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like making things about me,” Limbaugh said. “I like this program to be about you and the things that matter to all of us.”

But, he said, he knew he had to explain what was going on in his life because listeners would be curious if he wasn’t at his usual post every day. Even though he had no symptoms at that time, he realized that would not last and he would have to be absent for treatment.

“It’s not that I want to fool anybody, it’s just that I don’t want to burden anybody with it and I haven’t wanted to,” he said. “But it is what it is. “You know me, I’m the mayor of Realville.”

A day later, he was visibly moved when his longtime friend and Florida neighbor, President Trump, awarded him the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, during the State of the Union address in the House of Representatives.

Attending as one of Trump’s “special guests,” the white-bearded and ruddy-faced Limbaugh sat in the House gallery next to first lady Melania Trump, who fastened the medal on a blue ribbon around his neck.

“In recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you do for charity, I’m proud to announce tonight that you will receive our nation’s highest civilian honor,” Trump said to applause in the chamber.

In May, Limbaugh updated his listeners on the state of his health with a candid assessment.

“I vowed not to be a cancer patient on the radio. I vowed to shield as much of that from the daily program as I can,” Limbaugh said before talking about his third wave of treatment. “I have to tell you, it’s kicking my ass.”

He said the previous week of treatments had left him “virtually worthless” and “virtually useless.” He hasn’t left the house or done much of anything, as doctors warned him would happen.

“It’s the price that you pay if you make the decision to go ahead and do treatment to try to prolong your life,” he said, adding that he is doing “extremely well, all things considered.”

Then came his grim assessment in October. He tried to be upbeat but the progression of the cancer or the treatment or both had not been easy.

“Some days are harder than others,” he said. “I do get fatigued now. I do get very, very tired now. I’m not gonna mislead you about that. But I am extremely grateful to be able to come here to the studio and to maintain as much normalcy as possible – and it’s still true.”

The day before Christmas 2020, on his final show of the year, he updated listeners on his health again, saying he hadn’t expected to make it past October let alone into December. “And yet, here I am and today, got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today… God knows how important this program is for me today,” he said, thanking listeners.

Limbaugh is survived by his fourth wife, Kathryn Rogers, whom he married in 2010. Three previous marriages ended in divorce. He did not have children.

Born on January 12, 1951, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Rush Hudson Limbaugh III came from a line of conservative Republicans that included lawyers, judges and ambassadors. His was a family that looked askance at his early yen – while still in grammar school – to become a radio star.

“I said, ‘Pop, I love this. I know I’m great at it. I’m gonna get even better,'” Limbaugh told interviewers later.

When he was 9, he got a toy radio as a gift and began “broadcasting” on AM frequencies in his home, entertaining his family playing DJ with his records. In high school he worked as a DJ at a local station co-owned by his father. He lasted only one year at Southeast Missouri State University before leaving to pursue a career in radio.

It did not go well at first. He was fired from stations in Missouri and Pennsylvania for being too controversial as a news commentator. In the mid-1980s, he landed at KFBK in Sacramento as an on-air host. Within a year, he was Sacramento’s top radio host.

The 1987 repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s Fairness Doctrine gave Limbaugh his head to broadcast his controversial opinions without having to present opposing views. In July 1988, he launched his own show on a talk station in New York City, and he was off to the races: His star was rising, and people noticed.

“A large new noise echoes across the invisible cacophony that is talk radio,” reported Louis Grossberger in The New York Times in December 1990. “His subject is politics. His stance: conservative. His persona: comic blowhard. His style: a schizoid spritz, bouncing between earnest lecturer and political vaudevillian.”

It helped that the first Gulf War was under way and Limbaugh demonstrated his fervent support by ridiculing anyone who sought peace. His show was moved to stations with larger audiences; eventually Limbaugh was broadcasting on more than 650 stations nationwide. The election of President Bill Clinton in 1992 only fueled the possibilities of lacerating satire aimed at Democrats.

Ever since, Limbaugh maintained his position as the king of talk radio while fending off multiple flaps over controversial things he said on the air, about racial and ethnic minorities, feminism and the notion of sexual consent, environmentalism and climate change, his admiration for Trump and his disdain for former President Barack Obama; Limbaugh was an on-air super-spreader of the “birtherism” lie that Obama was not born in the United States.

Most of these controversies rolled off him, except for Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who testified in Congress in 2012 in support of mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives. Limbaugh mocked her, suggesting this view made her a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

“That was the most damaging thing he ever did,” Harrison says. The outcry that followed kicked off boycotts by major sponsors of talk-radio, even though Limbaugh issued a rare apology for “insulting word choices.”

“It had a terrible economic impact on the talk-radio business in general,” Harrison says. “It’s the one major blemish on his history that hurt his fellow broadcasters. Now he’s been forgiven because of what he’s done for the industry that outweighs that.”

In between doing his show and advising Republican presidents and candidates, Limbaugh wrote best-selling books (“The Way Things Ought to Be” in 1992, followed in 1993 by “See, I Told You So”), including a series of children’s books.

He supported several charities, including a telethon for leukemia and lymphoma, the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which honors a firefighter who died saving others in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York.

Chafets, who grew up in Michigan, remembers when he first heard Limbaugh on the radio as he was driving one day near Detroit.

“Before Rush Limbaugh, you could not hear conservative thought on the radio in the USA – Rush is the first guy to provide that, the rock-and-roll DJ with the news. And that shocked people,” Chafets said. “I could not believe it myself. I actually pulled over to listen to what he was saying. I couldn’t believe it.”

Considering all the terrible things Limbaugh said and promoted, and his demonization of liberals, I can only think of one thing in reference to his death:

index

I mean I don’t believe in hell because there is no evidence it exists, but people like Limbaugh make me wish he could be sent there!

A critical analysis of the Transformers Movie of 1986

Back in the 1980s, the time of my late childhood and teen years, one of the biggest toy franchises was the Transformers. I often watched the TV show based on the toyline after coming home from school and so when I heard a movie based on the show was being released, I went to see it. It proved to be quite a shocker, considering the toyline and the TV show was marketed to children…..but no child could have been prepared for the extreme violence seen in the movie!

Continue reading

Mormon leaders need to STFU about tithing!

A common complaint in the ExMormon subreddit is over the obsession the Mormon leaders have with tithing, which is paying 1/10th of your earnings to the church. Many Christian churches encourage this and some also accept “offerings” (any payment that is not a part of tithing).

I can understand a church suggesting tithing as a means of its support, but making it MANDATORY seems absurd. And yet…….

I couldn’t believe the Mormon church would do such a thing. And then I saw the proof:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2012/12/sacred-transformations?lang=eng

The Vigils’ bishop, César Orellana, also saw changes in their lives. Soon after their baptism, Amado approached Bishop Orellana and said, “We want to pay tithing, but we don’t know how.”

Bishop Orellana explained that tithing was 10 percent of their increase. Amado was somewhat concerned. At the time, Evelyn had a job, but he did not. “We always come up short,” Amado explained to his bishop, “but we want to pay tithing.”

Bishop Orellana responded, “Brother, the Lord has made many promises.” Together they read scriptures about the blessings that come from faithfully paying tithing, including the Lord’s words through the prophet Malachi: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, … and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).

After reading these scriptures together, Bishop Orellana looked at the new convert and said, “If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.”

The next Sunday, Amado approached Bishop Orellana again. This time he didn’t ask any questions. He simply handed his bishop an envelope and said, “Bishop, here is our tithing.”

If you are actually trying to get people to starve themselves or go without any basic necessities to give you anything, YOU ARE A DAMNED PARASITE!!!!

People like Bishop Orellana are con artists, pure and simple.

Understanding Marginal Tax Rates

Increasing numbers of American billionaires have appeared since the Republicans began cutting taxes for the rich, first under President Reagan, then under Bush Jr (Bush Sr condemned this as “voodoo economics” even before Reagan’s time) and finally under Trump. And it’s time we ended that crap forever! The proliferation of billionaires is not a sign of economic prosperity, but distress, since the members of the working class have not increased their buying power in the same time. That would only happen if their wages went up, but economic conservatives tend to oppose that and thus the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour. A person CANNOT make a living at such a wage!

It is a moral and logical imperative that we raise marginal tax rates on the wealthy to properly fund the government and prevent economic tyranny from those same rich people.

Imagine such a tax policy in place. If we have a tax rate of 0% for people who make up to $50,000 per year, a rate of 30% on those who make up to $100,000 per year, 50% for those who make up to $1,000,000 per year, and finally 90% for those who make above $1,000,000 per year, here’s what the results would look like.

First example is a person with annual wages of $90,000. He would pay nothing on the first $50,000 and then 30% on the remaining $40,000, so he would pay $12,000 in tax, resulting in his keeping $78,000.

Second example is someone with annual wages of $800,000. He would pay nothing on the first $50,000 and then would pay 30% on the next $50,000 ($15,000 in tax) and then 50% of the remaining $700,000 ($350,000 in tax). Thus he would keep $435,000.

Finally, you have someone who makes $100,000,000 per year. His tax rates would be nothing on the first $50,000 and then would pay 30% on the next $50,000 ($15,000 in tax), 50% of the next $900,000 ($450,000 in tax) and finally 90% of $99,000,000 ($89,100,000 in tax). Thus he would keep $10,435,000. He would still be rich!

The ONLY ethical reason to lower taxes on ANY people is if those tax rates were so high that they were keeping people in poverty. That only applies to the working class.

As I noted a long time ago:

Two Reasons for Public Ignorance

We delude ourselves into thinking that if having a million dollars is good, having ten million must be better, so we strive for that while never thinking of anyone who considers himself lucky to even have $100,000. Or never gets even close to having that much.

Greed is a vice and we must do everything we can to condemn it and prevent people from getting away with it.

Obama bashing, Libertarian style

Tax hikes on the wealthy are to punish GREED, not success. There’s nothing wrong with making enough money to live comfortably on, but if you make enough to become a BILLIONAIRE, you become more of a parasite than a contributor to the economy.

And hearing that so many of these rich people have become even RICHER even in the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (throwing millions of workers into unemployment) makes me want to go after them!

Incidentally, Wayne Allyn Root, the guy who wrote that cynical hit piece I quoted in the blog entry about President Obama, was later disowned by most of the other Libertarians because of his racism and his constant lying. He is now a Republican and ally of Donald Trump. If I were God, I’d send that bastard to hell!

And here is a cartoon that also explains how marginal taxes work:

Tribute to Nick Karean

Strictly speaking, as an Honorable Skeptic, I do not expect to have followers of my ethical philosophy. Nor am I a blind follower of anyone (because then I wouldn’t be a skeptic). No, not even Carl Sagan, though he was a idol of mine in childhood and he was one of my direct influences in the creation of my standard of ethics. But there is one person whose vision so closely mirrors my own, and even exceeds it in many ways, that I must pay tribute to him as a brother in arms against ignorance, superstition, and self-serving bigotry: Nick Karean.

Nick Karean

His Facebook profile:  https://www.facebook.com/nickkareanz

His YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/nickkarean

His blog: https://nickkareanhobbyshots.blogspot.com

He lives in a nation split between Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus, among other religious communities, yet he was a fundamentalist Christian early in his life, just as I was. Eventually, however, he learned to get away from that and developed critical thinking, becoming one of the strongest advocates for reason, science and objective truth I’ve ever known. He currently travels in his free time and captures his experiences on photo and video which he shares on his blog and his YouTube channel.

I invite all who know me to also join with him.

Some great ideas for Unitarian Universalist sermons.

I am a member of First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church and I love it. Last year, the church made its own YouTube channel and with the coming of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been broadcasting its services on its Facebook page and then uploading them to YouTube.

Here is a recent fine example:

It has occurred to me, however that we UUs could increase the appeal of our churches among younger people by making sermon topics that appeal more to their age group by sounding more like YouTube videos rather than like most churches do now. Let me provide some examples.

Telltale is a former Jehovah’s Witness who is highly critical of his former religion as well as many other cults. Recently he even took on Donald Trump, calling him a cult leader.

He also does podcasts that are less “arty” and more wordy, but still informative, like this:

Then there is Blair aka the Iiluminaughtii who I spoke of twice before. Many of her videos can serve as UU sermons, with a practical purpose.

There is also Adam Buckley, who I also have written about more than once. If you don’t like the foul language he often uses, but agree with some of his ideas, you can present them with “clean” language.

Genetically Modified Skeptic advocates directly for atheism, but he also tackles MLMs like Blair does.

But he also is willing to criticize his fellow atheists, making him more credible than most.

Indeed, he is surprisingly balanced about Islam, but still gets lied about by misinformed people.

Well, that also happened to me in a UU subreddit!

My point was that no UU should be Islamophobic, but likewise we must be free to criticize Islam……and ALL other religions. Refusing to face flaws and failures in other religions, and even our own, enables prejudice and ignorance. And that doesn’t help the credibility of UUism. We don’t even have to claim that Islam (or any other world religion) is false, but that allowing its dogmas to go unchecked is dangerous. That was indeed the whole point of my Spiritual Orientation series.

If more UUs like me took this balanced approach to criticizing religions while defending the rights of religious people, more people might flock to UUism.

Were blacks among the Southern Baptists really expecting better from their white leaders?

Read this story:

https://news.yahoo.com/prominent-black-pastor-pondering-exit-140305638.html

Some Black Southern Baptists feel shut out by white leaders

DAVID CRARY

As a student in college and seminary, then as a pastor in Texas, Dwight McKissic has been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention for more than 45 years. Now he’s pondering whether he and his congregation should break away.

“It would feel like a divorce,” McKissic said. “That’s something I’ve never had, but that’s what it would feel like.”

If he does, he would be following in the footsteps of several other Black pastors who have recently exited in dismay over what they see as racial insensitivity from some leaders of the predominantly white SBC. Tensions are high after an election year in which racism was a central issue, and after a provocative declaration by SBC seminary presidents in late 2020 that a fundamental concept in the struggle against racial injustice contravenes church doctrine.

A crucial moment for McKissic and other Black pastors could come in June at the SBC’s national meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, if delegates rebuff their views on systemic racism in the U.S., and if Rev. Albert Mohler, a high-profile conservative who heads the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is elected SBC president.

Last year, even while announcing new scholarship funds for Black students, Mohler declined to change the names of buildings at his seminary named after slaveholders. More recently he played a key role in the seminary presidents’ repudiation of critical race theory — a broad term used in academic and activist circles to describe critiques of systemic racism

The presidents later apologized for not consulting Black pastors before issuing that repudiation, but Mohler told The Associated Press the presidents would likely have reached the same decision in any case.

The seminary leaders’ stance on critical race theory, as well as Mohler’s public support for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, “should disqualify him from being SBC president,” said McKissic, who has become one of the SBC’s most prominent Black pastors since founding the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, in 1983.

Some of the pastors who cut ties with the SBC in recent months also share negative views of Mohler. The Rev. Ralph West, whose Church Without Walls in Houston claims a weekly attendance of 9,000, called him “a polarizing figure” who would worsen divisions within the SBC.

Mohler suggested his critics do not reflect the opinions of most Southern Baptists, white or Black.

“I believe I represent the vast mainstream of conservative Southern Baptists on these issues,” he said. “I think I am polarizing only at the extremes.”

Regarding Trump, who had overwhelming backing from white evangelicals, Mohler said he consistently pointed out the former president’s flaws, but opted to endorse him based on his stances opposing abortion and defending religious liberties.

The SBC, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. was founded in an 1845 split with northern Baptists over slavery and became the church of Southern slaveholders. Its membership of about 14.5 million remains overwhelming white — its predominantly Black churches claim a combined membership of about 400,000.

While the SBC formally apologized in 1995 for its pro-slavery past, and later condemned white supremacy, some tensions flared again after the Nov. 30 statement from six seminary presidents, all of them white. They declared that critical race theory was “incompatible with” central tenets of the SBC’s Scripture-based theology.

The statement swiftly created friction far beyond the realm of SBC academia, particularly due to the lack of Black involvement in its drafting.

Virginia pastor Marshal Ausberry, president of the organization that represents the SBC’s Black pastors, wrote to the presidents saying concepts such as critical race theory “help us to see and discover otherwise undetected, systemic racism in institutions and in ourselves.”

“The optics of six Anglo brothers meeting to discuss racism and other related issues without having ethnic representation in the room in 2020 — at worst it looks like paternalism, at best insensitivity,” Ausberry, first vice president of the SBC, elaborated in an interview with Baptist Press, the SBC’s official news agency.

The presidents apologized for not consulting Black pastors and met with some of them Jan. 6, but have not wavered in their rejection of critical race theory.

McKissic, who was in the Jan. 6 meeting, said the conversation was polite “but the outcome was not respectful to who Black people are in our history.”

He’s likely to remain in the SBC until the June meeting but is prepared to exit then if the delegates ratify the presidents’ stance on critical race theory as official policy.

“if they adopt that statement in June, it would be the feeling to me that people you trusted hit you in the face with a baseball bat,” McKissic said.

Another possible trigger for him would be if delegates rescind a 2019 resolution that included a positive reference to critical race theory, suggesting it could be useful as an “analytical tool” as long as it was subordinate to Scripture.

The Rev. Charlie Dates of the Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, one of the pastors who have already severed ties, said the November statement was “the last straw.”

“When did the theological architects of American slavery develop the moral character to tell the church how it should discuss and discern racism?” Dates wrote in an op-ed for Religion News Service. “The hard reality of the seminary presidents’ statement is that Black people will never gain full equality in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Other Black pastors who have cut ties include the Rev. Seth Martin, whose multiracial Brook Community Church in Minneapolis had been receiving financial support from the Southern Baptist association in Minnesota, and the Rev. Joel Bowman, who abandoned plans to move his Temple of Faith Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, into the SBC fold.

“I genuinely believe the SBC is headed in the wrong direction,” Bowman said. “White evangelicals have gotten in bed with the Republican Party.”

Some white SBC pastors are also troubled, such as the Rev. Ed Litton of Mobile, Alabama, who is one of Mohler’s rivals for the SBC presidency. McKissic has endorsed Litton’s candidacy.

Litton was a co-signer of a statement by a multiethnic group of Southern Baptists last month which asserted that “some recent events have left many brothers and sisters of color feeling betrayed and wondering if the SBC is committed to racial reconciliation.”

When evangelical churches get involved in partisan politics, like they have so much since the 1980s, both the government and the churches become corrupted. That’s what we saw in the case of Donald Trump being elected President.

Even if I were still a Christian, I could never return to the Southern Baptist Convention because of its racist roots. I’d be more likely to join the United Methodist Church or some other mainline or liberal Protestant body.

Since 2017, Unitarian Universalists have had their own struggles about race issues. And I believe strongly that the path should be open for blacks who are Christians to feel welcome among UUs. Consider the case of Bishop Carlton Pearson.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlton_Pearson

I actually saw him preach at First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, and he also has a regular place at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/the-gospel-inclusion

When the story broke that evangelicals were calling Carlton Pearson a heretic, Lavanhar recognized right away that what he was preaching was classic Universalism. He called Pearson up and invited him to lunch. “Marlin was very sensitive and seemed to understand even more than I did in some ways where I was,” Pearson recalls. “He was probing my mind, and I his, and he was offering brotherhood. I didn’t have many friends in this town.”

Then Lavanhar invited Pearson to preach at All Souls. The sanctuary was packed. “They gave us their Sunday morning offering,” Pearson recalls, tearing up. “It makes me emotional just to think about it.”

Tulsa’s United Church of Christ ministers also reached out to Pearson. (He was granted ministerial fellowship in that denomination in 2006.) “But I was fellowshipping with Marlin,” Pearson says. “He grasped my position on Universalism even more than the UCC folks.” Pearson had read about Universalism at ORU, but he didn’t realize that All Souls Unitarian was part of that tradition.

In late 2005 Pearson sold the Higher Dimensions organization in order to avoid foreclosure, at a loss of $3 million in equity. The building is now a Christian prep school. “We were hurting, scattered, wandering through the wilderness like Moses and the children of Israel,” Pearson says. But they weren’t giving up. The 200 or so survivors renamed themselves New Dimensions. For the next two and a half years they held a one o’clock Sunday service in Trinity Episcopal Church downtown, attended on Sunday mornings by Tulsa’s country club and business elite.

Meanwhile, lunch had become a monthly ritual for newfound friends Pearson and Lavanhar. In April 2008, Lavanhar preached a sermon that got some buzz on the Internet, defending presidential candidate Barack Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, by placing him in context with the Hebrew prophets and the historic black church. He showed Pearson a thankful letter Wright had sent.

Pearson thought out-loud, “We should have come to All Souls, because y’all really are interested in this kind of thing, racial justice. We wouldn’t be like boarders or visitors. Y’all would want us there. It would mean a lot to you.” So Lavanhar extended yet another invitation. New D could have the 11:30 a.m. Sunday service slot, free, for the summer, when All Souls went down to a single 10:00 a.m. service.

What caught everyone off guard was that about half the people who showed up at that service were All Souls folks. They loved the emotion, the spirit, the high they got from “bucking and shouting and getting our praise on,” as Cassandra Austin, a New D member since 1994, describes it.

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/humiliation-hostility-riot-lives

After Pearson was declared a heretic by his fellow Pentecostals for preaching universal salvation in the megachurch he led, he accepted Lavanhar’s invitation to lead worship at All Souls. He and approximately 200 of his parishioners started worshiping at All Souls in 2008, and today, about 4 percent of the church’s 2,023 members are black. 

Black membership among UUs may grow enormously if all UU churches do become as inclusive as All Souls is.

Let It Go… my analysis of its lyrics

In an earlier blog entry, I spoke of the experience of people leaving their former religion and seeking personal freedom. I also referred to a song that seems to speak of that experience. Here is that song again:

And here are the lyrics:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know
 
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 
It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free
 
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I stay
Let the storm rage on
 
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past
 
Let it go, let it go
When I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 
And here is my interpretation of those lyrics.
 
The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen
 
When you realize that a religion you based your entire life around is not true, or at least not suitable for you, you don’t just lose that religion, you lose the COMMUNITY that religion creates, and thus you feel terrified about what may happen to you later. We humans are social animals, so this is indeed trauma on a grievous scale.
 
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know
 
At first, you may try to pretend to still believe in and follow your former religion, but this is no long term solution if you value your integrity. And eventually, those in the faith closest to you may figure out you are just pretending and condemn you, rightfully, as a hypocrite. The sooner you come out with the truth about yourself, the better.
 
 
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 

Once you turn that corner and admit openly you have abandoned your past faith, your fears will be replaced with inner peace, perhaps the same inner peace the religion itself was supposed to give you. Now you can face the others who still follow your old religion and refute their claims. The controversy (cold) wasn’t the issue; you were just on the wrong side of it!

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free
 
People who reject all dogmatic religions do so because they realize the rules of those religions are not grounded in reality. The only rules and laws that should ever matter are those that serve real needs of real people in real time. Religions can’t do that!
 
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I stay
Let the storm rage on
 
So now you can prove that leaving a religion won’t destroy you as a person, but make your life better!
 
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past
 
Leaving an oppressive religion increases your creativity, allowing you to  explore possibilities that you were fearful of before. And that justifies your leaving and makes you see there is no point in ever turning back.
 
Let it go, let it go
When I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 

The religion you left promised you light, but it was a lie; you only became truly enlightened once you left it and found what was right for you. You stopped seeking moral perfection once you recognized it never existed. Instead, you make up your own standards and live by them. Just as I did in 2005:

 

An Honorable Skeptic

Bigotry is bigotry, and NONE of it should EVER be excused.

The most troublesome bigots in American society are often the ones who are white and/or Christian and say crap like “I have black/Jewish/Muslim/(other minority) friends,” but being conservative they must have lower standards for friends than me, because if they truly saw every other person in their community as equals, THEY WOULDN’T BE CONSERVATIVE! Liberals are the ONLY ones that truly champion equal justice for all.

Want proof of that? Read this article

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/viral-video-forced-wealthy-texas-suburb-confront-racism-silent-majority-n1255230

Southlake, Texas is a community not far from where I live (Haltom City, just outside Fort Worth). And Texas is a notoriously red (conservative) state.

Let’s zero in on some specific parts of the article in question.

This past summer — nearly two years after the viral video — the school board unveiled a plan that would require diversity and inclusion training for all students as part of the K-12 curriculum, while amending the student code of conduct to specifically prohibit acts of discrimination, referred to in the document as “microaggressions.”

Within days, outraged parents — most of them white — formed a political action committee and began packing school board meetings to voice their strong opposition. Some denounced the diversity plan as “Marxist” and “leftist indoctrination” designed to “fix a problem that doesn’t exist.” The opponents said they, too, wanted all students to feel safe at Carroll, but they argued that the district’s plan would instead create “diversity police” and amounted to “reverse racism” against white children.

Basically, they were saying they wanted minorities to feel maybe 90% equal to whites, NOT 100% equal. We mustn’t be fooled by their false rhetoric.

Like many small towns in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area in the early 1990s, Southlake was on the cusp of explosive population growth. In the nearly three decades since the Cornishes arrived, Southlake’s population has tripled to more than 31,000 residents, driven in part by a surge of immigrants from South Asia. Hundreds more Black people also moved in, though they still make up less than 2 percent of the population in a city where 74 percent of residents are white.

With its proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and the headquarters of several Fortune 500 companies, the city became a magnet for wealthy professionals, with the median household income now topping $230,000.

As it grew, Southlake gained a reputation in the Dallas area as a sort of suburban utopia, with master-planned neighborhoods and dominant high school sports programs. A 2007 D Magazine article about the Carroll football team’s run of state championships described the city’s “otherworldly” charm.

Despite having lived most of my life in suburbs like Haltom City, North Richland Hills, and Arlington, I am perceptive enough to recognize that the purpose of establishing most of those suburbs, including Southlake, was to provide places where whites could move away from the huge cities where minorities are concentrated. But then some members of those minorities began to follow the whites to those places. Including the Cornish family.

One example: Every year when Cornish’s children were small, Carroll fifth graders were required to participate in Colonial Day, an educational celebration in which students dress up like characters from the 1600s. But little thought seemed to go into what that meant for Black children, Cornish said, an oversight that became all too clear when a classmate told one of her daughters that she couldn’t dress up like a nurse; she would have been a slave.

Which is exactly why we need to teach ALL aspects of American history, good, bad and ugly, and stop glorifying so much of it when it clearly involved the abuse of blacks, Native Americans and other minorities. Colonial Day in Southlake should be ended for that reason!

As in-person classes resumed in the fall, Moore and other Carroll board members searched for a compromise. The board agreed to appoint seven new volunteers to the diversity committee, including some who’d been critical of the plan, and asked the group to propose revisions based on community feedback.

But that work was halted after one parent, Kristin Garcia, sued the district over the way the diversity plan was developed, alleging that board members had violated the Texas open meetings law. Although the district has disputed that claim in court filings, a judge issued a temporary restraining order in December prohibiting the school board from working on the plan while the litigation is pending.

Garcia declined to comment through her lawyer, and messages to the Southlake Families PAC went unreturned. NBC News reached out to a dozen other residents who’ve spoken against the diversity plan, but none responded directly. Instead, a group calling itself Concerned Parents of Southlake Students reached out to NBC News to share a statement saying the district’s plan “is its own form of racism that categorizes students based on their skin color to purportedly achieve equitable outcomes.”

“As parents of Southlake students from many different backgrounds, we condemn discrimination and racism in any form,” the statement said. “We are gravely concerned with attempts to infuse our children’s education with political indoctrination that seeks to divide rather than unite.”

This seems to be the standard subversive playbook: In most cases, don’t be willing to talk about what you are doing and your motives about it and when you do, LIE OUTRIGHT ABOUT IT!

And it gets worse!

The fight in Southlake eventually caught the attention of state Republican Party officials.

Allen West, the Texas GOP chairman, addressed the dispute in August when he was invited to speak at a church near the city. In a video of the speech posted to YouTube, West told the audience that the situation in Southlake follows a pattern of school districts attempting to indoctrinate children with liberal values.

West, who is Black, then offered a suggestion for how to fight back. He told the audience to welcome new residents from out of state with a pecan pie, but then to ask, “Now why are you here?”

And if those new neighbors don’t share traditional conservative beliefs about gun rights and tax policy, West advised the audience to respond with seven words: “Go back to where you came from.”

With that, the room of mostly white Southlake residents, including City Councilman and mayoral candidate John Huffman, jumped to their feet in applause, the video shows. Huffman, who has opposed the district diversity plan on social media, did not return messages seeking comment.

West ended his remarks by urging the crowd to continue the fight to “run these progressive socialists the hell out of Texas,” and was again given a standing ovation.

Just because you are a black person doesn’t mean you should be using bigoted hate speech. Allen West is an enabler of not only racism (despite being one of the “good” blacks in the eyes of white supremacists), but various other forms of bigotry (including those of anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT), favored by the privileged classes across America. And NONE of it should be accepted, period!

Seriously…….FUCK WEST AND FUCK HIS CONSERVATIVE CRAP!

I am a Liberal who was born and raised in this state of Texas and I am not going anywhere!

A critical analysis of a Muslim to Baha’i testimony

Today, I can celebrate, as Joe Biden finally takes his rightful place as the new President of the United States. I really hope Donald Trump fades away into the void like the degenerate scumbag he always was.

Meanwhile, I am still dealing with religious issues in reddit. Take a look at this:

https://www.removeddit.com/r/bahai/comments/l189z7/from_shia_exmuslim_to_bahai/

they_marked_me

I grew up in a strict Iraqi Shia family. I always had a place for God in my heart but I could never reconcile with the teachings of the Quran and the effects Islam had on the Muslim communities around me, shia, sunni, moderate and others. I saw sexism, homophobia, gossip, emotional isolation and of course violent enforcement of religious teachings. When I was finally old enough to legally leave my family home I did. I left religion, my hijab and the community behind. I needed to finally breathe.

10 years passed and I noticed that God’s place in my heart was getting smaller and smaller. There was even a point where I doubted my belief. Why was there so much hatred in his communities? Why was so much pain caused by his believers? Their worship and and words were so different that they might as well be descended from different Gods. I resented that I was told to believe in a God that promised nothing but horror, torture and hell fire. There was no compassion for Gods creatures, no pleasure in bowing down for him, no inspiration in their teachings and no guidance for my modern life. Deep down I knew of God and his true nature. His compassion, his beauty, his love for us. I couldn’t follow any religion or book that besmirched his name like that.

I wasn’t approached by any Bahai. I never saw any of their online work. I just searched for an answer. I refused to believe that God would let us rot in this horribly defect world we created. I believed that he must have thought of us and sent us guidance. I just needed to find it. It didn’t take long. When I learned about the Bab and his story it all clicked into place. The Shia teachings that I learned about in madrassa allowed me to recognize the Bab’s truth.

I’m only in the learning stages and I have no Bahai communities near me. But I call myself a Bahai because now I know that the God I have in my heart has never abandoned us.

Let’s do an examination of this testimony.

I always had a place for God in my heart but I could never reconcile with the teachings of the Quran and the effects Islam had on the Muslim communities around me, shia, sunni, moderate and others.

Millions of moderate and progressive Muslims can do just that. Indeed, there are subreddits of such Muslims, like this one:

https://www.reddit.com/r/progressive_islam/

I saw sexism, homophobia, gossip, emotional isolation and of course violent enforcement of religious teachings.

There is sexism and homophobia in the Baha’i Faith, even while the Faith’s leaders lie about believing in equality of men and women and claim they reject prejudice against gays

Why was there so much hatred in his communities? Why was so much pain caused by his believers? Their worship and and words were so different that they might as well be descended from different Gods. I resented that I was told to believe in a God that promised nothing but horror, torture and hell fire. There was no compassion for Gods creatures, no pleasure in bowing down for him, no inspiration in their teachings and no guidance for my modern life.

Those are exactly the sort of issues that lead many people to become atheists. And yet…..

Deep down I knew of God and his true nature. His compassion, his beauty, his love for us. I couldn’t follow any religion or book that besmirched his name like that.

Then why not embrace a form of Universalism?

I wasn’t approached by any Bahai. I never saw any of their online work. I just searched for an answer.

If you haven’t dealt directly with Baha’is, then you know nothing about how their religion works in terms of community. You just saw an abstraction. Religion is only useful in terms of its people.

I refused to believe that God would let us rot in this horribly defect world we created.

Ironically, atheism, so reviled by followers of Abrahamic religions, actually lets God off the hook; you can’t blame God for anything if he doesn’t exist.

I believed that he must have thought of us and sent us guidance. I just needed to find it.

I had the same assumptions in the mid 1990s, so I too became a Baha’i.

When I learned about the Bab and his story it all clicked into place. The Shia teachings that I learned about in madrassa allowed me to recognize the Bab’s truth.

Bullshit! The Bab claimed to be the Mahdi, a Messianic figure in Shiite Islam much like Jesus was supposed to be in Christianity. The Bab was expected to overthrow the evil rulers of the world and bring about a new age, but his being killed in 1850 by a firing squad should have discredited him and his movement forever. That didn’t happen because only a few years later, Baha’u’llah revived the Babi community and then claimed that he was “He Who God Will Make Manifest” that the Bab foretold. Most of the Babis, desperate to retain their faith, accepted Baha’u’llah and became Baha’is. To me, this would be an example of the sunk cost fallacy; the Babis and later Baha’is had suffered so much for their beliefs that they couldn’t bring themselves to admit they had been duped and their leadership had failed. This irrational view has kept the Baha’i Faith going to this day!

It is interesting that she is more interested in the Bab than Baha’u’llah. Could she become a Bayani/Azali if she discovers propaganda discrediting Baha’u’llah? But that movement is even less successful than the Baha’i one!

It is possible that the real reason she rejected Islam is that it does not fit her Spiritual Orientation. Could the Baha’i Faith be better for her? Then she should read this:

https://dalehusband.com/2018/05/04/if-your-spiritual-orientation-is-bahai/

And for clarity, she should also see this:

https://dalehusband.com/2018/04/24/if-your-spiritual-orientation-is-muslim/

She should also see THIS about a girl raised Muslim:

https://dalehusband.com/2019/06/16/a-conversion-to-unitarian-universalism/

There are SO MANY options they_marked_me can look up and consider before she goes off the deep end and wastes her time and life serving the cult of the So-Called Baha’i Faith (SCBF)!

 

 

Advice for people leaving or thinking of leaving their religion.

In reddit, there are many subreddits that are made as support groups for people doubting or denying the religion they were raised in and wanting to leave it. This blog entry is for those people.

Here is a list of those ex(religious) subreddits.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Exittors/     (A general subreddit for various people leaving any religious group allowing them to  compare notes and see how much alike they are.)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exchristian/

https://www.reddit.com/r/excatholic/

https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/

https://www.reddit.com/r/exjw/     (A subreddit for former Jehovah’s Witnesses, not to be confused with ex-Jews)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exmuslim/

https://www.reddit.com/r/exjew/  (THIS is the subreddit for people who have rejected the Jewish religion, even if they are considered of Jewish ethnicity.)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exAdventist/    (For those who reject Seventh Day Adventist teachings)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exscientology/

https://www.reddit.com/r/EXHINDU/

https://www.reddit.com/r/excoc/      (For those rejecting the “Church of Christ”)

https://www.reddit.com/r/thegreatproject/     (Another subreddit for people wanting to tell stories about leaving their religion.)

And last but certainly not least (at least to me):  

https://www.reddit.com/r/exbahai/

Warning: Do NOT go to a religious group of any kind and openly state you want to quit their religion. All that will do is start a fight you don’t need to be involved in. Examples:  

Once you decide what you really are, you can join a subreddit that defines you in a positive rather than a negative way. Such as:

https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/

https://www.reddit.com/r/agnostic/

https://www.reddit.com/r/Humanist/

https://www.reddit.com/r/skeptic/

https://www.reddit.com/r/UnitarianUniversalist/

Finally, here is a song for all those ex(religious) people in the world to celebrate their freedom from whatever cult or dogmatic bullshit they were once in:

 

 

The New York Post vs. a Right-wing Extremist in Congress

Read this Wikipedia entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Post

The New York Post (sometimes abbreviated as NY Post) is a conservative-leaning[3] daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

It was established in 1801 by Federalist and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and became a respected broadsheet in the 19th century under the name New York Evening Post. In 1976, Rupert Murdoch bought the Post for US$30.5 million.[4] Since 1993, the Post has been owned by News Corporation and its successor, News Corp, which had owned it previously from 1976 to 1988. Its distribution ranked 4th in the US in 2019.[5]

Keep in mind that this tabloid is thus owned by the same company that owns FOX News, which is notorious for its obvious right-wing biases. And yet it seems that even they are becoming fed up with extremism among Republicans in the wake of Donald Trump about to leave the Presidency.

Now read THIS:

https://nypost.com/2021/01/16/gop-rep-lauren-boebert-and-husband-have-racked-up-arrests/

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert and husband racked up arrests in home district

Rep. Lauren Boebert has a rap sheet unusually long for a member of Congress.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, the gun-toting freshman Republican Colorado congresswoman who ran on a law-and-order platform, has had several dust-ups with police, starting as a teenager.

The 34-year-old lawmaker, who beat her district’s very conservative Rep. Scott Tipton in a primary upset last June, has a rap sheet unusually long for a member of Congress.

And her track record of thumbing her nose at law continued this week after she tussled with Capitol Police officers over her refusal to walk through newly installed House metal detectors.

“I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, DC, and within the Capitol complex,” she tweeted in defiance, while calling the detectors “another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi.”

While the lawmaker was eventually allowed to enter the House chambers, she is facing growing questions about her role in assisting the deadly riot on Capitol Hill Jan. 6. Just hours before the violence, she tweeted, “today is 1776.” In the days leading up to the unrest, Boebert made a spectacle of her intention to remain armed in the Capitol, earning another rebuke from local law enforcement.

Back in June 2015, Boebert was cuffed for disorderly conduct at a Country Music festival near Grand Junction, Colo., after police said she attempted to interfere in the arrest of minors busted for underage drinking and encouraged the accused to run off. Boebert said the revelers had not been read their Miranda Rights and that the arrest was illegal.

“Lauren continued yelling and causing the underage drinkers to become unruly,” an arresting officer said in a statement at the time. “Lauren said multiple times that she had friends at Fox News and that the illegal arrest would be national news.” At the time, Boebert was running Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colo. The story was first reported by Colorado Newsline.

Boebert subsequently missed two court appearances and was arrested again in December 2015. The charge was dismissed.

Lauren Boebert was booked in 2017 after she failed to show up for court.

A year later, in September 2016, Boebert was charged with careless driving and operating an unsafe vehicle after rolling her truck into a ditch, police said. When she failed to show up for court a month later, a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was booked on Feb. 13, 2017. She ultimately pled guilty to the unsafe vehicle charge and paid $123.50 in fines and court costs. The careless driving charge was dismissed. The incident was first surfaced by the Colorado Times Recorder.

“It’s certainly of concern that on a couple of occasions she apparently failed to appear for court,” Tom Silverman, a Democrat and former president of Colorado Municipal Judges Association, told The Post. “I was disappointed when she was elected.”

Colin Wilhelm, a Colorado defense attorney and Democrat who plans to challenge Boebert in 2022, agreed: “It’s concerning when you claim to be a member of ‘back the blue’ and yet are so anti-authority when they are trying to do their job.”

In September 2010, Boebert was arrested after a neighbor, Michele Soet, accused Boebert’s two pit bulls of attacking Soet’s dog. Soet’s dog narrowly escaped injury after jumping into a van. The future legislator pled guilty to a single count of “dog at large,” paying a $75 fine.

Boebert’s future husband Jayson also had brushes with law enforcement. In January 2004 he was arrested after allegedly exposing his penis to two women at a bowling alley, according to an arrest affidavit. Lauren Boebert (then aged 17 and known as Lauren Opal Roberts) was also there. Jayson Boebert pled guilty to public indecency and lewd exposure, earning himself four days in jail and two years probation.

In February 2004, he was booked on a domestic violence charge, against Lauren Boebert. He “did unlawfully strike, shove or kick … and subjected her to physical contact,” a spokesman for the Garfield Associate County Court clerk told The Post. They had been dating at the time.

Jayson Boebert ultimately served seven days in jail. The busts were first unearthed by Colorado blogger Anne Landman.

Lauren Boebert took her revenge in May 2004 during an altercation with Jayson at his home in which she scratched his face and chest and trashed his residence, according to a police report. She was slapped with third-degree assault, criminal mischief and underage drinking charges. A rep for the Garfield County Combined Court said they could not reveal any information about the case’s final disposition.

The Boeberts married in 2005, and have four children.

Rep. Lauren Boebert and her husband Jayson have had several dust-ups with police.

Jayson Boebert did not respond to a request for comment from The Post. In a statement, Rep. Boebert’s chief of staff Jeff Small called the arrests “a retread of a failed personal attack by the Democrats from the last campaign.”

“Attacking her family, trying to criminalize a $100 traffic fine or a dismissed case, and vilifying ordinary business transactions is exactly what people hate about politics.” he said.

Why the hell is such a hypocritical lunatic in Congress?!

This is what the Republican Party has totally degenerated into because of Donald Trump rising to become its leader! Biden replacing him as President is clearly not enough; we must oppose and defeat right-wing extremism in Congress too! Rep. Boebert and others like her must be voted out in 2022!

Even worse than Michelle Bachmann!

Read this disturbing report:

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/att/cm/marjorie-taylor-greene-says-she-073906731.html

Marjorie Taylor Greene says she’ll file impeachment articles against Joe Biden on his first day in office

<p>U.S. Representative Greene walks to the House floor during the second Trump impeachment debate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington</p> (Reuters)

Newly elected Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has said she would be filing articles of impeachment against incoming president, Joe Biden, for alleged “abuse of power” on his first day at the Oval Office.

Representative Greene announced her plan on Twitter after the Democrat-controlled House passed the threshold to impeach president Donald Trump on charges of inciting insurrection. While 10 Republicans voted to support the impeachment article, congresswoman Greene was amongst the 197 House representatives, who defended the president.

“On January 21, 2021, I’ll be filing Articles of Impeachment against Joe Biden for abuse of power,” she wrote on Twitter, adding the hashtags, “#ImpeachBiden,” #QuidProJoe” and “BidenCrimeFamilly.”

Ms Greene, in an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday, said, “On behalf of the American people, we have to make sure that our leaders are held accountable. We cannot have a President of the United States that is willing to abuse the power of the presidency and be easily bought off by foreign governments, Chinese energy companies, Ukrainian energy companies.”

“I can’t imagine people in this country being so fearful of the future of a Biden presidency that they may be willing to commit violence like they did in the Capitol here in Washington, DC,” she continued. “The American people need hope, they need to know that there are Republicans in Congress who are willing to stand up and fight for them regardless of being in a minority, regardless of having all odds against us.”

The QAnon supporting congresswoman on Wednesday backed president Trump in the House in an attempt to minimise his role in the Capitol violence, while launching an attack on Democrats for supporting the Black Live Matter protest last year.

“He has held over 600 rallies in the last four years and none of them included assaulting police, destroying businesses or burning down cities,” she said. “Democrats have spent all this time endorsing and enabling violent riots that left billions in property damage and 47 dead.”

Before her speech, congressman Jason Crow denounced Ms Greene and those sharing her political view, as “depraved” and “dangerous”.

“There are, unfortunately, a handful of members of Congress — and Ms Taylor Green is just one of them — who are morally bankrupt,” Mr Crow told CNN. “They are depraved, and they’re frankly dangerous individuals.”

It seems like the height of absurdity to try to impeach someone who hasn’t even committed any offenses as President. And her rhetoric seems like baseless hyperbole.

The U. S. Constitution says this about the issue of impeachment:

https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Rep. Greene could also be impeached and indeed:

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

And I think Greene should be expelled, because:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/1/13/2008897/-A-week-after-Capitol-attack-Rep-QAnon-again-tries-to-incite-violence-against-Democrats

QAnon congresswoman is really trying to get someone killed with her latest incitement

Ten days after joining Congress, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene continues building the case for her removal from the House of Representatives. In the wake of the violent attack on the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump trying to keep Congress from formalizing his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, Greene tweeted out another incitement to violence.

“These Democrats are the enemies to the American people who are leading the impeachment witch hunt against President Trump,” Greene tweeted Wednesday. “AGAIN!”

Then, ominously, “They will be held accountable.”

Enemies to the American people who will be held accountable, huh? That sounds like a call to violence from a member of Congress who described Jan. 6 as a “1776 moment.” When you have spent months trying to overturn an election and then compared the day on which a violent attack on the Capitol was planned to the American Revolution, you don’t get the benefit of the doubt on “enemies of the people” who “will be held accountable.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene is dangerous and she’s reveling in it. She’s positioning herself as some kind of brave freedom fighter, but she’s standing on the sidelines, in a position of privilege, egging others on to do her dirty work. She’s joined Trump in spending months working to convince his followers that the election was stolen—every single fact to the contrary—and now she’s trying to use that belief to get people killed. To get elected Democrats killed in a larger coup attempt.

She needs to go before (more) people are killed, not after.

Most Republicans are Conservative, but this person is a right-wing extremist, the sort that can incite a civil war to overthrow our Constitutional democracy. She must go!

Bigotry in Religion

When I rejected the Baha’i Faith in 2004, I also rejected theism itself, reasoning that if any God-centered religion could have been true, the Baha’i Faith was because it was the newest and most progressive in nature. So I could not revert to any older faith, not even the Christianity I had been raised in. They had already failed, and once I understood that the Baha’i Faith was also a failure, I couldn’t believe in God at all.

Most followers of the Abrahamic religions regard non-theists with contempt, and they are encouraged to have this bigoted attitude by the scriptures of their religions. Here are some noteworthy examples.

The first is from the Bible.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+14&version=NIV

Psalm 14

For the director of music. Of David.

The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
    they never call on the Lord.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    for God is present in the company of the righteous.
You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is their refuge.

7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

From the Quran we have this:

2: The Cow

6 As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not.
7 Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom.
8 And of mankind are some who say: We believe in Allah and the Last Day, when they believe not.
9 They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves; but they perceive not.
10 In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increaseth their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie.
11 And when it is said unto them: Make not mischief in the earth, they say: We are peacemakers only.
12 Are not they indeed the mischief-makers ? But they perceive not.
13 And when it is said unto them: believe as the people believe, they say: shall we believe as the foolish believe ? are not they indeed the foolish ? But they know not.

Here’s another example from the Gleanings of the Writings of Baha’u’llah:

www.bahai.org/r/207266714

CXIV (that’s Roman numerals, it would be 114 in Arabic numerals)

Know thou for a certainty that whoso disbelieveth in God is neither trustworthy nor truthful. This, indeed, is the truth, the undoubted truth. He that acteth treacherously towards God will, also, act treacherously towards his king. Nothing whatever can deter such a man from evil, nothing can hinder him from betraying his neighbor, nothing can induce him to walk uprightly.

As a non-theist who has personally known many other honorable non-theists, these passages show the writers of these scriptures to be as ignorant as it gets when it comes to the true character of atheists and agnostics.

My strict ethical standards are defined here:

https://dalehusband.com/about-the-author/an-honorable-skeptic/

I have seen plenty of examples of treacherous and dishonest behavior from people who profess to believe in God.

Atheists do not reject theism because they are corrupt (though to be fair, some are). They cannot behave treacherously towards one they do not believe exists. To disbelieve in God is not evil, merely a different point of view. Saying otherwise is hate propaganda.

Ethical standards only make sense if they come from reality and are applied to reality. People are real. God(s) may not be. And if your only source of ethics is religion, what happens if a religious leader commands you to commit mass murder and rape?

This attitude of bigotry towards non-theists was used to justify the nonsense written by Hugh Ross, as recorded here:

Insulting and Libeling Unbelievers

And we simply shouldn’t accept that anymore.

Donald Trump is banned from social media!

As much as I usually hate censorship, it is telling that Twitter, which was the platform most infamous for hosting Donald Trump’s political rants over the years, finally grew a spine and shut him down for good!

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/att/cm/twitter-suspended-president-donald-trump-232702015.html

Twitter bans President Trump permanently

Twitter has suspended President Trump from its platform, the company said Friday evening.

“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said.

“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”

Twitter’s decision followed two tweets by Trump Friday afternoon that would end up being his last. The tweets violated the company’s policy against glorification of violence, Twitter said, and “these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks.”

The first tweet was about Trump’s supporters.

“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”

The second indicated Trump did not plan to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Twitter said the tweet concerning inauguration could be viewed as a further statement that the election was not legitimate. It also said that the tweet could be interpreted as Trump saying that the inauguration would be a “safe” target for violence because he would not be attending.

Trump’s other statement about American patriots suggested that “he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election,” Twitter said.

Twitter’s ban specifically addresses “the @realDonaldTrump account,” not Trump personally.

Twitter will enforce its policy against ban evasions to ensure that Trump does not circumvent his personal account’s suspension, the company told CNN.

“If it is clear that another account is being used for the purposes of evading a ban, it is also subject to suspension,” Twitter said in a statement. “For government accounts, such as @POTUS and @WhiteHouse, we will not suspend those accounts but will take action to limit their use. However, these accounts will be transitioned over to the new administration in due course and will not be suspended by Twitter unless absolutely necessary to alleviate real-world harm.”

Twitter’s policy would also prohibit Trump from directing a third party to operate a Twitter account on his behalf.

Trump sought to test Twitter’s ban evasion policy at roughly 8:30 pm ET Friday evening, when he or someone acting on his behalf published four tweets from the @POTUS account.

“As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me,” Trump tweeted.

The tweets disappeared almost instantly.

Twitter told CNN that the Trump campaign’s account has also been permanently banned. Before @TeamTrump was suspended, it had been seen sharing the same four-tweet thread that Trump had attempted to post from the @POTUS account.

After Twitter permanently banned the Trump campaign’s account, Mike Hahn, the campaign’s social media director, objected.

“We copied and pasted a White House pool report,” Hahn tweeted.

Earlier in the evening, a White House pool report was distributed that contained the exact language that Trump had attempted to share from the @POTUS Twitter account.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to CNN that what prompted @TeamTrump’s ban was its attempt to share the same language Trump tried to tweet earlier.

Hahn argued it is nonsensical for journalists to be allowed to share Trump’s words but that the Trump campaign is not.

“A serious question that needs to be asked by journalists: If you post exactly what the president said will you be suspended as well? Because that is all we did,” Hahn said.

Asked whether it saw a difference between journalists reporting Trump’s words and the Trump campaign repeating Trump’s words, Twitter told CNN that there was a distinction.

“There’s a difference between someone reporting on the President, and someone attempting to allow their account to be used by the president to essentially get around the ban,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

Civil rights leaders who have long criticized tech platforms for spreading hate speech and division welcomed Twitter’s decision.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, called it an “excellent step.”

“A fitting end to a legacy of spewing hate and vitriol,” Greenblatt said. “President Trump incited the violent riots at the Capitol using social media & paid the price.”

Eric Naing, a spokesman for Muslim Advocates, said Twitter “is showing real leadership.”

“As Twitter notes, letting Trump continue to post tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube videos for his white nationalist supporters risks ‘further incitement of violence,'” Naing said. “Now it is up to Facebook and Google/YouTube to follow Twitter’s lead.

Keep in mind that Trump was banned from a private company’s property. He will not and should not face jail time or any other legal punishment for merely exercising his right to free speech.

free_speech

Nevertheless, he does belong in prison for his blatant acts of corruption and abuse he is known for and should stand trial for these things once he finally leaves office on January 20.

My new political rants on Twitter

When I first started with this blog way back in July 21, 2007, I titled it “Dale Husband’s Intellectual Rants” as something of an ironic joke, since ranting and being intellectual are supposed to be opposite things, but now I find myself doing both at once as a result of the actual attack on our democracy that happened at the Capitol in Washington D.C. yesterday.

So here are my exact tweets from my Twitter account right after the outrageous event:

I started with something positive, since I was happy the Democrats had won at the runoff Senate elections in Georgia:

The U S Senate dictatorship is finally OVER! Thank you, good people of Georgia, for ending it!

Then a few hours later:

Note to all the Republicans who have been shocked at the rioting and yes, TERRORISM that happened today at the nation’s capital: YOU ENABLED THIS SHIT FROM THE VERY DAY YOU ELECTED DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENT IN 2016, YOU BASTARDS!

People are calling for Trump to be impeached. That’s not enough. The entire Republican Party has enabled his corruption, abuse, dishonesty and treachery. WE MUST DISMANTLE IT FOREVER! We must replace it with a party that can act as a true “loyal opposition” to the Democrats.

Bush Sr got us into one war with Iraq and then his son led us into a second war with it. Both were completely needless conflicts, but both Bushes played the American people like suckers. We learned NOTHING from the disaster at Vietnam!

After Bush Jr as President started the Iraq War over totally bogus premises(2003), I swore that I would NEVER vote for a Republican again. To this day, I have kept that pledge. I then started calling for the Republican Party to be destroyed after Trump was elected.

Once Biden takes office as President, he needs to do two things: bring federal charges against all Republicans who tried to stop his taking his rightful place as President and file lawsuits against the media outlets (like FOX News) who told lies against Democrats for years.

With Donald Trump, it has become clear that we need to severely clean house. Our Constitution already bans monarchy, fascism, and communism. It’s time to ban CONSERVATISM too.

Republicans have been spiraling down to disgrace ever since Richard Nixon launched his “Southern Strategy” in the 1960s because he cared more about winning elections than upholding the principles of the U S Constitution. Now we see the results!

Even Nixon got off lightly, being allowed to resign and walk away with some dignity intact after being responsible for Watergate. Then Reagan committed an even worse betrayal of American values with the Iran-Contra scandal.

FOUR people died today as a result of the rioting today at the Capitol! As many as died at Bengazi, which Republicans used as a political football against Hillary Clinton for years.

Oh, someone else said this:

Preach it, sister!!!!

UUism should be more than a social club for religious exiles

Someone said this in a Unitarian Univeralist (UU) group in Facebook and it really annoyed me:

The UU local churches turn over half of their members every five years. One quarter will still be present in ten years, one eighth in 15 years, with only about 1/16 of the original crowd in 20 years.

UUs maintain their ranks through the constant influx of refugees from other denominations, most of whom want to keep their kids in church. People who leave their previous denominations are often people who had a conflict of conscience in their previous religious home.

Some UUs just wandered in, but most were leaving something.

Ironically, ninety percent of folks who grew up UU want nothing to do with it as adults and, unfortunately, this is just fine to most UUs.

We call it the upstairs/downstairs division in UUism. So, it helps to understand that UUs are a “standing wave” phenomenon of people moving into and out of local churches at a brisk pace, with little growth.

The serious discussion of religious beliefs is not what UUism is mainly about, so much as finding a place where religious beliefs are not discussed much.

The internet provides more of a place for discussing UU beliefs than a typical Sunday at church does.

Most UUs believe that most other UUs have similar religious beliefs, but nothing could be further from the truth. We just don’t really talk about our religious beliefs much once we get to church.

I see these as serious problems and think we need to make changes to get younger UUs to WANT to remain loyal to the UUA and its churches. So let us discuss how. What can we do to make the UUA one of the fastest growing religious groups in America?

Fortunately, other UUs are just as concerned about this matter as I am. Thomas A. Earthman, who is the “Lifespan Religious Educator” at First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, wrote the following essay several years ago:

Rehabilitating the UU Half-way House Trope

 

Rehabilitating the UU Half-way House Trope

Unitarian Universalism has a reputation of being the rehabilitation clinic for people who are leaving religion. That is a sad statement on how we view faith. People don’t come to us because they want to leave religion; they come because they want a religion that speaks to a broader world view and inclusion. People aren’t coming to church, even a Unitarian Universalist church, to get away from religion.

What many are looking for is community, encouragement, hope, and mental or ethical stimulation, and maybe some music or ritual. They are looking for religion when they show up, just one that is liberal and offers them a chance to explore theology, philosophy, and morality safely and sa part of a community. They are looking for a faith that allows them to be honest about who they are as a heretic, a doubter, or maybe just a hippie. It is when they don’t find anything fulfilling, for whatever reason, that they leave, often leaving religion behind for good. We need to tell them that we are believers, and that their faith, whatever shape it takes, maters [sic] as part of our shared identity.

UU ideals

“…we are believers. We believe in intellectual freedom; we believe in justice; we believe in compassion and concern for each other and the whole world. We believe in commitment to those ideals which make us caring and active in the struggles for human dignity. We are Unitarian Universalists.”
~ John M. Higgins

We are sometimes the last chance for religious community to embrace a person and make them feel welcome. Even after they are welcome, they have deeper needs we are obligated to meet. Our principles call on us to encourage one another to spiritual growth. They require our congregations to be laboratories for free, but responsible, exploration of the world and our role in it. That means we have to be communities of faith as well as covenant, or we’ve devolved into social clubs that are easily replicated in coffee shops and on-line message boards. Even sermons can be read in blogs or watched on YouTube. We have to offer more than Sunday services and coffee hour.

That is why Life-span faith development and small group ministry matter. That is why the focus of Unitarian Universalism needs to be open to change. It is why our mission is making the ideas we hold dear easy for people to share with their friends and family, so that we can spread them through human connections. It is what we ask you to support by being part of the I Am UU community.

The future of church is to offer what libraries, coffee shops, and the Internet cannot: a place where all of that is given freely, and supported by the folks who believe in the power of human beings, working together, to build a more just, more loving, more connected world. Is that what your congregation is? Tell us in the comments what is being done to take those ideas into the real world.

Thomas then said directly to me in Facebook:

People don’t come to a UU church because they are fleeing religion. They come looking for a religion they can believe in. They leave if they don’t find it…

Also, if you actually talk to young adults who grew up UU, they leave because the way adults do church isn’t the way we taught them to do church (most congregations force their kids out of their worship service) and we haven’t embraced the small group style that they are used to.

So now I want to use the blog to explore more the possiblities of UUism to become a true force for change in American society. And that can’t happen if we do not commit ourselves to growth to have many millions of members from all walks of life!

Another Creationist Meets his Maker

Read this announcement:

https://www.icr.org/article/in-loving-memory-of-dr-henry-m-morris-iii/

In Loving Memory of Dr. Henry M. Morris III
It is with heavy hearts that the Institute for Creation Research announces the homegoing of our CEO, Dr. Henry M. Morris III. He went to be with his Lord on December 12, 2020.

After his years of faithful service, Dr. Morris, known affectionately around the office as Dr. Henry, was planning to retire from his ICR leadership position at the end of this month. A tribute article about him was included in the December issue of Acts & Facts.

We’d like to share some excerpts from that article as we reflect on what Dr. Henry has meant to ICR’s ministry and to so many people who have been touched by his life and influence over the years.

Dr. Henry M. Morris III has been at the heart of ICR’s ministry work for decades, using his gifts as a leader, speaker, and writer to proclaim the truth of God’s Word and how science affirms creation. Some might say a passion for creation ministry has run in his family. His father, Dr. Henry M. Morris—widely known as the father of modern creationism—founded ICR in 1970, and his brother Dr. John Morris served as ICR President from 1996 to 2014 and as President Emeritus after that.

Here’s the thing to remember: The Morris family claimed to be scientists, researching evidence for creationism, but that is fraudulent; genuine scientists never make assumptions about reality and twist the results of their work to fit the assumptions. But that’s what Creationists have always done, because they are motivated by dogma, not objective truth.

science-v-spooky

Reading the announcement further:

Dr. Henry joined ICR in 2000 as Executive Vice President for Strategic Ministries. In 2004, he and his wife, Jan, moved to the Dallas area to prepare for the relocation of ICR from Santee, California, to that more central region of the United States. Once they found a place to live, their home functioned as a hub of the Texas “branch” for about two years, with the Dallas staff working from their living room until an office building could be located.

And why would the ICR move from one state to another? Most likely for political reasons. California is a “blue” (liberal Democratic) state while Texas is a “red” (conservative Republican) state, so perhaps Morris hoped to get more political support from the people and even the state government in Texas. Another Creationist group, Answers in Genesis, is also headquartered in a red state, Kentucky.

Between 2007 and 2010, Dr. Henry worked to establish a new generation of creation scientists who would be eager to uncover new evidence for biblical creation. The most important criteria he looked for were an unwavering commitment to Scripture and strong technical training in a scientific field.

Quite simply, you cannot uncover evidence that doesn’t exist. And the point of having training in science is to be able to write propaganda in “scientific” sounding language to deceive Christian readers who are themselves scientifically illiterate.

He was also instrumental in the push to create a DVD series churches could use to introduce their members to creation truth without the time and expense of bringing in an ICR speaker. He said, “I became convinced that we needed to do something that would offer the smaller churches a quality educational resource without the expense of funding a seminar. That generated the idea of having a collection of these short, 20-minute, movie-quality episodes.”

This is actually a damning indication of how far Creationism has fallen since its heyday decades ago. Plus not having a speaker means people can’t ask them critical questions about their claims and dogmas.

As a passionate and engaging speaker, Dr. Henry often joined the ICR science team at creation seminars and conferences. He communicated the importance of the authority and accuracy of God’s Word and exhorted Christian believers not to compromise but to uphold Genesis as a true account of our beginnings.

Again, in real science, the authority and accuracy of ANYTHING besides the scientific research itself should never be an issue. Mere stories that were popular in the past don’t matter.

applesandoranges

But Dr. Henry’s biggest undertaking was the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History. It took years for this vision of a creation-based Dallas museum to come to pass as ICR encountered various obstacles along the way.

<snip>

He was intimately involved in the plans and decisions to ensure that the Discovery Center reflected ICR’s commitment to solid science and the ultimate authority of Scripture. It was his hope and expectation that the Discovery Center would equip Christian believers with the scientific evidence that confirms biblical creation and refutes evolution. He wanted the new facility to build visitors’ confidence in the Bible, as well as serve as a training ground for Christian pastors and educators. He had a heart to reach homeschool families and other students ranging from elementary through college.

Since the Discovery Center’s grand opening in 2019, thousands of visitors have already come to explore the wonders of God’s creation and gain confidence in the veracity of His Word. Dr. Henry said, “It’s been an absolute delight and joy to see it birthed from a scrawling idea on the back of a lunch napkin to something that is really significant.”

Answers in Genesis’ Creation Museum was established in 2007, so why would the ICR found their own museum 12 years later? Not to mention yet another Creationist museum also in Texas that has existed for decades before the museum in Kentucky. Oh, wait…..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_Evidence_Museum#Criticism_from_creationists

Young Earth creationist organizations such as Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International have criticized Baugh’s claims saying he “muddied the water for many Christians … People are being misled.”[1] Don Batten, of Creation Ministries International wrote: “Some Christians will try to use Baugh’s ‘evidences’ in witnessing and get ‘shot down’ by someone who is scientifically literate. The ones witnessed to will thereafter be wary of all creation evidences and even more inclined to dismiss Christians as nut cases not worth listening to.”[37] Answers in Genesis lists the “Paluxy tracks” as arguments “we think creationists should NOT use” [emphasis in original].[38] The old Earth creationist organization Answers In Creation also reviewed Baugh’s museum and concluded “the main artifacts they claim show a young earth reveal that they are deceptions, and in many cases, not even clever ones.”[39]

The “Burdick track” and “fossilized finger” were featured on the controversial NBC program The Mysterious Origins of Man, aired in 1996 and hosted by Charlton Heston.[16] Creationist Ken Ham criticized the production in the February 1996 Answers in Genesis newsletter in a review titled “Hollywood’s ‘Moses’ Undermines Genesis.”[40] Ham attacked Baugh’s claims, saying, “According to leading creationist researchers, this evidence is open to much debate and needs much more intensive research. One wonders how much of the information in the program can really be trusted!”[40]

It’s almost like playing  a game of whack-a-mole; you debunk one phony museum’s exhibits and another museum arises to try to make a more credible presentation of Creationist claims instead of reaching the obvious conclusion that CREATIONISM ITSELF IS A LIE!

Then there are these web pages:

https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/arguments-to-avoid/

https://creation.com/arguments-we-think-creationists-should-not-use

Keep in mind that in most cases, these arguments were seriously used by Creationists in the past. The reason they are denied now is because real scientists have torn down those arguments with the objective TRUTH, which even Christians can easily find through the internet. Hence the damage control I just listed.

I myself have written many blog entries debunking Creationist nonsense:

The Planets Won’t Cooperate, with CREATIONISM!

It’s not just evolution that discredits Genesis!

How to be a good Creationist

The bottleneck effect and the Genesis creation myth

Blasphemy by Creationist bigots

Dinosaurs and Creationism

Creation Museum Running Out of Cash and Going Extinct?

Insulting and Libeling Unbelievers

But since Christian Creationism is ultimately based on the claim of the infallibility of the Bible, we really need to strike at that dogma itself, even without referring to evolution or other scientific issues.

Lying About History for the Bible

Lying About History for the Bible, Round 2

Teaching religion dishonestly

The prophet Isaiah did NOT predict the coming of Jesus!

Creationists are frauds, period and we need to keep discrediting them until they are gone from society.