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/nickkareans

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!