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.

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!

The Myth of American Innocence

Read this story:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/08/unlearning-the-myth-of-american-innocence

Unlearning the myth of American innocence

When she was 30, Suzy Hansen left the US for Istanbul – and began to realise that Americans will never understand their own country until they see it as the rest of the world does

My mother recently found piles of my notebooks from when I was a small child that were filled with plans for my future. I was very ambitious. I wrote out what I would do at every age: when I would get married and when I would have kids and when I would open a dance studio.

When I left my small hometown for college, this sort of planning stopped. The experience of going to a radically new place, as college was to me, upended my sense of the world and its possibilities. The same thing happened when I moved to New York after college, and a few years later when I moved to Istanbul. All change is dramatic for provincial people. But the last move was the hardest. In Turkey, the upheaval was far more unsettling: after a while, I began to feel that the entire foundation of my consciousness was a lie.

For all their patriotism, Americans rarely think about how their national identities relate to their personal ones. This indifference is particular to the psychology of white Americans and has a history unique to the US. In recent years, however, this national identity has become more difficult to ignore. Americans can no longer travel in foreign countries without noticing the strange weight we carry with us. In these years after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the many wars that followed, it has become more difficult to gallivant across the world absorbing its wisdom and resources for one’s own personal use. Americans abroad now do not have the same swagger, the easy, enormous smiles. You no longer want to speak so loud. There is always the vague risk of breaking something.

Some years after I moved to Istanbul, I bought a notebook, and unlike that confident child, I wrote down not plans but a question: who do we become if we don’t become Americans? If we discover that our identity as we understood it had been a myth? I asked it because my years as an American abroad in the 21st century were not a joyous romp of self-discovery and romance. Mine were more of a shattering and a shame, and even now, I still don’t know myself.

I grew up in Wall, a town located by the Jersey Shore, two hours’ drive from New York. Much of it was a landscape of concrete and parking lots, plastic signs and Dunkin’ Donuts. There was no centre, no Main Street, as there was in most of the pleasant beach towns nearby, no tiny old movie theatre or architecture suggesting some sort of history or memory.

Most of my friends’ parents were teachers, nurses, cops or electricians, except for the rare father who worked in “the City”, and a handful of Italian families who did less legal things. My parents were descendants of working-class Danish, Italian and Irish immigrants who had little memory of their European origins, and my extended family ran an inexpensive public golf course, where I worked as a hot-dog girl in the summers. The politics I heard about as a kid had to do with taxes and immigrants, and not much else. Bill Clinton was not popular in my house. (In 2016, most of Wall voted Trump.)

We were all patriotic, but I can’t even conceive of what else we could have been, because our entire experience was domestic, interior, American. We went to church on Sundays, until church time was usurped by soccer games. I don’t remember a strong sense of civic engagement. Instead I had the feeling that people could take things from you if you didn’t stay vigilant. Our goals remained local: homecoming queen, state champs, a scholarship to Trenton State, barbecues in the backyard. The lone Asian kid in our class studied hard and went to Berkeley; the Indian went to Yale. Black people never came to Wall. The world was white, Christian; the world was us.

We did not study world maps, because international geography, as a subject, had been phased out of many state curriculums long before. There was no sense of the US being one country on a planet of many countries. Even the Soviet Union seemed something more like the Death Star – flying overhead, ready to laser us to smithereens – than a country with people in it.

I have TV memories of world events. Even in my mind, they appear on a screen: Oliver North testifying in the Iran-Contra hearings; the scarred, evil-seeming face of Panama’s dictator Manuel Noriega; the movie-like footage, all flashes of light, of the bombing of Baghdad during the first Gulf war. Mostly what I remember of that war in Iraq was singing God Bless the USA on the school bus – I was 13 – wearing little yellow ribbons and becoming teary-eyed as I remembered the video of the song I had seen on MTV.

And I’m proud to be an American

Where at least I know I’m free

That “at least” is funny. We were free – at the very least we were that. Everyone else was a chump, because they didn’t even have that obvious thing. Whatever it meant, it was the thing that we had, and no one else did. It was our God-given gift, our superpower.

By the time I got to high school, I knew that communism had gone away, but never learned what communism had actually been (“bad” was enough). Religion, politics, race – they washed over me like troubled things that obviously meant something to someone somewhere, but that had no relationship to me, to Wall, to America. I certainly had no idea that most people in the world felt those connections deeply. History – America’s history, the world’s history – would slip in and out of my consciousness with no resonance whatsoever.

Racism, antisemitism and prejudice, however – those things, on some unconscious level, I must have known. They were expressed in the fear of Asbury Park, which was black; in the resentment of the towns of Marlboro and Deal, which were known as Jewish; in the way Hispanics seemed exotic. Much of the Jersey Shore was segregated as if it were still the 1950s, and so prejudice was expressed through fear of anything outside Wall, anything outside the tiny white world in which we lived. If there was something that saved us from being outwardly racist, it was that in small towns such as Wall, especially for girls, it was important to be nice, or good – this pressure tempered tendencies toward overt cruelty when we were young.

I was lucky that I had a mother who nourished my early-onset book addiction, an older brother with mysteriously acquired progressive politics, and a father who spent his evenings studying obscure golf antiques, lost in the pleasures of the past. In these days of the 1%, I am nostalgic for Wall’s middle-class modesty and its sea-salt Jersey Shore air. But as a teenager, I knew that the only thing that could rescue me from the Wall of fear was a good college.

I ended up at the University of Pennsylvania. The lack of interest in the wider world that I had known in Wall found another expression there, although at Penn the children were wealthy, highly educated and apolitical. During orientation, the business school students were told that they were “the smartest people in the country”, or so I had heard. (Donald Trump Jr was there then, too.) In the late 1990s, everyone at Penn wanted to be an investment banker, and many would go on to help bring down the world economy a decade later. But they were more educated than I was; in American literature class, they had even heard of William Faulkner.

When my best friend from Wall revealed one night that she hadn’t heard of John McEnroe or Jerry Garcia, some boys on the dormitory hall called us ignorant, and white trash, and chastised us for not reading magazines. We were hurt, and surprised; white trash was something we said about other people at the Jersey Shore. My boyfriend from Wall accused me of going to Penn solely to find a boyfriend who drove a Ferrari, and the boys at Penn made fun of the Camaros we drove in high school. Class in America was not something we understood in any structural or intellectual way; class was a constellation of a million little materialistic cultural signifiers, and the insult, loss or acquisition of any of them could transform one’s future entirely.

In the end, I chose to pursue the new life Penn offered me. The kids I met had parents who were doctors or academics; many of them had already even been to Europe! Penn, for all its superficiality, felt one step closer to a larger world.

Still, I cannot remember any of us being conscious of foreign events during my four years of college. There were wars in Eritrea, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kosovo, East Timor, Kashmir. US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed. Panama, Nicaragua (I couldn’t keep Latin American countries straight), Osama bin Laden, Clinton bombing Iraq – nope.

I knew “Saddam Hussein”, which had the same evil resonance as “communism”. I remember the movie Wag the Dog, a satire in which American politicians start a fake war with foreign “terrorists” to distract the electorate during a domestic scandal – which at the time was what many accused Clinton of doing when he ordered a missile strike on Afghanistan during the Monica Lewinsky affair. I never thought about Afghanistan. What country was in Wag the Dog? Albania. There was a typical American callousness in our reaction to the country they chose for the movie, an indifference that said, Some bumblefuck country, it doesn’t matter which one they choose.

I was a child of the 90s, the decade when, according to America’s foremost intellectuals, “history” had ended, the US was triumphant, the cold war won by a landslide. The historian David Schmitz has written that, by that time, the idea that America won because of “its values and steadfast adherence to the promotion of liberalism and democracy” was dominating “op-ed pages, popular magazines and the bestseller lists”. These ideas were the ambient noise, the elevator music of my most formative years.

But for me there was also an intervention – a chance experience in the basement of Penn’s library. I came across a line in a book in which a historian argued that, long ago, during the slavery era, black people and white people had defined their identities in opposition to each other. The revelation to me was not that black people had conceived of their identities in response to ours, but that our white identities had been composed in conscious objection to theirs. I’d had no idea that we had ever had to define our identities at all, because to me, white Americans were born fully formed, completely detached from any sort of complicated past. Even now, I can remember that shiver of recognition that only comes when you learn something that expands, just a tiny bit, your sense of reality. What made me angry was that this revelation was something about who I was. How much more did I not know about myself?

It was because of this text that I picked up the books of James Baldwin, who gave me the sense of meeting someone who knew me better, and with a far more sophisticated critical arsenal than I had myself. There was this line:

But I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep, that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life.

And this one:

All of the western nations have been caught in a lie, the lie of their pretended humanism; this means that their history has no moral justification, and that the west has no moral authority.

And this one:

White Americans are probably the sickest and certainly the most dangerous people, of any colour, to be found in the world today.

I know why this came as a shock to me then, at the age of 22, and it wasn’t necessarily because he said I was sick, though that was part of it. It was because he kept calling me that thing: “white American”. In my reaction I justified his accusation. I knew I was white, and I knew I was American, but it was not what I understood to be my identity. For me, self-definition was about gender, personality, religion, education, dreams. I only thought about finding myself, becoming myself, discovering myself – and this, I hadn’t known, was the most white American thing of all.

I still did not think about my place in the larger world, or that perhaps an entire history – the history of white Americans – had something to do with who I was. My lack of consciousness allowed me to believe I was innocent, or that white American was not an identity like Muslim or Turk.

Of this indifference, Baldwin wrote: “White children, in the main, and whether they are rich or poor, grow up with a grasp of reality so feeble that they can very accurately be described as deluded.”

Young white Americans of course go through pain, insecurity and heartache. But it is very, very rare that young white Americans come across someone who tells them in harsh, unforgiving terms that they might be merely the easy winners of an ugly game, and indeed that because of their ignorance and misused power, they might be the losers within a greater moral universe.


In 2007, after I had worked for six years as a journalist in New York, I won a writing fellowship that would send me to Turkey for two years. I had applied for it on a whim. No part of me expected to win the thing. Even as my friends wished me congratulations, I detected a look of concern on their faces, as if I was crazy to leave all this, as if 29 was a little too late to be finding myself. I had never even been to Turkey before.

In the weeks before my departure, I spent hours explaining Turkey’s international relevance to my bored loved ones, no doubt deploying the cliche that Istanbul was the bridge between east and west. I told everyone that I chose Turkey because I wanted to learn about the Islamic world. The secret reason I wanted to go was that Baldwin had lived in Istanbul in the 1960s, on and off, for almost a decade. I had seen a documentary about Baldwin that said he felt more comfortable as a black, gay man in Istanbul than in Paris or New York.

When I heard that, it made so little sense to me, sitting in my Brooklyn apartment, that a space opened in the universe. I couldn’t believe that New York could be more illiberal than a place such as Turkey, because I couldn’t conceive of how prejudiced New York and Paris had been in that era; and because I thought that as you went east, life degraded into the past, the opposite of progress. The idea of Baldwin in Turkey somehow placed America’s race problem, and America itself, in a mysterious and tantalising international context. I took a chance that Istanbul might be the place where the secret workings of history would be revealed.

In Turkey and elsewhere, in fact, I would feel an almost physical sensation of intellectual and emotional discomfort, while trying to grasp a reality of which I had no historical or cultural understanding. I would go, as a journalist, to write a story about Turkey or Greece or Egypt or Afghanistan, and inevitably someone would tell me some part of our shared history – theirs with America – of which I knew nothing. If I didn’t know this history, then what kind of story did I plan to tell?

My learning process abroad was threefold: I was learning about foreign countries; I was learning about America’s role in the world; and I was also slowly understanding my own psychology, temperament and prejudices. No matter how well I knew the predatory aspects of capitalism, I still perceived Turkey’s and Greece’s economic advances as progress, a kind of maturation. No matter how deeply I understood the US’s manipulation of Egypt for its own foreign-policy aims, I had never considered – and could not grasp – how American policies really affected the lives of individual Egyptians, beyond engendering resentment and anti-Americanism. No matter how much I believed that no American was well-equipped for nation-building, I thought I could see good intentions on the part of the Americans in Afghanistan. I would never have admitted it, or thought to say it, but looking back, I know that deep in my consciousness I thought that America was at the end of some evolutionary spectrum of civilisation, and everyone else was trying to catch up.

American exceptionalism did not only define the US as a special nation among lesser nations; it also demanded that all Americans believe they, too, were somehow superior to others. How could I, as an American, understand a foreign people, when unconsciously I did not extend the most basic faith to other people that I extended to myself? This was a limitation that was beyond racism, beyond prejudice and beyond ignorance. This was a kind of nationalism so insidious that I had not known to call it nationalism; this was a self-delusion so complete that I could not see where it began and ended, could not root it out, could not destroy it.

In my first few months in Istanbul, I lived a formless kind of existence, days dissolving into the nights. I had no office to go to, no job to keep, and I was 30 years old, an age at which people either choose to grow up or remain stuck in the exploratory, idle phase of late-late youth. Starting all over again in a foreign country – making friends, learning a new language, trying to find your way through a city – meant almost certainly choosing the latter. I spent many nights out until the wee hours – such as the evening I drank beer with a young Turkish man named Emre, who had attended college with a friend of mine from the US.

A friend had told me that Emre was one of the most brilliant people he had ever met. As the evening passed, I was gaining a lot from his analysis of Turkish politics, especially when I asked him whether he voted for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party (AKP), and he spat back, outraged, “Did you vote for George W Bush?” Until that point I had not realised the two might be equivalent.

Then, three beers in, Emre mentioned that the US had planned the September 11 attacks. I had heard this before. Conspiracy theories were common in Turkey; for example, when the military claimed that the PKK, the Kurdish militant group, had attacked a police station, some Turks believed the military itself had done it; they believed it even in cases where Turkish civilians had died. In other words, the idea was that rightwing forces, such as the military, bombed neutral targets, or even rightwing targets, so they could then blame it on the leftwing groups, such as the PKK. To Turks, bombing one’s own country seemed like a real possibility.

“Come on, you don’t believe that,” I said.

“Why not?” he snapped. “I do.”

“But it’s a conspiracy theory.”

He laughed. “Americans always dismiss these things as conspiracy theories. It’s the rest of the world who have had to deal with your conspiracies.”

I ignored him. “I guess I have faith in American journalism,” I said. “Someone else would have figured this out if it were true.”

He smiled. “I’m sorry, there’s no way they didn’t have something to do with it. And now this war?” he said, referring to the war in Iraq. “It’s impossible that the United States couldn’t stop such a thing, and impossible that the Muslims could pull it off.”

Some weeks later, a bomb went off in the Istanbul neighborhood of Güngören. A second bomb exploded out of a garbage bin nearby after 10pm, killing 17 people and injuring 150. No one knew who did it. All that week, Turks debated: was it al-Qaida? The PKK? The DHKP/C, a radical leftist group? Or maybe: the deep state?

The deep state – a system of mafia-like paramilitary organisations operating outside of the law, sometimes at the behest of the official military – was a whole other story. Turks explained that the deep state had been formed during the cold war as a way of countering communism, and then mutated into a force for destroying all threats to the Turkish state. The power that some Turks attributed to this entity sometimes strained credulity. But the point was that Turks had been living for years with the idea that some secret force controlled the fate of their nation.

In fact, elements of the deep state were rumoured to have had ties to the CIA during the cold war, and though that too smacked of a conspiracy theory, this was the reality that Turkish people lived in. The sheer number of international interventions the US launched in those decades is astonishing, especially those during years when American power was considered comparatively innocent. There were the successful assassinations: Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1961; General Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, also in 1961; Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam, in 1963. There were the unsuccessful assassinations: Castro, Castro, and Castro. There were the much hoped-for assassinations: Nasser, Nasser, Nasser. And, of course, US-sponsored, -supported or -staged regime changes: Iran, Guatemala, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Dominican Republic, South Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. The Americans trained or supported secret police forces everywhere from Cambodia to Colombia, the Philippines to Peru, Iran to Vietnam. Many Turks believed that the US at least encouraged the 1971 and 1980 military coups in Turkey, though I could find little about these events in any conventional histories anywhere.

But what I could see was that the effects of such meddling were comparable to those of September 11 – just as huge, life-changing and disruptive to the country and to people’s lives. Perhaps Emre did not believe that September 11 was a straightforward affair of evidence and proof because his experience – his reality – taught him that very rarely were any of these surreally monumental events easily explainable. I did not think Emre’s theory about the attacks was plausible. But I began to wonder whether there was much difference between a foreigner’s paranoia that the Americans planned September 11 and the Americans’ paranoia that the whole world should pay for September 11 with an endless global war on terror.

The next time a Turk told me she believed the US had bombed itself on September 11 (I heard this with some regularity; this time it was from a young student at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University), I repeated my claim about believing in the integrity of American journalism. She replied, a bit sheepishly, “Well, right, we can’t trust our journalism. We can’t take that for granted.”

The words “take that for granted” gave me pause. Having lived in Turkey for more than a year, witnessing how nationalistic propaganda had inspired people’s views of the world and of themselves, I wondered from where the belief in our objectivity and rigour in journalism came. Why would Americans be objective and everyone else subjective?

I thought that because Turkey had poorly functioning institutions – they didn’t have a reliable justice system, as compared to an American system I believed to be functional – it often felt as if there was no truth. Turks were always sceptical of official histories, and blithely dismissive of the government’s line. But was it rather that the Turks, with their beautiful scepticism, were actually just less nationalistic than me?

American exceptionalism had declared my country unique in the world, the one truly free and modern country, and instead of ever considering that that exceptionalism was no different from any other country’s nationalistic propaganda, I had internalised this belief. Wasn’t that indeed what successful propaganda was supposed to do? I had not questioned the institution of American journalism outside of the standards it set for itself – which, after all, was the only way I would discern its flaws and prejudices; instead, I accepted those standards as the best standards any country could possibly have.

By the end of my first year abroad, I read US newspapers differently. I could see how alienating they were to foreigners, the way articles spoke always from a position of American power, treating foreign countries as if they were America’s misbehaving children. I listened to my compatriots with critical ears: the way our discussion of foreign policy had become infused since September 11 with these officious, official words, bureaucratic corporate military language: collateral damage, imminent threat, freedom, freedom, freedom.

Even so, I was conscious that if I had long ago succumbed to the pathology of American nationalism, I wouldn’t know it – even if I understood the history of injustice in America, even if I was furious about the invasion of Iraq. I was a white American. I still had this fundamental faith in my country in a way that suddenly, in comparison to the Turks, made me feel immature and naive.

I came to notice that a community of activists and intellectuals in Turkey – the liberal ones – were indeed questioning what “Turkishness” meant in new ways. Many of them had been brainwashed in their schools about their own history; about Atatürk, Turkey’s first president; about the supposed evil of the Armenians and the Kurds and the Arabs; about the fragility of their borders and the rapaciousness of all outsiders; and about the historic and eternal goodness of the Turkish republic.

“It is different in the United States,” I once said, not entirely realising what I was saying until the words came out. I had never been called upon to explain this. “We are told it is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you are doing just now, because to us, that isn’t propaganda, that is truth. And to us, that isn’t nationalism, it’s patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how free-thinking we are, that we are free. So we don’t know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion.”

“Wow,” a friend once replied. “How strange. That is a very quiet kind of fascism, isn’t it?”

It was a quiet kind of fascism that would mean I would always see Turkey as beneath the country I came from, and also that would mean I believed my uniquely benevolent country to have uniquely benevolent intentions towards the peoples of the world.

During that night of conspiracy theories, Emre had alleged, as foreigners often did, that I was a spy. The information that I was collecting as a journalist, Emre said, was really being used for something else. As an American emissary in the wider world, writing about foreigners, governments, economies partaking in some larger system and scheme of things, I was an agent somehow. Emre lived in the American world as a foreigner, as someone less powerful, as someone for whom one newspaper article could mean war, or one misplaced opinion could mean an intervention by the International Monetary Fund. My attitude, my prejudice, my lack of generosity could be entirely false, inaccurate or damaging, but would be taken for truth by the newspapers and magazines I wrote for, thus shaping perceptions of Turkey for ever.

Years later, an American journalist told me he loved working for a major newspaper because the White House read it, because he could “influence policy”. Emre had told me how likely it was I would screw this up. He was saying to me: first, spy, do no harm.


American innocence was a lie from the very beginning.

White Americans need to grow up!

https://dalehusband.com/2015/10/08/the-louisiana-purchase/

Indeed, the entire history of the USA, can be summed up as follows:

WHITE people from Europe came to North America, displaced RED people from lands they had lived on for thousands of years, captured and brought from Africa BLACK people to be our slaves, conquered more land from BROWN people in the southwest, and finally fought not one, not two, but three wars against YELLOW people on the other side of the world.

There are other matters to consider that most American don’t usually think about, but they are no less true.

The simple fact that Cuba’s Communist government did not collapse soon after the ones in eastern Europe did totally discredited the political narrative that the USA has made about Cuba since the 1960s: that Communism is by nature oppressive and when given the chance all people will embrace democracy and capitalism. The reason this is false: Cuba never had democracy, but before the 1960s was ruled by dictators that were friendly to the USA because they were also pro-capitalist! CAPITALISM DOES NOT PROMOTE DEMOCRACY! And the trade embargo forced on Cuba actually enabled Fidel Castro to demonize the USA as a bully and hypocrite for decades, keeping him in power.

Indeed, throughout the Cold War period (late 1940s to late 1980s) we Americans were NOT fighting for freedom and democracy against Communism but for capitalism, which led us to do some really despicable things to other countries (Iran in 1953, Chile in 1973, Vietnam in the 1960s and Nicaragua in the 1980s, among other examples). The notion that capitalism promotes freedom is one of the biggest lies ever invented; A corporation in a capitalist economy actually operates like a dictatorship, with the workers taking orders from their superiors and having no say in who their corporate executives are or what they do.

____________

Remember when Hitler referred to the Holocaust as the “final solution”? Because the Nazis has been discriminating against Jews for years and most Jews remained in Germany.
Once you start down the path of dehumanizing anyone, you make it easier to kill them eventually.
It could also happen in America against any despised minority, such as Mexican-Americans and Muslims.
There are two “problems” with my argument above about the Holocaust. One, we tend to demonize Hitler, calling him a monster rather than a man. Second, we think very highly of ourselves and our country and think we would never been so horrible.

But he wasn’t a monster, he was a human product of his time and culture, just as most of us are. And we HAVE committed acts of genocide and outright conquest! We actually put Native American tribes by the thousands into concentration camps called “reservations”. We even did the same to Japanese-Americans during World War II, even while fighting Hitler! We did not exterminate them….but we could have!

__________________

The Gulf War of 1990-1991 was notable for two things that I did not even consider when it was happening but are clear to me now.

  1. The dispute between Saddam Hussein and the government of Kuwait that led to the invasion of Kuwait was absolutely NONE of the United States’ business, period. It should have been kept a local matter.
  2. There was never any evidence that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack Saudi Arabia or any other country.

So why did we launch Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, put Iraq under economic sanctions and no-fly zones for over a decade and then finally finish off Saddam in the Iraq War starting in 2003? I have not the foggiest idea. Everything I was told before about why we went to war both times was shown over time to be……lies.

When we attacked Iraq in 2003, we claimed it was because it had weapons of mass destruction. But we seemed to ignore just how much smaller and weaker Iraq always was compared to us Americans. The whole point of a small and weak country developing such weapons would be to deter attacks by its enemies. So in essence, even if the claim was true, we would have been attacking Iraq for trying to prevent its being attacked! Bush Jr was not just a liar, but a pathetic bully too!

_______________

People who consider the Japanese during World War II as horribly evil for what they did to their neighbors and to Americans never consider two things:

  1. The Japanese were isolationists for much of their history and rarely attacked anyone else before the 20th Century.
  2. They were finally forced to open up to the rest of the world by….the United States, which wanted to trade with them.

And when Japan looked at the rest of the world, including the United States, what did they see? Imperialism everywhere! So of course they thought they had just as much right to wage war on others as the Europeans and Americans were doing themselves.
WE made Japan what it became in that war! As the old saying goes, what comes around goes around.

____________

I was born in 1969, raised in a family of Republicans and came of age when Ronald Reagan was still President, but I am now so hard-core liberal that some might call me a socialist. Why? Because the more I look at how America and much of the world has been run since the 1980s, the more I see white, rich and “Christian” people screwing with the rest of the world to profit themselves while keeping poor white Christians sedated with bogus issues like “religious freedom” and you can’t do that and sincerely claim to promote freedom and justice for all. And if you are not doing that, you are a DAMNED PARASITE!

____________

Conservatism itself has never been an honest, ethical, or productive ideology. All Donald Trump really did was tear off the phony rhetoric and show the people what is at the actual core of right-wing political ideas. To be a conservative in the USA, you must believe at least one of the following:

  1. That whites deserve more social power than non-whites.
  2. That men deserve more social power than women.
  3. That Christians deserve more social power than non-Christians.
  4. That straights deserve more social power than gays/lesbians.
  5. That cis-gender people deserve more social power than trans-gender people.
  6. That the rich deserve more social power than the poor.

That’s it. If you truly believe in “liberty and justice for ALL”, then you CANNOT be a conservative!

Conservatism is not so much a distinct political philosophy as it is an attitude based on the already powerful doing whatever they can via social engineering to keep their power. For example, in the last days of the Soviet Union, hard-line Communists were the conservatives of that society. In the late 1770s, conservatives in the American colonies were called “Loyalists” because they opposed the American Revolution and professed loyalty to the British King. In the early 19th Century, they supported slavery and in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, they opposed equal rights for racial minorities. In religions, they support traditional dogmas and morals, even at the expense of objective truth and justice.
 
Conservatives are backstabbers of every democracy, every scientific advancement and every movement to make equality a genuine thing in real life. We must find a way someday to destroy it completely and forever!

Conservative political philosophy is based on three standards that were the norm centuries ago:

  1. Obedience to religious authorities.
  2. Every person or family fending for themselves.
  3. The majority ruling as an upper class over minorities, regardless of merit.

Under those standards it was common for people to starve, to become homeless, and to be treated with contempt for either being a lesser being or failing to obey unrealistic rules.

Liberals have an absolute standard of justice that rejects all these standards. The Declaration of Independence and the U S Constitution were LIBERAL documents. We have been generally moving in a more liberal direction ever since 1787. But conservatives constantly lie to the people to justify their hijacking our government so they can try to restore the older standards that benefit them.

I am a white, cis-gendered male of Protestant background and a natural born American citizen, so I have several reasons to feel privileged and thus vote for conservatives that claim to represent MY interests. Then I remember that I am also a member of the working class and all those other issues mean NOTHING. If you are poor, what does being of a certain race, gender, or anything else matter? Only an idiot thinks otherwise.

I abandoned the myth of American innocence in college when I was about age 20. And I didn’t need to go to a foreign country to see the truth about America either.

Debunking the lies of anti-drug crusades

Back in the 1980s, I often saw ads like these on TV:

“Just say no”

“This is your brain on drugs”

The Original Rachael Leigh Cook Brain on Drugs

Yikes! Oh, wait, in 2017, that same actress made this:

What happened? Well, she was exposed to the truth, the WHOLE truth, about the actual results of the anti-drug crusades from the 1970s onward.

Continue reading

Thomas Jefferson was a perfect embodiment of both sides of American Politics

Thomas Jefferson is known as one of America’s Founding Fathers. He helped write the Declaration of Independence in 1776, served in many positions in government, and finally was the third President of the United States.

Reference to him was made on this blog earlier here: The Louisiana “Purchase”

Note that this was a deal made between two white leaders, Thomas Jefferson (himself a slaveowner and rapist of at least one of his slaves) and Napoleon (a military dictator who would later wage war on a massive scale across Europe, just as Adolph Hitler would over a century later). The various Native American tribes who lived in the vast regions north of New Orleans were never consulted about the purchase and would most likely not have agreed to it had they been informed of it. What the hell was France doing even claiming so much land to begin with???

After his wife died, Jefferson began having sex with one of his slaves, perhaps justified in his mind by her also being a half-sister to his wife, but despite having several children with her, he never did the honorable thing by freeing and marrying her. So technically, he raped her.

And yet Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

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.

ALL men? Weren’t the slaves he owned men? Weren’t the Native Americans whose land that he bought from France also men? Of course they were!

Since the USA was founded, liberals in American politics have sought to make our laws and policies live up to Jefferson’s idealistic WORDS, while conservatives have repeatedly made America reflect Jefferson’s DEEDS, making the USA a nation of hypocrites. Perhaps that explains why we have been so cursed over the centuries, so tolerant of bigotry. Among other things, we saw fit to elect to the Presidency an increasingly corrupt and bigoted line of men (Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr., Bush Jr, and finally Trump) that have made us look dishonorable before the world. And Jefferson started the trend. Perhaps we should someday end it by tearing down his legacy completely and try to build a new order without reference to him at all. One with absolutely NO room for conservatives and the bigotries that motivate them from start to finish. One in which only “good” and “godly” people would ever be able to rule America.

John Calvin, predestination, free will, and the ideal of justice for all

Read this:

http://predestination.com/John-Calvin.html

John Calvin wrote many pages about his belief in predestination, and it would be difficult to properly summarize them all here. Instead, here is an excerpt from The Institutes of Christian Religion. This text is from the chapter on predestination. You can read more of the chapter here if you wish. This is the excerpt:

Predestination, by which God adopts some to the hope of life, and adjudges others to eternal death, no one, desirous of the credit of piety, dares absolutely to deny. But it is involved in many cavils, especially by those who make foreknowledge the cause of it. We maintain, that both belong to God; but it is preposterous to represent one as dependent on the other. When we attribute foreknowledge to God, we mean that all things have ever been, and perpetually remain, before His eyes, so that to His knowledge nothing in future or past, but all things are present; and present in such a manner, that He does not merely conceive of them from ideas formed in His mind, as things remembered by us appear present to our minds, but really beholds and sees them as if actually placed before Him. And this foreknowledge extends to the whole world, and to all the creatures. Predestination we call the eternal decree of God, by which He has determined in Himself what would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is fore-ordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestinated either to life or to death. This God has not only testified in particular persons, but has given a specimen of it in the whole posterity of Abraham, which should evidently show the future condition of every nation to depend upon His decision. “When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, the Lord’s portion was His people; Jacob was the lot of His inheritance.”

If you presume the existence of God and also his omniscience, then you may assume that God knows ahead of time who will be saved and who will be damned. Thus God being totally sovereign as well means he DECREES the eternal fates of individuals. The elect go to heaven, the rejected go to hell.

But where is the justice in that? If people have no choice in the matter, how can subjecting people to a final judgement make sense? Would it be reasonable for a suspect brought to trial for a crime to argue that he had no choice when he committed his acts of murder or theft? And if he was forced to do those crimes, wouldn’t that be a defense for NOT imprisoning him?

This dilemma would be solved by rejecting the notion of God’s omniscience….or by rejecting theism completely. John Calvin was a delusional idiot.

Not to mention he had put to death Michael Servetus for rejecting the Trinity and therefore being one of the Unitarians. Thus showing what a hypocrite Calvin was after he rebelled against the Roman Catholic Church! Freedom for me, not for thee.

Mallard Filmore’s creator is a hypocrite

I remember many years ago seeing the comic strip Mallard Fillmore in my local newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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

Mallard Fillmore is a comic strip written and illustrated by Bruce Tinsley that has been syndicated by King Features Syndicate since June 6, 1994. The strip follows the exploits of its title character, an anthropomorphic green-plumaged duck who works as a politically conservative reporter at fictional television station WFDR in Washington, D.C. Mallard’s name is a pun on the name of the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore.

I guess I should have paid better attention to it, because…..

Mallard yearns for the “good old days,” and views himself as a victimized underdog in a world that is being overrun with political correctness, religious secularism, and hypocrisy. He is often in a state of outrage over the news item of the day, usually involving liberals.

Mallard’s politics are very close to, if not one and the same as, cartoonist Bruce Tinsley’s; Tinsley told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that “Mallard really is about as close to me as you can get,” in an October 2005 interview.

Other characters from the strip:

  • Mr. Noseworthy is Mallard’s boss at WFDR. He is a parody of political correctness in America, afraid of offending anyone or anything. He is also a parody of the mainstream media, which is portrayed in the strip as having a liberal bias. Noseworthy’s catchphrase is, “If you’d gone to journalism school, you’d know this stuff.” He has a daughter in college who “came out” as a conservative.
  • Chet is a co-worker of Mallard’s at WFDR. He is an arrogant, vain, superficial, Botox-injecting, clothes-obsessed Caucasian male. In a series of strips in late 2003, he discovered he is a “metrosexual.”
  • Chantel, an African-American woman reporter, is a co-worker of Mallard’s at WFDR. She is described as “smart, aggressive, and liberal.” Unlike most liberals depicted in “Mallard Fillmore,” she is presented as an intelligent, competent person. She is usually used whenever a scene calls for a minority or a minority perspective – although she is offended when her colleagues assume she speaks on behalf of all African-Americans. On average, she appears about once or twice a year.
  • Dave Quat, a conservative Vietnamese man, is Mallard’s best friend, who generally agrees with Mallard’s politics. He is the owner of his own diner, aptly named “Dave’s Diner.” His wife has never been seen.
  • Rush Quat is Dave’s young son. Rush is in the fourth grade and hopes to someday become a professional basketball player; he sometimes plays basketball with Mallard. Unlike most of the kids in his class, he does not take Ritalin.
  • Eddie is Mallard’s pet fish. Unlike Mallard, he does not speak but only comments in thought balloons.
  • Congressman Pinkford Veneer is a fictional Washington, D.C. Democratic Congressman. He is a spineless, hypocritical, out-of-touch politician who enjoys tax hikes and opposes school vouchers, even though he sends his own children to a private school. In April 2000, he authored a bill that would require criminals to “give their victims a 30-second waiting period to unlock their trigger-locks” on their guns.
  • OSHA-Boy is a guardian of workplace safety and safe working conditions who is authorized to “annoy virtually anyone suspected of violating a regulation.” He appears to be a flying, glasses-wearing dwarf (or other creature) with a superhero-like costume, and a clipboard in hand. He appears to be a physical manifestation of OSHA.
  • Dr. Dilton Twinkley, an education expert, often appears as a guest on WFDR to talk about education issues. He appears to be an exaggerated parody of the NEA and U.S. public school system officials.
  • Larry, a co-worker of Mallard’s who gets agitated whenever Mallard does not purchase candy from his son for his school’s annual fundraisers.
  • Mr. or Ms. P.C. Person, a superhero-like physical manifestation of political correctness who prides hirself on being gender-neutral.(This character has come under fire from transgender rights groups because they felt the character promoted bigotry and mockery of transgender individuals.)

 

I wanted to learn more about the strip’s creator, so I went to:

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

And then read THIS:

In 2006, Tinsley was arrested twice for driving while intoxicated, once in August and again in December, both Class A misdemeanors.[1][2] After the December incident, he attacked the sentencing judge, Roderick McGillivray, in several of his comics.[3]

And he’s a conservative? Shouldn’t he be a supporter of law enforcement and not a drunk trying to justify himself even if he screws up?

Clearly, his strip shouldn’t be running in newspapers if those incidents are true!

False Prophets

Take a look at this web page:

http://www.bahaiawareness.com/false_prophets.html

The Holy Prophet of Islam (pbuh) prophesised that “there will arise 30 imposters in my nation and each one of them will pronounce that he is a prophet, but I am the last in the line of the Prophets and no Messenger will follow me.”

(There follows a list of these “false prophets” including….)

  • Bab: Another false claimant to prophethood, and the predecessor of Bahaullah, was Mizra Ali Muhammad, who initially declared himself the “Bab” (Gate) to the Mahdi, and eventually progressed into other claims. He was embraced by the Shaykhis sect of Shi’a , who were then renamed “Babis”. Subsequently, he declared himself to be the Shi’ite’s hidden Mahdi. After declaring himself the Mahdi, he moved on to call himself Nuqtiyiula and declared that the Quran and Muslim Shari’a were now abrogated. Shi’a and Sunni scholars condemned him and Bab faced a series of imprisonment, trials, and indignities before being shot dead by a firing squad in 1850.

  • Bahaullah: The self-proclaimed successor to the Bab, and another liar/false claimant to prophecy was Mizra Hussein Ali Nuri. In 1863 Hussein Ali, a prominent member of the Babi group, declared himself to be the person whom God will make manifest, whom the Bab had foretold. He also took the name Bahaullah (Glory of God) and formed a new religion, the Bahai faith. Bahaullah was banished from Persia and was eventually imprisoned in Akka-Palestine. There he wrote his main work, his Kitab-ul-Aqdas (Most Holy Book), and developed the doctrine of the Bahai faith into a comprehensive teaching.

So as you can see, the situation is clear. There were many false prophets who came after Mohammed(pbuh). There is nothing to show that the Bahai Faith stands out from any other false religion.  

In my Critical Analysis of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, I discredited Baha’u’llah. I did not do so because of my belief in Muhammad.

Question: How can we know that Muhammad himself was not a false prophet too? If your only reason for rejecting a claimant to prophethood is that he came after Muhammad, then why can’t Christians reject Muhammad because he came after Jesus? According to Christian teachings, NO ONE can ever replace Jesus, not even Muhammad! Jesus was the Son of God!

I have long believed that Muhammad was a liar and insulter of Allah precisely because he claimed to be the last Prophet or Messenger, because such a claim means that Allah is silenced forever, thus denying Allah’s sovereignty. And if you deny that, how can you be a credible servant of Allah?

Fifthly, the teachings and revelations cannot have contradictions. For example, saying that God is Truthful and Keeper of promises, but then say that God broke his promise to Noah about the hour of the flood (Kitab-i-Eqan). Isn’t it contradictory? or that Men and Women are equal but yet women cannot serve on the highest council in the Bahai Faith called the Universal House of Justice?

Well, here in this blog entry I have shown a contradiction of Islam. Muhammad was a fraud and Muslims might as well all be atheists.

THERE IS NO GOD AND MUHAMMAD WAS NOT HIS PROPHET!!!!

FIVE Ways to Create a Religion of Hypocrites

Note: This is a slightly expanded version of an earlier blog entry:  Four Ways to Create a Religion of Hypocrites.

  1. State that religion no longer needs clergy……and replace them with leaders that are as authoritarian as the clergy ever was.
  2. Claim that men and women should be equal……but then deny women membership in the all-powerful leadership council of the religion.
  3. Condemn as heretics those who believe in your religion but dare to challenge the claims of your religion’s current leadership, while at the same time claiming to welcome as friends the followers of other religions.
  4. Claim there is harmony between science and religion, but also claim that anything your leaders say is absolutely true, even if on topics science is expected to address.
  5. Claim to shun partisan politics, but favor a government of their own, which is as partisan as it gets.

Any one of these makes a religion not worth following, but what should you do if you find a religion that has all five of these contradictions?

Muslim-bashing and Libel Against Ex-Baha’is in Reddit

This is a direct sequel to Treachery of Baha’is @ reddit

Baha’is in reddit have come up with a new tactic for attacking those who dare to leave and then criticize their former religion; they are claiming most ex-Baha’is are just Muslim enemies of the faith who never joined.

First see this:
https://www.reddit.com/r/bahai/comments/8vd7rj/do_bahais_worship_bahaullah/

At one point, a Baha’i named t0lk asserts:

A word of caution about r/exbahai, it is mostly populated by Muslims and not by people who were formerly Baha’is.

This was noticed and commented on here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/exbahai/comments/8vhhiq/a_word_of_caution_about_rexbahai_it_is_mostly/

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God was a hypocrite?!

I reject dogmatic religion because it often causes people to tell lies and be hypocritical to justify their irrational and unfounded beliefs. In a blog entry written more than a decade ago, I found a clear example of a conflict between the laws of Judaism and one of the fundamental teachings of the Christian faith, which is descended from Judaism:

The ultimate conflict between Judaism and Christianity

That was bad. Now I find, however, that there is a fundamental conflict even within the Jewish Scriptures.
Here’s a reminder of that Jewish law from Moses:
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin. – Deuteronomy 24:16

But then God told a completely different thing to King David:
2 Samuel 12:13-16, 18
{{{And David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against Yahweh!’

Nathan replied, ‘Yahweh has forgiven your sin. You shall not die. But because you have treated Yahweh with contempt, the child born to you shall die.’ And Nathan went home.

Yahweh struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David….. A week later the child died.}}}

(Source: The Brick Testament.  http://www.bricktestament.com/king_david/ )

Wow! Do Jews and Christians ever read stories like this and not think about how horrible they are?! Or why God does not follow his own laws?!

The defection of Laci Green

The story of Laci Green has been covered by me on the following blog entries:

https://dalehusband.com/2009/02/24/battle-on-youtube-between-two-atheists/

https://dalehusband.com/2012/07/10/a-death-threat-against-laci-green/

https://dalehusband.com/2013/01/02/laci-green-condemns-witch-hunts/

I first heard of her when she was an atheist activist, but after a while she dropped that issue and focused on positive sex education instead, becoming very popular on YouTube. But now it appears Laci has abandoned the hard-core progressive views she once held and is attacking her former allies. Let me state that while I am disappointed in this development, I am not surprised; I suspect it was a delayed reaction to her being sent those insane death threats by the left-wing extremists on Tumblr. I hope those bastards are happy for having alienated her! Continue reading

Why I Abandoned the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith

Note: this is an updated and expanded version of an original blog entry from nearly a decade ago

From 1995 to 2004, I was a member of a religion known as the Baha’i Faith. This religion teaches that God is called by various names but is still the same all over the world, that all religions teach the same basic message, and that humanity is actually one race and is destined to unite under the banner of the Baha’i Faith in a new age of peace and unity.
I was eager to see and to achieve the highest goodness in my life and in the world, so this was a Godsend to me! I embraced the faith after attending firesides about it in Bedford, Texas and became an active teacher of it, even attempting to convert others to it. I had been a Christian, specifically a Southern Baptist, in my teens, but had become disgusted with Christianity and left that faith in my early 20s because I saw the errors, contradictions, and failures of it. The Baha’i Faith explained that away by claiming that while Jesus was indeed a Messenger (or Manifestation) of God, His faith had become corrupted over time and thus most Christians were not truly following him, but the doctrines of men. In joining the Baha’i community, I thought I was seeing what the early Christians in the Roman Empire were like, except that unlike them the Baha’is would not split into competing sects and engage in wars against each other. If only everyone in the world became Baha’i, I was told, we would be at peace and prosperity forever. Continue reading

What is really “dangerous” within Christianity?

First, consider this Bible reference:

Luke 9:49-50
“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

That seems like an absolute proclamation. Jesus certainly did not say, “Whoever preaches my doctrines exactly according to some standard made long ago is for you.”

Continue reading

Let them be hypocrites

A website titled Let Them Marry promotes Christian standards for marriage.

http://letthemmarry.org/

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him”
(Genesis 2:18)

There are thousands of godly young men and women who are ready to be married but are not – this is not good.

It is time for godly men to seek out the biblical path for marriage, to search out the cause of delayed or denied marriages, and to put away unbiblical ideas surrounding the marriage process.

Note: Contrary to vicious internet rumors we do not support or in any way condone child sexual activity of any sort, child marriage, or any other illegal activity. Nor do we support or condone forced marriages. We believe that parents should NOT seek a spouse for a child where that child has not actively sought for the parents to do so.

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The Louisiana “Purchase”

Imagine this scenario:

You are an Azari, a native of the planet Azar. Your people have developed a global civilization with technology comparable to that of mid 20th Century humans on Earth. One day, dozens of alien spaceships appear in the skies above your world and then land, disgorging thousands of alien troops and tens of thousands of alien settlers. The aliens tell you they are Marlos and they claim to OWN your world, having bought it from their neighbors the Carlics a few years earlier. You remember having contact with the Carlics a century ago and even trading with them, but you had no idea they claimed to own your world, let alone that they had “sold” it to another interstellar power. So you reject the Marlos’ claim and attempt to repel the invaders.  But the Marlos use their superior technology to quickly defeat you! Most of your people are exterminated and the few survivors are forced into concentration camps of poor land where they can only survive by farming, while the Marlos take over the richest land and nearly all the resources of the world your people evolved on! Your civilization, which could have become an interstellar power in its own right in a few thousand years, is instead broken forever.

Continue reading

The downfall of Greenpeace

Greenpeace is a hard-core environmental group that first become known for trying to stop whaling activities by direct interference with the whalers. But that was decades ago. And now it has pulled a stunt against another culture that has destroyed its credibility forever.
Peru Plans to Charge Greenpeace Activists for Damage to Nazca Lines

Continue reading

Four Ways to Create a Religion of Hypocrites

1. State that religion no longer needs clergy……and replace them with leaders that are as authoritarian as the clergy ever was.
2. Claim that men and women should be equal……but then deny women membership in the all-powerful leadership council of the religion.
3. Condemn as heretics those who believe in your religion but dare to challenge the claims of your religion’s current leadership, while at the same time claiming to welcome as friends the followers of other religions.
4. Claim there is harmony between science and religion, but also claim that anything your leaders say is absolutely true, even if on topics science is expected to address.
Any one of these makes a religion not worth following, but what do you do if you find a religion that has all four such contradictions?

Thou shalt not steal!

Imagine my shock at the sheer stupidity and arrogance of this group of radical “Christians”:

http://www.jesusradicals.com/calendar-grrlz/

On the weekend of Black Friday, a group of three people emptied a calendar stand of its entire stock of sexist and objectifying products.

Every day on the way to work, we had to walk by this kiosk.  Each passing encounter forced a specific sexuality and beauty standard upon us, and we couldn’t take it anymore.  We were sick of being told that our worth is equivalent to what aesthetic pleasure our bodies can afford someone else (typically a man).

If your environment disturbs you, disturb it.

Or even better, disturb it with your friends.  Together, we formulated a plan and decided upon roles that we were all comfortable with: the distraction, the bagger, and the lookout.  The area was scoped out beforehand for cameras, number of employees, and general foot traffic, and escape routes were elaborated.  We created placards with anti-sexist rhetoric to replace the calendars, being cautious to touch them only with gloves on.

The distraction pretended to shop until the other two entered separately, and then began to engage the sole employee in conversation.  The bagger stashed the product in a trash bag, while the lookout stood beside watching for passersby and police.  After the product had been replaced with the placards, the bagger took the trash out through a side door, appearing as a mall employee.  Once sure the bagger hadn’t been followed, the lookout exited and headed to the meetup spot.  The distraction ended the conversation with the employee and walked away without incident.  We all left laughing.

A big part of any action is strengthening bonds of trust with those whom you already know and love.  We invite you to disturb your own environments, with these suggestions:

– Always use gloves for everything you handle (no fingerprints)

– Make sure you have enough bags/baggers (we had to make several trips, and the employee at your kiosk may not be so inattentive)

– Wear a very different change of clothes underneath your outfit–if followed, you can hide and remove the outer clothing.

– Wear something to obscure your face from cameras and passersby (if a hat, look down at the ground while passing a camera)

Be cautious, but don’t be paranoid.  This was (and should be) easy and fun!

I would have expected this sort of crap from a group of radical atheists and feminists, not Christians!  But then again, we do have Christian bigots that have murdered abortion doctors too, even though the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.”

If these people were at all sincere, they would have  destroyed the calendars in front of the store employees and customers and allowed themselves to be arrested and proceed afterwards to take a stand for their cause in court. Instead, they are just cowards, thieves and self-righteous @$$holes. In any case, I would put them in jail for a long time and/or fine them thousands of dollars!

Weapons of Mass Destruction

OK, let me get this straight.

  1. We Americans are opposed to Iran gaining nuclear weapons.
  2. We went to war against Iraq in 2003 over claims that it had chemical and biological weapons and was even trying to get nuclear weapons. Those claims were debunked after the invasion.
  3. We may soon be going to war with Syria over the claim that its government used chemical weapons against the rebels in its own civil war.

And yet the facts are that:

  1. The United States is the ONLY nation that has EVER used nuclear weapons in wartime (1945 against Japan).
  2. The United States has THOUSANDS of nuclear weapons and can launch them to anywhere else in the world.
  3. The United States has no plans to disarm its nuclear weapons program.
  4. Other nations, including Russia, China, France, Great Britain, India and Pakistan, have developed nuclear weapons and the world civilization has not (yet) destroyed itself in a nuclear war.

Why aren’t the nations of the world demanding that WE give up our weapons of mass destruction? How can we condemn others for wanting such weapons to protect themselves from invasion when we have had them for many decades? Can you spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y?!

It would be like a man armed at his home with dozens of machine guns being alarmed that his neighbors want to get themselves a few pistols. We Americans really do seem like a bunch of chickenshit cowards, don’t we?

An Open Letter to the American People

August 3, 2013

To the concerned citizens of the United States of America,

The Republicans in the House of Representatives have tried dozens of times to repeal Obamacare and every time they have failed. They will always fail as long as the Democrats have a majority in the Senate and Obama, or any other Democrat, is President. So why do they bother?  If anyone else was caught wasting as much time at their jobs as the Republicans have, they would be fired. So the obvious solution is to vote at least some of the Republicans out of the House next year.

The truth is that the Republicans are living on borrowed time. It is a given that they will never capture the Presidency again; George W. Bush will be the last Republican ever to hold it. But once Obamacare is fully implemented and its benefits become obvious, the insane opposition the Republicans have shown to it will cause them to never be able to hold a majority in either chamber of Congress and their status as a major party in the United States will be finished.

If you really want limited government, vote for Libertarians. Most of them are not hypocrites. They are indeed the only true followers of the U S Constitution left. No, not even the “Tea Party” bigots among Republicans. The Tea Party was just another right-wing scam to get votes from people who were scared out of their wits by the election of a black man to the Presidency. Ironically, I think Obama has not been liberal enough and that we need to push government even more to the left over the next few decades.

Indeed, if we were true to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence (“we hold there truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…..”) there would be absolutely NO place in American politics for Conservatism. Why? Because Conservatism by its very nature is based on trying to maintain some sort of social inequality; some traditionally privileged class seeking to maintain its exalted status as opposed to some other disadvantaged class. It could be rich vs. poor, whites vs. blacks, men vs. women, Christians vs. non-Christians, or heterosexuals vs. homosexuals. Conservatism works by constantly appealing to the irrational prejudices of those who are in power and seek to keep the power to themselves rather than share power with those who do not have it. Both the Democrats in the late 19th Century and the Republicans in the late 20th Century to today were infested by Conservatism.

The Republicans today have caved in so deeply to bigotry that they are not even capable of representing the real needs of the people anymore; they are controlled by giant corporations that have been holding most of our economy hostage for decades and own media outlets like FOX News to lie to the American people constantly. These same corporations that outsourced so much of our manufacturing to China, but blame illegal immigrants for taking jobs from real Americans. Those same corporations that make vast profits from wars overseas and a military budget at least six times greater than that of any other nation while causing us to drown in public debt. Hypocrites! They are the real parasites and traitors to our nation, not welfare recipients or those who dare to blow the whistle on the corruption and abuses of our government!

So let us destroy the Republican Party! The madness must end!

Sincerely,

Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic