Sunday, September 18, 2011

God and Politics

I dedicated this blog to the issues of religion and belief - or, more aptly, disbelief - in god. Many, not all, of my posts here deal with various aspects of religious belief and/or the politics surrounding it. It's not particularly scholarly, much of it in fact is fed more by emotion than analytics or reason.

I came to the conclusion that god was a myth back around 1970 or so, and for many years I more or less kept my opinions on the matter to myself. Afterall, it was, IMO, a strictly personal choice. Of course, my wife, Jo came to know of it and a few others, but it wasn't something I broadcast openly. A part of that may have been self-serving, not wanting to create unnecessary ripples in the family or at work, etc. And it pretty much stayed that way for 20 years or more.

But then I became aware of what I considered to be a disturbing trend. With the rise of the "moral majority" and other christian fundamentalist movements, it became clear that many of them had as their goal for this country, a christian theocracy. It was their intent, to one degree or another to usurp the Constitution as we know it and replace it with a document, and a government based in christian dogma. There are a handfull of informative books dedicated to that very concern.

Over the past 15 years or so religion has become more and more a part of our national politics. Many use as a litmus test a candidate's religious leanings and their take on social/moral issues. The religious Right has co-opted the term "family values" and other catch phrases to set themselves apart (or above) the rest of us. They truly believe that their cause is holy and blessed by their god (just as do islamic radicals) while those on the left are at best, misguided, and at worst, minions of the devil.

A lot of people dismissed this movement as being too far "out there" to be taken seriously. Carl Rove and the Bushies catered to the religiious fundies by inviting them into the political sphere in the effort to get W elected both in 2000 and again in 2004. Since then, the more pragmatic, fiscal conservative wings of the GOP have tried in vain to separate themselves from the theocrats. Now, though, it is difficult to discern just what faction holds sway.

Among the teabaggers are a large contingent of christian fundies who may or may not hold as part of their agenda fiscal concerns, but they definitely are on board to "take back their country" as regards social/moral issues - abortion, gay marriage and other civil rights issues.

With their success in the 2010 mid-term elections, all those on the Right are licking their chops over what they see as a possible complete takeover of the federal government - all 3 branches - the White House, the House and Senate AND the courts. If unfettered they will have a heyday during at least one presidential term that would likely bring an end to 100+ years of social progress in the U.S. They truly have a vested interest in keeping the economy on its heels at least through November of 2012, in so doing, maintaining Obama's numbers well below 50% assuring a WH win.

Should that happen, it's not hard to expect that the Rep majority in the House would grow, and that Democratic control in the Senate would be lost. The Supreme Court is currently balanced on the conservative side. The next president will likely be able to appoint perhaps two or more new judges to the court which would, if the above scenario comes to fruitiion, give the Right pretty much carte blanche to enact whatever the hell they wish.

Further, between so called "blue dogs" and weak kneed Dems, it's unlikely that they would put up much of a fight. Progressives will be shunted ignominiously out into the cold.

Ultimately, it may be only putting off the inevitable, but for at least those reasons I've discussed above, I believe it imperative that Obama be re-elected in 2012. If not, it will be a dark world indeed. (Absolutely no pun intended.)


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

And God Said: Fire, not a flood next time.

I write this in the trembling fear that all hope is lost:

Rising from my usual mid-afternoon nap, I peered out of my kitchen window just minutes ago, and there, right outside, was a strange light, an astounding and pervasive brightness. Only after some understandable hesitation I cautiously slipped out the back door and into the yard in utter, jaw dropping amazement. The "brightness" was dazzlingly reflected off the white aluminosity of our garage, and about everything else as far as the eye could see. Only areas apparently somehow sheltered from the as yet undiscovered source of luminescence remained in accustomed mottled dim & drab.

Looking up, what did I see but a firey incandescent ball of light literally hanging, or I don't know, maybe hovering - yeah, definitely hovering - in the sky well above the horizon. I was terrified! I could feel heat emanating from it. Nearly blinded, I covered my eyes and reverted my gaze downward in a desparate attempt to regain my sight. I wheeled around only to discover atop the still soddened grass at my feet what appeared to be the blackened image of my rotundity. I could only surmize it to be the ash from my incineration effected by the now hated molten orb. I sprinted back into the house despite my decrepit knees, screaming, the ash staying with me step for fearful step. As I ran I also noticed that much of the sky had taken on what I could only describe as an evil blueness in place of the usual, natural and comforting dark gray. I quickly returned to the relative safety of my basement lair yelling to my wife, Jo as I descended the stair, that she should follow me post haste, but to perhaps grab a couple of beers and a bag of chips on her way.

In my life I have heard stories of such horrors as this - of strange lights in the skies, of evil lurking in the heavens - but always dismissed them as myth, a terrible fantasy - akin to stories of Rob Schneider winning an Oscar. The world must be coming to a hellish end. What else could it be? I'm comin' home mama!

Saturday, April 30, 2011


This is a letter I just sent to Governor Mitch Daniels via his campaign website. I am not at all hopeful that it will have any effect on his intent to sign the bill blocking funding for Planned Parenthood. It is highly unlikely that he, or anyone will read it, let alone respond to it beyond perhaps some form letter that they send to all "kooks" who are not going to vote for their candidate or support their agenda, but take the time to send them letters.

I am extremely disappointed in your intent to sign the bill withholding funds from Planned Parenthood. I am a liberal and most often vote the Democratic ticket. Yet, last time around, I chose to vote for you as I felt you are a clearly intelligent man who I felt was at least to some degree above politics as usual. I have voted for Senator Richard Lugar for the same reason.

I assumed - or at least hoped - that you would understand how devastating the effect of this bill will be to women who count on Planned Parenthood for their health care. Planned Parenthood does NOT perform abortions. They only act in an advisory capacity and provide referals to medical professionals who will, if it is deemed the best option, perform an abortion. This service represents a very small portion of Planned Parenthood's services and their mission.

However, it appears that you have chosen to take the road most traveled. Political expediency has won the day over intelligence and fairness. A veto of this bill would have sent the wrong message to tea partiers and social conservatives from whom you expect and need support should you ultimately declare your candidacy for the Presidency.

I doubt that anyone in your campaign will allow you to even read this letter, let alone respond to it. But, if I am wrong on that count, I rather hope that it at least crosses your mind as you put pen to paper in taking another step in destroying 80 years of social progress in this country.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Definition Time

Christians: People who believe that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father and born of a virgin mother can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and drink his blood, and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul (whatever that may be) that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical (apple? – pomegranate?) tree after being warned by the father-father not to.

Hey, it all makes sense to me.


BTW -Happy Easter.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Walking Backwards

Behind all the noise and bluster about budget deficits, the national debt, union busting, immigration reform and so on, Republicans at both state and national levels are quietly enacting the conservative social agenda. They are going after same sex marriage, abortion rights, including Planned Parenthood, some even wanting to revisit Don't Ask, Don't Tell and so on. As they have control of a large # of state legislatures and governorships, there is little to stop them. At the national level the only thing that may stop some of this is the still Democratically controlled Senate and the Obama White House. That may well change come 2012. There is even some stirring the pot regarding legislation and even constitutional ammendments in some states banning the teaching of evolution in favor of intelligent design. Most of this type of legislation is on tap here in Indiana. Woohoo!

A few years ago, people - even many on the right - were saying that the religious fundamentalist movement was dead. Not hardly.

The country, perhaps with Indiana taking the lead, is on its way back to the "good old days" otherwise known as the Dark Ages.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Glen Beck is Really Feeling His Oats

Glen Beck is making hay with his dire warnings of the coming conflagration against the evil caliphate. But isn't that exactly what the fundies want? Isn't it the battle at Armageddon that is going to bring all this to a head? Isn't this what all the true believers say will be the (semi-) final comeuppance of Satan? Isn't this what it's all about?

Rather than being fearful or concerned, shouldn't all of the "end-times" mavens be jumping for joy? Isn't this when Jesus stampedes his way back onto the planet astride a glorious white steed wearing crossed ammo belts over his chest, brandishing blazing 50 caliber machine guns on each arm, with a wisp of his fair, reddish blond hair charmingly askew over his determined countenance sporting his steely blue eyes and a grim smile upon his angelic but murderous face? Isn't this where old Beelzebub gets his? Isn't this the final showdown? - Well, not the FINAL final showdown, but, let's say the "preliminary" final showdown? There's more to come if you check out the entire scenario predicted by those in the know.

And, doesn't "The Rapture" fit in here somewhere? Aren't all "the chosen" going to swept up and placed on board the Paradise Express leaving all of us groveling, slobbering sinners down here to deal with Satan and Rob Schneider flicks?

The Beckster and his minions should be giddy with excitement. They should be hailing these events, because, of course, the outcome is not in question, right?
The Lord of Lords wins out, and there ain't no doubt!
 But for whatever obscure reasons, we have to play out this bloody confrontation to the hilt. Why? Well, it's not for us to reason...
I'm just sayin'...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Middle Eastern Unrest

Of all the countries having demonstrations in the Middle East, I'd say Egypt would be the most likely to come out of it with something resembling western style democracy. It is, in many respects a very westernized state, and it doesn't have a particularly strong or virulently radical muslim force. The muslim brotherhood is not nearly so radical as most such groups. In fact, the brotherhood has been castigated by al qaida and other radical islamic groups particularly because it has renounced violence.

On another but related note consider this. Islam is about 500 years younger than christianity. Look where most christian nations were 500 years ago. Hell, christians were still burning people at the stake less than 300 years ago here in the U.S. The overall influence of christianity is waning throughout the world - particularly in Europe where it had ultimate power for hundreds of years. Today, most Europeans maintain a blase' attitude toward christianity and religion in general. There are far more atheists and agnostics throughout much of Europe than anywhere else in the world, as far as I'm aware. Despite recent and current efforts to ebb this flow by christian fundies in this country, the US is following Europe's lead if not quite fast enough for my taste. However, the move away from religion and toward secularism in the U.S. is persistent if somewhat glacial, moving in fits and starts

Islam has not evolved nearly as far as either judaism or christianity. That most islamic countries are poor and generally well behind much of the west in modernization and technology - with the perhaps spectacular exception of Dubai and a few other middle eastern cities - that the social, economic and cultural lives of many middle easterners remains much the same as it has been over the past several hundred years, major change comes hard. The relatively recent and sudden flood of western religions, culture and social graces  into much of the middle east, dating back primarily to the dubiously glorified years of the British Empire, has fostered a good deal of chaos in the area. It's rather like in Star Trek, the Federation's "prime directive" stating that indigenous planetary cultures were to be left unaffected by and unaware of the existence of other worlds. (Of course, that being said, virtually every episode had the intrepid Star Trekkers laying waste to that very directive.)  The west never guessed how difficult it would prove to be to enculturate the middle east and elsewhere - say in Africa and parts of the far east - with western mores. And then, of course, there's oil. Oh yeah. Oil.

While it's very difficult to find a supposed "benevolent" dictator, many of the middle eastern countries may in fact not be ready for western style democracy. Look at what took place in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia, and many of the former satellite nations, remain in many ways steeped in corruption and chaos. Most of those people have never lived and functioned in anything resembling a free society. They often don't understand even the basic rules, let alone any of the nuances. What happens in the middle east over the next weeks, months and years will be very interesting. If you buy into Glen Beck's theory, this is the beginning of the end. Happy days. :)