I get so sick of the religious zealots in this country forcing their beliefs down everyone’s throats that I’m going to devote some time to it today. I’m going to begin with the smaller story of the two I read about this week. This year in Bill O’Reilly’s annual "War on Christmas" rhetoric, he sent one of his goons, Jesse Watters to harass the superintendent of an elementary school in Chelsford, Massachusetts because they do not have Christmas decorations set up! The best part is, the school had asked for volunteers to plan the party, but the same people who always do it were the only respondents. The committee decided to continue with how the event has been run for the past 19 years. After all the work had been done, flyers sent and crafts made, the families who strongly opposed the secular party came forward demanding they change the event. Don’t you just love the people who don’t want to lift a finger to help, but have no problem bitching about how it’s done. I’m posting a link to an article the school felt it had to post in the Lowell Sun because of all the bad press they received from newspapers and conservative radio: Byam PTO welcomes suggestions, volunteers
Now for the story that inspired me. Merry Hyatt, a four month resident of Redding, CA who is a substitute teacher and member of the Redding Tea Party Patriots, has found support in her desire to put an initiative on the ballot next year requiring public schools to play Christmas carols. She claims her motivation for the initiative was to help restore children’s moral compasses by inviting Jesus to school Christmas parties. Currently schools currently are allowed to offer Christmas music as long as it is used for academic purposes rather than devotional purposes and isn't used to promote a particular religious belief. Hyatt believes it is a First Amendment right to worship which I don’t disagree with, but what she is trying to accomplish is clearly a violation of the U.S. Constitution which also prohibits making laws respecting an establishment of religion, it’s the very first line of the amendment and she is on that slippery slope. Since the 1st Amendment and the 2nd Amendment were their rallying cries all year, you’d think they’d know these things – it’s not really that long to read! Or does she just not understand that the entire amendment that teabaggers used all year at their anti-Obama rallies are enforceable? I don't care if they sing Christmas carols, but you can not make it mandatory. I'll wager that Merry doesn't include Deck The Halls on her required carols list either (Don we now our gay apparel, Fa la la la la, la la la la.)! The truth is we did them when I was in school, but I also grew up in a small town with about 40 kids in my class -- we all looked alike had the same background and while I don't remember it being required, it wasn't a bit deal because there wasn't any diversity amongst us. This situation strikes me as just one more example of conservatives being unhappy with the changes resulting from our society becoming more diverse and it's really gotten over amplified with the election of our first black President who they will not except as a fellow Christian. They harken back to a mythological religious America that probably never existed. These people are very simple and are scared of anything not exactly like them. They live in a world of absolutes. Everything is black or white to them because that's what they've been told. Look, I have no problem with unquestioning believers as far as it applies to them as individuals. My issue is when they want every single person to adhere to their belief system. It's great that they can take comfort in His words when they need that, but don't threaten people with what's best for them. I have never read the Bible, but I know a few common things that it teaches: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", "Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone." and perhaps my favorite is "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
I think further commentary requires a little background about myself. I don’t see anything in black and white, rather varying shades of gray. It’s what keeps me curious and engaged in the conversation. We live in a world of complexity and I don’t understand how people lack the curiosity or capacity to think for themselves. Does thinking really hurt that much? It’s very similar to what I said in my December 4th article about Fox News viewers; they’re given key words and topics so they don’t need to think for themselves. Religion does the very same thing on a much larger scale. I was raised in a very Catholic household and dragged to church each weekend. I made my first communion (oh, how I hated that little white fluffy dress) and had to go to catechism until I made my confirmation which was probably around junior high. I’m wired much differently than my family, immediate and distant. I really am a black sheep in the sense that everyone around me are conservative no questions asked believers. What’s pretty funny is my parents always vote Democrat because they’re old school “Republicans are for the rich, Democrats are for the people” voters. My political beliefs sprung from that theory, but I’ve far expanded on my thoughts about many other important policies. They’re stuck with that one thought. On social issues, they're clearly conservatives and probably should be voting Republican these days, but I’m not going to tell them, hell it’s two votes! Amazing that I turned out so well, isn’t it! As you can tell by my views, I’m not conservative by any stretch and I’m on the fence 50/50 in regards to religion. Is there a God? The weakest believe so, no questions asked. They need to somehow hold onto that hope that they’ll be reunited throughout eternity with loved ones in paradise. Do I think it’s possible? Sure I do. I’m somewhat “spiritual”, I think there’s a higher power, but I also ask “Is that power just my own mind”. The whole thing with people seeing ghosts and such, I believe is real. But, are they actual ghosts or are they products of the mind? I figure, if there is indeed a God and we meet when my time comes, if he's the loving, forgiving God we're taught about he's just going to say, "I understand why you were a bit skeptical. There was a lot of wacky stuff going on during your lifetime, with people using my name to justify violence and hatred towards others, but look around, none of them are here! What goes around comes around."
Getting back to our country’s religious zealots, and I'm talking about the radicals, not the devout people who go to worship quietly and privately. It really bothers me that they preach love, compassion and understanding yet are the most intolerant group of radicals in our midst. This evangelical movement in our country is truly frightening. Our country is being hijacked by radicals who want to teach Christianity in schools, but don't care if the little "fundies" can read or write and no one is doing anything about it! Recently, they've designed and sold bumper stickers and other memorabilia with the Psalm 109.8 verse "May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership." That leads into Psalm 109:9, "May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." When the Bible was written there weren’t politicians, this isn’t about Obama leaving office at the end of his term people! Thanks once again to Rachel Maddow's coverage, CafePress and Zazzle have stopped carrying this wretched propaganda. The zealots are also against a woman's right to chose a safe legal medical procedure, yet don't acknowledge the bible giving the thumbs up to stone disobedient children. And keeping with their own hypocrisy, after the unwanted child is born, they will be the first to scream they don’t want their tax dollars going to care for that teenage slut and her bastard baby. The bible also encorages slavery and that girls can be sold. Of course that makes sense since they’re still smarting over Constitutional Amendments 13 and 19. The guy living in the White House should be tending to the grounds of the White House where he belongs. And if women were never given the right to vote, white men would rule forever! The fact that they cherry pick their hatred really pisses me off. I have a huge problem with the majority being allowed to vote on the rights of a minority invoking God into the conversation when we’re supposed to be a country that seperates church and state. In addition, a large part of our electorate has become so blind and hateful with their Bible teachings guiding them instead of history, science and knowledge of current events that I think people should be required to pass a 12th grade HS test before they're allowed to register to vote. It's not just poor minorities that will suffer, the good ol' boys will have a big problem too. These idiots voting for a ticket because they think the VP candidate is attractive or because they want to further dimish civil rights are going to turn us into a third world country. You know what the most amazing thing about this is to me? Most of these same people celebrating the birth of Jesus would've been applauding and assisting nailing the queer, sandal wearing, long haired, hippie dude to the cross.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”
- Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here (1935)
Quick Thoughts: As I was sitting at the drive thru of McDonalds one morning this week waiting for my coffee and listening to Bill Press, I was behind a Honda CRV whose back window was cluttered with decals, but initially I wasn't paying attention to them. Of course, this older lady that I could see in her side view mirror must’ve ordered a lot of stuff because we sat for an unusually long period so I looked up at the decals. The largest one was a “Mary Kay Cosmetics” one running across the top, flanked by a “NRA” decal on the right and a “Terrorist Hunting permit no. 91101” on the other side. I was thinking, “Oh this is awesome, I’ve got to take a picture and post this on my blog”, but I couldn’t get the damn phone out of my pocket quick enough before she started pulling away. I thought about skipping my coffee for the picture! I don’t buy cosmetics, but if I did, I wouldn’t be showing up at her house for them! I will be on the lookout for that CRV though!... Last weekend the 32-13 Alabama Crimson Tide victory over the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game was emotional for (literally) "wear it on your face" Christian, Tim Tebow, who was seen crying on the sidelines as the clock ticked down. Well, Timmy it looks like God prefers the thumpers to the fundies. How does that make you feel? Is God still great? Didn't hear you say it after the game. I'm not a college football fan, but ever since the first time I saw this talibangelical go into his praise of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, during his freshman year, I've rooted against Florida. He's not projecting well as a pro QB, but I would love him to be drafted by the San Francisco 49ers!... Last week, Britain shut down their UFO Investigation Service citing lack of activity. For over fifty years, sightings of alien sightings across the British Isles have been reported to the service by concerned citizens. Here's my theory, the aliens were here, but while trying to study our species, they turned on Fox because they'd heard that "fair and balanced" mantra as well. What they saw was a rabid Glenn Beck go crazy with a chalkboard, they saw thousands of people who had been given a small tax decrease show up in various cities to protest the new rate while wearing teabags on their heads, they saw people stand out in the cold rain to get a glimpse of an unemployed Alaskan, they heard a sitting U.S. Congresswoman encourage people to slit their wrists over health care reform, they watched thousands of white, possibly diabetic, mostly older people needing dental work holding signs and screaming that they didn't want no stinkin' government healthcare while demanding the government keep their hands off their Medicare. They had seen enough, they looked at each other and unanimously concluded that there was no need to stay as there isn't any intelligent life on earth....
I'm going to do a follow-up this weekend to the Uganda story as there have been some developments, due to the extensive coverage a certain newswoman has devoted to this criminal bill.