Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Constructed in modernist style, the exterior is an illusion. You can get a glimpse of the reality of the place by the sign out front, done in gothic/Old English script, it proclaims the building as the "Followers of Christ Church".
They own a cemetery, too, just down the road. More on that, later.
Locals have viewed the members of this congregation as a bit 'odd' over the years (in fact, the term 'cult' has been used quite often by outsiders and former members alike) -- they were founded in the early part of the 20th century by a fellow who came out from Kansas. The church has adherents from Alberta, Canada to northern California - but this remains the hub of the church; it's 'headquarters', if you will.
When Walter White, the founder and first minister of the congregation, died in 1969, the members didn't bother to elect a new leader. Instead, they take turns 'preaching the word' to each other - to them; Brother White is not a replaceable entity.
They don't seek new members - they don't admit any, either. Children are brought up in an insular environment; while they're sent to public school, they're not permitted to socialize outside of the church structure past age 13.
Church growth, it would seem, is not by proselytizing - it's by reproduction.
That's turned into a bit of a flawed-philosophy of late, as several young 'members' have died recently, beginning with a 16-year-old boy (from uremic poisoning) in 2008. In fact, the stats are chilling -- of the 78 children who have died and are buried in that church cemetery since 1955, 21 could have been saved by the application of basic medical care - and three women out of approximately 500 birth-age female church members (accurate numbers are not available) have died during childbirth with church-midwives in attendance - a rate consonant with 19th-century medical care.
The most-recent death was of 15-month-old Ava Worthington, who died from sepsis (blood poisoning) and pneumonia in March of last year. An investigation into young Ava's death found that her medical issues were easily treatable with antibiotics, but her parents insisted on following one of their church's stranger dictums - that of 'laying on hands' and 'faith healing'.
This isn't Carl and Raylene Worthington's first rodeo, so to speak.
The Worthington's also lost a son, likely stillborn (medical records are sketchy on this) in 2001. In both cases, they followed a passage from the Book of James in the New Testament: “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” (James; 5:14, 15)
Oregon law holds to a different standard, however. In 1999, largely due to the high number of deaths involving the Followers of Christ Church, Oregon law was amended to eliminate religion as a defense in cases of medical neglect.
As the Worthington's trial got underway in the Clackamas County courthouse Monday, 28-year-old Mr. Worthington and his 25-year-old wife, Raylene, viewed cameras with suspicion; their attorney, Steven Ungar, called the trial an 'abuse of power', and in releasing a statement in advance of the trial, said that "Family autonomy is a deeply respected value and tradition in our country, as is religious freedom." The Worthington's have launched a website, sponsored by their defense attorneys, mainly for raising money for their defense.
The judge in this case, Steven Mauer, rejected a defense claim of vindictive prosecution.
While this might sound like a First Amendment case, ample precedent exists to support the State's position. Freedom to worship does not include freedom to act on that belief when it harms the life of another. That restriction is specific under Oregon law when a child is involved.
While the rest of the country is more concerned with Michael Jackson's will, the Worthington tragedy will play out as a pivotal First Amendment case; likely affecting the ability of a couple to make religious-based medical decisions for years, if not decades, to come.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Fuzzybutt, as I came to call him, was a hound. A hound of indeterminate genetics and uncertain parentage. Fuzzybutt drooled and slobbered; he had bad breath on his best day, and stank like rotten meat the rest of the time.
Many people have asked me, "Will, why do you hate dogs?"
Now, I don't like the word, 'hate'. It's an awfully strong word, like 'liar'. I don't like using them, and when I do, there's a definite reason.
Fuzzybutt is the main reason why I hate dogs.
Growing up on five acres in rural western Oregon was, overall, a placid event - I roamed the woods behind our home with abandon when I was old enough to do so (around age six); there was a creek; several open fields, and the sheer joy of living in a part of the world where the water was pure, the air clean, and the living easy, good, and kind.
Except for Fuzzybutt.
I have only two memories of life Before Age Four; one was when I took one of my mother's bobby-pins and put it in a wall-socket; this didn't magically turn me into a vacuum-cleaner or a radio, which is what I intended; instead, it caused every muscle to tense up and propel me across the hardwood into the opposing wall.
The other was of standing in our expansive front-lawn; it was a warm spring day with white clouds scudding overhead in an azure sky; out of the corner of one eye I noticed some movement; I looked over just in time --
I immediately screamed - a drooling, slobbering dog with foul breath and about the size of a small horse had just knocked me over; he was drooling on my face and chest and stamping me with his large paws. I kicked; fought him with my arms - which just made him bark, and go on drooling and stamping.
Out of nowhere, my Dad appeared, pushing the dog away and picking me up. It was then that I saw the Other Creature involved; something on two feet and obviously male, but this one was wearing a filthy cap and jacket; it had yellow teeth and an unfiltered Camel hanging from the corner of its mouth while 'heh-heh-heh' came out of its mouth.
I was infuriated at this two-legged Creature, who thought the Whole Event Was Funny.
My Dad said something - I don't remember what it was - but it was clear that he wasn't fond of this Other Creature; it was also clear that the Other Creature was somehow responsible for the first one. He made some quick motions and noises; the dog ran over to him. The - man? - then resumed his odd laughing and walked on.
Dad got me inside and turned me over to Mom, who cleaned me up and did her best to alleviate the trauma. I learned that from that point on, there were things which could happen so fast that not even Mom and Dad - those arbiters of justice and safety - couldn't intervene. The world became not a safe place, but a fearsome entity where straying even a bit from the doorstep could cause pain. I didn't know anything about 'leash laws'; even had I known, the enforcement of same was an open question.
I learned later that the man's name was Art.
Art was a retired rednecked something-or-another; he lived alone in a rundown farmhouse at the end of the road, smoked unfiltered Camels, drank cheap whiskey and spoke in some semiliterate dialect known mainly to he and his relatives.
"Jim" was his only companion; I also learned (about age six) that Art and Jim took their 'walks' in order to let Jim relieve himself somewhere other than the immediate vicinity of Art's rotting farmhouse. Said discharge was almost-human in size and stench; something which elicited spirited commentary from Dad when mowing the aforementioned expansive lawn.
At age eight, I was given my first pellet-gun for Christmas, with the exhoration that I wasn't to shoot any squirrels, birds, or other wildlife.
I immediately interpreted this to mean that Fuzzybutt was fair game.
By this point, Fuzzybutt was starting to show his age a bit. He'd show up every now and again (Art allowed him to roam free); I shot him in the butt on several occasions, invoking Squeezus Interruptus and keeping the lawn free of wormy dog-crap.
It might have been age - or unfound pellets, still lodged in his posterior - but he developed arthritis, bad eyesight, and even-more-rotten teeth, which meant I could smell the disgusting creature well before I saw him. As I approached age ten, his visits became more infrequent - almost a novelty.
Me? I was rarely outside without my pellet-gun.
Not long after my tenth birthday (it was September; shortly after the advent of fifth grade, if I recall), I received the news that Fuzzybutt had been summarily dispached by Old Man Piper's shotgun, having been finally caught killing chickens and eating eggs (the whole area suspected this for years; it was only Fuzzybutt's advancing age which enabled Old Man Piper to finally catch him in the act, shotgun-in-hand).
When informed of this event, I shouted "YEEHAW!" at the top of my lungs, and was reminded that no matter how long-overdue and well-deserved the event, I wasn't to go cheering in the front lawn and dancing around in abandon.
I did, however, notice an immediate change in my Dad's demeanor every time he mowed the lawn.
Art only outlived Fuzzybutt by seven more years. He clearly wasn't the same; rarely coming outside, and on the rare events when I'd see him; grimy cap askew and unfiltered Camel on the corner of his mouth, he seemed at a loss.
None of this, by the way, bothered me one little bit.
(Yes. I detest dogs. They're filthy, smelly creatures. Dog-owners are quick to wrap themselves in the flag in an almost-religious righteousness when the concept of 'pick up after your damn pooch', or 'keep that damn thing on a leash' is mentioned. To this day, I carry Mace in public parks.
Ya never know if Fuzzybutt had relatives....)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
|(The Duggar Family of Arkansas)|
"Lo; Children are a heritage of the Lord...Happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them." (Psalms 127:3,4,5)
I was sent a link some time ago to a website called Quiverfull.Com after a post I did on overpopulation. "Make sure you take a Valium before you read this," was the caution.
Holy zygotes, Batman.
I'm pretty well-posted on my disdain for organized religion of any stripe. Here in America, though, we've got no end of 'flavors' of the religion-du-jour, Christianity. While I'll hasten to add that the Quiverfull folks perhaps number 30,000 adherents - hardly a huge movement - they are a subset of the Fundamentalist movement which supports their worldview.
Which is, in sum, to breed as many chitluns as possible.
Perhaps their most widely-known advocates are the Duggar family of Tontitown, Arkansas. Longtime advocates of this form of reproduction, the Duggar's oldest son announced in April of this year that his wife is now pregnant. This will place Michelle Duggar, the matriarch of this clan, in the rather strange position of being a new mother (#18 having been born not long ago) as well as a grandmother.
But what about the average person who participates in this 'program'? To some, it's a blessing. To others, however, it's a form of victimization. Cheryl Seelhoff, a former adherent, stated that the movement is one in which "...women and children are routinely and systematically subordinated and subjugated by the men in their lives...as a matter of Biblical principle."
Kathryn Joyce, in "Quiverfull - Inside The Christian Patriarchy Movement" makes it clear that the movement is one of many which seeks to turn back the women's-rights movement, complete with a return to good old Sixteenth Century Calvinism. It's a movement which, as she goes on to say, "we ignore at our peril."
So, what do these folks believe?
From their website, I've taken their Ten Reasons To Have Another Child - and because I couldn't write this piece without some refutation, there are notes below some of the 'reasons':
1. Have another child to join with God in the creation of an immortal soul.
2. Have another child to bring joy into your life. (I don't suppose these people have read the stats - there's absolutely no link between having children and a happier marriage.)
3. Have another child to grown (sic) in holiness and virtue.
4. Have another child to help end abortion. (Just where they get the linkage for this one is beyond me.)
5. Have another child so your sons will have brothers and your daughters will have sisters.
6. Have another child so you (and your parents) won’t be lonely in old age. (Y'know - a well-meaning neigbor-lady once told me that I wasn't going to have anywhere to go for Christmas when I was old, because I didn't have any kids. I said, "Sure I will! How about the Bahamas, on the money I'll save by not breeding?")
7. Have another child because people are our greatest resource. (This worked in the 19th century. Things are a little different now.)
8. Have another child to contribute to the economy. (Great. Another 19th-century gem. Just how this is a 'contribution' is beyond me. To 'contribute', one has to have an education or at least some brains. The average American thinks Iraq is in the Balkans; can't find Ohio on a map, and needs a disclaimer to keep from putting lemon-scented dish soap in his/her iced tea. Quantity does not equal quality. How 'bout we start educating the ones we've got?)
9. Have another child to counter global depopulation. (News flash, folks. There are 6.6 BILLION people on the planet. Global starvation - not depopulation - is the problem here, people! Further - it's not just about raw numbers - it's about consumption. Every one of these new 'souls' is going to consume 300% of the resources consumed by his/her Third World counterpart. Some basic math, helps here, folks!)
10. Have another child to help populate heaven. (Words absolutely fail me here....)
These folks have made comments on their website that "...the entire population of the world could live in the state of Texas, in single family homes with front and back yards.", and "...there's no overpopulation problem in heaven!"
Unfortunately, it doesn't end there. They view all this indiscriminate breeding as 'making arrows for the war' -- a war on and unbelieving, sinful world. Each child, raised in the same way, will 'go and do likewise', creating an army of 'warriors for God.' By sheer weight-of-numbers, they intend to change society.
A grip on reality isn't on their agenda.
In their worldview, there is no such thing as overpopulation or the inability to feed large numbers of people. There's nothing but a black-and-white for-or-against conflict, with 'god' on one side, and Everyone Else on the other.
It's enough to make me -- well -- want to go order batshit by the truckload, yet again.
Monday, June 15, 2009
The American Empire Is Bankrupt
June 15, 2009 "Truthdig" --- This week marks the end of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That’s over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful.
Barack Obama, and the criminal class on Wall Street, aided by a corporate media that continues to peddle fatuous gossip and trash talk as news while we endure the greatest economic crisis in our history, may have fooled us, but the rest of the world knows we are bankrupt. And these nations are damned if they are going to continue to prop up an inflated dollar and sustain the massive federal budget deficits, swollen to over $2 trillion, which fund America’s imperial expansion in Eurasia and our system of casino capitalism. They have us by the throat. They are about to squeeze.
There are meetings being held Monday and Tuesday in Yekaterinburg, Russia, (formerly Sverdlovsk) among Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The United States, which asked to attend, was denied admittance. Watch what happens there carefully. The gathering is, in the words of economist Michael Hudson, “the most important meeting of the 21st century so far.”
It is the first formal step by our major trading partners to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If they succeed, the dollar will dramatically plummet in value, the cost of imports, including oil, will skyrocket, interest rates will climb and jobs will hemorrhage at a rate that will make the last few months look like boom times. State and federal services will be reduced or shut down for lack of funds. The United States will begin to resemble the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe. Obama, endowed by many with the qualities of a savior, will suddenly look pitiful, inept and weak. And the rage that has kindled a handful of shootings and hate crimes in the past few weeks will engulf vast segments of a disenfranchised and bewildered working and middle class. The people of this class will demand vengeance, radical change, order and moral renewal, which an array of proto-fascists, from the Christian right to the goons who disseminate hate talk on Fox News, will assure the country they will impose.
I called Hudson, who has an article in Monday’s Financial Times called “The Yekaterinburg Turning Point: De-Dollarization and the Ending of America’s Financial-Military Hegemony.” “Yekaterinburg,” Hudson writes, “may become known not only as the death place of the czars but of the American empire as well.” His article is worth reading, along with John Lanchester’s disturbing exposé of the world’s banking system, titled “It’s Finished,” which appeared in the May 28 issue of the London Review of Books.
“This means the end of the dollar,” Hudson told me. “It means China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran are forming an official financial and military area to get America out of Eurasia. The balance-of-payments deficit is mainly military in nature. Half of America’s discretionary spending is military. The deficit ends up in the hands of foreign banks, central banks. They don’t have any choice but to recycle the money to buy U.S. government debt. The Asian countries have been financing their own military encirclement. They have been forced to accept dollars that have no chance of being repaid. They are paying for America’s military aggression against them. They want to get rid of this.”
China, as Hudson points out, has already struck bilateral trade deals with Brazil and Malaysia to denominate their trade in China’s yuan rather than the dollar, pound or euro. Russia promises to begin trading in the ruble and local currencies. The governor of China’s central bank has openly called for the abandonment of the dollar as reserve currency, suggesting in its place the use of the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights. What the new system will be remains unclear, but the flight from the dollar has clearly begun. The goal, in the words of the Russian president, is to build a “multipolar world order” which will break the economic and, by extension, military domination by the United States. China is frantically spending its dollar reserves to buy factories and property around the globe so it can unload its U.S. currency. This is why Aluminum Corp. of China made so many major concessions in the failed attempt to salvage its $19.5 billion alliance with the Rio Tinto mining concern in Australia. It desperately needs to shed its dollars.
“China is trying to get rid of all the dollars they can in a trash-for-resource deal,” Hudson said. “They will give the dollars to countries willing to sell off their resources since America refuses to sell any of its high-tech industries, even Unocal, to the yellow peril. It realizes these dollars are going to be worthless pretty quickly.”
The architects of this new global exchange realize that if they break the dollar they also break America’s military domination. Our military spending cannot be sustained without this cycle of heavy borrowing. The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion, before we add on things like nuclear research. The next closest national military budget is China’s, at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.
There are three categories of the balance-of-payment deficits. America imports more than it exports. This is trade. Wall Street and American corporations buy up foreign companies. This is capital movement. The third and most important balance-of-payment deficit for the past 50 years has been Pentagon spending abroad. It is primarily military spending that has been responsible for the balance-of-payments deficit for the last five decades. Look at table five in the Balance of Payments Report, published in the Survey of Current Business quarterly, and check under military spending. There you can see the deficit.
To fund our permanent war economy, we have been flooding the world with dollars. The foreign recipients turn the dollars over to their central banks for local currency. The central banks then have a problem. If a central bank does not spend the money in the United States then the exchange rate against the dollar will go up. This will penalize exporters. This has allowed America to print money without restraint to buy imports and foreign companies, fund our military expansion and ensure that foreign nations like China continue to buy our treasury bonds. This cycle appears now to be over. Once the dollar cannot flood central banks and no one buys our treasury bonds, our empire collapses. The profligate spending on the military, some $1 trillion when everything is counted, will be unsustainable.
“We will have to finance our own military spending,” Hudson warned, “and the only way to do this will be to sharply cut back wage rates. The class war is back in business. Wall Street understands that. This is why it had Bush and Obama give it $10 trillion in a huge rip-off so it can have enough money to survive.”
The desperate effort to borrow our way out of financial collapse has promoted a level of state intervention unseen since World War II. It has also led us into uncharted territory.
“We have in effect had to declare war to get us out of the hole created by our economic system,” Lanchester wrote in the London Review of Books. “There is no model or precedent for this, and no way to argue that it’s all right really, because under such-and-such a model of capitalism ... there is no such model. It isn’t supposed to work like this, and there is no road-map for what’s happened.”
The cost of daily living, from buying food to getting medical care, will become difficult for all but a few as the dollar plunges. States and cities will see their pension funds drained and finally shut down. The government will be forced to sell off infrastructure, including roads and transport, to private corporations. We will be increasingly charged by privatized utilities—think Enron—for what was once regulated and subsidized. Commercial and private real estate will be worth less than half its current value. The negative equity that already plagues 25 percent of American homes will expand to include nearly all property owners. It will be difficult to borrow and impossible to sell real estate unless we accept massive losses. There will be block after block of empty stores and boarded-up houses. Foreclosures will be epidemic. There will be long lines at soup kitchens and many, many homeless. Our corporate-controlled media, already banal and trivial, will work overtime to anesthetize us with useless gossip, spectacles, sex, gratuitous violence, fear and tawdry junk politics. America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds.
Those who resist will be silenced, many by force. We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon, for the gross malfeasance of our power elite.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Remember Jack Chick?
Those of us who went to college in the '70's sure do.
He was the guy who wrote those campy little cartoon-books which Campus Crusade handed out - they were (mainly) light-hearted ways of getting people to think about Christianity, using cartoon characters. There'd be a deeper message, sure, but they by-and-large conveyed a positive message.
Nowadays, even the formerly-venerated 'Chick Tracts' have turned racist, homophobic, and mean-spirited.
Perhaps I'm getting old - but I seem to remember a time when the Christian church in America was about helping people. Granted, there were always the like of Reverend Ike (you remember him - the '70's ultimate 'Prosperity Preacher') but the blatant moneygrubbing, politicization, and just plain meanness of today's crop of preachercritters is in stark contrast to what I remember from years ago.
Take this guy:
Yes - he's Wiley Drake, the California-bred Southern Baptist minister with a history of running for office under a couple of fringe-party banners, and for his call for all Christians to engage in 'imprecatory prayer' - literally, calling on 'god' to kill someone.
(In fairness, the Associated Baptist Press has stated clearly that they disavow Drake's actions as his own, and not those of the SBC).
Drake also said that the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas was an 'answer to prayer'.
Meantime, one of Dr. Tiller's main opponents, Randall Terry of Operation Rescue, held a news conference immediately after Tiller's murder. The gist? "Killing a doctor is wrong - but let's not overreact."
Terry has wasted no time launching yet another campaign - called "Operation Save America". From what or whom are they 'saving' America?
It's important to read their publications to get a grasp on their philosophy, first.
"Flip" Benham, the national director of Operation Rescue/Operation Save America said of the American Civil War that it was a "national judgement brought about by God Himself...." Then, it was slavery (modern fundamentalists often use the slavery issue, and the Dred Scott case in particular, as a parallel with Roe v. Wade).
This time around? You guessed it - it's the abortion 'issue'.
"Flip" goes on to say that "...innocent blood has a voice. The blood of 50 million slaughtered children is crying out to Almighty God for judgement. This is the forgotten doctrine of Blood Guilt. Bloodshed is pursuing us, and there's not a Federal program, a police force, or a military big enough to stop it. It is a judgement from God."
(If you're not sufficiently creeped-out by now, read on)....
"Flip" goes on to say, "Nineteen men with box-cutters brought America to its knees on September 11th, 2001. Blood-Guilt is a spiritual principle as certain as the law of gravity. You sow bloodshed in the womb; you reap bloodshed in the streets...."
His 'simple' solution is physical intervention - and while he calls for a "simple; peaceful revolution" - and during his 'revolution', American society is 'transformed', complete with the election of ''god'-fearing representatives', and the passage of ''god'-centered law'.
Meantime, organizations like the Christian Law Association are helping Terry and his 'prayer warriors' meet in the middle, offering legal services to crush 'anti-Christian' legislation and bring about 'Christian oriented law' in America.
(What happened? I'll entertain suggestions. However, I'm going to offer one of my own, from the point of view of a Guy Looking In From The Outside: Jefferson was right.
"State religions are more dangerous than standing armies", he said. Sooner or later, the two become so entwined that it's impossible to tell one from the other.
It's time to pick a side, folks.)
Thursday, June 4, 2009
"My mind is made up - don't confuse me with the facts."
This is a rant. I'm making no apologies today for taking a stand. There is no objectivity here.
Recently, I made a couple of attempts to engage some right-wing fundamentalists in a dialogue.
I made this decision after Dr. George Tiller was brutally murdered in the lobby of his church in Topeka, Kansas last week. (You may remember that Dr. Tiller ran a clinic which performed late-term abortions).
I began by asking some questions on some blog-posts, dealing mainly with the abortion issue, Obama's trip to the Middle East - things like that. I was curious as to why they'd reached their decisions.
The conclusions I reached after a day or two of 'communication' were frightening - it was a strange trip into a mutant Heart of Darkness; a "Captain Willard meets Colonel Kurtz", with visions of bodies hanging from jungle treelimbs and heads on pikes.
These people are serious. And, they're coming after you - unless the 'you' who read this are white, married, straight, fundie-Christian, Republican, and itching to go to war with the whole world.
A case in point:
I'd taken some exception on one blog to the overt statement that 'Obama was appeasing our enemies' by going to Cairo to speak, and that Obama was 'inviting our enemies to America', because 'he's actually a Muslim.'
I said, "I don't know what 'enemy' Obama (or anyone else, for that matter) is 'inviting' to America. The truth of the matter is that most people from Muslim countries who come to America are looking to escape some pretty messed-up political situations back home - and while they bring their religion here, they also have brought a lot of creativity and expertise, as well."
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this....but you are dead wrong on this statement. Those here already are invading our cities, our ghettos and our high schools to recruit and they're doing it right under the noses of all the security that's out there. It took 28 yrs to get CAIR, INSA, into a federal court to get those who funnelled (sic) BILLIONS of monies from the late 70's through into the late 80's for laundering in a Swiss bank account all under the radar at that time, and then forwared (sic) to Hamas, Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda. Now tell me what you know that those who come here are really for.....cause I can tell you factually......I know those who are in deep investgation over cells of jihadists who are going to college and working amongst us......it's the keep you (sic) friends close and your enemies closer.
But you live in a utopia in your own mind to think that "most people from Muslim countries who come to America are looking to escape some pretty messed up political situations back home." Saudi royal family is OWNED by the Muslim Brotherhood who run every Al-Qaeda and jihadist movement in this world and their doctrine is to take over the entire world with Islam and Shariah law."
Whew. Well, I'll give him this - at least he didn't involve the Illuminati; the Masons, and the Bilderbergers.
Another poster asked me what I 'believed in', as I didn't believe in a 'god'. He went on to tell me that 'Freethinkers don't believe in anything but themselves - and I have issues with that."
There you have it.
While I pointed him to a link on Freethought, and took pains to point out that it's not about 'believing in oneself', I know that I might as well have been talking to some mutant chimp which managed to learn to type after a fashion.
Now, here's the bad news: These two gents (and the millions like them here in America) are going to win.
They're winning already.
They don't want dialogue. They don't want information. Hell; they don't even want to read.
What they want is anyone's head on one of those pikes I mentioned allegorically in the beginning of this missive who disagree with them. That's me (and you, if you happen to agree with me that people like them are dangerous).
They are the Big Bull Lemmings who will sort us all out for good if we have the temerity, as I did earlier this week, to point out the unpleasant fact that they're leading us off a cliff, and have been for years.
They're the successors to that Colonel Kurtz of "Apocalypse Now" fame - who painted "I am the law" on the temple-wall in Cambodia, and set about proving it.
It doesn't matter that We're Smarter and Better Educated than They Are.
What matters is that (1) they outnumber us, and (2) they have guns. They are also desperate - because the country exercised its franchise last November, tweaked their collective nose, and voted in a president who, while not changing much, at least wasn't going to guarantee Four More Years of the Same Thing, along with a run at bringing back-alley abortions back in vogue.
They stink of fear. Fear, and desperation. Stupid people do desperate things. We are in for a desperately stupid time.
Me? I've always held that it's all right to believe in Jesus, Santa Claus, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster - just as long as you didn't try to drag the whole world along with you. There are some of us who are blissfully happy without the guilt and bullshit of religion. We'd prefer to live our lives, die absent anyone's gods, and fade out entirely to let another generation shine.
Unfortunately, that kind of peaceful existence is going to be denied us - and I see it just as clearly as anything.
It doesn't matter that what these people want to impose on us hasn't one shred of proof. In the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is a merciless, overfed motherfucking preacher-king who wants everyone's money, everyone's blind obedience, and everyone's daughter in bed with him when the cameras aren't running. What scares me most is that the people whose blogs I read and on which I commented are perfectly willing to shout "Jesus!", and fork over their very lives - because some fat bastard with a pseudoeducation in 'Divinity' told them it was 'what Gawd expected'.
But, having double-digit IQ's, guns, and a single-minded agenda doesn't guarantee victory. Something Else Has To Happen.
They're counting on our logic, reason, and even-handedness. They think we're pussies. And, they're right.
We won't fight them. We'll try, as have every other group (consider the Jewish intelligensia in Germany in the late 1930's for your archetype here) in a similar fix to negotiate with these hyenas.
They will rip out our living guts to festoon their cathedrals.
Remember that paranoia is just another word for ignorance - and the Neocon/Fundie establishment is as paranoid as I've seen anything in my 55 years on this planet.
Ironically, these 'git-r-dun' flag-humping half-wit morons are going to circle the drain right along with The Rest Of Us - they're likely to vote-in another Neocon Fascist wannabe like Bush in 2012, and those of us who 'get it' are going to be left to write the obituary.
They're all hate-mongering, racist, homophobic shitheads; unibrowed morons raised on a steady diet of videogames, ass-kicking 'cuntry music', weekend tent-revivals and Mack Bolan novels.
I'm damned if I can tell you how to stop this. I'll entertain suggestions.
Until then, I'll just quote Hunter Thompson's last words: "Relax - this won't hurt...."
Monday, June 1, 2009
Having made the man a high-profile target obviously didn’t upset the “Operation Rescue” folks, who issued the following statement:
"George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.
Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches."
I couldn’t end this vignette without a word from Bill O’Reilly, who tag-teamed Dr. Tiller along with the folks at “Operation Rescue” for several years. Here are some of The Billster’s comments:
*Note: I've been officially blocked from accessing Operation Rescue's website - I suppose I should consider that a form of flattery - but they evidently block any and all known writers who are not supportive of their cause.
Their site is here, should you care to visit.)