Friday, December 7, 2012

Meandering musing on Social Issues

I figured I would start a list of the issues of our day and see if History will some day support my view of the world.

Let's first look at a couple issues of the past:

#1 Slavery: the ownership and treatment of a fellow human being as chattel. This is well established as being categorically wrong now.

#2 Universal suffrage: giving all adults the right to vote. In the past both women and minorities have been denied this right.

#3 Worker's Rights: in the past workers had almost no rights, worked in dangerous and deplorable conditions for unreasonable number of hours, millions died from poisons, exhaustion, poor work conditions and other work-related deaths. Sadly we face a degradation of these rights today. The Constitution grants US citizens the right of free association and in some states like Wisconsin this right has been infringed by making it illegal for workers to form a Union.

Looking forward...

#4 Marriage Equality: rights in the US are individual rights and we're guaranteed EQUAL protection under the law. This means that if one adult has the right to marry another adult, that right must be applied equally. It is just inexcusable, on the basis of small-minded prejudice, to deny gay people the right to marry and enjoy the rights, benefits and responsibilities that come with such an endeavor. Watch this video for more information (from Republican Ted Olson).

#5 LGBTQ* Rights: A broad term covering marriage, but also legality of sexual activity, recognition of relationships, adoption rights, military service, anti-discrimination, and gender identity & expression. Eventually the mistreatment, bullying, harassment, physical assault and denial of rights to people who are merely different in whom they love will be anathema.

#6 Minimal Standard of Living: giving a level of dignity and recognition of the human condition over living standards including: a decent place to live, adequate food & water, education, necessary clothing, and medical care. I think this will also lead to a policy of full employment, where everyone who wants to work will be put to work. This will require some serious rethinking of how an economy should work because the disgusting truth is that, in our capitalistic system, full employment leads to a collapse of the system.

#7 Bodily Autonomy/Abortion: You simply cannot force someone to carry a child to term, the consequences of denying bodily autonomy are horrific, millions of women suffered through it in the past and many of them died. Advances in birth control will probably reduce it close to medically necessary abortions.

#8 Animal Rights: I think we will find that higher animals are sentient, feeling, beings and we will be required to extent to them certain Rights.

#9 Death Penalty: will be abolished, partly on the basis of neurological findings.

This isn't a complete list obviously, post some of your thoughts.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Lies Have It

I couldn't let this one pass...
Obama also stated that what is frustrating is that “I have not been able to force Congress to implement every aspect of what I said in 2008.” Let that sink in for a moment. What Obama is saying is that he believes the President of the United States should be allowed to force Congress to do his will.

Either this person has zero reading comprehension skills or they are maliciously trying to misinform the reader. You'll have to decide.

The actual quote of what Obama said is "What's frustrated people is that I have not been able to force Congress to implement every aspect of what I said in 2008." Which makes it clear that it isn't Obama manically wishing to have ultimate control but rather he's saying change takes time in our system of government and that this is what is frustrating those who wish he had done everything he wanted to do back in 2008.

As for the Ginsburg issue, MediaMatters covered it very well.

So, more bullshit. If you read what she said in detail this is clearly taken out of context.

And let's talk about the failings of said document.


Denies Suffrage to women and African people - DISGUSTING

And unfortunately we're still fighting both those battles today, against people like 'Mr. Common Sense' I fear.

The Hate Blog

A collection of a few of the Hateful things I see Christians saying around the internet. If I had an easy way to add things to this it would be thousands of entries long.

Note to Christians: "you are going Hell" sounds a lot like "I'm gleefully hoping you will be tortured for all eternity, because I'm right and you are wrong". I condemn anyone wishing or thinking another human being is deserving of torture or death. And no, I do not believe in the death penalty either.

Most of this is just silly stupidity. When does insulting cross over into bullying? When someone in a position of power over someone else (either by virtue of physical strength or otherwise) uses that position to intimidate or harm the other person. At some point bullying would cross over into straight up harassment (which is a matter for the courts). But one adult merely insulting another adult, in the course of a discussion/argument, really isn't bullying and it undermines our concerns for real bullying when it is misportrayed as such.

But don't EVEN try to pull those "Why are atheists so angry" or "Why are atheists so rude" tropes. See also: What's The Harm

But even given all this, and all I have seen that isn't posted here, and how hateful I find Christian doctrine, I STILL DO NOT PAINT ALL CHRISTIANS WITH THE SAME BRUSH. To do so is the ugliest form of bigotry. I judge each person on their own merits.

Some might be, but this commits the fallacy of Hasty Generalization. He will probably get some nasty replies which will only confirm this position in his mind (Confirmation Bias at work).

Don't ya just love the smell of irony in the morning?

What a charmer.

Wielding Jesus like a sword.

What does Nativity scenes on public property have to do with the crass commercial enterprise that is American Christmas? People seem to be unaware of the Pagan origins of the holiday they co-opted. Maybe they missed these verses?

Jeremiah 10:1-25 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.”


Deuteronomy 12:29-32 “When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.

Where does the Bible tell you cut down a tree and decorate it with silver and gold? Oh right, it tells you NOT to do that.

But this is just irony, the fundamental position has nothing to do with your Bible. It has to do with the US Constitution that enjoins the government from ESTABLISHING a religion. Any access to public places must be done fair and equitably -- if that is done then secularists would take no issue with it. But that isn't what happens, what happens is one specific sect in a town will be granted a favored position.


Whoa, that's SO meta.

Most of the ones I know are atheists because they studied the Bible fairly deeply. It's easy to make such sweeping statements, and sometimes she is probably even right, but not even close to always.

If I have to endure 500 channels of religious programming, churches with pithy sayings on nearly every block, being told I'm going to hell, and all the rest of it you'll just have to deal with my being vocal.

The one thing I'm NOT going to do is "shut up".

Not sure I can bear this much irony all in one tweet.

And this one is a website which proclaims in all caps:

what I am unequivocally stating as a person of faith is that their message on these billboards is bigoted and hateful

Bigotry is a form of prejudice, for there to be prejudice there has to be some pre-judging going on. Non-believers have investigated the claims these various religions make and are just calling them out on their nonsense.

Not once in the article do they refute the claims posted on the billboards or show them to be false. They are simply factual representations of the religions, that they make the religions look ridiculous is not bigotry.

They also pull the "except of course Muslims ('cause that will get you killed)" bit. And you want to accuse others of Bigotry. REALLY?

One such message was:

"Mormonism: Magic Underwear, Baptizes Dead People, Big Money, Big Bigotry"

They do in fact have super-secret special underwear which is stated "when properly worn...provides protection against temptation and evil". This is why it's referred to as 'Magic' underwear. They do in fact Baptize dead people. They heavily funded a fight to prevent gay couples from getting married in California. THAT is Bigotry. How would you feel if a group was funding a fight to prevent Christians from being allowed to marry? Wouldn't that seem rather shitty to you?

So, please tell me where the untrue statement is on that billboard? Does it ridicule these things? You bet. That does not equal Bigotry -- again, Bigotry must be based on a prejudice and to be a prejudice it must be false or fallacious thinking. Finding your silly nonsense to be silly isn't bigotry. If you can demonstrate that your claims are factual then I'll change my position.

The article goes on to wish that "common human decency [...] demands that it should expressed without hate or disrespect towards others". Sorry, but respect is earned. I'll defer to one of our founding fathers...

Thomas Jefferson, on the concept of the Trinity, wrote in a letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 30 July, 1816
Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. If it could be understood it would not answer their purpose. Their security is in their faculty of shedding darkness, like the scuttlefish, thro' the element in which they move, and making it impenetrable to the eye of a pursuing enemy, and there they will skulk.

One last bit on the article where it talks about being a Christian nation and ridiculing the idea that the US is not a Christian nation.

First of all, the Constitution itself says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". We are formed as a SECULAR nation that does not establish a religion, but allows the FREE exercise thereof. That goes for ANY religion except, of course, the ones that groups of Americans have constantly deemed unworthy of this protection like the religions of the NATIVE AMERICAN PEOPLE who have been shat upon repeatedly in every regard. And when there has been physical hostilities it has most often been at the hands of other Christians, such as the Philadelphia Nativist Riots of 1844.

Secondly, the Treaty of Tripoli clearly states ""As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen".

He's on to us! Is he going to go Biblical and start torturing us to death again?

Jesus couldn't have said it better.

Now, did you see how that nasty 'athIEst' [sic] instigated this? Must be one of Fox New's "Illterate".

Oh, this next Christian is a real treat, can you feel the "love of Jesus" coming out of his pores?

This is a mind that is so very clearly poisoned with the religion-virus.

Some Islamic love: