Category Archives: Government

Thoughts on Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court hearings on gay marriage have prompted a slew of Facebook status updates declaring “for” or “against.” I’m still friends with a handful of people I went to church with as a teenager, and many of them are clearly against gay marriage. One shared this status update, which he got from a friend:

“With all of the marriage equality focus in the news, I thought I would offer one man’s view on what it means to take a Biblical stance on the issue and still be Christlike In the process. My reason for sharing is that the media refuses to show this side of Christianity, instead making us out to be anti-gay when in fact I am anti-sin of all kinds, including my own. Without question, even a cursory reading of the Bible makes it clear that gay relationships and marriage is wrong and sinful. However, homosexuality is no worse than any other sin. Sin is sin, and we all fall short of the glory of God. So when I say that I am for Biblical values and against gay marriage, it does not make me a bigot or a hater or any of the other words that the media would throw my way. It means that I am a sinner who has been forgiven based upon my faith in Jesus, and that my mission in life is not to single out gays and make their life miserable. My mission is to love them as I do all of mankind, and to hate their sin as much as I hate my very own. My desire is to see all sin cease, including my own, so that my God and Savior will be pleased with what He sees. So you see, when I take a Biblical stand on the issue, I am expressing my right and freedom to practice Biblical values in hopes that the land that I live in will see things the same way. If in the end laws change that show that the majority of people in the land I live in disagree with Biblical values, then it will be my fault as a Chrisitian for failing to show the love of Christ and teaching others to live as He commands us to. But at no time is it acceptable for me to hate others and single out their sins. If more believers would focus on their own sins instead of others, and spread the Gospel rather than hateful words toward others, then maybe just maybe people who are caught in all kinds of sins would be more prone to listen to what we have to say. In short, if you are gay, please know that while I disagree with your lifestyle choice, I love you and will help you in any way that I can if you ever need me. Though your sin in wrong just like mine is, Jesus will heal and forgive you if you will turn to Him in faith.”

There are so many things wrong with this that I didn’t know where to begin. I messaged him privately with a link to this article, You Can’t Quote Leviticus to Prove God Hates Homosexuality, which I found to be an excellent read. It’s a great argument for why Old Testament law no longer applies to modern Christian life. I mean, if it did, and Christians took the entire bible literally, they’d have to outlaw shellfish and pork as food, fortune tellers would be stoned, and tattoos would be against the law.

First, where in the bible does Christ command people to live as heterosexuals? Second, you may think you’re not a bigot, but you are, by definition:

“bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance” (source)

This whole status update makes me very sad because these people are so blindly following a religion that seeks to keep certain groups oppressed. He preaches love, but at its foundation is hate, and he doesn’t even realize it.

Christians don’t seem to understand why freethinkers have a problem with their beliefs. This is why. Christians constantly try to force their beliefs upon others because they are told to “share the faith” and “bring others to Christ.” They think they’re doing a good thing by bringing people to Christ, but they’re really oppressing large groups of caring, loving people who want nothing more than to be accepted in society.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Think Birth Control ‘Poisons’ Women’s Bodies

Let’s just get this out in the open. I am hopping mad over this situation. I flew into a rage on Facebook, where I saw the ThinkProgress article posted. Then I went over to the Tulsa World and read the story of this man, Senator Clark Jolley (R-Edmond), who is “morally against contraception.” Here’s what I have to say to Mr. Jolley – get your religious beliefs out of my government!

His constituent, a “natural family planning consultant and women’s health researcher” (yeah, right), a cardiologist named Dr. Dominic Pedulla, believes that birth control “poisons women” and that women are “worse off with contraception because it suppresses and disables who they are.” What kind of an idiot takes this man seriously? Mr. Jolley, it appears. And nine other people on the Business and Commerce committee. Someone please explain how contraception is related to Business and Commerce!?

Would you like to give Mr. Pedulla a call? Here’s his practice phone number: (405) 947-2228.

So this Mr. Pedulla believes that women are defined by their ability to have children. I have two kids, and I love them very much. I love being a mother and I love everything that comes with it. But motherhood does not define who I am. It is not the only thing that describes me. I certainly don’t feel deprived because I’m no longer having children. Actually, I feel more suppressed and poisoned when businessmen with no regard for science and fact try to make decisions about my body! I wish for just one minute that someone would force these men to do something that takes away their freedom. They have it so easy.

“Studies show that women using contraceptives consider pregnancy more unwanted than wanted, he said.” You’re damn right, Mr. Pedulla! We choose whether or not we want to bear children. We choose to use the available options to plan our families. We choose when, where, and how we have our children. This is our right as women, and you are trying to take it away, and put more power into the hands of large corporations by allowing them to deny coverage. I don’t agree with Catholic organizations denying coverage, but I understand it. Allowing any company to opt out of providing proper care for women and protecting a woman’s right to choose how to plan her family is morally wrong.

The problem is that they’ve lumped abortion in with contraception in this measure, and these are two fundamentally different things. Contraception prevents abortions, and studies have shown this! Denying abortion coverage is one thing, but contraception is a basic female need these days.

I fear for my girls’ future. I fear for their ability to make choices for themselves. We must stand up to these two men, and we must not let this pass. The problem is that I have no experience fighting lawmakers and I have no idea how to go about it. Tips and advice? I really want to be involved in taking this measure down. It’s unacceptable, and it’s time for this to stop. If you have ideas for what can be done, I’d love to hear them!

Republicans, are you listening? As long as you pull crap like this, you will never win me over. Ever. 

The Election and the Church

It’s time for me to weigh in on the 2012 Presidential Election. Are you sick of hearing about it yet? I am, but only to a degree. Several well-written blog posts have popped up that discuss the churches’ role politics. One of the more interesting ones appeared on my Facebook feed this morning. It’s a Christian blogger, but you may want to head on over and read it. Then come back. Promise you will! I’ll wait. It opens in a new window. Also, you don’t have to read all the Jesus stuff at the bottom. I’m talking about her sections on the various groups of people. I know it’s hard for atheists and agnostics to read about Jesus stuff.

Grieving and Hope After the Election

What do you think about this post? Her statistics are the same ones I remember learning in my social issues class last spring. I believe she’s right. The church has been on a power trip and has aimed to oppress these groups, perhaps without even realizing it. The things she talks about in this post are the things that are driving people away from the church. I personally don’t think much will change. I think the right will go more right while the left goes more left.

One thing is for sure, though – as long as long as Republicans keep aligning themselves with religious extremists, they will continue to lose supporters. I was hoping for a Republican candidate that had good ideas and well-rounded values. Instead, I got Nutty McNutjob and Liar VanLiarson. I’m not given to calling names, but those sounded fun. :)

All that being said, I think Jen’s blog post is a good one and that all Christians should read it. I think it’s time for the church to wake up to the reality of the harm they’re doing. It may not happen across the board, but if even a few Christians can be a voice for reason and love in their churches, then maybe it will get better. Not that I’m advocating that the church needs to gain members. I’d love to see them lose people in droves. But there will always been people who stay, and families who stay. Maybe those people can learn to treat people with respect.

One more thought that I want to share publicly: I am so sorry for ever trying to force my beliefs upon someone. I was terrible to people. I chastised innocent people for listening to rock music, for saying curse words, and for watching pro wrestling. I was a terrible person, and I’m sorry.

Final Statements of Death Row Inmates

This post poses a lot of questions. I would love to know what you think about this. Please share your thoughts, but let’s be civil to one another.

Would you like to read something creepy? The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has kept a record of the final statements of those they’ve executed since the 1980’s. They include pictures and the stories behind most of the criminals as well. Many of these people claimed innocence up to the very end. Whether they were innocent or not, we will never know. Because, you know, death is final, after all. But why do they claim innocence when they know there’s no hope for freedom? Do they truly believe they are innocent? Are they really innocent and a major injustice is occurring?

I find it interesting that one of the most (if not the most) “Christian” states in the Union has also executed most inmates than any other state. Why do these people, who claim forgiveness is possible when one turns to god, kill in the name of justice? I know there are a million arguments both for and against the death penalty, and I’m not really writing this to hash all of that out. I just wanted to share this link because it’s a reminder that these people on death row, though they committed violent crimes, are still people. They still have cares and concerns. They still love. They feel regret (many of them). Most of them have converted to Christianity out of some final grasp for hope that god will have mercy on them, I’m sure. Whether you’re for or against the death penalty, you can’t deny that these statements are profoundly sad, especially the ones that claim innocence. I began to cry about about 10 of them. Some of them count down because they know death is seconds away, and they kept talking until the end.

This one asked for forgiveness and told the victim’s family that they must forgive him to “gain the kingdom of heaven.” Then he says, “I don’t require your forgiveness, because God has forgiven me.” But then asks for forgiveness again. Death for killing a man over his wallet. Why would he justify stealing a wallet as reason to kill? It’s hard to understand.

Another interesting thing is that some of these murders occurred during robberies, and usually for no more than $500 or so, maybe a car stereo. Why are people willing to kill for such small amounts of cash? Where have they failed or who has failed them? Does it all being with parenting? Or does it go beyond that, like the whole “it takes a village to raise a child” thing? Are our cities, communities, and governments failing people? Are they just inherently evil? Do you believe people can change, even murderers?

One more interesting fact, which I hope doesn’t spark a massive debate: most of these crimes were committed with firearms.

I know this post was a little odd, but I stumbled upon that site this morning and wanted to share. It caused human feeling to well up inside me for these people, even though I know they took human life themselves. It’s such a difficult thing, to care for people who do harm to others. I think we need more of that – just caring for others and their problems and their humanity.

 

The way to see by faith – Some Thoughts on Our Nation’s History

“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
-Benjamin Franklin

One of my favorite quotes… Oh, and would you look at that!? It’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America! Even though Ben Franklin wasn’t an atheist, he rejected the Christian dogma of his time and found his god in nature and rationalism, typical of Enlightenment deists. I find this interesting because so many claim that America is a Christian nation and, by God, we’re a-prayin’ folk!

Well, America was and is home to many Christians, like founding father, John Jay. However, not all of our fearless fathers were Christian. John Adams was a Unitarian. Thomas Jefferson, like Franklin, believed in a deity, but he rejected Christianity as a whole and spoke out against the Catholic church. Jefferson once said, “to talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings,” regarding his view of god. James Madison, the “father of the Constitution,” was almost solely responsible for the First Amendment and the laws governing the separation of church and state. And George Washington, though deist, publicly called for people of all faiths (and no faith) to adopt a tolerant mindset that would help Americans feel safe that they could believe or not believe whatever they chose.

So to those who say we are a “Christian” country, perhaps a course or two in history and the humanities will show you the truth about our origins. Americans are everything – Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, Atheist, Wiccan, and Pastafarian. And every single person in this country should be allowed to believe and practice as he or she pleases as long as it does not a) hurt anyone or encroach upon someone else’s right to practice as they please and b) involve government agencies. Involving government agencies, meetings, and the like, only breaks down that which James Madison worked so hard to ensure – freedom of religion. Freedom.

Why is this so difficult for people to understand? Why must those who believe differently than you be the target of such hatred? Can’t we all just friggin’ get along?

City of Sand Springs Praying to Jesus Before Meetings

What do people not understand about the separation of church and state? It protects not only the non-religious, but also the faithful. It keeps that faith sacred and meaningful. It keeps the various faiths from being overrun by another. It prevents the government from telling a Christian that they must worship Allah, and vice versa. Why must people continue to bring their god into the government? It’s so simple to leave it out, yet people continue to invoke the Christian god before meetings and as a way of solving the difficult problems.

Check out this post by Beau McElhattan on the City of Sand Springs council meetings. Beau wrote an email to the mayor. I think I will do the same. Here’s a video of the prayer “in Jesus’ name.”

http://youtu.be/gtsLXRZgw_g

Come on, Sand Springs, get god out of the government. Not everyone believes the way you do.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Wants Us to Pray for Rain

That’s right, our lovely right-wing governor is requesting that Oklahomans of “all faiths” stand together in prayer with her to end the drought.

One lovely Tulsa resident was quoted to say, “It’s the bible belt that’s what we do, we pray.” Right, because everyone in Oklahoma is a Christian. Geez, people, have you no sense of what’s around you? Beyond this being a blatant intermingling of church and state, and beyond the fact that rain is controlled by weather patterns and many physically measurable scientific factors, the thing that truly gets me is how oblivious these people are to the fact that not everyone believes the same way they do. As an atheist in Oklahoma, I find this disturbing and frustrating. We cannot control the rain. There are more important things to be concerned about that we can control.