The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

This isn't going to stop anytime soon, is it?

Today, So. Dak. Representative Louvely Bestworst (D.--Isabella) introduced legislation that would make it illegal "to withhold service from anyone who has the money to pay you for your services, no matter what you may think of their personal attributes."

Bestworst said, "This bill will put a stop to the inhuman, and worse, insensitive, practice of turning people down who want to cut a deal with you, just because you don't like them or how they look or how you imagine they think."

State Senator Cecil Hardwhack (R. -- Deers Ears) said, "Jesus Christ! If that passes then I'll have to put up a sign at my hardware store that says 'No fuckin' shirt, no fuckin' shoes, no fuckin' problem'"

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Why I bother...

Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Bachman, Glenn Beck, Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Paul Ryan, Jimmy Bakker (can you look at him and believe it!), Richard Nixon, John Ehrlichman, John Thune, Phil Robertson (I can't believe that one!), ....

These and thousands more are the reasons I bother to express my opinion about the existence of "God." I am forced by countless assaults on my freedom to live my life the way I want to, free of legal constraints designed to assure my moral purity, my ticket to heaven.

I am required to endure a prayer prior to the inception of the business of virtually every public meeting I attend. These meetings are held to decide who gets to do what to whom, with public funds collected and expended for the winners.

Since I don't care whether or not you "believe" in "God," I only occasionally chime in on a Facebook thread that proposes some nonsensical argument to support the poster's rejection of evolution. But the steady incursion of selective Biblical philosophy into the decisions of who gets to do what to whom with tax money is worth fighting.

Abortion: A woman has the right to decide whether she wants to allow a growth to exist in her body. Period. If there's a soul involved, God has the option of placing it elsewhere. In any case, I haven't heard a religious argument that says an aborted soul goes to Hell.

Enforced prayer before public meetings: What purpose does it serve except to help identify troublemakers (synonymous with Godless voters)?

Use of non-governmentally-approved methods to feel better: This is an argument that would not exist were it not for the prominent "theologians'" and political "spiritual advisors'" endorsement of an absurd set of public policies that result in the imprisonment of millions of people no sane person can call a criminal, while funnelling trillions of dollars to the most vicious people on earth (tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies and their illegal counterparts).

The apparent recent endorsement of Everything Phil Robertson Says by an apparently sizeable portion of the electorate, including a Facebook comparison of the bearded duck-calling Robertsons to the bearded "fisher men" of Biblical lore makes my efforts to counter it necessary, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Why does anyone else care if I believe...

At all times and in every area of our lives we are subject to immense pressure from religion. I'm not opposed to most of that. I am opposed to the disproportionate influence exercised by power mad zealots using some quirky religious belief or another to justify inhuman behavior toward someone else.

While Christopher Hitchens was not a factor in my arriving at pretty close to conclusive lack of belief in a "God, maker of the universe and personally concerned with my welfare," or in any Supreme Design, I do enjoy reading Hitchens' arguments for a similar point of view.

Hitchens said: "Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse."

Here's the problem. It probably makes little difference to God whether or not I believe in God. Whether or not I exist in a Supreme Design is, by definition, irrelevant to the success or failure of the Design. But people who believe in some combination of "God" and the "Supreme Design" naturally seek out others to convert them or to share their faith. These groups too often then seek, and way too often attain, the power to control an aspect of the lives of others over which they properly should have no control. Throughout history, zealots have used religion to inspire their disciples to put hot irons in the eyes of people whose religion didn't supply them with enough firepower to win whichever war was being fought.

The ritual and social life of the Mormon, Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and various European Protestant factions that I have observed with varying degrees of familiarity provide models of desirable lifestyles, although the level of undesirability that often lurks below the social waterline probably is no lower among believers than among non-believers. I believe I can exist peacefully with people who practice these religions, or any other religion, without trying to force me to practice their religion. Wait, if I knew that somebody down the street was going to excise his three-year-old daughter's clitoris and labia majora and minora, I would do what I could to put a stop to it. That's a little too gruesome for me to accept even in someone else's religion.

A disproportionate influence of exactly the sort I despise is being exercised in Rapid City Council meetings, where a local person of the cloth opens meetings with prayers. There can only be one logical reason for this practice to be imposed on all of us; the Believers want to identify the NonBelievers. Since they can't (as of today, anyway) tie people's hands behind them and hoist them by their wrists until they profess faith, they're left with observing the crowd of citizens, come looking for redress of grievances or some such, to see who's showing less than appropriate reverence.

If the Council People want to pray to God, why, in God's name, do they need to make us part of it? It's people like that who give God a bad name.