Watch Religions Spread Around The World…

 


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God Is Imaginary…

 

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It is easy to prove to yourself that God is imaginary. The evidence is all around you. Here are 50 simple proofs:

  1. Try praying
  2. Statistically analyze prayer
  3. Look at all historical gods
  4. Think about science
  5. Read the Bible
  6. Ponder God’s plan
  7. Understand religious delusion

Go to Website for complete list here
~~

Southbound? Don’t miss the Chicken Gravy….

 

img_2041Fantasy cake from recent dream partially inspired by first scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind?

From Dave Smith

If you travel south periodically from Mendocino County to Sonoma County and the Bay Area, you probably have developed favorite food stops that you frequent along the 101 corridor.

Having lived near Healdsburg for years before moving up here to Mendo, we have to stop at the Downtown Bakery on the plaza for a sticky bun and/or croissant on the way down.

Coming back, we may stop at either Amy’s (Vegetarian) Kitchen in Rohnert Park, Whole Foods, or In-and-Out. Now that we are getting our own In-and-Out here in Ukiah, that will soon be off the list due to burger fatigue. But there is also Cape Cod Fish and Chips in Cotati that Jeff Cox, longtime food critic for the Press Democrat, praised years ago.

We may stop again at Downtown Bakery to take home some Bread (Croissant) Pudding.

Just recently we’ve crossed Whole Foods off our list because of Big John’s Market in Healdsburg (Dry Creek turnoff). They’ve expanded into a wonderful Whole Foods style market that is not to be missed. Say hi to Babs at the cheese counter who used to work at the Ukiah Co-op.

Unfortunately, Big John’s deli features organic fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and superb chicken gravy that is so good I cannot get around to trying the many other offerings… I just go straight for the chicken and gravy every time. Unfortunate indeed!

If I still lived in Healdsburg I would have died and gone to heaven by now, but at least my arteries would have been clogged organically.

~~

Progressives should act like progressives  — even when Islam is concerned…

 

hi

From quillette.com

The Hijab and the Regressive Left’s Absurd Campaign to Betray Freethinking Women

The first woman in a hijab to anchor a television news broadcast!  To dance as a ballerina!  To fence in the Olympics!  To — cue for gasps at the sheer progressive splendor of the moment — pose in Playboy!

Headlines proclaiming such “firsts” — performed by Muslim women living, nota bene, in the United States and Canada — have appeared often in the press over the past couple of years. Surely by now you’ve seen them.  The associated coverage is frequently gushing, but when it is not, it is not probing, and certainly not critical.  It is, in fact, part and parcel of the regressive left’s insidious attempt at brainwashing well-meaning liberals into lauding what should be, in our increasingly diverse societies, at best a neutral fact: freedom of speech means freedom of religion.  Women should be free to dress as they please.  Some Muslim women wear hijabs and are the first to do so in various endeavors.

By no means does freedom of religion, however, confer on religion or religious customs exemptions from criticism, satire, or even derision.  The American revolutionary Thomas Paine, among others, established that.  Too much is at stake.  Unsupported by evidence, at odds with science, and frequently deleterious to the common good, religion and its attendant customs deserve intense, sustained rationalist scrutiny.  Our fellows, of course, are free to base their lives on ancient claptrap ideologies entailing uncritical acceptance of absurdities (talking snakes, virgin births, flying horses, and so on), but they should not expect the rest of us to ignore or let pass without comment the intrusion of said claptrap into the public arena.  In the United States, for example, the faith-addled — though, thankfully, dwindling in number — use their votes to the detriment of, inter alia, reproductive rights, the right to die with dignity, and public education. With religion losing its grip on the young, progressives of all ages need to seize the initiative and speak out.  The established trend is toward nonbelief.

Hence, few spectacles are more puzzling, disturbing, hypocritical, and potentially damaging to women’s rights — and therefore to human progress as a whole — than the de facto campaign in some purportedly liberal press outlets to normalize the hijab and portray it as a hallmark of feminist pride and dignity, and not as a sartorial artifact of a misogynistic, seventh-century ideology, forced upon its wearers by law in some countries and by hidebound cultural norms and community and familial pressure, even violence, elsewhere.

It should shock true progressives that the hijab’s media champions are, in the majority, non-Muslim women residing in the West, working for secular publications, and enjoying the protections afforded by a secular legal environment: no one is going to force them into a hijab, or threaten or murder them if they refuse to wear it.  They may well hold that they are promoting the right of a mostly nonwhite minority to dress as they please and follow the faith of their choosing, but in fact they are traducing freethinking women in this same minority — and, what’s worse, with the implicit backing of thugs, acid-throwers, and assassins.  Their campaign reeks of betrayal of the most craven kind — inadvertent though it may be.

Continue article here
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Dave Smith: Hal Zina Bennett interview now available…

 

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From Dave

My Mendocino Talking interview with Hal Zina Bennett, Local Author and Creative Writing Coach, is now available in this week’s Anderson Valley Advertiser.

For subscribers to The AVA online, available here.

Also available on the Mendocino Talking website, here.
~~

TODD WALTON: Just Us

 

The Magician

The Magician (Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company) ©2016  David Jouris / Motion Pictures

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table Books
Mendocino

“In 1978, Proposition 13 passed with almost 65% of those who voted in favor and with the participation of nearly 70% of registered voters. After passage, Proposition 13 became article XIII A of the California Constitution.” Wikipedia

We’ve been picking up our neighbor’s Press Democrat while he is away in Idaho hunting elk. The headline article of the Sunday edition is about the shortage of rental properties in Mendocino and all over California and America due to so many people choosing to go the Air B&B route with their rental units rather than rent long term to locals.

What does that have to do with the famous Proposition 13? In my view, the Airbnb phenomenon is the grandchild of Proposition 13, and the election of Donald Trump is a sibling of Airbnb.

There once was a concept known as the Greater Good, otherwise known as our community. Before the passage of Proposition 13, California had excellent schools, universities, parks, healthcare, mental healthcare, and public libraries, along with many other public goodies, too. Ten years later, those public systems were collapsing as the wealthy fled the public sector for private systems only they could afford—to hell with the middle and lower classes.

I recently fell into conversation with a woman who, upon finding out I owned a house in Mendocino, asked if I had a cottage to rent? “Or even a garage that doesn’t leak?”

Holy Horrors: Witch-Hunts…

 


Accused “witches” first were stripped and searched for “devil’s marks” – then the torture began. The process usually ended in execution.

From Church and State, UK

Excerpt from Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness, by James A. Haught (Prometheus Books, 2002). 

Chapter 10: Witch-Hunts

During the 1400s, the Holy Inquisition shifted its focus toward witchcraft, and the next three centuries witnessed a bizarre orgy of religious delusion. Agents of the church tortured untold thousands of women, and some men, into confessing that they flew through the sky on demonic missions, engaged in sex with Satan, turned themselves into animals, made themselves invisible, and performed other supernatural evils. Virtually all the accused were put to death. The number of victims is estimated widely from 100,000 to 2 million.

Pope Gregory IX originally authorized the killing of witches in the 1200s, and random witch trials were held, but the craze didn’t catch fire until the 15th century. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issued a bull declaring the absolute reality of witches—thus it became heresy to doubt their existence. Prosecutions soared. The inquisitor Cumanus burned forty-one women the following year, and a colleague in the Piedmont of Italy executed 100.

Soon afterward, two Dominican inquisitors, Jakob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer, published their infamous Malleus Maleficarum (Witches’ Hammer) outlining a lurid litany of magical acts performed by witches and their imps, familiars, phantoms, demons, succubi, and incubi. It described how the evil women blighted crops, devoured children, caused disease, and wrought spells. The book was filled with witches’ sexual acts and portrayed women as treacherous and contemptible. “All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable,” they wrote. Modern psychology easily perceives the sexual neurosis of these priests—yet for centuries their book was the official manual used by inquisitors sending women to horrible deaths.

Rational Suicide: Philip Nitschke launches ‘militant’ campaign for unrestricted adult access to euthanasia…

 

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From The Guardian, Australia

Exit Action seeks to push far beyond access to voluntary euthanasia for terminally or incurably ill people… that will take ‘a militant pro-euthanasia position’ to try and force legislative change…

The voluntary euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke has launched a “militant” campaign to push for unrestricted adult access to a peaceful death.

Nitschke announced the launch of Exit Action on Sunday morning, describing the new organisation as a subgroup of Exit International, which campaigns, runs workshops and distributes information on voluntary euthanasia.

Exit Action said it would take “a militant pro-euthanasia position” to coordinate direct action strategies and force legislative change.

“Exit Action is critical of the ‘medical model’ that sees voluntary euthanasia as a privilege given to the very sick by the medical profession,” the organisation said.

“The standard approach for years has been to get the very sick to tell their stories of suffering to the public and politicians, in the hope that politicians might take pity and change the law.”

“Exit Action believes that a peaceful death, and access to the best euthanasia drugs, is a right of all competent adults, regardless of sickness or permission from the medical profession.”

Christian Crock: Most American Christians Believe They’re Victims of Discrimination…

 

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From The Atlantic

(Not The Onion) They say religious discrimination against Christians is as big a problem as discrimination against other groups.

Many, many Christians believe they are subject to religious discrimination in the United States. A new report from the Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings offers evidence: Almost half of Americans say discrimination against Christians is as big of a problem as discrimination against other groups, including blacks and minorities. Three-quarters of Republicans and Trump supporters said this, and so did nearly eight out of 10 white evangelical Protestants. Of the latter group, six in 10 believe that although America once was a Christian nation, it is no longer—a huge jump from 2012.

Polling data can be split up in a million different ways. It’s possible to sort by ethnicity, age, political party, and more. The benefit of sorting by religion, though, is that it highlights people’s beliefs: the way their ideological and spiritual convictions shape their self-understanding. This survey suggests that race is not enough to explain the sense of loss some white Americans seem to feel about their country, although it’s part of the story; the same is true of age, education level, and political affiliation. People’s beliefs seem to have a distinctive bearing on how they view changes in American culture, politics, and law—and whether they feel threatened. No group is more likely to express this fear than conservative Christians.

One aspect of American fear that’s been talked about a lot during this presidential-election cycle is fear of the other, from the Mexican immigrants who would be kept out by a wall to the Muslim refugees who would be banned from fleeing here from their homes abroad. That fear seems to fade, though, if Americans recognize a religious kinship with people they perceive as foreign.

Forty-six percent of those surveyed said immigration from Mexico and Central America has been too high in recent years. When asked the same question about immigrants from “predominantly Christian countries,” though, only 10 percent of people said immigration has been too high. The irony is that this is essentially the same question, phrased two different ways: Latin American countries are overwhelming Christian—in many places, even more so than the United States. When Americans think of those immigrants as Christians, rather than foreign nationals, they’re more likely to open their arms in welcome.

Sunday Song: Heaven is Satellite by the Hooters…

 

Thanks to Bruce

Hush little baby, don’t cry like that
God’s gonna buy you a Cadillac
He’s chosen you to do his will
You can spread the word in your coupe de ville

So jump in the river and learn to swim
God’s gonna wash away all your sins
And if you still can’t see the light
God’s gonna buy you a satellite

Look to the heavens and see it shine
Heals the sick and leads the blind
Tune it in and hear it say
It’s counting down to judgment day

So jump in the river and learn to swim
God’s gonna wash away all your sins
And if you still can’t see the light
God’s gonna buy you a satellite

Hey, satellite man, your time has come
Your word received by everyone
And should you fall, well, that’s okay
You love the ones that you betray

So jump in the river and learn to swim
God’s gonna wash away all your sins
And when at last you see the light
God’s gonna by you a satellite

So jump in the river and learn to swim
God’s gonna wash away all your sins
And when at last you see the light
God’s gonna buy you a satellite

Yeah, when at last you see the light
God’s gonna buy you a satellite
Hey, God’s gonna buy you a satellite

Look to the heavens and see it shine
~~

Ingersoll: Is Suicide a Sin?

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

* These letters were published in the New York World, 1894.

Col. Ingersoll’s First Letter.
I DO not know whether self-killing is on the increase or not. If it is, then there must be, on the average, more trouble, more sorrow, more failure, and, consequently, more people are driven to despair. In civilized life there is a great struggle, great competition, and many fail. To fail in a great city is like being wrecked at sea. In the country a man has friends; he can get a little credit, a little help, but in the city it is different. The man is lost in the multitude. In the roar of the streets, his cry is not heard. Death becomes his only friend. Death promises release from want, from hunger and pain, and so the poor wretch lays down his burden, dashes it from his shoulders and falls asleep.

To me all this seems very natural. The wonder is that so many endure and suffer to the natural end, that so many nurse the spark of life in huts and prisons, keep it and guard it through years of misery and want; support it by beggary, by eating the crust found in the gutter, and to whom it only gives days of weariness and nights of fear and dread. Why should the man, sitting amid the wreck of all he had, the loved ones dead, friends lost, seek to lengthen, to preserve his life? What can the future have for him?

Under many circumstances a man has the right to kill himself. When life is of no value to him, when he can be of no real assistance to others, why should a man continue? When he is of no benefit, when he is a burden to those he loves, why should he remain? The old idea was that God made us and placed us here for a purpose and that it was our duty to remain until he called us. The world is outgrowing this absurdity. What pleasure can it give God to see a man devoured by a cancer; to see the quivering flesh slowly eaten; to see the nerves throbbing with pain? Is this a festival for God? Why should the poor wretch stay and suffer? A little morphine would give him sleep—the agony would be forgotten and he would pass unconsciously from happy dreams to painless death.

Mo Jesus…

 

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The End of the American Century…

 

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From John Michael Greer

I have a bone to pick with the Washington Post. A few days back, as some of my readers may be aware, it published a list of some two hundred blogs that it claimed were circulating Russian propaganda, and I was disappointed to find that The Archdruid Report didn’t make the cut.

Oh, granted, I don’t wait each week for secret orders from Boris Badenov, the mock-iconic Russian spy from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show of my youth, but that shouldn’t disqualify me.  I’ve seen no evidence that any of the blogs on the list take orders from Moscow, either; certainly the Post offered none worth mentioning. Rather, what seems to have brought down the wrath of “Pravda on the Potomac,” as the Post is unfondly called by many DC locals, is that none of these blogs have been willing to buy into the failed neoconservative consensus that’s guided American foreign policy for the last sixteen years. Of that latter offense, in turn, The Archdruid Report is certainly guilty.

There are at least two significant factors behind the Post’s adoption of the tactics of the late Senator Joe McCarthy, dubious lists and all.  The first is that the failure of Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions has thrown into stark relief an existential crisis that has the American news media by the throat. The media sell their services to their sponsors on the assumption that they can then sell products and ideas manufactured by those sponsors to the American people. The Clinton campaign accordingly outspent Trump’s people by a factor of two to one, sinking impressive amounts of the cash she raised from millionaire donors into television advertising and other media buys.

Clinton got the coverage she paid for, too. Nearly every newspaper in the United States endorsed her; pundits from one end of the media to the other solemnly insisted that everyone ought to vote for her; equivocal polls were systematically spun in her favor by a galaxy of talking heads. Pretty much everyone who thought they mattered was on board the bandwagon. The only difficulty, really was that the people who actually mattered—in particular, voters in half a dozen crucial swing states—responded to all this by telling their soi-disant betters, “Thanks, but one turkey this November is enough.” 

TODD WALTON: Two Love Stories

 

love story

love story photo by Todd

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table Books
Mendocino

Here are two brief love stories from my new novel Magenta.

Henry’s Story

When I was a senior in high school at Fort Orford High and causing my God-fearing parents great distress by playing the guitar, I fell in love with Iriana Ceja, a beautiful Mexican woman three years older than I.

Iriana was a waitress at the North End Café, now Dave’s Donuts, and believe me, Iriana was the only reason anyone knowingly went to the North End Café. The food was bad, the coffee uniformly bitter, the décor ugly and uncomfortable. But Iriana was so lovely, so friendly, and such a sparkling conversationalist, hundreds of people made the North End Café a daily part of their lives, and I was one of those people.

I went there after school to gawk at Iriana and listen to her talk and laugh. I would buy a stale cookie and a cup of bitter coffee and stay for hours, supposedly doing my homework, but really just reveling in Iriana. My life at home was torture because my parents were so fiercely opposed to everything I loved, especially my playing the guitar and writing songs. School was drudgery and my peers were largely disinterested in the poets and artists I admired.

Iriana was my solace.

An Animated Introduction to George Orwell…

 

From Open Culture

When his short and (by his own account) often miserable life came to an end in 1950, could the English political writer Eric Arthur Blair have known that he would not just become a household name, but remain one well over half a century later? Given his adoption of the memorable nom de plume George Orwell, we might say he had an inkling of his literary legacy’s potential. Still, he claimed to choose it for no grander reason than that it sounded like “a good round English name,” and would have loathed the pretense he sensed in the use of the phrase “nom de plume,” or, for that matter, any other of conspicuously foreign provenance.

The attitudes that shaped the author of Animal Farm and 1984 come out in this animated introduction to Orwell’s life and work, newly published by Alain de Botton’s School of Life. In explaining the motivations of this “most famous English language writer of the 20th century,” de Botton quotes from the essay “Why I Write,” wherein Orwell, with characteristic clarity, lays out his mission “to make political writing into an art. My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice. When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”

Orwell hated his fellow intellectuals, whom he accused of “a range of sins: a lack of patriotism, resentment of money and physical vigor, concealed sexual frustration, pretension, and dishonesty.” He loved “the ordinary person” and the lives led by those “not especially blessed by material goods, people who work in ordinary jobs, who don’t have much of an education, who won’t achieve greatness, and who nevertheless love, care for others, work, have fun, raise children, and have large thoughts about the deepest questions in ways Orwell thought especially admirable.” Though raised middle-class and educated at Eton, Orwell eschewed university and believed that “the average pub in a coal-mining village contained more intelligence and wisdom than the British Cabinet or the high table of an Oxbridge college.”

One might want to call such an intellectual a poseur or even a sort of fetishist, but Orwell backed up his pronouncements about the superiority of the working class with his years spent living and working in it, and, with books like Down and Out in Paris and London and The Road to Wigan Pier, writing about it. He praised newspaper comics, country walks, dancing, Charles Dickens, and straightforward language, all of which informed the attacks on ideology and authoritarianism that would keep his writing meaningful for future generations. The holiday season now upon us makes another work of Orwell’s especially relevant: his Christmas pudding recipe, one blow in his lesser-known struggle to, as the London-based de Botton puts it, write “bravely in defense of English cooking” — a project which would, by itself, qualify him as a champion of the underdog.

See Also:

George Orwell’s Five Greatest Essays (as Selected by Pulitzer-Prize Winning Columnist Michael Hiltzik)
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‘Atheist Muslims’ could be the key to defeating Islamic terror…

 

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From New York Post Opinions

I was raised in three Muslim majority countries — Libya, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan — and arrived in North America in my mid-20s. Two years after I settled in Canada, September 11 happened. Nineteen hijackers acting in the name of my parents’ religion — 15 from a country I grew up in — flew fuel-laden airliners into the World Trade Center, killing thousands.

From the ashes, two opposing narratives began to emerge, as it happens with most issues in the US: one on the right, and one on the left.

And today, in a nation more divided than ever after a rancorous election season, the differences couldn’t be more stark.

The right is clear: We’re at war with Islamic terrorists. They started it, and we must respond. We know the common denominator here, so enough with the political correctness — we must keep our country safe, and if that means profiling Muslims, restricting Muslim immigration or even “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” as President-elect Donald Trump proposed last year, so be it.

No, says the left. We need to be nuanced. Read through our history. Islamists are simply responding to America’s atrocities around the world. We’re the imperialists who colonized them, held them down under the boot of the military-industrial complex and built our civilization at their expense. We must look at the underlying grievances and root causes driving this. The “biggest terrorist operation that exists,” according to uber-leftist hero Noam Chomsky, is actually the one being run by Obama.

Hi, I’m Stefanie and I’m addicted to religion…

 

img_2030From ExChristian Network

I have seen others refer to this as an addiction, and I have said this myself before. Sometimes I wonder, am I making to much of this? Is it just something that happened in the past and I’m over it? No.. It’s something I battle all the time. Am I sure all other ex Christians feel addicted? No, I don’t know…

That’s just it, I don’t know….

I have been in a relationship with someone who goes to AA. I go to support him, And I listen. I have to say that I went through a lot that they did, but I can’t tell them that, they will never understand. Its actually addicting to me to get into an organization. But I am an extremist and take it too far. I can’t help it and I don’t know when to quit, I end up getting hurt and hurting the people around me. Christianity hurt me and my family. I didn’t know when to quit. I had to be just what God ordered and I thought I was doing right. If I hurt you for the cause… I was doing right, or so I thought. I lost everything in his name, and I would do it again and again, and I would have died for this god as well. I gave him my money when I was going without food. I was supposed to have faith. I ended up stealing food and then believed I was going to hell for it. There was no mercy. But I couldn’t stop.

In God We (Don’t) Trust…

 

dollar

From Freedom From Religion Foundation

For an overwhelming part of U.S. history, America’s motto was purely secular, “E Pluribus Unum” (From many [come] one). E Pluribus Unum was chosen by a committee of Jefferson, Adams and Franklin. Many Americans mistakenly assume our founders chose “In God We Trust” as the motto, but nothing could be further from the truth. Our founders were committed to a secular government. For most of U.S. history, our money was likewise free of religion.

Of all of the complaints over state/church entanglement received by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, none has received more complaints from our membership than the inscription “In God We Trust” on currency.

To learn more about how a religious motto supplanted U.S. secular heritage, read on and see the links below.

The Freedom From Religion sued the federal government in 1994 to have “In God We Trust” removed from currency and as our national motto.

The motto was put on all paper currency by an Act of Congress in 1955. The phrase was chosen as our national motto by an Act of Congress in 1956. It first appeared on paper currency in 1957.

The Foundation lawsuit was dismissed by a 10th-circuit federal judge on the grounds that “In God We Trust” is not a religious phrase. The Foundation appealed the dismissal.

Foundation Lawsuit Challenges “In God We Trust” Motto
Freethought Today, June/July 1994

“In God We Trust” Legal Complaint
Freethought Today, June/July 1994

“In God We Trust” Appeal 
Freethought Today, January/February 1996

In God We Trust Appealed To High Court
Freethought Today, May 1996

US Supreme Court Turns Down Foundation Appeal 
Freethought Today, June/July 1996

See Court Challenges
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Agnostic or Atheist?

 


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The magic baby in Bethlehem…

 


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Sunday Song: Praise the lord and send me the money…

 

Thanks to Bruce

Praise the Lord and send me the money
I’m happy you can be happy too
If you praise the Lord and send me the money
That’s what Jesus wants you to do

Late one night while watchin’ Columbo
I fell asleep till quarter past three
When just like a vision I thought I was dreamin’
I heard the voice of a man on TV

He said praise the Lord and send me the money
I’m happy you can be happy too
If you praise the Lord and send me the money
That’s what Jesus wants you to do

I sat straight up and reached for my checkbook
Trembling with guilt took my bic pen in hand
I wrote out the figures a one and four zeros
Went out and mailed it with a note to that man

I said praise the Lord I’m sendin’ the money
I surely wanna be happy like you
Praise the Lord I’m sendin’ the money
If that’s what Jesus wants me to do

I woke up late for work the next morning
I could not believe what I’d done
Wrote a hot check to Jesus for ten thousand dollars
And my bank account only held thirty-one

I got a second job at a gasoline station
I’m savin’ me money to pay what I owe
I don’t get much sleep cause I stay up late watchin’
All of the folks on the Lord’s TV show

Sayin’ praise the Lord and send me the money…
Praise the Lord I’m sendin’ the money

~~

The New Way To Be Creepy For Jesus…

 

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From Roll To Disbelieve

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. . . A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”

Matthew 12:33-35

It often takes a personal tragedy for Christians to realize that they can’t trust the religion’s party lines about much of anything. But once that tragedy strikes, it’s usually too late to do anything but feel regret for that misplaced trust.

One of fundagelical Christianity’s most cherished party lines is that people are meant to live in rigidly structured, hierarchical communities and to adopt very narrowly-prescribed roles in their relationships. One group gets all the power to make decisions and order everyone else around, and everyone else is supposed to obey without flinching. Not only are fundagelical leaders authoritarians, but their congregations tend to be in turn authoritarian followers. The dysfunction of the leaders makes sense to their followers, who are dysfunctional in different but completely complementary ways.

“Do what I say, and you will be safe and rewarded,” these leaders promise. It is a promise their followers desperately ache to see realized. But thanks to the nature of power in fundagelicalism’s deeply broken system, only one of those parties is going to get what they want.

The other party? Well, they get it in the shorts, as always.

Finding Out the Hard Way

Endless Absurdities of Religion…

 

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From Church and State UK

Pentecostalism—in which worshippers compulsively spout incomprehensible sounds called “the unknown tongue” (glossolalia)—has become a major world religion. An estimated three hundred million North Americans and Southern Hemisphere residents now attend churches where glossolalia occurs. This faith is surging, while most other branches of Christianity fade.

Santeria worshippers sacrifice thousands of dogs, pigs, goats, chickens, and the like to a variety of deities that are partly Catholic saints and partly African jungle gods. Bodies of the unlucky animals are dumped into waterways. Miami police patrol boats fish out the carcasses. Santeria (“way of the saints”) is somewhat similar to voodoo, but it arose among Spanish slaves instead of French ones.

Many millions of Hindus pray over models of Shiva’s penis. They make pilgrimages to a Himalayan cave where a penis-like ice stalagmite rises in winter. In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, many worshippers pray at a phallic-looking traffic barrier.

About five thousand fervent young Muslims have detonated themselves as human bombs in “martyrdom operations” to kill tens of thousands of “infidels.” The phenomenon peaked on September 11, 2001, when nineteen suicide volunteers hijacked four airliners and crashed them like projectiles to kill nearly three thousand Americans. The year 2007 had more than five hundred suicide attacks worldwide—well above one per day.

TODD WALTON: Solar Postage Socialist

 

goldens

Goldens photo by Todd

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table Books
Mendocino

“At a time when the Post Office is losing substantial revenue from the instantaneous flow of information by email and on the Internet, slowing mail service is a recipe for disaster.” Bernie Sanders

I recently sent a little book, not much more than a glorified pamphlet, to Switzerland. The least expensive way to send the little thing was via the Post Office for twenty-three dollars.  Not very many years ago, the postal service offered inexpensive international mail service, but that was eliminated because…

No one seems to know or remember why the slow boat option was eliminated, but I suspect the cessation went hand-in-hand with all the other things Congress, in service to the Evil Ones, did to wreck our once great postal service.

As a cottage industry artist who sells my books and CDs via my web site, and then ships those goodies to lucky buyers, I am grateful for the wonderful and inexpensive Media Mail option offered by our postal service, with free tracking, but I lose several international sales every year because the cost of shipping books and CDs abroad is more than the value of my products. International postage turns a twenty-dollar book into a forty-five dollar book, and a five-dollar CD becomes a fifteen-dollar CD.

Well, Todd, if you’d make your books available as e-books…no, I don’t want to. I understand why large publishers make e-book versions of books, but the books I sell are limited edition, signed and numbered, actual three-dimensional coil-bound books. Original intriguing well-written fiction. What a concept. I rarely sell more than fifty copies of each book, and I rarely make a profit. And with international postal rates being what they are, I rarely sell to people abroad who express interest in my work. Such is modern life.

The Coming Privatization of Everything…

 

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From TPM

You’ve heard that Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos is from the billionaire DeVos family, heirs of the Amway fortune. She’s a big supporter of ‘school choice’, charter schools, vouchers, etc. But this doesn’t quite capture who the DeVoses are. In terms of scale of wealth and intergenerational devotion to laissez-faire conservative ideology that are right up there with the Kochs – with activism ranging from breaking unions to opposing LGBT equality on basically every front. In fact, Betsy DeVos and her family are parts of the network of conservative donors the Kochs have assembled in recent years.

With all that said, I think the best way to look at DeVos’s appointment is as part of a thoroughgoing movement to breakup the public sector – schools, social insurance, roads and infrastructure, public sector unions – and basically privatize everything. With that in mind I wanted to refer you back to our series on privatization. We’ve published three pieces, with one more still to come. 1st: The history of the privatization movement. 2nd: The private prison industry. 3rd: Public-private partnerships – largely dealing with infrastructure and the privatization of municipal services and public goods. If you’ll pardon a publisher’s sense of pride, this is a really good series, capturing the privatization movement not just in its individual dimensions (which are each important) but as an overarching ideological movement which has had an immense impact on American society and looks set to have much more.

I believe that left to his own devices Trump isn’t terribly ideological about most issues and has few settled views and little policy knowledge. But he’s not left to his own devices. He’s surrounded himself with hardcore rightwing ideologues. And that’s been borne out by every appointment to date. Privatization on every front looks to be the order of the day in the Trump administration.
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Ron Reagan: Freedom From Religion Foundation…

 


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WILLIAM EDELEN: Thanksgiving Thoughts

 

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From Our Archives
WILLIAM EDELEN (1922 – 2015)
The Contrary Minister

My mind is filled with thoughts of Thanksgiving. Thursday is the day we set aside to remember blessings that have enriched our days and graced our lives.

I sit back in my chair and let my eyes once again caress the walls of my study, feeling their energy feed my spirit. The book-lined walls, how I love them.

My heart pours out a very special thanksgiving to all of the great and magnificent spirits whose thoughts and words fill these shelves and offer a feast, waiting only for my mind and soul to partake.

Goethe is there, with Albert Schweitzer and Meister Eckhart, the German theologian. There is Jung, Russell and Whitehead, Loren Eiseley and Suzuki, the Zen master, with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. There is Learned Hand and Oliver Wendell Holmes, with e.e. cummings, Robert Frost and hundreds more, waiting to once again fill my spirit with food that is timeless.

Wow Music…

 


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Christian Crock: An Insider’s View — The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America…

 

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Rural, Christian, white America is entrenched in fundamentalist belief systems. They don’t trust people outside their tribe, and truly believe whites are superior to all races.

As the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump is being sorted out, a common theme keeps cropping up from all sides—”Democrats failed to understand white, working class, fly-over America.” Trump supporters are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even  some Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete bullshit.  It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to throw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isn’t east coast elites don’t understand or care about rural America. The real problem is rural America doesn’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out. They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because the don’t want to admit it is in large part because of choices they’ve made and horrible things they’ve allowed themselves to believe.

I grew up in rural, Christian, white America. You’d be hard-pressed to find an area in the country that has a higher percentage of Christians or whites. I spent most of the first twenty-four years of my life deeply embedded in this culture.  I religiously (pun intended) attended their Christian services. I worked off and on, on their rural farms. I dated their calico skirted daughters.  I camped, hunted, and fished with their sons. I listened to their political rants at the local diner and truck stop. I winced at their racist/bigoted jokes and epithets that were said more out of ignorance than animosity. I have also watched the town I grew up in go from a robust economy with well-kept homes and infrastructure turn into a struggling economy with shuttered businesses, dilapidated homes, and a broken down infrastructure over the past thirty years. The problem isn’t that I don’t understand these people. The problem is they don’t understand themselves, the reasons for their anger/frustrations, and don’t seem to care to know why.