The Watering Hole; Thursday May 19 2016; Religious Liberty: The Scourge

“God? . . . who the hell is He? . . . Why confuse the issue
by dragging in a superfluous entity? Occam’s razor. Beyond
atheism, nontheism. I am not an atheist but an
eartheist. Be true to the earth.”
(Edward Abbey; Desert Solitaire, 1968)

I honestly don’t recall how long ago it was that I first read Abbey’s little masterpiece, “Desert Solitaire” — had to be somewhere within the last five decades, though, based on the book’s publication date. No matter. By the time I read it, I was already an atheist. Have since converted to a ‘nontheist’ and an ‘eartheist,’ however, thanks to Abbey’s clarification of concept. “Conversion” is also, I think, the word used in religious circles to describe what they consider to be ‘appropriate’ changes in religious belief. I presume, therefore, that my “conversion” from routine atheism to nontheism/eartheism is a consequence of the merger of commons sense with Religious Liberty, and is, therefore, one of those “unalienable rights” which we all share. Right?

Unlike a great many folks, however, I have no “faith,” no “belief,” no religious “practice” whatsoever; I consider “God” to be nothing more than an ancient myth, a ‘creation’ of the human mind to help explain the unknown, perhaps also as a useful means of controlling the minds and actions of the masses. I see no need in any of that; I’ve long felt that science and a cognitive mind should be sufficient to explain the origin(s) of everything that exists, if not today then surely by tomorrow maybe, or next week/year, etc. But none of that contributes to any sort of intolerance toward any and all who choose to believe differently. I will not tread on anyone’s belief(s) that differ from mine, nor will I ever make an effort to impose my “beliefs” on others. Belief should always be personal, never mandated. By anyone, by any entity. Period.

I’m constantly puzzled, however, by the fact that so many of the God-Religion inclined do not think (much less act) that same way. Intrusion with the intent to impose, to convert, or simply to induce fear has seemingly become a religious “standard” these days, and religious labels don’t seem to offer any significant differences, at least amongst the fundamentalists and their comrades. Islam (Shia, Wahhabi, Sunni), Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, et al.) — many participants are wonderfully tolerant, but far too many are the exact opposite. “Religious Liberty” has become a catch-phrase used by many to explain their intolerance for, essentially, any and all beliefs/attitudes/practices which differ from their own. Religious liberty is presumed to, in effect, allow any “believer” the right to impose, even discriminate, against any and all non-believers, and any subterfuge including lies, fear, and even induced hatred is considered legitimate under the wide umbrella of religious freedom. Why is that? Why should such practices be tolerated by/in a civil society?

Here are a handful of examples of such, each randomly  gathered in just the last day or two, that amply demonstrate — to my mind, at least — the absolute fallacy implicit in “Religious Liberty”:

1. Rev. John Hagee on how God will hold people accountable if they don’t vote for Donald Trump

“I’m going to vote for the candidate that’s going to make the U.S. military great. I’m going to vote for the party that is going to solve the immigration problem, not the one that has created the immigration problem. I’m going to support the party that brings jobs back from China … I’m not going to vote for the party that has betrayed Israel for the past seven years.”

He’s not demanding that everyone vote as he intends, but most likely that’s only because he knows he can’t. He knows he can, however, use fear and lies to convince those who respond to such that they’d better do as he says or face God’s retribution.

2. Trunews Host Rick Wiles: Obama And Satan Will ‘Rape Your Children’

“We’re living in a funhouse. In a house of horrors. The president — the fake president, he’s a fake president, he’s not a legitimate American president, he’s a fake and he’s been allowed to do these wicked things for eight years because there’s been no resistance to him, and now he’s going for it, he’s got the pedal to the metal. He’s coming into the schools to rape your children. Let’s be honest about it. Satan wants to rape your children. I’m telling you, there’s going to be confrontation in the country. There will be a group of people who just say, ‘This is it, I’m done, at this point, we resist and we’re pushing back.’”

I guess if one lives only on lies, they might as well be really big ones, since folks who believe such nonsense have no limits on the nonsense they’re inclined to believe — and then impose on everyone else because as we all know, LGBT people do NOT share the “Liberty” the rest of “us” are blessed with! God said!

3. American Family Association host Sandy Rios explains how the Lesbian Hillary Clinton embraces every sexual deviancy imaginable

“Hillary Clinton embraces every sexual deviancy you can imagine,” she said, before once again suggesting that the former secretary of state is a lesbian because “there have been more than rumors swirling about her own sexual proclivities since before she became first lady.”

“She’s an advocate of gay marriage, and I mean a strong advocate. She’s been endorsed by every radical homosexual activist group in the country, all the major ones, Human Rights Campaign and others, especially in New York. She gets that endorsement for a reason, you know, she gets it for a reason.”

Lies and accusations seem to have no limits whatsoever when directed at LGBT people, and/or anyone who publicly supports their implicit right to live as they wish.

4. Far-Right Pundit Steve Quayle notes that ‘God is using Donald Trump’ to ‘show the political sins of this country’

Steve Quayle declared that God is using Trump to reveal the sins of America, and that the Bible may even speak about the business mogul when it mentions the word “trumpet.”

“I believe God is using Donald Trump, whether you like him or hate him, I believe God is using him to trumpet the nature of what America believes and, in essence, we believe a lie,” he said. “‘Trump’ [sic] is in two times in the New Testament, ‘the last trump [sic] of God.’ The thing that’s fascinating for me is that God has used him as a prosecuting attorney to show the political sins of this country.”

Makes perfect sense, if you don’t think about it. Good reason to vote for Trump though, right? Right.

5. Then there’s Rep. Steve King R-IA) on school prayer

“Well, I was sitting [as] a freshman in high school when Murray vs. Curlett came down that ordered that there be no more prayer in the public schools. And I thought then, that was 1963, and I thought then, how are they going to stop us from praying in our schools? They could tape our mouths shut, that doesn’t do it. The only way they could stop us would be to empty the schools out. And in my mind’s eye, I can still see the images that were conjured up: two U.S. Army personnel standing there guarding the doors that were chained shut on our high school. … It was the image that came to mind, the only way to stop us from praying in public schools was to empty the schools out and guard them so we couldn’t sneak in and pray.”

Seems to me that no one has EVER said students are not allowed to pray in public schools. They can, in fact, pray whenever they wish to so long as they do it in silence and don’t disturb anyone in the process. The only restriction the law mandates is that prayer of any kind can not be imposed on the entire student body, a mandate that allows each and every student to worship (or not) as he or she wishes, not as any particular school administrator or teacher might prefer.

6. Finally, there’s this one. Rand Paul has a great idea, a clever way to halt once and for all the ‘right’ of a woman to enjoy any level of reproductive freedom. Paul’s plan: FETAL PERSONHOOD by Congressional mandate.

Here are some excerpts from Paul’s email on the matter:

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling forced abortion-on-demand down our nation’s throat. . . .

The time to grovel before the Supreme Court is over.

Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion using the Constitution instead of amending it. . . .

A Life at Conception Act declares unborn children “persons” as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, entitled to legal protection.

This is the one thing the Supreme Court admitted in Roe v. Wade that would cause the case for legal abortion to “collapse.” . . .

If you and other pro-life activists pour on enough pressure, pro-lifers can force politicians from both parties who were elected on pro-life platforms to make good on their promises and ultimately win passage of this bill.

But even if a Life at Conception Act doesn’t pass immediately, the public attention will send another crew of radical abortionists down to defeat in the 2016 elections.

No need to ‘grovel before the Supreme Court,’ in other words, since the fourteenth amendment legitimizes the concept of legislating ‘personhood’ to the fertilized egg. No more abortion, and probably no more birth control. Got to protect the fetus. Period. Of course, after the child is born, well, then to hell with health care, food, shelter, all that stuff. Some kids will be OK because their parents are well-off, but those poor kids, well, you know, lazy bums and all.

What puzzles me most on that issue is why the government thinks it needs to take action of any kind. I mean, there are no demands that a woman MUST take contraceptives, or that she MUST have an abortion. Nope, it’s strictly a matter of choice — unless or until some religiously over-wrought ‘movement’ demands the government protect THEIR “Religious Liberty.” As for the ‘liberty’ of others who believe differently? Nah. They don’t count.

“If a man’s imagination were not so weak, so easily tired,
if his capacity for wonder not so limited, he would abandon
forever such fantasies of the supernal. He would learn to
perceive in water, leaves and silence more than sufficient of
the absolute and marvelous, more than enough to console him
for the loss of the ancient dreams.”
(Edward Abbey; Desert Solitaire, 1968)

Ah, the virtues of “Eartheism”! Fantastic Contrast! Thanks for that, Edward Abbey.




15 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday May 19 2016; Religious Liberty: The Scourge

  1. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling forced abortion-on-demand down our nation’s throat. . . .

    What is this obsession right-wingers have about things being forced or rammed or shoved down their throats?

  2. A Life at Conception Act declares unborn children “persons” as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, entitled to legal protection.

    I’m not trained in the law, but I did take English throughout my school career. The 14th Amendment refers to “All persons born…”. You cannot write an enabling act that defines a “person” as someone who isn’t born, but even if you did, the 14th Amendment would only apply AFTER they were born, which is clear from the wording.

    Put another way, even the authors of the 14th Amendment did not consider the unborn to have the same rights as the born, or else they would have explicitly said so in its wording.

    • “The Bible is an antique volume — written by faded men” — so those who believe in the “wisdom” of ‘faded men’ prolly won’t have a hard time believing there’s eternal truth in any or all of the crap the old fellers wrote. As to why there are so many out there today who are so willing to do that, I have no clue. I guess it does tend to explain why there are so many Republicans out there, though.

      • Let’s not forget the Bible most Americans read was written in 1611, not in the first or second century. Other versions of the Bible likely derive from that, as opposed to the original writings. Translation errors are obvious. Nobody lived 969 years. But divide that by 12 months (80+) or 13 moons (71+), and you get a much more reasonable age for Methuselah. Plus it makes more sense that Noah was about 42 when he allegedly built the Ark, not 500. Why people insist that what King James’ people (not the actual gospel writers) wrote is literally true is beyond me. But that would mean questioning authority, which is why criticizing Religion is frowned upon. Why that should be so in a secular nation also confounds me.

        • Seems I read not too long ago that a wingnut had the answer about age. Ppl back 6000 yrs ago — early descendants of Adam and Eve — lived a lot longer because the atmosphere had a lot more oxygen and water vapor in it. Then God did the flood thing, and a lot of the good stuff ended up in the oceans and humans started living less years. Something like that.

          Then there’s Harry Belafonte’s song, the one where he pointed out that “Methuselah spent all his life in tears, went without woman for nine hundred years. One day he decided to have some fun — hah — the poor man never lived to see nine hundred and one!”

          Funny how sometimes a black man from Jamaica made more sense 60 years ago that wingnuts do today, but I guess it’s to be expected. 😉

  3. 😯 👿 😈 😯

    Pat Robertson Says Drug Addicts Who Won’t Work Or Get Treatment Should Be Left To ‘Starve To Death

    Robertson responded by citing 2 Thessalonians 3:10, which says that “if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat,” as justification for allowing addicts to starve to death.

    “There are a bunch of people who are just bums and they’re trying to ride in on the charity of others,” Robertson said. “Tough love will say, ‘I’m not going to give you something.’ … If these people are out drugging themselves, let ’em starve to death. I know that sounds hard, but that’s the way it’s got to be.”

    • I know that sounds hard, but that’s the way it’s got to be.

      Is that what Jesus said? I’ve heard people quote something in the Bible about he who does not work shall not eat, but I don’t think it was Jesus who said it, and I don’t think it had anything to do with him.

      • Most “authorities” seem to think Thessalonians was prolly written by Paul. That ain’t Jesus, not by any stretch. Seems to me I read someplace once the Paul was likely a gay dude, and we all know what THAT means.

        Republican evangelnuts will do anything they can to avoid quoting stuff J.C. supposedly said, esp. about being kind to the poor and all that nonsense. Do that and next thing you know your taxes go up to pay for food and stuff for lazy bums. Besides, if you’re looking for biblical stuff that instructs hate, it’s a whole lot easier to find. Don’t have to do so much digging.

  4. From, printed in almost its entirety without permission

    O’Keefe sting against Soros gets stung by his own incompetence

    My team and I at Project Veritas were investigating George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, and their connection to radical agitprop movements, both foreign and domestic. We set up an undercover meeting with an individual who has represented Soros’s initiatives in Eastern Europe. That individual even called us back, and we had a conversation ongoing. So we were definitely credible to that individual in the upper echelons of the Soros foundation.

    I posed as a Hungarian businessman who was interested in knowing more about the foundation’s work. Once I obtained the meeting, I was going to determine what efforts they were behind, so I could fund them.

    So I left this individual a voicemail, but I forgot to hang up the phone. I thought the call was finished, and my team and I started discussing plans to make more phone calls to the Open Society Foundations as well as to organizations like [it]. And all of this was being recorded on a voicemail [message]. There may have been conversations with my staff pertaining to the Soros foundation. And I think it lasted about 10 minutes.

    • I’m betting that the part that “was being recorded on a voicemail” sounded very close to that of a flushing toilet that doesn’t quite flush. 🙂

      Hope O’Keefe has a great time mopping up the mess. He’s earned it.

  5. Maryland Trump delegate indicted after ATF agents find explosives, machine gun and child porn

    On May 5, law enforcement executed a search warrant “at adjoining properties associated with Bailey, including his residence, and seized a machine gun,” according to the statement.

    Court documents allege that Bailey also used a minor to produce child pornography, and that child pornography was found in his possession.

    Bailey faces over 50 years in prison if found guilty of all charges.

    The Maryland Board of Election currently lists Bailey as a delegate for Donald Trump.

    Shocking. Sort of. Maybe. Well, otoh . . .

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