Category Archives: Religion

We All Deserve Hell And Anything Better Warrants Profuse Gratitude

This is about the recent Baltimore riots and, more specifically, the reactions to it partly by people I know.  If you’re sick of hearing about this topic, be forewarned.  It is also likely to be long and meandering just like the conversation that sparked it.  I stayed out of the conversation because I did not want to interact with the kind of people which it attracted and I could not think of any constructive way to pithily say what needed to be said.  Plus, this is Facebook we’re talking about here.  Nuff said.

It all started with a friend posting a link to the Baltimore riots with the personal comment, “Looks like a great application for rubber bullets. There’s nothing that protects these people, as they are not “peacefully” protesting.”  Normally, I would let a tone-deaf and completely lacking of a shred of empathy comment go because, again, Facebook.  You have to pick your battles and the rest of the conversation got worse very quickly.  But since I’m here writing about it, rubber bullets kill people.  By making that comment, you’re basically condemning a certain amount of the rioters and likely some innocent bystanders to serious injury or death.  Not to mention, “these people”, seriously?  How you use words matter.  Using “these people”, “those people”, “you people” is using language couched in a very long history of racism.  You may not mean it as racist, but it sure makes you sound the part.  That a person would use language like that shows a profound lack of historical context at the very best.  How difficult would it to have come up with “these rioters”?

I continued to read the comments because I’m stupid.  What followed was, again, many comments that can, at the very best interpretation, be considered as showing a profound lack of historical context.  The one comment that really set my teeth on edge was from a person who apparently gets all her history lessons by reading Bill O’Reilly books because she said the following when commenting about how horrible these rioters are: “What did the black community in America do when Dr. King was shot? Murdered, some say, by the whites in power who didn’t want the blacks to be equal. What did they do? Burn down buildings? Throw bricks at cops? Etc? No. They MADE A DIFFERENT CHOICE.”  Holy fuck me with a sharp stick, Batman.  This comment shows just how completely Martin Luther King Jr.’s message has been usurped by the Right to attack any sort of violent actions by Blacks in America.  I felt sure that someone would have corrected that ahistorical drivel so I continued reading.  Not a single word.  For those of you that may be unaware, some of the worse rioting in American history happened after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.  Hundreds of people were killed.  Not to mention, marches by the good Doctor also sometimes turned violent after severe provocation by police.  Police often are the instigators of riots either on purpose, Birmingham for example, or accidentally as some evidence out of Baltimore is now showing where it appears they prevented school children from getting home in a timely manner by cancelling bus and train routes that they use, thus forcing large groups to congregate in small spaces and then came at them with full riot gear.

The same woman also had the nerve to suggest that people would just ignore her opinion because she was white: “I’m not wrong. I’m just white, so my opinion doesn’t count, right?”  Um, no.  You are wrong because your opinions are so obviously based on a severe lack of understanding of the issues at hand that you should be embarrassed to even state an opinion.  This is a fundamental problem with humanity that causes many wrongs.  People feel like they need to have an opinion.  You don’t.  It’s ok to say, “Race relations in America have a complex and vast history and my life is too busy for me to even try to get into it so I’m going to just sit back and soak up the conversation about this topic I know nothing about.”  I don’t exclude myself from that criticism as, I’m sure, I am at times guilty of it.  That’s again why I try to pick my battles on Facebook to topics I know a fair amount about.

The conversation then turned Religulous.  The true source of these riots is lack of morals and loss of faith.  That sort of nonsense.  Things are bad now because of lack of faith in God, but things are better than they were then because of God.  My view is that things are as they always have been and very little has changed.  (*sarcasm* But Obama!)  Again, I tend to ignore stuff like this unless I have something useful to say and I would have this time too except that the original poster then said what you see in the subject line.  Here’s the entire context: “Most Americans believe that the world owes them something. Regardless of race, college students indicate that they deserve a job, those without means believe that they’re entitled to welfare, those without health insurance believe they’re entitled to health care, etc. Wealthy people and those in power feel they deserve the lifestyle they want, even at the expense of others. Most young people believe they deserve 15 minutes of fame. The fact is, people aught to care for one another and one another’s needs, but in the grand scheme of things, we all deserve hell and anything better warrants profuse gratitude.”  I am not sure I have ever heard a sentence more filled with poison than that last sentence.  That it is also couched in the context of a religion of supposed peace makes it all the more vile.  Anything better than hell warrants profuse gratitude.  Profusely grateful to whom?  I am poor and have cancer and my governor refused Medicaid expansion which means there’s no money to pay for my treatment and I’m going to die, but thank you government!  Profusely!  I lost my job because of the at best immoral and at worse illegal actions of a few people and the government rewards those people by bailing them out and not prosecuting them, but at least I get food stamps so I don’t die of starvation for a limited time dictated by a group of people who can not even begin to imagine the situation I am in, but thank you government!  Profusely!

There is an idiotic attack against Atheists that asks, If Atheists don’t believe in God how can they believe in right and wrong?  It’s idiotic because there are plenty of examples of Atheists being just as moral and upstanding as any Theists.  Not high praise, I know, but the point is Atheists are subject to the same mutually agreed upon morality as the rest of the world but just disagree with the source of said morality.  If religion in America is going to continue on the “we all deserve hell and anything better warrants profuse gratitude” track that it seems to be on, Atheists are going to win this morality battle just as surely as same-sex marriage proponents will win theirs.

I should also mention that I don’t mean to sound like the entire conversation was horrible.  There are some very intelligent and well thought out responses to a lot of what was talked about.  There are people, both black and white, that seem to get it.  We’re still a long way from the end of this particular conversation, though.

Charlie Hebdo Remembered

Terrorists attacked the Paris headquarters of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo earlier today.  12 people are known dead with a few more currently in critical condition.  While details are sketchy and the attackers are still on the loose, it seems certain that this was in retaliation for the paper mocking Islam and printing multiple Mohammad cartoons.  This is tragic and incredibly stupid.  How anyone thinks that someone putting pen and pencil to paper should be met with violence is beyond me.

How does one respond to such inanity?  To me, a perfect response would be for every newspaper in the free world to pick a day and, as a sign of unity, print one of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.  This one is my favorite:

“Love is stronger than hate”


Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh Wgah’nagl Fhtagn

Cthulu has come and he drives a Toyota Camry.

I, for one, welcome our new Great Old One Overlord.

The Islamic State

Do yourself a favor and watch this VICE News video on ISIS.  Warning: there are some very graphic images at times.


What amazes me the most about the video is how perfectly normal and perfectly matter of fact most of the ISIS people seem.  Well, until they cut off your head or crucify you.  It’s almost surreal.  Their daily experience is so far removed from what we are used to and the veneer on the horrors that they are perpetrating only cracks every once in a while.  What especially got me was the policing of the Sharia Law stuff.  So polite, almost courteous.  So deadly.  It gives me chills.

VICE News is doing some amazing reporting around the world.  Their in-depth reporting is around the best I’ve seen.  It’s what real reporting should be.

Marriage Equality Is Pretty Much A Done Deal

In state after state, the barriers against same-sex marriage are falling.  Even in uber-religious bastions like Utah, equality is coming into fashion.  Gandhi was right.  First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

There is still a lot of noise coming from religious circles, but their fight is all but over and as the count goes from 17 to 18 to 19 states they will more and more marginalize themselves as the bigots that they are.  But let’s be honest here, this religious fight has nothing to do with the sanctity of marriage as they loudly claim.  If it were about marriage, there would be just as much outrage over the state of heterosexual marriage in the U.S.  But, no, sanctimonious religious people loves them some divorces.

No, if we are honest with each other, this fight is about one thing and one thing only: sex.  Good, old-fashioned butt-sex.  It is, after all, an abomination unto God according to their holiest of holy books.  That and shellfish.  God hates nothing more than butt-sex and shellfish.  And woe unto those who dare combine the two!  I’m looking at you, Japan!  Without marriage, they can tune out the whole idea that gay sex is happening all around them.  At this very moment.  Just on the other side of that wall right there.  With legal same-sex marriage, though, it becomes very hard to ignore.  Marriage, in their minds, legitimizes gay sex.

When people start quoting the stupider parts of the bible, it’s hard to refute them.  Obviously, telling them their book is dumb and full of contradictions and has just as much to say about morality as “A Prayer for Owen Meany” does isn’t going to work.  The truth is you’re not going to win this argument.  There is really only one option.  Walk away.  But not before a witty rejoinder.  So before walking away, look deep into their eyes and say as loudly as you feel comfortable with, “Oh yeah?  Well if God hates butt-sex so much, why did he give men prostates?”  Be sure to pause for a few seconds to bask in their discomfort.  Drop your microphone if you happen to be holding one.  Walk away.  Peace!

Anyone Remember These Commercials?

I was in the shower this morning when this randomly popped into my head:

I have no idea why that popped into my head.  It’s best not to ask questions of my brain.  It’s an incredibly creepy but effective ad.  That sent me spiraling into a Youtube vortex of Mormon commercials from the 80s.  Remember this one:

Or this one:

The last one is interesting because it features a black kid.  Why is that interesting?  Let’s just say the Mormons aren’t know for their racial sensitivity towards Blacks.

There are other commercials too, but the above are my favorite.  They’re simple, catchy, and tell an important moral lesson without being preachy aside from the memorable “From the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, the Mormons!” at the end.

LOL Of The Day

There has been a brouhaha over a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol Building.  The ACLU has sued saying it’s a governmental establishment of a religion which directly contradicts the First Amendment.  It certainly does, but that’s not what’s funny.  What’s funny is what happened next.  A few other religions then requested to put their own monuments on the grounds.  This would certainly be a way for Oklahoma to skirt the First Amendment violation.  The only problem is that one of the first to apply for adding a new monument was the Church of Satan.  Well, they recently released a design proposal for said monument and it’s…well, take a look:



The best part is you can sit on Satan’s lap!  BWAHAHAHAHA!  There is no way in hell (ha!) this gets approved, but oh, would it make the Oklahoma State Capitol Building a tourist attraction.

All Hail The Flying Spaghetti Monster!

The only good Christmas song, “Carol of the Bells”, gets the FSM treatment.  And it was good.


The Times They Are A Changing

What’s this?  Good religious news to report?  I am as shocked as you are.

The Catholic Church as an institution has been a mechanism for propagating or protecting great evil for at least as long as I have been alive.  This repugnant nastiness goes all the way up to the head of the church.  I am sure at the parish level there are some good, caring people trying to make a difference in their community, but at the bishop level and above it becomes impossible to tell the good from the bad because the bad is overwhelmingly visible and active.  I don’t need to repeat the institution’s sins here.  You know what they are.  They are still ever-present.  But there is a ray of light.

That ray of light is Pope Francis.  The man is on a tear since being elected and is pissing off all the right people.  Wait, that should be capitalized.  He is pissing off all the Right people.  Yeah, that’s right, Hippy Jesus has a friend in the Pope.  He’s bashing trickle-down economics.  He’s saying inequality is something that needs to be addressed.  He’s eschewing the material excesses that go with the title.  He’s washing Muslim’s feet.  He’s kissing grossly deformed men he meets on the street.  He’s asking who he is to judge homosexuals.  Think about that.  The Pope.  The man who supposedly has the power to speak for god.  Saying that HE is not in a position to judge.  In other words, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics for the first time I can remember is actually acting all Jesus-y.

Up to this point, though, he’s still been mostly talking the talk without walking the walk.  The institution itself is still in need of a major teardown and rebuilding and he’s not done much to fix that yet.  There are some signs that is about to change.  It’s small, but the committee that helps find bishop candidates has been restructured and there is a noticeably missing cog.  Cardinal Raymond Burke has been kicked off of that committee.  You may remember him as being the very vocal anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage cardinal that famously called for John Kerry being denied the sacrament of communion during the 2004 election cycle.  He’s also been vocally critical of Francis.  It’s a small step and Burke’s still on other committees, but he is no longer able to wield influence on choosing the next leaders in the church.  That’s not nothing.  Here’s hoping there’s more where that came from.

This Is What Happens When You Put Your Faith In One Man

Dan Piraro, author of the comic Bizarro, wrote a mildly amusing comic of two birds, one of them a cardinal wearing the Pope’s mitre and the other bird exclaiming to the cardinal, “You wish!”

Like I said, mildly amusing.  But he also writes a blog to go along with the comic.  And it is devastating in its succinctness.  Money quote:

Millions of people all over the world are so dedicated to the belief that this one man, elected by other men, is divinely ordained by GOD that they will do anything he says, no matter how foolish or dangerous. The most conspicuous of these dangerous edicts is the condemnation of birth control and condoms. If but one man in a very fancy dress said it was okay to use birth control, millions of babies each year would not be born into poverty and subsequently die of malnutrition and disease. If he encouraged the use of condoms, untold numbers of people would be protected from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, thus avoiding the suffering and death of millions more. These facts are undeniable and serve to illustrate in gory detail how dangerous the human inclination toward superstition can be.

Ouch.  Dan’s not the first to express such a sentiment, but he does so better than most.  Of course, people like Dan aren’t going to change the Pope’s mind.  I doubt anything would.  Religion’s control of an individual’s sexual identity is its main weapon in controlling the individual.  If you’re told that your natural thoughts are impure, you’ll inevitably believe that you’re impure.  If you believe you’re impure, you’ll believe you need the church.  If you believe you need the church, you’ll give them your money.  If you give them your money, they’ll spread their control to others.  And the vicious circle continues.