Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Pope and Religious Freedom

After days of having a monopoly over the USA and global news medias, the 
Pope and Catholic Church have once again usurped its guilt tripping, history warped global manifesto to the masses. What a "coup" for fundamentalist religions overall, many of which seem to be supportive of this engorged media circus even if it was sourced "catholic".

While I agree with many positions taken by this newly popular Pope Francis and his efforts to "humanize" his authoritative position to the masses...I am threatened by the "reasons" or underlying purposes for which these positions are taken.  I also am not taken in by efforts to make moderate the historic views of this religion. Many of today's religions are trying to "re-invent" themselves to keep their membership happy (and contributing) versus stay true to the fundamentals of their world order and views.

The USA constitution's first amendment states ""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Modern day America was built on a strange combination of attributes pertaining to religion. Some of the first "immigrants" came here escaping the state religion of the "Crown"...both British and Spanish (Protestant AND Catholic). Some groups...many called "Pilgrims"...came to found their own new fundamentalist religions based on “new revelations" that were not going over so well in the "new world order" of Europe's enlightenment. And of course many of the early settlers were poor criminal elements back in Europe and elsewhere who were escaping prison sentences in a new "free world".

It should be strongly underlined that these first "immigrants" to America had little or no respect for the American Indians who inhabited most of the continent. Historical writ is rife with the attitude of early religionists that arrived to the "new world" toting their Bibles, crosses and guns. If you can't convert and clothe the savages or keep them from smoking "peyote" in their pipes, put them on reservations or kill them if they won't submit to our way of life and faith. 

When I grew up in the American public school system, we didn't learn about the "trail of tears". We didn't hear about "manifest destiny" until high school (and most kids today have no clue what that means), and even then we were not encouraged to explore the philosophical, legal or rational ramifications of this in American history. It’s as though the killing or subjugation of "heathens" was "God's will". This is nothing new in the few thousand years of today's fundamentalist religions and didn't start in "America".

Now we have a new era of "immigrants" coming to America. Most of these hoards are NOT white, NOT rich, and NOT Christian. Yet we have an ironical combination of American liberals and the Catholic pope telling us that the USA should be more inclusive of these diverse masses within our borders and our dwindling social resources. Somehow the Statute of Liberty has become the symbol of freedom for every religious zealot from anywhere in the world to come and practice/promote their particular religion in "freedom".  At the same time, most of these religions enslave the minds of men, women and children (mostly the children) with irrational, patriarchal, mystical philosophies of life based on thousand year old books of questionable origin...and now we have liberals and fundamentalists alike calling for more inclusion of these dividing factions. How absurd.

Unfortunately, the USA constitution has now been bastardized so much by interpretation where its application to a country with the size and diversity of the USA is almost impossible. You have more and more religious divisions taking exception to "personal freedoms". You have government and church leaders hand in hand trying to legislate every bit of morality you can imagine. "They" want to control every aspect of your life.  They want to define legal marriage while excluding gays. They want to tell us which organic weeds we can or can't grow on our back porch. They want to legislate to women what they can/can't do with their bodies or unborn babies. They want to limit sex to "marriage and procreation" and outlaw the use of contraceptives and abortion...even in the case of rape or endangerment to the mother's life. They also want their rules and regulations written on every public wall or entrance possible acknowledging their religious origins in this country.

I don't think I am alone in thinking that this new push for "religious freedom" is blinding the average mind to what this really means. The Pope and other religious leaders CLAIM that faith will "bind us all together". History has shown the direct opposite.  Even in our own families in America, fundamental religion of all types have divided and caused non-acceptance of individualism for centuries now.  I am comforted that the fastest growing faith in America is "secularism". Secularism in its shortest definition is that one believes in science, reason and the power of humans to advance humanity to a higher consciousness. We do not require holy books, "holy" men or wasting billions on religious tapestries such as huge cathedrals, golden ornaments, or a Vatican bank that has for decades washed billions of dollars for questionable transactions and sources to give us meaning in life. These religious coffers have come at the cost of the taxpayers in many countries including the USA. Why these religious "kingdom builders" such as we see on TV everyday asking for handouts should get tax exempt status is a travesty of the highest order. This is not separation of "Church and State". This is Church and State working together to control our country at many different levels via religion, and I for one do not want to participate in that...or be forced to.

Separation of Church and State should simply be that. There should be no financial support of any government fund to any church institution. The State should tax everyone equally...believers and non-believers alike. And non-taxed money going to political causes? GOODBYE. If churches or religious people want to give to charity and get a "write off" on should be social charities for all, not private religious foundations or political organizations based on promoting mystic leaders or writs...or for political gain. 

If religious orders of any kind want to practice some archaic, patriarchal belief systems based on mystic symbols or ancient figureheads who supposedly never died...they should do so in the privacy of their own homes or property.  I would limit "free speech" to that of political or social discourse, not "proselytizing" pronouncements of hell-fire and damnation in the public square. I would never agree to permit what we see all over Europe of the growing Muslim populations publicly demanding their Sharia law and communities.  I should have the freedom to NOT hear these detractors of common sense". Let their good WORKS speak for their beliefs, not tirades among normal citizens. 

Oh, and if a child or mother/wife wants to escape a fundamentalist, intolerant male leader in their home or "church", they should be allowed and protected by our social order to do so. That should be part of "separation of church and state". Right now there are millions of "captives" in the USA to various religious orders who do not have the right to live or think freely. Children also should have the right to not participate in fundamental religions, just as we protect them from all other forms of abuse. "Mental abuse" of children is a huge issue in our society with so many abhorrent sects and cults demanding freedom to exist under special privileges. Keep in mind those who still grow up in systems of "child brides" and polygamy.

Anyone who wants to be a "citizen" in a truly free society should not be allowed to duck service to that society. Anyone that cannot agree to our constitution or bill of rights in this country should NOT be allowed citizenship or voting rights. If you will not lift a hand to defend this country and its freedoms...GOODBYE. The immediate inclusion in our country based on birthright or passing a test should not be enough. If you cannot agree to our constitution and bill of cannot live indefinitely among us. If your religion is more important than these freedoms and rights we are supposed to have in America, then please go elsewhere that respects or agrees with your voodoo religion.

And finally, if you want to come lecture my nation's leaders and put on a media dog and pony show espousing fundamentalist religious should stand in line or pay for access just like anyone else. We also risk having to allow equal access and time to ALL fundamentalist leaders from the Mohammed clan to the Jewish one.  I for one am not interested...and I am appalled by the cost of this Pope's visit which funds COULD have been spent on better things than motorcades, plane fares for thousands, media manipulations and heavy security that was required for this pomp and circumstance.  I imagine I am in the minority, but I am sickened by this hypocritical hoopla. This parade could have helped hundreds of thousands of the displaced they were all TALKING about helping!

I am not here saying that our current leaders and systems are working satisfactorily. Obviously they are not. But our future hope does not require MORE tolerance for religion and mysticism.  Our hope relies much more on rules and equality under secular laws, technology and scientific advancements that will make life easier and cheaper to live, clean up our environment, and yes, distribute food and sustenance to the poor who have no current ability to move out of the jungles, deserts and flooding river basins they are stuck in under rule of nefarious tyrants of political order.  We help the poor because it is the natural, reasonable and HUMANE thing to do...not because a god or the Pope demands us to.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Muslim Chapel in Orlando Airport

News comes to us a few days ago that the Orlando International Airport is opening a Muslim "prayer room" at a cost of $250,000.  I don't know ultimately who will pay for this...but it is probably the public since taxes pay for most developments such as airports.

It will be interesting to track who uses this "chapel" the most...people arriving from Dubai, thanking Allah for his deliverance from that desert oil oasis...or believers leaving America to go back with thankful deliverance from this wicked, "Satanist" land of McDonalds, Hollywood and Disneyland.

Now, apparently in all fairness, there has been a "Christian" chapel at the airport for a while, and they are planning to add ANOTHER interdenominational chapel at some location as well.  Does anyone else see irony in all of this?

First off, the fastest growing belief system in America is "secularism"...basically a form of Humanism which tends to be practiced by mostly intellectuals and highly educated or well read people.  For those of us who escaped fundamentalist religion as kids in our culture...this has been welcome news that we now have more unbelievers "out of the closet" with us.

Unfortunately, replacing the droves of Americans leaving dead religions...we now have this huge influx of Muslims immigrating to our country and establishing their own neighborhoods and mosques throughout most of our major cities.  While I have always believed in constitutional freedom of religion...I have never believed in government or state sponsorship of religion. I also don't recognize my country as a "Christian" nation since the colonies were not founded on fundamental religion.  They were founded on escape from tyrants in Europe who forced state sponsored religions along with the prohibition of others.

The separation of church and state is very simply that.  Churches should have nothing to do with politics...and the government should have no involvement with religion. INDIVIDUALS should be able to practice as they long as it does not inhibit others from NOT practicing religion or being affected by another persons beliefs. This is called being a "republic", and a majority democratic vote of "Christians" should not be able to change these constitutional rights.

This takes us back to the issue at hand...the Muslim religion growing faster in the USA than Christianity, Judaism or others. When our governments... federal, state and local...start mandating exceptions and imbalanced tolerance of religious fundamentalists, no matter what brand they are starting the makings of more civil strife in this "land of the free, home of the brave".

Islam AND fundamental Christianity are NOT tolerant, peace loving religions. They are full of judgement, hell-fire and damnation against "unbelievers".  This adds to the already difficult job of uniting Americans of all racial and economic backgrounds.  It is hard enough to get blacks, whites, Native Americans, Asians and Hispanics to get along in this country.  Now you add increased marks of demarcation between fundamental religions...and we all are going straight to "hell" in one big bundle of holy wars inside our own borders.

I for one now go on record as being against any government sponsorship of any religion, its emblems or icons. The state should be the state, religion should be practiced in ones home, church, synagogue or even mosques.  But I should not have to be confronted with these idiocies of sectarian worship in public places.  Its not that it threatens me, but I believe it sets up continued strife and division in our humanity by having these symbols of mysticism at every crossroad.

I personally see no difference between revolting public signs of "Jesus is Coming", "Jesus Saves", etc to Islamic signs of  "death to infidels".  They have all become repugnant, vacuous symbols of mans mental depravity and lack of education when it comes to meaning and history of human life.  It is alarming how much of this we have in the internet age.

So more publicly funded "chapels".  And while we are at it, lets do away with "tax exempt" religions of every persuasion.  These charlatan evangelists living like hedonists on tax free contributions need to go away.  If people want to broadcast religious views, they should pay for access the same way taxed institutions do.  If I don't have these advantages as a secular humanist...why should a religious person or organization have it?

The sheep need to get with the program. No religious "Koolaid" drinking on public funds or property.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


I think Guns are part of culture.  You grow up with them or you don't.  If you don't, you don't perceive a need or purpose for them.  If you do, you almost feel naked without one.  If you never had one, you tend to fear them.  If you always had one, you fear being without one.

I am not a member of the NRA...yet I don't understand governments that want to ban personal ownership of guns.  I don't think my government should have something that they don't allow me to have...including Cadillac health plans and offshore bank accounts.

I understand the difference between "rights" and "privileges".  I understand our society putting up limits to "rights" if an individual cannot responsibly handle the freedom of their "rights".  Tommy may be able to responsibly handle guns, alcohol, and driving at the age of 14.  Jerry may not be able to handle any of them at the age of 40.  The law for everyone should not be based on the 40 year old.

In much the same light, if John can vote and die for our country in the military or police force at age 18...he should be free to do anything I can do including drink alcohol, gamble, or serve in various government positions local or national.  In addition, if he can carry a weapon to serve and defend our country...he should damn well have the right to carry a weapon to defend himself or his family.

Guns are not violent.  People are.  If we are going to outlaw anything, let's outlaw violent people.  That includes people who suffer from "temporary insanity".  If I harm another person, I should not escape punishment or incarceration just because I was "high" or suffering some mental or physical illness.  Pedophiles are mentally sick people...but they should not get away with their crimes just because of their "condition". Our liberal judicial system is out of whack when it comes to criminal cases.  This is helping feed the violence and aggression in our streets. will never make sense to a "gun person" when, if danger from violence is growing within his community, some government asks him to give up his guns.  I think that goes against the grain of common reasoning in human nature for self preservation.  After all, governments are the principle buyers of most firearms. The purpose of government is to protect freedoms...not take them away.  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

So You Think I am Unpatriotic?

This blog by Simon Black bears repeating today.  I have had similar comments or feedback from people who say my views about my government are "Un-American".  In response, I could not state the issues any better than here is a repost of his blog from today.

June 18, 2015
Kathmandu, Nepal
I’ll never forget the Oath of Office I took when I was commissioned as an Army Intelligence Officer all those years ago. The most important part is where you swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic.” That was the part that kept ringing in my head as George W. Bush went on TV in the run-up to the Iraq war talking about weapons of mass destruction. We had been on the ground in Kuwait since late 2002, months before the invasion of Iraq kicked off. And every time Bush told that lie, I thought about my oath.
I’m disappointed to admit that, back then, I didn’t have the courage to go up against the big Army machine… to march into my Battalion Commander’s office and say, “Sir, we must defend the Constitution against the President of the United States.” I knew I would get crushed.
When I left the military, I started noticing all the other ways in which the government turned the Constitution into a punchline. And that practice has only accelerated. I came up with a different solution. Instead of fighting some faceless machine, I voted with my feet and left the country.
That, coupled with my drastically reduced tax bill thanks to being an overseas expat, has prompted a lot of use of the word ‘unpatriotic’ since I started writing this letter six years ago. I find this appallingly ignorant. The American Revolution itself was predicated on the inequity of taxation without representation.
Are your interests represented when they buy bombs and body scanners? Mine certainly aren’t. Yet people who define patriotism by the frequency and rapidity of their flag-waving think that we all have some collective duty to ignorantly believe whatever we’re told by the government. I disagree. So does the New Oxford American Dictionary, which defines ‘patriot’ as “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.” There’s that phrase again– ‘defending against enemies.’
Who exactly are these ‘enemies’, by the way? Are they men in caves who hate us for our freedom? Arab teenagers with intense sexual angst and a collection of firearms? No. The real enemies are not foreign… but domestic. It is the apparatus of government itself that has collapsed upon the founding document of the nation.
It’s not unpatriotic to lament how far a government’s practices have diverged from its Constitution. It’s not unpatriotic to want to be free. And it’s not unpatriotic to take steps to make that happen. In fact, people who think it’s everyone’s patriotic duty to pay taxes are only feeding the beast that makes them less free. And it’s entirely delusional to think that all of this can change by going to a voting booth. There’s no politician that’s going to change this. Nobody is going to stand on stage and say, “My plan is to eliminate entire departments of government, fire half of all government workers, terminate social security, and default on the debt.”
Elections are pointless charades. But rather than vote for new people, we can simply vote to restrict the resources they have available. Yes, there are legal obligations to pay tax. And everyone should abide those obligations or risk pointless imprisonment. But with proper planning, tax obligations can be minimized.
In my case, I left the country. This provides up to $100,800 in tax-free income based on the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, and that’s before taking into account additional deductions, allowances, and exclusions. Recently I used my tax savings to finance a new prosthetic leg for an amputee war veteran that had been abandoned by the US government, and to buy food for earthquake victims here in Nepal. Had I not taken steps to reduce my tax bill, a big chunk of my income would have paid for more soldiers to get their legs blown off, and more bombs to be dropped by remote control on brown people. Instead, now I get to decide how my income and savings can best have an impact on the interests that I believe in. Let’s call it “representation without taxation”. And it’s completely legal as long as you follow the rules.
Sure, not everyone has the ability to leave the country. But there are options to fit any lifestyle and circumstance. In addition to taxes, for example, it’s important to consider moving a portion of your savings abroad where it can’t be confiscated or frozen by capital controls. Safeguarding your wealth is a huge part of this strategy, in fact.
The larger point is that taking steps to preserve your wealth and freedom is not unpatriotic. And for anyone who truly cares to defend your country from its domestic enemies, starving the beast is one of the most powerful tools you have available. 
Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Politics of Liberty

Republican, Democrat, independent...LIBERTARIAN! Since when did we need to have a political brand for Americans who love liberty?

While I count myself as having no political affiliation...I find it intriguing and mildly irritating being called a "Libertarian".  Yes, I understand that most of my views line up well with the Libertarian party and I have voted for Libertarian candidates here and there...but do I really need to be a Libertarian to believe in freedom, independence, capitalism and individualism? Do I really have to line up with some form of political movement before people or governments will recognize my views on the issues?

Obviously the people that get heard in our world today in the media are mostly people who have identified and labelled themselves with one party or another. When you begin expressing your views in a public forum, people in general begin labeling you "tea bagger", independent, liberal, conservative, Christian, Muslim, Zionist, etc etc...yet at the same time I would argue most of those labels have so many different meanings to so many people as to make most of them a dirty word to somebody and relatively meaningless.

To be political these days is to be full of intrigue, ambiguity and dishonesty.  Most politicians do not lead...they only reflect...their party's position, in some rare cases their constituent's positions, and most often those positions that will get them re-elected or put into a position of power. Those who aren't willing to compromise, flip flop their positions or otherwise kowtow to the powers that be are almost un-electable. Strong individuals will not get the money or support within organizations to lead with integrity.  People want to hear what they want to hear, not what you have to say or think. Conformity and "team playing" are the rules of the day.

I guess I am very strange in today's world.  I am for liberty and justice FOR ALL.  Not just MY party, religion or sexual persuasion.  I want everyone to be least to the borders of another person's freedom.  I don't want to have to join a party of government in order to guarantee my freedom.  I don't want to be forced to join causes I don't believe in just to guarantee my "freedom". I don't need religion or a political party to tell me how to live. I just want to be part of the brotherhood of man and be free to associate with anyone I choose, where I choose.  I want to be free to come and go in the world without people frisking and x-raying me.  I don't want to ask permission of any institutions to work, own a home or car, marry, or compete in the marketplace. I don't want to sign pledges to any government or political party in order to qualify for citizenship.  I kinda like the concept of "global citizen".  I don't want any institution demanding that I bear arms against other people deemed "the enemy".  I will choose my own enemies thank you very much.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.  I hope someday you will join us...and the world will be as one" (Lennon)...

I suppose some people view my attitudes as "anarchistic".  If that is what it takes to truly live in liberty, then so be it.  I actually still believe we need limited forms of representative and constitutional governments throughout the world...but I currently do not know of any.