Texas Atheists Host Kids’ Camp

Something encouraging is happening in the state of Texas. Children who would otherwise feel compelled to keep their religious beliefs to themselves found out they’re not alone. In a state like Texas, where God is a daily topic of conversation, that can be difficult to find. As a transplanted Californian coming from a place where religion is everyone’s choice not an expectation, I can state without hesitation that finding secular friends here can be daunting. I can’t even imagine how hard a 12 year old child must find it.

Another boy, 14, whose stepfather requested his anonymity, started home-schooling this year after enduring years of bullying for his open atheism.

This is simply unacceptable. We teach our children that people of other faiths should be respected. Why can that not extend to atheists as well? I will never understand the mind set that ignorance is a trait we should instill in our kids.

I’m thrilled this camp is here. We missed out on sending our youngest this year. Hopefully next year they will be doing a full week of camp, and he can meet some kids who not only share his love of science and the natural world, but don’t feel the need to insert a god into discussions about them.

Pope Blames Global Warming on Atheism

Thank you to the kind reader that sent this article to me. I’m as gobsmacked as you are. Clearly Catholic guilt is being taken in a new and exciting direction. For everyone else, I will now explain what I’m blathering on about.

After the Pope makes a public announcement or address, it is translated and released on Catholic.net. In his most recent speech, Pope Benedict said:

Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalized or also where is existence is denied? If the human creature’s relationship with the Creator weakens, matter is reduced to egoistic possession, man becomes the “final authority,” and the objective of existence is reduced to a feverish race to possess the most possible.

Creation, matter structured in an intelligent manner by God, is entrusted to man’s responsibility, who is able to interpret and refashion it actively, without regarding himself as the absolute owner. Man is called to exercise responsible government to protect it, to obtain benefits and cultivate it, finding the necessary resources for a dignified existence for all.

So now, it’s the fault of atheists that we have global climate change. Never mind that until recently the church refused to acknowledge that such a thing existed. Now that it’s impossible to ignore, at least we can blame the atheists! It wasn’t C02 emissions that killed the ozone layer. It was a refusal to acknowledge God. The mind boggles.

Michelle Duggar Pregnant Again/Carrie Prejean Sues Miss California Pageant

I’m making this a twofer. Call it an homage to Snarkywood. “Celebrities I wish would just go away already.”

Let’s start with Michelle Duggar. Today, the Duggars announced the impending arrival of their 19th child. I have not the words to tell you just how selfish I find this type of behavior. First: My god, woman! A vagina is not a clown car! Second: how can one possibly expect to care for children you already have if one is constantly having new children? Kids need you to be a mom. Being a mom means more than simply popping out a fresh human every ten months or so. Kids need guidance and love and attention and above all, a mom who doesn’t have such a short attention span that she hands one baby off to her daughters to care for while she gets ready for the next. After a certain number, multiple births stand a real chance of killing a woman. Is reproducing so important to you that you’re willing to die to do it, leaving your children orphans?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for motherhood. I love my children desperately. I do not for a second question my impact on their lives. In fact, I know that impact is so deep, that I would question sending that kind of message to them.  Is that what you should be telling your daughters? Have babies, that’s all you’re ever meant to do? I know my girls well enough to know they have real plans for their lives. While children probably enter into those plans, they should never be shamed into giving up their dreams because someone tells them their ‘biological  (or religious) purpose’ is children.

And speaking of religious idiots: Carrie Prejean is back in the news. The former Miss California is seeking damages for “religious discrimination, slander, libel, public disclosure of private facts, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.”

Give. Me. A break. The woman posed topless then lied about it on her pageant application, bilked the pageant itself for several thousand dollars to pay for her implants, generally acted like a prima donna about the entire damn gay marriage issue (own it, Carrie, you made a WAY bigger deal out of it than Perez ever dreamed) and then flat out refused to make good on her public appearance obligations. Know what this lawsuit is? Nothing more than the dying gasp of a famous for being famous celebrity that recognizes the end of her fifteen minutes.

Stop it with the Nazi thing already.

No, really. Everything is NOT comparable to the attempted annihilation of an entire race and the ensuing World War that followed. Enough already. The offenderati are out in droves, and they can’t stop dragging out the cross (or swastika, as the case may be) and climbing up onto it. Everyone is being attacked by Nazis. The attackers are all on a par with Hitler.

Let me clue you in, kids. Unless you and your families are being forced to wear gold stars to identify you as an inferior being, then forced at gun point onto trains to internment camps where you will be starved and (eventually) killed in the most grisly manner possible?….you are not being attacked by Nazis. No. No, you’re not. And it is just incredibly arrogant and ignorant all at the same time of you to pretend that’s what’s happening here.

Penn and Teller jabbing the Catholic Church for half an hour does not make them Nazis, no matter what Bill Donohue may want to think.

Barack Obama? NOT Adolph Hitler incarnate just because he wants everyone in the entire country to be healthy.

Getting your little kid in on the act is not heart tugging, by the way. It’s sick and stupid. The kid doesn’t even know what a Nazi is, and you’re loading him up with a swastika protest sign. Way to go. Enjoy the therapy bills.

Enough, people! Stop with the Nazi/Hitler crap already. We get it. You don’t like that you lost the election. It sucks. You hate it. Trust me, I’ve been there all too many times. And yes, it was just as wrong when people inaccurately compared Bush to Hitler. That doesn’t mean you should do it. I feel like I’m addressing a bunch of 6th graders. “If Rush jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge would you?”

We get that you’re angry. But you’re hurting your country in the process of throwing these little temper tantrums. Because really, that’s what they are. Tantrums. Enough. Time to be reasonable. Time to recognize that you are not the sole moral voice or even necessarily the correct moral voice of the country. The voice of the right has for so long been that of incoherence and anger, it now knows no other way to express itself. And that’s too bad, because incoherence and anger are not the guiding forces that should be running the country. Ignorance and self serving machismo brought us to the point of collapse.

Time to grow up, people. Not getting your way does not make those you oppose Nazis. It doesn’t even make them wrong.

I’ll Adopt Your Dog After the Rapture

As recently reported in the Telegraph, a group of enterprising atheists here in the states have offered to care for the left behind pets of Christians after the Rapture. Yup, for a small fee ($110.00) this thoughtful group of unbelievers will happily take care of your pet after you’ve gone up to heaven with Jesus.

You’ve committed your life to Jesus. You know you’re saved. But when the Rapture comes what’s to become of your loving pets who are left behind?   Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.

Kind of a bummer they’re not here in Texas. I mean, talk about a natural market! I’m thinking about contacting them just to see what they say about expanding here. I’d even put fliers on doors. OOo! Maybe leave some business cards at the mega church up the street!

After all. Atheists love pets, too.

Kentucky Dept. of Homeland Security to Remove God From State Law

As previously reported on my StumbleUpon blog, the Kentucky Dept. of Homeland Security decided the Constitution of the United States was being silly about no state sponsored religion and went ahead and put in language in its 2006 law insisting that:

the safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”

Pretty much handing down the edict that every citizen of Kentucky has to recognize God or the state won’t be safe. I’m going to give you a minute to think about that. A state legislature willfully ignored the Constitution of the United States and passed a law that was the equivalent of telling all its citizens that they had to clap their hands and say “I believe in fairies!” or the state would fall to terrorists.

Fortunately, there exists the group American Atheists. Along with ten other complainants, the American Atheists sued in federal court to have the language struck down. On Friday, Judge Thomas Wingate agreed:

“The statute pronounces very plainly that current citizens of the Commonwealth cannot be safe, neither now, nor in the future, without the aid of Almighty God. Even assuming that most of this nation’s citizens have historically depended upon God, by choice, for their protection, this does not give the General Assembly the right to force citizens to do so now.”

The original drafter of the Bill, Rep. Tom Riner, has said he will appeal. I think it’s worth noting that Rep. Riner is a minister and this underscores yet again my assertion that precisely because of issues like this, ministers should not be allowed political office in this country. They cannot serve two masters. God, for them, will always come first. As a result, our country will come second and suffer.

Religion, by its very nature, cannot help but attempt to control. That’s what it’s there for. To make rules. To guide toward a god and specifically, their doctrine. To allow religious leaders a place in our political  body is to open the door to theocracy.

I shall continue to follow this story with interest.

Texas ABC Fires 3 For Raid on Gay Bar

Back in June, officers of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission set out purportedly to inspect The Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth which had recently opened. An inspection; nothing more, nothing less. What actually took place was closer to a raid in which six patrons were arrested on a charge of public drunkenness and one man was arrested for resisting arrest.

Chad Gibson of Euless, aged 26, suffered a hairline skull fracture and now has a blood clot behind his right eye because of excessive force used by the officers while on the premises. The officers did not present themselves to the owner, they were not dressed as representatives of the TABC and far worse, they did not report the force used when subduing Mr. Gibson as is required.

In other words, several Texas cops went into a gay bar, beat the crap out of a guy til they broke his skull and then tried to cover it up by not reporting it. Chad Gibson was in the hospital for a week afterward.

Last Friday, the TABC ruled that the two agents, agent Christopher Aller and agent trainee Jason Chapman, were to be terminated. The TABC additionally terminated their supervisor, Sgt. Terry Parsons, for not ensuring that the two agents correctly filed a report regarding the force used.

It’s a relief to see that the city of Forth Worth is not turning a blind eye to this incident. Texas is becoming more and more culturally diverse, and it’s important to recognize that diversity for what it is: a positive step forward. I realize there are some who will likely never make the transition to accepting the fact that we live in a society that does not believe in repressing citizens merely due to their sexual orientation, but those people are no longer in the majority. It’s time to send the message that they are no longer allowed to perform actions or to condone actions that harm others based on their antiquated and baseless fears.

In Which Lefty Gets a Hobby.

Y’know what? I’m bored. Don’t get me wrong, I love being here on teh intarwebs with all you lovely people, but after a year of living in Texas, I am seriously needing some outside stimulation.  How can I tell, you ask? Well, mostly it was the SO ever so kindly saying ‘if you don’t find something to do, you are going to drive me crazy.’ Ha. He asked for it. I found something to do. After several months of running into their stuff on foodgawker, I have signed up for the Daring Cooks’ challenge. These are the same people who present the Daring Bakers’ challenge every month, but while I love love LOVE pastry, I am abysmal at baking. No, really. I suck at it. Plus the SO won’t eat sweets, so I’m stuck gaining weight all on my own. Cooking on the other hand…. well let’s just say a friend recently told him he’s ‘looking married.’ *snicker*

The Daring Cooks’ challenge. In which, along with my usual political and atheistic observations, I’ll also be posting recipes and pictures of my epicurean ventures. AND HE HAS TO EAT THEM! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA! My evil plan is working. So just a heads up. This space will occasionally be sprinkled with my newest hobby.

AAARRRGH!! Socialism! Fascism! Socio-Fascism, Fascio-Socialism! AAAAARGH!

I should state for the record that I do remember the 70’s fairly well, and the 80’s even more clearly than that. I remember sitting at my desk, watching the government approved short film on how to hide under our desks covering our heads in case of a nuclear attack from the Communists. Russia. Russia was evil. Russians were bloodthirsty people who lived in a corrupt country that was always cold and whose children were forced to become either ballerinas or gymnasts or soldiers (if they were boys). We had to be careful of the Commies! They would kill us all if they got the chance, just like in Red Dawn where the only thing that saved us was a teenaged Patrick Swayze and a few friends with guns up in the mountains. Yeah. Growing up in the midst of the cold war was a blast, let me tell you.

Eventually, the ‘evil empire’ fell (the other one, not ours) and all was peace and Perestroika and glurgey songs by The Scorpions. Which was great, ‘cuz I was 19 and seriously into stadium rock. Unfortunately for those in the political world…people stopped hating the Russians and started looking at our own policies. The whole guns for cash/Iran-Contra thingie. America went through a period where we tried hanging the sign ‘next Evil Empire’ on various countries…China, Iran, Iraq, …but our hearts weren’t in it.

I am so pleased to announce that is finally over. Our long period of life without a national bogeyman is over! We now have SOCIALISM! Right here in River Ci… er, downtown Dallas! The socialists are coming! The socialists are coming! And they’re bringing their icky government healthcare with ’em! Because in Canada, you’re required by law to wait 18 months to see a doctor for a broken leg, and even then the doctor just tells you to walk it off and rub some dirt on it. And in France, the government will dictate to you who your doctor is, even if you’re a man and they send you to a gynecologist, even if you just need an eye exam and they send you to a proctologist. And in Belgium, something something, baseless lies and pointless fearmongering and SOCIALISM! SOCIALISM! AND FASCISM, TOO! BOTH AT ONCE! FASCO-SOCIALISM! SOCIO-FASCISM! Where’s Obama’s birth certificate, and why does he want to steal my guns from me?

Am I the only one here who gets the feeling that these people who cry ‘fascism!’ ‘socialism!’ in tortured tones of great fear aren’t even really sure what either term means? All they know is, it’s bad and they don’t like Obama and they heard some politician or Glenn Beck  or someone on Faux News call him a socialist so that must be where we’re going because they wouldn’t lie and THEY LOVE OUR COUNTRY!

*sigh*…..

No. We are not moving toward socialism. Or fascism. Quite the opposite, in fact, moving AWAY from that one. Want to know what we really have? I’ll tell you. What we have is a Republican minority. And when the Republicans are in the minority, the only way they know how to get back in power is by scaring the living daylights out of people. It’s a proven game plan, so why bother actually helping the current administration come up with anything workable? Why try to be for something when you can be against everything? “If we were in charge this wouldn’t be happening!” Well, no, but we wouldn’t have any money at all and we’d be in the middle of a huge depression.

Stop worrying, folks. We’re not socialists. All we’ve done is taken a turn toward the middle of the road. Right now we’re so far right than anything left of Genghis Khan looks dangerously leftist. The socialists are not going to come take our wages while we sleep in our beds. All will be well. And maybe we’ll be able to climb out of the cellar of the worst neonatal and new mother death rates in the industrialized world. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Not a Christian Nation Redux

My governor is an idiot. I’ve known this for a while now, but today he was kind enough to cement that opinion with his latest idiocy. According to Gov. Good Hair, the state should stay out of the church, but the church definitely belongs in the state:

The notion that laws should not be informed by religion is an extreme one, Gov. Rick Perry said Sunday in remarks at a San Antonio church, where he challenged the faithful to “speak up to defend those whose rights are being eroded by an increasingly secular culture.”

Maybe someone can explain this to me. The people who wrote the Constitution weren’t extremists as far as I can tell, but the Treaty of Tripoli (1797) quite clearly states:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Islamic] nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

In this passage, Adams is quite clearly addressing the Muslim nations as an envoy from a secular nation. There is no interpretation here. The man who wrote the majority of the Constitution of the United States viewed this country as having a secular government, not a Christian one. Others who worked on the document took a similar stance. We may have a majority Christian population, but that does not imply a Christian government.

Don’t let that stop you in your plunge to stupidity, though, Rick. Keep going.

Perry said it was important to understand the biblical roots of the conflicts in the Middle East.

“I fully believe that the situation there illustrates God’s powerful love for the nation of Israel and his desire for it to endure until the end of time. And it’s your passionate support, it’s your passionate support of Israel and your embrace of your Jewish roots — our Jewish roots — that make for an even deeper experience of the fullness of God’s love.”

Holy flaming morons, batman! The Governor of Texas thinks Christians are evolved Jews. The staggering arrogance of the man is unbelievable. Get this, Gov. You do not have Jewish roots. And your insistence that Christianity is evolved Judaism is insulting, both to Christians and to Jews. Jews do not, have not ever, and will not ever believe in a Trinity. They just won’t. Those who are Messianic don’t believe that the Messiah will be the son of Yahweh! Do you not get that? Also, you are totally misinterpreting the phrase “God’s chosen people.” From an email from a rabbi of my acquaintance:

But…”God’s Chosen People” only means that we’re chosen to follow the laws and commandments. It doesn’t mean that we’re first in line for the really nice condos with the views of the Elysian Fields in the afterlife or anything. Do they not get that?

Being “God’s Chosen People” isn’t a privilege*, it’s a duty.

*Ok, it kind of  is

No rabbi, sadly some people just do not get that. Apparently Christians feel it’s their duty to protect the Jews because a friend of the Jews is a friend of God, and if you take care of the Jews you get into heaven. Or something. Sort of like going clubbing. If you go with a hot girl, you get in and maybe get hit on by the wingman. So Christians are now equating themselves with the unattractive chubby hanger on. Just sad.