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December 21, 2014 6:56 AM

December 21, 2014 6:48 AM

You constantly spew forth against Christians your hate and derision with your mind already made up that we are all like the pathetic examples you like to parade before us. You need to look at all the real followers of Christ who are seeking to help and make the world a better place. Jesus is about love and he came to save those that are lost. He is the only way to God the Father. You are lost. That is not judgmental and intolerant; that is me saying I love you enough to tell you the truth.

The truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth.”I’ve tried very hard to be clear about my feelings about modern Christianity. For those of you who haven’t read this umpteen times prior, I have no problem with the concept of Christianity. Peace, love, tolerance, and understanding are all very good things, qualities this world too often suffers a pronounced lack of. No, my problem is with Christians, too many of whom use their faith as a club with which to bludgeon those who happen not to be “enlightened” enough to share their beliefs. I’m tired of preachy judgmental types who feel it’s their place to tell me I’m “lost,’ and that only the love of Jesus Christ can save me. Yes, “truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth.” Sadly, the quote above is from someone I love, but who for whatever reasons deems themselves worthy of sitting in judgment of me for my “lack of faith.”

This is the very definition of my problem with a certain segment of the Christian population. You’re free to your beliefs; you’re not free to belief that I’m lost without your beliefs and therefore you must witness to me in order to save my soul. Thank you, but my soul is fine as is.

What truly upsets me is that, even as I try hard to respect the beliefs of others, that respect is very often not returned in kind. Many Christians are convinced that their faith makes them possessed of a superior morality, and that it’s their duty to share the “Good News” with me. They see me as a sinner, lost and in need of salvation. The idea that I might just be good without God is something they just can’t seem to fathom.

I don’t believe in God, because I choose to live in the reality-based world. More people have been killed in the name of religion than any other factor in human history. Religion has been the source of hatred, oppression, and all manner of things inimical to the concept of religion. I look at the historical record and wonder why anyone would want any part of that? Sure, the concept may be sound, but the execution has been corrupted and bastardized beyond all recognition. Seven states still have laws on the books banning atheists from holding public office (The laws are unconstitutional and unenforceable, but they’ve yet to be repealed). In many respects, discrimination against those who don’t believe in God is the last open and socially acceptable form of discrimination allowable today.

There are so many reasons to reject modern Christianity. What was once a religion based in love, tolerance, and acceptance has been destroyed by its followers and turned into something evil and unrecognizable. Yes, there are those who endeavor to lead Christ-like lives, and I admire those people for living their beliefs. Unfortunately, there are too many who believe their faith gives them license to judges those who don’t share their beliefs harshly. Evidently, the Gospel’s message: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1) has fallen on deaf ears.

Before deciding that I’m lost and in need of salvation, how about getting your own house in order and letting me live my life in the manner of my choosing? You don’t get to decide that my life is “less than” and preach the Gospel to me. Your faith is yours. My life is mine. If you want to have any part in my life, you’ll agree to keep it that way. And if honestly discussing my feelings on the subject of religion makes me guilty of spewing forth “against Christians your hate and derision”…well, I suppose I’m guilty as charged. Except that when dissension is held to equal hate and derision, it’s no longer about my views; it’s about your narrow-minded refusal to accept that your truth isn’t THE truth. That’s kind of sad, don’tchathink??

December 21, 2014 5:58 AM

December 21, 2014 5:00 AM

If you haven’t heard, Satanists will be placing a holiday display in Michigan’s Capitol. This is in response to the decision to permit a Nativity at the statehouse. It was inevitable. If government opens its buildings for displays from some private organizations — including churches — it cannot discriminate against others, even those that we might find reprehensible — that’s the First Amendment’s freedom of speech. If government is putting up a holiday display, it cannot focus exclusively on Christian or Jewish and Christian symbols — that’s the First Amendment’s prohibition on religious establishment.

“America is a Christian nation!” is one of the Religious Right’s favorite mantras. It has to be, because they repeat it incessantly. Unfortunately, parroting a falsehood doesn’t do anything to increase its veracity. In fact, doing so only betrays a distressingly ignorance of American history. The bottom line, of course, is that this land was first settled by those fleeing religious persecution in England. The Founding Fathers understood the folly of creating a system of governance in which the roles of Church and State were intermingled. They knew, in some cases from direct experience, that mixing religion and politics was a recipe for tyranny…and so they decided to create a secular system of governance. In this way, government would have no basis to discriminate based on religious beliefs, nor would it be allowed to advance the interests of one religion over another.

To understand why this strict separation of Church and State has been created a wise and enduring system, one need only look at modern-day examples like Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, and…well, you get the point. Tyranny is the inevitable result when governance is conflated with theology, and the Founding Fathers were wise enough to give us a system that recognized the importance of religious faith to many without granting it political or legislative power.

This is why the controversy over religious displays on government property is so important. The separation of Church and State is strict and absolute, which is exactly what the Founding Fathers intended…as did religious leaders (yes, even Evangelicals) when they created this country. Now there are those who loudly decry the “fact” that “God has been excluded from government.” Well, duh; that’s the way things were set up. Religious Conservatives may not like it, but then they don’t have to…because the Constitution and history aren’t on their side.

December 21, 2014 4:46 AM

December 20, 2014 7:23 AM

December 20, 2014 7:16 AM

The Justice Department is broadening a civil rights law to include protections for transgender workers, a reversal from how the Bush administration interpreted the measure. Attorney General Eric Holder said the law, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, will now ensure that workers who sue over discrimination in the workplace will get fair and consistent treatment.

I’ve had my issues with my family over the years, some legitimate and some self-inflicted, but beyond that I’m grateful for the many lessons my parents taught me. Chief among those lessons is that people are people, free to live and believe as they see fit. A corollary to that is the truth that I have no cause or right to judge anyone harshly simply because I may disagree with their lifestyle and/or beliefs. My beliefs are no better or worse than anyone else’s; they’re just different. To Mom and Dad, I can only say “thank you” for teaching me to see people for who they are and not what they are.

This is why I was so gratified by the Attorney General’s decision to extend the protections of civil rights law to transgender workers. I know little of what it means to be transgender, nor do I really need to; it’s not for me to approve or disapprove. I simply applaud the recognition that transgender individuals, like any other class of people, deserve equal treatment under the law. It’s sad that we live in a time where this sort of announcement is even deemed necessary, but such is the world we inhabit. There are still those who would deny basic rights to transgender individuals because they find their lifestyle “icky” or disagreeable.

I’m grateful that my parents taught me to accept people for who they are. Being able to do that has opened my mind to the truth that not everyone lives, loves, thinks, or believes as I do…and that’s probably a good thing. I have friends whose lifestyle choice I may not understand, but then I don’t have to; it’s not my place. They’re good people and I love them because they’re good people. That seems as if it should be enough. If you’re so offended by the thought of what others may be doing being closed doors, you’re thinking about what others may be doing behind closed doors WAY too much, don’tchathink?? You might want to give some thought to what that represents.

I hope that I’ll live long enough to see the day when no one will give a damn about who does what with whom or how they may do it. People will be treated like people instead of being judged and/or condemned and restricted based on lifestyle choices or sexual practices. “Protecting the civil rights of all Americans” will simply be a given…and people will be people.

THAT will be a great day.

December 20, 2014 6:57 AM

December 20, 2014 6:49 AM

A biology professor at Arizona State University is under attack for an image he showed in class that compared creationism to magic. The conservative group Campus Reform, which targets educators it perceives to have a liberal bias, reported last week that professor Christofer Bang showed the image during a PowerPoint presentation in his Biology 100 class. The PowerPoint slide, titled “Evolution vs. Creationism,” showed the March of Progress illustration of human evolution next to an image of Jesus Christ shooting lightening out of his fingers to create a human. The image shows Jesus saying, “MAGIC!”…. A student told Campus Reform that the picture was offensive: “Quite a few students in the lecture hall were bothered by the picture, and it didn’t contribute to the lecture besides adding spite.”

Cue the butthurt Conservative activists and their righteous outrage over a professor of biology (which, BTW, is a SCIENCE) dismissing creationism as unproven. That creationism IS an unproven theory seems almost beside the point for those outraged over the professor’s PowerPoint presentation.

The fact is that evolution is both valid and scientifically sound, having been proven time and time again by fossil records and other evidence. Creationism is a matter of faith that some people believe: “God said it. I believe it. Case closed.” There’s NO empirical evidence, NO proof, and nothing that provides that creationism is anything but fantasy.

Silly me, but I always thought that a university, being an institute of higher learning, was charged with the task of educating young people in the provable and demonstrable- you know, SCIENCE. Conservative Creationists see no problem with the double standard they advocate- the evolution MUST be evidence-based, but creationism should be accepted on faith.

December 20, 2014 6:31 AM