Saturday, September 26, 2015

No Blanks Allowed

From a July Facebook discussion which I seem to have forgotten to post here:

I posted a pic asking why baking a cake is participating in a wedding but selling a gun is not, participating in crime. And added, "just think about it." The following dialogue resulted.

My friend:  Here's two differences Jim. .. 1. when a couple comes into a bakery for a wedding cake you know what the outcome will be. When someone comes into a gum shop for a gun you only know they'll be target shooting but nothing else- 99.9/100 will be legit. Street drugs-100/100 illicit&and 10/100 deadly. Car dealer - far more deaths than by guns. Abortion clinic -50/100 lethal. 
2. If you don't like one stores beer you go down the street for the good stuff. If u don't like service art one restaurant you find another. If you don't like the attitude at one bakery you go somewhat else. It's the American way . Right?

Me:  What if there isn't another bakery in town?  A public business must serve the pubIc.  A cake is a cake.  Attending or actively participating in a wedding is different from selling a cake or dress or tux.  If you feel so compelled to deny service to those with whom you disagree, withdraw from public business.  Your license requires you to serve the public.
Could a Catholic refuse to serve remarried customers?  All religions need to be treated fairly, with respect,  without the privilege of setting special rules for public business.  Being denied a cake is being told you are  unworthy.  It is insulting and brings a sense of shame.  No one would be shamed at asking for a cake or tux for their wedding.
Think how it would feel to be told your kind aren't served here, go somewhere else.  In some Southern towns it is entirely possible there would be nowhere else to go.  But so what? No one should be told by a public serving, government licensed business, you aren't good enough to buy my product.  It is a form of bullying.
All I ask is that everyone be treated the same.  If you choose a public business, then you have chosen to serve the public. If you don't want to serve the public, don't open a public business.  There are many alternatives.
A Jewish delicatessen can't be forced to serve pork, but it also can't refuse to serve Christians or Muslims what it has on the menu.  So your rights are also protected by my stance.
The same rules for everyone.  No special rules for special people or religions.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Darwin's Doubts

Smithsonian magazine posted an article about a letter from Darwin on the New Testament. The brief 
letter states: 
Nov. 24 1880
Dear Sir,
I am sorry to have to
inform you that I do
not believe in the Bible
as a divine revelation
& therefore not in Jesus
Christ as the son of God.
Yours faithfully
Ch. Darwin
Read more:

Interesting, but only tantalizing.  No clear answers.  Was Darwin, like Jefferson, a philosophic ( though not religious) Christian?  Was he fully agnostic?  A reluctant atheist?  A complete nonbeliever?  We know he felt that if there was a God, He was beyond human comprehension, but did he believe at all?  We still do not know.

"On the other (hand), I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe, and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can. Certainly I agree with you that my views are not at all necessarily atheistical."

Yes, not necessarily...but...What could you believe, Dr. Darwin?  What were your hopes?

The world wonders.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Where Lies The Danger?

A Facebook post and my response:

Dear friends, Some of you have challenged me (and that is a reasonable thing to do when one doesn’t understand another’s views) about my perceptions of the Islamic faith, and that I don’t trust the Muslim nor their motives. I have detailed some of my sources below, so you can  look them over as well. Feel free to let me “have it” if I haven’t come to the right conclusion; but don't just bash me, send some solid info pls for consideration by all. 

Some of the authors and reporters I reference below have life experiences under Islam; others write from the word of the Muslim god, the Koran, and from the words of Islam's prophet, Mohammad. It must be remembered that a religion’s true character is developed from its writings, not  from its practice; and so, the  friendly Muslim we meet in the USA speaks of love and tolerance, yet his Koran teaches quite the opposite; and we note how the practice of the writings is apparent in worldwide events. I am of the belief the horrendous events we see in the news in Arabia, Europe, throughout Africa and in many other countries is true Islam, and it will be coming to the USA when the Muslim faithful are strong enough here. 

Most of you are thinking people and will go to favorite preferred sources to see the other side of the question. I warn you, the pro-Islam world will not tell you the things my sources say: they have no problem lying to spread their faith; “I would like to quote to you what Mohammed [said, quoted in a] hadith  … that it is lawful to lie in three cases: A man to his wife that she will be pleased with him, or at the time of war because war is deception, or to make peace between the people. So in simple words, Mohammed taught his people, the Muslims, that it is lawful to lie to their wives, their enemies, and their friends.” (Dakdok, )

Many other sources are out there; please tell us what else we can read and see to convince us of the truth. From my viewpoint now, the existence of the USA is in peril if we don’t get smart, quickly.

     The sources: 
Usama Dakdok re first questions about problems of the Isslam faith

Dr J Vernon McGee
Thru The Bible Radio  faq re international ministries and broadcasts, especially those sent to Moslim countries

Walid Shoebat - former Muslim  terrorist, now a Christian who speaks on his new faith and the fallacies of Islam.  discusses end-time events in eyes of Isslam and Christian believers

Sharam Hadian - former Muslim, now Christian and a pastor
He is dedicated to reaching out and speaking out to let people know about the deception of Islam, its true goal that many are not aware of, and the threat of Shariah law which is the heart of Islam.
Founder of TIL (Truth In Love) Project ministry:
Chrislam Exposed
Hadian on Islam

Jack VanImpe; articles and videos of the weekly TV broadcast correlating current events with Biblical prophecy. VanImpe has a wealth of knowledge of Bible verses and interpretation, and also of Quranic verses and Arabic history.

Brigitte Gabriel- speaker, founder of ACT for American Education, and American Congress for Truth 
See Unmasking the Muslim Brotherhood  , a list of interconnections, finances, supporters and goals of numerous American Muslim support groups in the USA.
A speech :

The Holy Land Foundation federal trial of the fund raising by a supposed benevolent group that forwarded large sums to Hamas for their warfare.
Anti-Defamation League-,db7611a2-02cd-43af-8147-649e26813571,frameless.html
Wiki summary- 

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh
Do a Youtube search for interviews
Book “Captive In Iran”, the story of the struggles of these sisters while in their native Iran, trying to live out their Christian beliefs.

Blessings to you today!

Let me open on a humorous note by noting that you might be surprised to find that ultra extremist liberal, God bashing, religion hating, Bill Mahr agrees with you that Islam is a particularly pernicious set of beliefs.  He may despise religion in general, but he especially condemns  Islam. 

As for me,  I pride myself on facing facts, even when those facts are distasteful or unpleasant to me. The facts in this case are that if you look at the attitudes of Muslims around the world they tend to be regressive, harsh by our standards, and undemocratic. Much of this is clearly due to the focus on certain Surahs and verses in the Koran.

➡️ It cannot be denied that the word Islam means submission, so the very name the religion adopts for itself suggests rigidity of obedience. (I was much disturbed when George Bush famously declared  is the word "Islam" came from an Arabic word meaning "peace".)

➡️ It is also true that parts of the Koran declare the government and religion should not be separate. On the contrary, certain scripture declares that the only legitimate government is an Islamic government.  

➡️ That many Muslims insist on the adoption Sharia law is as horrifying to many of us in the West as is the demand of Christian Reconstructionists to bring back stoning and other such Old Testament punishments and legal codes.

However, a closer examination reveals that there is as much difference of opinion on these subjects in Islam as there is between Christian Reconstructionists and more moderate Christianity. Most of the world's Muslim population live in poverty and a great many live under brutal authoritarian regimes. The unholy alliance of Ibn Saud and Ibn Wahhb created an extremely wealthy nation which uses that vast wealth to spread religious extremism throughout the Islamic world.

Muslims in the United States, on the other hand, are a well behaved, law-abiding, decent group of Americans.  They have condemned Islamic extremism. They have cooperated with the FBI and other agencies in identifying and capturing extremists who develop in their community. They have demonstrated they are just as good citizens as any other group of Americans.

I conclude that Islam, like Christianity, has its extremists, its moderates, and many in between. Unfortunately, I cannot deny that there are many more extremists in the Islamic world. However, I think this is clearly due to cultural issues such as poverty, ignorance, suppression, and propaganda pushed by governments such as the Saudis rather than being due to something that is inherent in the religion. There is much similarity between some of the most extreme elements of the Koran of the most extreme elements of the Old Testament, though most Christians regard the Old Testament as having been superseded by the New Covenant. Like moderate Christians, moderate Muslims and liberal Muslims do not hold with the absolute rule of Sharia Law or the need to force the conversion of their neighbors.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Prolife vs. Prochoice Forced Choice/False Dichotomy?

Posted on Facebook:


Friend:  One day, you'll be sorry your team is killing babies. It just ain't right... you know that ... and now you are reminded.

ME:  You don't see that we hate abortion too.  We want to stop it through the  proven methods, which can reduce abortion by massive amounts.  They are:  comprehensive sexual health education and free, or at least inexpensive, birth control.

The problem with outlawing abortion is that it does not stop abortions. If it did, I would probably support such a law.  Abortions have been practiced in every human society for all of human history.  Sometimes legal, sometimes illegal, the practice has never been successfully prevented.  Given the forced choice (forced by hard, ugly reality) of dangerous, brutal, illegal abortions which often kill both mother and fetus or safe, legal abortions which do not harm the mother, I choose that course which is least harmful.  In other words, I see myself as prolife.  We must save as many lives as we can.
 Always remember, I hate abortion.  I just hate the more dangerous option of illegal abortion even more.

I am sorry, right now, that human life is being lost.  I am doing all I can to minimize that loss.  The choices are harsh and terrible, but they are the choices this world inflicts upon us.  Like doctors in a triage situation, we each make the best decision we can and then we must live with the consequences.  I see no teams or victories in this.  I see only the eternal struggle of good people to make hard decisions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The God Game

Bobby posted the following link to an article advocating the need for us to apply our knowledge of genetics to improve human health and well being.

Good article. I enjoyed it. Certainly a lot of good points were made, but I must agree with Anthony that it was rather simplistic. Real world applications would be much more messy and complex. Think about Dr. Bashir on Deep Space Nine, Kahn, the Sauron Superman from The Mote in God's Eye...  What is acceptable and what isn't?

Just a few comments:

Anesthesia for relief of the pain of childbirth was so controversial that there were sermons preached against it all over England. After all, God had condemned women to labor pains as punishment for eating the apple.  To prevent the pain was to defy God's justice.The controversy ended when the beloved and adored Queen Victoria used anesthesia during her ninth labor (which gave the world Princess Beatrice).

It is quite true that the Nazis did not invent negative eugenics and that other nations also participated, including America. It is less well-known that the Nazis (obviously before they became our existential enemies) sent representatives to America, including California, to study sterilization and other programs to improve the species. Shockingly, supporters of negative eugenics included Theodore Roosevelt, Helen Keller, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, and a disturbingly large number of other famous individuals.

It is interesting to note that adult children sometimes criticize their parents for decisions they made.  (Why did you make me move when I was in high school?  I never fit in at the new school.)  If the parents decided a child's temperament, intelligence, and more, will the adult that results be grateful or bitter?  "You engineered my math skills and not artistic abilities? You monsters!"

Finally, we really have no choice but to play God.  Once you have the capacity to act, refusing to act is still making a decision.  If I can stop a murder, but choose not to do so, I am
morally culpable.  If we can prevent horrible birth defects and refuse to do so, we are deciding to let them occur.  Knowledge can be regarded as a trap.

Keep me thinking, Bobby. It is a moral obligation.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Burka Busters!

A new internet post which has been very popular and become a rather powerful meme in short order states that Illinois law has been changed to accommodate the demands of extreme Muslim fundamentalists. From now on, according to the meme, Muslims are we allowed to wear full burkas with only the eyes showing on their photo IDs, including drivers' licenses.

As you can expect, a great deal of outrage has been generated by this. In fairness to those individuals who posted it, it should be noted that this post is widely sourced from a variety of conservative "news" sites.

A couple minutes of Google checking uncovered the facts. I responded to the post:

  This would be truly awful if it were true.  Thankfully, it isn't.

1.  The complaint was filed by Sikhs, not by Muslims.

2.  Long-standing Illinois law, not Sharia law, was the basis of the complaint.

3.  One of the foundations of the Sikh religion is tolerance. 
Radical fundamentalist extremism had nothing to do with this issue.

4.  The face must be exposed on any photo ID under Illinois law. A Muslim woman is permitted to wear a head covering for her photograph, but not a face covering.

Please check things out before posting. Don't be gullible. The more awful, terrible and shocking something sounds, the less likely it is to be true.  And I can't help but wonder before I end this brief post, who's the fundamentalist extremist bigot?