Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Pity Trip

The article, which claims regular Christians are being rejected by society:

This article is a pile of self-deluded nonsense. It defines "regular Christians" as the most extreme and most politicized members of the minority known as fundamentalist evangelical Christians, aka, the Religious Right.  Apparently the author defines "regular" as "the people who think the same way I do and believe exactly the same extremist, narrow dogma that I do". Sorry, but regular Christians are all the Christians who are embarrassed by your extremist antics.

She is correct in that extremist Christians are becoming less and less welcome in society. This is because the rest of society is becoming more tolerant and therefore less accepting of bigotry. It is because the rest of us do not want you to force your religion upon us with special laws that give you special privileges that none of us share.

A few corrections:

When you say you want prayer in schools you mean you want your prayers in schools interpreted according to your version of the Scriptures. You claim you only want tolerance, but what you really want is the same thing the Puritans wanted when they came to America, the religious freedom to persecute all other religions.

You demand tolerance for yourselves and deny it to everyone else.

Ever wondered just whom Christ was talking about when he spent such a large amount of time on earth condemning the sanctimonious, overly pious, smug, hypocritical Pharisees? Look in the mirror. That's what he condemned when he walked this earth.

As a fellow Christian, I say to you, it's way past time to repent.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


As some of you know, my ex-wife has just been put on hospice. The doctors have given her no more than six months to live. Medical circumstances are complex but they include the need for open-heart surgery without which her heart will give out but which cannot be performed because the anesthesiologist says that putting her under anesthesia will kill her in her weakened condition, pernicious MRSA infection which has gone on for years and already cost her one leg, organ failure… Well, you get the picture.

I've been through this too many times before. When someone you care about reaches a point where you begin to pray not for recovery, because you know that's impossible, but just for an end to the suffering. The good news about hospice is that she now has drugs available to her that are not available to patients expected to live. This means she will probably sink deeper and deeper into a haze and be less and less alive even as she continues to breathe, but at least the suffering will have the edge taken off.

Again, any of you who know us know the divorce was long and bitterly fought. While it did put an end to my being in love with her, it did not stop me from loving and caring about her. Nevertheless, most of the suffering I experience is the suffering of my children.

There are different ways to handle grief. For me the good poem helps a lot. So today I wrote four brief ones. They follow.

Seasons End

The tree no longer as yellow with fruit
As it still is with leaves
The ground beneath its skirt
Littered with the ruins
Pecked, nibbled, rotten
Rich with next year's nutrients

The Crowning jewels
Given back
Returned for rebirth

Why must seasons end?


Ode to Nefertiti

Once she entered in a room
And The Beautiful One Was Here

Men stood tall
Women smiled

She did not walk across a room
She sailed

Every chair
Became a throne

Her diamonds
Were crown jewels

She was always a woman
As Billy Joel sang

Her flaws
Were just her frame

Where has Nefertiti gone?
When will she come home?



Those we love that we have lost
Are Schrodinger's cat made manifest
Dead alive
Both and neither

In memory so vibrant
In reality so macabre,
Dead alive
Both and neither

This is true
That is true
Dead alive
Both and neither



Words are only words, you'll hear
Sounds that signify the insignificant
Often true I don't deny
But also often false

Words can cut and words can heal
Words are the heart and soul
Struggling to be known
Striving to be born

Words are the sweat and tears and blood
Of the living us encased in flesh
The real you and the actual me
Reaching out to touch

Unsaid, they mold and spoil
Said, they may dry out and die
But at least they have a chance
To act as seeds of grace


Friday, June 3, 2016


Here's an interesting thought. Below is Jon Ronson's psychopath checklist [source-- psychologist Robert Hare's widely used psycho diagnostic tool, the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R)]. How many of these traits do you think apply to Donald Trump?

You have glibness and superficial charm

Grandiose sense of self-worth

Need for stimulation/proness to boredom

Pathological lying


Lack of remorse or guilt

Shallow affect/emotional range

Callous/lack of empathy

Parasitic lifestyle

Poor behavioral controls

Promiscuous sexual behavior

Early behavior problems

Lack of realistic long-term goals



Failure to except responsibility for own actions

Many short term marital relationships

Revocation of conditional relief (recidivism if paroled)

Criminal versatility

Juvenile delinquency

Democracy For All (Educated, Wealthy, And White)

An OpEd in the Washington Post suggests Americans should be required to pass a test before  being allowed to vote. The idea is that this would weed out ignorant voters.

I responded:

Define ignorant.  My definition will be wildly different from Trump's. Who designs the test? Administers it? Scores it?

This reminds me very much of an old ploy used by the Soviet Union. Public relations were an important aspect of the Cold War. The Soviets made great gains in this area out of America's treatment of minorities and out of our Jim Crow laws.   We made great gains in this area out of the Soviets treatment of dissidents.

In order to protect themselves from this effective criticism, the Russian communists came up with a very clever solution. They started with the undeniable fact that communism was a scientific system of governance and economics.  Since it was the only scientifically designed government, it was proven to be the most effective and best government available on earth. Therefore, anyone who thought that it was a bad system must be insane. This person was not a dissident. This person was mentally ill. In order to protect these poor victims of their own delusions from harming themselves and others it was necessary to place them in a mental institution.

You get the picture.

In an age when there is a serious attempt to destroy democracy in America by rigging elections through computer guided gerrymandering and voter ID laws, it should be obvious to everyone that this is just another way for government to deny people the right to vote if those people are likely to vote in the "wrong" way.

Down south it was the literacy test which prevented minorities from voting. It's remarkable how many college graduates and professionals, who happened to also be Black, failed the literacy test. It was also amazing how many Whites, many of whom had difficulty reading the TV Guide, passed it easily.

So unless they're going to appoint me the test creator, chief administrator, and creator of the criteria for passing or failing; this is a bad idea.

PS, I wouldn't test for trivia regarding details of governance. I would test for critical thinking skills.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Once We Were Christians


ME:  Laws against abortion don't prevent abortion. They prevent safe abortion, and in the process they promote unsafe abortion. > Roberts’ past work is part of a body of evidence suggesting that women who want an abortion aren’t deterred by abortion restrictions. “We’re not finding anything that would turn that assumption completely on its head,” she said. “Women who really want an abortion, for the most part, will figure out how to get one.” <

DAN:  Weak politicians pump up the excitement among the religious and any other people who might vote for them.  Especially when they can't think of anything more important to do.

ME:  Once upon a time evangelicals deeply believed politics was a dirty, bad thing. It was something which could pull them in and make them lust after worldly power instead of being dedicated to saving souls. They were right.
Then some Republican Party operatives realized there was a whole pool of untapped voters available in fundamentalist churches, if only they could find one subject to rouse them up.  They finally settled on  abortion, previously not an area of great interest in  evangelical churches, and sent out propaganda films to create a new interest and generate new Republican voters.

It worked.  Evangelical churches have been transformed into Republican Party campaign centers.  Pastors are now political operatives.  Party platforms have replaced the Gospels.
"Blessed be the name of (insert name of current candidate)!"