Monday, August 30, 2010

Yes to Free Market Economy , No to Personal Freedom

I read several articles and blog posts dealing with the "unfairness" of regulating businesses today. It seems conservative businessmen are upset that they have to pay out a minimum wage, pass safety inspections, not hire children without regulation, apply for building permits, build according to city ordinances, and pay taxes, any taxes at all. They would like to do away with the FDA, the USDA and OSHA. In short, it looks like they are against any and all rules or laws pertaining to businesses.

So, if the conservative folks are against rules, regulations, and laws pertaining to the freedom to act of businesses, then why are they so fervently supportive of laws against personal freedom and actions?

If they want things many consider immoral, such as the repeal of child labor laws and the repeal of the minimum wage then why are they so hot to make illegal or get rid of things they consider immoral such as science-based sex education and equal marriage?

It looks like they don't want freedom for all. It looks to me like they want freedom for themselves and the freedom to control what everyone else does.

And after they make themselves clear about wanting to control what individuals do, they have the chutzpah to whine that businesses aren't given free reign?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Elections and Cusps

I think that, in November of 2008, we stood upon a cusp. If the presidential election had gone differently I feel that even keeping a blog such as this (non-Christian, pro-science, pro free speech, liberal) would have become illegal within the next ten years or at least legal grounds for job discrimination.

We were saved by the fact that Sarah Palin is such an extremist that the majority of Christians, even those who would support a more theocratic government, couldn't support her in good conscience. I know more than one staunch Republican who voted against her, preferring a Democrat to a regime led by extremists. I speak of Sarah Palin because she spoke her mind on so many issues that her stance was crystal clear. We don't really know that McCain wasn't of the exact same thoughts on the same issues because he kept such opinions close to himself.

We were saved from a decline into fewer freedoms and a move towards theocracy - temporarily. It's not done, it's not gone. People are forgetting the last Bush years already and people are forgetting the Palinesque extremism already. They are seeing the recession which had its genesis even before George W's presidency and blaming it on the current administration. They don't think long term, they think that if the recession could be fixed or recovered from ever any president that hasn't fixed it yet is a bad president - even though the mess was almost twenty years in the making.

I don't think the danger of a theocratic push for power is over. There are more vocal religious extremists in America than at any other time in my life. And they are not treated as fringe elements, they are verging on mainstream. So we aren't safe yet.

So my advice is to remember that we aren't safe yet and may never be so enjoy to the fullest your powers of free speech and religious freedom while you have them. And don't become complacent - get out and vote in your local and state elections when the time rolls around again.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Random Thoughts on the Bible as A Reason to Object to Same Sex Marriage

It never fails to amuse me that people bring up the Bible in defense of discrimination against adult consensual relationships and then equate same sex adult consensual relationships with pedophilia and polygamy. I find this so amusing and also ironic because the Bible speaks of and condones both pedophilia and polygamy with many of its primary characters practicing one or both. Perhaps the technical term for what is frequently practiced in the Bible, even by God, is hebephilia. Please recall that the Virgin Mary was a child by today’s standards, a child who really had no option to say no to her impregnation.

I don’t follow the word of the Bible which condemns homosexuality, the eating of shellfish, and the mixing of fibers in a fabric while condoning hebephilia, genocide, and slavery. I’m simply thunderstruck that such a book could be used as a moral absolute for anyone.

Shouldn’t we instead use the yardstick of compassion and harm? If something is the compassionate path and does no harm, how can it be wrong?

As a victim of sexual abuse I am outraged that anyone DARE equate to pedophilia something as beautiful and nurturing as a loving relationship between adults. There is NO love in pedophilia. I’m outraged that a person or a society would treat loving adult partners as equivalent to life-wrecking pedophiles. They discriminate against and demonize innocent, decent human beings.

Of all things in this world love is a thing we need to nurture and support rather than attack. I suspect one day, our children will look back and be sickened by our actions as we are sickened by miscegenation laws and segregation. I know I’m standing on the side of love and compassion, the side of no harm, so I have no fear of the future’s judgment.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ponderings About The Quiverfull Movement

Many Americans are riveted by the story of the Duggars and their nineteen children. Even with the serious difficulties involved in the birth of their 19th child they are praying to have another child. The Duggars are part of a fundamentalist religious movement called Quiverfull, or QF for short. Quiverfull is a movement to have as many children as possible so they can be raised up in the religion to serve as soldiers for the Lord.

I think it's a pretty kooky thing to do - to have as many children as you can until the mother either dies or can have no more. I think that each child ought to be treated as a gift - for real. It doesn't make a gift more valuable to bury it amidst a dozen newer gifts. I think each child deserves to be cherished as an individual, not raised in rigid conformity to be part of a movement without preparation for any other life.

What I find odd is that many mainstream Christians support people who are QF activists. They claim that as long as the children are not filthy or starving or being beaten a person has the right to have as many children as they can make their body produce before dying. They praise the Duggars and those like the Duggars and comment on how wonderful the children are and how clean and well mannered. In the same breath they condemn people with children who are on Welfare. It seems only certain people should have a lot of children.

They'll argue that while millions suffer and die due to overpopulation the Quiverfull people aren't a problem because their children aren't starving, brown children in poor nations are. You get the idea that there could never be too many Duggars in their eyes, that even if the whole world were suffering from starvation and choking on human waste the Duggars and other Quiverfull families still ought to have even more children.

There's this idea that the poorly educated broods being birthed and homeschooled by these folks are superior to the rest of humanity. Yes, the kids are polite but what will happen to any of the young ladies in the family if they choose to do something else with their lives? What if one of them wants to be a doctor? She's not allowed to go to college, even if she ran away her schooling wouldn't qualify her to get into college. The poorest of the poor in our country get a better education. So the girls' only choice in life is to continue in the fundamentalist religious group, to bear children unto her death or to escape from that fate and try to claw her way up in life without any tools.

But I also get this feeling, that if the world were overcrowded so badly that the Quiverfull Movement folks could see it, so that they were actively rather than passively competing for resources - I have the feeling that they'd keep having kids and make their children literal soldiers to make room for more of them. What do you think?

Currently in the news - 12 out of 19 Duggar kids have chicken pox. If they are all precious gifts from God then why the heck aren't they current on their vaccinations?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Don't Believe in Miracles

I've always figure that was a "gimme" so to speak, simply because I'm an atheist. With nowhere for miracles to come from, why would I believe in them? But some people are surprised and saddened to discover that I don't believe in miracles.

I believe that there are so many people doing so many things that something unusual is bound to happen to some people some times.

People have told me it's a miracle I didn't die on the streets, particularly after I was beaten into a coma, survived and got somewhat better and went back onto the street straight out of the hospital. Many people don't survive. Where are their miracles?

There are no miracles, just things that are rare pleasant surprises in the midst of awful possibilities.