(December 2005) Someone’s stealing 110-foot light poles right out from under the noses of the Baltimore police and this one-line description appeared in today’s online New York Times:
The Bush administration seems to be losing sight of the fact that the majority party may not use its powers to strip citizens of their rights, politicize the judicial system or rig the election process.
And we wonder why so many North American youth have lost faith in the (sometimes still) democratic process and don’t even bother to vote.
I cruised through the mountains this morning in a heavy downpour. Usually the temperature rises as I drive down the mountain and the sun comes up in my eyes but, this morning, the sun stuck its head under the covers instead of rising and the temperature fell steadily.
I encountered some sleet and slushy snow too, so I guess I’ll be placing my snow boots in the trunk a little early this year.
This past weekend, a friend told me about a letter she wrote to her fundamentalist church informing then that she was withdrawing her membership because there is nothing in the Bible that says women cannot hold positions of power but they refuse to let women take an active role in the power structure and insist that women behave submissively.
For these reasons, she informed them, she was using the only power that she had—the power of her feet—to walk away from this organization that she now refers to as “the cult.”
Since my mother just pointed out that I am still a member of the southern (twitch) Baptist church of my childhood until I officially withdraw, I need to write a similar letter.
This is way down on my list of priorities right now, but I plan to reference my aunt Becky’s homophobic correspondence plus Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter (an excellent book for survivors of religious fundamentalism). I also want to state my belief that members of the convention practice hatred and bigotry, which violates Jesus's message of love and inclusion.
I know this probably won’t matter a hill of beans to anyone and will probably just succeed in making my mother uncomfortable in one of the few places to which she still ventures, but it’s important to me to say why I am withdrawing.
Maybe I’ll CC my mother and aunt too ... and hmm, maybe I should write this letter before Christmas, since I’ll no doubt receive another God-can-cure-you epistle when I show up down south.
My aunt, like so many Christianists, insists that our nation’s founders intended for our country to be a theocracy. I have concluded that she has never read a single unbiased biography of our founders and that the leaders of her cult assume that their followers are stupid, since they write such nonsense and encourage them to pass it off as fact.
Contrary to popular superstition, Thomas Jefferson understood very well that the only religious freedom the Puritans were interested in (besides their own) was the freedom to label people who disagreed with them as witches. He knew their biases resulted in witchhunts back then just as they do today, and that these extremists were more than willing to supplant Jezus’s message of inclusion with the Nicene Creed and to create scapegoats for their own benefit.
And THAT reality—along with the long, long history of religious persecution in Europe and elsewhere—is why the US Constitution spells out the separation of church and state so strongly, Aunt Becky.
Once our country had Thomas Jefferson—a possible slave rapist ( I hope it was mutual lust) but a damn insightful one who at least believed in democracy. Now we have an Constitution-shredding president who has forced Grand Canyon National Park to sell scientifically inaccurate creationist books in their bookstore.
Yes indeedy, Christianists and their children (who no longer even have to attend a public school where they would receive evidence-based information about their world) can now purchase these inaccurate tomes and take their own creationist rafting trip down the canyon (during which they will learn about humans coexisting with the dinosaurs and how there is no such thing as carbon evidence or evolution and how everyone knows that Eve was the original sinner who corrupted good men and removed us all from paradise).
What’s that Muhammed Ali line:
I ain't no Christian. I can't be when I see all the colored people fighting for forced integration get blown up. They get hit by the stones and chewed by dogs and then these crackers blow up a Negro church... People are always telling me what a good example I would be if I just wasn't Muslim. I've heard over and over why couldn't I just be more like Joe Louis and Sugar Ray [Robinson]. Well, they are gone and the black man's condition is just the same, ain't it? We're still catching hell.
So here’s my version: I ain’t no Christian. Hell no, I can’t be when I see good homosexuals assaulted by fundamentalists. We’re strapped to a fence and bludgeoned to death or left to die on the street by homophobic cops, sent into exile for being atypical, rate.
People are always telling me what a good person I’d be if I’d just take one of those cure-yer-homosexuality classes and forget how incredibly alluring women are.
(Yes. I love women. And I love that I do.)
But why should I be a fundie talking head instead of who I am? Those other women are the female impersonators, if you ask me, and my very existence is threatened by this bigotry.
We queers are denied basic civil rights that are extended to every other citizen of this country merely because of whom we love, so get out of my face with your religious mythologies and your just-as-I-am bullshit and quit trying to kidnap democracy.
In fact, why don’t you climb back into Plato’s cave where you can stare at the wall and insist that you see only darkness.
So. Yeah. I also just read that Christians are now boycotting businesses that don’t use holiday greetings that they deem appropriate. Christmas is “under siege” by “professional atheists” and “Christian haters,” see, and there is a “liberal plot against the holiday,” according to Fox commentators.
So the American Family Association is leading a boycott against Target because the phrase Merry Christmas is not in the chain’s marketing material.
And the Catholic League is leading a boycott against Wal-Mart because they don’t like the way the chain’s website searches for the word Christmas.
(But, hey, if liberals AND conservatives boycott the place, then maybe they’ll actually give their employees a living wage in an effort to improve their image.)
Now, dear readers, please do make a note of the fact that Christianists do not like terms such as “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings” and, if they hear such phrases, may very well decide that you too are a professional liberal atheist Christ hater.
Should this happen to you, I suggest that you pick up the nearest brass sleigh bell and, in the midst of your jingalingalinging, bop him or her over the head.
You can follow this action up with a hearty “Happy New Year.”
Or, better yet, point out to your dazed admirer that there is absolutely no biblical evidence whatsoever that the so-called virgin birth happened on or around 25 December. Instead the Christians replaced the Roman Saturnalia celebration with this holiday in an effort to convert celebrants.
SANG IN SHOWER: Carry me back to Memphis. Gotta find my Daisy Jane... (an old America song)
BEST OF SPAM: Subject: Wrist.Factors (well that IS quite the subject now isn’t it? And also the reason some of us have metal bedframes.)