Religion

Please don’t wish your religious beliefs on me

So here goes – I don’t believe in God. There it is. When I’ve told a couple of other friends they were shocked. One was visibly appalled. So, of course, I don’t voice this all that much.However, I am not an atheist. I do believe there is more to this planet and universe than just US. I am not quite so self centered to think that humans are the highest consciousness there is.I believe there is a lot more out there. To me, specifically, it is a higher form of energy/vibration/intelligence. I do not believe it takes a single form or identity. It is fluid, and constantly changing. What I don’t like much at all is organized religion of ANY kind. Because they ALL rely on some form of monotheism. What sets me off the most? When someone says “Oh, if it is God’s will, so be it.” I say: GAH!!!!!!!!!!! You can imagine just how much I cringe when a sports figure thanks God & Jesus for letting them win. ARGH!

No. Never. Whatever is out there is NOT sitting on my shoulder minute by minute pulling my strings like some mindless puppet. I do not get to relinquish all responsibility for my life by simply laying it at the feet of this God so many worship.

You have free will. You make your destiny. Sometimes you fuck that up. And when you do, you know who gets you back on your feet? YOU DO! I believe that your strongest source of belief needs to be in YOU.

Now, that is not to say that You/I am an island. We surround ourselves with a community of support and love that, if we are wise, we stay connected to and ask for help/advice when needed. AND, we support THEM. So, first on the human level I believe in ME, I love ME and I approve of ME, and then I extend that love and empathy and nurturing to my community.

Then there is that higher source of energy. I believe it is always there buzzing around us and again, if you open your heart and mind, you can tap into it. It is the source of intuition and inspiration. THAT is what you tap into as you meditate, visualize or affirm the things you need. It is NOT one all knowing gender based human type being. It is not ONE *thing*.

At least, that is what *I* believe is true in MY life. What you believe is personal to YOU and I would *never* try to convince you otherwise or WISH that you believed anything that doesn’t work for YOU in YOUR heart and life. If you believe in God & Jesus and that makes you feel loving and kind towards yourself and others, then BRAVO! Do what you need to do.

I am in the Live and Let Live church of all religions and no religion as warranted ūüôā

That is a LONG intro to say, while I feel as if I have to hide my lack of belief, I also read this piece by Ana Marie Cox with a ton of empathy & lots of nodding of my head: Why I Coming Out as a Christian. Even though my personal beliefs are completely different, I love *just about* every sentiment she expresses here and I do love to see how relaxed and happy and joyful that she is in her life. It does come across in her more recent TV appearances and it is lovely to see.

BUT…and you knew there was a but….I take issue with her very last line:

My hope is that His love is somewhere underneath the ego and grievances that inspired me to write this. I believe that it is. What I pray is that you can find it for yourself as well. 

Sigh….why? I don’t wish that Ana was not a Christian. I don’t wish that she did not believe in God. Implied in her final line is that she prays for all of us to find ‘His love.’ No thanks. I’m very happy, connected, loving, and joyful without believe in such a thing ma’am. What I wish for is that everyone find their own path towards the same whatever that may be.

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Really GOP women, really?

"With this I am going to control your LIFE?!"

Yes, I added the question mark on the caption. Because I really have to wonder if the current GOP tactic of questioning women’s access to just about EVERY aspect of reproductive health care is somehow a reaction to this? Do GOP hetero¬†sexual men resent that those lady bits DO control their lives? ¬†And what of the GOP women? How can they watch what has unfolded in front of them in the last 30 days and STILL support GOP candidates across the board? How can they vote for laws restricting their own access to medical care? How can they support laws that would make it more expensive for their own insurance coverage (if they get coverage at all) simply because they are female?

I mean – didn’t dry cleaners get into trouble for charging more for women’s clothes?

Have they listened to current GOP Presidential front runner Rick Santorum at ALL? He is on video challenging the mere EXISTENCE of birth control products –¬†never mind¬†actual access to or¬†insurance¬†coverage for it. This week he stated his opposition to a basic prenatal test that just about half pregnant women I know have had done –¬†amniocentesis.

On what is he basing these opinions? Oh, just his religious beliefs, that’s all. No science. No scientific research. Just his gut, Catholic theology driven individual opinion. One he would just LOVE to use to create laws¬†through¬†he government to REGULATE medicine. Wait, not just medicine. WOMEN’s medicine.

Yes, Mr Limited government Republican would like to use the government to tell you, me, and everyone with those darling lady bits just exactly HOW you are to care for them (or, NOT care for them in most instances). Hell, the Limited Government Republican controlled Virginia state house and senate just voted to do exactly that with their bill MANDATING a specific medical procedure (trans vaginal ultrasounds) be done by doctors before performing abortions. This is not a procedure that doctors want done – this is what the GOVERNMENT wants done. Doctors and patients HAVE TO comply by law whether they want to or not.

Raped and impregnated? Oh, so sorry. Sure, we know it is legal for you to seek an abortion here. Oh, and we totally understand WHY you would want to of course. But…hey, minor detail – before you can have that done – spread ’em again would ya? We need to stick a camera up there and take some pictures. Oh, you don’t HAVE to look at them. Of course, if you DO – we sure do hope you reconsider and carry your rapists baby for 9 months and give birth. I’m sure that would be NO¬†psychological¬†burden to you at ALL!

Now, I’ve already seen the “hey, you have to spread your legs for the abortion – what’s a little ultrasound camera beforehand?” argument. Um – because you don’t NEED that and in no other circumstance would you be FORCED to have that? Even if it wasn’t a result of rape – choice is legal – how can you justify forcing a medical procedure like that on anyone?

And what about that panel investigating the religious entity ¬†exception¬†issue on insurance coverage of birth control? All men, right? About women’s health care access & payment thereof, right?

I say women convene a panel and write a few laws of their own related to men’s reproductive systems:

Hey – you want insurance to cover that Viagra? You want to get a vasectomy? Prostate exam first! Mandated!¬†Government’s¬†orders!

(didn’t a state legislator try to stick that in there in response to the ultrasound law?).

What’s good for the goose…well….personally I think the gander needs to stay the fuck out of the goose’s business. Particularly her lady bits. Clearly they are scared to death of them! So, they are a lost cause I am afraid.

But, the women?! C’mon now! Do you really want to make it that much harder for us (the 98%) who use birth control to access it? You WANT it to be more expensive? You WANT men dictating to us what sort of medical treatments we can have? You WANT to have your prenatal care reduced? Do you want to go back 100 years to when your body was not your own – when you were simply a vessel for increasing the population? Do you not SEE that is exactly where this going (intentionally or not?)

REALLY?!

 

You don’t BELIEVE in science, it just IS. Education fail.

Belief in creation, based on political party s...

Image via Wikipedia

I was watching Bill Maher’s show on Friday and the round table discussion ended up on the topic of evolution. Why? because the GOP representative from Georgia – Jack Kingston – said he didn’t believe in it. Naturally the Congressman is getting all the attention for that statement as an elected official, but kind of buried in that was that right at the end of the discussion comedian DL Hugley ALSO said he didn’t believe in it. Both Kingston & Hughley referenced their “belief in God” as a reason why they did not believe in evolution.

All I could think was “Since when did we have to BELIEVE in science?” Seriously – think back to your own childhoods no matter your religious or political background – when did you learn about evolution? Was it in a philosophy class? Or a religious history class? Or was it in SCIENCE?

Were you taught about the Theory of Relativity? How about the Theory of Gravity? Right along side the Theory of Evolution right? Do you have to BELIEVE in the first two? Does your religious belief preclude you from BELIEVING in them?  The irony of course, is that you DO need to BELIEVE in religion. And that belief in something not scientifically proven somehow overrides facts which ARE scientifically proven. That image I attached is from a survey done in 2006. At what point did this all happen?

I’m 46 so I was in school in the 70s and early 80s. I went to private school all the way through. A Montessori school run by devout Catholics. My parents raised me in a religion that encompasses facets of just about every religious theory (though not specifically Christian). I went to an Episcopalian high school where a full year of religious study was required (Old Testament one semester, New Testament the other). At NO POINT in my education was evolution questioned. NONE. The whole idea that this was not settled science did not cross my mind until perhaps the last 10-15 years? Does that seem right to everyone else? Was it the 90s Christian Right movement that brought all this out again?

What frightens me though is seeing men like Kingston and Hughley – men my age who you know damn well were not RAISED to doubt evolution. Men who were not EDUCATED to question it. The scary thing is that their religious belief and teachings as adults has caused them to change their stance. To ignore science. Now, some could argue that Kingston does that for political gain. Ever the political cynic who has watched John McCain twist himself into so many positions on issues that pretzels look straight, I can totally buy into that. But DL Hughley? It’s not political with him – he was taking obviously liberal Democratic stances on the panel on all other topics. This was purely based on his religion.

The thing is, just about anyone you talk to of any political stripe will acknowledge that the US education system has fallen behind. PARTICULARLY in math and science. And yet there is a growing movement in conservative circles to “update” our textbooks to present evolution as an “optional” theory to be “believed” or not. Not to mention the already approved curriculum changes in Texas to “update” our history books removing references to people and events that don’t support their predominately white Christian conservative beliefs. It’s just disgraceful!

Seriously – religion is wonderful for those who need it. But it is also personal. It should not preclude science and it should NOT influence public school education. Shutting a child’s mind to science and history will just keep pushing us further and further behind. Is there any other developed country that rejects new discoveries and runs away from science as much as the we do?

Separation of Church & State (Catholicism exception)

marriagecartoon

This week, the lines between church and state were muddied again. While it is the Catholics who are triumphing right now, this is a situation not exclusive to them. They just get the spotlight right now.

In Maine, the campaign to deny gays the right to marry was led by the Catholic Diocese (you may recall that one year ago in California it was the Mormon church spearheading the battle). They went so far as to have sermons on the topic and to pass along collection plates targeted at funding advertisements to “save” marriage. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I tend to agree with the cartoon above that we heterosexuals have pretty much done in marriage quite well on our own thankyouverymuch! Anyhow – the point is – just how far can a church go and still maintain it’s tax exempt status? Sermons telling you how to vote? FundraisingCollection plates? C’mon now!!!

Of course, I think the right to marry is one of those basic inalienable rights that the we shouldn’t even be voting on. Tyranny of the majority denying rights of the minority and all that. And this particular right is my Achilles heal when it comes to being pragmatic. No, I cannot see your side. No I will NEVER understand your side. And yes, you are being exclusionary and bigoted and supporting hate and discrimination. No, I will not budge from that position. Yes, I do lose some respect for you if you are willing to fight to deny gays their rights. Yes, that includes you President Obama.

Moving on, this next piece may be even more disturbing, and also may have almost NO light shone on it by the media. In fact, one never hears *any* sort of complaints about this example which happens most likely with nearly every piece of legislation. In the course of the Health Care debate, one of the GOP’s favorite points of contention is abortion. Even though it is legal. Even though there is already a law in place preventing Federal funding of abortions. Now they want to make sure that any insurance plan which may participate in the proposed public option marketplace will deny abortion coverage. Why? Because they want to appease the Catholics! Seriously – check out this article in Politico. Particularly this paragraph:

Ellsworth worked closely with Pennsyvlania Rep. Mike Doyle and others¬†to craft a compromise that the Catholic¬†church could accept. But a critical bloc of Democrats wouldn’t sign on to the plan unless the Conference of Catholic Bishops could endorse if. Therefore, party leaders once again bowed to political pressure from their own rank-and-file to make a concession they didn’t want to.

There are Representatives who will not vote on a piece of legislation unless a religious lobby endorses it??? And no one sees any problem with this??

I wonder how the conservatives would view things if the Catholics actually did lobby according to Christian values and insisted upon caring for the poor by expanding government services to provide for the homeless and jobless? Isn’t that what Christ taught? How would they feel about the So Called Separation of Church and State then?