Category Archives: Religion

Fuck Them (and Not in a Good Way)

Group_middle_fingersI’m furious.  I’m enraged.  I’m weary.  I’m horny, but that’s not going to be part of the post today.  In the comments from my last post, whabs brings up the point that guilt is supposed to be a part of what it means to be a woman.  I have learned that lesson all-too-well.  I feel guilty nearly every goddamn minute of my life.  I have learned to mitigate it somewhat so it’s just a muted chorus, but it used to dominate my thoughts.  Which was why I was suicidal by age eleven.  Well, not the only reason, but one of them.

In no particular order, I felt guilty for not being married, for not having children, for being bi, for being loud about issues such as racism, for not being a Christian, for letting myself get out of shape, for thoroughly enjoying sex in so many different ways and with so many different people, for not making more of myself, for wasting my life, for not having to worry as much about money as do other people, for not being able to single-handedly save the world, for being alternately aloof and clingy, for being so damn narcisstic, for craving fame, for not working hard enough to get said fame, for being a repudiation of everything my mom is, for accidentally kicking Raven twice today, for not being a better aunt/sister/daughter/friend/cat caregiver, for the Cold War, for evaluating my worth as how skinny I am, for not being enough of ______  (fill in the blank) and too much of _______  (fill in this blank, too).

Now, while I’m worrying about everything little thing I’ve ever done wrong and will ever do wrong in my life, there are people who act like their shit don’t stink.  Because I follow politics, my examples are of politicians and of the so-called pundits who opine about said pols.

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The Politics of Hate

hoodofhate1926I have started a sober, thoughtful post on the shooting of the security guard at the Holocaut Museum, but I am not feeling sober nor thoughtful right now.

It was an awful thing that happened.  You know the sick and twisted part?  Many on the right are trying to pretend that the asshole who did this (old asshole, yes, but an unrepentant asshole all his life, nonetheless) was a liberal because–well, it’s the same idiotic pretzel-shaping they did when the converted Muslim man assassinated that soldier.

“You all crammed multiculturalism down our throats, and…”  What?  Apparently, there are some on the far left who blame Jews for what’s ailing America.  I did not know that, and it’s appalling.  However, can you honestly tell me that when you hear of a white supremacist who hates minorities (especially blacks) and Jews and thinks the government is treasonous, who is packing heat and intent on doing damage to the greater population, the first thing you think of is, “Damn fucking liberals are shooting up the joint again!”?

Come on!  We’re not called the bleeding heart liberals for nothing.  The right likes to scoff at us for our empathy and our do-gooder ways.  Now, they want to do a one-eighty and say…I don’t even know what the hell they are trying to say.  Oh, wait.  Yes, I do.  They are saying the alleged killer hated the far right movement, so he must have been far left.  You know why he hated the far-right movement?  Because he thought they were a bunch of wusses who talked a good game, but who weren’t willing to lay it on the line.  The sad thing is that he’s right about that.  Most of the far-right pundits haven’t served their country in any measurable way.  They are not the ones protesting or filling the streets with tea bags.  They are certainly not turning down money from ‘the librul media’ which is paying them a handsome amount to spew their hatred.

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Sick at Heart

I am grieving today for a man I’ve never met.  Until this day, I was only vaguely aware of him.  Who is this man?  Dr. George Tiller, a Wichita doctor who performed late-term abortions.  He was one of only three doctors in the country to handle such abortions.  Read the section called Jesus’s Jihadis.  And today, he was shot and killed in his house of worship as he was doing his ushering duties.  Read here, here, here, and here for a little more background.  In the first link, read the section called George Tiller Assassinated. In the last link, there are links to the Freepers, the loony rightwingnutters who read freerepublic online.  I am not linking to them.  You can get there from the last link I gave you.  There replies are repulsive, disgusting, and devoid of any humanity.

Dr. Tiller was shot in the nineties, and he continued to do his work.  Late-term abortion?  That’s the particularly grotesque kind, right?  Uh, not exactly.  Dr. Tiller treated women whose lives were in danger if they continued their pregnancies, who found out that they were further along than they thought they were, and women who were pregnant because of rape and couldn’t get help in time.

First, let me emphasize that his practice was legal.  Second, his community has tried to get him indicted on performing illegal abortions before and has failed.  Third, Bill O’Reilly focused on Dr. Tiller as did Operation Rescue in their war for forced pregnancies.  Operation Rescue considered Wichita to be some kind of ground zero for their cause.

The right is already spin, spin, spinning.  They are bleating that it would be such a shame if anybody on the left used this as a political weapon–which is exactly what the rightwing shills are doing.  They are going on the offensive as they like to do, but will it work?

I am afraid, yes, it will.  See, Dr. Tiller is already being called an abortion doctor, as if that’s the sole purpose of his practice.  Many of the rightwingnutters don’t even bother to try to understand what exactly Dr. Tiller did.  It didn’t matter.  In that way, he was the symbol of everything they hated, loathed, and feared.

I am trying not to devolve into a rant against misogynist rightwingers who want to control women’s sexualities and bodies, but it’s very hard for me not to go there.  I am tired of this shit.  I really am.  I will post more later, maybe.  For now, I’m just going to grieve.

This shit needs to stop.

P.S.   I just donated to Planned Parenthood.  You can, too.

Religious Rapture, Part VII

agraOk. We are at the end of a week of religion-based entries, and this is the final installment. No, this doesn’t mean I will never write about religion ever again–only that I have other things about which I want to blog, and a week solid of any one topic is more than enough (except, of course, chocolate and Alan Rickman).

So, how am I planning on tying up the loose ends from my previous six entries and summing them up in one neat, coherent, thought?  I’m not.  I’m just going to ramble on some more, as is my wont, and then come to a screeching halt.  I will say one thing in advance of the verbal torrent, though, I want to discuss the impact of religion on my personal life and the impact of religion on my political life.  For the purposes of this blog entry, I am going to assume the two do not overlap.

First up, religion in my personal life.  My friend, Natasha, says she doesn’t take offense at the religious people in her life because they are trying to save her from eternal damnation.  In their minds, her soul is at peril, and they are trying to save it.  I actually agree with this.  I don’t particularly care if people (like my mom) want to pray for my soul.  In fact, it’s sweet when my niece tells me, her eyes wide with concern, “You’ll go to hell” (because I don’t believe Jesus is my savior).  

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Religion and Reason, Part VI

Ok.  I had it all mapped out in my mind how this entry was going to go.  Wouldn’t you know it?  President Obama beat me to it.  He gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame today amid controversy and a few hecklers.  Here is Part I:

Now, in case you don’t know, the talking heads were all up in arms (figuratively, and perhaps, literally) over the idea of a pro-choice president speaking at a Catholic university.  Oh, the horrors!  Newt Gingrich weighed in.   Bill Donohue weighed in.  Pat Buchanan weighed in.  Oh, and he got smacked down by Larry O’Donnell who wasn’t having any of Pat’s nonsense.  Other Catholics weighed in, but I don’t have the stomach to list them all.  When I Googled Obama, Notre Dame, and students, the first gazillion links are about protesting Obama or the controversy over his invitation, as it were.   Mostly, the indignation has to do with the fact that Obama is pro-choice and pro-science.  Anti-life, as it were.

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Religion Redux, Part V

peaceSo.  Over the past four days, I have outlined my spiritual journey until this point in my life.   It hasn’t been easy, and I still struggle with my spirituality.

I have made my peace, for the most part, with Christianity.  I no longer hate God (with a capital G) or am mad at Him.  However, I am more than a bit concerned about his supposed followers.

First, a little musing.  We have spent the last eight years waging a war against terror.   We were told by the last president that al-Qaeda hated us for our freedoms.  They were the radical ones who believed the ends justified the means.  Whatever it took for them to get their seventy-two virgins in heaven (or whatever the number is these days) was fine.  They were the Taliban jihadists who would use any excuse to bomb the hell out of us.  They were evil, evil, evil you hear?  They must be eradicated.  And so, we tortured prisoners in order to force them to confirm what we thought we already knew–there was a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.  Then, we invaded Iraq.

So, wait a minute.  Cheney had an end goal of invading Iraq.  He manufactored evidence to give us an excuse to invade Iraq.  We invaded.  Thousands of American soldiers have died because of this.  What is so different in the two lines of thinking?  Granted, W. was the president, so we can’t let him off the hook, either.  Here are some of W.’s greatest hits concerning God, religion, and the role of the government when it comes to religion.

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Faith No More (Religion, Part IV)

the_crystal_ballSo.  My “Fuck You, God” phase did not end with a bang, but with a whimper.  It’s difficult to maintain that level of rage for any sustained amount of time.  Besides, I had pretty much done all the experimenting I wanted to do at that point–and there was still an emptiness inside me.  What to do?

I started taking a tai chi class.  It was taught by my friend, and I was intrigued.  It’s where I met Natasha, who I started calling Sis.  Our mutual friend, let’s call him Glen, was an excellent teacher.  Unfortunately, the class only lasted six weeks, and then I had to move on to the main teacher.  Let’s call him Robert, because that’s his name.

He set off  my creepy meter from the start.  The first time I met him, I knew there was something very off about him.  He had the typical predator/con man vibe, but I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt for Glen’s sake.  Robert was very New-Agey, and he exuded the smarmy smugness of an snake-oil salesman.  I stayed with it for over a year, despite my misgivings, until I just couldn’t shake the heebie-jeebies any longer.  Every time I went, I had to erect mental barriers so I wouldn’t be bothered by Robert’s energy.  He liked to claim that he and his teachers knew when not to touch someone during practice, but they certainly didn’t know that with me.  In addition, Robert had no concept of personal space.  In other words, major creep.

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Losing My Religion, Part III

question markLooks like this is going to be a week-long series, bitches!  Oh, sorry.  That’s how we greet each other over at Balloon Juice, and I quite like it.  

So, in college, religion was put on the backburner as I spent more and more time discovering, well, me.  And my boyfriend, D, but that’s not really the main part of this blog entry.

So, after we had sex and I wasn’t struck dead by lightning, I began to wonder what else I had been taught that was not strictly true.  You would think at this point that I would have went wild with the booze and the drugs, but my breeding still held.  It wasn’t just being raised Christian, though, it also had to do with being the daughter of immigrants who came from a more puritanical culture (at least on the outside).  I did start thinking about what I actually believed, rather than what I’d been told.

I believed in keeping abortions legal.  It was never something I discussed with my parents or with teachers in school.  I have always been pro-choice–even before I knew what the phrase meant.   Likewise, I have always been a Democrat.  I grew up, for the most part, under Reagan, and I never understood what people saw in him.  Every time I looked at him, I was always struck at how empty he was.  There was no there, there.  

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My Life as a Christian, Part II

yummy priestSo, when we left off, our intrepid heroine (me) was heading off to college.  I had planned on going to college in CA, but I changed my mind at the last minute.  Instead, I ended up going to St. Olaf, which was closer to home–but not too close.  For the first time, I lived away from my family.  For the first time, I wasn’t being given rules and regulations to follow.  For the first time, I had to make all my own decisions.  It was scary as hell, but also a bit thrilling.

I became good friends with a few girls in my corridor (we had corridors our first year, and each corridor had to Junior Counselors (JCs) who helped us first-years navigate the waters), and I became tight with many guys.  In my younger years, I found it easier to relate to boys than girls.  My female friends in college used to ask me how I got to be friends with so many guys.  I said, “I treat them like people.”  Most of my female friends never quite understood what I was saying.

I quit going to church the minute I went to college.  I had to take a few religion classes, but I dealt with that.  I really liked one of my religion profs, John Barbour, if I remember correctly, because he had fun questioning the creeds and the tenets.  I had him my junior year, and he told the class that he liked to start out his first-year classes with this thought:  “God committed infanticide.”  The minute he told us that, he had me hooked.

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The Fragility of Religion

buddhist-prayerGo see Religulous by Bill Maher if you haven’t.  Go.  I’ll wait here until after you’ve seen it.  Seen it?  Good.  Let’s get down to brass tacks.  Today’s topic up for dissection is religion.  I know it’s a touchy subject, which is exactly why I’m tackling it today.  You see, I was raised Evangelical, so I do know a little something about Christianity from the inside.  So, I’m going to start with a personal story, and then I am going to branch out into more general territory.

Once upon a time, there was an island named Formosa.  Most of the inhabitants on the island were Buddhists.  However, the Dutch people, then the English Presbytarians, then the Canadian Presbytarians sent missionaries to the island.  So now, even though the vast majority of Taiwanese are Buddhist, Confucian and/or Taoist, approximately 5%  of the population is Christian.  

My mother is one of that 5%.  She was raised Christian.  My dad is one of the 93% that is Buddhist/Confucian/Taoist.  He was raised Buddhist.  My mother went to church and prayed to God.  My father went to his ancestors’ graves and paid homage to them.  They met in Tennessee, and my father converted to please my mother.  He has never been what I would call a spiritual person, so I suspect it was easier for him to convert than for him to convince my mother to convert.

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