Posted in Howling Sea Lane, Politics, Religion, Uncategorized

Uncle Daddy


I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about legitimate rape by now, but chicken is so three weeks ago.  Omniscient Uteri are the new black!  Omniscient Uteri is also the name of my new band.  The first album will be called, “Shutting it Down.”

I hesitated to write anything on the topic, but since I’m awake and thinking about it…

Here’s the thing:  You can’t fix a moron.  If there are people out there who genuinely believe that there is a difference between rape and rape-rape, you can’t fix them.  Ignorance you can enlighten, but stupid is forever.  We just have to quit voting for Stupid.

I am delighted when morons reveal themselves.  Especially when morons in positions of political or religious power reveal themselves.  It’s social Darwinism.  Hopefully, when those morons do the great reveal, we are intelligent enough to say, “Hey, you really shouldn’t be driving this car any longer,” and take away their keys.

Now, people who know there is no such thing as the difference between rape and rape-rape, who only say words to that effect in order to court your vote?  Those people are evil.  You can’t change them either.

The only thing you can do, what I am doing right now, is point out the idiocy when you see it.  When the Emperor rides through town naked, you point and shout, “The Emperor has no clothes!”  That’s the only way to deal with these mugs.  And maybe throw some science up against the proverbial wall and hope that sticks.

As if Representative Rape-Rape isn’t bad enough, now we’ve got this trick who has never heard of a girl getting pregnant by rape or incest.  This doofus, who is a lifelong member of St. Martin’s Church in Odebolt, Iowa, has apparently never made it through even the first book of the beloved Bible he’s banging around on because *cough* Genesis 19:46 *cough*.

“So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.”

That’s two girls right there!  TWO!  With one little Bible verse, I have doubled his knowledge of incest-based pregnancy!

Or I would have.  But he probably won’t read this. 

(P.S., I have always wondered just how drunk a father would have to get in order not to recognize his daughters.  And if he was that drunk, how would he be able to perform in the first place?  I think there’s a bit of revisionist history going on there in Genesis.)

(P.P.S., Technically, we are all the product of ancestral incest, if we are to believe that Adam and Eve were the first and only humans on the planet.  It’s not like their offspring would have had a wealth of choice outside the Smart sister, or the Pretty sister, you know?)

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Posted in Explaining the Strange Behavior, parenting, Philosophy, Religion

Lord, I Hope This Day is Good. So I’m going to make it good.


I introduced Thor to the music of Don Williams recently, and said something about it to Mom in front of him.  Thor nodded and said, “Yes.  And he has this song where he says ‘God, make my day good.'”  (If it has God in it, Thor is all over it.  He has been assimilated by Larry the Cucumber.)  The song is actually, “Lord, I hope this day is good.”

I was thinking about that this morning. 

Listen, last week was ROTTEN!  Car trouble with both cars (fixed, thankfully), landed gentry trouble (that’s going to take some time and money to repair, but that’s what I get for having made slumlord jokes), and assorted semi-serious issues combined to make me feel like wallowing.  And I did wallow.  But you know what wallowing gets you?  Dirty.

This morning, I was humming Don Williams.  I stopped to think about the lyrics of the song.  “Lord, I hope this day is good.  I’m feeling tired and misunderstood.  I should be thankful, Lord, I know I should.  But Lord I hope this day is good.”

I’m not the kind of girl who waits for things to happen.  I am impatient.  I’m not wishin’, and hopin’, and prayin’.  I’m doing.  I’m going.  I’m getting.  If it is important to me, I am on the move.  This does not always work to my favor because every good hunter knows that there is a time to lie in wait and a time to go crashing through the underbrush, but it’s who I am.  I do.  I go.  I get. 

I don’t expect God (or anyone else) to give me a good day.  I expect that I have been given all the tools with which to command my destiny, and it is up to me to use them.  When I feel tired and misunderstood, it is up to me to put it to bed (withholding sleep is a way that I punish myself) and explain the misunderstanding.  When I know I should be thankful, you better believe I am thankful.  That’s probably the one thing I have down pat.  Gratitude.

I will tell you that at the bottom of my heart, I will always be able to be thankful for what I have had.  Even if the day comes when I have nothing at all, I will always have what has been, and I have had such love and goodness in my life to date, that I can always be thankful for that.  Even the smallest spark makes a light in darkness, and sometimes that’s the best you can do.

I realized that I haven’t been on top of making sure Thor understands that happiness is his choice and his decision.  I want him to understand that his attitude is his to command, and his temper does not have to be a reaction to the world.  I never want him to wait for someone, or something else to make his day good.  So, when we got in the car this morning, I asked him, “What are we going to do to make this day good?”

He wasn’t sure, so I told him what I was going to do.

“I am going to find something good to say about everyone,” I told him.  “I am going to tell people nice things.  If I think someone looks nice, I will tell them.  If I think they do a good job, I will tell them.”

He smiled and intoned, because it was an imitation of some vegetable he’s been watching, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.  That’s Proverbs.”

Good old Proverbs.  Proverbs and Romans are my stomping grounds.  Another Proverb says that you should not only get wisdom, but that you must have understanding of that wisdom.  Knowing the square root of pi doesn’t mean you know how to apply it to anything useful, and what good is knowing 1.772453850905516027298167483314 if you don’t know what it means, or how to get there? 

So, I said to Thor, “That is the truth.”  And I asked him, “How are you going to use that?”

He still wasn’t sure, so I offered some understanding of the wisdom.  “You can use your words to make people feel good, and seeing that you have made someone happy will make you happy. 

“How about you tell one of your teachers thank you for taking such good care of you?  And, how about you tell one of your friends what you like about him?  And, if you think someone is good at a game, why don’t you say so?  Then, you’ll make someone else’s day good, and that will help make your day good.”

He liked that.  I like that.

I’m not telling you I am always on top of this.  I’m telling you that I let life get to me last week, and I ignored a lot of opportunities to turn my attitude around because it felt better (or at least easier) to wallow.  But I have it back on track this week.  I started with apologizing to someone for an overreaction I had.  As I explained to Thor, “Sometimes, you realize you were wrong a few days later.  You still have to bite that bullet and go say so.”

Summing up:

The goodness of my day=my responsibility

 

Posted in Religion

Absolute Power Corrupts


I am still processing Creflo Dollar’s arrest for strangling his daughter, throwing her to the ground, and beating her with his shoe, the beaten, 15 year old daughter calling 911 for help, the 19 year old daughter fully corroborating what the 15 year old said.  I’m not processing because I am surprised, but because my skin is crawling over what comes next.  What comes next is that Dollar will have to address it in a sermon at some point, and how will the tale spin?  Does he admit that it is always wrong to beat up your daughter?  Or does he say it is okay to beat up your daughter if she is sassy and full of the devil?

I wonder this because when I started going to church out at EMIC, and started going to KC’s meetings, divorce was a huge no-no.  Even Creflo preached that only in cases of adultery or abuse should Christian couples divorce.  But then something strange happened.  Some of GP’s and KC’s close friends started having marital problems, and the teachings changed.  If your spouse was cheating, beating OR if your spouse was keeping you from fulfilling your mission with the lord–then you could get a divorce.

“Keeping me from fulfilling my mission with the lord,” was the catchphrase for at least three high profile divorces in a very short time period.  In at least two of those cases, a brand new spouse (much younger–grossly younger in one case) was waiting in the wings.

What I am trying to say is that the message always changed to match the needs of the men preaching it.  Henry VIII would have LOVED this ministry.

It wasn’t just with divorce, but every time The Prophet’s whim changed, the teaching changed.  From using the term “Easter” to how much you had to give to be considered a “covenant partner”.

I fully expect that Creflo Dollar will find a way to spin his abuse into something his daughter deserved, and I have no doubt that among the people who follow him, there will be those who take it as license to beat the hell out of their own children.  He will have set a dangerous precedent based on his temper, and children will be hurt.  Then what?  Then how does the doctrine warp?

The only thing that could surprise me about this story is Dollar presenting a full mea culpa.

 

Big Ministry is the new mafia.

Posted in Religion

Paradise Lost


Thor asks a lot about God lately.  In part, I’m sure, because he hears a lot about it on television at his grandma’s house, hears about it from classmates, and was reading a children’s bible in bed for a while.  I’ve run the gamut from not thinking I knew anything on the subject, to thinking I knew quite a lot, to realizing that I know very little at all.  I am honest with him about what I think, just like I am honest with him about the reproductive system.  And just like he gets grossed out about the latter, he sighs at me about the former.  He likes to deal in absolutes.

I’m going to break this down to the smallest fraction I can in explaining why I have lost faith with religion, but have maintained a philosophy:  People are unreliable.

According to Jeremiah, I am screwed.  “This is what the LORD says: Cursed is the one who trustin man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD.” Jer17:4

According to everything Christian, if I am basing any of my religious ideas (pro or con) on mankind, I am missing the boat entirely.  Christianity is about believing that the God of Abraham impregnated a virgin, who was immaculately conceived herself, using only the power of suggestion, who brought forth the spirit of God itself in the form of a human, mortal man, who was martyred.  In doing so, he absolved all mankind of any sin, hinging on the acceptance of the above and the following: that he was raised from the dead after serving time in Hell, and lives an everlasting life, sitting at the right hand of God, in a place called Heaven.  Since there is no way to prove any of this, the Christian accepts it on faith.  And the Christian is told he is blessed for having accepted it.

But who told him that to begin with?  A man.  Well, several men:  The authors of the bible, who wrote the stories, and then  the various groups of men who got together to decide which of the books written about things pertaining to the God of Abraham and Jesus were true and worthwhile as canon.  And those men were told by God which books were the right ones.  If you visit any store that sells bibles, you can see readily that some of these groups disagreed.  Apparently, God told some groups different things.  Martin Luther and Pope Leo X are classic examples of two men hearing from God at the same time, whose interpretations of godly word are slightly different.

And that, friends, is where it all falls apart for me.  Mankind can’t even get on the same page about a counting system.  It’s like Metrics versus Imperials.

I grew up in an agnostic household, that was largely superstitious about religion.  Our superstitions were all based in Christianity, though.  I grew up with the belief that the bible was sacred because God wrote it through men, and that it was perfect and pure.  I fully believed that.  I believed that so hard, it never even occurred to me that I was a hypocrite for giggling over the infallibility of the Pope, when I was whole hog over the infallibility of unknown authors and seemingly mad prophets (have you ever read Jeremiah?)  We don’t even know who wrote Hebrews, but it is a major text for Christian doctrine, especially doctrines of faith.

I used to say, with smug superiority, “I think if God can manage to create the whole world in all its glory, he can manage to get a little book written.”  I am probably more embarrassed about that, than the time I started bloviating on camera that we might value thinness in our culture because in our puritanical break with the Old Country, we were breaking with ideal images of vainglorious wealth.  My hair was green during this interview, by the way.  Really puts a twist on a discussion about beauty when you have accidentally green hair.

I digress.

I worked for four different denominations of ministries/churches: Episcopal, Assembly of God, Word of Faith, and Baptist.  I went to two parochial schools and one school that was heavily weighted with Judaism and Catholicism.  I spent a lot of time around religion.  I can tell you this without worry that it is over-generalization:  The worst thing about religion is the Follower of the religion.  And the problem with the Follower is his humanity because his humanity means his fallibility.

I worked for wonderful ministers who were human and made mistakes, and I worked for lousy ministers who were human and sometimes got things right.  I was taught by wonderful Sisters and lay ministers, who cared for my well being.  I was taught by dipwads who called themselves people of faith.  What they all had in common was frail humanity.

God is supposed to alleviate that.  Faith in God.  Religion alleviates the frailty of humanity.  The Blood of Christ adds a super to the natural, that makes us better.  The Anointing of God that falls on the prophet, that makes him speak and preach overreaches his humanity.  The divinity of the office of Pope falls like a cloak on the man sitting on the throne of the Vatican, making his ordinances perfect.  So says the bible, which was written by…men who said that God speaking to them made them perfect in their speaking/writing.

It’s like me coming to you and saying, “I was out back, minding my own business, and my tree caught fire, but it didn’t burn.  And then this voice came out of the fire and told me I was chosen to lead a revolution against the government on behalf of all the people on welfare.”  You would have me sedated.  But because we have a tradition and history of believing that Moses talked to a burning bush–and there isn’t any supporting or decrying documentation–we believe that Moses talked to a burning bush.  Who says?  Moses.  Okay.  Who can corroborate?  Er…Moses.  Well, that’s not even good business sense.

The idea that you have to be okay with being senseless in order to believe is…senseless.

There are days when I feel like I took the Red Pill.  I miss the ease and simplicity of religion–of believing that I belong to something special and important, and that I am chosen, and that I can shrug off my troubles as being part of a greater plan meant to draw others into my circle of special and important.  I miss that.  But, it’s one of those situations where you can’t unsee something.  I can’t unsee the Ouroborus of religion: that because a man tells me that God has made him infallible, I must ignore that he is a man and believe that he is infallible, else I am damned.

So what remains?  Nothing of the Old Testament, I can tell you that.  I am decidedly off board of a god who commands the killing of babies and innocent citizens, just so his chosen crew can have some more land.  Of the New Testament, there remains an appreciation of the lifestyle of love and service taught by Jesus, and that appreciation is where I find myself.

I think there is plenty of wisdom in the bible.  It’s a big book.  It would be hard not to find goodness in it.  But as long as it is just a tradition of men telling me that God spoke to them, and I have to believe them because God spoke to them, I can’t.  I worked for one too many men telling me God spoke to them.  I did one too many ridiculous things, believing God had spoken to me.

Do I believe in a god, meaning do I believe in a higher power, who set this whole thing in motion?  Yes.  Do I know who that god is?  No.  Am I worried about it?  Also, no.

For now, I throw in my lot with Marcus Aurelius (for whom sources are also sketchy and unreliable, so we’ll just pretend that God told me that he said the following, and since God told me, you must believe that it was he):

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

Posted in Howling Sea Lane, Religion, Uncategorized

You Can’t Have the T Without the A…or the V


In 1995, I was cruising toward the zenith of my zealotry, which crested in 1998.  I was 24-years-old and working for a major banking institution (you’d know it–they advertise everywhere.)  This bank, we’ll call Pursue, was a partner with the United Way, and every year there was an awesome party to kick off the employee giving campaigns.

I had worked for Pursue for two years at that point, and had enjoyed those parties massively.  The swag was always a nice perk, and at my just-above-minimum-wage salary, any perk was welcome.  One year we got lottery ticket scratch offs, and I won $100.  Do you know what $100 means to someone who makes $7.15 an hour?!

Somewhere between 1995 and 1996, Focus on the Family started to wage a real campaign against the United Way, citing that they gave money to Planned Parenthood, and Planned Parenthood performed abortions.  I had eschewed the secular in favor of strictly religious radio programming, so while I was at work, I listened to a lot of Focus on the Family* or Bob Larson (the Rush Limbaugh of Christian radio.)  Don’t judge me.  Okay, judge me, but do it out of love.

FotF’s programming convinced me that if I gave to the United Way, I was killing babies.  I may as well have been performing partial-birth abortions with my own teeth if a cent of my UW contribution went to Planned Parenthood.  And, much as I had personally boycotted Burger King for years (because they bought their fish from Iceland, and Iceland was harpooning whales or something–I forget.  man, did I miss their chicken sandwiches!), I took a stand against the United Way.

This meant refusing to attend the awesome party Pursue was holding because I felt it was hypocritcal to refuse to support UW and still benefit from their party.  No one seemed to care much that I didn’t want to support them financially (though it was all but a corporate mandate that employees give–and I disagree with corporately mandated giving), but they freaked out that I wasn’t going to go to the party.  In fact, members of management tried to force me to go to the party.

I did not back down.  I stood my ground against HR’s directive that I was not allowed to say why I wouldn’t participate.  It got ugly, then it got better.  I was resolute.  I did not go to the United Way parties for three years, and I missed out on some unbelievable swag and more scratch offs.  Feh.

I rarely stopped to think about the good the United Way does.  I rarely stopped to think about how they fulfill their vision:  Everyone deserves opportunities to have a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement, and good health.  I focused on a fraction of a fraction, and I missed out on the opportunity to share my pittance with others who didn’t even have that.  I focused on the possibility of abortions not yet provided and ignored living, starving children.  Just like Jesus!  Ugh.  Jesus was all, “Girl, don’t look at me.”

It would be years before I would even allow myself to consider the good work that Planned Parenthood does.  Yes, they do provide abortions.  They also provide many other services to women and girls, who otherwise could not afford medical care.

From Wikipedia, some numbers:

[Planned Parenthood] serve[s] over five million clients a year, 26% of which are teenagers under the age of 19.[36] According to Planned Parenthood, 75% of their clients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.[35]

Services provided at locations include contraceptives (birth control); emergency contraception; screening for breast, cervical and testicular cancers; pregnancy testing and pregnancy options counseling; testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases; comprehensive sexuality education, menopause treatments; vasectomies, tubal ligations, and abortion.

In 2009, Planned Parenthood provided 4,009,549 contraceptive services (35% of total), 3,955,926 sexually transmitted disease services (35% of total), 1,830,811 cancer related services (16% of total), 1,178,369 pregnancy/prenatal/midlife services (10% of total), 332,278 abortion services (3% of total), and 76,977 other services (1% of total), for a total of 11,383,900 services.[35][7][37][38][39][40] The organization also said its doctors and nurses annually conduct 1 million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams.

So what we’re looking at is 26% of services for cancer related issues, pregnancy, prenatal, or midlife services and care.  70% of services are related to the prevention of unwanted pregnancy, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted disease.  96% of what Planned Parenthood does is directly related to women’s health, unborn baby health (because sexually transmitted diseases affect those guys, too!), and the avoidance of abortion through birth control.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation has the market cornered on cancer donation.  And, also from Wikipedia, “have been caught up in the controversy over “pinkwashing“—the use of breast cancer and the pink ribbon by corporate marketers, especially to promote products that might be unhealthful—in return for a donation to the cause. Komen benefits greatly from these corporate partnerships, receiving over $55 million a year from them.[61] However, critics say many of these promotions are deceptive to consumers and benefit the companies more than the charity.[62]”  

I’ve never been a big Komen fan, but have sponsored friends and family who have walked in the Race for the Cure.  No matter how commercial I find their message, I’m all for anything that is working to keep my family and friends alive.

Komen has done some wonderful things, including supporting Planned Parenthood, making it possible for them to provide 170,000 clinical breast exams, and 6,400 mammogram referrals in the past five years.  That’s somewhere around 200,000 women the Komen foundation touched in a real way.

Look.  I told you this story so that you understand that I have been on both sides of this coin.  I have been so zealously opposed to abortion (and choice, let’s be honest) that I would not support an organization whose work includes feeding and clothing, educating and advocating for the children who WERE NOT aborted.  I was so blinded by an nth of a percent out of religious righteousness that I ignored the screaming need of men, women and children who are already with us, and already in great distress.

I am 100% pro-choice.  It is my heart’s desire that abortion never be a wanted option, but so long as there are humans in the world, there will be imperfections (ill-health, rape, careless teenagers) and choice is valid.  We should work toward a world where every child is wanted, where women do not have to worry about considerations in the event of pregnancy due to rape or incest, where women’s health has improved to the point that we can save both mothers and children.

We help women, children, and the unborn when we support programs that offer preventative treatment and care, that offer contraception and education, and that provide healthcare to those who would not otherwise have access to it.  We help women, children, and the unborn when we support organizations like Planned Parenthood.  Which is why I have taken the amount of money I have spent previously sponsoring walkers in the 3-Day Race for the Cure and pledged it to Planned Parenthood this year.

*Focus has done a lot of good things.  I don’t want you to think I’m throwing any babies out with my bathwater.  I appreciate James Dobson on a personal level for giving my mother some parenting instruction she had lacked, and for giving me some tools to make it through my teen years.