Keeping My Hand In

Extra Extra

Keeping my hand in – one middle finger at a time.

Anti-Christian slant illogical, prejudiced

Re; Politicians should leave religious beliefs at home

Letter writer Larry Lootsteen’s arguments are somewhat illogical and prejudiced by his own beliefs about religion. To suggest that politicians should leave any of their beliefs, principals (sic), values, and education or life experiences at home is equivalent to arguing they should leave their gender at home, or part of their brain at home.

And why center out only people who believe in the God of the Bible? Why be intolerant and non-inclusive of only one particular religious view?  Everyone has some religious belief; an agnostic claims not to know if there is a God, and atheist denies that there is a God.  Would Mr. Lootsteen be as keen to force those individuals to deny or suspend their particular religious beliefs on being elected?

Would he impose the same restrictions on other faiths; Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and devil worshippers, etc., as well as screen all new immigrants to Canada and insist that they promise to deny their faith and convert to his particular religious beliefs before they become Canadian citizens or run for elected office? Of course not.  Mr Lootsteen appears to have a narrowly focused resentment and prejudice of Christian believers who run for office because he does not think they will vote the way he wants them to vote.

Finally, to label everyone of faith as “right-wing” and not sensitive to the democratic and civil rights of Canadians is to ignore the Judeo-Christian foundations of all Western civilization.  It was our Jewish and Christian values and principals (sic) that precipitated our democratic institutions, hospitals and schools, freed the slaves and were the first to recognize the rights of women.  Has Mr. Lootsteen forgotten that?

Ed Jacob – from the Mennonite stronghold village of Wellesley

Pro-Christian Paranoia

He who takes offense when none is offered, is a fool.

In his letter, Anti-Christian slant illogical, prejudiced, Ed Jacob not only takes offense, but he takes considerable licence to do so.

It would, indeed, be foolish to expect a politician to leave all their principles, values, education or life experience at home.  All Ed Lootsteen suggested was that a local politician leave some of his specific, unproven moral opinions at home or church, while he is serving his constituents, which a majority of whom, including many good Christians, do not agree with.  His government job is administration, not Evangelization.

It would be arrogant to expect anyone, including immigrants, to be forced to accept anyone else’s religious practices, though many of them are forced to convert to Christianity if they want to be sponsored and supported by various Christian Churches. But neither should newcomers be allowed to demand that the rest of us wear yarmulkes, turbans or hijabs, bow to Mecca or mutilate our females’ genitals.  Not all religious morals and practices are acceptable.

(No wonder I’m) Grumpy Old Archon

Forgive me (insert name of your higher power here), for I have ranted. My tolerance cup has runneth over and I must empty it in order to move on. It has been too long since my last ranting (if that’s even a word).

Gad (not God), this guy is so verbose that he makes Archon look concise, and what he passes off as logic, and his straw-man arguments, could do a seven minute set at Yuk Yuk’s.  Once one of these Bible-thumpers gets up a good head of steam, you never know where the train’s going to end up.

The reason that the original letter attacked ‘The God of The Bible’, is that the local Federal politician is a ‘good Catholic’; at least his NINE kids think so.  There’s no sense complaining about the Sikh 75 miles away, because he intentionally, politely, leaves his religion at home.  BTW; Mr Lootsteen IS a ‘Christian believer.’

His Good News/Bad News list of “Christian” accomplishments is more a ‘Laugh?/Cry?’ list. Most of them were not ‘because of’ Christianity, but ‘in spite of’ it.  Democracy was given to us by the heathen Greeks, and Christian Europe refused to institute it for over two millennia, until we held a party at Madame Guillotine’s place in Paris.

Good Christians owned slaves for centuries. They only recently let women own property, sign legal documents, be ‘a person’ under law, allowed women to vote less than 100 years ago, and they still want to control and restrict their reproductive rights.  Mr. Lootsteen, and many of the rest of us, have not forgotten that.  😯

***

BTW; sic, sic, sic.  For the non-linguistic nit-pickers – He’s talking about ‘principles’, not the head of his kids’ school.

 

 

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’17 A To Z Challenge – S

Challenge2017

ALONE AT LAST

For the letter

letter-s

I’m going to talk about Solitude

Maybe because most of the gregarious masses can’t handle it and I can, I like to think of myself as possessing greater moral and mental strength. Of course, that may be because just about everybody wants to be the hero of his own life’s story, even as I bashfully, humbly, insist that I would willingly be second banana, a supporting player – perhaps the third spear carrier on the left.

Most people, especially in the civilized areas of the planet, can’t handle solitude – are frightened by it. Lenin once said that, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.”  He wasn’t referring to ‘God, and Jesus as Savior,’ he was talking about the sheep who huddled together in churches, to reassure each other that they were all the same.  If everybody thinks the same, somebody isn’t thinking.  He wanted them all thinking about him, and the new Russian nation.

When Jesse, The Body, Ventura was Governor of Minnesota, he cynically (but accurately, truthfully) stated that, “Christianity is a crutch.”  Of course it is, even if the faithful don’t want to hear that.  Like Lenin, he wasn’t talking about salvation or belief, but about the need of most people to be connected to ‘The Group.’  No independent action or thoughts allowed.

Archon says that smart phones are an affliction and an addiction. I’ve listened to some of the conversations in stores, and on the street – and they’re about less than nothing!  How strong, and pitiful, the urge is to be constantly connected.  It seems that nobody but me – and you – are capable of living inside their own head for any amount of time.

Before the alleged birth of Christ, Jewish men were alone much of the time – farming, hunting, herding sheep – in solitude.  When they went to the Temple, they wanted to be alone with their God.  It is small wonder that the women, used to nattering at children, and each other, were told that, “Women should not speak in the Temple.”  Silence!  Blessed silence!  🙂

Recently, a young man on a cave tour, was accidently locked in for 60 hours – from Friday afternoon, to Monday morning. He had a bit of food, and got water from seepage – but he couldn’t get any cell phone reception! He was SO happy to be back among his friends.  I’ll bet he didn’t develop or invent anything during that time.  Albert Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity because he was alone much of the time in a German patent office.

(Some) people are nice. I just don’t want to be hip-deep in them all the time.  I want/need a little alone time, even if all I develop is a desire for French toast for lunch.  I have fallen out of my mind head and onto this blog-post.  You can welcome me back.  Comment away.  😀

A To Z Challenge – W

april-challenge

Whoo-whoo, you’re almost eligible for parole from this letter-perfect piffle.  But first, a word from – my dictionary, starting with

letter-w

Too many Fundamentalist (with the accent on mental) Christians play the definition game, whereby they decide what a word or name means, and use it as justification for hatred and harassment of those who don’t precisely agree with them.

One of the words that sets many of them off, is ‘Witch.’  Their infallible Bible tells them, “Suffer not a witch to live.”  They all know what a witch is, what they look like, how they act, and what they do. (Evil, evil evil!)  Ignoring Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, they focus on the ugly hag, the crone, who is stirring up a batch of bats’ brain, newts’ eyes and frog warts, to cast evil, harmful spells.

My daughter is a witch, and I’m proud of it.  Actually, she’s only kinda, sorta, Wiccan – but there’s many a Good Christian who’s only prevented from having her burned at the stake by strong, secular laws.  She believes in a unifying force of the universe, only she doesn’t believe that ‘It’ is male, and she doesn’t call it ‘God.’

If you’ve read my Rylah Reblog, you know that she’s as loving and caring a person as any judgmental Christian. She gets her morals and ethics from her heart and her mind, not from some list drawn up by a bunch of frightened old men, also listing what you can wear, what you can eat, and who you have to hate, because they’re different.

The witches that ‘they’ believe in, didn’t really exist in the past, and they don’t exist now.  Any witch that I know now, is usually a better, kinder, nicer person, and productive, loving, accepting member of society, than most of these superstitious buffoons.

A To Z Challenge – V

April Challenge

As we slide toward the bottom, and near the end of all this alphabetical silliness, we finally reach the letter

letter-v

Back in April for some reason (laziness, stupidity, forgetfulness, distraction….what was I writing about?, the fact that all Challengees who were going to write about V were killed when a transport truck full of bowling balls rolled over) I only wrote down two prompts, verbose, and vicarious.

Verbose can match with voluble.  Both mean ‘wordy or longwinded’ and tend to refer to the spoken word, but can also refer to (my) writing.  Learning to compose 100 word Flash Fictions has tightened it up a bit, but my compulsion to deal with every conceivable detail still has me occasionally running overtime.

I’ve written about how age and finances have me regarding the world vicariously.  There was a time when its partner could have been voyeur, but there’s almost no need of window-peeking these days.  There are now a vast number of voluptuous vixens, only too willing – anxious – to voluntarily allow men to view their ass….ets.

Where the Hell was sexting, when I was young and needed it? When the only choices were hard-to-obtain, airbrushed Playboy, or Sunbathers Monthly?  Even the words nudist or nudism were hidden behind the veil of ‘Community Moral Standards.’

A Voluble Trivia Addendum

In the late 1960s, after the grudging establishment of Playboy and Penthouse magazines, another entrepreneur decided that he also wanted to print and distribute a skin mag. After his first issue, he was taken to court on morals charges.  He cited Playboy and Penthouse as precedents, and argued that his magazine was an artistic publication, for the appreciation of the glorious female form.

The judge looked at the fact that he had intentionally chosen Intercourse, Pennsylvania as his mailing address, for titillation purposes, (Ooh!  I wrote ‘tit.’) and convicted him of pornography. 😯

***

Okay, mission accomplished. I’m going to take a Vicodin – and a nap!

What a Bunch Of Boobs

Aghast

It’s been a summer of bare breasts in Canada – and outrage, and complaints, and moral entitlement.

It started a couple of weeks ago, in Guelph, ON. An 8-year-old girl at the splash pad of a municipal pool was told by a teenage male attendant, that she had to put a top on. The pool’s rules insisted on it for any female over 4. Her mother was aghast, and angry, that she had been discriminated and sexualized.

The next day, with a lawyer’s aid, and serious discussion with various local bureaucrats, it was admitted that a public pool had no legal right to enact such a rule. In a spin-doctor defense of the life-guard, the Recreational Department claimed that he was probably just trying to prevent any complaints.

This is the city where, in 1991, three 19-year-old males, returning from the park, stripped off their shirts on a hot muggy day. The 19-year-old female with them did the same, and was stopped and charged with ‘committing a lewd act.’

Angered more by the double standard than the possibility of a $170 fine, she went to court with a prepared lawyer, and what was expected to be a five minute, Pay-The-Damn-Fine hearing, turned into a two-day, he-said-she-said trial, where the language of the law was shown to be sexist, moralistic, and so sufficiently vague as to be unenforceable. It was reported that the law was in place to prevent complaints.

Suddenly, a precedent had been set, that women in Canada could legally bare their breasts in public, as long as it was not for commercial gain.

Somewhat more recently, three local sisters, in their early 20s, set out for a bicycle ride around town. On their way home at dusk, on a warm, muggy evening, they also decided to remove their shirts to get cool. Wouldn’t you know it; not one of them was wearing a bra.

They were stopped by a female police officer, who maintained eye contact, and warned them to be careful riding through some road-construction areas. Several blocks further on, they were stopped by a male police officer, who ordered them to put their shirts back on, insisting that there was a bylaw, and that police had received complaints.

When one of them denied that they were breaking any law, and another pulled out a cell-phone and started recording the proceedings, suddenly it became all about whether they had lights and bells on their bikes. They did!

The next day brought an hour-long phone-call to the Police Department, where they were put on hold three times, till someone actually found out that there is no such bylaw. They have lodged an official complaint. Why am I not surprised to find that the oldest is a Grammy-nominated singer/performer, with a career to support? Local TV, radio and newspapers were soon notified.

BC Mountie

Two young mothers in British Columbia, left the kids with the dads, and headed to the beach for an afternoon of sun, sand and freedom. They found a secluded dune, spread their towels and dropped their bikini tops. Fifteen minutes later, a young RCMP officer marched a quarter-mile across the Sahara beach in his shiny shoes, to order them to cover up, because there had been complaints.

They also are bringing an official complaint for embarrassment and harassment, because there is no bylaw prohibiting topless sunbathing.

You have to be very careful how you speak to a police officer, because they take themselves very seriously. Most don’t care about obedience to legislation; they care about social peace and quiet. It disturbs and angers me that so much time and effort is spent ‘assuaging complaints’ instead of enforcing laws. I am supremely disappointed that police officers either don’t know the laws they claim they’re enforcing, or that they intentionally lie to civilians to get their way.

Were I one of the beach ladies, I’d have been very tempted to reply that I was already obeying the law, and was not the Complaints Department. If my daughter decides that she requires an abortion, we don’t care if you and your Fundamentalist Church complain; we will obey the law that says she can have one. If the wife and I decide that divorce is a better solution to our problems than murder, we don’t care if you and the guy with the funny hat in Rome complain; we will render unto Caesar, and get one.

I know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but I don’t want it to be at the expense of my legal rights. There is nothing intrinsically evil or psychologically damaging about naked female breasts in public. “But what about the children??! 😯 ” Perhaps if children learned to view them as natural, and not as lures into sin, we would have less sex crime and psychiatric counselling. I know I’d be happy.  😀

#491

Yenta

I’ve Got A Secret!

I’ve got a secret, and I’m not gonna tell you.  Nyah, nyah.

Gossip

I am not a gossip.
I do not betray a confidence.
I do not gossip.
I hate gossips!
I think they suffer from a character defect.
I feel they lack self-control, and moral and ethical standards.
I am not a gossip!

I recently discovered why I am not a gossip.  In my long, loner, loser life, no-one has felt me important enough to entrust me with information that I could pass on, or a confidence that I could betray.  It’s easy to not be a sinner, when you’ve never been tempted.  That changed recently.  Somebody told me something.
SOMEBODY!  TOLD!  ME!  SOMETHING!
HOLY SHIT!!

Steam ears

I always thought that cartoon characters with steam pouring from their ears were just a joke.  I’ve got lots of empty space inside my head to absorb an explosion.  Damn, I almost lost my eardrums.  I found one of my eyebrows under a footstool.  It’s a good thing I was sitting down.  I had an attack of the vapors. Everything got fuzzy, and swirled around.  I needed a mint julep to calm my nerves.

‘I need to set up a Twitter account!  I’ll have to open a Facebook page!  Is the computer turned on?  Hand me the cell phone!  Will the extension ladder reach the roof?  I have to get up there and shout this out!’

Easy boy!  Just stick your head in a bucket of ice cubes and water.

About a year ago, I thought I did a favor for a friend.  She didn’t provide all the necessary relevant information, and I recently found that, instead of being of assistance, I’d just been spinning my wheels.  When she fully briefed me, I was able to make an informed choice of a different option.  It’s still early days yet, but this time I think it’s going to take.

To ensure the greatest likelihood of success for another small favor, she filled me in with some background information.  It was like watching the movie Inception.  REALITY CHANGED.  Nothing was what it had seemed.

The information wasn’t down and dirty, or evil and perverted.  In fact, quite the opposite!  This news was happy, joyous, fulfilling, uplifting – just social and legal stuff that needed to be dealt with before the general public is allowed to know about it.

This is “Christ Is Risen” news.  I should be riding from village to village on a donkey, proclaiming the glorious story.  You should know me from afar by the golden radiant glow of the wondrous tale within me – and I can’t say a word.

The wife and son and daughter know the lady, and like her.  They’ve worried for a while because she seemed to be stressed, but now feel better because things seem to be going smoother.  They would approve of the information.  They would be ecstatic to know the full truth, but I cannot say a thing.  Don’t ask me.

Two people can keep a secret – if one of them is dead.  While I am sometimes tempted, I really don’t want to have to shoot a couple of them.  I’m just going to sit here with a knowing smile on my face, and bask in the warm glow of the trust I’ve been given.  In the fullness of time, this situation will resolve itself, and I will no longer be the only one who is permitted to be thrilled for my our friend.

In the meantime….I do not have a character defect.  I do possess self-control, as well as moral and ethical standards.  I am not a gossip!  I am happy that my friend will be happy, and she will be happy if I keep my mouth shut.  If only others could.

 #460

Book Review #5

Finally, a book I can be proud to admit I read.

The Author – Jonathan Haidt

The Book – The Righteous Mind

Subtitled – Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

The Review

4-The Righteous MindI might as well start with the book itself.  The dust cover is printed with what looks like a knife slash from corner to corner, with a black gap, showing how “good people” are “divided.”  Despite the subtitle promising to tell why people are divided, nowhere in the book is it explained.  That folks are divided on many topics is emphasised, and the How and Where is demonstrated, but the Why is never given.

On the blurb page, a promise is given to show how to win an argument against someone whose views you do not agree with.  I read it very carefully.  It involves empathizing with your opponent until you Become them, and then slowly and gently lead them away from their position, towards yours.

Sort of like, if I want my neighbor to stop kicking his dog, I bring him over to my place to watch me kick my dog, to show him how much the dog hurts.  I don’t want to lose my morals and empathize till I become the narrow-minded asshole I’ve come to hate.  I’d sooner use the direct approach, and just kick the neighbor till he agrees to stop.

The book itself is a hardcover, each page with twice as much printing as my little paperbacks.  A quick check at the back shows 420 pages, equal to 840 pages of my normal reading.  If I’m not careful I might end up learning something before I’m done.

But wait, it’s been a while since I read a book like this.  The final 110 pages aren’t actually part of the book.  A third of it is a list of people and their research that he stole from, to formulate his theories.  Another third is notes to explain how he twisted their square ideas to fit his round pigeonholes, and the final third is an index to guide you to where you can worship his multifaceted brilliance.

That leaves only 310/620 pages of real reading.  Perhaps I’ll only get a clue when I’m done.

The author is a moral psychologist.  This doesn’t mean that he gives a damn if you’re screwing the neighbor, drinking, drugging, or even dancing.  He’s the guy who explains why and how we make decisions about what we feel is acceptable and non-acceptable behavior, for ourselves and others, even in the face of conflicting opinions, or facts.

The Atheist/philosopher, Richard Dawkins wrote a book called The Selfish Gene, in which he claimed that evolution insists that everything we do, from love, to altruism, to charity, must somehow benefit the individual.

Haidt raises this thought a couple of levels by comparing human society to biological evolution.  Single-cell organisms united to create multi-celled ones, right up to humans and large animals.  Groups of specialized cells and organs allow achievements that single cells could not achieve.

Humans first grouped by family, then by clan, then village, right up to nation.  Things like sports, politics, religion and armed forces create focused groups through synchronized sounds – prayers, hymns, chants, etc., movements – dances, marching, calisthenics – rituals and sacred totems – salutes, uniforms, crosses, even cheeseheads.

Successful groups outperform, and absorb or drive out lesser ones, and can cause actions that are not beneficial to the individual (suicide bombing), but are, to the group (Islam).

To the scientist, for any group, hypocrisy is a good thing.  For the liar, whether group or individual, it gives them a chance to reap their desired ends and feel good about it.  That makes for more confident leadership and an increase in following and obeying.

About the strange, often conflicting beliefs of every religion, including Christianity, the author says:

The memorable nymphs and fairies and goblins and demons that crowd the mythologies of every people, are the imaginative offspring of a hyperactive habit of finding agency wherever anything puzzles or frightens us.  This mindlessly generates a vast overpopulation of agent-ideas, most of which are too stupid to hold our attention for an instant; only a well-designed few make it through the rehearsal tournament, mutating and improving as they go.  The ones that get shared and remembered are the souped-up winners of billions of competitions for rehearsal time in the brains of our ancestors.

Haidt shows that, once we learn something, even if it’s wrong, it takes more mental energy to unlearn it, than to merely absorb the correct information.

The researchers saw similar results when they told participants that pressing a button would reduce the chance of shock by as much as 90%. Those participants who had to make a proactive choice to press the button opted to leave it untouched about half the time, even though it meant they had to withstand shocks they themselves rated as highly undesirable.

It gave me a slight, momentary sympathy for those I’ve viewed as merely too lazy or bull-headed to accept apparently clear proof of their invalid stances.  Then, he went on to state that, having taken a stance, we will expend even more energy to come up with, sometimes very convoluted, justifications for it, all in the name of support from and for, “our group.”

Since there are limits to most people’s ability to reach outside themselves, there are limits to how large the groups may grow.  The book crystallized and explained why I am a non-joining loner, just shy of being a psychopath; yet rail at Quebec for not “joining” Canada, or the Baltic States for each wanting to rule their own little valley.

This was deep and enlightening reading.  My hopes for an informed quick-fix were soon dashed.  Rather, as I wrote in a long-gone post, if we can keep the momentum in the right direction, thousands, millions, billions of tiny steps and nudges may make mankind a better race.