Posts Tagged Faith

“Let’s Not Demonize a Man’s Tools”

“In the wake of the horrific Orlando shooting that claimed the lives of 49 people and saw countless others injured, “Pink Pistol“, an LGBT self defense and gun rights organization, issued this utterly ridiculous statement:

GUNS did not do this. A human being did this, a dead human being. Our job now is not to demonize the man’s tools, but to condemn his acts and work to prevent such acts in the future.”

Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of the Pink Pistols.

Demonize a man’s tools.

Wow.

Now we are hurting the feelings of guns, it would appear.

This is nothing but the old spiel about how it is not guns that kill people, but people that kill people.  Which is bullshit and a fallacious, not to mention overly simplistic, argument.

While it is true that it was a person who picked up the gun and made the decision to mass murder those people, it is  easy access to guns that is ultimately allowing such mass shootings to take place in the first place.

I have said this before and I will repeat it again: banning guns does not make us a less violent society. It is just that guns allow violence committed to be more brutal, more violent and bloodier. It is much harder to mass murder people with knives and machetes than it is with guns, especially assault rifles.

So while it is true that people carry out the attacks, the tools used to carry out those attacks do matter. If they did not, then we would just not regulate arms or ammunition of any kind at all. Then ordinary citizens could own tanks and grenades and machine guns and missiles and nukes. Because ‘hey, it is people that kill people’, right?  And not missiles/tanks/bombs.

Wrong. They are banned because overall they pose a public health and safety concern and therefore must be regulated. Like food and pharmaceuticals and safe child seats and clean water and air etc. All those things exist becasue of regulation.

Now it was about time that gun follow suit and also got banned. Overall, the cost of public gun ownership is too high and does not justify the rather meager benefits.

At the PBS Newshour last week President Obama assured a concerned audience member that he or Hillary do not “want to take away [our] guns.

That is when I realized just how utterly powerful the gun lobby has been in this country that no matter how horrific the gun violence incidences, including the mass massacre of children,  no one, no one, is willing to stand up to the NRA and even suggest the radical notion that maybe we should consider banning all guns while reexamining the validity and benefit of the  Second Amendment on American society today.

“We dont want to take your guns away” is not the right answer Mr. President. We have to ban guns. That is the only way we will significantly reduce gun violence. It doesn’t matter that people can still get them illegally. Being able to get something legally versus illegally makes a huge difference in terms of the number of guns circulating. Making something illegal just makes it harder to obtain. It is no ‘no big deal’.

And fuck the Second Amendment. Really. It was written for a different time and for different reasons and for a different peoples and a different America and the only reason it is being cited by gun nuts as a right today, is because of gun manufacturers and the  gun lobby leading to the misguided interpretation of the Second Amendment by our equally misguided Supreme Court. 

It seems like we are just going in loops: a shooting happens, some hack steps forward whining about  why “the good guys” like them, who allegedly use guns responsibly, should be “punished” for the mistakes of others, saying trite shit like ‘people kill people, not guns blah blah blah’, just so everyone shuts up like they had a point, just so we can repeat the same discussion next time around. And again. And again. And again…and then we wonder why nothing changes. 

Thing is: there is no such thing as responsible gun ownership. That is a myth. Guns are tools designed to kill. They serve no other purpose. A responsible, decent person doesn’t need guns in their everyday life to begin with. And  I have this suspicion that anyone who thinks they are a decent guy who needs to own guns to get by, is secretly hoping to have to use them one day.

Finally, background checks (and mental illness checks) don’t work: Mental illness reporting and “checks” (whatever that is supposed to entail) are a gross violation of a person’s privacy and with it dignity. And background checks don’t work because a lot of the shooters did not have police records and thus a negative background. The Sandy Hook shooter had a clean background and would have fallen through any kind of radar and so would most of the mass shooters of late. None of them had shady, criminal backgrounds. They were not the “wrong” people to own a gun, until they were.

So background checks don’t really do anything but give people on the other side a false sense of security and that someone is being held accountable here, when in reality these checks are so pointless in reducing gun violence, we may as well save ourselves the money and not bother with them at all.

And mental illness checks will do nothing but add more stigma to mental illness, further demonizing the already vulnerable, stigmatized mentally ill who, by the way, are more likely to be the victims of violence than its perpetrators.

The only way we can and will put an end to this fuckery is by BANNING ALL GUNS. Everything else is just self aggrandizing bullshit while pandering to the stupid masses and the damn gun lobby that’s turned gun ownership into a virtue and necessity via vile propaganda, lies and scapegoating.

If we don’t stop “demonizing” that man’s tool, the gun, as PInk Pistol put it oh so romantically, then nothing will change and we’ll be having the same discussion for another 50 years. 

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How Gullible Are You?

After a three month hiatus I am back and what better way to start off the quest for knowledge, wisdom and non bullshittery than to ask yourself this very simple question: How gullible are you?

10942607_1429185550706710_5682680835405031896_nAre you gullible enough to believe that the billion galaxy universe was just created for us?

Are you gullible enough to believe that a god would impregnate a poor peasant girl to give birth to himself so he can then grow up and die for a bunch of sins that he created in the first place so that one day he may come down and die for them to prove a point? (Are you officially lost amid this convoluted clusterfuck way of thinking here? Um, yeah, so am I)

Are you gullible enough to believe that Islam is a wonderfully peaceful religion that is merely misunderstood?

Are you gullible enough to believe that ideas, even bad ideas  – and religion is full of bad ideas – do not influence the people we become? The decisions we make and the priorities we set?

Are you gullible enough to believe that corporations are people? That money does not influence political outcomes?

Are you gullible enough to believe that giving rich people tax exemptions so they can hide their wealth in offshore accounts creates jobs and helps some worker stuck in a minimum wage paying slow death improve their standard of living?

Are you gullible enough to believe that wealthy people are wealthy because they work for it instead of being the laziest, greediest, most opportunistic moochers that they are, who exploit the system, with proficiency and profligacy about which poor would-be swindlers can only dream?

Are you gullible enough to seriously think that beliefs and the ideas that inform them are beyond criticism and above reproach?

Are you gullible enough to believe that there is an actual marked difference between Democrats and Republicans?

Are you swayed by fluffy and hopeful State of the Union Addresses by our one percent fellating leaders? Are you so enamored by the belief in them that you forget that despite lofty speeches promising to help the middle class, they wanted to (and have in the past) appoint Wall Street executives in key goverment positions, such as President Obama’s nomination of Wall Street executive and banker Antonio Weiss for a top job at the Treasury Department?

Are you gullible enough to believe that one middle-class boosting policy enacted for every twenty pieces of legislation enacted furthering the “causes” of millionaires, bankers, corporations and oil companies, will bring us a step closer to the direly needed changes we need? That such half-assed steps will strengthen the middle class?

Are yo gullible enough to believe that giving more tax breaks to millionaires is good for all us?

Are yo gullible enough to think that most millionaires are even paying any taxes?

Are you gullible enough to believe that placing health care in the hands of private corporate entities that do not give two shits about your health but instead care a whole lot of about the bottom line, was better for people? Or constitutes health care reform?

Are you gullible enough to believe that the Republican party stands for anything else beside hate, greed and bigotry?

Are you gullible enough to seriously believe that the solution to the crisis we face today with respect to a diminishing middle class is corporatist Hilary Clinton?

Are you gullible enough to believe that a Senate that actually votes on whether climate change is real or not can be trusted with accomplishing anything meaningful for this country and its people?

So exactly how gullible are you?

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Christian Evidence

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The emperor has no clothes. Religions and their associated gods are the biggest fraud that ever existed! I genuinely feel sorry for religious people. It is like they walk this Earth with blinders – willingly and gladly, no less. The more I study religions, the more I am convinced that man never worshiped anything but himself. In the case of Christianity how absurd that a god would become human just to sacrifice himself to himself in order to create a loophole for a rule that he created. 

The fundamental problem with the entire idea of religious faith is that there’s no reality check. The ultimate arbiter is an invisible, inaudible,  intangible being, whose nature and attributes nobody can agree on, and whose ultimate decisions we have no way of knowing until after we die. And the only way to “know” what this being thinks is to either trust in the word of people who swear that they’ve spoken to him directly… or to close our eyes, and think really hard, and tell ourselves that the voices in our heads and the feelings in our hearts are being planted there by our invisible friend.

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My God Is the Right God

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And then Thog cut off both their heads, took their wives and daughters as slaves and everybody worshipped his rocks.

 

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More News From The Religion of Peace

Islam sure knows how to spread the love and every minute, of every day citizens of Islamic countires can feel just how much god loves them. Let’s see, the first person in the long line of people god loves especially and who got to personally experience both the Prophet Muhammad’s and also god’s love is Soheil Arabi, an Iranian man who has been sentenced to death for saying disparaging things about Muhammad.

Branch 75 of Tehran’s Criminal Court found Mr Arabi guilty of insulting the Prophet, or “sabb al-nabi”, on 30 August.

Article 262 of the Islamic Penal Code states insulting the Prophet carries a punishment of death, however, article 264 of the Penal Code says if a suspect claims to have said the insulting words in anger, in quoting someone, or by mistake, his death sentence will be converted to 74 lashes.

The anonymous source claims: “Unfortunately, despite this Article and the explanations provided, the judges issued the death sentence.

Just like Muhammed would do. And i don’t mean that tongue-in-cheek because Muhammad really did kill people for insulting him and god whose message he was carrying.

The second person at the receiving end of god’s oh so endless love as said in the Koran is a British-Iranian woman, who has been imprisoned in Iran for nearly three months, after attending a men’s volleyball match.

Ghoncheh Ghavami

Ghoncheh Ghavami: law student, charity worker, activist – imprisoned indefinitely for attending a men’s volleyball game.

Ghoncheh Ghavami has been held in Tehran’s notoriously tough Evin Prison since June 30 with no idea when she will be released.

After approximately 50 days in solitary, during which the family spoke to her just three times, they were allowed to see Miss Ghavami, once she was finally moved in with another cell mate. They have visited her four times in the last 80 days.

The infamous Evin prison, in North Tehran, known for detaining political prisoners and journalists, is one of the “most intimidating places” in the country according to Mr Ghavami.

The prison is notorious. Ghoncheh is in the worst part of it and has been interrogated repeatedly [without a lawyer being present]. It’s the worst place you can be. It’s like something you see in the movies. The psychological conditions are awful. I’ve only seen one photo of it but my parents visited her yesterday [Wednesday] and they are at breaking point,” Mr Ghavami said. “My mother had to leave the visitor’s room and vomited so many times outside that she nearly passed out […] My sister is very distressed as she has gained the impression from her interrogators that she may have to stay for a long time.

And finally, a group of six Iranians has been sentenced to six months in prison and 91 lashes for releasing a music video in which they dance along to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy.”

The group became famous in May when their music video for the hit song circulated on YouTube, racking up more than 150,000 views before attracting the attention of Iranian authorities. It featured three men and three unveiled women singing and dancing along to the four minute song in the street and rooftops of Tehran, mimicking the style of Pharrell’s official video.

Authorities arrested the group for contravening Iran’s strict vulgarity laws, which prohibit public displays of dancing, and paraded the six on state television, forcing them to express remorse for their behavior.

The Islamic Republic condemned the video as a “vulgar clip which hurt public chastity” and in a trial on Wednesday sentenced the participants to a suspended sentence of six months in prison.

Pharrell Williams responded to Iran’s actions on his Twitter account in May, saying: “It’s beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness.”

But. let us all walk around pretending Islam is the religion of peace, misunderstood and that the horrible things that take place as a direct results of the things written in the Koran are not really true and happening but merely confined to a few lunatics on the fringe and extremists. This is apparently not Islam. ISIS is not Islam. All the horrible things happening in the name of Islam and by Muslims are not Islam and it is everyone else’s fault for misunderstanding and misrepresenting such a beautiful and peaceful religion. Even our President went on live TV saying “ISIS is not Islam.”

Collective denial of the horror that is Islam is only going to hurt people. This is a barbaric faith and an uncivilized religion. Executing non believers and those who insult a prophet? Beheading infidels like swine at a slaughter?

The instances here are about Iran and the reason I have chosen Iran today is because Iran is not an Arab nation, thus dispelling the myth that Islamic extremism is is something confined to Arabs and Arabic countires and because the kind of atrocities that take place in Iran do not get much, if any, international attention. Let’s face it, if it does not affect the US and our war mongering efforts, we couldn’t give a shit.

Secondly, people rarely think of Iran when they think Islamic extremism.

In reality. Iran is just as bad not because of extremists but because of Islam. Period. This is not the works of extremists, this is the reality of Islam. Iran is an Islamic country and this is what you get when you have an Islamic country.

The sad truth is that what we see here and what does make the news every now and then is only a tiny glimpse of what the young people of Iran have been experiencing since the Revolution of 1979, when Iran became an Islamic Republic Shithole. The Iranian government has so much blood on its hands that the atrocities committed by known genocidal regimes, such as Rwanda, pales in comparison to it. Iran has been committing internal genocide for decades, but they have not done on a mass scale, so it is just considered internal turmoil.

Over the past 35 years, millions of young people  – mostly women, especially anyone perceived as exhibiting any kind of Western likes and traits, including Western pop music and culture – have found a torturous demise in Iran’s prisons and “judicial” system, and I use the word judicial system here quite loosely as a kangaroo court where you are guilty until proven innocent isn’t much of a judicial system at all. It is more like a tribunal the likes of which one can expect to find in any totalitarian dictatorship.

All this is a result of Islam, and Islam only. Before the so-called Revolution (more like a Devolution) Iran, while having its problems, was still a country where existence was bearable; where you wouldn’t expect execution and indefinite imprisonment and lashes for dancing or talking to a man who wasn’t a relative.  Women could get an education, a real education, and did not have to wear the hijab. Whatever it was, however imperfect it was, it wasn’t the unbearable soul crushing cesspool it is today.

When I look at these young people who have been sentenced to receive a horrible punishment for dancing happily on the streets, I not only feel sadness but also revulsion. Revulsion at a religion that tells its followers that doing such things violates god’s laws. A system that condones the murder of a man because he insulted someone.

Sure, everyone should be free to believe what they want but I would say in this case the price is too high. Islam is truly evil and it needs to be done away with. No more excuses for it, no more apologies.

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God Has Been Kicked Out of the Air Force

InGodWeTrustBuh-bye dear god. Don’t let the door hit you on your make-believe ass on the way out!

Last month an atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied reenlistment for refusing to take an oath containing “so help me God.” After crossing out the last four words, he was told his only options were to either sign the religious oath section of the contract without adjustment and recite an oath concluding with “so help me God,” or leave the Air Force.

The Air Force used to allow airmen to omit the phrase “so help me God” if they so chose. But an Oct. 30, 2013, update to Air Force Instruction 36-2606, which spells out the active-duty oath of enlistment, dropped that option. Since that quiet update, airmen have been required to swear an oath to a deity when they enlist or re-enlist.

In a letter to the Air Force General Inspector American Humanist Association (AHA) attorney Monica Miller said the airman should be given the choice to re-enlist by swearing a secular oath. She said the AHA will sue if the airman is not allowed to re-enlist. The AHA concluded that it is unconstitutional and unacceptable that the airman be required to say an oath swearing allegiance to a deity and  that Article VI of the Constitution prohibits requiring religious tests to hold an office or public trust.

The Department of Defense recently informed the U.S. Air Force that it must allow the Airman to reenlist without including the religious language in his contract. A press release from the Pentagon can be viewed here.

The Air Force will be updating the instructions for both enlisted and commissioned Airmen to reflect these changes in the coming weeks, but the policy change is effective now. Airmen who choose to omit the words ‘So help me God’ from enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so.

Good riddance.

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That’s Why…

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