Friday, February 28, 2014


How is that someone whose ideas are so butt ugly can look so cheerful on the outside. This quote is from the eighties, he recent'y apologized after a whole series of quotes from over the year came slithering out from under the rocks of history via an opinion piece in The Bangor Daily News. The article is a catalog of his anti tax, anti abortion, anti gay, anti union and anti woman opinions over the last twenty odd years.

For starters what does the one have to do with the other? Absolutely nothing. But then we were being told by candidates with perfectly straight faces that if you were REALLY raped you probably wouldn't get pregnant because your body had ways to deal with that.

Sexual freedom? This isn't about sex it's about control and power. You've got the power and you're using it for control. That's why rape has become one of the prime tactics in the civil wars of the last twenty odd years. What better way to say to the men "you're nothing; you can't protect your mothers, your wives, your daughters, your neighbors,"

After years of failing in politics this sorry waste of skin was elected to Maine legislature in 2012. I'd call him a Neanderthal but that would be an insult. To the Neanderthals

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I’ve been working on The Earth, The Gods and the Soul on the history of pagan philosophy by Brendan Myers. The author describes the transmission knowledge from teacher to pupils as a lineage. And at a time it was a lineage in a way. Plato to his students. Aristotle to his and so on. And the transmission goes both ways. The student has a responsibility to take what’s learned; test it, turn it inside out, test it again. Then if it seems to be true pass it on.

In other words a philosophy secular or religious can grow or it can die. “Each tradition of thinking, if it is a developing critical tradition and not a historical curiosity, moves and changes and adapts itself over time, as it was worked over by hundreds, maybe thousands of others.”

Now can anyone think of a branch of a religious philosophy that not only discourages inquiry but insists on freezing itself not in the present, but two thousand years in the past. And further insists that the rest of us go along for the ride whether we believe or not. And if there are questions or criticisms that answer comes down to “the Bible says so” and there’s and end to it.

Here’s a newsflash for you fundies. Say that to my face and you must might discover the hard way just how much respect little Susie has for that argument as she laughs in your face. Because I'm going to give that argument and you ALL the respect you and it deserve.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Back in the eighties Riane Eisler authored The Chalice and the Blade exploring what she saw at the tensions between the “feminine” goddess beliefs and the “masculine” patriarchal beliefs. There are plusses and minuses about the book but that’s not what caught my attention today.

I was reading up on the Orkney Islands (located to the north of Scotland) and came across this little titbit. Sort of the chalice and the blade on steroids. Traditional stories “credit” Norwegian king Olav Tryggvasson with Christianizing the islands around the year 995. Stopping at the island now known as South Walls he summoned the local lord Sigurd the Stout and supposedly made the following announcement “I order you and all your subjects to be baptized. I you refuse, I’ll have you killed on the spot and I swear I will ravage every island with fire and steel.” The good islander submitted to baptism becoming “official” Christians. Surprise. Surprise. Imagine a really strong tone of sarcasm here.

Funny how all the forced conversions through history never made it into my sunny, cheerful, often boring, definitely irrelevant Sunday School classes. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


This Oregonian us sincerely sorry that the architect of so many anti gay laws in the third world was born and raised in Oregon. He once headed the Oregon Citizen's Alliance. The architect of a since overturned anti gay initiative here in Oregon. His name is Scott Liveley and he still lives in Springfield. Only it's now in Massachusetts. Thank heaven. He's managed to spread his poison in several countries including Russia, Latvia and Uganda. 

 This editorial was in the Eugene Register Guard today. No copy right infringement is intended, just wanted to share 

Uganda’s ugly law

Former OCA leader helped stoke anti-gay sentiment

As Americans have become more accepting of homosexuality in recent years, the opposite is true in Africa, where more than three dozen countries have enacted laws banning same-sex relations.
On Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a reprehensible bill that took Africa’s anti-gay movement to a despicable new level, imposing harsh sentences for homosexual acts, including life imprisonment in some cases.
It’s a cruel irony that the groundwork for Uganda’s new Anti-­Homosexuality Law was laid in part by American Christian fundamentalist groups that have actively fuel­ed anti-gay sentiment. Prominent among them has been former Oregon Citizens Alliance communications director Scott Lively, an anti-gay activist who attended a 2009 conference in Uganda where he called the gay rights movement an “evil institution [whose] goal is to defeat the marriage-­based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”
Many Oregonians would just as soon forget about Lively, who played a central role in promoting divisive anti-gay initiatives in Oregon in the 1990s. Lively got his first taste of inter­national attention in 1992 when the OCA tried, and thankfully failed, to pass an initiative — Measure 9 — that called upon the state to discourage homosexuality as “abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse.”
More than a decade later, Lively and his anti-gay vitriol resurfaced in Uganda where he and other U.S. fundamentalists gave presentations to thousands of people on what they called “the whole hidden and dark” gay agenda and the dire threat they said gays and lesbians posed to African children and families.
A few weeks after the conference, a Ugandan politician introduced the Anti-Homosexuality bill of 2009, which would have imposed a death sentence for homosexual behavior. After an international outcry, the death penalty provision was downgraded in later versions to life imprisonment for some offenses.
African and Western gay rights activists had hoped that Museveni would veto the bill after it was approved late last year. Instead, Museveni signed one of the most draconian anti-gay laws in Africa — more severe even than a similar law recently signed into law by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria’s law imposes 14-year prison terms upon people who commit homosexual acts. Lively, who now lives in Springfield, Mass., is the target of a lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court by Ugandan gay activists. The lawsuit charges that Lively’s attacks on gays in Uganda violated international law.
It was perhaps with that lawsuit in mind that Lively told The Associated Press that Uganda’s new law is overly harsh. He said he would have preferred that Ugandans followed the lead of Russia, which recently enacted a law banning “homosexual propaganda.” Lively has boasted that he helped lay the groundwork for the law in his 2007 tour of Russia.
It says much about Lively that he admires and claims credit for a Russian law that supports the persecution of gays and supporters of gay tolerance. Such laws, whether they’re in Russia or Uganda, violate fundamental human rights. The countries that enact them are moving in a perilous and destructive direction

Friday, February 21, 2014


I posted this graphic I created on FB last fall after I finished reading Bard again
back in September. I THOUGHT I did a journal entry too, but maybe I didn’t.

It was meant as a reminder that we can’t keep taking from the earth without giving something back. That perhaps, we should leave some for the next generation.

This was taken from the novel Bard and it’s goddess Eriu speaking to one of the conquering Sons of Mil. Part of Irish mythology it happened way before the Christian era.

So, what comment appears on this post earlier this month? From a total stranger. And, totally, so totally off topic.

“There is a cost everything but Grace!” I’m assuming here that the poster was referring to the unmerited grace that leads to salvation. Or something like that. Which as I said earlier had absolutely nothing to do with the picture, the Irish, the Milesians, the Tuatha Da Danaan, or me for that matter.

Don’t you just love the totally unsolicited faith sharing the fundies love to pass around? 

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Whenever I get the urge to tap dance a little too far to the Christian side of my beloved line I only have to remember what the Christian, yeah you read it right, mob in Alexandria did to Hypatia. Yanks me right back every time. She would have been rare in any age, but she lived in late fourth century/ early fifth century Alexandria. Daughter of the philosopher Theon, she was educated in Athens she returned to Alexandria to teach the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. Apparently to anyone, Pagan, Christian or other, who was willing to listen.

A seventh century Coptic bishop (who shall remain nameless) wrote of her Hellenistic pagan" and "that "she was devoted at all times to magic, astrolabes and instruments of music, and she beguiled many people through her Satanic wiles.” I’m not sure what magic that blithering idiot was referring to and have no idea how astrolabes fit into the picture. Unless HE didn’t have any idea how they worked and couldn’t stand the idea that a mere woman did. Actually considering the willful ignorance of many early churchmen I guess any literacy beyond being able to read the Lord's Prayer could be considered magical. Three guesses where the worship of ignorance displayed by some of our fellow citizens comes from and the first two don't count. 

As for music. There have been sects of Christians from the earliest day until now that have a problem with music, or at least some forms of music.  Must of missed the references in the Old Testament about David and his harp or lyre. And then there’s all those drums, trumpets, etc.

The stories of the why vary.  In one version the bishop Cyril was passing by her house and noticed a crowd out side the door. Inquiring, he was told who lived there and that she was willing to teach anyone who was interested even if it meant standing in the street. Supposedly jealous of her influence, Cyril (already well known for preaching mob violence against his pagan and Jewish neighbors) incited a mob to attack her in the street.

Another version places her in the middle of a feud between the bishop and the governor of the city, Orestes. However it happened, the result was the same. Sometime in the year 415 she was seized. Some say she was dragged off her chariot. The mob took her to a local church, stripped her, beat her to death and burned the body. No one was ever charged with her murder. Cyril was eventually made a saint.

It seems that very little has changed. If you can’t win an argument on the merits, shout it down. If that doesn’t work. Kill it. By 529 laws outlawing any religion but Christianity following the Nicene Creed and the last of the pagan academies were closed. Ironically the feather ruffling Brit Pelagius drops out of sight three or four years later. Denounced as a heretic by the Western Church he may have gone to Palestine. And there are some reports that he made his way back to Britain, perhaps to Wales out of the reach of Rome. 

So much for Sunday School stories. To be honest if it weren’t for the Quakers and the Unitarians I would be so out of here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I ran across this in one of blogs on Patheos. The entry was titled think outside the box.  If highlights the difference between the scientific explanation for how we got here and Creationism, Intelligent Design, whatever. Frankly, it took me a few minutes to "put all the pieces together" as it were. The actual blog entry is mainly the pictures but if you have the time to work through them the comments, some of them at least, are really a hoot. In a sad, pathetic sort of way. 

And in the end I wonder if like me, you'll want to knock them both upside the head and suggest that they look inside the damn box with the picture of the duck just to see if those puzzle pieces are in there.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Absolutely beautiful image lifted from Spritual Ecology on Facebook. They also have a website.

We are made from starstuff. The atoms that built the earth were cooked in the gases of an exploding supernova.

Just think about it. Before you were you, you were a star. What built you also built the tree across the street, the trout in the stream, the mountains half a world away, the moon, the rest of the planets and just maybe a star that's half way across the galaxy from us.

When Amergin made his boast; when he said he'd been a salmon, a stag, a wild boar he spoke more truth than he realized.

If you want to know what the building blocks of a star look like just g look in the mirror.

It also means that the homeless guy down the street has the universe in him too. That the undocumented immigrant in the the desert has the universe in them too. It also means that the jerkwad in Florida has the universe in him too. Just like the kids he murdered or threatened. What a world it would be if we looked at everyone and everything around us with the same wonder we give a full moon or the most beautiful waterfall we've ever seen.

Monday, February 17, 2014


I slowly working my way through that book on Russia. And sort of confirming what I suspected all along. We not only don’t know a whole lot about Russia, but we didn’t learn a whole lot about anything east of Berlin when I was in school. Yeah, we took world history when I was a sophomore, at least that’s what they called it. More like Western Civilization with extra footnotes.

Anybody out there know that from about the 14th to the 16th century an alliance between Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania created loosely allied state that stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea? I sure didn’t. I know you can’t teach EVERYTHING but we certainly got a hefty dose of how great England was at the time.

Sunday school and the stories of the brave missionaries giving up the comforts of home to bring the glories of the Christian message to the heathens who were only too happy to accept the glories of Christian civilization.  Too bad it was pretty much a crock of bull. Clovis I of the Franks was the original covert or else conqueror. Constantine made Christianity legal. Justinian closed the pagan academies. Vladimir of Kiev converted and made it very clear that anyone who didn’t show up at the riverbank for a dunking was no “friend of his.” Or words to that effect. Heck I didn't even know Orthodox Christianity existed until I was in college. Why? because most of them lived in Muslim countries or behind the Iron Curtain? They suddenly become invisible or something?

Fourteen hundred and ninety two and Columbus discovered a world that had already been found. But, why were the sailors in Western Europe so interested in sea routes to the east in the fifteenth century. Anyone ever hear of the Silk Road. I hadn’t until I temporarily joined a book club called the Folio Society. One of the books they were offering was The Silk Road and the front piece is a map. A map that traces the caravan routes from western China to the Middle East. And a map in a book on the Vikings then traces the trade routes from the Middle East to Scandinavia. For two thousand years goods made their way from east to west to the Mediterranean powerhouses like Venice

So, what happened? Why to push to brave the unknown dangers of the open ocean when they already knew the dangers of the caravan routes? Perhaps the rise of Islam. The break up of the Mongol conquest with the knowledge of who you were dealing with; which palms needed the most "lubrication." And perhaps, finally in the mid 15th century, the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire. You want to bring your goods through our territory you can pay our tolls. Geez, isn’t there another way to get those silks and spices to the markets? There was, finally. And the center of Europe shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. But, when it came to the history books it seems there were some blind spots. Perhaps because the Ottomans were Muslim and the rump of Byzantium was a different flavor of Christianity. Not Western Catholic, Not Protestant, but a different tradition altogether.

And we could say pretty much the same things about Africa, or Asia or India or Latin America. And that’s our loss not theirs.

What we know about most of the rest of the world would fill a small thimble. Modern technology makes it easier to fill in the missing puzzle pieces.  It also makes it easier to pick out the pieces that fit the prejudices we already have building the walls higher instead of tearing them down. I don’t want to hide behind those walls sitting in a corner, eyes closed, humming really, really loud.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


There was an article on HP a couple of days ago about a gal who refused an invitation to her son to attend a birthday party for a little girl with two dads. Turns out the story was a hoax perpetrated by a couple of radio dj’s whose names don’t really matter at this stage of the game. With luck they’ll be drawing unemployment this time next week. Don’t know what they thought they were going to prove. Stories about real bigots are easy enough to find without making them up. And it just makes it harder to get people to believe the real stories when they surface.
Did lead to some very interesting comments though. And I gotta tell ya, there are some folks out there that are even weirder than I expected. One of the odder commenters seemed to believe that somehow giving gays equal rights and allowing them to marry would lead to the extinction of the human race. Unfortunately that original comment has been deleted. Can’t imagine why, HP’s moderators get a little too zealous in their duties sometimes, in my opinion. As long as the folks aren’t cussin’, calling people names and so on, I can be fairly cool with that. But, apparently, according to this commenter there is a world wide conspiracy of gays to force us all into same sex unions or some equally outrageous actions.

Anyway this is the salvaged comment.
"You just live long enough to see a very large number of LGBTs hold Political offices all over the World. It is a mathematical certainty, once you start pairing Humanity man-man and woman-woman, then, you eliminate the manifestation of Babies. And this will affect everything, the Economy and all, once Humanity stops making babis, then, it is game over-Extinction Point reached. "

I did get a reply to my reply and I’m including that. It didn’t get posted either. If I could have replied it would have been along the lines of just because gays have the right to marry; it doesn’t follow that straights are going to stop getting married (although they seem to be doing that any way) and having kids (the kids are arriving with or without benefit of clergy, a justice of the peace or the local Marrying Sam). Most of us with two X chromosomes are still attracted to those humans with the XY combo. Gay rights won’t change that. Gay marriage won't change that. Biology is still biology and at seven billion plus we're in no danger of extinction on that front.

Too many cases of terminal stupidity just might do the trick though.

Saturday, February 15, 2014



I am your mother: do not neglect me!
Children protect me-I need your trust;
my breath is your breath, my death is your death,
ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

I am your nurture; do not destroy me!
Love and enjoy me, savor my fruit;
my good is your good, my food is your food,
water and flower, branches and root.

I am your lodging: do not abuse me!
Tenderly use me, soothing my scars;
my health is your health, my wealth is your wealth,
shining with promise, set among stars.

The Creator is our maker, do not deny,
                                                              challenge, defy or, threaten this place;
                                                              life is to cherish, care, or we perish!
                                                              I am your mother, tears on my face

Poem by Shirley Erena Murray, image by Angela Babby. We either start putting in more than we take out or it will be done for us. I guarantee we won't like the results. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014


There is a book on the shelf in the hall that has been taunting me for years.  Russia and the Russians by Geoffrey Hosking. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve started it and got sidetracked. Because….. Well just because.

Maybe because, for me like many other Americans, Russia might as well be on the other side of the moon for all we really know about that part of the world. The names are hard to pronounce.  They use a really weird alphabet. Even if you don’t speak German or one of the Romance languages you can pick out a few of the words. Right? They’re Russian Orthodox. They dress funny. There churches look funny with all those onion domes. They: what the hell take your pick.  Anyway maybe I’ll make it past page eighty. This time.

Ironically part of the family tree can be traced back to the Grand Dukes of Kiev in the tenth and eleventh century. And while I was tip toeing through Wickipedia to see if their were any connections between my Grand Dukes and the reasonably famous Alexander Nevsky. Among other accomplishments he sent the Teutonic Knights back to Prussia with their tails dragging in the 13th century. Those that didn’t drown during the Battle on the Ice.  Oh, and no family tie that I can find.

Anyway, following this link and that link some threads started to come together and something went “twing.” We all know about the Crusades to recover the Holy Land. Some of us may have heard of the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars of Southern France. Anybody ever hear of the Northern Crusades? Yeah, I know. Neither had I.

It’s a kind of umbrella label for a series of wars of conquest/extermination carried out against the “pagans” caught between newly Christianized kingdoms in Scandinavia, Germany and the Balkans and the various kingdoms in what became Russia. And occasionally, when they ran out of pagans to forcibly convert, the two branches of barely speaking Christians did their damndest to exterminate each other. See the Great Schism of 1054. And to be honest perhaps the biggest sticking point didn’t have to do with the theology. It was the claim of the Bishops of  Rome (the popes) to be the head of the entire church. A claim the Eastern Patriarchs resisted and still resist. And I forget which crusade it was but the "holy" army of the west took time out to sack Constantinople on their was to do battle with the infidels further to the east. 

Anyway the “twing” came from something Lisa said in a comment a few weeks ago. “How could the Creator of the universe be as small, venal and human as It is painted by many of the world's religions? Our imaginations are so sad and limited. What is wrong with us?” Creating a God in our own image allows us to do exactly what those ancestors did then and too many of us still do now. Kill in the name of god. Small g is very, very deliberate. 

Hell, why should we stop now. It seemed to work so well in the past. And don’t think that some of our fellow citizens wouldn’t like to use that sword on some of us. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


at someone else at least three fingers are pointing back at you. The opinions here are purely my own. Don’t blame anyone else for them.

I haven’t been watching the Olympics. I have absolutely no desire to watch the Olympics. But, apparently some or our politicians, news people and athletes are less than satisfied with how the Russians are handling the events.

Considering this story on Think Progress today, we don’t need to go around patting ourselves on the back. And more about what I think of Gerrymandering later. Add in the push back on gay rights, the war on women and the continued obstruction by the fundamentalist right the only difference between us and the Russians is a few hundred more years of semi representative government for us and a at least two millennia of successful invasions for them. We are rather good at pointing out the failings of others while ignoring the push backs occurring in our own country aren’t we?

And before we give ourselves too many high fives compare the US and Eurasia. We have several thousand miles of salt water to the east and west of us. We have a friendly government on our northern border and a totally dysfunctional government to the south of us. The last time we were invaded was two freakin’ centuries ago.

Russia is well, Russia in a way that Americans can’t begin to understand. It’s the Rodina, the Motherland. It’s been invaded from the east and west by Scandinavians, Mongols, Tatars, Germans, Poles, the French under Napolean. And some of those invasions weren't about territory. They were about religion. The Roman Catholic West and the Orthodox Catholic East were at loggerheads for centuries. There have been times when the territory controlled by the Tsars were the districts around Moscow and little else. She’s landlocked in a way that Americans can’t even begin to understand. 

Peter the Great dragged her kicking and screaming towards Europe in the early seventeenth century, but I’m not sure how effective that was or is. At the end of WWI the Revolution lopped off the head and replaced the monarchy with the Politburo and the party chairman, but I’m not how much changed for the people in the villages. Lenin and Stalin didn’t invent either the five year plans or the purge. The CHEKA became the KGB and Siberia had been a dumping ground for decades.

Stalin didn’t invent the political purge; check out Ivan IV AKA the Terrible. He was however, very, very good at it. Nothing like modern record keeping and firearms to rack up the body count. And if you think some of our good buddies over here wouldn’t like to follow in his footsteps, think again.

After WWII we saw a world wide communist conspiracy as Moscow encouraged, forced and otherwise managed to install semi friendly governments on her Western borders. Um, and what exactly were we doing at the same time in this hemisphere? It was less world wide conspiracy than a cold blooded determination that if there was another land war started in the west the invading troops would have to go through non Russian territory first. The Rodina must be protected at all costs.

And just a little side note. Since Afghanistan borders new Islamic republics that were part of the old USSR Soviet involvement to prop up a sympathetic government makes a heck of a lot more sense than our invasions of Afghanistan or Iraq.

Does that excuse the massacres, oppression, corruption and all the other problems Russia has had before and after the fall of the USSR? No, but before the flap our wings and crow about our supposed virtues it might be a good idea to take a good, long look and some of our own history. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Please read this heartbreaking story first. At about three pages, I believe it’s way to long to post on my page.

The author isn’t totally clear, but I believe the family was part of a Methodist congregation in North Carolina and I can remember the ads a few years ago with the “open hearts, open minds, open doors” tagline. So, did whoever ordered the ad not know about the UMC book of discipline? "The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching." The so called book of discipline was never mentioned at anytime when I went through the Methodist membership schtick. Twice. Of course, the first time I was in high school. The second time was back in the eighties.

I know from personal experience that getting blindsided with anti gay rhetoric in a church situation can leave you speechless. There was one church service back in those ill fated eighties when at least three people got up in the sanctuary and spewed their hatred. And we all just sat there. Including the pastor. Not one of my finest hours.

So, now it’s thirty years later and I have questions. Who was supervising this pissant “youth pastor” and if not, why not? Did the senior pastor know what was going on? And again if not, why not? Did any of these kids go home and tell their parents what happened? Apparently not, if the blog report of the incident is accurate. Was going on that mission trip so f’ing important that they’d sit by and let a kid who thought they were his friends be savaged.

I’m no longer a Methodist, for a lot of reasons, and this is one of them. Trying to fit into the box defined by the denominational rules starts to look a lot like that famous bed of Procrustes. He promised that he had a bed that anyone would fit perfectly. But, if you were too short he stretched you. If you were too long, well there was a cure for that too. 


Funny  how you plan what you want to write and then you find another thread but it fits with where you’re going so come along for the ride.

From a 2008 blog entry in Under the Oak, a blog I justdiscovered. The author is a Druid/Unitarian Universalist and can be found here with the rest of the Patheos writers. I'm stumbling across more and more writers like this one. Quaker/Pagans, Quaker/Druids, Druid/Unitarians. Makes for some interesting reading. 

The original entry dates from July 2008. With a little web surfing I was able to find a news story that gives backgroundon the case. And frankly, is a prime example of what I’ve been saying.

“Found a story on the Dallas Morning News Religion Blog, about a Presbyterian theology professor who’s been suspended because his liberal interpretation of the Bible may violate a mandatory oath not to teach anything not in agreement with the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith. My response on the DMN blog is shown below:

Does anyone expect doctors to practice according to the standards of 1646? Is our view of law the same as it was in 1646 (think: slavery, witch trials)? How about engineering – do you want buildings and bridges designed to 1646 standards?

Then why in the world would anyone expect a theologian to unquestioningly support the religious standards of 1646?

New facts and knowledge must be incorporated into our religious beliefs and practices or our religions will become irrelevant.”

We aren't turn of the first millennium Jews living under a military occupation. We aren't turn of the millennium Romans living in an empire that claims the emperor is a God and where it’s getting harder and harder to compete with a slave economy. We aren't citizens of the old Greek city states that lost their independence under the conquering sandals of Phillip of Macedon and his murderous son, Alexander. We aren't citizens of the various provinces faced with the choice of collaboration, exile or worse.

History claims that the Romans were tolerant of the religions of their conquered peoples. Well, they were as long as the Gods and Goddesses looked sufficiently Roman or could be Romanized (tamed). The Druids of Gaul were suppressed, their groves burned, their priests, lawgivers driven out or killed. Do not get me started on my opinion of the great Julius Caesar. He needed money to build a power base back home. Gaul was had land, wealth and potential slaves for the market. The surviving bards existed on the fringes, but we're left with only tantalizing hints of their beliefs. Rely on oral tradition to pass on your faith, beliefs and rites; lose the men and women carrying the knowledge you lose almost everything. 

Given where I am right now, this blogger’s early entry from mid 2008 really struck home.

So, any fundies running across my blog. You seem happy with the idea of freezing your theology in the mid seventeenth century. Or earlier. Why not go whole hog and do everything in your lives just the way our ancestors did in the "good old days that never existed?"

Monday, February 10, 2014


I can either write a small book or I can break this into installments.

From my last entry. “I believe it was Eckhart who said that to find God you had to give up God. You have to give up the God fashioned in your own image. The God small enough to fit your imagination and look for the God that exists beyond our understanding.

Lisa said “I arrived at the same conclusion as Eckhart some years ago. How could the Creator of the universe be as small, venal and human as It is painted by many of the world's religions? Our imaginations are so sad and limited. What is wrong with us?

Bless me if I know. I am going to post most of the rest of the quotes I’ve been working from, but I’ve noticed some common themes. These folks say I a lot and seem to be a set of real control freaks. One gal basically said (this is a paraphrase) “I’m going to make sure that my kids are so thoroughly indoctrinated that they’ll believe my version and ignore their science teachers.” Good luck with that honey.

Fear? Lust for power? Control? For over forty years a preacher named Criswell pastored the First Baptist Church of Dallas. Forty years. Plenty of time to carve out a tidy little fiefdom.  I mean, several thousand people hanging on your every word (and filling the collection plate) has to be down right addictive.

The Methodists used to get around that by moving their ministers every few years. Last I heard the Pacific Northwest was the last conference to try to follow the traditional rotation. Let's face it families like to keep their lives stable. And there aren't as many ministers as there used to be. Or as has happened with mom's church their pastor is actually working with two churches. Both have small congregations and can't really afford to fill a full time position. Times change. 

The old Silent Meeting for worship Quakers got around it by not having a paid clergy at all. Still didn’t stop even them from fussin’ and feudin’ over what they were “supposed” to believe. This from a group of believers basically made up of mystics.

Back to Criswell. Southern Baptist. One of the foundations of Baptist belief and inherent in Protestant belief is Soul Freedom. The right, before God to follow the leadings of the Spirit. Now I have to admit that some folks got lead along some strange, to my way of thinking, paths. But, as long as they aren’t hurting anybody else, who am I to say that my path is the only path. However, in my opinion that anybody else includes the rest of Creation from Marbled Murrelets to great whales so that does narrow the field. A lot.

Anyway, back to Criswell. Back in the eighties Bill Moyers, an ordained Baptist minister BTW, did a documentary on the rise of the fundamentalist right. And on camera, right there before God and everybody else, the good reverend Criswell denied the right of his parishioners to soul freedom. Because, after all, if you allowed folks to try to figure things out for themselves God only knows where they’d end up. And you, reverend could kiss your tidy little fiefdom, those overflowing collection plates and your friendship with the likes of Ronald Reagan bye bye.

End part one

Sunday, February 9, 2014


The long threatened quote dump from a Patheos  website blog entry follow up to the "debate" between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham.  The quotes are, well, pretty incredible in my opinion. I've removed the name tags to protect, us I guess, from contamination. Any opinions I have about a quote will be short and in bold type face. 

"Satan and the demons work hard to deceive us. If, as you imply, Ken Ham’s work of teaching and interpreting the Bible is wrong, you are making null and void the gift of teaching given to the church by the Holy Spirit. " Actually the Holy Spirit and I are on speaking terms. Don't you guys ever get tired of looking for demons behinds every bush?

"The issue of origins is outside the realm of science. If you think that evolution is science and proven, you have absolutely no clue as to the nature of knowledge. … Science cannot deal with unique, unrepeatable, unobservable and untestable events. Can anyone do a Show’n'Tell of a fish turning into a crocodile? The same is true of Creation. Both must be accepted on Faith. … Since no one can observe what has taken place in the past, no theory of origins is in the realm of science. The answer as to where we came from must be based upon faith. If you believe in Evolution, you have placed your faith upon Nothing, because for you the universe came from Nothing. … There is No truth in science, Truth is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ. Learn the Natures of Knowledge and Truth before delving into the issue of origins." No, I guess we can't expect to find a record of early evolution. The one celled and early multi celled critters didn't leave a written record. Kind of hard to do without pen, paper, hands, eyes and a brain. We do have an absolutely fascinating fossil record. We can build up a case for evolution the same way a detective builds evidence for a crime without an eyewitness. You follow the evidence and see where it takes you. 

"Their truth is a theory not based in any scientific fact yet they cling to their faith of what is not there. Sad. " Something is sad around here and it isn't science.

"One of the best learning experiences I ever had was my visit to the Creation Museum. " God/dess take me now!

"Evolution, according to every text I have seen and that schools provide, says “evolution” is a
“belief” of scientists, and a “theory”, so they choose this as THEIR religion, I have 4 children that are going to learn the truth and that is Creation, the Bible, and Gods laws and rules for us. … I am very concerned my own children and about the millions of children that are exposed to the lie of “evolution”, and their salvation and receipt of the true message of God ...Well, the Bible says, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” That verse makes no exceptions for those who have their Ph. D. and have published journal articals. … [Ken Ham is] actually trying to defend the conclusion to which anyone would come if they read it for themselves without trying to make it fit something else ." Please provide a list of those books you've read. Somehow I doubt you've read very many. And please, please, please check out the definition of a scientific theory.  We use the word theory because it leaves room to add new evidence as it's discovered. And telling me "the Bible says so" cuts no ice with me. 

"It all comes down to how big your God is. Mine is big enough to speak everything into existence in 6-24 hour days. Mine is big enough to preserve His Word so that “day” means “day”. How big is yours?" Welcome to the grade school playground. "My God's bigger than your God. Thbpppp!" Actually John Crossan theorizes that the first Creation story isn't about the Creation of the Universe, but about the creation of something that was central to Jewish belief along with one God and no idols. The Sabbath. Fourth commandment and all that. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Even God rested on the seventh day. etc. 

"Both “theories” require faith. And yes…creation is an accepted theory. A theory is simply a system of ideas intended to explain something. So those dismissing creation as a theory…if people believe it, then it is a theory. Get over it!" Well one 'theory" has a basis in empirical evidence. The other relies on "the Bible says so." Get over it.  

"I reject your belief that evolution has been proven true. The only thing that has evolved is the theory itself. The human architects of this theory have worked hard to overcome the growing problems with such an idea. I will admit that it takes a great amount of faith to believe such a tale. However, I can also appreciate the differences in opinions among people unlike many advocating evolution. My only point right now is that you cannot attempt to square the Word of God and remain consistent with true Biblical Christianity while holding to a man made theory that has been devised to eliminate God from the equation. I believe, in the beginning God and it seems you believe, in the beginning dirt." Of course the theory has "evolved" if you will. Charles Darwin had an idea based on what he'd observed, but he didn't have the mechanics. And he didn't have those because a certain German monk had just started planting those pea plants and observing what happened to color of the flowers when he crossed red ones with white ones. And that information wasn't discovered until after Darwin's death. By another scientist who had developed a gene theory independently from Mendel's . Oy. 

"Child like minds don’t use science to justify truth nor do they compare theory to do this leads to sorcery wich is very dangerous ground and also questionings the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ .who do i believe man or Jesus Christ without a doubt Jesus Christ you will never be led astray. " Sorcery? Well, that's a new one. At this point it's getting hard to keep being polite.

"In order to for a theory to be considered true, the hypothesis has to be able to be tested and verified. This is impossible to do regarding both creationism and evolution. It will NEVER happen. Therefore, they are both theories. Both require faith. So, the ultimate questions is do you want to place your faith in man? or God?" — Emily (a self-proclaimed high school biology teacher) And this from a science teacher. You have heard of the fossil record? And now that we have gene mapping we can actually compare genetic profiles and see how much variation there is between species. 

"Nothing good ever comes from Patheos. They are so full of Biblical inaccuracies it is truly sad. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing." Something's sad and it isn't Patheos. 

"I think that anyone who is honest and doesn’t have an atheistic agenda or axe to grind, if they take a reasonable look at what the theory of evolution proposes, they have to conclude that it just can’t make any sense. There are more holes in the theory of evolution than there are stars in the galaxy."  Sound of a very, very loud Bronx cheer. 

"I know you don’t have to believe in six literal creation days to be saved, but sometimes you wonder if these people who compromise believing in long ages and/or evolution really are since they basically are insisting man’s word is more authoritative than God’s even though they would probably deny that conclusion. " Hate to burst your bubble but the only text that might have been written by Le Bon Dieu was on those tablets Moses is supposed to have brought down from Sinai. Everything else was written by those primates with opposible thumbs. I.E. by human beings trying to make sense out of the unexplainable. 

"The creationist model is the biblical model. Anything else is private, personal, and subjective interpretation, which 2 Peter states is the wrong way to read the Bible. The Bible interprets itself!" I suspect that if you brought Peter or Paul into this century and showed them what we've done with their personal letters written to answer specific problems in a certain time and place they'd scratch their heads and go "hunh?" In the end it's all private, personal and subjective. And if the Bible interprets itself how come there's a whole section in bookstores stocked with Bible commentaries? Or why some Bibles come with glosses, notes and footnotes?

"The universe created by God is vast beyond comprehension, and, amazingly enough, coincides with science when science does what it does best – describes what it sees and observes. Everything else is just . . . theory. "  Can't say this often enough. We have the fossil record. Which scientists see, observe and interpret. Oh, I forgot. Fossils are either tricks of the Devil meant to lead us astray or tricks of god (small g is deliberate) meant to test our faith. Which puts that god on about the same footing as Coyote or Raven a trickster. 

"Genesis is compatible with Jesus. Evolution is not compatible with the need of a Savior. Death entered after Adam’s sin, not before. Jesus paid the fine Adam caused. The fine was death." See my previous entry and the idea of substitutionary atonement didn't come into play until Saint Anselm in about the eleventh century. And I'm not even going there right now. 

"Patheos is pathetic! Both blogger Wilkinson and many (but thankfully not all) of those responding are displaying their anti-Bible bias and ignorance. "  This one is pretty self explanatory. Anything I could say would be incredibly rude.

"The bottom line is these folks [evolutionists] simply have no room in their hearts for God …. " Also pretty self explanatory. You have no idea what is in my heart. Or anyone else's for that matter.

The end. Thank who ever is running the show. 


Please excuse the unusual use of caps. Some things seem to need more emphasis sometimes. 

"If death came prior to Adam (evolution) then Jesus is not needed. We are not Christians. Its incompatible. We need Jesus as Savior BEcause of Genesis."

Follow up to the wholesale quote "dump"  but I couldn't let this one pass without a comment. Although I guess the dump will actually be the follow up. Looks like more than the dogwood is encased in ice this morning. 

I know that the quote from the first part of the second Creation story could imply that humans were immortal before that pesky tempter peeked out from behind a bush and whispered into Eve's ear. However, nowhere does scripture SAY that the first humans, indeed the first fruits of Creation were immortal. When God places those two trees off limits Adam doesn't ask the obvious question "what's death." So I'm guessing that he'd already been clued in on the fact that our bodies are mortal. Heck, even if our "parents" were vegetarians you can't get grain without planting seeds and you can't get seeds unless that wheat, barley or rye sprouts, matures and DIES so you can harvest it.

If humans were already immortal why was God so worried about the Tree of Life? Why would it matter if they ate of the Tree of Life IF THEY WERE ALREADY IMMORTAL. Instead God basically says "we have got to move these two to another address on the other side of the wall ASAP. BEFORE they find the Tree of Life. Because THEN they will be as us (whoever that us was; there's always the royal we I guess) knowing good from evil AND immortal. 

Long sigh here. Do you folks actually read the book you claim to be taking literally? And if you do, do actually think about what you're reading? Yes, Lisa I do remember what you said about fundies,  Biblical interpretation and basically being led around by their noses. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Just one more of these with commentary. Then I think I'll just post some of them and let folks draw their own conclusions.

"I do believe the earth is less than 10k years old, sure. I trust the eye witness that was there and was kind enough to tell us about it, God. I do believe people lived hundreds of years, so what? … There is no old earth creation. It’s a lie of Satan to deceive the very elect if possible. … Dump science and believe the Bible. Science is the fancy of men while the Bible is every single word of the Living God, perfectly preserved and inspired for us to read. "

Oy, what can you say to something like this? Science is a trick of the devil. It's all a lie. BECAUSE THE BIBLE SAYS SO. From what I've picked up this "literalism" seems to be largely confined to the US. There's a fancy term for what this is Sola Scriptura. The Orthodox consider it a heresy. The first natural scientists were churchmen. Heck the Vatican even has an astronomer. A Jesuit with multiple degrees. 

I believe it was Eckhart who said that to find God you had to give up God. You have to give up the the God fashioned in your own image. The God small enough to fit your imagination and look for the God that exists beyond our understanding.

Friday, February 7, 2014


As usual the entry took control and I ended up in Newport instead of Bend. So to speak. LOL So I'll come back to the fundies tomorrow. 

I know that Ken Ham will never see this but what the heck. To give the man his due, he does have BA in environmental biology. Whatever the heck that is. And everybody is entitled to their own opinion about just about anything that comes up the freeway. But, I have to ask you sir. Do you really believe this young earth bullshit or do you really belong in a carny sideshow somewhere peddling snake oil. Because that’s just exactly what you’re doing.

For starters give that tree it’s full name. It isn’t the Tree of Knowledge, it’s the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Makes a really big difference doesn’t it? The knowledge of how the universe works is neutral It’s how we use that knowledge that makes one hell of the difference. We learn how to split the atom and harness the energy and right off the bat, what do we do? We build bombs. We use those bombs to obliterate two cities.

I’ll be honest here. We actually managed to kill more civilians firebombing Tokyo with conventional weapons than we did at Hiroshima. Sidenote. The Japanese and Canadians turned out a damn fine miniseries awhile back about the run up to the bombings. One excuse for targeting Hiroshima was the location of plants producing arms and munitions. Too bad about all those civilians. I forget which brass hat laid the blame on the Japanese for locating those plants where they were.

Excuse me, general so and so. Yeah you. Where were the Japanese supposed to build their industrial plants? This isn’t the Midwest of North America. Flat land is mighty scarce in the those islands. You aren’t going to sacrifice farmland to build factories.

And argument could be made that Japan was on the ropes. Supply lines gone, Population already on near starvation rations. There was no way the allies could have invaded before the spring of 1946 and the army was planning on arming civilians with bamboo spears and launching them at the beach heads. An argument could be made that there were fewer casualties caused by using the atomic weapons than if we’d gone with conventional warfare. In this case. I repeat in this one, limited case.

But what did we do after the war? We entered an arms race with the Soviets. Both sides spent billions, perhaps trillions of dollars, rubles, whatever the Chinese use building bigger, “better”, more terrifying warheads. God/dess you do have to admire our ingenuity when it comes to planning how to off our neighbors. Especially after a successful revolution on an island ninety miles from the Florida coast.

We managed to assemble an arsenal that if used, would knock life on this planet back to the multicelled critter stage. Guess taking that bite out of that piece of fruit didn’t do us a whole lot of good because somehow keep allowing our fear, hate and greed to influence our choices for the worst, rather than the best.

There’s a sort of gag song that came out in the sixties, written by Tom Lehrer. Can you imagine what the segregationists could have done with tactical nukes back then?

One of the big news items of the past year concerned the fact that China, which we called "Red China," exploded a nuclear bomb, which we called a device. Then Indonesia announced that it was going to have one soon, and proliferation became the word of the day. Here's a song about that:

First we got the bomb, and that was good,
'Cause we love peace and motherhood.
Then Russia got the bomb, but that's okay,
'Cause the balance of power's maintained that way.
Who's next?

France got the bomb, but don't you grieve,
'Cause they're on our side (I believe).
China got the bomb, but have no fears,
They can't wipe us out for at least five years.
Who's next?

Then Indonesia claimed that they
Were gonna get one any day.
South Africa wants two, that's right:
One for the black and one for the white.
Who's next?

Egypt's gonna get one too,
Just to use on you know who.
So Israel's getting tense.
Wants one in self defense.
"The Lord's our shepherd," says the psalm,
But just in case, we better get a bomb.
Who's next?

Luxembourg is next to go,
And (who knows?) maybe Monaco.
We'll try to stay serene and calm
When Alabama gets the bomb.
Who's next?
Who's next?
Who's next?
Who's next?

I remember when this came out. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I’m just past the middle of Pillar of Fire, the second volume of Taylor Branch’s trilogy. The three civil rights workers, Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney are still missing. But they were just the tip of the iceberg. And to be honest if two of those three young men hadn't been white I don’t know how long it would have taken to finally find their bodies in that earth dam. 

During the search of the Bogue Chitto swamp in Mississippi two other bodies were discovered. Young, black college students murdered when they were kidnapped off the streets of a town called Meadeville. Beaten to death, their bodies weighted and sunk in the swamp. Their killers thought they might be Black Muslims. 

 Three army reserve officers who had completed training at Fort Benning, Georgia, black, reserve army officers, didn’t even make it out of Georgia before they were bushwhacked, the driver killed. The survivors took their car on a wild ride off the road into the surrounding scrub. Branch hasn’t gotten back to them yet. So far I assume they survived.

The level of violence, tolerated, encouraged and tepidly condemned by everyone from the Johnson White House on down is obscenely appalling. Yes, I’m using twenty twenty hind sight. It had been going on for decades, festering like an undiagnosed cancer only to be exploited in support of segregation. Too many stood by. Too many said nothing or too little. The politics were more important. Defending bureaucratic turf was too important starting with but not confined to J F’ing Edgar Hoover and his pile of potential blackmail files.

Robert Byrd may have finally seen the light in the nineties but that doesn’t excuse his part in the filibuster of the civil rights bill. Stood on the floor of the senate and stated that he couldn’t find anything in the Bible that supported integration but there was the so called “curse of Ham" first used to justify slavery and then used to justify segregation. 

Too many of us in the rest of the country stood by either thankful that the violence wasn’t afflicting our neighborhoods or totally ignorant because the bulk of the violence didn’t hit the news or our local papers or afraid of being called communists if we supported civil rights and voting rights. I’m not sure about the sixties, but after the Soviet tanks flattened Hungary back in the fifties the membership numbers in the American Communist party shrank like an ice cube left out in the sun in July. And there are some estimates that about half of those who were left were informers for the FBI.

Why shouldn’t the fundies use the commie brush now? It worked so well in the past. Why shouldn’t they wave the Bible at us and claim that it holds all the answers? It worked so well before after all.

When the civil rights era petered out and the Vietnam War ended we thought the violence ended too. It didn’t. It went underground. It spread like an untreated cancer. The violence we ignored because it wasn’t happening in our part of the country is here now. The inner city violence that was tolerated for whatever reason is in our streets. The poverty in those inner cities that grew out of the flight of manufacturing jobs, first to other parts of the country and then overseas is bleeding the supposedly safe suburbs. 

I wonder how many inner city schools in Chicago or Detroit or New York or Boston have been scenes of shootings that never made it out of page ten of the local papers.  The tiger is loose and we don't know how to stop him before the fangs sink into our throats. Too many of us drank the koolade of hyper individualism forgetting that the lone tree can’t stand against the hurricane but it just might survive if it’s part of a forest. 

I forget who said it but true peace is not the absence of conflict. True peace isn’t the silence comes from not wanting to rock the boat. True peace doesn't come from the fear of doing what we know in our hearts is right because we might lose our jobs, our businesses, our friends. A community enjoys true peace when it works for justice and cares for its neighbors. True peace comes when we refuse to tolerate hate that comes cloaked in a book, some call sacred or a flag that's been elevated to status of an idol. 

Enough for now, this needs to cook for a bit. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I didn't watch it but I understand that Bill Nye the Science Guy swept the floor with Ken Ham. But I doubt that any minds were changed. Maybe he managed to plant a seed or two of doubt in the minds of some of the younger members of the audience. One can hope, pray and not put up with any BS from the fundie side of the aisle.

Also, because evolutionists are unwilling to give creation science any serious consideration, they really don’t have a proper understanding of it and always refute and discredit it with straw man fallacies and ad hominem attacks. Can scientists demonstrate the earth’s purported age of 4.6 billion years in a laboratory?

Hate to burst your bubble, but actually they can demonstrate the age of the earth in the lab. It's called potassium/argon dating and it's very reliable at least for rocks that haven't taken the big ride down to the core to be recycled as the continents move across the surface of the earth. Still the best dates for the radio isotope dating still come up with a date of approximately 3.5 billion years. Much, much older than any of the Young Earth Creationists. Which usually top out at about twenty thousand years. 

The rest of the age difference is usually by dating meteorites using various lead isotopes. Presumably the earth and the meteors were created at about the same time. So if you can date the meteors you can date the earth. There's a website that really goes into the details and can be found here. To be honest I can follow about three fourths of it on the first read through, so good luck. 

For a good giggle there are sites out there that attempt to uphold the young earthers attempts to prove their dating methods. Which when it comes down to it, still boils down to "the Bible says so." Epic fail. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


"Nothing cant evolve into something anymore than something with gene can evolve a million other genes different from the first. This is basic maths I have one sweet and have no more sweets to add how many sweets do I have 1 or 10,000,000? – "

This one "speaks" for itself. My only comment? I hope to heck this person is not registered to vote and if they are that they don't vote. I believe I know what they're trying to say but I wouldn't want to bet the farm on it. 

Monday, February 3, 2014


This may, emphasis may, turn into multiple entry stream of consciousness series. This is prompted by an entry on the Patheos website. One of their contributors took on the upcoming "debate" between young earth creationist Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Science Guy. That entry prompted an entry on the series of comments that frankly can leave you shaking your head and wondering WHERE IN THE F'ING HELL THESE PEOPLE GET THEIR INFORMATION. A thousand apologies for shouting. The number of entries will probably depend on how long my patience with rank stupidity holds out.

I'm tolerant of a lot things but, willful ignorance is not one of them. 

For anyone who reads their Bible, it’s pretty clear that the entire concept and theory of evolution blatantly contradicts a number of biblical accounts, therefore one must be true and the other false as the Bible does not contradict itself. Simple, and in a nutshell.—  
These folks signed their entries but I'm leaving off the names to protect the idiotic. 

If I could actually speak to this individual, geez where would I start? There are two Creation stories. At least three versions of Noah's flood, at least the run up to the Flood. The first three Gospels sort of agree with each other and John doesn't agree with the other three. 

So, since the claim that Bible obviously does contradict itself; there goes that argument.