Frontier Former Editor

January 4, 2009

Another reason not to book that Holy Land tour . . .

Filed under: ancient history, colonialism, doomed to repeat, dumbasses, imperialism, Judaism, religion — Tags: , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 1:44 am

As a history major, I look at Saturday’s news and remember the following:

  • Balfour issued his letter in support of a  Zionist homeland in Palestine, as long as the native population was not adversely affected, like that was a consideration since 1917.
  • Israel, despite its political leadership’s claims that it is not a colonial power, joined quite willingly with England and France in 1956 to support seizure of  the Suez Canal and, as a bonus, seize control of the Sinai and expand its borders beyond the 1948 lines.
  • Also, despite its claims of non-colonial stances, most Israeli governments have, at best, paid little more than lip service to the concept of withdrawing settlements in Palestinian territory and, at worst, actively encouraging settlements as a non-governmental way of expanding Israeli hegemony beyond the 1948 borders.
  • Hamas and Hezbollah, while understandable reactions to Israeli imperialism (yes, imperialism), are really no better than successive Israeli governments in promoting any sort of rational solutions to the region’s problems. Both sides, however, are skilled practitioners of the ‘eye for an eye’ school of dispute settlement.
  • I have real concerns about a country conducting a foreign policy based cynically on the Old Testament.
  • On top of that, the mainstream Arab leadership across the region has done little to ease the situation under which Palestinians have existed . And when militant killers organize in resistance to the state of Israel, do you expect ? After all,  look at the Stern Gang and Irgun and ask what is the fundamental difference between them and Hamas/Hezbollah?

 

Perhaps it is time for the world community to allow both sides of the current troubles to be isolated and fight each other to the death. On second thought, perhaps it’s time for all parties to the events of the last 92 years to own up to their contributions to those events and to bring hard rationality and justice to the region. 

Both sides of the region’s inhabitants are equally responsible for killing and maiming civilians.

Most European nation-states are also responsible for persecution of Jews over the last several centuries and to that persecution’s peak in World War II.

The U.S. certainly has done little to head off Israel’s territorial expansion since the 1960’s, except to offer a confused series of initiatives and momentary successes of rationality lost in subsequent, emotionally confused shows of support for ‘Judeo-Christian’ values and perfunctory nods to ‘good Islamics’ victimized by the actions of ‘bad Islamics.’

And, when we all watch the news, hear the U.S. veto U.N. efforts to put Israel on the spot, and watch as Israeli aircrew flying American-made helicopters and jets bomb and strafe Gaza today, it’s hard to say that America is committed to a just peace process in the Middle East.

And what have the Arab nations done in practical terms to ease Palestinian suffering?

September 6, 2008

Manifest Destiny, as manifested by Sarah Palin . . .

Apparently, Sarah Palin seems to agree with Jake Blues . . . .

We’re on a mission from God.

I know all you all look down on National Public Radio as the last refuge of a liberal, but sometimes they have a nasty habit of running factual information:

http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=94332540&m=94332496

An excerpt:

“Palin now goes to a nondenominational Bible church when she’s in Wasilla, but her years attending Pentecostal churches, including the one she currently attends in Juneau, have no doubt shaped her faith and, possibly, her view of world events.

“For example, at the same service, Palin talks about the war in Iraq.

” “Pray our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country — that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,” Palin said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

“Poloma says some people might hear that and say Palin believes this is a holy war, or that Pentecostals think this is a holy war.”

Now I know who else Palin reminds me of . . .

 

James K. Polk, Manifest Destiny exponent extradordinaire. From Wikipedia:

“As a Democrat committed to geographic expansion (or “Manifest Destiny“), he overrode Whig objections and was responsible for the second-largest expansion of the nation’s territory. Polk secured the Oregon Territory (including Washington, Oregon and Idaho), amounting to about 285,000 square miles (738,000 km²) then purchased 525,000 square miles (1,360,000 km²) through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican–American War.”

The only difference between Polk and Dubya? Polk was arrogant and competent.

Maybe Palin should remember that many a nation has claimed a holy alliance with God, as a central European nation once proudly declared . . .

 

Belief in God doesn’t make me nervous, despite or maybe because of my avowed agnosticism. What makes me nervous is politicians tossing around the concept of God as a symbol of support and justification as certain as the current day’s Gallup/CNN/MSNBC polls

Good night, Sarah, and remember the ark.

December 6, 2007

We live in a truly enlightened age . . . . my ass

Things have been a little off in my world lately, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that Barbara Walters has done a great service to the world – she’s shown just how low the state of education in this country has fallen.

Case in point, Sherry Shepherd . . . .

sherrishepherdontheview.jpg

Ms. Shepherd’s recent observations that Christianity predates even Greek and early Roman civilization and quite possibly man and dinosaurs is a great relief to me.  I was wondering just how stupid that American society has become, and Shepherd has graciously provided a quantifiable benchmark to measure that stupidity.

  (more…)

October 11, 2007

Faith doesn’t bother me at all . . . .

Filed under: God, rationality, reason, religion, science, Uncategorized — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:45 am

but churches who sloganeer on their signboards leave me cold.

Driving to work yesterday, I saw a signboard from a local church with this piece of bumper-sticker wisdom:

“Science that doesn’t bring us closer to God is useless.”

 I hate to say it, but all science is an attempt to bring us closer to the meaning of our existence. Like most religions, those attempts are imperfect and sometimes perverse, but they all have as a result some understanding of why and who and what we are.

Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler all brought us a smidge closer to understanding our place in the cosmos by giving some measurable, visible concept of the earth’s relationship to the stars.

Darwin (God bless his heart, because the fundamentalists are damning him to hell) postulated a theory that made sense and provided a sensible basis for evaluating how we became what we are. If that isn’t trying to bring us closer to whatever made us possible, then I’m burning in hell.

Intelligent design also brings us closer to God (whatever he , she or it is), in that it provides an excellent example of how rational, empirical thought and reason can be shunted aside by superstition or mysticism.

 The science that led to the atomic bomb also brought us closer to God by showing us just how little we grasp of the power of what surrounds us.

And even the torture and bestiality practiced by Mengele brings us closer to God by demonstrating how science can be be corrupted, perverted, twisted or mocked by those with good or evil intentions.

Somehow, I think the person who arranged the letters on that church signboard really meant to say “All thought that doesn’t mesh with ours is irrelevant.”

And, even though it isn’t particularly scientific, the implications of it also bring us a little closer to whatever God is or isn’t.

September 9, 2007

At least it’s more tangible than a 700 Club promise of salvation and prayer priority . . .

Filed under: GoodjehovahHAH!, Judaism, marketing, religion, synagogue — Frontier Former Editor @ 6:39 pm

Of course no one bid on Saturday – it’s the Sabbath.

Considering the various Baptist quilt raffles, Presbyterian rummage sales, Catholic functions and Pentecostal gospel sings I’ve seen, this offer had me at ‘free parking.’

 Although a Baptist picnic is hard to beat for the fried chicken and banana pudding . . . . 

Synagogue seats go for $1.8M at auction

By MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press Writer

Sat Sep 8, 4:00 PM ET

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Just in time for the Jewish high holidays, two lifetime front-row seats to services at a synagogue here are being auctioned off on eBay. The bidding starts at $1.8 million.

Besides getting to schmooze up front with the rabbi, the lucky winner’s family name will be engraved on Seats 1 and 2 of Row 1, Section DD, at Temple Emanu-El. The winner also will receive free parking, two custom-made prayer shawls and yarmulkes, and a hefty tax write-off. Plus, the winning bidder can pass the seats down to his or her children.

“It’s a gift that goes from one generation to another,” said Rabbi Kliel Rose, who came up with the concept with a little bit of chutzpah and the help of two congregants who work in advertising and marketing.

(more…)

August 20, 2007

And some Christians say all Muslims are backward-assed?

Thanks to Bagel, I get another midday reminder of how enlightened some of our God-fearing Christians really are:

 41kq894pg6l__ss500_.jpg

Wasn’t this already done as “The Stepford Wives”?

From the Author (via Amazon.com)
“Dear Friends,

My name is Leah Kelley. Though I am the author of several stories, novellas, and novels, I am first and foremost a stay-at-home wife and mother. As far as my writing goes, romance is my passion. I grew up in the late 70’s and early 80’s with Kathleen Woodiweiss, Johanna Lindsey, Amanda Scott, all those authors who used to write the best books with alpha-male heroes. Unfortunately the romance genre has decided to “reform” itself to look better in the public eyes (more politically correct), so you no longer find those good old-fashioned romance stories. As a matter of fact, I rarely find a book on the shelf I want to read anymore. It’s so disappointing.

So I write, as I have done since I was thirteen years old. I love to create stories with strong heroes teaching and leading their feminine heroines as set up in the Bible. Men were never meant to be the wimps the world and the church have taught them to be. They were meant to lead their families, not be a joke to them. They were given authority over all in their families and with that comes the right to back up that authority. Nowhere in the Bible is authority given without the means to back it up. The Bible even says the person in authority has to give account for the ones under his authority. Do you think it would be fair to expect a husband to answer for his wife if he has no control over her actions? I don’t. That’s why I believe he has the right to spank his wife if need be.

In my stories I try to strike a balance between love and discipline. The hero has that “edge” but it is tempered with the knowledge that he loves the heroine and wants only what is best for her. To date I have completed three novels, two novellas, and a host of short stories with many more works in progress. I hope you will enjoy them.

Blessings,

Leah ”

More reading here

May 6, 2007

Appropriate reading for a Sunday . . .

I’ll admit rather readily that I’m an agnostic. I do believe that there is some central phenomenon that dictates how the world goes ’round, so to speak, but I’m not ready to accept that the Bible – such as it is – or the Torah or the Koran or the Book of Mormon or whatever ‘holy’ book  you choose is the explanation of it all. I certainly don’t accept baptism, transubstantiation, or any other religious or mystical rite as anything more than tradition, and I’ve seen religion cause more hate and discontent in my time than any single other cause.

Do you need a fairy tale to justify being a good, decent person?

Enjoy a little Christopher Hitchens while I struggle through Oracle homework . . .

May 27, 2006

Pat Robertson’s hulkin’ out

Filed under: Be HEALED!, marketing, religion, scumbags — Frontier Former Editor @ 7:18 pm

Pat Robertson’s hulkin’ out!

God love Pat Robertson – somebody has to, I suppose.

From his exploits on the way to and away from the Korean conflict – documented in a nationally-exposed lawsuit around the time Pat was running for the Republican nomination for president a few years ago – to his God-given control of the forces of nature against us heatherns, Pat Robertson has been a superhuman force to guide all us American scum either toward the light of goodness or toward the furnace door of hell.

Okay, it’s more like he’s done everything from getting his daddy the U.S. senator to get him out of a tour in Korea to starting an ‘interesting’ media, evangelical and higher learning empire stemming from a low-rent UHF television station with reruns and pleas for money to do either his or the lord’s work. Oh, and there’s also telling gays and people who don’t accept creationism that God’s gonna getcha with a big storm or flood or something.

But that crazy Pat’s at it again – he’s leg-pressed a ton. Yes, 2,000 pounds. At least that’s what he claims. And he has a video purporting to show him leg-pressing 1,000 pounds

And there’s the claims that he does it all thanks to “his age-defying protein shake. Pat developed a delicious, refreshing shake, filled with energy-producing nutrients.”

All you have to do is register on his website – probably exposing you to a ton of unwanted spam and e-proselytizing – to download his (insert echo from above) AGE-DEFYING PROTEIN SHAKE!!!.

Pat Robertson’s shake from www.cbn.com/

.[]

Thanks to the wonder of (insert echo from below) OTHER MEDIA OUTLETS, I can reveal some ingredients of Pat’s (insert echo from above) AGE-DEFYING PROTEIN SHAKE!!!!!!

“. . . ingredients such as soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate, flaxseed oil and apple cider vinegar.”

I think I know what’s so AGE-DEFYING about it. It defies anyone of any age to consider a blended concoction of soybean, skim milk, vegetable oil and vinegar delicious.

I suppose that it might, however, generate enough intestinal distress to help 2,000 pounds achieve escape velocity.

Go get ‘em Pat. If mankind’s going to be killed by 2,000-pound weights from above, you won’t end up like Wile E. Coyote or some members of Monty Python.

May 7, 2006

This guy kills me . . .

Filed under: religion — Frontier Former Editor @ 8:15 pm

and I just hope he doesn’t decide to sue me, because he is the most un-Christian s.o.b. I’ve seen in my lifetime in any sort of official position of religious authority.

Cardinal urges legal action against Da Vinci Code
(May 7, 2006)
from www.reuters.com/

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – In the latest Vatican broadside against “The Da Vinci Code”, a leading cardinal says Christians should respond to the book and film with legal action because both offend Christ and the Church he founded.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Nigerian who was considered a candidate for pope last year, made his strong comments in a documentary called “The Da Vinci Code-A Masterful Deception.”

Arinze’s appeal came some 10 days after another Vatican cardinal called for a boycott of the film. Both cardinals asserted that other religions would never stand for offences against their beliefs and that Christians should get tough.

.[]

I suggest that the whole world ought to get tough against someone trying to impose his religious beliefs via lawsuit. If the right honorable Cardinal Arinze wants to initiate a worldwide series of defamation actions over a work of fiction, then let’s see how he plans to muffle things like:

– the Vatican’s do-nothing attitude while Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and several little allies merrily slaughtered millions of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and other “undesirables” as well as good Catholic opposition to fascism;

– the Vatican’s role in inciting several centuries of conflict between the West and Islam;

– the Vatican’s and Spanish Catholic Church’s collective roles in the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the Inquisition.

And people wonder why this country’s system of government was based in part on a separation of church and state?

I have no issue with people who observe Catholicism. But given the Vatican’s wonderful historic record and its record on things like child-molesting priests, I’m surprised that Cardinal Arinze hasn’t burst into flames on contact with holy water after his remarks above.

I think Arinze may have lost sight of what it means to be Catholic, Christian or even a decent human being. I’m positive that he’s never comprehended anything he’s read about Christ.

May 5, 2006

Just a slight clarification to the previous night’s entry.

Filed under: humanism, Not-so satanic verses, religion — Frontier Former Editor @ 8:38 pm

I’m not against religion, although I’m a pleasantly maladjusted agnostic.

What I am against is the attempt in recent decades for a right leaning segment of American Christianity to co-opt this country into a theocracy in all but name.

I’m tired of a religious hucksterism practiced by Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. I’m tired of religious intolerance regardless of whether it’s practiced by Muslim, Christian or any other faith or sect.

While the religious right in this country goes on about how this was a nation founded upon a Christian God (with the obligatory self-serving equivalent ‘and on the god of our Jewish friends’) they also show a strong ignorance or intentional dismissal of Thomas Jefferson’s classic Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom. If you haven’t read it, it makes far more sense than some of the stuff that passes for intellectual political discussion these days.

I am, however, in favor of the people of this country being able to observe their own faith or creed under a basic set of rights. Civil responsibility and morality flow from the recognition that we all have those rights, not from a government telling us that they know best even as they trample those rights and ignore their own responsibility and accountability to us.

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