Archive for the religion Category

Guest Columnist: God

Posted in humour, religion with tags , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2009 by vagabondsaint

Editor’s Note:  VagabondSaint is out being a mean drunk this week, just for something different.  Filling in today is syndicated columnist and All-Powerful All-Knowing Deity God, with a special edition of His Holy nationally-syndicated column Ask God.

God

Dear God,

I recently came out of the closet to my staunchly-conservative family.  My father took this news particularly hard, condemned me for making “the choice to burn in Hell” and called me an abomination in Your eyes.  I told him that I am exactly as You made me, and You made me gay.  Which of us is right?

Out In Ohio

Dear Out,

Your father wants to see an abomination in My eyes, he should check out my health insurance.  I can’t get my only begotten son covered because “crucifixion is a prior condition”?  Total BS, man.  There’s a bunch of people that are going to Hell for sure.  Where, as it turns out, they won’t see you.

See, what kills me is how many people talk about me being “ineffable” and “unknowable” and “inscrutable” and having “mysterious ways” and such, but yet they’re sure pretty damn fast to tell people what I did and didn’t make.  I wanted you to be gay, so I made you gay.  Trust me, straightness just wouldn’t have worked out for you.  And your father’s just feeling guilty because he blew a couple dudes at a church retreat at Myrtle Beach in 1984, when his pregnant-with-you wife wasn’t putting out and he didn’t think I was looking. He’ll calm down eventually.

Dear God,

I don’t believe in you.  I don’t think you exist at all, I think the Bible is  a nonsensical work of fiction, and I think anyone that believes is in you is a fool, an idiot, and a moron.  What do you think of that?

Happy Angry Hungry Atheist

I don’t exist?  According to my records, neither will you after 12:34 PM on Saturday, December 20.  Come talk to me after you finish picking that metro bus out of your face.

Dear God,

I just wanna say “thank you” for all the blessings you’ve given me!  Have You blessed me a lot?  You betcha!  I’ve got a new book that’s sold millions of copies to barely-literate people, I quit my job and no one important cared, I’ve got all these new friends and millions of fans, and I’m going to be President in 2012!  I just have one request:  can you make something nasty happen to Katie Couric?  She’s like a little dingleberry in my moose fur!  She just won’t go away and leave me alone!

Definitely Not Sarah Palin

Yeah, that’s great and all, ummm, Definitely, but, you know, and I mean absolutely no offense here, you were supposed to have died in a single-engine plane crash about 12 years ago.  Let me check my records here. . .wait, what?  John Denver?  ARE YOU F***ING S***ING ME?  I KILLED JOHN DENVER BY MISTAKE? I F***ING LOVE “ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH”! S***! S***! S***!

God’s syndicated column, Ask God, appears in over 250 newspapers nationwide.


You’re In The Mormon Army Now

Posted in religion on May 5, 2009 by vagabondsaint

WTF is wrong with Mormons?

I read on a blog today that the Mormon Church baptised a woman into their faith.  Nothing terribly unusual about that.  Except she was dead.  She had been dead for 13 years.  And she was Barack Obama’s mother.

According to AMERICAblog News, Stanley Ann Dunham, mother of our current President, was baptised into the Mormon faith on June 4, 2008.  Ms. Dunham died on November 7, 1995, and no family member approved of this.

Now, that’s just bizarre, and coming from the conservative church that rallied so hard against Proposition 8 in California, maybe it was a political move.  A strange, fucked-up political move, but a political move nonetheless.

Here’s the part that gets me:  they do this all the fucking time.

Jews have been pissed about it.  Catholics won’t ever turn over parish information to the LDS’s extensive genealogical records anymore.  Baptists are too busy drinking and being hypocritical to get pissed over this.  I’m going to guess that a large portion of the remaining populace doesn’t even know about it (it’s not listed in the public records anymore, as I understand it.)

If you read the comments on the AMERICAblog post, you’ll notice that a lot of them seem to ask, “what’s the big deal?  Why get pissed over this piddling crap?” (At least one of those came from a Mormon, who helpfully and dickishly explained that in the afterlife, the dead have the chance to refuse the “gift” of Mormonism.  For me, as a living being, if the choice is between Mormonism and chlamydia, pass the pennicillin and send the heavenly hookers over.)

It’s a big deal because we live in a country (America) that is all about religious freedom or, if one wishes, having no religion at all.  You can do that, in America.  You can choose to go your whole life without ever saying a single prayer or stepping foot in a church or even acknowledging that such things exist.  The essence of freedom is about choices, and one can choose in life not to be of any religion (many do) or simply not to be a Mormon (most do, and rightfully so).  That’s your choice; you’ve made it, and no one can take it away from you.

Except, apparently, the fucking Church Of Latter-Day Saints.

When people are re-baptised (or baptised for the first time) posthumously into the Mormon faith, without the permission or even knowledge of their families and loved ones, that’s not a choice that they made or that someone that knew them is making for them.  It’s an overruling of the choice they made in life, specifically, the choice not to be a fucking Mormon.  Who is the LDS to decide that your choice was wrong and should be overruled?  If someone wants to become a Mormon, they’ve got their entire lives to do it, and it’s not like the little shits Mormon missionaries are hard to find.  Just stay at home; they’ll come to you!  My point here is that the LDS is overruling your freedom to choose not to be a part of their silly inane blasphemous ridiciulous religion.  You made a choice in life; now that you’re dead and can’t fight back, the Mormons are making a choice for you.  That’s not only blasphemous against the deceased person’s religious beliefs, it’s a denial of their right to choose their own religion, if any at all.  It’s the antithesis of freedom:  denial of choice.

Fucked up, ain’t it?

Now, the Mormon apologist on that blog says that in the afterlife, the deceased can easily refute the “gift” of Mormon baptism, so, no harm, no foul, right?

Well, right. . .if the Mormons are right about the afterlife.  Show me one single goddamn shred of evidence (factual, not faith-based) that says that they are, and I’ll back off of this.  But what if they’re wrong?  What if Mormonism is not the One, True Religion?  What if their “gift” consigned hundreds of thousands of people to an eternity in Hell?  How many people are there, right now, burning and being tortured by demons and all the while yelling “FUCK YOU, JOSEPH SMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITH!”  (Hey, the Mormon Church is saying “fuck you” to your right to choose your path to God; it’s only fair to say “fuck you” back to them.)  Then there’s a pretty goodly amount of harm done, in what’s definitely a foul act.  The other story that the guy posted was that it’s simply a “just in case” measure, as in “just in case we’re right.”  I’ll stick with not being a Mormon, in life or in death, “just in case” you’re fucking wrong.

And you are, for baptising the unwilling.

VS 05.05.2009

A Trojan Decision

Posted in politics, religion with tags , , , , , on October 21, 2008 by vagabondsaint

Surprise, kids!  For once, I’m actually going to talk about a local issue (well, local to this state, anyway).

Here in Washington State, there’s a initiative on the ballot this year.  Initiative 1000 would allow certain terminally ill, mentally competent adults to obtain lethal prescriptions.  In short, it will legalize assisted suicide for the sound of mind and incurably failing of body.

There are of course groups for and against Initiative 1000.  Those who support it say that it would allow a dignified death for people suffering in constant and unimaginable pain, such as the mother of Seattle newspaper The Stranger columnist Dan Savage.  Mr. Savage recently wrote a very stirring piece about watching his mother pass away, and in it explains his support for Initiative 1000.  The opponents include the Washington State Catholic Conference, a Bremerton pastor, and the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide.  (Of those three, only CAAS does not base its opposition on religious views, which is a point in their favour.  I don’t believe in making my religion into law; to do so imposes my beliefs on those who have chosen not to believe as I do, which strikes me as being very un-American.)  But when it came time for me to make a choice, none of those groups, pro or con, were here; it was just me and my absentee ballot. . .and my conscience.

See, I believe that where there is life, there is always hope. . .hope that things will get better, hope for a miracle, hope that Karl Rove, Pat Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh, and John McCain will be caught having the grossest gay orgy in history by a CNN camera crew, whatever.  There’s always hope, always a chance, however infinitesimally small, is my point, and I always hold on tight to hope, and life.

But.

Four and a half years ago, my ex-girlfriend’s family and I faced a choice.  Her brother was in a coma, unlikely to awaken and grievously, irreparably brain-damaged even if he did.  He was a hearty, robust, muscular, strong man, only four years older than me, and he had made it known before then that he wouldn’t want to live if he couldn’t be who he used to anymore.  Since he was unable to speak for himself, though, the decision of whether or not to pull his life support came down to his parents, his sister, his girlfriend, his ex-fiance, and me.

However much I would have wanted to hang on to hope, it ultimately wasn’t my life, and wasn’t my decision.  It was his, and he’d already made his wishes known.  So for him, I let go of hope.  We let go of hope. . .and let go of him.

Yesterday, when it came time to fill in a circle on Initiative 1000, I remembered that.  It’s not my life, not my decision, not my pain, and not my right to force my beliefs on anyone else.

So I voted yes.

VS – 10/21/08

The Never-Ending Battle That Ended Long Ago

Posted in politics, religion with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2008 by vagabondsaint

Abortion rights are again on the ballots in three states:  South Dakota, California, and Colorado.  All three measures, if approved, would open the door for a Supreme Court challenge of Roe v. Wade, which Republicans have been salivating for since 1973.  Two of the measures have been previously defeated in elections and were somehow resurrected (the California one has been defeated twice).  The South Dakota measure is an outright ban, which conflicts with federal law.  The Colorado one is so bad that the pro-life governor of the state of campaigning against it.  California’s Proposition 4 would be a state-sponsored slap in the face to underaged victims of abuse.

I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again:  stop re-fighting Roe v. Wade.  You lost, Republicans.  F***ing let it go and move on to other things, like saving our economy so we can feed the children you don’t want people to be able to abort.

Here’s an idea for something pro-lifers can do, instead of wasting time, money, and energy fighting a battle that was lost 35 years ago.  (Thanks to my friend Marti; she and I came up with this plan.)  All pro-lifers should register as such with the government.  Then, when an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy occurs, instead of having an abortion, the woman in question can go to the government and have the child set up to be adopted by one of the registered pro-lifers!  No abortion happens, pleasing the pro-lifers, and the woman that would have gotten an abortion doesn’t have to deal with the unplanned/unwanted child now!  Everybody’s happy!  I figure if being pro-life and outlawing abortion means so g**damn much to you people, you should put your money (and your house) where your mouth is!  Be willing to, and in fact required to,  adopt some of these unwanted children.  That’s only fair, right?

VS – 10.17.08

Hilary Clinton’s Call To Arms

Posted in media failure, politics, religion with tags , , , , , on September 19, 2008 by vagabondsaint

In Yesterday’s New York Times, Senator Hilary Clinton issued a call-to-arms for those that supports women’s rights, in an op-ed column about the Bush Administration’s attempt at limiting the options of women’s healthcare.  Read her piece here.

This is not news to me.  I’ve been following this for over a month now, carefully watching this conservative attack on women’s reproductive rights for over a month now, ever since reading the Boston Globe‘s article on the subject (plus Marie Cocco‘s article, as I read in the Ashbury Park Press).  But somehow, it all got lost in the activity over the conventions and the surge of Palin scandals.

Well, since the time for public commentary on this measure is running out (it expires on September 25), now’s the time to speak up.  And why isn’t the mainstream media covering this more or pressing the candidates about it?  Oh, that’s right. . .because they suck.

I’m not going to re-argue Roe v. Wade; it was over and done before I was even so much a twinkle in a glass of Jack Daniel’s.  Besides, no matter what your stance on abortion (which you should feel free to keep to yourself), it is the law in this country that women have a choice and have access to birth control.  As I understand, it is also currently the law in this country that health-service providers inform their patients of all medical options available to the patient, not just the ones that they like.  The new rules would do away with that, allowing doctors and providers to pick and choose which services they want people to receive, according to their own ideologies.  Due to its vague language, it also opens the doors for providers to deny treatment or options to people for any reason they like:  race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, anything.

This is an end-run around two things.

First, it’s an attempt to curb abortion and get around Roe v. Wade, which, let me remind you, is the law.  It sickens me to see our executive branch try to get around the laws it is supposed to be enforcing (and yes, I have been quite ill for the past 8 years, thank you).  How can a patient make an informed choice if the doctor doesn’t give them all the information?  I’ve said it before and I will say it again: denial of information is denial of choice.  It’s even worse than that, because providers won’t be required to prescribe birth control if requested, as the vague rules leave room for the interpretation that birth control is a form of abortion.  If language like that makes it into the law books, it’s not hard to see more laws that in effect overturn Roe v. Wade without actually overturning it (in the same manner that laws banning indoor smoking and adding taxes to cigarettes discourage it without actually making smoking illegal) coming down the Republican pike.  The argument made by the Administration is that this is being done to protect the conscience of the providers and prevent them from providing information and performing services that they find personally distasteful.  I say that they are already protected by one simple maxim:  if you don’t like your job, quit.

Second, it gets around the Declaration Of Geneva, adopted as a revision of the Hippocratic Oath.  While neither is actually obligatory anymore, the majority of medical schools still use some modernized form of the Oath (the classical version bans general practitioners from surgery, abortion, and euthanasia) for students, as a dedication to the causes of medicine and public service.  Whichever version you go with, some form of the following clause, taken from the Declaration of Geneva, is present:

I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient.

Well.  Abortion is certainly a political issue, women are the ones most affected by these new rules (that covers gender), and I would definitely say that religion falls under “any other factor.”  The new rules give the providers who use them a free license to fail in their duty to their patients, and that is a very very bad thing.

To all the women who support this suppression of women’s rights, I can’t help but think of you as being 21st-century kin to the black slaveowners (yes, they existed) of the 1800s – eagerly participating in the oppression of those most like yourselves, hiding behind religion, the other greatest tool for oppressing women worldwide, as a reasoning for your actions. . .and a reason that has no place in a country where church and state are separate.  At least the black slaveowners were in it for money.

It’s a free country, for all its citizens.  Let’s keep it that way.  Speak up; don’t let your rights be taken away by religious fundamentalists. . .of any nationality.

VS – 09.19.08

Hurricane Gustav? Try S***storm Palin (While I Was Sleeping, Part Two)

Posted in economics, media failure, politics, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by vagabondsaint

So, Friday, August 29th, 2008, John McCain stood before his fellow Republicans, his fellow Americans, and the media, and announced his pick for Vice-President:  Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

And the nation emitted a collective “Who?

Thus began the Category-5 shitstorm that’s been dogging the Republican Party ever since.  There’s so much to tell, I don’t even know where to start.  In the interests of clarity, I guess I’ll start with what happened between the end of the Democratic National Conventional and the start of the Republican one.

The announcement of Palin as McCain’s running mate certainly stirred up the media and took attention away from Barack Obama’s magnificent speech on Thursday night, as was no doubt intended by the Straight Talk & Crooked Walk campaign. . .but I doubt this unmitigated disaster was what McCain had in mind.

At first, the choice of Sarah Palin seemed cynical and insulting to the intelligence of American women; it felt as though John McCain thought that spurned Hilary supporters would rally to him simply because his running mate has breasts and a vagina, even though she is the complete ideological opposite of Hilary Clinton, and men would flock to him because Palin looks like every man’s Sexy Librarian Fantasy:

Sarah Palin relaxes in the Reading Room of the Alaska governor's mansion. . .in our dreams.

Sarah Palin relaxes in the Reading Room of the Alaska governor's mansion

As it turned out, though, that initial impression was incorrect.  The choice of Palin wasn’t just cynical and intelligence-insulting, it was also a slap in the face to Republicans who vowed to turn against him if he went with his first choice, Senator Joe “Judas” Lieberman, and John McCain refused to go with who they wanted, which was former Massachusetts Governor Mitt “My Hair Has Not Moved Since October of 2005” Romney.

(I must note here that, for all the media hype about the “lack of unity” and “turmoil” in the Democratic Party, anyone who’s actually researching the news for themselves would easily see that the Republicans are no better off.  Hell, Ron Paul not only wasn’t asked to speak, he held his own counter-convention, and Mike Huckabee, who was the most likeable of the Republican candidates this year, was treated so shoddily by the Convention organizers that he admitted he didn’t really want to speak by the time he was supposed to.  Then the chooice of Palin split the party even more.  In the interests of grabbing power, however, the Republican icons all acted like they knew it was coming and have since acted like they support it, though live microphones have a bad habit of revealing the truth.  Throw in the party remnants that still support Bush, somehow, plus those that are joining McCain in fervent attempts to distance themselves from him, and you’ve got more behind-the-scenes drama than all the reality shows on TV combined.  Why isn’t there more media coverage of this?)

So what was John McCain to do?  Well, the man renowned for his temper and impetuousness took his ball and surfed the internet, where he quite possibly found the “Palin For Vice-President” blog that Adam Brickley has maintained since she became Alaska’s governor, and next thing you know, Sarah’s the vice-presidential candidate.

The suddenness of her nomination took everyone by surprise, but, over the following weekend, McCain and his aides swore she had been fully vetted.  They lied. They said she had been subjected to an FBI background check.  The FBI said the McCain Campaign had lied.  Palin was promoted as being experienced and ready, but in an interview barely a month earlier, she admitted she had no idea what the Vice President actually does all day.  That doesn’t sound like being ready, at least not to me.  (Hopefully, they filled her in pretty quickly.)

Rumours began flying that Palin’s oldest daughter, 17-year-old Bristol, was actually the mother of Palin’s latest child, born in May. Palin put those rumours to rest by revealing that Bristol is actually five months pregnant.  That’s much better; “she hasn’t had a baby yet, but she will soon.”

Rumours began flying that Palin was a member of a secessionist movement in Alaska.  Jury’s still out on that one. She says she only spoke at a meeting or two, but they insist she was actually a member.

Palin’s husband was found to have been convicted of a DUI two decades ago.

Her experience was called into question, as she’s less than two years into her first term as governor, and her previous political experience was as mayor of her hometown, Wasilia, which had a population of about 6,000 at the time.  (It’s worth noting that this small town received $27 million in federal earmarks, known colloqially as “pork projects,” during her tenure as mayor, for which notorious anti-pork crusader Senator John McCain himself called her to task.)

And this was all within 36 hours of the announcement!

Well, on Monday, as the Republican convention got off to a subdued start (at the request of John McCain, who asked to tone things down a bit since New Orleans was getting hit by Hurricane Gustav; if the guy can’t even control his own party, how is he supposed to control the country?), Sarah Palin made the announcement that her latest child is indeed her own, and proved it by announcing that Bristol is 5 months pregnant.  Sarah Barracuda was no match for the media piranha that descended upon that announcement.

To his credit, Barack Obama urged the media and politicians to “back off” of Sarah Palin’s family, claiming that the pregnancy bore no relevance to her performance as mayor or as governor, and had no bearing on how she would perform as vice-president.  Why did he do this?

Because, plainly and simply, Barack Obama is a nice guy.

I, however, am not.

While I can see the decency and honourable intentions behind Obama’s statement, I also feel that it is totally relevant, due to Governor Palin’s firm, resolute, unwavering stance on sex education:  she favors abstinence-only education, as the Bush administration has heavily funded and insisted upon in recent years, even as some states have rebelled against it.  Studies have also shown that abstinence-only education programs have a tendency to fail miserably, and for Sarah Palin, its most prominent supporter (President Bush is currently in hiding until the election, lest he hurt John McCain’s chances of winning by still being a Republican), the proof of that failure is in her own house.  And yet, she’s going to insist that it’s the best way for everyone else, in the face of scientific and personal evidence that abstinence-only education doesn’t fucking work?  Now I know why she hunts moose:  she’s obviously been grafting their balls onto herself.  A stance like that requires a lot of testicular fortitude.  (I would also hazard a guess that she’s replaced her eyes with those of cave bats, since she also does not believe that global warming is in any way affected by mankind and, as Governor of Alaska, the evidence to the contrary is right the fuck in front of her. . .or she did, until she joined the ticket of a Presidential candidate that supports emissions caps and believes in global warming.  Even the Bush Administration has admitted that global warming is real and steps need to be taken.)

In addition, Sarah Palin praised her daughter for making the “choice” (the quotes are mine; I have problems believing that Sarah really let her daughter make her own decisions here) to have her baby and marry the 18-year-old father.  That’s all well and good for her, that she made that choice, but Sarah Palin, who leans so far to the political right that she’s damn near horizontal, wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and deny that same choice to all other women, even in case of rape, incest, or the mother’s life is threatened!  Even most Republicans, including John McCain, don’t want to take it that far!

John McCain has, historically, always been a little to the left of mainstream conservatism.  (He fell more into Republican lockstep in the past two or three years, but now he seems to be pushing his “maverick” status again and, apparently, hoping people don’t look at his voting records.)  As far as he is to the left of the conservative center, Sarah Palin is an equal distance to the right. . .leaving the majority conversatives somewhere in the middle of Not-Far-Enough and Too-Far-Gone.  To be honest, I feel sorry for them; stuck between a Maverick-wannabe who crashed four aircraft in training and practices before finally getting shot down in one and a pit bull wearing lipstick, forced to swallow and endlessly regurgitate the crap the two of them are spewing if they want the GOP to stay in power. . .it’s not an enviable place to be.

(By the way, if you clicked on that “crashed four aircraft” link and wonder why Vietnam veterans would be against McCain, I postulate that it might be because of his horrible habit of voting against programs that support active troops and veterans.  I want to say now that these veterans are not suddenly popping up and swift-boating McCain because he’s running for President; they’ve been doing this for over two decades now.  Learn more about them here.)

Over that same weekend (yes, we’re still talking about the first weekend after Palin’s selection for VP),  questions of her experience and qualifications abounded.  Republican pundits and mouthpieces were trotted out to baffle the media and American people with bullshit about her qualifications (a habit that continues to this day), and failed miserably.  I got great, great enjoyment from watching CNN’s Campbell Brown tear holes in McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds over Palin’s national security experience as commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard.  She has none, by the way; she has control over the ANG for in-state emergencies, like natural disasters, but all state National Guards troops are under the control of the Pentagon, which is not even required to even brief the governor on what decisions they are making.

Unbelievably, the argument was made by Fox News (“First In Idiocy”), Cindy McCain, and even Grumpy John himself that Palin has foreign policy experience because “Alaska is right next door to Russia.”  I am not making that up.  It sounds like something I’d make up, but I didn’t, no matter how much you or I wish I did.  That’s like saying that I know all about Oregon because I live in Washington state (all I know about Oregon is that it’s somewhere south of here and people with Oregon plates on their cars drive like idiots).  Well, I don’t know shit about Oregon.  I know more about Moscow, Idaho, where Sarah Palin graduated from the University of Idaho (after attending six colleges in six years) with a degree in journalism and a minor in political science, because, hey, I’ve actually spent some time there.

On top of allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll this, and remember we’re still in the first weekend here, Sarah Palin claimed in her speech on the 29th that she had told Congress “thanks but no thanks” on the infamous “Bridge To Nowhere” project, which became a national symbol of the out-of-control pork-barrel spending in DC.

She lied.

She actually supported the bridge project, until it became a political albatross.  Congress dropped the wording that specifically marked funds for the bridge from the funding bill, but left in the $223 million that had been earmarked for the project. . .money that Mrs. “Thanks, But No Thanks” didn’t give back.

I’m going to run through the rest of this as fast as I can, because this blog is taking me forever to write:  Palin was touted as a whistleblower and reformer against corruption; in actuality, she worked for Ted Stevens as head of his 527 fundraising organization and issued statements of support for him even as he was being indicted.

She tried to get her sister’s ex-husband fired from his state trooper position, then allegedly fired the Public Safety Commissioner when he refused to do it. . .an investigation into ethics violations is still ongoing, forcing Palin to hire a lawyer, at the taxpayers’ expense.  Read about this and the previous topic in an interview with an Alaskan journalist here.

After touting her respect for her daughter and her daughter’s baby’s-daddy and the “decision” they’ve made, some astute people noticed that the baby’s father’s Myspace page, on which he called himself a “fuckin redneck” and promised that if we “fuck with me I’ll kick ya ass,” disappeared very swiftly.  Maybe it was his admission that he’s in a relationship but, as he put it “I don’t want kids”?

And all this was just the first weekend of her candidacy!  “Fully vetted,” my ass.  The selection of Sarah Palin showed us one thing about McCain:  if he blew his first major decision of a future Presidency this badly  or in a fit of pique, he’s not fit to lead this country.  Impetuousness, snap decisions, lame follow-throughs, and failures to do proper research do not a good President make.  For proof of that, just look at the current President.

Palin was a bad choice, but McCain will never admit it. . .just like you’ll never hear Dubya admit he’s ever made a mistake or a bad decision.  McCain & Palin:  vote for them if you want four more years of an unfit, incompetent, unstable President with a ruthless, power-hungry, dishonest super-villain as his Vice President.

Sarah Palin protects the podium from polar bears as Dick Cheney gives a speech in Anchorage.  (Photo courtesy Mike Mayhew, AP)

Sarah Palin protects the podium from polar bears as Dick Cheney gives a speech in Anchorage. (Photo courtesy Mike Mayhew, AP)

Me, I’ll be voting for Barack “Black Superman” Obama.

VS – 09.10.08

Life, Death, Points In-Between

Posted in politics, religion, war with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2008 by vagabondsaint

So I didn’t blog last week. The week before had been a very rough one here at Saint Central, so I needed a little time to rest.

And what happens while I’m not blogging? EVERYTHING.

Hold on, kids and neighbours, we got a lot to talk about.

Let’s start with a perennial favourite, The Bush Administration!

1. Conservatives Attacking Birth Control – Never ones to let a silly thing like a 35-year-old Supreme Court decision stand in the way of trying to tell women what to do with their bodies, the Bush administration launched a new attack on birth control at the tail end of July. How is contraception abortion? What brain damage resulted in that “even-Evil-Knievel-wouldn’t-jump-that-far” leap of logic?

Did these people learn nothing from the failure of abstinence-only education? Are they too blind to see that the use of birth control prevents many of the unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions? Too controlling to allow women access to full reproductive care? Or just too fucking stupid to understand that having a religion does not give you the right to force your beliefs into law and therefore onto other people? (Hint: “yes” to all of the above.)

I must have missed the part of the Bible that says it’s okay to force other people to act the way you think that they should. And since I’ve read it cover to cover a few times, I’m starting to think it’s not in there. And yet, to watch religious and political conservatives in action, you’d think Jesus preached fascism and control over others instead of tolerance, understanding, and unconditional love for all. I must have also missed the part where He said, “Give them no choices; make them act in accordance with My Father’s laws.”

Hey Republicans: Roe v. Wade was decided 35 years ago. You lost. Let it go. Work on teaching your values and beliefs to your children and, hey, start living by those beliefs yourself and stop nominating infidelitous Presidential candidates. When it comes to winning hearts and minds, role models are far more effective than laws.

(By the way, I had an interesting conversation with a ministry student over the weekend. We both agreed that people have to find their own path to God and religion, and it must be their choice; forcing it on them only breeds resentment and more of the false piety that continually damages every major religion in the world. Good luck in your ministry, Mat, and I sincerely hope you spread the message to others that you can’t force your God on people. Lord knows, all religions need more people who think that way.)

2. Russia And Georgia Went To War – Okay, let me get this straight. Georgia, a breakaway republic of the former Soviet Union, invaded South Ossetia, itself a breakaway republic of Georgia, where Russian peacekeepers had been stationed for months. Russia responds by invading the invasion, retaking the Ossetian capital of You-Can’t-Pronounce-It-Either, pushes Georgian troops back to the border and then follows them into Georgia in a retaliatory invasion of the NATO-hopeful, increasingly Western-leaning nation. Words like “genocide,” “war crimes,” “excessive retaliation,” and “vodka-swilling Putin-suckers” are bandied about, and after some toothless saber-rattling by European nations and the US, a temporary cease-fire agreement comes about, and that’s where we stand right now.

No one has yet explained to me why South Ossetia is so important to either Russia or Georgia.

The most pertinent thing to me coming out of this is John McCain’s statement: “In the 21st Century, nations don’t invade other nations.” Really, Captain? You must have been in cryogenic storage when the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq then, I suppose. (By the way, McCain’s top foreign policy adviser has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Georgian government over the past few years. The same aide also worked for Trent Lott, the disgraced former Senate Majority Leader. Curious, eh?)

3. The Olympics: Doping is out, Lip-synching is in – In these days of constant battles over steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports, it’s good to know that someone somehow still has the time to fake even the insignificant details.

Case in point: The singing of the Chinese national anthem at the start of the Olympics games this year was faked. The world saw a cute 9-year-old lip-synching to the voice of a 7-year-old, who had the better voice but also had “crooked teeth,” making her unsuitable for the televised performance, according to a member of China’s Politburo, who requested the change. Like the world cares if a little girl in China has crooked teeth. We’ve got wars going on out here.

Why stop there, though? With all the computer graphics work in movies and TV nowadays, we can replace the German women’s weightlifting team with supermodels that appear to be superstrong! We could make Beijing’s rampant smog look like friendly spirits of the ancestors! We could make Bob Costas look like anybody else! Don’t half-ass the fakery, is all I’m saying.

4. The War On Drugs: Arkansas Ain’t Playin – This from Helena-West Helena, Arkansas: police have instituted a 24-hour curfew on a 10-block area due to drugs and drug-related violence in the area. Is this the right thing to do?

According to the ACLU, it isn’t: according to that article, state officials for the ACLU say that constitutional rights are being violated by the curfew. (They don’t mention the issue on their website; ergo, no link.) While I usually lean towards agreeing with the ACLU, this time, they can bite me.

The people in that neighborhood have the right to live lives free of drugs and gangs. They have the right to sleep in their beds instead of having “to sleep on the floor, because of stray bullets.” And, like the Helena-West Helena police, I’m more on the side of protecting them by getting drug dealers off the street than I am the ACLU.

The curfew has already resulted in 32 arrests (at the time of that article), 10 for felony charges, so yes, obviously criminal activity in the area is being curtailed and prosecuted. There had been no curfew violation arrests, and, finally, the police have been heavily armed to match the weaponry of drug dealers, like AK-47s.

If it’s really a “war on drugs” in this country, then it’s long past time that it was fought like a war. The scourge of narcotics has to be eliminated, or at least significantly reduced, and this works for me, until someone comes up with a better plan (and educational funding increases.)

“We’re not here to play,” said Helena-West Helena Police Chief Fred Fielder. Amen to that.

My only concern here is making sure that tougher enforcement is being carried out across all lines: political, racial, and economic. If that can be guaranteed, or at least strenuously avoided, then I think there’s some good lessons for other cities to take from this.

Very special thanks to my best friend for bringing this story to my attention.

5. Heaven’s Overeager Recruitment Drive – While we here on Earth are mourning, God’s got a great new drinking buddy in my friend Taylor, having a good laugh with her while watching Bernie Mac perform, and probably trying to romance her with the soulful sounds of Isaac Hayes. May they all rest in peace, but we weren’t done with them yet down here, God.

VS – 08.13.08