By Ed Raymond
If This Country Isn’t Going to Hell, It’s Certainly Becoming One
In that most Christians today no longer believe in Christ’s messages, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to remain one. On top of the Protestant and Catholic love for all things Trumpian, particularly judicial and political power, we have the patriarchal rulers of the Vatican, without any guidance of mothers who brought them into being, choosing to remain in the 13th century. Burning heretics and those “intrinsically disordered” at the stake somehow convinces the rabble to worship priests and relics on the altar.
After eight decades of wandering through the parched fields of theocrats of many descriptions, I have become, like millions of the young in the world, non-affiliated. Anyway, I have always been partial to Charles Darwin and the scientists who have followed him. They provide more evidence and commonsense than the prophets in fanciful Bible tales.
Perhaps my doubts about religion started when I was 14 and learned that the Nazis had killed six million Jews before and during World War II. They went into towns, assembled all Jews, stripped them naked, marched them to ditches and pits, and machine-gunned men. women, and children. Nazi “Final Solution” transportation experts like Adolf Eichmann kept the trains running on time to the death camps like Auschwitz, where Jews were separated into slaves and those who died in the showers of Zyklon B, ending up as matter in the ovens and chimneys.
I will never forget the answer to a reporter’s question of a Buchenwald death camp survivor who lived because he carried dead Jews from the gas chambers to the ovens as a slave. The reporter asked him: “Do you still believe in God?” To paraphrase his answer: I will believe when God, the ruler of the Universe, can explain to me why he allowed six million Jews to be murdered by their fellow human beings.
Bishop Spong: ‘The Most Sexist Institution in the World Is the Christian Church’
Because the Trumplican Supreme Court has put abortion on the biggest front burner of the political hot stove, I’m going to quote the work of Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong who taught at Harvard and the Graduate Theological Union and has written 22 books on Christianity.
In his book The Sins Of Scripture, he cites the main problem of women in a patriarchal society: “Among the images from the church that modern women have to confront is a gathering of pious, all-male Roman Catholic Church leaders, clothed in their ecclesiastical dresses, pronouncing in the name of God what a woman can and cannot do with her own body. It should not be surprising how few women, including Roman Catholic women, either listen any longer to that message or care what their leaders say.
Not to be outdone in irrelevance by the Roman Catholics, the Southern Baptist Convention—America’s largest Protestant decision-making body—recently added to the core teaching of that church the idea that a woman must be “subject to her husband in all things.” That means even in abortion.
Catholic Mexico just decriminalized abortion and several of its states are pro-choice.
In the 1992-95 Bosnian-Serbian War, over 20,000 Bosnian women and girls were raped by Serbian soldiers in a national policy of exerting political power through rape. Most of the victims were Catholic, so they asked the Vatican to supply them with “morning after” pills to prevent pregnancies. The request was denied by the men in black dresses.
Many pregnancies resulted, so the laws of nature and God took over. About one-third ended in miscarriages or fetal abnormalities. Back-alley amateurs and coat-hanger specialists eliminated some fetuses—and victims. Some victims killed their Serbian babies as soon as they were born. Obeying the honor codes of Bosnian men, some killed the babies or the victims.
In the real world, life can be a matter of bad choices. Some say life begins at conception. So does death. Life actually does not begin until breath takes over under a blue sky.
The Great Geneticist in the sky is not perfect. Up to 20% of pregnancies are miscarried. About another 5% are handicapped or die of various fatal syndromes or abnormalities.
An anencephalic baby has a head completely flat above the eyes and is blind, deaf, and unable to feel pain. Most die at birth or just last a few hours. Tay-Sachs Disease destroys the central nervous system, so the child often dies before the age of five. One out of 27 Jews carry the gene. The Cantrell Syndrome allows essential organs such as the heart to be outside the body. It also causes clubfeet, water on the brain, and faulty colons.
In previous columns about abortion I have asked local Catholic bishops and pro-lifer Bette Grande several times how they would advise three women with fetuses with those life-threatening problems. They have never answered (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Makes More Sense
This church was created as a parody of the world’s seven great religions to be used in a lawsuit, but the tenets have become so popular with many who have rejected other religions, it is gaining influence around the world. Here are six major beliefs listed under “I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts” of the church:
1. I’d really rather you didn’t act like a sanctimonious, holier-than-thou ass when describing my Noodly Goodness. If some people don’t believe in me, that’s okay. Really I’m not that vain.
2. I’d really rather you didn’t use my existence as a means to oppress, subjugate, punish, eviscerate and/or, you know, be mean to others. I don’t require sacrifices and purity is for drinking water, not people.
3. I’d really rather you didn’t judge people for the way they look, or how they dress, or the way they talk, or, well, just play nice, okay? Oh, and get this in your thick heads: woman=person. Man=person. Samey-samey. One is not better than the other, unless we’re talking about fashion and I’m sorry, but I gave that to women and some guys who know the difference between teal and fuchsia.
4. I’d really rather you didn’t indulge in conduct that offends yourself, or your willing, consenting partner of legal age and mental maturity. As for anyone who might object, I think the expression is go f--- yourself.
5. I’d really rather you didn’t challenge the bigoted, misogynist, hateful ideas of others on an empty stomach. Eat, then go after the bastards.
6. I’d really rather you didn’t build multi-million dollar churches/ temples / mosques/ shrines to my Noodly Goodness when the money could be better spent (take your pick): a. Ending poverty, b. Curing diseases.
After reviewing these tenets, I may adopt a colander hat with noodles and get affiliated again! The tenets are more meaningful than many commandments.
I will never forget the Sunday sermon when the minister said all family dogs would go to Heaven. Corky and I had buried ten dogs in our dog cemetery at the lake in our lifetime. We decided immediately, if all of our dogs went to our home in Heaven, we’d really rather go to the other place. Our pooper scooper is worn out.
What Has the “Family Values” Political Party Done for All Those Children?
All recent legitimate polls indicate 7 0f 10 Americans support Roe vs. Wade in its present form. I don’t know anyone who is pro-abortion. Abortions are performed for economic, medical, family planning concerns; rape, incest, and life-saving.
Reducing the rate of abortion and the population of the world should be an important goal of both political parties. This is what the Trumplican Party has done lately to complicate the lives of all Americans:
1. Opposed Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and steadily reduced the availability of healthcare for low-income citizens.
2. Voted against Head Start, universal pre-K programs for the poor, and nutrition programs for women and children such as WIC and SNAP (food stamps). Dick Cheney set a goal for House Republicans by voting against Head Start six times, one more than his “got better things to do” deferments during the Vietnam War.
3. Always votes against funding for Planned Parenthood which runs important health programs for poor women and children.
4. Opposes abortion and the use of contraceptives and devices.
5. Opposes K-12 sex education programs in schools even when abstinence programs don’t seem to prevent any sex.
6. Opposes paid family and maternity leaves and subsidized child care programs.
One might think Republicans would demand mandatory use of masks and vaccines to protect the lives of prospective mothers and babies. Don’t bother. This is the outfit that votes against Social Security and Head Start.
Democrats support all of the policies listed above because low-income pregnant mothers will need support to successfully raise a child in today’s complex society. It really does take a village.
Stick These Facts in Your Critical Race Facts File -- and Teach Them to Everybody
Good pre-natal and post-natal care is very important to a pregnant woman because carrying to term is 14 times more deadly than having an induced legal abortion. Planned Parenthood’s main function is to provide such care to poor women. Politics and the absence of health care ends up killing poor women.
Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy and labor complications than white women. Between 2013 and 2016 Black women accounted for nearly 80% of pregnancy-related cardiac deaths. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Black women are 60% more likely to have high blood pressure, as compared to white women. Why? Because of stresses associated with costly child care, lack of nutritious food, the high cost of housing, and an unfair criminal justice system.
The state of Mississippi, now undergoing full ICU and hospital rooms due to COVID, ranks 50th in promoting the health of women, infants, and children. In the middle of the 20th century, Black girls and women in the South experienced sterilizations, commonly called “Mississippi appendectomies.”
Although Mississippi is last in overall care, Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana are the most dangerous for pregnant women, both Black and white. These three states have cut so much funding of Planned Parenthood and community health clinics that they no longer provide contraception, counseling, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and testing for breast and cervical cancer. Pregnancy deaths have risen because so many abortion clinics have closed, so poor women have tried to abort their own fetuses.
Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare in several of his historical plays revealed the abject corruption in the Christian church in the Middle Ages because of indulgences, greed, and chicanery. But it took Stephen King, the writer of novels in the 20th century, to describe homo sapiens in this quotation: “As a species we are fundamentally insane. Put more than two of us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up reasons to kill one another. Why do you think we created politics and religion?”
The Hindu Mahatma Gandhi was a religious leader who led India away from British Christianity. He was accurate in his simple, direct summation of Christianity; “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
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