Tag: freedom from religion

As Is: What Goes Around Seems Here Forever

As Is: What Goes Around Seems Here Forever

“But now it’s just another show and you leave ’em laughing when you go. And if you care, don’t let them know, don’t give yourself away.” From Both Sides Now, written by Joni Mitchell

For at least six decades I have held to a position that seems to be unsupported by anybody else I know. You’d think that would be controversial, but, amazingly, not a single person has raised any objections to my basic philosophy thus far. That’s pretty unusual.

The ante seems to have gone up; so, now that we’re about halfway into this decade, let’s see if there’s any blowback. Yeah, I know, tossing a hand grenade and then throwing my body on top of it seems like a counterproductive means of persuasion — but one’s reality is only the property of the possessor. I think I first expressed this in print in the Chicago Seed, a radical newspaper, back around 1971 and I’ve said it a lot ever since, so you might have heard me say this before.

I am a big-ass believer in freedom of religion. Therefore, I am a big-ass believer in freedom from religion: you can’t practice your beliefs if mine stand in your way, and vice versa. This is why I only go to Chick-fil-A on Sundays.

Therefore, and this is where the ice gets thinner, I am and long have been opposed to a Muslim state and I am equally opposed to a Jewish state. I’m also opposed to a Christian state, and lately fighting the Christian Nationalist bigots and liars has become my raison d’être.

Yeah, I know. That pretty much puts me on the other side of — at the very least — a majority of my fellow citizens. 28% of Americans classify themselves as religious “nones.” 17% of them identify as atheist, 20% as agnostic and 63% as “nothing in particular.” (Source: C Mandler, CBS News, January 24, 2024  — quoting Pew Research). I note these numbers continue to be on the upswing, and that is a cause for hope.

So, I don’t have a horse in any Middle East war. Sorry, folks. I carry the torch for freedom of religion.

Unless you’re paying rent to a native tribal council, I do not want to hear the hypocritical “but my great-grandparents used to live there” argument. Not unless you’re willing to hand me the deed to one of the Egyptian pyramids that my ancestors helped build. This is America and all white people came from somewhere else.

I also believe, with equal devotion, in freedom of expression. If you morally object to something, you have a right to share, promote and defend your beliefs, and you have the right to gather with others who have the same opinions. This is why I am strongly opposed — and greatly repulsed — by the actions taken this part week at Columbia University, the University of Southern California and other so-called ramparts of knowledge. People who do not like either “side” of the Gaza/Israel War have every right to say so. People are getting killed, and those who object to that have an obligation to say so.

This does not mean I support in any way, in any manner, in any shape, Benjamin Netanyahu and his dwindling group of followers. Nor do I support Hamas, the Taliban, Yisrael Beiteinu, Boko Haram, Hizballah, Shas, the current rulers of Iran, the Likud Party, Hobby Lobby, and similar ultra-extremist religious terrorist organizations. If I declined to mention your favorite hate group, that is because, in my heart of hearts, I feel real estate in the etherverse is limited.

Oh, yeah. One thing more. Despite my Joni Mitchell quote above, I do not believe in “there are two sides to every story” bullshit. Thanks to Celeste Van Dorp, one of my most influential high school teachers, I firmly believe in multiple causation. There are lots and lots of reasons for damn near everything.

Sadly, not all reasons are good reasons.

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind  #087: Reason? This Is The Day!

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #087: Reason? This Is The Day!

“I got some groceries, some peanut butter, / To last a couple of days / But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no / Headphones, ain’t got no records to play” — Life During Wartime, written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth, 1979.

If you have any media coming into your safe-house, you’ve probably heard all sorts of stuff about this outbreak that’s plaguing the world right now. “I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” “Take hydroxychloroquine, what have you got to lose?” “Coronavirus would weaken when we get into April.” “Anybody who needs a test gets a test.” “There’s only 15 cases and next week that’ll be down to zero.” “Health insurance companies agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing.” “Protesters (who) oppose social distancing were doing social distancing themselves and were all six feet apart.”

Those statements, slightly edited for space, all came out of the mouth of one single man, a profoundly orange idiot whose every word appears to be held as sacrosanct by upwards of 60,000,000 of his fellow Americans. Oy, vey ist mir!

What we need right now is the voice of reason. Coincidentally, today — May 7th — is the day for it.

Four very optimistic members of the House Freethought Caucus introduced House Bill H.R. 947, which, according to the Freedom From Religion Foundation (yes, if you read it you may burn in hell next to Ron Reagan) would designate today, May 7, as a “National Day of Reason” and recognize the “central importance of reason in the betterment of humanity.”

Now, before you go apeshit because you find it impossible to believe that freedom OF religion requires freedom FROM religion, here’s what the bill says, in total:

Whereas the application of reason has been the essential precondition for humanity’s extraordinary scientific, medical, technological, and social progress since the modern Enlightenment;

Whereas reason provides vital hope today for confronting the environmental crises of our day, including the civilizational emergency of climate change, and for cultivating the rule of law, democratic institutions, justice, and peace among nations;

Whereas irrationality, magical thinking, and superstition have undermined the national effort to combat the COVID–19 pandemic, and reason is fundamental to creating an effective coordinated response to beat the virus involving the Federal Government, the States, and the scientific and medical communities;

Whereas America’s Founders insisted upon the primacy of reason and knowledge in public life, and drafted the Constitution to prevent official establishment of religion and to protect freedom of thought, speech, and inquiry in civil society;

Whereas James Madison, author of the First Amendment and fourth President of the United States, stated that “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty”, and “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives”; and

Whereas, May 7, 2020, would be an appropriate date to designate as a “National Day of Reason”: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives —

(1) supports the designation of a “National Day of Reason”; and

(2) encourages all citizens, residents, and visitors to join in observing this day and focusing on the central importance of reason, critical thought, the scientific method, and free inquiry to resolving social problems and promoting the welfare of humankind.

Yup. You’re got it. A national day of reason. What the hell is wrong with that? Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?

I’ll bet the guy who said that will be remembered long after that moron who should be buried in a jar of Orange Tang.