The Tempest Online™

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Silent No More

Posted by Daniel on August 30, 2012

It’s Time We Were ALL Heard

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It’s Not About You…Don’t Shoot!!!

Posted by Daniel on August 16, 2012

It's Still Not About You

A man who had been a volunteer at The DC Center for the LGBT Community (a community center for gays) walked into the lobby of the Family Research Council – a conservative political organization, made a negative comment about what the FRC group stands for, pulled a gun and opened fire, authorities said.  Police and the FBI are investigating why the armed man, identified as 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II of Herndon, Va., entered the front lobby of the conservative group, argued with the guard and opened fire. But one law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the suspect made a negative reference about the group’s work and what it stands for before shooting.

The Family Research Council, headquartered in a busy downtown DC tourist district, strongly opposes gay marriage and abortion and says it advocates ‘‘faith, family and freedom in public policy and public opinion.’’ The group maintains a powerful lobbying presence on those causes, testifying before Congress and reviewing legislation. Its president, Tony Perkins, said the group’s main concern was with the wounded guard.

Here’s where I make a prediction…and I will be on the mark with it…watch and see.

I predict that the issue of this shooting will focus purely on the fact that this man, in addition to whatever else he had in his life, was a volunteer at a GLBT Community Center.  This will, of course, be spun into some grand scheme regarding the LGBT community in it’s ongoing agenda.  Watch FOX News and tell me how wrong I am.  Oh, and it’ll also be interesting to see just how fast certain political campaigns clandestinely use this incident in their speeches/ads…we’ll hear it all between the lines.

At the risk of pissing off gun owners (and just for the record, I’m NOT against guns, even though I personally don’t care for them), this is an issue of yet another person with a gun who obviously shouldn’t have had one.  Meanwhile, advocacy groups across the ideological spectrum condemned the violence, with some casting it as a hate crime.

“Today’s attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as `hateful’ must end,” Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, said in a statement.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Obama, who was traveling in Iowa Wednesday, was informed of the 10:45 a.m. shooting shortly after 1 p.m.  “The president expressed his concern for the individual injured in the shooting and his strong belief that this type of violence has no place in our society,” Carney said.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a statement that he was appalled.  “There is no place for such violence in our society,” he said. “My prayers go out to the wounded security guard and his family, as well as all the people at the Family Research Council whose sense of security has been shattered by today’s horrific events.”

The point here is that we keep the focus of this tragic event where it belongs…there are some people who are disturbed who act out alone (remember republicans?  Like when Bill O’Reilly riled up a bunch of Pro-Life zealots, which, according to many, led to the murder of LEGAL abortion provider Dr. George Tiller while he was in church?  Where was the outrage and Hate Crime vitriol from you then?).  Whatever their personal beliefs, I no more believe the GLBT community is sending out gay soldiers to “off” FRC members any more than I believe FRC members incite weak-minded people into thinking gays want to marry your 12-year old son.

So lets just keep the over-reaching theories (like this one) down to a minimum, shall we?  Can we all just agree to agree that this is simply another case of some nut job with a personal ax to grind or mental issue, rather than blaming an entire demographic and a fake agenda?

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We Are What We Do

Posted by Daniel on August 15, 2012

Ethics are the destination...these are the journey.

Over the years, I’ve kept myself pretty immersed in the mission of helping people educate themselves on the topic of politics.  Funny thing about how people seem to cringe when you even utter the word politics…they look at you as though you forced them to suck a lemon.

Honestly, folks, look around you.  Life, itself, is one big political maneuver after another.  Never mind what you have to see on the news or on the onslaught of ads that are meant to confuse some and un-educate others.  I’m not even referring to your choice – or lack thereof – of who would make a better President or Congressman.  No, what I’m referring to is all the political sidesteps we find ourselves enacting in our daily lives and interactions.

Speaking personally, I find myself working (mentally) hard as hell trying NOT to intentionally piss off any of my fellow citizens.  Friends, family, coworkers, drive-thru window voices (hell, even the dogs here at home), etc.  This is, in my humble opinion, far harder a feat to accomplish than running for actual office in that running for office means you don’t actually know too many of your constituents.  So you can bullshit your way through any issue and smile a plastic smile at everyone, even when you don’t know them or give a damn what they really care about.  I believe there are, truly, those out there who genuinely give a shit about what those whom they represent really hold as important to their lives.  They are, however, the exception…NOT the rule.

But closer to home, we have to be far more concerned what those around us think.  True, we don’t always see eye to eye or believe in ALL the same issues.  This is especially true when it comes to family.  We love one another, but we are all so very different.  So we try to hold our personal issues inside.  In my case, I’ve never been so good at that.  With friends I think it’s a different beast entirely.  We get to CHOOSE our friends.  We tend to surround ourselves with people who are, for the most part, similar in beliefs, habits, likes, POLITICS, dislikes, and even attractions.

So where, you might ask, does this compare to the political game?  Simple…choose the wrong direction, wrong issue or even the wrong person with whom to associate and you risk impeachment from the office of “Friend”.  This seems pretty small a reason for people to vote you out of their lives, but then, as in all politics, we don’t truly have control of how people vote when they close that booth curtain, do we?

Well friends, I’m in this race NOT to win, but rather to represent ALL of my friends equally and as honestly as can be done without sacrificing who I am at my core.  I don’t need to use words like morals, scruples or ethics to describe my actions.  I choose to SHOW common sense and fair play for everyone when I interact with them.  My friendship can’t be bought by the highest bidder, therefore I am beholding to no one in what I do or with whom I interact.  My choice of those I call friend (in whatever capacity) is exactly that…mine.  But I work my ass off to maintain as high a standard of confidence with each of them as is humanly possible.  I don’t have to bullshit you (the voters)into thinking I’m behind you every step of the way, and yet mocking your decisions behind your back.  If I think you’re voting wrong, I’ll tell you.  If I give you praise, you bet your ass you’ve EARNED it.  That’s just good politics of life.

Now I just wish this same ethic were shared by those in REAL politics.  Remember who you are.  Don’t fold for the dollar.  Don’t call yourself morally upright and yet lie to/about people or ignore the suffering of those around you because it’s not politically good for your career.  And don’t sell off parts of yourselves simply to make the “right” others happy.

One thing I’ve learned lo these many years, I’m not perfect.  I’ve made mistakes a-plenty.  I even have regrets…some for decisions made and some for actions I’ve avoided out of fear of pissing of the wrong people.  In life we all have a piece of political capital.  I intend to spend mine going for and making the decisions of exactly what I want in life.  And to HELL with losing a vote if it means doing what’s right.

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Hey Undecideds…Piss Or Get Off The Pot!!!

Posted by Daniel on August 14, 2012

..Piss Or Get Off The Pot!!!

Dear Undecided Voters (both of you) and Uneducated Voters (all 40 million of you)…

I’ve done pretty damn good at staying out of the political fray this cycle (and you can all thank the Cobalt distractions for that). Ordinarily by this time my website would be PACKED with my ever-so-clever critiques of BOTH political parties and the lies they tend to spit up just for YOUR votes.  I blame all of you for our current choices.

As of today, however, I’ve decided to take those kid gloves off and start knockin’ the political liars (and their oblivious party line-toting minions) on their metaphorical asses.

Here’s what lit the fuse on my political tampon TODAY:
I happened to see an ad on TV (and believe me, I know 75% of them are pure B-to-the-S!!) that seemed to be bullshit business as usual. There was, however, ONE single word that verbally ice picked my ears…”their”. It was a Romney ad blasting Obama over the EPA regulations. The line went thusly, “Now the Obama Administration and THEIR EPA want to continue their frivolous and overreaching regulations…blahdy blah blah blah…”.The fact that they are portraying the EPA as some sort of an environmental suckfest of everyday Jane & Joe’s wallet and gas tank is not only laughable, it’s utterly and factually insulting to ANYONE with more than a 2nd grade education. This ad makes the uneducated voters believe the EPA is an entity invented by the current administration, and it’s sole mission is to steal from the rich and give to the illegals. Please allow me to point out a simple TRUTH (yes, truth…it’s a word you’re NOT hearing in ANY of Romney’s ads)(make no mistake, I’m calling the lies in any of the Presidents ads as well).

The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) is an agency of the United States federal government which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress. The EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and began operation on December 2, 1970. It has the responsibility of maintaining and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws, in consultation with state, tribal, and local governments.

I’ll point out just one of those standards…Water. Because of the EPA and it’s “frivolous regulations”, you don’t have to drink water that can KILL YOU!!!

Here’s a little piece of trivia for you…this particular ad was funded by (among others) corporations who PROFIT from having no regulations keeping them from dumping waste into our water and onto our lands. They WANT to eliminate the EPA, because that would end regulations and send their already through-the-roof profits clear into space…straight through Uranus!! And they know there s only ONE way they can accomplish this…they need to convince YOU that the Kenyan-born, baby-killing, illegal-harboring, gay-loving, military-hating, wrong-colored so-called invader of the White House RUNS the EPA. So you must be scared into voting for ANYONE else (qualified or not) whom they can strong-arm into eliminating this unAmerican corporate bloodsucker.

Bottom line, this isn’t “Their” EPA. These aren’t “Their” regulations. This is YOUR EPA, people. It’s your life and livelihood they protect. They don’t have to answer to corporate lobbyists or corporate dollars. They answer to you. So vote your party if you must. But don’t vote based on a word.

Posted in Common Sense, Indecision 2012, Politics, Today's Rant | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Daniel on December 12, 2011

The Mitt's About To Hit The Fan

Imagine this.  You’re a 60-something gay Vietnam veteran out to dinner with your husband in New Hampshire when Mitt Romney sits down at your table uninvited to ask for your vote in overturning your state’s gay marriage law. You know, the one that allowed you to marry your partner of a few decades or so in the first place.

Are you more offended that Romney mistook your proud military heritage for blatant homophobia? Or just annoyed that homeboy had the hubris to invite himself to your date night, like some bizarre MTV reality television show, Republican Third Wheel? (MTV, if you’re reading. Let’s make this show happen, GaySAP! Lunch?)

Mitt Romney, while  touring the Chez Vachon restaurant in Manchester, sat down at a table with two older men, one of whom was wearing a “Vietnam Veteran” hat.Bob Garon, 63, of Epsom, N.H., asked Romney if he, as president would seek to overturn New Hampshire’s law legalizing gay marriage. Romney gave his standard response affirming his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Garon, who is gay and was seated with his husband, Bob Lemire, then said to Romney: “It’s good to know how you feel, that you do not believe everyone is entitled to their constitutional rights.”

Romney replied: “Actually, I think at the time the Constitution was written marriage was between a man and a woman and I don’t believe the Supreme Court has changed that.”

Romney may as well have poured a coke over the couple’s heads and smashed their faces in their Potatoes au Gratin. Who crashes someone’s meal just to insult them? In a state that respects and honors the couple with full marriage equality laws, at that! Talk about losing your appetite.

Garon, a political independent later, told reporters he was unimpressed with Romney.

“The guy ain’t going to make it,” he said after the exchange. “You can’t trust him. I can see it in his eyes.”

Garon said he was married in June. “In New Hampshire, where it’s legal. Unless Mitt Romney gets elected.”

Let’s hope for dinner’s sake that it doesn’t come to that.

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Ugly Is As Ugly Does

Posted by Daniel on December 7, 2011

Gay-On-Gay Hypocracy is So gay!!!

Something happened earlier last week that really got me thinking…and really got me riled up.

I was standing outside waiting for class to begin and there were a couple of people standing rather close to me.  Since they were so close, I couldn’t help but overhear part…okay most of what they were talking about.  Mind you, I don’t generally make it a habit to eavesdrop on others, but as it happens, these two were putting a lot of heavy emphasis on their S’s.  So much so, in fact, that I had to look down at the ground to make sure I hadn’t stumbled into a snake pit.  But I digress…

From what I could make out, they were talking about WORLD HIV/AIDS DAY.  I couldn’t help but think that it was nice to know others are, in fact, aware of this event.

Well……

As it turns out, their discussion quickly turned to them talking about previous friends of theirs who, it was at some point discovered, turned out to be HIV+.  I think that, statistically speaking, we all probably know one or two people who are living with HIV or has passed away from it.

Their discussion, however, turned ugly…

Prissy 1:  “Do you remember Emmy?”

Prissy 2:  “What ever happened to her?  I thought you two were friends forever.”

Prissy 1:  “You know she’s poisoned, right?”

Prissy 2:  “Shut the fuck up!!!  I KNEW it!!!  Is she dead now?”

Prissy 1:  “I don’t know.  She kept getting all sick so I kicked her out.  Once they’re poisoned, they’re disposable.”

Okay, now picture me leaning in to hear, so as not to take them out of context so that when I verbally stomp a mudhole in them I won’t be unjustified.

So I learned that people with HIV are referred to as “poisoned” or “poisonous”, and the word “disposables” was also used.

This reminded me of the summer my (now) ex and I moved here from Missouri.  We met a group of people on the lake and really had a great time with them.  They all seemed pretty cool, until, that is, the conversation – for some reason – turned to a person they knew who turned out to be HIV positive.  This conversation went pretty much just like the one above.  They were talking about how that person “came out” with the news of his HIV status and these people, quite simply, shunned them for it.  We tried to press them further because we couldn’t imaging that people here in California – GAY people here in California at that – could be so damned uneducated, intolerant and cruel.  Long story short, they made it clear that the ONLY reason this person wasn’t their friend anymore was because he was now HIV positive.

Until today, I really thought that this was an isolated incident of intolerance by a relatively small group of drunken idiots.  Obviously not the case.

That we could be on the tail end of the year 2011 and in what is arguably considered one of the most progressive states in the union, and you can still hear people ostracizing victims of a horrible affliction, quite simply baffles and sickens me.

I’ve had a conversation some time ago with an old online blogging friend in Boston about this very topic.  That being how apathetic parts of the gay community has become of late.  My friend Ted made an observation about some people he knew on the East coast.  He told me that he has friends who tend to either sleep around or are in “open relationships”, and the fact that they tend to “inter-mingle” when, as he delicately put it, “pickens are slim”.  In other words, when some of his friends couldn’t find a person to sleep with that was new or not of the regular social crowd, they would sleep with each other.  Then one of them came down with HIV and not only was this person unceremoniously drummed out of the group, he was also told point-blank that he was considered toxic and therefore needed to move before everyone found out.

The ironic part here is that this guy was originally from San Francisco.  He was treated so badly by other gays in San Francisco for being HIV+ that he had to move clear across the country and now lives in Boston.  So Ted said that when he heard this he was shocked beyond belief.  This still has a profound affect on Ted because this same guy committed suicide less than two years later when he went home to visit family and had the misfortune of running into those same ex-friends, who threatened to tell his family if he didn’t leave the bar they were all in.

I suppose I could over-simplify this by saying that because someone was taken off the meat market by being afflicted with an illness, his former friends decided he was radioactive and not only drummed him out of the sleep-around club but they threatened to ruin his life further by dragging his name through the mud.

But instead I will just say that if this is truly where we are 30+ years after the start of this malady…if even gays – whom I would have thought to be more educated and less apathetic or ambivalent – are shunning their friends for something like this…then this world truly has taken a gigantic leap backward.

Just a note to those who would force themselves to forget history…a lot of people died in the past 30+ years.  In a way, those deaths have led to more focus being placed on the EQUAL treatment of you and your friends.  Were it not for so much focus being placed on such a horrible illness, not to mention all the people – both famous and non-famous – dying, you might not be swishing around so proudly and openly and enjoying the chance to be so catty and nonchalant about something like this.  You can treat people like Kleenex if you wish, but over time, you get older, then you happen to notice that the Kleenex box is empty.

Unlike Kleenex, friends are not something you should so easily and callously throw away.

And in my humble opinion (and to beat this metaphor to death), I think your attitudes towards friends who are or become sick is FAR uglier than what’s in that tissue.

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Special Rights For Compassionate Christians

Posted by Daniel on November 5, 2011

Stupid is as stupid does (or teaches).

As the stigma of homosexuality fades from public discourse, people are becoming more open about their sexuality and doing so at an earlier age. This is a sign of a healthy society. Yet, there is a segment of society that is deeply disturbed by this trend and it manifests itself in our schools as anti-gay bullying. The result has been a rash of suicide among gay teens across the country.

In an effort to stop this mindless harassment, Michigan is in the middle of passing “Matt’s Safe School Law” (official title SB 137) named for 14-year old Matt Eppling, a gay teen that committed suicide in 2002 as a result of bullying. Sounds like a reasonable response but that’s only if you’re a normal person. To a Republican, SB 137 steps on our constitutional right to hound someone until they kill themselves.

The exact language inserted by Republicans:

THIS SECTION DOES NOT ABRIDGE THE RIGHTS UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OR UNDER ARTICLE I OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION OF 1963 OF A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE, SCHOOL VOLUNTEER, PUPIL, OR A PUPIL’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN. THIS SECTION DOES NOT PROHIBIT A STATEMENT OF A SINCERELY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEF OR MORAL CONVICTION OF A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE, SCHOOL VOLUNTEER, PUPIL, OR A PUPIL’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN. (emphasis mine)

Amen!!!

So if you really believe that homosexuals are evil and immoral, it’s perfectly fine to tell them so as much as you want. Hell, your parents can get in on it, too! You can all get together and scream “You’re a goddamn disgusting fag and you’re gonna burn forever!” whenever you feel like it!

Just so we’re clear: this would be bullying a homosexual student.

But it’s OK because it’s a religious belief! Isn’t it funny how religious conservatives use their religion to excuse so many behaviors the civilized world considers to be immoral? Let’s put it to what I like to call the “Muslim Test”: Would these same tireless defenders of the Constitution allow a group of radical Muslim students to direct their “sincerely held religious  belief” that infidels should be converted or killed at a lone Christian student until that student was good and terrorized?

Don’t be stupid! That would be bullying the poor child and that would be wrong!

Muslim Test: Failed as always.

Once again, we see the Right indulging in its favorite past time: cloaking its bigotry and hate in “religious freedom.” In this instance, the freedom to drive children to suicide over a few cherry picked verses from the Bible. Because nothing says “Love thy neighbor” like bullying people you don’t like.

Read SB 137 here.

Read more about GOP callousness here.

Feel free to tell me what a terrible person I am either here or on Facebook.

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A Decade Since

Posted by Daniel on September 11, 2011

Ten years ago today…It’s amazing to think of all that’s transpired in the last decade.

In Memorium

Not Forgotten

I could post about all the good, bad and ugly that has transpired in the past decade, but the thought of doing that seems rather shallow and insensitive at the moment.  Considering those who aren’t with us because of the events of that day, I think I’ll just re-post the poem I wrote just days after the second tower fell.  I discovered that three of my friends who worked in the towers never made it out.

Pieces of a Flag

On a sunny Tuesday morning, it could have been any normal day.

Many of our East coast friends went about beginning in their usual way.

Coffee cup’s filling, friendly “Good morning’s” and the day’s work being prepped,

While in the skies above them the fingers of an unseen evil crept.

Thousands in the Standing Stripes and as many in the Star,

Would never have fair warning of their fates sealed from afar.

Men who hate our pride and freedom and want to make us pay,

How could we have known, for this, they’d take our friends away?

We lost a lot of friends that day, both in New York and in D.C.

The shock of what has happened is, even now, still hitting me.

There was one plane of four that by heroism, did not reach its mark.

The courage shown by those passengers is the epitome of freedoms’ spark.

Four planes, full of innocents, by evil-doers turned into missile’s,

Turned a peaceful morning into the noise of sirens, screams and whistles.

We watched…frozen…awestruck, as they tore into our country’s heart.

This nation, by resolve, will prove cowards cannot pull our flag apart.

We lost a bit of innocence that day at the hands of those morally depraved.

But what they keep forgetting is WE’RE AMERICA, Home of the Brave!!

We will rebuild…We must move on, and yes, we’ll overcome,

And to those we’ve lost we make this vow…we’ll remember you…every one.

Dedicated to Shawn, Rebecca and “Meryle”…

Friends I lost in the World Trade Center.

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Actually, That’s NOT In The Bible

Posted by Daniel on July 21, 2011

A turn to the RIGHT could get you lost!!

Any Wonder WHY I Lean Left???

 

I remember an interview a while back in which NFL coach Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible.

“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season.  “This, too, shall pass.”

Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.

Ditka’s biblical blunder is as common as preachers delivering long-winded public prayers. The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches – all types of people  – quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scholars say.

These phantom passages include:

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

And there is this often-cited paraphrase: “Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden.”

None of those passages appear in the Bible, and one is actually anti-biblical, scholars say.

But people rarely challenge them because biblical ignorance is so pervasive that it even reaches groups of people who should know better, says Steve Bouma-Prediger, a religion professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

“In my college religion classes, I sometimes quote 2 Hesitations 4:3 (‘There are no internal combustion engines in heaven’),” Bouma-Prediger says. “I wait to see if anyone realizes that there is no such book in the Bible and therefore no such verse.

“Only a few catch on.”

Few catch on because they don’t want to – people prefer knowing biblical passages that reinforce their pre-existing beliefs, a Bible professor says.

“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book,” says Rabbi Rami Shapiro, who once had to persuade a student in his Bible class at Middle Tennessee State University that the saying “this dog won’t hunt” doesn’t appear in the Book of Proverbs.

It’s true…they have memorized parts of texts that they can string together to prove the biblical basis for whatever it is they believe in, but they ignore the vast majority of the text.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty.  Being raised in a pseudo-Catholic family, my rubber-stamp response to anyone who might ask of my religious proclivities is: “I’m catholic…We never really read the bible.  We just took everybody’s word for it.”

Phantom biblical passages work in mysterious ways

Ignorance isn’t the only cause for phantom Bible verses. Confusion is another.

Some of the most popular faux verses are pithy paraphrases of biblical concepts or bits of folk wisdom.

Consider these two:

“God works in mysterious ways.”  (I usually say it thus: “The Lord works in mysterious, inefficient, and, breath-takingly cruel ways.”)

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”  (So by that logic, I could say: “Can’t find a napkin?  Use a tortilla.”)

Both sound as if they are taken from the Bible, but they’re not. The first is a paraphrase of a 19th century hymn by the English poet William Cowper who said: “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.”

The “cleanliness” passage was coined by John Wesley, the 18th century evangelist who founded Methodism.

No matter if John Wesley or someone else came up with a wise saying – if it sounds proverbish, people figure it must come from the Bible.

Our fondness for the short and tweet-worthy may also explain our fondness for phantom biblical phrases. The pseudo-verses function like theological tweets: They’re pithy summarizations of biblical concepts.

“Spare the rod, spoil the child” falls into that category. It’s a popular verse – and painful for many kids. Could some enterprising kid avoid the rod by pointing out to his mother that it’s not in the Bible?

It’s doubtful. Her possible retort: The popular saying is a distillation of Proverbs 13:24: “The one who withholds [or spares] the rod is one who hates his son.”

Another saying that sounds Bible-worthy: “Pride goes before a fall.” But its approximation, Proverbs 16:18, is actually written: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

There are some phantom biblical verses for which no excuse can be offered. The speaker goofed.

They Started It!!!!

When phantom Bible passages turn dangerous

People may get verses wrong, but they also mangle plenty of well-known biblical stories as well.

Two examples: The scripture never says a whale swallowed Jonah, the Old Testament prophet, nor did any New Testament passages say that three wise men visited baby Jesus, scholars say.

Those details may seem minor, but scholars say one popular phantom Bible story stands above the rest: The Genesis story about the fall of humanity.

Most people know the popular version – Satan in the guise of a serpent tempts Eve to pick the forbidden apple from the Tree of Life. It’s been downhill ever since.

But the story in the book of Genesis never places Satan in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis mentions nothing but a serpent.  Not only does the text not mention Satan, the very idea of Satan as a devilish tempter postdates the composition of the Garden of Eden story by at least 500 years.

Getting biblical scriptures and stories wrong may not seem significant, but it can become dangerous.

Most people have heard this one: “God helps those that help themselves.” It’s another phantom scripture that appears nowhere in the Bible, but many people think it does. It’s actually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, one of the nation’s founding fathers.

The passage is popular in part because it is a reflection of cherished American values: individual liberty and self-reliance.

Yet that passage contradicts the biblical definition of goodness: defining one’s worth by what one does for others, like the poor and the outcast.

Citing a scripture from Leviticus that tells people that when they harvest the land, they should leave some “for the poor and the alien” (Leviticus 19:9-10), and another passage from Deuteronomy that declares that people should not be “tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor.”

We often infect the Bible with our own values and morals, not asking what the Bible’s values and morals really are.

Where do these phantom passages come from?

It’s easy to blame the spread of phantom biblical passages on pervasive biblical illiteracy. But the causes are varied and go back centuries.

Some of the guilty parties are anonymous, lost to history. They are artists and storytellers who over the years embellished biblical stories and passages with their own twists.

If, say, you were an anonymous artist painting the Garden of Eden during the Renaissance, why not portray the serpent as the devil to give some punch to your creation? And if you’re a preacher telling a story about Jonah, doesn’t it just sound better to say that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, not a “great fish”?

Others blame the spread of phantom Bible passages on King James, or more specifically the declining popularity of the King James translation of the Bible.

That translation, which marks 400 years of existence this year, had a near monopoly on the Bible market as recently as 50 years ago.  If you quoted the Bible and got it wrong then, people were more likely to notice because there was only one text.  Today, so many different translations are used that almost no one can tell for sure if something supposedly from the Bible is being quoted accurately or not.

Others blame the spread of phantom biblical verses on Martin Luther, the German monk who ignited the Protestant Reformation, the massive “protest” against the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church that led to the formation of Protestant church denominations.

It is a great Protestant tradition for anyone – milkmaid, cobbler, or innkeeper – to be able to pick up the Bible and read for herself. No need for a highly trained scholar or cleric to walk a lay person through the text.  But often the milkmaid, the cobbler – and the NFL coach – start creating biblical passages without the guidance of biblical experts.

You can see this manifest today in living room Bible studies across North America where lovely Christian people, with no training whatsoever, drink decaf, eat brownies and ask each other, ‘What does this text mean to you?’’

Not only do they get the interpretation wrong, but very often end up quoting verses that really aren’t there.

Posted in Common Sense, Religion | Leave a Comment »

I’m Moving To Australia…Wanna Come?

Posted by Daniel on July 8, 2011

You want MORE proof that the Republicans are out to turn back the clock?

Michele Bachmann just signed the following “Marriage Vow”…and the pandering racist dumbing-down of America continues…

THE MARRIAGE VOW
A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMILY1
Faithful monogamy is at the very heart of a designed and purposeful order – as conveyed by Jewish and Christian Scripture, by Classical Philosophers, by Natural Law, and by the American Founders – upon which our concepts of Creator-endowed human rights, racial justice and gender equality all depend.2
Enduring marital fidelity between one man and one woman protects innocent children, vulnerable women, the rights of fathers, the stability of families, and the liberties of all American citizens under our republican form of government. Our exceptional and free society simply cannot endure without the transmission of personal virtue, from one generation to the next, by means of nurturing, nuclear families comprised of sexually-faithful husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. We acknowledge and regret the widespread hypocrisy of many who defend marriage yet turn a blind eye toward the epidemic of infidelity and the anemic condition of marriages in their own communities. Unmistakably, the Institution of Marriage in America is in great crisis:

  1.  Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA‟s first African-American President.3
  2.  LBJ‟s 1965 War on Poverty was triggered in part by the famous “Moynihan Report” finding that the black out-of-wedlock birthrate had hit 26%; today, the white rate exceeds that, the overall rate is 41%, and over 70% of African-American babies are born to single parents4 – a prime sociological indicator for poverty, pathology and prison regardless of race or ethnicity. 5
  3. About one million U.S. children suffer through divorce each year – the outcome of about half of all first marriages and about 60 percent of remarriages, disproportionately affecting economically-vulnerable families.6
  4.  The taxpayer-borne social costs of family fragmentation exceeds $112 billion per year, especially when all costs to the justice system are recognized.7
  5.  Social protections, especially for women and children, have been evaporating as we have collectively “debased the currency” of marriage. This debasement continues as a function of adultery; “quickie divorce;” physical and verbal spousal abuse; non-committal co-habitation; pervasive infidelity and “unwed cheating” among celebrities, sports figures and politicians; anti-scientific bias which holds, in complete absence of empirical proof, that non-heterosexual inclinations are genetically determined, irresistible and akin to innate traits like race, gender and eye color; as well as anti-scientific bias which holds, against all empirical evidence, that homosexual behavior in particular, and sexual promiscuity in general, optimizes individual or public health. 8

The Candidate Vow:
Therefore, in any elected or appointed capacity by which I may have the honor of serving our fellow citizens in these United States, I the undersigned do hereby solemnly vow* to honor and to cherish, to defend and to uphold, the Institution of Marriage as only between one man and one woman. I vow* to do so through my:

  1. Personal fidelity to my spouse.9
  2. Respect for the marital bonds of others.10
  3. Official fidelity to the U.S. Constitution, supporting the elevation of none but faithful constitutionalists as judges or justices.11
  4. Vigorous opposition to any redefinition of the Institution of Marriage – faithful monogamy between one man and one woman – through statutory-, bureaucratic-, or court-imposed recognition of intimate unions which are bigamous, polygamous, polyandrous, same-sex, etc.12
  5. Recognition of the overwhelming statistical evidence that married people enjoy better health, better sex, longer lives, greater financial stability, and that children raised by a mother and a father together experience better learning, less addiction, less legal trouble, and less extramarital pregnancy. 13
  6. Support for prompt reform of uneconomic, anti-marriage aspects of welfare policy, tax policy, and marital/divorce law, and extended “second chance” or “cooling-off” periods for those seeking a “quickie divorce.” 14
  7. Earnest, bona fide legal advocacy for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the federal and state levels.15
  8. Steadfast embrace of a federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in all of the United States. 16
  9. Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy – our next generation of American children – from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.17
  10. Support for the enactment of safeguards for all married and unmarried U.S. Military and National Guard personnel, especially our combat troops, from inappropriate same-gender or opposite-gender sexual harassment, adultery or intrusively intimate commingling among attracteds (restrooms, showers, barracks, tents, etc.); plus prompt termination of military policymakers who would expose American wives and daughters to rape or sexual harassment, torture, enslavement or sexual leveraging by the enemy in forward combat roles.18
  11. Rejection of Sharia Islam and all other anti-woman, anti-human rights forms of totalitarian control.19
  12. Recognition that robust childbearing and reproduction is beneficial to U.S. demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security. 20
  13. Commitment to downsizing government and the enormous burden upon American families of the USA‟s $14.3 trillion public debt, its $77 trillion in unfunded liabilities, its $1.5 trillion federal deficit, and its $3.5 trillion federal budget.21
  14. Fierce defense of the First Amendment‟s rights of Religious Liberty and Freedom of Speech22, especially against the intolerance of any who would undermine law-abiding American citizens and institutions of faith and conscience for their adherence to, and defense of, faithful heterosexual monogamy.

The Vow of Civic, Religious, Lay, Business, and Social Leaders:
We the undersigned do hereby solemnly vow* that no U.S. Presidential primary candidate – nor any primary candidate for the U. S. House, Senate, Governor, state or municipal office – will, in his or her public capacity, benefit from any substantial form of aid, support, endorsement, contribution, independent expenditure, or affirmation from any of us without first affirming this Marriage Vow. Furthermore, to uphold and advance the natural Institution of Marriage, we ourselves also hereby vow* our own fidelity to this Declaration and especially, to our spouses.

So help us God.
* NOTE: Or, “solemnly attest”. Each signatory signs only in his or her individual capacity as an American citizen and current or potential leader; affiliations herein are for identification purposes only and do not necessarily imply formal embrace of this vow or the sentiments herein by any institution or organization.
Signatories:
Name Candidacy or Title/Affiliation Date
____________________________________________________________ _______________
____________________________________________________________ _______________
____________________________________________________________ _______________
____________________________________________________________ _______________

END NOTES AND SOURCES:
1 The Marriage Vow is a work product of The FAMiLY Leader (www.thefamilyleader.com), a public advocacy organization affiliated with the Iowa Family Policy Center, and collaborating supporters across the U.S. political and ideological spectrum, who recognize that enduring, healthy marriages are necessary to healthy children and a healthy American society. Sociological data squares with tradition to argue that self-centered adult egos and agendas in American families must be subordinated to the long-term interests of America‟s children.
2 Genesis 2:18-25; Mark 10:2-9, Ephesians 5:22-33; Sherif Girgis, Robert P.George and Ryan T. Anderson, “What is Marriage?,” Harvard Journal of Public Policy, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 245-287, Winter 2010 (available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1722155); Jay Budziszewski, What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide, Spence Publishing, 2011, pp. 38-39; The Declaration of Independence.
3 Lorraine Blackman, Obie Clayton, Norval Glenn, Linda Malone-Colon, and Alex Roberts, “The Consequences of Marriage for African Americans: A Comprehensive Literature Review,” Institute for American Values, 2005 (www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/consequences_of_marriage.pdf).
4 Gretchen Livingston and D‟Vera Cohn, “The New Demography of American Motherhood,” Pew Research Center, (Revised August 19, 2010) May 6, 2010; Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2008,” April 6, 2010, Table 1 at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_16.pdf.
5 Robert Rector, “Married Fathers: America‟s Best Weapon Against Child Poverty,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2934, June 6, 2010, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/06/Married-Fathers-Americas-Greatest-Weapon-Against-Child-Poverty; Cynthia C. Harper and Sara S. McLanahan, “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration,” Journal of Research on Adolescence, Vol. 14, No. 3 (2004), pp.369-397. Data from National Longitudinal Study of Youth, the 1979 cohort (NYLS79).
6 William J. Doherty and Leah Ward Sears, “Second Chances: A Proposal to Reduce Unnecessary Divorce,” Institute for American Values, to be published in 2011.
7 Scafidi, Benjamin, The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing (New York; Institute for American Values, 2008, ISBN: 1-931764-14-X), Appendix A, pp. 22-30.
8 No peer-reviewed empirical science or rational demonstration has ever definitively proven, nor even has shown an overwhelming probability, that homosexual preference or behavior is irresistible as a function of genetic determinism or other forms of fatalism. Furthermore, no peer-reviewed empirical science or rational, scholarly demonstration has ever definitively proven, nor even has shown an overwhelming probability:
(1) That society‟s interest in the physical, psychological and sociological health of infants, children, young people and other minors is not best upheld through the enduring institution of legal marriage, especially faithful monogamy, as between only one man and one woman;
(2) That society‟s interest in a healthy, vibrant, and growing indigenous population and workforce to drive economic growth and actuarially support public and private pension, benefit and entitlement systems is in any way advanced by undermining the institution of faithful, lawful marriage as between only one man and one woman;
(3) That the longstanding religious liberties of American parents, children, religious and civic leaders who adhere to Jewish and Christian tradition, teaching and sacred texts regarding faithful heterosexual monogamy are not jeopardized by recent or pending redefinitions of legal marriage to include same-sex unions, polygamy and other kinds of intimate relations;
(4) That practices such as adultery, bisexuality, homosexuality, anal intercourse, group sex, promiscuity, serial marriage, polygamy, polyandry and extramarital sex, individually or collectively, lead to general improvements in:
a. Human mortality; See for example, Robert S. Hogg et al, “Modeling the Impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual Men,” International Journal of Epidemiology, 1997, Vol. 26, no. 3. From the abstract: “In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.”
b. Public health,
c. Public health costs (Medicaid, Medicare, etc.)
d. General health care price inflation (medical, hospital, insurance, etc).
e. Incidence of single parent households and related social costs,
f. Incidence of epidemics and pandemics,
g. Incidence of:
i. HIV/ AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus);
ii. Other retroviruses like XMRV, HTLV, etc. (affecting venereal fluids, semen, breast milk, blood);
iii. Septic bacterial infections (such as from E Coli);
iv. Hepatitis (forms of which are transmitted via fecal-oral, venereal contact);
v. Chancroid (Haemophilus ducreyi);
vi. Chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis);
vii. Granuloma inguinale or (Klebsiella granulomatis);
viii. Gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae);
ix. Syphilis (Treponema pallidum);
x. Herpes simplex
xi. Genital warts
xii. HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
xiii. Phthirius pubis (pubic lice)
xiv. Sarcoptes scabiei (scabies)
xv. Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas vaginalis)
xvi. Anal incontinence
xvii. Abortion
xviii. Abortion-related complications
9As applicable if married now, wed in the future, or whenever interacting with another‟s spouse, a person of the opposite sex or of personal attraction. No signer herein claims to be without past wrongdoing, including that of adultery. Yet going forward, each hereby vows fidelity to his or her marital vows, to his or her spouse, to all strictures and commandments against adultery, and to resist the lure of pornography destructive to marital intimacy.
10 Personal infidelity often destroys two marriages and two families.
11 It is no secret that a handful of state and federal judges, some of whom have personally rejected heterosexuality and faithful monogamy, have also abandoned bona fide constitutional interpretation in accord with the discernible intent of the framers. In November, 2010, Iowa voters overwhelmingly rejected three such justices from the state Supreme Court in retention elections. Yet, certain federal jurists with lifetime appointments stand poised, even now, to “discover” a right of so-called same-sex marriage or polygamous marriage in the U.S. Constitution.
12 Justice Scalia‟s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-102.ZD.html) holds that laws against such things as bigamy/polygamy, prostitution, bestiality, adult incest — customs historically rejected within the United States — may become Constitutionally-inevitable under U.S. Supreme Court logic which could be used to invalidate the Defense of Marriage Act and laws, in the overwhelming majority of states, against so-called same-sex marriage and near-equivalents. This is particularly problematic with regard to polygamy, a demographic and strategic means for the advancement of Sharia Islamist misogyny, for attacks upon the rights of women, for the violent persecution of homosexuals, for the undermining of basic human rights, and for general religious and civil intolerance for Jewish, Christian and other non-Islamic faiths under Sharia law.
13 U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey, 2006-2008; W. Bradford Wilcox, William J. Doherty, Helen Fisher, William A. Galston, Norval D. Glenn, John Gottman, Robert Lerman, Annette Mahoney, Barbara Markey, Howard J. Markman, Steven Nock, David Popenoe, Gloria G. Rodriguez, Scott M. Stanley, Linda J. Waite, Judith Wallerstein, “Why Marriage Matters: Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences,” Institute for American Values, 2005
(http://americanvalues.org/pdfs/why_marriage_matters2.pdf); “Parental Involvement and Children‟s Well-Being,” Heritage Foundation, FamilyFacts.org, at http://familyfacts.org/briefs/40/parental-involvement-and-childrens-well-being (April 15, 2011).
14 Chairman Dave Camp, “Democrats‟ Ticking Time Bomb, Part III (Middle-Class Families),” The Tax Tracker, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives, July 28, 2010; Robert Rector, “The New Federal Wedding Tax: How Obamacare Would Dramatically Penalize Marriage,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No.2767, January 20, 2010, at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/01/the-new-federal-wedding-tax-how-obamacare-would-dramatically-penalize-marriage; Nick Kasprak, “The Potential Impact of Expiring Tax Cuts on Low-Income Taxpayers,” Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 250, October 7, 2010, at http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/26766.html (April 28, 2011); Parental Divorce Reduction Act, SB 556, New Mexico Senate, 50th Legislature, 1st Session, 2011, § 2, at http://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/11%20Regular/bills/senate/SB0556.pdf (April 26, 2011); Benjamin Scafidi, Ibid.; William J. Doherty and Leah Ward Sears, Ibid.
15 Although signed by President Clinton in 1996, the U.S. Justice Department has abandoned good faith legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the repeal of which President Obama favors so states may be forced by courts to recognize so-called same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Therefore, we hereby applaud the commitment of Speaker John Boehner and his House Leadership to bring about appropriate legal intervention by the U.S. House of Representatives, in defense of both DOMA and the institution of the Congress itself; a binding act of the Legislative Branch of the federal government has been abandoned for ideological reasons by the Executive Branch.
16 For the event that activist Federal courts or the U.S. Supreme Court may ultimately strike down DOMA or state laws limiting legal marriage to one man and one woman, the signatories hereby vow to support a Marriage Amendment which would constitutionally define and limit legal marriage or marriage equivalents in the U.S. to one man and one woman, thereby especially protecting American women and children from Sharia polygamy, same-sex unions, and other debasements of Judeo-Christian hetero-monogamy. To date, the ONLY states whose elected lawmakers and governors have enacted same-sex marriage on behalf of their constituents are: Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. In all 31 states in which marriage has been put to a vote of the People, same-sex marriage has been defeated and natural marriage has been upheld (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin).
17 Human trafficking, child pornography and prostitution, pimping, sexual slavery and forced abortion are inherently coercive of vulnerable females. Infanticide and abortion are inherently coercive of the babies who are killed; as a matter of human rights, we reject any form of intrauterine or extrauterine child killing which is partial-birth; live-birth; post-viability; third trimester; involving fetal pain; taxpayer-subsidized; based on gender or disability or racial discrimination against the baby; without fully-informed consent; without disclosure of pregnancy care and adoption placement options; without disclosure of abortion‟s eugenic and racist history; involving a minor without parental knowledge or consent; in disregard of conscience objections of health care professionals and institutions; involving cloning or experimentation on non-consenting human subjects; involving dangerous abortifacient drugs; or for alleged necessities other than to save the life of the mother.
18 See, e.g., Center for Military Readiness: http://www.cmrlink.org/HMilitary.asp, http://www.cmrlink.org/WomenInCombat.asp
19 We do not oppose peaceful Muslims, only the intolerant system of Sharia Islam: Princeton‟s Bernard Lewis, dean of Western scholars of Islam, says, ” „My own feeling is that the greatest defect of Islam and the main reason they fell behind the West is the treatment of women,‟ he says. He makes the powerful point that repressive homes pave the way for repressive governments. „Think of a child that grows up in a Muslim household where the mother has no rights, where she is downtrodden and subservient. That’s preparation for a life of despotism and subservience. It prepares the way for an authoritarian society,‟ ” (The Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2011 at A13). Sharia Islamist aims are abusive of women, young girls and Judeo-Christian notions of gender equality, civil tolerance and liberty. Over the long run, Sharia polygamy, multi-partner childbearing, demographic jihad and the persecution of Jews, Christians, blacks, artists, feminists, gays, freethinkers and other non-conformists poses a threat to Western human rights in general, and to American liberty in particular.
20 See, e.g., Julian Lincoln Simon, The Ultimate Resource and The Ultimate Resource 2, Princeton University Press, 1981 and 1996, respectively; Mark Steyn, America Alone, Regnery Publishing, 2006; Ben J. Wattenberg, Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future, Ivan R.Dee, 2004;“Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family,” 2008, SRB Documentary, LLC, 585 West 500 South #110, Bountiful, UT 84010; It is beyond debate that 50 million American abortions since Roe v. Wade have thrown actuarial assumptions about Social Security, Medicare and public and private pensions into chaos.
21 United States Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Public Debt (December 2010). “The debt to the penny and who holds it”. TreasuryDirect. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
22 Amendment 1: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The FAMiLY LEADER
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