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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In 2014, We Still Consider Bloodshed as a Natural Consequence for Petty Sins

My friends, bear with me. I spent until 2AM listening to this sermon, and then replied to the lovely person that sent it to me to critique. Here was my response:

So many thoughts. I'm very glad I left religion behind. Especially his horrible god.
He listed aaaall these mercies that his god bestowed upon David and yet he kept overlooking a gaping hole in his logic:
David's son still died. Where was God's mercy there? Why the hell do we sit back and nod our heads, agreeing with the theology that, when a sin is committed, death logically follows Christianity is based in blood. It's barbarism. We live in 2014 and we still worship a being who values life only as long as he can balance it with equal death.
This preacher kept conflating so many theological ideas and acting like they neatly fit together. It irritated my sense of order and reasonable logic. I was born and bred on literal biblical theology. I hate fast and loose, sleight of hand with it. I see anti-religious people doing the same thing, often.
Today, we had a fire. A big fire. Fred (9) was so excited. He loves life. Fire especially. Marshmallows, the noise, the smoke in his eyes. His giggle and smile is so contagious. I would build fires every day, just for him.
10 pm rolled around...
Mommy told him to go to bed.
Every few minutes, he would pop up by the fire again, sneaking a peak, fondling a marshmallow stick, talking with the friends we have living with us, and just being my beautiful Frederic.
In short, he was disobeying his mother.
My reaction was this:
"My son has sinned! Someone must die! I need blood to assuage my wrath!!!!"
So I found a squirrel, caught it with my bare hands, mutilated it for a few minutes, then nailed it to a tree, right outside his bedroom window, so he could see what his sin had wrought, and be grateful that I didn't slit his throat instead.
Right?
I'd be in prison for that reaction.
No...
I took him by the hand and walked him up to his room, talking to him the whole way about whatever I cared to talk to him about. He is now sleeping softly, un-terrorized, knowing that I love him.
And yet we worship a god who resorts to the squirrel mutilation. Blood as his first recourse. Sure, one would argue that Jesus' sacrifice means no squirrel is necessary, but then, we're just talking in circles. The fact is, that god is evil, however you slice it. And I want no part of him.
Jesus did not have to die for your sins. He didn't actually. He was a simple criminal according to Roman law, his death then captured and marketed by a new religion. Many hip religions were popping up in that age. This one just caught fire, just like Islam.
You're actually good WITHOUT needing a sense of eternal guilt to be forgiven. No, sin does not dirty you, rather, goodness makes you good. Goodness hides the bad things you may have done. But forget about those. Toss off any guilt from your past and live, dammit!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Gay Marriage Turns 1 in Minnesota

On November 3, 2012, I wrote a screed, delineating my position on the pending Minnesota Constitutional Amendment vote, banning gay marriage in this great state. Three days later, I encouraged everyone to go to the polls and vote NO!

The amendment suffered a resounding defeat, much to the shock and dismay of the Minnesota GOP. For months, they had been predicting that Minnesota would join other states in writing discrimination into their constitution. But this great citizenry decided otherwise. 

It was interesting to see the breakdown by county. The seven county Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area overwhelmingly voted NO! Rural counties all over the state were either evenly split or overwhelmingly for the ban. There was one anomaly that I cannot explain, even to this day. Way down on the border of Minnesota and Iowa, there's a tiny county called Blue Earth. They voted heavily against the ban. Thank you, my rural blood brothers and sisters.

Elsewhere on social media, directly after the vote, I began calling for the state legislature (now swung to the Democrats, including the governorship) to make gay marriage legal in this state. I received a lot of flak for that position, with the argument that legalizing gay marriage would be "overstepping".

I didn't buy it. It was obvious that the majority of voters cared about the issue in a positive light, enough to flip the entire state House and Senate, including the executive branch, over to the side of those that believe freedom for gays and lesbians to marry is written into the common understanding of what is not discrimination.

Through no fault of my own, the legislature heard mine and a whole host of others' calls. On May 9, 2013, the Minnesota House passed gay marriage into law. The Senate and the governor soon followed suit. Best part of all, two of the four Republican legislators that voted for gay marriage, Jennifer Loon of Eden Prairie and Pat Garofolo of Farmington, were those I have had great contact with and also live in the latter's district.

Happy birthday, gay marriage in Minnesota!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How I Lost My Faith In Humanity...And My Wallet

It was 8:30 AM. I woke up with a start and a shiver. I had been visiting a dear friend the night before, and had arrived home at 3:16 AM, hitting the sheets immediately. My alarm was set for 5:30 AM, and I must have turned it off in my sleepy state.

This morning, I was supposed to take Fred (9) and Naya (12) to work with me. I told them it would be an early morning. 8:30 AM is kind of early, depending on what time zone you're in, I guess. But I was late. I texted my boss and let him know I would be in a bit after our morning meetings.

Tossing together my things, I left the house with the two squirts, got in the car, and drove to the local Kwik Trip. I figured I'd be an awesome daddy and get them doughnuts for breakfast.

We went in, grabbed doughnuts, coffee, muffins, and iced teas, they both stuffed it all in my arms, and I hobbled out to the car. Fred couldn't open the door, being that the handle had broken off a few months ago, requiring expert skill in opening it.

"Daddy, can you open the door for me?"

I looked at my arms and hands, full of everything, including my wallet and my phone, ran through a few sorting algorithms I had learned in CSci 101, and decided that it would be my wallet that went on the roof of the car, freeing up my hand to open the door.

And that's where the wallet stayed - until it must have flown off when I crossed the town railroad tracks.

I drove out of town and got stuck behind some old rusty white Ford Aerostar. I turned my right blinker on to get over and pass him in the right lane when a green car drove quickly up beside me. Out of my peripheral vision, I waited until he would pass, thinking I would get behind him. But he met my speed, mile for mile. Now, I was irritated, but he wouldn't budge.

"Um...Daddy. That guy is trying to tell you something," Naya nervously croaked from the back seat.

So, in a huff, I looked over to see a young looking gentleman, earnestly waving his own wallet, which he was quite happy to still have, at the moment. We pulled over and he told me that he saw my wallet fly off back in town, by the train tracks. This was bad. Bad, because we had recently started a new budget, where my bride and I each had $375 to spend on groceries, gas, necessities, et al, every two weeks. I had $185 left in that wallet.

We raced back to find it gone. I called into work and told them I would be taking the day off to put the pieces of my life back together. I find it amazing how much of our little world we can pack into a little piece of leather.

I took the kids back home and cancelled all my credit cards. The second I hung up the phone with the last company, there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find a very friendly young lady on the steps. She had piercings all over her face. In her hand was my wallet.

A flood of emotions swept through me, the chief of which was, "This woman is going to get $50 from me, right now!" I opened the wallet to make her day - and found it empty. No cash. Everything else was in there (and now useless, due to all my phone calls), except the green.

All I could do was warmly thank the woman, chat about life a bit, and then say goodbye.

I sure hope the thief puts that money to good use. He or she obviously needed it quite badly.