Random Rantings

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Borrowing the Soap Box - AAAS issues warning to Pat Robertson

From "Brad Ideas" - forwarded to the Delaware Valley Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State mailing list by Diane Kinney
Original at - http://ideas.4brad.com/node/303

AAAS issues warning to Pat Robertson -- You have turned away from science

Washington, DC: The American Association for the Advancement ofScience (AAAS) issued a stern warning today to Televangelist Pat Robertson. Robertson had recently condemned the citizens of Dover, PA to the wrath of God for not voting in a school board that would teach Intelligent Design in classes.

"We'd like to say to the good Reverend Robertson: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to Science, you just rejected it from your life," AAAS said on its daily television show broadcast from Washington, the 3.14159 Club.

"And don't wonder why it hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. We're not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just pushed science out of your life. And if that's the case, don't ask for its help because it might not be there," they said. "In particular, you won't have a phone to call the ambulance, and it won't exist even if you could call it. And even if the doctor lived next door and you could call her, she would only bleed you and put smelly poultices on your forehead to balance your humours. And she would be a guy."

"Actually, we're just kidding," the AAAS later corrected. "Science works whether you believe in it or not. That's what's really cool about it," they said.

"What they said," indicated Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in an independent statement.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

Between a rock and a hard place:

"I don't understand how a religion that prides itself on forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I'm pregnant and choosing to have this baby," said McCusker, "If I decided to abort the baby, the decision to fire me would not have been made because they would not have known."

Comments anyone?


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Christian Persecution?

Replying To:
Reasonable Accomodation
By pastordan
on www.talk2action.org

A quote: "a distinction between the lack of a positive affirmation of religion and a restriction"

An attitude problem I am seeing from the Christian Right is that for them there is NO distinction between a neutral stance to religion (lack of positive affirmation of any religion) and a direct attack on their form of Christianity. Any organization that takes a neutral stance is automatically persecuting them. For them, the only acceptable reaction from the public square is to promote Christian values. Anything less is interpreted as an attack.

Take a look at the whole "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" debate in the news lately. All these Christian Right folks are boycotting stores that say "Happy Holidays" because they are not acknowledging Christmas. Who said anyone had to acknowledge a holiday? I don't get upset if someone doesn't wish me a happy Thanksgiving, or happy 4th of July... or what about National Pickle Day?

To them the acknowledgement of _all_ the holidays that fall at this season is somehow persecution against Christmas (and Christians)... But to me - doesn't "Happy Holidays" include Christmas? Or, if you will follow their own logic - not wishing someone a Happy Hanukkah would be persecution of Hannukah and the Jews....

That's why - whenever someone wishes me a "Merry Christmas" I'll respond with "and a Happy Hannukah to you!"

Monday, November 21, 2005

Borrowing the Soap Box - In Agreement...

A Response to:
The Persecution Myth
By jasonpitzlwaters
at www.talk2action.org

I have for several years supported Christian friends in their efforts towards the "Keep Christ in Christmas" type campaigns. Even though I am not Christian, I am concerned when the holiday has become so secularized that the assumption is that everyone celebrates it. Ask recent immigrants to our country, and many think that Christmas is an "American" holiday - right up there with Thanksgiving and 4th of July. Some adopt traditions of putting up a tree and lights, and don't know why they do it, other than it makes them the same as their neighbors. And this type of behavior just makes it easier for people to look down upon those of us who know that the holiday is supposed to be an exclusively Christian one, and therefore do not celebrate it. I feel that the move to "enforce" (so to speak) the link between Christmas and Christ may help our communities to remember that this is a religious celebration, and that there are a variety of religious viewpoints among our citizenry as well.
As for the comment about "persecution" meaning "disagreement" to some - I have seen this in action. Some people, when confronted with a person who does not wish to celebrate the holiday, automatically get defensive and feel like that person's "opt out" mentality is actually a personal attack on their ability to celebrate. It amazes me how pervasive this attitude is of being "under attack". I am very concerned that this persecution concept may/will morph into an "us versus them" mentality - such that people who don't celebrate Christmas are automatically lumped into the "they persecute Christians" group. The jump from anger at people actively trying to remove or change public Christmas celebration, to anger at people who simply choose not to celebrate is worrying. Will this give rise to communities where non-Christians are persecuted by being labeled persecutors?



From the website:

About Talk to Action
What if there was a place you could go to talk about the religious right, whenever you had a question and needed an answer? What if there was a place you could increase your knowledge, hone your skills and network with concerned and knowledgeable people all over the United States? What if that place was not controlled by an organization with a narrow agenda? What if people of any religious or nonreligious orientation who share a concern about the rise of the dominionist movement in the Unites States were equally welcome, and their perspectives were respected and taken into account as strategy discussions took place? What if that place had an eclectic mix of people with considerable expertise as featured writers who you could read, and question and discuss with every day? And what if those same experts and all of the site participants shared a spirit of learning -- and learning in the open -- about things that could affect the outcome of the most important struggles of our time? What if the goal of the site were not just education and the expression of opinions, but to think about and encourage taking action?

Check it out!
I'm excited, are you?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Diary of the Future... 12/4/06


effing luminaries...

Came home this evening to find a package on the doorstep from our civic association... Inside the small box was a kit for 6 luminaries - 6 colored bags, 6 notched cement blocks, and a cache of tealight candles. The letter accompanying all this explains that our neighborhood is participating with several other subdivisions in our community to sponsor luminary lights throughout the town on the 24th & 25th. They're even calling it the "Festival of Light"! The civic association would like everyone to place these luminaries on their curbs in front of their homes on the 23rd, and then light them on the nights of the 24th and 25th to celebrate Christmas. The postscript on the bottom of the page even says that if you're going to be away over the holiday, to just leave the luminaries out on the curb, and neighborhood representatives will come by and light them for you!

Well - the obvious trouble is that the luminaries come in a variety of Christmas patterns - 2 red bags, one with a candy cane outline the other with a santa face; 2 green bags, one with a tree and the other a sleigh; and 2 white bags, one with a snowflake, and the other a nativity scene...

Of course, I'd rather not have any luminaries... but I am not sure how that's going to play out... Avani from next door was at home when the packages were delivered, and when she tried to decline, the woman delivering them said that the civic association was "interested in 100% participation".

Maybe I can ask Pat if I am able to request 6 snowflake bags... that way, we still have the luminaries like everyone else, but we're not advertising Christmas... maybe if Avani and I ask together, we'd be able to do that... Pat would see that it's more than one family that is concerned about it.

Sam's calling - time for bed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Diary of the Future... 11/29/06

I don't know what I'm going to do about Betty and John next door... especially Betty - she's on the civic association, and causes so many headaches for me - and Avani and every other "different" family in the neighborhood...

Take Sukkot... every year she complains to the association that my Sukkah in the backyard is too much of a distraction, and takes away from the peacefulness of the neighborhood... especially when we have guests over and spend time in it.... we're "too noisy" or detract from the "peaceful setting" of our area.... luckily a few folks on the association ask her to compare what we are doing to anyone else's backyard pool parties or barbeques.... she doesn't generally have an answer to that other than to say that the Sukkah is over the top compared to just a "regular" party....

A few years back, she confronted me directly about it, and asked if it was possible for me to build the Sukkah inside our house, so it wouldn't be such a distraction.... I responded that the holiday specifically instructs the Sukkah to be built in the out-of-doors, and that I would never ask her to remove her Christmas lights indoors to keep down the light pollution.... I don't think she's properly spoken to me since....

Well - John's been suddenly active at Marcus' school, spending the afternoons putting together an after school bible study group.... and one of the things he did is order student study bibles from some internet Christian group that developed this curriculum for the after school groups...

So - what's this got to do with Betty? Avani told me that Betty got the idea from the same website that she should order family bibles for everyone in the neighborhood and give them out as holiday gifts! Of course, Avani, Cori from down the street, and even Mrs Gardner were shocked to hear about the plan to use our public funds for such a purpose, and tried to discourage her... but Pat thought the idea was great... so they're going to talk about the costs and decide at a "sub-committee meeting"...

Avani said that Mrs Gardner threatened to go to the ACLU about it - but that Pat threatened to throw her off the board if she did it...

Besides the bible issue - we're still trying to figure out what to do about the "godly neighborhood ordinance" as we're now calling it. Folks in our group are trying to lobby to delay (or perhaps even kill, we hope) plans to institute ordinances that would "guide behavior" on Sundays... right now, I'm more focused on our civic associations actions as well - since they are going ahead with pushing their own version of these ordinances as neighborhood guidelines for homeowners.

It's overwhelming...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

DefCon Blog: "Season's Greetings"

In the immortal words of Oscar the Grouch - I Hate Christmas!
It's not the holiday that is so bad - I actually enjoy spending time with Christian friends, and celebrating with them. It's a very nice holiday when done "correctly"... It's the whole "Christmas Season" that I have a problem with...
For example - when did Thanksgiving become an extension of Christmas? And why do we start with the decorations and celebrations right after (or in some places, even before!) Halloween? And of course, what comes along with this extended celebratory season is the assumption that everyone celebrates! That's what really gets to me.

Anyway - I don't have to say anything more... just read this:


The comments at the bottom are great too. I was going to post a response, but then the post by John McGinn says everything I would have...

-Emily Wynn

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Borrowing the Soap Box - On Kansas and ID

Occasionally I will post a link to someone who's got something interesting to say... Here's one of those posts:


What aught to be an open letter to the Kansas School Board.

Also - have you checked out http://www.venganza.org? The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster... Another great response to the ID folks.

Signing off for today,
Emily Wynn

Friday, November 11, 2005

Diary of the Future... 11/20/06

Dear Diary – I’m still shocked and dismayed… I can’t believe this happened. Remember when I wrote on Election Day that there was this referendum on the ballot that I didn’t realize was going to be there? And how no one else seemed to know about it either? And remember when I wrote about how the news only picked up on it after the elections were over?

I have spent the last few days in the company of a small group of protesters, trying to overturn the results of the election on this issue. At this point, our work has been to no avail. So, we are moving to try and raise awareness in the community to get people to fight against any weird laws that might be enacted due to the drastic political landscape change.

Unfortunately, it appears we will all need to come up with some community solutions to keep us all “legal” until we can figure out how to change things…

The local governmental officials who have just been elected want to “hit the ground running” even before they officially are sworn into office… they are pushing the current council to impose new laws based on the referendum by Christmas. The new head of city council wants this especially because he feels it would be a good morale booster ahead of the holiday – to get everyone “in the mood” to celebrate Christmas.

So – since we now are in a “godly community” according to the referendum – the first thing the new city council wants to do is to enforce “Sabbath Sunday” rules – like all businesses in the community being closed all day, and encouraging that all residents attend some kind of religious activity on Sunday mornings.

Oh My God (pun intended)!

I just can’t believe this… the president of our civic association is really pleased about all this. She wants to create a “neighborhood watch”… but the problem is, this watch group would not only watch the neighborhood, but also go door to door on Sundays to be sure that everyone was heading out to Church… at least once the new rules are in place…
I suppose I could enroll Talia in Hebrew School along with Marcus – she’s young, but they do have that new pre-k group… I was trying to save a bit of money by not sending her until she started school, but if spending the money means that our community is fooled into thinking we’re “going to church”, then so be it (I’d rather not get into the discussion with President Patricia that our Sabbath is on Saturday)… Sam and I will stay at morning minyan, and the kids will be in class… it’s a religious activity and on Sunday, so no one can complain… (hopefully!)

Anyway – it’s time for me to go to bed.