Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Look! Someone Out There Says I Can Play a Sport!!!

I don't know about you, but I've never cared for sports, but I've also never been really good at them either, so they both kind of keep me from actually enjoying even watching sports, let alone participating... But apparently someone out there thinks I have a 50/50 shot at being a football player...

Hehehe, I'll be towel boy! :D

You scored as Football. You should play football- its the most popular high school and college sport, and creates a ton of school spirit.















Field hockey








Ice Hockey




What sport are you meant for??
created with

Welcome to Atlantis!

So there was only one road open this morning from my house in the general direction of work, so being the decent productive member of society that I am, I took it. Apparently I'm the only decent contributing member of society where I live, because said road was deserted, and I arrived at work a half hour early. Although that road is suppose to close at some point tonight when the Lehigh River crests, so tomorrow might be a sick-day due to flooding.
My youngest sister Cynthia has to evacuate her house last night, as the river behind her house is supposed to crest at some point late this evening. So she packed up her husband Chuck, their daughter Ceili (Kay-lee; Irish spelling: I also want to read Seal-lee), and the one in the oven, Collin. They are now at my in-laws house, praying the river doesn't wipe away all the beautiful landscaping they did to the backyard this past spring.
Apparently all my other siblings are out of the reaches of the flooding, although my mother is making sure to call us all before, after, and during work.
They say the rivers haven't been this high since Hurricane Agnes back in the early nineties, and even then, they might pass that flood mark record. And as the 12 inches of rain over the past few days has moved NORTH of where we all live, the flooding will only increase for the next two to three days, as we are all downriver of where the rain is continuing to drench the northeast.
But there's no global warming.
Darkmind, hope those pesky ferns leave you alone! And hope everyone else is okay too! Let me know how things are in your neck of the woods!


They just announced the evacuation of Tamaqua, where my older brother lives, as they need to open the damn upriver from them, so it's about to be underwater. Tom and Ann and the boys are heading towards my parent's house now on top of a mountain in the Pocono's... So far the Lehigh hasn't flooded the onlybridge leading to my house, but I'm on standby to go home at the first warning signs. Richie and my puppy will need company and extra hands to pump out the Basemantic Ocean if that happens....

The saga continues...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Family Update: Drama...

Before starting in on all the drama, though, I'd like to wish my younger brother Michael Abraham a Happy Birthday.
Now, for a full delineation of the drama and melodrama of the past few weeks, for the most part of which Rich and I managed to avoid through either being a long-distance call (regarding drama concerning the evil grandmother) or unavailable for other reasons...
  1. Uncle Calvin passed away. He was my grandfather's brother, the last of his generation to pass form this earth. Calvin's wife, Ann, and my grandmother never got along or had a nice thing to say to each other their whole live-long lives, but Grandmom was quite upset that she wasn't personally called by Ann to
    A. Tell her the news of his passing
    B. Tell her personally the time of the funeral services
    C. That she had to hear it form her second-born child and not Ann's lips herself.
    Grandmom then proceeded to plant a bug in both of my sisters' ears until my mother finally broke down and called Grandmom to tell her
    A. She didn't have to go to the funeral
    B. Ann has other things to worry about than sending grandmom a gold-engraved calligraphic invitation to a funeral
    C. That when the obituary said "private service," it was not a personal affront and slap in the face of grandmom, but a general announcement to the public in a newspaper.
    Grandmom did end up going, but didn't have a good time because none of her kids wanted to spend much time with her.
  2. My cousin Matthew was arrested about two weeks ago for breaking into some churches and stealing stereo equipment and other such things. Again, Grandmom was deeply offended when they ran the story on the front page of the local paper. Kip, Matt's father, handled it quite well, as Kip was known to have a few, shall we say "suspect," run-ins when around Matt's age, but Grandmom was convinced that from now on Matt had ruined his life, not to mention her reputation, and that Matt owed her a full explanation and apology. Grandmom then proceeded to call everyone she knew in the local calling area, even the family members whom she was most afraid of hearing the news, and apologized to them (and filled them in if they hadn't heard), and then promptly complained about how everyone knew about it.
  3. Poor little nephew Devin was in the hospital with an unusually severe asthma attack, but he is out now and doing swell from what I hear.
  4. My poor cousin Megan just lost her baby. She found out at her first ultrasound. But get this: Kip was always a bad father-figure to her, and Megan didn't call to tell him she lost the baby. She told her mother and her brother, and from there the information went where it would (which only makes sense--who wants to sit there and retell that to everybody by personally phone calling them?) But Kip gets upset he wasn't told personally by his daughter, then proceeds to call Grandmom, and then she's upset for the same reasons, but since she is also still waiting for that apology, as well as still personally affronted by the whole funeral fiasco, she gets my sisters to call my mother to call her so she can bitch about it all. My mother eventually gets a chance to call Megan with her condolences, and to let her know she has nothing to feel bad about in regards to Megan's father and grandmother.
  5. Mike gipped Mom and Dad out of $150 for curtains in his apartment. Why he needed them now after living there for four years, who knows. He got them to go to Walmart with him to pick them out, and then when they got in line to pay, Mike did his whole Oops! I'm short on cash. Can I borrow...?" Of course, they're in line, what are they going to say? Michael still owes Sylvia like $180 dollars for a car he bought from them after he abandoned his last car on the highway because it was just too much trouble to fix again. He now avoids their phone calls.
  6. Olivia had her MRI, and the lump on her back is nothing more than a fatty deposit, thank goodness! She already has so many health issues, one more would have been seemingly impossible, but alas, it never is impossible, is it? But she is doing well and looking forward to the first grade in September!
  7. These last four days of rain (constant fucking rain) have brought about the return of the Basemantic Ocean. These last few days have been spent pumping said ocean into the swampy backyard we have dubbed, from the movie Labyrinth, the Bog of Eternal Stench. Not that it smells, but it sounds good, and that's what life is all about.

So until the ocean dries, that will be all for the time being. The newsman on the radio gave me the following forecast this morning: Rain Tuesday, heavy into the evenings. Rain Wednesday, heavy at times, as well as for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Fucking weather. I need some horrible, wholesome sunshine!!! Someone has stolen it!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Great Link...

For all of you who are questioning the existence of God, please feel free to click on the following link: The Official God F.A.Q.

Thanks to An American in Melbourne from God Vs. Darwin for the link.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 1:
Sodom & Gomorrah

To read earlier parts of this series, please click on the following links:

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 1:
Sodom & Gomorrah

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 2:
Levitical Law

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 3:
David & Jonathan

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 4:
The Words of Christ

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 5:
Paul's Letter to the Romans

This is going to be a many-part series, which I will call "Homosexuality & the Bible: The Truth." This will be known as "Part 1" (Because I realized this was going to be really long, and the truth is almost never summed up in short, terse phrases).
Okay, reading a couple of the right-wing conservative blogs, most of these yahoo's wouldn't know what "Little Red Riding Hood" said about the human condition... So we are going to take the time to look at each mention of the "dirty" word in the context with which it was written, and hopefully someone out there will finally switch from a nightlite to a 60 watt bulb in their brain...
Our first reference from the holy book comes from Genesis, or what you may know as the story of Sodom & Gomorrah:

Genesis 19:1-11 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. He said, "Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way." They said, "No; we will spend the night in the square." But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them." Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof." But they replied, "Stand back!" And they said, "This fellow came here as an alien, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them." Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down. But the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find the door.
Let's get a little back story first, shall we? For when these stories were written down back in the day, it wasn't broken up into neat little chapters and verses, they were one long, continuous tale. Our tale today starts a little while ago. God and Abraham (Lot's uncle) have been bargaining, so God decided to send some angels to Sodom and see if any righteous person did indeed live in the city. God said he wouldn't destroy the city
if--after being knocked down from the number 50--10 righteous people could be found living there. (So much for everybody being equal in God's eyes...) So this is what brings our "angels" to the city. Lot sees them and says, "Hey, dudes, come on in! Let me put you up for the night! You don't want to go to the Square... I'll even feed you!" So they go in. It is unclear whether Lot actually knew if they were angels, or if he was becoming entrepreneurial, but he did bow down and call them lords, so perhaps they had that "special glow." So they're inside, chowing down on some kosher meal, I'm sure, when a bunch of "men" come to Lot's house and bang on the door, demanding to "get to know them." The specific passage states:

the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
Everybody. Young, old, every corner of the city. The actual Hebrew used in these passages really does mean "everybody," not just "men," although when the King James was translated into English, it was common for the word "men" to be used when talking about a mixed group of people; the masculine is the default noun for groups of people, much like we today use the word "guys" when referring to a group of persons of mixed gender.

So anywho, Lot is all beside himself (as I think anyone would be with apparently the whole town banging on your door; slight exaggeration perhaps?), so he says, "No, no, you don't want to know them!" Of course, knowing them inferred in the "biblical" sense of the word; think "sex" here. The word "know" is also the same Hebrew word used when Adam "knew" Eve [the word is yada`] and made little Cain and Abel.

So Lot's like, "No, really, don't rape my guests! Here, have my daughters! They're virgins!" (Great father figure, this Lot. Glad I didn't grow up in his house!) But, I'm guessing Lot's daughters were probably pretty fugly, because the town'speople were having nothing doing! They tried to break down the door, complaining about how Lot was all self-righteous, and they were gonna show him what's what! So the angels turn them all blind, and then tell Lot he needs to get himself and his family out of the city because God apparently couldn't find ten people of righteousness (and I think we can all agree, when a whole town wants to rape the new meat in town, they aren't very good people).

Look at the context here, people. The whole town (not just men, and that's the Hebrew word 'enowsh) wanted to RAPE the visitors of Lot. That's not a homosexual thing. That's not even a straight thing. That's a human violation, an attack, a crime. RAPE. And then Lot (who was apparently righteous for the angels wanted to save him and his family) offers his VIRGIN DAUGHTERS. Now, let's think for a second. If it were homosexuals only (which it wasn't) coming to "know" his visitors (which they were), would they have said "Oh, okay, great trade!" if they were gay? Of course, they didn't, but we already know it wasn't just men, now don't we? If it were to be "men," meaning those in ownership of a penis, they would have used the Hebrew word 'adam, which is used 121 times alone in the Old Testament to describe, specifically, groups of men only. But the author didn't. And Lot wouldn't have been stupid enough to offer gay men women (virgins though they were).

Later in the bible, when differing prophets mention Sodom and Gomorrah, they do so in the context of sexual sin and iniquity, but never in the context of "same sex" or "homosexuals." In Deuteronomy, Moses simply talks about how God will crush Israel's enemies like he crushed Sodom & Gomorrah; no mention of sin except for dwelling in the "promised land." (I guess they didn't have the deed?) Then in Isaiah, the prophet simply mentions that people should listen up, and heed God's word: again, no specific mentions of sins per se, except not being on God's good side due to idol worship and such, being non-Israelites. Jeremiah and Ezekiel, though, really mention a few key specific sins in regards to S&G, those being

Jer 23:14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

Eze 16:49-50 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw [good].
Now lets look at the words used as "sins" to see how they relate to homosexuality or same-sex relations:
  1. Adultery (Jer. 23:14): Hebrew word: na'aph
    Hebrew definition (from Strong's concordance [as all are of the following definitions]): 1. to commit adultery (a) (Qal) (1) to commit adultery [a] usually of man {1} always with wife of another [b] adultery (of women) (participle) (2) idolatrous worship
    What it means in layman's terms: Adultery is when a married man has sex with another person who is not his spouse. It does not include unmarried persons having sex with other unmarried persons, it doesn't include any kind of same-sex unless one of those persons of the same sex is married. Clear enough?
  2. Walk in lies (Jer. 23:14): I think this is pretty self-explanatory, and not usually pulled out of context. But just in case, Hebrew word: sheqer
    Hebrew definition: lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood
    Need I say more?
  3. Strengthen the hand of evildoers (Jer. 23:14): Hebrew words: chazaq yad ra`a`
    Hebrew meanings of phrase: "grow firm, be resolute, be sore" "hand (of man), strength, power (fig.)" "to be bad, be evil, to be displeasing, to be sad, to be injurious, be evil, to be wicked, be evil (ethically)"
    I think you can add that up without my help. But note again no homosexual context in any of the parts of Jeremiah. Now, Ezekiel.
  4. Pride (Ez. 16:49): Hebrew word: ga'own
    Hebrew definition: pride, arrogance (bad sense)
    Layman's terms: They were arrogant pricks (and I think you would have to be to bang on a man's door demanding to be allowed to rape your guests!)
  5. Fulness of bread (Ez. 16:49) sib`ah lechem
    Hebrew definition: "satisfaction, satiety, one's fill" "bread, food, grain"
    Layman's terms: They had a lot of food.
  6. Abundance of idleness (Ez. 16:49): Hebrew word: shalvah shaqat
    Hebrew definition: "quietness, ease, prosperity" "to be quiet, be tranquil, be at peace, be quiet, rest, lie still, be undisturbed"
    Layman's terms: They were lazy motherfuckers.
  7. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy (Ez. 16:49): Hebrew words: chazaq yad `aniy 'ebyown
    Hebrew definition: "to strengthen, prevail," "hand (of man)" "poor, afflicted, humble, wretched" "in want, needy, chiefly poor, needy person"
    Layman's terms: The lazy motherfuckers didn't share their plentiful amounts of food and money with the people who needed it most.
  8. Haughty (Ez. 16:50): Hebrew word: gabahh
    Hebrew definition: to be haughty, be arrogant (bad sense)
    Layman's terms: Snobby.
  9. Committed abominations (Ez. 16:50): Hebrew words: `asah tow`ebah
    Hebrew definitions: "to do, fashion, accomplish, make" "a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable (a) in ritual sense (of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages) (b) in ethical sense (of wickedness etc)"
    Layman's terms: They were doing things like marrying non-Israelites, worshipping idols, and other wicked things (like rape).

So as we can see from a contextual point of view regarding all mentioning of S&G, it wasn't homosexuality that God had an issue with. It was adultery, rape, not helping out people who are worse off than you, being snobby and arrogant, and generally all around being wicked. If God were to have specifically had issue with S&G in regards to homosexuality, I think he pretty much would have laid it out as he did in Leviticus, which will be covered in part 2 as the bogus use of scripture that it is.
Sorry this is so long, but that's why I'm breaking it into parts, and I hope some of the fundie's actually learn something from this. You may also feel free to print this up and give a copy to someone if you so desire. Just make sure to give me the credit for writing it. Thanks all! Stay tuned for part 2! (Unless this totally bored you ad made your eyes want to bleed, then you can hope I throw in some shorter, funnier posts between this and part 2!)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Paul the Liar... Or At the Very Least, Paul: The First Documented Case of Alzheimers...


Okay, okay, I know: a strong claim to make. But have you ever noticed how many Christians, fundie and otherwise, look to this man more than even the supposed words of Christ in the bible? Most sermons, most admonishments, most "lessons" pounded from the pulpit are from this very man's letters.

Of course, there are, to begin with, a few, shall we say, "suspect," things about Paul one ought to consider. Such as, for one, his "instantaneous" conversion.

Act 9:1-9
  1. And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
  2. And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
  3. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
  4. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
  5. And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
  6. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
  7. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
  8. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus.
  9. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

HE FELL OFF HIS ASS AND HAD A CONCUSSION, PEOPLE. Well, okay, let's give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment. He truly converted, was blind for three days, and some dude named Ananias was "called" by the lord to go to Saul/Paul, heal his blindness from beholding the glory of God, and then Saul/Paul would begin preaching in the name of God. Fuzzy-warm, yes? Happily ever after...

But no! So here's where the lie comes in from Paul's own words. Read the following three passages carefully:

Acts 9:19-29: "And when he (Paul) had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul (Paul) certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him."

Acts 26:19-21: "Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me."

Galatians 1:15-23: "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed."
Are we paying attention? Let's look at what we have here from Paul's own mouth. In Acts, Paul has his "vision." He then "Straightway" begins preaching in Damascus, amazing the people and basically "wowing" them. He supposedly "confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ." And then "many days later," a bunch of Jews plotted to kill him so he ran away to Jerusalem. He hook sup with Barnabas, and he in turn takes him to meet the apostles, who were afraid of him because he used to be Saul the persecutor and killer of followers of Christ. After some talk, they accept him as the real deal, and then they all go on a revival tour all over Jerusalem. Got it? That's Acts.

Then there's Galatians. Paul saw his "vision." And that's the only thing that remains true to the account in Acts. Paul "immediately" he did NOT associate with "flesh and blood" (i.e., people), nor did he go to Jerusalem to see the apostles. After his apparent conversion, he takes a few years to travel to Arabia then back to Damascus. He doesn't even mention preaching in either of these places. After at least three years, he finally makes his way to Jerusalem for the first time and meets only Peter and James; no mention of any other apostles (which you would think would be an important point, being a convert and former persecutor of Christians and all). He stays with them for fifteen days but, once again, he mentions no preaching campaign with the apostles, with some of them, or alone. None. He has never even been here before in the past, nor has he performed a preaching campaign here, since he is unknown to them, and they have "heard only" by way of gossip and rumor of his claimed conversion. He even claims, "Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not." So, if he isn't lying now, then he lied before about meeting all of the disciples, am I right? Or, wait, what if he's lying about not lying? Umm, wait, which part is true again?

Now there are some that claim that Luke wrote the book of Acts. So what if he did? Then is Luke a liar? In which case, should we believe Luke or Paul, neither of which were an actual disciple of Christ?

Either way, this spells a MAJOR biblical problem for all you "innerrant" scripture people. Prove me wrong. I double-dog dare you.

The Update:

Tom recently took some umbrage as to my supposed lack of detailing historical evidence of this supposed inconsistency with Paul's whereabouts, so, in the interest of keeping up-to-speed, here are a few things I will clarify due to his correct pointing out of some things:
  1. What is a double-dog dare? This is a dare beyond your usual dare. A double-dog dare usually signifies that you are so confident in your premise or truth that it takes someone with great cajones and great conviction to even attempt to disprove your point and/or stance.
  2. I do not believe the bible is innerrant. That's fine, but the point of the post was toward those who do hold to such a stance (such as Adam and Green). When it comes down to it, yes, there are some time differences between the actual writings of the two letters, some authorship issues that will never be clarified, and the whole "whisper-down-the-alley" effect of personal accounts being told by persons removed from the historical context in question. All of that is moot, though, when held in the view of "inerrancy." To be "innerrant" or "devoid or errors," there should in fact be no inconsistencies or half-truths or contradictory passages. My lack of pointing out historical facts and figures which would have clarified to non-inerrant position holders would have been nice, but not important considering the target audience (which almost truly none exist in this forum but a select few) for which the point of the post was intended.
  3. First things first: It is silly to expect the bible to be written in such a precision as today's books are written. First of all, it was written by probably hundreds of different men over a span of probably 5000 years (give or take a couple of hundred or so) and completed just under 2000 years ago. Think about that. True. No argument form me, actually. But we are talking about two specific passages which aren't separated by hundreds of years, but from (perhaps) two authors who were each others "contemporaries," and probably knew of each other, and maybe even met once or twice toward the end of each others' lives (if we assume Luke and Paul as the actual authors). They may not have, but they were close enough to each others historical time line that it is possible. For two such differing accounts in such a brief period of time amounts to one of two things:
    1. One of them was lying for purposes of either self-protection or mass deception
    2. One of them was flat-out wrong
    And either way, you still have a great contradiction to the target audiences perceptions for which they can not take up the double-dig dare except to hide themselves from the truths presented which refute their "inerrant" stance.
  4. And BTW, Paul was writing these letters to individual people in individual small churches in individual circumstances. He probably would not want these specific letters to be universally applied, and he certainly had no idea that they would be canonized and thus scrutinized to death for thousands of years, else he probably would've been much more careful with what he said and how he said it! Irrelevant. It's a fucking three year difference of Paul's conversion. Even if Paul was speaking to separate church entities (which he was), it doesn't explain why he would "forget" or even "change" the story of his blessed salvation unless he were lying or had something to hide.
  5. But I thought you knew more about it than what you have shown in your most recent post. And like I said, I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination. I might know more than the average person, but I am far from an expert. I just wish you'd put all that investigation and research you put into your fundie diatribes and perhaps incorporate them into your bible diatribes. You really do such a good job with them, exposing their hypocrisies and such. Thanks, I try. The post, while it could have had all of the historical facts presented, was not pertinent. But in the interests of all my readers, I will try to present a more inclusive and all-around coherent world-view for anyone who might be reading, as opposed to hitting a narrow target in the future.

And Darkmind? As much as I would like to not take fundies so seriously, they fuck up my life too much to not do so. Before you know it, they'll be fucking with everybody's if they have their way. Of course, I'm also very tired right now--who ever decided a work day should start at fuckin' 8 a.m.? I'm off for caffeine...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Rapture? Or Another Deluded Fundie? Only You Can Decide...

PRW: Press Release Newswire

Bible Scholars now predict a 98% probability of a nuclear terrorist bomb at the United Nations, on the Sabbath from Friday evening June 30th to Saturday evening July 1st.

But how can they convince New Yorkers that this threat is real? This is an unprecedented threat that comes from biblical interpretational Intel. Should it be taken seriously?

(PRWEB) June 19, 2006 -- Well, if it came from regular, non biblical lntel sources then the situation would be very straightforward. The procedure would be that the Intelligence Services would hold a press conference and announce a credible nuclear threat to Midtown at least 10 days in advance of the date, in order to give people enough time to plan an orderly retreat from Manhattan. This would hopefully not create too much of a panic because many city dwellers are last minute types, so the exodus would be spread over the next 10 days. They wouldn't even have to give the details of the intel behind the threat. They could just represent that they had sufficient evidence to evacuate Midtown and that they could not say any more for reasons of national security.

So really New Yorkers would leave Midtown due to the credibility of the US Intelligence Services.

But what credibility do the US Intelligence Services actually have? Did they not fund, arm, support and empower Bin Laden against the Russians in Afghanistan? Did they not fund arm promote and empower Saddam Hussein against the fundamentalists in Iraq and Iran? And who was it that opened the door to the Iranian fundamentalist revolution in 1979 by flying Ayatollah Khomeini from Paris to Iran to replace the Shah of Iran when he put the oil price up?

In all seriousness is there any major security threat to the US anywhere on the globe which hasn't been "fuelled" by the Frankenstein syndrome policies of our intelligence services. How good was their WMD intel in Iraq? What kind of a post war strategy sends 200,000 armed Baath party members home with their guns and tells them: You will have no part in the new Iraq?

So let us not have our thinking clouded by the James Bond status of intelligence operatives. The reality is that their track record is no better than that of the Bible Scholars of the Lords' Witnesses, who are now on their 2nd publicised date for this UN bomb. But who have also correctly predicted from the Bible the date of the Beslan atrocity in Russia, 2 years ago, the date of the G8 summit in Gleneagles last year and the date of the announcement of the UN Peace Building Commission at the start of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly. All 3 of these correct dates were advertised in advance in the Independent Newspaper in the UK and in the USA Today newspaper in the US (New York state coverage only).

So to the New Yorker with faith in God, their track record and their credibility must be at least comparable to that of the intelligence services. They may be kooks but they are no worse than the spooks!

Don't forget that the US administration are all going to government nuclear fallout shelters on June 19th see: Back to the Bunker.

From a religious standpoint, this press release is announcing what the old testament prophets Isaiah, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Malachi and what the apostle Saint Peter call: "The day of Jehovah." That "day" is a time period lasting 22 biblical lunar months. It starts on 2006Tammuz3 (June 30/July 1) with the first birth pang of the Kingdom of God, and ends when Jesus comes to earth again on 2008Iyyar29 (May 5/6), to gather all those with faith in God together for the post tribulation rapture on 2008Tammuz1 (June 6/7). During this "day," the various physical disasters of biblical proportions, many of which are nuclear, are described by the bible as the birth pangs of a woman, which woman is the holy spirit, God's wife, 144,000 of his loyal angels. She gives birth at the rapture. The birth pangs are an expansion of her womb, which is the last true Christian church. The way to deal with these coming disasters is to focus on the baby to come and not on the pain of the birth pang.

So if you live in New York, and you have more faith in God than you do in intelligence services, then you know what to do at the end of this month. Their first mistaken date was the first witness, this new date is the second witness. For God gives everyone a second chance. For more on this see True Bible Code.

So, anyone from New York want to tell me how worried they are?

Monday, June 19, 2006

This Ain't No Theological Quiz...

Although it would be fun if Tom were to take this one! :D

You scored as Out and Proud Queer. You're the Out and Proud Queer. Everyone knows you're gay, and if they don't, they soon will! Just watch out for those rural parts of America, where Rainbows are something shot at with shotguns by rednecks!

Out and Proud Queer




Drag Queen






Circuit Boy


Drama Queen


Str8 boi


Gym Bunny


Abercromibe Boi




Attitude Queen


What gay personality are you?
created with

The Ramifications of Online Quizzes: Harmless Fun or Spiritual Indicator?

Tom worries too much. I suppose that's what older brothers are supposed to do.
He just wrote a coherent post (seriously, folks, it's not nearly as rambly and unedited as his usual comments here usually are--it's more along the lines of his good writing as opposed to his free-association type posts...), but I'd like to touch on a few of his comments, as we Hughes' brothers are prone to do with each other's thoughts. It's part of what makes being a Hughes so great, if I do say so myself...
I, of course, feel the need to rectify something about the Theological Quiz I took a few days back. I took the quiz not only because it would be interesting to see what I would rate, but because I'm a sucker for the things--hell, quiz me to see the likelihood of the hair-balletic predisposition in the genetic RNA strands of my body, I don't care! I'll take the quiz! (By the way, if anyone knows where that quiz could be located...) I actually was disappointed because, with some of the questions, there wasn't a "I disagree with the entire question as valid" box. Granted, there weren't many like that, but I feel it should have been an option. Of course, as any good fundie would say, "Rejecting spirituality is never an option," but I'll leave the fundies alone for the moment. Trying to be nice and all.
It is true I read a lot of things that I am predisposed to agree with. Who doesn't? But I've actually written up quite a long list of books that I would like to acquire (another reason you find me digging through the book boxes at yard sales), and I hope Tom will be happy to hear, Spong is included among them (but of course, so is Stephen Hawking, but I'm pretty sure they won't be conflicting reads!). Barclay and Borg are also represented, but Tom, you are always more than welcome to drop off some things you'd like me to read whenever you drop off the nephews (although I doubt I'll be reading them while the neph's are present! :D). We'll see if Christmas this year holds any Borders or Barnes & Noble gift certificates, although I'm sure Tom will appreciate the fact that we never receive them.
I'm not exactly sure the history of atheism, as it were, but David Hume is also on my list of books to buy and/or read. Atheism certainly enjoys more social status than it used to thanks to developments in science and non-spiritual philosophies, although there is a persistent stigma of evil that is associated with the label. People, even non-fundies, often associate "evil" and "bad" with a person who even remotely expresses a thought or idea presenting atheism as a practice or belief system (for although atheism professes a non-belief in a deity, it is still a belief system, but we can go into that another time). In a totally ironic note, Christians themselves were considered to be "atheists" by the Romans for expressing non-belief in their gods of the day, so I guess the irony lies in the full circle of things that have come and gone!
I don't know if anyone but another person who has struggled with homosexuality can appreciate that piece of your soul that dies growing up the way we did. I'm sure there are plenty of other "sins" or "challenges" that young Christians (and older ones!) deal with, each with its own set of desperate prayers and clinging's to faith... but I don't feel I'd be able to justify the pain on this public forum, although the draft sits there constantly being edited and changed... Perhaps in the future...
And dude, I would never have called you a "shitty" older brother... just a disconnected one... :D I, on the other hand, prefer written dialogue as my thoughts are easier to sort through and study and think about. I have never been a very good debater, let alone a person who openly encourages confrontation (you should know that!), but I also feel written debate and discussion allows for more thought, more conscientious and critical explanation which, in turn, allows for less miscommunication--although it also presents the problem of conveying emotion (i.e., someone who is in a bad mood may read something totally innocent as an attack)--but I think my use of smiley faces [:D] and sarcasm is quite clear, although I could be wrong...

Today Is Seven... Seven Years...

Seven years of what? you may be asking. Today, seven years ago, is when Rich and I started our lives together.

I had first met Rich in, of all places, a church, an MCC church in Bethlehem, PA. I was still at a juncture in my faith (You know, to have or not to have...?), and I had seen a flyer about this church in the local paper. So I decided to check it out.

Not knowing Bethlehem real well, as I was an import from the Philadelphia suburbs, I left early to make sure I could find the church and, incidentally, was the first to arrive. I went in, sat down about halfway back along the outside aisle, just in case a quick escape was needed.

Others quickly filled the pews, and many friendly people came up to say hi and welcome me to the church, yadda yadda blah blah. The sermon was boring at best, uninspired at worst, but then they had communion! I had never been to a church where you were called to the front and had the pastor hand-feed you the bread and wine before. I was used to them passing it around up and down the aisles. Well, one of the "alter boys," or whatever they're called when they stand behind the pastor holding the plates of crackers and wine, was Rich.

First thought in my mind, Hello Mr. 1985! His hair was combed in some weird, double-curled bang thing that I suppose he thought was all the rage (it wasn't), a bright neon-orange T-shirt with a blue and white striped button-down over it, and khaki shorts and sandals complete with socks. My Dork-alert was yammering. Needless to say, though, of all the guys who were there, he was one of the more attractive ones, but I digress. I didn't go up for communion.

After the end of the service, I raced out the front door for a much-needed cigarette. There I met a bunch of creepy, touchy-feely older men. Rich drove by in his convertible with some other dude and waved. Not knowing this guy from Adam, I didn't wave back, assuming he was waving to one of the touchy-feely older guys who couldn't stop talking about sex... on the steps of a church... right after the sermon... Irony is great, isn't it?

That was around memorial day that year, 1999.

I didn't see Rich again until Gay Pride of the Lehigh Valley a few months later. I was at the Stonewall (Imagine that--a local gay bar named Stonewall...), and Joe, a casual acquaintance was there, and we got to talking, and he said he had somebody he wanted me to meet. I hemmed and hawed. I was there with then-current boyfriend Joey, whom I had only been seeing for about a week, having previously called it off with Jim (who was seeing other people behind my back), who had been a rebound from Chad (who had also been seeing other people behind my back), who had been my rebound from Robbie, whom I had dated for three years before he succumbed to leukemia. I was beginning to believe I wasn't meant to date anyone at this point in my life and would grow old with my cats, one of whom had just had a litter of five kittens.

So I begged off, and figured Joe had dropped the whole subject since he simply said, "Well, I'm going upstairs to get a drink--want anything?" I said no, and blended in against the wall observing the people dancing and generally having a good time, wondering if they were all cheating pricks, and I felt a tap on my shoulder. There was Joe with two drinks, and 1985 Alter Boy of the Year. Joe introduced us, we hit it off, and the rest, as they say, is history...

Incidentally, we did a major overhaul of Rich's wardrobe, although he would not give up the neon-orange Tee, at least he doesn't wear it in public anymore... too much... except grocery shopping... and maybe the mall...

Okay, it was a losing battle.

As a completely ironic sidenote, I now have no cats (except outdoor ones).
We will be celebrating tonight by having a candle-lit dinner of steak marinated in apple cider, with baked potatoes and green beans, followed by my favorite ice cream of all time, Eddy's Chocolate Chip Espresso....

Not that you needed to know that, but it felt like a nice conclusion to the post....
Coming up in future posts: Ergo has a point about Tolerance, My Family has way too much melo-drama and real drama going on in their lives, and Hawthorne will make a special guest appearance in honor of the Dog Days of Summer....

Till next time...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Toleration of Intolerance...

How does one show tolerance for intolerance? Or, to phrase it another way, how can a society that wants to promote and live in a tolerant society also include free speech and religious views?
Case in point: I received a e-mail from the American Family Association telling the story (and this time it isn't fiction!!!) about how an employee was fired for his off-the-clock views against the "homosexual lifestyle." Now, Robert J. Smith was a high-public official in the governor's office in Maryland. He was on a local cable talk show, and asserted on a local cable talk show that homosexuals lived a life of "sexual deviancy."

Now, I'm all for free speech. I agree that he should be able to say whatever he wants to say whenever he wants to say it. But what Smith, the failed Republican for Congress, didn't realize is that, as an employee of the governor, anything he states in a public forum, whether on-the-clock or not, is a direct reflection of the governor and the rest of the administration.

The Republican governor fired him, saying, "Robert Smith's comments were highly inappropriate, insensitive and unacceptable. They are in direct conflict to my administration's commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance and opportunity."

As another high public official, the governor, Elrich, apparently felt he had to make an example of Mr. Smith, citing "inclusiveness, tolerance, and opportunity." But wouldn't an administration in favor of "tolerance" simply brush aside Mr. Smith's comments as simply another view in the diverse group of people in his administration? I suppose he could have, but what if Mr. Smith's views caused disharmony and uncomfortable working conditions for fellow people in the governor's administration? It is apparently openly acknowledged that another board member of Maryland's department of transportation has a gay brother. What if Mr. Smith was causing issues where, on a board of public transportation of all things, homosexuality shouldn't even be a factor?

We don't know the whole story, but Mr. Smith certainly isn't the only person to be fired by the governor. From the article in the paper:

"In early 2005, former aide Joseph F. Steffen Jr. was fired after acknowledging that he spread rumors about Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, a political rival of the governor's, on the Internet. In May of last year, the governor fired the head of an Eastern Shore judicial nominating committee after the official used a derogatory term for Mexicans in his personal Web log."
This does indeed sound like a governor who doesn't put up with any shit, whether it would work in his favor or against. So Mr. Smith isn't some martyr for Christians, he is simply another person who crossed a line the governor had already made very clear.

But does this show hypocrisy on the side of the governor? Does not being tolerant of intolerancy result in hypocrisy? Or is it simply a price to pay in aiming for a utopia?

Tolerance defined is

  1. capacity to endure pain or hardship : ENDURANCE, FORTITUDE, STAMINA
  2. A. sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own
    B. the act of allowing something : TOLERATION
    • the allowable deviation from a standard; especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece
    • A. (1) : the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (as a drug) or a physiological insult with repeated use or exposure [immunological tolerance to a virus] [an addict's increasing tolerance for a drug]
      (2) : relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor
      B. the maximum amount of a pesticide residue that may lawfully remain on or in food

    Specifically, in part 2 of the definition, it states "sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own." Indulgence would be the key word, I suppose. But when it comes to a public forum, a political body supposedly for the people by the people, can dissension be tolerated by the so-called "tolerant"?

    Of course, there are degrees of dissention, such as "I think we should do this as opposed to that." But talking specifically in regards to the voting populace, which of course would include the homosexual population, can a right-wing fundamentalists even hope to pretend "tolerance," as Dancing Monkey Bush does, or is it all simply a charade?

    Coming from a strong Christian background, I understand some of the in's and out's of people who disagree with my so-called "lifestyle." My parents are counted among those, as well as a few siblings, maybe all of them. But it certainly doesn't prevent us from getting together for holidays, just-because occasions, or birthdays. But can a government wanting to promote a diversity of tolerance really allow for dissention when it comes to "tolerating" a minority the government is supposed to protect constitutionally?

    I am unsure if it can. I certainly wouldn't want any of the provisions in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights to be repealed or stricken. The right of religious expression and speech are fundamental to what makes this a great nation. My Christian parents certainly show a level of tolerance unseen at the national right-wing level, who constantly tout the "level of intolerance expressed toward Christianity."

    I know I certainly show intolerance for the right-wing. But, in my intolerance, do I wish to silence them, or take away their right to say or believe what they want? No, for that would go against societal tolerance. I simply want them to respect boundaries. Respect for boundaries are what keep a pluralistic society running. I respect their right to call me deviant, diseased, and a pervert. I respect the right to not be one, and I also reserve the right to call them full of hooey. What I expect from the government is to be is fair and tolerant of the rights of everyone to enjoy the protections and joy of civil marriage (and other rights), and not force any religion to marry same-sex partners if they wish not to do so (and of course they would not be required to do so under the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution).

    I guess it boils down to the respecting boundaries and beliefs, and the right of us all to express and believe in those beliefs and boundaries. Tolerating Christianity's right to call me deviant is one thing, but I simply cannot tolerate the fact that they want their beliefs codified into law to prevent other's from enjoying freedoms. Tolerance is a two-way street. One side tolerating an intolerant side claiming to be the victim of intolerance is, if I may say, intolerable. (Hehehe, I just had to!)

    Mr. Smith is entitled to his views, but he crossed a line as a public servant, a line he knew existed from previous episodes in this same administration. Tolerance cannot abide intolerance if it is the antithesis of a tolerant society's goal.

    It short, a tolerant society which wishes to respect all forms of tolerance and intolerance needs to make sure that certain levels of intolerance, specifically intolerance on a level which suppresses the goals of the society, cannot be tolerated. The government is in the job of allowing all to believe and live the life they are garunteed by the constitution, as well as the rights of others to be intolerant of others not wanting all people to practice those rights, while still allowing all access to those rights.

    Am I making sense? Do I need to clarify any points? Thoughts, suggestions, and opinions are welcome.

    Theological Quiz...

    You scored as Modern Liberal. You are a Modern Liberal. Science and historical study have shown so much of the Bible to be unreliable and that conservative faith has made Jesus out to be a much bigger deal than he actually was. Discipleship involves continuing to preach and practice Jesus' measure of love and acceptance, and dogma is not important in today's world. You are influenced by thinkers like Bultmann and Bishop Spong.

    Modern Liberal




    Classical Liberal


    Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


    Neo orthodox




    Roman Catholic


    Reformed Evangelical




    What's your theological worldview?
    created with

    Thanks to Bill Arends at Art of the Rant for feeding my addiction to online quizzes... :D

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    Evidence of Jesus, The Man

    I.e., not a god.
    So I had this gorgeous, long post about this and that and the other, but my power went out and I lost almost everything, and that makes me very pissy.

    Here's a link. Have fun.

    Stupid electrical grid.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Happy Birthday!; and, For the Love of a Spirit

    So let me wish one of my baby sister's a Happy Birthday! Yes, dear reader, today, in 1979, my sister Sylvia June was born into the world. I'll let you all do the math for her age on your own time. Happy Birthday, Red!!!

    So Adam G.--you remember, my e-mail stalker?--well, I hadn't heard from him in about two weeks, and I was kinda hoping he'd moved on to greener pastures--you know, where the still waters are that restore his soul? Well, he e-mailed me sometime last night with the following message:

    Dear Jason,

    May the Lord bless you and keep you! I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to let you know I have submitted your name before our church to receive prayers and affirmations. We are hoping that you can repent of your satanic ways and come to the light of our Father, and that the Holy Spirit will descend upon you and relinquish the hold that Satan has placed over your mind. Even though you don't believe in God, He believes in You!

    Sincerely in Christ's blood,
    Whoa! Satan has a hold on my mind? Huh, who'd've thunk it?

    Anywho, so I am now getting prayer from a bunch of yahoo's somewhere asking that Satan let go of my mind, and that the Holy Spirit descends on me. I suppose I could ask them to pray that world peace be achieved and that poverty be stricken from the human condition, but as I suppose that wouldn't stop me from having Rich in my life, it doesn't factor in to their version of God's great and almighty plan for the universe at large.

    So what makes the spirit of Satan and the spirit of Holy Spirit different? If one has a hold of my mind, and the other wants to have hold of my mind, in what way could I possibly be in control of my own mind? I suppose it could come back to the whole Exorcism thing, but I suppose they see a difference in being possessed by a "demon" and being possessed by a "god." Either way, if you ask me, I'm screwed out of being me.

    I wonder how Adam knows God believes in me? Did he receive some divine e-mail or something that says:

    Dear Adam,

    As I ponder this great world that I've created, I am bothered by the fact that I don't know if Jason knows I believe in him. Could you please drop him a line and let him know? Oh, and about that prayer request for your aunt's liver disease? Sorry, my answer is still no, but hey, at least I answered it! Just not the way you wanted. My bad,


    I guess it comes down to who you trust, doesn't it? People like Adam place their faith in an intangible spirit while I put my faith in my humanity. I know I'm not perfect--at least, not yet--but I still feel humanity can come up with the answer--and hopefully do a whole hell of a lot better than 42. Remember, we need something that sounds good.

    I crack me up! Anyway, back to Adam's condition. I am not bothered by the prayers. I am not bothered by the fact that some god somewhere might believe in me. I'm not even bothered by the fact that he felt it was his duty to splash my name probably in a church bulletin somewhere for all to see. But I am bothered by this... zealotry? I seem to be his gold medal or something. What, there aren't enough gay atheists to go around, so pick on me? Either way, my real contention is in his willingness to allow any spirit to control him. Why would I want to trade in one spirit for another? How can he be so sure, if these spirits who control us, or influence us, are even real, or that he is on the right side? I'm sure Satan would have a great sob story for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and that Ty Pennington and his team would rush down into the bowels of hell to put in some central air and filtration for his chronic breathing problems caused by the heat of brimstone and ash. Mayhap Satan didn't have a very good father-figure in his life. Perhaps he felt abandoned, or purposeless. Sure, the bible tells us he was vain and wanted to be like God, but really, what's the back story? Maybe we can get him on Oprah, and she can delve into the sordid story of his past.

    Nevertheless, I feel the need to let Adam know, once again, that he needn't feel confined to communicate by e-mail. This forum is open to all.

    But maybe the spirit controlling him won't allow it.

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    Make the Bad Man Stop!

    So Tom called last night:

    Tom: Dude, you at home?
    Me: Yeah, why?
    Tom: Turn on CBS.
    Me: What is that, channel 6?
    Tom: Um, I dunno. I have satellite.
    Me: What am I looking for?
    Tom: Blogger fodder.
    And he was right. It was really channel 3, but I figured that out soon enough. 60 Minutes was running a story on Plan B.

    Plan B? you ask. What happened to Plan A?

    Excellent question, my dear reader! Plan B is a contraceptive that, if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, will prevent an egg from becoming fertilized, therefore keeping a woman (or girl) from becoming pregnant. So, if, say, you and your boy-toy were having a roll in the hay, and "Whoops! Sorry, babe. Condom broke. But was it as good for you as it was for me?" You should be able to take this pill within 72 hours and know you won't be having any unexpected visitors drop in, say, 9 months from that point.

    BENEFITS: If your condom breaks, if you are raped, if you are already raising enough kids to stretch your budget tighter than the grip of Mao over communist China, all you have to do is, at this point in time, call your doctor, get a prescription, and you can take this pill within 72 hours to prevent becoming pregnant.

    SIDE EFFECTS: None. No one has ever died, no one has ever become sick, no one has ever experienced any averse side effects to taking Plan B.

    PROBLEMS: If you can't get an appointment, therefore, a prescription within the 72 hour time limit, taking it is useless. You are pregnant. The drug has no effect on an already implanted fetus. And due to the fact that there are no side effects to the drug, that is why the drug maker, after multiple studies, asked that it be allowed to be sold OTC.

    OVER THE COUNTER?: No. Why? Because Dancing Monkeys cronies in the white house, and one very irritating person with religious problems, think the drug will
    1. Make teen girls more promiscuous by making a contraceptive so easily available over the counter (Yeah, because condoms and such are so hard to come by)
    2. 1/10 of 1% of the time, the single-celled fetus which has already been fertilized every once in a blue moon is aborted, due to the pills' affecting the lining of the uterus to prevent an egg (fertilized or unfertilized) from settling there, and they consider this an abortion, which is presently a LEGAL thing for women to do.

    You see, there is an abortion pill called RU 486 which everyone in the medical community acknowledges causes an abortion of an already fertilized egg. You need a prescription. No one has ever argued about that. The difference is Plan B doesn't and isn't intended to be an abortion pill, and most of the time, the pill won't cause an abortion, as that is not what is was designed for. It was designed so that, if something happens beyond your control, such as rape or other birth control failing, you can take this and know that you are going to be okay.

    One of Bush's cronies decided it goes against biblical authority, that it is an abortion pill, and that he was going to pull all the stops to keep the FDA from making the pill available OTC.

    From the article on 60 Minutes:

    While most doctors do not consider that an abortion, anti-abortion-rights doctors do, such as David Hager, a gynecologist from Lexington, Ky., who won't prescribe Plan B for his own patients.

    "One of the mechanisms of action can be to inhibit implantation, which means that it may act as an abortifacient," says Dr. Hager. He says abortifacient means it causes an abortion and that this medication may act to inhibit implantation.

    In 2002, Dr. Hager got a call from the Bush White House asking him to serve on the FDA advisory committee charged with reviewing Plan B's over-the-counter application along with two other anti-abortion-rights physicians. But when Hager argued against Plan B at committee meetings, he didn't talk about abortion.

    "I was concerned about 10, 11, 12-year-old girls buying this product," says Hager.

    He raised moral questions. "I'm not in favor of promotion of a product that would increase sexual activity among teenagers," he says.

    Hager speculated about an increase in sexually-transmitted diseases. "I'm saying that it is possible that with the use of Plan B the individual may put herself at greater risk," he says.

    But the advisory panel reviewed 40 studies that refuted his objections and showed that Plan B does not lead to more cases of sexually transmitted disease, or more risky sexual behavior.

    Even Dr. Hager admits Plan B is totally safe. The FDA says there have been no deaths, no heart attacks, no strokes and no evidence of misuse or abuse.

    But he says one of his major concerns is that young women wouldn't go to their doctors if such a drug were readily available.

    "If we approve this for over-the-counter sale, then what is that going to do as far as what I call access to medical care for younger adolescent women?" Hager asks.

    Wood disputes that view. "Is this cutting the doctor out? Would it cut out their relationship?" she asks. "Well, in fact, I think there's strong argument that the physicians themselves want this product to be over the counter."

    Wood says the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Medical Association have all endorsed making this product available over the counter. That includes pediatrics, meaning younger girls.

    If Plan B is sold over the counter anyone--any age--could buy it easily in a drugstore, like cough syrup or bubble bath. A big part of this issue is whether pharmacies will stock it. What if they refuse to carry Plan B?

    In a survey of drugstores in Kentucky, Dr. Hager's home state, the American Civil Liberties Union found that most pharmacies didn't carry Plan B; 83 of them said they would even refuse to order it for women with prescriptions. These include Wal-Mart, which has a nationwide policy against dispensing Plan B.

    The American Civil Liberties Union got a prescription for a woman named Fran, and sent her to five pharmacies undercover. 60 Minutes went along with a hidden camera to see what would happen.

    Only one pharmacy, Kmart, had Plan B in stock; another drug store offered to order it, but the pharmacist told Fran it would take several days before they could possibly get it.

    Remember, it has to be taken within 72 hours.

    At another store, Fran was turned down by a pharmacist who explained that she believes it's an abortion pill. "The morning after pill is after you have that fertilized egg, and that is a baby. You are not allowing it to implant. So it is considered abortive," the pharmacist said.

    The next day, Fran and 60 Minutes went back to that pharmacy together and found the same pharmacist.

    "Anyone can walk in off the street and we can refuse to fill a prescription," the pharmacists said. Asked whether a prescription could be refused on religious grounds, the pharmacists said, "On any grounds. Personal preference. Any reason, we can refuse to fill a prescription."

    But the Kentucky state pharmacy board told 60 Minutes that pharmacists must have a professional medical reason, not simply a personal preference, to turn away a prescription for Plan B or anything else.

    The pharmacy did offer birth control but the pharmacist did not consider Plan B birth control.
    So, women's health comes down to the personal preference of pharmacists, doctors, and the like? What the fuckin' hell?!?!?! Are they going to raise their child by rapist? Are they going to raise your father's grandchild, and child, because the poor girl was raped by her dad or stepfather? Are they going to send money to the family who couldn't afford to have another child?

    After all this, the drug company asked that it be sold over the counter with an age limit of 16 as the youngest you are allowed to buy it at, and the FDA still refused... even though the new rules met the concerns of their previous ruling. Why? They're still thinking about it...

    You can't have it both ways, fundies. On one hand, you say you want less abortions. But then you say you can't teach safe sex, you can't dispense birth control, and you can't subsidize welfare and child welfare. You say you are a culture of life, but that's really only before birth and right before death, isn't it? Any other time, you blame the victim, tell them it's their fault, and to get a job at McDonald's, when even that doesn't pay enough to put their children in day care while they try to put food on the table.

    Plan B is safe, effective, non-abortive birth control unless you count a single-celled amoeba as a fetus that will allow women who can't afford children to prevent having another one. It will allow raped women and girls and women who are victims of incestuous rape from carrying their rapists child. And don't most of you fundies say you are against abortion except in cases of rape or incest? Well, here's your chance to prove it.

    Fucking hypocrites.

    It doesn't even matter if you are against abortion. Not one iota. I don't care if you shout it till the cows evolve into 6 legged arthropods that swim in the sea, if you are against it, don't take it. Don't use it. But don't decide someone else's fate. Not only is it unAmerican, when has your God ever refused you a choice, huh? Has God ever said you can't? No. He says you shouldn't, and you'll pay the consequences if you chose wrong, but he never takes away your choice. I'm just arguing from your belief pyramid.

    Abortion is legal. Birth control is legal. Plan B is simply another form of birth control. Don't believe it's moral? Don't use it. But don't fuck up someone else's life just so you can get a fucking fuzzy-warm feeling at night before you go to sleep. Lord knows you aren't the one who has to wake up at three a.m. to feed your rapists child.

    Thursday, June 8, 2006

    The "Culture of Life" Lie...

    I'm pissed.

    So the other night I'm watching PBS, and the had a story called "This History of AIDS." 2 hours. Very interesting.

    Who here has ever heard of the "Mexico City Policy"? It was even part of a trial on Boston Legal a few weeks ago. It's a policy put in place by Reagan, Bush Sr., eradicated by Clinton, put back in place by Dancing Monkey, and it says basically this:

    The Mexico City Policy announced by President Reagan in 1984 required nongovernmental organizations to agree as a condition of their receipt of Federal funds that such organizations would neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations. This policy was in effect until it was rescinded on January 22, 1993.

    It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or advocate or actively promote abortion, either here or abroad. It is therefore my belief that the Mexico City Policy should be restored. Accordingly, I hereby rescind the "Memorandum for the Acting Administrator of the Agency for International Development, Subject: AID Family Planning Grants/Mexico City Policy," dated January 22, 1993, and I direct the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to reinstate in full all of the requirements of the Mexico City Policy in effect on January 19, 1993.

    Now, let's examine this a little more closely, shall we? The Dancing Monkey philosophy is this: Teach Abstinence.

    What? You thought it would be longer? Never give the Dancing Monkey credit he hasn't earned.

    In the 90s, Uganda was at the forefront in preventive HIV/AIDS prevention. They had a system where the government actively taught abstinence, monogamy, and CONDOM USAGE. They cut their HIV infection rate in half in just one year. It kept going down... down... down... until they accepted money from us, under the terms of the Mexico City Policy.

    The AIDS epidemic re-exploded onto the scene.

    It's happening all over the world. The United States is the leader in funding medical funding in developing countries around the world. But it comes at a cost. Millions of lives.

    Let's talk about abstinence for a moment, shall we?

    1. voluntary forbearance especially from indulgence of an appetite or craving or from eating some foods : ABSTENTION
    2. habitual abstaining from intoxicating beverages

    Refrain. Don't do. And to the right-wing moronic idiots like Dancing Money and Tango Monkey (read: Pope, Catholic Church), it is the one sure-fire method for preventing the spread of HIV. And they aren't wrong. It is the only sure fire way to prevention... but do people do it, or more precisely, not do it?

    I think we all know the answer is no.

    People have sex. People are wired to have sex. It feels good. Evolution knew it needed something to make sure we kept the species going, and we did not disappoint. Even here, in the U.S., under Dancing Monkey's "Abstinence Only" funding, teen's all over America have taken "vows" and such to abstain until marriage, but how many keep those vows? See these articles: The data goes on and on like that, and it has for years. Kids are going to have sex. And if all you teach is abstinence, and not SAFE SEX, more are going to get pregnant. More are going to get sick. More are going to die.

    Teaching kids about condoms and safe sex isn't immoral. Not teaching them is naive and dangerous.

    The Pope still thinks Jesus will prevent married spouses from giving one another AIDS when one has it and the other doesn't. How that man can sleep at night, I'll never know. He also just put out a sweeping condemnation on not only the use of condoms, but artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization, and any other "artificial" ways of conceiving a child...

    How is this a culture of life? Not only do we ignore preventive measures that at least give you a better chance (though certainly not full-proof) of not getting infected by HIV/AIDS if they choose not to abstain, but then we tell couples that can't just have sex and pop out a kid that they can't pursue other means of doing so? Sure adoptin is an option, but until the state and federal governments make adoption an affordable alternative, people are going to spend their money to keep their gene pool going.

    There is nothing wrong with teaching abstinence. It's a good thing. But to think that only teaching abstinence is the way to go is stupid, plain and simple. Teaching people to put their faith in the church's policies that dictate condom use is a no-no, and that they won't get AIDS even though their spouse in infected, is really stupid and certainly isn't life affirming.

    It is sentencing millions who rely on the church for a "moral" life choice... to death.

    Wednesday, June 7, 2006

    Today I Made My Mother Proud...

    So our dishwasher has been busted for about a week now. Luckily, Rich is a paranoid freak and purchased the extended warranty on the freakin' thing, so (hip-hip-hooray!) they will come and fix it for free. Problem is, their next open slot for a service call if 6/14.

    Let's see, carry the one...

    Yes, ladies and gentlemen (and those who are somewhere in between), that is almost two weeks we have been, and will be without, my favorite appliance.

    But tonight, I broke down.

    And not only did I do two weeks worth of dishes in about an hour, I did them well. And to boot (and this will also make my brother happy), I figured since I all ready had the soapy water and the rag out, I even washed out my microwave...

    Trust me, if you ever need proof of a miracle (and I know some of you do), there you are. Jason Timothy Hughes, slacker and all-around avoider of household chores, cleaned out 5 years worth of pizza stains, blown-up spaghetti, spilled vegetable oil, exploded potatoes, and other miscellaneous stains and smudges...

    Yes, my mother, the insane clean-freak of childhood past, will be proud.

    Now if only I could get a self-cleaning microwave with an extended warranty...

    What am I thinking? I was told in seventh grade we'd all be driving hovercrafts and snow would be nonexistent... (Mrs. Sassaman was a bit of a doom-sayer, plus she had green hair that I think was supposed to be more of a platinum blonde...)

    I'll give it another 15 years or so...

    Tuesday, June 6, 2006

    Brace Yourselves... This Is Long...

    So, Happy Devil's Day! Here it is, 6/6/06, and God didn't even have the decency to rapture the fundies before I had to go into work. Sigh. Oh well, another day, another dollar, another broken promise of the fundies. I shouldn't be surprised, but I am slightly disappointed, coming off a long weekend and not wanting to return to work, but whatever. So my brother Tom, after months of hiatus from his shared blog decided to write an undecidedly long post of ramblings and thoughts about where the rubber meets the road in our differing world views. I am always interested in what Tom has to say, as, even though I never thought of him as an older brother in the best sense of the word, I consider him a great person and friend. Of course, among his ramblings, I am shocked to read,

    Scott is unabashedly Republican, while I'm a closet Republican. I'm also a closet Christian--what I like to refer to as Xian for reasons I can explain if the reader so desires.
    The shocking parts are the words "closet Republican." Geez, you think you know a guy, am I right? :D So anywho, I digest this briefly, consider my brother, and realize that this isn't because of something they slip into the sacred marriage vows at the civil courthouse:

    Judge: Sign here, and here, oh, and initial here...
    Groom: Wait, what's that say?
    Judge: Oh, that's nothing, it just changes your voter status...
    Bride: Oh, like my last name for voting purposes?
    Judge: Er, something like that. Man and wife, on your way, now. Congratulations...
    In walks secretary.
    Secretary: Got them to become Republicans?
    Judge: They joined a sacred institution that evil gays and lesbians want to defile, they signed the papers, they took the vows to become Republican! Praise Jesus!
    So he's republican. I'm actually okay with that. Some of the things that this administration sorely lacks are good republican values, such as small federal government and a balanced budget... But whatever. I continue reading as he breaks down his beliefs and labels, all very interesting and well said. I eventually get to his "direct address" of my posts, and one of the things he states is:

    The fact that you and I [...] were born into a cultish family. [...] Two people with five kids doing the best they can with what they've been given, raised in a strict and poor environment reacting against the destruction and disillusionment of World War II, the Cold War, and all the fear and loss and abandonment issues that go along with all that: not a cult. Not even cultish environment. Not ideal? Perhaps. But what is an ideal environment? Ours was certainly better than most. If you don't believe me, go to Mexico, China, India, North Korea, much of Eastern Europe, South America, and Africa. This country is far, far from perfect, but it still is a great place to grow up and live in, considering the alternatives. And our parents, while far from ideal, are still great, great parents, considering the alternatives. Hell, you don't even have to go far to see that. Come with me to Reading for just one day and read the journals of my kids or get into a conversation with them about their home lives. I guarantee you your heart will cry out to them.
    I would like to take the opportunity here to state, up front, in case I've mislead anyone, that I did not have a bad childhood. Never even crossed my mind, in fact. Even though there were five of us, we never wanted for anything (although we thought we did!). We had more toys, more square footage, more things to do and places to go than most other kids I knew growing up. Were my parents perfect? No, but they tried, and they tried damn hard! I can't even imagine how one child would screw up my lifestyle as it presently is, let alone five born within six years of each other! But they had a love and a desire for us to grow up healthy (despite my mothers' almost killing me twice as a child... funny story, for a later post!), happy, and god-fearing. Do I think there are things they could have done differently? Who doesn't? A childs number one job through their twenties is to let their parents know how they screwed up, and make sure they know we won't make those same mistakes... and in our thirties, when we become parents, if we do hold to our promise to not make the same mistakes, fresh ones are created, and we have to wait until our kids are in their twenties before we find out what those mistakes were... Circle of life and all that.

    And while I'm not saying you have beefs with Mom and Dad, reading between the lines in many of your posts, and especially when you throw around words like "cultish" when describing our family, I sense that there are real feelings of anger. Perhaps this anger is justified, and I'm sure writing about it all is extremely therapeutic, like my writing was (and is even now) during my separation from Ann, but I just want to hopefully point out that Mom and Dad were doing the best they could with what they had, reacting and acting with and against a system of beliefs that has been giving security to untold millions for thousands of years--even before JC hit the planet. They haven't been given our discerning and inquisitive faculties, so we need to forgive them when they bust out the "Jesus in the heart" thing.
    I do have anger. I will admit it. "Hi. My name is Jason, and I have anger." (Politely waiting while everyone shouts back, "Hi, Jason!") I do believe "cult-ish" is a very apt phrase for describing the right-wing church of today. They have dogma, and they have faith, but they have no sense of self-analyzation or self-awareness that allows them to break free from a poisonous atmosphere. My parents are victims of this mentality, and while it may not fit Webster's definition of the word, it's the best I can come up with at this point. But I'll digress.

    Being raised in the church was a lot like being raised by... I'm not sure there's an apt correlation. You are told from day one all kinds of lies, and not the fuzzy-warm kind like Santa Claus. Santa brings you presents, Santa shows up one day a year, Santa was very godlike without all the smiting and "thou shalt nots" of the bible. He didn't make you feel bad about yourself, he simply gave you incentive to be good through bribery.

    God, on the other hand... First off there's hell. Then there's all the lies you're fed as a child that have nothing to do with reality. Creation. Miracles. Sin. Talking snakes and donkeys. Worldwide floods, dinosaurs on the ark.

    Sure, there's right and wrong, but then there's circumstances, red hair, left-handedness, homosexuality, life in general, not to mention taxes and a mortgage. I think it all boils down to this: God has no place in life. Sure, it's all well and good to say "Thou shalt not steal," but as one argument I had with a fundie went, If it came down to stealing a loaf of bread or letting your family starve to death, which would be the greater evil? Of course the fundie answered, Letting your family starve to death would be worse, and that he would steal a loaf of bread to feed said family, but it would still be wrong, and they wouldn't try to justify that wrong. I pointed out (quite kindly, I thought) that they had already justified the "sin," and that there were no two ways about it. I was promptly told to buzz off and leave him alone.

    But life always comes down to these fuzzy gray areas of "justification," "morality," "relative evil," and all sorts of other such tidbits of right and wrong. Yes, there is something to be said for security blankets. Many people look to a higher power for purpose, for explanation, for a sense of control and the evading of responsibilities... But was your favorite blankie not taken away when you reached a certain age? Were Santa and the Tooth Fairy not revealed in all their ugly reality-ishness when it came down to the nitty-gritty of why you didn't get that bike? Or when you discovered Dad "helping" the tooth fairy when he accidentally woke you slipping that quarter under your pillow? There comes a time in everyone's life when they have a choice: to examine their beliefs, find out what holds water and what doesn't, figure out the why's, and move on to the next. Tom also wrote:

    It was hard for me to learn that Dad's not exactly the smartest guy in the world. Like most boys, I remember viewing Dad as the be-all and end-all of knowledge. But when I started learning that things he told me were wrong, or when he would just flat-out tell me that he didn't know certain things--and even worse, that he didn't even think about certain things!--that blew my mind. I've come to learn that Dad's a simple guy, yet very wise and certainly very loving--even if he doesn't show it. He's also a deep dude that suppresses a lot because he doesn't have either the cognitive abilities or the desire or the stamina to get to the bottom of certain things. He questions some, but when it gets too hairy, he relies on others to do his thinking for him, and those whom he chooses to rely on are run-of-the-mill preachers and conservative thinkers, not intellectuals or academics. The problem is he's not much different than most people. People like cookie-cutter answers that they can rely on for security. They like these because life is too tough to think about. When you have to support your kids and maintain a home and property and please squabbling family members and financially help others and be a leader in the community and be a loving husband and father and wear all these hats--it's tough.
    I don't doubt it! If anyone here thinks life is easy, please raise your hand.... (perusing the sea of millions of readers stopping by...) Okay then. I hold no issue with life being hard, or that life gets so crazy busy that we can't take the time to stop and smell a rose, let alone crack open a book for the sake of learning... But should that e an excuse to not learn? It is certainly a reason, but as an excuse it falls flat on its face. Not that Tom is guilty of doing this... I'm amazed at how much Tom cranks through even with wife, kids, and school. Ann as well! Tom has certainly found a spouse worthy of him!

    But then you look at our parents... Mom thinks she's learning great and wonderful truth by simply turning on the boobtube every Sunday morning. Maybe she is, maybe she isn't. It certainly isn't learning to hear the same old crapola vomited out by another fundie pastor with a differing sermon title... But there can be learning and new insight in the very same repetition, I will say that. But what about hitting a temple every now and then? Sitting in the library and looking at the variety of points of view presented there? How about looking up Hindus for the hell of it, just to see their take on the whole thing? I mean, geez-louise, they have over 250 channels on the satellite, and what does Mom always tune in to watch? HGTV.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I enjoy boobtube time just as much as the next American. There are times when I just sit back, prop my feet on the coffee table, and mindlessly watch a few hours of nothing at all. But there are those times when you just need to learn. To search on the web for a few hours and learn something. Am I wrong here?

    Mom and Dad are simple folk. They grew up poor. My Dad ate green bean soup most of his childhood. My Mom heard about how she was ugly and worthless from my grandmother, and that it was her fault my grandmother had a rotten life because grandmom spread her legs when she was sixteen for my grandfather. (Crude? Yes. Any less truthful? No.) It's amazing my Dad had the where-with-all to go to college and achieve that better life for himself. It's amazing my mother didn't turn out to be a monster like her mother. I have been very blessed with parents that had enough sense to want to do the right thing, even if they couldn't analyze the depths of where that wanting I feel should have taken them. But I do feel my brother is wrong when he says I hold anger toward them, because I honestly don't. I am angry at a belief system they cling to that doesn't help them grow as people but stagnates them into a swamp of dead faith. I am angry at the pervasive tendrils of poison the "mother church" seeps into every aspect of our secular nation, trying to usurp the Constitution and the freedom of religion guaranteed to us all. But I am also angry at myself, for the lost years I spent perpetuating that evil.

    Yes, my parents could get off their duffs and learn something new. But they are comfortable with their lives. I cannot fault them for that. They have mellowed (to a degree) in their middle-age years, and for that I am grateful. My mother continues to be semi-open to new ideas. My father still believes in a literal 7 day creation process in which god apparently made "every creature to produce after it's own kind," his main argument against evolution, which I can tear apart later.

    Maybe Tom also projects his (former?) anger into my posts a bit. Maybe I am more angry than I realize. I am not sure. Maybe it is all one therapeutic conundrum of a blog and eventually will go the way of the treadmill in the American home. (Mine presently makes a great hanging-plant staging area!) Or perhaps this is just more of nothing. Who knows?

    Tom continues:

    Stop, think, and look at yourself. Look at people. As you have rightly and recently stated, and as I myself have recently learned from one of my greatest teachers out in California, all of our knowledge has come from one person telling another person. Even if you stick revelation from an outside source into the mix (as I would do because I do believe in God who speaks in revelations, but I certainly am open to refutations on this premise as I journey at all times seeking unadulterated truth), revelation only comes in spurts, and that revelation only comes to certain individuals. So this revelation needs to be disseminated somehow, and the only way is person to person. So don't be angry at God or Jesus, be angry at people, be angry at yourself, and then start investigating once the purging has ended. Too many people think they are seeking, when really they are just stoking the fires of their own malice deep inside of them.
    I did state that, but I do believe I also stated that "revelation," as it were, does not need a divine source. It simply needs a mind that puts 2 and 2 together to come to 4. Do we always like that 4? No, and most people will eventually follow the 4 to another 4 and arrive at 8, while a lot of people are still discussing the merits and fallacies of the original 4. The bible can be boiled down to two points Jesus supposedly made back in the day: Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    Point 1 is irrelevant. Love the intangible, invisible, won't directly intervene in life even though he loves you to death god? May as well love the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon 6. This divine revelation Tom speaks of really (in my honest opinion) has not one shred of relevance or use in man's day to day life.

    But point 2? Love your neighbor as you love yourself? This is the whole of human interaction at its finest. The ability to treat other people, regardless of race, religion, background, ethnicity, sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation, gender perceptions, hell, lawn care procedures and dandelion removal techniques. When one treats another as they would like to be treated, the human reality gets beautiful. Truly, amazingly beautiful. Why does this need a divine being behind it? Why couldn't a young lady in Middlesex, England, have come up with this? Why des it need a god? Why does anyone?

    It does (sort of) come back to a security blanket of sorts. A godless existence is scary for many. A godless, pointless existence maybe even more so, depending on who you ask.

    I, for one, put my faith in people. And although I have been extremely disappointed in the past, both by secular and religious types, being the eternal optimist that I am, I believe quite strongly that each and every person on this earth not only has the ability to be a decent and wonderful creature, but to make life meaningful in and of itself. Without an outside "divine" set of mores and values, without a stone tablet carved from on high by an old man crazed by the desert heat leading his tribe away from their oppressors, and without a horned beast whose favorite number is triple 6's bent on destroying us.

    We do plenty of that ourselves.

    As a complete at utter side note, Tom pointed me in the direction of this article which is a great fuzzy-warm and filled with truths of a sort, that I haven't completely all soaked up yet but is still an interesting read, especially for you fundies! (Adam, that means you!)