Monday, December 3, 2018

A government belonging to We the People being used to promote personal religious beliefs, and other elitist bilge

I've tried to keep myself from posting holiday commentary, but it's no use.  I have to.  Please bear with me.  Skip this essay for more music, if you wish.  I won't be offended.  In fact, I may just post this at my "Text" blog so as not to interrupt the flow of music offerings.

Every year, music bloggers like me, Ernie, and Buster, among many others, post holiday music.  According to many in the media, and to many folks employed by "secular" organizations like the FFRF (look them up for a nauseous time), we are promoting Christian privilege and working against religious inclusivity.  As far as I know, no one has specifically charged our group with doing so, but dig this quote from an essay by Andrew L. Seidel, Director of Strategic Response for the Freedom from Religion Foundation (the FFRF mentioned a few sentences back).  And you know that any organization which employs a Director of Strategic Response just has to be a humble and people-friendly outfit:

"So let me say again what I've been saying for years.  There is no war on Christmas. But many Christians are waging a war on the Constitution.  They are seeking to use a government belonging to We the People to promote their personal religious beliefs.  They are abusing the power of their office because they've never been challenged.  The war is not on Christmas, but on Christian privilege."

I'm a Christian, so naturally I'm curious as to how exactly we Christians (or "many" of us) are managing to do all of this.  I also want to know why no one told me about the plot, since it involves my religion.  We're doing this with... with Christmas?  We're using the country's chief holiday to carry out some kind of plot against democracy?  Personally, I think the FFRF folks should sit down, relax, take a deep breath, remove their tin foil hats, and just chill.  They have all of next year to go around suing small Ohio towns that don't have the money to fight a lawsuit.  Don't they ever take a break?

As for We the People, I have a newsflash for Seidel: The general public IS We the People.  Christmas is beloved by We the People.  It belongs to them.  Us, I mean.  So what the hell is the FFRF going on about?

Sorry.  That slipped out.

Meanwhile, the University of Georgia's The Red and Black newspaper declares that "Social and religious inclusivity does not mean a 'war on Christmas.'"  (I prefer "inclusiveness," myself, because when there's already a word for something, why make one up?)  So now it's about social and religious inclusivity.  Okay.  I guess this is all about the the huge popularity of Christmas.  And let me guess--the PC set regards this popularity as an unfair break for the other late-year festivals, and so something must be done to level the playing field.  Or maybe all the other holidays, tired of being ignored, called newspapers and secular organizations to lodge a grievance.  That could be it.

Come on.  Christmas is our big holiday because the public made it that way.  It wasn't too long ago in U.S. history that Christmas was playing second fiddle to celebrations of the New Year.  And, as we're reminded annually, the Puritans banned it.  And for much of its history, Christmas was a loud, drunken affair that rivaled OSU after-game parties.  Things change over time.  Those of us past the age of 50 have noticed that in our own lives.  Today's version of Christmas is just that: today's version of Christmas.  I think it's cool that the holiday has gone through different incarnations, and that's something that's bound to happen over seventeen centuries.  But it angers me when "seculars" and follow-the-leader journalists characterize our big holiday as a threat to democracy, religious inclusiveness, or whatever other excuse they can dream up for creating a fuss.  Most of all, it angers me when people treat Christmas as if it belongs to my religion.  It belongs to everyone.  That message is in the Nativity story, and you don't have to look very far to find it.

What we're seeing is pure elitism.  I'm not talking about the Fox News concept of elitism--I'm talking about the real thing.  Elitism isn't the property of the left any more than Christmas is the property of Christians.  Elitism is simply an outlook that holds popular things in disdain.  If the people love it, there's got to be something wrong with it--that's the mentality.  Middle class culture is the target of elitist prejudice.  And suddenly the attacks on Christmas and religion make sense--both are cherished by the general population, and so they become targets of elitist sarcasm and "sky is falling" hysteria.  The elitists in question have twisted themselves into knots in their attempts to justify their behavior, and of course they insist on portraying themselves as the heroes in their various narratives.  They're defending us against a multitude of middle class threats, and you wonder how they have time to go to the bathroom.

This isn't left vs. right, or secular vs. religious.  It's a group of elites annoyed at the popularity of Christmas.  I honestly think the children are jealous.  They sound that way to me.

Lee




Thursday, October 18, 2018

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Repost: Carl Sagan, the great science popularizer, vs. 1846 Sunday School text

Carl Sagan's famous essay, "Pale Blue Dot," is quoted and praised all across the cyber-galaxy, but just how original is it?  Ever wondered that?  How does it stack up, quotation-wise, against the 1846 American Sunday School Union text, The Starry Heavens (The Solar System, Part II)?  Let's find out by comparing select passages between the two texts.  Let's discover what 19th century children were learning about astronomy in Sunday School class in the days before the Civil War.

Sagan quotes are followed by select passages from The Starry Heavens:

Sagan: "The Earth is a small stage in a vast cosmic arena." And, "Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark."

The Starry Heavens: "What is the whole of this globe on which we dwell compared with the solar system, which contains a mass of matter so many millions of times greater?  What is it in comparison with the hundred millions of suns and worlds which, by the telescope, have been descried through the starry regions?"

Sagan: "Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one other, how fervent their hatreds.  Thinks of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.”

The Starry Heavens: "What, then, is a kingdom, a province, or a baronial territory, of which we are as proud as if we were the lords of the universe, and for which we engage in so much devastation and carnage?  What are they, when set in competition with the glories of the sky?"

Sagan: "Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light."

The Starry Heavens: "(The objects connected with astronomy) show us what an insignificant being--what a mere atom, indeed, man appears amidst the immensity of creation!"

Sagan: “It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.”

The Starry Heavens: "We have reason to believe that the most exalted beings in the universe--those who are furnished with the most capacious powers, and who have arrived at the greatest perfection in knowledge--are distinguished by a proportional share of humility."

We close with a highly ironic Sagan quote: "A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths."   Do those "conventional faiths" include 19th century American Christianity?

Lee

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Twitter, home of sophisticated utterances

Fidalgo, of course, is the communications director for the Center for Inquiry.  I guess they hired him for his eloquence....




Monday, January 23, 2017

Carl Sagan, the great science popularizer, vs. 1846 Sunday School text

Carl Sagan's famous essay, "Pale Blue Dot," is quoted and praised all across the cyber-galaxy, but just how original is it?  Ever wondered that?  How does it stack up, quotation-wise, against the 1846 American Sunday School Union text, The Starry Heavens (The Solar System, Part II)?  Let's find out by comparing select passages between the two texts.  Let's discover what 19th century children were learning about astronomy in Sunday School class in the days before the Civil War.

Sagan quotes are followed by select passages from The Starry Heavens:

Sagan: "The Earth is a small stage in a vast cosmic arena." And, "Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark."

The Starry Heavens: "What is the whole of this globe on which we dwell compared with the solar system, which contains a mass of matter so many millions of times greater?  What is it in comparison with the hundred millions of suns and worlds which, by the telescope, have been descried through the starry regions?"

Sagan: "Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one other, how fervent their hatreds.  Thinks of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.”

The Starry Heavens: "What, then, is a kingdom, a province, or a baronial territory, of which we are as proud as if we were the lords of the universe, and for which we engage in so much devastation and carnage?  What are they, when set in competition with the glories of the sky?"

Sagan: "Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light."

The Starry Heavens: "(The objects connected with astronomy) show us what an insignificant being--what a mere atom, indeed, man appears amidst the immensity of creation!"

Sagan: “It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.”

The Starry Heavens: "We have reason to believe that the most exalted beings in the universe--those who are furnished with the most capacious powers, and who have arrived at the greatest perfection in knowledge--are distinguished by a proportional share of humility."

We close with a highly ironic Sagan quote: "A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths."   Do those "conventional faiths" include 19th century American Christianity?

Lee

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Turd in the pool

Bill Maher always says to his religious friends, "If a pool had even one turd in it, would you jump in?"

My answer: "No, I'd wait for you to get out."

Cha-dunk, crash!!





Lee

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

HuffPo shows integrity by not doing its part to hype Trump, Trump, and nothing but Trump

At least HuffPo isn't going the way of the rest of the media by focusing endlessly on Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump....





Lee