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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Religious Tolerance: OK For Me but Not For Thee

  Indiana made big news recently with the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It prevents local and state government from "burdening a person's right to exercise their freedom of religion". It was seen as a big win for Christians who seem to be targeted more today for their beliefs than anyone else. Gay and Lesbian groups say it is a license to discriminate.
  While Indiana was making headlines with the signing of this bill which becomes law on July 1, something happened in Iowa that did not make news. At the closing of the invocation marking the opening ceremonies of the Iowa House of Representatives legislative session, a prayer was delivered by Wiccan Priestess Deborah Maynard.
  Queue the double takes. What?! A state full of good Christian God-fearing farmers inviting a Witch to say a prayer in the Statehouse? You bet your pitchforks. But while we are on the subject of religious freedom, some curious things happened during that prayer.
  Some of the lawmakers did not attend the ceremony to protest the prayer. Some did attend, but turned their backs, again in protest of the prayer. Members of a local church protested outside the Capitol. Seems like a lot of to do about a little prayer. But wait a minute, aren't we talking about religious freedom, religious tolerance? Aren't these the same people who cheered for the Indiana law?
  Well, yes they are. Maybe right here is where some questions need to be asked. America's very founding is on a bedrock of freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, even the right to protest freely. The first immigrants to the new land came here to escape persecution at home, and to worship as they saw fit. Are the descendants of those who first arrived now saying that religious freedom, religious tolerance is selective? As a Wiccan, am I being asked to stand in solidarity, something I am quite willing to do, with my Christian brothers and sisters who are asked to bake wedding cakes for gay weddings, and refuse because it is something that goes against their beliefs, while a Priestess of my faith is disrespected as the very people who now demand religious tolerance turn their backs on her in "protest"?!
  Wicca is a religion that is very often misunderstood. Many people assume we are a cult of Devil-worshippers. That and many other things about my faith that could not be further from the truth. Also true is that there is a fair amount of Wiccans
 and Pagans who do not have nice things to say about Christianity, many times based on their own life experiences. No one can tell you that your own experiences are wrong, but those assumptions are not right either. I can't speak for other Wiccans and Pagans, but I have never demanded that others of different faiths agree with what I believe, what I do ask is that you respect it, just as I would yours.
  One of the Iowa State Reps said that he asked himself, in this situation, "what would Jesus do"?
  Great question, what do you think he would do?         

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fishing For Christians

  It is the gift that keeps on giving, the story that has no ending. A new story or opinion can be written everyday, and is, about the state of the mainstream media. It is not clear just what it is they practice anymore, but one thing is for sure, it definitely is not journalism. And recently, with the attention of the nation on Indiana and its new Religious Freedom Act signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence, the practice is clearly that of creating a narrative and furthering an agenda.
  A textbook example of this could be seen in a report by CNN. Being the loyal foot soldiers of the Left that they are, they took a trip to Jeff Davis County Georgia. It is a rural community, south of Atlanta, with a population around 15,000. It is also not a wealthy county. But what Jeff Davis County Georgia is rich in, is bible believing Christian business owners. It no doubt did not take the interns in charge of research much time to hunt down Jeff Davis County. It also did not take more than a cotton-pickin minute to hunt down said business owners, florists even, whose words CNN could twist to make it look as if they were fresh from the Klan meeting.
  As expected, most said they were bible believing Christians who did not believe in gay marriage. One woman even had a son who was studying to be a Southern Baptist minister. CNN had hit the hill billy jackpot.
  The targeting of Christians may have begun quite by accident. Maybe one gay couple really did encounter a bakery who would not bake their wedding cake. But at that point, somebody realized what they had and what they could do with it. What is now being called the "Gay Mafia" has realized that they have the power to destroy the livelihoods of people who disagree with them. And that now appears to be the ultimate goal. One spoonful of butter cream frosting, one tea rose at a time.
  The Gay Mafia also has very willing accomplices in the media. They are willing to put out as much false information about the Indiana law as is needed. They are willing to portray the people who oppose it, Christians, as hate-filled homophobes whose sole purpose in life is to discriminate against gay people. There are Christians all over America, even in places like New York City and Los Angeles. Were those Christians less accessable to CNN than a small county in Georgia that no one in the CNN newsroom could find on a map a week ago? Then again, no one in the CNN newsroom could find Ferguson Missouri on a map either prior to August 9 of last year.
  The founding fathers made provisions for a free and open press in our most sacred of documents, the Constitution. How has that gift been repaid? With falsehoods, implications, omissions, stereotypes, the list goes on and on. Surely they never envisioned anything like this.
  Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels taught us that if you tell a big enough lie, and repeat it often enough, people will believe it.
  Anyone know if Joseph Goebbels was a fisherman?