Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Place of God in our Daily Lives

Off all the people and things to inspire a blog, I would never have thought it would be a conservative religious spam forward from my Mother. Yet, here we are. I've copied the original post at the bottom of this blog so you can read it for yourselves and draw your own thoughts from it.

God is not inappropriate at work; God is not inappropriate anywhere. Your belief or my belief in God is NOT inappropriate anywhere. What IS inappropriate is anyone's attempt to make a religion (any religion) part of of someone else's life. I pray at work, I pray before most meals (I admit to imperfections like anyone else), and I have no problems with ANYONE else's desire to do (or NOT do) the same.

But how can we profess to be a country of religious freedom if we require religion (any religion)? Whether I can grasp how someone would choose to deny God's existence does NOT change the fact that someone HAS that right just as much as I have the right to accept that same existence. God, Allah, Jesus, Buddha, JHWH, Jahovah, Jah, Shangdi, Zhu, Brahman, Ishvara, Akal Purakh, and many many others deserve as much reverence as we can muster. But we as a people cannot be open to all religions while requiring even lip service to one.

So when an e-mail like the one below comes around to me, I AM hesitant about to whom I send it. Not because I am ashamed of Christ or my Catholicism, but because I believe in the promise my country was founded upon and want to make sure I don't accidentally offend someone. The same is true for "dirty" e-mails, or jokes, or whatever; the wise and compassionate person recognizes that everyone and everything has an audience and tries to steer items accordingly.

When did my respect for someone else's spirituality transform into heresy? When did my desire to allow people to believe as they choose become the turning of my back on the Teaching's of Christ?

When did my desire to believe and venerate God necessitate the insertion of Judeo-Christian dogma into aspects of daily life that often touch those of other faiths? Yet we do it all the time. If the $20.00 bill were to be inscribed with "Allahu Akbar", there would be NO END to the protests by Americans everywhere, even though between 1.1 million and 6.0 million American Citizens follow the tenants of Islam. Why would THAT religious belief be bad, but "In God We Trust" be not only acceptable but appropriate?

If students want to pray in school, let's encourage them to pray in their seats like most working people do. However, let's also recognize some realities present in our world today: crime is up and "morality" is down (more on that shortly) across the board. Is that because people don't pray in school? Is that because the prepositional phrase "under God" was removed from public school? NO.

Obviously, the difference between right and wrong and how to act must be taught to children beginning at a young age. This can be done in religious school (such as those I went to); to suggest that my home life and my upbringing did not impact my life, however, would be to ignore reality and do a disservice to my Mom, and both my Father and Step-Father (my they rest in peace). Don't make teachers, nuns, nannies, bus drivers, tvs, radios, or computers bare the burden of teaching children HOW to act and more importantly WHY that is the way to act! Reinforce those lessons by living that way yourselves (to the best of your ability), show where you have strayed, and how to atone for your errors. EACH of us MUST take responsibility for acting the way we want those in our lives to act, particularly our children. We all must show stewardship for the young generations so they can learn by example.

Don't worry about saying you love/believe/follow God (or whoever it is you do follow). Worry instead about SHOWING your love, your belief. How God wants you to treat your fellow man differs so little from religion to religion; it's ALL about respect and love. If you do that, if you follow that one simple little rule, I'm confident that you are well on your way to achieving your ultimate reward no matter what to what religion you belong.

God; when I received this e-mail, I thought... I don't have time for this... And, this is really inappropriate during work.

Then, I realized that this kind of thinking is.... Exactly what has caused a lot of the problems in our world today.

We try to keep God in church on Sunday morning... maybe, Sunday night... and, the unlikely event of a midweek service. We do like to have Him around during sickness... and, of course, at funerals. However, we don't have time, or room, for Him during work or play... because.. that's the part of our lives we think... We can, and should, handle on our own.

May God forgive me for ever thinking... that... there is a time or place where.. HE is not to be First in my life. We should always have time to remember all HE has done for us. If, you aren't ashamed to do this... Please follow the directions: Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father. ' Not ashamed? Pass this on ONLY IF YOU MEAN IT!! Yes, I do Love God. HE is my source of existence and Savior.

He keeps me functioning each and everyday. Without Him, I would be nothing. But, with Christ, HE strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)

This is the simplest test.

If You Love God... And are not ashamed of all the marvelous things HE has done for you... Send this to ten people and the person who sent it to you! Now do you have the time to pass it on?

Make sure that you scroll through! To the end.

Easy vs. Hard

Why is it so hard to tell the truth and yet so easy to tell a lie? Why are we so sleepy in church but right when the sermon is over we suddenly wake up? Why is it so easy to delete a Godly e-mail, and yet we forward all of the nasty ones? Of all the free gifts we may receive, Prayer is the very best one....

There are no costs, but wonderful rewards... GOD BLESS!

Notes: Isn't it funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Isn't it funny how someone can say 'I believe in God', but still follow Satan! (who, by the way, also 'believes' in God). Isn't it funny how you can send a thousand jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing? Isn't it funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them. Isn't it funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me.

No, it isn’t funny at all, what it can be is eternally fatal!

Friday, May 16, 2008

This Advice, Mr. President: SHUT THE HELL UP!

Keith Olbermann, who reported the locals sports news here is LA when I first recall him, has become a hero of mine over the course of the Bush "presidency" due to his infrequent yet scathing comments about the state of our Nation and the (hopefully repairable) damage done to our fundamental beliefs and our repuration.

The special comment he made this past Wednesday, however, might take the cake for policial writing and for emotional reporting (which seems like a insurmountable contradiction but is just a true editorial). When I think of loathing, I always harken back to the first scene of Amadeus, where Salieri is forced to understand that his music is extinct while that of Mozart has already taken on a life of its own. Now, looking at the face of Keith reading the latest litany of villany perpitrated by own leader, I have a new mental image. And it's not of Salieri.

I've copied the transcript below, and tried to format it as was done on the MSNBC site.


Finally tonight, as promised, a Special Comment on two topics a lot of us had foolishly thought, had naively hoped, we would not again have to address… and a third topic nobody thought a president would ever seriously mention in public unless perhaps he’d just been hit in the head with something and was not in full possession of his faculties — how he expressed his “empathy” to the families of the dead in Iraq — by giving up golf.

The President has resorted anew to the sleaziest fear-mongering and mass manipulation of an administration — of a public life — dedicated to realizing the lowest of our expectations.

And he has now applied these poisons to the 2008 presidential election, on behalf of the party at whose center he and Mr. McCain lurk.

Mr. Bush has predicted that the election of a Democratic president could, “eventually lead to another attack on the United States.”

This ludicrous, infuriating, holier-than-thou and most importantly bone-headedly wrong statement came yesterday during an interview with Politico-dot-com and on-line users of Yahoo.

The question was phrased as follows:

“If we were to pull out of Iraq next year, what’s the worst that could happen, what’s the doomsday scenario?”

The President replied: “Doomsday scenario, of course, is that extremists throughout the Middle East would be emboldened, which would eventually lead to another attack on the United States. The biggest issue we face is — it’s bigger than Iraq — it’s this ideological struggle against cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives.”

Mr. Bush, at long last, has it not dawned on you that the America you have now created, includes ‘cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives’?’

They are those in, or formerly in, your employ, who may yet be charged some day with war crimes.

Through your haze of self-congratulation and self-pity, do you still have no earthly clue that this nation has laid waste to Iraq to achieve your political objectives?

‘This ideological struggle,’ Mr. Bush, is taking place within this country.

It is a struggle between Americans who cherish freedom — ours and everybody else’s — and Americans like you, sir, to whom freedom is just a brand name, just like “Patriot Act” is a brand name or “Protect America” is a brand name.

But wait, there’s more.

You also said “Iraq is the place where al Qaeda and other extremists have made their stand — and they will be defeated.”

They made no “stand” in Iraq, sir. You allowed them to assemble there!

As certainly as if that were the plan, the borders were left wide open by your government’s farcical post-invasion strategy of ‘they’ll greet us as liberators.’

And as certainly as if that were the plan, the inspiration for another generation of terrorists in another country was provided by your government’s farcical post-invasion strategy of letting the societal infra-structure of Iraq dissolve, to be replaced by an American Vice-Royalty enforced by merciless mercenaries who shoot unarmed Iraqis and then evade prosecution in any country, by hiding behind your skirts, sir.

Terrorism inside Iraq is your creation, Mr. Bush!

It was a Yahoo user who brought up the second topic upon whose introduction Mr. Bush should have passed, or punted, or gotten up and left the room claiming he heard Dick Cheney calling him.

“Do you feel,” asked an ordinary American, “that you were mis-led on Iraq?”

“I feel like — I felt like, there were weapons of mass destruction. You know, “mislead” is a strong word, it almost connotes some kind of intentional — I don’t think so, I think there was a — not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was.”


You, Mr. Bush, and your tragically know-it-all minions, threw out every piece of intelligence that suggested there were no such weapons.

You, Mr. Bush, threw out every person who suggested that the sober, contradictory, reality-based intelligence needed to be listened to, fast.

You, Mr. Bush, are responsible for how “intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment.”

You and the sycophants you dredged up and put behind the most important steering wheel in the world propagated palpable nonsense and shoved it down the throat of every intelligence community across the world and punished anybody who didn’t agree it was really chicken salad.

And you, Mr. Bush, threw under the bus all of the subsequent critics who bravely stepped forward later to point out just how much of a self-fulfilling prophecy you had embraced, and adopted as this country’s policy — in lieu of, say, common sense.

The fiasco of pre-war intelligence, sir, is your fiasco.

You should build a great statue of yourself turning a deaf ear to the warnings of realists, while you are shown embracing the three-card monte dealers like Richard Perle and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

That would be a far more fitting tribute to your legacy, Mr. Bush, than this presidential library you are constructing as a giant fable about your presidency, an edifice you might as claim was built from Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction because there will be just as many of those inside your presidential library as there were inside Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Of course if there is one over-riding theme to this president’s administration it is the utter, always-failing, inability to know when to quit when it is behind.

And so Mr. Bush answered yet another question about this layered, nuanced, wheels-within-wheels garbage heap that constituted his excuse for war.

“And so you feel that you didn’t have all the information you should have or the right spin on that information?”

“No, no,” replied the President. “I was told by people, that they had weapons of mass destruction…”


What people?

The insane informant “Curveball?”

The Iraqi snake-oil salesman Ahmed Chalabi?

The American snake-oil salesman Dick Cheney?

“I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction, as were members of Congress, who voted for the resolution to get rid of Saddam Hussein. And of course, the political heat gets on and they start to run and try to hide from their votes.”

Mr. Bush — you destroyed the evidence that contradicted the resolution you jammed down the Congress’s throat, the way you jammed it down the nation’s throat.

When required by law to verify that your evidence was accurate, you simply re-submitted it, with phrases amounting to “See, I done proved it,” virtually written in the margins in crayon.

You defied patriotic Americans to say “The Emperor has no clothes” — only with the stakes (as you and the mental dwarves in your employ put it) being a “mushroom cloud over an American city.”

And as a final crash of self-indulgent nonsense, when the incontrovertible truth of your panoramic and murderous deceit has even begun to cost your political party seemingly perpetual congressional seats in places like North Carolina and — last night — Mississippi, you can actually say with a straight face, sir, that for members of Congress “the political heat gets on and they start to run and try to hide from their votes” - while you greet the political heat and try to run and hide from your presidency — and your legacy — 4,000 of the Americans you were supposed to protect, dead in Iraq, with your only feeble, pathetic answer being, “I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction.”

Then came Mr. Bush’s final blow to our nation’s solar plexus, his last re-opening of our common wounds, his last remark that makes the rest of us question not merely his leadership or his judgment but his very suitably to remain in office.

“Mr. President,” he was asked, “you haven’t been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?

Yes,” began perhaps the most startling reply of this nightmarish blight on our lives as Americans — on our history.

“It really is. I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died, to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

Golf, sir?

Golf sends the wrong signal to the grieving families of our men and women butchered in Iraq?

Do you think these families, Mr. Bush — their lives blighted forever — care about you playing golf?

Do you think, sir, they care about you?

You, Mr. Bush, let their sons and daughters be killed.

Sir, to show your solidarity with them - you gave up golf?

Sir, to show your solidarity with them — you didn’t give up your pursuit of this insurance-scam, profiteering, morally and financially bankrupting war.

Sir, to show your solidarity with them — you didn’t even give up talking about Iraq — a subject about which you have incessantly proved without pause or backwards glance, that you may literally be the least informed person in the world?

Sir, to show your solidarity with them, you didn’t give up your presidency?

In your own words — “solidarity as best as I can” — is to stop a game? That is the “best” you can?

4,000 Americans give up their lives and your sacrifice was to give up golf!


Not “gulf” — golf.

And still it gets worse.

Because it proves that the President’s unendurable sacrifice, his unbearable pain, the suspension of getting to hit a stick with a ball, was not even his own damned idea.

“Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?”

“I remember when de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man’s life. And I was playing golf — I think I was in central Texas — and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, it’s just not worth it any more to do.”

Your one, tone-deaf, arrogant, pathetic, embarrassing gesture, and you didn’t even think of it yourself?

The great Bushian sacrifice — an Army private loses a leg, a Marine loses half his skull, four thousand of their brothers and sisters lose their lives, you lose golf… and they have to pull you off the golf course to get you to just do that?

If it’s even true…

Apart from your medical files, which dutifully record your torn calf muscle and the knee pain which forced you to give up running at the same time — coincidence, no doubt — the bombing in Baghdad which killed Sergio Vieira de Mello of the U-N… and interrupted your round of golf, was on August 19th, 2003.

Yet there is an Associated Press account of you playing golf as late as Columbus Day of that year — October 13th — nearly two months later.

Mr. Bush, I hate to break it to you, six-and-a-half years after you yoked this nation and your place in history to the wrong war, in the wrong place, against the wrong people but the war in Iraq is Not. About. You.

It is not, Mr. Bush, about your grief when American after American comes home in a box.

It is not, Mr. Bush, about what your addled brain has produced in the way of paranoid delusions of risks that do not exist, ready to be activated if some Democrat, and not your twin Mr. McCain succeeds you.

The war in Iraq — your war, Mr. Bush — is about how you accomplished the derangement of two nations, and how you helped funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to lascivious and perennially thirsty corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater, and how you sent 4,000 Americans to their deaths — for nothing.

It is not, Mr. Bush, about your golf game!

And, sir, if you have any hopes that next January 20th will not be celebrated as a day of soul-wrenching, heart-felt Thanksgiving, because your faithless stewardship of this presidency will have finally come to a merciful end, this last piece of advice:

When somebody asks you, sir, about Democrats who must now pull this country back from the abyss you have placed us at…

When somebody asks you, sir, about the cooked books and faked threats you foisted on a sincere and frightened nation…

When somebody asks you, sir, about your gallant, noble, self-abnegating sacrifice of your golf game so as to soothe the families of the war dead…

This advice, Mr. Bush…

Shut the hell up!