"If I cannot smoke cigars in Heaven, I shall not go." - Mark Twain

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Amy Goodman's Democracy Now, full show on the NY Islamic Community Center

This is such a great discussion of the "mosque" issue.  Goodman interviews a mother of a Muslim EMT who was a 9/11 victim at Twin Towers.  Another interviewee reminds us that the entire premise of the question of whether the community center should be built is bigoted because it asserts that all Muslims are guilty of the actions of the 9/11 attackers.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Introductory Post, Part One: A Born-Again Christian Questions Her Faith

I grew up in a Southern small town, where the churches were filled with people who never missed an opportunity to tell you what God thought of things.  My parents were not excessively religious, but going to church every Sunday was just what decent people did.  It is called Southern Protestantism, and it’s kind of hard to explain to outsiders.  To be decent, to be well-respected in your town, you had to go to church every Sunday.  If you did not, you were looked down on, like the parents of the kids who lived in the run-down duplexes in the poor part of town, whose fathers were not married to their mothers and whose teachers did not know their names.  My father came from that side of the tracks, and he had no intention of returning, and so we went to church.  In the South, going to church is as much a class thing as a religious one.

I remember one Sunday morning, sitting in a packed church service at age ten wondering to myself, “Do all these adults around me really believe this shit?  That an invisible being controls everything and tells us what to do?”  I was ten!  But even then all that getting up at 6 a.m. and singing hymns about a preggo girl who told everybody she was a virgin (yeah, right!) just seemed dumb. 

But hell, I thought, these are grown-ups.  They must know something I don’t know.  I will trust them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The "Mosque" and Real Conservatism

This New Yorker essay is incredibly helpful in understanding the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" issue.  Apparently it is not even on Ground Zero and instead of a mosque it's a Muslim YMCA.  The thing that jumps out at me when reading Hendrik Hertzberg's essay is that conservatives are so obsessed with local governance -- states' rights, shrinking government, etc. -- until it comes to New York City.  Then suddenly, the opinions of those who actually live in and govern the Lower Manhattan area don't matter.  If Community Board No. 1, the city council that represents the area, endorsed the Muslim center 29 to 1, then it seems that this is all a moot argument.  IT'S THEIR CITY, isn't it?  So I guess they can do whatever they want with it.  Or at least, this is the point of view a real conservative would take.
Here's my question:  Should we ban all Christian churches within a certain distance of the Holocaust Memorial because Christians killed 6 million Jews?  I mean, what would happen if someone proposed that?  I don't see how it would be any different from saying that mosques can't be built because the 9/11 attackers were Muslim.  What's the difference?

Monday, August 16, 2010

CNN article on how the GOP is using the Ground Zero mosque issue to get ahead.  Be sure to look at the comments section at the end.  With all the argument over which religion's followers have killed more people, I feel it's a really good day to be an atheist.