Monthly Archives: August 2016

Religious Right – Defender’s of Women’s rights?

This was written before the last Presidential election, but it still applies to the current political situation. The Virginia state legislature passed a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound probe inserted into their you-know-what before they could have an abortion.  Governor Robert McDonnell called it the “women’s right to know bill.” The idea is to force the woman to hear the heartbeat of the fetus, obviously with the hope that she will then change her mind about the abortion.  Read more [...]

Pre-Game Prayers…Another View

Not all Christians think public prayers are a good thing.  I read a very moving piece by a devout evangelical Christian who had an experience that not many US citizens will ever have.  Gary B. Christenot was in the military and was assigned to a base in Hawaii.  The small town where his family was assigned housing was predominantly Chinese and Japanese immigrants, but the family was able to find a small Baptist church that filled their needs.  Most of the other churches in the town were Buddhist Read more [...]

Kneeling is a Mortal Sin

This was written a few years ago, but it’s still good for a chuckle. The Catholic Church here in Orange County, California has yet another controversy to deal with along with their pedophile priests.  In an LA Times article today, I learned that kneeling can be dangerous to your spiritual health.  The pastor at St. Mary’s By the Sea in Huntington Beach has decreed that parishioners should not kneel after the Agnus Dei.  After a number of people defied this and continued to kneel, he declared Read more [...]

Home Schooling

Some people do not like what their kids will experience in public schools, so they educate them at home.  Is this good or bad? First, I must admit that I have some bias here.  I come from a long line of schoolteachers.  Most of my family…my mother, and most of my brothers and sisters and their spouses have been involved in the teaching or administration of public schools. Can an amateur teach a child all the things that they will learn in public schools?  I suppose it is possible.  Read more [...]

Where Have I Heard This Before?

I was reading an article yesterday about the history of the NFL, and some of the legendary teams that gained nationwide fame. The “front four” defensive linemen of the Los Angeles Rams were known as the “Fearsome Foursome.” The Minnesota Vikings had a great name for theirs: “The Purple People Eaters.” That name just stuck in my head for some reason. When I went to bed last night, I dreamed that I was shopping for veggies at the local farmers’ market when a guy walks up to me, Read more [...]

Are Man’s Powers Divinely Gifted?

Several years ago, I participated in a discussion about how Man had influenced the evolutionary process. The premise was that since no other animal had ever had the capability to do this, it must be the result of a gift from God. Sy says: “I now realize that while Darwinian evolution might have been the single predominant force for change during the almost 3 billion year history of life on Earth, this is no longer true, and it is likely that it will never be true again.” There is no doubt Read more [...]

Big Brother is a Schizophrenic

“And Bert, well I just guess that Bert is typical of the kind who complain about Big Brother while asking the same Big Brother to fix all of their problems.” The above comment was posted in a thread that I was participating in recently. My first response was to reject it. And then, I thought some more and decided that the comment was correct. But the problem is, Big Brother is a schizophrenic; at times a benevolent Dr. Jekyll, at others a sinister Mr. Hyde. I love the good things that Read more [...]

Does Faith Give Meaning To Life?

Religious believers say that faith gives "meaning" to their life. As a lifelong nonbeliever, I do not understand that.  My life is what I make of it...what I DO with it. How does sitting and praying to God or believing in God give meaning to life? It may give some people believe that death is not the end. Belief in an afterlife leads some to consider life here on earth just a temporary interlude before the REAL eternal life begins. Rather than giving life meaning, that devalues life. I Read more [...]

A Question of Grace for Nonbelievers

A nonbeliever friend recently posed a question to me. He recounted an experience that he and his wife had at a family dinner during a recent holiday season, and asked what my response would have been to the situation. Most of the people present were either nonbelievers or what I will call “Nominal Christians.” They attend church occasionally, mostly as a social activity, but one individual was a devout Christian and asked if she could say Grace at the table. The hosts’ response was Read more [...]

On Separation of Church and State

"It is true that the literal phrase 'separation of church and state' does not appear in the Constitution, but that does not mean the concept isn't there. The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." What does that mean? A little history is helpful: In an 1802 letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson, then president, declared that the American people through the First Amendment Read more [...]

A Christian Nation?

One of the key ingredients in the ideology of the Christian Right is the idea that America was founded as a Christian nation. And somehow this intention of the Founding Fathers has been thwarted by (pick one) -- liberals, judicial tyrants, the ACLU, secular humanists, all of the above. This idea is tremendously powerful. It asserts that "the Christians," (however one may define Christians), are the intended rulers of the nation, because that's what The Founding Fathers, and by extension, by implication, Read more [...]

The Ten Commandments – An Analysis

It's often said that the Ten Commandments are an important part of the foundation of American law. But how many of them are legally binding obligations under modern American law? (Let's focus on the list in Exodus, Chapter 20, King James Version.) "I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Not legally enforceable; in fact, the 1st Amendment would prohibit the government from enforcing this. Read more [...]

Quotes on Religion

One of the joys of the Internet is that it is easy to pick a subject…in this case, quotes regarding religion by prominent historical figures…and mine a seemingly inexhaustible lode of information.  I collected these gems from an ocean of web pages.  I quit when I tired of the game, but I had barely scratched the surface of what was available. Regarding the Patriot Act: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."  [Ben Read more [...]

On Establishment

The word ‘establishment’ in the famous phrase in the First Amendment to the Constitution that bans “…establishment of religion…” is a key to understanding the intent of our founders with respect to separation of church and state.  Here are a number of quotes, both historical and contemporary on the word ‘establishment.’ Alexander Hamilton defined establishment of religion as: the government support and protection of religion. “Remarks on the Quebec Bill,” in Hamilton Papers, Read more [...]

Kentucky Inquisition

I left a comment on a web site that described some political machinations in the state of Kentucky.   A county legal official promoted a questionnaire for local politicians, asking them about their religious views.  I thought that this was rather unusual, and possibly unconstitutional, and offered the following comment. "Jeff Sharp, the county attorney for Barren County in Kentucky sent a “survey” to all state legislators and legislative candidates asking them whether they “accept Jesus Read more [...]