The Equality Act

Those of us who follow such things remember that Joe Biden endorsed same-sex marriage before Barack Obama did. (It is highly likely that Obama held that pro-equality position well before he was ready to publicly announce it, but his public position was undoubtedly  accelerated by Biden’s pronouncement.)

Now, Biden is reassuring the LGBTQ community that he will move swiftly to protect gay equality.

As president-elect, Biden is making sweeping promises to LGBTQ activists, proposing to carry out virtually every major proposal on their wish lists. Among them: Lifting the Trump administration’s near-total ban on military service for transgender people, barring federal contractors from anti-LGBTQ job discrimination, and creating high-level LGBTQ-rights positions at the State Department, the National Security Council and other federal agencies.

It’s impossible to disagree with Biden’s observation that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “have given hate against LGBTQ+ individuals safe harbor and rolled back critical protections.” (Let’s be candid: the Trump/Pence administration has encouraged hatred against all people who are “other”–defined as not white Christian straight male.)

There is, of course, a limit to what can be done through executive action, and Biden has said that his top legislative priority for LGBTQ issues is the Equality Act.

The Equality Act was passed by the House of Representatives last year, but–surprise! not— stalled in the Senate. It would nationalize the comprehensive anti-bias protections already in place in 21, mostly Democratic-governed states, protecting against anti-LGBTQ discrimination in housing, public accommodations and public services.

According to the AP report at the link,

Biden says he wants the act to become law within 100 days of taking office, but its future remains uncertain. Assuming the bill passes again in the House, it would need support from several Republicans in the Senate, even if the Democrats gain control by winning two runoff races in Georgia. For now, Susan Collins of Maine is the only GOP co-sponsor in the Senate.

The Equality Act is opposed by the usual suspects, who are screaming that equal rights for gay people are “special rights” and an intrusion on their “religious liberty.”

These defenders of discrimination based upon the religious beliefs of some–certainly not all–denominations remind me of a long-ago committee hearing I attended in the Indiana legislature. That body was “considering” (note quotes) a bill that that would extend some measure of civil rights to gay Hoosiers. If my memory is correct, that bill was offered every session for several years by then-State Senator Louis Mahern, and just as routinely defeated. (Louie is a friend of ours, and once shared  a letter he’d received from a Hoosier “Christian” pastor, informing him that as a result of that advocacy, the pastor’s congregation was praying for Mahern’s painful death…)

In the hearing I attended, another Indianapolis pastor, now deceased–Greg Dixon, of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple–testified. He informed the committee that his bible commanded him to stone gay people (“sodomites”), and that any effort to prevent him from following that biblical command was an unconstitutional invasion of his religious liberty.

So there!

Every time the government proposes to eliminate discrimination against marginalized populations, we hear the same refrain from religious fundamentalists. The 1964 Civil Rights bill was opposed by people who claimed that God wanted black and white people separated and women subordinated.

The benefit of separating personal and civic behaviors–giving government and religion separate jurisdictions–is that we can allow these unpleasant people to discriminate in their personal lives, but forbid their efforts to make their hatreds the law of the land.

There should be no religious privilege to behave in ways that we collectively deem destructive to our social health.

As I like to say, if you don’t like gay people–or Black people or Muslims or Jews–then you don’t have to invite them to dinner. Thanks to separation of Church and State, however, you can’t tell landlords they need not rent to them or restaurant owners that they need not serve them.

America has just voted overwhelmingly to elect a mensch. Let’s hope he can get the Equality Act passed.

 

 

38 thoughts on “The Equality Act

  1. Well said, Professor! I don’t think Mohamed or Jesus or other spiritual leaders would advocate “stoning” a person to death based on the way they were born. Very well said, Professor.

  2. The past four years has been, to say the least, devastating for confidence to what it means to be American both at home and abroad. Interest groups are anxious to have their issues addressed in Biden’s First 100 Days. Most critical issue between now and January 5th is to support whatever it takes to flip Georgia Senate seats. I support the Equality Act with realistic time phasing rollout. Until then, the most important act of equality is unanimous support for Biden’s masking imperative for 100 days.

  3. Today’s issue works into yesterday’s and my comments regarding Pence’s RFRA law in the state of Indiana. His RFRA law and the strongest anti-abortion law in this country are Mike Pence’s religious grievances against the general population and their religious beliefs. His intent to take those laws to the federal level has not happened YET; but those related bills awaiting SCOTUS action are still a threat to the country.

    As for Greg Dixon and the Indianapolis Baptist Temple; they have been on the SPLC Patriot list for years and a thorn in the side of Indianapolis government for many more years.

  4. Mensch,

    Haven’t used that phrase in a long time!

    The law of Moses, or the Mosaic law spoke of sodomy! (Leviticus 18:22) practicers of such should be cut off from the Israelites. It says nothing about stoning!

    The law of Christ took precedent over the Mosaic law! At least amongst Christians, I would imagine most Jews who are followers of the Mosaic law still follow the Mosaic law as written.

    So, the preacher who said he follows his Bible, should not claim it’s okay to stone someone, because the commandment is to follow secular law! The Mosaic law was a theocratic government for the Jews, and, they abused it by adding things above and beyond what was written.

    We do not live in a theocracy, taking the law into one’s own hands is a crime! Romans the 13th chapter tells all Christians to follow secular law, unless, that secular law tries to make an individual do something against the law of Christ. But since this country has the freedoms, and said the supposed separation of church and state, that should never come into the equation whatsoever.

    Long story short, that preacher was very ill-informed. He himself was committing an unforgivable sin by spouting his “Opinion”

    The only law Christians are commanded to follow is love your neighbor as yourself, and the love your God! That’s it! (Matthew 2236:40)

    Theocratic beliefs and worship are endless, there are so many different religions in a secular society, that’s why there is a separation between secularism and theism! The endless amount of don’ts from theocratic entities cripple a civil society. That’s why those beliefs are supposed to be done in private or discussed in a place of worship and not a house of politics.

    That’s supposed to be the nice thing about freedom, or living in a democratic society. You can worship whatever God you desire as long as your worship does not infringe upon your neighbor and do your neighbor’s rights!

    Unfortunately, religious zealots who have aligned themselves with certain politicians, attempt to force particular religious dogma on every single individual in a civil society. That is not democratic, that’s evangelical authoritarianism.

    Personally, I believe that Biden will have control of the Senate through Kamala Harris being the deciding vote. And, I also believe that his policies will infuriate those evangelicals! And I also believe that there will be a reckoning coming for those evangelicals.

    1st Thessalonians 4:11-12 reads; Make it your aim to live quietly and to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk decently in the eyes of people outside and not need anything.

    Somehow I don’t think the evangelical click knows anything about what they claim to believe! If you don’t believe in it, don’t practice it! Just leave everyone else alone, because, you are not the judge of your fellow man!

    Romans 2:1 which reads; Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are, if you judge; for when you judge another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge practice the same things.

    The Greek term in the Christian Greek Scriptures ” a·no·kheʹ means restraint, in the above context, it means to restrain yourself from judging your fellow man, because you have no authority to do so, only the superior authorities do in a secular society. And, if? If one is to believe what it says in Romans the 13th chapter, those superior authorities were placed in their positions by God, so Christians have no authority to go against that arrangement!

    When you’re familiar with Scripture you can always refute ignorance spouted by evangelicals! And to an evangelical, that is like a dagger plunged deep into the heart of fanaticism.

  5. Those very same Christians who quote the Old Testament to defend their hatred of gays, pick and choose their biblical abominations seem to have no problem eating at Red Lobster, or wearing a cotton shirt with wool slacks. They also don’t seem able to acknowledge that Jesus never made reference to homosexuality. I might be wrong, but isn’t Jesus the whole reason for “Christianity?”

  6. I know on a rational level that Joe and Kamala have been duly and legally elected to lead this country from chaos and oblivion but…on a technical level I also know that the OFFICIAL Electoral College vote will happen on Tuesday, December 8th. Trump has said he will concede this election if the Electoral College votes go to Biden; being paranoid and a conspiracy theorist due to the past 4 years I cannot get Rudy Giuliani’s 2016 warning out of my head. He stated the Republicans have something up their sleeves, they have the Electoral College sewn up and Trump will win. Would Trump make that statement if he were not sure he has the Electoral College in his control? Why is he still sending his court jester Rudy Giuliani into courts and legal meetings with his wack-a-doos as Daily Kos calls them for any reason other than distraction? Where are his minions working to repeat that EC win; the swing states are lost to them and word is that those millions in reelection donations are now coming from his voters in small amounts. We can count on nothing as being final today; Trump is far more dangerous now than he has been the past four years because he is pissed and seeking revenge. Some people are more equal than others and he hopes to remain the most equal candidate – no matter the cost in dollars or humanity.

  7. JoAnn
    If memory serves, Mike Pence’s RFRA was copy-catted in several other state legislatures. Do you have that history handy (and which states enshrined it in law with no opposition)?
    Also, wasn’t Pence’s modified and passed after Indiana push-back?
    “Stupid is as stupid does”….Forrest Gump.
    Despite that history Pence had the double gall to run for USVP on a GOP ticket with the Orange Ghoul. Thank Heaven, some lemming voters jumped ship.

  8. John, try getting to the point more quickly, please.

    God’s law is evolving just as the laws of man and governing society. As the Buddha so aptly told us: all things in this life are impermanent. Our suffering comes from attachment, clinging to the old. And that means old ideas like religion.

    I believe those of Bahai Faith may be on to something.

    As for the USA, our Founders pointed out, rightly of course, due to their dismal experience in the UK at the time, that we need to separate religion (divine) from secular (human). This is proper and necessary.

    Why?

    Because of human nature’s need to oppress others. Period.

    As I wrote this morning, like tiny sparks of pure white energy, God grants us life in human form on this planet because, quite honestly, the rest of them are unbearable. Life here is a gift.

    Now, look at us; we’ve made such a mess of this planet, some are seeking occupation of other planets instead of fixing this one. Fools.

    Humans need a spiritual life, so they don’t forget they are little bundles of white energy.

    Humans also need to govern themselves as a society.

    We need balance; equanimity.

    It’s really that simple, but we’ve gone and complicated the matter with our egoic minds.

  9. The 2 great commandments are “Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And as Jesus said, ” Love your neighbor as yourself”. It does not say love God if or love your neighbor if. As a lesbian woman, I can say that we are everywhere and we are your neighbors. I treated people who were homophobic when I was a substance use counselor at St. Vincent’s. I was not “out” in this Roman Catholic hospital nor did I come “out” to the patients who were homophobic.

    Greg Dixon has perverted the teachings of Jesus and returned to an understanding of God as a harsh judge.

    Religion is often used to justify our “fear of the other”, our stigma toward the stranger.

    I hope they can pass the “Equality Act.” I know it will take more than a law to free people from homophobia.

    By the way Dec. 8th is Bodhi day. Buddhists will be celebrating the day that the Buddha became enlightened. May you all be well and at peace. May all sentient beings be well and at peace.

  10. theres a piece in huff post,today that sums up the baptist seminaries stand on racial issues. together,with todays subject,the leadeship of a religion has failed. if those leaders merely defend a outdated world of today,or deny the issue,then i see the lack of participation of religious services in the euro, as people waking up. i find the euro social area as a whole far more tollerant,if,that should even be a word to define the two subjects. its a free world now, ( in most modern civilized nations)get on board. except the same ol,same ol has to be blessed and anoited to hold the ongoing buisness together. im not tollerant of blissful religious talk when the very person is kicking someone to the curb because of ideas they posses about another person. if they havent come to relize,we all are human and the judgement shouldnt be carried by those who dont respect anothers way of life public,and private life. the rightwing may not be all racists,but ya can believe,most racists are republicans.( i have that T shirt). if ya havent noticed, on commercial t.v. the mixed race,and gay question is in full view,probably because the people who sell stuff,see it as the way it is. maybe if the roof was removed from the church of ever redemming faith,and the wind would blow hard,it would suck the puss out..

  11. John Sorg
    I can’t help noticing there are frequent references to Jesus and/or Christ often with quotes from the Letters of Paul. Did they know each other?
    Do we really believe there was no homosexuality in the First Century? What were Paul and young Matthew doing while sojourning together in the desert and afterward abruptly separating. Was it a hissy fit?

  12. OMG,

    The apostle Paul was the bridge to the gentiles! He was a Roman citizen. And as a Roman citizen, and a member of the Pharisees on the Sanhedrin, he and his opinion carried a lot of weight! The apostle Paul was formerly called Saul of Tarsus. Tarsus was the seat of education and that part of the Roman empire!

    If you really want to know about Timothy, I would suggest you read scripture! he not only traveled with paul, he traveled with other apostles because he was a younger man. A young man with a lot of knowledge! The same with luke, he was a physician and traveled with some of the older men to help them in their commission.

    Timothy frequently wrote The apostle Paul’s thoughts because it seemed he hadn’t issue with his eyesight! As it’s mentioned in scripture, he had been struck blind but had his vision restored.

    The apostle Paul’s second trial in Rome led to his execution! So, he died for his beliefs.

    Todd,

    If I make a short blurb say 250 characters or less, what does that accomplish? if people are too lazy to read the comment, then the comment is not meant for them!

    If I make a statement, I will allude to the reason of the statement, and not just say cuz!

    I thought this was supposed to be an educational thread that has been promoted by a professor who owns it! That being said, then are we to complain that Sheila should shorten up her threads?

    What do you learn from a two or three sentence paragraph? You really don’t glean much from it!

  13. Folks, I believe in equal rights for all, BUT that dog has been around for a long time and this Senate, or any in the near future, won’t touch it. But if this push becomes a BIG Biden message instead of jobs, infrastructure, healthcare…you can count on the GOP using it as a DOG Whistle in 2022 and 2024 and ripping the DEMS for PCdom. Maybe not as big as “defund the police”, but would work similarly.

    Idealism is great, but we may need to bury it in the grave of American Democracy unless the DEMs get off the identity politics bandwagon

  14. Hmm. I did not realize that this fine (blog) had turned into a religious something or other.
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  15. Robin,
    Absolutely! And the point I was trying to make also was that it’s not up to us to judge anyone whatsoever, it’s the superior authorities who make the laws of the land that are the ones who judge. That’s in Romans 13 chapter.

    Christ said the law hangs on loving God and loving your neighbor. And he also said to love your enemy! There were no exceptions.

  16. I find solace in all this white v. black, divine v. profane (endless) chatter with my own maxim that we need only treat people for who and what they are, whatever that is, black, white, male, female, and other such immutable characteristics. In my view we need only discriminate against those who hold political, social, economic and other views incompatible with the common good, whatever their immutable characteristics from birth may be, i. e., their acquired characteristics (See COVID is a hoax, trickle down economics helps the poor etc.), but even here such discrimination is based not on the immutable but on their ideas, ideas which, unlike the immutable, are subject to change.

    Our venom should be but isn’t leavened by the knowledge that the DNA of humans and that of chimpanzees is nearly identical at 98%, a measure unknown to Darwin when cavorting among the Galapagos, and wasn’t known to Jewish history writers and those Christian bishops who decided what went into a bible in 381 A.D. either, a reality we latter day chimpanzees should consider when assessing the divine order of things.

  17. This is a off topic, but last year when we were still allowed to travel, we took a trip to Greece. We visited the the Corinth Canal. In ancient times, ships would land in Ismuth Greece, unload, and the ships and cargo would be hauled over land to Corinth Greece. The alternative was a 3-5 day sail around the Peloponnesian peninsula.

    As our tour guide explained a little history, she talked about the apostle Paul, who spent time in Corinth. At the time of Paul, Corinth was a huge sailors town, and firmly controlled by the Romans. The Romans had a huge temple there, The temple of Aphrodite at Acrocorinth. It was said to have a thousand priestesses. Aphrodite is the goddess of love. The thousand priestesses were basically whores. Now Paul only spent about 6 months in Corinth. If you read your bible you will read Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. They beautiful and eloquent, talking about what love should be. These were basically protest letters to the Corinthian town council against the giant state sponsored whorehouse the city was famous for. Paul only spent 6 months in Corinth because they eventually ran him out of town as a trouble maker.

    So my point is that while there are many things written in bible that are noble and inspiring, it helps to put some context on them, and to realize that reality did not and does not always live up to the vision. Keep quoting scripture. Having some moral foundation is better than nothing, but don’t try to use the bible to win arguments. It did not work when it was written, and it may not work now, and as we are continually reminded, it can be misquoted and taken out of context. Strive for the ideals.

  18. One of my favorite folk personalities is Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody. He has a well known to his fans act in which he claims that a church building in Stockbridge MA that we owns is of the “bring your own god to church” variety. Then he goes on to say that isn’t all worship that variety?

    The concept of God is compelling because of the personal power it grants by connecting adherents with the manager of the Universe, but also because it’s perfectly flexible. It turns out that God almost always is in favor of what each worshipper is in favor of. (At least in modern religions. The Puritan church I went to as a boy was almost the opposite. Their God was against normal behavior (especially related to sex) in many respects.)

    The god who I bring to church is based on free will and responsibility to maintain freedom by not imposing what I want on other people in return for the same consideration. The closest that I come to a Bible is the Constitution although I realize that it only applies to our government but beyond that I don’t see evidence of anyone managing the Universe except the Standard Model of physics.

    Of course the necessary and irresistible emotional ingredient in humanity is love.

    My rationale for defending freedom is the diversity that I have observed in the human race and in the cultures that pass on local adaptations to children growing up. I think that I’m the only me that there is in 7.5b people. I’m the only one of me that there is to defend the god who I bring to church.

    There have been countless words written and spoken that make things appear much more complex than that but I’ve always been a fan of essence, and I think that my view of things captures the essence of life as simply as possible.

  19. John writes, “…I was trying to make also was that it’s not up to us to judge anyone whatsoever, it’s the superior authorities who make the laws of the land that are the ones who judge. That’s in Romans 13 chapter.

    Christ said the law hangs on loving God and loving your neighbor. And he also said to love your enemy!”

    Yes, John.

    Jesus conveyed to us the Golden Rule. If He wrote on this blog, what do you suppose He would tell us?

    Also, we are stewards of this planet; God said so many times and so did Jesus. If God were on this blog, what would He say about our stewardship?

    I believe Jesus and God are judging us but we aren’t seeing it for some reason. They just sent monoliths and we are mocking these symbols instead of seeing their meaning.

    Quit thinking with your brain; seek the truth. Know.

  20. It seems to me Trump is not specifically prejudiced against gay or even black people. He is as close to value free as a human can attain. His innate cruelty enables him to despise, with ferocious intensity, everyone not named Trump, and some of them should be looking over their shoulders. The deaths of 280 thousand Americans bothers him not at all, and their race, creed or sexual preference is, most likely, not a factor in his glee at their passing. He is as close to a homicidal maniac as we’ve ever observed in high office (Jackson had some of the same tendencies). How did we end up with political system that does not punish homicidal maniacs and even prohibits talking about their culpability? Is my observation extreme?

  21. John Sorg; “And the point I was trying to make also was that it’s not up to us to judge anyone whatsoever, it’s the superior authorities who make the laws of the land that are the ones who judge. That’s in Romans 13 chapter.”

    No judgement of Trump and his ilk is a tacit agreement with their actions and their inaction, also their thievery and lies. They were chosen as our “superior authorities” by the judgement of the Electoral College in 2016; they have been making the laws ever since and have been breaking the laws of this land. They have judged the words of superior authorities regarding their vast knowledge of medicine and their judgement to protect lives an issue to ignore which has allowed more than a quarter million Americans to die in agony and millions to suffer the Covid-19 Pandemic with no relief in sight. Your Bible tells us to follow the teachings of Jesus, which is a judgement, but contradicts its own judgement and ignores His teaching when deemed more convenient to do so. To make the judgement to choose the Bible as your guide leads you to the end which is the horrors of Revelation.

    The act of voting is a judgement as is the act of not voting.

  22. I knew if I waited long enough, my point would be affirmed.

    Here you have an extremely thoughtful and intellectual 17 word comment with 4 EMOJIs, it adds endless and remarkable aesthetics to the thread! Although, making no point!

    If, you want to be antagonistic and ignorant about other persons beliefs, that’s fine! But what makes you any different than those you are demonizing? If you want to make a point to those individuals with specific beliefs, learn about them and learn why they are mistaken rather than telling them they’re stupid!

    I also find it fascinating that all these intellectual and stalwart men of old, the educators, politicians, explorers, and philosophers, all had strong religious feelings and beliefs! But, because of our extreme intellect and knowledge, we can parse and separate the individual himself! So we can demonize certain beliefs but hold the individual in high esteem for others! I would say that’s the seat of hypocrisy!

    98% of the DNA! Whoa, and that means? If we came from chimpanzees, why are there still chimpanzees? I thought the point of evolution was not just adaptation which happens all the time, but to make a life form survivable in a changing environment. So why are there still apes and chimpanzees? Why are there not any Geico Neanderthals running around? Better yet, Mitosis versus Meosis! Mitosis is the simplest form of reproduction, it produces 2 daughter cells that are exactly alike. Meosis produces an individual life that’s completely different from its parents. It combines the DNA of 2 parent cells to form a daughter cell, all this completely different from the parents. Now, if all this evolved that way, why are not birds reproducing with cats? Why aren’t dogs reproducing with goats or cows? Or why are all those shenanigans between shepherds and sheep not creating interesting lifeforms?

    This seems logical, so, why would single cell organisms that were evolving and using mitosis to propagate their species, switch to Meosis? Which not only uses DNA, it uses RNA and complex proteins not to mention the amino acids for reproduction. The process is just so much more complicated, it’s like riding a tricycle versus traveling to another galaxy with all the technology involved.

    And lastly, we tend to be judgmental about certain subjects, just as we are judgmental about certain beliefs and certain individuals! And that’s just not one side, that’s all sides! Probably because all of those sides are from the same side of the coin! If the owner of the blog decides to discuss religion, or put a religious aspect into the comment, which has been done quite a bit lately, is there a problem with that? I don’t see anybody complaining to Sheila! So, there are certain individuals that should stand up, be firm and not wishy-washy in deference to the professor!

    But alas, maybe there aren’t that many freethinkers out there, Jack is available for an example! Vernon Turner probably would be another one, I’ve read several of his books now, and there is a lot of evidence of freethinking there. Too bad people just like to go along to get along, as in religion, politics, education, and tribal affiliation! I’ve never been that way, don’t plan on changing!

  23. JoAnn, your Catholic upbringing didn’t serve you well did it?

    Ecclesiastes 5:8 reads;
    8 If you see any oppression of the poor and a violation of justice and righteousness in your district, do not be surprised about the matter. For that high official is being watched by one who is higher than he is, and there are others who are still higher than they are.

    What does this mean? It means that there are superior authorities who are going to be ruthless and or unethical! It also says that they will be removed and judged. So, there you have it!

    What you have right now, this past 4 years, and all of the drama put forth before and throughout history, was done by men, all superior authorities! And, throughout history, most of them eventually were called into account! No different than today.

    Ecclesiastes 3:16 reads;
    16 I have also seen this under the sun: In the place of justice there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there was wickedness.

    Psalm 82:2 reads;
    “How long will you continue to judge with injustice; And show partiality to the wicked?

    I could go on, but those superior authorities who don’t judge appropriately will be held accountable for their actions, as what’s happening today!

    And of course we have the aesthetic and intellectual 3 word comment that adds so much to the debate! The deep thought and intellect involved, is truly thought-provoking.

  24. John,

    Surely you recognize that freethinking holds that “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” Your rejection of sectarianism is a partial step toward renunciation of religion, but then you self-contradict by buying into the baseless Christian epistemology. And just as often, you appear to cite scripture as if it were a bearer of truth and not not the intellectual meanderings of ancient people trying to make some sense of a world they were incapable of understanding. How can you accommodate such stark contradictions? If beliefs, ipso facto, deserve respect, am I then required to respect Trump’s belief that he was cheated out of the presidency?

    May I add that I’m confident that a closer reading of Dawkins (who has written that that belief in a personal god qualifies as a delusion, defined as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence) would resolve your apparent skepticism concerning Darwin’s theories. Defenders of secular values use to be called “infidels.” Now they are called “elitists” by the defenders of religious orthodoxy. Since patriotism has been aggressively clung to by defenders of the faith since 2001, religious propagandists have made serious inroads into the credibility of defenders of the Enlightenment. Battles to defend religion – any aspect of it – constitute a fight against mankind’s intellect. The outcome of that battle is by no means guaranteed.

  25. John; I am so anti-Catholic I want to smack my wonderful granddaughter around for converting to the Catholic religion earlier this year. I find myself struggling not to react to Catholic friends as I would to a Trump supporter trying to convert me. Most of us on the blog are fighting the battle to maintain SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE and you preach biblical solutions to political problems. The Bible is a collection of judgements, cruelty, sex and violence in fairy tale format. The cruelest case of identity theft was the Catholic theft of the identity of Jesus Christ and using his name to become the largest and wealthiest religious cult on earth.

    “…those superior authorities who don’t judge appropriately will be held accountable for their actions, as what’s happening today!”

    It is left to us to hold accountable those who “don’t judge appropriately”; and if Romans Chapter 13 tells us not to judge, how can anyone be held accountable for not “judging appropriately” and who makes that judgement?

    Either you are so deeply embedded in religion, or religion is so deeply embedded in you, you do not realize that religion rules your thought processes and your decisions which are judgements. I have looked at those beliefs and studied them in Methodist, Baptist and other Christian denominations and found them lacking substance; and I would never call you or others stupid for their beliefs, merely misguided. My faith in a higher being is deep and strong; my prayers are heartfelt and frequent throughout my days…and when I wake during the night. And how you could possibly believe my comments came from a Catholic upbringing is beyond comprehension.

  26. Pastor Greg Dixon – I hadn’t thought of him in years. His religious views still resonate with some, but I remember Jesus’ challenge: let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

  27. I believe it was Susan B. Anthony who said, “I distrust those people who know so well what God would have them do because, I notice, it always coincides with their own desires.”

    Yep, she had their number.

  28. twocrows contribute a quote from Susan B Anthony: “I distrust those people who know so well what God would have them do because, I notice, it always coincides with their own desires.”

    Claiming God’s will to confirm personal choices is a claim any can make. How do we know it’s really the will of God?

  29. Terry,
    Anyone can pick out individuals that they agree with! I believe it’s in 2nd Timothy where it talks about people will search out teachers that tickle their ears! And that’s exactly what we have in present society! You have politicians who look for conspiracy theories that tickle their ears, you have religious leaders looking for dogma that will tickle the ears of those who tend not to research their decisions.

    They all lie, including educators! So, I tend not to follow any particular path, just like many of the commenters on this thread, you have your own opinions! But, free thinking requires more than just having an opinion, it means that you live what you believe, but you investigate, trust but verify.

    There are a lot of things written down in history that people could claim are mythic, but they believe what they read for the most part. but when it comes to scripture, well, that’s a myth.

    I tried to stick with the original teachings! Those that have been permeated into religion by men bringing in pagan dogma and other issues I try to stay away from!

    How many philosophical houses were there in ancient Greece? How many philosophical houses were in ancient Rome how much of that philosophy is the basis of what our society is today? I know the answer, how many do? Why did almost every single philosophical house believe in a deity? Did the great apes believe in deities chimpanzees and such? You quote Dawkins, why are you quoting him? Did he have some special insight or knowledge? I’m familiar with his works. I’m not impressed. You seem to be though! Dawkins has contradicted himself several times and actually said that there are some things that are unexplainable! Wow, go figure!

    As far as my own opinions and what insight I’ve gleaned over the decades, I’m pretty straightforward about it, and just because someone has a hard time understanding why some things make sense and other things are thrown in the trash bin, well, that’s kind of free thinking!

    You’re the sum of your experiences, what you’ve read what you’ve studied how you were raised, and I am the same way. Obviously you’ve concluded some alternate opinion diametrically opposed to mine. And that’s fine! But that doesn’t mean that I will decide to change my opinion. Just as I doubt you will change yours. Nothing I’ve said contradicts itself even though you think it has.

    I do not believe in organized religious dogma. Therefore, I don’t believe religious dogma should be involved in civil society, so right there, that’s different than almost 99.9% of religious people.

  30. JoAnn,

    I apologize, I seem to recall you mentioning that you once had been Catholic or raised catholic, I could be mistaken but if I am, if I’ve disparaged you, linking you to catholicism, I humbly beg your forgiveness and pardon! Because I have a couple of cousins who teach at the Joliet archdiocese, and they don’t even believe what they teach, I know exactly what you mean.

  31. After reading today’s postings in response to Sheila’s message, I was so distracted by the direction of exchanges, I had to go back and refresh what Sheila had to say. This is about strategy to get The Equality Act passed …. right? If the framework of today’s discussion dominates public discourse on a larger scale, I fear The Equality Act is DOA.

  32. I try to refrain from religious arguments, but I will make two (and a half) quick points.

    I can’t find the quote at the moment, but it has been noted that you can justify anything as being “natural” if you choose the right species for comparison (that’s the half)
    Similarly, you can find most all variety of things in the 3-4 millennium history of Judaism in its many forms (or the multiple sects of the 2 millennium old Christianity).

    Second point – why do all of the “old testament” thumping “Christians” want to stone “sodomites” (a misuse of that concept) while exempting adulterers (equally old testament)? Too many Republican politicians and televangelists to handle?

  33. JoAnn, lol, wow 😱
    Believe it or not, I appreciate the fire in your belly! You say what you mean and mean what you say, that in itself is refreshing. And, one thing I would have to also say, you are definitely not contrarian! Like Biden says, you give it from the shoulder!

    Len,

    You nailed that, because like I mentioned in one of my long diatribes here, it talks about a cutting off in the old testament, and, that doesn’t mean stoning! So basically, people that did something that wasn’t approved under the Mosaic law, were ostracized! Maybe excommunicated from the Mosaic law?

    Excellent points.

  34. The religiously bigoted are not capable of ant perspective other than the one for which they’ve ben trained since childhood. So, “good Christians” are praying for pain and death. What would a Jesus do?

  35. Norris, good point. When some of these writers gets on religion there is no stopping them. And they always gets religion in every topic. well 99% 0f the time

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