Thursday, September 02, 2004


Okay, I wanted to be all amusing today and talk about doing Snail Races in my biology lab (this is what I have regressed to in my 40's in the attempt at getting a college degree) but I've been listening to NPR's coverage and interviews during the GOP convention and I'm so very hacked off right now.

Let me preface where I come from. Literally. I was raised to believe by my Berkeley educated liberal parents, one atheist, one christian, that, to quote my mother, "Everyone should go to the church of their choice." Under that opinion, I was free to attend any service at any church (Catholic or Protestant) , Mormon Temple, Synagogue, whatever. I was also free NOT to attend. Whatever. I tried all of the ones my different friends went to. There were fabulous religious discussions in our household which dealt with liturgy, dogma, doctrine, hypocrisy, persecution, etc. The number one thing I was raised with as respects things religious was to always understand that when I was in someone else's house, that I be a good guest and respect the rules of that house and that I respect anyone else's belief system as being as valid as my own. My church going mother taught me about early Christianity being a secret society of people who were pacifists that kept their worship to themselves and identified themselves to each other by placing the symbol of a fish somewhere over the door of their home. She taught me that faith was not something that can be promoted or crammed down someone's throat and that Faith and Religion were not necessarily the same thing. My father taught me about the Founding Fathers and that the Pledge of Allegiance was changed to include the words "Under God" during the Eisenhower administration and that he refused to add those words when reciting the pledge because the original document had been changed, in his opinion, by someone's abuse of authority. Two very different points of view living under the same roof with respect of those differing views and the attempt at educating me to the whole picture. What WACKY PARENTING was going on in MY house?!?!?! Quick, call Social Services. (Actually they were plenty wacked on other issues, but on this one they rock.) I also recall a conversation with my father that took place in their kitchen. I had gone through a horrible break up with someone about a year prior, and I had started to see someone new. I remember the conversation to this day.

"How's dating?" my father asked.

"Actually I've started seeing someone new."

"Good! Tell me about...him...or her...whatever the case may be."

"Um... you think I'm gay?"
(I'll say here that my sexual orientation has been speculated about by numerous people over the years - and on this particular day that speculation apparently included my parents. I find that kinda cool. It means I was interesting enough that someone actually considered me long enough to wonder.)

"I don't care what you are, honey - I just want to see you happy again."

Yup. My Dad. The Athiest. Showed me something very important that day about people who walk the talk.

With respect to some of the statements that I have heard coming out of the mouths of various delegates trying to pass themselves off as the mouthpiece for what they call "The majority of our Nation" I bring us back through history with a few quotes from some rather respected (or hated and feared) "delegates" through time. I believe there is a Republican or two in the midst. Enjoy.

"We don't have to protect the environment -- the Second Coming is at hand." -- James Watt, Interior Secretary under Ronald Reagan

"I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." -- President George H.W. Bush

"I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Almighty Creator. By fighting the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work." Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf"

"Most men would kill the truth if truth would kill their religion." Lemuel Washburn

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others."-- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), in his "Statute for Religious Freedom," saying government has no authority over one's religious opinions, thus defining "crime" as the injury of a person or his property

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of REASON than that of BLINDFOLDED fear." -- Thomas Jefferson - Letter to nephew Peter Carr, 1787

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes." -- Thomas Jefferson - Letter to Alexander Humboldt, 1813 "

As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?" -- John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816 "

The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses...." -- John Adams, "A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788]; from Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society, New York: George Braziller, 1965, p. 258]

"Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion." -- John Adams

"Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst." -- C.S. Lewis, noted Christian author

"There is but one evil; ignorance." -- Socrates

the preceding quotes were found upon the website:


Blogger Laura said...

Great quotes. I go to church but find myself more and more cynical, to the point where I can hardly stand it sometimes. ***sigh*** I tend to agree with the statement that religion is the opiate of the masses (unfortunately uttered by Karl Marx I think....)

02 September, 2004 16:26  

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