Thursday, July 10, 2008

Catholics For Obama?

As the savvy among us know, George W. Bush's 2nd term was a gift from Ohio Catholic voters. Their votes proved to be the margin of victory in Ohio in November 2004. Of course that in itself defies logic as John Kerry was a Catholic. Here in the Toledo area there was a large group of people who claimed to be 'Catholics Against Kerry.' I have one or two of their yard signs in my garage.

Well, they got George Bush and Dick Cheney for another 4 years. I wonder if they were happy with what they voted for? With Bush's ratings in the cellar, surely there are quite a few Ohio Catholics who now regret their vote.

I received an email this afternoon with a link to CBN News titled, "10,000 Catholics for Obama." The article says,

"A new effort to attract Catholic voters to Barack Obama’s campaign is starting today. It’s called, “10,000 Catholics for Obama”. You can see their logo on the left and their site is here. They have a video up explaining why some Catholics are supporting Obama. This site is independent of the Obama campaign but they were consulted about it."

Ten thousand is a drop in the proverbial bucket when it comes to elections and hardly enough voters to sprinkle around the 50 states. Ohio itself needs 100,000 Catholics for Obama to undo the damage they did back in 2004. Will there be or will some devious advertisement scare the Hell out of them like it did in 2004?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thomas Jefferson on Jesus Christ

My post is in reaction to a comment made by
commentator, Fonso. Without source, Fonso
attributes the following quote to Thomas
Jefferson(TJ): "I am a real Christian, that
is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of
Jesus." From there Fonso makes an erroneous
opinion: "He(TJ)subscribed to what was written
in the Bible(doctrines of Jesus).

The problem is that Fonso and his fellow
Christian reactionary followers try to use TJ
to make him into a Christian. However, the facts
just do not support such attempts. There are
so many outstanding extant quotes in TJ's writings,
statements, and letters that it is difficult to
narrow them down. Jefferson viewed any religion,
and especially Christianity, as a "form of tyranny
over the mind of man." (TJ to Benjamin Rush, 1800)
This hostility to religion and to Christianity
specifically is a constant with TJ. Indeed, the
last letter that he penned just nine days before his
death on July 4, 1826 again reminded the nation about
the danger of religion in public affairs.

TJ in his Autobiography over the debates over the
Virginia Act for Religious Freedom wrote: "When the
preamble declares that coercion is a departure from
the plan of the holy author or our religion, an
amendment was proposed by inserting 'Jesus Christ',
so that it would read "a departure from the plan of
Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion," the
insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof
that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its
protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and
the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every

On January 8, 1789 TJ wrote Richard Price: "I concur with
you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of
atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter
in the being worshipped by those who think themselves

TJ to John Adams, January 24, 1814: "The whole history of these
books(the Gospels) is so defective and doubtful that it seems
vain to attempt minute enquiry into it, and such tricks have
been played with their text, and with the texts of other books
relating to them, that we have a right, from that course, to
entertain much doubt which parts of them are genuine. In the
New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have
proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are
of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is easy to separate
those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills."

TJ to William Short, April 13, 1820: "Among the sayings and the
discourses imputed to him, Jesus, by his biographers, I find
many passages of fine imagination, correct morality and of the
most benevolence; and others again of such ignorance, so much
absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to
pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have
proceeded from the same being."

TJ to John Adams, April 11, 1823: "And the day will come when
the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his
father in the womb of a virgin will be classified with the fable
of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may
we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these
United States will do away with the artificial scaffolding, and
restore us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most
venerated reformer of human errors."

Indeed, Jefferson rewrote the Bible..It is called The Jefferson
Bible. He viewed Christ as obviously not devine, he writes often
about the demonism of Christianity, but he recognizes Christ as
an "extraordinary man". Jefferson considers the Bible a book
of superstition and mysticism. When Jefferson said, if he did,
that "I am a real Christian", the emphasis should be put on the
adjective "real", Fonso, not Christian. He only accepts the moral
doctrines of Jesus only.

Blog Visits from United States APO, Armed Forces Europe, Middle East, & Canada

My Sitemeter has indicated that I have been receiving quite a few hits from people in the Armed Forces who are googling 'Zoriah Miller" or "Marine Miller" or some combination of those. Apparently they are interested in reading what Mr. Miller has been blogging about in his Iraqi journal.

I wrote about the Zoriah Miller Blog a few days ago, and, I never knew that there would be that much interest in finding a lead to it. It makes one wonder why members of the Armed Forces want to read it. I wonder if they are looking for a source of unbiased truth. After all, that is difficult to find. With more and more stories and books coming out about what really motivated this war, the military wants answers most of all. As they rightly should.

His blog: [link]

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Microorganism Makes Hydrogen

Scientists have found a quite rare hyperthermophilic archaea, a bacteria that thrives at quite high temperatures, living in ancient volcanic cauldrons of Siberia. D. fermentans is the little creature and, surprisingly, one of its byproducts is hydrogen. Yes, hydrogen as in hydrogen cars, hydrogen fuel cells.

According to the Virginia Tech News, Elizaveta Bonch-Osmolovskaya and her colleagues at the Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences discovered the rare archaeon that can chew up cellulose and exhale hydrogen. They found Desulfurococcus fermentans in the Uzon Caldera on the Kamchatka Peninsula, an isolated spit of land in eastern Siberia that is full of volcanoes and their remnants. D. fermentans degrades cellulose from the higher plants that fall in the caldera.

Perhaps we can all cultivate these creatures in home fermentation bottles and sell the hydrogen back to the hydrogen stations which will power our vehicles. That would slap the Saudis right off of their camels.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Torah on Stone Provides New Controversy

Ancient Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection
New York Times

JERUSALEM — A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

When David Jeselsohn bought an ancient tablet, above, he was unaware of its significance.
If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.

The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era — in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone.

It is written, not engraved, across two neat columns, similar to columns in a Torah. But the stone is broken, and some of the text is faded, meaning that much of what it says is open to debate.


The real debate, in my opinion, is not the age of the stone or what is blurred on the edges, but the messianic statement about dying and rising on the third day. The statement, " suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time," is the real story here, the one that could ignite the entire Christian world.

I would imagine that the 'spin doctors' in the church are already burning the midnight beeswax candles to save their interpretation of the 'uniqueness' of the death of Jesus. If these lines are not disputed and not fully spun, then many Christians will have lost their platform, their foundation for the claim that Jesus 'died and rose again on the third day.' At that point the life and death of Jesus becomes just one more great prophet who had a powerful message on how to live life fully.

To me personally, I don't give a hoot if Jesus rose from the dead; what he said during his living is most important. His message, like all of the great prophets, is not very complex: live simply, help and love others, and stand up for injustice where you see it.

Those Resurrection and Ascension scenes that were added after his death are unimportant unless one wants to have their faith moved upwards on the ladder to the one-true faith position. This oneupmanship, like a sports theme, has no place in the lives of people except by partisan fanatics who want their 'team' to be Number One!

Such is the game of religion. It will go on with the proper cheerleaders and the pompoms no matter what the 'facts' reveal. If people are comfortable with that, fine. Just don't try to cram it down our throats.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Facts Versus Opinions

It seems people have a difficulty of differentiating
a fact from an opinion. According to Webster an
opinion is a belief or a conclusion held with confidence
but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof.
It is more of a personal judgment. An opinion is a
feeling, many times it is based on emotion, or its a
viewpoint. Direct opposite of a person's opinions are
facts. A fact is verifiable; it is real.A fact is based
on evidence; it is not something tobe surmised.It is proveable.

Facts are not debatable. There is no guess work in a
fact; a fact is known with certainty. Opinions are not
solutions to factual problems. Opinions are akin to
feelings. How often do we hear some discuss a problem
or an issue with "I feel that...", or "In my heart and in
your heart you know that I am right or this and that is
true, or "In your gut you know what the facts are and that
I speak the truth about..." These statements are nonsense.
They are the nature of animals. Animals react on instinct to
their feeling; humans do not. Humans have the ability to
think and to reason, and this is done by collecting facts and
then making conclusions. Opinions are not facts, as opinions
can come from many subjective and bias sources. Opinions are
generally logical inconsistencies. Therefore, not true.

Why does this Mike write such a long comment on homosexuality?
He has a religious bias which prevents him from seeing any
other side of a factual argument. He has chosen to block out
reason and the nature of humankind. Mike cannot face the
real facts of life and is forced to accept some unproven
supernatural force for his opinion or set of beliefs.

I am not suggesting that unsubstantiated viewpoints are not to
be tolerated. The Constitution of the United States demands
tolerance. That doesn't mean, however, we have to accept non
factual opinions. What of a person's comments are to be
considered worthy of consideration? What is a person's bias
when writing comments? Whose opinion is more valuable? Is it
my right to make the decision to cut off life support of a
terminally ill family member? Mine or a medical ethicist's
professional opinion? Should a religious belief be imposed over
my private opinion? Or that of a professional medical ethicist?
What of my right to have assisted suicide, if I so choose?
Should a religious law be passed forbidding me of that? Whose
value system is more important? One own's personal decision
or a societal decision? Or a societal decision based on some
one's religious beliefs? Who determines the common good?

This holiday weekend we have heard the words of Thomas Jefferson
often...Here are some more of his words that we should take to
heart: "If a nation expects to be ignorate and expects
what never was and never will be." If we are to be ignorant of
facts and reality, "because the bible tells me so," a democratic
and free people cannot last. Freedom cannot exist because of
an opinion.....

Fundamentalist Christian Homophobia Outted

For the Bible Tells Me So is an excellent video available to rent through Netflix. My wife and I watched it last night and could not help but think of three families we know very well who have a gay son or lesbian daughter. Here is the trailer for the film [link]

This is not the first time I have blogged on this subject nor, I suppose, the last. The cruel ignorance of this knot of righteous people needs to be exposed at every available opportunity. The film focused on 5 families with gay or lesbian children as well as James Dobson's Focus on the Family. "This is a family values story," said one of the parents who stood outside of the headquarters of Dobson's compound. The family was attempting to deliver a letter to James Dobson and was arrested for 'trespassing' when they attempted to do so.

Two of the families are fairly well known. Congressman Richard Gephardt's family was featured along with the recently ordained first gay Episcopalian bishop, Rev. Gene Robinson. The struggle of the parents of the five children is documented as is their epiphany and acceptance of the lifestyle that their child has chosen.

Intermixed with this is the oh-so righteous sprinkling of fundamentalist Christians who 'know' what the Bible says. It turns out that they are ignorant about the Bible texts that flow freely from their foul mouths. One laughable scene is of a televangelist mispronouncing the word, 'abomination' by saying 'bom-nation.' Not only can he not speak proper English, he also is ignorant of the meaning of this term as the film points out.

One interesting line from the film is this: "There's nothing wrong with a 5th grade understanding of God as long as you're in the 5th grade." Ignorance was on display for all 90 minutes of this documentary. It was particularly difficult for one black woman who pointed out how the Bible was historically used to subjugate women and defend slavery, and now it is being used once again to victimize gays and lesbians.

The website, For the Bible Tells Me So, offers more information on the book and the film.

Mary Lou Wallner, one of the parents of a lesbian daughter featured in the film, founded TEACH MINISTRIES after the suicide of her daughter in February of 1997. "Mary Lou Wallner found herself faced with a spiritual journey to try to comprehend the events of their stormy mother-daughter relationship and the implications of her refusal to accept Anna's homosexuality." TEACH MINISTRIES goal is to educate about the consequences of homophobia.
Other sites dedicated to the defense and tolerance of the gay and lesbian lifestyles are listed below.

GLADD [Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation]

PFLAG [promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons]


The Trevor Project [nationwide around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth.]

Faith in America [The mission of Faith In America, Inc. is the emancipation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from bigotry disguised as religious truth.]

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