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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reversing the Enemy Images

by @ 6:07 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Joe's Rants, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication, Stephen Bennett

I have been writing this blog for over a two years now. I started because I wanted a way to speak out against the radio show called, “Straight Talk Radio” with hosts Irene and Stephen Bennett. I had heard their misrepresentations of GLBT folks and realized for myself that someone needed to speak out against the enemy images painted by these folks. I continued to speak out for some time because I wanted the enemy images to stop. I would soon learn I was fighting Irene and Stephen with the same enemy images that I wanted to stop. I was fighting fire with fire, an eye for an eye.

A great man (Gandhi) once said, “An eye for and eye makes the whole world blind.” Another stated, “If we fight fire with fire, entire cities will burn”. Such tactics don’t work, but we seem to be addicted to them as a society. We are programed into the retributive system and have trouble changing because these are the options we know. We need to learn there are other choices to make. There are better ways, we just need to learn them.

I am learning more and more about nonviolence, nonviolent communication (NVC), and conflict resolution. I have spent the past year of my life reading nothing but books about these subjects. I have read all of the works of Gandhi, all of the works of King, short stories from Tolstoy, the writings of Thich Nhat Hahn and a few books from Marshall Rosenberg. I have gone to trainings, workshops and online seminars about mediation, peace making, cultural competency and nonviolence. It is the messages in this that have caused me to rethink my approach to people like Stacy Harp, Peter LaBarbera, Alan Chambers and the hosts of Straight Talk Radio.

I have spent much of my time learning newer and better ways to see those people with whom I disagree. It is not easy to see those who are telling the world you are evil, influenced by Satan, diseased and other colorful things, as human beings. It is much easier and what we have been programed to do, to see them as the opposite side of the war. To see them as they see us, as the enemy. I have to say, even in my own mind, when I catch myself seeing others in this way, I am sad. I have to stop and give some self-empathy. I have remind myself that I am not perfect, just on a journey to rise above the program and be the change for a less violent society.

This is what I hope of others, to stop the enemy images on all sides. I hope others will stop and just think for a moment about why they believe what they believe about other people. What is the evidence? What is the cause of what I believe? Is it based in facts or stereotypes?

Peace will never come in this world if we are not willing to see other people as brothers in conflict rather than divided enemies. It is the enemy images we paint of others that are at the root of violence in the world. We painted people with labels and then decided for ourselves what those labels “deserve.” Are we good, bad, right, wrong, black or white, straight or gay? We have programing on on televisions to help us make choices about who is right or wrong and good or bad. We are taught from a young age that bad guys deserve punishment and good guys deserve reward. We then spend years of our lives trying to avoid punishment and gain rewards, sometimes at the expense of others. Most of the time at the expense of ourselves.

Tonight, I sat and watched the Movie, “Hotel Rwanda”. I had wanted to watch this film for years but avoided it. I wasn’t sure I could handle watching such a blatant display of inhumanity. People divided by labels like “Hutu” and “Tutsi.” These labels were presented to these people by the size of their nose and their height. People did what they were told and killed who they were suppose to kill because they believed in the enemy images the were programed to believe. They did so to avoid punishment or gain reward. In some cases that reward was staying alive. Hutu’s referred to the Tutsi as “Cockroaches.” A simple way of painting them as enemies. It is easier for people to kill someone in cold blood if they see them not as a person, but the enemy.

It is those same enemy images of others that drive so many of our thoughts, actions and beliefs about other people. We see a homeless person and we see a label that triggers in us a set of beliefs, regardless if they are true. Rather than responding to that person as a person with needs and feelings, we see them as a label. Fact is they may not even be homeless at all, but we see people as labels rather than people so anyone dressed poorly and looking dirty must be homeless rather than man who just got off work or a man playing Walt Whitman in a play. We don’t really know the facts, but our mind fills them in anyway.

When I think about why we have enemy images of each other, I can’t help but look at the anti-gay industry and the constant barrage of rhetoric about gay folks. The messages, the false science and the mythological links to evil beings. I think that many of these folks need these enemy images of gay folks to feel better in their fear of god. A need to speak out against “sin” because not speaking out would jeopardize their own salvation. Again, they are stuck in this idea of reward and punishment. Good people are rewarded by god while  bad people burn in hell. Many people live in this fear of god, but call it “god’s love”. I am not sure what kind of a god created beings just to scare the shit out of them for their lives, but it appears others are clear on this. Perhaps someday, someone will have it makes sense to me, but I have my doubts.

I suppose my conclusion is to ask you to think about those who disagree with you on any side of an issue and then ask yourself these questions:

1) What is there to gain from this and at whose expense?

2) Am I enriching life for anyone or just adding more negative, enemy images?

3) Have I just fought fire with fire and how will I escape the smoke and flames when the whole city burns.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pass this to Youth Ages 9 – 22!!!!!!

by @ 7:40 pm. Filed under Nonviolence

TAKE THE IMANI PEACE PLEDGE

Help Create A Culture of Peace

What does it take to create peace in the midst of turmoil and a national culture of violence? Violence, disrespect, selfishness, promiscuousness, and more negatives are permeated through mainstream music, television, movies, games, and even on clothing. Take these conditions and compound them with urban areas having three generations with a generational span of 12-17 years of babies having babies and many of these children are born affected by drugs and abuse.

So, what is the most effective approach that will produce long lasting results to offset the permeation of such degradation in our society and culture? How do we create a culture of peace?

We begin by changing thought patterns and behaviors to those that choose not to engage in acts of violence then teach alternative ways to handle anger and confrontations.

The Imani Peace Pledge[tm] is a commitment that youth make to themselves and the community that they will not engage in acts of violence inside or outside of school based on the proven fact that the youth of Philadelphia in 1974 did the same and virtually ended gang warfare here in the City of Brotherly Love. The pledge acknowledges that our youth are generation who can and wants to succeed.

Please, if your age 9 -22, take the Imani Peace Pledge[tm]. If you are older or have taken the pledge, then pass it on and encourage someone to sign. Organizations, non-violence events, use the Imani Pledge as a tool to bring measured value to your activities. Always make sure signed pledges are returned to the House of Umoja, 5625 Master Street, Philadelphia, PA 19131. When signed online, the pledges are immediately submitted.


Your Word Is Your Bond

For more information, please contact Jacqueline Taylor-Adams at 215.473.5893 or email HouseOfUmoja@aol.com

The House of Umoja is part of the Philadelphia Partnership For Peace along with the Free Library of Philadelphia, Atwater-Kent Museum, and WXPN Radio? – Learn more

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Walk in the Park with My Dogs (and partner)

by @ 9:51 pm. Filed under Joe's Rants, Nonviolence

More Absurdity

by @ 12:21 pm. Filed under Gay News

The other day I blogged about an anti-gay activist who used an example of one gay male couple who took their children to the Folsom Street Fair to state that no gay and lesbian couple should then be able to have children.

Here are some headlines I could write about if I thought that the actions of a few should condemn many people:

Straight men should Not Be Allowed To Become Priests

Apparently in Oregon a reverend has been accused of raping a number of women in his church.  His bail is 5.8 million dollars.  Therefore all straight men should not be allowed to become ministers.

Straight men should Not Be Allowed To Own Pets

A straight man was having a fight with his girlfriend and threw a puppy out a balcony.  It died of head injuries.  Therefore all straight men should not be allowed to have pets.

Straight Women Should Not Be Allowed To Have Children

A woman killed another pregnant woman and then cut the baby out of her.  She claimed she was emotionally abused by her mother and sexually abused by her stepfather (which should have its own headline–Straight Men Should Not Be Allowed To Have Female Stepchildren).  She has been sentenced to death.

And one more absurd possible post title:

Straight Men and Women Should Not Be Allowed To Have Children

Here in San Jose California a woman has been charged with accessory to murder and child abuse for watching as her boyfriend beat and kill her six year old son.  To make it worse, she tried to cover it up. And even worse–they buried his body under concrete in their backyard.

I could find thousands and thousands of other examples of heterosexuals that have abused children.  But I think I have made my point.  Anyone who takes a few examples of bad behavior and tries to condemn the rest of the good ones is really being vindictive and ridiculous.  Just because two guys took their children to Folsom Street Fair (and I have said before and I will say it again–it is NOT a place for children) is not a reason to then show that the rest of us should not be able to have children. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The myth of Gay affluence.

by @ 9:10 pm. Filed under Gay News

A new study has finally uncovered the truth about the myth that gays are rich. In this article I will post it in its entirety as it is short.

University of New Hampshire research shows that employers discriminate more against gay men than against gay women in the workplace.

The researchers found that gay men who live together earn 23 percent less than married men, and 9 percent less than unmarried heterosexual men who live with a woman.

According to the study by UNH’s Whittemore School of Business and Economics, discrimination is most pronounced in management and male-dominated occupations such as construction and production.

The study found that lesbians do not experience similar discrimination in the labor market.

The authors analyzed U.S. Census labor and wage information from 2004 for more than 91,000 heterosexual and homosexual couples.

According to Wikipedia in the United states:

Median income $46,326 per household

Doing the math the average gay male couple makes $35,671.02. This article destroys the myth that the christian right have been trying to sell to the american public that we are rich people. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. I bring this forward to you because this site was established to dispell the lies the Christian right has been trying hard to sell. It is high time that the employment non-discrimination act is passed so that all americans are protected from this injustice. I hope that Stacy Harp, Peter LaBarbera, D.L. Foster, and Mark will take this evidence into consideration when discussing ENDA.

Can’t Sleep with my Allergies, so I guess I will rant a bit……

by @ 5:44 am. Filed under Atheism, Joe's Rants, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication

Well I don’t normally find it productive to answer to people who call me names like “Moron” or other rudeness, but I can’t sleep and have nothing better to do this morning. So I’ll take minute to reply.

This post by a man name Mark starts off by saying that I wrote something, I did not. The actual statement Mark refers to was written by Adam. I don’t agree with Adam’s words because I don’t believe in god. But I respect that Adam does.

Mark continues his rant by saying:

1. Just in case you missed it, Joe is a moron. He supports locking folks up in prison for proclaiming the word of God. “Repent! for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!” That translated in Joe’s worldview, is hate speech. Maybe the narcissistic bigot (Joe Brummer) is pissed off Jesus did not mention him by name?

To start, Mark must be needy to feel some power. That is usually the mentality I find in those that call others names. Since they are unable to make a strong arguments intellectually, they resort to names. This statement also makes the call for me to repent. This is silly. In order to repent, I would need to make myself believe something I do not. That is not possible. Try it on yourself. Make yourself believe in Big Foot or the tooth fairy, can you? Mark follows this with more childish name calling and another mention of Jesus having an effect on me that is not possible.

Mark goes to his point 2

2. Joe Brummer and his racist co-writer Adam KKKautz {unkowingly?} worship idols. They live, teach, and worship at their most holy of highs: Themselves. In fact, Joe hates many people. Joe simply would prefer the world call his personal hatred, “Gay”. Myself, many others, and God’s word, call it sin.

I don’t know what Adam worships but I do not worship anything, no gods and no idols. Mark finds this to be some slap on his face, but it has nothing to do with him. I just don’t believe. I cannot be “made” to believe either. Especially by bully tactics and name calling. It is unlikely that these tactics would make anyone want to believe either.

I will also state for the record. I don’t hate anyone. I don’t love them either, but I have a sense of respect for people. I continue to live by the mantra of Gandhi. Be the change, and that change is a world where people are respectful. It is my reason for being respectful to others. It is the type of world I want to live in and the change I will try to be.

Mark’s point 3

3. “Violence” as defined by Joe, is any knowledge that disagrees with his opinion. Yes, there is a major (eternal) difference between Knowledge and Opinion, Gandhi and Jesus, Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Truth and Lie. Pharaohs and plagues come to mind…

Not sure what to say to this. Violence is anything that is welding over others to hurt, control or oppress them. Mark advocates seeing the world here through the eyes of who is right and who is wrong. Who is good and who is bad. This is a way of viewing the world that leads to violence. We see people for what we think they “deserve” for being right, wrong, good or bad. We have grown in a society that rewards the good and punishes the bad, sometimes violently. When something bad happens to someone we see as wrong, we celebrate it because we believe, and have been taught to believe that they “deserve” it. I am not sure how this helps to enrich anyone’s life or society. I realize Mark isn’t worried about that because he is only interested in his own salvation through his god. He isn’t concerned about the world left behind for the next generations. Each year it gets more violent. I hope we can change that.

Marks ends this attack with:

4. Chose your King carefully. The modern day Pharaohs, or the one true God?

People do not get to choose their god. Mostly we indoctrinate our youth into the god in which we believe. It is more cultural then “godly.” Either way, I will say it again. Try and make yourself believe something. How about “Thor” or “Zuess”? Can you make yourself believe in those or any other god? We are not capable as humans to make ourself believe something that is against the evidence.
Secondly, I am always a bit puzzled by the three Abrahamic religions that claim the existence of “one true god” but also claim the existence of Satan. Satan seems to have all the powers that god has. He creates, he watches you, he tries to win you over, he answers prayer. Sounds like a god to me and apparently, he was created by god. So the most evil being was created by the least evil being in the universe?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Around the blogsphere

by @ 8:26 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Atheism, Ex-gays, Gay News, Joe's Rants, Nonviolence

I again apologize for not keeping you as updated as I use to do.  I must say it is the same ole same stuff out there.   The right posts things about how horrid those pesky gay folks are and the left posts about how horrid the right can be.   It becomes exhausting to read and process in my mind.   I wonder if any of this will ever stop. 

Stacy Harp, is attacking atheists.  I think this is entertaining on some level since we are not the ones claiming something exists on blind faith.  We atheists actually require something be proven to exist before we acknowledge it.   You might call this…science.  What I find entertaining is she named her post something about “Athiest indoctrination”.   She must fail to see that we are all born atheists.  It is not until our family indoctrinates us into the faith of our origins do we get indoctrinated into a belief in god.   If you are in the east, this could be muslim or hindu.  If you are in the west, this could be Christian or Jewish or Wiccan.   It is all about where you live and what your parents believe.

Atheism is a lack of belief in a god.   Children are born without a belief in  god.  We teach them to believe without question of reason or science.   Children then grow up to take this belief to whatever extreme place they want to take it.   That could be no where or into the side of a building with a plane.  This could also mean your children grow up from a young and tender age holding signs thay say “God Hates Fags”.   I am not sure I see how keeping children atheists is such a bad thing or at best letting them get old enough to develop critical thinking skills before teaching them about religion.   I also think children should be taught about “all” religions so they can make a clear, level headed, informed choice about god.

In other parts of the blog world:

Peter LaBarbera is really taking things for a joy ride by noting an article published that says the greatest rise in new cases of HIV are among our young gay men.  I find these frustrating coming from any evangelical Christian since they are the ones doing all in their power to stop sex education that includes facts about homosexual sex and protection from disease.  Is it any wonder the problem lies where they created it?  I value life including Christians.  I would never hold back information on science that could save  christian life.  Why then, would a Christian do that to someone else, like a gay youth?

Peterson Toscano has updated his info on the harm of ex-gay ministries.   I would ask again that you share in this effort.  I feel sincere respect for Peterson’s efforts and hope that even if you disagree with his work, you would at least read it over to see both sides.

The blog world is going a little nutty over the announcement that Dumbledore, the headmaster of the fictional Wizard School in the Harry Potter series is actually a gay charector.   Peter LaBarbera seems to feel this will further desensitize youth to the fact gay people exist.  Of course it must be said, wizards do not.   On the other hand, gay people do exist.

Our friends over at Good As You have run detailed coverage of the Values Voters Love fest for gay people in a fifteen part series.   Feel free to notice how gays and lesbians in this debate were presented as one of America’s problems rather than a group of her citizens.    For the record, I think this sort of talkk leads to violence, but I am confident I have said that a dozen times over.

 

Lastly, I have to admit, I am thinking of closing the blog or at least changing it.   As you can see, I don’t keep you as informed as I once did. Adam and Kevin do a way better job than me at keeping up on current issues.   Readership and hits are still high but I think that is do to Google searches looking for info on gay issues and not new readers coming to find out more about nonviolence or gaining new insights.   I am moving into new directions in my life including becoming a certified mediator, writing for “get” magazine, and expanding my nonviolence work.   I am not sure I believe this blog serves as good of a purpose as I thought it did.  I wonder if it divides us in spirit when I had always hoped it would unite us in thoughts and needs. I think the divisions we choose separate us from our humanity, our connections with each other.

We paint horrible pictures of each other in the world.  These people that and those people this and then those others are evil and responsible for the wrong in the world.  We look for people to blame for everthing wrong and ask others what the wrong deserve for being wrong.  We see people as right or wrong, good or bad and what we deserve   The good deserve reward and the bad deserve harsh punishments even violence.  We all know what happens to the bad guys in books and movies in our culture, they get “punished”.   We see people for what they deserve rather than what they need to enrich life.  I always hoped this blog would be about changing that, but instead I am feeling I walked into promoting that which I wanted to see change. 

I, of course would leave this site up for the old stuff to be read.  I would also leave it for Adam and Kevin to continue to write stuff about gay issues.  I, myself think I will be changing the nature of what I write about.  Not sure what that means, but it will evolve like this did.  Into something I am proud of even when it isn’t what I hoped.  It is always something.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Peterson Toscano: Ex-gay Harm

by @ 9:17 pm. Filed under Ex-gays, Gay News

Peterson Toscano, performance artist and ex-ex-gay activist has posted a summary of the harm that comes to folks who have been through ex-gay programs.  This comes in light of the recent study that makes the claim ex-gay ministries do no harm.  I would ask that you visit Peterson’s post and pass on the information.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Russell’s Teapot

by @ 10:41 am. Filed under Atheism

I love this cartoon!

Friday, October 19, 2007

This is the inevitable result of extreme anti-gay rhetoric.

by @ 10:38 pm. Filed under Gay News

I haven’t blogged for some time because I work a lot and don’t have much time to do so but this was something I couldn’t pass up. Apparently in this article from the southern poverty law center a growing violent wing of the baptist and pentacostal movements angered by increasing tolerant attitudes towards glbt people has taken upon themselves to kill people they consider to be glbt. Here are some snippets from the article:

On the first day of July, Satender Singh was gay-bashed to death. The 26-year-old Fijian of Indian descent was enjoying a holiday weekend outing at Lake Natoma with three married Indian couples around his age. Singh was delicate and dateless — two facts that did not go unnoticed by a party of Russian-speaking immigrants two picnic tables away.

According to multiple witnesses, the men began loudly harassing Singh and his friends, calling them “7-Eleven workers” and “Sodomites.” The Slavic men bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a “good church” like theirs. According to Singh’s friends, the harassers sent their wives and children home, then used their cell phones to summon several more Slavic men. The members of Singh’s party, which included a woman six months pregnant, became afraid and tried to leave. But the Russian-speaking men blocked them with their bodies.
Singh
Satender Singh

The pregnant woman said she didn’t want to fight them.

“We don’t want to fight you either,” one of them replied in English. “We just want your faggot friend.”

One of the Slavic men then sucker-punched Singh in the head. He fell to the ground, unconscious and bleeding. The assailants drove off in a green sedan and red sports car, hurling bottles at Singh’s friends to prevent them from jotting down the license plate. Singh suffered a brain hemorrhage. By the next day, hospital tests confirmed that he was clinically brain dead. His family agreed to remove him from artificial life support July 5.

Vlad Kusakin, the host of a Russian-language anti-gay radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Seattle, told The Seattle Times in January that God has “made an injection” of high numbers of anti-gay Slavic evangelicals into traditionally liberal West Coast cities. “In those places where the disease is progressing, God made a divine penicillin,” Kusakin said.
The executive director of the OCA at that time was Scott Lively, a longtime anti-gay activist who is now the chief international envoy for the Watchmen movement. Lively also is the former director of the California chapter of the anti-gay American Family Association and the founder of both Defend the Family Ministries and the Pro-Family Law Center, which claims to be the country’s “only legal organization devoted exclusively to opposing the homosexual political agenda.”
Latvia.

The Watchmen movement’s strategy for combating the “disease” of homosexuality calls for aggressive confrontation. “We church leaders need to stop being such, for lack of a better word, sissies when it comes to social and political issues,” Lively argues in a widely-circulated tract called Masculine Christianity. “For every motherly, feminine ministry of the church such as a Crisis Pregnancy Center or ex-gay support group we need a battle-hardened, take-it-to-the-enemy masculine ministry like [the anti-abortion group] Operation Rescue.”

You know the only thing I have to say is that this is what Jesus meant when he said in Matthew 23:15

15 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell[a] you yourselves are!

If people like Stacy, Mark, Peter and D.L. don’t want the crimes these people have committed held against them on the day of judgement they need renounce anti-gay rhetoric, call for respect for glbt people, and peacefully end the culture war on homosexuality.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Atheism: The religion of the fool or the genius

by @ 8:24 pm. Filed under Atheism
Atheist

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates! Been more than busy!

by @ 6:54 pm. Filed under Joe's Rants, Nonviolence, Site News

Sorry for the lack of updates.  I have had my hands full of stuff and haven’t really had time to write.   For those of you who don’t know I have been writing for Get Magazine for a few months now, and I am getting pretty close to a deadline.

I also have been working a nonviolence workshop for the community here in Rhode Island.   Here are the details if any of you think you are in the area and would like to come.

This 2-Hour Introductory Workshop is Open to the Public in celebration of
“Conflict Resolution Day”

Date: October 17, 2007,  5:30pm to 7:30pm
Doors open at 5:00pm
Cost: Pre-registered $10.00 if received by 10/15/07
Registration $15.00 after 10/15/07 or at the door*
Location: Classical High School
770 Westminster Street, Providence, RI

Instructor: Gregg Kendricks
Charlottesville, VA.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication

Developed by Clinical Psychologist Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication helps you to:

*If you are an employee or board member of one of RICCMHO’s member organizations, please contact your human resources department for information about a complimentry seat.

Click here for registration information
For registration questions call CPNRI at (401) 295-5757 .
For general questions regarding this workshop call CMCRI at (401) 273-9999 or RICCMHO at (401) 228-7990.


This Workshop is a collaborative effort of the
RI Council of Community Mental Health Organizations (RICCMHO), the Community Provider Network of RI (CPN RI) and the Community Mediation Center of RI (CMCRI).

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Dark Evil Side of Christianity

by @ 7:28 pm. Filed under Atheism

For over a year I have maintained this blog and followed evangelical Christian teachings, politics and writings. I am often outraged by what I read because, well putting it as nicely as possible, there is nothing rational about evangelical Christianity.

Today, I watched the film “Jesus Camp” and this quote stopped me in my tracks. THis statement blew me so far from my comfort zone. I cannot believe any rational person could possibly say this but here it is…

It’s no wonder, with that kind of intense training and discipling, that those young people are ready to kill themselves for the cause of Islam. I wanna see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I wanna see them as radically laying down their lives for the Gospel as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine and all those different places, you know, because we have… excuse me, but we have the truth!

Becky Fischer

This is the problem I have with religion in general. This arrogant idea that any of us can claim to have the truth and do use that claim as justification for death, war, oppression and hate. This is being taught to our children. Young minds being brainwashed into a faith they are taught not to question with reason. Of course, that is because there is nothing reasonable about hoping for war or teaching children to “lay down there lives for the Gospels”. There is nothing reasonable about this.

The piece of this that made me roll my eyes is the little girl who is bowling. She prays that god will help her make a strike. Okay, if there is a god, he is going to stop saving starving orphans, stop saving trapped miners, stop guarding the troops just to help this little girl bowl a ten pin? Sorry, but my sense of reason kicks in on this one. We are talking about a universe with billions of galaxies, billion and billions of planets and this god is watching all of that and helping this little girl bowl a strike? Sorry, I am not buying this.

I really don’t mind Christianity at all. I do mind greatly this idea of fundamentalism in any religion. The evidence of what it does to people, society and the earth is incontrovertible. I am starting to come to the idea that we as a society need to speak out against these sort of belief systems. Force people to question them the same way we question anything else.

Of course, conveniently, as soon as you question religious beliefs, you are being tempted by the devil. That is what everyone is taught early on in the indoctrination process. I say question everything, all if it. Especially GOD!

Watch Jesus Camp

or this:

My Conversion to Atheism

Further Proof That Christianity Must Change Or Die.

by @ 5:34 pm. Filed under Gay News

I have blogged about this topic before here. But the reason I bring it up again is an a study by the barna group indicates a negative view towards christianity more especially towards evangelicals. I will post some snippets of the article here

One of the groups hit hardest by the criticism is evangelicals. Such believers have always been viewed with skepticism in the broader culture. However, those negative views are crystallizing and intensifying among young non-Christians. The new study shows that only 3% of 16 – to 29-year-old non-Christians express favorable views of evangelicals. This means that today’s young non-Christians are eight times less likely to experience positive associations toward evangelicals than were non-Christians of the Boomer generation (25%).

While Christianity has typically generated an uneven reputation, the research shows that many of the most common critiques are becoming more concentrated. The study explored twenty specific images related to Christianity, including ten favorable and ten unfavorable perceptions. Among young non-Christians, nine out of the top 12 perceptions were negative. Common negative perceptions include that present-day Christianity is judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%) – representing large proportions of young outsiders who attach these negative labels to Christians. The most common favorable perceptions were that Christianity teaches the same basic ideas as other religions (82%), has good values and principles (76%), is friendly (71%), and is a faith they respect (55%).

Even among young Christians, many of the negative images generated significant traction. Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.

Interestingly, the study discovered a new image that has steadily grown in prominence over the last decade. Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is “anti-homosexual.” Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity. As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians. One of the most frequent criticisms of young Christians was that they believe the church has made homosexuality a “bigger sin” than anything else. Moreover, they claim that the church has not helped them apply the biblical teaching on homosexuality to their friendships with gays and lesbians.

At the very least right-wing evangelicals can do is end the culture war peacefully by dropping opposition to equal rights for glbt people. We’re not asking you to open your fundamentalist churches to us just stop the opposition for your own sake not ours. If they continue down this path it will ultimately lead the US looking like Europe and the great megachurches of today will become empty and devoid of followers tommorrow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Just a Quick Update on My Journey to Nonviolence

by @ 7:01 pm. Filed under Joe's Rants, Nonviolence

I have, as promised earlier, updated the link to the left entitled “My Journey to Nonviolence.”   I learned in the beginning of this exploration of ideas, that nonviolence is a way of life not just a way of responding to the oppression, hate and violence around me.   That Journey is always moving and I felt I should update the story for you all to share.

Enjoy!

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