Leaving Religion – MOVED – www.leavingreligion.com

Finding my own way…

Oh, Newt… You Nut!

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Latest ramblings from our friend Newt Gingrich are so far from right, they are laughable.  Although, they’re not laughable, becuase this is how many politicians and voters from the religious right feel.  Here is what he said:

“I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history,” Mr. Gingrich said in a speech broadcast live over God TV, an evangelical Web site. “We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism.”

As I laid out in detail, this country was NOT founded on Christianity.  It wasn’t, never has been.  Why people must insist on twisting the truth is beyond me.  The forefathers would turn in their grave today if they saw how much religion has infiltrated our Government and laws.  It would sicken them, because this is the very thing they were leaving behind and faught a war to gain freedom from.

June 9, 2009 Posted by | Politics and Religion, Religious Right | , , | Leave a comment

Pastor McKissic – Southern Baptist Who is Speaking Out

I was led to an article on the Associated Baptist Press site, where Pastor McKissic, Southern Baptist Pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, speaks out against a former Southern Baptist Convention officer.

From the article:

Drake, a white man elected to the same office 10 years later, said June 2 on “The Alan Colmes Show” that unless Obama repents, he is praying that God will kill the president. Drake said he believes that is what happened to slain abortion provider George Tiller, who was shot to death while attending church in Wichita, Kan., on Sunday, May 31.

As a follow-up to the radio show, Drake had this to say:

“I’ve been a Baptist pastor for a long time, been in the pro-life fight, been face-to-face with Tiller, told him about Jesus, and I’ve seen many, many others tell him about Jesus over and over and over again,” Drake said. “And I’ve seen horrific things that go on in those death abortuaries — and that’s what they are — and so my initial response to those people, they said, ‘Well what was your response,’ and I said, ‘Well, in all honesty I have to just respond directly and say I am glad that he’s dead.'”

Thankfully, a pastor who is part of the Southern Baptist community is speaking out:

McKissic, who is asking the SBC this year to adopt a resolution celebrating the election of the nation’s first African-American president, said if Drake was identified in the interview as a Southern Baptist, then his remarks should not go unchallenged.

McKissic, a former president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention pastors conference and speaker at the group’s evangelism conference, personally denounced Drake’s comments and said he would ask SBC president Johnny Hunt to do the same.

“They need to be repudiated by Southern Baptist leaders,” McKissic said.

Do you think the Secret Service should check this guy out, along with all of his followers who may actually take him seriously?  I personally think they should, and hope that they are.  Isn’t even mentioning something like this, especially in a public forum, enough to get investigated?

It is people like Drake, who are out there on large platforms, who only add to the hatred and violence created by such extreme views.  Who preach things like this, that turn into actions.  Just look at Dr. Tiller.

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Politics and Religion, Religious Right | , , , | 4 Comments

Marriage in America

I live in a state that has decided to add a constitutional amendment that bans same sex marriages. This same state is, by some, considered one of the more progressive states. This sickens me, especially the way with witch the campaign for the ‘Yes on 8’ was done. A group of people, not even in our state (yes, the Mormon Church) decided that it was worth millions of their dollars to ‘save marriage.’

I was a staunch believer that homosexuality was evil, a sin and would send a person straight to hell. I thought that people involved in a gay relationship couldn’t possibly be happy, and just needed more god and prayer. How wrong was I? So wrong that it embarrasses me when I even admit that I thought this way. I was taught to love the sinner, hate the sin. What does this even mean? It means… I hate everything you do, but I love you. Does. not. compute.

Now, I look at dear friends of mine, in gay relationships, who are so in love and have conquered more than a lot of married couples I know. I look at them and wonder why they can’t get married. Why they can’t have the same rights as every other human out there in the U.S. Why they are practically considered a different species by some. It truly saddens me, and I am still upset about how the vote went down in our state. I still hope that someone will see how unconstitutional this amendment is, and will knock some common sense into people by getting rid of it.

My view on homosexuality was one of the first things that changed in me. It changed before I even realized I was starting my de-conversion process. I had dear friends that had come out to me, and I couldn’t reconcile what I thought was true with the person sitting in front of me who was an amazing, caring and loving person. I knew that my viewpoint was wrong, immediately. It didn’t take much soul searching, it was just clear that I was wrong, and I quickly admitted it.

Anyway, back to where I was going… marriage in America needs to be changed to civil unions on the government side, and religious ceremonies on the personal side. Marriage, in the religious sense, never belonged in the government to begin with. Until the religious right can get their divorce/abusive marriages/unhappy marriages down to zero, I think they need to stay out of other people’s decisions about marriage. Period.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Politics and Religion, Religious Right | , , | Leave a comment

A Heartbeat Away…

On Thursday we will see a VP debate that may go down as one of the most important VP debates ever. Usually these aren’t very important to people and the VP candidate has little affect on the outcome of the election. But, I believe that it is much different this time around.

Why? Because of the state of our country, because we are more dependent on foreign goods and economies than we ever have been. Because this election, no matter which way it goes will be historic. One big reason for the religious right is because Palin is all they have. McCain is not really religious, so Palin will make them feel less guilty when they vote in November.

Folks, even staunch Republicans are asking WTF. They are begging for her to step aside and use the excuse that family comes first. They see how bad a choice she is and are asking why.

What these people (staunch republicans who aren’t overly religious) don’t understand is that the religious right doesn’t care about competence (see ‘George Bush’) in the White House. No, they only care about how much they pray, tithe, and are committed to overturning laws that have no business in the government in the first place. Because of this, she will stay in the race, because… if the McCain advisors know one thing, they know they have no chance if they don’t have the suupprt of the religious right.

October 1, 2008 Posted by | Politics and Religion, Religious Right | , , | 1 Comment

Stock Market Dip – Sign From God?

The dip today on Wall Street was -777… I bet there are some people who think this is a sign from God.  I wonder what the sign is… that Wall Street is evil and needs to be put into place… that too many Christians were getting greedy… that our Government is godless.  Really… the possibilities are endless.

What do you think the sign is?

September 30, 2008 Posted by | Politics and Religion | , | Leave a comment

Praying For Politics

I keep getting messages from people to pray for our presidential candidates. To pray that the right guy gets elected. To pray that whoever it is that God wants, be chosen by the voters.

These are the same people who send out e-mail telling me to vote for Mccain because Obama is horrible for the country and will continue us on the path towards being a godless nation.

Guess god has already told them who he wants. They are so lucky.

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Politics and Religion, Religious Right | , | Leave a comment

Office Politics – A lot Like Church Politics

The more I think about how I learned to navigate office politics, the more I go back to my experience at church.

If you want to learn how to navigate Shark filled waters, how to get your way seen by Execs, how to get ahead on the ladder and how to convince people they should agree with you… look now further than your local church for the best lessons out there.

Honestly, I’ve never seen as much clawing, backstabbing, behind the back talking and ‘do anything to get ahead’ actions as I’ve seen in the church. People think corporate America is the worst… I’d argue that churches are worse… much worse.

Curious what your thoughts are.

September 23, 2008 Posted by | Politics and Religion | , | 1 Comment

Forefathers and Their Religion

With the election upon us in only a couple of months, many Christians are beginning to pull out quotes and writings that prove that our forefathers were staunch Christians and founded this country on Christian principles that they expected everyone to follow. While this serves their message very well, it is just not true. Very simply, yes, some of our forefathers were Christians, others were part of deism (believed in one spiritual being), and some historians believe that others were atheists.

From The Library of Congress (Faith of our Forefathers):

Deism made its appearance in the 18th century. It was a religious movement, promoted by certain English and continental thinkers, that attracted a following in Europe toward the end of the 17th century and gained a small but influential number of adherents in America in the late 18th century. Deism rejected the orthodox Christian view of Christ, often viewing him as nothing more that a “sublime” teacher of morality.

Deism and some strains of “liberal religion,” which stressed morality and questioned the divinity of Christ, found advocates among upper class Americans, conspicuous among whom were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Ben Franklin, but supporters of these views were never more than “a minority within a minority” and were submerged by evangelicalism in the 19th century.

A reference to what Benjamin Franklin (who is mis-represented by Christians, a lot) believed is pulled from here:

Mr. Butler, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at Yale University, is the author of Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People (Harvard University Press, 1990). This interview was conducted by HNN editor Rick Shenkman for The Learning Channel series, “Myth America,” which aired several years ago…[Interviewer:] Let’s go through some of [the Founding Fathers]… Benjamin Franklin?

[Jon Butler:] Benjamin Franklin was even less religious than Washington and Jefferson. Franklin was an egotist. Franklin was someone who believed far more in himself than he could possibly have believed have believed in the divinity of Christ, which he didn’t. He believed in such things as the transmigration of souls. That is that human, that humans came into being in another existence and he may have had occult beliefs. He was a Mason who was deeply interested in Masonic secrets and there are some signs that Franklin believed in the mysteries of Occultism though he never really wrote much about it and never really said much about it. Franklin is another writer whom you can read all you want to read in the many published volumes of Franklin’s writings and read very little about religion.

…The principal Founding Fathers–Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin–were in fact deeply suspicious of a European pattern of governmental involvement in religion. They were deeply concerned about an involvement in religion because they saw government as corrupting religion. Ministers who were paid by the state and paid by the government didn’t pay any attention to their parishes. They didn’t care about their parishioners. They could have, they sold their parishes. They sold their jobs and brought in a hireling to do it and they wandered off to live somewhere else and they didn’t need to pay attention to their parishioners because the parishioners weren’t paying them. The state was paying them.

The above also references some other forefathers.  I have read in other places that Benjamin Franklin and other forefathers (like Thomas Jefferson) thought that the Christian Bible provided a good moral compass, which is why they thought it was good for the country, but that they didn’t necessarily believe in Jesus as a Deity.

I know that I will continue to get e-mails from people who think that the entire Constitution and country is built on a foundation of strong Christian faith, but that is just not the case.  It is not to say that there was not a respect of the religion, and some of the good items that come out of it, but they were not staunch believers either.

The quote from George Washington that I now see floating around is:

“The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institution may be abused by human depravity; and that they may even, in some instances be made subservient to the vilest purposes.  Should, hereafter, those incited by the lust of power and prompted by the Supineness or venality of their Constituents, overleap the known barriers of this Constitution and violate the unalienable rights of humanity: it will only serve to shew, that no compact among men (however provident in its construction and sacred in its ratification) can be pronounced everlasting an inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchm[en]t can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other.”

If you read here you will see that this was in a draft of his inagural address, which he ultimately cut out.  Also pointed out on the site above, is that this was the only reference he made of the Bible in any kind of public way.

My ultimate point here is this… I was raised, as were many others, to believe that the forefathers were practically as important as Jesus himself.  That they represented strong Christians who wanted this country to run completely on Christian ideals.  As I grew up, got an education and started to peel myself away from the Christian Church, I began realizing that this was just a bunch of nonsense.  Yes, some had strong Christian faith, yes, many thought the morals spelled out in the religion were good… but, no, not all of them wanted a country that ran on the principles of the Christain Bible through and through.

There is a reason that religion (any religion), for the most part, is actually left out of the Constitution.  Besides saying they could make no laws concerning religion, nor could they prohibit the free exercise of religion (notice they don’t call out WHICH religion), they really don’t mention it much.  They didn’t feel it belonged in there, so much so that they actually got much heat from people to put something in there.

Curious how you feel about this topic.

September 14, 2008 Posted by | Leaving Religion, Politics and Religion | , , , | 6 Comments

More Thoughts About Religion and Politics

So, in my earlier post I wrote a teaser about the separation of church and state. This is one thought that is part of an overarching thought, which is this:

I think that the men who wrote and signed the constitution not only knew a lot about what they wanted, but they knew even more about what they didn’t want. They had separated themselves from the oppression they were under in Britain, they knew that they DID NOT want religion to be tied to politics and were smart enough to write a constitution that gave everyone the right to be who they are.

For some reason, the Christian community has forgotten a few key elements of the constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. – First Amendment

I don’t understand what is so hard to understand here. In fact, our constitution is amazingly easy to understand. I think it’s funny that the Christian community clings so dearly to the founding fathers of this country as some staunch Christians who wanted this country to run on this religion. The fact is, they were so done with Government having a say in everything they did, including religion, they purposely wrote that religion is a freedom that Government should have no say in.

I think the blog, Accidental Historian really hits the nail on the head today with the following statement :

That’s why they want to write the Bible in to the Constitution. It’s why they want to re-make the image of the Founding Fathers in to the self-image of the fundamentalist Christian. At it’s core, according to the unspoken reasoning of the modern American fundamentalist church, the Constitution written by and for the people cannot and should not work.

Something I’ve always struggled with, even when I was heavily involved with the church, is this strong tie the churches seem to want with politics.  The Christian church will vote for someone just because they are Christian, because God is on their side.  The recent video floating around of Sarah Palin speaking at a Church just proves my point.  The Sr. Pastor says he prayed for her when she was running for Mayor and knew that God had big plans for her.  When she became Governor, they said that he had been prophetic back then.  This is just such craziness, I don’t even know where to start.  This is about as prophetic as me telling someone they will go on to do great things, and then when they work hard and make their way in the world I am told I’m a prophet.  Just ridiculous.

September 9, 2008 Posted by | Politics and Religion, Religious Right | , , | Leave a comment

Separation of Church and State?

Will write more about this thought when I’m at a computer. I’m thinking that the religious right, who say they love the constitution of the U.S. have missed the point entirely. I think the guys who wrote that the church and state should be separate knew a thing or two about what happens when they are too closely joined.

September 8, 2008 Posted by | Politics and Religion, Religious Right | , , | Leave a comment