Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Miscellaneous

Item: (AP, HOUSTON (Nov. 10, 2006) Michael Lord and Gary Lackey, a gay couple requesting bids for a landscaping job at their new house, received a polite - and, well, honest - e-mail from Sabrina Farber, a co-owner of Garden Guy: "I need to tell you that we cannot meet with you because we choose not to work for homosexuals."

Stunned, Lackey forwarded the e-mail to 200 friends, asking them not to patronize Garden Guy and urging them to pass the word on to friends and family.  "I'm still shocked by the ignorance that exists in today's society," Lackey said in his e-mail.  And word was indeed passed on - as fast as the Web could carry it.

Within days, the e-mail had been forwarded to thousands of people around the world, and quickly became the subject of heated and often ugly debates on the Internet.  Because of the furor, a professional association of landscapers created a nondiscrimination policy.

But Farber said she and her husband have also gotten hundreds of calls and messages offering encouragement and have been touched by that.  "We just cried.  We have been through so much," Farber said.  "We become accidental crusaders for Christ."

Comment: Yes, you read it here: Not cutting the grass for gay couples is “crusading for Christ.”  That makesit ok.

Item: (AP) Sir Elton John thinks all religions should be banned because they turn people into "really hateful lemmings... I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it," the British singer said in an interview with the Observer newspaper on Sunday.  "Religion has always tried to turn hatred toward gay people.  It turns people into hateful lemmings and it is not really compassionate."  The singer, who tied the knot with long-term partner David Furnish in a civil ceremony last year, said he admired the teachings of Jesus Christ, but disliked religious bodies.  "The reality is that organized religion doesn't seem to work," he added.

The 59-year-old singer, who has sold an estimated 200 million records, is no stranger to controversy.  In 2000, he hit out at the "ignorance" of the Roman Catholic Church after a priest said homosexuals were engaged in "a lifestyle that can never respond to the deepest longings of the human heart."  Since then he has received blanket media coverage for a series of high-profile outbursts.

Comment: As bad as many forms of religion are, you cannot outlaw religion; freedom of the mind to believe in even the most ridiculous things, including Zeus, Poseiden, Xenu, Virgin births, revelations from a god, Vishnu, raising the dead, a world-wide flood, a 6 thousand year old earth, and so on, is the most fundamental right of all human rights.

However, this freedom allows for another thing which is what Elton John should concentrate on: freedom to CRITICIZE orthodoxy.  This is the freedom that is the typically FIRST victim of religious intolerance.

Throughout history religious dissent has rarely been tolerated.  People cannot bear to hear anyone question their superstitious beliefs yet is it 100% certain that the majority of persons on earth have completely wrong beliefs since no one religion has more than 50% of the world as followers.  Even if the most popular religion were true, then most people are still wrong.  How will anyone learn what is true if criticism is not allowed?

Elton John has a right to be frustrated: his human rights are often directly threatened by religion.  Why should he have anything nice to say about it?  Why should Jews have something nice to say about Nazism?  There is no reason for them to be nice about beliefs that either want them dead (Christian Reconstructionists and other religions call for the death penalty for gays as does scripture) or have their rights restricted; but freedom of the mind exists to protect these unpopular beliefs while at the same time preventing governments from imposing religious laws on the unwilling.

If only the religious and Elton John understood this as well.

Item: In March 2006, 32-year-old Mary Winkler, a soft-spoken preacher's wife, was charged with the murder of husband Matt, a Church of Christ minister in the small town of Selmer, Tenn.  Shocked parishioners discovered Matt's bloodied body, riddled with a blast of bird shot, in the home the couple shared with their three daughters.  When Winkler was questioned the day after the shooting, authorities said she confessed to the crime, saying she had snapped after years of abuse... What's striking to many outsiders is how accepting and supportive the majority of the community has been to Winkler.  That sense of forgiveness, community members say, stems from the town's Christian roots and from its tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Comment: Oh what baloney!  This “tendency” to give people the “benefit of the doubt” would quickly disappear if the person receiving this “benefit” wasn’t a publicly pious Christian.  If this was a murder case involving two atheists, forgiveness might be the last thing on anyone’s minds.  But if you claim to be a Christian, all can be forgiven.

This is just a case of people trying to make themselves feel better about a belief system that, in this case, failed utterly to deliver the goods promised.

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