Wednesday, March 30, 2005

New Rules


The culture of life applies to all life.
If you claim to be christian then act like it. Especially in public

No more hypocrisy. You cannot be selective about whose life you want to defend. All life is sacred in a culture of life.

The culture of life also covers lives of those who are not Americans. That includes the lives of innocent people being killed and tortured by American and coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The culture of life also includes the genocide in Darfur.

The culture of life means no wars. Only in the event that our country was literally invaded by another country should we resort to using combat and weapons.

The culture of life also includes birth mothers and children who are already born just as much, if not more so than embryos. This means that birth moms and already born children need healthcare, affordable housing, a living wage, decent schools and a life free from poverty. No one should be poor in a democracy. No one should be forced to be born and then live in abject poverty. It makes baby Jesus cry.

A culture of life does not tolerate the death penalty. Thou shall not kill. (If you are a christian, then you believe in divine justice.)

The culture of life includes proper education. Well educated people take better care of themselves and others. Consolidating school districts will see to it that those in poor communities have greater opportunities and a better chance to rise up from their poverty. Those who will rise out of poverty have less chance of becoming involved in criminal activities. Less criminals equals less jails and less tax money spent on judges, guards, etc.( Jesus would have wanted us to help those who live on the fringes of society plus we have the added bonus of being less likely to be mugged.)

The culture of life means feeding the poor. Poor kids should get free breakfast and lunch in the schools. Hungry kids can't learn. Hungry kids do not always seek to better themselves. Hungry kids may turn to a life of crime. Everyone pays for crime. A culture of life does not tolerate an obese nation where some people are going to bed hungry!

The culture of life also includes the after life. End tax cuts to the wealthy to save their souls. Their camels won't fit through the eye of the needle if we keep enabling them to amass more wealth. Baby Jesus cries every time a rich person takes another tax cut or finds another loop hole therefore not pulling his weight in society and furthering himself from everlasting life.

The culture of life means if you are going to pull out all the stops and drag out your Christ on the Cross statue then you had better know what it means to be christian or shut the hell up:

Matthew: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

UPDATE: Copy The Beatitudes and hand them out to your christian friends as well. Sometimes they all need a little reminder.

Cross posted at Blondesense

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Are The 10 Commandments the Basis For Our Laws? Part I

Originally Posted at Blondesense
This series is not meant as an insult to Jews at all. If it insults fundamentalist Christians, good. You're not supposed to be interpreting the Old Testament. I am illustrating how ridiculous it is to try to do so.


These are the first 5 Commandments straight from the Bible.

Commandment 1: Exodus 20: 2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Two percent of Americans have ancestors who were supposedly rescued from Egypt. Is it the law in America that we should have no gods before the capitalized God? No. Some people idolize other things more than God. What about obsessive compulsive Christians?

Commandment 2: Exodus 20: 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Huh? I can't find that in the constitution, the declaration of independence, the bill of rights. Is it illegal for Catholic Churches to have all those statues, assuming that Jesus is God?

Commandment 3: Exodus 20: 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Is it illegal to say God Dammit? No. What about all that swearing on the Bible in our courts?

Commandment 4: Exodus 20: 8 4. Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Whew. Let's see now... blue laws are no longer in existence. Everything is open on Sunday which forces people to work on the "sabbath" so that Americans can break the tenth commandment too, but we'll cover that later. The sabbath is on Saturday in America, not Sunday. The world wasn't created in 6 days either. We have no laws having to do with this commandment.

Commandment 5: Exodus 20: 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Can't find that law either. This is religious because common sense tells us that children who are abused shouldn't have to honor their parents.

So far, none of these commandments are on the books in America. Furthermore, they are strictly religious in nature , they oppose science (3 especially), they oppose reason, and we are supposed to have religious freedom in this country.

Are The 10 Commandments the Basis For Our Laws? Part II

To Kill or Not To Kill

Commandment 6: Exodus 20:6. You shall not kill.

This commandment is open to all sorts of interpretation. We all know that we shouldn't kill other people... well unless they killed someone we love and they go to the gas chamber, or we're at war with them and stuff like that.

Our laws include murder as a crime. So we finally get to a commandment that we can find in our law books. It's probably illegal to kill others around the world and even in countries that are not official "christian countries" such as ours. The commandment isn't clear about what not to kill. We are assuming it's other people. I hope it doesn't include fruits, vegetables, steak, pork chops, chicken wings and woast wabbit.

We are going to have to look in other parts of Exodus and my favorite, Leviticus to see whom it's ok to kill since the commandment is very vague. And after we take a quick look at that, we'll see that we certainly do not follow the bible when it comes to whom we should kill or not kill.

It's perfectly ok for God to kill others in the Old Testament. (People who have achieved the age of reason understand that the Old Testament regards just about everything bad that happens, in the natural world that God created for us, has the stamp of God's wrath on it.) God was mad at Sodom and Gomorrah and killed everyone except the righteous Lot and his 2 daughters who eventually got him drunk, had sex with him and got knocked up. Lot was good enough to offer the rapists his daughters so that he wouldn't seem inhospitable to his guests. We know that God killed almost everyone in the world except Noah and friends as well. He also sent a plague to Egypt to kill the children. God also dashes people to pieces with his right hand.

If you say that God told you to kill someone, except if you are george bush, you will most likely be charged with murder. God doesn't mind if you kill someone for him as a burnt offering as evidenced by Genesis 22:2.

Here are a just a few more excuses to kill people according the Exodus:

  • A child who hits or curses his parents must be executed. 21:15, 17 (we don't have this law.)
  • If an ox gores someone, then both the ox and its owner must die. 21:28-29
  • "Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death." 22:19 (I know goat fucking is against the law in some places, isn't it? I don't know about execution for such a crime. Seems a bit harsh.)
  • "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." 22:18 (It used to be against the law to be a witch in America.)
  • Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death : 31:14
  • "For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." 20:9
Let's take a look at Leviticus for more Godly reasons to kill others:
  • Both parties in adultery shall be executed. 20:10
  • If a man has sex with his father's wife, kill them both. 20:11
  • If a man "lies" with his daughter-in-law, then both must be killed. 20:12
  • If a man has sex with another man, kill them both. 20:13
  • If you "lie" with your wife and your mother-in-law , then all three of you must be burned to death. 20:14
  • If a man or woman "lie with a beast" both the person and the poor animal are to be killed. 20:15-16
  • People with "familiar spirits" (witches, fortune tellers, etc.) are to be stoned to death. 20:27
And a bit more 'love' from Leviticus 24.
  • 24:13 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  • 24:14 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him .
  • 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him : as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.
  • 24:17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
  • 24:18 And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast.
  • 24:19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;
  • 24:20 Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth : as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. We'd be breached, bald and toothless if still was the law of the land.
  • 24:21 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.
  • 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.
  • 24:23 And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.
Who says God is Pro-life?
Who has proof that our laws are based on the bible? What the hell do the 10 Commandments have to do America? This country wouldn't be very populous if the commandments were the law of the land.

Are The 10 Commandments the Basis For Our Laws? Part III

Before we go on, I should snarkily point out that the Roman Catholic Church has different commandments than the Protestants and the Jews. The Catholic Church left out the second commandment against making graven images. Probably because the Catholics love graven images. So they had to come up with an extra commandment to make it 10 and they made a 9th commandment which isn't part of the Protestant or Hebrew commandments.

We are up to number Commandment 7 which is "thou shalt not commit adultery". If you're Catholic, you would think we were up to "thou shalt not steal", but I'm going with the first set of commandments as written in Exodus 20.

This commandment plus the Catholic 9th commandment, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife", should really go together if you are biblically well versed because according to Jesus, leering at a married woman also makes you guilty of adultery. A sin of the heart or thinking about it is just as bad as actually doing it. Not only that, Jesus tells us that if you get divorced and remarry, that you are living in the state of adultery. Once you are married according to JC, you are stuck until death do you part, if you want to get technical about it.

So adultery in the bible consists of actually cheating on one's spouse, thinking about cheating, getting divorced and remarried or getting divorced and having a relationship with someone who isn't your original spouse. Your spouse had better be dead before you even think about a little side show. See why the 9th commandment in Catholicism is redundant?

Anyway, it's legal to get a divorce in the good old USA. As a matter of fact the "Jesus" states have the highest divorce rates per capita in America. I don't know where it's illegal to commit adultery. Might be illegal somewhere, but probably not in it's true biblical meaning. Usually adultery is used as a reason to get a divorce in court. But if you're an innocent spouse who didn't commit adultery but divorced your spouse for adultery, you still can't get remarried if you're a good Christian who lives strictly by the commandments. There is a good chance that this commandment should make most well meaning Christians feel really really guilty. Lev 20:10 recommends that adulterers both be put to death.

Not sure if this commandment applies to homosexuals. I don't think so. Homosexuals aren't even mentioned in the 10 commandments. I would venture to guess that homosexuality isn't as bad as checking out your neighbor's ass as long as both homosexuals are not married to other people.

On a side note, it's hard for men to commit the sin of lust in one's heart in an Arab country where women are not allowed to leave the house unless they are covered up. If America were truly a biblical christian country, divorce should be outlawed unless there are dire circumstances and fashion, co-ed activities, commercials, tv, movies, just about everything should be banned because someone might get an impure thought.

Once again, Commerce trumps Christianity and religiosity in the good old USA.

Are The 10 Commandments the Basis For Our Laws? Part IV

The next commandment is number 8. Thou shalt not steal. That one's on the law books. This law is an oldie and is not a law peculiar to Christianity or Judaism.

Commandment number 9: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. That means don't make up lies about others. It's illegal to do that in certain circumstances and this is another commandment that is not peculiar to Christians or Jews. It's simply ethics. Lying about important things is against the law unless you are politically connected and conservative.

Were this next commandment a law, the entire economy of the United states would collapse: Number 10: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbors.

Christian religions shortened it to 'Thou shalt not cover thy neighbor's goods.' I wish they left in the manservant part when I was learning about it. And the ass part. I would imagine that we shouldn't covet our neighbor's husband or car either. Anyway, this commandment is anathema to American living. Scratch this one, baby.

We have been using the commandments straight out of Exodus 20. for your enjoyment.

It appears that about 4 of the 10 commandments appear in some form or another in American law but these types of laws were on the books in Ango-Saxon law before anyone even saw a bible. American law is based on Anglo- Saxon law.

In my next post about the 10 commandments, we'll discuss all the other commandments that Moses received from God. We'll talk about the next group of commandments in Exodus 23. These commandments regard helping the poor. It's funny how these commandments are so overlooked. Well at least we are overlooking a lot of them because I doubt humanity would still be here at the rate "God" ordered people be put to death. In Exodus 21 and 22 God gives details about more capital crimes what is the best way to off the sinner. I covered these chapters when we discussed "Thou shalt not kill"... unless God tells you to.

Are The 10 Commandments the Basis For Our Laws? Part V

The first 4 parts of my series on the 10 commandments covered the traditional commandments which are being debated in the supreme court of all places, at the moment.

Some believe that these commandments are the foundation for our laws. As we looked at the commandments as they appear in Exodus 20, it was evident that perhaps a couple of them are included in our laws but these laws didn't need much more than common sense to be included.

Christians in America don't really follow the 10 Commandments. If a person is decidedly Christian, it would make more sense if said Christian lived by the 2 great commandments of Jesus as these are all encompassing:

Matt 22:37-40. Jesus said to him," 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'.
Most Christians do not practice these either but it would be nice if they did.

If you continue reading Exodus 20, there are more commandments that were left out. God says that he wants his altars made of earth or natural stone. If you use a tool on the stone or use silver or gold, he isn't interested in your altar. He doesn't want you to step foot on it either. God wants you to sacrifice animals on the altar.
20:23 Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. 20:24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. 20:25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. 20:26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.
Why did those who invented the 10 commandments leave this part out? Because we would have to take down all the churches in the world? What about Rome?

The chapters in Exodus that relate to Moses on Mt Sinai couldn't be less concerned with modern life than anything you could ever read. If you want to talk about "cafeteria" christianity, this hoopla over the 10 commandments is the perfect example.

I like the Skeptics Annotated bible for my online reading but you can also use The New American Bible which is a good translation and the New International Version.

Are The 10 Commandments the Basis For Our Laws? Part VI

We've been covering Moses in Exodus and his instructions from God with a capital G in the previous parts. Now we're up to Exodus Chapters 21 -23 which include how to treat your slaves and more reasons to kill others for their sins.

In Exodus Chapter 24, God calls Moses up to the mountain again because he has more instructions on offerings, tabernacles and priestly robes. By Chapter 29, we have intense instructions on sacrificing animals. God says that if we will make such "burnt offerings," he will bless us for it. This God is very very particular and long winded.

In Chapter 28, God tells Moses this about Aaron:

1 "From among the Israelites have your brother Aaron, together with his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, brought to you, that they may be my priests. 2 For the glorious adornment of your brother Aaron you shall have sacred vestments made.
In Chapters 29 and 30, God gives strict instruction on priestly vestments, rituals and altars for Moses, Aaron, et al. At the end of 31, Moses gets the actual 10 commandments:
"When the LORD had finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the commandments, the stone tablets inscribed by God's own finger."
By Chapter 32 Moses' people are getting restless. Aaron, who was God's man a few chapters ago, told the people to melt their jewelry and make a golden calf and then dance naked around it. God tells Moses to get down there fast because God is furious with the people for what they are doing. Moses comes down from the mountain:
19 As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing. With that, Moses' wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down and broke them on the base of the mountain. 20 Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire and then ground it down to powder, which he scattered on the water and made the Israelites drink.
Aaron lies to Moses and says that when they melted their jewelry that the calf just popped out and that the people wanted to dance naked. Then Moses told the people to go and slay others. They slayed 3000 that day. It's all very confusing because Moses told them to go and slay their kinsmen so they'd be blesssed and then he tells them they are in trouble for it. The next day, Moses goes to see God who was still mad and God sends a plague just in case Moses' people missed some.

I just love Chapter 33. Is this an episode from Star Trek or what?
The LORD said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites: You are a stiff-necked people. Were I to go up in your company even for a moment, I would exterminate you. Take off your ornaments, therefore; I will then see what I am to do with you." 6 So, from Mount Horeb onward, the Israelites laid aside their ornaments. 7 The tent, which was called the meeting tent, Moses used to pitch at some distance away, outside the camp. Anyone who wished to consult the LORD would go to this meeting tent outside the camp. 8 Whenever Moses went out to the tent, the people would all rise and stand at the entrance of their own tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down and stand at its entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses. 10 On seeing the column of cloud stand at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and worship at the entrance of their own tents.
Exodus 34:1 And the LORD said unto Moses , Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.
These replacement commandments are decidely different than the other ones. Did God change his mind?

Exodus 34
14 You shall not worship any other god, for the LORD is 'the Jealous One'; a jealous God is he. 15 Do not make a covenant with the inhabitants of that land; else, when they render their wanton worship to their gods and sacrifice to them, one of them may invite you and you may partake of his sacrifice. 16 Neither shall you take their daughters as wives for your sons; otherwise, when their daughters render their wanton worship to their gods, they will make your sons do the same.
17 "You shall not make for yourselves molten gods.
18 "You shall keep the feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days at the prescribed time in the month of Abib you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you; for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.
19 "To me belongs every first-born male that opens the womb among all your livestock, whether in the herd or in the flock. 20 The firstling of an ass you shall redeem with one of the flock; if you do not redeem it, you must break its neck. The first-born among your sons you shall redeem. "No one shall appear before me empty-handed.
21 "For six days you may work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; on that day you must rest even during the seasons of plowing and harvesting.
22 "You shall keep the feast of Weeks with the first of the wheat harvest; likewise, the feast at the fruit harvest at the close of the year.
23 Three times a year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the LORD God of Israel.
24 Since I will drive out the nations before you to give you a large territory, there will be no one to covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the LORD, your God.
25 "You shall not offer me the blood of sacrifice with leavened bread, nor shall the sacrifice of the Passover feast be kept overnight for the next day.
26 "The choicest first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the LORD, your God. "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk."
27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with them I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." 28 So Moses stayed there with the LORD for forty days and forty nights, without eating any food or drinking any water, and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

George Carlin on the 10 Commandments

Here is my problem with the ten commandments- why exactly are there 10?

You simply do not need ten. The list of ten commandments was artificially and deliberately inflated to get it up to ten. Here's what happened:

About 5,000 years ago a bunch of religious and political hustlers got together to try to figure out how to control people and keep them in line. They knew people were basically stupid and would believe anything they were told, so they announced that God had given them some commandments, up on a mountain, when no one was around.

Well let me ask you this- when they were making this shit up, why did they pick 10? Why not 9 or 11? I'll tell you why- because 10 sound official. Ten sounds important! Ten is the basis for the decimal system, it's a decade, it's a psychologically satisfying number (the top ten, the ten most wanted, the ten best dressed). So having ten commandments was really a marketing decision! It is clearly a bullshit list. It's a political document artificially inflated to sell better. I will now show you how you can reduce the number of commandments and come up with a list that's a little more workable and logical. I am going to use the Roman Catholic version because those were the ones I was taught as a little boy.

Let's start with the first three:

Right off the bat the first three are pure bullshit. Sabbath day? Lord's name? strange gods? Spooky language! Designed to scare and control primitive people. In no way does superstitious nonsense like this apply to the lives of intelligent civilized humans in the 21st century. So now we're down to 7. Next:
Obedience, respect for authority. Just another name for controlling people. The truth is that obedience and respect shouldn't be automatic. They should be earned and based on the parent's performance. Some parents deserve respect, but most of them don't, period. You're down to six.

Now in the interest of logic, something religion is very uncomfortable with, we're going to jump around the list a little bit.
Stealing and lying. Well actually, these two both prohibit the same kind of behavior- dishonesty. So you don't really need two you combine them and call the commandment "thou shalt not be dishonest". And suddenly you're down to 5.

And as long as we're combining I have two others that belong together:
Once again, these two prohibit the same type of behavior. In this case it is marital infidelity. The difference is- coveting takes place in the mind. But I don't think you should outlaw fantasizing about someone else's wife because what is a guy gonna think about when he's waxing his carrot? But, marital infidelity is a good idea so we're gonna keep this one and call it "thou shalt not be unfaithful". And suddenly we're down to four.

But when you think about it, honesty and infidelity are really part of the same overall value so, in truth, you could combine the two honesty commandments with the two fidelity commandments and give them simpler language, positive language instead of negative language and call the whole thing "thou shalt always be honest and faithful" and we're down to 3.
This one is just plain fuckin' stupid. Coveting your neighbor's goods is what keeps the economy going! Your neighbor gets a vibrator that plays "o come o ye faithful", and you want one too! Coveting creates jobs, so leave it alone. You throw out coveting and you're down to 2 now- the big honesty and fidelity commandment and the one we haven't talked about yet:
Murder. But when you think about it, religion has never really had a big problem with murder. More people have been killed in the name of god than for any other reason. All you have to do is look at Northern Ireland, Cashmire, the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the World Trade Center to see how seriously the religious folks take thou shalt not kill. The more devout they are, the more they see murder as being negotiable. It depends on who's doin the killin' and who's gettin' killed. So, with all of this in mind, I give you my revised list of the two commandments:
  • Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie.
  • Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless of course they pray to a different invisible man than you.
Two is all you need; Moses could have carried them down the hill in his fuckin' pocket. I wouldn't mind those folks in Alabama posting them on the courthouse wall, as long as they provided one additional commandment:

Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.