Ok it now seems like top ranking military officials and Bush,
themselves as holy warriors doing God’s will in Iraq. If you have not yet
seen the cover pages of Bush era "worldwide intelligence updates,"
to take a look at them. They are truly offensive. First, they are inappropriate
because our government and military should not be in the business of promoting
any particular religion as these clearly do. But the main reason they are offensive
is because they are clearly an attempt to misuse religion to promote a controversial
political agenda and war. The combination of stirring quotes and moving images
is quite powerful. I am not religious and they stir up powerful emotions in
me followed by a sick feeling in my stomach at the sheer offensiveness that
someone would be so crass to misuse religion that way. I would think that good
people of faith across our fine country should be offended as well that their
religious was misused in such a horrid way.
Cheney a True Believer?
So, I have been thinking a lot about what Cheney must be thinking.
Mostly, I think he is just trying to cover his *ss. After all, he is the central
figure in a conspiracy to commit torture. He is most likely going to go to jail
at some point, unless he can convince the American public that what he did was
legal and necessary. Of course, the more he talks, the more he admits his crimes,
regardless of his motive. But also in the course of his ranting, it has dawned
on me. He might truly believe what he says. Think about it. If he really believed
that there was a link between Saddam and Al Qaida, even though there is no evidence,
then, in his mind, torturing suspects to get them to confess to a link (even
if they made up their stories to stop being water boarded) would have been considered
a success by him. And that may indeed be what he is referring to as evidence
that will vindicate him. I don’t know what is more scary. An evil mastermind,
or someone who truely believes what he thinks he knows that just ain’t so.
and the Notre Dame controversy
Ok, I admit it, I didn’t listen to the speech and I haven’t read
any transcripts. I am simply not that interested and have other things to do,
like laundry. But I am amazed that anyone cares about this story/controversy.
I suppose I understand, what with 25% of the American population is Catholic
and with the speaker being, you know, the President and all. But normally internal
disputes amongst the Catholics don’t gain national attention. And this time
only about 10% of the Bishops are upset. A small number when you think about
it. What I think is going on is that the rest of the Christian population, even
though they haven’t formally acknowledge the authority of the Catholic Church
for at least 300 years, still treat the Catholic Church as if they have some
residual authority. Kind of like children that have grown up and left their
parents home still defer to their parents even though it is not required. Except
these children, Christians, had sometimes violent disputes with their parent,
Catholic Church. I guess no matter how far we stray, some kids just can’t shake
off the yolk of arbitrary authority.
California and the First Amendment
So, Ms California, who is anti gay marriage, is now claiming that
because people have criticized her for her views, that her first amendment rights
were infringed. This is super silly. She is right about one thing though. Her
first amendment rights do allow her to say any fool thing she wants without
being put in jail. What it doesn’t protect her from is other people exercising
their free speech rights by calling her an idiot without going to jail either.
Free speech must include the right to disagree. So yeah – she can say whatever
she wants and others are free to say that they think what she said was stupid
and ill informed. If she doesn’t want her opinions criticized, she shouldn’t
subject herself to the free marketplace of ideas by speaking her mind. But claiming
her critics should be put in jail for violating the constitution, which is in
itself silly because those restrictions only apply to the government, she is
proving herself to be a self-righteous hypocrite.
Gift That Keeps on Giving
As the parent of a 3 year old, I am constantly challenged on how
to get my child to think about consequences before he acts. It is asking a lot
of a 3 year old, but children are never too young to start. And that is why
I have come to love Santa Claus. Kids love presents and toys and can totally
understand the concept that if you are naughty, Santa will only bring you coal.
If you are nice, he will bring you toys. And just the other day, my boy asked
me about this to make sure he had the rules correct. To keep him in line, I
only have to ask him whether he wants to be naughty or nice. He gets to choose
and has to think about what he wants in the future. And I have Santa to thank.
People are Good for the Planet
So, contemplating happiness on the way home today. I do that a
lot when I am driving. Have to think of something. Anyway, I was thinking about
how my current best friend is religious and it doesn’t matter to me. First,
she doesn’t proselytize. And I do think proselytization is offense, even when
done by atheists. What really matters to me is that she is a happy person and
a good person. And that is all I really care about anyway. And then it dawned
on me. I am not sure you can be a good person if you are not a happy person.
Excluding people with clinical mood or personality disorders. If an otherwise
normal person isn’t happy, chances are they aren’t a very good person. Which
comes first? Happiness or being good? I don’t’ know, but I do know there is
a link between the two. Perhaps that is why Humanism focuses so much on human
happiness. It isn’t hedonistic. It is about making the world a better place.
Even at its most basic level, happy people are better for society then unhappy