"It Was God’s Plan" (AKA Shit You’ll Never Hear An Atheist Politician Say)

Republican Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock set the internet and media ablaze with his incendiary comment "I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen." His statement came when discussing abortion and how he does not make concessions for women who have been raped. If he’s is pro-life and thinks it’s a gift from God, why would he? 

This is hardly a new philosophy. GOP Presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, shared the same view. On Piers Morgan, Santorum was asked about changing his view if one of his daughters was raped and impregnated. He replied “I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you…make the best of a bad situation.” Santorum and Mourdock are both using their faith to justify the saving of a life, even if comes at the expense of woman being victimized again by having the baby. People are outraged, including Christians and I have a problem with this. 

First, let me say that I am wildly Pro-Choice and I find both Mourdock’s and Santorum’s comments disgusting. A woman who has been subject to rape should not have to birth the child of that crime. Simple as that. 

My issue lies with Christians who lambaste these comments as cruel. Christian religion teaches every happening is God’s Will. A baby dies, it was God’s Plan. A disaster took your home? God’s Will. You got cancer? God doesn’t give you a challenge you cannot overcome. Whenever something bad happens that a Christian cannot find a real way to come to grips with, they use the crutch “it was God’s Will”. 

God’s Will is exactly what Mourdock and Santorum are using to justify their opposition to abortion. As an atheist I can find it deplorable, but how can Christians? If anything, Mourdock and Santorum are the only ones being true to their faith. The hypocrisy of the liberal Christians on this topic is hysterical. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate your support of Pro-Choice legislature, but quit being so damn pious. You’re not a better Christian than these two; you both belong to the same club that tells you when bad things happen, don’t deal with it, just say “it’s God’s Will”. Saying it to a pregnant rape victim is not worse than you telling it to a mother who just learned her son was killed in Afghanistan. Circumstances do not change the shitty nature of your favorite catch phrase, sorry. Hopefully this will show you all how ridiculous it is, but I seriously doubt it.

Open Letter To Scott Brown

I’ve been trying for days to formulate my words as to why I was so offended by your “person of color” line. Perhaps it was because it sounded so derogatory and there’s nothing wrong to be a “person of color”. Or it’s because there are so many who, like Ms. Warren, go by the word of our parents and believe we are Native American without the research. But then it hit me, how are we…am I, a proud 1/16th Cherokee Indian, a person of color?

You see Mr. Brown, while I am also a beautiful mix of European heritages, my Cherokee is prominent in my features. I have dark hair, high cheek bones and a beautiful olive complexion. This is customary for Native Americans….NATIVE Americans…you know, those of us who inhabited this country before the Europeans came over, gave us pox, and pushed us onto reservations. The natives of this country are not milky white; we have a tan. So it’s not us that are persons of color, it’s you. This is why I am so inflamed. You’d rather score cheap political points than understand that your words not only hurt, but are also inaccurate.

GOP’s Strawman Arguement

HBO Real Time With Bill Maher:

Fantastic segment with Chris Matthews of MSNBC and host Bill Maher arguing with conservative radio host Roger Hedgecock about the GOP’s irrational hatred of Obama.

47 Is The New 99

On the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Mother Jones released a secret video of Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser disecting America into something other than the 99% versus the 1%. Today Governor Romney gave us the 47%.

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax. My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

This is a man speaking honestly; a man that is writing off nearly fifty-percent of the nation. He’s saying “not only can I not get their vote, but if I win this election, I’ll have no sway with them; I cannot govern them. They are of no concern to me.” He’s complained the President Obama’s campaign is hateful and divisive and promotes class warfare - what is this? To say that 47% of Americans take no responsibility and care for their lives? Every bad assumption we’ve had about Romney has been confirmed.

In the Democratic National Convention, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said that Ann and Mitt Romney didn’t know how good they have it. No truer words have ever been said about the Romney’s. How many times have we heard Mitt say we are envious of his wealth? Or that we’re against success? Could anything be further from the truth?

I’m a Kennedy loving, FDR adoring, liberal. Besides their politics what else did the Kennedy’s and FDR have in common? They were ridiculously rich. Democrats have immortalized these icons of the progressive movement. We are not envious of their wealth, we respect the good they did with it. This is what Romney does not understand.

Yes, the lesson that Mitt has yet to learn is that no one begrudges him of his wealth, it is that we are intolerant to his arrogance. He uses his wealth not to help those in need, but only to create more wealth for those at the top. As ridiculous as it sounds to quote Stan Lee, he said it best: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Mitt has all the power, but it’s he who’s shown no responsibility. The only person who has an entitlement disorder is Mitt Romney. He feels entitled to the White House. Unfortunately for Mitt that is something you have to earn and when you spend your time degrading American citizens, those people will not trust you with the keys…even if they don’t like the other guy. 

DADT: A Year Removed

It’s been a year since the ban has been lifted on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and not much has changed. YMCA or It’s Raining Men hasn’t broken out in the barracks. Uniforms haven’t became trendier and there isn’t rampant gay sex happening among the heteros because they’re being brainwashed by the gays. About the only change is homosexual couples can now enjoy a welcome home kiss from their loves and cheer them on at military ceremonies without fear. It’s wonderful.

At every step of our military history there have always been naysayers. When we integrated blacks and whites we heard it was the end of the world. When women were allowed to join we heard it was the end of the world. When gays were allowed to serve openly we heard it was the end of the world. Obviously, this never occurred. The world didn’t end and we still have the elite military that America is known for. Have there been issues? Sure. Rape of women soldiers is high and it’s nearly impossible to prove and prosecute. We have work to do, but let’s be clear, we have came a long ways. 

Progress is never easy, but we must take those difficult first steps if we ever want to move ahead. I salute the courage of the men and women who have came out this year. Not only do you have the brass (as Clinton would say) to serve, but you’ve done it openly during uncertain new era. You’re an inspiration to us all. Thank you. 

Separation of Church and State

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"

What does this mean to you? I can tell you what it means to me. It means that you are allowed to believe what you want and the same for I.

Because of this the United States is mixed bag of religious beliefs. The Christian faith is the most prevalent, but even within it, there is many different denominations - Baptist, Methodist, etc. But yes, America is beautifully comprised of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, non-believers, etc. This all part of having religious freedom. 

In the 1802 Letter to Danbury Baptists, Thomas Jefferson quoted the First Amendment and added, "thus building a wall of separation between church and State”; hence giving us Separation of Church and State.  This to me seems quite clear; government will stay out of church business and churches will not use their influence on government.

Unfortunately this has not been the case. Todays Evangelical Christians use their weight to influence social issues in politics. Gay marriage? Abomination of God. Women’s right to choose? Murderer! So much for separation.

When I’ve brought this up I’ve heard something startling; that separation of church and state is only to keep government out of Churches, but the Church is still allowed to heavily influence politics. This astounds me. Let’s just say for arguments sake that it’s true, and it’s not, but let’s say that it is. What church gets to influence the government? We are not a Christian nation. Should we allow Sharia Law? I know most Christians will argue that their faith is is the true religion and the Evangelicals will help dictate the direction of the nation, but according to The Treaty of Tripoli:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

I say, dear Christian extremists, be careful what you wish for.

Real America

"We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the “real America,” being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom."  ~ Sarah Palin

Why am I bringing up failed Vice Presidential candidate and moron extraordinaire, Sarah Palin? Because of something she says here that keeps being whispered today. “Real America”. “Pro-America”. These were her code words in the Bible belt when she was campaigning with John McCain in 2008. She’d go into small towns in the midwest and talk about how great “real America” is and villianize the liberal coasts; somehow those who lived in LA, DC and God forbid, NYC, were less American. Less authentic. It was a ridiculous notion. 

When I reflect on 9/11 it only amplifies how preposterous this line of rhetoric is. 

On September 11, 2001 NYC was the victim of the worst terrorist attack on American soil. We know this. What we also know is that the city came together during their tragedy to recover loved ones, bury their dead, comfort those left behind, and grieve. They showed us the very best of humanity and we cheered for them. We’ve watched in awe as they’ve rebuilt their city and our economy and came back stronger from a nightmare that every other city thought “I’m glad it wasn’t us”. New York City is the definition of “real America”; they got knocked down and they got back up. They go back up and continued to live. I can’t think of a more American storyline. 

I’d challenge anyone who doubts the patriotism of NYC or New York’ers to tell me how a city that rebounds from a horrific terrorist attack isn’t as American as someone from Oklahoma, Iowa or North Dakota. I challenge you to find a group of tougher, more inspiring people than those who lived through 9/11 and vowed to never leave. These people are just as much the backbone of this country as those from the Bible and Rust belt areas. 

I’m originally from a small town in Kansas, moved to the DC area and I’m now living an hour south of NYC; none of these areas have a monopoly on patriotism or being more real than the other. We are all Americans and it about time we started treating each other as such. 

The Bastardizing of 9/11

Eleven years ago we witnessed the greatest tragedy on American soil. Today it has become a bumper sticker - a Hallmark holiday. 

As I logged into my social media feeds this morning, I saw the hundreds of obligatory “Never forget” posts - I wanted to be ill. You remember? How quaint. That’s great. What does remembrance one day a year do for those who perished or those who still suffer? 

My beef is not with those who lost loved ones and use today as part of the healing process. It’s with those annual faux patriots who regurgitate used rally cries and think that they’re actually helping those who were direct affected; that this makes them more American. Most of these people are politically apathetic, foreign policy ignorant and have done NOTHING other than slap a yellow ribbon magnet on the back of their car to support the troops. Yet, they remember. Spare me. Better yet, spare those who lost or are fighting in Afghanistan. Can you even find Afghanistan on a map? 

If we truly care about the events that happened that day, then we must act like it every day. This is not Valentines. We cannot be good citizens about this issue only one day a year. We owe it to everyone who died, became ill and continue to battle in war to make sure they are taken care of. That their voices are not lost. Their cause can not be neatly wrapped up in a bumper sticker or blasted out on Facebook once a year; they need us 365 days a year. That’s what it is to be American; to be there every day even when it’s not fashionable.