|Dear Department of Homeland Security,|
First let me congratulate you for making the United States a less safe place to live, and for slowly taking away our rights and liberties. It was once said that when fascism comes to America, it will come carrying a cross and wrapped in an American flag. I haven't seen you guys toting much in the realm of crosses, but god damn those are some big ass flags.
That being said, I will once again say something I have said many times before. This so called security at the airports, it doesn't work. It does not keep us safe. Only three things since 9/11 have been done to make air travel safer. Cockpit doors have been reinforced, pilots have been armed, and passengers will no longer sit idly when being hijacked. The removing of the shoes, the millimeter wave scanners (which still can't detect PETN explosives by the way), these new "pat down" procedures which should at least come with a goodnight kiss, these do nothing to make us safer. In fact, I'd say they make the airport a bit more dangerous. See, what you have created is a bottleneck. Every security check point creates one of these.
Consider that bottleneck for the security line. All these people taking off their shoes and stopping to get photographed by the scanner or felt up, that line rivals the ones at Disneyworld. This coming week, I would be willing to bet any one of those lines has more people standing in it than on any plane. So if someone really wanted to cause some problems, why bother blowing up a plane? No, you've given them a target far better. You have handed them the security line. Think about it. It's got easily as many people as will be on the plane, likely a few times more. Security hasn't checked them, so there is no need to even hide the weapons. A carry-on suitcase sized bomb could be taken into the line and detonated. So much for your fancy scanners and pat down methods.
So in response, you might consider moving the checkpoint to the airport entry. All you've done is moved the bottleneck, and likely made it even bigger, an even better target. Keep moving it further and further back, and you only exacerbate the problem.
Of course, any terrorist with half a brain would realize blowing up a plane is dumb, when there's all these security free train stations, sports arenas, amusement parks, and shopping centers. Again, lots of people, confined space, much better target. A smart terrorist wouldn't blow up a plane, he'd blow up The Mall of America on one of the busy shopping days.
Seems the only way to really be secure is to place security checkpoints at the exit of every home in America. No leaving the house unless you've been subject to search. Along with being logistically impossible, I'm pretty sure there'd be a bit of a revolution before that.
So what do I propose? Simple. When I was a kid, anyone could get to the terminal, ticket or no, having only had to walk through a metal detector and place their bag on the x-ray. I say go back to that. Yes, go back to pre-9/11 security. The stuff today is just an ineffective. Sure, it might be easier to blow up a plane then, but I would much rather die a free man than be treated as a criminal in this once free country.
This is not a threat, I'm just calling you on your bullshit.
So it seems the whole Christian Nation notion is the Xanga controversy of the moment, so as one who likes to dive into the fire from time to time, a post I did awhile ago for another blog I (occassionally) write.
It is true that many of the original thirteen colonies were indeed founded on Christianity. While some colonies were tolerant of religion, others practiced a brand of religious law comparable to modern Sharia law. Take for instance, this lovely except from the 1647 Laws and Liberties of Massachusetts:
"That if any Christian within this Jurisdiction shall go about to subvert and destroy the christian Faith and Religion, by broaching or mainteining any damnable heresie; as denying the immortalitie of the Soul, or the resurrection of the body, or any sin to be repented of in the Regenerate, or any evil done by the outward man to be accounted sin: or denying that Christ gave himself a Ransom for our sins, or shal affirm that wee are not justified by his Death and Righteousnes, but by the perfection of our own works; or shall deny the moralitie of the fourth commandement, or shall indeavour to seduce others to any the herisies aforementioned, everie such person continuing obstinate therin after due means of conviction shall be sentenced to Banishment."
Banishment is a fairly common punishment throughout the Massachusetts laws. Of course, death is in there rather often as well. Good Christian colony, Massachusetts.
Of course, when we speak today of the foundations of the United States, we rarely speak of the pilgrims, but instead of the drafters and signers of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.
Starting first with the Declaration, there are three instances used as evidence of Christianity as a foundation.; the mention of "Nature's God" and the "Creator" within the first two paragraphs, and the mention of "Divine Providence" in the closing sentence.
These may indeed be clear appeals towards a higher power, but is it the Christian God? The latter two statements could be made concerning any god; the only one with any specifics is the first mention, the mention of "Nature's God." The full opening paragraph, for context:
"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
Nature's God. This phrase I have never heard used to describe the God of Christianity. In fact, such a description would have awarded me a swift scolding from my parents or my former church for such blasphemous language. Would it not make more sense, if this were indeed the Christian God, for him to have been referred to as such? The God of Abraham rather than the Nature's God? There is nothing to show that the God mentioned in the Declaration was indeed the Christian God.
Perhaps more noteworthy when it comes to the god in the Declaration is the faith of it's primary Author, Thomas Jefferson. In fact, once it is revealed that Jefferson was likely a Deist, the use of the term "Nature's God," a common deist term, begins to make sense. Jefferson never referred to himself as a Deist, though his references to his own religion have varied from Christian to Materialist to Unitarian. Whatever he actually was, in looking into his letters and indeed his removal of all that is supernatural from the Gospels that Jefferson, by nearly all standards, was not a Christian, and thus it is not a stretch to say that the God in the Declaration is, at the very least, not the God of any mainstream Christianity.
The documents that most would indeed consider the be the foundations of the nation, The Articles of Confederation for the newly born nation, and the Constitution of The United States of America. Neither have a single mention of God, or any divinity for that matter. Neither are they based on the Ten Commandments, nor any other religious doctrine. In fact, there is nothing in either document even reminiscent of anything in the Ten Commandments. The only ones that have anything similar in US government would be laws reminiscent of the sixth (murder), eight (theft) and ninth (false witness) commandments. None of the others are represented even in law.
There is no mention of religion at all in the articles, and the only mentions of religion in the Constitution are not an endorsement of Christianity, but a protection of religious freedom. There is only one mention of religion in the main body of the Constitution, the "no religious tests" clause:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States"
-US Constitution, Article 6
In layman's terms, there is no religious requirement to serve in any federal or state position. There exist state laws contrary to this, which have yet to be challenged in the Supreme Court, but that's a different post for another time.
The only other mention is in the First Amendment:
"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."
This one is pretty straightforward, no making laws that establishing a national religion, perhaps even no law endorsing one religion over another, and no laws preventing free exercise of religion either. There is much debate with regards to this clause, no explicit mention of the widely touted "separation of church and state." That notion comes from a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut, with regards to the meaning of the First Amendment. In it he states:
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."
Faith is between a man and his god, and law should deal in actions and not in opinions. While it is easily arguable that opinions influence actions, and thus are indeed important to the lawmaking process, it seems the intent here is that only if the action itself is deemed harmful, likely to the liberties guaranteed in the Constitution, only then is law to be written. Not due to religious convictions.
The final piece of evidence I wish to lay is 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.upcoming posts"
-Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11
"Piracy in the Barbary coast lead to a series of treaties with the nations of said coast. In order to cease the piracy and to prevent it's sailors from enduring the harsh treatment of captured sailors, especially those who were not Muslim, the US negotiated and signed treaties with the various nations that made up the Barbary coast. Among the stipulations of the treaty was the aforementioned article, denying the foundation of the United States on Christianity. In 1797, it was unanimously passed by congress and signed by President John Adams.
With such a blatant and explicit statement of this nations non-Christian foundation, what more evidence do you need?
|So this crossed my mind not too long ago.|
Say someone holds a book burning as a protest of something. The symbolism is pretty obvious; these ideas in this book are vile and should be destroyed. But consider the actual results of the action.
First off, where did those books come from. Odds are the type to burn a book aren't the type to have that book sitting around already, so they have to acquire it somehow. There are a number of ways to acquire such a book, but most involve purchasing it, and thus supporting the author of the book. Ways that do not involve purchase still create a drop in local supply, which is generally filled by ordering new copies, so again, sales.
So now that the author has made some money off the purchase of these books to be burned, what effect does the burning itself have. What generally happens when you call attention to something you don't want other people knowing about? They learn about it, and typically become curious about it (see The Barbra Streisand Effect), and then they go out and buy it and read it.
Moral of the story, book burnings sell more books.
Every time one of the many female beauty photo contests shows up on Xanga, I find myself tempted to run one open to everyone, or at least enter despite being male. Sure, most people don't find the male form nearly as asthetically pleasing as the female form, but seeing as I have only once seen one of these contests open to males (Roxis' best butt contest (which I missed)), I figured I'd let it be know that there are at least a few of us out there that can appreciate the male form.
I'll be honest. I don't like the male form as much as the female form, but I can appreciate it, it all it's shapes and sizes. And damn it, there's some good looking dudes around here.
So why talk about this now? Well, there's some momentum going. Roxis had his best butt competition, with only a few entries (I managed to miss it, I would have entered, even though mine isn't all that nice). Mynameisbluesky wrote a post about the lack of entries (and showed off his sexxy ass in this (nsfw) post). Roxis did something, not sure what, but he took it down. In any case, he seems to have concluded (and likely correctly) that guys being sexy doesn't have the same effect as girls being sexy. Soul_Pizza (who won the best butt contest) posted his opinion on the matter earlier today (along with some sexy photos of his sexy self). I decided I'd continue that experiment, what with the momentum it has going. So I took a few photos. They are a tad NSFW (no full frontal, mind you). As an added bonus, I'll add with these photos a bit of a "fuck you" to Lovelyish and their hatred for guys with hair longer than two inches (how's two feet for ya?).
Photos below the fold so they don't show up in your subscriptions thingy or if you don't want to see
|This does not speak to everyone who posts religious items on Xanga, a good number of you are doing it right.|
This involves the people who post as though every post they make should bring forth the converts. It isn't that quick or easy. Ok, maybe some can be swayed with a few promises and a few threats, but for most, rethinking their religion, and considering a different one, or considering abandoning religion, it's a process. A process that often takes years. It's not something where you can just "step into the other's shoes." You can't just "put on" or "take off" the God glasses. It's not as simple as you make it out to be.
That being said, bitter attacks will serve only to piss people off. If you really want to bring people to your side, discuss, don't attack.