Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Religion and Freedom

15 January 2015

Your right to your religious views stop when they start to harm others.

If you can only take the view that it must be because that is what my religion says then it isn’t really a debate.

Without religious bigotry there would be a lot less killing going on.

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Gaza

3 August 2014

Are there missiles being fired from Gaza at innocent civilians in Israel? Yes. But after thousands of missiles being fired over a decade only about 30 Israeli civilians have died. If Israel’s Iron Dome was as effective as Israel claims then it wouldn’t matter how many missiles were in Gaza or how many were launched. In some sense Israel it self has admitted this by suggesting that the goal is not the missiles but the tunnels.

Are there tunnels from Gaza into Israel built by militants for the purpose of terrorist attacks? Yes. But if Israel wanted to find the tunnels without entering Gaza to look for entrances they could detect them just past the wall in Israel by using reflection seismography. They can find oil a mile under the Mediterranean but a tunnel 30′ underground is somehow invisible to surface detection? To waste human life in an invasion when technology, just like the Iron Dome, could neutralize the threat is a callous and malicious act on the part of the government of Israel.

There are nearly 2 million people living in Gaza. Of these less than 1% are militants. Collective punishment is a violation of the laws of war and of the Geneva Conventions for good reason. But that is an old story which Israel has skirted time and time again thanks to the veto power of the US, a fact Russia and China point out when they use their veto to protect their allies. If Israel really was righteous why not prove it in an international court?

The only reason this is all happening now is because of the attention of the Arab world on the government of Assad and on ISIS or whatever they want to call themselves. Those two groups account for a lot of evil right now. They also limit spare financial and military support for Gaza. These facts gave Israel an opportunity to attack with reduced risk of reprisal. It just compounds the tragedies going on in Syria and Iraq. There are way too many innocent lives being lost over religious intolerance right now.

Nature versus Religion

21 September 2013

I recently have begun to question the validity of my argument for abortion and gay rights based on my assumption that the opposing arguments were entirely religious based and therefore invalid as part of a secular discussion. However, what if instead the opposing argument claimed the religious view was based on nature and not a dictate from a supreme being? This self doubt did not last long as I decided that the natural argument did not have sufficient merit. Once you remove the religious moral objection against the two topics then what remains is based on weak genetic science, some of which the religious teachings fundamentally oppose (that of genetic drive which is related to evolution). Abortion and homosexual relationships happens in nature, a fact that is well documented. So, by nature, these things are natural.

There are other aspects of laws related to these subjects arising from the economic and social impacts. I would argue against these rationale here too but will leave that for another time.

Women’s Rights

21 March 2012

I feel the need to clearly state my support of women’s rights on the current political topics of abortion and contraceptives.

Often one unnamed side of the political discourse will use the constitution, or more specifically the bill of rights, as a justification for their point of view on specific topics such as gun rights. But these very same people will often ignore the part discussing religion which reads, “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Now, I agree that a law specifically on abortion or contraceptives is not specifically an establishment of religion, but I contend that it if the law is based on religious views not generally shared by the majority of the population then it is both an establishment of religion and prohibiting the free exercise thereof. I do not believe there is any argument against abortion or the use of contraceptives that is not based on a religious view. That being said, I therefore contend that the government should make no laws prohibiting abortion or the use of contraceptives.

But the tricky thing is that the current discussion on contraceptives is not about their legality but about access. By mandating that health insurance covers contraceptives, the current administration has basically made sure that any woman with health insurance has access to contraceptives. Health insurance providers are mandated to cover many things, such as vaccines and including contraceptives, which actually reduce overall health care costs. This is not in question by the health care community. If health insurance providers were not mandated to cover contraceptives then many women would no longer be able to afford the cost of contraceptives. That is a problem with the pharmaceutical industry who will charge an individual not covered by health insurance ten or even a hundred times more for the same product then what a health insurance company pays for that product. Just look at a recent bill for a health care visit. See that column where the insurance company reduced the cost from $140 to $14 or remember that co-pay was only $5 instead of having to pay $150 for some medicine?

Now the administration could have tried to make new laws covering drug pricing in the pharmaceutical industry. There was probably, okay certainly, some back room deal that kept the administration from going that route. Also, that is certainly more anti-capitalist than a president wants to act. Instead the administration went the easier route of stating a mandate on health insurance companies. This is not taxpayers paying for contraceptives. This is not even churches paying for contraceptives. It is insurance companies who will pay an insignificantly small amount for providing contraceptives to only those who want it. And, furthermore, health insurance costs do not need to go up because those who use contraceptives will need less health care and actually cost the insurance company less.

If you got here, I am sorry that I took up so much of your time. In summary, support women’s rights. Support their rights to abortion and access to contraceptives through their health insurance plans. Lastly, whether you are a man or a woman, support your rights to not be controlled by religious views you don’t share.

Pro-Choice I Am

4 November 2011

When does life begin? Boy, that is a hard question mostly because it is so very open ended. When does a group of cells become a person? Again, still a very open ended question. When does a group of cells earn all the rights and privileges of being a U.S. citizen? At 21 years of age I guess.

Abortion is such a tricky topic. So many views on either side that bring such passion and yes even some extremism. But the recent move to define a ‘person’ to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof smacks of the very same kind of extremism that kills abortion doctors (isn’t it ironic that a movement based on life goes around killing people?). First of all, I really do not understand the rationale behind telling someone who was raped or who suffered incest or who could die from trying to carry to term that they cannot get an abortion if they wanted to. In this day of IVF, that could also mean a lot more dangerous multiple pregnancies too or maybe no more IVF.

But in the end, I think that the debate is pointless. A women has the right to choose. Women have the right to choose when they get pregnant and the right to choose to stay pregnant or have an abortion. It is not a medical issue or a population issue or a religious issue. It is the same kind of right for a women as to vote, to get an education, own property, etc. Even the right to wear a veil if they so choose (I am against the law in France that says otherwise).

“Religion is a Drug”

12 June 2011

It was something said to me recently and the more I think about it the more it makes sense. Some people use religion to feel good in the short term while having longer term negative impacts on their life. Some people show signs of addiction to religion and there are definitely withdrawal symptoms. Now I have no direct opposition to the use of drugs, so long as it doesn’t impact anyone else. Problem is, so many religions tend to have some doctrine or other that does impact the lives of others. You know, convert the heathens or whatever.

Abortions In The USA

26 September 2010

If you saw a sign that said there was 1,225,973 abortions in the USA every year, would you have believed the number? It seems kind of high to me. That is like 1% of all women who could have children were having an abortion. Not 1% of pregnant women, 1% of all women. That seems really high. But It was true for 1996. It turns out about 20% of all pregnancies were aborted that year. It is down to about 800,000 now, at least according to the CDC. I would guess because of the more anti-abortion climate in so many states.

I am sure the sign was meant to grow my opposition to abortion. Personally I am glad that so many women have access to and therefore the ability to make the choice of getting an abortion. I very strongly believe women have the right to make that choice. I just wish people would keep their religious views out of other people’s wombs.

Ground Zero

24 August 2010

Many people lost their lives and many more people lost loved ones at what is now commonly referred to as ground zero. Their loss can never be reversed and their pain never forgotten. The place many have hollowed is now once again being turned commercial. Life is returning to normal. Except not entirely. At some distance from the site of the twin towers a Muslim group want to build a religious center and some people oppose that. The media turned it into an issue and now politicians from all over put in their two cents or should I say lack of sense. Bigotry, intolerance, prejudice, that is what is fanning the opposition. I don’t think it matters that it is near ground zero for those opposed, that fact just made it easier to get the media to make a big deal about it. For a bit I was proud that we had grown enough to allow a mosque to be built near ground zero. Now I just am sad that we still act this way, opposing because of hate.

This is the perfect example of red versus blue – red uses fear to oppose. Maybe we should just ban fear mongering from television commercials, what a change in the political discourse that would generate. Imagine, politicians having to actually know facts. What I believe is that they have every right to build a religious center there and allowing a mosque there shows the world that the US is truly open to all religions. Oh well, another dream world.

Will more people have to loose their lives and even more people loose loved ones before we can get beyond hate?

The Strength of One’s Convictions

5 November 2009

The old limerick don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the communist party was running through my head the other day. It must have been a bastardized version of the line from The Producers (1968) because I cannot find an original reference to it. The thing that got me thinking about the limerick was that I am certain there are communists who believe it with the same conviction as those who believe abortion is murder or the earth was created only a couple thousand years ago. Now there are some conviction that I just cannot accept as being in any way logical and there are those that I can accept as having some internal consistency. Then I realized that my convictions are just as crazy. Convictions like that open minded people would believe in liberal ideals. I am not sure if there even are open minded people. Just people who figure they came to their conviction through rational thought. Another one of my convictions is that I don’t think I should have to pay for anti-virus software. I mean, if someone is selling defective software that could damage the users computer or allow identity theft then isn’t it there responsibility to fix their software? So my compromise was to use a free anti-virus program. Specifically AVG’s free program, which was recently at version 8.5. Then I got a pop-up message saying they were discontinuing support for AVG Free 8.5 and that I needed to upgrade to version 9 for like $50. WTF was my first response. I don’t want to pay for anti-virus software. Maybe I should finally ‘be a smarty’ and switch to Linux. But I figured I would look to see if there was another free anti-virus program available. Well, there was and interestingly enough it was AVG Free 9.0 which you can get here. I understand commercial efforts, but it still pisses me off when they try to scare you into spending money. Well not me. And Micro$oft shouldn’t expect me to run out and upgrade to Windows 7 any time soon either.

Grumble … grumble … grumble …

Right or Wrong?

11 March 2009

A 9 year old girl is molested, raped, and impregnated with twins by her stepfather but she is the one who can never be forgiven by the Catholic Church. The stepfather’s crimes, horrific by any account, can be forgiven but the girl cannot because she had an abortion that probably saved her life. For a group of religious leaders called fathers, they certainly don’t act with any fatherly compassion. To be so strict in the interpretation of what is a life in one case, but ignore another’s life altogether – it seems so hypocritical. Sure, I support legal abortion, but this seems to be a simple issue of right and wrong. That girl deserves all of our sympathies and not any condemnations. That stepfather deserves a far worse treatment than I think WordPress would allow me to describe here.