Thursday, February 27, 2014

Arizona Anti LGBT Bill Is An Example Of Christian Privilege

Many people were fooled into believing that Arizona's anti-LGBTQ bill was simply a good-hearted attempt to shield those poor, persecuted Christians from a changing world that they, I guess, want nothing to do with. It was a bill that (thankfully) was vetoed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in the face of businesses telling her that they didn't want, nor need the bill, as businesses ALREADY have the right to refuse service to anyone, and this would be obviously directed at slighting the LGBTQ population, and any other minorities Christians don't like. This could include Atheists, people of any religion other than Christianity, people of color, people who had kids out of wedlock, etc etc.

The effects of the bill could have also made it legal for different Christians to discriminate against other Christians, which I can only imagine is something they never thought of. Someone from a Protestant church for example might be able to deny services to a Catholic, or maybe a Muslim could deny a Jew the right to come into their stores. From the beginning, this feeble minded, short-sighted bill was something that never should have been passed by the Arizona legislature, but it was, and Gov. Brewer did probably the only sane thing I have ever seen her do. Veto it.

But let's not lose sight of what is actually going on. In America, there are several sects that enjoy 'privilege'. The rich, the white, and the religious. You've heard about the so-called "1%", billionaire plutocrats who have all of our money. You've probably heard an awful lot lately about 'white privilege', the unspoken and not-so-subtle benefits of being white, like being hired over an equally qualified person of color, or not being followed around in a store while browsing its wares, or not being questioned by a police officer or arrested when you've clearly broken the law... yes, that is white privilege. But there is an underlying privilege that goes wholly ignored, probably because it is the largest majority in the USA - Christian Privilege.

Now, many Christians don't know or even want to believe that they could be the source of this 'privilege' thing, but if you think about it, this is THE root cause of 'privilege' in our society. They wouldn't know about it because Christians make up around 80% of the USA, and you would only understand if you, like me, are not a Christian. When W.A.S.P.S. (White Anglo Saxon Protestants) came to the USA, they brought with them their status, their wealth, and of course, their religion and that famous 'holier than thou' attitude which begets - you guessed it - entitlement. Christians have always felt entitled on American soil to its land, its resources, and its territories.

Native Americans were one of the first casualties of 'Christian Privilege' and W.A.S.P. culture, which back then was referred to as 'Manifest Destiny', or the belief that God himself has given Christendom the right and the duty to rule, and dominate the land, its animals, and spread the gospel at any cost. This resulted in the barbaric genocide of the Native Americans, the Mexican-American war, and leads to where we are today. If you are not a white CHRISTIAN in this country, you are at the near bottom of the privilege totem pole.

I am a white Atheist. And believe me, I don't enjoy half of the 'privilege' that other whites do, even though some privileges are still apparent. I have been fired from jobs for my lack of faith, when I was outed as an Atheist by a co-worker. I have been told I am going to hell. I have been told I am worthless, and I have been looked down upon by Christians of ALL colors. And yes, I have been refused service at a store because of this (could have been the shirt I was wearing with Jesus riding a velociraptor...). I've even been assaulted for speaking out against religion. This is when I started to realize that 'privilege' isn't nearly as simple as being white, the religious component is a keystone to this.

While an African-American/Black Christian will not experience the same level of privilege (if at all) as a white Christian, the privilege exists within communities, towns, and even states, and among minority populations. For example, I have an African-American friend who recently decided she no longer could believe in God, and stopped going to church, and bravely told her family about her change of heart, hoping that they would understand. They didn't. They wouldn't. Her community instantly ostracized here, and shunned her, including some in her own family. Now she was female, black, and alone without any community, except other Atheists, and they were strangers to her. It broke my heart to see her have to crawl back to her old church, and lie about her faith returning, just so she could again enjoy the support of a community. This is Christian Privilege. And it is ugly. It hurts people.

The laws that are being proposed by Christian politicians, with backing from Christian special interest groups, such as the Family Research Council, are meant to solidify Christian privilege into the United States Constitution in violation of the 1st Amendment. Ironically, these very people claim they are actually PROTECTING the Constitution, without realizing their violations, even going so far as to cite the actual language. Pat Robertson, the host of the '700 Club', and typical provocateur of all things sane, recently told his viewers that these laws SHOULD pass because we "...shall make no law respecting an establishment of Religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"... I am not sure he understands what that means. That means government cannot make laws governing religious belief, and religion cannot influence government. Of course, we know that happens all the time, sadly. Every last member of Congress, our President, and our Judiciary (all three branches of government), are almost exclusively religious, and the vast majority are a flavor of Christianity.

So in effect, the United States is nearly incapable of understanding its own constitution, and unwilling to face the reality that the founding fathers wanted the United States to be a free, secular nation. They wanted every citizen to be able to choose their own destiny, and their own faith (or no faith at all). They never wanted government to 'respect' an established religion over another, and yes, Christians, that includes you.

But the recent spate of laws trying to enshrine Christianity as law, especially in regards to the teaching of evolution in classrooms, to granting gays, lesbians, and transgenders the freedoms that everyone in the Christian world enjoys (the right to fall in love, and stay with that person, for example) ought to raise alarm bells for all of us. Attempting to elevate one belief system over all is an obvious attempt at a power grab, and those that actually believe they should have that privilege need to think long and hard about it.

Let's be really blunt. Christianity is not under attack. Christianity has a cognitive dissonance issue in regards to science, and reality. It can accept the world is not flat. It can accept that the sun does not revolve around the earth. It can even accept in some cases that the universe is big (I mean, look up, right?). But if you say that species evolved over millions of years, or that the earth is over 4.2 billion years old, or that the speed of light is a constant, they consider this to be (somehow) a direct threat to their belief system, and thus, consider it an attack. If you mention that there are thousands of other religions in the world, this does not register. It is a quaint notion that deserves no thought at all. This is exacerbated by 'news organizations' like Fox News, who play up all of these Christian fears of Atheists killing Santa Claus, or gays teaching their children to be homosexuals, or NFL players showering with a gay guy in the locker room. If I was that brainwashed, I might think the world was ending too. But its not.

U.S. right-wing, and some left-wing, Christians unapologetically think they own this country (although obviously not ALL of them are like this, some are aware of their privilege and thankfully tone it down). They believe their own version of history, where the founding fathers were making a Christian nation (never mind that the 'under God' bit on our money, and in our pledge was added during the Cold War). They unapologetically believe they have every right to tell others how they need to live, and that your perceived 'sin' in any way affects them. They unapologetically want to create a theocracy in a democratic republic. This is Christian Privilege. And it is the next civil rights struggle. Once Christian privilege is properly toned down, you'll see a lot of ethnic/racial privilege go away with it, of this, I can guarantee. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

You Are Being Lied To, Constantly, By Your Own Party

Since Obama was elected on day 1 of his presidency, I clearly remember Fox news already criticizing him and saying that the economy was now his, that Bush's hands were clean, and that everything from here on out was Obama's fault. Our campaigns have become incredibly nasty. From the start of any campaign, opposing candidates run hit pieces on each other, drumming up wild rumors, planting false information about their opponents by way of paid political liars and operatives, and financing epic smear campaigns. And after the election is over, all of these falsehoods and suspicions remain. 

The Internet is rife with misinformation, and false stories written by bloggers and paid political pundits with agendas to discredit, destroy, and smear any politician with whom they do not agree. Obama has got to be the most lied about politician in recent memory. Every step he makes is seen by the right as 'sinister', or 'dark', and the GOP echo chamber recycles any lie and perpetuates it to shape their own reality, and make these lies perceived by the public as accepted truth. The more they repeat the same lie, the more people will accept it, recycle it in their heads, then repeat it to their friends, who trust them unquestioningly. 

In the Bush days, this happened too, although to a much smaller degree. Bush had so much legitimate criticism that Karl Rove had to go around destroying people before they spoke. Bush flatly lied about the reasons to go into Iraq. There were no WMD's, there was no connection between Iraq and al Qaeda, and certainly NO love between Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden. In fact, culturally, they were fierce enemies. Saddam was a dictator and hated any challenge to his ultimate authority, while bin Laden was a CIA trained warlord who fancied himself a prophet. The two would never have cooperated, but we were led to believe they did by a massive campaign to tell the American people anything that would stick: That he had a nuke, that he had chemical weapons (because we had the sales receipt from when Reagan tried to get Iraq to wipe out Iran... great plan). 

The criticism of Bush was overwhelming, from the perspective of the right, even though much of it was legitimate. Some criticism, such as the 9/11 'Truthers' was so far outside the realm of reality however, that the right immediately seized on this in order to discredit the left's criticism of Bush. From the perspective of the right, this solidified the idea that the left was nuts. And that when a Democrat would be elected president, they would do everything in their power to assault his character, his credibility, and even his patriotism. And the right sure does have a loud and unscrupulous media presence in which to utilize. In fact, from day 1, Sen. Mitch McConnell said "Our mission will be to oppose the president at every turn". They have effectively sabotaged any initiative that Obama has presented, and then blamed him for a failed presidency, and failed policy. He was never able to implement his policies, so how could they be a failure?

Everything Obama does is characterized as dark and evil by the right.

Obama wants you to get healthy and go to a doctor? Oh, that's some evil plan to get an evil government doctor to inject you with some drugs to MAKE you sick, and then he'll have a death council to oversee your final moments. Obama wants to end the war in Iraq? He's in league with al Qaeda, clearly, and is a secret Muslim. Obama was born in Hawaii to a white American mother, and a black Kenyan dad? He must be a secret African communist like Nelson Mandela, and wants to give the USA over to Sharia Law! Obama visited a foreign country? He did it on OUR DIME just go go play 'president'! Obama sneezed? He's trying to infect us all! Obama signed an executive order? He's seizing the country for himself and is planning on crowning himself emperor! Obama wants you to be more responsible with your firearms? He's coming to take your guns!

Those are just SOME of the outlandish lies that right wing media circulate about this man. And some people I know actually would rather believe this stuff and re-circulate it, rather than criticize him for the LEGITIMATE fuck ups he has incurred in his 6 years as President. He hasn't closed Gitmo. He hasn't ended the war in Afghanistan (and indeed, looks like he may negotiate for us to stay there). He hasn't succeeded in bringing peace to the Middle East. He hasn't completely fixed the economy... those are LEGITIMATE criticisms, and are fair game when we're talking about a guy who promised all of that when he was running. There is no need to spout lies to criticize this man. We get it, right-wingers. You absolutely loathe Obama. You've made that abundantly clear, but you look like complete assholes when you need to lie about someone to make your point, and you look like complete fools when you believe articles from right wing spin media. 

All politicians are corrupt, but not because they're secret communists, or sharia Muslims, or foreign born Manchurian candidates. They are corrupt because politicians have sold our country's government to Plutocrats, Aristocrats, and CEO's of mega-corporations. They don't work for you, they work for Exxon-Mobile. They work for Koch Industries. They work for Berkshire-Hathaway. They work for Shell. They work for Wal-mart. You do not have representation anymore. THAT is the reason you should  get angry, and get angry at yourself for allowing this to happen. When you didn't vote, you let this happen. When you believe the lies that OTHER POLITICIANS tell you in order to smear their opponent, you become less intelligent, less questioning, and more subservient to your proxied corporate masters.

The criticism of Obama has been turned by the right into a religion, with pundits in place of preachers, with a GOP playbook in place of a holy book. All it takes for you to buy into the enormous piles of bullshit being crapped out of the mouths of pundits now is a mere mention of Obama, followed by a conspiracy of your choice. "Obama is in league with aliens". "Obama is a spy for Indonesia". "Obama is a genetically engineered super-human sent by the Soviets to dupe us into converting to communism"... take your pic, these have all been said, and you KNOW none of that shit is true. You just like to repeat it because it fits your worldview. So you don't question it. Exactly like a religion. Ludicrous conspiracies are now making it impossible for legitimate criticism to be heard, and therefor, government actually CAN do whatever it wants, because you're so distracted by 'juicy media stories'.

I do hope that once Obama is gone, people of different political spectra realize what their parties have done to the political process, and to their minds. They've muddied the waters so bad that you can't tell the difference between a bald-faced lie, and legitimate criticism. You've been had, and you're being used.

I will reiterate - ALL POLITICIANS ARE BOUGHT. Seek out the REAL reasons to criticize them. Follow the money!! Don't be distracted by smoke and mirrors, false controversy, and all that jazz... You want to criticize Obama? There are many reasons other than "He's going to take all of your guns and declare martial law". They've been saying that since he was elected. It hasn't happened, it won't happen, and after he's out of office, it STILL won't happen... that is, until the right wing goes full-on corporate/fascist and actually DOES declare martial law. (Oh you see what I did there? Panic! The sky is falling! The GOP are going to take over the world, oh no!! Two can easily play this stupid game.).

I know this note will fall on deaf ears, but if you as an American voter are going to be so easily misled and manipulated, our government will NEVER get better, and our country's decline will become even steeper. An uneducated, ill informed, and highly brainwashed/misled electorate will only let the government become more and more corrupt. And then we really WILL be in serious trouble. This country is armed with NUKES. NUKES! We have a highly militarized police force, and the largest army of any nation. You won't stand a chance during a revolt. So EDUCATE yourself, and get out the VOTE. Vote in GOOD candidates, and support REAL LAWS!

Oh who am I kidding, go back to your Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty.... stupid America...