I Had a Dream, I Had an Awesome Dream

lionel

(I haven’t written in ages. Okay, sitting down.)

I had a dream last night that I had actually put my hat in the ring to run for President in 2016. Not to win, of course, and certainly not as a prank – well, not in the classic “prank” sense.

In my dream, my brain was apparently pondering over the fact that Trump’s largest appeal among his (admittedly trogloditic) supporters is that he speaks his ugly ass-mind and he doesn’t backpedal that shit when he does. While what he says is genuinely revolting to those of us who truly care for the poor and oppressed, it’s actually an almost impressive quality we don’t often see in politicians. Now, of course, the reason he does it is because he’s a narcissist with zero empathy.

Anyway, in my dream, my goal was not to seriously run or actually imagine I’d win. My goal was to get in front of a national audience and speak honestly and from the heart, both for myself and for those like myself, who wish we could change the world for the better. The ones who, to paraphrase Morrissey, sit in our rooms and draw up our plans. I wanted to stand at that podium, with a national audience, admit and voluntarily confess my own shortcomings and personal indiscretions, and explain my hopes and aspirations for this country that I call home. I wanted to invite anyone who might be watching or listening to embrace their true selves, love their quirks, celebrate their kinks, and acknowledge that we are, by and large, a nation full of amazing individuals who have been suppressed for far too long by a society that loves to talk about bravery and freedom and independence but actually condemns anyone who is genuinely “different.”

I wanted to remind everyone that we had one brief moment, after the tragic events of September 11th, in which our differences were erased and we were all just one in mourning, but also in acknowledging that life is fragile and temporal, and that the things that seem to divide us are actually surmountable. In that one brief moment, we were tearfully, and to some extent, joyfully, one. And almost the entire world – in that blink of an eye – joined in our grief and declared themselves “American” as well. That brief moment was exploited – cynically and intentionally – by the worst this country has to offer, and no other tragedy could unite us all as September 11th did. Since then, this nation has divided itself more than ever, and the rest of the world would probably be happy to simply get rid of us if it could – there are a substantial percentage of Americans who are now somehow proud of this. That’s what truly breaks my heart – that the selfish and the tyrannical appear to be winning. All “funny ha-ha look at the rich idiot with the toupee” aside, Donald Trump is a proto-fascist. Encounter a cruel, horrible American in a political discussion online, and 9 times out of 10, that person is a Trump supporter. He caters to the worst in America, and the fact that he could actually win a presidential election gives me horrifying pause.

Anyway, my presidential announcement would begin and end with a call for those who feel as I do, who feel America could be so much better but feel powerless to alter the seemingly psychopathic course that this nation is on, to rise up in whatever way they can, claim and celebrate their uniqueness, admit their faults and shortcomings, be honest with each other, and push the tide of hypocrisy and psychopathy and greed back into the tar-pits from whence it crawled.

I would then yield back the balance of my time and leave the podium.

My dreams are idealistic, yes, but idealism is what keeps me from shuffling off this mortal coil of my own volition. I can’t allow myself to be so ‘realistic’ and jaded that I abandon all hope.

And I’m not the only one.

“Wait, What?” (What is Your Authority?, Part 4)

duggar

For fuck’s sake.

Duggars.

TLC, your brand is ruined. This is what it looks like when you take a trusted educational brand and flush it straight down the toilet. This is what you get when your business model becomes “gawk at dysfunctional people and weird families.” This is what you get.

Fundamentalists, you’re rotting away from the inside.

People who are posting the #IStandWithTheDuggars hashtag un-ironically? You’re enablers. You are ones coddling deviants and defending maniacs. You’re the ones who believe Ted Nugent is an “American Hero.” You’re the ones who believe that millionaires will be America’s White Knights and that Labor Unions are the Spawn of the Devil Himself. You’ll spit on a homeless person, but group-hug a molester. Congratulations.

“Here We Go Again” (What is Your Authority?, Part 3)

bible crop

“What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. – (Luke 12:3, NIV)

So, this happened. What to say? Another anti-gay pastor is caught cruising for sex with men. It happens, tragically, so often that it ceases to shock anyone anymore – except for the parishioners of said church. The tragedy is not Matt Makela’s attraction to other men – the tragedy is that we have yet one more in an ever-growing list of Christian leaders who have denounced the LGBT community from the pulpit and from the Internet, all the while hooking up with other men incognito. Matt Makela, as an out gay or bisexual man, would not be allowed (by “Matt the Pastor”) to become a member of his own church – unless he was ‘truly repentant for his sin of homosexual choice’ and ‘sought to restore sexual wholeness through Biblical counseling” first. Continue reading

“The Devil Made Me Do It!” (What Is Your Authority?, Part 2)

steve martin

A reason that people often give when asked why they don’t trust atheists is that we don’t believe in the threat of Divine Punishment. The argument goes: “If atheists don’t believe that there is an invisible but all-seeing, all-powerful entity who knows our every thought, word and deed and holds every human being accountable for their actions, what’s to stop them from doing all manner of terrible things? You can’t trust them because they don’t believe that God will judge them for their actions after they die.”

Please give me a moment to explain, as best as I can, why this is nonsense. Continue reading

Catching Up

ketchupSunday Assembly has, so far, cancelled their first two scheduled meetings in Oklahoma City. I’ve not signed up for their third scheduled attempt, and I probably won’t.

Lots of things have happened between my last blog-post and this one. That’s a nice way of saying that I’ve blown a lot of opportunities to address some major issues while they were being discussed online. These things always seem to be cyclical, though, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities to address them again in the future. (Also, let’s face it, I’m not exactly the Internet’s go-to person on any topic whatsoever.) Continue reading

The Joy of Atheism

thank you god

I would normally never use such a clichéd title, but this is actually a response of sorts to Pastor Alin and his blog post, “The Misery of Atheism.”

It’s also a motivation to write something new here, which I need to do more often.

The Cliff Notes version of his post is “Atheist lives are miserable because they do not have God to thank for everything.” (Do please read the post, I don’t want to be accused of misrepresentation.) Having been a fundamentalist Christian for over a decade, I am familiar with his thought process in this regard. “Giving thanks to God” is a consistent theme in the Bible, wherein the writers make it abundantly clear that Yahweh loves to be praised and thanked on a continual basis. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About This Whole IRS Thing, Shall We?

pulpit freedom

Dear Concerned Christians:

I’ve been watching your tweets over the past few days. As a former Christian who knows his Bible extremely well, I am having a problem squaring your sentiments with the Bible you claim to be the divinely-inspired, inerrant, word of Almighty God Himself.

In particular, I’ve been watching your responses to the IRS decision to review the preaching of certain churches that participate in something called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” I can’t say that I’m surprised by your responses, but I am dismayed by the fact that some of you have taken to using words like “fascism,” “Nazi”, “totalitarianism”, and others. So, let’s please put those epithets aside for a moment and discuss the topic at hand. Continue reading

“What is Your Authority?”

abraham-and-isaac-on-mount-moriah

Question the morality of much of the Bible with a believer, and you’re almost guaranteed to be asked this question. “By what authority do you claim your morality to be valid?” Of course, the person asking the question considers the Bible (or Qur’an) to be the ultimate authority because they believe it is their god’s direct communication to humanity. Since atheists do not rely upon a “holy book” to tell them what’s right and what’s wrong, the question asked is an attempt to “trip up” non-believers by insinuating that their morality is not morality because it does not come from a Supreme Source, but rather from personal opinion. Continue reading