If you’ve ever read anything written by any progressive over the age of forty, chances are pretty good that you’ve been exposed to a certain weary, self-indulgent, spiritually-agonized tone. It is very recognizable, like the smell of decay that’s characteristic of a swamp. By comparison, leftists under the age of forty are likely to have more-or-less the same tone that they were born with — the high-pitched tone of an infant that is not getting its way. Older leftists have usually run out of this youthful vigor, just like the rest of us. They do not participate in Antifa riots on the streets. They think about such youthful protests with a sense of nostalgia, remembering their wild, radical college days — whether they actually experienced them or not. Lost in a kind of communal introspection, they gather to have a coffee and a chat about how infinitely, heartbreakingly hard it is to endure the misery of the world. It would be vulgar to point out that a nice income and a nice house in a nice neighborhood can do a lot to ease this unbearable sense of soul-wrenching angst. Moral anguish can actually be quite comfortable if you can manage to do it safely at a distance.
The disease of progressivism is now widespread, though probably not the majority position some imagine it to be. It has infected all classes, from cynical elites who wish to placate the last shriveled remnants of their consciences to the cynical poor who wish to be made unpoor by a government willing to pick pockets on their behalf. The cultural decay is deep, giving people a false sense of goodness based of uttering magic words rather than on the difficult and costly work of genuinely moral behavior. The real obscenity of leftist virtue-signaling isn’t merely that it’s unproductive and self-serving, but that leftists are so blinded that their own hypocrisy is lost on them. What does virtue-signaling accomplished that could not be done more honestly with a secret gesture or a secret handshake? What does the middle-class progressive really want other than identification with “the enlightened,” the intelligentsia, and with those who wield power?
I will hardly be the first to observe that the left long ago lost the battle over facts. Ghettoes, crime, and overdose deaths are facts. The chaos in Western Europe is a fact. The degeneration of Detroit into semi-rural scrub forest is a fact. The “arc of history,” pretty as it sounds, is nothing but a literary dream. A castle of mere words. Socialism has always been, at heart, a literary façade for the same old centralization of power — a petty tyranny at the hands of self-appointed and self-righteous planners and intellectuals. It’s a lie. In its death throes it has even lost the charm of being a beautiful lie.
But there are also some things happening now that previous generations would have regarded as unthinkable.
Socialism is now on the ballot in “the land of the free,” when freedom and socialism are polar opposites. There are multiple candidates running for office across our land that are avowed socialists. Many of them try to dress it up by calling it “democratic socialism,” but that makes as much sense as the term “fragrant skunk.” Government ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods robs a nation and its individuals of their freedom and liberty and eventually destroys that nation.
Abortion is sacrosanct in America by somewhere around half of the population, though every abortion ends the life of a child and minorities are disproportionately affected. African-Americans have 27.1 abortions per thousand of women ages 15-44 to whites having only 10 per thousand, while whites make up 76.6 percent of the population compared to African-Americans making up just 13.5 percent.
Religious liberty is under assault in a great many state houses and courthouses. The great “cake wars” and “flower wars” show this clearly. Progressives gasp at the notion of the “slippery slope” of allowing people the freedom of conscience to refuse to do things that violate their religious sensibilities. But they never seem to ask about the other side of the slippery slope, as in “Well, if we allow people to force other people to make the cake or the flowers, we are going out on a slippery slope, and where does it stop? Can we also force the African-American baker to make a rebel flag cake? Can we force the Muslim deli to provide ham sandwiches and bacon for a church gathering? Can we force the Jewish florist to make a lovely arrangement for a Neo Nazi group to use at an anti-Jewish meeting?
Socialism is a distortion, in a collectivist direction, of human beings’ natural need for familial connection with others. But socialism and the family are incompatible. The family requires independence from governmental interference in order to flourish, and parents know its needs better than government officials can. Meanwhile, the breakdown of the traditional family leads to greater need for state assistance. The ethos of self-gratification that weakens commitment to the family also leads to increased desire for services from the state. Hence it is no accident that, historically, advocacy of socialism has always tended to go hand in hand with hostility to the traditional family structure. Anyone opposed to socialism should defend the traditional family and anyone concerned to defend the traditional family should oppose socialism.
Letter to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News. Submitted on March 24, 2017
The recent attempt to pass what Donald Trump and Republicans dubbed the American Health Care Act has finally exposed for all to see the true agenda of the Ayn Rand-fueled, Koch Brothers-funded, Evangelical-empowered, Paul Ryan-controlled wing of the Republican Party. The white sheets have been torn away, exposing ideological hatred for minorities, the working class, and what the Bible calls the least of these. We now know that these shills for the one-percenters want to destroy the Federal government, roll back the New Deal, and cut the bottom out of social safety net. Their ultimate goal is to return our society to the days of the wild, wild West – days when every man controlled his own destiny; days when the capitalist with the fastest draw and surest aim or the robber baron with the quickest fists ruled the land.
As of the writing of this letter, Republicans have twice cancelled votes on the AHCA. Facing outrage from all corners of the political spectrum, Paul Ryan is increasingly aware of the fact that he never should have made public his agenda to destroy America. While I thoroughly enjoy watching Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and their surrogates get the public caning they so richly deserve, my joy is tempered by the fact that at the state level Republican extremists are quietly and effectively rolling back much of the social progress of the past century. More frightening than the AHCA debacle is the Koch Brothers-funded plan for a Constitutional Convention. And once a Constitutional Convention is convened, Tea-Party, Libertarian, and Evangelical theocrats will finally have the tools necessary to dismantle the Federal government and turn America into dog-eat-dog capitalist state ruled by men only concerned with their stock portfolio and return on investment. While Evangelicals will certainly make sure that their God is returned to his rightful place as America’s potentate, the real God of these extremists is laissez-faire capitalism.
One positive to come out of electing Donald Trump is the exposure of the true agenda of many Republican officeholders. Now it is up to Democrats, liberals, progressives. democratic socialists, and all who value social progress to coalesce into a movement willing to take on Paul Ryan/Koch Brothers/Ayn Rand Republicans. What lies ahead is a no-holds-barred fight to the death for the future of our Republic. I am ready for the fight. Are you?
3. Even if we were to ignore the obvious crimes against humanity that atheists involved in the global communist movement in the past century have committed, we can condemn all atheists and atheism simply by examining the one million dead at the hands of “rational,” “enlightened” atheist French Revolutionaries. Historians call the Vendean Martyrs in March 1793 the modern-era’s first genocide. The atheist French Revolutionary Army ordered the conscription of 300,000 citizens of Vendée. Having already had all of their churches suppressed and their bishops slaughtered, this infuriated the populace which rose up in “The Catholic Army.” In response, the Revolutionary Army massacred 6,000 Vendée prisoners, many of them women, children and the elderly, after the battle of Savenay. In addition, 3,000 Vendée women were drowned at Pont-au-Baux. In addition, 5,000 Vendée priests, elderly, women and children were tied in groups in barges and drowned in the Loire River at Nantes. By July, AD 1796, nearly 500,000 Vendean Catholics were killed. All of these theists were killed at the hands of atheists. Considering this was the first cry of “public” atheism—as opposed to individuals who simply didn’t believe in God throughout Christian history—atheists have yet to explain why “compassionate” and “rational” atheists’ hands are so murderously bloody.
4. If the above statement were true, it might make the atheist case unassailable. However, anyone who has read a newspaper at any time between the 17th and 21st centuries knows this to be untrue. This is one of the atheists’ fondest lies. I’m not sure that the person about to be executed by a Marxist or Maoist atheist is assuaged in the knowledge that his evil, merciless executioner isn’t killing him because he’s an atheist but rather because he believes in an atheist philosophy and only coincidently doesn’t believe in God. Multiply this by all 152 million dead at the hands of atheists in the 20th and 21st century—a carnage which has yet to abate—makes the above claim perfectly worthless. In addition, we have more than sufficient proof that atheists killed in the name of atheism as in the case of the Soviet Union’s Society of the Militant Godless, Mao Zedong’s Red Guard, the Enlightenment’s Reign of Terror, Abimael Guzmán’s Shining Path, atheist Napoleon’s wars and Plutarco Elias Calles democide of Mexican Catholics during the Cristero Wars.
5. Atheists who make nonsensical, ahistorical and misological claims such as this one, prove they’ve never truly examined their own community’s behavior under the microscope as they enjoy doing with us. Consider instead those who have died in the name of atheistic philosophies such as marxism, socialism, communism, maoism, Nazism, fascism, totalitarianism, libertarianism, monopolistic capitalism, robber barronism, industrialization, secularism, jingoism, anarchism, social darwinism, eugenics, malthusianism, messianic scientism, nihilism, anti-humanist terrorism, individualism, narcissism, physicalism, materialism, consumerism, modernism, postmodernism, nietzscheism, Marquis de Sade’s sadism, (i.e., sadistic murders) moral relativism, hedonism, radical feminism, (i.e., abortions, infanticide, suicide, false claims of rape) radical environmentalism, (i.e., ecological terrorism) Anton LaVey’s satanism, (i.e., ritual murders) and the “Law of Attraction.” (i.e., the deaths, including suicides, caused by Peter Popoff, Sylvia Browne and other gurus”) All of these atheistic philosophies have resulted in the deaths of countless hundreds of millions of human beings. In comparison, the deaths caused by religion seem almost quaint and insignificant.
I am politically progressive and liberal. I make no attempt to hide my democratic socialistic tendencies. I am a registered Democrat and a supporter of Bernie Sanders who will drink two or ten shots of whiskey and vote for Hillary Clinton come November. I am an inconsistent pacifist. I am of the opinion that the United States has fought not a just war since the two world wars. And even with these wars, the United States, with its immoral nuclear bombings of Japan and it firebombings of Germany, has shown itself to be as violently ruthless as its enemies. The same goes for the United States’ use of napalm during the Vietnam War. (Please read Napalm: An American Biography.) Americans love to think of themselves kind, goodhearted people who only resort to violence when backed into a corner, when in fact the United States, thanks to its colonialist, imperialistic, and nationalistic tendencies, is a nation whose history is steeped in the blood of innocents. (Please read The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America 1500-2000.)
Prior to the turn of the 21st century, I was a registered Republican — the party of my tribe. The reasons I am no longer a Republican are many. Let me list a few of them. These statements reflect my understanding of the Republican Party at the national level. I realize that not all Republicans believe/support the positions that follow.
The Republican Party is and I am not:
Pro-Chamber of Commerce
Pro-dark money political contributions
Pro-unrestricted campaign contributions
Pro-unregulated religious schools
Pro-Pledge of Allegiance
Pro-American imperialism and colonialism
Pro-military as the world’s policeman
Pro-Patriot Act(s) and other government intrusions into privacy
Anti-Environmental Protection Agency
Anti-Department of Education
Anti-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Anti-separation of church and state
Anti-single payer option health insurance
Anti-global warming/climate change
Anti-Black Lives Matter
And Best Hits of the Republican Party keep on playing.
And if these things aren’t enough, the Republican Party has committed the biggest crime of the modern era — presidential nominee Donald Trump.
And finally, with lips dripping with the blood of justice, fairness, and equal protection under the law, the Republican Party has called for an all-out war against the LGBT community. Just today, a Republican National Committee subcommittee — thanks to the work of homophobic bigot Tony Perkins, voted to add a plank to their 2016 platform supporting LGBT conversion therapy.
Republican National Committee subcommittee members Monday voted to approve a plank embracing the use of harmful anti-LGBT conversion therapy, after it was introduced by the head of a certified anti-gay hate group. The plank will be voted on by a committee and then all RNC voting members before becoming an official part of the 2016 platform.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, an RNC delegate, Monday morning met with RNC chair Reince Priebus, reportedly to discuss including the call to support medically dangerous efforts that claim to change a person’s sexual orientation.
Earlier on Monday, according to Badrash, subcommittees of the RNC:
On one level, this is a silly question. Since I do not think there is a God, if I hated God I would be hating a nonexistent entity. This would be akin to hating Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. However, I understand why religious people might think someone like me hates God. I spend a lot of time writing things that are negative about God and religion, surely, I must HATE God. Maybe some atheists do hate God, but I don’t. It is an non-issue for me.
As a writer, my focus is on religion. Religion is the human attempt to answer what I call the “hard” questions of life. Where did we come from? What is the essence, the substance of life? Is there life after death? What gives life meaning and purpose? These are not easy to answer. I realize many atheists will say “no evidence”… end of discussion, but I think these kind of questions are worthy of friendly discussion. The problem is many religious people can’t discuss these questions in a friendly manner. Thinking their God and belief system is truth, they condemn and marginalize anyone who thinks differently.
While I think evolution is the best answer to the “where did we come from” question, I am not at all satisfied with the answers science gives when dealing with the something rather than nothing question.Even Bill Nye, in his debate with creationist Ken Ham, admitted that, so far, science hasn’t answered the question of where the first particle came from. Of course Ham, a man with cement in the place where his brain once sat, jumped up and down and said, TEACHER, TEACHER, I KNOW THE ANSWER! IT’S FOUND IN THE B-I-B-L-E. Ham thinks the question is answered whereas Nye is willing to say, We don’t know, but we continue to try and find the answer this important question.
I am an atheist because the evidence tells me, at this present moment, there is no God.As a man who spent 50 years in the Christian church and 25 years in the pastorate, I am well versed in the teachings of the Bible and the one, true, and holy Evangelical faith. There’s no possible argument an Evangelical could make that I have not heard. It is not evidence that I am lacking. I have weighed all the available evidence in the balance and found it wanting. I am convinced, based on the available evidence, that the Evangelical God is a work of fiction and that Christianity is an admixture of myths, legends, oral traditions and religious teachings.Maybe someday a deity of some sort will reveal itself to us. If so, I will consider this new evidence just like I have the evidence for the plethora of human religions. I doubt this will happen, so I am not going to spend any time worrying about it. In the mean time, I remain agnostic on the God question and live my day-to-day life as an atheist. Reason, humanism, family, friends, baseball, and writing are enough for me, no God needed.
My hatred is reserved for certain aspects of some religions. Since I live in the United States, my experience has primarily been with the Christian religion, especially the Evangelical form of Christianity. While I think the essence of Christianity can provide value and substance for some people, even in our modern, scientific world, I am convinced that 21st century Christianity is so far afield from its original intent that it has ceased to be Christianity at all. How does the Christianity of today, in any of its various forms, remotely resemble the teachings and faith of Jesus, the poor, itinerant do-gooder of 2,000 years ago?
Part of the problem is that early in the history of the Christian church the Christianity of Jesus was subjugated by the Christianity of Paul. The modern version of Christianity we see today is Paul’s version of it and not Jesus’s. It is doubtful, at least in my mind, that we can ever recover what Jesus wanted Christianity to be. We can’t know if he even wanted to start a new religion. Perhaps all he wanted was to reform Judaism. We can’t appeal to the Bible because it has been corrupted by errors, corrections, additions, and outright fraudulent changes. At best, we might be able to peer within the pages of the Bible and get a general idea of who Jesus was and what he was all about. And we can do this regardless of whether we consider Jesus divine.
When I look at American Christianity what do I see? I see power and wealth. I see arrogance. I see machinery. I see everything but what I should see. Where is Jesus? Where are the good works? Look at the 2016 Republican slate of presidential candidates. Jesus lovers, the lot of them, all trying to see who has the biggest Evangelical dick. Yet, their beliefs and policies would likely be condemned by Jesus of Nazareth. Millions of Christians will vote for these men, thinking they are voting for God’s man.
It seems that most churches and pastors are focused on building a kingdom, not in heaven but here on earth. Why all the fancy, expensive buildings? Why all the programs designed to keep fat, lazy sheep happy? Why does most of the income go to maintain buildings, pay staff, and provide programs for people who are already Christians? What happened to outreach to the “least of these?” Where can I find a church where the poor, sick,homeless, and ignorant are given preferential treatment? If Jesus were alive today do we really think he would go to an American church?
Even though I don’t believe in the Christian God nor do I think the Bible is divine truth, I could see myself going to a church that took seriously the teachings of the mannamed Jesus. (and yes, I am aware that some of his teachings are contemptible) I still have a heart filled with compassion for the poor, sick, and marginalized.
I wonder if there is any room in the world for atheist itinerant preachers? While I couldn’t preach the Christian gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ, I could preach a humanist gospel, a gospel that says salvation is found in the goodwill, mercy, and compassion we have for others. I could point to the teachings of Jesus, Buddha and Bruce Almighty and show how the relevant parts of their teachings can help make us better human beings.
My hatred is reserved for any religion that is focused on power and wealth rather than people. For the most part, I despise Evangelical Christianity. To the Evangelical, words in a book are more important than loving their neighbor and helping the least of these. They prefer the narrowness of their religion to the wideness of human love, mercy, and compassion. They would rather concern themselves with abortion, same-sex marriage, and getting Republican elected than trying to make a real difference in the lives of the “least of these.” Thinking evangelizing someone is more important than feeding their hunger and clothing their back, Evangelicals are viewed by non-Christians in the same light as door knocking Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and siding salesmen.
My beef is not with God because I don’t think there is a God. My beef is not with Christians who are serious about loving and helping others. My disdain, and at times anger, is reserved for those who have no regard for the plight of the poor and the sick, who only care about building a kingdom here on earth. No matter how much they talk about the future kingdom of God, their actions betray their true ambitions.
If churches took seriously the teachings of Jesus they would merge, sell off the excess real estate, and use the money to help the poor, sick, and disadvantaged. If churches took seriously the teachings of Jesus, they’d fire all the professional Christians, forcing them to get a real job. In doing so, these professional Christians will be forced to reengage with a world they lost connection with once they became the gatekeeper and waitstaff at the local Evangelical church.
If churches took seriously the teachings of Jesus they’d stop the programs that are little more than crack for religious junkies. These junkies bounce from church to church, program to program, service to service, hoping to get a Jesus fix. They are narcissists who have forgotten that what really matters is loving their spouse, children, family, and neighbor. They’ve traded the church for their common, dirty connection with the world. Sheltered from sinners, they listen to sermons that remind them of how wonderful it is in the church and how bad it is out there.
I don’t hate God. My hatred is reserved for evil done in the name of God. My hatred is reserved for those who value fidelity and conformity more than they do people. Such thinking burned people at the stake and slaughtered uncounted heretics. Given a chance here in America, Evangelicals with theocratic impulses would enact and enforce a Christian version of Sharia law. I hate all who dare to attempt to subjugate and control others in the name of their God. Thinking they are an oracle who has THE truth, they demand everyone else bow to their truth. Willing to use violence and the power of the state to force others to embrace their God and Holy Book, they cause deep hatred and resentment. Thinking they are being hated for their beliefs, what they are really being hated for is their unwillingness to allow others to have the same freedom they demand for themselves.
As I look at American Christianity, I search in vain for one good reason that I would/should become a Christian. Maybe there is a group somewhere that takes seriously the teaching of the socialist Jesus, but so far all I see is ice cream. Various flavors, but all ice cream. (Please see But, Our church is DIFFERENT!)