Tag Archive | Christianity

Turn the Other Cheek? Fuck that!

I don’t know very much about Islam, but that’s okay, because I don’t claim to, and so I generally stay pretty quiet about Islam and what it teaches. I know enough about it to know that it’s very close in tone to the Old Testament of the Bible, and I know that, from the point of view of an atheist, it’s pretty much just a different flavor of Christianity. So I generally don’t have any conversations about sharia or what it is, because I don’t know (or particularly care) what it is, just as I don’t particularly care to know exactly what parameters food must meet in order to be considered kosher. All religious systems have codes, laws, and layers upon layers of teachings. It’s both ridiculous and unrealistic to expect someone who doesn’t believe in the religion to know every detail–or even many details–about the layered teachings. My knowledge of Christianity is a result of my upbringing in the south, and not out of any desire that I felt at any part of my life to explicitly find out what is in the Bible.

I want to quote the Bible for a moment, though, if you don’t mind; Mathew 5:38-40:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

Now let’s get to the point.

Recently, an anti-Muslim bigot was hospitalized, and libertarian vice presidential candidate and Muslim Will Coley started a campaign to raise funds for the guy, quoting various teachings of the Quran and actions of Mohammad to show that this sort of behavior (turning the other cheek) is perfectly in accord with Islam and should be encouraged. At first, this went exactly as one would like: people saw the wisdom in the teaching. After all, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, or so goes the saying. It’s similar to things I’ve talked about before, regarding being transgender in the south–it was not whining and screaming about victimization and bigotry that caused my landlord to change his mind about evicting me; it was my willingness to shrug and acknowledge that he was perfectly within his rights to do so. There are a few other people I know of who hated transgender people and the very idea of transgenderism until they came face-to-face with me, a real person who is simply trying to exist in peace and is very much against the idea of forcing anyone to do or be anything.

Then came the SJWs. And, oh man, did they come.

Suddenly Will was their enemy, despite having the approval of many prominent Islamic figures, and the reason that Will was their enemy?

Because he’s white.

I’m not even kidding. That’s what it all boils down to. It’s often said explicitly.

You cannot defeat racism with racism.

You cannot defeat sexism with sexism.

You cannot defeat sexual orientationism with sexual orientationism.

This is the mistake the alt-right makes. They’ve attempted to meet the left’s increasing racism, sexism, and orientationism with racism, sexism, and orientationism. I’ve directed this message at leftists and rightists. I don’t care who is being the racist–it’s never going to end racism.

That’s where I went after three prominent alt-right youtubers: Atheism is Unstoppable, The Non-Believer, and Autopsy87.

Here’s where I went after the left doing the same thing:

Now, this post is more than just a way for me to collect together various applicable things I’ve made on the subject.

The bottom line is that Will held up a mirror for Christians and Muslims alike to look into, and very few of them could stomach what they saw reflected back. When faced with this situation, they had no recourse but to either self-reflect (something most people are simply unwilling to do, because so few people are willing to acknowledge their flaws and mistakes) or to attack the messenger. Enter the cries of racism and the strange remarks that Will has no business teaching anyone about Islamic teachings… because he’s white.

This is a refrain typical of leftists, sadly. In fact, it just cost them the presidential election. Did they learn anything from losing to the most reviled presidential candidates in modern American history (after all, their preferred candidate lost to Hillary, who then lost to Trump)? Of course they didn’t. If anything, the worst losers in the 2016 election (indisputably, the “progressives”) have only doubled down their hate speech and violence, the very thing that landed them in this mess in the first place.

We have to be better than this.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, and Mohammad would all be shaking their heads in sadness at what is going on, and I can only commend Will for staying on track. When I released my video about the Liberal Redneck, I faced similar criticism, though Will is obviously facing it on a larger scale (though, it’s worth mentioning, the scale of criticism that I faced for that absolutely dwarfed the attention that anything else I’ve created has received anyway), and I remember how difficult it was, when one comment after the next rolled in calling me an idiot, a traitor, a racist, a Biblethumper, and other similar things, to stay on point and not stoop to their level. In the end, I caved and pulled down the video. I really wish I hadn’t, but… c’est la vie.

I don’t think I’d cave today.

Maybe this is just meant to be a collection of other things I’ve said on the matter. Otherwise, I’d just be repeating myself. But it’s sad that podcasts that I released a year ago are equally applicable to things today because, if anything has changed at all, then it’s only been for the worse.

I recently wrote an article attacking the notion of LGBT Pride and Outright Libertarians. I’m going to repost it in the future, but not until the shit with Cantwell has died down. It’s rather similar to how I defended Gary Johnson with the “What is Aleppo?” thing. I’ll criticize someone “on my team” when no one else is, but if someone outside that team starts to criticize, I’ll have their back–assuming they’re right.

When they’re wrong, I’ll gladly tell them so. If they’re wrong and are rightly being attacked for being wrong, then I will at the very least hold off my attack until the attack from the outside is over (after all, you won’t find me defending Outright Libertarians from Cantwell and his people).

I find that I just can’t say much on this matter with Will. I’ve already said it all–and that, I think, is the sad thing, because I’m far from being the only person saying it. Jesus said it. Mohammad said it. Gandhi said it. MLK, Jr. said it. If people won’t listen to these esteemed leaders, why in the world would they listen to me or Will Coley? Christians, Muslims, Jews, and atheists alike have all had these wonderful ideas thrown at us from every corner for centuries and thousands of years. Yet we only pay them lipservice. Whether it’s Bill Hicks or Mohammad isn’t important.

And, yes, libertarians are guilty of it, too. When Fidel Castro died, many libertarians actively celebrated his death and digitally danced on his grave. Weird behavior from a group of people whose ideology is literally built on forgiveness and love.

We need less hatred in the world.

That starts with you.

 

Defibrillating the First Amendment

The First Amendment protects five rights:

  • Free Speech
  • Free assembly and protest
  • Free petitioning of grievances
  • Free press
  • Free religion

I’m not going to talk about how some elements of the left are attempting to undermine the principles of free speech, or how recent regulations in conservative states pose a threat to the right of people to peacefully protest. These things are problems, but I feel that other people have addressed them. Nor am I going to discuss the freedom of the press, or how many people have misinterpreted Trump’s antagonism of the press as a bad thing and as heralding the end of a free press; quite the opposite, the press of a free country should not be in bed with politicians. We want an adversarial press that attacks politicians and goes after them, and we want politicians to get pissed off about it. This just means that things are working as intended. For too long, the press and the government were sleeping together, and I’m glad to see that coming to an end.

Instead, I’m going to talk about the death of free religion, especially for Christians.

I’m an atheist. I’m not just an atheist, though. I reject everything supernatural as unsubstantiated. I believe in no gods, no souls, and no afterlife. I wasn’t always an atheist, however. In fact, I was born to a fundamentalist Christian family that was, as I stated in this unscripted video, as fundamentalist as fundamentalists get. What did you do for the year 2000 celebration? I cowered with my family who expected the Anti-Christ to use the computer binary code of 666 to exploit the Y2K bug and take over the world, ushering in Armageddon.

I’m not kidding.

Rather than repeating all of that, if you want to know all the details, just watch this:

When Mississippi passed its Religious Freedom Bill, I was initially behind it. I was misled by an attorney friend into thinking that the bill merely allowed Christian businesses to discriminate against people whose lifestyle choices they didn’t approve of. In reality, the bill did allow that, but it also prevented anyone from discriminating against Christians in retaliation. Upon learning that, I immediately dropped support, because… No, this has to go both ways. If an employee is going to discriminate and refuse to fix a gay person’s computer, then I need the right to discriminate against employees who refuse to do their job because of their religious beliefs. It has to be a two-way street, and what Mississippi’s law attempted to do wasn’t reassert the right of religious people to act in accordance with their religious beliefs; it was to do that and to protect them from any and all consequences of that.

Iron cross at mountain top in alp. Cross on top of a mountains peak as typical in the Alps. Monument to the dead climbers

But it should never have been necessary in the first place for Mississippi to pass a law stating that religious people can conduct their lives in accordance with their religious beliefs, and go ahead and get used to that phrase; I’m going to repeat it a lot. Because we all know that the First Amendment guarantees everyone the right to believe whatever they want. The problem arises because a lot of people don’t make the connection between “what a person believes” and “how that person acts.” In many cases, there is no connection. But in other cases, especially among fundamentalists and other types for whom religious beliefs are most important, there certainly is a connection. In fact, the more important a person’s religion is to them, then the more their religious beliefs inform their behavior.

The First Amendment doesn’t just protect a person’s right to believe any religious thing they want. It also protects their right to act in accordance with those religious beliefs. There are limits, of course. A person whose religious beliefs tell them that it’s okay to have sex with their children, for example, won’t be allowed to act in accordance with their religious beliefs. And I’m going to avoid that minefield by simply pointing out that “children”–that is, at minimum people under ten years of age–do not lack the ability to make decisions of consent without at least implicit coercion, and as such sex with a child would be inherently coercive and wrong. We can extend that age if we want; it’s not important. I’m just pointing out that this is a religious belief that involves immoral behavior–demonstrably immoral behavior, because, all other considerations aside, it is wrong to coerce people into things.

Strictly speaking, the Bible states that Christians should kill homosexuals. Pastor Steven Anderson certainly loves pointing that out. On numerous occasions, he has expressed dismay that the transgender teen suicide rate isn’t higher. And while there are certainly some Christians out there who agree with him, and probably some who would like to kill homosexuals, society would not allow them to do so, because violence is obviously wrong.

South Dakota recently passed a law that allows Christian adoption agencies to deny children to atheists, gay couples, and single people.

This should never have been necessary, and it just goes to show how terribly far from the First Amendment we have gotten. I can’t believe any sane American would demand that a Christian adoption agency be willing to turn children over to atheists; it is an appalling disregard for the Christians’ religious beliefs, and their right to act in accordance with those religious beliefs. They believe in a deity, and they believe that children should be raised to believe in a deity. As they understand things, turning a child over to an atheist is highly likely to result in that child being raised as an atheist, which means that child will go to hell one day, and the responsibility for that will ultimately fall back on the adoption agency. How can we demand they set all those beliefs aside to pander to people who are defined by their lack of belief in that?

So if an atheist in South Dakota wants to adopt a child, clearly they can’t go to a Christian adoption agency. I fail to see the problem. Are all the adoption agencies in South Dakota Christian organizations? If so, then adopt from a different state. If the person cannot afford to go to a different state to adopt, then the person probably shouldn’t be adopting in the first place, don’t you think? Ditto for gay couples and single people.

This reminds me of what Trump said about abortion and states in an 60 Minutes interview. He said that he wanted abortion to go back to the states, so that each state could make up its mind. Of course, the interviewer asked, “Well, what about when Texas outlaws abortion and a woman needs one?”

“She can still have one,” Trump pointed out. “But she’d have to go to a different state.”

And that’s not good enough for this sort of liberal mindset. They don’t think that women simply have the right to an abortion; they think that women have the right to a convenient abortion, and damn anyone whose rights get trodden in order to make it convenient for them. It’s the same thing here in South Dakota. Atheists, gays, and single people could still go to other adoption agencies, or even go to different states, but that’s just not good enough, is it? No, they won’t allow any inconvenience. If they want something, you have to give it to them. Period. If you don’t, then somehow you’re the fascist.

I’ll give you the right to have an abortion. But I can’t give you the right to have a convenient abortion. No one can.

I’ll give you the right to adopt children. But I can’t give you the right to have a convenient adoption process. No one can.

We shouldn’t be so self-centered that we’re willing to rampage right over people’s Constitutionally protected rights just because we want everything to be convenient and just because we don’t think someone should be able to tell us “No” about something. And that’s the mindset that this all rises from. “How dare they tell me ‘no!’ They can’t do that! That’s a violation of my rights!”

What about their right to say “Yes” or “No?”

You don’t get to tell other people what to do just because you want something.

And just because religious beliefs aren’t important to a lot of us doesn’t mean they aren’t important to a lot of people, and we should respect that. No, I don’t think that a Christian adoption agency giving a kid to an atheist will result in that kid going to hell fifty years later. But they do think that. If we want them to respect our right to be transgender, gay, and atheists, then we have to respect their right to be straight and Christian. And just as we might act in accordance with our right to believe that transgenderism is okay by being transgender, so must they be allowed to act in accordance with their belief that Christianity is the correct religion by being Christians.

I Stand With Rienzi, MS

For those unaware of this relatively obscure issue affecting this extremely small town, Rienzi, MS is a town of 320 that recently received threats from an atheist organization threatening the small town with up to $500,000 in fines and litigation if they did not immediately cease flying a Christian flag over a veterans’ memorial. While the mayor of the town relented, the people of the town are getting ready to fight back, and there’s so much confusion and misinformation around this issue that some things really have to be cleared up.

Not a First Amendment Issue

The First Amendment, in full, states:

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.

The wording is not accidental. It is concise and clear, and explicitly states that Congress shall make no law. I recently criticized Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nomination because Gorsuch does not respect the separation of church and state , but the fact is that “separation of church and state” is a colloquialism not expressed anywhere in our Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Politicians and elected officials absolutely are allowed, by the letter of the law, to legislate and rule based on their personal religious beliefs. I don’t like it, and I advocate against it, but the First Amendment does not in any sense prevent it. In fact, the First Amendment cannot prevent it, as doing so would be making a law prohibiting the free exercise of the politician’s religion.

Not a Federal Issue

Even if the First Amendment did apply to the issue, it wouldn’t apply to the small town in Mississippi, because the Constitution and the Amendments apply only to the federal government. There appears to be severe misunderstanding in the United States, in that most people don’t seem to understand what the “state” part means; they appear to think that “state” is to “nation” as “county” is to “state.” This is incorrect, and a result of decades of federal encroachment on states’ rights. Mississippi is a state in exactly the same sense that Germany is a state. Just as Germany surrendered some of its autonomy in joining the European Union, so did Mississippi surrender some of its sovereignty in joining the United States.

The only Constitution that has any applicability to this issue would be the Mississippi Constitution, and the only thing it states about religion comes from Section 18:

No religious test as a qualification for office shall be required; and no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect or mode of worship; but the free enjoyment of all religious sentiments and the different modes of worship shall be held sacred. The rights hereby secured shall not be construed to justify acts of licentiousness injurious to morals or dangerous to the peace and safety of the state, or to exclude the Holy Bible from use in any public school of this state.

Quite clearly, rather than prohibiting a town from flying a Christian flag, the Mississippi Constitution states that this mode of worship must be held as sacred. When I discussed this on Facebook, someone immediately asked if I’d care if someone flew a Muslim flag over the memorial. No, I don’t really care. One idol is as bad as any other in my book, whether the idol is the Christian flag, the American Flag, or the Muslim Flag. People swearing loyalty and obedience to scraps of cloth is an issue regardless of what is on that scrap of cloth, but to what, exactly, a person gives their religious dedication isn’t my business.

A Small Town

I don’t know the demographics in this town of 320 people, but I can tell you that, based on everything I know about Mississippi, chances are that we’re looking at 99% of the population being Christian. When I pointed this out, someone said it would be fine, as long as “everyone agrees.” As long as everyone agrees? Such a ridiculously high standard is not applied to anything else that the government does. Homosexual marriage gets legalized, regardless of whether everyone agrees. Marijuana gets legalized, regardless of whether everyone agrees. Abortion gets legalized, regardless of whether everyone agrees. The implication is that the government can do anything that it wants, but if it wants to go against the dominant liberal trend, then it must have unanimous agreement and no dissent.

This is a recipe for tyranny of the minority over the majority. Because <1% of the town doesn’t want the flag to fly, the 99% are tyrannized, their desires ignored and discarded. But, of course, if the 99% wanted to legalize same sex marriage and only 1% was against it, then same sex marriage would be legalized, wouldn’t it? Because it’s not about minorities or majorities; it’s about the liberal agenda and going against it. If you want to do what the liberal wants you to do, then 1% of the population dissenting is enough to get you your way. If you want to go against what the liberal wants you to do, then 99% of the population agreeing with you isn’t enough.

Disrespectful to the Dead?

I had another atheist tell me that they found it disrespectful to the dead. An atheist said this. Speaking as an atheist, that’s fucking retarded. To the atheist, dead people are dead. They don’t have feelings that can be hurt. They can’t be disrespected, because they are inanimate, rotting matter. But, again, when it’s convenient for the liberal agenda, it’s fine for an atheist to talk about being disrespectful of the dead, even though the atheist has no rational or justifiable reason for respecting the dead in the first place.

Secular Burials?

But don’t veterans have the right to a secular burial?

Well, we’re talking about a memorial, not a graveyard. I don’t know enough to say whether there are any remains there or not, but it would help these people to know what we’re talking about. However, no. Asking for a secular burial is asking for a secular religious ceremony. Burial rites are, and have always been, religious in nature. The modern embalming process has roots deeply in religion, and so does the burial ceremony. The only truly secular way to deal with human remains is cremation; every other method will be touched by religion to some degree, and many forms of cremation are derived from religion.

It’s very much like people who have secular marriages. It’s nonsense. Marriage has two roots: political and religious. Political in the sense of royalty and nobility, and religious once it spread to the commoners. There is a case to be made that monogamy itself is a religious concept, but it doesn’t matter how far we go back when talking about marriage. It evolved into a religious ceremony, orchestrated and performed by churches. “Secular marriage” is, too, asking for a secular religious ceremony.

Uneducated Hillbillies!

The first reply my post got was someone pointing out that Mississippi has the highest high school dropout rate in the nation, and telling me that I should go back to school. Putting aside the high chances that I’m more highly educated than the person who said this, it is exactly this sneering, condescending attitude that pissed off middle America and got Trump elected. “Stupid hillbillies! Bible in one hand, and guns in the other!” right? President Obama himself said that. It is an attitude widely shared among liberals, and the implication is that, because the high school drop out rate is so high, the people in this small town are uneducated and thus can’t be allowed to govern themselves. Instead, they need this educated city slicker socialite to govern them, because otherwise they’ll just keep eating lead-based paint chips.

Atheists Need To Chill

I said that atheists need to stop looking for reasons to get upset. I stand by this statement. This one atheist in this town of 320 got a stick shoved up his ass and decided that he needed to contact an atheist group with powerful attorneys and threaten this town with half a million dollars in lawsuits in order to make these 319 people bow, acquiesce, and obey this one person’s demands. Threatening this town with extortion and violence in order to make them do what you want to do, when the end states are ultimately imprisonment, if the town doesn’t back down and then refuses to pay… I think we have a word for it, when you threaten someone with extortion and violence if they don’t do what you want them to…

Oh, yeah.

It’s called terrorism.

So from a transgender lesbian atheist in the state of Mississippi to another atheist in the state of Mississippi near the town of Rienzi, fuck you, you entitled, violent extortionist piece of shit. This town of 320 people has the right to govern itself. If you don’t like it, you have the right to move. Their choice to fly a flag does not injure you, does not harm you, and does not affect you. Grow up, stop being a baby, and, if you want to fight for something, pick a real issue. There are plenty for you to choose from that aren’t stupid.

The part of the Mississippi Constitution, and, indeed, the First Amendment, that you’ve overlooked is that the government cannot prevent people from freely exercising their religion. That’s what the people of Rienzi, Mississippi are doing. Stop trying to be a tyrant, and let them be free.

Exodus 20:13

Please forgive me if I’m not quite up to date with the latest in the Christian world.

When I was in junior high and high school, we received a notebook every year around January that contained on its cover the Ten Commandments. There were even occasions (at least once when I was in the tenth grade) that we were given those little New Testament Bibles. So naturally our school had no sex education program–abstinence or otherwise, which is fine since it’s a parent’s duty to explain procreation to their children, not the state’s–and only barely had a drug education program.

I’m speaking for… basically all… Mississippians when I say that the Bibles and notebooks were unnecessary. In a pragmatic sense, the notebooks were fantastic, because they always came around the time I needed a fresh notebook to continue my writing and not doing schoolwork. Teachers often loathed me for that, because they knew I was not paying attention, that I was writing some story, but when I passed the tests it didn’t leave them many ways to chastise me.

I’d wager that maybe one in two hundred kids didn’t have their own copy of the Bible, though, and I had at least two.

There was controversy surrounding the Ten Commandments, though (because of course there was), specifically whether it was stated that Thou shalt not kill or Thou shalt not murder.

This is an important distinction for a few reasons. First, God kills a number of people in the Bible by any translation, and, if you really want to split hairs, is inadvertently responsible for every death by creating life (unless you subscribe to the literal interpretation of Genesis, in which case he’s still responsible for putting the tree in the garden, but it’s not my intention to attack theology). Second, large portions of the Bible prescribe killing people as the punishment for everything from witchcraft to adultery. In order to avoid a conflict between “Thou shalt not kill [period]” and “Thou shalt kill these people,” it was necessary to draw a distinction between killing (The taking of life) and murder (presumably the unjust taking of human life).

It’s worth mentioning, though, that if our universe has a creator, then its moral mandates to us are not commandments to itself. Such a being has a perspective on human existence that we simply cannot attain, and is sure to abide what would seem to us as Blue & Orange morality. We silly mortals are unlikely to understand the value system of this creator, its criteria for assessing value, or its reason for doing so. Mandate from such a being would be perfectly acceptable, because we couldn’t even grasp its reasoning.

But the “Do as I say, not as I do” thing isn’t really a point of contention for Christians anyway–whether they’ve given it sufficient thought or not, they understand this. It’s mostly just a masturbation exercise for atheists (The Atheist Experience comes to mind, as they do it a lot) who refuse to accept that the existence of a god would instantly invalidate all moral values that weren’t its own. But he who makes the rules determines who is just; he who defines morality determines who is moral.

So the true importance of this distinction isn’t whether the creator of the universe must abide the moral proclamations it passes down to us; the true importance is whether the state has to.

Whew! What a leap, right? Here we were discussing theology, with no mention of the state, then BAM!

It’s not a leap at all, though, because what is the institution that would be responsible for outlawing and punishing heretics and adulterers? It would be the state.

Obviously, the church and state were not always separate things; if they had been, we wouldn’t today have the phrase “separation of church and state.” However, we’d be delusional to suggest that the separation of church and state has been total, throughout the world or throughout the United States. In fact, many sects within Christianity attempt to legislate based on the moral values that they (correctly or incorrectly) say stem from their religion. North Carolina’s transgender restroom law comes to mind, and anti-sodomy laws have only recently been repealed.

In order to carry out and enforce this fundamentalist morality, it is often necessary to break that morality, as we mentioned above. In order to carry out the moral proclamation “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” it is necessary to break the moral proclamation “Thou shalt not kill.” This is why the state, much as the deity we mentioned earlier, gets a pass on its own moral statements.

We do this with euphemisms. “Thou shalt not steal” doesn’t apply to taxation for some inexplicable reason. “Thou shalt not murder” doesn’t apply to war, the abomination of capital punishment, or a police officer killing someone. “Thou shalt not keep slaves”* doesn’t apply to forced military conscription or prison labor. “Thou shalt not rape” doesn’t apply when you send someone to a place where you know they will be raped.

The knee-jerk reaction is to say that taxation isn’t theft, that conscription isn’t slavery, and that being an accomplice sending someone to a rape factory doesn’t count as rape. But no arguments can be put forward to back these positions. One can only say, “Nuh-uh!” and leave it at that, because the position is indefensible.

It is called “theft” when a large group of people gather together and decide to take money and resources from other people who don’t consent to having their money taken. It doesn’t really matter whether three hundred million people agree and only one objects; it’s still theft to take money and resources from the one who objects. We cannot consent to taxation on his behalf any more than one can consent to sex on his behalf.

We recoil at that analogy, and rightly so. The mere thought of consenting to sex on a woman’s behalf, even though she is expressly against it, strikes us as vehemently immoral, but it’s really only a stroke of luck that we don’t live in a world where “sex” is alongside slavery and murder as things we consent to for other people while they object. There appears to be no limit to what we may mandate for other people. We kidnap them against their will, steal from them against their will, enslave them against their will, and kill them against their will. It’s only a matter of fortune that “have sex with them against their will” isn’t on that list.

We can give an omniscient creator of the universe a pass on our morality, because its perspective is too wide for our tiny minds to grasp, but we cannot give the state a pass. The state, after all, is filled with people of no particular greatness. They are not wiser, smarter, or more considered than anyone else, and that rulers are not special was the great revelation that set forward the rise of governance “by the people.”

We can’t have it both ways, of course. We can’t say in one breath that “we are the government” and then say that our government can violate moral values because it is special and exempt. It must be that trying to do such a thing is merely an attempt to give ourselves a pass on morality, to make ourselves into official hypocrites, because “we are the government” and “The government is exempt from our morality” means literally that “we are exempt from our morality.”

So are we? Are we exempt from our morality?

Of course, the truth is that “we” aren’t the government. Even if we buy into the conceit that our representatives actually represent us, “we” still wouldn’t be the government; our representatives would be.

What use is a morality system if we establish loopholes and exemptions that allow systemic violations more horrible than anything an individual might do? Despite our philosophy that killing is wrong, governments last century managed a body count above 160,000,000–a staggering number of dead people. Despite our maxim that theft is wrong, the American Government steals huge chunks of everyone’s money.

We established this moral system. If we judge ourselves by our own rules and standards, I don’t think we’d like the result.

What role do I play in the atrocities committed by the state? Very little, but I could certainly do more to fight it beyond writing articles and arguing with people. Shouldn’t I be out marching in the streets, demanding an end to war, theft, kidnapping, and slavery? By this measure I’m as guilty as anyone.

What role does the average voter play? Well, the average voter is more of an accomplice than a weakly active resistor. The average voter doesn’t just allow it by not resisting strongly enough; the average voter encourages and legitimizes it. The average voter is the rubber stamp that legitimizes the euphemisms and allows the theft, murder, kidnapping, and slavery to continue.

It’s one thing to perhaps-be-not-as-adamant-as-one-could-be about seeing a moral tragedy ended. At least we Pen and Paper Anarchists do something, even if we don’t do enough. Then again, what more can we do without violating the very moral tenants we are trying to spread? We cannot zerg rush DC with guns–the entire point of anarchism is that violence cannot be used to prevent violence. If we use violence, we cease being anarchists immediately and become statists, because its exemption to violate morality is what defines the state. That’s how authorities always function. “For the greater good, we must do evil.”

Fear is what I think compels us to embrace the state and its lies. “Government is a necessary evil,” went the advocates of classical liberalism. “Government is a necessary evil, except ours. Ours is a good one,” states the modern liberal and modern conservative. They arrive at this conclusion by different roads, but they reach it all the same. For the liberal, the government is mostly good because it protects us from ourselves; for the conservative, the government is mostly good because it protects us from others. And the miraculous thing is that these statements can be flipped without problem.

Any skilled chess player will tell you that there are huge differences between defence and offense, and between protecting and attacking. This isn’t to say that the two are always exclusive, because in chess they aren’t–the best attacking moves are those that defend, too.

But we’re not chess pieces to be moved about on a board and sacrificed to gain the upper hand. The pawn would never advocate a pawn sacrifice.

Unless the king had convinced him it was the only way to win.

* Although, to be clear, the Bible never states this.

Infidels Rejoicing in Fidel’s Death

I’ve seen a lot of hatred unleashed in the past few days, spewing forth from people across the political spectrum, including Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians. I, for one, refuse to rejoice over someone’s death, and I would urge you not to, as well, because love starts with you.

You can love the person while hating what the person does and has done.

In fact, you must love the person. No matter how great the injuries they’ve given others and no matter how much blood is on their hands, if you don’t love them then you’re hardly any better than they are. The libertarians and self-proclaimed anarchists celebrating Fidel’s death–the only difference between them and Fidel is that they waited for nature to take its toll, while Fidel, being part of nature as we all are, took matters into his own hands.

Fidel killed an estimated 7,000 Cubans, tried to get the USSR to nuke the United States, and tortured and imprisoned countless. This is why you hate him? Has it not occurred to you that, by this criteria, you must hate more than 90% of the world’s population? The United States, supported by a huge chunk of Americans, has killed way more people than that, just in the last fifteen years. We incarcerated far more people than Fidel ever did, and our reasons were every bit as empty and political as Castro’s–he might have incarcerated people for protesting, while we have police and quasi-military agencies lining up at Standing Rock to abuse American citizens. We have the highest percentage of prisoners in the world, and most of them have done nothing wrong by any rational standard. This is true in Europe, as well, and the Middle East, and Asia, and India, and Russia, and China. No matter where you go, these things are true.

And, let me just fill you in, if you are hating more than 90% of the world’s population, then you can’t possibly be any better than the people you hate.

Yes, condemn the murder of people, the incarceration of people, the robbery of people, the torture of people. Absolutely, but…

Whoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 3:15

It’s an irony that’s not lost on me, that despite being an ardent atheist I sound more like a follower of Christ than the overwhelming majority of Christians out there. I wouldn’t agree that you’re a murderer, but if you’re thinking in such literal terms then you’ve completely missed the point, and–

Holy hell, did I just say that?

hateForgiveness isn’t easy. Forgiveness isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to require a lot of restraint, compassion, and focused, intentional reflection on your part in order to forgive someone, and, the more harm they have done, the harder it is to forgive them.

But when you’re looking at the legacy of a bloody tyrant, that is when it’s most important to cling to your humanity and consciously choose love over hate. That’s the moment that matters, the moment when it’s most difficult; that’s the moment when the infidels are separated out from the rest. This is when the rubber hits the road, when the going gets tough, and when the people who simply talk shit are separated from people who walk the walk.

Whatever else is true, this is a human being who did love people and who was loved, and this human being is now dead. His brief moment of existence in the cosmological clock of the universe is over, and he will never exist again; a piece of the universe, a piece of reality, has been irretrievably lost forever.

Meanwhile, the ideas that this man embraced live on. While you’re over there rejoicing in his death, to the observer you look no better than he. I hate everything Castro represents. You won’t find very many people in the public eye who represented the diametrical opposite of my beliefs, worldview, and ideology as much as Fidel Castro did. For fuck’s sake, I’m a transgender anarcho-capitalist. Castro would have hated me if he knew I existed, and he would surely have put me to death if I lived in his country.

But hate gets us nowhere.

The Nihilism of Western Society

Western society is not decadent; it’s nihilistic.

Now, those familiar with me know that I consider myself a nihilist. I am also well aware that Nietzsche–the father of modern nihilism–would be appalled to learn that we call ourselves nihilists. We don’t mean it in the same sense that Nietzsche meant it, and I’m going to get into that momentarily. We mean it in the sense of ultimate objectivity, refusing to allow emotions a place in shaping our knowledge, and a strict separation of emotion from reason. This leads to a lack of attachment and loyalty to existing institutions. We don’t look at the educational institution and say, “Well, it’s bad and could be replaced, but we’ve had this one for so long…” Instead, we stop at “Does it accomplish what we want it to? If not, replace it.”

Nihilists do not advocate arbitrarily destroying socioeconomic institutions just because. We advocate destroying them if they don’t do what we want them to do. This requires objectively looking at them and their results. Nihilism is a constant battle between what we believe and what is, and not everyone is capable of accepting “what is.” Religion is a great example. I have a friend who agrees with me almost completely about religion, and even agrees that people use deities as projections of their own beliefs and opinions. Yet, he still believes that there is a god–in the deist sense. This is an example where he will not accept What Is because of What Ought.

It’s funny that nihilists recognize that every value that we assign to things is subjective, while also striving to be as objective as possible–objective, in this context, meaning “not allowing emotions to alter the value we ascribe.” Nietzsche would absolutely be an anarcho-capitalist if he lived today: Austrian economics is the application of this subjectivity to market values. Nietzsche spoke primarily of assigning moral values, but the principle is the same for market values, too, and he has long been recognized as an enemy of the state. It was Nietzsche, after all, who said:

Everything the state says is a lie, and everything it has, it has stolen.

If there’s anything that you should take away from this preamble, it’s that I understand Nietzsche and I understand what we call Nihilism. I am a nihilist. For the rest of the article, though, I don’t mean “nihilist” in that sense. I mean it in its Nietzschean sense: advocating ideas and opinions that are ultimately self-destructive. This is what Nietzsche meant when he characterized Christianity as nihilistic. From The Antichrist:

What is more harmful than any vice?–Practical sympathy for the botched and the weak–Christianity…

We Americans, too, are increasingly nihilistic, yet it has nothing to do with religion. It does have to do with the same thing that Nietzsche criticized, but I think Nietzsche was wrong here. I don’t think compassion is a problem; in fact, I encourage compassion. I think that we tend to come up with extremely short-sighted, non-functional solutions, propose them, and then tie our compassion to them, so much so that anyone who then disputes our proposed solution is written off as lacking compassion. That’s a bit long-winded and technical, so let me give an example.

I am against welfare. I am adamantly against stealing from one person to give their money to someone else, and this is what constitutes “welfare” in western society. Whether you think it’s just or not is irrelevant; that’s simply what happens. When I tell people that I am against welfare, I am universally met with the response of, “You just want poor people to starve to death?”

Published alongside me in V2: The Voluntary Voice was Matthew Weber, who told a story about his voluntaryist-oriented band played a show, and at one point said some anarchistic stuff. Someone threw a bottle at the drummer and shouted, “Without the state, where would I find housing?”

Without even being conscious of it, they have formed a false dichotomy where the choices are “the state” or “people starve and go homeless.”

Nietzsche wrote from a perspective that was, really, Beyond Good and Evil. He was not concerned with what he called Middle Class Morality–a profound realization in its own right, that the rich don’t abide morality because they don’t have to, and the poor don’t abide it because they don’t have the luxury. Nietzsche realized that morality is a luxury, and it is from here that we proceed, because compassion is also a luxury. The child starving to death surely has no compassion for the robbery of Kim Kardashian. The woman dying of cancer surely has no compassion for a stranger’s flu.

When people begin starving, morality is the first thing to be thrown away, as morality was the force responsible for creating the vacuum in which they went hungry. The man starving to death has no moral difficulty with stealing a loaf of bread. The family going hungry has no moral difficulty using the state to give to others for their own benefit. So, too, is my critique of this theft as immoral a luxury of the middle class–and my morality does not apply to them, because they have discarded it. When thrown with others into a survival trap like in the movie Saw, we would have no moral difficulty in poisoning the doctor to ensure our own survival.

Certainly, I would argue that it is good that we have our Middle Class Morality, and I argue that both the poor and the rich should have to abide it. Many Americans argue that the rich should have to, but leave the poor out of this requirement. We criticize Wells Fargo for stealing, basically, from its customers, yet we give a thumbs up to the poor who use the state to steal. My entire position as an anarchist is that everyone must follow this Middle Class Morality that forbids the use of force, violence, and coercion, and that this mandate must include the rulers–who so often are given a free pass to violate the tenets of our morality.

However, I am not concerned with what the middle class says is right or wrong. Here, as Nietzsche did, we focus our efforts higher than that, and go beyond that; we look instead at survival and the species. There is no one as nihilistic as millennials, and this is a problem that we must address.

Millennials despise people being rewarded for their effort.

Such a sweeping statement! And, obviously, it will not be true of all millennials–I am a millennial. However, it is true of the majority of them.

They embrace an economic system that deliberately does not reward people for their effort. It doesn’t matter how we dress it up. If a person believes that a doctor, an attorney, an engineer, a physicist, a Wal-Mart cashier, and a burger flipper deserve equal wages, then they ipso facto reject the notion that people should be rewarded for their effort.

As I wrote for Cubed3 regarding Star Fox Zero, this extends to most areas of life: millennials simply want to be given stuff, and they legitimately don’t understand why effort should be rewarded. We’re told that we’re entitled if we want the physicist to be rewarded for their years of training and education with a higher wage. We’re told that we’re entitled if we want the doctor to be rewarded for their years of training and education with a higher wage. And, yes, we’re told we’re entitled if we want the effort we put into beating a video game rewarded.

This mentality–that rewarding effort is bad–is the same one that gave us participation trophies, and it becomes nihilistic when we know that the primary reason that people do stuff… is for a reward. Psychology has made this abundantly clear. You don’t punish bad behavior; you reward good behavior. We all want to be rewarded; this is fundamental to being a human being, or a cat or a dog. We are dealing with primal forces that we cannot control here, and we cannot predict the longterm consequences of making sure that Billy, who sat in the grass eating bugs, gets exactly the same trophy as Michael, who hit fourteen homeruns. How hard will Michael work the next year, if he knows his effort won’t be rewarded or even acknowledged?

Donald Trump has been assaulted recently for making more lewd remarks about women, and for remarking on the fact that, when you’re a rich star, women tend to let you do whatever you want. Yes, they clearly do tend to:

This is the world we live in.Notice the words “tend to” here, and remember that we’re not speaking in absolutes. We’re never speaking in absolutes.

If Trump grabbed women who didn’t want to be grabbed, that’s an issue, and we can discuss that, but we can’t pretend like Trump is a monster because he uses his riches and fame to sleep with beautiful women. We hate Trump because he reminded us of what animals we are. He breaks that self-delusion that we are better than that, that we are greater than that, that we are more than animals.

But no. We’re not.

Donald Trump is a wolf who has filled his cave with dead prey, and is standing in front of the cave whistling at lady wolves, “Hey, baby! Look at all the prey that I got! Yeah, I did that. Don’t you want to let me fuck you?”

The greatest amusement to me are the guys who say, “No! I would never use my power and wealth to attempt to sleep with women.”

Yeah, well. Okay.

And that’s why you don’t have power and wealth.

Do you know why every human being does like 99% of the things they do? I’ll give you a hint.

SEX.

It’s not just men; it’s women, too. It’s humans, period. We are sexual creatures. The desire to reproduce is ubiquitous through us–even though we all deal with it in different ways–and it made us all very, very horny. It’s our Middle Class Morality that keeps us from fucking as the cats and dogs do, but it’s a constant battle against ourselves. Regardless of the question, “To get laid” is almost always the answer. Not always, but most of the time. It is an underlying motive for practically everything that humans do.

So why do some men seek riches and fame? To sleep with beautiful women.

This isn’t wrong. It can’t be wrong, because there are plenty of beautiful women who want to sleep with men who are rich and famous. I would guess that the lottery winner there lost his virginity to that woman and that no one slept with him when he wasn’t rich and famous. Suddenly he was, and suddenly found the love of his life.

Imagine that.

There’s a difference, obviously–there’s a large, unidentifiable difference between a woman who would be willing to sleep with a dude because he is rich, and a woman who would be disgusted by the idea. Donald Trump knows damned well that his female campaign manager would never sleep with him, regardless of how much money he has. I’m not defending Trump. I’m pointing out that there are things we have to accept and things we have to discuss, because trying to undo it is nihilistic.

If you take away the financial rewards of effort, then you take away the motivation of people to become rich so that they can have sex with supermodels. Can you imagine the wondrous innovations and technologies we have today because someone wanted to get laid?

Millennials hate the rich because the rich represent that: reward for effort. The rich are evil because they want their effort rewarded, and it’s selfish and entitled to want effort rewarded–but like totes 4 real not selfish and entitled to want to be rewarded without effort.

Millennials hate themselves, and because of this they are inclined to subconsciously adopt ideologies that are nihilistic and that would destroy us.

Millennials hate individual responsibility for the same reason. It’s all tied together. They hate themselves; they hate their own humanity. So they attempt to destroy it by denying that individual responsibility is a good thing, by denying that autonomy is a good thing, by denying that a person wants their effort rewarded, by denying that a person is motivated to put in effort by the rewards it offers. Yet all of these things are reasons our species survives to this day, and reasons that western society has thrived.

Hating these things is a luxury provided to them by the very things they hate.

“Dead or Alive?” A Short Story

I’m not tired anymore.

I must have fallen asleep, because, just moments before, I was exhausted and falling into the oblivion. The weariness, as extreme as it was mere second ago, was nothing compared to the pain. It’s difficult, in this dreamy state, attempting to piece together the events that led me to fall asleep. It’s not like I rested on the bed and closed my eyes—nothing of the sort. I was driving—

Did I fall asleep while driving?

Willing myself to wake has no effect, though. If I’m asleep at the wheel, then I’m in trouble. That doesn’t seem right, however. I’ve never fallen asleep while driving—and it was broad daylight. I was returning to work after my lunch break—some excellent sushi, a glass of iced tea, then the customary after-meal cigarette. I remember that. I remember also getting into my car, cranking it, and beginning the drive back to the office.

But when did I fall asleep?

I turned right and out onto the highway. Then my phone rang, and I saw the time. I was late. Only by a few minutes, but that wouldn’t matter to the boss; late was late. That really wasn’t good, because I’d been late to work twice this week already—things are chaotic for me at home. My oldest daughter is in a rebellious phase and has been staying out well past her curfew with her friends, then refuses to wake for school the next day; making sure she goes to school is becoming an enormous pain in the ass.

I approached an intersection, didn’t I? The timing couldn’t have been worse. A lot of times when lights turn yellow, the driver has plenty of time to slow down and stop. Sometimes, though, the light turns yellow at that worst possible moment, when the only options are to either slam on the brakes like a maniac or floor it and hope to make it through before it turns to red. I hate those moments—and they always happen when I don’t need them to. And sure enough, this was one of those. I made a split-second decision and went for it. The traffic behind me was too close for mashing the brakes; doing so would probably have caused a wreck—isn’t that just terrific?

There was a wreck anyway, though. But I didn’t see it or what caused it. I was passing through the intersection trying to catch the light when it happened. There was a lot of noise—very, very close noise—which sounded an awful lot like a bomb exploding within just a few feet of me. Horns blared like obnoxious seagulls—Yes, people, that’s really helpful, thank you—and tires screeched like eagles diving in for a kill.

And then there was a lot of pain. One of these idiots hadn’t been paying attention to what they were doing and hitme. I wish I’d seen what idiot started the chain of reactions. I wish I’d seen what idiot swerved or slammed on his brakes or was texting and didn’t see it was red or didn’t subject his vehicle to regular maintenance so his brakes had gone out or who was just in too much of a hurry to wait for the red light and decided to just try to barrel on through the intersection and hope for the best.

Idiots.

I must be unconscious, then.

I know what you’re thinking: How do you know you’re not dead?

 I’m absolutely certain that I’m not dead. No, it’s not denial. No, I’m not going to become a ghost because of my inability to realize that I’ve died. I know I’m not dead, because, unlike many of the people with whom I share the planet, I have no delusion that I am immortal. That is” I don’t believe in souls or gods or afterlifes or any of those other mad things that human beings have invented so that they could convince themselves that they will live forever.

I mean, after more than 7,000 years of civilization, I’d expect that there would be at least one indication that any of those things existed if they existed. The idea that there is a soul, an afterlife, and a god has struck me as remarkably delusional ever since I first entered junior high and started giving the matter serious thought. It has, since that time, been obvious to me that the soul is something that we humans invented and dreamed up so that we could convince ourselves that death wasn’t the end of the road and, to justify our belief in that soul, we had to invent gods and heavens and hells and reincarnations and all the other mad things.

For many, many years have I been an atheist. Please feel free to draw about me from that statement whatever generalizations you like—I promise you that nothing you assume about me will be something I’ve never heard before. Sure: I eat babies. Sure: I worship the Devil. Sure: I still believe in Hell. Sure: I’m mat at Yahweh. Sure: I’m mad at Allah. Sure: I worship Zeus. Sure: I hate Jesus. Sure: I’m evil. Sure: I hate goodness. Sure: I hate Christians. Sure: I’m bitter. Sure: I hate everyone. Sure: I’m amoral. Sure: I have orgies with both men and women—especially men dressed as women and hermaphrodites!!! Yes, sir!—while covered with the blood of virgins I have sacrificed on stone altars at noon on the Equinox to appease the almighty Ra. I mean, don’t all atheists?

At any rate, the fact remains that I am unequivocally not dead,because I still think, and the ability to think—to dream, as I do now—is indisputable proof that I am still alive. If I was dead, then my brain would be dead and unable to dream. Why don’t I open my eyes, then, and prove to you that I am dreaming—

I open my eyes. I do not see my steering wheel, of course, or the interior of my car. I see clouds; I am on a cloud.

This… might be bad.

A brilliant flash of light forces me to close my eyes again. Jesus Christ, that’s bright.

The most well-known and easily recognized Pokemon of the past few decades is known as Pikachu, and Pikachu’s name comes from the detonation of atomic bombs. Right as an atomic bomb is detonated, just before the explosion en sincera begins, there is an extraordinary flash of light. This flash of light is called a “pika.” The brilliant light that just forced me to close my eyes makes both Pikachu and his namesake event—the pikadon of nuclear bombs—look like 30 watt lightbulbs.

When I open my eyes, they sting and water. The light remains and still shines, ahead of me by about ten feet. I don’t look at it—I’d probably go blind if I tried. My eyes may even catch fire, who knows? It’s fucking bright. Instead, I look far to the left—and there stands what you would unmistakably and instantly recognize as—

An angel.

A goddamned angel. And it isn’t just one angel, no. There are dozens of the winged things, some of them flapping their wings—I briefly wonder whether that means they have four shoulder joints (Since every animal on Earth has wingsattached at shoulder joints, any creature with wings will either not have arms or will have four shoulder joints)—against the endless azure backdrop over the sea of ivory. Some are far in the distance, but some are very close. Three of them stand within feet of me, and their gazes fall onto me. They’re squinting because of the light, too. Apparently sunglasses are not standard attire for angels. I think it’s time to call for a new President of the Angel’s Union.

“What the—is that the sun? What, have you got a giant magnifying glass on me or something?” I ask them irritably as I hold up my left hand in the direction of the glowing light in a vain attempt to shield my eyes from it.

The angel furthest to the right chuckles. Angels with a sense of humor—great. Makes perfect sense. Now I know I’m dreaming. Someone roofied me. That’s it—that’s why the pain went away suddenly. It wasn’t because I fell asleep; it was because some wonderful paramedic injected me with a healthy dose of morphine, and this is just an opiate dream—like Samuel Coleridge’s inspiration for”Kubla Khan.”

That also nicely explains why the angel is smiling. Everyone smiles in an opiate dream.

“You got a dimmer switch or something around here?” I ask.”That—” I jerk my thumb in the direction of the light as I say this—”is obnoxious. You need to pull the plug on that or someone’s going to be blinded and have a nice lawsuit against Heaven.”

I guess the angels are mute. Or maybe they’re just stupid. Hell, who knows—they’re fucking angels, right? Anyway, he—I assume it’s a “he,”thanks to the programming of Christian mythology, but the angels are all androgynous—just chuckles at me again, like a fucking re-re—like Barney Fife, really, just smiling and nodding—or like Elmer Fudd if he’d ever managed to catch the “Wascally Wabbit.” Can you imagine the stupid grin on his face?

“I am sorry that you find the Light of God to be… ‘obnoxious,’ my child,” says a… I don’t know how to describe it. God help me; it’s “booming,” of course—just as one would expect the “voice of God” to be in the opiate dream of someone raised as a Catholic until he came to good sense in junior high—and it was… just read the Book of Daniel or something if you want an idea of what the voice sounded like.

“The “Light of God,'” I repeat, with obvious incredulity. “I suppose ‘Light of God’ is a hallucinatory euphemism for ‘high on morphine, lying on my back, and staring up at a fluorescent bulb above my head in a hospital with one half-opened, cockeye eye?’ I’m probably drooling on myself, too. Ugh—I hope that’s the worst bodily fluid I’ve leaked onto myself.”

“You are not high; you are not sleeping. Your body is no longer leaking anything. Your body is in a hospital, and youYou are dead,” the voice booms majestically.

“Well, don’t beat around the bush.”

It’s really difficult to have a conversation with “someone” without even looking in their direction, but I can’t turn to stare at the light. I know I’m in a hospital bed, staring up at a light, on lots of pain killers, and in my dreamy stupor, I don’t have the sense to blink whatever eye is half-open and staring at the light. If I turn to face the light in this dream, the eye that is open in my actual body will probably focus on the light and burn out my retinas. No, thank you—I’ll pass on that. However, I’m learning how difficult it really is to fight the impulse to look in the direction of someone I’m talking to.

“As much as I believe you, I’m going to ignore you… and focus my imagination on a beautiful, naked woman, okay? So… don’t be upset when you disappear and she appears to take your place. It’s nothing personal, but as long as I’m having a lucid dream, I’m going to do it right, you know what I mean?”

“This is not a dream,”the light boomed majestically. How else would a light claiming to be “God” speak?

I shrugged. “One way or another, it is a dream. I’m either on heavy drugs and dreaming or I’m dying and these are my last thoughts.”

“Your last thoughts?”

“Yes, my last thoughts.” What, am I talking to a child? “If I’m dying, then my subconscious doesn’t know I’m dying. Dying is probably identical to falling asleep for the brain. If I’m dying, then my brain triggered this dream, thinking itself to be asleep—it may even be aware that it’s dying; I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter, because it triggered this dream either way.”

“Do go on.”

“Well, we completely lose track of time in our dreams, don’t we? Sometimes we dream and we wake up and say, ‘Wow! That dream lasted an hour!’ In reality, though, the dream was a flash, probably no longer than a minute or two. It’s not a far stretch of the imagination to fathom that as the brain dies, its final dream seems to last an eternity to the dreamer. No doubt when Christians die, their final dream is of what they imagine Heaven to be like, reuniting with their loved ones, their dog that died in the fifth grade who their parents said had ‘run away.’ To them, though, the passage of time, just like in all dreams, is distorted. Just a few seconds passes on Earth during this final dream, but the dreamer isn’t aware of that. To the dreamer, it lasts forever. Then the dreamer slowly stops dreaming, having finally died, and is dead and thus isn’t aware that they stopped dreaming.”

“Interesting theory, my child, but you are incorrect. You are dead, and you stand before me now to be judged.”

“I suppose you intend to recount all the works and deeds of my life? Other than visions of the afterlife—which, as I just explained, are dreams in every sense—those who have near-death experiences consistently report their ‘lives flashing before their eyes.’That only tells me I’m right, that I am dreaming. You say I’m dead; I am not dead, because I still think. I am dying, and this is my final dream. And now—my life shall flash before my eyes.”

“Then why are you here, my child? Where is the beautiful, naked woman? Why am I here? Have you not proclaimed for years and years, with foolish pride, ‘I am an atheist! I am an Atheist!'”

I’m stumped. That’s a damned fine point. I am an atheist. Why am I having a religious dream? I know why.

I remember once, decades ago, when I was in the… fourth grade, I believe. I was still a firm believer in the Christian mythology in those days. A true believer, I was. I had doubts, though, and—as I was beginning to hit puberty—I had unclean thoughts. I constantly had “unclean” thoughts. In later life, I reflected on what a horrible concept it truly is to tell children they are sinful and unclean, essentially, because they hit puberty. I was ashamed, and I asked a dear friend of mine, my best friend who was also a firm believer, to try to “cast out” the demons in me. I was firmly convinced that I had demons inside me and that I needed an exorcism. I would never have taken this to the priest or my parents, but I practically begged my friend to stand before me and loudly state with all his belief backing him, “Get behind me, Satan!”

He wouldn’t do it. I don’t blame him, in retrospect. What can be said of any belief system that can so brainwash a person that they truly believe that their body is inhabited by demons, simply because they hit puberty and were starting to feel a little randy? Hearing about spiritual warfare and the devil walking the Earth, corrupting mankind, and hearing about demons whispering into our ears constantly… What a wretched thing.

That indoctrination stayed in the back of my mind for years. I became an atheist at the age of 14, but I was 39 years old before I was completely rid of the fear that nagged in the back of my mind: …what if I’m wrong? It wasn’t the “Voice of God” trying to keep me in his flock; it was the result of being brainwashed from the age of 2 to fear a vengeful, unforgiving, omnipotent, and omniscient father figure who loved unconditionally—but had a few conditions.

Damn any belief system that does that to a human being. Damn the parents who instill that fear into their children before the children have even learned to think. Damn the priests and rabbis and preachers who have little kids all over the world convinced that an omniscient and omnipresent anti-god known as Satan is out there trying to win them over. Damn the scourges that are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Damn any belief system that requires fear.

“Indoctrination,” I answer. It’s simple, and it’s true. I’m here because of that nagging fear that I thought I was rid of. My brain does know I’m dying, then, and that nagging fear won. That nagging fear that I might be wrong defeated all the evidence, all the logic, all the knowledge, all the wisdom, and all the common sense. That one fear, as my body started to die, defeated 7,000 years of civilization and methodical proofs that the fear is unfounded. Only brainwash can do that; only evil indoctrination can do that.

“You’re not as concerned as you should be.”

“I’m dying, quite obviously. It won’t matter to me very soon.”

“My child, my child… I fearthat is where you are wrong. As you said,… ‘To the dreamer, it lasts forever…'”

Whirlwinds of thoughts and realizations spin through my mind. I know exactly what that means. If the fear won, then… If my brain was convinced on its most basic level that I was wrong and that Christianity is right, then… If I dream that Christianity is right, then atheists… If I’m dreaming, and “to the dreamer, it lasts forever,” then…

“I’m going to Hell,” I whisper. There’s no fear in my voice; there’s no resignation to my fate in my tone. There’s only the cold, logical realization. No emotions seeped in, just like no emotions seeped into my decision regarding atheism. I didn’t let that fear—that stupid emotion that has now defeated me—into my decision. I couldn’t let go of that fear, though. I thought I did, though… It apparently remained on some level. And now that fear will win.

My brain’s doubt has convinced itself that I am wrong, and because of that, my brain is going to dream that I’m going to Hell. And the dream will seem to last forever, even though it will only last seconds on Earth. My brain is going to send me to Hell and torture me because of that goddamned religious indoctrination.

“Not because of religious indoctrination,” said what I might as well go ahead and call Yahweh. It doesn’t matter at this point. It doesn’t matter whether—

It doesn’t matter whether I was right or wrong. It doesn’t matter where there is or is not a god. It only matters what I believe on a very basic, fundamental, and subconscious level. On that level, I was afraid that I was wrong. It doesn’t matter whether I am standing before Yahweh and being sentenced to an eternity in hell or whether I’m simply dying and dreaming that I am standing before Yahweh and being sentenced to an eternity in hell. The result is the same.

What if that fear had been gone? What if I’d let go of that fear completely? Would I be dreaming of something else—perhaps the beautiful woman? Would I dream of being reincarnated if I was a Hindu? Would I dream of being greeted by Allah if I was a Muslim? Our beliefs determine our afterlife because our afterlife is a dream created by our brains based upon our beliefs.

Since I, deep down inside, believed I was wrong,but on shallower levels was an atheist who had cast off Christianity, I stand before Yahweh being sentenced to hell… If I did not have that fear but was an atheist, I would dream something non-religious. If I had that fear but had cast off Islam, I would stand before Allah being sentenced to hell or whatever the Muslims call it.

How can I know? Is Yahweh real?! Is this a dream? Am I going to hell or am I dreaming that I am going to hell? Is this the afterlife or is this a dream of what the religious indoctrination I experienced as a child led me to once believe the afterlife would be like?

Or am I lying in a hospital bed on my back, high on morphine, and staring up at a bright fluorescent light with one half-open, cock-eyed eye?

The LGBT-Muslim Marriage in America

One of the most bizarre aspects of American liberalism is the alliance that exists between the LGBT community and Muslim communities, despite tremendous amounts of hostility that project from the Muslim community directly at LGBT people. This isn’t to say that Islam is the problem or that Muslims are the problem–we shouldn’t even be thinking in such limited terms–but one is a fool to reject the visible correlation between homophobia throughout the world and Islam, or between terrorism and Islam. Whether we want to admit it or not, these correlations exist, and they’re not going to change simply because we refuse to acknowledge them.

I realize that liberals have already called me “Islamophobic” and stopped reading, and may even have left a nasty comment about what a bigot I am. We have to let such people go. They are lost to us, and their minds are trapped in a duality from which they cannot escape. In the world, you must either love Islam or hate Islam, so there is no room for them to even understand someone who has no feelings toward Islam one way or another.

Earlier this year I watched in absolute dismay as a Muslim terrorist swore allegiance to a Muslim terrorist group while shouting the praises of his religion as he killed 49 people in a club in Orlando. It is what prompted me to do my first “on camera” video on Youtube, a personal plea to the LGBT community to stop denying the simple fact that Mateen’s act was an act of Islamic terrorism. Instead of accepting that it was both homophobia and terrorism, they denied that it could possibly have been terrorism, instead shifting the blame onto Christians of all people. I could not begin to guess how many “Christians are the ones who started homophobia!!!1!!11one!!” posts on Twitter and Facebook I saw.

That’s right. Following an attack where a Muslim terrorist shot and killed 49 people in an LGBT club, people were jumping up and down to blame Christians for it.

It was absolutely disgraceful, and my plea was simple: for the first time in my life, there was the opportunity for the gap between conservatives and LGBT people to be closed. “You may be gay, but you’re an American first, damnit!” conservatives and Christians were saying. “They didn’t attack you–they attacked Americans, and we’re going to stand together through this! It doesn’t matter that you’re LGBT, because you’re Americans first and foremost–you are one of us.”

And petulantly–yes, petulantly–the LGBT community shouted back, “No, it matters that we’re LGBT! You weren’t attacked! Americans weren’t attacked! We were attacked, not you! Because we’re LGBT, not because we’re Americans! So fuck you!”

And then… poof. The opportunity was gone. The greatest opportunity for reconciliation that I have ever seen, vanished in the blink of an eye as liberals and LGBT people bent over backwards to avoid saying what needed to be said:

Muslims have no love for LGBT people.

In fact, the numbers are rather clear that most Muslims support the idea of sharia law. This is less true of those that I’m going to call Westernized Muslims, and this is the heart of the matter and the thing that needs to be discussed openly and honestly. Most of the world’s Muslims support sharia law because most of the world’s Muslims don’t recognize the value of the separation of church and state. They aren’t Western.

They didn’t grow up in the west, where the separation of church and state is taken as a given. In their zeal to make excuses for the state of Islam throughout the world, liberals remind us that Christianity was once every bit as bad. Yes, once it was. This led to the foundation of the United States of America and the systemic peeling back of the church in European countries who, yes, learned from the American model.

We take the separation of church and state as a given and give no thought to it. In the Middle East, they take the marriage of church and state as a given and give no thought to it. There’s no separation of church and state in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or Iran, and the people of these countries reject the idea that there should be. To them, their religion is law and the law is their religion. Separation of church and state is more than just “the church can’t tell the government what laws to enact.” It is the foundational idea that the church and state are separate entities.

More than 62% of the world’s Muslim population resides in this region we call the Middle East.

These are the facts, sir and ma’am. You cannot simply call me Islamophobic or say that I’m fear-mongering, because these are the facts. They will not change because you refuse to look at them.

Separation of church and state simply does not exist in the Middle East.

Yet there are countless Muslims who do value the separation of church and state. The people that I buy gas from several times a week undoubtedly recognize the value of this separation, and would never support bringing Sharia Law to the United States. Why would they? Our entire system is built from that separation, and reuniting the two disparate entities would harm their own interests by placing them in a country that was then on the path to becoming a Christian theocracy, even if the minority of Muslims did somehow miraculously manage to impose Sharia Law for a while.

This is the crux of the matter, the one great truth that liberals dare not speak or even admit to themselves: there is a world of difference between a Westernized Muslim and a Middle Eastern one. This isn’t universal by any means. Surely, there are Middle Eastern Muslims who value the separation of church and state, who campaign for women’s rights and LGBT rights. So, too, are there surely Westernized Muslims who do want Islamic law to become state law. We are adults, though, and we don’t have to operate on the extreme ends of the spectrum, where everything is Either/Or, and where false dichotomies rule the mind.

Still, though, there is a consequential difference between the Westernized Muslim and the Middle Eastern Muslim, and it is largely a difference we would expect to find: for the most part, these westernized Muslims have assimilated our values, and chief among those values is a love for the separation of church and state. The average American couldn’t tell you why they love this separation, but they’ll tell you if you ask that they do love it. Even when their religion is the one with the majority, they value the separation, and still can’t tell you why.

To what we’re calling the Middle Eastern Muslim, all of this is heresy and anti-Islam. Surely we can understand this? There are many Christians here in the south who think that the separation of church and state, as expressed through having administrator-led prayers in schools banned, represents a direct assault on their Christian values. While few actually campaign to put such prayers back in school, they do harbor resent and do come from a place that views it as anti-Christian.

One of the great No-No’s of the Muslim faith is homosexuality. This shouldn’t surprise us, because it’s one of the great No-No’s of the Christian faith, too. And it is here that another example of liberal hypocrisy is shown for the world to see:

Liberals cheer that Canada has refused to allow members of the Westboro Baptist Church into their country because, based on the numbers, they are more than likely to be homophobic. Yet liberals react with anger vitriol when Trump proposes refusing to allow Muslims into our country because, based on the numbers, they are more than likely to support Sharia Law. As I’ve said before, I will support Canada’s decision when they show me even one example of a member of the Westboro Baptist Church killing 49 LGBT people.

So they’re okay with rejecting Christians because of their faith.

But here we have a group of people who come from a region where they are extremely unlikely to value the separation of church and state, are extremely likely to support Sharia Law, and are extremely likely to hate LGBT people, and liberals are totally fine with it. It’s madness.

Here is a man in Lebanon being sentenced to death because he wore drag.

There are, in fact, ten countries where being gay is punishable with death:

  • Yemen
  • Iran
  • Nigeria
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Afghanistan
  • Sudan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Somalia
  • Mauritania
  • …and, apparently, Lebanon can be added to that list.

I’ll give you one guess what the majority religion is in every single one of these countries–even Nigeria, though Nigeria does have a higher Christian population and may be more even with the Muslim population these days.

But that’s a moot point, isn’t it?

The people in Nigeria will continue prescribing the death penalty for homosexuality even if the population is 99% Christian. They are, of course, still burning people for witchcraft in Nigeria, and that is almost certainly the fault of Christian missionaries. And this is precisely my point:

Islam isn’t the problem. It’s not Islamophobia that compels this.

The problem is that countries in the Middle East and some parts of Africa have allowed religion to run unbridled, and they never separated it from the state. This is most easily visible when we look at the percentage of Muslims throughout the world who support Sharia Law–religious law, as it were. Whatever we want to say about the matter, the truth is relatively simple:

The Middle East hasn’t gone through what the western world did. This isn’t to say we’re more evolved or more advanced; it’s simply a statement of fact. We went through a bunch of shit, our Crusades, our Inquisitions, our witch hunts, and we eventually put that shit aside (unless you’re a clown these days). We went through torture, murder, war, and widespread immorality before we separated church and state, and we’re still working on doing it.

Oh, we’re far from perfect. Our anti-sodomy laws, which were 100% based on religion, are only a decade out from being repealed by supreme courts. We still love the notion of using the state to force our morality onto other people. We simply don’t use religion as the basis for doing that any more, and we have put some restrictions on what morality we can force onto other people.

Still, these are just the reasons for the current state of affairs. The current state of affairs is that there is a bizarre marriage between Muslims and the LGBT community, and it’s a relationship that the LGBT community needs to end. Christians are far more likely to become your ally than Muslims are, and Christians even attempted to do exactly that after the shooting in Orlando. You rejected them and blamed them for something that a Muslim did.

Most of the world’s Christians reside in the west, too, and most people in the west don’t give a shit about your sexual orientation. So if we’re going to go on averages and likelihoods, then it’s indisputable that Christians should be the ones you’re allying with, not Muslims. When was the last time a Christian stoned someone to death for homosexuality? Oh, sure, it’s in the Bible.

I’ve talked about this before–the LGBT community doesn’t seem to have any appreciation for how incredibly far Christians have come. Their holy book explicitly tells them to kill us, to punish us, and to stone us to death. They’re not doing that. Even the most extreme ones aren’t doing that! They’re protesting funerals and weddings, and we can discuss whether they are right to do that–though they obviously have the right to, this doesn’t mean that it is the right thing to do. They’re not taking over the government and assigning the death penalty to anyone who is caught being gay! In fact, I doubt you’d find very many Christians who would support such a horrific idea.

It’s not Christians who I fear, as a transgender resident of Mississippi surrounded by fundamentalist southern baptists. Most of them will leave me the hell alone. It’s rednecks that I fear, most of whom do happen to be Christian. I fear them because I know how easy it is for people to get swept up into a frenzy that they don’t want to take part in–I’ve been watching people do it for years, against Christians, against Muslims, against clowns. And invariably they find that the ball is impossible to stop rolling once it has sufficient momentum. But that they’re Christians is largely coincidental.

Just as it’s largely coincidental that the Middle Eastern Muslims are Muslims.

One thing is certain, though. If you’re calling them your allies when 62% of their population would cheer and throw stones at you until you were murdered, then you are an absolute fool.

 

Clear & Concise: Mississippi’s Problems

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one less traveled by…

I hate Robert Frost.

That’s not true. I like Robert Frost quite a lot, and he’s a fantastic poet. I hate the effects that Robert Frost had on poetry, as I think a generation of people who grew up knowing nothing more about poetry than “Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe” did a great deal of damage to poetry as a whole, and that’s obviously not Frost’s fault. I would love for American students to have to spend a decade studying the Romantics, because that was some of the best poetry in human history. But that’s actually not what I want to talk about. Just a completely unrelated prologue, in fact.

I began to drop the hints to my colleague today that I am taking steps to move, but it was only something I weakly alluded to. When I left last year, he was the last person to find out. He won’t be the last person to learn of it this time, but I’m still not going to tell him until I’m much closer to the funding goal. That’s a link to the GoFundMe campaign, which you are free to share or donate to, to help me change my life for the better forever.

At any rate, I simply made it a point to bring up Mississippi’s latest piece of bullshit legislation, and my observation that the state is taking babysteps toward theocracy. But just a little while ago a friend shared something on Facebook that I found really interesting.

Diabetes rates across the U.S.

Diabetes rates across the U.S.

But we’re just getting started. Of course, I’ve already shared this one that drags in religion–particularly southern baptists–as well.

religionkeyOf course, poverty is worse here:

We're the blue one. The ONLY blue one.

We’re the blue one. The ONLY blue one.

It’s really hard to put into perspective how much Mississippi truly freaking sucks. Teen pregnancy? Yep, we’re full up on that, too. Might have something to do with the fact that our schools only teach abstinence for sex ed.

Sigh.

Sigh.

Of course, we also have some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country–and I’m a statistic on one of those, because I didn’t graduate high school. I instead earned my GED and later went to college. Still. Interesting, Nevada is just as bad as Mississippi in this respect.

Slide4Oh, good. We also have gonorrhea.

ghonnoreaThe short version is that this place sucks.

It sucks even more than I thought it sucked, and I’ve always known that it sucks really bad. It’s not hard to look outside my window and see the boards on buildings, the empty, crack and grass-filled parking lots. Hell, even our banks close up and get out of dodge.

That building in the foreground used to be a bank.

That building in the foreground used to be a bank.

On a given day, I don’t notice on this. And I’ve never had an encounter with gonorrhea, so I’d never notice that anyway. But on any given day, I just see the overabundance of churches. That’s the only real evidence that, just below the surface, this state is sick as hell–horrendously sick, on the verge of catastrophic illness. Beneath the dazzling veneer of the holy churches is a society of petty, petulant, and bitter people, convinced that their problems are caused by:

  • The Muslims.
  • Icky brown people.
  • Them dang Spics done took ‘er jobs!
  • It’s them dang ‘um queers o’er thar that’s the problem.
  • Them boys wanna dress lock girls, what’d’ey ‘xpect was gun happen?
  • Obama’s gonna take our gerns!

And I know I’m sounding like the Liberal Redneck here, and I can appreciate the irony of that, but there’s a few important points to consider:

  1. He made his statements about specific people, specific individuals.
  2. I’ve frequently said this isn’t true of all of them.

Yet… with Mississippi’s Anti-Gay legislation on top of their latest “put God back in school!” legislation, with the fact that…

These people went HEAVY Trump (as I predicted, btw)...

these people went HEAVY Trump (as I predicted, btw)…

It’s certainly true of a majority of them.

They’re looking for someone to blame, and Trump didn’t tell them to blame Mexicans and gays. I know Trump likes to credit himself for bringing immigration up to the surface, but who is he kidding? Immigration never really stopped being a large issue anywhere in the world. That we in the U.S. went a few months without talking about doesn’t mean that Trump created the issue. These people–not all the people here, but the majority to which I’m referring–have always said that Mexicans, gays, black people, etc. were the problem.

My mistake was in thinking that the moderates had more sway than they actually do. Clearly, the moderates are powerless here. Our state legislature has proven itself firmly in the grips of religious zealots, and our Governor has proven himself firmly on their side. Rather than veto this horrific legislation, Phil Bryant proudly signs it into law. I spoke in the podcast last night about how this state has lost its mind. But it’s not like Mississippi ever had very far to go to lose its mind. The only thing that has really changed is that the moderates and reasonable people have been swept aside, and the religious extremists have taken over.

There are dark days ahead for Mississippi, and I’m not referring to my suspicion that secession and civil war are inevitable. I mean only that Mississippi has made it clear: Mississippi is committed to pursuing this path of Christian theocracy, where the moral proclamations of a single religion dictate the law. If I hadn’t decided Saturday that it was truly time to leave, then I would be making that decision now. Mississippi already has among the lowest Average Incomes in the country:

I was unable to find one that didn't specifically apply to millennials.

I was unable to find one that didn’t specifically apply to millennials.

When you add in the gonorrhea, the high school dropouts, the teen pregnancy, the high religious rates, the diabetes, and all the other shit, you have a place that is held together only by its religion. So it should be no surprise that Mississippi–which, I think we can all agree, is objectively the worst state in the United States–also has the highest rates of religiosity. What else do these people have, except their hope that they will have a better life in the next world?

Mississippi sucks, and I’m trying to leave it. Unfortunately, most of the problems affecting the statistics above also affect me (except, again, the gonorrhea one :D), and it’s largely irrelevant here that I’m a college graduate with a good work ethic. This is a place where you either work at a gas station, or at an assembly line in a factory (and there are only two factories nearby, both of which only hire through temp agencies and won’t hire someone with a college degree in an unrelated field). This isn’t a place where you get a college degree in I.T. and then stay here, working in your new field. No, as I’ve come to realize, the only option is leaving. And I need help to make that happen. So I ask humbly that you consider helping me with that, in whatever way you can, from donating to liking and sharing–it all helps.

https://www.gofundme.com/transgendermove

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your time.

Google, Facebook, and Twitter: Sued For Aiding the Enemy

According to various news sources, Internet giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter are being sued for providing material aid to the enemy (ISIS/ISIL/DAESH) by the father of one of the students killed in the Paris attack. And you know what?

That’s such a goddamn good point. I honestly can’t believe that I didn’t think about it before, but not only should they be sued–they should be brought up on charges of treason. Never mind hiring I.T. experts, as Trump suggests, to seal DAESH off the internet–it’s Google’s responsibility to close themselves off to DAESH.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of any other company.

DAESH calls me to request my help removing a virus from their computers. Yeah, exactly. It’s obviously, clearly, and blatantly providing aid to the enemy for me to help them. No one would dispute or challenge that. Not only should these companies be sued; they should be brought up on charges of treason. The only escape is that they might not have realized the tweets, searches, and posts came from DAESH, but it’s silly to think that these companies who make their money by monitoring users and studying their behavior couldn’t put two and two together. They obviously could have. They simply didn’t.

Considering that it’s been common knowledge for a while that all these places are being used (alongside Instagram and many others) by radical Muslims to convert and raise funds. While I’m sure these companies have attempted to curtail it, they certainly haven’t done enough to make their services unavailable to those who would utilize them to murder, and it’s indisputably their responsibility to do that, just as it would be my responsibility to tell them “No” if they called me about a virus.

In an age where ransomware writers code their programs to specifically avoid targeting given countries, it’s absurd to think that these enormous conglomerates that dominate the internet can’t do the same, but locking out DAESH instead. If their systems are too open, insecure, and homogenized for them to do that (which certainly isn’t true), then their systems need to be overhauled immediately.

There’s really no excuse that will hold water.

Except one technicality.

Congress has never declared war.

It is fucking ridiculous that what will allow these companies to continue serving people who are clearly our enemies… is a goddamn technicality. This is why it’s a lawsuit that’s been brought against them, and not criminal charges. Isn’t that amazing? Think about it for a moment. Our government has not recognized DAESH as the enemy, and they didn’t recognize Al Queda, either. Hell, we didn’t even declare war on Iraq.

What a joke. What an absolute disgrace.

Now the refusal to declare war makes sense. It’s not treason to trade with them if there’s no declaration of war. I guess they learned from that mistake during World War 2, when the Bush family lost a fair bit of gold they’d acquired from trading with the Nazis. “Problem solved!” they realized around the Vietnam era. “Just don’t ever declare war! Then we can fight perpetually AND lengthen the war by helping them! It’s win-win! And it only costs a few thousand lives every once in a while.”

There’s no excuse for this world we have created, and fixing this mess starts with personal responsibility. Whether you’re the CEO of Google or just an individual, you are responsible for you and the consequences of your actions. The standard defense against this will be something along the lines of “What do you want them to do? Monitor who is using their Search?”

Um… They already are.

Google is extraordinarily powerful, and they have only become more powerful in the past few years. Think about it. When you need to look something up, you google it. Fuck. That’s a level of power that is terrifying. If they wanted to influence search results, they could wield untold levels of power over the world. And there is some evidence to suggest that Google is doing exactly that. http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/google-autocomplete/

It’s hard to really explain how many trillions of dollars have gone into subtly manipulating human beings through advertising and calculated titles. This is a mistake I frequently make. Think about it. Which video would you watch?

The Most Important Message You’ll EVER Hear

or…

Transgender Mississippian to LGBT Community: Change the World.

Almost everyone would click on the first one, and almost no one would click on the second. However, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to play the game that way. I absolutely could justify naming my video “The Most Important Thing I’ve Ever Said,” because I do believe that is true of the video in question:

But “The Most Important Message You’ll Ever Hear” comes dangerously close to clickbait territory, even if I think it could be true. Seriously, that video is important, and if liberals and LGBT people would listen to it and apply it, we just might be able to put Christian “homophobia” behind us forever. The opportunity is right there. Right in front of our faces. They’re trying to rally beside us.

It broke my heart to see this response to my message:

too-little-too-lateReally, you piece of shit? You’re going to knowingly continue antagonizing Christians, and preventing them from standing beside LGBT people, and therefore continue making life extremely difficult for LGBT people in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgie, and Tennessee, because you want to hold a grudge? Jesus, fuck you, man. I replied to that with:

No… No, it’s not. The lIves and peace of mind of lgbt people in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee are impacted by this in ways I can’t even begin to explain. If people who aren’t similarly affected would just get out of the way, learn to forgive instead of holding grudges, we might just be able to coexist.

No, I’m not being naive to suggest that our problems could vanish overnight. I’ve seen it before; we’ve all seen it before. The exact same thing happened after 9/11, when all of America came together. Religion, gender, and race were all pushed aside. None of it mattered. You were simply an American first, and we stood together, side by side. We have that opportunity right now to stand together with sexual orientation and sexual identity being the things that no longer matter. This is overwhelming. And it happened overnight.

Did the post-9/11 unity last? No. And I know that there’s no guarantee that this one would last. However, this one could start. And, to be totally honest, I’ll gladly take 2 or 3 years of unity and acceptance by the people who literally surround me everywhere I go. Having people in Oklahoma, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and other states standing in the way of this unity because they want to hold a grudge… it’s despicable. Fuck you people so much for this, and I will probably never forgive you if you don’t get out of the way, stop being divisive, and let us come together. Sure, there are Christians everywhere. But this is the Bible Belt. We have an entirely different kind of Christian here.

Evolution isn’t even taught in our schools. Did you know that? I never learned a word of evolution from elementary to the end of my high school career. We don’t have Sex Ed here. We have Abstinence Education here. The sex ed pamphlets that kids get are blatant fear-mongering bullshit about STDs and death. I’ve written about them before, but it was more than half a decade ago. They were disgusting in their Christianity, though. This is the place where all that shit is concentrated. We have more churches per square mile than we do gas stations, convenient stores, and restaurants. This place is called the Bible Belt for a reason. There are at least a dozen churches within a mile of where I live, and that’s no exaggeration. I remember driving to work years ago when I lived with my sister, and I counted all the churches that I passed directly. I didn’t count the ones on adjacent streets–only the ones on streets I was on. On a 22 mile trip, there were 39 churches.

Some of us have to live here and try to coexist with these people, you inconsiderate dickbags.

Respect that.

Can you even comprehend a concentration like that?

File:Church or synagogue attendance by state GFDL.svg

That is a map of church attendance by state. You see that dark green place there, in the middle of the set of three dark green places? That’s Mississippi. We’re second only to Utah (which has a much lower population that is largely Mormon) as far as people who attend church every week, at 47%. HALF of all Mississippians attend church every single week.

religion.png

This one’s kinda complex, so here’s the key:

key

More than 50% of our population is one single denomination of Christianity: Baptist. When you mix in the Methodists, we’re approaching at least 70%. And by the time you’ve added in the Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Church of God/Church of Christ, etc., we’re getting pretty close to 95%. And in case you hadn’t connected the dots, what we’re talking about, of course… are Southern Baptists. The only real misconception people have about southern Baptists is that they do, in fact, support religious liberty for everyone, but they do also believe that Christianity should be the default, instead of secularism being the default. Basically, they think that Protestant Christianity should be the state religion, but that people should be allowed to follow other religions. Yeah, they’re a mess of problems.

It sucks hairy goat balls here, dude.

The very least people in the U.S. who are not surrounded by southern Baptists is stop antagonizing the people who do surround us and who, for the first time in American history, want to stand beside us.

How did I get onto this subject again?