Happy New Years 2011 Everyone J
May you all have a very Happy, Safe, Productive, & Healthy 2011.
A very short Preamble:
It’s been a very long time since I’ve written anything of consequence, significance, or meaning in regards to Atheism, Agnosticism, Secular Humanism, or Freethinking. It’s been since March 27th, 2009 to be precise. Maybe it’s the New Year and the idea of a fresh start that has gotten into me, or maybe it was a challenge from a young up and coming atheist to be more proactive again and start to make my own breaks like I used to do so effectively in the past. I was also inspired on this New Years Day 2011 by John Lennon. It just so happens that I was up early on the first day of January 2011, because I still believe in the old adage, “The early bird usually gets the worm”. I clicked on my TV and on the Sundance Channel there was a documentary called “The U.S. vs. John Lennon”.
Now I had seen this wonderful documentary a few years ago around the time it first came out in 2006. I think what struck me again this time was the notion that one man was making such a huge impact in this country, and also that the Evil Empire known as the Nixon Administration (with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover) spent a good amount of their time of resources 1. Trying to intimidate John Lennon with wiretapping & surveillance & 2. Trying to kick John Lennon out of this country for fear of inciting mass insurrection against the US Fed Govt. Of course that made me flash forward in time to 2001à 2008 when George W. “Shit 4 Brainz” and his Evil Empire was in office. As you all know, the W Bush’s regime galvanized the liberals in this country, and especially the Atheists/Agnostics/Secular Humanists/Freethinkers.
It also made me think of my own evolution from a staunchly religious Xian Conservative who desperately wanted George W. Bush to get elected to the person who co-founded an Atheist organization on May 4th 2005. It’s pretty wild when you think about it, to go from one extreme to the other in that short amount of time. Of course I always tell peeps that the biggest transformation in my life occurred while I was in Maryknoll Missionary Seminary in New York City. Maryknoll is where I went from being a closed-minded fundamentalist Xian to a liberation theologian/philosopher/psychologist. When I learned how to drop my shame & guilt that’s when everything changed and my eyes were opened for the first time.
Lastly it also made me think of my family. Specifically how shocked they were to find out I was accepted to a Roman Catholic Seminary in the Diocese of Raleigh, NC. Moreover and more importantly I recall with sadness the transformation my family made from being a happy, playful, and energetic family to a mean, evil, bigoted, and deeply conservative and radically superstitious family. Seemingly it all started with my Mother who was such a happy-go-lucky person who laughed, played around, and got a lot out of life. Then like a highly pathogenic disease this extreme fanatical religiosity spread throughout the rest of my family, and hit me especially hard while I was preparing to go to grad school in North Carolina right after I graduated from Virginia Tech. I will cover these stories as well as those mentioned above in this piece.
Three good reasons why I remain a strong Atheist Advocate & Activist:
First of course I will address the situation with my family…
Each of us I’m sure has a unique story as to why they’ve become such a strong advocate & activist for atheism. Similarly I’m sure that we also have either family member, close friends, or co-workers that we care about who are fully infected with the disease of radical fanatic superstitious religiosity.
Aside: I still believe that religion in and of itself is not at the foundation of the problem…If you recall I have talked about SUPER IDEOLOGY…or an idea that seems to be more powerful than other ideas because it involves complicit blind allegiance (faith), and at the surface sounds pretty damn good. An example of such a “Super Ideological Player” would be the expression “For the greater good”. That idea expressed through actual human plans has been used to justify just about anything over the centuries.
Truly my mother’s story was and is the saddest of them all. Around the time I was in college @ Virginia Tech from 1996-2000, my mother went from being a young @ heart, playful, cheery, and beautiful human being to an evil conduit for a destructive force meant to enslave the mind and render its victims emotionally crippled. Certainly it does matter what churchly organization my mother belonged to at the time, and basically all her life…The Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington. If you haven’t heard me talk about the evils and utter corruption of this organization than you just haven’t been listening to me very intently or you haven’t paid me any mind.
Furthermore not many organizations in this world scares me as much as the Arlington Diocese. First of all they happen to reside in one of the most powerful areas in the world, as well as one of the richest next to New York City, Massachusetts and parts of California. Now aside from San Diego, CA the other two I just mentioned, NYC & Mass, are liberal diocese in nature, and therefore pose no real threat. In contrast the same can’t be said about Arlington Diocese. They are rich, powerful, and deeply conservative with a healthy dose of fanatical superstition. Here are a couple examples of the kind of fanatical superstition I am speaking about:
A Catholic Ecumenical Charismatic Community:
Mother of God Community is a Catholic and ecumenical charismatic community standing in a long tradition of spiritual renewal movements within the Catholic Church. Our calling is to live out the gospel and to grow in the knowledge of God through prayer, fellowship, evangelization and service. Members include Christians from all walks of life; families, couples, priests, and singles. We represent a wide variety of professions and backgrounds, yet are all united by a common desire to live out God's call in fellowship and community.
Obedient to the Teachings, Traditions, & Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church:
The charismatic nature of Christianity has been present since the beginning when the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost. Then, as now, the Holy Spirit empowers Christians to live as Jesus taught and to share His Good News. Over the centuries, ordinary Christians had come to think that holiness and the gifts of the Holy Spirit were only for certain people. As a means of restoring the use of all of God's gifts throughout the entire Church, over the last century God has been renewing lives with the Holy Spirit in what has become known as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
Now that doesn’t sound too bad does it? Sounds pretty cotton candy Catholicism to me. Ah but just hold on a second, I didn’t tell you want to the primary activity of these “Charismatic Communities” are now did I:
Mass and Healing Prayer Service
When we think about it, every Eucharist is a healing celebration. In it we receive the Lord Jesus. We are transformed by Him, and we let Him meet us in our needs. In every Mass, we celebrate God's love for us. With the priest we offer ourselves in sacrifice, giving thanks to the Father, through Jesus, our great High Priest, in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is He who makes us a community who worships God in Spirit and Truth.
At the Penitential Rite we are healed by the Lord of our sinfulness. We ask Him to remove our sinful inclinations. We repent and He makes us whole. When we listen to the Word of God, we seek to integrate His Word into our lives. At the prayer intercessions we ask that the sick may be made well, and that their care-takers may be strengthened for their task. At the Offertory we present ourselves to God, together with our offerings of bread and wine. In the Consecration we are awed by God's power, as our gifts of bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. In praise of Him we may say, "Lord, by Your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world." The Lord hears our claim for freedom from fears, injured memories, sicknesses, and the other effects of sin.
At the Our Father we praise Him and ask that His Kingdom come, and that His Will be done. We stand on the truth that we are all God's beloved children. When we pray for forgiveness, He restores our souls, and then we experience the Lord's gift of peace. Jesus, who forgave His persecutors, now helps us to let go of our resentments, grudges, angers, and jealousies.
When we receive the Lord at Holy Communion, our response is "Amen!" In that, we express our faith in His divine presence and power. After communion, alone in silence before the Lord, we may praise and thank the Lord saying, "Lord, I know You are healing me even now of my ____________(and express your need to Him.)"
Not only do Charismatic Healing Services claim they cure diseases, physical ailments, and whatever else is afflicting you, they also speak in tongues:
Nevertheless, in his Epistles, Saint Paul does mention that speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit, and we know that he was referring here to unintelligible speech because he also mentioned the gift of interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10).
Now, the problem, as you well perceive, is that speaking unintelligible things can lead to abuse. If we don’t know what is being said, then it can just as well be something diabolical as it can be divinely inspired. Plus, when people get together in groups, social pressure can easily lead to hysteria, shared delusion, and spiritual pride.
If you would like an analogy I can give you one....
My Mother joined this service, and once she became indoctrinated she sucked my Grandmother and Half-sister into the vortex of insanity. From my grandmama & half-sister it spread to my grandfather.
My extended immediate family also became susceptible to the power of the Arlington Diocese. My Uncle who was in the Navy moved back to the Arlington Diocese after he lived in Norfolk, VA. It didn’t take much time for the Arlington Diocese to sink their teeth into him and his family. My Navy uncle was also arrogant and super egotistical so on top of that you now have a super arrogant morally presumptuous man who never misses any opportunity to use the bible to smack people over the head or to make them feel inferior. My other uncle who is still in the Air Force was never much for Catholicism so instead he went into the super-conservative fundamentalist Pentecostal church. He never misses an opportunity to inject god & the baby jesus into the conversation.
All this hit me while I was living in North Carolina in 2000. As if she was taking orders from a Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, she started sending me books focusing on this radically superstitious practice. The most destructive book she send me was called “The Imitation of Christ”. Being an intellectual that book sucked me in quickly because a lot of the book spoke to higher order brain powers overcoming evil, and the kind of radical approaches & practices needed to defeat evil & sin. Now I loved my mother very much, and trusted her that she was leading me in a positive direction. I was also still very young and naïve and didn’t know enough about the world and how Super Ideology is used to destroy people. As soon as I was done reading that book, I started asking about discernment groups to join the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, NC. And the rest as they say is history.
Quick Note: As recently as November 2010, my half-sister gave up a great job working for the FBI in which she was very well paid to join a Roman Catholic convent in Pennsylvania to become a Nun of course.
Second…Authenticity & Vindication.
While I was being transformed @ Maryknoll I began to develop the silly notion that masturbation was not a sin, and therefore I shouldn’t feel shame and/or guilt after performing masturbation. Furthermore I also came to the unholy realization that the idea of priestly celibacy & chastity was very unhealthy and even destructive. I can thank a couple of men for developing these crazy ideas:
Anyway, a day came when the two priests who were the seminarian class “Formation Leaders” decided to conduct a “Spanish inquisitorial style” one on one meetings with all the seminarian students. You see they were trying to weed out the one who was spreading all these terrible and vicious ideas about priestly celibacy/chastity as well as masturbation. Now this was a very unusual practice in a super liberal missionary seminary like Maryknoll who regularly flip the proverbial middle finger to the Vatican in Rome. But as luck would have it our class got stuck with an old Irish priest, and a priest who just transformed in from the Philippines…which if you’re not familiar is the radically conservative superstitious Roman Catholic epicenter.
So when I found out what they were doing from a concerned and distraught fellow seminarian I took on the two priests b/c by this time the group of seminarians had began to look up to me as their mouthpiece and leader. Still though I was hesitant to really speak up for justice and reason. Luckily for me I had been in an affair off campus in a nearby town with a woman that was very intelligent and mature. So when I asked her for advice she told me that no matter what happens they can take away everything from you, but they can never take away your AUTHENTICITY as long as your always honest and you tell the truth even in the face of negative repercussions and punishment.
Needless to say I lost out in that game, and was treated like a criminal who had just been caught smoking crack cocaine, and was given 48 hours to pack up and leave Maryknoll.
However I have no regrets for my actions @ Maryknoll. And even though I got fucked over twice, once by those two priests @ Maryknoll, and again by my Grandparents & my evil Mother when they kicked me out of the house while I had nothing to my name b/c I gave up all my earthly possessions to join the missionary seminary. Authenticity saved me that day, and set me own my path which has lead me all the way to present day.
Aside: Before I left Maryknoll, I made a copy of the dismissal letter the two priests gave me and slid one under each of the other priests doors (100 in all). I was informed a few years ago that the President of Maryknoll changed the seminarian laws to include a student advocate that prevents directly the Maryknoll leadership in order to prevent the Formation Leaders from having ultimate powers. Also the two priests got kicked out of Maryknoll, and they sent me a letter of apology and asked me to please come back to Maryknoll.
I really think it’s the Authenticity factor that sets up apart from those religious fanatics. They use so many lies to propagate their dogma that they find the concept of honesty to be completely foreign to them. That’s why I was shocked to encounter an Atheist who operated in a similar fashion as those Religious Sycophants…she is affectionately known now as SHE WHO WILL NOT BE NAMED.
As you all are all too familiar with…the story goes something like this…I cofound an atheist group in the Washington DC Metro area around May 2005. The other co-founder & I build up this group through our own money, time, resources, blood/sweat/tears, as well as some great people who stepped up and really helped us out. By the time 2008 rolled around the other co-founder & I were planning our own Atheist Day Summer “Woodstock like” event. SHE WHO WILL NOT BE NAMED joined the group in 2007 and seemed intent on making sure the group became stronger and stronger each day and seemingly showed up @ events and gave support when needed. At that time in my life I was starting to burn out both physically & mentally. Ever since 2005 I had been working three different jobs….1. A full time Fed Govt Job, 2. A part-time restaurant job, & 3. Running & organizing a non-profit group of about 500 people by the time we reached 2008. I freely admit the mistakes I made in dealing with some folks, and I wasn’t as kind & sensitive to other people’s needs as I should have been. As it turned out the Summer event turned out to be a bust, which was highly frustrating and incredibly disappointing. I needed a break not only b/c of the emotions involved but also b/c my physical & mental health was starting to fail me.
So SHE WHO WILL NOT BE NAMED seemed to take pity on me, and volunteered to step in and take over organizational duties until I recovered. And the rest as they say is history.
Aside: SHE WHO WILL NOT BE NAMED did a fantastic job destroying my name with every lie that poured forth from her mouth, seemingly along with every breath she took. Of course it was only a matter of time that she would reap what she sowed, and that the techniques she was using which seemed right out of the “W Bush Karl Rove Evil Administration Play-book” would eventually be her downfall. Sure enough about a year later in 2009 she was starting to threw nuclear bombs off in every direction, especially if she didn’t get her way the first time. After insulting and going off (formally thru business letters) on heads and board members of National Atheist organizations, she stuck to age-old lies that she had spread about myself & the other co-founder.
The fact that she was stubborn & immovable object when it came to telling lies, and that the other co-founder & I always stuck to the facts and what you could prove was what eventually turned the tables and led to a feeling of Vindication. I also think that her attempt to get me fired from my Fed Govt job for allegations which essentially amounted to removing me for being an Atheist, and going to Atheist websites while on the job….that proved to everyone what a hypocritical person she is. Again Authenticity always seems to win out in the end…as the Brits always say “The TRUTH will out”.
Last but not least…the EMPIRE…
Yes it is still very much alive & healthy. Not only that it is more powerful & well organized than ever. Remember they have “what people want to hear” going for them, as well as the whole FEAR mongering of; 1. Death, 2. Differences 3. Change. They don’t even have to try very hard to sell/market their product…as the Tobacco Industry Executive stated in the movie Thank you for Smoking, “They’re addictive, they’re cool, teenagers want to try them, hell they practically sell themselves”.
The documentary I watched today, U.S. vs. John Lennon, reminded me that the Empire is not nearly has bad off as they were after NIXON resigned from the White House in disgrace and public humiliation. Most importantly the W Bush evil administration committed these horrific acts:
And they got away with it!!! And yes they are completely shameless about what they got away with.
Do you have any idea how much that is going to empower the next evil administration once the “New 2011 Congress” figures out how to put the final nails in the Obama Presidency coffin???
Oh and by the way the Empire is plenty ticked at the Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. I mean we’re talking about one of the last bastions of conservative ideology, the US military, is all of a sudden putting a warm embrace around homosexuals…Oh Dear!
These people are really fucking pissed, and mark my words there will most certainly be a backlash forthcoming from the Empire.
You want to talk about some really well-organized Radically Rightwing Organizations:
Perhaps it’s time yet again for the sleepers to awaken…
I for one will be monitoring news stories a little more closer than I have since Obama won the Presidency in 2008. No, don’t interpret this as a sign to start panicking. I don’t think anyone should do anything rash and leaping without looking first. I just think it’s a time to be a little more vigilant to what’s going on around us especially with the New 2011 Congress.
I also think there has been some minor fracturing & in-fighting going on in the Atheist community…almost like there’s a high school popularity contest going on. It seems that W Bush brought us all together quickly…and now we’re driving apart from one another…and we all know how hard it is to keep Atheists together for anything…like they always say, “Organizing Atheists are like herding Cats”.
I did come up with a clever group name today…or @ least I think so…
United States Secular Constitution Coalition (USSCoCo).
Yeah I know we have a Coalition already…and they are doing a fantastic job:
The other “group tags” like Federation, Alliance, United, Party, League, just didn’t roll off the tongue nearly as well as USSCoCo does.
Anyway, thanks 4 reading.
Ciao 4 now, take care J