Goodbye America, Hello Bigotry: So Much For Our Ideals…

americaI’m sitting here, stuck at work, feeling emotionally devastated… Worse than I’ve felt in a long time.  I’ve made a few comments on Facebook, but I’ve felt the need to pull back, to be semi-friendly, to make excuses for those who claim to love me, yet still voted for Trump.  But why should I hold back? Donald Trump has won the presidency, and that’s something I really never believed would happen yesterday at this time.  I truly believed that more Americans stood for racial and gender equality, equality for LGBT people… That we stood above bigotry. But the country has proven me wrong.  They’ve placed racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, (so many phobias…) up on a pedestal.  They’ve told little girls out there that if a man gropes her inappropriately that it’s his right, and she shouldn’t complain.  They’ve told little Muslim and Latino boys and girls that they’re not welcome here, their families aren’t welcome here, and that they’re going to stick them behind a wall.  They’ve told African American men and women that if the police shoot them in the street like dogs, well hey… Too bad for you.  Your lives don’t matter.

I’ve had two friends tell me tonight that it “wasn’t about gay rights” or “It wasn’t about bigotry.”  Well then, what was it about? What else could it possibly have been about??? Trump hasn’t presented any plans or details about how he’s supposedly going to “fix” the economy (which was already recovering nicely) other than by giving a bunch of tax cuts to the rich (because that’s worked so well in the past).  He’s made wild claims about fighting terrorism, but again… He hasn’t given any details about how he’s going to do so, other than by stating “ban all Muslims from entering the country.”

I had one friend who didn’t vote for Trump, (but supports Republicans who did) that stated that it was about being “Pro-Life” and because Hillary is for “late-term abortions” (which she’s not). I almost bought it, but let’s get real here… He’s not going to be able to stop abortions.  Not ever.  Not even if he somehow manages to get a constitutional amendment passed (he won’t).  All Trump could possibly do is stop safe abortions.  Key-word here… Safe…  Let’s face it, if a woman truly believes she can’t support a child or carry it to term, she won’t.  Period.  Instead, what we’ll be faced with is women who can do so going across the border to Canada, and those that can’t, resorting to the abortions of the past (coathangers, falls down the stairs, etc…) So not only will we have those “lives” you claim to care about being lost, we’ll also have the lives of the mothers being lost as well.  So, no. You don’t get to pretend this is somehow about being “pro-life” unless you’re completely naive about how the real world works (which you very well might be).  

Trump’s entire campaign has been built on nothing but the worst sort of bigotry, in so many forms.  Racism, homophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia… He’s backed by the fucking leader of the KKK for Christ’s sake, which should tell anyone all they need to know.  I can’t speak for other minorities (though I can be horrified for them), but I can speak as a gay man, and what people who voted for Trump have told me, in a loud and clear voice, is that they don’t think I am equal to them as a human being.  They’ve told me they couldn’t fucking care less if I’m able to marry the man I love. They didn’t think twice about whether or not I’m allowed to adopt children. They’ve told me they don’t give a shit if I get treated as a person when I walk into a business.  With those stakes on the line, ignorance about what Trump stood for is not an excuse.  Apathy is a slap in the face.  Agreement is absolutely offensive and disgusting.  I can’t even begin to imagine how any minority could have voted for him (though statistically speaking, quite a few must have…)  

I’m going to say, unapologetically, if you supported Trump (or really any Republican) you can make all the claims you want about caring about me, but the harsh reality I’m now faced with, whether you want to admit it or not, is that I’m not even worth your consideration.  Gay rights… Minority rights…Women’s rights… Probably didn’t even cross your mind.  Trump is the lowest form of scum and those that agree with him are as well.  “Deplorable” is too nice of a word.  Those that didn’t bother to research what Trump stands for, voted in protest, or flipped a coin… I don’t even know what to say to you.  You should have cared more… Considered others besides yourself more.  But you didn’t.  I’m beyond livid… I’m tired of sitting back and watching the country be raped by the Republican elite and now by the monster they’ve created, but the entire country has now been placed in their proven incapable hands.

One of my closest friends stated tonight that people who voted for Trump shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for voting for him, because that’s their right.  But I disagree.  STRONGLY.  It definitely is their right to vote for a bigot.  But they should feel guilty about it.  They should feel ashamed of themselves.  Whatever nightmare is in store for us for the next 4 to 8 years is on their heads.  If I believed in any sort of god, I’d be praying for mercy right now.  As it is, I can only sit here with a sense of absolute dread for what’s in store for us.  

James Garcia 11/9/2016  

Reddit, LGBT People, and Donald Trump

trump

I had a discussion on Reddit (thread found here), with a Lesbian woman who claimed to be a supporter of Donald Trump and attempted to argue that he would be the “best choice for LGBT people.”  The following are some of her statements, with my responses.  She has since deleted her comments, so I can’t link to the originals, but here are some that I had to respond to because they were outrageous or offensive (or outrageously offensive).  

“People label “persecution” on things like others denying service.”

Just because we’re not being murdered in the streets (which of course, we are…) doesn’t mean it’s not persecution, so you can keep your sarcastic quotation marks.  In a country where we supposedly have equal protection under the law, allowing one group of people to be discriminated against in the economy that we’ve all helped build, based on an immutable characteristic, is discrimination. Period.  Every American should be able to take part in the public sector without having to worry about whether or not a store will accept them or not.  You shouldn’t have to worry about public ridicule and humiliation because you want to buy a cake.  

An African American should be able to go into any public business and buy whatever products or services that business provides without fear of being turned away because of the color of their skin.  On the same note, any gay person should be able to go into any public business without having to fear they will be turned away because of who they happen to love. Nobody should have to wonder if they’re going to have to drive 2 or 3 hours out of their way just to buy something that is sold in a store across the street, because the owner of the store across the street happens to be a bigot.  That’s not how our country is supposed to work, and that’s certainly not the type of country I want to live in.  

If people behind the counter don’t want to serve every person within the general public who enters their store, is not causing a disruption, and just wants to buy whatever goods or services that business provides, then they should simply not open a business.  There are plenty of jobs out there where you don’t have to serve the public.  If you don’t want to serve gay people, or black people, or Jews, or Muslims… Don’t apply for a business license. Don’t sign a contract with the government that says you won’t discriminate.  It’s that simple.

“I find it ridiculous people believe this nation will go against one of its core values.”

Then you really haven’t been paying attention to the history of our country.  Check out segregation.  Check out the internment of innocent Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. Check out slavery.  Check out the slaughter of the American Indians.  All of those things went against our supposed “values”, yet they’re all things that happened anyway.  

“…Politicians aren’t going to make such drastic changes against the American citizens will. Putting gays in jail is not what the American general populace wants. I’ve discussed why they wouldn’t go against the populations wish already.”

And you’re wrong.  Where was the outrage when innocent Japanese Americans were ripped from their homes and thrown into internment camps? Many of them lost everything they had! As for now, if the Republican-controlled Congress has shown us anything the last 8 years, it’s that they don’t give a shit about what the general populace wants.  They’ve gone against the majority of the American people multiple times, from trying to overturn the ACA again… and again… and again… and again… To shutting down the government, to all of the Benghazi / email nonsense.  The fact that you still seem to think they won’t shows you’re literally not paying any attention to the real world.

SO do I think they’ll step in to help LGBT people if states start passing laws to arrest them or enforcing laws they already have on the books? Not really.  Do I think the American people will be outraged? Maybe?  Do I think they’ll be outraged enough to protest in the streets to help us? Those are two different questions, and the answer to the second is a definite “no.”  Where’s the outrage for the members of the African-American community, who are being shot dead in the street like animals by certain police officers who are supposed to be protecting them? Why isn’t the populace rising up to  help them when they’re arrested, beat up, and in many cases killed, for minor offenses like running a red light or selling cigarettes?  Answer: It’s non-existent.  The majority of American people simply don’t care enough about issues that don’t affect them directly.  

“You’re right. Trump/Pence could allow businesses to not serve us. I don’t care about that. Why would I want to deal with a business that is forced to serve me anyway?”

You should care about that.  You say you’re not naive, but then you go on to show how you absolutely are naive over and over again.  Do you seriously know nothing about our history?  How well did the whole “White’s only”, “Irish need not apply”, “We don’t serve Jews” garbage work in the past? Hint: It didn’t.  You had entire groups of people that were suffering because they were being denied jobs, kicked off of buses, kicked out of restaurants, and generally left out of an economy that they helped to build.  As the American people have clearly shown throughout our history, they are more than willing to single groups of people out as long as they’re given permission to do so.  You literally have people trying to do so now; so if you think that’s all in the past, then as I’ve said, you’re naive.  

“Being gay means dealing with people who hate you. The government isn’t going to take that away.”

Of course they’re not.  I don’t expect the government to make people like me.  I don’t care if people like me. But we have laws in place that will at the very least make sure that we have a fair shot in the economy that our tax dollars help to build.  Joe-Schmoe at Melissa’s Cake Shop can hate me all he wants, but if Joe-Schmoe wants to open a business and receive the benefits from the government that come with it, then they damned well better sell me a cake just like they would anyone else.  My sexuality has nothing to do with their religious beliefs and it certainly has nothing to do with the cake I’m trying to buy.  

“I’m very interested in these specific moments Trump has voiced hatred. Can you please post some specifics so I can read into them?”

This is, by far, the easiest of your ridiculous comments to rebut.  All I have to do is type “racist / bigoted / sexist Donald Trump quotes” and I’ll be provided with a plethora of information.  It takes willful ignorance to not see them! Here are just a few examples:

Donald Trump disrespecting women:

Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”

“If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’”

“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”

“The only card [Hillary Clinton] has is the woman’s card. She’s got nothing else to offer and frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card, and the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.”

Donald Trump disrespecting people of color:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists…”

“Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”

Tenant Discrimination:

http://www.nytimes.com/times-insider/2015/07/30/1973-meet-donald-trump/?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/us/politics/donald-trump-housing-race.html

Taking advantage of undocumented immigrants:

http://www.nytimes.com/1998/06/14/nyregion/after-15-years-in-court-workers-lawsuit-against-trump-faces-yet-another-delay.html?pagewanted=all

Disrespecting people with disabilities:

http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/11/26/donald-trump-mocks-reporter-with-disability-berman-sot-ac.cnn

You can try and pretend Donald Trump isn’t a hateful piece of trash, but the piles of evidence available show otherwise.  You can’t claim everything he’s said in his “illustrious” career are being taken out of context.  (Well I guess you can, but it won’t be very effective.)

“There’s a lot of false information and over dramatization of Trump out there.”

Not really… Nearly all of the articles or news reports I’ve provided show actual videos or quote him directly.  That’s not “over dramatization.”  It’s reality.  

“If you look at things at face value (not saying you do personally, just talking about the population as a whole) then you will despise Trump.”

And if you ignore all of his actions, direct quotes, and videos showing his hatefulness, then I guess you’ll love him? Why shouldn’t people take things at face value? If someone makes a bigoted comment (or in Trump’s case, continually makes bigoted, sexist comments), we shouldn’t have to read between the lines to find something good about them.  Especially when it comes to someone running for President of the United States!

“The average uneducated American citizen, who doesn’t care about politics or the election, walks around and sees the propaganda everywhere. It’s kind of creepy how much Hillary is in my daily life.”

Trump receives far more news coverage than Hillary.  So if Hillary is “creepy” because of the amount of news coverage she gets, then Trump should downright terrify you. But you seem to be eating the crap he’s feeding you like candy.  

“Trump’s campaign attracted 822 minutes of screen time on the nightly news broadcasts of ABC, CBS and NBC between Jan. 1 and Labor Day, according to the Tyndall Report, which has tracked broadcast news since 1987. It’s unlikely that another presidential candidate in history has ever gotten more, says Andrew Tyndall, the newsletter’s proprietor.

Clinton’s campaign commanded just 386 minutes, which includes 89 minutes spent on the investigation of her emails as secretary of state.

That’s a big coverage “gap.” Roughly speaking, Trump has gotten more than twice as much network attention as Clinton.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/trump-gets-way-more-tv-news-time-than-clinton-so-what/2016/09/21/719d1bac-7ea9-11e6-8d0c-fb6c00c90481_story.html

“I can’t remember the last time I seen something pro Trump besides a bumper sticker 2 weeks ago (and I live in the bible belt!).”

Then again… You’re simply not paying attention.  

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/who-gets-better-press-coverage-hillary-clinton-or-donald-trump

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/media-study-trump-helped-clinton-hurt-224300

“I pretty much had to go looking/digging for accurate information on him cause most “educational” resources obviously come from a liberal view.”

Ah yes. Anything negative about Trump must be because the mean old “Liberal media” has such a strong bias against him! (As opposed to him just being a disgusting bigot who should never have been taken seriously in the first place!)  What you’re telling me with that nonsense, is that no matter what negative information comes out about Trump, you’ll just ignore it and pretend it’s “Liberal bias” attempting to smear him. But, as I’ve shown, Trump has benefited far more from news coverage than Hillary has, so I’m not sure where you’re getting that there’s some “liberal media bias” targeted in Hillary’s favor.  If anything, it’s the exact opposite.  

“Hillary makes people feel protected and comfortable. I understand that. She makes a lot of promises. However, that security is an illusion. She has shown time and time again that she is flighty and does not have American citizen’s safety in mind.”

Hillary makes a lot of promises? That’s seriously what you’re going with?  All Trump has done is make promises! He has presented literally nothing regarding actions he’ll take or policy changes he’ll make to protect Americans.  Literally… Nothing… All he’s done is state he’d be willing to use nukes, won’t listen to the UN, won’t honor peace treaties unless he agrees with them, and has repeatedly stated that he’ll “Protect America” without showing how.  So I’m asking… How the hell do you think he’s going to protect America? By banning immigrants and refusing to help refugees? By putting innocent Muslim-Americans on a registration?

You do realize that the very few terrorist attacks that have been committed by foreigners were committed by people here legally, right? In fact, nearly all of the terrorist attacks committed here since 9/11 have been committed by U.S. citizens.  64% of which were by people who were born here.  All of this attention Trump and his bigot-brigade are focusing on immigrants is nothing but fear-mongering meant to get you all in an uproar. Nothing more.  

http://www.ibtimes.com/terrorism-attacks-911-have-involved-us-citizens-not-immigrants-despite-gop-debate-2228202

“She was very anti-gay then. What is to say her judgement won’t change again once she’s in office?”

Wrong again.  Hillary may have opposed gay marriage at one point and stated she believed in traditional marriage (as did so many others), but she has always been an advocate for the LGBT community aside from that issue, and not just for American LGBT people either.  

http://shewinswewin.org/blog/5-times-hillary-clinton-pushed-for-lgbt-rights/

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/lgbt-equality/

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/jun/17/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-change-position-same-sex-marriage/

http://correctrecord.org/hillary-clinton-making-human-rights-a-reality/

http://correctrecord.org/hillary-clinton-global-lgbt-advocate/

Hillary Clinton has been a global champion of human rights and has actually done things to make human rights (for everyone) a reality.  Can Donald Trump, who has frequently taken advantage of people for his own personal gain, say the same thing? The answer is a resounding no.  You are apparently judging people for claiming to believe in traditional marriage years ago, but Donald Trump does so now.  At least Hillary has come to see the error of her former stance. 

“If we want to gain full equality and acceptance we have to prove ourselves. I want the general public to accept me because I show dedication and love.”

People (including LGBT people) shouldn’t have to earn the right to be treated equally under the law.  We don’t have to earn our constitutional rights.  That’s not how our constitution is supposed to work.

“NOT because the government is forcing them too. It only creates more resistance.”

Wrong.  Segregation, slavery, institutionalized bigotry and discrimination, women’s right to vote, the right for people of color to vote.  ALL of those things had to be fought for and won, in spite of public opinion.  Public opinion didn’t shift until after the battles for equal treatment under the law were won.  

“Trump promises to protect LGBT”

Trump “promises” lots of things, but his actions speak far louder than his words.  His nomination of Mike Pence, a notorious homophobic bigot, shows that he couldn’t care any less about LGBT Americans.  You can pretend Mike Pence won’t have much power, but he’s Donald Trump’s right-hand man, and if something happens to Trump, Pence is next in line.  The Vice President also stands as one of the President’s most trusted advisors.  You’re truly an idiot if you think Pence’s homophobic beliefs will have no effect on Trump’s policy decisions.  

“…but most importantly he promises to protect all Americans.”

Again… Trump makes lots of promises.  But as I’ve stated, actions speak louder than words.  Trump has a history of taking advantage of the most vulnerable Americans.  He’s scammed people looking for a brighter future through education, he’s scammed people looking for homes, he’s scammed people he employed, and he’s scammed America as a whole with his numerous bankruptcies and unscrupulous business practices.  If you think he’ll be any different once he’s in the most powerful position in the country, then, again… You’re truly an idiot.  

“In a country where things are tense because of political/social/racial/etc differences I like that he talks to us on equal ground. He doesn’t look down on us.”

Are you joking? He’s shown multiple times that he doesn’t respect women, minorities, or middle-class Americans.  He doesn’t look down on you? Of course he looks down on you! He’s even called his own supporters morons who’d vote for him even if he murdered someone in the middle of a busy street! In case you don’t believe me, here’s the quote:

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.”

This is a direct quote, and you’re proving him right!

“If we, and the politics, stop trying to make a point with our sexualties/genders the general public will stop caring as well. I don’t want to make a stance, I just want peace.”

It’s not the LGBT community that keeps bringing up our sexuality, it is those that would deny us equal rights under the law that are making it about our sexuality.  When they say “we won’t serve gay people in our businesses” when a lesbian couple wants to buy a cake for their wedding, it is the bigot behind the counter that has brought up our sexuality, not us.  When they attempt to pass laws that say we can’t get married, they are the ones who have brought up our sexuality, not us.  Us wanting to live our lives the way we want isn’t us making an issue of anything.  They’re the ones that have an issue, and that issue is that they just can’t seem to mind their own damned business.  We have a right to live in this society, we have a right to our pursuit of happiness, just like they do.  It’s as simple as that.  

“I’m voting Trump cause I truly believe it’s what is best for the lgbt community.”

Then you’re ignoring all of the evidence to the contrary and have imagined false promises that aren’t born out by his actions or statements.  

“If a big decision was made against the majority of the populations opinion they could lose their job, face prison, or even be murdered… The majority of politicians vote with the general consensus with an emphasis on what will help their family.”

As I’ve shown.  This is absolutely untrue.  Congress has an easily Googled history that shows the exact opposite (of which I’ve already given examples.)  In most cases they’ve had to be overruled by the Supreme Court.  

“I can guarantee a lot of these politicians know gay people (in the closet or no). Some possibly are in the closet themselves. Being that they try to keep scandals to a bare minimum, do you truly think they would be okay with homosexuality being a jail-able offense?”

Yeah… I do… Anti-gay bigots (whether or not they’re hiding in the closet) have shown time and time again that they’ll do anything to discriminate against the LGBT community.  If they can make it illegal for us to be ourselves, they will, and with Trump as President and a Republican-controlled Congress, it will be that much easier for them to do so.  

“Scratch that, do you think the United States population would be okay with homosexuality being a jail-able offense? No way.”

Maybe? They don’t really seem to be fighting to get all of those laws saying gay sex is illegal taken off of the record books that still exist.  They don’t seem to be fighting with us to end employment and housing discrimination.  They don’t seem to be fighting to end adoption discrimination.  Sure, there are some allies, but will a majority of the population fight for us?  It’s hard to tell.  I mean, look how many anti-gay marriage laws had to be thrown out by the Supreme Court.  There was one in pretty much every state! Remember, those laws were voted in by a majority of Americans less than 10 years ago.  

“Taking away rights after they are given is backwards in American values and is a sure way to cause paranoia.”

Tell that to the innocent Japanese Americans who were tossed into internment camps after Pearl Harbor.  

“I can see you got the comparison to Nazi Germany from the article you posted. I’ll have you know, that if you look to other sources, Trump didn’t suggest the database, a reporter did.”

And Trump said it would be a good idea.

“From what I’ve been gathering from the consensus of multiple sources, no one is quite sure what happened or what he exactly said.”

That is the spin Trump’s campaign tried to sell after he ran his mouth off again.  

“Some say the reporter didn’t clarify and Trump misjudged a question.”

Who says? Trump? His campaign? Again… That’s the spin he tried to sell after he realized how he looked when he made those comments.  Here’s the actual exchange (during which he had multiple chances to set the record straight.)  

Reporter: France declared this state of emergency where they closed the borders and they established some degree of warrantless searches. I know how you feel about the borders, but do you think there is some kind of state of emergency here, and do we need warrantless searches of Muslims?

Trump: We’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago

Reporter: Do you think we might need to register Muslims in some type of database, or note their religion on their ID?

Trump: We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.

Reporter 2: Should there be a database or system that tracks Muslims in this country?

Trump: There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. I mean, we should have a lot of systems.

Reporter 2: But that’s something your White House would like to implement.

Trump: I would certainly implement that. Absolutely

There was some minor confusion at that point as to whether Trump was talking about building his ridiculous wall, or whether he would institute a database, but the reporter reiterated that they were talking about the database, asking him again if a database would be a good idea and Trump stated: It would just be good management.

Then the reported asked, yet another time, if Muslims should be on a database…

Trump: They have to be — they have to be.  Let me just tell you: The key is people can come to the country, but they have to come legally.

Trump was asked not once…. Not twice… But a total of SIX TIMES if he would create a database of Muslim Americans, and he answered in the affirmative every… single… time… and only one out of the six times could be considered confusing.  All of the others were up-front, plainly spoken, and obvious.  

“We are working with a lot of he said/she said here. I would prefer to work and debate on something that has solid material to work from.”

Well, I’ve just given you the entire conversation. So what now? Are you still going to pretend he was just “confused”?  And even if he was actually confused after being asked a simple question six times… Do you really think someone so easily confused is qualified to be our President for Christ’s sake!? How in the hell do you think he’s going to function during serious negotiations with foreign leaders if he can’t even answer a simple, straightforward, question without getting confused?

“I’ve seen some of these links talk about Trump wanting to create a registry for people from Syria specifically. Is that a BAD thing?”

Nope.  He was clearly asked about Muslims, not Syrian refugees.  Besides that, refugees are already monitored, so it would make no sense, what-so-ever, to institute a second database when the information is already there.  

“I don’t find anything wrong with watching people coming from violent/war torn nations that we let into our country.”

Again… They already do monitor refugees.  They don’t just let them land rafts on the beach, march into the country, and go wherever they want to go.  It doesn’t work that way. 

“There’s a pattern of people coming from these places and committing violent crimes.”

Where are you getting that information?  I’d love to see some statistics showing that refugees have a pattern of violence.  

“I don’t know what you propose but SOMETHING has to change cause this process is causing a lot of death.”

In other countries? Maybe…. But not here.  As I’ve shown.  Nearly all of the terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11 were committed by American citizens, 64% of which were born here.  (Source found above, from the first time I addressed the fear-mongering tactic.)  

“He isn’t advocating for “rounding up Mexicans and tossing them out”. He’s talking about deporting immigrants. Do you disagree with that?”

Yes, I absolutely do disagree with that.  Many of those HUMAN BEINGS came here as children, have been here for years and years, and have established lives in this country.  Did they come here illegally? Maybe? Do we want to be a country full of cold-hearted monsters who turn away people in need? You might want to, but I certainly don’t, and it’s definitely not the ideals that this country is supposed to harbor.  To quote from the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We’re supposed to be the country that reaches out to those in need.  

“I’m obviously not as emotionally distressed over this as you are.”

You’re damned right I’m distressed.  As you should be; and if you cared even a little bit for others, you would be.  

“And I’m not naive. I just have a different opinion than you.”

No, you’re worse.  You’re willfully ignorant.  You see possible benefits (however small) to yourself, and ignore the pain a Trump presidency will cause to others and the danger it will present to the country (and the world). You ignore all of the atrocious things Donald Trump has said and done and take in his propaganda like it’s candy.  Hillary Clinton wasn’t my first choice for President (Bernie supporter here).  I’ll readily admit that… But she is far…. FAR better than that egotistical, bigoted, homophobic, misogynistic, hate-mongering, scam-artist that is Donald Trump.  The fact that you can’t see that (or even worse, ignore it, don’t care, or genuinely agree) paints a terrible…. TERRIBLE picture of you.  Just like it does for every other Trump supporter in this country.   

Trump vs. Hitler:

One last thing I’d like to address, which you scoffed at, is the idea that Trump is comparable to Hitler.  Yes, this gets thrown around a lot regarding politicians, and it’s usually uncalled for, but in this instance, the similarities are truly scary.  Germany was in terrible condition economically when Hitler rose to power, and America isn’t, but they’re both using the same rhetoric. Hitler promised to “make Germany great again” and he  used fear and  an irrational sense of nationalist pride to get people to turn against a common “enemy.”   According to him the cause of all of Germany’s problems was the Jews.  His solution was to register them, get rid of them, and cut Germany  off from the rest of the world as if they were some sort of villain.

Trump is using the exact same rhetoric.  His slogan is “Make America great again!” and according to Trump, the way to do that is to get rid of all the Muslims and other immigrants that are “pulling us down.” He’s claimed that our relationships with other countries are holding us down, he’s proposed to literally build a wall between us and another neighbor, and he’s stated he won’t honor treaties with other countries.  

Trump might not be even nearly as bad as Hitler was… Yet (and that is a strong yet…) but there are definite signs that history could repeat itself if we allow it.  I for one, don’t want our country to take even one step down that road.  Hitler didn’t start out as the powerful, fascist, dictator that he ended up as.  He didn’t start out promising to murder millions of people.  It was the people that he convinced to follow him, using fear and pride, that took Germany there, and I refuse to simply sit back and ignore all of the signs and do nothing as Donald Trump and his followers take us down that same road.  

A holocaust survivor on Trump vs. Hitler:

http://www.thewrap.com/are-hitler-trump-comparisons-fair-a-holocaust-survivor-tells-his-son/

A well written article on the Trump / Hitler comparison:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/28/donald-trump-rhetoric-adolf-hitler-anti-trump-campaign

An “interesting” quiz.  Can you pick which fascist made the statement:

http://interactive.nydailynews.com/2016/03/quiz-who-said-it-trump-hitler-mussolini-stalin/

 

James Garcia 9/28/2016

Broken Chains – Part 4: Cain and Abel (2nd Rebuttal)

abel-and-cain

Here is another follow-up conversation with the person I replied to yesterday…

“My personal experience…”

Key word here…. Your personal experience.  You don’t get to use your emotions… Your personal experience as evidence simply because there are millions of other people with different feelings and different experiences.  Should we take the emotions and personal experiences of someone in a mental ward as evidence that there are truly aliens out in space trying to beam signals into our heads? After all… They probably feel just as sure of themselves and their “personal experiences” as you do.  What makes them crazy and you rational?

“I have read many book and most well written ones don’t waste your time with things that you could deduce.”

Except you’re claiming the Bible is an instruction manual, not a novel.  You don’t get to make up your own verses when you’re expecting people to follow this book like a manual for life.  You know what would happen if you were operating heavy machinery or baking a cake if you just added your own instructions that weren’t included in the originals? You might get lucky, but most likely you’d fail miserably.

“You will have to show me where in the bible where it said, incest, rape, and slavery was okay.”

Gladly!

  1. Incest: Adam and Eve either had to sleep with their children, or their children had to sleep with each other (or both).  Given the story that the Bible tells, there are no other options.  Abraham was also married to his sister Sarah, whom he had children with.  Noah’s children and grandchildren would inevitably have had to have slept with each other in order to re-populate the earth after its destruction.  Christian apologists typically come up with a wide variety of reasons to explain this away but again… It usually amounts to them adding things to the scripture that simply aren’t there.  (For instance; God MUST have created other people, and that’s where Cain found a wife! Except the Bible never says that… Not once…)  
  2. Rape:  This is the easiest one.  The Bible (especially the old testament) is filled with horrific examples of god not only permitting rape, but commanding it.  
    1. Judges 21:10-24 – The men of Israel destroyed Jabesh-Gilead, killed all of the men, and took the women as their wives after killing all of their families.  All with God’s blessing.
    2. Numbers 31:7-18 – The men of Israel destroyed the Midianites, killed all of the men and non-virgins, then took all of the virgins for themselves.  All at the command of God and Moses.  
    3. Deuteronomy 20:10-14 – This command of God tells the Israelites how they are to treat their enemies.  It includes a provision that allows the Israelites to take the women and children of their enemies and “enjoy” them as “plunder.”  
    4. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 – God orders rape victims to marry their rapists.  Surely god knew that a woman who has been raped is a victim and that forcing her to marry the man who violated her would be an awful thing to do, right?
    5. Deuteronomy 22:23-24 – God demands a rape-victim be put to death if she doesn’t “cry out.”  This is okay to you?
    6. 2 Samuel 12:11-14 – Here it says god delivers rape victims up to their rapists to be raped in order to punish David.  How is allowing innocent women to be raped punishing David? What about the women? Do they not matter to god?
    7. Deuteronomy 21:10-14 – God once again tells Israelite soldiers that it’s okay for them to take the women of conquered villages to rape.  
    8. Judges 5:30 – God says the Israelite men can take “a damsel or two” to rape.
    9. Exodus 21:7-11 (This pairs with slavery) – God states it’s okay for a man to sell his daughter into sex slavery.  He even adds a stipulation that the man she’s sold to doesn’t have to free her after 6 years.  
    10. Zechariah 14:1-2 – God states he will help the enemies of Israel destroy Jerusalem and rape “their” women.  
  3. Slavery:
    1. “Slavery in the bible is nothing more than servitude slavery and after 7 years you are free even if your debt was not paid in full.”  
      1. You’re only partially right here.  These conditions only apply to Hebrew slaves.  All other slaves are slaves in exactly the way it’s normally implied.  
    2. Leviticus 25:44-46However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. (No 7 year stipulation is stated or even implied here.)  
    3. Exodus 21:2-6 – Here it’s stated a Hebrew slave is to be freed after 7 years, but they must leave without their family unless they willingly choose to stay in slavery.  So in other words, a male can be forced into permanent slavery as long as you keep their family hostage!
    4. Exodus 21:20-21 – Beating slaves is okay.  They’re just property after all! Just don’t hit them hard enough to kill them!
    5. Ephesians 6:5, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Luke 12:47-48  – Even the New Testament approves of slavery! The verses in Luke involve Jesus himself stating it’s okay to beat slaves.  The entire book of Philemon is the story of Paul catching an escaped slave and returning him to his master.  

“Morality is God’s creation and does not change. Men change with time but God does not.”

So then it is your opinion that rape, slavery, and incest are all perfectly moral? All of those things have been commanded or sanctioned by god multiple times in the Bible (as I’ve given ample evidence for.)  

“The bible report incidents as they happens and that does not mean that God sanction the evil that men do.”

Except I’ve given you multiple examples to show that, according to the Bible, god has approved or even commanded immoral things multiple times.  Most of the time it’s women that suffer though, so who cares! According to the Bible women are nothing more than cattle anyway! Right? (I hope you see that was sarcasm…) 

“God has not changed his stance on morality.”

So then, again… You’re perfectly fine with rape, slavery, murder, and incest? Tell me… Since god “doesn’t change” do you abstain from eating shellfish and wearing mixed fabrics? Those things were called “abominations” in the Old Testament.  If god doesn’t change, they still should be, right? Also, women should stay quiet in church, right? (After all… They’re just property according to the Bible!)

“God created a perfect world in the first chapter of Genesis.”

Except… Even according to you (and the Bible,) he didn’t create a “perfect” world.  Even before Adam and Eve, his creation rebelled and had to be thrown into a hell which he created to punish his little “mistakes.” (i.e. Satan and the other angels.)  Adam and Eve also sinned, so… Yeah… Definitely not “perfect.”  Surely a perfect all-knowing, all-powerful god, capable of literally anything, could have come up with a way to create things that wouldn’t sin even with their free will.  Right?  Unless you’re saying god can’t do anything? You can’t have it both ways.  Either he can and didn’t, he simply isn’t all-powerful and all-knowing after all, or he just doesn’t exist.  

“God knew this was going to happen so He hatched a plan to redeemed human race. He sent his Son to die for us. To take our place because whoever breaks God’s law must die…”

Surely an all-wise, all-powerful god as capable of coming up with a plan that didn’t include pain and suffering? Right?  I’m not all-wise nor all-powerful and I can think of at least five…

“If there is a better way God would have chosen it…”

There are countless better ways.  If god is real, then he chose the worst way possible simply because he enjoys watching humans suffer.  That would make him a sadist (or someone who enjoys inflicting pain).

“Am saying that we are in a battle zone, look around you evil abounds everywhere.”

And who’s fault is that?  Oh… That’s right…

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”  Isaiah 45:7

“Innocence is being butchered everywhere you turn to.”

And yet if god is real, he sits back and does literally nothing to stop it.

“The end is very near.”

You do realize that practically all Christians since the beginning of Christianity have been making false claims about “the end.”  Right?  Not a single one has come to pass.  Not even the one Jesus made.  Not one…

For reference, here is the false prophecy Jesus made:

“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.“ (Matthew 16: 27, 28)

All of the Disciples “tasted death” and Jesus still hasn’t returned… What’s the deal?

“When I read my bible and come across those verses or events that you mentioned above, I see a loving God trying to work with a fallen human race.”

How in the world can anyone in their right mind claim that the verses I listed showing rape, incest, slavery, and murder are the words of a “loving god???”  I really don’t get it…

“Look around you bad things happen every day to God people and God feels every bit of it.”

“Throughout the history of humankind, the thrust of evil have been stemmed by good men.”

And yet, god could have easily stepped in and stopped the evil if he actually wanted to. By his inaction, he participates in and perpetuates evil and the harming of innocents.

“He has to let sin play its hand.”

Why?  Is god not all powerful and all knowing?  As I’ve asked before… If god exists and is, in fact, all-powerful, why can’t he come up with a way to save mankind without all of the suffering and death?  If I, a mere human, can come up with the question and possible solutions, then surely an all-powerful god could do the same or better, right?

When god destroyed the world in the flood (if we want to pretend for a second that that actually happened…) Then there were thousands, if not millions, of innocent children that he senselessly murdered.  Besides that, if god stepped in and destroyed evil as the Bible claims, does that mean “freedom of choice” and “free will” really don’t matter after all? If, back then, he could so easily violate freedom of choice and free will to destroy the world, then why can’t he destroy all of the evil in the world now without harming the innocent?  If he can’t, then does that mean he isn’t all-powerful after all?

“No one had to die if they don’t want to die.”

You use the common excuse of the violent criminal to excuse the horrific actions of a violent deity.  For instance; rapists typically use victim blaming to excuse their crimes all the time.  For instance; “If she didn’t want to be raped she shouldn’t have dressed so provocatively!” As do thieves;  “If they didn’t want their store to get broken into, they should have paid for better security!” Victim blaming doesn’t work for humans, and it certainly doesn’t work for a supposedly perfect deity who should be held to a higher standard.  

“If the requirement was not bluntly stated, is it was implied…”

No!!! You don’t get to “imply” anything when it comes to what “God” supposedly said. Why is that so hard for you to understand?  If you can just “imply” (a.k.a. “make up”) whatever you want, then literally anyone can make up anything they want!  I could, right now, say “god says you have to give me $10,000 or else burn in hell!” and pretend it says that “in between the lines” of some verse.  

If god exists, if he is all-wise and all-knowing, and if he wanted something said, then he should have said it.  An all-wise / all-knowing god wouldn’t have left it up to his followers to come up with on their own thousands of years later.  Also, if he is all-powerful and never-changing then he could easily set the record straight right this instant by calling down from the heavens with an audible “Eh… No guys… That’s not right…” or “Hey! Great job guys! You’re really doing what I want you to!” This run-around doesn’t make sense! 

“When God said, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” If Cain had no idea what God was requiring of him, he would have objected immediately. Obviously he knew the requirement and disobeyed it.”

See? You’re reading between the lines.  You’re not taking the text at face value.  You’re adding in details and making things up to make a horrible story more palatable to you.  You can’t fathom a god that would be so cruel as to just expect a primitive creature to read his mind, so you make up additions to make god seem nicer to you.  You’re making up your own religion.  If you’re going to do that, why bother with the Bible at all?  Just sit down, write your own rules, and be done with it.  But don’t, for a second, pretend “god said” because he didn’t.  You said.

“Cain rejected God and God rejected his offering. Simple period!”

No… That’s a story you’ve made up, not the story that is given.  If Cain was “rebelling” as you claim, why would he bother bringing a sacrifice at all?  Why wouldn’t he just flip god the middle finger (so to speak) and be done with it?

“God knows that He has the heart of innocent people that are being killed left and right.”

And yet, again… He does literally nothing to help.  It’s not much of a loving god that throws down a book thousands of years ago then checks out for the rest of time. Is it?

“God is doing everything in his power to give them another chance…”

Is he though? I can think of countless other ways that a being with infinite power could step in and help change people or save the innocent.  If he truly exists, then why can’t he?

“I have seen rapist turn their life around, murderer, you name it and they have renounce their evil ways and come to God. That is the grace and mercy of God.”

So much for their victims though.  Where was god’s “grace and mercy” when the innocent victims were being raped and murdered?  Why didn’t he step in to save them?

“Satan wants us to accuse God and say if God is just why does He allow pain and suffering.”

It’s a good question.  If god created everything, then he also created pain, suffering, and evil.  If he is all powerful and all wise, then he could stop it, yet he doesn’t. Why? Why did he even create it in the first place?  And don’t give me that “it’s just the absence of god” nonsense, because that doesn’t stack up.  If god is ever-present, like most Christians claim, then there is no place where god is “absent.”  If there is, then he’s not ever-present.

“I am drawn to the suffering soul; I want to help them heal and that is God working in me.”

No, that is you naively giving the credit for your kindness to a being that isn’t there; or if he is there, doesn’t care and so leaves the job of helping the needy to others.  That’s like a kid doing all of her and her friend’s homework, then giving the friend that did nothing all the credit when they turn it in.

“Even in a cancer patient the glory of God show through, mercy and grace and benevolence comes through.”

You’ve got to be joking, right?  “Mercy, grace, and benevolence” would be to simply… You know… Cure the cancer? Or how about not creating cancer at all?

“Empathy comes across and if that’s not God’s character I don’t know what that is.”

Again… That is you giving credit for your kindness and the kindness of others to a being who (if he exists) doesn’t care enough to bother with any real action.  If he’s there, is he too powerless to do anything real or substantial? Surely god sticking his hand down from the clouds to cure cancer would convince someone to be a better person and to be kinder to people.  Surely god shouting down from heaven “Hey! Stop being a jerk!” would turn an evil person’s life around before he could hurt anyone?

“Thank you for hearing God out.”

God hasn’t spoken here.  You have spoken, and I have to say, it’s pretty gosh-darned arrogant of you to assume you literally speak for god when all you’ve done is taken an old story written by men thousands of years ago, and added your own modern flare to it.  The only thing that makes you different than the Pope or Joe ISIS over in the Middle East is the specific religion you’ve chosen.  You all claim you speak for god, you all use your religion to control others (though some of you are more violent about it), and you’re all the same when it comes to how certain you are that you’re the only ones who have it right.

Tell me… Which of the millions of religious people who are certain god speaks to them, from the thousands of different religions in the world  should we believe?  How do we know who is crazy and who god is actually speaking to, when you’re all saying god speaks to you? Can you answer that without giving a version of “Because of my personal experience” ? Because literally every religious person, throughout all time, has had personal experiences that tell them they’re right.  That’s why personal experiences don’t work very well as evidence.  Everyone’s got them.  

James Garcia – 9/13/2016  

Broken Chains- Part 3: Cain and Abel (A Rebuttal)

abel-and-cain

I received several replies to my Cain and Abel piece from someone and because they were long and my own replies got pretty lengthy, I felt a real post was required.  Here is my rebuttal to their rebuttal (her comments in red, scripture in blue, my responses in black.)

“God is too wise to be mistaken.”

Who says? God? Did god actually tell you that or are you assuming it because others have told you that’s the case? Tell me… If I were to tell you that I am “too wise to be mistaken”, would you automatically believe it? Or would you expect me to prove myself with actions rather than simple words?  If the Bible is to be believed, then there are a variety of instances when god has been wrong.  For instance… Throughout the Bible both incest, rape, and slavery are all said to be okay, but then god changed his mind about all of that?  How can rape, incest, and slavery be okay according to god in the past, but not now? Could it be because morality isn’t god’s creation and instead is based on what society judges to be moral?  Surely if an all powerful, all knowing god created morality it would be forever unchanging.  Right? 

Even within the most conservative of churches the concept of morality has changed and evolved over time, so you can’t simply claim that morality has always been the same, because it hasn’t.  Not one single church still practices morality these days as it was practiced in Jesus’s time.  Not one.  If they did, those that lead the church would most likely be thrown in jail or into a mental institution.

Besides that… How in the world could it be considered “wise” to sacrifice yourself in some sort of strange blood pact to “save” people when you could just as easily say “I forgive you.”  You can’t say “because sin requires death” because according to Christians, god makes all the rules! If god makes all the rules, then he could just as easily have said “All that sin requires to be forgiven is for me to say I forgive you” and that would have been that.  

Then, of course, there is the entire issue of god’s creation (man) being flawed anyway.  If god is “too wise to be mistaken” then how in the world could he have created a broken world? Why would the destruction of the entire planet have been necessary? Why would the need for “salvation” have even been in the picture?

“God is too good to be unwise.”

Again… Who says?  If I walked around wiping out entire civilizations, allowing my friends to rape all the women and young girls, setting wild bears on children, and having my followers sacrifice their children, would you still consider me good simply because I say so? Because if the Bible is to be believed, then god does literally all of those things I listed.  Why are human beings held to higher standards than god when it comes to what is considered good?  Why is god allowed to murder men, women, and children on a stomach-churning scale and still be considered good in your eyes, but if a normal person did that you’d demand they be executed? How can god permit rape and slavery and still be considered good in your eyes, yet if a normal person did that you’d demand they be thrown in jail?  If you truly believe the Bible, then how are all of the atrocities commanded or enacted by god okay with you?  How can you stomach it? How can you sit there and with a straight face say “god is good, god is love” when, if the story is to be believed, so many horrific things have been done by him and for him by his followers (with his blessing)?

“When we don’t understand Love, we don’t understand Him.”

Except the fact of the matter is, there are so many people on this earth that understand love far better than the god of the Bible supposedly understands it.  God is supposed to be the parent-of-all-parents, but what kind of loving parent would let his or her child die of cancer or AIDS? What kind of parent would willingly stand by and let his or her child be held in a basement to be raped by some sicko for years? What kind of parent would let his or her children die of starvation?  I’m not god, and I wouldn’t even let a stranger’s child suffer through that if I could do something to prevent it.  I wouldn’t even let my worst enemy suffer that, yet, if he’s real, then god does this every… single… day… and people like you still insist on claiming that he is the ultimate representation of love.  If that’s what real love is, then I don’t want it! I’ll take my “bastardized” version of love where I… Strange concept here… Actually care about other people and do my best to help them when they’re in need.  You can talk about “free-will” and try and use that as an excuse, but where is the free-will of the baby of a drug addict who also became addicted while in the womb? Where is the free-will of a rape victim? Of someone with cancer? Of someone who had their entire family killed in a freak car accident?

“You are right about God chiding [Abel] but you fail to see that God must be specific in order for him to reject Cain’s offering. God said to Cain, “If you do right [your] offering would be accepted” indicating that there is a right way. If you could offer anything, then God refuses it, then would be unjust.”

Except where does the Bible specify that god laid out any requirements or even asked for an offering?  Hint: It doesn’t.  Here are the verses in question in case you doubt me:

“Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.  In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” (Genesis 4:3-5)

In your own words… God must be specific!  Otherwise he is unjust; and nowhere is it stated, or even implied, that god laid out some “How do give a proper sacrifice” plan for Cain and Abel to follow.  All it says is that Abel kept flocks and Cain worked the soil.  As the story goes, they then, out of their desire to please god, brought him an offering out of the work that they both did.  God rejected Cain’s offering and praised Abel’s in front of Cain.  What kind of loving parent would do this? I don’t have children of my own, but I know that if my artist daughter brought me a picture she painted while my son baked me a cupcake, I’m not going to heap praise on my daughter’s artwork while slapping my son’s cupcake out of his hand while telling him what an awful job he did.  They both had their own individual skills, and they both brought a gift in love.  Why treat one with disfavor?  What good could that possibly serve?  You can try and claim that surely god told them the rules, but that isn’t what is stated in the story.  The story, as presented, shows us a cruel god playing two brothers against each other for no reason.  

“God is just in all his dealing with us, he doesn’t [suppress] anybody. You are a witness to that. He has done no evil to you.”

If it is within your power to help someone in need and refuse, then you’re guilty by inaction.  If you see someone brutally murdering a child and you could have stopped them, then that child’s blood is on your hands as well.  If god exists, he may not have done any evil to me with his own hands, but he allowed quite a bit of evil to be done to me and to others; evil that, if he truly existed, he easily could have stopped.  You can’t claim it’s all because of “free will” either, because that simply doesn’t pan out.   Drug addiction, alcoholism, STDs…  You can attribute all of those things to “free will” if you want, but you can’t say that cancer, or a baby with AIDS, or a classroom full of children being shot dead, are because of their own free will.  Where does their free will come into the picture? Is the life or innocence of a child truly worth so much less than the free will of a murderer or a rapist? How does allowing a single, loving mother of four to die of cancer affect anyone’s free will?  

“You are right about God refusing his offering but you failed to acknowledge that there must have been a right way or right offering for God to reject Cain’s offering.”

I don’t acknowledge this because it simply isn’t there.  You are implying conditions onto the situation that simply aren’t stated, and if god exists and is truly wise, then he would have stated those conditions simply to make sure someone like me didn’t question it.  After all, he is supposed to be all-knowing, right?  If that’s true, he would know someone like me would have this question at some point and would have included an explanation in his “Holy Word” wouldn’t he?

“My point in the first post is that love requires freedom of choice.”

Again… Where is the freedom of choice in cancer? Where is the freedom of choice for the child who is molested by an adult? Where is the freedom of choice for a mother who sees her child blown to bits by a bomb in a war-torn country? If god is truly all-powerful then he could easily pluck a child out of danger without violating anyone’s freedom of choice.  The “freedom of choice” excuse is a cop-out, nothing more.  The ultimate horror is to have an innocent child who happened to be raised in the “wrong” religion, getting raped and murdered, only to wake up in Hell immediately.  Because “god is love”? Right? Nothing says “love” like an innocent victim being condemned to an eternity of the worst torture imaginable! 

“Once you understand this simple principle, with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can [read] the Bible and understand it. Keep searching the scripture.”


I understand the Bible perfectly fine.  The problem here isn’t my understanding.  The problem here is with you and those like you.  You see a verse that tells a horror story and to make it a little less terrifying you add details to make the bitter pill that is the Bible go down easier.  You see a story of an all-powerful / all-knowing being playing a game with the lives of two brothers for no reason? You add some “off-screen” scene to make it seem less terrible.  You see that same all-powerful / all-knowing being playing a sick, psychological game with his most loyal servant by demanding he sacrifice his own son, then stopping him last-minute, and to make it more palatable you make up some amazing “lesson” we’re all supposed to have learned that simply wasn’t given in the text. 

“The bible requires you to dig for the truth…”

That is exactly why I gave up Christianity.   I dug and dug for much of my teenage and adult life and the truth that I found in the Bible is just too horrific for me to believe it serves a good or loving purpose.  No loving being would use the Bible as it’s instruction guide.  

“A lamb sacrifice was what God asked for.”

God asked for no such thing.  God was supposedly given a gift by his two creations that wanted to show him they loved him and instead of accepting them graciously, he praised one and shunned the other, for no good reason.

“It represented a Savior that was promised…”

That is simply a detail you’ve added to make the story less terrible to your conscience.  Without that little detail added hundreds of years after the fact, the god presented in Genesis looks kind of like a sadist.  

“…by faith Abel offered an excellent sacrifice.”

No… Abel just got lucky that he was the one Adam picked him to work the flocks while Cain  was picked to tend the crops.  It was luck-of-the-draw, nothing more.  

“Hey, I will love it if we could study together. Do you know that hell does not burn for ever?”

If you want to present your rebuttals, I’ll be happy to reply.  But the Bible and Christianity have caused too much pain for me for one lifetime. At this point, my only purpose in studying the Bible is to help show others what a terrible book it actually is.  If that offends you, then I apologize, but you might want to find another friend to study with.  In spite of the differences in our beliefs, I really do wish you the best.  Good luck with your own search for truth. 

Regards,

 

James

Yes… I AM With Her…

So, as I’ve made very clear… This election cycle and everything that has happened in the primaries has been very upsetting.  I wanted Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination with a passion (and I believe had he faced a fair primary election that he would have…)  However, he didn’t… I feel that the DNC (and most likely Hillary Clinton also…) acted dishonestly but… They didn’t really do anything illegal.  They acted like sleazy politicians, they took advantage of the system that we currently have, and they won, as much as that disgusts me to say so…

In his speech President Obama said that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to run the country, and he’s right… To a certain extent.  She is the most qualified person left in the race (that actually has a chance of winning the general election…) But as Robert Reich said many times throughout the primary season, Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to run the country with the SYSTEM WE HAVE.  Bernie Sanders is BY FAR the most qualified person to run the system that we SHOULD have.  He is the most qualified person to run America as it should be, but it’s not that way… Not yet… That doesn’t mean it won’t be that way eventually.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to be vocal about changing the American system. But that leaves the upcoming general election upon which there is so much at stake.  

In spite of her faults, which includes her dishonesty in the primary, Hillary Clinton isn’t all bad.  Most of my disagreements with her fall on the economic side.  I hate that she is in bed with the big banks and Wall Street.  I hate that economically she promises to look out for the future of all Americans, but in reality she only looks out for those who give her large donations.  However…  I agree with everything she stands for on the social side of things, and since no matter which candidate wins between her and Donald Trump the situation with the banks and Wall Street will not change (except for the fact that with Donald Trump we face the possibility of nearly complete economic collapse), I am going to focus on the social side of things.

With that said, here are some of the things I think Hillary Clinton has right:

LGBT Rights: As everyone knows, this is a big factor for me when I consider voting for a politician.  I will never… EVER… stand behind someone (like Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence) who threatens to take away my rights as an American citizen.  I am not going to take the chance that I will be relegated back to that “lesser” status that LGBT people had to live with for so long. So many that came before me fought too long and too hard for the gains that have been made to risk standing behind a homophobe like Donald Trump.

Regardless of where she stood in the past, or how long it took her to come around, Hillary Clinton stands behind the LGBT community and I know that she will continue to help the LGBT community fight to keep the rights we have and make progress towards true equality in the future.  Because of this, I am with her.  

Women’s Rights: As anyone with half a brain can see… Donald Trump is a misogynist.  For him, respect for women has been non-existent; from his treatment of Megyn Kelly during the Republican debates, to his various wives that he’s traded in for younger models, to his weird obsession with his daughter’s looks, to the way he treats Elizabeth Warren and every other woman he comes into contact with.  There is no way Trump will fight to close the gender pay gap or fight to keep a woman’s right to choose what happens with her own body between her and her doctor.  Hillary Clinton knows what it’s like to be a woman in a “man’s world.”  She knows what it’s like to have to fight tooth and nail to succeed, and she knows what it’s like to have men try and tell her what she can and can’t do with her own body.  Hillary will fight for women’s rights, and because of this I am with her.  

Minority Rights: Let’s face it… Donald Trump is a xenophobic, bigoted, hateful, racist.  There is no getting around that.  Anyone who tries to say otherwise is lying to themselves to justify voting for him or is a xenophobic, bigoted, hateful, racist themselves and doesn’t see anything wrong with that.  He’s backed by the KKK, He’s called Latino’s rapists and murderers, he’s labeled the entire Muslim community as terrorists who should be banned from the country, and under his leadership he would alienate us from the rest of the world and destroy whatever progress we’ve made in the last eight years under President Obama towards repairing the American image as a place where “all [people] are created equal”.  Trump will treat innocent people like criminals, he will break apart families that are trying to make better lives for themselves, and he will do so from atop his place of privilege just as rich white men have been doing for nearly as long as America has existed.

Hillary Clinton will treat minorities with the respect that they deserve to be treated with.  She understands that our country is one that is built on immigration and that in spite of the actions of a hateful few, not all people that are part of specific groups are terrorists.  Because of this I am with her.  

Climate Change: Donald Trump is clueless when it comes to the world around us.  Much like other Republicans, he makes absurd statements regarding climate change and continues to deny that it is a problem in spite of the scientific consensus.  The Republican party that he currently leads ignores the damage that we are doing to the world we live in and refuses to make changes to help stop catastrophic climate change.

Hillary Clinton has a plan to combat climate change in place.  She knows that it is our job to leave the planet a better place for those that will come after us and so we have a responsibility to stop polluting it and make positive changes towards clean energy.  Because of this, I am with her.  

Supreme Court Justices:  Donald Trump cannot be allowed to nominate the next several Supreme Court Justices.  He just can’t… If Donald Trump is allowed to replace nearly half of the court, there is no way civil rights won’t be taken back to the 50s (or worse), Unions will be in serious trouble, and any hope of overturning Citizens United will be thrown out the window.  

Hillary Clinton, at the very least, will nominate semi-Liberal justices, and may even nominate Progressives.  Having Progressives on the court is absolutely necessary to make positive changes and to take our country in the direction that those of us who call ourselves Progressives believe the country should go.  Because of this, I am with her.  

Yes… I am angry with the Democratic party.  I am changing my affiliation to Independent and I plan on continuing to fight towards fixing a corrupt system.  I will never stop expressing my outrage towards how the Primary election was carried out.  But I can’t, in good conscience, ignore the very real threat to the country that is Donald Trump, and I can’t make an “anger vote” for a third party who will never win the election.  That is as good as voting for Trump, and I just can’t do it… As I’ve mentioned before, Donald Trump is a homophobic, racist, misogynist, and he never should have gotten as far as he has in this race.  

While I don’t believe Hillary Clinton is the ideal candidate, she does have many positive attributes (I’ve only mentioned a few of the major ones).  Donald Trump has no redeeming qualities about him.  Not one.  If he is allowed to step into the White House  after the General election then I truly believe the country… and possibly the rest of the world… is in for a world of pain.  With Hillary Clinton, at worst, things remain the same. At most, we make some true Progressive gains on the social front.  So yes… In spite of those things that upset me about Hillary Clinton and the DNC during the primary… In spite of the differences I have with them on the economic side of things… I am still going to stand behind her.  The alternative is just too horrifying to consider.  

James Garcia – July 28, 2016

Guns Need to Go

American culture has a disgusting and harmful love affair with guns, and once again the news is flooded with reports of not one, but two shootings less than a day apart from each other.  One took the life of a young girl just beginning an amazing career in music, the other took the lives of 50 innocent people on their own paths, injuring over 50 more.  

Of course we have the usual; outpourings of support from various places, calls for prayer, etc… Which are all well and good, but it’s sad that we even have a usual when it comes to shootings.  What sickens me though (besides the shootings themselves of course) are government officials who have voted time and time again, against common-sense gun regulations who still chime in with their “condolences” and calls for a “moment of silence”, as if they care even a bit.  As others have stated, the blood of the victims is on their hands, just as much as those of the men that held the guns.  

A Huffington Post article written by Nicole Silverberg calls for those tired of gun violence to petition their Congressmen and women to fight for tougher gun regulations, but I disagree.  My views line up more with another Huffington Post article written by Anjali Sareen.  Guns need to go!  Of course whenever anyone says something like that, you get the typical arguments from people who would rather cling to their weapons than see an end to large numbers of innocent people being slaughtered in cold blood in an instant.  Arguments such as:

  • Guns don’t kill people! People kill people!: Which of course is just a load of crap, plain and simple.  A gun’s sole purpose is to kill things.  Sure, some are used for hunting, but handguns and assault rifles are designed specifically to kill people in the most quick and efficient way possible, and as we’ve seen too many times to count, they are serving that purpose perfectly.  Studies confirm that states with higher levels of gun ownership have higher rates of gun homicides (go figure!)   

Besides that, Conservatives who cling to their guns like security blankets, frequently argue for bans on other things that don’t actually harm people; such as gay marriage or transgender people using the public restroom of the gender they identify with.  Because those things will supposedly harm our society, right? (In case you can’t tell, I’m totally rolling my eyes right now.)   

Here’s a note to Conservative gun apologists: When you ignore the actual threat that easy access to guns poses to American lives, you lose the right to comment about the imaginary threat that LGBT people will never actually pose.  No one believes for a second that you actually give a damn about the “safety of our society.”

  • But we need guns to protect our homes!:  Really? Does having a gun in your home really make your home safer?  The answer? Not according to study, after study, after study.  In reality, those studies find that gun ownership leads to an increase in gun homicide, with no decrease in homicides committed by other weapons.  Gun ownership also leads to a marked increase in successful suicides.  Not to mention the fact that you’re more likely to accidentally shoot yourself or a loved one than you are to shoot an intruder.

But what if someone actually does break into my home!? You might ask… But even should such a rare event actually occur, it’s unlikely you’ll even use the gun.  According to an LA Times article:

More than 42% of the time, the victim took some action — maced the offender, yelled at the offender, struggled, ran away, or called the police. Victims used a gun in less than 1% of the incidents (127/14,145). In other words, actual self-defense gun use, even in our gun-rich country, is rare.”  

If a robbery or home invasion actually did occur, it’s extremely unlikely that you’d use a gun to stop the intruder, even if you have one in your home.

So let me reiterate… The “It’ll keep my home safe” argument has been effectively debunked multiple times.  In fact, according to the same LA Times article:

“Almost two-thirds of the people in the U.S. population live in homes without guns, and there is no evidence that the inhabitants of these homes are at greater risk of being robbed, injured or killed by criminals compared with citizens in homes with guns. Instead, the evidence is overwhelming that a gun in the home increases the likelihood not only that a household member will be shot accidentally, but also that someone in the home will die in a suicide or homicide.”  

  • Criminals won’t follow gun laws!: Of course they won’t! Breaking laws is what makes a criminal a criminal.  But then again… It’s not your typical criminal marching into a movie theater, a school, or a nightclub to open fire on countless innocent people.  

James Holmes, the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, had no known criminal record.   He bought his guns legally because they were affordable, and easily available for purchase.  He had them delivered to his home!

Syid Rizwan Farook, murderer of 14 innocent people in California, bought his guns legally.

Christopher Harper-Mercer, murderer of 9 innocent people in Oregon, bought his guns legally.  

Vest Lee-Flanagan, murderer of 2 innocent people in Virginia, purchased his guns legally.  

Dylan Roof, murderer of 9 innocent people in South Carolina, purchased his guns legally.  

Jaylen Ray Fryberg, murderer of 4 innocent people in Washington, used his father’s legally purchased gun.  

Adam Lanza, murder of 26 innocent people (a majority of them children) in Connecticut, used his mother’s arsenal of legally purchased guns.  

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murderers of 15 innocent people in Colorado, easily and affordably purchased their weapons from Mark Manes who obtained them legally.  

Time and time again we see these mass shootings on the news, and in a majority of them, the weapons were obtained easily, affordably, and legally by people with no prior criminal record.  Would these murderers have been able to purchase them on the blackmarket if guns were banned? Possibly… Possibly not… But as I’ve said; in nearly all instances, the weapons used were purchased easily, affordably, and legally.

If guns were banned and the murderers were forced to purchase them illegally on the blackmarket, at the very least they would have been much harder to obtain and they would be much more expensive; possibly even too expensive for the murderers to purchase.  (Source: New York Times: “How They Got Their Guns”)

  •  But the 2nd Amendment guarantees my right to own a gun!:  Does it though?  There are a few arguments against this.  Here is the actual text of the 2nd amendment:

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

On the surface, it seems like it’s stating that Americans have the right to have guns, which it does… Sort of…  But what gun apologists ignore is the “well regulated Militia” part.  I’ll ignore the “militia” part and focus just on the phrase “well regulated.”  Inevitably, whenever you hear a gun-nut quoting the 2nd amendment they will almost always leave out the part that says “A well Regulated Militiaand jump right to the “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  Because it fits their agenda.  In reality yes, Americans are guaranteed the right to own guns, but… And this is a big one…  According to the actual amendment it is well within the boundaries of the government’s authority to regulate the hell out of them.

Based on the reading of the amendment itself (and not on some Conservatives selective interpretation of it) they could even say “sure, you can own a gun, but it can only hold one bullet, it can’t be more powerful than a pellet gun, and it has to be stored in a government facility and fitted with a tracking device.”  After all, it says you “have the right to bear arms”  but it doesn’t say that you have “the right to bear any and all the arms you want, with no limits and no regulations.”  Which is what gun apologists have turned it into.  No matter how much those apologists dislike it, REGULATION is just as much a part of the amendment as gun ownership itself.   

Occasionally you get those super gun-nuts who use the “necessary to the security of a free state” part and claim that they have to have guns in case the government tries to set up a dictatorship or something… But come on! The government has access to drones that can shoot a missile from hundreds of feet in the air, with no need to get anywhere near you, much less in range of your gun.  They have armored tanks, nuclear bombs, trained snipers.  I find it hard to believe that anyone is really dumb enough to think that their guns will be able to stop the government if they actually wanted to take over.  If they do, they’re probably not mentally fit enough to have a gun anyway.  Plus, I have to believe that our military men and women… men and women who just so happen to be our friends and family… would never agree to carry out such actions against the people they enlisted to protect (or in other words, their loved ones.)

Besides all of that… The constitution is meant to be a living document that changes with the times.  That’s why the founding fathers wrote in a process to amend it.  The 18th amendment, passed in 1920, banned alcohol.  Then, just 13 years later in 1933, the 21st amendment repealed that ban.  That’s the glory of the process that was established, and yes, even the 2nd amendment can be repealed.  

I’m not delusional enough to think that a constitutional amendment to repeal the 2nd amendment would ever pass, but it’s far passed the time to put in place bans on assault rifles, weapons that are capable of holding / firing large amounts of ammunition, and also weapons that are quickly and easily reloaded.  There are no valid reasons why a civilian needs those types of weapons… Not one… They aren’t used for sport or for hunting and they don’t protect people’s homes… They’re primary purpose is killing people. Period.

There are also no valid reasons, not even the 2nd amendment nonsense thrown around by gun-nuts, that bans such as those I’ve mentioned can’t be put in place.  

So what can I do?:  Whether you agree with Anjali Sareen and myself and believe guns should be banned, or if you agree with Nicole Silverberg and think regulations need to be more strict; if you care and you’re tired of mass shootings, you have to contact your Representatives and tell them how you feel.  Both Sareen and Silverberg provide good sources for finding your representatives, finding out their views on the issues, and also ways to contact them:

Find out who represents your state and how to contact them here:

http://www.contactingthecongress.org/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi

Find out your representatives views on the issues here:

http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm

If you’re not tired of seeing these horrors and you make pathetic excuses about gun ownership, then you’re heartless and I have no patience for you.

No more Orlandos…  No more San Bernardinos…  No more Auroras…  No more Newtowns…  No more…

Guns need to go!

Enough is Enough!
James Garcia: June 13, 2016

Still Proud

To those people that would carry / have carried out violence against the LGBT community I have this to say:

Chances are good that if your religion teaches you to hate other people, so much that you’d murder them in cold blood, simply because they’re a little different than you, then the problem is with your religion, not the other people.  

If your “god” tells you to hate people simply because they love a little differently than you, then you don’t worship a god at all, you worship a monster.  No all-intelligent being, supposedly capable of creating the universe we live in, would ever sanction the kind of atrocity that happened in Orlando today.   

Your actions, and the actions of those like you, only make me more proud of who I am. They make me more proud to be a part of the LGBT community. You see, the LGBT community, in spite of petty government employees refusing them marriage licenses, in spite of hateful business owners refusing to sell them cakes, in spite of discriminatory “religious freedom” bills, in spite of ridiculous bathroom laws that seek to dehumanize them, and yes, even in spite of all the physical violence that has been carried out against them, they keep on fighting.  Why?  Because the LGBT community is built up of people from all different races, religions, cultures, and backgrounds. It’s built up of people that are brave, caring, and accepting; while you and those like you, are nothing more than sick, pathetic, cowards.  You’ll never win.  In fact… You’ve already lost.
#StillProud #Pride2016 #Orlando

 

James Garcia:  June 12, 2016