In God We Trust (All Others Pay Cash)

This God thing is really getting out of hand.

I mean, it's ALWAYS been overblown. Ever since the Nazarene walked the planet, got nailed to a tree, then mysteriously vanished after having been buried, there's been this obsession with the "True Divine" and "miracles".

Then the righteous started getting really righteous, and obsession is not a strong enough word to describe the actions to follow. I think it even transcended zeal.

In case you're new to this planet, I refer you to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the century immediately preceding the beginning of the Italian Renaissance, the Salem Witch Trials, and the Abortion Clinic Bombings, in no particular order of importance other than that's about the order they happened in.

I think there were other smaller events which transpired, but I'm not sure I have room to list them all.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not a God-hater or a would-be God-slayer or anything as completely bozotic as all that, although after having several large cosmic jokes played on me of late, I think I would like to have a word with said Creator -- and his Mother.

But I digress.

Of late, there's been this flap in the news about someone suing to get "...under God" removed from our pledge of allegiance on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.

I must confess that I applaud this individual. Ever since 1954, when the Cold War started, this country has been in a state of paranoia over letting people live their lives. Witness, e.g., the House Un-American Activities Committee, McCarthyism, blacklisting. You've probably read about it all. If you haven't, do. It's a blood-chilling read more sobering than any murder mystery -- or real-life murder case. Study it. Read about how the Fear of Communism -- and Fear of a Godless State -- brought about a great deal of rules and regulations and abridgements of that nice little passage in the Constitution guaranteeing separation of Church and State.

They make the motions, saying that religious groups are not allowed in public schools, regardless of denomination. They'd probably come in and harass a student for making a religious observation of five minutes of silence or chant or prayer or whatever during lunchtime, if they could monitor everyone, just to make sure they didn't transgress that Constitutional line. Wouldn't matter if you were Wiccan, Pagan, Christian, Muslim, whatever.

But since 1954, there's been this line about "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Here, let me see if I can recall how it's supposed to go. This is the old one; all the new garbage has been stricken. "I pledge allegiance to my the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, with Liberty and Justice for all."

Now, what's so hard about that?

I have a remnant of a lighter age. Actually, thanks to Dad, I have several of them, but this one in particular is a find. I think I'll have it framed.

It's a 1950 issue five dollar silver certificate which reads: "The United States of America will pay to the bearer on demand

Other than that, it's an ordinary fiver. Lincoln's face, the Abe Lincoln Memorial Stadium and Hot Dog Stand, the whole works. Certainly not the ugly hack job of late. It's a beautiful piece of work.

Nowhere on the front or the back of this note does it state, in any way shape or form, anything about God. No "IN GOD WE TRUST". Nothing. It just guarantees that the United States, presumably its treasury, will pay the bearer -- me -- five dollars upon demand and likely surrender of said note, even though it does not state explicitly that I need to forfeit the note to get the five dollars. But I digress.

I had an interesting campfire revival experience when I was about four. I was out camping and singing songs and some of them started turning to the folksy religious ones. Even at age four, I felt very unnerved, very disquieted. I don't know why, but religion has always bothered me. I state that, by and large, I am spiritual, and not religious. Religion is spirituality with military funding and herd mentality. This is not something that is conducive to social well being.

To this day, I can appreciate the beauty in the architecture of the old buildings, the churches and cathedrals, but I can not handle being present to witness a mass or a sermon. It reeks of hypocrisy, shame, and the worst form of righteousness.

I will note, with some degree of accuracy, that probably most of the presidents we have lost to assassins have been of other faith than that of the ever-pervasive White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. I could be wrong...

But I digress.

To sum up thus far, I applaud the fellow who is launching the campaign to further the separation of Church and State. I still wish that we could get "In God We Trust" stricken from our currency, since it violates the Constitutional guarantee of Separation of Church and State.

Something to ponder. Remember they were afraid of a Godless state? What do we have now? The presence of this God has not improved our quality of life. Our children run amuck without fear of repercussions or reprimand, and no sense of responsibility or reprehension for their actions.

But you know the real killer? I think it's summed up in this bumper sticker I saw once.

Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven.

We have a very large mass of people out there who are convinced that no matter what they do, as long as they repent in the end, they will be allowed to enter their Heaven, because their God will forgive them. What a fantastically irresponsible manner in which to raise children. No wonder we're so screwed up.

I don't know about you, but I know where my own personal heaven and hell are. I also know that if there is a heaven where everyone good goes, I'm sure I will pay you a visit in my own roundabout way before continuing my journey. If you think your journey ends there, you've got a nasty surprise coming to you.

But I digress.

In parting from this diatribe, if you're reading this and you're offended by my comments on God and Godlessness and the fact that yes, even God has a Mother (who's waiting for him to clean up his act, in my opinion!), I have a perfectly good pair of legs by which I will kick that crutch you call "religion" right out from under you and tell you to take responsibility for your own actions.

And I invite you to do the same for me, should I need it. I'm not perfect. I admit it. At least I can. How about you?


Hypocrisy and Change

"Things are seldom what they seem
Skim milk masquerades as cream
Highlows pass as patent leather
Jackdaws strut in peacocks' feathers..."

There are days, and then there are days.

There are days where I wonder how this world has survived thus far.

It's okay for our kids to see war and gratuitous violence and drugs (in spite of "just say no" (or "just fly low", whichever you prefer)) and the six o'clock news.

It's okay for our kids to listen to music of questionable origin which makes overt references to acts of violence against people of other races.

It's okay for our kids to be exposed to constant attitude, and to turn around and give lip to their parents (remember, physical discipline, which is what these little upstarts needed before they got too out of hand and turned into big upstarts, is no longer permitted. Your kid could turn you in for spanking them.).

Heaven forbid they should be exposed to love, tenderness, caring, or (gasp!) public display of affection.

Or, more so, forbid that they should be exposed to "unusual living arrangements." Even if a mother lives in perfect harmony with two other men (or women, for that matter!), it's not all right, because it goes against the "fahn, upstandin' Murkin morrle strutcher" which so many of the blind sheep embrace.

What an amazingly hypocritical society we live in.

We can't leave well enough alone. We don't seem to have enough to do with our lives that we can't pass so much judgment on other people. We can't just let other people live lives without ostracising them for living in unusual harmony.

There's truth out there to the Wiccan law, "an it harm none, do what thou will." As long as you're not hurting anyone, what's the problem?

More of the most stupid conflicts have taken place over some righteous charlatan's stance on morals. It's amazing. Just because one small group of people cannot wrap their minds around the concept of harmony within an alien arrangement, suddenly they have to rally other people to their cause.

And yet, it is permissible for the depression mongers on the six o'clock news to spread doom, depression and other bad feelings to the multitudes, to do everything in their power to keep down the morale of the populace.

I get a lot of funny looks when people find out that I don't watch the news.

And then there's change. People change, and we never see it coming. Sometimes we never see it coming in ourselves. We swear that, after the first time, we'll never ...oh, get married again, for example. ...and along comes someone to sweep us off our feet, and we forget every reservation we had about repeating past mistakes, probably because the person is of sufficient quality of character to make us realise that the past is the past, and that we won't make the same mistakes with this one that we made last time.

Of course, there's always the "Ugh. I'll never do that again", which of course we do again. Seriously, which of us will never party that hard ever again?

It's hard, really, to remain immutable. After all, if you can't change your mind, are you sure you still have one?

Ask yourself this, if you are set in your ways: Could you crawl off, somewhere, knowing that you are a Dinosaur doomed to extinction, and just die in the desert? There are a number of people who could answer yes to this question. There are a number of people who could answer no to this question.

The mind-blower is going to be not how many people fall into either camp, but *which* people fall into either camp.

There are actually times that I feel like a dinosaur. I'm not as abreast of the technology as I could be, largely because I lack the self-discipline to do so. I've always learned better in a group situation. Could I walk out into the desert and lay down and call it? Sometimes. Quite often. I'm content with what I know. I find the world moves too fast for me to keep up. I'll be lucky if I know 10% of what's current by the time I'm 50.

And I'm okay with this, unless you want to come keep me company on a journey to higher learning...