A lesson in what Jesus would not do

El Greco, “The Miracle of Christ Healing the Blind.”

Walking around the Legislature Building the other day, talking to Democrats and Republicans about the necessity of expanding access to health care, it happened again: Every Republican asked me whether my son was working when he got sick.

I gave them my usual answer: Yes, he was working and he was a full-time student with a 3.75 GPA. Now let me ask you a question. When did unemployment become punishable by death?

Every one of them replied, “Well, you know, some people just want a handout.”

“No,” I replied, “nobody wants a handout. I’ve worked with people in poverty. I’ve been in poverty. Nobody wants a handout.

“And another thing. Health care is not a handout. Never. Health care is a basic human right.

“And do you know what we call people who deny basic human rights to others?

“We call them fascists.”

I’m pretty sure every one of these Republicans calls themselves a Christian, so I’d like to offer a little pop quiz to them.

Question 1: Jesus is walking along and a blind man approaches him, begging for help. Does Jesus:

A) Tell the man he needs to get a job with health insurance.

B) Ask to see the man’s health insurance card and then say, “Oh, this isn’t covered under your plan. We can squeeze you in this afternoon, but you’ll have to bring $2300 cash. We don’t take checks.”

C) Tell the blind man to go to the Emergency Room so someone can take a look at him there.

D) Heal the blind man, no questions asked.

Question 2: Jesus is walking along the road and he feels as though power has drained from him. He turns to see an old woman, stooped low, who has had vaginal bleeding for years. She has touched the hem of his robe, hoping to be healed. Does Jesus:

A) Recoil in horror at the unclean woman and demand she be removed from his presence.

B) Tell her she can get free feminine hygiene supplies at the County Health Department.

C) Tell her she’s guilty of Eve’s Original Sin and what’s happened to her is exactly what she deserves.

D) Smile and say, “Your faith has healed you,” as she stands straight, no longer bleeding and thanks him profusely.

Question 3: Jesus is walking along and a man comes to him in a panic. The man’s son is possessed by a demon and the father is afraid it will kill the child. Does Jesus:

A) Tell the father there’s no such thing as demons and he should take the child to see a good neurologist.

B) Tell the father this looks like a mental illness and that’s not covered under his employer’s plan, but the next time the child has a “fit,” the parents should call the police, who will come and handcuff the boy, throw him in the back of a squad car and take him to the ER, where he’ll be handcuffed to a gurney until a psychiatric bed becomes available. Could be a couple of days.

C) Tell the father the demon is punishment for his own sins, so he’d better figure out what he did and pray really hard for forgiveness, and if he prays hard enough, the child will be healed. If the child remains possessed, it’s because the parents aren’t praying hard enough. (The irony here is that the disciples asked why they couldn’t heal the sick and Jesus told them their faith wasn’t strong enough — just in case you thought I didn’t know my Bible stuff.)

D) Heal the child, no co-pays or deductibles charged, no questions asked.

I’m not going to tell you the answers. You can figure them out for yourself. I think if you’re the Christian you say you are, if you read the words of the man you claim to follow and take them seriously, you’ll get the answers right.

I think if you truly believe we can and should allow people to die because those of us with the privilege of access to health care think they’re somehow undeserving of what we have, then you’ll fail this quiz.

What’s worse, though, is that you fail as a moral human being, no matter what faith you claim.

How stupid does it have to get?

fix stupidA child in Oklahoma who insists humans existed alongside dinosaurs can still get an A on a science test under a newly introduced bill. Creationism is allowed to be taught as fact in Tennessee schools, and Missouri is still trying to pass a bill.

In Kansas, a bill has been introduced allowing teachers to refute climate science.

A legislator in Missouri has sponsored a bill to make it a felony for anyone to propose any new gun safety legislation.

A legislator in Alabama, a woman, has called the fetus “the largest organ in the body.” Uh, that would be the skin, honey.

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg denies that any homeless people are sleeping on the streets.

This doesn’t even include the petty, vindictive bills and laws that would deny millions of people access to health care through Medicaid expansions or reduce Social Security or Medicare benefits, slash taxes on the rich while increasing them on the working class, slash unemployment benefits for people whose jobs are shipped overseas …

I’m just talking stupid here, not immorality.

I thought we had reached the depths of stupid when Senate candidate Todd Akin from Missouri insisted that in a “real” rape a woman could just “shut that whole thing down” and avoid pregnancy.

It seems we’re still descending, though. Denying scientific fact has become the fashionable thing for the Right to do. It doesn’t matter what kind of proof there is, science is wrong and they feel disrespected when you tell their their religious belief might be metaphor and not fact.

We have come to the point where claims of religious freedom are allowed to trump science in schools and in legislatures. Where does it stop?

Your religion is called faith, and the definition of faith is a belief in something you can’t see or touch or even prove. I understand faith because I’m a Christian.

But I also believe in science, and the two exist nicely side-by-side. The creation story is metaphor. God has no sense of time, so each “day” is an era in the evolution of life. See? It fits, unless you insist God didn’t inspire the Bible but wrote it.

“Well, evolution is just a theory,” they say.

So is gravity. Get over it.

As for the fetus as organ thing and the magical lady parts, I just don’t know what to say except that when someone says something that stupid no one should ever vote for them again.



A class in genocide

Muslim women break the fast of Ramadan. US soldiers have been taught by the military that civilian populations of Muslims are fair game for attack.

Future leaders in the United States armed services have been taught by the military that Muslims must be wiped out through “total war” before the terrorist threat to America is erased. In classes, they were told that the US needs to use “Hiroshima tactics,” killing not just soldiers, but entire cities and that civilian populations were fair game. It’s true that there are Muslims who hate us; it’s also true that there are Christians who hate all Muslims. Neither religion can boast the love for humanity that both faiths call for, but neither should be condemned as being all evil, either. The Pentagon has cancelled the classes, which were held at held at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College, but hundreds of young officers have been told that the official position of the US military is that Muslims are all terrorists, and that does real damage to our position in the world. If you want to turn more Muslims into terrorists, then treat all of them as terrorists. The problem here is that millions and millions of Muslims are peace-loving people who have no interest in killing Americans. The ones who hate us are led by hate-filled people, not by God. The same is true of Christians. If you are a Muslim child in a predominately Muslim country with no Christians among your circle of friends and family, you’re not likely to understand that most Christians don’t want to make war on you. We can be painted as villains because we are the unknown. Here in the United States, Muslims are in the minority. After 9/11, we tended to blame all Muslims for the actions of a violent minority and we punished those we knew to be followers of the teachings of the Prophet, Muhammad. But how many of us have spent time with people of the Islam faith? Until I covered religion for a newspaper in New York, I knew little about the faith, just what I could recall from a course in world religions I took many years ago. In 1993, I spent a day of Ramadan with the people of a small mosque in Chestnut Ridge, NY, and it turned out to be one of the most profoundly spiritual experiences of my life. I rose before dawn to eat breakfast and fasted all day, then broke the fast with my new friends at the mosque. The food was fabulous and the company even more so. After dinner, I spent the evening with the women, talking about faith and family, and it was there I learned the real meaning of sisterhood. The experience shattered my feminist delusion that women and men are really the same. We are different, but equal. Our two faiths are more alike than I had ever dreamed. We talked about God’s mercy and grace; we talked about our children and our hopes and dreams. We had much in common. As I rose to leave, one of the women called out to me. “I just want to tell you something,” she said. “The word Muslim means lover of God, and you, my sister, are Muslim.” I have never been paid a higher compliment. A few days later, as the story was about to go to press, a group of fanatic Muslims tried to blow up the World Trade Center. My editor asked me to call my Muslim friends and ask them about the truck bomb. “OK,” I said. “As long as someone calls a Christian and asks about David Koresh and the mayhem in Waco for the Easter story.” He didn’t think the two were the same. After all, Muslims are known to be violent. I pointed out the Crusades, the Inquisition and other well known examples of Christian violence, and he agreed to talk about how we might cover this without offending people. “We need to educate our readers that most Muslims are appalled by this,” he said. The solution was for me to call the Imam and talk to him about the violence in the city and allow him to condemn it, apart from the story on Ramadan. “These are not people who are inspired by Allah,” he said. “These are people who are inspired by earthly power.” The military officers who gave this class in genocide need to meet some of the Muslims I know, and the Christians who condone this hatred need to look into their own hearts to see the reflection of what they’re saying about their Muslim brothers and sisters.

A Better Woman

Just a quick little post to share a few things I found this weekend that went a long way toward restoring my faith in humanity.

Asheville, North Carolina is a very special place. It feels like I took a moment to look up from all the bedazzlement of the terror baby, oil sucking, death-dealing, lying out their asses, soul-less,  toupee wearing, freaked out “conservative” “Teabagger” Republican menace… and saw the future. The future a more fully realized person would create. Yes, I mean a liberal-minded person. I use the word “menace” with the utmost sadness for those who are already hopelessly lost in the delusion that the master will someday choose them,  his good and faithful servant when we all know this master doesn’t give two shits about you. So, yeah that was nice to take a break. Here are a few things that chilled me out and lifted my spirits for the battles to come.

c’mon, stop laughing… I’m serious here : ) I know we are headed down the drain at a breakneck pace, but just hold on a second and get to clicking these links.

The Honeycutters…

Played the French Broad River Fest this weekend.

From Goodnight Irene “this world ain’t as bad as the papers make it seem”

People you need to hear this. It’s Outstanding.

Myspace music player


Yarn was kick ass… but, I can’t get their Reverb Nation song pack to work so here is the link. Definitely worth a click.

And that was just River Fest… Then we headed over to The Big Love event and I met some amazing artists who are creating amazing works of art despite such a hostile economy. Just buying from local, handmade artisans alone will go a long way to restoring faith in your own humanity.

Here is one of my favorites for you to check out.

Steampunky Raku Robots with Attitude.

Yes, really. These are the coolest little avatars ever.

Bottitudes is local Asheville artist Susan Lee Decker.

“I’m an artist, adventurer and recovering Iowan who LOVES robots and always has. Since I don’t have a proper robotics lab, nor the technical skills to build real robots, I’ve settled for the ceramic variety. They might not do housework or build cars or diffuse bombs or anything, but they do make people smile while they just stand there looking all steampunky cool.”




Gotta go… have a great week y’all

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