I just have to get this out of my system.  This is by no means the first time I have had this thought.  It’s the first time I’ve dared to share it.

Several of my “friends” who have radically different value systems than myself (Facebook really has changed the meaning of the word “friend”), have posted things like this before. Usually I don’t even bother to follow the links. This time I did. If you want to see what prompted this little rant then you can follow the link too: http://www.godvine.com/Baby-With-Down-Syndrome-Saved-fb-gh-2696.html The title of this little piece is “Thank You God for this Miracle.”

My problem with this (and everything like this that I hear on a ongoing basis from co-workers, neighbors, relatives, etc.) is that from where I’m sitting the role of “god” in this is to have created an enormously flawed human organism, one so flawed that if “god” had been left totally alone to do what “god” does, the child would have died within hours of birth.

However, in this case a very large number of incredibly dedicated, knowledgeable, highly educated and trained, and probably well paid, human beings (not “god”) worked day and night for months, using millions of dollars of humanly designed and manufactured high technology, to fight “god” tooth-and-nail to prevent the death of this child.

And that around the world, children of less affluent parents who actually have to depend solely upon “god” instead of human medical professionals lose their children every day.

Just saying.

Now let the hate mail begin.

The Ballot in Florida will contain the following amendment to the Florida State Constitution:

Amendment 8  “Religious Freedom”- new amendment to appear on the 2012 Florida election ballot
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution providing that no individual or entity may be denied, on the basis of religious identity or belief, governmental benefits, funding or other support, except as required by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and deleting the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution. (http://www.examiner.com/liberal-in-orlando/update-florida-bill-would-send-taxpayer-money-to-churches-and-religious-schools)

This Amendment would remove language from the Florida Constitution that prohibits using public monies (largely from taxes) to aid church, sect, or religious denomination or any sectarian institution, and replaces it with language that says that

“neither the government nor any agent of the government may deny to any individual or entity the benefits of any program, funding, or other support on the basis of religious identity or belief.”
and
“that no individual or entity may be denied, on the basis of religious identity or belief, governmental benefits, funding, or other support” (http://election.dos.state.fl.us/initiatives/fulltext/pdf/10-86)

So what does that have to do with Madrasahs? This amendment is supported by Christian Conservatives and Tea Party Activists in Florida, with the intent of making public moneys available for religious schools and charitable institutions. However, to be consistent with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (as the Amendment states), ALL religions must have equal access to state funds.

I personally don’t want to see any tax payer money go to support any religious organization activities – especially when religious organizations are exempt from taxes themselves, and exempt from many laws (such as ADA requirements on hiring, promotion and firing as determined by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision).  I wonder how those supporting this Amendment to Florida’s constitution will feel about their tax monies going to ALL  religions?

my significant other has a favorite saying: “Arguing on the Internet is like running in the Special Olympics, even if you win you’re still retarded.”

Yes, I know that’s totally politically incorrect, and I mean no offense to people who have a mental disability, but I do mean to remind myself that arguing with ideologues, religious fanatics, and idiots just makes me an idiot; it doesn’t change their minds or my mind in the least.

A friend of mine who lives and works in a very conservative, community in Appalachia called my attention recently to a phenomenon on Facebook that he calls the “I love Jesus more than you do” competition or what I’d like to call “competitive Christianity.”

Facebook appears to serve as an arena of social competition for many social circles. Who can post the cleverest, most humorous status? Who can find the most pertinent political reference or video to post? Who can post the most beautiful photos, or the ones that make the most people go “aww” and “how cute!” Who can garner the most comments to their status posting?

However, the competition in my friend’s circle of Facebook “friends” from work and his local community centers around declarations of love for Jesus/God. The competition seems to involve one-upmanship in showing verbal devotion, and in seeing how many people to “like” your post or make agreeing comments.

Here are just a few of the Facebook status quotes my friend shared:

…God is so Good and I just want to Praise Him for all things! We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. So lets pray one for another.

…needs patience, though one would think I would be loaded with it by now…God, make me more teachable, so I can see the lessons You have planned for me.

…is so grateful to GOD

…”It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.”Psalm 18:32-36

…Thank God that they found your camera…those are memories that you could not get back…GOD IS SO GOOD!! Thank you Lord for watching over my loved ones and bringing them home safe!

…I KNOW! When she came back on the phone from checking the lost & found, she said, “yes, we got it” I said,”PRAISE GOD!” 🙂 And He sure watched over us on the way home, VERY heavy rain, there was a tornado warning in one or two cities we drove through.

…just wanted to let you know you have been on my mind and I have been praying for you. Hope all is well.

…I have just look [sic] at one of the most beautiful babies that my Lord has ever made. He is so loved by all of us and he is so happy. God is so Good . I do praise His Name!

Neither my friend, nor I are Christians, and our knowledge of Christianity is “academic.” For example, I’m aware of several texts in the New Testament, in which Jesus warns his followers against making a big show of their faith and prayers, such as in Matthew 6:5-6:

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.


So, it would seem to me, as an outsider to the faith, that Jesus would not have approved of this type of Facebook display.