The GOP Vision For America Depends On False Christian Doctrine

Let’s face facts; the GOP’s vision for America is a Theocratic, Corporatist Utopia where income inequality is accepted without question. Republicans can only accomplish their goals with an electorate comprised of malleable sheeple too terrified, too ignorant and too powerless to think for themselves. More importantly, an unlikely group of poor Americans will actually vote against their own self-interests and contrary to their well-being. Their Republican Party has no interest in their well-being.  The values of the plutocrats in charge are universally upheld by the masses, always without challenging the inherent inequality of their system.

What’s the best means to this end? Since the late 1970’s, the Heritage Foundation has worked tirelessly to promote the erroneous idea that America was founded on Christian Principles. By furtively ending the separation of church and state and ushering in a Dominionist/Fundamentalist Government even the Taliban would love, the Religious Right has been hard at work promoting Draconian Old Testament-insanity as the law of the land. 

Paul Weyrich strategized the current platform of the Republican Party largely during the Reagan Administration. The four insidious tactics he recommended are still being used today.

1) Falsehoods are not only acceptable, they are a necessity. The corollary is: The masses will accept any lie if it is spoken with vigor, energy and dedication. (Medicaid expansion will bankrupt the states, trickle down economics works).

2) It is necessary to be cast under the cloak of “goodness” whereas all opponents and their ideas must be cast as “evil.” (Muslims bad, Christians good).

3) Complete destruction of every opponent must be accomplished through unrelenting personal attacks. (The swift boating of John Kerry, endless attacks on Black Americans Eric Holder, Susan Rice and President Obama).

4) The creation of the appearance of overwhelming power and brutality is necessary in order to destroy the will of opponents to launch opposition of any kind. (NRA, military hawkishness).

The fundamentalist wing of the Heritage Foundation shapes the public personalities of today’s Tea Party Republicans. As religiously insane as he is,  Ted Cruz, the Dominionist Tea Party Corporatist Senator from Texas, (with his numerous fundamentalist endorsements), can’t compare to the latest Texas Tea Party hero, Steve Stockman.

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Tea Party Born Again Christian Tx. Representative Steve Stockman

Stockman, best known for inviting Ted Nugent to the State of the Union Address in 2012, has a sick fascination with arming all Americans (even fetuses). The representative from Texas is even primarying the ultra-conservative Senator Jon Cornyn citing how much more right wing he is by comparison. The “Christian” values he claims he espouses are as ludicrous as the Rand Paul claim that denying jobless Americans unemployment compensation is the compassionate Christian thing to do. He is pro-life (which means only pro-fetus), a born again Christian and a fierce advocate of harsh immigration policies. Among the other bills and resolutions Stockman sponsored: a proposals for a constitutional amendment to block the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants from being granted automatic citizenship, a measure to define human life as beginning at conception, and a bill to eliminate background checks, waiting periods and registration requirements for firearms.

To make matters worse, the Koch billionaires vehemently support the ruse that Christian doctrine purports the notion that prosperity, above all, was espoused by Jesus himself. Charles Koch made a sizable contribution to Catholic University’s School of Business to combat the recent declaration by Pope Francis that unfettered capitalism is inherently evil. Religion is used by the wealthy on the Right to ignore what Jesus taught: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  

Another popular idea with Conservatives is the total rejection of raising the minimum wage to a level where no public assistance is necessary to supplement the worker.  They believe that there actually should be no minimum wage, no unions and somehow they dupe poor Republicans into agreeing with them.  The whole concept of “Right to Work States” is espoused by the Heritage Foundation, which unfortunately means they are against the best interests of the worker’s well-being.  Technically this philosophy amounts to looking a lot like states giving workers the right to work for less.  If you look at which states are right to work states, you’ll also notice those states are generally controlled by the GOP and consequently have higher rates of poverty and perform the poorest academically.

Right To Work States Are Mainly Red States
Right To Work States Are Mainly Red States

As the most religious Western industrialized nation on earth, I believe the American obsession with eliminating the separation of church and state is a dangerous path for so many reasons.  Religion discourages critical thinking (Creationism over Evolution), while promoting bigotry and misogyny (War on Women).  It is also more bellicose than the secular philosophies.  The Religious Right’s embracing of the concept of the Rapture as official Christian Doctrine shows their intent on bringing about the end of the world just to meet the savior. It’s the absence of mental health which causes the ignorant to elect people to govern who are interested in bringing about the destruction of society.  In fact, we should question the mental health of anyone who would vote GOP that is not in the top 1%.

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Outlawing Abortion Helps Fund America’s For-Profit Prison Complex

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It seems Republican State legislators’ quest to make abortion either illegal or extremely difficult to obtain is a more common theme in our news cycles. Each GOP governor seems to be trying to top the far-right, ‘pro-life’ antics of other ‘Christian’ leaders. No woman is immune to their efforts to clamp down on the right to control her own body. The red flag that is raised in my mind is: Why the hell do they care so much about fetuses when those already born are obviously of little importance?

While claiming to be governments who have adopted Christian ideals, one crazy Teapublican administration after another in these Red States are making it downright perilous to simply be a woman . Restricting abortion and contraception are priority number one when it comes to these white, male conservatives. Ironically, these very same states have the most abysmal statistics on child care and education yet the majority of citizens continue to vote GOP, creating a perpetual cycle of poverty.

Prominent ultra right-wing agents of ‘pro-life’ values, like Koch Brothers’ funded ALEC and religious organizations like The Council on Biblical Womanhood and Manhood (CBMW) lobby against all contraception and abortion rights for any woman. Once the child is born, programs like SNAP and WIC are savagely cut to leave both women and children in dire poverty. These children are disproportionately comprised of minorities like African-American and Hispanic Americans. Ultimately, minorities make up a far greater percentage of the prison population. The composition of prison populations is not conjecture, it is the unfair and racist truth.

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The National Right to Life Organization sponsored billboards nationwide with this offensive message

The United States has the largest prison population, not just percentage of imprisoned citizens, but actual numbers, on earth, bar none. We certainly pay handsomely for this dubious honor: In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education. The Religious Right is very well aware of this fact. Pat Robertson pointed out on his TV show, The 700 Club, “We here in America make up 5% of the world’s population but we make up 25% of the [world’s] jailed prisoners.” The increased disparity between rich and poor in this country, with a more profound impact on minorities, creates a society which sustains the world’s highest rates of incarceration, thus keeping prisons operating over capacity. The ever-growing gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world is relatively recent. In 1980 the U.S.’s prison population was about 150 per 100,000 adults. It has more than quadrupled since then. Something has happened in the past 30 years to push millions of Americans into prison. The answer: The War on Drugs. (AKA the war on minorities)

Today’s Republican Party has been known for implausible claims like fetal masturbation, rape cannot result in pregnancy and pro-life means pro-death penalty, thus appearing wrought with insanity and contradiction. One might conclude the GOP and its minions are incapable of such a calculated and diabolical plan, but this goes back to the Nixon and Reagan administrations who were a bit more savvy than the Todd Akin/Louis Gomert crowd. Fortunately for today’s Tea Party clowns, their predecessors were much more calculating. Sensible Americans need to know it’s best to never underestimate your enemies, no matter how gaff-ridden they appear.

These folks have been cutting funding in every way possible to prevent upward mobility for Americans who are poor minorities. When a woman is saddled with a child from a young age, it is nearly impossible for her to break the cycle of poverty. They know this. They also know exactly how to appeal to the religious fundamentalists’ principles that motivates even the poorest women to vote for misanthropic misogynists who only seek to increase white, male dominance.  Simply look at the principles espoused by prominent Protestants and you’ll understand how they justify their cruel legislation.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) , the father of the Protestant schism, along with a slew of prominent Christian leaders throughout history have intensely misogynist beliefs. Along with his anti-Science quote: “Reason should be destroyed in all Christians”, he seemed to fear and distrust women, like today’s GOP, who believe women should not be in control of their own sexuality. He said, women…“to the end, should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.”

Once they’ve justified keeping women in their rightful “place,” they can work hard keeping the dreadful minorities, especially the African Americans, in dire conditions that facilitate the unchecked expansion of the for-profit prison complex. GEO Prison Group actually almost got away with having a football stadium named after the corporation at Florida Atlantic University as it shows obscene profits. The private prison industry rakes in over $5.1 billion per contract, significantly greater than the $760 million 2004 price tag.

California actually receives $50,000 from the state coffers per prisoner, while each student in the public school system only garners $8,667.00 per year. Prison is big business and the GOP knows that every unwanted pregnancy is a potential inmate that will earn their friends beaucoup bucks. One simply needs to follow the money to discover the GOP’s supposed Christian ‘right to life’ is merely a ruse. If the attention is not focused on their deliberate efforts to subjugate minorities, women and children, they can continue to hoard massive profits unbeknownst to the general populace. The GOP has played their insidious hand rather well, and if people realized how diabolical the system is, legislation to combat this strategy (perpetuating the cycle of poverty) might have a chance. If you can follow the money, you’ll see every impetus for GOP politics is based on their worship of the Almighty Dollar.

A Christian Idiocracy Threatens America With Faith-Based Bullying

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Slowly but surely, whether or not you approve, it is happening: a theocratic United States is swiftly becoming a reality. The legality of so many abhorrent practices in our society are due to the occasional but monumentally wicked and iniquitous Supreme Court decision. What’s so appalling is this case in particular rivals Dred Scott and Citizens United and the decision went quietly under the radar as that year was not remembered for much other than the September 11th attacks.

Originally heard on February 2001, SCOTUS rendered its decision on June 11, 2001 regarding the prohibition of religious clubs meeting on public school grounds. In the case The Good News Club v Milford Central School, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff 6-3 that the Child Evangelism Fellowship Organization had the freedom of speech right to set up evangelical clubs in public elementary schools. Separating Church and State, basically over a technicality, had been effectively nullified.

The curriculum of The Good News Club is standardized to indoctrinate children. The strategy is based on the premise that what a child learns at school must be true, so a teacher instructing a class on mathematics and next class the same children are told “they are born sinners and must repent to the gospel of Jesus Christ” as if they are factual equivalents. The universally taught text of the Good News Club (GNC) has over 5,000 references to sin, 1,000 references to obedience, 1,000 references to punishment and more allusions to hell than Boticelli’s rendition of Dante’s terrifying underworld.

This is accomplished through books that, for those unable to yet read, are furnished with pictures to indoctrinate as young as possible. The Biblical tale of Saul and the Amalekites is used as an example of the compulsory obedience to “God’s decrees” no matter how outlandish or horrific they may be.

Many have used this story from Deuteronomy 29:16-18 (as well as other mentions of Saul throughout the Old Testament) to justify committing genocide based on a book of fiction. A sin is a sin, so they equate this mass slaughter with a “sin” such as failing to clean one’s room. The most essential quality of the GNC is absolute obedience and compliance. Even the smallest of sins require complete obedience to their interpretation of the gospel and some children literally terrify their disbelieving peers with tales of fire and brimstone.

The shocking video below shows the lengths these fundamentalists will go to convert and brainwash children. I liken it to a child predator offering treats from a fake ice cream truck to lure children for far more insidious intentions.

It has been well established that indoctrination into any belief system occurs largely during primary school years. The Supreme Court’s majority opinion was based on the rejection of the argument that young children are particularly vulnerable to mistaking equal access for official endorsement and the rules should thus be different for elementary school. The dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens seems to be the most thought provoking as he believes this will (and already has) erode(d) the separation of church and state. With the premise that free speech can also include politically motivated clubs like the KKK, there’s no limit to what is tolerable at public elementary schools if one subscribes to the case’s majority rule author, Clarence Thomas (and the five other Conservatives on the Bench). The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment has been eviscerated.

Justice Stevens separated the “religious purposes” mentioned in his policy statement into three possible types of religious speech. He stipulates that 1. some religious speech is “simply speech about a particular topic” 2. Implications of Good News (Club’s agenda) from a religious point of view that some religious speech amounts to worship “or its equivalent” and 3. that some religious speech proselytizes by nature or inculcates belief in a particular faith, while the First Amendment potentially protects all of these forms of speech against action by the state.

Stevens compares the Good News Club and its proselytizing meetings to a political organization trying to recruit members. He concludes that Milford may exclude these kinds of meetings because “such recruiting meetings may introduce divisiveness and tend to separate young children into cliques that undermine the schools’ educational mission.” Justices Souter and Ginsberg agreed with Stevens as they all, justifiably, felt this case clearly violated the separation of church and state.

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One of the proponents of the movement of the SSA (The Secular Students Association) is author Katharine Stewart, who in the video posted above has explained why this is a very slippery slope to the erosion of religious freedom for America’s non-Christians. She is the author of The Good News Club: The Religious Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children. Stewart explains how children, as young as five years of age, are encouraged to recruit others into the Children’s Evangelical movement while mocking, shaming and shunning anyone who is a non-believer. They are wrought with fear and intimidation that Hell is inevitable if you “don’t accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”

If there’s any question of where this is coming from, those interviewed in the documentary happily admitted they learned of these Spectaculars for Christ at Chik-Fil-A and McDonalds to name a few. Corporate America is very interested in maintaining a population that is pliable and easily hooked on believing what they are told while ignoring harmful consequences caused by their right-wing, anti-labor and pro-pollution policies. Using Christian theology masked as factual curriculum on the children of our public schools is a fantastic way to keep the sheep buying in to their mantra. While they cry out about some imagined threats to the Second Amendment as the evisceration of our Constitution, they are effectively eroding the most precious freedoms of the First Amendment. Nobody seems to notice. The media has not deemed this a problem because the media has been deregulated to reflect corporate America’s will as absolute fact. These are very scary times for America indeed.

CPAC 2013 and Selective Mandates Show Republican Ignorance

A few weeks ago, I ran into an old acquaintance from Connecticut, who was in our fair city for a few days. The first thing he told me was how absolutely bizarre Las Vegas seemed as to display numerous gigantic billboards advertising the opportunity to fire an automatic firearm. For someone from the eastern seaboard, this is rather anomalous.

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Billboards like this one are very common in Las Vegas, Nevada

In light of the obvious mass shooting tragedy that has rocked the civilized world, especially New England, any reasonable person visiting the City of Sin would find it callous and objectionable to glorify this type of weaponry. I told him this is rather de rigueur here and it doesn’t even phase most residents. Las Vegas has much the same attitude as many Red State (or purple in Nevada’s case) attitudes where guns are considered a right and a necessity for the über paranoid who have been hypnotized to believe President Obama is on a Marxist bender to disarm the nation. The Obama administration and his Leftist Army is trying to make the government so invasive, he wants to demand everyone must eat broccoli or arugula and join the New Black Panthers while paying for lazy welfare queens to go to Planned Parenthood for weekly abortions.

As utterly irrational as this may sound, it is not much of a stretch for a few towns in the South. Nelson, Georgia, population 1,300 is labeled “a liberal’s worst nightmare” because they have mandated every head of household own and maintain a firearm. Republicans hate big government and despise any invasion into their personal freedoms. But let’s look at their record of trying to mandate their way into our private lives. If they are offended by government simply trying to keep Americans safe from all-too-frequent massacres, one would think they’d be outraged at the government controlling religious freedom, reproductive health and interpersonal adult relations, right? A reasonable, logical person would think so, but we are talking about the GOP.

Indiana, one of the most Republican states in the country, has put forth a bill to mandate praying in the classroom. The recitation of The Lord’s Prayer has been proposed by an Indiana State Senator. “…The governing body of a school corporation or the equivalent authority of a charter school may require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. The prayer may be recited by a teacher, a student, or the class of students.” Obviously the precious First Amendment would be completely dismantled by this idea, but as long it doesn’t restrict an American’s right to own weapons that can shoot 152 bullets in 5 minutes, it’s “on the table.”

New kid on the block and Republican heckler, Senator Ted Cruz (Tx), had the audacity to suggest restricting the types of guns one can own is equivalent to outlawing certain types of books. The false equivalency of the lethality of guns versus possession of certain books elucidates the perverted machinations of Cruz’s mind, which clearly is lost. In case you missed his pernicious exchange with the Democratic Senator, Diane Feinstein (CA) yesterday, here it is:

None of these small government advocates have a problem mandating teachers be armed in the classroom as well. They discard studies that show an increase in firearms is directly proportionate to an increase in firearm-related homicides. Several states have proposed laws to arm teachers and one has even passed legislation practically demanding teachers be armed, as is the case now in South Dakota.

On the issue of women’s health and reproductive freedom, the GOP has been incredibly diligent at legislating their way into the bodies of women, who comprise roughly half the population, no big deal. The anti-abortion bills put on the floor for a vote in the House alone exponentially outnumbers the jobs proposals by Republicans. But it’s even worse in the state governments run by Republicans where they’ve virtually wiped out affordable and safe abortion for poor women, especially in Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota and Michigan. Lest we forget the redefining of a violent act like rape and the transvaginal ultrasound probe requirement many Republicans have supported as mandatory to any abortion procedure, even when the woman is a victim of a sexual assault. This gross interpretation of freedom cost many Republicans their seats in the 2012 election, but it seems these folks have a very short memory, much like a goldfish I presume.

Today, Ohio Senator Rob Portman proclaimed his support and reformed attitude towards marriage equality. He professed how his support for love and acceptance as depicted in the Bible supersedes the traditional definition of marriage also known as DOMA, which was signed into law in 1996 but is slowly becoming highly unpopular and downright offensive to forward thinking Americans.

Do not despair, CPAC 2013 has a unique way of portraying America as hate-filled and intolerant as some of the fine speakers they showcase every year. Florida Tea-party darling Senator Marco Rubio (R) preached his usual science-denying climate change is unproven and a zygote is more important than the mother who carries it garbage. “The people who are actually closed-minded in American politics are the people who love to preach about the certainty of science with regards to our climate but ignore the absolute fact that science has proven that life begins at conception.”

 

Mandates like trying to keep people from drinking too much sugary soda and insurance companies paying for contraception have the right wing in a frenzy. But if you force an Atheist, Hindu or Muslim to recite a Christian prayer, force a woman to have an unwanted child, prevent two loving adults from marrying or allow a mentally unstable individual the right to purchase assault rifles, you are simply following god’s law and doing the work of Republican Jesus. Mandates are only wrong when they don’t make Wayne LaPierre wealthier. Perhaps this is why these guys are outraged over the shut down of White House tours; because deep down inside, in that last microscopic shred of humanity, the GOP realizes they won’t ever see the inside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue any time soon. Elections will be theirs to lose if they continue on this path, and I’m sure not going to stop them!

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Dividing the Progressive Movement by Standing With Rand Paul Insanity

Drones were devised for the purpose of conducting strikes and surveillance over territories deemed too perilous for our own pilots. Unpleasant as it may be to imagine, we have many enemies, through much fault of our own, who wish to harm Americans worldwide. Since their invention, the American military has utilized drone technology in countries like Yemen and Pakistan because the countries are a safe-haven for terrorist activities and they’re very remote. Manned military strikes are exceptionally treacherous. The mere existence of drones is simply for the purpose of launching these offensives in areas that are foreign, so by design, they’re not for domestic use. Perhaps on rare occasion, if a foreign combatant threatened the U.S. and there was no other way (which is quite outlandish) a president could use any means necessary to protect our citizens. However, it never was an issue which an economically hampered America should concern itself with, especially in light of all the other threats which endanger Americans, like teachers in South Dakota legally allowed to carry firearms while instructing children. This is a smokescreen, nothing more, and it is embarrassing progressives fall for such nonsense.

A Kentucky Republican launched a filibuster for what he considers a noble Libertarian cause, emphatically asserting domestic drone strikes should be illegal because they violate due process in a land founded on Constitutional principles. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky/Teaparty) droned on for almost 13 hours over this pressing issue. Paul filibustered the Senate, in protest of ANOTHER Obama cabinet appointment for simple self-aggrandizement and shameless political posturing. He received the following letter a few hours hence from our Attorney General, Eric Holder:

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Courtesy of The Huffington Post

The incessant references to Hitler, the mentions of tyranny, liberty and freedom were numerous and based in fantasy and paranoia, as per usual with this Teaparty caucus. Paul also managed to defend awful Supreme Court decisions which were blatantly racist and abhorrent. Nevertheless, he was lauded by progressives who agreed with Senator Paul’s “brave” filibuster, including Van Jones. Much to my dismay, this man aired his pro-Paul sentiments on “CNN Newsroom,” and called the senator “a hero” for “sticking up for civil liberties.” Similar praise erupted from Senator Ron Wyden (D-Or) and Code Pink. On Friday March 8th, Arianna Huffington appeared as a panelist on Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO and said: “I want to defend Rand Paul…I think what Rand Paul did was fantastic…What he did was incredibly important. First of all, it completely scrambled that right-left way of looking at politics.” She critiqued Democrats (aside from GOP ally Wyden of course) for not taking a similar stand. Really Arianna? Domestic drone use is a pressing concern? More pressing than another fiscal cliff, environmental insanity and gun violence? Sorry, ma’am, you’re costing us time and money for contrived threats which benefit the GOP by allowing them to divide Democrats and skirt the real issues. President Obama has never once threatened ANYONE domestically with these highly technical killing machines and he has no intention of doing so.

Naturally, the Right Wing couldn’t thank Paul enough for his obstructionism. Fox’s favorite immigrant-loathing “Anchor Baby” Michelle Malkin heaps praise on Rand Paul for singlehandedly saving the Republican Party.

 

Ironically, immediately following Holder’s letter, which negated his entire thirteen hour charade, Mr. Paul fell in line and confirmed the new CIA director at once. After the dramatic episode concluded, we learned that the whole charade was staged for the purpose of showboating and fundraising. Obviously Rand is unconcerned with the threats to American citizens and real civil liberties as he feels it is more important to allow manufacturers of lethal weapons to sell their products unchecked to a nation incited to violence by none other than the racist agenda he promotes.

The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates over 1200 anti government patriot groups in existence today, where the anti-Civil Rights Act agenda of Mr. Paul along with others like Teabagger Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) operate in perfect symbiosis. Not only is he opposed to the 1965 law which is THE cornerstone of anti-racism legislation in America, but he opposed VAWA, denies abortion as a right and believes Biblical Law should replace the U.S. Constitution. He believes in low taxes for the rich and wouldn’t hesitate to cut funding for the poor woman he forced to birth a baby (after he defunds all women’s care facilities), because this is what Jesus would do. Maybe I forgot how Rand Paul sees Jesus: A White, Southern, GOP, and male chauvinist Jesus, not that Aramaic Semite from the Middle East who preached tolerance, humility and poverty.

Heaven forbid the first black president, or any president, chooses to use a weaponized drone on a person or group threatening the safety of the United States from within. We have an audaciously well-armed police force, FBI, ATF, CIA and four branches of the world’s largest military to defend our citizens. If at any time, a president chooses the drone option for domestic use, we are in so much trouble, I think Rand Paul’s freedom (to wear any animal on his head) is the last thing we need to worry about. Things are about to get real. I’m sure his outlandish soliloquy gave President Obama plenty of time to contemplate a domestic drone-strike option. He is far more tolerant than I would have been, as he dispensed with Senator Paul’s histrionics with a simple NO. Progressives and supporters of Democratic principles should have done the same thing. History will not be kind to the Rand Paul grandstanders of these tough times. This should be the last we hear of this nonsense, but I’m sure it will drone on ad nauseum.

Manti Te’O, Mormon Faith, Fraud and the NFL

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How did a Polynesian, Mormon football player end up at a Catholic University and cause a national commotion like Manti Te’O has managed to create? We’ve heard the story, a player garners sympathy from Heisman Trophy committee members by creating a gut-wrenching tale of tragic proportions in order to win the coveted prize. The scandal has most likely ended his chances at the award, but the question still remains unanswered: why would such a gifted student-athlete fabricate such nonsense and be as gullible as he was? It’s simply attributable to nothing more than his LDS upbringing. It’s highly likely the cause is nothing more than the epistemology of Mormonism which has been proven categorically false.

You seldom associate people of Polynesian descent with a faith that has a sordid history of labeling anyone of color as “cursed.” Many are unaware, in addition to BYU in Provo, Utah, there are other tentacles extending from this consummate headquarters of Mormon treachery. There is also BYU Idaho and BYU Jerusalem. The Polynesian connection is evidenced by the founding of a Hawaiian version of the Brigham Young (a.k.a. Bring’em Young) University, BYU Hawaii.

In order to extend their reach both ethnically and geographically, LDS Missionaries conquered the future American Island region early on and managed to convert enough Lamanites to make a substantial addition to the LDS worldwide tithing base. As an added bonus, the area is rich with mega-talented football players who are often Mormon, so BYU is generally highly competitive with the help of these players of Polynesian origin.

Manti said his decision to go to Notre Dame, instead of BYU (Utah) came from prayer and introspection. I also suppose the decision not to serve his mission was something he prayed to decide? I’m absolutely certain NFL money wasn’t paramount to the prospect of teaching Third-Worlders the tall tales of Joseph Smith.
He is not the first to forego his mission.

There is a big force in Mormon culture for all young men to serve a two year mission. As of late it seems the culture has given exceptions to this rule for athletes. Steve Young, Danny Ainge, Jimmer Ferdette and Manti Te’o did not serve missions. The Mormon culture will label their work and spotlight on the field/court as missionary work because they will bring positive attention to the church. And for Mormons this is the perfect marriage. That essentially confirms the purpose of a Mormon Mission: to sign more people up and amass more wealth for this Fortune 500 Corporation, LDS Inc.

Park Romney, author of “The Apostasy of a High Priest” offered his opinion on the Manti Te’O scandal as it relates to LDS culture and upbringing (known by Mormons as lying for The Lord).

“The underlying culture and philosophy of Mormonism encourages the mentality that results in this type of behavior, even while ostensibly discouraging it. This is accomplished in ways that are understood by students of epistemology”.

As an ardent disbeliever in any organized religion, I consulted a friend who shares my lack of belief to get a different perspective on the entire Manti Te’O affair. As an ex-Mormon humorist, I sought his take on the whole affair as it relates to the linebacker’s chosen belief system. A tenuous grasp on truth is paramount. More specifically, I asked what aspect of Mormonism could enable and encourage such gullibility. He responded:

“I dunno, I mean, the whole enchilada is saturated with “factual” fiction. Gold plates? Angels? Seer stones? Peter, James, and John ordination? The three “undead” Nephites? Semite Indians? Book of Abraham? Fence sitters in heaven? Polygamy? Magic underwear? Consecrated oil? Hell, they might as well believe in leprechauns, Ouija boards, gremlins, rabbits’ feet, fairies, pixies, brownies, divining rods, and the boogeyman. Come to think of it, they DO believe in the boogeyman: Lucifer. Soooo sad.”

It’s as simple as this. If you can fall for the teachings and machinations of the Mormon Church, you may believe anything you see and hear on the Internet. After all, you’ve been desensitized to believing half-truths and outright lies without question. Faith is often man’s biggest liability, not a desirable asset. Hearing the term, he/she is a person of faith has the opposite effect on me as it might on so many in this country. In my humble opinion, it is a trait one shouldn’t brag about or advertise. If you can believe unsubstantiated fiction is fact, you probably can believe anything. Unfortunately, football and most other aspects of our supposedly secular society are inundated with the credo that praying to a “Heavenly Father” is the right thing to do. It will be quite some time until we evolve as a society where this nonsense is no longer heard, but I’m not holding my breath.

For more insight, check out Park Romney’s website for a wealth of information on current events, epistemology of many faiths and great resource listings. If you’re interested in electric vehicles and sustainable energy, or would enjoy great tweets, follow Mark Larsen here.

The GOP’s “Concern” About Mental Health Is a Diversion From Their NRA-Inspired Gun Policies

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The invocation of Ronald Reagan’s legacy is a tactic utilized by the Right to more or less humanize their devastating Draconian cuts to basic health and human services, including mental healthcare. This is quite astonishing as Reagan was, perhaps, the most inhumane leader with regards to caring for the least among us and those with legitimate mental health issues. The party of Jesus, (GOP) as we all know, acts quite contrary to his teachings. Monies are always cut in mental healthcare (ESPECIALLY FOR WAR VETERANS) and redirected to fund more private, for-profit prisons instead of properly helping those in need. The unfortunate consequence of defunding such programs have a dire impact on the afflicted and their families. The lack of stable housing and work will certainly exacerbate and create depression and mental illness, substance abuse, family break-up, and crime.

Here are the facts:

•In 1978, HUD’s budget was over $83 billion.

•In 1983, HUD’s budget was only $18 billion.

•In 1983, general public emergency shelters began opening in cities nationwide.

•In 1987, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Act, providing $880 million in homeless assistance funding (2004 constant dollars).

•In short, Reagan deliberately created “homelessness” by cutting $65 billion of housing money and replacing it with $880 million in shelter funding.

The lost funding has never been replaced, and the percentage of low-cost/subsidized housing has been dropping ever since. 100,000 units of low-cost housing have been lost since 1996 alone. When Reagan defunded mental health care and threw the mentally ill onto the streets, he was saying it was not his problem and the American people went along as he de-railed what was an improving situation for those with mental health issues. Now, more than thirty years hence (and countless massacres by those possibly afflicted with mental illness), the GOP/NRA is suddenly saddled with immense concern for the mental well-being of Americans.

The NRA and most of the GOP is obsessed with trying to minimize all the devastation caused by military-style, high ammunition-capacity firearms. They pervertedly believe this problem will be alleviated by fewer restrictions on guns, and accessories which facilitate mass killings. Add this to their shameful history of defunding, defrauding and devastating mental healthcare and we can predict exactly what they’ll do for those needing psychological care and protecting the innocent: absolutely NOTHING.

Another issue the pharmacy-subsidizing GOP (and often Democrats too) won’t address is the over-medication of our children for behavior issues. The pharmaceutical industry has profited immensely from these psychostimulants readily prescribed for ADD and ADHD diagnoses. Without long-term study and the lack of reporting on the matter, we don’t know how adversely they will impact brain chemistry into adulthood.

Maybe it’s not video games or movies that cause these unfathomably egregious acts of violence. Maybe it’s because, according to the United Nations, the U.S. produces and consumes about 85 percent of the world’s methylphenidate (Ritalin). Also commonly prescribed, SSRIs (Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or serotonin-specific re-uptake inhibitor) are a class of medications which have been shown to be a commonality among those who commit violent acts in schools. People who have used these medications might not be the best candidates for ordering a personal arsenal of military-grade weapons and ammo. Perhaps the NRA’s definition of someone who should pass a background check needs some work. As proposed by our President, maybe no one should own weapons the military uses which are specifically designed not just to kill, but to obliterate other human beings en masse.

Studies with regards to mental health issues and guns must include the socioeconomic factors of poverty, the insanely unfair for-profit prison system and the highly subsidized pharmaceutical industry that receives an obscene amount of corporate welfare. Restrictions and regulations are the enemies of Republicans, as they firmly believe both impinge on capitalism and “job-creation.” Since this tenuous concern of the GOP is so very obvious both historically and currently in the areas of mental healthcare matters, shouldn’t they be omitted from the decision-making process? As one who firmly believes history repeats itself when the lessons are not learned from the past, I believe the GOP/NRA-ILA is the last group who should debate and legislate this matter. We all know how anti-education they’ve proven themselves to be as they have embarrassingly omitted unpleasant facts and re-written history in our children’s textbooks. They’ll do the same thing to our mentally impaired citizens as they did to the Iraqi people: attack and destroy them simply because they have the power to do so.