Saturday, July 21, 2007

Torture, ethics, and hijacking

It's alright for the CIA to torture detainees for information, and there's no need to give them any real guidelines.

Oh yeah, the Shrub has so much moral superiority over Mr. Putin. And torture has such a good track record for producing reliable information. I mean, heck, it got all those confessions during the inquisition, didn't it? Man, just think what we could do if we could burn folks at the stake!

How does he sleep at night? Does he just not comprehend what he's doing? That must be it, cause I really don't believe the Shrub is evil incarnate (although, things like this make me reconsider) -- he just has the approximate intelligence of a rock. Or maybe he is evil incarnate, I don't know anymore.

I mean there's the obviously questionable ethics of the US condoning the torture of people, but there is the small practical matter that if we're torturing enemy combatants and mocking international treaties, how in God's name can we expect any other country to not do the same should they capture American soldiers? And back to that first bit -- how it is ethical to do that?

Weren't you sucking up to the moral majority, Mr. Shrub? Oh wait, I forgot, the moral majority is only concerned with the "traditional family." They only care about keeping women in the house and making sure that gays are treated as subhuman in the economic and legal systems. (More moral that way, I suppose.) Justice isn't a part of morality -- just ignore the prophets behind the curtain.

Shoot, I'm not worried about hijacked airplanes -- I'm a little more concerned with the hijacked constitution and morality.

Friday, July 20, 2007

But it's so pretty! The welding torch calls to me.

Or, the what on earth am I going to do with my life conundrum...

I'm a college senior now. I'm a college senior who will have a perfectly useless B.A. -- double major, Russian Studies and Religious Studies. I have a goal of a Ph.D. in Religious Studies -- comparative, of course, concentrating on religious imagery and gender. I'm going abroad next month for a semester and need to get grad school applications done as much as is humanly possible right now.

And, I think I want to weld. I was walking across campus just now and saw a guy with a cutting torch taking apart a steel beam for one or another of the construction projects on campus. And, I had forgotten just how beautiful the blue flame and the sparks are from cutting up pieces of steel. (I did some welding in high school shop classes -- loved it!) Oh, how I miss it!

Welding is my back-up plan if I don't get in anywhere, or if I get into the schools I want but don't receive any financial aid. There's a tech school in Hohenwald, maybe twenty minutes away from the 'Shire. I could pick up a waitressing job in Hohenwald or maybe just work for my uncle on the farm, live in Anna's house, pick up a tech degree in welding and other industrial repair, and probably even have enough spare time and money to get Anna's house fixed up quite nicely (I just can't see having the half-ton of homework I've been juggling for three years from welding). Nothing luxurious, but nicely, I think. I'll have certification within a year to a year and a half in a field that I can waltz into basically any city and be able to find a job that pays well-enough that I can work part-time and go to school to get the Master's and Ph.D. with minimal student loans. Or I can pick up some sort of job in the Maury/Lewis county vicinity, work for a couple of years, and save like mad -- aided and abetted by a low cost of living. And, the 'Shire needs another eccentric [insert family name here] woman, and goodness knows I would qualify a few times over for that position. (In Hampshire, my family is permitted to be eccentric rather than just weird, because we are boondocks gentry. ;D)

Also, since I'm sure even after I manage a Ph.D. I'll be bouncing around 1 year appointments and sabbatical replacements for a decent stretch of time (barring writing a really brilliant dissertation) it might not hurt to have a very practical skill that pays well and is in demand. Especially if it's something I enjoy, and I did really enjoy welding. Even when we were out of gloves and I had sunburn on my hands and arms and embedded bit of metal from the arc welder.

So, now I almost thing that I should just go ahead, grab the welding certification, and then apply to graduate schools. But that could just be the part of me that's freaking out about how much needs to be done talking.

I think I might need an torch to cut through this mess.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fearful Fundies

It seems to me that a number of the so-called representatives of the faithful in America really aren't that faithful at all. All the moral crusaders shouting down Hindu clerics in the Senate, jumping up and down outside of abortion clinics, boycotting any company that dares to acknowledge GLBT persons -- they aren't the faithful; they are the fearful.

Obviously, that statement needs some explanation.

I hear complaints all the time that God is somehow being forced out of the public square or that pray is being forced out of the public schools. Sometimes I just roll my eyes. More recently, a think to myself -- baby, if your god is weak enough that a spineless US Congress can knock him out of the public square, then he ain't much of a god now, is he? The "faithful" apparently don't have faith in God's ability to make God's message/eternal truth heard despite any and all efforts to stop it. According to them, God must have government support. It's apparently beyond belief that God could be working through secular/modernizing/liberal/ecumenical forces to accomplish God's work. They don't have faith in a God that can work without their help or who can appear in many forms or even work behind the scenes.

Rather they are fearful that God is weak and lying in his deathbed, probably attached to a respirator. Oh, and the power went out in the hospital, and they have to desperately pedal on a stationary bike to keep that life support going. Fearful that God can't do whatever God pleases regardless of what humans do, or if humans even know God acted. It's hubris, if you ask me, to claim that God somehow needs you in order to exist and to function.

Most importantly, it seems that many of the so-called faithful have no faith in grace and mercy on the part of God. Oh, they'll claim that one is saved by grace and not by works to explain why doing good to one's fellow human beings is next to pointless in the grand scheme of things, but they don't actually believe in mercy or in grace. They don't actually have faith that God will judge them by their hearts, by their desire to know truth and to do good, and will show mercy to them should they stumble. Faith in a truly loving God is beyond them.

Nope, rather they are fearful that God is so petty as to send them to hell for the slightest of transgressions. And so it is necessary to codify everything, to kill the sense of religious mystery, to restrict wonder, to trample of the free will of other persons, to quickly capture and contain God so that they know that they are saved.

Because they aren't faithful; they are fearful.

Man, now I feel sorry for them.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hell and the Drama-Llama

So...apparently, I'm going to hell.

Probably the sin that'll get me there is my love of drama. Or, at least, a certain type of drama. The kind where I get my fix from watching Church of Christ discussion boards and occassionally poke at things with my stick of left field thought.

So here's what I've noticed: Gays and female-bodied individuals trying to assert their personhood gets the panties of a decent number of CofC hard-liners into a twist. Try to tell someone that the way they were taught to look at the Bible in Sunday School isn't the only way to look at the Bible and some folks will get even crankier and go ad hominem. But if you really want a immortal Drama Llama in a CofC discussion board, bring up instrumental music.

This is song that never ends, yes, it goes on and on my friends...

The discussion boils down into: We have no authorization in scripture to use instruments. Yeah, and instruments also aren't forbidden -- we don't need explicit authorization. Yes, we do. No, we don't. Yes, we do. No, we don't. Continue until your cows come home.

So, one guy gets frustrated with this (can't imagine why, I'm with him on that point) and posts a message about how there are better things that could be done with time. Now, I'm kinda with him up until this point -- I'm all about debating, but instrumental music is the least of my concerns. But, what should Christians be spending their time on -- diving into yet another Facebook discussion board, but this time to seek and save the lost of the group, "So...apparently I'm going to hell."

Yeah, so I take this as an example of obliviousness to the real reason why folks like me joke about how we're going to hell. And a whole lot of evangelicals showing up to explain again that the Bible tells us we're all going to hell isn't going to do much of anything -- except maybe produce some giggles. Baby, baby, we don't accept your rules. Some of us don't read your Bible. Some of us read the Bible, but we don't read it like you. Sweetheart, who died and made you God?

It reminds me of the technique espoused by Kirk Cameron (Lady Sophia, bless him, you can tell he only wants to help -- he's like an over eager puppy) and Ray Comfort (who frightens me) of confronting people with the Ten Commandments to "prove" that they are sinners who need a fall into the arms of the church with tears streaming done the sides of their faces. I sort of want to run into these guys and just start interrogating them on just what makes them think that I myself think the Ten Commandments define ultimate right and ultimate wrong. (Yes, I know I would get nowhere fast, but I take that journey frequently. And yes, it would be in my best Southern Belle voice.) Or just start going on about how the Buddha has compassion for you and desires to bring enlightenment to you. Or something similar -- I don't know, quote the Gita back at 'em.

But yeah, duckies, hell isn't a threat to a lot of us, quite frankly. It's one of those things you hear so often it just doesn't mean anything. It's a threat tossed around without thought, so we think nothing of it.