Monday, December 29, 2008

Same Sex Marriage

I've been battling on this issue. A major battle was whether to take a stance on it or not... and then whether to say anything about it or not.

On the face of the issue, my response is "Why not?" I don't really mind a gay couple. I have a few gay-couple friends and some gay friends who are not so attached.

Then you have my love of language. Marriage is a union of a man and a woman, a husband and wife. I can see where married couples feel that allowing "Marriage" to be also between a man and man or woman and woman that their "Marriage" will loose some of it's specialness.
Then you get to the, well, in the same sex marriage, who is the "husband" and who is the "wife"?

Then I question, why Re-Define an established institution? Marriage is unique to heterosexual unions. I believe it would be a benefit to Create a unique institution for same-sex unions.

I have rallied against "marriage" before. The 'roles' associated with the terms assigned are usually not the roles that wish to enter into. I do not want to be the "Husband" - head of household, bread-winner, decision maker, law-enforcer kind of thing. I don't want a "Wife" - home maker, keeper of the household, care-giver, comfort-provider. I want a "Marriage" to be a partnership of equals where responsibilities are shared, strengths are shared and weaknesses are compensated for. One partner 'lording' over the other doesn't work for me.

An article I just read, expressing similar ideas, got me thinking even further. Why limit recognition to only two-party unions? I am polyamarous at heart and it would be great to have that be a viable option - that would not get a loving triad (or more) arrested for simply being in love with more than one person at a time.

Of course, what would be good terms for the various relationships?? Like cohabitation - the short-term, temporary marriage? ( Handfasted? - and how would I feel about my Pagan term used for any-and-all short-term cohabitation? ) How about a term for Man-Man Union? ( Dudeunon? *groan* Manwed? *lol*) How about two women? ( Sapphos Union? ) Or Woman-Man-Woman ( Heaven? ... Triage? *roflol* ) *Sigh* Perhaps I see why some would want to re-define an existing term. Then, what would you say instead of "husband/wife" ? Wife/Wife?

Any suggestions on relationship terms?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Government BY the Rich, For the Rich

This Article (which I find kind of hypocritical considering the Bush dynasty) points out a large failing of our government system. “There are three issues behind this trend,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause and a former Pennsylvania congressman. “Money is issue number one, money is issue number two and money is issue number three.”

Nobody can win office without spending lots and lots of money. If you are not at least very well off, you don't stand a chance of becoming an elected official on a state or especially national scale.

I'd like to open this up for some discussion - How can we change those three big issues facing potential candidates?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Judicial Discrimination - Its Illegal

From a story pointed out on The Wild Hunt.

Summary of the Story :
Woman looses custody based on her alleged involvement in Wicca.   She then looses the appeal.  The Judges who ruled against her use her alleged religion of Wicca to support the decision.

Two dissenting Judges agree that this is a travesty of justice and blatant religious discrimination.

The same kind of Judiciary religious discrimination has happened to a friend of mine.  She was ordered to keep her children away from Pagan influence and activities - or loose custody. 

Instead of ranting on how most christians will be gathering torches and protesting how any person be allowed to raise their child other than christian, I am going to provide some resources that might can help those in this situation.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against because of your religion (no matter what that may be), here are some contacts or ways to contact.
Other informative links:
Finally, to help keep watch on the government, join the ACLU!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bailouts, Bailouts, Bailouts

Fannie and Freddie. AIG. Financial Institutions and Wallstreet. AIG - again. Now the big three Auto Manufacturers.

People feared Obama would take us toward socialism. Bush not only ushered it in, his economic policies and his pet wars made it absolutely necessary (they say).

The Bailouts are the government "buying stock" in the companies, thereby becoming shareholders - or part owners of - each company. We now have government owned banks and insurance agencies.

People are asking, "Why?"

Well, for that, read Bailout pays Bonuses and Sugar Daddy and End the Bailouts and America Discovers.

I like to blame Bush for this economic crisis because of the policies of his administration, his decietful war and admittidly the fact that he sounds like an idiot when speaking. Here I will admit, there is a much broader blame to be placed.

I am not sure whether it's placement should be on the exectutives and boards of these companies or on the greed of human nature. Greed(1)(2)(3). I realize that Greed bears the fault of this crisis. However, the executives of these companies have gorged themselves on greed. The fables behind the links (1) and (2) are fine and good, but now we have another, more true fable to tell of greed. How the few greedy executives paid, praised and rewarded themselves to death.

They preyed on the people they were serving until the people they were serving no longer had money. The government tried to bail out the companies - and the executives did not use the money to re-invigorate the economy, no - they used it to reward themselves more, buy more companies and go on company-paid vacations. How much responsibility should rest squarely on the shoulders of these greed-filled people? Now, it seems, these executives and CEOs are not satisfied with eating themselevs out of food (draining our economy), they are gorging themselves on the public assistance and not using it to re-plant the fields. So, basically, the farmers are spoiling their fields and the fields of their neighbors who tried to help out as well. When does it end? When will these greedy people be held responsible for what they have wrought upon this country?

Are we going to face a "French Revolution" - complete with freedom fries? What is it going to take to get rid of this Greed-over-common-sense ideal in our financial markets? I would not mind at all if they were only hurting themselves, but they are hurting me and millions of other people with their endless, thoughtless greed. CEO pay is 15 times the average salary. For any idiot who thinks all of our money is not just going UP without any "trickle down" at all, WAKE UP!

I couldn't say it any better than S. Woods Bennett, a 57-year-old lawyer in Baltimore when he said, "Their sense of entitlement is appalling.''

There is not any situation that any one person 'deserves' a $125 Million Dollar bonus. None. If a company makes that kind of money off of people, it needs to cut back what it charges people. Not by a lot, but by some. Spread the money around a bit more - raise salaries for the next year, increase employee benefits. Cut the executive's bonus back to 1 or 2 million. It is just a bonus. Spread the other $123 Million around by giving bonuses to all employees who all helped contribute to the success. Give a Bonus to your customers who are soley responsible for the company's profit - make one full payment on their loan you hold for them.

One of the most, in my mind, idiotic practices of the Financial system is to charge people who have less money available higher interest. The less money you have, the more money they force you to pay for something. The 'system' calls this practice 'mitigating risk,' but in fact they are pretty much ensuring the defaults of those loans. In what kind of 'logic' does it make sense to make people who have less pay more?

The bottom line is that the Financial companies created their own misery by their culture of greed. They have devoured and deprived their customer base.

People have funny ideas that a financial analyst is a very smart individual and most people think of a simple farmer as, well, simple. Looking at the way the Financial complanies have run their business, I have to say that even a farmer knows to fertalize their fields to continue to reap a harvest. Farmers also rotate crops between ones like corn that deplete the soil and ones that are easy on the soil like wheat. They also plant cover crops after harvest, like winter rye or buckwheat and till those back into the soil before planting season. The Farmers know that you have to treat your "Soil" good to make sure that it will provide for you when harvest time comes. The Financial companies don't seem to grasp the concept.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Wins!

Last night, I was able to witness Barack Obama winning the election for President of the United States of America - by 52% of the popular vote. Many called the results a "mandate" for Obama - or against G.W. Bush.

I made a twitter shortly after the victory was announced, "I am very happy, but still worried - the Republican corruption machine may not be done. They are tricky and evil to the core." Shortly following Obama's victory speech I tweeted, "I am trying to remain pessimistic, but that Obama speech gives me more hope than I have had in a long time." Honestly, I was barely holding back tears at the time and had to show the text message to my girlfriend because I didn't trust myself to speak.

I find my Hope in Obama to be for the Healing of the United States of America, to usher in a return to the hopes the founding fathers had in our country of Freedom, Liberty and Justice for All. I hope to see a Government free from Religion, a Government run by the People for the People. I hope to see this country able to stand tall and proud, generous and peaceful, confident.

I LOVE the line from Obama's Victory speech, "Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."

Hopefully we will have seen the last of the Republican "Party First" politics. Hopefully they will, as McCain stated in his concession speech to the gathered rich-preppy-white crowd, offer Obama good will and earnest effort to help the country grow. Hopefully they will not continue to simply work against the Democrats in every way. Hopefully all politicians will now put Country First, not party affiliation.

I was terribly disappointed that the Right-Wing Fear-mongers got initiatives passed, in States belonging to a country that was founded on Freedom, Liberty, Justice for All and Pursuit of Happiness, that denied or revoked basic human rights. I really don't have a stake one way or the other in Proposition 8 or the others that passed, but it is a sad sign in this time of Hope. Thankfully, Anti-Choice items failed to be passed, so those Rights are preserved for the time being.

I pray and envision a United States of America that is again grounded in reason, consideration, tolerance and charity. I long for an end to unreasoned hatred of those who are different in some way - whether color of their skin, nation of their origin, gods to whom they pray or political leanings.

UPDATE: 11/6/08
Just two days after the Election, Republicans are already swearing vengeance and spewing hate. Articles like "Unity - no thank you" and the comments on it show that the unreasoning, blind hate is not subsiding. Many are calling for increased hate and sabotage of the USA. Some articles swing in the right direction then go just as far in the wrong direction.

Political Items:
  • I would like to see an adjustment to the Electoral College to make it more a reflection of the popular vote.
  • I would like to see Term Limits on House of Representatives and Senate.
  • I would like to see the elimination of the government exclusion of "third" parties and government support of the two 'big' parties.

Links of Interest:
Op-Ed on Powell Endorsement ; NPR's Fresh Air - Mickey Edwards ; Republican Corruption website ; Liberals Like Christ - GOP corruption ;


Monday, November 3, 2008

Bill Maher's Religulous

I went to see the Bill Maher's Religulous over the weekend. It was only playing in one out of five major theaters in the 10-city area.

The film was, for me, very funny. A great movie with a wonderful, logical conclusion. It was also very frustrating at times.

It attempts to expose the ridiculous beliefs of religions, their contradictory ideas and the vehemence with which the believers hold to their beliefs, even in the face of logic and rational thought to the contrary.
"It worries me to have a national leader who believes in talking snakes" Bill laughed at one point, referring to the tempting serpent in the garden of eden.

At one point, I did have to yell out at the screen. I thought it was a clip of George Bush, but apparently it was John McCain saying, "I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation," to which I loudly responded, "Bullshit." (see my second post on this blog) (McCain, Bush, whats the difference? 10%?)

Bill Maher 'interviews' people of various faiths and asks some hard questions about their beliefs. Sadly, he just makes fun of their answers instead of actually giving them room to speak. Granted, most of the answers are funny and deserve to be made fun of. Including the woman in Florida who is all peppy about dying, being raised to heaven and 'come back on a white horse.'
Still, I would have appreciated a more serious debate or discussion of religious beliefs and goals.

He is met often with the "you are questioning god!" mentality for defense of their beliefs. After one exchange where Bill points out how silly a belief in some 'miracle' is, the answer is, "He IS God." As if that explains everything. There is, indeed, no making a rational argument when someone has that defense, "its magic." "You just have to have faith."

The interview with the Vatican Bishop who scoffed at most of the church's tenants, including the 10 commandments could have been a lot more interesting. Why the segment with the Gay Muslims in a bar was even included, I have no idea.

If the purpose was to show that religions have no good answers, the movie showed more that Bill wouldn't let them give full answers. Granted, some of them refused to answer or gave blank looks.

I did enjoy the reactions to questions about the stories of Osiris and Mithra comparing them to Jesus.

I was a bit disappointed that there was no mention of my pet scripture - Matthew 15:21-26 - but, thems the breaks.

The conclusion of the documentary was basically that Religion in all its forms is destroying the world. Wars and hatred are all rooted in religion. Rational, thinking men who do not obfuscate reality with religion, will run the world, their own countries, better. Basically, Bill states that in order to save the world, we must eliminate religion.

Mostly, I can see his point and somewhat agree. Getting rid of the organized religion that preaches "One Truth" and that everyone else is lesser or in some way the enemy, would cut down on a lot of the killing and hatred in the world.

Religion is indeed a crutch, but people are lame.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Intelligent Design

Thorswitch posted on christians teaching their kids to disrupt classrooms when evolution is brought up. (typical). Reading the post, I followed a link to a wikipedia article on Intelligent Design. Reading through it, I found that I pretty much agree with the theory.

What? You thought this was the "Pagan Side?" Well, it is. I do, pretty much, agree with the theory that there was some 'intelligent design' guiding evolution, even the creation of life. Granted, I probably disagree with the Source of that design. I don't think it was some grumpy old man in the sky.

The theory of Intelligent Design though, I believe in. Look, for example, at the interconnectedness of everything on earth. Animals (including people) breathe in Oxygen and use it in their bodily functions, then breathe out carbon dioxide. Plants then take in carbon dioxide to use in photosynthesis and growth, then 'exhale' oxygen. What a brilliant design - the Carbon cycle! Look at the human body! The lungs to take in oxygen, the blood stream, the immune system - we're a complex system! The design elements of the Human body are used over and over in vastly different arrangements. One interesting thing is that we are pretty much dependent on bacteria to live. "There are approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the human body, with large numbers of bacteria on the skin and in the digestive tract."(link and more info) How can that be an accident? Really? A symbiotic relationship with a single cell organism is essential to our survival. Brilliant!

The religious part of the Intelligent Design movement point to a separate, Christian, deity as the source of this wonder of engineering. That is one point that I greatly disagree with. In order to explain my theory, I feel that I must explain the process of reaching this conclusion.

I grew up in the Southern Baptist church. When I went to college, I was part of the Baptist Student Union. I was eventually on the BSU Leadership Council. At one point, I was giving testimonials and preaching with full intent to continue into the ministry. Unfortunately, I am smart and ethical. I read the bible and, in good christian form, believed what it told me. Essentially:
Jehovah created Adam and Eve, who then ate of the tree of knowledge and did not die despite Jehovah telling them they would - what I call the 'first lie'. They then began the Tribe of Israel with Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel took wives from the other tribes - in my humble belief, pre-existing, established tribes of people NOT created by Jehovah. Over hundreds of years Jehovah guides the Jewish people, the House of Israel. Eventually sending Jesus, who tells us that he was only sent to the lost children of the house of Israel - no one else. Now, Christians tell us that "the Lord" - which includes Jesus - can not lie. They describe this as a "test" of faith. Either it was a 'test' and Jesus lied about not being sent to everyone or he told the truth. I take it that he told the Truth. So, having done family genealogy, I find that I have no Jewish ancestry and therefore Jesus was not sent for me, leading me to the conclusion that Christianity was never meant for me as I am from the Other Tribes.

So, I did a LOT of prayer and observation and natural study. Eventually having a spiritual revelation about my path to Truth. I, having lead a fairly sheltered baptist life, thought I had come upon a new way of thinking, a new enlightenment! It was about two years later, after I had a pretty good outline of explaining my new faith, that I was told by a listener, "Oh, you're Pagan."

And now for my Theory. The Source of the Intelligent Design is, well, The Source. I believe that there is a Source of All Things and that everything is a part of The Source and it is within everything. Summing up, The Source is Omni-present. I see The Source as including all things - plants, animals, minerals, angels, gods, goddesses, devils, demons, stars, planets.... everything. The Source is the design as well as the designer. Within each of us is the model of the whole. We are all connected to each other and everything. Our survival depends on each and every thing in existence.

The Source - as in everything in existence - is constantly evolving. As rare species die out, something must evolve to replace them or a hole, a sickness of the whole is created. I hope, despite evidence, that Mankind is not becoming cancerous to the whole. I hope that we can reverse the trend of being more damaging than good. I hope we can become a part of the whole again instead of continuing to believe and act as though we are separate and above creation.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One Nation (not under God)

The Constitution

Not a Christian document

Religion is a very important topic for me. I strongly support the Freedom of Religion that our forefathers saw was needed for this country. I strongly support the statement made in the Treaty of Tripoli, written by Joel Barlow and signed proudly by John Adams that "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion". ( I find Buckner's Article on the Treaty very helpful on that matter and this article on the Tripoli treaty from and article on the "Christian Nation" myth and even this piece on a Secular Government.)

The fact that this is a purposefully secular government is well documented and proven, over and over as you can see. Why do they still protest the facts?

I like this article. It points out the Constitution, Article VI, Section 3: "No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." In these days and times, that important part is thrown out and if anyone fails the religion test, they have almost no hope of attaining any office - and may lose any office which they have won. That is thoroughly against what our founding fathers envisioned. I really enjoyed listening to Colin Powell's speech endorsing Obama (also, also):
"I’m also troubled by…what members of the party say, and is permitted to be said, such things as, ‘Well you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’ Well, the correct answer is, 'He is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian, he’s always been a Christian.'
But the really right answer is, 'What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?'
The answer’s 'No, that’s not America.'"

I have to include this from one of the articles above. Many claim that our laws are founded on christian concepts, but one of our founders totally disagrees:
Thomas Jefferson, elaborated about the history of common law in his letter to Thomas Cooper on February 10, 1814:

"For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law. . . This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it.

. . . if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period, supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed, and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

I will go on to point out that the Saxons were Pagans. So, in point of historical fact, the laws of the United States of America are rooted in Paganism.

Another thing, dealing with the Title of this post, that I would like to point out is the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge, as written by Francis Bellamy in 1892, was : 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' This is a fine pledge for all Americans - even those who don't believe in any god. Bellamy was a Christian and he didn't feel the overwhelming need to force his religion on others.

"In 1923 and 1924 the National Flag Conference, under the 'leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge's words, 'my Flag,' to 'the Flag of the United States of America.' Bellamy disliked this change, but his protest was ignored."
I suppose this was the beginning of the Idiot's Reign in the U.S. - who wouldn't know that they were pledging allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America? It is a superfluous addition more than anything else.

"In 1954, Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, 'under God,' to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and a public prayer. Bellamy's granddaughter said he also would have resented this second change." This, in my humble opinion, goes completely against the Constitution. It is the start of the insinuation of christianity into our government. This little addition purposefully excludes a large portion of United States citizens.  Also, it was Sixty Two years after the pledge was written and being said in public.  Talk about diverging from our roots, our history and tradition.

I already say only the (mostly) original pledge:

'I pledge allegiance to (the) Flag, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'

but I think I am going to start with this one :
"A few liberals recite a slightly revised version of Bellamy's original Pledge:
'I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with equality, liberty and justice for all.'"

I would love to see our Nation return to more of the principles of our founding fathers. I would love to see a more inclusive society, run by intellectuals grounded in tolerance.

I have found another source for more quotes and discussion on this :
The Volokh -- in particular, comments by Cityduck.

Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled, we have yet gained little if we counternance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of a bitter and bloody persecutions.

(Read the follow-up : More Christian Nation Stuff)

Welcome to the Pagan Side

The purpose of this Blog is to comment on Society, Religion, Politics and (probably mostly) news stories from a Pagan perspective.

Please note that it will be from the point of view of a Centergistic Celtic Shaman Druid - not a Wiccan or Asatru or Egyptian flavor of paganism. Comments are very very welcome from other Pagans on the posts to be made here.

I will be reviving a few older posts or topics from other areas that I have written to flesh out the first few days here.

There will be no personal info on this blog. I have a LiveJournal for those type posts. :D


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