Tag Archives: Freedom of Religion

Constitutionally Speaking: Guns and Religion

Some of you may be like me, trapped in an On Demand, Hulu , Netflix cycle of must watch TV that requires a spreadsheet to track schedules, characters and plots; which allows me (and perhaps you) to avoid the news detailing what a mess this country is.

The news is typically so dispiriting that I have stopped watching, listening, reading much of it at all. Still, the news reaches into my cocoon. I’m going to stick to stories local to me but the hue and cry is heard throughout this great nation of ours.

This fall there was yet another mass shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in the southern Oregon town of Roseburg.

Constitutionally speaking, I’m going to look to the right and all the people screeching about their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. I’m looking at you “2nd Amendment Voters/Advocates”. Please read the text of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States before you tell me and the rest of the country about your right to own an automatic weapon.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Do you see those first four words about the well regulated militia? Do you get what that means? It doesn’t mean that everyone for any reason can own a gun or an arsenal of automatic weaponry that would horrify the Founding Fathers of this country. I am not part of a well regulated militia thus I do not need to keep and bear arms. The Oregon National Guard can keep and bear arms.

I’m not for banning all guns. I think there should be a ban on assault weapons. Automatic assault weapons are made for hunting human beings, that’s not okay. I think we should enforce the myriad laws we have for background checks and that should apply to online sales, gun shows, pawn shops, retail stores, etc.

I also think that the people screaming about their 2nd Amendment rights, should SHUT. IT. Unless they are a member of a “well regulated militia” and I don’t mean regulated by your Uncle Wally and run out of his barn. If you are a member of a police force, US armed services, the National Guard — then please feel free to assert your Second Amendment Rights. If not, stand down.

bear arms

And this guy can also bear arms

Ohhh, look over there on the left…they are all snickering about the loser conservative gun rights people on the right. Hee Hee, Maggie sure told them!

Well, folks on the left, I’m now going to have a chat with you. It is holiday time, time to decorate the holiday trees and send the holiday cards and make sure that Portland Public School choirs don’t perform at The Grotto’s (The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother) Christmas Festival of Lights, the largest Christmas choral festival in the WORLD. As I said, I am keeping it local but there are examples around the country of…wait for it, the separation of Church and State! Right!? Separate those two before real trouble starts!

churchandstate

Inigo Montoya for the win!

Ahem, now that you folks have got your First Amendment knickers twisted, just a little reminder that the words “separation of Church and State” appear no where in the Constitution. The First Amendment to the Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment leads with “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” because our Founding Fathers came from Merry Old(e) England, where the government, then a monarchy, said to all of England, “your church is the Church of England.” Period. They added, “If you don’t like it, too bad, you cannot practice any other religion.” As I’m sure you all know as informed and interested American citizens, the Pilgrims left England so they could practice their particular religion without the King putting them in jail or gaol.

The phrase “separation of Church and State” comes from this letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury, CT Baptists in 1802. The phrase in no way means there is no room for religion in public life, it simply means the government will not dictate what religion its citizens practice and that said citizens are free to practice whatever religion they wish. Or practice no religion. Up to you, American citizen.

Again, as the 2nd Amendment folks need to get their facts straight so do you Separation of  Church and Staters, and again, SHUT. IT.

I am not saying that the discourse should end on topics so important to the well being of the United States of America. I am saying get your facts straight before righteously throwing around buzzwords like “the right to bear arms” and “separation of Church and State”.

“There is nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough people will believe it.” — Dr. William James, widely recognized as the Father of American Psychology

 

 

 

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Terror in France (and All Over the Place)

In 1793-94, the Reign of Terror led by Maximilien Robespierre resulted in the execution by guillotine of thousands of “enemies of the state”, as labeled by the Committee for Public Safety. The official number of death sentences served during the Terror is 16,594 infamously including Marie Antoinette of lemony cake fame.  According to the website HistoryToday:

For the first time in history terror  became an official government policy, with the stated aim to use violence in order to achieve a higher political goal. Unlike the later meaning of ‘terrorists’ as people who use violence against a government, the terrorists of the French Revolution were the government. The Terror was legal, having been voted for by the Convention.

Ironic that the use of terror as policy started in France. Not that the French government supports terror or has in centuries, but still an interesting bit of trivia. Honestly, nothing against France at ALL, just an observation.

I spent a semester of my junior year in college in Dijon, France. In 1986, there were terrorist bombings throughout France and Europe and the U.S. was battling Libya and Iran. One lovely spring day in 1986, I was walking home from class with one of my group’s French student advisers. I looked like a typical American goof ball in my Reebok high tops, drinking a Coke (because they didn’t have Diet Coke in France then), sporting a Sony Walkman and that’s all. No, I had clothes on, just joking. Christophe and I were walking down Rue Charles de Gaulle, chatting away and we passed a couple of guys of middle-Eastern descent who made some comments. I have no idea what they said. We kept on walking and then the Middle Eastern guys started yelling and chasing us and I realized they were yelling “You Fucking American” at ME. What?! Christophe and I took off running and we kept running past the house where I was staying so these assholes wouldn’t know where the American lived. We kept running till the jerks lost interest and turned around.

I'm just an 80s chick with a bad perm, what do you want from me?!

I’m just an 80s chick with a bad perm, what do you want from me?!

On Wednesday 12 people were killed in Paris by terrorists angered by magazine Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoons mocking Islam and the prophet Mohammed. Charlie Hebdo satirizes all religions but this tragedy was due to their cartoons regarding Islam.

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Sadly terrorism isn’t new to France and yesterday’s slaughter is the latest attack by Islamic terrorists on Western freedoms.

That’s what I think it all comes down to… Islam doesn’t like Western society’s freedoms of speech, assembly, religion and the press. They don’t like women having the right to an education or to be able to show their faces in public or to have a driver’s license.

Those of us of a certain age will remember what happened to Salman Rushdie upon the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses. After a “fatwa” was issued against him, Rushdie went into hiding for 10 years. Rushdie, born to a Muslim family in India, wrote a book that Muslim clerics didn’t like and he was in fear for his life for 10 years. As a matter of fact, the fatwa was restored about a year ago but Rushdie is not going back into hiding.

The following quote is from an interview of Rushdie by the New York Times:

There have been arguments made even by liberal-minded people, which seem to me very dangerous, which are basically cultural relativist arguments: We’ve got to let them do this because it’s their culture. My view is no. Female circumcision — that’s a bad thing. Killing people because you don’t like their ideas — it’s a bad thing. We have to be able to have a sense of right and wrong which is not diluted by this kind of relativistic argument. And if we don’t we really have stopped living in a moral universe.

Read more from Rushdie here

Theo Van Gogh was murdered in 2004 by a Dutch Muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri, unhappy with Van Gogh’s film “Submission” criticizing Islam’s treatment of women. Van Gogh was shot about 10-12 times, then the killer slit his throat in an attempt to decapitate him.

It seems almost every day we hear about a journalist being kidnapped or beheaded by ISIS.

Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head three times (and lived to tell about it) for daring to blog about her life under Taliban rule and for advocating education for girls. She is a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and is going to turn the ripe old age of 18 this July.

There seems to be some commonality here. Islam is at war with the West and Western ideals no matter where in the world they are espoused. And I, like you I’m sure, am getting damn tired of it.

Yesterday I read quite a bit about the savage attack in Paris. My reading included comments steeped in what I think of as historical and moral relativism. What about the Inquisition? What about slavery? What about the awful things done in the name of Christianity? What about the treatment of Native Americans? Blah. Blah. Blah.

Those things happened and they were awful but the glory of time is that it continues to move forward and civilization moves with it. Forward, better, new, improved. If the Inquisition was still going on. If Americans were still owning slaves. So on and so forth, then all of that ugliness could be compared to Islamic terror today but they’re not.

I am a practicing Catholic and I was horribly upset by the sexual abuse (rape) scandal in the Church that was going on long before I was born but really came to a head in the US in the 1990s. I never once sided with the priests or the Church hierarchy. I spoke out loudly against the abuse and the cover up. I refused to give money to the Archdiocese of Portland because I was not going to waste a penny on their legal expenses. Millions of Catholics in the U.S. and around the globe raised Holy Hell about the scandal and demanded recourse and change. It’s not over but it is glacially moving in the right direction.

catholics

Where are the millions of peaceful Muslims protesting the terrorism done in the name of their religion? Where is their Million Man March? Why are they not turning in those they know are terrorists and reporting those they suspect? Why are they not decrying the wearing of burkas by women and demanding that women everywhere deserve the same rights as men? Why are there no Islamic uprisings against stoning of women and girls? I don’t see it. I am told this is a peaceful religion and if that is true the peaceful branch must retake their religion from the savages that are causing death and chaos around the globe.

There is plenty of evil throughout the world but I ask anyone to name another group who is actively at war with modern Western civilization like these Islamic savages are.

I’ve been in trouble here before and I’m sure I will be in trouble again but this is my house and I’ll write what I want to write, just as everyone should. Ross Douthat wrote in yesterday’s New York Times, “If a large enough group of someones is willing to kill you for saying something, then it’s something that almost certainly needs to be said.”

voltaire

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