An Open Letter To Brother Donald

I just love it when people put words in my mouth [dripping with sarcasm]. That is exactly what Brother Donald, a visitor to this site who used the contact form to send me a message late last night, did. Here’s the text of that message. I will reply to his comments below the text.

Jesus Christ is the only way you will ever receive salvation and as for your support of murdering unborn children in their mother’s womb it is dispicable. What do you prefer, dead babies or a pile of bricks? Innocent unborn babies deserve to be protected just as born children deserve to be protected. You would have no problem protecting born children if they were about to be murdered

SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and take away my sins and give me eternal life.. Continue reading

Race and Justice in America Part 1

Back on Febrary 29, 2008, an article Nentitled New High In U.S. Prison Numbers appeared in the Washingtom Post. That article said that mearly ome per cent of the adult population of the United States is behinf bars at an annual cost of nearly $50 billion a year. Those numbers are very disturbing, both from a moral and a sociological perspective.

The main question that needs to be answered is why are so many people in prison? Are the American people inherently evil? Or is there something seriously wrong with our sense of jsutice and how we implement justice instutionally? The article does not answer those questions, nor can I answer them here. That would require a whole book and years of research. All I can do today is offer a few clues and ask some questions that might help to shed some light on this issue. Continue reading

The Love Guru and The Fundamentalists

So, you see, the theological Jesus did not come into existence until four centuries after the historical Jesus. And this theological Jesus has a very controversial history: (In the name of this Jesus) We have soothsayers, we have witch-hunts, we have burning at the stake, we have torture, we have (in modern times) the bombing of abortion clinics, we have an institution that hides paedophiles in its clergy while criticizing gays as sinners, not to forget what the White House is doing. Dr. Deepak Chopra in an interview with Arthur Pais India News April 25, 2008

This quote from Deepak Chopra, M.D., Chairman and co-Founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing as well as an internationally acclaimed author, has raised the ire of both Christian and Hindu fundamentalists alike. A pretty neat trick, if you ask me. LOL. Continue reading

Patriotism Then and Now

Yesterday, I received a package in the mail from Timne Inc., the people that publish Time magaizne. It’s the first volume of a series of books focusing on a specific year and feature articles and pictures from the Time news archives. What made this issue so special for me is that the year featured is 1968. I was 20 that year and that was the year I moved to Chicago, my home for 23 years.

1968 was a very eventful year, full of hope and despair. It featured the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicaog, where we, the young people of America, tried to get Eugene McCarthy nominated because he wanted to end the Vietnam War. Instead Hubert Humphrey got the nomination and lost to Richard Nicon, one of the worst Presidents this country has ever had. Continue reading

The Opposite of “To Bless” Is “To Damn”

In The Old Testament stories of God’s direct intervention into history, stories like the Fllod, the plagues in Egypt prior to the Exodus, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the various punishments God meted out to ancient Israel for its moral transgressions as a nation, would you say that God blessed those trangressors or that he damned them? Even Lot’s wife, whose only transgression was looking back, perhaps with some regret, at the destruction of her mone, was quite literally damned when God turned her into a pillar of salt.

When God intervened in a positive manner, like his intervention in the infertility of Saraj, Abraham’s wife, or in staying the sacrifice of Isaac, or in redeeming humanity from original sin by offering “his only begotten Son” for our redemption, we say God blessed each of those recipients.

“Bless” and “Damn” are the opposite sides of the same coin. Continue reading

Religious Syncretism and Race in Brazil

I’m getting a little bored talking about political isses LOL, so let’s talk anthropology and religion today, okay? We can get back to the politics later this week.

One of the most fasciniating subjects in the social analysis of religion is syncretism, the combination of elements from various religious and cultural traditions into an integrated, more or less, pacakge. My series/book on Cgristian stncretism, focusing on Western Christianity’s holiday tradtions, is my main passion in the study of syncretism, but most anthropologists focus on syncretism in folk religions. Continue reading

Clinton’s Pyrrhic Victory in Pennsylvania

If you look at the time stamp on this post, you will notice that it is very ear,y in the morning here in Arkansas. I’m up this early, not because I really want to be, but because my autistic son, Ian, decided wanted to be up this early. since I have the option to nap when needed, I am the one who gets up with him if he has trouble sleeping. Right now, he is lying on my bed fairly calmly. Perhaps he will go back to sleep soon. He has to be up for school in about three hours, so it would be nice if we both could get a couple hours of rest before then. I’m not going to hold my breath.

Since I am up this early, and after looking at the incomplete returns from the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, I thought I’d make some general comments about the results as they stand at the moment. It appears that Hillary Clinton has won by what is currently a 10 point margin of victory. I’m not sure whether that will be the final margin or if it will change as the rest of the results come in. However, 10 points is not all that large a margin, given that Mrs. Clinto needs to win all the rest of the primaries, including this one, pulling a combined total of 65% of the vote just to pull even with Obama by convention time.. If Obama pulls 53% of the total, his current average, he will go into the convention needing less that 100 delegates to win. He is currently at 45% in Pennsylvania, so he’s not that far off target, given that most pundits a few weeks ago thought he’d lose by a lot more than 10 per cent. Continue reading