Saturday, April 26, 2008

Child-Snatching Nightmare...

I do not know how many people out there in the blogosphere are following the situation in Texas right now, concerning the FLDS and their children, but there are several things I find disturbing to this whole fiasco. I in no way condone anything that this religious group has been accused of, but I am not sure the State of Texas' solution is any better either.

For those who are living under a rock, or in the wilds of Siberia, The FLDS otherwise known as the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (an offshoot of the Mormon Church), has had their children removed en masse by the State of Texas. This sect has been widely accused of many outragious things, including pedophilia, and in fact their leader has been convicted and currently sits in prison for crimes of this nature. I agree this sect is doing and has done many bad things in the past, and getting the children away from that place is something that definitely needs to be done. What I disagree with is the manner in which it has been done.

The State of Texas recieved a phone call from a young girl, presumed to be a member of the sect, implying that organized abuse was taking place and she wanted to escape. The state of Texas in it's infinite wisdom swooped in and took all 400 children from the sect, placing them in local gymnasiums until their identity could be sorted out. It was later determined that the girl who called was most likely NOT a member of this group, and was just seeking attention. I agree that something has to be done, but this is the equivalent of coming into a small town and taking everyone's children because a jealous neighbor, pretending to be a local child, says someone is abusing him. These women and children are victims, and should be treated as such. The latest move is to send these poor children to foster homes scattered throughout the state, and prevent all contact with the parents, a process that is in essence raping these abuse victims again. When will the abuse stop? These young children, AND their mothers need help.

The finger pointers and conformist zealots want these children to "save" them, and in the process these poor children will be destroyed. I do not condone any of the activities that the FLDS is accused of, but I think Texas deserves some blame as well. I do not believe they are truly acting in the welfare of these children and their mothers. I think many special interest groups and narrow minds want these children to mold them into good "christian" Texans, and to point blame instead of giving help where it is needed. These people should be treated as the refugees they are and should be given help, as many of them have never lived in the "normal" world of which they are being held accountable. It seems as if guilt has already been decided "en masse". It has become another case where the juggernaught of the child protective system is crushing the very children it was designed to protect, leading to more broken children and ruined lives which did not nescessarily have to be. I am not saying it shouldn't have been done, it just seems like they are using a sledgehammer, when maybe a smaller instrument is called for. A little sensitivity and victim advocacy should be the order of the day, but it appears to have been overlooked.

This also has other implications as well. If you are a member of a splinter group or alternate religion, what is to stop them from taking your kids if some crackpot decides to make a phone call? Your kids can be taken and placed in foster care, awaiting outcome of a multitude of trial dates over an undetermined amount of time. All the while, your kids will be exposed to goodness knows what, and told all sorts of stuff by individuals with seemingly good intentions that could damage them or their opinion of their parents. Even if you are found guiltless, they will be permantly affected and everyone's lives damaged.

I hate to see any inoccents hurt, whether it be from an abuser OR from the system which should be protecting them. Reforms of this rigid Child Welfare system seem to be called for.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What is Evil, really?

Evil. "Evil", just like "love", is one of the most over-used words in the English language. How often is it used do describe something we disagree with, or find unpleasant. It is often used when we are trying to convince others to dislike something we find disagreeable. But what is true evil? Yes, there is true evil in this world, but I think most would be stunned to find what they may consider evil, may not really fit the description.

Sure, there are the obvious evils, like murder, child molestation, and their ilk but I propose some other more unorthodox ones as well. If we accept the definition of evil as being something which causes harm, limitation, ignorance, or leads to the downfall of man, this list becomes much bigger and encompasses a lot more than the traditional evils. Most people see evils as some vague medieval concept of the Devil trying to tempt man to be bad, or of demons trying to wrest control of man's souls. This IS the 21st cenury, I think we should broaden our horizons a bit. Demons exist, but they are not what most people think they are. Believe me, I know. So what is on my list of evils?

1. Money - While money itself is not evil, the busines of money has a particular demonic spirit which seems to bring out the worst in man. It is the root of all the world's problems, and the solution at the same time. Money is not an evil until this greedy spirit takes over, rendering the fiscal bottom line as the most important achievement. If you doubt this, look at the current state of the US economy and people like Ken Lay of Enron.

2. Religion - For something that was originally intended to illuminate mankind, modern religion has become one of man's biggest limitations. Originally, religion was based upon mythic teachings intented to promote harmony between man and his world. It was supposed to connect man with the creative spirit inherent in the world from which we all sprang, freeing man's mind and bringing him closer to the creator. The end result of this being the promotion of love and human compassion. Religion, being a very close brother to Art, in this respect. Centuries of maniplulation and misunderstanding, has given rise to a strict set of dogmas in most cases, and lead to the death of millions martyred as unbelievers, heretics, infidels, witches, or just plain enemies of religion. In the current state of affairs, Christianity has denigrated to a conformist death cult, and we all know about the current state of affairs between the Jewish and Muslim religions. Just about every religion has it's stories of massacres, and wars fought in the name of religious views. If religion does not fit the definition of limitation and ignorance, I don't know what does. Anything to me that promotes limitation and blind obedience is evil to me. They are doing the exact opposite of what religion was originally intended for. It has simply become a way to manipulate the masses by people seeking power. Real religion exists, but it is not found in a church.

3. Consumerism - This evil is directly related to the first one on the list. It is, in fact, a tool utilized to feed the insatiable desire for money, and it is directly leading to mankind's impending doom. Freedoms have been replaced with the desire for comfort and cheap consumer goods at the expense of the world we live in. The point of existence has been reduced to the acquisition of more and more disposable consumer items. The meaning of life is now known; it is mindless shopping. No thought is given to the consequences of this lifestyle by the consumers. Endless millions are enslaved for pennies a day, to support this lifestyle. If you don't believe me, look at China. 16 hour, 7 day a week work schedules for less than a dollar a day (sometimes by children), all to feed the insatiable American consumer market and to line the pockets of the corporate entities with more money for as little expenditure as possible. These poor souls are living as veritable slaves so we can have such worthless things as electric hand lotion warmers, or coffee filter dispensers at the local Big Box for a dollar less than a US made item, etc. The whole effect of this is a vicious cycle, with the end result of losing American jobs and making us weaker. Sounds like evil and limitation to me. It is also destroying the Earth. We are the living dead and we do not know it. Unless we change the current dead-end consumer society that is being adopted world-wide, the Earth's resources will be totally consumed in as little as the next few centuries. Thus will mankind's reign end. (Funny the Bible does not mention this, and most religious people do not see how any of this is evil).

On the evil scale... Very evil, simply because it is self-generating and tied to core of all the other evils.

At this point, I think some mention should be made of our society, and how it views evil. Most accept evil as some vague fire and brimstone concept of demons and things out of the movies. Typified as being the source of what ails mankind. This squarely places the blame for man's ills on things that are alien to man, thus removing the blame in the eye's of most people. If it is alien, then it is not like them, and they do not have to change because they do not see themselves as part of the problem. People must be taught to see evil as something different, and not all inclusive black and white as taught by most religious demogogues. The true forms of good and evil are not black and white, but shades of gray containing elements of both. The only true evil is what hurts or limits us.

As a sideline, being a proponent of an alternative religious view, I would be seen as a minion of evil by most orthodox religious folk. I have been accused of this many times, by many different people. Yes, I like the dark side of things, and take the left hand path on many things, but this is simply because I do not follow the more restrictive Right Hand. My actual religious views being more of an anti-religion, but definitely not atheism.

Do I hurt anyone? no.
Do I limit myself or anyone? no.
Do I challenge long held orthodoxies and blind dogmas? yes.
Do I hope to enlighten and free the minds of others? yes.
Does this fit the definition of evil? no.
Does the priest on the pulpit fit this definition? yes, in most cases.

Am I evil? In the eye's of conservative society, I am, since I do not play their game and represent all that they seek to limit.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Just Found on the WWW...

Very interesting web site, the Rev says to check it out...

I leave you with this quote, as it relates directly to this site;

"The whole foundation of Christianity is based on the idea that intellectualism is the
work of the Devil. Remember the apple on the tree? Okay, it was the Tree of Knowledge.
'You eat this apple, you're going to be as smart as God. We can't have that.'"
--Frank Zappa