An invitation to picket a cathedral


From Janet L. Factor

Hello fellow freethinkers! My local group, Springfield Area Freethinkers, is undertaking an action this Sunday that we would like more of the secular community to be aware of. We are going to picket an honest-to-goodness cathedral! Since you are a person in a position to spread the word, I am sending this information to you in hopes that you will blog or otherwise report about this event in advance. Feel free to forward this info if you have contacts who might be interested in writing about this as well.

While our group has existed here for years, this will be our first venture into public protest. It’s important that it be a success. We would like to get as much participation as possible from those who can join us, and as much psychological support as we can from those who cannot. I’m hoping that this will be the little push that gets the secular activism ball rolling here in Illinois’ capital city.

Here’s the bare-bones information (more detail follows):

WHO: Springfield Area Freethinkers are the local hosting group. Also participating are CUFree of Champaign and the Peoria Secular Humanist Society.

WHAT: A picket in support of Church-State separation as an American value. We are calling it “Buttress the Wall of Separation.”

WHEN: 9:15 AM until approximately 11:30 AM on Sunday, October 21st.

WHERE: Sidewalk surrounding the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, Illinois, at the intersection of S. Sixth St. and E. Lawrence Ave.

WHY: Bishop Thomas Paprocki who heads the Diocese recently issued a statement warning Catholics that if they vote for Democrats they will burn in hell. He has also put the Diocese on several lawsuits challenging church-state separation. He is determined to change the law. We are determined to stop him.

HOW: The city of Springfield has told us that we may legally picket the Cathedral SO LONG AS we do not obstruct pedestrian traffic and remain off the private property. We intend to carry signs emphasizing the American ideals of separation of church and state and of freedom of conscience. The focus must remain sharp on these issues. Many believers will support us on this. It will gain us respect and build bridges.

BACKGROUND/LINKS:

Springfield Area Freethinkers web page: http://www.meetup.com/safreethinkers/

Paprocki Bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_J._Paprocki

Paprocki is both a civil and a canon lawyer. He is actively seeking to change the law on church-state separation. He has put the Springfield Diocese on court actions challenging the contraception mandate and on a case trying to force the state to fund Catholic adoption agencies even if they turn away same-sex couples and unmarried couples. He once said that victims of pedophile priests who sue the church are tools of the devil, and he organized a national training of priests in exorcism in order to revive the practice. Oh yes, and he’s on the panel of bishops  trying to repress liberal nuns. This guy is something out of the Dark Ages.

His statement: http://ct.dio.org/bishops-column/59-think-and-pray-about-your-vote-in-upcoming-election/video.html Maddeningly worded, but nonetheless a clear endorsement of the Republican platform, with a threat to back it up.

This obviously violates the tax code, which you can find explained here: http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations/The-Restriction-of-Political-Campaign-Intervention-by-Section-501%28c%29%283%29-Tax-Exempt-Organizations

In fact, all the bishops of Illinois are collaborating in offering “guidance” to Catholic voters in this election. They have written a series of pastoral letters being inserted into church bulletins every week. You can find those here: http://www.ilcatholic.org/election-2012/  (I find the second one particularly infuriating.)

The local paper’s story on it:  http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x1784776274/Paprocki-doesnt-back-down-from-political-statements.

Their editorial: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sj-r.com%2Fopinions%2Fx1784776967%2FBishops-election-message-will-result-in-division&h=eAQFSESS6AQFTEcAj1mQE_xntquclJzIc4bMwv5b00pl3kQ&s=1

And a long series of letters to the editor on the topic: http://www.sj-r.com/search?q=bishop+paprocki&submit=Search Including this one from a Catholic upset with Paprocki: http://www.sj-r.com/opinions/x493671083/Letter-Offended-by-the-bishop

AlterNet has listed the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as one of the top ten most dangerous religious right organizations: http://www.alternet.org/belief/10-most-dangerous-religious-right-organizations?page=0%2C1

If you want some real fire-breathing rhetoric on the bishops, plus some EYEPOPPING figures on how much TAXPAYER money they get, go here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/06/1089172/-Stop-Government-Funding-of-Catholic-Plutocrats

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: For those hoping to attend: parking is free downtown on Sundays. The Cathedral is slightly less than one mile from the Amtrak station. The weather forecast is very favorable at the moment. Anyone who might come the night before and want something to do, the annual Springfield Zombie Walk for charity takes place Saturday evening: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Springfield-Illinois-Zombie-Walk/128668543841888?ref=ts&fref=ts

Some ideas for signs:

“People aren’t Pawns, Bishop!”

“If you want to play you have to pay!—Tax churches that play politics.”

“it’s a voting booth, not a confessional.”

“It’s supposed to be a SECRET ballot.”

“Don’t tell me how to vote.”

“Keep religion out of politics.”

“Democracy not theocracy”

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

Phil Ferguson of CUFree has done an initial post on this event: http://www.skepticmoney.com/secular-protest-at-catholic-church/ And Rachel Maddow covered Paprocki’s statement in “This Week in God”: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/09/29/14150715-this-week-in-god?lite

Comments

  1. Rodney Nelson says

    Springfield is a bit out of the way for me, but I’m happy to see people telling Paprocki that separation of church and state actually means something.

  2. says

    It takes no bravery to picket the Catholic Church the media will celebrate you and you face no retaliation from the congregation who by their own belief system must love those who hate them.

    When you have the guts to picket a Mosque in say Dearborn or decry the fact that Molly Norris is still in hiding under an assumed name because of a FATWA against her over cartoon then I’ll be impressed.

  3. sundoga says

    No, they’ll only be picketting the single most powerful religious organization on the planet…
    And last I’d heard, the muslim leadership in Dearborn weren’t illegally getting involved in politics.
    If democracy is destroyed in the United States, our flag won’t be replaced with a crescent banner, but with a cross. Muslims are not the problem.

  4. Jenny says

    There is no separation of church and state in the constitution or bill of rights, there is the right to worship one’s faith, free from government interference, and there will be no state mandating religion, but that is not the same thing as separation of church and state. Now, you can [fume] over that plain and simple truth, but it doesn’t change the facts. What’s more, it’s long past time you atheists faced your own legacy, atheism is responsible for the slaughters of hundreds of millions of innocents, in the middle of the last century alone. More murders than all the wars in the history of the world combined, all in the interest of your any means to an end ideology. The plain, unvarnished truth is, your obsessional hatred of Christianity, is to blame. You don’t have the right to violate the Constitutional rights of Christians, nor impose your dogma on us. Kindly deal with your own delusions, and focus on yourselves, we’re not going to be sublimated to your mental illness.

  5. says

    Oh lordy, da tech guy was playing the fatwa envy card at me on Twitter just now, too. He was surprised when I told him I’d been paying attention to fatwas for quite some time.

    He thought I was unaware of Molly Norris. Well I bet he’s unaware of the photographer who did the cover of Does God Hate Women?, Elisabeth Wallin. He should find out about her if so.

  6. F says

    Hooray, troll number 2 with the denial of the wall of separation and lies about atheism plus Godwin. They are hitting all the marks. Bingo!

  7. sundoga says

    Sorry, Jenny, but the wall of separation of Church and State is a well established constitutional concept. It’s true that those precise words do not appear in the Constitution of the United States, but the precise wording is NOT all that matters; it is also the various interpretations, in both the Supreme and lesser courts, that form our backbone of precedent and constitutional understanding.
    Or to put it simply, the Supreme Court disagrees with you, and it’s their interpretation that actually matters.
    As to deaths, yes, a lot of people have died under atheist regimes. Wow, we aren’t perfect. The Soviet Union, Maoist China and Khmer Rouge in Cambodia were the big ones for us. But “More murders than all the wars in the history of the world combined”? I’d find that highly doubtful. And please don’t come across so high-minded – you’re coming from a position that boasts, among others, the Carolingian Crusade, the Massacre of Jerusalem, and the Nazis.
    So, please, take your own advice, and don’t impose YOUR dogma on US. It’s neither wanted, nor of any use.

  8. Rodney Nelson says

    Jenny #5

    What’s more, it’s long past time you atheists faced your own legacy, atheism is responsible for the slaughters of hundreds of millions of innocents, in the middle of the last century alone.

    None of these people were killed for the cause of atheism, unlike the people killed because they had the wrong religion or the wrong ideas about the right religion.

    More murders than all the wars in the history of the world combined, all in the interest of your any means to an end ideology.

    Citation needed.

    The plain, unvarnished truth is, your obsessional hatred of Christianity, is to blame.

    Few atheists hate Christianity. We may dislike self-righteous Christians like you, but that’s something different.

    You don’t have the right to violate the Constitutional rights of Christians, nor impose your dogma on us.

    Which Constitutional rights are you claiming are violated? We won’t impose our dogma on you for a very simple reason, we don’t have a dogma.

    Kindly deal with your own delusions, and focus on yourselves, we’re not going to be sublimated to your mental illness.

    We can feel the Christian love just oozing out of your rant.

  9. Stacy says

    atheism is responsible for the slaughters of hundreds of millions of innocents, in the middle of the last century alone

    Gee, that’s odd. Here I thought it was Fascism and Soviet-style Communism that were responsible for those deaths.

    Turns out it was all due to atheists’ obsessive hatred for Christianity. Who knew?

  10. JohnnieCanuck says

    Jenny, you might be happy if a Christian group were able to gain control of your government and merge church and state. Just think, Good Christians following the Good Book and doing good works. Everyone would soon come around when they saw how wonderful it was to work together in harmony, right?

    They could take a page out of the Koran and allow Buddhists and Jews and whatnot to live in peace in their great Christian nation, as long as they paid a special tax and stayed out of politics. Blasphemy and hate speech against Christians wouldn’t be tolerated of course and non-believers would know better than to say anything.

    Then it would only be necessary to bring heretics into the fold and all would be well. There’d be some struggling of course by revisionist sects, but the love of Christ would soon compel them.

    Finally there would be one nation united under one church, marching onward to victory. Your particular flavor of worship would be triumphant, right?

    Given the number of Christian sects out there, odds are, no it wouldn’t. If you tried to stay loyal to your old ways, you’d be a heretic and treated as such.

  11. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Jenny @5:
    You wouldn’t happen to have any…oh I don’t know…PROOF to support everything you said, would you?

  12. says

    Jenny and DaTechGuy are mostly pretty boring bots; why don’t you look at Islam, look at all the atheist murders and some drivel about the constitution which is plainly wrong. But I was interested by Jennys parting shot…

    Kindly deal with your own delusions, and focus on yourselves, we’re not going to be sublimated to your mental illness.

    Is she a Freudian who thinks atheism is the socially acceptable (or more socially acceptable!) face of an unacceptable inner impulse? Could be a fancy way of saying we are doing the devils work, bwahahaha! Anyway I’m with Jung, sublimation is bunk, I find all my socially unacceptable impulses are accepted somewhere on the internet ;-)

  13. veronicaabbass says

    Good luck, Janet and the Springfield Area Freethinkers. I wish I could be there, especially since the church is called the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. I’m sure most Catholics don’t even know what the term “Immaculate Conception” means, but they’re sure Mary didn’t dirty herself with sex.

    datechguy says:

    “by their own belief system must love those who hate them.”

    Is that what the Catholic Church has been doing for a two-thousand years, loving those who hate them? I think not.

    As sundoga says, the Catholic church is “the single most powerful religious organization on the planet.” To that statement I would add “and the Catholic church is the most corrupt institution in the world.”

  14. theobromine says

    “I was looking at Ottawa on Google Earth earlier today”

    You should have told me – I would have gone outside and waved :)

  15. Martha says

    @veronicaabbass: When I was little, we played some of our soccer games at a church called “The Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Confused, I asked my mother what “immaculate” meant. All she said was “very clean,” which left me all the more confused!

    I hope the protest is a huge success. Sounds like this Bishop in an excellent target.

  16. Jane Hartman says

    I’m so relieved that you’re atheistic free thinkers. Since you all know so little about the church, I suggest you go home and pray and ask the Lord to give you some guidance on this issue. The bishop is our leader, shepherd, and he is obligated to tell us about deeds that would lead us astray. It is his responsibility and he takes that responsibility seriously. I suggest you start by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church and then perhaps by reading the New Testament book of John, and perhaps, James. Those of us who take our faith seriously are praying for you, too. The media makes the church look pretty awful sometimes and it is full of sinners, but it happens to be the only institution on the face of the earth that has hope for tomorrow, peace and joy because our hope is in the Lord.

  17. theobromine says

    Ms Hartman:

    You do realize that many atheistic free thinkers are very familiar with the Roman Catholic Church (and other churches)? In fact, many atheists are more familiar with the bible than the majority of Christians. As for your “hope for tomorrow”, I once accepted that story, but have now concluded that there is no evidence that there are any supernatural beings, and no evidence of incorporeal consciousness (ie no immortal souls).

  18. says

    @22: Your bishop can care for your souls all he likes, and you can follow or ignore his advice as you like, but what he can’t legally do in the US is to interfere in the secular political process in the name of the Church. And you don’t have to be an atheist to think that opposing such interference is a very good idea — every Protestant, every Jew, indeed everyone who isn’t a Catholic (and many who are, if they remember European history at all) should be against such interference. Because that sort of thing never ends well.

  19. says

    Thanks for getting the word out, Ophelia – local media picked up the protest, and I’ll post some links back later to the coverage. The response seems to have been pretty positive, though.

    Jane: What Paprocki did was to highlight how the Catholic hierarchy is explicitly opposed to freedom of conscience at least as far as its congregants are concerned. I suspect that many, if not most, Catholics don’t agree with that, especially given how many Catholics are explicitly ignoring his instruction. If you’re okay relinquishing your responsibility to think about your decisions without whispering in your ear, then fine, but don’t be surprised when rational people aren’t willing to give that up.

  20. Jane Hartman says

    Our faith determines our character and our vote. It’s Bishop Paprocki’s freedom of speech and religion granted to him by our Constitution that gives him that right. It’s our right, too. Separation of church and state came about to protect the church from being dictated to by the government, as in a state run church.
    And because you are atheistic free thinkers, you need to get into contact with the head of our church, as in Jesus Christ. We are but humble followers but He is the one with the answers.

  21. says

    And because you are atheistic free thinkers, you need to get into contact with the head of our church, as in Jesus Christ.

    Been there, done that, realized the whole thing was bullshit. Of course, maybe I was doing it wrong, ie. the Protestant evangelical way. So many sects, so little time….and so little difference between them when it comes to the credibility of their claims.

  22. says

    Oh really, Jane Hartman, that’s just rude. Speak for yourself. I can’t get in touch with a guy who’s been dead for two thousand years, nor do I want to. There is no “He” and there are no “answers” in the sense you mean. I’m not a humble follower. Just knock it off. I looked you up and I’m very impressed by your career, but I’m never impressed by people who try to tell me there’s a supernatural being and that I have to get in touch with it.

  23. Jane Hartman says

    Eamon – try reading Conversion Diary. She found her truth in the Roman Catholic Church and very interesting to read. Also, I’ve been an atheist in a former time, but found real truth through beauty, which eventually lead me back to the church.

  24. theobromine says

    I briefly checked out Conversion Diary, and saw the story of someone who had been looking for answers, and found a neat explanatory package. In one post, she says:

    Atheism is out because it leaves so much of life unexplained, and it makes no sense for a sentient, self-conscious being to live out an existence that it knows is meaningless and finite

    Perhaps it’s comforting to think that there could be an infinite being that cares about every person and every sparrow, and every parasite. (Or it might be, if the world were not such a miserable place for many people and animals, and the mental gymnastics to reconcile this with an omnipotent/omniscient/omnibenevolent god didn’t require dismissing the suffering of non-humans, and postulating an immortal soul for humans.) Although I do have to ask why my otherwise meaningless life would become meaningful only by virtue of being affirmed by a supreme being. That would not be *my* meaning, it would be someone else’s.

  25. Jane Hartman says

    How do you find meaning? I would take my life – I really couldn’t get up in the morning if I didn’t have a source from which this life comes from. Life is too meaningless without a source of love, beauty, purpose. It becomes an exercise in such futility that it becomes useless. Why be here if we’re all just random chemicals that just happened for nothing?

  26. says

    Why be here if we’re just something a big person (or a big not even a person) made? Children make mud pies; does that mean the mud pies have “meaning” in their lives?

    Suppose I decide to believe you, that “God” did create everything. Then what? I would wonder why. I would think about disease, suffering, death, loss. I would think about animals – the ones that get eaten and the ones that starve because they can’t find enough animals to eat. I would wonder why this god arranged things that way.

    I would also wonder what “God”‘s point was, and why it should be my point. I have my own ideas about things; I wouldn’t want to swap them for those of “God.”

    I would also be unable to see “God” as “a source of love, beauty, purpose” alone, because there is also hatred, ugliness, and futility in the world.

  27. Beatrice, anti-imperialist anti-racist Islamophobiaphobic leftist says

    Somehow, I just don’t see “entertaining a tyrant” as a positive life purpose. If you have to imagine something, at least imagine something nicer.

  28. Richard Smith says

    Jane Hartman (#32):

    How do you find meaning? I would take my life – I really couldn’t get up in the morning if I didn’t have a source from which this life comes from.

    Would it even be worth a wager that someone whose only stated reason to live is through religion is almost certainly also the sort of person who would claim that if (suddenly-fictional-heaven forfend!) their religion/deity was definitively disproven, they would be practically compelled to murder, steal, and otherwise cause havoc? You know, havoc and mayhem, just like that caused by all those lawless atheists that form, by far, the largest percentage of prison populations?

    Oh, wait…

  29. Jane Hartman says

    Whom do you thank when you have a new baby? When your mom makes it through a difficult health issue, whom do you praise? Do you have times when you are brought to tears from the absolute beauty of a sunset or song? With no source to call on or thank, do you just thank yourself? But wait, you didn’t do anything for this random event. Are you looking forward to nothingness and rotting?

  30. says

    Whom do you thank when you have a new baby? When your mom makes it through a difficult health issue, whom do you praise?

    The doctors and nurses? And (in the former case) my wife, who did all the hard work and put up with the, um, joys of pregnancy?

    ‘Cuz they’re here, and visible, and obviously did useful stuff towards that end. As opposed to God, who is AWOL as usual….

  31. says

    Whom do you thank when you have a new baby?

    The healthcare facility staff.

    When your mom makes it through a difficult health issue, whom do you praise?

    Same.

    Do you have times when you are brought to tears from the absolute beauty of a sunset or song? With no source to call on or thank, do you just thank yourself?

    For the song, the performer.

    I can’t say I’ve ever cried at a sunset. I don’t suppose I need a ‘who’ a lot there, tho’, if I did. And why on Earth would I praise myself for a nice sunset?

    You seem to have this odd, reflexive need to thank people..

    Are you perhaps Canadian?

    Seriously, being ‘thankful’ to an imagined entity for a pretty scene makes as much sense as does apologizing to the door when you stub your toe on it.

    Are you looking forward to nothingness and rotting?

    Well, I am looking forward to not hearing from pious frauds like you ever again.

    … but seriously, you just gave the game away, ma’am.

    You don’t believe in your god because there’s evidence. You do because you’re afraid of rotting, and you figure if you hold on hard enough to your delusion, you can distract yourself from having to think about it.

    I may be able to help you with this:

    As, if it’s any consolation, it looks from here as though you’ll make excellent fertilizer.

  32. Jane Hartman says

    No, exactly the opposite. I believe in God because He has given me real ways to know he’s there. It’s just the opposite of what you all believe. He has given me evidence of his glory. And I have hope of something “eye has not seen, nor ear heard what God has prepared for those who love him.” And my worn out body will become fertilizer until it is glorified. Your reality is just what you see.

  33. Beatrice, anti-imperialist anti-racist Islamophobiaphobic leftist says

    When your mom makes it through a difficult health issue, whom do you praise?

    Her doctors and physiotherapists.

    Do you have times when you are brought to tears from the absolute beauty of a sunset or song?

    Sunset not so much, but I’ve been known to cry to songs or movies.
    In fact, for some reason American Pie (song, not the movie) makes me cry. Ok, movie makes me almost cry too, but for different reasons.

    What’s that got to do with your godbotting?

    With no source to call on or thank, do you just thank yourself?

    What’s with the thanking obsession?

    Who do you thank before eating? I assume you say a little prayer. In my house, we thank whoever cooked the lunch. Aren’t we a bunch of horrible heathens?

    But wait, you didn’t do anything for this random event.

    Riiight. And neither did a God(es)/gods/holly cows or whatever.

    Unless we’re talking about a song. Then it’s not really a random even but someone’s effort and talent.

    Are you looking forward to nothingness and rotting?

    I don’t expect to be aware of either of those. And I wish to be cremated, so no rotting in the ground for my remains.

  34. says

    … And my worn out body will become fertilizer until it is glorified.

    … hrm…

    I’d say I wonder what it’s like to spread glorified fertilizer…

    … but I think we just had a demonstration.

  35. says

    Jane@32 looks like a sincere question rather than just more robo-preaching (though #37 gives me serious doubts) so I’ll give a good-faith answer:

    How do you find meaning?

    Please define the term “meaning” as you are using it here. Because I think that (at least as usually used) it’s an example of what Dennett calls a “deepity” — a term that looks like it’s saying something profound, but when examined up close turns out to be content-free.

    I would take my life – I really couldn’t get up in the morning if I didn’t have a source from which this life comes from.

    IOW, you’re using religion as an anti-depressant? From experience, I’d say it’s about as good as your average SSRI, but with far more side effects, and presenting long-term compliance issues.

    Life is too meaningless without a source of love, beauty, purpose.

    Love: There is in my life a marvelous, intelligent person who (for reasons that still escape me) has loved me for well over 30 years now, and I love her, and we make each other happy, and we have raised two sons, whom we love and who love us and of whom we are very proud, and one of them has a partner — another marvelous intelligent person — whom we love dearly and are proud to count as our daughter. And that’s just my immediate family (not even counting the cats).

    Beauty: If I look out the window, I can see few miles away the river, and beyond it the Gatineau hills, now in full autumn colour, glowing in the sun beneath a blue sky. Or I can put my ear buds in and sample a music collection spanning four centuries. And that’s just what I can get at conveniently from my desk.

    Purpose: Whatever I choose it to be — which seems a damn sight better than allowing anyone else to choose it for me. As someone has put it: Does the fact that a pig is born and raised for the purpose of becoming ham and bacon make life more meaningful for the pig?.

    It becomes an exercise in such futility that it becomes useless. Why be here if we’re all just random chemicals that just happened for nothing?

    But we are here, aren’t we? And we can experience joy, and share it with others (which often means we get it back, multiplied), and have lives that are exactly as “meaningful” (whatever that, um, means) as we choose to make them. Why does my life have to be “useful” to anyone except me and the people around me? Yes, we’re all the product of a 13 billion year chain of happenstance, but we can validate our own existence, without requiring the universe to do it for us.

  36. Richard Smith says

    Jane Hartman (#37)

    Whom do you thank when you have a new baby? &c

    Who do you call out to during sex? Who do you cuss out when you hit your thumb with a hammer? Who’s sake do you plead against when frustrated(*)? Who gave that guy a heart attack while he was driving, causing his car to veer into oncoming traffic? Who sent hurricane Katrina to New Orleans? Who created intestinal parasites? Who do I “thank” for my ADD, or my hypopituitarism, or my alternating esotropia? Who gave my grandmother Alzheimers? My father prostate cancer? Who put the bop in the bop-shoo-bop?

    My, but this is a fun game!

    (*) Admittedly, I personally don’t know a “who” with a particular four-letter name beginning with “F”, but I often find myself petitioning them…

  37. says

    Whom do you thank when you have a new baby? When your mom makes it through a difficult health issue, whom do you praise? Do you have times when you are brought to tears from the absolute beauty of a sunset or song? With no source to call on or thank, do you just thank yourself?

    Whom do you thank when you have a stillbirth? When your mother doesn’t make it through a difficult health issue, whom do you blame?

    It happens both ways you know. Good things happen, and bad things happen. Do you thank god for the good things but look the other way for the bad ones? If so, why? Why does god get all the credit but none of the blame? Why do you select out only the good things to explain your belief in god?

    I do have a source to thank for the beauty of a song, obviously. About the sunset, I just focus on appreciating it. I give it my attention. (I have a lot of opportunities: I can see it set behind the mountains from my living room window much of the year, and even when I can’t, a viewpoint over Puget Sound and the mountains and sunset is a 2 minute walk away.)

    Please don’t reply in formulas any more. It’s boring. Please try to answer as opposed to giving formulas and quoting the KJV.

  38. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And my worn out body will become fertilizer until it is glorified.

    The afterlife as spa-day nonpareil.

  39. Rodney Nelson says

    It’s really too bad that Jane’s life is so empty and purposeless that she needs an imaginary sky-pixie to give it meaning. It’s pitiable that she’s so afraid of death she needs a fairy tale about “heaven” to take her mind off her ultimate non-existence.

  40. Rick Irwin says

    Of this dialogue. I believe it is important to converse without taking cheap shots. Jane Hartman is a sincere, loving and giving person. She has been a blessing to thousands of people in several countries. She backs up her faith with love and charity that is probably unmatched on this thread. She has said nothing inflamatory, yet some on this thread disparage her. Not necessary.

    I believe contructive dialogue is important to enlightenment. I did not see much success towards this goal in picketing (however small and limited it was) in the face of folks who merely want to worship on a beautiful Sunday. I understand you have a need to express yourselves but my summation is – wrong place, wrong methodology.

    “When God measures a person – the tape goes around the heart not the head.” Yes, I confess that faith is difficult and I observe that many here have given up on it. But having no faith is far more difficult.

    We all ultimately ask the question of why we are here or what is our purpose. The church, albeit imperfectly, seeks to help with that answer. It is not something to be scorned or ridiculed. But in the event that it is, I will stand with it to respond in patience and love. Ultimately, when it is all said and done, “Every knee shall bow.” I hope yours will be among them. Bless you!

  41. Richard Smith says

    Rick Irwin (#50):

    Ultimately, when it is all said and done, “Every knee shall bow.” I hope yours will be among them. Bless you!

    I’m sure I’m only inferring the omitted subsequent line about eternal hellfire for those that don’t come around to THE TRUTH… Pardon my eisegesis.

  42. Rick irwin says

    Alright, let’s be fair Richard Smith 51. Big words are like shouting, they don’t prove a point. Exegesis is the term I prefer. Exegesis and eisegesis are two conflicting approaches in Bible study. Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text.

    The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.

    I was ‘t looking to be attacked nor am I attacking. I am glad you have some familiarity with scripture. Keep studying and expanding the vocabulary of this blog. Again, bless you.

  43. Richard Smith says

    Hence “I’m sure I’m only inferring,” and “my eisegesis.” No attack here, either. Simply idle musing based on readings of other “concerned” correspondences I’ve read here and elsewhere. Eisegetic musing, if you will.

    BTW, I accumulated most of my religious vocabulary through osmosis, as my father was a United Church minister. He did once give me a good explanation of exe- and eisegesis, which might be why I like to bring one or the other out on occasion.

  44. says

    Rick Irwin – I disagree. Janet Hartman’s first comment (@ 22) was pretty rude. Things improved later, but she didn’t start with mere polite disagreement.

  45. Rick irwin says

    Richard – thanks for the polite response. Preacher’s kid – I’m sure you have seen the underbelly of the church and admittedly it’s biggest flaw is that fallible mortals sometimes fail. Remarkably, in my opinion, God still can achieve the extraordinary from the ordinary…and in that regard I am thankful for the ideals expressed and lived by many who wish nothing but the best for others. This whole thread started as a response to a clergy statement on abortive practices and whether that should inform voters. Opinions are rarely changed in these threads but flaws in logic are often exposed. For me, my most loving response is to protect the innocent and unborn. Religion aside, the elimination of nearly 54 million souls since Roe V Wade cannot in any fair and logical debate be good public policy. As a minister myself I don’t tell people how to vote but do feel a duty to educate others on moral and ethical issues and hope they can connect the dots. On abortion many Atheists and Christians agree which gives me hope that the higher good will be achieved. Many in this thread don’t define the higher good as God but I lovingly do. I am thankful to others in my journey who have shown me the way and hope only to do the same.

  46. theobromine says

    Rick Irwin:
    How were “souls eliminated”? Why haven’t they just gone to live with God for eternity? Isn’t that better for them than if they were born and grew up and rejected God and went to Hell?

    (Note that ~30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, many before the woman even knows she is pregnant, so the Almighty God has done more abortions than all the doctors put together.)

  47. says

    Ah, me. Not looking to be attacked. But do let us condescend to encourage the unlettered to expand their vocabulary. And let us oh so politely hope that every knee bow

    How, I find myself wondering aloud, does one ever manage to convince themselves that bringing such treacly, tacky dissembling nonsense as this to the table–nonsense that ever so sweetly and gracefully segues to a call for obeisance–could ever be imagined to be polite, regardless of how sweet one imagines the tone they manage to imply?

    Ah, yes. See, I’m but a humble, bumbling, barely literate servant, me. With a message from a loving tyrant. And he loves you. Honest, he does…

    So bow.

    But then, life often has these curious coincidences, I find. On one thread, a discussion of ‘Minnesota nice’…

    And on the neighbouring one, the demonstration.

  48. Rick irwin says

    Theobromine wrote: “How were “souls eliminated”? Why haven’t they just gone to live with God for eternity? Isn’t that better for them than if they were born and grew up and rejected God and went to Hell?
    (Note that ~30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, many before the woman even knows she is pregnant, so the Almighty God has done more abortions than all the doctors put together.)”

    My observation in working with the public is that many times people will feign misunderstanding as opposed to facing a subject directly. You know exactly what I meant in using the term “souls eliminated”. But since you split hairs let me rephrase. Where I wrote “souls eliminated” please insert “unborn, yet viable human fetuses ripped from the womb by forcible methods, ie. killed.” Also, miscarriage and an abortive procedure done upon a perfectly viable pre born are not the same thing. You did, however, reflect some truth. God is almighty. And while it is not my domain to name who is in heaven, I suspect those innocent “souls” and all their potential will receive God’s grace far easier than you and me.

  49. Rick irwin says

    AJ Milne re: 57. Your sarcasm is a comical window into your own soul. Your wit and command of the thesaurus are unparalleled on this thread and I am still laughing at what you wrote or rather how you wrote, regardless of the intent. (cruel, comical or otherwise) Thank you for introducing your very own “idiosyncratic perspective” here. I read between the lines very well.

  50. says

    A ‘comical window into mine own soul’?

    (Blushes and dimples prettily…)

    Why, aren’t you just the sweetest thang! That just has to be the kindest thing anyone’s said to me in weeks, ah do declare!

    Let me equally sincerely and kindly repay you by assuring you your faux-obsequious wheedling here doth say to me a great deal about your character and methods, you sweet talker, you!

  51. Rick irwin says

    Re: AJ Milne 61. Entertaining! Thank you for deflecting the focus of this thread to yourself. Another case of big words, weak ideas, and a borish ego. Mark Twain’s advice seems applicable here. “Never get into a wrestling match with a pig. You’ll both get muddy, but the pig will enjoy it.” A little harsh perhaps but I don’t want to again disappoint you with “faux obsequious wheedling.”

    “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” Proverbs 18:2

    Air away! You may have the last word and thus declare yourself superior. You have made my point.

  52. says

    The last word?

    Why, thank you kindly. I will ever so happily take you up on your lovely offer, you sweet thing, you.

    And say, happily, therein, it is always a delight to see the thin mask of civility slip from the face of a would-be proselytizer, revealing in stark detail the naked, grasping manipulator beneath.

  53. theobromine says

    quoth Rick irwin:
    My observation in working with the public is that many times people will feign misunderstanding as opposed to facing a subject directly. You know exactly what I meant in using the term “souls eliminated”.

    No, I did not “know exactly what [you] meant”. I’m a former Christian, but was not Roman Catholic, so I don’t know the current RC position on what happens to children who die before they reach the ‘age of reason’.

    Honestly, based on your response, I still do not understand why it would be so bad for a fetus to be killed while still innocent, when the alternative is for a child to be born into a miserable existence and potentially reject God and go to hell. (And if you start talking about how humans should not take on the job of deciding who lives and who dies, I’m going to ask you why that doesn’t mean that we should reject the use of life-saving (or life-improving) surgery and antibiotics.)

  54. Rick irwin says

    Thebromine wrote: “Honestly, based on your response, I still do not understand why it would be so bad for a fetus to be killed while still innocent, when the alternative is for a child to be born into a miserable existence and potentially reject God and go to hell. (And if you start talking about how humans should not take on the job of deciding who lives and who dies, I’m going to ask you why that doesn’t mean that we should reject the use of life-saving (or life-improving) surgery and antibioticss.”

    Sorry to miscalculate you query. As I am not Catholic I am not attempting to represent that doctrine. I am a defender of life. I am a Christian. But let’s redirect. Would you have preferred that your mother would have aborted you? If your position is carried to fruition we should all just drink the Koolaid now and be done with it. We can always find someone to kill thus sparing them the flaws of their own future choices. if that is the case you don’t need to speak of some future hell, you’re already there. What you are missing is the doctrine of forgiveness. Nothing separates us from the love of God but we, by free will can reject that premise. Still it is not our best portrait of humanty that we should preemptively remove those choices for others.

  55. Beatrice, anti-imperialist anti-racist Islamophobiaphobic leftist says

    AJ Milne,

    Oh, you devil, you. Drawing attention from the topic of the thread a humble God’s servant to yourself.

    You warm the cockles of my heathen heart.

  56. theobromine says

    Rick irwin asked Would you have preferred that your mother would have aborted you?

    If I believed that I had an immortal soul, then I would have to conclude that it would have been better for me to be aborted as a fetus, or killed shortly after I became a Christian at age 15, since now I am an atheist, and my soul is destined for eternal torment.

    Since I do not believe I have an immortal soul, but that my current physical existence is what I have, and I have earthly love, beauty and purpose as detailed upthread by Eamon #44, why should I want to end my life?

  57. Rick irwin says

    Theobromine: I am glad you have earthly love, beauty and purpose. Really I am. But, immortality aside, why then would you ascribe a “miserable existence” to the unborn who might be allowed to live? They have the same right to pursue earthly love, beauty and purpose that you enjoy.

  58. theobromine says

    Rick irwin:

    If people are immortal, then what happens for a few decades on earth is negligible compared to eternity. After all: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

  59. Rick irwin says

    Theobromine: I specifically set aside immortality in my last post and asked you fair question. I repeat with genuine interest. Immortality aside, why then would you ascribe a “miserable existence” (your words) to the unborn who might be allowed to live? They have the same right to pursue “earthly love, beauty and purpose” (your words) that you enjoy, do they not? Also, I love the scripture you quoted but I do not see the application in context to a defense of abortive practices. How think ye?

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