On Miracles and Microchips…Atheist Science-Fiction.

On Miracles and Microchips


It’s a miracle. Overworked monastic scrivener, in T.V. commercial, upon

introduction to Xerox  electronic copier.


The Reverend Gilder Smelt, of the Mail Me Magic Money Miracle Missions Movement, had been blessed with the gifts of miracle healing and of prophecy, but, regrettably and inexplicably, had been denied the gift of correct grammar. He was held a prophet of God by his followers when he spoke on the 7Ms Club’s vast radio and television network. He had succeeded the movement’s founder, Dr. Ducworth Bliss, after the latter had been, according to Rev. Smelt, translated directly into heaven like Elijah and the BVM.

Secular authorities held the less metaphysical view that Dr. Duck, as they termed him, had faked his death in a plane crash in Brazil, where he then proceeded to reside, safe from secular extradition, among fellow travelers of Nazi persuasion. Authorities also cynically believed that Bliss had taken with him a large quantity of mailed miracle money, sent him by the gullible who accepted the teaching that the last dollar of the starving, if sent as magic seed money in cash to 7Ms, would be multiplied  and returned by God to the sinning sender seven times seventy fold. Because 7Ms was an officially recognized church, it paid no taxes and could not be made to disclose how much money it received, or how much was missing, assuming anyone really knew.

Dr. Duck’s disappearance permitted the grammatically challenged Smelt to expand upon the mendacity of his mentor, and  added a certain irony to 7Ms’ theme song, “More More Money Makes Miracle Missions Move.”  Previously satisfied with receiving the last mites of the hopeless, whose faith usually proved inadequate, after the transfer of funds, to achieve the miracles sought, the 7Ms Club, under Smelt, tooled up for serious electronic chautauqua.

With the compensated aid of shills, and the    uncomprehending cooperation of the habitually hysterical and hypochondriacal, 7Ms’ fortune and fame flourished.  The only real problem Rev. Smelt encountered was deciding whether to condition  members of his audience–of the soon to be miraculously cured–to fall backwards or forwards following his heavenly healing touch.  He settled on forwards.  Some of the fallees seeking the strong arms of salvation were attractive, full bosomed young women.

None of Brother Smelt’s  miracles, whether calling on the power of God to produce healings or to prevent hauntings, were ever verified by competent skeptics.  Why permit the damned to question the ordained?  What, Smelt unartfully argued, could science, or logic, or reason hope to provide the human spirit that could possibly compare or compete with faith, with the promise that all things hoped for would be provided, if not immediately, then in an invisible future world where you don’t get hurt if you fall on your face.  When asked by a godless cynic why so many people sent so much money they didn’t have for miracles that didn’t happen, Gilder Smelt replied, “We done it for God.” And, as predictably as a Harvard graduate telling you he is one, the insecure and the frightened lined up to fall down.

7Ms’ miracle mania swept the world.  Audio tapes, videos,  CDS, interactive CD-ROMs, tee shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, and every conceivable sort of bizarre religious kitsch was sent out for free to believers who sent in love gifts of magic miracle seed money.  One popular item, the Ye-are-the-salt-of-the-earth, glow-in-the-dark, seashell salt shaker, formed in the image of the translated to heaven Ducworth Bliss, was sent without charge to those who made heroic love gift payments on their eternal life insurance policies.  Often this variegated shaker became the centerpiece on altars of families whose polluted water supply would prematurely merge them with The Eternal Bliss.

Sufficient funds were received to permit Miracle Missions to expand into world wide real estate holdings.  Miracle theme parks, hotels, office buildings, campgrounds, and even Miracle Meals fast food restaurants became common throughout America and  most foreign countries.  Gilder’s favorite dish, grilled Spam and Velveeta cheese with onion, lettuce, mayonnaise and ketchup on white bread, was sold by the billions as the Miracle Smelt Melt.  7Ms was ready to control the world.

Almost as fast as a priest on a choirboy, individual religions lost their identities.  When a denomination discovered 7Ms suddenly owned even its church properties, rather than be evicted, the elders usually agreed to change their signs.  Eventually, and not altogether bloodlessly, 7Ms came to hold solid supernatural superiority on earth.  When only the conventicles and those pesky secular humanists seemed beyond their reach, 7Ms decided to change some laws.

The previously shepherdless sheep, who now consumed Smelt Melts, willingly elected religious bigots and scientific illiterates to all public offices.  School teachers taught children the More More Money song, and all learning became dedicated to the proposition that one lived only for 7Ms, so that one could live blissfully after death.  All knowledge was held electronically and dispensed electronically, by video while awake, and by audio while asleep.  Creationism and faith classes replaced the teachings of outlawed scientific heresies that had claimed it was possible to find out how the world really worked, or where humans really came from.  The libraries of the older learning were destroyed.

Years passed.  Everywhere was seen the fixed smile and thousand yard stare of the fanatically faithful. There was the occasional stoning of someone who claimed the fixed earth moved, and every so often children were reassigned, and their parents re-educated, if their traditional family was found to be practicing home schooling in science, or sex education, or teaching the heresy of reason. But, in general, life was good. For a while.

Suddenly, things fell apart.  Viruses evolved that didn’t know there was no evolution, nor that they could be stopped by faith. Almost simultaneously, the equipment that directed electrons to become images and voices failed.  Secular scientists and science had been outlawed.  Anyone who remembered and practiced the old ways, who knew how to repair or create a computer or a microchip, was in hiding or dead.  7Ms could neither deal with the plague, nor  get their messages on line.  Everyone was sick or dying; no miracle worked, and the voice of god in the machine was silent.  A fortiori, faith failed.

Blame for these happenings was imputed to the atheistss.  The Blissful Judgement was upon the faithful, because they had been meek and gentle with those who had sought to control nature and deny god’s plan.

Darkness and death covered the land.  The dead were left to bury the dead.  No invisible electron could be controlled.  Faith was swallowed up in viruses.  The unseen world had triumphed over the seen.

Some time passed before the first of the atheists emerged.  He was an ancient, gaunt man; his hand held the hand of a beautiful young woman.  They had received inoculations, from their people, before their own computers had fallen silent in their secret places.  All electronic information in the world was now forever lost.  The destruction was as complete as that of the righteous fires that once consumed the collected knowledge of the Maya. This time, religion had destroyed itself in its own temple, using its own rules.

“Hypatia,” the old man said, “I want to show you something.” They walked in silence, until they reached an outdoor Altar of Bliss.  He swept away the salt shaker, and shells and salt splattered as the icon smashed on the marble.  He withdrew a package from his bag, and placed it on the altar.  When the tattered, watertight wrappings were removed, he stood back and let the child gaze in wonder at the treasure.  After some moments she said, “Grandfather, it’s beautiful. What is it?”

He looked deeply into the health, and strength, and creativity, and intelligence, and curiosity of her human eyes, unglazed by grace, and said, “It’s a book.”


Edwin F.Kagin







Let’s add to irrationality

To nonsense unbelieved

And urge, against free human choice,

The rights of the unconceived


The unborn, however unwanted,

Have protestors who defend

Who will not take their misery home

But make sure their paths begin


The maimed, the pained, the hopeless

Have rights of tragedy unrelieved

Yet we ignore a great moral sore

The plight of the unconceived


We must have laws with iron braced jaws

To ensure new lives are received

It should be a crime at any time

To deny life to the unconceived


Should fertile lad and fertile lass

Henceforth with any passion pass

Consummation must be achieved

To insure the rights of the unconceived.


Edwin F. Kagin

Bigotry Toward Atheists


American Atheists, Inc.
January 27, 2012

For more information, please contact:
Dave Silverman, President 732-648-9333
Blair Scott, Communications Director 256-701-6265




An Atheist civil rights group announced today its disappointment in the remarks made by an Ohio State University football player on Twitter, which called for his followers to “show some hate” to an atheist.


Jake Russell, #21 punter, tweeted at night on January 24th, “my roommate max rouse (look him up on Facebook) is an atheist, please show him some hate.” By the morning the tweet had been deleted but not before it was captured by Twitter users.


Greg Lammers, Missouri State Director for American Atheists, contacted Javaune Adams-Gaston, OSU Vice President of Student Life, who assured American Atheists that the school will investigate the matter immediately.


Dave Silverman, President of American Atheists, stated, “Atheists are the last group against whom someone can publicly show bigotry and prejudice without fear of repercussions or consequences. American Atheists’ policy is to call out this prejudice and bigotry wherever we see it.”


Blair Scott, Communications Director for American Atheists, said, “I imagine that the NCAA, the school, and plenty of sports media would be all over this incident if Mr. Russell had asked his Twitter followers to “show some hate” to a Jew, African-American, Hindu, homosexual or other minority.”


Mr. Scott continued, “It is our hope that one day Mr. Russell and others like him will learn the value of pluralism in our society. The Great Melting Pot still exists and is something we should be proud to support.”


American Atheists pointed out that hateful actions are often the direct result of hate speech, and Mr. Russell will bear some responsibility if his call-to-hate results in violence against his roommate. Mr. Scott noted that the victim can attend meetings of The Ohio State University Students for Freethought, which is a group of like-minded individuals on the campus. The group is an affiliate of the Secular Student Alliance.


AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide organization that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church-mosque-temple and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.

American Atheists, Inc.

PO Box 158

Cranford, NJ 07016

Tel: (908) 276-7300

Fax: (908) 276-7402

On Self-Righteousness



Edwin F. Kagin is a lawyer‑poet.  He believes that, through grace and faith,

this will be a regular column and, if events are predestined, that whatever

he believes makes no difference whatsoever.  He can be reached in care of

this publication, or through e‑mail at: edwin@edwinkagin.com

Permission for non-profit reproduction is given, so long as credit is given,

so the villagers will not go after the wrong person with pitchforks and torches.



                                                    ON SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS


self-righteous: confident of one’s own righteousness, esp. when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.  Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary.


Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me.  But she wouldn’t.  She said it was a mean practice and wasn’t clean, and I must try not to do it anymore….And she took snuff too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself.  Huckleberry Finn.


The self-righteous are everywhere, trying to control our lives.  With the zeal of reformed nymphomaniacs peddling AmWay, they freely vend their negative judgments on the behavior and opinions of others.  Unable or unwilling to control themselves and their unhappy lives of frustration, insecurity, and despair, these petty dictators seek solace in desperately attempting to control others. For they are right.  Those who disagree with their toxic tyranny are clearly and obviously wrong, if not evil.  And they do attract followers, persons easily led, seeking certainty, and willing to praise, to flatter, and to sing unto them, How great thou art.  Self-righteous leaders reward fidelity and elevate select obedient disciples, especially worshipful ones who are confused but shamelessly self-righteous,  to CULT (Counseled Until Learned Truth) status.


The existence of such personalities is not new.   Jesus is reported to have said, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”  There are similar references, for self-righteousness is justly and frequently condemned in the bible, a work that, for all its many and obvious faults, is not without certain merit.   Indeed, we recommend you read it.  The book is much better than the movie.


Self-righteousness and hypocrisy may be joined, as in the widow’s views on tobacco reported by Huck.  But they are quite different concepts.  Hypocrites, like the widow, do themselves that which they so freely condemn in others.  Most hypocrites are self-righteous, but self-righteous persons are not necessarily hypocrites and may in fact practice what they preach.  A priest who rapes little boys, and preaches against homosexuality and violence, is clearly both, while a practicing virgin, who moralistically urges this unhappy fate on others, is not.  It’s all in how you study it.  Many have rejected religion largely because it is home to lots of goodie-two-shoes type persons of  self-righteous or hypocritical persuasion.  Sometimes, in their attempt to live justly in an unjust world, the disillusioned seek solace from religion in the perceived rationality of secular humanism.  And guess what?


This may come as a shock to some secular humanist readers, but the self-righteous are also to be found among the ranks of the supposedly rational, among those who look for meaning apart from the supernatural, among those who decry the artificial goodness of the godly.  Bummer, ain’t it? Thus, instead of holier-than-thou, we have those who feel rationaler-than-thou, or skepticaler-than-thou, and who demean, abjure, reject, and avoid those they feel don’t quite measure up to their standards.  Such are no less self-righteous than the widow.



Whether religious or secular, the self-righteous and the con-artist are sisters under the skin.  Both become outraged if they don’t get their way.  The slightest reasoned refusal to consent to manipulation or control is punished.  The uncooperative mark may witness a presumably well meaning, but terminally self-righteous, friend go into an inexplicable rage, answering disobedience with irrational and unpleasant emotions, until the victim seems, as best worded by Shakespeare, “beyond reason hated.”   To further complicate matters, the person deluded by self-righteousness cannot understand when others are disinclined to share their hostility and fail to concede the justness of their attitudes and actions.  The world as one conspires.


The self-righteous are troubled by democracy.  Why debate or vote on any matter of behavior or morality when truth is available by decree, and when correct answers may be so readily had from those who know the answers beyond any need for question or discussion?  To challenge such persons is, in their view, malum in se–in the vernacular, reprehensible, wicked, and wrong in itself—denoting a defect of character revealed in the very act of rebellion against ultimate authority.  Thereafter, every action or motive of the errant sinner will be understood and punished as an indisputably vile thing—another example of evil attacking good.  The psychological mechanism of projection, and the transparent narcissism of the self-righteous, is beyond the scope of this digression.  The analogies to theology are scary.  If afflicted leaders possess small power, they are merely annoying, comical, or pathetic.  If they hold real power over nations or ideologies, the graveyards of history harbour their heritage.


The sad part is that they don’t have to be like this.  The self-righteous prigs can get over it, or get therapy for it.  They don’t have to expose themselves to the misery.  Misery is optional, for predator as well as prey, even if one thinks they have no free will.  Rational beings don’t have to live with sustained rage, or with the chronic paranoia of waiting for some other imaginary shoe to drop.  Those who live to control others could, using the power of reason they mock, come to realize that compromise and resolution of disagreements can be something more than capitulation or appeasement, and that, in some things at least, they just might be—as impossible as it seems—wrong. One is entitled to be smug, arrogant, and self-righteous only if one has figured out how not to die. The outcast  may well be the better person.  That’s what the bible story of the Good Samaritan is all about.


If we can’t avoid the self satisfied—the better option—we can laugh at them.  A healthy person loves to see the pompous taken down a peg or two, and delights in mocking their phony goodness and proper ways.  This is why the common folk laugh when a stuffed shirt slips on a banana skin.  But what about self-righteous secular humanists who, in hardening their hearts and softening their minds, do real harm to those who actually favor free inquiry?  Maybe we should create a Secular Humanist Hall of Shame.   Here could be enrolled and acknowledged those whose actions have earned them the herein proposed SHAME (Secular Humanist Arrogantly Making Enemies) Award.


As adolescent fantasies are best left to adolescents, so childish needs to have one’s own way are best left to children, who will hopefully outgrow them.  Adults should, to borrow again from the bible, “put away childish things.”  It would be sad to die without growing up.


For everything there is a season,

For every act there is a reason;

As a garden reflects its seeds,

Deeds of life tell that life’s needs.



Edwin Kagin

May, 1997

TWO LINES a poem by Edwin Kagin


The future waits in one of two great lines, two endless human queues

And each of us is in one line—there is no other line to choose.


Our journey as human creatures has fashioned these two lines

With very different features following very different signs.


Through kingdoms and through ages these lines unbroken run

One line snaking into darkness; one line straining for the sun.


One line holds shining visions of what humankind can be

When at last we make decisions free of myth and tyranny.


Our race, our creeds, our sex, and the religions we proclaim

In this line yield to human needs we cannot always name.


Some careless few within this line may hurt you and make you cry

But villains in the other line will kill you to watch you die.


Those marching in that other line seek to control not to achieve

By trying to deceive our minds with lies that they believe.


Prizing money over friendship, and power over human need

They do not work for kinship but only for their greed.


Anyone can leave their line, whenever they see fit

If perhaps they change their mind, from facts, or acts or wit.


No one must stay within a line where rules are learned by rote

That dictate how we all must live, and breed, and love, and vote.


In the coming great election, one line will finally decide

If our future takes direction from the bright or evil side.


Set aside all pious passion of who you are and where you have been

What now must be in fashion is “Which line are you in?”


How will you answer to the future when a new world starts to dawn

How will you tell your children which side of history you were on?


There are but two great questions to be raised when life must end,

“How did you use your roads and days?” And “Which line were you in?”


By Edwin Kagin


Copyright by Edwin Kagin, September 2008.

Permission is granted for non-profit reproduction.

If you make money on this, I want some of it. ek

Blogging for Sport, or Politically Correct Electronic Speech.


A new thing has come to pass in our brief lives. It is called “blogging,” and this is accomplished by writing or posting something electronically for others to read or view, or whatever, on a computer, a device unknown to Moses, Noah, Julius Caesar, and lots of others. Just imagine, if you even can, someone like Moses with access to a working laptop computer and GPS. Why, he could have saved some 39 and a half years or so of wandering around lost in the desert.  And maybe not have wound up in a country with no oil.  A computer would have been so out of the realm of anything anyone had known then, that the operation of such a device would have seemed like magic, and the work of either some god or some demon.

If any readers should wish to undertake this recreation of blogging, they should become familiar with a related phenomenon.  Readers and viewers are able to post “comments” on one’s blog. And they do. The owner of the blog has the ability to decide if a given reader’s comment should be posted on his/her blog or trashed into electronic nonexistence.

Belief in the right of free speech has usually overcome common sense and I

have let anyone big enough to use a computer say anything they want on my blog.  Only completely irrelevant messages, and spam, get deleted from the smorgasbord of electronic verbiage that pours forth on this miracle of communication and learning.

One major speed bump on the electronic highway of knowledge has been the problem of “political correctness.” This is a terror that makes certain words and expressions off limits for proper persons to use in acceptable conversation, electronic or otherwise. “Nigger” and “faggot” are examples of such words that are banned from use by agreement, authority, and good manners. Such speech is not usually unlawful. It is only censored from being used, and condemned when it is used.  Never mind the context or the purpose of such use. There is apparently no way certain words, or even thoughts, can be expressed without drawing fire from someone for some reason.

This creates an opportunity for small-souled individuals who, lacking something worthwhile to say on their own, undertake to attack blogs and to attempt to insult and marginalize those who write them.

You know the type.  Frequently wrong but never uncertain.  Many of their comments are obscene and anonymous.  And they are immune from being subject to criticism and correction by the simple fact that they are wrong.  One critic could use a number of different names.  They could be of Fundangelical persuasion and have created multiple personalities for themselves so they can criticize anything one says on a blog that they don’t like.  Their general line of taste is that whatever has been written by anyone is something they do not like.

And they will criticize, it seems, anything anyone writes.

If blog writers must forever bow to the ever-changing nuances of so called “politically correct” speech, then language will lose its meaning.  Sigmund Freud spoke of “the narcissism of small differences.”  Our struggle is against the might of the Religious Right, not against each other.  We are the natural allies of each other.  We are in a different line than they. A very different line.

Criticism of written works is certainly valid and appropriate.  But certain criticism is neither valid nor appropriate.  Written language that is consistently vulgar, mean-spirited, maliciously motivated, and done to deliberately harm others is not only cloddish but also perhaps unlawful and actionable.

There is an old country saying that says, “Never get into a pissing contest with a skunk.”  Good advice. In the woods or on the blog.


Edwin Kagin.



Edwin F. Kagin is a lawyer-poet.  He believes that, through grace and faith, this will be a regular column, and, if events are predestined, whatever he believes makes no difference whatsoever.  He can be reached in care of this publication, or through e-mail at:  edwin@edwinkagin.com



“`Who are YOU?’ said the Caterpillar.”

Alice in Wonderland

 The advances of humanism in the development of civilizations have involved a balancing test between the possible and the prohibited.

Does the end ever justify the means? Of course it does, sophomoric philosophy notwithstanding.

Thus, a loving mother may bash out her infant’s brains to stop its crying that would otherwise bring certain death to the entire tribe hiding from enemies. To stop an enemy submarine from sinking an entire ship, irreplaceable human beings who have fallen off the ship into the sea may be killed if it is necessary to drop depth charges before they can be rescued.

For a more palatable analogy, consider the moral issue of lying, i.e., of stating as true something that is not true. Not lying is generally held as a moral virtue, and we teach our children not to lie, and reprove them when they do. Yet what person of decent human sensibilities would tell the truth about the whereabouts of a child to a maniac you knew would murder the child upon discovery. When asked, “Where is the kid,” the more moral answer would be the lie, “I do not know,” rather than “Hiding in the closet on the left.” Under these conditions, the person disclosing the child would be considered a monster and a complicitous actor in any injury to that child. Here lying would be good, and telling the truth would be unthinkable.

These, of course, are examples of “situational morality,” the tough stuff of true ethics and decision making, condemned by those, usually of an immature religious bent, who seek absolute, final, and unchangeable answers in commandments or rules from a deity. You’ve seen the bumper stickers, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it,” or something similar. Yet such, if Christians, generally do not sell all that they own to give to the poor, turn the other cheek, pray only in their closets, go to church on Saturday, not covet, abjure statutes and photographs, never kill, honor abusive parents, leave their families to do god’s work, or live lives of poverty and self denial, all as directly commanded in holy writ. Such Cafeteria Christians take only those rules they like of the teachings, advocate them, make laws encompassing them, punish those who do not obey them, and ignore the rest. Thus, they practice situational ethics. Other religions do the same; they just do it with different rules. That’s why we have a First Amendment.

No matter how many ethics seminars are conducted on why we should prohibit the doing of something, if that something can be done, it will be done. Get used to it. If someone can build a small nuclear device, it will be built. If smallpox can be used as a weapon, it will be so used. If humans can be cloned, humans will be cloned.

If it is possible to highjack a passenger plane and crash it into the World Trade Center, someone will do it, no matter how unthinkable you might find such an idea. The idea was obviously thinkable to someone.

What do you really want? At what price do you want it? What are you willing to pay or to give up? Having trouble losing weight on all available diets? Don’t worry. I guarantee I can make you lose weight despite past failures. But you might not like how I do it. There were no overweight prisoners in Auschwitz. Want to stop drunk drivers—really stop drunk drivers? Make a law that you cannot drink and drive, period. No nonsense about .08, or whatever, permissible blood alcohol. Anything over .00 and you go to jail for sure for a long time. Then you stop drunk driving. But our society doesn’t really want to stop drunk driving badly enough to do that, or we would.

Now, after zero nine one one two zero zero one, we are—and this is new to us in America—we are afraid.

Do you want absolute safety? I can give it to you. But you must not object to me having viewing and listening gadgets installed in every room of your house, as well as in all public places, and you must not object to the instant, no delay, no trial, remote control execution of anyone who violates any of the rules you must permit me to set up for your safety. Would you accept having an electronic receiver painlessly placed in everyone’s brain to punish or kill rule breakers. Yes? Then I can keep you safe. No? Then you must take some chances and not be fully safe. Less freedom, more safety. More freedom, less safety. Simple. You cannot have both. How would you care to compromise? What is your safety worth? What is your freedom worth? Some people were willing to die to be able to crash a passenger plane into the World Trade Center. They are willing to die to do other things to kill you as well. How much do you want to prevent them from doing that? How much are you willing to give up to be safe? Are you ready for a much different, but safer, world?

Now that you know how it works, let’s talk about the proposed idea of a national identity card.

I don’t like clerks in stores asking me for my zip code. And I won’t give it to them. I point out that my contract with them to purchase their widget offered for sale has nothing to do with my zip code.  I want to protect my privacy whenever I can, I want to resist having my privacy further invaded, and I will invoke the law to protect it. But I also don’t want to be the victim of drivers who are not licensed, or who borrow or steal someone else’s drivers license. So I will tolerate some loss of privacy by submitting to a photo I.D. driver’s license. Similarly, I do not want a terrorist, dedicated to dying for his cause in the act of killing me, to have a fake passport so he can come into my country and steal an airplane to use as a kamikaze guided missile against me or my fellow citizens.  Am I, are you, willing to let the government put your retina print on a national identity card? Do you want to be required to carry a license to move about in our free land? If such be required, is our land still free?

One gives up a certain amount of privacy by agreement, and of necessity, when they join a society. Every society has its rules. Laws require that your very birth and death be registered. Your society tells you who you can or cannot marry and where or where not you can lawfully travel. Your society can jail you if you don’t file or pay your taxes. These rules are part of the consensus ad idem of a culture, if it is in any way a democratic or representative government, and these are different things. Such rules are something your national unit, or a majority thereof, has, directly or indirectly agreed upon for its governance; something the people governed have said may or may not be done.

Illegal aliens don’t want a national I.D. Nor do criminals trying to change identities. Or maybe they do. Could a dishonest type steal another person’s card and assume that identity? Guess it depends on the information on it, and the guarantees thereon for proof of identity. And therein lies the great questions. Remember, if it can be done, we must assume it will be done and guard against it. What will be on the card? If not now, then later, maybe under a government less compatible with your beliefs than was the government in place when you, or your representatives, voted for the card? Will the card record your credit history?  Your employment record? What an ex-spouse said about you in a divorce?  Your income? Your buying habits? Whether you own a gun? Your hobbies? Your tastes in reading, movies, clothing, cars, food, drink, or sex? Certain Internet sites record this kind of thing right now, whether you know it or not or like it or not. Your political activities and associations? Your membership in controversial groups, like maybe the Masons or Humanist organizations? Your church affiliation or lack thereof? Your psychological profile?

What if some government, now or later, says you cannot be a good American if you do not attend church? And a later government defines the right church? It has happened before. Ask the English Catholics under Oliver Cromwell.

When, and why, will presentation of such a card be required? And who can require its production? Would you need it every time you tried to buy gas, or groceries, so “Big Brother,” for your own good, can know where you are at any given time, and what you eat? Who is to say who cannot require presentation of the card? And who can change the rules?

Why should you object to a national I.D. card if you are a law abiding and loyal American? For the same reason that you should object to an unlawful warrantless search of your home or person, even if you have nothing to hide. To not object to an unlawful search is to invite, or condone, tyranny. The same rules that limit freedom of movement for bad people can limit freedom for you.

Why should you welcome such a card? So you can be safe, and so people trying to kill you can be identified and stopped from doing so. That’s not a bad reason. And to gain this safety, you must trust your government to use the information on the card only to protect your safety, and to not use that same information in a wrongful diminution of those rights that fashion us a free people.

There has been a paradigm shift. And the Attorney General of the United States, who enforces the laws, is having Bible Study Classes in his office, paid for by We the People.

Truly, there is reason to be afraid.

Edwin Kagin

November 20, 2001


 (May be sung to sorta a combination of “Davy Crockett” & “the Beverly Hillbillies”)


Hear the story of Joseph Smith

Snake oil salesman who wrote a myth

About a book on sheets of gold

Very sacred—very old.


Written in an ancient tongue

A tale of Jesus yet unsung

The angel Moroni helped him translate

Those sacred words of racial hate.


So now we have our latter saints

And men can now have several mates

In the holy words of Brigham Young

“Just bring ‘em now and bring ‘em young.”


Brigham found a lake of salt

Where the Mormons’ march could halt

His people built a temple there

So their message they could share.


See them go out two by two

Bringing Joseph’s truth to you

Join up now and you can save

All your people in the grave.



Drink no coffee, drink no tea

Mormon truth can set you free

You too can Mormonism find

If you disconnect your mind.


by Edwin Kagin

July 5, 1996

Lake Hypatia, Alabama




Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Holy Bible


…Your children are not your children…And though they are with you yet they belong not to you…You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.  You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you, For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday…

Kahlil Gibran


Hoping to one day get it right, your narrator, in his day job, practices law.  In this capacity, he, as do others of this too often justly vilified and too often unjustly maligned vocation, sees much others do not want to notice or know.  Lawyers, like clerics, prosper on the misery of others. What would lawyers do if everyone became peaceful, honorable, and just?  What would the preachers do if the Devil was saved?  Among the insights attained in trying to help people get out of their self-made problems is the realization that messed up kids become messed up adults—and that messed up adults create messed up kids.

While the bible may say the sins of the fathers (in a politically correct world read “parents”) are to be visited upon the children, we can be better than those bronze age nomads who thought the earth was flat and that pi equals 3.  The godless Constitution of the United States forbids “bills of attainder.”  Look it up—don’t have space to explain it—it’s some more of that legal “mumbo-jumbo” that define our freedoms (if you don’t understand it, be thankful someone does and don’t glory in your ignorance).  It means the sins of the parents are not to be visited on the children, no matter what the bible says.

So what are children anyway and what does one do with them? The English romantic poet Wm. Wordsworth prosaically opined “The child is father of the man.”  This meaningless observation is found in his much overrated poem, tightly titled “Ode on the Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Earliest Childhood,” a name befitting the poet’s musings and ramblings on reincarnation and other supernatural nonsense therein contained, and meriting recognition in your author’s contemplated “Secular Humanist Anthology of Eupraxophy and Other Plain Speaking.” Wordsworth thought children came from god in purity and innocence, uncorrupted by adult thought, and “trailing clouds of glory…,” whatever that means.   Others of his time thought storks brought them.  Wordsworth had not read “Lord of the Flies.”  Neither he nor the others had read Dr. Ruth. Either view of human children—arriving in glory or by stork—is a blueprint for architecting screwed up kids.  There are ways of thinking about rearing (not raising—one raises horses) children that avoids petty piety, banal barbarism, and pretentious psychobabel.

Children can be taught (shown) the power of inner strength that permits self-control and empathy. They can come to think of themselves as worthwhile human beings who are entitled not to be hurt and who do not wish to hurt others.  They can grow up knowing they are loved unconditionally.  Young human beings can learn not to be afraid, that life involves taking certain risks, and that the meaning of life is to live it.  Children can be taught to be competent.

Children are little people, not possessions.  Regrettably, children do not come with instructions.  Generally, big people learn how to deal with children from the behavioral examples of those who dealt with them as children. And lawyers and therapists continue to prosper, as faith in biblical teachings cause their professions to thrive as growth industries.  If you think beating a kid physically or emotionally hurts you more than your victim, there are ways one could test this theory on you, if such treatment was not considered unlawful when applied to an adult.  In blasphemous indifference to the moral teachings of the bible, humanists have made such violence unlawful when applied to defenseless children—at least in this country.  In some countries infected with Mother Teresa morality, surplus kids are shot as vermin.  But for god’s sake don’t abort them.  Keep repeating the mantra “god loves little children.”  Who are you to let reality get in the way of religious imperatives?

If holy writ says to beat the kid to save his soul, who are you to argue?  You could wind up no better than those secular humanists.  If the child asks your reason for some unreasonable command, simply say it’s because you said so.  Questioning is bad.  The important thing is to obey.  That’s god’s way, isn’t it?  And don’t forget to constantly remind the child that in your view he or she is unattractive, burdensome, clumsy, lazy, incompetent, selfish, and stupid. That liberal self-esteem nonsense can come later.

It is said that if you want to make god laugh, tell him your plans.  If you want to make him laugh harder, tell him your plans for your children.  You will almost certainly be wrong, and if said child or children follow your dreams for them, they will not follow theirs, and they will probably live miserable unhappy lives.  You can then have a whining pity party for yourself and wonder wherein you failed, and what you did to deserve this, when it was your own neurotic needs that caused you to teach dependency and to foster insecurity.  How, you might wonder, did you fail?  Bernard Shaw observed that there is no worse villain than the person who tries to mold a child’s character.  You did not teach your children to be competent.

There is another way—the humanist parenting way.  One can teach children they are people of worth and able to make sound decisions, that they are not inherently bad and in need of salvation, that morality is not based on authority or absolutes or decree, that morals are manners and manners are subject to change, and that authority changes its mind.  We now learn from Roman Catholic authorities there is no Limbo.  Belief grounded in authority must now figure out whence went all those little unbaptized souls that the same authority had for centuries taught were in fact in Limbo. Teach your children to see absurdity and not be destroyed by it.  Teach them to laugh.

Tell those whose ideas of proper moral conduct involves the use of the bible as authority for forcing Christian prayers, and other aspects of their private belief systems, on public school children to tread carefully.  Let them know intelligent adults trying to raise competent children have read their book, and will resist, and will teach their children the morality of knowing how to defend themselves with knowledge, weapons, and will.  And that such people will know that Jesus forbade public prayer, and that there is no biblical evidence a single apostle, including Paul, ever prayed at all.  Let them know their own weapons can be used against them in defense by those who decline to be their victims.  Reading the bible, Mark Twain noted, gives one a sinfully unfair advantage over those who believe in it.

Righteousness and self-righteousness are different words representing very different things.  Teach this to your children.  Let them know it is sometimes more moral to waive the rules than to wave the rules.  When someone tells you they are a born again Christian, thank them for the warning.  Such people are often even more distasteful and dangerous the second time around.  Teach your children the bible for their own safety’s sake and as inoculation against its venom.

Let your children know that morality did not originate with the bible or any holy writ, no matter what believers believe.  They should understand that the strength of a belief has nothing to do with the correctness of that belief.  Morality developed and evolved as human beings learned that the consequences of certain actions are so awful that the behaviors should be avoided, forbidden, and sanctioned.  Humans had noticed some good while before the bible was put together that it is not a good idea for people to murder one another with impunity. Teach your children we have gotten a good deal beyond bronze age biblical morality, or your son may worry that, if you find him to be rebellious, biblical morality requires that he be stoned to death as god ordered.  Before becoming moral, people create gods in their own image.

The bible is the stuff of nightmares, not a work to which children should be exposed.  It is filled with depraved behavior and fails to provide examples of moral conduct worthy of emulation.  God was either wrongly quoted or is not a moral god.  He sanctions things a just society abhors and punishes with prison.  We have a right to expect our teachers of morals to be at least as moral as we are.  If you would not drown all the little children of the world in a flood because their parents did things you didn’t like, how could you possibly teach your children that a god who did just that should be seen as a good moral compass?  Teach them to distinguish between logic and fallacy, between science and superstition, between things believed and things proved.  They should learn how to tell the difference between a horse chestnut and a chestnut horse.

Your children will be competent when they can survive, thrive, create, empathize and interact justly with others, free of pain, fear, and guilt—without gods, without religion, and without you.  If they can be thus brought to self-reliant adulthood, they will not need the gods or the religion, and they will not miss them.  If you have done it right, they won’t need you either.

But they will miss you.

Edwin Kagin

New Year’s Eve

December 31, 1997.


My Name is Edwin.


My name is Edwin Kagin, not Edward Kagin.

This should be clear from the signature on my writings on the subject currently under discussion.  And from all of my writings that can be found on the Internet in various places.

My name is Edwin.  Not Edward.  Edwards are far too common.

That last comment was meant to be humorous. It was not intended to make fun of, or to demean, anyone named Edward.  Some of my best friends are named Edward.  This should also be considered humorous.  It is a deliberate play upon, and a mocking of, such oft heard comments as “Some of my best friends are Jewish, or whatever.”

Now, should I become upset with those writers who have called me Edward rather than Edwin?

Are they indifferent to my sensitivities?

Should I assume that they are Edwinophobic?  Many are, and it is okay if you are.

Should the writers be upset that they have offended me by using the very name I was trying to distinguish myself from?  Actually, I was not offended.   Well, maybe in a tiny little way, but nothing worth writing home about.

Even my blog proudly banners the correct name of Edwin Kagin.  Not an Edward in sight there.

So, why do so many readers call me Edward instead of Edwin?

And should I reject those who called me Edward from my catalogue of allies? After all, they did not research the topic or they would have readily, and easily, learned that I am an Edwin not an Edward.

How can I trust you if you did not?

After all, you should have called me Edwin, because that is my correct name.  Or so I believe.  It is hearsay.  I got it from my mother.  That was a joke.

It may be (heaven help me here—another joke) that the erring writers had no real hostility toward me, but rather misread, or too carelessly read, the writings   (this is meant as humor—there is no real anger here, and those who would have real anger are being mocked).

Or, dog help us (a play on words), some of the comments may have been grounded in a reading of the comments, not of the colloquy.

NB.  The entirely of the foregoing is intended as humor, particularly humor involving the genres of satire and parody.

Edwin Kagin