Self Care – A Few Pics from Passover

(Quick note… this is the last of the overly religious posts for now, my fellow atheists. I just enjoy this holiday and want to share it with y’all.)

The first night of Passover ended on Monday, April 10. Well… okay… it actually ended today, March 11th, just after midnight. And it was a lot of fun… well… it would have been, but I’ll get to that…

First things first…

Of course there was a lot of religiosity, here. It’s a Jewish holiday, after all, which means services, prayers, and all that jazz. I don’t mind it, personally, because I grew up with it, and it’s not boring. Since my atheism isn’t exactly a secret, I got to make little asides and jokes last night that my family largely found funny because they know where I’m coming from. I have to be more careful tonight, because tonight’s seder is with some of Dad’s congregants, and they don’t know. But I’m okay with that, since I’ll probably be more focused on my fingers which… again… I’ll get to that…

We actually shortened things up nicely last night, so we got to the meal quicker than we have in the past, which was great. And the meal, of course, was delicious!

But I’m getting ahead of myself (largely to pad out this intro before the fold… 😛 )…

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Passover Starts Tonight

(Quick note: all but one of the links in the paragraph about music go to YouTube videos.)

So… sundown tonight starts the eight-day Jewish holiday of Passover. I largely enjoy the holiday. The seders on the first and second night are quite a bit of fun, and the food is amazing. Wine, horseradish (my brother and I are making the horseradish sauce from scratch this year!), homemade haroset, brisket (So. Much. Brisket.), surprisingly amazing desserts (surprising because of the Kashrut restrictions for Passover) and more… the food is wonderful.

I’d be lying if I said that the food at the seders isn’t what makes it for me. It’s a bit of a joke that most Jewish holidays (with the exception of Yom Kippur, since it’s a fasting holiday) basically just exist as an excuse for massive feasts, but there’s some truth to that. Jews really know how to eat, and Passover seders are just one really good example of that.

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In Obvious and Obviously Horrible News…

From AlterNet

In early 2016, few evangelical leaders were on Team Trump, as they had Ted Cruz and other conservative Christians to choose from in a crowded Republican presidential field. After Donald Trump embarrassed his GOP competition and became the party’s nominee, prominent evangelicals began changing their tune. Some, including a number of outspoken anti-LGBT activists, worked with the Trump campaign on a large evangelical advisory board. After Trump won the presidency with 81 percent of the white evangelical vote, most far-right Christian leaders who hadn’t endorsed him came around. Many were gleeful, and some even pronounced that God had stepped in and handed Trump the job.

That excitement has grown since the election as Trump prepared for and took office, nominating several ultra-conservative Christians for key posts and promptly following through on several of his campaign promises tailored to evangelical voters. Trump had already picked far-right evangelical Mike Pence for vice president. Then he nominated Betsy DeVos, who was raised in a Calvinist community in Michigan, for secretary of education and Seventh-Day Adventist Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development secretary, and appointed several other conservative Christians to additional top positions in the administration.

Ronnie Floyd, an Arkansas megachurch pastor and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told the Washington Post that the Trump administration was full of “followers of Christ,” not just DeVos but Health and Human Services Sec. Tom Price, EPA head Scott Pruitt, Energy nominee Rick Perry, Agriculture nominee Sonny Perdue and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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Orange Fascist-In-Chief Plans to Outright Legalize Discrimination

As promised…

From the Nation: Leaked Draft of Trump’s Religious Freedom Order Reveals Sweeping Plans to Legalize Discrimination

A leaked copy of a draft executive order titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” obtained by The Investigative Fund and The Nation, reveals sweeping plans by the Trump administration to legalize discrimination.

The four-page draft order, a copy of which is currently circulating among federal staff and advocacy organizations, construes religious organizations so broadly that it covers “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,” and protects “religious freedom” in every walk of life: “when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.”

The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act. The White House did not respond to requests for comment, but when asked Monday about whether a religious freedom executive order was in the works, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters, “I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There is a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.”

Language in the draft document specifically protects the tax-exempt status of any organization that “believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth, and that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life.”

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New on the US Education Task Force! The Return of Christian Young-Earth Creationism!

So… our Screaming Carrot Demon in Chief announced the name of the man who will be leading his Education Task Force.

If you were expecting someone who was actually qualified, you clearly weren’t paying attention to Betsy Devos. If the name I’m about to give you sounds like “of course. He would pick him.”, then you have been paying attention…

Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, will lead an education task force put together by President Donald Trump, a spokesman for the university told CNN Thursday.

Len Stevens, the school’s spokesman, said Falwell — the son of Jerry Falwell Sr., the late televangelist — will push to stop regulations coming out of the Education Department, especially those that apply to colleges and universities.

The White House declined to comment.

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We Are Not Allies

Decided to move this post from my old blog to here. Been wanting to include it for a while…

I was 21 when I first realized I was an atheist, and the same age when I told my mom and brother. I told my dad only a few months later, but after I turned 22.

During this period, it was all I was. I was just an atheist. I wasn’t anything else. I lived and breathed atheism, searched for atheists and atheist stuff online, and my antitheism came screaming out like never before. Because I was an antitheist first. Bill Hicks indulged my antitheism long before I realized I didn’t even believe in a higher power or powers. I realized I was an antitheist when I was 16 and started hating authority. It was only natural that I’d abhor religion, while still believing in a living god who’d talk directly to you, without the aid of some pathetic book or middle-man (clergy).

But then I read The God Delusion, and then the Bible. And I was an atheist.

And for years, I was happy with anyone who was an atheist. I didn’t care if they were feminists or misogynists. I didn’t care if they tried to fight patriarchy and rape culture or denied their existence. But I would only fight alongside atheists and I would never fight alongside a theist, because theists were crazy/delusional and faith was a virus… and “The God Delusion” was my bible.

So it’s safe to say I did the whole “critical thinking” thing wrong.

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On Baseball Bats, Heads, and Free Speech

(Content note: rape culture)

So, if you haven’t heard (though I can’t see how you haven’t), a very horrid preacher was shouting “you deserve to be raped” at a bunch of high school students. A 19-year-old woman walked up behind him and whacked him upside the head with an aluminum baseball bat.

This has raised an interesting conversation, as many (myself included) have utterly no sympathy for him, and have, in fact, made fun of him over it. In fact, I commented, and then posted on my Facebook, the following:

To be completely fair, I think we need to ask some important questions…

What was he doing there, at that time of day, just being all provocative, and not even with a chaperone? Things happen when you go out like that. I mean really… he shouldn’t have expected any less.

And what was he wearing, anyways? Did he have on a provocative shirt, showing off too much?

And before you say it, no I’m definitely *not* victim blaming. All I’m saying is that there are ways he could have minimized his risk, and really… shouldn’t he be held responsible at least for his own actions?

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