First off for the morning, The Red Lotus Library is now live, with its first book, The Syncretisms of Antinous. Go click the link and grab it! I’m going to do so as soon as I am able. I must admit I don’t know enough about this deity as I should, so I am greatly looking forward to cracking it open once I have it in my hands.
There are also some great discussions in the comments regarding Lupus’ follow-up post on Spirit Day. Well worth taking a look, as well as some of the links provided by Phil Hine, such as this one, this one, as well as this, which offers an alternative view. Then there is also mention of “ostentatious caring”–something that really does happen quite often within the Pagan “community”, as was pointed out. I think I may have to pick up this book for further reading.
It is also today that I am introducing my “Sacred Scavenging” category. As some of you readers may know–but many may not–I collect and work with a wide variety of animal remains, old relics and other assorted objects. I also plan to be taking up taxidermy, especially now that I’ve acquired my own separate workroom/ritual space for such things. I will also be taking classes for my hunting license this fall, if all goes well. I understand that such things aren’t for everyone–but I expect that people reading this journal will conduct themselves in a mature manner with regards to expressing their opinions and thoughts. I do not expect everyone to agree with me, but inflammatory comments about my practice will not be approved, and you will not be offered the satisfaction of a response.
In any case, I look forward to introducing such things to this blog. I plan on stepping up posting here. I am vastly behind on the writing I told myself I was going to do, and this must change.
I’ve decided to weigh in on the Koran burning debacle. I’m not going to bother linking any articles–unless you’ve been living in a basement eating fish-heads, you should know what I’m talking about.
No religion or belief system is immune from criticism. This is important. I also firmly uphold the freedom of speech in the United States, where I live. I may not agree with aspects of monotheism, but the same could be said for certain polytheisms. In addition, monotheism certainly isn’t unique in the religious vandalism department. Just open a history book. In the end, however, I will firmly uphold the right of everyone to practice whatever religion–or lack thereof even–as they see fit, as long as it doesn’t harm others or interfere with the rights of others to do the same.
But the actions and words of pastor Terry Jones are contemptible. When a person or group of people go about this sort of critique in a way that destroys or attacks the human dignity (which includes living without being threatened, and the right to worship without threat or harassment) of another person or group of people, then this is not acceptable. One should be able to criticize a person, place, thing or idea without disrespect and with firm self-control. People who have no control are the first ones who will resort to extreme efforts to extinguish the rights and liberties of their fellow human beings.
Burning someone else’s cherished holy book is not proper criticism. It is nothing more than a low display of common violence–which could very well put other people such as soldiers at risk abroad (as General Petraeus pointed out), let alone Christian minorities living in various predominantly Muslim countries. This is nothing more than an elaborate tantrum made to endanger lives and incite some stupid holy war, and shows an extreme lack of control and narrow-minded view on the part of this pastor.
On the other hand, there are some, like myself, who wonder why some people out there would get enraged over the burning of a book, while these same would oppress their women and put their children to harm in tribal violence, and perform similar actions of religious vandalism. But in the end it isn’t just about a book of holy words. And it isn’t just about the extremists or the terrorists. It’s about people. It’s about Reason. Something I think many people lost sight of a long time ago.
In short, burning these holy books will do nothing more than feed the power of Isfet. And this is something I cannot agree with. Burning one’s holy book (or any book for that matter) is just one short step away from burning people. And that isn’t what this country is supposed to be about.
Go in peace, and find thy faith
Evolve thy self, and lose all hate
So a heaven you may create
In Thy Never Ending Way, Orphaned Land
Now, this is going to be primarily directed at my American readership, though this also applies to anyone who has a vested interest in human rights and environmental issues.
For those of you who are a member of, or who otherwise support The Defenders of Wildlife (and if you don’t; become one!) should be at least somewhat familiar with Sarah Palin’s name. When I came off the plane from my month-long trip in Germany, I immediately recognized her name, in bold print, glaring up at me from the newspaper announcing her position under McCain. It was like a kick in the stomach. The Alaskan governor may be a nonentity to alot of Americans, but to those of us who have been keeping track with Alaska’s dismal environmental record, such as aerial hunting, and a more recent incident involving the illegal killing of fourteen wolf pups by Alaska’s Fish and Game, should be familiar with her name by now. Overall, her track record with the environment is nothing short of deplorable.
Just think about it. She could be our new vice-president now. If McCain’s campaign succeeds in November, she will be merely a heartbeat away from the presidency.
But hey, if you think all that above is pretty nasty, that’s just scraping the surface. Allow me to elaborate.
Sarah Palin is also a member of a dominionist, bible-thumping church that helped shape her highly controversial worldview. Turns out this type of church also participates in what is known as “stealth-dominionism”, and Sarah Palin’s roots with such practices have been extensively researched by a close friend who has dedicated himself to researching and exposing dominionist-christianity, and assists in running the LiveJournal-based “community” Dark Christianity which serves as a network of sorts to explore and expose dominionism in the US and abroad. This movement is bigger than alot of people might think–Technoccult also has a nice little story on a related theocratic christian sect praying for the Armageddon. How do you feel about one of those in power, that close to the proverbial little red button?
Doesn’t sound good now, does it? Unfortunately, it keeps getting “better”.
Palin is also a vocal racist, and you can be rest assured her track record on women’s rights is piss poor, too. Imagine her being in office, working with foreign affairs, and signing bills governing what we can and cannot do with our bodies, based on her narrowminded worldview.
I believe that this sort of information needs to be spread widely, and I’m surprised that more people aren’t doing so. It was a nasty shock coming off the plane and discovering Palin’s nomination by McCain. To be honest, I had not bothered to search up very many English-speaking news sources while abroad, an idiot move on my part. This will be remedied in the future, to prevent any more nasty shocks. I do have a few more news-bits worthy of mention, but I wanted to get this out first, as it touches on issues that we should all be deeply concerned with, as Americans, and as human beings who seek to cultivate deep bonds both with the environment and with each other.