The Political Cause Celeb For Kim Davis

The Kentucky County Clerk who was arrested for refusing to issue a same-sex marriage license due to her religious convictions,  is home.    She spent six days in an uncomfortable, cramped jell call, perhaps with Brawny Big Sal in the other bunk.     Wow.   Kim Davis is made of strong stuff.

But Kim Davis is also in violation of the law.  I say that feeling certain she shouldn’t have gone to jail for it either

Same sex marriages are on books.    The Supreme Court says marriage is an equal opportunity for all.      As someone elected to her post, she swore she to uphold the laws of the land, not her creed.   This isn’t s theocracy.

What it is, is her job as an instrument of the U.S. Constitution.  She has to put her religious paradigms on hold.    I don’t care if she’s a cloistered nun who’s a rabbi on the side with a son who’s a mullah.

If the possibility of Sharia law governing this country is appalling, overt Christianity should be a concern as well as.  The same applies to any other religious or societal factions, whether they be in the form of Kim Davis or for that matter, Morey Sclechtman, Mohammed Alabaster or recently engaged Misters James and Brad So-In-So.    There are some things you can decide for yourself…and some things you can’t.

Davis can be a conscientious objector, but to do so (in my opinion) means she must be willing to reach a compromise of some sort.  Well, the reason why Davis is out of jail is because she asked for and was granted an accommodation—-she’s not requesting same-sex marriages be outlawed, she simply doesn’t want her signature on any legal documentation.  It’s against what she personally believes, but that belief is an obstruction.

It didn’t need to get to this point.   It was completely unavoidable and its exhausting to watch.  It’s been a situation of extremes.   The judge who put Davis in the Bastille over-corrected.    The punishment didn’t fit the crime.   Plus, her past has been brought up and dragged through the mud.  She been married over and over, divorced amost  as any times.  As best I can tell, Davis Is a fairly recent convert to Christianity, Born Again as they say.     Some find solace and centeredness at the gym, in therapy, others find it in religio, all viable entrees to finding inner peace.    Groovy.     She, like everyone else, she deserves a life edit, a do over.   She has that— for now—but no doubt, someone will enter the picture and either politicize the shit out of it even further or shame and guilt society into seeing his or her version of moral righteousness.

But the long and short of it is as follows:  she didn’t have to go to jail, neither did she have to turn this into a statement which now has been polarized.    She should have respectfully disagreed  to sign the marriage certificate and if it possible, “deputize” a willing coworker for the brief time it takes add a signature to a document.    I don’t know how this got so crazy, who complained to who or what was the motivation.    I’m all for religious freedom, part of the constitutional bedrock of this country, but I don’t like martyrdom in any form or fashion.

This is why Non-politicians are being heralded this election season.    Everyone is tired of the rhetorical narrative spewed by the opposition.  I am this, I am that.   America needs this, it needs that.    PPfffffft.   Republican POTUS hopefuls, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz are both in Kentucky, Huckabee on on stage, arm in arm with Davis.   Cruz is somewhere in the crowd, taking selfies, to post if this mishegas becomes generally positive; or to delete just in case it all goes south.   Personally, I feel they’re making a vast political mistake by even contemplating a jump on this constitutional defiance bandwagon.  How can one legitimately run for a position which is  contingent upon upholding the  established laws of the parchment all the while saying it is bollocks to being with????

Then again, what the hell?   I personally don’t think either contender has or will ever have a realistic shot at winning the primary.   Maybe deep down they know this is true.   If Cruz or Huckabee are going down, they have a right to pick their blaze of glory, but invariably, these guys also have to know to they’ll burn someone  in the process.

The Ritual of Rituals

I’ve only recently discovered the incredible thing that is the body, mind and spirit connection.   I’ve heard about it for years, but I was either too lazy or too….something….to see if it had any real substance.

Well, it does and to be perfectly honest, I’ve never felt better.

So,  since early this summer, I’ve been applying this new-agey wellness mindset to my everyday life:  I go to work  and then come home and write (mind), I make every effort to walk two to three miles a day (body) and I go to church to sit a meditate (spirit).  

Now, I know I can meditate anywhere, but there’s a lovely church near River Oaks, which is a very affluent neighborhood here in Houston.    St. Michael’s is the home of some very wealthy Houstonians and the lay out of the church reflects the generosity of its parishioners.   Lots o’checks in those collection plates, apparently.  I say that because this church is amazing!!   We’re talking pricey appointments.    It has a 50-foot ceiling and on either side of the sanctuary are these massive floor to ceiling stain glass windows.   I love going in there in the early to mid afternoon.  The church is cold and dark and the sun offers the only light.  It surges through the windows, throwing prismatic colors against the floor and nearby pews.  It makes St. Mickey’s a great place to contemplate; to resolve….to pray.

This morning,  I awoke early as I usually do and after schlepping around the house waiting for the sun to rise, I decided to do my meditating first so I was out the door by 8 am.

But alas…there  was a morning mass I didn’t account for and I walked in during the middle of it.  The church is filled with dark plaid uniformed tykes, all students of the St. Michael’s school, K-8, thank you very much, their teachers and a few parents.   Now, it is  true, I am Catholic, but it is also true that I don’t necessarily practice full-blown Catholicism.  Instead, I’ve developed my own constructs which  have been honed by time, experience and education.   Make no mistake–I have a distinct faith that a  Higher Power doth exist, but my version is far less boxed in and confined and much more dimensional than the religion of my childhood would have me believe.  This system works for me.   Me.   No one else.   Just me.

I should also add that I’m not a regular mass goer either, but since I was already there, I decided, “What the hell?   Might as well stay.”   Besides, I felt I should pray for all the crazy loons and sinners in my life,  that there be rain…and lots of it here in drought-riddled Texas and for the firefighters plagued by wildfires they’re ill-equipped to battle.  I also wanted to be magnanimous:  I wanted to pray for the personal Axis of Evil in my life (aka: all of my exes).

So, I sat there and did what Catholics do.  I recited all the responsorials like rote and I did all of the Catholic calisthenics required:  I stood, I sat, I genuflected, knelt, made the sign of the cross, shook hands…I nodded.

The communion portion of Mass for the not so committed, can kinda/sorta be like  an ecclesiastical version of half-time, so I left early, but fear not, I got a few prayers in.     Because of my new-found sense of self, direction and my place in the world, I’ve learned to pray differently.  I now know that praying is as much a pep talk and an optimism infuser as it is actually asking for Divine assistance.   With the exception of praying for rain over a devastated state of Texas, I’m in control.  The reality is, God isn’t magic.     In other words,  I help make it happen.  I know what I want;  I’m learning what I need and I’m also learning the role I have to play in getting the desired response, i.e., getting my prayers answered.  I increase my odds of that happening by being pro-active. 

For example:

George prayed every day for three years to win the lottery, but never heard from God nor did he ever hit the jackpot.   Finally, God woke him up in the middle of the night. “George, is that you who’s been praying so hard to win the lottery?” the Supreme Being boomed.

“Yes, Lord, I’ve been praying desperately!  I really…REALLY want to win!!!”

God paused for a moment, then said thoughtfully, “Well, if that’s the case, George, I’ll tell you what. If want you to win, you have to meet me halfway. Buy a ticket already, OK?”

Amen ya’ll.

The Lighter Side Of Faith

And there is one, you know.  

The Christian or any religious devotee who walks around thinking that he has to live  his life in abject in fear because his views are all Old Testament, a time when God was a little peeved and smite crazy, has no life at all, as far as I’m concerned.   God created senses of humor in his human minions, therefore he has to have one,too.  

I mean, come on!!!!      What more proof do you want or  need other than to take one look at Kim Kardashian’s “career”????      

Sorry, these are a little blurry.    But as God’s boy, Matthew once scribed, “Squint and ye shall read”.  



The “OP-ED” Piece

I see the Crystal Cathedral is going transepts up.   

It’s that really impressive looking, almost all glass house of worship located in  Garden Grove, CA.   Architect Phillip Johnson designed the main sanctuary building which seats 2,736 persons.   The building was constructed using over 10,000 rectangular panes of glass.  Interesting fact:  the panes aren’t bolted to the structure; they’re instead glued to it using a silicone-based glue. This and other measures are intended to allow the building to withstand an earthquake of magnitude 8.0.

But apparently, NOT a recession.

The church, founded by Rev. Robert H. Schuller the former host of the once popular,  “Hour of Power” TV show,  is broke–some $43 million in the hole.  Elders blame the economic downtown.   Seems the congregation numbers are lagging and so are donations and tithing.  As a result, the organization declared bankruptcy this week in a collapse blamed by some on its inability to keep up with the times and a problem in the fairly recent shift in power from Daddy Schuller to Junior.   Not sure what the problem is exactly and frankly, I’m not sure I care.

The church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which will allow it to keep operating while it tries to put its finances in order under court supervision. The church said that for the time being, “Hour of Power” will remain on the air and the Crystal Cathedral will continue operating as usual, but what this really is, is a call to arms.   A cattle call of sorts, for donors.  What Church officials aren’t saying is that they’re hoping for little widowed and wrinkled, blue-haired miracles with check books and working Bic pens. 

Oh, yes they are!     Because sadly, this is what organized religion does.   It’s all about the money.   And this bothers me.  It bothers me that little old ladies will hand over their life savings thinking this Church and its sleek glass construction is some direct pipeline to the Almighty.   They think writing a hefty check can help them barter real absolution and I’m bothered immensely that these money mongers will take it, under the guise of religion.    Oh yes, make no mistake— these days, I’m bothered by so much.   What’s annoying me these days is religion and politics and yes, even civil rights…our own, namely.  

Let’s tackle religion first.  As a little girl, I was always confounded by the Catholicism that I had to endure.    Yes, I used the word “endure” because that’s what it felt like–utter captivity for an hour every Sunday morning and the occasional High Holy Day.   

I grew up in South Central Texas, some 50 miles southeast of San Antonio.  My hometown was predominately Catholic because of its Hispanic and Czech/Polish population and because of certain cultural limitations, that meant Catholicism that was more dogmatic;  made that way because of fear and guilt-infused superstition.  I grew up amidst very narrow thinking in terms of ways to seek and receive spiritual deliverance.  I do believe that most people believed in a God that was more sorcerer than anything else.  I believed they believed in magic and needed the hocus pocus in order to believe.  They didn’t have the…dare I say the intellectual bandwidth…to have blind faith and nothing else.    That’s not a condemnation; that’s just an explanation.  These were simple people who worked their land or someone elses.  Education was an extravagance and back then, deemed an unnecessary one.

For example;  I would read the Church bulletin which included all these blurbs about upcoming events: “Please attend the crowning of the Virgin Mary”.    


Or I’d read about some Church holiday that required going to Mass, then getting in line to kiss Jesus’ feet as these two strapping Altar Boys  are forced to struggle with a heavy crucifix while a smaller, younger lad wipes off the feet after each kiss…as if THAT was sanitary.   Then of course, there was the recitation of the “Stations of the Cross”.  This involved praying in stages at stopping points.  We’re talking framed photos placed intermittently on the walls of the church.  They depicted scenes of Jesus’ final hours.    It’s big with us Catholics; not entirely alien in the Anglican and  Lutheran churches, though rarely an applied part of their worship.    We do it a lot during Lent, especially on Good Friday.

Again, why?

I used to kind of “dig” Church’s pomp and circumstance and how it stood on ceremony.  Now, I’m rather bemused by it all.   Seems like a colossal waste of time and resources, but if that’s what floats your ecclesiastical boat, row on.  

As Christians, we’re told that God is omniscient; omnipresent and omnipotent, right?  As Catholics, we’re told that we have to enter a tiny little confessional with a priest situated on the other side of this screen (or these days, right in front of my face in full human Technicolor) and go through another human being to find absolution.   If God is all those things, why confess to a priest? And wouldn’t the loving, benevolent New Testament God forgive me anyway, automatically??    To me, the Catholic way is in total conflict with its own teachings and therefore,  just doesn’t make sense.  But many have argued that this human to human act of confessing has psychological ramifications; that it’s harder to do and requires more penitent behavior to confess to another person, as opposed to just spewing forth every sin privately.   Just you and that invisible force called faith.   

I have a confession to make:   when after school Catechism classes included going to confession, sometimes I’d lie to the priest.   As an eight year old, I just wasn’t committing that many venial sins!   Sorry!!!   Still, how appalled the Church would be!!     It would probably also frown at the fact that I’ve interviewed psychics and even gone to a few and found several to be frighteningly correct in their conveyed prophecies.   The Church would probably be a bit miffed to learn that instead of Sister Angelica, I sometimes watch Joel Osteen on Sunday mornings.  Joel’s message is OK.  I like it because it’s not overtly messianic.  

Now, I will admit before God and you, gentle reader, that I simply can’t handle all the Jesus talk.  Sorry, but I can’t.  I can talk about Jesus philosophically, but when it gets to the salvation, part—uh-uh.    Glenn Beck kept me interested to a degree with his show when he’d discuss all those Constitutional issues, but lost me when he kept talking about his being saved by Jesus.  Bully for him, just keep it to yourself, GB.   Why does this turn me off?   I don’t know exactly,  but it does and it did even when I was a child.   I was raised with this premise, but it just seemed to always be in conflict with how I felt about God.   I have no doubt about that existence. 

And believe me, I don’t have a Christian bias,  to which you might call bullshit and that’s OK.  That would be your right, remember?   But you’d be wrong.   Here, permit me to beat you to the punch.     G.K. Chesterton once scribed:

There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions

I understand  how one might think me inclusively exclusive  in what I say, but I assure you, that’s not how I feel.   I play no favorites.  I get turned off by all religions, yet have no issue at all with anyone’s belief system.  Nor should anyone have a problem with mine.   As part of my live and let live approach, I believe that saying Merry Christmas is just fine.     Or not.    There can be a nativity scene anywhere one wants to place one, but by the same token, don’t bitch about seeing a Star of David erected publicly.

I think out of respect for the victims of 9/11,  there SHOULDN’T be a mosque included in any of the building(s) that will replace the World Trade Center.  But legally; constitutionally, how could construction be blocked especially if the planned $100 million Islamic mosque and community center would be built two blocks from the World Trade Center site and not where exactly where the seven buildings once stood  And we all know, those structures were toppled nine years ago, by 19-hijackers who practiced  an extremely radical form of Islam.   

And therein lies the problem.   Some experts say the proverbial apple rarely falls far from the tree when it comes to Islam in general.  They contend that Islam can become rabid at the drop of a hat.   Well,  I don’t know that much about this particular religion’s culture or its propensity towards zealotry and I would think that most Americans  share this ignorance.    That said, this mosque issue is going to be a tough sell convincing the other of the opposing opinion.  This is one incredibly polarizing issue and here’s why:  the mosque will be situated two blocks away from Ground Zero proper, but let’s discuss where it’s being built specifically:  on vacant property along Park Place, the former site of a Burlington Coat Factory that had been razed because it was severely damaged by airplane debris on September 11th.  

Hijacked airplanes debris, mind you.    Knowing why this land was made vacant changes things a bit, does it not?

Then again, can the new World Trade Center buildings once built, forbid observant Muslims from working there, based on the same reasoning?? 

This looks like every nun I've ever known

So does this...

I’m all about individual belief systems or the lack thereof,  for that matter. 

Burkas–wear one if your constitutionally protected right to practice a religion which mandates modesty among female members and therefore, women should be covered up.   Why wouldn’t a burka be OK?  Why do they seem so alien?  They shouldn’t.   I was taught catechism classes by nuns wearing the Catholic equivalent.  They were just as covered up.

Additionally,  I think we should be able say what we think without fear of retribution… long as it’s not truly injurious or slanderous.  

Remember Carrie Prejean? 

She was Miss California and the Miss USA 2009 first runner-up. Prejean received national attention after pageant judge and gossip blogger, Perez Hilton used his final question in the Miss USA pageant to ask Prejean about same-sex marriage laws in the U.S.   She said she was opposed to it and as a result, Prejean was stripped of her Miss California USA crown for alleged breaches of contract.   Hilton, who’s openly gay, crucified her in his blog.   What right did he have to do that?   He’s not married and by the looks of him, I’m not thinking he’ll be ordering his “save the date” cards any time soon, either.

I think what happened to Carrie Prejean was wrong and grossly unfair.     What happened to opinion and the freedom to express them?  Do the P.C. police only exist if you get offended???   Funny how that works.   It certainly keeps the likes of Janine Garofalo and Bill O’Reilly employed.

What it all boils down to is simple.  If you think Bush was/is an idiot and the worst president ever, OK, you have the right to opine that, but by the same token, I should be able to call Obama the threat to Democracy that I think he is, without being called a “tea bagging redneck bigot”.    I’m not asking for tolerance, just fairness and sometimes, that means  allowing  variables and turning the other cheek to things you don’t want or like, but in the interest of fair play, you do it anyway.   You eat it and you eat it quietly.

So, if you’re an atheist or a fervent John Bircher, that’s OK.   If you’re a Mormon, groovy.  A Bahá’í?   That’s your call.  If you choose to exercise your freedom of religion by hugging trees and dancing naked in the forest during a full moon while worshipping a wooden likeness of TV’s Samantha Stevens from “Bewitched”, I’m cool with it.    And  if  every February, you want to commemorate your belief that a ground hog-slash-prophet was killed and buried by the jealous and the power mad ground hogs from his same phyla, then reanimated a week later, exiting his grave only to see his shadow and then promptly determining that there will be six more weeks of NFL post season on the WB,  fine.   Just don’t talk about it.  

In other words, don’t ask/don’t proselytize. 


The King of Kings Is A Jock????


From the “Now, I’ve Seen Everything Department”.

So, I couldn’t sleep because Morpheus skipped my house—again— and mockingly refused me slumber,  I went a-blogging, to check out the competition. To see what’s up. You know, if you look, you can find the weirdness you seek.

On this night, I was looking for stuff and I found a site selling Jesus action figures.

He’s rough–he’s buff and he’s doing real dare-devil, He-Man stuff not ever even attempted by that boi of butch brawniness, Race Bannon, the sexually ambiguous , yet rather ponderous factotum of a one, Dr. Benton Quest.  You know,  Johnny’s dad.  

Here’s Jesus now, scoring a GGGGOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL for God:


Jesus lept.

At first I thought someone at the We Are Fishermen website (or maybe it was a blog) was actually lampooning the Lord, but I soon realized this wasn’t the case. These are real, by God action figures in about seven or eight different poses displaying various acts of machismo prowess and selling for about 30-bucks each.

Here’s Jesus as what I call the “Big Christhoona”, hanging ten….as in commandments.

“Thou shalt NOT wipe out, Dude “..


You gotta wonder about the crass commercialization about the man perceived as the “King of Kings” by more than a billion Christians.


Years ago, when I had just graduated from college,  a friend and I were in Laredo staying with a very Mexican, very Catholic family. There were crosses everywhere, in every room and these weren’t just crosses; I’m talking Jesus in full crucifixion reproduction, complete with the guilt inducing nail wounds in the hands and feet and dripping blood.

My friend and I shared the bedroom and as soon as the lights went out, my very Protestant roomate looked up and said “Oh my God!! Jesus’ eyes are glowing!”

I looked up and he was looking at me.

I had this strange desire to get up and wash my hands.

Segue again.

I’m all for anyone believing in anything that gets them through their life. I can’t and won’t cast aspersions. I mean, my life could make Mary Magdalene look like a saint.

Wait….she is one, right?

But gee Wally, shouldn’t taste, decorum and propriety coming into play?


I’m not sure what form of “action” the above figurine is supposed to represent. I see this particular Jesus wearing a white trench coat, camo colored Capri pants, Doc Martens and what appears to be a pith helmet by his right leg. His crown of thorns appears to have been replaced by a wreath of lovely Jonquils.

The dove must be the requisite wise-cracking sidekick.

Maybe this is “Fashion Faux Paux Jesus” and he patrols the runways of Milan, Paris and New York looking to save fashion victims from themselves. He flies up and down the streets of Hell’s Kitchen where flop houses reign supreme.   If he gets in a jam, he and Doug (his trusty sidekick dove) throw down the pith helmet and it immediately converts into a Goldfinger mini-plane, flown by???? You guessed it—–Pontious Pilot.

(Thunderclap, a lightning bolt and I repent…..)

Teetering on blasphemous and sacriledge? Maybe, but I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with these action figures, what I’ve written or Glow-In-The-Dark Jesus, for that matter.

I am, as the ubiquitous “they” say, a recovering Catholic. But I’ve learned more about spirituality just trying to live my life  more than anything taught to me by the Mother Church.

I know that faith is an extraordinary thing.  WEspecially on those occaisions when I didn’t have it.   It is powerful beyond comprehension. And in this day and age of avarice and greed with disappointment usurping joy at just about every turn, if we don’t have faith, we don’t have hope and if we don’t have either, then why bother? 

The bigger question then becomes, why would we want to? If we need to use tools (rosary beads or Mary statues adorned with flowers in our front yards) to help us fortify our convictions, then I ask–why the hell not?

Look, I can’t remember when the last time I went to Mass, but I can tell you the date and time I had my last conversation with God….my God.  And I know that the God I worship, has a sense of humor. He gave us the ability to laugh because well, it is ALL of His design.

So, whatever floats your boat.

Or forces Michael to row it ashore.   Halle–lu–ooh–jah.


This Angers Me


I just read an article from the AP with an Oregon City, OR.  dateline.   It’s a story we’ve heard before;  it focuses on religious zealotry and refusing medical care for a dying patient.  These “Christians” believe that their faith in the Almighty is all that’s needed;  faith as a panacea.     

Here’s the paraphrased story:

A  judge who sentenced an Oregon couple to prison yesterday for the death of their son says members of their church must quit relying on faith healing when their children’s lives are at stake.

According to Judge Steven Maurer,  “Too many children have died unnecessarily – a graveyard full.  This has to stop.”

Maurer determined that Jeffrey and Marci Beagley each should serve 16 months in prison. Members of the Followers of Christ church who packed the courtroom sobbed.  

The Beagleys were earlier convicted of criminally negligent homicide in the June 2008 death of their 16-year-old son, Neil, of complications from a congenital urinary tract blockage, a condition that normally, is treated quite easily.

Members of their church avoid most medical care and instead rely on rituals such as anointing sick people with oil and laying hands on them.

In ordering prison terms, Maurer reflected changes made in Oregon law a decade ago stipulating that freedom of religious practices is not an excuse to shun medical treatment for a dangerously ill child. The changes were a result of the deaths of children in Followers of Christ families.

The church’s small cemetery near the end of the Oregon Trail includes row after row of headstones marking the graves of children who died as a result of faith healing that went awry.

Maurer said the community is tolerant of the church, and he emphasized the sentences were not an indictment of it.

“We must keep in mind that this crime was one in which a child died,” Maurer said. “This was a situation where the community was counting on his parents to understand the boundaries of their faith.”

The Beagleys’ attorneys said they would appeal.

Neil Beagley was described as a bright, confident boy who loved his church and fixing cars. He became ill as the blockage trapped toxic waste in his body.

His parents testified they thought he had a cold or the flu. Medical experts say the boy’s kidneys were destroyed and his organs shut down.

Just months earlier, the Beagleys’ granddaughter, 15-month-old Ava Worthington, died from pneumonia and a blood infection that also could have been treated. Her parents, Raylene and Carl Brent Worthington, were acquitted of manslaughter. Carl Brent Worthington served two months in jail for criminal mistreatment.

Defense attorneys sought probation for the Beagleys. Mackeson called on Courtney S. Campbell, a professor of philosophy who specializes in bioethics at Oregon State University, who recommended probation, education and counseling rather than prison.

“There needs to be respect for religious freedom, accompanied by personal accountability and responsibility,” Campbell said.

Maurer said the Beagleys and the congregation knew about medical care but refused it.

“These two cases illustrate a crime that was a product of an unwillingness to respect the boundaries on freedom of religious expression,” Maurer said. “They’ve continued to use spiritual treatment practices in exclusion of medical treatment, even when their children were in extreme harm’s way.”

The defense attorneys asked that the couple remain free pending appeals. Maurer refused.

And well he should.  

Scream at me all you want , but I really don’t care how devout these people are; they refused to seek help for their child who died–literally–at their hands.    They knew he needed medical attention and they felt that God would come through their fingertips.

Instead,  he would’ve come through a doctor’s fingertips had they stopped for one minute and thought about God in the bigger picture.   I could get technical here and in a way, I’d be right–if God is the creator of all things, then  God made physicians and allowed all those incredible technological advances in medicine–this includes a plethora of drugs, one of which would have easily saved young Neil’s life. 

I was raised Catholic and at this stage of my life, I’m barely hanging on to that, but even so, I understand faith and its psychological ramifications.   It is so very closely engrained in and with hope and without that, we’re lost as humans.

This story–adults refusing medical care for their children in lieu of faith healing, makes about as much sense as the Puritans in colonial Salem who submerged women and men they suspected of practicing witchcraft, in the river.  If they survived, that confirmed their allegiance to  Old Scratch himself.  That meant they were guilty as sin.  Their drowning though, proved their innocence and that meant ye olde judges who had God on their side, killed a lot of innocent people back then.

It also reminds me of the hardcore Christian couple who find themselves barren and go to a fertility clinic increase their chances at conceiving.  They go through all the processes and a few weeks later find themselves “with children”… plural.   They eventually learn that of the five fetuses, two are terribly deformed, yet they refuse to abort them because that’s murder.  Only God can take a life.   We have no right to play God.

Well, what right did they have to play God in order to GET pregnant?    Yes, I know there’s a difference between creating life and causing death, but didn’t they delve into Divine territory in order TO get pregnant???   That’s precisely my point.

The Chinese restaurant approach to ecclesiastical belief amuses me.   It’s this,  “I’ll take this “No Dancing” from Column A……and uh….I think I’ll have “No Eating Pork or Shell Fish” with a side order of “Chastity–Unless Married and Even Then, In Moderation” from Column B”.

We have the right to believe or not believe in what we want.  That’s one of our fundamental freedoms.   Now, I have my own belief system that manifested itself in part from my early Catholic beginnings and mostly from what I learned since then.    There is or should be, in my opinion anyway, a very profound common sense approach to faith and religiosity.  If I jump off a cliff that’s 400 feet above a flat surface,  I’m going to die when I hit the ground below.  No ifs, ands or buts about it.   Natural laws tell me that I will die.   Gravity, momentum…all those factors indicate that I’m NOT going to live to tell anyone about my  groovy free fall experience.   Common sense.  Yes, sometimes when the conditions are right, ‘miracles’ happen, but beyond that, I believe in my God’s infinite power, but I also believe in my own power, and I’m responsible for understanding that and the limits that come with it.   It isn’t listed in any of the Good Books–esepcially not verbatim, but let’s face it–“shit happens” –and often without any explanation whatsoever.

Ever major religion of which I’m aware understands and advocates free will.  Sorry Calvinists, but while there might be some semblance of a Divine Plan and Universal Order, we pick and choose our own way through life.   It’s our call; it’s our Free  Will.  I don’t know what this sect,  what the “Followers of Christ” believe, but if they’re like any of the other (of what I call) Strip Center Religions and the often charismatic power and money mongers who establish them, then I would presume they believe that God is like some blanket life insurance policy that offers full coverage.    He isn’t.  They buy into the utter infallibility of the Bible.  It isn’t infallible–it is God’s word, if that’s what you choose to believe, but it is fact that it was written by man; errant, flawed man.   And invariably, everyone must pay the Piper in order to dance. 

Regardless.   I would ask the devout Beagleys if the phrase “Thou Shalt Not Kill” sound familiar to them.?   Then I would ask them to define neglifence.   Then, I would ask if in the midst of their pain and grief ,  does faith healing still define that which they believe?  I’d be interested in hearing their answer.  

There is cause and effect to everything we do, think and feel.   And in this case,  the Beagley’s negligence and ignorance killed their son.   God didn’t fail them;  their shortsightedness did.  

Yes, of course I mourn the loss of this young boy,  but I also mourn their lack of common sense, their extremely skewed faith and the lack of faith they had in themelves.

This is life.  And this is death…it’s cause and effect in the ultimate sense .   The Beagleys have already started their 16-month prison sentence. 

It’s their price for dancing.



Faith Or Ignorance?? You Tell Me


Having reported on the news most of my professional career, it’s truly the last thing I want to encounter in my life as a civilian.   I am blissfully unaware of most current events.   The story your about to read unfolded throughout most of  2008, but I only recently found out about it.

Here’s the story:

Wisconsin father, Dale Nuemann, charged last October with reckless homicide for not taking his dying daughter to a doctor, told police that he believed God would heal her.  He went on to say that when she lapsed into a coma, he merely thought she was sleeping.

Eleven-year-old Madeline Neumann lost a battle with undiagnosed diabetes in March of 2008 at her family’s rural Wisconsin home.   She lying on the floor, surrounded by people who’d been praying for healing.    It wasn’t until she stopped breathing that someone finally called 911.

Prosecutors say her father, Dale Neumann, had a legal obligation take his dying daughter to a doctor or a hospital.

Neumann told investigators that in the weeks leading up to Madeline’s death, he noticed that was a “little weak and a little slower,” something he attributed to puberty. Her condition deteriorated, and the day before her death,  Madeline could no longer walk or talk.

“We just trusted the Lord for complete healing,” he said. “We didn’t really sense it was like a life-and-death situation. We figured there was something really fighting in her body. We asked people to join with us in prayer agreement.”

Neumann said it never crossed his mind that his daughter might have lost consciousness.

According  to Neumann,  “I didn’t believe at all that the Lord would even allow her to pass.”

Neumann also told detectives that even though he’s convinced “sickness is a result of sin”, his daughter’s death hasn’t shaken his faith or belief system.

The family does not belong to an organized religion, and Neumann’s wife, Leilani testified that she and her husband have nothing against doctors. But, she said, she viewed Madeline’s illness as “something spiritual.”

Leilani Neumann was convicted of second-degree reckless homicide this spring and faces up to 25 years in prison..

Dr. Joseph Monaco, who worked on Madeline in the hospital emergency room, said she was “very, very emaciated and wasted physically.”

I hear stories like this and I get very angry.  And not only that, people like this make me angry.  I’m talking about those who believe God will handle everything in a flash, like one of Samantha Stevens’ (TV’s “Bewitched”) magical finger snaps. 

As if even Almighty God can take someone in the latent stages of Level 4 Cancer; when the death rattle has begun, that suddenly  He/She will make that poor emaciated creature well, then hope on out of their one-time death bed ready to dance a hula.

I wonder when people (even those who are limited in scope as the Nuemanns) will understand that God isn’t this better-than-a Vegas-act magician!!   Sure, mmiraculous events still happen these days.  Granted, they’re not as convincing as the Bible would have us believe, but miracles still occur.  The problem is people aren’t aware of them, or take them for granted.  It’s hard not to witness childbirth or a massive suspended bridge connecting two land masses across a huge body of water and not marvel at the miracle of technology.

But technology isn’t magic.  It’s applied science.  Therefore, I suppose my question at this point is when will people understand that God isn’t magic?   And when we people understand the role they play in their own survival?

I’m not an incredibly Godly woman.  While I believe in a very defined higher power that works for me, I also believe in the power we have within us.  God given power, one could say. I believe in our power to affect change and that covers an extremely broad scope.  

 The Nuemanns are what I called “literalists”.  They can’t see beyond the words of the Bible that they firmly believe are ccompletely infallible.  

OK, cool whatever floats your boat, but if they would have chosen to educate themselves to what exists beyond the scope of  this book’s text (and sorry people, but we’re talking about a book here, that no matter how you slice it, was physcially written by man) they wouldn’t both be facing lengthy jail sentences.. They are guilty of ignorance, extreme provincial thinking and misappropriation of faith.  In my opinion, they’re faith is wrong.   It’s oddly scoped.   They are entitled to believe as they see fit, but where has it gotten them?   Jail time and a daughter who’s dead.  I pity them them for thinking that all illnesses are the result of sin.  That speaks volumes about these people.

Sadly, they were looking for a miracle; one of those Lazarus type resurrection deals. At the time that happened and if that ever happened in the first place, that could have been described as such solely for the benefit of an even more ignorant and unenlightened group of people…..early man.  

You know, the needed the magic to believe.

What the Nuemanns failed to realize in their own (and yes, I’ll say it) STUPIDITY is that had they taken their daughter to a hospital, she would probably still be alive.   And if anyone would like to take that further and split hairs, we can do that:  That said, one then could argue that God paved the way for medical technology to be as cutting edge as it is today.  He gave people the drive and the intellect to invent these mmiraculous processes, such as dialysis, tumor removal and neurosurgery.  The list is endless.

 Go have a mole removed by laser surgery and then argue that point with me.

I don’t have more to say about the subject other than it reminds of a parable I’ve heard for years.

A man  was caught in a terrible flash flood. 

He prayed, “Lord, save me!” 

Shortly after his prayer, a boat paddled towards him and the people urged the man to get in.

“No thank-you”, said the man, “The Lord is going to save me”.

An hour later, a motor boat drove by and the people urged the man to get in.

“No thank you”, said the man, “The Lord is going to save me”.

The water continued to rise; so much so that the rescue efforts were significantly hampered. The man, at this point, was clinging to the roof-top; floodwaters were about to completely engulf him.   He knew his life stood in the balance.    Then suddenly, a helicopter flew overhead and lowered a rope ladder next to him as he clung to the roof for life.

“Don’t worry about me. The Lord is going to save me”.  

Shortly after that, the man drowned.

As he stood before God in Heaven, he asked Him, “Lord, I trusted in You–Why didn’t You save?”

“Save you???”, replied God, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter! What else did you expect?”

Well, there you go.

Maybe it’s just me, but I do believe that sometimes we haveto make the effort to see the ecclesiastical forest for the trees.  As this case perfectly exemplifies, do the alternatives really give us much of an option otherwise?l