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Saturday, April 07, 2007

What The Hell Is A "Blogswarm"??

When I first heard that there is going to be a "blogswarm" this weekend I thought "OH CRAP! There goes all the internet bandwidth this weekend!". Visions of millions of people looking like this guy running about, clogging up coffee shops everywhere.

But as it turns out, it is not this bad. This is the good news. The bad news is that it almost that bad.

A "blogswarm" is when a bunch of people blog about the same crap ON PURPOSE! It is a premeditated thing, as opposed to the usual randomness that tends to rule the Internet. Order from chaos. Entropy. Call it whatever you want.

This weekend's blogswarm is apparently about theocracy, and why it needs to be avoided at all costs.

First, some definitions. Theocracy is a POLITICAL THEORY. It really has squat to do with religion. You see, it is all about how to control people with a set of policies. Just like any political theory. So now that we have gotten past the "a rant against a political theory is NOT an attack on religion" thing, we may continue.

You see, many people have the misguided belief that this is not the case. They have been led to believe that the two are interchangeable.

Over the past decade or two, there has been a major push to interject religion into all facets of American politics and law - and to make the case that there was never a separation of Church and State.

This is simply silly. Had the founders wanted the United States to be a theocracy, they would have made one. They would have declared a state religion, and banned all others. The motto on the dollar bill would not be "A New Order Of The Ages". Because back then, another theocratic government would hardly be new.

No, the first amendment clearly states that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. This is the wall of separation. There is no "state religion" in the USA. There is no "official religion" in the USA. Regardless of what leaders from the evangelical movement might say, this is the case. This is a new order of the ages, not the same old crap repackaged and marketed as new.

Government is protected from the excessive influence of religion, and therefore by default - and this should be very important to all people of faith - religion is protected from the government. If this nation were a theocracy, then ONE brand of Christianity would reign supreme and all others would be banned. Would it be the Methodists? The Baptists? The Catholics? Mormons? Jehovas Witnesses? None of the above? Who knows. But only one flavor would get its way - and the rest would be ignored at best - outlawed at worst.

This is why the Puritans went across the Atlantic in the first place. They got kicked out of England for not joining the Church of England. So they came to the only place where they would be left alone. In effect, they exiled themselves.

And now there is a push to do it all over again. Reclaim America for Jesus! Sounds good right? Well maybe it would be. Except that the people behind the movement have gone from the realm of religion to the realm of politics. They want to inject their view of religion into everything. Law. Education. Billboards. Malls. Everything.

I found these points on another blog.

* Every American should have the right to make personal decisions -- about family life, reproductive health, end of life care and other matters of personal conscience.
* American tax dollars should not go to charities that discriminate in hiring based on religious belief or that promote a particular religious faith as a requirement for receiving services.
* Political candidates should not be endorsed or opposed by houses of worship.
* Public schools should teach with academic integrity and without the promotion of religious preference or belief.
* Decisions about scientific and health policies should be based on the best available scientific data, not on religious doctrine.

Point 1. Every American should have the right to make personal decisions. I understand that some of the choices others make may not be the same ones you would make. But that is part of living in a free society. Take that away, and what are we left with?

Point 2. American tax dollars are supposed to go for the public good. Excluding people from services paid for with tax money because they do not believe in the same thing you do is not a good use of tax money. If you think it is, how about this idea? Traffic in Miami sucks. What I think is needed is a highway only for Agnostics that drive red Toyota 4 door pickup truck that has at least 4 anti-Bush stickers on it, and this road should be built with tax money. What is that? This idea sucks? Why? If you want to use this road you can - so long as you abide by the rules set forth by the highway committee - of which I am the only member. Same thing with charities funded with public money. If you are going to offer services to families in need - then ALL families in need must have a chance of using your services. Not just the ones you like or the ones that join your church. If your charity is privately funded then you may set any rules you like.

Point 3. Politics is nasty business. Poly = many and ticks = blood sucking insects. Do you want to being that into your Church? It is filth. I would find it highly offensive to bring such smut into a church. My mother went to a Sunday service at the church she used to force me to go to during the 1996 elections. She came back home floored that the sermon was all about how voting Democrat was a sin. Really. Right wing propaganda was handed out and everything. The offense to God was carried out by the Church "promise keepers". I just told her "now you know why I quit going to that place - and maybe you should quit going there too". She eventually did stop going. She was raised in the Baptist Church. Her parents were very religious, but in a normal sort of way. They always avoided the fire and brimstone end of the world kind of stuff. She had never, in all the years of her life, EVER heard such a thing in a church service before.

Point 4. Schools are here to educate people. Plain and simple. While a religion class could be incorporated into the curriculum, it would probably be an elective. Another humanities / philosophy class that would have to compete with all the other electives for students. While I think that philosophy is ignored by schools and this is a problem, I also have to recognize that there are only so many hours in the day, schools only get so much money, there is only so much classroom size, and other subjects are more important. If you can not read, you can not get too far in philosophy - therefore English is an important subject. As is History, for it is important to know the past. Math and science are important because these subjects keep America at the forefront of technology. And so on. there is just not any room to cram more stuff in - without making the school days longer, the school year longer, or the school week longer. This would require more money. We do not inject science in Sunday School, therefore we should not inject Sunday School into science. Makes sense to me. By the way, a real comparative religion class on the High School level would probably attract a lot of smart kids. I would support such a class in a public school - but it would be an elective and would have to compete for students. It may or may not make it at all schools. Elective choice is often dictated by college admissions, ease of passing, or interest in fine arts. Maybe a longer school day is not such a bad idea.

Point 5. Science is not a political agenda. Science is not "anti" anything. It is simply an analytical method of arriving at the truth - whatever that truth may be. Science lives in the realm of facts and figures and numbers and crap. Religion on the other hand lives in the realm of faith. You believe in God because you do. Not because you have "proof". If you have faith, you do not need proof! That is the whole point. If you require proof, then you no longer believe. So stop looking for proof in God - you will not find it. You must have faith. If you have that then piss on proof. You do not need it. It is OK to exclude religious doctrine from science and health issues. That is, if you truly have faith. Matters of science and health should be decided using the best evidence that can be proven, not religious doctrine.

And finally - oh dear! Looks like there may be a problem here! People really should drive slower and pay attention to the road.

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Anonymous beanie said...

you lost me at "politics and religion". my brain is fried. only because I've been laughing at stupid things all night, and my gut hurts. what does that have to do with my brain you ask? nothing...except it's late

Blogger Cheesemeister said...

I think that the Reclaim America For Jesus crowd went from religion to politics to a complete loss of touch with reality. This statement comes from a woman who talks to dead people, so this shows how far into unreality they must be if I can see their insanity!
Here is a quote from some numbnuts representitive from Wyoming. I can't remember his name now, only the quote. It was about the English Only bill.
"If the English language was good enough for our Lord Jesus Christ, it's good enough for us!"
Jesus was heard shouting from heaven in his native Aramaic:

Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

Enjoyed the post and glad you joined in!

Poor rabbit! ; (

Blogger actonbell said...

Good post, and here, here! I wish more people would wake up and realize that the wall we have between church and state is the most important thing we have.

It's snowing here, btw. And it's 4/7--which means it's Sar's birthday, another btw. Maybe there will be a swarm to wish her happy day?

Blogger Senor Caiman said...

The Lazy,

Ouch, the Easter Bunny got hit by a redneck driving a Dodge Ram Quad cab dually I suppose.

I feel confident I'll still get an Easter Basket.

Blogger dusty said...

Great post..awful pic at the end..jeez killed the easter bunny?

I think you go to hell for that..ask James Dobson ok? :)

thanks for linking to my blog..and I love the "this blog" linkage :P

Blogger Daisy said...

Oh, I am a little worried about this blogswarm. I hope I am still allowed to worship Bast.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Beanie - my brain has been fried so many times and for so long that it just learned how to work that way. I think. Maybe not. Plus I like fried stuff. Anything deep fried is always better.

CM - you can not pay too much attention to what some people say. But your quote is an example of what I am saying - religion and politics should never be combined. It just taints religion. The "English only" issue is political and has nothing to do with religion. Jesus did not speak English, and for well over a thousand years the language of the Catholic Church was Latin. Dragging Jesus into the political fray over what language stuff is printed in serves no use.

coffee - I do not think that is the real Easter Bunny. It is not wearing a bow tie or anything.

Actionbell - I knew that Sar has a thing with the number "47" but I never connected it to a date. So happy birthday Sar!

Caiman - I think it was more like a 1994 Accura. A Dodge Ram quad cab dually would have had more of a "pancake" effect.

Dusty - interesting that you bring up Dobson and the Easter Bunny. One would think that Dobson would be out there ranting and raving AGAINST the Easter Bunny, for the rabbit is a pagan symbol for fertility. So are eggs. What does a bunny rabbit and dyed eggs have to do with the resurrection of Jesus? But it is a fun tradition for the kids, so I see nothing wrong with it. Everyone likes chocolate.

Daisy - the blogswarm is harmless. The First Amendment says you can worship whatever holidays you want, without anyone giving you grief over it. Of course things like human and animal sacrifices are frowned upon, as there are laws against animal cruelty and murder. But you get the general idea here.

Blogger dddragon said...

AAHH!! too much thinking going on around here ... I need more coffee or something ...

Blogger dddragon said...

And ... oh, ROFL to your "stamp" page!!

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

DDD - it is kind of heavy for a Saturday. Sunday will be lighter, and flavored like chocolate.

Blogger Cheesemeister said...

Just wanted to thank you for your support. It means a lot. I'll be back to abnormal in a few days. Thanks for making a difficult time easier.
My rabbit Daria wants me to tell you that the roadkill rabbit picture gives her nightmares! She would exact revenge, but she's too busy throwing her food bowl around her hutch right now.

Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Good god boy! You expect me to THINK????? Sorry. Too late for that. It's almost 1 AM. I better come back tomorrow.

Sad news about the Easter Bunny's accident. Is Easter canceled now?

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Easter is not canceled. At least not that I know of. I have a supply of jelly beans.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post!

Blogger Yippeeskip said...

Bravo!!! As for the flattened Easter Bunny, I hear you folks down south can make a mean rabbit stew. This Pagan who now works for the Catholics is linking you blog plus I used your Bush counter-it gave me hope long enough to take the razor blade from my wrist. Hope you don't mind

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