Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Founding Principles

Usually this time of year (Christmas being the other time), the fight over which religion is right, is more frantic than ever.  I guess birth and death does bring out the worst or best in people.  It is like multiple siblings arguing whom mom/dad loves best. Guess what? They love us all. 
I for one want to state yet again, I think Religion is a gift from God.  He looks at us, His children, and helps us decide how best to know him.  And just like we are all individuals, so is the way we pray to Him, and bring Him into our lives.  God knows what His individual children need-who am I to question that?
But the healthcare battle has brought this yearly shout-match to new heights.  All over the news, I hear people shouting about the "Christian Principles" this country was founded on, and how we need to get back to that.  Granted, I won't proclaim to be a world scholar on Christian Principles, but I am pretty confident that Jesus was kind of a peaceful fellow.  And there is nothing in the Bible that says he stuck out his tongue and flipped people off as he walked across the water.  So a little less shouting and screaming would be nice.
My second point would be that this nation was NOT founded on Christian Principles.  I feel like I am beating a dead horse here, but the Constituion that these loud mouths keep waving around has a brand new idea in there-Freedom of Religion.  Okay, The Constitution has been around for a few centuries now, but in the larger scope of history, that isn't long.  And although the Founding Fathers were pretty much hoping that everyone was Christian when they put in the Freedom of Religion part, the fact of the matter is, they didn't say Freedom of Any Christian Denomination You Choose.  They said Freedom of Religion.  That wording matters, way back then in thar good al' dayzzz, just as much as it does now.  Freedom of Religion is exactly what it means-that this nation was founded on the belief that people have the right to worship as they choose.  That no matter what the current leader may be, you as a private citizen does not have to follow that and at no penalty to you or your family.  The Mother Country didn't have that provision.  When Mary was queen, Catholics every rejoiced.  As soon as her sister Elizabeth I took over, Catholics ran for their lives.  Our Constituion was designed to protect us from the religious winds that can blow which ever way.
So should we start agitating to get back to the principles this country was founded on.  Yes, we should.  But the principles this country were founded on include Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Opinion, and Freedom to Assemble-Peacefully (I paraphrase here).  Let's get back to that, and quit giving Christianity a bad name. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The American Dream

A lot of talk recently about the death of the Amreican Dream.  It actually makes me sick to here people talk about that because it shows two things:  one, their ignorance, and two, their selfishness.  Anybody remember what the American Dream was?  And don't ask the idiots running the new Tea Party.  Freedom of Religion.  Freedom to own property.  No taxation without representation (ie. voting).  Does this sound familiar.  It should-between the US Constitution and The Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers and Mothers pretty much hit the highlights. Oh, it wasn't perfect.  Minorities had to fight another 200 years to even BEGIN to get rights, but just the fact that someone tried to do something in 1776, to give the general populace rights at all, is amazing in itself. 
Europe surely wasn't offering much.  It was pretty much guarantee'd, other than a lucky few, you would die where you were born in pretty much the same economic demographic.  Property was inherited, and you worshipped like your neighbors, or it got ugly.  The Colonies across "the pond" may not have been treating their slaves right, or the native inhabitants, but they were offering more freedom then Europe. 
Nowhere did the framers of our government expect everyone to agree, promise everyone a house, and the right to a perfect life.  They didn't offer equal access to education (although Jefferson advocated for it), jobs, or a chicken in every pot (that was later-Hoover I think?).  In a nutshell, they wanted a government where people had a say in how things were run, with a few "inalienable" rights, just to make it solid and better than what they had.
So how is the American Dream dead?  Because the housing market crashed?  Because unemployment is so high?  Because we can no longer pick our representatives in government?  Because we have to pay almost $10 to see a movie if we go during prime-time?  Because we can longer worship as we see fit?  We have problems here in this country-I am not denying that.  And not everything is going the way I want it too.  But as for the American Dream being dead-no way.  It is alive and well, and continuing to shape this country, just like it always has.  People just need to remember what the American Dream really was, and not what they think it became.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

As We Age

Wow-second blog in a week!!  I am on a roll.
It isn't even my birthday, but you know what, it sucks to get old.  My back often feels like someone threw a steel rod in there via my butt, and let's say my boobs have repositioned themselves, by themselves.  When I get a headache, I have no idea if my bad neck caused it or it is actually a true headache.  Oh, and I have gained the notrious "Freshman Five" (5 lbs. at the start of the school year), repeatedly!!!
But the one nice thing abut aging is what you learn.  Not to sound like some Sage on the Mountain, but I know things now I never thought I would.  I understand some of the decisions my parents made, or at least know enough to be more critical of them (sorry mom-still don't understand why we didn't ride first class to Vegas in '95).
I know it isn't earth-shattering, or very exciting, but it is a good feeling.  It allows you to give up the foolish dreams of the past, and make better dreams for the future.  And it keeps me curious.  Who knows what I will learn tommorrow.  Maybe even a way to hoist up the old chest!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Follow-Up

Won't even excuse myself for not writing recently-this sinus infection has gone on TO LONG!!!
But there was a discussion on Facebook about the Texas State Board of Education approving more conservative textbooks, and honestly Facebook is to small so I thought I would do a blog.
Be forewarned-this is a public space but not quite like Facebook, so I will be expressing my opinion about more forcefully.
Let me throw it out there-PUBLIC SCHOOLS are no place for religious dogma.  Learning about other religions, yes.  A learning institution of any kind is about...learning.  Go figure.  But it is not the place to teach the morality of The Ten Commandments, what you think God did on the Sabbath, or if he created the world in 1 day or 10.  Tell the kids what the Christians think, be sure to let them know what the Jews and Muslims think as well.  Throw in the Hindu's and you have a lesson plan for a whole year.  But in a PUBLIC SCHOOL, it is not your place to determine who is right.
PRIVATE SCHOOL is different.  Hence the title, PRIVATE.  It is the perfect place for religious dogma-or any other dogma for that matter. 
So Texas decide's that the liberal bias has gone on long enough, they want a more conservative opinion expressed, and they have bought re-written textbooks to push this agenda.
So on Facebook, I agree'd that while we have not always written our textbooks without bias, or political gain (think Cold War) at least recently we have tried to correct that and be more fair.  Texas is taking a huge step BACKWARD.
Then Aaron expressed an opinon that we need a national standard.  I had to think about that.  We can't agree on a national health care plan-what kind of agenda can each state push in a textbook?  And do we really want to have to form a consensus with the people in the South who apparently want to make sure their kids are learning according to 1950?  Hey, lets bring back smoking inside and really give kids the advantage.
But after carfeul thought, I have to agree with Aaron-it is time for a national standard.  The biggest point in favor is that bascially, the textbook comapnies make one copy of a textbook-and the largest buyer pretty much dictates what goes in there.  Surprise-Texas is one of the largest purchasers of textbooks.  Sooooo, with no input from anyone else, we all get the textbook the moral police in Texas want.  Market Economy-lovely.
It is true that most people in this country follow some type of Christian background.  And it is easy to say, "what is the big deal?"  But, "most people" IS NOT everyone, and it isn't what this country was founded on.  We have spent over 200 years trying to create a place where everyone is actually welcome, and to non-christian such as myself, it feels like Texas is taking a step back to the days of only the WASP's being actually invited despite what the fine print says.
So, national standard for textbooks and education it is.  I am in favor of it.