Archive for ‘August, 2009’

Lessons From Sir Ted

datePosted on 12:39, August 26th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

The passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy is a sad affair. But with the passing of any individual it is customary to look at their life. Senator Kennedy led one of the most productive lives any individual could aspire to lead. Yes, he had his issues. And yes, there are many that looked to him with contempt for the overt excesses he manifested in his personal life. But no one can deny the accomplishments that he achieved in the area of human rights for all Americans – and the world, for that matter.

In his 47-year-career as a senator, Kennedy authored over 2,500 pieces of legislation – many of those becoming some of our most important and cherished laws. Throughout his career, Kennedy was awarded many titles. He was even made and honorary Member of the British Empire (knighted) by Queen Elizabeth earlier this year – a testament to his broad reaching influence. He was a civil rights and health care leader with no equal. But what really set him apart was that he did all of this in spite of who he was.

Edward Kennedy was born into a life of privilege that most people will never even begin to comprehend. Yet, he spent the majority of his life fighting for those who were not so privileged. He was the voice of the poor and the oppressed. He was the hero of the working class. He was the last line of defense against the oppressive large industry or government powers that threatened to injure the average citizen. But more than that, it’s how he achieved what he did. He reached out to his enemies as well as his allies. People who opposed him also respected him immensely. Kennedy was a liberal Democrat. He was fierce and relentless and yet he has been hailed as the greatest senator of our time from friend and foe alike. His ability to work with those who held different world views is perhaps best represented by conservative Republican Orrin Hatch commenting on the passing of Kennedy:

“Today America lost a great elder statesman, a committed public servant, and leader of the Senate. And today I lost a treasured friend. Ted Kennedy was an iconic, larger than life United States senator whose influence cannot be overstated. Many have come before, and many will come after, but Ted Kennedy’s name will always be remembered as someone who lived and breathed the United States Senate and the work completed within its chamber.”
–Sen. Orrin Hatch, 8/25/09

That was said by an opponent. We could all learn an important lesson from Kennedy. Be strong and firm in your convictions but at the same time understand that you do not live in a vacuum. One must learn to work with others of opposing positions in order to get work done. As atheists we need to embrace the things we have in common with theists to work for the greater good of society. It does not mean we should ever back down or roll over – not by a long shot. But sometimes we need to give a little in order to gain a lot.

Christianity to the Rescue of Muslim Teen?

datePosted on 12:33, August 25th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

The wonderful state of Florida is presenting the nation with another “morals based’ political drama. For those who have been missing it due to the poor coverage, there is a 17 year-old girl from Ohio who ran away from her Muslim parents and took shelter with the reverend and his wife of  an Evangelical Christian church in Florida.

The teen, Rifqa Bary, claims that her father “must kill” her because she renounced Islam and was baptized without his permission. In Islam, if you turn away from “The Profit,” you are considered an apostate and the Koran says you must be put to death. The incident is also filled with many inconsistencies and uncorroborated statements. However, Florida Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson will make the decision of whether Rifqa will get to remain in Florida with here new friends or have to go back to Ohio. By the way, the church that Rifqa ran away to is the Global Revolution Church. She met the Reverend and his wife recently on Facebook.

The rule of law is perfectly clear. The Minor must be returned to the state where she resides. But there are circumstances. The teen claims her father did, in fact, threaten to kill her. And yes, there are several thousands of “honor killings’ every year carried out in the name of Allah. These killings are committed against those who leave Islam. There are also rumors that the girl has been physically abused. Now, on the other hand, the Muslim-turned-Christian girl is an honor student and a cheerleader in high school. One could speculate that if the father would consent to her being a cheerleader and wearing short skirts and such you think he might be okay with Christ. There is also no formal record of abuse and the father has repeatedly claimed that he would never hurt his daughter. Plus, we have new the Christian “friends” that she recently met on-line. Could they be coaching the teen on what do say (become one of us type thing).

The Christian – I mean Fox Network has been covering the story and pretty much painting the parents as evil and the child as this poor desperate girl running for her life. For the time being she is in a state-run foster center in Florida until the judge makes his ruling sometime in the next week. What’s going to happen? We’ll just have wait and see. One thing I predict is that the other networks will pick this up and it will grow out of proportion pretty fast. The best thing to happen would be for the girl to go back to her parents and lead a safe, normal life. Then we could blame all of this on Christian crusaders trying to turn people against Islam. Of course, she could also be killed. Then we could blame Islam for once again demonstrating it is indeed the bloody religion it ironically claims itself not to be. No matter how it turns out, the real issue will most likely never be addressed. Religious morality (immorality), in general, will probably escape unscathed again.

Muslims burn Christians in Pakistan

datePosted on 13:16, August 3rd, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Innocent children were among the casualties that were purposefully burned to death in one of the worst massacres in recent memory. Muslims in Pakistan went on a rampage killing Christians in the village of Gojra. Over forty houses and a church were burned by angry Muslim mobs. The violence was over the alleged desecration of the Koran which is punishable by death in Pakistan. Christians are a minority in Pakistan making up less than three percent of the population.

Personally I feel for the families and friends of the victims. As a humanist I am appalled at such careless displays of violence. However, this is typical behavior for religious zealots from a historical point of view. Islam is once again showing the world that it is unquestionably the most violent, intolerant religion today. Killing people because they may have said something bad about or did something to a book! A book! A book of fiction about hatred and killing that is held in more esteem than human life itself. To the Christians in Pakistan I say, “Get out!  You are not welcome there. Pakistan is quite obviously a country populated by barbarians with absolutely no regard for human life. If you stay, the Muslims will probably kill you because you are different. Just like Christians did to everyone else for centuries. See, being persecuted for your beliefs – or lack of them, is not much fun is it?”  Imagine no religion…Hmm.