R.I.P. Harold Pinter

harold_pinter

The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law,” Pinter said in his Nobel lecture, which he recorded rather than traveling to Stockholm.
How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand?” Harold asked, in a hoarse voice.

http://www.alan.com/2008/12/27/rip-harold-pinter-did-he-hate-who-we-are-or-what-we-did/

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081225/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_obit_pinter

One more great man has passed on. We hardly knew ye Harold. Let your words and your writings live on by the generations behind you.

Eric Lightborn
http://ericlightborn.blogspot.com
December 28th 2008

Cast The First Stone

You may hear those of good-nature and even many secular-types say this:

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

While the message is of the highest importance to us as a people I believe much of this is lost in the changes of how we speak and write and even think in this modern world. The language of our forefathers resonates with some but not with most.

So the greatest of messages of our history are lost to time and to society. I am about to use a modern version of that common quote and I don’t want to be accredited but rather want you to use this on someone to make a better impression if ever in the situation where you might say the line above.

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“Let the perfect person among you throw the first stone.”

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Sin’ is not’ in’ if that makes sense to you at all. The word itself has almost no weight, at least compared to the centuries prior. ‘Perfect’ however is something that anyone can wrap their head around in terms of something that no one actually has about them as is the idea that we are all with some element of imperfection about us no matter what we do. The concepts of Original Sin and the Fallibility of Man were so common in the past that they were assumed to be understood in many messages.

I am only attempting to show why we keep missing the message in this national discussion of gay-rights, same-sex marriage and equality under the law.


Eric Lightborn
http://americapress.wordpress.com
December 26th 2008

Rick Warren and Barack Obama: What You Didn’t Know Already

In the 2008 presidential campaign for The White House there was something referred to as a “polling anomaly” surrounding Obama.

The evangelical and born-again Christians, that took polls, showed significant support of the candidacy of Barack Obama and held numbers higher than Bush’s numbers from 2000 and 2004 to a very significant degree. (PEW Research & other polling sources)

Those who were watching closely know exactly why Obama picked up a recordable amount of support in these religious fundamental communities, in fact it is fairly obvious. Obama, unlike McCain, never once shied away from the topics of faith in the media circus. Beyond that his words and visible convictions regarding religion, Jesus and God have been forward and direct instead of evasive and vague.

In the mind of many evangelicals the resistance to speaking openly about Christ translates to a resistance to Christ’s message in your life. Essentially, if the name “Jesus” or the word “God” cause you any discomfort then you must be against spreading The Word. Obama has never once spoken directly to the evangelical and born-again movements of America in his national rhetoric, yet he has somehow gained some amount of notable political support from them.

Any politician worth his salt takes every advantage afforded to him when it comes to being able to represent the people that elected him into office. Obama saw all the same numbers I did and I imagine found it confounding for a time that a group which normally doesn’t support Democratic agendas was showing support for his Presidency. This is a question I would ask of him among others should I ever have some of his time.

Rick Warren, along with hosting the second Presidential Debate, is a strong advocate for evangelical ideology and fundamental views of religion.

His rhetoric doesn’t provide equality for the gay community or for the views of the so-called radical religious movements of America (“New Age” ideologies). I completely disagree with his political positions and his opposition of Proposition 8 in California which I personally voted against.

This is what my point is in regards to the disgust expressed to his inclusion in coming public national events:

Since when does agreeing with someone have anything to do with loving them?

– Rick Warren, 12/21/2008

Rick said it for me. Since when does loving one another in a lawful and peaceful nation have anything to do with agreeing with your neighbor’s politics? I believe that given time we will have legal same-sex marriage but it could take awhile. In the meantime we need to not rip each others throats out every time something like this happens in America.

If Rick Warren were to be presented with a “National Spiritual Adviser to America” position or anything smacking of that … well then I’d be out in the streets throwing a whole big fuss about it.

Much love, as they say these days. Nobody gets left out when I say that.

Eric Lightborn

http://americapress.wordpress.com

December 23rd 2008

Lou Engle is Rick Warren Times Ten

Lou Engle – “The Call” (Pro-Prop 8, YouTube him, boycotting Newsweek)

Newsweek Magazine runs a story by Lisa Miller claiming The Bible supports same-sex marriage.

On FOX Live with Alan Colmes, December 22nd 2008. (20:20 min/sec on Hour One, free audio-feed on Alan.com all this week)

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This brand of hatred against others is the most dangerous and infectious to our society. Lou Engle and those who follow him represent the very worst of that which is the Christian faith and the many Churches under Christ found in America today. Something, I believe, humanity should have shed long ago just like the burning at the stake of heretics and the stoning to death of adulterers was shed. Lou Ingall and what he represents are only so dangerous because he advocates indirectly that YOU should personally DO something about it. He does this by creating the ever-popular idea of a ‘war on’ in this case the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

This similar character named Rick Warren never goes there, but both of them represent this latest brand of religious-fueled hate and fear mongering against the gay community.

Don’t take my word for it. Make up your own mind after reading this.

Here is a transcript minus the liberal host:

———————————————————————

“We [The Call] are in a spiritual battle and awakening against immorality by opposing same-sex marriage.”

“Man cannot be arbiter of truth or definer of morality.”

“All immorality is evil.”

“All government is derived from God‘s government.”

“Kings and rulers [the states] who throw off God‘s Laws become accountable.”

“Society is best run under God’s Law.”

“Once you open the door here, what keeps everything from being open?”

“[Gay marriage] leads to more legalization of that which is immoral.”

“I stand with the foundation of God‘s Words.”

“Gay marriage loosens the moral standards.”

“The media trumpets it and it becomes standard and then becomes manifested in education.”

“Newsweek doesn‘t know the foundation of scripture and do a disservice to scripture by basically cutting it to pieces.”

“Let’s have those who understand The Word be the voice of truth in this situation.”

“The Bible is a wonderful book because it is brutally honest.”

“Jesus was not ambivalent about marriage between a man and a woman”

“It becomes clear that homosexual relationships are morally wrong.”

“It is not just Old Testament but Old and New, right through the last book of The Bible.”

“Basically these people don‘t really truly believe that The Bible is The Word of God.”

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Now if you listen to the whole interview you’ll hear good counter-points but there is only so many things that Alan can get into with Lou over the air.

Here is what actually matters in a discussion of legitimizing same-sex marriage:

“Once you open the door here, what keeps everything from being open?”

“[Gay marriage] leads to more legalization of that which is immoral.”

First and foremost, the ‘flood-gate’ argument is always presented in defense of banning same-sex marriage and it doesn‘t meet even the most loose interpretation of American Legal Code and the most loose observation of American society. The idea that state approval of specific ceremonies will lead to more state approvals of non-specific ceremonies is not supported by any facts. Our national history is ripe with examples where laws were passed and society as a whole was a long time catching up.

Changes in the law are almost always the first step toward major social change, not the whole staircase. The argument is only true in reverse. When we change the laws of our nation it still takes a lot of effort to see justice and equality done under the law.

To use a favored extreme example, if pedophilia became state approved it would still take years before these individuals would not be violently assaulted in the streets or in their homes were they publicly known to be pedophiles. I obviously think this example is immature and irrelevant to the greater discussion but it is important to address the favored arguments of the opposition. I will fight to defend the rights of homosexuals and fight to lock up child predators at the same time without any spiritual, ideological or moral conflict within. I question the stability of mind of anyone who thinks this a great balancing act or an impossibility for a genuine human being to have.

“All government is derived from God‘s government.”

“Kings and rulers [the states] who throw off God‘s Laws become accountable.”

All government is derived by the will of the people in it‘s inception and to date. Many governments abuse and murder their populations but regardless many of the citizens do not unite to end all government and exist within an anarchy-system. In fact most revolutions result in the installment of yet another despot instead of a citizen-based or faith-based leadership structure. To limited thresholds the people of any nation will withstand horrors just to have a government.

God’s government would best be termed ‘The Church.’ Considering no deity within the Bible established a ‘Christian Nation’ nor did Jesus ever condone blind patriotism to our rulers.

Most likely Engle is using a term in which he really means to say ‘derived from God’s teachings.’ Even still this is not true of many highly successful empires throughout history who ruled without care for the Biblical Laws for centuries. All great civilizations fail, and choosing to rule in a manner that is in conformity with the Bible has never shown to provide any amount of ‘immortality’ for any civilization or government.

In fact the two major and successful nations of today outside of North America and Great Britain are secular in their government and use no form of religious scripture to motivate their national agendas. I am no big fan of Russia and China but they are super-powers and they are governments and they most certainly did not derive from ’God’s government’ or ‘God’s teachings.’

Had they, I believe, we would have this troubles in the world. But that’s another topic, let’s stay focused here.

Accountability is not something removed from a religious-founded national government. Accountability is inherent to having governance over others and the level of it is directly connected to the level of ethics practiced. Ethics is just a intellectual way of saying morals. A government without any ethics will fail quickly and the foundations of all ethics derive from moral teachings found in multiple world-religions.

These concepts were well understood by the Founders and by me, but not by Lou Engle. This is why I find his thoughts on government not only ridiculous but dangerous if accepted as fact by the public.

It is clear in his statements regarding the nature and the history of humankind governing itself that he not an avid student of civics, as I am. I will not fault him for it. Just I would hope not to be faulted if I misquoted or misstated anything relating to the Christian religion in this weblog.

It has been a long time since my Catholicism classes came to mind but I do read The Bible periodically. I just don’t currently own one.

“Man cannot be arbiter of truth or definer of morality.”

“[Newsweek & Lisa Miller] don‘t know the foundation of scripture and do a disservice to scripture by basically cutting it to pieces.”

The Founders and the very foundations of our government lack anything prescribing citizens to answer to God’s Laws directly and our founding documents did not include any language to the effect of ‘moral standards’ or ‘God‘s Law.’

Why do the Biblical prescriptions not appear within the Constitution or the Bill of Rights? Because our nation was founded on the concept of keeping the matters of the church and the matters of the state within two reasonably separate spheres.

Many call this the separation of church and state for short. I believe it is more important to read the long version, I‘m like that. There is no true separation and there never was because many Founders did not fall under fundamental religious views while others did. The end result was a compromise involving overtly-religious ceremony in legal and civil proceedings but language directly within the First Amendment that no religion will be state-mandated at any point under the lawful enactment and enforcement of the Constitution by The Supreme Court.

Lou Engle, by his own admission, wishes to degrade or destroy this fragile system of balance in our country. Leaving us with a government approved religion, and no need for a legislature because we can simply review scripture for any contingence within society. I seriously doubt that Engle, or anyone who holds these positions, thinks this far ahead. I assume the need to control the actions others is blinding them from rational and logical deduction.

Engle does a strong disservice to the informed public by cutting our nation’s proud history of social and political compromises into worthless pieces, and then spits on the ideas held strongly within the founding days of our beautiful country. That no church should be paramount in the eyes of the state.

Truth and morality are always an internal and personal process when we speak of belief. Man is only the arbiter of truth and morality should he reject everything but his own personal thoughts. Even simple things like television programs can convey morals and truth, but the ‘ultimate truth of self’ lies outside any religious text or TV show. It is personal discovery. Fundamental religion seeks to destroy this personal discovery and replace it with one, unchanging dogma that cannot be questioned.

George Washington, I think, would privately agree with Lou Engle on certain things but then publicly run him out-of-town if he brought this message of interjecting God’s Law into the American Legal Code. Build me a time-machine, someone.

“Society is best run under God’s Law.”

“Once you open the door here, what keeps everything from being open?”

“Let’s have those who understand The Word be the voice of truth in this situation.”

Society is best run under the People’s Law, not under God’s Law. The two align far more than they depart in America today. This is also a founding element of our American society and government. We could easily have designed a system by which church members and those respected for a strong sense of faith would serve in Supreme Court type positions, but we did not. We made a system of three branches and none of them answerable to the Church. Those with a strong sense of justice and ample legal background fill Supreme Court seats and those who motivate the voters fill the other branches.

Engle would best me any day of the week in a Bible-quoting contest. But I would beat him any day, any time in a civics debate or an American Law-quoting contest. The real thing to digest it that our country was designed to facilitate exactly this. Allowing each person of different values and beliefs to present themselves to the nation and be judged on their words and their expertise on the issue discussed.

So let people read and judge for themselves on the issues of personal morality and the messages of any scripture, but allow the informed to speak on  how the introduction of new laws surrounding legal matrimony provides no threat to the public and common good whatsoever.

The intangible and immeasurable amount of what could be called ‘moral decay’ within society caused in changing the legal codes surrounding same-sex marriage and granting a fully legitimized and recognized by the state gay marriage, is not sufficient to deny the privileges provided at no cost to heterosexual citizens under the state’s direct supervision.

As a voting citizen and a student of both American history and civics I would like to say that I support the legalization of same-sex marriages in all the states, on the grounds that there is no loss to the public in any tangible or discernable degree. No evidence supports the claims that state-wide approvals of same-sex marriages will coincide with an out-flow of legal cases brought by homosexuals wishing to marry under denominations that would deny their services to them. No evidence supports the claims that approval of same-sex marriage would result in a change in school curriculum for kindergarten to middle school educational services provided by the state.

“Jesus was not ambivalent about marriage between a man and a woman.”

True, however Jesus never spoke at all in regards to homosexuality in the Bible of today. I hold a personal belief that he spoke on the issue but we cannot hear his words, for they are lost to history. I will not speculate on what he said but please consider what Jesus has said on others who might be shamed by society or deemed sinners by others before you convince yourself that ‘Jesus disapproves of gays.’ Come to your own conclusions, by all means.

Jesus was ambivalent to personal worldly attachments like wealth, taking a wife and raising children. Jesus also told us only by listening to him and trying to do as he did could we enter Heaven. I believe personally that abstention from all sex coupled with the loss of desires of the flesh can be an attainable goal for any person who feels that such life choices are the best for them. This is not appealing in the modern age thus something not focused heavily in major churches across America today.

I believe this is the nature of Jesus’ message about how to enter Heaven rather than that only through worship of Jesus as the Son of The Father can one enter Heaven.

Evangelicals would strongly disagree, stating many scriptures that mean something entirely different to me than they do to them. The bottom line is I don’t believe that acceptance of specifically Jesus as your personal savior is the only path to what is called Redemption and ultimately what is called Heaven.

Just as I believe that homosexuals in America should have every privilege and right provided to me as heterosexual living in America. (For the sake of the many homophobes on the internet I would like to say that I could be gay and if I was I would tell you, like a real man does. A man of honesty and integrity. A man who doesn’t look down his nose at others who do things he might not want any part of personally.)

In his time, those who sought to demean and degrade the message of Jesus called him before them and asked him what one law was above all others in God’s Laws.

“Love.” He replied.

Love not only for fellow Christians and those of the faith but love for all of God’s Works both great and small.

In my humble opinion the people of this world who are gay are part of God’s Plan and part of His Works therefore deserve the same love we provide to those who are not gay. Lisa Miller of Newsweek Magazine would agree with me and Lou Engle would probably call me a heretic once the cameras were turned off.

“Basically these people don‘t really truly believe that The Bible is The Word of God.”

This what the textbooks call fundamental religion versus progressive religion. Both sides believe that scripture comes directly from Origin (or The Word of God from The Mouth of God) but the progressives believe a level of ‘mortal pollution’ exists in what we read today as The Word of God from The Mouth of God as outlined in The King James Bible. From there the classifications splinter into many groups and thoughts on scripture.

I am not a fundamentalist but I believe that there is nothing wrong with holding fundamentalist convictions about modern-day affairs. The difference is what we do about our feelings and how we go about expressing our views in public.

By my definition of morality, it is immoral to take a fundamental ideology and seek to impose that point of view on any of God’s children. But by the textbook definition I am a progressive. The greater point is to define for yourself what you think not based in weblog or Lou Engle sermons but by personally reading the material, if you care deeply about these topics. I would never presume to take actions to enforce my definition of morality upon evangelicals or those who disagree with that definition.

“I stand with the foundation of God‘s Words.”

We’ve all heard the famous:

“Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

I say that I stand with the foundation of God’s Words in direct defiance of Engle and The Call.

I would rather not take this position but he has forced my hand in the matter by threatening the safety of my gay brothers and sisters with his hateful and shameful rhetoric. I pray that he reconsiders his positions on how one is to treat gay-Americans and how our laws should be justly enacted in our times.

I am just a lay-person for the information of any who are curious if I practice faith.

 

Eric Lightborn

http://americapress.wordpress.com

December 23rd 2008

Global Warming: Politi-Science or Fact?

Let’s crack this egg wide open.

Here’s what I understand so far:

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Years back, a group of scientists came together and presented a case to the world based on their work.

 

They sought to show essentially three items:

 

a) Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gases are increasing due to human action.

 

b) CO2 causes a green-house gas effect that causes global warming. Global warming causes extreme climate change including extreme colds, warms and weather.

 

c) Unless CO2 levels decrease worldwide the planet will be damaged beyond a repairable state.

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Now another group of scientists recently came out to try to disprove the ‘global warming agenda’ citing their own evidence.

 

They are seeking to show essentially these three items:

 

a) CO2 is a natural gas that is less harmful to environment than reported previously. Harmful gases such Carbon Monoxide should fall under government regulation but not CO2.

 

b) They have studied the green-house gas effect data presented and do not concur that this is the cause of climate change. The planet is undergoing cyclical changes not recorded previously due to lack of technology required. 

 

c) CO2 levels and their mandated decrease is ‘politicizing science’ and not a scientific agenda but rather an anti-industry agenda.

————————————————————

 

I don’t pretend to have all the facts on this but I’ve listened to a lot of commentary on it, I can assure you.

 

The bottom line is that no significant figure in any government is coming forward about the one important issue to address:

 

CAN WE LIMIT CO2 GAS EMISSIONS AND CONTINUE TO GROW AS AN INDUSTRIAL NATION?

 

Those versed in this topic will know that certain major super-power nations (China & Russia) refuse to participate in carbon credit programs or CO2 gas mandates on their industries.

 

They believe that regulating such gases will cause a loss of profit necessary to maintain their populations. Or a similar case made in defense of themselves.

 

I would like to take the time and read both of these studies and all the data and every professional I can find who ever said / wrote anything about it. But this is what I see. One side brings a valid argument about how far we can do these actions and remain strong in industry and the other side brings a valid point that once enough damage is done in ignorance there is no return from ruin.

 

Michael Crichton, famed author, held the opinion before his death in 2008 that the combining of politics and science was something he saw as very possible in coming years and very dangerous in its nature. I tend to agree with the author of “Jurassic Park” but I don’t know if I fully trust some internet downloaded research data, and I’m not flying of to foreign countries to gather up all the documents either.

 

I just want to focus on empirical evidence when we talk science and focus on personal conviction when he talk politics. That’s all. Is that some crazy request?

 

I feel it important for those who didn’t know to know that the worldwide scientific community accepts the idea of green house gases effecting current climate changes.

 

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And let us not forget the pure-politics side of this:

 

Former American Vice-President Al Gore of the Democratic Party has run up the ideological hill and he is not coming back down on this one.

 

He is behind the ‘carbon credit’ concept along with others. Gore remains one of the most controversial figures in certain circles of America because of his intractability on the global warming crisis-issue.

 

The Republican Party, long before any but bought-off scientists said word one on global warming, decried the whole thing a myth created in some liberal agenda book or manifested by what some called ‘religious-environmentalism.’

 

The study I mention are not bought-off scientists, as far my informational sources provide, but rather simply dissenting scientists from the group of scientists that initially presented the whole concept.

 

In the campaign for The White House this year (2008) each campaign had the same line on global warming:

 

“We need to do something about global climate change.”

 

The critical thing to know is that the vocal conservatives, prior to the RNC speech of John McCain where he directly addressed global warming, there was a constant smearing and mocking attitude of people who wanted to speak out on this issue of climate change. Then all of sudden they just stopped talking about it and mocking anyone about that. Not one more mention of those ‘crazy global warming kooks,’ for quite a long time.

 

I tend to believe they and most outspoken-Republicans did was actually read what I read when it came out like 8 years ago and now I can’t remember the name of. The Global Warming Treaty let’s call it for now, because that’s easy for me.

 

Another strange hush-factor that struck the limited-conservatives during the campaign is the whole immigration issue.

 

That’s another issue entirely but both candidates and the right-wing media just completely shut their traps on that issue, almost entirely to date.

 

The only reason it’s significant to bring up is that these loons that call others ‘Enviro-Nazis’ also bashed anyone who didn’t want to ‘kick the bums out of my country.’ They did this ten-fold on John McCain when he sought some kind of solution oriented legislation on the issue. Now they feel better about starting those old lines up again but nobody seems to want to actually do anything about it over in what I hear from Republican-land.

 

It is like a willingness to shove your head in the sand as far it will go. Then leave it there for the course of an entire campaign.

 

Evidence that the Republican Party is willing to engage in not only ‘Politi-science’ tactics but to a willing blindness to anything that is a serious issue in the nation. 

 

They just want to talk about homosexuality or atheism while we go broke and choke to death.

 

 

Eric Lightborn

http://americapress.wordpress.com

December 22nd 2008

R.I.P. Mark Felt (1913-2008)

1.JFKfelt2

A true hero of America if there ever was.

‘Deepthroat’ they called him back when the mass media was young and I wasn’t even an idea yet.
While he was but a speck in a huge pile of corrupt politics, he was a voice of conscious in a storm of perversion.

Those blind to reviewing facts even to this day call him a “traitor.” Where do their allegiances truly lie? With the truth, or with whatever corruption their assume to impose upon them?

He spoke out to the free press to the American people about an issue that concerned them. The things he said that were factual led to bringing down a dangerous President.

Let it never be said unchallenged that Mark Felt should not go down in history as a great American and a defender of the people’s right to a lawful and ethical government.

 

Presumption of Innocence in the Media is Gone

I think the U.S. news media just got tired of the word “allegedly” in regards to OJ Simpson case in the 90’s and thereafter.
Now when anyone is up on charges or accused of anything above an exact threshold that they set, they are “insta-guilty!” in everything but the most stoic of sources in American culture.

I tend to think that “Blago” as we want to call him is not at all innocent of these charges but I wrote a piece of student-journalism regarding the whole issue without accusing him in innuendo or directly. It’s not exactly hard to presume innocence.

[Read “Government Corruption: What to Know to Protect Ourselves” on my Observing America weblog.]

It just drives up ratings / hits if you call him a “corruption king” or a “master of evil” or a “fraud miser.” Solid evidence be damned! Prosecutor opinions and partial pieces of a case leaked to the press be praised!

Yes, I heard the tape of him swearing every other word. And I saw all the FCC blocked out quotes, too. (Why do they even put things like that on TV when it’s more asterisk than English?)

But any one of us could have secret tapes made of us where we said crazy stuff we wouldn’t say in public. Now imagine taking the whole tape and cutting it into 5 seconds or one paragraph of juiciness.

See how anyone could be the media boogie-man by tomorrow regardless of how insane they actually are? Maybe you’re next on the list.

We hold court in this country for a reason.

So the court of public opinion doesn’t start ‘Blago Mobs’ in Illinois, in this case.

You tell me why it is a good idea to have a free media that freely assumes guilt of anyone facing charges they think are big enough to matter.

Not to mention that statute violations and ethical board decisions are often passed over or reported in brief and then unreferenced in later discussions because they do not stimulate enough ratings due to the ‘oh that’s boring’ and the ‘give me a real scandal’ attitudes.

What other media watchdogs are barking, I wonder?