Monday, July 13, 2015

Present Day Religious Tyranny

I was going to rant about a bunch of stuff, but this post became very long. So, today I talk about religious tyranny.

The religious right is trying to force Christianity on the rest of the country. How are they doing this? The Religious Freedom Restoration Act for starters. This is not a freedom of religion act. This is an act of discrimination and bigotry disguised as a freedom of religion act. There was only one reason this was put in place: so business owned by Christians could deny services to the LGBT community.

And now republicans in Idaho and trying to get the Bible into schools as a text of History and Science. Complete and utter bullshit! Not everyone believes in the same god. Not everyone, even some Christians believe that the bible is to be taken literally. A book that no one can verify is factual has no place in our school system. A book based on religion has no place being anything more than  a study in literature like Siddhartha or Paradise Lost.

The Pilgrims and Puritans left Europe to be free of religious tyranny. These are the people that founded our country. Do you think they would force their religion on us as the Church of England did to them?

And what about the Revolutionary War? Sure, it wasn't solely based on religion or religious freedoms, but it played a part. People were moved to fight for their freedoms, including their religious freedoms. Thomas Paine had a hand in this when he published Common Sense. He blasted the monarchy as taking on a sovereign authority that should only belong to God. He suggested that Americans follow the lead of Jews in the Old Testament and reject a monarchical government. He urged the colonists to take up arms to protect freedom of religion for dissenters and declared the colonies as an asylum of religious liberty.  Let me repeat that. Asylum of religious liberty.

Liberty's definition is: the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views.

No one's religion should be forced upon us.  It's right there in the Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; 

This means no national or state mandated religion. It says we are free to exercise religion. It does not specify Christianity as that religion. So, what do you think you're doing when you place a book based on Christianity in our schools and treat it as fact. Hey, private schools can do what they want. But public schools, schools run by our government should not impose Christian beliefs on those who attend.

We don't need the bible in schools. If you want to teach your children the bible, do it at home, take them to church. I'm not saying that some curriculum shouldn't be based on theory, after all, much of science is based on theory. However, the bible isn't science, and it's not a proven history. Religion simply doesn't belong in schools unless you are teaching children about ALL religions.

As for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act - it's original purpose was "ensuring that interests in religious freedom are protected."  It applies to all religions, but is mostly was put in place for Native American religions and their sacred grounds that have been victim to the expansion of government projects.

The Indiana RFRA allows individuals and companies to assert that their exercise of religion. Really? The Constitution protects our religious freedoms. Why do we need this? Oh that's right, so companies and individuals in your state can turn away people they don't deem "worthy" of their Christian value services. Governor Mike Pence says it's all a big “misunderstanding.” And, “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.”


In response companies have halted expansion to Indiana. It's also been criticized by the likes of the NCAA, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, Gen Con, Disciples of Christ, and Subaru.

All of this, as I stated before, is nothing more than religious tyranny. Something many of our ancestors fled from and fought against. Our country is not a Theocracy. We cannot let the ball keep rolling in this direction. If they force this on us, what of our rights will be in jeopardy next?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

50 Shades of Twitter Trolls

If you follow Twitter and the literary world, you've probably heard that EL James was the brunt of a Twitter attack . If you don't know who EL James is, you at least know her books, the  50 Shades of Grey series. Now, I don't claim to be a fan of the books. I have read about 5 pages and wasn't impressed. However, I would never take it upon myself, no matter how much I hated a book, to brutally attack and criticize the author, especially during a Q&A they were hosting.

Sure, many people think she's not a good writer, many people don't like her books, a lot of them think they portray abusive relationships in a glamorous light. So write a book review on Amazon. Blog about it. There is no need to attack the PERSON behind the words.

Here are some of the horrible tweets...

  •  does the E.L. Stand for ELiterate?
  •  after the success of "Grey," have you considered re-telling the story from the perspective of someone who can write.
  •  what's it like telling millions of women it's okay to be in an abusive relationship as long as he's rich.
  •  Is there a safe word we can use to get you to stop writing such drivel?
  •  Do you ever feel guilty that you made so much money from romanticizing sexual abuse and selling it as "erotica romance"?
  •  Will you be rewriting the book from Stephenie Meyer's point of view next time? 
  •  how do you feel knowing you've made your riches from convincing young impressionable girls that abuse is 'love'?
  •  Which do you hate more, women or the English language?
  •  Is it only ok for Christian to stalk, coerce, threaten & manipulate Ana because he's hot, or is it also ok because he's rich?
  •  Do all these negative tweets sent to you seem abusive to you? I think it's romantic enough to be turned into a novel!
Um...seriously? From what I could see, the majority of tweets during the #AskELJames  Q&A were like this.

Let's take a couple things into consideration...

50 Shades of Grey is FICTION! And it's erotica. EL took people's real life sexual fantasies and
fictionalized them. Maybe they aren't my sexual fantasies or yours, but I bet they are someone's. Why else would so many copies have sold? Out of the millions and millions of books out in the bookosphere (yeah, it's a word) I'm sure there are others that glorify relationships like this, and rape, and murder, and all sorts of ugly things.

Remember the movie Natural Born Killers? I mean, I thought it was brilliant, as did others. However there were some...not so much. They felt like it glorified violence. Here's what some reviewers say...

  • ...just for sickening starters, there wasn't one, single, solitary character in this entire film who was even remotely likable.
  •  Phew! - What a total waste of H-Wood Talent !
  •  I regret having to give this film one star- zero stars isn't an option. Neither is negative 3 stars. That would've been acceptable.
  •  worst movie ever... 
  •  ...I could feel my brain welling up with hatred for every individual involved in the making of this movie. 
You get my meaning? It's not real. It's fiction. It's subjective. So, like the people above, if you hate it so much, write a review. I would almost guess that they can't though because they probably have not read the books.

I'm not defending the series, I didn't read it, I have no desire to read it, and like I said, the part I did read I thought was crap. Writers are used to that kind of criticism. We have thick skin (or we learn to grow it.)  I am defending the writer. She's a person and is not defined by the books she wrote. She likes wine, dogs, chocolate, bacon and Magic Mike.  And she has feelings like the rest of us.

So step off Twitter Trolls. Go back to fawning over Harry Styles, making up new memes, posting Shia Laboeuf videos, and tweeting about hockey (this is truly what some of them do, I checked.) Just leave EL James alone.

Plus, she probably doesn't give a shit what you think anyway.

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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