A Nation "Blessed By God"

Numerous Christian organizations are eager for America to seek the “blessings of God.” But have they studied what happened to that other nation “blessed by God,” the nation of Israel? Hmmm, let’s see…According to the Bible, the God of Israel tried to kill Moses (and failed); struck dead two sons of Aaron; commanded “brother to kill brother” leading to the deaths of 3,000 Israelites (right after He gave them the commandment, “Do not kill”); opened up the earth and buried alive “wives, sons and little children;” sent a fire that consumed 148 Levite princes; cursed his people to wander in the desert for forty years and eat 40,000 meals of quail and “manna” (talk about a monotonously torturous diet--and when they complained about it, God killed 3,000 Israelites with a plague); had a man put to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath;

The Bible, Prayer and American History

January 17, 2005


ED: The author of the article is Indian. Is the history of the Bible and Prayer in America a big topic in India these days? He seems to have merely edited together bits and pieces of "Christian Nation" arguments found elsewhere on the web. Neither is the author aware of Christian scholars and historians who have produced critiques of "Christian Nation" arguments, like noted Church historian, Mark Noll, of Wheaton College (an Evangelical Christian institution). Had Paul sought out the works of fellow Evangelical Christians on this topic, he might have written a different article. *smile*

America and its "Christian Heritage"

The Following Email Was Sent As A Circular...

DID YOU KNOW? As you walk up the steps to the building which houses the U.S. Supreme Court you can see near the top of the building a row of the world's law givers and each one is facing one in the middle who is facing forward with a full frontal view .. it is Moses and he is holding the Ten Commandments!

DID YOU KNOW? As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each door.

DID YOU KNOW? As you sit inside the courtroom, you can see the wall, right above where the Supreme Court judges sit, a display of the Ten Commandments!

DID YOU KNOW? There are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in Washington, D.C.

Dr. D. James Kennedy's "Scholarship"

While visiting the Campus Freethought Forum I noticed one young Christian debater who relied heavily upon quotations of America's Founding Fathers which he copied from books written by Dr. D. James Kennedy, a scholar whom he praised for having had "9" doctorates bestowed upon him (8 of which are probably mere token Ph.D.s given to him in exchange for delivering a speech at a Christian college graduation ceremony).


Kennedy's tale about the Constitutional Convention being in disarray until Benjamin Franklin suggested praying, afterwhich they all took to prayer like ducks to water -- and the work of writing the Constitution was finished forthwith -- is erroneous. No public prayers were offered in the Convention from the time it convened until it closed. So nearly unanimous were the members in their opposition to Franklin's proposition that not even a vote was taken on it. Franklin himself, referring to it, says: "The Convention, except three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary." Another matter they voted on was whether or not to include mention of "God" in the Constitution, and they voted that suggestion down too.

World Population Is a Problem, Perhaps the Biggest

The U.S.A., for example, has 300,000,000 residents, but yet there is still numerous areas of land with little or no residents. Ditto for Canada, Russia, and some parts of Asia and Africa. A lot of people inhabit metropolitan areas and coastal areas, thus resulting in a high density figure. As a generalization, if people were better distributed geographically, a "wildly overpopulated world" would not be your statement.

Ed: It's this argument that "there's still land to live on" that makes me want to strangle idiots like Rush Limbaugh and his Republican cronies. Sure we could cram every person on earth onto the island of Zanzibar, if we all stood nose to nose. The POINT about population problems, is that the world contains lots of places where it's next to impossible to live, places that lack fertile soil and drinkable water, or enough water for crops to grow.

Civil War, Slavery and John Ashcroft

Our prez, the dubiously honorable, George "Squeaked by on Election Night (or Election Month)" Bush must think he's got a mandate from his evangelical god on high to dare to nominate such a controversial and divisive candidate as John Ashcroft for Attorney General (grooming him for a seat on the Supreme Court no doubt).

John Ashcroft is so partisan he has praised a neo-Confederate magazine, SOUTHERN PARTISAN, for "defending partriots like Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis," adding, "We've got to stand up and speak in this respect, or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda."

George and Jeb Bush: Unfair Election in Florida

If you read the Liberal press, like The Nation magazine, they point out that the Florida governor Jeb Bush passed a law not allowing felons who served their time in other states, to register to vote in Florida. So any felons moving to Florida who went to register to vote for the presidential election were denied their voting priviledges. This incensed a lot of voters, because THERE IS NO FEDERAL MANDATE FOR SUCH A LAW that requires A GOV. to "doubly pardon" a felon from ANOTHER STATE if they have already served their time in that other state. This law of Jeb's was unconstitutional, and denied a lot of people their right to vote. One Black felon who'd served time in prison in another state ten years before, and who was now a minister and helping poor people was incensed at his voting priviledges being denied him in last year's election.

Dr. James Kennedy

"Julie J." writes:

Hey, Ed.

Did you catch DJ Kennedy's sermon this a.m.? He used the Julian Huxley quote again. 'Said he heard it with his own ears. Sheesh!


To: "Julie J."
Subject: Re: Kennedy said it again!
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 2004 16:29:48 -0400

Sure it wasn't pre-recorded?

"Julie J." writes:


I called Coral Ridge Ministries (1-800-988-7884) and asked if last Sunday was the first time the sermon "More Evidence for God" was preached. They told me it actually aired for the first time on April 11, 1999.

The sermon was particularly atheist-bashing, even by Kennedy's standards. The version on their website is considerably abridged. In the television version, he slams both Huxley and Bertrand Russell, another one of his favorite atheist poster boys for depravity. He tells (again) the story of how degenerate Russell was, and of course, it was due to his atheism.

In case you haven't heard it, the story is that BR liked to cheat on his wives and seduce his friends' wives and daughters. Kennedy's usually kind of vague about the particulars, but in this sermon, he adds some details about how BR's dear friend (no name) once invited him to his mansion, and he ended up seducing his 16-year-old daughter.

Kennedy probably surmised this information from a book called "Intellectuals" by Paul Johnson (Harper & Row, 1988). He's touted it in several of his sermons. Naturally, I got a copy of the book a few years ago when I first heard these accusations against BR. It's a pot pourri of chapters, each one dedicated to the evils of a secular intellectual (deist, sceptic, or atheist) who "felt himself bound by no corpus of revealed religion." Yet these "mentors" were "just as ready as any pontiff or presbyter to tell mankind how to conduct its affairs."

Johnson slams Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Percy Shelley, Karl Marx, Leo Tolstoy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Edmund Wilson, Victor Gollancz, Bertolt Brecht, Noam Chompsky, and even manages to toss in a woman, Lilian Hellman. Typical chapter titles include:
"Lies, Damned Lies, and Lillian Hellman," "Bertolt Brecht: Heart of Ice," and "Tolstoy: God's Elder Brother." BR's chapter is entitled "Bertrand Russell: a Case of Logical Fiddlesticks."

In the chapter on BR, it discusses his political views, philosophy, and his interest in women. He liked sex, and openly committed adultry. But his wives knew it, and he didn't try to hide it from them. He was an "open-marriage" kind of guy, and allowed one of his wives to have affairs, too (the others didn't try). This alleged "16-year-old" daughter of a friend is probably Helen Dudley. Here's the excerpt about her:

"Then in 1914 followed a discreditable episode with a young girl in Chicago. Helen Dudley was one of four sisters, the daughters of a leading gynaecologist, with whom Russell stayed while lecturing. According to Russell's account, 'I spent two nights under her parents' roof, and the second I spent with her. Her three sisters mounted guard to give warnings if either of the parents approached.' Russell arranged that she should come to England that summer and live with him openly, pending a divorce. He wrote to Lady Ottoline [his then-mistress] telling her what had occurred."

I don't know how D. James Kennedy figured out she's 16 years old from this. I'm sure if she had been, Johnson would have mentioned it. Probably just another one of his "lies, damn lies."

One thing I noticed about this past Sunday sermon, though, was at the end of it, when he devotes about 10 minutes to a year-in-review of the ACLU's activities. Erwin Lutzer is a featured speaker. Lutzer is the other author who mentions the Huxley quote in his book "Exploding the Myths that Could Destroy America." He's the one Kennedy legitimately cited in one of his books, although Lutzer didn't provide any citation. So, the two must know each other. You can take a look at it from here.

Just click on "ACLU Update." Be prepared to gag at the whole thing. Lutzer's main concern is not letting gay people adopt babies.


From: Ed Babinski
To: "Julie J."
Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 7:11 PM
Subject: Here's my latest sermon... you can compare it to Kennedy's.

Here's my latest sermon... you can compare it to Kennedy's. *smile* I am afraid I'm turning into quite a ranter with age.

Yes, I agree with the Rev. D. James Kennedy at least in the factual sense that the agnostic philosopher Bertrand Russell, committed adultery, so did the evolutionist, Julian Huxley, and Julian's wife too I think, just google up the newly published letters of "Mary Sarton" for more info. However, Julian and Julliette Huxley also lived to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary, which Kennedy no doubt forgot to mention. Neither did he mention the famous people in the Bible, nor famous modern day ministers who also committed "adultery," nor the famous men in the Bible with multiple wives and concubinage partners. Here's two verses for
Kennedy, "judge not," and, "first remove the beam from your own eye."

Of course elevating "sexual escapades" to the worst of sins overlooks that Christians persecuted fellow Christian "heretics," Jews, Muslims, witches, executed adulterers, kept women subservient, and disciplined children with the rod. Christian men like Luther and Calvin helped incite people to do such things. And right after the births of Lutherism and Calvinism there came perhaps the greatest war Europe has ever known (based on the percentage dead, its duration and the destruction it left behind, and no telling how much worse it would have been if both sides had modern weaponry like those used in the World Wars), I am speaking of the "Thirty Years War."

Today's secular wars were indeed horrendous, especially due to the world's increased population (since the late 1800s when vaccines and plumbing came into widespread use and reduced childhood illnesses) when cities were larger and hence more people existed who COULD be killed, and when more weapons existed to kill them quicker, easier, faster, and at longer ranges, more bullets, more artillery, more bombs, more gas, more tanks, etc. Dictators like Hitler, Mussolini basked in the "awe of rulers" that the churches had been busy INSTALLING IN PEOPLE'S MINDS FOR CENTURIES, along with centuries of anti-Semitic bigotry. Even communism had to pose as a "new religion," promising "paradise," a "worker's paradise," indoctrinating youth, doing everything religions do, and that includes the way Mao's little red book has raised high and waved about like a Bible by his followers, and memorized by them as well, verse by verse. And of course Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and other communists also persecuted "heretics." The testimonies of American intellectuals who at first imagined that violent communistic revolution was the answer to the world's problems, then who repudiated communistic propaganda, is captured in a book appropriately titled, "The God That Failed." Yes, "the God."

Also, Kennedy mistakes all of America's blessings as being due to its "Christian heritage," but he neglects to mention America's Deistic heritage and classical heritage, equally strong influences, even moreso at her founding. "God" yes, but not of a particular religion, and not one who would be offended by "freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press," nor even by a deliberate neglect of the mention of the word "God" in our Constitution. Unlike both a theocracy or communism, one has to let the people read and believe what they will. However that also opens up the possibility of one religion gaining enough converts to be able to exert considerable sectarian force on such a government, as seems to be happening today. Though in the end, pollution, population, and greed may be the forces that bury every nation, regardless of its founding principles or religious majority. Not a cheery thought.

But of course conservative Christians are comforted even by that thought, putting a rosy hue even on the "end of the world." Their God will never fail them, not even as mankind sees its own extinction approaching on the horizon, because they can always convince themselves "it's part of God's plan." What if it's not part of God's plan, but of our own ignorance? What if we might be able to do something about things NOW if we protested the use of trillions of dollars each year by all the nations on earth to build things that simply go boom? If we used the money to develop alternative energy and recycling technologies (and to build technology to protect us from incoming asteroids)? If we used the money to pay people to get vasectomies in the most overcrowded regions on earth? If mankind woke up to its situation, living on a tiny lifeboat hanging in space, instead of damning each other to hells both in this life and in the next, and arguing over jots and tittles in holy books, or greedily devouring huge coporate bonuses and consuming junk food and junk entertainment and junk, period. Ah, but isn't that the primate way? Amusing ourselves to death I'd say, with religious entertainments being a primary form of such amusements that will continue to grow as the death of our species nears.

Kuwait's recent elections went to the fundamentalist Muslim party, and Islamic fundamentalism is growing in the highly westernized nation of Turkey. The southern hemisphere of earth is also growing in fundamentalistic religious believers, even in communist China. I also heard that people in China are having increasing psychological problems, not enough psychiatrists. Increasing pollution also. And water shortages in the bigger cities where more and more people from China's countryside are moving. And there pollution in the holy land of the Near East, and water shortages there as well, and in India and Pakistan. Most of the rivers in America are polluted, many lakes deemed unsafe to eat fish caught in them. And big ocean fish vanishing, fished out of the seas. Dead zones in the oceans. Ground water pollution levels rising. Superfund toxic pollutant dumpsites, leaking, requiring a trillion dollars to clean up. Relatively few people are reading, or listening, compared to the increasing billions reading their Bibles and Korans. "Oh save us!" We cry, and God will laugh and say, "Hey, I gave you the technology, the earth's wealth, and you used it for junk, from junk food to coporate junkets, from internet porn to sectarian religious preachers selling tickets to heaven and damning the rest to hell. Hope you had fun! Times up, let's see what brewing on the next solar system over yonder."

I also need to add some mention in such a sermon that Christianity, like Islam, is one of the most perfect indoctrination/control systems that has yet evolved on earth. Once you convince people that you have the truth that their eternal souls depend on believing, and dangle both an eternal carrot and an eternal stick in front of them, you don't NEED to brandish the earthly carrots and earthly sticks as much as, say, an atheist dictator would have to in order to maintain his desired strict control, because the basic "controlling" elements are already cemented in place internally. Though such internal religious control elements do tend to heighten fear and increase competition among alternative religious belief systems, such as rival Christian theologies and rival religions. So everything is never completely well in a religious country, or in countries that boarder each other and favor rival religions. (An atheistic country without a dictator, however, seems quite well off, and can have a low crime rate, like Czhechoslovakia today. )

And one must also admit that fear of big earthly sticks does seem to have worked effectively for communist China, since her crime rate continues to be the lowest on earth per capita, though that didn't hold true of communist Russia, but then, the Russians do tend to like their vodka, and the Chinese were a more sober and Confucian-like people to begin with. The American justice system, one must add, weilds it's earthly stick on its own people with less force than China does on her own people, since America prefers to simply lock people up, and presently has more of its population incarcerated than any other nation on earth, where it also tries to convert them. However, America's prisons contine to remain the fullest on earth, regardless of attempts to impose religion on repeat violators. Yes, America, with churches everywhere and preaching in our prisons, and one of the highest rates of belief in "God" in the world barring Ireland and Iran, continues to have one of the world's highest crime and incarceration rates.

Alpha Male: Planet of the Apes, Bush, Limbaugh et al


I just don't understand why the Libs can't find a radio audience. A big one. Is Rush that much more entertaining than Al Franken?

ANSWER: The difference is not that Rush is more entertaining, but because it's still basically a planet of the apes:
See Bush-Ape Pics

Many people are attracted instinctively to others who sound like "solid" alpha male primate pack leaders. (Consider the tons of good women who make bad choices, attracted to alpha male "bad boys.")

Speaking of people's desire for "solidity," the ancient Hebrews prized the notion of a "firm" foundation below their feet and a "firm" sky above them, keeping at bay the cosmic waters of chaos (that they assumed lay both beneath the earth and above the sky).

The majority of folks crave certainty and solidity.

That's also why soldiers march in formation with such solid pounding footsteps.

Sure, satire is capable of puncturing windbags like Limbaugh, but it takes more mental concentration to appreciate satire than it does to rally round a commanding voice that speaks shortly, exuding certainty, labeling one's enemies over and over again with a sneer, until you find yourself repeating along, mindlessly, hypnotically, "These Liba-ralls..." "These Fem-i-nazis..." "The Holy Buy-Bull says..." "The Great Satan must be destroyed..." etc.

Which is why I worry about humanity's "fascistic communistic Christian Muslim" tendencies.

Lastly, keep in mind that Al Franken's radio show is just getting started and there have been liberals who attracted large audiences and numbers of readers, namely, Ingersoll, Mark Twain, H. L. Mencken, and Will Rogers.


The Supreme Court of Tennessee has just ruled [this was during the 1920s] that you other states can come from whoever or whatever you want to, but they want it on record that they come from mud only!

I don’t know why some of these states want to have their ancestry established by law. There must be some suspicion of doubt somewhere.

William Jennings Bryan tried to prove that we did not descend from the monkey, but he unfortunately picked a time in our history when the actions of the American people proved that we did.

Some people certainly are making a fight against the ape. It seems the truth kinder hurts. Now, if a man didn’t act like a monkey, he wouldn’t have to be proving that he didn’t come from one. Personally I like monkeys. If we were half as original as they are, we would never be suspected of coming from something else. They never accuse monkeys of coming from anybody else.

You hang an ape and a political ancestry over me, and you will see me taking it into the Supreme Court, to prove that the ape part is O.K., but that the political end is base libel.

If a man is a gentleman, he don’t have to announce it; all he has to do is to act like one and let the world decide. No man should have to prove in court what he is, or what he come from. As far as Scopes teaching children evolution, nobody is going to change the belief of Tennessee children as to their ancestry. It is from the actions of their parents that they will form their opinions.

Discrimination in the Job Market

Civil Rights issues and discrimination in the job market. Taking a look at statistics on the availability of employment and advancement for women and minorities like in the early twenty first century.

Discrimination in the Job Market
by Sharon Mooney

Society has made progress since the civil rights movement, however there is no way to deny racism and similar prejudice exists, not excluded from within the modern job market. I felt a worthwhile place to start proving this point would be through statistics.

First taking a look at discrimination against women, we can gather the majority of poor in America are females, many being of minority status.

Poverty Among Women

There are more women in the total population of the United States than men and there are more poor women than poor men in the United States. The total population of the United States is 266,218,000 and of that number 135,865,000 are females and 130,353,000 are males. The total population of poor in the United States is 36,529,000 which is 13.7% of the total population. There are 20,918,000 females that are poor which is 15.4% of the total female population and 57.2% of the total poverty population. There are 15,611,000 males who are poor which is 12.0% of the total population of males and 42.7% of the total poverty population. [...] gender plays a role in the poverty profile and women are more likely to be poor than men.

In a report by Sam Middlemiss, Senior Lecturer in Law, The Robert Gordon University states: "The term coined in the United States to cover this type of behaviour is lookism and in the UK is aesthetic labour." [...] Defined in the sixth edition of the Collins English Dictionary as “the hiring of employees for their appearance or accent in an attempt to enhance the image of the company."

Middlemiss goes on to state:

“A survey of skills needs in hotels, restaurant, pubs and bars, indicated that 85% of employers ranked personal presentation and appearance in third place - above initiative, communication skills or even ability to follow instructions.”

Far too much emphasis is placed upon appearances of individuals, whether it be their race, gender, their attractiveness or lack thereof, in the job market. [This would include one's skin color]. People should be judged as individuals based on their qualifications versus their exterior appearance. Perhaps, as the old saying has it, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” Meaning, individuals who know their opportunities for employment in a stable and rewarding career are limited, perhaps feel less motivated to attempt acquiring the skills necessary to compete."

According to an expirament that was performed by Poverty Action Lab, with race in mind, the final results revealed an overwhelmingly apparent discrimination based on race. Resumes were submitted for the jobs listed in newspaper classifieds under sales, administrative, and clerical positions. Part of the resumes submitted contained information leading the employer to believe the submission was from a minority applicant, for instance submitting the application under a name likely to belong to a minority "Lakisha Washington or Jamal Jones". Poverty Action Lab concluded:

1. Resumes with white names received 50% more callbacks than those with black names.

2. There is evidence that the returns to improving credentials for whites is much higher than for blacks. Specifically, for resumes with white names, higher quality resumes received 30% more callbacks than low quality ones. For resumes with black names, the higher quality resumes did not receive significantly more callbacks.

3. Federal contractors and employers who list "Equal Opportunity Employer" in their ad discriminate as much as other employers.

4. Whites living in richer, more educated, or whiter neighborhoods have higher callback rates, but blacks do not benefit from this neighborhood effect.
In Chicago, employers located in black neighborhoods discriminate less against blacks.
Source: www.povertyactionlab.com

In an interview with Chandra Prasad, author of Outwitting the Job Market: Everything You Need to Locate and Land a Great Position, Mrs. Prasad suggested tactics which may help women and minorities work around the discrimination obstacles that exist in the job market.

Chandra's first suggestion, for those who are in search of employment is for college students to ask their career service center about any potential companies that may be stopping by campus to interview potential employees, and to submit a resume in advance. "Also ask what scholarships and internships are available specifically for women and/or minorities."

Her second suggestion for locating a company that is truly diversity-friendly "is to speak with someone within the organization." If you know somebody who works in the organization you can ask questions, otherwise be "observant". Some of the questions Chandra advises to ask:

1. Look around as you’re on your interview—do you see a diverse staff or a homogenous one?

2. Are the executive level and board of directors comprised of only white men? That should send you a message right there.

3. If you establish a comfortable rapport with your interviewer and decide you want to out-and-out ask about diversity within the company, listen carefully to his response. Does your interviewer give a pat and insubstantial answer? Or does he provide real and compelling proof that the company is committed to diversity by citing actual percentages of women and minorities who are employed or by offering details on programs and initiatives aimed at the recruitment and retention of these groups?

4. Another way to check on a company is to scan the web site of the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Each month the site posts reports on major litigation settlements by various employers.

Chandra also covers the importance of mentors for women and minorities in the job marker, as experienced workers may have contacts that lead to more job opportunities, and can offer the encouragement necessary to achieve one's career goals. The article states:
A survey by Catalyst, a nonprofit research organization focusing on women in business [...] found that of 368 women of color, 69% who had a mentor in 1998 had at least one upward career move by 2001 compared to 49% of those who didn't have a mentor.

Chandra concluded her interview with IM Diversity to say:
The future looks very bright. Many companies are getting the message that the American demographic has shifted and will continue to shift. According to “Futurework: Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century,” a report from the Department of Labor, by 2050 minorities will rise from being one in every four Americans to one in every two. Of course, smart companies know that to serve a diverse clientele they need a diverse staff. That is why we see minority and female hiring on the rise and why this trend will certainly continue. The next test, I think, is not women and minorities succeeding in the workplace, but climbing to the highest ranks in substantial numbers—and helping others up.

Source: www.imdiversity.com

Imprecatory Prayer and Capitol Hill

I'm not exactly sure what "disturbs" people about the discussion of "hate" in the Bible. If you want to find verses about love you can find those too. But any student of the Bible should also realize how Luther and Calvin, for instance, dealt with the verses on love. They agreed that to love one's neighbor was fine, so long as God and His word weren't concerned, but if one's neighbor was blaspheming God or denigrating "the Word," then Luther and Calvin wouldn't give such a person even a glass of water if they were about to die of dehydration (Luther put it in those literal terms himself, see my quotations in chapter two of Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists avail at www.amazon.com because by helping a blasphemer they would be helping to tear down God and the Bible, and "the Bible says we must serve God rather than man." I'm not saying that's the one and only possible interpretation of how Christians should act, but Luther and Calvin cited verses from BOTH testaments that certainly COULD be interpreteted that way, and since they held a very DEGNIGRATING idea of the power and sway of "original sin" on mankind, they believed that most of mankind was doomed anyway, while the rest required DISCIPLINE of a strict CHRISTIAN sort to try and keep them away from "sin." Today, people have a less denigrating idea of original sin and just nonchalantly sum up the doctrine as "well, we're all sinners, ha." So natually, they don't go about stressing the need to "hate those whom the Lord hates, with perfect hatred," and they don't stress that they need to "serve God rather than man," and hold hard line views on disciplining their children and society.

IN SHORT, the ATTITUDES of people toward original sin and toward each other have changed since Luther and Calvin's day, and hence the BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION changed as well. And that makes one realize how dependent biblical interpretations are on the cultures and attitudes of the people doing the interpreting. The same could be said of the question of interpretation of the pro-slavery passages in the Old and New testaments, and how the times changed, and THEN the interpretation changed.

Anyway, here's some more recent news concerning "imprecatory prayer," it's not restricted to three essays by home schooled children on the web.

In 1994 the Capitol Hill Prayer Alert, a Washington D.C.-based prayer group, produced a list of twenty-five Democratic incumbents, and urged prayer partners to petition God to bring evil upon the people on that list. "Don't hesitate to pray imprecatory Psalms over them," wrote one of the group's founders, Harry Valentine, in the group's newsletter. Imprecatory means to "call down evil upon." Such Psalms include: "Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." (Ps. 109:8,9) "Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into Sheol." (Ps. 55:15)

"The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance: he shall wash his own feet in the blood of the wicked."
(Ps. 58:10) (How is this different from sticking pins in voodoo dolls, or whipping up a witch's brew and mumbling curses?
I guess it's all right for Christians to "curse" people so long as they use a "Biblically sound" method. - Skip)
- Skipp Porteous, "Election '94 Observations," Free Inquiry, Winter 1994/95

The Brain of the Believer

bible-bookmarks.zip, 119 k

brain-on-bibles.zip, 155 k

faith-is-trying.zip, 51 k

George W. Bush goes Ape


Images originally compiled by "Rick"

"A preacher thundering from his pulpit about the uniqueness of human beings with their God-given souls would not like to realize that his very gestures, the hairs that rose on his neck, the deepened tones of his outraged voice, and the perspiration that probably ran down his skin under clerical vestments are all manifestations of anger in mammals. If he was sneering at Darwin a bit (one does not need a mirror to know that one sneers), did he remember uncomfortably that a sneer is derived from an animal's lifting its lip to remind an enemy of its fangs? Even while he was denying the principle of evolution, how could a vehement man doubt such intimate evidence?"


"1996 presidential contender, Pat Buchanan, said something along the lines of `You may believe that you're descended from monkeys, but I believe you're a creature of God.' I guess that Buchanan hadn't considered that one of the basic tenets of Christianity is that God is the Creator of everything, including `monkeys.' It seems to me that one of the basic reasons behind the so-called `creationism' is the feeling that somehow parts of God's creation are not worthy of being our ancestors."

TOM SCHARLE (scharle.1@nd.edu)

Related Link

Carl Zimmer: A Question For the President

Mr. President, I would ask, how do you reconcile your statement that Intelligent Design should be taught alongside evolution with the fact that your administration, like both Republican and Democratic administrations before it, has supported research in evolution by our country's leading scientists, while failing to support a single study that is explicitly based on Intelligent Design? The National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and even the Department of Energy have all decided that evolution is a cornerstone to advances in our understanding of diseases, the environment, and even biotechnology. They have found no such value in Intelligent Design. Are they wrong? Can you tell us why?

I think the majority of human male primates on this planet are muscle bound testosterone driven brutes who commonly seek either psychological or physical domination over other males, females, and children. Males continue to fill our prisons more than women do. Just google up all the major horror stories reported by the news any day of the year and males continue to make bold verbal threats and murder and wage wars. Males continue to murder males galore even in their own coutries in gang warfare, organized crime, family disputes, robberies, and of course rape, torture and murder of females and children as well.

And holy books continue to contain verses about females being there to "serve and obey" males, which is also the message of the apes of the secular world as well. Even Hinduism preaches that being reincarnated as a female is not equal to being reincarnated as a male. Actually, I suspect the reverse is nearer the truth and that being reincarnated as a female is something more Hindu males ought to aspire to. I also suspect that more Muslim and Christian male ought to listen to females and make plans together with them rather than continue to inculcate in the female mind the necessity of "serving and obeying" them.

Still, even in an ideal world without males being physically and psychologically more dominating due to the effects of testosterone, I imagine that communication would remain difficult, as it often is even between two females, or two males. So there is no obvious solution to all the world's difficulties in reaching agreements. Also, some males are quite good at science and technology and at devoting themselves toward fixing some of the world's problems. Other law abiding males are relatively benign in the effects they have on society. Still others make mistakes and ask to be forgiven. So, the domineering and violent tendencies of male human beings in general must not be confused with every male--that would be a case of irrational prejudice.

In the end the only real resource we have for the future of humanity is the education of both males and females, both being allowed to pursue the quest for knowledge and a higher education and creativity as far as they each can go.

World on Edge of Crisis

I was just at Michael Crichton's official website. Lets some of my standard stuff on the environment:

Subject for Crichton's next novel? How about Hoyle's prediction?

"It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing high intelligence this is not correct. We have, or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only.

- Hoyle, 1964; emphasis added

Hoyle neglects to add that after about 25 million years the world will have produced more oil. But what will civilization have become in the meantime? *smile*

I agree with Crichton that global warming is probably exaggerated as a concern, but since it is a possible danger that may affect the globe, it's important that scientists at least keep an eye on things and what we can do in case such a danger exists. What concerns me more, however, is the way that the failure of "global warmers" to impress everyone else with their fears is being used as an excuse to turn a blind ear to many other environmental concerns unrelated to global warming.

Far more alarming are the facts of big fish being fished out, dead zones in the oceans and seas from fertilizer run offs, apes going extinct, amphibians going extinct, bird species diminishing, coral reefs dying, rain forests being cut down, levels of mercury in nature and other pollutants seeping into the ground water (even toxins in discarded electronic devices seeping into the ground water, and leaky Super Fund sites that will cost billions to clean up), none of which is in dispute.

Last of all, I can't help noticing that America spends a billion dollars a day making things that go boom, more than all other nation's military budgets combined, and the Pentagon lost track of a trillion dollars as it admited at its last major audit in 2000. This spending is also being done during a time when we need a new Mahattan project to boost the alternative energy biz, because companies are seeking short term profits, squeezing the last dime out of oil, but future oil discoveries may have reached Hubbert's Peak, especially since consumption and demand for more petroleum--for plastics, synthetic fibers, computer parts, fuel, to run generators, automobiles, even to manufacture lots of drugs and pesticides--keeps increasing, especially in China and India. So less new oil discoveries are occuring but the demand keeps increasing. Yet we and other nations, keep spending money on things that go boom.

Hoyle once mused that perhaps after the petroleum is used up, if a civilization doesn't have alternative means of energy firmly in place, then we may have to revert to a Medieval type of lifestyle akin to the Amish. There's a novel for Crichton to write about!


"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21. The United States, the most Christian nation on earth, has placed its treasure in destruction and death. As Associated Press' Dan Morgan reports (June 12 2004, Tallahassee Democrat), the Pentagon "plans to spend well over $1 trillion in the next decade on an arsenal of futuristic planes, ships and weapons with little direct connection to the Iraq war or the global war on terrorism." The 2005 defense budget - the word "defense" has become a joke in the post Cold War world - will reach $500 billion (counting the CIA), $50 billion higher than 2004. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the next ten years, the armada of aircraft, ships and killer toys will cost upwards of $770 billion more than Bush's estimate for long-term defense. Morgan reports that Bush wants "$68 billion for research and development-20 percent above the peak levels of President Reagan's historic defense buildup.Tens of billions more out of a proposed $76 billion hardware account will go for big-ticket weapons systems to combat some as-yet-unknown adversary comparable to the former Soviet Union." The mantra heard in Congress, "we can't show weakness in the face of terrorism," fails to take into account the fact that when the 9/11 hijackers struck, the US military--the strongest in the world--failed to prevent the attacks. So, logically one would ask, how does a futuristic jet fighter defend against contemporary enemies, like jihadists who would smuggle explosives into a train station or crowded shopping mall?

Saul Landau, "2006 Pentagon Budget as Sacrilege--Bush Invests National Treasure in Death and Destruction," Counterpunch, June 25, 2004


One industry that has done particularly well during the Bush administration has a strong interest in the outcome: the arms industry. A new report from the World Policy Institute tracks how this critical sector has exerted influence over administration policies, and how it is 'voting with its dollars' in the 2004 campaign. "These have been boom years for the arms industry, with contracts for the top ten weapons contractors up 75% in the first three years of the Bush administration alone," notes William D. Hartung, the co-author of the study and the director of the Institute's arms project. "While some of this funding is related to the war in Iraq or the campaign against terrorism, much of it relates to Cold War relics like the F-22 combat aircraft or nuclear attack submarines that have little or no application to the threats we now face or the wars we are now fighting."

Arms Industry Influence in the Bush Administration and Beyond: A World Policy Institute Special Report by William D. Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca, October, 2004


More than 100 countries have military budgets of less than $1 billion, roughly what the Pentagon spends in one day. The U.S. and its allies, including Australia, account for more than 70 percent of the world's military spending whilst so-called "adversary" powers--Iran, Iraq, North Korea --account for an absolutely trivial amount.


Graph showing annual military expenditures of U.S. and allies in proportion to the annual military expenditures of communist and "rogue nations." Be prepared to be surprised


Amount of money that the United States Defense Department has lost track of, according to a 2000 report by its inspector general:
$1,100,000,000,000 (One trillion, one hundred billion dollars).

Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Ratio of the above amount to the rest of the world's military budgets combined: 2:1.

Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies

--Harper's Index, August 2003 (see Harper's magazine online or in print)



America's biggest single business might be the one that "makes things that go boom," and produces and sells weapons not only to the American military, but also to the rest of the world. America's military expenditures exceed those of the next highest 23 nations' combined, probably more nations than that by the time this is written. Perhaps war has been humanity's greatest business all along? Hasn't history up till now, consisted largely of a list of wars fought, and a record of how
rulers have employed their armies? Wasn't one of the most expensive and intensive projects in American history the Manhattan Project to build the first nuclear bomb?

Today we need to shift gears, and begin another massive project because the consumption of energy as well as clean fresh water continues to rise around the world. In fact, one-fourth of the planet is expected to suffer severe water scarcity by the year 2025. [Peter Swanson, Water: The Drop of Life] (Granted there remains plenty of water in the oceans, but to extract the salt and any other impurities from it so it can be used by cities, farms and factories, will require desalination plants and filtration apparatus galore, and add fees to nearly everything we buy, including food and clothing.)

Perhaps it's time that we as a species called a truce to all wars so we can face the coming energy shortages and fresh water shortages together, and save civilization. That is, if we can restrain ourselves from spending inconceivably huge sums of money simply making more "things that go boom," and thus reduce humanity to a state of continual warfare over dwindling energy and water reserves. For instance, India is planning to damn northern rivers to divert more water toward India, but that will diminish the amount of water reaching already parched Pakistan, and elevate tensions between those two nuclear powers.

Here's to the new project. Instead of the "Manhattan Project" let's call it the "Do It Or Die Project."



The World Game Institute has estimated that 30% of the world's annual military expenditure would be enough to significantly heal the world's gravest wounds, including overpopulation, starvation, disease, lack of safe drinking water, inadequate housing, lack of education, and environmental deterioration.

Based on information gathered by The World Game Institute


The world's major ecosystems are buckling under the strain of human activity. So says an exhaustive, two-year study by 175 scientists from the World Resources Institute and several UN agencies. They say half the world's wetlands have disappeared in the past century; forestry and agriculture have gobbled up half the world's original forests; and fishing fleets are 40 percent larger than the ocean can sustain. [In 2003 it was reported that 90% of the world's big fish reserves had been depleted. Fishing fleets continue to grow, and fish-finding sonar leaves the fish no place to hide.--E.T.B.] World Resources 2000-2001 warned, "Halting the decline of the planet's life-support systems may be the most difficult challenge humanity has ever faced."

"This Week: Science and Technology News," New Scientist, No. 2235, April 22, 2000



Scientists warn that dead zones are increasing in the world's coastal waters. The biggest culprit is fertilizer pollution, which causes decreases in the oxygen of bottom water and creates low-oxygen, or hypoxic, zones. Most sea life can't survive under these conditions: fish and other creatures swim away, while other aquatic life like shellfish, suffocate. Forty-three of the world's 146 dead zones occur in U.S. coastal waters, the second largest of which is in the Gulf of Mexico (as much as 21,000 square kilometers). The world's largest dead zone is in the Baltic Sea, spanning up to 70,000 square kilometers.

Karen Ann Gajewski, "Worth Nothing," The Humanist, Sept./Oct. 2004


We are now, slowly, becoming alarmed at the state of the planet. For a century, we have been breeding like a virus under optimum conditions, and now the virus has begun to attack its host, the earth. Sensible people grow alarmed, but many Sky-Godders are serene, even smug. The planet is just a staging area for heaven. Why bother to clean it up?

Gore Vidal, "(The Great Unmentionable) Monotheism and its Discontents," essay



Per capita, we Americans use up more of the world's natural resources and produce more of the world's pollution and industrial waste than any other nation. Meanwhile, America's Super Fund toxic waste dump sites are leaking into the ground water, and the estimated cost of clean up is a trillion dollars. Nearly every river and lake in America is currently so polluted that the government has warned against eating fish caught in them, while "dead zones" have appeared in coastal waters, due to fertilizer run offs from the land into rivers and oceans.

More than half the world lives in conditions that the average American would consider "poverty level" or below. For instance, over 60 percent of the world does not have access to a toilet. 70-80 percent of the world does not have access to clean drinking water; more than a million people die each year just from drinking bad water. One-fourth of the planet is expected to suffer severe water scarcity by the year 2025. [Peter Swanson, Water: The Drop of Life]

Globally, more than 800 million people suffer from malnutrition--with 7 million children under the age of five dying each year.

Diseases and parasites torment significant portions of mankind, with Malaria, TB, and Staph, making comebacks, and AIDS plaguing Africa and continuing to spread in Russia and China.

The life expectancies of people living in the most impoverished parts of the world are far lower than those living in the wealthiest (the life expectancy of a Japanese female born today is 83 years, while that of a Ugandan male is only 41 years). In large regions of the world human beings continue to reproduce at a rate greater than the ability of many nations to care for them via economic growth and environmentally sustainable long-term programs, thus leading to increased incidents of water scarcity, energy scarcity, starvation, poverty, ignorance, pollution, disease and war.

More people despise America than ever before, and more nations have weapons of mass destruction that could find their way into the hands of those people. Yet America continues to spend more money on manufacturing, using, and selling things that "go boom" all over the world, instead of spending more money on developing alternative energy resources that could make America a source of greater blessings instead of more extensive and expensive "booms."

Now here's Ted with the weather; it looks like another beautiful weekend.

And later, Florence will show us how to stuff a turkey until it gobbles for mercy.

And don't forget to stick around after the news for the HOME SHOPPING NETWORK!



In North America we are entrapped in an economic system whose very success depends on waste, gluttony, over-consumption, and debt. And like all systems, it is driven by a spirituality:

"You get what you deserve," is its invocation;

"You have what you horde," its doxology,

"You are what you can buy," its benediction.

K.L.S., "Giving Good Gifts: Ideas and Resources for Avoiding the Malls: Third Edition," Peace Work (Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Charlotte, N.C.) No. 4-5, 2001



What about the sin of vanity? I wonder just how much time, intelligence and resources are wasted each year by the industries that produce, advertise and sell products to enlarge breasts, lengthen penises, fight baldness, hide wrinkles, and keep your lips glossy in 100 different shades of color? Not to mention branches of the various luxury industries that sell outrageously priced homes, cars and clothing. I recently read that the luxury car industry is booming, they can't produce enough cars priced $100,000 or above for all the wealthy people who want one, so there's a waiting list. "Step right this way to the end of civilization. No waiting. We were so vain."

Leaving Iraq with Honor

Lately I can't get out of my head the military-industrial-religious extremism that led to the U.S. intervention in Iraq. We can't stay there indefinitely, we're not settlers, we're not going to wipe out the indigenous population like we did the Indians, and have Americans settle there permanently and forge a democracy. (Aside from the attraction of the oil, it's only sand and some marshland over there.) Eventually we have to send lots of troops home because they live in America not in Iraq, and because we can't afford to maintain a huge occupying force there indefinitely since it costs the U.S. government too much money. So time and money continue to run out.

Iraq also remains divided. The Kurds want their own nation in northern Iraq. The Shiites, empowered by their Iranian cousins, want to get a Shiite religious leader voted into office at the first Iraqi elections. The Sunni minority in Iraq hate the Shiites and are killing election personnel. Both Sunnis and Shiites hate ex-Baath party police and soldiers. And everybody hates the Americas since we've spilled the blood of 100,000 civilians in Iraq along with the blood of untold numbers of "insurgents," that must exceed 100,000 easily. So we have enraged or driven to despair countless wives, children, brothers, cousins and uncles. The police in Iraq are poorly trained and often leave right after receiving their first paycheck. So more people are currently joining insurgent groups than joining the police force. And the insurgents are far more dedicated than the ragtag under equipped police force in Iraq.


In post-Saddam Iraq many children are being educated in private Islamic fundamentalist schools where they lear n to memorize the Koran, rather than being prepared for a world of complex diverse knowledge and higher paying jobs. Therefore, such schools breed further misunderstandings between world cultures, as well as perpetuate poverty, which in turn perpetuates anger. Moreover, as pointed out by professor W. Andrew Terrill (professor at the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, and the top expert on Iraq there), "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency in Iraq. If you are a Muslim and the community is under occupation by a non-Islamic power it becomes a religious requirement to resist that occupation. Most Iraqis consider us occupiers, not liberators. There's talk of angels and the Prophet Mohammed coming down from heaven to lead the fighting, talk of martyrs whose bodies are glowing and emanating wonderful scents." -- W. Andrew Terrill, [Cited by Sidney Blumenthal, sidney_blumenthal@yahoo.com, "Far graver than Vietnam," The Guardian, Thursday September 16, 2004]

In the end the neo-con dreams of forging a democracy in Iraq, and then forging one in Iran, appear doomed. But the Republicans and Religious Right will find someone else to blame the doom on. They will blame it on unbelievers like me. However it was the Republican government that had control of both the presidency and the congress, and who decided to go to war with the "army we had" which Rumsfeld and others feared might be insufficient to begin with. Yet Bush and Rummy went to war anyway, so it's their own Republican-neo-con war machine fault. I guess all of President Bush's talks with God will eventually prove to have been in vain.

The war is costing approximately half a trillion U.S. tax dollars, or more if the insurgency continues fighting. And that's only the money we know about because according to a U.S. Dept. of Defense report in 2000 by its own inspector general, that Dept. is capable of losing track of amounts as high as "one trillion one hundred billion dollars") If I had half a trillion to fritter away, like Bush frittered away on this war, I would have spent it on homeland security first, and then on beefing up our intelligence agencies, and then on alternative energy development, instead of handing it over to the makers of "War Inc." who make "Things That Go Boom," and spread hatred, fear and suspicion of America around the globe. It was America whose CIA backed the Fascist Baath party of Iraq to begin with, the party from which Saddam arose. It was America who sold Saddam many of his weapons including some of the ones he used to gas Iranians (in the war with Iran) and the Kurds. And it is American weapons that the Saudis buy and that maintain their monarchy--instead of allowing the people to vote and have a democracy in Saudi Arabia which the Saudis fear would lead to religious leaders getting voted into office. Yet we are going to allow Iraq to vote? This will be interesting. Whoever gets in is gonna have to dodge bullets and bombs. And we're going to have to leave eventually.

I suppose America's leaders have a plan. I assume the plan involves pumping oil like mad. Suck, suck, suck that oil up. And then leave as soon as drilling new wells grown unprofitable. Of course Iraq will receive a bill to pay all of those nice American companies for doing the sucking, and for rebuilding Iraq. Then we'll leave with our profits and discount oil. The question is can we pump all that oil out of there before the American people want the troops returned home, or before our government goes broke paying for the occupation of Iraq to continue?

And when we leave, the Iraqi people will be left oilless and jobless in an arrid angry land, except of course for jobs that involve becoming policemen (human targets from people on all sides who hate them). Americans will have taken all the major building contracts and profits home with them, while more Iraqis will be left starving and jobless than ever before.

In the end, the Iraqis and many in the rest of the world will continue to hate us. We will have sucked the country drier of oil, and milked it for more cash than Saddam ever could have in his wildest dreams. And left the people with more "freedom" than they know what to do with--the "freedom" to eat sand and continue fighting with one another with American made weapons in their hands by that time, purchased with the money they earned from the last of their oil.

Why did we go there in the first place? What will we have gained? There are questions the U.S. government did not fully consider, instead they waved a flag and cried "freedom!" The motion of flag waving must have blown all of the reports that contained "long term forecasts" right off the president's desk. Now that we are there it's like getting involved in a heated argument with someone and both sides want to have the last word, neither will either side back down. We have become "Israel" to the insurgents' "Palestine," and you know how irresolvable that conflict has been.

If there is a solution it doesn't appear that either "prayer" or "flag-waving" on either side, is going to provide it. We need people intensely skilled in the arts of language, communication and diplomacy, people with unbloodied and graft-free hands, and who have intelligence but not wealth (which is always supicious), and who had nothing to do with the fighting (on either side). Moderates of some sort, for these most immoderate of times. I say, let's find these people and put them on TV all over the Middle East, people who know the language, who have suffered, and can show tears, but yet who can still forgive. People who can remind us that all sides win when no one dies. Sunnis with Shiite neighbors, Kurds and friendly neighbors. Christians with Muslim neighbors. There must be some people in Iraq who still speak kindly and think kindly of one another, or who did so in the past, and wish the past to be rekindled once again. Stories of neighborly behavior ought to be broadcast and made known. And if we can assure the people of Iraq that for every week a truce between all sides is successful, we will remove a certain number of troops, and after the first successful month of truce, we will open the financial books of American corporate profits in Iraq to inspection from all sides, and will pay back any illegitimate over charges that such corporations have made, maybe then, we can leave with some honor left intact.

Divorce and Abortion



Baptists are more likely than members of any other Christian denomination to be divorced. according to a national survey by the Barna Research Group. Nationally, 29 percent of all Baptist adults have been divorced, the Barna survey said. The only Christian group with a higher divorce rate are those who attend non-denominational Protestant churches, with a 34 percent divorce rate.

Mormons, who emphasize strong families, are near the national average at 24 percent, Barna reported.

Among those who describe themselves as born-again Christians, 27 percent are currently or have previously been divorced, compared to 24 percent among adults who do not describe themselves as born-again.

"While it may be alarming to discover that born-again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time," said George Barna, president of Barna Research Group.Alabama, which has more than one million Southern Baptists and a majority of evangelical Protestants in a population of 4.3 million, ranks fourth nationally in divorce rates, according to U.S. government statistics. It ranks behind Nevada, Tennessee and Arkansas among top divorce rates.

The Rev. Stacy Pickering, minister of young married adults and director of counseling at Shades Mountain Baptist Church, said the statistics are skewed because Baptist churches encourage young people to get married--sometimes when they're not properly prepared--rather than have pre-marital sex or co-habitate.

Greg Garrison, News staff writer, The Birmingham News, 12/30/1999


September 8, 2004

Although many Christian churches attempt to dissuade congregants from getting a divorce, the research confirmed an earlier finding by Barna a decade ago (further confirmed through tracking studies conducted each year since): born again Christians have the same likelihood of divorce as do non-Christians. Among married born again Christians, 35% have experienced a divorce. That figure is identical to the outcome among married adults who are not born again: 35%.

"Born again Christians" were defined in the survey as people who said they have made "a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today" and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Being classified as "born again" was not dependent upon church or denominational affiliation or involvement. [Those who were not "born again" probably included nominal Christians, Christians unsure of their beliefs, guilt-ridden, backslidden Christians, believers in heterodox forms of Christianity who might not describe their beliefs as Barna did, as well as Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, Wiccans, agnostics and atheists. In other words, the "hell-bound." Yet their divorce rates equaled those of the "Born Agains."--E.T.B.]

The survey showed that the percentages of those who were divorced varied somewhat according to denominational religious affiliations (or lack thereof): Catholics (25%), atheists and agnostics (37%), Protestants (39%). Further subdividing the Protestants into their respective major denominations revealed that Presbyterians had the fewest divorces (28%), and Pentecostals had the most (44%).

George Barna noted that one reason why the divorce statistic among non-Born again adults is not higher is that a larger proportion of that group cohabits, effectively side-stepping marriage--and divorce--altogether. "If the non-born again population were to marry at the same rate as the born again group, it is likely that their divorce statistic would be roughly 38%--marginally higher (<3%) than that among the born again group, but still surprisingly similar in magnitude."

Barna also noted, "The data suggest that relatively few divorced Christians experienced their divorce before accepting Christ as their savior." [Does that mean most Christians experienced their divorce after accepting Christ as their savior?--E.T.B.] Research also indicated that a surprising number of Christians experienced divorces both before and after their conversion. Multiple divorces are also unexpectedly common among born again Christians. Barna's figures show that nearly one-quarter of the married born agains (23%) get divorced two or more times.

Source: www.barna.org



The state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation is Massachusetts. At latest count it had a divorce rate of 2.4 per 1,000 population, while the rate for Texas was 4.1. But don't take the U.S. government's word for it. Take a look at the findings from the George Barna Research Group.George Barna, a born-again Christian whose company is in Ventura, Calif., found that Massachusetts does indeed have the lowest divorce rate among all 50 states.

More disturbing was the finding that born-again Christians have among the highest divorce rates.

The Associated Press, using data supplied by the US Census Bureau, found that the highest divorce rates are to be found in the Bible Belt. The AP report stated, "The divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average of 4.2 per thousand people." The 10 Southern states with some of the highest divorce rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. By comparison nine states in the Northeast were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

How to explain these differences? The following factors provide a partial answer:

More couples in the South enter their first marriage at a younger age.

Average household incomes are lower in the South.

Southern states have a lower percentage of Roman Catholics, "a denomination that does not recognize divorce." Barna's study showed that 21 percent of Catholics had been divorced, compared with 29 percent of Baptists.

Education. Massachusetts has about the highest rate of education in the country, with 85 percent completing high school. For Texas the rate is 76 percent. One third of Massachusetts' residents have completed college, compared with 23 percent of Texans, and the other Northeast states are right behind Massachusetts. The liberals from Massachusetts have long prided themselves on their emphasis on education, and it has paid off: People who stay in school longer get married at a later age, when they are more mature, are more likely to secure a better job, and job income increases with each level of formal education. As a result, Massachusetts also leads in per capita and family income while births by teenagers, as a percent of total births, was 7.4 for Massachusetts and 16.1 for Texas. The Northeast corridor, with Massachusetts as the hub, does have one of the highest levels of Catholics per state total. And it is also the case that these are among the states most strongly supportive of the Catholic Church's teaching on social justice issues such as minimum and living wages and universal healthcare.

William V. D'Antonio [Professor emeritus at University of Connecticut and a visiting research professor at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.], "Walking the Walk on Family Values," The Boston Globe, October 31, 2004

© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company

One of the interesting features of the current efforts by the Christian Right to attack gay marriage is that their rhetoric about saving families doesn't match their actions. Why not, for example, invest similar attention to something like divorce or spousal abuse? These affect far more people and marriages than gay marriage ever could.

--Austin Cline, "Pharisees Gathering Stones"

Half of heterosexual marriages in our society end in divorce. We heterosexuals are doing a lousy job of "defending" marriage. Adultery is a big part of the reason. So if we're going to rewrite our Constitution to "protect" marriage from sin because it is the "God-ordained bedrock of society," then I would think that adultery would be a much better target. The Florida Constitution should be amended to say that there can be no marriage licenses for anyone who has ever had sex outside marriage.

--Howard Troxler, columnist, St. PetersburgTimes, November 14, 2004


A study published by an affiliate of Planned Parenthood says almost a quarter-million abortions are performed each year in the U.S. on women who identify themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians. Approximately 1.37 million abortions are performed in the United States each year. According to a startling and little publicized survey by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 37.4% of those abortions are performed on Protestant women--approximately one-half (about 18%) of whom profess to be born-again believers. That 18% of the estimated annual total accounts for 246,600 aborted babies each year in America.

--"Study Shows High Percentage of Abortions Performed on Evangelicals; Pro-Lifers Picket Calvary Chapel's Headquarters in California" by James L. Lambert and Fred Jackson July 11, 2001 (Agape Press)

The Rev. Pat Robertson, founder of the "700 Club" religious TV show and Christian news program, and a leader of the national anti-abortion movement, said leaders in China who are forcing women to have abortions are "doing what they have to do." In an interview Monday night on CNN's "Wolf Blitzer Reports," Robertson said the United States should not interfere with China's policy. "Well, you know, I don't agree with it, but at the same time, they've got 1.2 billion people and they don't know what to do," said Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition. "If every family over there was allowed to have three or four children, the population would be completely unsustainable." "So I think that right now they're doing what they have to do. I don't agree with the forced abortion, but I don't think the United States needs to interfere with what they're doing internally in this regard."

--Associated Press, 2001


Based on data from the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the Guttmacher Institute, and reporting by individual states, U.S. abortion rates had declined 17.4% in the 1990s to a 24-year low by the time President Bush first took office. Many expected that downward trend to continue under the conservative president, but instead, 52,000 more abortions occurred in 2002 than would have been expected under the pre-2000 conditions, and abortion has risen significantly in those states reporting multi-year abortion statistics.

Dr. Glen Harold Stassen argues that there are three contributing factors:

First, two thirds of women who abort say they cannot afford a child (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Web site). In the past three years, unemployment rates increased half again. Not since Hoover had there been a net loss of jobs during a presidency until the current administration. Average real incomes decreased, and for seven years the minimum wage has not been raised to match inflation. With less income, many prospective mothers fear another mouth to feed.

Second, half of all women who abort say they do not have a reliable mate (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life). Men who are jobless usually do not marry. Only three of the 16 states had more marriages in 2002 than in 2001, and in those states abortion rates decreased. In the 16 states overall, there were 16,392 fewer marriages than the year before, and 7,869 more abortions. As male unemployment increases, marriages fall and abortion rises.

Third, women worry about health care for themselves and their children. Since 5.2 million more people have no health insurance now than before this presidency--with women of childbearing age overrepresented in those 5.2 million--abortion increases. He also says that this should not be unexpected: The U.S. Catholic Bishops warned of this likely outcome if support for families with children was cut back.

We can also look abroad for confirmation of this: nations that provide easy access to abortion have far lower abortion rates than those that criminalize abortion. Are the lower rates due to the fact that abortion is legal? Although that might play some role, it's surely not a coincidence that the nations that provide easy access to abortion services also provide easy access to a wide range of social and medical services. They have larger and more comprehensive social safety nets than the nations where abortion is criminalized.

Yuba Net, and also, atheism.about.com


Despite the misinformation campaign led by the far right, who claim that the United Nations Population Fund supports forced abortions, the truth is that by denying family planning services to those who need them, we are setting in motion 800,000 more abortions than would normally occur. In Hungary, the introduction of modern contraception led to a 60% reduction in abortions. Similar results can be seen in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, South Korea, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

--The Population Institute, "What Can Make the World More Secure?" [Pamphlet]


Nepal's prohibition of abortion was one of the harshest in the world: it did not allow exceptions even in cases of rape, incest, and
life-threatening situations, and simply classified abortion as infanticide. As a result of that law, hundreds of women served prison terms. Two-thirds of all women in prison were there for "garbaphat," the Nepalese term for abortion and infanticide. In addition to those in Nepalese prisons for abortion, thousands more suffered, and often died, after resorting to extremely dangerous back-street methods. It had been estimated that six women died every day in Nepal due to poorly administrated abortions. Finally, in 2002, King Gyanendra of Nepal signed into law a bill that legalized abortion in addition to bringing about sweeping changes in many other discriminatory laws.



Many conceptions do not mature properly and are naturally aborted. And a fairly high percentage (20-30% or more?) of people born as single individuals used to be twins in the womb but one of them was reabsorbed into the womb or into the other twin.

Even the pro-lifer, Dr. John Collins Harvey, admits, "Products of conception [often] die at either the zygote, morula, or blastocyst stage. They never reach the implant stage but are discharged in the menstrual flow of the next period. It is estimated that [this]occurs in more than 50 percent of conceptions. In such occurrences, a woman may never even know that she has been pregnant."

(Regardless of whether you believe that Jesus "loves all the little zygotes in the world," apparently that love does not include giving them all a whole and healthy start in life.--E.T.B.)

--"Distinctly Human," Commonweal, Feb. 8, 2002


There are dangers to the lives of women during childbirth, which only a hundred and fifty years ago claimed the lives of both woman and child far more frequently than childbirth does today. Of those children who are born, some suffer birth defects, a few of which are invariably fatal.

There are also dangers posed by childhood diseases. Two hundred years ago the French naturalist, Buffon, lamented, "Half the children born never reach the age of eight." They died of diseases like smallpox, scarlet fever, measles, mumps, the flu, pneumonia, cholera, tuberculosis, meningitis, chicken pox, tetanus and staphylococcus infections. In fact a high percentage of the young of all animals and plants die from bacterial or viral infections. In the end, nothing is as disrespectful of higher life forms as the tiny microbes that hungrily devour the children of all species.

Unfortunately, picketing Mother Nature solves nothing. Neither do Christians dare blame "God" for having created "nature" this way.



According to the Bible, God is ready, willing and able to abort fetuses:

Their fruit shalt Thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.

- Psalm 21:10

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born...let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.

- Psalm 58:3,8

As for Israel, their glory shall fly away like a bird, and from the womb, and from the conception...Give them, O Lord: what will Thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts...they shall bear no fruit...

- Hosea 9:11-16

Notice that the prophet Hosea is pleading with his God to punish the Israelites by murdering their unborn babies. The Bible never really provides a logical rationale as to why fetuses, babies, and children must be punished for the sins of their parents and others. Some would suggest that for God to kill unborn babies for their parent's sins is somewhat misdirected retribution.

--Gene Kasmar, WHY.The Brooklyn Center High School Bible Challenge. Part 1: The Evidence


Every living thing on the earth was drowned [by the Hebrew LORD--which included pregnant women and babies]...Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.

- Genesis 7:23

Thus saith the LORD...Slay both man and woman, infant and suckling.

- 1 Samuel 15:3

Joshua destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD commanded.

- Joshua 10:40

The LORD delivered them before us; and we destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones.

- Deuteronomy 2:33-34

Kill every male among the little ones.

- Numbers 31:17

The wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and...Samaria shall become desolate...they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

- Hosea 13:15-16

With thee will I [the LORD] break in pieces the young man and the maid.

- Jeremiah 51:22

Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

- Psalm 137:9

According to the Bible, God gave orders to kill children and to rip open the bodies of pregnant women. The pestilences were sent by God. The frightful famine, during which the dying child with pallid lips sucked the withered bosom of his dead mother, was sent by God. God drowned an entire world with the exception of eight persons. Imagine how such acts would have stained the reputation of the devil!

--Robert G. Ingersoll


According to the God of the Bible it was more important to stone a woman to death if she should "entice you to follow after other gods," than it was to rescue the life of any fetus she might have been carrying.

It was more important to stone a woman to death the day after her wedding night "if she was discovered not to have been a virgin," than it was to wait and see if she might have conceived new life that night.

It was more important to stone a woman to death for "adultery," than to wait and see if she might be pregnant.

It was more important to stone a woman to death for "failing to cry out while being raped within earshot of the city," than it was to spare the life she might have conceived during that ordeal, during which the rapist may have held a knife to her throat, or strangled her into silence and submission.

And what about the test of "bitter water" mentioned in chapter five of the book of Numbers? The test consisted of mixing dust from the floor of the Hebrew tabernacle with "holy water" to make a concoction that a woman drank to test whether or not she had committed adultery. If she had, it says, "her belly will swell and her thigh will rot." Scholars have pointed out that "thigh" is a euphemism for sexual organs. So if the woman had committed adultery and had conceived as a result, then the "bitter water" would induce an abortion ("her thigh would rot"). (I wonder if this means that Bible-believing women who are accused of having affairs ought to swallow some dirt from the floor of their church mixed with "holy water?" Or better yet, swallow an abortion pill like RU-486 in front of the whole congregation?)

And what about children who "curse their parents?" The Bible says, "Kill them!" (Ex. 21:17; Lev. 20:9; Mat. 15:4; Mark 7:10) The Bible does not say how old the child has to be, but it does emphatically state they must "surely be put to death" should they "curse their parents."

Ah, the good old days, when God fearing people had higher priorities than "saving fetal lives." They were too busy stoning whomever enticed them to worship other gods, stoning adulteresses, stoning women who weren't virgins on their wedding night, stoning women who "failed to cry out" during rape, and stoning sassy children. In other words they were too busy with all of those higher priorities to worry about "the fate of fetuses."



Abortion as such is not discussed in the Bible, so any explanation of why it is not legislated or commented on is speculative.

A key text for examining ancient Israelite attitudes [toward the fetus] is Exodus 21:22-25: "When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman's husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." Several observations can be made about this passage.

The Hebrew text at v. 22 literally reads "and there is no harm," implying that contrary to current sensibilities, the miscarriage itself was not considered serious injury. The monetary judgment given to the woman's husband indicates that the woman's experience of the miscarriage is not of significance, and that the damage is considered one to property rather than to human life. This latter observation is further supported by the contrast with the penalties for harm to the woman herself.

--Drorah O'Donnell Setel, "Abortion," The Oxford Guide to Ideas and Issues of the Bible, ed. by Bruce Metzger and Michael D. Coogan (Oxford University Press, 2001)




This first option is the most optimistic, loving, and forgiving, but seems to turn abortions into "altar calls" with 100% assurance of eternal salvation for each and every aborted fetus.

But what do YOU believe?



According to various Bible verses, God "ordains" all things, including the premature deaths (including executions) of fetuses, pregnant women, and children. In other words, each soul in this world "gets" what God has "ordained" for it, regardless if they are aborted in the womb, or reach old age.

But what do YOU believe?



Theologians from Augustine to Jonathan Edwards considered it right for God to send fetuses that were not baptized before they died, to hell. Their doctrine was called "infant damnation" and it was taught by Christian churches for centuries. So, all fetuses that are not baptized before they die, go to hell.

But what do YOU believe?



Baptism spiritually cleanses the fetus' "original sin," ensuring that it goes straight to heaven should it die. Therefore, Catholics devised a plan hundreds of years ago, to even baptize fetuses by inserting a syringe filled with water into the womb in cases where the life of a fetus and/or the mother was at risk. The option of syringe baptism continued to be taught to Catholic seminarians right up till Vatican II in the 1960s.

Attempting to counteract such Catholic excesses, as he viewed them, the Protestant Christian, John Calvin, forbade mid-wives (or anyone else for that matter) from hastily baptizing sickly newborn infants, because Calvin believed in waiting a few days until a proper baptism ceremony in church could be conducted. According to Calvin, it was God's choice, not man's effort, that determined who would wind up in heaven or hell, and if the fetus or newborn didn't survive long enough to have a proper baptism ceremony, it was God's will that it die prematurely and/or suffer in hell for eternity.

Which of the four cases above do YOU believe is true?


If the life of a person's eternal soul begins at conception yet you freeze a human egg right after it is fertilized then is that a "soul on ice?" This is not a merely theoretical question, because it happens all the time in fertilization clinics. They mix human sperm and eggs in test tubes, and store the fertilized zygotes in a freezer sometimes for years before they are implanted in a woman's uterus. But if "souls" can be kept on ice indefinitely, then maybe "soul-life" does not begin at conception? The prominent Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas, argued that "soul-life" began several months after conception.



"I expect to get a great reward in heaven. I am looking forward to glory."

- Paul Hill, who murdered an abortion doctor and his escort, Washington Post, 2003

Pro-lifer (Outside an Abortion Clinic): What if your mother had decided not to have you?

Clinic Defender: I'd be in clover, I'd be in heaven experiencing ecstasy that I never earned or deserved.

- John E. Seery, Los Angeles Times


The death rate of children under the age of 15 has fallen by 95 percent since 1900 in the United States. The child death rates in just the past 20 years have incredibly been halved in India, Egypt, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, South Korea, Israel, and scores of other nations. Almost all of the major killer diseases before 1900--tuberculosis, typhoid, smallpox, whooping cough, to name a few--have been all but eradicated.

- Stephen Moore and Julian Simon, It's Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years

Much more still needs to be done for the world's children, to feed and fully nourish them in the womb and soon after birth, because deficiencies in salt, minerals, vitamins and protein are still crippling children both physically and mentally throughout the world (sometimes killing them as well), yet in most cases it takes only pennies a day to provide what is lacking for each child. Meanwhile in the wealthiest countries like America we think nothing of spending ten thousand dollars or more at a fertilization clinic just to try and conceive a child, or spend a million dollars or more in hospital fees to sustain the life of a single child (one that has been born prematurely). Such extravagances in the wealthier parts of the world must make those in the poorer parts of the world look askance.

One might also consider contrasting the "needs of the unborn" with those children who are already born throughout the world and who require medicine, education, and a chance to rise out of poverty. Bringing too many children into a city or country that cannot support them is not going to improve matters in that country but increase suffering and strife. Poverty and insufficient nutrition lead to a rise in the rate of spontaneous abortions, back-street abortions and therapeutic abortions, as well as an increase in the mortality rate of children already born.

- E.T.B.