I finally have a superpower!

When I was a child, I wanted to be Spider-Man so much. I would run around the house with my fingers in the same shape the wall-crawler formed his when he THWIP’d his webs. I would pretend to stick to walls and be super-strong too. One time, I even injured myself, bc I was pretending I was swinging on a web. I had taken a rope and flung it around one of the prongs on those old standing metallic coat racks and actually put my weight on it, and of course the thing fell and hit me. On the head. I would have been fine, with perhaps nothing more than a bruise, if I hadn’t been in the habit of removing the plastic caps that go over the metal hooks. As a result, the metal hook hit my forehead with enough force to make me bleed. I recall walking into the bathroom telling my mom that my head hurt. If I recall correctly, I was 5 or 6. So yeah, you can imagine what it’s like for a parent to see their child bleeding from a head wound (it wasn’t terribly bad, once all was said and done, but that instinct of “OH MY GOD MY CHILD IS BLEEDING” is pretty intense). Needless to say, after that, I stopped trying to swing from things, and i learned my lesson about taking the plastic caps off metallic rods.

As I got older, I stopped wanting to be like Spidey. Not bc he wasn’t cool anymore, but bc I began wanting to fly. And that’s a feeling that has remained with me since I was a teenager. While I don’t remember my dreams in any significant detail, I *do* recall many nights (one even relatively recently) of dreaming of flying. Though vague, the details I do recall that my dreams involved flying all around the world. About the only joy I got out of the 2013 movie, Man of Steel, was watching Superman fly around the world, bc it reminded me-viscerally-of my dreams. The vicarious thrill I got out of watching that scene was *almost* enough to make up for the dreariness of the rest of the movie.

Unfortunately, we humans aren’t gifted with superhuman (or supernatural, whatever the case may be) abilities. We can’t manipulate the weather. We aren’t masters of magnetism. We don’t transform into half-ton jolly green balls of unbridled rage. Yeah, we’re pretty much powerless.

Or so I thought until today.

Today is a landmark day in human history. It has been discovered that we humans do indeed have superpowers. But #NotAllHumans. Unfortunately the majority of our species will have to muddle through life without experiencing the fantastic power that some of us possess. Apparently I am one of the recipients of this power. So too are all my fellow Orbit bloggers and anyone else who fights for the cause of queer rights. What power do we have?

We have the power to kill God.

Continue reading “I finally have a superpower!”

I finally have a superpower!
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I’m of two minds

I’ve been an atheist for roughly 20 years. As a child, I didn’t grow up in a particularly religious household. My parents believed (and still do) in the god of the bible, but their belief wasn’t attached to any particular denomination. Unlike other families, we didn’t attend church services*. I wasn’t part of any church groups. We didn’t read bible verses at home. Heck, I don’t recall ever seeing a bible in the house (though I’m sure there was at least one). From what I recall (my memory regarding finer details is spotty the further I go back) god was not a subject that was often discussed at home. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we sat at the table and said grace, thanking god for giving us the food we were about to eat and praying that he’d ensure our continued health and happiness, but that was about it. This was par for the course for pretty much my entire childhood. As a teenager, I had some vague belief in god. If someone had asked me, I’d have said “yes, I believe in god”, but more than that? There wasn’t anything more than that. When I got to college, that ill-defined belief in a deity was challenged once I took Philosophy 101 and 202. It was in those classes that I began to explore morality and ethics. Questioning the morality of an a particular act led me down the path to atheism. Just as importantly, in those classes, I was exposed to other religions and learned that humans have created gods for thousands of years. By the time I’d taken my break from college in my sophomore year, I was an atheist. I realized that humans had been creating deities for a very long time and those gods so often served to explain aspects of the world we couldn’t explain. That bright flashing light in the sky when it rains? No idea what that was. Nor any idea where the rain came from. But chalk it up to Jupitor or Thor and you have an “explanation”. Does something happen to us after we die? No idea, but Hel and Valhalla provide an “answer”. As I began to learn about the similarities between religions, I began to think that if those were all invented, there’s no reason Christianity couldn’t have been invented either. Plus, the modern Christians had no more evidence to support the existence of their god than the ancient Greeks had to support the assertion that their gods existed. That was the primary reason I rejected a belief in any god or gods (there were other, slightly less important reasons, such as the problem of evil and my growing belief that there was nothing wrong with me or anyone else being gay-contrary to many religious teachings). I say all of this bc my lack of a belief in any higher power(s) had (and has) fuck-all to do with having faith. And that’s why I have a hard time understanding the perspective of Ijeoma Oluo, an atheist who recently wrote an article for the Guardian titled ‘My atheism does not make me superior to believers. It’s a leap of faith too

Continue reading “I’m of two minds”

I’m of two minds

I'm of two minds

I’ve been an atheist for roughly 20 years. As a child, I didn’t grow up in a particularly religious household. My parents believed (and still do) in the god of the bible, but their belief wasn’t attached to any particular denomination. Unlike other families, we didn’t attend church services*. I wasn’t part of any church groups. We didn’t read bible verses at home. Heck, I don’t recall ever seeing a bible in the house (though I’m sure there was at least one). From what I recall (my memory regarding finer details is spotty the further I go back) god was not a subject that was often discussed at home. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we sat at the table and said grace, thanking god for giving us the food we were about to eat and praying that he’d ensure our continued health and happiness, but that was about it. This was par for the course for pretty much my entire childhood. As a teenager, I had some vague belief in god. If someone had asked me, I’d have said “yes, I believe in god”, but more than that? There wasn’t anything more than that. When I got to college, that ill-defined belief in a deity was challenged once I took Philosophy 101 and 202. It was in those classes that I began to explore morality and ethics. Questioning the morality of an a particular act led me down the path to atheism. Just as importantly, in those classes, I was exposed to other religions and learned that humans have created gods for thousands of years. By the time I’d taken my break from college in my sophomore year, I was an atheist. I realized that humans had been creating deities for a very long time and those gods so often served to explain aspects of the world we couldn’t explain. That bright flashing light in the sky when it rains? No idea what that was. Nor any idea where the rain came from. But chalk it up to Jupitor or Thor and you have an “explanation”. Does something happen to us after we die? No idea, but Hel and Valhalla provide an “answer”. As I began to learn about the similarities between religions, I began to think that if those were all invented, there’s no reason Christianity couldn’t have been invented either. Plus, the modern Christians had no more evidence to support the existence of their god than the ancient Greeks had to support the assertion that their gods existed. That was the primary reason I rejected a belief in any god or gods (there were other, slightly less important reasons, such as the problem of evil and my growing belief that there was nothing wrong with me or anyone else being gay-contrary to many religious teachings). I say all of this bc my lack of a belief in any higher power(s) had (and has) fuck-all to do with having faith. And that’s why I have a hard time understanding the perspective of Ijeoma Oluo, an atheist who recently wrote an article for the Guardian titled ‘My atheism does not make me superior to believers. It’s a leap of faith too

Continue reading “I'm of two minds”

I'm of two minds

Kim Davis is like a rock

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has been all over the news recently for her repeated refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Last week, Federal Judge David Bunning ruled that Davis was in contempt of court and ordered federal marshals to take her into custody. While she was in custody, five of the six deputy clerks who work under Davis agreed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples (with the exception of, surprise surprise, Davis’ son). She remained in jail until Tuesday, when Judge Bunning ordered her conditional release:

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Kim Davis is like a rock

Protecting the lives of secular bloggers is more important than protecting religious beliefs

One of the most essential of all human rights is the freedom of speech. The right to hold an opinion or belief and to communicate that opinion or belief-as well as the freedom to seek out and receive information and ideas from others-  free from government interference or censure, enables individuals to share their thoughts without fear of reprisal. Governments who have sought to regulate and control the possession and free exchange of ideas and information are governments who do not place value upon the freedom of their citizens. In the past (and even in modern times) such tyrannical dominance has often lead to state-sanctioned acts of barbarism upon a populace. Such acts are antithetical to the prosperity and well-being of human beings. While freedom of speech is not absolute-there are limits (limits ((some reasonable, some not)) which vary from country to country)-enshrining it as a right is a crucial means of placing restrictions on the power of a government, thus ensuring the liberty and freedom of its citizenry. In addition to ensuring the free speech rights of citizens, it is also vital that governments work to ensure that their citizenry can speak their minds and share their thoughts without fear of being murdered for doing so. Unfortunately for members of the Bangladeshi secular community, that fear is all too real.

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Protecting the lives of secular bloggers is more important than protecting religious beliefs

Quote of the Day: Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell (b. 1872, d. 1970) was a British logician, philosopher, essayist, social critic, and one of them thar non-believers. In atheist circles, he is known for his criticism and disdain of the religious concept of faith via his china teapot “hypothesis”. His writings played an important role in my rejection of religion.

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Quote of the Day: Bertrand Russell

Stretching my fisking skills against a bigot

Over at LGBTQ Nation there’s an article about a recent ‘Twitter challenge‘ between progressives and the Christian Right over the principle of religious liberty.  As a gay atheist social justice warrior, one can imagine which side of that argument I fall on. I didn’t participate in the challenge, mostly bc it happened yesterday and I just learned about it today. Well, that and I’m not on Twitter. I’ve been debating back and forth for a while whether or not I’d sign up for it, but between this blog, Facebook, Pharyngula and the five bajillion news and entertainment sites I visit daily, I’d need another 2 hours in the day for Twitter. Not to mention I can be long-winded in my responses, and that 140-character limit cuts into my long-cultivated verbosity. All was not lost however, as I dipped into the comments. I can just imagine readers saying “You did what?!” Yes, I read some of the comments. There was one in particular that I not only read, but felt the need to respond to bc I was in the mood for a game of ‘Fisk the Bigot’. Here is the comment:

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Stretching my fisking skills against a bigot

They want our money!

Last week, evangelical pastor Franklin Graham (son of Christian evangelist Billy Graham), took to Facebook to express his outrage over a Wells Fargo commercial. The president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was incensed that Wells Fargo ran an ad featuring a lesbian couple learning sign language so they could adopt a deaf child. Here is the commercial that caused Graham to shit a brick:

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They want our money!

Two N.C. school officials quit in protest over a gay fairytale

When intolerant people give in to their fear,

injustice and inequity ever shall appear.

Omar Currie was a teacher at Efland Cheeks Elementary High School in Orange County, North Carolina. He resigned from his job following complaints from parents about a book he read in class. The book, pictured below, portrays a ::gasp:: homosexual relationship! Do run for the hills now.

Continue reading “Two N.C. school officials quit in protest over a gay fairytale”

Two N.C. school officials quit in protest over a gay fairytale

“You’re going to hell! But I love you.”

“Do I hate anybody? Absolutely not. I just love them too much not to tell them the truth,”

“Nobody got bashed or anything. All I did was simply speak biblical truth,”

“The number one audience that I have to please is God.”

These are the words of Temple Baptist Church’s interim pastor, Scott Carpenter, who spoke at Kings Mountain High School’s annual baccalaureate service in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. During his speech, Pastor Carpenter told the audience that if they were gay, they were going to hell:

Continue reading ““You’re going to hell! But I love you.””

“You’re going to hell! But I love you.”