Monday, December 12, 2011

Crime & Contemplation



Crime and punishment. 

This concept is also known as criminal justice and deals with how fairness, legality and morality affect law and order. 

The term criminal justice can sometimes refer to the industry that surrounds crime and punishment. Some of the many careers in the field are covered on this criminal justice degree site, along with information on educational requirements for those working in this field. I am more concerned with the idea of criminal justice as a social issue. 

People seem to think that it is socially acceptable that punishment should fit the crime. All too often we find ourselves asking - does it?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

There Is In Prejudice, No Fairness, Nor Equality


We are all losing a little bit of our equality and freedom, a little bit at a time. 

All of us, in every social grouping, whatever the basis for discrimination or differentiation, are affected. We all belong to a race group, a gender, a sexual orientation, a personal expression, and have our own religious beliefs. How long before all of us are equal only in our disenfranchisement, powerlessness and despair?

Given the looming Secrecy Bill which is, I am certain, designed to cushion the State and ruling party from ongoing Media criticism and scandals resulting from numerous and plentiful allegations and revelations of corruption, fraud, mismanagement and gross incompetence, it seems "some" newspaper Editors enjoy indulging in a little secrecy of their own.

The Sunday Tribune based in Durban on the South-East coast of South Africa has taken it upon itself to not only defame a whole religious community, but to ignore their protests and objections to such defamation and stereotyping as well.

Monday, November 28, 2011

We Are Big Brother


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - this a Latin proverb meaning "who will guard the guardians?" or "who will watch the watchdogs?"

Correct me if I'm wrong - but in a democracy, that is the job for the People, the Citizenry, the Electorate, or the body politic. That's us. We do. 

Or don't - depending on what little laws or obstacles those elected to power roll in the way to obstruct our view of what they are up to, post-fact. Or of course, unless they are lucky enough to have an electorate too apathetic to give a rats ass what they do in our name, be that for us - or to us.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Is Democracy In South Africa Dead?



"█████ ██ █ ████everything ███ █████ is█████ ████ ████ fine ████ ███ █ █████ love,█████ ██████ ███ your █████ ████ government #BlackTuesday" - This is a message that has been doing the rounds today on the web, and on Facebook. The topic of conversation? The controversial "Protection Of Information Bill, aka the "POI" Bill. It was today passed, after being railroaded through Parliament.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Passing On The Torch



It is very close to the end of another year, and the time has come again for me to reflect on the past, to take stock - and to chart a new course for my future in human rights activism. 

You may recall I started out as an activist for the human rights of the Pink Community, specifically with the SA Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (SA GLAAD) - an organization I am still serving on - and have since also become more involved with other causes attached to the cause of human rights. 

Among these was a group called ECGLA.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mirror, Mirror



As a non-Christian, I have never understood the need some people have to indoctrinate others, or to try and force their own views on them. 

When this sort of thing takes place during a time of grieving and mourning, such as at a funeral, it just makes it even worse.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Challenges of Life


I believe where it is SAFE to do so, transgender people should be out and proud. And where it isn't safe, they should be proud if not out - and they should still work for equality, dignity and human rights so that they - and the generations that are to come - one day can be out. Nobody cares about people they don't know about, folks. 

When people don't remind folks that they really do exist, the haters, purists and bigots like to believe and pretend that they don't.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dismantling Fear


Many transsexual people I have encountered over time have chosen to introduce themselves to friends or acquaintances as being more than "just" transsexuals. 

Instead of just being honest about having been biologically male or female, and having changed that, they invent stories about having been born intersex - presumably because in their minds, the audience will somehow view them more sympathetically that way than if they were just honest to begin with.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kicking The Crutch


The world around us is filled with people who are selfish, cocky and arrogant about their own religious beliefs. I say not these things because I resent the pride others take in their religion, but because the pride some of them take in their choice of beliefs boils over into a hatred of the religious choices of others who choose differently to them, and into persecution of those who dare to do so.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Will Somebody Please Think Of The Children?


I regularly meet a friend of mine, who is a Christian reverend, for drinks at a local coffee shop. We enjoy casual chats about religion, persecution and human needs and frailties. He mentioned to me that there is no ONE Christianity, but many, and that today there are more than 200 different formally identified "mainstream" denominations - or "churches" around the world. Ironically, each one considers itself to be the ONE TRUE Christianity, or at least, the face of it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It Makes Sense, Doesn't It?


If you look at all the weird and wonderful new Bills being tabled in South Africa these days - there is little doubt in my mind that the Constitution and the freedoms contained within it - are clearly under assault. 

And those of us whose civil rights and equality are protected by those very clauses in the Constitution which are under assault, somehow seem unaware that we fill the sights and scopes on the weapons being directed against us by those who would chip away at our equality.

Monday, September 26, 2011

NMB Pride Is Our Heritage Day!


This past Saturday saw a first for my home town. Almost 20 years into our new democracy, Port Elizabeth still had not had a Pride parade or Pride event, in fact it was sometimes a pit-stop for travelers on their way from somewhere else, to Pride events being held - well, somewhere else. All that changed last Saturday, when the very first Nelson Mandela Bay Pride was held - and I was so very proud!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Facebook Outted Me


Facebook outed me, not for being being gay or transsexual, but for being associated with Pagan, occult and other alternative communities on Facebook.

Be warned - Pagans, drag queens, transgender people, gays living in countries where they face violence and murder, non-mainstream religious groups - anyone not using their legal names in order to interact safely online without fear of exposure or persecution - Facebook has appointed itself in charge of moral policing and is gunning for you.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Make Hate Great




Tolerance. Equality. Individual freedom. The right to self-expression. These are the things that make democracy great. These are the things that make life worth living.

And yet many people who claim to support these ideals, really do not. While they claim to, they see equality as something they are deserving of, while simultaneously they view anyone they do not personally approve of trying to gain equality with them as an attack on their own superior and privileged social positions. They distort facts and ideologies to serve their elitist and supremacist ideals, and hijack democracy in order to preserve a social order where words like "love" and concepts like "good" and "evil", and even terms like "family" and "marriage" become tools to exclude fellow human beings from equal, decent and humane treatment - and as weapons to destroy them.

The true ideals of democracy is not simply "mob rule" as some allege today. The underlying cause of the establishment of democracy as a system of government that led to the golden age of ancient Greece, was inequality.

People sometimes tend to forget that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yes, Wiccan


I drive a Mazda, but I still know what a Mercedes Benz looks like. I have had Beetles, a Kombi, a Renault, a Toyota and a Golf as well. I realize they are all cars, and I at least have an idea of what makes each of them different from the other, and about the thing that makes them go. I also know that cars make traveling from one place easier and better. It doesn't mean I have to hate the other makes, or refuse to drive in whatever car my neighbor drives.

What I'm trying to put across in my own rather quizzical way, is religion. Yes, that. You may wonder what cars have to do with religion - but let me clear it up for you: I have been finding out the hard way how ignorant some people are about religions other than their own. 

Let's take Christianity as a prime example. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bollocks And Bellyaching


Recently I saw an article posted by a transsexual sister activist about the failings of the alliance of the Pink Community. The article was very melodramatic, bordering on the hysterical. In fact, I feel it was nothing short of a load of bollocks and bellyaching.

GLB and I components of the Pink Community were labeled "captors" and "oppressors". And the remarks made on Facebook by the same activist as well as some others who agree with her were disappointing and rather disparaging - although she did take some fire for it.
There are too many comments in this thread for me to cover them all, but let me just state from the point of view of a civil rights activist, that to shun our allies and to withdraw from the broader movement is nothing less than folly and a tactical error.

Civil rights issues run on numbers - and as a minority within a minority, we are a little short on those. If there are people who feel there are shortcomings in assistance, commitment or delivery on the part of general GLBTI organizations to the T community (and yes, I know there are), then instead of whining about it and pulling out, "we" (that is, YOU all) should rather get involved in these organizations, and do it yourselves.

Before you judge me as being sarcastic, allow me to point out that I am post-op and I am the director of one GLBTI organization, as well as on the board of another. Somehow, all those GLBI people whom these two groups deal with - and with whom I come in contact, manage to see past my transsexuality, and we get the job done together.

If you want change in the world, you have to become that change.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cardboard Armor & Quicksand


I have little patience for religious fundamentalist bigots who jump up and wave their fingers, condemning me and those like me for who we are - and using flimsy and baseless religious rhetoric as a foundation for their hatred and prejudice. You're running into battle wearing cardboard armor and waving plastic swords! Go back to school and ask for a refund!
Prejudice kills. Don't you know that? Is your religion, whatever that is, fueled by hatred? Or is hatred your religion? It's not mine. Get over yourselves!
I address religious fundamentalists - that doesn't mean any specific religion... but since you bring it up - I'm a little peeved at people who make nasty remarks, thinking they can use religious beliefs as a soap box to stand on, and as a hammer to hit people with.
I'm very well aware that not all people of any particular religion feel the same way about anything, but once again, my comments are not directed at an entire group - just the fundamentalists. You aren't a fundamentalist, are you?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

EC Mirror Casts Poor Reflection


Some of you know that my city, Port Elizabeth, will be hosting its first ever Pride event this year - an event which I am proud to say I am involved in, be it in my own small way. ECGLA, an organization I am part of, stands behind the Nelson Mandela Bay Pride - which will take place on the 24th of September - with one or two smaller events on the side during the month leading up to the main event.

I have to say that so far I have been pleasantly surprised to note that there have been no negative encounters, nasty letters in the press, and no hate mail specific to the Pride event. In fact, we were even surprised and excited to learn how positive the public appears to be about Pride. Of course, there always has to be one bad apple in the basket, doesn't there?

Today I was forwarded an email reply to a request sent out to newspapers in our area to publicize an event which forms part of the run-up to Pride.

On Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 11:18 AM, Ec Mirror Admin wrote:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

System Failure



I think any system of government where human or civil rights depends wholly on the public opinion of the moment, is fundamentally flawed.

Where did that come from? Well, it goes back to before we had the present Constitution in South Africa, when as a teenager I was threatened with being labeled a criminal because being gay was illegal in this country then. That's right, I was threatened with jail because I dared to consider that I might not be your average heterosexual cisgender boy. And in those days, even being transgender was a very grey area in legal terms. Being caught in a raid dressed in women's clothing as a biological male was a risky business. It was "fine" to be a cross-dresser or drag queen busted at a gay club during a raid - but you better still have been wearing male underwear - or you would be thrown in jail for "impersonating a female". LOL. Go figure.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bread And Circuses

Last week I had the pleasure of having to get up really early for work, at around 4 am, when all the respectable birds were still asleep. It was while having breakfast a little later that I heard something faint in the night, a kind of singing chant in the distance that reminded me of a Muslim call to prayer. I really had to strain my hearing to pick it up, as the very light wind at that time of morning affected it, and it faded in and out. It seemed to me that it might very well be that, from one of the mosques in the old part of town somewhere. I began to wonder if I was imagining it, but no, there it was, for a whole 2 or 3 minutes. It brought a smile to my face as I wondered why I had never heard it before.
I heard it the next morning too, while having breakfast, confirming to me that I had not imagined it. At the end of the week, I received an email notice that some people in my area (Richmond Hill) were angry about the "disturbance" coming from North End so early in the morning and were drawing up a petition about it. I was stunned. Could people really be so small and anal about such things? 

Apparently so.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Never Say Never


Anyone notice how closely the govt's new demand on the mining companies to hand out shares to local communities in their areas (and failure to comply will lead to asset seizures), resembles nationalization?

Business is business. At least, I always thought it was. The mining companies lease or own the land, and they keep to government prescriptions on how to mine safely etc etc. Being told to just hand over part ownership of their operation to "the people" is neither fair, nor part of a free-market system, nor a democracy. Nor is just issuing an ultimatum to comply "or else". This is more in line with communist-fascist or socialist ideology.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Relativity


Depression is a problem, and there are people who suffer from it for perfectly good medical reasons. 

Then there are people who have a little disappointment at home, in the office, who have issues with their appearance or who have a little bad luck in relationships. Their car breaks down for the fifth time in a week and they want to end it all. Their boss tramples on their feelings a little ...and they want to eat a 9mm Aspirin. Seriously?

There are people imprisoned in a body that is so broken they don't even have the choice of ending it all. There are those without hope of anything worth having here, life, love, health, happiness - and let's just say wealth and worldly goods are the least of their concerns. There are people who can pop a pill or seek medical intervention to get them out of their depression or circumstances. Then there are people who really can do nothing but face the lousy bitch of a hand life has dealt them - and like it or lump it, they have no more choices or options. 

So what the hell are YOU whining about?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Out And About


Outing.

How do you feel about it?

I'm referring to the willful public exposure of individuals against their will, and without regard for their health or well-being. Quite often this is an intentional act of spite - sabotage - intended to ruin the life of the victim. An act of malice, to injure them, sometimes an act of revenge.

On Saturday I heard from a young friend that he had been outed and he was very distressed. It seems a love interest of his had tricked him into holding an intimate conversation via blackberry messenger, which he then showed to other people as proof that my friend is gay. There was also a phone call in which they discussed intimate details of getting together and formalizing their relationship, which had been something of an on-again-off-again thing over the past 2 years. My friend is 20 and the love interest 21. This guy shared the entire conversation with his mother, who is connected to my friends family by way of a second marriage to one of his relatives. Apparently she had also been allowed to listen in on the telephone conversation. My friend told me this woman had been calling all his close family and informing them that he is gay. His sister had called him to inform him of the situation and to ask what was going on. He was left with little choice but to come out to his mother before she received the same phone call.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Place In The Sun


No matter what I am or what I have done, I am also just as human and just as flawed and vulnerable as anyone who thinks they are perfect, or stronger, or better than me. Nevertheless, it seems there are always people who think that because I am not straight like them, and not living the gender I was born in, that I am anti-social, have a persecution complex, a huge chip on my shoulder, and am either less intelligent than they are, or that I am just plain stupid.

All told, I had a pretty interesting week.

Friday night I attended a small informal event at a cosy straight-friendly pub in Central Port Elizabeth at which the new SA gay flag was being passed around, promoted and even sported as a clothing accessory. It was nice to see people embracing a symbol of our diversity, even as I noticed the stark absence of the lesbian component of our community at events in this city. As usual I was drowning in testosterone, albeit pink.

Where were the lesbians? Where were the trannies? "Who cares?" Someone said - reminding me of the saying "out of sight, out of mind". And isn't that the truth? Our different groups socialize apart from the rest, forming little cliques. And then we sometimes have the audacity to wonder what happened to the "community"? Some people later wonder why they have been excluded from any of the planning of x, y, and z. What a cheek.

And then I looked at the item being billed as the "gay flag" for South Africa. Gay flag. Says everything, doesn't it? It has stripes of all the colors which represent each group making up the Pink Community, but somehow it winds up getting called the "Gay Flag". How did that happen? And why didn't I get the memo?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Blood Feud Continues...


I keep hearing the SA blood "service" whining about another blood shortage - but at the same time they continue to refuse to accept blood from people who are gay. They won't accept the perfectly good blood that the Pink Community willingly offers - so as far as I'm concerned, they can just whine and whine till they run dry.

They have no reason to not accept our blood. 

None. 

Only the terminally stupid or ignorant believes that blanket discrimination is the best way to protect people from receiving HIV infected blood. The problem here is their clear refusal to screen for HIV infected blood - but they clearly have no problem with discriminating against people. And surprisingly, they are allowed by SA's government to continue blatantly thumbing their bigoted little noses at the non-discrimination clauses in our Constitution. What gives?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Woke Up This Morning


I woke up this morning, alone. 

The space beside me, cold and empty. You should have been there, but you weren't. Your pride was too strong and you were too good for me, remember? 

Well, I do. 

How could I ever forget?

You said you could handle my past, you said you could face the future by my side. But somehow both issues became just too steep for you to climb over. What I am and what I was before was just too much for you to accept or deal with, your misplaced faith that I could be anything else just too much for me to give in to, or capitulate.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Christo-fascism Anti-fun Police At Work In SA


In recent times I began pondering more deeply about religious matters. Having come from a Christian background, I am more familiar with the way things work in what Pagans tend to describe as a "book religion" - by this is meant - a religion which is defined by a set of rules in a book, and a dogma which is taught and enforced in its temples, homes and wherever its adherents go.

The concept is firmly aimed at extending control over its adherents. You're not allowed to question or challenge anything. You're not supposed to innovate or find your own path or "cherry-pick" which principles in the book you're going to adhere to, and which not - which oddly enough is precisely what the fundamentalists do, even though they certainly won't admit to it. You're not supposed to think, argue or challenge anything - and least of all, to test it for yourself. You're supposed to do nothing but follow, keep your mouth shut, trust, have faith - and above all, to obey the doctrine.

Anyone who doesn't comply is outside the church, outside the law and out of "the grace of god" - or so they clam. When you begin to pick at the stitching holding this bag of nuts together of course, it begins to unravel somewhat dramatically.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bed-knobs And Broomsticks


If people today think of anyone who is sexual, or who enjoys sex, as "immoral", "deviant" or "undesirable" today - it is because of religious indoctrination. If we think of people who abstain from all sexual activity, and those who remain virginal through their lives, living by a code that sex is for procreation and not enjoyment, it is because of the puritan hangover left us by folks who were too afraid to see themselves naked lest it cause them to think sinful thoughts - and with an obsession about the afterlife and where they would spend it - instead of enjoying and celebrating the life they had.


Older civilizations did not suffer this afliction. Historians can bear me out when I say that the Roman, Egyptian and Greek civilizations did not fall because they were sexually wanton by today's "Christian" standards, or because they were "morally corrupt" or "sinful". In fact, Rome fell because it had become militarily weak, and ironically enough, at this time the state religion was Catholicism. Hmm.

Many people today spend a great deal of time meddling in the lives of others, working to limit their options, delineate their freedoms, and suspend their liberties - and they do so from a blatant and overt hyper-religious angle, attempting to force other people to embrace the same litany and adhere to the same liturgy as they hold to themselves. Of course, we all should know that not everyone is the same, looks the same or feels the same about everything, so why should people all be forced to think, feel, believe and speak or act the same way? And how can one group, in all fairness decide that IT should be the model which all others should adopt and be held accountable to?

If Christians today are so truly confident in the ability of their God to protect their interests, then why do they persist in taking matters into their own hands and working to destroy the lives and happiness of others? Is this not an admission of their fear and paranoia? Is it not a manifest denial of their own faith? Is this desire to act in the stead of their god not a denial of the very will of this deity?

By this I mean - if this deity really wanted something bad to happen to people who they feel do not keep their commandments, then surely this god is big enough and almighty enough to sort them out on its own without their getting involved and getting a thrill out of dipping their hands in the blood of innocents - and then afterwards crying that it was "God's will". Much of the tragedies of the past can be traced to this sort of vanity and hubris, including all the Crusades, and the Spanish/Catholic conquest/genocide of the South American continent. All of this was aside from the pretext of nationalistic expansion, an exercise in Christianism - the desire of Christians to conquer non-Christian people and force them into subjective slavery and to convert them to Christianity, to force people to believe the way they do. It was nothing more than a bad game of "my god is better than your god", but with sharp spikes - and I dare you to tell me different.

Broadly speaking, most average Christians today still know nothing at all about other religions, which makes it that much easier for those who know only slightly more than them about other faith groups to manufacture and spread propaganda and falsehood about them, causing polarization, even more ignorance and enmity. And the vicious circle just gets bigger and bigger.

In most South African schools today, children are not being encouraged to think, and to think independently. Instead they have religion - and mostly one specific religion, Christianity - and conservative thoughts drummed into them to conform, conform, conform. They are not being educated, but indoctrinated.

A friend wrote to me just last week about his views on schooling in South Africa, and on its effects on the youth leaving school today. We have children able to work in an office, or in many cases, barely capable of entering university or to qualify in their fields of study without the benefit of huge concessions for being "previously disadvantaged" - while perfectly capable high-scoring students are prevented from entering university because they happen to be the currently disadvantaged. Surprisingly, some people actually believe that racism is dead in South Africa, but I have no idea why. Be that as it may, we have kids hitting the job market who know how to read, write or type in "Mxit language", but who cannot spell, use correct grammar, or understand or explain what they have just read. We have loads of new voters who join the mass of consituents each year who have no clue how a democratic process is supposed to work, and will fall for any load of twaddle, including threats that if they do not vote for party X, then they will come and burn their house down. This is what my friend wrote:

"MENTALITY! It serves a purpose you know, for those in power. "We want the people to get an education" - but not too much. Just enough to get them working and in a job where we can make even more money from their taxes. But not so much that they wake up and embrace a truly multicultural society free from oppression in any form. Because thats when they stop voting ANC. They might think they are free because they voted right? Sorry -not so."

I agree completely with this assessment - it's not in the interests of the govt to educate the masses to the point where they are smart enough to see through the BS - because then people will be too smart to vote for them again.

That's exactly why subjects like history and philosophy have been played down in recent years - and also why there is little attention given to the study of human rights, and the mechanics of democracy. School leavers in most cases today I think are people who leave school able to work, not think - and certainly not capable of making informed decisions of their own.

These children grow up, and they take the misconceptions they learn in school into the world outside it, into the workplace, and their new homes when they leave the nest, and into their social circles when they form new friendships - and they take with them the bigoted misconceptions they are taught in some schools.
_________________________________________________________________

 Dead Man’s Hammer” by Christina Engela
Obsidian crows frequently got run over because quite frankly, they were too damn lazy to get out of the way and anyway, they would just get up and walk off again afterwards. They were flightless birds, mainly because they were extremely hard bodied and far too heavy to fly – unless they fell off a cliff or were launched from a catapult. (Anything will fly if launched from a catapult – ask the Navy.)

Deanna was just another third rate colony in the Terran Empire – and it was pretty much as boring a lump of rock as could be expected. That is, until Gary Beck, aka Beck the Badfeller ran over an obsidian crow with his Jeepo and didn’t have a spare tire. (Things pretty much went down hill from there.)

There was an assassin in town now and she had a score to settle. She was pretty, but as most poets will tell you, beauty can be deceiving. The same poets, who would write about Helen of Troy as the face that launched a thousand ships, would write about Villainessa Tittle as the bitch that sank them. As an assassin, she was the worst kind; this meant that she took pride in her work, enjoyed what she did for a living – and above all, that she was bloody good at it. And this time unfortunately, it was absolutely 100 percent personal.

Buy: Paperback / Ebook

Published: May 26, 2016
Pages: 212
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Dimensions (inches): 4.25″ wide x 6.88″ tall (pocketbook)

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_________________________________________________________________

Back when I was at high school I can remember the rumor going round of "the Rapture" being imminent, and the reaction of the hyper-religious kids who were at school with me. Of course, the appointed day and time came and went, and we were all still here. Just last week much was made of yet another date with destiny that failed to materialize, leaving a generous helping of pie on the faces of many fundamentalist Christians. Apparently they have moved the next appointment to 21 October now. Surely by now they should realize that the business of predicting the end of days is a bust?

I wonder, are these people in such a hurry for the end of the world that they keep pinning these dates on their calendar like a game of pin the tail on the donkey? Are their lives so empty, pointless and hopeless that they long to be taken away from it all? Most of them would deny this, I'm sure - but I think the facts speak otherwise.

Just last week I wrote about the whole Rapture racket, and about the total fabrication it is - and it was mostly argument on the topic supplied by Christian theologians that I referred to. I spoke about how the radicals and fundamentalists have spent centuries separating themselves and their flocks from the rest of us dirty sinners, and about how the hyper religious elevate themselves above others, tarring and feathering those who don't carry the same club-cards, as deviants, threatening, dangerous, and also quite often as "devil-worshipers". LOL.

Coming from a portion of the community that likes to exclude others from it, separate itself from others, the "Rapture" is naturally the ultimate exclusion.

Of course, being equated with other folks who don't carry the same cards they do just pisses them off. How dare we dirty gay or trans people be made equal with them? We're not - they're God's chosen people and we're dirt. The fundies don't like the fact that people point out the instances when they overstep the boundaries of fairplay and the constitutional guarantees which grant freedom of religion - they take issue with everything not of their own interpretation of a religion, or which doesn't share their values - failing to realize the harm they do to others in doing so, and failing to understand that they do NOT own the world, nor do they have the right to talk down to others simply because they believe they have a right to trample every other group into the earth.

Where does this delusion of "divine right" come from? The truth? They call it the "Great Commission", which is where the "Commissionist" and "Dominionist" movements came from. These two movements today form the spine of the modern evangelical movements - and you won't catch them speaking about it blatently or openly too often, because they don't want ordinary Christians to realize what they are or what they are goading them into doing - playing a game of "Pinky and the Brain".

The simple truth is folks, Christians have had control of the world for so long that today they have forgotten what its really like to be victimized, persecuted and to be a second class citizen because of their religion or spirituality, and they view any other group coming up to the same level as them as a threat and a challenge to their supremacy. That's why some of them can whine and moan like old women with wet knickers about "the persecuted church" every time a store stops selling their propaganda, a TV station says something they don't like, a gay couple gets married, or a transgender person gets treated like a human being instead of getting kerb-stomped. Please, spare me.

Having a gay person or a Muslim being treated equal to them is taken as a threat and an insult. In the work place, Christian prayers are encouraged or approved, but what would happen should they be expected to tolerate the same standard for their co-workers of other faiths? I have to say that I have a great respect for many Muslim people who sit through such things with a good grace - and I have to ask myself if some of my Christian friends would do the same?

Don't get me wrong, every religious group has it's fundamentalists, the ugly face of any religion that foams at the mouth at the mere thought of diversity and the freedom to disagree. To many of them, true equality is a threat and an enemy, because being equal robs them of their power and the feeling of being part of an elite group. It seems to me that modern Christian thought is all about separation and the creation of an elite. And in doing so, there is an increasing focus on "us" and "them", polarization and the creation of scapegoats for all the world's ills. The "us" portion of the equation is almost always a very narrow definition, quite ironic, don't you agree?

And if - like me, you happen to fall within that very broad definition of "them", then the world looks like a very bleak place indeed.

Fundamentalists view all non-Christian faiths as being false, misled, and focusing on the Devil, Satan or whatever form they choose to call their deepest fears - and thus every other religion is painted not as simply another equal religion that deserves as much tolerance and respect within the law of the land as their own - but as a threat, a vile perversion, and simply another face of "satanism" that should be discouraged, denied, and stamped out. The line crossing of course, comes in where certain groups cease to grumble, plot and conspire, and instead begin to act on these impulses to destroy and suppress free thought, freedoms and independence of their view of the world.

Normally I take the view that my religion is nobody's business - especially when I feel that someone else's belief system is being forced on me. Currently some of my Christian "friends" have serious issues with me for being Pagan, and even more so for not being ashamed of it. How dare I be happy for not being Christian - or even proud of my spiritual beliefs? How dare I disagree with them? How dare I not share in their mindset and not just rubberstamp everything arbitrarily as "good" and "right" simply because they agree with it? Oh, it's a futile argument, I know - because I realise they are incapable of thinking for themselves.

A little while ago, I changed my religious affiliation from agnostic to Pagan. "Agnostic" had been just fine apparently - but the new change certainly rubbed a few people the wrong way. It's amazing. Over the past few months things have steadily degraded to the point where people who used to associate closely with me now ignore me, won't greet me - and get up and leave when I enter a room. There is an atmosphere for certain, and I haven't felt so much love since I came out as transgender a decade ago. I have often said I can be friends with anybody, regardless of their race, language, culture, whether they like Star Wars or Star Trek, or of their religion. I am not intimidated by the beliefs of others, and I am secure in my own spirituality to not be "converted" by others just by hanging around with them. I certainly don't get a chip on my shoulder if I find out one of my Hindu friends has suddenly become a devout Roman Catholic or married a Jehovah's Witness (although if I see them coming with a stack of magazines under one arm, you can bet I will bolt myself in the ladies room for a while).

Of course, I have to note quite clearly that this is not all of the religious people I associate with - and certainly not all the Christians I associate with - but just a very few. I have to wonder that, had I announced my religion as "Wicca" - how they would have reacted then? I could imagine. As usual, I treat everything with a touch of humor, because the alternatives to laughing at such childishness are not nearly as funny.

I'm not sure what to expect this week, but in the meantime I have bought a new, completely black coffee mug to take to the office - just to mess with them...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blasphemous Rumors



I know I have been quiet lately, but it's just because I've taken the weekend off. Honest. Rumors of my being "raptured" are greatly exaggerated - in fact, I am still here, and so is my underwear drawer, which still needs tidying. 

Damn.

I am typing this article on the morning of Sunday May 22, 2011. I am still here, and so is the house I live in - and the cars parked outside tell me the businesses across the road are doing their usual booming breakfasting business. The city around me is not on fire and there haven't been any tsunamis during the night. My mother woke up this morning, as usual, and shuffled past my door - so I knew she was still here. All is right with the world then.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Come To The Dark Side - We Have Cookies Too


Christians - you just can't seem to win with them. 

If you're gay, you're evil. If you're not religious, you're evil. If you're an atheist, you're a "willing pawn of the devil". If you believe in another god or gods, or even call their god by another name, you're "evil" or "lost". If you are tolerant of other faiths, or of homosexuals - then you're "misled", "backsliding" or yep, "evil".

If you're gay and a Christian (horror of horrors), they want to cut up your membership card and deny that you are part of their club (or ever were), and when you abandon their faith or even go so far as to change religions and want nothing more to do with them, they still persecute you because you have somehow "proved them right" - and then they see you as an even bigger "threat" to their paranoiac little "worldview".

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SA - Not So Liberal After All


Not interested in politics? Not interested in how the government spends its time - and your money? Really? Think we live in a nice, quiet, safe country where all is right with the world? The government is benevolent and doing its best to deliver all the things it claims to? Think it lives up to our Constitution? Think it cares about all the people who live in South Africa? Think there is no reason to be concerned with anything to do with politics?

Who is still naive enough to think we aren't already living in a police state? Come on, don't be shy - put your hands up.

Think about it for a moment. No, really.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not Seeing Is Believing


Ever hear a child put his hands over his ears, or sometimes closing her eyes too, and chanting loudly, "I can't hear you - lalalalala"?

Aside from the old adage that "there are none so blind as those who will not see", there are different names for this concept, such as "selective ignorance" and "self-imposed ignorance". I often use another term, because I think "willful ignorance" fits better due to the fact that it takes a conscious decision to decide to stay ignorant about an issue on purpose - especially when there is so much information available. We are surrounded by it, and so as far as I'm concerned, to remain ignorant about some things must take a supreme effort of will.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spit Or Swallow?


Belief is subjective, you don't have to like somebody else's beliefs any more than somebody else might agree with folks standing in church waving their hands in the air. Some folks see religion as chicken soup for the soul - well, some folks like their soup with croutons, others with noodles. Some like tomato, others butter-nut. It would be a boring old world if we all just stuck to "hearty beef" now wouldn't it?

When I posted that on Facebook as a status, an old friend of mine replied, extending the metaphor: "Some people are vegetarian, others just hate soup, others say soup is for sick people, and some just eat soup cos they are too poor to eat steak."