God-Given Liberties

2434F876-2167-420C-A82A-2DDA269DB4CCI am intrigued by Mike Pence’s use of the phrase “God-given liberties” in his tweet. I’m sure he is using language that religious people and/or those who believe in God can relate to.

But I do wonder why he couldn’t have used words such as “inherent,” “self-evident,” or “unalienable,” rather than “God-given” to describe these liberties enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

I’m pragmatic enough to understand the broad appeal of the phrase “God-given” when it comes to liberties and rights, since most Americans claim Christianity, in one form or another, as their religion and also espouse a belief in God.

I see references to “God-given” all that time, so Pence’s phrasing is not that unusual. But I am a little bothered by the implication that rights and liberties bestowed upon Americans by the Founding Fathers are “God-given,” especially since the word “God” appears nowhere in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

Some might argue that the rights and liberties the Founding Fathers articulated when they wrote the Constitution, which is the very foundation of our republic, are God-given because their actions were guided by the hand of God. Perhaps our Founding Fathers simply forgot to give God credit for their work.

What is a little hard for me to swallow, though, is the somewhat arrogant notion held by many Americans that the “Almighty” is nationalistic enough to have granted us — Americans — these “God-given” rights and liberties while withholding many of them from “his children” in countless other countries.

Americans are convinced that God is on our side, plain and simple. Yet Christianity teaches that all humans are God’s children. So if these rights and liberties that Pence wrote of are “God-given,” how come God didn’t give them equally to all of his children around the globe?

Why would God pick and choose only certain people to give these “God-given” liberties and rights to? Why does he give some people more rights, and better rights, than others?

Why does God grant us freedom of religion, but withhold that freedom from Jews in various nations at countless times throughout history? What was God thinking when he permitted the genocide against native Americans and when he allowed white Americans to enslave black Africans?

Why do we, in America, deserve the “God-given” right to a fair and speedy trial in front of a jury of our peers, but those who live in Islamic countries, for example, don’t enjoy that right? If it’s God-given, shouldn’t they, who are also God’s children, have that same right? Are we, in America, God’s favorite children while those in other countries are his mistreated and abused stepchildren?

Did God guide the actions of our Founding Fathers, but not the actions of those who founded other countries? Why has God chosen to bless the lives of people living in America, while not blessing the lives of all people on Earth?

And as to Mike Pence, does he believe that a woman’s right to manage her own reproductive liberties, that a gay’s or a lesbian’s right to marry the person of their choice, and that immigrant parents’ rights to be with their children are not among the God-given liberties envisioned in our Constitution?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. So, like everyone else, I made up answers to fit my particular world view. To me, the reason that this omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God is so inconsistent in the way he treats his children is really quite simple: there is no omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God.

Man created God in man’s own image in order to fill in the gaps in our knowledge and understanding of our very existence, of why and how it all began and what it all means. God is a device that enables us to try to make some sense out of the things that we find incomprehensible and unknowable.

As this concept of an all knowing, all seeing God, an entity to be both revered and feared, evolved, it became a powerful lever useful to the High Priests, kings, and nation leaders as a means to control and manipulate human behavior.

Naturally, all of the various religious hierarchies embraced this “God-fearing” theme and vigorously promoted it to the gullible masses who longed for an explanation, regardless of how inconceivable or incredible that explanation was, for why things are the way they are.

But hey, if people want to embrace that kind of thing in order to feel better and feel empowered, that’s fine by me.

Apparently, that is one of their God-given liberties.

FOWC — If It Feels Good, Do It

Auction gavel on white. Isolated 3D imageIt’s not my place to pass judgment on you. If you want to write fan fiction, that’s your choice. You shouldn’t let me, or anyone else, for that matter, bully you about it. If it’s something you want to do; if it’s something you feel you’re good at, by all means, go for it. Don’t go crying into your pillow just because someone tells you that fan fiction is crap. As I always say, “if it feels good, do it.

Written for today’s Three Things Challenge from Teresa. The three things are bully, fan fiction, and pillow.

Also written for today’s FOWC One-Word Challenge, “judgment.” By the way, I won’t judge you if you spell judgment with an extraneous “e” in the middle. As I always say, “whatever floats your boat.”

Mellow Yellow

Yellow sky

The photo above is un-retouched. It hasn’t been run through any filter or photo editing app. This is what the sky over San Francisco looked like early yesterday morning. It had a brownish-yellow tint to it, which lasted until late morning. It was really quite eerie.

The cause of this unusual sky was wildfires in Lake, Napa, and Yolo counties located to the northeast of San Francisco. Strong southeasterly winds sent smoke and ash drifting across the Bay Area, the result of which was the sky taking on that sickish tint.

By Saturday night, the Yolo County fire had turned into a 32,500-acre blaze in the face of what is called “red-flag” weather conditions — high temperatures, gusty winds and low humidity — on land dried by years of drought. As of last night, it was only 2% contained and firefighters ordered evacuations.

The wildfire season in Northern California typically starts in the fall, after hot, dry summer months leave brush and woods primed to burn. But this year, as in recent years, the fires have come early. And they aren’t likely to end any time soon.

But don’t worry, this climate change thing is a Chinese hoax. And yellow skies filled with smoke and ash are pretty, aren’t they?

FOWC with Fandango — Judgment

FOWCWelcome to July 2, 2018 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “judgment” (or “judgement,” if you prefer).

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.