Loren Miller's Blog (158)

Religion in Government – The "Back Door" Problem

My copy of FFRF’s Freethought Today recently went upside my head with a statement quoted on Page 3 of their November 2018 issue:



The bottom line is that while church and state are formally separated, religious legislators are still driven by their religious beliefs when voting in the Senate on all issue areas. This mechanism circumvents the formal separation of church and state and brings religion into politics through the back door.

-- Daniel Arnon, Emory…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 3, 2018 at 7:40am — 11 Comments

Conversion Therapy, Revisited

I am FURIOUS … again. With the advent of the new film, Boy Erased, and renewed attention to the “business” of conversion therapy, I am reminded once again of the arrogance displayed by the evangelical Christian community in thinking that, because Yahweh condemned men for loving other men and women for loving other women, that it was somehow incumbent on them to attempt to correct this supposed flaw in their personalities. Also reminding me of this issue was…

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Added by Loren Miller on November 11, 2018 at 10:40am — 14 Comments

White Supremacism, Trump, and the Future of Civility

The “new normal” becomes yet more virulent. On Saturday, 27 October, 2018, a gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and opened fire, killing 11 of the congregants. Four police officers were also wounded when they responded to the incident before the assailant was taken into custody. Investigation into his background yielded results which were predictable to the point of being almost intuitively obvious. He was extremely anti-Semite, and while superficially a…

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Added by Loren Miller on October 28, 2018 at 12:00pm — 4 Comments

A Simple Question

“Are you willing to request that the White House direct the FBI to investigate the current allegations against you?”



I hadn’t watched most of the hearings that were conducted Thursday, with Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh as primary witnesses. I figured that I’d catch the evening news and hear the wrap-up at that time, but when I dialed up CBS at 6:30 PM Thursday, I was confronted with the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, still in full swing. Senators Feinstein,…

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Added by Loren Miller on September 27, 2018 at 6:35pm — 28 Comments

Reacting to the "Religious Liberty Task Force"

Apparently the Trump administration is so utterly in the pocket of the Religious Reich that they feel as though they can implement policies which are so blatantly bigoted that they beggar belief.  That to me is how I feel about the Religious Liberty Task Force which was unveiled this past Monday, 30 July, 2018, by Jeff Sessions.  Their intention is apparently to assist in justifying discrimination by Christians, which they see as being motivated by their faith.  Not only does this fly in the…

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Added by Loren Miller on August 1, 2018 at 10:50am — 10 Comments

Why God Must Remain Hidden

The biggest problem religion faces in hawking its wares is that its primary product – god – is unavailable for examination, mostly because it doesn’t exist. Yet religions continue to insist with zealous ferocity that their god is out there and that it must be acknowledged, worshipped, and obeyed. As a primary result of this, the game of religion necessarily becomes a shell game, which has its deity hidden behind mysteries and obtuse dogma and holy books which require interpretation for…

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Added by Loren Miller on July 10, 2018 at 9:00am — 3 Comments

The Disturbing Final Goal of Westworld

My wife and I have been following HBO’s Westworld since its first episode last year. We’ve “met” Maeve and Teddy and the Man In Black, and of course Bernard and Delores, along with many assorted others, and followed their adventures in a complex milieu which makes the original 1973 film look like kindergarten by comparison. Indeed, a shocking event which terminated the first season would have led one to believe that a major and possibly insuperable monkey wrench had been thrown into…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 11, 2018 at 8:00am — 3 Comments

So, What If…?

It’s finally happened.  The smoking gun has been discovered in unique, utterly new evidence, the data has been verified, all the tests confirm it … THERE IS A GOD.  Now what?  For me, beyond a shrug and a bit of bemusement, little or no change.



Oh, but aren’t you excited or thrilled?  You see, we were right all along!  Wassamatta, eating too much crow?  Those sour grapes turning in your stomach?



Nope, don’t like grapes and crow isn’t on my…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 4, 2018 at 9:00am — 3 Comments

Krauss, Silverman, and Feet of Clay

Too many of my heroes have feet of clay!

-- Joan Denoo



It was late February, 2018 when I first learned about issues regarding Lawrence Krauss and his inappropriate behavior toward women.  Then in the first week of March, I got an email from American Atheists, indicating that David Silverman was being suspended from the presidency of that organization, pending an investigation.  One week later, I learned that he has been removed from that position.  In both cases, the…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 16, 2018 at 9:15am — 21 Comments

Dear Senator Portman: Regarding Gun Control...

Don't ask why it's taken so long for me to write. Stipulated that I've been involved in "clicktivist" petitions about gun control and perhaps written my representatives here and there in the wake of past mass shootings. Somehow, this last incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High just GOT to me. That and learning that Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman has an "A" rating with the National Rifle Association pretty well broke my camel's back.



In any case, the following just went out…

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Added by Loren Miller on February 18, 2018 at 12:00pm — 13 Comments

Meditations on "Jonah"

They say Jonah, he was swallowed by a whale,

But I say, there's no truth to that tale.

I know Jonah, he was swallowed by a song.


-- Paul Simon, "Jonah"



I was going to save that quote for an entry in the Quotations group, but it and the music that accompanies it really captured me this morning ... or “swallowed” me, as Paul put it.



I really admire that – being so consumed with a skill, talent, or desire that it utterly occupies your life, as…

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Added by Loren Miller on February 13, 2018 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

What Would It Take to Believe?

How many times have we heard it:



“What would it take for you to accept that god exists?”



Answers from atheists to this question have been many and varied.  In an interview with Randy Frazee of the Oak Hills Church of San Antonio, Texas, Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta said that a personal experience might convince him.  Various others, including Matt Dillahunty, have proposed that Yahweh himself knows what it would take to dissuade him from his apostasy, but as of yet has…

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Added by Loren Miller on January 9, 2018 at 8:10am — 16 Comments

A Real Christmas Story

Anyone who knows me reasonably well knows about my best friend.  I first met Rich at Hoffman’s House of Stereo in Cleveland, back in 1978, when I was taking my first look at investing in high-end stereo equipment.  As you doubtless have already guessed, he was the salesman who met me and showed off the wares his shop specialized in.  I became quite the regular visitor to Hoffman’s over the next several months, even after sinking my hard-earned cash into a Kenwood turntable, Goldring…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 22, 2017 at 9:00am — No Comments

Jerry Brown – Fear of the Lord or the Here and Now?

On Sunday, 10 December, 2017, CBS News 60 Minutes interviewed California governor Jerry Brown.  This interview, while dealing with multiple subjects, led off with Brown’s strong disagreement with President Trump regarding climate change.  Brown’s attitude, considering the current spate of wildfires ravaging his state, and the correlation to causes associated with climate change,…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 11, 2017 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

The Atheist Pig's Take on Mass Shootings

Is this the new normal?  Over 500 mass shootings in the past year, more in the past decade possibly than in all the 20th century.  The trend gives no appearance of abating, indeed, quite the opposite.  Frequently, gun sales surge in the wake of the more publicly reported shootings, owing to the mistaken impression by the gun lovers of the US that maybe, just maybe, THIS TIME the government will clamp down ... and yet they don't.  The push to regulate the bump stocks which were used in the…

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Added by Loren Miller on November 8, 2017 at 9:20am — 18 Comments

Canaries and Coal Mines and What to Do About Them

... your Earth was crumbling all around you. You've got simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation. Explain that one! Bees and butterflies start to disappear, the glaciers melt, algae blooms.  All around you the coal mine canaries are dropping dead and you won't take the hint!  In every moment there's the possibility of a better future, but you people won't believe it.  And because you won't believe it you won't do what is necessary to make it a reality. So, you dwell on this…

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Added by Loren Miller on September 11, 2017 at 9:00am — 11 Comments

God Bless Texas?

I was driving home after celebrating my wife’s twin sons’ 32nd birthdays, having enjoyed excellent lasagna, salad, and homemade ice-cream-cake, in the company of some very good people.  Cruising north on Ohio I-77, the powerful, easy grace of my Mustang GT thrilled my senses as we charged north toward Cuyahoga County and home.  What was totally unexpected was the display proffered by an electronic billboard, off to my left.  In bold primary colors, it displayed the Lone Star flag…

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Added by Loren Miller on September 2, 2017 at 9:00am — 11 Comments

A Never-Ending Battle?

I have no illusions that there’s an endgame.  These problems never go away.  You have to educate every single generation about this and make sure it doesn’t creep back into our society.  There’s no sense in which the job is ever done.

-- Tim Gill



Just for the record, Tim Gill is a software engineer and rights advocate, who has been an integral part of the thrust for LGBTQ equality.  His influence spans from the 2003 Goodridge v Dept. of Public Health case to the…

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Added by Loren Miller on July 12, 2017 at 8:00am — 8 Comments

Holy Books – All Things to All People

These are puzzlements!

-- King Mongkut of Siam (allegedly)



How is it that Christianity and Islam are both sources to claims of peaceful intent and despicable savagery? Jesus Christ is regarded by some as the “Prince of Peace,” yet the religion bearing his name spawned the Crusades, the Inquisition, the usages and practices of the Malleus Maleficarum, and too many other atrocities to count. Muslims worldwide declare that Islam is “a religion of peace,” yet…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 1, 2017 at 8:00am — 16 Comments

Grover's Corners and Dancing in Hurricanes

Back in college, I was invited to participate in a production of Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town, which was being put on by the drama department of Notre Dame College.  It was a nice diversion from my engineering studies for one thing, as well as causing me to gain two really good friends from the then-all-female enrollment of that school.  I don’t recall ever actually reading for any one particular role, but I wound up with the part of George Gibbs, who starts out as a wide-eyed kid…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 8, 2017 at 8:30am — 11 Comments

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