Roger Answers Your Questions, Amy

The earth MUST be the center of the universe, because God made the earth – or something like that. Suggesting otherwise was heresy, the Church said; science is WRONG.

Amy from Sharp Little Pencil – sometimes that instrument is VERY pointed, and my “favorite Apalachin girl who went to Vestal,” writes:

Hope all in your camp are all right, Roger. Three “hundred-year floods” in five years for Binghamton. Gee, Rick Perry, do you understand global warming NOW? It’s not a belief system; it’s not an “either, or,” it’s a fact, Jack.

My sister chides me about global climate change like it’s Darwin vs. Adam and Eve, and this thought just came to me. Part of the “religiosity” (ha ha) of Tea Bag/Fundies is that they truly blur the line between faith and fact, as though if you plug your ears and say “La la la” loud enough, it will go away; and worse, that people who don’t share your “beliefs” are somehow unworthy of citizenship in the US.

Take THAT ball and run with it, Roger!!! I’d love to hear or read your thoughts on this. Thanks, Amy

First off, I think that there are too many people who, through ignorance, some of it willful, I must say, decide that if it snows in the southern United States, or New Zealand, this somehow disproves global warming. One need only look at the two words: GLOBAL, over the whole world; WARMING, the average temperature of the planet is rising. Snow in Atlanta is the weather; the collective volume of hurricanes and tornadoes, droughts, and heavy rains is the climate, and it sure the heck seems to be altered, and not for the better. And I don’t believe that it will flip back, at least not without a radical change in our behavior. Check out the NASA Global Climate Change blog and be depressed.

I’ve read the Bible a few times, at least thrice all the way through, and I am at a loss to figure out just how a largely human-made climate change is a threat to a belief in a loving Saviour. Of course, I feel the same way about evolution or gay marriage re faith, so I’m a heretic to some anyway.

The issue I might compare it to is heliocentrism. The earth MUST be the center of the universe because God made the earth – or something like that, right? Suggesting otherwise was heresy, the Church said; science was WRONG. Most of us, except the flat earthers, know how THAT debate turned out. God can’t love us if we’re on the third rock from a second-class star? Huh?

Oh, and my last point: I’ve said this recently, but I’ll repeat it – the blurring of the line between American patriotism and Christianity I find rather disturbing. OK, very disturbing.

My reading of Jesus is that he spoke truth to power, not one to embrace the position and power of the status quo. There is a fundamental [intentionally used] belief out there that the United States is uniquely and singularly endowed by the Creator with powers and abilities far beyond those of “normal” countries. And I think that is hubris. Though, to be fair, I myself have wanted the United States to BE more that shining light it says it wants to be, which means taking care of our planet, no torture, no extraordinary rendition, more equitable distribution of income, no executions – especially of likely innocent people; talking to you, Rick Perry, as well as the state of Georgia. You will recall that those folks in the Bible who decided to build a tower to heaven were thwarted in their plans. Hubris, plain and simple.

What were your favorite and least favorite moments, growing up in the Binghamton area?

My favorite, I suppose, was meeting Rod Serling, when I kinda/sorta got to introduce him at a high school assembly.

My least favorite? The first that came to mind is when Curtis E. LeMay came to town. I don’t know if it was the time he came to the American Legion in Johnson City (right next to Binghamton, for the non-locals) when he was running as George Wallace’s Vice Presidential candidate on October 23, 1968, or some subsequent visit. There were about 200 demonstrators outside that first Legion event, according to the AP report, equal to the number of Legionnaires inside listening to the general, infamous for his statement about bombing North Vietnam “back to the Stone Age,” a quote he thought had been misconstrued. What bugged me at the event I attended was the vague scent of tear gas, unwarranted given the peaceful (though loud) nature of the protest.

PS I left a reply for you (finally) that asks you to email me regarding your thoughts on the Pledge…)

This is in reference to a comment I made on her blog – that I can’t immediately find – about how annoyed I was that “under God” was inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance, and just in time for me to go to grade school.

I don’t have a problem pledging fealty to country, though that “liberty and justice for all” part has bugged me periodically. And I don’t mind pledging fealty to God. But when they get mixed together, then I have difficulty. The United States is NOT a theocracy; see my comment above. Moreover, the addition of “under God” to the Pledge just seemed a silly overreaction to the Red scare; it wasn’t in the original, composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892, for a good reason, I’m guessing.

The friend who sent me the visual above said, “I’m forward this picture,” entitled One Nation Under God by Jon McNaughton, “which I find blasphemous in so many ways, even though I’m not at all religious…” Well, I AM religious, for lack of a better word, and I find it just as blasphemous. (But to really “appreciate” it more fully, you must see it on his website, complete with narrative.) Sometimes I think the Jehovah’s Witnesses got it right; in the section regarding nationalism:
“Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to salute the flag of any nation, recite the pledge of allegiance, stand for or sing the national anthem, run for public office, vote, or serve in the armed forces.” You know, render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. And/or separation of church and state. And would I REALLY miss voting, given the system’s brokenness?

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