Friday, March 12, 2010
Religion & Politics : I See in Colors - - Not Black and White
I see in colors and not in black and whites, and sometimes see things that other people don't see and my decisions are more thought out.
I get a lot of mail asking my views on religions and politics and well, I haven't talked much until now. So here it goes.
As for politics, I'm a registered voter and have registered unaffialited, (as my family is a 50/50 split and very adamant on their views). In the past I've voted for Democrats and Republicans. Once I voted Green. Being unaffialated has it's benefits, you can take your time and review the issues and vote for the party which you feel will do the best job. It has it's downfalls - - I can't vote in the primaries but I can vote in the one that really counts. So, my advice to others is not to vote Democrat because you were raised that way, or to vote Republican because you are told to - - weigh the options (as the issues are always changing, so is the economy, and the bills presented, and the players involved) in our ever changing world, and go with whom you feel will do the best job. It is a job I would NOT want myself, and I think Obama is doing the best he can with the hand he was dealt. Could you do a better job? If so stop complaining and use that energy to get on the ballot.
Our country is broken. Many people will be upset with me for saying what is obviously left unsaid. I'm upset over many things. Our country has so much unemployment but we import everything and dollar store items are the norm. There is no pride in jobs in America, because we can't afford to manufacture things that we can buy overseas and import for pennies on the dollar. In order to employ people we'd have to charge more than a dollar for an item and as long as dollar stores are around we can't.
You can't work for a company 50 years anymore, as companies overturn so quickly now, and your pension is squandered away from the companies going bankrupt or being bought out. Retirees can't afford to live on their pensions and social security and are forced to retire and work until they die. That makes me sick to see an older man or woman who has given their whole life not be able to afford the unpaid premium of health coverage. Most I know have been lucky to be greeters at Walmart, which is also now suffering a hiring freeze.
To think back to the events of 9/11 and wonder how this could have ever happened in our country--but it did, and it crippled us. I'm more than upset more so when I heard that just yesterday a settlement was finally reached for the people who risked their lives in the 9/11 chaos and who are dying of lung disease. The police, fire fighters, rescue workers, who ran into the dust risking their lives for others have been fighting to get what they deserve for the past ten years. Why did they have to fight? Is this America anymore?
I still do the "right thing" and fly my American flag high up over my edge of the East Grand Lake in Maine, which faces Canada, and I look up at it sometimes and wish, that we could be what we used to be someday.
As for my religion, I have a strong faith. I sit in that chair above and look out over the Lake and feel so much closer to Religion. Though I was baptized Cathoic and raised in an Italian Catholic Family, and went to church a lot as a child, I don't attend now.
My beliefs conflict with that of organized religion. For one, being Italian I find it hard to believe that "Tony Soprano" of Jersey can off someone into tiny pieces, donate $20,000 to the church kitty and say four Hail Mary's and be forgiven by the Priest when in fact he should be cut off from the Church. However, it is Tony's money they want. Or, that Priests in any religion can do horrifying things to young boys and still be forgiven and allowed to preach when they should be removed. Their fate is in a higher power, so it's not my place to judge, but they should be ex-communicated. That however hardly ever happens anymore.
Also, I have very good friends who are gay and have been in a twenty year relationship with each other. We are like Will and Grace and Jack, (I'm Grace) but in church they taught me that these friends of mine are evil and I must banish them for they will burn in a big ball of burning h*ll and their flesh will explode and fall off of them. Ouch.
Who am I to judge? Ancient Greeks were gay and are they still churning in hell? I hope not. Aside from that, what this world needs is love. True love and kindness. I don't care what kind of love, if you are gay, straight, interracial, extra terrestial, whatever. Marry, love, spread the love....love makes the world go round and this world is seriously lacking it. I'm an ordained minister who can marry any religion. If God punishes me in the end, so be it, but I will plead my case with only the best intentions in my heart.
When the Jehovah Witnesses' come to my door, most of the neighbors won't answer. I'm the one who opens the door and thanks them for preaching to others. Even though I not a Jehovah, they are trying to spread the word as they know it. If they help one person get off booze or drugs, then good for them. That's more than I can say for the Priest in the church near where I was raised that is messing with the little kids and everything is hush-hush.
So, I choose to consider myself more spiritual than religious, I take my beliefs I learned in God and all that is great and good, and do the right thing. Someone made this glorious world. I also believe in Science--evidence is a strong thing. I believe Mother Nature is a powerful force, and even some of Buddhist religions--oh yes, kharma is real. I feel my passed Grandmother near, and a sense of serenity in nature and animals. I have premonitions, and in most cases they are dead on, I accept those things I cannot change and pray for courage to deal with those things I struggle with. I have my box of Daily Bread just like others....
I support local charities and donate to the needy no matter what religion and feel that anyone trying to help someone other than themselves must be a wonderful organization to start with. I give back to the community and am thankful for everything I have and have worked for.
I had a non-demonitional nature wedding with a Native American Prayer and Irish Blessing, I'd like to think that's considered Paganistic but not in today's definiion. I love the reaction I get when I call myself a Pagan, (equate me to a Christian valued nature lover dating back to Celts or Druidic people) because over time people have labeled Pagans as Satanic worshippers. I think this stems from confusion in the 5th Century when once "old Christians" were labeled Pagans (country folks who couldn't get the new reformed Christianity down) and over time were considered Satanic in the Roman Empire because they did not conform. Therefore, those who don't conform must be eating bat's guts. Crazy but true--again, once you don't agree to do what the Big Church wants you to do, you are in real trouble.
I really don't know how the Pagans got to being in the same catergory as Wiccans and Witches, but I am neither of those things but again don't judge others who are. All Pagans are not necessarily (Wiccans) or Witches but most Wiccans or Witches are indeed Pagan in theory, as they are very big into nature and natural remedies (and frogs for their spells, ouch, animal cruelty but I'm not judging ) so it's a little confusing
I ask you if Jewish people are mainly Caucasian but not all Caucasians are Jewish how is it you can call all Pagans Wiccans ?
I am saddened that religion has become so black and white--and changed over the years. Take the Islam or Muslims now all lumped in as Terrorists, based on the track record of the Extremists. I wonder just how is it the Muslim/Islam religions became so twisted? I have friends in India who are very kind and gentle and caring and giving. Their religion is not one of hatred.
As a kid I met Muhammed Ali and he was the kindest and nicest man, with strong religion. I talked to him in the hospital with lots of questions as young kids have.
Now some of you might squint at the fact of the reincarnation teaching is a big thing---but break it down and simplify, if you think of the premise it was a way to teach people that what you do in this life matters (making you want to do the best in this so you can really do well in your next...) it's sort of a great teaching and may put people on their best behaviro.
Go back to the Extremist people of today who claim they have true Islam and Muslim foundations when only causing havoc, grief, terror, harm and even death to others. No where is this practiced in these religions and I can only think just like some religions things may have gone arwy. I can't believe things have became so broken.
So I suppose if you break it all down and want to know what I am, I'm a Nature-Lovin-Former-Catholic-With-Strong-Spiritual-Side-Paganistic Values-But-Not-Evil-Or-A-Witch-Who-Believes-Gay-Marriages-Should-Be-Legal-God-Might-Just-Understand-If-He-Sees-Your-Heart-Is-Pure one of a kind religion.
You asked, and I answered. I'm an artist, nothing is black and white. This is what I see:
I don't expect you to see it. I don't expect you to agree. In fact let's agree to disagree and still you will be my friend.
I live my life on the principal: Follow your heart and do the right thing and ask for guidance from your higher power. HE will guide you but not always in the direction you want to go. Look for the signs, they are there.