Technorati search

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's 666, Do you know where your Devil is?

Well, that day foretold by many Hollywood hype-sters has come. 6-6-06 .

Today is the Devil's Day to a few... just another day to the majority of us normal people though.

Christian fundamentalists all over the world are preaching doom and gloom...but you know what? They need to look around. Doom and gloom has been going on for a while. People all over the world are starving to death...dying from treatable illnesses, killing each other in unnecessary wars over oil and who's god is bigger and better. Armegeddon has been here a while...we were just to blinded by our own greed and stupidity to see it.

So...sit back and enoy the Day. You know what that say...the Devil will have his due!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Top Veteran Official Joins Pentacle Debate

Over the years, families have used religious symbols such as the Jewish Star of David, the Christian cross and the Islamic crescent and star to honor their loved ones on headstones and markers. For Sgt. Patrick Stewart's family, the symbol of choice was also from his religion: the Wiccan pentacle.

But of all the symbols and faiths recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Wicca and its emblem a circle around a five-pointed star are not among them.

The department is reviewing a request to include the symbol, but when a decision will come is unclear.

That has angered many. The state's top veterans official, Tim Tetz, said he was "diligently pursuing" the matter with Gov. Kenny Guinn, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev.

"Sergeant Stewart and his family deserve recognition for their contributions to our country," said Tetz, executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services.

"It's unfortunate the process is taking so long, but I am certain Sgt. Patrick will ultimately receive his marker with the Wiccan symbol," he said Thursday.

Stewart, 34, had enlisted in the Army after he graduated from Reno's Wooster High School in 1989 and served in Desert Storm.

ABC News is reporting that after completing his active duty, Stewart enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in 2005 and went to Afghanistan. He was killed there last September when the helicopter he was in was shot down.

Stewart, of Fernley, who was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was a follower of Wicca. Wiccans consider themselves witches, pagans or neo-pagans, and say their religion is based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons.

The Veterans Affairs' National Cemetery Administration allows only approved emblems of religious beliefs on government headstones.

Over the years, it has approved more than 30, including symbols for the Tenrikyo Church, United Moravian Church and Sikhs. There is also one for atheists.

Stewart's widow said she's hopeful she will receive permission for the Wiccan pentacle.

For the rest of this disturbing story go HERE

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Religious coercion

The Louisville, KY Courier-Journal is reporting that when Russell County High School held its graduation last week, Baptist minister Mark Lawless and several members of his congregation showed up with signs that advertised their religious convictions.

They were unhappy that a federal judge refused to let a student-chosen speaker, Megan Chapman, include a prayer in her opening remarks, as has been the practice for decades at the school's commencements.

A member of this year's senior class had objected to having someone else's religious views forced on him during the exercises, and the judge issued an order to prevent it. But, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Rev. Lawless charged it was "a travesty that a minority view could override a majority view" in such matters.

The real travesty is that Rev. Lawless believes majority rule should apply when it comes to matters of religion.

The student suspected of objecting to prayer at the Russell High graduation was booed during rehearsal. So much for loving one another and turning the other cheek. So much for protecting him from religious orthodoxy.

At the exercise itself, about 200 seniors interrupted the principal with a recitation of the Lord's Prayer. That was greeted with a standing ovation in the crowded gymnasium. The school superintendent said this showed the students had been successfully trained as "critical thinkers."

It's a shame they hadn't been better educated about American history and American government.

This country was founded by, among others, colonists who wanted to escape the tyranny of religious majorities. The Bill of Rights was written to protect the individual liberties of Americans from assaults by intrusive government, with the approval of political majorities.

Imposing religious conformity is not what the Founders had in mind. Neither is turning a public school ceremony into a religious exercise.

One can imagine the reaction of Protestant parents, had a student from another faith tradition (say, Catholic) subjected classmates to a non-Protestant devotion (say, the Rosary).

Jeff's Controversy Starter: "As the parent of 4 kids all seemingly interested in different religious paths, this kind of activity disturbs me. I wonder if Mr (Rev. ?) Lawless (an amazingly appropriate name) thinks that early Christians in Rome should've submitted to the majority view and converted back to Paganism? I like some bumper stickers I have observed lately:

"What's right isn't always popular, and what's popular isn't always right."

And the best one:

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."

School District to Monitor Student Blogs

ABC News is reporting that high school students in Libertyville, Illinois are going to be held accountable for what they post on blogs and on social-networking Web sites such as

The board of Community High School District 128 voted unanimously on Monday to require that all students participating in extracurricular activities sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of "illegal or inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action.

The rule will take effect at the start of the next school year, officials said.

District officials won't regularly search students' sites, but will monitor them if they get a worrisome tip from another student, a parent or a community member.

Mary Greenberg of Lake Bluff, who has a son at Libertyville High School, argued the district is overstepping its bounds.

"I don't think they need to police what students are doing online," she said. "That's my job."

Associate Superintendent Prentiss Lea rebuffed that criticism.

"The concept that searching a blog site is an invasion of privacy is almost an oxymoron," he said. "It is called the World Wide Web."

The social networking Web site allows its nearly 80 million users to post pictures and personal information while communicating with others.

District 128, in Lake County north of Chicago, has some 3,200 students, about 80 percent of whom participate in extracurricular activities, according to school officials.

Today in History - May 24

1944 Frank Oz, puppeteer (Yoda), writer, producer, actor, director, born.

1962 8:45 am EST Aurora 7 (Mercury 7) launched, piloted by Scott Carpenter. Flight duration 4 hrs 56 min 5 sec

Monday, May 15, 2006

Today in History - May 15

1960 Sputnik 3 is launched.

1963 9:04am EST Faith 7 (Mercury 9) launched. Gordon Cooper. 1st pilot-controlled re-entry. Flight duration 1 day 10 hrs 19 min 49 sec.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Decline and fall of the Roman myth

From a story from The London Times

"We were ‘barbarians’, but early British civilisation outshone the Roman version", says Terry Jones (Yes, THAT one). "We just lost the propaganda war"

Nobody ever called themselves barbarians. It’s not that sort of word. It’s a word used about other people. It was used by the ancient Greeks to describe non-Greek people whose language they could not understand and who therefore seemed to babble unintelligibly: “ba ba ba”. The Romans adopted the Greek word and used it to label (and usually libel) the peoples who surrounded their own world.

The Roman interpretation became the only one that counted, and the peoples whom they called Barbarians became for ever branded — be they Spaniards, Britons, Gauls, Germans, Scythians, Persians or Syrians. And, of course, “barbarian” has become a byword for the very opposite of everything that we consider civilised.

The Romans kept the Barbarians at bay for as long as they could, but finally they were engulfed and the savage hordes overran the empire, destroying the cultural achievements of centuries. The light of reason and civilisation was almost snuffed out by the Barbarians, who annihilated everything that the Romans had put in place, sacking Rome itself and consigning Europe to the Dark Ages. The Barbarians brought only chaos and ignorance, until the renaissance rekindled the fires of Roman learning and art.

It is a familiar story, and it’s codswallop.

The unique feature of Rome was not its arts or its science or its philosophical culture, not its attachment to law. The unique feature of Rome was that it had the world’s first professional army. Normal societies consisted of farmers, hunters, craftsmen and traders. When they needed to fight they relied not on training or on standardised weapons, but on psyching themselves up to acts of individual heroism.

Seen through the eyes of people who possessed trained soldiers to fight for them, they were easily portrayed as simple savages. But that was far from the truth.

The fact that we still think of the Celts, the Huns, the Vandals, the Goths and so on as “barbarians” means that we have all fallen hook, line and sinker for Roman propaganda. We actually owe far more to the so-called “barbarians” than we do to the men in togas.

In the past 30 years, however, the story has begun to change. Archeological discoveries have shed new light on the ancient texts that have survived and this has led to new interpretations of the past. In Roman eyes the Celts may have lacked battle strategy, but their arms and equipment were in no way inferior to the Roman army’s. In fact the Celts had better helmets and better shields.

When the Romans got to Britain they found another technological advance: chariots. It may seem odd to those of us brought up on Ben Hur that the Romans should have been surprised by chariots on the battlefield, but that was the case.

The Romans had chariots, but the Britons made significant design improvements and, as Julius Caesar noted, had thoroughly mastered the art of using them. So how come the Romans built roads and the Celts did not? The answer is simple. The Celts did build roads. The “Romans-were-greatest” version of history made the earlier roads invisible until recently. One of the best preserved iron age roads is at Corlea in Ireland, but it was not until the 1980s that people realised how old it is. It was known locally as “the Danes’ road” and generally assumed to be of the Viking period or later. It was not until the timbers were submitted for tree-ring dating that the truth emerged: they were cut in 148BC.

However, the really startling thing is that wooden roads built the same way and at the same time have been found across Europe, as far away as northern Germany. The Celts, it seems, were sophisticated road builders and the construction of these wooden roads was no mean feat of engineering.

Oak planks were laid on birch runners and they were built broad enough for two carts to pass each other. What’s more, Celtic road building is not necessarily predated by that of the Romans. The first important Roman road was the Appian Way, built in 312BC, but the so-called “Upton Track” in south Wales, a wooden road laid across the mudflats along the Severn estuary, dates back to the 5th century BC.

It is only now that historians are beginning to reassess the sophistication of Celtic science and engineering. From early times the Celts were the iron masters of Europe. A Celtic smith was regarded as a magician, a man who could take a lump of rock and transform it into a magical new substance — a cunningly worked steel blade sharp enough to cut through bronze or ordinary iron.

The Celts’ mastery of metal technology also enabled them to develop sophisticated arable farms. We know they had iron ploughshares in Britain from about the 4th century BC because in a shrine at Frilford on the River Ock, near Abingdon in Oxfordshire — a site that was occupied from about 350BC — an iron ploughshare was found under one of the central pillars where it had been buried, perhaps as a votive offering. It is a fair guess that the temple was one of the first buildings to be erected there and that the iron ploughshare was offered at the time that its foundations were laid.

The Celts’ use of metal even allowed them to invent a harvesting machine. Historians did not believe that it could be true until bas-relief sculptures were discovered that apparently show just such a contraption. It was a sort of comb on wheels that beat off the ears of corn and deposited them in a container rather like the grass box of a lawnmower. A replica was built and tested in the 1980s.

It has been easy to underestimate Celtic technological achievements because so much has vanished or been misunderstood. Of course, it was thoughtless of the Celts not to leave us anything much in the way of written records — they should have known that the lack of books putting forward their own propaganda would weight the evidence firmly in favour of the Romans.

Western society’s enthusiasm since the renaissance for all things Roman has persuaded us to see much of the past through Roman eyes, even when contrary evidence stares us in the face. Once we turn the picture upside-down and look at history from a non-Roman point of view, things start to look very, very different.

“There are no Atheists in Foxholes”

Everyone in the military has heard the old cliché, “There are no Atheists in Foxholes.” Well, not true; not only are there Atheists, but there are Pagans, Christians, and people of many different religious paths. As an Eclectic Wiccan and a Non Commissioned Officer in the United States Army, I can speak from experience.

In the days prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, I frequently walked out a ways from everyone, while staying within the secured perimeter, drew my circle and performed my solitary ceremonies / rituals. I often asked for protection, courage and strength for my soldiers and myself in the upcoming conflict. On a few occasions, other soldiers walked upon me in the middle of my ceremonies / rituals and asked what I was doing. When I would explain, most of them would ask if I could bless them also, in which I would comply. I know for a fact that a few of them were devout Christians. The day before we crossed the Iraqi border, I drew runes of protection on all the vehicles in my section. My section was in many of the engagements on the way to Baghdad, and none of the vehicles or my soldiers were ever hit with any enemy fire. We had a few close calls, but all my soldiers made it home safely. Some may say that it was luck or coincidence, but I believe that my ceremonies had at least a small part to do with it.

On one occasion in particular, as the sun was setting, I had just finished drawing my circle and cleansing the area. I was meditating to clear my mind in the growing darkness when four soldiers approached my circle and asked what I was doing. I explained that I was about to ask the Goddess and God to watch over my soldiers and myself in the upcoming conflict and cast a spell of protection over them and myself. They asked a few questions about my religion and about magic, and I explained about my path and about magic, as best I could. The whole time they were very respectful. After a little while, one of the soldiers mentioned that they needed to get back to their squad. But before leaving they asked if I would mention them to my God and Goddess. One of them commented that a little extra protection was always welcome, no matter where it came from. I felt uplifted by the respect in their voices and actions. Before I began my ceremony / ritual again, I inspected the circle that I traced in the sand. To my surprise none of them had disturbed or crossed it, even in the fading light where it was very difficult to see. I included their names in my ritual and in my spell of protection.

Read the rest of this story HERE

A New Start

Hail, and Well Met All!

It has been a long while since I posted. After the negative happenings on the old Lynchburg VA blog, I was determined to beat them and do it better. Wrong way to start a new project and I got bored very quickly. is with a new outlook that I re-open the Lynchburg VA USA blog. I plan to post things of a variety of interests, without regard to political correctness. If you are easily offended, this may not be the blog for you. However, if you like to look at things the way they actually are, then stick around.

One warning though, not every thing will be G-rated, so parents you may want to supervise your children.

Peace and Light


Friday, March 17, 2006

Judge Orders God To Break Up Into Smaller Deities

WASHINGTON, DC—Calling the theological giant's stranglehold on the religion industry "blatantly anti-competitive," a U.S. district judge ruled Monday that God is in violation of anti-monopoly laws and ordered Him to be broken up into several less powerful deities.

"The evidence introduced in this trial has convinced me that the deity known as God has willfully and actively thwarted competition from other deities and demigods, promoting His worship with such unfair scare tactics as threatening non-believers with eternal damnation," wrote District Judge Charles Elliot Schofield in his decision. "In the process, He has carved out for Himself an illegal monotheopoly."

The suit, brought against God by the Justice Department on behalf of a coalition of "lesser deities" and polytheistic mortals, alleged that He violated antitrust laws by claiming in the Holy Bible that He was the sole creator of the universe, and by strictly prohibiting the worship of what He termed "false idols."

"God clearly commands that there shall be no other gods before Him, and He frequently employs the phrase 'I AM the Lord' to intimidate potential deserters,"

Prosecuting attorney Geoffrey Albert said. "God uses other questionable strong-arm tactics to secure and maintain humanity's devotion, demanding, among other things, that people sanctify their firstborn to Him and obtain circumcisions as a show of faith. There have also been documented examples of Him smiting those caught worshipping graven images."

Attorneys for God did not deny such charges. They did, however, note that God offers followers "unbeatable incentives" in return for their loyalty, including eternal salvation, protection from harm, and "fruitfulness."

"God was the first to approach the Jewish people with a 'covenant' contract that guaranteed they would be the most favored in His eyes, and He handed down standards of morality, cleanliness, and personal conduct that exceeded anything else practiced at the time," lead defense attorney Patrick Childers said. "He readily admits to being a 'jealous' God, not because He is threatened by the prospect of competition from other gods, but because He is utterly convinced of the righteousness of His cause and that He is the best choice for mortals. Many of these so-called gods could care less if somebody bears false witness or covets thy neighbor's wife. Our client, on the other hand, is truly a 'People's God.'"

In the end, however, God was unable to convince Schofield that He did not deliberately create a marketplace hostile to rival deities. God's attorneys attempted to convince the judge of His openness to rivals, pointing to His longtime participation in the "Holy Trinity," but the effort failed when Schofield determined that Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are "more God subsidiaries than competitors."

To comply with federal antitrust statutes, God will be required to divide Himself into a pantheon of specialized gods, each representing a force of nature or a specific human custom, occupation, or state of mind.

"There will most likely be a sun god, a moon god, sea god, and rain god," said religion-industry watcher Catherine Bailey. "Then there will be some second-tier deities, like a god of wine, a goddess of the harvest, and perhaps a few who symbolize human love and/or blacksmithing."

Leading theologians are applauding the God breakup, saying that it will usher in a new era of greater worshipping options, increased efficiency, and more personalized service.

"God's prayer-response system has been plagued by massive, chronic backlogs, and many prayers have gone unanswered in the process," said Gene Suozzi, a Phoenix-area Wiccan. "With polytheism, you pray to the deity specifically devoted to your concern. If you wish to have children, you pray to the fertility goddess. If you want to do well on an exam, you pray to the god of wisdom, and so on. This decentralization will result in more individualized service and swifter response times."

Other religious experts are not so confident that the breakup is for the best, pointing to the chaotic nature of polytheistic worship and noting that multiple gods demand an elaborate regimen of devotion that today's average worshipper may find arduous and inconvenient.

"If people want a world in which they must lay burnt offerings before an earthenware household god to ensure that their car will start on a cold winter morning, I suppose they can have it," said Father Thomas Reinholdt, theology professor at Chicago's Loyola University. "What's more, lesser deities are infamous for their mercurial nature. They often meddle directly in diplomatic affairs, abduct comely young mortal women for their concubines, and are not above demanding an infant or two for sacrifice. Monotheism, for all its faults, at least means convenience, stability, and a consistent moral code."

One deity who is welcoming the verdict is the ancient Greek god Zeus, who described himself as "jubilant" and "absolutely vindicated."

"For thousands of years, I've been screaming that this third-rate sky deity ripped me off wholesale," said Zeus, speaking from his Mt. Olympus residence. "Every good idea He ever had He took from me: Who first created men in his own image? Who punished mankind for its sins? Who lived eternally up in the clouds? And the whole fearsome, patriarchal, white-beard, thunderbolt thing? I was doing that eons before this two-bit hustler started horning in on the action."

Lawyers for God say they plan to appeal Schofield's ruling and are prepared to go all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

"This decision is a crushing blow to God worshippers everywhere, and we refuse to submit to a breakup until every possible avenue of argument is pursued," Childers said. "I have every confidence that God will ultimately win, as He and His lawyers are all-powerful."

The Framers and the Faithful

How modern evangelicals are ignoring their own history.

Thomas Jefferson stood, dressed in a black suit, in a doorway of the White House on Jan. 1, 1802, watching a bizarre spectacle. Two horses were pulling a dray carrying a 1,235-pound cheese—just for him. Measuring 4 feet in diameter and 17 inches in height, this cheese was the work of 900 cows.

More impressive than the size of the cheese was its eloquence. Painted on the red crust was the inscription: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” The cheese was a gift from religious leaders in western Massachusetts.

It may seem surprising that religious leaders would be praising Jefferson, given that his critics had just months earlier been attacking him as an infidel and an atheist. In the 1800 election, John Adams had argued that the Francophile Jefferson would destroy America's Christian heritage just as the French revolutionaries had undermined their own religious legacy. Adams supporters quoted Jefferson's line that he didn't care whether someone believed in one god or 20, and they argued that the choice in the election was: “God—And a religious president...[or] Jefferson—and no God.”

But in a modern context, the most remarkable thing about the cheese is that it came from evangelical Christians. It was the brainchild of the Rev. John Leland—a Baptist and, therefore, a theological forefather of the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham. Even though Jefferson was labeled anti-religion by some, he had become a hero to evangelicals—not in spite of his views on separation of church and state, but because of them. By this point, Jefferson had written his draft of the Virginia statute of religious freedom, and he and James Madison were known as the strictest proponents of keeping government and religion far apart. Because Baptists and other evangelicals had been persecuted and harassed by the majority faiths—the Anglicans in the South and the Puritan-influenced Congregationalists in the North—these religious minorities had concluded that their freedom would only be guaranteed when majority faiths could not use the power of the state to promote their theology and institutions.

Each side of our modern culture wars has attempted to appropriate the Founding Fathers for their own purposes. With everything from prayer in school to gay rights to courtroom displays of the Ten Commandments at stake, conservative and liberal activists are trying to capture the middle ground and win over public opinion. Portraying their views as compatible with—even demanded by—the Founding Fathers makes any view seem more sensible, mainstream, and in the American tradition. And in truth, you can find a Jefferson or Adams quote to buttress just about any argument. But there are a few facts that might actually be stipulated by both sides in the culture wars. First, the original Constitution really didn't say all that much about religion. God is not mentioned, and the only reference to religion is a ban on providing religious tests for holding office. (Ask why, and the arguments would resume with fury: Conservatives say the Founders left it out because they wanted the states to regulate religion; liberals say it was because the framers were secularists who wanted strict separation between religion and government).

Read the rest of the story HERE

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

US Navy Shipbuilders report new contracts

US Navy Shipbuilding Contractors hurt by the recent downsizing in our Navy's ship construction have reportedly taken on contracts from outside agencies. These Naval Construction Contracts (NCC) should help the economy in the Newport News area, especially welcome at this time of year.

US Navy personnel declined to comment.