jillithian: (*lick* Cute Overload)
The part that made my ears perk up:
"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers."

I understand he did leave out a couple of religions, but I am mostly happy that he mentioned the "non-believers". It's sad that there are people in the House of Representatives and Senate that fall under that category but will not admit it in public for fear of retribution from their constituents. I am a Humanist. I guess I'm not particularly fond of the term "non-believer," but I will take what I can get in recognition.

A full transcript of President Obama's inaugural address can be found here: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Inauguration/Story?id=6689022
jillithian: (Grumpy)
It is articles like this one that make me very hesitant to ever travel to the Middle East:

From the BBC
Saudi cleric favours one-eye veil

A Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia has called on women to wear a full veil, or niqab, that reveals only one eye.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan said showing both eyes encouraged women to use eye make-up to look seductive.

The question of how much of her face a woman should cover is a controversial topic in many Muslim societies.

The niqab is more common in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, but women in much of the Muslim Middle East wear a headscarf which covers only their hair.

Sheikh Habadan, an ultra-conservative cleric who is said to have wide influence among religious Saudis, was answering questions on the Muslim satellite channel al-Majd.


Only being able to see out one eye would not be healthy for either eye and could be fatal in public and traffic when depth perception is required. Of course, many places in Saudi Arabia don't allow women to be seen in public without very strict requirements. People were protesting the Olympics in China for their lack of support for human rights, but the USA is no different when many of our top officials are bedfellows with Saudi Arabians that allow - or even PROMOTE - this kind of bullshit.

I have respect for people following their beliefs and faiths, but there are limits to what is a belief and a faith and what is just men dictating the actions of women.
jillithian: (Default)
I would not call myself a "trekkie". I'd be shunned and laughed at by true trekkies. I would not call my husband a trekkie, either, although he can tell you the entire plot and storyline of a Star Trek - Next Generation episode before the opening credits begin. However, many of my nights growing up were spent watching Next Generation and Deep Space Nine (Voyager was irritating and the original series was a little too campy for my tastes).

I only just discovered now that Gene Roddenberry was a humanist. Combine that with my high school discovery and later immersion into Kurt Vonnegut books and it shouldn't be a surprise that I found the humanist philosophy to match my beliefs so closely.

I suppose a child can have worse influences than a fleet of starships roaming the galaxy, creating alliances with vastly different races and trying to help civilizations in need.
jillithian: (cabin at sunset)
I'm not sure how the topic came up, but this weekend my mom and I were chatting and I had mentioned to her that I didn't remember when or what happened that I had changed from the little girl who loved singing songs in Sunday school to the Humanist I am today.

I remember in 8th grade during my confirmation classes my dad made me go to that I was devoutly non-religious already and, when assigned a paper about what happens when we die, I went into great detail of how worms slowly digest your brains. We lived in Germantown, Wisconsin, at that time.

I also remember Sunday school in 6th grade at the Lutheran church up in International Falls having singing contests with my fellow Sunday schoolmates to see who could sing the longest without a breath in that "Gloria... In excelsius deo..." song in the chapel.

Luckily, Mom, remembered. She said that I had told her that it happened in 6th grade. We were moving from International Falls to Waukesha, Wisconsin, the month before my birthday. My parents decided that I'd get a pool party at the Holiday Inn a month early so that all of my friends in the Falls would be able to come. In the process of moving down to Waukesha, I missed a few weeks of Sunday school.

In my 11 year old brain, I had figured that since we missed church and Sunday school for a good few weeks there, and nothing bad had happened, there must not be a god.

Five months later, we moved again to Germantown, Wisconsin. There I made friends with some girls who were huge fans of the growing "grunge" music scene - one of whom gave me a copy of Nirvana's Nevermind album. I bring this up because Nirvana's song "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle" inspired me to find out as much about Frances Farmer as I could during middle school. I even read Frances' autobiography "Will there really be a morning?" in which there is a section about how she wrote her infamous essay entitled "God Dies". She was a little girl and had prayed to God to help her find her hat, which she later found, but her friend's relative died and God hadn't prevented that. She thought that the huge disparity between the two occurances must mean that God was dead. This story just sounds like it enforced my earlier notion.

Incidentally, if I ever find my pre-teen daughter reading that book, I will have a heart attack. Definitely not appropriate reading material for, well, pretty much anyone.

I'm not writing this to convince anyone of any argument either way. I just have been thinking about this and the funeral I went to this morning added additional fodder for my brain processes. I also wanted to get this down in writing if I forget again.
jillithian: (Polly)
Remember last year when I thought I might have cancer of the thyroid and luckily ended up just having a nodulous thyroid instead?

Well, my co-worker is going through the same emotional roller coaster right now. Last week he had the biopsy on his neck that I had and they brought him back in today for some blood tests because they "show a concern for thyroid cancer". He's going in for a surgical consultation this week and probably surgery after that.

It's fucking scary to throw around that 'C' word. And even worse when it looks more and more probable.

I don't know what to say to him. After he got his biopsy I was telling him my story and how the first ultra sound lady said that Minnesotans just have very nodulous thyroids. And also how cancer of the thyroid is the best to have because it is the most treatable.

I don't have any more stories left to tell.

I know lots of people say things like "You'll be in our prayers" and things like that. I know he is very active in the Catholic community here in St. Cloud, so saying something like that might be fitting, but I don't pray. I got nothin' there. I'm not sure what to think. Or to say.
jillithian: (That kind of day)
While we were down in Florida visiting the parents for Christmas, there was an article in the St. Petersburg Times about how Intelligent Design was approved to be taught in public schools. You'll have to forgive me, but I cannot find the exact story I was reading. Here is the closest article I could find: On Evolution, Case Closed.

I have to admit I was shocked. The Tampa/St. Petersburg community is no small hick town back of beyond. This is a large metropolitan area!

One often hears of Christians denying evolution exists - claiming Creationism and Intelligent Design being the only options. I am not a Christian, but my mother is. She was raised Catholic up until the churches stopped having mass in Latin. She and Dad still go at least on Christmas and Easter. She's a firm believer in evolution. And she believes in God. To her, those two beliefs don't contradict each other. Why can't one assume that God would be able to create beings such that they would evolve and change as their surroundings changed? I would think that if a god wanted it's subjects to survive, it would create them such that they could evolve.

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Jill

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