LA - 11.04.12 - Secularism and Equality
Posted: 06 October 2012 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  114
Joined  2006-02-09


Secularism and Equality

11 a.m., Sun., November 4, 2012

There’s a lot of discussion and disagreement these days about whether or not issues of equality and social justice belong in the secularist/atheist/skeptic movements. How you answer depends on how you understand “belong.” It is perfectly possible to be an atheist and skeptic while not being an egalitarian, because atheism and skepticism don’t entail egalitarianism as a matter of logic, according to writer Ophelia Benson.

On the other hand, atheism and secularism do make a comfortable fit with egalitarianism, and they have historically been companions. Theism is often closely connected with female subordination, so atheism is often closely connected with gender equality. It is not a matter of marching orders or mandates but a matter of compatibility.

Benson has operated the website Butterflies and Wheels for more than 10 years. Her blog of the same name is on the Freethought Blogs network.

Benson co-authored three books with Jeremy Stangroom: The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense; Why Truth Matters; and Does God Hate Women? She is also a columnist for Free Inquiry, The Freethinker, and The Philosophers’ Magazine.

WHEN: 11:00 a.m., Sunday, November 4, 2012

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Posted: 14 December 2012 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Total Posts:  419
Joined  2007-08-24

Christmas, my way

Here it is, another Christmas where many humans are either delighted to share this holiday with family members.  Personally I found this holiday a tad depressing because it meant many members of my family using the birth of some God as an excuse to get drunk and do silly things.  I used to wonder why my family would face the anxiety of holidays by ruining the day for others.  We never talked about this but my grandmother would prepare and house and all the makings for our Christmas eve feast and part of the preparation would be to take me down to Martindale’s Bookstore where I could choose one very special book and that would allow me to look forward to this Christian holiday and sneak away up in the apple tree in our back yard.  This was my book and had a sticker with my name on it and it was the one book I could underline and dog ear and read it more than once.

I grew up with my very own book and began to choose books to give to my younger cousins.  This was my action and my gift to others.  I was given a job prior to our feast and it was to pick the pea pods off the vines and soak them clean where we would have fresh peas for our dinner and pea soup for Christmas day where my grandmother would fry bacon and I could crumble it over our large mugs of soup.  This split pea soup was what my grandfather called our sample soup and we kept sampling it all day long.  My grandfather did not drink and our soup would be the highlight of our Christmas day.  He would drive the family to church on Christmas morning and I was excused from going with him.  My job was to lay out all the beautiful presents under our tree and the minute the family came home from church we were allowed to quickly open our gifts before the people got too drunk to enjoy the presents.

I began to plan my own Christmases and Santa Monica had a number of poor families whose fathers were serving in World War 2.  My grandfather allowed me to choose some books for my cousins and/or neighbor’s kids on our street.  I knew they would not treasure those books as I treasured mine but maybe they would later in their lives.  As I grew older on our house on Fifth Street, I realized that our YMCA sold the best Christmas trees of any tree lot.  I would often help clean up the lot on Wilshire Boulevard and gather some pine branches with pretty ribbons and hand them out to people who could not afford the 8 foot trees that were so expensive.  My grandmother had wonderful artistic eye for the perfect trees and grandpa would push a giant pine tree into the back seat of our black shiny Packard car.  I learned to drive on that monster car and I treated it like my own carriage.  What a strange association I had with the YMCA and Christmas.  My Christmas this year will be very much a part of how I chose gifts to help our local Palm Desert YMCA.  I swim in their aquatic center and discovered their collection of toys to be given to the children when they will have a chance to choose from a large barrel of toys furnished by those of us who belong to the local YMCA. 

Yesterday I hit the toy store here and filled two trash liners with books, games, dolls, coloring books and all colors of crayolas.  My grandkids are married and living in lovely desert homes with every possible combination of goodies they would ever want.  When they have their babies I will become my grandmother and we will choose that one special book that will be theirs for keeps. 

As I poured my first mug of coffee and fixed my old cat’s medicine and finely ground dry food I heard the news that 26 young children were shot, possibly to death.  The shooter put a bullet into his mother and killed her.  I reached down and smoothed the black satin fur of my ancient cat and was delighted that she would share my Christmas one more year. 

My J.J. will be here on Monday and we will take those bags of toys over to the YMCA and watch their eyes light up when they will share the bags of toys with each other.  The final fun thing will be when my old cats find the little bag of ping pong balls that will set off the final burst of joy in my living room.