sk8eycat, I love being over 70, we old ladies can just about do or say anything. I really like your response.
I have thought this through a bit more, and I also am feeling at this point that I should present some of my qualifications.
In the future when I wish to maintain total privacy in venues controlled by Born Again Christians, I am going to say, "I am sorry, but I am involved in such initiatives that I must keep my affairs private." Of course I don't attend their religious services. But there are still times when I need to venture into arenas which they do control, and where it would be a transgression against them and their religious freedom for me to agitate.
They are inclined to see any silence as being a display of shame, fear, regrets, skeletons in the closet, or indicative of being the subject of criminal or civil proceedings.
"Initiatives" is a term which suggests something else. It suggests offense and it suggests collective action. While it does not totally preclude some defensive concerns, it still suggests one who is involved in pursuits which could be antithetical to their world view. This is true. I am involved in matters where secrecy give me both tactical and strategic advantages. When I strike, I want decisive results. I earlier eras I have inflicted substantial consequences, so such conflicts and a life of stealth are not new to me.
Having said this now I wish to clarify something. At no time have I ever used silence in order to appease Born Agains for purposes of business, social acceptance, or family harmony.
More so than anyone I know, I have engaged in confrontations with Born Agains. I reserve the use of profanity in my speech for those rare occasions when I wish to provoke someone to violence. I have, when the situation called for it, approached Born Agains directly and called them the worst sorts of names within inches of their face. I have driven Born Agains off of a large apartment complex grounds, driven them in hasty backwards trot. Other times I have pursued them with a camera and photographed them on the sidewalk. I have taken down their car license numbers.
I used to call police to deal with their solicitors, until I found out that I can give much more effective warnings that the police department ever could. On one occasion they were so angered by my actions that they sent an 8 month pregnant woman over to scream at me.
I have lectured to a City Attorney that the First Amendment does not place them above the law, and gotten a local ordinance strengthened so that their door to door solicitors are subject to the same regulations as are commercial canvassers.
I have had local police remove contribution solicitors for one of their charities numerous times. By making regular patrols I have effectively banished them from an entire municipality.
I have engaged with the same group in another municipality where the local ordinances are different. Though I have not yet been able to remove them, I did provoke them to the point where one of their bosses threatened to send a "crew" over to beat me up.
So no, I am not afraid of them, I do not use silence to gain approval. I do not shy from engaging with them person to person and standing up to them. I have pushed the law to the very limits.
But this does not mean that I have zero peaceful contact with them. Nor do I deny them their constitutional guarantees of Equal Citizenship, Freedom of Speech, or Freedom of Religion. Rather my actions are a response to their attempts to deny the same freedoms to everybody else.
My standard position with them is, "I am opposed to the Born Again Christian Movement, I am opposed to concept of who is and who is not a Christian, who is and who is not Born Again, who is and who is not Saved. I am opposed to the making of professions of belief or of disbelief."
Notice here that I am not myself making any professions of belief, rather I am stating a political position. I do not support a literal objective theism. But nor am I promoting a specific belief of non-theism. I am not in this area a follower of persons like Jean-Paul Sartre or Bertrand Russel.
As far as silence implying consent, it depends on the situation. As you see, I am usually not silent. But also, once one defines oneself as a non-believer, atheist, or such, one is to some extent engaging in Live and Let Live. I am not doing that. I am not saying, "You believe this, and I don't, instead believing that." Usually I am saying that I am opposed to all belief systems. This most certainly challenges them. And particularly for the Christian Evangelicals, this is a most threatening position.
In situations when I am infiltrating and do present a wall of privacy, I am still a threat as they don't know why I am doing so and no one else does that.
I do have contact with them. Its not for business, social benefit or family harmony, its more for purposes of engagement and opposition to their actual actions. That is, I am not foremost concerned with attacking what they believe. They do have the right to believe what they believe. I am attacking some of the actions which they do, based on those beliefs.
In no way am I guilty of the heinous crimes of appeasement of or collaboration with the Born Again Christian Movement.
The reasons I have to be so guarded have to do with initiatives I am involved in. It is for this reason that I use a nom de guerre.
Valour knows no color, fly the mission.
Engage with ME-109's, naval vessels, and the ME-262 jet.
I don't like the phrase, "I'm sorry ... " because I am not sorry that I do or don't choose to do whatever. It sounds too much like asking for permission for things for which one does not need permission.
I like the term "initiatives".
Why do you want to provoke someone to violence? Has violence ever served you well? It never has for me but I get really angry sometimes and have been known to give a real tongue lashing when I have a strong feeling. (What is a tongue lashing when typing?) Anyway, there are those who claim I use strong concepts when aroused.
I like the camera and notebook tactic, and especially getting a ordinance to stop door to door proselytizers. I know how to do that!
"I'm sorry, but I prefere to keep my affairs private" is a phrase used in a social situations where one is being pressed to offer access to their public identity, and instead denying it.
So no, it is not like asking permission, it is a way of refusing outright and without appeal, but while still claiming the moral high ground. If the other party doesn't accept that, then other statements can be used. So no, it is not like aking permission.
Provoking Christians to violence or the very edge of it, has worked very well. I ruins their act. It exposes how much they are violating people. It also lets them know that their doings will not be tollerated.
I have just learned today that one obnoxious evangelist has been removed from a City Community Center by Police! I am over joyed. I might act to get this same guy removed from city parks too.
I basically agree with what Greg said about the whole Bible. But these are situations where the disparity is way way beyond the point where there could be a discussion. These people really see it as their obligation to try and get more people saved before the Rapture.
For myself I love the Bible. But I don't take a single word of it as prescription, truism, injunction, or prediction of the future. The strongest theme in the Bible is the never ending struggle to reject idolatry, while always people are creating new idolatries.
The song I mentioned as an adaptation of "Preacher and the Slave", written by Joe Hill in 1910 as he was organizing for the IWW. It is the origin of the term "Pie in the Sky".
Dan Barker also recorded a version where the chorus shouts "That's a LIE!" after the line "You'll eat pie in the sky when you die." The original ends with the singer whispering "That's a lie." Both versions are very effective.
I experience a disconnect here, "For myself I love the Bible. " The theme in the bible is not, at least as I read it, to end struggles to reject idolatry. Rather, I perceive both the old and new testament as prescriptions for control of a person over another or one culture over another.
The obvious example: women, submit to husbands. I don't need to hear that I am taking the phrase out of context ... of course I am ... but the imperative remains. Am I, I reasonable, thinking, problem solving, conflict resolving human being to submit to a brute or fool of a husband because the bible and it's community tell me that is what should be done?
As to culture over another, where should I start, with the old or new testament? Oh, the images evoked in me about cultural slaughter by god and followers just turns my stomach. You know as well as I where to find such images.
I say, toss out the bible, get a copy of Shakespeare and read the language of those ages and you will get more out of them ... although I am not a great fan of that era.
What I like are the written words of Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson or Lawrence Krauss. Reading them, I get goosebumps, I imagine wonderful things happening without my having to lift a finger, just enjoy it, and then go in my garden and express my gratitude for rich soil, clean air, fresh water. Now that is where I get my charge. In fact, I am going to my freezer right now and take some raspberries I grew last summer, and get them out for dinner tonight.
I look forward to your project. I shall read it.
About the Bible and the rejection of idolatry, an excellent source is Douglas Rushkoff's "Nothing Sacred, the truth about Judaism." Rushkoff is a Jew who refuses to belong to any synagogue.
Idoloatry is what needs to control people and make them submit. It can be idolatry about Baal, Ashera, or Yaweh or Jesus, or anything else.
The Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong speaks of "Theistic Appropriation", as it unfolded in Christianity. The earliest instance of it which he cites is Peter's speech from the Upper Room on Pentecost. I call such thinking and such langauge, "New Wine". It is the basis of the fundamentalist Bible literalism used by Pentecostals.
The Old Testament profets were people who attacked idolatry, really they were attacking religion. No different for Jesus.
People misunderstand the bible thinking that the above mentioned persons were supporting religion. No way!
The most common artifact in the ground in Israeal is Ashera's. Judaism was a minority movement rejecting that.
Only in the Second Temple era did it become dominant, and become idolotry itself.
People fight idoloatry, but in the process they are always making new idolotries. This is just how it goes.
Still this way today.
Radicalized Judiasm is Humanism, or even Atheism.
Properly understood, the same applies to Chirtianity and Islam.
I didn't make myself clear; let me see if I can rephrase it. When I hear someone say, "I am sorry" when they don't have anything to be sorry about, or being sorry for saying something that disagrees with another seems to be demeaning.
When I hear someone ask for permission when they don't have any reason to seek permission it puts the permission seeker in a weak position relative to the other.
Forgiveness is another word that is useless. If one person insults or does some other put-down kind of behavior and the one being insulted forgives the behavior, both participate in a dance of hierarchy. Many people make a big deal out of forgiving another's transgression and I say that is just about as stupid as putting your hand in the cage of a raging lion. Forgiveness solves nothing. It allows the insulter to continue insulting and it wounds the person being insulted. Once an insult occurs, either verbally or physically, the relationship ends. There is no point in continuing because a person insults when he or she has insulting perception of the other. That does not change with forgiveness.
About the phrase "I'm sorry", you might think of it as a stylized ritual submission. That is, if person A has put themselves in the role of interrogator and is asking questions of B. B may respond with "I'm sorry, but I prefere to keep my affairs private." Thus B is pointing out to A that they are being excessive, without actually shattering A's entire game.
Believe me, in the situations I use it, it is extremely provocational. Most Born Again venues promote interrogation as the social norm.
I am involved in "initiatives" which require some social contact. Also, I want to reclaim public space.
I just learned yesterday that one particularly obnoxious self appointed evangelist was escorted out of a city owned Community Center by police. The staff finally has had it with him, saying that he was bothering people. So they acted.
I am thrilled to hear this. I have not yet commited to this, but I may opt to try and have this person run out of the city parks as well.