The Tulsa Race Massacre

Reposted for the third time, for the benefit of our Traitor in Chief.

By June 1st, 1921, the violence had abated. Bodies smoldered in the streets beside the smoking ruins of an affluent black community, and many of those who survived the atrocity were imprisoned, where they remained. It was the first bombing by aircraft on US soil, committed by Americans against Americans. It would not be the last.
"I could see planes circling in mid-air. They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low. I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building. Down East Archer, I saw the old Mid-Way hotel on fire, burning from its top, and then another and another and another building began to burn from their top," wrote Buck Colbert Franklin (1879-1960)..."Lurid flames roared and belched and licked their forked tongues into the air. Smoke ascended the sky in thick, black volumes and amid it all, the planes — now a dozen or more in number — still hummed and darted here and there with the agility of natural birds of the air."


"The side-walks were literally covered with burning turpentine balls. I knew all too well where they came from, and I knew all too well why every burning building first caught from the top," he continues. "I paused and waited for an opportune time to escape. 'Where oh where is our splendid fire department with its half dozen stations?' I asked myself. 'Is the city in conspiracy with the mob?'"
The proximate cause for the violence was the arrest of a black man accused of attacking a white elevator operator, but the real cause wasn't the crime, nor even racism per se, but the underlying ugliness of a tribal instinct which leads us, still, to view others and their success as a threat to us, and worse, a mockery of our failures. Any difference will do; skin color, country of origin, religion, politics, class - the post-Civil War history of the United States is one of reactionary retrenchment of poor Southern whites.
In truth, the South couldn't really be said to be post-Civil War. Slavery continued under a new name, "peonage", in which sovereign citizens of this country were jailed on the slightest pretense, and sentenced to hard labor. Such labor was of course overwhelmingly black.  But even the antebellum slavery, replete with plantation, continued well into the 20th century. In that same year of 1921, some 11 murdered blacks were discovered, several of which killed by a black "cracker" working for a white man, John Williams. They were later convicted of the murders at what came to be known as the "Murder Farm". Williams wasn't the only postwar slaver, but trade in slaves continued until long after the war along routes from Alabama to Georgia.
This is the legacy of racism: outright warfare, generations condemned to poverty and denied educations, some still to this day segregated by race. And what are the racial breakdown of crime statistics but segregation by race?
We now find ourselves dealing not only with segregation, but an epidemic of violence by and toward blacks. If we consider the lesson of history, denying blacks their rightful property and place in society is hardly proof against poverty: today the majority of the poor in the South remain white, and poverty overwhelmingly lives in the South.
What can we learn from our dismal past?

President Trump Has Violated The First Amendment Rights of St. John's Episcopal Church

Because if Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.
~ James Madison, the second section of Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

This is not just an act of depraved hypocrisy. It is a deliberate attempt to enlist Christians in Trump's racist thuggery, and Bishop Budde at least is not having it. How many of her fellow believers will make such eloquent criticisms of Trump's act?
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
~ Acts 5:1 - 6, KJV

If there were no other arguments, if there were no other demonstrations or proofs, the existence of President Trump alone is sufficient to disprove a god of perfect love and goodness who nevertheless ordains such a one as to try to subborn the bride of Christ. I almost wish such a god did exist, but there is no fear of Ananias's fate in the bleak hollow heart of our Traitor in Chief.

Scientific Anti-Atheism Is A Lie...

...but so is the so-called presumption of atheism in science...

Cross-posted from Hemant Mehta's The Friendly Atheist conversation. Here's his Youtube video to which the following is addressed:

Morris is, of course, exactly right about the meaning of "atheist", which is literally "not" + "god" + "beleiver". It does not mean "without" or "lacking", though these are logical consequences of the prefix ~a, which is a privative, an affix which has the logical property of negating the root to which it is attached. Logically it is not NIL or NULL, it is NOT.

Now here's the thing: the word "god" ]is meaningless. There is no physical object to which the word "god" points. If there was, "god" would be as real as Pastor Morris, or the Prince of Denmark. No, not that Prince of Denmark - but Frederick, the actual human prince. The other prince, Hamlet, also has the characteristic of not having a physical object to point at. Like Hamlet, "god" is a work of fiction the meaning of which is entirely dependent on the text, which discloses the logical claim of "god's" identity.

This was in essence understood as far back as 500 BC, when Democritus described the gods as "eidola", or projections of human ideas. In fact atheists - those who believe god is not - have existed since then and likely earlier. Ancient Christians accused each other of being atheists since no two sects shared the same exact claim of "god" identity and nature, hence the one denied the reality of the other.

But that meaning no longer holds in popular "atheist" circles. They now come to claim that the word simply means "without" or "lacking" belief in god. Contrary to Mr. Mehta's claim, a shift in the meaning of the word "atheist" has happened, and relatively recently. We know precisely when, actually: when the philosopher Antony Flew published The Presumption of Atheism in 1976. I do not believe there are any dictionaries published prior to the popularization of Flew's argument that define "atheism" as the lack of belief in god - I've looked, and haven't found any. What is certain however is that Flew articulated the view many "atheists" now hold of themselves:
...Whereas nowadays the usual meaning of 'atheist' in English is 'someone who asserts that there is no such being as God, I want the word to be understood not positively but negatively... in this interpretation an atheist becomes: not someone who positively asserts the non-existence of God; but someone who is simply not a theist. The introduction of this new interpretation of the word 'atheism' may appear to be a piece of perverse Humpty-Dumptyism, going arbitrarily against established common usage...
So Flew introduced the idea that an "atheist" was one who simply did not believe that "God" exists. He explicitly argued that term as it was widely understood then ought to be changed, and he was so successful that the present generation of "atheists" neither realize this meaning is new nor that Flew - who later rejected atheism - was its originator.

To deny Morris's claims of what "atheist" has traditionally meant and that it has recently changed is to assert a falsehood born of ignorance. What's worse, doing so leaves the atheist open to his charge that the reason for this change is because contemporary "atheists" are afraid to argue that "god" does not exist. He is in fact exactly right in my view.

Which is a pity because arguing that "god" does not exist is as easy and straightforward as allowing the theist to define it, this "god". And this is where the actual argument Morris presents in the video isn't just wrong, it's a lie. A lie so big we atheists often buy into it without realizing it. Any "god" is a proposition, a claim, made by the theist. Scientifically speaking we do not proceed uncritically from the claim to empirical proofs or disproofs of it - that would be folly which would commit the already strained resources of scientists to a flood of impossible claims. Impossible claims are simply claims which cannot be true, given their own premises. They are logically contradictory.

The Christian "god" is an example of this. As is the "god" of Islam. In fact any god-claim which asserts the existence of an omnipotent being is false on its face, given the paradox of the stone. There are many other problems with this, of course, from contradictions with other "omni-" properties to the Euthyphro Dilemma. No claim which contradicts itself can be true - or, if one prefers, if it is "true" then "truth" is meaningless, since it is both true and untrue simultanously.

So yes, "atheist" does mean one who denies the existence of "god", and no, "god" is not an open ended undefined set which can contain possible though undefined members. That's literally a nonsense, and one long employed by theists themselves to discredit atheism. We ought not aid them in this effort.

And yes, there are those of us who claim to know that a given god does not exist. What's more, we can prove it.

Alex Marshall-Brown Is A Badass, North Hollywood's St. Paul's Lutheran Not So Much

Alex Marshall-Brown is an actress and stuntwoman who recently was working on her laptop at a shady spot of grass in front of St. Paul'...