NATIONAL HALL OF INJUSTICE

After reading article after article for the past 3.5 decades that demonstrate the nations slide away from tolerance and justice and toward a culture of bigotry and corporate dominance–mainly religious bigotry disguised as “religious freedom” and corporate dominance promoted as “free market capitalism” and “supply side economics”–I have decided create a hall of shame, concentrating on words and acts bigotry and deceit.

The National Hall of Injustice is an ongoing list of elected officials and political appointees such as judges and department heads, as well as outspoken citizens, clerics, and corporate personalities. Nominees who are approved for induction will receive the metaphorical Legion of Dishonor Award. Anyone may make a nomination and/or suggest changes or additions to the structure of the Hall, the definitions, or the Rules of Induction.

I invite anyone interested to be on the Board of Inductions. Necessarily, this board will consist of no more than 5 members, including myself.


Definitions: Injustice – Unfair treatment : a situation in which the rights of a person or a group of people are ignored or reduced. Justice – Fairness (I am taking a Rawlsian original position on the definition of fairness) Social justice is defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as “justice in terms of the distribution of wealth*, opportunities, and privileges within a society.”

* To clarify, “distribution of wealth” does not mean equal distribution, but equitable distribution. I am currently writing an article on the meaning of social justice and how the U.S. might look were it a truly just nation.

Bigotry is a state of mind where a person by actions or words obstinately, irrationally, unfairly or intolerantly dislikes or treats other people, ideas, etc. Other examples include degrading a person’s natural, physical appearance, personal beliefs, race, religion, national gender, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other group characteristics. (I use the Wikipedia definition because I like it.) 😀


Tentative rules for induction: 1. Nominee’s word(s) and/or action(s) must meet the above definition of injustice and/or bigotry (above). 2. Nominations must be accompanied by a verifiable, objective source (video, original, news agency, professional paper, blog, etc.). Preferably an image of the person(s) would be included as well. Information may be added or deleted over time.


More examples of bigotry and/or injustice: A. Personal attacks – includes verbal degradation of a person or group rather than making an objective argument against their actions or ideas. Personal attacks are used in politics on a daily bases as a means of thought-engineering/mind-control (propaganda) for the purpose of molding the public’s opinion of people and their ideas. Those who use this tactic are particularly dishonorable. B. Advocating injustice – Advocating or acting against another person or group (e.g., advocating and/or legislating to deny a segment of society the right to pursue happiness through marriage; advocating or acting against another religion or people of no religion without a secular, just cause; advocating and/or making laws for government control over the reproductive decisions of women and their doctors; advocating the propagation of a religion via law; advocating government sponsorship of a religion; advocating supply-side economics (redistribution of the wealth of the middle class to the already wealthy and the demise of labor unions). Currently, since I am the only member of the board of inductions, I will personally install the following personalities. Removal of names from the Hall may be suggested by anyone, but determined by the argument and/or evidence and decided upon by the board of inductions.


The National Hall of Injustice

John RobertsU.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wins the Legion of Dishonor Award for his outstanding display of injustice in leading the Majority in  effectively striking down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Although Roberts may have been acting in accordance with his true belief that racial and voting discrimination had ended, he certainly should have known better. It has been invigorated in conservative held States. Secondly, Roberts led the majority decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which effectively opened the door for massive corporate, political influence in voting and legislative bribery contrary to the ideals set up by the Founders and to the detriment of the Republic.


Antonin_Scalia

United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia earns the Legion of Dishonor Award for his part in effectively striking down the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and joining the majority in voting with the majority in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which resulted in greater corporate influence over federal legislation and elections, State and federal, resulting in a further the dismantling of the Republic.


Anthony KennedyUnited States Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joins the Legion of Dishonor for his part in effectively striking down the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and joining the majority in voting with the majority in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which resulted in greater corporate influence over federal legislation and elections, State and federal, resulting in a further the dismantling of the Republic.


Clarence ThomasUnited States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas receives the Legion of Dishonor for joining the majority in effectively striking down the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and joining the majority in voting with the majority in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which resulted in greater corporate influence over federal legislation and elections, State and federal, resulting in a further the dismantling of the Republic.


Samuel AlitoUnited States Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. receives the Legion of Dishonor for joining the majority in effectively striking down the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and joining the majority in voting with the majority in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which resulted in greater corporate influence over federal legislation and elections, State and federal, resulting in a further the dismantling of the Republic.

evil dick-cheneyRichard Bruce “Dick” Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States is today’s recipient of the Legion of Dishonor Award and hereby inducted into the NATIONAL HALL OF INJUSTICE for treason against the United States by exposing a NOC (Non-Official-Cover/deep cover) CIA agent, Valerie Plame Wilson–specializing in anti-WMD operations–and her front organization, Brewster-Jennings. Her outing, in turn, exposed all agents under that front organization as well as their foreign contacts. Plame was operations chief at the Joint Task Force on Iraq of the Counterproliferation Division of the CIA’s clandestine operations directorate. The CIA’s damage assessment, to this day, remains Top Secret. While no direct evidence has surfaced in relation to this crime, it is clear to the Board of Inductions that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Plame’s CIA operation was compromised by a leak from Cheney’s office in revenge against Plame’s husband, Joe Wilson, for his op-ed in the New York Times that refuted the administration’s claim that Iraq was attempting to buy “yellowcake” (the base material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment) from Niger. A subsequent criminal investigation was obstructed by Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s top advisor and firewall. Libby subsequently fell on his sword, was convicted of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and perjury. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison. G.W. Bush commuted the prison sentence.

Cheney deserves the Legion of Dishonor Award as well for his false statements and critical influence of President G.W. Bush to give unconfirmed, disputed, and false information to Congress in order to obtain the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.  This resolution gave the administration congressional permission to preemptively invade the sovereign nation of Iraq.

Cheney also was instrumental in the creation of America’s Gulag Archipelago of Blacksite Torture camps that used methods of enhanced interrogation (torture) in violation of international law, to which the U.S. was/is bound.

Roy-Moore-photoAlabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is today’s winner of the Legion of Dishonor Award for his open defiance of Constitutional law; specifically for his history of disregard for, or his ignorance of the intent of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. He is hereby inducted into the National Hall of Injustice.

Recently, Moore insisted that biblical law supersedes the Constitution, and to that end he issued an illegal order—demanding that local magistrates not issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples—in an effort to countermand the Supreme Court of the United States. For a judge to declare that his ancient, religious views override the Constitution and to act on that belief is, in the opinion of this Board of Inductions, judicial treason, punishable by firing and disbarment. He is a disgrace to the bench.


More Inductees coming as time allows



— Max T. Furr is author of The Empathy Imperative, a philosophical novel written in the spirit of the BBC/WGBH Boston production, God On Trial, a play written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, based on an event told by Elie Wiesel in his book, The Trial of God.
Is Yahweh’s justice and mercy something other than what humans believe justice to be? Have a seat in the Court of Answers.
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IN YOUR NAME: Guantánamo torturer led brutal Chicago regime of shackling and confession

The Guardian this morning has given us more to add to America’s shameful legacy. I post this because it could not be more antithetical to Human decency and empathy (short of ISIL and their ilk, of course). This is what our government became, in your name, and too much of it remains. I am going to establish a Hall of Dishonor and Shame and call for nominees.

A Chicago detective who led one of the most shocking acts of torture ever conducted at Guantánamo Bay was responsible for implementing a disturbingly similar, years-long regime of brutality to elicit murder confessions from minority Americans.


Max T. Furr is author of The Empathy Imperative, a hard-hitting, philosophical novel on the nature of justice and mercy and why we don’t have it.

Biblical Counseling — Exposing the Darkness Disguised As Light

I’ve little to add to this wonderful post. It should be required reading (including its links) to all parents and expecting mothers:

Victoria NeuroNotes

Excerpt from Got Questions.org:

Secular psychology is based on the ideas that man is basically good and that the answer to his problems lies within himself. The Bible paints a very different picture of man’s condition. Man is not “basically good”; he is “dead in trespasses and sins”(Ephesians 2:1), and the unregenerate heart is “deceitful and beyond all cure” (Jeremiah 17:9).

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Let’s Get Past The Ancient Chauvinism

As a matter of understanding and a blow for universal empathy between the genders, I reblog this video.

Victoria NeuroNotes

Ten types of women Christian men should not marry.  This video/article was just brought to my attention.  Thanks Tim.

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Religion Verses Atheism: A Misunderstood Debate

religion and science debateRecently on The Daily Tarheel, I posted a comment in support of same-gender marriage in which I chided religion for inhibiting advancements in the human condition. A contributor responded with a few questions which seemed to show that some good, religious folks have misunderstood the roll of atheists in relation to advancements in the human condition. Although I had not mentioned atheism in my original post, he wanted to know what atheism has contributed to humanity. I took this as an opportunity to elaborate, and decided to share the debate here.

I begin with my reply to his questions, which are incorporated below and are marked by <>:


Thank you for the questions. I always appreciate a civil debate. Forgive the lengthy reply, but your questions cannot be answered in a few words.

First, my argument has nothing to do with atheism. It has everything to do with religion-free Reason. Perhaps you could call it humanism. There are atheistic humanists, spiritual humanists, and religious humanists–and every shade within that spectrum. This applies, as well, to scientists the world over.

<>What advancements do you believe the anti-religionists of the 20th century brought to the world and the human psyche?

The question is a straw man argument. Again, I am not arguing atheism v religion. Advances in human societies have nothing to do with atheism, but everything to do with critical thinking. Better to ask what advancements have dogmatic religion brought to the world and to the human psyche. Dogma, by its very nature, is not a result of critical thought. (no condescension meant).

Once science divorced itself from religion and threw off (or set aside) the yoke of religious dogma, we achieved great strides in knowledge. In medicine, for example, we found that illness was not caused by demons, a devil, witchcraft, and/or a god’s punishment, but by organisms too small to see with the naked eye. The religion-free Scientific Method brought us cures for most of those diseases, and it will be religion-free science that conquers the Ebola virus.

For contrast, I researched the effectiveness of prayer and know that it does not work–subjective opinions notwithstanding. See: http://new.exchristian.net/201….

Too, science gave us knowledge that mental illness is not demonic possession, and this advancement led to cures and therapy instead of exorcisms. We no longer burn people to death because Reason has brought us empathy and understanding.

The Enlightenment brought us real astronomy (fought against by the church, fang and claw). Astronomy was nurtured by the birth of physics (where was the church here?)

The short if it is that the exclusion of religion in science has opened up humanity to every advancement known to the world and religion has been dragged along kicking, screaming, and killing. Reject science and you get ISIS (as an example).

<>If theism is out, what reason do you propose for our ability to reason?

My powers of reason (and yours) are a product of evolution. It developed because of its survival value just like most traits of all other species.

I sense that you would not agree with that. I will welcome your thoughtful arguments for Intelligent Design, but before you start, check out the documentary and trial transcripts of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. You can find them athttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/e…. Dr. Behe testified, and the judge was a conservative, appointed by a conservative.

<>When you consider world history, how has atheism fared in the promotion of world peace?

Again, it isn’t atheism v. religion. it is about Reason. Unfortunately, partly because of religion, science has had little effect on the human psychological thirst for domination and territoriality, and this, too, is a result of those traits we inherited from our evolutionary past. It is only when humanity realizes its own nature and whence it came will we be able to collectively do something about it. Better to ask what religion has contributed to world peace. Here is an article that will answer this question..

<>What religion(s) do you see killing each other in the names of their loving, merciful gods?

When you realize the real reason you disbelieve and oppose other religions, then, and only then, will you realize why they disbelieve and oppose yours. Muslims of every persuasion believe their god to be a loving god, so long as one is faithful to Islam. Christians believe their god to be a loving god so long as one is faithful to Christianity.

In the Muslim world, however, having rejected the Enlightenment, various denominations are even now killing each other. Surely you’ve noticed. Listen to many fundamentalist Christians who think we should nuke the Muslim nations and kill them all. I’ve debated many who advocate a “finial Crusade.” I suppose you might call that their “finial solution.” It is such a sad view, I think.

<>Where does the “golden rule” come from?

From many religions as well as the ancient sages. I’ve researched this as well: See: https://thebenevolentthou.com/2… for the list and the quotes.

<>How do you know that’s the only doctrine humanity needs?

The last answer lays out the reason.

<>Why do you list “love” as a prerequisite to marriage?

I did not “list” love as a “prerequisite” to marriage. This question is an equivocation on my argument that no one in this nation (U.S.) should be denied the right to marry someone he or she loves. This is not a theocracy. It is a secular nation. No religion has a right to dictate to others in society that they must abide by certain religious beliefs. You may not like what others do because of your religious beliefs, but since their actions bring no harm, they have every right to marry someone they love–the same right you reserve for yourself.

When Civil Rights and Libertarianism Collide

Image   What does it take to create a harmonious civil society? Individual rights are extremely important, but so are civil rights. Should individual rights trump civil rights? For me, a recent exchange of opinions with a self described libertarian on the social blog, SodaHead, highlighted this conflict.

First, I understand the position of the libertarian and I do sympathize. Libertarians believe that the individual is the sole arbiter of his associations, and not the government. I agree to an extent, but I argue that for the purpose of building and maintaining a civil society, there must be at least two exceptions, e.g., commerce and religion.

This clash of rights came to light lately when a baker refused his service to a gay wedding. The baker was not required to attend the wedding, but simply to bake and decorate the cake. He based his refusal on his religious beliefs. At first blush, one would tend to agree with the baker. After all, we do have the right to practice our religions. Yet, this practice sometimes runs afoul of law, which is the manifestation of the government’s obligation to guarantee all citizens equal access to commerce.

The government (We the People), have a compelling interest in the promotion of a civil society. While the baker, in his private life, has a sovereign right to association, in his business practices, he does not have the right to select which customers he will not serve. The gay couple’s right to equal access to commerce outweighs whatever right he may think he has for refusing his service.

He who has a business open to the public, must serve the public. Besides, the baker is not being forced to associate on a social bases with them, he is merely obligated to operate his business as usual, even if his cake does have two male or female figurines on top. This case illustrates my argument that religion is often divisive–a major hindrance to peace and harmony. Were the baker to follow the path of benevolent reciprocity–do unto others as you would have them do unto you–empathy would have dictated his actions. We should not be in the business of building walls, but dismantling those we’ve built.

The ACLU on Religious Freedom: Watchdog or Attackdog?

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A child is born neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Muslim, nor atheist, nor an adherent to any other brand of religious or philosophical order. A child is born a human being with an ability to learn, and from this raw material society builds her walls of nationalism and religious certitude. (Thoughts of Professor Hale from the novel, The Empathy Imperative, by Max T. Furr)

Note: The following post concerns a highly emotional subject, the effect of which is an impediment to reason and understanding. Most of us have heard the admonition to never discuss religion and politics with family and friends. Yet, these are the very subjects that must be discussed with family, friends and strangers—with civility, empathy and an open mind—if we are serious about our desire for social harmony and, someday far in the future, world peace.

I believe that most of us can agree that the only path to social harmony is empathy with benevolent reciprocity. Real social harmony cannot happen through organized religion, as I shall explain. Social harmony begins when each individual brings about harmony within himself. This is a difficult task because it is within each individual where we find the strongest impediment to reason and understanding; our genetically based sense of insecurity—an inclination to xenophobia (mistrust or fear of strangers and foreign concepts).

So, how do we begin to remove these impediments to understanding? Each of us must come to understand that this roadblock to reason is what builds our walls of radicalism and self-righteousness in matters of politics and religion.

The first step is to realize that, for most of us, what we believe to be sacred truth was a thing taught to us as from tothood. Had I been born a Muslim, I would most likely still be a Muslim and one of radical persuasion had the environment in my formative years been so inclined. Were I born a Hindu or a Sikh, I would most likely be so today. No matter where I was born, I would have been taught the religious truths of my family and society and I would have believed those truths every bit as fervently as others believe theirs. This is the fundamental understanding we must accept for the sake of reason and empathy. Whether or not one’s religious truths are actually true is not in question here. The only appeal is to understand that they are a function of happenstance of birth.

So, what has the ACLU and other such organizations to do with helping us move beyond our impediments to understanding? The argument I pose above is not one that will meet very many eyes and likely not many open to my reasoning. The very existence of organized religion is to placate our genetically based insecurity. Thus it is most difficult for us to move out of that comfort zone and view other beliefs with objective and empathetic eyes.

It is unfortunate that social harmony—such as it is today—must be imposed by law in every nation on earth. The reason is because of our impediments to understanding and empathy. We do not see eye to eye and often passionately so. This is why we must have laws and organizations that help us move beyond our natural, social and political prejudices.

In the United States, it was the brilliance of our founders that provided our nation the necessary Constitutional tool—a means to help us remove the barriers to understanding. That tool is the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Strong resistance to overcoming our walls of self righteousness is to be expected, but those who understand the intent of the clause must continue to use reason and civil debate in its defense. Even in the face of radical Islam we must not let go the means, but embrace it all the more.

It is common for a great many Christians to voice their believe that First Amendment watchdog groups like the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State are all about destroying or at least suppressing Christianity. Yet these organizations are the protectors of the means—the tool that protects each religion from the overreach of others by providing a peaceful environment conducive to learning and, hopefully, understanding why others believe differently.

Since Christianity is the predominant religion in the United States, I want to point out some facts, some necessarily approximated, that demonstrate what the Establishment Clause has brought about and what the Constitutional watchdog groups protect.

Not counting all other faiths, we have 350,000 Christian churches/congregations in the United States and thousands more in private homes, old business buildings and defunct shopping centers. By comparison, there are 98,706 primary and secondary public schools. There are, therefore, about 3.55 times as many Christian churches as there are public schools in the United States. The congregations worship in peace and no one is denying them that right.

Five hundred-forty dedicated Christian radio stations fire up daily in the U.S. Thousands of others become religious broadcasters on Sunday mornings. There are 49 dedicated Christian television networks broadcasting the messages of  about 55 televangelists. And, the Internet is replete with thousands of religious websites and blogs. No one has ever suggested that any of these be shut down.

We find a Gideon Bible in virtually every hotel/motel room. In secular bookstores, whole sections are dedicated to religion. Drug stores and truck stops have dedicated Christian book racks. Additionally, there are about 8,000 full-blown Christian bookstores. No one is trying to shut these down or force them to add books on science.

The Campus Crusade for Christ flourishes on our college campuses across the nation. Hospitals and some large corporations have chaplains and rooms dedicated to religious worship. No one as far as I know objects to any of this.

Further, religious organizations, including Christian organizations, enjoy tax and zoning exemptions. It is the general public—whether or not they all agree with the various doctrines—who make up the lost tax revenue.

Some religious organizations are even exempt from health and child protection laws (sometimes resulting in child abuse).

As well, students may carry their Bibles to school and/or pray silently most any time (especially before a math test). Students may gather around the flag pole before or after school and pray. Bible clubs are allowed.

Check your local newspaper daily for religious news, messages and service announcements.

So why do First Amendment watchdog groups oppose prayer and proselytizing in public schools and on other public property? Because few student bodies, especially large ones, are religiously homogeneous—not all students were taught the same religion. It is the right of every parent to teach their children the religious beliefs they, themselves, were taught and which they believe to be correct. It is the duty neither of the state, nor any teacher working for the state, nor any elected official to promote a particular religion.

A public school or any other government agency, therefore, may promote neither Christianity, nor Hindu, nor Islam, nor Catholicism, nor Protestantism. The Establishment clause, then, demands government neutrality in matters of religion.

First Amendment watchdog groups, then, are mainly responsible for protecting and promoting, not destroying, the religious freedom of every individual. Such protections promote the peaceful environment necessary for introspection and understanding—a chance for each individual to remove his impediments to personal and social harmony.

sources:

The Virginia Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_radio_stations#United_States

AmericanChurchList, Inc.

Digest of Educational Statistics, 1999

Religious Broadcasters on the Internet

Scientology & Dianetics

http://www.edreform.com/2012/04/k-12-facts/

Note: I am open to corrections on any data in this post.

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