Thursday, November 04, 2004

the moral majority is neither

I am getting really tired of hearing all the jackasses interviewed saying they voted for President (not a Texan) because of Moral Values.


You are voting for the moral values of middle class white christians.

Our founding fathers got kicked out of almost every country in Europe cause they wanted freedom of religion and seperation of church and state.

STOP telling me you feel GW has moral values. The man did a lot of coke, drank, was a fornicator, barely made it out of school, welched on his duties in the Air Force Reserve, then magically was "born again"(after he married a strong woman from Texas who put a whuppin on him) and now espouses the fanatic christian right wing voice.

Moral Values?
Freedom of Speech, Choice & Religion
Seperation of Church and State
Civil Liberties
Respect for others

these are the moral values we should fight for.

My pal OMJ and I spoke last night, and he had good thoughts from someone else.
"Spend 5 minutes thinking about the election, then continue the work we should be doing"

I agree.

Get over it. But do not give up. Start or continue working for Civil Rights, Education, Freedom, Justice, Living Wage,..... make the country better. Start in your neighborhood. Make the world better for all our kids. Not just YOUR kids.

here's the best election news I have heard

My kid sister sent me an email, detailing her outrage at the whole "moral compass" thing, and asked me for the text of one of my rants from June 2000. Here it is.

Prayer in Schools * 6/22/2000

Prayer in School, and Growing Up Jewish in North East Texas.

I am almost hesitant to write on this subject, it is still a sore spot for me. Personal liberty and freedom is a cause very near and dear to my heart, but I want you to know my cause and reason for concern.

Our country was built on the solid foundation of freedom and liberty, justice for ALL. With that preface, I'll move on.

My parents lived in Longview, North East Texas, I was born there in 1964. As a child, I remember "colored" bathrooms, "unofficially" segregated classrooms, restaurants with "no dogs, negros or Mexicans, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" signs in the front door. I remember very clearly watching an elderly black woman stand in the hot sun waiting for a bus because three white men were sitting on the bench in the shade, none of them would get up. My father gave her a ride home in our Oldsmobile.

I also remember the pride of helping mom bake cookies to send to my cousin's platoon in Vietnam. Going to the post office every Saturday with my dad to mail off these packages, and buying "buddy poppies" from the VFW table at the Post Office, thanking the vets for defending MY freedom. Every so often an airplane touched down at Gregg County Airport, and we were there to help make a parade for the boys coming home. They were fighting for my freedom.

When I turned 6, I got to go to public school. The first day of class opened with the pledge of allegiance. I stood proud. I knew, I was helping keep the flag free by sending my cousin's platoon cookies, writing them letters, and wearing my "P.O.W. bracelet". Then something unexpected happened. A kid came on the loudspeaker said a prayer. It wasn't like the prayers I heard in Temple every Friday night. It ended with "in Jesus name we pray, amen." I did not know what was happening, then the teacher made an announcement. Well intentioned, but words that are seared on my soul even today.

One of our students is Jewish, so from now on, Charles Barry will not have to stand during the prayer."

She meant to make me more comfortable. I KNOW she meant to do the right thing. The reaction was wrong. Horribly wrong. That one sentence changed my life. Every single person in the room stared at me. I had no idea what I did wrong. No clue why they were all staring. No concept of what was coming next.

I was the only Jewish kid in my grade. Heck, until my kid brother got to school, there was only one other Jewish kid IN the Longview School District, and she was two years ahead of me, and at a different campus. Longview is the center of the Baptist Bible Belt, or at least very close to the buckle. All the white kids went to one church, all the colored kids went to another. The Catholics had their own private school.

On the playground that first afternoon, two kids came over and asked me if I believed in Jesus. When I responded "I believe in God, Baseball, America, NASA and President Johnson," they beat the living tar out of me. "When the pork lips comes, you are gonna burn in hell." they said. I did not really know what exactly was happening, but I did not like it at all. I was a small kid, an easy target, and I did not know to fight back. Every day at recess, I got the living crap kicked out of me. "You don't believe in Jesus, and when pork lips comes, you are going straight to hell." I suppose they figured if they beat me hard enough, they'd earn a special spot in heaven next to Jesus.

I learned to run, and eventually made friends with some of the niggers. No, not black, not colored, not Negro, definitely not African-American. My friends were called niggers, and they got beat up a lot too. For a while. One colored boy used to laugh and tell me "Damn Charles, you a nigger too, only your skin is the wrong color" It happened every day. "in Jesus name we pray, amen."

We were all amazed to find out that one of the colored boys older brother was actually in the SAME area as my cousin. He had written to his parents about the guy who's cousin from Longview sent them boxes of cookie crumbs every week, and how great those damn crumbs were. Apparently the US Postal service was not as kind to the boxes as we hoped. My family was fighting beside his family for the freedom of our country and our rights! Before the end of the war, my cousin Michael jumped on his helmet on a live grenade and won a medal. He lived too. He also was credited with saving his whole platoon.

The war in Vietnam finally ended, our troops came home, and I saw how they were treated. It sucked. These guys were fighting for our freedom, when they came home they were treated like worms. I did not understand. My dad did not smoke, but now on Saturdays, he began buying a pack of cigarettes. Not only did we still give black grandmothers rides, but now we handed cigarettes to the vets we saw downtown, shook their hands, and told them how proud we were. At school, the beatings still continued. "In Jesus name we pray, amen."

My mother did not believe me. She thought I was just hard on clothes. My Sears Toughskins had more iron on patches than anyone else. My shirts were always torn. My eyes were usually black. "In Jesus name we pray, amen." Every morning. And I was excused from the prayer. Every afternoon, I took a beating, then played with my nigger friends. For about five years.

Then it happened. my friends began growing. A lot. Big Joe was 5' 6", 135 lbs. in the 5th grade. One day he turned and beat up 3 white kids who were beating me. Joe got sent to reform school. But the kids who were beating me about Jesus and the Pork Lips learned a lesson. It was almost time to stop. My friends were getting bigger, and they were protective of me. Whether I believed in Jesus or not. After all, my dad gave grandmothers rides home, and we showed respect to all people.

In Junior High, they introduced me to other blacks from other schools they knew from their church. "no, he ain't a nigger, he's a Jew-person, and the Baptist honkeys beat tar out of him all the damn time" I had a few protectors, and the beatings slowed down. We all were getting older, and although I was bound for hell when the pork lips came, I was also a person who should be left alone. The morning prayers continued, "in Jesus name we pray, amen." Never once did I get to say the pledge on the loudspeaker. Never. That privilege was reserved for members of the First Baptist Church.

Kids began having parties, birthdays, pool parties, etc. And I never got invited, because I did not believe in Jesus. The First Baptist Church had trips to go Skiing. Trips to Six Flags, and Trips to damn near anywhere, that kids got excused from school for. Except me. "In Jesus name we pray, amen."

I did not hate the kids who beat me. I did not form an anger towards Jesus. I just wanted to know why, as an American, helping to fight for truth, justice, etc., was I being treated this way just because I did not share the same faith as these other kids. Social studies class educated us about the Constitution. "Separation of Church and State", to me, was non existant. You either went to the First Baptist Church, or you were Catholic, Mexican, Nigger or Jew, and you took your beating. There were two classes of people. that simple.

In high school, I made friends with a white guy who transferred from Dallas. His folks were divorced, and he was Methodist and did not count anyhow. He drank, he smoked, and he did not have the harsh North East Texas accent. the first time he said "Apocalypse" the mystery of the "pork lips" was lifted. When the Apocalypse came, THAT was when I would burn in hell for not believing in Jesus. Heck, I KNEW what the Apocalypse was. I'd been afraid of angry pig lips for a long time, for no reason.

On Graduation day from Longview High School we had a special "senior breakfast". Ans yes, they said a prayer "In Jesus name we pray, amen." and Ross the drunk Methodist hollered out at the top of his lungs "EXCEPT FOR CHARLES!" It may have been the first time, as young adults, that ANY of these kids considered how alienated I felt because of their faith in God. How could a kind and forgiving God condemn a soul to eternal hellfire just by virtue of birth?

I am all for faith. Our country needs more faith. But please, I beg, for the sake of each and every Jew, Catholic, Black, Mexican, Hindu, Moslem, and more, do not push the faith of the majority in public school. Allow prayer in groups. Allow kids to gather on the playground and say a prayer. But please, PLEASE, do not have them say one over the loudspeaker. My Rabbi used to always say, "As long as there are Math Tests, there WILL be prayer in schools."

I feel we DO need more faith, but "In Jesus name we pray, amen." is the faith of ONE group, true, a majority group, but one group only. And I know from personal experience and fear of pig lips, that forcing the belief of that ONE group on all Americans will cause kids to get beat up. I have learned, I pray for the same things Biker Steve prays for, a safe ride home, more power for our cause, health and happiness. just not "In Jesus name we pray, amen."

Fighting for American Freedom is something I have done as long as I can remember.

If we must push faith and religion, please remember that America is made up of families that left or were kicked out of countries from all over the world to escape religious oppression. Let's not become oppressors. Save young kids from the "pork lips". We should espouse faith, whole realizing many faiths do not worship as mainstream Christianity. Religion should be by CHOICE, not dictated by the majority.

The tenants of the 10 commandments are almost universal, we should not divide ourselves on what language we express them in. Prayer in schools should be allowed voluntarily, individually, and never, ever over the loudspeaker.

I will continue to fight, but I wanted to let you know my feelings on prayer in schools and Moral Virtues.

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