photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Did You Just Pray With That Finger?

I paid especial attention to speed limits today.

Having perhaps to do with the warning ticket the nice state patrol officer handed me yesterday. Perhaps.

Anyway, I was doing the speed limit coming out of Denton on our way home from the Day of the Dead Festival which was last night. We stayed overnight in a hotel rather than try to drive home 3 hours in the dark on a Saturday night. Guess we're just old and stuffy that way nowadays.

So I'm minding my own business, driving 60 in a 60 zone.

Not 55. Not 58. Not 64. 60.

I was, in fact, in the left hand lane.

I was, in fact, talking to my family and didn't notice the 2 cars coming up fast behind me that impatiently shifted lanes to pass me, then return to the left lane.

The first car passed and scooted in front of me.

The second vehicle- a big gas-hog Suburban kind of SUV, was right on the bumper of the first one- almost pushing it in front of itself.

As the first car changed lanes, the SUV did as well, leaving a good inch between its back bumper and my front bumper- the driving equivalent of being shoved in a crowded room ("Oops- sorry- didn't see you there *mean little smirk*")

Just in case I hadn't noticed his gigantic great white shark diving in front of me, the driver's window rolled down and an arm flew out- pointing violently at the right hand lane.

Now, that could've been a helpful friendly reminder to pay better attention and let the SPEEDERS use the left hand lane.

But the driver used his middle finger to do the pointing.

Emphatically, dramatically and oh so exuberantly.

Without thinking, I said, "Bet you a million dollars he just came from church".

The boys chuckled obediently at their radical, cynical mom/wife.

Not five minutes later we were all stopped at a red light.

All, as in us, a mess of other cars AND the SUV that had managed to gain ONE STINKING CAR LENGTH by his expert and tactical driving skills.

We got a better look at the back of the vehicle, and were literally struck silent for a brief moment before exploding into disbelieving laughter.

The license plate was a vanity plate- but one I haven't seen before- a Texas plate alright, but just white with black lettering and 3 crosses prominently displayed on the left hand side of it. The plate letters?


Seriously. I shit you not.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And the Fortune Cookies Ain't Bad, Either

Comfort food.

We all love it.

At times we all crave it.

The stuff that reminds us of better times, good times, people we love and places that make us feel all warm and squishy inside.

A lot of the time this food is connected to something or someone in our childhood- that time of life when it's OK to assume and expect that someone else will step up and take care of you, oversee the security of the things that make life.

That's why comfort food tends to be things like chocolate, ice cream, macaroni and cheese...

The one thing that over-rides all others for me?

Panda Express Walnut Shrimp.

Weird, huh?

That doesn't seem like a very kid-friendly food, and it's sure not something Grandma Albeck whipped up in her kitchen.

Add to that, that it's only been at the top of my list for about 2 1/2 years.

And yet, when we're lucky enough to be within reach of a Panda Express restaurant, that's what I order. Every time.

There was a time in the spring of 2010 that I can safely point at from a distance and say, "This- this was the darkest time our family has been through. Right here."

Ward was in intensive care and non-responsive. I was sick, mentally worn out and physically drained- feverish, dizzy, migraine headache and vomiting. So sick I couldn't go see my husband. So sick I couldn't care for my 10 year old boy. So sick I was simultaneously overcome with the weight of needing to be strong and present for my family and the apathy that internal breakdown imposes to make a body stop.

Just stop.

And heal.

I tried to go to the store because we were out of food and Alec had to finish checking out because I realized I couldn't stand even in the express lane without fainting from pain and nausea.

I wanted desperately to see Ward but knew I'd never be able to traverse the round-and-round-and-round of the parking garage. Briefly I considered walking the mile-plus distance till I realized I'd then have to step onto an elevator.

I was trapped and grounded and helpless.

And that's when our friends stepped in and stepped up. From a distance they couldn't tell the straits I was in until I broke down and asked for help.

I asked for help.

That unleashed a migration of care and love that took our breath away.

Money showered down on us, care packages and gift cards pelted us from all directions and a parade of bodies appeared- people who didn't know each other in 'real life' slid like finely woven threads into and out of the fabric of this scratchy, ragged patch in the quilt of our life- pulling the edges together and mending us, keeping the whole thing from falling apart.

One of these was Cathy- my dearest friend for over 30 years, she's been there for me through 2 horrific marriages and the sometimes more horrific ending of them, she flew (as in an airplane) to Houston to sit with me the day of Ward's first surgery at MD Anderson, and now she took a day off of work to drive the 8+ hours to be with us yet again.

She took Alec to the zoo and the park for the day while I cocooned myself under the covers in the dark, willing myself to shed the sickness so I could explode back into action, back up to the hospital, back up to Ward.

At suppertime, Cathy told Alec they needed to bring me something to eat and asked him what he thought I'd like. Without hesitation he said, "That Chinese restaurant Walnut Shrimp".

Except he didn't remember the name of the restaurant. Or where it was. Just that it was "somewhere around the hotel".

In Houston.

Where she's not from.

There are a gabazillion places to eat within napkin-snapping distance of the hotel.

Somehow, some way, she found it.

And my boy proudly presented me with Walnut Shrimp.

And it was Good.

This same boy went to the grocery store a few days later with April and Christine- friends who took several days out of their lives and away from their families to drive the 5 hours to Houston, stay at the hotel and help out.

They came back from the Kroger's and pulled me quietly aside. "We told him he could get whatever he wanted to and everything he put in the cart he said 'My mom likes this'. No candy, no Doritos, nothing of that nature- we even TRIED to put that stuff in the cart but he declined".

So Panda Express Walnut Shrimp is not only tasty, it's my comfort food of the highest order.

Because it reminds me of that moment in our family's darkest hour when I discovered that even as a grownup, it's OK to assume and expect that someone else will step up and take care of me, oversee the security of the things that make life.

Our friends for sure, always.

My son, absolutely.

I don't know how I got lucky enough to give birth to a boy with all his dad's intelligence, wry humor and heart-breakingly/heart-swellingly immense compassion but somehow I managed it.

I remember it every day- in almost every interaction with the Boy, and every time I order up the Walnut Shrimp it's reaffirmed in a tangible, memory-tugging and soul-comforting way.

Panda Express Walnut Shrimp.

Good stuff.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Not MY President

OK. I've had it up to here with the above phrase.

I've heard it for almost 4 years now and from people I'da thunk were not only above that sort of petty bullshit, but also more intelligent.

Every 4 years in this country we elect a president, and every 4 years there's a tremendous amount of people who face the morning after election day knowing that the person they voted for is NOT, in fact, the president.

And even if they were passionately for the loser, and vehemently against the winner, every 4 years everyone in the country bucks up and gets behind THE President of the United States of America.

Because that's what the whole "democratically elected" thing is about. We learned that when we were all six years old. How to be gracious winners AND losers.

No matter what anyone says, you cannot tell me that it's different this time for any reason other than the race of the winner. Cannot.

Have we ever had a president questioned about his stupid birth certificate ad nauseum?

Have we ever had so much cloak and dagger about the eligibility of a sitting president?

Have we ever had so much speculation about a president's religion? (Which shouldn't make a bit of difference anyway...because the United States of America does NOT have a national religion, mmmmkay?)

No. We haven't.

And the ONLY difference this time is that this president does not happen to be white.

And I can never, in my over half a century of life, remember a time when ANYONE ever said "Well, he's not MY president" seriously and sincerely.

I HAVE heard people say (and have said myself) "Hey- don't blame ME-*I* didn't vote for him" if things go to hell in a handbasket.

But never, ever that a large portion of this nation honestly consider a current president...invalid.

Which is ridiculous and childish.

Like him or not, like his politics or not, like his heritage or not, the man IS OUR President. He's my president and he's your president. On accounta he was elected by a majority of the people in this country.

To not recognize the duly-elected leader of this country is not just petty bullshit, it's unpatriotic.

If Mittens Romney and Wonderboy Ryan manage somehow to dazzle with bullshit a majority of the people and they pull out the coup of the century, yanno what I'll say?

I'll say, "That's President Romney". And when all their uber-conservative wet dreams come true and most of the country's people are in such deep shit the recession we're just now coming out of looks like a freaking day at the circus I'll say, "Hey- don't blame ME- *I* didn't vote for him".

And if PRESIDENT Obama wins another term? Ya'll better grow the hell up- because right now yer a really bad example to all the toddlers out there.

Random Thoughts The Morning After

Morning after what? The debate, of course. Coming on the heels of Biden mopping the floor with Ryan, it was a good show.

If you're not Romney.

Here are my snurfly, sort of fuzzy, autumn-head-cold thoughts in no particular order about...stuff.

I totally voted Obama in '08.

I will totally vote Obama three weeks from now.

That does not mean I totally agree with everything he's done and is fixin' to do.

In fact there are some very big things I totally hate about his policies.

I hate the entire drone program. If you're going to willfully and systematically kill people, make damn sure it's more difficult and heart-wrenching to do than playing a goddamn video game.

I hate the phrase "clean coal". There's no such thing. It's every bit as offensive as saying "legitimate rape".

I hate that he's not taken a stance in favor of Occupy, while the Republican party embraces the fucking Tea Party (even though they hold them at arm's length, like a stinky but rich relative at a family reunion).

I hate that the ACA was not allowed to have a single payer option and that Glass/Stegall was watered down almost to ineffectiveness.

I hate that not one stinking banker has been prosecuted but people are getting arrested for trying to stay in their own homes.

I hate that it took Joe Biden taking a stand on gay marriage for the president to finally do so.

On the other hand, what today's Republican party is espousing scares the living shit out of me- they're not even trying to hide their agenda with pretty rhetoric anymore.

Do I think we need to do away with the 2 party system? Probably.

Do I think Citizens United needs to be repealed? Oh, hell yea.

Do I agree with the phrase "Voting for the lesser evil is still voting for evil"?
Yes and no.

Whether the radical progressives are right when they say it hasn't been enough, Obama HAS done some good stuff. And he's had a helluva time getting even that much done.

And Mr. "Don't compare what I say now to what I said five minutes ago" Romney and his literal partner in social crime Paulie are an absolute fucking nightmare.

In 90 minutes last night he said that government should not/does not create jobs AND that his 5 point economic plan will create 12 million jobs.

Of course he also said that women SHOULD have access to contraception, which will make all the fundamentalists swoon with horrified confusion, and that he FAVORS an assault weapons ban as long as it's bi-partisan (whatever the hell that means).

That Obama came out and said "We don't need further regulations, just to enforce our current laws- Chicago is a pretty dangerous place but it's not because of AK's, it's because of cheap handguns", making him look 100% more pro-2nd amendment than Romney probably has the entire NRA pissing themselves. *Smile*

He's also blasted Obama repeatedly for not fixing everything in less than 4 years, and then turned around and said no one can fix the economy in 4 years- but he can do it in 8. Does he really think we're that incapable of any thought process at all???

(Never mind- don't answer that).

I'd love for a 3rd party candidate to have an actual chance, and I really think that's possible.

But not right at this moment.

Until we overturn Citizens United it's not possible.

Until ALL candidates who have their names officially on the ballots are included in ALL the debates it's not possible.

Until there are a number of 3rd party candidates actually elected to lower offices, it's not possible.

And that's what gives me hope.

Because the corporate-funded, heavily-armed, NOT AN OFFICIAL PARTY- Tea Party was able to bullshit their way into Congress with enough members to really fuck up the entire process- not just for the Evil Socialist Muslim Kenyan imposter in the White House, but for every single one of us- including themselves.

If they could do that, then it's still possible for GOOD change to come about the same way- one local, state, and national seat at a time, baby steps that will show everyone that bad things won't necessarily happen if the word 'socialist' is involved.

I guess it's all in the marketing- if the Tea Party would admit that they're the Party of Plutocracy and fascism, maybe they wouldn't be so popular among people who are poor and already down-trodden.

It makes me physically truly sad to hear people all around me admitting that they'll be voting absolutely against their own interests and to their own detriment because if Obama gets re-elected we're fucked.


Name me ONE reason why that can be verified absolutely with facts and figures that come from TRUE non-partisan sources (hint- CATO and Heritage Foundation do not fit that description), or with actual laws passed by this administration, that does not already fall under my list above of things *I* hate about this administration, and does not include the words "Socialist", "Marxist", "Communist", "Kenyan", "Muslim", or "Nigger".

Just raise your hand when you can come up with something. Yanno what? Just add it to the comments section below- that way I won't be waiting up for it...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fun With Asterisks

In case you haven't noticed, Change is afoot.

Not the "Change you can believe in" campaign promise sort of change.

Important Change.

And you can see it- right there on the TV, little snippets of it in between "Dancing With the Stars" and "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" (I am proud to say I've never watched even 30 seconds of these shows). They flash just a few minutes of it on- enough to claim that we're being informed, they've shown us what's going on, now back to our normally scheduled programming.

People, regular normal people everywhere in the world are getting pissed and exercising their human social community Right to assemble and protest injustice (that's not just here, yanno- even though we rarely use it).

And not just in places you'd expect because they're pretty much shitholes* anyhow, like Syria, Egypt and Mexico. Places that are civilized- Spain, France, ICELAND for criminy's sake.

So what's the deal?

The deal is that all these country's governments are imposing "austerity" measures to bring their economies back into line. They're saying to their people, "We have huge deficits and if WE (and by "we" we of course are referring to YOU)don't do something about it, terrible things will happen and your children will starve in the streets for want of free-fed Twinkies. THEIR children may not even know what a Twinkie IS- is that the sort of world we want to leave our children and theirs?

I didn't think so."

Makes sense. We hear it here in the USA constantly- we have to all tighten our belts and pay off the debt by eliminating all our poofy extras to leave our children a better place- things like schools and libraries and student loans and health care for the sick and the old and the young (shit- for EVERYONE! HEALTH CARE when our country is indebted to that bastard United States**??? Stop being so damn selfish!)

So all those people overseas- obviously they're marching and protesting and making a general fuss because they're all Socialists and Commies and their government has been supporting them all with luxuries like food and education and decent hours and working wages and health care and they're lazy bastards who don't care about their children and their children's children as long as they get their wine and croissants for free from the government.

They simply don't have the American Mindset.

Well, no. They don't. They're not self-righteous, deluded, isolationist morons***.

See, here's what happened in all the governments around the world.

They spent money. Lots of money. They gave it to corporations and banks that turned around and spent it unwisely and now there's a big gaping hole where there should be pocket change for trivial things like running civilized societies for their actual people.

So now they want to fill those big gaping holes from the pockets of people who had not a damn thing to do with the bad money management.

Where did it go? To hear the governments talk, the money is gone. *Poof*. Gone. Which is bullshit. Corporations and banks are posting the biggest profits in history. Banks who "shelter" money in places like the Cayman Islands don't have enough drawers for all of it.

Every single country has private citizens who could, without suffering undo stress or dismay, PAY OFF THEIR COUNTRY'S DEFICIT BY WRITING A CHECK TODAY. Seriously. The money is not gone.

This is not a "take all the money from the evil selfish Rich" rant.


See? That's what all those people are marching for- While WE sit over here and say things like, "Why should *I* pay for health care for my neighbor? What has he ever done for ME? HE needs to take personal responsibility for his own life. If he dies, he dies- this is America and at least he'll die a free man", we are coughing up our toenails and huge clots of fiscal blood in order to provide 'relief' and ultimate fucking WELFARE for those who totally screwed the economy and are sitting on HUGE piles of OUR MONEY- not money they 'earned'- this is OUR money because it's OUR country, god damn it.

Why the hell do we nit-pick to fucking death some poor schmo who applies for disability and has the AUDACITY to own a refrigerator? Why do we feel vindicated to criticize a single working mom who gets food stamps and has the brass balls to buy a stinking BIRTHDAY CAKE for her kid with them?

Then turn around and defend all day long the institutions (they're NOT people, my friend) that willfully and knowingly put the entire world economy into a tailspin all the while thinking, "No matter- we'll just frighten and squeeze the Little People to distract them and think this is something that can only be fixed by their meager purses. They think we're Too Big to Fail. What a bunch of idiots".

What the hell is WRONG WITH US???

People all around the world are saying, "NO- WE did not do this, YOU did. YOU make it right. YOU take some goddamn personal responsibility for what YOU did to OUR planet and make it RIGHT".

Because right now there is 1% of the population that we will never convince to take personal responsibility for their own lives and choices**** without making a fuss.

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. TEACH a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime. Allowing a man to purchase the publicly-owned lakes and then forbid everyone else from fishing and feeding their families turns him into a monster.

We don't hate them. We're trying to help them.

*American public opinion only, not mine

**Yes. Most of our debt is owed to OURSELVES. So saying we have to pay it off or face dire consequences is like me lending myself money to build a house, then if I can't make the payment on it, evicting myself. As a further aside- the whole, "We owe so much money to China that they own us" thing? 9%. That's how much of our debt is owed to China. So, no- they're not going to 'foreclose' on the US anytime soon. 9% of anything is not in any book defined as a "big fucking deal".

***Morons, not Mormons- you've got election fever. I'll admit the adjectives did lend themselves to the misunderstanding.

****Yep. I totally Went There. Loved it, too.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

So the Season Turns Once Again and Another Friend Is Shed Like an Autumn Leaf

"Mom- you're really not going to do what you said, are you?"

My daughter looked at me imploringly.

I'd just crawled out from under the house, where I had found her old cat. He'd pushed out the screen window and gained his 'freedom'- which only lasted a few hours before neighborhood dogs chased him under the house and killed him. Oliver was grossly overweight, had no front claws and only one eye- he'd lost the other one to cancer years before. He had a fierce disposition, but he was all bluff and bluff only saves you some of the time.

This disposition was what her comment was about. For years we said when he died, we were gonna have Oliver stuffed with a noisemaker inside, so every time you touched him it would make his signature noise- sort of a dismissive hiss/growl/meow. The noise he made anytime anyone touched him but never accompanied by biting or scratching. It was fun (in an odd way) to gently poke him repeatedly to get different rhythms with the same...monotone...noise.

Of course we didn't do it.

Shortly after we buried Oliver under the giant oak tree and placed a little cement kitty statue over him the kids and I were at the Vet clinic I worked for when someone brought in a litter of kittens. One was yellow and white, just like Oliver had been, with the exact same markings right down to the strange white spot on his back. The only difference was this kitten was fluffy and Oliver had been slick.

Erika named him Oswald.

Oz had a much more social nature than Oliver. Perhaps it was the loss of the eye to cancer, perhaps it was having grown up when we had a mess of big dogs he had to keep in line, perhaps it was some sort of toxin from the green permanent marker that my son Dave (5 years Erika's junior) colored all Oliver's white fur with because he thought the cat would look better Green Bay gold/green. Who knows?

But Oswald was a kinder, gentler cat all around.

When we started the massive renovation of the old house, the cats did what they sometimes do- they showed their displeasure by peeing on and in...everything but their cat box. I showed MY displeasure by unceremoniously dumping them all out on the front porch and closing the door behind them. Guess they showed ME.

One disappeared.

One died of old-age liver failure about 10 years later.

Oz lived on.

He was the best mouser I've ever had. He had been declawed in the front but could run into a tipped feed sack and come out a split second later with TWO mice in his mouth- their tails drooping out either side like rodent-hair mustaches (Mouse-tashes?) We started to worry about him at the old house because he'd lay in the sunny the middle of the road. More of a driveway and no local traffic, but still he was old and slow and mostly deaf and slept REALLY soundly...

When we moved to the new house we set him up in the barn in a big cage for him to get his bearings for a week or so before letting him loose.

He hung around the barn for a while, then one day was on this side of the creek, sitting on the woodpile staring at the house- "You thought I wouldn't find this? You bastards."

He moved onto the porch.

He had safe sunny spots here- and he enjoyed them without worry from any traffic save dogs and chickens and the occasional squirrel.

He'd wander down the steep creek bank and lap at the creek, on his haunches like a tiger- already thin from age his tail still pluming out behind him. Then he'd just sit there- looking very content and regal even as threadbare as he was.

A King in pauper's cloak, he surveyed his Kingdom and saw that It Was Good.

He sat on the table out on the porch, peer into the open window and announce his obvious and immediate hunger...100 times a day. Not Oliver's crabby rebuke, but a demand for action all the same.

The last few months he'd traveled to the creek less and less and finally stopped going at all.

We started checking under the cars before leaving, to be sure he wasn't asleep under there when we backed out. Sometimes he'd have to be helped up onto the table because he'd miss the first try onto the chair and wasn't up for a second try.

The last time we went to Houston, he wasn't on the porch when we got home.

We looked. We searched. Nothing.

A few days later we suspected he'd crawled up under the bridge and died there.

I shinnied down the steep creek bank and peered up under the bridge- nothing. Where the bridge meets the bank on either side there are maybe a dozen planks "on land" and there's a small space there that can't be seen from above, the sides or below.

This morning I took a flashlight and got on my hands and knees on the bridge. Shining the light between the boards, there it was.

Tawny gold and white fur.

There wasn't much of him- he'd never been a bulky cat and age had eroded most of what was there- he'd become fur and bones and dignified gold eyes and the ever-present-and-persistent feline hunger.

And he made the choice to make his slow unsteady way from the porch to lie down for his final sleep where he could see the creek that welcomed him as a Wild Thing, a Feline, the King.

So there he will stay.

Rest well, Oz.

I will always and forever see your reflection in the water.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pulpit Freedom- They'd Better All Be Wearing Their "Freedom is not Free" T-shirts

Today's the day.

The day we COULD, if our government had any balls at all, completely eradicate our deficit along with any future deficits.

Not an R or a D 'thing'; this is basic, easy and pretty much cut and dried.

Why today?

Lookie here-!

See? We have a mess of people employed by the IRS- pay them half a day of overtime (and buy 'em lunch afterwards for their having to sit through a sermon) and get it on record and recorded when the minister starts preaching politics from the pulpit.

At the end of the service, stand in line with the rest of the congregants, shake the minister's hand, politely say, "Great sermon, Pastor!" and hand 'em their tax form to fill out.

Deficit = Gone


Well, absolutely- says so right here-

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

The ministers have every right to stand up in their pulpit, preach values and tell their flock how to vote.

But not tax-free.


Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

It's like the whole "Nativity on the courthouse lawn" thing- NO ONE is saying a Nativity cannot be set up outside in front of god and everyone. They look fabulous on the lawn of the church, darling in people's front yards, even adorning the entryways of privately-owned businesses.

Just not on the PUBLICLY-OWNED courthouse, because not everyone shares the Christian Faith (even here in the shiny buckle of the bible belt). This past Christmas in nearby Athens it was requested that the huge cardboard Nativity scene not be on the courthouse lawn and a literal shit-storm ensued.

There are FOUR churches within baby-in-swaddling-cloths-swinging distance of the courthouse. Seriously.

Did the churches say, "Wow- we never thought of that- here- lets ALL put up an even bigger Nativity scene in front of ALL the churches- The Good News X FOUR!!!"


Some folks suggested that ALL the religions have equal time- one on each side of the courthouse square- Christian, Jewish, Kwanza and Islam, but of course they were quickly shut down by the Christians, who claimed the, "because it's ALWAYS been this way" argument. I love that one- that means we should also still own slaves, not allow women to vote and all die of childhood diseases before we reach maturity.


But even the "let everyone have equal space on the square" idea was so not the fucking point- it would ALL have been wrong.

The Christian churches RALLIED on the COURTHOUSE STEPS in defense of their Nativity scene- with bullhorns and all- preaching loud and proud and effectively cowing everyone with their loving-god righteousness into heathen submission.

That. Was. Bullshit.

You see, here in America, everyone does have the freedom to say whatever they feel like- within reason. Because we're supposedly a Polite and Civilized Society and you DO need rules to be sure everyone is treated fairly. If you just have a large and overwhelmingly pushy majority *cough* Christians *cough* who insist everyone bend to their will or be accused of 'persecution'- you no longer have freedom of religion- you have a theocracy.

The same people who thump everyone upside the head with a bible also love to wave around the Constitution and talk about the Founding Fathers like they're personally related to them.

What did our Founding Fathers have to say about the whole church/state thing?

"Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by [Religious] Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in history." – James Madison

Wow. Pretty harsh, James. "Encroachment" is a strong word. That would be like, if politicians were to get up and say right out loud they consider the bible before the constitution in all their political decisions. And that would NEVER happen.

Except it does. All the damn time.

"The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man." – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas? You been smoking yer hemp again? How could it possibly be a bad thing for men of Faith to steer our country? Unless their mission (pun intended) is to force BY LAW all of our citizens to bend to their own world views?

"Religious controversies always produce more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society." – George Washington

Ya, George. I was kinda hoping for that myself. Guess it's too soon...another 200 years, maybe?

"The question before the human race is, whether the God of Nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?" – John Adams

God of Nature? What do you mean, John? Like those crazy climate-change scientists? Guess you've been hittin' the stash with Thomas.

OK OK OK- all those quotes are good ones, and fodder for thinkin', but where do they say ONE WORD about churches being tax-free (or not)???

Huh? Show me ONE thing that says it's okie dokie for churches to be able to preach politics from the pulpit AND be tax-exempt.

Just because it's in the Tax Code doesn't mean the Founding Fathers had anything to say about churches being taxed.


Wait. What?

Ben Franklin? I thought he was in France, cozying up to those commie strumpets. What's HE doing back here? No matter- I'm sure he's got nothin' that will be applicable here.

"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one." – Benjamin Franklin

Here's your tax form- have a Blessed Day.