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Kazan Cathedral or Kazanskiy Kafedralniy Sobor (Russian: Каза́нский кафедра́льный собо́р), also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, is a cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Nevsky Prospekt in Saint Petersburg. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Kazan, one of the most venerated icons in Russia.

 

Construction of the cathedral started in 1801 and continued for ten years under the supervision of Alexander Sergeyevich Stroganov. Upon its completion in 1811, the new temple replaced the Church of Nativity of the Theotokos, which was disassembled when the Kazan Cathedral was consecrated.

 

The architect Andrey Voronikhin modelled the building on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Some art historians assert that Emperor Paul (reigned 1796-1801) intended to build a similar church on the other side of Nevsky Prospect that would mirror the Kazan Cathedral, but such plans failed to materialize.[citation needed] Although the Russian Orthodox Church strongly disapproved of the plans to create a replica of a Catholic basilica in Russia's then capital, several courtiers supported Voronikhin's Empire Style design.

 

After Napoleon invaded Russia (1812) and the commander-in-chief General Mikhail Kutuzov asked Our Lady of Kazan for help, the church's purpose altered. The Patriotic War over, Russians saw the cathedral primarily as a memorial to their victory over Napoleon. Kutuzov himself was interred in the cathedral in 1813; and Alexander Pushkin wrote celebrated lines meditating over his sepulchre. In 1815 keys to seventeen cities and eight fortresses were brought by the victorious Russian army from Europe and placed in the cathedral's sacristy. In 1837, Boris Orlovsky designed two bronze statues of Kutuzov and of Barclay de Tolly which stand in front of the cathedral.

  

1896 Photochrom print

In 1876 the Kazan demonstration, the first political demonstration in Russia, took place in front of the church. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 the authorities closed the cathedral (January 1932). In November 1932 it reopened as the pro-Marxist "Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism". or, as one contemporary writer put it more baldly, "Leningrad's largest antireligious museum", complete with Spanish Inquisition waxwork . Services resumed in 1992, and four years later the cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. As of 2017 it functions as the mother cathedral of the metropolis of St. Petersburg.

 

The cathedral's interior, with its numerous columns, echoes the exterior colonnade and is reminiscent of a palatial hall, being 69 metres in length and 62 metres in height. The interior features numerous sculptures and icons created by the best Russian artists of the day. A wrought-iron grille separating the cathedral from a small square behind it is sometimes cited as one of the finest ever constructed.

 

The cathedral's huge bronze doors are one of four copies of the original doors of the Baptistery in Florence, Italy (the other three are at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, United States, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, United States, and at the Florence Baptistery itself).

 

The Kazan Cathedral is considered to be the model for the neoclassical style of Helsinki Cathedral, one of the most iconic landmarks of Helsinki, Finland. [Wikipédia]

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In 1852, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow suggested a large cathedral should be built in Kyiv to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the baptism of Kievan Rus by prince Vladimir I of Kiev (St. Volodymyr). People from all over the Russian Empire started donating to this cause, so that by 1859 the cathedral fund had amassed a huge sum of 100,000 rubles. The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves) produced one million bricks and presented them to the cathedral as well. The design was executed in neo-Byzantine style initially by the architects I. Schtrom, P. Sparro, R. Bemhardt, K. Mayevsky, V. Nikolayev. The final version of the design belongs to Alexander Vikentievich Beretti. It is a traditional six-piered, three-apsed temple crowned by seven cupolas. The height to the cross of the main dome is 49 m (161 ft).

 

The cathedral risked damage during the Polish-Soviet War in 1920. During the Soviet period, the cathedral narrowly escaped demolition, but not closure. Until the Second World War it served as a museum of religion and atheism. The relics of St Barbara, a martyr of the 3rd century AD, were transferred to St Volodymyr's from the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery before it was destroyed by the Bolsheviks,and have remained there since.

View of the city of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Nizhny Novgorod is called the third capital and the âpocket of Russiaâ. The city was founded in 1221 by Vladimir-Suzdal Prince Yury Vsevolodovich as a frontier fortress, but after transferring the biggest fair in the country here, it became one of the main shopping centers of Russia. There were legends about the wealth and prosperity of Nizhny Novgorod, and its stone Kremlin of the 16th century was never yielded to the onslaught of the besiegers.

The city has preserved many unique monuments of history, architecture and culture, which led UNESCO to include Nizhny Novgorod in the list of 100 cities of the world of world historical and cultural value. The peculiarity that distinguishes it from other historical cities of the country is that the Lower is in a very convenient place to get here by water, and the rare Volga cruise does not include it in its program.

The lower one boasts over 600 exceptional historical and architectural monuments. In addition, there are many museums here, among which the museum complex dedicated to Maxim Gorky, who spent his childhood here, is particularly notable. The city even bore a name in honor of the writer in the period from 1932 to 1990.

In the photo, bright sights: the Cathedral in the name of the Holy Blessed Prince Alexander Nevsky, the stadium and the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The five-headed Christmas Church (Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary) with a bell tower is one of the most beautiful in the city. A rich merchant and industrialist Dmitry Stroganov, who lived at the turn of the XVII-XVIII centuries, built many churches and other buildings with his own money. At the same time, all churches have a very distinctive, recognizable style: a mixture of Moscow baroque with traditional church architecture.

Nizhny Novgorod church was started to be built in 1696, but because of the fire, it was possible to complete the work only by 1719 - Stroganov himself did not live to see it, his wife completed the work. The legend connects the history of the temple with the name of the national inventor Ivan Kulibin, a native of Nizhny Novgorod. By a fifteen-year-old boy, he was able to set up a complex clock mechanism mounted on a church tower. At the beginning of the XIX century, the mechanism was lost, in 1879 a new clock mechanism was installed, made by German craftsmen. In Soviet times, it was kept in the museum, and in 2005 the clock was restored and re-installed on the bell tower. This is a mechanical watch that is winding up manually, they beat every 30 minutes with a single blow to the bell.

In Soviet times, the church was about to be destroyed, but its abbot managed to explain the uniqueness of the building and the historical and architectural value of the Stroganov Baroque. So a museum of atheism has opened here. Now the church is active. At the time of shooting in the cathedral were carried out restoration work.

Regardless of any religious orientations or beliefs, credos or atheism (I am myself neither religious nor a believer and make Nature and science my «faith»), I wish you all a very merry and peaceful season, with your beloved ones. For health, peace and the love and friendship are the most important gifts anyone can ever have. And those are not exclusive from any particular views or beliefs, but universal.

 

Desejo-vos a todos um muito feliz Natal.

 

Ik wens jullie allemaal prettige kerstdagen

 

Ich wünsche euch allen ein frohes Weihnachtsfest!

 

Jeg ønsker dere alle en god jul!

 

Jag önskar er alla en god jul!

 

Auguro a tutti un buon Natale

 

Je vous souhaite à tous un très joyeux Noël!

 

Us desitjo a tots un bon Nadal!

 

Les deseo a todos una muy feliz Navidad!

 

Я желаю всем вам счастливого Рождества!

 

Photographed in:

Tomar, Santarém, Portugal.

A beautiful little church, or "Chiesetta", as these are called in Italy. Found in the middle of nowhere next to a small village.

Faut-il le répéter ? La liberté de pensée ne se trouve ni à droite ni à gauche ni même dans l'anarchisme. Elle ne loge dans aucune religion, dans aucun système politique ou philosophique, pas plus dans l'athéisme que dans la laïcité. Tout cela représente des robes, des voiles et des attaches et Pensée va toute nue, tel le jeune François d'Assise abandonnant entre les mains de l’évêque les vêtements par lesquels le prélat voulait le retenir afin de le remettre dans le chemin balisé de la droite raison. Or la liberté n'a pas raison mais elle va son allure, impertinente, juvénile, elle déjoue la barbarie comme l'esprit de productivité, l'imposture intellectuelle comme la facilité. Elle est dans ce refus de tout conditionnement et de toute appartenance, elle se trouve dans la ville et dans le désert, elle passe tel un vent dans la forêt, une tempête sur la demeure provisoire. Elle n'a pas de dévots, elle n'a pas de suiveurs mais seulement des relais. On ne voit guère ses progrès dans la conduite des hommes mais elle avance, seule. Elle n'a pas de famille, de clan ni de parti, elle ne regarde jamais son visage et les années glissent sur ses épaules de jeune fille. Elle ne veut rien prendre mais tout dénouer. Elle avance mais on ne la remarque pas; elle est si nue, tandis que les passants sont engoncés dans leurs croyances, dans leurs principes. Elle est nue, elle va son chemin, elle ne requiert nulle acclamation.

Jacqueline Kelen

Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Kamieniec Podolski - was built in the sixteenth century in the Renaissance style, in the years 1646-1648 it was rebuilt in the Baroque style. In the year 1672, during classes Kamenetz by the Turks, was converted into a mosque and minaret was built next to the temple. Under the peace in 1699, Kamieniec returned to the Polish Kingdom. The system, however, predicted the behavior of the minaret. In 1756 years on minaret set imported from Gdansk copper statue of the Virgin Mary. Remained so until today.

As a result of the second partition of Polish in 1793 Kamieniec became a part of Russia, and never returned to Polish. In 1936 the church was closed and converted into a museum of atheism. In June 1990, was returned to the faithful (the first Mass was celebrated in the June 29, 1990).

-

Katedra św.Piotra i Pawła w Kamieńcu Podolskim – została wybudowana w XVI wieku w stylu renesansowym, w latach 1646-1648 została przebudowana w stylu barokowym. W roku 1672, w czasie zajęcia Kamieńca przez Turków, została zamieniona na meczet a obok świątyni dobudowano minaret. Na mocy zawartego w 1699 pokoju, Kamieniec powrócił do Królestwa Polskiego. Układ przewidywał jednak zachowanie minaretu. W 1756 roku na minarecie ustawiono sprowadzoną z Gdańska miedzianą figurę Matki Boskiej. Tak pozostało do dzisiaj.

W wyniku II rozbioru Polski w 1793 r. Kamieniec Podolski znalazł się w granicach Rosji, i już nigdy nie wrócił do Polski. W 1936 świątynia została zamknięta i zamieniona na muzeum ateizmu. W czerwcu 1990 została zwrócona wiernym (pierwszą mszę odprawiono w niej 29 czerwca 1990).

Langthwaite is one of the few villages in Arkengarthdale, North Yorkshire, England.

 

It is probably classed as the main settlement in the dale. It is one of the most northerly settlements in the whole of Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is home to a pub ('The Red Lion'), a shop and an unusual commissioners' church of 1817, which was one of many then built with money provided by Parliament in an attempt to counteract atheism and free thinking after the French Revolution.

 

Langthwaite is also home to a hexagonal powder house, built in 1807 to store gunpowder used in the many mines dotted around the area.

  

"Mon athéisme, comme celui de Spinoza, est une piété véritable vis-à-vis de l'univers. Il se contente de renier les dieux façonnés par les hommes à leur image, dans le but de servir des intérêts humains."

George Santayana

 

Thank you very much for your comments and for your faves.

(Please do not use without my written permission.)

  

my little thought to a great man

Umberto Veronesi (Milano 11/28/1925 - 08/11/2016 Milano)

 

"C'è molto a cui credere: alla forza dei valori umani che con i millenni il cervello ha elaborato progressivamente per raggiungere una coscienza etica.“

"I figli sono l'immortalità. I figli faranno altri figli e quindi la vita non finisce mai. Il nostro corpo muore, ma il nostro DNA continua. I figli hanno la stessa carne, lo stesso metabolismo, e così via. La morte è solamente quella del corpo.“

- Umberto Veronesi

  

music:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ0FQovU0Ws

 

my starting pic:

www.flickr.com/photos/145098341@N05/29301433880/in/datepo...

 

Starting pic Painted without texture:

www.flickr.com/photos/145098341@N05/31315211706/in/datepo...

  

For Macro Mondays "Guilty Pleasures"

 

Gilt Edge Pleasures - yes, sorry, it's not a very good play on words (guilty / gilt edge), I know. But I do like a book with gilt edges. It's rare these days, and even the Bible is more often found bound in unadorned paper.

 

The three books pictured include two Bibles (the one on the left and in the middle) and a collection of C.S.Lewis's writings (on the right).

 

It has been many years since I read anything by C.S.Lewis, but I recall being very impressed by his insightful and beautifully presented logic (he wrote a lot more meaningful stuff than the Narnia series of children's fiction).

 

Many today seem to think that belief in God and a reverence for His Word are for the foolish and simple-minded. Few who know his writings would describe Lewis this way, and yet his book "Surprised by Joy" describes how he "passed from atheism to Christianity".

 

My personal belief is that if people were genuinely open-minded and prepared to consider the evidence fairly, many more would follow Lewis's example.

The Church of Our Lady of Poland was built between 1967-1977 during the communist period, when the Bishop of Krakow was Karol Wojtyla - later Pope John Paul II. The building from the outside symbolizes Noah's Ark (Ark of the Lord), a symbol of salvation before the flood of unbelief and programic atheism.

The interior of the church is very eloquent. In the main altar is a tabernacle depicting the view of earth from outer space. It is located next to the various minerals also the moon stone. It was donated by American astronaut Apollo 11 to Pope Paul VI. This stone was given by Pope Paul VI to Karol Wojtyla, who was at that time a Metropolitan of Cracow, and on October 16, 1978 he became Pope John Paul II. The huge sculpture of Christ "from life to life" is also remarkable.

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Kościół Matki Boskiej Królowej Polski był wybudowany w latach 1967-1977 w okresie komunizmu, gdy biskupem Krakowa był Karol Wojtyła - późniejszy Papież Jan Paweł II. Budynek z zewnątrz symbolizuje Arkę Noego (Arka Pana), jest symbolem ocalenia i ratunku przed zalewem niewiary i programowej ateizacji.

Bardzo wymowny jest wnętrze kościoła. W ołtarzu głównym jest tabernakulum przedstawiające widok ziemi z kosmosu. Umieszczono w nim obok różnych minerałów kamień z Księżyca. Był on podarowany przez astronautów amerykańskich statku Apollo 11 Papieżowi Pawłowi VI. Kamień ten dostał od papieża Karol Wojtyła który był w tym czasie metropolitą krakowskim, a 16 października 1978 został Papieżem Janem Pawłem II. Wymowną jest również ogromna rzeźba Chrystusa "Z życia do życia".

•Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

•One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.....

•Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

•The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.

•I went to a bookstore and asked the sales woman,"Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

•What if there were no hypothetical questions?

•If a deaf person swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap?

•If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

•Is there another word for synonym?

•Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"

•What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

•If a parsley farmer is sued can they garnish his wages?

•Would a fly without wings be called a walk?

•Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?

•If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?

•Does the Little Mermaid wear an algebra?

•How is it possible to have a civil war?

•If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown, too?

•If you ate both pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?

•If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

•Whose cruel idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have "S" in it?

•Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" instead of "assteroids"?

•Why is it called tourist season if we can't shoot at them?

•Can an atheist get insurance against acts of God?

 

For Lisa, aka Zoom In Tight. Cancer is trying hard to knock her down but we're all here to keep her up. We're that grid you see on the building in this photo, some of us are rusty but we still have plenty of strength in us. The "jokes" are for you and a little nod to your fantastic humor.

“Je ne saurais voir dans l'athéisme un résultat, un événement : il est chez moi instinct naturel. Je suis trop curieux, trop sceptique, trop hautain pour accepter une réponse grossière. Dieu est une réponse grossière, une goujaterie à l'égard du penseur ; ce n'est même, au fond, qu'une grossière interdiction à notre endroit : Défense de penser...”

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

She stands on the street corners,

because it's her home now.

Under the bright lamp, her eyes have lost their glow.

They have dimmed.

But she's alert.. on the inside, at least.

Her heart skips a beat everytime a car slows down near,

Because maybe.. just maybe, it'll mean she'll have dinner for that night.

and then it'll be a few hours,

maybe even a few more days,

until she has to do it again.

It fills her mind with such shame and disgust,

putting a price on her body,

just to keep going.

Immoral, wrong, shameful.

Jesus, surely, would never approve.

But does she follow Jesus,

Or quit Him,

simply to relish in his precious gift

of Life?

 

In the US, the average age of entry into prostitution is 13.

In September, Governor David Paterson signed into law the Safe Harbor for Exploited Youth Act, which is intended to stop the practice of charging sexually exploited children as criminals.

 

Problem is, the law doesn't go into effect until 2010.

Until then, New York will continue to charge child prostitutes under the age of 16 as criminals, rather than treating them as victims. Boys and girls as young as 12 who are charged with prostitution are often sent to juvenile detention centers.

Their entry in the profession is often running away from an abusive home or being kidnapped. The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry is now 11-12 years old. According to a 2007 report from the NY State Office of Children and Family Services, more than 2,200 children are victimized through commercial sexual exploitation in New York City.

These stats made me cry.

  

{ #2 in Destruction of Innocence series. YES, I am wearing heavy make-up, i.e. red lipstick, and I tried to achieve the streaks of mascara look }

One of my eleven contributions to Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.

 

FYI: I chose to participate in this event as a show of solidarity with those whose lives have been threatened - and some, taken - by religious fundamentalists. My artwork isn't intended to be anti-Muslim, but rather pro-free speech, pro-secularism and pro-free thought. I do not believe that Islam is any more - or any less! - objectionable than Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, Jainism, et al. In fact, as an atheist, I find the doctrines of each to be equally amusing (and the histories, equally appalling at turns). Nor do I think that the average Muslim should be defined by the actions of Islamic fundamentalists - any more so than the average Catholic should be judged by those who bomb abortion clinics.

 

That said, I recognize that much of the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day artwork posted on Facebook and elsewhere is anti-Muslim (and virulently so), as well as racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, sizeist and speciesist. This is wrong, hateful, intolerant and prejudiced, and has no place in (what should be) a progressive movement. I don't support "isms" when employed by members of the animal advocacy community, nor do I condone them when used in defense of the First Amendment. So don't be a hater, mkay?

 

More thoughts and photos here.

These self-portraits are full of the three Gs: Goofiness, Geekiness, and Galloway. ^__^

“Je ne saurais voir dans l'athéisme un résultat, un événement : il est chez moi instinct naturel. Je suis trop curieux, trop sceptique, trop hautain pour accepter une réponse grossière. Dieu est une réponse grossière, une goujaterie à l'égard du penseur ; ce n'est même, au fond, qu'une grossière interdiction à notre endroit : Défense de penser...”

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Religion is for the weak.

“All this twaddle, the existence of God, atheism, determinism, liberation, societies, death, etc., are pieces of a chess game called language, and they are amusing only if one does not preoccupy oneself with winning or losing this ‘game of chess’.” ― Marcel Duchamp.

 

“Chess is life in miniature. Chess is a struggle, chess is battles.” – Garry Kasparov.

 

Benny Andersson, Tim Rice & Björn Ulvaeus – Chess (From Chess The Musical Soundtrack) ♫ youtu.be/Y-HXjvmcLa8

 

This photo was inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Seventh Seal’ (Det sjunde inseglet) and edited with GIMP 2.

 

Narrator: And when the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour... And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. (The Bible, Revelation 8:1 and 8:6)

[Cut to Crusader Antonius Block, resting near crashing waves on the beach; silence abruptly descends, and a black-robed man with an unnaturally white face appears]

Block: Who are you?

Death: I am Death.

Block: Have you come for me?

Death: I have been walking by your side for a long time.

Block: That I know.

Death: Are you prepared?

Block: My body is, but I am not.

 

[Death approaches Block. The knight has risen to his feet. He shivers. DEATH opens his cloak to place it around the KNIGHT'S shoulders.]

Block: Wait a moment.

Death: You all say that. But I give no respite.

Block: You play chess, don’t you? …

 

[A gleam of interest kindles in DEATH'S eyes.]

 

DEATH: How did you know that?

Block: I have seen it in paintings and heard it sung in ballads.

DEATH: Yes, in fact I'm quite a good chess player.

Block: But you can't be better than I am.

 

[The knight rummages in the big black bag which he keeps beside him and takes out a small chessboard. He places it carefully on the ground and begins setting up the pieces.]

 

DEATH: Why do you want to play chess with me?

Block: I have my reasons.

DEATH: That is your privilege.

Block: The condition is that I may live as long as I hold out against you. If I win, you will release me. Is it agreed?

 

[Block holds out his two fists to DEATH, who smiles at him suddenly. DEATH points to one of the KNIGHT'S hands; it contains a black pawn.]

 

Block: You drew black!

DEATH: Very appropriate. Don't you think so?

 

[The knight and DEATH bend over the chessboard. After a moment of hesitation, Antonius Block opens with his king's pawn. DEATH moves, also using his king’s pawn.]

 

Scott Walker – The Seventh Seal ♫ youtu.be/jMUk1R_fKEA

www.instagram.com/lightcrafter.artistry

www.lightcrafter.pro

 

Playing off of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam." A pictorial representation of atheism, where deities are nothing more than a projection of the human brain, and barring other forms of life on distant planets, humans are alone in the universe.

 

All images © 2017 Daniel Kessel.

All rights reserved

The reason I am an atheist is because it would be impossible to reconcile the presence of an omnipotent being in the same universe as the being gassing up this truck in Pleasanton California

Saudade

  

“Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning...”

― C.S. Lewis

 

Thanks Ethan Coverstone, Anita Wilson, and Rachel Martinelli for the help!

 

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Are we, as Professor Richard Lewontin suggests, forced by an a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, or can we accept that some things are the result of intelligent design?

Sometimes I feel that my atheism is a first world luxury.

learn to say "I DON'T KNOW"

 

it isn't as hard as it looks.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling on Title VII -- chalk up a huge win for the LGBT community but the fight is hardly over -- a lot of religious conservatives and a significant plurality of originalist LIbertarians are outraged. From their pulpits, but mostly in comment sections to news articles and blogs, they scream: How dare these judges infringe upon one's religious liberty to discriminate freely against the sinful gays and mentally ill trannies! God/Jesus commands us to give them no quarter in society else we shall burn in eternal hellfire.

 

But what does freedom of religion truly mean? Is there a point in which we should draw the line in the sand and allow discrimination based on "one's sincerely held religious beliefs"?

 

Some disclaimers: 1. I'm trans. 2. I'm an atheist. 3. I'm apolitical. 4. I don't care what anyone believes as long as they don't use their beliefs as a stick with which to beat me or force me to believe and act as they choose to do. Just want you to know where I stand. I'm not fully unbiased, but I can look at things objectively.

 

When I was in school, I was taught that, in America, freedom of religion meant that the government was not allowed to force anyone to follow a specific state-sanctioned religion. Keep in mind that a significant majority of English settlers in pre-Colonial days were those whose religious sect was not the approved sect in England. Many people came to America to escape the discrimination they faced in Britain for simply following a slightly different set of beliefs in the same god, and at the time, Britain was happy to see them leave. Fast forward a hundred years or so after a pesky war for independence and the founding of America, and the Bill of Rights was added to the constitution. The First Amendment states:

 

"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."

 

This is known as the Establishment Clause. The part that seems most subject to interpretation throughout American history is "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

 

Does that mean that religiously-minded bigots are free to discriminate against anyone who doesn't share their beliefs or act according to their faith?

 

I don't think it means that. But that's my subjective opinion. The legal opinions are all over the place on the interpretive spectrum. And a fair number of Christian conservatives believe strongly that they have every right to discriminate against everyone who doesn't conform to their religious worldview. The truth is that religion has always been entwined with the American government, and plenty of laws have been passed that do establish religion, because religious people are elected to office and do their utmost to pass laws that conform to their religion's beliefs. It's almost inescapable.

 

Look at it another way. Has America ever had an openly atheist president? While some presidents were charged with being atheists, the truthful answer to that question is, no. Americans have been extraordinarily consistent in ensuring that their presidents are Christians. Elect-ability required a candidate to not only proclaim belief but also to be seen worshiping at religious services. America is far from the secular country it claims it is. Religion is absolutely entrenched in politics in America.

 

Plenty of lefty liberals are also god-fearing politicians. It really has only been about twenty years or so when the Democratic party's line began supporting a much more liberal view of religion along with advocating for LGBT protections. Remember, the Clintons both said they did not believe in same-sex marriages, because at that time, it was politically expedient to say that. I suspect they were being disingenuous, because clearly both believed that "the gays" deserved some degree of equality. The compromise was the infamous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for military service.

 

(N.B. I served just as that policy became enacted, and it didn't go down well at all within the Marine Corp's rank and structure -- and yes, I lied on my enlistment application and said I never had any homosexual thoughts or activities. I'm glad I wasn't hooked up to a lie detector, because I was most definitely a cocksucker and bottom bitch who loved to crossdress. LOL.)

 

My point is merely that society has changed considerably in 20 to 30 years. What was considered unacceptable across the board has become a lot more acceptable to society.

 

But we have holdouts still. And we are unlikely to change their minds. So the question is now, how far should the law go in protecting both believers and non-believers? Objectively, I tend to fall along the lines that people should be allowed to be assholes. Subjectively, I think that the assholes should be limited in what they do in the "public sphere" of commerce and employment. In other words, I believe strongly that religion should get out of politics and out of for-profit businesses. That doesn't mean I'm correct. It's just what I believe. Freedom of religion to me means that people get to go to whatever church they want to go to and live their personal lives however they choose, with whomever they choose to associate with. But in public, they ought to put on their secular hat and get on with accepting that some people don't conform to their views and not discriminate against them.

 

And if I were Queen of America, I would make that a priority. But I'm not queen and I'll never go into politics. So my take on living life is gently persuading people to not be bigoted assholes and to follow Christ's commandment to "love thy neighbor." Jesus never said to only love your neighbors who believe as you do.

 

That is what I believe Christians fail to remember when they openly attack atheists and LGBT people. It's about love, stupid. I can love a religious nutbag just as much as I love an atheist cocksucking tranny like me. It's not even that hard to do.

I was banned from the Flickr Christianity group, so here's my trophy I made from the ban notice. Here is the conversation that got me banned.

"The Crucinaut of Overlapping Magisteria" (photograph #1) by 1CONOCLA5T. 1n this piece the artist seeks to show the contrast and conflict between science and religion. The title is a reference to the famous quote by american paleontologist Steven J Gould that science and religion are "non-overlapping magisteria". In this piece the suffering Christ is replaced on the cross by an Apollo astronaut to represent the way in which religion has for centuries persecuted science and rational thinkers while at the same time by using the iconic image of an Apollo astronaut, reminding the viewer of one of human kinds greatest achievements, the landing of humans on the moon. such an achievement was only possible once religion was forced thanks to the discovery's of science to loosen its grip on the human race as a whole. it should be noted that it didn't do so without a fight and continues to try to regain that lost ground.

Despite airplanes, automobiles, smartphones, heart transplants, the internet and lets not forget the moon landing, there are still people who want to teach creationism in public schools and think Noah's ark is a literal story about a real 600 year old man. As well as irrational lunatics who say we never even went to the moon and the earth is actually flat.

I found some photos I took on my last visit to Arizona. I visited the church where I attended for much of my youth. It was for the last time now that I've embraced atheism.

I remember a sense of closure.

 

Copyright © 2018 Vic Bonilla All Rights Reserved.

Do not reproduce this image without expressed permission from the photographer.

 

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Asheville, NC City Councilman Cecil Bothwell is an atheist. That bothers some other people, like bigot H.K. Edgerton:

 

“My father was a Baptist minister. I’m a Christian man. I have problems with people who don’t believe in God,” said Edgerton, a former local NAACP president and founder of Southern Heritage 411, an organization that promotes the interests of black southerners.

 

Indeed, he has such a problem with it Edgerton is threatening to file a lawsuit, claiming Bothwell isn’t qualified to hold office because of his atheism, citing the unconstitutional North Carolina Constitution that “disqualifies officeholders ‘who shall deny the being of Almighty God.’”

 

Bothwell’s response: “The question of whether or not God exists is not particularly interesting to me, and it’s certainly not relevant to public office.”

 

There was a time when people like Edgerton were denied office because of the color of their skin. Edgerton is fighting for the same bigotry — denying office to someone because of their religion, or lack there of. It’s shameful.

 

Such a charming look and I couldn't stop laughing at the shirt. Had to ask her for a portrait.

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The Origin of Eastern Lightning’s Prosperity

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"Now, in these last days, God has once again become flesh in China—the staunch bastion of atheism, the very nest of the great red dragon—to carry out His work of judgment beginning from His house. God issues forth truths to judge and cleanse mankind, the purpose being to save man completely from the dark influence of Satan, and finally, the saved will be brought into God’s kingdom by Him and enter rest together with God. However, the historical tragedy of Jewish resistance to the Lord Jesus is being enacted once again. As God does His new work of the last days which strikes back against the notions of people from the various religious sects, they do not welcome the return of the Lord Jesus. Instead, they spread all manner of heresies and fallacies. They attack and slander God incarnate, condemning His work as an “evil cult” or “heresy.” They even go so far as to collude with the Chinese Communist government to persecute and arrest those who spread the gospel of God in the last days. Their deeds are no different than those of the Jewish religious community that once framed and persecuted the Lord Jesus. This fact has completely fulfilled the prophecy of the Lord Jesus, “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luke 17:24-25). God has been incarnated twice amongst man to speak and work, to redeem mankind and save mankind, and both times has suffered the condemnation, blasphemy, and resistance of religious leaders and ruling regimes; this fact alone is enough to prove that the true way has been persecuted since ancient times. The more the way is true and the more it is the appearance and work of God, the more it suffers the rejection and condemnation of religious leaders and satanic regimes. The clever can determine from the unscrupulous persecution and condemnation of Almighty God and His work of the last days by the pastors and elders of the religious world and the CCP government whether or not it is the true way, and thereby make the wise choice."

..........

 

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We welcome all truth seekers to contact us.

 

en.easternlightning.org/

 

The Origin of Eastern Lightning’s Prosperity

.........

"Now, in these last days, God has once again become flesh in China—the staunch bastion of atheism, the very nest of the great red dragon—to carry out His work of judgment beginning from His house. God issues forth truths to judge and cleanse mankind, the purpose being to save man completely from the dark influence of Satan, and finally, the saved will be brought into God’s kingdom by Him and enter rest together with God. However, the historical tragedy of Jewish resistance to the Lord Jesus is being enacted once again. As God does His new work of the last days which strikes back against the notions of people from the various religious sects, they do not welcome the return of the Lord Jesus. Instead, they spread all manner of heresies and fallacies. They attack and slander God incarnate, condemning His work as an “evil cult” or “heresy.” They even go so far as to collude with the Chinese Communist government to persecute and arrest those who spread the gospel of God in the last days. Their deeds are no different than those of the Jewish religious community that once framed and persecuted the Lord Jesus. This fact has completely fulfilled the prophecy of the Lord Jesus, “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luke 17:24-25). God has been incarnated twice amongst man to speak and work, to redeem mankind and save mankind, and both times has suffered the condemnation, blasphemy, and resistance of religious leaders and ruling regimes; this fact alone is enough to prove that the true way has been persecuted since ancient times. The more the way is true and the more it is the appearance and work of God, the more it suffers the rejection and condemnation of religious leaders and satanic regimes. The clever can determine from the unscrupulous persecution and condemnation of Almighty God and His work of the last days by the pastors and elders of the religious world and the CCP government whether or not it is the true way, and thereby make the wise choice."

..........

 

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