Sunday, April 12, 2015

Saying Republicans Care About the Poor is a Sad Joke

Rep. Mia Love (Gage Skidmore)
It’s a well-known fact Republicans makes stupid, uninformed statements. Sites such as Media Matters and Right Wing Watch spend a great deal of time debunking Republican lies. And because Republicans often put their feet in their mouths, these sites stay busy. However, in the sea of Republican nonsense, a statement made by Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah,) at the Conservative Political Action Conference held in February, stood out. Love, a black Republican and Mormon, said “We are the ones that care about the poor.”

That statement is so staggeringly inaccurate, it made me do a double take. On closer analysis, it makes no sense and this is pretty evident to working Americans. In the past, Republicans portrayed themselves as pro business, pro-small government and generally held moderate social views. Those Rockefeller Republicans, or “Country Club Republicans” as I call them, held patrician views, where they believed that it was the job of the upper class to do something for the less fortunate. But, those Rockefeller Republicans have been shoved aside in recent years for far-right Republicans, who tend to take a far more mean-spirited view of poor people. As political comedian Bill Maher said on “Real Time,” the Democrats have moved to the right and the Republicans have moved to the insane asylum.

Apart from supporting trickle-down economic policies, which favor putting more money in the hands of the rich, the GOP also has a certain contempt for low-income families and this is fairly evident in their policies. After all, it’s the Republican party, which has refused to support raising the minimum wage, even though inflation has long outpaced salaries. In many parts of the country, working 40 hours per week at a minimum-wage job is simply not enough to pay for an apartment, car, gas, insurance and food. Many working class people hold down two jobs, clocking in about 60 hours a week, just to get by. Additionally, many of the working poor are on government support programs, such as food stamps and Medicaid, because they don’t make enough to pay for food and health care. And what’s the GOP’s response to people in this dilemma? To slash those very programs people are using to get buy.

Republican contempt for working people was one of the problems that dogged Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Romney, a multimillionaire born into a life of privilege, was always seen as out of touch with working Americans. A secret recording revealed him saying 47 percent of the country were slackers, who didn’t pay taxes. When confronted on how to tackle the rising cost of college, Romney said students should borrow the money from their parents.

You see, in Republican eyes most college students have their tuition fees paid by their parents. Now, even if an above average American family makes about $80,000 per year, all of their money is so tied up in paying a mortgage, two car payments, food, gas, healthcare, daycare and other household bills, they don’t have any loose change lying around to help junior pay for college. A lot of families either take out second mortgages or tell their children they are on their own.

Republicans also seem to have no idea it’s darn near impossible to work your way through college on a minimum-wage job. With tuition at state schools being close to $10,000 per year, a student making minimum wage is barely going to make a dent in his school fees, even if he lived rent free and never spent a penny on gas, food or entertainment.
But it’s not just being out of touch that dogs Republicans, many of them have outright disdain for poor people. In their eyes, if you are not financially successful, it’s because you're lazy and simply didn’t work hard enough. Former labor secretary Robert Reich has also noticed this. He wrote, “Many (Republicans) believe that poor people deserve to be poor because they’re lazy. As Speaker John Boehner has said, the poor have a notion that ‘I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around.’”

That’s the reason why they are all in favor of slashing social programs, even though they make up a minuscule part of the budget. Republicans believe giving poor people things like food stamps, encourages them to sit around and not look for work. Cutting them off would force them to find employment. However, even if they did find employment, it probably wouldn’t be enough to cover the basic needs, and they would still need government support anyway.

Apart from thinking poor people are lower life forms, some Republicans also believe low-income people shouldn’t have the right to vote either. According to MSNBC, tea party Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) said only property owners should be able to vote. So to all those workers who are not saddled with upside down mortgages and young soldiers dying for their country, no vote for you. Yoho also said he didn’t think voting was a right, but a privilege. The GOP does not support paying workers a living wage, doesn’t plan to do anything to assist college students struggling to pay off crushing debt, and doesn’t think poor people should even have the right to have a say in their government. Yet, Love had the gall to say, they care about poor people? If this wasn’t so tragically ignorant, it would be laughable. But this isn’t surprising coming from Love, a woman who converted to a religion that believed she was cursed by God until 1978. Evidently, her critical thinking skills are lacking.

Clavell Jackson is the CEO of URoast, a company that produces personalized online roasts. For more information email or go to

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Real Illuminati

Hang out on the Internet long enough and you are going to run into all kinds of stories, memes and videos about the Illuminati, a secret society of powerful men who run the world. Don’t make the mistake of typing “Illuminati” on YouTube. You’ll be deluged with results and fall into a virtual rabbit hole. Radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is notorious for promoting stories about secret organizations that want to enslave ordinary, working folks with a one-world government. Jones, who never met a conspiracy he didn’t like, believes, among other things, the Sandy Hook School massacre was staged by the government as an excuse to crack down on gun owners. He also believes the government is putting chemicals in orange juice that turn children gay. One of Jones critics said there are plenty of real problems to worry about, things like climate change, rising sea levels, mass incarceration, the never-ending war on terror, etc., without obsessing over imaginary problems like the Illuminati. Many of these real problems are also out in the open. I thought about this when I was reading news stories about the video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) members at the University of Oklahoma chanting a racist song. I went to school alongside fraternity boys at Oklahoma State University (OSU), so I wasn’t surprised they held racist views. SAE predates the Civil War and prides itself on being founded in the antebellum South. Its members have a long history of making racial comments and have been known to proudly fly the Confederate flag. However, what surprised me was the power of the fraternity. I have always been slightly baffled at why young men clamored to join these elite organizations. I’ve heard stories of fraternity hazing rituals, which sounded like sexual assault. A 2013 Bloomberg story described a SAE pledge who endured hazing rituals which sounded like the punishment handed out to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. He was made to stand in a trash can full of ice water while reciting the fraternity creed. At the same time SAE members were hosing him down with water, shouting insults at him and playing ear-splitting rock music. Pledges were also made to wear diapers and women’s clothes. So why endure this torture? Apparently because of the power of the SAE network, who are well represented in the fields of finance and government. Bloomberg said LinkedIn lists more than 3,000 SAE members who work in the financial sector. writer Katie McDonough reported 85 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are fraternity men. SAE also counts OSU alumni billionaire T. Boone Pickens, one of the wealthiest men in the country, as a member. Other prominent SAE members include President William McKinley and writer William Faulkner. Tapping into this network has its benefits. According to Bloomberg, SAE member Jeff Librot applied for a job at a Montreal bank, and a banker sent him an email bearing SAE’s secret motto. And here is where the problem becomes glaring. America likes to bill itself as a meritocracy, a place where anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, become a millionaire and rise to the top through hard work. I wonder if anyone still believes that, especially when the power of Greek organizations is revealed? It’s pretty evident the best person doesn’t always get hired for the job.  How are working class or middle-class children, minorities and women supposed to make it to the top when they are shut out of powerful networks like the kinds forged in the Greek system? Less than 3 percent of SAE membership is non-white and I wonder what they had to endure to stick it out. Women are automatically shut out of jobs and funding opportunities because they are excluded from the good, old boys club. And is it any wonder why Wall Street pulled some of the financial stunts it did when it’s run by frat boys, who encourage and tolerate racist behavior? According to the New York Times, Wells Fargo targeted black people with high-interest subprime mortgages which they nicknamed “mud people” or “ghetto” loans. Unfortunately organizations, like SAE, have been around for more than 100 years and they don’t look as if they are going away. When authorities try to crack down on Greek organizations, they use their power and influence to make the charges quietly go away. The families of students killed in hazing rituals get hefty settlement checks. Female students who are raped at frats run into a brick wall when they try to get colleges to press charges. Some rape victims have said the backlash from reporting the rape was actually worse than the rape itself. Appearing on Bill Maher’s “Real TIme,” Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, co-founders of End Rape on Campus, said on campus, the acronym SAE stood for Sexual Assault Expected. Salon also pointed out universities are reluctant to punish fraternities because they don’t want to upset wealthy donors. Salon said “In 2013, 60 percent of donations that topped $100 million came from fraternity members." So to all you conspiracy theorists, don’t worry about the all-powerful Illuminati, worry about the powerful all-male, mainly white organizations in plain sight. They are real and have an inordinate amount of power.

Clavell Jackson is the CEO of URoast, a company that produces personalized online roasts. For more information email or go to

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Carson’s Anti-gay Comments Show He’s Not Ready For Prime Time

Ben Carson (Gage Skidmore)

I have watched with curious bemusement as Dr. Ben Carson has toyed with running for the Republican presidential nomination. I have known from the start this was never a serious candidacy. Carson has never won elected office, and knows nothing about how political campaigns work.

Some Republicans have argued this could work in his favor, because people are tired of slick, professional politicians who are constantly running for office or raising money. However, I think professional politicians get a bad rap. A person who has spent 20 years in office knows what they are doing. They know how to get money for their district, and more importantly, they know how to handle the cut-throat media. Why is being a politician the only profession where lack of experience is seen as an asset? Would you go to a mechanic who said he had no experience fixing cars?

Although Carson has his rabid group of followers, who seem to think being a good Christian will make him a great president, his candidacy has been dogged by gaffes. He said “Obamacare was the worst thing since slavery,” and has also compared gay marriage to bestiality. In a recent CNN interview, Carson said being gay was “absolutely a choice” and also said gay people didn’t deserve equal protection under the law.

It seems as if Carson, a famed neurosurgeon, is destined to head into Herman Cain territory. This is a shame because Carson was once held up as a role model in the black community. His story of growing up in a home headed by a poor single mother and eventually overcoming his anger and academic problems to succeed at an Ivy league school is an inspiring one.  (However, it should be noted that Carson, a conservative Republican, benefitted from welfare and affirmative action growing up, programs hated by the GOP.)

Online news source BuzzFeed recently ran a lengthy article asking if Carson was going to ruin his legacy by running for president. Writer Joel Anderson said, “But he’s (Carson) now risking this previously unassailable legacy in national politics, where reputations are broken as often as made. He’s making a series of sharp-edged statements that undermine his previously universal appeal, particularly in communities he once sought to set an example for. He has traded one kind of national stature for another one, hotter but also faster burning.”

Carson seems like a well-meaning guy, but I question why he decided to get into the rough and tumble world of politics. I wonder if it’s money, because he has also developed a new career as a political commentator. I always thought his new career in politics was a way of padding his retirement account, but he is a retired neurosurgeon so he can’t have been hurting for money.

I have no idea who is advising Carson, but they should have sent him to intensive media training and told him if you are serious about running for president there are certain things you can’t say. Carson is said to hate politically correct behavior, but being PC is a fact of life in modern America. Try making anti-gay comments in Corporate America, and see how long you stay on the job.

Mainstream America is becoming more accepting of the gay community, especially young people, and statewide gay marriage is eventually going to happen. Even some Evangelical churches, realizing the way the cultural winds are blowing, are now trying to be more accepting of gay couples. Anti-gay comments are simply not acceptable, even for Republicans. President George W. Bush knew this, and he didn’t say anything about gay people when he was first running for president. He actually had several gay Republicans who worked in his White House. The anti-gay rhetoric only came out when he was running for a second term in 2004, which was highly ironic because Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman was in the closet at the time. Mehlman later came out after he stepped down from his post.

Carson may be so arrogant he thinks his charisma and faith is enough to win the presidency. Or maybe this campaign is a huge branding exercise, like Herman Cain’s. But his comments show he is simply not ready for prime time and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Clavell Jackson is the CEO of URoast, a company that produces personalized online roasts. For more information email or go to

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Truth Doesn’t Matter to New Breed of Right-Wing ‘Journalists’

Charles C. Johnson

Sometimes being a political analyst means wading through the gutter to understand your enemy. I have spent a lot of time reading and watching hate mongers, like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, trying to understand their appeal. I have come to the conclusion that both Limbaugh and Coulter are shock jocks, who thrive on getting people riled up and using that outrage to sell books or get ratings. It’s a successful gimmick, all be it an ugly one. Of course both of these “entertainers,” shouldn’t be taken seriously. They are largely uninformed on the issues and their accuracy rate is abysmal. According to a study done by PolitiFact, Limbaugh had 0 true statements and almost half of his statements were rated mostly false. Unfortunately, Coulter and Limbaugh have influenced a generation of young conservatives, who grew up listening to their diatribes branding liberals as subhuman enemies of the state. I remember encountering this several years ago, when I was living in a college town. I occasionally read the college paper, which I used to work for, and I remember some strident articles written by a young conservative. In one of them, she said tolerating gay people would eventually lead to the acceptance of bestiality. This toxic stew of right-wing media has produced several “journalists” like this. These people are not objective reporters. They are propagandists, who think the media is hopelessly biased and their job is to use unscrupulous tactics, to destroy figures on the left. One of these such people is Charles C. Johnson, a figure so despised he is even shunned by the some elements of the right-wing media and has been banned from Twitter. Johnson, who Gawker branded “the web’s worst journalist,” has a multitude of journalistic sins, which is surprising because he claims to have worked for top-tier publications like the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and National Review. Johnson is a particularly incompetent journalist, which probably explains why he currently mainly writes for his own website, He claimed to publish the name and picture of the student at the center of the Rolling Stone UVA rape story.  It turned out it was the wrong woman. According to Gawker, he also likes to publish articles that back the police in brutality cases and imply the victims deserved what happened to them. He has repeatedly tweeted President Barack Obama is gay, and also tried to smear deceased New York Times writer David Carr, by bringing up Carr’s drug use, even though this has been discussed extensively in Carr’s autobiography. Johnson's most famous gaffe was running a story claiming Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez had partied with underage hookers. The story was proven to be totally false, but not before it was picked up The Daily Caller. I don’t know why Johnson is still treated as a serious figure, even by the right-wing media. It’s also baffling how he managed to write for so many respectable publications without understanding basic journalistic rules and ethics. Johnson is a new breed of journalist raised on right-wing media, who believes they have to go for the jugular when covering a story. He doesn’t care if he destroy his left-wing opponents in the process and apparently he doesn’t seem to care if his stories are accurate. Unfortunately, he is still out there publishing and being taken seriously by some sources. I guess we can thank Coulter and Limbaugh for that. The right wing would do well to wash their hands of people like Johnson and “activists” James O’Keefe, who’s heavily-edited undercover videos caused ACORN to shut down. O’Keefe was later successfully sued by ACORN workers he had smeared in the video, where he claimed to be a pimp looking to import women. Johnson and O'Keefe are not journalists, they are hit man who use smear tactics to destroy their enemies.
Clavell Jackson is the CEO of URoast, a company that produces personalized online roasts. For more information email or go to

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Four Reasons Why Elizabeth Warren Won’t Run in 2016

I am getting tired of seeing polls and articles urging Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to run for president. Her populist tones and criticism of Wall Street have caught the attention of progressives, who see her as a viable alternative to Hillary Clinton. But liberals need to get off the draft Warren band wagon. Warren is not running and people on the left are better off putting their time and energy into backing a candidate who actually has a chance of winning the White House.

Here are four reasons why Warren won’t be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016.
  • She lacks political experience. Although Warren has an impressive background as a bankruptcy professor at Harvard and working with the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she has little experience in elected politics. The Senate seat was the first political race she has ever run. She barely has one term in Congress’s upper chamber, and I don’t how well she would fare in the pressure cooker of a presidential race.
  • She lacks foreign policy experience. There is no doubting Warren’s experience in finance, but what does she know about international affairs? Most of her public comments have been about how the economy and political system are stacked against working Americans. That’s sounds good to most Americans, but I haven’t heard her talk about terrorism, ISIS or the myriad of other foreign policy issues facing the country. Even now, she serves on committees that deal with domestic issues. I think it would be safe to say international relations are not her forte.
  • She doesn’t want to run. Warren has repeatedly said she is not interested in running for president and I’m taking her at her word. Until she turns around and announces her campaign, all talk of her running is conjecture and can’t be taken seriously.
  • She has important work to do in the Senate. If Warren were to launch a campaign, could she also focus on the important issues she is talking about, such as student loan rates and banking reforms? The only other senator who has talked about issues affecting working families is Sen. Bernie Sanders, and he is also being mentioned as a potential candidate, although he is even more of an outside choice. Warren needs to be in the Senate fighting for American families. Although, I don’t know how much legislation she could get passed in a Republican-controlled Congress.
I like Elizabeth Warren and I think she might be a great candidate -- sometime in the future. But until she throws her hat in the ring, I prefer to work within the system with a candidate who supports my issues. If Hillary is the eventual candidate, I will campaign for her and try to force her to address issues that progressive feel are important. Warren might seem like the perfect liberal candidate, but if she isn’t actually running, it’s all pie in the sky.

Clavell Jackson is the CEO of URoast, a company that produces personalized online roasts. For more information email or go to

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Republican Policies Are Doomed to Fail

Times might look bleak for Democrats, with Republicans controlling Congress and GOP boosters, led by the notorious Koch Brothers, promising to sink up to $900 million on the 2016 presidential race. The one consolation is you can always count on Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Once in power, Republicans often screw up because conservative ideas, like supply-side economics, simply don’t work. Republicans claim to be good with finances, but their policies usually blow up the budget and run up the the deficit.

We have witnessed this under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Reagan tried to implement supply-side economics and slash social programs. That gave us a deficit that pushed over $3 trillion and we also saw an increasing homeless population, as social services were eliminated. George W. Bush tried the same thing. He slashed taxes on the rich and started two wars, which he failed to pay for. As Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said this has never been done in human history. Usually countries raise taxes when they go to war. Those two wars cost about $1.7 trillion, which was added to the deficit.

Republicans believe in the gospel of cutting taxes. They think flush with all additional money, the wealthy will reinvest in the economy. The only problem with that is the U.S. is a consumer economy. Spending on products like computers, cars, TVs, ect. drives the economy. People who are in a higher tax bracket don’t spend a lot of money on those products. If you give a guy worth $10 million a tax break, how many Rolls Royces will he buy? And he probably doesn’t spend much money on disposable goods like clothes and electronics. Give tax breaks to working-class people (there is no middle class anymore) and they’ll spend money to improve their homes, buy cars or products at their local stores. I have witnessed this myself. Several years ago, I got a $50 Christmas bonus. Later that evening I spent the money in Wal-Mart and saw a co-worker doing the same.

These ideas are backed up by economic scholars such as Krugman and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Consumer spending drives the American economy, and if working people, who spend the bulk of their incomes on consumer products, don’t have any money, the economy dries up.

Republicans know that although Americans bitch about taxes and the size of government, they actually like having well-educated children, a functioning police force, Medicare and Social Security. So they can’t totally eliminate these programs, if they want to get reelected. When elected, Republicans reduce government income and maintain government spending levels, which is a recipe for disaster.

We have seen this played out in states led by Republican governors such as Sam Brownback in Kansas, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Paul LePage in Maine. These states are facing huge budget shortfalls because of their governors’ policies, which slashed taxes. Brown eliminated taxes for 200,000 businesses and also reduced taxes on the wealthy. But according to Mother Jones, Brownback now has to cut $279 million from the budget by the end of the fiscal year. It’s likely these cuts are going to come from education and social services, programs that poor people count on.

Jindal’s Louisiana is facing similar problems. Think Progress states, Jindal’s tax cuts have left the state with a $1.6 billion shortfall. Jindal plans to fix the problem by cutting social programs, education and coastal restoration. Maine, led by tea party Gov. Paul LePage, is considering trying to plug its $756 million two-year deficit by raising taxes on movie tickets, cigarettes and haircuts. Increased prices on movie tickets and cigarettes will be more acutely felt by working people than high-income earners. Anyway you look at it, it’s raising taxes, one of the things the so-called tea party is supposed to be against.

I can only hope that when the gullible American voter realizes he is being screwed over by Republican policies, like trickle-down economics, he will vote Democrat. 12 years of a Republican White House gave us Bill Clinton and George W. Bush’s disastrous reign gave us Barack Obama, the first African American president.

Perhaps a Republican-led Congress, will eventually lead to Democrats in charge again. It’s too bad American voters have to learn this lesson the hard way.

Clavell Jackson is the CEO of URoast, a company that produces personalized online roasts. For more information email or go to

Thursday, February 12, 2015

10 Reasons Why I am a Freethinker

I am an agnostic--a black freethinker. That might not sound like a huge admission but, in my world, it is. Black freethinkers are as popular as gay Republicans. African Americans are the most religious of all ethnic groups in the United States, but I’ve stepped outside that norm, questioned the basic premises of faith, and decided to think for myself.

My evolution has been a gradual process. I attended Catholic church with my family from my mid teens, but was never really into it. I was never formally confirmed or fully indoctrinated. After the pedophilia scandal, I decided I could not be associated with an organization that had knowingly protected priests who were raping little boys. I stopped going to church and began calling myself an agnostic---too chicken to say there is no God. Religion, despite its undeniably good aspects, has overall been bad for humanity.

My criticism mainly focuses on Christianity, because that was the faith I was raised with. I don’t feel qualified to critique Islam, although I did take an “Intro to slam” course in college and have skimmed through the Koran. But I will say that some parts of Sharia law, practised by the terrorist group ISIS and Saudi Arabia, are barbaric and have no place in modern societies.

Here are the 10 reasons why I am a freethinker:
  1. My mind works logically. I know 1 plus 1 equals 2. So naturally, I was going to have a problem with religion. This didn’t bother me when I was younger, but as I got older and started applying a more critical view towards Bible stories, a lot of it didn’t make sense. Some Christians would argue many of the Bible stories are parables and not meant to be taken literally. However, fundamentalists believe the Bible is the inherent word of God. I have experienced some of these people up close and personal and I believe they are insane. Let’s take an analytical view of some Bible stories. A talking snake, Noah a man building an ark and cramming every known animal into it, and the animals not eating each other, a talking donkey, a man living in a whale? This doesn’t pass the smell test. That’s probably the reason why Christianity tries to get people when they are young. It’s easier to believe these fables when you’re a kid and still believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.
  2. The Bible is not accurate. Freethinkers actually know a lot about Christianity and other religions. A Pew research study on religion showed atheists scored the highest. You can’t accurately critique something, if you haven’t studied it. Many freethinkers say the best way to become an atheist is to study the Bible. This is an opinion also echoed by former fundamentalist Frank Schaeffer, who said he quit the Religious Right to preserve his faith. The Bible is a collection of stories, parables, fables and “historical events” cobbled together over thousands of years. It has several authors, and it has been translated through multiple languages, revised, edited and redacted. (There are whole books that were taken out because they didn’t fit a certain world view and were deemed too controversial. ) As someone who speaks two languages, I can guarantee, when you translate words, some things get lost in translation. The term “the gospel truth” is not even accurate, because the gospel is questionable. The gospels were not written by the disciples, who were illiterate. They were written several years after their deaths by people who didn’t witness the events, so how accurate are they? Even Jesus’ name is inaccurate. His real name Yehoshua, and it became Jesus, when the Bible was translated into Greek. Apart from being inaccurate, the Bible is not a reliable historical document. One of the most famous stories in the Bible, Exodus, probably didn’t happen. Some historians argue there is no record of a mass exodus of Jews from Egypt. (The Egyptians kept pretty good records.) Also, historians say the pyramids were not built by slave labor, but skilled workers who were paid and given burials. Another pivotal story from the Bible, Herod’s slaughter of Jewish boys never happened. There was a tyrannical King Herod, but some archaeologists argue the massacre never occurred.
  3. Religion doesn’t help. Religious people like to think humans will go off the rails without religious rules and morals. Not all morality comes from religion and most freethinkers are quite moral. Morality also comes from society, and it’s often subjective. In America, marrying a 12-year-old is illegal and seen as immoral, while in some cultures it’s perfectly normal. Scandinavian countries and Japan, countries where few people practice religion, have low crime rates. The United States, on the other hand, has a high level of religiosity and has a much higher crime rate. The parts of the United States with the highest out-of-wedlock birth rates are in the Bible Belt. Nigeria, which is extremely religious, is one of the most corrupt countries on the planet. And I am not going to even get into all the wars that have been started by religion. There have been a few atheist-inspired genocides, but religion has its share. Religious wars are the worst, because people will do truly awful things in the name of God.
  4. What people call religion might be mental illness. The more I study religion, the more I wonder if religious people aren’t really mentally ill? Hearing voices, seeing visions, talking in tongues, etc. that sounds more like psychosis than religion. Pornographer Larry Flynt got religion in the ‘70s and he said he started having visions and hearing voices. He thought he was hearing the voice of God, but that went away when he got on psychiatric drugs. Another example is the tragic case of Andrea Yates, a Christian woman who killed all five of her kids because she thought she was hearing the voice of God. Yates and her husband, Rusty, were both highly religious and her husband ignored doctor’s advice when he told them not to have any more kids, because Andrea couldn’t cope. Rusty ignored the doctors and it the end result was five dead kids. Even today, some churches frown on psychiatry, which they think is the work of the devil.
  5. Religion doesn’t belong in a modern society. This is the 21st century. We have the Internet, space travel, vaccines and self-driving cars. Why are we listening like Pat Robertson and Michelle Bachmann, who claim they a speaking to a deity? And which deity is it? Yahweh, Thor, Buddha, Zeus, Olodumare? How do we know it’s the right one? Thankfully, in the Western world, we have largely done away with the idea of theocracy. But in America, some fundamentalists believe in Dominionism, a government run by Christians. I’m sorry, but when I elect an official, I want someone who is going to suggest a practical solution to a problem like global warming, not just pray. That’s like doing a rain dance to fix a drought. When Texas was afflicted by a drought Gov. Rick Perry called for prayer and it didn’t work.
  6. Christianity and racism are old friends. I see the world through the eyes of a black man. I have also studied African history. If you have done any research into the history of how Christianity was brought to African people, it is fraught with problems. Christian missionaries were the vanguard of European colonialism. The missionaries thought it was their job to save African savages and rescue them from eternal damnation. They didn’t care if they were beginning the destruction of thousands of year old cultures. For a long time, European historians didn’t think Africa had any history or culture until they arrived, which is not true. Christianity has always been steeped in racism. It started with missionaries teaching natives to believe God and Jesus were white and even went on until recently with Mormons believing that black skin was a “curse from God.” Even today, most churches depict Jesus, angels and God as Caucasian. Up until about 40 years ago, churches were segregated in America and even today some old graveyards are still segregated. (I wonder if they think heaven will be divided by race too?) As President Barack Obama said, Christians used the Bible to justify slavery, Jim Crow and segregation. I can almost see why some Black Americans rejected Christianity for Islam in the ‘60s. As far as I know, there aren’t any segregated mosques.
  7. Church is a business. Of all my points, this is the most accurate. Church in America is a tax-free enterprise and a great way to get rich. You don’t need much training, a criminal background won’t hurt you, you’re selling a product (heaven/salvation/the afterlife, whatever) which no one can verify and, most importantly, it’s tax free. A lot of big churches are operated like family businesses, where the founder hands it off to one of his children when he gets too old preach. So why do people start churches, to save souls or get rich? When some pastors are millionaires, with palatial homes, luxury cars and private jets, it makes you wonder. They even have a new concept that justifies this obscene behavior. The Prosperity Gospel believes God wants his followers to prosper in this life. The abominable Prosperity Gospel is the biggest con out there and has been condemned by theological scholars. Anyone who has studied the life of Jesus knows he was all about humility, working with the downtrodden and eschewing materialism. He explicitly commanded his followers to forgo their worldly belongings and follow him. He is the complete antithesis of the Prosperity Gospel.
  8. The church is corrupt. The pedophile priest scandal was just the tip of the iceberg. It wasn’t just the Catholic church. There also have been sex scandals in Protestant and Evangelical churches. Evangelical preacher Ted Haggard was busted with a male hooker. “Bishop” Eddie Long was accused of molesting boys and settled the cases, and almost every week you hear a new scandal about a youth pastor busted for molesting children. And with the amount of money being generated by the Prosperity Gospel, ministers are regularly busted for dipping into the cookie jar. Some of these stories are regularly documented on Sometimes instead of stealing from their congregations, ministers outright ask them to fund their lavish lifestyles. A few years ago, Bishop I.V. Hilliard asked for $50,000 to pay for repairs on his helicopter.
  9. Religion is intangible. It’s difficult to get a straight answer out of religious people. When asked why terrible things happen some say it’s divine retribution, and when you give them the example of a child being stillborn, they give you answers like “God moves in mysterious ways,” or “God called him home.” People can’t even come up with straight answers about the Bible. Some say it’s not meant to be taken literally, others says it’s the 100 percent accurate word of God. The problem is a lot of this is opinion. People are giving opinions about a book that was written 2,000 years ago, by a bronze-age civilization and has been rewritten multiple times. There are 1,001 interpretations. It’s no wonder there are so many denominations, all claiming to be right. Ever notice how all of these people who claim to have gone to heaven all have a different idea of what it’s like? I’m sure if you sent 10 people to Starbucks, you would get a pretty clear idea of what it looked like.
  10. Science is not compatible with religion. There is a reason why many scientists are atheists. If you study the natural world in depth, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that most of the fables you were taught in Sunday School, are just that -- fables. The Earth is not 6,000 years old. That can be proved by basic science and history. The Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations are both much older than 6,000 years. Also there is a plethora of fossils, which along with carbon dating, prove the Earth is millions of years old. Fundamentalist Christians have conceded to the fact dinosaurs exist. They knew they were fighting a losing battle because dinosaurs were so popular with children. So they ridiculously incorporated them into the creation myth. Now creationists argue dinosaurs were in the Garden of Eden and on Noah’s ark. The notorious Creation Museum has models of dinosaurs with saddles on their backs. This is a blatant lie. These people are just making stuff up as they are going along, and it wouldn’t be the first time religion has done this. Comparing creationism to evolution is like comparing apples to oranges. Creationism is a philosophic concept, which has not been scientifically tested. Evolution is a scientific theory. And if humans didn’t share a common ancestor with apes, why are they so genetically similar?

Religion might have some good sides to it, charity, humanitarianism and giving people a moral foundation, but you can’t argue that religion has it’s dark side, sectarianism, racism, sexism, homophobia, ect. Religion puts too much power in the hands of men. When you claim to speak for God, some people will literally do anything you say. And when you have morally flawed people given power, bad things can happen. Look at the Jonestown massacre, the Branch Davidians and ISIS. Also, I don’t see how Christians can base their lives on a document as flawed as the Bible. There are too many contradictions and inaccuracies in that document, and that’s why I choose to be a freethinker.