Tuesday, December 26

First Freedom First: Sound Science

I continue to blog this week about First Freedom First, an umbrella group working to safeguard the separation of Church and State - BG

One would think "Sound Science" included rejecting intelligent design but First Freedom First categorizes that under "academic integrity" and it's all kinda arbitrary, but hey, they've got it covered. The Sound Science component has to do with stem-cell research, access to emergency contraceptives, and making sure the National Science Foundation and FDA are not being run from a pulpit somewhere in Virginia.

Scientists seem to be tripping over themselves working to find a way to harvest stem cells without destroying an embryo. That might solve the political "moral" fight staged over stem cell research, but it doesn't solve a larger problem churchy types will have to face at some point: the breaking of the commandments regarding idolatry when it comes to the unborn fetus.

Churchy advocates hold up photos of unborn babies like they are Jesus his own self (and hey, don't get me started about idolatry and graven images when it comes to that dude). It's called fetus fetishization, folks, and it's no different than a golden calf.



Anti-abortionists might argue that this is about human life but we all know it isn't because if it was there would be at least as much effort on the part of abortion foes to help single moms after their baby is born as before. Some churches do make an effort in this regard but it is not nearly as prevalent.

On the other hand, don't get me started about the "Church of the Latest Pill from Big Pharma." There's a whole lot of faith going on every time you put a pill in your mouth and expect healing, folks, and I for one am really concerned about how much more "life-span" all of us "need" and the promises of medical science to bring it to us regardless of cost or quality of life. (See End of Life Care at the earlier post.) If I'm pushing envelopes here it's because this conversation has to include all of it.

Okay, now I've gone on this long theological tangent but there are two battlefronts in the fight for sound science. The first is in the hearts of Christians, and we Christians really have a lot of work to do to figger out if we're really walking the talk.

The second battlefront is simply, earnestly, for the Constitution of the United States. Churches and other religiously-inspired groups simply can't be allowed to dictate federal policy regarding scientific research. It's not their provence. Render unto Caesar, and all that.

More on First Freedom First's Sound Science component here.

34 comments:

  1. always interested6:07 PM

    Many of us know someone who would benefit from more stem cell research. I've heard that a number of medical researchers have moved from the U.S. to Canada, for greater academic freedom. That is all well and good, but the U.S. most likely has more resources to support stem cell research than Canada does. It's one thing to know that another Christian (or anyone) has strength and faith in the face of a genetically based, degenerative disease. It's another thing to see that person (or those people) wither away, from their former selves, even at relatively young ages. I think that the viability of the fetus outside the womb is something to consider, when making medical decisions, but what has that to do with stem cell research? Of concern, is the rhetoric that comes from some right wing people, i.e., that stem cell research is wrong, and children should be put in jail for wrongdoings, and adults and teens should be executed for capital crimes. Capital crime punishment is of particular interest to me, living in Canada, as I have read over the last 10 years of so, of at least half a dozen men, who have been released from prison, after it was determined that they were wrongly convicted, years before. There's either a lack of consistency in the arguments of the anti-stem cell reasearch people, who are pro prison for children and teens, and pro capital punishment, or there is actually a strong line of consistency: a punitive approach, that will somehow never apply to oneself or those close to one, only to those considered to be "other". This is far from charitable...the kind of charity that is described as love, in the Christian Bible. Oh, and yes, I fully support the preservation of the Constitution of the United States, something of concern for Americans these last several years, including Republicans who have served in office.

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  2. "Render unto Caesar"?

    So THAT'S why George runs around wearing that hat with the broom atop it.

    Good post fair Christian Lady. Good post.

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  3. Anonymous7:59 PM

    Blue Gal - the GOP's right to life argument always ends at birth, then the fetus must pull itself up by its own bootstraps.

    I am not a person of faith (as you and many others know) and yet I would bet I am far more "Christian" than many in the religious right.

    I delight in reading your posts on theological topics, please keep them coming. I think you are example A in the argument about Free Will.

    Best regards,

    Tengrain

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  4. Anonymous10:49 PM

    Stop me if you heard this one: This is easy. Don't like stem cell research? Don't make use of whatever comes from it. Simply agree that you will never, ever make use of medications or treatment therapies derived from this research. If you want to suffer an die a slow death fro, say, ALS, fine. I got to watch my beloved grandfather die that way. Took him two years. You want to be disabled by MS? Nooo problem. But my sister has suffered from that for eight years: she'd like some relief, thank you very much.

    The fundametalists who worship at the alter of the "unborn" can have what they say they want this way. They can also just get out of my family's way in the process.

    But we all know that this issue, like abortion, is not REALLY about the unborn babies, right?

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  5. Hey, BG, you've been tagged!

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  6. Churches and other religiously-inspired groups simply can't be allowed to dictate federal policy regarding scientific research. It's not their provence. Render unto Caesar, and all that.

    blah blah..But it is ok for the Federal Govt to use my tax dollars to fund the killing of the unborn?

    BlueGal, have you ever wondered if your golden calf is your opinion? considering you seen to dismiss God's word so often.

    Anti-abortionists might argue that this is about human life but we all know it isn't because if it was there would be at least as much effort on the part of abortion foes to help single moms after their baby is born as before.

    Wow, you do indeed judge others based on their actions, bravo! I like that. As far as helping the women who choose to have sex and a child with a man they are not married to, can you provide any data on your conclusion? IMHO I think you pulled that out of your blue butt. Maybe you've never heard of CareNet? Lastly, what do you do to help these 'single moms' you care so much about, and the women you want to protect their freedom to have unprotected sex with men they do not want as husbands or fathers?

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  7. Anonymous11:44 PM

    Umm, stick to the POINT. We're not talking about abortion here. Read the post again, slowly and carefully. Look up the big words you don't understand in the dictionary. Linking abortion to stem cell research is a straw man you pulled out of your red state, redneck butt and you know it. It's an "argument" that doesn't hold up.

    But you already know that, right, man? C'mon now, admit it.

    Since we've already decided to deliberately miss the point, MARK, tell me this: Where do you stand on the issue of spending MY tax dollars to destroy BORN human life in Iraq and Afghanistan? Hmmm? Or is "life" only sacred to you if 1) it's in a frozen embryonic state, or 2) it can be used as a club with which to beat up on women?

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  8. always interested12:12 AM

    Absolutely right on the button, Quaker Dave.

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  9. Where do you stand on the issue of spending MY tax dollars to destroy BORN human life in Iraq and Afghanistan? Hmmm?

    Unless your suggesting Congress and the President do not have the power to use military force, break things, and kill people, I support it.

    Or is "life" only sacred to you if 1) it's in a frozen embryonic state, or 2) it can be used as a club with which to beat up on women?

    Dave, do you suffer from an upbringing by a wussified panty wearing father figure? All life is sacred. Is your wussifeid brain suggesting those who value the unborn life beat women with a club, or is it just the fact they speak against killing the unborn and express their views that gets your pacifist panties in a twist?

    The fundametalists who worship at the alter of the "unborn" can have what they say they want this way.

    Would you like to define fundametalists for me? May I also suggest a dictionary to aid your spelling. It will help me spoon feed you some more truth you seem to have a hard time swallowing, infant Dave. :)

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  10. Anonymous8:48 AM

    So the best excuse for an argument that you can muster is to attack my dead father, who was ten times the man you could ever hope to be? How dare you. And then you simply name-call. How clever. You really are the definition of a troll.

    You did score one point: I should do a better job of checking my spelling.

    But you also contradicted yourself. As usual. If "all life is sacred," how is any war ever justified? You didn't address that point. Probably because you didn't care to. because it would only (again) highlight the hypocrisy of the so-called "pro-life" position. Rant and rave over the "unborn," attack the women who exercise their legal right to choose (but NOT the sexually irresponsible men who impregnate them), and completely ignore the "right to life" of BORN children.

    The Lancet study indicated that 1/3 of the civilians killed in Iraq have been children. Do you care? The murder rate in most American cities is soaring, and most of those victims are under the age of 25. Do you care? Violence and suicide are now the top two killers of Americans under the age of 18. Do you care? Thousands of children in places like Darfur have been murdered, mutilated, raped, or forced into child slavery. Do you care? No. You don't mention them. You probably never even THINK about them. They never cross your narrow mind. Because it does not suit your agenda, which isn't about "children" at all. It's all about power, isn't it. These are children we're talking about, not frozen cells, most of which have been abandoned by their "parents." List here all the things you have personally done to help born children, and then maybe we can talk.

    I won't respond to your use of middle school-level aspersions, but I will say this: I am a pacifist, and I'm damn proud of it. I'm in good company. Read your NEW Testament. You might learn something.

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  11. Get a clue Dave! Nice long rant about nothing but your simple minded bullshit accusations about what I do and don't care about. Man you like pulling shit out of your ass.

    Your a pacifist who would sit by with your pink wussified thumb in your mouth and or ass while people are murdered, starved to death, beat and tortured. Your a coward Dave, not a hero. Simpley becuase you take up worthy causes means nothing. Your middle school rhetoric is quite fitting, and yes, useless.

    Now to answer your question If "all life is sacred," how is any war ever justified?

    One principle, all life is sacred. One reality, war. Justification is a matter of opinion.

    I am a pacifist, and I'm damn proud of it. I'm in good company. Read your NEW Testament. You might learn something.

    Pride is a sin quakerboy, and your company would not be good. There are no good men, not one.

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  12. Anonymous12:31 PM

    Once again, you don't deal with the question.

    "Simpley becuase you take up worthy causes means nothing." Huh? I asked a simple question. What do you DO? How do you ACT? I want to know what you do for the "born" amongst us out here in No-Nothing Land. Answer the question that's posed to you. It was pretty straight-forward. Do you volunteer? Raise money? Mentor a child? lead a Scout troop? Teach Sunday School? Build something? Teach people? What do you DO, dude? You don't address the point. You just throw words like "wussy" and "coward" around a lot. Not much of a statement, especially since we don't know each other personally. If you think I'm making simple-minded accusations, then put up. Show your cards. There was a point there, and you chose to miss it. THE POINT is that I believe that no one should make any claims about the "sanctity" of "unborn life" until they demonstrate that they actually give a rodent's keester about the BORN.

    I don't quite know where "pride" comes into this. Pride would be a sin - it's a big Quaker no-no - but I'm not quite sure what you mean by addressing that here. I'm certainly not acting pridefully here. I'm just asking for facts. You know, the "reality" you claim to be dealing with.

    As far as pacifism goes, stop taking your cues from Bill O'Reilly and Glen Beck and Ann Coulter and all the rest of the warmongers (all too old to go fight themselves, of course) who so obviously do NOT understand what the term really means. I do like the idea of "pacifist panties," though. It sure works here. Maybe Blue Gal could come up with a good image to go with that one!

    And you're right. I shouldn't have equated what you said with my middle schoolers. They'd never write something like "One principle, all life is sacred. One reality, war. Justification is a matter of opinion" for my class and expect to get away with it.

    "There are no good men, not one." Man, that is just sad. And I'm bored.

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  13. Anonymous12:33 PM

    "Quakerboy?" That's a new one. What is that, like "Jewboy" or something? How very Mel of you.

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  14. Anonymous3:04 PM

    I have to retract what I said about Bill O'Reilly. He has actually acknowledged some modicum of respect for Quaker pacifism. Hard to believe, I know, but true. Unlike some folks...

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  15. what makes anyone, and that means anyone, mark, know without any doubt,that their religious beliefs, their holy book, their idea that life is sacred is the truth?
    you " believe" you have "faith" BUT you do not KNOW.

    just as i do not know.

    you and i and anyone living at THIS moment will not know until we have died.

    so, in the meantime, i suggest, as dave has, that you read the NEW testament because, as i was "taught" CHRIST came to bring a "new and everlasting covenant"

    (i admit i could be wrong about that tho, i, unlike you, aren't as certain about the nature of a divine being)

    it's either that mark, or live by orthodox judeism's laws and then become a "jew for jesus" which truly is not possible, but i'm sure a fine principled fellow like yourself can give it a good try!

    people love to confuse the sacredness of the creator (however you view it/her/him)
    with the created. we are not sacred but i think we are LOVED. we are human beings that should try to treat others as we would want to be treated and try to take great care of this world we have been given to live in.

    i think some people really get a charge out of assuming they are sacred, hobnobbing somehow on a level with the divine, mark.

    we will all find out in the end.

    we could all be surprised.

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  16. and mark, i do believe that GOD loves you, and i respect your right to believe whatever you choose. it is a right that has made this country a great one.

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  17. Anonymous5:20 PM

    The Book of Matthew works for me.

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  18. this is from a letter written by thomas jefferson to mrs. h. harrison in 1816. " i never told my own religion nor scrutinized that of another. i never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another's creed. i am satisfied that yours must be an excellent religion to have produced a life of such exemplary virtue and correctness. for it is by our lives and not our words that our religion must be judged."

    and this one from the Buddha on belief from the kalama sutta, is one of my favorites. " do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. do not believe simply because it has been handed down for many generations. do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken or rumored by many. do not believe in anything simply because it is written in holy scriptures. do not believe in anything merely on the authority of teachers, elders or wise men. believe only after careful observation and analysis, when you find that it agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. then accept it and live up to it."

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  19. the last quote is my favorite one, i think, of all on the subject of religion.

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  20. Once again, you don't deal with the question.

    humm ok, and my question that was ignored by quakerboy was 'please define fundamentalist'?

    I asked a simple question. What do you DO? How do you ACT? I want to know what you do for the "born" amongst us out here in No-Nothing Land. Answer the question that's posed to you. It was pretty straight-forward. Do you volunteer? Yes Raise money? Yes, and I give money as well Mentor a child? Yes, but you may need to define 'mentor' for me lead a Scout troop? No, I have a daughter Teach Sunday School? Yes, and I have been known to lead a Sunday worship service Build something? Yes Teach people? Yes What do you DO, dude? I live according to God's word, not Man's dude. Do I oftne fail, yes, but I always go back to Christ and restore my relationship.

    That said quakreboy dude, what I do means nothing to God! Nothing boy! It's what I live for and have faith in that matters, and that boy would be Jesus Christ and His teachings. Not some of them, but all of them! :)

    sherry p,
    I appreciate your comments. One thing I would consider if I was you. There will be many people in hell that loved the 'Sermon on the Mount', Christ told us as much. I think after careful consideration, and an open heart, you will find, Christ, and He will rule your life, not parts of it. It has nothing to do with doing good and everything with confession and repetence before a God so Holy and Just, we have but One savior..Jesus Christ. God Bless!

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  21. oh sherry p, you said... just as i do not know.

    That dear, is becuase you have not seeked God with all your heart, body and mind.

    I do know. I am His. That's not some pie in the sky, no IQ, idiot assumption either. It is an eternal truth, God's eternal truth! Found in His holy word and evidenced in the lives of many. Keep seeking! and keep asking God, he will indeed answer. :)

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  22. Anonymous4:28 PM

    Definition of fundamentalist: "Look in the mirror, Mark." I visited your blog, too, which only reinforces that assessment. As do your snarky comments to Sherry, who was obviously only trying to tone things down here. That's what she "sought" to do, but you're still not listening to anything but that oh-so-positive echo chamber in your own head. Must be nice to have all the answers. THAT'S fundamentalism, dude: unwavering, unerring marching in lockstep to a religious/political ideology.

    Kind of like a "jihadist."

    The list of responses was nice, but not very specific. Again, I posed the question in terms of finding out what you do to help out with the BORN children of the world, as opposed to worshipping at the far-right, fundamentalist Alter of the Fetus.

    As for whether or not faith alone (like yours, I guess, since nobody else's beliefs seem to matter much to you) gets you into "heaven," we'll have to disagree about that. Anyway, those kinds of actions aren't about building up one's spiritual brownie points: they should be about moving through the world in a - dare I say it? - Christlike fashion. You know, like "doing unto others..." etc.

    And turning the other cheek. Consider mine turned.

    Your Friend,

    Quakerboy

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  23. Okay Mommy's back on the blog and Mark you are about to have the distinction of being the first banned commenter at Blue Gal. I don't give a shit if you attack me or my opinions but fuck off if you think I'm giving you a platform for attacking others' parents and using name calling based on religion to further (?) your argument, you are out of here like shit after taco salad.

    I won't even start with the give your whole self to Jesus Christ when you resort to those methods. Jesus is laughing his ass off at you. And laughing with him is a good place to be. Keep your hell (which is just a convenient place for the self-appointed YOU to send others, I notice) as your hell is clearly between your ears. I feel sorry for you.

    You have been warned. Once. That is the last warning. More shit like that will be deleted, and I'll find a way to ban you if need be. Stay on topic and civil or you are outta here.

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  24. Anonymous9:32 PM

    BG: Please don't ban Mark. Every great blog needs its resident troll.

    It's Mark's loss that he never had the honor of meeting my dad. My old-school Methodist father would've found Mark to be quite entertaining. Dad had a great sense of humor, especially about all matters religious.

    Then he would've kicked Mark's ass.

    And as for "Quakerboy", I've decided to use it myself for a future account name someplace. At 48, I haven't been called anything containing the noun "boy" for a LONG time. And right-wingers like Mark have called me a lot worse things this past year, and with a lot more style. And substance.

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  25. Kind of like a "jihadist."

    Give it a rest Rosie O'Donnell, eer I mean Dave. Talk about a lack of substance.

    And laughing with him is a good place to be. Keep your hell (which is just a convenient place for the self-appointed YOU to send others,

    Ok BlueGal, you pride yourself on your human wisdom, please provide me one quote where I have ever, and I mean ever, condemed anyone or said anyone is going to hell big girl? Make something up if you have to, you're good at that so far.

    You have been warned. Once

    So have you BlueGal. Is the message of Hell and confession too real for you? or does it upset your 'sin celebrating / tolerant world view that bothers you most? Was it not Jesus Christ Himself, God in flesh, that spoke more about Hell than anyone?

    No need to ban me, just say you do not want my comments, and I'll respect that tough gal.

    oh Dave, I don't know your father, nor was my comment directed at him in any personal way. A child in middle school could have realized that. No offense sissy. :)

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  26. 2007 resolution

    be more humble in spirit and words, for I too fall short in God's eyes and I am no more of value, or the affection of God's eye, than anyone on earth.

    It's still 2006 though. BlueGal, try a size or two larger in panties...:)

    QB, peace..ok?

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  27. Anonymous12:35 AM

    First I get "sissy," then I get "peace, ok?"

    Sure. Why not? I forgive a lot less. It's what we do.

    And peace? Yes. The peace that comes from quiet. That comes from me ignoring you.

    :->

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  28. always interested12:40 AM

    Quaker Dave, I appreciate your comments, and yet had only responded once, beyond my original comments, because even though I hadn't yet looked up "troll" under Google, I had a pretty good idea what "Mark" was about in his comments, and didn't want to fuel his behaviour. A couple of days ago I found "troll (Internet)" in Wikipedia,to describe "Mark"'s behaviour very well: "In Internet terminology, a troll is a person who enters an established community such as an online discussion forum and intentionally tries to cause disruption, often in the form of posting messages that are inflammatory, insulting, or off-topic, with the intent of provoking a reaction from others". Twisted. What a shame, for someone who to use his literacy in this way. Peace be to you, Dave.

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  29. Anonymous5:01 AM

    If I'm pushing envelopes here it's because this conversation has to include all of it.

    Please, push it!

    TacoBell may surely have bastardized it, but the phrase "think outside the box" still has plenty of merit in these days of sound bite and hot button policy making. Especially with an MSM which is nearly indistinguishable from any old glitz and glam advertising agency.

    Goin' to go read the your FFFSS linkage now. Thanks.

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  30. and i still say mark, you have belief, you have faith but you do not know for sure, anymore than anyone else does.

    we have faith that the sun will rise in the morning and set that night, but we can not be sure of it. especially in your faith as you know not the hour he returns.

    so you can believe what you want and have all the faith in your heart that you are right but you do not know. to say that you do is supreme arrogance.

    and as long as your beliefs do not cause you to break the laws, then you have every right to them but you should give others that same right that this country was founded on.

    you surly are not setting a good example that might lead others to your idea of GOD.

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  31. so you can believe what you want and have all the faith in your heart that you are right but you do not know. to say that you do is supreme arrogance.

    'arrogance'? If I am, then you and Dave are as well. Ms. Sherry, I am right. How do I know? Because God is never wrong. You may find your sources for Right and Wrong in other places than the Bible, I do not, nor will I ever. If I get something wrong in the Bible, please feel free to correct me.

    then you have every right to them but you should give others that same right that this country was founded on.

    As usual, me voicing my opinion and or disenting from someone elses, has some how made that liberal leap to me wanting to prevent others from doing the same. Sorry, Ms. Sherry, that is unfounded dear. Please note: all opinions are not of equal value.. If they were, Ms. BlueGal would not have worked hard to obtained her impressive degrees, would she? :)

    you surly are not setting a good example that might lead others to your idea of GOD.

    That may be the most sense made so far. Just don't let the shortcomings of others be an excuse not to live a life In Christ, not parts of your life, but all of it. That can only be found in God's word the Bible, just as Christ told us.

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  32. Anonymous6:05 PM

    AI: YeaH, well, I called him a troll, and then scolded him for name-calling. Not good. Need to work on that.

    Sorry for crapping in your sandbox for two days, BlueGal.

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  33. always interested8:11 PM

    Quaker Dave, I didn't mean to say that I thought his remarks, at least in part, were troll-like, just because you used the word troll. I found his approach disturbing, and kept from responding for awhile, because I thought there was provocation going on, awaiting reactions. I found the definition of troll in Wikipedia to be relevant, and yet it just framed what I was already thinking. Time to move on. I will not respond to anything he might have to say.

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  34. I will not respond to anything he might have to say.

    'always interested' in other words means, 'only interested in those who think like I do' ..eh?

    come on folks, make a stand! There is a right and wrong. There is a time to fight, and a time not to fight. How do we figure it all out? I know when, do you?

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I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. I do moderate comments, but non-spam comments will take less than 24 hours to appear... Thanks!