Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Opression Can Be Cute!

Our funny little toon-cop friend on the left is none other than an avatar for the Shenzen, China internet thought police. They actually use this on the internet to remind people that their online travels are being watched. And he's cute, too, in an anime kind of way. You can almost imagine him as a pez dispenser.

Funny thing is, the officials behind this dropped their usually reliable euphemisms and, in a moment of rare transparency, actually admitted that the primary purpose of this toon goon is to intimidate people into not saying something that might get them in front of the real live goons. Talk about the silk glove over the iron fist. This is the kind of thing that ought to get government officials hung from lampposts until other government officials realize that they are supposed to enforce and protect the rights of human beings, not take them away at the barrel of a gun.


At 10:55 AM, Blogger caucazhin said...

Life is a trade off.They also are doing their best in China to keep out internet porn,terror smut TV and many other destructive social ills that we as Americans love to constantly feed on.They are not perfect,we are not perfect. Perhaps the modern day Roman Empire Sodom & Gamora should take the REDWOOD tree out of its own eye first.My wife is from China,her family is more Godly than all the Christians I've ever met put together. ROMANS 2:11For there is no partiality with God.
12For all who have sinned (without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;
13for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.
14For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
15in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

Caucazhin, every oppressive government "does their best" to "protect" their citizens from "destructive social ills." Inevitably, the most destructive forces end up being the ones that threaten their power. No government should be handed over our freedom in exchange for benevolent paternalistic "protection." They will inevitably expand their power over an increasingly large portion of our lives.

As for the Chinese church, it is renowned for its vigor and passionate witness. And in the end, I'm not getting your point by bringing that up, but I'm glad you visited.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger caucazhin said...

China is getting more and more freedom everyday and I'm sure from your blind comments you have never been there.In 40 or 50 years they will start to become just like America and the church at Laodicea.You think you are free?All the democracies and republics of the past stand in the ash heap of history and america will be there soon to.His kingdom is not of this world just read what our founders thought about our savior.Don't kid yourself we are the Roman empire.
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, – as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, – and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Treaty between USA and Libya, signed at Tripoli, November 4, 1796, and at Algiers January 3, 1797
Senate advice and consent to ratification June 7, 1797
Ratified by George Washington, the first President of the United States, June 10, 1797
Entered into force June 10, 1797
Proclaimed by the President of the United States June 10, 1797

“George Washington, the first president of the United States, never declared himself a Christian according to contemporary reports or in any of his voluminous correspondence. Washington Championed the cause of freedom from religious intolerance and compulsion. When John Murray (a universalist who denied the existence of hell) was invited to become an army chaplain, the other chaplains petitioned Washington for his dismissal. Instead, Washington gave him the appointment. On his deathbed, Washinton uttered no words of a religious nature and did not call for a clergyman to be in attendance.”
Steven Morris, 'The Founding Fathers Were Not Christians', in Free Inquiry, Fall, 1995; Mr Morris gives as his reference, George Washington and Religion by Paul F. Boller Jr, pp. 16, 87, 88, 108, 113, 121, 127 (1963, Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas, TX)

Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of other trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?
John Adams, second President of the USA

Gentlemen, we are not, nor have we ever been a Christian Nation ...
The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish
or Mohammedan nation.
John Adams

The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.
John Adams

Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!”
John Adams

The hocus-pocus phantasy of a God, like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs.
Thomas Jefferson, third President of the USA, Jefferson’s Works, Vol. IV, 360, Randolph's ed.

No man [should] be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor [should he] be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor ... otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief ... All men [should] be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and ... the same [should] in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
Thomas Jefferson; Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779

Among the sayings and discourses imputed to [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the the most lovely benevolence, and others, again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate, therefore, the dross; restore to him the former and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, the roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to William Short, 1820

I have examined all the known superstitions of the word, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to William Short

Christianity ... (has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ... Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus.
Thomas Jefferson

The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves ... these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.
Thomas Jefferson

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

Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.
Thomas Jefferson; Notes on Virginia, 1782

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
Thomas Jefferson; ibid

Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.
Thomas Jefferson; Autobiography, referring to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to Richard Price, January 8, 1789 (Richard Price had written to Jefferson on October 26. about the harm done by religion and wrote "Would not Society be better without Such religions? Is Atheism less pernicious than Demonism?")

I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to Dr Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT, January 1, 1802

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
Thomas Jefferson ; letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to Dr Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them …
Thomas Jefferson; letter to Horatio G Spafford, March 17, 1814

If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? ... Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to Thomas Law, June 13, 1814

You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to Ezra Stiles Ely, June 25, 1819

As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurian. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to William Short, October 31, 1819

[I do not believe in] The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity; original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of the Hierarchy, etc.
Thomas Jefferson; ibid

Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to William Short, April 13, 1820

To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But heresy it certainly is.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to John Adams, August 15, 1820

Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to James Smith, 1822

I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.
Thomas Jefferson; ibid

It is between fifty and sixty years since I read [the Book of Revelation], and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to General Alexander Smyth, January 17, 1825

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.
Thomas Jefferson; letter to Roger C. Weightman, June 24, 1826 (the last letter he wrote)

The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power, and pre-eminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained.
Thomas Jefferson

What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy.
James Madison, fourth President of the USA

Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.
James Madison, fourth President of the USA

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.
James Madison; A Biography in his Own Words, edited by Joseph Gardner, p. 93

Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses. Here is an order, attributed to 'God' to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not dare so dishonor my Creator's name by (attaching) it to this filthy book (the Bible).
Thomas Paine, Anglo-American revolutionary philosopher

It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible.
Thomas Paine

Accustom a people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins ... and you will have sins in abundance.
Thomas Paine

The Christian church has set up a religion of pomp and revenue in pretended imitation of a person (Jesus) who lived a life of poverty.
Thomas Paine

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of ... Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
Thomas Paine; The Age of Reason, pp. 8,9 (Republished 1984, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY)

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion ... has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble.
Benjamin Franklin, A Biography in his Own Words, edited by Thomas Fleming, p. 404, (1972, Newsweek, New York, NY) quoting letter by Franklin to Exra Stiles March 9, 1790

That Jesus Christ was not God is evidence from his own words.
Ethan Allen, American revolutionary commander, organised the citizens’ militia, the ‘Green Mountain Boys’

[I am] denominated a Deist, the reality of which I never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian.
Ethan Allen

David Frost: Say is this still a Christian Country?
Billy Graham: No! We're not a Christian Country. We've never been a Christian Country. We're a secular Country, by our constitution. In which Christians live and which many Christians have a voice. But we're not a Christian Country.
*Dr Billy Graham is an American evangelist and associate of US presidents; Sir David Frost is a British interviewer

Note: Christianity did influence the world view of the 'founding fathers' in many ways. It is true that on September 6, 1774 the first resolution ever made by the Continental Congress said: "Tuesday, September 6, 1774. Resolved, The Rev. Mr. Duche be desired to open the Congress tomorrow morning with prayers, at the Carpenter's Hall, at 9 o'clock."
(The Journals of the Continental Congress 1774 - 1789, Washington DC)

At 12:53 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Well, narrow is the road... any maybe only caucazhin and a few other angry exclusionaries are on it, eh?

We are nowhere near seeing eye to eye on this and I am way, way past your brand of belief my friend. You can engage if you want to but I'm pretty fatigued with your style of Biblical interpretation. I think it probably best that we not pursue this... I'm not highly confident of a productive outcome.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger caucazhin said...

Maybe you shouldn't speak about something you really don't know much about.Know it alls who have never been anywhere love to spew their truth from their selfrighteous Ivory towers.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Thanks caucazhin, I'll take that under advisement. See ya.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger caucazhin said...

Zeke I apologize,I went over the top with some of my comments.I honestly think if you went to China a few times you might be very surprised at the difference between what you percieve to be true threw our media(christian & otherwise)and what really is.There are internet bars everywhere in China and if you ever decided to learn Chinese(a very difficult thing to do) you could talk to people all day long about Christ if you desired.My wife and I talk to her relatives and friends all the time with audio and camera.I saw a number of churches over there.The first time I went there I was very leary of what I was in for but I think you would be amazed at the freedom and how it is changing there yearly.Sorry if I got a little hot headed.PEACE

At 6:35 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

caucazhin, no sweat. I get that you felt defensive about China, so let me deal directly with that. My wife and I have invested significantly in China by participating in a big way in building churches in China when our congregation, my family included, provided the funds to complete two churches in Yunnan province. I bought a plane ticket for my pastor and myself to go to the dedication ceremonies but could not make it them because our business took a downward turn. So unfortunately, you're right that I haven't been to China--to my significant regret.

My beef with China is with its leadership. I grant that things have gotten better for the Chinese people in many ways, but it is also undeniable that a significant portion of the church must continue to operate underground. It is also true that the Chinese government tightly regulates the internet. There may be a plethora of internet cafes, but the Chinese authorities have been known to pressure internet sites to censor content and turn over the names of politically "subversive" individuals. These are published, verifiable facts and are worthy of note and worthy of condemnation.

You may celebrate the Chinese government's prudishness (or fine, defense of moral values if you will) but I count it as nothing of credit to them if it's accomplished through restriction of human freedom. Indirect obedience to God, especially through legal compulsion, is meaningless as an instrument of soulwork.

Thanks for engaging.


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