On the TPP: A Human Rights and Environmental Disaster

It is my personal opinion that we the public need to be aware of and actively oppose the TPP. This is a human rights violation and environmental disaster plan in the making.

The TPP would further enable American profiteers to outsource jobs overseas to sweat shops; in order to exploit people for even less wages and expose workers to even worse and unsafe working conditions than our workers are exploited by and exposed to already here in USA. Furthermore, the TPP would allow companies to sue governments (foreign and their own) over even the potential loss of profits if laws passed by such countries could potentially reduce those companies’ profits. Thus; if a country attempts to legally raise the minimum wages for working people, or attempts to legally raise the standards for working conditions, or attempts to legally regulate carbon emissions; then any given company can sue such a government for potential profit losses based upon such laws. Sweatshops, unsafe working conditions, ongoing human induced global warming resulting in even further catastrophic climate change are all issues that the world will be dealing with if the predatory Capitalists of this generation are able to get this TPP into effective operation.

Sadly enough, it seems that we would have already learned our lessons about the social digression of multi company trade agreements which enable and empower Corporate profiteers in the exercise of exploitation of people for gain and profit. We certainly did no favors for our own generation and that of our children by way of the original multi company trade agreement which enabled and encouraged the fabrication of American products by sweatshop labor; that being the NAFTA agreement passed in 1994 during the Clinton Administration. And we are surely only compounding our disservice to this and future generations by considering ratcheting up that process by way of the TPP.

That said; if you have an ounce of decency or compassion in your hearts, please become aware of and actively oppose the exploitation of people and the human rights violations exercised in sweatshops worldwide, and which are enabled by such trade agreements as NAFTA, and the pending TPP.

The 12 Years of Christmas

THE 12 YEARS OF CHRISTMAS
By Dave Henderson

There are two Canonical accounts of the birth and early childhood of Jesus.

By Canonical of course I mean texts that are deemed worthy of inclusion in the Bible per the standards of the Catholic scribes who composed such in the 4th Century CE. There are several Infancy gospel accounts, but only those of Matthew and Luke met the approval of the Bible composers. I myself am somewhat partial to the Gospel of Thomas. Thomas relates several fanciful boy Jesus stories which did not merit Catholic scribe approval for inclusion in the Bible; yet which are both entertaining and enlightening nonetheless. A topic for another day no doubt.

Now though the tone, topics, and even time frames of Matthew and Luke differ with regards to the childhood of Jesus, they each claim that he was divinely conceived and of a virgin birth. Those two qualities in and of themselves were enough apparently to merit Catholic scribe approval in spite of the obvious differences in their accounts.

Matthew envisions Jesus as having been born during the days of Herod, and furthermore being proclaimed to be “the King of the Jews”.

Luke on the other hand envisions Jesus as having been born some 12 years later; during the days of the Census of Cyrenius (Governor of Syria), and furthermore indicates that his birth brings “Peace on earth, and goodwill to humanity”.

Thus, Matthew portrays Jesus as a Messiah sent to reclaim the throne on behalf of the nation of Israel. The emphasis of the Matthew’s version then is that Jesus is a boy ruler who was in constant danger of being “found out” and executed by the reigning madman; Herod the Great. Matthew thus depicts the parents of Jesus as nomadic refugees who lived life “on the lam” and lead a low profile existence due to the constant peril surrounding the boy king and Messiah of the Jewish people.

Now, like Matthew, Luke likewise envisions Jesus as being miraculously born to a Virgin mother. In fact, he even “spices up” the story with a dramatic description of the setting and surroundings. (The stereotypical Nativity scene owes much to the author of Luke; who was likewise the author of the imaginative and informative canonical Acts of the Apostles).

However Luke represents Jesus not as a ruler, but as a reconciler of humanity. Rather than proclamations of rule and reign for Jesus, Luke emphasises Jesus as a savior who brings peace on earth, and goodwill towards humanity. Thus, Luke portrays the parents of Jesus as leading a stable (no pun intended) existence which allowed them to function as normal faithful Jewish parents both in ritual practice and personal lifestyle.

The contrast to the versions of the story of the childhood of Jesus is quite clear:

Matthew envisions a baby Jesus whose life is in constant peril, and whose existence brings grief, suffering and murder.

Luke envisions a baby Jesus whose life was publicly celebrated, and whose existence brings joy, peace, and goodwill.

The accounts of Matthew and Luke differ so drastically with regards to the birth and early childhood of Jesus as to merit a query and inquiry as to why the distinction.

It seems to me that the answer to the question is to be found by considering the local events of each world into which Jesus was born:

Matthew envisions baby Jesus being born during the days of the ever mercurial Herod the Great.
Luke envisions baby Jesus being born during the days of the Census of Quirinius (aka Cyrenius).

The generally accepted death of Herod the Great was 4BC.
The well recorded Census during the days of Quirinius was during the years of 6-7CE.

Since Matthew envisions Jesus as being two years of age when Herod allegedly killed all the babies of Bethlehem, and since Herod seems to have died shortly thereafter, then Matthew dates the birth of Jesus approximately 6BC.

Hence: Jesus’ birthday per Matthew: 6BC
Hence: Jesus’ birthday per Luke: 6AD

Hence: THE TWELVE YEARS OF CHRISTMAS.

The distinction between the worlds into which Jesus was born is evidenced by the events of each respective era.

Now 12 years may not sound like a long period of time, but such can allow for an extreme social shift in any given society. For example, consider our own culture in 1981 as compared to 1969. The differences in those two time eras in US History amounts to two distinct cultures. Yet distinguished solely by time. Indeed a dozen years can make a significant difference in the thinking and general disposition of any populace, and the world into which Jesus was born is a primary example of such.

And those social distinctions are likewise evidenced by each respective account of Matthew and Luke.

The world into which Jesus was born per Matthew (6BC)…….

Was ruled by a tyrant by the name of Herod the Great. Now the fact that Matthew envisions Jesus as being born during the days of Herod is significant.

Herod was a ruthless individual; and a paranoid personality.

Herod was especially ruthless with regards to his royal power and his personal pleasure. When he wanted another wife, he married her, and had his wife and child banished. In order to protect his royal position, he had several family members executed, including his favorite wife and two of his own children. His ruthless nature and atrocious deeds even offended Rome periodically throughout this 33 year reign.

Herod was so paranoid that he reportedly hired secret police to walk the streets and monitor public opinion. He likewise would not allow public demonstrations. (Herod would have fit in quite well in post 911 America. Or so it seems to me)

It was in fact Herod’s reputed paranoid and ruthless nature which Matthew incorporated into the story so as to provide a context whereby the life of baby Jesus would be in mortal danger. The life threatened baby god/hero story was of course a common and recurring theme of the cultural myths of that era. For example, the Greek god Dionysus was in peril from birth, which lead to his being ripped apart by Titans. And the mother of the infant Horus had to flee into the marshland of the Egyptian Nile Delta in order to protect the Egyptian god from those who sought to take his life. And of course, the Hebrew baby Moses was spared from a “mass baby execution” much like Matthew’s claims with regards to baby Jesus. (The latter may in fact be the very story Matthew relied upon as he depicts baby Jesus in a similar circumstance)

So likewise Matthew portrays baby Jesus being urgently relocated by his parents to Egypt in order to escape Herod after the paranoid and ruthless King heard that another “king of the Jews” had been born in Bethlehem. Per Matthew, Herod had all babies less than two years of age in Bethlehem and in the coastal region executed in search of baby Jesus; whom he naturally viewed as a threat to his royal reign. (Fortunately, there is absolutely no historical record to confirm this alleged atrocity, thus the claim by Matthew that this slaughter took place is more than likely mythical.)

Try as Herod might to find and slay the boy Messiah, revelations from God to the parents of Jesus kept the nomadic couple one step ahead of his dastardly intentions for baby Jesus. First they were warned to flee with the baby to Egypt and await word. Then, when they received word that Herod had passed away, they made their way back to Judea. Finally though, when they learned that Herod’s son was on the throne, they went into hiding in Nazareth.

And so Matthew’s account ends as it began: Jesus a hunted boy, his parent’s nomadic ploys to rescue their son from the clutches of the powers that be ever hanging over their heads. Like refugees they settled in Nazareth.

There is of course no indication in Matthew that the potential danger for the boy Jesus ever went away, but rather that his parents simply outmaneuvered and hence successfully hid their son from a sure death if ever caught.

Then, 12 years later:

The world into which Jesus was born per Luke (6AD)…….

Judea in general, and Jerusalem more specifically were in the embryonic stages of an emotional and radical social revolution. The social frustration which subsequently developed would span approximately 135 years; and its inevitable end would alter Jewish history forever.

Herod the Great had been dead for ten years, and his son Herod Archelaus would soon be recalled by Rome for evident incompetency in the light of his inability to suppress the populace that were under his rule.

The first decade of the millennium was a time of radical resistance and religious reformation for the Jewish people. One movement lead by a “Judas the Galilean” rebelled against any form of Roman influence in the Jewish culture, including taxation and census calculation. These were a matter of more than petty concern to Judas and his band, who were representative of a nationalistic revival among the people.

Judas was a patriot and a zealot, and the movement which he inspired would become known as the Zealot movement. Judas would eventually pay the ultimate price for the cause he so believed in, as would his two sons after him (Both were crucified, the Roman type of execution for treason and sedition), yet the movement he inspired became an organic and influential faction amongst the Jewish people even into the next century. Their dedication to Orthodox Judaism, and their willingness to fight for Jewish independence would in time be the catalyst for the uprising of the 60’s which lead to the Jewish Wars of the late 60’s and 70’s; and again to a similar yet even more violent uprising in 130’s CE. The latter rebellion was crushed so extensively that the Jews were completely banished from Jerusalem after 135 CE.

Although Judas is recognized as the founder of this nationalized Zealot movement, the rumblings of dissent and dissatisfaction were already underway in the years leading up to the Census which so incensed the militant patriot. These populist movements were in response to the perceived Roman involvement and influence in the practices of the Jewish religion, and resulted in organized demonstrations and civil disobedience in isolated instances. One such instance stands out for its brutal response and subsequent ramifications.

The Golden Eagle incident began as a somewhat presumptuous and admittedly disrespectful act by Archelaus, but surely no one could have foreseen the bloodbath to follow. In defiance of Jewish law, Archelaus inexplicably had a Golden Eagle mounted on the Temple entrance. The graven image in public display over the Temple entrance was too much for the more proactive Orthodox Jews; hence two Instructors (named Judas and Matthias) along with a number of students removed the Eagle and destroyed it with axes.

Archelaus was furious. His reaction was drastic, and his response was dastardly.

Archelaus had the two Instructors and approximately 40 of the students who were involved in the destruction of the Golden Eagle publicly executed by being burned alive. The fury this action instigated was swift and brutal. In the evening, demonstrators and mourners throughout the city but especially in the Temple area made such a noise that Archelaus and those with whom he was feasting were disturbed.

Finally, Archelaus sent a General and a few men to quiet the crowd and appease their anger. The General and his men were stoned, with many killed in the process. After killing the King’s men, the mourners continued to wail and lament the awful experience of the atrocious execution of the two teachers and the 40 or so students.

Realizing now that he had an uprising in the making, Archelaus sent the entire Army in to invade the temple and break up the crowd. It was after midnight when the Army entered the Temple. The result was a melee that developed into a massacre. By the time the fighting ended there were over 3,000 dead. Relations between the Jews and the Romans was never the same again.

As for Archelaus, this incident cost him his royal position. He was recalled by Rome and given a less volatile domain to rule.

As for Jerusalem and Judea; the next century and a third would be marked by a continuous struggle and a seemingly constant friction between the Jewish people and their Roman overlords. The attempted assimilation of the Roman influence into the the religion of the Jews merely intensified the resentment of the nationalist zealots; who likewise rebelled continuously against the concept of the assumed authority of the Roman government over the national identity of the Hebrews. The feelings were ever intense and emotions were seemingly always at the breaking point on both sides. These were difficult times, and social frustration was to be a way of life from that time forward until the Jewish people were completely subjugated and subsequently banished from Jerusalem in 135 CE.

And so it was that Luke envisioned the birth of Jesus at a time of intense turmoil and social instability.

Is it then any surprise that Luke records the arrival of baby Jesus at precisely the very time that the region of Judea were so badly in need of:

“Peace on earth and goodwill towards humanity?”

In closing, it is evident to me that Matthew and Luke each envisioned a Jesus who, like Jeff Lebowski in “The Big Lebowski” was a “man for his time and place”.

Matthew envisioned the Messiah, the deliverer, the king of the Jews. Thus Mathew depticted Jesus being born at a time when he could draw the attention of the oppressive Herod, and be confirmed as the rightful ruler of the Jews by outmaneuvering Herod’s efforts to kill him, thereby establishing the superiority of the rightful “King of the Jews”.

Luke of course envisioned a Reconciler, one who would bring peace to a time or war, and bring tranquility to a period of chaos. Thus Luke depicted Jesus being born at a time when the message mostly needed was: “Peace on earth; Good will to Humanity”.

If ever there was a time when these words had true meaning, it is then and there.
If ever there was a time when these words had true meaning, it is here and now.

I don’t particularly care whether Jesus was born in 6BC.
Nor do I care whether Jesus was born in 6CE.
In fact, I honestly do not care whether Jesus was ever born at all.

What I care about is:

“Peace on earth, goodwill to humanity”.

Because with or without Jesus, there will never be the former, unless we all begin with the latter.

To all my Christian friends: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

To all my Jewish friends: HAPPY HANUKKAH!!!

To all my fellow Humanist friends: HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

The Capacity to Care

Social justice for all;
Is the way to peaceful relations.
Predatory Capitalism,
Is a social abomination.

War has become the norm;
Regarded as a means to peace.
We trivialize human suffering,
And accept such with mere ease.

We should be ashamed,
Appalled and humiliated.
At the pain and suffering,
Caused by our very nation.

We are human beings,
With the natural capacity to care.
We should speak out against injustice,
If only we would dare.

Social justice for all;
Is the way to peaceful relations.
Predatory Capitalism,
Is a social abomination.

On Conditioned Totalitarianism and Domestic Terrorism

Conditioned Totalitarianism and Domestic Terrorism is the daily reality of life in the USA. And the older I get, I grow increasingly puzzled by the irrational celebration of such as a superior way of life; or even the complacent tendency to regard such as somehow acceptable or normal.

How can we be supportive of a system which amounts to multilevel exploitation of circumstances, situations, and the most basic of all human needs?

To be forced to the grind as a matter of survival is an unfortunate reality. To be integrated into the machinery of Corporate Totalitarian rule based upon the need to survive is a reality which for the time being, all must seemingly accept and adhere as a matter of practicality.

But to celebrate such as a superior way of life. To even condone such as even acceptable.

Such is irrational.

The reality of the American way of life is that we the working class people sell our services for a percentage of our effort’s worth, in order to enrich the leaches who take the product of our effort and hoard such for their own personal interests. Such is the reality of Capitalism.

And to be forced to the grind as a matter of survival is to be a victim of Domestic Terrorism.

But to accept such a managed arrangement as acceptable?
To laud such a managed arrangement as exemplary?
To celebrate such as a superior way of life?

To be willingly integrated into a managed arrangement whereby one is the victim of exploitation and control, and then to celebrate such a system as a good thing, and to encourage one’s children’s and grand children’s generation to be proud to be so integrated themselves; is it seems to me, the height of irrationality, and the apex of insanity.

I simply do not comprehend how people can be conditioned to support that which goes against our own interests.

Such is irrational, if not insane.

On Predator Capitalists and Decent People

I do not believe in God,
But I do believe in good.
To be kind and compassionate,
I believe we all should.

Predator Capitalists,
Prey on the misery of others.
They exploit circumstances,
And take advantage of our global brothers.

These vultures and vermin,
Are always on the take.
From New Orleans to New Guinea,
Another dollar they want to make.

To hell with Predator Capitalists,
I’ve nothing more to say.
Except to ask this question:
How can decent people look the other way?

My Review of the First Three Chapters of Paul W Sharkey’s “The Gospel According to Paul: The Apathetic Agnostic”

I just spent an hour on my deck enjoying a fine cigar and reading the first 40 pages of Paul W Sharkey’s “The Gospel According to Paul: The Apathetic Agnostic”. I barely spent as much on this outstanding book as I did on that fine cigar. My money was well spent on both!

I cannot overstate the wealth of extensively researched, well thought out, and masterfully presented material contained within these first three chapters of Sharkey’s work. I anxiously look forward to continuing my read; but after completing the third Chapter (“Paul Who?”); I already feel compelled to write my thoughts regarding the material I have read thus far.

My enthusiastic endorsement of Sharkey’s material says quite a bit, if for no other reason than the differences of opinion that I have with his views regarding certain relatively insignificant personal perspectives: a) I don’t believe in the historical Jesus; whereas Sharkey seems to; b) I don’t believe in the historicity of Paul; whereas Sharkey seems to; c) subsequently, I don’t regard any of “the Pauline letters” as being authentic; Sharkey seems to adopt the general position of modern scholarship that 7 of the Pauline letters were actually written by Paul.

So why would I endorse Sharkey’s material; when he and I differ on these perspectives regarding Jesus and Paul?

Basically because these differing views seem minor in the light of our common thinking with regards to: a) the nature of the NT literature itself (I highly recommend his sections on the theories of “Biblical Literalism” and “Biblical Inerrancy”; pp 17-19); b) due consideration given to non-canonical Gospels (I furthermore recommend his sections on “Non Canonical Gospels”, including such writings as “The Testimony of Judas” and “The Testimony of Thomas”; pp 19-23); and c) his theories regarding the influence of the Pauline material on Christianity as we know it today (See Chapter 3: “Paul Who?”; pp 27-39.)

One of the most profound features that appeals to me regarding Sharkey’s style is his most capable and timely utility of the good old fashioned thought provoking QUESTION!!

Just to cite a few of his questions which I have already highlighted in my own personal copy of Sharkey’s book:

“Dare we question the truth of the Gospels? Why not?” (p. 16)

“So, how should the Gospels be understood? Literally?” (p. 17)

“Who authorized the King James Version of the Bible?” (p. 17)

“What difference might it make if we were to consider the testimony of any of these other gospels?” (with reference to the non-canonical gospels; p. 21)

“Is the moral to the story of the gospel one of incompleteness with things unfulfilled and the indefinite expectation of things yet to come or is it one of definitive fulfillment, already whole and complete? What difference does it make?” (p 25; this question directly relates to the section on “The Testimony of Thomas; pp 22-23)

“What does Paul say about himself in his own words?” (p. 28)

“what are some of the other things people think they “know” about him (Paul), but really don’t?” p. 29

“Did Paul have an agenda and if so, what might it have been?” (p. 34)

“Must we have faith in Paul before we can have faith in Jesus?” (p. 37)

“What was his (Paul’s) real personal motivation or agenda in preaching the resurrection?” (p. 40)

CONCLUSION:

If your curiosity is as peaked by any or all of these most pertinent and thought provoking questions as mine has been; then I sincerely suggest you do as I have wisely done: BUY THE BOOK!! (It hardly cost any more than a halfway decent cigar; and won’t harm your health; though it just might expand some intellectual horizons!!!)

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

Christian Persecution? PLEEEZ!!!!

These County representatives who are crying “Christian Persecution” because they may have to actually perform a marriage ceremony or issue a marriage license to same sex couples; apparently lack respect for their own history, seem to have have no concept of “persecution”, and are apparently too immature to deal with real world situations that people of faith cope with each and every day.

The history of Christianity being that of both persecuted party, and persecuting puritans, one would would think that the contemporary Christian would at least have an understanding of what “persecution” really is.

Persecution is… well… it’s persecution! It’s being thrown to the Lion’s for refusing to do a silly token sacrifice to a cultural God (kind of like not taking the Pledge of Allegiance; something I refuse to do, but I doubt if I would allow myself to be mauled by a lion over my damned principles).

Or it’s like what John Calvin did to Michael Servetus when he burned him alive over a difference of doctrinal perspective regarding the Trinity.

What’s more: Cry me a river over these state employees’ dilemma of having to “get involved” in something they don’t believe in as they DO THEIR JOBS

How about the minimum wage Christian Checker at the local store who has to sell cigarettes and alcohol, but whose faith teaches such to be worldly vices. Does she cry “Christian Persecution”, because she has to actually do her job? Hell no, she doesn’t, because she does not want to lose her job that she needs so bady.

Of course, if the Checker at the local store, or the County employee at the local Court House, is sincerely that sensitive to what he or she perceives to be sin; then the solution is simple:

Quit your job to save your soul.

But don’t go cry babying about “Christian Persecution” in the process.

Persecution? PLEEEZ!!!!!

The Individual, Civilization, and Moral Goodness

Per the reasoning of many Christians (not all, but many), it would seem that atheists should murder, plunder, and steal at will, yet such has never been the case as a general rule. Granted, there are Atheists who do harm to their fellow human being, yet I am unaware of any evidence that they do so more than any other demographic representatives of the human race.

Now, my observation regarding such is that people seem to be naturally equipped to know how to treat each other kindly, courteously, and decently; although some admittedly choose to do otherwise. Yet in a collective sense, as in any given society, most people have figured out a way to do so in a civilized manner. Furthermore, in these societies, those who choose to live otherwise almost always represent extreme exceptions to the general practices of the society so represented. (This is one of the reasons I attempt to avoid grouping and classifying various religions and or cultures based upon the doings of extremists within their respective ideology. For those who practice violence are almost always the extreme exception to the general lifestyle of the overall majority within any respective group/culture. This was true of even Nazi Germany, and I don’t doubt this rings true for most any society one could consider)

Now, in light of the various and differing religions, ideologies, cultural distinctions, economic theories, social theories, and political ideologies ever present in any and every culture which has or ever will exist, the fact that most people within any such respective culture figure out a way to live together in peace and harmony, leads me to conclude that separate from each respective cultural ideology of all societies of all time, there seem to be qualities of humanness which are universal to our species, which serve as a foundation for peaceful and harmonious relationships.

Such as they are, these are my thoughts on the matter of individuals, civilizations and morality.

My Southern Sentiments and My Personal Conclusion Regarding The Confederate Flag

June 28, 2015

Two nights ago I watched the complete Eulogy which President Obama delivered in the memory of one of the nine victims of last week’s terrorist attack in Charleston; the good Reverend Clementa Pinckney.

Now, I have heard many sermons, speeches, and eulogies in my life, but I am not sure that I have ever heard a more moving and effective Eulogy than that delivered in the memory of the good Reverend, when President Obama spoke on his behalf Friday afternoon in Charleston. President Obama not only eloquently eulogized Reverend Pinckney himself; but he likewise spoke on behalf of the other 8 victims of the terrorist attack, and in the process he quite passionately represented an entire race of people who were actually the overall intended victim of a terrorist plot hatched in the mind of one who was raised to hate, and who then acted accordingly. (That is the scariest aspect of hatred. The only thing which distinguishes the murderer from the hater is that the murderer acts in accord with the hate. That is a scary and a sobering thought. Or so it seems to me.)

As my wife and I watched the President’s speech unfold; we periodically wiped tears from our eyes as our Nation’s leader proceeded to lay out before the entire nation; a case based upon the pain of being the victim of systematic social terrorism. And a clearly emotionally charged and inner afflicted President Obama soberly challenged us to think our way past the hatred and hostility of our era, in search of peace and harmony. The lump in my throat that night seemed a constant reminder of the obstacles that our President so clearly cited, and the challenge which he put before us all to overcome and conquer those obstacles which seem to so constantly beset us has laid heavily on my mind ever since.

Now, among the topics which our President so eloquently addressed in Reverend Pinckney’s eulogy, was that of the Confederate Flag. And, under the circumstances, with good reason. For the climate of white supremacy and racial hatred which abounds all too ever present in my beloved Southland, did in fact influence the thinking of, and the subsequent actions of Reverend Pinckney’s murderer. Consequently, the good Reverend and eight other innocent victims were maliciously executed, and now a lot of innocent people mourn. And whether we white Southerners choose to acknowledge reality or not; the fact is that our Confederate Flag is in fact a symbol of white supremacy and racial hatred, and furthermore is in fact a rallying symbol for those who choose to think thusly, and finally and fore mostly such did in fact influence the shameless murder of nine innocent people in Charleston last week.

Have we white Southerners no shame? Can we not connect the dots of reality without forming a Confederate symbol in the process? Are we so obsessed with an antiquated symbol which inflicts pain and which incites hostility that we cannot honor our ancestors by merely living good and decent lives?

As I see the situation; we white Southerners can put our heads in the sand and tattoo the Confederate Flag on our butts in such a way as to exhibit our ignorance and our insensitivity for all the world to behold, or we can wake up and realize that the year is 2015, and Richmond is no longer the Capital.

Now please understand my perspective: I am a born and raised Texan of multi generational Southern roots, and am of an ancestral heritage which ties me directly to the Confederate States of America on both sides of my family. As such, I hate to even carry a Five Dollar Bill in my wallet, because when I see the image of Abraham Lincoln, I see the image of a man who is in my judgment beneath contempt. As far as I am concerned, Abraham Lincoln was a cruel and insensitive tyrant who should have been brought up on charges as a War Criminal for utilizing his role as President to endorse the inhumane oppression and systematic efforts of regional genocide of innocent Southern citizens; especially during the last year of the War (I have a similar opinion of George W Bush with regards to endorsing the torture of my fellow human beings during the Iraq War). Furthermore, I cringe every time Abraham Lincoln is given credit for freeing the slaves, since he did not free a single slave at any point in time. (The truth be told, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave, nor was it effected to that end. In fact, the Emancipation Proclamation actually AUTHORIZED the ongoing practice of slavery in the North and in specific regions of the South which were already under Northern control). And so it is my personal opinion, that if Abraham Lincoln had actually been the beacon of humanitarian concern that his image has come to represent in the history accounts, that he would have neither endorsed shameless and inhumane acts against innocent citizens of the South (which he did); and he would have freed the slaves under his jurisdiction (which he did not).

In addition to my low opinion of Mr. Lincoln as a person, my sympathies for my beloved Southland are as natural as anyone else’s love for their home and their heritage. Consequently, I have a hard time withholding further feelings of resentment for the free pass which has traditionally been given to the Northerners who were regularly involved in the slave trade, while my ancestors serve as the scapegoat for the national sin of human trafficking and institutionalized slavery. Thus, my shame for the crimes of my southern ancestors against humanity, is matched with my contempt for the Northern mariners who enabled the process and who profited handsomely by the transport and the sale of captured and maltreated African people. The fact is that slavery was a national sin; and was a shameful act of cruelty and insensitivity for which everyone actually involved should be forever known as shameful representatives of the human race.

Now all that said, I ask of my fellow white Southerners just how the displaying of the Confederate Flag in any way affects a change as to the injustices against the Southern people during the war, or how such in any way corrects the Northern biased misinformation and revisionist history regarding the same?

Will the displaying of the Confederate flag somehow enlighten the general public to the fact the Ulysses S Grant owned slaves until he was forced by law to free them (after the War); or to the fact that Robert E Lee was an Abolitionist who released the slaves that he received as an inheritance (before The Emancipation Proclamation)?

Will the displaying of the Confederate flag somehow spare our Southern women who were raped so routinely by General Hooker’s men that the very term “hooker” evolved from these heinous and barbaric war crimes which took place under his jurisdiction?

Or will the displaying of the Confederate flag somehow resurrect those countless Southern families who starved to death because their homes and all means of producing food were systematically destroyed by the likes of Sherman and Sheridan?

Speaking for myself, I have no problem thinking of the likes of Lincoln, Hooker, Sherman, and Sheridan as no good damned Yankees whose graves I would spit upon were it not for the fact that I have higher standards for my bodily fluids than the resting place of their long gone bodies.

However; I will be damned if I will justify being party to ongoing hostilities and hatred in the here and now, by displaying a symbol of such due to my contempt for the likes of Yankee war criminals who lived way back then.

Nor will I justify to myself the display of a symbol which, over the past 150 years has become a rallying cry for public torture, lynchings, church bombings, burnings and mass shootings; under the guise of honoring my ancestors by such a display.

And so I speak from the heart, as one Southern male to all my compatriot white Southerners, when I write these words:

The Confederate Flag has got to go!

We white Southerners simply must wake up to the reality, that whether we would have such to be the case or not, that over the course of the past 150 years the Confederate Flag has become the symbol of racism and hatred by those who have ignorantly claimed racial superiority, and yet who have conducted themselves in base and shameful ways as they have subjugated, tortured, and murdered African Americans, in their misguided efforts to cling to the antiquated myth of white supremacy.

Like it or not; perception is reality; and we cannot undo the history of the Jim Crow era ,of the beatings, of the torture, of the lynchings, and of the climate of hostility and hatred towards the black race in general and the black male specifically, which has been all too readily represented in our beloved Southland over the entire 20th Century, and even up to the present time. Surely anyone who is even vaguely socially aware must realize that the maltreatment of the black race by our Southern culture of assumed racial superiority has been an ongoing social ill, which unfortunately has been continuously represented by the symbol of the Confederate flag.

With these thoughts in mind, as a son of the South; as a descendent of several confederate veterans, but more importantly as a human being, I offer this heartfelt and passionate appeal to my fellow white Southerners:

Let us put aside that which unfortunately has become a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism; and let us so live as to sustain peace and harmony with all the family of humanity; instead of inciting hostility in the name of honoring our ancestry.

For the sake of humanity, and for the cause of social harmony:

The Confederate Flag has got to go.

And so I challenge my compatriot white Southerners: Choose ye this day how to honor your ancestors, but as for me, David Lee Henderson, a proud Son of the South; I will choose mine. For I choose to honor my fallen dead the best way I know how, and that is by simply being the best person that I know how to be on a daily basis, in the here and in the now; and by loving all people with no distinctions nor partiality, in the here and in the now, and by as far as is possible in me, to live peaceably with all my fellow members of the family of humanity, in the here and the now.

And for the life of me people; I simply do not see how I can do so, while at the same time displaying a symbol of ongoing hatred and hostility in the process.

The Confederate Flag simply has got to go.

And to quote another famous yet fictitious Southerner:

That’s all I got to say about that.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

On Our Innate Qualities Of Social Behavior

I find the following two common philosophies among many Christians disturbing:

1. That every person is born in sin.
2. And/or that humans are somehow incapable of distinguishing right from wrong on our own, without some external aid from a celestial deity.

I find both premises lack merit, and quite frankly make no sense.

Every thing that exists has principle and function.

A rock has the natural qualities of a rock, and albeit its function may be dormant; nonetheless the rock provides a surface for things of different qualities to rest upon. To that end the rock is naturally equipped.

A tree has the natural qualities of a tree, and among its functions are those of being a source of feeding and shade. To those ends the tree is naturally equipped.

Water has the natural qualities of water, and it functions to provide sustenance and life for many beings; including our own species. To a variety of such ends, water is naturally equipped.

Humans have the natural qualities of humanness, and among our functions is that of social behavior. To that end we humans are naturally equipped.

To conclude otherwise would make no sense.

How is that, that of all the myriad of things in all the universe, we; who appear to be of the highest degree of level of communication, creativity, and compassion; are somehow incapable of one of our most basic functions, that of social behavior, without some external aid of an alleged celestial deity?

I maintain that everything that naturally exists, is naturally equipped with certain distinctive qualities to function so as to effect certain basic principles, which are unique to each such thing.

To conclude otherwise with reference to a mere one among the incalculable things in all the known universe, simply makes no sense to me.

Hence I conclude, that we humans are naturally equipped with all necessary qualities to distinguish right from wrong, which is of course a most basic aspect of proper social behavior.

And thus my personal perspective is, that the cultivation of my natural qualities of goodness, is both the most natural of all endeavors, and the most noble of all efforts.