MAGA: Make America Great Again

This is an updated version of an article I wrote on the 3rd of February, 2020, but as everyone is aware, America is going through turmoil, and much has happened since I originally published the article. I’ve already touched on this subject with my article ‘Would Jesus support Trump?’, but the MAGA crowd is seriously getting out of hand, and their unashamed ignorant bigotry is off the scale. One individual I encountered on Twitter used the slogan ‘LibertyGunsJesus‘, which if you ask me isn’t a normal attitude to life. I don’t ever recall seeing any image of Jesus in a Church, or religious establishment, brandishing a firearm. Thirty six years before Trump’s successful presidential campaign, ‘Ronald Reagan‘ used a similar slogan, ‘Let’s Make America Great Again‘. This time, however, it’s synonymous with bigoted, hate-filled, pro-life, God-fearing, gun-toting hypocrites, who attempt to hide their racism through Bibles verses.

“I predict that in 10 years from now, the Red “Make America Great” Hats will be a symbol of Racism that people avoid in a similar way as they do the Swastika.” – Ed Krassenstein

The MAGA mentality is about putting the alleged belief in ‘Jesus‘, and their obsession with ‘Donald Trump‘ before everything else regardless of the consequences. Jesus was supposed to represent love, but are the hashtags ‘#DrainTheSwamp‘, ‘#BuildTheWall‘, ‘#DemonRats‘, ‘#Libtards‘ and ‘#AmericaFirst‘ representing love? We all know what happened the last time the America First slogan was used, when the resurgence of the ‘Ku Klux Klan‘ emerged during World War I, and twelve years later during a Ku Klux Klan march in New York on ‘Memorial Day‘, a certain ‘Fred C Trump‘ was arrested; who happens to be the father of the 45th President of the United States, a certain Donald Trump. What Fred’s role was is uncertain, but surely it’s brought about some embarrassment from his son, but unless you’re arrested, no one knows who’s behind the mask.

“Most Nazis, KKK members, MAGA minions, and other deplorable racists don’t even know they’re racists, because they don’t know that the malicious lies they believe about other races aren’t actually true.” – Oliver Markus Malloy

I’m not anti-American at all, but I’m vehemently anti-MAGA, and I fail to understand the ‘Great Again‘ suggestion. As far as I’m aware, from America’s Inception, which I covered in my article ‘Inception to Independence’, is tarnished with controversy, from the extermination of the indigenous population, to the slave trade where Africans were abducted, and taken to America to be treated like animals. The Second World War is heavily remembered with America only joining the war because the ‘Japanese‘ attacked the military base at ‘Pearl Harbour‘, and as a reply, they decimated ‘Hiroshima‘ and ‘Nagasaki‘ with atomic weapons, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people. The U.S army have committed many more atrocities throughout Asia in the ‘Korean War‘, the ‘Vietnam war‘, and in Arab states like ‘Iraq‘ and ‘Afghanistan‘, and the CIA supported ‘Khmer Rouge‘ after they’d committed genocide throughout Cambodia. I recently wrote an article about Donald Trump, and the crimes, the buy outs, and the controversies should have put him in prison, not the White House.

One of the major issues that the MAGA crowd don’t understand is that Trump’s ego is so over-inflated, and he loves himself more than he loves America. They’re under the illusion that everything he’s done, or allegedly done is for the people, when it’s really about him, and how he’ll be remembered as a president. The MAGA crowd don’t realise how much of an international bully America is, and how despised it is by so many countries due to it thinking that it’s ‘Team America: World Police‘. Every time something happens in his favour he takes credit, even when credit isn’t due, and his tribe of Trumpanzees lap it up, often oblivious to what’s going on. I understand political allegiance but many have a cult like mentality, who see the ‘Democrat party‘ as liberal devil worshippers, which in itself is an oxymoron. Just over ten years ago, Donald Trump was a member of the Democrat party, but it seems the MAGA crowd have incredibly short memories, and not very intellectual.

He’s consistently lied, misled, got confused, and made racist comments, which should really leave his majority Christian followers seething, but they love him now more than ever. He’s forever being accused of scandal, he’s been married three times, and allegedly had sexual relations with porn stars, yet supporters of the Republican Party think he’s been chosen by God, and if this is the case, God’s let his standards slip to an all time low!

America is currently under heavy protests for this murder of ‘George Floyd’ by a ‘Minneapolis‘ police officer, ‘Derek Chauvin‘, who knelt on his throat for eight minutes despite repeatedly telling the officer that he couldn’t breathe. George has been arrested for allegedly using a forged $20 in a store, but even if it turned out to be true, he didn’t need to die for it. Trump has not handled the aftermath well at all, and has been accused of inciting violence and ‘Joe Biden‘ suggested that Trump was using the incident to appeal to his supporters.

“serving the passions of his base” – Joe Biden

Washington’s Archbishop ‘Wilton D Gregory‘ has condemned Trump for his heavy handed tactics against peaceful protestors. He accused Trump of a publicity stunt in front of a house of worship, where police used tear gas to disperse protestors so that Trump could have a photo taken with a Bible in his hand. Because the majority of his presidential candidate was voted by white evangelicals which totalled 81%, many religious leaders around the world are saying that he’s using religion as a political weapon.

“the ongoing evil of white supremacy” – Archbishop of Canterbury

America has had an issue with white supremacy since its inception, but the cases of police brutality against ‘African Americans‘ is out of hand, and the world has reacted using the #BlackLivesMatter slogan. I recently watched a documentary about ‘Kalief Browder‘, who was arrested for allegedly stealing a back pack, and was sent to ‘Rikers Island‘ at just ages 16, where he spent three years without trial and the majority of it was in solitary confinement. After he was released without charge, he struggled to live his life as his incarceration affected him mentally and emotionally and sadly he ended up taking his own life. During the documentary it revealed how more often African Americans, and Latino are targeted by the police compared to white people, and after the death of George Floyd this really resonated with me. When this type of thing is a frequent occurrence throughout America, how can the MAGA crowd ignore it, and continue to support Trump, who uses tragedy to further his political career? Instead of building walls, Trump should be building bridges.

Liberalism: A mental disorder?

‪I will start off by saying that anyone who makes this claim is without a doubt ignorant, extremely facetious, and obtuse. A mental disorder is a psychiatric condition that causes impairment, or affects a person’s judgement, behaviour or perception, and it can range from an isolated incident, to a serious condition that can cause distress, and the need to seek a psychiatrist which can lead to mind altering medication. Being so flippant about something so serious is showing complete disregard for the welfare of people who are genuinely ill. It makes my skin crawl when I read the five words ‘Liberalism is a mental disorder’, or the extremely vile alternative ‘libtard’. It’s often White supremacist, homophobic, right wing Christians who have an obsession with the first and second amendment that use this phrase, as they’re clearly unable to accept people being allowed to express their individuality. ‬

La Liberté éclairant le monde

‪”Humanism split into three main branches. The orthodox branch holds that each human being is a unique individual possessing a distinctive inner voice and a never-to-be-repeated string of experiences. Every human being is a singular ray of light, which illuminates the world from a different perspective, and which adds colour, depth and meaning to the universe. Hence we ought to give as much freedom as possible to every individual to experience the world, follow his or her inner voice and express his or her inner truth. Whether in politics, economics or art, individual free will should have far more weight than state interests or religious doctrines. The more liberty individuals enjoy, the more beautiful, rich and meaningful is the world. Due to this emphasis on liberty, the orthodox branch of humanism is known as liberal humanism” – Yuval Noah Harari‬

‪A libtard is obviously a condescending, derogatory mixture of liberal and retard, and is often directed at left wing people, who demand equality, justice, freedom of choice, reform and social progression, whereas right wing are usually traditionalists, nationalists, over patriotic, and needy of a moral authority giver, usually god. Despite the god worshippers claiming their moral superiority, they’re unable to accept liberalism, which is a moral philosophy with its emphasis on equality; be it social, human, sexual or gender. They demand democracy, and secularism. This strikes fear into the hearts of the right wing bigots, as they feel like it’s an attempt by atheists to remove god from society, but liberalism also agrees with freedom of religion, but just as important is freedom from religion, and it shouldn’t be involved in politics, or influence the government. ‬

‪With the right wing bigots being traditionalists, this means that they believe that a man should marry a woman, start a family, attend the church regularly, and the man provides, and the woman is the homemaker. This view is so archaic and out of touch with the reality of the modern world, as it’s 2020, not 1820. Liberals focus on both gender equality and racial equality, and if the right wing were truly patriotic, they’d remember that in the ‘Declaration of Independence‘ it says that “all men are created equal”, so liberalism shouldn’t need to exist. But unfortunately it’s not that simple, as the Bible is far more important, and because it allegedly condemns homosexuality.‬

‪”If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Leviticus 20:13‬

‪Liberalism is a doctrine that attempts to protect and enhance the freedom, and rights of all humans, which acknowledges a person’s individuality, be it sexual orientation, religion, race, nationality, and ‘Plato‘ said that society should be organic, and work like a beehive, with everyone doing their necessary duty to create harmony and an equilibrium. Liberals are also keen on reform and progression, and the means to reach this is dialogue, and communication. As the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword. In the case of liberalism being a mental disorder, the sword is completely wrong. ‬

‪”Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved” – Aristotle‬

Why America is losing its religion

Americans aren’t happy, and it’s because their overly patriotic nationalists are fearful that Christianity is losing its influence. Since the birth of social media, people are able to debate instantly with other people from all around the world, and with the internet becoming so advanced, it’s made researching a lot simpler. This has led to a surge of people critically thinking and leaving their faith behind, to the distaste of the American Christians who believe it’s the influence of Satan over society. What many Americans fail to recognise is they live in multicultural, cosmopolitan cities, and many people don’t believe in the Christian god, as they have their own faiths. Gone are the days when everyone was a Christian, and they socially gathered at church. One of the biggest things to impact America is the desire for secularism, and many Christians believe that’s it’s a personal attack against their faith, in an attempt to remove Christianity from society, but it’s not. It’s about giving everyone an equal voice, without one religious denomination having priority over another, yet many evangelicals see it as secular atheism, and atheists wishing to remove god from America.

“If Christ were here, there is one thing he would not be—a Christian” – Mark Twain

Over a quarter of Americans now identify as either being non-religious, agnostic, or atheists, which according to the Pew research centre, is a 17% rise in ten years, and this has impacted Christianity with roughly 65% identifying as Christians, but many not practising their faith. Christianity very well may eventually become insignificant to the majority of the American population. If you look through the history of America, which is quite a short life span, it’s undergone some dramatic situations, and atrocities in the name of god. Slavery, persecution of the indigenous population, suffrage, Ku Klux Klan, and the Civil Rights movement, that have all been consequences from the actions of Christianity, and despite many Christians claiming that no true Christian would commit an act of atrocity, history doesn’t lie, and many younger Americans feel like they need to distance themselves from it. Add to that the MAGA crowd, who are often far right nationalists that claim their love of god, and belief in pro life, but are obsessed with the 2nd amendment, and are bigoted towards anything without their alleged Christian values.

One of the reasons that Christianity is losing followers is their disregard to the dignity and rights of the LBGTQ society, and despite many of them growing up with a religious background, they often have no choice but to disaffiliate themselves with their church due to prejudice and discrimination, and whilst some churches are accepting, many are not. Many denominations of Christianity vehemently oppose liberal views, as allowing everyone their own identity is a rebellion against god. Out of the 50 states in America, literally a handful have progressed to attempt to protect the rights of the LBGTQ society. There are no federal laws to protect them against discrimination from employers, housing and social services, and many are outright rejected. America is renowned for being slow when civil rights are involved, and it took over 80 years for women’s suffrage to get them the right to vote, and despite African American men being allowed to vote 50 years prior, it was over 100 years before the black civil rights movement gained momentum, and still to this day racism is prevalent n America. If these examples are anything to go by, it’ll be a while before the archaic opinions of the average right wing MAGA become accepting towards them.

In America right now, the younger generation are much more educated than their parents and grandparents, and don’t prioritise their church activity, as the world is changing, and many feel that the church is out of touch with modern society. The two biggest religious denominations in America are the a Catholic Church, and the Southern Baptists, and both are surrounded with allegations of sexual misconduct from preachers. The church is known to support hospitals, and universities, and accounts for a portion of the economy, but other countries with more secular views find other ways to support the hospitals and universities. In the U.K we have the national health service, where you can visit a medical practitioner and not have to pay, but the universities have fees and students often leave with debts, which they have to repay once they gain employment. The church has no involvement, as a rule, unless it’s a religious school and that’s usually state funded.

Recent polls have discovered that 2/3rds of Americans want to churches to stay out of politics, and claim that it’s unethical for religious leaders to show support for certain candidates based on their religious beliefs, and they should remain neutral. If this trend continues then perhaps one day we may see a homosexual atheist in the White House. Many youths of America see religious leaders endorsing political candidates as suspicious, and full of agenda, and see Christianity as a political weapon for white supremacists. We are currently experiencing the moronic nature of the 45th president, and 43 of them have been white males. Times need to change, and we need to see a rational, uninfluenced, woman in the White House and then perhaps she’ll instil some common sense into the American public, as the men so far have failed.

Evolution of emotions

I was interacting with a user on Twitter who claimed that souls are real, and just because you can’t see them, or science can’t prove or disprove them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. He suggested that someone can claim love for someone else, but can we prove love really exists. My reply was to inform him that love is an emotion and emotions exist, but there’s no proof of a soul, and it’s a product of religious brainwashing. I told him that brain scans by neurologists have studied the effects emotions have for decades, and it’s actually become a science of its own.

“Human emotions have deep evolutionary roots, a fact that may explain their complexity and provide tools for clinical practice.” – Robert Plutchik

What is an emotion?

An emotion is a biological state that’s triggered through a variety of experiences, like thoughts, feelings, stimulants, experiences, or responses, and can be both positive, negative or ambivalent. Emotions are not only a mental state, but can also be physiological in the way the heart can speed up when you experience fear, or you can perspire. Your breathing can quicken and you may tense up. When you are embarrassed you can blush, and when you are angry your face can go red. Everyone suffers a variety of emotions throughout their days that can be from happiness to sadness, anger to euphoria, love to hate, and these can affect our decisions in a variety of ways, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. Emotions that are strong can affect our judgement and cause irrationality, like love for instance. Love can make people do very erratic things that under normal circumstances they wouldn’t even consider, and hate works in the same way. Psychiatrists often put emotions into three distinct categories and they are:

Subjective experience

Physiological response

Behavioural response

Emotions are subjective and different to each person. Take anger as an example. Two people could have their cars stolen, and both can be angry, but the first person is angry that they’ll have to report it to the police and take the bus home, so they see it as more of an inconvenience; whereas the second person could be in a fit of rage, as they’ve had their personal property violated, and that was their dream car, and if they get their hands on the thief who took it, they will tear them apart. Emotions can also be ambivalent which is mixed feelings. You’re going on your first date with someone and you’re extremely nervous as what if she doesn’t like you, or you say something idiotic and make a fool of yourself. But at the same time you’re extremely excited as she could potentially be the one, and her smile makes your heart melt.

The physiological response is butterflies in your stomach, dry mouth, sweaty palms, racing heart, rapid blinking, changing of facial expressions, tensing of muscles or posture. These are all involuntary changes that are controlled by your nervous system and are triggered by various emotions. You are going for the interview for your dream job, and you know that you will have to shake the hand of the interviewer, but your palms are sweaty, and you’ve already stuttered to the receptionist and you have the feeling of falling, and your mouth is dry. This is anxiety and nervousness as it obviously matters to you and you’re desperate to make a good impression, but your nervous system is betraying you.

Behavioural response is the actual feeling of emotion, and the ability to recognise emotions in other people as you’ve seen the signs from your own experiences. Someone you know has lost their pet and they are distraught, and you’ve been in the same position yourself as you lost your dog a year ago. You know they are very sad, they’ve lost a friend and their life will now have an empty space in it. You try to show empathy and be sympathetic, but you know that no amount of comforting will ease their grief, only over time will their suffering subside. There are also actions that can be taken when feeling an emotion. Anger can lead to violence, happiness can lead to dancing or hugging someone, and love can lead to sexual interaction, or intimacy.

“Emotions are a process, a particular kind of automatic appraisal influenced by our evolutionary and personal past, in which we sense that something important to our welfare is occurring, and a set of psychological changes and emotional behaviors begins to deal with the situation.” – Paul Ekman

Paul Ekman‘ is a psychologist from Washington, DC, and has a PhD in clinical psychology. He’s an expert on emotions and facial expressions, which he claims is an indicator of lying. Regarding his expertise in emotions, he clams that there are seven groups of universal emotions.

‪• Anger – a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility‬

‪• Fear – an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm‬

‪• Sadness – the feeling of being unhappy, especially when something bad has happened‬

‪• Disgust – a feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive‬

‪• Surprise – an unexpected or astonishing event, or fact‬

‪• Anticipation – a feeling of excitement about something pleasant or exciting that you expect to happen‬

‪• Trust – firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something‬

‪• Joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness‬

Dr. Robert Plutchik‘ was a professor who studied psychology and psychotherapy, and was considered an expert in the field of emotions, and the above image is ‘Plutchik’s wheel of emotions‘. He was of the mindset that there are eight groups of universal emotions.

Can we prove emotions exist?

Emotions are observable in the mind and the body, so with them being visible, they obviously exist and aren’t a construction of the mind, and considering emotions are involuntary and are difficult to control, their effects are noticeable. If someone is sad, they will shown it in their face, and body language. They sometimes have a lack of attention, or concentration, and can struggle with every day tasks, like personal hygiene, or coping with personal relationships. Love can overwhelm some people as they don’t wish to be apart from the one they love, and they miss not being in their company. Love can make people over protective, or jealous, or not think straight as their mind is consumed by the one they love. If there’s a separation that’s one sided, the one who’s still in love will feel like they. Ant cool without their partner, and they’ll have a sense of loneliness and feel worthless. These feelings make a physical impact, as well as mentally, and can cloud a person’s judgement.

With emotions being controlled by the brain, the brain will change its activity. For decades, neurologists have been using volunteers and placing them in situations that can effect their emotions and studying the brain activity. In 1872, ‘Charles Darwin‘ published ‘The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals‘, and claimed that emotions have a universal character, and evolutionary history, and every human, regardless of race, religion, sex, or gender have similar behaviours. He expressed that all sentient being experienced emotions, and having four dogs I can testify that this is indeed correct. Their emotions aren’t as complex as humans as they don’t understand the concept of the world around them, but they express happiness, fear, excitement and the need for cuddles and kisses. Darwin was involved with several researchers hiked the was writing his book, and one was ‪French physician ‘Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne‬’. He applied electricity to people’s faces to stimulate the muscles to attempt to imitate facial expressions that were relative to emotions, and this was an area that Darwin was interested in as he believed that expressions were an important factor in the study of emotions.

Scientists have been using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study brain activity when a person suffers an emotion, and they claim that the brain has shown to give off neural signatures that have been shared by different subjects who have been studied.

“Despite manifest differences between people’s psychology, different people tend to neurally encode emotions in remarkably similar ways” – Amanda Markey

By using highly sophisticated computers, they were able to map out areas of the brain that were triggered when the subjects were stimulated into an emotional state. Modern psychiatrists, and neurologists are on the brink of being able to scan brains to seek out a problem, rather than self analysis which isn’t a completely reliable science.

Roaring twenties: prohibition, suffrage and the Ku Klux Klan

THE ROARING TWENTIES

The ‘United States of America‘ entered the roaring twenties with full on enthusiasm as to what the new world would give them, with people moving to key cities, like Chicago and New York, jazz music, fashion, Art Deco, and technology blossomed. People began buying cars as the credit options made it more affordable for the average person. The overall wealth of the nation doubled, more people owned appliances and telephones, with sport and cinema becoming big businesses.

The American economy and industrial sectors were booming, and America was divided by wealth. Many people were living lavish lifestyles, whilst others were living in dire poverty, and even though it was getting close to 50 years since slavery was abolished, many African Americans in the Deep South suffered horrendous racial prejudice and lived barely surviving as they didn’t have equal rights to whites. Although the birth of jazz and the rise of blues brought many African Americans into the cities to perform and started the Harlem Renaissance, in return millions of American whites joined the Ku Klux Klan as they believed they were combating the debauchery of society with Christian values.

THE PROHIBITION

Imagine a time when alcohol was illegal to go into production, transportation, and importation for 13 years between 1920 and 1933, but consuming it wasn’t a crime. As you’d expect, religion was behind it, and Lutheranism had attempted several times since the 19th century to remove alcohol from society as it went against their Christian beliefs, and America’s involvement in World War I created a national pride and opposition to the German beer producers, and it paved the way to diminish the influence in the alcohol trade, and the 18th amendment was voted in by a majority. On January 16th, 1920, the Volstead Act went into force and closed every establishment that sold liquor in America. The main reason was alcohol being the primary factor for most social disruption, marriage breakups and violence in America, and this gave women a voice that was heard.

“After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.” – Amendment XVIII

Bootleggers took advantage of the prohibition and made illegal gin and moonshine, but often it was created using industrial strength alcohol which led to many deaths to those desperate enough to drink it. Little did the Christians who campaigned against the immorality of selling alcohol know that the prohibition would backfire and give rise to mobsters, and none were as notorious as Al Capone, who ruled the Chicago underworld and made a fortune from casinos, speakeasies (secret bars) and racketeering.

The issue that the American government faced during the prohibition was enforcing it. Underground bars appeared everywhere, and police officers, lawyers and judges could be found drinking there. The government only had around 1500 agents to cover all of the states so a lot of the drinking continued unnoticed, and certain cities completely disregarded it and became anti-prohibition. The President at the time of 1933, Franklin Roosevelt, was inaugurated at a time of the Great Depression and low morale from American citizens and he signed the 21st amendment.

“The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. … The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.” – Amendment XXI

WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE

1840 was the time when women began the fight to change the law so that they were eligible to vote, and in 1890 the separate suffrage organisations finally joined forces as one and became the ‘National American Woman Suffrage Association‘. The movement tirelessly campaigned for the constitution to pass an amendment for the right for women to vote, and the fight for women’s suffrage came to an end by the passing of the 19th amendment in August 18, 1920. It was 80 years in the making.

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” – Amendment XIX

America was in a strange place. Racism was very strong, yet in 1870 the 15th Amendment was passed allowing African American men the right to vote, yet no woman was able until 50 years later as the American man saw the woman as a homemaker.

‪The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” – Amendment XV‬

KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN

In the early 1920s America grew suspicious of foreigners, and their paranoia over communism began, and throughout the land, and predominantly rural America the ‘Knights of the Ku Klux Klan‘ grew in a second wave after being dormant for almost 50 years and awoken by ‘Rev. William J. Simmons‘ who recruited over 5,000,000 members and millions more supporters, due to their racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Catholic views. America was becoming dangerous for anyone who wasn’t a white supremacist. Their influence over state governments and politics was huge, and they took control of many cities’ police departments and court houses.

Considering the Klan was claiming to be enforcing Christian values, they actively encouraged their members that bigotry, prejudice, harassment, condemnation and violence was not only patriotic but it’s God’s will. The white Anglo-Saxon Protestants were becoming anxious about the state of America. Foreigners from Europe were invading their lands, the blacks were spreading, women were gaining rights and they saw this as America being undone, and they resented the modernism that their country was going through. They were strongly opposed to contraception, abortion and evolution being taught in schools, and this led to much vigilante violence. As the Klan grew they helped charity organisations and supported schools, and donated much money to the churches to support the poor Protestants, but at the same time their influence went to the top as Klan members became mayors, governors and senators. Some members of the Klan were not interested in violence as they just wished moral values to return, but others joined so that they could beat and lynch blacks, Catholics, foreigners, adulterers and promiscuous women.

Despite the Klan’s popularity in the mid twenties, the Presidents saw them as a sadistic organisation who was a danger to the public, and many higher ranking public officials began to turn their backs on Klan members and activities. Many people began to publicly oppose them as the death toll, raping, and violence was contradicting their alleged moral outlook. The Klan slowly diminished as social outlook towards minorities became more tolerant, but it begs the question of how and why did America accept the Ku Klux Klan as social and cultural figureheads when they promoted so much hatred?

“H e and other Klan leaders would look to Christianity to find support for racism. Even liberal Protestant churches supported white supremacy. That seemed the natural order of things. Just as people used Biblical texts to support slavery.” – Kelly J. Baker

Free will: does it exist?

I’ve been told a few times of late that free will doesn’t exist, and if this is the case then the only other option is determinism, which is essentially the butterfly effect. Everything that happens is a result of previous causes. I find this preposterous, and I will explain why. Human beings are unique, and as individuals we have the power of independent thought, imaginations, dreams, goals, ambitions and interests that we pursue. Not one person thinks identically to another person, and everyone has different opinions, expectations, allegiances, and loyalties. If I was to attack a person in the street, that person could press charges, I get arrested, go to court and potentially spend time in prison, and this is cause and effect, but the initial decision to attack the individual was a choice. There could be many reasons for this choice, be it racially, sexually, a robbery, or I just didn’t like the look of the person, but I could have walked passed and done nothing, but the choice was mine, and everyone has an infinite amount of choices they can make throughout their lives that can have consequences and create a butterfly effect, or they can be insignificant, like choosing to wake up early as the weather report said it was going to be a hot day.

Free will is the ability to choose alternatives unhindered, without outside influence, Independently. Say you’re going out for dinner with your wife. Do you choose your favourite restaurant, or do you try somewhere new that you’ve heard about? Once inside, do you order a bottle of wine, or just drink water as you’ve got a busy day ahead. Do you have your favourite meal, like you always do, or do you look through the menu for something you’ve never had? All of these choices are free will, independent from outside influence.

“You may fetter my leg, but Zeus himself cannot get the better of my free will.” – Epictetus

Theists will argue that free will exists as god has given us choices, or will argue that without god, our lives are meaningless and without purpose, but I will argue that without free will your life is meaningless. I don’t accept fate, as I’m in control of my actions, and no outside influence is going to predetermine how I live my life. How can we define the human species as decision making, adventurous and curious, if we just look at the fact that we are biological machines with billions of brain cells instead of understanding that humans are choice-making living agents, who are responsible for their actions and the choices they make? Free will is a quill, and it’s your job to write your life!

“I am very comfortable with the idea that we can override biology with free will.” – Richard Dawkins

Is communism an ideology exclusive to atheism?

We’ve all read it many times, how atheism is responsible for ‘100,000,000 deaths in the twentieth century’ through the ideology of Marxism. But strictly speaking, is communism an atheist ideology? The Marxist–Leninist ideology claimed that religion was the ‘opium of the people’, and because of this they advocated, and promoted atheism, but didn’t outright deny religion, and during World War II Stalin welcomed the support of the Russian Orthodox Church. Many Marxist movements, especially in the Latin Americas are Catholic and are in direct opposition to the Marxist-Leninist anti-religion stance.

LIBERATION THEOLOGY

The Liberation Theology movement (Teología de la liberación) rose in South America and was developed by Peruvian Roman Catholic Priest, Gustavo Gutiérrez, in the early 1950s. Whilst the theory of liberating oppressed people through the Gospels of Jesus Christ doesn’t sound too terrible, the ideology gave way for military dictators to coup d’etat existing governments. This upset America greatly, and they accused the Catholic Church of Latin America of adopting Marxism ideologies. The mixing of Catholic theology and Marxist ideology of removing social class was frowned upon by the Vatican as they didn’t wish to see the church turned into a secular political institution as it would rob people of the option to have Jesus save them, but the Liberation Theology movement believed that if Jesus Christ were on Earth today, he would be a Marxist revolutionary.

“Gutierrez says that Marxism presents the best analysis of the oppression/liberation conflict in terms of class struggle. So the liberation theologian must be committed to Marxism at least as an “analytical tool,” at most to socialist revolution as such. So theology is the critical reflection on praxis, from within praxis.” –Source

MARXISM

Karl Marx has a bad reputation, and is often considered responsible for the actions of communist Russia, China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cambodia, but in reality all he presented was a theory on how a society could become classless, and how important it is to understand human agency without the influence of the supernatural. He didn’t like the way the church oppressed, brainwashed and controlled people by claiming the authority of a god must be obeyed so you will be judged fairly when you face them. He was of the belief that the church used the power of the upper class to keep the lower class people in order, or under control. Napoleon Bonaparte described it as ‘Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich’, and Vladimir Lenin said ‘‪The roots of modern religion are deeply embedded in the social oppression of the working masses.’ People who understand the concept of Marxism claim that religion thrives from capitalism, and fears communism, because their control is reduced significantly.

VLADIMIR LENIN

Vladimir Lenin orchestrated the October revolution of 1917, and put the Council of People’s Commissars into power, before forming the one party state governed by the Russian Communist Party, who objective was to create a secular communist society. Lenin was an atheist, as everyone knows, but not many people know, or at least acknowledge that it wasn’t a requirement to be an atheist to join the Communist Party. Lenin adopted the Erfurt Program ideology that came from Marx’s International Workingmen’s Organisation which said that religion was a private matter, and if a cleric or person of religion joined the party and objected to something, it was a matter for them to personally resolve.

“Organisations belonging to the R.S.D.L.P. [Russian Social Democratic Labour Party] have never distinguished their members according to religion, never asked them about their religion and never will” – Vladimir Lenin

GERRARD WINSTANLEY – TRUE LEVELLERS FOUNDER

The early Christian Church adopted communalism principles by referring to the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ ‘all things in common’, and owning possessions communally, and these communities existed long before Marxism, but lived by some communistic ideologies. The similarities between communism and communalism aren’t common, but they both share the view of anti capitalism, secularism and equality in ownership and needs. Communalism is rooted in some socialist ideologies and focuses on the collective rather than the individuals of a community, but often they view other communities as hostile, so it’s been criticised by scholars. Yet, early Christian churches in the Roman world were often self sufficient communities, who shared what they had, and saw materialism pointless and greed a sin.

The Diggers, or the True Levellers, were a group of radical Protestants in the 17th century, who adopted an early socialist ideology, also from Acts, where they claimed that god created all men equally, so the land should be shared on grounds of needs. They created communities that operated as Agrarian socialism and radical communalism, who had anarchist views as they wished for the British government to be abolished.

CAN A CHRISTIAN BE A COMMUNIST?

Martin Luther King Jr gave a sermon in 1962, in Atlanta, where he gave a really eloquent speech on why he believes that communism and Christianity aren’t compatible, and it can be read here. Whilst he presents a well constructed argument from intensive knowledge, I don’t agree with all that he has to say.

“And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.” – Acts 2:45

“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” – Acts 4:32

“And laid [them] down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” – Acts 4:35

Correct me if I’m interpreting this incorrectly, but isn’t this communistic ideology?

“a theory or system of social organization in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.”

The Communist Party of America are a mixture of faithless and Christians, and this page highlights how they think Christianity and communism can work together. The problem is that many people view communism as Mao’s China, or Stalin’s Russia, and instantly link them to atheistic ideologies, when atheism hasn’t got ideologies, as it’s just the refusal to accept the existence of a god that no one can provide evidence for. Stalin was educated at a Jesuit school, and studied for a year to become a priest. So the claims that he was a full blown atheist are doubtful, and I’d say it’s probably more accurate that he was agnostic, and claimed atheism to please Lenin and the Bolsheviks. As you can read in the below quote from Martin Luther King Jr, communism arose as a protest against hardship. Russia was under the cruel regime of Romanovs for 300 years, and they were heavily influenced by the Russian Orthodox Church. Despite Russia being one of the most religious countries in the world, with more cathedrals than anywhere else, the majority of the population were peasants living in poverty, and the revolution came about because the common man was tired of being treated like animals. The Bolsheviks even had support from Muslim groups, as they too desired change. Although Nicolas was described as barbarian, who frequently ordered his guards to shoot protestors, he was made a saint by the church after his death.

“Communism should challenge us to be more concerned about social justice. However much is wrong with communism, we must admit that it arose as a protest against the hardships of the underprivileged.” – Martin Luther King Jr