Today’s Vote in Wisconsin

(This is an email I recently sent out to just about everyone I could think of.)

Hello. I am sending this email out to a very wide range of folks I know. Some of you I have known for many years, yet we have not ever discussed politics. Some of you I don’t yet know very well at all… and with some of you I’ve already discussed these issues ad nauseum. =)

You may disagree entirely with my politics, and vice versa. Certainly I do apologize if any offense is taken by what I say here, and I thank you for your time to read this.

While I do generally vote (and when I do, I have in the past had no particular leaning to either major party), I have never canvassed for any candidate or cause before, nor ever sent out an email such as this (and I do not do so lightly).

However, today there is an issue on our ballot which I believe is much more important than which career politician is going to be our congressman, attorney general, or state coroner.

It is being pitched by the Republicans as the Gay Marriage Amendment, but it goes much further than that. The entire text of the amendment to the state constitution is:

"Marriage. Shall section 13 of article XIII of the constitution be created to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state and that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state?"

What I would like to point out about this:

– Gay marriage is already illegal in Wisconsin; it will still be illegal even without this amendment (and with conservative control of both houses of the state legislature, this is not likely to change any time soon). Do we need to write discrimination into our constitution?

– This will also affect STRAIGHT couples NOW – unmarried couples will lose health care benefits, death and dying rights, and even domestic violence protections.

– This means that civil unions will never be possible. Even of those folks who think gay marriage shouldn’t be legal, most don’t have a problem with civil unions of some sort… this prevents that entirely!

– Marriage as an institution is not under attack. No church would ever be forced to allow gay marriage under their purview. A couple forming a civil union does not invalidate or threaten straight couples’ marriages. It does not make marriage as an institution any less real or important in our society. A civil union is only to allow those families who love each other have the ability to take care of each other. Passing this amendment will prevent that, most likely forever, in Wisconsin (no amendment has been overturned in WI).

This is a chance for your vote to make a real difference. This will be a close one, and even in places (like Dane County) where there is heavy opposition to the amendment, a vote against it still helps since the vote is statewide.

Please vote NO!

Secondly, this is perhaps less urgent, but also be aware there is a non-binding referendum on the ballot to bring back the death penalty.

While it is non-binding, I think it would be a real shame if we in Wisconsin allowed this to pass. Only one man has ever been executed by the state, and that was in 1851. We banned the death penalty in 1858 (only 10 years after we became a state!), a time in which the death penalty was commonplace elsewhere in the country, and in the world.

While certainly I want murderers, rapists, and molesters to pay for their crimes, even with DNA evidence, we can never be 100% sure of someone’s guilt. Eye witnesses are not infallible… neither is DNA evidence, and neither are juries.

Illinois to our south has shown what can happen. There is no doubt that many innocent people have been put to death there in punishment for horrible crimes… but they sent the wrong man to die, and no matter how much technology advances, we can never be completely certain.

By sentencing someone to life in prison, we can always correct the problem if an innocent man is convicted. When we execute someone, we have no way to correct the injustice.

Let’s not go back to 1857. Think about our country then.

Slavery was legal.
Women could not vote.
The death penalty existed.

All three of these are barbaric and shouldn’t be a part of the modern world, least of all here in Wisconsin.

Please vote against the death penalty.

If you have any questions or comments about what I have said, I am more than willing to discuss this matter with you. I do believe all I have said here is true… and I think many who are in favor of the marriage amendment have been misrepresenting the facts.

Also note that in most places, these issues are on the BACK of the ballot, so don’t forget to turn it over when you vote.

Thank you for your time.

johnS

Don’t Forget to Vote!

I did my part over lunch today and cast an absentee ballot downtown. Don’t forget to do the same yourself on Tuesday (or before).

I voted against the gay marriage amendment (it’s already illegal!). Gotta love the Christians… though they purport to love everyone, they want to make discrimination a part of our state constitution.

And I also voted against the idiotic idea that we should reinstate the death penalty in Wisconsin. We’ve only executed one man in this state, in 1851, and I hope he remains the last. We banned the death penalty in 1858. Our neighbors to the south (in Illinois) did not, and we merely have to look at them for evidence that the death penaly can and will send innocent people to be murdered by the state.

Adding this bit of nonsense that there has to be DNA evidence is irrelevant. DNA evidence is not infalliable.

As for the rest of the races, I did vote Democrat for governor, senator, and attorney general. I am a staunch anti-establishment voter. I think in theory at least, the Democrats and Republicans each have it half right (libertarians are all-right, but they can’t win a race). However, the incessant urge for the Republicans to involve their nutjob religious beliefs in the public sphere has left me no choice but to go for the lesser of evils this time. For shame.

You know, the religous right likes to say that this country was founded as a Christian state. They’re right in that most people at the time were Christian. However, back then, there was a strong sense that religion should be left out of politics. They meant to found a nation of the people, for the people, and by the people. Neither god nor government, but the people.

Furthermore, many of the founding fathers believed in God, but not Christianity. George Washington was a church goer, but walked out when communion started. Thomas Jefferson was rabidly anti-Christian, though also a believer.

From Don’t Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Cole:

Proponents of America as a “Christian nation” and those who favor public prayer often cite [Benjamin] Franklin’s entreaty that the constitutional convention open its meetings with a prayer. What they conveniently leave out is what actually happened following that suggestion. Alexander Hamilton first argued that if the people knew that the convention was resorting to prayer at such a late date, it might be viewed as an act of desperation. Nonetheless, Franklin’s motion was seconded. But then Hugh Williamson of North Carolina pointed out that the convention lacked funds to pay a chaplain, and then the proposition died. Franklin later noted, “The convention, except three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary” (emphasis added).

Flying Spaghetti Monster Invades Madison

DSCN5420Halloween, Madison’s Mardi Gras (newly dubbed the Freakfest this year).

I was the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and Suz was a pirate (pirates are central figures in Pastafarianism).DSCN5477

I got a mention on the Daily Page blog and a picture up on this dude’s blog.
 
DSCN5645
Also, the ESPN film crew got some footage of me in the window of The Pub on Friday night, and apparently played it during the Badger game on Saturday (and throughout the day on Saturday). I had tons of people come up to me and say they’d seen me on TV.

The FSM recognition rate was extremely low on Friday, but on Saturday night I had quite a few shout outs and kneeling Pastafarians.

Awesome; I got mentioned on the canonical FSM site: http://www.venganza.org/2006/10/30/fsm-halloween-missionary.htm

Some pictures of folks posing with me over the weekend: 

DSCN5505 DSCN5574 DSCN5575 DSCN5600

And my lovely wife as a devoted pirate Pastafarian (this from hooktail‘s blog):
hooktail_spaghetti_monster

 

Here are all of the still shots I took of the weekend:

Madison Halloween 2006 Gallery

Here’s the FSM costume:

[youtube]CTAnNINWNqw[/youtube]

Here is video from Friday night:

[youtube]1ypTrDXRfYo[/youtube]

And from Saturday night:

[youtube]ewcnfKdBEtM[/youtube]

Banana: The Atheist’s Nightmare

Kirk Cameron from Growing Pains, and some creepy dude with a banana fetish have convinced me.

Finally, proof that God exists!


His thesis is simply that because the banana fits so well into his hand, it is proof that God exists.

What he doesn’t understand is that this could just as easily be an argument that this is an output of the evolutionary process. Human ancestors that couldn’t hold the banana well wouldn’t be able to feed themselves as well as those who could, so the non-banana eaters would tend to die off more quickly, leaving those humans with banana-grasping ability to remain to reproduce and pass on those traits.

Alternatively, to take the ad absurdium route… if a banana fits so well in his hand, and his dick fits in his hand just as well, does that mean God wants him to hold onto his cock? Further, if his cock fits so nicely in Kirk’s waiting bunghole, does that also mean God exists (and wants them to start buggering)?

Those Lutherans again

‘Ol Kelly’s at it again. This isn’t the first email I’ve gotten from her.

Hi John-

I saw you at the Rainbow Connection event when you were busy running and filming.  How did it go for you?

Can we set a time to get together to view the video you shot of me at the Lutheran Student Center next week?  What would be a good day and time for you?  Thank you again for your service!

In the Hand of the Potter,


Best regards,
Kelly Luke
Art & Souls Gallery & Gifts LLC: unique local art
**NOW OPEN EXTENDED SHOPPING HOURS!!**
Art & Souls Ministry: bringing art to worship
601 S. Pickwick Ave.
Springfield, MO  65804
phone (snip)
www.artandsouls.com
TUE & THUR 6-9pm, THUR & FRI 10AM-2PM, SAT 10am-3pm, 1st FRIDAY Art Walks 6-10pm

I doubt she has any idea she emailed someone who believes that all religion is the source of evil in this world, and who thinks that all god-believers are delusional whack-jobs.

I keep telling her she’s got the wrong John Stewart, but have yet to get so much as a response. That’s not very Christian, is it?

Your Religion is Bullshit

Finally, someone has the chutzpah/balls/fortitude to call it like it is. Stop beating around the bush… science and religion do NOT mix.

Religion is bullshit.

Faith is evil. An Oxford professor named Richard Dawkins created a documentary, Root of All Evil?, which aired on the BBC this January.

Faith is the belief in something without evidence (or even with evidence to the contrary).

Nearly every religion makes faith one of the highest virtues.

Faith is the root of so much evil man does on this planet.

In science, there is no faith except in the fact that you know you do NOT know it all yet. Every idea is open to refinement. There is no dogma that cannot be set aside when new evidence appears to contradict it.

It’s two episodes clocking in at 45 minutes each. I made up a DVD (NTSC) of it, and am seeding the torrent of the .ISO. Whether you are pious or atheist, you should check it out:

Edit: Took down torrent. My damn homebrew tracker crashed. Search for the files on any torrent tracker. Contact me and I’ll be glad to send you a DVD.

What’s with the Lutherans?

Is there some master Lutheran email list where I’m listed as the one and only John Stewart?

Duane, John, and Jeff,

Thanks so much for your work on yesterday’s NLSW service.  It was awesome (but, then again, so are all of our services J)!  The use of screens in our services is a great addition.  Many parents have mentioned their appreciation of them!

It’s a blessing to work with you!!  Your prayers, support, and encouragement are priceless!

Drew

Mr. Drew D. Gerdes
Kindergarten Teacher
Springfield Lutheran School
Springfield, Missouri

I politely replied he had the wrong John Stewart, and never got a reply. Are all god-lovers this rude?

From the Lutheran Student Center

In my mailbox today:

Hello John!

How are you!  I’ve been traveling and preparing for upcoming events, so I’ve missed you at church.  I will say that the visual presentation at church is so very nice- you are doing a great job!  I only regret that we’ve not seen it more because of our schedule this month. 

I did want to follow up after the pottery performance at the Lutheran Student Center to thank you for your time and talent to record the performance.  Is there a time we could meet with you to view it?  We could meet on Sunday if that works for you.  Please let me know.  Thank you again for your service and ministry!

In the Hand of the Master Potter,


Best regards,
Kelly Luke
Art & Souls Gallery & Gifts LLC: unique local art
**NOW OPEN EXTENDED SHOPPING HOURS!!**
Art & Souls Ministry: bringing art to worship
601 S. Pickwick Ave.
Springfield, MO  65804
phone snip
www.artandsouls.com
TUE & THUR 6-9pm, THUR & FRI 10AM-2PM, SAT 10am-3pm, 1st FRIDAY Art Walks 6-10pm