Monday, March 26, 2012

c-i-e Twelfth Blogiversary (Hint: there's a giveaway entry form at the end of the post ...)

Thanks to everyone who's visited. For what it's worth, last month saw the most hits this blog has received (by a nose) since blogger started keeping stats. You're not part of a very big crowd, but I like to think you're the smartest, sexiest group of discerning readers the interwebs have to offer ;)

Last year I prattled on a bit about my motives for blogging, and I'll refer you back to that for some overarching themes; but, there's something more. Writers write, to a degree, because they need to express urgency (about something) and hope to exert some measure of influence. I'm not only saving these links and cracking wise so there'll be record (of sorts) of my mental landscape over time, there's an honest attempt here to change somebody's, anybody's, way of thinking. Coming to you spiritually direct, y'know what I'm saying?  There is a void, I sense, in the public discourse where 'regular folks' (not professional media heads, not public intellectuals), working people trying hard to get by, demonstrate they are engaged beyond the simple act of voting. We are insulted by stupidity, furious at being lied to, and we demand honesty and accountability from those who wield true power. We are talked down to and mislead so relentlessly ... we all need to argue and stir it up and challenge the unthinking and smug whose parroting of the malevolent line peddled by sinister hoarders (of wealth and privilege) holds us all back. I read all the time about how there are too many blogs and blah, blah, blah. The truth is, there aren't enough. (That is to say, there are enough spammy blogs, tumblrs devoted to cats, etc. There aren't enough sincere attempts to engage in conversation, to listen and learn, and share silly memes in passing ...)

Secularism, compassion, justice: these things matter. They matter a lot.

For example, on May 8th, 2012, the voters here in North Carolina will have the opportunity to either push back against cruelty and intolerance by voting down Amendment One, or supporting those who wish to (further) enshrine into law an impediment to the pursuit of happiness of our LGBT brothers and sisters. Voting for, or abstaining from voting on, Amendment One is a statement, and it's a statement I'd like to do everything I can to encourage people to think carefully about before they commit themselves to such a statement.

If I can only be influential about one thing through this forum, I'd like it to be as an advocate for secularism.

I'm not interested in stamping out religion from personal lives, don't really care what happens in churches (well, except when children are exploited), and recognize they have done and can continue do good work as long as they are vigilant in policing the behavior of their clergy and congregations. There is simply no place for religion in schools, in legislation, or in the workplace. It's divisive, stultifying, and arrogant when it demands respect outside those private settings. There was an excellent discussion on Up with Chris Hayes yesterday morning about the intersection of faith and politics, much more in depth and thoughtful than what we normally see on TV. It's well worth seeking out the video or the transcript.

I'm doing two things to celebrate the my twelfth blogiversary: first, I'm going to ask you to help me promote this blog a bit by giving away a $79 Amazon Gift Card that can be used towards a kindle, or anything the winner likes (although, as an avid user, I strongly recommend the kindle); second, I'm making a donation to the Freedom From Religion Foundation to support the work they do to keep church and state separate, and educate the public about secular values.

Thanks again for visiting, reading, commenting, and sharing. The connections and conversations I've made and had in the course of working on this blog mean a lot to me.

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