Mind Poison

Mind Poison by ChatGPT4
All images in this post created using ChatGPT4

The bad news: brainwashing, gaslighting, and the technological terror of the modern PR machine has been serving evil human projects. 

The good news: The young of every caste, color, and creed hold the cure. 

I am still recovering from my poisoned mind after 25 years of SDA/Christian brainwashing. It’s especially difficult since I was employed by them as a brainwasher. But a decade into recovering from the crippled mindset, I am starting to compare the old poison with others I find around me. Religious cult-related mental poisons are surprisingly similar to other kinds I find in the wider world. 

An obvious one in my country is the cult of Trump. Perhaps less obvious is what I find in the geopolitical world. Propaganda from Russia (pre- and post-USSR) and the Zionist Israel project have relied heavily on such a similar kind of poisoned thinking. When an institution or global ideology can successfully recruit millions of minds into this cult-like culture of gaslighting, then apply that poison to dehumanizing and “othering” vulnerable victims, branding them as less than human, ‘dirty,’ or ‘enemies of humanity,’ they have gone to the next level. A frightening, Orwellian level.  

SDAs also create a mental barrier between their in-group (a.k.a., The Remnant) and everyone else, but the worst fruits of this are projected into an apocalyptic future, and they make themselves the prophesized victims in this future scenario, martyrs for their cause. Putin’s cult and Netanyahu’s cult do this uncloaked, brazenly, in a full-throated justification for genocidal intentions. Truly horrific.  

The most horrifying aspect of this is the power they wield to silence criticism. Within the SDA church, it was taboo to initiate any serious criticism of the church. Their ultra-conservative off-shoot ministries are famously critical of mainstream SDAs, but within their commune-like groups, they allow no self-criticism.  

Chilling or threatening self-evaluation is an obvious harm to progress, and every institution or society which has embraced a free marketplace of ideas and opinions has quickly shown how much better life can be for its members and citizens. The opposite is true, and unfortunately much more common in human history. Tyrants of all kinds have never flourished when they allow an atmosphere of transparency, accountability, and open debate of their fitness for leadership. Therefore, they tend to kill freedom of speech, and anyone within their grasp who freely speaks. 

Russia and Israel are textbook cases of this tyranny over the free exchange of ideas. They perfected mind poisoning and killed the truth about them. 

Soviet Russia became infamous for creating a society of mistrust and paranoia within their own citizenry. Neighbor turned in neighbor to horrific lives in detention based on the flimsiest of suspicions of criticism of the government, often done to save themselves by showing their loyalty. The Gulag Archipelago documents this well. Russia’s recent history under Putin, a former KGB agent trained in Russia’s mind poisoning state-terror tactics, demonstrates how that society has a long way to go to heal itself from the damage done during the era of the USSR. See how easily Russian leadership convinces itself to keep to the party narrative about their illegal war on Ukraine.

In our day, the Israeli government has become a version of that paranoid, brutalist Soviet society. Their brand of mental poison is much more potent than Russia’s, brainwashing not just each other, but also their overlords in Europe and the United States into believing the lies they tell their own citizens. All through the West, when governments put themselves on the side of Israel’s Zionist project, it quickly becomes enshrined in their own law that criticism of Israel is equivalent to that powerful modern scarlet letter, Antisemite. See Germany, the UK, and the increasing number of US States which have fallen prey to the power of Zionist lobbyists to pit citizen against citizen in the service of defending the Zionist project in Israel. 

So many in every industry all over the Western world have been fired, deplatformed, or blacklisted for simply describing and decrying what their eyes are seeing through the journalism coming out of Gaza. It’s a perfect Orwellian brew of PR, propaganda, and, increasingly, legal codes. You must deny what your lying eyes see. Don’t believe your own mind, believe what you are told think. All too familiar for ex-cult members who finally broke free of that playbook. 

If proof of this mind poison is needed, it’s easy to get during the current iteration of Israel’s forever-war on Palestinians. Simply go onto social media and speak out against Israel’s genocidal actions toward Gaza. Do this enough, eventually some will suggest that you support Hamas terrorists. Some will say you are a terrorist. Some will accuse you of promoting antisemitism. Some will use “what-about-ism” fallacies, pointing out how badly some Muslim theocratic states treat their own citizens, as if the bad behavior of one justifies that of another. 

An alternate avenue to this evidence is to train your favorite social media platform’s algorithm to show you pro-Palestine accounts (like, save, repost, etc.) Using a throwaway account can keep this experiment separate from the main account. 

Mind Poison by ChatGPT4

Experiencing firsthand the mental changes coming from being on the inside of an exclusivist cultic “Us/Them” group like SDAs, then going outside and becoming one of “Them” has been enlightening. Anyone born into one of these cults but never left can’t really relate. When you are inside the cocoon of the cult, the mental set is all-encompassing, ready-made, and extremely soothing; like Orwell’s Soma drug from 1984, groupthink can be an addictive lifestyle. Outsiders are (in my case with SDAs) “worldly,” “secular,” sinful lost souls, never to be trusted. Poor, lost outsiders do not know how desperately they need what insiders have. They must be convinced of their lostness by a human-divine endeavor called evangelism. If they reject it, they are utterly deluded and can be used by Satan the Deceiver to turn insiders away from faith and join the ranks of the lost. 

Those still inside my former Church are motivated to be uninterested by my story of leaving them, because their groupthink supplies a narrative: Satan got me. To engage with me on a deep level of understanding would be dangerous, since Satan can now use me to get them. To preserve their own good reputation with God and Church, they keep us lost souls at a safe distance. They don’t consider this shunning, since it has to do with protecting their own holiness—the currency in their economy of salvation. It’s simply shaking the dust from their sandals as they move on to the next evangelistic endeavor. This is hurtful mind poison, and needlessly divides human from human. 

Applied to Trumpists, Russian propagandists, and Zionists, it is the same playbook, but taken to the next level. Outsiders are dehumanized, threatened, subjected to verbal, mental and physical violence, and generally worthy of extermination. This playbook is not modern even though it has been much improved by modern tyrants through the advent of mass communication. It was certainly used all through history whenever there were brutes that needed exploiting or exterminating. Colonizers, caste-system enforcers, civil warriors, maintainers of apartheid states, racists, bigots, and ethnic supremacists all call on the same strategies to gaslight the public and their victims. This is the recipe for poisoning minds, and it is an old evil. It seems to be woven into our DNA. We struggle against instinct when we embrace the moral imperative that all of us are equals and ought to treat each other as such. Hopefully we will someday win that struggle globally. It’s certainly a world worth striving for. 

Mind Poison by ChatGPT4

The specific similarity between Trump’s MAGA cult and Israel’s Zionist cult has been a useful deeper dive.  

  • Trump was not a self-made POTUS. After he enjoyed a lifetime of the fruits of being an absentee landlord and other forms of predatory and corrupt business practices, he became a “useful idiot” to many special interests in his 2016 run at presidential power, guys like Steve Bannon, Steven Miller, his Kushner in-laws, evangelicals gunning for Roe v Wade and beyond, aggrieved white supremacists, Zionists, Putin—quite the basket of deplorables. 
  • Israel was not a self-made nation. Since the Balfour Declaration kicked the Zionist project into high gear, it has always been many things to many international players. They may benefit from pretending it has only ever been about regaining their sacred homeland, but that is not how the project started. The British Empire was winding down and wanted to maintain a presence in the region. The US, an empire on the rise, wanted the same thing. The long, terrible history of antisemitism and stinging consciences in post-holocaust Europe motivated strong support for it. The brand-new United Nations wanted a smooth transition away from British mandate to independence. Utterly ignored, of course, were the opinions of the very people who had the most to lose by forcing a modern Jewish nation into the middle of a region with a long history of being used as pawns in colonial geopolitical games. No one consulted the Palestinians, because they were not considered equal, or worthy of consideration; this attitude prevails among geopolitical power brokers to the present day. 
  • Trump always lies. A notorious liar, he has perfected the use of every form of dishonesty, projection, and gaslighting in his self-promoting propaganda– he is consistent with it, repetitious, loud, and shameless, which appeals to key low-information/high-testosterone voting blocs;  
  • Zionists rely on lies. Zionists also perfected gaslighting, projection, and shameless dis- and mis-information peddling as they fight a propaganda war (look up Hasbara). Both Trump and Zionists excel in turning common sense on its head and constructing an upside-down alternate universe of facts.  
  • Trump benefits from his cult. Trump’s MAGA cultists almost worship him like a god on earth, to the bitter consternation of observers and victims of their hateful policies and incitement of violence. Their January 6, 2021, attempted coup at the Capitol was only one of many documented crimes of violence committed by his faithful cult members. Likely, he will die a convicted felon, forever counted as a patriot-martyr to his cult faithful.
  • Zionism benefits from its cult. Israel’s Zionists have widespread international support, and their countless Geneva Convention and human rights violations are sadly crimes without punishment. But their government goes further than damaging Palestinian bodies; they wage a constant PR war against the commonsense definitions of key playbook terms such as “antisemitism,” causing otherwise intelligent humans to go along with their new definition of it: Anything that puts Israel in a bad light (See US House bill H888). Israel’s pernicious and continuous use of state terror is buried under the mantra Israel has the right to defend itself. “Terrorism” has been redefined by Zionists to mean “any wish to end the occupation—whether expressed peacefully or through struggle” (“Gaza in crisis: Reflections on Israel”, 2013, Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe.) 
  • Trumpism is an evil project. Trump is using his influence over Congress, the Courts, and State politics to attempt to recreate this country into his own fascist banana republic, and his MAGA goons drool over the prospect, including right-wing news and social media outlets he has poisoned, while mainstream media behaves as if this is just another election horse-race and not the ignominious end of The World’s Oldest DemocracyTM
  • Zionism is an evil project. Israel uses its influence over the hearts and minds of those still hurting for the many victims of the WWII Holocaust as a cloak for their colonialist imperialist genocidal intentions toward Palestine and the wider region, which they aren’t really hiding that much anymore, since two or three generations have passed and the major power brokers controlling Israel’s lifelines of support consistently ignore the big picture, and allow Zionists to remote control their foreign policies to benefit Israel. 

The biggest difference between the two is found in the attitude of a clear majority of American citizens toward Trump and Israel:  

  • Trumpism has failed. Except for a permanently poisoned fraction of voters, officials, and their media toadies, most of Trump’s fellow Americans see right through him now. Most of us despise him for what he’s done to our public institutions and the divisiveness we are suffering because of him and his cult.  
  • Zionism remains ascendant. Israel continues to hold most Americans in its thrall thanks to a wide range of victims of its incredibly sophisticated PR playbook. They’ve snared many Jewish Americans who fall victim to the Zionist mind poison, and their many similarly poisoned allies spread the cult mindset far and wide. Israel also leverages the gullibility of millions of Bible-believing evangelicals, who factor Israel into fulfillments of their Church’s prophecies. Thanks to almost limitless cashflow, the fossil fuel lobby and Israel’s own powerful lobby have tentacles buried deep into virtually every level of government.  Open discussion and criticism of Israel’s policies in the public sphere is becoming increasingly chilled by the stripping of Americans’ 1st Amendment rights on that topic. TikTok, taking the place of the now-Musk-crippled Twitter, is one of the few platforms where firsthand evidence of Israel’s actions can be freely observed. Not coincidentally, AIPAC-supported Congress members are working to widen the ban on the platform in this country.  

Of course, young people (and all generations of curious minds) flock to see anything banned or taboo to judge for themselves if it is so deserved, and so future generations remain our best hope for future justice both domestically and in troubled regions like Palestine. Young Muslims are the tip of the spear of this struggle to bring progress and enlightenment to the governments of which they find themselves citizens, and the religions into which they were born. In league with young Jews, young Christians, young Hindus, young Buddhists, young Sikhs, young atheists, and young agnostics, they are communicating their frustrations and hopes to each other using their own modern anti-poison playbook: social media. 

Mind Poison by ChatGPT4

Incorporating ethical and moral codes into our societies has proven adaptive to the human species, and thus they are vital to our survival.  Religions supply ready-made codes for adherents, which believers subsequently remix and personalize to guide their moral decisions. Similarly, atheists create their own moral code, but without the distractions of religious creeds. As an atheist, my religion is humanism, though calling humanism a religion might be offensive to both humanists and religionists. 

I must reject myths created by humans when they are harmful to our species. My beliefs flow from what is best for most human beings, as decided by most human beings and not any single one or small group of us. That makes me anti-war, anti-tyranny, anti-fascist, anti-greed, and anti-censorship, among other things. To me there is such a thing as evil, and its opposite is called good. That makes me pro-kindness, pro-bodily-autonomy, pro-freedom, and pro-peace, among other things. Above all, I’m pro-species, and pro-Earth, and anti-killing-the-world’s-future-because-a-mythical-post-death-paradise-is-mine-too-mindset. I’m all for the saving the only homeland we have, planet Earth, and saving the species that is threatening it and ourselves.

In my moral code, counting one place on earth as worth more than the rest is just as evil as counting one tribe, ethnicity, or culture superior to all of them. Although I do not go out of my way to offend my family and friends who disagree with this, I am convinced that there is no such thing as sacred places. That’s because in a real sense, all places are equally sacred. Some would argue that if every place is sacred, then no place is sacred. I would not argue with that. It’s all the same to me.

No human tribe is righteous, none are sacred. The whole is sacred. Life is sacred. Creating mythical boundary lines between parts of what should be protected as a sacred whole is the root of many evils. Among them are White supremacy, misogyny, racism, apartheid policy, gender and sexual orientation bigotry, patriarchy, caste, and slavery. 

Zionism’s founding myth is that Jews deserve a homeland. The ancient religion of Judaism has been weaponized to empower that myth. The history of Zionism’s founding myth has proven to be evil, because it cannot do anything except create wars and divide human against human, mainly because the location for the Jewish homeland was poorly chosen.  

Why did they choose to carve up Palestine into a Zionist homeland? A key aspect of Zionist mythology is that Palestine belongs to Jews because they are indigenous to that place. This powerful myth leverages the terminology of commonly liberal and progressive causes as they often choose to side with indigenous peoples in land struggles. This helps explain why many popular celebrities have recently fallen out of favor with left-leaning supporters of freedom for Palestinians; indigeneity often trumps all other concerns for many who desire to support the most morally correct causes.

Deciding who is indigenous to a place can be complicated, but in Israel’s case it is not. It’s simple to boil down the reason Zionist Jews claim Palestine as their homeland: invisible voices told them so. 

The story of Abraham, father of the big three monotheistic religions, is the story of an immigrant from what we know as Iraq (to him, it was Ur in ancient Mesopotamia—the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers). His narrative is that God’s voice granted him a new homeland, what we know as Palestine (then known as Canaan).  He claimed God gave it to him and his descendants forever. He died without seeing that goal realized. But Moses, another big name for all three Peoples of the Book, heard voices too. His voices set his Hebrew people free from slavery (a moral good) but then set them above what their voices branded as the wicked Canaanites (a moral evil). The Hebrews’ invisible-God-voices pushed them past apartheid coexistence with the indigenous tribes into religiously motivated genocide. 

This is the narrative of Moses and subsequent judge-leaders of the Hebrews, who rebranded themselves as Israelites after another Jewish hero, Jacob (renamed by a voice to Israel). The books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles establish the narrative of Israel as a divine-voice mandated kingdom. (If this reminds students of Western Civilization of “the Divine Right of Kings,” we’re on the same page). Multiple diasporas followed, with celebrated reinstatements, then Hellenization, Roman conquest, and many more well-documented chapters in their long history. The point is that if you wind that history back far enough, it gets you to a man named Abraham (originally Abram, and you can guess how his name got changed) whose guiding voices made him emigrate to Palestine and promise it to his descendants as their homeland, without considering the plight of its actual indigenous peoples because, as the long history of settler colonialism goes, they didn’t matter.

It really shouldn’t matter in this point in human progress whether your evil project of genocidal settler colonialism is otherwise known as part of your people’s sacred history. Is your history somehow more sacred than the indigenous whose land you occupy? Could it be that we need to strike at the root of the problem, and stop calling things sacred? Elevating them beyond the reach of common sense discussion by declaring them critical to Denominational Security?

The land of Palestine is not the homeland of Israel. The founder of that religion claimed it upon immigrating there, as if he discovered it. They claim they were given that Promised Land because their god-voices proclaimed them the Chosen People. To make a couple other long stories shorter, Christianity and Islam incorporate that homeland mythology while twisting it into a claim to their holy lands, sacred to each for different (and more recently, incompatible) reasons.  

No human deserves a homeland other than the whole Earth which we share. Carving out a piece of Earth and making it your sacred fortress can only bring evil to yourself and everyone around you. Claiming Jerusalem to be the sacred homeland to three incompatible religious doctrines locks those held captive by such terrible errors into permanent war with each other over possession of that place. Claiming that one city or land is sacred, and somehow belongs to you alone, is evil.

Earth and all life are sacred; where you stand is not more valuable and important than where I stand. We all live on sacred ground. There’s no good in claiming ownership of your part and counting all other parts as not your home or less valuable than another’s. The whole planet is our homeland. If you must claim a homeland, claim Earth as a whole. It needs your attention as a whole, not just the part you believe is most important because that’s where you live or where your god-voices come from. Distracting from that and obsessing over some part of it sacred to your myth is evil because while these evil wars rage, the homeland of all humanity is dying.  

Claiming that your myth is sacred or righteous, and others are evil is itself a terrible evil. It is evil to defend a false claim to land or rights that you believe are uniquely granted only to you and not all human beings. That is the reason it is wrong to grant any culture a part of Earth as their “homeland”. The entirety of planet Earth is the homeland, and it falls to every culture and ethnic group within humanity to heal it before we permanently kill our species.

Of course, the previous paragraphs will be interpreted by some, especially those who never left those Big Three traditions as horrifically offensive. Some will go on to smear me with the worst labels from their playbook. I’ll become to them an antisemite, terrorist, promoter of hate-speech. That’s the mind poison doing the talking for them, and I don’t hold it against them, if they allow me my freedom of speech. We’ll see how that goes… 

Mind Poison by ChatGPT4

There is hope. The younger generations have developed strong antidotes to the mind poisons which have accompanied our species through its troubled history. Hopefully many of us are now making good use of the cure. The most important part of the cure for mind poison is the preservation of our right to freely speak our minds, especially when it comes to bringing down all types of tyrants including religious and political tyrants.

Russians will someday heal their society. Their young and youthfully minded citizens long to someday create a free and open democracy there, and we who agree must help them. The United States will someday heal our society. The fight for equality and freedom from tyranny hasn’t stopped here, but we require the help of freedom lovers everywhere.  

The Zionism of Israel has been rejected by Jews worldwide from the time it arose to the present day. They continue the struggle to demonstrate that Zionism and Judaism are different things, that Israel’s state-terror does not represent the faith of Judaism. The struggles of the Palestinians against Israeli settler colonization are well-documented, and currently can be followed in the news and through social media platforms. We should all keep following it, and continue working together to break out of evil mind poisons, dismantling the terrible projects built to serve tyrants and other freedom-killing powers, and creating the world we want to live in. 

Mind Poison by ChatGPT4

Works Cited and Further Research Recommendations:

Orwell, G., & Crick, B. (1984). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Clarendon.

Solzhenitsyn, A. I. (1974). The gulag archipelago, 1918-1956: An experiment in literary investigation, parts I-II. Harper & Row.

Wilkerson, I. (2020). Caste: The origins of our discontents. Random House.

Pappé, I., Chomsky, N., & Barat, F. (2013). Chapter 1. In Gaza in crisis: Reflections on Israel’s war against the Palestinians (3rd ed., p. 10). Haymarket Books.

“H.Res. 888 — 118th Congress: Reaffirming the State of Israel’s right to exist.” www.GovTrack.us. 2023. December 3, 2023 <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/118/hres888>

Peck, R. (2021). Exterminate all the brutes: Official Website for the HBO series. HBO. <https://www.hbo.com/exterminate-all-the-brutes> 

Christian Patriotism in America

These are the collaborating institutions which created the 2025 Mandate For Leadership document; note how none of their patriotic-Pavlovian titles reveal any hint of the radical Christian dominion theology driving these front organizations:

Alabama Policy Institute
Alliance Defending Freedom
American Compass
The American Conservative
America First Legal Foundation
American Accountability Foundation
American Center for Law and Justice
American Cornerstone Institute
American Council of Trustees and Alumni
American Legislative Exchange Council
The American Main Street Initiative
American Moment
American Principles Project
Center for Equal Opportunity
Center for Family and Human Rights
Center for Immigration Studies
Center for Renewing America
Claremont Institute
Coalition for a Prosperous America
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Conservative Partnership Institute
Concerned Women for America
Defense of Freedom Institute
Ethics and Public Policy Center
Family Policy Alliance
Family Research Council
First Liberty Institute
Forge Leadership Network
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Foundation for Government Accountability
The Heritage Foundation
Hillsdale College
Honest Elections Project
Independent Women’s Forum
Institute for the American Worker
Institute for Energy Research
Institute for Women’s Health
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
James Madison Institute
Keystone Policy
The Leadership Institute
Liberty University
National Association of Scholars
National Center for Public Policy Research
Pacific Research Institute
Patrick Henry College
Personnel Policy Operations
Recovery for America Now Foundation
1792 Exchange
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America
Texas Public Policy Foundation
Teneo Network
Young America’s Foundation

the 2035 Mandate for Leadership, The Conservative Promise, Forward by Kevin Roberts, edited by Paaul Dans and Steven Groves
From https://www.project2025.org/policy/

If you would like to look up any of my references the full document is linked below. Feel free to download it and read it at your leisure.

The majority of political conservatives in high office in the USA are Christians, as are the conservative voters who keep them in office. These faux Christians cloak their political agendas in euphemisms in order to hide theocratic fascism behind patriotic-sounding titles. This is dishonest and gaslighting. Don’t believe it? Just look at the evidence they provide against themselves!

Here are some excerpts from their 2025 Mandate For Leadership.

“The Heritage Foundation is proud to have played a small but pivotal role in that story. It was in early 1979—amid stagflation, gas lines, and the Red Army’s invasion of Afghanistan, the nadir of Jimmy Carter’s days of malaise—that Heritage launched the Mandate for Leadership project. We brought together hundreds of conservative scholars and academics across the conservative movement. Together, this team created a 20-volume, 3,000-page governing handbook containing more than 2,000 conservative policies to reform the federal government and rescue the American people from Washington dysfunction. It was a promise from the conservative movement to the country—confident, specific, and clear. Mandate for Leadership was published in January 1981—the same month Ronald Reagan was sworn into his presidency. By the end of that year, more than 60 percent of its recommendations had become policy…”

(p.2; emphasis mine)

Clearly, Reagan was a tool of right-wing Christian conservatives. They are not hiding that fact.

“After that first edition, a new Mandate was produced every four years. But the 2016 edition was one of particular note. It earned significant attention from the Trump Administration, as Heritage had accumulated a backlog of conservative ideas that had been blocked by President Barack Obama and his team. Soon after President Donald Trump was sworn in, his Administration began to implement major parts of the 2016 Mandate. After his first year in office, the Administration had implemented 64 percent of its policy recommendations.”

(p.885; emphasis mine)

Obviously, Trump was a tool.

“The next conservative President must make the institutions of American civil society hard targets for woke culture warriors. This starts with deleting the terms sexual orientation and gender identity (“SOGI”), diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”), gender, gender equality, gender equity, gender awareness, gender-sensitive, abortion, reproductive health, reproductive rights, and any other term used to deprive Americans of their First Amendment rights out of every federal rule, agency regulation, contract, grant, regulation, and piece of legislation that exists.”

(pp.4-5; emphasis mine)

Deleting the terms diversity, equity, inclusion, gender, AND ANY OTHER TERM… censorship and mental policing are straight out of the playbook of the Abrahamic religions.

“America’s vast reserves of oil and natural gas are not an environmental problem; they are the lifeblood of economic growth.”


To promote such anti-scientific claims amid ongoing climate change disasters is the hallmark of an ideology based on the book of Genesis i.e., dominion theology.

“It’s this radical equality—liberty for all—not just of rights but of authority—that the rich and powerful have hated about democracy in America since 1776. They resent Americans’ audacity in insisting that we don’t need them to tell us how to live.”


Huh? WTF kind of revisionism is this? The rich GOT rich precisely through exploiting the liberty they enjoy within our peculiarly institutionalized colonial capitalism.

“Ultimately, the Left does not believe that all men are created equal—they think they are special. They certainly don’t think all people have an unalienable right to pursue the good life. They think only they themselves have such a right along with a moral responsibility to make decisions for everyone else. They don’t think any citizen, state, business, church, or charity should be allowed any freedom until they first bend the knee.”


The gaslighting is REAL! First, a bold, evidence-free claim about how the “Left” define equality. Then the claim that the Left demands obeisance! Who advocates that “bend the knee” thing more than conservatives with their fake flag patriotism, and their Christian dominionist ideology?

“HHS is also home to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the duo most responsible—along with President Joe Biden—for the irrational, destructive, un-American mask and vaccine mandates that were imposed upon an ostensibly free people during the COVID-19 pandemic. All along, it was clear from randomized controlled trials— the gold standard of medical research—that masks provide little to no benefit in preventing the spread of viruses and might even be counterproductive.

(p.283; emphasis mine)

OMG! The disdain for medical science, (well, all science), is clear in this document; again, this flows directly from the anti-science roots within Christianity.

“Safeguarding civil rights. Enforcement of civil rights should be based on a proper understanding of those laws, rejecting gender ideology and critical race theory.”


This statement wins the award for most Orwellian Doublespeak: Advocating a Civil Rights policy that ignores its roots in women’s rights and minority rights. What’s left after you take away those concerns? Straight white Christian men, I guess. Pretty obvious here the influence of misogynism and White Supremacy on the document, and in the ideology guiding the above listed institutions which created it.

“The next Administration should also rescind Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) GEN 22-11 and DCL GEN 22-10 and its letters to accreditation agencies dated July 19, 2022, which are attempts to undercut Florida’s SB 7044, providing universities more flexibility on accreditation.”

(p.332; emphasis mine)

This support for Ron DeSantis’ educational policies in Florida should alarm anyone who cares about teaching and learning.

By its very design, critical race theory has an “applied” dimension, as its founders state in their essays that define the theory. Those who subscribe to the theory believe that racism (in this case, treating individuals differently based on race) is appropriate—necessary, even—making the theory more than merely an analytical tool to describe race in public and private life. The theory disrupts America’s Founding ideals of freedom and opportunity. So, when critical race theory is used as part of school activities such as mandatory affinity groups, teacher training programs in which educators are required to confess their privilege, or school assignments in which students must defend the false idea that America is systemically racist, the theory is actively disrupting the values that hold communities together such as equality under the law and colorblindness.

(p.343-344; emphasis mine)

More next-level gaslighting: CRT founders (who were seeking additional weapons in the ongoing war on racism in this society) “believe that racism … is appropriate–necessary, even…” Such bullshit. More evidence of the White Supremacists who have infected the ideology of the document and its writers and supporters.

(Conservative Health & Human Services Dep’t) Goal #1: Protecting Life, Conscience, and Bodily Integrity.
(Conservative HHS) Goal #2: Empowering Patient Choices and Provider Autonomy.

(p.450; emphasis mine)

Your second goal would like to talk to your first goal.

“Protect faith-based grant recipients from religious liberty violations and maintain a biblically based, social science–reinforced definition of marriage and family. Social science reports that assess the objective outcomes for children raised in homes aside from a heterosexual, intact marriage are clear: All other family forms involve higher levels of instability (the average length of same-sex marriages is half that of heterosexual marriages); financial stress or poverty; and poor behavioral, psychological, or educational outcomes.”

(p.481; emphasis mine)

Here’s some classic Christian Doublespeak: “a biblically based, social science–reinforced definition of marriage and family.” Just let that sink in. Remind yourself that Christians run universities and fund faith-biased studies run by their own in-house “scientists”. Again, “biblically based”; notice how this gives the lie to their idea of Religious Freedom, defining it strictly within the bounds of the Christian Bible (or, a bit more broadly, the Abrahamic religions). They think all those other religions and atheists like me will just go away if they ignore us.

The chapter (#15) promoting their ideas about the DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT was written by Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., MD. When I was a Seventh-day Adventist, this guy was a famous SDA surgeon who promoted reading, and nothing more. His work in the Trump administration showed that he should have stayed in his lane.

“End the war on fossil fuels and domestically available minerals and facilitate their development on lands owned by Indians and Indian nations.”


Does anyone think that fossil fuels are a victim, instead of a threat? Yes. Yes they do. Take that up with the authors and support of the document. Does anyone believe these guys are looking out for the best interests of the indigenous people of this land? I really doubt they even believe it themselves.

From the chapter on the Labor Department:
Sabbath Rest. God ordained the Sabbath as a day of rest, and until very recently the Judeo-Christian tradition sought to honor that mandate by moral and legal regulation of work on that day. Moreover, a shared day off makes it possible for families and communities to enjoy time off together, rather than as atomized individuals, and provides a healthier cadence of life for everyone. Unfortunately, that communal day of rest has eroded under the pressures of consumerism and secularism, especially for low-income workers. Congress should encourage communal rest by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require that workers be paid time and a half for hours worked on the Sabbath. That day would default to Sunday, except for employers with a sincere religious observance of a Sabbath at a different time (e.g., Friday sundown to Saturday sundown); the obligation would transfer to that period instead. Houses of worship (to the limited extent they may have FLSA-covered employees) and employers legally required to operate around the clock (such as hospitals and first responders) would be exempt, as would workers otherwise exempt from overtime.”

(p.589; emphasis mine)

Excruciatingly glaring evidence of bias toward a few religions, especially those Judeo-Christian ones. If you want an interesting perspective on where ideas like the above may lead, talk to your local Seventh-day Adventist!

Major recommendation in Labor Department chapter: “Eliminate Racial Classifications and Critical Race Theory Trainings.”
What reasoning do they offer for doing this?
“With interracial marriages in America increasing, many Americans do not fit neatly into crude racial categories. Under disparate impact theory, moreover, discriminatory motive or intent is irrelevant; the outcome is what matters. But all workplaces have disparities. Congress should: Eliminate disparate impact as a valid theory of discrimination for race and other bases under Title VII and other laws. Disparities do not (and should not legally) imply discrimination per se.

(p.583; emphasis mine)

If you want an interesting perspective on where ideas like the above may lead, talk to your local Black person!

Wasted Patriotism

If our Constitution formed the oldest democracy on Earth, as many boast, then why do our non-white, non-cis male, non-straight, non-wealthy, non-healthy citizens enjoy vanishingly few of its benefits?

Why did democracies much younger than ours speed so far ahead of ours in spreading the benefits of their egalitarian societies to their most marginalized and vulnerable citizens?

If the United States is somehow “exceptional,” it is exceptional only in this: we’re the democracy which hoards constitutional rights to the few. In comparison to the rest of the Free World, we are not free. Not great. Our patriotism is wasted, if it is spent on dead white men from forgotten cultures.

There are citizens governed by the Constitution who are true heroes, worthy of remembering and celebrating. They are heroes in that they put their lives and livelihoods on the line to force the dominant caste to share the freedoms they enjoy. Because of their non-membership in the dominant caste, their fight to spread democracy beyond the ruling class has met fierce, sometimes fatal resistance. But they fight on; if you want to put your pride and patriotism where it does the most good, put it in them.

Many are using words like fascism and dictator and authoritarian to describe the direction of our conservative politics at the moment. And it would be hard to deny the good fit of those words for what Trump was trying to do as he attempted to remain President after losing the election in 2020. Those words come to mind when the most recent raft of SCOTUS decisions are examined. But the term caste, as explained so masterfully in Isabel Wilkerson’s book of that name, is the one that best explains what we see when we look at the actions of governments and individuals who have always been in the dominant caste.

Students of US history know that this behavior is anything but new. Observers of current events see this becoming the new normal.

Religious Bullshit, Religious Gaslighting: A Few Thoughts About the Religious Right

The most dangerous thing about religion is how it can take a moderate case of youthful naiveté, the kind that asserts “I think I know what’s good for the world” and explode it up into a god complex. Most kinds of Christian-style religions elevate the God complex further, into full-blown assholery. These are those obnoxious true believers filling the ranks of the Christian nationalists, the militant advocacy groups usually choosing one or more of the words American, Freedom, and Patriot in their titles, and the general Trump-loving MAGA crowd. These are those who know what is best for you, and they feel a righteous duty not only to tell you but also change the law to force you to conform to their goals for your life. In a word, insufferable.

Cartoonist Duff Moses — „Some are trying to inflame those people“ | Cicero Online

I had many advantages growing up white, male, and middle class, in the USA. I squandered most of them, because my survival didn’t depend on me maximizing my privilege. I did, however, often indulge in the aforementioned youthful naive mindset, thinking I knew SO much better than everyone. Luckily, I was also shy, to a fault, so I didn’t gain a reputation for being an asshole.

Then I embraced conservative christianity in my twenties Boy, did I become a god overnight! The speed of the mental transition is truly breathtaking. You can wake up one morning humble and full of all kinds of healthy curiosity and skepticism about your world, and by the time you go to bed that night, you can be utterly confident of the truth of one specific set of views about the whole universe, such that you just CAN’T WAIT to convince everyone you meet that you are right, and they are wrong, and lost, and sinners in need of your savior.

Since shedding the god delusions, I’ve noted how easily that overly righteous attitude comes to christians I encounter. For example, the first question a new neighbor asked us when we moved next door to them — again, FIRST question, first impression: “What church do you guys go to?” Not, where are you from? Or what do you do? Or do you need a home cooked meal tonight? Straight to religious bullshit, assumptions, and obnoxious suggestions.

At the time I’m writing, we are between the leak of the SCOTUS Roe V Wade takedown opinion of Alito and the actual decision, so I cannot know how this abortion issue will turn out in the end. But so far, Republicans from the center on out to the fringes are celebrating this as if it came straight from God. As if they know a god, know what he thinks about life, as if they know that he wants them to do something about other people’s behavior.

When you have a god complex, you don’t just KNOW what’s best for others, you benevolently force circumstances around them in order to make it happen for them. You have convictions, and you know things. Why should a grown person belong to herself? Why should an adult be able to privately, with professional medical advice, choose for herself what’s best for her life? No, no, no! says the god impersonator christian, I know what is best. Just let me handle it for you. It’ll all work out much better (for me) in the end.

I’m also writing during the week when the recently re-empowered Taliban in Afghanistan ordered all women in the country to get back under the head-to-toe Burqa. These god-players claim it’s for their sisters’ safety. Hey, guys, how about death penalty for men who rape? You love that death penalty, why not lay the axe to the root of your rape culture? Nah, say the god-men of the Taliban, we’ll just make the girls cover up, that way the rape-y men won’t be overly tempted.

Rama, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons

And why would adult women (and their husbands, fathers, and sons) acquiesce to such a horrifying medieval solution? Because of religious bullshit, that’s why. When you accept the fantastical doctrine of a biblical paradise, you lose motivation to care for what (and who) is here and now. Whatever damage or suffering happens now will be fixed and forgotten in the afterlife. Abuse the earth, the “other”, the weak. Heaven fixes it all!

Exceptions can highlight rules, and there are a few exceptional religions: Jainism, Sikh, Buddhism, the Quakers (officially the Society of Friends), and the Amish (Amish Mennonites). These all have reputations for non-violence and non-interference in politics in countries with secular governments.

Here’s the ultimate irony: religion often claims for itself an identification with truth; in fact, though, its behavior towards questions, doubt, and curiosity betray a hatred of truth. The truth can be hard to swallow, especially when you are looking for meaning and comfort.

Confusion is religion’s most effective tool to distract believers from that natural instinct evolution implanted, the one which makes us curious, questioning everything. Disinformation has become a popular study in recent years, with the uncovering of the Russian influence on American politics. No one has mastered the art of disinformation better than the Russian government. I won’t be surprised if the church has had a role in teaching Russia how it’s done.

Confusion is important to demagogues because once they’ve sown enough of it, it’s so much easier to pop up and claim with great conviction that if the poor confused masses out there want to follow them into the promised land, all will be well once again.

https://twitter.com/Kim_Kamensky : So when [Alito] talks about going back to what the founding fathers meant, he is talking about all of this shit. Women’s bodies being legally owned and controlled by men. He knows many Christian white women are groomed theologically to agree and will vote for this patriarchal control.

“He knows many Christian white women are groomed theologically to agree and will vote for this patriarchal control.” (the Tweet referenced was accessed in May of 2022; it has since been deleted, but is preserved here.)

Think about this part of the above quote: “groomed theologically,” meaning that the insidious gaslighting and disinformation campaigning we all hate in politics also takes place inside churches and seminaries, religious schools and, of course, home schools.
And: “groomed theologically to agree” with ideas that run counter to their own best interests. They are bewitched by bullshit into voting, sacrificing time, money, and strength, and consenting to harm themselves.

Normally the instinct to survive remains close enough to our conscious minds that we cannot be fooled into harming ourselves. The master grifters, bullshitters, and con artists of the world get us to ignore our best interests so they can remain our masters.

Demagogues want to be what students of religion call cult leaders, even though they would never accept that label. From Stalin to Mao to NK’s Kims, these power-drunk bullshit masters want to be feared like a Mafia godfather, and respected among their allies on the world stage.

A good symptom to watch for, when you wonder if your leader(s) are becoming cultic, is gaslighting. As in, they spew lies and all manner of bullshit, but they are blind to it. It seems like THEY BELIEVE IT! (Whether we’ll ever be able to find out if they do believe it is likely an impossibility.) Like humor, they have no sense of it. That whole “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” golden rule gets overturned in their minds. It no longer applies to them.

This is the thing that makes the common folk feel like they are going insane, even while their work makes the world of the gaslighting dictator keep spinning normally. Citizens subject to the whims of these types of regimes are in danger of losing touch with reality and becoming unable to discern truth from lies — this is the end goal of gaslighting, after all. If people of common sense can stay mentally awake and keep their bullshit detector vigilant and sensitive, they might survive to enjoy life after the inevitable fall of the gaslighting regime.

In the US, we feel fairly certain that we are entering a chapter of our history very similar to what happened in the Soviet Union just as it consolidated power and allowed state control of the media. I sincerely hope that this chapter is short, and has a happy transition to life after the crumbling of our democracy. Hopefully we can rebuild it from the wasteland of corruption it is turning into. Or, better, prevent it from going over the cliff before it is beyond the point of redemption.

Hurricane Of Lies

“And I leave behind this hurricane of fucking lies,”

Green Day – Jesus Of Suburbia

I gave it a good two and a half decades, but I finally left my religious life behind. I moved beyond what had become painful cognitive dissonance. I yearned for reality, scorning the lying map by which my Christianity obscured it. There’s nothing more dangerous than a lying map. It can only mislead you.

Delusions, once recognized, became instantly tiresome. It didn’t take long to toss them aside.

Ten years after I shed the self-deluding lies, I fear my country is drowning in them. They’re only slightly different in form from those in which I had trapped myself. But they have the same paralyzing effects: science is rejected, fellow citizens are shunned, and the refuges of calm logic and rational reasoning are abandoned, distrusted.

Americans are seeing how damaging cult-like delusion can be, as it now takes on powers it never should have been given: the political power in a party consumed by greed, corrupted by selfishly horded wealth, inciting the worst behavior of its faithful. The Republican Party has morphed into a cult. It now behaves like a malevolent, selfish dragon. Republicans who support Donald Trump and his mouthpieces throughout our political, religious, economic, and media institutions are not able to see reality, because in the misguided false patriotism of True Believers, they must remain willfully ignorant of it. Otherwise the cognitive dissonance tears apart sanity.

What emerges from such willful ignorance is what we are now calling “Trump’s base.” Witness their unquestioning obedience to his every reckless, paranoid whim. He’s their cult-leader, and unfortunately for the Republic, and its democratic institutions, he also happens to be the President of the United States of America.

He is facing a stark choice in his immediate future: get re-elected and continue to enjoy temporary immunity from prosecution, delaying his inevitable fall into shame and disrepute; or lose the election, and discover how many of his lies came with criminal penalties. As a psychopath, he won’t be able to stop himself from unleashing the worst kinds of behavior in himself and thus his base on the rest of us, in order to delay his fate.

Stay strong, friends. If we weather this hurricane of lies, we will be able to rebuild, and hopefully learn from our mistakes.

Threatdown, Human Species Edition: Climate Change vs Religion

Blue Marble
The only home we have ever had, and in our lifetimes, will ever have.

I’ve wavered between two opinions for the past few years. It has to do with the delicate place in which the human species finds itself. We perch, as it seems, on the razor’s edge of extinction by climate change phenomena we are causing. I am very much a fan of humanity and would like to see us thrive, prosper, and one day leap across the divide to other planets and colonize the galaxy. (I dream big; blame Isaac Asimov).

The first opinion I hold is that climate change itself is the greatest threat to our existence. Given the alarms being sounded by the planet’s scientists observing and measuring our global climate, this is not a particularly original or controversial opinion. Lucky for us humans, it is an imminently (though not easily, as it turns out) preventable disaster, a slow-motion train wreck with time still to stop it before impact.

Continue Reading Threatdown, Human Species Edition: Climate Change vs Religion