Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Standing Before God

Do Christians ever analyze what they actually believe?  I think not.  Let us look at what has been proposed several times to me by “worried Christians.” 

“I pity the day you are standing before the Almighty God, begging for mercy!” 

Do they enjoy thinking about me standing there, crying, begging to be allowed in Heaven instead of burning in agonizing pain for eternity, all because I did not believe in worshiping a god, especially the horrific one of the Bible? 

If you are a Christian and believe I will be standing before this petty god, I ask you to think about your best friend or your mother, and people who lived good, kind lives, standing before a god who wants them to beg and grovel in front of him -- and then he sends them to a fiery Hell anyway!   

Think about what it would be like for your tearful mother or your terrified friend.  There are so many reasons not to think this god exists, and if this god does exist, keep in mind he would have made my brain and your mother’s brain, and that is how we made the decision not to believe in any god.  That should not seem fair to you.  It if does, are you really thinking or just following how you think your religion would want you to think, out of fear?

Now, I understand Christians are sincere in their efforts to keep their friends, family and strangers from the fiery pits of Hell, because they try to convert their family and friends.  They do want them to avoid this “meeting with God.”  They try to convince everyone that their god is “all loving” and only admit that their god “is also an angry god” when confronted.  They paint Jesus as a peace-loving, welcoming man, in order to try to lure people to the religion. They do not realize that the concept of Hell was made popular by the Jesus story, as prior Pagan gods only had a vague Underworld that people spent time in, and then went up to the Heavens or back to earth.  “Jesus is the reason” really means the concept of Hell was developed by Christianity to be the worst possible place imaginable!

Yet are they really acting in a moral manner when Christians try to convert people?  I think not.  They only look at conforming to a sick god and getting everyone to obey, an avoidance technique, rather than rejecting the biblical god.

If we are punished for our morals and conscience by Jesus and the Biblical god by sending us to Hell, and you overlook the actions of these two horrible characters, following rules to get the afterlife you want, then who really has the good morals?  Who stands up to injustice, real or fabricated? 

Imagine yourself punishing your own child because he said in good conscience he just could not worship you day and night.  Would you burn him for eternity because he said that? 

I ask that you examine this honestly and do not make excuses of “God is wrathful” or “He gave you a chance.”  I have heard those before.  Again, would you burn someone for eternity and think it is justified because you are all loving but angry too?  Would you burn someone for eternity because “you gave him a chance” and he didn’t change his mind? 

If we tell you that a spirit cannot burn and give you the science behind it, will it make you feel better?   We have a more peaceful way than any religion which divides.  It is called death and will happen whether you believe or not!

The Wet Nurse of the Animal World

The Connection
All my articles in Re:Decatur thus far have had some tie to the Decatur area, but considering this post is about slavery, it is better that I had trouble finding a connection! However, when speaking with some Millikin students and Mel and Sue Weinstein of the Decatur Vegetarian Society, the idea formed for a comparison between the slavery of wet nurses from the 1800s and dairy cows today. Thus, my link to the Decatur community is the local citizens who helped bring this article to fruition by talking with me! Thankfully, I could find no data on factory farmed dairy cows in Macon County, so there is no connection in that regard. (Pigs and beef cattle are another story).

What We Were Not Taught
Most of us were taught the basics in school of how Africans were brought to America and enslaved. However, the subject of wet nurses most likely was not mentioned in textbooks or in school because it involves parts of anatomy that are considered private. The truth is that some African-American women were purchased by slave owners because they looked healthy and were fertile. They were bought, separated from their families, and then forced to become pregnant so that their breasts would produce milk. These women were known as wet nurses, and they would nurse the slave owner’s babies, so the slave owner’s wife was freed from that task.

The poor slave woman was torn away from her family when she was purchased and kept from her own baby to nurse another woman’s child. One of the results of nursing the slave owner’s baby is that the slave woman’s own baby did not get her enriching breast milk, nor could she raise and enjoy her own children.
Former slave Katie Jacobs told of being a wet nurse, and said she was forced to sleep on the floor of the dining-room near the bedroom door to be at hand in case the slave owner’s baby wanted another drink of milk. Of course, the slave owners claimed that these women were treated well!

Awaken Our Buried Morals
Hopefully, living in the 21st century, we find these mental images of slavery appalling. This history is embarrassing, filled by racist mistreatment and ignorance. Our morals have evolved to find slavery unacceptable, but these morals are only extended toward the human species. We categorize animals as “property” and “stock” which robs them of any moral consideration.

Now that we have discussed the wet nurse in the 1800s, let us compare the similarities of the life of the dairy cow on most large farms in the United States. Farmers purchase cows, making sure they have the ability to reproduce, take them away from their families, and then force them to become pregnant solely to produce milk. Even on small farms and so called “humane” farms a practice is becoming more common in which nose rings with spikes are inserted in calves so they cannot nurse from their own mothers. Thus, even if the babies are not taken away, they are being punished for trying to do as nature intended. The dairy cows are not seen as beings with lives, but only as property and profit. On large factory farms, one day old babies are taken away from the dairy cow so mother’s milk will go to humans, and her baby is fed formula. The mother cow mourns and cries, but it does no good as no one cares about her life. Three times a day she is milked, hooked up to a machine, and her udder has been genetically altered to hold up to 20 times the milk that udders used to hold before the advent of factory farming. She is given hormones and antibiotics to fight the infections that are commonly in her teats and her foot from all the weight of her udder. And the farmers claim the cows are treated well! When she is too worn out, because all her energy in her body has been used to produce milk, she is sent to slaughter.

The stories of the wet nurse and of the factory farmed dairy cow are nearly interchangeable. Why do we not feel outraged at our treatment of dairy cows? It is slavery, but it is not even seen as animal abuse. Our culture’s lack of respect for animals is shameful.
dairy cows housed
It is shocking to learn about the wet nurses of the 1800s, and I wanted to tell their story, even though my purpose is to highlight animal rights. The idea for comparing our past treatment of humans to our present treatment of animals developed and felt right to tell in this manner.

Causing pain and ripping apart animals’ families is an accepted, every day practice on our farms in America. Legislation to improve conditions for farm animals, such as giving them one inch more space, will take years, and laws of this nature are often rescinded. The only way to win against these huge businesses is to stop using dairy all together.