Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I've mentioned before that several of us atheists, secularists, free thinkers, etc. have been meeting locally to hash out the details of the new group we were attempting to get off the ground. We had another meeting today and settled on the name: Sedona/Verde Valley Secular Free Thinkers.

Our new organization will be aligned with the Secular Coalition for Arizona which is in turn aligned with the Secular Coalition for America.

Now we can begin to do some cooperative work and will hold our next get-together, a potluck, on April 7. Much still remains to be ironed out and set up.

This is very exciting to me. It wasn't too long ago that I felt very isolated and alone. Now, I have a very real social and action group to be affiliated with in a meaningful way.

The pendulum has swung way too far to the right and into fanaticism. I saw that coming way back in the late sixties or early seventies when I attended an "Up with People" concert and commented to my then wife that we were headed into a right wing surge. I was more right than I could have imagined. I sense now a very real swing to the opposite direction beginning.

I intend to be right in the middle of that swing and doing everything in my power to promote it!

Monday, February 27, 2012


Another two-blog day! On the same subject, yet -- theocracy vs. the republican democracy of our founding fathers.

Rick Santorum made it abundantly clear that he sees the USA as a christofascist theocracy and himself as the potential Pope of that theocracy when he said: "The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country."

It's abundantly clear that he has taken no time to read Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, the writings of Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, etc. He said he almost "threw up" after reading JFK's 1960 statement in which he declared that he was committed to the separation of church and state.

Clearly, he is not committed to that foundational American ideal!

He further denounced our sitting president as being commited to "... some phony theology ... not a theology based on the Bible."

He sees himself as the arbiter of what is real and what is "phony theology."

That means, if he were president, he would consider himself as a pope and the US government as his Vatican!

I remember all too well the fiasco of Ed Mecham as governor of Arizona. We still suffer from perceptions he brought to our state as the de facto Mormon bishop of Arizona.

To one degree or another, all republican candidates see themselves as the guardians of faith -- a concept that led to centuries of warfare and heinous oppression our forefathers fled -- that should be the basis of this country's government. If any of them pull the wool over the eyes of America, we will steadily see the imposition of religious tyranny in the guise of patriotism.

See this article for more details: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/26/santorum-church-and-state_n_1302246.html


I've had several things to say about the danger of losing our liberties and the destruction of our great experiment in democracy by the cristofascist forces of the theocratic religious right.

I am not the only one who sees the perilous times in which we live.

There was an excellent blog on the subject I came upon this morning by Edwin Kagan. Find it here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/kagin/2012/02/26/on-the-fractionalization-of-the-recent-experiment-in-government-known-as-one-nation-under-god-indivisible/.

Another excellent article can be found here: http://nymag.com/news/features/gop-primary-chait-2012-3/.

I urge all my readers to take the time to read and ponder both items.

Friday, February 24, 2012


If you, like me, are appalled at the way islamic women are forced to dress, then you'll love this video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmVxswvuJZI

You can find the words on Edwin Kagin's blog: http://freethoughtblogs.com/kagin/2012/02/23/back-in-their-burkas-again/

Just check it out and enjoy. I really can't add anything.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Chris Christie summed up the Republican attitude when he told CNN's Pierce Morgan, "He should just write [the government] a check and shut up,"

He was referring to Warren Buffett's statements that he and other billionaires and millionaires should be taxed at a rate equal to those with lesser incomes.

Christie and his wealthy cronies don't like to hear calls for fairness. They want to keep riding high while they financially rape everyone else and merrily skip along f+++ing the middle and lower classes.

Damn right there's a class war going on! It's been going on for a long time now. Thanks to Norquist and his ilk, everybody but the super rich have been and are getting a screwing of disgusting proportions.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I happened upon an article this morning that was particularly inspiring to me. It was written by Sherman Yellen, a successful screenwriter, playwright and lyricist, who just turned 80 and concerns his happiness in reaching that milestone and all the blessings he appreciates at that advanced age. Find it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sherman-yellen/sherman-yellen-aging_b_1287692.html.

What he had to say resonated with me. I'm not "rising 80" quite yet, but it's not far off -- less than three years.

Mr. Yellen looks back on a very successful life, and even though I haven't attained to the same levels of success and wealth as he, I feel the same way about my life. Overall, I'm very pleased with where I am. I don't waste my now limited time nursing regrets. Time is too short for that!

It's great to achieve advanced age and still be able to do what you love to do. I love to write. I love to learn. I love to be involved as much as possible.

I can do it all, thanks to modern technology and communications. It's a wonderful time to be alive! Every morning is a gift of a new day to learn, to be involved, to nurture the creative juices!

In so many ways, I feel like my life is just now getting going. Finally, I see the world and reality more clearly than ever before -- and I'm free to express what I see. The blinders that led me in false paths early in life have fallen away and continue to fall away the more I grow and learn. I'm old in body but young in knowledge, understanding and a bit of wisdom.

What a great day to be alive!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Let's inject something on the lighter side.

I enjoy our three little dogs partly because they are so childlike. It's almost like having babies and toddlers in the house again. I have some really outstanding memories from the early lives of my four children. I think all parents do.

I'll relate a particularly humorous incident involving my youngest daughter, Nancy, when she was about three.

My wife had a brother who had married into a Catholic family and converted to that religion. They had an infant son who was going to be baptized and we were invited to come with them to the Capistrano Mission for the baptism. Out of family loyalty, we went. For some reason I don't recall, Nancy was the only one of our children who accompanied us.

This was all very new to us so we were completely at sea as to the proceedings. When the time for the actual baptism arrived, the priest invited any family members who wanted to to join in. My wife and I looked at each other, and since I was curious, I decided, what the hey, lets go up there.

I don't recall all the ritual details, but his eminence used several objects during the ritual and every one he used ended up touching the baby. Curious, bright eyed little Nancy just loved her little cousin immensely and took it all in with wide-eyed wonder.

The time came during the rituals when the priest reached over and picked up a candle. Nancy's eyes opened wide, and she cried out, "He's gonna burn the baby!"

I was embarrassed and hilariously amused at the same time, alternating between wanting to crawl through a crack in the floor and bursting out laughing. I tried with everything in me to as quietly as possible reassure little Nancy that no such horror was going to happen.

Then she got indignant and in her childish innocent frankness, blurted out, "I hate this church!"

That was my first and only experience with Catholic ritual. To say it was hilariously memorable would be an understatement.

Monday, February 13, 2012


People assume, because it has been drummed into their minds from infnacy on, that anything stated in the Bible has to be the infallible final authority. They don't read very much of the book and seldom do so critically. Those who do read it cover to cover in other than a state of starry-eyed daydreaming, often end up in the agnostic and atheist camps.

To cover all the inconsistencies and non sequiters in that revered tome would require several volumes and is best left to full time scholars with a lot more time and professional background than I can aspire to at this advanced age. Besides, such a work would get tedious and boring to the average reader and accomplish little if anything even in the academic circles it would be intended to interest.

I'm going to focus my attention on a common mindset that plagued me until relatively recently just because of the relentless background brainwashing just about every Christian American has been subjected to from infancy.

That mindset: Palestine is the holy land and the promised homeland of the Jewish people and they must have it before the "age" can be concluded.

Even after I saw that "the age" was a lot of nonsense, that engrained concept still permeated my mind. I was sympathetic to Jewish aspirations and totally discounted the feelings and call for justice by the Palestinian people displaced by the Jewish incursion.

To illustrate, I grew up on a North Dakota ranch that had been appropriated from the Native American Sioux tribe and homesteaded by my grandfather. Over time, my family absorbed the original homesteads of several other families and individuals. I and my sister walked away from it in the mid-fifties of the last century and it is now owned, along with thousands of other acreages by Devore Inc., a family corporation, I suppose still headed by an aging patriarch just a few years my senior.

Now, let's suppose my children or their descendants decide they were willed this property by a "god" they claim is supreme over all land and all people. They could say, as a Jewish acquaintance and past associate in the "cult" stated, that they have the "pink slip." They could then move in as individuals and small groups and "squat" on the land and get strong enough over time to take over. That's what happened in the early and mid parts of the last century in Palestine. (Notice, I'm not even mentioning the possible claims of the Sioux tribes stuck on little reservations.)

Centuries had gone by in which varying people and powers had controlled that land, just like several people and families had held the land now in the control of Devore Incorporated. But, based on a book whose origins are questionable, to say the least, a scattered group of people who hadn't resided there in any significant numbers for nearly two thousand years, move in and insist on laying claim to territory they originally forcibly took from Canaanite tribes, under direction from the supposed representatives of their tribal god. (Maybe we should look at the claims of any possible descendants of those original tribes that could still be identifiable and the promises their gods made to them.)

I'm not saying we should demand that the Jews move out of the present land of Israel. That wouldn't make any more sense than my descendants or the descendants of any other original North Dakota land owners demanding that Devore Incorporated give up their present holdings. What exists just exists.

What I am saying is that the myths and legends of a very questionable book should not be the basis of modern political decisions. Those myths and legends have led to a very thorny issue that doesn't look like it's going to go away any time soon.

Holy books and chauvinistic claims can be very dangerous things. They are especially dangerous when they lead to nationalistic aspirations which put down one group of people in preference to others. This particular claim holds the possibility of provoking another world war -- a nuclear world war!

Frankly, I wonder if it can be resolved peaceably.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


One primary message I got from the meeting Sunday, from Richard Dawkins, Sean Faircloth and  Robin Cornwell, is that we are engaged in a ruthless war being waged by the religious right.  In many ways, it reminds me of the desperate situation the USA and its allies were in during World War II.

Few people born since 1945 realize how close the USA and its allies came to losing that war.  If Hitler and Japan hadn't "jumped the gun" and had held back a little longer before making their move, we very well may have ended up as the losers.  We were woefully ill-prepared and equipped when the Germans marched into Poland.  They had a superior air force, tanks that made the allied tanks look like tin cans by comparison and overall a vastly superior armed force that was better equipped.  They were also far ahead in weapons development. 

They almost beat us to the atom bomb! 

Instead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it could have been London and New York!

I remember those days.  I was seven years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Religious zealots have always chafed over a secular America.  For most of its history, religion had to content itself as an important but relatively sidelined force.  Even conservative Barry Goldwater was openly opposed to religion having too much influence and control.

The fear generated by the cold war gave theists their opening.  Madison had warned that if American liberties were ever taken away, it would be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. 

"Godless communism" gave the theists their foreign enemy opening.  They took full advantage of it and missed no opportunity to plant every fearful thought possible in the minds of American citizens.  They got as many as possible to believe that their only hope was God and Jesus. 

Religious commitment and dedication expanded exponentially, driven by the bombast of Falwell, Robertson and their ilk.  It has increased every decade to the point that a former president of the United States can openly state that a non-believer cannot be a patriotic citizen. 

That would mean that Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, and several other presidents, were traitors, not patriotic American citizens!  We can't know the specific feelings of many presidents because religion or the lack thereof has never been a dominant political issue until relatively recently in the United States of America.

Now, it is a litmus test!  So much so that any presidential candidate had better make an open show of attending some place of worship rather regularly! Our president has to end every speach by saying "God bless you, and God bless America." I have no idea whether that is a sincere statement or not.

When I was a child, in the nineteen forties, religion was an important item in a lot of people's lives, but nowhere near as important as it is today. It was more of a personal thing. People believed in whatever they believed in and were for the most part content to let it go at that. Militancy, though present, was much less evident than today when a teen ager in Rhode Island can find herself the object of hate and death and rape threats for successfully blocking a prayer banner in her high school. Instead of the guarantees of our Constitution being revered, they are the source of murderous hatred when someone insists on adherence to their principles!

During my school years, that unconstitutional phrase, "under God" was not a part of the Pledge of Allegiance. It was added in response to America's paranoid fear of "Godless Communism." That addition effectively led to the conviction that anyone who did not believe we were a nation under God was not a loyal American.

Very subtle!

Very effective!

The Muslim Hordes have replaced Godless Communism as the new rallying cry. It's still "us" versus "them."

Fear has always been the main tool religions and political systems use to control people. Get them fearful enough and they will tolerate any abridgement of their freedoms and support the most egregious of tyrannies. It is time for all Americans who value their freedoms to make it clear that they will not tolerate any more christofascist theocratic moves to abridge and ignore our constitutional rights.

Get active!

Get vocal!

Quit hiding in a fear-filled closet!

If you must fear something, fear the kind of world the theocrats envision for your descendents!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I was amused at the meeting Sunday when Richard Dawkins jokingly commented that if he were god,  Sedona is where he would want to live.  He had never been to Sedona before and I'm certain the spectacular red rock cliff backdrop of the house in which we gathered was overwhelming in its impact.

It got me thinking about how theistic myths about "gods" get started.  They always get associated with spectacular and awe inspiring settings.  The Greek gods were centered on Mt. Olmpus.  I've never seen it, but I'm certain it was awesome, especially in the pristine state it had when the Greeks first settled there.   The Sioux of the great plains placed their Great Spirit in the spectacular Black Hills.  Arizona Native Americans chose spectacular mountain settings in this state.  They are still very contentious about using reclaimed water to make snow on some of those "sacred" sites.

Once we invent a god or gods, he or they have to have some place to reside or make his/their presence known or manifest.  Hence temples, sacred groves, mountains, planets, etc.  Ancient astrologers peopled the heavens with god-dedicated constellations, planets, whatever.  Comets became feared harbingers of doom sent by the gods.  Thor was associated with storms from which he hurled his mighty hammer and created lightning.    

Cathedrals and other exalted places of worship have to be the most awe-inspiring edifices around.  Your god can't reside in a hovel, you know.

Modern day Christians are still impressed by spectacular "sacred" sites.  On the whole, they are not inclined to view them as permanent habitations for any of their three gods.  They have a more nebulous view of their god being somewhere "up there."  I've dealt with that concept in other blogs.

The plain facts of the matter are that all "gods" are conceptual (and/or actual) idols concocted in human minds to explain the mysteries of nature.  Their habitations are just as imaginary and illusory as are they. 

Monday, February 6, 2012


It's sad. Yet, it's true. 

A Thomas Jefferson, James Madison or Abraham Lincoln -- even a Barry Goldwater -- could not get even nominated today as a candidate for president of the United States.  Forget getting elected!


Because none of them would lower themselves to kissing the asses of the religious and falsely claiming to believe their nonsense.

Sean Faircloth quotes extensively from all the esteemed people I listed above in his book, Attack of the Theocrats.  If those quotes issued from the mouths or pens of any politician today, it would be political poison and they might as well pack it in and go home.  They wouldn't have the chance of that proverbial snowball in hell of getting elected to anything!

If you doubt what I'm saying consider the well researched facts presented in this article:  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d2239780-4d4e-11e1-8741-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1lfEuV11C

Many of us are getting sick and tired of being denounced and vilified by people who want to keep us locked in some closet and afraid to state our honest opinions.  Nothing quenches that fear faster than knowing one is not alone, that there are plenty of others with the same convictions.  That's why I am working so hard to get a free thinking humanist/atheist group going here in Sedona and the Verde Valley. 

If someone reads what I have written and is in that very isolated and uncomfortable position, take heart.  Until about four months ago, I, too, felt very isolated.  Now, I know several here in my community and throughout the state of Arizona who share my opinions and lack of faith in fairy tales.

I contacted Meetup and ran an ad under groups on Craig's List.  Yesterday, over twenty of us met at a home in Sedona (which I cover in my previous blog).  By the end of this month, we will have settled on the exact nature of the group we are starting and ready to give it a formal name.

I would now go to the websites of organizations like Secular Coalition for America, American Humanist Association and look for free thinkers sites in my state.  I'd scour the web because I now know there are dozens of others and multiple organizations out there or organizations which can be organized in my area.  Key words do wonders when one is looking and our greatest tool and ally is the internet.

I feel a very real spirit of dedication and zeal taking hold.  No longer are we going to be hiding in some cramped closet or relegated to the back of the bus.  We have things to say, and we are going to be heard!  A great many aren't going to like that one bit.  That's just too bad!

The spirit of our founding fathers is back -- live and well!

Get ready to hear from us, theocrats!


There was a post about life regrets on Pharyngula this morning. This thing about regreting and emoting about the things we regret in looking back over our lives strikes me as a self-flagelating activity that is a complete waste of time. I added a comment to the thread. Here it is:

"Now in my 78th year, I’ve come to the conclusion that worrying about regrets is a total waste of time. At all times in my life, I did the best I could under the circumstances and attitudes existing at that time.

Can I see that I could have done better sometimes? Of course! The fact that I did otherwise is just how the game of life goes.

What I’m trying to do now is make every day I have left count as much as possible, and that includes relaxing and having a good time once in awhile while I’m still mobile enough to do so. I’m getting ever more active in blogging and working with fellow non-believers to thwart the theist's attempts to turn my nation into a christofascist theocratic hellhole. That keeps me very busy with no time to waste on regrets."

In that vein, yesterday was a very interesting day for me and my wife. We took a little drive up to Sedona and spent the afternoon in the very pleasant company of fellow freethinkers and secularists. Included in the group were Richard Dawkins, Sean Faircloth (author of the new book: Attack of the Theocrats!) and Dawkins Foundation worker, Robin Cornwell.

To say the afternoon was interesting and rewarding would be a gross understatment. It helped get our fledgling secular humanist free thought group off to a good start. We all had our opportunities to talk with our guests personally and hear their inspiring presentations about how far our nation has fallen into theocratic control and how vital it is for all of us to do our part to stem the tide just as the civil rights and LGBT movements have.

We are up against powerful forces with millions of dollars to throw into their efforts. By contrast, we are operating on shoestrings but we are getting into lobbying and grass roots action in solid ways. Sadly, the burden is falling on a small army of overworked, but very dedicated, activists.

We all came away fired up to do whatever we can to stem the tide of christofascist theocracy.

I personally spent much of the evening writing two emails to key members of the Arizona Legislature in response to appeals from the Secular Coalition for Arizona and the Prescott Freethinkers. Theocrats have become so brazen that they actually think they can mandate the teaching of the Bible in tax supported Arizona public schools in complete defiance of both the national and state constitutions!

Here is what I wrote on that subject:

"I, Allen C. Dexter, am a proud descendant of colonists who stood with Jefferson, Washington and a host of others to win independence from temporal and spiritual oppression. I had forefathers who stood on that bridge at Concord and faced the British muskets. Those revered men bequeathed to me and all other Americans the right to choose our own beliefs and not have selected religious beliefs imposed on our children through tax supported public education.

To authorize the teaching of the Bible or any other religious beliefs or traditions in our public schools is not the purvey of a constitutional government of either the United States of America as a whole or the state of Arizona. It would be a clear violation of the federal constitution and the constitution of Arizona, which states:
No public money shall be appropriated for, or applied to, any religious worship, exercise or instruction...
- Article II Section 12, Arizona State Constitution

Rest assured that if this unconstitutional attempt is allowed to progress, it will be challenged in court by Americans such as me who are fed up with religion being shoehorned into the education of our innocent youth under the guise of patriotism. Ignoring our constitution is not, and never has been, patriotic."


Allen C. Dexter"

As I commented in a previous blog, activities such as these give me a purpose in my now advanced life. I encourage everyone who possibly can to get as involved as is feasible in fighting for our rapidly eroding secular society and government. To neglect this duty equals losing our liberties to people who are all too eager to impose their fanatic way of life and thinking on every American man, woman and child.

Friday, February 3, 2012


They tried to keep it very quiet. You won't read about it on the front page of your local paper, and probably not anywhere in the middle either.

Here's the lead paragraph of a not too prominent article on Huffington Post: "WASHINGTON -- At a private three-day retreat in California last weekend, conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch and about 250 to 300 other individuals pledged approximately $100 million to defeat President Obama in the 2012 elections."

To read the details, go here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/03/koch-brothers-100-million-obama_n_1250828.html

Between them, the Koch brothers pledged 60 million dollars -- Charles 40 and David 20.

This assembled aristocracy knows full well that their privileged status and their continuing financial rape of America depends on their being able to saturate all communications media with their self-serving lies. Like all fascist-minded individuals, they know that if a lie is told often enough and loudly enough, much of the carelessly malleable public will fall for it.

That's why they tried so hard to keep the whole thing secret. It reminds one of the famous mafia meeting in upstate New York. In fact, it was a meeting of the American financial mafia!

Be sure your ears and eyes are going to be assaulted more than ever before by a torrent of lies and misrepresentations masquerading as patriotic truth.

Don't let them get away with it!