A Note to all you Whiny Atheists, et al: I am Tired of Your “Nonsense”

by Larry Peterson

peace_cross
Veteran's Peace Cross: Prince George County, Maryland

We just celebrated Memorial Day where we honored all those who gifted their nation and their fellow citizens with their most precious possession---their lives.  Memorial Day is a poignant holiday with deep and profound meaning. There is even a scent in the air and it is called tribute and gratitude. The vast majority of Americans sense this and it causes them to maybe just slow down a bit, breathe it in, and give a thought to those being honored on this special day, this uniquely American day. And then, you have the miniscule population of God-haters, the mental Lilliputians of our land, aka atheists.

I am so tired of their nonsense. SO, to all you whiny, cranky atheists, agnostics, humanists and God-haters let me say:
        I have nothing against you. I do not care what you believe in. Worship a tortoise shell, love a Dogwood tree, cuddle a plush toy.  Good for you--knock yourself out.  But why do you have such a problem with the vast majority of us who believe in God and wish to honor Him?  Don't you understand how you offend all of us with your ranting and raving about our core beliefs.  Don't you care about any of us?  Are you so wrapped up with your own personal wonderment that you cannot see beyond your  ill-conceived justifications for God-hating?  (Hey look, God is about LOVE, right, so what is so bad about that?)  Don't you understand?  Can't you grasp  how deeply faith in God is embedded in so many of your fellow citizens?  It is part of our American genetic fabric. Why don't you care about our feelings and how hurt we can be at God being mocked and trashed?  Maybe you are just jealous and wish that you could have some of what the rest of us have. Is that it?  If that is the reason then it is simply yours for the asking.  Our entire existence on this planet is predicated by the perfection around us.  Imagine no time or no seasons, or no night and day?  Do you think all of that surrounds us and supports our very existence just happened through some random explosion?  Try taking apart an iPhone and blowing up the pieces. See if you get a better and improved iPhone.

What prompted me to write this to you was your latest temper tantrum being directed at the Veteran's Peace Cross in Maryland.  This 40 foot cross was erected almost 100 years ago and honors 39 fallen, WWI soldiers from the area.  Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president, was in office when it was dedicated.  So, one of your people,  a guy by the name of Fred Edwords (not misspelled) is the founder of an organization called the "United Coalition for Reason". Fred's organization is for atheists, agnostics, humanists and whoever other God-deniers or haters would like to join. (Maybe you belong to this group).  Anyway, Edwords and his group filed suit against the cross to "save the taxpayers the money" of having to maintain it.  How noble of them.

I could go on and on about this but these people get enough attention. The name, United Coalition of Reason, is, in my opinion, an oxymoron. It contradicts itself.  It is actually a silly name.  Why? Because "Reason" will lead a person to the existence of an intelligent being (most of us call that being "God") because perfection cannot be the result of a random explosion. Atheism is the result of a missing ingredient. Not having this ingredient causes a condition known as  "Denial". If an atheist could somehow ingest, inject or simply breathe in a heavy dose of this ingredient they might catch a glimpse of that Intelligent Being and His benevolent hand that has crafted all we know. That ingredient is called Humility.  

     

On Memorial Day, 2014: The Bataan Death March; a Microcosm of American Exceptionalism

by Larry Peterson

Soldier's Bodies left along the road at Bataan

The Memorial Day weekend of 2014 is upon us. It is the day when we honor all those who, throughout the course of our  history, have given the ultimate sacrifice for their nation, for the freedom(s) it represents and, foremost,  for all Americans, past, present and future.  I write now about a brief time period encapsulated in that history.  I doubt that most  of today's high-school and college students have ever heard about this.  It is known as the  Bataan Death March and it is one of the most brutal and inhuman periods that occupy the pages of our own history. The Bataan Death March began on April 9, 1942 and ended sometime in May of 1942.

 On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the Japanese Empire launched a sneak attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  America was now officially part of World War II.  As the New Year of 1942 dawned, the Japanese were running almost undeterred through the South Pacific and the battle of the Philippine Islands was underway.  On January 7, 1942, the Battle of Bataan began.  (Bataan was a peninsula on the southern end of the Philippines and was the gateway for the Japanese army via the South China Sea.)  Three months later, on April 9, the remaining American and Filipino soldiers finally surrendered to overwhelming Japanese forces. The infamous Bataan Death March was about to begin.

The surrender by the American and Filipino forces at Bataan was viewed by the Japanese soldiers as "cowardice".  They believed that the defeated soldiers had been disgraced and should have committed suicide. Consequently, when they had rounded up the approximately 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American soldiers, they held them with utter contempt. They were ordered to march the prisoners to "Camp O'Donnell", an 80-mile journey through the bug infested and sweltering jungle heat of the Philippines. Before the journey had even begun the captors were treating their prisoners as if they were nothing more than dogs.

The thousands of prisoners were divided into groups of about 100 men and the Bataan death march  began. The exact figures are unknown but it is believed that thousands of troops died because of the sheer brutality of their captors.  The men were starved and  deprived of water.  If they fell they were beaten and, depending on the Japanese soldier guarding them, sometimes bayoneted.  Decapitation by sword  was not uncommon. Thousands died later from from disease.  General Masaharu Homma, was the  commander of the Japanese forces in the Philippines.   In September of 1945, he was arrested by Allied troops and indicted for war crimes. The court found that Homma had permitted his troops to commit "brutal atrocities and other high crimes". He was sentenced to death by firing squad and was executed on April 3, 1946.

This is only a tiny portion of the people that we Americans honor on Memorial Day. They were folks like us: husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and grandfathers. Many were still teenagers. They  believed in God,  had honor and loved their country. They liked baseball and football and music. They fought for us, they suffered for us and many died for us. And please do not think for a minute that women were not a part of this. Click on the link and read about the "Angels of Bataan".

The legacies left behind, the courage displayed by so many, the sacrifices of lives given in defense of the United States of America and her ideals represents the finest in God's human creations.  I hope and pray our young people are being taught our exceptional history from the Revolutionary War down through the war taking place at this moment in that God-forsaken place called Afghanistan.  On Memorial Day all Americans owe our fellow and sister Americans who have served in these places a moment of prayer and a THANK YOU.  And, as always, may GOD BLESS AMERICA.                                                                                                                                        

                
     

Meet Martin Wani, an American Baby in a Sudanese Prison: Where is His #Hashtag?

by Larry Peterson

Meriam Ibrahim is a 26-year old doctor from Sudan. She married a Christian man, Daniel Wani,  in 2011 and they have an 18-month old child. His name is Martin.  Meriam is now eight months pregnant with their second child but she has a "little" problem.  She has been sentenced to death by hanging;  her crime---  "apostasy". She must have forgotten that her long, lost father (who she had never seen after her sixth birthday) was a Muslim.  Therefore, she was not allowed, under Sharia law,  to marry a Christian man.  Once she did that  she was considered to have  rejected Islam and became an "apostate".  That is a big "NO-NO" in Sharia world, especially if you are a woman.  If you are a wife, a mom, and almost due to give birth to another child, that is just too bad.  You are an "apostate" and must be destroyed.

 Meriam was dragged into court and told she must repent of her sins. She refused and was promptly sentenced to death by hanging (no lethal injections in Sudan).  Oh yeah, she was also sentenced to 100 lashes for committing "zena" which is Arabic for illegitimate sex. She committed this evil act with her husband who, being a Christian man, automatically morphed Meriam into an adulteress. Meriam was steadfast and again and again refused to repent.  She told the judge, "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy."  She may not hang because she will  have to  survive the l00 lashes that come first.  The sentence is to be carried out after her baby is born.

There is another piece of  Meriam's story that for some reason seems to have been  ignored. Her husband is a South Sudanese Christian who became a naturalized American citizen in 2011.  His wife has been imprisoned for marrying him and  their 18-month old son  is in prison with her. Why? Because daddy  is a Christian and the child will NEVER be given over to an "infidel".  Meriam and  Martin have been denied medical care and the father has been refused access to his own son.

By virtue of his father's American citizenship, the child is also an American citizen. The father said that officials at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum have told him that he must prove he is the father with a DNA test before they try to help him. Are you KIDDING me?  An American citizen who happens to be a "toddler" less than two years old is being left to languish in a Sudanese prison with his mom while she awaits torture and death for being married to his father. And American officials tell the boy's dad, "Prove he is your son."  HUH!!!!!

We all have heard about the maniacal Islamist group called Boko Haram.  They are the ones who kidnapped the 300 young girls from their school and destroyed all the buildings. They are also the ones who a few weeks earlier had enclosed a schoolroom filled with young boys and burned them to death with "fire hoses".  Fifty-nine bodies, some just a pile of ashes, were recovered.  Many were, besides being burned, also shot.  These stories of Christian persecution, torture and murder and the continued and ongoing Islamic attempt to annihilate Christianity are daily events around the world.  Christians face untold horrors in countries such as China, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and other places.

Meriam Ibrahim and her American baby son, Martin, are just an example of what individual people go through who follow Christ.  Martin Wani is less than two years old. He is an American citizen because of his dad's naturalization.  Where is the outcry from the United States of America?  Where are the #Hashtags for Meriam and Martin. Since when does the USA allow their own little children to be incarcerated in  a foreign prison with his mom who is awaiting execution.  The war on Christianity and Christians continues. It seems that the government of the USA is helping it to succeed.  It is all so hard to believe.

     

Mother’s Day–I Want It to be Over

by Larry Peterson

NB: Many people, young and old alike,  have a hard time on Mother's Day because their mom is no longer with them. Some have fond, loving memories of their mom. That is wonderful. Others, depending on circumstances, have  memories that may be harsh and include abandonment or abuse. Then there might  be those who have very few memories.  Mother's Day presents a mixed bag of emotions for many people. It certainly is not about flowers, hugs, and  kisses.  Many times it is about "what ifs" or "if only".  What follows is about me because, when all is said and done,  if your mom is gone,  you emotionally experience this day alone, even within your own family.
                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, Mother's Day is here again and, I have to tell you, it is not my favorite day. I'm not trying to be a "party pooper" and I certainly have nothing against moms. Heck, my wife was a mom, my sister is a mom, I have grown children and my daughter is a mom and I have grandkids and I have nieces and nephews.  I know thousands of Moms. (And--I love you all.)  But, here is my dilemma.  I do not have a Mom nor do I have memories of one.  Don't misunderstand, I did have a Mom just like everyone else, but she died 53 years ago. (She had leukemia and if you had leukemia 53 years ago you were "toast".)  Anyway, for the first time in my life I am  admitting that  her death left me empty, very empty to this very day.
                                 
 We were kids when she died and  I was the oldest of the five.  For some reason, I have just fleeting memories of her. My sister remembers her and my brothers remember her, not much mind you, but a lot more than I do. They even remember little things, those special nuances that made her unique to each of them. Well, maybe not Johnny, he was only two years old,  but the others for sure.  I have been told that I was traumatized by her death and involuntarily blocked her out of my mind. Could that be true? Could that still be going on inside me?  Could I have been so stunned that my brain, in an attempt to protect me, covered up the memories with a deeply opaque veil? I do not know. What I do know is what is NOT there.

I have some pictures of her and I also have her high school yearbook. I have no recordings of her voice or moving pictures of her or anything like that.  It is strange to me but I try my best to NOT think of her. Amazingly, I have failed miserably at doing that every single day of my life since she died.  I do manage to shove those thoughts way back in my head every day but they never just "go away".  The slightest thing triggers "mommy" thoughts in me, especially when I see a child (small or grown) being hugged by their mom. I always think how wonderful that must feel. I can't even imagine it. How pathetic is that. I guess I am just a senior citizen stuck at age 15 when it comes to my mother.  (Damn--I cannot believe I am even writing this stuff.)

Okay now, I manage to stuff this "mom" stuff all year long and then, right after Valentine's Day, the Mother's Day cards hit the stores.  Avoidance for me becomes next to impossible.  The attacks increase unmercifully as the weeks go by and then the onslaught ensues. The past two weeks have been brutal as the print ads came out  and cut flowers appeared everywhere and the cakes are advertised and the restaurants offer deals and every other TV commercial is promoting "Mom" stuff---it  wears me out.  I want it to be over.

Sunday morning at Mass the priest will probably give a homily on motherhood focusing on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then he will ask all of the women who are moms to please stand.  Most women in the church will do so.  He will bestow a blessing on them remembering all the deceased moms too. Everyone will applaud the moms, living and dead. I will applaud also and my best wishes and prayers will go out to all Moms everywhere. I just won't remember anything about my own mom. The truth of the matter is, inside my own personal world, I will be very  glad when Mother's Day is over.

     

A Love Story that Embraced God’s Love

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

This is about a love story and, I have no doubt whatsoever, God has been involved.   Why I was allowed to be a small part of this story is beyond me.  But I was and I thank HIM for it.  Anyway,  please allow me to share my experience(s) of the past several months.  I was witness to the love shared between Ed and Cathy, husband and wife, both dying from cancer, together, holding hands, smiling at each other and at peace as the days passed by.
Ed and Cathy Caramiglio  had only been my neighbors for a short time, less than a year I think.  Ed was a retired commercial painter and also a master wood carver who had his magnificent creations all around his house.  Ed and Cathy were simply enjoying life together.  I guess the two of them might be considered an unusual couple.  They had  met when Ed was 60 and Cathy was 40 and neither had ever been married.  Now, after celebrating their silver wedding anniversary, Ed’s prostate cancer had returned with a vengeance and was destroying him quickly.  Cathy had been diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma. She told me about that when ‘maybe’ she had six months to live. ( It was the exact same thing my first wife had died from 12 years earlier.)  So there they were,  three houses down, spending their last months together and making the best of what still was.
They had no children and it was just the two of them.  How did I fit in?  Well, besides being a neighbor, we were all Catholic and they knew  that I was an EMHC (Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion).  They asked me if I might bring Holy Communion to them if they could not make it to Mass.  I told her I would be honored and to “just let me know when.”
A few more months went by and Ed moved  slower and slower.  Then he began using a walker to get around. He would come over and we would just joke around about silly stuff, like  how many cream donuts he had eaten that morning or how much money he lost one night at Yonker’s Raceway in New York. The guy was only about five feet four but he loved to talk and laugh and had a sparkle in his eye that caught your attention instantly. I would ask if they could make it to Mass and he  would always smile and say, “Thanks,  Larry,  Cathy will let you know if we can’t.”  Unable to push that walker for more than ten feet it quickly became necessary for me  stop by and see how they were doing. Hospice was now there on a daily basis but they were still managing to function okay.
My daily routine usually starts at around 5:00 a.m.  with a one-hour walk.  A few weeks ago, I inexplicably decided that I needed  to take another walk. It was around 4 p.m.  I actually tried to talk myself out of taking this walk but finally “talked” myself into it.  (I guess I do talk to myself a lot.)  Out the door I went and headed down the street.  Ed has an F-150 brown Ford pick-up with a cap covering the truck bed.  As I walked past the truck I was dumbfounded to see Cathy standing there on the front lawn supported by her walker.  I stopped short and said, “Oh, Cathy, hi. Wow, I did not expect to see you standing here.”
“I was waiting for you. I need to talk to you.”
I was dumbfounded. “Are you kidding me? I never walk at this time of day and you say you were waiting for me.”
“I just knew you were coming by.  I can’t explain it.”
I had a chill run down my back. I really did.  I leaned against the truck as she leaned heavily on her walker. She could hardly stand up. “You know Ed is dying, right?”
“Yes Cathy, I know. And how about you? How are you doing?”
She smiled and looked me right in the eye  saying, “I have a few weeks left.”
I tightened my lips, took a breath, and asked, “Do you want a priest?”
“Oh yes, please, can you do that for us?  That is why I was out here waiting for you. We need a priest right away.”
It was not necessary that a priest come at that very moment so I told her I would bring a priest over ASAP. She smiled and thanked me and I walked her back to the house. She did not mention herself once, only her husband.  She told me how she wished she could ease his suffering and how wonderful it might be if they could go for a bicycle ride just one more time.  She mentioned how she thanked God for every moment they had had together.
I went inside and she, Ed, and I hung out for about ten minutes just chatting.  Cathy excused herself and slowly walked back to the bedroom.  Ed quickly told me how he wished he could ease her suffering and how God had been so good to him allowing him to find such a great woman to share his life with.  When God is present sometimes it is hard to breathe. So I took a deep breath, exhaled, and  gave Ed a hug and left.
We have a young priest at our parish, Father Scott.  He just turned 32.  I saw him Monday morning of Holy Week and told him about Ed and Cathy. He had to preside at a funeral at 10 a.m. and then go to the cemetery.  He said he would be free in the early afternoon and would then come over.  I headed to the church office and registered them as parishioners, something they had never done.  I went home and told my neighbors Father would be over later in the day and that they had been registered as parishioners at Sacred Heart Church. Ed started to cry.  Cathy hugged him and joined him crying.   Next thing  I knew my forefinger  was swiping itself  under the bottom of my right eye.  I told them I would be back later with Father Scott and left.
Father Scott spent about an hour with Ed and Cathy.  Ed and the young priest both had roots in Roanoke, Virginia, and talked and laughed and had a raucous good time together. Even though  the two of them were  separated by more than 50 years  it did not matter.  It was as if they had grown up together.  It was beautiful.  Father anointed* both of them and told them he would come back the first chance he could.  It was the beginning of Holy Week and he would be busy.  They all hugged and said good-bye
Easter Sunday I was privileged to bring Ed and Cathy Holy Communion. They were lying next to each other in bed, holding hands.  Ed smiled and said, “Larry, we are SO happy. This is the greatest Easter we ever had.”  He turned and looked at his wife who was smiling lovingly at him. She reached over and wiped his wet happy eyes.
Ed died last week.  Cathy is now a patient in Hospice House with little time left.  I will never forget Ed and Cathy because the love between them shined so brightly and was a beautiful, inspiring, God-given thing.  As for me, I just want to thank God for allowing  me to be their friend and a part of their final journey,  albeit for the briefest of moments.  I have been blessed.
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