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Month May 2011

I Write Letters

Update
This was originally posted on April 16, 2010. I finally received a response and have posted it at the bottom.

I have completed my letter of Actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica and will be sending it to the Bishop of my former Diocese tomorrow. I was unaware that one could even formally defect from the church until I came across this post from Emptv.com a few weeks ago.

This letter won’t make me any less Catholic than I was yesterday, however it annoyed me that the church still considers me one of theirs and uses baptism records as statistics to claim how many adherents they still have. I’ll keep you posted if I get a response.

April 14, 2010

Bishop George W. Coleman
c/o The Diocese of Fall River
47 Underwood St., PO Box 2577
Fall River, MA 02722

Dear Bishop Coleman,

I am writing to inform you of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I was born an atheist and then baptized into the Catholic Church as an infant which of course made it impossible for me to give my consent. My mother was a Catholic and mistakenly believed that it was her duty to raise me with her religion.

Soon after receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, my faith in Catholicism and religion in general began to fade. My childhood belief in God and the supernatural was replaced by a love of science which piqued and satisfied my curiosity about the world in a way that religion had never done for me. My love of literature led me to explore the writings of atheist and humanist authors such as Mark Twain, Robert G. Ingersoll, Bertrand Russell and Kurt Vonnegut. Their thoughtful words on the human experience taught me to think whereas priests had only taught me to believe.

I have been an atheist now since the early 1990s and my convictions of a world devoid of superstition, demons, and deities grows stronger with each passing day. I have, however, neglected to officially sever my ties from the Church. The Church’s position against women’s reproductive rights, its political opposition to allowing homosexuals to find happiness in marriage even outside of the Church, and the aiding and harboring of predatory priests who sexually abuse children has made me realize that I cannot in good conscience remain silent while still being counted as a participant of an organization whose ideals I find reprehensible and morally wrong. Therefore, I consciously and freely state that I am defecting from the Roman Catholic Church and wish that my name be removed from church records. I was born in 1974 and baptized at:

St. Andrew the Apostle (formerly Saint Joseph’s)
19 Kilmer Ave
Taunton, MA 02780

I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me written notification that you have complied with this request. I am fully aware of the consequences of my separation from the Church and accept them. I have found more love and comfort amongst family and friends than I ever could find kneeling in abject servitude to an ancient delusion. As an atheist, I have been able to find this love and happiness without the fear that myself or any of my loved ones could possibly spend an afterlife in eternal torment because they didn’t follow certain rules designed to keep people fearful and ignorant. Letting go of the belief of a deity has helped me keep an open mind and treat people of all different races, religions, genders and sexual orientations with the respect that is deserved and required for us to live harmoniously together. I no longer live for the good of a god, but only for the good of mankind.

Sincerely,

Christopher D. Cole

P.S. I do wish to thank the Diocese and St. Joseph’s Church in Taunton, MA for the lovely bible that they gave to me after my confirmation. I read it from beginning to end as was suggested. The monstrosities contained in that book by a “loving” God upon his followers helped hasten my departure from the Church more expediently than any atheistic book ever could.

Updated May 26, 2011

A year later, I received a response. (Click letter enlargenify it)

After a few months of not getting a reply, I thought they may have just thrown the letter out. I didn’t really care if I received a response or not because you don’t need permission from any organization or individual to stop believing in a religion. The letter was just a form of protest against a group that I had been indoctrinated into before I was mature enough to give my consent. Also, the Catholic Church is a powerful organization that lobbies its archaic positions politically and I wanted to do everything within my power to make sure I am not supporting them in any way. Formally defecting was the least I could do to have a note of protest put in my baptismal records.

The paragraph in the letter about the indelible seal was completely expected and is illustrative of how childish the Catholic Church was and remains. That some adults feel that pouring water over an infant’s head while muttering incantations makes a person a part of an organization for life no matter what this person is taught or ends up believing just reinforces my opinion of the church’s deceitful and bullying nature. A person’s faith should be what they believe, not about that time they bathed in front of a congregation.

Vegetable Gardening: Three Sisters Companion Planting

From Renee’s Garden:

Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb. Beans fix nitrogen on their roots, improving the overall fertility of the plot by providing nitrogen to the following years corn. Bean vines also help stabilize the corn plants, making them less vulnerable to blowing over in the wind. Shallow-rooted squash vines become a living mulch, shading emerging weeds and preventing soil moisture from evaporating, thereby improving the overall crops chances of survival in dry years. Spiny squash plants also help discourage predators from approaching the corn and beans. The large amount of crop residue from this planting combination can be incorporated back into the soil at the end of the season, to build up the organic matter and improve its structure.

Three sisters garden squasghCorn, beans and squash also complement each other nutritionally. Corn provides carbohydrates, the dried beans are rich in protein, balancing the lack of necessary amino acids found in corn. Finally, squash yields both vitamins from the fruit and healthful, delicious oil from the seeds.

Question of the Day

What’s the hobby you’re currently spending time on?

Gardening. We have a 20 x 10 foot plot that’s been tilled and we’re about to start preparing the beds and sowing seeds this weekend as long as the rain stays away. Expect a ton of gardening YT clips and articles in the future.

Thank God For Floods

(via Religious Douchebags)

And it looks like at least 23 people were killed because of this flood.:

*Daniel Brown, 18, was found near Millwood Lane off of Murfreesboro Pike at about 12:30 p.m. by an off-duty fire captain, who was searching the area. He was last seen May 2 while tubing on Mill Creek. His friend told authorities the swift current slammed Brown into a bridge pillar and then downstream.

* Robert Woods, 74, was found Monday morning near his home on West Hamilton Avenue. He was reportedly swept away by flood waters Sunday.

* Joshua Lanotroop, 21, of Valley Way was found Sunday near Bell Road and Blue Hole Road. He was swept away by flood waters on Saturday.

* Andrew J. England, 78, and Martha England, 80, were found Sunday evening inside their home on 908 Delray Drive. They are believed to be victims of a flash flood.

* Joseph Formosa, 88, and wife Bessie, 78 were found Sunday in a vehicle that was upside down in standing water on Sawyer Brown Road. They attempted to drive across a flooded roadway when their vehicle swept away.

But never mind that. Did you see the new basketball court that god gave that christian school?

California’s Jam-Packed Prisons

A Mother Jones photo essay on California’s overcrowded prison problem.

(via Gerry Canavan)

John Edwards: U.S. Green-Lights Prosecution for Alleged Campaign Law Violations Tied to Affair Cover-Up

From ABC News:

The United States Department of Justice has green-lighted the prosecution of former presidential candidate John Edwards for alleged violations of campaign laws while he tried to cover up an extra-marital affair, ABC News has learned.

A source close to the case said Edwards is aware that the government intends to seek an indictment and that the former senator from North Carolina is now considering his limited options. He could accept a plea bargain with prosecutors or face a potentially costly trial.

Edwards has been the focus of a lengthy federal investigation focusing on hundreds of thousands of dollars allegedly provided by two wealthy supporters. The government will contend those were illegal donations that ultimately went to support and seclude his mistress, Rielle Hunter.

GOP State Rep Compares Rape to Getting a Flat Tire

From the Mcpherson Sentinel:

During the House’s debate, Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told her: “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”

Bollier asked him, “And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with a pregnancy?”

DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, “I have spare tire on my car.”

“I also have life insurance,” he added. “I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”

DeGraaf is also a pastor.

Tips on Using a Toilet

(via Slog)

Bob Dylan – Shelter From The Storm

Harold Camping Predicts October Date for the Apocalypse

Of course!

OAKLAND, Calif. — Here we go again. A California religious radio impresario who predicted — wrongly — that the end of the world would begin on May 21 revised his prophesy on Monday, saying now that the end is due in October.

In a rambling, 90-minute speech, broadcast both online and on his stations, Harold Camping, whose Family Radio network paid millions of dollars to promote his prediction, said that he was stunned when the rapture did not happen on Saturday.

“I can tell you very candidly that when May 21 came and went it was a very difficult time for me, a very difficult time,” said Mr. Camping, 89, a former civil engineer. “I was truly wondering what is going on. In my mind, I went back through all of the promises God has made, all of the proofs, all of the signs and everything was fitting perfectly, so what in the world happened? I really was praying and praying and praying, oh Lord, what happened?”

So what’s the excuse for the May 21st Rapture Fail?

What he decided, apparently, was that May 21 had been “an invisible judgment day,” of the spiritual variety, rather than his original vision of earthquakes and other disasters leading to five months of hell on earth, culminating in a spectacular doomsday on Oct. 21 — something he had repeatedly guaranteed. On Monday, however, Mr. Camping seemed satisfied with his new interpretation, which apparently spared humankind its months of torture for a single day of destruction.

Everybody check your rapture bingo card. We have a winner!


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