September 23, 2004

The Presence of God

It is time I write these things down. It is time for those of us who believe in a creative God of love and compassion to be very present in this world.

I am no longer part of the Amish community, haven’t been since I was 19 years old. I am, however, Christian. I am not the fundamentalist brand of Christian. I haven't been born again. God doesn’t grace me with personal conversation.

God does not exist as I would have him exist. Rather God IS with me, He is especially with me when I work hard to be a good and moral person. He is least present when I am prescribing what is necessary for others in order to have God in their lives.

At those times that I am at my best, and God is with me, I am able to recognize his / her / its presence in the world around me. I am also able to know when and where God is not present.

For instance, God is not present in this war in Iraq. We have not liberated a people from a horrible dictator. Instead, we have given them hell on Earth. Over Twenty-two thousand Iraqis have died since our invasion of their country. Over half of those were women and children. Countless thousands of others have been wounded and maimed for life. God does not shed his grace on this evil that we do.

If an Arab terrorist beheads a citizen of the world, American or other, it is evil incarnate. However, I/we placed the knife in his hand by allowing this war to happen. God did not!

Those fundamentalist Christians who thought to impose their ideal of democracy on an Arab nation have presented the disenfranchised Arab a knife and the permission to use it. Do not blame the Arab! Do not blame his religious beliefs. Do not blame your God. Blame the Godlessness of your own behavior.

And if, by some miracle we are able to fix this disastrous invasion, it will not be because of our misbegotten 21st century crusade, it will be because others for whom God is truly present were granted the opportunity to step in and work to end the nightmare of evil and death that has been created.

It is time for the people of our country to wake from this nightmare of misbegotten fundamental patriotism, and become true American patriots of democracy. It is time to stand with God and say to the world...

"This war is immoral and terribly wrong!"

September 17, 2004

Over One Thousand Americans Dead in Iraq War

In the attack on the insurgent controlled city of Falluja on Wednesday last week 12 more Iraqis were killed, including two women and a child. The provisional government has lost control over Falluja, Samarra, and Ramadi, and experts warn of civil war in Iraq. *

Our president, Mr. Bush has created a disastrous situation in the Arab East, and the figures show he is ahead of John Kerry as the number one choice of Americans for president of this republic!

On the domestic front, a second Bush presidency means a totally conservative, and religious right dominated court system. Under such circumstances two amendments to the constitution of the United States of America are not hard to visualize; one making gay and lesbian people second class citizens, and the second making all women second class citizens. An amendment against choice does that exact thing.

Story about Prejudice

A young man visits me periodically hear at “The Big Needle.” I say young, he’s in his 60’s, so in our culture that makes him old, and me -- I’m a mummy. Be that as it may, this YOUNG man who lives in the city of Lancaster itself -- both county and county seat are “Lancaster,” remember -- told me about a situation that is an exemplar of the heterosexist prejudice that permeates this culture and about which heterosexuals are for the most part unaware. They are unaware because they are it. It seems this YOUNG man’s next door neighbor died. His long time companion of 15 years upon trying to make arrangements to publish his mate’s obituary was told the paper would not call them long time companions, companions, mates, or partners. However, once pressed (no pun intended) the newspaper spokesperson admitted that if one partner in an unmarried heterosexual relationship dies, the surviving partner may be called his or her companion. The story does have a happy ending. I saw the obituary published in the paper last week and it did name the two as companions. However, the upshot is that the Lancaster papers are now going to charge people to place obituaries as they do advertisements. Thus, they will not be able to be criticized for anything people pay to say.

Mr. Bush would constitutionalize such prejudice!

*Hamza Hendawi, “U. S. Forces Pound Hideouts in Fallujah,” AOL News,, updated September 9, 2004, 5:24 AM EDT. (September 9, 2004, 6:27 AM EDT)

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September 13, 2004

I’m 85 Years Old

I didn’t get this up into Cyberspace on Saturday because Ruth insisted that I had to have my birthday at Orchard Hill Farm. She and Samuel literally removed me from The Big Needle and hijacked me to the farm. Ruth’s son, Sam Jr. and his wife, Nicole were there with their children Amy and Terrance. Against my own desire, and wishes, I had a wonderful time. But, it doesn’t mean Ruth is off the hook. She and THE PROFESSOR stole all my work.

In any event, I did not get my usual “9/11” entry up on the Web because Ruth and Samuel hijaced me. So, I’m putting it up today. Because 9/11is my birthday, and because that horrible, world shaking event since tagged “9-11” took place on my 82nd birthday, I’m including the poem, “My Stand.” I’ve used the poem two times now; on 9/1103 and 9/11/02 , but it can stand repetition, I think. It was sparked by a poem “The Stand” e-mailed to me by a friend. I have “The Stand” stashed somewhere, but can’t find it. I was incredibly angry when I read the poem, because, and I am paraphrasing, it said that anyone who was against the war in Iraq - and I still am - was not a patriot.

That war was, and is, a foolish adventure waged by a foolish president (who was not elected to be president) who risked repeating history. I say that “Duh-buh-yah” risked repeating history because Vietnam, and the Spanish Armada should have given both he and his cabinet great pause. The American people were fooled into going along with this misadventure, and for that, we must each take responsibility. We are all responsible, even those of us who did not agree, because we did not shout our opposition from the roof tops. It was and still is politically incorrect to voice such an opinion. So what! The war on Iraq was morally wrong. It stands in contrast to everything we say we believe in; God, peace, and freedom. We destroyed a nation and killed many women and children in the process. More than one thousand of our own children have died in Iraq.

God, and only God knows what the result of this travesty will be.

My Stand

Isaac Stolzfuts

I was born on September 11, 1919.
I was with my great grand children
On September 11th, 2001,
My 82nd birthday.
We celebrated by playing together.
Drawing pictures, they told me what they saw;
The farm, our orchard, friends at school,
Their Mom and Dad.

Black space...

The TV’s white-noise-background
Suddenly startorian to my mind
Though the anchor man’s voice
Even and measured announced
Pulled us away
And, no longer laughing at play,
We watched "live" as thousands died.
It felt as though we were there
Engulfed in that ebon cloud of dust,
The taste of death in our mouths.

Rebecca (named after her Grandma)
Cried, “That’s just a movie, Grandpa,
Right?” And Abe Junior said,
"Where are all the super heroes?
When we need-um!"
Well, the super heroes are in Iraq today,
Fighting for what they believe.
I pray for their safety even as
Mr. Bush says, “ I pray for peace.”

I was born on September 11, 1919,
At the end of WW1 and the flue epidemic.
A Surreal world of horror
Was born on September 11, 2001.
Flowers and fireworks opposed to cinders and soot.
A world in which the lost lives of Iraq's
Women and children are not counted.
A world in which stolen artifacts
Testament to the beginning of civilization
Are casualties to Imperialist ambition.
A world in which a 21st century crusade has begun.

I do not believe in this war.
I do not believe in the "New American Century."

I do believe in a United States that stands for peace and trust.
I do believe in a United States that leads the world by example.
I do believe in a United States that bequeaths to the world
A vision of democracy and freedom.

Each American in Iraq is a hero and a patriot.
Each American who states his or her opinion
Opposing this war is also a hero and a patriot.

Dissent is one of the freedoms we believe in!
Would you have 225 years of national endeavor destroyed?
Do not call me anti-American.
Do not tell me that I did not suffer on September 11.
Do not tell me that I am not a patriot.

I was born on September 11, 1919.
My life always circled around Nine Eleven.
By birthright I am Nine Eleven.
I am a child of Nine Eleven.
I am freedom.
And, like Whitman I am part of you
And all of you are a part of me.
I am American.
I don't believe in this war of American conquest, and
I am a 21st century American patriot!

Remember Them the Way They Used To Be

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September 08, 2004

Spiritual Eroticism: Part VI

I had interrupted my month long August discussion of the many renderings of Saint Sebastian for the “We’re being attacked by the nasty Kerry Campaign, and by the way, that Kerry guy isn’t a hero, he’s just a flip-flopper” Republican National Convention. The sad thing is, it seems to have worked. Mr. Bush’s ratings are up, and I’m disgusted.

Back to Sebastian


I myself became fascinated first by Antonello da Messina’s painting of Sebastian while in my 20’s(See the July 24, 2004 entry for the image.) before I knew much about the saint or my own homosexuality. I had no idea that he was a homosexual icon - the term “gay” hadn't come into use in the 1940’s - and I would have been at pains to say why I was so enamored of the image. I knew, however, that something about those averted eyes looking ecstatically toward heaven, the body pierced by arrows, roped to a thick dead tree branch placed midst a calm Italian plaza pulled at my heart strings. To this day I find it curious that the figures in the plaza ignore Sebastian’s ecstasy as though it were not taking place. I wondered and still do if this wasn’t a comment by da Messina about the desire of the larger culture that same sex love be invisible. I realize that these other people are just props for the main attraction, Sebastian. Nevertheless, they exist separate from Sebastian, ignorant of his erotic-ecstatic spirituality. At the time, the term “homosexual” did not exist. Same sex love was that which the phrase implies, a type of behavior, not a type of human being.

As a youth I was so conscious of my homoerotic feelings that it seemed impossible to me that my family and friends were not aware of the erotic passion and the accompanying ecstatic pain I felt for the men around me. For most of my life I would keep these feelings hidden from others. They became subversive. That is they operated below the surface to invigorate my life. I used them, perhaps unknowingly, to reinforce my interest in the arts, to drive my need for success as a farmer and an artist, and of course to energize my fantasized relationships with particular men. And, if visualized successfully, these erotic episodes sometimes came to actual fruition. As a senior adult I realize just how in-tune my life was with the iconography of Sebastian.

* “Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by Pollaiuolo, Antonio,” The Web Gallery of Art, Emil Cren and Daniel Marx (Saturday, August 28, 2004, 10:09 A.M.)
To read about this image go to The Web Gallery of Art

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September 03, 2004

Ding, Dong; The Mean Spirited Republican Convention Is Over!

And, lest anyone should forget, beneath all that nastiness there is also the odious Republican Party platform that includes the proposal for a constitutional amendment that would classify over 10 million gay and lesbian Americans as second class citizens without the rights of our heterosexual brothers and sisters to marry in order to protect our partners and children in sickness, health, and death. Additionally that same platform would limit the rights of all women, roughly half our population to choose between life and death for themselves or their fetus. If the state prescribes that decision for women, does it not classify them as second class citizens as well. Why not require all male citizens to be made incapable of impregnating women until married?


Isaac’s Twenty-first century, American Creed

I believe that God in his/her infinite majesty gives the nod to woman as being superior to man since it is she who carries the fetus. Thus, woman is the future of mankind. And, I believe that God, being infinite, chooses to give woman control over her own God given, and therefore celestial body, rather than the terrestrial state.

God bless us all, each, and every one!

* “The Raphael Logia,” Christus Rex Web Site, Michael Oteanu, MS, “ (September 3, 2004, 10:28 AM EDT.)

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