Pride

The glance of a passerby rattles within the canyons of your absence.

Bulwarks of hope eroded by apprehension.

Emboldened by your insoucient spirit; shriveled by your apathy.

Cowardice shrouded in humility.

Regret donning a flowing cape of strength.

May the goddamned moths expose your intent.

Buoyancy

New Birth!

The wrangling for life has withered guile.

Mindfulness, current, reverie

without question or shame.

A trousseau advertised,

unassuming offer shrouded in humanity.

The bidding of the eye is released to Yue-Lao.

Silken cords resolve internal conflict.

Non cogitantes sexus.

Tantum anima nexum.

The delicate drizzle of a stone’s form

yearning, yet content.

Violent submission of ritual.

Glut acquiesced dearth.

Oh! The fortune of the dammed.

Depth of freedom honestly reveals a chasm of reality.

 

 

 

 

Borne

The steel swiftly cleaves the Delta

Bruno grins as Zoe retreats

Christ is romanced by the gutless

The mocking stone of Syssiphus

Pangea’s girders buckle.

The comfort of the sun blisters.

Clarity darkens blindness.

Pleasure births misery.

Precious 3/4/2010

As a child I used to dream

Of monsters, tornadoes, fires, and plane crashes.

I would cry for my mommy to be

assured she wasn’t taken from me.

My home was still and in order

but the feelings were haunting.

Last night as my slumber was arrested

by a vivid, terrifying virtual world,

I lay, unflinching at 3 A.M., recognizing that familiar emotion.

It was clear to me that all that was

Precious to me as a child

has been replaced by you.

Rationale Behind Religious Exemptions for Childhood Vaccinations

During the spring of 1994 a measles outbreak infected 190 people in two counties within Illinois and Missouri. The outbreak was traced back to two specific Christian Science communities where similar outbreaks occurred in 1978, 1980, 1985, and 1989 (“Outbreak”). The Christian Science community is among a number of religiously convicted peoples who generally do not approve of or accept vaccinations (“Cultural”). Their collective refusal poses a significant health risk to society. The CDC has reported that fifty percent of all documented U.S. measles cases in the first half of 1994 could be traced back to persons who did not accept vaccinations (“Outbreak”). Vaccination exemptions can be issued in every state for medical reasons, only twenty states for philosophical reasons, but in 48 states you can be exempt for contradiction of “sincere religious beliefs” (“States”). It is not difficult to understand why children with deficient immune systems should be excluded from the mandate. In contrast, the reasoning behind a religious exemption becomes one of theological debate and some may defend that it remains a private issue. However, when a private conviction affects public safety it becomes a social issue.
Religion is considered by some to be beyond scrutiny. In fact, contained within The First Amendment is the free exercise clause, which has kept “Uncle Sam” from stifling the religious practices of Americans since its inception (“First”). Keeping these religious convictions a free and private matter has always served as an arbitrator in our pluralistic society. That does not mean that the State should never intrude upon one’s personal beliefs and rights to protect the population as a whole. In fact, in 1905 the U.S. Supreme Court set a precedent in Jacobson vs. Massachusetts when they overruled a Cambridge, MA citizen’s refusal of vaccination for smallpox on philosophical grounds, thus limiting his “individual liberties in order to protect the public’s health” (“Cultural”). Philosophical objections to vaccination can be as varied as the people that hold them. One philosophical thread that seems to run through the majority of objectors is a great mistrust of the medical community at large. This distrust is largely the result of misinformation and not understanding or being privy to the facts (“Beginning”). The religious community, on the other hand is loaded with information. The problem is that their information leads them to a different conclusion. With natural exception (“Cultural”), it is not so much that zealots have a mistrust in the medical community it is that they do not trust mankind, at least not to the degree that they trust their omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent deity.
This trust in the divine and its scriptures leads to a number of arguments as to why one should not have their children vaccinated. In an online article titled “KNOW…Religious Conviction”(on the site know-vaccines) the author(s) preface the argument for religious exemption by stating, “Implicit in our understanding of this message is acceptance that man was created in the image of God and is filled with the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are the temple of God’s Holy Spirit…this tenet forms the basis for religious objection to the practice of vaccination”(“Know”). Megan Helmer argues for a child’s body being sacred when she paraphrases and summarizes several passages of the Bible, “Human blood was to be kept pure under all circumstances and free of contaminants like animal parts and blood” (Helmer) It is often stated that the “Ten Commandments” also make up the guiding principles for Christian life. The first commandment is generally accepted as, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex 20.3). This verse is sometimes understood to mean that anything that is not submissive to the “Word of God” should not be considered authoritative (Helmer). So with this logic, if the government is not acting within the realm of what christians consider biblical it is not only permissible but imperative that it be rebelled against (Dan 1.8,Acts 5.29). This argument serves as a catch all for the extremist. Another popular defense of religious exemption is the idea that human cells can sometimes be used to create vaccines for children. This is a major sticking point for pro-life supporters especially, which is evidenced by the use of phrases such as “murdering unborn children” and other inflammatory verbiage in reference to the use of fetal embryo cells (Helmer). These and a number of other arguments from the Bible are straightforward. Christians generally believe that God is the giver, healer, and sustainer of life, which starts at conception, and that he governs a child’s immune system and is sovereign over any infectious disease that may ravage their body. Paul A. Offit, MD captures this mindset in his book titled Do You Believe in Magic?, “Because God or the gods caused disease, healers were shamans, witches, and priests, and treatments were prayer, amulets, and sacrifices”(Offit 27).They also generally accept that he is the supreme ruler and must be obeyed for the sake of a clear conscience and pure heart. If a person adheres to this standard of thought it is easy to see how they have arrived at seeing vaccinations for their children as being immoral. However, it is sometimes recognized that much of this argumentation lacks clear lineage to the issue at hand. For example, there is no clear answer to when “life” actually begins, and many Christians believe that even bad government is instituted by God (Rom 13.1-7). When this happens, more obscure objections come from interpretations of ancient imperatives into modern affairs.
The difficulty of interpreting archaic writing such as the Bible is that the context in which it was written is very different from modernity. Sometimes very little is known about the situation for which it was penned. When this is the case, commentators and teachers often fall prey to eisegesis, or inserting meaning into a text that was likely never intended. The following demonstrates a clear case of such eisegesis. Leviticus chapter nineteen verse nine states, “You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed”. This is relevant to the debate because according to Horowitz, Franz, and Owen, bovine serum is commonly used in vaccinations, thus when vaccinated you have “sown thy bloodstream with ‘mingled seed’ that not only taxes your immune system further, but may cause the development of cancer cells as well”. The first verse of Luke chapter five is also used to defend this stance. In the same article, Horowitz, Franz, and Owen go on to claim that some vaccines are made using the blood serum from “social drop-outs and drug addicts who were exposed to various infectious agents”. This, they claim, is what was used to make the hepatitis B vaccine and given to gay men in 1974 and this is what started the AIDS pandemic. No one wants to inject the serum of drug addicts and social misfits into their children. In fact, no mentally fit person desires to purposefully inflict harm on their child. Most people behave this way out of love and nurture alone, but for the religious person they believe in a higher obligation as well.
The bottom line is that Christians, like all other parents feel strong obligations to do what they feel is best for their children. They also believe that they are stewards of these children and that they will be held accountable to God for how they managed his children for him (Bland). This belief in the supernatural management of the universe has led to a controvertibly unnatural response to modern preventative medicine for their children.

Works Cited
“The Beginning of a Communication Breakdown: The Repercussions of the Public’s Mistrust in Vaccines.” The Movement RSS. Boston University School of Public Health, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
Bland, Greg. “What Does Being a Steward of Our Children Mean.” Christiancoachingcenter.org. Coach 22, 10 Oct. 2011. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.
“Cultural Perspectives on Vaccination.” History of Vaccines RSS. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
“First Amendment: An Overview.” Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.
Helmer, Megan. “God Does Not Support Vaccines.” Living Whole. N.p., 7 July 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.
“History of Anti-vaccination Movements.” History of Vaccines RSS. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 18 Dec. 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
Horowitz, Leonard G., Norm Franz, and Errol Owen. “Vaccination: The UnGodly Practice.” Tetrahedron.org. Tetrahedron Publishing Group, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.
“KNOW…Religious Conviction.” Know-vaccines.org. Vaccine Awareness of North Florida, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.
Offit, Paul A. “1-Rediscovering the Past: Mehmet Oz and His Superstars.” Do You Believe in Magic?: Vitamins, Supplements, and All Things Natural: A Look behind the Curtain. New York: Harper, 2013. 27. Print.
“Outbreak of Measles Among Christian Science Students — Missouri and Illinois, 1994.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Sept. 1998. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
“STATES WITH RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL EXEMPTIONS FROM SCHOOL IMMUNIZATION REQUIREMENTS.” National Conference of State Legislatures. N.p., 3 Mar. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

How to Suck at Life

Most people understand what it means to be a loser in any particular sport, but how many people have thought about how to suck at life. There are many areas of life in which one can be a louse, but for the sake of brevity this essay will focus on the following: spousal ineptitude, parental incompetence, social awkwardness, and self-deprecation.

To begin, you must always think of yourself, foremost. In the arena of an unsatisfying life, nothing is more important than mastery of the daily dealings with a spouse or life-partner. Never put your loved ones feelings, needs, or happiness before your own. Their selfish desires are not tantamount to your dignified demands. Always be sure to keep a running tab of the times when things do not fall in your favor. Those tasty tidbits are infallible proof of your calamitous position during times of relational escalation. During those arguments, it never hurts to condescend and contort the words of a confused lover to ensure a satisfying end to the conversation. It is good for them to sense inferiority to your intellectual prowess. The importance of this leg-up cannot be overstated. To that end, it is paramount that errors be vigorously avoided and denied. You must not expose any form of weakness or ignorance, if your dominion is to be maintained.

If childrearing is your unfortunate plight, you should not dismiss what follows. It is crucial that your spousal dominance be broadcast and carried over into your parenting strategy. You should always carry about an air of superiority when dealing with children. They are, after all, subservient to your every whim. Often times it is necessary to remind them of their place, under your authority. One thing to keep in mind when dealing with children and teenagers is that they are not small people. They have not yet developed into people. As the tadpole remains an inferior and undeveloped amphibian, so to are children, less than human. They do not yet have the ability to feel, reason, or understand the complicated world of adults. Therefore, you must not bother with teaching them how to think, but rather emphasize what it is that they should think. You must not be bothered with their insignificant whimpering about bullying, relationships, or any other philosophical nonsense. These experiences are nothing more than a rush of hormones teasing an embryonic brain. If, at any time, you sense that they may begin to question your remarkable cultivation techniques, action must be taken straight away. Lengthy discussions using logic regarding the natural consequences of poor choices is futile. Administration of dictatorial discipline will be necessary.

Evasion tactics are effective when dealing with partners and children, but they become especially potent when manipulating friends and acquaintances. Social slipperiness can be applied through the use of erratic reclusive and communal patterns. For a determined period of time you should remain detached and uninterested. Next, surge back into a friends life with vigor. This pattern can be intimidating for the inexperienced jerk. Although you seek intimacy with your companion, you must be clear that you are disappointed in their apathy toward your voluntary exile. This disappointment must never be verbalized, however. As you gain experience contriving, you will discover that there are many creative ways to shiv your comrade with your chagrin. Once they come to the realization that your friendship is valuable yet fragile, you will call all of the shots.

The underlying principle that girds all of the aforementioned points is self-loathing. In order to be an effective knave, you must internalize a rooted bitter hatred for yourself. The reality of who you are should always lie just beneath the veneer of haughtiness. You must know that you are a detestable worm. A worm that must remain buried, writhing in the muck and slime of a pitted soul. A sentient worm is a miserable worm. This hatred will breed many insecurities that will flow into a distinct mistrust of others like a cancer slithers into the glands. It is only when this apprehension has blossomed into dread that your tactics will be fully effective. Otherwise, friends and loved ones alike will just be suspicious that you are having a bad day. Without a proper foul personality, you may receive the benefit of the doubt and the offended will dismiss it without gravity.

The life of a deadbeat is quite an undertaking. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. It may be helpful to develop a chemical or alcohol dependence to ensure a direct path to becoming a twit. You will have questions along the way. You may find it confusing at times, but lets be honest, no one knows more than you do. One thing is for certain, the people that remain in your life belong to you.