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This is part of a Wednesday series on Goddess spirituality and political activism.

Lammas (loaf mass) is the midpoint between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox.  It’s a time of anticipation:  the work of planting and tending the crops is mostly done, but the harvest is not yet certain.  Lammas is connected with a number of Celtic Goddesses, including Brigid .

Brigid (or Bride) is the Irish Goddess of fire.  She appears in triple form as the poet, the healer and the smith.  She is most strongly connected with the fire festival of Imbolc (Candlemas) in February, but is also revered at Lammas.  When Christianity arrived in Ireland, Brigid was rewritten as a Catholic saint, said to be the midwife for the Virgin Mary.  (How Saint Brigid got from Ireland to a stable in Bethlehem, I don’t exactly know.)   The Goddess’s symbols, holy sites, and probably her stories were given to the saint.

As the Goddess of healing, Brigid is associated with sacred wells, and especially hot springs.  One story is told about two men afflicted with leprosy, who turned to Brigid for help.  She had them bathe in her spring, and told one of the men to wash the other.  As he did, the second man’s sores disappeared, and he was cured.

Brigid told the second man to wash his companion.

The newly cured man looked at his friend, still covered with grotesque lesions, and he was repulsed.  He said, "I can’t."

Brigid replied, "Then you are not truly healed."  And with a wave of her hand, he was stricken with leprosy again, and his companion was healed.

Health care is probably the best example of the saying that, "All of us do better when ALL of us do better."  That’s the thinking behind vaccinations, safe-sex campaigns, and anti-smoking rules.  On a broader level, vegetarianism is good for individual health, but also good for the environment, which impacts all of our health.  (I’m still working on the self-discipline for that one, but even getting there in stages is better than not getting there at all.  Every meatless meal means a little more grain to go around, and a little less carbon in the atmosphere.)

Here in California, several years ago some bright sparks came up with Proposition 187, cutely nicknamed Save Our State or SOS.  Among other things, it forbade providing any "non-emergency" health care without proof of the patient’s citizenship or legal presence in the United States.  Had this been enacted, it would have meant no vaccinations for anyone undocumented, no medication for contagious diseases, no treatment for pretty much anything short of a heart attack.    

The harm would have been greatest to undocumented people, but it wouldn’t have stopped there, just like smoke doesn’t stay in the smoking section.  Emergency rooms would have far more overcrowded, since problems that could have been treated earlier would have been literally left to fester.  When a Prop 187 supporter inevitably got hepatitis because the person handling their food couldn’t get treatment, I promise you, that same Prop 187 supporter would never have seen their own part in creating the problem.  Fortunately, the State Supreme Court struck down the law.  Now, with California’s budget crisis, the anti-immigrant crowd is gearing up again, trying to find a way around the court’s ruling.

I'd be remiss if I didn't link to the video of Jon Stewart's recent interview with Bill Kristol, where Jon cornered Kristol into admitting that the gevernment can indeed run a first-class health care system, and does so for the military.  Kristol then went on to make the brain-implodingly bizzarre argument that if we bring everyone else's health care up to the same standard, that somehow devalues the care the troops are getting, even though the troops' care would be exactly the same as before.

There are times when health care becomes a zero-sum phenomenon, like when you have one defibrillator available and two patients in your overcrowded emergency room who need it right now.  But a lot of those situations could be avoided with quality universal preventive care that keeps people out of emergency rooms.  Better care for you spirals back around into better care for me.  Brigid's well has enough for all of us.

Happy Lammas, y'all.

Originally posted to Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 11:44 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm so glad you're mentioning this (12+ / 0-)

    because the 187 folks are trying again, and they're targeting anchor babies in particular.

    Healthy Minds & Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays 5 PM PDT

    by RLMiller on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:00:09 PM PDT

  •  Indeed, Happy Lughnassadh (14+ / 0-)

    I have recently developed an interest in the witchy path (I ordered Adler's "Drawing Down the Moon" and a Cunningham book). One of my hangups about Witchcraft however is the polytheism. I was raised Southern Baptist and it is drilled into your head that polytheism is bad. But then I hear about St. Brigid. Catholics pray to her, and their prayers get answered. She is the same as the old goddess Brigit. What does that say about monotheism? Same with Our Lady of Guadeloupe/Tonantzin.

    Maybe it's like Hinduism, with many beings/one godhead. I don't know.

    Robin Carnahan for Senate in 2010!

    by exotrip on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:02:03 PM PDT

    •  Some Pagans, including myself (19+ / 0-)

      don't view it as polytheism per se, but one Divine Force that can be visualized in an infinite number of aspects.

      I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

      by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:04:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  one god, infinite avatars (11+ / 0-)

      Because humans lack ability to comprehend the abstract.

      fact does not require fiction for balance

      by mollyd on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:07:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well yes and no (7+ / 0-)

        Humans are able to comprehend mathematics which is an abstract well at least some of them can. But they seem to lack the ability to use that comprehension to develop an equatible and sustainable economic system.

        "I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed." -- Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

        by Wes Opinion on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:21:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How about no gods, infinite inventions (0+ / 0-)

        because pre-modern humans lacked alternative explanations, and some modern humans still cling to them.

        I prefer not to base policies regarding vaccination and other healthcare issues on the prescriptions of a mythical supernatural being, whether that being is called Jesus, Jehovah, or Brigid.

        Believe whatever you want, I utterly respect your right to do so, even if I disagree with your religious assertions - but the moment you start using that as an argument for public policy, you are no different than those who argue against abortion on religious grounds.

        Our health care policy should be based on reason and science, not religious beliefs of any kind, mainstream or not.

        People on the Left have this curious bias that tends to consider it politically correct to critique religions like Christianity, but politically incorrect to critique pagan religions, so I have no doubt the loving followers of whatever will express their love by hating all over me for this comment.

        I don't tend to intrude into faith based discussions - but, when they extrapolate from alleged miracles to health care policy, that affects me and my family directly, hence my comments here.

        Live love and believe what you will, but keep your religion out of the policy sphere.

        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:56:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because Paganism isn't about belief. (6+ / 0-)

          It is the right path even for some atheists like me. The various Gods and Goddess are merely stories to instruct or to shed light on certain things. They are a metaphor if you like. I was never happy as a plain old fashioned atheist, missing this and that from religious practice. Paganism lets me be 'religious' while not needing to believe anything that does not match reality.

          Should we allow a private option?

          by Toon on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:08:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nothing wrong with how you practice (0+ / 0-)

            it is the injection of your practices into policy discussions that is the issue.

            You and I will cannot agree on beliefs, but we can agree on facts, if they are presented openly and clearly.

            Policies should be based on facts, not wishful thinking - particularly in the realm of health care.

            If we legitimize discussion about the merits of vaccinations using Celtic Goddess metaphors, why not legitimize discussion about the merits of vaccination using idolization of Jenny McCarthy, who insists they cause autism? Her belief is sincere and heartfelt. It is no less authentic than your Goddess myths.

            Just look at the comments here - most of them are affirming supernaturalism and myth, not about health care policy results or prescriptions.

            There is no place for myth in health care policy discussions. It doesn't produce unifying proposals. It is divisive and weakens the basis for factual, rational policymaking.

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:33:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  People have always (4+ / 0-)

              told. If we can attract attention to our point by story telling why not do so?
              You made a comment "they extrapolate from alleged miracles to health care policy,' which makes me think you missed the point of the story which was not 'St. Briget cured leprosy' but that it's about how being unwilling to reciprocate will lose you what you wanted. Twenty years ago companies petitioned the government to be allowed to run for profit health care on the grounds that they would lower costs and improve out comes. They instead grew rich while achieving neither goal. Like the first leper, why should they not have their petition rescinded and health care management entrusted to someone else?

              Should we allow a private option?

              by Toon on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 02:26:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This myth, and your extrapolation from it (0+ / 0-)

                focus on punishing "bad people," rather than healing the sick. I happen to find the myth alienating and morally repugnant, frankly - but that is really not the point.

                Like most ancient morality tales, it also promotes a false simplistic dichotomy with little room for nuance or complexity, and it does not encourage dialog and inclusion. Politically, this is very dangerous, and is one of the reasons I find introducing spiritual arguments into policy discussions harmful in general.

                It also makes an analogy between a god and the government, promoting the view of government as separate from and above us.

                But those are just problems I have with this specific mythical metaphor. None of this addresses my central critique, which is that discussions of public health policy should not be based on myth, even in a metaphorical way. Anecdotes and stories are ways to emotionally manipulate a discussion, they are not valid bases for promulgating something as broad, far-reaching and complex as public health policy.

                Just like Ronald Reagan's stories about welfare queens - or Obama's stories about people he met at this appearance or that - they don't shed new light, they are forms of demagoguery. They are not neutral information points, they are ways of influencing emotions.

                And, the other point I raised, which no one has addressed, is that you can't argue against people introducing one myth into policy discussions and not another - you can't say, "it's ok to frame health policy in pagan terms, but not Christian terms", for example.

                I argue that public policy discussions are better served by keeping beliefs and myths out of them.

                One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 03:59:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Without morality how will we judge (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RandomActsOfReason

                  good policy from bad? Facts are needed to understand what is but morality is what we need to judge what ought to be. And whether the stories are based on religion or not, moral stories let us think about right and wrong before we encounter a particular situation. So that if one has a family member who received helped when he was unemployment who now shows no willingness to help during some one else's illness you have a way to sort between the argument 'you were helped so now you need to pitch in' and the argument 'nothing was promised so nothing is owed.' The whole curing of leprosy set up is just form stories took in that culture at that time and we don't need to believe in God to see that the lepers acted in typical ways any more than we need to believe that foxes talk to gain insight about human behavior from Aesop's fable about sour grapes.

                  Should we allow a private option?

                  by Toon on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 06:47:14 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Myth and/or religion not required for morality (0+ / 0-)

                    One has nothing to do with the other.

                    How do we judge good policy from bad?

                    Based on the results, and how they line up with the objectives.

                    How do we determine the objectives?

                    In a pluralist, democratic society, I argue we should determine them based on universally applicable and acceptable principles - not sectarian beliefs or ancient myths.

                    Just look at how one commenter interprets the myth as a punitive fable, with current health insurance companies as the "bad" leper who is punished for being unable to overcome their emotional response to the other leper's condition.

                    Not the mapping I would make, and perhaps not the mapping the diarist would make.

                    And certainly not a basis to learn from as we approach development to sensible and effective public health policy.

                    If you view this myth as a moral story, we have a different sense of morality. I don't think a god who punishes people by willfully granting and taking away suffering is a just one, and I don't think punishing humans for being human is a moral approach. I also don't think that looking outside ourselves for moral direction is helpful.

                    So, for me, as a potential audience, this myth is more offputting than instructive.

                    Whereas, an argument in favor of universal coverage that is based, not on dogmatic concepts of morality handed down in ancient myth or belief systems, but instead based on common sense and rational principles, is more compelling. And, I don't have to buy into any particular mythos to relate to it.

                    That seems to me a more universal and effective - and, because it is more inclusive, even more moral - approach.

                    I am not and do not attempt to impose my view on everyone else, nor to inhibit or censor other people's ability to present their arguments. I merely present - as respectfully and substantively as I can, despite all the personal attacks - an alternative, more universal method to talk about universal problems.

                    Thank you for being one of the few to engage me with equal respect, even though we disagree on the best way to achieve a common goal of equitable, inclusive and effective universal health care.

                    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 12:11:14 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I have bad news for you. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bluesophie

                      I don't think a god who punishes people by willfully granting and taking away suffering is a just one, and I don't think punishing humans for being human is a moral approach.

                      God does not exist, if he did he didn't punish any one, it's a made up story. (Even probably a story many of it's tellers did not believe literally.) A story made by a certain culture which was retold then and now because it illustrates a point. If you are European its part of your culture.
                      And of course we should look outside ourselves for moral direction. We live in groups and those groups function best when every one is roughly in agreement about how to get along. Should we stop and renegotiate every detail with every new person or should we have common understandings about the nature of property and interpersonal relationships? We should look to the stories that others tell, its part of how we hold a culture together. And its part of how we teach each other what's expected. If we did it your way, it would be like throwing out all the knowledge of the past. Yes, some of it should be thrown out, but some is good and should be kept. And we should certainly always be discussing which is which.
                      Why limit our arsenal in the fight to pass health care. Many more Americans will remember our points if they are delivered in an entertaining way. Look at how much better Daily Show watchers do at correctly remembering recent current events. Yes in a perfect world every one would sit and listen to just the facts delivered in a Ben Stein like voice. In this world however we are competing with people who are very practiced at delivering their lies with a song and dance routine.

                      Should we allow a private option?

                      by Toon on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 02:08:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Your points are well taken (0+ / 0-)

                        And we may agree on more than you may think, as you seem to have misinterpreted some of my intent (surely due in no small part to my failure to communicate it clearly enough).

                        When I talked about "looking outside ourselves for moral direction", what I meant was looking outside the human community or mortal plane for moral direction - that is, looking to a "higher power" or "spiritual realm" for guidance. Surely you recognize that using god myths plays into the overwhelming dominant cultural meme in the US which does believe a) in a higher power, and b) that a higher power is necessary for moral direction.

                        (Incidentally, the nonexistence of supernatural forces, embodied or otherwise, is not "bad news" to me, or news at all. Given all the heat I've taken here for presenting a scientific materialist, monist viewpoint, I'm not sure why you felt the need to make that statement, but whatever)

                        God myths are not as culturally neutral as stories about a fox and a hen, or raising children in a shoe. They have cultural weight - even if they are not myths drawn from a Judeo-Christian tradition. God myths say, "here is a higher wisdom, to which we should subordinate our own". That's how the dominant religion's work, by teaching followers to distrust their own internal compass, and that of their peers, and to subordinate their will to a higher authority (inevitably, conveniently, represented exclusively by a mortal priestly class here on Earth).

                        Assuming you are right, and the diarist's intent was to reach out to a broad audience, who is this pagan myth meant to appeal to? It will not appeal to Judeo-Christian chauvinists; it will not appeal to skeptics; it presents a morally ambiguous message at best; it is potentially divisive and even offensive, at least to some. And it is posted on Daily Kos, for crying out loud - preaching to the converted anyway.

                        Now, let's contemplate an alternative - which is not, as you suggest, to take the life out of an argument and turn it into a cold, lifeless collection of facts.

                        If we ground a policy argument for universal health care in tangible, measurable, proven benefits for society that far outweigh its costs - such an argument is a) factually unassailable, and b) at least potentially universally acceptable - at least across faith boundaries, among people with at least one foot in the reality-based community. We may never persuade right-wing extremists no matter what we say.

                        But, the more we couch domestic policy - particularly when it comes to something as vital as health care, with such tangible results - in religious or quasi-religious or even spiritual terms, the more we weaken the potential coalition of reasonable people of all faiths, spiritual inclinations, and those of us with none, who can work together to produce good policy.

                        And, the more we ground policy proposals in tangible, measurable goals, the more able we are to adjust and improve policy as we implement it.

                        It's a lot easier to measure the degree to which a vaccination program reduces infectious outbreaks, than it is to measure the degree to which a vaccination program fulfills a moral imperative.

                        "It's the right thing" is not a compelling argument to me - I hear it said, with equal conviction, by people advocating a woman's right to an abortion - AND by those who would outlaw it.

                        We may fundamentally differ in one respect, I'm not sure, although I am sure I differ on this with many of those who have personally attacked me here - I do not accept that public policy should be based on subjective morality, but rather on objective, quantifiable and measurable social benefit.

                        And, I assert that rational behavior leads to moral results.

                        Otherwise, I could not believe in a free society and the ability of people to self-govern.

                        We don't all believe the same things. The only common basis we have is reality.

                        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 05:25:51 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

        •  that works also (4+ / 0-)

          make the leap if you choose, or not

          fact does not require fiction for balance

          by mollyd on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:08:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But, there are consequences (0+ / 0-)

            This is a political forum, and the diary is about policy issues.

            This isn't about whether myth fills some hole in one's life, or about "making leaps". Policy should not be about leaps, it should be about how known facts help predict future results, and how we should tune our actions to optimize the odds of achieving those results.

            I love reading about myths, just as I love poetry and music and all forms of art.

            But I don't want a poet to write my health care policy.

            And the problem with your approach is that it is alienating and exclusionary. We can all agree on the data about health care, regardless of our individual spiritual or religious beliefs.

            We can all follow logical steps that say, when we did x, this happened; when someone else tried y, that happened - if we want that, we need to try y, not keep doing x.

            Math works the same way for everyone. So does science, under identical conditions. They present a common basis for common policies that affect all of us - not just people who believe as you do.

            The moment you introduce faith into the equation, you are dividing your audience and introducing elements that are inherently anti-consensus.

            Let's stick to fact-based policies, not emotion- based policies. And let's celebrate myth and spiritualism and religion elsewhere - anywhere but in the policy sphere.

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:28:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  this is a community, politics yes (5+ / 0-)

              but faith and myths and LOLcats are part of the whole.

              fact does not require fiction for balance

              by mollyd on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:30:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not part of healthcare policy (0+ / 0-)

                LOLcats are not a basis for policy prescriptions. And neither are ancient Goddess myths.

                You have isolated and taken out of context my reference to community, ignoring that I specifically noted the issue of extrapolating policy from myth.

                This diary is not about myth, it is uses a myth as a basis for a philosophy about public healthcare policy.

                We should not be getting into debates about the legitimacy of the Goddess myth or whose beliefs are better. None of that divisive crap has a place in a public health policy debate, because none of it has an affect on the results of public health policy implementations.

                One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:36:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You have made your point. (6+ / 0-)

                  Repeatedly. At length. You are close to the point where I would consider you a hijacker. Enough, already.

                  Veni, vidi, farinuxi.

                  by Ahianne on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:43:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Who is hijacking? (0+ / 0-)

                    This diary is about health care policy. You have posted a comment about vegetarianism and how hard it is for you to follow, and about the provenance of the Goddess Brigid/St. Brigid. You have posted another coment that simply says, "Enough!", and you have posted this personal attack.

                    Every comment I have made is directly about the consequences of the line of policy argument that this diary promotes. Every comment of mine has been relevant and on topic, while none of yours have.

                    Dissent may make you uncomfortable, in which case you have the utter freedom of not engaging in dissenters. Attempts to silence opinions that make you uncomfortable are not likely to be successful in an online forum, but good luck trying.

                    Personal attacks are not appropriate in any case.

                    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:54:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  this diary is part of a series about "goddesses" (4+ / 0-)

                      or did you misunderstand the opening paragraph?

                      fact does not require fiction for balance

                      by mollyd on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:58:59 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  This diary talks about health care issues (0+ / 0-)

                        It could be a series about pooties and woozles, doesn't matter. It is the health care policy part I have an issue with.

                        If you feel that people should not be allowed to weigh in on any issue directly related to the mission of this site, just because it is in a faith-related diary series, perhaps you should post it on StreetProphets instead.

                        Here, in the midst of heated discussion about health care, dominating this site, writing about health care policy in a "series about Goddesses" - and then objecting to discussion about health care policy in the context of a "series about Goddesses" is a bit disingenuous.

                        Are you incapable of acknowledging that perhaps it would have been better to separate the two discussions into separate diaries, if your goal is to keep non-Goddess respecting people like me out of the conversation?

                        I doubt I'd even find a diary about "Brigid", if it didn't pop up in my health care keyword search.

                        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 02:03:13 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  people who go looking for an ax to grind (5+ / 0-)

                          will always find one :)

                          enjoy your ax

                          fact does not require fiction for balance

                          by mollyd on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 02:12:44 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Or, perhaps people with a legitimate point of vie (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rieux

                            that differs from yours, have a legitimate point of view.

                            You'll never know if you refuse to engage them honestly and straightforwardly on the substance of their argument, rather than making snarky ad hominem imputations of motive in an attempt to discredit them as the messenger of a message you don't want to address.

                            I have made no personal attacks on you, and I have repeatedly stated that I respect your right to believe whatever you believe.

                            When you inject those beliefs into a public policy discussion that affects me and everyone else, it is perfectly legitimate and honest to engage in a debate about that injection.

                            I have pointed out the general problem with injecting such beliefs into such discussions.

                            I have done so without any reference to your specific beliefs, without any attack on Gods or Goddesses, Brigid or other, nor specifically against any pagan beliefs.

                            I have talked in general about the need to present unifying arguments with universal appeal that will not be divisive and not needlessly derail substantive discussions into emotionally laden diatribes about the merits of one belief system over another.

                            The hostility with which my comments are met should demonstrate to you the problem with making a public health care policy argument based on an ancient myth. As well as the irony of believing that "taking the leap" makes one a better, more loving, tolerant and accepting person.

                            I have attempted to engage all here with personal respect, while challenging substantive arguments. I wish I could say the same about the pushback.

                            Perhaps it would be useful for you to stop and contemplate the implications of what has just happened here. It wasn't necessary.

                            The sum of my argument is that public health policy arguments should not be based on myth or religion or any sort of irrational belief system at all, but rather should be based on fact, reason and logic.

                            I have yet to hear a single substantive rebuttal of that position - all I am getting is a) personal insults and b) defenses of the merits of paganism as compared with mainstream religions.

                            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 02:22:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm off topic (4+ / 0-)

                      ..talking about Brigid in a diary off Brigid? And I made a personal attack? Go bloviate elsewhere.

                      Veni, vidi, farinuxi.

                      by Ahianne on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 02:52:33 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I was going to hate on it for other reasons (5+ / 0-)

          I think you have completely missed the point.  Rather than getting defensive over religion interspersed with policy, why don't you see it for what it is: a metaphor for why a certain policy change is good.  This is a story with a great moral.

          Just because you don't see the meanings behind mythology doesn't mean that they aren't relevant, and please don't accuse someone of basing policy off of religion when that clearly is not the case.

          •  I disagree it is a story with a great moral (0+ / 0-)

            I find it a cruel and inhumane example of the tradition of divine retribution, insensitivity to human frailties and, worst of all, the principle that we should seek to base our notions of morality on some external supernatural wisdom.

            Myths are subject to interpretation. I see a different meaning than you do, which is why myth is not a good basis for public policy.

            The point being, the whole exercise is needlessly divisive. I don't buy into the Brigid myth, and I don't find the morality tale moral at all, so the rest of the discussion about health care policy becomes irrelevant or at least suspect.

            Why introduce matters of myth and miracles to a discussion about real health care affecting real people in the real world?

            Just look at the comments - all about affirming the belief system, not about the policy. And look at your comments - all about defending the beliefs or the myth, not about public health care policy.

            Bringing an ancient belief system into the conversation is needlessly divisive. It can be a very interesting topic for discussion on its own, but it has no place in a health care policy discussion - no more place than any other ancient belief system (or new one, for that matter).

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:48:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Atheist Fundementalist (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              anotherdemocrat

              cough

              Robin Carnahan for Senate in 2010!

              by exotrip on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 03:57:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ad hominem is no substitute for substantive talk (0+ / 0-)

                why the need to insult and attack the messenger?

                I have made a substantive - and respectful - argument with no personal attacks.

                It is interesting that all the personal insults and rigid unwillingness to engage are coming from those who condemn "atheist fundamentalists".

                I'm not out bombing your temple or sniping your doctors or genitally mutilating your children or denying your daughters access to emergency contraception or denying your gay and lesbian brothers and sisters the right to live in equality with all other loving couples in America.

                I'm not out banning your books or picketing your movies or otherwise threatening your way of life.

                I have simply suggested that myth and spiritual arguments are not helpful to public policy discussions.

                That makes me an "atheist fundamentalist"? I suggest you need to practice whatever it is you preach, and take a long look in the mirror before spewing epithets at strangers on the Internet.

                One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 04:03:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No you are not debating (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sberel, anotherdemocrat

                  You are stirring up shit, because you don't like religion. You started off by condemning the diarist for daring to bring a spiritual viewpoint into a discussion about health care. I have taken a look at your comment history and it seems all you are doing here is instigating flamewars over religion. You are bringing nothing of value into any discussion on this website. As far as I am concerned, you are in the same class as a conservative infiltrator.

                  Take your arguments to a diary that is actually about the validity of religion. Not this one, or any of the others you are currently trolling.

                  Robin Carnahan for Senate in 2010!

                  by exotrip on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 04:10:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Again, ad hominem while ignoring substance (0+ / 0-)

                    This diary is about health care policy. My comments have been addressed to the substance of this diary.

                    I have not questioned the validity of religion in my comments in this diary. I have only questioned the validity of applying religious arguments to public health care policy.

                    You are free to judge other people however you wish, it has no impact on either my point nor my intent to communicate it.

                    If you argue that religious arguments are relevant to public health care policy, let's here why. If you disagree with my position and wish to rebut my arguments, I welcome that discussion.

                    Instead, you just spew personal filth towards strangers on the Internet.

                    Now, what does that say about you and the merits of whatever belief system you subscribe to?

                    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 04:29:18 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I don't subscribe to a belief system for starters (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      anotherdemocrat

                      If you argue that religious arguments are relevant to public health care policy, let's here why.

                      No one is arguing that. That was not what this diary was about. You are the only one having the argument.

                      If you disagree with my position and wish to rebut my arguments, I welcome that discussion.

                      No, because no one cares about your arguments. I am sure you have many of them. But that would be off-topic.

                      This diary is about health care policy. My comments have been addressed to the substance of this diary.

                      No, it was about goddess spirituality and how it relates to current political events. Tara says that upfront. That is the starting point from which the discussion goes forth. Your attacking of that basis is inappropriate diary hijacking. Quite frankly, if you are not willing to respect that basis then don't comment in her diary series.

                      Instead, you just spew personal filth towards strangers on the Internet.

                      Well yeah, I call them as I see them-- troll.

                      Robin Carnahan for Senate in 2010!

                      by exotrip on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:16:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  YMMV (0+ / 0-)

                        Clearly, that very concept makes you uncomfortable.

                        Just as clearly, there is nothing you can do about it except work on being less hateful, prejudiced and hostile, and learn to engage people with differing worldviews constructively and substantively, without calling them names or spewing bullshit in all directions.

                        Most clearly, none of your diatribes are going to have the least effect on me or anyone else you spew on.

                        Must be so frustrating, to have to live in a world where anyone can say what they think over the Internet, and you can't shut them up...

                        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:47:11 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure that's what the diarist meant.. (5+ / 0-)

          I don't think she draws on Brigit as a miracle healer, but rather is trying to make a connection between an ancient belief system and a belief that we should provide health care for each other.

          I think that there are gradiations in pagan worship, as there are in all religous practices.  I think you can mark the seasons of the earth, and reflect on what feminine mysticism might have been like, and is currently like, without necessarily waiting for a miracle from the Goddess.  The Pagans that I know vary in their practices - some of them using their beliefs (which are based on communal rationality and responsibility) to think about how actions affect others.  There are some Pagans who truly believe in the power of the Goddess, but I don't know what percentage that is.

          I do think that there are many New Age practioners who practice no skepticism whatsoever, and are even more annoying than evangelical Christians.

          And my father is an atheist - so I have no particular belief system that I'm clinging to from childhood - just a sense that there is a place for ritual and a sense of mystery in our lives.

          •  Belief systems are not the issue here (0+ / 0-)

            policy discussions are the issue.

            trying to make a connection between an ancient belief system and a belief that we should provide health care for each other.

            That's exactly the problem. That's exactly what fundamentalists do. That's exactly what magical thinkers like Jenny McCarthy or those who think floridation of the water is a secular humanist plot do.

            Once you introduce "ancient belief systems", you have a) needlessly divided us,
            b) presented a parochial argument - those who do not accept the ancient belief system will not be swayed by its connection to anything
            c) most critically, introduced the notion that ancient belief systems are a legitimate basis for public policy.

            You will ultimately be reduced to arguing why one ancient belief system is superior to another, and assure that your system, unlike all those other nasty system, is virtuous.

            It is all irrelevant to a discussion about public health policy.

            If we can't find a basis in logic and reason to provide universal health care, than we really have no moral basis to call for universal health care, because we have no right to impose our beliefs on others who do not share them.

            If we can present an argument in favor of specific policy proposals that do not rely on ancient belief systems, but instead on facts and logic, then we have a moral basis for arguing that everyone should be part of such a system.

            And, pragmatically, we have a better chance of gaining support, because that support will not be contingent upon accepting the legitimacy of one ancient belief system or another.

            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:42:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why we do and what we do (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              anotherdemocrat

              Again, I think there is a distinction between
              why we do certain things and what we do.  I know
              you will disagree with me, but for me, the question
              is not what kind of health care policy should we provide, but why we should care about the health of others.  

              There are many reasons why we should immunize an entire group of people

              1. it provides "herd" immunity and effectively wipes out instances of the disease
              1. is prevents the occurrence of the disease,which is more costly and can cause morbidity and mortality.

              .... and

              1. it is the right thing to do.  

              I think you would agree that 1) and 2) are rational and reasonable, but 3) is more troublesome. 1) and 2) should be enough, but 3) is more contested for many reasons.

              If I'm immunized and healthy, why should I care about other people?  What is the logic of that?

              •  Caring about other people (0+ / 0-)

                makes perfect logical sense. I suggest reading John Rawls - he presents an utterly secular, rational basis for progressive society and moral behavior. There have been many other arguments proposed  - but, frankly, I don't think "it's the right thing to do" is a compelling argument when it comes to vaccination policy. I think your first two reasons do fine, and, as you acknowledge, can be agreed to by any person, no matter what they believe. If 1 and 2 are sufficiently compelling, why is 3 necessary?

                There is an underlying problem with your whole line of argument, by the way, in my opinion - in the context of the discussions on this diary, it implies that without a "higher" reason, rooted in some divine authority, we have no reason to be moral.

                It is dangerously close to the "atheists have no moral compass" argument. Not saying you intend to make it, but think of the implications of your statement.

                Are you suggesting there is no secular reason to be a good person? Because the only conclusion to draw from that is that faith is necessary for morality, and that it is impossible for a rational atheist to care about doing the right thing.

                Data point:
                According to the Pew Global Attitudes Project of 2002, twice as many respondents in the US say religion is important to them, vs respondents in Canada. Canada has universal health care, the US does not.

                Data set:
                In the same study, citizens of 24 nations stated that religion was very important to them at rates above 50%. (of those, incidentally, only one was considered a fully developed "1st world" nation, the United States). 16 nations had fewer than 50% of citizens state that religion was very important (actually, all 16 had fewer than 30% of their citizens express that sentiment - there is a big gap between the god countries and the secular countries). China, Egypt Jordan and Lebanon either didn’t permit such a question, or it was considered to "sensitive (read: dangerous) to ask.

                Of the 41 countries surveyed, all the countries with universal health care are in the less religious category. None are in the 24 who are in the more religious category of the 41 surveyed.

                In fact, of all the nations on Earth with universal health care, 3/4 of them are strongly secular nations.

                Now, this does not have any bearing of course, on an individual's commitment to universal health care, nor does it suggest that individual religious faith is a barrier to universal health care.

                It surely suggests, however, that a spiritual justification for universal health care is neither needed nor particularly compelling. It surely suggests that a society can do "the right thing" without resorting to supernatural authority for its moral compass.

                One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:22:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  secular goodness is enough (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  anotherdemocrat

                  I don't think you need a supernatural power to be good.  I guess I should read Rawls...  I've never before felt an overwhelming need, but he is a very influential philosopher.

                  My father is an atheist, and he is one of the most ethical and moral people I know.  He can also be extremely  inflexible in some of his views. We agree on many topics, but disagree on others. For instance, I am less likely to believe in the power of scientific innovation to solve problems or to venerate the mathematical and physical sciences above all others.  

                  I don't think you need recourse to a supernatural power to do the right thing - I wonder why people do feel compassion. In fact, it is a greater mystery to me when people behave with compassion than when they don't.

                  I don't feel that compassion and empathy that derive from a belief in a supernatural power are necessarily a bad thing, and I don't think that religion in and of itself is bad.

                  I will tell you that I turn to religion/spirit to help me with grief and despair.  It is completely irrational.  But so are grief and despair. I also turn to poetry, and poets, who are also not rational. I have never done the things that I do because they adhere to a formal religious belief structure.  but I have found comfort in (very liberal) religions -  If it gives me comfort to believe something irrational, and I don't expect you to believe what I do, is there harm?

    •  Brigid is not a saint outside of Ireland (2+ / 0-)

      http://www.iamawitch.com/...

      Later, under Vatican II it was declared that there was insufficient proof for St. Brigit's sainthood and her existence, causing her sainthood to be repealed. Due to this action, Brigit is only considered a saint in Ireland and has lost much of her popularity, though she still survives as a popular pagan Goddess as part of the Celtic tradition.

      :-)  I like Brigid better as a Goddess anyway.... :-)

      (¯`*._(¯`*._(-PROSECUTE-)_.*´¯)_.*´¯)

      by NonnyO on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 02:05:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary. it is also worth mentioning (20+ / 0-)

    that St. Brigid was as powerful as Patrick in the early church. I have visited her cathedral in Kildare. there is a line in the early medieval literature that says that Brigid reings at Kildare, but Dun Ailinne (our archaeological site) is no more. Our site was associated with the pre-Christian kings of Leinster.

  •  Nice summary! (6+ / 0-)

    Now I'll have to go back and read your other posts in the series.  :)

  •  While I have no problems with vegetarianism or (6+ / 0-)

    vegetarians in general it not something I would adopt myself. But I do believe that industrial farming practices and the homogenisation of livestock is horrible not only for the enviroment but for a persons health as well. What I'd like to see is one a switch to more sustainable forms of livestock like goats and buffalo and two an incress in local family farms and a reduction in or even the elimination  of industrial farms.

    And go Brigid she's always been one of my favorites among the Celtic pantheon.

    "I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed." -- Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

    by Wes Opinion on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:04:33 PM PDT

  •  May we all be truly healed. (8+ / 0-)

    I cannot thank you enough for this great entry in this wonderful series, Tara.

  •  Brigit, Imbolc, and Groundhog's Day (5+ / 0-)

    I always think it interesting that February 2nd represents the intersection of three related but distinctly different holidays:

    Imbolc, the day to dedicate candles for the New Year
    St. Brigit's day, to celebrate a Goddess who became transformed into a Catholic Saint,
    and Groundhog's Day which is a secular holiday to remind us that spring is on its way some time in the not so distant future (6 to 8 weeks).

    I think that Groundhog's Day is a good current example of how past traditions (dedicating candles to remind us of the return of the light) become changed into new traditions - looking for the Groundhog's shadow as a way to remind us of the return to the light.

    I'm not a feminist Christian scholar, but I'm sure you could see over time how the Goddess Brigit became transformed to be acceptable to Catholicism.  
    The female saints are interesting - and perhaps represent an anchor for feminist Catholics fighting an uphill battle to argue for the female side of God

  •  Happy Lammas! (5+ / 0-)

    What a wonderful story right before the holiday.  I have really enjoyed this series.

  •  This was a fascinating piece, Tara (6+ / 0-)

    I've been curious about Bride (Brigid) since encountering mention of her and of the Celtic variant of Christianity in a book by Katherine Kurtz, The Temple and the Stone, about the Knights Templar in Scotland and how they helped Robert Bruce regain the Scottish throne. It's gotten me interested in exploring more of Celtic Christianity, which seems to be far less paternalistic than the brand coming out of Rome.

    Civility is the way of telling someone to go fuck themselves in such a way that the someone agrees it probably is a good idea.

    by Cali Scribe on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:36:19 PM PDT

    •  You're right (4+ / 0-)

      Celtic Christianity, which seems to be far less paternalistic than the brand coming out of Rome.

      I don't have a link immediately to hand, but as I recall, it was the Irish Christians who, voting on the subject of whether women have souls, were the swing vote "giving" women souls (this was probably the early medieval Catholic church).

      I'd look it up but it's incredibly hot & humid & my computer already crashed once...I'm trying not to overheat it again.

      GOP: Turning the U.S. into a banana republic since 1980

      by Youffraita on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 02:08:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One does not have to be (5+ / 0-)

    an epidemiologist to figure out that keeping people healthy is a good thing.  I wonder how many of the anti-immigrant folks were around for the polio scares.  Diseases don't really care where you hail from.  They're just looking for a compromised host.  What a bunch of a$$hats!

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:39:45 PM PDT

    •  I'd prefer if people who set vaccination policy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      luckylizard

      were, in fact, epidemiologists, or at least informed by them, and not by ancient myth.

      Keeping people healthy is a good thing - but HOW to do that is very much the realm of scientific medicine. Before its advent, people were not particularly healthy - and polio was a deadly rampaging disease.

      Understanding exactly how epidemics spread, and precisely how to apply vaccination programs to maximize public health benefits, very much requires being an epidemiologist.

      We should be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

      by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 02:08:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  aaargh! I was away from the computer on the day (2+ / 0-)

    you do my favorite Goddess! Well, at least I got here in time to rec & give mojo. Thanks so much for this series, I really love it.

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