Religion and Politics

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People often want to know something about their psychiatrist.

There is this thing called “transference” where their past relationship history can certainly color what they think and feel. I have no big secrets to hide from my patients, so I can usually be direct and take only an insignificant amount of time on these issues. Usually it just takes one of my stabs at humor.

For those to whom religion is an important facet of life, I am often asked about my beliefs. I often end up saying things like, “I am very sorry I am Jewish and not the Christian you would have preferred, but do you think Christ could work through a crazy old Jewish lady like me who would work really hard to help you feel better?” A “yes” and a laugh and we get straight into the meat of things with that one. Read more on Liberal or Conservative — Different Brains or Different Opinions?…

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When I was very itty-bitty and went to synagogue, there were certain moments when I felt the presence of the Deity so clearly and strong that my eyes and ears would be fixed on the events on the pulpit and I would tremble. This happened at the point in the liturgy when the Cantor held the Torah over his head. The Torah is the set of scrolls that contain the first five books of the Old Testament, hand copied onto the parchment in Hebrew. This alone was a marvelous achievement for this man with a deformed hip who did not exactly look as if he pumped iron.  He sang majestically, and the whole congregation knew this tune cold. Everyone also knew the words.

The words were those of Proverbs 3:18. “It is a tree of life to those who hold it fast….” As a child I regularly visited the cemetery with my family.  My Father-Of-Blessed-Memory would speak the prayers for the dead for the whole family, as my mother did not know how and my brother was too young and I probably believed I was, too — except really I was too female, but not yet in any way ready to deal with that fact. Many graves had the shape of — or at least a drawing of — a tree of which the trunk or a major branch had been cut.  For a child in a sunshine-filled cemetery, the idea of death being like a pruned version of the tree of life was accessible and acceptable in the context of nature. Read more on From Trees To Networks…

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When I read the news on the internet that some folks were killed in some kind of what sounds like a Jewish oriented hate crime in the greater Kansas City area, I wasted no time.  I immediately consulted my favorite British reporting.  After all, US media has proven their biases and deficits in the reliability department, while the Daily Mail once again “done good” (as they say in Kansas).

I lived in Kansas for many years before I met and married my husband.  I spent those years as a resident psychiatrist, as well as a member of the Conservative synagogue of Wichita, Kansas.  I even taught a couple of classes at the Hebrew School.

I left before I met my husband, but it was for political reasons — the denial of ritual honors to women, and the threat of a major financier to pull funding if I took ritual honors a second time. Read more on When Are They Going To Stop Killing Jews?…

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According to Mitt Romney, God lives and always will inside the Republican platform.  Seems to me this would be a difficult place to confine a Supreme Being.  When I heard this, I was in the car with my husband.  I could only think of one response, and that was to pray aloud.  “Dear God, how do you put up with all this crap?  Your friend, Estelle.”

Our political conventions have become religious referenda

At the recent political conventions, each party claimed to be more religious than the other. Is this what politics has come to in the 21st Century?

Although I consider myself a true believer, I will admit to having had philosophical angst about His or Her existence.  I cannot and will not accept the God about whom everyone says “I remember you in my prayers.”  I cannot imagine either Mitt or Barack going to church or kneeling next to bed with a list clutched in their fist that says something like “the folks who lost their houses in the storm.”  Neither can I imagine them letting God do His or Her will, which might include letting the opponent win.  I think that they, and most of the folks I know, use “magic prayer.”  This means that when you say it you have already done it.  I have questioned a few Christians about this, and that is what it sounds like to me.  The reason I have not questioned more Christians about this is that it tends to get them very angry.  My husband does not like me to do things that might get me beat up because he is lots bigger than me and would definitely end up defending me.  I can certainly see why someone would want to pray out loud in a life threatening situation.  Like military active duty type war. Everybody wants victory, although at that precise moment, they are probably praying for their buddy to survive. Read more on Prayer on the Platform…

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Maybe the folks who continue to argue against stem cell research are just afraid their own stem cells could beat them at a game of checkers.

Listen, I want to live forever.  Not like in the song “Fame,” but like in the way that most of us would do anything to live.  Or like the guy who had to leave the country to get life-saving treatment for cancer of the trachea.  Now he is alive when everyone thought he wouldn’t be. It’s a treatment he couldn’t get in the States.  In the States, stem cell benefits are masked by misinformation and fear.

Okay, so I had a metabolic disease that threw me into a coma and nearly killed me a few times.  But here I am to talk about it.  I think about it every blessed day and I find myself grateful to this universal intelligence.  Yes, I am a theist. But I still live in a personal world where I would do anything to live. Read more on Stem Cell Benefits Masked By Fear and Misinformation…