Friday, August 21, 2015
I wrote this, and posted it to the Bartcop Forum in 2003. I also sent a copy to Terry Gross of Fresh Air, just before she interviewed him.
Port Huron, Michigan, February, 1986. The coldest day of the year...
It was my first big Rock and Roll gig as a Theatre Stagehand. I had gotten my parents to write school to excuse me for work. I was thrilled. I mean, there I was, a 16 year old kid and working on the KISS "Asylum" (no makeup) tour-- TOTALLY GEEKED.
Well, the load-in started at 5am, and the wind blew straight off of Lake Huron into the McMorran Arena--it was brutally cold.
All went well as far as the load-in goes, at 5'5", and 105 pounds at the time, I managed to hold my own and do what was expected of me. At 11am we broke for an hour's lunch. During that time, two key things happened: Someone stole Gene Simmon's fiber-optic cape (about $5,000) from the cleaners. Second, the Band moved into the facility-- the local crew wasn't notified before hand that KISS would be using the locker room we had been using for our head.
So, my friends and I returned from lunch chatting, and walked right into their dressing room-- what we saw was every boy's rock & roll fantasy: There was the band, partying it up with women who NEVER lived in Port Huron, a FULLY STOCKED bar on the counter, a spread of decadence for TWENTY people, let alone four...
The band had ripped a mirror from the wall and put on top of one of those big wire spools. Paul Stanley was sitting at the table, straw up his nose and snorting deeply from a HUGE pile of cocaine. We walked in and stopped dead in our tracks-- Stanley was about four feet from me (I was in the front). He finishes his snort, catches his breath and just stops--everything gets quite--everyone is looking at me...
"OUT," Paul says, with snow hanging from his nose tip, "Get the FUCK OUT-- NOW!!!" I'm blocked by my idiot friends who were trying to catch a peek. Suddenly, Gene throws a whiskey bottle at us, and it explodes against the wall about a foot from my head. Booze goes spraying all over me-- great!
"Get Out!" he yells, "And you didn't see anything, you pansies!"
It was all I could do to get out of there, and I pushed past my buddies.
An hour passes...
I'm on deck, putting some vacuform trim in the shape of amplifier speakers on the drum risers, when I hear Gene screaming bloody murder behind me. He just found out his costume was stolen.
He comes up onstage, raging with anger. My back was turned to him.
"What the fuck is this?" he says, "Who the fuck fucked up?" He was right behind me.
Suddenly, his hands were on me. "YOU. What the fuck are you doing?" He grabs me with one hand around my neck and with the other, he grabs my crotch from the back hoisting my over his head, shaking me in a "body slam" posture.
"Is this a little joke of your's, little guy?" he screams, "I'm pissed-- QUIT FUCKING WITH ME!!" he screams.
Meanwhile, I'm terrified, saying, "I'm just working, please put me down, I'm just working." Somewhere across the arena, I hear someone shout, "Put the little guy down, Gene, you're going to hurt him."
He put me down, alright--just let go and stepped backwards. Now Gene's about six and a half feet tall and had me at full arm length over his head. I SLAMMED against the deck, and I SWEAR I bounced. I was stunned and couldn't move, while I assessed my body for damage and caught my breath.
All of a sudden, he straddled me and sat on my chest. He collared me with one hand while slapping me with his other. he grilled me about where the fuck his costume was, and whether I was talking about what I saw in the dressing room. I repeatedly told him that I was just trying to work (slap) and really had no idea about his costume (slap) and I wasn't talking to anybody... I had a clove cigarette in the stem of my glasses and tried to offer it to him. He slapped me again, got very close to my face and growled, "I don't smoke."
I was thinking to myself, Gosh, Gene, you snort coke, drink, and breathe fire on stage-- how should I know if you don't smoke... I just stared at him. Finally, he starts to smile, licks my nose with his big tongue (it REALLY is long).
By this time, a small crowd had gathered and some handlers were trying to pull him off of me. "We were just having a chat," he said over his shoulder. He tapped me on my red cheek a couple of times, gave me one of those intimidation points, and got off of me like nothing happened.
A Stage Manager helped me up, never asked what happened, but got me some water and asked if I was alright. I was, so I drank my water and went back to work. I kept a LARGE Crescent Wrench in my back pocket the rest of the day.
The next morning, I broke all of my KISS albums and vowed to never support them again. I have turned down five gigs with them since.
Two weeks after that day, I was watching MTV and who comes on for a "Rockers Against Drugs" ad? Gene and the boys. "We Don't need drugs to have a good time..."
We just LIKE them.
I really fucking hate Gene Simmons. I've been waiting a long time to finally hear that Karma caught up with him. That cocksucker deserves two bullets in his head, and his own balls shoved down his throat.
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Thursday, March 26, 2015
I find myself constantly citing this to every person who tries to misinterpret the First Amendment, and re-write History into fiction these days.
I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. Now in recovery, and enjoying some Agnostic Time, thank you, but no-- Organized Religion's services are no longer needed here. So it is in the spirit of the Truth that I say, with no Religious bias whatsoever, that the History of the Baptists in America is the History of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
From the persecution, torture and murder of Baptists by Puritans in Massachusetts, and other Christian Sects in the Colonies, to the Founding Charter of Rhode Island, to Thomas Jefferson's Act of Religious Freedom, Virginia, 1786, to the 1st Amendment in a straight line, of which, all of the Founding Fathers were aware. The undeniably clear history and Original Intent is not only Freedom of Religion, but most importantly, Freedom from Religion.
The intentional ignorance of those with Media access, and the damage they do to the truly, and forgivably, ignorant mass of people who listen to them, is depriving this Nation of Progress, Liberty and Democracy in a deliberate and mendacious manner, besmirching and tarnishing the reputations of honest Christians everywhere.
They've turned Religious Freedom inside out, like a Mad Cow Prion. It looks nothing like what it should.
So, here's the rat's ass Truth about how the 1st Amendment came about. I bet a lot of Baptists will be surprised to read their own History, and what, exactly, their contribution to the US Constitution REALLY means. I was equally surprised when I discovered this rather authoritative work years ago. It's nice to see it so diligently archived online.
Below is an extract from A History of the Baptists in America. I had to re-add blockquotes and some spacing to try and keep true to original. I did my best. Emphasis is all mine. It's at the link, plus all the citations; but, I need to have all this here to quote directly. I am using this blog space differently. I hope this is useful and educational. I take no money from anyone with this blog.
A History of the Baptists
Together with Some Account of their Principles and Practices
by: John T. Christian
CHAPTER XXI-The Origin of the American Baptist Churches
This was the beginning of the settlement of Rhode Island. The first declaration of democracy, in America, was here formulated March, 1641. The Author of the History of American Literature says:
It was ordered and unanimously agreed upon, that the government which this body politic doth attend unto in this island and the jurisdiction thereof, in favor of our prince, is a Democracy, or popular government; that is to say, it is in the power of the body of freemen, orderly assembled, or major part of them, to make or constitute just laws, by which they will be regulated, and to dispute from among themselves such ministers as shall see them faithfully executed between man and man.And the following acts secured religious liberty there:
It was further ordered, by the authority of this present Court, that none be accounted a delinquent for doctrine, provided, it be not directly repugnant to the government or laws established.On September, 1641, it was ordered:
That the law of the last Court made concerning liberty of conscience in point of doctrine, be perpetuated.It was decreed at Providence, in 1641, that since:
Our charter gives us power to govern ourselves, and such other as come among us, and by such a form of civil government as by the voluntary consent, etc., shall be found most suitable to our estate and condition: It is agreed by this present Assembly thus incorporate, and by this present act declared, that the form of government established in Providence Plantations is Democratical; that is to say, a government held by the free and voluntary consent of all of the greater part of the free inhabitants (Rhode Island State Papers).The state was not to dictate to or disturb the church. In the charter the word "civil" everywhere defines the jurisdiction of the Court. Religion and the State were divorced, Arnold says:
The use of the word civil is everywhere prefixed (to the charter) to the terms "government" or "laws" wherever they occur . . . to restrict the operation of the charter to purely political concerns. In this apparent restriction there lay concealed a boon of freedom such as men had never known before. They (the Rhode Islanders) held themselves accountable to God alone for their religious creed, and no earthly power could bestow on them a right which they held from heaven . . . At their own request their powers were limited to civil matters (Arnold, History of Rhode Island, I p. 200).Hough, commenting upon the provisions of the charter of Rhode Island, says:
This broad and liberal grant of liberty of opinion in matters of religions faith is among the earliest examples of that toleration which now prevails in every stare in the American Union but at the time it was asked and obtained, it formed a striking and honorable contrast with the custom and laws of the neighboring colonies (Hough, American Constitutions, II. p. 246. Lauer, Church and State in New England, p. 48. Tenth Series, II., III. Johns Hopkins University Studies. Baltimore, 1892). The service that the Baptists have rendered to the world in bringing religions liberty to this continent has been fully acknowledged by the greatest authorities in the world. Only the statements of a few representative men are here given.Bancroft, the historian of the United States, says of Williams:
He was the first person in modern Christendom to assert in its plenitude the doctrine of the liberty of conscience, the equality of opinions before the law . . . Williams would permit persecutions of no opinion, of no religion, leaving heresy unharmed by law, and orthodoxy unprotected by the terrors of penal statutes, . . . We praise the man who first analyzed the air, or resolved water into its elements, or drew the lightning from the clouds; even though the discoveries may have been as much the fruits of time as of genius. A moral principle has a much wider and nearer influence on human happiness; nor can any discovery of truth be of more direct benefit to society, than that which establishes a perpetual religions peace, and spreads tranquillity through every community and every bosom.
If Copernicus is held in perpetual reverence, because, on his deathbed, he published to the world that the sun is the center of our system; if the name of Kepler is preserved in the annals of human excellence for his sagacity in detecting the laws of the planetary motion; if the genius of Newton has been almost adored for dissecting a ray of light, and weighing heavenly bodies in the balance-let there be for the name of Roger Williams at least some humble place among those who have advanced moral science, and made themselves the benefactors of mankind (Bancroft, History of the United States, I. pp. 375-377).Judge Story, the eminent lawyer, says: In the code of laws established by them in Rhode Island, we read for the first time since Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars, the declaration that conscience should he free, and that men should not be punished for worshipping God in the way they were persuaded he requires.
The German Philosopher, Gervinus, says:
In accordance with these principles, Roger Williams insisted, in Massachusetts, upon allowing entire freedom of conscience, and upon entire separation of the Church and State. But he was obligated to flee, and in 1636, he formed in Rhode Island, a small and new society, in which perfect freedom in matters of faith was allowed, and in which the majority ruled in all the civil affairs. Here, in a little state, the fundamental principles of political and ecclesiastical liberty practically prevailed, before they were ever taught in any of the schools of philosophy in Europe.
At that time people predicted only a short existence for these democrarical experiments-Universal suffrage: universal eligibility to office; the annual change of rulers ; perfect religious freedom-the Miltonian doctrine of schisms. But not only have these ideas and these forms of government maintained themselves here, but precisely from this little State, have they extended themselves throughout the United States.
They have conquered the aristocratic tendencies in Carolina and New York, the High Church in Virginia, the Theocracy in Massachusetts, and the monarchy in all America. They have given laws to a continent, and formidable through their moral influence, they lie at the bottom of all the democratic movements which are now shaking the nations of Europe (Gervinus, History of the Nineteenth Century. Introduction).He not only sought liberty for his own people, but to all persons alike. Hitherto the Jews had been proscribed, He especially plead for them. No persons have more fully recognized the worth of religious liberty than have the Jews; and they have paid eloquent tribute to his memory, In this direction Straus says:
The earliest champion of religious freedom, or "soul liberty," as he designated that most precious jewel of all liberties, was Roger Williams….To him rightfully belongs the immortal fame of having been the first person in modern times to assert and maintain in its fullest plenitude the absolute right of every man to "a full liberty in religions concernments," and to found a State wherein this doctrine was the key-stone of its organic laws (Straus, Origin Of Republican Form of Government in the United States, pp. 47-50, New York, 1885. See Religious Liberty of Henry M. King, 1903).It is now time to return to the persecutions of the. Baptists in the other colonies. Note has already been taken of the activity of the Massachusetts colony against the Baptists, and the persecuting laws that they passed and executed. On October 18, 1649. this Colony urged drastic measures against the Baptists of Plymouth. The General Court wrote to the Plymouth brethren as follows:
Honored and beloved Brethren We have heard heretofore of divers Anabaptists arisen up in your jurisdiction, and connived at: but being but few, we well hoped that it might have pleased God, by the endeavors of yourselves and the faithful elders with you, to have reduced such erring men again into the right way.
But now, to our great grief, we are credibly informed that your patient bearing with such men hath produced another effect, namely, the multiplying and increasing of such errors, and we fear may be of other errors also, if timely care be not taken to suppress the same. Particularly we understand that within this few weeks there have been at Sea Cunke thirteen or fourteen persons rebaptized ( a swift progress in one town), yet we hear not if any effectual restriction is intended thereabouts (Massachusetts Colonial Records, III. p. 173).This Sea Cunke (now Swansea and Rehoboth), was to be the location of the third Baptist church in America, under the pastoral care of the Rev. John Myles. The persecuting spirit of Massachusetts was soon further put to the test. John Clarke was the pastor of the Newport Baptist church, founded somewhere between 1638 and 1644. This John Clarke was the father of American Baptists. He had much to do, in connection with Roger Williams, with procuring the second charter of Rhode Island in 1668. There was at Lynn, Massachusetts, an aged disciple by the name of William Witter. He had been cut off from the Salem church, June 24, 1651, "for absenting himself from public ordinances nine months or more and for being rebaptized" (Felt, Ecclesiastical History of New England. II. pp. 25-46).
He had previously become a member of the church in Newport. On July 19, 1651, John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes and John Crandall, "being the representatives of the Baptist church in Newport, upon the request of William Witter, of Lynn, arrived there, be being a brother in the church. who, by reason of his advanced age, could not undertake so great a journey as to visit the church" (Newport Church Papers).
While they were expounding the Scriptures they were arrested by two constables. They were watched over that "night (in the ordinary) as Thieves and Robbers," by the officers, and on the second day they were lodged in the common jail in Boston. On July 31 they were brought to public trial in Boston, without trial by jury and at the will of the magistrates. Governor Endicott charged them with being Anabaptists. Clarke replied he was "neither an Anabaptist, nor a Pedobaptist, nor a Catabaptist." At this reply the Governor stepped up:
And told us we denied infant baptism, and being somewhat transported, told me I had deserved death, and said he would not have such trash brought into his jurisdiction. Moreover he said, You go up and down and secretly insinuate into those that are weak, but you cannot maintain it before our ministers. You may try and dispute with them (Clarke, Narrative).Clark was about to make reply when he was remanded to prison. Holmes says:
What they laid to my charge, you may here read in my sentence, upon the pronouncement of which, as I went from the bar, I expressed myself in these words:- I bless God, I am counted worthy to surfer for the name of Jesus. Whereupon John Wilson (their pastor, as they call him) struck me before the judgment seat, and cursed me, saying, The curse of God or Jesus go with thee (Backus, History of the Baptists in New England, I. p. 189).From the prison Clarke accepted the proposition to debate the subjects involved and suggested by the Governor (Massachusetts Archives, X. p. 212). It was supposed that John Cotton would represent the ministers. But the Governor allowed the debate to come to naught, though he had proposed it. Clarke and Crandall were not long afterward released "upon the payment of their fines by some tender-hearted friends" without their consent and contrary to their judgment. Holmes not accepting the deliverance was publicly whipped. He said:
The man striking with all his strength (yea spitting in (on) his hands three times as many affirmed) with a three corded whip, giving me therewith thirty strokes. When he had loosed me from the post, having joyfulness in my heart, and cheerfulness in my countenance, as the spectators observed, I told the magistrates, You have struck me as with roses (Backus, I. p. 192),The whipping was so severe that Governor Jenekes says:
Mr. Holmes was whipt thirty stripes, and in such an unmerciful manner, that in many days, if not some weeks, he could take no rest, but as he lay on his knees and elbows, not being able to suffer any part of his body to touch the bed whereon he lay (See Summer Visit of Three Rhode Islanders, by Henry M. King, 1890).The trial and whipping of Holmes was the occasion of the conversion of Henry Dunster, the President of Harvard, to the Baptists. The immediate cause of the organization of the church in Boston was a sermon Dunster preached there on the subject of infant baptism. The church was much delayed in its organization, but this finally took place May 28, 1665.
The magistrates required them to attend the Established Church. The General Court disfranchised them and committed them to prison, and pursued them with fines and imprisonments for three years (Backus, I. 300).
In May, 1668, the General Court sentenced Thomas Gould, William Turner, and John Farnum to be banished; and because they would not go, they were imprisoned nearly a year; and when petition for a release of the prisoners was presented to the General Court, some who signed the petition were fined for doing so, and others were compelled to confess their fault for reflecting on the Court.
The complete separation of Church and State was not guaranteed by the Constitution of Massachusetts until 1833. Virginia was the great battle ground for religious freedom. The Colony was founded by members of the Church of England, and none others were tolerated in its jurisdiction. The charter, 1606, provided:
The presidents, councils and ministers should provide that the true word and service of God should be preached and used according to the rites and doctrines of the Church of England. The bloody military code of 1611, the first published for the government of the Colony, required every man and woman in the Colony, or who should afterwards arrive, to give an account of their faith and religion to the parish minister, and if not satisfactory to him, they should repair often to him for instruction; and if they refuse to go, the Governor should whip the offender for the first offense; for the second refusal to be whipped twice and to acknowledge his fault on the Sabbath day in the congregation; and for the third offense to be whipped every day till he complied (Howell, Early Baptists of Virginia, p. 38. Laws, &c., Strasbury. London, 1812).The tyrannical Sir W. Berkeley had passed, December 14, 1662, the following law:
Whereas many schismatical persons out of their averseness to the orthodox established religion, or out of new fangled conceits of their own heretical inventions, refused to have their children baptized. Be it therefore enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that all persons that, in contempt of the divine sacrament of baptism, shall refuse when they may carry their child to a lawful minister in that country to have them baptized shall be amersed two thousand pounds of tobacco, half to the publique (Henning, Statutes at Large, Laws of Virginia, II. p. 165).These statutes were put into execution. The Baptists were democrats from principle and naturally did not love the Establishment. Hawks, the historian of the Episcopal Church of Virginia, says:
No dissenters in Virginia experienced, for a time, harsher treatment than did the Baptists. They were beaten and imprisoned; and cruelty taxed its ingenuity to devise new modes of punishment and annoyance. The usual consequences followed; persecution made friends for its victims; and the men, who were not permitted to speak in public, found willing auditors in the sympathizing crowds who gathered around the prisons to hear them preach from grated windows (Hawks, Contributions to Ecclesiastical History in the United States, I. 121. New York, pp. 186-9).He further says:
Persecution had taught the Baptists not to love the Establishment, and they now saw before them a reasonable prospect of overturning it entirely. In their Association they calmly discussed the matter, and resolved on their course; in this course they were consistent to the end; and the war which they waged against the Church, was a war of extermination. They seem to have known no relentings, and their hostility never ceased for seven and twenty years.
They revenged themselves for their sufferings by the almost total ruin of the Church; and now commenced the assault, for, inspired by the ardours of patriotism which accorded to their interests. . . they addressed the convention, and informed that body that the religious tenets presented no obstacle to their taking up arms and fighting for the country; and they tendered the services of their pastors in promoting the enlistment of the youth of their persuasion. .
A complimentary answer was returned to their address; and the order was made that the sectarian clergy should have the privilege of performing divine service to their respective adherents in the army, equally with the chaplains of the Established Church. This, it is believed, was the first steps towards placing the clergy of all denominations, upon an equal footing in Virginia (p.138).The intense opposition to the Baptists in Virginia, in 1772, may be gathered from a letter written by James Madison to a friend in Pennsylvania. He says:
That diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution rages among some; and to their eternal infamy the clergy can furnish their quota of imps for such purposes. There are at this time, in the adjacent county, not less than five or six well meaning men in close jail for publishing their religious sentiments, which, in the main, are very orthodox.In 1775 the Baptists of Virginia met in regular session in their General Association. "This was," says their historian, Robert Scmple, "a very favorable season for the Baptists. Having been much ground under the British laws, or at least by the interpretation of them in Virginia, they were, to a man, favorable to any revolution by which they could obtain freedom of religion.
They had known from experience that mere toleration was not a sufficient check, having been imprisoned at a time when the law was considered by many as being in force. It was therefore resolved at this session, to circulate petitions to the Virginia Convention or General Assembly, throughout the State, in order to obtain signatures. The prayer of these was, that the church establishment should be abolished, and religion left to stand upon its own merits; and, that all religions societies should be protected in the peaceable enjoyment of their own religious principles."
Accordingly, in 1776, the Baptists were enabled to place upon their records that the bill had been passed and in their judgment that religious and civil liberty were duly safeguarded. This simply suspended the old laws of persecution. An Assessment Bill was passed, in 1784, by the General Assembly of Virginia, through the influence of the Episcopalians and Presbyterians.
The bill provided that a tax be levied upon all persons for the support of religion, and the money be divided among the leading sects. The Baptists would come in for a large share of the patronage.
The legislature declared that "a general assessment for the support of religion ought to be extended to those who profess the public worship of the Deity" (Journal of the House of Delegates, October, 1784, p. 32). Madison, writing of this struggle, under date of April 12, 1785, says:
The Episcopal people are generally for it (the tax) . . . The Presbyterians seem ready to set up an establishment which is to take them in as they were to pull down that which shut them out. . .I do not know a more shameful contrast than might be found between their memorials on the latter and the former occasion (Rivers, Life and Times of Madison, I. p. 630).In this contest the Baptists stood alone and won. They were supported by individuals of all denominations. "It is a matter of record," says Howell, "in their proceedings that when, in 1785, they had repeated their Declaration of Principles, the General Committee placed them in the hands of Mr. Madison, with the request that he would employ them in their behalf, in a memorial to the legislature, praying for the passage of the law" (Howell, Early Baptists of Virginia p. 92). His voice and that of Jefferson sounded the sentiments which were victorious.
Mr. Jefferson prepared the "Act for Religious Freedom" which passed the General Assembly of Virginia in the year 1786. The Acts says:
Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
And though we well know that this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare the act irrevocable, would be of no effect in law, yet we are free to declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such an act will be an infringement of natural rights (Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, pp. 379, 382).Thus was liberty of soul secured in Virginia by the Baptists. The Establishment was finally put down. Dr. Hawks says:
The Baptists were the principal promoters of this work, and in truth aided more than any other denomination in its accomplishment (Hawks, Ecclesiastical Contributions, p. 152).Bishop Meade, another Episcopalian, says:
The Baptist Church in Virginia took the lead in dissent, and was the chief object of persecution by the magistrates and the most violent and persevering afterward in seeking the downfall of the Establishment (Meade, Old Parishes and Churches in Virginia, I. p. 52. Philadelphia, 1872).And He again says:
The warfare begun by the Baptists, seven-and-twenty years before was now finished: The Church was in ruins, and the triumph of her enemies complete (Meade, II. pp. 449, 450).In the period ending with the Revolutionary War religious tests were everywhere. They were consistently, opposed by the Baptists. As a result the Baptists were persecuted and came under the heavy hand of the law. Only in Rhode Island was liberty of conscience maintained. The Baptists in bringing liberty of conscience to a Continent had undertaken a supreme task, but they were equal to the occasion. Professor George P. Fisher, has given a fine statement of the case. He says:
At the beginning of the American Revolution, the Episcopal Church was established in the Southern colonies. In New Jersey and New York, it enjoyed the special favor of the government officials. In Massachusetts and Connecticut there had never been an establishment, in the strict sense of the term. Every town was obliged to sustain public worship and support a minister. There was an assessment upon the inhabitants for this purpose. As the people were for a long time almost exclusively Congregationalists, the worship was of this character. As other denominations arose, the laws were so modified as to allow the tax to be paid by each of the organizations to the support of its own worship. Such an act was passed in Connecticut in reference to the Episcopalians in 1727, shortly after the founding of Christ Church in Stratford, for their first religious society in the State; and in 1729 the same right was extended to Quakers and Baptists. In places where no congregations had been gathered by dissidents from the prevailing system, individuals, whatever their religions beliefs might be, were compelled to contribute to the support of the Congregational worship there existing. This requirement was more and more counted a hardship. It is believed that in all the colonies there were religious tests in some form. Even in Pennsylvania and Delaware, none could vote save those who professed faith in Christ. When the revolutionary contest began, it was natural that there should spring up movements to abolish the religions inequalities which were a heritage from the pest.
The Baptists, who were outnumbered by none of the religious bodies except the Congregationalists, and who had felt themselves especially aggrieved, at once bestirred themselves in Massachusetts and Virginia to secure the repeal of obnoxious restrictions. A Baptist committee laid their complaints before the Massachusetts delegates in the first Continental Congress at Philadelphia. The support which the Baptists lent to the patriotic cause, and the proclamation of human rights which was made on every hand, won a hearing for their demands, and rendered them, after tedious delays, successful.
In Virginia, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, and Madison enlisted in their favor. In 1785, the statute of religious freedom was adopted, of which Jefferson deemed it a great honor to hare been the author, by which intervention in matters of faith and worship was forbidden to the State. All denominations were put thus on a level, and none were taxed for the support of religion.
In New England, the release from this last requirement, or from the payment of a tax for a particular form of religion to be chosen by the citizen, was accomplished later. It took place in Connecticut in 1818; and the last of the provision. of this character did not vanish from the statute-book
In Massachusetts until 1833, when Church and State were fully separated. In that State, from 1780 to 1811, a religious society had to be incorporated in order to have its members exempted from taxation for the parish church (Fisher, History of the Christian Church, pp. 559, 560).Up to this date, as has been seen, the Baptists had been persecuted in the colonies, and their labors had been directed toward the overthrow of the iniquitous laws. The Revolutionary War opened up possibilities to overthrow the entire system of persecution. The Baptists were not slow to seize and improve the opportunity thus presented.
They were everywhere the friends of liberty. The American War was brought on by the Episcopal Party in England who were opposed to freedom. The soldiers who fought against this country were mainly Irish Catholics. The foremost British statesmen thought the War unjustifiable. William Pitt, May 30, 1788, said in the House of Commons:
The American war was conceived in injustice, and matured in folly, and that it exhibited the highest moral turpitude and depravity, and that England had nothing but victories over men struggling in the holy cause of liberty, or defeat which filled the land with mourning for the loss of dear and valuable relations slain in a detested and impious quarrel.Six months after this date, when the surrender of Cornwallis was published in England, in the House of Commons, Fox adopted the words of Chatham, uttered at the beginning of the Revolution, and said:
Thank God that America has resisted the claims of the mother country (Hume, Smollett and Farr, History of England, III. pp. 155, 182).Burke and other noted Englishmen expressed themselves in the same manner. The Baptists of England were on the side of America. When Robert Hall was a little boy, he heard Rev. Robert Ryland, the commanding Baptist preacher of Northampton, say:
If I were General Washington I would summon all the American officers; they should form a circle around me, and I would address them. and we would offer a libation in our own blood, and I would order one of them to bring a lancet and a punch-bowl; and he should bleed us all, one by one, into this punch-bowl; and I would be the first to bare my arm: and when the bowl was full, and we had all been bled, I would call upon every man to consecrate himself to the work, by dipping his sword into the howl, and entering into a solemn covenant engagement by oath, one to another, and we would swear by him that sits upon the throne, and liveth forever and forever, that we would never sheath our swords while there was an English soldier in arms in America (Hall, Works, IV. p. 4849. New York, 1844).The opinion of the English Baptists is set forth in a letter from, Dr. Rippon, the London Baptist preacher, to President Manning of Brown University. He says:
I believe all of our Baptist ministers in town, except two, and most of our brethren in the country, were on the side of the Americans in the late dispute. . . We wept when the thirsty plains drank the blood of your departed heroes, and the shout of a King was amongst us when your well-fought battles were crowned with victory. And to this hour we believe that the Independence of America will for a while secure the liberty of this country; but that if the continent had been reduced, Britain would not have long been free (Guild and Manning, Brown University, p. 824. Boston, 1864).There was not a tory among the Baptists of America. Rhode Island was largely Baptist. "The Baptists have always been more numerous," says Morgan Edwards, "than any other sect of Christians in Rhode Island; two thirds of the inhabitants, at least, are reputed Baptists. The governors, deputy-governors, judges, assemblymen and officers, civil and military, are chiefly of that persuasion" (Collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society, VI. p. 304). May 4, 1776, just two months before the Declaration of Independence, Rhode Island withdrew and repudiated the rule of George III.
This was thirty-two days before Virginia renounced allegiance (Howison, History of Virginia, II. p. 138). In large numbers they sent their sons to the army. Bancroft speaks of Rhode Island at the Revolution "as enjoying a form of government, under its charter, so thoroughly democratic that no change was required beyond a renunciation of the king’s name in the style of its public acts" (Bancroft, History of the United States, IX p. 563). When the Constitution of the United States was adopted Rode Island had long enjoyed freedom. Arnold says:
Rhode Island for more than a century and a half has enjoyed a freedom unknown to any of her compeers, and through more than half of that period her people had been involved with rival Colonies in a struggle for political existence and for the maintenance of those principles of civil and religious freedom which are now everywhere received in America (Arnold, History of Rhode Island, II. p. 563).The Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia, September 5, 1774, and in eight days there was a Committee of Baptists, headed by Rev. Isaac Backus, who solemnly recognized its authority. They bore the following memorial from the Warren Association of the Baptist churches of New England:
Honorable Gentlemen: As the Antipedobaptist churches of New England are most heartily concerned for the preservation and defence of the rights and privileges of the country, and are deeply affected by the encroachments upon the same, which have lately been made by the British parliament, and aft willing to unite with our dear countrymen, vigorously to pursue every prudent measure for relief, so we would beg leave to say that, as a distinct denomination of Protestants, we conceive that we have an equal claim to charter-rights with the rest of our fellow subjects; and yet have long been denied the free and full enjoyment of those rights, as to the support of religious worship.
Therefore we, the elders and brethren of twenty Baptist churches met in Association at Medfield, twenty miles from Boston, September 14, 1774, have unanimously chosen and sent unto you the reverend and beloved Isaac Backus as our agent, to lay our case, in these respects, before you, or otherwise to use all the prudent means he can for our relief. John Gano, Moderator. Hezekiah Smith, Clerk.The Philadelphia Baptist Association, the oldest in America, likewise sent a Committee to assist the appeal from New England. Dr. Samuel Jones, in a Centenary Sermon, in 1807, before the Philadelphia Association, says:
When Congress met in this city, I was one of the committee under the appointment of your body, that, in company with the late Rev. Isaac Backus, of Massachusetts, met the delegates in Congress from that State, in yonder State house, to see if we could not obtain some security for that liberty, for which we were then fighting and bleeding by their side. It seemed unreasonable to us, that we should be called upon to stand up with them in the defense of liberty if, after all, it was to be liberty for one party to oppress another (Minutes of the Philadelphia Association, pp. 459, 460).The constant plea of the Baptists was for liberty of conscience. To this memorial Congress gave a faithful hearing and a sympathetic reply as follows:
In provincial Congress, Cambridge, December 9, 1774. On reading the memorial of the Rev. Isaac Backus, agent to the Baptist churches in this government, Resolved: That the establishment of civil and religious liberty, to each denomination in the province, is the sincere wish of this Congress.
But being by no means vested with the power of civil government, whereby they can redress the grievances of any person whatsoever, they therefore recommend to the Baptist churches, that when a General Assembly shall be convened in this colony, they lay the real grievances of said churches before the same, when and where their petition will most certainly meet with all that attention due to the memorial of a denomination of Christians so well disposed to the public weal of their country.
By order of Congress, John Hancock, President. A true extract from the minutes. Benjamin Lincoln, Secretary. (Backus, II. p. 202).John Adams had said: "We might as well expect a change in the solar system, as to expect they would give up their establishment" The Baptists did not at this tine gain their cause but progress was made toward true liberty. The Baptists everywhere existed in the army. The Baptist General Association notified the Convention of Virginia that they had considered what part it would be proper to take in the unhappy contest, and had determined that they ought to make a military resistance to Great Britain in her unjust invasion, tyrannical oppression, and repeated hostilities" (Headly, Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution, p. 250. New York 1864).
They proclaimed that "they were to a man favorable to any revolution, by which they could obtain freedom of religion" (Sample, History of Virginia Baptists, p. 62. Richmond, 1890). Baptist preachers became chaplains in the army. The Baptist General Association sent, in 1775, Rev. Jeremiah Walker and John Williams to preach to the soldiers. These were the most popular Baptist preachers in the Old Dominion. McClanahan raised a company chiefly of Baptists whom he commanded as captain and preached to as chaplain. Rev. Charles Thompson son of Massachusetts served as chaplain three years and Rev. Hezekiah Smith was from the same State. Rev. Samuel Rogers of Philadelphia was one of the foremost preachers of the day. He was appointed chaplain of a brigade by the Legislature. Rev. David Jones followed Gates through two campaigns. Rev. John Gano had great mental powers and as "a minister he shone like a star of the first magnitude in the American churches" (Sprague, Annals of the American Baptist Pulpit, 66). He was the foremost chaplain in the army. Headley says of him:
In the fierce conflict on Chatterton’s Hill he was continually under fire, and his cool and quiet courage in thus fearlessly exposing himself was afterwards commented upon in the most glowing terms by the officers who stood near him (Headley, Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution, p. 255).Other Baptists served the Revolutionary cause in many ways. James Manning, the President of Brown University, was the most popular man in Rhode Island. He filled for the government many delicate positions and was elected unanimously to Congress. John Hart, a member of the old Hopewell Baptist church, was one of the signers of The Declaration of Independence. Col. Joab Houghton was a valuable officer in the army.
It was thought by many that the Baptists were too patriotic. For their patriotic endeavors they received the highest praise. Thomas Jefferson, writing to the Baptist church, of Buck Mountain, Albemarle County, Virginia, neighbors of his, in reply to a letter which they had sent him, says:
I thank you, my friends and neighbors, for your kind congratulations on my return to my native home, and on the opportunity it will give me of enjoying, amidst your affections, the comforts of retirement and rest Your approbation of my conduct is the more valued as you have best known me, and is an ample reward for my services I may have rendered.
We have acted together from the Origin to the end of the memorable Revolution, and we have contributed, each in a line allotted us, our endeavors to render its issue a permanent blessing to our country. That our social intercourse may, to the evening of our days, be cheered and cemented by witnessing the freedom and happiness for which we have labored, will be my constant prayer. Accept the offering of my affectionate esteem and respect (Jefferson, Complete Works, VIII. p. 168).In his complete works there are replies to congratulatory addresses from the Danbury, Baltimore and Ketocton Associations; and from the representatives of six Baptist Associations which met at Chesterfield, VA, November 21, 1808. The last body was the General Meeting of the Baptists of Virginia. To them he says:
In reviewing the history of the times through which we have passed, no portion of it gives greater satisfaction than that which presents the efforts of the friends of religious freedom with which they were crowned.
We have shown, by fair trial, the great and interesting experiment whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason (Jefferson, Complete Works, VIII. p. 139).When the Constitution of the United States was presented to the States for ratification it was doubtful whether it would pass. Massachusetts and Virginia were the pivotal States. Massachusetts was evenly divided and it was only through the labors of Manning, Stillman and Backus that the Constitution was adopted by that State.
The majority was nineteen votes. There were 187 yeas and 168 nays on the last day of the session, and "before the final question was taken, Governor Hancock, the president, invited Dr. Manning to close the solemn invocation with prayer. The prayer was one of lofty patriotism and every heart was filled with reverence."
The vote of Virginia was equally in doubt John Leland, the Baptist preacher; and James Madison were candidates, in Orange County for the Legislature. Orange was a Baptist county and the probabilities were that Leland would be elected. He withdrew in favor of Madison, and Madison was elected and in the legislature he was just able to save the Constitution. J. S. Barbon; of Virginia, in 1857 in an eulogy of James Madison said:
That the credit of adopting the Constitution of the United States properly belonged to a Baptist clergyman, formerly of Virginia, by the name of Leland . . .
If Madison had not been in the Virginia Convention, that Constitution would not have been ratified by the Stare, and as the approval of nine States was required to give effect to this instrument, and as Virginia was the ninth. if it had been rejected by her, the Constitution would have failed (the remaining States following her example), and that it was by Elder Leland’s influence that Madison was elected to that Convention (Sprague, Annals of the American Baptist Pulpit, p .179).One thing more must be done to secure soul-liberty in this country beyond peradventure. There was an open question whether the Constitution in the form adopted safeguarded liberty. A General Committee of the Baptists of Virginia met in Williams’ meeting-house, Goochland County, March 7, 1788. The first question discussed was:
Whether the new federal constitution, which had now lately made its appearance in public, made sufficient provision for the secure enjoyment of religions liberty on which, it was argued unanimously, that, in the opinion of the general committee it did not (Semple, History of the Virginia Baptists, pp. 76, 77).Upon consultation with Mr. Madison the Committee addressed General Washington. The next year, within four months after Washington had become President, this address was formally presented, in which they expressed the fear "that our religious rights were not well secured in our new Constitution of government." They solicited his influence for proper legislation, and he returned a favorable answer. As a result, an amendment to the Constitution was made the next month, September 25, which says:
Congress shall make no law, establishing articles of faith, or mode of worship or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition to the general government for a redress of grievances.No more fitting conclusion can be had to this volume than to quote the language of the Father of his Country. The days of persecution, of blood and of martyrdom were passed. Civil and soul liberty,. the inalienable rights of man, enlargement, benevolent operations. educational advantages, and world wide missionary endeavor,-all had been made possible by the struggles of the past. George Washington had been consulted by the Baptists to assist in securing freedom of conscience, and he replied:
I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.
While I recognize with satisfaction, that the religious society of which you are members have been throughout America, uniformly and almost unanimously the firm friends to civil liberty, and the persevering promoters of our glorious revolution, I cannot hesitate to believe, faithful supporters of a free, yet efficient general government. Under this pleasing expectation, I rejoice to assure them, that they may rely on my best wishes and endeavors to advance their prosperity (Sparks, Writings of George Washington, XII. p. 155. Boston, 1855).
So, a disillusioned former Catholic walks into a Baptist website looking for the History of the First Amendment from a Freedom from Religion standpoint... No, no-- stop me if you've heard this one...
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Saturday, January 03, 2015
From the entire St. Louis Law Enforcement Team.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
This is posted in the passageway in front of our Research Department at work:
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Saturday, November 01, 2014
This is Kyle.
He's a feral cat that has been coming by the house for about a year and a half.
He was so scrawny, and malnourished when he started coming by. He'd cry out on the deck for some food and water, driving Murray (whom I miss dearly), absolutely crazy.
I'd put food and water out for him, and he'd run off the deck and only return when he knew I was indoors.
It took until June of this year, after Murray died, before he'd come up while I was in the doorway. Then, in August, after my Dad died, he finally started to come by with me outside on the deck. He'd wolf down the food, fill his tank with water, and then zip off quickly.
By the end of August, he was letting me pet him. I put Frontline bug drops on him to keep the vermin off of him. He seemed to like that.
September rolled around, and he was coming by to visit me on a nightly basis, and letting me scritch his ears, and groom him.
In the meantime, since Murray's passing from pancreatic failure, Mountain Girl had grown quite fond of Kyle, going out onto the deck at sunset to wait for him to drop by. She has never been the welcoming sort to strange cats, so this was quite the change for her. He'd come up on the deck, and she'd lay nearby, unflapped, and mellow.
The two get along very well.
The picture below, is from 06OCT2014. It was his first ever trip inside the house. You can see how small and malnourished he was just a month ago. I don't think he weighed over 6 pounds in this picture-- I could see his ribs and spine.
|Pensive first time in the house|
A month later, yesterday, I managed to get him into the carrier, and over to the Vet for tests, shots and an unexpected neutering. He weighs 10.6 pounds, which I am happy to say looks great on him. He had some intestinal worms, which the Doctor treated, no other issues, save for one BIG issue-- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. The poor fella had Kitty AIDS.
He's FIV+, but, it is entirely possible that Kyle had an owner early on who had him vaccinated for FIV. Once vaccinated, a cat will always show positive, but we have to roll with what we know, and assume he is infected.
When Dr. Reed told me Kyle was FIV+, I was devastated by the news. I so very much wanted him to have a forever home with me and Mountain Girl (who is 14 years-old, now, and very healthy).
I was terrified by the idea that Mountain Girl had spent time around him. Shared a water dish... was infected.
I was, until yesterday, mostly ignorant about the specifics of the disease.
It can only be transmitted by a bite. Not nose-touching, or sharing food/water dishes, or a shared litter box. As MG was at the Vet just a couple weeks ago, and FIV negative after months of being around Kyle, the Doctor convinced me that, since they don't have an interest in fighting, the likelihood of her getting infected is nil. They don't even hiss at each other. Kyle is a wonderfully mellow little dude.
Well, once Dr. Reed laid out the bad news, and the upsides of the bad news, I needed to make a big decision. Either have Kyle put down, or give the order for the neutering, and adopt him. I sat their with this HUGE ball of fear in my belly just screaming at me to be done with it and wash my hands of him.
But, I couldn't do it.
Nor could I just bring him back and let him continue on out in the wild until the sickness grew, and he died alone under a tree somewhere in the middle of winter.
Dr. Reed made me a deal-- If I neutered him, and let him stay with me and MG, the first sign that the two might start fighting, he'd take Kyle, and find a caretaker for him. Even exchange him for one of the several cats he has for adoption.
So, that's how Kyle has come to live with me and Mountain Girl. He'll be an indoor cat forever, now, as letting him outside would risk his and other cats' health. We've no idea how long he'll stay healthy-- could be a short time, or he could live a long time, and die of extreme old-age, which is my hope for him.
Mountain Girl seems very pleased to simply have him around. Her mood has greatly improved since Murray's death, and that, along with knowing that Kyle is finally safe, and here with me is a very good thing.
|Resting, well-fed, post-op on catnip-covered cushy place|
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Monday, October 06, 2014
Sometimes, I like to go back and read what I wrote about a subject over the years to keep me honest, and fresh. Especially when a current event shouts loudly enough at me to get my notice. Sometimes, I am truly and honestly stunned at how right I had it.
I wrote this back in July of 2011:
Repeal Of Don't Ask Don't Tell Will Ultimately Legalize Gay Marriage Nationally...
Amongst the issues being discussed in finalizing the repeal policy, is what happens when a legally married gay/lesbian joins the Military, and is stationed in a state that bans gay marriage, or doesn't recognize it. DoD will must needs recognize the marriage, and provide housing/BHA, TriCare, and Base privileges, etc., and this will, in the end, force the states to recognize gay military marriages (and divorces). They won't be able to recognize ONLY Military marriages-- equal protection-- and one by one, the bans will crumble in short order. That's how it is going to end.
I had just come out of an all-day briefing at Navy Recruiting which featured video and live-stream comments from POTUS to SecDef on down to on-stage presentations from CNP, MCPON, and CNRC. The subject was the repeal of DADT, and exactly how the Policy was to be implemented. Much of the Training Brief regarded recognition of Gay Marriages, Base Privileges and Access, and Tri-Care (all equal, of course). But, it was the discussion about Housing that was the big eye-opener for me.
Let me explain: There are are plenty of places in this big Country, where Base Housing is either limited, or non-existent. Members of the Armed Forces receive a Basic Housing Allowance to cover the out-of-pocket expense for the Member, when he or she must rent in the Local Economy.
The Local Economy.
Federal Law is the Supreme Law of the Land in this great United States.
All Military Couples have Equal Protection Under The Law.
No landlord, in ANY state, renting to a Member, can discriminate, or refuse Housing. Which brings us back to Tri-Care, and DoD's policies of giving waivers to Members for treatment in the Civilian Sector. No Spouse can be turned away by Tri-Care Providers.
That post, above, was my jotting down my realizing that the Repeal of DADT and DOMA, made every single state ban on Gay Marriage immediately moot, and as we're seeing, Un-Constitutional.
Thinking back that it was Log Cabin Republicans (et al.) who won their (DADT Repeal) case before Robert's Supreme Court, I have to laugh out loud. Brilliantly well-played.
It doesn't matter what the resisting states do, or how loudly the Rightwing screams in rage-- it's done.
It's the Supreme Law Of The Land.
Everything from here on is just Pro-Forma.
I don't see the reason for anyone to waste any more time, money, or resources trying to stop the true March Of Progress.
Move on, show's over.
Put that money into Housing for Homeless Veterans, or something.
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Thursday, November 14, 2013|
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- 03/21/2010 - 03/28/2010
- 03/28/2010 - 04/04/2010
- 04/04/2010 - 04/11/2010
- 04/11/2010 - 04/18/2010
- 04/18/2010 - 04/25/2010
- 04/25/2010 - 05/02/2010
- 05/02/2010 - 05/09/2010
- 05/09/2010 - 05/16/2010
- 05/16/2010 - 05/23/2010
- 05/23/2010 - 05/30/2010
- 05/30/2010 - 06/06/2010
- 06/06/2010 - 06/13/2010
- 06/13/2010 - 06/20/2010
- 06/20/2010 - 06/27/2010
- 06/27/2010 - 07/04/2010
- 07/04/2010 - 07/11/2010
- 07/11/2010 - 07/18/2010
- 07/18/2010 - 07/25/2010
- 07/25/2010 - 08/01/2010
- 08/01/2010 - 08/08/2010
- 08/08/2010 - 08/15/2010
- 08/15/2010 - 08/22/2010
- 08/22/2010 - 08/29/2010
- 08/29/2010 - 09/05/2010
- 09/05/2010 - 09/12/2010
- 09/12/2010 - 09/19/2010
- 09/19/2010 - 09/26/2010
- 09/26/2010 - 10/03/2010
- 10/03/2010 - 10/10/2010
- 10/10/2010 - 10/17/2010
- 10/24/2010 - 10/31/2010
- 11/21/2010 - 11/28/2010
- 11/28/2010 - 12/05/2010
- 01/23/2011 - 01/30/2011
- 02/27/2011 - 03/06/2011
- 03/06/2011 - 03/13/2011
- 03/13/2011 - 03/20/2011
- 04/17/2011 - 04/24/2011
- 05/01/2011 - 05/08/2011
- 05/15/2011 - 05/22/2011
- 05/22/2011 - 05/29/2011
- 06/05/2011 - 06/12/2011
- 06/12/2011 - 06/19/2011
- 06/19/2011 - 06/26/2011
- 06/26/2011 - 07/03/2011
- 07/10/2011 - 07/17/2011
- 08/07/2011 - 08/14/2011
- 08/14/2011 - 08/21/2011
- 09/18/2011 - 09/25/2011
- 10/02/2011 - 10/09/2011
- 10/09/2011 - 10/16/2011
- 10/16/2011 - 10/23/2011
- 10/23/2011 - 10/30/2011
- 10/30/2011 - 11/06/2011
- 11/06/2011 - 11/13/2011
- 11/13/2011 - 11/20/2011
- 11/20/2011 - 11/27/2011
- 11/27/2011 - 12/04/2011
- 12/04/2011 - 12/11/2011
- 12/11/2011 - 12/18/2011
- 12/18/2011 - 12/25/2011
- 02/12/2012 - 02/19/2012
- 02/26/2012 - 03/04/2012
- 03/11/2012 - 03/18/2012
- 10/14/2012 - 10/21/2012
- 04/28/2013 - 05/05/2013
- 11/10/2013 - 11/17/2013
- 10/05/2014 - 10/12/2014
- 10/26/2014 - 11/02/2014
- 12/14/2014 - 12/21/2014
- 12/28/2014 - 01/04/2015
- 03/22/2015 - 03/29/2015
- 08/16/2015 - 08/23/2015