Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap: Like Showering With A Crazed Street Preacher

I'm a fan of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint 18-in-1 Pure Castile Soap. I've used it off and on for decades. I like my soap like I like my food -- it needs to burn a little. And it's truly a simple multi-purpose product. Sinuses clogged? Pour a little on a washcloth and drape it over your face while in a hot shower. It's like a nuclear blast in your nose holes. It's good stuff. Smells great, wakes you up, and a bottle lasts forever.

Anyone who has used Dr. Bronner's soaps has noticed that the label is covered with what appears to be the ramblings of a religious madman. I never really paid a whole lot of attention to it. The small snippets I've perused here and there seemed to be part of the charm -- as if Dr. Bronner was perhaps a crazy hippie who happens to make awesome soap.  I never really looked into it. I knew nothing at all about Dr. Bronner.

This week, while showering, I decided to read the label a little more closely (it was a long shower). It reads like the carnival barking of a schizophrenic street preacher-slash-soap salesman. It's a strange mix of homeopathy, new age rhetoric, science fiction, Evangelical Christianity and Judaism.

Stuff like this:
"THE 2ND COMING OF GOD'S LAW!" Mohammed's Arabs, 1948, found Israel Essene Scrolls & Einstein's "Hillel" prove that as certain as no 6-year-old can grow up free without the abc, so certain can no 12-year-old survive free without the Essene Moral ABC the mason, tent & sandalmaker, Rabbi Hillel taught carpenter Jesus to unite all mankind free in our Eternal Father's great All- One-God-Faith! For we're All-One or none: "Listen Children Eternal Father Eternal One!"
And this:
Absolute cleanliness is Godliness! Who else but God gave man Love that can spark mere dust to life! Poetry, uniting All-One! All brave! All life! Who else but God! "Listen Children Eternal Father Eternal One!"
And this:
More good is caused by evil than by good, do what's right! Enlarge the positive! Replace the negative with the Moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith that lightning-like unites the Human race! For we're All-One or none! As Mao found in Redbook '51, "Marxism once in power, is unworkable! Has less value than cow dung! Its power is the gun!" Khruschev added, "Without profits, farmers won't deliver food, we starve!"
And this:
There are brave souls who dare to dream that men are brothers and not foes, That hands may clasp across the seas to common good, to common woes. That beneath God's Law, the Essene Moral ABC, that 6 billion strong unites All-One- God-Faith men will embrace in brother-love to never kill in bitter hate. Who dare to hear the mighty truth, reverberating through long years, that faith- love-courage conquer fear & teamwork heal a nation's tears. Though flood & fire sweep the old earth's sod, & raging wars and evils wreck its calm, still through the awful tumult there is God our glorious world within His upraised palm. Among the journeying stars, the moon, the sun that have not failed because of that great might, with other pilgrim planets, we are one held in His hand, kept in His steadfast sight. Amidst the cannons roar you can hear God's voice: "Replace half truth, our real enemy, that age old hate" with full truth, hard work, God's Law uniting mankind in All-One-God-Faith! For centuries man struggles half asleep, half living, small & jealous, bickering with mountains of red tape to be awakened, the night God chose giving His great reward for hard work: Poetry, uniting Love, evolving man above the ape! Machine age man is full of sense & nonsense, fear, greed & jealousy, destroy his every land; Today, this whole wide world craves love-faith-courage united by the Moral ABC we stand!
So what's the deal?

According to a 1997 article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
It's unclear whether anyone but Dr. Bronner understood all of what is printed there.

That's the way it is with a philosophy of peace, unity and environment that simultaneously pays tribute to the qualities of Jesus, Karl Marx and Mark Spitz.

"He never thought small," said his son, Ralph, a longtime resident of Menomonee Falls who taught English and reading at Milwaukee's Muir Middle School for 32 years. "He was a brilliant soap chemist trying to unite the world."

Bronner wasn't a doctor, if that makes any difference. Growing up in his family's business in Germany, he gained a soapmaster's degree, which he considered the equivalent of a doctorate.

He wasn't really a rabbi, either, though he sometimes called himself that in later years, using the meaning of teacher.

He was Jewish, all right, even though he had his three children baptized Lutheran. Two sons and a daughter were born when Bronner was living in Milwaukee, but that was before he was forced into an Illinois mental institution and long before he habitually greeted visitors in California clad in leopard-print bathing trunks.

Bronner, among the biggest self-promoters in the nation, and blind the last 30 years of his life, was a self-proclaimed visionary.
The Straight Dope also looked into the story of Dr. Bronner:
Bronner has had an eventful life. The son of a Jewish German soap maker, he emigrated to the U.S. and pleaded with his father to do the same when the Nazis came to power. The old man refused. One day Bronner got a postcard with the words, "You were right. — Your loving father." He never heard from his parents again.

Initially settling in the midwest, Bronner married the illegitimate daughter of a nun, who eventually became suicidal and died in a mental hospital. (He says she was tortured by the hospital guards.) He also began devising his plan for world peace. Fittingly, he took to the soapbox to promote it. One of his listeners, Fred Walcher, was so inspired that in 1945 he had himself crucified in Chicago in order to publicize the plan. (He survived.)

Later Bronner was arrested while trying to promote his plan at the University of Chicago and was committed to a mental hospital. He escaped three times, finally fleeing to California in 1947. He's been there cranking out soap and soap labels ever since.

Despite his eccentricities, Dr. Bronner has built his soap company into a prosperous concern, mostly by sheer force of personality. In the early days he would set up a table at health food conventions. If a dealer strayed within ten feet, Bronner would pounce and not let go until he'd gotten an order.

But things didn't really take off until he was discovered by the counterculture during the 60s. With the aid of his sons Jim and Ralph, who handle production and sales, he currently sells some 400,000 gallons of liquid soap and 600,000 pounds of bar soap a year. He says he's now worth $6 million — not bad, he notes drily, for somebody who's supposedly nuts.
The Straight Dope article was written before Dr. Bronner's death in March of 1997. His family continues the business, and the inspired writings of the doctor remain. The family has vowed to leave the labels untouched as a memorial.

A documentary, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox was released in 2006. The New York Times wrote that the film is "a complex portrait of a man who cares more for humanity than for his own children.”

According to the Jounral-Sentinel, one particular soap user, "who adopted Bronner's religion and his punctuation, wrote: "Until I read one of your soap labels, I was an atheist. Now I have found the words in which I can believe!""


Bryan Fischer: 'The Left Hates Women'

According to Bryan Fischer of the AFA, it's not conservatives who are disrespecting women -- it's the left. Liberals, says Fischer, are almost always the source of misogyny, hatred, and verbal attacks. They're just like Islamic Radicals, he says, treating women as something less than human.

Fischer, looking down on women
Fischer's idea of respect sure is strange.

In February, he stated that "women are not wired, either by evolution or by God, whoever is responsible for this difference, they are not prepared by DNA and innate personality characteristics to be in [combat]."

Last August, Fischer stated that a woman can only be president only if there aren't any godly men available to do the job.

Just last week, he stated that Sandra Fluke is "sleeping with so many guys she can't keep track," and that the "definition of "slut" is "a promiscuous woman." The left got Rush to apologize for using the dictionary accurately."

In January, responding to a report that 96.6% of all sexual assaults in military are male on female or male on male, Fischer actually said this: "Remove women and gays, problem vanishes."

Also in January, Fischer blamed women, and the feminization of public policy, for the sorry state of affairs in America.

Last April, Fischer said that welfare provides incentive for black women to "rut like rabbits."

This man has zero self-awareness.



Wouldn't It Be Better If Satan Was Responsible For Leviticus?

The Book of Leviticus is a doozy. Certainly an apologetic, with a little bit of shoehorning, can make it seem not so bad. It was, after all, written for a specific audience during a specific time in history for specific reasons.

Too often, however, everyday folks cherry-pick things from Leviticus to validate all sorts of ugliness, most notably homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

However, when we read more than just those few segments of Leviticus that might seem to validate some of our own personal prejudices, we see that these cherry-picked lines that are often held as God's truth in 2012, are nested in with a whole lot of downright horrible, or just plain ridiculous, commandments.

Take these for example:
"For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him." (Leviticus 20:9)

"And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." (Leviticus 20:10)

"If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has discovered her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from her people." (Leviticus 20:18)

"Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property." (Leviticus 25:44-45)

"Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard." (Leviticus 19:27)

"And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire." (Leviticus 21:9)

"...and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you." (Leviticus 11:7)

"...do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear material woven of two kinds of material." (Leviticus 19:19)

"A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 20:27)

"But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you." (Leviticus 11:10)
Now, I don't care who you are, or what time you're living in, this is some of the worst advice you could possibly give to anyone, anywhere. As I often tell my children, 'I don't care what they did to you, violence is never the answer.' They understand this. God apparently does not -- at least not according to his word.

So often, when we bring up these insane passages from Leviticus, the Christian retort is something like, "Oh, well, Jesus came along and tossed that stuff aside. That's the old covenant. Jesus brought with him the new covenant."

Which is all fine until we also take into consideration that Christians believe Jesus and God to be one and the same. Jesus is, after all (according to Christianity), part of the Holy Trinity. Jesus is Lord, right?

So, this means we are to believe that God in his God form said a bunch of crazy stuff to a certain group of people. Then God in his man form came along and said not to pay attention to the stuff that he said in his God form because that stuff was a little much.  If God knew everything he knows now, and he should (he's God after all), his morality should not have changed over time -- or at least it should never, under any circumstances, at any time whatsoever, have involved child-killing or enslavement.

If we are also to believe that God is all-knowing (including all scientific and medical knowledge), and that he is all-loving and the source of morality, we have to accept that his commandments to these people were totally lacking in scientific and medical knowledge, and that his morality is easily questionable -- even by simple human beings such as you and I.

Take slavery (please!). You would think that under no circumstances could God, the source of morality for the three Abrahamic religions, possibly endorse slavery. It's not even like he was ambiguous about it. Leviticus is very clear on how slavery works, including the minor details of slave-keeping, -selling, and -trading. It's pretty embarrassing, actually.

The below video, by NonStampCollector illustrates just how horrible the slavery laws in Leviticus are, by presenting us with a scenario that would actually be more believable than believing that God would be cool with slavery: Satan, ever the trickster, takes a pen to God's manuscript, turning his very ethical guide on the treatment of other humans into a horrible, slavery-condoning nightmare. Only someone as terrible as Satan could possibly come up with such morality, right?

We can only conclude that flawed humans wrote Leviticus, that morality evolved over time, and that new scripture had to be written later to catch up with the human morality that allowed us to view Old Testament morality as immoral.

We can also conclude that if you use scripture from Leviticus, or anywhere else in the Bible for that matter, to validate the discrimination or mistreatment of other human beings for any reason, you're relying on the archaic morality of Bronze age desert tribesmen.