Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of a Christian Nation Part 3

Came across this disturbing opinion piece on Right Wing Watch:

Against the backdrop of the religious mis-education of the nation, evangelical Christians must embrace (once and for all) that they must let their voices be heard in politics, the arts, and every arena of our culture. Although Catholics are well represented on the Supreme Court, there will likely be important cases that will need the insight of unbiased evangelicals to create an atmosphere for true justice. Failure of the faith community to engage in the world of politics and processes like the selection of judges could hurt the Christian community decades from now.

Protestants must take action today! We should return to the foundations that have made the US great. Further, we must not just act on behalf of our needs, alone. We must lead the country back to the safety of its guiding principles. At the same time, despite our personal views, we must act on behalf of the entire American family – religious and secular alike. Further, we must continue to encourage religious diversity and even atheists to remain true to their beliefs as it relates to the political process. The repression of minority points of view is un-American and petty.

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.  thinks that Catholics are biased and we need the unbiased protestants on the Court to keep those evil Catholics in check.  If the Religious Right gets their way in this country they will turn back the clock on human rights.

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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of a Christian Nation Part 2

Mass. Catholic school won’t admit lesbians’ son

BOSTON – A Roman Catholic school in Massachusetts has withdrawn its acceptance of an 8-year-old boy with lesbian parents, saying their relationship was “in discord” with church teachings, according to one of the boys’ mothers.

It’s at least the second time in recent months that students have not been allowed to attend a U.S. Catholic school because of their parents’ sexual orientation, with the other instance occurring in Colorado.

Let Freedom Ring!

 

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of a Christian Nation

From Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

Inquisition In Jacksonville: Religious Right Grills Muslim Nominee For Rights Commission

Council Member Clay Yarborough, for example, sent a questionnaire – inquisition might be a better term — to Ahmed, demanding to know his views on everything from gay rights to the appropriateness of “under God” in the Pledge and on U.S. currency. No other nominee had been subjected to such probing in the past, but Yarborough apparently thought it was time to do so.

At a subsequent council session, Council Member and First Baptist congregant Don Redman, who serves as the council’s “chaplain,” led the audience in a Christian prayer, then demanded that Ahmed come forward for questions.

Redman said to Ahmed, “I would like you to pray to your god for us.” The implication was clear to many in the audience: Redman had just offered a prayer to the real God on behalf of the council and the assembled throng. Now he was inviting Ahmed to offer one to his Islamic deity.

Audience members, many of who came from a progressive group called OneJax, were appalled at the temerity of the demand and noisily burst into discussion and derision. The uproar finally settled down when Council President Richard Clark threatened to clear the room.

This is deplorable.  Christianity is anything but a tolerant religion.  One needs only a cursory reading of the Bible to understand that.  A truly Christian nation would be a very ugly place.

Those Wonderful Private Companies Government Should Emulate

So is the kind of private business we should run our schools and other government agencies like: 

BP Spent Millions to Evade Safety Rules

Posted on: May 7, 2010 9:09 AM, by Ed Brayton

I’m sure this will come as an enormous shock to those who are completely oblivious to reality. British Petroleum, while posting record profits, also spent record amounts of its own money on lobbying to weaken environmental and safety regulations and keep the taxpayer subsidy spigot open over the last couple years. Antonia Juhasz reports some of the astonishing figures in The Guardian:

BP is one of the most powerful corporations operating in the United States. Its 2009 revenues of $327bn are enough to rank BP as the third-largest corporation in the country. It spends aggressively to influence US policy and regulatory oversight.In 2009, the company spent nearly $16m on lobbying the federal government, ranking it among the 20 highest spenders that year, and shattering its own previous record of $10.4m set in 2008. In 2008, it also spent more than $530,000 on federal elections, placing it among the oil industry’s top 10 political spenders.

Sometimes its possible to have a little too much faith in the private sector.  Read the rest of the post here on Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

Franklin Graham and the National Day of Prayer

This year’s National Day of Prayer event certainly caused quite the stir.  It all began with the Wisconsin judge declaring the government’s proclamation of a National Day of Prayer unconstitutional and then continued when Franklin Graham and Tony Perkins were disinvited to participate in the Pentagon’s ceremonies over the controversial views of both ministers.  The Religious Right has  been highly critical of both decisions and have been declaring them just two more examples of how our religious freedom in this nation is being eroded, particularly the religious freedom of Christians. 

This whole event is a perfect example of why it is necessary to keep government out of religion and vice versa.  I’ve posted before about Madison’s and Jefferson’s views on issuing proclamations of days of thanksgiving and prayers and their other views of church and state relationships.  I firmly believe that both men would have firmly agreed with the decision of Judge Crabb and would have urged the Pentagon to cancel the whole event entirely were they alive today.  Both men argued that when government shows any type of favor to one religion those who are left out of that favor are demeaned and devalued and their adherent’s equal rights diminished.  Even though Graham and Perkins were disinvited, ministers from the Roman Catholic church, various protestant churches, Judaism and Islam still participated in the ceremony.  Christianity itself wasn’t discriminated against, however, a particular form of Christianity was and this is the very reason why no National Day of Prayer should take place at all which involves any type of government participation whatsoever.  No matter how hard the government tried to include all religions in the day’s ceremonies, some were still left out and their adherent’s made to feel less equal than the other religious viewpoints that were allowed to participate. 

Religion is a divisive influence in society.  It does not bring people together.  There were those in the religious right who fought to keep this day intact and there were those among the same religious right who felt the day was nothing more than an ecumenical orgy of heresy.  Religion is divisive even among its practitioners and therefore the government needs to say out of it and we need to keep religion out of government. 

I think it is also ironic that among all the outcries of religious persecution and discrimination we saw as a result of the judical ruling and the disinvitation of Graham and Perkins, that Franklin Graham was still able to hold his own prayer service/media event on the very sidewalks in front of the Pentagon (if that’s not the public square I don’t know what is )without being arrested, detained or otherwise obstructed by the government.  Regardless of the ranting of the religious right, we still live in a country of immense religious freedom.

Letter to the Editor Has a Selective View of History

I didn’t buy these arguments for a Christian nation even when I was a believer and had every reason to embrace them.  I don’t deny that the culture of America at the time of the Revolution was a Christian culture but to insist that the founders specifically used the bible to form the three branches of government, that America is God’s chosen nation, that capitalism is the only biblical economic system and that somehow we have special blessings from God is just plain ridiculous.  From the Opinion page of today’s West Bend Daily News:

Rulings on faith stray from Constitution

  I read some outrageous news in the Daily News last month that a judge had struck down the National Day of Prayer with the stroke of a mighty pen, which she since has set aside because of appeals. The ruling is another nail in the coffin of the United States of America, hastening the day of fulfillment for President Obama’s declaration to the Muslim states that America is not a Christian country.
   We are a nation founded on biblical principals. We have truly been blessed by God bountifully.
   All government meetings were opened with a prayer. This was the norm until anti-Christian lawyers misinterpreted the Constitution by adding separation of church and state as unconstitutional. There is no such things as separation of church and state in our Constitution.
   Lately, the 9th District in California ruled to remove the cross and “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to please two atheists. Now we get this scenario in Wisconsin.
   What is wrong with people giving thanks to our God for His blessings on a National Prayer Day? Why are some judges ruling in favor of atheists, homosexuals and those for separation of church and state – a fiction which the judge must know? Why are they trying to destroy the unique liberties and freedom of a great Christian country? This is appalling, and I am justly irate, disappointed and grievously saddened by the destructive direction these judges are taking using their power with the pen – extreme judicial tyranny doing grave harm to our nation.
   No other religion is persecuted as Christians are because they dare not under pain of death. Our one true faith must be defended at all costs. We must uphold our National Day of Prayer as Rep. Pat Strachota has said. This is Christian America yet.
   
Ronald W. Hepponstall West Bend

First of all Ronald does not understand the concept of equal rights for all.  When the government favors or endorses one religion over another it is creating an environment where those who do not adhere to that religion are cast as outsiders and are not recognized as being equal with those believers.  That is the concept that drove the founders vision of religious freedom.  In an earlier  post, that you can find here, about this topic I printed a letter from James Madison.  From what he said in that letter I doubt Madison would have agreed with Ronald.   Nor would Jefferson.   Neither of these two founders could be considered hostile to religion.  Both were firm believers themselves, although Jefferson leaned more toward deism, and both firmly believed in the freedom to believe as a person saw fit.  Imagine if a politician were to speak those same words today as they did in their letters.  Actually, we don’t have to imagine to hard.  Judge Crabb said as much in her ruling and look what has happened to her.

The Paranoia of Beck and Limbaugh

From Watching the Deniers:

The paranoid  style of American politics:  Beck, Limbaugh claim oil spill deliberate sabotage

To quote Limbaugh:  

But this bill, the cap-and-trade bill, was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants, nuclear plant investment. So, since they’re sending SWAT teams down there, folks, since they’re sending SWAT teams to inspect the other rigs, what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I’m just noting the timing here.”  

In short, the Obama administration deliberately sabotaged the Deep Horizon oil rig to create a disaster that would allow them to… I’m not sure. Provide an excuse for the cap-and-trade legislation? Blunt efforts for more offshore drilling of the coasts of the US?  

I call this the “I’m just saying…” approach to conspiracy theory making. In short, you don’t need to present evidence.  You simply connect two (or more) unrelated events and hint at a connection.  

Such conspiracy making is almost impossible to refute, as the accuser retreats to the fall back “Yeah, but I’m just saying…”  

It’s really quite amazing why anybody would believe anything these two say.  It’s also quite frightening that there are a lot of people who do believe what these two have to say.  Just goes to show that some people will believe anything no matter how irrational or incredible the source.