Democrats & Liberals Archives

America's Trend to Theocracy

Kevin Phillips, the great pundit who back in 1969 optimistically predicted Republican ascendancy in his “The Emerging Republican Majority,” has this year published “American Theocracy,” in which he pessimistically describes our current American society. He believes we have 3 huge problems: oil depedency, credit dependency and worst of all, an eagerness to void the separation between church and state. All 3 are hastening the decline of America.

Phillips' book is loaded with statistics to set down the facts, and historical analogies to show what is in store for us in the future. At some points I felt buried by the avalanche of data. But his thesis became unmistakable as I trudged along. It also became harder and harder to refute.

The author describes how our entire economy depends on oil. Oil is needed for cars, airplanes and other transportation vehicles. It is used extensively for heating and cooling, for the running of electric utilities and other capital equipment, and for making a myriad variety of materials for many purposes.

Oil in huge quantities is needed for war. According to Phillips, a primary reason for attacking Iraq is to assure a good supply of oil. In a chapter called "Trumpets of Democracy, Drums of Gasoline," Phillips quotes Fadel Gheit, a prominent oil analyst:

"Think of Iraq as virgin territory... This is bigger than anything Exxon is involved in currently... It is the superstar of the future. That's why Iraq becomes the most sought-after real estate on the face of the earth.... Think of Iraq as a military base with a very large oil reserve underneath... You can't ask for better than this."

The amount of oil available to us in the future will be less and less as we and other countries use more and more of it. Phillips presents historical analogies to demonstrate that societies that depended too much on a specific resource declined when the resource was used up.

Unless we find a way out of our thorough dependence on oil, America will decline.

Phillips sees similar difficulties with our becoming a debtor society filled with citizens who in 2004 have borrowed more than the GDP. All of us together in that year have spent more than we have earned. We used to manufacture lots of things, but not now. Manufacturing has been taken over by banks and other financial companies who shuffle around money. In 2004 financial firms produced 40% of all profit.

The U.S. government is hugely in the red. Who buys our credit instruments? China. So we are a debtor nation and China is a creditor nation. What happens if China no longer buys our credit instruments? We are kaput.

Again Phillips offers historical analogies of countries that have gone profligate with credit. They eventually declined. It will hurt America too.

Our dependence on oil and credit is bad enough. But, Phillips says, our straying from the fundamental principle undergirding our society, the separation of church and state, will hurt us the most. He points out that over recent years the old line Protestant churches have declined while fundamentalists and born-agains have flourished. Today, the statistics are as follows:

  • Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Holiness, Pentacostal - 25% of population
  • Older Protestant denominations - 15%
People joined the Southern Baptist Convention in big numbers. They now are 40 million strong. Baptists want to "save souls and not ameliorate society." They and others of the religious Right do not merely want to make abortion illegal. They want to tear down the wall of separation between church and state. Read what Jerry Falwell said:

"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again, and Christians will be running them."

Tearing down the wall is just the beginning. They want to remake the Middle East in their image. This is what Kyle Fisk, executive administrator of the National Association of Evangelicals, said:

"Iraq will become the center of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to Iran, Libya and throughout the Middle East."

The religious Right wants to build a theocracy. Again, Phillips presents historical analogies to show that when other societies became excessively devout they declined.

According to Phillips, if America persists in what it is doing, in a few decades China will supersede the U.S. in power and influence.

A word to the wise is sufficient. Are we wise?

Posted by Paul Siegel at May 1, 2006 6:06 PM
Comments
Comment #144635

I would have to agree with him that these are 3 looming and large problems facing our nation and the next generation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 1, 2006 6:38 PM
Comment #144641

I have to disagree that these three in particular are the biggest problems.

I would rank education first. If the population is so ignorant that they cant even see the signs of pending doom on the horizen, they will be caught by surprize when whatever it is happens to them.

Can anyone say Patriot Act?

Hell, what percentage of the population could tell you, without looking it up on the net, who their own representitives are? How many think we live in a democracy? We dont teach our kids where we came from and how and why our constitution is written the way it is.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the enemies are complacency and ignorance. Educate the people and they may start to care enough to get some changes made in our government. Leave fat and stupid, all we can expect is more of the same.


Posted by: jwl at May 1, 2006 7:04 PM
Comment #144643

jwl, we do live in a democracy, which proves your point about the need for improving education. Our is a Republic Democracy, or as it is more commonly referred to as, a democratically elected Republic. As opposed to what is known as direct democracy. But, yes, we are a democracy in a Republic form. Our government was designed to be of, by, and for the people via the power of their vote for or against their representatives.

This Republic form of democracy is truly failing us at this time, because as you allude to, its success depends upon an informed consent of the electorate, and a participating electorate at the polls. Neither of which we see in great abundance today.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 1, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #144644

BTW, if we were not a democracy, then the education and participation level of the voters would have no effect on the Republic. But they do have an enormous effect. The people make the decisions about how well or, in our case, badly, government is run, and for whose benefit. By voting incumbents back in at the rate of 94 to 97% each election, we the voters are saying what politicians are doing is fine with us.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 1, 2006 7:21 PM
Comment #144645

David,

I’m sorry you are incorrect.

The US is a respresentitive republic. Not a democracy. Democracy is a one man, one vote system where the majority RULES.

You only have to look at the controversy surrounding recent elections and the electoral college to see that.

Look it up.

Posted by: jwl at May 1, 2006 7:28 PM
Comment #144649

Paul,
Interesting post. Over the last several years I have become an “evagelical” christian, and I for one still believe that rev. jerry (diminutive case on purpose) is less concerned for the “WORD” than his own pockets. I personally do not believe the tenants of faith should be legislated.

As to oil… When I was a child this nation put a man on the moon, this after taking a failing space program and turning it around in the space of ten years. We can change our dependence on oil if we learn to take a short term hit. Truly reward development of alternative sources, between “judicious” uses of taxes and incentives it can be done. It is sad that our short sighted government has squandered so much that it can no longer support publicly such a project.
As to credit… our leadership should begin with a lead by example program. If a bill causes red ink it must either be thrown out or put to a supermajority test.

Lastly “we” must do the hard part, DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY from those we vote for regaurdless if they arein our party or not. Continually returning failures to dc because they mouth our favorite D or R rhetoric once every few years has to stop.

Posted by: Ted at May 1, 2006 8:15 PM
Comment #144654

Ted-
Right on the money. We get what we ask for. If we don’t take the time to learn, question, and then vote wisely, we are asking for what we have right now: at least 500 well paid whores calling themselves a government. All of the potential disasters that Kevin Phillips claims to see can be avoided if we the people woould just get off our fat behinds and take back the reponsibility for our own destiny.

BTW- I heard something on radio today that makes a lot of sense to me. Every member of Congress takes an oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. I think a good case could be made against several of them (2-300) for misfeasance and malfeasance in office. This is not impeachment, this is a criminal offense. The punishment upon conviction would be removal from office and prison time!

It would also be nice if forfeiture of all pay and benfits were also part of the package. A few high visibility trials could give the rest of them pause when a lobbyist comes around with cash filled envelopes.

Just a thought.

Posted by: John Back at May 1, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #144660

I always thought history proved that it was moral decay that corrupted and destroyed nations.

So…it’s just the opposite?

Posted by: Cliff at May 1, 2006 8:55 PM
Comment #144661

jwl, we have one person, one vote, and the majority does rule through the party system. Try watching C-Span sometime.

According to you, Bush is lying through his teeth when he says he is trying to spread democracy throughout the world because it has worked so well for us. BTW, just because Great Britian has a Parliamentary form of government does not preclude their government being a democracy.

There are a number of forms of democratic governments, all democracies in their various and differing forms.

You are a victim of the following:


Taken from a 156 page book officially compiled and issued by the U.S. War Department, November 30, 1928, setting forth exact and truthful definitions of a Democracy and of a Republic. These definitions were published by authority of the United States Government.

Shortly after the “bank holiday” in the thirties, hush-hush orders from the White House suddenly demanded that all copies of this book be withdrawn from the Government Printing Office and the Army posts, to be suppressed and destroyed without explanation.

The Army promulgated the definitions you ascribe, and the U.S. government quietly censored those definitions in years following, because they were a bastardizing of original definitions.

According to you, our founding fathers and De Toqueville, and every president since George Washington did not know what they were talking about when referring to the United States as a Democracy. I fault Pres. Bush for many things, but, he does know and acknowledge frequently that the U.S. is a democracy and that our goal is replicate our democratic (adjective) freedoms around the world.

It is you who should research what you read instead of accepting what you read at face value.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 1, 2006 9:00 PM
Comment #144663

BTW, our democracy was patterned on the classics including the democracy of Greece where the concept was originated. And guess what? Their democracy was a Republic as well with Senators elected by the people to represent them in government. It was the first democracy, and the first republic form of democracy, as opposed to direct democracy or parliamentary democracy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 1, 2006 9:08 PM
Comment #144664

John Back, I can hear GOP minds responding to your comment now, “NO, the Constitution is locked up safe in the Smithsonian Institute, therefore, the Constitution has been protected and defended and no malfeasance or misfeasance has taken place.”

Words have meaning. The problem with many on the right and left is they believe it is acceptable to create new meanings when the old ones don’t support the view they want to have. Protect and Defend the Constitution is an oath to protect and defend not the parchment it was written on, but the nation for which the document was written to govern and define. And that means our borders and her people. Something this President and Congress have utterly failed to do.

9/11 happened, failure to protect and defend. The Immigratiion issue is now a crisis, another failure to protect and defend. And the responsibility and failure did not start in 2000, but extended back through the Clinton years as well.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 1, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #144682

I always thought history proved that it was moral decay that corrupted and destroyed nations.

So…it’s just the opposite?

Posted by: Cliff at May 1, 2006 08:55 PM

Morality will be found in the total destruction of the psuedo-religious fundamentalist cult dressed in Christian drag now attempting to destroy everything our great country has represented for the last 230 years.

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at May 1, 2006 9:57 PM
Comment #144683

Heh. I read a worst-case analysis of our relationship with China last week that made me chuckle:

Having come to the brink of war with China (for whatever reason), the US would have to fund it by borrowing the money from them — and because China’s economy is so dependent on the US, they’d have to lend it to us!

You gotta love globalization. :)

Good post, Paul. I agree that debt, oil, and social fundamentalism are three of the biggest problems facing the US today. Terrorism is a more dramatic problem, but it has far less effect on our way of life (except when used against us by our own President to unconstitutionally usurp more power into the executive branch).

Did you see where John Danforth said the Republican’s gay marriage amendment to the US Constitution was “silly” and totally at odds with conservative principles?

“The basic concept of the Republican Party is to interpret the Constitution narrowly, not expansively, so that legislatures, and especially state legislatures, can work out over a period of time the social issues in our country.”

Whatever happened to those real conservatives? They’re sure not running the Republican Party.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 1, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #144686

Paul:

I agree with the premise about oil. It has been US policy since after WWII to protect the free flow of oil. It was about oil when we liberated Kuwait, and at the core when Clinton bombed that pharmacy. (Why were we containing Sadaam?) Of course we have the “food for oil” SCANDAL. Oil, oil oil oil oil.

I would part company with the idea that Bush II invented this thing. 9/11 was a factor, a fundamental factor in our long long term concern with middle eastern oil.

Have you noticed how the debate over Iraq has changed? Notice how the voices to pull out are not as loud? Notice how both parties now (at the leaderhip levels), seem to be moving toward acceptance of long term placement of american troops in Iraq? I was wrong about this six months or so ago. I thought we would see troop movements home right after the first. It seems to me we will be there for decades not.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at May 1, 2006 10:07 PM
Comment #144687

Paul,

You finally hit the nail right on the head! Way in the hell back during Reagan’s first four years of destroying our infrastracture I met a group of folks based out of Boulder and Denver, CO that introduced me to the idea that certain Christian factions in this country wanted to “restore” this nation to it’s original dominionist status.

I thought they were all a little nutso! No one would seriously want to return us to the early 1900’s, would they? I mean back then many people normally carried firearms:

“KANSAS GOVERNOR VETOES CONCEALED CARRY BILL”
http://www.gunshopfinder.com/legislativenews/kansas4_16_04.html

Wooooohooooo, lets do the wild west all over again. Maybe we can get our daily death toll right up around that of Iraq’s!

“Thirty-six states have laws that require officials to issue concealed carry permits to qualified applicants and another eight have laws that give officials some discretion over whether someone gets a permit. Two states—Vermont and Alaska—require no permits for concealed carry.”

Of course, we’ll need guns! We’ll be fighting the
War on Secular Society:
http://www.theocracywatch.org/introduction2.htm#War

OK, now you think I’m certifiably nutso myself. Well, check out the “State of Texas GOP Platform, 2004”:
http://www.texasgop.org/site/DocServer/RPTPlatform2004.pdf?docID=121

Two notable quotes from the Texas GOP Plat:
(1)We commend President George W. Bush’s principled stand to reduce taxes and stimulate the economy.
(2)The family is responsible for its own welfare, education, moral training, conduct, and property.

So, we really do know where we stand! If lifes trials and tribulations should happen to leave someone down and out they should expect no help from the government.

IMO that amounts to turning our social status as the worlds greatest super power back to where we were in the early 1900’s.

Just think. The words deprive and deprave are only one letter apart.

KansasDem


Posted by: KansasDem at May 1, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #144697

What is it about Christianity that scares you libs so much?

Christians believe in the return of Christ for his own. If that is the case, when Christians are gone, everything will be in the hands of the libs. Who will you blame then for the woes of the world?

Posted by: BP at May 1, 2006 11:02 PM
Comment #144699

Concerning Kevin Phillips: it didn’t take much to figure out the southern states would align themselves with the republican party. Since the southern states are also part of what is known as the Bible Belt, it would naturally stand to reason, these people would side with the party of morality.

Most of the dems of the south were called “yellow dog democrats”. There was a real hatred for the party of Lincoln, but as the party of the working man slowly took on the face of socialism, these people abandoned old party affiliations. I personally believe the abortion issue was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s ironic that the main staple of the democratic party, the love of killing babies, is the very reason they lost the southern states.

Posted by: BP at May 1, 2006 11:20 PM
Comment #144701

BP,

“What is it about Christianity that scares you libs so much?”

Speakingfor myself I find the blind devotion to somthing or someone that can neither be seen, smelled, tasted, heard, or felt, just a little creepy.

Combine the aforementioned with the even creepier need to prostilatize, and the fact that I just can’t accept anything on faith alone, and you have a trifecta.

I don’t claim to be a “Lib”, and I definitely wouldn’t call my feelings fear.

Posted by: Rocky at May 1, 2006 11:23 PM
Comment #144706


If you want an example of what a country is like without a separation of church and state, you need look no further than Iran. If you want a christian example, take a walk back thru time and have a look at the dark ages or the inquisition.

Posted by: jlw at May 1, 2006 11:30 PM
Comment #144707

BP,
I think if you look back you will find southern states abandoned the democratic party as a block before roe v wade. You might check voting history after Johnson’s support for civil rights legislation. Abortion was just icing on the cake for the rep’s.

Posted by: Ted at May 1, 2006 11:34 PM
Comment #144709

BP,

“It’s ironic that the main staple of the democratic party, the love of killing babies, is the very reason they lost the southern states.”

Love of killing babies?

Would you rather that your women be kept barefoot and pregnant?

Posted by: Rocky at May 1, 2006 11:45 PM
Comment #144710


It wasn’t abortion that turned the south red. It was integration and the right to vote that turned the south red.

Posted by: jlw at May 1, 2006 11:49 PM
Comment #144711

The phrase “separation of church and state” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution. The origin of the phrase is in a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in Danbury, Ct. 13 years after the First Amendment was ratified. The First Amendment protects religion from government interference, not the other way round. It forbids congress to make a law requiring everyone to adhere to a single state religion. It also forbids congress to place any restrictions on the pracice of religion. Claiming that the religious right wants to build a theocracy is as inaccurate as saying that the loony left are all communists. There is a fringe that would but they are few in number.
Devotion to God doesn’t cause a society to decline. Indeed, when a society turns from God to the depravity we see around us today a society declines. As this accelerates and people begin to see their mistake they will turn back to religion as the society is in its death throes. By then it’s too late.

David R. Remer,
That Army manual was suppressed because the New Dealers didn’t want people to know the truth. I refer you to Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance sometime. Does the flag stand for a democracy or a republic?

KansasDem,
In the states that permit self defense violent crime is dropping. In those that don’t crime is increasing. Let’s see…Could it be that criminals prefer unarmed victims rather than people who can fight back and might kill them?

Posted by: traveller at May 1, 2006 11:50 PM
Comment #144712

traveller,

“Indeed, when a society turns from God to the depravity we see around us today a society declines. As this accelerates and people begin to see their mistake they will turn back to religion as the society is in its death throes. By then it’s too late.”

Do you assume that all non-Christians are hedonists?

This goes back to the conversation that I had with someone here who thought man was basicly evil, and I totally disagree with that statement.

Are there those that take advantage of man’s baser natures?

You bet, but I would submit there a quite a few folks that call themselves Christians that fall into that catagory as well.

Posted by: Rocky at May 2, 2006 12:06 AM
Comment #144713

I am not a Christian, but I am disappointed that this thread has ignored the vast numbers of Christians, even including evangelicals, whose commitment to pluralist, secular democracy and progressive values have been consistently demonstrated. When, as BP complains, the Christians discussed in ths thread are thankfully gone or at least disempowered, those who are “left behind” will do just fine, along with the rest of us.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at May 2, 2006 12:11 AM
Comment #144714

Traveller,

It was a very popular right wing argument until recently that the government should support “faith-based” efforts, in other words, that the government should give money to churches. We’ve never done that before in this nation’s history, it was a radical suggestion, and Bush threw his support into it. So I don’t think it is at all an exaggeration to say that many right wing Christians want what would historically be called a radical government sponsorship of religion.

Also, whether the crime rate is dropping or not what parts of the country are the safest? Which have the lowest crime rates period?

Posted by: Max at May 2, 2006 12:15 AM
Comment #144715

“The phrase “separation of church and state” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution.”

True enough traveller, but:

Our Treaty with Tripoli in 1797 contained Article 11 which states:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

****************************

“KansasDem,
In the states that permit self defense violent crime is dropping. In those that don’t crime is increasing. Let’s see…Could it be that criminals prefer unarmed victims rather than people who can fight back and might kill them?”

I’d love to see some long term stats. Evidently America was a better place when every man was wearing a six gun and every woman kept her petticoats down and her mouth shut, eh?

As I said it’s all a part of rolling back history. Yeeeehaaaaa buddy I can ride and shoot. Well, I used to could. Now I mostly stumble and fall.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at May 2, 2006 12:23 AM
Comment #144718

It’s pretty well known that many of the Southern, Christian red states that do not want legal abortions have the most abortions. They want guns and have high crime. They have higher divorce rates. Higher incidences of spousal abuse. Let’s face it, they do a poor job of dealing with their issues, because they’d rather ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. Then to top it off they pedantically lecture the rest of the country about their morals.

Posted by: Max at May 2, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #144720

Max:

It’s pretty well known that many of the Southern, Christian red states that do not want legal abortions have the most abortions. They want guns and have high crime. They have higher divorce rates. Higher incidences of spousal abuse. Let’s face it, they do a poor job of dealing with their issues, because they’d rather ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. Then to top it off they pedantically lecture the rest of the country about their morals.

One of those “those people” kind of arguments.
Wow the bigotry of the left. Let’s put in the phrase “blacks” after all, they have higher divorce rates, more sexual abuse, and more crime as well. let’s add aides, and children born out of wedlock. Matter of fact there are more “african Americans” in the south. Whoops can’t use “those people” arguments with blacks, just republicans. I know, let’s blame the Jews!!

Geese.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at May 2, 2006 12:33 AM
Comment #144723

“In every Country and every age the Priest had been hostile to Liberty.” Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: j2t2 at May 2, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #144727

“Christians believe in the return of Christ for his own. If that is the case, when Christians are gone, everything will be in the hands of the libs. Who will you blame then for the woes of the world?

Posted by: BP at May 1, 2006 11:02 PM”

I don’t know of any American “lib” that desires bringing an end to Christianity. OTOH it seems like some Christians would certainly be willing to do away with guys like me and never look back. Of course it would be in the name of God, eh?

If you’re speaking of the rapture I’d personally suggest a psychiatrist or at the very least read Tony Hendra’s “The Rapture is Crapture” :

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-hendra/the-rapture-is-crapture-_b_19606.html

Part 2: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-hendra/the-rapture-crapture-par_b_19996.html

Hendra says it better than I ever possibly could.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at May 2, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #144729

“I personally believe the abortion issue was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s ironic that the main staple of the democratic party, the love of killing babies, is the very reason they lost the southern states.”

BP,

You’re so damn right and at the same time you are so wrong. I do not love killing babies. I do believe in protecting a womans right to choose what happens with her own body. Your not being able to differentiate between the two tells me that you feel a womans rights are “almost” equal to ours.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at May 2, 2006 1:33 AM
Comment #144730

“I am not a Christian, but I am disappointed that this thread has ignored the vast numbers of Christians, even including evangelicals, whose commitment to pluralist, secular democracy and progressive values have been consistently demonstrated. When, as BP complains, the Christians discussed in ths thread are thankfully gone or at least disempowered, those who are “left behind” will do just fine, along with the rest of us.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at May 2, 2006 12:11 AM”

Robert,

I believe I’ve read posts from you before on this column. Why you would feel that we’re somehow “bashing” Christians rather amazes me. I have no problem with someone else’ faith whatever it is. It certainly does seem that certain persons throughout the world insist on a monolithic view.

OTOH it seems we are being told by certain government entities to follow Biblical law. Well, some of us totally disagree. I prefer not to know what faith you or Paul or anyone else follows. If evryone felt the same way there would be no discussion of Theocracy.

I appreciate Paul starting this thread because I believe it begins to spell out just exactly what the true Neo-Con plan is.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at May 2, 2006 1:56 AM
Comment #144737
I don’t know of any American “lib” that desires an end to Christianity.
Posted by KansasDem

Does an expatriot American “lib” in Indonesia count?

Morality will be found in the total destructionof the pseudo-religious fundamentalist blah blah blah

Man, KD, I didn’t even have to leave this thread to find a liberal who wants Christianity destroyed. You guys make it so easy ;o>

Posted by: Duano at May 2, 2006 3:52 AM
Comment #144738

BTW, a woman has a right to choose what happens to HER body, like keeping herself from getting pregnant. It’s the right to choose to have scissors inserted into the back of SOMEONE ELSE’S head and having his/her brain matter vacuumed out is where the Bible Belters take issue.

Posted by: Duano at May 2, 2006 3:57 AM
Comment #144744

Some once said long ago in a distant land, “I was just wondering, is that what happened to you?”

Posted by: gergle at May 2, 2006 5:04 AM
Comment #144745

Gergle,

No. Thankfully, my mom chose life. What happened to me was that she instilled a sense of compassion and respect for life, especially the life of the innocent and defenseless. You should see about getting some.

Posted by: Duano at May 2, 2006 5:34 AM
Comment #144746

Oh boy! This is gonna’ get ugly. Haven’t we done the abortion issue to death (pun unavoidable)?

From this point on, further discussion is going to degenerate into name calling and bible quoting. Maybe it’s not too late if we stop right now.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 2, 2006 5:49 AM
Comment #144747

Christians do not want a theocracy. Which denomination gets to force its views on the rest of the Christian community? No, the theocracy argument is a farce that liberals use to defend their efforts to remove all expression of Christianity from the public square. Secular “progressives” need to silence all Christian thought because the overwhelming Christian electorate is what stands in the way of getting their agenda (unrestricted abortion right through 38 weeks of pregnancy, gay marriage, legalization of narcotics, euthenasia, etc.) made into law. “The big bad evil Baptists, Evangelicals, and Pentecostals are coming to forcibly baptize, anoint, and fill us all with the Holy Spirit. Run for your lives!!!” Actually, there was once a time and place where it was illegal to practice any of those religions, so they all moved to a place called America where they were once allowed to practice their religion without fear of persecution. Ah, the good ol’ days.

Posted by: Duano at May 2, 2006 6:19 AM
Comment #144750

Duano, your comments are farsical. Silencing Christians in the public square is not going to get secularists what they want in Congress. Your knowledge of election politics is sorely lacking here.

Second, narcotics are already legal. Used by the medical industry 24/7. Gay marriage has existed in America since its beginning, it was just never formally sanctioned by church or state. Anyone who thinks a piece of paper makes a marriage, has a spouse I pity.

Ah, yes, the good old days of church burnings and bombings in the Grand Old South. The days when congregations were clearly separations, and they knew better than to encroach on each other with their version of the truth. The good old days like Salem Witch Burnings and exorcisms, and scarlet letters of shame. Yes, the good old days. You can long and pine for them if you wish. I am glad my daughter has the present days of separation where she is free and unencumbered to explore many religions and choose for herself among them or none to meet her spiritual needs. Now that is freedom.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 2, 2006 6:40 AM
Comment #144756

KansasDem,

Please do not misunderstand to whom my comment was addressed. The REAL “Christian bashing” is not being done by people like you or me, but by those who think that anyone who doesn’t think, vote, or pray like them is not a legitimate Christian. Until I read your post, I had only logged on to post this link. Christians who are tired of the hijacking of their beliefs by the Christian Right are fighting back. Check it out.

http://www.talk2action.org/

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at May 2, 2006 8:33 AM
Comment #144757

Our country was based on the idea that “nature’s religion” should be a part of the country’s belief system. That is, if you read “AMerican Gospel” for a wonderful account of this or any history books that talk about this—-Franklin, Jefferson, etc were not wanting this to be a “Christian” nation (notice that our money says “In God we trust”—-there is no mention of Jesus or anything Christian anywhere) but a spiritual one. They made a point of letting the Jewish community know that it was important that ALL religions, including atheism, be “not tolerated, but respected” in this country. They were afraid of what ANY prevasive religion would do to the separation of powers/balance of powers and what made this country WORK—-that is the ability and importance of divergent thoughts being shared and considered which made our gov’t able to make GOOD choices—-based on free conversation, and exchange of ideas and possiblities leading to the best decisions for the country and the world. what seems to have happened is that, esp since 9/11, free thought and exchange of ideas has been traded for fear of dissenting opinions and since the 1980’s there is so much fear about elections that all thought and words are based on polls and what people want to hear, rather than real honesty and straight talk. Jimmy Carter won an election based on his straight talk about energy and conservation and his WALKING HIS TALK——he walked to his inaurguration! can you imagine any president since him doing that??? the presidency has become more and more kingly——-and this founding fathers (and mothers—-those wives had great influence with their husbands as well) specifically wanted the president to be of the people—-not above them. And, to get back to what the conversation was about to begin with——Reflection, spiritual guidance, consideration and not reactive knee jerk responses is what the founding fathers meant by “religion” or “God” being part of the process—-they also said over andover that a good, caring, moral aethiest is much more desirable and a better citizen than a violent, bigoted, rigid religious person.

Previous civilizations have fallen due to the incredible polarization between the “decadent population” and the very rigid relgious ones. Societies have always had those who follow the rules and those who don’t—-but it is when these become so polarized and rigidly unforgiving and moralistic and lazy in thought and action that things decline. We have gone from a nation who makes and creates things to one who only pushes around money. as the classes become more polarized, there is less for the rich to do, and it hurts our insides, i think, to do nothing but push around money and only do “work” that involves no creativity, no making of anything—-but it is all about money. as we focus on that it is almost like no one has a life any more—-any values or any connections with others or nature or spirit (I mean that in a spiritual sense, not a religious or dogma-filled sense)——and so we become like 5 yr olds——letting our ids go wild or spending all our time telling others what to do——the polarization of the decadent—who only care about themselves and meeting their needs at the expense of others (does our administration come to mind?) and the others who only want to go around policing others and telling everyone else how to live? (gee, that brings them to mind as well!)

Posted by: judye at May 2, 2006 8:34 AM
Comment #144758

Rocky:

Speaking for myself I find the blind devotion to somthing or someone that can neither be seen, smelled, tasted, heard, or felt, just a little creepy.

It may be that you have never seen, smelled, tasted, heard or felt the word of God, and that makes it seem creepy to you. That’s okay, because faith is an unusual thing. If it could be proven, then it wouldn’t really be faith, now would it?

Consider the concept of love. One cannot see, smell, taste, or hear love. I think you can ‘feel’ love, but in the same way that one can ‘feel’ God. Love is an emotion, not a tangible thing. We can’t always explain why we love a certain person or what creates that spark. But we do see the results of love in people’s actions and deeds. Sometimes these are good results, other times people’s ability to do wrong creates bad results, like hitting someone you love, or stalking someone you love. It seems we often act worst in front of those we love the most.

In the same way, we can see God in many ways as well. Often the actions are good ones, ala Billy Graham or Mother Teresa, but sometimes they are bad, as in the Crusades or some of Pat Robertson’s comments.

Perhaps the concept of God seems odd to you because you haven’t yet experienced him, just as the notion of loving someone might seem odd if you haven’t experienced it.

A friend of mine couldn’t understand my utter devotion to my kids until he had kids of his own. He tried to understand, but it was only through experiencing it for himself that he truly understood. It may be the same with God.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at May 2, 2006 8:44 AM
Comment #144763

David,

You can twist and choose whatever definitions you like, however if the majority rules as you state in your post then answer the following:

In your post on the independants blog, you make a good case for building a barrier of some type so we can control our borders. I agree with you. So does 80 percent of the population according to the polls.

So why is there any debate in Washington? If the majority ruled the contruction crews would be busy as we speak. If we were a true democracy, there would be a nationwide refferendum on the November ballots.

Back to my original point. Education is key. We live in a world where we censor parts of our history because they dont fit the political correctness standard. We are more concerned with Jeffersons alledged illegitimate child than his contributions as one of our founding fathers. We allow politicians to lie to our face and then fail to hold them to account. You and I will both be at the polls in November, but the people that are complacent or fail to educate themselves on the issues will stay at home and take whatever Washington dishes out.


Posted by: jwl at May 2, 2006 9:17 AM
Comment #144766

“No, the theocracy argument is a farce that liberals use to defend their efforts to remove all expression of Christianity from the public square.”

Please show me an instance of Christians being censured. It doesn’t happen. Now, removing religiously-biased material from public venues happens because no religious material should be forced on anyone. Prayer in school is not banned, but organized prayed is - because it forces people to be religious.

Personally, I feel that organized religion is a crock of crap run by poeple with little brains and big mouths. Very VERY few understand and practice their religious principles, and instead rely on outdated ceremonies and meaningless rituals. Ask a religious leader to quote the bible when it comes to forcing others to live by their religious ways, and they can talk for hours. Ask them thier own personal quotes that forces them to live honestly with thier God, and suddenly it’s a personal thing… “none of your busniess.” (The Catholic church will spend tons of time and money publically attacks homosexuals and pushing their beleifs on abortion, but bring up the issue of preists abusing little boys, and all of a sudden it’s an internal matter that should be left up to the church to handle.)

What about blue laws - you can’t buy beer here until 12 noon on Sundays. Not that I need to drink early in the morning, but it is usually when my wife is grocery shopping, so if we want a few beers with dinner, we have to make another trip. Why does someone else’s religious issues get to madate how everyone in society will act?

Why are politically active Churches still tax exempt? Non-profits and other tax exempt entities loose that tax status immediately if they become political.

I can find so many places where Christians have forced their ways on to others yet I’m not aware of a single time or place where they have singled out.

Posted by: tony at May 2, 2006 9:25 AM
Comment #144772

Max,
In the colonial period it was common for churches to be tax supported. (a concept I oppose)
I know a lot of very devout people and not a single one supports Bush’s faith based initiative. They are all concerned about government interference with religion.

KansasDem,
We have to listen to that “wild west” hysteria every time a pro gun bill is proposed. In every state with right to carry we had to listen to it; now with stand your ground and the castle doctrine that silly broken record is being played again. Here’s a news flash for you-it hasn’t happened. Believe it or not, most people are not violent criminals. Crime statistics show that people with carry permits are far more law abiding than the general population. Some prosecutors and police chiefs who opposed right to carry have now admitted they were wrong. Right to carry has been a success everywhere it’s been tried. Gun control has a grisly and racist history.
Is it safe to assume that you’ve never had to fight for your life or someone else’s? I’ve done both. If I didn’t carry a gun a woman that I didn’t know would have been raped and probably murdered and I would have definitely been murdered.(these are two separate incidents)
There is a name for people who depend on the police to protect them. They’re called victims.
If you want staistics you can go to the Dept. of Justice crime information statistics, the FBI crime reports, or the NRA and GOA web sites can direct you to other independent sources of information.

Posted by: traveller at May 2, 2006 9:49 AM
Comment #144775

Cliff-
First and foremost, we should recognize that the outward devoutness of a society does not necessarily equate with the inner devoutness; piety does not equal spirituality.

When devoutness becomes an expectation in society, hypocrisy can become a real problem. The outward display of piety can mask immoral or even amoral sensibilities within. People might not change as much as they are supposed to. Leaders as always will be a mix of characters, some of whom will recognize the conformist power of religion, and exploit it towards the fulfillment of their own selfish agenda.

When government and religion become intermixed, the attention and approval of others for one’s religion becomes an idol, a god that people try to please in the place of the real one. I think in trying to take back power from the secularists, the religious right has taken on many positions that are at odds with what the teachings of their religions truly are. Worse, they hesitate to criticize the ways in which the party strays, fearful that they will sabotage their own power.

In this way, the mingling of religion and government turns both wrong, extending the arbitrary authority of God to mere mortals, and giving the flawed laws of men the character of religious dogma.

I think my party should embrace religion more closely, on an individual level. But we must recognize that it’s the principles that are most important, not the symbols and the public display of piety.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 2, 2006 10:02 AM
Comment #144777

BP-
I’m a Christian, too. As such, though, I do not presume to judge who will go to heaven, and who’s heading the opposite way.

The Republican Party has hardly proved itself the party of morality. It’s lied to the American people on a number of issues, taken numerous actions that have cost people their lives, condoned dishonesty and corruption in the name of improving the economy-

Of course, you could likely dig up many things about the Democrats, correct? I don’t call my party of morality. I don’t presume to. Race was ultimately the issue that broke the Solid South. The Southern Strategy involved appealing to the sensibilities of disaffected whites who resented the upsetting of the old order.

What’s my point? Very little about politics has the gleam of moral purity about it. Morality is an individual thing, an individual decision. Thankfully, this country has had it’s times when the light has shown through the dark. But it’s not because the people of any one party are naturally more righteous than the others.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 2, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #144781

Stephen Daugherty,
Excellent post. Your argument is not only true for some religious people, it is also true for some secular or atheist people.
Their god is money or government, and as you wrote, the flawed laws of men have the character of religious dogma. In some ways the left is guilty of mingling government and religion-so called “civil religion” or government as god.

Posted by: traveller at May 2, 2006 10:33 AM
Comment #144790


When I was a child I went to church every sunday with my aunt. When I was six or seven I was baptized.

But, I had some major character flaws. I liked to read, I liked to ask questions and I liked to argue answers to questions I did not believe or understand.

I was taught that the Bible was the literal word of God, what it says is what it means. My questioning ways came to a culmination when I was eleven. One sunday I asked the preacher how many sons God had. His responce was God has one son Jesus. But what about these sons of God in Genesis chapter six? He replied those are angels. But, God talks about angels in other places in the Bible, why did God call these sons of God angels? He said kid go to sunday school class and quit asking stupid questions. He later told my aunt that I was a disruption and a lost cause so don’t bring him to church anymore. I haven’t been to church in 45 years. Either you have faith or you don’t.

I am not opposed to anyone who is a Christian or who is a believer of any other faith. I just don’t want them telling me what I should believe or how I must live my life.

I truly believe that a person can believe in God and try to be a moral person and do the right thing without believing in any religion. But, I guess I will be going to hell for my belief.

Posted by: jlw at May 2, 2006 11:07 AM
Comment #144795

jlw et al,

When you get to hell, let’s all meet for coffee.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at May 2, 2006 11:42 AM
Comment #144797

Stephen-

Nixon’s Southern Strategy was in 1968, well before the South went solid red. Clinton carried Tn, Ark, Fl, and La in 1996, and had those plus Ga in 1992. In many respects the “old order” crowd of the South had it better in the Democratic Party; they had control of the party that 90% of the Blacks voted for.

Ronald Reagan, himself once a Democrat, made a home for social conservatism in the Republican Party and inspired a new generation of conservative politicians. His strategy had little to do with race as evidenced by the fact that the Midwest and Western States went with the South to the GOP.

Posted by: George in SC at May 2, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #144806

Theocracy!? Give me a break. It’s a matter of what theocracy we prefer. Right now and for the last 40+ years we have chosen to feast at the table of the divine delectibles of Darwinian ideals and theories (you know natural selection, social evolution, etc.).

Don’t dish out theocracy talk unless you are willing to face the truth. It comes down to what God we prefer. If you prefer the god of the religion of atheism, say so. If you prefer the god of the religion of secularism, say so. If you prefer the 300 million gods of Hinduism, out with it! If you prefer the capricious god of Islam, confess it! If you prefer the strict monotheism of Judaism, talk it up! If you prefer the mushy god(s) of the New Age movement, blab about it!

But don’t patronize us. Don’t do us a disservice by making it sound as if the so-called Religious Right has some kind of corner on the theocracy market. They don’t; whoever “they” are.

Posted by: ILIndCon at May 2, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #144808

Theocracy!? Give me a break. It’s a matter of what theocracy we prefer. Right now and for the last 40+ years we have chosen to feast at the table of the divine delectibles of Darwinian ideals and theories (you know natural selection, social evolution, etc.).

Don’t dish out theocracy talk unless you are willing to face the truth. It comes down to what God we prefer. If you prefer the god of the religion of atheism, say so. If you prefer the god of the religion of secularism, say so. If you prefer the 300 million gods of Hinduism, out with it! If you prefer the capricious god of Islam, confess it! If you prefer the strict monotheism of Judaism, talk it up! If you prefer the mushy god(s) of the New Age movement, blab about it!

But don’t patronize us. Don’t do us a disservice by making it sound as if the so-called Religious Right has some kind of corner on the theocracy market. They don’t; whoever “they” are.

Posted by: ILIndCon at May 2, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #144809

BP:
“What is it about Christianity that scares you libs so much?”

I don’t believe that Christianity scares most Liberals. What does seem to scare most of us are people who heavily cloak themselves in “Christianity”, but who in reality have been brainwashed and indoctrinated by Control Freaks with a Rightwing Political Agenda, rather than any sort of a Spiritual, (Loving, Generous) one. Indeed, many of these people have lately become extremely hostile toward other folks (whether religious OR non-religious) who choose to hold a non-judgemental, loving and generous outlook toward their fellow man (An attitude far closer to what Jesus of Nazareth seemed to be avocating, overall.).
Additionally, many of us find it hard to believe that there are people who have been told, and therefore think, that every single word in the bible should be taken literally. Because if they had actually read the bible, they would know that there are many things in it which completely contradict each other. Therefore, those who are operating on such a premise have got to be pretty confused thinkers — or may not actually be thinking at all.

traveller:
“The phrase “separation of church and state” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution. The origin of the phrase is in a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in Danbury, Ct. 13 years after the First Amendment was ratified.”

That phrase doesn’t need to appear. The jist of that idea is clearly implied.

“The First Amendment protects religion from government interference, not the other way round. It forbids congress to make a law requiring everyone to adhere to a single state religion. It also forbids congress to place any restrictions on the pracice of religion.”

The First Amendment HAS to work both ways. Government cannot impose upon Religion. Religion cannot impose upon Government.
If they believed that Religion could impose upon We the People’s Government, they could have and would have used the word God, Jesus, Lord, etc. in our Constitution, but they didn’t.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 2, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #144812
the god of the religion of atheism

Only someone who has no idea what atheism means would even think of putting such a sentence together.

Nonsense.

Claiming that Atheism and respect for religious pluralism is itself a religion is right up there with calling Creationism a Science and Evolution a Religion to force religion into schools - it’s really, really twisted and meaningless spin.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 2, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #144819

Adrienne-

The jist of that idea is clearly implied.

How is a separation of church and state implied in our government? 1) Pre-Hugo Black the Bill of Rights did not apply to individuals or even to States but to the federal government and 2) several States had state supported religions until the 1830’s.

If the founding fathers had “implied” a separation then they sure let the good citizens of Mass down:

It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe,

…To promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic or religious societies to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.


-Amendment I of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780

Posted by: George in SC at May 2, 2006 1:47 PM
Comment #144823

George,

Note the line “at their own expence”.

It would seem that while Massachusetts was willing to promote the Protestant religion, they weren’t willing to pay for it.

Posted by: Rocky at May 2, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #144826

“How is a separation of church and state implied in our government? “

You seem to have a static view of our Government. The separation of church and state is specifically defined in the First Amendmant, as well as the basic principle that created the English movement to America - religious persecution.

Posted by: tony at May 2, 2006 2:17 PM
Comment #144832


George in SC: What does that puritan document imply? that towns will not at their own expence provide public places of worship for catholics, jews, muslims, hindus, etc.

Should we throw away the Constitution of the United States of America and replace it with the Mass. constitution of 1790?

I am all for piety, religion and morality, but if we are going to demand it through legislation and enforce the legislated laws, we will have to dust off the racks, stoke the fires and get those pokers red hot, pile the wood up around the stakes and burn a lot of people to death in the name of God.

Posted by: jlw at May 2, 2006 2:36 PM
Comment #144834

“How is a separation of church and state implied in our government? 1) Pre-Hugo Black the Bill of Rights did not apply to individuals or even to States but to the federal government and 2) several States had state supported religions until the 1830’s.”

The Bill of Rights was written with the purpose of limiting the powers of the federal government — but with the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868), the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses automatically meant that these Rights would, and should also apply to the States. You are correct when you say that the Supreme Court only truly set this idea in stone during the 1940’s and 50’s by ruling that there is a guarantee of equal protection for all citizens against their state governments, yet it’s a concept which was basically part and parcel with the passing of that amendment.
So, if the imposition of State Religion is your goal, you’re going to have to first repeal the Fourteenth Amendment in order to give State Governments the ability to discard or ignore equal protection on behalf of the People who live in one or more of those States.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 2, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #144836


It’s election day and I am off to vote in the democratic primary. But, all eyes down here in Ohio 02 will be on the republicans to see if they will cast aside mean jean for her lies to the people and her inquities towards the war heros of this great nation.

Posted by: jlw at May 2, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #144841

Tony-

In order to know what the founding fathers “implied” (without putting into words) you have to have context. During the formation of the Constitution most States had some form of state sponsored religion. When written, the Bill of Rights did not apply to citizens as it does post Hugo Black. It didn’t even apply to States….

Had the framers wanted a “wall of separation” then they would have had to specifically barred the States from their current practices. They did not (and could not politically). Instead, they clearly barred the Federal Government from entering the debate. Religion (as with all politics) was a local matter.

jlw-

Most of the State support for religion died off in the 1830’s through the natural course of politics; I certainly don’t advocate its return. Although I still can’t buy beer on Sundays….

The point of the post was that if the Founding Fathers wanted a secular government and a wall of separation then they failed miserably. And arguments that they did usually ignore federalism and the political environment of the 1780’s (the power of the States over the citizenry and not the Federal).

Oh here’s some good ones from South Carolina’s Constitution:

But that previous to the establishment and incorporation of the respective societies (churches receiving public support in SC) of every denomination as aforesaid, and in order to entitle them thereto, each society so petitioning shall have agreed to and subscribed in a book the following five articles, without which no agreement or union of men upon pretense of religion shall entitle them to be incorporated and esteemed as a church of the established religion of this State:

Ist. That there is one eternal God, and a future state of rewards and punishments.

2d. That God is publicly to be worshipped.

3d. That the Christian religion is the true religion.

4th. That the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of divine inspiration, and are the rule of faith and practice.

5th That it is lawful and the duty of every man being thereunto called by those that govern, to bear witness to the truth.”


Under God Pro Con.org

Sorry if this doesn’t look right but the preview page doesn’t seem to be working….

Posted by: George in SC at May 2, 2006 3:08 PM
Comment #144844

Adrienne-

So, if the imposition of State Religion is your goal, you’re going to have to first repeal the Fourteenth Amendment in order to give State Governments the ability to discard or ignore equal protection on behalf of the People who live in one or more of those States.

No that’s not my goal at all. But conversely, Jefferson would have had to have known the Fourteenth was going to be past some 40 years after his death in order for the First to do what you “imply” it does.

Posted by: George in SC at May 2, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #144846

” the founding fathers “implied”

What they implied was that the Constitution would be an ever-evolving document.

Posted by: tony at May 2, 2006 3:20 PM
Comment #144855

“But conversely, Jefferson would have had to have known the Fourteenth was going to be past some 40 years after his death in order for the First to do what you “imply” it does.”

George, I don’t really understand what you believe your argument is. I consider this pretty straightforward stuff.
The Bill of Rights was ALWAYS intended to limit the powers of Congress in the federal government. The original text of the Constitution immediately drew opposition because it didn’t include a guarantee of civil liberties. When the Bill of Rights was finally proposed in 1789, it already included the First Amendment. The amendment then had to wait for ratification by a certain number of states. This was achieved in 1791. The First Amendment then guaranteed us these things:

1. Our government would impose no state religion (establishment clause).
2. Our government would not prohibit the free exercise of religion (free exercise clause).
3. Our government could not infringe upon our freedom of speech;
4. Our government could not infringe upon the freedom of our press.
5. Our government could not limit our right to peaceably assemble.
6. Our government could not limit our right to petition this government for a redress of grievances.

Eventually, the judicial branch ruled that the First Amendment extended to both the executive branch and to the federal courts system. The Fourteenth Amendment then extended the limits of the First Amendment to the States, and the Supreme Court eventually backed this up with many and various rulings.

It’s as simple as that.
So, like I said, if people in certain states want to do away with the equal protection clause at the state level, they’re first going to have to repeal the Fourteenth Amendment.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 2, 2006 3:55 PM
Comment #144868

Adrienne-

You are making an effective rebuttal against your earlier argument that there was an implied “separation of church and state”, so I’ll leave it at that.

Oh and change your 1-6 to say “The Federal Government” and not “our government” then you are right on.

Good work…..

Posted by: George in SC at May 2, 2006 4:21 PM
Comment #144878

Oh, I see George. You have no argument that can stand up to mine. I wish I could say “nice try”, but I don’t like being dishonest simply for the sake of appearances.
So I’ll just say: Cheers!

Posted by: Adrienne at May 2, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #144888

tony,
The Constitution changes by amendment, not evolution. Unless it’s amended its meaning doesn’t change, no matter the passage of time or the popular passions of the day.

Posted by: traveller at May 2, 2006 4:59 PM
Comment #144889

traveller…???

Ever-evolving (not evolution) - a simple way of saying that the document was made to change over time, I never said that it ever HAD to change. Amendment is the method the document/concept evolves.

Posted by: tony at May 2, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #144892

>>atheist people.
Their god is money or government, and as you wrote, the flawed laws of men have the character of religious dogma. In some ways the left is guilty of mingling government and religion-so called “civil religion” or government as god.

Posted by: traveller at May 2, 2006 10:33 AM

traveller,

I have no idea if you are, or call yourself, a Christian or not, but I can tell you this…you have zero knowledge of athiesism. With first hand experience of being an athiest, I can assure you that I worship NOTHING…not government, not manna, not lucor. not booze, not Darwin…not…not…not…well, you get the picture, I hope.

I, as an athiest have NOTHING against your belief, your religion, your hopes or aspiratiions, except your apparent wish to foist your beliefs, religion, dogma, and other such crap upon ME. My Pledge does NOT include the words ‘under God’. My money has a referal to God, printed on it, okay, so what? Maybe future America will be smarter than to put that in public print, but until then, have your way, I just don’t care.

But, please don’t try to tell me what I worship. You don’t have a clue…and, please get real, there are only a hand full of us in the country…Democrats make up a huge percentage of citizenry…most of them are Christian, and that’s okay with me too.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 2, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #144893

Adrienne,

Well done…as usual.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 2, 2006 5:18 PM
Comment #144903

Marydude:
“My money has a referal to God, printed on it, okay, so what? Maybe future America will be smarter than to put that in public print, but until then, have your way, I just don’t care.”

As someone pointed out in this blog a while back (can’t remember who — forgive me), America actually used to be smarter about this, because our money previously said “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one) until they changed it to “In God We Trust”.

“Well done…as usual.”

Thank you, dude! :^)

Posted by: Adrienne at May 2, 2006 6:26 PM
Comment #144908

There are many public schools where I live that have been closed since the baby boom ended. Some of these now house small private schools. One of these contains something called a bible academy. One day last week, I happened to go by there when the children were out for recess. They are all wearing black uniforms, apparently a recent innovation. It looked like a terrorist training camp to me.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 2, 2006 7:06 PM
Comment #144931

Marysdude,
I am a Christian and an ex atheist. I understand atheism very well, apparently better than you.
I haven’t tried to tell you what you worship or believe as my post didn’t tar all atheists with the same brush. I have found that many people who claim atheism are idolators with great enmity toward God.
One of the things that turned me against atheism was the realization that the atheists I knew actually did worship a god, though none would admit it. That god was themselves.
My public expression and celebration of my religious beliefs in no way infringes on your right to believe as you wish.

Adrienne,
E Pluribus Unum is on our coins.

Posted by: traveller at May 2, 2006 9:15 PM
Comment #144948

traveller:
“Adrienne,
E Pluribus Unum is on our coins.”

It is indeed. That’s because up until 1958 it was the official motto of the U.S. It also happens to remain the only words which appear on The Great Seal of the United States — the thirteen stars above the Eagle are representative of the thirteen original colonies. So, E Pluribus Unum = Many States, One Nation. I expect that one day some Religious fanatic may insist upon the Seal being changed to include the word God, just they did with our money. But E Pluribus Unum is (was) perfect as a motto, in my opinion. The fact that it’s in Latin is a nice reminder of our Enlightenment Era founders great love of that language, and it recalls to us their intense focus on Ancient Rome and Greece in the founding of this nation.
Also, E Pluribus Unum definitely takes on further meaning when we apply it in other ways. Such as: Many or No Religions, One Nation. Or: Many Different People (hailing from all over the world), One Nation.
I’m aware that “In God We Trust” did appear on some coins before 1958, in addition to E Pluribus Unum, but the motto was officially changed by Eisenhower. (It’s important to remember that McCarthyism had not taken place very long before this time, in fact McCarthy had previously and nuttily once accused Eisenhower of being a communist!) It seems to have been a direct reaction to the Red Scare sentiments of the 1940’s and 50’s. As though the Communists brand of Atheism was going to somehow suddenly taint, or even wipe out the well established, and rather rabid religiosity that has always existed in America.

Personally, I think we should change our motto back to the Latin original — after all, we won the Cold War, and the First Amendment has always guaranteed us the free exercise of our religion(s). Besides, a great many of us actually don’t Trust in God, but we certainly all believe (or should) that our Many can freely and peaceably live together as One.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 2, 2006 10:46 PM
Comment #144962

I think E PLURIBUS UNUM is still the official motto, but I’m not 100%. Just some food for thought, the founder who coined the phrase “Wall of Separation between Church and State”, Thomas Jefferson, actually attended Church every Sunday IN THE U.S. CAPITOL BUILDING. Many people claim Jefferson was an atheist, which may be true, but that doesn’t change the fact that the “Wall of Separation” obviously didn’t, in his opinion, extend to keeping the Capitol building from having a good revival every now and then.

Posted by: Duano at May 2, 2006 11:42 PM
Comment #144970

Duano:
“I think E PLURIBUS UNUM is still the official motto, but I’m not 100%.”

0%

“Just some food for thought, the founder who coined the phrase “Wall of Separation between Church and State”, Thomas Jefferson, actually attended Church every Sunday IN THE U.S. CAPITOL BUILDING.”

It’s true, they did hold church services there until after the Civil War. The reason they originally did so was because there were no churches at all in Wash. D.C. originally. The people who attended there then got so attached to the idea of it that even after churches had been built, they demanded that it continue.

“Many people claim Jefferson was an atheist, which may be true,”

Perhaps at the end of his life Jefferson was indeed an Atheist, but for most of his life he was a Deist.

“but that doesn’t change the fact that the “Wall of Separation” obviously didn’t, in his opinion, extend to keeping the Capitol building from having a good revival every now and then.”

The reason Jefferson liked going those services in the Capitol Building were because during the time he was attending there, his very good friend the Rev. John Leland was the presiding minister. Do you know who John Leland was? Only one of the most outspoken advocates for civil and religious liberty in America at that time.

A couple of famous quotes of his:

“The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever… Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.”
—- from ‘A Chronicle of His Time in Virginia’.

“Every man must give account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free.”
—- from ‘Right of Conscience Inalienable’.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 3, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #144982

Adrienne,

Guess you’re right about the motto, my apologies. I don’t see why the original motto needed changing, but if there were an effort to change the existing motto, the outcry would be immense. That’s democracy for ya.

Everything you quoted Rev John Leland saying are things I happen to agree with. I don’t want a theocracy, I just want to be able to practice my religion without being systematically silenced. The only way a theocracy could work is if the Almighty himself took over the government and began making, interpreting, and enforcing law. Otherwise you just have a bunch of VERY fallible humans pretending to speak for God. Liberals love to quote the establishment clause and tend to omit the free exercise clause. Keep your stinking government out of my religious life and I’ll keep my religion out of your government.

Posted by: Duano at May 3, 2006 12:45 AM
Comment #145004

Lawnboy:

You said: “… Claiming that Atheism and respect for religious pluralism is itself a religion is right up there with calling Creationism a Science and Evolution a Religion …”
- Posted by: LawnBoy at May 2, 2006 01:05 PM

I agree that niether atheism, evolution, nor respect for pluralism are religions and creationism is not a science, however secular humanism and its belief in the infinite perfectablity of man does meet many cultural needs serviced by religious faith. Furthermore, many advocates of humanist thought are as devoted and, dare I say it, fanatical as your typical snake handlers.

I have a number of problems with secular humanism and its bastard stepchild, political correctness. When painted in broad strokes it sounds great, who is not in favor of equality, justice and respect? Like most things, the devil is in the details and in implementation, humanists display an arrogant and disdainful attitude towards opposing ideologies. They do not want to share, they want to run things. Secularism has adopted an ambitious agenda for social and political change which has been pursued with ever greater zeal since the seventies.

While I support the expression of religiousity and spiritualism with all my fiber, I am not any happier about zealotry from the left than I am about zealotry from the right. Both are attempts to bully nonbelievers using the justification that they have the moral high ground.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 3, 2006 2:58 AM
Comment #145023

gkn,

Count the people you know who advocate making ours a ‘Christian’ nation, and then count the ‘secular humanists’ that you know. What advocacy do the humanists take up?

Remember, you can’t use articles you’ve seen written ABOUT what one or the other has said, just what one or the other has actually said.

It may surprise you how few real examples of ‘humanist’ advocacy there is. By that I can imply that ‘humanism’ is now, and forever has been a pretty weak and ineffectual ‘movement’.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 3, 2006 7:55 AM
Comment #145024

The Soviet Union was a secular humanist government that practiced civil religion, ie, government as god.

Posted by: traveller at May 3, 2006 8:04 AM
Comment #145056

Lawnboy,

Atheism is a religion and it has its own value system. And atheism has a god.

The values of atheism are based on the self which then makes the self god (or God). The self determines its values and way of life.

I would even go so far as to say that atheists really don’t exist because if the self is god as I maintain, then it is really belief and faith in one’s self that gives the atheist the reason to live.

Posted by: ILIndCon at May 3, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #145060
Atheism is a religion and it has its own value system. And atheism has a god.

Nope. Only from the perspective that you have a god and want to define other people’s beliefs in your context. It’s very selfish and self-serving of you, and it has no relation to reality outside your context.

You’re using a definition of god as “the most important thing to a person.” That’s a non-standard definition that works great for you, but has no meaning in atheism.

There is no inherent value system in Atheism. Atheism means not believing in God. It does not inherently replace God with another religion or value system; perhaps some atheists do that, but it is not inherent.

If you want to learn about the belief of a particular atheist, Penn Gillete’s entry for NPR’s “This I Believe” is a good start.

I would even go so far as to say that atheists really don’t exist because if the self is god as I maintain, then it is really belief and faith in one’s self that gives the atheist the reason to live.

And since atheists do very much exist, you have all the proof you need that your logical construction is flawed.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 3, 2006 12:00 PM
Comment #145063

>>I would even go so far as to say that atheists really don’t exist because if the self is god as I maintain, then it is really belief and faith in one’s self that gives the atheist the reason to live.
Posted by: ILIndCon at May 3, 2006 11:48 AM

Worship of self? What nonsense! Self as God? What gibberish, you must be speaking in tongues…

You are as Christian? Do you know what your belief system contains? Do I know what your belief system contains? No, I only have an idea, or opinion.

I am an athiest. Do I know what my lack of belief means? Do you know what my lack of belief means? No, you have only ideas and opinions.

Worship of Money? Worship of politics? Worship of self? Phooey! I don’t worship dinkum…nada…nil…worship is a laugh to me.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 3, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #145064

IlIndCon,

Here’s part of the Wikipedia entry on your criticism of atheism:

One atheistic response is to emphasize that atheism is a rejection or lack of belief, not a belief in itself. This argument is often summarized by reference to Don Hirschberg’s famous saying, “calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color.” [3] A related argument is to point out that adherents of any one particular faith are also atheists with regard to all other religions. Thus, a reductio ad absurdum attaches—believers of one faith are also “atheist believers” of every other religion in existence.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 3, 2006 12:11 PM
Comment #145076

>>The Soviet Union was a secular humanist government that practiced civil religion, ie, government as god.

Posted by: traveller at May 3, 2006 08:04 AM

Marx, Lenin, Stalin, et al, would turn over in their crypts to hear you say they worshiped ‘government’. They may have worshiped themselves, because they had huge egos, but how many sermans did any of them preach about their GOD?

They were concerned about the strength of religious movements and negated that by pogram. When you think how correct they were to worry about religion taking over the government, look at the way it is happening right here in the good old USA, you might even empathize with their concern.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 3, 2006 1:18 PM
Comment #145110

Those who believe in nothing will fall for anything.

Posted by: traveller at May 3, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #145112
Those who believe in nothing will fall for anything.

So will those who believe that pithy sayings have inherent meaning.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 3, 2006 4:16 PM
Comment #145136

Great arguments, Marysdude and Lawnboy.

Duano:
“Everything you quoted Rev John Leland saying are things I happen to agree with.”

Me too. Sad that there aren’t too many Baptists cut from that kind of cloth nowadays.

“I don’t want a theocracy, I just want to be able to practice my religion without being systematically silenced.”

I don’t want a theocracy either, and I would never want to silence anyone, or keep them from practicing their religion. Because that wouldn’t be at all American, and would instead be completely against one of the stated purposes of the First Amendment.
That being said, I’m always surprised to hear people say that this is somehow actually taking place. The fact that a certain percentage of people don’t want religious symbolism or activities in the town square, or in front of, or on inside of our courthouses is not something I equate with censorship or a denial of religious rights. I see it as an attempt by people who are not religious, or who are in minority religions, to hold up the “wall of separation between church and state” in order to keep such shared spaces comfortable and welcoming for all our citizens.
Furthermore, I don’t see churches being torn down, or wanting for support. In fact, since they are exempt from taxation, what they collect from their congregations often gives them the means to buy up a great deal of land — places in which all their followers may exercise their freedom to worship as they see fit.

“Liberals love to quote the establishment clause and tend to omit the free exercise clause.”

I hope you noted that I didn’t neglect to add the free exercise clause in my reply to George.

“Keep your stinking government out of my religious life and I’ll keep my religion out of your government.”

Exactly. First Amendment rights for everyone.
But does this also mean you feel (as I do) that the president is obviously acting unconstitutionally by instituting his “Faith-based Initatives” and expanding them with multi-billon dollar funding? Just curious.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 3, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #145253

Adrienne: you have the Perspicacity of a Sage, the Patience of a Saint*, and the Persistence of a Stone. And my admiration.


*St. Adrienne: Beatified 2006; Patron Saint Of Enlightenment. Martyred in late 2006, St. Adrienne was a Liberal Progressive who dedicated her life to instructing the Ignorant in the finer points of Truth. Her chief characteristic was the ability to Suffer Fools Lightly, which she employed as a shield against insanity brought on by Foolishly Consistent Gibbering Idiocy on the part of the most Wayward of her Flock. In the end, she was driven into Madness by the infamous Election-Rigging of November, 2006 - when the entire Congress of the United States of America (now the American Empire) became Republican in the so-called Tupperwarenacht. The opposition of her Natural Peacefulness colliding with Outrage and Righteous Fury quite unhinged the poor paragon, and she moved to Canada, where no one Reveres her any more or less than the Average Canadian Citizen…

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 3, 2006 11:52 PM
Comment #145256

IlIndCon,

Not to beat a dead horse, but I thought of another way of addressing this.

You’re right. I believe in a god.

If, by “believe in”, you mean “provide food, water, walks, and veterinary care for”, and by “a god”, you mean “a small furry wolf-descendent that likes to bark”.

So, I “believe in a god” by terms I’ve chosen to define. However, that does not mean that I acknowledge the existence of, pray to, fear, or worship a deity or supernatural higher power.

And as such, my atheism isn’t a religion, no matter how you redefine related terms.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 3, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #145259

Well done, Betty.

Well deserved, Adrienne.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 4, 2006 12:04 AM
Comment #145260

Good Dog…er…job, LawnBoy.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 4, 2006 12:06 AM
Comment #145273

Adrienne,

I happen to be against the “Faith Based Initiative” because it opens the door to government intrusion into religion, eventually.

I don’t believe the government has the right to silence someone behind a podium in the town square explaining why God doesn’t exist. I would either bring a sign with a pithy comment or choose not to attend such an event. Why then, shouldn’t a preacher be allowed to give a sermon in the same town square the following day? Oh, yeah, it’s because atheism isn’t a religion, so it gets superior status. I get it now. See why Marysdude and Lawnboy have to fight so hard to convince us about atheism’s nonreligious nature? That way, only the religious(let’s be serious, only Christians) can be shut out of the public light.

Posted by: Duano at May 4, 2006 12:58 AM
Comment #145275
That way, only the religious(let’s be serious, only Christians) can be shut out of the public light.

Which is exemplified by the strict atheism displayed by our highest chosen leader, President Bush.

Err…

Exemplified by the previous president…

Err…

Exemplified by any of our recent presidents, and many of our Senators and Congressmen…

Err…

Maybe Duano’s talking out of his ass, creating victimhood out of dominance.

I love it how representatives of the religion that is represented almost unanimously in our government complain that their religion is “shut out of the public light”.

What a joke.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 4, 2006 1:12 AM
Comment #145276
See why Marysdude and Lawnboy have to fight so hard to convince us about atheism’s nonreligious nature?

From the “if anyone believes something (no matter how ridiculous), it must be true” files…

Right next to “by explaining how Creationism isn’t scientific, they’re only showing that it is” folio.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 4, 2006 1:14 AM
Comment #145283

LawnBoy,

Jump back across the border.

Posted by: Duano at May 4, 2006 2:16 AM
Comment #145309
Jump back across the border.

??

What is that supposed to mean?

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 4, 2006 8:17 AM
Comment #145314

Say, have you boys heard of the Dyslexic Atheist?
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
`Didn’t believe in Dogs.


:o)


Have you heard of the Dyslexic Agnostic Existentialist?
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
`Spent all night laying awake in bed wondering whether there Was, or Was Not a Dog…

:oD

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 4, 2006 8:30 AM
Comment #203950

WASHINGTON Stung by reports of widespread problems with Medicare’s new prescription-drug program, the nation’s top health care official said Tuesday that the government is on the case and counseled seniors: “Don’t leave the pharmacy without your drugs.” WBR LeoP

Posted by: Leo at January 19, 2007 9:27 AM
Post a comment