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Ours and Ours Alone

The Democrats are mistaken in excluding religion from discussion by our candidates, but not for taking the views that we do. We are not to go about the business of tearing down the wall of separation between church and state. Nor should we simply copy the Republicans and their policies. Our expression of our faith or lack of same should be something unique to itself.

The Democrats, as always, are a diverse group. Christians, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, New Agers and others number within our ranks. To listen to the Republicans, we're all Godless subversives looking to destroy America. We're a hell of a lot less exciting than that, to say the least.

The Right has gotten caught up in its own propaganda, and quite a few people with them. All too many don't respect our religious principles, taking their own to be superior by default. They are right with God, they say, and we are not. They say this because of how they vote on a few certain issues. However, there is quite a bit of worldliness in the public religion of the GOP, one that extends to a lax attitude towards corporate malfeasance, an unforgiving attitude towards those who they proclaim to be immoral, and an often hostile attittude towards the poor and the disadvantaged, riddled with claims of leeching and draining. The Religious Right, in allying with the Republican Party, has taken up its Social Darwinist views, even as it rejects Darwin's theory. The assumptions are so implicit in conservative politics that these people don't even realize how much they've given themselves over to the very same moral indifference that they state as real Darwinism's most abhorrent feature.

What they don't understanding is that the moral indifference of human beings and that of nature are two different things. Nature simply is what it is, lacking the intelligence to advocate for or against any moral positions. Human beings, on the other hand, choose the path that takes them to their indifference or wickedness. They may not always know it, but it is their responsiblity where they end up.

The founding fathers might have tried to make it their responsibility, like so many before, but instead they trusted to the judgment of the adult citizens of the nation, and the leaders they elected to represent them. This is the tradition of the Democrats. There are, and always have been, certain acts so abhorrent to the standards of regular society that they are rightfully outlawed. This is part of any government- no government offers complete freedom.

What the Democrats believe, is that beyond that, the average person does not need the moral guidance of the government, but can instead appeal to their local religious/moral authorities. The founding father's system of government was a break from the political tradition of temporal and religious power being vested together with the government, and a break made for a good reason. When those who lust after money and power from church or state can employ the influence of the other to further their greed and ambition, the evil they do to society and with society is amplified. The Framers of our constitution purposefully broke the link between them to short circuit this aggravating factor.

The weakness of the Republican Party is its insistence that we all need its help to know what's patriotic, what's moral, what's right with God, that we need some kind of political supernanny to come in and spank those who don't get it. Liberals are undisciplined children at best, psychopathic bad seeds at worst. Oh, did I mention they're hateful towards their father (the one in the oval office?)? These liberals today.

Seriously, though, America does not need that kind of authoritarian control. Most of us don't have to be told to respect the flag, our soldiers, or the need to protect this country. And surprisingly enough, nobody really has to ride herd on us to make sure we remain religious, a nation with the soul of a church.

This is the legacy we need to emphasize. The nations of Europe strangled religion with politics, leaving their nations predominantly secular, more people "post-Christian" as the phrase goes. It's no surprise why. These were the nations with the greatest experience of what can happen with religion when it's a spoon-fed official affair, rather than a willingly engaged personal endeavor.

All the great religions warn of the consequences of making religion a thing done for the approval of others. Jesus derided those who drew attention to their religion with ostentatious public displays meant to impress. He derided those who messed up their appearance and tore their clothes while fasting to show others that they were miserable. He told people giving religious alms that the left hand should not know what the right hand is doing, that people should do it without drawing too much attention to it. His point was that these things should not be done simply to look good to other people, but because they were pleasing to God.

Regardless of what divine force we believe shapes the world, or whether we believe none shaped it at all, I think we can all agree that there are all too many who follow religion for the sake of appearances, and the politicizing of religion doesn't help things. It traps religion in a worldly maze of political attitudes, which often surpress the goodwill of the faith in favor of its fire and brimstone, the aspects of forgiveness and mercy forgone in favor of a human-enacted "divine" retribution. Religion suffers when it is intermixed with government, as the governments sins become that of the religion, the earthly lies, atrocities and abominations dragging the reputation of the churches through the mud.

But does that mean we should not deal with religion, as Democrats, as a nation, in the realm of politics? Of course not. We should, however, deal with it not in terms of imposed laws or principle, but in terms of relationships and ethics, in terms of basic wisdom and morality. The personal conscience is the main religious issue in politics, the dividing lines between right and wrong the most important thing. Additionally, our focus cannot be selective. We cannot be latching onto one or two issues and then saying we're right with God. Our focus cannot be weak. Let us be hot or cold, not lukewarm. The reason many assume that we Democrats are not especially religious is our failure to assertively project this part of our character. Let us do so, and leave no mistake as to the completeness of our character.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at July 8, 2006 1:49 PM
Comments
Comment #165891

Stephen,

Very thoughtful and good post. However, the real reason Democrats’ character is in question is because of the disciplined and political message of the right painting us as weak in character and hostile towards relgion.

Negative advertising works. If you want to close the gap on an opponent you cannot afford not to go negative unless you want to take a principled but losing stand. I personally would like someone to take that stand for once.

Once christian conservatives realize they are being used by the Republican leaders they will revolt and the Republican party will lose its footsoldiers. Our national elected leaders will then resemble more closely what most Americans believe and not what a few zealots tell them wins elections.

Posted by: chris2x at July 8, 2006 4:36 PM
Comment #165894

Stephen:

Great! Exactly so!

Each person should be free to exercise his or her conscience. This is the Democratic way.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at July 8, 2006 4:43 PM
Comment #165909

Please stop insulting me. I am a republican. You characterize all republicans as theocratic christian idiots. I, for one, am not a theocratic christian idiot. I do not want to diss others’ religious beliefs and I do not smear democrats. For you to paint all republicans as such is wrong. True, some republicans exploit Christianity for political gain and I do not excuse this, they are wrong to do so and they should be voted out of office. Also you classify all Dems as 1st amendment loving, compassionate angels. I assure you that your side has its wackos to. They also should be voted out of office. But I acknowledge that many dems have their countries best interests and I applaud their efforts to better the US, even if I disagree with their ideas. Can you agree that some republicans aren’t all idiots?

Posted by: Silima at July 8, 2006 5:21 PM
Comment #165914

Stephen:

Thanks. The post on the other side has gone over the edge.

Silima:

I don’t think I have ever seen Stephen post anything close to what you accuse him of.

Posted by: womanmarine at July 8, 2006 5:31 PM
Comment #165919

Stephen Daugherty

I agree that Democrats are a diverse group, religiously speaking.

The problem for the Democratic Party is that its leaders are athiests, agnostics and/or hypocrites.

And not only are they doing all the talking, they claim to speak for all Democrats.

Posted by: ulysses at July 8, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #165921

Silima,

Of course you and individual republican supporters are not theocratic fascists, but the truth is your party and its leadership has been hijacked by a group of greedy, despicable, corrupt human beings who use religion for political purposes.

The idea that the GOP is “God’s party” is a lie that’s gone on far too long. GOP ideology and practice is diometrically opposed to Christ’s teachings. Fascist movements use their country’s religion like this. For example, the Nazis often proclaimed to be good christians.

Posted by: mark at July 8, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #165924

Ulysses, you made the comment that all those in charge of the Deocratic Party are speaking for all democrats. It is the same way with the Republican Party. Seem that who ever is in power for their respective party say they are speaking for the party as a whole, and even if you agree with 90% of the platform, they say you are not with the party for disagreeing on the 10%.

You know what I like politic’s, it’s better then a daytime soap opera

Posted by: KT at July 8, 2006 5:45 PM
Comment #165934

—-Silima I happened to come across a section on FactCheck.org which shows hundreds of down right lies which an deliberate misstatements made by the top republican an a few democratic leaders which made me somewhat sick. Putting those stories together with Rush an Hannity and all the other media types with their spin and lies trying to reinforce what these lying politicians had said. After five years of this I personally must seek the real truth, where ever it takes me. My Vote counts for integrity an honesty an regardless of party I vote for, an looking at a lot of the posts here, are very distorted, coming from the far (R)

Posted by: DAVID at July 8, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #165939

ulysses,

Yes, Politics sure is entertaining, and so are these blogs. Kind of reminds me of watching Three Stooges or Marx Brothers.

Posted by: mem beth at July 8, 2006 6:27 PM
Comment #165945

There are good and bad in both parties. Just as there are good and bad in all faiths. Can we all agree on this.

Posted by: RAK at July 8, 2006 6:45 PM
Comment #165955

—RAK— What do you think the chances of that statement has of coming true.

Posted by: DAVID at July 8, 2006 7:00 PM
Comment #165969

David
Slim to none. I thought I’d give it a shot.

Posted by: RAK at July 8, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #165973

—Stephen The framers of our Constitution saw fit to include a little clause known as THE SEPERATION OF CHURCH AN STATE ! and for a very good reason, If some of the Republicans new it was there, they would try removing it. If you get my drift!

Posted by: DAVID at July 8, 2006 7:47 PM
Comment #165976

—RAK— Point well taken, that thaught of yours could save a lot of hard feelings.

Posted by: DAVID at July 8, 2006 7:50 PM
Comment #165977

Separation of church and state is NOT in the constitution. The establishment clause is Which states the congress shall not make any laws concerning the establishment of a state religion.
Separation of church and state were mentioned in a letter by Jefferson to a baptist church asking him to establish a national day of prayer.

Posted by: RAK at July 8, 2006 7:54 PM
Comment #165978

Mark thanks for agreeing with me. My party has been hijacked by the far right. Actually I’m not sure its my party anymore. I’d say it belongs to the far right. Which is why I will closely examine both parties next election. Being a republican does not mean I vote solely for republicans. I acknowledge that dems have some good ideas. Like having an exit strategy for Iraq. That would have been nice. But its not my decision, which is probably a good thing.
RAK-I wish we could agree to that. Unfortunately, each parties spin machine (mostly Reps’) have done a fairly good job of making sure we can’t.

Posted by: Silima at July 8, 2006 8:03 PM
Comment #165979

—RAK I knew you had it in ya good call

Posted by: DAVID at July 8, 2006 8:04 PM
Comment #165981

DAVID-
Baylor University, one of the most conservative Campuses in America, is home to a Church-State Institute whose position is that the separation between the two is a good thing. Additionally, the campus teaches Evolution, the Big Bang, and Modern Geology in the same light. When folks came to them trying to create an Intelligent Design institute, they balked.

It was the Baptist who founded the school, and what’s more, it was the Baptists to whom Thomas Jefferson’s famous letter about a wall of separation was sent. Their interest in religious freedom stemmed from the notion that only God could ordain a minister- in colonial times, you had to be licensed to preach.

It’s ironic that some of their descendants are trying to breach that wall, but that’s the way things sometimes go. In their time, they were a minority in much of the country. Now, they have a majorities in many places, and the power that comes with that.

We got to be forgiving of people and groups, because we aren’t omniscient. We don’t know everything about the people we’re dealing with, and what we don’t know can make a big difference.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 8, 2006 8:12 PM
Comment #165982

RAK you are right about the establishment clause to a certain degree it, actually it says “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise of” Also known as the First Amendment. This actually is the seperation, the government can not tell you what church/religion to belong to and can not stop the free exercise of whatever religion you want to exercise.
So if a church or religions group gives money to a congress person or president for reelection are they are they in violation of the Constitution?

Posted by: KT at July 8, 2006 8:14 PM
Comment #165993

All

You’re right.

I should have said Democrat AND Republican leaders claim to speak for all. They usually just sit on different sides of the pulpit!

Posted by: ulysses at July 8, 2006 8:40 PM
Comment #165995

KT
If they do they give up their tax exempt status.

Posted by: RAK at July 8, 2006 8:41 PM
Comment #165999

“The problem for the Democratic Party is that its leaders are athiests, agnostics and/or hypocrites.”

Ulysses,

Can you name one Democratic leader of any stature that is either atheist or agnostic?

I’m really curious, because I’m agnostic and I think the event of an atheist or agnostic being elected to any office would stick out in my mind.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at July 8, 2006 8:51 PM
Comment #166000

—Stephen thank you for your post and showing me the information a lot of us haven’t seen in many years. I am glad not to be so old that I can’t learn.

Posted by: DAVID at July 8, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #166004

I’ve never understood why churches are allowed tax exempt status.

Religion is a multi-billion dollar business. Many churches own millions of dollars worth of real estate and take in millions more each year from the faithful.

Granted, some churches do a world of good with that money (the Salvation Army, chief among them), but many just pay lip service to charity and pocket the rest.

And you would be hard-pressed to find a major denomination that is not politically active. If they want to campaign for a candidate, fine. If they want to pay for political ads, fine.

But let them join the rest of us and pay their share of the tax burden.

Posted by: ulysses at July 8, 2006 9:03 PM
Comment #166012

ulysses, we agree on something. Church’s should pay at least property tax on what they own, if not on their profit/income just like I do. Research the Catholic Church and see how much money, land and influence they have. The Vatican has there own dipolmatic corps, and even the US send over a ambassor to them. Another fine example of seperation of church and state..

Posted by: KT at July 8, 2006 9:31 PM
Comment #166013

I can’t speak for the catholic church or any other but the churches I belonged to paid at least property taxes.

Posted by: RAK at July 8, 2006 9:35 PM
Comment #166015

Stephen
AMEN!

Posted by: mark at July 8, 2006 9:43 PM
Comment #166026

Silima, take a breath. Stephen is not the one who injected anything close to the word “idiot” here, you did. Frankly, I wish for the good ol days when the Republican leadership hadn’t been hijacked by Pat Robertson and his ilk but their leadership discovered that by painting the Democratic Party as anti Bible they had a lot more activists. No one has called you or all Republicans idiots here. Your other posts are thoughtful but I just don’t understand your umbridge when we attack the Republican Party (and the approach taken by their leaders).

Look, I wish Democrats were able to be more disciplined about communicating the values we as a party believe in but we just aren’t ready to ruthlessly (and falsely) trash the Republicans as anti-christian.

I for one appreciate the reasoned and legitimate arguments made by conservative intellectuals. Limited government is very important to discuss.

Please don’t be so sensitive to a very thoughtful argument asking Democrats to stick up for themselves when it comes to “moral values”.

Posted by: chris2x at July 8, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #166060

Do you mean to imply that there should only be one party in this great nation? That is what I am reading from your post. By posting your views in such a way, you are doing exactly what you are accusing the Republicans of doing, except with your own personal views. The Republicans you mention just happened to be voicing their view! What is the difference? They have made up their minds to view the world in a certain way, and you do not like it, SO YOU WISH THEM TO CHANGE AND SEE THINGS YOUR WAY! Get my drift? Right at this moment, I am voicing my view on your post, you may not like it, but it is what I believe, and I have the freedom to believe any way I want to, just like you, JUST LIKE THE REPUBLICANS! If the parties would stop trying to cut each other’s views down so much and worry about what their own party is about, we would all be better off. Your post is just typical rhetoric!

Posted by: Joe at July 9, 2006 8:13 AM
Comment #166089

Joe,

Your post is nonsense. Stephen implies nothing of the sort of one party rule. Of course everyone is entitled to their own view, sheesh.

Expousing the conservative cynical exploitation of religion for political gain with thoughtful analysis is not just another view. If you think using conservative christians for political gain is a good idea please explain why and let thoughtful, compassionate, and reasoned people sort it out but don’t fall into “my view is as valid as your view” nonsense.

In fact, Stephen is arguing for your last point in urging Democrats to clearly communicate and stand up for what they believe and fight back against the Republican noise machine.

Posted by: chris2x at July 9, 2006 11:28 AM
Comment #166099

Silima:

Can you agree that some republicans aren’t all idiots?

Nope, not until you stop supporting Bush…Bush is the most anti-American president to date…let me know when you stop supporting a president who ignores our Constitution…

Posted by: Lynne at July 9, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #166100

Joe
I don’t understand the logic of your suppostition that Stephen want’s only one political party. All he is saying is that Democrats should not shy away from being vocal about their faith, their convictions. He is not saying they have to mimic the Republicans but that they should be a person’s own set of beliefs or morals, ones that are unique to them and not planted in their minds by a political party(like the Republicans). I’m sure Stephen supports your right to express your view and welcomes you to do so.

Posted by: mark at July 9, 2006 12:28 PM
Comment #166108

This is a response I wrote from a post a similarly themed post from Paul at the end of last month.

I’m just not that scared of the religious right.

I’m not scared for a few reasons:

1) They don’t speak for all Christian churches, not even the majority. There is no real collective Christian agenda.

To date, they have for the most part limited their political involvement to hot button issues where they have some overlap with mainstream Christian denominations and can appeal to a broader spectrum of society. Abortion springs to mind first. The conviction that the religious right is matched by the conviction of many hardline Catholics on this issue as well as some that come to their views on the subject from completely secular grounds. Similarly, their views on homosexuality are shared by over half of the population if you look at the gay marriage votes in States in 2004. This includes many self-described liberals who voted for Kerry in the election. If you look at the results of those elections, the number of votes for the ammendments far outpaced the number of votes for Bush, and there was at least a small minority of Bush voters that voted against the ammendment. People come to their prejudices against gays from many backgrounds not just religious ones. What they bring to these issues is not so much voters as it is organization.

The evolution vs. creationism debate is the first where they have stepped out behind an issue without a majority of public opinion behind them. Predictably, it has not taken hold with a broad majority of voters. I believe that they will lose broader support for all their issues if they push too far on issues that they alone support.

There are already churches that are beginning to organize to publicly denounce the opinions of the fundamentalists on these issues. They will push harder the more the religious right continues to be seen as speaking for all Christians in ways that the broader group does not agree.

2) The critique of the religious right is flawed in the same way that Marx’s critique of 19th century capitalism was flawed. It is a single dimension critique. Just as members of 19th century society did not define themselves solely by their economic standing, parishoners today do not define themselves solely by their religion. They also define themselves by their occupation, where they live, their family, and their political beliefs. When citizens step into voting booths they bring a wide variety of influences to their vote. They make the choice on more complicated grounds than just religion.

3) The religious right and the Christian church in general is just not that organized to be able to seize control of the government. They seem organized by 20th century religious standards; however, they pale in comparison to the Catholic church of the 17th and 18th century Europe. The divine right of kings ensured that papal authority was necessary to secure the kingdom. Henry VIII bucked that when he wanted a divorce and the importance of the church has been on a decline in regards to political matters ever since.

The religious right is for the most part limited to single issue campaigns in the same way that the Audobon Society and the Sierra Club are. The reality is that we won’t see the Democratic Party adopt a platform resembling the Green Party anytime soon, nor will the Republican Party adopt a platform that will completely resemble the “Faith Party” anytime soon. The two party system in America reject radicalism from either side and prevents real radicalism in the form of new parties from gaining more than token support.

4) Their is a real fear in most Americans of being seen as too religious. It is part of our manners that we don’t talk about religion in polite society. We not only have a political separation of church and state, we have a mores sepration of church and society. When people talk about religion with non-members of their church, they talk about what denomination they belong to, when they attend church, and who their friends are. They don’t talk about their spirituatlity or beliefs. That is seen as impolite. The religious right is starting to cross that line in the same way that the prohibitionists did in the early 20th century. I believe if they push too far, there will be a backlash. I firmly believe that the introduction of the gay marriage ammendments on ballots in 2004 was a big step forward for the overall cause of gay marriage. It was the first step in getting people to admit their prejudices. Once people have admitted them, they have to either embrace them completely or start to consider whether they really believe that. I think people will come to their senses on this in the same way that people in the South have come to their senses on racism. My reality is that people are basically good, and given time, they adjust to new societal norms like gay rights.

In short, I believe that we will continue to discuss school prayer, gay rights, abortion, and evolution and creationism. There may even be one or two new issues that the religious right trots out. But they will continue to be a minority and those issues will only really take hold if they appeal to broader societal prejudices or a broader Christian base that is willing to support that issue. I also believe that the opposition on gay marriage and other issues will wax as time passes, and the christian right will continue tilting a windmills in the political arena until they realize that they have been deluded by their prejudices.

This part is new.

The idea that the Republican Party is somehow amoral because they found a group of people that they can sympathize with on “conservative” issues is bogus. Just as the Democratic Party take great pride in their affiliation with Green Peace, unions, and trial lawyers, the Republican takes great pride in its affiliation with the religious right, energy companies, and real-estate brokers. I’m sure not all Democrats appreciate that big sources of their candidates campaign warchest comes from trial lawyers. Not a Republicans are thrilled with the idea that their candidates are funded by the religious right.

The reality is though that the two party system in America requires the building of coalitions to finance and win elections. While it is perfectly reasonable to question those affiliations, I take some exception to the idea that members of the coalition are being used or manipulated. The leaders of these groups are bright enough to make those decisions. The members of those groups make their choice to belong to those groups despite their political affiliation. If the political affiliation is so unacceptable to them, they will opt out. However, the reality is that politics for most people is only a minor influence for their choices of how they choose to join groups and define themselves (see #2 above).

Posted by: Rob at July 9, 2006 1:03 PM
Comment #166112

—Joe If your view was that you could an did yell
fire in a theater you would be wrong an go to
jail for that view! You an every one else is entitled to your own opinion but no one owns the
the the facts. When the facts are altered they then become a lie or distortion, leaving the person
changing the facts open for criticism an justly so.

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 1:09 PM
Comment #166115

— Rob - Why is the notion that most people when voting, are not just doing so because personal moral value been removed from your equation.

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 1:22 PM
Comment #166131

David,

I didn’t understand your last question. I would be happy to respond. Could you rephrase?

Posted by: Rob at July 9, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #166162

“The religious right and the Christian church in general is just not that organized to be able to seize control of the government.”

Rob,

If you believe that I have some beachfront property for sale just outside Wichita, Kansas. I’m communication challenged at the moment, but here’s some cut-n-paste magic for you:

“HR 2679, the “Public Expression of Religion Act.” The bill…would keep state and local governments from having to pay damages or attorney’s fees as a result of violating the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.”
“Think about that. Imagine your local government decides to teach a version of creationism in science class, or promote atheism in social studies, lead evangelistic prayers during official government meetings, or offer government grants for Christian conversion efforts. This bill would effectively remove your ability to hold the government accountable. And, to add insult to that injury to your religious liberty (…and it is your religious liberty. When the religious freedom of any of us is threatened, we are all threatened.), you as the plaintiff would be required to pay the massive legal fees it takes to bring such a lawsuit proving unconstitutional actions.”
from: How the GOP Summer Agenda Would Remove Penalties for Religious Freedom Violations
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/6/30/101517/686

So how long ago did this move towards a Theocracy begin? Well, it’s been a while:

“Church and State, November, 1993”
“In November of last year freelance writer Frederick Clarkson went under cover to report on the activities at the Christian Coalition’s “Road to Victory” Conference and Strategy Briefing in Virginia Beach, Va. Despite heightened security measures at this year’s event, Clarkson was again able to attend the meeting and bring Church And State readers this special report from inside the Pat Robertson political machine.”:

“Ralph Reed, executive director of the Christian Coalition, doesn’t like security breaches. “I don’t want to be too overly dramatic,” he confided in the opening session of his group’s “Road to Victory II” Conference. But it seems that at last year’s conference, some people from “left wing organizations” got in and “subsequently wrote articles.””

“Reed wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. Thus, the 1,200 conference attendees and I were “hereby commissioned as deputy constables” to help evict any reporters who strayed into the workshops and strategy sessions”

“They learned the mechanics of how to take over the?Republican Party from the inside and attended issues workshops on abortion, taxes, pornography and the “homosexual agenda.” National figures such as Education Secretary Lamar Alexander, his predecessor William Bennett and the ubiquitous Oliver North spoke.”

“These speeches and President Bush’s address were open to the news media. Twenty-two other speeches and workshops were not. Security was intended to be tight. As Reed told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, all conferees were carefully screened by Christian Coalition state co?ordinators to make sure only Robertson allies were admitted.”

“Bush’s Virginia Beach visit was apparently a deftly crafted campaign venture designed to shore up the president’s standing among Religious Right activists without jeopardizing support among GOP moderates and ordinary voters who might be turned off by Robertson’s shrill language and divisive religio-political agenda.”

“According to the Washington Post, top Bush aide James A. Baker III intentionally scheduled the Virginia Beach speech for 7:40 p.m., late enough to ensure that no coverage appeared on the network news programs and past the deadlines of many newspapers. To further deflect attention, Baker reportedly arranged for Bush to announce the sale of F?15 fighter planes to Saudi Arabia at a campaign stop earlier in the day, thus attracting press attention to that story.”
from:
http://www.theocracywatch.org/clarkson_inside.html

BTW the Bush they speak of is H.W.

I’ll not bother to cut-n-paste anymore.

Those of you who might even slightly believe that there is a veiled threat within the Republican Party to replace our Democracy with a Dominionist Theocracy please check out: http://www.theocracywatch.org/

Those who choose to bury their heads in the sand are welcome to do that also.

KansasDem


Posted by: KansasDem at July 9, 2006 4:20 PM
Comment #166164

The problem is that reasonable Republicans are willing to tolerate the Religious Right in order to maintain power. At least the nutcases on the far left offer a discourse based on ideas and positions, not mysticism and a 2000 year old book. The time has come for responsible Republicans to take a stand for what they believe in.

Posted by: David S at July 9, 2006 4:26 PM
Comment #166165

Thanks, Baylor Bubba, for expressing the Barrack Obama viewpoint so well. There are Democrats and Rpblcns with the same religious views, but their ethnicity is different. So it goes back to social issues. Democrats and Rpblcns with the same religious views, want very different things.

I have to work 3 days a week in a town, let us call it Harlington Bites, Illinois. I can not stand most of the people there. I do not like the way that they shop, walk, stand, or any part of their, self-entitled, tank driving, drunk-by-noon-on-Friday Rpblcn attitude. Can we expel some of these people, and their Condo-ista real estate terrorist friends, from our beautiful blue state?

Posted by: ohrealy at July 9, 2006 4:30 PM
Comment #166176

I would advise my fellow Democrats and liberals not to indulge resentment of the other side too much. My theory is that many of the modern problems of the Republican party stem from how much they’ve based their policies, their approaches to the media and their campaign tactics on resentment of the other side- namely, us.

I’ve never gotten use to the sheer level of venom that gets put out, and I fear us doing the same, to the point where our hatred of the right and what they stand for becomes an enslaving master to us. Now, I’m the last person to agree with those who accuse us of being Bush-haters and the like, but the fact remains that if we win in November, what we do when we finally have power again will determine how much of the negative stereotypes about our party are dispelled, and how many are confirmed.

What we want to dispell is the sense that we are just as radical as these people are, just as partisan. We should be gracious winners. We should build government by consensus, policy by well-informed study, and a defense policy by sensible principles. The Republicans have lost as much as they have by structuring much of what they do as a rejection of opposing points of view. We should be more pragmatic.

In the end, our ascendance should be about being useful to the American people in a way the GOP has not been. The longer we keep to that, the longer the renaissance of liberalism will last. We will maintain our power the old fashioned way: We’ll earn it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 9, 2006 5:17 PM
Comment #166181

Stephen,

I respect everyone and I certainly respect everyone’s choice to believe or worship as they wish. I’m somewhat communication challenged at the moment anyway, but I largely avoided posting in this well written article because of my extreme belief in the “Religious Rights” desire to move America from Democracy to Theocracy.

My reply was only spurred by the outright denial that a movement exists within our midst to move us towards Theocracy. I’ve never tried to convince anyone that my disbelief is what they should believe. I have three children and in spite of my being agnostic my daughter is Catholic, my oldest son is Baptist, and my youngest son is Mormon.

Hopefully I have instilled in them my belief that deeds are every bit as important as beliefs. If such diversity can exist within one family, why can’t it exist within a nation?

I don’t think we should be apologetic to the Republican’s or “keep the tone down” about our diversity. We are the true conservators of the constitution and we have been for over 60 years. It’s time to be loud and be proud and stop “pussy-footing” around the issue of religion.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at July 9, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #166185

ohrealy,

I live in a place like that. It’s called “Allof”, Kansas. Down here they know right from wrong.

And I’m always wrong.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at July 9, 2006 6:05 PM
Comment #166187

—Something to Start with!
There are 201.5 million people who could vote in Nov.
127 million Registered voters
55 million registered voters on the Republican side
72 million registered voters on the Democratic side
74.5 non voters
—What’s wrong with this picture—Any logical
explanations any one?

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #166188

—these number are Media Matters—

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 6:33 PM
Comment #166189

David
By the numbers in your post it looks like the democatic party should win. But will it? that is the question. Will some Dems switch sides?

Posted by: Rich at July 9, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #166190

David,

Well, some would say the republicans have been stealing elections. That’s what happens when you have unverifiable voting machines built by republican-owned companies. The issue is we have a group of people running our country who believe that they are entitled to stay in power no matter what (whether they honestly think they’re God’s part or what), and are willing to do unethical things. The republican party has taken our country down the crapper and has failed to solve any major domestic problem like healthcare or energy independence. Opinion polls show most people are disgusted with them. This is why if the GOP mysteriously is able to hold a majority in Congress in November, then something is seriously wrong…

Posted by: mark at July 9, 2006 6:58 PM
Comment #166192

Stephen is right about not allowing the Republican venom to poison how we would govern. However, I have to caution everyone there is a difference between being gracious and effective governors on the one hand and communicating our own moral character in the dark of Republican attacks and winning elections.

If we don’t make the issues most of us Dems stand for such as equal opportunity, affordable health care for rich and poor, supporting public education (and making it more effective), supporting individual rights including a woman’s right to have an abortion, conducting ourselves with honor and integrity with the world, protecting people from the government infringing on our civil liberties, and strengthening the social safety net for the poor and elderly clearly understood as moral values then we have failed.

Democrats stand for justice and opportunity for all. We believe in all Americans and want to make sure the excesses of our current capitalist system don’t do in our people, the planet, or capitalism itself. We believe government of the people, by the people, and for the people can not only help level the playing field for nearly everyone but is the best way to do so.

If trying to lift up the most disadvantaged and protect those most at risk within the limits of government is not a moral issue then we have failed each other and I for one think Christ would agree with that sentiment. Call out Republicans on their “class war” because there surely is one and they are winning. Ask them if letting American children go hungry or get a third rate education in order to pay for a war of mass deception is a moral choice. If they call you anti-christian remind them of the sermon on the mount and that Christ stood with the poor and the least respected amongst society. Don’t back down just because we can see shades of gray and the conservative activists and leaders will not.

I don’t hate Republicans. I want us to have a great country and it sickens me to see the despicable attacks some will go to in order to hold on to power. There are many good people in this country, liberal and conservative, who truly want what is best for America. However, there are those who give Machiavelli a bad name and need to be called out. Fight the good fight and leave the poison behind.

Posted by: chris2x at July 9, 2006 7:02 PM
Comment #166193

Mark
I voted for Clinton when he ran. The reason was the health care issue. Fourteen years later I’m still waiting. I am neither Dem. or Rep. I vote conscience and who I think has the better agenda or ideals. From some of the posts I’ve read from both sides of the political fence. I think I’ll vote independent.

Posted by: Rich at July 9, 2006 7:07 PM
Comment #166196

Mark
I voted for Clinton when he ran. The reason was the health care issue. Fourteen years later I’m still waiting. I am neither Dem. or Rep. I vote conscience and who I think has the better agenda or ideals. From some of the posts I’ve read from both sides of the political fence. I think I’ll vote independent.

Posted by: Rich at July 9, 2006 7:09 PM
Comment #166203

—I truly believe our politicians must get off their high horse, and do the old fashion thing, of coming to the people by visiting as many small towns and cities as they can, thus showing the average voter they car for them as much as they do the high rolling lobbyists, Speaking at parks train stations, were ever the people are, they might even other noted politicians with them. We have only four months left and the media is not helping much, maybe someone could speak more elegantly then I so pleas add your two cents, maybe our politicians will see these requests and do something they should have done sooner. It could be at their peril if they don’t.

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 7:41 PM
Comment #166204

Was David also making the point that there are so many who do not vote? Some relatively small handfull of us talk, blog, argue and discuss, and vote. But a much larger group, even if registered, do not vote at all.
I find it mystifying, partly since I care so much, but it remains true. Tremendous efforts have been made to get out the vote, but the potential voters neglect to even bother. Issues divide the country, and the bulk of possible voters decline to make the attempt to speak out.


It seems that inconsistencies do not bother many people. Liberals are called godless, yet it is the Liberals who consistently vote to increase their own taxes in order to assist those who have little. I would assume that looking beyond self interest is a concept compatible with religious teachings.

Posted by: dana at July 9, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #166205

David
Both left and right need to get more civilized. What conservatives see in some of these post just like what liberals see in some. Neither party would want them working for them.

Posted by: Rich at July 9, 2006 7:49 PM
Comment #166209

Kansas: I do have trouble with the isea that Bushco intends to put in place a theocracy. Certainly there are those that would like to. Don’t get me wrong. I regard Christian fundementalist as potentially dangerious to the world as Islamic fundementalist. As for Bushco,their motives are much more down to earth,greed and power. They use the Christian right as pawns to this end. This was the brainchild of Lee Atwater,the Rove of his day, and has worked well for the Republicans. In his book Atwater while attending a entertainment”wrestling” show realized the potential for getting the votes of the gullible. That would include those that believe God put fossils in rocks to test their faith and Noah really did have two of every animal on his boat.

Posted by: BillS at July 9, 2006 8:04 PM
Comment #166213

—I like all your points of view, I just want to express yours an my idea’s the good people who run this blog site, to count for something, an be meaningful, and get the attention of our Senators an congressmen. This probably will be the most important vote of our life time.

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 8:12 PM
Comment #166215

“They use the Christian right as pawns to this end.”

Bill S,

And “vice-versa”. This is an issue where I’m fully aware that I come off as a nut-case. I was first introduced to the idea during the Reagan years and I thought it was BS.

I no longer think that at all. I’m not some conspiracy theory nut, but there is a large movement that wants to create a true theocracy in the USA. Just pay attention.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at July 9, 2006 8:19 PM
Comment #166216

(pun)—BillS— Do you suppose Noah deposited all those fossils while making his sea voyage.

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 8:20 PM
Comment #166217

“do the old fashion thing, of coming to the people by visiting as many small towns and cities as they can”

David,

The only problem with that is they need to complete their work first. I’ve looked and looked but can’t find an article I read recently about election politics interfering with our elected officials completing their jobs dealing with legislation.

I think what we’ve lost is the concept that our elected officials are in office to “serve” rather than “rule”.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at July 9, 2006 8:25 PM
Comment #166220

—KansasDem- Maybe they are all taking their last free trips before they loose their jobs?

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #166223

KansanDem — Better yet why not just close down the congress an senate an go home an take care of business, Looks like The Republicans may just be trying to hold them over any way.

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 8:41 PM
Comment #166225

The house Reps are going to as many small towns and cities as they can actually. Trouble is they are bringing their immigrant bashing dog and pony show to a town near you. Blamming everything on immigrants is a time honored ploy in this country. I pray enough Americans see through this crap and throw the bums out. Even if you agree with them,why bring it up npw. They have had 6 years to do something. Fact is they will never do anything about it. Their business backers would never allow it.

Posted by: BillS at July 9, 2006 8:45 PM
Comment #166230

—BillS— looks like we are adrift in Noah’s boat along with the rest of the petrified rock.

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 9:08 PM
Comment #166231

I read something in a 2005 issue of Scientific American to the effect that we are experiencing one of the greater surges in immigration in our nation’s history, and that the immigrants are working in two kinds of jobs which one could say we’re not willing to take: The ones that don’t require any skills, and the ones that require advanced education.

This may come as a surprise: as a group, they contribute more than their share of taxes, though in parts some illegals put a strain on resources.

On another note, let me tell you why we should not return the venom cast in our direction: our opponents depend on our intolerance of our fellow American to justify theirs in turn.

The dominionists of this country are out there. They do see their mission being to make a Christian nation from America, to reorganize it in their image. However, we should not become paranoid about these people, for what we do in our fear feeds the paranoia they hope to stoke.

Or rather, what they’re trying to do is get us to act like the folks they think we are. To them it’s merely revealing the unholy truth about those secular humanists and new-agers, and mainline Christians. To some extent, people looking for the demons of our character will find them regardless of whether we let the better angels of our nature command our actions, but I think there is a crucial difference between being one and the other. If you’ve let yourself fall prey to your darker impulse, folks can point to that and say “This is his or her real face.”

And it will be true.

On the other hand, if you are merely misunderstood, there will exist the possibility of vindication.

There are going to be some matters in which we cannot avoid disagreement, but as I like to tell some Republicans, when they start pouring vitriol on Cindy Sheehan and folks like her, there are more civil and respectful ways to disagree with others.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 9, 2006 9:11 PM
Comment #166236

—-Stephen- I personally follow your line of thinking, an try pursuing these beliefs, the problems begin when the spinmeisters disrupt any
of those who produce good critical thinking.
I am sure you an the rest of those making posts
will attest to. By the time people finish defending themselves the subject an pertinent information get lost. I suppose all blogs. are the same. I have never ventured away from this site
vary far, however I am gradually learning the tricks of the blog. I am sure most of are reaching for some of the same goals (get out the vote) A must.

Posted by: DAVID at July 9, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #166252

Spinmeisters have a major vulnerability: Reality. The world is not only more complex than we imagine, it’s more complex than we CAN imagine. So, people putting together these stories leave themselves open to logical counterpunches. The key is:

1)Always seek out the truth. Somebody comes up with a sudden revelation, check it out. Perhaps you can manage the feat of knowing the subject better than your opponent when you confront them.

2)Stick to the truth, but don’t neglect clarity or eloquence.

3)If given the choice between sticking to a political position, or taking an attitude according to the facts, go with the facts. It is better to be moderate and free, than committed and trapped in your own fictions.

4)Distinctions matter. Many times, spinmeisters try to blur moral, legal, and ethical lines. Our best response is to clarify and back such things with integrity of character

Ultimately, its inevitable that good people of either political persuasion will be forced to deal with the dishonest or the excessively partisan and radical. We cannot afford to think that just our pure righteousness will win through, nor should we lower ourselves to the point where we believe the ends justify the means. The real world is difficult on good intentions. There’s a give and take to good intentions becoming good actions.

On another note…
I think my title might be somewhat misleading out of context, but it boils down to this: Our choice of what religion we follow is ours and ours alone. We should not be intimidated into thinking we’ve chosen wrongly by the confident, sometimes ostentatious faith of the Religious Right. Truth is we’ve got a pretty strong faith and philosophy going, we just have to be aware that reasoned, contextualist religions require a more sophisticated kind of passion to be employed. We can’t be so unfamiliar with our own religion that we cannot answer the question to ourselves and others of why we believe the way we do. We have to awaken ourselves to the wider world of spirituality.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 10, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #166258

—Stephen I most defiantly appreciate your help, Most people would not take the time in order to help others. Thank You
By the way, all good deeds do not go unrewarded!

Posted by: DAVID at July 10, 2006 1:19 AM
Comment #166259

-Sorry (should be defentally)

Posted by: DAVID at July 10, 2006 1:30 AM
Comment #166264

—- deffinatley-If all else fails consult
a dictionary

Posted by: DAVID at July 10, 2006 2:39 AM
Comment #166283

Stephen,

I could not agree with you more on your last note. Most I know inside the Republican tent are certainly not about to have their faith swayed by the Christian Right. Faith is a personal matter. Being able to explain personal choices and problems is something all politicians should aspire to. Clinton was the master, there has been none better in my lifetime. The biographies of Harry Truman indicate he was pretty good at it too.

Voters are faced with a simple choice that has complex implications so difficult to comprehend that many can’t, so they reduce their choices to the politician that they fell most comfortable with. Part of being comfortable with the politician is being comfortable with his human side including his belief system.

Posted by: Rob at July 10, 2006 9:33 AM
Comment #166288

“What the Democrats believe, is that beyond that, the average person does not need the moral guidance of the government”

“Each person should be free to exercise his or her conscience. This is the Democratic way”

This is complete nonsense and nothing but spin.
Democrats don’t believe in the moral guidance of government OR that each person is free to exercise their own conscience, unless its pushing what THEY, the liberal Democrats, think is the right thing to do.
You guys have no problem with govt using threats and force to redistribute wealth or help others as your morals and conscience say is best.

Posted by: kctim at July 10, 2006 10:39 AM
Comment #166290

as long as you crusade FOR partial birth abortions, and protest AGAINST 10 commandment displays, you will lose in this country

Posted by: RANDY at July 10, 2006 11:02 AM
Comment #166293

kctim-
I speak for myself just fine. There’s no need to tell me what I truly believe.

You need to define for me what you believe redistribution of wealth means- as it is, my understanding of your position is vague. You need to bring out your disagreement in more detail, or else it is a simple accusation rather than a workable argument.

RANDY-
Am I for PBA’s? No, actually I am against abortion in general, except in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the mother’s life.

As I understand it, what you call Partial Birth Abortions almost always involve dead or non-viable fetuses, or an overwhelming threat to the life of the mother. It’s also worth noting that the procedure you describe involves a deliberate breech birth, which heightens the danger of it. This is not the kind of abortion you would casually seek out. In all actuality, abortions are not permitted past the second trimester. Exceptions might be made in emergencies, but that is the typical scheme of things. As it is, the procedure is highly unusual, and is not employed as the kind of deliberate infanticide the Religious Right’s propaganda plays it up to be.

I say this because I believe that making things up or speaking from ignorance gets in the way of the real job of persuading people to see things our way.

On the subject of the Ten Commandments, here’s thing: I believe people should follow them. But the thing to keep in mind is that we who follow them essentially signed up to do so first. Not everybody who walks into a courtroom or public space made a similar commitment.

Why should the government be trying to make it for them? Can the government really make it for them? I don’t think they can. I think a person chooses to be faithful to god, to Be Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or Pagan according to their own heart’s wish. Imposition from above won’t likely change what’s in a person’s heart. In fact, the imposition of religon by authority might stir up more fierce opposition.

Ten Commandment displays are for provoking folks like you, who misunderstand the source of the disagreement. You think we’re removing them because we’re Godless. Truth is we’re taking them away because it’s not our government’s place to tell us what religious principles we are to live by.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 10, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #166298

Stephen,

You said, “In fact, the imposition of religon by authority might stir up more fierce opposition.”

This was the thrust of my points in my post above “Why I don’t fear the religious right”. Thank you for making it much shorter and clearer.

Kansas,

This is why I don’t fear a theocracy. You may be right that there is a substantial movement out there to try to enshrine fundamentalist Christianity as our State religion. Keep on being vigilant and warning of us the impending doom. Me, I’m skeptical for the reason Stephen cited above and the reasons that I cited above that it could ever come to frutition.

Posted by: Rob at July 10, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #166314

Before I get scolded by moderate Christians, let me say that the elitism of which I speak does not include you. I truly believe the majority of Christians will still swear on the Bible to uphold the Constitution, rather the reverse.

That being said:

There is still a disconnect that few are willing to address when it comes to politics and religion. There has been a resurgence of eletism in society that has sought to poison the minds of the public. The disconnect comes from the redefinition of things uncommon to things abnormal. Christianity is common in America, other similarly based religions are less common, and religions that are dissimilar or no religion at all, should be uncommon, but are viewed as abnormal. There has been a case made here for Liberals to stand up and show their religion, and I say that the we shouldn’t have to, and that the only reason we feel we must is to be credible in the eyes of our political opponents and the public. If you subtract wealth from the equasion, the measurement of credibility is based on a spectrum of Athieism on one end to Christianity on the other, where there is little or no room for common discourse based soley on the merit of an idea. I may have overgeneralized somewhat and the case may stronger for certain issues, but the premise is solid.

Posted by: DOC at July 10, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #166319

SD
You said:
“the average person does not need the moral guidance of the government”

It is ones morals which make them want to “help” others.
It is these morals which guide our government, and that is fine. It is when groups of people use govt to force these morals onto others that a problem occurs. Through reading your writings on here, I would guess that you agree with that.
But let me ask where you draw the line on imposing morals onto others? Who gets to draw these lines? And why are their morals more important than others?
One persons morals say that allowing gay marriage would ruin society.
One persons morals say that govt not helping the poor would ruin society.
Why is it ok to enforce one moral but not the other?

As with most things political, your statement: “the average person does not need the moral guidance of the government” is true only of the things in which you agree with.

Morals tell us how we feel about the gay marriage issue.
Morals tell us how we feel about the abortion issue.
And morals tell us how we feel about charity.
The govt has no business telling people how they should feel or how they should support, any of those.
Not needing the moral guidance of govt should apply to all issues.

Redistribution of wealth? FORCEFULLY TAKING from one to give to another to support someone else’s beliefs.

Posted by: kctim at July 10, 2006 1:27 PM
Comment #166343

kctim-
By your logic, we can’t even tax. Society cannot work to its own benefit, because everybody would disagree what that was. Our Republic, through the elected government that represents us, gives us a way of minimizing that problem. Not everybody will be happy with where the money goes, but there is at least the sense that in broad terms these policies have the consent of the governed.

Morals inform our support or lack of same for policy. In that fashion, Our morals guide the government’s, rather than it guiding ours. The Government is not forcefully taking anything from the population as whole, but by the explicitly or implicitly given consent of the population. This consent, in turn, is bound by the constitution. Last time I looked, congress had the authority to tax and to pass laws. Social security and other entitlements were passed long those lines.

You can talk about redistributing wealth according to beliefs, but the truth is, it’s redistributed according to law.

Also, the aim of Social Security and other systems was not explicitly to improve morals. It was meant to do a moral thing, but hopefully, so is all policy. The difference is that true moral legislation is the intended to directly influence the morals issues, to directly address certain vices and religious issues. Blue Laws keeping stores closed on Sunday, Sodomy Laws, The Defense of Marriage Act, Flag burning, banning violent video games, the Comstock laws and last but not least, Prohibition.

Now, as I said before, there is a point at which the behavior is so outside the pale, that it needs to be addressed as such- obscenity, child pornography and molestation, indecency, public lewdness, etc, etc. At the same time, though, if such a level of harm is not reached, the government’s intrusion is not justified. This is a far different matter than Social Security or the like. These are often matters of free speech, free association, and privacy, all of which we value.

Most of the time, we manage to deal with most of our public and private relationships without needing the Government’s help. We might need them to change a legal status (from single to married, married to divorce) But there’s is an open question as to how much we need them to keep us in line, and whose standards should be employed.

I say they don’t need to keep us too much in line. Only in places where moral issues take on the color of criminal problems (like corporate corruption) do we need to set such limits.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 10, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #166346

kctm:Should I say something snide about how your parents should have taught you to share? I think not. You may resent spending your tax money to help others get on their feet but the fact is there is a societal necessity to do so. To attest to this look at countries that have more extensive safety nets and you will see a considerably lower crime rate. Our cities have burned before and will again if enough people feel hopeless. I appreciate it when government policy coincides with morality but the point of helping the less fortunate is stability.Believe me, your resentment of this is no greater than my resentment of my tax dollars funding a bloated defense department or trying to enforce futile drug laws.

Posted by: BillS at July 10, 2006 2:36 PM
Comment #166351

Hand in hand with court rulings thst allow big money to have more political influence than the average citizen are the court rulings that give corporations egual rights with individuals. Corporations are licensed legal entities not “endowed” with any more rights than stated in their charters. Giving them freedom of speech rights is a correctable error. The constitution does not protect them any more than it does a lampost.

Posted by: BillS at July 10, 2006 2:45 PM
Comment #166357

OOPS,should have posted that last on the other thread,apologies

Posted by: BillS at July 10, 2006 3:08 PM
Comment #166359

On the politics versus religion front, some friends of mine were members of what was formerly the First Baptist Church of Evanston, now called the Lake Street Church of Evanston, but still affiliated with American Baptist church
This is their website: http://www.lakestreet.org/
This is about some interfaith services:
http://www.heartlandsangha.org/schedule.html
and this is for democrats eyes only:
http://www.columbiachronicle.com/paper/citybeat.php?id=2273

I’m fully aware that I come off as a nut-case., Posted by: KansasDem at July 9, 2006 08:19 PM

ROCK ON, Kansas Dem

Posted by: ohrealy at July 10, 2006 3:15 PM
Comment #166364

SD
“It was meant to do a moral thing, but hopefully, so is all policy”

Very well written Stephen and I thank you.
Of course you know I disagree with your view of taxes being Constitutional and all, but I won’t bore you with that. Money is not where I was trying to go.

“but there is at least the sense that in broad terms these policies have the consent of the governed”

They have the consent of “some” of the governed, not the whole, or sometimes not even the majority.
By allowing govt to legislate morals onto us, we have given up our freedom of choice.
The govt dictating morals onto us is wrong and whether we like it or not, having govt dictate who can get married is no different than govt dictating how we help others.

Complaining about the “right” wanting to tell you how to live, means nothing if you are guilty of doing the same thing.

Posted by: kctim at July 10, 2006 3:44 PM
Comment #166369

Bill S
“Should I say something snide about how your parents should have taught you to share?”

You are free to say what you wish. My parents were hardcore Dems, until they got older.
Aside from that, what my parents taught me and what they did not, should be of no concern to you. Just as my money and I wish to use it should be of no concern to you either.

I do not wish to stop you from doing what you think is right, why do you wish to stop me?
I do not wish to force my beliefs onto you, why do you wish to force yours onto me?

“You may resent spending your tax money to help others get on their feet but the fact is there is a societal necessity to do so.”

Thats just it Bill, I don’t resent helping others. I resent the govt telling me who, how and why I must do it.

“I appreciate it when government policy coincides with morality but the point of helping the less fortunate is stability.”

Do you appreciate it enough to give more? Do you appreciate it enough to keep sacrificing your rights?
I thought giving up our rights in order to feel more secure and stable was a bad thing?

“Believe me, your resentment of this is no greater than my resentment of my tax dollars funding a bloated defense department or trying to enforce futile drug laws”

I can point to where our nations defense is covered in the US Constitution. Can you point to where it says the govt must threaten and steal money from some and give it to others?

I’m with you on the drug laws.

Taking care of people is a charitable act, not a function of the govt.

Posted by: kctim at July 10, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #166380

Great article and many good discussions taking place in the posts here.

An issue that has not yet been brought up here, and something which I find not only greatly disturbing and worrisome, but actually unconstitutional about this whole topic has to do with Article six, section three of our Constitution. Namely, this clear and concise sentence:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Thus, the idea that Americans in general, and either major political party in particular now feels a prevailing force or a need to disseminate a certain sense of their collective religious philosophy and/or viewpoints, should be telling us just how far we have come from the founders original intent in the formation of our government. Because this sentence, taken together with the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses found in the First Amendment are all the PROOF we should need to grasp that there must be a separation between Church and State in this country. That our Constitution and our American Government SHOULD and WOULD have NOTHING whatsoever to do with religious philosophy. EVER.
So, I felt the need to simply acknowledge this calamitous situation before I say anything further — because that is how I see it.
Sadly (IMO), Democrats have been reduced to addressing this in politics by a very large and powerful group of our fellow citizens who quite clearly do not understand, or in any way respect, the meaning and import of this clause — one that was written well before the institution of our First Amendment.

Stephen wrote:
“We should, however, deal with it not in terms of imposed laws or principle, but in terms of relationships and ethics, in terms of basic wisdom and morality. The personal conscience is the main religious issue in politics, the dividing lines between right and wrong the most important thing.”

Yes. I agree. This is what the founders entrusted us to do without dragging the baggage and dogma of our various religions into American government. Without a doubt, this government of ours was intended to represent ALL Americans rather than only those who are religious. The way I see it, what Stephen is speaking of here is the very obvious difference between Natural Law: established and binding only by human society, and Positive Law: established and binding by governmental or religious authority. Everything written in both our Declaration and our Constitution informs us that it was the former, rather than the latter that would guide all the actions taken by We the People of this country.

“Additionally, our focus cannot be selective. We cannot be latching onto one or two issues and then saying we’re right with God.”

Aside from the fact that we shouldn’t have to be discussing God AT ALL, I agree. Let it be the Republican party that speaks from both sides of their collective mouths. Who will preach to us about what God the Father, and Jesus, his son, wants for us to do — and then turn around and self-righteously and angrily rail against those who “take advantage” by collecting a pittance in Welfare, while completely overlooking the Corporate variety of the same. Despite the fact that corporate welfare has drained far more of our tax dollars than the worst of the laziest of Welfare recipients EVER has. Again, it is they who will preach to one and all, without understanding the meanings or the import behind those words.
This, to me is an obvious disconnect — a glaring dichotomy found within the “conservative” and so-called “religious and moral” philosophy of the Republican party.

Jesus said: “Judge not, lest ye be judged”, but so many of them do — all the time. They judge others harshly and they speak endlessly and hard-heartedly about “personal responsibility” when it comes to the poorest of the poor. What they don’t seem to get is that generosity, goodness, and charity, whether it comes from any one individual, or whether it comes from our collective government, has absolutely NOTHING to do with judgement, or with condemnation of the moral character of the recipient. IT HAS TO DO WITH US — both as individuals, or as a collective body of people.
People on the Left understand this. We know that aside from a small percentage of folks who will always seek to take advantage of others generosity, for the good of our society, we must be generous. It has to do with who WE are as a people, and it has much to do with what truly makes America strong. We have always known this — and hopefully we always will.

Luke 11:9: And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Let those on the Right be the hypocrites spouting words that seem to have no meaning to them, and who don’t seem to take any of their oft-quoted biblical wisdoms to heart.

And, let us on the Left be the ones who do not bother to self-righteously spout off about our religions, even as we fully understand the meaning behind the vast majority of religious philosophy. We understand that we are ALL connected, and that when we ALL give, we also receive a great deal.
Btw, what we receive through our generosity can in fact, take many forms. We might actually receive something as sublime as God’s grace, or, on a purely practical and sensible level, we just may find that We the People see less crime, less illiteracy, less hunger, less disease, etc., and more opportunity, more initiative, more achievement, more vital energy and health, more peace among our population.
In other words, it can only be All Good.

“Our focus cannot be weak. Let us be hot or cold, not lukewarm. The reason many assume that we Democrats are not especially religious is our failure to assertively project this part of our character. Let us do so, and leave no mistake as to the completeness of our character.”

As an agnostic* and as someone who believes in the wisdom of the Constitution, I find it very troubling that we have been reduced to this — but you’re right, of course.
Again, from Luke:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

One does not need to be religious to see that the philosophy of the Left (the Democrats) has borne an orchard full of Good Fruit for this country! Even a cursory glance at the twentieth century shows what the Democratic party wholeheartedly believes in. As unfortunate as it may be (due to article six, section three of the Constitution) perhaps it is time to start showcasing those many fruits of ours — in order to prominently distinguish ourselves from all these ravening wolves-in-sheeps-clothing standing in their dry, dusty field full of nothing but thorns and thistles.

(*Yes, I know, agnostics like me aren’t supposed to quote from scripture — but in cases like this particular topic, I find it necessary — not only to make my points, but to expose the hypocrisy so often displayed by our friends on right side of the aisle.)

Posted by: Adrienne at July 10, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #166406

Welcome back Adrienne.

Posted by: Rocky at July 10, 2006 7:03 PM
Comment #166417

On the politics versus religion front, some friends of mine were members of what was formerly the First Baptist Church of Evanston, now called the Lake Street Church of Evanston, but still affiliated with American Baptist church
This is their website: http://www.lakestreet.org/
This is about some services which might be very unusual in a baptist church:
http://www.heartlandsangha.org/schedule.html
,this is for democrats eyes only:
http://www.columbiachronicle.com/paper/citybeat.php?id=2273

and this is part of an article about their name change:

Some liberal or apolitical Baptist churches think about distancing themselves from newsmaking fundamentalist Baptists. In the Chicago area, Cornell Baptist Church, with an activist history on the South Side, changed its name to Ellis Avenue Church in g001 as it broke with the Southern Baptist Convention. The deciding factor was an SBC statement about wives playing a subservient role in the family; the church joined the moderate Alliance of Baptists. In the northern suburb of Evanston, the openly liberal First Baptist Church changed its name to Lake Street Church of Evanston in 1995.
The church has been transformed, “but not just by changing the name,” said Robert Thompson, pastor since 1980 of the American Baptist congregation. “We didn’t want to say we were Baptists—because of Falwell and the Southern Baptists’ turn to the right,” Thompson said. Along with the name change, the congregation began a “program of transformation” encouraging greater member commitment. “In my first 1,5 years here, the church had not grown and we had about 80 or 90 people on Sunday morning,” he said. “It’s at about 300 now and we continue to grow.”
From: http://www.highbeam.com/library/docFree.asp?DOCID=1G1:97173994


I’m fully aware that I come off as a nut-case., Posted by: KansasDem at July 9, 2006 08:19 PM

ROCK ON, Kansas Dem

and YAHOO Adrienne.

Posted by: ohrealy at July 10, 2006 7:37 PM
Comment #166423

3rd attempt at posting about how far Democrats want to distance themselves from rpblcns in religious matters. The rest of the links about this are on my blog page.

On the politics versus religion front, some friends of mine were members of what was formerly the First Baptist Church of Evanston dating from about 1856, now called the Lake Street Church of Evanston, but still affiliated with American Baptist church
This is their website: http://www.lakestreet.org/

an article about the name change:

Some liberal or apolitical Baptist churches think about distancing themselves from newsmaking fundamentalist Baptists. In the Chicago area, Cornell Baptist Church, with an activist history on the South Side, changed its name to Ellis Avenue Church in 2001 as it broke with the Southern Baptist Convention. The deciding factor was an SBC statement about wives playing a subservient role in the family; the church joined the moderate Alliance of Baptists. In the northern suburb of Evanston, the openly liberal First Baptist Church changed its name to Lake Street Church of Evanston in 1995.
The church has been transformed, “but not just by changing the name,” said Robert Thompson, pastor since 1980 of the American Baptist congregation. “We didn’t want to say we were Baptists—because of Falwell and the Southern Baptists’ turn to the right,” Thompson said. Along with the name change, the congregation began a “program of transformation” encouraging greater member commitment. “In my first 15 years here, the church had not grown and we had about 80 or 90 people on Sunday morning,” he said. “It’s at about 300 now and we continue to grow.”

I’m fully aware that I come off as a nut-case., Posted by: KansasDem at July 9, 2006 08:19 PM
ROCK ON, Kansas Dem
And YAHOO, Adrienne!

Posted by: ohrealy at July 10, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #166464

Thank you, Rocky!
You too, ohrealy. btw, interesting links — I may be an agnostic, but those are definitely my kind of Baptists! ;^)
After all, where would America be without such Baptists? It was they who were the most outspoken advocates for civil and religious liberties in the years leading up to America’s founding. Their unique brand of eloquence had a powerful influence upon the thinking of the founders — something that should never be overlooked, IMO.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 10, 2006 11:42 PM
Comment #166466

Adrienne-
The test described would be something like a statement affirming a certain church doctrine or something or other. You could exclude a Catholic, for example, by forcing officeholders to sign a statement declaring the C of E the one true church. I’m talking of nothing of the sort.

What I believe is that if they’re going to bring the issue out, we’ve got be prepared to present as strong an argument for our positions as Democrat as we can. The alternative is either trying to surpress their views (which makes us look bad) or simply letting their views dominate (which makes us look weak).

As I said, though, I don’t want us repeating their mistakes. Our message, though strong, must be one people can gather around. It’s pretty simple. Religious freedom was preserved for a reason: the world is not so simple and regulated that we can grasp it entirely with rational principles. There is a rich reserve of wisdom in religion, both literal and figurative, that is useful regardless of whether you believe in God or not. The Bible is more than just a book of legalistic codes, or an elaborate set of bookends for the Ten Commandments.

Religion is a lively, complex subject. It deserves more than up and down votes on constitutional amendments.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 11, 2006 12:08 AM
Comment #166484

kctm: If you spend some time time in countries that do not even have our compartivly meager safety net you might find it eyeopening. Most of the beggers on the street are children and old women. The children,especially the girls,turn to prostitution as they get older,that is if they live that long. The old women are tough old birds. Theres some social Darwinism for you. Of course crime is rampant. Desperate people do desperate things.
Or we could go back to the time before Social Security in this country when every town had a poor house where seniors either through folly or misfortune,spent their last days in abject poverty. Certainly some seniors had families to care for them and others had the forsight and luck to tide them over but a great many did not. To be old in America was to live in poverty.
Is this your vision for America? Is that what you want for this country? I hope you never need it but if you do there will be a safety net for you. We Dems will make sure of it.

Posted by: BillS at July 11, 2006 2:13 AM
Comment #166504

BillS
Very well said , I couldn’t agree more. This “safety net”, more than anything else, is what makes the USA a great country. Let’s make that safety net as big and wide as possible. Freedom is a wonderful thing but if you are starving to death I doubt it means a whole lot.

Posted by: mark at July 11, 2006 7:13 AM
Comment #166517

BillS
You are missing the point. You have no idea what social programs I like or dislike. But that is not what we are debating.
Like it or not, caring about those people you mention, is a personal choice based on individual morals and I do not believe govt should be legislating morality.
You don’t want the evil Christian right to tell you what is moral but yet you have no problem in telling others what is moral.

Mark
Your “safety net” should be voluntary. If its not, then the freedom you speak of is only an illusion.

Posted by: kctim at July 11, 2006 9:08 AM
Comment #166531

kctm: You are missing the point. In the countries I was talking about supporting charity IS voluntary. It does not work. Generations of wealthy familes hide behind their walls in constant fear of kidnapping and robbery. I repeat. Is that what you want for this country?

Posted by: BillS at July 11, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #166537

No, it is not what I want for my country. However, by saying that is what we would become, is nothing but using fear to take away rights. That is still wrong isn’t it?

Now, we could go on and on about how social programs and the taxes stolen to support them are unConstitutional and all, but that is not keeping in line with Stephens topic.

Stephen said Democrats believe the people do not need the moral guidance of govt. I say Democrats/Republicans DO believe in the moral guidance of govt IF it supports their beliefs.

Your morals are no more important than mine and neither of us should expect the govt to force our own morals onto the other.

And now, I repeat: Why should govt enforce one set or morals over that of another?

Posted by: kctim at July 11, 2006 11:59 AM
Comment #166573

kctm: Investing in the safety net is not about morals. It is the same as investing in defense,education or infrastructure. If we do not do it it is harmful to our nation. That it also coincides with some peoples version of a moral position is happy coincidence.
We probable share the opinion that things like wellfare for the able should be temporary at most with an ephesis on getting to work etc. There are some who abuse the system to be sure but a chisler in New Jersey does not mean a single mother in Barstow who needs a hand is not a good investment.

Posted by: BillS at July 11, 2006 2:21 PM
Comment #166574


“WHEN FASCISM COMES TO THE UNITED STATES, IT WILL BE WRAPPED IN A FLAG AND CARRYING A CROSS”—
Sinclair Lewis

Posted by: Art Dolin at July 11, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #166586

That is where we differ Bill. I do not believe in giving up rights to make myself feel safer.

The “safety net” was created on and is still based on morals.
Being fearful of what it MAY do to our country if we did not have it, is not something I would sacrifice my rights for. I totally disagree with that idea anyways.

“There are some who abuse the system to be sure but a chisler in New Jersey does not mean a single mother in Barstow who needs a hand is not a good investment”

It just depends on how you look at things.
If I feel sorry for her and wish to give her a hand, then should be able to do it freely, not forced.
If I feel giving something for nothing leads to dependacy, then I should be free not to help.
It’s all about morals and having the freedom of choice.

Posted by: kctim at July 11, 2006 3:03 PM
Comment #166616

Stephen:
“The test described would be something like a statement affirming a certain church doctrine or something or other. You could exclude a Catholic, for example, by forcing officeholders to sign a statement declaring the C of E the one true church. I’m talking of nothing of the sort.”

Maybe you aren’t, but to my way of thinking, if Democrats as a whole are now going to feel compelled to match the holier-than-thou rhetoric of the GOP (no matter how calculated, cynical, false, or empty it seems to be) or begin use religion to bolster our political ideas or our image in the eyes of the American voter, it does seem very much like we’re headed toward “religious test” territory, to me. The kind our founders told us would never be the sort of qualification we’d need to worry over as long as the Constitution was supported and upheld. Also, I don’t agree that it needs to be that specific to pose a serious danger. Even a generalized expectation that politcians should now to be devout followers of religion — any religion — in order to get elected, or that they must often speak publically about their faiths while in office to be viewed as respectable, should be enough to alarm all of us. Because it is an erosion of the wall of separation that was and is implict in our Constitution.

“What I believe is that if they’re going to bring the issue out, we’ve got be prepared to present as strong an argument for our positions as Democrat as we can. The alternative is either trying to surpress their views (which makes us look bad) or simply letting their views dominate (which makes us look weak).”

I think Democrats can show the voters that what we stand for has much more in common with their own spiritual values than the GOP does, despite their empty rhetoric. Yet, at the same time, we should also let them know that Democrats have no intention of either allowing the GOP to gradually, but inexorably turn this country into an evangelical theocracy, nor will we allow our party leaders to ever neglect their duty to uphold the Constitution for all the people of all faiths in this country, as well as for those who chose to adhere to none at all.

“As I said, though, I don’t want us repeating their mistakes. Our message, though strong, must be one people can gather around.”

Yes, and indeed I agreed with you before, when you said:

“We should, however, deal with it not in terms of imposed laws or principle, but in terms of relationships and ethics, in terms of basic wisdom and morality. The personal conscience is the main religious issue in politics, the dividing lines between right and wrong the most important thing.”

I think this is spot-on. I believe that what the GOP has been doing is slowly alienating everyone who isn’t a far-right religious extremist. Democrats certainly needn’t follow suit with their own form of religiously coded language, or with any kind of extremist messages. We should show people that we believe that there is room for all kinds religion in America. Yet, what we should all be able to rally around (despite whatever differences exist among those religions) when it comes to our government is sincere human decency and the most basic of moral principles. For this reason, these things can be best addressed by Natural Law, rather than handed down by authoritarian style dictates — because the vast majority of people can usually agree upon them, even those who follow no organized religions.

“Religious freedom was preserved for a reason: the world is not so simple and regulated that we can grasp it entirely with rational principles.”

While I agree that religious freedom needs to always be preserved, I fail to see how religion should be allowed to find a foothold in American government. In my view, government can be regulated according to simple moral concepts based entirely upon rational principles.

“There is a rich reserve of wisdom in religion, both literal and figurative, that is useful regardless of whether you believe in God or not. The Bible is more than just a book of legalistic codes, or an elaborate set of bookends for the Ten Commandments.”

Absolutely!

“Religion is a lively, complex subject. It deserves more than up and down votes on constitutional amendments.”

I agree it is a lively and complex subject, but what do you feel religion actually deserves if not constitutional amendments passed by American voters? I’m personally uncomfortable with the idea that specific religious mores will become part and parcel with how our country is going to be governed — most especially if this is done without any real Congressional debate, or input from our general population.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 11, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #166617

kctim:
“If I feel giving something for nothing leads to dependacy, then I should be free not to help.
It’s all about morals and having the freedom of choice.”

Funny, to me that seems more like aloof indifference not morals. And rather than freedom of choice, it sounds like a recipe for harsh and uncaring society where chaos and wretched misery would definitely go hand-in-glove.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 11, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #166620

Why would it have to be a “harsh and uncaring society” Adrienne?
Are the morals of our society so low that charity must be forced?
I don’t believe that to be true at all.

Oh, btw. I really enjoyed reading your last post to Stephen.
Do you really believe the Republicans are trying to set up a theocracy?
Not to offend or anything, but that kind of ranks right up there with the Democrats trying to get rid of the Constitution and set up a socialist state.
IMO, of course.

Posted by: kctim at July 11, 2006 5:41 PM
Comment #166640

Ten commandments… blah blah blah

More like 613 commandments, you sinful, sinful people!

Posted by: ohrealy at July 11, 2006 6:39 PM
Comment #166706

Do the words “social contract” mean anything to anyone?

“America’s Second Harvest….is now providing help to more than 25 million people, an 8 percent increase over 2001…”

“That’s part of the social contract we have with our citizens.”

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0223/p02s02-ussc.html

The thought that we as individuals have somehow become more charitable than Americans of previous generations is somehow just mindboggling to me. But that’s my opinion.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at July 11, 2006 11:24 PM
Comment #166753

KansasDem

Whether we are more charitable or not, is not the issue, freedom is.
The “social contract” you mention sounds great, but it is no “contract.” It is a forced mandate.
IF it were a real “contract,” I would have no problem with it at all.

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2006 9:15 AM
Comment #166766

kctim:
“Why would it have to be a “harsh and uncaring society” Adrienne?”

Because that is what America had before.

“Are the morals of our society so low that charity must be forced?
I don’t believe that to be true at all.”

You obviously don’t read very much history then. The burden of funding and making sure that the elderly, the sick, and the poor get the care or the help they need has only been successful since it began being equally distributed between all Americans through their tax dollars, and through programs like Social Security. If you read your history, you will see that before the twentieth century, it was for the most part the wealthy and the churches who funded all the charitable institutions that existed in America. You will also understand that what they were chosing to do in that regard simply didn’t cut it.
With the advent of (Democratic) social programs that truly addressed these kinds of issues, a great many of our citizens were suffering and dying alone without aid. By supporting the idea that Americans didn’t approve of such suffering, we proclaimed to this country, and to the world, that We, the People, believe in basic human decency and opportunity for every single one of our fellow citizens.
The way I see it, Libertarians (like yourself) seem to want to return this nation to the harsh and uncaring Bad Old Days — and as a progressive, I consider this extremely regressive and short-sighted.

“Do you really believe the Republicans are trying to set up a theocracy?”

I believe that somewhere between 30-40% of Republicans are working towards this goal, yes. Those tax-exempt churches and their leaders are a very rich and powerful lobby, and they’ve got the money to make or break things for rest of the party — which is why we are seeing so much of the GOP’s rhetoric now geared toward pleasing/appeasing this faction.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 12, 2006 10:47 AM
Comment #166794

Just a little “fun-fact”:

“Social Security provided more than half of the total income for almost two-thirds of households comprised exclusively of those aged 65 and older and provided at least 90% of income for a third of this group.”

http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguide_socialsecurityfacts

Wow, one-third of Americans over age 65 depend on Social Security for 90% to 100% of their income. That’s a whole of people to let starve.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at July 12, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #166795

Thanks Adrienne. I actually love history and can’t get enough of it.
Something you left out was how the people were free to think for themselves and didn’t fear the govt back then.
I’ll never understand the lefts fear of personal responsibility or why they feel its ok for govt to tell people how to live their lives.
But I do appreciate you sharing your views on it.

“I believe that somewhere between 30-40% of Republicans are working towards this goal, yes”

30-40? WOW!
As that is your opinion, I won’t argue against what you believe.
But out of curiousity on my part, what percentage of the left do you believe to be hardcore socialists working towards a socialist state?

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #166813

kctim - 30-40% of Republicans seems a bit outrageous doesn’t it? I won’t speak for Adrienne, but if you add the word Christian to it, it brings it into a much more believable light.

30-40% of Christian Republicans support a theocracy. Sure! Not even a stretch of the imagination.

Posted by: DOC at July 12, 2006 12:49 PM
Comment #166818

DOC
Some hardcore Christian Republicans may favor a theocracy I guess.
I just don’t see this “theocracy” movement the far left talks about.

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #166833

kctim:
“Something you left out was how the people were free to think for themselves and didn’t fear the govt back then.”

I think what people should fear most is the way politicians have been taking our tax dollars that were intended to lift our fellow citizens out of suffering and misery, and then horribly mismanaged, or outright stolen those funds for things which had/have nothing to do with what was intended to be basic human decency and altruism aimed at “the Common Welfare”.
That is the argument you and I, and everyone else should be having — how we could remedy THAT situation, rather than whether we should go back to having the choice of allowing our people to needlessly suffer in a wealthy society such as ours.

“I’ll never understand the lefts fear of personal responsibility or why they feel its ok for govt to tell people how to live their lives.”

And I’ll never understand why so many Libertarians and Republicans actually believe this about us on the Left.

“30-40? WOW!”

Don’t you recall all that talk of “Values Voters” in recent past elections? Look at the statistics sometime on the numbers of people who claim they want to do away with a womans freedom to have an abortion if she wants one. Or who want to deprive gay people of their civil liberties and equal rights. Or who think that the Ten Commandments belong in and around America’s courthouses, because they don’t believe there should be a separation between Church and State. All that “moral wedge issue” stuff that seeks to curtail freedoms, deny rights, or wishes to insert religion into government.
These days the number seems to lie somewhere in the vicinity of 33 to 36 percent of Republicans who vote with those sorts of issues in their minds when choosing a candidate. Certainly not all of them are consciously advocating for an American theocracy, but nonetheless, they are moving toward that every time they vote.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 12, 2006 1:50 PM
Comment #166836

kctim-
I believe some on the Religious right would like to set up a government along the lines of dominionist thinking. For the most part, I think they’re probably looking to working things along the lines of how things were at the beginning of the 20th Century, but still. The rest, I think, are trying to appease them to keep them solid supporters.

There’s kind of a bleeding political shift effect here as people become gradually committed to greater and greater thinning of the barrier between church and state.

I’m pretty sure, though, that the ugliest consequence that could come of this is not the dominionists winning, which I think is very unlikely, at least across the board. No, the worst thing that could happen is that their tactics backfire.

A government with the power to intervene for for and against one’s rival religions can turn around and do the same to you, if the political winds shift. That is the ultimate fool-hardiness of these efforts. Go look at Europe, and see how the government power over religion lead to their marginalization.

America’s separation between church and state has had the effect of keeping the secular and the religious distinct, rather than allowing Religion itself to become a secularized, legally regulated and mandated entity. It’s kept our religions independent of the need for political support or dominance to survive, with the political compromises that entails. It also keeps it safe from the consequences of the failing of their political supporters.

The Republican party lost the political battles for 60 years, but that did not prevent religious conservatism from thriving and coming to dominate.

When the socialists and other like-minded people came to power in Europe, they were able to basically cut religion out of much of the power structure, because it relied on Right-Wing support so heavily. Here, the independence of the churches from the government meant that the liberalization of politics did not do them all that much harm. They had to deal with the public consensus and sensibilities, but everybody has to deal with that, and they need no big brother in government to achieve that end.

Unfortunately, I think the Religious right made the mistake of becoming too closely bound to one party, one political sensibility, and in turn making their religion equally rigid in dealing with certain matters. Religion, as defined by the priest who began my RCIA classes in college (they were separate from Baylor), is the practice of a faith in a culture.

Considering that, I think there’s a lot about the culture and the politics that has adulterated Christian Conservatism, made it more worldly than spiritual. They’ve become the advisers rather than the prophets, as Bill Moyers(or somebody) put it once, with all that entails.

I think people need to relax, in terms of religion. I think we on the Liberal and Democrat side can do this by being willing to discuss religious issues and imperatives with some kind of fluency. The Republicans can relax by admitting to themselves that Religion is the choice of the invididual citizens of this country(ours and ours alone, as my title suggests), and that this entails their backing off on that agenda.

Both sides have to understand that hostility is a poor means by which to convince the other side of things.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 12, 2006 2:02 PM
Comment #166838

Adrienne
“I think what people should fear most is the way politicians have been taking our tax dollars”

See? We DO agree on things:)

“Look at the statistics sometime on the numbers of people who claim they want to do away with a womans freedom to have an abortion if she wants one.”

That is not always about religion though. I believe the “childs right to life” argument is pretty valid.

“Or who want to deprive gay people of their civil liberties and equal rights.”

I agree. But you have to admit that alot of Dems support those issues too.

“Or who think that the Ten Commandments belong in and around America’s courthouses, because they don’t believe there should be a separation between Church and State”

I’m not convinced its all about getting rid of the separation though. I think many believe Church and State can co-exist without it being seen as govt establishing a particular religion.
Heck, I’m an atheist and I see it as govt can’t establish a national religion and you don’t have to be of a certain religion to hold office.

“Certainly not all of them are consciously advocating for an American theocracy, but nonetheless, they are moving toward that every time they vote”

Now THAT could be. I just felt that 30-40 percent that knowingly supported a move to a theocracy was too high.
I could probably agree that the extreme right would like to instill a theocracy and that some honest Republicans unknowingly support that move by their votes sometimes though.

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #166847

Stephen

“I think people need to relax, in terms of religion.”

Argh! So do I!

“I think we on the Liberal and Democrat side can do this by being willing to discuss religious issues and imperatives with some kind of fluency.”

I think one of the biggest obstacles is the all or nothing approach that the people have of the left on this.

“The Republicans can relax by admitting to themselves that Religion is the choice of the invididual citizens of this country(ours and ours alone, as my title suggests), and that this entails their backing off on that agenda.”

Shoot, right now the Reps have this market cornered and they aren’t going to let go it.

As with most “wedge” issues, I personally think things would be alot better if both sides would just accept the fact that people and their opinions differ from state to state, city to city and town to town.

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2006 3:10 PM
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