Third Party & Independents Archives

May 22, 2005

Religion - America's 2nd Civil War

America may be marching headlong toward another civil war. Many of the descendant players are the same. Many of the strategies are the same. The motivations are the same. Even the flags are symbolically similar. Only a date of commencement and outcome of this second civil war remain unknowable.

The Players: In 1860, the Southern states had a demand, and if unfulfilled, they would secede from the Union. That demand was to preserve slavery and extend it into the new territories. They had many justifying arguments, not the least of which was that blacks were inherently inferior to whites, and more akin to oxen or mules which justified using them for what they were best suited, labor. The Northerners, largely not depending upon slavery for their economic base, were opposed to seeing slavery extended into the new territories, and would have eventual designs on eradicating slavery everywhere.

The Players today are largely white Southern, S.W. and N.W. Fundamentalist Christians who declare that the United States is a Christian nation and any who do not support them in their quest to make America a one-religion state, are amoral, godless liberals. The Opposition lies largely on the West Coast and in Northern Christian and non-Christian moderates who believe a one-religion nation will result in intolerance of all other religions, hence, leading to the loss of religious freedom and practice in America.

Much of the pro-slavery ideology rested on the belief of superiority over African Americans. The Fundamentalist Christian Right ideology also rests on the belief that their brand of Christianity is superior to all others, as well as non-Christian faiths. This belief in religious superiority leads inevitably to intolerance. The Fundamentalist Christian Right are intolerant of:

choice over whether to become a mother or not,
use of embryonic stem cells for research,
separation of church and state,
evolution taught in schools,
and freedom of art and speech which does not comply with their sense of propriety.

They cloak this intolerance in the Bible and the American Flag and brandish excerpts from our founding fathers as edicts from the grave that 'America belongs to them', and all Opposition is out to destroy America and moral living. They are demanding the reins of power in Government to pass laws that will force their 'superior' beliefs and values upon all others using the power of the police and judicial authority.

Much of the anti-slavery sentiment rested on the belief that all men are created equal and that blacks were at least partially human, and thus should be treated humanely and not as beasts of burden or property to be bought and sold. They even considered giving Blacks 3/5 of a vote. They would rather err on the side of tolerance than intolerance, on the side of humanity than inhumanity, on the side of freedom rather than enslavement. But as important as the slavery issue was, the Northerner's believed that the nation would be diminished, and likely fail, if seccession were allowed to occur. The idea of multiple Americas and an unUnited States some argued, would leave the nation vulnerable to forces outside the union and open the door to foreign influences and involvement in furthering our divide amongst ourselves.

The Congressional Black Caucus, a key component in the Opposition, is unanimously opposed to the judicial nominee 'nuclear option' lobbied for by the Fundamentalist Right. Underlying the Fundamentalist Right's fears is the hard lesson of the Civil Rights Movement. When blacks acquired an equal voice in government, the Southern whites lost their beloved segregation from blacks. They see incidents like the Florida judge who ordered Terry Schiavo's feeding tubes removed, as a threat to their desire for a pure Christian Nation, or at least the option of not having to be governed those who:

-view science and religion as separate studies,
-value freedom above moral restraint,
-embrace immigration over loyalty oaths,
-and elevate the religion of Islam to an equal legal status as Christianity.

Some blacks, and others of the Opposition, see a bit of the Aryan Nation and KKK in the Fundamentalist Christian Right movement. They fear the Fundamentalist's unrelenting efforts to seize control of government through lobbyists and public relations mark the beginning of a return to the past and possible restoration of White Southern values as much as Christian values.

The Strategies: Many of the strategies of the North and South are repeating today in the media and Congress. The pro-slavers argued that the North's intent to make Blacks free and equal would lead to amalgamation of the races and giving power to heathens who can't even read the Bible let alone live by its prescriptions. The Fundamentalist Right today accuses their opponents of being godless and without moral character as evidenced by their support of abortion choice and separation of church and state. And of course they maximize the use of that time honored slander "UnAmerican" toward their opponent's departure from strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution and original Bill of Rights.

The Opposition to the Fundamentalist Right accuse them of siding with fascist constraints on freedom of speech, religion, and equal access. Many claim if the Right has their way, laws like the Fair Housing Act could be repealed, opening the doors to whole communities denying sales of homes to any who are not white and Fundamentalist Christian, not to mention denying access to jobs on the same basis.

Many liberals fear the conservatives, who politically embrace the Fundamentalist Christian Right, would effectively do away with the two party system, replacing it with a conservative Republican Party with total control of all three branches of government while keeping a few conservative Democrats around as token gestures against critics and preserving the illusion of two parties. Largely, most Americans opposed to the Fundamentalist Right simply believe there would be a loss of freedom, tolerance, and diversity if the Right has its way, and they see freedom, tolerance and diversity as America's greatest strengths.

The Fundamentalist Right continues to hammer out the Confederate-like message of self-determination, culture clash, and degradation of our Christian heritage at the hands of the Opposition. They will strike at their opponents in the media with caricatures much like those that arose in the 1860's. But today, those caricatures will not be of apes and men or of blacks and whites. They will be of those bleeding heart liberals who will, in the name of tolerance, destroy American culture; who in the name of secularism will ruin the moral fabric of this nation; and who in their heart of hearts bear no love for America but instead, harbor conspiracies toward communism, socialism, and atheism.

On the other side, the moderates and liberals will exhort their fears of a minority, mad with delusions of power, who will stop at nothing to appoint, elect, lobby, bribe, blackmail, or use any other tactic necessary to move their minority members into seats of power. Then they can make and use the laws to force all others to choose, act, and obey, as they believe Americans should.

The Motivations: What motivates much of the vocal opposition to the Fundamentalist Right is a belief in maximum individual freedom while maintaining a national identity and relative domestic harmony. They will even accommodate some concessions to the Fundamentalist Right in the attempt to restore domestic peace and harmony. In large part, whether religious or not, whether Christian or not, this group expects that government tend the affairs of the nation and the well-being of the people according to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

They expect that government be as unobtrusive and non-invasive into their personal lives of work, home, and travel as possible. This group expects the government to keep its nose out of their bedrooms, out of their homes, and out of their workplace and relationships with others.

The Fundamentalist Right is motivated by surprisingly enough, a history of inferiority. They have been inferior in numbers to bring about the changes they desire, and that has been their primary motivation to amass money, access to media, access to government officials and lobbyists, and access to the Whitehouse through the election of one of their own. Having partially succeeded in their goal of electing one of their own supporters to the Whitehouse, and amassing a very sizeable war chest to fund their efforts, they are now motivated by the smell of success like sharks to blood in the water. A kind of feeding frenzy is now taking place in the media as they force confrontations that depict their opposition as murderers, pedophile supporters, smut peddlers, and socialists and communists.

The Flags. Though the Fundamentalist Right spokespersons do not wear Confederate Flag pins on their lapels for obvious PR reasons, many of their supporters and subscribers do fly the Confederate Flag in their yards and on their vehicles. The Fundamentalist Christian Right rhetoric is hauntingly similar to that of the KKK, talking of America as a Christian nation threatened by Jews, Muslims and all manner of pagans and idolaters.

And while the Union Jack does not sit on the opposition's lapels, more of them are taking to wearing the American Flag pins in the hopes of depriving the Fundamentalist Right and Right Wing Conservatives from co-opting the American flag as their secret membership sign. The opposition used to think it wasn't necessary to wear an American flag to prove their love of country and freedom. But it is rapidly becoming a necessity in the fight against the Fundamentalist Right who imply they are the only true Americans.

The 2nd Civil War. While the first Civil War was essentially about power over other's ways of living and the economics that supported it, the rhetoric of that day was wrapped in religion, patriotism, loyalty, and denigration, and smearing of the opposition in every possible manner of cleverness that the human mind could devise. This served the purpose of heightening the divisions among Americans and forcing passions and emotions to take sides in this march toward civil war.

Nothing has changed in this new march toward civil war. The real issue is still power over how others live, and the strategy is still divide and conquer. But, instead of the slave based economics that marched us to war in 1860, it is the religious economics moving us toward it today. The Fundamentalist Right has learned that as great as the power of God's word is, it is really money that will move a nation. And make no mistake, they are mastering the power of money in its use on lobbyists and in the media and public relations management.

Whether America fights this civil war with bullets, rocks, and flames or not, may largely depend upon the next two elections. If the Fundamentalist Right acquires even more seats in the halls of government, America could face a violent backlash in the streets just a few years later. While the vast majority of Americans will not want to take to violence to resist the Fundamentalist Right's exercise of power in government to limit freedom and choice, there is a minority that will. As people begin to die in the streets over political and religious affiliation and domination, more and more Americans as in the 1860's, with horror and emotions reaching new heights, will be forced to take sides.

What if the Fundamentalist Right is successful in overturning Roe V. Wade, or reinstating the Sedition Acts, or mandating the Lord's Prayer in public schools? What if, at the same time, both sides are 'recruiting' through news media coverage of violence and pitched emotional infomercials denigrating each other? Ever more moderates wanting tolerance and domestic tranquility will be moved to activism. If their activism is frustrated by the Fundamentalist Right in power, they will be left with only submission or violent means to engage in the protection of their rights to think, speak, live, work and play in manners opposed by the Fundamentalist Right.

The first Civil War was decades in the coming. News traveled far more slowly, and dissemination of the issues and their divides were hampered by illiteracy, and the slow speed of paper printed publications. America's second Civil War, if it occurs, could come upon us as fast as the internet, and before we are aware things had gotten so bad. We will likely hear of the government interdicting secret organizations and be lulled into believing the authorities have matters well in hand.

That is, until Gestapo tactics and fascist type police tactics become ever more visible in response to attacks upon the police who are the most obvious symbols and long arm of those in power. But, by then, police will oppose police, brothers will oppose brothers, sisters will oppose sisters, fathers will oppose sons, mothers will oppose daughters, and like the dawn of the 1860's, America will find herself at war with herself in her own country with no resolution in sight.

Unlike the 1st Civil War which lasted only from 1860 to 1866, the second Civil War could be played out over decades, exacerbated and drawn out by a population vastly largely than in the 1860's with far greater numbers of people unwilling to capitulate. It could be drawn out by horrendous economic conditions seeded by our current high and growing national debt and withdrawal of foreign investments from a country on the edge of, or engaged in, civil war. And sanity could be lost for decades until the death and cruelty have so insulted the sensibilities of those on both sides, that one or the other concedes in the name of humanity.

There will be those who will say this could never happen in America. The only appropriate response is, it already has, once. Which is proof enough that it could again.

Posted by David R. Remer at May 22, 2005 09:43 AM
Comment #55940

Interesting. Surely reason will prevail. :/

Posted by: American Pundit at May 22, 2005 11:30 AM
Comment #55941

AP, that was the hope in 1859 as well!

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2005 11:38 AM
Comment #55942

David, I believe, and I think most historians would agree with me, that the Civil war was about states’ rights, not slavery. This is nit-picking I’m sure, but I wanted to set that straight…

Posted by: Zeek at May 22, 2005 11:42 AM
Comment #55949


I’ve been mulling this over in my mind for a while, perhaps you can shed some light. Around the time of secession, were there other “states’ rights” issues besides slavery?


Posted by: Ricko at May 22, 2005 12:20 PM
Comment #55955

I think there will be a great deal of cultural conflict as this is settled out, but I think we’ve passed the point of the GOP’s greatest power. They’ve made too many sacrifices of principle and policy to long sustain continued popularity.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 22, 2005 01:21 PM
Comment #55965


I can’t really see how todays political climate could be related to the civil war, much less, religion being the cause of it.

Rather than “fundamentalist Right”, why not “Fundamentalist Americans” ?

Per capita, minoritys( blacks and Hispanics) are the most religous (mostly Christian) group in our great country.

I respect you, your opinions, and your point of view, I just don’t see how the analogy can fit?
I see it more as the N.E., Calif., and perhaps Oregon, and the more liberal side of politics in general, losing ground and being angry.

If there is a uprising or war looming, I don’t see it. Its more a culture shift based on issues that gets reflected in politics.

Posted by: Beagle at May 22, 2005 02:32 PM
Comment #55966

But, Stephen, you comment is premised on the notion that this religious confrontation will go away with shifts in power between Dem’s and Rep’s. It won’t!

This power struggle at the religious/values level is only going to continue to escalate regardless of who is elected to office. Do you really think Dem’s will be immune to religious lobbying groups? Some will, Some won’t!

In fact, the Dem. party may have to accomodate concessions of the Fundamentalist Right just to gain and or retain their incumbent offices.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2005 02:33 PM
Comment #55967

Zeek, there were states rights issues, not the least of which was each state’s right to determine for itself the legality of slavery.

Ricko, you can google the following for a fairly complete understanding of the factors leading to the Civil War:

Main precursors to Civil War:

-Abolitionist Movement

-The conflicts in Kansas: Topeka, Kansas-Nebraska
Act, Lawrence and Manhattan problems.

-Dred Scott Case, landmark case of the 1850s in which the Supreme Court of the United States declared that African Americans were not U.S. citizens.

-federal tariff laws of 1828 and 1832 which led to Nullification by S. Carolina in 1832

-And the straw that broke the camel’s back was the election of Abe Lincoln in 1860 and his stance on not extending slavery into the new territories.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2005 02:48 PM
Comment #55968

Beagle, the religious issue transcends parties ultimately. The Fundamentalist Right seeks to control the legislative process, and are declaring they will not tolerate living under the rule of those who lack their views and values. That is what underlies this judicial nuclear option debacle occuring in the Senate.

This Fundamentalist Right is behind Frist, DeLay, and some of Bush’s doctrines, and they have amassed the money and voting numbers to be able to influence federal legislation and government policy. This is not an issue which is going to go away without a final resolution just as slavery was an issue that was not going to go away without a final resolution.

The parallels are many as I outlined in the article. If you don’t see them, there is little more I can say that would make any difference.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2005 02:54 PM
Comment #55972

Your fear and your thesis are pure hyperbole. More to the point, your rehtoric is out of line. Unlike Secessionist’s, who used violence to further their agenda, the religious right who achieve their political goals through constitutional means. Furthermore, how can you equate the religious right with the Confederate flag? I don’t see how the you can reconcile them at all. Lest your forget your history (and I would suggest your read or reread your Civil War history), it was the religious part of the Republican party that was very much against Slavery.
In my opinion, the recent resurgence of the religious right is a response to the militant secularization that is occuring in the country.
We see intolerance of homosexuals, I see a agenda that refuses to respect the bill of rights. As an example, I will cite the Dale vs Boy Scouts of America. Here the ACLU argued, and unfortunately the the New Jersery State Supreme Court agreed, that the Boy Scouts exclusion of a homosexual was a violation of New Jersey state law, due to the fact that the Boy Scouts were a ‘public accomodation’. Mind you, this ruling contradicts the freedom of association expressed in the 1st ammendment, but hey who cares about violating the bill of rights if it is against a Christian organization right? Thankfully, the US Supreme Court reversed, but that decision united many different faiths. After all, if the Boy scouts can be viewed as a public accomodation, why not the Catholic Church, Southern Baptists or any other religious faith?
I challenge anyone to find the words or the phrase that justifies separation of church and state in the constitution. The first amendment prohibits congress from establishing a religion or from prohibiting the exercise of a religion. The 14th amendment later applied this to the states. However, the 1st amendment does not apply a strict separation between government and religion.
The constant attack by the left on religion strikes on intolerance, which contradicts their philosophy of toleration and freedom. I am constantly amazed at the vitriol spewed from democrats at religious groups. Something is wrong with a party that reserves it’s strongest rehtoric against a religious part of the opposition, instead of another religious faction that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people on 911.

Posted by: Thucydides at May 22, 2005 03:12 PM
Comment #55984

Thucydides said: “Your fear and your thesis are pure hyperbole.”

No, you interpretation of my fear and thesis is that it is pure hyperbole. And that’s fine. I once saw a comedy movie with a blind man standing on some train tracks when somone yelled to the man, there is a train coming. The blind man said, I don’t see no tr…” squ-u-shhhh! And the blind man was no more. :-)

Unlike Secessionist’s, who used violence to further their agenda, the religious right who achieve their political goals through constitutional means.

Ahh.. you mean like the bombings of the abortion clinics or beating on those entering Planned Parenthood. Great Constitutional means, there. And that is how civil wars begin… it only takes a few to turn hot emotional passions into violent action. And let’s not pretend they are anti-violent, they supported the invasion of Iraq.

it was the religious part of the Republican party that was very much against Slavery.

I suggest you read your American political history. The Republican Party was the party of the North then, now it is the party of the South and midwest and west. It wasn’t the party, it was the people. The people of the Fundamentalist Right are concentrated as I indicated in the article. It is the people, not the party. The Fundamentalist Right are using the Republican Party as the Party is using their voter turnout. A vast number of Republicans oppose the Fundamentalist Right as well, hence the Fundamentalist Right are not defined by the Republican Party. They have a very specific agenda of their own that happens to fit nicely into the needs of the Republican Party for the time being.

I challenge anyone to find the words or the phrase that justifies separation of church and state in the constitution.

Oh, you are so clever. But not clever enough. The Constitution does say: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”. That pretty much punches a hole right through the Fundamentalist Right’s constant barage and insistence that the USA is a Christian Nation and must reflect that religions values in its laws and government actions. The Fundamentalist Right, nor the Government, are permitted by the Constitution to establish Christianity as the nation’s religion. So, you see, the Fundamentalist Right starts off with one of the most basic principles for their existence being unconstitutional. And it is the height of hypocrisy that they claim strict adherence to the Constitution regarding judicial nominees. Whatever works for them… they really have no values that are consistent… what they have is a deep seated desire for power and the opportunity to dictate to others how they should live.

So, go for it Thucydides, try to defend the hypocrisy of the Fundamentalist Right. It will in the end be an exercise in futility, for the majority of Americans are not extremists and believe all should be free to choose their own religion and practice it freely provided that practice does not infringe on other’s rights to practice their own. Most Americans are in fact, tolerant of others differences, and that is why the Fundamentalist Right a great many of whom are offspring of segregationists, will never garner a majority support in this country.

They really are just the KKK with a new cause to divide Americans into us and them, and claim superiority over others. Their violent tactics of the last century failed, so they have some new ones which are not violent, at least not physically. But their message of hate has not changed - how they love to depict their fellow Americans as immoral, amoral, godless, heathens, socialists, communists, etc., etc. etc….

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2005 06:09 PM
Comment #55995


Wow, your thread ranks right up there with McCarthyism. Lots of hate and bigotry.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at May 22, 2005 07:20 PM
Comment #55997

No, Craig, just love of freedom from religious oppression and a healthy fear of what KKK type hate can do. The Fundamentalist Right has an agenda and it is not religioius freedom for all, nor is it freedom of expression for all, nor is it freedom of choice for all. Just stating the truth, as evidenced by hours of listening to them speak on C-Span and the reigious networks.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2005 07:36 PM
Comment #55999


They really are just the KKK with a new cause to divide Americans into us and them, and claim superiority over others.

Instead of a communist conspiracy there is a rightwing Christian conspiracy.

Next thing you know you will be promoting investigations to see if there are links between U.S. Senators and James Dobson. All in the name of preventing civil war. Have you thought of that?


Posted by: Craig Holmes at May 22, 2005 08:11 PM
Comment #56000


Considering that the right are the ones presently and consistently throwing around the labels communist, homosexual, effeminate, atheist, unamerican and unpatriotic, perhaps you should rethink attempting to brand the left with accusations of McCarthyism at this time.

Posted by: Jarin at May 22, 2005 08:16 PM
Comment #56004

David R. Writes

>Fundamentalist Christians who declare that the United States is a Christian nation and any who do not support them in their quest to make America a one-religion state, are amoral, godless liberals.>

>The Fundamentalist Christian Right ideology also rests on the belief that their brand of Christianity is superior to all others, as well as non-Christian faiths. This belief in religious superiority leads inevitably to intolerance. The Fundamentalist Christian Right are intolerant of:> etc.

The intolerance is directed mainly at atheism and secularism not at Judaism or Islam.

Also responded
>In fact, the Dem. party may have to accomodate concessions of the Fundamentalist Right just to gain and or retain their incumbent offices.>

They already have started that with Hillary Clinton Racing to the middle on abortion. And Howard Dean today on Meet the Press wanting to appear against abortion.

Posted by: George at May 22, 2005 08:50 PM
Comment #56010

Nope, never occured to me, Craig.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2005 09:22 PM
Comment #56011

George said: “The intolerance is directed mainly at atheism and secularism not at Judaism or Islam.”

That is true. The KKK’s intolerance was mainly at the Blacks and Jews. Is there any question that had they gotten there way with Blacks and Jews, that Catholics and Hispanics would not have been next?

Same deal here with the Fundamentalist Right.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2005 09:27 PM
Comment #56012

George, I wasn’t aware of the Hilary and Dean events. Thanks for the tip.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2005 09:29 PM
Comment #56013


Brilliant essay well thought out and I agree with the points you make. I find myself loosing a lot of sleep over the direction I see the religious movement taking this country; we are fighting Islamic Fundamentalist without our borders, while Christian Fundamentalism festers like a cancer, eating away at the fabric of our Republic, within. The irony is not lost on me. Question is, how to stop it.


Most historians will inform you that the Civil War was about a number of issues, one of which was slavery. To deny that is to ignore the lessons of history, and stumble blindly into the future.

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at May 22, 2005 09:33 PM
Comment #56017

@everyone who responded to my last post,

I’m not saying the issue of slavery wasn’t a divisive and controversial issue, nor am I saying that slavery didn’t play some sort of role in the civil war. However, it is still a mistake to say the Union was fighting to free the slaves, it was fighting to preserve itself. Likewise, the Confederacy was not fighting strictly for slavery but for greater dominion over itself (i.e. states’ rights).

Posted by: Zeek at May 22, 2005 10:40 PM
Comment #56065
The intolerance is directed mainly at atheism and secularism not at Judaism or Islam.

You don’t say but I’m wondering, does this make it okay in your mind?

I find it laughable when the fundies rail against the “secular humanists.” As if history has, somehow, undeniably demonstrated the benefits of magical thinking. As if superstitious sophistry focused on benefitting a chosen few is infinitely superior to scientific reasoning with a focus on benefitting humanity as a whole.

In general, though, I too am against much of the constant attacks against irrelevant invocations of religion in government. I keep a similar attitude as Jefferson that as long as such invocations are trivial and aren’t used to justify further encroachment of religion over the state then I’m fine with it. The main reason for the separation of church and state is to avoid the tyranny of religion over government. As long as we have that, the president, the SCOTUS, and Congress can have all the prayer meeting they want.

As to the article: I’m not too into hand-waving.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at May 23, 2005 09:05 AM
Comment #56066

David, I don’t think we’ll get to the civil war stage myself - I mean, all y’all’s 401K’s are sitting in servers here up north, and Jeb Bush or no, we still want the kids to be able to hit Lauderdale on spring break. But in support of your argument, here’s an old post on a new successionist movement.

My reaction to it was LOL, but I guess they’re trying to be taken seriously.

Posted by: William Cohen at May 23, 2005 09:11 AM
Comment #56068

Joseph, the nuclear option proposed in the Senate is exactly the face that the Fundamentalist Right’s actions are taking. Encroaching on government is no longer the issue. How to stop this minority from taking control of it is now the issue of the day. They have inroads to the Whitehouse, Frist and others in the Congress, and now the Judiciary is on their list for expanding their control.

This has gone way beyond marginal rhetoric. That is why a 2nd Civil War is even plausible, because they have and are increasing their control of government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2005 09:29 AM
Comment #56073
I’m not saying the issue of slavery wasn’t a divisive and controversial issue, nor am I saying that slavery didn’t play some sort of role in the civil war. However, it is still a mistake to say the Union was fighting to free the slaves, it was fighting to preserve itself. Likewise, the Confederacy was not fighting strictly for slavery but for greater dominion over itself (i.e. states’ rights).

I’ve discussed this much more in-depth in another thread (along with my credentials for doing so), so I’ll just summarize here.

The primary motivation for the North was economic. As much as they like to see themselves as “slave liberators” or “Union preservers”, they were greedy businessmen who wanted to continue to use protective tarriffs to milk the South for everything they could get. They also were afraid that the gold-laden West would follow if the South broke away.

The primary motivation for the South was fear of slave revolts. Slave populations were growing rapidly, and there were no other slave markets to sell them into. They feared that abolitionism would give rise to slave revolts that would kill thousands of (white) people. They saw their only hope in expanding slavery to the West. When a free-soil Republican was elected (entirely by northern votes, as he wasn’t even on the ballot in most of the South), they decided their only hope was to leave the Union.

No one book paints the whole picture, but “Apostles of Disunion” by Charles Dew comes closest. The main argument Dew uses is that, after the first seven states seceeded, they sent “secessionist commissioners” to the other Southern states to try to convince them to leave, too. The arguments these commissioners used weren’t “states rights” arguments. They argued that, if they stayed in the Union, their mothers, wives, and daughters would be raped, tortured, and murdered by uprising black slaves.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 23, 2005 10:04 AM
Comment #56074

Seccession is not my fear, I can’t even imagine how such an attempt could be plausible.

But, laws that oppress and restrict and infringe as passed by a minority religious group, whose primary and most immediate goal will always be to protect and expand its control over the judicial, legislative, and enforcement arms of government is the stuff civil wars are made of.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2005 10:35 AM
Comment #56075


Great article, you’ve ably written about what I’ve been fearing over the last 5 years. I think even Bush43 sees some of the future that you’ve described. (It’s possibly some twisted memory of an SNL skit but didn’t he refer to “class wars” somewhere along the way?)

What the religious right isn’t able to even understand is how much they are distrusted by others. Their self-satisfying belief in themselves being right by god-given revelations does not sit well at all with anyone who is not them once that “righteousness” is translated into political power.

At some point the theocrats will have expanded their power too far and a revolution will begin or the slide will stop and sanity and balance will be restored. I, for one, hope for sanity else my Euros will be all there is to help my children settle somewhere upwind from the fall out.

Posted by: Dave at May 23, 2005 11:00 AM
Comment #56082

WOW David Remer you have outdone yourself with the core missive. Slavery, the religious right, the political right, the impact each has the other. Not to mention gays, atheists, abortion, stems cells, evolution and freedom of speech. (Thank GOD freedom of speech is in there).

I don’t even know where to begin. I have to be careful not to irritate the Watchblog Manager.

Posted by: steve at May 23, 2005 11:49 AM
Comment #56100


One thing your thesis needs to consider is that many people on right-wing see the abortion debate as a civil rights debate. They view their prolife positions in the same light as the fight against slavery.

You also need to keep in mind the people are divided within many states as much as among them. Even in most of the the so-called Red states, close to half the populations do not support an increasingly right-wing agenda. So, if there is ever going a kind of new civil war, it will be more along the lines of what we’ve already seen from McVeigh and the abortion bombers, on one end, and the ecoterrorists on the other.

If this does come to pass, it’ll be because there’s such a terrible absence of real leadership in our politics today. The filibuster debate in the Senate is just a symptom of this. Frist is so inept that he hasn’t been able to find a middle ground in the one political center where middle grounds are most easily found. He is a sign of the times: very bad and power-centric leadership that could someday lead to more domestic terrorism and “insurgency” movements in the future if the political fringes continue to consolidate power.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at May 23, 2005 01:16 PM
Comment #56108

Reed, I understand the right’s view on abortion. And those who support anti-abortion would be able to make a stronger ethical case if they were not so hypocritical by also arguing for the death penalty and supporting elective wars like in Iraq.

By even more basic in this conflict between the “culture of life” hypocrites, and pro-choice partial birth extremists is their absolute unwillingness to even see compromise or common ground. There is no desire on the extremes to compromise, because they have staked out absolutist positions which leave no room for compromise or common ground.

The best compromise I have heard on this issue is to leave abortion choice available under the law while martialling forces in society which would minimize the circumstances and number of women who are brought to that decision while providing such women with options from which they may deliberate and choose.

But the extremes in this issue find nothing satisfying whatsoever in that common ground and compromise. Each wants to enforce their view on the opposition. Hence, this is not in reality, a soluble problem between these factions, and they will continue to ‘recruit’ through whatever scare tactics, lies, distortion, bribery, etc. means available to them from the middle Americans, expanding the battle, hardening and heightening the passions, and keeping this issue a lithmus test for all politics as far into the future as can be seen.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2005 02:47 PM
Comment #56111

steve, according to the policy at the top of each column, the WatchBlog manager has nothing to do as long as folks debate the topic and message content and leave the comment writer’s or article author’s personalities, intelligence, or other personal insults out of their comments.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2005 02:56 PM
Comment #56112


Logic in your post, there is (said with Yoda accent). But, why effect so much the extremists?

Polarized I think we are. Violence, I fear, will come.

May the force be with us.

Posted by: Dave at May 23, 2005 02:57 PM
Comment #56113

Rob Cottrell, thank you. The focus of this article was not however, the precursors to the first Civil War, but, the precursor’s to the possible 2nd one.

I agree with your comments, but, the issue in this article is what can be done to prevent the next one, if anything. The primary reason for bringing up the 1st Civil War was to make emphatic that it happened once in America for a host of converging reasons, and therefore, it can happen again.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2005 03:03 PM
Comment #56116

Dave, thank you for your comments. I too hope that sanity can be restored before it is too late. I am listening to that most controversial Senator as I am typing, Robert Byrd. He is making an impassioned plea to save the Senate as the framers intended it. He is invoking religion and discussing prayer in schools forced by government or silently participated in freely by any individual.

What is your bet there are more than 30,000 out of almost 300 million Americans listening to him in all our nation?

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2005 03:25 PM
Comment #56118

I see the stem cell debate as more of a religious takeover of government policy than the fight over the judicial filibuster. Though there may be some theocratic underpinning to the latter, the fight is still based on logical interpretations of the constitution.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at May 23, 2005 03:34 PM
Comment #56119

David-I understand the lefts view on abortion. But I think the right are confused about why its o.k. to kill fetuses that have wronged no one and not people on death row or terrorists.

I by the way have no stance on abortion but there is a flipside to that statement!

Posted by: Traci at May 23, 2005 03:35 PM
Comment #56120

Unfortunately it’s not that so few people are listening to him live, but what the majority of us will hear of what he said. What 30 second sound byte will be played in this evenings news? or What 300 word summary article will we surf tonight? is the real outcome of modern political expatiation.

Posted by: Dave at May 23, 2005 03:41 PM
Comment #56121

Traci, you say..
David-I understand the lefts view on abortion. But I think the right are confused about why its o.k. to kill fetuses that have wronged no one and not people on death row or terrorists.

What is the basis for your confusion. What facts support your statement that those on the right are predisposed to think as you describe in your post?

Posted by: steve at May 23, 2005 04:01 PM
Comment #56124

[Comment deleted for being totally off topic — WatchBlog Manager]

Posted by: Taylor at May 23, 2005 04:17 PM
Comment #56125

There are several instances in this thread where political positions (mainly conservative and a bit to the right) have been identified as being hard pressed to defend their support of Item A in light of their belief in or support of Item B or, in fact all remaining items.

I submit that there are, within everyone’s political stance instances of lattitude and/or flexibility (even a dissenting opinion) on issues considered “standard” positions of the group. While not limited in reason, I believe that for the most part examples of such issues that “cloud” the sterotype are keyed to religion. (ie abortion, stem cell research, possibly capital punishment, etc)

Posted by: steve at May 23, 2005 04:44 PM
Comment #56129

Is there really a vast Christian Conspiracy in the U.S. government conspiring to violate the 1st Amendment, be intolerant of other religions, and trying to force their religion on everyone else?

Bush, himself, has said religion is a personal matter; not something that justifies discrimination or should be imposed on anyone else.

I’m agnostic, and I don’t like proselytizing, and maybe I’m not well informed, but I haven’t heard of any group in U.S. government, trying to force their Christian beliefs on me.

There are lots of organizations that monitor the U.S. government and work hard to keep the U.S. government secular.
That doesn’t mean people must be secular, or can’t worship anyway they please…it only means exactly what the 1st Amendment says….
Amendment I (Year: 1791): Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
….that only means government can’t lawfully force religion(s) onto people, and the government can’t lawfully prohibit free exercise of religion.
What it really says is that we must be respectful of each other’s religions, not attempt to force religious beliefs or practices onto to others (such a captive audience in a public school, court, or public agency), and be tolerant of other religions unless they are somehow violating the rights of others. That’s why it’s impossible for government to be anything but secular, because it can’t represent all religions (e.g. Christians, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Protestantism, Unitarian, Shinto, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism, Mormon, Chinese Traditional, Confucianism, agnostic, atheist, polytheist, paganism, neo-pagan, pantheist, primal-indigenous, Juche, Spiritism, Baha’i, Jainism, African Traditional & Diasporic, Zoroastrianism, Rastafarianism, Veganism, Scientoloty, New Age, Seicho-No-Ie, Kyodan, Mandeans, Vodoun, Wonbulgyo, Ch’ondogyo, Rroma, etc.).

I’m aware that federal tax dollars are funding some faith-based organizations for some types of schooling and after-school programs,
which is a slippery slope, and probably should not be done. Are those organizations allowed and/or teaching religion to the participants? If so, is it only Christian organizations?

Other than that, can any one list some examples of the U.S. government forcing religion onto anyone? I realize the danger of such a thing should it occur.
However, except for a few cases (and there’s always a few), I don’t see a vast Christian Conspiracy. Non-secular governments are doomed to failure, which is why our fore-fathers wisely added the 1st Amendment in 1791.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 23, 2005 05:16 PM
Comment #56147

Mr. Remer -

In my estimation, the only thing that separates your post from crass political hate speech is its sheer verbosity. I will not dignify your irrational fears with an intelligent comment except to remind readers that you are the only person in my tenure at Watchblog who has threatened violence (comment #3 here).

Posted by: Chops at May 23, 2005 06:23 PM
Comment #56151

Parts of the Patriot Act are probably going to be reversed later.
Not even the legal pundits on FOX News like elements of the Patriot Act.
And, how did some of that stuff get passed so easily and why did most of
Congress approve it, without an uproar equal to the debate over the Filibuster?
It was hastily-drafted, complex, and has some far-reaching legislation, and
some of it not-so-good knee-jerk-legislation.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 23, 2005 06:30 PM
Comment #56153

Did you even read the post by David that I was in fact responding to? If so you would have noticed that I was indeed playing Devils advocate!

Posted by: Traci at May 23, 2005 06:49 PM
Comment #56163

Chops, well let me repeat it. I will fight to the death before allowing a religious group to dictate religion to me or mine. And I am sure most American patriots would have the same reaction.

I served this country to protect freedom. And protect it I will overseas, or here at home. But you apparently hold a different view, and in America, which I served to protect, I am proud to say that that is still very much allowed. I even encourage it!

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2005 07:57 PM
Comment #56164

David excellent article!

“I challenge anyone to find the words or the phrase that justifies separation of church and state in the constitution.”

And I challenge you to find the word or phrase in our Constitution that says that Christianity can and should insert it’s influence upon American government.
At this point someone will undoubtedly bring up the Declaration and the word “Creator” as proof that the founders were very strong believers in God — but that doesn’t wash, because they didn’t actually use the word God when they quite easily could have. (Btw, I’m Agnostic — I don’t think my “Creator” has anything to do with the “burning bush” entity mentioned in the Bible.)
No, instead of using that word and allowing religion to run the show, they used a completely neutral term in the Declaration of Independence for our secular government. They also said “All men are created equal” — which of course, automatically encompasses religious people and non-religious people alike.

“The first amendment prohibits congress from establishing a religion or from prohibiting the exercise of a religion.”

Actually it works both ways. It keeps government from establishing a religion, and keeps religion from establishing a foothold within government.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 23, 2005 08:04 PM
Comment #56167

Also, Article VI prevents any religious tests as a prerequisite for holding public office.

”[…] no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at May 23, 2005 08:14 PM
Comment #56168

I think this so called vast Christian Conspiracy theory is an exaggeration. Most (not all) Americans understand the 1st Amendment and I do not believe we are on the path to a civil war over religion because most of us agree with the 1st Amendment and the core philosophies of the Constitution for the most part. Live and let live, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of/from Religion, Freedom to assemble, Freedom to vote, Freedom to bear arms, and many other hard won freedoms for which many died to secure.

Seriously, can any one list some examples of the U.S. government forcing religion onto anyone?
Lately, I am hearing more and more about the right wing conservative Christian Conspiracy, but I haven’t seen much proof of it. Mainly, just a lot of fear. Understandably though, if it is true. Religious zealots in government (i.e. non-secular government) will doom a nation. Anyone that can’t see that is a fool.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 23, 2005 08:30 PM
Comment #56169

You guys worry way too much. How you feel about the religious right is the way I feel about PC academics. The difference is that I understand that while they can be very intolerant and ignorant, the damage they create is mostly local and to their own institutions.

I know many fundamentalists. I have noticed that they are not as intolerant as you think. There are some weirdoes of course. Again, the analogy on the opposite side is taking the most extreme member of the women’s’ study faculty and calling her the norm.

So what are the opinions of the “mainstream” fundamentalists? You probably won’t like them, but they are not civil war material (please other people on the right correct me. Those on the left can restate their stereotypes) BTW – I am not a fundamentalist, although many of my friends are. That I can be perfectly open with them about my doubtful beliefs indicates that they are not so bad as you say.

Gays – fundamentalist think it is a lifestyle choice and a sin. They don’t like the behavior and they oppose gay marriage. Hate is not necessarily a part of that. In the fundamental thinking all people are sinners (including themselves)

Atheists – they are mistaken. They will go to Hell. You don’t want them to spread their bad ideas so that others will go to Hell, but it is a matter between them and God.

Choice over whether to become a mother or not - Abortion means killing a baby. If you believe that, the rest follows.

immigration – I have seen fundamentalists on both sides of this debate. Fundamentalist churches are often very enthusiastic about bringing converts to the U.S. You have no case here.

use of embryonic stem cells for research – against. Yes.

separation of church and state – this is subtle. Christians often feel the state is interfering with them. They want to be left alone. Mainstream Baptists are among the most ardent defenders of the separation of church and state.

Evolution taught in schools – mostly against, as I have observed, but again, not civil war material.

Freedom of art and speech which does not comply with their sense of propriety. The coarsening of the U.S. is appalling. The problem is that the government often financially supports things like the piss Christ. You can oppose government funding for these things and not be a fundamentalist. Having artistic freedom and freedom of speech does not mean other people have to listen to you or pay for your art.

A couple of years ago I was in the position of supporting artists. I had particular PR goals to achieve. Artist would come to me and I would tell them what I needed. Sometime they would tell me that it was “their” art and they had to express themselves. I told them that my money expressed itself too and they could make a choice. Money usually trumps art. Most people have to work for a living. Why should artists be any different?

Posted by: jack at May 23, 2005 08:36 PM
Comment #56180

Jack, and you put them altogether into a powerfully connected organization with a Rep in the Whitehouse and Senate leadership and judgeships, and powerful lobby connections and large money for a few very rich folks and what do you get?

Potential Civil War material… as I see it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2005 10:00 PM
Comment #56182

d.a.n., a conspiracy is nothing more than an organized group of people with common goal and plan to achieve it. Yes, there is a conspiracy by that definition (conspiracy was your word, not mine), to take control of the reins of government and impose laws based on their religious beliefs. Look, one does not have to read between lines here. Just listen to their spokespersons or visit their web sites. They don’t hide their goals and intents, just some of the money and lobby connections as best they can without getting busted.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2005 10:04 PM
Comment #56183

Quite right, Adrienne and Joseph.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2005 10:05 PM
Comment #56196

David R. Remer,

I said “vast” conspiracy. Control of the U.S. government by Religious zealots will require many more zealots, and a lot fewer people that don’t understand the importance of the 1st Amendment. I still don’t see a “vast” Christian Conspiracy. Most certainly not by a majority of Americans. Most Christians do not want to force their religion onto someone else.

A minority of zealots doesn’t spell civil war. I just don’t see it. And I’m an agnostic, and strongly dislike proselytizing, but respect everyone’s beliefs and their right to their beliefs, provided they don’t violate anyone’s rights. I know that some extremists want certain things, but I doubt they’ll ever get a majority to make them stick.

Now, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. are countries where large numbers of the population do not yet understand the importance of a secular government. Women can’t even vote in Saudi Arabia. That type of Neanderthal intolerance is what threatens the survival of their governments, polarizes their people, oppresses and endangers everyone.

Respectfully, you usually sound somewhat reasonable, but I don’t think those analogies with the Civil War were terribly useful, America is not anywhere near American Civil War over religion, that war was not over religion, there’s not enough religious zealots in the U.S. to gain control of the government, and the sky is not falling. If I’m wrong, then please provide the many examples that would be needed to support that claim.

I can only think of one thing that was attempted in recent years, and it failed miserably: the attempt to pass an Amendment to ban gay marraige.

There’s also the other old topic usually attributed to the Religious right: abortion.
And they haven’t overturned that either.
Besides, that’s not a purely religious matter, and it would be best to keep religion out of that issue.

Portions of the Patriot Act might qualify, except that both Democrats and Republicans broadly supported it.

The limited stem cell research may indeed be attributed to Bush. However, that limitation will probably be reversed later. Stem cell research does not equate to cloning human beings.

Evolution taught in schools? It wasn’t taught when I was in public school. Not much of anything was taught to be honest, and it’s getting worse. So, that’s not worth gettin’ worked up about.

Art and Speech are protected by the Constitution. It’s doubtful government can limit many Americans’ art and speech without someone hearing about it.

That’s not to say injustices never occur.
But, America does not appear to be on the verge of a religious Civil War.

If Americans should be angry about anything, it should be the general arrogance, greed, laziness, pandering, irresponsibility, fraud, deceit, tax-and-spend-and-borrow like there’s no tomorrow, and the Congress voting themselves raises the whole while. Americans should be angry at Congress and the Executive branch (both parties; all parties; Democrats, Republicans, Independents, etc.; all of them).
That’s what Americans should be focusing on…creating more responsible, transparent, and accountable government.

Not arguing race, religion, gender, age, wealth, or sexual preference.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 23, 2005 11:04 PM
Comment #56215

d.a.n said:

I can only think of one thing that was attempted in recent years, and it failed miserably: the attempt to pass an Amendment to ban gay marraige.

Did it d.a.n. I think it failed at the amendment level but passed with flying colors in 11 states. Correct me if I am wrong but it was only on 11 states ballots last November. It got an incredible foothold in the Nations conscious.

I pretty think the left is taking the position with religion in government that the right is taking with gun legislation. The right doesn’t want to see any types of gun bans because they fear the slippery slope of a total prohibition on guns. Therefore they fight tooth and nail for the right to load a fully automatic weapon with armor piercing bullets. uh, who needs one of those anyhow?

The left fears that if the fundamentalist leaders in congress pass one law to gain and unfairly keep a super majority, then the slippery slope of a fundamentalist totalitarian government will prevail……and civil war will be upon us, like David said.

I sure hope cooler heads prevail and the country gets over its 9-11 hangover and moves more to the moderate center. I truly believe the people of the USA are reasonable, inteligent people who will not let one party gain too much power, but then I thought that would have happened last November much to my dismay.


Please remember that you are a moderate and the platform of the GOP leaders don’t reflect your opinions very closely lately. Also remember that fundamentalist extremists are in the highest positions of congress and are driving the ship with loads of political capital to spend and even more power and influence over the moderates.

Posted by: reed at May 24, 2005 12:55 AM
Comment #56221

d.a.n. said: “I still don’t see a “vast” Christian Conspiracy. Most certainly not by a majority of Americans. Most Christians do not want to force their religion onto someone else.”

I agree entirely. But, then I never claimed a VAST conspiracy. I claimed a powerful minority. A minority which governs counter to the will of a majority always portends the possibility of civil war. The logic is inescapeable.

America is not anywhere near American Civil War over religion

Well, that depends on what you mean by near. I said it could occur as early as a few years after the 2006 or 2008 elections if the Fundamentalist Right garners even greater control over government machinery. Your reply implies I made some other claim - I did not.

You seem to be thinking in terms of numbers elected to office. That is not, by any means, the only way a minority can gain control of government. As I said, and at this point I would ask you to reread the article a little more carefully for what was actually said, lobbyists, public relations, and a few key representatives of their cause is all that is needed to acquire power over America’s agenda.

5 members of a Supreme Court of activists is all that is needed to move this government to the Fundamentalist Rights’ agenda. This is just one example of small numbers ruling over and against the will of a majority.

It is the irreconcileable differences between the Fundamentalist Right’s positions and the rest of America that will continue to divide our nation. The only resolution I see is a fall from power by the Religious Right. That too can happen in a number of ways, and if it occurs, the 2nd Civil War the kind of which I describe would not be forthcoming.

Please note when you reread the article, my use of the words, could, may, and might. I don’t have a crystal ball, (well I do but, it is one of them snow shower kinds), therefore, I can’t see amidst the many varied possibilities what course history will take. All I can do is posit some likely outcomes IF certain conditions prove true. And that is what I have done with this article.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 02:19 AM
Comment #56297

OK. It is an important issue, and we should never
stick our heads in the sand either, because if
you’re right, and religious zealots somehow do
get control of government, then we will be in big

However, a religious Civil War just seems
very unlikely to me, all things considered.
Why? Because Congress and politicians are more
motivated by money and power. The religious
angle is mostly just a clever distraction (like
petty partisan bickering and squabbling) used
to get a few more votes and rally a relatively
small and narrow-minded portion of the population.
Most politicans don’t really want a religious
government. They’re mostly just using it when
and where convenient.

The religious zealots have probably already shot
themselves in the foot, and are already being
characterized (whether true or not) as being
religious extremists, and are actually, as
usual, hurting the causes of the more moderate
religious conservatives, and subsequent
elections will probably reveal it.
Most Americans probably understand the
importance of the 1st Amendment, and the severe
dangers of violating it. It’s really a no-brainer,
and the few that don’t understand it are morally
corrupt and closed-minded.

| reed wrote:
| I think it failed at the amendment level but
| passed with flying colors in 11 states.
| Correct me if I am wrong but it was only on 11
| states ballots last November. It got an
| incredible foothold in the Nations conscious.

Those 11 states are wrong. Can anything be read into “which” states that did that?
(01) Arkansas
(02) Georgia
(03) Kentucky
(04) Mississippi
(05) Montana
(06) Michigan
(07) North Dakota
(08) Ohio
(09) Oklahoma
(10) Oregon
(11) Utah

If you believe a minority has gained (or is gaining)
control of government, then there’s a serious
problem with government as a single entity,
since the majority allowed it?

But, isn’t that just another symptom of a much
more serious problem. Don’t we have much bigger
problems with our government that is too
arrogant, corrupt, greedy, lazy, deceitful,
fraudulent, pandering, tax-and-spend,
and for sale to the highest bidder ?

All politicians have to do to get voted is tell
the voters what they want to hear, rarely fullfill
their many promises, and voters still continue
to empower politicians to continue to abuse
voters, because voters can not unite to treat
Congress as a single entity. So, politicians
cleverly continue to simply take turns screwing us.

Perhaps some of these issues (i.e. the topic of this thread,
and many others on the watchblog) would be
cleared up if we first get Congress’ attention
and send them a clear message that we’re tired
of their crap (all of them; Democrats,
Republicans, Independents, etc.).

Perhaps, Americans should focus on root causes,
and less on chasing the countless symptoms arising
from the root causes. There’s no hope of resolving
the many symptoms, if we continually
overlook and never cure the root cause.

Congress and the Executive branch of government
are not behaving responsibly and don’t reflect
the true wishes of the people of America.

Voters are also responsible (to a slightly
lesser degree) for not uniting to do the one
simple thing required to peacefully force
government to be responsible, transparent, and accountable.

If it continues, there will be, an unavoidable decline, and possibly, some day, a civil car, revolution, or worse.

(sorry, but many issues keep boiling down to the same root cause)

Posted by: d.a.n at May 24, 2005 10:20 AM
Comment #56311

Who’s going to initiate this religious civil war? I haven’t heard any plans, keep me informed.

Posted by: Traci at May 24, 2005 11:30 AM
Comment #56315

Traci, read the article, possible triggers are outlined in there.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 11:40 AM
Comment #56342

Great article here.
Even though I am an atheist, I will always fight against liberalism and it unAmerican and unConstitutional views. Which brings me to my question:
Unlike the war over States rights, this 2nd Civil War scenario seems alittle bit out of whack in support.
Isn’t something like 70-80 percent of Americans, Christians? Choosing to fight against those who do not support your state is one thing, but choosing to fight against those who do not support your God is another.
Do you believe either side would be able to garner enough support to dominate the other?

I don’t know myself. What I do know is that people can call the next civil war whatever they want, but in reality it will be simply LEFT VS. RIGHT.

Posted by: kctim at May 24, 2005 02:40 PM
Comment #56344

kctim: “liberal” = “unamerican”? And as an “atheist” you will always fight “liberalism”?
As you’ve identified, left-right is not always the same as secular-god. But, in the current political battles it is left/moderate/secular vs. radical right/religion. Just because a majority of people are nominally part of a religion, it does not mean a majority of those people want to be controlled by religion. The fact that the religious fanatics are overly represented in the current gov’t and that they are furiously entrenching themselves is the problem.

1st, some definitions:
LEFTIST adj : believing in or supporting tenets of the political left [syn: left-of-center, left-wing] n : a person who belongs to the political left
LIBERAL Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded
CONSERVATIVE Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change

2nd, some views of liberalism:
“As mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” -
George Washington
“Liberalism is the supreme form of generosity; it is the right by which the majority concedes to minorities and hence it is the noblest cry that has ever resounded on this planet.” -
Jose Ortega y Gasset
“A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future.” -
Leonard Bernstein

Posted by: Dave at May 24, 2005 02:59 PM
Comment #56347
Isn’t something like 70-80 percent of Americans, Christians?

Please don’t lump me in with all the people on the radical right just because I attend church on Sundays. Just like most Muslims aren’t terrorists, most Christians aren’t militant extremists. If there’s ever a “civil war” of type we’re talking about, I think most Christians will not align themselves with the far right. Nor, however, will they embrace some sort of militant secular left. I think they’d fight for whoever or whatever seems to best represent democratic ideals, plain and simple.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at May 24, 2005 03:29 PM
Comment #56348

Liberalism is very much against America. We used to be a Constitutional Republic.
How about this then: EVEN though I am an atheist, I will always fight against liberalism and its anti-American views.
Current political battles are that of liberals vs. conservatives. No room for those of us in the middle.

“Just because a majority of people are nominally part of a religion, it does not mean a majority of those people want to be controlled by religion.”

Which is why I was asking which side people think will have more support.

“The fact that the religious fanatics are overly represented in the current gov’t and that they are furiously entrenching themselves is the problem.”

Then you should be able to answer the posts by d.a.n earlier on in this thread with no problem.

“tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others”

that should read:
tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others who agree with them.

Thanks for the LOL.

Posted by: kctim at May 24, 2005 03:34 PM
Comment #56350

“Please don’t lump me in with all the people on the radical right just because I attend church on Sundays.”

I did not intend to “lump” everybody into anything. I was looking for what some people think would happen.
You provided that in the last half of your post. Thank you.

Posted by: kctim at May 24, 2005 04:00 PM
Comment #56351

Civil War
This just seems highly unlikely to me
If you are to suggest that the religeous right would start it,I still don’t understand, because you speak as though they already have control,so why start a war?
If you are to suggest the left would start it,that would be highly scrutinized because of their peace/love/compassion idealogues!
It seems to me the reason the Christians have became so vocal in recent years was because of political correctness pushing their ideals down their throats! But I guess PC is alright because it’s more “compassionate”!
I am not an overly religious person but I do feel their plight(along with others)!
-A school teacher decided she was going to change the pledge and remove “God” from it. No matter how you feel about it, this is not her decision to be made! The parents were outraged, and rightfully so. Consider the reprecutions if someone decided to add “God” to say, the alphabet. There are avenues to take, use them. And if the avenues are not working the majority must be against it, you are not speaking for the people then.
-“Christmas” is the ghost of seasons past, in most institutions it is now “Holiday”! Why? Because most people enjoy Christmas so they will never be successful in removing it, so they trivialize it and PC it up! “Shut up Christians we know better and are more compassionate than you!”
The facts are, that neither direction is a good solution! Removing religion will make the non-religious feel as though they live in a free country, but how will the religious feel? You never gain rights by taking rights.

Slavery is in the past- lets leave it their and deal with African American issues of the present! The more you dwell on it the more you keep it fresh! Those people are dead, and I had nothing to do with it! Many blacks today cannot prove they are a direct descendant of a slave, just as well as my family may/may not have participated in the underground railroad and the movement which removed them from slaves! Mute point anyways, everyone in todays America has the choice of where they choose to live!

I have spoke to no one on any political side willing to join the ranks of the KKK, Aryan Race and what-have-you’s!

This whole post read like a so called 9/11 scare tactic in my eyes.

Posted by: Traci at May 24, 2005 04:10 PM
Comment #56355

Traci, forgetting the past is how we repeat it.

Thank you though for sharing your perspective on this article and these issues. Differing perspectives and views are what WatchBlog is all about. You have done readers here a service by presenting an alternative viewpoint, which is the goal of all writers here.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 04:31 PM
Comment #56356

David Remer,

Your core commentary and subsequent responses is little more than a disguised attempt to practice your branding and labeling skills. Your association of the Fundamental Right’s position being close minded and rigidly against any and all controversial issues (abortion, stem cell and gay rights to mention a few) is at best poor profiling. Suggesting that the Christian Right wants to be the only religion is an inane statement.

Commentary implying an association of the Aryan Nation and KKK with the Fundamentalist Christian Right Movement and the Fundamentalist movement to “take over” the government is in poor taste.

That said, I compliment you on your ability to post a message that has enough content to elicit an emotion of one sort or the other from virtually every reader regardless of their religious or political affiliation.

Posted by: steve at May 24, 2005 04:35 PM
Comment #56362

Thank- you for at least listening!
You’re right forgetting may lead to a repeat, and I mis-stated, my intention was dwelling!

Here is an example of what I meant:

Years ago I dated a very nice African American fellow and we use to debate each other all the time. One of those topics was the word “Nigger”, my stance on it was that blacks keep it alive by pouring it into every rap lyric, movies, and use it as a form of affection with each other.(“Nigger” is no different than “Nigga”:offensive is offensive) I explained to him that whites simply ignored “cracker” and “honkey” and it burned itself out! He decided my reasoning was valid and stopped allowing the word in his presence from his African American friends!

Posted by: Traci at May 24, 2005 04:53 PM
Comment #56364

Steve, do you have a reading problem? Please quote where my article claims the Christian Right is a threat? You can’t, because I didn’t. Most Christians in this country are not aligned with the Fundamentalist Right. It is the Fundamentalist Right that I discuss as the threat. Not the Christian Right.

“Commentary implying an association of the Aryan Nation and KKK with the Fundamentalist Christian Right Movement and the Fundamentalist movement to “take over” the government is in poor taste.”

It may be in poor taste, but it sure as hell is true down here in Texas, where hooded figures can still be seen gathering occasionally in public places and on Interstates, and yes, they sing the Fundamentalist Rigtht’s tune. Check out and compare their literatute with that of the Fundamentalist Right, sometime. They seem to have the same hymn book.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 04:57 PM
Comment #56365

“Can anything be read into which state that did that?”
Yeah, alot can be, but what about Oregon? That stae is more liberial than California.

Posted by: Ron Brown at May 24, 2005 04:58 PM
Comment #56366

Traci said: “He decided my reasoning was valid and stopped allowing the word in his presence from his African American friends!”

Now that is wisdom in action. We need a lot more of that.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 05:00 PM
Comment #56367

Fearing the Religious Right might start a war because they are like the KKK etc, is logically the same as saying is going to start a war because they are nothing but Communist Wackos.

I do think Michael Moore and are Communist, Tree hugging wackos, but I don’t think they will start a war. (They might move to Canada though!!!


Posted by: Craig Holmes at May 24, 2005 05:03 PM
Comment #56368

Steve said: “Suggesting that the Christian Right wants to be the only religion is an inane statement.”

NO! It is not. You apparently have not visited Fundamentalist Right sites or read their literature or listened to their leaders. One of their central themes is that the US was founded as a Christian Nation and liberals, socialists, communists, and atheists are all conspiring to undo that. It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that anyone who opposes them falls into one or more of those labeled categories.

You can play Ostrich if you like, but the facts and evidence are very available if you would like to become informed on this issue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 05:05 PM
Comment #56369

Craig, thank you. Your defense of the Fundamentalist Right and you last comment prove my point to Steve.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 05:06 PM
Comment #56372

David Remer, No David I do not have a reading problem, thank you for asking. Please forgive the error. You use both terms Fundamental Christian Right and Fundamentalist Right so my mistake is not intentional.

I am not denying the existance of the KKK and I realize that they are periodically conducting meetings. The fact that they harbor some of the same beliefs as members of the Fundamentalist Right does not constitute an alliance. I am sure you would agree that there are more instances than we have room to list where two groups have similar beliefs but still function as individual entities.

I have heard that at “hooded figure” meetings there is printed matter distributed but have not been able to get any. Since you have some which you used for your comparison to the Fundamentalist Right literature as stated in your response would you send me some or refer me to a source. I am not down there in Texas but in another “southern state”.

Posted by: steve at May 24, 2005 05:24 PM
Comment #56373

kctim said: “Choosing to fight against those who do not support your state is one thing, but choosing to fight against those who do not support your God is another.
Do you believe either side would be able to garner enough support to dominate the other?”

I don’t see the fight between Christians and non-Christians. I see the fight occuring between the Fundamentalist Right and the most of the rest of Americans should the F. Right succeed in overturning Roe. V. Wade, legalizing Christian prayer in public schools, outlawing embyonic stem cell research, revoking the Fair Housing Act, and, or, overturning employment anti-discrimination laws. Any two or more of these events could cause Americans to divide and choose sides in this fight.

And if the F. Right has the power of the election and government rule machinery to insure they remain in power, such that the majority of American voters are not able to remove them from power, then insurrection could arise. The premise for Civil War is government rule by a minority. That is possible today, as the F. Right exploits the potential and weakenesses of the Republic, which assumes the majority are not sufficient to rule.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 05:25 PM
Comment #56375

steve, I apologize for being so curt in my response. I had not considered the possibility that you misunderstood my terminology, and I assumed you were changing my own terms for your argument’s benefit.

As for your request, if you think I am going to keep that material around, you’re wrong. I have a 14 year old daughter and the only use I have for that literature after reading it is for toilet paper.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 05:29 PM
Comment #56377

And we’re paying $2 trillion per year for this?
(i.e. religious intolerance, portions of the Patriot Act, etc.; not to mention an annual $321 billion in interest, and $8 trillion in national debt, and $27 trillion on personal debt, and $5 trillion in corporate, bank, and business debt).
( $8 trillion / 280 million Americans ) = $28,571 debt owed per American
I wonder how many Americans can afford to pay that? I wonder how many Americans have even saved that much for their retirement?
Bill Gates could afford to pay each share for about 1 million Americans. That only leaves 279 million people ($28,571 per person).
Who’s more guilty or responsible for this predicament? Voters or Politicians ?
Is anyone really in charge, is it merely semi-controlled chaos ?

Who, realistically, thinks we can fix all these messes we’re in ?
(01) religious intolerance
(02) Iraq, Iran, N.Korea, Afghanistan, etc.
(03) Social Security
(04) Medicare
(05) aging population
(06) Energy vulnerability
(07) unsecured borders, illegal aliens
(08) terrorism
(09) insolvent pensions
(10) corporate/investor fraud
(11) racism
(12) health care crisis; unaffordable and increasingly unreliable
(13) election fraud
(14) Identity Theft (fastest growing crime), false Identities
(15) $8 trillion national debt and a looming potential financial meltdown due to the combination of massive annual budget deficits
(16) campaign finance, buying elections, influence for sale
(17) global warming and pollution
(18) globalization and outsourcing, falling incomes, declined manufacturing (will we forget how to make things?)
(19) looming bankruptcy of the Government Pension Benefit Guaranty Group
(20) increasing stupid and abused tax system
(21) foreign policy that alienates allies
(22) declining quality of public education
(23) the 40 hour work week is more like 50 hours (and 2 workers per household)
(24) a crumbling infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.)
(25) urban sprawl, 40+ hours per month (540 per year) commuting, traffic grid-lock
(26) world over-population in areas that can’t sustain those populations, resulting in poverty, starvation, disease, crime, etc.
(27) A very corrupt and impoverished neighbor: Mexico
(28) insufficient law enforcement
(29) a screwed up legal system full of greedy parasitic ambulance chasers and idiotic juries ruining everything for everyone else
(30) an arrogant, incompetent government that can’t seem to solve anything, or do anything quickly except vote themselves raises.

Hmmmm……I not sure, all things considered, if government provides any net benefit to society.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 24, 2005 05:31 PM
Comment #56378

steve, here are some links to follow:

Aryan Nation Search Site

Texas Freedom Networks site listings of Texas Fundamentalist Right organizations. (BTW, the Texas Freedom Network is a great organization of Christians opposed to the Fundamentalist Right’s efforts to hijack government from the majority.)

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 05:35 PM
Comment #56381

For anyone interested, following is a link I just found to what appears to be a fairly detailed examination of the current status of the Fundamentalist Right and the inroads they are making.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 05:52 PM
Comment #56384


To be honest, I would not keep that stuff around for any reason. I have researched a ton of material from radical groups. For the most part I abhor what they believe in although, many people (including myself) often find some dilluted version of the general agenda to identify with.

Unfortunately differences of opinion between political, religious, scientific and ethic issues
to name a few, too often lead to each position having to argue in the extreme. Often this dillutes the result. It leads to labelling, profiling, birds of a feather branding, etc. which in a great many cases does not truly define the individuals position.

While I tend to disagree with your position on many issues (at least those that appear in print) I have a high level of respect for the fact that you are always well prepared with references for your source data and, your rebuttal.

Posted by: steve at May 24, 2005 06:00 PM
Comment #56385

Thank you steve for the gracious comment. I don’t see my goal as a writer to be changing adversary’s minds. If it were, I would quit righting out of sheer frustration.

My goal, with the help of you and many others, is to shed light on, examine, and support the varied issues and perspectives, so that those being introduced to these topics can consume sufficient information to make up their own minds. In my view, that is the heart and soul of a free people in a free nation and the very best guard against losing that freedom.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2005 06:26 PM
Comment #56416


Craig, thank you. Your defense of the Fundamentalist Right and you last comment prove my point to Steve.

I felt I was defending rational thought over what appears to be far off the chart fringe thought.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at May 25, 2005 12:24 AM
Comment #56441

“I don’t see the fight between Christians and non-Christians. I see the fight occuring between the Fundamentalist Right and the most of the rest of Americans”

With todays political climate though, that could make it a left vs. right battle.
True Dems are not liberals and true Reps are not fundies, most people are in the middle of those two extremes.
But, if those “middle” people have to choose a side, it is quite possible that their faith will win and this would turn the tables in a major way.
Personally, I think this type of war would be predicated by a drawn out conflict, much like the Israel/Palastien situation going on.

Posted by: kctim at May 25, 2005 09:30 AM
Comment #56455

kctim said: “With todays political climate though, that could make it a left vs. right battle.”

I don’t think so, kctim. See my newest article above where I argue it could make the battle between moderates/centrists and extremists. Not left or right since moderates and centrists are the bulk of voters in BOTH the major parties.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 25, 2005 10:50 AM
Comment #56478

“it could make the battle between moderates/centrists and extremists”

Very true David, but you cannot neglect the effect that the extreme left(liberals) will have in that equation.
Most people who vote “right” would not stand for religion trying to take over, and like you said, would join together to stop it.
But, they also would never stand a liberal govt either, probably moreso. This alone could drive them to support the side of religion.

Either way, its still very interesting and fun to think about.

Posted by: kctim at May 25, 2005 12:10 PM
Comment #56535

Very true! I am a conservative, but I am not religious nor would I allow them to dictate my life for me…..but I still believe they have the right to be heard just like anyone else!

Yah know what has ben dictated to me that buggers my butt? SEATBELTS- I’m short and it cuts me right across the throat……Come on shorties of the world lets join together on this!:)

Posted by: Traci at May 25, 2005 03:50 PM
Comment #56638

kctim, droves of voters who voted for Bush will vote for liberals if the economy tanks under the weight of debt and global job shifting. They will long for the days when government could afford to help the working person out, give them a leg up.

It was like that in the last century. It is not clear however if even liberals will be able to muster the resources necessary if another depression occurs.

Just saw an article today indicating the world economy is slowing. As dependent as we are on now on the world economy, more in Wa. should be paying attention.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 25, 2005 10:20 PM
Comment #57018

“I don’t think so, kctim.”

Was that an intentional “Home Improvement” reference, or have I been watching too much bad TV lately? :-)

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at May 27, 2005 05:48 PM
Comment #57269

David Remer has written a brilliant essay that correctly shows the core problem today in the US. I sincerely wish this was not the case in our great country, and I depise the polarization, but I recognize this sad truth.

Thanks, David, for putting it so well.

Posted by: Mike Jackson at May 29, 2005 06:02 PM
Comment #57277

Thank you Mike.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 29, 2005 08:14 PM
Comment #57325

Hello - I’m new. I found your essay very interesting. There are some points I’d like to add:

In the original American civil war, some of the primary motivations for the south’s break were economical. The slaves were essentially a side issue, an excuse that illustrated the differences, not the major initiating factor in the split at all for either the north or south. Slavery was the excuse and the flag, the banner which the north and south waved in their war. The underlying issues of industry versus agrarian society, self-determination, and state’s rights were neither so romantic nor clear-cut. The South felt that they were following in the footsteps of the original Revolution, where a society imperfectly represented rebelled and won freedom - the North felt that the South’s break would destroy both the South and the North, that the issue wasn’t freedom but survival, much like when siamese twins sharing a heart are seperated and both die.

I have to say, I sincerely hope that your assessment is wrong. I’m in no position to judge, having been overseas since 2000, but it strikes me that our society should not be so easily destroyed. What we have is a perception that a minority of our culture is trying to seize control (for the good of the nation, of course). What should reassure you, should this be true (and keep in mind that your idea of a moral conspiracy is not a proven fact but a guess with large ammounts of circumstantial, annecdotal evidence), … as I was saying. What should reassure you is, oddly enough, what Americans have complained about for many years: our government is pondorous and slow, weighted down with buerocracy, tied into checks and balanced with cables of red tape. Any small minority trying to implement anything will find that the majority of the government will resist: not because they have any moral objection or fighting spirit but because of a profound internal resistance to major change. Anything which strikes the paper-pushers as dubious, uncertain or offensive can be tied up in paperwork for years.

What shold not reassure you is the implementation of national standards for utilizing state driver’s licences as a national ID card. It’s a new law, folks, and it went through uncontested tacked onto the tail end of a bill about the war in Iraq. Sir, please present proof of your identity. Why are you traveling without your papers? Are you authorized to be here? Sir, we’ll have to ask you to come with us while we verify your identity….

Now, *that* scares the stuffing out of me.

So be comforted: most of our government should be far too lazy for a coup.

Of course, put the two together… I wonder when we’ll have to list our religion on our ID cards? Will people with the same religion as the detainers then begin to get preferential treatment when detained?

Posted by: bookwench at May 30, 2005 05:54 AM
Comment #57394

Bookwench, you are of course correct in your detailing the economic underpinnings of the 1st Civil War. But, underpinning even economics, was power for self-determination. And self-determination is today, still the underpinning conflict between right-left, conservative-liberal, FREC and non-FRECs.

That is why the doctrine of individual liberty is so vital to the preservation of the American way of life. That doctrine states that folks shall be free to exercise their own beliefs, ideas, and conduct of lives SO LONG AS their beliefs, ideas, and conduct of lives do not infringe upon others doing the same.

What is up for grabs in America, and always has been, is the “SO LONG AS” words in this doctrine of individual liberty. When the anti-abortion groups go beyond their electing not to have an abortion to trying to legislate that no one else should ever have that choice either, the SO LONG AS portion of the doctrine is threatened.

And the SO LONG AS 3 words of that doctrine are all that separate the US from a fascist state, or police state in which freedom is derived from those in power, rather from the people themselves.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 30, 2005 02:16 PM
Comment #57397

It’s not really religion that will be the problem.
It will be that people that abuse religion that will be the problem.

Using religion is just a clever facade to disquise their desire to control others.

Truly good people never use religion to control others.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 30, 2005 02:23 PM
Comment #57632

d.a.n. said: “Truly good people never use religion to control others.”

Truly good people then must not make their living off of religion. For religion is an invention of man very much like government which has the sole purpose of manipulating and altering congregational behavior. Religion is primarily a business that supports the priests who would have no livlihood otherwise or would have to choose other labor for a living. Religion is ALL about controlling others just as government is.

A huge mistake folks make is separate theology from the church, synagogue, mosque, temple, etc. God and his appointed speakers need no churches or temples or clergy to spread the word. The Word is either true and accepted upon the hearing, or it is not. Churches and Temples DO need religion however to get themselves built and support those who would make a living off religion by persuasion tactics, selling tactics, and yes, deceptive tactics (condemning people to hell if they don’t join the flock and fork over their money to the church, temple, etc.).

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 1, 2005 08:35 AM
Comment #57660

I agree 100% !

It’s all about control.

That is not a condemnation of religion.
Just like guns don’t harm people;
Religions don’t harm people.
People harm people.

It is sad to see the number of huge palaces and structures, parking lots, extravagances, and wealth flowing into the church, while so many truly needy go without, and most ignore the hypocrisy of it all.

How revealing.

Unfortunately, too many (not all) in the clergy are master-cheater-parasites.

There are two basic types of people in the world:
(1) those that cheat and live off the hard work of others, want to control others, and provide no net benefit to society;
(2) and, those that create, build, design, invent, produce, live-and-let-live, and provide some net benefit to society;

It is most interesting how people are lured to certain professions, depending on the two basic qualities above. That is not a condemnation of any profession. Professins don’t harm people. People harm people.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 1, 2005 11:59 AM
Comment #57766

I live in Seattle where they had the infamous WTO riots.I do see people getting this angry at the republican right but you know what the final straw was on the WTO issue? The environment.That is what really bothers me also and a whole lot of other people I know.As far as I’m concerned they can take away abortion and ban gay marriage but when you start messing with the animals? that’s what gets me. The basic idea for the republicans is money, and get it anyway they can, by whatever means it can. Which includes feeding the religionists with all the food they’re hungry for.And they all went for it, and now the 3 men I admire the most are taking bricks out of people’s houses and giving back straw.And they’re just getting started.

Posted by: egrassh at June 2, 2005 01:39 AM
Comment #57841

I understand your frustration. But, try to see that the problem is not just Republicans, Democrats, Religionists, Jews, Christians, etc. Democrats have had a majority before, and the didn’t do so good either.

There are basically two type of people in the world:
(1) those that cheat and live off the hard work of others, want to control others, and provide no net benefit to society;
(2) and, those that create, build, design, invent, produce, live-and-let-live, and provide some net benefit to society;

The first type of people use and abuse religion, parties, affiliations, groups, etc. to control others.

We’ll get to the root of the problems if we learn to identify those individuals (the cheaters and parasites), and not confuse the issues by drawing conclusions about religion, parties, groups, etc.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 2, 2005 01:21 PM