Unless one has been brought up in a political vacuum it is hard to avoid spending at least part of your lifetime enmeshed in the folds of one partisan group or another. Many people are so over exposed to a polarized viewpoint that they jump to the other party in a fashion that is often as polarized as their parents’ if not more so. The majority of both these parentaly wound-up rebels and those who retain their parents polarization tend to mellow with time; the non-rebels more likely than not to find peace with the angers of partisan zeal at an earlier age. Then there are those who never really feel passionate about either “choice” of viewpoints, the black or the white. These folks usually blend in with the soft and fuzzy “middle” end of the party’s spectrum from rabidity through hardliners and moderates and are little more to the various political leaders than empty votes to be herded with nightmares and platitudes into one camp or the other during the end game of the election. That is the reality of those who control our society.
What of ideology you say? What of the Left and the Right? What of them comes the answer from the voice of present-day politics. Partisanship has always played a part in human politics. I could go on for pages on the roots and changes, the evolutions, and revolutions in political thought but it all can be summed up very simply; partisan = tribal. Any division of “us” and “them” that is not agreed to by all parties involved is tribalism whether you call it that or nepotism or Left-wing or Right-wing. In other words, even if it makes you feel like someone broke your dolly to hear it, partisan politics is always wrong when applied to a constitutional republic such as the U.S. or to Western democracy in general.
Now let us be clear on this definition. If something is Bad(tm), it means that anyone who insists on doing it, well they are part of the problem instead of part of any defense against or solving of; deal with it.
What good does that do us, the moderate majority asks, much more than you are doing now, says the voice of the Ghost of Reality That Can Be.
The first step is to recognize a partisan when you see them. Next you must apply their own misconceptions against them, making them out to non-partisan eyes as the fools and or tools that they are. Then you must offer a viewpoint that ignores completely the rhetoric and rancor of either side while laying out a ‘triage’ of the particular subject being misused by the partisan for their own benefit. Only then can common-sense and compassion, love and reason all co-exist within one, commonly held “platform”. The chaos of partisan push-and-pull laws and regulations will dwindle over the years and decades to a Constitutionally sound minimum of ‘solutions’ to commonly recognized needs, problems and aspirations.
My list of REALLY STUPID CHOICES made in American history; just a short-list I am afraid:
“Diet Food” that is more chemicals than food
Having the Soviet Union an “ally” in WWII – better to have let them go it alone; email for full argument
The Electoral College in the Age of Communication; direct election of all offices should be the norm; Political Parties are OBSOLETE and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE
Public Sector Unions
Adding “under God” to the Pledge making it a point of division instead of unity
Lotus and Apple’s Patent-the-Universe Syndrome making the courts accept patents on things never meant for patent
Failing to live up to Dr. King’s vision and refusing to stop being prejudiced regarding race
Private campaign donations of any kind other than labor
Campaign donations by businesses
Supreme Court deciding that money= a right to a louder voice for YOUR ‘free speech’
Dropping the no-partisanship requirements for radio talk-shows and ‘interview’ programs
Letting Lawyers advertise
Supreme Court declaring that nothing of value is earned by the recipient of a military award or decoration
Women’s, Chicano, Black “Studies” propping up people selected, distorted and lionized with blatant prejudice; taking away self-respect while pretending to help by ‘giving the poor things a hand’, and White Studies designed to rip on Western Culture for the same purpose – removing its self-respect – it seems non-whites are too dumb or clueless to run their own lives or stand up to whites and that whites are just intrinsically demonic – welcome to the enlightened world of PC education
Failing to settle on the point in a pregnancy where a woman’s choice is MADE and she must be held responsible for an infant rather than a piece of owned tissue. (6 month preemies regularly survive today and the Radical Right’s agenda on abortion would make women all but chattel)
Worrying more about which consenting adults, what age, color or how many may legally get ‘married’; ignoring the concept of duty, honor and responsibility anyone brings to their marriages
Bilingual Education as a policy
Helmets, knee and elbow-pads for tricycle riders
Peer promotion in school
Affirmative Action after 1990 – where was the transition to color-blind government?
Worrying more about what actual people have DONE with their guns than trying to get law-abiding folk to not have any at all
Electing Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Carter, George W., and Obama
Forgetting that ALL countries do best with immigrants if they pick from the TOP of the pile instead of the bottom
Paying a private group to print/coin money like a product to be bought forgetting that money has no ‘intrinsic’ value’; dollars are just counters for the economic game; increasing or decreasing the supply by fiat to ACCURATELY reflect the production/wealth of a nation is the ONLY reason when deciding when or if to print more money, or let the cash pool contract
Deciding that political consensus and no working model or scientific theory that has been tested is sufficient when making decisions in haste that could wreck the world’s entire economy/infrastructure; in the 70’s it was the next Ice Age that was imminent… no models then either
Making an “eco-friendly” light-bulb containing hazardous amounts of mercury
Adults stealing Halloween from the children and making it another grown-ups party holiday
The Writer’s Strike
ANY serious university or college that “emphasized” sports to make money and enabled ‘tails’ that can wag Great Danes with ease
Today we have two re-writes of older articles that seem very relevant today:
First, we will take the “Liberals” as well as the “Conservatives” to task for partisan hypocrisy…
Nowadays the word Liberal is often used as a pejorative; I often use it that way myself for good reasons.
Yet I am a moderate, and probably spend about 40% of the time cursing the idiocy of the Left, and 60% of it complaining and worrying about the Right (It is too bad there are not more real conservative minds in the Conservative camp these days.). Of the two the Conservatives tend to scare me a bit more but the Leftists in total power would be/ have been worse. But the actions of the radicals on either side do not condemn entire schools of thought to a mature mind. This should be remembered by pundits on both sides in this age of attack politics.
Lately a radically Conservative group has taken over almost all the political voice of conservative American Christianity. They have used their pulpit to propound, and pound in, their own view of history, and how Christianity has influenced the development of the United States as a nation.
They are not actually lying about the influence of the churches. The problem is that they have forgotten from just where in the Church all that influence came. Yes, it was those damn liberals every time!
In American history, every time the religious culture has had a profound positive influence (as judged by successive generations) on changes in society those influences have their roots in the Liberal-to-Radical churches. They most certainly did not come from the Conservative ones!
The Conservative Churches in every case have held the line with the status quo through history whether it was regarding the Revolution, slavery, child labor, workers rights, racial equality or now, gay rights. Yet the Conservative Churches of today want to shine their halos with the contributions made for the most part by the Liberal Churches of the past.
This activity is not unique to Christianity by any means. A Radical Conservative Jew will spend much energy telling you about Judaism’s amazing contributions to Western society, but will refuse to see that his brand of thinking never produced any of it. Find a Conservative Imam, and you will find a man eager to convince you that Islam has been an enormously positive contributor to civilization over the centuries. But if you remind him that blind faithfulness to Islam’s Conservative philosophy had nothing to do with the various periods of (heretically liberal) Islamic glory that he is polishing up for you to admire; he may even take offense.
In every case where religious and political power intermingle the things that modern world civilization would call progress has only come when the dominant Church(s) is(are) liberal to the point of being heretical (to the parent dogmas and doctrines), tolerant and more focused on understanding, accepting and spreading the “love behind the Law” rather than promoting a zero-tolerance attitude regarding adherence to the “Letter of the Law.”
But only stagnation and decay ensue when the Churches are conservative and cling to a memory, or fictitious ideal, of “the way it should be.”
It should be noted that Conservative religious thought can have a greatly positive influence on society but, that usually the effects remain chiefly negative.
Witness: the defense of slavery, and the stances of “Godly” preachers and priests against child labor laws, and minority civil rights laws.
Witness: the attempts at forced, coerced and violent conversions directed at any people of another religion that are under the influence of a politicized religion (theocracies, inquisitions, shari’a states).
We all admit that Conservatism is designed to be highly successful at keeping the wheels of a society turning. Who but a fool will deny that there is a true virtue most times in maintaining most of the status quo; Leftists take note of the qualifications and keep your straw men to yourselves – I am not Christian, and never have been a Republican, or supporter of either Bush.
But, it also must be admitted that Conservative governments and organizations have a poor track record when attempting to grease those wheels, to make accommodation for the fact that seems “odd“, “weird“, “different” to the average mind; whether the ideas are good ones or not!
When the going gets rough or to be a creative inspiration for the people who bear the main burdens of pushing the cart of civilization further, faster and safer than our ancestors ever believed it could go Conservatives can be of more a drag chain when they should be acting like the regenerative brakes that go with a hybrid engine.
Conservative ideology certainly does not allow real flaws in the basic social system to be changed without a protracted, and often ugly, fight with the liberal mindset who are busy finding things that are not really broken to make into really nasty situations with well-meaning new laws and more, and more, and more tension from enforcement, and less and less elbow room for the well-intentioned citizen just trying to get along and improve their lives.
Without a Liberal element in society, one that has enough influence to smack the current bosses on the head now and then but, not enough to dominate society a person lives in what is at best a well upholstered slave camp destined to fade into the dust of history.
Without a Conservative element at the core to give perspective and balance a people will… well, just look at the aftermath of every single revolution in the past – the American revolution was actually a colony revolt – it was an independently evolving, functioning society that broke away from the parent nation/culture rather than an indigenous movement to topple all the central power structures and replace them ad hoc with unproven or dis-proven but, “much better” institutions; not long after they succeed the real bloodshed is just beginning!
Who was it again that decreed with proven ‘Holy Authority‘ that all human problems can, and may, only be solved by a totally Left-wing or totally Right-wing ideology? When did admitting that your Party’s platform cannot solve all problems if followed by “good” people?
The voting public needs to take off their trendy, strait-jackets/sheep-outfits, grow up, and look at reality – of the real kind, rather than the oh-so-importantly-unimportant political sort – and then find the ideal solutions, not the solutions that serve your political tribe while walking over everyone else’s Lives’, Liberties, and frantic Pursuits of Happiness.
Ok, we can all agree that Pat Robertson was a dork of stellar magnitude, and the Phelps Family are supernovae in that particular area called theocracy.
That said, before we submerge a crucifix in urine let’s give the Abrahamic tree a second look, and examine the fruit it has borne.
The Jews never had a drive to spread over the Earth. Their scriptures taught them that certain lands were given them by God; so they took them, enough said, this was 6,000 years ago after all. But after that they lost any territorial ambitions. But, the Persians and Romans proceeded to push them this way and that; being rather fanatical, they pushed back. After the destruction of the 2nd Temple and the Judean Diaspora the centuries have seen Judaism become a religion withdrawn into itself. Having lost the arrogance of the Temple but retained the Love of God and intellectual tradition they became a creative yeast in their host cultures.
The Jews never expected to take over the world; at most they expected, and some maybe still expect that the world will join them. Not by the sword, but by the Love of God. One of the best aspects of the Jewish religion is its focus on the Love of God and a Love for God in each moment of a person’s life.
But along came Jayzus!
Things started out ok, Yesuah merely echoed and extended the teachings and philosophy of Hillel. It expanded organically and gently; converting mostly people otherwise considered “unworthy” of membership in one of the more respectable religions, then into the idle upper-class (often by way of religiously adventurous wives discontent with being the ornament on a rich man’s arm.
But then Paul and Constantine came to deal the Judaic Chrestians, and then, later, the mild original “Greek”, a double death-blow of politicization.
St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre
After several centuries of defending themselves from the fanatically imperialistic Islam Christianity began to model all sorts of the worst of the Islamic “innovations” in religion and took on an expansionist, aggressive attitude of its own.
But, it is inherent in a religion mostly based on the teachings of Jesus that every now and then people would remember what their religion was supposed to be about. Christianity may have done much more good during those periods than it did evil during its more cognitively-dissonant times.
Since the Enlightenment the swings of the pendulum between arrogant fanaticism on one hand, and humble servitude to God on the other seem to have gotten gentler. Christianity also seem centered more and more toward the liberal side of the equation; i.e. Fred Phelps, not Qaradawi.
Christianity may one day even manage to have more people who follow it for the right reasons than fools-in-lambs-clothing who use religion in unhealthy ways, or merely for social reasons.
Christianity has a core in its teachings and scripture that is there for all to see; one of Love. It today can be, and always has been, a potentially dangerous religion (I.e. Fred Phelps, Torquemada) but is not inherently so by the structure and teachings of its chief scriptures.
I do think that, despite the quantum jump that The Enlightenment enabled in society’s evolution, Christianity has shown a definite tendency to speed humanity’s growth due to the focus of many of the faithful being on Jesus’ ministry rather than the “died for your sins” part.
Now, about Islam.
Islam teaches much about peace and love. There are verses equal to any in the other Abrahamic writings. I will not comment here about those who feel it was the work of someone passingly familiar with both religions. But Pat Robertson did get one thing right; Islamic theology IS inherently aggressive.
The Islamic scriptures consist of three parts:
The Qur’an, the Sunnah –basically a biography of Mohammed’s life, and the ahadith – stories about Mohammed from people who knew him. If you read it all it is clear that there can only be peace when everyone has submitted to Allah.
Even the most fanatical religion tends to mellow over the years; people are basically families, people who want to live and work and laugh and have the space to find God before they die. Even individuals attracted to a “religious” life for evil reasons can be shocked to learn that Love of God and Love BY God can blossom in their hearts; that is the core of any religion.
Islam unfortunately is working uphill in the all so human battle against hubris while trying to find truth. But, by having such an aggressive set scriptures; by having so much to draw from that feeds the darker hungers of man, Islam will, I believe spend more time orbiting around radical aggression before submitting finally to that peace and love that is God, is Allah.
Islam is inherently dedicated by its self-declared scriptural doctrine to naturally one day rule the world by TAKING control of it and forcing Dar al-Harb(‘House of War’) (Non-Muslim controlled regions) into Dar al-Islam(‘House of Islam); then all people will be free, in the Islamic view, to “choose” the “right” religion.
Sadly, it is not hard to justify all sorts of atrocities on infidels (non-Muslims) with the Qur’an; by contrast there are very few Samaritans or Philistines around for Jews or Christians to use their scripture as an excuse to start a pogrom against.
In Islam it does not matter that reformist Imams do not support something. In fact it is literally forbidden in Islam to use your ‘conscience’ as a guide in a religious dilemma; the only proper way to get an answer is to ask the proper authority, and then submit to the “truth.”
In Christianity, the violent books and verses are all somewhat shielded by being in the OT and considered to be superseded by the Love of Jesus when any conflict occurs. Islam does not have a NT to mellow its hard edges, though it does recognize the concept of abrogation (what a prophet says later is ‘rock’ to the ‘scissors’ of any earlier pronouncements or doctrines).
This makes “insulting” Islam dangerous at times in the modern world of high tech, and horrific weapons that you can make in your garage.
I mostly find it sad that the bulk of Muslims are not more vocal about denouncing their radical Brethren in both the private and the public arena. It is every person in the world’s duty to restrain the fundies of all aggressive religions until they grow up. Until a religion’s devout – highest clergy to clueless souls just born in it – recognize to their core’s that it is ok to DIE because of your religion but, that it is NEVER anything but evil to use religion as an excuse to KILL, that religion should be watched, and kept on a leash in polite company.
Islam has yet to show that it can stay grown up. They are younger though, lets give them time…but, keep the rolled up newspaper ready to smack their noses if they sh*t on the rug. We have too many permanent stains from Christianity and its messes; AND the Islam’s’ earlier messes. Of course Christianity STILL pees on the floor now and then. We just have to be patient and rub their noses PROMPTLY in their messes; but, we don’t have to worry about them eating the neighbor’s cat anymore.
I am not too PC to call a club a club (well, I can’t say spade anymore can I?); religion can be very wonderful but, people need to get over their BS and realize that the basic code of ethics that most religions have can also be formulated by simple common sense and an understanding of psychology and social dynamics. Go read a little about Neuro-Linguistic Programming and such. Real secular morality is what the world needs, not the Fascist pretend kind, only then can religion truly flourish; when we get over all this bickering on who is actually the only ones in touch with the “ONLY source of Morality™”; which they cannot even prove exists.
Faith is the problem; submission to something you do not feel yourself is the problem. Beliefs have reasons, sometimes bad ones but, reasons that can be ‘reasoned with’; faith has no reason therefore the most reasonable argument does no good, your head still rolls on the floor.
Have faith in Jesus of Mohammed; I will Believe in Bugs Bunny!
I have been wondering a lot lately on just what the real difference is between partisans on the Left and pastisans on the Right. I think I have finally put my finger on it; Rightwingers WORK the System while Leftists main strategy is to GAME the System.
Both abuse the system by using their stategy to increase their incluence beyond their representation in voters actual opinions.
More later on this subject…
I think that in the end Obama will make G.W. look like the best thing since sliced bread BUT, I remember when talk radio was a place where you could LEARN about things and THINK about them, not just gulp down some predigested, group-thunked, sheeple fodder from BOTH sides!
Keeping media free and objective is one of the MOST important ways we can protect our entire society, on both sides!
And while we are at it let’s go back and beef up the media ownership rules!
NO individual or corporate entity should be allowed to own more than ONE outlet of each media type in any one locale.
The only folks who do NOT support that idea are the very ones who seek to under abuse">abuse the concept and impose their mindset on the masses merely by buying enough "airtime" to drown out other voices!
Today we have two examples, one from the Left and one from the Right, of people making blatantly self-serving attacks on their political opponents while attempting to cloak themselves in the sanctity of God. This is partisanship at its most nauseating.
First let us examine the Leftist “religious” viewpoint:
Liberal Christians Give LESS to the Poor; Naturally We Must Expose The Conservative Reasons for Not Giving Enough! …HUNH?
I have often said that partisanship can make people believe anything about ANYTHING. Here is a good example of someone so needy for rotten fruit to huck at his opponents that he “condemns” them for… what amounts to being BETTER at something than his own side!!! To make matters worse he all but lies to do so, distorting basic facts and mixing and matching demographics at will to support his demonization of a group that has shown itself well able to expose its own demons; Conservative Christianity) I just want to ask him one thing, who gored YOUR ox?
“Richard T. Hughes
Why Conservative Christians So Often Fail the Common Good (Part 2)
In part 1 of this article, we posed this riddle: why do so many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians — people who clearly honor the Bible — so often disregard the two requirements that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God, namely peacemaking and justice for the poor?”
From the start this piece is off track, as Jesus preached to individuals and taught PEOPLE how He wanted them to live. He did not preach to nations or governments, He never left precepts for RULING a society. The author actually seems to have bought into the heresy of the far-Right, Christian Identity folks; “Godly” society must be established BEFORE Jesus can return.
“Why Focus on “Conservative Christians”?
Some readers quite correctly pointed out that conservatives tend to be more generous toward the poor than liberals, but to frame the issue like that only muddles it. The Bible never suggests that we adequately fulfill our responsibilities through “generosity” toward the poor. Rather, the Bible summons Christians to radical solidarity with the poor and radical opposition to those demonic, systemic structures — what the Bible calls “the principalities and powers — that sustain the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and the dispossessed.”
Really? In my reality Jesus called for individuals to turn away from political structures and just GET ON WITH IT and feed the poor and live THEIR lives as their conscience commanded. In fact He had harsh words for those who felt they could legislate morality into their “flock”! He further advised in no uncertain terms that civil rebellion was NOT his way.
I also love the way the author dismisses out of hand the notion that actual ACTION to help REAL poor people, as opposed to working to create a government to force everyone to care for them, is somehow a lesser expression of Christian charity and Love. You just Gotta love group-think Virginia!
“…Further, to claim (GDeW: You said before that it was correct, but now you call it a claim?) that conservatives are more generous than liberals sidesteps the fact that neither group is all that generous toward the poor to begin with.”
Are you following this Virginia? Conservative Christian give more to the poor but since neither Leftist nor Conservative Christians do enough in the author’s eyes, it is the CONSERVATIVES that must be brought to task…umm, yes, it is a bit silly. Lets see if our dear Mr. Hughes can pull it out at the end.
“It also sidesteps the fact that neither conservative Christians nor liberal Christians are called to compare themselves with one another.”
I was unaware of the fact that it called for them to ignore their own faults and attack the other! You seem to be of a different opinion Mr. Hughes.
“Instead, if Christians are serious about following Jesus, the only meaningful comparison is with Jesus’ picture of the kingdom of God, and when measured by that standard, American Christians across the board — liberals and conservatives alike — fall woefully short.”
As a student of history I am well aware that pretty much all Christians of this day and age fall short of what the fist generation of “Chrestians” recognized as their own brethren. That said, I do not know of any major branch, original or modern, that promotes the idea of Jesus’ preaching that you must work for a GOVERNMENT to be formed in the image of the Jewish vision of a Messiah Ruled Society before a person could be considered a follower of His.
“Why, then, would I write a two-part article that singles out conservative rather than liberal Christians for a comparison with that biblical vision.”
Given that your vision is one that you made up instead of finding it in the words of Jesus, I would say that it is just so you can use God as a weapon in your ongoing partisan attacks against your fellow Christians.
“First, conservative Christians are typically far more adamant than liberals in their claims that they are “Bible-believing Christians” who take the Bible seriously at every point.”
The passage above is a great example of a man so eager to demonize the opposition he does not even realize he is insulting his own side! He is trying to hard not to “look mean” by calling Biblical Literalists byname that he implies that Liberal Christians do not believe the Bible seriously AT ALL. Kinda makes you wonder why they would BE Christians if Hughes has them pegged rightly, doesn’t it? Somehow I think that the average “Liberal” Christian deserves a bit more respect than that!
“ It is therefore fair to ask how successfully they live out a theme that stands at the center of the biblical text — the biblical vision of the kingdom.”
First off,it is a central Biblical theme that you do not stand hypocritically on the Temple steps and denounce the sins of others before you have examined your own! And you certainly do not do it by putting words in the mouth of the central figure of your supposed religion that support your political goals!
“The second consideration is perhaps even more important. For almost forty years, the most visible representatives of the Christian religion in the United States have been conservatives, not liberals. I have in mind the electronic evangelists — those leaders of the Christian Right like Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, and a host of others — who have been extraordinarily vocal about their vision of the United States as a Christian nation. Not once have I heard any of those preachers define the Christian religion in terms of either (1) peacemaking or (2) justice for the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized, and those who suffer at the hands of the world’s elites — themes that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God.”
One wonders why Hughes doesn’t just do a piece on how televangelism corrupts preachers, given that he only lists the most controversial if not heretical of a class that polls have revealed to have about the same level of trustworthiness in the public eye as lawyers! And even with that vetting for nuttiness I would bet that if you actually read their sermons you would find examples of these things; if you ignore Mr. Hughes’ fantasy about Jesus requiring His followers to build Socialist government institutions.
“To the contrary, these preachers have often gone out of their way to support the principalities and powers that oppress marginalized people. Various televangelists at various times, for example, have told the American people that God has chosen the United States for a destiny of dominance in the world, that Jesus’ followers should prosper and never be poor, and that Christians should rally to support America’s wars against the enemies of God. In a word, most televangelists of the Christian Right have preached a gospel that is radically antithetical to the biblical text, and by proclaiming this pseudo-gospel, they have discredited the Christian religion almost beyond belief. It is surely time to measure their preaching by the biblical vision of the kingdom of God!”
Am I confused Virginia, or did we start off this piece talking about how Conservative Christians giving more to poor folks really meant Liberal Christian were the cool ones? How did we get onto Televangelists? Many Televangelists are bad preachers = All Conservative Christians are failing their duty to God? Somehow, I do not think Mr. Hughes passed Logic 101.
“The Kingdom of God and the Common Good
… The kingdom of God is universal and those who promote that kingdom care deeply for every human being in every corner of the globe, regardless of race or nationality. But earthly nations — even so-called “Christian” nations — embrace values that are inevitably nationalistic and tribal, caring especially for the welfare of those within their borders. And while the kingdom of God exalts the poor, the disenfranchised, and the dispossessed, earthly nations inevitably exalt the rich and powerful and hold them up as models to be emulated. In fact, in the context of earthly nations — even so-called “Christian” nations — the poor seldom count for much at all.”
Which is probably why Jesus preached to people and not governments!!! So intent on his political goal is he that even while describing it, Hughes misses the point of Not Of This World!
“In light of that comparison, it must be obvious that when I speak of the common good, I don’t have in mind the American dream of a chicken in every pot or three cars in every garage or the American notion that freedom ultimately means freedom to shop. In fact, I don’t have in mind anything uniquely American at all. Instead, when I speak of the common good, I have in mind what the Bible envisions for all humankind — life and not death. But when the principalities and powers define the common good, they typically mean the good life for some, and the good life for some invariably means poverty, hunger, nakedness, and finally death for all the others.”
And this is probably why the Bible envisions this perfect society needing DIRECT INTERVENTION by God to come about AFTER we have messed it all up for the last time (not MY view, but the Bible’s), not Mr. Hughes and his buddies legislating their version of “morality” upon everyone.
“One final introductory comment: several who commented on the first article also questioned the accuracy of my claim that the biblical vision of the kingdom of God is really all that central to the biblical text or, for that matter, to what Christians call “the gospel.” But the Christian gospel always has two central components — the unmerited grace that God extends to us and, in response, the unmerited grace that we should extend to others. I John makes this point as well as any other biblical text: “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (I Jn. 3:16) That is as clear a picture of the kingdom of God as one is likely to find.”
It is simply astonishing to see someone hold up a black book and declare it to obviously be white! It is just sad when that person does it for personal glorification and to put down their opponents. It is simply disgusting when that person does it using God.
Where, Mr. Hughes, does the Bible tell us to legislate that grace so our neighbor is forced to dispense it in exactly the measure WE define as acceptable? Pardon me while I go get reacquainted with my breakfast. The fact that all that poison was just “introductory” to your “point” put my stomach over the top.
Now let us move on to the Right-Wing side of the Pew and see how a “conservative Christian” shows his love by lying and distorting everything he can in order to “Save” his sheep:
“Traditional Values Coalition Opinion Editorial For publication on or after Wednesday, October 31, 2001
New FBI Hate Crime Statistics Expose Homosexual Lies
By Rev. Louis P. Sheldon Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition
… This legislation begins with this somber comment: “The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem.”
This introduction to S. 625 is filled with lies and half-truths about the nature of hate crimes in America-yet this bill is being seriously debated-despite the facts. The recently released FBI hate crime statistics for 2000 shed new light on what Ted Kennedy alleges is a “serious national problem.””
And now Rev. Sheldon will put his own lies and half-truths on the table as a counter-balance!
“Most Americans are tolerant and compassionate individuals who do not wish anyone to be harmed. Unfortunately, homosexual activists have exploited this compassion in the promotion of the idea of “hate crime” legislation. A “hate crime” law typically includes enhanced penalties against an individual for his negative thoughts when he committed a crime against a person who is part of a protected class. For example, a common thug who mugs a lesbian for her purse will receive a higher penalty for his anti-homosexual thoughts or motivations than if he had mugged a woman simply for her money.”
I have my doubts about many, if not most, hate crime laws, however lying about them does not help! Claiming the label Reverend and then proceeding to lie is “just not done”!
A hate crime law does not criminalize the thoughts of the thug who HAPPENS to mug someone who is a lesbian, they only apply if the lesbian is attacked BECAUSE she is a lesbian. If a person mugs two women, one of whom is openly lesbian, and then verbally insults that woman for being gay and kicks her in the face, all the while not harming the “straight” lady, they HAVE committed a hate crime in addition to the “regular” crime. I fail to see that the basic idea of making crimes that are committed ONLY because of prejudice a special class is wrong.
“Homosexuals have been successful in getting many states and communities to add “sexual orientation” as a protected category under hate crime laws. This creates what amounts to “thought crimes” and unequal justice under the law for those not given protected class status.”
I can’t see why, if you are gong to have a hate crime law, why ANY definable grouping should not be included. The whole idea of “hate crime”is of a crime that WOULD NOT HAPPEN if the criminal did not see the victim as “acceptable to attack” because of their race,religion, politics, sexuality or WHATEVER. IF someone attacked and beat someone for being a street mime it should be classed a hate crime. “Normal” crime is impersonal,it is about transferring money or property from one who has it to one who wants it but, hasn’t earned it. Committing a crime not for financial gain, but solely to satisfy an inner need to dehumanize ANYONE, is what the hate crime ideology is all about at its core.
“The FBI’s newly released hate crime statistics should be welcomed news to homosexuals. The latest hate crime numbers have been posted on the FBI’s web site. …The FBI hate crime statistics show the following: In 2000, there were a total of 8,152 hate crimes reported involving a total of 9,524 distinct incidents. Out of a total of 8,144 single-bias incidents, for example, 5,206 were racially motivated and 1,568 were bias crimes against a person’s religion.
The FBI says the most common hate crime was that of “intimidation” with a total of 3,294 cases. A person who was “intimidated” was a victim of profanity, racial slurs, or verbal threats by another individual. In short, a third of these hate crimes were non-violent and amounted to name-calling.”
One wonders if the good reverend has ever been seriously harassed or taunted or threatened in his life! He blithely dismisses as mere name calling things as serious as multiple, physically aggressive and verbally hateful people trailing someone down the street telling them in graphic terms just what they plan to do to that person, their family and anyone who is close to them…Remember, these statistics only refer to those verbal acts that were considered by the FBI to be CRIMES!
Virginia, what do you think of a reverend who thinks that a truck load of rednecks trailing a black schoolgirl and taunting her with rape and assault on her family is “name calling”? Good girl, I can’t fault your instincts. But, you should not use language like that in public. Ladies have better use of their vocabulary than that! To be fair it should be noted that he also probably considers 15 Muslim youths chasing and screaming threats at a Jewish kid half their size to also be “name calling.” The Rev. only promotes Equal Opportunity Callousness I am sure!
“…Overall, there were only 1,517 hate crimes of bias committed because of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation in 2000. It is likely that at least a third of these were intimidation or name-calling. The FBI gathered these statistics from 11,691 law enforcement agencies encompassing a total of 237 million Americans-or 84.2% of the entire population.”
Here is a good example of how partisans use statistics dishonestly. The number 1,517 is called “only’ and then several much larger,but irrelevant, numbers are listed to further diminish it in the reader’s mind. The good Rev obviously does not expect his audience to stop and THINK about the numbers he has revealed to be a veritable gospel for American homosexuals.
1,517 out of 8,144 means that more or less one out of every five incidents of ”single bias” against ANYONE was about that person’s sexual orientation! Almost TWENTY PERCENT! And this is measured against all the bias incidents against Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, women, men, old folks, young folks, Republicans, Democrats and whatever other groups you care to name!!! TWENTY PERCENT of this type of crime is committed against gays? And the Rev feels that gays should rejoice in this “Good News”?
“No compassionate American is in favor of someone being verbally or physically assaulted because of his sexual preferences, but neither should we be subjected to thought crime legislation that provides special legal protections to homosexuals not accorded other Americans. Criminalizing a person’s views on sexual behavior should not be a matter of federal law.”
I agree that EVERYONE should have protection against bias motivated crime. But, this does not give the morally-ambiguous Reverend the right to lie and say that criminalizing bias-based ACTIONS (that in themselves are criminal) is criminalizing a person’s VIEWS!!!
“Out of 11.6 million crimes committed against persons and property in 2000, only 1,517 were hate crimes directed at homosexuals-and a third of these were undoubtedly name-calling. This should be good news to homosexual activists, but it undercuts one of their primary objectives: The passage of federal hate crime legislation that will add homosexual behavior as a protected class status under federal civil rights laws.”
I guess that it is possible to admire the economy or language in the above passage, it is impossible to find morality in it. First the Rev pulls the TOTAL person and property crime number out (not the much smaller, but RELEVENT, single-bias number) and compares it to 1,517, next he applies his “name calling” dismissal to further reduce the importance of that number. Finally, he slaps homosexuals in the face by calling this number good news and uses the sum of his hypocrisy to “prove” that the numbers “undermine” the need for hate crime laws, ESPECIALLY regarding homosexuals! Tums anyone?
“…The FBI’s recent statistics showing how few hate crimes were committed against homosexuals in 2000 are irritations that will undoubtedly be ignored by activists. The truth has undercut their claims of an epidemic of hate crimes against homosexuals, but that won’t stop them from attempting to gain special rights under federal law for their preferred sexual behavior.”
I guess the Rev follows the old “Big Lie” theory; tell it with a straight enough face and tell it often enough, and people will believe ANY nonsense! Notice how he tosses in the gibe implying that gays CHOOSE to be as they are!
Left or Right, it does not really matter. Those who seek power for power’s sake will show themselves as morally empty,no matter what “God” they claim to follow.
LiveJournal Tags: religious right
,richard t. hughes
,Rev. Louis P. Sheldon
,hate crimes homosexuals
The Confusion of Tongues
“What You Said Ain’t What They Heard”
(Guy DeWhitney: This article was one I published a while back on David Horowitz’s NewsRealblog.com. The commentary response was enormous and spirited, with the consensus agreeing with almost all of my proposal.)
I have noticed lately a serious impediment to any real communication across political lines. It is something that can affect anyone writing or speaking about politics in America today. The problem lies in the term “Religious Right”.
On the one hand Conservative Christians do not seem to understand that non-Christians, many just as conservative see the term as a negative if not a pejorative. On the other hand non-Christians, Moderates, Liberals and Leftists do not seem to “get it” that many sane, un-hypocritical Conservative Christians define themselves with that same term.
When used by the middle/left the term virtually NEVER seems to mean anything BUT a classic, Right-wing “I’m right because the Bible says so, you can’t be moral without Jesus, this is a Christian Nation and non-Christians should not be allowed to influence schools and government” hypocrite-in-Christian’s-clothing” sort of person.
To say that this confusion impedes communication, compassion and compromise would be an understatement of monumental proportions.
Because of this confusion we recently saw Chris Mathews of MSNBC using the term in one way and offending NRB Columnist Paul Cooper who uses it in another. Paul responded by light of his definition which caused me to misunderstand and I started to type a flaming reply. Then I found out what Paul really meant by it; “those to the Right of middle who are Christian”.
The end result was that we barely missed getting in an argument over nothing. Both of us would have felt attacked by and embittered toward someone who should be an ally on the subject.
This problem in definitions needs to be resolved in order for NewsReal Blog to have any chance of changing partisans into partners on issues that affect all of us.
The last few days I have been asking everyone I can who THEY think of when they hear the term “Religious Right”.
Overwhelmingly those that did not self describe as Conservative Christians seem to believe the term to mean “the folks who believe being Christian gives them a preferred political status and the right to impose an overtly Christian character on civil society”.
Not one person I talked to that described themselves as moderate or liberal (regardless of their religion) saw the term as referring to any other group. ONLY the Conservative Christians I spoke with felt that it meant the “Right side of the spectrum of all religious Christians in the U.S.”
It is pretty clear that this confusion cannot be allowed to go on. As a start I propose a poll. Not a “vote” for one definition by majority rule but simply a poll to make us aware of Whom thinks What means Which.
I self identify as:
a) Non-religious (Atheist, Agnostic, Don’t Care)
b) A Nominal Christian
c) A Devout Christian (Liberal Politics)
d) A Devout Christian (Conservative Politics)
e) Jewish (Conservative politics)
f) Jewish (Liberal politics)
g) A Conservative Christian or Jewish far to the Right of the ones the public calls conservative. (“They call me Nut-case but Jesus/G*d will bless me for it”)
h) A Nominal Muslim
i) A Devout Muslim
j) A Devout Muslim (“They call me Terrorist but Allah(pbuh) will bless me for it!”)
To Me “Religious Right” Means:
A) Conservative Religious persons; i.e. devout religious people of any faith that fall to the Right of Middle in politics
B) Religious hypocrites that believe the “unquestionable Truth” of their religion gives them a preferred position in the political process. (This description fits not only Christian chauvinists but also Islamic Supremacists etc.)
C) Conservative Christians who use their religion as a guide in life. Including politics.
D) Same as (B) but limited to Christians
E) Something Else
The information this poll provides may well prove very valuable but we still need to agree on what the term means here at NewsRealblog.
I feel that being understood accurately by the largest number of people is more important than being clear only to compatriots. I cannot see that preaching to the choir is very productive. Therefore I propose this array of definitions:
For (A) I think the term “Religious Conservative” would be less likely to be misunderstood.
The subset of people described by (B) can be called “Religious Radicals” or “Theocrats”.
For (C) I can see no reason not to simply use “Christian Conservative” since it is clear and self-explanatory.
We should try to refer to (D) as “The Religious Right”.
Being clear with how we use these terms may not solve all our differences but, it will certainly not hurt our efforts to resolve them.
Language is Humanity Beating Broken Rhythms On a Pot With a Spoon While Believing We Make Music That Stirs the Heart of God
Since 9/11 most Americans have become aware that there are forces in the world that do not share our love of Freedom and Constitutional Democracy. More and more of us have remembered that it is our duty as Americans to remain vigilant against all who would take from us that which makes us unique in the world: The Constitution.
Recently it has come to my attention that there is a group operating in the U.S. that has openly advocated the legislative overthrow of the U.S. Constitution and our way of life.
Furthermore, this un-American organization is openly hostile to modern Western laws regarding women, children and gays. They freely declare their distrust and fear of anyone who does not follow their narrow faith.
In full view of the media they mock the concept of Republican Democracy. Anywhere their allies attain a voting majority they are constantly agitating to impose their own strict religious laws on the local public.
They hypocritically exhort their followers to use the First Amendment to force their views into the schools and workplace. They also teach them how to use the Establishment Clause to keep information about all other religions (including atheism) out.
This group and their allies have gone to court to force schools to allow them to spread their divisive (religious) messages in public schools via a “backpack-mail” system. But when a non-aligned group used the same system they turned around and used the courts to stop the schools from spreading any non-curricular information regardless of its being religious or secular.
This is hardly fair play! It seems that it was more important to this group and its allies to be able to censor other points of view than to spread their own. Since they held a majority in that community they still won out.
As with many subversive organizations their public messages tend toward the bland and reassuring. Only an occasional “WHAT did he say?” reaches the radar of the average American.
But the deeper you go into the bowels of their organization the more blatant is the hatred of all that America stands for. It is no secret that their leadership prays for a day when the only laws in America will be based solely in their scripture.
They not only pray for it. They organize. Likeminded groups have taken up the task of training their more fanatical followers around the country in the craft of taking over local schools and governments in the name of the faith.
They teach followers how to mask their agenda until elected. Once elected the faithful are then apply to their religious agenda regardless of the will of the voters. Their intent is to remake America in their image one town and county at a time.
Their totalitarian ideology does not brook any dissent. The questioning of their religious leader’s interpretations of their holy book is seen as the voice of Satan (Shaytan). More so if the criticism comes from outside their religion. In the U.S. their followers rarely resort to violence but are willing to use almost any tactic short of that to demonize and suppress their critics.
Their Anti-American dream for the U.S. includes:
Women would be coerced by the law to focus their lives on home and children instead of seeking careers.
Women would not be allowed to have a voice in religious or political matters as a matter of law.
Men would be legally empowered to speak for their wives in all matters outside the home.
The decision whether to abort a pregnancy sure to kill the mother (such as a woman with cancer who must choose between an abortion or deferring treatment until after the birth) would rest with the father of the child or father of the mother.
Children and women would have no legal protections outside of the religious institutions. Short of situations manifestly life-threatening no outside agency would have the right to forcibly intervene in any abuse situations within the family. The right of the husband/father to control his family’s “morals” and live out his religion’s requirements would trump any Western concept of “human rights” for his family.
Homosexuality would be outlawed, not just as an active lifestyle. It would be legally a perverted mindset to be policed and punished. Punishments would likely range from imprisonment to castration to the death penalty. Mob justice against homosexuals would mostly be ignored if not condoned.
The freedom of worship of anyone not aligned with their religion’s narrow definition of “godly” would be at risk anywhere they hold influence.
The Bible tells Christians to “judge them by their fruit”. The fruit of this group wherever they hold influence has been divisiveness, intolerance, a smug support of the status quo and the suppression of the greatest ideals of our Founding Fathers: Freedom of Speech/Assembly/The Press and Freedom of Religion.
One of the clearest signs of the hypocrisy of their version of “faith” is that at the same time they are condemning all sex education, adultery and sex before marriage their followers have the highest rates of teen pregnancies and divorces in the nation. Their followers also possess a higher than average rate of domestic violence.
Who are these un-American subversives you ask? What is the nefarious name that these pretend prophets of “holiness” use to organize their subversive minions as they subvert our nation?
“Islamists? You ask. “Scientologists? Mormons? Pagans?” You postulate but miss the rot that lies in front of your nose.
Surprise Virginia, they call themselves the 700 Club.
Lets take a big Heretical breath, hold it, now let it out. WOOOOSH! I just finished watching the entirety of “Jesus Camp” a 5 year old documentary about the results of the politicization of Conservative Christianity in the U.S.
The film takes us along with Becky Fischer and her ministry, Kids in Ministry International
as she seeks to teach American
Christian children to be as willing to die for Jesus as “Pakistani
kids” are willing to die for Allah in Pakistan and Israel or where ever. She laments the apathy of Christians in the face of the, to her, clearly
more “spiritual” faith of a suicide bomber and his children.
But there is a cleaner scent in the air today in 2009. According to a recent article on the SearchWarp
.com writer’s community in the Home
section Talks about Levi O’Brien and his brother and sister who are featured in Jesus Camp. Levi O Brien and his family remain Evangelicals but:
“O Briens have absolutely no interest in turning the U.S.A. into a Christian theocracy. During the potluck after the service, Pastor Tim shared with me his views concerning the pursuit of earthly power to advance the Kingdom of God and referred me to other preachers who were also speaking out against the national and political idolatry often associated with the Christian right. Pastor Tim’s wife, Tracy, was even more forthright in her views. Given her comment in Jesus Camp, I was surprised to hear her say that she agreed with me on my points that much of what constitutes as American Civil religion is based on the founding myths of the early pilgrims who believed they were establishing the Kingdom of God by settling the New World. Tracy also shared with me how she has come to realize that the Constitution is not a religious document, that much of what she learned about American history as a child was candy-coated, and that the founders of America, though they were brilliant, were fallible just like the rest of us. To my surprise, Tracy went on to tell me that, although she loves politics and considers herself a conservative, she hasn’t considered herself a Republican in two and a half years!”
Can I get a witness!?!?
Just as the Tower of Babel was supposed to have reached mightily into the sky right up to the day it collapsed so the Christian Right built their castle in the sky. Starting in the Reagan years they forged bonds with and sold their souls to the Republican leadership. In the Clinton years the cancer metastasised under the Republicans fanatical quest to see the President brought down by means foul or fair. Under Bush junior it seemed the Political Christians had succeeded in capping their tower of power. Only time seemed to be standing between the U.S. and a more theocratic system.
But even as the temporary temporal power of the Christian Right peeked the moderate majority of the country were growing more and more disgusted with the new direction that seemed to be demanded of anyone who called themselves Christian. The last four years of the Bush dynasty have brought down many of the most vocal hypocrites of the new Christianity. Either through death or scandal brought on themselves many of the most virulent voices have been stilled.
Into that silence a new voice has been heard the last few years. This voice harks back the actual teachings of Jesus. This new voice asks what happened to “feed my sheep”. It asks where and when did Jesus command a political system be founded in his name?
The new face of American Christianity is not really new. It was always there but the loud, brash voices of those who had been willing to sacrifice the heart of their faith for temporal power drowned it out for a time.
Go and watch Jesus Camp
And see how crazy our own folks can get but also note how far they have fallen in only a few years. Truly sometimes the best way to deal with hypocrites is to let them have the rope and the voice and hang themselves.