People Say The Darnedest Things

You do have to love the Argus’ letters Section. Todays classic:

Letter: Believe in God Party
The United States for years has had two political parties: Democrat and Republican.

During President Abraham Lincoln’s time, the Whig party was prominent. Recently, the tea party had notable candidates. My idea is that we could have a party called the Believe in God Party.

To my way of thinking, this party would not contradict any of our constitutional laws. I do not have the knowledge to establish this party. However, I am sure the expertise to do this exists among those who read this letter and take an interest in seeing it to its completion.

Membership in this party would come from conservative thinkers.

Please feel free to call me if you chose to take on this project.

Doesn’t this already exist, you know a church?

Would I have to take a test on bible knowledge, sort of like being confirmed, before I could be in this party? Would our leaders/candidates have to be celibate like the Catholics? Could a woman run? What if you are gay?

Somebody please get this going, I really want to see how it shakes out.

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Christian Nation? The Constitution Would Suggest Otherwise

Watching Gordon Howie during his 4th place campaign for the GOP House slot we were again subjected to the far-right’s assertion that American has drifted away from our “Christian founding/Christian heritage”. We heard this from Sarah Palin during the Presidential campaign and continue to hear it from fungelicals even as they try to explain away their defeats in their attempts to win public office despite using that argument. Of course being one with no belief in a higher power, listening to these arguments makes me cringe while seeing them lose helps restore my faith in our sensibilities as a nation (of course Texas is an exception).

After hearing Howie and his followers continue this argument at their sparsely attended rallies even after being trounced, I thought I’d throw out my thoughts on the subject.

First let’s put aside for this argument on whether we are a Christian nation the fact that the 11th article of Treaty Of Tripoli ratified by Congress and signed by President John Adams in 1797 specifically states that the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. Secondly let’s put aside the establishment clause for just a moment, though I will get back to it in a minute, which seemingly also contradicts the Christian nation claim when it states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion“. Let us also not mention the fact that the Constitution not once even mentions Christianity which makes one wonder what nation would be founded on a religious foundation and then not mention that foundation anywhere in their most important document?

For this discussion let us instead look at an argument that I rarely come across that concerns the 10 Commandments, you know those 2 tablets sent from God (Mel Brooks intimates that there were actually 15 until Moses dropped one of the tablets but that is from a different version of the history of the world) that contain the basis for much of the so-called Christian morality that Howie et al want our nation to get back to following. Considering the importance of those 10 do’s and do not’s to the faithful especially back in the puritanical days of our nation’s founding, one would have to really wonder why our founders would then turn around and pretty much make any attempt by the government to enforce 4 of those “laws from God” Unconstitutional?

For example:
‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’Violates the Free Exercise clause of the 1st amendment.
‘You shall not make for yourself a graven image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.’Also Violates the Free Exercise clause of the 1st amendment.
‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.’Violates our freedom of speech guaranteed by the first amendment.
‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’Seems to spit in the face of the establishment clause which would prevent the government from establishing a specific day of religiosity.

Of course this is not proof of the intent of our founders but it is just some more food for thought to consider when the Sarah Palin/Gordon Howie wing of the Republican party trots out their “Christian nation” meme at the next Tea Party rally.

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All That Was Missing Was Aunt Jemima

A vendor at the Values Voter Summit had an idea for a product immortalizing Barack Obama’s position changes on the issues. Pictured is the product they came up with including an interesting caricature of the Illinois Senator.

I am all for a good parody but wouldn’t pancake mix have been a better product? I would think Obama was more of a flip flopper (FISA comes to mind) than a waffler.

Oh and then there is that stereotypical picture thing…but who is surprised? I would bet most attending the so called “Values Voter Summit” are all about stereotypes and many I would guess still strongly believe that Obama is a Muslim.

UPDATE 1:45pm: LGF thinks the waffle mix might have something to do with Obama’s “Why can’t I just eat my waffle” comment so I guess the waffle product is fitting though I still would have gone with pancake/flip flop metaphor, minus the caricature, myself.

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What Has McCain Gotten Us Into?

Any self respecting secular humanist, or anyone that thinks that Sunday sermons don’t belong determining Monday’s legislation for that matter, has to be a bit worried over some of the things that GOP nominee Sarah Palin has said in the past.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told ministry students at her former church that the United States sent troops to fight in the Iraq war on a “task that is from God.”

Isn’t that similar to what Al Qaeda says each time they try to blow us up?

And what is this all about?

Palin told graduating students of the church’s School of Ministry, “What I need to do is strike a deal with you guys.” As they preached the love of Jesus throughout Alaska, she said, she’d work to implement God’s will from the governor’s office, including creating jobs by building a pipeline to bring North Slope natural gas to North American markets.

So God is an oilman? Implementing God’s will from the Governor’s office?

I don’t do this often here, but at this very moment I myself am praying. I am praying that if somehow 72 year old John McCain wins in November, he leads a wonderfully healthy next 4 plus years so that Sarah Palin can fade into Dan Quayle like obscurity.

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Religion Or Lack Thereof Not As Important In Politics

The funny thing about extremism:

The poll by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds increasing numbers of Americans believing that religiously defined ideological groups have too much control over the parties themselves. Nearly half (48%) say religious conservatives have too much influence over the Republican Party, up from 43% in August 2007. At the same time, more people say that liberals who are not religious have too much sway over the Democrats than did so last year (43% today vs. 37% then).

Those that subscribe to “the cause” often times end up alienating those that they wish to convert instead.

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James Dobson Doesn't Speak For Me

Of course anyone that knows me knows that is the understatement of the year but in this case those words aren’t mine. Instead they are the tagline for a new website started by a coalition of pastors and Christians that are dedicated to refuting the attacks by the Focus on the Family leader towards Barack Obama.

You can read their statement which isn’t very flattering towards the child psychologist turned religious zealot, and even sign it if you so desire here.

Somehow I don’t think that this site will be making it onto the blogroll of some of the more vocal far right websites that I can think of…

UPDATE: This gets even better. It seems that pastor that started this site, Rev. Kirbyjohn Caldwell, is the same pastor that married President Bush’s daughter Jenna a few months back.

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Focus On The Family's Fruitcake Interpretation

I will leave it to Bob Ellis to get into the theology behind Focus on the Family’s James Dobson’s comments on Barack Obama’s speech regarding his faith. Not surprisingly Ellis agrees with Dobson but one thing in Dobson’s comments stuck out to me (besides the fruitcake reference). Ellis left it out of his post but Cory over at the Madville Times didn’t.

The proper theological response is, “Amen, brother!” Instead, James Dobson is saying that Obama is “deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology…. He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter.” For good measure, Dobson also labels Obama’s position on abortion “a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution.” (emphasis mine)

Obama is deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the bible to fit his world view? Isn’t that true with most Bible based religions already? In fact isn’t that true with just about all religion and more importantly, isn’t that exactly what Dobson and Focus on the Family is all about?

There are how many different Bible based religions on this planet with just about everyone having a different “interpretation” of the same book. Priest can marry, or they can’t. Gays can marry, or they can’t. Old Testament, New Testament, and on and on. You could spend a lifetime learning the various differences.

And that is Dobson’s problem. He just can’t deal with the fact that his distorted Bible based world view isn’t as prevalent as he would like and for the first time in a while there isn’t a candidate running for the White House that he can support. In fact this fits right in with an new survey that shows while we are still a spiritual people, we are more understanding and tolerant of the beliefs of others. But unfortunately for Dobson and the shrinking number of his supporters, tolerance isn’t in their vocabulary.

It’s going to be a long 4 years for Dobson, no matter who wins this November…

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Re-Enforcing The Separation Between Politics And Religion

Despite what some would want to admit, this year’s election might have one important side effect. It is re-enforcing the need to keep religion out of politics.

The 2008 primary election campaign began with candidates scrambling to embrace religious leaders, and it’s ending with candidates rushing to repudiate them. An election cycle that was supposed to usher in the marriage of religion and politics may be hastening its divorce.

From the evangelical ministers who questioned the fitness of a Mormon to be president, to the religious-right activists who denounced John McCain as godless, to the McCain-backing radio preacher who said Hitler was fulfilling God’s will, to Barack Obama’s longtime minister who blamed the United States for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to Obama’s Catholic adviser who last week mocked Hillary Clinton, the clergy haven’t just made a bad show of it: They’ve behaved like small-minded bigots.

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