religion

Ronald Reagan on the Separation of Religion and State. I Agree. Conservatives Might Not.

by: Mets102

Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 13:03:47 PM EDT

Those conservatives might try and seize his conservative card beyond the grave because he did not advocate for the merging of religion and state.  In fact, he advocated exactly the opposite.  This statement came during the 1984 presidential campaign.  It was made in a synagogue out on Long Island.

We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. (emphasis my own) All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.

Note that not only does he emphasize that "Church and state are, and must remain, separate," but he also specifically mentions that persons are free to engage in belief or disbelief.  This stands in stark contrast with today's Republican Party.

In today's Republican Party, Christian fundamentalists and their social conservatism reign supreme.  All serious Republican candidates must align themselves with social conservatism.  No serious Republican leader can support a woman's right to control her own body or support marriage equality or support equal pay for equal work.  All serious Republican leaders must emphasize their religion and their support for taking those religious beliefs and making them the law of the land.

To borrow from Reagan, today's Republican Party seeks to mandate belief through their actions.  That is the exact opposite of the religious liberty they claim they seek to preserve.

Our Founding Fathers saw the danger of mandating religion.  They saw all the blood that was shed in Europe because of that mandate.  That is why we require no religious test for office.  That is why we have an establishment clause.  That is why we have free exercise.  They are there to protect the majority from imposing upon the conscience of the minority.

In the past, I have quoted Thomas Jefferson and his Letter to the Danbury Baptists and James Madison and his Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments.  Now, however, I thought it was time that I quoted Reagan to demonstrate to conservatives that even their beloved Ronald Reagan support the very separation that they oppose.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

What's to Prevent Segregation in the Post-Hobby Lobby World?

by: Mets102

Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 14:24:20 PM EDT

I am not talking just racial segregation here, but all forms of segregation.  So long as it is a sincerely-held religious belief and separate but equal facilities are provided, what is there to stop a closely-held corporation from imposing segregation post-Hobby Lobby?

Imagine there is an owner who believes, as a matter of sincerely-held religious beliefs, that the sexes should not mix, what is there to prevent that owner from establishing separate aisles in his or her store and separate checkout lines so long as the aisles are identical, there are an equal number of checkout lines and those checkout lines are always equally staffed.  What exists to prevent that owner from establishing that system?

What if the owner of such a closely-held corporation has such beliefs except that instead of the sexes mixing, he or she believes that it is whites and non-whites that should not mix?

What if the owner believes that members of his or her religion should not mix with members of another religion?

Where, exactly, will this all end?

There is a reason for generally-applicable laws.  There are reasons that in certain instances persons can receive religious exemptions.  Persons, however, are not for-profit corporations that are created with the primary purpose of making money.  If we were discussing religious employers here, then, yes, I could see why there can and should be a carve out.  However, we are discussing for-profit corporations.

The logic put forward today by the Supreme Court has no end.  Just as it easily justified the idea that men and women should be treated differently when it comes to the provision of their health care, it can be used to justify differential and/or separate treatment for all different groups.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

300 Schoolgirls

by: Strummerson

Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:37:20 AM EDT


 photo Bringbackourgirls_zps0051d06d.jpg

300 schoolgirls.  300 schoolgirls.  300 schoolgirls...stolen from their classrooms, kidnapped by men.  300 schoolgirls kidnapped by men who have publicly announced their intention to sell them as slaves.  To sell them into slavery.  To sell them to men who would rape them and terrorize them into drudgery.  No more school.

This morning I kissed my daughters as they went off to school.  I didn't remember the 300 schoolgirls waiting to be sold.  I didn't remember them until I read a headline on a left-wing blog and I think I know why.  And it's the ugliest of reasons.  It's a reason I only impute to others in the most severe situations.  It's the reason that people were stolen from Africa and sold into slavery for centuries.  It's the reason that stands behind slavery, murder, torture, humiliation, lynching.  It's the reason that 6 million members of my own community were exterminated.  Racism.

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 185 words in story)

Climate Change and Apocalypticism

by: Strummerson

Mon May 12, 2014 at 09:56:51 AM EDT



 photo climate_zps9971c235.jpg

I've never really considered myself an environmentalist. I don't live a particularly "green" life, though I recycle, don't litter, and don't leave lights on or other electronic devices running. But I increasingly find opposition to climate science (I don't think they are skeptics as much as scoffers) infuriating.

I don't even know quite what is motivating this post at the moment. But I have a family member with a science based Ph.D. who consistently raises his opposition to the findings of climate scientists every time he sees me. He argues that he's "read the science" and that his work has always been about modeling and that the models they use cannot hope to capture the complexity of the phenomenon of climate change and that ultimately belief in anthropogenic climate change is nothing more than belief, even religious belief. This last point resonates with those who often compare the dire predictions of climate scientists and environmental activists to the apocalyptic speculation that has occurred so frequently across western history.

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A Humble Petition for Public Prayer in Light of Today's Supreme Court Ruling

by: Mets102

Mon May 05, 2014 at 20:04:13 PM EDT

I humbly propose that the following invocation be given whenever a public meeting in the City of New York (and anywhere else that seeks to adopt it) is convened:

May Hashem's wisdom guide us and may His laws guide us.  May we take on more mitzvot [commandments] and may we therefore merit the coming of Moshiach, bim'hera v'yameinu.  Amen.

After all, if this prayer:

Lord, God of all creation, we give you thanks and praise for your presence and action in the world. We look with anticipation to the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. It is in the solemn events of next week that we find the very heart and center of our Chris­ tian faith. We acknowledge the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. We draw strength, vitality, and confidence from his resurrection at Easter. . . . We pray for peace in the world, an end to terrorism, violence, conflict, and war. We pray for stability, de­ mocracy, and good government in those countries in which our armed forces are now serving, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . . Praise and glory be yours, O Lord, now and forever more. Amen.

meets constitutional scrutiny for public governmental meetings, then the prayer I so humbly propose should meet that scrutiny as well.

Of course, I somehow doubt that the five justices that effectively declared today it was okay to effectively establish Christianity as the religion of state simply because the majority of Americans practice it would find a prayer so overtly Jewish acceptable.  Similarly, a prayer overtly Muslim or of any other religion would also not meet their scrutiny.  And those that scream loudest in favor of the prayer offered by clerics at the public meetings of the Town of Greece, New York, would scream for the separation of religion and state the moment a sectarian non-Christian prayer was offered.

Oh, and one more thing.  Justice Thomas reiterated his belief today that the Establishment Clause protects state establishments of religion and merely prohibits the federal government from establishing a national religion.  I would love to see a state establish a non-Christian religion as its state religion and then see if Justice Thomas possesses the courage of his convictions or if those beliefs only apply when a state adopts some form of Christianity as its state religion.

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

"God Loves Uganda"

by: the national gadfly

Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 12:17:48 PM EDT

** note: as usual, my film reviews are just my collected thoughts.  don't expect Roger Ebert here (read: I swear a lot)...just sayin' **

So, I went to an advanced screening of this film, "God Loves Uganda" tonight.  It was sponsored by Political Research Associates and shown at the SAIC.  I can't remember how I found out about it...twitter, I suppose...but I'm glad that I did go.  There was a panel discussion afterward as well.  


There were some snacks and chatting beforehand, but I had a bout of social awkwardness and ate cookies off to the side and tooled around on tumblr, etc.  

The film is a documentary about how US evangelicals are shaping anti-gay hate in Uganda.  The film covers several aspects of the bill before the Ugandan parliament.

Posted at SexGenderBody's tumblr

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1547 words in story)

I'm Proud That Obama's Campaign Never Attacked Romney's Faith

by: Inoljt

Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 10:25:21 AM EDT

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/
Photobucket

There is one thing that I'm very proud that the Obama campaign did - or rather, that it didn't do. Obama's campaign never attacked Mitt Romney's faith.

More below.

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The Demographics of America's Governors: Religion

by: Inoljt

Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 04:54:06 AM EDT

This post will look at the demographics of America's governors by age, as of August 2012. All in all, this series on the demographics of America's governors examines:
  • Age
  • Place of Birth
  • Race and Gender
  • Race and Gender and Political Party
  • Religion

    Outside of place of birth, this was the hardest category to get information on. Unlike race and gender, which are pretty obvious, your face doesn't indicate which religion you are.

    More below.

  • There's More... :: (0 Comments, 557 words in story)

    Why I am Converting to Catholicism

    by: Strummerson

    Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:47:00 AM EDT

    Yes. You read that correctly.  I've lived my life as a Jew, a traditional Jew in many senses.  And I have always been a rationalist.  But I am converting to Catholicism.  And it is the most rational thing for this rationalist Jew to do.  It's motivated by empirical observation and analysis that suggests, quite convincingly, that The Roman Catholic Church has been telling the truth.  I cannot be an obstinate super doubting Thomas and remain unconvinced, even after probing the wounds of the Savior with my own grubby fingers.  The fact is, the Catholic Church has performed a miracle.
    There's More... :: (51 Comments, 620 words in story)

    Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism

    by: Strummerson

    Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:58:58 AM EST

    One of the most debilitating and divisive aspects of the discourse surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the way constituencies engage the question of how anti-Zionism relates to anti-Semitism.  Very often, the division on this question is dichotomous and creates a binary of extreme positions that cannot engage with one another.  

    One of these sides sees anti-Zionism, and indeed all criticism of what they call the settlement of Judea and Samaria, as anti-Semitism masquerading as political critique and individuals with humanitarian intentions being manipulated unwittingly by anti-Semites.  These folks emphasize how Israel, even when they grant its imperfections, is singled out for disproportionate criticism, that it is inaccurately depicted as the root of all discord in the Middle East and the primary source of tension between the Muslim world and the west.  And even when they grant that criticism of Israel doesn't have to be anti-Semitic, at least in theory, they argue that it almost always is and must be viewed through the lens of this question.  Israel's critics must be considered guilty of anti-Semitism or of unwitting and naïve collusion with anti-Semites, until categorically proven otherwise.

    The other side, as is so often the case in this ideologically over-determined debate, seems its mirror image.  These folks argue that the accusation of anti-Semitism is a canard meant to silence valid criticism of Israeli policies and that the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza are the primary causes of contemporary anti-Semitism.  Furthermore, they accuse the "Israel Lobby" of manipulating US politics, and thus international politics, to support Israel's continued repression and exploitation of Palestinians against American interests and values.  This accusation strikes their opponents as all too close to the ugly conspiracy theories emanating from the anti-Semitic forgery known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which depicted international Jewry as the ultimate source of all war and suffering in the world.  

    There's More... :: (52 Comments, 890 words in story)
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