Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Number 16

Tea Party Double Feature

A.  You will have to ask the Tea Party to answer this question, 'cause I don't have the answer myself; but, what's the difference between an 'activist' judge and a 'patriotic' judge?

I'm very bemused about the reaction of my friends camped out over in right-wing land.  They are celebrating with much ecstasy the fact that a federal judge in Texas put a halt to the President's immigration plan.  To these people he is a 'red-blooded, American hero' standing up to the tyranny of the executive branch.  It is a "real Texas-sized smack down".  (That's an actual quote)

These are, of course, the same folks who decry 'judicial activism' when a judge somewhere delivers a ruling that they don't agree with.  Then it's all about how this one person is 'subverting the will of the majority'.  (Never minding the fact that our fore-fathers clearly gave the judiciary this power to ensure that majority-approved laws were also Constitutional.  Remember, slavery and "separate but equal" both enjoyed approval by majorities once upon a time.)

Look:  There's plenty to discuss and/or argue about when it comes to the Constitution. A person can believe that judges may legally block laws, or not (whether a law is popular or not).  (And if you don't think so, you need to retake a basic Civics class).  Just try to be consistent in your opinions or your hypocrisy might show.

B.  Do you remember Victoria Jackson?  She was on Saturday Night Live once upon a time, and her specialty was the "ditzy blonde".  These days she's a tea party advocate.  She recently posted a video entitled "There's a Muslim in the White House".  (click on the link below, if you would like).


I'll not debate the quality , or content of the video, but for one point.  Either you think she's hopelessly deluded, or a brave patriot trying to alert the masses.  I'm certain that my opinion won't change anyone's mind.

Here's the one point I'd like to make.  At one point in the video,  Ms. Jackson informs us that the President is allowed to lie about the fact that he's really a muslim.  What a wonderful way for Ms. Jackson to have her cake and eat it too!  In her scenario the President is either a Muslim lying about being a Christian or he's a Muslim lying about being a Christian.

The essence of this believe system (beyond the President's religious affiliation), is to disregard anything that doesn't support your opinions as being lies and untruths, and this strikes me as a tremendously dangerous way to construct your reality.  How can your thinking evolve if you always regard a differing opinion as a lie?

Unfortunately, it seems to me that Ms. Jackson is not alone among the tea party denizens who share this philosophy.  They believe what they believe, and any information that runs counter to those opinions are lies designed to destroy this great nation.


what a miserable way to live.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Number 15

I didn't write this (but wish I had).

I'm tired of right wing religious conservatives (i.e.:  At least three of our Supreme Court justices), claiming that Christianity has hegemony over all other expressions of faith to the point that it is legal to take into account Christian beliefs to settle legal disputes.  (Which begs the fallacy that there are not a large number of contradictory Christian beliefs).

If Our Founding Fathers Were All Christians, Why Did They Say This?

Nobody can deny the fact that Christianity has played a huge role in our history. From the first Thanksgiving to the ideas of Jesus Christ that are embroidered in our culture today, Christianity and the Bible is responsible a big part of our heritage.
However, many conservatives will take this fact way out of context. They'll think that you have to be a Christian to be patriotic, which is simply not true. Following the more secular teachings of Jesus Christ (being charitable, loving one another, treating strangers with kindness) is what the men who founded this country were for.
I don't want to waste my time listing all these obscurant far-right arguments, so instead I'll list the facts straight from our forefathers.
“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
- George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia (1789)
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr (1787)
"In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind.”
- Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1771)
“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.”
- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791)
“Congress has no power to make any religious establishments.”
- Roger Sherman, Congress (1789)
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack (1758)
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people build a wall of separation between Church & State."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802)
"To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."
- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis No. V (1776)
Note: You can read Paine's whole pamphlet, where he expresses his atheistic beliefs, here.
“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.”
- Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)
"Christian establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects."
- James Madison, letter to William Bradford, Jr. (1774)
"There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."
- George Washington, address to Congress (1790)
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
- James Madison, General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia (1785)