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Tilting at Windmills

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October 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

DEMOCRATS, LIBERALS, AND RELIGION....Scott Lemieux comments about Democrats and religion:

I have a lot of problems with Amy Sullivan's recent piece about the opportunities allegedly presented by David Kuo's new book. First of all, I reject her entire premise that Democratic politicians don't reach out to religious believers, and since she never mentions the names of prominent Democrats who treat believers with contempt it's impossible to evaluate her claims.

You know, I have two diametrically opposed responses to this. The first is that I've long had the same question as Scott about the Democratic Party's supposed religious phobia. Who are these Democrats who are insufficiently zealous in their religious outreach? Can anybody name even one? The plain fact is that every single Democrat in Congress claims to be religious, and none of them ever shows the slightest disrespect toward either Christianity or any other faith. Quite the contrary, in fact.

But my second response is: Give me a break. We all know perfectly well that it's the ACLU that fights every last expression of religion in the public square as if it really were the end times. (And don't even try to pretend the ACLU is anything but a liberal organization. Save it for the gullible.) It's liberals who gripe about "under God" in the pledge of allegiance. It's liberals who cheered when prayer was outlawed in public schools. It's liberals who fight even a nickel of public funding for parochial schools. It's liberals who write books like Kingdom Coming. It's liberals who disparage the anti-evolution crowd as thickwitted neanderthals.

And you know what? I agree with all that. I think the ACLU is great, I don't think government bureaucrats (i.e., teachers) should be pressing religion on little kids, and I have nothing but contempt for the self-righteous blowhards who want to turn high school biology classes into Sunday School. At the same time, I'm not so delusional that I don't realize that a lot of people view these positions as fundamentally anti-religious. I may not agree, but it's not as if this perspective has simply sprung out of thin air.

So let's get real: It's true that Democratic politicians are uniformly respectful toward religion, but it's equally true that the Democratic Party responds to liberal concerns, and that means it's more sympathetic than the Republican Party is to a whole raft of positions that even some moderate believers view as anti-religious. Maybe Democrats should do something about this, maybe they shouldn't. We all have our own take on that. But it's not as if the problem is just a figment of Amy Sullivan's imagination.

Kevin Drum 6:26 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (148)

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=== We all know perfectly well that it's the ACLU that fights every last expression of religion in the public square as if it really were the end times. (And don't even try to pretend the ACLU is anything but a liberal organization. Save it for the gullible.) It's liberals who gripe about "under God" in the pledge of allegiance. It's liberals who cheered when prayer was outlawed in public schools. ===
You seem to have fallen lock, stocks, and gun-barrel-upside-the-head for the Radical meme that these actions are disrespectful to religion. Perhaps you might want to ask the Puritans why so many of them came to North America, eh? Plenty of people of different religions and sects were willing to support the separation of church and state in the writing of the Constitution because they had firsthand experience of what happens otherwise. Something Ms. Sullivan seems not to understand. Or does she really think that when all the "disrepectful" are purged from the Democratic Party that the Radicals will extend here a welcoming hand? In fact she would be one of the first to be handed over to Dobson's New Inquisition.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on October 30, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

We put Kevin. Living in Portland, OR you meet a lot of liberals who are truly anti-religious. Not that there's anything wrong with that! I consider myself one of them.

Posted by: Withnail on October 30, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

...dunkings for all!

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on October 30, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

The only true protection of religion is the guarantee there is not one sanctioned religion and the separation of religion from politics.
Thus can one be both religious and tolerant of the rights and beliefs of others. That is why I am a Democrat, and why I respect the ACLU. The ACLU protects Republicans too--they just fail to acknowledge it. I have seen them stand up for unpopular positions irrespective of politics--just because they believed in protecting the rights of the minority.

Posted by: Sparko on October 30, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

It's a straw man. Do the politicians reach out to believers. Absolutely? What about the rank and file activists? Maybe not so much. There's a lot of preaching to the choir among my peers....including those who put in hours on campaigns.

I call on self-described liberal activists to establish some relationships out there. You will periodically get blown away, like I did when one of my professional associates told me with great fervor that Sodom and Gomorrah really happened. But you will also be periodically non-plussed, like when I told the same person that if she denied evolution then she should, for religious reasons, eschew the use of fossil fuels, and she said, "You mean like when its hypcritical for vegans to wear leather?"

Patience and persistance. When the neo-cons and the crooks and liars flame out and we are all holding the bag together, those folks are going to need someone to turn to who won't dis them as a knee-jerk reaction. We need to be ready for that moment.

Posted by: Frobisher on October 30, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

> The only true protection of religion
> is the guarantee there is not one
> sanctioned religion and the separation
> of religion from politics.

Which is also truely _respectful_ of religion.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on October 30, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

But sometimes the anti-religious come off as arrogant. And those people are liberals/Democrats more often than not:

See here: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/themix/42125

And here:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n20/eagl01_.html

I'm a liberal Democrat myself, for the record

Posted by: JJ on October 30, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Religious people and moderate opinion makers are too stoopid to realize that all of the things the ACLU and Leftists do to protect liberty also protects the freedom to believe what the anti-evolution, thickwitted neanderthal crowd wants to believe.

What I am not certain Amy Sullivan understands is that compromising with her religious friends to enforce righteous moral authority restricts the liberties of everyone else.

Posted by: Hostile on October 30, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think most Amy Sullivan critics would deny that religious conservatives associate the Democratic Party with the ACLU and all kinds of heathenish secular beliefs and practices, and that to some extent this association is not a figment of anyone's imagination (not even Amy's!). What people *are* saying (or what I would say, and what you seem to be saying) is that there's no way Democrats can or should jettison their support for the separation of church and state, or civil rights for all, or the right to privacy, or universal access to abortion and birth control. In fact, many of us think Democrats have gone way too far iin the direction of watering down these links already. So we feel impatient, perhaps too impatient, with arguments like Amy's, which seem weak in analysis and nebulous about just what is it we're supposed to do to win over people who are either dead set against or merely "uncomfortable" with abortion and gay rights. I guess Amy is just trying to help, but her stance reminds me too much of High Broderism.

Posted by: mary on October 30, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

> But sometimes the anti-religious come
> off as arrogant.

Do the religious ever come off as arrogant? How ofen, compared to the non-religious?

IOKIYAR I guess.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on October 30, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky's got this one right. As a native of the South, I can tell you first hand that simply disagreeing is considered disrespectful, because these positions are often considered an affront to God, and therefore to all Christians. I can't tell you how many times I've had to listen to local politicians, preachers, guys in bars rant about a damn gay pride parade in San Francisco, which, believe it or not, is not locally simulcast. The very existence of it is considered disrespectful, not shoving it down their throats.

At the same time, the way they talk about us is beyond disrespectful. They call us traitors, evil, Satanic. There is never a hint that we are all good people who disagree.

Posted by: Kiril on October 30, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Nice job Kevin substituting the ACLU for elected Democrats. A great deal of the ire aimed at your nominal boss is derived from precisely that rhetorical sleight of hand.

If you want to argue that elected Dems need to genuflect less to certain of their interest groups, that's at least an honest discussion. But to claim that because certain people who vote for Democrats do things that a minority of people take offense to, we as a party are ipso facto an anti-religious party is pure hogwash. Instead you and Amy ought to be making the arguments about how elected Dems are in fact treating religious voters with respect, else you're simply enabling a bunch of lies from Republicans and oversimplifications from the press.

Posted by: KevStar on October 30, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

...and that means it's more sympathetic than the Republican Party is to a whole raft of positions that even some moderate believers view as anti-religious.

As a moderate believer, I don't think you'll find many, if any, moderate believers that find these views anti-religious. We don't conflate God and country, and have no problem with making the separation of church and state more firm.

I don't know who Amy Sullivan is talking about either, but I'd be surprised if she's advocating prayer in school, teaching creationism or other violations of the constitution.

Posted by: Bob on October 30, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

. . . that means it's more sympathetic than the Republican Party is to a whole raft of positions that even some moderate believers view as anti-religious. Maybe Democrats should do something about this, maybe they shouldn't.

If they do want to do something, a good starting point would be to understand that both of the following are demonstrably false:

. . . the ACLU [fights] every last expression of religion in the public square as if it really were the end times.

. . . prayer was outlawed in public schools.

Neither of those is true, Kevin, not even in the shorthand you're attempting here. Why pose them this way, when you know damn well in plays into the Republicans' hands?


Posted by: Phil on October 30, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky: Did you even read my post? I don't personally find any of that stuff anti-religious. That's what "I agree with all that" means.

Still, the reality is that a lot of religious folks do find these positions anti-religious. That's a reality that needs to be dealt with, not ignored.

(My own view is that liberals could stand to calm down over some of more trivial symbolic issues, and could probably stand to adopt a somewhat friendlier rhetoric as well. But that's about it. I'd pretty much oppose any compromise on substantive grounds. In the end, this would probably net the Dems a few percentage points of the vote, but not much more. In some elections, however, that might be the difference between victory and defeat.)

Posted by: Kevin Drum on October 30, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's liberals who gripe about "under God" in the pledge of allegiance. It's liberals who cheered when prayer was outlawed in public schools. It's liberals who fight even a nickel of public funding for parochial schools. It's liberals who write books like Kingdom Coming. It's liberals who disparage the anti-evolution crowd as thickwitted neanderthals.

And it's conservatives who start preemptive wars that get children killed, conservatives who support the death penalty, conservatives who cheer as the poor get poorer and the rich get super-richer.

How aren't those anti-Christian?

Posted by: Stealth on October 30, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

"But sometimes the anti-religious come off as arrogant."

Yeah, and constantly reminding me that I'm doomed to a life in hell because I haven't "accepted Jesus Christ into my heart", i.e. become a member of their shitty church, is not arrogant at all. Especially when I live my life according to every single thing that Jesus emphasized as being the most important.

Religion would be a lot better if we got rid of all of the churches and just let everyone practice it on a personal, everyday basis.

Posted by: OhNotAgain on October 30, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

This is why I post as "the Americanist": in 1899, Leo XIII formally condemned "the Americanist heresy", which was kind of vaguely described.

But a sensible reading of the history concludes that the Americanist heresy was the startling idea that civics in itself has a moral value.

Arguing about religion in politics is like most things in politics: it is hard to beat something, with nothing.

Pro-lifers argue, sensibly, that if abortion is not wrong, then NOTHING is wrong (and note that Lincoln said it first, about slavery). That's something, isn't it?

Pro-choice folks like to say that no, it isn't that abortion (for choosing gender?) isn't wrong, per se, it's a question of who chooses, and you can't really expect that ALL parents should be informed about their daughters' choice to abort a baby because SOME parents are abusive, and...

Gimme a break.

People disagree about stuff. Civics provides a means to disagree without killing each other.

THAT has a moral value.

It was condemned by the Vatican (notably by Pius IX in the "Syllabus of Errors"), and earlier, by every God-appointed King who had the support of the Reformation and/or the Popes (hard to keep 'em all straight).

That's why the heresy was (and remains) AMERICAN in character.

And it is also why it is now official (if carefully rationalized) Catholic doctrine.

That's the something, with which we can defeat their... nothing.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 30, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Most people are concrete operations thinkers. For them seeing (or hearing) is believing. If the only thing about religion they ever hear from a liberal is attacks on the intelligence of creationists or snarky remarks about the 10 Commandments, then the impression they get is that liberals aren't religous and don't respect religion.
To win elections you have to get the votes of thhe independents. Independents are often religious.
That does not have to be done by using rightwing frames or adopting Republican lite positions. It does mean vocally expressing one's values and policies within a moral framework so that those who have to see to believe have something to see. Environmentalism is a moral issue and should be discussed that way. Social spending for things like student loans is a moral issue and should be discussed that way. The health care crisis is a moral issue and should be discussed that way. Liberals don't have to stop supporting the ACLU. We just need to express our superior moral values right out loud ( and our values ARE superior) in whatever relgious terms we are comfortable with so that our values are obvious. We need tostop assuming that people will know we have religous values without an overt statement on our part . . It's the same as patriotism: the right waves flags and gets a undeserved rep for being patriotic when most righties don't understand, let alone suppport, democratic values. Liberals have finally realized that it isn't enough to BE patriotic. To get credit for being patriotic one has to put flags all over everything. To get credit for having religious values we have to parade them around our issues.
That's the way to do outreach.

Posted by: Lily on October 30, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

it's the ACLU that fights every last expression of religion in the public square as if it really were the end times

no they don't. no they don't. no they don't.

you shouldn't even repeat that one in jest, or in snarky agreement. because it's just not true.

what the ACLU fights is spending public money to promote religion.

Posted by: cleek on October 30, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Because he notes Pat Robertson's fundamental belief in the condemnation of Jews to hell, Amy Sullivan calls Lawrence O'Donnell "the new poster boy for religious intolerance."

Money quote from the Stupidest Lady Ever to Write a Book: "The good reverend has also said he believes Methodists will burn in hell, but that's not really the point."

Um, yes dear. Yes, indeed it is.

Posted by: HeavyJ on October 30, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Still, the reality is that a lot of religious "folks do find these positions anti-religious. That's a reality that needs to be dealt with, not ignored."

I'm sorry Kevin, but this is the same tripe that Amy posts all of the time. Why on earth would I have to (or desire to) accomodate views that are contrary to the freedoms that I cherish as a citizen of this country and are supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution ? These aren't acadmemic issues. There are significant and dangerous risks to allowing these "sneak attacks" on the separation of church and state, and there is definitely a slippery-slope aspect that is very disturbing. And that's how the evangelicals operate. One need look no farther than the abortion clinic situation to see where things end up once they've had a few years to whittle away at things.

Posted by: OhNotAgain on October 30, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

> Cranky: Did you even read my post?
> [...]
> (My own view is that liberals could
> stand to calm down over some of more
> trivial symbolic issues, and could
> probably stand to adopt a somewhat
> friendlier rhetoric as well. ...

Kevin,
I will just hold this out as an example. The Radials _perfected_ the "wedge issue". They attack on everything, all the time. When they say they want compromise on the "under God", they mean they want Dobson videos and teacher-led Christian prayers in every classroom. Guaranteed. Either you think the separation of church and state is right, or you don't. If you do, then it is a wall. Not swiss cheese.

By trying to find a "center" you undermine your own statement.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on October 30, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

I Answer To The Name Of Atheist

You betcha. Religion is teh stupid. No, really. It really is. Its based on believing things despite lack of evidence and there's just nothing to good to say about that kind of stupidity.

Posted by: TheFool on October 30, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

I don't live in the South. I'm in the Northeast. So I don't hear a lot of Bible thumpers/fundamentalists around all the time.

I can see how it might make a difference, living in the south. I might have a different attitude if I did. Still, I think there can be a kind of atheist arrogance sometimes, as Dawkins shows. I don't think that helps our cause.

Posted by: JJ on October 30, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

There seems to be some blurring of the true meaning of "reaching out to religious believers" which actually means "reaching out to fundamentalist christians."

I'm a buddhist and only one politician ever reached out to believers my religion, Al Gore, and his opponents used it against him, implying that he was antichristian and a puppet of foreign interests.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on October 30, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

I have the same two diametrically opposed positions. But you should go read what Matt Yglesias has to say on the subject.

Posted by: eyelessgame on October 30, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Religion would be a lot better if we got rid of all of the churches and just let everyone practice it on a personal, everyday basis.

but, but, but ... who would get the money and the power ? if people worshipped as their own consciences dictated, what on earth would the self-important, attention-seeking, finger-wagging, panty-sniffing, tithe-taking, do-as-i'm-saying, not-as-i'm-doing, media-whoring, rule-writing, women-hiding, PAC-building, mass-mailing, self-appointed consciences-of-the-world do for a living ?

won't somebody think of the hypocrites ?

Posted by: cleek on October 30, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

It's liberals who disparage the anti-evolution crowd as thickwitted neanderthals.

Well, if by liberals you mean "anyone with even an ounce of understanding about basic scientific concepts," then yes. You don't have to be a liberal to consider the anti-evolution crowd to be thickwitted Neanderthals, you just have to have simple common sense.

Posted by: Stefan on October 30, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

"If the only thing about religion they ever hear from a liberal is attacks on the intelligence of creationists or snarky remarks about the 10 Commandments, then the impression they get is that liberals aren't religous and don't respect religion."

I'm sorry, but if a person is offended because I think it idiotic that a person believes that the world is 6000 years old, then that person deserves what they get. For too long we have put up with the bullshit idea in this country that you get to sit around and benefit from all of the great things that science gives us while publicly espousing idiotic drivel like creationism that is completely contrary to all known science and not get called on it. It's like a person on welfare taking the EITC credit each year and sitting around decrying how high the federal income taxes are.

As for the 10 commandments - quote one liberal person that has said something snarky about the 10 commandments ? The last time I saw anything about the 10 commandments it was in opposition to having them hanging in a public government building, something which would indicate a preference for one religion over another, which is, last time I checked, contrary to our Constitution.

Posted by: OhNotAgain on October 30, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

It's like having Oscar Wilde for President!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/core/Content/displayPrintable.jhtml;jsessionid=VFX3R3BRFDCCLQFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2006/10/29/wbush29.xml&site=5&page=0

In the aftermath of George W Bush's re-election as president two years ago, his campaign manager, Karl Rove, amused himself and his boss with a battery-powered "Redneck Horn". At the touch of a dashboard button, the device would yell insults in a raucous Southern accent, providing automated road rage for "red state" Republicans.

The toy's abusive messages ranged from the relatively mild "Slow down, dumbass!" to "Hey, hogneck, who taught you how to drive?"; "What the hell was that manoeuvre?"; "Are you freaking blind?" and "You're a goddam moron!" How they all laughed in the White House, if the Bush administration's renegade court historian, Bob Woodward, is to be believed.


The neural system associated with humor is something more like a series of associations involving judgement and this seems an awful lot of evidence that Republican neurons are thin in this region, as they are in every other brain area associated with social relations.

Posted by: cld on October 30, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

> As for the 10 commandments - quote one
> liberal person that has said something
> snarky about the 10 commandments ?

I think he is referring to (1) asking Radical politicians to recite all 10 commandments (2) pointing out how the actions of Radicals violate the 10 Commandments they hold so dear. #2 _really_ pisses them off and is therefore by defintion "disrespectful".

Cranky

Look, its all about authoritarianism. That is it.

Posted by: Cranky Observer on October 30, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

The truest protection for religious interest is to guarantee that all have protection from any religious interest.

Posted by: cld on October 30, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

JJ: its not that Dawkins or other atheists are arrogant. Its just that we can see how you theists are being duped and its utterly exasperating. You're being conned and we're trying to tell you exactly what the con is but you act like total stooges and insist on going through with it. Its just hard for us to accept how completely brainwashed so many of you are.

And therein lies the proof that we are not arrogant. If we were arrogant we would not assume that you theists were just as capable of seeing through the fraud as we are.

Posted by: The Fool on October 30, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

mhr, shush. the grown-ups are talking now.

Posted by: cleek on October 30, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

But Amy doesn't call for the Democrats to change positions. She just for nice talk, which as you admit all Democrats do. She's the one who thinks evangelicals are stupid, willing to trade their deeply held positions for a few nice words. Why does Amy Sullivan hate the religious?

Posted by: Rob on October 30, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

(My own view is that liberals could stand to calm down over some of more trivial symbolic issues, and could probably stand to adopt a somewhat friendlier rhetoric as well. But that's about it. I'd pretty much oppose any compromise on substantive grounds. In the end, this would probably net the Dems a few percentage points of the vote, but not much more. In some elections, however, that might be the difference between victory and defeat.)

I'll let Scott Lemieux of TAPPED answer that:

But my biggest problem with Sullivan's argument continues to be that she's frustratingly vague about how, exactly, Democrats should "reach out to disaffected evangelicals." My understanding is that she's not saying that Democrats should sacrifice core principles such as reproductive freedom. But if that's the case, I don't know what more Democrats can do. Sullivan seems to think that there are large numbers of voters who 1)like Democratic economic policy more, 2)vote Republican because of social issues, but 3)would stop voting Republican on social issues, not because of substantive shifts in Democratic policy but because of shifts in rhetoric. I suspect that these voters could fit in a good-sized walk-in closet. I think most voters who vote on cultural principle care about substantive positions, and with the Roberts and Alito homeruns they're being rational to vote Republican no matter how much Karl Rove disdains them.

http://www.prospect.org/weblog/

Posted by: Stefan on October 30, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

It's liberals who cheered when prayer was outlawed in public schools.

Really? When was this, because I must have missed it. Of course, we all know that mandatory state-sanctioned prayer, and not prayer itself, was banned in public schools, but that can't be what Drum is referring to, otherwise he wouldn't have misstated it so badly, would he....?

Posted by: Stefan on October 30, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

You betcha. Religion is teh stupid. No, really. It really is. Its based on believing things despite lack of evidence and there's just nothing to good to say about that kind of stupidity.

How DARE you mock my faith in the Tooth Fairy! How DARE you, you smug self-centered liberal elitist! Just for that, I'm voting Republican.....

Posted by: Stefan on October 30, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Both Amy and Kevin seem to be using "religion" to mean "right-wing fundamentalism." The two terms are not synonyms. The religious fights we liberals have are with right-wing fundamentalists who want to establish a theocracy, not with anyone else.

I live in central Ohio, which is hardly irreligious, and in fact many of the suburbanites I know are church-going Christians. Yet I don't know a single one who would argue for forced prayer in schools or the teaching of creationism -- our suburb officially refers to Christmas as Holly Days, and nobody is complaining.

I suspect that most normal people in this country understand that our society is pluralistic. What seems to have happened, however, is that right-wing fundamentalist nutcases have convinced many in the media (including Amy, and, surprisingly, Kevin) that the right-wing fundamentalist agenda is the de facto "religious" agenda. It is not. Religious identity in this country is as diverse and everything else.

Posted by: Aris on October 30, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Every suppossedly "progressive" movement since the Fench Revolution has sabotaged it's efforts with an unneccessary attack on religious faith. What Kevin misses, and Amy realizes, is that expunging all reference to our religious heritage is not neutrality. What concievable purpose could be served by the ACLU's jihad against an infintesimal cross on the LA county seal? Why require the govt to spend millions of dollars erasing the fact that LA was founded as a Catholic mission to the Indians? Kevin says he's fine with that -- why? Can't you think of more productive uses of your time and money?

Posted by: minion of rove on October 30, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

We all know perfectly well that it's the ACLU that fights every last expression of religion in the public square as if it really were the end times.

As others have pointed out, the ACLU opposes taxpayer financed and/or state-sanctioned expressions of religion in the public square -- indeed, they will and have fought for the rights of private, non-governmental churches and religious groups to practice their religion in the public square.

I don't understand why this seems to be such a hard concept for the Christianists to grasp -- do what you want, but don't expect the rest of us taxpayers to pay for it.

Posted by: Stefan on October 30, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Ohnotagain, read my entire post before you get all defensive. My point was that it is important not to let religion be dined by the right and not to let religion work in the political arean only for the right. The right is very good at manipulation symbols ( and very weak in understanding substance). My point was also that liberals have moral values but, by failing to articulte those values, we get labaled by the right as not having values, particularly when the only time liberals discuss religion is to make fun of right wing extremist religion.
(I should have written about mocking efforts to post the Commandments, not mocking of the Commandments themselves.)
It is possible for liberals to discuss relgion, do do it politely, and to do it without adopting rightwing positions. We need to stop letting the right monopolize religion.

Posted by: lily on October 30, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK
Who are these Democrats who are insufficiently zealous in their religious outreach? Can anybody name even one?

I dunno, its pretty hard to separate "insufficiently zealous" from "insufficiently competent". Certainly most prominent Democrats I've seen fall into one category, though which is pretty hard to say which one; John Kerry's fumbling over any discussion of religion would be the first example that jumps to mind.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 30, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're talking about apples and oranges here, buddy, and please don't pretend that you don't know it. (Save it for the gullible!)

Amy is talking about Democratic politicians but you're talking about the ACLU, individual Supreme Courts -state/federal, not necessarly liberal since judges are suppose to go by US Constitutional law and thoughout it all, fail to address the main point.

Amy is talking about politicians and YOU'RE NOT.

Tell me Kevin, what Democratic politician has ever piped up and said "we don't need "under God" in the pledge of allegiance? NOT one Mr. KD, not one.

NO Dem congress member has EVER done that Kevin.

You pulled a little Bushie trick there Mr. Drum: You changed the subject, but not as stupid as Bush followers.

Posted by: Cheryl on October 30, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

er, I met to say poster here are not as stupid as Bush followers.

Posted by: Cheryl on October 30, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

NO Dem congress member has EVER done that Kevin.

Well, there was Rep. Bill Z. Bubb (D-NH), but something never felt quite right about that guy.

Posted by: Stefan on October 30, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

darn it, here: I met to say "we (posters) are not as stupid as Bush followers."

Posted by: Cheryl on October 30, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Its truly breathtaking. Pennsylvania needs to put up a pro-lifer to beat Santorum, (and the feminists muzzle themselves) Ford is running around Tennessee saying Jesus every third word, Hillary now wears a cross


Love it

Posted by: Fitz on October 30, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Its just that we can see how you theists are being duped and its utterly exasperating.

I'm not a theist. I'm an agnostic. But I've known plenty of theists I respect. And I have enough curiousity not to flatly dismiss religion, and especially not to dismiss people who are religious. These people have included family members and friends that I've had a lot of respect for. (Of course thugs like Jerry Falwell are a different sort entirely.)

Posted by: JJ on October 30, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it always the ten commandments that fundamentalists and some evangelicals want posted? Why not post the Beatitudes -- you know, things like "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

Posted by: Alf on October 30, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

More on my theory the interweb is such a complex device it intersects with parallel universes: today, just as I deleted it, I noticed a piece of spam was dated December 31, 2037.

Posted by: cld on October 30, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Just read this thread - it makes the point for Amy. The vast majority of comments are showing literally *no* respect for the belief (in God) of the majority of their fellow citizens, then acting surprised that those fellow citizens return the lack of regard. Lily has it right - Dem 'thinkers' (not the same as Dem politicians) let themselves get hung up on the stupdity/superstition of religious beliefs and hand the faithful over to be exploited by the right-wing.
A better approach would be to respectfully appeal to the 'love-thy-neighbor' common ground in all major religions. Much of the Democratic legacy of the 20th century owes its success to the votes of blue-collar Catholics, now sadly defected to Reagan Republicanism.

Posted by: MaryLou on October 30, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Um - cartoons of Mohammad?

Sure - I won't flatly dismiss all religion. But I will flatly dismiss all discussion of mixing religion and politics.

Get all indignant about "being offended" on your own time. Besides, the "saved" have all eternity to stew over it.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on October 30, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

But my second response is: Give me a break. We all know perfectly well that it's the ACLU that fights every last expression of religion in the public square as if it really were the end times.

No, actually, it doesn't; it fights every last expression of religion backed by the government as if it were a violation of the Establishment Clause, which is quite different from your description.

(And don't even try to pretend the ACLU is anything but a liberal organization. Save it for the gullible.)

True, supporting Constitutional liberties is certainly a position that distinguishes liberals from conservatives.

It's liberals who gripe about "under God" in the pledge of allegiance.

A very small minority of liberals complain about that, and even most of those who complain don't get very worked up about it.

It's liberals who cheered when prayer was outlawed in public schools.

Prayer, qua prayer, was never outlawed in public schools. Prayer led by government agents in the public schools was; one of the cases which was brought which led to that was brought by religious persons who didn't like having a different religion forced on their children through such prayer.

It's liberals who fight even a nickel of public funding for parochial schools.

Some liberals do, some don't; some of those that do do it because the schools are private, not because they are religious.

It's liberals who write books like Kingdom Coming.

And often conservatives who write books about the dangerous influence of non-Christian politico-religious movements (particularly Islamic ones, but also liberal Christian ones.) Neither is any more disrespectful to "religion".

It's liberals who disparage the anti-evolution crowd as thickwitted neanderthals.

Er, "thickheaded" or "dimwitted", more often, and no more than flat-earthers. So?

At the same time, I'm not so delusional that I don't realize that a lot of people view these positions as fundamentally anti-religious. I may not agree, but it's not as if this perspective has simply sprung out of thin air.

No, its been deliberately cultivated by right-wing politicians looking for a way to build a base of support by making Christians, particularly of the fundamentalist stripe, feel persecuted. It didn't spring out of thin air, its the product of deliberate distortion and propaganda.

So let's get real: It's true that Democratic politicians are uniformly respectful toward religion,

Er, no, its not. Some are respectful toward religion generally, some are respectful toward certain religions and not others, some make a perfunctory and not always successful effort to mask contempt for religion and the religious.

No different than Republicans in this respect.

but it's equally true that the Democratic Party responds to liberal concerns, and that means it's more sympathetic than the Republican Party is to a whole raft of positions that even some moderate believers view as anti-religious.

Sure, which is precisely what Democrats need to understand and, if they want to be seen as being "respectful" to religion (and even moreso if they actually want to be respectful toward religion), they need to (1) work to understand why these are seen as "anti-religious", (2) where there are legitimate complaints that can be addressed with violating liberal principles, subtly shift position to do so, and (3) work to explain how their positions are respectful of religion.

If you don't fight the meme the Republicans are trying to spread to keep the Christian vote, you hand them an advantage they don't deserve.

Maybe Democrats should do something about this, maybe they shouldn't. We all have our own take on that. But it's not as if the problem is just a figment of Amy Sullivan's imagination.

Well, no. As frequently as I disagree with Amy's position on what to do, or even what the fundamental problem areas are, this isn't a problem that she invented out of nowhere; the perception certainly exists, valid or not.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 30, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Why is it always the ten commandments that fundamentalists and some evangelicals want posted?"

I get your point about the Beatitudes
ButI think its their (the ten commandments) relationship with the law, and lawmaking that make them particularly suitable for legislative grounds & courthouses.

Posted by: Fitz on October 30, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why this seems to be such a hard concept for the Christianists to grasp -- do what you want, but don't expect the rest of us taxpayers to pay for it.
Posted by: Stefan on October 30, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

It's not a difficult concept to grasp - but purposely failing to grasp it serves their twisted, dishonest agenda better.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on October 30, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and this: (And don't even try to pretend the ACLU is anything but a liberal organization. Save it for the gullible.)

The ACLU protects individual rights, and just because FOX news demonized the ACLU doesn't prove that ACLU is exclusively liberal.

I really think those lawyers that work for the ACLU would just as aggressively defend individual rights to bare arms as long as an individual has no criminal or mental illness history.

Kevin, you've been bainwash by Bill O'Reilly and by listening to Bushie talking points until you actually believe them.

You sound like Bush accusing the New Jersey Supreme Court of being a bunch of "activist judges". But of course those same "judges" would ONLY have been "activist judges" if they defer to King George and those right-wing evangelicals instead of Constitutional law.

I think everyone here knows that Bush accuses judges of being "activist judges" whenever they don't do what Bush administration wants them too.

Posted by: Cheryl on October 30, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's right. Some, not all, (not even most) Democrats are pretty anti-religious. Just mentioning the name Amy Sullivan around here is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

KGB

Posted by: kgb on October 30, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the preserving of separation of church and state is the best thing ever to happen to religion. Just check out countries like UK that have a state religion and see what the participation levels are-- quite low. So the ACLU can be seen as a defender of religion in the sense that what they do is GOOD for religion in this country in that it keeps the practice of religion completely voluntary and doesn't single out any denomination for either support or rejection.

What the Christianists (to distinguish them from Christians) want, of course, has nothing to do with freedom of religion. What they want is support for their particular brand of a certain denomination. And I am very glad, and any non-Christianist religious person ought to agree, that Ms. Sullivan doesn't get what she always seems to want, some bended-knee fealty on the part of both parties to the loudest adherents of Christianism. That's bad for America, and bad for religion in general, and the fact that it might be good for one particular brand indicates that it is simply anti-American.

The Democrats stand for freedom of religion for more than just those who practice one form of it. If you don't get that, please step over there and comfort Ms. Sullivan in her constant feelings of persecution, which are getting really old to the rest of us. If she really really cared about freedom of religion, we'd be hearing her proclaim the need for atheism to be accepted, because that's the "religious group" that is discriminated against.

Posted by: oops on October 30, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK
ButI think its their (the ten commandments) relationship with the law, and lawmaking that make them particularly suitable for legislative grounds & courthouses.

The Ten Commandments have very little connection with the civil law, and even less with the concept of lawmaking applicable in any system of popular sovereignty. I mean, deliberation by elected representatives of the people delegated authority by the electorate is about as far from "Big Man in the Sky delivers binding written edicts" as you can get.

Were we to take material from the Bible that is remotely relevant to the civil law, "Render unto God what is God's, and unto Caesar what is Caesar's" would be more appropriate than the decalogue.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 30, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

In constitutional interpretation its particularly important to note were a particular right is guaranteed within the text.

Freedom of Religion is the first right mentioned in the first amendment of our constitution.

Posted by: Fitz on October 30, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK
Well, if by liberals you mean "anyone with even an ounce of understanding about basic scientific concepts," then yes.

In the modern American political lexicon, the latter is a proper subset of the former.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 30, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

"The Ten Commandments have very little connection with the civil law, and even less with the concept of lawmaking applicable in any system of popular sovereignty. I mean, deliberation by elected representatives of the people delegated authority by the electorate is about as far from "Big Man in the Sky delivers binding written edicts" as you can get."

Apparently lawyers and legal professionals disagree. They are a common expression (along with the Hammurabi code and other historical ancient texts) of the history of legal thought.
Thats what they are represented in the Supreme Court multiple times & there are multiple freezes in my law school depicting mosses and other historic law givers.


Posted by: Fitz on October 30, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK
Freedom of Religion is the first right mentioned in the first amendment of our constitution.

Actually, I'd say Freedom of Religion (the Free Exercise Clause) is the second right in the First Amendment. Freedom from religion (the Establishment Clause) is first.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 30, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK
Apparently lawyers and legal professionals disagree.

Yes, people in the practice of law like to associate the practice of law with the interface between the human and the divine.

That doesn't mean they should be indulged.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 30, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Christ! I wish religious people like Amy would just practice their religion and shut the fuck up about it. I support your right to have an imaginary playmate. Just don't make me pretend talk to him.

Posted by: Pat on October 30, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, I really missed this pattern, which used to happen reguarly when Amy posted here. 1.) Amy Sullivan posts that Democrats are hostile to religion. 2.) People here say in response that she is ridiculous and that it is fundamentalists who are trying to impose their views on others. 3.) Ten Republican trolls come in and say "See? Democrats ARE hostile to religion!" 4) Go to 1 and start again.

Go the fuck away!!

Posted by: Pat on October 30, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

JJ: I've known many theists, including family members, including formerly myself, whom I respected. However, I respect them despite their foolish religious beliefs, not because of them, so this point has no bearing on the discussion.

Technically, I'm an agnostic too. But only in the same sense that I'm an agnostic about the existence of Thor, the God of Thunder. Only because logically its impossible to 100% prove a negative existential claim. 99.9999999999999999% is good enough for me, so effectively I'm an atheist.

Posted by: The Fool on October 30, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

JJ: I've known many theists, including family members, including formerly myself, whom I respected. However, I respect them despite their foolish religious beliefs, not because of them, so this point has no bearing on the discussion.

Technically, I'm an agnostic too. But only in the same sense that I'm an agnostic about the existence of Thor, the God of Thunder. Only because logically its impossible to 100% prove a negative existential claim. 99.9999999999999999% is good enough for me, so effectively I'm an atheist.

Posted by: The Fool on October 30, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Actually, I'd say Freedom of Religion (the Free Exercise Clause) is the second right in the First Amendment. Freedom from religion (the Establishment Clause) is first."

Then youd be engaging in novel legal reasoning. There are not two clauses here, it is a single clause respecting government interference in matters religious. Nowhere does it say either, A) Freedom from religion Nor B) Separation of Church & State.

As I noted in constitutional interpretation its particularly important to note were a particular right is guaranteed within the text. One advantage of this is the context given the groupings of rights. Note; 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.

Like the press, and free speech and assembly, the drafters saw religion as a natural check on the powers of the state. If the State can establish a religion, it could then control its message and thereby void this bulwark against tyranny.

Yes, people in the practice of law like to associate the practice of law with the interface between the human and the divine.

Actually it seems more of a statement about historical linage, and legitimacy.

Posted by: Fitz on October 30, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if by liberals you mean "anyone with even an ounce of understanding about basic scientific concepts," then yes.

In the modern American political lexicon, the latter is a proper subset of the former.

[Wiping the coffee off my screen] Phew, that's a good one! You should take your bizarre comedy routines out on the road.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 30, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Thats what they are represented in the Supreme Court multiple times & there are multiple freezes in my law school depicting mosses and other historic law givers.

Pericles, perhaps?

Our form of government owes more to ancient Greece than any ancient Church. In fact, if you look closely you'll notice that laws are made by men. If you look really closely you'll notice that religion is made by men also.

Posted by: obscure on October 30, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

But only in the same sense that I'm an agnostic about the existence of Thor, the God of Thunder.

By Odin! The Fool taunts me! Puny mortal, prepare to feel my wrath....

Posted by: Thor on October 30, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK
Then youd be engaging in novel legal reasoning. There are not two clauses here, it is a single clause respecting government interference in matters religious.

Recognizing the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause as having each their own import is not exactly "novel legal reasoning", by any reasonable definition, even if you disagree with it.

Nowhere does it say either, A) Freedom from religion Nor B) Separation of Church & State.

Nowhere does it say "freedom of religion", either; "freedom of religion" is a fair restatement of the impact of the free exercise clause, "freedom from religion" a similarly fair restatement of that of the establishment clause, and "separation of Church and State" a slightly different, but equally fair, view of the two together.

Actually it seems more of a statement about historical linage, and legitimacy.

A false statement, perhaps. As the historical lineage of the modern legal profession has little connection to the Mosaic tradition, and its philosophical claim to legitimacy rests in the justification of the law by appeal to consent of the governed, not divine dictate, it doesn't work well on that level.

It seems to me more of a self-important mythical connection, an attempt to piggy-back on popular imagery similar to the thin historical connection invoked with the creation of the so-called "Holy Roman Empire".

Posted by: cmdicely on October 30, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Pericles, perhaps?
Our form of government owes more to ancient Greece than any ancient Church.

Yes Pericles is another....

I like the Greek layout of Washington. With Jefferson and Lincoln memorials representing Ancient Pagan Temples, & the Eygigtian Obilisk (a religious symbol) in the center.

Posted by: Fitz on October 30, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

It comes down to this:

I went from grade school through high school listening to people tell me I killed Christ and asking me why I didn't celebrate Christmas when Shellie's family did?

Amy Sullivan's tactics would burn and crucify Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and atheists at the stake.

I say fuck that.

I say your right to believe in God ends at my nose and my wallet. Keep your fucking religious beliefs out of politics. You use it to pretend you are a victim, and you use it as a trump card to oppress others.

I thank my god for the separation of church and state, and if Amy doesn't understand that, I will be happy to take her to city hall and shove a bible, a koran, a torah, and a cross repeatedly up her asshole until she does.

Amy you're just another fucking goy as far as I am concerned. Fuck off.

Posted by: jerry on October 30, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, the ACLU in my town has long been directed by a Republican who has run for office as a Republican. She isn't at all liberal-- rather she believes protecting the Constitution is something all Americans should support. I think Kevin is doing a disservice to her and other "conservative" ACLUers to imply that only liberals are pro-liberty.

Posted by: oops on October 30, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

I say your right to believe in God ends at my nose and my wallet. Keep your fucking religious beliefs out of politics.

Yet it's the liberal multicultural advocates who shove religion down the throats of our children, and are proud to do so so long as the religion isn't Christianity:

During the course at the middle school, teacher Brooke Carlin, using an instructional guide, told her students that they would adopt roles as Muslims for three weeks. She said she stressed that the exercise was only a role- playing game to teach them what Muslims believe.

She encouraged them to use Muslim names, recited prayers in class, required students to recite a line from a prayer and made them give up something for a day, such as television or candy, to simulate fasting during Ramadan.

Posted by: TangoMan on October 30, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Technically, I'm an agnostic too. But only in the same sense that I'm an agnostic about the existence of Thor, the God of Thunder.

I don't know any adherents of Thor, the God of Thunder. But I did know my great grandmother, and a friend of mine who was a Methodist minister, and I liked them. The same with MLK and Thomas Merton. Those were good guys too. Thor was the guy drawn by Stan Lee, which was a bit different.

Posted by: JJ on October 30, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

How is it that the add-on "under God" is religious. Certainly, its sponsor, the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic organization. But the inclusion in the Pledge was jingoism in 1954, and remains so today.

I am old enough to remember the first time reciting the Pledge at a secular vs Catholic function. Those trained in the "under God" mode got left a couple of words behind.

So, if you want to berate the ACLU for its opposition to "under God" in the Pledge, realize as well, it isn't about religion, its about a right wing political agenda.

Posted by: RickG on October 30, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

All good points, Kevin (oh God, I'm even starting to write like him), but these arguments would be moot if all people kept their religion and governance separate.

In my experience, the people I have met who are very liberal are also deeply spiritual. I'm sure the knuckle-draggers will say, "Yeah, well what about abortion?". To that question, my answer is that I have never met a liberal who "advocates" abortion. We uniformly believe it is the worst possible outcome of a pregnancy and it is far, far better to prevent unwanted pregnancies than to terminate them. However, we also recognize that there are circumstances when terminating a pregnancy is more compassionate than allowing it to go to term. And it is the mother's right to make that judgment - and no one else.

Until liberals find a uniform, sensible voice regarding this issue, they are going to get bludgeoned by the pseudo-religious.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 30, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know any adherents of Thor, the God of Thunder

They're out there.

http://www.thetroth.org/ourfaith/intro.html

Posted by: felt tip Larry on October 30, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

"if you want to berate the ACLU for its opposition to "under God" in the Pledge, realize as well, it isn't about religion, its about a right wing political agenda."

The phrase was inserted through a Congressional resolution in 1954, sponsored by that crazed right winger, Peter Rodino.

Lord, you guys are hothouse flowers.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 30, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard to reconcile Amy Sullivan's piece with the latest from Garry Wills in the New York Review of Books ("A Country Ruled by Faith").

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19590

Posted by: Ross Best on October 30, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

I was privileged to know an absolute kook of a Dane who loudly proclaimed himself an atheist. At a time when I was way too involved in church, banter would be good natured if belief came up for discussion : which wasn't likely, truth to tell. He was eccentric, smart as a whip, good natured and kind.
Since he was a lot older than I came the parting of the ways ( he was 90 ) and a memorial service.
The stories of service and giving that came out were an inspiration. Don't ask wasn't he really a Christian. Ask if he didn't understand the true meaning of compassion and humanity. Those will do just fine.

Posted by: opit on October 30, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

I support your right to have an imaginary playmate.

However, I respect them despite their foolish religious beliefs, not because of them, so this point has no bearing on the discussion.

Don't you guys get it? Can't you just say "it's not for me" without being a snarky asshole about it? There are plenty of religious people who aren't stupid. They recognize disrespect when they see it, whether it's insults like these or the condescension I suspect you two would be more likely to display in public, where insulting people is considered, well, bad manners. How is going around trying to "enlighten" people by telling them how they've been brainwashed denuding them of their religious beliefs any different from Jerry Falwell telling you you're going to hell for your lack thereof? Sure, I wish conservative Christians would shut the hell up about their religion. But I know some atheists I wish would shut the hell up about other peoples' religions.

Posted by: An atheist who doesn't get it on October 30, 2006 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, I wish conservative Christians would shut the hell up about their religion. But I know some atheists I wish would shut the hell up about other peoples' religions.

add up the theists who won't shut up, then add up the atheists who won't shut up. which number is orders of magnitudes larger?

Posted by: cleek on October 30, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a Christian and I have no problem with anything the ACLU does. The defend the fringes. It needs doing. I don't think there should be prayer in public schools. That's what churches are for. I don't believe tax payers should fund religious schools. That's what religious tithes are for. I don't believe the words "under God" should be in the Pledge of Allegiance because they were only put in it to show that we were different than the Godless Commies. Take 'em out.

Posted by: snark on October 30, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Can't you just say "it's not for me" without being a snarky asshole about it? "

When you get Christians to stop being the same way.

My favorite snarky Christian asshole line:"It's all gonna burn!"

Posted by: Joey Giraud on October 30, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan,

Nice try, but it is not going to work. You are intentionally misleading people to think that only Islam is taught in California public schools, while Christianity is neglected. Yes, in California, students are required to study Islamic history in Seventh Grade (they also study Japan, China, and Mideval Christianity). However, you are conveniently leaving out certain facts. Most notably, in the sixth grade, California students are required to study about ancient Hebrew and Christian texts and their importance and contributions to our society.

The following passage is taken from pages 77-78 of the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools:

The Foundation of Western Ideas: The Ancient Hebrews and Greeks

"One of the principal roots of Western civilization can be found in the enduring contributions of the ancient Hebrews to Western ethical and religious thought and literature, most notably the Old Testament. To understand these traditions, students should read and discuss Biblical literature that is part of the literary heritage and ethical teachings of Western civilization; for example, stories about the Creation, Noah, the Tower of Babel, Abraham, the Exodus, the Tem Commandments, Ruth and Naomi, David, and Daniel and the Lion's Den; selections from the Psalms and Proverbs; and the Hebrew people's concepts of wisdom, righteousness, law, and justice."

The following passage is taken from page 80 of the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools:

"Students should learn about the rise and spread of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean world and of its origins in the life and teachings of Jesus; Roman efforts to suppress Christianity; the consequences of Constantine's acceptance of Christianity (A.D. 313); and its subsequent establishment by Theodosius I as the official religion of the empire. Through selections from Biblical literature, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the parables of the Good Samaratin, the lost sheep, and the Prodigal Son, the students will learn about the teachings of Jesus that advocate compassion, justice, and love for others."

Also, in seventh grade, in the same program that you decry, students are required to: "Trace the origins of Islam and the life and teachings of Muhammad, including Islamic teachings on the connection with Judaism and Christianity. (page 94 of the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools)"

Posted by: adlsad on October 30, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

"My point was also that liberals have moral values but, by failing to articulte those values, we get labaled by the right as not having values, particularly when the only time liberals discuss religion is to make fun of right wing extremist religion."

I'm sorry, but this just won't fly. Liberals have always publicly stated that they are for social justice, economic justice, and many other things that fit right in with the teachings of Jesus. That never stopped the right-wing Christian zealots from telling us that we want to give all of their money to welfare queens and tax them to high heaven. You see, what you can't seem to straight in your head is that, to these people, their religion is a means to an end and nothing more. They don't really believe any of it in any true sense. They only believe in it as long as it is paying off in some way for them, which is why you see the ever-increasing practice of publicly attaching faith in God with beneficial outcomes, especially financial.

Oh, and for all of those that say that liberals are hard on Christianity specifically - not this liberal. To me, Muslims are just a more extreme version of the same thing.

Posted by: OhNotAgain on October 30, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

I AM *THOR* !

I am *tho*, *tho*, thore.

Posted by: Thweetie on October 30, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Also, just for the record - I do believe in God, but not the "old man in the sky" version that talks to us or actively intercedes in nature. I also don't believe that Jesus was the "son of God". However, I do believe that he was one of the greatest persons to ever walk this planet in the last few thousand years. We'd all be a lot better off if we spent a lot more time adhering to his teachings.

Of course, the above beliefs would be unacceptable in most mainstream Christian religions in this country, and that tells you all you need to know about religion in the current United States.

Posted by: OhNotAgain on October 30, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

I think that, as a rule, liberals are not anti-religion so much as they are anti-fanatic. The right wing, on the other hand, tends to have lots of fanatics. This is true in other countries as well.

Posted by: opinion on October 30, 2006 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, the ACLU fights for the rights of the religious as well when they've been unconstitutionally infringed upon.

Posted by: opinion on October 30, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

It's true though that the left has more anti-religious people. These are people who have seen all the havoc that religion often causes societies, the pain it has caused the peoples of the world in so many ways and they want to educate people to the fact that needn't fear religion. As a rule religion uses fear and guilt to get people to do what they want.

Posted by: opinion on October 30, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

I think that, as a rule, liberals are not anti-religion so much as they are anti-fanatic. The right wing, on the other hand, tends to have lots of fanatics. This is true in other countries as well.

Would you like me to push a few liberal buttons so that the liberal fanatics come rushing out from under cover?

Posted by: TangoMan on October 30, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

I actually agree with Amy Sullivan that there is a problem with some kinds of believers seeing Democrats as hostile to their concerns and Republicans as sympathetic to them. It's just that her proposed capitulation and coddling wouldn't actually do any good. As many people have noted in many contexts, if you offer the public a real Republican and a fake one, they'll tend to go for the real one.

What we need is Democrats (and non-Democratic liberals) to engage the turf the Republicans have claimed. Take this saying of Jesus':

But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered, I will not, but afterward he changed his mind, and went. He came to the second, and said the same thing. He answered, I go, sir, but he didnt go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said to him, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering into the Kingdom of God before you." (Matthew 21:28-31)

You could take that and build a fine sermon on the sinfulness of lying about what you're going to be funding, particularly in matters of aid to the needy. Or consider:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

That would make a good starting point for comparing the information about how people actually live in red states and blue states - divorce, child abuse, children of wedlock, domestic violence, alcoholism and drug abuse, and all the rest. And one could bring in some of the really blatant hypocrisies in the personal lives of so many theocratic leaders, not for the sake of scandals but to make the point that The Bible, read conservatively, already condemns these things.

I'm not talking about doing it in a light-hearted or smartass way, either. It would come best from people who themselves do read the Bible much as the theocrats' followers do. It would be hard work, and there wouldn't be much glory in it. But I think it's the right way to reclaim the idea of civic virtue as in accord with Christian morality - since I do believe that most of the time these aren't in any serious conflict at all.

Posted by: Bruce Baugh on October 30, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

this:

Religious people and moderate opinion makers are too stoopid...

and this:

become a member of their shitty church...

and this:

You betcha. Religion is teh stupid. No, really. It really is. Its based on believing things despite lack of evidence and there's just nothing to good to say about that kind of stupidity.

and this:

I wish religious people like Amy would just practice their religion and shut the fuck up about it. I support your right to have an imaginary playmate.

Ok, I'm bored now.

I gotta say it is a hilarious thread where half the posts insist that the Left is not anti-religious, and the other half are from Lefties expressing anti-religious sentiment.

Posted by: Disputo on October 30, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

"By the way, the ACLU fights for the rights of the religious as well when they've been unconstitutionally infringed upon."

Including Las Vegas street preachers, and Christian students handing out candy canes with religious messages in school and etc.

Of course, as noted here, rightwingers frequently claimed that the ACLU had tried to ban candy canes, based on that same candy cane case. Filters.

Really, Kevin - along with everybody else, let me ask - why are you helping spread such memes?

Posted by: Dan S. on October 30, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

And then there is horribly ugly crap which doesn't belong anywhere:

I thank my god for the separation of church and state, and if Amy doesn't understand that, I will be happy to take her to city hall and shove a bible, a koran, a torah, and a cross repeatedly up her asshole until she does.

Can we all agree that people like this need to be put away?

Posted by: Disputo on October 30, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

"I gotta say it is a hilarious thread where half the posts insist that the Left is not anti-religious, and the other half are from Lefties expressing anti-religious sentiment."

Hmm. Granted, I wasn't paying quite enough attention in school when we first tackled fractions, but I would be very interested to see you prove this. I will grant that there are a small minority of posts expressing anti-religious sentiment, and another small bunch of posts expressing anti-hypocritical-rightwing-fundamentalist sentiment. Also about the same amount of mild anti-Kevin Drum sentiment.

Posted by: Dan S. on October 31, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

The ACLU also defends Nazis. Does that mean associating the Democrats with Nazis is ok, or even makse sense?

How about when the ACLU defends religious nuts trying to express themselves in the public square? Should the Dems be associated with those fruitcakes, too?

Bob Barr is a card carrying ACLU member. Any Democrat here feel the urge to associate the party with Bob Barr?

Posted by: Boronx on October 31, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

We uniformly believe it is the worst possible outcome of a pregnancy and it is far, far better to prevent unwanted pregnancies than to terminate them.

Nope. I think abortion's great. Yeah, prevention is better, in the sense that it's better to avoid invasive surgical procedures when possible, but it's not a moral thing. A fetus is not a child. In my job, I get into a lot of people's lives and it kills me the way children grow up to parents who aren't ready or don't want them. There are many worse outcomes of pregnancy. Abortion rules!

Posted by: Kiril on October 31, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "Who are these Democrats who are insufficiently zealous in their religious outreach?"

Not me. I've gone out of my way every December to invite everyone to visit my replica of Stonehenge, and celebrate the Winter Solstice by dancing in honor of the Earth Goddess.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 31, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

The only (presumable) Dems I know who are anti-religious are certain commentators on blogs.

As someone who happens to be religious, it doesn't bother me a bit. We can all agree that Bush is the greatest disaster to hit the US, Rumsfeld is nuts, Cheney is bad, Iraq is a cluster fuck, Afghanistan is going that way, there is waaay too much income disparity, Wal-Mart has too much power, we need universal health insurance and the neocons are dangerous nutcases.

Posted by: MNPundit on October 31, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Touchy subject...God. The number one argument against religion is all the religious folks who pray and sing on Sunday for an hour then go out the rest of the week and forget their promises to Jesus. I think Jesse Ventura was right on when he said religion is a crutch for the weak. In politics, those weak people are voters.

Posted by: American Idiot on October 31, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

If you want to see a Dem using religion to his advantage, look up Harold Ford's "Jesus-loving" comment from last weekend's debate.

As for anti-religious element, I certainly qualify. I oppose to organized religion in politics mostly on the grounds that it is severely misused (or abused). Christo-fascist pontifications should have no weight in determining political makeup of the country that was the first among Western nations to ban religious test for political office.

Moralizing nonsense or any other preaching should be banned from political discourse. If it belongs in church, it does not belong in politics.

Of course, I'm not a Dem, so I wouldn't know how this message would play in the Democratic Party.

Posted by: buck turgidson on October 31, 2006 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

I respect the teachings of Jesus (and Buddha for that matter) as much as the next person. That doesn't mean I have to accept bullying or compromise with people that use the trappings of religion(Christian, Hindu, Muslim, etc,) to supress women's reproductive rights, gay rights, or civil rights )or economic rights for that matter). I don't remember reading Jesus talking about abortion or family planning, but there are a lot of Christianists that equate the love of Jesus with anti-abortion or anti-gay views. These people are social Luddites and we need to deal with today's world. We understand the mechanics of conception and contraception. At a bare minimum for their own health, children deserve to have this information with age appropriate detail. I think that emotional and/or moral conseling is also is needed, but I respect parents wanting to hold their children out of such instruction in favor of their own moral teachings as long as things like involuntary sexual contact and family abuse are discourageed. However, comprehensive reproductive education is part of being a US and world citizen in the 21st century. The irony of Christianist simultaneous objection to both cotraceotion/family planning and abortion rights continues to amaze me. Likewise, I recall Jesus being all about loving and accepting, not excluding and shaming. People have a fundamental right to live with who they choose. Marriage or civil union is a right that should be extended to all induviduals, period. No one is forcing Christians or anyone else into a Gay marriage. But if people choose this, the state can't discriminate against them, period. I am happy to embrace the wisdom of King, Tutu, Ghandi, Merton, etc. as long as they don't try to legislate their specific religious dogma on me. I don't remeber King holding rallies to shun gays or prevent family planning clinics from opening. The great spiritual leaders fought for universal truths not narrow strictures. King didn't care if you loved Jesus, only that you respected everyone's civil and later economic) rights. Anyone who follows the teachings of Jesus might do well to remove the stone from his/her own eye before removing a speck of dust from anothers.

Posted by: beyond_left on October 31, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

It's a cold and it's a broken halleluh

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on October 31, 2006 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: 手机图片 on October 31, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

We all know perfectly well that it's the ACLU that fights every last expression of religion in the public square as if it really were the end times.

You don't mean this, I think, (even subtracting the deliberate snarkiness of it), you mean that the ACLU fight every last expression of government sponsored religion in the public square.

Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) on October 31, 2006 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

REJECT IN 2006 ELECTIONS CARTER CLINTON KENNEDY LED GLOBAL AXIS OF MEDIEVAL THAT WEAKENED AMERICA: by KALKI GAUR
Kalki Gaur, Editor World Press Club, Washington DC, 3:00 AM, Tuesday, October 31, 2006.
DEMOCRATS UNFIT FOR OVAL OFFICE: American Blacks, Latinos and WASPs should vote for the Republicans in elections 206 and 2008 to protect and empower secular Petro-Pax-Americana. The Carter, Clinton and Kennedy Administrations represented the New Dark Age of Axis of Medieval that harmed the national interests of the United States by extra-constitutional misuse of the power of the White House to implement the hidden Iconoclast Monotheist Agenda of the Church. The Election 2006 is the electoral clash of Democratic Medievalism Vs Republican Machiavellian Colonialism. Democrats have offered no policy alternatives, except to deploy Inquisitions for Republican sexual digressions, the same Democrats who opposed Monica Lewinski allegations. The 2006 Election Clash of Religious Democratic Medievalism Vs Secular Republican Petro-Colonialism is a Real Choice for American Voters. Americans have to choose between Pope’s lobbyists or Oil lobbyists, and between Fundamentalism-Terrorism Axis or War on Terrorism. American Voters now have an election opportunity to choose between Democratic Religious Medievalism and accommodation of Islamic Terrorism and secular Republican Machiavellian Petro-Colonialism and War on Islamic Terrorism. Democrats want the Global New Dark Age to descend on Earth. Republicans wants the New Age of Colonialism in 21st Century. Democratic Party represents Dark Age Medievalism. Republican Party represents Secular Machiavellian Modernism. The Two Party System no longer represents the same wine in differently colored bottles. Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samuel P. Huntington, Madeleine Albright represent the pro-China patriarchal iconoclast fundamentalist intolerant Axis of Medieval in American Politics that seeks to implement the End of Time eschatology of Prophetic Christians that conducted foreign policy to implement the religious agenda through an alliance with genocidal Islamic terrorism and Communist extremism. George Bush and Condoleezza Rice represent the morally right secular axis of modernity that seeks to implement the Oil agenda through an alliance with nuclear India and via War on Islamic terrorism. The elections of November 2006 and 2006 present to American Voters an opportunity to choose between Medievalism and Modernity. The Congressional Cox Report Jan 1999, details how Democrats allowed the theft of American nuclear technology to China and other countries? Global Axis of Medieval engineered the transfer of nuclear weapon technology to Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia and North Korea to ignite Christian-Islamic Armageddon to fulfill End of Time Eschatology.
APOCALYPTIC AGENDA OF JIMMY CARTER IS EVIL CORE OF AXIS OF MEDIEVAL: To Republican Neocons, Democrat Jimmy Carter was a Traitor to USA, as he refused to invade Iran to free Americans. As a Democratic President Jimmy Carter made United States a laughing stock of the world and he betrayed United States by refusing to attack Iran to liberate American embassy prisoners and now he is conspiring to sabotage Republican President George Bush’s determined effort to tame Iran. Jimmy Carter is the patron-Saint Father of Ayatollahism, Islamic theocracy and Islamic Terrorism. Jimmy Carter symbolizes Evil Medievalism, which is morally wrong. George Bush & Condi Rice symbolizes Machiavellian Colonialism, which is morally right.
PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER FATHER OF ISLAMIC TERRORISM: Jimmy Carter Created Terrorism. George Bush wages War on Terrorism. President Jimmy created Islamic terrorism and Iranian Shiite Theocracy. President Jimmy carter organized the overthrow of enlightened Shah of Iran and engineered the enthronement of Ayatollah Khomenini. Jimmy Carter sabotaged democratically elected government of Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar and ruled out the transfer of power to Military generals in Iran. The pro-Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Islamic modernization policies put into place by President Jimmy Carter, while he was in office, at behest of Christian Religious Right Conservative Conspiracy laid the Islamic terrorist forces in motion that resulted in Islamic terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. President Carter has been the patron saint of Osama Ben Laden and al Qaeda. President carter could be held responsible for 9/11 terrorist attacks. Novice President Clinton appointed the officials of the Carter Secretary of State to first Clinton administration, who conspired to legitimize Islamic terrorism, al Qaeda and Osama Ben Laden. President Carter should be worshipped at Mecca as American Father of Islamic Terrorism, Islamic Theocracy, Al Qaeda and Osama Ben Laden and his likes. The religious right conspiracy that Jimmy Carter presides over could cause more harm to the secular United States than that of his protg Islamic terrorism. Ideas of Jimmy Carter present greater threat to secular USA than Islamic terrorism.
JIMMY CARTER CREATED ISLAMIC & NORTH KOREAN ATOM BOMB: Ex-President Jimmy Carter is responsible for the North Korean Nuclear explosion by his negotiations with North Korea during Clinton Administration. President Carter cemented the Mecca-Vatican ties that united the forces of extremism and fundamentalism. President Carter was very friendly with the Jones of Guyana that resulted in the massacre of American Christians in Guyana and murder of American lawmaker in the jungles of Guyana. As the leader of Christian religious right conservative conspiracy and patron of Islamic extremism, Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic terrorism and Islamic theocracy, President carter is engaged in implementing the agenda of Apocalyptic End of Time Eschatology Teleology now. If white Western Christian Civilization continue to accept Jimmy Carter as responsible American politician by virtue of his being ex-President then the fate of the Apocalyptic White Christian world would be doomed to the delight of Prophetic Christians as the advice of President Jimmy Carter can only lead to the death of the Christian Civilization as we know it. More than Osama Ben Laden, Christians like Jimmy Carter could cause the Apocalyptic End of White Christian Civilization in not so distant a future. Just as Pope conspired with barbarian invaders to Rome in 415 AD, similarly Democrats like Jimmy Carter conspiring with Islamic terrorism to engineer the descent of New Global Dark Age in Western hemisphere in 21st Century. Secular USA can also fall in 21st Century, just as Roman Empire fell in 415 AD, once religious extremism got control over Roman Empire. Now, the Islamic terrorism and Christian fundamentalism presents the threat to USA, similar to that presented by barbarian invasions of Roman Empire in 415 AD. Christian Fundamentalism might have provided logistic and ideological support to Wahhabi terrorists for 9/11 attacks on secular United States, especially in the ensuing Anthrax attacks. Patriotic WASPs need to be vigilant in ongoing War on Terrorism to ward off dangers of sabotage for Axis of Medievalism. Next time Islamic terrorists will attack United States with Islamic Nukes, to fulfill the Apocalyptic Fatima Prophesy of Armageddon. Prophetic Christians might foolishly join the War of Religions on the side of nuke-armed Islamic terrorism. Patriotic WASPs must take preventive measures to break the emerging Nexus of Islamic terrorism and Apocalyptic Prophetic Christianity. Democrats created Islamic Atom Bomb, and Republicans fight to tame Islamic Atom Bomb.
CARTER AGAINST USA-INDIA NUKE DEAL: President Jimmy Carter is against Indo-US Nuke Deal reported HindustanTimes.com Friday, October 27, 2006. On a visit to India after 28 years, former American President Jimmy Carter saw no threat to Asian peace or world peace from India’s intentions to acquire atomic energy sources to generate power, but is firm that New Delhi ought to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Though he has no authority in government to thwart the deal, Carter does not favor the Indo-US civil nuclear deal because, he said, there is need to discourage testing and development of nuclear weapons and the spread of fissile material. Hastening to add that his concerns were global, not India-specific, Carter said, "any nation with nuclear weapons should be under the NPT. It is my hope that the NPT becomes universally acceptable," said the 82-year-old Nobel laureate, who was severely critical of the US administration’s handling of the North Korean nuclear issue. Carter said he hoped other aspects of the bilateral relationship would not be affected if the Indo-US civil nuclear deal fails to go through the US Congressional process.
AXIS OF MEDIEVAL IN AMERICA SEEKS TO DESTROY SECULAR USA: Jimmy Carter represents the Evil Core of Axis of Medieval Fundamentalism. Wahhabi Al Qaeda represent the Core of Islamic Medievalism. Beijing China represents the Evil Core of Axis of Communist Medievalism. The Pure Evil resides at the Core of the Global Axis of Medievalism that conspiring to descend New Global Dark Age on the world in 21st Century to implement the End of Time Apocalyptic agenda. What one can expect from Jimmy carter who is the Father of Islamic Theocracy, Islamic Terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism? Jimmy Carter is so ludicrous that it is not worth wasting time on him, as he is determined to bring White Christian Civilization to an Apocalyptic End in alliance with his buddies in Iran to cause Christian-Islamic Armageddon, by his evil design to sabotage USA-India Nuclear deal that President George Bush signed with India.
BUSH REPUBLICANS ARE MORALLY GOOD VIRTUE & RIGHT: The President Bush is more competent than John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The people and Capitol Hill have a choice to make, whether they support the morally Good George Bush or morally Evil Jimmy Carter. The choice that the people of the United States would make, shall determine the fate of the Christian World and would determine whether likes of Jimmy carter would succeed in causing Apocalyptic damage to Christian civilization, with their determined pursuit of End of Time agenda. Apocalyptic teleology of ex-President Democratic Jimmy Carter presents greater threat to the secular WASP Protestant United States than al Qaeda or Osama Ben Laden. It is high time that Republican Neocons should grab the horns of the Evil directly rather than let is cause Armageddon by stealth to establish theocracy in USA. As President, Jimmy carter made United States the laughing stock of the world by his failure to attack Iran to free American embassy staff imprisoned by Ayatollah Khomeini. Was President carter on the payroll of Ayatollah Khomeini that Pentagon did nothing to invade Iran? Many patriotic WASPs consider President Jimmy Carter a traitor for his failure to use force to liberate American embassy officials held prisoners in Tehran. As a diplomat and Commander in Chief president Jimmy carter holds the greatest distinction of formulating most stupid foreign policy during his tenure as the President of USA. With Jimmy Carter as leader and a friend the United States does not need any enemy. So far as foreign policy is considered Jimmy Carter can only be called a Traitor to USA when compared to the patriotic George Bush and Condi Rice. In the eyes of patriotic WASPs in American politics Democrat Jimmy Carter represents the Core of Axis of Evil and on other hand Republican Bush-Condi Rice represent Core of Axis of Virtue. Axis of Evil caused 9/11 Terrorism and Axis of Virtue waged war on Terrorism. The Election of November 2006 and forthcoming November 2008 Elections, provide American Voters a Clear Choice, whether to Vote for Axis of Evil or vote for Axis of Virtue. Remember the 9/11 attacks would not have taken place without the active involvement of Core of Axis of Medieval. Remember the Pure Evil core of Axis of Medieval wants to destroy secular WASP United States just as in 415 AD it destroyed secular Roman Empire to cause European Medieval Dark Age, to engineer in the 21st Century the descent of Looming Global Dark Age on the White Christian Western World, to fulfill the End of Time eschatology of Prophetic Christians. To secular WASPs and patriotic Neocons Jimmy Carter and Osama Ben Laden represents the two sides of same Coin of Evil. Hindu, Buddhist and Pagan Civilizations representing more than 3.5 Billion people denounce the Evil represented by likes of Jimmy Carter as well as Osama Ben Laden. Dear American Voters, please prudently think before you vote on November 7, 2006, it is a vote for or against Evil.
ANTI-BLACK DEMOCRATIC PARTY: From Civil War up to 1964 Democrats were anti-Blacks, anti-Latinos and anti-immigrants. Party of Lincoln, the Republican Party had been pro-Blacks from the Civil war up to 1964. President Carter (1977-1981) and President Clinton (1992-2000) engineered to kick out Blacks and Latinos our of leadership position in the Democratic corridors of power and replaced them by fundamentalist religious leaders and Wall Street donors. In American Elections 2006, the Republican Party is the preferred party of choice for Blacks and Latinos. The Democrat’s Ideology of Medievalism seeks to break the Constitutional Wall that separates the State and the Church in the United States. The Republican Modernism seeks to empower American Blacks vis--vis East European immigrants and secures Energy Security of Industrial America by controlling Oil and Gas reserves of the Middle East. If you want to vote for the Party of Church, then vote Democrats. If you want to vote for Pax Americana then vote for Republicans. The choice that you would make shall determine the 21st Century.
Kalki Gaur, Editor World Press Club, Washington DC, October 31, 2006, Tuesday, 3:00 AM
Blog: http://Indiatalking.com/blog/kalkigaur/ Blog http://clearblogs.com/kalkigaur/
KALKI GAUR BLOGS
2006 Copyrights All Rights Reserved Author: KALKI GAUR
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Kalki Gaur, “GLOBAL CLASH OF RACES” (2006)
Kalki Gaur, “DIPLOMACY OF CIVILIZATIONS” (2006)
Kalki Gaur, “MANIFESTO OF NEOCONSERVATISM” (2006)
Kalki Gaur, “HINDU HOLY GITA – MOKSA VIA RELIGIOUS WARS” (2006)
Kalki Gaur, “DA VINCI CODE AS CLASH OF RELIGIONS” (2006)
Kalki Gaur, “GLOBAL CLASH OF RELIGIONS” (2006)
Kalki Gaur, “GNOSTIC BIBLE” (2006)
Kalki Gaur, “POPULIST MANIFESTO” (2006)
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Posted by: KALKI GAUR on October 31, 2006 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

check the dictionary....religion is socially acceptable superstition. What dogma does a liberal have to accept, without rational justification? The rise of fundamentalism may be reponse to the science. Decency, civility are not dependent on a supernatural being. Deceny, civility are the creation of mankind.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on October 31, 2006 at 4:06 AM | PERMALINK

I respect poeople who believe, who have religion. Why? Because I and they have far more in common than we have differences. We all want a job that can support our family, we want health insurance for when we are sick, we want to be safe in our home and so forth.

This whole argument that liberals do not like the religious is a Roveian lie to further splinter the electorate and energize the base.

Posted by: Chief on October 31, 2006 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

As a liberal, I'm perfectly willing to tolerate theistic beliefs. But don't ask me to respect the unrespectable. As long as you leave your theistic nonsense out of the political discussion, I won't get on your case. But as soon as you introduce nonsense into the discussion, I am compelled to call it what it is.

Besides who's disrespecting who? The theists are asking me to accept their beliefs without evidence. Why would I do that unless there was some antecedent reason to assume that your unsupported beliefs are better than mine which are based on reason and evidence? Talk about arrogant!


Note that I am decidely NOT doing that. I present reason and evidence for my beliefs rather than presumptuously expecting the theists to accept them on my authority.

Posted by: The Fool on October 31, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Chief,

Good points, however, I do believe that a very fine man was driven from this site by liberals attacking his religious views. LW Phil wrote very intelligent, often witty posts. However, when he espoused his thoughts on religion and politics, he was slammed.

In the very first comment, Cranky mentioned the Puritans who fled intolerance. There were also others of different faiths who came to the colonies to escape the heavy hand of the Anglican Church. However, when rising to power in a colony, they often became as intolerant of others. There were established religions in most of the colonies, with some remaining until 1833. They also had laws stating that only members of a certain faith could hold public office.
The Anglican Church was the established religion of several colonies. However, the Congregational Church was the established religion of Massachusetts until 1833, in New Hampshire until 1790, in Connecticut until 1818 and in Vermont for some time. In addition, Massachusetts required every man to be a member of a church. Several states required the citizens to pay taxes to Official Churches.

The separation of church and state was discussed in a letter by Jefferson over the requirement of citizens of Connecticut to pay taxes and tithes to the Congregational Church - (Please correct me if I have the wrong state.)

So, while many fled intolerance, once in power, they felt no compulsion to become tolerant of other religions.

This is the fear of letting the "fundies" control our government.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 31, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Claire: you're simply making a logical mistake. You are assuming that the proportion of homosexuals who would do things like abuse children is greater than the proportion of heterosexuals. If that were true than there might be some threat from allowing homeosexuals in the schools. But there is no evidence that that is the case.

Generally speaking, all gays want is equal civil rights -- and that is not too much to ask. Think African-Americans in the early 60's.

Posted by: The Fool on October 31, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

I have nothing to add to the number of posters who have pointed out that Kevin Drum adopts the same straw men and flawed arguments that sullivan does...except to wonder if Sullivan posted this under Drum's byline.

If not, this is one of your more feeble efforts, Kevin. You should take the criticism -- especially of your several false characterizations -- to heart.

Posted by: Gregory on October 31, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin doesn't know any prominent Democrats who are anti-religion, but the Democratic base certainly has a healthy number of folks who are. Look at any liberal blog (like this one). Bring up the subject of religion and they come out of the woodwork to tell you that religion is a stupid superstition. The book title hit it on the head: the right gets it wrong, and the left doesn't get it.

Posted by: wally on October 31, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

And the Vast Majority of those homos mentioned above are Jewish to boot -

Mein Gott, what is going to become of Telluride and Aspen?

All of those Gay-Isreali charity schusses on the slopes.

Posted by: stupid git on October 31, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's that liberals actually read and study the Bible, where they find such passages as the following:

(Matthew 6:5-8 NKJV) "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. {6} "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. {7} "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. {8} "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."

(Matthew 22:21) "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

Posted by: CMc on October 31, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

And, in addition, maybe liberals actually read and study the US Constitution, which actually has TWO clauses on religion. The first is the familiar clause in the First Amendment. Notice the emphatic "NO": Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

The second, for some reason, is never referred to in public discussions such as this. It is found in Article VI, and it too contains an emphatic "NO": "...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

What part of "no" do Americans fail to understand?

Posted by: CMc on October 31, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Claire/Alice, dear heart, by all means keep your children off the slopes.

There is a lot of very strange music drifting across the snow. A touch of "Hava-na-gilla" and Cole Porter with resounding wafts of "La Coucharaca" from the workers.

Get thee to the NORAD site. George will protect you.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 31, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK
Democrats just don't get it. You don't have to be a religious fanatic to be scared shitless of the homosexual agenda.

That's true. I mean, you have to be pretty dumb to actually buy into the belief in the "homosexual agenda" and be scared of it, but you don't have to actually be a religious fanatic (though, as most of the people selling that lie are trying to appeal to religious fanatics, your probably more likely to get suckered into it if you are than if you aren't, all other things being equal.)

Posted by: cmdicely on October 31, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Fanatic adherence to bogus religious beliefs is contrary to reason and contrary to the principles of our Founding Fathers.

"To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god."
THOMAS JEFFERSON

"Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man"
THOMAS JEFFERSON

"During almost 15 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

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."
JOHN ADAMS

"Imagine there's no heaven...and no religion too" Oh wait that's that dirty hippie John Lennon. Scratch that one.

I stand with reason, evidence and the Founding Fathers against the likes of George W. Bush, Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell, and James Dobson.

I feel pretty good about the company I'm keeping. People like Amy Sullivan etc. are simply lesser minds bleating their lesser beliefs.

Posted by: The Fool on October 31, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "We all know perfectly well that it's the ACLU that fights every last expression of religion in the public square as if it really were the end times."

That is 100 percent pure bullshit. The ACLU has litigated to force local governments to allow religious groups to use public facilities, such as parks, for their activities and events, arguing that forbidding them to do so while non-religious groups were allowed to use the facilities was an unconstitutional discrimination against religion.

One of the reasons I've gotten tired of this site is Kevin's all too frequent, mindless regurgitation of right-wing talking points.

I haven't looked in on this site in a couple of weeks, I did today, and found this crap from Kevin, and won't be back any time soon.

Self-proclaimed "liberals" spouting Rush Limbaugh's viciously dishonest talking points make me sick.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 31, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Right, that's it - I'm telling Santa not to visit Amy or Kevin this year.

Posted by: craigie on October 31, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

I wish Amy Sullivan could process the idea that religious tribalism is not particularly high-minded, "spiritual", or insightful. It's just another aspect of human beings immunizing themselves against the Other. Liberals embody more core precepts of Jesus than all the Christianist fundies put together: forgiveness, tolerance, kindness, patience, and sharing. Liberals do this without playing the tribalism game of "my religion is better than yours". They do this because they've internalized the core values but shucked the dross. If civilization means anything to you, this is a key advance.

Posted by: walt on October 31, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

> So, while many fled intolerance,
> once in power, they felt no
> compulsion to become tolerant
> of other religions.

Except that in the end they agreed to sign the Constitution. The underlying issues had been discussed to death by a very politically literate polity, so they must have known full well what the implications of the Constitution and the Establishment Clause were. But they nonetheless agreed to it.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on October 31, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

To put it on a bumper sticker: What Would Amy Do? In all the stuff she's written, she never says, despite repeatedly being asked, what what she would have actual Democrats DO. We choose as our national leaders church-going Christians, and almost nobody but church-going Christians. Some, to be sure, are better at using religious language and imagery than others, compare the Clintons, Edwards, Obama, and Ford to that fornmer altar boy and daily Mass-going Catholic John Kerry, but if all Amy is saying is that we need more candidates who can riff off the rhythms of the King James Bible, that's pretty small beer. If her beef is that religious voters know that the bulk of non-religious voters congregate in the Democratic party, what can, or should, we do about it? If all she wants is "good manners" and for the non-religious to STFU, remember who starts these pissing contests. It's not us. If there are actual positions she thinks we can or should change, while still being Democrats, what are they? WWAD? Come on, tell us for once.

Posted by: CJColucci on October 31, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

What Would Amy Do? In all the stuff she's written, she never says, despite repeatedly being asked, what what she would have actual Democrats DO.

You know, if someone other than myself had taken the time to condemn the post by the anti-Christian nut above who fantasizes about raping Amy, I'd take a little more seriously the notion that the Libs on here aren't by-and-large anti-religious.

What should you do, you ask? It's not too hard to figure out, really.

Posted by: Disputo on October 31, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist, will you recommend some political blogs that might be of interest to Leftists?

Thanks.

Posted by: Hostile on October 31, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo, lets here it then. If you've figured it out, we'd all like to hear it! You seem pretty keen to tell us things - like how everyone here is anti-religious.

Posted by: royalblue_tom on October 31, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo, lets here it then. If you've figured it out, we'd all like to hear it!

Jeebus f-ing Christ! I just told you, you f-ing nimrod!

You seem pretty keen to tell us things - like how everyone here is anti-religious.

No, it's the blatant dishonesty of nutjobs like you that tell the rest of us that you and your cohorts are anti-religious.

Posted by: Disputo on October 31, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK
Jeebus f-ing Christ! I just told you, you f-ing nimrod!

No, actually, you didn't "tell" anything. You kinda-sorta implied that you think all non-anti-religious liberals need to make a show of noting and berating every nominally liberal anti-religious bigot that ever makes any statement, but you didn't come right out and say it, nor did you make it clear if you think that's all that needs done or just part of it.

No, it's the blatant dishonesty of nutjobs like you that tell the rest of us that you and your cohorts are anti-religious.

Even if it was justified to accuse him of "blatant dishonesty", one persons "blatant dishonesty" is not a basis for concluding that that person (or, a fortiori, his cohorts) are "anti-religious". Its quite possible to be blatantly dishonest and pro-religious, or to be anti-religious and not be blatantly dishonest. The two concepts are both logically and practically orthogonal.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 31, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

CMD, that was beneath you. At what point did your brain start to require that the obvious be spelled out to you?

Posted by: Disputo on October 31, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK
CMD, that was beneath you. At what point did your brain start to require that the obvious be spelled out to you?

Assuming that my description of what you appear to have meant is, as you imply here, accurate, I clearly didn't need it to be spelled out.

I just pointed out that you implied, rather than told, what you wanted, and didn't specify whether that was a complete or partial list. Maybe if you would cut down on the abuse and try to productively engage with other commentators, you would do more to get people to consider your ideas.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 31, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Ooooh, my favorite subject!!

Some priceless quotes from those who "believe" in a supernatural "God:"

"But sometimes the anti-religious come off as arrogant." HA HA HA HA ha ha ha. The anti-religious have absolutely NO representation in politics. There is no surer way to lose an election in 99.9% of the districts in this country than to confess that you are atheist. How can we be more "arrogant" than those who want to make our school children pray to a reanimated corpse?

"My own view is that liberals could stand to calm down over some of more trivial symbolic issues, and could probably stand to adopt a somewhat friendlier rhetoric as well. But that's about it. I'd pretty much oppose any compromise on substantive grounds." From KD himself. Yeah, calming down the rhetoric has worked so well against the Christianists. Ask Max Clelland. Ask John Kerry. And tell it to Lynne Cheney. You cannot reason with someone who believes in a reanimated corpse who ascended bodily to another realm. When the whole basis for their religion is unreasonable, you quickly run up against the barrier between reason and "faith."

"they have demonstrated no great similar antipathy for Islam, given that Islam can be included in liberals' love of the multiucultural and anti-American." What a bunch of bushit. Here you go, then, it is just as stupid to "believe" that "God" squeezed the Koran into Mohammad as it is to believe in a reanimated corpse.

"the only time liberals discuss religion is to make fun of right wing extremist religion.
... It is possible for liberals to discuss relgion, do do it politely, and to do it without adopting rightwing positions. We need to stop letting the right monopolize religion." We need to stop letting religion monopolize discussions of values, is what we need to do. We are NOT democratic because of religion, we are democratic because of Enlightenment philosphy. Very different. Philosphy=reason. Religion=UNreason. Buddhism is a philsophy, not a religion. I actually don't mock Bush for naming Jesus as his favorite philopher. I, too, like Jesus's philosophy. But to believe he was dead for three days and then came back to life and ascended BODILY into some other realm? That's "religion" and that's unreasonable.

"I gotta say it is a hilarious thread where half the posts insist that the Left is not anti-religious, and the other half are from Lefties expressing anti-religious sentiment." Yeah, really hilarious how all these lefties are anti-religious. Well, half of them anyway. BTW, not all people who are anti-religious are "lefty." You fall into the Republican't Christianist trap when you equate the reason spectrum with the political spectrum.

There you go, Kevin and Amy. Wallow in it, in the disrespect for blind faith over reason. And pass it along to your congregations. You are stupid. Everyone who believes in a reanimated corpse is stupid. Only those who believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster will have everlasting life.

Posted by: Cal Gal on October 31, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

"God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through."
- Paul Valry

Posted by: Hostile on October 31, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

``Only those who believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster will have everlasting life.

Whats so great about everlasting life, anyway?

Or, in the immortal words of George Sanders, ``Im bored.

Posted by: Kenji on October 31, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

I am not hostile to religion or people of faith as long as they don't substitute faith-based reasoning for rational thought in setting social policy. I am a generic Theist myself, but I don't allow my theism to drown out reason in deciding public policy, nor do I try to make others theists. Denying reproductive rights to men and women and fact-based sex education to our youth because of faith-based reasoning can not stand. Making Gays and Lesbians (and anyone else for that matter) second class citizens in the eyes of the law because of faith-based reasoning can not stand. This is not hostility towards religion. It is support for our system of laws and using rational, fact based analysis to achieve the common good. How is this denying anyone religious freedom?

Posted by: beyond_left on October 31, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

To Claire-- Read this carefully. There is no homosexual adgenda. I support civil rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation. This is enshrined in the Constitution and its amendments. I have seen many more heteros engage in public sexual behavior than gays. This is a right wing meme to frighten the uninformed. Please go away if you don't have anything more than meaningless scare tactics to share.

Posted by: beyond_left on October 31, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK
What should you do, you ask? It's not too hard to figure out, really.
Jeebus f-ing Christ! I just told you, you f-ing nimrod!
At what point did your brain start to require that the obvious be spelled out to you?

I'm sorry, I thought you told us? Now you're saying you didn't tell us, that we need you to spell it out? Disputo, you told us squat. Then you decided to start with the abuse.

You seem to have the mental capacity of a fish. Did you forget that you merely suggested that we should know what you were saying before you opened your mouth again? An attention span measured in periods of longer than a few seconds would be useful to you.

But thanks for the insults. You make your point in reverse, and spell out for us who is mildly abusive (simple disrespect to fundamentalists who give back far more than they get) and who is truly offensive (you, crass and impolite, uncivil and verbally belligerent). Make sure you remove the beam from your eye. My mote doesn't compare to it.

Posted by: royalblue_tom on November 1, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Amy must equate religious zealots, Biblical literalists, intelligent design advocates, stemcell hysterics with the ``believers'' she thinks we should be courting. If she doesn't, she should say so. The Democratic Party should be tolerant of these delusionals, but not court them. They have quite enough sway.
She needs to get off her ass and do the Lord's work of making the REST of the religious in this country realize that liberalism is the more moral political philosophy.

Posted by: secularhuman on November 1, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

shorter Calpundit:
Religion IS the public square.

Slightly longer Calpundit:
Wanting private religious beliefs to stay private, without government intervention for or against, is disrespectful of those beliefs. And believing that is perfectly reasonable!

Posted by: Dan on November 1, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

What does so-called "reaching out to religious believers" consist of? I reject the entire premise that politicians, the wielders of government authority and shapers of government action, should be reaching out to religious believers. Respecting religion is one thing. "Reaching out" is entirely different because that implies a quid pro quo between religious voters and elected officials. I respect the Democrats for not making religion a political issue.

Posted by: Jacob on November 1, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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