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Tuesday, January 24, 2006


It has been stated, on this blog, and elswhere, that one reason why Democrats aren't winning a lot of elections, is because they ridicule religion. I have never heard any candidate belittle anyone's religios beliefs. I have heard Democrats speak of the dangers of combining religion and politics, but to dismiss religion out of hand is political suicide, and NOBODY is that dumb. I would like somebody, notably those who have made such claims, to back them up with some examples. Please.

How when Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said on Air America that Christian broadcasters are "sort of our home-grown Taliban. They have a direct line to God. And if you don't tune into their line, you're obviously on Satan's line."
He wasn't commenting on thier religious beliefs, but thier political actions, and he's right.
I don't think that's belittling.

I think it's true.
And before anyone goes and says that comparing the Religious right to the Taliban is absurd, I'll remind them of the terrorist actions of anti-abortion crusaders.


From the article:

"Over the last 20 years, anti-abortion terrorists have been responsible for six murders and 15 attempted murders (see Lake of Fire), according to the National Abortion Federation. They have also been behind some 200 bombings and arsons, 72 attempted arsons, 750 death and bomb threats and hundreds of acts of vandalism, intimidation, stalking and burglary.

The first arson attack against a clinic took place in 1977, four years after Roe v. Wade. It was aimed at a Long Island, N.Y., clinic owned by abortion rights advocate Bill Baird. In the next six years, the pace picked up, with 29 bombings and arsons by 1983.

Soon, the attacks were against people. In 1982, a man claiming to represent the "Army of God" (AOG), kidnapped, but ultimately released, an abortion doctor and his wife. Don Benny Anderson, convicted of the kidnapping and three clinic bombings in Florida and Virginia, remains in prison, but still serves as a role model for many militants.

Dubbed "the Year of Fear and Pain" by militant activists of Joseph Scheidler's Pro-Life Action Network (PLAN), 1984 was marked by 25 clinic arsons and bombings, resulting in millions of dollars in damage. Among these were the so-called "Christmas bombings" of two clinics in Pensacola, Fla. At least seven attacks were planned and carried out by a group headed by Rev. Michael Bray, of Bowie, Md., who epitomizes the activist who engages in nonviolent protests by day but wages covert terrorism by night."

Hmmm, I'm beginning to see why the Dems have problems talking to religious people.
BTW, comparing the Religious Right to the Taliban is absurd and demeaning to the victims of the Taliban.
I think my point was just proved...

Both Democratic politicians and their constituents seem to have a hard time distingushing the few kooks from the overwhelming majority of sane, rational Christian base. The very Christians who take extreme offense at being lumped into abortion clinic bombers, Pat Robertson flame throwers, ID pimpers, etc... I don't know anybody who approves the above mentioned politics, and know of not one friend or family member that considers themselves a Christian who does.

Hell, as soon as the discussion topic is tossed up we get exactly that. I don't see what the mystery is here. Malign those who beleive by lumping them into these groups and wonder why you can't get votes.
Dave, I don't get your point.

The religious right makes it clear that if you are not with them, you are against them. There is no "tolerance" from somone like Pat Robertson. Do you think there is?

Comparing the religious right to the Taliban is neither absurd nor demeaning. The religious right have also been responsible for violence and death.

But I guess that doesn't count, to you.

I have no problems talking to very religious people. I'm sure I do far more of it in a given day than you do (it's actually a big part of my job, as a TON of our work comes from VERY religious people). And no, they aren't all Christians (believe it or not, there are other religions than Christianity in this country, Dave. And some of them are traditionally Democrat. Let me know if you need this explained.)

I really don't understand what you're saying.

Kind of like maligning millions of Muslims for the acts of a few?

Anyone smell some hypocrisy here?

The people who bomb abortion clinics consider themselves Christians. They consider themselves to be far better Christians than you are.

The neo-Nazi movement in this country has a VERY strong Christian identity.

Fred Phelps (do some research if you don't know who this guy is) considers himself to be a Christian.
My point is that the Democrats are perceived as talking down to Red State religious types and that is why they are losing elections. Tony put it well. Whenever this subject comes up, the first thing I usually hear from those on the left is either abortion bombers or homosexual haters. That's alienating.

I am aware that there are other religions, Chris. Who do you think is going to populate Hell?
My other point is that comparisons to the Taliban are the new Hitler. Both are overblown, overused and tend to numb us to the real monstrosity of those regimes.
I don't think Democrats have a problem "distinguishing the few kooks from the overwhelming majority of sane, rational Christian base." I think the real problem is that the Dems recognize, but are to scared to vocalize, that the "few kooks" are the ones running are government. The neocons are the tail wagging the dog in this country. We are turning in to a theocratic plutocracy, so I don't see how we have any right to criticize the caliphates of the middle east.
>>>We are turning in to a theocratic plutocracy, so I don't see how we have any right to criticize the caliphates of the middle east.<<

This is the type of overblown, absurd rhethoric that just cracks me up.

How, precisely, are we turning into a theocratic plutocracy? I must have missed the armed troops in Toyotas driving around Atlanta and enforcing "decency." Or the school girls dying in Ohio because they were not allowed to leave a building without a veil. Or the women being killed because they were raped in Illinois.

Seriously, the response from all of you basically proves my point straight up. If you think that the country is filled with a bunch of religious kooks, don't expect to get their votes! Believe me, this attitude comes across. I've got no brief for the religious right. I'm just talking about political strategy here.
Hating gays is alienating to gay people, you know...

Dave, according to Christian dogma, you're going to hell too.

I'll warm up the amps, unless you get there first, then do you mind switching on the Deluxe?
Of course it's not the same here as it is/was in afghanistan, but the trend is moving steadily in a direction that scares me.

And I still haven't been given an example, other than Hayden's comment, which really wasn't about belittling religion at all.
"Dave, according to Christian dogma, you're going to hell too."

That sounded a bit like the Putty/Elaine Seinfeld episode where Elaine dragged Putty to a preist who informed them that they were both going to hell much to Putty's disappointment since they were having sex out of wedlock.

"You stole my Jesus fish!!!"
I know, I was trying to remember exactly what Putty said when he heard.

It was something like "this is so bogus!"


But you know, it's true.

The difference between me and a real, true Christian is that the real Christian truly believes that I will burn eternally in Hell because I don't believe that their saviour is more than a human being.
I didn't actually attach any overblown rhetoric at all when I said our country was turning into a theocratic plutocracy, Dave Cavalier did. I never suggested that the US was like the caliphates because we repress and kill women who do not adhere to religious standards of decency (though I'm sure a case could be made, if someone cared to draw some parallels). All I mean to say by that remark is that the ultra-conservative and the ultra-rich have far too much power and influence in Washington. We are like the caliphates because those that govern us live in palaces, let their religion influence their political decisions, and are very far removed emotionally from the average citizen; especially the average citizen who sacrifices his life in a war that is meant to secure the financial interests of... the ultra-rich and the ultra-conservative.
In a country where money buys votes, very directly, the rich will always be in power.

The sad thing is that they think they deserve it, and will likely go to their graves believing it.
In all seriousness, this was a dogmatic discussion that my dad and discussed last time we were on the golf course together. He had mentioned that this was the subject of that Sunday's homily during mass (the deeds vs. devotion debate). I can't remember what the Catholic church's stance is, and I can't really recall what my dad's take was either, but after cracking, "Oh you went to church this morning? I slept in since I knew I needed to be fully rested for our round of golf", I pressed my deeds over devotion position pretty hard. I think if criteria does exist for salvation it will be based on actions not attendance sheets. Man/Deity discussion aside, I sleep well believing that this was what Jesus was preaching during his short life.

I also think Jesus ghost wrote the riff to "Tumblin' Dice" through Keith. How else can we explain the existance of such perfection. The only answer can be a higher being with a Tele plugged into an old Vox.
Christianity is very clear, and the deeds vs. devotion thing is not an issue.

It is very simple. According to Christianity, the only way to be saved is to accept Christ as your savior.

That's the ONLY way.

Any "Christian" who tells you otherwise is not following the Gospel. This is the kind of thing I refer to when I say "pseudo-Christian-when-convenient."

There is no debate. Jesus DID NOT preach that deeds would be enough to get into heaven, in fact he preached just the opposite.

The murderer who repents and accepts Christ will be accepted into heaven.

This is a very important part of Christianity. In fact, it is the basis of the ENTIRE RELIGION.
"...especially the average citizen who sacrifices his life in a war that is meant to secure the financial interests of... the ultra-rich and the ultra-conservative."

"In a country where money buys votes, very directly, the rich will always be in power."

As if there's never been a liberal president.

I realize it's hopeless to debate this on this blog, but I can't buy any of that. I'd gladly sell my vote to someone if the price was good enough (perhaps to pick up a Neumann U87, Sweet!), but so far in my almost 24 years of voting nobody's offered me a dime for it.
Actually it isn't very clear at all. Otherwise, there would be 40 different churches between my house and my work.

Well, that's what some may beleive, perhaps that's what the abortion clinic bombers, the evangelicals, the ID pimpers believe he preached, but I've read the same book and I get a different story. Isn't that great?

Read the Upanishad too, and I get a similar message. It makes sense to me and it suits me. Another giant raging misconception about believers: that only blind and total orthadoxy makes up the whole. Won't deny zealots exist, just not anywhere near the level you think.

The single greatest thing about living in America. I'm free to believe anything I want, even if it doesn't wash with church leadership. Don't care if they think I'm wrong. That, and being able to criticize church leadership free from persecution.

Well, other than them telling me I'm going to hell. That is so bogus...

Somehow, unless I really fuck up bad, I'm not worried.
I didn't say there was never a liberal president. But the rich are in power in this country, have you noticed? And they have been for decades, liberals and conservatives alike.

Money buys votes. Look at the discrepancies between the winners and the losers in terms of money spent.

As far as the question of the basis of Christianity... it seems that you are grouping the "kooks" (y'alls word) with those who really believe the single most important piece of Christianity, namely that Jesus forgives ALL sins and accepting him means eternal life. This is not something that is only believed by the extremists, Tony, it's the single most important tenet of the religion. It's not zelaots, it's what regular Christians are SUPPOSED to believe.

Before I sign off on this debate, I'd like to once more point out the hypocrisy of those who say "that part of the Bible (or the Gospel) doesn't have to be followed, only zealots follow it" and then turn around and say "all Muslims follow the Koran word for word, because it's the Word of God."

John 3:16 ain't just a sign at football games.

You are simply fishing for hypocracy amongst those that are evangelical sheep. How easy is that? It props up your charicterization of the faithful of all religions. I won't stand behind any one particular faith and say it's the one true way, or their particular interpretation of their holy book is THE definitive way to salvation, peace of mind, etc... I have serious issues with most organized religion in it's current state, and certainly recognize all of the negative effects throughout history. At the same time, there is much beauty and piece of mind that can be found in the writings of many of mankinds religous and philosophical greats. Socrates was a beliver in a crap load of dieties, but wrote some brilliant shit. St. Thomas Aquinas to the same extent was a brilliant man and wrote some of the most insightful discussion every commited to paper. I could go on and on. Siddharthra, the Hindu's, they all had great thinkers who offered thoughts soothing to the soul whatever you beleive that to be. And yes, Jesus Christ too. It's the men who came after them that have screwed it all up and create a situation where you would think that this is waht being a TRUE Chirstian is, That is what being a true Christian (substitute any other religion for Christian here). As a matter of fact, I'd say that's the biggest issue that all the organized religions have in the world today: Thier leadership is so apt to define what constitutes a REAL follower and what does not. I do not subscribe to this at all. They betray the whole idea. It became politics and power struggles throughout the ages, but the original words are still there to be read.

My country's constitution allows and protects my right to feel this way without fear. To bad that's not the case in Iran.
Well that's all well and good. It seems we're all david St. Hubbinses, taking bits and peices of whatever religion or philosophy that flows through our respective tranoms (sp?). We're all non parcticing, Christ appreciating, morally upright folks, But nobody answered my question, because you can't, because you, or somebody you listen to, made it up. Democrats seeking office, or looking to secure their current office, do not insult othrer peoples religious beliefs. So find some other bone of contention.

Tony, yes, currently you do live in a country where you can believe what yuo wish, worship waht you wish, or not at all.

But for how long?

Keep voting for these guys, and you'll live to see a day when even that basic right, one of the main points upon which this country was founded, will be taken away from you, and replaced with one 'more suitable'.
Religion is an emotional crutch....Any Christian that has no problem with war is full of shit. GW Bush is an evangelical idiot.
Sorry man, just not that paranoid...
Do you mean the blissfull peace of ignorance and naivetee?
No, as clearly as I can make this, I just don't beleive my rights to worship or not worship are going to be curtailed. Again, I'm not that paranoid.
separation of church and state was a good concept.

that's one to talk about with the strict constructionists.
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