Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Religion-based Politics and the GOP Debate

I do not intend to disrespect anyone's religion or belief set. But could someone please tell me the difference between Afghanistan's much-maligned Taliban and the US's own Dominionists? Both groups want to take over the leadership role in their respective countries. Both groups want their version of their holy book to form the basis of the laws of the land. Both groups want their own members in all positions of power.

If Sharia Law is bad, then why would Christian Law or Jewish Law or Hindu Law be good? It is precisely when we create laws based on the religious beliefs of a segment of our society that we lose what is most precious about our land of the free.  Do we love our freedoms?  Of course. But our freedoms do not extend to trampling on the freedoms of others.  Should we allow a stone carving of the Ten Commandments outside a courthouse?  Well, if we do, then we should also allow symbols from any other faith as well.

What is the difference between a government/legal system that operates based on the Bible from a government/legal system that operates based on the Koran? For the life of me, I don't see any difference at all. Don't tell me it is because Islam breeds terrorists. Christianity seems to breed plenty of terrorists too:  Oklahoma City, abortion clinic bombings and their doctors murdered, violence against LGBT persons, and many more examples. Perpetrating violent acts against an institution, organization or individual because of a belief set is terrorism, no matter what belief set is used to justify such acts.

I say Creator.  You say Creator.  Are we talking about the same thing? Yet politicians now think that they have to out-Christian each other in order to gain favor.  If only our founders could see us today, I think they would cringe as I do when one after another GOP candidate on the debate stage attests to their personal anti-choice, anti-other-religion-besides-Christianity, and anti-gay beliefs.

It makes me want to scream.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Religion in Politics

Never discuss religion or politics in polite company, so the saying goes, because you're bound to offend someone. But what about inserting religion into politics? If we let the Constitution be our guide, and if we not only read but understand the intent of the founders of our nation, we cannot and should not ever mix the two or blend them into one.

This is, of course, contrary to what Sarah P. and the other Dominionists and many so-called TeaPartiers would have us believe. One nation, under God, they say. And that means their God, and how they perceive their God's wishes and rules. Their goals are to infiltrate the 7 mountains of human experience and "affect the seven spheres, or mountains of society that are the pillars of any society.

Trouble is, there are many world religions and within those, many sects that hold differing guiding principles. Trouble also is, even within so-called Christianity, there are multiple interpretations of the bible. The bible is divided into old and new 'testaments' and quite frankly, they don't agree with one another. We have Jesus on the one hand saying, "Turn the other cheek," and the old testament saying, "An eye for an eye."

Equal, productive, valuable members of our American society adhere to different religions, among them Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity (each with almost countless variations), Mormonism, Zoroastrianism, Bhuddism, Shinto, Confucianism, Jainism, Taoism, Sikhism, Bahai... not to mention those with lesser followings like Spiritism, Tenrikyo, New-Paganism, Rastafarianism, Juche, Primal (indigenous), Unitarian, and of course Atheism and Agnosticism.

The founding documents of our country clearly and explicitly state that no religion or religious practice should be put forward as the law of the land. In the land of the free, how can we suffer the notion that we are free except when a religious majority (or minority) decides we are not?

Let me put it this way.  If you believe that homosexuality is a deviant behavior abhorrent to your God, fine.  I feel sorry for you, but don't lay down laws that make gays and lesbians unable to enjoy the state or federally-granted benefits any other heterosexual couple does.  If you believe that life begins when a sperm joins an egg, fine... I believe life begins when the baby takes its first breath after being expelled from the womb, so don't make laws that make it very difficult for a woman to have an abortion. Essentially, if your God tells you something, fine... let it be so for you, but don't try to legislate that version of morality on everyone else.  Your God is not the same as other people's God. And nowhere in our Constitution does it say your God is the right and only God.  Am I missing something?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

All About Weiners (and I don't mean 4th of July BBQ)

Dear readers, please consider this an opinion-based editorial. I'm going to be frank about how I feel in the situation of Rep. Anthony Weiner vs (scumbag) Andrew Breitbart and the dog and pony show that has distracted our media, all of it, for days now.

Rep. Weiner has been a consistent and effective voice in the US Congress, post-teabag-infiltration, for what I consider to be common sense.  Common sense tells me that if the poor are lifted up and the middle class are supported, our economy is strengthened. Wipe out those who can barely buy groceries much less toilet paper or a new TV?  Foreclose on those in the middle income brackets and reduce their paychecks to boot? Who will buy a new car or refrigerator or add a deck and garden to their homes? Who will put aside monies to pay for college for their kids? Who could even think of upgrading their current heating and cooling systems to ones that pollute less?  The economy as a whole has no option but to suffer as a result.

Common sense says that the economic drivers of our nation are you and me, the consumers of basic goods and services.  Common sense also says that if the consumers are pinched due to stagnant wages (or wage reduction, and hey I know something about that) or higher prices for fuel and food and transportation, they won't be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors.  No vacations, at least not expensive ones.  No home improvements except for the direly needed ones.  No new vehicles, better look for used ones when old Bessie finally costs more to maintain than she's worth. Forget hiring service providers from lawn mowing to child care to tax preparation to pest control.

Common sense conservatism, such as that touted by the extreme right-wing idealogues, hurts our economy and hurts our potential for growth. In that sense, Rep. Weiner is ahead of the curve, recognizing that without a guarantee of health care, we all suffer even if you or I don't fall ill.  Without a security blanket, we all suffer, even if you or I don't need it at this time. Without someone in Congress checking one of the other branches (the judicial in this case) you and I can be casually tossed under the bus when it comes to almighty Supreme Court decisions.

Was Anthony Weiner's private life exposed for political reasons?  You betcha.

Personally?  I could care less what Anthony Weiner does or did in his spare time online via social networking. And I don't understand why it is a big deal for anyone else, either. I do not want to see the pictures.  I don't care how graphic they are. It's like peering into someone's bathroom or bedroom, and I don't belong there. Full disclosure: I have sent and received "x-rated" images between myself and someone I originally met online.  Maybe you haven't.  Yes, I've since deleted them all.  That's just what happens, and it isn't horrid.  It isn't despicable.  It just is. It doesn't make me or the other person a bad person at all.  Humans are sexual beings by nature.  It just is that way.

By hook or crook, Breitbart has managed to purvey "porn" and hopes to be rewarded for it. Like I said in the beginning, he is despicable. My skin crawls when I see him talk. He thinks he's got another great notch in his imaginary belt of coups, but in truth all he's done is place himself lower than Larry Flynt on the scale of respectable story-tellers.

Was the Democratic party tinged with scandal as a result?  Yes, sadly.

But hey - the Republican Party has managed to survive several times as many scandals, and worse ones to boot.  Yes, I am sad. Yes, it stings.  But no, it still is none of our business.  May it remain that way.