Posted by: Andy | September 5, 2007

Random political & religious junk

This Youtube clip of the Dickster back when he was Secretary of Defense (under GB 1 I think – I totally didn’t know he was SoD, but I guess I didn’t keep track of that stuff then) has been making the rounds on the net, of course the Daily Show did a bit on it. Funny how things can change in a few years isn’t it?

I don’t know who Robert Scheer is, but this sure is an interesting anti-Bush read.

And of course, Alberto Gonzales resigned. I really didn’t see that coming. No, honestly. I could have sworn that he swore he wasn’t going to resign just like a month or two ago. I’m very curious to see a) who Bush tries to push through and b) who actually gets through – hopefully Congress shows some spine.

Another great Tabibi article in the Stone. Of course, he vehemently hates Bush and possibly all Republicans, and that makes for interesting metaphors, but he still brings up good points and has very specific examples of some companies’ errors.
So, did anyone else know that Bush changed the way that he is allowed to deploy troops on our own soil? Most of this stuff is beyond me, but it sounds like there were provisions put in place to prevent the president (or anyone else) from using the Army as the Police, or something to that effect. Bush has removed some (?) of them. The major ones at least. You might argue that he needed to do that, for terrorism protection or some junk. But, after comparing the changes, it really looks to me like they were unnecessary – a lawyer could have already got the needed mileage out of what was there, so I’m just sort of puzzled.

And yes I know that he can’t directly remove anything himself – but he can have people tack on riders to bills at midnight the night before it goes to vote, so no one has time to read it (similar to how the Patriot Act got passed), and other sly stuff like that which sends a red flag up (to me) that something shady is going on.

You guys might have seen this bit already, about the Christian activists who disrupted a Hindu chaplain’s (whatever they are called) morning invocation in the senate. First off, I’m not sure why there is any sort of religious invocation before a governmental function, I really don’t think there should be. BUT, if there is going to be one, then the way they do it now seems sort of fair – it rotates around between various religions. Anyway, what I found interesting from that discussion (other than the wacko website of the protesters in question), was some links someone posted somewhere to some fascinating quotes from our “founding fathers” in reference to the bullshit claims made by groups like the one in question, things like: “This country was founded on Christianity!” and “Our founding fathers were Christians!” Sure, I’m sure some were, but some were Atheist/Agnostic and I’m fairly certain a good a number of them were Deists too, possibly/probably more than Christian. Not to mention that Christians of that day were a bit different than today… Someday I’ll do the research on that, but I believe I’ve seen a number of bits and pieces over the years about how certain FFs were Deists.

  • John Adams -“I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”–in a letter to Thomas Jefferson
  • James Madison 1 “During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have 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 2 – “What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.” –both quotes from his ‘Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments’
  • Thomas Jefferson 1“Question with boldness even the existence of a god.”–letter to Peter Carr, 1787
  • TJ 2 “You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.” –letter to Ezra Stiles Ely, 1819
  • Benjamin Franklin – “If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England] and in New England.”–from his essay, “Toleration”
  • Also, a Dr. Priestley, an intimate friend of Franklin, wrote of him: “It is much to be lamented that a man of Franklin’s general good character and great influence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and also have done as much as he did to make others unbelievers”–from Priestley’s Autobiography
  • Thomas Paine –“Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my church.“–from Paine’s book, “The Age of Reason”

And that whole discussion led me to the Treaty of Tripoli, which pretty explicitly states that. Article 11 reads:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

Ahh, politics & religion, the most painful subjects for family gatherings, work, discussion between friends, loved ones, pets, animals, etc.

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Responses

  1. Even if you argued that the government weren’t “based” on Christianity, it’s another topic entirely with regard to the actual society created. The Protestant Ethic blahblahblah. None of it meaning that there were no flaws because Christ didn’t start it, humans did. I love how people use the fallability (s/p) of individuals or even groups to “disprove” or discredit Christianity. I wonder if meeting hypocritical and self-serving Buddhists would render the same attacks. Well, I’ll see when I get back to Santa Cruz. And I also love how attractive it is to flex the privilege of free will instead of realizing that’s what God intended you to have. Why the need for self-satisfaction and ego?

  2. Are you talking to me, or metaphorically? I’m not trying to disprove any religion, I’m just against this new trend of infusing modern christianity into politics, and then claiming it was always there. I hope you din’t think I was trying to say all christians are the same, or anything like that.

    Certainly people could argue the moral code is influenced by the christian one, but that is heavily influenced by the judaic one, code of hammurabi, blah blah, it’s all connected. So I find it strange when extra-political christians start making uneducated claims.

  3. No, no, not you; the editorial you. For you see, I am always anticipating a huge audience. Which also explains why so often I am scantily clad.

  4. Ahh, “editorial you”, is that what it’s called? I’ve been calling it “you, generic” (for lack of a better term) when I try and explain it to people. When I first explain that “you” can be used to refer to “everyone”, many people have denied it. Then, as I fumble through an explanation they begin to understand.

    Note that I wasn’t even really cognisant of this of this usage until I met Jen. It took me a bit to get used to, and then realize that I did it too. I guess the most general usage of this is stuff like “When such and such happens, what are YOU supposed to do?”, where you’re not talking about the person you’re speaking to, but rather anyone who was in your situation.

    Yes, I know that didn’t really need an explanation, but it helped me to type it out. Yay for me.

  5. Haha – I do that all the time. Sometimes communication is more for articulation.


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