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Part 2 of 3.

State religion Iran
The declaration of Shi'ism
as the state religion of Iran in 1501

In 2006, then-Sen. Barack Obama gave a speech on religion in the public square. Obama said:

Conservative leaders have been all too happy to exploit this gap, consistently reminding evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their Church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage; school prayer and intelligent design.

Democrats, for the most part, have taken the bait. At best, we may try to avoid the conversation about religious values altogether, fearful of offending anyone and claiming that—regardless of our personal beliefs—constitutional principles tie our hands.

At worst, there are some liberals who dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, or thinking that the very word "Christian" describes one's political opponents, not people of faith.

I consider it one of Obama's worst speeches ever. On the substance, it is nonsense—accepting of Republican nostrums on "what Democrats think," and then proposing ridiculous ideas for "religion in the public square." As a question of politics, it was a failure as its intent was to inoculate Obama from attack on "lack of faith" grounds from the "Religious Right." Kenyan socialist muslim anyone? But if that speech was the end of it, well, politics is what it is. But it has not ended there.

E.J. Dionne, joining the most radical elements of the "Religious" Right, has led the "progressive" Catholic attack on the principle of separation of church and state. Dionne points to Obama's 2006 speech as the beacon to follow on this issue, rejecting in essence the famous formulations of JFK's 1960 speech on the issue.

The encroachment of religion on our secular government proceeds at an alarming pace.

Last Thursday, the United States Senate narrowly rejected, by a 51-48 vote, passage of the Blunt Amendment, also known as the "Respect for Rights of Conscience Act." The amendment would:

Amend[] the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to permit a health plan to decline coverage of specific items and services that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan or the purchaser or beneficiary (in the case of individual coverage) without penalty. [...] Declares that nothing in PPACA shall be construed to authorize a health plan to require a provider to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider's religious beliefs or moral convictions. Prohibits a health plan from being considered to have failed to provide timely or other access to items or services or to fulfill any other requirement under PPACA because it has respected the rights of conscience of such a provider.

Prohibits an American Health Benefit Exchange (a state health insurance exchange) or other official or entity acting in a governmental capacity in the course of implementing PPACA from discriminating against a health plan, plan sponsor, health care provider, or other person because of an unwillingness to provide coverage of, participate in, or refer for, specific items or services.

To its, credit the Obama administration opposed the Blunt Amendment:
A proposal being considered in the Senate this week would allow employers that have no religious affiliation to exclude coverage of any health service, no matter how important, in the health plan they offer to their workers.  This proposal isn't limited to contraception nor is it limited to any preventive service. Any employer could restrict access to any service they say they object to. This is dangerous and wrong.

The Obama administration believes that decisions about medical care should be made by a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her boss.  We encourage the Senate to reject this cynical attempt to roll back decades of progress in women’s health.

No word on what E.J. Dionne thinks. However, the Obama administration could be accused of betraying the 2006 words of Sen. Obama by "try[ing] to avoid the conversation about religious values altogether, fearful of offending anyone and claiming that - regardless of our personal beliefs—constitutional principles tie our hands." After all, if you provide "accommodations" to religiously affiliated institutions regarding their conduct in the secular world, why not to religious persons as well?

The failure was in not championing the separation of church and state as a principle designed to insure free exercise of religion and protect the secular government from the encroachment of religion. This approach protects religion and the state. It is a principle worth fighting for and being proud of the fight. Instead, the Obama administration is now down the path of a convoluted morass of deciding when, and when not to, accommodate religion in our secular government. The line should be easy to find.

(Continue reading below the fold)

in a recent case, much touted by supporters of the Blunt Amendment, the Supreme Court explained where the line should be drawn. The case is HOSANNA-TABOR EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH AND SCHOOL v. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION ET AL (PDF). Writing for a unanimous Court, Chief Justice Roberts stated:

Until today, we have not had occasion to consider whether this freedom of a religious organization to select its ministers is implicated by a suit alleging discrimination in employment. The Courts of Appeals, in contrast, have had extensive experience with this issue. Since the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U. S. C. §2000e et seq., and other employment discrimination laws, the Courts of Appeals have uniformly recognized the existence of a “ministerial exception,” grounded in the First Amendment, that precludes application of such legislation to claims concerning the employment relationship between a religious institution and its ministers. We agree that there is such a ministerial exception. The members of a religious group put their faith in the hands of their ministers.

Requiring a church to accept or retain an unwanted minister, or punishing a church for failing to do so, intrudes upon more than a mere employment decision. Such action interferes with the internal governance of the church, depriving the church of control over the selection of those who will personify its beliefs. By imposing an unwanted minister, the state infringes the Free Exercise Clause, which protects a religious group’s right to shape its own faith and mission through its appointments.

When is comes to the religious institution itself and its function as a ministry, the state has no role and must have no role. Thus a religion can choose to not ordinate women or persons of color as ministers. It can apply discriminatory rules in all aspects of its religious institutions, insisting that women be segregated from men, both in the place of worship or on transportation vehicles operated for purposes of the religious institution. (To be sure, the Court is not particularly consistent in application of this principle.)

However,  when the religious institution chooses to engage in the secular world, regulated by our secular government, this protection from government regulation and law ends. Thus, when the Hasidim of Brooklyn choose to use public transportation, they are not permitted to enforce their discriminatory views that women must ride in the back of the bus.

When a religion decides that it will own public accommodations, such as hospitals, it must abide by our secular laws and regulations. This is the crucible of the issue today. Consider this New York Times editorial:

A wave of mergers between Roman Catholic and secular hospitals is threatening to deprive women in many areas of the country of ready access to important reproductive services. Catholic hospitals that merge or form partnerships with secular hospitals often try to impose religious restrictions against abortions, contraception and sterilization on the whole system.
Here is the line, easy for all to see. The imposition of religion on a secular public accommodation should not be countenanced. In this case, it involves the Catholic Church imposing religious limitations on health care for women at a public hospital. In the case of the Blunt Amendment, the principle is extended to religious persons, not just institutions.

This does not mean that religions and religious persons must be out of the public arena. To the contrary, religions and religious people should be in the arena, like all of us, fighting for our respective views.

I would expect, and defend the right of, religions and religious persons to work to have their views enshrined in our laws. Thus, for those religions who oppose birth control and women's right to choose, I expect them to fight for the overturn of Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade. For those religions who believe in discrimination based on gender, race or sexual orientation, I expect them to be in the public arena fighting for secular laws that encompass their views on these subjects. And for the positive, for those religions and their adherents who oppose the death penalty, aggressive war, and unbridled capitalism, I expect them to be in the public arena fighting for their views.

My expectations are met every day. No religion and no religious person has been excluded nor do they act as if they have been excluded from the public arena. What some demand  however is that even when they lose the argument in the public arena, that they get an exception from following our secular laws. That is unacceptable.

It is a principle that no progressive should even contemplate, much less accept. And yet, too many do. Many Democrats and progressives have, to coin a phrase, "taken the bait." We now see more clearly where that path is leading us. It is an unacceptable path.

NOTE: This series has been extended to one more part which will be published next week. That concluding article will discuss, among other things, the theological support for separation of church and state.    

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  The first amendment gives us (39+ / 0-)

    freedom FROM religion as well as freedom of religion.

    I guess Jefferson and Madison weren't clear enough on this point.

    •  before the revisionists (6+ / 0-)

      several states sponsored various denominations as state religions and gave them preferences over other denominations.  Quite a few examples but somehow, the religionists have twisted history so the Founding Fathers did not fear the establishment of a state church but rather were specifically anti-Anglican in their beliefs.  

      •  Hmmm. After reading a number of thoughts of (5+ / 0-)

        Jefferson, he was definitely not in favor of Calvinism as originated in the First Great Awakening in the early 1700's.

        Here are a few selected quotes in wiki:

        Jefferson

        •  Doesn't matter, legally (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade

          Jefferson wasn't part of the process of drafting or ratifying the constitution. And Madison wasn't the originator of the Bill of Rights, and in fact was initially opposed to it. People like George Mason and other anti-Federalists were.

          In any case, nearly all the framers realized the danger of mixing government and politics, and sought and intended to separate the two as much as possible.

          So help them god.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:17:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Only to the extent that the right seems to believe (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JC Dufresne, laurnj

            Jefferson is on their side.  In reality, he'd probably move back to France if he saw what they've said in his name.

            •  Jefferson is pretty much useless as an example (0+ / 0-)

              on pretty much anything, because he was all over the map and too easily used to defend pretty much any position. Anti-slavery slaveowner, strict constructionist violator of separation of powers, fiscal conservative spendthrift, etc.

              He was one conflicted man, thinker and statesman.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:55:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Jefferson was not present - but (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pimutant, blueoasis

            he'd written this

            http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu/...

            already and had a substantial influence on the debate.

            Bombing Iran is far more dangerous than Iran getting The Bomb.

            by JesseCW on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 07:42:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Only through his influence on Madison (0+ / 0-)

              He had a lot of enemies in VA by then, especially Henry, who I know wasn't at the convention but who had his own anti-federalist sympathizers there. I think that he and Mason were a lot more influential than Jefferson.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:16:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  And very proud he was of it, too (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW

              It's one of the three things he wanted credit for on his tombstone, along with the Declaration of Independence and the founding of UVa.

              If your internal map of reality doesn't match external conditions, bad things happen.--Cambias

              by pimutant on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 09:18:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  6th amendment (5+ / 0-)

      The No Religious Test Clause of the United States Constitution is found in Article VI, paragraph 3, and states that:

      The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

      •  And yet (0+ / 0-)

        there are a number of states that do impose a religious test. When I learned of this, not that long ago, I was astonished. They are, unsurprisingly, all states that care deeply about "states' rights" (as opposed to the rights given the states by the Constitution). IANAL,  but I still find it amazing that there has never been a successful challenge to the constitutionality of these laws.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 07:37:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And Obama's decision freed it 100% from (0+ / 0-)

      religion in this case.  So now no religion is involved in the process at all only secular government and insurance companies.

  •  The Blunt amendment was more than this (22+ / 0-)

    It was a blatant attempt to destroy the Health Care law by allowing employers to refuse to provide any coverage based on any phony trumped up "moral" reason.  I'm sure the Catholic Church is not going to deny its employees any health insurance at all.  But other employers would take advantage of this loophole in the law that would be so massive you could drive 100 tanks through side by side.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:09:05 PM PST

  •  Dionne is an old man (17+ / 0-)

    And he ought to be man enough to a acknowledge his own biases.  Neither he nor the old male bishops speak for women even Catholic women.  

  •  People are entitled to believe any fairy tale they (30+ / 0-)

    like, and may even use it to guide their lives, but they are not entitled to insist that anybody else believe in or follow the strictures of their fairy tale, nor to insist that a fairy tale be given he weight of law.

  •  What Catholic hospitals? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, mapamp

    Every Catholic hospital in New York City has gone out of business, and the Archdiocese sold its medical school to a Jewish university.

    •  The New yorker view of the world (12+ / 0-)

      I often suffer from it myself.

    •  There are two near me in orange county ca. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Egalitare, wishingwell, blueoasis

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:18:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It might be a tonic to the bishops' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cany

        reconsideration of their position if women started avoiding Catholic hospitals whenever possible.  They are being portrayed as great bastions of charity, which they may be, but I doubt that everyone treated at a Catholic hospital is an indigent.

        What'd the devil give you for your soul, Tommy? He taught me to play this here guitar REAL good. Oh son, for that you traded your everlastin' soul? Well, I wuddn' usin' it.

        by ZedMont on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:07:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I haven't ever been treated in one, but my mom (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZedMont

          was. Her doctor was part of a medical group right across the street.

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:26:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was born in one. My mom had heard that the (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO, cany, blueoasis

            nurses in the Baptist hospital were mean.  BWAAAHHHAAAAA

            What'd the devil give you for your soul, Tommy? He taught me to play this here guitar REAL good. Oh son, for that you traded your everlastin' soul? Well, I wuddn' usin' it.

            by ZedMont on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:33:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I grew up around a major Presby. hospital so (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ZedMont

              until I was an adult, it never even occurred to me to question the implications!

              202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

              by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:55:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  check the sale or merger agreement (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, ratcityreprobate

      here when a secular tertiary care facility bought out the Catholic facility, they had extreme limitations on birth control and even what was considered birth control

    •  Not where I live (10+ / 0-)

      My town is home to a large, regional Catholic hospital. I can see it from my back window. It's the only one serving my rural county.  It's certainly where I would end up in an emergency.

      I am concerned that the bishops' beliefs might trump my advance care directive for end-of-life issues.

      •  I was worried about that too given my mom's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO

        hospital was St. Judes in Fullerton.

        They were wonderful and abided fully her DNR. I had asked the doctor prior to be sure that they would honor this. He almost looked offended that I had asked, but I had to ask.

        She was in hospice there and died there.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:28:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not likely. (0+ / 0-)

        The Church is not opposed to removing extraordinary measures to keep a person alive. As long as you have not directed that you be deprived of basic nourishment, there should be no objections. A DNR, for example, is acceptable as is removing someone from life support and similar measures. Essentially, letting nature take its course is not something the Church opposes.

    •  Yeesh, (5+ / 0-)

      Get out of New York once in awhile. Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma are crawling with them.

      If you can separate sex from procreation, you have given women the ability to participate in society on an equal basis with men. -Gloria Feldt

      by skohayes on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:46:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  sigh... come visit Kentucky charlie (6+ / 0-)

      The Governor... along with an opinion from our esteemed Attorney General Jack Conway... just declined (thankfully) the Catholic Church and its healthcare conglomerate from snapping up the University of Louisville Hospital as well as Jewish General.

      The Church had every intention of implementing its doctrine on the women of this state and those served by these community hospitals. Certain procedures would be stopped and banned according to the Catholic religious directives.

      But, it's not over yet. I'm sure the Church will be back trying to push that merger through.

      In fact, from my reading, it appears the Catholic Church healthcare system has grown from 11% of our healthcare providers in like 1999 to over 22% today. And that 22% was from 3 or 4 years ago. They've been very busy since then.


      One may live without bread, but not without roses.
      ~Jean Richepin
      Bread & Roses

      by bronte17 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:06:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where I live... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      ... in rural MN, there is only one hospital for miles around, and it's a Catholic hospital.  They recently sold out to a corporation, but retained their Catholic name.  The clinic, also the only one for miles, was also bought out by the same corporation.  This "new" corporation operates in four states.

      I think the Catholic church set up the corporation and gave it a secular-sounding name because the home page has this info:

      Our values of quality, hospitality, respect, justice, stewardship and teamwork reflect the strong Benedictine tradition of our many Catholic facilities and guide us in everything we do.
      And, of course, none of the religious iconography has been removed from the hospital itself; there are still religious things hanging on the walls and statues on some desks.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:37:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If your religion is about "dominating"... (20+ / 0-)

    ...everything, including the nation through its government, then you do not believe that any separation is valid.

    We are witnessing the rise of a new king of Christianity in America, one that will not rest until it succeeds in taking over the WH.

    They know no limits and their strategy is complex.

    I am a supporter of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and I am aware of their relentless and effective attempt to infiltrate the Pentagon.  

    These people will not stop. Secularism IS their enemy.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:14:53 PM PST

  •  the goal of the speech was not (6+ / 0-)

    to inoculate Obama from attacks by the most vociferous professional opponents, as I see it, but to make a play for religiously minded voters who might be inclined to support Obama on economic grounds but perhaps oppose on others.  The jury is still out, but the last election did ok.  Obama is trying to detach marginal members of of the christian right, not upend it entirely.  it's working great, recently -- he made a feint at compromise that the religious right properly saw as half assed (as it required them to do what most Catholic hospitals do anyway without objection until it was Obama proposing things), and now revealed the most entrenched opponents to be utterly uncompromising, and out of touch with women and America, to boot.  Go back to the "Saddleback Summit" -- Obama wasn't trying to win the votes of the attendees; he was speaking past them to people who believe in God but, say go to church only once or twice a month.

    As far as secular laws goes, Employment Div. v. Smith is only half the story -- it coexists with Sherbert and Yoder, where there is discretion in application, there is a right to religious accommodation.  But the broader point is Obama's probably right to want to take the temperature down, and even this point of criticism of him shows that he's very clearly shown who is to blame.  

    And I think it would be very nice if those of us who want non-discrimination for atheistic, agnostic or other views also show some greater willingness to tamp down on periodic anti-Catholic and anti-Mormon sentiment.  It's too easy to slip from criticism of the church hierarchy to condemnation of individual believers or legitimization of that.  Which doesn't mean they're the biggest victims on earth, but individuals who don't get in anyone's face shouldn't be made to feel bad about membership in a church that does.  The counterargument is people have free will, of course, but the reality is nobody has ever, in the history of the universe, won a theological argument, where winning is defined as getting someone to renounce one's religious convictions using methods other than force or bribery.

    The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

    by Loge on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:16:13 PM PST

    •  There is noevidence supporting your assertion (4+ / 0-)

      "The jury is still out, but the last election did ok."

      As for your statement that the speech was attempt to woo certain faith based voters, I'm not sure how that is different from what I wrote. Inoculation in political terms is intended to gain votes.

      Your point is unclear to me on that score.

      It is unsupported on the success portion.

      •  well, he won (0+ / 0-)

        and if you don't see the difference, it's perhaps due to unclarity on your part.  Were you suggesting that he thought the right wouldn't attack him, or that the attacks wouldn't work?  If, over time, the attacks become less effective, and if that has to do with Obama's public position, his position will be a success.  Hence, the jury's still out.  This week does seem to be something of a tipping point, and I think by not heeding your advice, Obama's better positioned to capitalize.  

        The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

        by Loge on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:42:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He won because of reachout to Values Voters? (6+ / 0-)

          What utter unsupported nonsense.

          He won because (1) Bush was President, (2) the financial meltdown and (3) he maximized turnout of minority and young voters.

          The Values Voters factor was absolutely unimportant, if not a hindrance.

          I thin by not heeding my advice, Obama risks muddling his message on these issues.

          The jury us absolutely NOT out with regard to Obama's outreach to Values Voters, It was a waste of time.

          As for my advice, what advice are you referring to? To not give the 2006 speech? I do not think that matters at all now, one way or another. You do?

          •  Is that what I said? No. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ratcityreprobate

            how is his message muddled on points 2 and 3?  and you are assuming a definition of values voters and equally assuming it's the target of obama's appeal and/or what I'm describing.  Part of the victory, which was larger than it had to be, was appeal to disgruntled republicans and to people sick of division.  That coexists with liberalism and appeal to youth.  You assume a conflict when the whole point is that it's avoidable.

            The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

            by Loge on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:56:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm with Loge. (0+ / 0-)

        And what he is saying is different than what you wrote.  You wrote

        As a question of politics, it was a failure as its intent was to inoculate Obama from attack on "lack of faith" grounds from the "Religious Right." Kenyan socialist muslim anyone?
        But that's not what Obama was after. He surely knows he won't win over any of hate thy neighbor fundy nutcases. He  was after "love thy neighbor" Christians, and there are many more of those than one might suppose from observing religious TV and radio.

        You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

        by Simian on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:05:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was in complete agreement until this... (9+ / 0-)
      ... [but] individuals who don't get in anyone's face shouldn't be made to feel bad about membership in a church that does.
      There I disagree.

      Choices have implications. The implications are not always wonderful. Perhaps, then, it is best to make good choices.

      If I did not agree with something my church was doing you can be very sure they'd know about it immediately.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:23:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  FTR (5+ / 0-)

      MY disdain for the appeal to the Values Voters, a DLC fixture, is of longstanding.

      It;s NEVER worked and never will work.

      I can provide you links to my analysis if you like.

      •  feel free, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SoCalSal

        but the distinction i was drawing was between "values voters" as such, and low information voters who find themselves pulled in multiple directions.  triangulating to the right to get their support wouldn't work, and it's good Obama's done absolutely nothing of the sort.  Painting their leadership into such a corner that the followers cant go along is a different matter entirely.  If appeals to reason worked, they probably wouldn't be religious to begin with, but that's the sort of thing, per Mitt Romney, we'd be best advised to discuss in quiet rooms.  I suppose this all turns, really, on whether you see the news of the last two weeks as pulling the conversation to the right (that birth control is even being debated) or to the left (that people who do support birth control can see broad support for their position and find power in numbers).

        The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

        by Loge on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:47:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unnn what? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NonnyO, oculus, FogCityJohn, blueoasis

          "triangulating to the right to get their support wouldn't work, and it's good Obama's done absolutely nothing of the sort."

          The 2006 speech was a textbook example at attempts at trinagulation.

          Hell, it was a Clinton 1992 speech.

          WTF are you talking about?

          •  You're stuck in a rut. (0+ / 0-)

            the response to a claim Obama went over your head is to demonstrate that very thing once again.  Triangulation is either some combo of attacking ones own base or trying to outflank the other side.  Not the case here, unless to the extent you perceive any different conception of religion in politics as an attack on your most deeply held view, which would be ironic.

            The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

            by Loge on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:00:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are writng nonsense (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FogCityJohn

              It's as if you never read the speech;

              It is a textbook case of triangulation as you define it this comment.

              •  it was a textbook example (0+ / 0-)

                the first time you made that assertion.  

                you've set up a closed loop, where a values voter is strictly speaking one whose vote is either unobtainable or not worth obtaining -- it's a tautological argument, but if anyone's accepting a right wing framing, it's not I.  however, if your definition is the only possible one, i could see the argument, but that would fly in the exact face of the speech.  i'll concede you read the speech, but you also read into it things that weren't there.  paradoxically, it allowed Obama to triangulate in the sense you identify through no fault of his own, but knowing that not a few people would miss the point.

                The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

                by Loge on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 07:30:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Democrats take the bait" (0+ / 0-)

                  You are simply spouting sheer nonsense.

                  You should be embarrassed. This is Booman level obtusenessi

                  •  I'm not quite so up to speed (0+ / 0-)

                    on that particular ad hominem, but you did already register your point.  Is sheer nonsense different from regular nonsense?  you should be embarrassed by the fact that your argument style is to pound on the table.

                    You want to elevate the status of the religious right leaders by making them the focus; Obama's trying to marginalize them.  it might not work, especially as there are always multi variables involved, but it's not nonsense or selling anyone out, when you consider that the actual policies stay perfectly secular.

                    The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

                    by Loge on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 08:27:06 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Triangulation (0+ / 0-)

                      was the subject here.

                      You said the 2006 speech was not triangulation. You described what triangulation is in YOUR MIND and claimed the 2006 speech was not that.

                      That reveals that you did not read the speech or simply choose to ignore the fact that the speech precisely conforms to YOUR definition of triangulation.

                      You say that triangulation is  "either some combo of attacking ones own base or trying to outflank the other side.  Not the case here."

                      "Democrats take the bait." From the speech. Can I be any clearer for you? How in Gawd's name is that not "attacking one's own base?"

                      Here's the thing, you are a smart guy and for some reason decided to play the idiot about that speech.

                      I have no idea why. No question I have no patience for that.

                      •  A third possibility, (0+ / 0-)

                        is i read the speech and didn't think it conformed to that definition.  "Democrats take the bait," in context depends on what bait is being taken.  It was not the positions on any issues, but the manner in which the arguments are made.  It's not an attack, it's a constructive criticism.  I think it's true that some democrats, even religious ones aren't good at framing pitches in religious terms (the religious left is just whiny, pathetic, and defensive), and there absolutely are voices on the left who see religion as a hostile force, but none in real positions of power.  Some religious people are hostile, but marginalizing them versus empowering them is a better strategy.

                        The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

                        by Loge on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 10:52:44 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Sigh (0+ / 0-)

                          "constructive criticism?" Oh boy. Well, the DLC was sure its criticism was "constructive" too.

                          You have just defined "triangulation" out of existence.

                          •  THe DLC's project was (0+ / 0-)

                            explicitly policy oriented.  Much less is at stale in this debate, at least as i see the terms of it.

                            The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

                            by Loge on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 12:34:27 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oy (0+ / 0-)

                            That's just wrong.

                          •  Wrong as to (0+ / 0-)

                            the DLC or wrong as to how I characterize my own argument?  I'll concede you think that under both your reading of the issue and my reading, you thinkObama's position is incorrect.  I'd also say the DLC was more about economic issues than social ones but I don't remember it's heyday that well.  I only really understood shit from about the 96 election on, as before that I didn't know a few very basic tenets of Econ.

                            The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

                            by Loge on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 02:27:33 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

      •  The third way has been no way out since its (5+ / 0-)

        inception.

        You can't get to the left by going right.

        This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

        by Words In Action on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:51:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Giving up on values voters is a mistake (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Loge

        not unlike the mistake Republicans have made giving up on  Hispanic voters. You can't just cede large sections of society to the other side and expect to win over the long haul.

        Values voters aren't necessarily conservative voters. They don't hold necessarily all hold views that are at odds with  liberal values.  A lot of values voters actually believe in community.  And that concept--belief in community--is exactly where we can pry them away from the Tea Bagger GOP. You can appeal to those voters by appealing to the "love thy neighbor" aspect of their religion. Liberalism should appeal to persons of such beliefs. The self-centered nature of conservatism and libertarianism are at odds with much of the Gospel. There's nothing wrong with saying that. Christian progressives  must say that.

        You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

        by Simian on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:21:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is no such thing (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NonnyO, oculus, FogCityJohn, blueoasis

          And the way to go after ALL voters is to govern well.

          I usuallly put quote around "Values Voters" because what the DLC and Amy Sullivan and the like mean is anti-choice, anti- gay marraige and anti-women voters.

          Democrats have to give up on voters who vote on these issues, just as they had to give up on anti civil rights voters in the 60s.

          I refer you to my 18 million posts on the subject between 2004 and 2007

          •  OK, if that's the definition of "values voters" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Loge

            then I agree they have to be given up on. I'm talking about appealing to religious voters who can be pried away from the anti-choice, anti-gay marriage and anti-woman crowd by appealing to their sense of community and shared responsibility. These are people I'm calling progressive Christians. Are you saying "there is no such thing" as people like that?

            You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

            by Simian on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:45:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Great (0+ / 0-)

              How? Give up on what rights do you suggest?

              •  By, as I said, appealing to their sense of (0+ / 0-)

                community and shared responsibility, not by giving up on any rights.

                You don't win a war of ideas by ceding the moral high ground. What you must do, if you are able, is claim the moral high ground as your own. Progressives already hold the moral high ground of caring what happens to the poor, helping the sick, and wanting to see that everyone is treated fairly, and loving our neighbor. Claim these things for the moral imperatives that they are.  Call out libertarians and their ilk for immoral glorification of greed and hatred of other groups are moral.

                You didn't answer my question. Do you believe progressive Christians exist?

                You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

                by Simian on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:41:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  but I will freely admit (6+ / 0-)

      I am anti-Catholic. I was raised as a catholic and left the church at the age of 16, because even in the 1970's their anti-woman bias was glaringly evident. Then you have the pedophile scandal that never seems to end, a church lobbying organization and PAC, and the latest faux outrage over being "forced" to provide birth control coverage to their employees, when 28 states already have laws that do the same thing.
       Let the Catholics defend their own damn church. I only get involved when the vitriol gets out of hand.

      If you can separate sex from procreation, you have given women the ability to participate in society on an equal basis with men. -Gloria Feldt

      by skohayes on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:52:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Greater Willingness? (5+ / 0-)

      And I think it would be very nice if those of us who want non-discrimination for atheistic, agnostic or other views also show some greater willingness to tamp down on periodic anti-Catholic and anti-Mormon sentiment
      Being very nice won't stop them from trying to force their religion down Americas collective throat.  It would be very nice if they had a greater willingness to show us respect. Instead, atheists recieve death threats (and threated with rape) when they challege issues like school prayer.

      I'm so sorry if I'm alienating some of you/ YOUR WHOLE FUCKING CULTURE ALIENATES ME. Bikini Kill

      by pitbullgirl65 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:06:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fair enough, (0+ / 0-)

        but then it's too easy to for them to tune out positions where coalitions are possible.  As an atheist who has litigates school prayer cases, I still see no excuse or practical upside to anti-either sentiment, and not because the positions of the churches are respectable, but for the reasons I gave that you didn't quote.  

        The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

        by Loge on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:06:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  To be fair (0+ / 0-)

    religious groups have the right to lobby and advocate for their positions. Here in NY, the Jewish lobby (and I'm not talking about AIPAC here, but local organizations) are constantly in everyone's face in Albany pushing things like assisted reproductive technologies, stem cell research, and funding for social service organizations. Since the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, is an Orthodox Jew, the Jewish lobby basically wins almost everything since nothing in Albany gets enacted without his ok.

  •  Religion poisons everything. (6+ / 0-)

    If it weren't for the pass our culture gives to "religious" authority...

    ...would we allow 60ish celibate {sick} men in fabulous hats dictate anything about sex, contraception, or women's health generally?

    No.

    But because they are "religious," they are not only not excluded from the conversation, they dominate it and drive the policy.

    You'd think all the child-raping and covering up might have removed their seat at the table, but there they are, sitting high and might and holding forth, and putting their religious edicts over all your bodies.

    Religion poisons everything.

  •  Seriously..... How can a 'candidate' (11+ / 0-)

    like Rick Santorum blather on daily about his utter disdain of the separation of church and state and expect to become the president?

    The PRESIDENT takes an OATH

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
    Santorum - and most republicans - openly campaign on disdain for the Constitution.

    IS it just more lying by politicians just to get in office?

    Or are they really and truly that fucking stupid?

    #occupywallstreet: Although I know the rhythm you'd prefer me dancing to, I'll turn my revolt into style.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:19:54 PM PST

    •  Both... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xxdr zombiexx

      It is more lying by politicians just to get in office..., AND they are really and truly that fucking stupid.

      They also want to rewrite and revise history to match the fairy tale version they've invented in order to "justify" altering the Constitution or disregarding it entirely.  If they had ancestors in colonial America, they'd find things were both better and worse than their fairy tale, depending on the area the ancestors settled and what was going on at any given point in the 17th century to make it both better and worse.

      I have a whole bunch of colonial New England ancestors (MA, RI, ME).  As I have researched various branches, I find out more and more about their lives, biographies (as noted by contemporary writers,  not those who lived later and never knew them or their neighbors).  This knowledge makes me certain that Slimy Santorum, Newtie, and Mittster have no idea on earth what they are talking about (nor do Batty Bachmann or Caribou Barbie whose far-out fantasies are even nuttier).

      NOTE, also, the wording on the Presidential Oath of Office.  It is a secular oath for a secular constitution for a secular nation.  There is NO phrase at the end that says 'so help me god.'  If the conservative cretins want to technically follow the Constitution, they can't add those words.  Adding 'so help me god' technically invalidates the oath.  [The later-written oaths of office for the Senate and House have those words, but not the Presidential Oath of Office as written in the Constitution.]

      My fondest daydream in my old age:  Before I die I'd like to see people regain some semblance of sanity and vote on genuine issues, not ambiguous "values" (among the other sane, constitutional, and legal things I've wished since December 2000).

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:27:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not MY values. (18+ / 0-)
    Conservative leaders have been all too happy to exploit this gap, consistently reminding evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their Church,
    I agree with Armando's low opinion of this speech.  In my opinion, the values of evangelical Christians deserve to be regarded as odious.  I'd like to see more Democrats say so, loudly and clearly ... and stop acting like we need to apologize for disliking Christian values and institutions that are anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-intellectual, and anti-education.  
    •  Not Christian: Jesus respected and liked women n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell
    •  Of *Evangelical* Christians? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an evangelical Christian. "Evangelical" is not the same as "Dominionist," "Conservative," "Theocratic," or "Fundamentalist."

      Hell even "Fundamentalist" didn't used to mean the same as any of those others, though it seems like it does more and more these days.

      The Baptist Death Ray (wrightc [at] eviscerati [dot] org) "We are all born originals -- why is it so many of us die copies?"
      - Edward Young

      by The Baptist Death Ray on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:25:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When did "fundamentalist" ever mean anything good? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO, apimomfan2
        •  Not good per se... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis

          ... simply neutral.

          Fundamentalism at one time was confined strictly to matters of theology, not political persuasion. "Fundamentalism" meant "using the Bible as primary source material" in terms of understanding Christianity. Then there were Fundamentalist Inerrantists, who interpreted the Bible as the infallible word of God -- and even there you'd find people of a wide variety of political persuasions, including, yes, Democrats.

          THEN you had the Fundamentalist Inerrantist Literalists, who believed that the bible was both infallible and that it was literally-yes-I-do-mean-rocks-sing-and-trees-clap-true.

          These days it's harder to find those gradations, but I'm pretty sure I didn't hallucinate them.

          The Baptist Death Ray (wrightc [at] eviscerati [dot] org) "We are all born originals -- why is it so many of us die copies?"
          - Edward Young

          by The Baptist Death Ray on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:53:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You equate fundamentalism with Protestantism (0+ / 0-)

            "'Using the Bible as primary source material' in terms of understanding Christianity" was Luther's innovation: but he did not take the Bible to be inerrant. Indeed, he went so far as to declare some books as apocryphal (to produce ever lasting hatred from Catholics) and express regret that Revelation had been included in the Bible.

            Fundamentalism was a post-Civil War American phenomenon, a reaction to Darwin and German Biblical scholarship. It got its name when, in the early 20th century, conservative evangelicals held a meeting to get back to the "fundamentals".

            Fundamentalism, in any meaningful sense of the term, is completely opposed to what is normally though of as Christianity, namely, mainline Protestantism, the Roman Catholic Church, and Easter Orthodoxy.

            •  Nnnnno... (0+ / 0-)

              Fundamentalism came about as a reaction to perceived trends in protestantism -- the perception was that Protestants were moving away from its origins, i.e., moving away fro "Using the Bible as primary source material."

              What it has all morphed to today is different. And I'm not talking about today. I was asked a question regarding a statement I had made about what it had been, at one time.

              There were Fundamentalist Carter Democrats once upon a time. I would have been classified as a Fundamentalist once upon a time. These days... not so much.

              The Baptist Death Ray (wrightc [at] eviscerati [dot] org) "We are all born originals -- why is it so many of us die copies?"
              - Edward Young

              by The Baptist Death Ray on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 07:04:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Liberal Protestants just continued what Luther... (0+ / 0-)

                started. The center of Christianity is Christ, not the Bible. Fundamentalists adopt the Islamic idea that the holy book is the center of one's religion. This is why I see fundamentalism as a perversion of Christianity and have no sympathy for it at all.

                But thanks for your clarification. I accept your point that Christian fundamentalism is not necessarily politically conservative, but given that with its rejection of science, fundamentalism rejects rationality, there is a natural affinity between fundamentalism and right-wing thought.

  •  We have diplomatic relations with a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, ZedMont, apimomfan2

    religion.  Seriously, I was upset when it happened and I think it was a major step toward the control they seek now.

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

    by MufsMom on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:21:25 PM PST

  •  our history is being stolen by revisionists (12+ / 0-)

    example in point: http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/...

    Rick's idea of freedom of religion means that he can tell me how and whom to worship and how to live my life so it suits his POV.

    In Rick's world, not being able to tell other people how to believe is discrimination and not being able to do things which are illegal when your religion tells you to.  In Rick's universe, outlawing virgin sacrifice is religious intolerance

  •  When I smoke marijuana, I am exercising (15+ / 0-)

    my rights of conscience.

    The laws prohibiting it offend me and interfere with my constitutional right to the purist of happiness.

    My "blunt" amendment.

    #occupywallstreet: Although I know the rhythm you'd prefer me dancing to, I'll turn my revolt into style.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:23:25 PM PST

  •  Well, it was a secular government (4+ / 0-)

    that discriminated in the form of slavery. And then a bunch of religious fanatics motivated by their faith that sought to impose their beliefs on the South through law. Military action even.

    I don't know how people of faith suddenly become secular upon election. I've seen very little evidence of anyone being able to achieve such a distinction. A rather notable quality it would be if it could be found with frequency. I actually find the Kennedy speech rather startling and out of the ordinary in the line of American presidents. Rather than clearly defining what that relationship ought to be or is, I suspect it was far more about politically separating himself from Roman Catholicism about as far as he reasonably could.

    I think the separation we talk about isn't the Southern Border Fence with two moats filled with alligators that many liberals think it is. It is probably much more like a northern frontier. We have a pretty good idea of where it is, but there's no clearly defined border if you're standing on it in the woods.

    I suppose what I'm saying is: people ARE informed by what they believe, and government is run by people. So, you'd essentially have to have people believe in nothing but secular values to get a totally secular government. I don't think there are enough such human beings. At least not in American government at all levels.

    •  which is why, as a Christian, I am inclined to (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Boris49, ZedMont, wishingwell, NonnyO

      desire an atheist president better than a president with even my own strain of belief.

      i really DO want a bright, bright, hugely wide line between church/state.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:29:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So, you're saying (0+ / 0-)

        that if Martin Luther King or Stalin had run for president, you'd pick Stalin?

        I know that's extreme, but it does get to the essence of the point. I don't see why having an atheist is superior to having a person of faith. Atheists can be equally has harmful to public policy.

        •  well, you can pick the most extreme examples, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZedMont, Saint Jimmy, NonnyO, apimomfan2

          if you like, but I think you get my point.

          i do NOT want a leader in the big chair driven by religious inspiration.

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:36:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

            Well, what about having somebody driven strictly by rationality and data. Because, quite clearly, there is no rational reason to have Social Security. Old people are a drain on the economy quite frankly. There is really no economic or rational reason to keep them around. Similar arguments could be made for assistance for the disabled. A waste of resources really. Or the extraordinary costs of saving the lives of premature babies.

            We don't do these things because of our values, which don't land on us from our rationality (unless you believe Ayn Rand). They are a part of us because there is an irrational part of man that appeals to the sense of the soul. Even of atheists who don't believe in souls.

            I don't think it is a stretch to say there have been many occasions where faith has enhanced and enriched public policy just as their are instances where it has hurt it. But if you're saying you'll only ever vote for an atheist, a large number of rather good public servants are going to be excluded from ever having been in government.

            •  so are you suggesting that you are one of the (8+ / 0-)

              folks that believes that only religion and the religious can champion morality or ethical behavior then? Because if you are--or if you even believe the principle--then we just have to agree to disagree. I no more believe that compassion and caring are bound ONLY to religion than I believe that ANY religion has the right to impose theocratic policy on the public. I doubt we disagree on this last point.  But hey, if you think theocracy is hot dog, then ya do.

              Social security doesn't have one iota to do with religion and if you don't believe that, show me WHICH religion. But you know that.

              And of course I have voted for persons of faith. I have had little other choice now have I?

              You can believe that faith has enhanced and enriched public policy if you want to. I can't think of a case, but have at it.

              202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

              by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:50:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That isn't what I said at all. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis

                What I suggest to you is that you go too far and assume too much in a. assuming that atheists are always rational and that b. they make for better public servants. And also c, that conversely any religious public servant is going to be awful.

                •  I was an atheist before I wasn't. Perhaps I can (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NonnyO

                  restate my position to satisfy you (even though you seem to want to split hairs here).

                  I would feel more confident in a slate of atheist candidates than in a slate of religious candidates, in general.

                  There. And I'm done.

                  You haven't changed what I think one iota.

                  202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

                  by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:58:23 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And i say, (0+ / 0-)

                    that's like having more confidence in the tooth fairy since such slates don't exist. Therefore, having to contend with a human race that is overwhelmingly religious, you essentially are going to have to choose between public servants of varying degrees of religiosity.

                    And since you could only plausibly point to the Soviet Union as being the only society nominally run by atheists, you'd essentially have to say that you'd have more confidence in Stalin than the Episcopalian FDR. Which is absurd.

            •  Sorry, that statement is idiotic (9+ / 0-)

              People driven by reason and rationality can certainly justify having Social Security because it provides a safety net for seniors. We can rationally argue the need for government, and paying taxes to provide for that government.
              We can rationally understand that old saw from Dickens that the good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one.

              If you can separate sex from procreation, you have given women the ability to participate in society on an equal basis with men. -Gloria Feldt

              by skohayes on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:03:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

              Your post is pure, unadulterated bullshit.

              "there is no rational reason to have Social Security. "
              Except that it: lowers birth rates, preserves wisdom, reduces violence, and fosters a sense of community, responsibility, and trust.

              Other than, you know, maintaining a technologically sophisticated society, sure, you're right: there's no reason. You can call it "Ayn Randiand" philosophy to indulge in the selfish desire to live in a civilized society, but I just call it "not being suicidally ignorant."

              Ayn Rand was an atheist; but atheists are not Ayn Rand. Simple common sense is all it takes for secular humanism to provide all the morality we need; indeed, it's driven every moral advance in history. Show me where in the Bible Jesus says one word condemning slavery or advancing women's rights. But you can find such ideas in the Greek plays.

              All morality comes from realizing that other people are the same as us. Religion, specifically Christianity, with its Saved vs Unsaved categories, intentionally works against this realization.

              You owe all your moral advances to rationalism.

        •  Jumping in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis

          I do not understand how you took that view from my post.

          I respond in detail elsewhere.

        •  Well, now that's a disingenuos comparison. (0+ / 0-)

          I could just as well ask whether you'd live in secular Sweden or during the Inquisition.  Cherry-picking.  A fallacy.

          By definition, an atheist is more likely to make decisions based on evidence, logic, and reality.

          In contrast, a religious person--even the best of them--must compartmentalize their religion from the decision-making.

          Are there idiotic atheists?  Of course.  Are there religious people who overcome their religion to make good decisions?  Sure.

          But, generally, an atheist will make better decisions than a religious person.  

          •  You find me a human being (0+ / 0-)

            who only makes decisions on evidence, logic, and reality and I'll show you a work of fiction.

            •  A research scientist. n/t (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cany, wishingwell

              Climate scientists, archaeologists, chemists. biolgists, etc.

              If you can separate sex from procreation, you have given women the ability to participate in society on an equal basis with men. -Gloria Feldt

              by skohayes on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:04:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Those are jobs. Not people. (0+ / 0-)

                Like I said, you can either believe Ayn Rand's thesis that you are what you compute, or you can believe in the facts that human beings are clearly and obviously irrational. ESPECIALLY scientists. That's why they search in the first place...for purely irrational reasons.

                •  Wanting to know the unknown is irrational? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cany

                  Why is that irrational?
                  Human beings can be irrational because they also have emotions. That has nothing to do with a soul or anything, just the makeup of an average human being.

                  If you can separate sex from procreation, you have given women the ability to participate in society on an equal basis with men. -Gloria Feldt

                  by skohayes on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:09:49 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  A scientist wouldn't say that. (0+ / 0-)

                    That would be positing something based on an unknown. I say there is a soul because I have faith in the idea. Meaning I don't have to prove it since faith is irrational. You can't then disprove it, because you have nothing to build a conclusion with.

                    But you cannot say that people are irrational because of emotions without proving it scientifically. So far as I know, that has never been proven in a laboratory.

                    •  So humans aren't emotional beings? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      cany

                      There's plenty of research to confirm that they are, look in any psychiatric journal or a journal of psychology.
                      Of course I can say they're irrational because of emotions.
                      As for positing unknowns, that is how we've learned so much about the earth and the natural world.
                      When Mendel researched the genetics of pea plants, he had an idea about hereditary traits, but since they'd never been explored before, he was positing an unknown.
                      Physicists and astrophysicists posit unknowns all the time.

                      If you can separate sex from procreation, you have given women the ability to participate in society on an equal basis with men. -Gloria Feldt

                      by skohayes on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:35:16 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

    •  But We Have Faith Based Initiatives, We Are (10+ / 0-)

      paying religious institutions to carry out civic duties of many kinds around the country.

      Surely we could be more secular than that.

      Madison thought so, author of the original draft of the Constitution. His first veto was of a faith-based initiative to pay churches to feed poor children, which he said was an improper way to execute a civic duty.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:37:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course. Obviously we've gone too far (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell

        with respect to getting government so deeply involved in faith. But this was, lets remind ourselves, an overreaction to an overreaction about the active scrubbing of even benign religious observance in government that survived for years without much disturbance. You know....guy notices the ten commandments on a wall of a courthouse...but there in 1830 or whatever...sues the government to have it removed. Christians get pissed, claim oppression, and the next thing you know they want kids reciting the ten commandments on the school bus.

        There's been overreaction on both sides the way I see it. But way way more of it on the right.

        •  If you're speaking of the case in Alabama (0+ / 0-)

          a judge had a Ten Commandments monument placed in the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court building.
          It hadn't been there since 1830.
          Florida cases- monuments purchased and placed by a private citizen in 2007(not 1830).
          Texas, had the oldest monument, placed by a Boy Scout Troop in the 1960's, but again, not 1830.

          If you can separate sex from procreation, you have given women the ability to participate in society on an equal basis with men. -Gloria Feldt

          by skohayes on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:18:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, (0+ / 0-)

            it happened here in Brooklyn in the 1980's at Crispus Attucks Elementary I think. White kid at an almost all black and protestant public elementary school. I think the parent was a new teacher at the school. Naturally the fallout wasn't pretty. Or good public policy. Especially since, if I recall correctly, none of the kids actually noticed it until that kids parents sought to get it removed.

            And then the kid left the school.

            Anyway, Pat Robertson and his ilk got wind of it on CBN and then...well, you can guess the rest.

    •  This misses my point (6+ / 0-)

      I'm not asking anyone to check anything at any time.

      I'm saying that religions and religious persons need to abide by our secular laws.

      By all means, they can and should act to try and have those laws reflect their views, just as we all do. No one is saying keep your religion out of the public arena. We're saying your religion is fine for you and good for you if it informs your views, but your religion does not provide you with an exemption from our secular laws.

      Do not like the laws? Then work to change them. Subject to the Constitution of course.No special laws for religions.

      I'm not sure why you think my post is in conflict with your comment.

      In fact, I feel confident my post expresses what I just wrote.

      •  Not in conflict at all. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando

        In fact, i rec'd and tip'd the diary for this paragraph:

        I would expect, and defend the right of, religions and religious persons to work to have their views enshrined in our laws. Thus, for those religions who oppose birth control and women's right to choose, I expect them to fight for the overturn of Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade. For those religions who believe in discrimination based on gender, race or sexual orientation, I expect them to be in the public arena fighting for secular laws that encompass their views on these subjects. And for the positive, for those religions and their adherents who oppose the death penalty, aggressive war, and unbridled capitalism, I expect them to be in the public arena fighting for their views.
        Spot on. I merely added on a bit of addenda to buttress the idea from a different angle, which is that laws made by people may be secular in application but religious or spiritual in their nature. "Our laws aren't made by computers" sums up my point pretty well.
    •  Both sides claimed religious justification. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      It wasn't just the abolitionists who claimed to be on God's side.  Those who supported slavery also sought support from religion, and given that slavery was a common institution when the Bible was written, that support wasn't so hard to find.

      Religion was also one of the bases cited in support of the miscegenation statutes eventually overturned in Loving v. Virginia.  Bob Jones University and other institutions claimed the Bible dictated first their refusal to admit black students, and then their bans on interracial dating.

      This is one of the many problems with religion.  If you look at a long, rambling, ambiguous text, you're almost certain to be able to find something in it that supports whatever your foreordained conclusion is.  And once you've found it, you can demand obedience to your interpretation because, after all, it's the word of some unerring, all-powerful deity.  

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:35:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When did E.J. Dionne become part of the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mHainds, jj32, SoCalSal

    "radical religious Right"?

    Your Overton window is off the chart, 'mando.  

    Living proof that hard work can raise your apparent skill level.

    by SpamNunn on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:27:32 PM PST

  •  Here is my question (0+ / 0-)

    regarding President Obama's exception to the rule for Catholic hospitals.  If you are employed by a Catholic hospital and need to be hospitalized you will be hospitalized by your employer.  And if a person is employed by a Catholic hospital, but not Catholic or even Christian for that matter, the Presidents except to the rule will still harm women if they need to be hospitalized for a medical condition because they can now refuse to provide birth control to that women while hospitalized in the Catholic hospital they work for whether or not they are of that religious belief.

    So will female employees of a Catholic hospital not be allowed to get birth control if hospitalized for a medical condition?  How does that work?  Does someone from the insurance company come out and supply the hospitalized patient with continued birth control or does the woman have to have their cycles messed up because of new religious rule?  All of this stupid, just plain stupid!

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:30:40 PM PST

    •  I dont think Catholic hospitals are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cany, skohayes, wishingwell

      exempt. Only houses of worships are exempt.

      •  Um (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cany, skohayes, blueoasis

        that seems unlikely. But maybe you have an explanation I missed.

      •  I think that is what they are objecting to. Gah... (0+ / 0-)

        did I miss the whole dang point????

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:00:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Churches are exempt (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jj32, cany, ratcityreprobate

        because the majority of their employees are religious persons attached to the church.
        Hospitals and other church related employers that employ non-Catholic employees are not. You're correct on this.

        If you can separate sex from procreation, you have given women the ability to participate in society on an equal basis with men. -Gloria Feldt

        by skohayes on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:22:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Whew! I thought I had totally missed the point! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes

          Thanks for clarifying so well.

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:46:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Catholic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        hospitals are employers and they provide health insurance and they have since way back when dictated what services they will provide as far as women's services.  They will be exempt, they always have been, and this will give them further exemption.

        As a clinical social worker, working for a Catholic hospital, I was told that I could not tell rape victims or pregnant women about other options.  This law will effect women working for a Catholic hospital.  It was part of my profession to provide women with additional services and information about options.  Moreover, how many churches are now providing "Faith Based Initiatives," which many of us have been against for this very reason.

        "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

        by zaka1 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:39:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The characterization of Dionne - I find rediculous (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jj32, SoCalSal, ma2004

    This line doesn't pass muster

    E.J. Dionne, joining the most radical elements of the "Religious" Right
    I read his article.  I read your article on his article.  Dionne was perfectly accurate in pointing out how the President could have handled the situation more artfully and arrived at the same position.

    If we held every columnist/front pager to the same standards - that they never/ever disagree with our progressive doctrine or we describe them as

    joining the most radical elements of the "Religious" Right
    - Angry Mouse might be the only one left standing.

    I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

    by mHainds on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:31:43 PM PST

    •  If you do not want it to (5+ / 0-)

      I think my argument on how Dionne has aligned himself with radical conservatives is well documented in my previous posts on this subject.

      the fact os you agreed with Dionne in his call for granting exemption to complying with secular law by religions.

      I have spent a month explaining why the notion, which was in fact strongly championed by the Radical Right, ius so dangerous.

      I find it strange that in the face of the Blunt Amendment, it still requires explanation.

      Let me put this another way - what do you think of the Blunt Amendment? And how do you distinguish it from the accommodation offered to religious affiliated institution who engage in secular activity?

      •  I thought the Blunt Amendment was terrible. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes

        Which may, admittedly, blow a hole in my argument.
        But I'm a huge fan of E. J. Dionne, so I took your attack on him a bit personally.  
        I still think it is terrible policy to identify someone who is on our side 99% of the time with the "radical right".
        For people who are single issue voters - it may work.  But this is a formula to alienate 99% of the population.

        I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

        by mHainds on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:51:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It does blow your argument (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Words In Action, texaslucy, blueoasis

          As it blows Dionne's argument.

          As for not wanting Dionne identified with the Radical Right, I suggest he not take positions aligned with the Radical Right.

          I call them as I see them.

          •  Over time - you become "The Boy who cried wolf." (0+ / 0-)

            Using your logic:
            Gabriel Giffords, Claire McCaskill, President Obama, President Clinton, virtually every politician who ever lived "sided with the radical right."  
            If separation of church and state is your one huge issue -I get it.  But it's only one issue that I care about.  You are crying "wolf" when it is a kit fox in the distance.  
             

            I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

            by mHainds on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:04:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Anytime the word "artfully" is employed, (3+ / 0-)

      I know I'm about to hear a heaping helping of political horseshit, which is what Dionne served up.

  •  It's time for someone (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, Armando, wishingwell, zaka1, blueoasis

    to take up the issues of churches, politics, and taxes.  

    The Catholic Church has been meddling in politics since Griswold and especially since Roe.  It's not just a matter of telling their faithful that birth control and abortion are wrong - they have stopped the government from paying for abortion with the Hyde Amendment, which is absurd on its face (what other legal medical procedure is banned from coverage?) and now they are attempting to do the same for birth control.  

    If they are going to play politics they need to pay the price.  George says he's going to close all the Catholic hospitals in Chicago - it's a bluff;  look at Levada in SF with coverage of domestic partners - when pushed he caved.  George will do the same.  And I have had the misfortune of each of them being archbishop where I live.  George helped boot a wonderful man from my school because he stood up for a gay alum.   Levada (now head of the Inquisition in Rome) was called Darth Levada by most of the diocese.  These are NOT nice people.

    •  I agree that the tax exemption (5+ / 0-)

      is becoming impossible to justify given the overt political activity.

      •  Mexico which is predominantly Catholic has a (0+ / 0-)

        surprising streak of anti-clericalism and very strong laws preventing the Church from meddling in politics. In the 1800's they confiscated most Church property that was not directly a church.  For example, a beautiful monastery in Oaxaca became stables for a cavalry regiment (it is now a magnificent  botanical garden).  In the 1920's and early 1930's many foreign priests were deported, mostly back to Ireland, and several dozen priests were hanged for engaging in political activity.  I'm not suggesting this as a course of action for the US, but bring it up to illustrate that we are not the only ones to have experienced Church interference and that we have been rather timid and vacillating in dealing with the Church compared to some others including some who are very much Roman Catholic adherents.

        Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

        by ratcityreprobate on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:38:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Catholic bishops have (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, skohayes, blueoasis

    opposed any government restriction of their power for many centuries, in every country where there are Catholic bishops.

    The bishops are not that popular these days, even among church-going Catholics, since most bishops covered up for child-abusing priests.

    In every country where there are Catholic bishops

    When the American bishops make a big deal about insurance coverage for contraception, which most American Catholic women have practiced, they just reinforce their unpopularity.

    E.J. Dionne should have recognized this, and not provided major-media cover for the bishops on the insurance/contraception issue just because he's a Catholic too.

    A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

    by devtob on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:42:31 PM PST

  •  Another demonstration of the limits of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando

    representative government at this stage. Yet so many put all their eggs in that basket as if there are no other ways.

    Take back corporate media by going after corporate media. Corporate media creates this imbalance because it elects Republicans.

    This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

    by Words In Action on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:44:38 PM PST

  •  Blunt Amendment? It should be styled (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Melanie in IA

    The Scrooge Amendment. It's against Conservative Religion for anybody to have anything Conservatives don't like.

    Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

    by semiot on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:47:46 PM PST

  •  OK I'll say it... (5+ / 0-)

    Why is anyone expected to take seriously people that have imaginary sky friends?  I mean this.  If that is what you believe that's uhm great for you and all but the idea that these seemingly insane beliefs should somehow shape public policy is well...insane to folks like me that tend to find science a bit more reliable when making important, life shaping decisions.  I hate to be a curmudgeon here but ffs can we stop pretending that belief in imaginary friends is perfectly normal and sane? Think of it this way...if someone came up to you and said: "My imaginary friend said you can only have sex for procreation and you can't have birth control of any kind" you would laugh in their face and suggest they see a professional.  Think about it.  We eventually tell kids there isn't a Santa Claus.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:48:09 PM PST

  •  I long for the day (5+ / 0-)

    when Democrats who believe that they have have to engage in some form of Triangulation, or playing to Rightwing memes and frames about themselves or their side to appeal to some group or another, realize it's a waste of time and take the defiant stand on principle.

    Democrats keep scoring these big wins when they fight, or stand defiant, and yet, we always find ourselves discussing how we debate against ourselves, pre-compromise, and try to avoid riling up people who need no help from us to take a bad faith position and generate a fake outrage.

    I agree with Atrios; You could hippy punch me all day if it was effective. Paint me as hostile to people of faith if it worked. You could Triangulate to your hearts content if it was an effective way to innoculate yourself or pushback against the Right. I have thick skin and know that there is politics in politics.

    But it doesn't work.

    Triangulation is the austerity of Culture War social politics.

    But this tired lead balloon stuff has gotten so old since 1993. I object to most attempts at 'appealing to whoever' by even appearing to be buying into a toxic frame about yourself rhetorically because it doesn't work, it's 2012, and it's been done for so long it should be clear that it's like letting the air out of your own tires in the hope of slowing down your opponents.

    I'm so tired of any Democratic pundit or office-holder thinking that a bold and blunt argument issued in absolute 100% fearless support of a progressive idea is also like licking the third rail of a subway line.

    You can go to Church and be 100% in favor of the speration of Church and State. You can be a devout Christian and think that a particular flavor of its pastors, priests, Bishops, and/or Cardinals have no place shaping public policy.

    They might think you are wrong, but at least your defiance might earn a little, and very grudgingly earned, respect. At least let the bad faith players fear the political bloody nose if they play their bullshit reindeer games on culture war issues.

    The meme that Republicans are bullies and Democrats are wimps is hard to kill because some of it was earned. The most surprising thing I learned when I went down to Searchlight Nevada to see the Teahadi freakshow up front was how shocked some of them were than I was not afraid to show up, and say that I was a Democrat who voted for Obama and that I would again.

    They were gobsmacked that I wasn't afraid. I'm a liberal and I'm supposed to be terrified, hide behind lawyers and computer screens. They believe their own hype because they have an echochamber, but also they get enabled by too much calculation and not enough bluntness.

    I think more people out in the American public respect somebody who has the guts to say something they disagree with, or something that is thought to be an unpopular notion in the media's conventional wisdom, that many consultants and careerists in political circles may think.

    We are getting mugged by people who only understand the political punch in the nose. They stop when it hurts. When it costs them money. When they become the target of laughter and derision.
       

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:49:50 PM PST

    •  Also (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, wishingwell, Saint Jimmy

      Obama kicks ass when he kicks ass.

      It's a fact.

      We have seen Obama as the bipartisanship at all costs compromiser, and we have seen Obama as the defiant one.

      He kicks ass as the defiant one.

      Since he was elected, he looks the strongest when he is taking a defiant stand on principle.

      For all of the expressed fears that I have seen that Obama would be excoriated and torn down as "the scary angry black man" if he was more forceful and got angry and straightened his back with the Right since election eve, I think that thinking is dead wrong.

      1. The Right is going to portray him as the scary black man alien other even if he never raises his voice or stiffens his back.
      2. He does extremely well, certainly better with the "independents" of the public, when he's more populist, fiercesome, and unapologetic.

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:57:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Further (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, wishingwell, Saint Jimmy

        as a lapsed Catholic who still respects many of the things about the Church that used to be the core of my entire life, I think it's time we all lost all of our illusions about the 21rst century Catholic Church.

        I grew up with fond memories of the liberal nuns and fathers I knew as a child. Father Paul gave me a pristine copy of the 'Jesus Christ Superstar' soundtrack in LP form for my 11th birthday. But the current leadership is extremely rightwing.

        John Paul the 2nd was a very conservative culture war engaged pope who put a warm loving face on many regressive and reactionary stances, and the current Pope Benedict is more of the same. Albeit minus the warm face and great PR that John Paul 2nd enjoyed.

        I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

        by LeftHandedMan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:05:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  A Goddamn Men lefthanded. Modern democrats ARE (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      wimps.  No spine, at all.  Quite frankly, their lack of candor and unwillingness to DIRECTLY CONFRONT these fucking traitors and criminal republicans makes me puke.

      Modern democrats are absolutely sickening and disgustingly weak.

      I'll meet you at the bottom, if there really is one. They always told me when you hit it you'll know it. I've been fallin' for so long it's like gravity is gone and I'm just floatin'. ~ Drive by Truckers (ugly buildings, whores, and politicians)

      by Saint Jimmy on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:52:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wait, it didnt work to inoculate him from (0+ / 0-)

    attacks from the right? I think you could argue it did. He did win the election, after all. While many on the right did use "the Kenyan muslim socialist" charge, it didnt work. So in that sense, it may have inoculated him from those attacks.

  •  Thank you, Armando... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Saint Jimmy, blueoasis
    I consider it one of Obama's worst speeches ever. On the substance, it is nonsense—accepting of Republican nostrums on "what Democrats think," and then proposing ridiculous ideas for "religion in the public square." As a question of politics, it was a failure as its intent was to inoculate Obama from attack on "lack of faith" grounds from the "Religious Right." Kenyan socialist muslim anyone? But if that speech was the end of it, well, politics is what it is. But it has not ended there.
    ~~~~~
    The encroachment of religion on our secular government proceeds at an alarming pace.
    Agreed.  Speeches like that from a Democratic president whose faith was called into question (so he acquiesced and said anything to get Repuke votes) ... has been followed all these years later by morons like Slimy Santorum (in effect) saying he believes religion should be part of government and laws should be made on his religious belief and his disrespect for JFK's doctrine of separation of church and state is offensive (I'm old enough to have remembered JFK's speech when it was originally made).

    Imagine the tangle of twisted laws if a new president of a different religion comes in every four years and wants laws passed based on his religion, whatever that may be.  It would completely invalidate the First Amendment and Article VI, third paragraph, of the Constitution, both of which have already been violated with the 'office of faith-based initiatives' that Dumbya created with an executive order [even that idiot knew he couldn't get Congress Critters to insert a religious-based department into government, so Dumbya's office was created to be run out of the White House..., and Obama inherited it and expanded it, as he said he would do three days after he voted in favor of the FISA fiasco '08].

    Worse, the only thing all those religions have in common is the suppression and control of women and their bodies.

    Christian Sharia law, anyone?

    We need to go back to constitutional strictures on the Executive branch.  Listen to John Nichols' '07 metaphorical story of the presidential powers put in and taken out of the cherry wood box made from the (fictitious) tree Washington chopped down....

    Oh, and as long as religious "leaders" and clergy continue to preach politics from their pulpits, it is long past time their income tax exempt status is rescinded.  They collectively take in millions (?billions?) every year, spend money to overturn or work against civil rights and health care legislation, so they can well afford to pay taxes, especially to help fund the illegal and unconstitutional wars they support that kills innocent people as well as our own troops who are following the orders of leaders who are lying war criminals.

    No one is denying religious organizations their civil rights..., but it is tiring to hear them claim they have a right to exceptional and special rights no one else has.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:53:16 PM PST

  •  I was just about to post a comment on this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, cany, skohayes, Militarytracy

    in an open thread when I saw this diary.

    I find this whole "debate" to be a political sham, not a serious one, in which one side is playing up a wedge issue, and the other side is once again falling for it.

    The constitution is quite clear on this matter, in the first amendment:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; 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.
    If you want to urge your religion's members to not do X, then you're free to do so so long as it doesn't violate any laws (which of course are intended to apply to all people, not just religious ones). If you want to enforce your religion's prohibition on doing X in the public arena, sorry, you're shit out of luck, because you can't, and if any law is passed to let you do so, it is unconstitutional on its face.

    From a constitutional point of view--the only one that matters when it comes to the law--it is simply a falsehood to claim that forcing a religion to do something that is allegedly against its beliefs in the PUBLIC arena is religious oppression.

    If my religion doesn't allow handicapped people in it, does that mean that I don't have to install handicamp ramps in the day care center I run under my religion? No, it does not. Applying this principle to birth control is the EXACT SAME THING.

    This is a political issue--and a bullshit one at that--not a legal issue.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:14:33 PM PST

    •  On the day care center example (0+ / 0-)

      It would depend on whether ministering and core church functions are occurring.

      •  Whether or not they are (0+ / 0-)

        I'm assuming that this day care employs or could people who are not necessarily of my religion, and thus I'm not exempt from ADA even if the children are daily preached to about the evils of wheelchairs and handrails.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:24:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You'd be wrong on that (0+ / 0-)

          based on your hypothetical.

          •  What the source(s) of such exceptions? (0+ / 0-)

            Case law, ultimately, I assume?

            And are such exceptions along the same line as it being illegal to force employees to violate their religious beliefs even if they might otherwise need to do so to do their jobs (e.g. work on the Sabbath)?

            I can see how some common sense exceptions to the 1st are necessary. I'm just wondering what their legal source is.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:38:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  There are unintended consequences (6+ / 0-)

    of the Blunt Amendment, something I think GOP doesn't have the foresight to imagine. But if the Blunt Amendment or something like it is passed, anyone can object to following any law or reg any time because of moral or religious objections. Theocratic anarchy would prevail.

    Please see my diary for more thought on this.

    Life is short. Love deeply and forgive swiftly. And be kind. It matters.

    by Melanie in IA on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:23:00 PM PST

    •  The Blunt amendment seems aptly named. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Melanie in IA

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:32:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you're wrong. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      I think the GOP knew EXACTLY the consequences of the Blunt Amendment, and they were intended consequences.

      The GOP has brought forward scores of bills that would weaken or destroy PPACA in the past couple of years and this is just another one of them.

      If Liberals hated America, we'd vote Republican.

      by ord avg guy on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 07:26:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, MY point is it would gut (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ord avg guy

        EVERY law. Not just the ACA. NO law could stand up to it, if anybody can ignore or reject any law on healthcare or not, on the basis of their beliefs, however long held.

        Life is short. Love deeply and forgive swiftly. And be kind. It matters.

        by Melanie in IA on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 07:28:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see what you're saying... (0+ / 0-)

          I don't think the Blunt Amendment was that far reaching...unless you're making a slippery slope argument. It's beyond my knowledge of constitutional law to debate your point (which I missed the first time - sorry).

          My personal opinion is still that the GOP pushed this legislation solely for the impact on PPACA. But my opinion is not incongruent with yours.

          Mea Culpa. :)

          If Liberals hated America, we'd vote Republican.

          by ord avg guy on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 07:58:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Dr. Lawrence Britt's 14 identifying (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock, Saint Jimmy, zaka1

    characteristics of fascism include:

    5. Rampant sexism:  The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male dominated.  Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid.

    8.  Religion and Government are Intertwined:  Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion.  

  •  Manufactured Outrage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock, Militarytracy

    The firestorm facing Obama from right-wing pols and Catholics has NOTHING TO DO with religious freedom.

    If their opposition to the provision of birth control was really about their belief that sex should take place only within a marriage and only for procreation, why don't they demand that prescriptions for Viagra be limited to married men, and what's more, that wives should be informed about their husbands' prescriptions?? Why is it only women's reproductive freedom that's targeted?

    This is even more surprising in view of the fact that women are at least 7 times more likely to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth than they are from an abortion, let alone the truly miniscule risks attached to contraception. And it's also true that "birth control" medications can also be prescribed because they address female health issues such  as ovarian cysts. OTOH, no man in the history of the world has ever died from lack of an erection, and taking Viagra increases the risk of male death from a heart attack.

    But since corporate media are owned by the Republicans, the "religious freedom" meme is treated seriously.

    Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

    by vulcangrrl on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:24:58 PM PST

  •  apparently armando, you missed the part (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    of the obama administration (at the beginning) when this convoluted morass began. it all started with this whole "kumbaya" crap, where democrats and republicans would gather round the campfire, hold hands, and gently work to understand each other and work together, to solve the country's problems. oh, c'mon now, surely you remember that, don't you?

    that was one of my biggest criticisms of him during the 2008 primaries, he wanted to be all touchy-feely. i, on the other hand, wanted a democrat who unabashedly acted like one. a democrate willing to take republican and blue dog scalps, and proudly hang them on his/her belt, as trophies.

    i'm still waiting.

  •  Perhaps not as strongly as we should have (0+ / 0-)

    But we still one this round IMO, because intentionally or not we also baited the GOP into pulling its inevitable "Dems hate people of faith" wedge issue, which backfired on it this time, for a change, however much concern trolling they got certain erstwhile liberals to do for them. The public came out overwhelmingly for insurance-covered birth control, even by religiously-affiliated orgs. Rush making a total shitbag ass out of himself yet again was just icing on the cake.

    We could have played this better, framing-wise, but it was substantial loss for the other side, politically, almost entirely of its own making.

    Now if we can only figure out how to actually FORCE more errors by them.

    Now THAT would be 3D chess!

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:51:43 PM PST

  •  And you are in such a hurry to see this as (0+ / 0-)

    a failure to uphold the separation of church and state that you fail to see how this works better than the original, and, in my opinion, does a better job of separating church and state than the original.

    A lot of Democrats on this site do the very thing you quoted Obama as saying:  A large number of people make statements that Christianity is a myth, a psychological condition, or something that means that Christians are stupid.

    As for what the new rule does better.  Say you required the Catholic affiliated churches to provide contraceptives to their employees.  If I'm running a Catholic hospital and I don't believe in the contraceptives, I'll provide them all right.  And then I'll make it known that every Catholic woman that takes them will get excommunicated.  And sorry, the government cannot do anything about that.  Instead, the woman gets it from the insurer, and that's a conversation between her and God.

    Why I think it does a better job is for the reasons similar to above.  The first amendment is designed to build a wall between the two.  That wall is very tenuous, thin in some spots, and thicker in others.  One spot where it is thin is in places like Catholic run hospitals.  They have a mission to save lives, which is both religious and secular.  Now, a number of employees are members of the Church itself; in particular, the nuns do a lot of the work in these hospitals.  Once you start telling the Church how they are to treat the nuns, you have definitely crossed into their religious boundary.  The new rule, though, avoids that, moving the requirement into something that is not run by the church.

    But I'll say this:  For all of the talk about taking the bait, you took the biggest bite of all:  This issue was about wingers and their religious enablers trying to end not only the benefits in the ACA, but all healthcare requirements.  You keep making it a religious argument.

    Signed,

    An atheist.

    Occupy the voting Booth!

    by anonevent on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:34:16 PM PST

  •  Feckless attempt to blast Obama's steadfast (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fireshark

    defense of the separation of church and state.  He did not compromise.  In fact he took a more secular route altogether by not involving the church in the decision at all.  I know the hair on fire progressives always want confrontation and think dominating churches is better but when there is a way to accomplish the same goal a different way there literally is no harm done.

  •  Excellent. And kudos to Armando's art (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando

    director.

    Query:  was CA Supreme court in ruling a Sikh attorney must be permitted to wear his turban while appearing in local trial court ?   Case is pre Sept.11,2011

  •  Imagine if it were 7th day hospitals (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    merging with secular hospitals, and refusing to perform blood transfusions.

    Bombing Iran is far more dangerous than Iran getting The Bomb.

    by JesseCW on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 07:41:00 PM PST

  •  Churches should pay taxes (0+ / 0-)

    Let the market decide.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 07:50:52 PM PST

  •  Goldwater on religion in politics. (0+ / 0-)

    I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

    by David54 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:17:23 PM PST

  •  The blunt amendmnt has nothing to do with religion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe wobblie

    It's only purpose is to "geld" the Democratic government and weaken it.

    This wasn't about winning votes. It wasn't about giving churches an exemption. It's single clear purpose is to weaken the Obama government.

    Most of the anti-regulation legislation has that purpose, and all of the anti-tax legislation. This is about taking power from the federal government and giving it to the small states where wealthy families, top corporate executives and top bankers can run the state governments to suit themselves.

    Democrats stand for Liberty, Security, Support of Families and Opportunity Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

    by Rick B on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:29:19 PM PST

  •  I wrote this response to an idiot's LTE ... (0+ / 0-)

    claiming the President violated his oath of office regarding separation of church and state over this issue.

    ____________

    Bob Shearer’s letter “President Obama has violated his oath of office” claims as others who oppose the President that businesses run by religious institutions shouldn’t have to abide by the same rules as everyone else. Shearer seems to think that health insurance provided by employers is some kind of gift when in fact it is a part of the employee’s compensation package.

    The reality is that it’s the employee’s work that’s being compensated and the employer is simply a conduit for insurance premiums. The only reason we even have this convoluted system is that for profit insurance companies offer lower rates to larger pools of customers so it’s to the employee’s financial advantage to participate in the employer’s insurance program rather than buy individual coverage at a higher price.

    There are two alternatives to this convoluted mess that would resolve Shearer’s concerns if he really wanted to “protect” employers from paying for medical care they found morally objectionable. Option 1 is to do what many advanced countries around the world do and offer single payer government sponsored program. Option 2 is simply require for profit companies to offer the same rates to everyone in a community so that they can’t cherry pick the healthiest people and leave the sickest with the highest bills.

    "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it!" ~ FDR

    by JC Dufresne on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 09:44:35 PM PST

  •  Close to 400 years ago... (0+ / 0-)

    People from mainland (well, an island close to the mainland) of Europe decided that religious freedom wasn't good. They all donned belted-hats and belted shoes, put some doilies around their necks, got an old sailing ship, and struck out for Protestant gold.

    Fortunately for Britain, these people went away and never came back. Unfortunately for us, they made a home here in North America, and didn't die of smallpox, or the natives' unrelenting attacks, or the British empire's attempts at killing them 150 years later.

    So, we're stuck with 'em. They have no other place to go -- there is no "unexplored" land for them to flock to anymore. Unless we herd them together, load them into the cargo bay of an old Space Shuttle, and blast them off to Mars (or the Moon) then we have to deal with them here.

    I don't like religion. I hate it. But I still want for each of us to have individual beliefs. Let's stop attacking the individuals who practice whatever kind of wacky forgery of the human spirit -- and instead, attack the institutions that propagate this mess. In other words -- let's level our criticisms at the churches and spiritual leaders who say dumb things.

    Let's leave each other out of the equation. I believe that this is what Mr. Obama was trying to say.

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