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Bill Moyers: Theocrats and ideologues in charge of US government.
February 24, 2005 2:01 AM   Subscribe

Bill Moyers: Theocrats and ideologues in charge of US government. Moyers: For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a worldview despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad, but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.
posted by skallas (100 comments total)

 
Keep at it Bill: speak truth to (belligerent and insane) power. Moyers has become one of the most important voices for sanity in America. As others on the left have disappeared or goose-stepped into line, Moyers has become better and better. Thanks fro bringing this excellent, if chilling, article to my attention, skallas.
posted by squirrel at 2:13 AM on February 24, 2005


It sounds like Moyer says that the whole belief in rapture was concocted by a few immigrant preachers... I'd love to know the history of that myth's creation... and more importantly, are there other leading movements that interpret the bible differently, in such a way that the end of the world by natural disasters, war in the middle East are not the way that will bring back the son of God?
posted by gregb1007 at 2:19 AM on February 24, 2005


One of my favorite tv series that Moyers did was on the world's main religions, with Huston Smith, covering Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianish, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Right up there with Cosmos for me.
posted by the_savage_mind at 2:56 AM on February 24, 2005


Greg,

Seeing as the vast majority of humanity does not believe in the literal truth of the bible, there is a fair bit of room for disagreeing with the rather outlandish prophecies these "literalists" rather loosely infer from the Book of Revelation. Have you ever actually read it? One literal interpretation of these prophecies would seem to indicate that the necessary timeframe for its fulfillment has long since passed.

There are many radically different interpretations of Revelation, and exegesis can differ wildly on other putative prophetic passages.

Of course, this is to say nothing of the scores of people who are not, nor will ever be, Christian.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:15 AM on February 24, 2005


> Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true

Every system of belief asserts propositions that cannot be proven true, Bill Moyer's system (whatever it may be) not excluded. See Gödel's Undecidability Theorem.
posted by jfuller at 3:23 AM on February 24, 2005




Although Moyer's fears of theocracy are legitimate, the problem we face is not so much that the people currently in power, or the people they are fronting for, are theists. Rather it is that fascism is being mainstreamed. Fascism mutates, discards ideologies with the aim of acquiring power. It is just that the American form of fascism has a distinct religious cast to it.

By the way, If Gödel's Undecidability Theorem. means what jfuller says it does, that "every system of belief asserts propositions that cannot be proven true", then doesn't that means that according to Gödel's Undecidability Theorem, that Gödel's Undecidability Theorem is itself asserting propositions that cannot be proven true?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 3:43 AM on February 24, 2005


Every system of belief asserts propositions that cannot be proven true

It seems that this is only true if you define "system of belief" in a way which renders the statement tautologically true.
posted by clockzero at 4:01 AM on February 24, 2005


doesn't that means that according to Gödel's Undecidability Theorem, that Gödel's Undecidability Theorem is itself asserting propositions that cannot be proven true?

Yes, it does. That doesn't make them false; it just means you can't prove them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:28 AM on February 24, 2005


Theocrat: An atheist's name for someone who isn't one.

Ideologue: A pretentious way of describing someone whose ideas conflict with your own.

Moyers: Liberal preacher sans congregation, inching toward senility, operating on 1960's Autopilot.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:29 AM on February 24, 2005


PP:

Ooooh. Good comeback. That totally changes the meaning of every one of Moyers' assertions.

Thanks to adding to this conversation!
posted by John of Michigan at 4:32 AM on February 24, 2005


Good job, ParisParamus. Now do "Islamofast," "Islamo-wacko," and let's not forget "econowhore." (?!?)

Note that the terms Bill Moyers uses are actually words.
posted by mek at 4:40 AM on February 24, 2005


Econowhore: A nation or other political entity that subordinates all other considerations to financial ones. See, e.g., France, Germany

Islamofast: A specially-formulated high protein beverage in can that turns the consumer into a mass-murderer pretending to be a Muslim and facilitates weight-loss.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:58 AM on February 24, 2005


Evangeliplay: A strategy employed by the neocons to secure votes across a wide spectrum of christian faiths. This gambit was first played during the Reagan Era, and has become a base of power from which Fascist Ideology has emerged.
posted by lobstah at 5:32 AM on February 24, 2005


gregb1007,

Dispensationalism
Scofield
The Plymouth Bretheren
John Nelson Darby

Moyers' description of how the rapture came about as an idea is accuarate.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:03 AM on February 24, 2005


Yippee. I'm not a fundamentalist...anything, but I don't find Jerry Falwell any more scary than, say, Michael Moore or Janeane Garafalo, or Julian Bond (the last of whom is also, still on 1960's autopilot). Life is full of relatives, and sometimes you wind up siding with the religiously primitive and/or tacky; hey, everyone has a blind spot.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:06 AM on February 24, 2005


lobstah got it--the recent Bush tapes showed that--they use theocracy to get votes, but except for a few of them (Ashcroft being a big example), aren't true believers at all.
posted by amberglow at 6:08 AM on February 24, 2005


PoTrollman: someone who can't help but slip adhominen digs into political threads.
posted by srboisvert at 6:15 AM on February 24, 2005


Moyers: Remember James Watt, President Ronald Reagan’s first secretary of the interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever-engaging Grist,
reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, “after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.”

Except that Watt never said that. Watt's rebuttal:

http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/20050212-093431-9647r.htm

Moyers could have verified this, but Ratheresquely saw it as too good to check.
posted by 1016 at 6:15 AM on February 24, 2005


No, no, 1016, Watt didn't write that column. It's in the Moonie Times and therefore is, prima facie, a partisan lie. Are you new here?
posted by trharlan at 6:30 AM on February 24, 2005


It's also worth noting that Moyers apologized to Watts for making a false claim. The Washington Post, which also referenced this statement that never was, issued a correction.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:34 AM on February 24, 2005


Ah, thanks for the clarification, trharlan...so when I read Nat Hentoff's regular op-ed column in the Washington Times I should discount that as partisan lies, as well...got it.

Seriously, though, Moyers has at least twice used this lie, one he could have checked on easily, but chose not to. He's intellectually dishonest to the core.
posted by 1016 at 6:36 AM on February 24, 2005


How quickly we forget history. Moyers is a war criminal himself for pete's sake. He got up in front of the press every day when he was working for President Johnson and told outright lies about what the U.S. was doing in Southeast Asia. Of course, maybe that just makes him more qualified to make the kinds of statements he makes today.
posted by Framer at 6:43 AM on February 24, 2005


jfuller:
Every system of belief asserts propositions that cannot be proven true, Bill Moyer's system (whatever it may be) not excluded. See Gödel's Undecidability Theorem.
There is a difference between *having* undecideable propositions inherent to a system, and making those propositions central to the system. Gödel's work was a response to Bertrand Russell's attempt to make a system that could -as in, had the ability to - prove everything that was true. The counterpoint was (not to get pedantic here), effectively, "This sentence is false." Now: many things are proven in math *despite* Gödel, not because of his work. Gödel's Undecidability Theorem is rarely used axiomatically. By contrast, theocrats (and thanks, Paris, but I'm an agnostic, and don't consider the vast majority of xtians to be theocrats) are using an undecideable proposition as a basis for policy. I'm sorry, but using the logical equivalent of "this sentence is false" to dictate policy is insanity - there is a vast gulf between admitting that there are things we don't know, and saying that things we can't know for sure are, indeed, so true as to be incorporated into governemental dealings.
posted by notsnot at 6:49 AM on February 24, 2005


Every system of belief asserts propositions that cannot be proven true, Bill Moyer's system (whatever it may be) not excluded. See Gödel's Undecidability Theorem.

That's an awfully moronic thing to say.

Are you going to start criticizing people using the Four-Color Theorem?
posted by bshort at 7:01 AM on February 24, 2005


Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true

And cannot be proven untrue. Equal equal. Look up 'faith'.

I've always appreciated a lot of Bill's work however in this case I think he just doesn't like the current admin and a lifetime of wordsmithing has given him the ability to make that look like a rigorously worked out argument.

Maybe now would be a good time to remind everyone that elections are held every 4 years and all ya need to do is vote 'em out if you don't like them. All the dems need to do is come up with a more mainstream alternative than what they've had lately.
posted by scheptech at 7:02 AM on February 24, 2005


the problem we face is not so much that the people currently in power, or the people they are fronting for, are theists. Rather it is that fascism is being mainstreamed

Completely agreed. The fools didn't just find the keys to the White House on the lawn and set up shop. They had to be elected, and re-elected into their positions of power. History will judge us all complicit in this outrage against civilization, much like we now blame all the German citizenry for facism's rise to power (apologies for the Godwinesque analogy).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:02 AM on February 24, 2005


Anyone have a credible link to Moyers' retraction of the Watt claim? I'm saddened to see that trolls and the turd setting the agenda in this thread. The MO is so textbook Limbaugh that I'm embarrassed to see it working: pick a minor point, claim that the entire argument hinges on its truth, and then claim that it's false. Even if the Watt claim is untrue, which I doubt, there is still a lot to be concerned about, such as the very real and verifiable war against the environment being waged by the current American administration. Don't let the trolls suck you in to thinking they're worth paying attention to.

On Preview: Wow, scheptech, looks like you got slammed down in about, uh, zero seconds. Thanks, C_D!
posted by squirrel at 7:11 AM on February 24, 2005


The essay There is no Tommorrow features an infamous quote purportedly made by James Watt, which has been repeated several times here at MeFi:
Remember James Watt, President Ronald Reagan's first secretary of the interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever-engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."

Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious.
After repeating the smear more than once, Moyers was finally informed the quote had never been uttered. Corrections were made in both Washington Post and Grist Magazine. Watts himself responds in his own Tribune article (reg req):
I have never thought, believed or said such words. Nor have I ever said anything that could be interpreted by a reasonable person to mean anything similar to the quote attributed to me.

The paragraph does have one true statement about me; I did serve as President Reagan's first secretary of the interior. I am very proud of being associated with such a great president. After 20-plus years of hindsight, I am delighted that the revolution I helped to bring about remains fixed in America.
Bill Moyers responds: I should've done my homework.


Another to have his words twisted by Moyers is Zell Miller. Read this quote:
The only Democrat to score 100 percent with the Christian coalition was Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, who recently quoted from the biblical book of Amos on the Senate floor: "The days will come, sayeth the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land." He seemed to be relishing the thought.
It was later learned Miller had not made the quote about the environment nor was it uttered "on the Senate floor"--it was about Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction.

I admire Moyers' purpose, but he seems to get carried away with his agenda to the point of misrepresenting the facts. He has a history of this which could be documented here more thoroughly if I didn't have to get to work soon.. ;)
posted by dhoyt at 7:23 AM on February 24, 2005


jfuller: Goedel's theorem does not apply to human languages, only to formal, consistent systems of sufficient power to represent the natural numbers. Human languages are paraconsistent, are not axiomatic, (although, they are powerful enough to represent the natural numbers.)
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:23 AM on February 24, 2005


Anyone have a credible link to Moyers' retraction of the Watt claim?

Is Editor & Publisher good enough for you?

And by your logic, squirrel, such inaccuracies shouldn't be pointed out because they "distract" from the main point?

(on preview, I see dhoyt was quicker)
posted by pardonyou? at 7:26 AM on February 24, 2005


squirrel, here is an article about Moyers's retraction:

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/search/article_display.jsp?schema=&vnu_content_id=1000797041

There's nothing wrong with pointing out that a claim--and a vivid and rather sensationalistic one at that--that is cited as a primary piece of evidence supporting one's argument is utterly fallacious. Which Moyers's "quoting" of Watt was. Fallacious, that is.

This Moyers quote in the Editor and Publisher article is telling: "It is difficult in this cyberworld to catch up with an error," Moyers told E&P. "Once something like this begins to circulate, it takes on a life of its own."

No, Bill, in "this cyberworld" it's easier than ever before to catch up with an error. Just ask Dan Rather.
posted by 1016 at 7:29 AM on February 24, 2005


The Fundamentalists are not concerned with how they will be viewed historically. They are all going to Heaven, and it will be beautiful. I guess they are banking on " Accepting Jesus" as an automatic "Rapture Invite", and hoping that cherry-picking scripture to serve their own agenda won't be held against them.
posted by lobstah at 7:29 AM on February 24, 2005


(apologies for the Godwinesque analogy)

Godwin is dead.

Besides, just to start yet another pointless argument, the people who claim invoking Nazis in an argument is an automatic forfeit are just pulling that out of their asses. All Godwin's Law states is that as an argument goes on, the chance of an analogy to Nazis or Hilter being made approaches inevitability. The supposed consequences are bits of ad hocery trying to ride piggyback on Godwin.

Can't make reference to fascism? The neocons wish.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:34 AM on February 24, 2005


You guys realize that James Watt isn't running the government, right?

From the article: "Forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th Congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups."

Also, Moyers didn't claim that Miller used the Amos quote in reference to the environment.
posted by bshort at 7:46 AM on February 24, 2005


Listen, I live in fundie central, and Moyers' inaccuracies notwithstanding, this is exactly how many, many of them think.

Still, I'd gotten to the point where I considered this type of militant, politicized fundamentalism to almost be beside the point; as pointed out above, the Republicans pay these folks a lot of lip service come election time, then mostly ignore them when it actually comes time to craft policy. Much as I disagree with them, it seems unlikely that they'll ever really get what they want.

But the more I think about it, the more it becomes apparent that what they actually are the enablers who permit those who are running the show to get away with it; as long as those running the show put it in language the religious right can understand and embrace, the religious right will not only go to bat for the agenda, they will do so with a maximum of hostility, pouring all of their resources into it.

They're being played like a Stradivarius, and either don't know it or don't care, thinking - correctly - that they stand a better chance of at least getting the occasional bone thrown in their direction with the Republicans in charge than with the Democrats. So if this country's heading toward the cliff, the neocons might be the ones with the map - but it's the fundies who are stomping in the gas.
posted by kgasmart at 7:49 AM on February 24, 2005


Moyers: For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.

Wow. Just wow. This guy needs to get a history book. This is almost laughingly ignorant.

The United States was built not on Christian principles but rather on Enlightenment ones. God was a minor player to the Founding Fathers, Jesus was conspicuously absent...
posted by halekon at 3:34 AM PST on February 24


Except that all of our founding documents reference God, the creator. And that the oaths of office all required an oath before God. And that the first Congress, the same guys who drafted our Constitution, required that every session open with a prayer to God and made a position of Chaplain. And that the Constitutional Convention began each day with a prayer to God to watch over and guide the Framers. And that John Marshall and early Supreme Court justices frequently referenced divinity. And that our original statesman were almost uniformly Christian, if not evangelical. And that Jefferson's proposal for the first seal for the country included the language, "Children of Israel in the Wilderness..." And that our government granted lands to spread Christianity to the Indians. And that our government paid to print Christian Bibles. And plenty of other historical truths were are being ignored in making that statement.

It seems extremely revisionist to claim that we were not a Christian nation. If you think that we should be more secular, it seems the argument should not be "we were never Christian," rather the argument should be that "those guys were wrong; we need to be more progressive and move to a more secular state." But to say that this country wasn't founded by Christians and with Christianity underlying everything, is a rather historically implausible view.
posted by dios at 7:49 AM on February 24, 2005


Here is something from that hotbed of partisanship, the Library of Congress:

"This exhibition demonstrates that many of the colonies that in 1776 became the United States of America were settled by men and women of deep religious convictions who in the seventeenth century crossed the Atlantic Ocean to practice their faith freely. That the religious intensity of the original settlers would diminish to some extent over time was perhaps to be expected, but new waves of eighteenth century immigrants brought their own religious fervor across the Atlantic and the nation’s first major religious revival in the middle of the eighteenth century injected new vigor into American religion. The result was that a religious people rose in rebellion against Great Britain in 1776, and that most American statesmen, when they began to form new governments at the state and national levels, shared the convictions of most of their constituents that religion was, to quote Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation, indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. The efforts of the Founders of the American nation to define the role of religious faith in public life and the degree to which it could be supported by public officials that was not inconsistent with the revolutionary imperatives of the equality and freedom of all citizens is the central question which this exhibition explores."
posted by dios at 7:52 AM on February 24, 2005


dios, I'll ask you what I ask all the fundies who claim what you're claiming.

The proof is in the pudding: If this was a Christian nation or was intended to be a Chrisitan nation, where's the proof?

Where is the explicit invocation not just of God, but of Jesus Christ himself in any - any - of this nation's founding documents?
posted by kgasmart at 7:56 AM on February 24, 2005


I say any liberal who, at his age, can still piss off this many people, has got to be worth something.
posted by fungible at 8:01 AM on February 24, 2005


Squirrel, here's the full text of Moyer's retraction in the Star Tribune (bugmenot).

dhoyt: yes, Moyers said it more than once. First, when he was receiving an environmentalist award, second when his editorial was run in a bunch of national newspapers. Only after it made the papers did Watt see it and respond and Moyers retract it. To me, it would only be disingenuous if Moyers repeated the false quote after Watt's letter.

I like the Godel digression, btw. :)
posted by plasticpool at 8:02 AM on February 24, 2005


kgasmart,

First off, all Christians are not "fundies." Second of all, look at the the Library of Congress exhibit and all of those things I listed. That is the proof.

But if you want to have a talk about it, please don't start off by trying to label me, with an insulting intent, a "fundy."

There are plenty explicit invocations of God. There is no establishment of an official exclusive religion of the country. This debate has been beat to ground. The decision to not have an official religion is not a rejection of having a government that embodies religious values and engages in religious activities. I guess you would need some historical knowledge of what happened in England to understand why an official religion was not mandated. But it is completely historically inaccurate to say that our Founders were secularists or not explicitly evangelical.
posted by dios at 8:06 AM on February 24, 2005


But to say that this country wasn't founded by Christians and with Christianity underlying everything

The former is true. The latter is false. As kgasmart notes, it would have been a simple matter, if Christianity were in fact "underlying everything" to have explicitly incorporated Christian doctrine into the Constitution. Instead, the opposite occurred -- the framers were careful to use the refer to "freedom of religion" and references were limited to "God," not Jesus.

I do agree, however, that it's a bit myopic and revisionist to imply that religion is permeating government at unprecedented levels.

on preview: dios, I don't think you're seeing kgasmart's point. He was responding specifically to your claim that the U.S. is and always has been a "Christian" nation -- your reply only defended the fact that "religion" was viewed as important. You still have not provided any evidence that Christian principles underlie our system of government. The fact that many founding fathers may have been Christian isn't proof that the U.S. can (or ever could) be fairly characterized as a "Christian nation."
posted by pardonyou? at 8:14 AM on February 24, 2005


dios, I agree that there are plenty of explicit invocations of God in general, "our creator" or whatnot. But as pardonyou? points out, there is a big difference between the Founders saying and believing that faith should play a part in civil society (I'll readily admit this) and making the leap to saying that the Founders intended this to be an explicitly Christian nation, that they perhaps never officially invoked Jesus Christ because everyone already knew what they were talking about and there was no need, etc.

I realize you did not make the latter comment; but I've heard the argument often enough to know that many of the fundies really, truly believe this.

And no, all Christians are not fundies. But when I use the term "evangelical fundamentalists," I am explicitly referring to the likes of whom Moyers profiles; who appear to believe that were Jesus around today, he'd be pulling the Republican lever; who place far less importance on social justice than they do on issues such as abortion and homosexuality (which they'd argue equates to social justice), who insist that they love the sinner and hate the sin when in fact they hate both. Who would love to have a front-row seat and a large box of popcorn when the nonbelievers are cast into the lake of fire. Who not only believe that this always was meant to be a Christian nation but should be one again, and are taking the steps to ensure that this comes to pass.

They are perverting Christianity, making it all about dominion and power rather than compassion and justice; they stand on the street corners and pray in the loudest voice possible that all might see how righteous they are; they revel in the destruction of their enemies; they are vengeful, and they are serious. You may not be among them; great. But let there be no doubt, if you are not, then they view you as an apostate; you too will be dealt with, in good course.
posted by kgasmart at 8:44 AM on February 24, 2005


The Constitution Article VI, Clause 3: 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.
posted by lobstah at 8:47 AM on February 24, 2005


On Preview: Wow, scheptech, looks like you got slammed down in about, uh, zero seconds. Thanks, C_D!

Not sure I follow, C_D quoted someone else, and I think we're saying the same thing actually which is the country is still a democracy, so the current admin can, in fact, be un-elected next time around. C_D says the electorate are responsible and I agree. If you're not happy with the situation a) get involved, help the other party in some practical way and b) vote.

I have no way of knowing for sure but really suspect this last election was the Dems to lose and they managed to do it by misreading the overall electorate. Move a very few points toward the center and they win. As far as I can see it wouldn't have taken much.
posted by scheptech at 9:09 AM on February 24, 2005


Article II, Section 1:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
"So help me God" is in the oath of office for people who aren't the president, but that's the U.S. Code, not a founding document.

who appear to believe that were Jesus around today, he'd be pulling the Republican lever

"If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in His name, He'd never stop throwing up." -- Max von Sydow in Hannah and Her Sisters
posted by kirkaracha at 9:10 AM on February 24, 2005


If the question is "did the Framer's intend this to be explicitly and exclusively a Christian nation," then the answer is of course no. The consequence of a state-mandated religion was well known to people who fled from Europe, especially England.

If the question is, "did the Framer's intend this to be a religious-based country," then the historical records suggests that the answer is yes. They were definitely religious and in the words and deeds supported religion in government. They were also overwhelmingly Christian. When the word God was used, there was no dispute over which God. But they were careful not to mandate Christianity. The distinction that appears again and again is that the government wouldn't establish a national religion, requiring people to be Christian, but they clearly did require that the government be secular either.

If the quesiton is, "did the Framer's intend this to be a secular nation," the answer is clearly no. By both their words and deeds, there was no effort made to completely remove religion from public life.

My suggestion to the people who want a more secular government would be to change their approach. Instead of arguing that it was formed as a secular country and always was supposed to be secular, they should argue that it was not secular and that should be changed. Just like we were a slave-holding country and had to progress from that, so should they argue that we were a country that gave too much power and credence to a specific religion and we should to progress away form that. Because to try to ignore history and suggest that we were formed as a secular country stalls the debate on the argument at our historical origins.
posted by dios at 9:17 AM on February 24, 2005


Except that all of our founding documents reference God, the creator. And that the oaths of office all required an oath before God.

Have you ever actually read the constitution? The constitution is the only legally binding founding document and it does not once reference god. The oath of office (which is specified in the constitution) reads
"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."
See that? "(or affirm)" added in there just to be nice to atheists. No god needed. Why make claims that take less then 10 seconds to disprove, anyway?
posted by delmoi at 9:19 AM on February 24, 2005


dios here is the constitution of the United States of America Show me where the word 'god' apears.
posted by delmoi at 9:21 AM on February 24, 2005


It's a single link to a political opinion piece, but it's Bill Moyers, for goodness' sake, so let's all read along in hushed, respectful silence.

You can't argue with Moyers because he floods the zone with anecdotes that he assembles to fit his own interpretation. Even the falsehoods are casually embellished (after Watt's statement he recalls that the "beltway elites snickered"); many of his survey results are wide open to alternate interpretations, and all of his factoids require independent examination that his listening audience, at least, won't be able to complete. Not to mention the smarm as he looks at his grandchidren and say "Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do." Or in the way he seamlessly imputes the motives of lunatic fringe groups to anyone who disagrees with him on policy.

I'm sure his message resonates with the vast majority of the membership here, but really: we're the choir, and he's the preacher.
posted by coelecanth at 9:21 AM on February 24, 2005


One last possible dispute would be, "did the Framer's intend our government's relationship with religion to be Christian or nonsectarian?" And the answer to that appears to be that it was intended to be nonsectarian. But as no particular sect was mandated or given explicit preference, the realities of demographics show most of the people in our country and government were Christians.

A nonsectarian nonsecular government allows for dominance by any religious sect, including Christianity, because no religion is mandated or forbidden.

demoi: the Constitution does not include the word God. But it also doesn't include privacy (or ANY rights that were later added as amendment. So, are we to assume that no right of privacy or speech exists in this country? Or, do we look at the text in light of the historical realities and debates to see that certain things existed and were deemed protected even though they were not articulated?
posted by dios at 9:25 AM on February 24, 2005


Oh, and the first thing that occurred to me when I read this post....why link to some random blog rather than one of the newspapers where this was originally run, skallas? One which ran the Watt letter and correction, I might add.
posted by plasticpool at 9:27 AM on February 24, 2005


My suggestion to the people who want a more secular government would be to change their approach. Instead of arguing that it was formed as a secular country and always was supposed to be secular, they should argue that it was not secular and that should be changed.

We argue that it was initialy secular because we belive it was, and we belive that the primary sources clearly shows that it was. And we're not going to sit around and be lectured by someone who hasn't even read the fucking constitution.
posted by delmoi at 9:27 AM on February 24, 2005


demoi: the Constitution does not include the word God. But it also doesn't include privacy (or ANY rights that were later added as amendment. So, are we to assume that no right of privacy or speech exists in this country?
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The application of that amendment gives us privacy from the government. It's really clear as day. Maybe you should actually read the constitution rather then repeating innacurite factoids about it like a moron.
posted by delmoi at 9:34 AM on February 24, 2005


Isn't there some treaty or other president-signed government document involving the Barbary Coast, or something, which explicitly claims that the U.S. government is not and was never intended to be Christian or religious? I know I've seen reference to such a document.
posted by kenko at 9:34 AM on February 24, 2005


My suggestion to the people who want a more secular government would be to change their approach. Instead of arguing that it was formed as a secular country and always was supposed to be secular, they should argue that it was not secular and that should be changed.

I don't necessarily want a government that takes an entirely secular approach. What I want is a government that does not attempt to take an explicit, fundamentalist, literalist Christian approach - a government of the Christian people, by the Christian people, for the Christian people. This is the direction the theocrats want it to go; this is why they will argue so strenuously with you that this is and always was a Christian country - he who controls the past controls the future, etc.
posted by kgasmart at 9:36 AM on February 24, 2005


delmoi, for your information, I have read the Constitution. So you are just being petty by saying that I haven't.

As far as your claim that you are sure that it was intended to be secular, how do you refute all of the evidence that I listed and that is in the Library of Congress here. You seem to be ignoring a lot of historical truths to find what you want to find.

If you are referring to my comment on "oaths," I didn't mean to imply that it was in the Constitution that you had to swear to God. What I was referring to is that our common law oaths, and the swearing in of all our President's and legislators, use the hand on the bible, which is supposed to be an oath before God. Washington used a Bible upon which to swear the oath, and mentioned the Creator. You are correct that the oath of office of legislators doesn't include God. I didn't mean to imply such. But all of our legislators in our First Congress.... the very people you are sure thought we were supposed to be secularists.... all said a prayer before each day of Congress to God and all took the oath with their hands on a Bible.
posted by dios at 9:37 AM on February 24, 2005


The application of that amendment gives us privacy from the government. It's really clear as day. Maybe you should actually read the constitution rather then repeating innacurite factoids about it like a moron.
posted by delmoi at 9:34 AM PST on February 24


Your repeated suggestion that I haven't read the constitution is both wrong and insulting.

The word PRIVACY doesn't exist there. You are demanding that I show you the word God. But my point was the word Privacy doesn't exist in the Constitution either. Anyone even cursorily familiar with constitutional law knows that the debate over the right to privacy is based on penumbras, not any actual articulation of the right to privacy. So really, stop being so petty by saying I haven't read the constitution. It is stupid. And by your own argument, you need to read some constitutional law or interpretation if you think that those words include the phrase "privacy."
posted by dios at 9:39 AM on February 24, 2005


Isn't there some treaty or other president-signed government document involving the Barbary Coast, or something, which explicitly claims that the U.S. government is not and was never intended to be Christian or religious?

The Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between the United States and Bey and Subjects of Tripoli and Barbary.

Article 11:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
posted by kgasmart at 9:40 AM on February 24, 2005


Oh wow, I missed the part about speech, which any 3rd grader would be able to refute.

demoi: the Constitution does not include the word God. But it also doesn't include privacy (or ANY rights that were later added as amendment. So, are we to assume that no right of privacy or speech exists in this country?
Amendment I
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.
I mean come on dude. Do you even realize that amendments to the constitution are a part of the constitution, and that the bill of rights was added by the founding fathers?

Before passage, there were restrictions on freedom of speech, for example, the sedition act.

Fuck dude, this was all covered in my Junior High US History class.
posted by delmoi at 9:40 AM on February 24, 2005


I would repeat once again: if you want to have a discussion on this, please stop trying to insult me and call me names like "moron." If you want to debate this, then act like an adult and lets debate it. But you are just causing this to devolve by making snipes and insults.
posted by dios at 9:42 AM on February 24, 2005


delmoi, again, go back and read your own words.

You said that the word "God" doesn't exist in the body of the Constitution. I agreed that is correct. I pointed out that "privacy" or any of the later amendments didn't exist either. So, the argument that "if it wasn't in the initial Constitution, then it doesn't exist" is a silly argument. Constitutional law and history show that the Constitution was not exhaustive nor could "partake of the prolixity of a legal code" in Marshall's words. That was my point. Please stop being so condescending.
posted by dios at 9:45 AM on February 24, 2005


delmoi, for your information, I have read the Constitution. So you are just being petty by saying that I haven't.

Well, given your statements you seem to have a deep lack of understanding, the kind you get from not reading something.

What I was referring to is that our common law oaths, and the swearing in of all our President's and legislators, use the hand on the bible, which is supposed to be an oath before God.

None of that stuff is required, and that's the point. I'm not saying that there were not a lot of Christians (although, I would say that a lot of them were deists). What I'm saying is, the US government was not explicitly as a "Christian" government. The idea that “everyone” was a Christian and that they didn’t even need too mention it because Christianity was so all encompassing is just idiotic.
posted by delmoi at 9:47 AM on February 24, 2005


What I'm saying is, the US government was not explicitly as a "Christian" government. The idea that “everyone” was a Christian and that they didn’t even need too mention it because Christianity was so all encompassing is just idiotic.
posted by delmoi at 9:47 AM PST on February 24


Well, gee. Ignore most of my point, please. Because that is clearly not what I said. In fact, I said the exact same thing as you: it is not explicitly Christian. I said above that it was nonsectarian nonsecular government.

Again, to restate the point that you keep trying to ignore, you cannot take the Constitution out of its historical contexts and try to use it to revise history into what you want. As the Library of Congress notes, and history books tell you, this was not an irrelgious or secular country. All of our history of that times shows that we were never intended or were a secular country.
posted by dios at 9:52 AM on February 24, 2005


Kenko, the treat you're thinking about is the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797., to wit:
'The June 17, 1797, edition of The Philadelphia Gazette & Universal Daily Advertiser was heavy with news of the day. ... Among the dispatches that day was a notice that the Senate and President John Adams had approved a Treaty of Peace and Friendship with the North African state of Tripoli. The Gazette printed the full treaty, consisting of 12 separate articles. ... Most of the 12 articles dealt with commercial matters and procedures for maritime trade. But buried among the talk of ports, cargo and duties was a passage that stood out. Article 11 read, "As the government of the United States of America is not founded in any sense on the Christian religion - as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] - and as the said states have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."'

Sounds pretty clear to me.
posted by AirBeagle at 9:54 AM on February 24, 2005


Econowhore: A nation or other political entity that subordinates all other considerations to financial ones. See, e.g., ...

the united states of america, the republican party.
posted by quonsar at 9:54 AM on February 24, 2005


dios, Do you seriously believe that the Founding Fathers would approve of the Evangelical influence that is so apparent in this administration?
posted by lobstah at 9:56 AM on February 24, 2005


Can we agree that there may be a distinction to be made between the people that created the government and the goverment they created? It seems that many thoughtful Christians helped create a thoughtful secular instrument.
posted by mania at 9:58 AM on February 24, 2005


Ps
Not that I'm implying that you said that...just wondering
posted by lobstah at 9:58 AM on February 24, 2005


You said that the word "God" doesn't exist in the body of the Constitution. I agreed that is correct. I pointed out that "privacy" or any of the later amendments didn't exist either. So, the argument that "if it wasn't in the initial Constitution, then it doesn't exist"

I never said "initial constitution" I said "constitution". Yes, the link I linked does not have the amendments, but I assumed you knew how to use Google. here they are for your edification. The bill of rights, meaning the original 13 (passed) amendments were written, debated, and passed by the original founding fathers just a few years after the initial constitution was ratified.

Again, to restate the point that you keep trying to ignore, you cannot take the Constitution out of its historical contexts and try to use it to revise history into what you want. As the Library of Congress notes, and history books tell you, this was not an irreligious or secular country. All of our history of that times shows that we were never intended or were a secular country.

Well, for one thing by the time I'm done typing you've posted something else.

What exactly do you mean by "secular country" I'm talking about the government, not the country. Which is the point you seem to be missing. Show me some of these 'contextual' historical documents you believe show us the government was non-secular. Certainly the normative documents are in fact secular themselves and point to a secular government (particularly the treaty of Tripoli, which explicitly states that the US government is secular, a treaty which passed unanimously)
posted by delmoi at 9:59 AM on February 24, 2005


dios, Do you seriously believe that the Founding Fathers would approve of the Evangelical influence that is so apparent in this administration?
posted by lobstah at 9:56 AM PST on February 24


Well, seeing as how they were probably 100x more evangelical, I'm sure they would approve. Hell, the Founding Fathers would probably NOT notice the present administration as an evangelical one. They would probably think it is secular.

delmoi: I guess we will have to agree to disagree. You choose to separate the documents from the historical record and ignore all other documents (yet you rely on the treaty of Tripoli, but argue that the Declaration of independence doesn't count). There is plenty of historical evidence that the government was never intended to be a secular institution. But you want to ignore all of that. I'm not sure how people, who just formed a "secular government" would then start off their legislative session by prayers to God given by a hired Chaplain. Or how they could demand that the government they were creating would be completely secular when they have a prayer to God to help them during the Convention. Or how someone could demand that the country be secular and then offer an official motto that began "Children of Israel in the Wilderness..." But those are all inconvienent facts for you.

This country was certainly not intended to be a Christian country. But it is equally certain that it was not intended to be a stridently secular one either. It permits an evangelical administration and a secular one. Neither are forbidden.
posted by dios at 10:08 AM on February 24, 2005


a lawyer with a fondness for pedo jokes arguing the evangelistic inclinations of people dead for 200 years. this is why i love mefi.
posted by quonsar at 10:12 AM on February 24, 2005


What's wrong with pedo jokes?
posted by Dreamghost at 10:19 AM on February 24, 2005


Are those inconsistent in some way, q? ;)


A world-renowned Lothario with fish in his pants and with a fondness for elephants with diaherria and pointing out the need and ameliorating power of humor and the absurd is why I love #mefi.
posted by dios at 10:20 AM on February 24, 2005


" Well, seeing as how they were probably 100x more evangelical, I'm sure they would approve. Hell, the Founding Fathers would probably NOT notice the present administration as an evangelical one. They would probably think it is secular."

I beg to differ. If they were indeed 100X more evangelical, then how do you explain the restraint used when forging this document? Could it be that they saw a danger in creating a "Church State", and saw more value in freedom itself, than in religious doctrine?
posted by lobstah at 10:21 AM on February 24, 2005


Moyers wrote:

Once upon a time I agreed with Eric Chivian and the Center for Health and the Global Environment that people will protect the natural environment when they realize its importance to their health and to the health and lives of their children. Now I am not so sure. It’s not that I don’t want to believe that — it’s just that I read the news and connect the dots.

Man, this thread is like watching some sort of community-theatre reenactment of that whole whose-medals-did-Kerry-throw-away? thing, and I think the reason Moyers is so disheartened by the news is that the only news he reads (or cites, at any rate) is American stuff.

I find it hard to maintain optimism myself that we'll turn this big dumb ship around before it founders on the rocks of environmental degredation, but one thing I'm increasingly sure of is that if it does turn around, the leadership for the about-face will not come from the United States. The rest of the world will do it despite America, which is so caught up in its own myopic bickering and fear that its political culture just doesn't seem to have the space anymore to talk about serious things, let alone act upon them.

This thread's kind of sad case in point. Moyers writes a well-researched, passionate cri de coeur about the desperate need for smarter environmental policy, and the discussion of his piece degenerates almost immediately into ridiculous hairsplitting arguments about whether or not he misquoted James Watt (who was an appallingly bad steward of America's natural environment, regardless of what he did or didn't say about Jesus) and whether the political thought of America's Founding Fathers was informed by their Christianity. It's like watching a crowd of people argue about the height of a particular tree while the forest burns to the ground.
posted by gompa at 10:24 AM on February 24, 2005


delmoi hits on the right word, "deism"

Deism is defined in Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1941, as: "[From Latin Deus, God.Deity] The doctrine or creed of a Deist." And Deist is defined in the same dictionary as: "One who believes in the existence of a God or supreme being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason."

Well, seeing as how they were probably 100x more evangelical

Most of the founding fathers were not Christian, (previously linked) they were Deists
posted by cbjg at 10:30 AM on February 24, 2005


As a freemason and a U.S. citizen, I take great offense to the continued assertion that our "founding fathers" were Christians. Perhaps some of them were - but you only need to scratch the surface before your discover an entirely different set of values.

I thought most third-graders understood this.

Perhaps the "creator" (a term licentiously bastardized by Xtians to mean 'our God') set this world in motion, but the founding fathers understood the danger of applying "Christian" values to secular ends.

Just open a damn history book.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:47 AM on February 24, 2005


Damn it! This sort of thing always happens to me. I guess I'll always be playin' second fiddle in the mefi band.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:50 AM on February 24, 2005


delmoi: ... You choose to separate the documents from the historical record and ignore all other documents (yet you rely on the treaty of Tripoli, but argue that the Declaration of independence doesn't count). There is plenty of historical evidence that the government was never intended to be a secular institution. But you want to ignore all of that.

First of all, I never said anything about the declaration of independence. I will say something now, though. It references a "creator" not a "god." That’s compatible with the Deism of the 1700’s intellectual elites, and the point of the declaration was to explain themselves in a way that would resonate with the British public (who would then vote for anti-war MPs) not to define the nation.

Secondly, you keep saying I'm taking things out of context and ignoring all this evidence, all these documents. Well, what documents are you talking about? What documents specifically show that the government was secular. I've referenced two specific documents. The constitution, and the treaty of Tripoli You've referenced zero. You have shown not a single 'contextual' document that shows how our government was intended to be non-secular. How can I ignore something that hasn't been shown to me? I don’t think those documents exist, and I'm certainly not going to go looking for them myself.

Until you actually prove your point about the government being non-secular because of all these contextual things that supposedly exist, I’m going to have to keep condescending to you and calling you a moron, etc.
posted by delmoi at 11:08 AM on February 24, 2005


gompa, I agree that it's a cri de coeur but I don't think it's particularly well researched. I think Moyers, like a lot of old people (including, I'm beginning to notice, myself) cherry picks the news in order to find the things that already fit his worldview. In his own words, he reads and connects the dots. On the other hand I do agree that this thread is at this moment thoroughly derailed.
posted by coelecanth at 11:10 AM on February 24, 2005


What documents specifically show that the government was secular.

err, I mean non-secular of course.
posted by delmoi at 11:11 AM on February 24, 2005


I actually wouldn't mind as much if the people that are rolling back the environmental regulations were actually doing it for their insane Jesus reasons, that's just plain stupid. But, it strikes me as stupid AND dishonest to put the Jesus face on it when the real reason is to give kickbacks to campaign supportes and energy companies.
posted by Arch Stanton at 11:20 AM on February 24, 2005


It seems like I waited forever to join Metafilter, and while I still consider it one of the most valuable resources on the web, these political discussions are disheartening.

Waaayy too much name calling around. It's clear to me from this discussion very few of you know anything about Christians -- they're hardly all dispensationalist, Tim LaHaye reading ignoramuses if even if seems like there are a lot of those types out there. Secondly, The New Republic (!) of all things ran a cover story about ten years ago entitled "Bill Moyers, Liberal Fraud". (The best part of the article was the revelation that Moyers was spying on MLK for the Johnson Admin) It's clear Moyers is an ideologue himself -- that doesn't mean he's wrong, it just means that when people suggest that he has a certain cant, there's no reason to get upset.

It's also clear to me that those who are more conservative are tired of being browbeaten and are lashing out. Moyers shouldn't be dissmissed out of hand. Personally, I find his willingness to believe and/or justify Watt's alleged comments without verifying them very, very troubling -- that doesn't mean I shouldn't be concerned about the current enviro policy. I just think blaming Christians for it rather than simple greed is stupid.
posted by Heminator at 11:34 AM on February 24, 2005


Heminator, I'm with you. It's a shame we can't have two comment threads for each post; one for talking about the post, and one for attacking people commenting on the post.
posted by davejay at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2005


It's also clear to me that those who are more conservative are tired of being browbeaten and are lashing out.

Do you mean here in MeFi, or on the national scene? Because the last time I looked at who was running this country these days, I would submit that there is browbeating going on but I would have issue with the identities of the beaters and the beatees. Case in point, the feds re-attacking Oregon's Death with Dignity act.
posted by Danf at 12:39 PM on February 24, 2005


Dios: The framers were almost all masons, who are theistic, in that , in order to become a mason, one must believe in a god. Any God. Any attempts to render the usage of the term "god" in any foundational texts as a reference to Jesus, allah, buddha, or shiva, is perilously fraught with ambiguity, if not error.
posted by Freen at 12:43 PM on February 24, 2005


Danf, yes I meant MeFi...
posted by Heminator at 3:04 PM on February 24, 2005


Dios: (Just out of my own personal interest) Check out this quiz. I would be interested to know how you score.
posted by gigglesticks at 3:06 PM on February 24, 2005


dios of the blasphemous nick:

Will there be room for you in Heaven if it is full of blastocysts? Don't you agree that, if life begins at conception--any conception-- every dead blastula goes to Heaven? Will each one get a harp and a pair of Dem Golden Slippers?

Do you favor a government based on the principle that the Earth is 6000 years old?

Do you think that the American government should persecute any Jews that refuse to convert? To Protestantism, of course?

Do you get nervous about allowing Catholics to vote because they support the Whore of Babylon?

Would you favor a non-secular American government--based on the worship of Mithra? Or Shiva?

Your constitutional analysis is the jurisprudential equivalent of Intelligent Design theory--and, transparently enough, identically inspired. Rousas John, dios is listening.
posted by rdone at 4:19 PM on February 24, 2005


gigglesticks, I got 14 - 17 Better Informed then most Americans. I find that highly amusing since I'm Canadian and haven't studied U.S. History in 17 years. Most of it, I had thought, was common knowledge.

Seperation of Church and State was a huge issue during the foundation of the country in a much larger way than seperation of content from presentation is in the HTML community...

I haven't seen any arguments or evidence that proves otherwise.
posted by juiceCake at 4:20 PM on February 24, 2005


Bill Moyers is very sweet. The choir - it do need its preachers.

Course its been a decade since he's changed anyone's mind about anything ... but for those that aready love him, he certainly does continue to produce articles that let people say "look! he's speaking truth to power!!!!".
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:43 PM on February 24, 2005


Wow Midas. Using the weak tactic of dismissing anyone or any argument with the tired preacher/choir dynamic will certainly change the mind of many about Bill, favourable or not.

Isn't it just possible that those who admire or despise Bill do so because they have made considered judgements? We get that you see through him and others do not. That you're objective and others are not. Sort of a "I know you are but what am I" argumentive tactic. Brilliant. I'm convinced. Of what I'm not sure, but I'm convinced.

claps hands
posted by juiceCake at 6:02 PM on February 24, 2005


Thanks for proving my point. If you like Moyers, everything he writes gets praised and defended. If you think he's an irrelevant, pretentious twit ... everything he writes pretty much confirms that.

I didn't expect my comment to change anyone's mind - then again, I don't expect Moyers' screed will change anyone's min either.

but if you have fun clapping. go for it.
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:32 PM on February 24, 2005


Though no one has dismissed the Tripoli document yet in this discussion, I think a fair assesment would say that though the documents of the founding fathers other than the Constitution are not legally binding, and though the Tripoli document is (was?) legally binding, the former certainly carry more weight than the latter.

And welcome back Midas!
posted by Ptrin at 6:57 PM on February 24, 2005


think a fair assesment would say that though the documents of the founding fathers other than the Constitution are not legally binding, and though the Tripoli document is (was?) legally binding, the former certainly carry more weight than the latter.

Yeah, unless you read the Constitution (my emphasis):
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.
In other words, "This Constitution...and all Treaties made... shall be the supreme Law of the Land." But why take my word for it when you can get the opinion of Chief Justice Marshall: "Our constitution declares a treaty to be the law of the land."

Treaties can be repealed by Congress by convention, and they haven't repealed this one (or the Geneva Convention for that matter, despite how "quaint" it is).

By the way, here's a picture of the Tripoli treaty.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:15 PM on February 24, 2005


Perhaps dios would like to read actual quotes by the founding fathers concerning religion. None of the founding fathers mentioned here could be elected today because they were too hostile to (organized) christianity.
posted by dopeypanda at 12:29 AM on February 25, 2005


Thanks for proving my point. If you like Moyers, everything he writes gets praised and defended. If you think he's an irrelevant, pretentious twit ... everything he writes pretty much confirms that.

Accept I do happen to admire Moyers but I don't praise everything he writes or defend every position. Liking a particular individual does not mean you agree automatically with everything they write or propose nor does disliking mean you disagree automatically. Rather simplistic approach that ignores the critical and objective capability of the reader or the observer.

We know you see through it all and others don't but could you perhaps try to persuade us with a more informative argument rather than the tired choir/preacher dynamic or heh crap?

And what exactly is your point and how did I prove it and how did Moyer's article prove your point about Moyer's as well, which is what exactly? There is a definitive lack of substance here.
posted by juiceCake at 8:36 AM on February 25, 2005


Well, there's the legislation... that can be verified...
posted by squirrel at 10:12 AM on February 25, 2005


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