Dems vs. faith
April 15, 2005 4:46 AM   Subscribe

Frist-led Telecast: Dems vs faith. Are we paying attention? [NY Times link]
posted by yoga (93 comments total)

 
Please, Lord:
Save your bride from the Republican party of the United States of America.
Amen.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:32 AM on April 15, 2005


He's going to go down too--if he thinks this dangerous game will boost his chances in 08, good. The general public won't stand for this, i hope.

Funny how the Times doesn't mention that most federal judges now on the bench were appointed by Republicans, no? Of the nine current members of the Supreme Court, seven were appointed by Republicans. In the last thirty-five years (since 1969) there have been thirteen appointments to the Supreme Court. Republican Presidents have made eleven of those appointments while Democratic Presidents have made two.

At the Circuit Court of Appeals level, the pattern remains the same. Since 1969, Republican Presidents have appointed 211 Judges to the Circuit Courts. Democrats have appointed 122. Since 1969, Republican Presidents have appointed 813 trial Judges to the District Court bench while Democrats have made 508 such appointments.

If the Federal Judiciary is comprised of a bunch of liberal activists, it is the GOP who put them there.

posted by amberglow at 5:36 AM on April 15, 2005


Are we paying attention?

Yoga, are you still wondering?
posted by acrobat at 5:39 AM on April 15, 2005


"For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms."

I'm speechless (and also a Card-carrying Member™).
posted by uncleozzy at 5:50 AM on April 15, 2005


Are we paying attention?

Yes. Surprised? No.

In Closed-Door Briefings, Frist, DeLay Cement Ties With Religious Right On Schiavo Case, Judges, Abortion, Marriage, Church Politicking, Ethics Complaints
Top congressional leaders have promised to push the Religious Right agenda on judicial nominations, church politicking, abortion, marriage and the Terri Schiavo case, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Americans United today released audiotapes of closed-door addresses by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to a Family Research Council (FRC) gathering March 17-18 at Washington, D.C.'s Willard Hotel. The pair talked about a range of political issues, using the Schiavo case as a springboard.

posted by Otis at 5:57 AM on April 15, 2005


Amberglow, what the article doesn't state (and which I don't know the answer to, either) is the current composition of the Federal Judiciary. If the majority of the Republican appointments to the bench occurred in the 60s and 70s and early 80s, it is still quite possible that most of them have retired/died/etc since and been replaced by "a bunch of liberal activists."

As I said, I don't know the answer to this, either. But I do know that that blogger just quoted a bunch of figures that really have nothing to do with his end statement...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 6:00 AM on April 15, 2005


He's going to go down too--if he thinks this dangerous game will boost his chances in 08, good. The general public won't stand for this, i hope.

Keep hoping.
These guys don't do anything (well...almost nothing) in a knee-jerk way. Moves like this are calculated. Frist wouldn't be doing it if it hadn't been carefully considered. And it should scare the willies out of anyone not in love with the idea of an American theocracy that the numbers say this is a good move on Frist's part.

Frist in '08. Putting jeebus in the oval office!
posted by Thorzdad at 6:03 AM on April 15, 2005


NotMyself, look at this and see.
posted by amberglow at 6:16 AM on April 15, 2005


There's nothing better for Republicans than for Democrats to take the bait on this. Far better to pretend it never happened.

At most 20% of the electorate are politically committed socially-conservative Christians. However, at least another 40% of the electorate are, when pressed going to fall in line with what they perceive to be the Christian way to vote.

If the Democrats rouse themselves with a conspicuous defense of secularism, they simply take themselves out of competition with that 40%. When, on the other hand, Democrats play along on the religious side, they can fight for this 40% quite well. Note how Kerry ran far ahead of the gay marriage initiatives everywhere they were on the ballot -- MILLIONS of people voted to ban gay marriage and also voted for Kerry over Bush, because Kerry managed not to associate himself with what was (for better or worse) seen as the anti-Christian position.
posted by MattD at 6:24 AM on April 15, 2005


Keeping jeebus in the oval, thank you very much.

Just live in a blue state. In another ten years, there will be no rights or jobs for non-xians in red states, and we'll be livin' large in the blue states with all the intellectuals and liberals... could this be a recipe for Utopia?
posted by ewkpates at 6:31 AM on April 15, 2005


When I read between the lines with this stuff, the word jihad keeps floating through my head.

It seems like we've seen the start of this with events such as abortion clinic bombings, killing of doctors at the clinics, more and more assertive activities and aggressive speech on the part of the more fervent from the religious right.

I wonder how far we are from a civil war over these differences..

or..maybe I'm just paranoid....
posted by HuronBob at 6:37 AM on April 15, 2005


There's no mystery about why Republican federal judges seem so often to turn out to be liberal, at least on social issues.

None of the Reupblican Presidents before this President Bush set any serious stake on social conservative judicial appointees. That any social conservatives made it on the bench amongst all the country clubbers was basically coincidental -- Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas were appointed for their law and order and deregulatory zeal, with some diversity thown in for Scalia (Catholics) and Thomas (African Americans) .

And it's not like social conservatives haven't been aware of this. Republican defeats in 1992, 1996, and (popular vote) 2000 were due in some substantial part to social conservatives losing confidence that Republicans really prioritized their concerns. This President Bush has made a concerted effort to show that social conservatives were wrong about him in 2000, and was duly rewarded for it in 2004.

The next big test of this won't be until the death or retirement of one of the liberal Supreme Court justices, which is quite unlikely during the balance of President Bush's term.
posted by MattD at 6:37 AM on April 15, 2005


Orin Kerr, professor at GWU Law, writes:
As every right-thinking person knows, the judiciary recently has run amok. It's high time we did something about it. I think the solution is clear: we need to impeach Justice Antonin Scalia.

If you think about it, Justice Scalia is directly or indirectly responsible for many of the problems with the modern judiciary. Not only did Scalia personally fail to intervene in the Schiavo case, ignoring the will of Congress, but he has repeatedly urged judges to simply ignore Congressional intent. He refuses to cite legislative history, woodenly following the "text" rather than deferring to clear statements of what Congressional leaders intended to do. This kind of judicial hubris is simply unacceptable.

Scalia is even worse in the area of constitutional interpretation. His activist opinions have invented new constitutional rights for marijuana growers, given thousands of convicted criminals a "get out of jail free" card, and tried to limit the President's ability to fight the war on terror. In addition, Scalia has relied heavily on foreign legal sources to interpret allegedly ambiguous provisions of the Bill of Rights (see part II.A). Indeed, Scalia's contempt for our system of Government is so great that he admits he wants to see the Constitution "dead."

The American people deserve better than Scalia's satanic Marxist activism. It's time to impeach Nino.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:39 AM on April 15, 2005


I have just found out that Bill frist falsely adopted cats from shelters to dissect when he was a harvard medical student

http://www.onlisareinsradar.com/archives/000812.php

http://www.legalaffairs.org/printerfriendly.msp?id=681 (toward bottom, quoting his autobiography)

http://www.petascript.org/mt/archives/2003_01.html#003027

(Gak PETA, however the newpaper article they link to is gone.)
posted by MrLint at 6:41 AM on April 15, 2005


HuronBob, you and I should be just fine. I recently picked up a nice sized chunk of land north of Cadillac, outside of Mancelona on a little lake, and the water tests came back pretty stellar. And I can fish. Like a mugga-chugga.

Michigan is a blue state with a distinct fundy Xtian stripe up the left side. We seem to manage just fine, for the most part. I don't think this will lead to Jihad, or revolution. However, I keep a clean .410 and a sharp eye on Ohio. fucking Ohio.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:45 AM on April 15, 2005


Are we paying attention?

Yoga, are you still wondering?
posted by acrobat at 5:39 AM PST on April 15 [!]


Pinky are you pondering what *I'm* pondering?
posted by yoga at 6:47 AM on April 15, 2005


Baby_Balrog... I worry about the red stripe...

When are we going fishing? :) I put the kayaks in the water last saturday, I'm putting the Boston Whaler in the water this weekend, and the pontoon goes in next week!
posted by HuronBob at 7:05 AM on April 15, 2005


"Those damn dirty democrats are ruining the fabric of America by holding us accountable for not living a Christian lifestyle"

You'll never hear those words, but think about it. What republican legislator has voted for *anything* that takes care of the poor, doesn't use an eye for an eye, etc.

For being "people of faith" they are disturbingly out of touch with the things they claim to hold dear.

What Would Jesus Do? He'd gag.
posted by eljuanbobo at 7:06 AM on April 15, 2005


Baby-Balrog: My dad is from Cadillac, and there is land to be had up there. And it is beautiful.
We live just over the state line from Toledo (a very blue city), so we see Ohio politics up close and personal, and it's not pretty.
I share HuronBob's concern, wondering just how bad things could get. We've been pretty secure in our Michigan blueness for quite some time, but some cracks showed in the last election. There was huge turnout in the conservative west side of the state, as well as my own area, which was pretty darn red.
My point is that I don't think we should take the blue for granted. We are seeing a serious push by the conservative Christian Dominionists to control all our public institutions, and all it would take for them to carry the day would be for good men to do nothing, to paraphrase the quote.
Also trying not to sound too paranoid...
posted by cows of industry at 7:14 AM on April 15, 2005


Kentucky megachurch

*shiver*
posted by Malachi Constant at 7:19 AM on April 15, 2005


The GOP knows they can trick at least 4 million people by waving around the Magic Jesus Wand, per the 2004 election.

If people would just give up these 4000 year old stupid superstitions, maybe we could have a mother f*cking reasonable debate about the future of our country.

Furthermore, these dumbasses in the Red States don't see that what is happening is exactly what the Catholic Church did in Europe for 2000 years.

Argh!
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:58 AM on April 15, 2005


... Of the nine current members of the Supreme Court, seven were appointed by Republicans.

Well, yes and no. Certainly the seven were nominated for a seat on the court by a Republican president. But the actual appointment is made by the Senate, which at the time each nomination was put forward, was controlled by ... um, well ... Democrats, and by a fairly large majority at that.
posted by BlueMetal at 8:01 AM on April 15, 2005


""For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms."


Hmmm. . .

"It is hard to believe that George Bush has ever read the works of George Orwell, but he seems, somehow, to have grasped a few Orwellian precepts. The lesson the President has learned best--and certainly the one that has been the most useful to him--is the axiom that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. One of his Administration's current favorites is the whopper about America having been founded on Christian principles. Our nation was founded not on Christian principles but on Enlightenment ones. God only entered the picture as a very minor player, and Jesus Christ was conspicuously absent."
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 8:02 AM on April 15, 2005


Our nation was founded not on Christian principles but on Enlightenment ones.

And let's not forget the founding father's appreciation for the use of slavery to help establish a more perfect union.

WWJD?

Vote to protect credit card companies, but of course. The guy was a huge fan of usury, let me tell ya.
posted by wah at 8:11 AM on April 15, 2005


You know why the GOP can pull this? Because the left makes it easy for them. Everytime you say "Jebus", or call religion evil, or Christianity a "4000 year old stupid superstition", you make it that much easier for a sleaze like Frist to convince people that the left hates Christianity. And given that the majority of voters are Christian, that's not a good thing. If you want to be cool and give a Christian the finger, that's ok, but expect people like Frist to take advantage of it, and expect people to remember it when they go into the voting booths.
posted by unreason at 8:13 AM on April 15, 2005


Listen to cows of industry; he knows that of which he speaks. My brother and I spent high school years in Kalkaska, just south of Baby Balrog's new land parcel. While it might be true that he could live on his land, it's also true that the conservatives are pushing their way through the state. The UP is completely conservatized...last Fall, a rally for Bush at my alma mater in Marquette (at the Yooper Dome of course) turned out record numbers.

I fear that just as Islam has been hijacked by religious fundamentalists, Christianity is being hijacked by our own form of religious fundamentalists, all in the guise of "moral values".

I find it truly offensive that Frist and crew are implying that to be a Christian, you must believe as they believe and vote as they vote. What ever happened to independent thought and will? Why are people willing to be such sheep? Since when is a rational or reasoned approach to an issue a bad thing?
posted by mrbarrett.com at 8:18 AM on April 15, 2005


unreason: So "Christians" can be unreasonable and inflammatory but the unfaithful can't be?
posted by melt away at 8:24 AM on April 15, 2005



posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 8:25 AM on April 15, 2005


Aren't the Democrats (whose "far-left" members would be considered centrists on a world political scale), by and large, Christians? Why do most Christians buy this crap?

What this country really needs is a good dose of Liberation Theology.
posted by graymouser at 8:26 AM on April 15, 2005


What this country really needs is a good dose of Liberation Theology.

umm, we just got a dose of that. God told Bush to free Iraq.

Of course, maybe Liberation Theology Neocon-style™ wasn't what you had in mind...
posted by wah at 8:30 AM on April 15, 2005


unreason: So "Christians" can be unreasonable and inflammatory but the unfaithful can't be?

No. That isn't what I'm saying at all. These so called "Christians" should be reasonable and non-inflammatory. They're not. That's bad. But regardless of what they do, the "unfaithful" should be polite, not because of any obligation, but because its the way to stop losing elections. I have the right to free speech. If I decide to run for office in an agricultural state, I have every right to make my campaign slogan "I hate Farmers. They suck." But then I shouldn't be surprised when the farmers don't vote for me.

It's quite simple. The left can either be just as rude as the right, and lose, or they can be polite and win.
posted by unreason at 8:31 AM on April 15, 2005


umm, we just got a dose of that. God told Bush to free Iraq.

Of course, maybe Liberation Theology Neocon-style™ wasn't what you had in mind...


Heh. No, I meant this kind of Liberation Theology - focusing on Jesus as liberator and activist for social justice and human rights, instead of the prevailing fundamentalist theology focusing on the Old Testament as law and the New Testament as apocalyptic.
posted by graymouser at 8:35 AM on April 15, 2005


For being "people of faith" they are disturbingly out of touch with the things they claim to hold dear.

actually, they seem pretty much in line with the old testament wrathful, vengeful, punishing, thou-shalt-fear-me-rather-than-love-me, lord of hosts deity. you know, the one who, despite having all the power in the universe, can rarely solve a problem without killing and/or smiting and/or afflicting and/or allowing to be sold into slavery some person or group?

it certainly seems like some of the leading republican christians -- the ones who bray the loudest -- embrace the idea that a special few should live like the patriarchs of the old testament: do as i say, not as i do (look at the special privileges noah, lot, david, solomon and some others enjoyed even when they sinned versus the smiting lesser persons -- sometimes entire tribes -- received when they sinned).

i guess they call themselves "christian" because it rolls off of the tongue easier than "old testamentian."
posted by lord_wolf at 8:41 AM on April 15, 2005


The left can either be just as rude as the right, and lose, or they can be polite and win.

The word is "appeasement".
posted by gimonca at 8:41 AM on April 15, 2005


The word is "appeasement".

How about the old favorite "two wrongs don't make a right." I seriously doubt you'd be chanting "they did something bad, so we can too!" if the issue was US foreign policy, so why is it OK when the target is Christians?
posted by Cyrano at 8:47 AM on April 15, 2005


i guess they call themselves "christian" because it rolls off of the tongue easier than "old testamentian."

Yeah, but that's the whole issue. Christians follow Christ, no? And Christ said "yeah, all that venge and wrath? not so much. This whole thing reminds me of a post my friend put on his blog in relation to Jurors getting in trouble for looking in the old testament to see what they should do regarding applying the death penalty. (http://waldo.jaquith.org/blog/2005/03/jurors-rely-on-bible/)

His note:
Confidential to jurors: There’s this guy called Jesus. You may have read a book about him. He had some things to say about the Old Testament approach to justice. And, based on what Jesus said…not so much with the killing anymore. Check it out.

So are people simply that stupid, or do we just live in a world of sheep with shepards who smoke more crack than Marion Barry?
posted by eljuanbobo at 8:51 AM on April 15, 2005


...or they can be polite and win.

Bullshit. Polite doesn't get you anywhere, especially into office. Look at the rude, offensive GOP bastards. They lie, cheat, smear, and defame to win elections. And it works. Polite is what the sliming, sleazy, corrupt GOP, who will stoop to any level to get into office, want. And it's no longer what they'll be getting.
posted by amberglow at 8:52 AM on April 15, 2005


The word is "appeasement".

No. Appeasement would be claiming to be a Christian when you're not. I'm talking about simple politeness. Referring to Christians as "those nuts who believe in their invisible sky man" may sound cool when you're talking with your friends, but it won't win you any elections.

Bullshit. Polite doesn't get you anywhere, especially into office. Look at the rude, offensive GOP bastards. They lie, cheat, smear, and defame to win elections. And it works.

Yes, but they're at least smart enough to be rude to the opposition, not the people who they want to vote for them. It's simple logic. The percentage of Christians among voters is over 50%. If you insult them, they probably won't vote for you. Then you will lose. Be rude all you want to people like Frist. But if you're rude to the people that he's trying to appeal to, you're playing right into his hands.
posted by unreason at 8:57 AM on April 15, 2005


What Amberglow said. What makes anyone think that being polite is a winning strategy if the deck is stacked in favor of right-wing extremists? "Polite" will just become a synonym for "elitist".
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:59 AM on April 15, 2005


As a Canadian, I view political and social developments in the US with anguish.

And then I realize how much worse it must be for so many Americans - some of the bravest, most progressive politically and socially aware people on Earth, who find their country infected with this bizarre mind virus.
posted by Neiltupper at 9:01 AM on April 15, 2005


HuronBob: I'm down. Michigan fish-bake meet-up?
I am slightly concerned about the rate at which Michigan is hemorrhaging young people. However, there is still quite a bit of land to be had in the LP, and we've got a great growing season.

Honestly, I'd welcome any chance to attack Ohio, for whatever reason. Violently, and with extreme prejudice.

Cows of Industry: I'm so sorry that we lost Toledo, but we will have vengeance, and you can all come home again.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:25 AM on April 15, 2005


Amberglow made the statement that the neo-cons don't want to hear... "And it's no longer what they'll be getting"... I believe they fear that position.

I continue to believe that the left is not going to have an impact until we are louder and more confrontive.

I don't feel like being "polite" any more...

And...Neiltupper... "infected" is an apt description, thanks for the word!
posted by HuronBob at 9:29 AM on April 15, 2005


No. Appeasement would be claiming to be a Christian when you're not.

No, that is not what it would be.

I'm going to quote someone from the other side of the aisle:

As long ago as the fourth century B.C., Demosthenes warned how complacency and self-delusion among an affluent and free Athenian people allowed a Macedonian thug like Philip II to end some four centuries of Greek liberty--and in a mere 20 years of creeping aggrandizement down the Greek peninsula. Thereafter, these historical lessons should have been clear to citizens of any liberal society: we must neither presume that comfort and security are our birthrights and are guaranteed without constant sacrifice and vigilance, nor expect that peoples outside the purview of bourgeois liberalism share our commitment to reason, tolerance, and enlightened self-interest.


--Victor Davis Hanson


My definition of "peoples outside the purview" differs from his. But the example speaks loudly and clearly.
posted by gimonca at 9:32 AM on April 15, 2005


I recently picked up a nice sized chunk of land north of Cadillac, outside of Mancelona on a little lake

*heads jeep onto the north country trail*
posted by quonsar at 10:08 AM on April 15, 2005


Mr. Frist would be best to consider a few choice quotes from a book he likes to pretend he reads:

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" (Matt. 7:3)

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matt. 6:5)

"Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matt. 7:1)

Perhaps Mr. Frist just forgot to read the Gospel according to Matthew. He really should -- it's not so long that it would tax him, at least I don't think. Then again judging by his recent pronouncements, maybe he saw a 3-minute video of it and thought it was good enough to make his own judgement of it.
posted by clevershark at 10:12 AM on April 15, 2005


As a Canadian, I view political and social developments in the US with anguish.

Actually as a Canadian you (and I as well) ought to be worried that the sponsorship scandal could cause our country to be led by that Dubya-wannabe mofo Stephen Harper.
posted by clevershark at 10:14 AM on April 15, 2005


"If you want to be cool and give a Christian the finger, that's ok,"
*flips off the Christians*

"but expect people like Frist to take advantage of it,"
*flips off Frist, people like him and the horses they rode in on*

Sorry unreason, but I'm with mrbarrett.com on this.
This is about cenobites co-opting the message of Christianity as well as the Republican party and demanding lockstep obediance to the new order against the reason and the better nature of those who have been exemplars of "the faith" in the past.

For example John McCain in the Times is referred to as "one wavering Republican." I would have used the term 'dissenting' or dispute or differ or any number of softer terms which mean disagree instead of inadequite.
However "wavering" does recognize the situation for what it is.

We still don't know WHY the democrats hate Jebus. I suspect it is for the same underlying causes that terrorists - sorry tear-ists - hate freedom.


"the "unfaithful" should be polite,"
- as a member of a faith, I'd consider myself outside their sphere. But I'd still rather shoot them. It's really what they want anyway.

/by the way "Jebus" is a humorous response derived from the idiocy of Homer Simpson who attends church regularly and yet has no conception of the tenets of his (Christian) religion or even the name of the savior. Appropriate I should think to refer to the pseudo-christian 'Fristian's" savior.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:17 AM on April 15, 2005


gimonca:

Actually, the Greeks destroyed themselves with the Pelopponesian War. And it didn't have so much to do with complacency and self-delusion as irreconcilable rifts between the Athenians and the Spartans (and Athenians' insistence on lording their cosmopolitan democratic style over all the other little city-states).

The Persians and Macedonians were just around to mop up the rubble the Greeks had already made of themselves.
posted by argybarg at 10:20 AM on April 15, 2005


NPR's The Connection's 1st hour today was titled, "The Case Against the Judges" in which Nancy Gertner, Federal Judge in the US District Court in Massachusetts debates with Kay Daly, President of Coalition for a Fair Judiciary. Listen here. If you can stand it. Daly's nuts and blind, in my opinion. She yelps about how xtians are martyrs, giving up such "rights" as schools renaming Christmas Break 'Winter Break', oblivious to the fact that the renamed version is an attempt to embrace all religion, and fails to acknowldge a connection between Christmas and Christian.
posted by yoga at 10:22 AM on April 15, 2005


The Dems lost in 2004 because they failed to stand up for what they believe in and instead tried to pander and kowtow to the mainstream by putting up someone they perceived to be "electable". That candidate in turn failed to stand up for his beliefs and instead insisted on cheap, meaningless, pandering gestures to reassure everyone he was "mainstream enough".

Given that, it's a bloody miracle Kerry got as many votes as he did. Dems, let that be your lesson for the future... if you water down the message, your guys won't be worth voting for, in the eyes of the public.
posted by clevershark at 10:22 AM on April 15, 2005


Bring your fishing pole, quonsar.
posted by HuronBob at 10:30 AM on April 15, 2005


No, unreason, this long capitulation to the double standard you advocate is the reason why the Republicans were able to make an issue out of John Kerry's bringing up Cheney's gay daughter. For weeks after that my Republican acquaintances were asking me if I thought it was appropriate for Kerry to bring that up. Never mind that the Rethugs gay-bash with impunity AND that the Cheneys have milked their daughter's lifestyle when it suits them.

The suggestion that Dems have to be "nicer" is is exploited as a weakness, over and over again. And personally I'm bored stiff with the fantasy, peddled as truth, that the left's "intolerance" loses elections. What, calling a Bush voter stupid so enrages the Bush voter that he gets revenge by going out and voting for Bush? There's a word for that kind of illogic. It has two syllables.

On preview: clevershark, nice try, but the Dems lost because of a successful exploitation of fear and because of 100,000 votes in a state jammed with electoral mysteries and improprieties.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:34 AM on April 15, 2005


the Dems lost because of a successful exploitation of fear and because of 100,000 votes in a state jammed with electoral mysteries and improprieties.

I'm not really disputing that, because those were factors. There HAS to be a reason why Diebold ABSOLUTELY HAD to have no paper trail to prove/disprove the accuracy of their systems. This was criticized months in advance of those machines being used at all, so there was time to make the changes, yet they insisted on not making them.

Moreover, the bin Laden tape showing up was extremely fortuitous for the Bush camp. For those in the know about that sort of thing, the US government has an interesting history of knowing about this sort of tape before Al-Jazeera even has a chance to broadcast them (read the book "Al-Jazeera" by Hugh Miles, it has more detail on that). I find that extremely interesting.

Still, Kerry was a very weak candidate who always came across as practically apologizing for being a liberal, when he should have stood up proudly for liberalism, and more votes for him could have made a difference.
posted by clevershark at 10:53 AM on April 15, 2005


Religion doesn't provide a transparent descision procedure. End of story. If two people hold opposing positions solely on the basis of faith, there is no means of resolving the dispute. See Holy Wars, the Divine Right of Kings, etc.

This is why church and state must be separate, because, low and behold, not everyone agrees on what god says we should do! Therefore, you should allow people to worship as they choose, but legislate based on arguable, non faith based premises. Because otherwise it is my god versus yours, and the one that wins is the god with the most people or the most guns.

Seriously, means to maintain social order in a heterogenous society, religion has always and everywhere been an abject failure. Theocracy just doesn't work. Reason works, Religion doesn't.

All you theists, you can cry all you like about how mean i'm being. I don't really, care. I'm not going to try to stop you from being a theist. Go right on ahead. Have your church Teach your kids, be a zoroastrian, or a buddhist, or a hindu or a fundamentalist christian. Thats what freedom of religion is all about. But don't expect me to think that your way of doing things is the best way of doing things just because you've got a really old book, and some fairly old traditions. That won't convince me. If you try to legislate christianity, frankly, i'm going to be pissed about it, just as pissed as you would be if i tried to legislate athiesm by making religion and faith illegal. Secular government doesn't mean athiest government, it means that there is so state sponsored beleif system. It also means that we can resolve debates because we don't point to some god or another as the basis of our arguments.
posted by Freen at 10:56 AM on April 15, 2005


clevershark -- total agreement there. And although it's off-topic, I have NEVER understood why Bin Ladin being alive and well and taunting us was a plus for the Bush camp. In a sane country it would have been the nail in his coffin.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:57 AM on April 15, 2005


It seems to me that religion isn't the issue, essentially, it's only a cover for the indulgence of hate. From within the church these people are allowed to hate queers, commies, Democrats, the ACLU, and now judges. The Right is feeding all that's vulgar and spiteful in these "Christians." It's to their benefit to cause cultural division, because their base needs somebody to hate, some side to fight against. I have so much contempt for them and for their masters that it acts to temper my hate, in a way. If I hate them, it gives them more reason to hate me, and Frist gets another $2,000 dollar donation for '08.
posted by underer at 11:03 AM on April 15, 2005


What, calling a Bush voter stupid so enrages the Bush voter that he gets revenge by going out and voting for Bush?

So, it's stupid to try to get someone who's about to vote for Bush to vote for someone else? Shear genius. Look, if you want to call Christians Jebus worshipping followers of an invisible sky man, go right ahead. I won't be offended. Trust me. But at the same time, don't expect to win the next election. Or the one after that. Or the one after the one after that. It's perfectly alright for you to say nasty stuff about "those dumb Christians", but then you shouldn't be upset or surprised when the Christians you insult end up voting for someone who doesn't tell them they suck.
posted by unreason at 11:04 AM on April 15, 2005


God, this is a fuckin' softball lob. The Dems should welcome a chance to fight this.
No one likes Savonarola. No one likes John Lithgow in Footloose. No one likes Fred Phelps.

Open: Shots of Fred Phelps screaming (3 sec).
:03— VO: Bill Frist claims that Democrats are attacking faith. But does Bill Frist really represent the desires of Christ?
:05— (Shot of Frist. Offset red to make him appear pale and sickly. Overlay text of budget ammendment). VO: Frist voted for budget cuts to social services that hurt the poor.
:10— (Shot of Jesus, beatific). VO: Jesus ministered to the poor, and to the weak.
etc.

Democrats don't get that the campaign is on NOW, and that there doesn't have to be a candidate in order to fight for what's right. Run attack ads now, showing Frist next to Rev. Moon and Pat Robertson looking angry. Put him with fire and brimstone images. Let's stop letting these radical fundementalists dress in suits and look respectable. Let's toss 'em in front of red backdrops and say that they HATE YOU. "Pat Robertson claims to love all people. But what does he really say?"
Don't just take out the winger Republicans, work to discredit the evangelicals that are their legs. While it will strengthen the resolve of some of their followers, it'll make them look much less palatable to the guys who still enjoy, say, premarital sex. Let's use their apocalyptic imagry to show them out of swing with the mainstream. It's not hard to tack up folks like Fred Phelps to make all fundementalists look bad, and the Dems shouldn't shy away from doing it. Most people aren't, despite what MattD would like to believe, willing to throw themselves into that sort of thing, and there's no shame in exaggerating the threat of these puritans. (In fact, a bit o' Cotton Mather and witch trials would be a nice ad too.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:18 AM on April 15, 2005


In fact, remember that last part. When Frist runs an ad about how us damn secularists are preventing good Christians from running the judiciary, run an ad with the witch trials as the primary image. "That's what happens when you get too much faith..."
That, or if you're feeling less "inflamatory," run ads with Jefferson's words on the separation of church and state. Hold off until the end, then do the reveal on Jefferson as the one who said it. People still have a jingoistic respect for the founding fathers, and will take their word as more important than Frist's. That'll get the fundies up into debating whether Jefferson really was against religion, which frames it as Jefferson against religion, which will end up being a winner for the seculars.
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 AM on April 15, 2005


Someone who's about to vote for Bush will NOT vote for the Democratic challenger. They've already heard the smears and lies and slime for too long. Anyone looking to get those votes is fooling themselves.

The votes are in the people disgusted by the shit and lies and fake Christianity and fake patriotism and slime and noise who stay home (many millions there), and in the young, firsttime voters (who are currently cannon-fodder).
posted by amberglow at 11:22 AM on April 15, 2005


Paranaoia's not an effective tactice -- it simply alienates the mainstream. Mainstream Christians, who are the margin of victory in any election, know that conservative Christians don't want a theocracy. What they want is to restore some (but certainly not all) aspects of the status quo ante of 1962 or so, which anyone over 50 could tell you weren't marked by women in burkhas or atheists in prison.

What that status quo ante did include, with no notable damage to economic properity, scientific progress, or other valuables, was the following: creches in town squares, a few minutes of prayer every morning in the public school, Easter and Christmas vacations not euphemistically labeled, pornography in a few big-city grindhouses and not in every videostore backroom and on every computer. It also included certain things which liberals regard as paradoxical, but which conservative Christians regard as entirely obvious: far less illegitimacy despite far less access to abortion and birth control, much less divorce despite higher rates of marriage, and much less crime despite much shorter prison sentences.
posted by MattD at 11:23 AM on April 15, 2005


Actually as a Canadian you (and I as well) ought to be worried that the sponsorship scandal could cause our country to be led by that Dubya-wannabe mofo Stephen Harper.

As a Canuck, I'm terrified that asshole might get into power. What a complete fucking disaster that would be.

It would, I'm fairly certain, be the start of the end for Canada.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:25 AM on April 15, 2005


t. I'm talking about simple politeness. Referring to Christians as "those nuts who believe in their invisible sky man" may sound cool when you're talking with your friends, but it won't win you any elections.

Yes, because drawing an equivalence between the fanatical actions of random posters on MeFi and the Senate Majority leader is an apt comparison.

We do not see this level of violence and hatred coming out of the leadership of the Democratic party. However, it is typical of the elected Republican leadership. It's hard to blame the Republican politicians alone. ParisParamus, MattD, and many other Bush-supporters are just as culpable for this sort of extremist behavior.
posted by deanc at 11:26 AM on April 15, 2005


It's perfectly alright for you to say nasty stuff about "those dumb Christians", but then you shouldn't be upset or surprised when the Christians you insult end up voting for someone who doesn't tell them they suck.

Well, there is a difference between what someone types anonymously on the Internets, versus what a Democratic political candidate has to say regarding religion. I don't recall Kerry calling Christians "dumb" or mentioning any invisible sky man. In fact he had to go on and on trying to prove what a "man of faith" he was. It would be nice, someday, if a candidate stood up and said, "you know, my faith is my own personal business. This is a race for a political office, not church treasurer." I'm not holding my breath on that one.

On preview, just read what deanc said.
posted by Otis at 11:32 AM on April 15, 2005


Well, there is a difference between what someone types anonymously on the Internets, versus what a Democratic political candidate has to say regarding religion

True, but it's not just people on "the Internets" who say it. There is a core of Democrats who say it as well. Eventually, they'll succeed in making Christian Democrats as rare as log cabin Republicans, and on that day the Democrats will have lost all hopes of winning an election. As it is, they make it difficult for Kerry. The reason why Kerry keeps having to make statements on his religion is that he has to continually distance himself from his more radical followers. It isn't easy to do that and win an election at the same time.
posted by unreason at 11:41 AM on April 15, 2005


Look, if you want to call Christians Jebus worshipping followers of an invisible sky man, go right ahead. I won't be offended. Trust me. But at the same time, don't expect to win the next election. Or the one after that. Or the one after the one after that.

How many politicians are calling them that, though? None of them. Name one who has.

The problem is not Christians or Christianity itself, but those who are claiming to speak on their behalf, ala Dobson. Moderate Christians of various denominations outnumber hardliners, but they're not standing up and saying "EXCUSE me, but you don't speak for us or for the God we know." (Or if they are, they're not getting camera time.)
posted by delfin at 11:42 AM on April 15, 2005


Paranaoia's not an effective tactice -- it simply alienates the mainstream.

Funny statement coming from a supporter of the party of paranoia.
posted by deanc at 11:43 AM on April 15, 2005


There is a core of Democrats who say it as well

Names? On one hand, we have the Senate Majority Leader whipping of hate and paranoia in public along with the chief of staff of Senator Cornyn. On the other hand, we have a made-up statement by yourself about Democrats. You are free to bring up a valid point. You are not free to pull facts out of your butt.
posted by deanc at 11:49 AM on April 15, 2005


Moderate Christians of various denominations outnumber hardliners, but they're not standing up...

Nor are the so-called "moderate Republicans" in Congress, who talk moderate in their homestates, then vote the party line.

Furthermore, for years, the radical right has been advocating violence against "liberals." First, it was the fringe. Then, the published fringe. Now, it is elected officials.

Things will get worse before they get better. That's the optimists position, by the way. I'm betting that things will get worse, then the combination of increasing energy costs and too much debt will, at best, knock 20% of the GNP as we spiral though "can't afford to buy", "can't afford to hire", "can't afford to ship" -- meanwhile, China and Europe keep demand high, so prices never drop.

Then things will get very bad indeed -- and our little theocratic armies are ready to march.

God, I wish Canada had nuclear weapons. When the oil crunch really hits and the theocrats thing about the Alberta oil sands, nothing short of nukes will stop them.

Hell, nukes probably won't.

As to my feelings about the Radical Right and their fucking god? I hate them with a passion I can barely contain. They have destroyed or made mockery of everything good that the United States achieved, and have amplified everything bad. We're nothing but thugs -- worse, we're religious thugs, but we've got to tools to *really* wipe out the infidels now! Who needs crossbows when you've got nukes!

I won't negotiate with them. I won't treat them respectfully. I won't speak of them respectfully. I will denigrate and despise them with every word, gesture and motion.

Why?

BECAUSE THEY TAUGHT ME TO. THEY TAUGHT ME THAT HATRED WORKS.
posted by eriko at 11:56 AM on April 15, 2005


Must stop commenting while drunk.....

Dude, it's the republican leadership that is quoting stalin ( "no man, no problem") and saying that the understand the motivations behind a recent spate of violence against judges.

And they, somehow, got that extra 1% in the presidential election. Makes you think, maybe that whole being nice thing doesn't work....

Unreason, what do you suggest then? I mean really, these people think they are being persecuted while they have controll over the house, the senate, and the executive. What kind of persecutiuon is that? I mean really, there is nothing we could say or do that would convince them that they aren't being persecuted. It's part of their own damn mythos.
posted by Freen at 11:57 AM on April 15, 2005


MattD: Yeah, except that time never existed. The fundamentalists want the same thing that Die Volk wanted: a return to the mythical time when all this modernism hadn't screwed everything up. Except that time never existed, and trying to create it means the severe abrogation of real rights. I believe in fighting so that more rights are protected, not repressed, Matt. Sorry.
posted by klangklangston at 12:00 PM on April 15, 2005


MattD: status quo prior to 1950 didn't include "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance.

Try again.

Note, this is not the past. The past is over. Happened a long time ago. Try and keep up.
posted by Freen at 12:02 PM on April 15, 2005


MattD has a real point. The vast majority of Christians in this country just want things as they were when they were kids. Probably 80% of them or more just wince about the "Happy Holidays" stuff.

But the problem is in the going back. It's one thing to just be a society in which creches are on the street corner in Christmastime. It's another thing to try to force your way back to that time. Suddenly you have militant protestors installing creches and linking hands, defying to police to carry them away. Suddenly it has this new layer of intentionality that wasn't there before. Suddenly the viewer has to choose sides. Suddenly whoever wins has the momentum to get more.

It's a nasty business, going back.
posted by argybarg at 12:09 PM on April 15, 2005


Not to mention, thermodynamically impossible.

But when you've got an invisible superhero on your side.....
posted by Freen at 12:28 PM on April 15, 2005


The Dems should use this as an opportunity. Instead of skirting the middle, they should embrace what the Republicans have done: simplifying the world into black and white, good and evil, right and wrong.
I still think the majority of the people in the U.S., Christians included, do not want a theocracy.
Here: Theocracy=Republican agenda=evil and wrong
They just have to demonstratively connect the dots.
Or else, we'll have a real American Taliban.
posted by Dukebloo at 12:31 PM on April 15, 2005


Why?

BECAUSE THEY TAUGHT ME TO. THEY TAUGHT ME THAT HATRED WORKS.
posted by eriko at 2:56 PM EST on April 15


Preach it brother!!
posted by nofundy at 12:48 PM on April 15, 2005


Forget fleeing the country, I'm just going to go into hiding. Somebody send for me when the nightmare ends. Or when Jesus comes back.
posted by aGreatNotion at 12:49 PM on April 15, 2005


The catch with Matt's "1962" argument is that there's nothing stopping those who desire the fictitious "1962 society" from living their lives in exactly that manner.

What that status quo ante did include, with no notable damage to economic properity, scientific progress, or other valuables, was the following: creches in town squares, a few minutes of prayer every morning in the public school, Easter and Christmas vacations not euphemistically labeled, pornography in a few big-city grindhouses and not in every videostore backroom and on every computer.

All of which can be recreated now on a personal level. Private citizens can put creches on their property. Any public-school student can sit quietly in homeroom each morning and pray, reflect, or think about whatever else he or she wishes. If a person refers to "Easter break" or "Christmas vacation" in conversation, nobody's going to beat them with a stick or not understand what they're talking about. If someone disapproves of porn, no one's dragging them at gunpoint into the back room or forcing them to navigate to those web sites.

Our government allows anyone to live a 1962-Christian life who wants to do so now. So what's the problem? Isn't the right to personal religious freedom what this is about?

That's not what the people behind this movement want. They want the government to not only _allow_ them to live a Ned Flanders lifestyle, but to formally _endorse_ said lifestyle in preference to whatever Ned's neighbors are doing, presenting Christian belief as a positive thing rather than maintaining neutrality.
posted by delfin at 12:53 PM on April 15, 2005


Am I the only one that watched The Daily Show where the guest was fervently preaching "be reasonable"?

It seems to me that this is what the majority needs to do, and it starts with us hep cats: we who are informed, who are rational, who are socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

We need to preach "be reasonable" to everyone we meet. We need to promote candidates who have a sensible approach to things, not party suck-ups who support radical beliefs.

In Canada as much as in the USA, by the way.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:54 PM on April 15, 2005


They want the government to not only _allow_ them to live a Ned Flanders lifestyle, but to formally _endorse_ said lifestyle in preference to whatever Ned's neighbors are doing

Apparently the acknowledgement of Ned's neighbor's lifestyle as acceptable (or at least legally tolerable) translates to some as a tacit endorsement of that person's lifestyle. Evidently there is a level of insecurity amongst some religious folks that see a threat in official endorsement (real or perceived) of anything other than a pure (doctrinaire) Christian lifestyle.

What's important to understand here is why these folks perceive a threat, since it is some sort of fear which apparently motivates them.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 1:45 PM on April 15, 2005


The Amish seems to be living in an antirely different century, quite well. And frankly, I love the Amish! You don't see them ranting and raving about prayer in the schools, Or about the pledge of allegiance, or 12 commandments in courtrooms. They live their life according to their beleifs and don't try to impose it on anyone else. Except their kids, who are allowed to leave at the age of 18 if they want to. (I'd imagine there might be a bit of a social stigma to it, but they are free to do so.)

MattD: Why is it necessary then to legislate it?
posted by Freen at 2:02 PM on April 15, 2005


The Amish have chosen to go the route of separatism and disengagement from society. No harm in that, I suppose. The fundies, on the other hand are a huge and growing constituency, while the Amish population, has to my knowlege, always been a small minority. I also get the impression that the Amish spend a *bit* more time reading and studying the doctrines they subscribe to. My guess is that Amish folks might take their Amishness as their primary source of identity, and Americannness as secondary.

In my experience, nationalism and religious faith are often conflated by today's fundies. My question is why? It hasn't allways been like this, to my recollection. It seems like something changed durring the Reagan years. Any ideas?
posted by pieisexactlythree at 2:22 PM on April 15, 2005


I think that this article, and the responses following it show quite well how the Republicans have managed to successfully frame these issues as religious vs. secular, not leaving much room for the fact that there are large numbers of religious progressives involved in these debates.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:26 PM on April 15, 2005


True dat! Remember the days when very religious forces were the radical element? I'm thinking specifically about the role the Quakers played in the abolitionist movement.

BTW - a cool read on the subject is Russel Banks' historical fiction Cloudsplitter.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 2:36 PM on April 15, 2005


In my experience, nationalism and religious faith are often conflated by today's fundies. My question is why? It hasn't allways been like this, to my recollection. It seems like something changed durring the Reagan years. Any ideas?

Modern Reconstructionism (outright advocacy of a Biblical government) has one of its prominent roots in R.J. Rushdoony's The Institutes of Biblical Law, published in 1973. Google it, as I can't sum it up in ten words or less here.

Around the same time, hard-line conservatives started forming the New Right movement after Goldwater's loss, which combined a vigorous grass-roots movement with the institution of a number of right-wing think tanks and lobbying organizations. The Eagle Forum, the Heritage Foundation, Concerned Women for America, the Conservative Caucus, the Free Congress Foundation and others all had their starting point in the 1970s, and the Moral Majority cranked up around the end of the decade.

Under Reagan, religious conservatives had a sympathetic ear, but Reagan didn't act as swiftly as they would've liked. This led to Christian conservatives taking more and more initiative in seeking positions of power in the Republican party, looking to influence and/or take control of it over time. The Christian Coalition was formed around the time Pat Robertson ran for President in '88, and, well, you can follow the rest.
posted by delfin at 2:44 PM on April 15, 2005


Don't forget the prominent women in the 70s--Phyllis Schafly(sp?) and Anita Bryant especially. They mixed religion and conservatism and anti-feminism deftly and evilly (especially given that their careers--which they weren't supposed to have and were telling other women not to have--was going around grandstanding against women's rights and gay rights and progressive thought in general)
posted by amberglow at 3:06 PM on April 15, 2005



posted by mcsweetie at 5:00 PM on April 15, 2005


I'm conflicted about the whole respond-with-reasoned-patience-or-go-rhetorically-nuclear question, but I would like to point to a recent rant (NSFW) by DelDem (Yay for Delaware!) on this subject. He went for nuclear.
posted by mmahaffie at 5:32 AM on April 16, 2005


What that status quo ante did include, with no notable damage to economic properity, scientific progress, or other valuables, was the following: creches in town squares, a few minutes of prayer every morning in the public school, Easter and Christmas vacations not euphemistically labeled, pornography in a few big-city grindhouses and not in every videostore backroom and on every computer.


posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 10:18 AM on April 16, 2005


voting for someone who doesn't tell them they suck.
Y'know, I'm still unclear here. Obviously telling people what they want to hear is a way to get elected.

I think the problem is many people DON'T want that, they want a straight answer.

And really, hate doesn't work. You just need to step out of it's way and make the hater's eat themselves. Kinda like mental Aikido.
...of course, we'd have to pry the nukes away from 'em first.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:56 PM on April 16, 2005


NYT today: Bill Frist's Religious War-- ...Senator Frist has an even bigger game in mind than the current nominees: the next appointments to the Supreme Court, which the Republican conservatives view as their best chance to outlaw abortion and impose their moral code on the country....
posted by amberglow at 1:13 PM on April 16, 2005


good poster parody of the event
posted by amberglow at 3:59 PM on April 16, 2005


Conservatives near lock on US courts-
Senators will consider new judicial nominees Thursday. GOP-appointed judges already control 10 of 13 appeals court
(CSM)
posted by amberglow at 8:21 AM on April 17, 2005


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