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Religion in Political Discourse
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The Perfect World >> Politics >> Religion in Political Discourse

Religion in Political Discourse

Weaver -- Wednesday, November 03, 2004 -- 08:59:11 PM

The role of religious motives, methods, organizations, ideas, words and people in political activities: good or bad, effective or ineffective, how and why?

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Mayimadom -- Tuesday, December 18, 2007 -- 11:05:15 PM -- 1336 of 1355

But this Pincher, the General, and Mayim say that everyone who opposes a public display of religion are religiously intolerant is not true.

I haven't said this. I've said many people who oppose public religious displays are intolerant of religion; and some are intolerant of Christianity in particular.

I don't think it's especially useful to rely entirely on what people say about their reasoning in these matters, since whenever one's emotional stance on an issue is unattractive among bien pensants one is likely to rationalize it in public.

E.g., do people who oppose miscegenation hate those of other races? No, no, they only want to preserve their own cultures. Well, sure they do; and to the extent that they actually have anything that could be called a distinct culture, that's legitimate. But many of them also don't really like people of other races.

Do people who get all excited about social compromises--like calling the giant spruce in Times Square a "holiday tree," or store owners wishing their customers "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"--really only care about the indignity of succumbing to political correctness? Or are they in fact unhappy that others have the audacity to prefer not to conform to Christian cultural norms? (In a local forum, one such disgruntled idiot wanted to know whatever happened to majority rule.)

Liberals are no different. Not all who claim merely to be concerned about the slippery slope are fundamentally concerned about the slippery slope. Some just don't like religion at all. Some don't like Christianity or Judaism. Some don't like Islam.

CalGal -- Wednesday, December 19, 2007 -- 11:10:48 AM -- 1337 of 1355
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

Mayim, you said:

In what ways is the desire to suppress public expression of religion not antireligious?

This leaves no room for "many". I even questioned it at the time.

As for hiding one's true motivations from the bien pensants, surely Hitchens would have spoken more respectfully of religous people if that had been his objective.

Instead, he comes off clearly as 1) thinking religious people are foolish and 2) opposing public expression of religion on constitutional grounds.

pseudoerasmus -- Wednesday, December 19, 2007 -- 01:22:11 PM -- 1338 of 1355

Mayim's 1336 is quite reasonable, especially because people frequently construct principles (or adhere to preexisting ones) primarily because they have a prior preference for the real-world outcome of that principle in mind. Principles may be neutral, but they are seldom held or applied by true neutrals.

Yet if the neutral principle held for interested reasons is applied equally to all religions, then I'd say the dastardly motivation no longer seems worth bothering about.

That said, it is far more socially permissible to be openly critical of religion and religiosity than to openly oppose miscegenation for what ever reason. So I would suspect that the incentive to hide one's antireligious feeling is correspondingly smaller.

liberal elite (again, arts, media, academia, politics) is anti-religion (and really, anti-Christianity).

Sherman does not realise, or perhaps chooses not to say, that the allegedly "anti-Christian" element he discerns in the "liberal elite" may very well actually be the disproportionate number of Jews in the media, the arts, etc., completely secular though they may be. If that's the case, then Sherman may keep calling them "anti-Christians" or recognise that they may want a strict religious neutrality in the state.

William Tecumseh Sherman -- Wednesday, December 19, 2007 -- 02:19:38 PM -- 1339 of 1355

Actually, it may be the Jews (or some of the Jews) who the Christians can trust most to hold the line.

Mayimadom -- Wednesday, December 19, 2007 -- 05:41:31 PM -- 1340 of 1355

This leaves no room for "many". I even questioned it at the time.

Perhaps the problem is that you can't read.

Yet if the neutral principle held for interested reasons is applied equally to all religions, then I'd say the dastardly motivation no longer seems worth bothering about.

Well, it never is (applied equally).

For instance, where the hot topic of religious music and holiday references in public schools is concerned, the supression of all "religious" subject matter results in school orchestras and bands performing "winter holiday" music that refers in all ostensible secularism to...Christmas.

Someone posted in the Jews and Judaism thread a funny video by some Californian lad apparently named Joel. Called "Christmas Kicks Hannukah's Ass," it's a Portnoyische rant on the commercial-aesthetic appeal of the majority holiday compared to the rather uninspiring, vaguely shtetl-inflected Chanuka. At one point in the video, the singer breaks in to observe, "I don't know how you did it, but you now have possession of the north pole, the snow, snow men, the colors red, green, and white, reindeer, pine trees..."

You can get rid of Christian references in December, but you can't get rid of Christian referents. What you wind up with under a 'no religious reference' regime is nominally secular holiday icons that point to Chrismas without exactly naming it. No one seriously thinks Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus, holiday trees, fir brances, flocking, etc., etc., etc., refer to, say, Diwali.

So the proper American thing to do is to welcome more varied public religious (and secular) expression, not less--with the caveat that in any compulsory or taxpayer-funded setting such as a public school, there can be no hint of proselytization.

Mayimadom -- Wednesday, December 19, 2007 -- 06:15:53 PM -- 1341 of 1355

PE: Sherman does not realise, or perhaps chooses not to say, that the allegedly "anti-Christian" element he discerns in the "liberal elite" may very well actually be the disproportionate number of Jews in the media, the arts, etc., completely secular though they may be. If that's the case, then Sherman may keep calling them "anti-Christians" or recognise that they may want a strict religious neutrality in the state.

They do. But scratch the surface and, just past any rational fear of Christian hegemony, you'll find that many among the older generations also aren't terribly fond of Christianity. Plus, Reform and Conservative Jews have historically opposed even public menorahs and eruvim--not only because they prefer strict neutrality, but because these signs of public Judaism are invariably indications of an Orthodox presence they abhor.

Sherman: Actually, it may be the Jews (or some of the Jews) who the Christians can trust most to hold the line.

Conservative and Orthodox Jews, yes, maybe because they are generally more secure in their religious identity; or because in recent decades Christians in the US have grown less condescending or antagonistic to Jews.

CalGal -- Monday, January 07, 2008 -- 04:02:36 PM -- 1342 of 1355
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

A couple years ago, Michael Novak wrote an incredibly irritating and inaccurate article about the evil of atheists.

He must have learned a lot in the past two years, because this article on the different types of atheism (some of which is better called agnosticism) is excellent.

j. ross -- Monday, February 25, 2008 -- 10:35:11 PM -- 1343 of 1355

The Pew forum has just published a survey on religion in America. The web site is pretty well done and there is tons of interesting information there.

I have no idea if this is the best thread for this, so move it where ever if you can think of a better one Cal.

Weaver -- Friday, June 20, 2008 -- 06:03:17 PM -- 1344 of 1355

This looks like a win/win for conservatives: Either freedom of speach and freedom of religion really apply to conservative churches, or the urban black democrat lobby churh needs to play by the same rules.

But when Booth addressed the members of his Warroad Community Church one Sunday in May and told them, "If you are a Christian, you cannot support a candidate like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton for president," he very much knew he was violating the law. He even wrote a letter to the IRS explaining what he had said and challenging the tax collection agency to do something about it.
Weaver -- Thursday, January 15, 2009 -- 10:08:25 PM -- 1346 of 1355

Some judges have some sense.

R-Doh -- Thursday, February 12, 2009 -- 02:20:35 AM -- 1347 of 1355
--generic tagline--

Thou + words = science.

Ronski -- Tuesday, February 17, 2009 -- 10:06:11 PM -- 1348 of 1355
"What can happen to an Old Fashioned?" -- Jim Backus

Science Group Boycotts Louisiana

Weaver -- Tuesday, February 17, 2009 -- 11:16:49 PM -- 1349 of 1355

And the chess club is boycotting the prom queen.

CalGal -- Friday, December 24, 2010 -- 08:13:49 PM -- 1350 of 1355
I remember a time, back in the late 90s, when I thought nonsense like this mattered somewhat more than I do now. Now I see well-educated people yammering about the birth control choices of their daughters, or gay marriage, and I think they are morons.

This is old, but I was just googling and found something I wrote nearly 8 years ago--a letter to the editor. I'm amused to see I described myself as a "republican agnostic". I think I did it to increase the chances of getting published, but I also recall that from 2002 to late 2003, I was seriously considering voting for Bush in 04. It wasn't until I realized (two years earlier than most Republicans) that he was overspending, soft on all the wrong issues, and not even doing a particularly good job with the war, so I voted for Kerry for balance.

Anyway, I like the letter and want to preserve it in case the Standard deletes it at some time. It was in response to an article saying that the Dems were the party of non-believers.

Coincidentally, the Pew Research center also defines "secular" as "atheist, agnostic, or rarely attends church," which makes it convenient for comparisons. According to the 2002 Pew Research Center Poll, secularists are 20 percent Republican, 20 percent Democrat, and 49 percent independent.

Three percent of all respondents identified as atheist or agnostic; the rest responded as belonging to a religion. Forty-four percent of all respondents said that they attend church a few times a year or less.

What can be concluded from the Pew numbers?

(1) Almost all secularists believe in God.

(2) Nearly half of the people polled in the last Pew Research Center survey on religion qualify as secularists by Bolce and De Maio's standards ("few times a year").

(3) Secularists are not primarily identified with either party.

Yes, the culture wars exist, and yes, the Democratic party is home to those seeking to secularize public life. But it's absurd to characterize this "gap" as having much, if anything, to do with atheists and agnostics. There just aren't enough of them to be players in this game, even if it is assumed that all of them share the same goals.

The "culture war" isn't driven by unbelievers, who are wrongly given first and second billing in the "secularist" credits. It's a religious clash, and the big player in the game is Christianity--America's majority religion. The Democratic party is not the "Party of Unbelievers." It's the Other Party of Christianity.

Speaking as a Republican agnostic, I object to being drawn into this dispute, much less having the entire dispute blamed on our miniscule percentage of the population. Non-believers have to deal with a 54 percent unfavorable rating and the fact that George W. Bush will never appoint us to the federal bench. Isn't that enough? We'll continue fighting the occasional Supreme Court case and sulk, marginalized, on the sidelines. Let us know what happens when y'all are done arguing about which party God belongs to.

Amaxen -- Thursday, April 28, 2011 -- 05:48:08 AM -- 1351 of 1355
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

Bishop publicly delivers the smackdown to wayward pastor

MsIt -- Thursday, April 28, 2011 -- 12:25:18 PM -- 1352 of 1355

Well, it's about damn time.

Weaver -- Tuesday, February 07, 2012 -- 09:42:41 PM -- 1353 of 1355

Not something I thought I would see in America.

It is imperative that I call to your attention an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people—the Catholic population—and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful. It is a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle.
Weaver -- Friday, May 25, 2012 -- 02:18:50 PM -- 1354 of 1355

It is fascinating to me that this huge lawsuit isn't news, but Rush Limbaugh's comments about a political operative was.

Forty-three Catholic dioceses and organizations across the country have announced religious liberty lawsuits against the federal government to challenge the Obama administration’s contraception mandate.
Weaver -- Friday, May 25, 2012 -- 02:22:45 PM -- 1355 of 1355

How on earth is this "unexpected"?

Opponents of gay-marriage law get unexpected aid: from Muslims
The Referendum 74 campaign to roll back the state's same-sex marriage law says it has surpassed the minimum number of signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot — with some of that support coming from the state's Muslims, who traditionally have remained silent on this issue.

Perhaps it is the general misunderstanding of what "traditionally" means.

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