Friday, May 21, 2004

Church & State

Despite what religious fundamentalists and the misinformed will tell you, the United States was not founded on Christianity. The founding fathers were largely DEISTS--the closest equivalent today would be Unitarian Universalists. The US Constitution does not mention God once, and there is only a fleeting reference to divine providence in the Declaration of Independence.

The bedrock principle of the federal government has been one of NEUTRALITY with respect to religion, which is precisely what the First Amendment was written to ensure. That neutrality has been chipped away since 1954 when "In God We Trust" was put on the money and "Under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. Bush's faith based initiatives have further eroded the First Amendment.

In am of the Chrisitian faith. However, I have no desire to see that faith forced upon anyone. I am also cognizant that the separation of church and state has part of its basis in the New Testament ("Render to Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's"). That seems to escape some of the more fundamentalist Christians.

I have no desire to see the United States morph into a Christian Iran, and I suspect the vast majority of Americans agree with me, whatever their personal religious beliefs.

“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” - Treaty of Tripoli, signed by John Adams (giving it full power of law - read the Constitution)

“Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.’” - John Adams

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” - Thomas Jefferson

“ amendment was proposed by inserting the words, ‘Jesus Christ...the holy author of our religion,’ which was rejected ‘By a great majority in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and the Infidel of every denomination.’” - Thomas Jefferson

“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than on our opinions in physics and geometry. . . .” - Thomas Jefferson

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. . . .” - Thomas Jefferson

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” - Thomas Jefferson

“Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.” - James Madison

“My parents had given me betimes religious impressions, and I received from my infancy a pious education in the principles of Calvinism. But scarcely was I arrived at fifteen years of age, when, after having doubted in turn of different tenets, according as I found them combated in the different books that I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself.” - Benjamin Franklin

“It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible.” - Thomas Paine

Saturday, May 15, 2004


There's a bunch of em, but trust me, this list can go on and on and on:

"Just remember it's the birds that's supposed to suffer, not the hunter."—Advising quail hunter and New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici, Roswell, N.M., Jan. 22, 2004

"So thank you for reminding me about the importance of being a good mom and a great volunteer as well."—St. Louis, Jan. 5, 2004

"The best way to find these terrorists who hide in holes is to get people coming forth to describe the location of the hole, is to give clues and data."

"The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the—the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice."—Washington, D.C., Oct. 27, 2003

"I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves."—Washington, D.C., Sept. 21, 2003

"I'm the master of low expectations."—Aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

"First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill."—Washington, D.C., May 19, 2003

"I think the American people—I hope the American–I don't think, let me—I hope the American people trust me."—Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2002

"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption."—Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002

"There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again."—Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

"Do you have blacks, too?"—To Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001

"Our nation must come together to unite."—Tampa, Fla., June 4, 2001

"Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods."
Austin, Texas, Dec. 20, 2000

"The great thing about America is everybody should vote."
Austin, Texas, Dec. 8, 2000

"They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program."
St. Charles, Mo., Nov. 2, 2000

"There's not going to be enough people in the system to take advantage of people like me."
-On the coming Social Security crisis; Wilton, Conn.; June 9, 2000

"The fact that he relies on facts...says things that are not factual...are going to undermine his campaign."
-New York Times, March 4, 2000

"I think we agree, the past is over."
-On his meeting with John McCain, Dallas Morning News, May 10, 2000

"It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it." -Reuters, May 5, 2000

"I was raised in the West. The west of Texas. It's pretty close to California. In more ways than Washington, D.C., is close to California."
-In Los Angeles as quoted by the Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2000

"It is not Reaganesque to support a tax plan that is Clinton in nature."
-Los Angeles, Feb. 23, 2000

"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?"
-Concord, N.H., Jan. 29, 2000

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"
-Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

"I think anybody who doesn't think I'm smart enough to handle the job is underestimating."
-U.S. News & World Report, April 3, 2000

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Bush, not destined for Mount Rushmore

Given the recent performance of the stock market, the likely rise in interest rates, and the skyrocketing oil prices, I think we're headed for a third dip into a recessionary pattern.

Bush's lack of leadership is shown better nowhere than in that stupid speech he gave to Congress days after 9/11. Instead of asking Americans to sacrifice for the common good (as FDR did in his 1942 State of the Union), he essentially told citizens to "go about your business," i.e., spend the country out of the recession. He should have told people to stop driving their SUVs, then pushed Congress into passing legislation to make hybrid or alternative fuel cars mandatory by 2010. Going into Afghanistan was justified. Too bad he didn't stay there & finish the job.

Iraq has been a disaster: 700+ American lives and counting. Nick Berg was not killed by Saddam loyalists, he was killed by Al Queda terrorists who would not be in Iraq if Bush had not gotten us into this mess.

Gays like myself have not been this pissed off at the government since the 1980s. Many in the community would have been more than content to accept a compromise like Civil Unions, or would have at least been gratified to hear Bush say something like "let's have a reasoned national discussion on this issue." He did not. Rather, he kowtowed to the far right of his party by calling for a Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Many in the gay community are becoming entrenched in their views--Bush's actions this winter amount to a gay Pearl Harbor. And I'm sorry to put it so bluntly, but any gay/lesbian voter who supports Bush is a deluded fool and a traitor to our community.

As far as education goes, here in Ohio things have never been so bad. The religious right has taken over numerous school boards and state agencies, and is now pushing a right wing agenda including abstinence only education and creationism. Things here have gotten so bad that, had I children, I would send them to a private school where they could get decent education in the arts and sciences.

Bush is no leader. Leadership by definition means influencing public opinion THROUGH THE FORCE OF ONE'S IDEAS. Bush has no ideas, only misinformation about WMDs and Iraq/An Queda links. He's also terrified of contradicting public opinion. Has this guy ever even vetoed anything?

Bush's presidency is the worst failure in American politics since the demise of Herbert Hoover. Hopefully, come November, the Bush dynasty will be relegated to the ash-heap of American politics--forever.