Religious Liberty In America Is A Call To Arms For Christians Only

Santorum's Film Compares Liberals To Nazis
Santorum’s Film Compares Liberals To Nazis

In 1997, the Supreme Court struck down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed in 1993 by Congress.  The Court had essentially given state and local governments the authority to write laws that ”could require people to do things against their religious precepts — forcing them to choose between God and government.” RFRA was a bipartisan construct drafted by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Ma) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Ut), it  sailed through Congress in 1993 to protect religion against government overreach.

The Hobby Lobby decision is a complete one-eighty from Scalia’s 1989 Oregon Division of Employment vs. Smith decision, which helped inspire RFRA.  Scalia and his Republican colleagues went the other way on this one  (Hobby Lobby) by standing behind an act (RFRA) passed in the first days of the Clinton administration that was a thinly veiled effort to overrule Scalia’s holding in the peyote case, which Congress of course cannot do.

Several decades ago, Scalia asserted RFRA was superfluous because there’s “no evidence of widespread religious discrimination in this country.”  Now, because it is a matter he holds near and dear because of his own Catholic faith, he feels it is acceptable to discriminate against a female employee’s rights to medical services.   So now is there evidence of widespread religious discrimination in this country?  With the protests against the Mosque in proximity to Ground Zero of the WTC tragedy, it seems there is discrimination, but it isn’t against Christians.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former GOP Presidential contender Rick Santorum are constantly ranting about the lack of Christianity in a government founded on the principle of separation of church and state.  Mike Huckabee, in his 2008 Presidential run asserted

“our laws should be in accordance with God’s.”

The problem is,  Mr. Huckabee doesn’t specify whose god he’s referring to in this nation of diverse religious beliefs (and non-believers).  This September, Rick Santorum will release One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty.  The movie is a  “call to arms” for America’s Christians who are allegedly being persecuted by liberals launching a war on religious leaders, and it actually compares the Left to Nazi Germany.

With the assistance of Justice Scalia and his conservative cohorts on the High Court, more legislation will assuredly be created in favor of the Court-approved religion.   With the Smith decision, Native American religious customs were certainly not afforded the same consideration as Hobby Lobby was on the last day of June, 2014.  Christianity apparently needs constant defense and this won’t be the last time the Court decides separation of church and state does not apply to Christian matters.

Advertisements

Religion: Still Imposing Gender Inequality

The fastest growing religions in the world: Islam and Mormonism, have opinions of women that are contrary to progressive thought in the modern world.   It is a fact, nations with the least religious populations enjoy the highest levels of equality and happiness.  There is no question, religious men still cling to the idea of female inferiority and recent events solidify this claim.

In Benghazi, Libya, Salwa Bughagis was fatally shot just hours after casting a vote.  Bughagis was a women’s rights activist, murdered by an Islamist militant group who are largely fundamentalist misogynists.  This is a week after four women from the city of Mosel, Iraq committed suicide because they were dishonored because they were raped.   Rape, by no fault of their own, casts a stigma on the victim that haunts her privately while labeling her “unclean” in the eyes of Muslim society.  Victim shaming is the worst form of mistreatment towards women.

Kate Kelly Excommunicated For Trying To Overcome Gender Inequality In LDS Church
Kate Kelly Excommunicated For Trying To Overcome Gender Inequality In LDS Church

Kate Kelly, co-founder of a group called Ordain Women was excommunicated from the Mormon Church after starting a movement to allow women to hold the priesthood in the church.  I asked Ex-Mormon and second cousin to Mitt Romney, Park Romney, what he thought of the bizarre scenario where a women who wants to be a bigger part of the faith is excommunicated for doing so.  He said,

In a word, the whole affair strikes me as absurd.  Here we have a woman, who by insisting that the Mormon leadership is in error for excluding women from the priesthood takes the implied position that the Mormon priesthood is not, in fact, the exclusive authority to represent God on earth in such matters and questions… and therefore an invalid and fraudulent claim of Divine agency.  Now, having taken such a position, she believes the world would be a better place if woman were more direct participants in this fraud.

Naturally, Park Romney, once a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood, through research and careful examination of evidence, believes the entire faith to be fraudulent.  His opinion derives from his immense cache of information that has come from voracious reading and studying.  Park cannot understand why Ms. Kelly would want a part of a religion that holds her in such low regard.   Women are not allowed to hold priesthood, much like the Catholic Church, and will be one of a man’s many celestial wives in the eternal afterlife.

Women who try to address matters of gender inequality are often the most persecuted in religious circles.  Men will continue to exert their dominance aided by outdated social mores that go hand and hand with religion.

 

 

 

 

Cantor’s Stunning Defeat Highlights Wacky Shift Of The Right Wing GOP

When a Seven Term Republican who votes against President Obama 95% of the time loses to an unknown candidate he outspends 26-1, it raises more than a few eyebrows. Dave Brat, the first opponent to unseat a House Majority Leader since 1899, is a textbook Libertarian. Not figuratively, literally, he’s a professor of economics at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia. His magnum opus is a thesis entitled: “An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand.” Capitalizing on Cantor’s low likability factor and inaccessibility while appealing to the über right-wing fundamentalist values of Virginia’s 7th District, Dave Brat upset an overconfident Eric Cantor.

Dave Brat (left) Stuns Eric Cantor
Dave Brat (left) Stuns Eric Cantor

Little is known about the new GOP candidate for the House, but some of the fringe elements of his platform have already surfaced.  Brat is a far-right, anti-immigration reform, free-market, religious zealot who somehow made Cantor seem too liberal. Majority leader Cantor was the champion of the greedy. He was unapproachable. He was arrogant.

Supported by Tea Party and grass-roots activists, at campaign stops and in interviews Brat would tick through the elements of what he stands for, what he calls the Republican “creed — free markets, equal protection under the law, fiscal responsibility, constitutional restraint, strong military and belief in God.”…..
“There’s only one problem with the Republican creed, and that is no Republican follows it.”

Eric Cantor was too lenient on immigration. The district has voted Republican overwhelmingly; no Democrat has won this seat since 1971. Dave Brat, religious theologian and TeaParty darling, has terrific odds of defeating his obscure Democratic opponent Jack Trammell.  Calling this victory, a miracle from God  he has obviously begun pandering to the evangelical community.  By winning this battle on his utter contempt for immigration reform and amnesty, this victory shows the GOP has not adhered to the findings of the autopsy of the party and shows little concern for winning any future national elections.

Black Republicans Are Betraying Their Own Race

We’ve heard the Republican Party wants to re-brand itself to appeal to all demographics, especially Black and Latino voters.  In the 113th Congress, there is one black Republican, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) who was appointed to fill Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint’s seat.  One might call him a token Republican. By definition, tokenism is the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.   When your party is affiliated with semi-white-supremacist groups like the Heritage Foundation, the TeaParty and the NRA, supporters from minority groups will be rare, understandably.  The party will thus make a strong effort to use these token Republicans by denouncing the benefits of programs targeted to many of their own racial group.

Of course minority Republicans like Senator Tim Scott will deny he is used as a mouthpiece for pet conservative causes: cutting public assistance, lowering taxes on the rich, marriage equality and immigration.   Naturally, Scott uses the racist dog whistle of individual responsibility adopted by the Ayn Rand crowd like Paul Ryan who proclaims “inner-city” (code for Black) males are content to NEVER look for a job.  This is a disgustingly racist and false statement that Scott parrots when doing softball interviews with Greta Van Susteren.  Scott is also vehemently against a woman’s right to choose, and when that woman is forced to have her baby, he is very much in favor of cutting public assistance programs like SNAP and Head Start.  Since African Americans are disproportionately poor, Scott is undoubtedly not in favor of giving those folks a hand up.  He harbors the opinion that dependence on government is akin to slavery.  As if there was any question of his denial of the obvious racism in the South, he was an honorary chairman for one of the re-election bids by the late political icon Senator Strom Thurmond, the staunchest opponent of integration there ever was.  He voted to raise taxes on the lowest income-earners while extending tax cuts for the super wealthy.

Another rising star of the GOP, who covers the female and black demographic,  is Saratoga Springs, Utah Mayor, Mia Love.  Mia actually claimed to be an anchor baby because, in her words; “My parents have always told me I was a miracle and our family’s ticket to America.” Her Haitian parents came to America with “$10 in their pockets,” so did they get by without any government help? Ironically, she has aligned her views with other anti-Fourteenth amendment (birthright citizenship) Republicans. In an attempt to ingratiate herself as a true token, she converted to the LDS faith, which has an unbelievable history of intolerance and degradation of black people. When threatened with tax exempt status in 1978, the Mormon Church decided to change their 130 year old thinking that black people are “cursed”and admit minorities into their church.

Mia Love, GOP House Candidate in 2014
Mia Love, GOP House Candidate in 2014

Dr. Ben Carson, a noted neurosurgeon and darling of the Republican party because of his ferocious homophobia, is also guilty of denouncing his own upbringing. Like Tim Scott, Carson derides folks who need support from the government. “Nobody is starving on the streets. We’ve always taken care of them,” Carson said. “We take care of our own; we always have. It is not the government’s responsibility.” Except Carson was a beneficiary of government assistance and is a staunch opponent of President Obama’s every policy, especially insuring poor people.   Carson doesn’t acknowledge the higher rates of poverty among African American children.

20140501-094507.jpg
Dr. Ben Carson

Perhaps the most notorious of Black Republicans is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The title of Justice in this case is quite ironic. If I were to expound on his race betrayal, this article would be far too long. Find any minority Republican and you’ll see a person who has turned their backs on the institutionalized disadvantages inherent in our society.

Not One Law Republicans Passed Has Helped America In Over Forty Years

The GOP is against any positive progress for America
The GOP is against any positive progress for America

December 2, 1970 was the last time a Republican created something that benefits the greater good of society. Seriously, it’s been over forty years since any Republican has successfully enacted legislation that is based on scientific data, also known as reality. Richard M. Nixon created the EPA in 1970 which marks the last time the party behaved responsibly by utilizing data from climate scientists and attempting to clean up our environment.  Their actions ever since have been an attempt to pollute indiscriminately.

Everything the GOP stands for is rooted in religiously-based discrimination of some sort.  Whether they are quashing the rights of women, the poor and minorities or relinquishing the rights to drink clean water and breathe healthy air, the GOP is always on the wrong side of history. They claim trickle down economics is the magical way the job-creator fairies instinctively share their wealth. Profit-gorging corporations care only about their coveted bottom line: earnings for the shareholders. They are not concerned with the middle class, as companies like Walmart have created the working poor as the new normal. The laws they’ve passed are unimaginably awful.

On April 1, 2014 the Supreme Court handed corporations unlimited political power by cementing the idea that more money equals more speech. The five conservative Justices in the Supreme Court have ruled twice in favor of selling our democracy to the highest bidder. Money equals speech, (and)  some people have more speech than others. It codifies oligarchy. It creates a free speech caste system. The highest bidder is also, unfortunately, the most rooted in theological doctrine supplanting a secular constitutional government.  Chief Justice Roberts actually said: Ingratiation and access … are not corruption,” he wrote, quoting Citizens United.  Bribery, in other words, has no impact on a legislator’s actions.  Because no one has ever succumbed to bribery, right, Scalia? 

Biblical Creationism is favored over scientific evolution. Mandatory prayer and religious mottos like In God We Trust are proudly displayed in secular institutions like public schools.   Mississippi’s Governor Bryant, enlightened by Old Testament-driven hate, is making it legal to discriminate against homosexuals openly! Other Red States are desperately trying to sanction laws very similar to those in Russia, who proudly boast of their anti-gay propaganda.  There is actually a Minnesota candidate who has gotten into politics to ensure his daughter doesn’t have to learn about that alarmingly factual scientific theory of evolution, which has no place in the Biblical book of fantasy (which is the basis of all Republican legislation).   If you look at the campaign the Republicans have launched against the scientific community’s consensus on the dire nature of man-made climate change, you’ll see a concerted effort to shun reality and promulgate illogical fantasy like that in the Bible.

Without even touching on the denial of racism and sexism, one can see very clearly how rooted in fantasy and lies the Republican platform has become.  It is fashionable to disregard evidence, fact and data to promote the agendas of large corporations who care nothing for the citizens of this country.  With 5/9 of the Supreme Court on board to sanction deception to the American people, we are truly in a situation where everyone MUST pay attention or our country will go the way of theocracies like Afghanistan.  Income inequality will only worsen as our situation on this planet becomes more perilous with increasing weather disasters. Politics is local, and electing Democrats who are not religious shamans would be a great step in the right direction in this 2014 election year.

 

The Secret Strategy Driving Republicans Today

20131025-155640.jpg
Scary Draconian Domininionists are trying to ruin America

Odds are, most Americans have never heard of Dominionism or Reconstructionism. This extreme form of Christianity is much more common than most realize, but as a general rule, most (not all) don’t publicly proclaim their radical religious views. Reconstructionists believe that Christians alone should control civil government, conducting it according to Biblical, not secular law. Two of Dominionism’s best known devotees are Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

This philosophy is not new to the American political scene. America was extremely affected by the fundamentalist Christians via George W. Bush, who favored faith-based programs and sought to deny schools funding if they taught anything but abstinence-only sex education. This theology gives an insight into the view of today’s GOP: a polarized Christian society where the poor are afforded no protection from the wealthy who can do as they please simply because of their financial stature. Bigotry, misogyny, and slavery are just a few of the Old Testament concepts embraced by these prominent Republicans.

The Dominionists seek to control the Seven Mountains of society which are: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion. If you can have control over these seven areas, you can shape and control whatever takes place in nations, and even the world. Just like the Old Testament dictates, women and foreigners are second class citizens and homosexuality is “sinful.” Most Dominionists are still sympathetic to the Civil War defeat of the Confederacy and see nothing wrong with human rights abuses in the Antebellum south.

Both Cruz and Paul along with RNC Chair Reince Priebus, were publicly blessed and anointed, with the laying-on of hands, by Dominionist Pastors, at the July 19th-20th 2013 Iowa Renewal Project pastors’ gathering held at the Des Moines Marriott Hotel. Cruz was labeled the de facto leader of the GOP and the October 1st shutdown showed the nation he is that influential. Their obsession with the acquisition of wealth is quite antithetical to that of their “Savior,” Jesus Christ.

The constitutionally mandated wall separating church and state is completely obliterated by Seven Mountain Dominionists. Designed to “bring the spoils of war to the priests”, thus helping to bring about a prophesied “great transfer of wealth”, from the “wicked” to righteous gentile believers, this morally bankrupt way of thinking and acting is justified by the supposition that it’s divinely mandated. These extremist theocrats actually believe they are chosen by god to impose their selfish agenda. Much like billionaire Sheldon Adelson and LDS Bishop, Willard Romney , these guys truly believe they are the Anointed Ones. You can be certain the obsession with the impending Rapture will ensure a type of governance where the consequences of inconsiderate behavior do not factor into policy decisions. Dominionist Michelle Bachmann has claimed we are in the End Times. A religious test was omitted intentionally by the Founding Fathers because they foresaw the dangers of mixing religion and politics. Ted Cruz and his devotees embody their worst fears!

America is Anything But Post-Racial

The quest for equality and civil rights in America is more challenging than ever, despite electing Barack Obama. Just as the South still hasn’t given up on winning the War of Northern Aggression (otherwise known as The Civil War), the fight for equal rights and fair treatment of all Americans is ongoing. Unlike the days of Eisenhower, where moderate Republicans set the agenda, the racist fringe of the GOP is much more comfortable with bigotry and white supremacy, bragging openly about their disdain for our President. Country Star, Hank Williams, in 2012 said (at a county fair), We’ve got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the U.S., and we hate him. This hate-speech was followed by thunderous applause, even though none of his assertions were true. Fringe groups are no longer the minority of the GOP, they set the agenda. They set the tone. They aren’t going away. The Teaparty has assured that racial discrimination is here to stay.

Although the principle of equality has always been self-evident, it has never been self-executingBarack Obama. More than anyone, the President has understood this tenet, simply by the obstructionism he has faced since taking office. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, so all my life, I should be seeing the racial tension in this country improving, but this is quite contrary. The most egregious example of racist hate is often uttered by Ann Coulter. The Conservative pundit and known hate monger, said Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin is making a monkey out of President Obama. Anyone familiar with the GOP shouldn’t be astonished this woman is still respected in Conservative circles. The party that embraces the (white supremacist hate group) Stormfront endorsed Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky makes no effort to hide their objection to civil rights. Ex Secretary of Defense and known war criminal, Donald Rumsfeld, had the audacity to call our President the “So-called Commander-in-Chief.” His CiC is a convicted war criminal, so his disdain for Obama is a stab at the legitimacy of a Black Commander-in-Chief.

The disrespect for African-Americans is not exclusive to members elected or appointed to high office positions. Distinguished Public Servants like Susan Rice, Van Jones and Eric Holder are not the only ones victimized by this new racist chic that predominates Conservative attitudes in America. A North Carolina Restaurant actually asked a large party of black patrons to leave because one of the white customers felt threatened by the party of twenty-five which is absolutely stunning in 2013. Not to be outdone, a church in Charlotte, NC. insisted only whites greet patrons at the door. They apologized ex post facto for their Whites Only sign, but the damage was already done.

Discrimination continues with our children of color as well in the form of prejudice toward African-American hairstyles. A seven-year old African-American girl, a great student by all accounts, was told her dreadlocks were an unacceptable style for attending her Tulsa, Oklahoma school. Right here in Las Vegas, thirteen year old Brinley Middle Schooler, Margaret Bates was told the blond color at the ends of her braids are an unacceptable color for an African-American. Sparking potential riots, the school recalled the discriminatory comment towards Margaret and amended the policy to include only naturally occurring hair colors for any person of any color. The clarification came too late, as it was obvious the racial prejudice the school has embraced.

With the obvious racial injustice expressed by the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, our nation is at a very dangerous and volatile point when it comes to civil rights. The sinister trend these cases of discrimination are creating is surely not how we are supposed to be evolving as a society. The Republican party is obviously not geared toward inclusivity, and those intolerant of civil rights and mutual respect for one another will eventually be singled out as unacceptable.