Tag Archives: 2008 Presidential Election

Alexandra Pelosi holds mirror up to US conservatives in new film

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Alexandra Pelosi is the daughter of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a filmmaker. She is best known for her documentary “Journeys with George” which showed the lighter side of George W. Bush in 2000. On Monday, February 16th on HBO, she turns her camera on how some conservative voters felt and acted during the recent 2008 Presidential election especially when Barack Obama won. It is her attempt to show there are at least two different countries in the US trying to coexist with each other.

Here is the blurb from the HBO website. *Note* in my TV lisiting it says it is on the main HBO channel so check your local listings for time and channel.

Right America: Feeling Wronged – Some Voices from the Campaign Trail

On the day Barack Obama was elected the 44th President, more than 58 million voters cast their ballots for John McCain. In the months leading up to this historic election, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Journeys with George”) took a road trip to meet some of the conservative Americans who waited in line for hours to support the GOP ticket, and saw their hopes and dreams evaporate in the wake of that Democratic victory. These voters share their feelings about the changing America in which they live. Premieres Monday, February 16 at 8pm (ET/PT) on HBO2.

For her fifth HBO project, Pelosi visited 28 states and spoke about the fight for the soul of the country with mostly conservative Americans, who feel underrepresented by the mainstream media. From the Pulpit Freedom Day in Bethlehem, Ga. to the NASCAR circuit, RIGHT AMERICA: FEELING WRONGED – SOME VOICES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL shows a country at war with itself over the religious and cultural identities that define America. Many interviewees were particularly incensed by what they saw as a lack of any meaningful media attention given to their message during the election campaign – including their views on such hotly contested issues as gun control, abortion rights, religion and gay rights – and by a perceived media bias against McCain and running mate Sarah Palin.

“The way the press handles the election, we feel like our side’s never being really represented, never really given a fair shake,” says one man. “It’s almost like they think of us as a bunch of hicks, a bunch of idiots. And they don’t even wanna hear our side or understand us.”

“The liberal media is selling the American people short,” observes one woman. “That’s ridiculous and people should be outraged. And millions and millions of us are.” “We’re the backbone of this country,” says another man. “We’re hardworkin,’ blue- collared workers that keep this country runnin.’ He [Obama] talks like he knows us; he doesn’t know us.”

Right America: Feeling Wronged – Some Voices from the Campaign Trail

I thought it amusing that the quotes say they thought the media didn’t represent their views. Maybe not the right wing nut type of views but the media did a good job of pushing the conservative talking points during the whole campaign. I’m not sure what media they were watching.

Pelosi was also interviewed on the Rachel Maddow show on Friday night on MSNBC. Here is her segment. It starts a minute or two into the actual clip:

Secular Coalition calls for end to religious test

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It would seem that the US Constitution doesn’t allow a religious test to be elected in this country. In fact that prohibition is written in clear language in Article Six. It is why the group, the Secular Coalition for America is taking the time to release a video of the attempts at a religious test during the recently concluded 2008 election campaign and calling for the all secularists to stand up and call for an end to it.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article Six of the United States Constitution

Even though it is written in plain language, unlike the religious clause of the first amendment or the right to bear arms of the second, it seems that candidates are put through a religious test. The Secular Coalition for America released a video of clips full of examples from the 2008 election cycle:

The Secular Coalition is also asking secularists to help call attention to this undemocratic anti-American trait. They are sending out a New Year’s Alert:

Pastor Problems, Faith Forums and Godless Gotcha’s on the campaign trail. 2008 was a tough year for atheists, humanists, agnostics and all Americans who are proud of our secular traditions.

I am asking you to join me in signing onto the Secular Coalition for America’s Nine Resolutions for Secular Citizens. I am asking you to make a commitment in your everyday life to help the Secular Coalition and citizens like me change the way our leaders are elected and our country is governed. By signing your name – first, last, or even anonymous – to the resolution, you will help us show that there is a big constituency for the issues the Secular Coalition fights for, and that we intend to be heard in the coming year.

Please go to the New Year’s Resolution sign-on list now and add your name to the hundreds who have already resolved to fight for increased respect and visibility for nontheists and our secular traditions in 2009.

They also have commented and sent a letter to President-elect Obama concerning the inclusion of Rick Warren in the inauguration ceremony on January 20th.

President-elect Obama announced the program for his inauguration this week, and it begins with an invocation from the Rev. Rick Warren, an evangelical mega church pastor. Although Obama and his spokesperson insist his inaugural will be inclusive and offer diverse viewpoints, the choice of two Protestants to open and close the ceremony suggests otherwise.

Obama Chooses Divisive Pastor

What does a President Obama mean for secularists and non-believers?

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With the 2008 Presidential election being, what does a President Obama mean for secularists, non-believers, and church state separation? Well, based on the campaign it doesn’t seem much will change but then again with a more liberal President who hasn’t worn his religion on his sleeve, there is hope for us.

Barack Obama is a Christian – no doubt about that, but he came to religion in the mid 1980’s. His father was an atheist or agnostic and his mother held a detached view of religion.

For my mother, organized religion too often dressed up closed-mindedness in the garb of piety, cruelty and oppression in the cloak of righteousness.

This isn’t to say that she provided me with no religious instruction. In her mind, a working knowledge of the world’s great religions was a necessary part of any well-rounded education. In our household the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology. On Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites. But I was made to understand that such religious samplings required no sustained commitment on my part. Religion was an expression of human culture, she would explain, not its wellspring, just one of the many ways — and not necessarily the best way — that man attempted to control the unknowable and understand the deeper truths about our lives.

In sum, my mother viewed religion through the eyes of the anthropologist she would become; it was a phenomenon to be treated with a suitable respect, but with a suitable detachment as well.

Who Is Barack Obama?

Obama seemed to restate this view in a speech given in 2006 to “Call to Renewal’s Building a Covenant for a New America: conference”:

While I’ve already laid out some of the work that progressive leaders need to do, I want to talk a little bit about what conservative leaders need to do — some truths they need to acknowledge.

For one, they need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice. Folks tend to forget that during our founding, it wasn’t the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of the First Amendment. It was the persecuted minorities, it was Baptists like John Leland who didn’t want the established churches to impose their views on folks who were getting happy out in the fields and teaching the scripture to slaves. It was the forbearers of the evangelicals who were the most adamant about not mingling government with religious, because they did not want state-sponsored religion hindering their ability to practice their faith as they understood it.

Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let’s read our bibles. Folks haven’t been reading their bibles.

This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

‘Call to Renewal’ Keynote Address

Sounds like some of the skepticism I experience in my monthly Humanist meetings.

But of course during the campaign, Obama promised to continue and expand Bush’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. However he planned to restore the restrictions on proselytizing and job discrimination based on religion that President Bush had relaxed.

Obama opposed California Prop. 8 that banned gay marriage but he felt marriage was between a man and woman. He has said that he supports civil unions but that marriage laws should be decided by the states.

I also think that Obama would be more incline to select a liberal Supreme Court justice should a vacancy come up and that would, at least in the short term, maintain the 5-4 votes that have happened recently on hot button issues. If another vacancy happens then it could tilt the court to a point of view that more strongly supports church state separation. I admit it might be a gamble. But then until there is a viable non-theistic candidate then we need to vote for a believer who will be amenable to our point of view. I think Obama is based on his past speeches and writings.

Just for your information, here is a graphic showing the percentage of votes by religion. You’ll see that 75% of people reporting no religion voted for Obama. Let’s hope we didn’t make a mistake.

Rod Parsley Election Spectacular

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The People for the American Way reports that one our favorite TV preachers, Columbus’ own, Rev. Rod Parsley turned a recent edition of his program “Breakthrough” over to two right wing zelots.

If you thought that Rod Parsley was going to drop out of politics after being humiliated by John McCain, think again. Earlier this week, Parsley aired a special “election edition” of his program “Breakthrough” with special guests Janet Parshall and Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America.

For her part, Wright urged Parsley’s viewers to elect candidates who will “follow the Biblical principles of how a nation should be governed.” And, of course, the primary principle was abortion, which Wright compared to the Holocaust, as well as the future of the Supreme Court.

Parsley concluded the program by telling his viewers that it is their votes that will determine if this country will continue to allow the “unconscionable murder of unborn babies, whether it will “stand up for marriage as God intended and his Word declares,” and whether it will continue to drift toward “silencing the voice of every single Christian.”

The Rod Parsley Election Spectacular

Their report includes video of the program.

Iowa pastor tries to protect God’s reputation by asking us to vote for John McCain

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During the most exciting and potentially historical Presidential election in our nation’s history, some pastor from Iowa decided to inject some unwanted “MY God is bigger than your God” religious clap trap into it.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNN) – A minister delivering the invocation at John McCain’s rally in Davenport, Iowa Saturday told the crowd non-Christian religions around the world were praying for Barack Obama to win the U.S. presidential election.

“There are millions of people around this world praying to their god – whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah – that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their God is bigger than you, if that happens,” said Arnold Conrad, the former pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Davenport.

Speaker at McCain rally says non-Christians want an Obama win

Really? “God’s” rep is at stake. I didn’t know we were about to have a Jets and Sharks fight. This is yet another example of the power principle of US Christians.

Sarah Palin: Just another religious right whack job

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John McCain’s pick as Vice President is Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Besides her good looks, youth, and lack of experience, Palin also brings along an unhealthy religious obsession seen in many evangelicals like President Bush. If McCain was trying to distance himself from Bush, he goofed in picking Palin.

Palin believes that actions are either commanded by a god or influenced by one:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told ministry students at her former church that the United States sent troops to fight in the Iraq war on a “task that is from God.”

In an address last June, the Republican vice presidential candidate also urged ministry students to pray for a plan to build a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in the state, calling it “God’s will.”

Palin asked the students to pray for the troops in Iraq, and noted that her eldest son, Track, was expected to be deployed there.

“Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,” she said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

“God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that,” she said.

“I can do my job there in developing our natural resources and doing things like getting the roads paved and making sure our troopers have their cop cars and their uniforms and their guns, and making sure our public schools are funded,” she added. “But really all of that stuff doesn’t do any good if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with God.”

Palin: Iraq war ‘a task that is from God’

Palin also is anti-choice and believes in “creation science”. Also like many high moral Christians, she has skeletons in the closet such as her 17 year old daughter being with child outside of marriage.

As you can probably guess, James Dobson, president and founder of Focus on the Family, is estatic about the pick:

Dobson: You know, Dennis, the things that concern me about John McCain are still there. I made those comments not just based on emotions, but based on his record and some of the things that took place—embryonic stem cell research, and other things, the campaign finance, and other things. Those are still there. So, there’s still concerns. But I tell you, when I look at the choices that are ahead and what the implications are for this country, and now especially with this selection, with just an outstanding V.P. candidate as a running mate, I tell you what I am relieved and very excited.

Dobson: “I Would Pull that Lever” for McCain-Palin