Tag Archives: 2010 election

Good news – atheist member of Congress reelected Tuesday

Posted on by

Some good news to report from the US General election, Pete Stark (D-13) of Fremont California, the only openly atheist member of Congress was re-elected Tuesday night. So we got that.

Democrat Pete Stark, a 19-term incumbent, won by 70.9 percent with all precincts reporting, compared with 28.2 percent for Republican Forest Baker and write-in votes of 0.9 percent. An independent candidate, Chris Pareja, was running as a write-in in the race.

Fremont-Hayward area: Democrats sweep federal, state races

More info on Pete Stark

Wall Street Journal tries to spin Barbary Treaties to support religious right

Posted on by

One item of evidence used to support the separation of church and state is the text of a treaty signed in 1796 that states “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion…”. The Wall Street Journal, in a blog post on Thursday tried to spin that fact to cheerlead for Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who got the concept of the separation of church and state wrong in a recent debate. Too bad the WSJ spin doesn’t work.

The text of the treaty in question is:

ARTICLE 11.

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796

The Journal writes:

The language isn’t in either the original, Arabic-language version of the treaty or the contemporaneous, Italian-language translation. It only appears in the English-language translation made by U.S. consul-general Joel Barlow, a translation so shoddy fellow diplomats at the time described it as “extremely erroneous.”

But then they undercut their spin with:

Nevertheless, that English-language version, complete with the mysterious Article XI, is what the Senate ratified and what President Adams publicly cheered: “And I do hereby enjoin and require all persons bearing office civil or military within the United States, and all others citizens or inhabitants thereof, faithfully to observe and fulfill the said Treaty and every clause and article thereof.”

Obscure Treaty Is Cited in Church-State Separation Debate

There has been a long running campaign by those on the religious right to rewrite history and prescribe values to the founders that just didn’t exist in their time – like the founders didn’t want a separation of church and state.

The paragraph noted above is true, even if the text in Article 11 was added by Joel Barlow, the Senate ratified the treaty unanimously on June 10, 1797 and no one, not even the public, complained about the text.

Why? Because they believed in the words in that treaty and had no problem signing it and ratifying it. They agreed with the text and it became the law of the land.

The Wall Street Journal blog post doesn’t change the facts or change that United States said in public it “is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”

Glenn Beck is a popular loon we need to pay attention to

Posted on by

Glenn Beck had his masturbatory rally in Washington on August 28th. It was a mix of religious revival and fascist party rally (a group called “The Black Robes”? really?). His speeches and sermons are devoid of any facts or truths but people seem to love him. However his mix of religion and hate speech can be dangerous and we should not simply ignore him.

It is obvious that Beck isn’t the first demagogue with a large fan club. Father Charles Edward Coughlin, who had a radio show in the 1930’s, was just as popular and dangerous.

Father Charles Edward Coughlin (pronounced /’k?gl?n/ COG-lin;[1] October 25, 1891 – October 27, 1979) was a controversial Roman Catholic priest at Royal Oak, Michigan’s National Shrine of the Little Flower Church. He was one of the first political leaders to use radio to reach a mass audience, as more than forty million tuned to his weekly broadcasts during the 1930s. Early in his career Coughlin was a vocal supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his early New Deal proposals, before later becoming a harsh critic of Roosevelt.[2] It was at this point Coughlin began to use his radio program to issue antisemitic commentary, and later to rationalize some of the policies of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.[3] The broadcasts have been called “a variation of the Fascist agenda applied to American culture”.[4] His chief topics were political and economic rather than religious, with his slogan being Social Justice, first with, and later against, the New Deal. Many American bishops as well as the Vatican wanted him silenced, and he was eventually silenced by his superiors.

Father Charles Edward Coughlin

Some may ask how can people like Beck or Coughlin be dangerous?

There are some people in this country who were unstable to begin with and with a push from a talker like Glenn Beck went on a violent spree. For Beck it has happened at least twice and he may have played a part in a third incident.

A man in Pittsburgh died using suicide by cop after killing 3 cops, a gunman in Oakland CA was going to target a group that only Beck ranted about on his show, and Beck and his other Fox “news” buddies’ rhetoric played a part in the shooting inside a Knoxville Unitarian Church.

I fully believe in free speech and Beck can lie and mislead as much as he wants, but rhetoric can have consequences. We need to watch this fascist leaning talk and the wrapping of the flag within a religious framework. We must not be caught off guard or surprised. We must protect our rights every day and take people like Beck seriously even if he is a loon.

Just because he is popular doesn’t mean he tells the truth.