Tag Archives: conservative

The IRS Also Targeted Camp Quest

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the logo for Camp QuestThe recent media dust up about the Internal Revenue Service doing their job when considering group tax exemptions under the 501(c)4 rules focused on conservative groups being ‘targeted’ for political reasons. What hasn’t been reported as much is that non-conservative groups, including Camp Quest, were also targeted for extra scrutiny. This just shows that the conservative group’s claim of victimhood is more hysterical than the facts support.
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Ohio Anti-Abortion ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Is About Ending Legal Abortion Not Saving Lives

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image of Linda Theis co-author of Ohio's 'Heartbeat' Bill
Linda Theis
co-author of Ohio’s ‘Heartbeat’ Bill

The recent Ohio House Bill 125, aka the “Heartbeat” Bill, would prohibit an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected. This usually happens as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. One common argument anti-abortionists use for needing such laws is to save the lives of unborn children. In a recent newspaper interview, one of the authors of the bill stated the real reason anti-abortionists want the ‘heartbeat’ bill passed. It’s all about ending legal abortion not saving lives.
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Please, mess with Texas

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The Texas state school board is working on a statewide curriculum that ignores Thomas Jefferson – you know the guy who wrote the Declaration of Independence – and that refuses to discuss the separation of church and state. If we aren’t careful then this cancer could spread to other states and other children.

Meet the graduating Texas senior class of 2020 and beyond. This group of students has some unique identifying characteristics, products of an education based upon textbooks crafted with an agenda. If you were to test them on their knowledge, here’s what you’d discover:

* They don’t know who Thomas Jefferson is and why he’s significant, but they do known who John Calvin is and believe he was instrumental to the formation of our nation.
* They believe the terms church and state are interchangeable.
* They do not believe in evolution as fact, but are inclined to embrace creation theory or intelligent design as the explanation for how the universe came into existence.
* They believe the right to bear arms is a first AND second amendment right granted by the Constitution. (see 11:12 entry)
* They do not understand the term “democracy”, but can define “constitutional Republic” and apply it to the American system of government.
* They don’t know that the United States Constitution bans placing one religion over others.
* They can name at least three pro-free market factors contributing to European progress in medieval times. (Yes, I’m serious. Read the 6:43 pm entry)
* They cannot define capitalism, but are completely familiar with the idea that taxation and government regulation inhibits free enterprise.
* They ignore Hispanics and their role in various historical events in the United States, such as the Alamo.

The Texas textbook two-step

This is part of a long term effort by the religious right and other conservatives to worm their way into the system that makes these decisions and then throw out actual facts and replace them with their agenda.

The reason the issue is important and focused on Texas is because Texas is one of the largest buyer of school text books and their “standards” are spread to other districts in other states that buy the same books.

The main problem is the response from the left and those of us who support church and state separation has been to laugh at Texas but the writer of the article karoli has a warning:

Still, in all the reports I’ve seen about this, there’s a certain derision from the left that sends danger signals off in me. Laugh at the Texas School Board at your own peril. They have just succeeded in approving a statewide curriculum indoctrinating students, educating them on a single point of view, and threatening our national curriculum in far too many ways. To shrug them off or paint them as buffoons misses their larger, and largely successful, plan.

I worry that we will all be caught flat footed like we were when Intelligent Design swept the nation before the science community and its supporters were able to ramp up to fight the effort.

Religion indoctrinates children

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Some years ago in an e-mail list about Humanism, I made the argument that religion indoctrinates children to carry on the faith to the next generation. At that time, some on the list took me to task for using the word “indoctrinate” as if the parents and religious leaders were doing something criminal. I think religious training is child abuse just like when parents try to maintain that Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny are real. The recent documentary “Jesus Camp” proves my point if in a more hyper way.

Jesus Camp is a documentary about the “Kids On Fire School of Ministry,” a charismatic Christian summer camp located just outside Devils Lake, North Dakota and run by Becky Fischer and her ministry, Kids in Ministry International. The camp was started in 2001. The film focuses on three children who attended the camp in the summer of 2005—Levi, Rachael, and Tory (Victoria). The film cuts between footage of the camp and a children’s prayer conference held just prior to the camp at Christ Triumphant Church, a large charismatic church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City.

All three children are very devout Christians. Levi, who has ambitions of being a pastor, has already preached several sermons at his father’s church, Rock of Ages Church in St. Robert, Missouri. He is home schooled (as are many of the campers), and learns physical science from a book that reconciles young-earth creationism with “scientific” principles.[4] He is also taught that global warming is a fictional political speculation, and that the earth’s temperature has only risen by 0.6 °F. Levi preaches a sermon at the camp in which he declares that his generation is key to Jesus’s return. Rachael, who also attends Levi’s church (her father is assistant pastor), is seen praying over a bowling ball during a game early in the film, and frequently passes Christian tracts (including some by Jack Chick) to people she meets. She does not think highly of non-charismatic churches (or “dead churches,” as she calls them), feeling they aren’t “churches that God likes to go to.” Tory is a member of the children’s praise dance team at Christ Triumphant Church. She frequently dances to Christian heavy metal music, and feels uncomfortable about “dancing for the flesh.” She also does not think highly of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

Jesus Camp

One of the points made during a later portion of the film is that Fischer admits the need to “teach” the children since “our enemies teach theirs”.

I also had a good chuckle when the mother of one of the kids in the film says to the child “See how science doesn’t prove anything?”

I said, “Really?”

The main issue with the adults in the film was equating their politics and faith. Getting children to cry out to Jesus to end abortion without going into the details of the debate is just wrong in my view.

The problem with this indoctrination is that it’s indoctrination. You can tell children anything and they will automatically believe you and as pointed out in the film by their teens those teachings will stay with them for the rest of their lives. That’s why some people still think Evolution is only a view point and not a scientific fact.

Then when they do find out not every thing they were told in their youth was true – they can become angry or rebellious.

Parents should be able to educate their children how they wish but not when that teaching makes them stupid or makes them a later burden on society. Don’t take sides. Give the children all the info out there and let them decide what they want when they get old enough to make those decisions.

If my kids come to me and ask me about religion, I’m not going to tell them they will die if they find out or they aren’t good kids if they are religious.

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:

Christian victims? Give me a break

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My heart is in the sanctity of life and marriage and values and defense against terrorism. I support what the president’s doing in Iraq, and if they’re spending too much money, then I’ll let someone else yell about that. But this president — it’s like this Mark Foley thing — that’s not going to discourage any evangelicals I know from voting. We lived through Bill Clinton, and this situation with Foley is minuscule in comparison. So, I really think it’s making a mountain out of a molehill.

Rev. Jerry Falwell on CNN’s The Situation Room 11/02/2006

Yes, Rev. Falwell, defender of the sanctity of life, marriage, and values, doesn’t seem to have a problem with child abuse.

It isn’t real surprising that Falwell said what he did. You can predict what a religious leader will say by just looking at the politics of the object he/she is discussing. I am pretty sure Falwell would put former Congressman Foley’s actions in proper context had Foley been a Democrat.

That is a big reason the current special relationship that religious conservatives and Republicans proves the point that church and state should be separate. Politics not only can corrupt a person but can corrupt your religion. I mean if your political values can allow you to think that child abuse is less of a moral problem than a blow job then you might need some remedial religion classes.

Of course hypocrisy isn’t the only problem with the mixing of religion and politics.

Last month, my local paper did their obligatory conservative-Christians-as victims election season report as if it were a new trend. Conservative Christians feel put upon because their anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-religious freedom, anti-science bigotry isn’t shared by everyone.

“The Christian majority is sick and tired of things like same-sex marriage and the (removal of the) Ten Commandments in the court- house,” he said. “Two people get upset, and the ACLU comes in. People are tired of things like one guy with a lawyer changing the entire face of a government building because of the Ten Commandments. What the hell was it hurting?”

Bob Burney, who hosts a Christian radio call-in program on WRFD (880 AM) in Columbus, hears the complaint a lot.

“It’s the clash of two worldviews,” he said. “Things have been declared to be unconstitutional that have been constitutional for 200 years,” he said. “Evangelical Christians are energized by their very strong perception that those on the left want to remove the Godly heritage that we have and move to a completely secular state.”

From “Enough was enough” Columbus Dispatch 10/09/2006

I wrote a letter to the editor about the article and it was published on October 18th:

I wanted to comment on the Oct. 9 Dispatch article “Enough was enough.” It doesn’t surprise me that conservative Christians would vote for a candidate solely on religious beliefs. We have some voters who choose a candidate simply because they recognize the name of the person on the ballot or because some relative served years before.

Unfortunately, atheists and secular humanists such as myself don’t have that luxury. Since the conservative Christians have invaded the political process, we have a de facto establishment of religion and no atheist or secular humanist candidate can pass the religious test that group has put in place. We have to vote for the whole package that a particular candidate brings into the campaign.

The New York Times reported on Oct. 8 that, since 1989, religious groups have received more than 200 special arrangements, protections or exemptions in congressional legislation, on topics from pensions to immigration to land use to exemptions from federal employment-discrimination laws.

These special arrangements also have come from winning court decisions and federal-agency rule changes. Ninety-eight percent of the special treatment goes to Christian groups. As The Times put it, “As a result of these special breaks, religious organizations of all faiths stand in a position that American businesses — and the thousands of nonprofit groups without that ‘religious’ label — can only envy.”

So forgive me if I don’t shed a tear the next time I hear the myth that conservative Christians are under siege.

Removing the 10 Commandments from public buildings promotes equality by removing the religious bigotry inherent in the Decalogue. Allowing gays to marry gives them the chance to formally share in what it means to commit to the one you love and removes the 2nd class status that comes from not being allowed.

Conservative Christians use politics to force their subjective “values” on others. Politics should be about doing the best for the most people. It should be about promoting shared values that have little to no negative impact on others.