Monday, May 10, 2010

Busta myth!

One Nation Under God First of all, I want to thank everyone for the words of encouragement on my previous entry. Sometimes it really does get to me, but mostly I remain insatiably curious about politics and committed to calling people out on their lies. It made me feel good to know that some of you enjoy my rantings, and as I told a friend, if even one person stops to look at an issue in a different light because of something I wrote, it would make me very happy. I also liked Nance's idea of following a 2:1 ratio on serious vs not-so-serious posts. That's not a bad idea, and I'm going to think on that a bit. In the meantime, I want to write today about a non-controversial topic, one that shouldn't ruffle anyone's feathers: the National Day of Prayer.

I'm a little bit evil, I know.

Okay, most of you have probably seen that there was quite the hullabaloo, a veritable mêlée, and one might even call it a brouhaha, over the National Day of Prayer last week. Forwarded emails abounded, and several Facebook updates denigrated President Obama for abolishing the NDP. That wasn't true; he merely called off the celebration at the White House. The NDP went ahead as planned. However, US District judge Barbara Crabb of Wisconsin issued a ruling declaring that the NDP was unconstitutional, but allowing current plans to go ahead for this year. In her ruling, Crabb stated:

No one can doubt the important role that prayer plays in the spiritual life of a believer. In the best of times, people may pray as a way of expressing joy and thanks; during times of grief, many find that prayer provides comfort. Others may pray to give praise, seek forgiveness, ask for guidance or find the truth. ... However, recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic.

The Department of Justice has said that they will appeal her ruling, which shows you that I don't agree with everything that President Obama does.

I think her ruling is a good one, a constitutional one. Not everyone agrees, of course. Cue the video.

The mind-numbing level of delusion here is astounding. O'Reilly and Palin engage in mutual masturbation in declaring that oh yes indeed, our country was founded on Christian principles, our Constitution was based on Christian beliefs, and that our laws follow the ten commandments and the God of the Bible. This is simply not true, and if either of these nimrods would learn a little about history and do the tiniest bit of research they'd find out that in fact, the exact opposite is true. Our founding fathers (Palin likes "all of 'em," dontcha know?) purposefully and pointedly excluded God from our Constitution, and made sure that it was clear that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

I am bothered and bewildered (but definitely not bewitched) by the current thinking that our country was founded on the Christian religion, and the assertion that our founding fathers were worshippers. This is far from the truth. Most of the shapers of our country and government were deists, believing that while there might be a supreme being, after he got everything going, he stepped back and let us take over completely. They did not see the divine hand of God in anything, and did their best to ensure that our republic was founded upon reason, logic, and good governance rather than religious beliefs.

If you have some time, if you are curious at all about whether what I write here is true, I urge you to take a little time to read a few entries on another blog. It is not merely opinion; there are many references provided. (A big thanks to Darren for posting this on Facebook. It was fascinating reading, and I feel it lays out the argument beautifully. I owe you one!)

Part I - mainly a discussion of Thomas Jefferson

Part II - deism and the thoughts of some of Jefferson's contemporaries

Part III - Washington and his rejection of communion; John Adams

Part IV - discussion of the religious affiliation of early colonists; after escaping persecution in England, they were quite unwilling to revisit such behavior; only about 1 in 15 were affiliated with a church

Treaty of Tripoli So why the objection to a National Day of Prayer? (And no, it does not date back to the Constitutional Convention; no prayers were said at that gathering.) Those who are staunch defenders of the Constitution should get this one. The writers of the Constitution and the framers of our republic expressly forbade any government promotion of a religion. No, the NDP is not a mandate in that it does not force anyone to pray upon the threat that they will be prosecuted for not doing so. However, the NDP was pushed through in the 50s by evangelical Christians, and today is actively promoted by Focus on the Family, an organization founded by evangelical Christian James Dobson. The chairman of the NDP Task Force is Shirley Dobson, wife of James. Franklin Graham was pissed off because he was uninvited from the Pentagon prayer session because of his statements that Islam is a wicked and evil religion. The NDP is most certainly an evangelical Christian endeavor; do they also promote prayers to Allah? Buddha? Perhaps a prayer (and maybe a sacrifice) to an Aztec god? Of course not. This day actively promotes one particular type of religion, and our government has no constitutional right to do so. None.

In the video I posted, when asked why Judge Crabb ruled against the NDP, Sarah Palin says: is that world view that I think...uh...involves people being afraid of...of being able to discuss our foundation, being able to discuss God in the public square...some fear of some people.

As always, it's a little difficult to understand what Sarah is trying to say, but I think she means that some of us don't want to discuss religion. That couldn't be further from the truth. Many of us have had many discussions of religion over the years, and many of us have done our research rather than bleating like a sheep about how America is a Christian nation. Many of us DO respect the Constitution rather than just giving it lip service, and many of us understand that our founding fathers were not religious individuals, much less religious bigots. They were visionaries who understood that just as religion needs to be protected from the government, our government needs to be protected from religion.

Dan Barker recently appeared on Fox News. Barker is the co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Along with his total pwnage of the interviewer, he had a line that sums this issue up perfectly. "It is the evangelicals who are confusing neutrality with hostility." The Constitution specifies neutrality in matters of religion. The government can neither force us to worship a certain deity or follow a certain religion; neither can they stop anyone from worshipping who they want. No one is saying that people can't worship the way they choose, follow the god they choose. You can pray to your heart's desire, if that is what you choose to do. However, my government--and it is mine every bit as much as yours--cannot dictate to me or anyone else what religion is best, promote prayer, or even suggest any sort of worship.

For those who would continue to believe that we are a Christian nation, or founded upon Christian principles, I suggest you do a little more research. I am not saying that you cannot practice your religion. No one is saying that. I'm simply saying that you cannot force my government to suggest your religion to me.Assumption Error


  1. I think I love you a little bit more with every blog post you do. Keep fighting the good fight.


  2. It is hard to believe how distorted things have become regarding the original foundation of our country and our constitution.

  3. Ken is as understated as a cat could be on this subject, as usual. And I agree. In fact the kind of religious fervor seen in some Muslim contries prolly had a start as the build up of the religious right here.

    Whenever I hear that this country was founded as a 'christian nation', I hear 'as a white nation'. And that is what is at the base of the religous movement in this country. Not that poverty and discomfort has stretched into the thinning layers of middle class America, people are looking for scapegoat and some kind of deliverance.

    Why not claim as their own a God who along with the history of the beginning of man, was originated in the African continent? Do a little Al Jolson with him, wipe out as paganistic, minor religious that hold sway over other lands, and try to conquer the world!

    Or I could be tired and simply rambling. Who knows??

  4. The only God Sarah Palin worships, is money. She can say whatever, about praying but her only god is Money. That is why she left Alaska in pursue of money. She did not left Alaska because she cares. Her actions are bigger than her words. What Sarah money hungry mama is looking for is to associate herself to the white religious right to keep the disruption and diversion from the real problems at hand. First that the economy is in so bad shape that even those white folks that have never been to tabernacle are now praying for Obama to be dead. Yes they are simply praying for the black president to go away. And they are doing so not because they believe in god but they are doing so because they are limited in their brains. Like Palin they have their own rationale for believing in their white God. What most fanatics can not comprehend is that Sarah Palin is nothing but an opportunist that will say anything to them, that in reality she is looking out for her own interest and that is the national spotlight. I wont be surprised to see the support she is getting from corporate America, the same ones that collapsed the economy. I laugh just imagining how will Sarah represent me, Oh yes I know she will shoot me from a helicopter in the name of prayers.

  5. Beautifully put, as always.
    The Palins of the world will never get it because they only hear half the conversation...and probably only understand a third of that!

  6. If these bible-thumpers want a theocracy so bad, maybe they should move to Iran. I'd love that!

  7. The Founding Fathers were Christians, those that were religious, by default. They all came from Christian countries. To say they founded America on Christian principles means that they investigated and considered deeply and intelligently all the world's religions, which they didn't do, and then decided after that the Christian religion was the one they wanted to bsse the nation on.

    That this is a Christian nation is an ignorant remark. If there is any fear it is the fear of the world view. The United States is one of the truly Internation Countries and the grandest one in the world. What are the crazy Christians afraid of?


  8. Thanks for the shout-out! That 2:1 ratio works for me, but it's not meant to be the Blogger's Commandment. Blogger is non-denominational and totally tolerant of all beliefs and systems of blogma.

    You did such a great job with this post, I have nothing to add except, WHO THE HELL DOES HER HAIR?! It looks like a new take on the old 80's Helmet Head. There's room under there for all kinds, wires and terminals and what-all. Come to think of it, she sounds kind of robotic, too. Weird.

    The whole Colorado Springs/Dobson/Evangelical vortex is scary.

  9. As always, a most excellent piece.. a well thought out and thought-provoking essay. I wish more people would do their homework before sticking their proverbial foot in their mouth (although I suspect that even if those who need to do so, they would still not get it and blindly mouth the words to which they've been brainwashed).

    I agree with your stance completely.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?