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Posts Tagged ‘McCain’

Flip-flops are still in season.

Posted by JD on July 25, 2008

I don’t usually talk about politics. I’m not a member of any particular party and I don’t like labeling myself as anything. I find American politics have been an increasing barrage of mud-slinging and emotional pandering the older I get. I find very little true courage or truth in politics in general and think the leading (read: financially and sociably viable) candidates are becoming more homogenized in an effort to draw as many votes as possible.

And, of course, I don’t like the religious pandering one bit from any party.

I also hate how one party in particular will spin the same message over and over until it seems true, whether there is any merit to the message and its allegations or not. If you don’t know what party I am talking about, then you haven’t been paying attention to the right things for the past 25 years.

In a recent video, McCain has been flip-flopping his stance on our current economic slump (or disaster, depending on how you look at it) in talking about what he and his campaign believes to be some of the root causes of our economic problems. He denies saying he believes our fiscal problems are psychological. Well, this video eloquently shows how he flip-flops his answers and then it shows how he and the right-wing pundit machine have driven our “psychological” economics problems in their news:

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Oil Prices, Climate Change, Objective Morality, and Evangelicals.

Posted by Andy D. on June 24, 2008

It certainly feels like fate when all of above have woven themselves together in my mind recently. That is how our pattern seeking minds work. I will talk more on personal relationships next week. I want to get these ideas into our zeitgeist while they are fresh.

Let’s start with crazy stuff. I shit you not. This appeared in the Journal Gazette:

Evangelicals question global warming
A coalition of conservative evangelical leaders wants to enlist 1 million Christians to sign a statement questioning whether human-caused global warming is a real threat and arguing that restrictive environmental policies harm poor people.
The “We Get It!” campaign is the latest development in an ongoing disagreement among evangelicals about climate change.The campaign’s materials argue that “recent, slight warming” is an unproven threat that could lead to restrictions in energy use and drive up the cost of energy and food for the world’s poor.

Can someone tell me what evangelicalism has to do with science? If some of those evangelical leaders are scientists or are economists, then they might have something helpful to contribute; clearly, they do not get it! If they have scientists then speak the science and not under the label evangelical and be open for criticism. Reality and evangelicals do not mix considering their hatred of biology, cosmology, geology and other sciences. Ironically, they will even enjoy the benefits of these sciences such as medical care and then credit God afterwards. These people may destroy the planet and it would be a big joke if it were not so common. The driving forces of this movement are the conservative think tanks. 90% of all books against the science of climate change have roots in conservative think tanks. (This reminds me of a bizarro world in which gay scientists isolate the Christian gene).

The topic of this weeks Enlightenment show is about ethics and morality. Ethics are derived from biological anthropology such as reciprocal altruism in animals. The Golden Rule and empathy are selected for and not against in evolution. Plus, we can overcome our urge to reproduce (selfish genes) and seek other pursuits such as learning and love. Stay tuned for more on that subject and watch the website for the show.

Apologists say non-theists have no objective moral code. Where do they pick and choose to follow the good bits of the Bible but ignore the nasty bits? (Is that still objective absolutism? There are Christians that are on both sides of abortion, capital punishment, homosexual marriage, embryonic stem cell research, etc).

Religion completely destroys any sense of objective morality. It gets the whole thing upside down. Look at the climate change mentality above. A naturalistic cosmic worldview sees the planet as an entire complicated ecosystem (Biosphere) and how vulnerable it is for us. (The planet will be fine without us). Religion says the entire universe was built for us. Can they be any more arrogant? Plus, all humans are wicked and sex is ugly. Yet, we are made like God. Come on, who designs a sewage system in the reproductive playground? Religions scapegoat their sins. Is that moral? Don’t get me started on the horrors of lying to kids about dinosaurs being on Noah’s Ark and calling that science and building a museum to ignorance tax-free.

This is exactly what Bill Cooke described about the lack of morality in religion in this very good debate with Wiliam Lane Craig. (Thanks to Debunking Christianity for the link and you will have to go to u-tube for the whole thing).

Back to global burning, I was listening to WOWO because I like to listen to them say silly things around lunchtime. Rush Limbaugh was going on and on about letting us drill on our coastline. I thought for once, we were going to let the market fix our problems like they preach so well. (I am a fan of Adam Smith) Yet, here is the right wing thinking short term by saying let’s just drill here in our coastlines. That is one way to handle it, but only short term. With oil being expensive we will have to change our ways, infrastructure and increase demand from alternative energy sources. That is good for the planet and good for energy independence. Isn’t that the market forces with that supply and demand stuff? This happened before in 1979 and 1983 with our power plants getting away from oil. However, OPEC now has demand from China and India so they do not have to respond to the US. I thought higher energy independence and climate changed were linked. Here is a very good article from The Economist saying that the two are now being separated politically. The right wing wants to reduce foreign dependence but doesn’t pay any attention to climate change. This explains Rush and the we get it campaign from above. Morality and good stewardship is thrown away by not paying attention to the total economic cost including the environment and only the nominal gain.

Let’s embrace this market change for both energy prices and environment. The right wing seems to count out American ingenuity and innovation. Even McCain said we should be thinking nuclear. I agree. (Richard Carrier just wrote a cool blog on McCain’s u-tube problem). Science and Technology are more important than ever and businesses are already thinking green and the trend will continue.

Here is an interesting take on oil prices and it really isn’t so bad. Green that isn’t economical such as biofuels is not the way to go until the scientists figure out a way to make it viable. It is driving up costs for no environmental or economical reasons currently. By the market keeping oil prices up compared to “normal”, we will see more R&D work done on alternatives, and decrease demand. Both are good for the environment and energy independence but apparently we have to fight for this.

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Unfortunately I get a chance to title my post, Pastor Disaster*

Posted by Skeptigator on May 30, 2008

You know how you tell your kids, “Don’t do that or it will hurt” and then they do it… and it hurts. Please read as much I-told-you-so as possible.

If you haven’t heard, another pastor has taken the pulpit at Obama’s church and mocked Senator Clinton by pretending to cry and bemoan the fact that “there’s a black man stealing [her] show” because she feels entitled as a white woman to be President. I assume God told Pfleger what Hillary Clinton thinks and now wonder why God would tell him something like that. Isn’t there some kind of doctor-patient privilege that God broke here.

Don’t believe me, well… Bam! Check it out.

Here’s one of the better quotes from the Washington Times link,

But by delivering his remarks, Father Pfleger seems to have officially submitted his entry to the What Else Can We At Trinity Do to Further Assure that the United States Does Not Have Its First African-American President Any Time Soon? video competition. And this application has “Finalist” marked all over it.

I know this post may come across as the big, bad atheist gloating over his superior Rightness but you’ll just have to trust me that this is not my intention. My intention, with a little bit of humor, is to continue to bring to light those actions and consequences that come when Politics and Religion get in each other’s business. I just blogged about this, McCain rejects Hagee endorsement, and here we are talking about it again.

I’ve been asked why I attack other people’s Personal Faith. Please note that this comes about due to one of two reasons, I let someone know I’m an atheist and then I get that question, which implies that my very existence is an attack. The second scenario takes place when I actually question someone’s religious statements or disagree with them in some way. The second scenario is more legitimate and I’m sure I’m actually guilty of outright attacks but I really do try to limit any “attacking” that I do to when someone makes a religious statement that intrudes into secular government, public policy, personal freedoms and/or they are flat-out lies.

So by bringing this Pfleger guy into the conversation am I attacking someone’s Faith? I actually like to think in some small way I am actually defending people’s Personal Faith by calling out these hacks who use the pulpit for political purposes. I suppose I have to ask the question, “Is it your Personal Faith and/or Relationship with God that mocks Hillary Clinton?” Because last time I checked those aren’t statements of Faith, that is mockery, arrogance, divisiveness and, in general, assbaggery.

In 1994, the Gingrich-led Republican Revolution took control of both houses of the Congress. That effort led to the Contract with America. You can disagree with the politics but the process was sound. Unfortunately many of those incoming freshmen took the opportunity to extend that Contract beyond it’s original intent. 15 years have passed and now both parties have gone so far down the rabbit hole in pandering to the Religious Right that they have forgotten the Original Contract with America that our Founding Fathers made. That original contract said if you keep your religion out of the People’s government, the People’s government will keep out of your religion. Your Personal Faith is part of your natural rights and that our government has no business regulating such matters.

Events like these remind us of the penalties as People, Candidates and Nations that we must pay when we willfully break that Original Contract. Our government and your faith are both damaged by these events.

* Apologies to whomever came up with the term Pastor Disaster and a tip o’ the hat to agnohumanist for bringing it to my attention.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

McCain rejects Hagee endorsement

Posted by Skeptigator on May 23, 2008

So let me see if I can get this straight,

McCain & Hagee;

Catholic Church = The Whore of Babylon, McCain has no problem with that.

God-created Holocaust = Bring my people home, McCain has a problem with that

Obama & Wright;

Racially-divisive rhetoric = Black preacher’s message; Obama ok with it since he “didn’t hear it himself”.

AIDS = U.S. government conspiracy to kill blacks; Obama “sees that one” and denounces him.

Clinton & no ties to any discernible religious figure;

*crickets* (or some tenuous and odd connections to The Family)

Politics and Religion

My question is this, Isn’t the mere association with religious figures a risky behavior? Doesn’t the volatile nature of merely being associated or endorsed by a particular religious figure illustrate how divisive religion and politics can be?

Does the U.S. benefit, or more generally does religious freedom benefit, from the mixing of politics and religion in this way? How much damage is done to a candidate like Obama when he has to spend time discussing his pastors social/political/religious views? Here’s an interesting question, when Rev. Wright takes the pulpit and says (from the Rolling Stone article),

“Fact number one: We’ve got more black men in prison than there are in college,” he intones. “Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run!” There is thumping applause; Wright has a cadence and power that make Obama sound like John Kerry. Now the reverend begins to preach. “We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional KILLERS. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. . . . We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. . . . We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means!” The crowd whoops and amens as Wright builds to his climax: “And. And. And! GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS SHIT!”

Which part of this sermon is political and which part is religious??? Is it a problem that you can’t tell?

To further illustrate the problems inherent (not specific to this instance but actually inherent) in the mixing of politics and religion is the influence that religious belief has on political decisions. Imagine for a moment that you are a dispensationalist, someone who believes that the return of the Jews to Israel is a precursor for the return of Christ. Imagine that as someone who is obsessed with “end-times” prophecy and actually bringing about Armaggedon you have the ear of the President of the United States of America. (video here, transcript here). For those who don’t know you were just imagining John Hagee.

In case you are wondering why McCain would disavow Hagee (and didn’t read the link above) he said the following,

He goes on: “Theodore Hertzel is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew who at the turn of the 19th century said, this land is our land, God wants us to live there. So he went to the Jews of Europe and said ‘I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel.’ So few went that Hertzel went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the holocaust.

“Then god sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says — Jeremiah writing — ‘They shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the holes of the rocks,’ meaning there’s no place to hide. And that might be offensive to some people but don’t let your heart be offended. I didn’t write it, Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.

Perhaps the most disturbing part (you know, besides the obvious offensiveness of it) is that Hagee believes that his omnibenevolent God actively sought the murder of 6 million Jews that He (God) knows will go to hell because they rejected Christ. To those Christians out there, Is that your God? Is this the man you want whispering in the President’s ear?

Bottom Line

Many people have made the statement on TV, to me personally and to some extent I say the same thing. Should the candidates religious belief even matter? Why not evaluate them on their records and what they say? I wish I could and here’s the important part, I cannot only evaluate them in a religiously neutral manner because they won’t let me. That’s right. The candidates themselves have made their religious views a major point of their platform. If it is that important to them in their bids for the presidency you can be assured that it will influence their decisions in the White House.

I am obviously biased (aren’t we all) but I believe that the Founding Fathers of this country hit upon an amazing concept. That the greatest way to protect the Freedom OF Religion was to guarantee that our government was Free FROM Religion.

Posted in Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »