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Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Congratulations, America…

Posted by Andy Welfle on November 5, 2008


We’re taking a step in the right correct direction. Now, with a left-leaning house, a left-leaning Senate, and a left-leaning President, maybe those who are different from the midde-class, white, heterosexual Christians will get a chance to shine, or even live their life the way they want to.

We still have a long way to go. As of 10:30 AM on November 5th, CNN is predicting that California’s Proposition 8 will be passed (It’s 52% to 48% with 95% precints reporting), effectively taking away the already exisiting rights of same-sex couples to get married. As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, Californians have already had the chance to see same-sex marriages, and this didn’t affect the general population adversely in any way, but they’re still going to yank it out from underneath them. The same goes for Arizona’s Proposition 102 and Florida’s Amendment 2, denying same-sex couples any legal recognition of their relationships. Likewise, shame on you, Arkansas, for denying gay couples the right to adopt a child.

So celebrate our new president, celebrate the fact that Indiana seems to have gone blue, but then throw away the champagne bottles and realize that we have a lot of work to do to ensure that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


Posted in Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

United they Stand in Fear

Posted by dystressed on November 3, 2008

Blogger/Journalist Rex Wockner chronicles “The Call” in San Diego, a religious rally to get people to vote yes on California’s Proposition 8. Proposition 8 will re-ban gay marriage in California by amending the state’s constitution.

Wockner is gay, and a former religious person himself. He likens his attendance at the event to a Jew taking a look at a concentration camp.

If I hadn’t once upon a time been a Catholic seminarian and hadn’t emerged from those days with near certainty that all this God/Jesus stuff is pure myth and mass delusion, it could have been dangerous to be there. It would have been dangerous for any gay person struggling with internalized homophobia or religious guilt, I think.

The proposition 8’s supporters feel that children will be forced to be indoctrinated into thinking gay is okay. The most damning (pun intended) thing about this event is that they don’t have any real evidence that gay marriage will ruin anything. They just drive everyone to think the way they do because they want everyone to be scared. It’s the same tactic religion has used for millennia to force people to believe in something that isn’t real.

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

I need to declare a media moratorium…

Posted by Andy Welfle on October 24, 2008

…Because if I don’t, I sometimes accidentally see lackwits like this woman:

After I watched it, I really, really hoped it was some kind of parody. This idiot woman was so santimonious, so stupid, so unwilling to take any sort of personal responsibility for her actions, that she would judge her husband for voting for someone whose politics would benefit his livelihood — and hers, too.

This is the kind of person I was talking about earlier. She gave this little shudder when she talked about how Obama’s mother was an atheist, equating it in her small mind to Satanism or pedophilia. I bet she has a closet full of Chick Tracts.

I’ve been becoming increasingly stressed out, and I think that it is because I’ve been following this election and watching the media more than ever before. And when I do that, I’m exposed to this kind of thinking. It makes me lose hope for any chance this country will adopt any sort of enlightened thinking, and I realize that my cause and the cause of this organization can never succeed unless we can find a way to counter irrational thinking like this. And how can rational thinking trump the irrational?

Sorry about the rant. Can anyone here talk me down, á la Rachel Maddow? Sound off in the comments.

Posted in Humor, Politics, Video | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Eddie Tabash on the U.S. Presidential election, and secular values voters

Posted by neuralgourmet on October 20, 2008

American Constitutional and Civil Rights Lawyer

American Constitutional and Civil Rights Lawyer

If you missed CFI’s Point of Inquiry podcast this week, you missed a great talk with Eddie Tabash. Eddie Tabash is a constitutional and civil rights lawyer, as well as chair of Americans United For Separation of Church and State‘s National Legal Committee (a position he has held for over a decade). In this podcast, DJ Grothe talks with Eddie about:

“…issues valued by secularists and why they hang in the balance in this U.S. Presidential Election.  He talks about gay marriage and abortion, and how both of these rights depend on a government neutrality in matters of religion. He details ways that pseudoscience and junk science are used to advance religiously derived public policy arguments against gay marriage and abortion. And he talks about global warming skepticism, and the need for scientific integrity in public policy. He emphasizes how the next U.S. President will reshape the Supreme Court, and what that portends for science and secular values. He also explains his role in gay rights victory with the Supreme Court of California earlier in 2008, and why he opposes Proposition 8, a proposed ballot measure in California that would amend the State Constitution to deny marriage rights to homosexuals.”

I had the good fortune of meeting and listening to Eddie Tabash last year at AU’s national meeting. He is truly a singular individual. The whole show is just 30 minutes long, so if you’ve never heard Eddie Tabash before, you should take this small chunk of time to do so now. Download the MP3 here.

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

Soldiers of Conscience

Posted by dystressed on October 19, 2008

[Author’s note: I debated this topic quite a bit with myself before writing this. I want to remind readers that this post reflects my personal beliefs, not necessarily those of anyone else associated with FreeThought Fort Wayne.]

Please understand that first of all, I support the troops who are serving now and in the past. I don’t agree with the principle of preemptive war, but I was convinced along with the rest of America of the need for it in Iraq. With the revelations about Iraq having no WMDs or a link to Al Queda, and the new politics of the current election, I have been trying to examine some of the aspects of this war and the military overall.

POV on PBS is a documentary film series. This week’s film entitled “Soldiers of Conscience” is all about the factors of why and how people rationalize killing in war. You can watch the video online here until October 23. The filmmakers focus on 4 concientious objectors (COs), one of whom was denied status and court martialed for dessertion.

In making the film the directors started with the thesis that during World War II, only 25 percent of soldiers in combat could fire their weapons at the enemy. This was actually a study commissioned by the military, which launched what a West Point professor calls “reflexive” weapons training. In this practice, soldiers are programmed to kill as a matter of instinct. Fast forward a few years and this new training brings the level of soldiers willing to fire a weapon and kill to around 90 percent in the days of the Vietnam War.

As a freethinker, I am non-religious, but I am also firm in my conviction that killing people is wrong. I am also skeptical of this military program that teaches soldiers to kill as a reflex, an instinct. If we have to teach people to kill, even to save their own lives, should we really be fighting in the first place? I understand the reasons for fighting, and I am eternally grateful for the chance to breathe free, but the methods of our military training seem suspect.

Posted in FreeThought, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Anybody else watching the Vice Presidential debate tonight?

Posted by JD on October 2, 2008

I’ve actually been looking forward to watching the Vice Presidential debate tonight.  I only know Palin from some of the articles I have read and haven’t had the opportunity to see her live.

So far, the main thing that has captured my attention is the disperity in education between both party’s candidates.  I don’t base everything on education.  That would be short-sighted; however, I find it a good starting point when considering these are candidates for two of the most important jobs in the world:

Barack Obama

Columbia University: BA political science

Harvard:  Juris Doctor magna cum laude

Joe Biden

University of Delaware: BA history BA political science

Syracuse University College of Law:  Juris Doctor

John McCain

Unites States Naval Academy (class rank of 894 out of 899)

Sarah Palin

Hawaii Pacific University (1 semester)

North Idaho College (2 semesters)

University of Idaho: journalism (2 semesters)

Matanuska-Susitna College (1 semester)

University of Idaho:  BA journalism

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Science and the future of the free World

Posted by dystressed on September 17, 2008

BBC had an opinion piece regarding the importance of science in politics.

Posted in Science | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Irreconcilable differences?

Posted by JD on September 12, 2008

Earlier I read an interesting article from called What Makes People Vote Republican? The author had a few good points along with some things that I either didn’t agree with, or would like to elaborate on, so I figured I’d break it down here and add my thoughts as you read along.  It’s a little lengthy, but well worth the invested brain cells and slight headache you will probably incur from the cerebral jumping jacks you will have to complete:

What makes people vote Republican?

What makes people vote Republican? Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies? We psychologists have been examining the origins of ideology ever since Hitler sent us Germany’s best psychologists, and we long ago reported that strict parenting and a variety of personal insecurities work together to turn people against liberalism, diversity, and progress. But now that we can map the brains, genes, and unconscious attitudes of conservatives, we have refined our diagnosis: conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death. People vote Republican because Republicans offer “moral clarity”—a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world.

So far so good.  Although I hate using sweeping overgeneralizations.  I also don’t believe the current Democratic party is as reasonable or free-thinking as we are led to believe.  Modern Republicans lean so far to the right of the political spectrum that Democrats have unwittingly slid right as well in an attempt to remain relevant in the eyes of mainstream religious conservatives.  Because of this, Democrats are at best moderate in general, and true liberals are now seen as extreme leftists.

Diagnosis is a pleasure. It is a thrill to solve a mystery from scattered clues, and it is empowering to know what makes others tick. In the psychological community, where almost all of us are politically liberal, our diagnosis of conservatism gives us the additional pleasure of shared righteous anger. We can explain how Republicans exploit frames, phrases, and fears to trick Americans into supporting policies (such as the “war on terror” and repeal of the “death tax”) that damage the national interest for partisan advantage.

Perhaps I seem more cold and calculated than your average Joe, but, the personal pleasures of the author’s profession aside, I see little pleasure in figuring out the bigger picture concerning Republicans and religious conservatives.  It is agonizing to me to see so many people unwittingly dedicating their lives to hollow, empty and detrimental pursuits that they believe are in the best interests of themselves and everyone around them.  I’ve also no need of righteousness, shared or not.  It is the most useless of emotions as far as I am concerned.  I actually consider myself a very emotionally deep person.  I love to live life and experience every range of emotions, even if this means having to know the horrid with the euphoric.

Please click through to read the rest below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

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 »

Battle Hymn of the Republicans

Posted by dystressed on July 7, 2008

I visited a megachurch today, it’s a long story.

The theme was celebrating America. There was more red white and blue bunting than a national political convention. This had me worried. 

Patriotism has been coopted by the right, but if you take a skeptical look at the country, we have done some horrible things in the name of manifest destiny. This is more of a conversation starter than a well-thought-out essay, but I just wanted to get some ideas on what the group here feels about patriotism, jingoism, ‘sea to shining sea’ and so forth. 

Please leave your comments below.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »