Nel's New Day

August 20, 2017

Evangelicals Lack Moral Compass

Four advisory councils for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) disappeared after his support of white supremacists and another never came to fruition. Another one that disappeared today is the panel for the National Climate Assessment that included academics, local officials, and corporate representatives. Two councils, however, are still going strong—one that suppresses votes and another that gives far-right racist Christians power over DDT’s decision. Of the 25 DDT-appointed radical born-again preachers, televangelists and conservative political influencers, only one resigned, showing a bit of the moral compass that the majority of business CEOs did after DDT’s outrageous statements equating people standing for racial justice to the “whites-only” groups. One member had resigned months ago. Those remaining were either silent or strongly supported DDT’s impassioned criticism for those who opposed militant neo-Nazis.

Evangelical supporters of DDT claim the high ground, saying that “the Bible calls us to do as ambassadors of reconciliation, reaching across the aisle, [and] reaching out to other ministers.” This action, however, is not one that they took when Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were presidents. Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s tweet about DDT’s statements described them as being “bold truthful.” Caught up in a backlash, he later tried a spin to say that the “truth” from DDT is that white supremacists “are pure evil and un-American,” but not everyone swallowed his bull.

More bull came from Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, who blamed media misrepresentation, despite the entire press conference broadcast on television. Jeffress also advises war with North Korea. He said, “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.” According to Jeffress, nonviolence is only for “Christians,” not government. He added that a president should “absolutely not” obey the Sermon on the Mount, including helping the poor. Jeffress’ mandates comes from Roman 13, “that gives the government to the authority to do whatever, whether it’s assassination, capital punishment or evil punishment to quell the actions of evildoers like Kim Jong Un.” [Note: Roman 13 refers to people obeying the laws of their own nation, not making DDT the dictator of the world. It also mandates paying taxes.]

Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, tweeted that “corporate America has a greater moral compass” than the Evangelical Council. Only A.R. Bernard (Christian Cultural Center, Brooklyn) formally left the council with the tepid statement “that there was a deepening conflict in values between myself and the administration.” Guardian has a list of the remaining “ultra-conservative religious cheerleaders.”

One of DDT’s evangelical council will extend her responsibilities to the United Nations where she will help all the nations in the world adopt Christianity in preparation for the “End Times.” Michele Bachman’s (above right) “appointment” comes from The Jefferson Gathering, a project from the Skyline Church that came from congressional conservatives gathering with religious right leaders in Statuary Hall to pray for forgiveness for the nation’s sins such as legalized marriage equality. These people believe that God caused 9/11 and the 2012 Benghazi attack in his judgment.

Former students at Liberty University plan to return their diplomas in protest to Falwell’s racist perspective. A group letter states:

“This is incompatible with Liberty University’s stated values, and incompatible with a Christian witness.”

Chris Gaumer, a former student government president at Liberty, called Falwell “complicit” in DDT’s defense of “Nazis and white supremacists.”

The Southern Baptist Church has formally rejected racism but only for the church. All that concerns evangelical church, and others, is collecting everyone into their fold to win their souls. Evangelicals support any politician who furthers their position, despite that person’s character. They use these politicians as a tool to gain their domination. Evangelicals think that God anointed DDT as their president This group of religious leaders has decided that God has placed Trump as POTUS. Because God has put DDT there, they have no right to lift their hands against God’s anointed one; he is their master and they cannot object (1 Sam 24:6). Changing their position about him would destroy the entire belief systems of evangelical leaders and cause them to lose their followers—and income. [Note: Rejecting Clinton would probably not have hurt their belief system.]

From the Guardian:

“It is one of the ‘difficult but primary duties’ of a political leader to speak for a nation in traumatic times. A space shuttle explodes, a school student goes on a shooting spree, a terrorist flies a plane into a building, a hurricane floods a city. When such things happen, Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post, ‘It falls to the president to express something of the nation’s soul.’ Yet if Donald Trump’s words about the violent white extremist mobilisation in Virginia on Saturday – which an under-pressure White House was desperately trying to clarify on Sunday – are an expression of its soul, America may be on the road to perdition….

“There is absolutely no moral equivalence between the fanatical white supremacists who rallied in the Virginia city on Saturday and the equality defenders who demonstrated peacefully against them, one of whom was rammed and killed by a speeding car allegedly driven by a man who had attended the neo-Nazi rally. The supremacists hate black people and Jews, and regard white people as superior. They talk portentously about blood, soil and the right to bear arms. They admire Hitler and give Nazi salutes. They fly the flags of the pro-slavery Confederacy – the ostensible cause of their rallies this summer is Charlottesville’s decision, more than 150 years after the south’s surrender, to remove a statue of Robert E Lee from a park. And one of them committed the sort of act that was rightly called terrorism when it occurred in Nice, Berlin and London.

“Yet, in his first response on Saturday, Mr Trump utterly failed in his primary duty to uphold equality and speak the truth about the racist violence that had taken place. Instead of placing the blame where it belonged, on the supremacists and Klansmen who triggered these events, and rather than stand up for the indivisibility of equality and tolerance before the law, Mr Trump’s words were by turns slippery, banal and morally compromised. It was not true that the violence in Charlottesville came from “many sides”, as Mr Trump evasively said, before repeating his evasion. It is the head of state’s duty to stand up, explicitly and unequivocally, against racists and those who promote racial violence. Mr Trump was found wanting.”

The above was written before DDT’s appalling press conference on Tuesday that lambasted people in opposition to racial injustice. The Guardian continued after that egregious performance:

“In his angry and undignified press conference on Tuesday night, Donald Trump deliberately and shockingly crossed the line that separates the acceptable and the unacceptable in the conduct of an elected democratic leader in a multiracial society. Mr Trump must now face the consequences of this momentous and inexcusable decision. Those consequences should include the way that the leaders of multiracial European nations, including Britain, conduct their dealings with the US president from this moment on….

“Mr Trump’s petulant and narcissistic demeanour made it clear that he is more outraged by criticism and with the American press than he is with his country’s racists and its neo-Nazis. He clearly cannot help himself. But that is no excuse. This is therefore a moment at which America and the world need to display the moral clarity of which the US president is so embarrassingly incapable. There are not “many sides” to the arguments that came to the boil in Charlottesville and since. There is a right side and a wrong side. Racism, antisemitism, white supremacism and Nazism, new or old, are wrong. A leader who cannot bring himself to say this clearly and unequivocally is not just clueless. He also forfeits his claim to moral authority and much of his right to be respected as leader….”

Far-right Christians face another crisis tomorrow—a total solar eclipse across the United States. A 60-mile wide band of total darkness begins on the north-central Oregon coast and continues through 13 more, mostly red, states of the nation.

Evangelicals such as  Pastor Mark Biltz warns  how the event is a sign from God:

“As the sun is larger than the moon, the sun represents the nations of the world and the moon represents the nation of Israel…. When there is a total solar eclipse, it is a warning to a specific nation or nations depending on its path.”

According to Biltz, eclipses recorded in his bible led to war and plague. If DDT stays president, these events may come to be, attacking at least 12 GOP-dominated states.

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October 2, 2016

Trump Needs Evangelical Votes

Filed under: Religion — trp2011 @ 9:10 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Donald Trump has long known that Christian fundamentalists could provide him the path to the presidency. That decision led him to curry the favor of religious right leaders who claimed for a short time that he had become a “born again Christian.” Since then, he is working to destroy the freedom of religion part of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

As Trump does with all his campaigning, he is now going over the edge in trying to woo conservative Christians. At a rally last week, he asked people in the crowd to raise their hands if they aren’t Christians. After a few brave people put their hands in the air, he said, “That’s alright. I think we’ll keep them, right? Shall we keep them in the room? I think so.” Trump’s method of identifying and shaming non-Christians wasn’t a one-time practice. He did it at another rally that day.

Trump may be winning with the evangelicals, but he lacks popularity with Roman Catholics. Hillary Clinton is ahead by 23 points with this demographic group at 55 percent to 32 percent. The last three GOP presidential candidates received over 40 percent of the Catholic vote.

Political scientist Michael J. New wrote in the conservative National Review that Trump lost support because of his attacks on Latino immigrants, considered the future of the Catholic church, and his attacks on Pope Francis. Christopher Hale, the executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, called the Trump-Pence ticket the “most anti-Catholic GOP presidential ticket in modern history.” In addition to Trump’s anti-immigration position, his running mate, Mike Pence, has a strong record of blocking the Catholic Church’s efforts to resettle Syrian refugees in Indiana.

Trump’s ratings with the Mormons are also so low that he could lose Utah, a state that hasn’t voted Democratic since Goldwater’s debacle in 1964. Trump is still seven points ahead of Hillary Clinton, but an independent run by Evan McMullin is gaining momentum. In addition to Trump’s immigration problem, Mormon Mitt Romney is a staunch Never Trumper, and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), whose Mormon pioneer ancestors settled in northern Arizona, refuses to vote for the GOP presidential candidate. Utah’s GOP Sen. Mike Lee has refused to support Trump because of his “religiously intolerant” statements in banning Muslims from the U.S. Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz (a convert to Mormonism at Brigham Young University) told a group of 50 Utah Muslims that Trump’s call to ban Muslims is un-American, immoral, and does not represent “who we are as a people.”

Last May, former Sen. Bob Bennett, dying from a stroke, asked:

“Are there any Muslims in the hospital? I’d love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country and to apologize to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump.”

Utah’s GOP governor, Gary Herbert, declared that Trump lacks “Utah values” because of his “bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics,” as Mitt Romney describes Trump. Herbert pointed out that Trump’s campaign is based almost exclusively on creating “scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants”—something that Mormons have faced all their lives through violence and state-sponsored persecution. Mormonism, like Catholicism, is also dependant on Latinos for its growth. With close to 1,400,000 church members, Mexico is second only to the U.S. as the nation with the largest Mormon population.

Mormons on the political left ask GOP Mormons to pray for anyone except Trump to become president. On the popular Mormon blog By Common Consent, Russell Fox, a political science professor at Friends University, wrote about how Trump, as president, “would apparently be comfortable with trashing the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th amendments.” He stated that it was up to the Mormons to save the country.

Recent polls show that 80 percent of white evangelicals intend to vote for Trump. It’s not because he’s a born-again; it shows how much their desire for political power has overcome their Christian principles. Trump has promised that he will allow non-profit, tax-exempt religious groups to endorse political candidates, destroying the separation of church and state. He has enflamed the religious right by falsely claiming that their religious institutions would lose their tax-exempt status “if they openly advocate their political views.” By spreading this lie, Trump hopes to get the votes of conservative Christians. He is the first presidential zealot who has advocated for overturning the law that was signed by GOP President Eisenhower.

After declaring his campaign, Trump used Christianity as an excuse for his decisions. In refusing to release his tax returns, he claimed that the IRS was persecuting him for his “strong Christian” beliefs. Christian leaders endorsing him had trouble justifying their position about a man who has bragged about his extramarital affairs. When Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson personally endorsed Trump, he said that his conversion had made him “born again.” Trump has never made this claim, and Dobson shifted his statement to saying, “Only the Lord knows the condition of a person’s heart. I can only tell you what I’ve heard.”)

Evangelicals are a fertile field for an authoritarian candidate who praises the anti-LGBT leader of Russia who wants a “Christian civilization.” For example, Bryan Fischer called Vladimir Putin a “lion of Christianity” and called on legislators to eliminate free speech. Others have called Putin “the moral leader of the world” and champion of “traditional marriage and Christian values.” Franklin Graham, son of the great Billy Graham, puts Putin above President Obama and praised Russia’s actions in Syria, called a “holy battle” by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Trump’s other voting base comes from the white supremacy movement that believes in eliminating all except “the right kind of people.” Some of the “wrong kind of people” are non-Christians, including Jews.  The candidate shows himself in accord with these groups such as the Alt-Right led by Jared Taylor. As shown in the Frontline documentary, “The Choice,” Trump’s father taught his son that success is genetic. Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio said:

“The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development. They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”

Like other Trump ideas, this philosophy matches that of Adolf Hitler who murdered over six million people because they lacked the right genes, because they weren’t “the right kind of people.”

A religious conversion may work for Trump if it fits into his business value of fleecing people with his scams. Last summer he selected televangelist Paula White, his “spiritual leader” as his evangelical outreach leader. White has a resurrection seed that will bring the dead back to life—for only $1,144. Russell Moore, leader of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm, called White  a “charlatan” and a “heretic” who preaches a “prosperity gospel” that falsely claims that “God’s favor is seen in increasing wealth and freedom from sickness.” [Below: White and other prosperity preachers lay hands on Donald Trump and pray for him at Trump Tower, from a video made September 2015.]

trump-laying-hands

White’s advice complements Trump’s goal: “Find your passion in life and figure out a way to make money.” Before her divorce from her second husband, Congress investigated them for an abuse of the tax-exempt status of their church. Trump and White are a matched set: religion is a scam for both of them.

June 26, 2016

Marriage Equality Celebrates First Birthday

Happy First Anniversary

One year ago today, the Supreme Court declared marriage equality the law of the land. The last year has not seen an easy transition everywhere.  Chaos continued the day after the Supreme Court ruling:

  • Mississippi said the decision was not “effective immediately”; the state AG said that they were waiting for a lower court ruling.
  • The Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, Roy Moore, said that “the U.S. Supreme Court [has] no legal authority to redefine marriage” and that the decision may be invalid because two of the SCOTUS  justices voting for the majority opinion didn’t recuse themselves.
  • Louisiana AG said that the state would not be issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples because there was no “mandate or order making [the] decision final and effective.”
  • Utah tried to stop the state from issuing any marriage licenses.
  • Texas AG Ken Paxton described the ruling as “a judge-based edict that is not based in the law.” He told clerks that they didn’t have to issue licenses to same-gender couples and judges didn’t have to marry them.
  • The Kentucky governor ordered marriage licenses to be immediately changed to implement the new ruling, but that didn’t stop county clerk Kim Davis to refuse to issue them to same-gender couples. Confusion reigned after the state changed from a Democratic to a Republican governor midway through the process.
  • South Dakota AG Marty Jackley ordered the state to honor the ruling “absent further direction,” but it might take a “reasonable period of time” to implement it.
  • Tennessee legislature attempted to “nullify” the Supreme Court ruling in their state.

Freedom for same-gender couples to marry has stoked the GOP presidential campaigns this year. Current “presumptive” candidate Donald Trump, who brags about how he’s the best candidate for LGBT people, has promised to overturn the Supreme Court ruling. Trump knows that without the evangelical vote, he has no chance of being elected president. His most recent pandering came from a gathering of 1,000 evangelicals where he talked about how much more religious he is than Hillary Clinton.

 “We don’t know anything about Hillary in terms of religion. Now, she’s been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there’s no – there’s nothing out there.”

Trump’s accusation demonstrates that he knows as little about Hillary Clinton as he does about foreign policy, successful business practices, and universities. Clinton has spoken about her Methodist faith many times, including speeches about her views on Christianity and the Bible in Iowa. As a senator, she was also part of a Christian prayer group with several Republicans. Trump’s inaccurate statements match the comments he made about the president’s birth in Kenya and being a Muslim.

At the same meeting, Trump urged people not to pray for their leaders because they are “selling Christianity down the tubes.” Instead they should “pray to get everybody out to vote for one specific person.” This statement comes close to violating federal tax law because tax-exempt places of worship and ministries cannot legally intervene in political elections.

Trump also claims that he’s more Christian than other people. Yet he couldn’t think of a scripture important to him, saying that this is “private.” When asked whether he prefers the New or Old Testament, he said, “Both.” For several weeks, he was ridiculed for saying “Two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians.”

James Dobson is trying to build Trump’s reputation among evangelicals by claiming that he is now a “born again” Christian, but Trump’s new campaign manager, Paul Manafort, refuses to talk about the recent “conversion.”

To prove his evangelical cred, Trump announced his new “executive board convened to provide advisory support to Mr. Trump on those issues important to Evangelicals and other people of faith in America.” At the top of the list is Michele Bachmann; the other 20 on the board are men. This was one week after Trump announced that he was the LGBT community’s new best friend. Those two categories mix together like oil and water. He’s also promised to require department store employees to say “Merry Christmas” and fight restrictions against public employees, such as school coaches, against leading Christian prayers on the field. He has no control over either of these areas, but evangelicals may not know this. Nor can he erase marriage equality unless he gets enough Supreme Court justices to do what he tells them.

clela rorex 1974There are many touching stories about same-gender marriages, but my favorite may be the one about the couple who waited 41 years before their Colorado marriage was declared legal by the federal government. In 1975, a young, relatively new county clerk, Clela Rorex (right), issued a marriage license to Richard Adams and Anthony Sullivan in Colorado after checking with District Attorney Alex Hunter.

 

sullivan adams met in 1971Adams and Sullivan (left) had met four years earlier when Sullivan was traveling around the world. Falling in love, Adams wanted permanent residency for Sullivan, an Australian, so they could stay together.  Colorado had no laws against same-gender marriage, but the state AG declared their marriage invalid. Nearly 40 years later, Rorex insisted that the six licenses she issued to same-gender couples in 1975 are valid despite the continued statements from the state AG that they were not. “We never felt that those licenses were invalidated,” she said. “They were never taken to court or challenged on any validity issues.” The licenses were never rescinded.

Yet the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) denying Sullivan’s appeal in a letter that stated: “You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.” A second letter stated that the green card petition was denied because neither party was able to perform female functions in a marriage. After the 9th Circuit Court refused to hear the couple’s case, they left everything behind and moved to Europe because the U.S. intended to deport Sullivan.

Fed up with living as paupers, they quietly moved to Los Angeles eleven months later, and Sullivan hid. After Adams was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010, their lawyer advised them to go to Washington state and get married there in case the government refused to recognize the 35-year-old Colorado license. The day before they were scheduled to go to Washington in 2012, Adams died at the age of 65.

Tony Sulllivan (right)Adams and Sullivan (right) were the first gay couple to sue the government for recognition of their marriage. After DOMA was overturned, 40,000 binational same-gender couples were eligible for immigration rights. Sullivan kept fighting for recognition of their marriage so that he could receive a green card. After DOMA was struck down two years ago today, it was too late for the couple.

Yet Sullivan sees their story as a victory. “They never managed to separate us,” he said. Their story has been made immortal in the documentary, Limited Partnership: A Love Story That Defined a Movement. Anthony Sullivan received his green card as a widower on April 21, 2016—exactly 41 years after his marriage to Richard Adams. The White House also “asked” the Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to issue a written apology to the couple.

clela 2Clela Rorex was at Out Boulder’s annual garden party to hear the announcement. At 74, Sullivan could not attend. He wrote that it was never about the green card.

“I was after being able to stay with the person I loved. It was quite a journey. Together, we made something of it rather than it just being an aberration in history. The government acknowledged we were right. It meant our lives hadn’t been wasted. We had lives that changed the world.”

Three awards were announced at the Out Boulder event.

  • The Clela Rorex “Allies in Action” award to lawyer Jean Dubofsky, who successfully argued against Colorado’s Amendment 2.
  • The Jack and Jean Hodges “Allies in Action” award to John Hoffman for his work with schools, including sharing his story with students as a “Speaking Out” panel member. Hoffman’s principal had silenced him in the 1990s for telling his students that he was gay.
  • The inaugural “Ignite and Inspire” youth award to Boulder High student Gabriela Bell—member of the Boulder Valley Safe Schools Coalition, president of Boulder High’s Gay Straight Alliance, and member of the Boulder Youth Advisory Board.

We can only hope that with people like this, we can fight the Donald Trumps and have many more anniversaries of marriage equality in the United States.

November 1, 2012

Ryan, As Bad as Romney

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:28 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

The whites are winning over the Native Americans in Montana. Over 30,000 Native American voters live in that state, most of them on reservations, forced to drive as far as 113 miles to vote. In his ruling, a judge refused satellite voting polls on the reservations even though he admits that the Native Americans don’t have equal voting rights. He probably doesn’t want a Democrat senator from Montana. Native Americans in 2006 are largely credited with giving Jon Tester the boost at the polls he needed to narrowly beat out Republican Sen. Conrad Burns by just 3,500 votes out of more than 400,000 cast.

A question to ask the 73 percent of the evangelicals who plan to vote for Romney/Ryan.

Paul Ryan has been so far in hiding that I’ve ignored him during the past couple of months. With Election Day a few days off, however,I dragged out my Ryan folder.

During his 13 years in the House, Ryan has produced only two laws: (1) changed the name of the post office in Janesville (WI); and (2) changed the way arrows used in bow hunting are taxed, removing sales tax on the arrows that cost from $35 to $185 dollars. You may have guessed that Ryan’s hobby is bow hunting. He did have a disastrous tax plan, but it wasn’t his law. 

Soon after he was named the GOP VP candidate, one of his interviews may have caused him to disappear from view. Ryan’s position until he developed Romnesia is that there should be no exceptions for abortion. Perhaps one reason he has this opinion is that he identified rape as “a method of conception.” Raped women probably don’t agree with his wording.

Before his disappearance, he committed several other gaffes.

About his criticism of the  stimulus three years ago: Ryan not only took advantage of this (although he tried to deny this), but he really liked the same proposal when George W. Bush proposed it because it “is to create jobs and help the unemployed.”

About his foreign policy credentials: Ryan said he “voted to send men to war.” About one of his favorite bands: Ryan listed “Rage against the Machine”;  its band leader Tom Morello called Ryan the embodiment of the machine against which the band is raging.

About ENDA: Ryan voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007 but later voted against it because of the language “gender identity.”

About rape:  Ryan co-sponsored legislation with Rep. Todd Akin (R-MI) that would redefine “rape” for the purposes of Medicaid funding just a year before he declared Akin’s comments about “legitimate” rape to be “outrageous.

Ryan hates government help for business and calls the progressives who work to help people a cancer. He claims that “hard-working Americans are what create jobs, not government. What he doesn’t tell people is that his family business, the one he briefly worked for as a “marketing consultant,” was built in large part on government contracts, starting in 1884. Ryan Incorporated Central began with government-subsidized railroad construction, moved into building federal interstate highways, and then helped build O’Hare Airport. The company has had at least 22 defense contracts since 1996, including one worth $5.6 million.

Ryan also voted to keep $40 billion in special subsidies for big oil. Ryan and his wife hold ownership stakes in big oil and benefit from his vote.

Ryan is in another position to help his family, this time his wife. Janna Ryan previously worked as a lobbyist for a “roster of clients [that] included pharmaceutical and insurance clients such as Novartis, Cigna and Blue Cross/Blue Shield,” according to a Reuters profile. Ryan touts a Medicare plan that would expand the role of private insurers by replacing the traditional Medicare plan with a voucher program that seniors could use to purchase private health plans. Janna Ryan was also part of the team that lobbied for UPS to defeat a postal reform bill that would have made the U.S. Postal Service more profitable. During that time Paul Ryan made one of his two corporate-funded trips in 2000 to Atlanta, a trip funded by UPS. 

Ryan’s great attachment to Ayn Rand’s writing gives him confusion about an older document, the Constitution. A year ago, he said, “What makes our Constitution such an extraordinary document is that, in making the United States the freest civilization in history, the Founders guaranteed that it would become the most prosperous as well. The American system of limited government, low taxes, sound money, and the rule of law has done more to help the poor than any other economic system ever designed.”

The original Constitution placed no limits on the amount of federal taxes; the Sixteenth Amendment provided that the United States “shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes.” People decide how much the taxes will be, not the Constitution. The most disturbing aspect of Ryan’s speech, however, is a seemingly innocuous claim that the “the enforcement of contracts” is protected by the “constitutional cornerstone of our free society.” The Constitution had almost nothing to say about contracts between private parties. If the Constitution actually did shield contracts in the way Ryan suggests, nearly all laws protecting workers and consumers would be unconstitutional, the perception of the Supreme Court before the Great Depression. It appears that Ryan wants to drive the country back to those dark days.

 Jonathan Chait wrote last spring in a Ryan profile that nobody, with the possible exception of Grover Norquist, had done more to destroy bipartisan deficit reduction agreements than Paul Ryan. In another article he wrote about Ryan voting against the Bowles-Simpson commission and then destroying another deficit plan. The third time that Ryan stopped a long-term fiscal readjustment was when President Obama and Rep. John Boehner striking a deal far more favorable to the GOP than either Bowles-Simpson or the Senate plan. During negotiations to raise the debt ceiling and keep the country stable, Rep. Eric Cantor, second in control of the House, told the president that Ryan disliked its policy and worried that a deal would pave the way for Mr. Obama’s easy re-election.

Ryan’s connection to Romney goes back to Bain Capital when Ryan’s brother was a consultant for the leverage company. This came to light after both Romney and Ryan were accused of profiting by a possibly shady deal with a marketing company contracted by the state of Massachusetts while Romney was the Massachusetts governor.

The debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan showed some of Ryan’s techniques: The Blame Game where it’s always somebody else’s fault; The Boogeyman Move in which he accuses the opponent of trying scare people; The Denial which says that other people have succeeded in something similar; The Pivot which changes the subject; and Attack which Ryan used for the question, “Don’t you think negative campaigning is bad?” Instead of answering, Ryan simply attacked President Obama.

In one interview, Ryan managed to follow The Pivot with The Blame. Asked if “this country has a gun problem,” Ryan immediately retorted, “This country has a crime problem.” Unfortunately, he slipped up when he used a variety of racist stereotypes: “But the best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities, is to help people get out of poverty in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character.” I guess that’s why crime only happens in poor areas, not in the Aurora (CO) shootings.

Ryan is closer than a heartbeat away from the presidency; some people are saying that he’ll be the Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

August 19, 2012

Changing Bible Lets Unicorns Disappear

A basic tenet of conservative Evangelists and Fundamentalists is that they must accept every single word of their bible in its literal meaning. Their perspective of the “word of God” comes from this one source that was believed to be the legal code for the ancient nation of Israel covered in the first five books of the Old Testament, which even describes the punishment for knocking out a slave’s tooth.

People who believe in the literalness of the bible don’t know what is in their bible because they don’t study it; they just listen to the man who gives the sermon in church. Or they just think that part of it is out of date, for example the pieces about killing women adulterers and keeping slaves and wearing clothing of mixed fiber and on and on.

Yet there’s nothing in Catholic and Evangelical bibles against marriage equality—indeed the bible says nothing about legal marriage. The bible also doesn’t object to abortion; it doesn’t mention it. Some people say that abortion is murder, but the bible says nothing about a fetus being a person and hasn’t been considered that until modern times.

And the bible doesn’t support the Republicans’ belief in “personhood,” the current conservative position that an egg has constitutional rights from the first second of its fertilization. The only ruling that discusses fetuses concerns the miscarriage of a fetus when the woman is struck by a man other than her husband during a fight. In that case, if there is no lasting injury, the man makes the payment that the court determines. Otherwise society settles the damages, probably killing the man who caused the miscarriage.

“If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” (Exodus 21:22-24)

The penalty in the second case is death, one which no current law in this country requires. The Old Testament does not give personhood to fetuses.

But the bible does have quite a bit to say about unicorns.

Psalm 92:10 “You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox…. But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”

Job 39:9 “Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Will the unicorn be willing to serve you, or abide by your crib?”

Job 39:10 “Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness? Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? Or will he harrow the valleys after thee? Can you bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow?”

Numbers 24:8 “God brought them out of Egypt…. God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bone.”

Numbers 23:22 “God brought them out of Egypt…. God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. God brought them out of Egypt; he has as it were the strength of an unicorn.” [The bible can be a bit repetitive!]

Psalm 29:6 “He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young…. He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.”

Deuteronomy 33:17 “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

Psalms 22:21 “Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”

Isaiah 34:7 “And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.”

The use of the word “unicorn” disappeared after the King James Version of the bible. Since then, bible “scholars” have claimed that the unicorn may have existed and become extinct. Another rationale for the use of the word is that the meaning has changed throughout the past two centuries.

Why, if there is more about unicorns in the bible than fetuses, do Fundamentalists support the belief of personhood? Lynn Beisner explains that the development of the Christian Right caused a mutual support between the Evangelicals and the Catholic Church. Because the Pope is against abortion, Catholics oppose this practice despite the lack of evidence in their bible. Evangelicals needed to maintain their dominance through an unfettered capitalist market in opposition to Catholic beliefs about the importance of economic and social justice. In the bargain between two powerful religious groups, Evangelicals took an anti-abortion stance, and Catholic male leadership took on the importance of a destructive capitalism.

Now extreme religious groups have support from the the great infusion of money from corporations who donate to campaigns of legislators who will destroy regulations and give the wealthy more and more tax advantages. The result of this coordination between the wealthy and the religious is to turn the United States into a theocracy.

Some Catholics and Fundamentalists are beginning to oppose their church’s positions. Some Catholics, including the American nuns, are protesting the Catholic position that ignores the needs of poor people and denies rights to human beings. At the same time, young Evangelicals are beginning to question their religion’s anti-LGBT position.

People who support formal Christian religions need to protest both sides of the Catholic and Evangelical power structure—LGBT people should have legal rights, women should have control over their bodies, and everyone should have a safety net. More Fundamentalists and Catholics need to move ahead in their religious beliefs and not wait for the religious leadership that won’t accept the changes in their bible over time.

No more unicorns? Let’s also give women their freedom, accept love between two people of the same sex, and allow the government to help people on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

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