Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stand up for the Separation of Church and State

The ignorance of Christine O'Donnell has sparked what now amounts to a shameful, ridiculous national debate on the Separation of Church and State.

In recent months religious conservatives have begun challenging the concept of Separation of Church and State, and even arguing that the US is a “fundamentally Christian nation,” despite over 200 years of jurisprudence and social discourse to the contrary. Its true- the vast majority of people in the US have been Christians, but it is NOT true that religion does, or is supposed to, play a role in our government.

It is really disingenuous to suggest this is an ongoing debate, and not the product of recent political movements. People trying hard to reverse the separation of church and state like to trick you into
thinking this way, but they'd have a LOT of books to burn to hide the
truth. Making it an issue by choice and denying the truth in no way
makes the mountain of evidence go away. The framers wanted religion to play no part in the government. The Framers in EVERY WAY, shape and form thought that there ought to be a
secular government. What they envisioned and brought to fruition
was a secular government where regardless of an individual's faith,
the government would respect all people's rights without special regard to any

People who make such arguments are just winding us up and wasting everyone's time. They know perfectly well they're in the wrong. The phrase "separation of church and state" doesn't "appear" in the Constitution because the government wasn't made yet. It's a CONCEPT. In exactly the same way "freedom of the press" doesn't appear in the Constitution- it’s a CONCEPT created by the living document of the Constitution itself. We have these definitions TODAY because we've spent the last 200+ years defining what the First Amendment means. The argument that the "Separation of Church and state doesn't exist" in the Constitution is like saying there is no right to "privacy."

From Wikipedia: ( )
-The Constitution does not specifically mention "a right to privacy." However, Supreme Court decisions over the years have established that the right to privacy is a basic human right, and as such is protected by virtue of the 9th Amendment. In addition, it is said that a right to privacy is inherent in many of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, such as the 3rd, the 4th's search and seizure limits, and the 5th's self-incrimination limit.-

The Constitution is a living document, which has been created and changed over time, and it’s constantly (and still) evolving. This also means it can be damaged, messed up, or even destroyed if the wrong people are allowed to mess with it. We must be vigilant. Stand up for the freedoms we have. Speak out against those who twist words, reality, and weak minds into thinking there isn’t (or ought not to be) a separation of church and state. Be aware that people who make this kind of argument are counting on people’s ignorance and YOUR silence, to make it easier for them to get their way. Don’t let them screw you, and all of us. Speak out. Be heard. Don’t let a lie go unchallenged.

One may make arguments against the Separation of Church and State (and privacy, for that matter), but unless you're willing to give up your rights to free speech, privacy, bear arms, practice (or not) your own religion, please stop bastardizing and disparaging our Constitution. Read it, learn how it was made, evolved over time, and get on the same page as the rest of us in the 21st Century. This is not a debatable issue amongst the literate. I'm fine with debating morons regarding new issues that have cropped up in recent politics. I’m fine with having to ask them to apply common sense, common morals, or the simple concept of justice of a six year old to current political events and issues- some people need the help. But if I have to go back 200 years to debate stuff decided long ago, accepted, and now taken for granted by EVERYONE, and in fact emulated by foreign countries as a paradigm for the development of their own laws, then you're beyond my help, and I won't waste any more time with you. Go back to middle school. People who need to pretend the US doesn’t have a Separation of Church and State are in serious need of education, morals, punishment, or ostracism.

Get out of my country if you can't support the Constitution that protects you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An observation

A Non-believer feels that we live live in an arbitrary and capricious universe devoid of higher meaning, justifying this view point by the fact that our universe lives by definite and incontrovertible laws. A Believer on the other hand feels that there is a higher meaning to our universe, and justifies this view point by believing that the universe is governed by an arbitrary and capricious deity that defies reason, or any kind of logical consistency.

Not sure that anything profound can be derived from this observation, but I find i an interesting study in contrasts and contradictions.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Money is NOT Free Speech!

Look at all the FauxNews followers, parroting the charlatans of the right, saying the Supreme Court's decision to overturn 100 years of campaign finance law is a victory for the First Amendment. Never mind that the Amendment is supposed to protect PEOPLE. Never mind that Big Businesses certainly AREN'T motivated by the same desires as the vast majority of Americans. Never mind that all the members of said corporations have the same right to free speech as the rest of us. Never MIND that the Repugnican party itself spent the last... 20 years? Fighting against what they call "judicial activism" but now find this ruling acceptable. here's a quote from the RNC's 2008 platform:

"Judicial activism is a grave threat to the rule of law because unaccountable federal judges are usurping democracy, ignoring the Constitution and its separation of powers, and imposing their personal opinions upon the public. This must stop."

After the story broke, Disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was immediately out shoveling the ridiculous argument that the ruling "leveled the playing field" for the middle class, because now anyone could get funding from any corporation to get elected. As if those people won't be beholden to such corporations. As if we didn't ALREADY have enough special interest money tainting our democracy.

Think of all the idiots right now trumpeting this as a way to reduce the power of special interests, when in fact, it frees them up completely.

In an opposing interview, former Common Cause President and current Democracy 21 President Fred Werthheimer pointed out:

"The Court reversed decisions from 1990, 2003, and 2007 without any changed circumstances to justify their abrupt reversals. The only change we've had is in the makeup of the court. And the Supreme Court is not supposed to issue deciisons based on who happens to be on the Supreme Court for the moment." [bold script is mine]

From the Common Cause Website:
"The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision today that will enhance the ability of the deepest-pocketed special interests to influence elections and the U.S. Congress, said a pair of leading national campaign finance reform organizations, Common Cause and Public Campaign. The decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, which overturned the ban on independent expenditures by corporations, paves the way for unlimited corporate and union spending in elections."

And from teh Democracy 21 Website:
"Today's decision turns back the clock to the nineteenth century, eliminating a  national policy to prevent the use of corporate wealth to corrupt government decisions - a policy that has been in existence for more than a century.

Members of Congress have passed and Presidents have signed numerous laws over the years to prevent "influence-buying" corruption of our government. These laws have consistently been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Today, five Justices issued a decision that will empower "influence-buying" corruption.

In the name of the Constitution, five Justices have substituted their pro-corporate policy views for the anti-corruption policy views of the representatives elected by citizens to establish our national policies under our constitutional system of government.

This decision will have a devastating impact on the ability of citizens to believe that their government is acting on their behalf, instead of advancing the interests of the nation's corporations at their expense. "

Fundamentally, in a government of the people- let's call it a democracy or a republic, all the people have a voice. Even the owners and stockholders of big businesses.  But now, unless you have $5 or $10 to burn in every future election to make your voice heard, you won't have a voice at all.

My proposal? In the same way some feel we can "define marriage as a union between a man and a woman," so we should also "define political entity as those persons in possession of a birth certificate,

• An original U.S. birth certificate,
• An certification of birth issued by the Department of State,
• A U.S. hospital record of birth made at the time of birth,
• Institutional admission papers from a nursing home, skilled nursing care facility or other

We need to get started people. It really is a serious blow to our freedoms...

Read more at:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Rude Pundit

The Rude Pundit
also covers the same territory, in his indomitable style.

America in Decline

The last great thing this country did, the pinnacle of American Achievement, was to put a human on the moon. That happened shortly after Nixon took office, and coasting on the inertia of Kennedy's vow at the beginning of the decade. Since Nixon took office this country has lurched rightward. Since the Conservatives took control of the narrative, declaring that we are a fundamentally right wing conservative nation, the United States has been in decline. We have not even had the will to rebuild on the World Trade Center site. Reactionary conservatism has ground this nation to a halt.

Now I speak of progressive values rather then liberal ones. We were always the forward looking nation. If we didn't always live up to our ideals (see: slavery) we believed that we could sort out our problems eventurally.

Since the reactionary take over of the discourse, we are told that everything is perfect now, nothing should ever change. Things were better in the hazy past when White Males controlled the government and minorities knew their place. Both parties have embraced this, and having ideals, having a desire to make things better gets you labeled a 'Marxist' or a 'fascist' by people who haven't the foggiest idea of what either term means (see: Glenn Beck)

When the Republicans took control of congress in 1994, Democrats took that as a signal that the only way they could be elected is to "govern from the center" (i.e. take a rightward shift), and this has been the operating mentality of the party ever since.

There is a place for conservatism in governance, but they should never, ever be allowed to run things. The job of the conservative faction is to slow down progress to a manageable level (progressives do have a tendency to get carried away with enthusiasm (see: The French Revolution)), but never ever be allowed to have enough power, as they have since 1968, to control things. As we have seen, the country has ground to a halt, immobilized by inertia, allergic to new ideas, and grinding into stagnation.