Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Worst host on the worst channel. That takes some effort.
House Speaker Rep. John Boehner has balls of titanium steel, I’ll give him that. In the following speech, he has the gall to say that he and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have “worked” closely together for eight years. If by “worked” he means grousing around Capitol Hill, crying over spilled milk that their party is not in the White House and admitting that they would rather undermine the president at every turn rather than trying to make the most out of the situation for the betterment of the nation and his own constituents, he would be accurate:
He then kissed McConnell’s ass and in Boehner’s tried and true fashion, proceeded to speak for “the people,” even though he and McConnell’s inaction the last eight years have been all about them and their party and nothing whatsoever to do with the will of the nation, all the while pretending to be willing to compromise and work across the aisle. Funny how since Boehner and McConnell now have a majority in both houses, they’re now talking about action. The obscurantism is so thick that you would think that the American public would see through the charade, but after Tuesday, clearly not.
The people who vote these sophists into office deserve the government that they get.
For all its tireless bluster, FOX News is, for all intent and purposes, wasting its time and energy trying to chastise the president or somehow influence policy. Why? Because President Barack Obama isn’t watching cable news, and that includes CNN and MSNBC. Any president worth his wait in salt wouldn’t be influenced by the media anyway, but for all of Obama’s inadequacies at this point, namely his hawkish drone program and his thus far failed promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, we can at least take heart in the fact that we have a president who still consumes publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post in written form, whether in newsprint or digital, which, I might add, is more preferable by several large degrees from a vice presidential nominee in 2008 — who would have been one heart beat away from assuming the highest office in the land — not being able to name a single publication that she reads on a daily basis.
Here is former press secretary Jay Carney talking about Obama’s media proclivities:
Notice how fast Rand Paul exits — within seconds — when an actual Hispanic constituent questions the GOP strategy on immigration. Big-feeling tough guys when the cameras are rolling at Fox News, right? Yet pussified when actually asked to own up to their policies in person:
Allen West reported to us on July 29 that he enjoys the chance he has to “educate, edify, and challenge us all to think beyond the obvious.” He then takes exception with a statement that President Barack Obama made about Muslims, namely, thanking Muslims for their
achievements and contributions … to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.
West invites us to “scour the annals of history” to look for instances in which Muslims have contributed to American history in this way. He picks up here:
I’d like some audience participation here. Please share what you think are the “achievements and contributions” for which we should all thank Muslim Americans in building the very fabric of our nation? Oh – and don’t forget “common values” — please share those as well.
I’ll go first. And I’ll go way back. I know Abraham was the father of all nations and he was Isaac and Ishmael’s dad. And in Genesis 16:11-12, (NIV) “The angel of the Lord also said to her (Hagar): You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
So to Muslims, I say thank you for being a part of the Judeo-Christian foundation that established this great nation. And I am thankful for this Bible verse so I understand God’s blessing upon what would ultimately lead to the growth of violent jihad.
The claim here, dubious at best, is that Ishmael was the ancestor of Arabs, and thus, a progenitor of Muslims, who will collectively and by extension “be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers,” as is the perception of radical Muslims.
In any case, Obama’s statement was obviously was not to be taken literally that Muslims were present and participated in the founding of the nation in 1787 — that’s absurd — just that they contributed to strengthening the modern democracy and cultural diversity that is the United States, which provides for the inclusion of people of all religions and all backgrounds, a doctrine which, as it happens, is the fabric of our nation.
The wealth of these folks is is inevitably trickling down, right? It must be true because Reagan said so.
So, there’s this:
which was apparently @HollyRFisher’s way of supporting Hobby Lobby, who describes herself on Twitter thusly:
Christian. Wife of an Army combat-infantry vet. Mom of 3. #ProLife #2A #Benghazi #ImpeachObama #tcot #wvpol #wvsen #Israel #HTTR #WhoDey #Reds
And then there’s this strikingly similar pose from an equally nutty fanatic of a different religion side by side with our good friend Holly:
Whoever said the following, which is often falsely attributed to Upton Sinclair, was prescient:
When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
But this statement from Halford E. Luccock in the 1938 work, “Keeping Life Out of Confusion,” is just as poignant:
When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled “made in Germany”; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, “Americanism.”
I’ve seen surprisingly little coverage of this, but
today yesterday June 2 marked the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, perhaps the single greatest achievement of our time. As we have seen from the bogus Hobby Lobby decision, which set the dangerous precedent that merely professing a sincerity about a belief makes that belief legitimate, the work of equality is not complete until all people without exception have access to health care, personal liberty and marriage equality under the law:
Note: I had every intention of posting this on June 2, but life apparently got in the way.
That it has taken until the year 2014 to get where we are on marriage equality, with most Southern states still woefully behind the curve, is a said testimony for a nation that touts equality as its highest calling. As Haynes, with Newseum reports, the “tide” of public sentiment “has turned,” and the arc of history is now bending toward equality under the law.
Following is his column for June 26:
Poll: Marriage equality trumps religious objections
By Charles C. Haynes
A solid majority of Americans now support equal treatment for same-sex couples despite religious objections, according to the State of the First Amendment survey released this week by the First Amendment Center.
Sixty-one percent of respondents agree that the government should require religiously affiliated groups that receive government funding to provide health care benefits to same-sex partners of employees — even when the religious group opposes same-sex marriage.
And 54% of the public agree that a business providing wedding services to the public should be required to serve same-sex couples, even if the business owner objects to gay marriage on religious grounds.
These findings are consistent with the dramatic rise in public support for gay marriage — 59% in a recent ABC News/Washington Post survey (75% among those under 30).
What’s somewhat surprising, however, is the strength of that support in the face of religious objections. When the first legal same-sex marriage was performed in Massachusetts ten years ago, conservative religious groups were able to mobilize voters to approve laws and constitutional amendments in many states — including deep blue California — banning gay marriage.
Now the tide has turned — not only in the courts (bans on same-sex marriage in Indiana and Utah were struck down just this week), but also in the court of public opinion.
While gay marriage remains unpopular in some red states, many conservative politicians and religious leaders have toned down the rhetoric as the public continues to migrate toward support for marriage equality.
Early in the debate, religious objectors to same-sex marriage appeared to enjoy broad public support for their efforts to secure religious exceptions to laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. That may no longer be the case.
A defining moment came earlier this year in Arizona when the conservative governor vetoed a bill that would have made it possible for religious business owners to seek an exemption from providing wedding services to same-sex couples.
Lost in the Arizona debate were the nuances of the proposed law: It would only have allowed businesses to make a claim for religious accommodation — but with no guarantee of the outcome.
In the mind of the public, however, the Arizona legislature was attempting to legalize discrimination against gay couples in the name of religious freedom. Rather than be labeled the “no gays allowed” state, the Chamber of Commerce and many Republican leaders joined LGBT rights groups in the successful campaign to persuade the governor to veto the bill.
As the Arizona outcome suggests, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is fast becoming politically and socially unacceptable. For a growing number of Americans, the movement for marriage equality is all about equal treatment under the law.
Of course, religious groups have a constitutional right to oppose gay marriage and to refuse to perform same-sex weddings. And as long as we uphold the First Amendment, that will continue to be the case.
But when religiously affiliated groups receive tax dollars to deliver social services or when wedding providers open their doors to serve the public, most Americans now believe gay couples should be treated just like everyone else.
In the battle over equal treatment for same-sex couples, it’s all over but the shouting.
Charles C. Haynes is director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001.
Religious freedom supported in the heart of Dixie? Who woulda thunk it? Of course, religious people, even those in antithetical outgroups like Muslims in America, are less hated than those who believe in nothing at all. At least Muslims, believers might say, believe in something, which for some reason is viewed as better than not believing in anything, although both Christians and Muslims believe in their something without any supporting evidence.
Tolerance and acceptance of atheism in the South will be the last fig leaf to fall. And it will. It’s just a matter of when.
Haynes: Religious freedom trumps Islamophobia
By Charles C. Haynes
After four years of protests, lawsuits, vandalism, arson and a bomb threat, American Muslims in Murfreesboro, Tenn., can finally celebrate the power of religious freedom to triumph over hate and fear — at least in the courts.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to a lawsuit filed in 2010 challenging the permit issued by Rutherford County for construction of an Islamic Center near the city of Murfreesboro. By declining to hear the case, the High Court let stand a Tennessee Court of Appeals decision in favor of county officials. Opponents of the mosque — convinced that Muslims are a threat to their community — had tried various tactics to halt construction of the Islamic Center. In a last-ditch legal maneuver, they filed suit, charging that the county had given inadequate public notice of a meeting to approve the site plan for the Center.
Now the Supreme Court has put an end to the legal drama — and the Islamic Center is in Murfreesboro to stay. A remaining lawsuit — this one challenging the right of the Islamic Center to build a cemetery — remains to be resolved. But supporters of the mosque are optimistic that the courts will soon dismiss this final legal challenge.
Of course, history teaches that court victories don’t change minds and hearts overnight. Muslims in Murfreesboro have their new Islamic Center thanks to local officials doing the right thing, but they still face prejudice from those convinced that Islam has no place in America.
What’s heartening about this saga, however, is how local government officials stood up for religious freedom. Despite strong public opposition, members of the county planning commission voted to treat the building application of the Muslim community like applications from any other religious community.
That took courage. At the height of the conflict, political candidates and anti-Muslim activists worked hard to whip up opposition to the Islamic Center in Murfreesboro and beyond. Even televangelist Pat Robertson weighed in, suggesting that county officials may have fallen victim to Muslims’ “ability to bribe folks” and warning of a future Muslim takeover of the city council.
But through it all, county officials stood firm. Moreover, many local religious groups rallied in support of the Muslim community. Students at Middle Tennessee State University helped form Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom, a grassroots effort to counter anti-mosque protests. And the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty — one of the nation’s most effective defenders of free exercise of religion for all — provided legal support.
Despite this good news out of Tennessee, Islamophobia remains a national problem thanks to a cottage industry of anti-Muslim groups working to conflate terrorism and Islam in the minds of the American people.
“Anti-Sharia bills” are pending in at least 10 state legislatures — all of them motivated by anti-Muslim bias and based on a distorted understanding of both Islamic and American law. (For an accurate understanding of Sharia in America, see “What is the truth about American Muslims?” at www.religiousfreedomcenter.org.)
If past is prologue, however, Islamophobia in our country will fade as American Muslims become more visible in places like Murfreesboro. We have been down this road before. Not so very long ago, anti-Catholic hatred was at its height in Murfreesboro — and across America. As described by Bob Smietana in the Tennessean, in 1929 angry residents of Murfreesboro marched to the courthouse trying to block the construction of the town’s first Catholic Church.
Today some 2,000 families are members of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Murfreesboro. Religious freedom trumped anti-Catholicism 80 years ago — and religious freedom, if we work at it, will trump Islamophobia today.
We may have a distance to go, but we have come a long way. Consider that six of the current nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court — the very court that put an end to the fight to against the building of a mosque in Murfreesboro — are Roman Catholics.
Only in America.
Charles C. Haynes is director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute in Washington, D.C.