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April 25, 2005

Comments

Kuch

That the United States lurches towards theocracy just does not square with me. During your meanderings on American television, did you happen upon MTV? If so, you would not have been able to see a shred of theocratic evidence. The media always wants to marginalize American Christians by calling them "fundamental." Have you ever seen the term "fundamental secularist" in the media?

I think what our society is undergoing is in fact a slow death of moral outrage. With moral relativism, nothing can be dismissed as just plain wrong. When the ACLU gives free legal consultation to The North American Man Boy Love Association, the secular left does not feel authorized to pass judgement. They cannot bring themselves to denounce the ACLU's involvement; but can only reserve judgement until they know which civil liberty is in need of defending.

Tell us where in the constitution does the right to fillibuster occur? I assume you are referring to Senate rules, which don't spell out this right either. And if this issue isn't just political gamesmanship, why did Joe Biden (D-Vermont)offer to allow a vote on 5 of the held-up judges? If these judges were truly "right wing Christian Judges," under what circumstances would the Democrats abandon their principles? Come on, you know this is all about the Democrats fighting to maintain any last bit of influence that they have. The Democrats, over the last 30 years have simply drifted to the left to the point where the majority of Americans just cannot agree. I would suggest that that you read a copy of John F. Kennedy's inaugeration address. Close your eyes, and you'll imagine that the entire speech was given by a modern Republican.

How many articles did The Austrian Die Presse run on the mass graves in Iraq? Everything about the US seems to get magnified 10 fold. No country in the world airs its dirty laundry, warts and all, like the United States does. Abu Graib was wrong, but show us how it was part of some sort of structure policy. The Rumsfeld policy included:

* “The use of stress positions (like standing) for a maximum of four hours”;
* Isolation up to 30 days;
* “The detainee may also have a hood placed over his head during transportation and questioning”;
* “Deprivation of light and auditory stimuli”;
* “Removal of all comfort items (including religious items)”;
* “Forced grooming (shaving of facial hair, etc)”;
* “Removal of clothing”; and
* “Using detainees’ individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress

Is this truly torture????? I can assure to you without a shadow of a doubt that every intellegence agency in the world uses similar, or even more agressive techniques.

David

Since you bring up JFK, here is a speech he gave in Houston in 1960. I DEFINITELY cannot image GW Bush or any member of the American Taliban saying anything close to this. It makes me mourn for what our country has become:

" I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute--where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote--where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference--and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish--where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source--where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials--and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew--or a Quaker--or a Unitarian--or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim--but tomorrow it may be you--until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end--where all men and all churches are treated as equal--where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice--where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind--and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe--a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office. "

Kuch

Very interesting speech, and I get what you are getting at. In reference to the last paragraph of the speech regarding tolerance. Tell me by name, just one country that is more religeously tolerant than the United States of America... just one! Of course the answer is that over our history, we have been a beacon for religeous freedoms for all. What country has more Synagogues, outside of the Middle East, more temples out side of Asia... you get my point.

Also, I believe Bill Clinton used the word "God" much more in public speeches than Bush has.

David

Religious tolerance? Not apparently in the US Air Force: (from the LA Times)

"The report's authors were told that cadets who refused to attend chapel after dinner were marched by upperclassmen back to their dorms in a ritual called "heathen flight." They found that teachers introduced themselves as "born again" Christians and invited students to be saved as well. A history instructor ordered students to pray before a final exam, the report said. And a Christmas greeting in the base newspaper said Jesus was the only hope for the world; it was signed by 300 people, including 16 heads or deputy heads of academic departments, nine professors, the dean of faculty and the football coach.

The report said that Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, commandant of cadets and professed "born-again" Christian, had developed a system of code words shared with evangelicals.

During a chapel service, Weida reportedly told cadets the New Testament parable about building a house on a rock. The story is meant to convey the importance of a solid foundation for one's faith.

"Gen. Weida then instructed cadets that, whenever he uses the phrase 'Airpower!' they should respond with the phrase 'Rock Sir!' thus invoking the parable," the report said. "Gen. Weida advised the cadets that, when asked by their classmates about the meaning of the call and response, the cadets should use the opportunity to discuss their Christian faith."

Such incidents, critics say, give cadets the impression that they must embrace the beliefs of their commanders in order to succeed at the academy."

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