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The "Culture Wars"...

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September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
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Author Topic: The "Culture Wars"...  (Read 4917 times)
Psalm 51:17
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« on: June 04, 2013, 01:00:16 pm »

Been studying up on this for a bit today, and apparently this has been part of the Illuminati's Hegelian Dialectic game. This seems to have been effective too, b/c using a war of words has been much more easier to lure people in, rather than use of physical force...

Culture war

A culture war (or culture wars) is a struggle between two sets of conflicting cultural values.


Culture war is a loan translation (calque) from the German Kulturkampf. The German term, Kulturkampf, was coined to describe the clash between cultural and religious groups in the campaign from 1871 to 1878 under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of the German Empire against the influence of the Roman Catholic Church.[1] The term cultural war has been in English use almost as long as the original Kulturkampf and generalizes the idea of these kinds of struggle. It is related then to the theory of cultural hegemony.

Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci presented in the 1920s a theory of cultural hegemony to explain the slower advance, compared to many Marxists' expectations, of proletarian revolution in Europe. He stated that a culturally diverse society can be dominated by one class who has a monopoly over the mass media and popular culture, and Gramsci argued for a culture war in which anti-capitalist elements seek to gain a dominant voice in the mass media, education, and other mass institutions.

United States of America

In American usage the term culture war is used to claim that there is a conflict between those values considered traditionalist or conservative and those considered progressive or liberal. It originated in the 1920s when urban and rural American values came into clear conflict. This followed several decades of immigration to the cities by people considered alien to earlier immigrants. It was also a result of the cultural shifts and modernizing trends of the Roaring 20s, culminating in the presidential campaign of Al Smith.[2][3] However, the "culture war" in United States of America was redefined by James Davison Hunter's 1991 book Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. In this work, it is traced to the 1960s. The perceived focus of the American culture war and its definition have taken various forms since then.


In the 1980s the culture war in America was characterized by the conservative climate during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan.[4] Members of the religious right often criticized academics and "artists", and their works, in a struggle against what they considered indecent, subversive, and blasphemous.[4] They often accused their political opponents of undermining tradition, Western civilization[5] and family values.


The expression was introduced again by the 1991 publication of Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America by James Davison Hunter, a sociologist at the University of Virginia. Hunter described what he saw as a dramatic realignment and polarization that had transformed American politics and culture.

He argued that on an increasing number of "hot-button" defining issues — abortion, gun politics, separation of church and state, privacy, recreational drug use, homosexuality, censorship issues — there existed two definable polarities. Furthermore, not only were there a number of divisive issues, but society had divided along essentially the same lines on these issues, so as to constitute two warring groups, defined primarily not by nominal religion, ethnicity, social class, or even political affiliation, but rather by ideological world views.

Hunter characterized this polarity as stemming from opposite impulses, toward what he referred to as Progressivism and Orthodoxy. Others have adopted the dichotomy with varying labels. For example, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly emphasizes differences between "Secular-Progressives" and "Traditionalists."

In 1990 commentator Pat Buchanan mounted a campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States against incumbent George H. W. Bush in 1992. He received a prime time speech slot at the 1992 Republican National Convention, which is sometimes dubbed the "'culture war' speech."[6] During his speech, he claimed: "There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself." [1] In addition to criticizing "environmental extremists" and "radical feminism," he said public morality was a defining issue:

The agenda [Bill] Clinton and [Hillary] Clinton would impose on America — abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat — that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country.[7]

A month later, Buchanan said that the conflict was about power over society's definition of right and wrong. He named abortion, sexual orientation and popular culture as major fronts – and mentioned other controversies, including clashes over the Confederate Flag, Christmas and taxpayer-funded art. He also said that the negative attention his "culture war" speech received was itself evidence of America’s polarization.[8]

When Buchanan ran for President in 1996, he promised to fight for the conservative side of the culture war:

I will use the bully pulpit of the Presidency of the United States, to the full extent of my power and ability, to defend American traditions and the values of faith, family, and country, from any and all directions. And, together, we will chase the purveyors of sex and violence back beneath the rocks whence they came.[9]

Culture war disputes are considered by many to have had significant impacts on national politics in the United States in the 1990s. Some say extreme conservative rhetoric of the Christian Coalition hurt then-president George H.W. Bush's chances for reelection in 1992 and helped his successor, Bill Clinton, win reelection in 1996.[10] On the other hand, conservative “cultural warriors'” rhetoric helped Republicans gain control of Congress in 1994, and the subsequent impeachment of Clinton by Congress over a sex scandal is widely understood as having been a divisive "culture war" battle.[11]

The culture wars influenced the debate over public school history curricula in the United States in the 1990s. In particular, debates over the development of national educational standards in 1994 revolved around whether the study of American history should be a "celebratory" or "critical" undertaking and involved such prominent public figures as Lynne Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and historian Gary Nash


In a 2004 column, Pat Buchanan said the culture war had reignited and that certain groups of Americans no longer inhabited the same moral universe. He gave such examples as same-sex civil unions, the "crudity of the MTV crowd," and the controversy surrounding Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ. He wrote:

Who is in your face here? Who started this? Who is on the offensive? Who is pushing the envelope? The answer is obvious. A radical Left aided by a cultural elite that detests Christianity and finds Christian moral tenets reactionary and repressive is hell-bent on pushing its amoral values and imposing its ideology on our nation. The unwisdom of what the Hollywood and the Left are about should be transparent to all.[14]

Peter Beinart, best known as a senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, argued in a January 2009 column for The Daily Beast that the new election of Barack Obama as President could be the beginning of the end for the American culture war. He wrote:

When it comes to culture, Obama doesn’t have a public agenda; he has a public anti-agenda. He wants to remove culture from the political debate. He wants to cut our three-sided political game back down to two.... Barack Obama was more successful than John Kerry in reaching out to moderate white evangelicals in part because he struck them as more authentically Christian. That’s the foundation on which Obama now seeks to build. He seems to think there are large numbers of conservative white Protestants and Catholics who will look beyond culture when they enter the voting booth as long as he and other Democrats don’t ram cultural liberalism down their throats.[15]

In response, author and writer Rod Dreher stated in a RealClearPolitics column that the rhetoric of a culture war disguises the fact that American society truly is deeply divided on some moral issues, which is not an artificial creation of political parties seeking to drum up support. He wrote that the economic positions of the Democratic Party are generally popular enough that, if it chose to drop polarizing social issues, it would become a majority party in ongoing control. He describes the culture war as "inevitable."[16] Columnist Ross Douthat, then with The Atlantic, wrote that he had "a lot to agree with" Beinart, but he stated that what Obama and his supporters seem to be doing is "winning" the culture wars for their side rather than coming to some kind of compromise.[17]

In a February 2009 column in The New York Times, William Saletan stated that a holistic mix of left-wing and right-wing ideas would come out of the culture war. He wrote, "morality has to be practical, and that practicality requires morals." He concluded that conservatives should embrace family planning as a way to reduce abortion and government assistance while liberals should embrace personal responsibility, which means that unprotected sex is criticized "bluntly." He also advocated same sex marriage as a way to lead LGBT Americans to an "ethic of mutual support and sacrifice" involving stricter personal responsibility.[18]
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 01:11:50 pm »

While the wiki link doesn't give out all of the details, I think we can see the big picture here - they're using the culture wars dialectic to polarize the country, where each side is taught to believe that they can WIN these hard conflicts, but are nonetheless put under these conflicts for a long period of time. And the modern-day church, in particular, has been deceived into buying into this b/c all along. It wasn't about contending for the faith, but merely working together with others for the common good whether they're of another religion or some other secular group, only to get trapped inside a maze.

Mat 23:3  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Mat 23:4  For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

And as you can see, the end game all along is to give into the enemy completely, not to "compromise" per se(even though that's just as bad). Really, have any of these "religious right" and political figures done ANYTHING, other than talk and pay lip service, that is? Nope. And ultimately, it all ties back to Rome, the RCC.

2Cor 6:14  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2Co 6:15  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
2Co 6:16  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2Co 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
2Co 6:18  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty

James 4:1  From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
Jas 4:2  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Jas 4:3  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts
Jas 4:4  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

1Cor_9:16  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 01:24:55 pm »

And they've also made "gun rights" the new "culture wars" - like the wiki article stated, culture wars doesn't necessarily involve social issues like abortion and gay marriage(and doesn't necessarily involve the modern-day church like the previous culture wars). Pretty much since Obama got into office, the social issues "culture war" has not only passed, but fell into liberalism's favor.

While reading this particular article - keep in mind why conservative/alternative media "shock jocks" like Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones are just harping how Obama's going to go as far as signing EOs for strict gun control measures(and possibly gun confiscation). As hard as it is to believe, Obama ain't doing any of this for at least awhile. Limbaugh and Jones are just merely playing their part in the "culture wars", and these strict gun control measures won't go through until the gun rights vs gun control polarized public back down and give in(like the polarized conflicted sides did with the social issues conflicts a few years ago).

NRA official: 'Culture war' more than gun rights

HOUSTON (AP) — The National Rifle Association kicked off its annual convention Friday with a warning to its members they are engaged in a "culture war" that stretches beyond gun rights, further ramping up emotions surrounding the gun control debate.

NRA First Vice President James Porter, a Birmingham, Ala., attorney who will assume the organization's presidency Monday, issued a full-throated challenge to President Barack Obama in the wake of a major victory regarding gun control and called on members to dig in for a long fight that will stretch into the 2014 elections.

More than 70,000 NRA members are expected to attend the three-day convention amid the backdrop of the national debate over gun control and the defeat of a U.S. Senate bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales. It was introduced after December's mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school. A small gathering of gun control supporters were outside of the convention in Houston.

Porter's remarks came in a short speech to about 300 people at a grass-roots organizing meeting and set the tone for a "Stand and Fight"-themed convention that is part gun trade show, political rally and strategy meeting.

"This is not a battle about gun rights," Porter said, calling it "a culture war."

"(You) here in this room are the fighters for freedom. We are the protectors," said Porter, whose father was NRA president from 1959-1960.

Rob Heagy, a former parole officer from San Francisco, agreed with Porter's description of a culture war.

"It is a cultural fight on those 10 guarantees," he said, referring to the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution. "Mr. Obama said he wasn't going after our guns. As soon as the Connecticut thing happened, he came after our guns."

**So you had no qualms when Ronald Reagan went after your guns in the 1980's? Roll Eyes

That theme carried throughout the day and reached a crescendo in a 3 ½-hour political rally punctuated by fiery speeches from state and national conservative leaders.

"You stood up when freedom was under assault and you stood in the gap, you made a difference," former U.S. senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told the cheering crowd of more than 3,500 at the rally.

"This is a critical time in American history. Something big is happening in America," Santorum said. "Stand for America. Fight for America."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized gun control supporters as opportunists who prey on the raw emotions of tragic events.

"You can almost set your watch for how long it takes for people who hate guns, who hate gun owners, to start a new campaign," after a mass shooting, Perry said.

Obama, who has pushed for gun control measures, was a prime target for criticism the entire day. NRA Executive Director Chris Cox bragged about the organization's political victory.

"It was great to see the president throw a temper tantrum in the Rose Garden," Cox said.

Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, called the culture war reference a sign the NRA is worried about polls that show most Americans support some expansion of background checks.

"They want to make it a culture war," Horwitz said. "They have to make it into something bigger. On the issue of background checks, they can't possibly win."

Gun control advocates were determined to have a presence outside the convention hall. Across the street Friday, the No More Names vigil read the names of gun violence victims since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Gun control advocates also planned a petition drive to support expanded background checks and a Saturday demonstration outside the convention hall.

Erica Lafferty, whose mother, Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, was killed by the gunman, was outside the building and said she hoped to talk to as many NRA members as she could.

"I am not against people owning guns. I am asking for safe and responsible gun ownership and gun laws. I don't understand where the problem is with background checks," Lafferty said.

While national polls have shown that a majority of Americans are in favor of expanding background checks, many convention attendees said Friday they were not in favor of such efforts.

"We already have something like those laws now. We don't need new laws on top of the old laws. They need to enforce the laws that we have," said Charles Henderson, 59, a farmer from Amarillo, Texas.

Inside the hall, visitors strolled past acres of displays of rifles, pistols, swords and hunting gear. Under Texas law, attendees could carry concealed weapons with a permit.

Debbie and Daniel Ferris of Gun Barrel City, Texas, attended the grass-roots organizing workshop and agreed with Porter's assessment of a culture war.

"It's about fighting tyranny," said Debbie Ferris, who has been an NRA member for five years. Her 35-year-old husband is a lifetime member.

"We don't like to be pushed around," Daniel Ferris said. "We are free Americans."

Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee and ex-Alaska governor, spoke to personal freedoms at the political rally as well, saying NRA members should "keep the faith" and "stand up and fight for our freedoms."

But gun control supporters promise to keep pressing the issue and have made significant strides at the state level.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, has said he will re-introduce the bill to require criminal and mental health background checks for gun buyers at shows and online.

Colorado lawmakers recently passed new restrictions on firearms, including required background checks for private and online gun sales and a ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. Connecticut added more than 100 firearms to the state's assault weapons ban and now requires background checks for private gun sales.

Maryland and New York have passed sweeping new guns laws, and in Washington state, supporters of universal background checks recently announced a statewide campaign to collect 300,000 signatures to take the issue straight to voters.

"There are 90 percent of Americans that support this," Lafferty said. "We are not going away. It's a huge issue."
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 01:27:42 pm by BornAgain2 » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2013, 12:05:08 pm »

Here's another example - again, notice the word "cultural", yet again they use this buzzword to show how they "polarized", then slowly but surely trying to "unite" everyone together.(as shown by "changes" in their "polls" over time)

Also, another thing to notice - in these "culture" wars, they almost never bring up topics like no-fault divorce, co-habitations outside of marriage, etc. But instead focus on "Going to church vs. not going to church" and "Do you think homosexuality is right or wrong" when linking certain demographics with certain topics. Never do they ask "Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour or do you not?"/"Do you read your bibles daily or do you not?" and "Do you believe fornication is wrong, period?".

The political fight over gay marriage is over. But the cultural fight isn’t.

Two things are clear in a new Pew Research Center poll on gay marriage:

1. The political fight over gay marriage is over. (This fact has been apparent for quite some time.)

2. Cultural acceptance of homosexuality broadly, and gay marriage in particular, remains far less advanced in society.

Let’s unpack each point.

The poll makes clear that no matter what the Supreme Court decides in early July regarding gay marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act, gay marriage is well on its way to legalization nationally.

Almost three in four respondents said that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is “inevitable” — that’s up from 59 percent who said the same thing in 2004. While 85 percent of those who support gay marriage say legality is inevitable, it’s even more eye-opening that 59 percent of those who oppose same sex marriage also believe its legal recognition is inevitable.

The gap between those who favor gay marriage (51 percent) in the Pew poll and those who think it is inevitable (72 percent) is absolutely remarkable. And it’s why so many GOP strategists have publicly urged their party to stop fighting on an issue where the politics are headed so clearly in the other direction.

The second point — how gay marriage and homosexuality fit into the broader cultural fabric — is a fascinating window into how the debate over legal/illegal differs from the conversation about right/wrong.

Forty-five percent of those tested said it was a “sin” to engage in homosexual behavior, the same numbers that said it was not a sin. A majority (56 percent) said that same-sex marriage would “go against my religious beliefs” while 41 percent said it would not.

In both cases, the number of people calling homosexuality a sin or saying that it would go against their religious beliefs has dropped since the same question was asked in 2003. But it has dropped less quickly than some other measures of opposition to homosexuality and gay marriage.

And, there is still a broad cultural divide regarding the nature vs. nurture question on homosexuality, according to the new Pew poll. Forty two percent of respondents said that homosexuality is “just the way some choose to live” while 41 percent said people are born gay or a lesbian.

Opposition to the “rightness” of homosexuality run strongest among the most religious elements of society. Nearly eight in 10 (78 percent of white evangelical Protestants) call homosexual behavior a sin as do 67 percent of those who attend church services weekly or more.

Social conservatives, of course, make up a considerable percentage of the Republican base — particularly in early-voting presidential primary swing states like Iowa and South Carolina. That reality makes it more difficult for the party to walk away from the issue politically speaking since such a large chunk of their most reliable voters view it in moral rather than political terms.

**Thought I would make a comment here - a week before the 2004 Presidential election, George W. Bush told ABC's Charlie Gibson that  Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and there are many different paths to heaven. Pt being that this is how DEAD the modern-day church system is. It's as if as long as Christians believe abortion and homosexuality are sins, and going to some church building on a regular basis, and vote Republican, then everything's goody-goody for them. Apparently, they didn't learn their lesson last year as they thought Mitt Romney would provide this country with blessings.

As the race for the Republican presidential nomination begins in earnest after the 2014 midterms, it will be interesting to watch how the top tier contenders balance that political vs. moral calculation — and how the path they choose affects their ability to appeal to the ideological middle for whom the debate on gay marriage is already over.

**Another comment - Catch this? Ideological MIDDLE? Yeah, the plan all along with this "culture wars" Hegelian Dialectic...to get everyone to at least some kind of "compromise", but en yet the modern-day church system and the GOP establishment will likely have the "stay the course" mentality like we saw last year.

Col 3:1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Col 3:2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Col 3:4  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Col 3:5  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Col 3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2013, 11:27:12 am »

Here's another example...

Analysis: Top court's gay marriage ruling won't be last word

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Whatever the U.S. Supreme Court decides this month, gay marriage appears destined to face several more years of legal debate and at least one more round of argument at the high court.

That's because a majority of the court's nine justices, based on their record and comments during March's oral arguments, are unlikely to proclaim a national right to same-sex marriage in the pending cases, and momentum for it in the states may soon slow as the battleground moves beyond the Northeast. Any right to gay marriage will come only if the Supreme Court declares it, probably years from now if it should happen.

Gay rights advocates are already girding for the next round of a struggle that stirs cultural, religious and political passions in the United States as elsewhere.

Among the nearly two dozen cases left to decide in the final weeks of the court's term, the two gay rights disputes are among the most closely watched. One is over a provision of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act that denies U.S. benefits such as Social Security survivor checks for married same-sex couples. In their March hearing the justices appeared poised to invalidate the provision.

The other dispute, with potentially greater impact, tests California's 2008 ban on same-sex marriage. Challengers urged the court to break the ban and rule that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. But during arguments in March the justices appeared likely to rule in a way that would affect only Californians. Lower federal courts struck down Proposition 8, and it is improbable that a majority on the high court would reverse that trend and endorse the ban.

By and large, the justices typically keep an eye on the states as they take up major social-policy dilemmas. They may not want to get too far out in front of social changes, aware of the backlash generated 40 years ago when the court established a constitutional right to abortion. The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, issued just as states were considering related legislation, remains one of the court's most controversial modern rulings.


Twelve of the 50 states and the District of Columbia permit gay men and lesbians to marry. Three of the dozen - Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island - legalized such unions this year, and the laws take effect this summer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Close observers of state legislatures say that action in Democrat-dominated states may soon run its course and that about half the states are likely to remain entrenched against gay marriage because of their conservative cast.

Interviewed this week, Theodore Olson, who argued in the Supreme Court against the California ban on gay marriage, said advocates believe they eventually will need a ruling rooted in the U.S. Constitution to make gay marriage legal nationwide.

"We have to win at some point on a national level because not all the states are going to legalize it," Olson said. He would not discount the possibility that the justices would rule broadly this month for gay men and lesbians but said advocates were thinking of the next phase anyway.

Olson and other lawyers seeking a constitutional marriage right say a model state for the next court challenge would be one that meets two main criteria. It would be a place where voters were unlikely to approve gay marriage in the near future, because approval would render any lawsuit moot. Ideally the state also would be in a region where judges are inclined to strike down a ban on same-sex unions, as happened in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit covering California.

One such state might be Virginia, which defined marriage as only between a man and woman in a 2006 state constitutional amendment. It also is one of the five states in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Because of Democratic President Barack Obama's appointments in recent years, that bench has a strong majority of Democratic appointees and may vote more liberally.

Charles Cooper, who argued for the California ban at the Supreme Court in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, declined to comment on his side's next steps pending a ruling.


While more developments lie ahead, the legal fight over gay marriage already constitutes one of the most concentrated civil rights sagas in U.S. history. Just 20 years ago the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that its state constitution could allow gay marriage, prompting a nationwide backlash and spurring Congress and a majority of states, including Hawaii, to pass laws defining marriage as between only a man and woman.

In 2003, when the top court of Massachusetts established a right to same-sex marriage under its constitution, the action triggered another backlash as states then adopted constitutional amendments against such unions. Five years later, the tide began to reverse, and states slowly began joining Massachusetts in permitting lesbians and gay men to marry. Most of those states are in the Northeast.

Opinion polls show a steady increase in public support for gay marriage, and this month the Pew Research Center found that 51 percent of Americans now favor allowing it. That poll also found that three-quarters of people responding believed legal recognition of same-sex marriage nationwide would happen one day.

That day might not be so soon.

"There may be a slim national majority for same-sex marriage, but there isn't a majority in a large number of states," said Jack Tweedie, director of the children and families program at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tweedie noted that a majority of states have reinforced their opposition to gay marriage with constitutional amendments in the past decade. About 30 states now have such bans on the books.

Gay rights advocates say if the court strikes down the law denying federal benefits in the case of United States v. Windsor, state action on same-sex marriage might accelerate, especially in states that already allow civil unions for gays and lesbians. Still, lawyer David Codell, who specializes in gay legal rights and is a director at UCLA's Williams Institute, predicted some states would never go that route on their own.

"It seems likely that at some point a constitutional ruling from the court will be necessary for full equality nationwide," he said. "The issue remains tougher than people think."

(Reporting by Joan Biskupic; Editing by Howard Goller and Prudence Crowther)
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2013, 11:41:26 am »


One thing to point out - if the USSC votes to uphold the lower federal courts' rulings invalidating CA's Prop 8(but doesn't vote to legalize SSM nationwide), then this could open up a whole new can of worms b/c CA has the largest economy in the union. If let's say companies there send employees to states like Oklahoma or Texas where they have a ban on SSMs - then when they file their income taxes, there's going to be a lot of confusion b/c while CA SSM couples can file MFJ(assuming DOMA is stricken down too) on their 1040s, they have to file MFS each on their state income returns. Again, CA has the largest economy in the union, and their companies probably send a good number of their employees to other states. It's not like Rhode Island.

Anyhow - getting back to the point of the article in relation to this thread - this has been the end game all along...to polarize the country on certain hot button issues, and then to ultimately get them to a compromise, and ultimately unite on them(or at the very least, get the "good" side to just feel indifferent about them). For years and years it was the GOP/"religious right" playing the offensive, now it looks like the offensive has been given over to Obama/gay rights groups with the "religious right" in THEIR back pockets.

If the USSC rules the way the article says it will, then it should come as no surprise, as they're playing out the pre-planned script the way they want it to.
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2013, 08:04:13 pm »

Gay marriage little mentioned at faith confab

Only a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable for some of the nation’s top evangelical activists to gather in Washington D.C. on the eve of major court rulings on gay rights and the definition of marriage – and skirt those issues.

But that’s precisely what happened Thursday afternoon at the kickoff luncheon for the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference.

Four of the most recognizable conservatives in the Senate, along with Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed, addressed the crowd of several hundred. And between the four of them, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin mustered just three glancing mentions of the gay-marriage debate.

With the Supreme Court weighing the fate of both the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, the near-absence of the subject from Thursday’s agenda was a striking omission – yet another indication of how much the politics of marriage have changed over the last decade.

There were no warnings against judicial activism or denunciations of self-appointed legislators in black robes, no pledges to revive the Federal Marriage Amendment or vows to stop the homosexual agenda in its tracks.

As recently as 2008, it was Democrats who paid glancing deference to the pro-gay marriage sentiments of their base, before moving on to other topics. Today, few Republicans have reversed their views on gay marriage – nearly every major GOP lawmaker in the country opposes it – but they have apparently reconsidered their enthusiasm for talking about it.

Of the speakers Thursday, Rubio was the most willing to address the issue. Even he introduced the subject in lateral terms, praising conservatives who get involved in politics despite knowing that “just because you disagree with someone on the definition of marriage, you get called a bigot.”

“You are the salt of the earth,” he said later in his remarks. “Whether it’s the issues we hold dear in our society, such as marriage or the value of every life, or compassion towards our fellow man, we are called upon to preserve those things.”

The only other speaker to mention the issue of marriage was Lee, another first-term senator elected in 2010 on a platform of strictly limiting the size and role of government.

But Lee – like Rubio – spent far more time on other parts of his proposed agenda, emphasizing conservative policies toward the family such as school choice and welfare reform.

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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2013, 09:53:36 am »

First off, no, I do NOT endorse the writer of this article nor anything he says(he's self professing "Republican" who's written a book supporting gay marriage).

BUT - just looking at the BIG PICTURE - look at how the so-called "moral majority"/"religious right" groups(that formed in 1980 to start these "culture wars" by using socially conservative issues to polarize the country) used their agendas to ultimately try to discredit not only those who are anti-gay marriage, but also Christians over the long haul. And then this will end up painting gay marriage in a positive light WHEN it does become legalized all over the country. If throwing Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard to the wolves wasn't enough...and also, this writer says some things that tie into this.

And to boot - look how a lot of these "religious right" leaders like Pat Robertson, Charles Stanley, Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer, etc have stood down recently.

The Right’s Bait and Switch on Same-Sex Marriage

The opponents of same-sex marriage have thrown out many arguments against it, most of them without a rational basis or designed simply to obscure their real reason for opposition: They simply don't think homosexuals deserve the same legal rights that they do. 

These arguments are mostly falling on deaf ears, apparently, since public opinion continues to change in favor of marriage equality, but that doesn't stop opponents from using half truths, misrepresentations, or even outright lies to advance their agenda.

One of their favorite arguments of late is that legalizing same-sex marriage will somehow lead to restrictions on religious liberty, even "criminalization" of religious opposition to homosexuality, and many conservative religious leaders and pundits are now making this argument the centerpiece of their campaign against gay marriage.  Politicians that pander to them are speaking out as well, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, the Tea Party Republican from Texas making waves on Capitol Hill for his strident defense of conservative social issues.

^^ **The writer is wrong on this, while the SSM opponents are right. But nonetheless read on further and you'll see how it's been an ongoing team-effort by both sides of the Hegelian Dialectic coin to discredit Christians.

He recently told the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody, for example, that "other nations that have gone down the road towards gay marriage" are punishing "Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages" and who "speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage," warning that could happen here.  A scary thought, to be sure, certainly one that seems to merit the concern of every freedom-loving conservative and libertarian in this country.

Except that it's not true.

Cruz and other opponents of same-sex marriage point to the 2003 case of a Swedish Pentecostal minister named Aake Green, who was taken to court for comparing homosexuality to cancer, as the perfect example of the slippery slope gay marriage will put us on.  His 2004 conviction, however, had nothing to do with gay marriage, which didn't even exist at the time.  Aake was charged under Sweden's hate crimes statute. Unlike America, many European countries lack the free speech guarantees we take for granted.  Even in Sweden, however, his conviction was ultimately overturned.  Apparently, facts rarely get in the way of a politician or a preacher on a mission.

The same is true here in the United States. Opponents of same sex marriage cannot point to a single case where a church or religious institution in America has been forced to conduct or sanction a same sex weddingIn fact, those states that have adopted same-sex marriage have instituted strict protections for the right of churches to refuse to recognize or support such marriages, consistent with our heritage of freedom of religion and conscience. So instead, the opponents of gay marriage are engaged in an intellectual bait and switch argument, trying to tie gay marriage laws to a variety of lawsuits against private businesses for discrimination against gay couples.

Conservative columnist Dana Loesch has been particularly outspoken at this game, citing a number of such cases that she says prove that same-sex marriage will put us on that slippery slope to the day when opponents of gay rights and same-sex marriage will have their religious rights and freedom of conscience routinely violated:

In 2006, a Christian photographer in New Mexico turned down a request by a gay couple to shoot their wedding photos, and she was then sued for her refusal to do so. The state's Human Rights Commission ruled in favor of the couple, as did the New Mexico Court of Appeals.  The case is now before the state supreme court.

In New Jersey, a Methodist church received a property tax exemption by promising to make its grounds open to the public, and it received taxpayer support for upkeep of the property as well.  But when a lesbian couple tried to rent a pavilion on the property for a civil union ceremony (New Jersey doesn't have gay marriage), the church turned them down.  The state then revoked the tax exemption it had granted.

In Lexington, Kentucky, a T-shirt company called Hands On Originals refused to print shirts for the local Gay and Lesbian Services Organization based on the company's religious beliefs.  The group sued, and the company was dragged through a lengthy legal investigation by the county Human Rights Commission.  The case now goes to a public hearing for resolution.

A Colorado bakery was sued by a gay couple last year after the firm refused to bake them a wedding cake.  The case is scheduled to be heard before the state's Civil Rights Commission in September.  If the bakery loses and refuses to comply with the order, the owner could face a fine of $500 and up to a year in jail.

Two years ago in Montpelier, Vermont, the Wildflower Inn refused to host a wedding reception for a lesbian couple from New York, saying that hosting such an event would violate their religious views.  The couple sued with the help of the ACLU, and last year reached an agreement with the inn that forced it to stop holding wedding receptions and fined it $30,000.

As upsetting as these cases are for anyone who believes in freedom of association and religion, the simple fact is that none of them had anything to do with legalizing same-sex marriage, as so many conservatives like to argue.

All of these lawsuits were based on the defendants allegedly violating their states' or local governments' respective public accommodations laws, laws that prohibit businesses that cater to the public from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (as well as on the basis of a variety of other personal characteristics such as race, creed, religion, sex, and national origin)None of the states in which these cases were heard even had same-sex marriage at the time of their respective lawsuits, and only one (Vermont) does today.  Surely Ms. Loesch and others know that these lawsuits, legally speaking, have nothing to so with same-sex marriage, yet they argue otherwise.

One can certainly make (and in my opinion, should make) the argument that all of the defendants in these cases should be free to withhold their services from those they morally disagree with; that, after all is what freedom of association and freedom of religion are all about.

But lying about these cases in a cynical attempt to denigrate marriage equality is intellectually and morally dishonest, revealing a growing desperation on the part of the anti-gay marriage movement in this country.  The opponents of same-sex marriage are losing the battle for Americans' hearts and minds, and their dishonesty will make their defeat even sweeter for those who believe in legal equality for all Americans.

Disclaimer --> David Lampo is the author of A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).  He also serves on the national board of Log Cabin Republicans.

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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2013, 10:06:43 am »

^^ Again, no, I don't endorse the writer nor the things he said in this article, but just looking at the BIG PICTURE - it's pretty obvious both sides of the Hegelian Dialectic coin are doing everything they can to discredit Christians and others that are warning over what's to come in the near future(and as the examples the writer put out - it looks like they're putting out these false examples to help do just that). Which is why that as Christians, we must be patient, search the scriptures daily, and do researches on this issue with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, instead of getting all worked up when we read a news article or 2 showing how a business or 2 got pushed around by pro-gay lobby groups.

As for churches eventually buying into legalizing SSMs when all is said and done - to be frank, the wars will likely come from within the doors(maybe a few gay couples might whine and complain from outside, and maybe Obama might make a few threats, but nothing more) - as the fear of the global economy continues to freefall(that's FEAR), pastors and other church leaderships will get desperate(knowing they'll get tax benefits for performing SSMs). And then there's the younger generation of pastors and church leaderships that have grown up and bought into this current culture.

Matthew 24:5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Mat 24:6  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Mat 24:7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Mat 24:8  All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Mat 24:9  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
Mat 24:10  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

As for these "religious right" leaders that have been standing down - Robertson recently endorsed the transgender movement, and the only 2 or so Charles Stanley sermons I've seen over the last couple of years felt very Carl Jungian.
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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2013, 03:22:11 pm »

The whole abortion/homosexual agenda debate that went on since 1980(when Reagan ran for President) up until Obama got elected in 2008, that is - started by the Vatican by having their "religious right" agents carry out the Hegelian Dialectic solely on these 2 issues. Now the torch has been passed to the "religious left" agents hired by the Vatican.

Pope Francis says church cannot focus only on abortion and gay marriage

Pope Francis said in an interview published Thursday that the Catholic Church cannot focus only on abortion, contraception and gay marriage, and that the moral structure of the church will “fall like a house of cards” if it does not find better balance.

The pope acknowledged in the interview that he has been criticized for not speaking more about those three issues, but he said that the church must “talk about them in a context.”

While the teaching of the church on those subjects was clear, he said, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

The pope’s remarks draw a contrast with both the doctrinal focus of his predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and with church leaders in the United States and around the world who have urged him to speak more publicly about homosexuality, abortion and birth control.

“We have to find a new balance,” he said in the interview, published in Jesuit journals across the world. “Otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

He added: “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.” Huh

The pope, since his installation in March, has focused on the poor and those on the margins of society. He has also drawn praise from some parishioners for gestures of humility and frugality. He has declined some of the trappings of the papacy, and personally returned the phone calls of some of the faithful who have written to him.

On homosexuality, the pope said that he used to receive letters in Argentina, where he was a cardinal before his elevation, who were “socially wounded” and felt that the church had condemned them.

“But the church does not want to do this,” he said. “Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: It is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

He went on: “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”


Acts 10:34  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
Act 10:35  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Matthew 3:7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Mat 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Mat 3:9  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Mat 3:10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2014, 10:56:45 pm »

Have Christians Churchianity lost the culture war?

The culture war may be lost and religious liberty might not be that far behind, according to a new survey from LifeWay Research, the research arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Seventy percent of senior pastors at Protestant churches say religious liberty is on the decline in the United States, and 59 percent of Christians believe they are losing the culture war. Eleven percent considers that war already lost.

The survey results are staggering – indicating grave concerns about the moral direction of the nation from both the pulpit and the pew.

Ten years ago we were talking about who would win the culture war, and now we’re talking about how will Christian rights be protected after the culture war,” Ed Stetzer, the president of LifeWay Research, told me. “We’ve lost our home field advantage. There are going to be some things that are different.”

Stetzer said it’s a big shift, “and it’s a shift I would not have guessed

**You forgot about the part over the SBC allowing Freemasons infiltrating by and large!

Over the past few years, I’ve documented hundreds of instances of religious persecution in the United States. And the targets have been exclusively Christians.

The military labeled evangelical Christians and Catholics as religious extremists. Christian organizations like Family Research Council and American Family Association were labeled by the military as domestic hate groups. Bibles were briefly banned from Walter Reed Medical Center.

**But it was this very Family Research Council that ENDORSED George W. Bush's faith-based initiatives, which further yoked the government with churches who took part in this! Roll Eyes

The Internal Revenue Service targeted Christian ministries engaged in pro-life activities. The government demanded to know the content of one group’s prayers. A Wyoming church was ordered by government officials to turn over their membership roles. A Baptist newspaper in North Carolina was audited – as was America’s evangelist, Billy Graham.

**Hate to say it, but the IRS DOES have that right to look at 501c3 churches' membership rolls b/c of just that. This is NOT the only time!

As for Billy Graham - he HAS volunteered for YEARS to allow his "ministry" to be audited by the IRS! Who is he trying to fool? Roll Eyes

The list of attacks on Christians goes on and on – from students ordered to stop praying in front of the Supreme Court to chaplains being told they could no longer pray in the name of Jesus.

In recent days, the battleground has pitted gay rights groups against Christian-owned businesses that cater to the wedding industry. Christian bakers, florists and photographers have been hauled into court and brought up on state discrimination charges for declining to participate in same-sex weddings.

And in every single instance, lower courts have ruled that gay rights trump religious rights.

Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research, said the concern is widespread.

“Half of Americans say that religious liberty is on the decline,” he said. “That’s a lot of people.”

Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, conceded that Christians are losing the culture war and they are losing ground every day.

“The primary reason Christians are losing the culture wars is that pastors are AWOL when it comes to informing and energizing their congregations,” Jeffress told me.

**Apparently, you forgot about this passage of scripture...

John 15:18  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
Joh 15:19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you

Unless Christians stand up and engage the political process, Jeffress said he fears there may come a day when religious liberty is extremely curtailed.

“A religious leader once said, ‘My successor will see the tax-exempt status removed from churches and his successor will go to jail,’” Jeffress said. “That is probably on the horizon.”

**Uhm, you should know that this tax-exempt status isn't even biblical. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

But there are some pockets of resistance – like the town of Greenwood in the Mississippi Delta.

Jim Phillips is the senior pastor of North Greenwood Baptist Church. He told me that Greenwood still has a “very high respect for the historical Judeo-Christian ethic.”

“Every one of my son’s community college football games around the state last season began with a prayer on the loudspeaker – in Jesus’ name,” he told me. “Will that eventually be challenged? I suspect so at some point.”

But right now, he said, “Pockets of religious boldness still exist.”

Phillips said national trends, though, are disturbing.

“Christians have slowly given away their impact on culture by becoming more and more worldly instead of confronting the culture to become more and more godly,” he said.

So who is to blame for the loss?

Phillips blames Christians.

“Sadly, Christians have often wimped out and grown silent instead of being bolder for the Gospel,” he said. “Christians get subdued into thinking they’re not supposed to rise up.”

Jeffress agreed with that assessment and said the church must involve itself in the political process.

“There are 50 to 80 million evangelicals in America,” he said. “Only half are registered to vote and only half of those voted in the last election

**You mean Mitt Romney, who's Romneycare ended up modeling Obamacare, would have been the "right" candidate? What if the 2016 GOP candidate is a sodomite? Roll Eyes

Jeffress said it’s imperative for people of faith to engage the culture.

“Every time we go to the voting booth we are casting a vote for righteousness or unrighteousness evil or eviler,” he said.

Pastor Phillips also urged his fellow pastors to step up to the plate.

“My calling is to keep leading the charge,” he said. “As a local pastor, my goal is to keep encouraging my church to seek to raise the bar and not lower it when it comes to confronting culture.”

Stetzer said he hopes the survey will spark a “fruitful national conversation about religious liberty concerns.”

“The perception was that the culture war was once a winnable war,” Stetzer said. “But it’s switched from an offensive battle to a defensive battle.”

**Uhm, it's always been a defensive battle(if you bother to read your bible)...

Jude 1:3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Pastor Jeffress urged Christians to stand their ground.

“We ought to do everything we can to push back against this encroachment on religious liberty and protect our right to spread the Gospel,” he said.

I write about this very issue in my new book, “God Less America,” which will be published in May.

But I’m reminded of a quote by President Ronald Reagan:

“If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

A few years ago, a New York public school teacher was ordered to remove that quote from her classroom wall. She was told that it violated the U.S. Constitution.

I’m afraid we may be “gone under.”
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2014, 11:06:14 pm »

“Sadly, Christians have often wimped out and grown silent instead of being bolder for the Gospel,” he said. “Christians get subdued into thinking they’re not supposed to rise up.”

A "pastor" saying Christians should "rise up"?

Psalms_3:1  A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.

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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 02:51:19 pm »

Catholicism, George W. Bush, and the cluelessness of the religious right

Bush's theological-political vision lies in tatters. But many on the right are unable to understand why.


Once upon a time, the religious right's leading intellectuals told themselves an inspiring story. It went something like this: From the time of the Puritans all the way down to the early 1970s, American public life was decisively shaped by the moral and spiritual witness of the Protestant Mainline's leading churches: The Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, and Episcopalians.

But then the Great Collapse began, as these venerable churches sold their souls to the counterculture, abandoned the moral and religious tenets of historical Christianity, embraced a series of increasingly left-wing and anti-American causes, and saw their numbers (and then their cultural influence) plummet. Today these churches are an intellectual and demographic shell of their former selves.

This was a potentially disastrous development, depriving America of the theologically grounded public philosophy that it needs in order to thrive. But as luck — or providence — would have it, the decline of the Mainline churches set in at the precise moment when two other monumental cultural and religious developments unfolded: The rise of a politicized form of Protestant evangelicalism and a revival of intellectual and spiritual energy in the Catholic Church under Pope John Paul II. The time was ripe for evangelicals and Catholics to come together to form a successor to the Mainline churches.

The public philosophy promulgated by this new-fangled amalgam of evangelicalism and Catholicism (with the former supplying the foot soldiers and the latter providing the ideas) would be staunchly opposed to abortion and euthanasia. It would be strongly anti-communist. It would be passionately pro-capitalist. It would favor using military force to promote democracy. And it would re-describe the United States, its history, and its form of government in providential-theological terms, with the rights espoused in the nation's founding documents declared to derive directly from medieval concepts of natural law.

Once the country (or at least a sizable majority) embraced this public philosophy — turning it into a governing philosophy — the United States would supposedly flourish as never before, protecting the unborn, unleashing economic liberty at home, defending democracy and fighting tyranny abroad, and most of all bringing the nation back to its properly Christian roots after the silly season of the 1960s.

It is exceedingly odd that Joseph Bottum has written a book — An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America — devoted to elaborating this story as if it were original to him, when in fact it is derived almost entirely from the writings of the man for whom both of us once worked: The late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.

You see, I once edited Neuhaus' monthly magazine First Things. When I quit to write a book denouncing the ideological project outlined above, Neuhaus brought on Bottum (then the literary editor of The Weekly Standard) as my successor. When Neuhaus died in January 2009, Bottum became editor-in-chief of the magazine. (Twenty-one months later he was summarily dismissed by its governing board for reasons that have never been publicly explained.)

Bottum, a published poet, is a gifted prose stylist. That gives a distinctive flair to his version of the story. But the story itself, in every detail, comes straight from the writings of Neuhaus and his small circle of ideological compatriots: Michael Novak, George Weigel, and Robert P. George foremost among them.

In Bottum's hands, no less than in the essays and books in which it was originally formulated, the story has some explanatory power. The decline of the Mainline churches is indeed a significant event in recent American cultural and political history — and one that has received insufficient attention from both scholars and intellectuals. (My colleague Michael Brendan Dougherty's thoughtful reflections on Bottum's treatment of the topic can be read here.)

But the story also obscures far more than it clarifies. For one thing, Bottum can't seem to figure out if the problems he identifies with post-Mainline America (including the absence of a unifying, overarching moral consensus and the subsequent rise in acrimonious conflict in our political culture) are a result of Protestant Christianity's inability to defend itself against an aggressive form of secularism, or if, instead, what we call secularism is actually just a desiccated form of Protestantism (hence the reference to a "post-Protestant ethic" in his subtitle). Either way, Protestant Christianity is to blame for America's problems.

Which is why Bottum (following Neuhaus and the others) turns to Catholicism for a solution.

The closest we've come to seeing this theological-political vision in action was in George W. Bush's second inaugural address. You remember: It was a speech that consisted of a series of sweeping assertions about America's God-appointed task to end "tyranny in our world." (Bush made more than 50 references to "freedom" and "liberty" in a speech of 2,000 words.)

For Bottum, this was "the most purely philosophical address in the history of America's inaugurations," one that deployed "a Catholic philosophical vocabulary" rooted in natural law theory to "express a moral seriousness the nation needs."

That's one way to look at it.

Here's another: The speech was a crude expression of American parochialism and pious self-congratulation — the kind of address you'd expect from someone who believed toppling Saddam Hussein was a sufficient condition for creating a functioning democracy in Iraq, and who thinks that presidential rhetoric can rise no higher than paraphrasing the lyrics to "Onward Christian Soldiers." It was the speech of a simple-minded man leading a simple-minded administration.

The most interesting and original thing in Bottum's book is a new-found pessimism about the practical prospects for the theological-political engagement he still favors. But I would be more impressed with this darkening mood if it grew out of a realization that great political leadership involves far more than moralistic sermonizing — and that something as partisan and sectarian as a Catholicized version of the Republican Party platform could never serve as the unifying, overarching moral vision of a pluralistic liberal democracy.

Instead, we're left with vague, evasive statements about how "Catholicism as a system of thought proved too foreign" to play its appointed role as cheerleader for American exceptionalism.

Poor Joseph Bottum. Poor religious right.

They're down for the count, splayed out on the mat. And they haven't got a clue about what the hell happened.
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2014, 12:22:54 pm »

Looks like the "culture wars" is hitting internationally(and these wars have finally left within the United States)...

Russia's new culture policy a weapon against West

Moscow (AFP) - The Kremlin is preparing a new culture policy for Russia focusing on its distinctive civilisation and traditional values, which observers say has political ends amid Moscow's standoff with the West.

At the end of four hours of questions Thursday in his annual call-in, President Vladimir Putin waxed philosophical on what it means to be Russian.

Russians not only have their own "cultural code," he said, they also have a unique moral outlook -- unlike Westerners, Russians are selfless and prone to self-sacrifice.

"These are the deep roots of our patriotism," Putin said.

Tapping into perceived "traditional cultural values" of Russian civilisation, the culture ministry is drawing up a government strategy that observers say has all the trappings of a new state ideology, echoing Soviet legacy.

The authors preparing the document, who are kept secret, believe that such a policy must be based on the thesis that "Russia is not Europe" and generously quote from Putin's speeches

The policy states Russia is at a historical crossroads and must make a choice between cultural extinction or the preservation of its unique "moral and spiritual foundations," which can only be done with a "state culture policy."

An early version of the document has been leaked to the press and is currently being examined by a Kremlin working group chaired by one of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies, chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, a former KGB agent recently blacklisted by the United States.

"Russia is an ancient, independent, distinctive civilisation," culture minister Vladimir Medinsky said at a press conference Wednesday.

In an interview with the Kommersant daily, Medinsky further added that Russia "is forced to culturally protect itself" from the what he sees as the depravities of Europe's contemporary culture.

"Perhaps Russia will be the last keeper of European culture, Christian values and truly European civilisation," said Medinsky.

"The main idea is that we have to defend ourselves from the West, that the West is evil," said political analyst Alexei Makarkin.

- 'Russia is not Europe' -

"The Crimea events reinforced this trend" after previous attempts to root out Western influence such as the law on "foreign agents" targeting NGOs, he said.

"We lived like that in the Soviet era," he said. "Conservatives like it, those who want a comfortable, airtight world without irritating things like abstract art."

On Wednesday, philosophy scholars of the usually apolitical Russian Academy of Sciences said that the policy violates Russia's constitution by presenting a "required state ideology."

A public letter of 25 academy professors said that the concept "Russia is not Europe" was only an opinion that could not be inferred from Russian history.

"Such a free interpretation of ideas... is absolutely inappropriate in any self-respecting society," the philosophers said, adding that the government should encourage debate and research rather than dictate its views.

Medinsky on Wednesday tried to assuage fears of a return to Soviet-style censorship, where works of art or drama had to be reviewed by Communist party officials.

The Kremlin's new policy will be executed "not by bureaucrats" but by experts and respected culture figures, he said.

One expert sitting on a jury that decides state grants for artists promised to make his judgements based on artistic merit, not political need.

"We're established and independent people, not a military unit," said Eduard Boyakov, founder of Moscow's Praktika theatre who last month surprised many by signing an appeal in support of Putin's actions in Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in a move condemned by the West.

But Boyakov admitted it remained to be seen how the new culture policy will be implemented.

"If there will be new plays and creative statements, then it means that it's working," he said.

"If we all end up writing only about Crimea in iambic pentameter, then that's a different question."
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2014, 10:03:30 am »

Hegel's Dialectic: Erasing Christianity through the Consensus Process

Julian Huxley, the head of UNESCO in 1947, wrote a book entitled, "UNESCO: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy." His book was a blueprint for a collectivist evolutionary pantheist New World Order that called for a single 'new' spirituality: a mixture of occult Eastern pantheism, Liberal 'pantheistic' Christianity, Gnosticism, international Luciferian Masonry, and other occult traditions.  There would be one language, one economy, one religion, and one way of thinking. He believed a global order could be brought about through the universal implementation of Hegel's Dialectic process.  Huxley said,

"The task before UNESCO...is to help the emergence of a single world culture with its own philosophy and background of ideas and with its own broad purpose."
Huxley spoke of two opposing worldviews, one founded on supernatural creation ex nihilo and the other on naturalistic evolutionism confronting each other from the West and the East. In describing them he said,
"You may categorize the two philosophies as...individualism versus collectivism or as the American versus the Russian...or as capitalism versus communism, or as Christianity versus Marxism. Can these opposites be reconciled, this antithesis be resolved in a higher synthesis? I believe...this can happen...through the inexorable dialectic of evolution."  (crossroad.to/quotes/globalism/Julian-Huxley)

 The concept of dialectics has been around for a long time. In the American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828, Noah Webster defined dialectics as:
"That branch of logic which teaches the rules and modes of reasoning."

Simply stated, dialectics refers to 'position' versus 'opposition' or 'thesis' versus 'antithesis,' or 'truth' versus 'falsehood.' By the traditional rules of conduct, if thesis is correct then it follows logically that antithesis is incorrect. Georg Hegel, a master magician in the occult Hermetic tradition discarded the rules and turned the concept upside-down by equalizing thesis and antithesis resulting in relativism.  'New truth,' a merging of truth and falsehood and/or Eastern pantheism and Christianity for example, is now found in something called 'synthesis,' or 'consensus,' the favored vernacular of evolutionary humanists.

Hegelian Dialectic is a perfect example of what J. Budziszewski, the author of "What We Can't Not Know" terms the "black magic spells of imposture and unraveling." Hegel's form of dialectics is an impostor. Its’ devilish  purpose is to deceptively unravel truth and norms and then replace them with a 'new truth' which is yet another impostor.

Hegel's 'black magic' Dialectics is the strange fire fueling the weapon of mass destruction unwittingly wielded by dumbed-down, mind-conditioned and manipulated Americans and Westerners on behalf of transnational occult New Agers and fellow travelers in their war against the West's traditional Christian-based worldview and cultural infrastructure. Called "group dynamics" or the "consensus process," Hegel's dialectic is a psychological behavior and belief modification technique used with great success by Vietnamese communists against American POWs and by Chinese communists against dissidents.

The foundation and key strategy of the consensus process is the knowledge that all people have an inherent fear of being alienated from the group. During sensitivity-training and diversity-training sessions, skillful change-agents (facilitators) psychologically manipulate this fear to herd selected victims toward a preplanned conclusion that induces them to compromise both conscience and position. This is the consensus process in a nut shell, and when we hear Liberals and Leftists (evolutionary humanists)  screaming for 'consensus,' they're really demanding that they be allowed to 'facilitate' the compromise of conscience which leads to the abandonment of Christian-based Western ideals and principles.

There are three steps to the consensus process: "Unfreezing the present level, moving to the new level, and freezing group life on the new level."  In order to speed up the unfreezing phase, communists resorted to physical torture, shock 'therapy,' mind-altering drugs and other brutal techniques. In America, emotional pain, intimidation, and fear are precipitated by way of vicious psychological bullying in the form of sadistic ridicule, cruel character assassination, destructive criticism, labeling, spreading lies, and blackmail. Until total control is achieved, psychological bullying will remain the preferred method.

There are four key elements necessary for a successful 'consensus process' operation. They are:

1. Multicultural and/or diverse groups: 'gays,' atheists, Wiccans, or Muslims for instance, fueled by resentment and envy — necessary for causing social conflict
2. A traditional social or cultural issue around which conflict can be created. For example, Christmas, traditional marriage, and male-female sex norms.  These are demonized as 'unfair, exclusionary, insensitive, intolerant, racist, homophobic, and hurtful' to diverse groups
3. The illusory dialoguing to consensus process.
4. The predetermined outcome. For example: Christmas parades successfully recast as "Festival of Lights" or "Winter Holiday" parades inclusive of ‘gay’ celebrants; traditional marriage compromised by 'gay' unions.
The consensus process has been so successful at unraveling and diminishing the West's traditional culture that here in America for example, Christianity has been banned from government on all levels as well as from schools and increasingly from public areas. Christians have lost their jobs, been jailed, and their children harassed and even suspended for daring to express their Christian beliefs in any way. Anti-Christian bigotry has become so bad that John Gibson observed,
"There is this kind of casual and accepted bias against Christians and Christian symbols." (The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday is Worse Than You Thought, John Gibson).

 Devilish manipulators concur:

"We have battled in America since the century's turn to bring to nothing...all Christian influences and we are succeeding. You must work until officials of city, county, and state will not think twice before they pounce upon religious groups as public enemies. (there must) be a...foaming hatred of religion...a belief that Christian practice is vicious, bad, insanity causing, publicly hated and intolerable." (Red Communist Textbook on Psychopolitics)

"I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is Mass Psychology. Its importance has been...increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated." Bertrand Russell

John Gibson asked a Eugene, Oregon city manager why he had banned Christmas trees. His politically correct mind-conformed response, "Well, because they're Christian." This manager and countless scores of other Americans testify to the enormous success thus far achieved through nation-wide dumbing-down and psychological bullying. Having been "unfrozen" from the level whereon America's traditional worldview resides and successfully 'moved' to the desired level and then 'frozen' there, the mind-conditioned now serve their new masters evil desires by mindlessly destroying the source of both their liberties and their human worth — Christianity.

"Oh but, Christianity has nothing to do with either the founding of our nation or with our rights and freedoms," proclaim mind-conditioned scoffers, doubters, atheists, and skeptics both here in America and throughout the West. The truth however has been 'hiding' in full view, but because their minds are darkened by black magic spells and their eyes made sightless by black magic dust, the mind-conditioned cannot see Truth even when it looks them in the face. In boasting of his clever blueprint, Huxley for example, unwittingly 'confessed' the truth when he said of the two opposing philosophies,
"You may categorize the two philosophies as...Christianity versus Marxism."
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« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2014, 05:20:02 pm »

Religious right group planning 40 day hunger strike to protest same-sex marriage

April 25, 2014
Of all the social issues that have gotten the attention of the American people, same-sex marriage and LGBT quality seem to be at the top of the list. While the country seems to be moving to the left on this issue, some groups are standing their ground in opposition.

The biggest opponents of same-sex marriage and LGBT quality are the conservative Christians and the religious right. According to FrontiersLA.com, the conservative Christian organization "The Family Foundation", based out of Virginia, have announced that between August 27 to October 4 members of their group will engage in a 40 day hunger strike to protest same-sex marriage and celebrate the state's anti-gay marriage amendment.

The amendment, which passed in 2006, was recently overturned and will head to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 11. In support of the anti-gay amendment, the Family Foundation released a statement explain their position.

““Our state and nation are mired in a morass of confusion and post-modern thinking that does not believe in absolutes nor that any truth can even be known. Nowhere is this more evident than in the current debate raging about what constitutes marriage. Pagan philosophies, a secular humanist education establishment and an entertainment industry that is absolutely determined in pushing the envelope on decency and morality have all combined to turn this great land into a country that our forefathers could not even begin to recognize.””

The Family Foundation are hoping they won't be going at it alone as they have been petitioning other evangelical Christian groups to join them during their protest.

Though the Family Foundation and other conservative Christian groups have their members, the country seems to be moving in the opposite direction. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC poll, 59 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage while only 34 percent are opposed.
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2014, 01:16:45 pm »

Same-sex marriage protesters find little support

For the hour that Mike McMonagle and his allies stood in protest Thursday outside Gov. Corbett's office in Center City, they were spared from heat and rain. But little else went in their favor.

Drivers paid no attention to the 30 people holding rosaries and signs railing against same-sex marriage. A man spat on the ground at their feet. Soon, they had to share the sidewalk with other protesters - a younger, louder, more organized group.

While McMonagle's group spoke of the need to "defend our children" from nontraditional families, a group from Cook-Wissahickon School brought in actual children to make the case for increased state funding for arts and education.

The school's choir formed neat rows in front of the governor's office, with matching T-shirts and signs, and sang a Katy Perry song.

"You just got to ignite the light and let it shine . . .," the children sang.

"Holy Mary, Mother of God . . .," the protesters prayed louder.

"Cause, baby, you're a firework . . ."

"Pray for us sinners . . ."

McMonagle and his Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania find themselves for the first time on the losing side of the issue. In May, a federal judge overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage, following a growing trend among courts and legislators, and in public opinion nationwide.

Corbett declined to appeal, sparking ire from McMonagle and others who had campaigned for him.

"It was a bad decision," said Patrick Baker of Malvern. "He should reverse his stand, and if he doesn't, there's no way he'll win the election. We won't vote for him. We'll find another way."

While McMonagle spoke to security about going up to Corbett's office, the group members prayed and spoke to anyone who would listen about what they called the natural law of marriage as solely for procreation.

Later, the scene grew tense when a few teenagers exited the building and mocked those opposing same-sex marriage, holding hands and saying: "We're just so gay for each other."

As they passed, the teenagers high-fived one of the young men working with the Wissahickon choir.

"How many high-fives have you guys gotten?" the young man teased.

"You wouldn't exist if you didn't have a mother and a father," coalition member Joan Carbo shot back.

"That's a very hateful message," was the response.

"You young people, you're the ones that are going to change this world, and you don't know what you're doing," Carbo shouted, rushing over and getting in the young man's face.

"That's right. That's what we're trying to do. Look at you, you're all a bunch of old white people," said the young man, who was himself white. Carbo's friends pulled her back, and the group resumed praying.

The marriage protesters did include one young person - 21-year-old Veronica Stanton.

Stanton said she sympathized with the intentions of same-sex couples who want to be married. But as a Catholic, she said, she believes it is "another hit on the traditional family. It's not good for society."

The protesters never made it to Corbett's office. They hadn't made an appointment. A staffer came down to the street to accept their messages and literature.

Even if the protest doesn't change the governor's mind, the group's handout read, "Giving public witness to our Faith is never wasted."

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« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2014, 05:30:53 am »

Mother ‘Shocked’ and ‘in Tears’ Over Sexually-Charged School Awards Ceremony

 A mother in Washington says that she is ‘shocked’ and ‘in tears’ after attending a profanity-laced and sexually-charged awards ceremony at her daughter’s local high school.

The unidentified mother told local television station KOMO that she eventually walked out of the event held on Sunday at Bellingham High School. She states that was outraged that the program was filled with profanity, filthy jokes and inappropriate awards during the ceremony, overseen by teacher Teri Grimes, 62.

“I sat there with my mouth open in shock, and the final straw was when a joke was told on stage about a teacher, a lawyer and a priest on a plane,” the mother wrote in an email to the outlet. “The plane was going down and the teacher says we have to save the children. The attorney says ‘F*** the children!’ and the priest says ‘Oooh … Do we have time for that?’”

She also stated that some of the awards were inappropriate, such as “the horniest stud” and “the horniest girl.” One prize was a box of condoms.

“We need to get the word out there that this is the kind of trash that is being taught in our schools,” the mother, who wishes to keep her identity secret until after graduation on Friday, said. “I am so shocked right now I am in tears.”

Grimes, who is retiring after this year, is now under investigation by the district and attended a meeting with the Bellingham High School Principal Jeff Vaughn, as well as her drama students.

“I wanted to let you know that [school officials] have met with our drama club adviser and students,” Vaughn said in a statement. “This has generated media coverage and has been a learning opportunity for our teens regarding the harm that can come from offensive comments and jokes.”

But an individual only identified as “Team Teri” claims that while Grimes has been the focus of the outrage in the majority of reports, it was the students on stage who were responsible for the inappropriate content.

“The inappropriate joke was made by a student (which tends to happen when you hand a high school student a microphone) and the … condoms [were] bought by students, given to students,” they stated. “Teri Grimes had no part in those acts…”

Grimes issued an apology on Tuesday, acknowledging that the content of the ceremony was out-of-line.

“I deeply apologize for some very inappropriate comments and actions made during our drama students’ end-of-the-year awards ceremony,” Grimes said. “This is not representative of our students who take such great pride in their school and respect one another. Much of the evening was a great celebration of their work. However, as a teacher and the club’s leader, I take full responsibility and am extremely sorry.”

“Team Teri” says that the apology was “to protect [Grimes'] students and take responsibility for the lack of control at the awards show.”

“Perhaps the parents of today’s children should be held responsible for their utter lack of parenting instead of the teacher,” they stated.

But some state that had Grimes not been retiring, she should have been fired. Others note that Grimes’ story is indicative of the continual degradation of morals in society—including in public schools.

“More than anything this is a comment on our culture; don’t be surprised,” one commenter wrote. “This is how we talk on TV and in the privacy of our homes, on the streets. This is everywhere. This is America. Raunchy and tasteless. It is what it is. Don’t be so shocked.”

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« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2014, 08:42:06 am »

It was back in the 1990's when these Hollywood "raunchy" comedies started gaining popularity - at first, they seemed "odd" to the movie/tv going public, but over the long haul everyone(including myself as a lost man) bought into it.

Yeah, this was part of Hollywood's predictive programming back then as well.
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« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2014, 11:41:55 am »

Gay marriage opponents don’t have much fight in them

Gay marriage supporters continue to win their battles -- almost without exception.

A big reason: Because gay marriage opponents don't have much interest in waging the war.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 56 percent of Americans support the right of gay people to get married, and another 50 percent believe it's a constitutional right. That's pretty much in line with recent polling showing support for gay marriage on the rise.

And while gay marriage opponents are an ever-shrinking portion of the population, just as importantly, they are far less keen on pressing the issue.

The new poll also asked people how important the issue of gay marriage is to their vote for Congress. While 81 percent of strong gay marriage supporters say it's at least "somewhat" important, just 50 percent of strong opponents say the same.

Nearly half of those who strongly oppose gay marriage (48 percent) say it's not even somewhat important to them. Just 19 percent of strong gay marriage supporters are so casual about it.

If you project those numbers over all strong gay marriage supporters and opponents, the advantage for supporters is even clearer.

While 30 percent of Americans say they strongly oppose gay marriage, if only half of them think it's even somewhat important to their vote, you can deduce that only about 15 percent of Americans feel passionately enough about the issue that it has any impact on their vote.

By contrast, about twice as many Americans -- around 30 percent -- say they support gay marriage strongly and that it's at least somewhat important to their vote. Around 20 percent say it's at least "very" important.

In politics, motivation is hugely important. And gay marriage opponents don't have it right now.
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« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2014, 11:48:45 am »

For GOP Senate Candidates, Banning Same-Sex Marriage In The Constitution Has Lost Its Appeal

n 2004, many pundits credited the advent of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts (and 13 ballot initiatives banning marriage equality) with prompting conservative Christian voters to turn out in droves and help re-elect President George W. Bush. That same year, and again in 2006, Republicans in Congress were so rattled by the looming threat of marriage equality that they overwhelmingly voted to amend the Constitution to forbid same-sex unions. (The amendments failed.)

Yet eight years later, in a testament to the rapid advance of LGBT rights, just a tiny fraction of this year’s GOP Senate candidates are explicitly calling for a constitutional amendment. In fact, there are nearly as many Republican contenders touting their opposition to federal action as there are ones calling for it.

A ThinkProgress examination found that of all 83 current Republican Senate candidates, just six mention their support for a federal marriage amendment to ban marriage equality. The six include three current senators — John Cornyn (R-TX), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Pat Roberts (R-KS) — as well as Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT) and two GOPers running in Oklahoma, Randy Brogdon and Andy Craig.

Many senators who voted in favor of the 2006 Federal Marriage Amendment now don’t mention the matter, even as they discuss same-sex marriage in general.

Take Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). Before voting for the 2004 FMA, Sessions announced on the Senate floor, “It is time for us as a people to utilize the power of the Constitution given us through our elected representatives to amend the Constitution.” In 2006, then-Senate Minority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argued, “The constitutional amendment process, being the closest process we have to a national referendum, is the best way for the people to speak on this important issue.” Neither senator calls for a constitutional amendment on their re-election websites now; Sessions simply says that “He has worked hard to strengthen families by protecting the institution of marriage.”

This, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that Sessions or McConnell don’t still support a constitutional amendment. They likely do, and would almost certainly vote for it again if it came up in 2015. But the fact that they no longer find it politically expedient to explicitly mention the matter is telling.

In fact, some even altered the way they discussed marriage equality from the last time they ran. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), running for re-election in 2008, noted on his website that he “aggressively supported and voted for a federal amendment defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman.” By 2014, however, that language had been scrubbed. Now, Graham simply says he “supported laws to define the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman.” Though he doesn’t mention the specific laws he’s referring to — most likely the recently struck-down Defense of Marriage Act — it’s important to note that a constitutional amendment is not a law.

Of the nine current Republican senators who supported a constitutional amendment and are running for re-election in 2014 — Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Thad Cochran (R-MS), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Graham, James Inhofe (R-OK), McConnell, Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Sessions — six avoided endorsing the FMA on their websites.

Meanwhile, four candidates — Jim Oberweis in Illinois, Kevin Crow in Oklahoma, and South Carolina contenders Bill Connor and Benjamin Dunn — explicitly call for decisions about same-sex marriage to be left to states, rather than the federal government.

Nationwide, many prominent Republicans have been toning down their rhetoric on the issue of marriage equality, if not always changing their positions. Even a stalwart like former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) no longer wants to talk about marriage equality, despite the fact that a judge he recommended legalized same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania last month. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who vigorously opposes equality, summed up the likely thinking of many of his Republican colleagues on the matter in May: “Let’s face it, anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn’t been observing what’s going on.”
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« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2014, 02:52:27 pm »

It Wasn’t Abortion That Formed the Religious Right. It Was Support for Segregation.

The modern religious right formed, practically overnight, as a rapid response to the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade. Or, at least, that's how the story goes. The reality, Randall Balmer, a Dartmouth professor writing for Politico Magazine, says, is actually a little less savory to 21st century Americans: The religious right, who liked to call themselves the "moral majority" at the time, actually organized around fighting to protect Christian schools from being desegregated. It wasn't Roe v. Wade that woke the sleeping dragon of the evangelical vote. It was Green v. Kennedy, a 1970 decision stripping tax-exempt status from "segregation academies"—private Christian schools that were set up in response to Brown v. Board of Education, where the practice of barring black students continued.

As Balmer shows, feelings about Roe v. Wade were mixed in the conservative Christian community in the early 1970s, with quite a few evangelical leaders agreeing with the court that abortion is a private matter. Desegregation, however, was a different issue altogether. Anger about forced desegregation of private schools galvanized conservative Christians. Bob Jones University stalled and resisted admitting black students, forcing the IRS to strip its tax exempt status in 1976, an event that spurred evangelical leaders to action. Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich, two conservative activists who had been seeking a way to marshal evangelicals into a Republican voting bloc, pounced. Balmer writes:

    Weyrich saw that he had the beginnings of a conservative political movement, which is why, several years into President Jimmy Carter’s term, he and other leaders of the nascent religious right blamed the Democratic president for the IRS actions against segregated schools—even though the policy was mandated by Nixon, and Bob Jones University had lost its tax exemption a year and a day before Carter was inaugurated as president. Falwell, Weyrich and others were undeterred by the niceties of facts. In their determination to elect a conservative, they would do anything to deny a Democrat, even a fellow evangelical like Carter, another term in the White House.

The argument they used to defend school segregation will sound familiar to anyone following the lawsuits against mandatory contraception coverage in health insurance plans or the battles over whether businesses have a right to refuse gay customers: "religious freedom."

So what changed? How did abortion eclipse pro-segregation as the rallying cause of the evangelical right? Balmer argues that Weyrich, in particular, was a sharp enough political thinker to realize that pro-segregation sentiment was enough to get the ball rolling, "but they needed a different issue if they wanted to mobilize evangelical voters on a large scale." They took their new coalition of evangelicals and pointed them in the direction of fighting abortion. The strategy worked. In 1978, religious right leaders got their first victories by pushing the anti-abortion agenda, defeating Democrats in statewide elections in Minnesota and Iowa in campaigns that focused heavily on abortion.

Why were conservative Christians more interested in hearing about the supposed evils of abortion in the late ’70s than in the early ’70s? Balmer suggests that "the spike in legal abortions" after Roe was the shock to their system that made them realize that women really were going to use this new right they’d been granted. There was also a more concentrated effort to put out anti-abortion propaganda that framed the procedure as "murder" and suggested the next step was legal infanticide.

Balmer doesn't mention it, but there was one other shift in the public consciousness going on at the time. The "Stop ERA" campaign, headed up by Christian right leader Phyllis Schlafly to kill the Equal Rights Amendment banning sex discrimination, got moving in 1972. By the time male Christian conservative leaders like Weyrich and Falwell decided to make abortion a centerpiece issue, Schlafly had done the yeoman's work of convincing huge numbers of evangelical Christians that feminists were a threat to the very fabric of society. With hostility to women's equality rising, making the anti-abortion pitch was probably much, much easier.
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Balmer notes at the top of his piece that it's common for anti-choicers to compare themselves to abolitionists. Once you know the pro-segregationist history of the religious right, however, it becomes clear that this comparison is not only obnoxious, but offensive.
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« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2014, 09:22:54 am »

Gay marriage critics protest in Washington

Washington (AFP) - About 2,000 opponents of same-sex marriage marched in Washington on Thursday, insisting that children will suffer if they're not raised in traditional mother-father families.

The second annual March for Marriage follows big gains over the past year for same-sex marriage, which opinion polls suggest has come to be accepted by a majority of Americans.

The march on Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court was spearheaded by the National Organization for Marriage, and included a Roman Catholic archbishop from famously gay-friendly San Francisco.

"We will not accept judgments redefining something as obviously true that it takes a man and a woman to make a marriage," said NOM president Brian Brown, who wants traditional marriage to be enshrined in the US Constitution.

"This is the beginning. We are going to be here every year and we are going to stand up for the truth and we never go away," he told AFP.

The lineup of speakers included former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, as well as the leader of France's traditional marriage campaign Ludovine de La Rochere.

"Two men, even if they are married, can't take the place of a mother," de La Rochere told the crowd in slightly broken English, prompting cheers.

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court a year ago struck down the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage under federal law in explicit heterosexual terms.

Nineteen of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia home to the capital Washington, now recognize same-sex marriage, which opinion polls indicate is now accepted by 55 percent of Americans.
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« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2014, 01:52:46 pm »

An Angry Tea Party and Vocal Ted Cruz Prove America Is Becoming More Liberal

Christopher Hitchens got a chance to analyze the Tea Party in 2011, the same year cancer took his life. In a Vanity Fair article titled "Tea'd Off," the great polemicist explains that populist movements like the Tea Party are a reaction to social and political change. Hitchens writes that before the Revolutionary War costumes, America had seen a somewhat similar phenomenon with the John Birch Society:

    The John Birch Society possessed such a mainstream message--the existence of a Communist world system with tentacles in the United States--that it had a potent influence over whole sections of the Republican Party. It managed this even after its leader and founder, Robert Welch, had denounced President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a "dedicated, conscious agent" of that same Communist apparatus. Right up to the defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, and despite the efforts of such conservatives as William F. Buckley Jr. to dislodge them, the Birchers were a feature of conservative politics well beyond the crackpot fringe...

    ... A large, volatile constituency has been created that believes darkly in betrayal and conspiracy. A mass "literature" has been disseminated, to push the mad ideas of exploded crackpots and bigots.

    ... Some of the gun brandishing next time might be for real. There was no need for this offense to come, but woe all the same to those by whom it came, and woe above all to those who whitewashed and rationalized it.

Would staunch conservatives in this day and age ever accuse Eisenhower of being Communist? Probably not, but the rhetoric from Tea Party politicians bemoaning everything from Obamacare to gay marriage indicates that America is moving more to the left than to the right. While William F. Buckley Jr. was prescient enough to know that the John Birch Society wasn't good for Republicans, Eric Cantor found out too late (with the Tea Party he helped create) to keep his seat in Congress.

The Tea Party miraculously began its existence when Barrack Obama was elected president, but remained oddly quiet when George Bush started the bank bailouts and racked up his own debt prior to the Wall Street collapse. Since then, its rhetoric has been polarizing and meant to speak primarily to a staunchly conservative base. The more people like Sen. Marco Rubio say, "I do not believe human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate" (contradicting 97 percent of climate scientists), Americans who care about science question their motives. The more politicians like Michele Bachmann evoke the Republican in Heaven by claiming, "I believe God is going to answer our prayers and we'll be freed from the yoke of Obamacare," Americans who don't have knowledge of God's political views simply roll their eyes.

As for Obamacare, the good Lord didn't listen to Michele Bachmann's prayers and the Supreme Court upheld the health care law as constitutional. A 2012 New York Times article explained how the ruling legitimized the most controversial law of the Obama administration:

    The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld President Obama's health care overhaul law, saying its requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty was authorized by Congress's power to levy taxes. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court's four more liberal members...

    The decision was a victory for Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats, affirming the central legislative achievement of Mr. Obama's presidency...

    Justice Ginsburg, speaking to a crowded courtroom that sat rapt for the better part of an hour, drew a different conclusion.

    "In the end," she said, "the Affordable Care Act survives largely unscathed."

Despite all the effort put forth by the Tea Party, including trying 40 times to repeal the law, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land-socialist or not.

In addition, Ted Cruz can make statements like, "Judicial activism is judges imposing their policy preferences on the words of the Constitution" and the Supreme Court (and lower courts) can completely disregard his analysis. In America, politicians pretend to speak for the founders and interpret the Constitution based on the beliefs of their constituents. A New York Times article in 2013 explained that two landmark Supreme Court rulings have paved the way for an eventual federal case that could make gay marriage legal in the U.S.:

    In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there...

    Chief Justice Roberts said that he "would not tar the political branches with the brush of bigotry"
    With these decisions, the road is paved towards a potential Supreme Court decision on gay marriage throughout the nation.

Ted Cruz can claim "marriage is under assault" and whatever else he wants to express about gay marriage. Gov. Rick Perry is also free to express his knowledge of genetics by saying, "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way." What counts in this country is what the Supreme Court says and from recent rulings, this country is becoming more liberal.

As for how Americans feel about gay marriage, the Pew Research Center confirms that the majority of citizens don't share the Tea Party viewpoint. According to the Pew Research Center, more Americans now support same-sex marriage than ever before:

    In Pew Research polling in 2001, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a 57% to 35% margin. Since then, support for same-sex marriage has steadily grown. Today, a majority of Americans (54%) support same-sex marriage, compared with 39% who oppose it.

    Furthermore, Pew Research finds that, "among Catholics and white mainline Protestants, roughly six-in-ten now express support for same-sex marriage"

Finally, the Tea Party has become a wing of the GOP that Republicans never envisioned in 2008. Perhaps nothing illustrates this dilemma better than the words of Chris McDaniel after losing the Mississippi Senate race to Thad Cochran:

    "So much for bold colors," McDaniel said. "So much for principle. I guess they can take some consolation in the fact that they did something tonight by once again compromising, by once again reaching across the aisle, by once again abandoning the conservative movement. I would like to know which part of that strategy today our Republican friends endorse. I would like to know which part of that strategy today our statewide officials endorse. This is not the party of Reagan, but we're not done fighting and when we're done it will be."

    ... conservative movement took a backseat to liberal Democrats...

When "reaching across the aisle" is a bad thing, you know a political party has become extreme in its views. Chris McDaniel's belief that voters "abandoned the conservative movement" simply because they voted for another conservative illustrates the Pandora's Box opened by Republicans as a result of President Obama's first election victory.

When 73 percent of Americans today believe that illegal immigrants should be able to legally stay in the U.S. and 8 million people have signed up for Obamacare, all the loud pontificating by Ted Cruz and other "real" conservatives can't deny one simple fact. The angrier and more vocal the Tea Party gets, the more we know that issues like gay marriage and Obamacare are becoming not only mainstream, but protected under the Constitution. Even if they break away from the GOP and form their own party (which would help liberals immensely), the Tea Party won't be able to stop the country from becoming more liberal with every generation.
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« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2014, 05:27:44 pm »

What is RFRA and why do we care?

One of the key components of today’s Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. But what is RFRA and how does it apply to cases involving Obamacare and discrimination against same-sex couples?

The Supreme Court

The federal version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act dates back to 1993, when it was passed by Congress after a controversial Supreme Court decision in 1990 angered liberals and conservatives. But after Congress passed RFRA, the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the Act couldn’t be applied to states.

Currently, at least 22 states have their own versions of RFRA laws, as a response to the 1997 Supreme Court decision.

Here is the back story: In Employment Division v. Smith (1990), two American Indians who worked as private drug rehab counselors ingested peyote as part of religious ceremonies conducted by the Native American Church, and they were subsequently fired. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the firing, with Justice Antonin Scalia saying that using a religious exemption in conflict of a valid law “would open the prospect of constitutionally required exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind.”

A near unanimous Congress passed RFRA in 1993 and President Bill Clinton signed the law. RFRA said that “governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification” and “the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests.”

The compelling interest test dated back to another Supreme Court decision, Sherbert v. Verner, from 1963. The Sherbert test said that if a person claimed a sincere religious belief, and a government action placed a substantial burden on that belief, the government needed to prove a compelling state interest, and that it pursued that action in the least burdensome way.

But after Congress passed RFRA, the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the Act couldn’t be applied to states. In the City of Boerne v. Flores case, a majority led by Justice Anthony Kennedy found that Congress had exceeded its constitutional powers by enacting RFRA, because Congress couldn’t determine the way in which states could enforce RFRA’s restrictions.

So two current Justices, Scalia and Kennedy, are key players in the RFRA debate. But in Monday’s Hobby Lobby decision, it was two different  different Justices, Alito and Ginsburg, who dominated the opinion.

In addition to the Hobby Lobby case, RFRA was at the center of a controversy in Arizona and New Mexico over the rights of same-sex couples.

Republican lawmakers in Arizona in February 2014 had decided to pass a state RFRA law that potentially legalized discrimination against gays by businesses that sold goods and services, but Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the law, after a national debate.

The Arizona legislature acted after a court in neighboring New Mexico in 2013 decided that a photographer who refused to document a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony had violated New Mexico’s public accommodations laws. RFRA was also involved in that case, which was declined by the Supreme Court.

In the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood combined case in front of the Supreme Court, RFRA was involved in the Conestoga Wood part of the decision.

In Hobby Lobby Stores v. Burwell, Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain, and its sister company, Mardel Christian bookstore, want an exemption from an Obamacare requirement that it provide insurance coverage for morning-after pills and similar emergency birth control methods and devices.

In Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Health and Human Services Department. Conestoga is a Mennonite family-owned, profit-making business, and it claims that the ACA’s birth control mandate violates the company’s rights under the First Amendment and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

One important point was if the Supreme Court would give profit-making corporations a constitutional right under RFRA to an exemption from laws that must be obeyed by everyone in the general public. In its decision, the Court limited this right to closely held corporations.
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« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2014, 08:58:38 am »

Hobby Lobby Is Only the Beginning

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — THE United States Constitution speaks of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over “cases” and “controversies.” But when social controversies do come before the court, its powers are limited. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which concerned the dispute over the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, the court may have decided the case. The larger controversy, however, won’t be settled so easily.

By a 5-to-4 vote, the court on Monday held that the mandate, which requires employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraception, could not be applied to closely held for-profit corporations with religious objections to some forms of contraception. Religious groups described the mandate as part of a war on religious freedom. Supporters of the mandate countered that a victory for the plaintiffs would allow large corporations, under the cover of religious freedom, not just to impede women’s exercise of their reproductive rights but also to defy civil rights statutes with impunity.

Amid this heated talk, it was easy to lose sight of the fact that this was a statutory case, not a case decided under the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of religion. The statute in question, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, states that the government “shall not substantially burden” the exercise of religion without satisfying a demanding legal test.

It is worth noting that the act was championed by President Bill Clinton and passed in 1993, with near unanimity, by a Democrat-controlled Congress. The act was drafted in response to a controversial 1990 Supreme Court decision that made it easier — far too easy, according to critics of all political stripes — for the government to burden the exercise of religion.

The decision in Hobby Lobby was no shock to anyone familiar with the heavy weight that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act places on religious accommodation. The fate of the case was sealed 21 years ago — not by a slim majority of the court, but by virtually every member of Congress. In a dissenting opinion on Monday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued that the court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby was one of “startling breadth,” but the statute itself is deliberately broad.

So why all the shouting? If the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is clearly written, and the product of a democratic process, what explains the apocalyptic rhetoric surrounding this case? In truth, the sources of the controversy lie outside the issue of the contraceptive mandate itself. And that should be great cause for concern — to both sides of the debate.

The first source of controversy is the collapse of a national consensus on a key element of religious liberty: accommodation. Throughout American history, there has been widespread agreement that in our religiously diverse and widely devout country, it is good for the government to accommodate religious exercise. We have disagreed about particular accommodations (may a Muslim police officer wear a beard, despite police department policy?), and especially about whether religious accommodations should be ordered by judges or crafted by legislators. But we have generally agreed that our nation benefits when we help rather than burden those with religious obligations. That consensus seems, quite suddenly, to have evaporated.

A second source of controversy is that many people view the Hobby Lobby case as concerning not just reproductive rights but also, indirectly, rights for gays and lesbians. Advocates for same-sex marriage have long insisted that their own marriages need not threaten anyone else’s, but citizens with religious objections to same-sex marriage wonder whether that is entirely true: Will a small-business owner be sued, for instance, for declining to provide services to a same-sex couple? Conversely, and understandably, gay and lesbian couples wonder why they do not deserve the same protections from discrimination granted to racial and other minorities. For both sides, Hobby Lobby was merely a prelude to this dawning conflict.
The third source of controversy is a change in our views of the marketplace itself. The marketplace was once seen as place to put aside our culture wars and engage in the great American tradition of buying and selling. The shopping mall has even been called the “American agora.” But today the market itself has become a site of cultural conflict. Hobby Lobby is one of many companies that seek to express faith commitments at work as well as at home and that don’t see the workplace as a thing apart from religion. Many companies preach and practice values, religious and otherwise, that are unrelated to market considerations. CVS, for example, recently announced that it would stop selling tobacco products, regardless of how that decision might affect its bottom line.

A country that cannot even agree on the idea of religious accommodation, let alone on what terms, is unlikely to agree on what to do next. A country in which many states cannot manage to pass basic anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation is one whose culture wars may be beyond the point of compromise. And a nation whose marketplace itself is viewed, for better or worse, as a place to fight both those battles rather than to escape from them is still less likely to find surcease from struggle.

Expect many more Hobby Lobbies.
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« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2014, 11:26:23 pm »

Religious Conservatives Finally Admit What They Really Want Out Of Hobby Lobby

For two and a half years, the Obama Administration has tried to strike a balance between the health needs of workers and the sensibilities of employers who object to contraceptive care on religious grounds. Just last month, the administration announced its most recent accommodation for these religious objectors — an employer can exempt itself completely from the federal rule requiring employer-provided health plans to cover birth control, so long as it informs the government that it seeks a religious exemption and tells them which company administers their health plan.

Yet, according to a court document filed earlier this month by a leading religious conservative litigation shop, even this degree of accommodation is insufficient to satisfy the most vehement objectors to birth control. Indeed, if the courts ultimately accept the arguments presented by this court filing, that would leave the administration largely powerless to ensure that workers whose employers object to birth control still receive contraceptive coverage. The alleged rights of the employer would trump the rights of the employee.

The court filing is a motion filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty — the same Becket Fund that represented Hobby Lobby in its successful lawsuit in the Supreme Court — on behalf of Ave Maria University, a conservative Catholic school which claims that “any action ‘specifically intended to prevent procreation’ — including contraception and sterilization — is morally wrong.” In its motion, Becket asks a federal court in Florida to grant Ave Maria a temporary exemption from the federal rules governing birth control coverage while its litigation against the government proceeds.

What’s unusual about this motion, however, is that it specifically denies that the Obama Administration’s latest accommodation for religious objectors is sufficient. “Rather than simply requiring notice that Ave Maria is a religious nonprofit with a religious objection,” the motion complains, “the augmented rule would require Ave Marie [sic] to provide its insurance company’s name and contact information for the specific purpose of allowing HHS to issue a notice requiring the insurer to provide the exact same items through Ave Maria’s healthcare plan as if Ave Maria had given the insurer Form 700 directly.”

To translate this a bit, “Form 700″ is the form religious objectors were required to submit under a previous attempt to accommodate their sentiments regarding birth control. Under that regime, employers who object to birth control on religious grounds could exempt themselves from providing contraceptive coverage by filling out this short form, which required them to disclose the identity of their insurance administrator. Once the government has this form in hand, they would then contact this insurance company and arrange for it to provide contraceptive coverage to the religious objector’s employees without requiring the objector to provide this coverage itself. Notably, the Supreme Court’s opinion in Hobby Lobby strongly suggests that the just-fill-out-this-form accommodation is sufficient to overcome any legal objections to the overall regime for providing birth control to employees.

Nevertheless, several religious employers objected to the fill-out-the-form solution, so the Obama Administration granted them a further accommodation — permitting them to exempt themselves from the birth control rules without having to fill out any particular form at all, so long as the government learns who their insurance administrator is. Without this information, the government has no way of knowing which insurance company should provide contraceptive coverage to employees who are denied this coverage by their employer, and thus the entire system breaks down.

Ave Maria’s objection is not exactly surprising, as we explained shortly after the Obama Administration announced its latest accommodation, “employers who have raised the staunchest objections to birth control have often claimed that they cannot take any action that will set in motion a chain of events that leads to someone receiving contraception, as doing so would make them ‘complicit’ in the act of providing birth control, but their objection is nonetheless significant because it reveals what the stakes actually are in the follow-up cases to Hobby Lobby. If the justices honor Ave Maria’s idiosyncratic objection, then it is unclear that the administration could design any accommodation that will survive contact with the Supreme Court.
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« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2014, 10:21:14 pm »

Republicans show growing enthusiasm for tearing down the wall between church and state

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public life just released its semiannual survey of American attitudes on the role of religion in politics. The survey finds a growing appetite for belief in the ballot box, and politics in the pulpit. These shifts are largely happening on the Republican side of the aisle. And among Republicans, the changes are driven by white evangelical concern that the country is becoming less favorable to religion and, inexplicably, more hostile toward white evangelicals.

Below, eight findings from the Pew study that illustrate these shifts.

1. Desire for churches to play an active role in politics is up sharply from 2010

Pew Research Center

"The share of Americans who say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political issues is up 6 points since the 2010 midterm elections (from 43% to 49%)," according to the Pew report. Fully two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants now hold this view, as do 48 percent of Catholics.

Not surprisingly, Democrats and Republicans are split on the question. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans want churches to speak out on political issues, compared to 42 percent of Democrats. This 17-point gap is more than double the 8-point partisan gap that existed just four years ago, and it's driven by a surge in Republican enthusiasm: Republicans are 11 percentage points more likely to call for politically active churches than they were in 2010. There's been virtually no change on this issue among Democrats.

The share of Americans saying churches should endorse political candidates is now the largest its been in more than 10 years.

2. A majority of Republicans say politicians aren't talking enough about faith.

Fifty-three percent of Republicans say that political leaders are talking too little about their faith, compared to less than a third of Democrats. Again, while Democrats have remained consistent on this measure since 2010, Republicans have shifted nearly 10 percentage points.

For reference, in September, the word "God" has been spoken on the House and Senate floors 75 times, "Christian" 65 times and "Jesus" 10 times. Democrats and Republicans seem to use these words at similar rates.

3. Seven in 10 Republicans say it's important for a political candidate to have strong religious beliefs

"Nearly three-quarters of Republicans and those who lean toward the Republican Party say that members of Congress should have strong religious beliefs (72 percent)," according to the Pew survey. "Democrats, by contrast, are evenly divided on this question, with 50 percent saying it is important for members of Congress to have strong religious beliefs and 48 percent expressing disagreement with this sentiment."

4. Despite large numbers and political clout, a majority of white evangelical Christians feels discriminated against

Fifty percent of white evangelicals say that there is a lot of discrimination against them. White evangelicals are more likely to say that discrimination is a problem for them than it is for blacks (36 percent), Muslims (45 percent) or atheists (19 percent). Thirty-four percent of evangelicals say that it's become more difficult to be religious in America, and a third see themselves as a "minority" because of their religious beliefs — more than any other group. Never mind that Protestants are actually the largest religious group in America, and that white evangelicals are the largest Protestant sub-group.

White evangelicals are a core coalition of the GOP base. Their belief that they are a persecuted minority in a country where it is difficult to be religious explains many of the Republican trends above — a desire for a stronger church role in politics, a perception that politicians aren't talking about faith enough, and the necessity for politicians to talk about their faith.

These beliefs also undergird some of the GOP rhetoric about a "war on whites" that we've heard recently from people like Mo Brooks (R-Ala.). Of course, the data show that if there is indeed a war on whites, white people are winning it.

5. A majority of Americans now say homosexuality is a sin

Fifty percent say it's a sin to engage in homosexual behavior, up five percentage points from a year ago. Catholics and white evangelical protestants account for the lion's share of that uptick.

6. Support for gay marriage is down

Forty-nine percent of Americans say they support same-sex marriage, down from 54 percent in February. Support fell across all religious groups surveyed, although as the report notes, "it is too early to know whether this is an anomaly or the beginning of a reversal or leveling off of the growth in support for same-sex marriage widely observed in polls over the past decade."

7. Seven in 10 white evangelicals want the freedom to discriminate against gay weddings

Slightly less than half of the general public says a business that provides wedding-related services should be able to refuse those services to gay couples. Among white evangelicals, that figure is more than 70 percent.
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« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2014, 10:41:14 pm »

U.N. puts spotlight on climate change

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With crises from Islamic State to Ebola competing for attention, the United Nations on Tuesday will zero in on climate change, giving leaders from 125 countries a platform to explain how they plan to address the issue.

A huge march to call for international action on climate change, which brought as many as 400,000 people to the streets of New York on Sunday, set the tone for the summit spearheaded by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The private sector also helped create a buzz around the summit, with corporate chief executives like Apple's Tim Cook and Ikea's [IKEA.UL] Peter Agnefjäll declaring a variety of voluntary measures to reduce their carbon emissions.

Among the most highly anticipated speakers on Tuesday will be U.S. President Barack Obama, whose administration has sought to make U.S. leadership on climate change a legacy goal.

The White House announced on Tuesday that Obama would issue an executive order to require federal agencies to ensure their international development programs and investments are designed to help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Secretary of State John Kerry hinted on Monday at what else Obama is expected to highlight when he takes the podium.

“Over the past five years, the United States has actually done more to reduce the threat of climate change domestically and with the help of our international partners than in all of the 20 years before that,” he said.

He added the United States was on track to meet its international pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 because of Obama's climate policies.

Leaders who will be absent from Tuesday's gathering include Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who represent the first and fourth biggest greenhouse gas polluters.


The summit is meant to add political momentum to a U.N. process to negotiate a climate-change agreement in Paris by 2015.

By holding the high-level gathering almost 16 months before the Paris deadline, Ban has ensured that climate change will be at the forefront of every leader’s agenda, EU climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard told Reuters in an interview.

“With all the outreach we need to do in this area, it is crucial that all the foreign ministries are taking this up,” she said.

She said the fact that foreign ministers, including Kerry and France's Laurent Fabius, discussed climate deal negotiations on Sunday in a meeting of the world's 17 biggest emitting countries was a sign that the issue had become a policy priority.

But Hedegaard and Fabius highlighted what could be a roadblock to a Paris pact – agreement on the legal basis of the final deal.

U.S. negotiators have acknowledged that a deeply polarized Congress is unlikely to ratify a legally binding U.N. treaty.

“We have to have a legal agreement, otherwise it will be just words,” Fabius said on Monday.

Ban said there was a greater sense of "anxiety" around the issue than at previous gatherings in New York in 2007 and Copenhagen in 2009.

On Monday, he summed up the risk of countries failing to cement a climate deal.

"If we cannot all swim together, we will sink," he said.
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« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2014, 07:06:42 pm »

Notice how the NWO establishment isn't playing this Hegelian Dialectic game with Obamacare and sodomy marriage anymore. Now they've shifted their focus on climate change and the ongoing "war on terror".

GOP uses terror threat against Dems in campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the latest Republican campaign ad, a lone militant walks across a barren land with the black banner of the Islamic State group. It's part of the GOP move to cast Democrats as weak on terrorism.

Six weeks to Election Day, the once back-burner issue of national security is suddenly at the forefront amid rising American fears and the U.S. military's expanded campaign to destroy extremists in Iraq and Syria. The GOP, more trusted by the public in recent national polls to deal with foreign policy and terrorism, is using the threat as a political cudgel against Democratic House and Senate candidates.

"Radical Islamic terrorists are threatening to cause the collapse of our country," Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator trying to unseat first-term Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, says in a commercial. "President Obama and Sen. Shaheen seem confused about the nature of the threat. Not me."

A national Republican ad against two-term Rep. Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., calls him "dangerously wrong for our security" over black-and-white images of extremists. Another National Republican Congressional Committee ad describes Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., as "dangerously liberal."

National security rarely decides elections, especially congressional races, and jobs and the economy remain the overriding issue for voters this year. The GOP effort is part of a broader approach of linking Democrats to an unpopular President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings on handling foreign policy and dealing with terrorism have plummeted since U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Just 41 percent approve of Obama's handling of terrorism while 50 percent disapprove, according to last week's New York Times/CBS poll, which gave the president worse marks than Republican President George W. Bush in 2006. At the same time, Republicans had a hefty double-digit advantage of 52-31 percent on the question of which party is more trusted in dealing with terrorism and a 49-37 percent edge on foreign policy.

Democrats dismiss the notion that national security will be a defining issue in November.

"First of all, Americans expect both parties to rally against our enemies abroad, not to divide ourselves here at home for partisan gain," Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in an interview. "In fact, it's rather contemptible that while our troops are defending our security, Republicans are more concerned with their electoral security. And we can use that as an issue."

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, bemoaned "too much partisanship in security issues," at a breakfast with defense reporters Wednesday.

The political response to Obama's Mideast strategy is hardly clear-cut.

In the immediate aftermath of joint U.S. and Arab airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria on Monday, Republicans and Democrats rallied behind the president. Last week's debate and votes in Congress over arming Syrian rebels underscored that the political fault lines have changed, uniting GOP isolationists and Democratic liberals. It is a reflection of a wary and weary nation after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Shaheen backed arming and training the Syrian rebels, voting in favor of a measure giving Obama the go-ahead. A day later, Brown told a New Hampshire group he supported the Syrian program as well.

Republicans have found a growing concern about the terror threat among female voters, whose support for Democrats has proved crucial in presidential and congressional elections.

The gender gap was critical to Obama's re-election in 2012 as the Democratic president won 55 percent of female voters to 44 percent for Republican Mitt Romney.

In 2004, though, women didn't back the Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, in the same overwhelming numbers, with so-called national security moms preferring Bush. The president won re-election with 55 percent of the male vote and 48 percent of the female vote, according to exit polls. Kerry got 44 percent of the male vote and did just slightly better than Bush with female voters, 51 percent.

"You're going to see security moms voting in 2014," said Sarah Chamberlain, the head of Main Street Advocacy, a Republican group focused on electing pragmatic candidates.

Chamberlain will be encouraging women to vote this week with a stop in Charlotte, North Carolina, along with Reps. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., and Susan Brooks, R-Ind. So far, the main question from the 150 women who plan to attend has been security and protecting the family, Chamberlain said.

Sara Taylor Fagen, a Republican strategist who was a senior aide to Bush, said the issue is personal for women. Fagen recalled a focus group in 2004 in which one mother said her worst nightmare was learning about a terrorist attack and not knowing what child to pick up at school first.

"A large percentage of women in this country worry that one of these ISIS fighters shows up in this country," Fagen said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group.
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