Category Archives: Politics

A Christian Nation?

One of the key ingredients in the ideology of the Christian Right is the idea that America was founded as a Christian nation. And somehow this intention of the Founding Fathers has been thwarted by (pick one) -- liberals, judicial tyrants, the ACLU, secular humanists, all of the above. This idea is tremendously powerful. It asserts that "the Christians," (however one may define Christians), are the intended rulers of the nation, because that's what The Founding Fathers, and by extension, by implication, Read more [...]

The Ten Commandments – An Analysis

It's often said that the Ten Commandments are an important part of the foundation of American law. But how many of them are legally binding obligations under modern American law? (Let's focus on the list in Exodus, Chapter 20, King James Version.) "I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Not legally enforceable; in fact, the 1st Amendment would prohibit the government from enforcing this. Read more [...]

Quotes on Religion

One of the joys of the Internet is that it is easy to pick a subject…in this case, quotes regarding religion by prominent historical figures…and mine a seemingly inexhaustible lode of information.  I collected these gems from an ocean of web pages.  I quit when I tired of the game, but I had barely scratched the surface of what was available. Regarding the Patriot Act: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."  [Ben Read more [...]

On Establishment

The word ‘establishment’ in the famous phrase in the First Amendment to the Constitution that bans “…establishment of religion…” is a key to understanding the intent of our founders with respect to separation of church and state.  Here are a number of quotes, both historical and contemporary on the word ‘establishment.’ Alexander Hamilton defined establishment of religion as: the government support and protection of religion. “Remarks on the Quebec Bill,” in Hamilton Papers, Read more [...]

Kentucky Inquisition

I left a comment on a web site that described some political machinations in the state of Kentucky.   A county legal official promoted a questionnaire for local politicians, asking them about their religious views.  I thought that this was rather unusual, and possibly unconstitutional, and offered the following comment. "Jeff Sharp, the county attorney for Barren County in Kentucky sent a “survey” to all state legislators and legislative candidates asking them whether they “accept Jesus Read more [...]

A Letter to a Believer

It was more than ten years ago that two court cases made it to the Supreme Court.  They dealt with the display of religious messages, like the Ten Commandments, in publicly-owned facilities.  An elderly cousin of mine was horrified by those decisions, claiming that they violated the Constitution. He disparaged the SCOTUS justices as know-nothing political appointees. Since then my cousin has passed on, and if his religious beliefs were correct, he was summoned to appear before the SCITS....the Read more [...]

Dead Meat

The continuing attacks and investigations launched against Planned Parenthood (PP) have concentrated primarily on their donations of fetal tissue to medical research labs. The anti-abortion forces are outraged, asserting that PP is profiting from sales of it. They even launched a propaganda film based on highly-edited out-of-context quotes of PP employees that were illegally recorded. It is part of the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) national campaign that is attacking PP and Read more [...]

We’re Doing It For Your Own Good!

There is a new political movement in the US.  Well, maybe it isn’t new, but it is newly resurgent.  The recent Supreme Court decision striking down the abortion-suppression law in Texas is an example.  The proponents of that law claimed they were not singling out abortion clinics at all.  They were merely trying to safeguard the poor victimized women who were lured into those dens of iniquity. The Texas Legislature overwhelmingly passed a law back in 2013 that imposed strict regulations Read more [...]

A Conversation With Al on Gay Marriage

This is the fourth in a series of conversations on religious and moral topics with my fictitious friend Al who is a devout Christian.  If you haven't read the others, I recommend that you do so before reading this one.  The first three are: A Question of Faith Religion and Morality Conversations with Al: Diane It was a hot summer day, and we were enjoying the shade beneath the big tree in my back yard.  The first beer went down quickly, and we were on our second.  Al started Read more [...]

Mr. K’s Foreign Policy Fallacies

Charles Krauthammer recently wrote a piece titled “The Four Foreign Policies.”  It “analyzes” the proposed foreign policy of the four major candidates remaining in the race for President…Clinton, Sanders, Trump and Cruz.  Actually, Mr K (as I will call him) does no analysis.  What he writes is a screed, distorting the views of the two Democratic candidates, and blandly condoning the absurdities of his choice.  Let’s look at his words and compare them to reality. The assault on Read more [...]

THE TERRORISM THREAT

I just stumbled upon an essay I wrote in 2003, not long after the WTC attacks. There is a lot of anger in this piece. Since then, I have thought about this subject a lot, and my views have changed somewhat, but the threat we faced then has not diminished. In fact it has increased, with the growing power of ISIS to strike anywhere in the world. Where was I wrong, and what do you think I should change in this today, almost 13 years later? I have been reading various essays recently, spanning the Read more [...]

Dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism

This essay describes the thinking of a far-right fringe of Christianity. Most Christians probably disagree, and even deplore, the goals of these fanatics. But I think it is important that we understand what they propose…and would impose on the rest of us if they ever gained political power. I have collected this material over the years, and where possible, I have provided the sources. “There will never be world peace until God's house and God's people are given their rightful place of leadership Read more [...]

Adam Smith Would Be Shaking His Head

Adam Smith proposed in his 1776 book, "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," that if each individual in a society operates in his own best interest to maximize his economic gain, an "invisible hand" would guide his actions so that the best interests of the society at large will be served. Smith was a religious person, and he believed that the "invisible hand" was a benevolent god. This essay will show that Smith's notion, if it had any validity in the 18th century, Read more [...]

The Apologists Are Wrong

I listened to a heartfelt statement by a beautiful young Muslim woman the other day. She was adamant. ISIS terrorists who decapitate people and commit mass killings are not Muslims. They are criminals using Islam as an excuse to commit their atrocities. She was clearly as horrified by the attacks as I am. She insisted that Islam is a religion of peace, and she was devastated by the invective that was being directed at her religion. Public comments on the recent attacks in Paris, Mali and Beirut Read more [...]

On Entitlements

Entitlement:  Noun.  The right to a particular privilege or benefit, granted by law or custom. Conservatives hate entitlements. They lump Social Security, Medicare and many other government programs into the entitlement box. They hate them all. Conservatives in Congress want to privatize both Social Security and Medicare, and abolish Food Stamps, Aid for Dependent Children and any other program that helps people. They label them all ‘Socialism,’ and that is definitely a dirty word to conservatives. Now Read more [...]

The Solar Power Problem

Solar panel owners are selfish, hypocritical liars. They say that they put solar panels on their roofs because they generate clean, renewable energy, and that helps the environment and prevents global warming which everybody knows is a hoax. But we know they put up those solar panels just to get out of buying electricity from the power companies. Most of them still buy a little, but not as much as they should. So the power companies are not selling enough electricity, and they will have to raise Read more [...]

Populist Pope?

Pope Francis has become the darling of liberal media with his populist positions on climate change and economic inequality. This has caused some discomfiture among Right Wingers who would normally embrace anything the Pope says because of the Catholic Church’s adamant opposition to abortion and contraception. Now they are saying that the Pope should stay out of scientific and political affairs...except when they agree with him, of course. While his support on these issues is welcome, he is certainly Read more [...]

Sticks and Stones

Kim Davis does not believe in the separation of church and state. I think that is a pretty safe statement. The County Clerk of Moran County in Kentucky refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple. She cited her religious belief that homosexuality was a sin to justify her decision. The couple sued and won in court, but despite the judge’s decision, she adamantly refused to comply with the ruling and was sentenced to jail. The judge gave her an escape route. The clerks who work for her Read more [...]

Computers, Brains and Accountability

I spent a good part of my working life programming computers. I started in the late 60’s, almost fifty years ago. Back then, computers were the size of houses, and the programs were punched on cards. Data storage was on magnetic tape. Processors were slow and memory was small. But in the early 70’s when the microelectronics explosion happened, memories grew from kilobytes to megabytes to gigabytes to terabytes. Processor speed accelerated from kilohertz to megahertz to gigahertz. And of course Read more [...]

Ramifications of Population Control

The human population of the earth is now about 7 billion. Scientists who study these things think that the “sustainable” population is between 1.5 and 2.5 billion. Although the rate of increase has lessened in recent years, the population will continue to increase for some time unless mankind takes aggressive action to stabilize it. The Chinese government has attempted to rein in their population by limiting some families to one child. It occurred to me that society would change in some rather Read more [...]