Tag Archives: herman cain

What to do Wednesday: Debate or Baseball? Let’s go O’s!

Nate McLouth hits a lead off Home Run to lead the Orioles to victory over the Red Sox to clinch a Wild Card Berth 

There are three days remaining before the first Presidential debate and the end of the regular Major League Baseball season.

On Wednesday Barak Obama and Mitt Romney will go head to head in the first televised debate of the 2012 general election but as important as this event is in the political debate of 2012 I really couldn’t give a shit because I know how it is going to turn out. Romney is going to say really bad things about Obama, make himself look like an ass in the process and even if he does reasonably well in the debate will still end up looking like a pompous ass.  Obama is not going to say a whole lot except look nicer and more presidential than Romney and that will be it. Both sides will spin the results and make sound bites that fire up their base but I really don’t expect the debates to change the race that much. Obama will have to implode and Romney will have to actually come across as a human being that has a real plan that respects all Americans in order to win.

No matter what the profession soothsayers of political punditry say that is the real deal. Most people’s minds are pretty much made up and unfortunately Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan. If it attempts to “zing” President Obama it will make him look like Wile E Romney, or perhaps George Costanza of Seinfeld when he tried to get the one line zinger in at work.  Romney’s supporters talk about how well he did in the GOP primary debates when supposedly his “back was against the wall” he is facing Barak Obama, not Rick Perry, Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich.

So since I already know how that will go down there are just three games left in the regular season. The Orioles and Yankees are tied atop the AL East with both teams clinching a wild card berth with the A’s still hanging on. With three games left the Orioles travel to Tampa to play the Rays and the Yankees will play at home against their traditional blood rivals the Boston Red Sox.

The Orioles I think are the better bet. The Red Sox have sucked this season by I expect that they wouldn’t mind torpedoing the Yankees in the last series of the season. The Rays expected more this year but I think that the O’s will take two of three in Tampa.

Wednesday will matter more for baseball than for either the Romney or Obama campaigns.  The electorate is so helplessly divided that no-one is going to listen to what the opposing candidate says anyway. Peoples minds are made up and unless Obama actually admits to being a White Supremacist and comes out as a member of the KKK or Romney admits that he is a Gay Kenyan Socialist who masturbates to music the 1980s British Punk Rock group the Sex Pistols nothing is going to change much.  And even if they did their partisans would look for a way to exploit their candidate’s gaff to their advantage.

However baseball is another matter.  No matter if it is the AL East, AL West or the NL Wild Card race Wednesday will matter.  The Orioles, Yankees, Rays, Rangers, Athletics, Cardinals, Angels, Tigers, White Sox and Dodgers are still in the playoff mix. That is a lot of America, probably more than the voters that are still supposedly undecided.

So on Wednesday if the debate is still going when the Orioles are done playing I might tune in. But I know what really matters. Baseball will be here a lot longer than either Mitt Romney or Barak Obama.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Baseball, Batlimore Orioles, News and current events, Political Commentary

Loose Thoughts on a December Saturday: I’m not a Nurse, the Great Cain Wreck, the End at Camp Victory, LSU went to Georgia and Padre Steve Discovers Twitter….

Sitting on Saddam Hussein’s throne at Al Faw Palace Camp Victory Iraq 2007

Well it has been a week hasn’t it?  I mean really so much has happened and things just keep happening whether we want them to happen or not as the old adage goes “shit happens….”

For me it has been a hard week although in terms of hardness it has been Judy that has to endure more than me. Judy had surgery this week to remove a bone spur that had grown into her Achilles tendon. Remove of said bone spur a partial resection of the Achilles and she has not had a fun week. Especially with the nursing care available to her…me.

I admire and respect nurses beyond belief and now more than ever.  I don’t have a nursing temperament. When the TV show House MD began I was watching it with Judy and remarked that House was “me without Jesus” to which she responded “honey House is you with Jesus.”  I am a Myers-Briggs INTJ  which basically means that I am not the most warm and cuddly person in the world and I lack the qualities that make for a good and compassionate nurse.

Now I am very competent at doing things to help people including medical things, but that does not mean that I am good at the hands on work that nurses do with great skill and care. Unfortunately for Judy I am her nurse.  A few years back she had a surgical procedure and I did so bad that she said that I had went to the “Leave Them on the Ice Flow to Die School of Nursing.”  Now because of Global Warming there are no ice flows in our area so I have worked hard to help Judy. Having endured a broken leg last summer I have more patience and even empathy than I would have before.  However it has been hard on her and trying on me.  This week has made me more appreciative of nurses than I was before because I would last about a half a shift if I was a real nurse. Personally I am much more like House in that I like to be alone, come up with answers save the day and not get too attached to anything.  How Judy has dealt with me for all of these years is beyond me God bless her and for her sake I hope that her recovery goes really well.

But even as I have done my pitiful best to help and comfort Judy other things are going on in the world without considering that I have been too busy to write about them.  It is not right, the world should stop letting important things happen when I don’t have the time or am too tired to write about them.

I guess the biggest domestic news was that the “Herman Cain Train” became the new Great Cain Wreck as in yet another surreal news conference Cain suspended his campaign.  I don’t know if any of what Cain’s accusers stories have any validity.   However Cain’s responses to each accusation caused me to question his credibility.  I think that having a criminal lawyer introduce him at a press conference after the first accuser went public was part of this but not all. It took more than that. Likewise Cain’s plethora of inept interviews and answers to questions that serious Presidential candidates need to have answers have made me doubt his credibility as a candidate. This was echoed in the polls in which Cain had taken the lead and then saw it melt away as Newt, the new “Bob Dole” Gingrich has vaulted over his competition in many key states, no doubt helped by the Great Cain Wreck. I have no idea who will win the GOP nomination but if they want to defeat the most vulnerable Presidential incumbent that I have ever seen they need to do better.  My scientific polling at the Gordon Biersch bar is that most people are not thrilled with another four years of President Obama, and that many really don’t like him, but almost all view the current GOP field as “unexciting” “uninspiring” and “unprepared” and “un-presidential” bunch that they have ever seen. Jimmy Carter would have been so lucky to have had this bunch to run against rather than Ronald Reagan.  One of them may beat this very beatable President but none of them are Ronald Reagan, heck they make Bob Dole look inspired by comparison.

Across the ocean in the Land of Ur the U.S. Military handed over the massive base complex at Cap Victory over the the Iraqi government.  Camp Victory and the U.S. Air Base connected to it at the Baghdad International Airport was the great gateway in and out of Iraq for many US and coalition soldiers.  It was at one time a complex of palaces built by Saddam and from it U.S. commanders prosecuted the war in Iraq.  I went through it on the way in and out of Iraq. At the time it was a virtual city.  You went to bed with the sounds of combat and rockets and mortar rounds would land in the base even as U.S. and Iraqi forces battled insurgents not far from the perimeter of the base.  Despite this the base had the largest PX facility in country as well as many amenities that seemed like a different world when I went out to Al Anbar province and travelled among our advisors with Iraqi forces.  It had a myriad of fast food outlets, coffee houses and things that you might find on a base in the United States.  While there I did get the obligatory tour of the Al Faw Palace which served as the main headquarters building for Multi-National Corps Iraq and and sat in the throne presented to Saddam by Yasser Afafat.  At the end of my tour I travelled back through and was amazed at the amenities on the base.  Since it was only a stop over I never had any attachment positive or negative to it but just the same it is strange to imagine that this base which some imagined would be the hub of U.S. operations in the Middle East for decades is back in Iraqi hands. I sincerely hope and pray for the best for Iraq and all of its people.

Finally today back in Georgia where Herman Cain surprised no one by suspending his campaign the LSU Tigers surprised no one by whipping up on the Georgia Bulldogs in the Georgia Bowl.  The Tigers fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter but scored 42 unanswered points to remain undefeated and to play for the BCS National Championship.  As Bobby “Waterboy” Boucher would say the Tigers “put a can of whip-ass” on the Bulldogs.

Finally I have discovered the joy of Twitter.  Yes though I haven’t had time to put long coherent thoughts together this week I have discovered that I can put rich and pithy comments into 144 character tweets.  I said that I would never do this and I won’t demean anyone that subscribes to my Twitter account @padresteve by calling them “peeps” as I believe that no one besides little marshmallow chicks that proliferate at Easter should be called.

So with all of that said and more serious things to write about I bid you goodnight.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under healthcare, iraq,afghanistan, Loose thoughts and musings, Political Commentary

Sex Sells the News: The Cain Scandal and what is says about Us


 

“A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will in time produce a people as base as itself.” Joseph Pulitzer

“News is something somebody doesn’t want printed; all else is advertising.” William Randolph Hearst

Well let’s see what’s going on in the world, seems such a boring day for news don’t you think?

In world news somewhere across the sea close to 100,000 American servicemen and women are still battling the Taliban or hunting down Al Qaeda terrorists.  Old news, only interests people with relatives and friends in the military.

Wait, stop the presses there are reports that the Israelis might be getting ready to whack the Iranians.  Forget that until the missiles start flying its just foreplay.

But then there is the Arab spring which seems to be continuing to churn along, Gaddafi’s dead? Old news, forget it.

The Euro is about to be fried inGreeceas the Greeks seem to have re-discovered democracy at the expense of the great financial houses ofEuropeand neither the French nor Germans seem very happy about it. Boring….

In this country we are still dealing with record long term unemployment and the ongoing financial crisis are causing us to lurch along while the so called “Super Committee,” Congress and the Administration dither along figuring out ways to blame each other for the problems rather than working together to fix them….yawn….

But these are kind of old news or just boring; despite how important they are they lack the one important thing to make them interesting, a political sex scandal.

Let’s face it, sex sells advertising and the media no matter what side of the political spectrum and that is why all this other news that in one way or another will effect all of us is on the back burner until something really hits the fan.  I suppose if German Chancellor Angela Merkel was caught in a tryst with the Greek Prime Minister that might get the top spot in the day’s headlines but what we seem too really like in theUnited Statesare the good old fashioned political sex scandals.

Fortunately it seems that we may have one, I’m sure that they media would have rather had it involve President Obama, Speaker Boehner or Representative Pelosi or Cantor but we can be choosy can we? After all does it really matter who it involves so long as it involves political scandal and sex? Not to the media because they, especially the Cable news types at Fox, CNN and MSNBC have to find a way to fill 24 hours or programming and what would you rather watch cerebral analysis of complicated issues, tragedies involving blimps and kittens or the visceral hatred engendered by partisan political sex scandals?

Yes it is the latter and the mainstream and the alternative media both have their Jockey’s in a wad about a possible sexual harassment scandal regarding Herman Cain.  The sharks of the political media complex are circling and Cain is fighting back even getting a bit testy in the process. It’s great, if somewhat nauseating theater.  It has all the tawdry elements that we love and right now the cool thing is that they are all speculation based on accusations that we don’t know any details about.

What do know is that the Politico dropped a bombshell on the Cain campaign that seems to have caught both the candidate and his campaign flat footed. We know that in east one case that the National Restaurant Association made some kind of financial settlement that involved a confidentiality agreement. The campaign’s responses to the yet only speculated charges seem confused or evasive and seem to me to be rather amateurish.

We also know that the flying fickle fingers of blame are pointing at a number of different suspects. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are blaming the Liberal media and now the accusations are flying that this was a political hit job put on by Cain’s GOP opponents.  Cain’s campaign Chief of Staff has blamed the Perry Campaign which in turn has blamed the Romney campaign and the Romney campaign hasn’t figured out who to blame yet.  Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann are tossing in their two cents to pile on Cain.  Others in the GOP and even a conservative talk radio host inIowaare stirring the pot as well just to make it fun.

The sad thing is that for all the chumming of the water which is feeding this frenzy none of us as of tonight really knows anything. We have not heard any details and maybe we shouldn’t.  I know that I really don’t want to hear them but unless I decide to move to theCongoI probably will hear more than I want. Already there are people in the conservative media attempting to smear the accusers even without knowing who they are or what they charged.  To me the whole thing seems to be a ready made diversion from the things that are really bad.

Now as far as the Cain campaign and the charges leveled against him I would rather that things were handled maturely by all involved.  I hope that whatever the truth is that it will be shown and people can then make up their minds as to whether they want to support Cain or not based on the strength of his ideas and character.  If the allegations are true and his denials are lies shame on him.  If they are not then shame on those that have whipped this up and a pox on them. Regardless of how much importance our partisans on both sides of the aisle ascribe to it, the story will play out in due course and Cain’s candidacy will survive and grow stronger or come crashing down with the result that another Republican candidate will gather up at least some of Cain’s support.

We deserve better from those that aspire to lead us and those that have the duty to inform us.  They should know better and we should too.  Maybe it is also shame on us for indulging in the tawdry and dishonorable spectacle that passes for news and our tacit approval of those decide what stories get told regardless of their ideology or political spin on the events that we call news.  But then sex sells the news even better than blood.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Political Commentary

Yet another Meaningless Debate and Looking back to the Best Debate Parody Ever

Tonight is yet another in a series of rather meaningless Presidential debates for the Republican-Tea Party.  It should be relatively predicable unless Rick Perry was to draw his gun and shoot Michelle Bachmann.  Apart from something like that it should be about the same as the last two debates.  Everybody will attack Perry and Perry will shoot back hopefully in a figurative sense and beat on his chest about all of his Texas accomplishments while painting President Obama as a Commi Pinko Socialist who needs to face some Texas justice.

The rest will either be variations on the theme “Obama is evil and I am less like Obama than the rest of these dumb asses” or “if you elect me President I will wear a tri-corner hat at my inauguration and usher in utopia.”

Let’s face it, the debates we have now are simply time for every candidate to create his or her truth and sell it to us even if it is a complete lie. But then to quote Seinfeld’s George Costanza “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”  This is true of the candidates of both major parties.  Right now it just happens to be the Republicans in the spotlight.  However the title could be the 1992 same as the Saturday Night Live 1992 Presidential Debate “The Challenge to Avoid Saying Something Stupid”  and we know that is always a distinct possibility.

Of course there is the hope that Michelle Bachmann will say that Rick Perry supports illegal immigration which benefits Herman Cain’s Godfather’s Pizza chain and that Ron Paul sells marijuana to debate newcomer Gary Johnson from an illegal lemonade stand outside of Rick Santorum’s house while Newt Gingrich ogles her ass even as he accuses Mitt Romney of secretly wanting to marry John Huntsman in Massachusetts in a ceremony presided over by Barak Obama or something like that.

Unfortunately none of that will happen and we will be treated to the usual just on a different channel than last time.  For that reason I have my television on the MLB Channel and probably will put on season four of Boston Legal where Rick Perry’sBoston alter ego Denny Crane is played by William Shatner. As or the debate itself I will simple catch the lowlights later.

Unfortunately I cannot find the video of the 1992 Bush-Clinton-Perot debate anywhere on the web I will post the script here.  As you will see it is far more entertaining than anything that will be said tonight.

Saturday Night Live Debate ’92

Jane Pauley…..Julia Sweeney
Bernard Shaw…..Tim Meadows
Sam Donaldson…..Kevin Nealon
Bill Clinton…..Phil Hartman
President George Bush…..Dana Carvey
Ross Perot…..Dana Carvey (on tape)

Announcer: NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” will not be seen tonight, so that we may bring you this NBC News Special: “Debate ’92: The Challenge to Avoid Saying Something Stupid”. And now, here is your moderator, Jane Pauley.

Jane Pauley: Good evening. I’m Jane Pauley, and welcome to St. Louis for the first in our series of three presidential debates. Tonight’s debate among President George Bush, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, and diminutive Texas billionaire Ross Perot will begin in just a moment. But first, let me introduce my fellow panelists, CNN anchor Bernard Shaw and ABC News political correspondent Sam Donaldson. Now, let’s meet the candidates. Gentlemen. [ the three candidates enter the arena and stand behind their respective podiums ] The first question will be asked by Sam Donaldson.

Sam Donaldson: Governor Clinton, let’s be frank. You’re running for president, yet your only experience has been as the governor of a small, backward state with a population of drunken hillbillies riding around in pickup trucks. The main streets of your capital city, Little Rock, are something out of L’il Abner, with buxom underage girls in their cutoff denims prancing around in front of Jethro and Billy Bob, while corncob-pipe-smoking, shotgun-toting grannies fire indiscriminantly at runaway hogs.

Bill Clinton: I’m sorry, Sam, do you have a question?

Sam Donaldson: My question is: How can you stand it? Don’t you lose your mind living down there?

Bill Clinton: Sam, you must have watched too many of my opponent’s TV spots. I’m tired of the Bush campaign trying to portray my home state as some sort of primitive Third World country. The fact is, Arkansas did have a long way to go, but we’ve made progress. When I started as governor, we were fiftieth in adult literacy, and last year, I’m proud to say, we shot ahead of Mississippi. We’re #49, and we’re closing fast on Alabama. Watch out, Alabama – we got your number!

George Bush: Can I say something here? Two years ago, I went on a fishing trip in Arkansas with Baker, Fitzwater, Quayle, myself. We were chased and assaulted by a couple of inbred mountain people. I was sworn to secrecy as to those events, but suffice it to say, they felt that Dan Quayle – and I quote – “sure had a purty mouth.” Now, if that’s the kind of progress Bill Clinton brought to Arkansas.. I don’t think we need it in the White House!

Bill Clinton: That’s not fair. Just this year we passed Mississippi to become 41st in the prevention of rickets.

Ross Perot: Can I jump in here? Why are we talking about Arkansas? Hell, everybody knows that all they got down there is a bunch of ignorant inbred crackerheads! Peckerwoods, catch me? now, can we talk about the deficit? While we’ve been jabbering, our deficit has increased by half a million dollars. That’s enough to buy a still and a new outhouse for every family in Little Rock!

Bill Clinton: Will you shut up!

Ross Perot: Hold it there, cracker boy, I’m not finished!

George Bush: See that right there? Kind of makes you wonder whether these men have the temperament to be president. Would you tell Prime Minister Major to shut up? Would you call Boris Yeltsin a “Crackerhead”? Who wouldn’t you tell to shut up? Because you see, this election is about who can take the heat, who you want there when that secured phone in the White House rings at 3 AM. Do you want someone who will answer the phone politely: “Hello, this is the President. Speak slowly and clearly and tell me what the problem is.” Or do you want someone who’s cranky, who says, “This better be important,” or “Do you realize what time it is?” or simply says, “Shut up!” hangs up the phone and sleeps like a baby while the world burns!

Jane Pauley: Thank you, gentlemen. Now, Bernard Shaw has a question for Governor Clinton.

Bernard Shaw: Yes, Governor Clinton. If Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor the death penalty for her assailant?

Jane Pauley: Mr. Shaw, really. You don’t have to answer that, Governor Clinton.

Bill Clinton: No, no, I’m happy to answer that. Obviously, none of us want to see Kitty Dukakis raped and murdered, but if she had to be murdered I would hope it would be in Arkansas – because no state is tougher on crime. Last year we passed Florida to become #2 in executions by lethal injection, and first in crushed by heavy stones.

Jane Pauley: Mr. Perot? Rebuttal.

Ross Perot: I was hoping we’d get into the issues, but if this is the way the game is played – fine. So, if somebody were to lay a finger on Kitty Dukakis, I wouldn’t kill him right away. That’d be too easy. I’d wait for a hot Texas day, see? Tie him to a stake, get an ant trail going. You know, Texas red ants, inch long! Just love to bite into human flesh, catch what I’m saying here? See, they’re eating him alive, nice and slow like. And I’d sit with him in the shade under an umbrella, maybe with a lemonade, sit back and say to the fella, “How do you like them apples?” And he’ll be screaming, “When am I gonna die?” and I’d say, “I don’t know exactly, and frankly, I resent your question.” Catch my drift?

Jane Pauley: THank you. Now, let’s turn to the deficit. President Bush, during your term, the deficit has grown by over a trillion dollars.

George Bush: I know.

Jane Pauley: Honestly now, don’t you feel some kind of tax hike will be needed to reduce the deficit?

George Bush: Jane, the answer is no! I will never raise taxes again! Never, ever, ever, ever.. never, ever again! And I mean never, ever, ever, ever, never ever..!!

Jane Pauley: Thank you, Mr. Presi..

George BushNever, ever, ever!

Jane Pauley: Mr. President, please..

George BushEver, ever again!

Jane Pauley: Sam Donaldson, with a question for Governor Clinton.

Sam Donaldson: Governor Clinton, this week the big story has been your 1969 trip to Moscow, and your involvement in antiwar activities. Some have ven suggested that while in Moscow, you had meetings with KGB agents. Isn’t it fair to say that you haven’t really told the American people the full story?

Bill Clinton: Sam, this kind of attack shows how desperate the Bush campaign has become. Yes, I did go to Moscow by train in 1969. And while on the train, I struck up a conversation with a man in the seat next to me. He gave me a package to take to Moscow and instructed me to leave it folded in a newspaper in a kiosk across from Lenin’s tomb. I’ve explained this many times. Yes, the KGB did subsequently pay my way through law school, but that was the last contact I had with the KGB until years later when Hillary and I were having problems, and it was a KGB agent, Nikolai Kuznetsov, who let me stay at his place for a while until we patched things up.

Sam Donaldson: But isn’t it true that during one of the peace demonstrations you burned an American flag in Red Square?

Bill Clinton: I tried to burn an American flag once. I didn’t like it. It gave off toxic fumes, so I didn’t inhale.

Ross Perot: Can I say something here?

Jane Pauley: Mr. Perot.

Ross Perot: I think that’s just sad.

Jane Pauley: President Bush?

George Bush: Once again, it all comes down to trust. Who’s been there? I’ve been with Mitterand, I’ve met with Major, I know the White House. I know the door outto the Rose Garden doesn’t lock unless you pull it. I know the toilet in the Lincoln Bedroom will run all night unless you jiggle that handle. It’s not enough to flush it, you’ve got to jiggle it! I know Air Force One. I know that seat 8G does not fuly recline. If we are flying the Prime Minister of Canada to a trade conference, I alone can say, “Mr. Mulroney, seat 8G does not fully recline, I suggest you use another!”

Jane Pauley: All right, Mr. Bush, our time is up. Each candidate will be allowed a brief closing statement. Governor Clinton?

Bill Clinton: Thank you, Jane. We’ve talked about many issues tonight. But this election is really about one thing – change. Over the last twelve years, more and more Americans have found themselves working longer and harder for less and less. [ President Bush glances at Clinton and sees the vision of a hippy standing behind the podium ] We need to invest in our people again. Because together, all of us, pulling as a team, we can do it! Thank you.

Jane Pauley: President Bush?

George Bush: My fellow Americans, this election is about leadership and trust. Now, our opponents have tried to portray us as the party of the rich and privileged, ignoring the fact that our economic program has created more opportunity for more Americans than in any twelve-year period in history. [ Clinton glances at President Bush and sees the vision of an old lady standing behind the podium ] Well, let me tell you something: I’m not worth $3.3 billion, and I wasn’t educated at Oxford. But I know how to lead this country to victory in the Persian Gulf, and I can do it again here at home!

Jane Pauley: Mr. Perot?

Ross Perot: This whole thing fascinates me, really. See, you don’t have to be a Ph.D. at Harvard to know that our kids are going to inherit a $4 trillion deficit, and that’s just a crime. [ Clinton and President Bush glance at Perot and see the vision of a munchkin from “The Wizard of Oz” ] Now, if I’m president, we start cleaning up this mess on Day One. It’s gonna take some sacrifice, no doubt about it. But I know the American people are ready to sacrifice as long as it’s fair. This is your country, let’s take it back.

Jane Pauley: Thank you, Mr. Perot, don’t you have one last thing to say?

Ross Perot: No, I can’t. I’m on tape. [ looks at Bush ] Why don’t
you do it, live-boy?

George Bush: “Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night!

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Filed under Just for fun, Political Commentary, purely humorous

The Double Edged Sword of Denying Religious Rights

Puritans in Massachusetts Bay Colony Hanging Quakers

“Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?” James Madison

“We believe that institutionally Christianity should be the official religion of the country, that its laws should be specifically Christian” David Chilton (leader in Christian Reconstructionist and Dominionist Theology)

We love to talk about religious liberty in the United States, especially we who are of the Christian faith.  In fact religious liberty is deeply entwined in the story of the United States of America.  We love to call attention to those brave souls that came to North American search of religious liberty to the point that sometimes we fail to realize that we  have moved from history to myth.  The story of the Massachusetts Bay Colony is heralded by many conservative Christians as a triumph of religious liberty as English Separatist dissenters established that colony in the New World.  The story of the religious liberty of that colony is enshrined in the myth of American history presented by David Barton of Wall Builders and others that embrace the political, theological and historical ideas of R. J. Rushdooney who is the originator of Christian Reconstructionism or Dominionism.

I was introduced to this theology while attending college and attending a church of the Presbyterian Church in Americain denomination in theLos Angeles area.  We had a speaker come to the church who presented a series on “America’s Christian History.” It was a very Dominionist centered presentation and I remember buying a number of the books that the man was selling many of which are found in current Home School resources available on the internet.  It did not take long for me to see that what was being promoted bore little resemblance to historic fact. Now I find it hard to believe that what I was introduced to then is so influential today.

Unfortunately the myth of how the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and others like them does not address the fact that for these people religious liberty that mattered was their religious liberty.  Dissenters in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were persecuted with some being tried as heretics and burned at the stake.  The colony was a theocracy which is by many on the Christian Right being held up as a model of government.  The late Dr. D. James Kennedy an early popular exponent of Dominionist theology stated:

“Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost, as the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors — in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”

Gary North a leader in the Christian Reconstructionist movement and son-in-law of R. J. Rushdooney noted:

“The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel.” Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), p. 87.

An increasing number of conservative Christians seem to like religious freedom so long as it is theirs and some like David Barton will willingly falsify the historical accounts to bolster their position. Barton once quoted William Penn as saying “Whatever is Christian is legal; whatever is not is illegal” claiming that it was in the 1681 Pennsylvania Constitution or “Frame.” However the phrase is not in the document which is one of the most progressive civil documents of its era and goes out of its way to promote religious freedom and tolerance. Penn who was a member of the heavily persecuted Quaker denomination understood how deeply persecution and intolerance was ingrained in the Christian church, Protestant and Catholic.  The 1701 Charter of Privileges noted:

“no Person or Persons, inhabiting in this Province or Territories, who shall confess and acknowledge One almighty God, the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the World; and profess him or themselves obliged to live quietly under the Civil Government, shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their conscientious Persuasion or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind, or to do or suffer any other Act or Thing, contrary to their religious Persuasion.”

Penn’s Declaration of Rights stated:

“All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishment or modes of worship.”

Yet the modern leaders of the Christian Right seem ready to in their writings and public statements are willing to embrace theocracy over freedom a position much more like the Iranian Mullah’s than our nation’s founders. The clash was highlighted for me today when Herman Cain a Republican Presidential Candidate, Christian minister and former CEO of Godfather Pizza claimed that it was the right of communities to deny Moslems the opportunity to build mosques I their community.  While being interviewed on Fox News Sunday Cain said:

“Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state, Islam combines church and state. They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people of that community do not like it. They disagree with it.” Herman Cain

I don’t deny that in heavily Moslem countries that Islam and government are linked, but the same is true with those that promote Dominionist theology.  Their models of government are much like Islam, rather than Sharia law imposed by radical Islamists the imposed law is “Biblical law” or Biblical justice.  Take Greg Bahnsen:

“The New Testament teaches us that–unless exceptions are revealed elsewhere–every Old Testament commandment is binding, even as the standard of justice for all magistrates (Rom. 13:1-4), including every recompense stipulated for civil offenses in the law of Moses (Heb 2:2). From the New Testament alone we learn that we must take as our operating presumption that any Old Testament penal requirement is binding today on all civil magistrates. The presumption can surely be modified by definite, revealed teaching in the Scripture, but in the absence of such qualifications or changes, any Old Testament penal sanction we have in mind would be morally obligatory for civil rulers.”  Greg Bahnsen, No Other Standard (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), p. 68.

Gary North echo’s Bahnsen when he wrote:

“The principle of interpretation which is supposed to govern Christian orthodoxy is that Christ came to establish, confirm, and declare the Old Testament law (Matt. 5:17-18). Only if we find an explicit abandonment of an Old Testament law in the New Testament, because of the historic fulfillment of the Old Testament shadow, can we legitimately abandon a detail of the Mosaic law.

The proper exegetical principle is this: Mosaic law is still to be enforced, by the church or the State or both, unless there is a specific injunction to the contrary in the New Testament.”  Gary North, The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandments (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1986), pp. 242, 255.

Personally I cannot find a difference in those that advocate Sharia and those that advocate for the imposition of their understanding and interpretation of “Biblical law.” The scriptures that they use may be different but the message is the same, religious law stands above civil law.  As far as teachings of Jesus that conflict with the militaristic dominion advocated by North, Rushdooney and others they are reinterpreted in ways never put forth by orthodox Christians of any kind. North wrote concerning Jesus telling his disciples to turn the other cheek:

“Nevertheless, this one fact should be apparent: turning the other cheek is a bribe. It is a valid form of action for only so long as the Christian is impotent politically or militarily. By turning the other cheek, the Christian provides the evil coercer with more peace and less temporal danger than he deserves. By any economic definition, such an act involves a gift: it is an extra bonus to the coercing individual that is given only in respect of his power. Remove his power, and he deserves punishment: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Remove his power, and the battered Christian should either bust him in the chops or haul him before the magistrate, and possibly both.” Gary North, “In Defense of Biblical Bribery,” in R.J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Nutley, NJ: Craig Press, 1973), p. 846.

As far as any tolerance for any other religions or those at variance with the intensely hyper-Calvinist theology of the Dominionists there is none, not even for the Jews.  Chilton makes this case in the most severe of terms.

“The god of Judaism is the devil. The Jew will not be recognized by God as one of His chosen people until he abandons his demonic religion and returns to the faith of his fathers–the faith which embraces Jesus Christ and His Gospel.” David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1984), p. 127.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association claims:

Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy. While there certainly ought to be a presumption of religious liberty for non-Christian religious traditions in America, the Founders were not writing a suicide pact when they wrote the First Amendment.”(Blog post of23 March 2011)

Pat Roberston extends such to fellow Christians:

“You say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.” — Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, January 14, 1991

So the cry of Herman Cain that Islam is somehow unique in attempting to infuse religion into government is a fabrication because many Christians, especially he and his allies do the same thing.  This attempt to radically reinterpret American History and the Constitution as assuming that the founders of the country desired to found a theocracy is patently deceitful and being used to stir up otherwise wonderful Christians into embracing something that is neither American or Christian.

When I see Texas Governor Rick Perry organizing a “Prayer Rally” called “The Response” which is exclusively Christian and sponsored by a large number of ministers and ministries that embrace Dominionist theology, some in ways even more radical than I have mentioned here I get worried.  I don’t have any problem with Christians deciding to get together to pray for the country but when I see a likely Presidential candidate sponsoring such an event I have to ask myself if the event is simply a religious gathering or a partisan political rally cloaked with a veneer of Christianity.  Honestly I have to think that it is the latter.

Roger Williams the founder of the Rhode Island Colony was driven from the Massachusetts Bay Colony after being convicted of sedition and heresy. Williams had dared to criticize the treatment of the Indians, refused to sign a loyalty oath and was convicted of spreading “diverse, new, and dangerous opinions.” Williams later said:

“Enforced uniformity confounds civil and religious liberty and denies the principles of Christianity and civility. No man shall be required to worship or maintain a worship against his will.”

In the early days of this country a number of the former colonies retained their respective State religion.  In Virginia Anglicans fought to maintain their status as the state religion and persecuted other groups, especially Baptists.  The Constitution had said nothing about the Christian faith in fact Article VI specifically stated that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights guaranteed that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….

The Dunking of Baptist Pastors David Barrow and Edward Mintz in the Nansemond River by Virginia Anglicans 

While some have advanced that this was to keep the State from meddling in the business of religion it was actually brought about by the complaints of Virginia Baptists who were being persecuted by Anglicans. Madison and Jefferson both understood this andMadisonexpressly noted the danger of establishing the Christian faith as a State religion.

“Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?”

John Leland a leader of the Virginia Baptists attacked the foundation of what the current advocates of Dominionism in the Christian Right teach.  Leland cannot be accused of not being a Christian; he was an evangelical Christian in his day. He was not a Deist as were many of the founders of the country who Barton claims were evangelical Christians, he certainly was a believer in Christ and he understood the danger of this based on the history of persecution of Baptists in England, the New World and their cousins on the European continent, the Mennonites and Anabaptists by state mandated Churches. Leland wrote:

“The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever…Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another.  The liberty I contend for is more than toleration.  The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.”

To me it seems that the current push by the Dominionists that now lead the Christian Right is based on the fear that they cannot win the hearts of people by their witness as did the early church. Instead they must rely on the power of the government.  Those that oppose them are the enemy or aligned with the Devil himself.

If Cain wants to allow communities to ban Mosques then he should also allow those more secular communities to deny the same to Christian churches.  But wait…that’s Christian persecution.  Maybe Catholic neighborhoods can ban Protestants and Evangelical communities can ban Catholics or mainline Protestants. Rich Episcopalians then could ban those unsophisticated Pentecostals and Baptists from their neighborhoods.

Yes the sword cuts both ways. When any religious group turns to the government to advance its agenda and force its point of view on others it not only tramples their rights as Americans but also places their rights in danger.  I think that is why Madison  wrote toward the end of his life:

“The settled opinion here is, that religion is essentially distinct from civil Government, and exempt from its cognizance; that a connection between them is injurious to both; that there are causes in the human breast which ensure the perpetuity of religion without the aid of the law; that rival sects, with equal rights, exercise mutual censorships in favor of good morals; that if new sects arise with absurd opinions or over-heated imaginations, the proper remedies lie in time, forbearance, and example; that a legal establishment of religion without a toleration could not be thought of, and with a toleration, is no security for and animosity; and, finally, that these opinions are supported by experience, which has shewn that every relaxation of the alliance between law and religion, from the partial example of Holland to the consummation in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, &c., has been found as safe in practice as it is sound in theory. Prior to the Revolution, the Episcopal Church was established by law in this State. On the Declaration of Independence it was left, with all other sects, to a self-support. And no doubt exists that there is much more of religion among us now than there ever was before the change, and particularly in the sect which enjoyed the legal patronage. This proves rather more than that the law is not necessary to the support of religion” (Letter to Edward Everett, Montpellier, March 18, 1823).

Madison’s words are well worth considering now.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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