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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Poll: Readers Don't Want Politics (Howie's or Otherwise) from Pulpit

Gordon Howie thought he could win support with his latest political stunt, calling on pastors to break the law (and perhaps violate the tenets of Christianity—something about false idols?) and endorse him from the pulpit. Gordon Howie was wrong.

The latest Madville Times poll asked "Do you want your pastor (rabbi, etc.) to endorse political candidates from the pulpit?" By a margin of almost 7 to 1, you said no:
  • Yes: 13% (15 voters)
  • No: 87% (103 voters)
Now Bob Ellis will tell you you're all a bunch of ignorant, immature liberals who are embracing the dark instead of reading your Bibles. But I humbly suggest that you, my South Dakota readers, are much more of the mind of MHS alumnus and good Catholic Phil Germann, who notes that candidates are too fallible and politics too complex and subjective for a pastor or a church to officially hitch its wagon to any one candidate or political party. (That's a short version of some very thoughtful arguments that you should read.)

Howie's political pulpit stunt won't win him any votes he didn't already have. It shows Howie is more interested in stunts and slogans than connecting with a majority of the electorate and offering real plans for practical governance.

p.s.: Further evidence of Howie's election-losing obsession with the culture wars: his vow to use abortion as a litmus test for state employees.


  1. Yes, I am thoroughly impressed by the results of a liberal poll at a liberal blog.

    Fortunately that is one of the good things about a constitutional republic over a democracy: in a constitutional republic, the constitution reigns supreme, and a mob is not allowed to subvert the constitutional protections of others.

    Let's get back to obeying our constitution before we destroy this great republic with our self-centered childishness.

  2. ...a liberal poll, on a liberal blog, which is watched like a hawk by conservative crusaders like Bob Ellis on Google Alerts. Anyone who pays attention to the comment section can see I have a pretty interesting cross-section of readers, many of whom disagree passionately with me on important issues.

  3. ...besides, to win, Howie has to get the mainstream Republican vote in June and the vast middle in November. (Oh, sorry, didn't mean to make you gentle readers laugh milk out your nose by mentioning "Howie" and "November" in the same sentence.) I will maintain that this poll gives a fair picture of the lack of traction Howie is getting with this stunt.

  4. I wonder how that poll would turn out on my blog.

  5. Cory,

    Thank you for this. I think there should be a new call to Atheists and others who care about this issue to start making the rounds every Sunday to monitor what is happening in 'places of worship'. With enormous deficits being faced throughout all levels of government in this country, monitoring this Christian Nationalist, vigilantly activity would be the patriotic American thing to do. These guys feel the 501C3 laws do NOT apply to them and their orgs must pay into the system that desperately needs the funds.

  6. Sorry, not enough coffee this morning, vigilante not vigilantly.

  7. Steve! Run the poll! I'm curious, too! I'll link it!

  8. Hey! I got a byline! Mom would be so proud.

    I didn't vote, though. :-(

  9. The tax-exempt status of religious institutions, while affirmed by Congress, is protected by the Constitution (the power to tax is the power to destroy) under the First Amendment.

    Similarly, since Nancy Pelosi just urged the Bishops and other leaders to preach from the pulpit on the immigration issue, there is pretty broad understanding that Preachers have a broad authority to speak to political issues.

    Finally, atheism has been interpreted to be a religion (and I agree) so there is nothing that prevents atheists from forming a tax-exempt "church."

    Personally, I'd prefer to protect the Constitutionality of a atheist or even Nazi-centered "church" than bear the Nazi-like monitoring suggested by Hans with the implied threat some speech from the pulpit is illegal or unconstitutional.

    Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Assembly is being assaulted with impunity and I think this poses the biggest threat to our democratic republic than even the irresponsible failure of Obama to deal with our budget crisis.

    But, I digress a bit. While I think preachers should exercise caustion and wisdom on any overtly political issue or candidate they discuss from the pulpit because their first mission is to lead people to Heaven and not change this world, there should be no legal limits to what they say from the pulpit.

  10. Bob's comment is truly epic. Only he would tell us to follow one set of rules in one breath and then tell us that we're doing it wrong in the second because our interpretation is wrong and that to do it right we need to read between the line to truly understand what the founders of the country wanted. Oh the irony.

  11. "...no legal limits..."? Hold on, Troy: everybody has legal limits on what they can say.

    I have yet to hear anyone explain how urging people to vote for a specific, fallible human for a political office moves anyone a step closer to heaven. I thought we were saved by grace, not by votes for Gordon.

    And atheism is not a religion, any more than registered independents constitute a political party. Even if it were, I still wouldn't want to go to atheist "church." What would be the point? Hanging out with other atheists just strike me as a high priority (it's also hard to find a quorum around here ;-) ). I don't need a church for political action.

    But I'll admit, I'm somewhat open to letting the market rule here. If this poll is any indication, a pastor who uses the pulpit to promote the candidates of his choice stands to lose parishioners. And if Mission #1 really is to lead people to heaven (are you sure about the theology there?), then doing things from the pulpit that alienate parishioners appears to hinder that mission.

  12. Troy,

    Two wrongs don't make a right. I completely disagreed with Nancy Pelosi's move and the Catholic church.

    Atheism is far from a 'religion' and would love to hear who you think is interpreting it as such.

    I completely agree with you on many of our freedoms are under attack. Freedom of speech has been permitized to death in our nation's cities where a group in protest can not gather without a permit. Very dangerous indeed. However, how is freedom of religion being assaulted? I don't find that to be the case at all and actually find it to be the complete opposite.

    You mentioned supporting the constitutional rights of an 'Atheist' or 'Nazi-centered' church to protect the constitution. How about citizens who pay their taxes in this country, yet aren't afforded the same constitutional rights you have? Is that something you'd fight for?

    I digress, all 501C3 are required to have audits. Citizens assisting in that audit process of an organization if it is TRULY operating within the law is not "Nazi monitoring".

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Cory:

    I meant "no legal limits" in the context of advocating/discussing political matters or political candidates.


    You might not think what Pelosi did is right but you aren't the Fuhrer. The Constitituion protects freedom of speech, religion and assembly.

    Religion is defined in the dictionary as "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects." Atheism is a set of beliefs about God, etc.

    Just because you don't want to be associated with a religion doesn't mean you aren't.

    More relevant to this discussion as the Supreme Court has ruled many times that atheism is afforded protections as a religious belief under the First Amendment.

    Oh woe is Hans, the poor little victim. I will defend your right to form a church around your atheistic beliefs. Your failure to exercise your rights doesn't mean you are victimized.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Tony, the truth about our history and government is so amazingly clear, only a liberal could protest that one must "read between the lines" to discern the truth. Ascertaining the truth only becomes difficult when one wants to find a way to avoid that truth while professing an interest in it.

    Your comment is proof that trying to explain things to a liberal is like trying to reason with a spoiled 5 year old--it's a thankless task and time that might be better spent talking to a fencepost. I just don't know of a kinder way to describe such deliberate ignorance.

  17. Interesting position about Atheism being a religion of sorts, Troy. I suppose the operative word is "belief." And in that context, there are perhaps lots of "religions" that we generally fail to recognize as such. (Red Sox true believers, for example, or Apple computer devotees.)

    Perhaps "agnostic" would be a better word to use, if what one truly means in questioning the existence of a supreme being is, "I don't know that there is, nor do I know there is not."

    In other words, "faith" as opposed to "knowing."

    Just thinking out loud over here...

  18. Troy,

    Fuhrer? Wow. How odd to go there Troy... I only wanted to point out that I didn't agree with Nancy Pelosi's decision.

    There are many Atheist non-profit orgs and I actually belong to one. I took offensive in defining Atheism as a religion when it's not about belief, but lack of.

    Glad to also hear that you would defend the constitutional rights of homosexuals since that was what I was talking about and you jumped to some other conclusion.

    You seem angry... Lighten up my friend, life is too short.

  19. Hans,

    Just as every discussion isn't about abortion, spending, taxes, private property, I apologize for not seeing this discussion was about the rights of people who are homosexual. But to your point, nor do I hold a single position which denies a Constitutional right to a homosexual.

  20. Hans,

    To your point about atheism not being a religion (set of beliefs), words matter and so do their definition. Atheism is a lack of belief in God but it IS a belief there is no God. To have a intelligent discussion with someone who makes up their own definitions is impossible.

  21. Troy,

    Again, you jumped to the conclusion that I felt unprotected by the constitution by not starting an "Atheist church", now you jump to the conclusion that "this is all about homosexuality".

    I think we agree on having a lack of an intelligent conversation with one another. You seem really angry and keep jumping to conclusions. I'm also not resorting to name calling, "fuhrer".

    Team members of baseball game believing they are #1 would then qualify under your definition as a religion. Please...

    Have a good day Troy.

  22. People came to this country to relieve themselves from religious oppression and just plain oppression. It's damning to sit aside if they try to push candidates that share the same religious rule book to shape public policy. It's complete disrespect and void the belief people can make their own decisions. Nothing is more intimate. For the same reasons people left the old country it's essentially worth fighting for.

    Then again Bob (and Bobs everywhere) would be happy to tell you what to think because don't forget, he's the authority on right and wrong. Bob knows what's best for you, and his candidates know the best policy for you.

  23. JohnSD, I know this may be startling and probably scary to you, but that "religious rule book" you so loathe is the same one used by those very same people who came here to escape oppression. It is the same one believed in by almost all of the founders, and the same one that has shaped our government and our public policy for over 20 years.

    No one is forced to believe that "religious rule book" in America, but you should be getting down on your knees and thanking God for that "religious rule book" because without it you could be living it up in a country like one in the Middle East, Cuba, the former Soviet Union, North Korea, or one of those infinitely more tolerant, free and prosperous nations.

    Nobody likes being shown that they were wrong about something, but that's sometimes the job pastor's have, and when we're wrong, it's for our good to have it pointed out to us. Surely you wouldn't like your doctor to pat you on the back and tell you how wonderful you are, ignoring the tumor he detected in your body lest he offend you or "tell you what's best for you."

  24. These guys are wrong, or the quotes all out of context?

    "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries."
    James Madison

    "Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."
    Thomas Jefferson

    ". . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist."
    Benjamin Franklin

    "Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society."
    George Washington

    "The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles."

    “Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.”
    John Adams

  25. From the Treaty of Tripoli (passed unanimously by the senate):

    "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."




  26. John, I am not sure I get your point with all these quotes relative to this topic. I generally agree with them.

    I'm having a hard time putting them in the context there is something wrong with a Pastor speaking about an issue or candidate from the pulpit.

    I also find it ironic that people who defend every professor's right to babble nonsense in the name of "intellectual freedom" are so quick to deny the same right to a Pastor. Both are being said from either tax-exempt or directly subsidized state institutions.

    Professors are accountable to their institution and Pastors to their church. Again, it is ironic that so-called liberals call for censorship from the federal government.

  27. I'm disagreeing with Cory we should let the numbers decide as though sermonizing is a marketplace unaffected by laws and constitutional intent. It's one thing to talk politics from the pulpit, another to make candidate recommendations, and further to believe we are a Christian state (where Bob Ellis is headed). The religious right would like to push their agenda by having us believe Christianity is integral to our form of government, which is simply untrue. Our belief system is personal, not one controlled by religious dogma or worse the government by that religious dogma. If the founders wanted us to be a Christian nation, wouldn't they have mentioned it in the Constitution?

    Bob Ellis pushed me to do a little reading, none of which is supporting his position.

    Our Godless Constitution:


  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Troy, there is no censorship of pastors. They can advise their flock to vote for anyone they like, they just simply lose their 501C3 status is all. Not a big deal and it's the law.

    Also, professors 'babbling nonsense' is continuing education where students are educated on new ways of looking at the world around them. They have freedom of choice to take that in after testing or not. No professor is linking different ideas to 'going to heaven or hell'. Please...

    Clearly you never went to college Troy, that explains a lot.

    Obvious that you Christian Nationalists think you are above the law here and that this law doesn't apply to you.

  30. Hans, whoops! Mr. Jones is a graduate of The George Washington University with a Bachelor of Business Administration concentrating in Finance.

    He is also a very devout Catholic, and not, as you seem to be suggesting, a protestant, evangelical Christian. Just so you know.

    I've found that these conversations have a lot of emotional triggers attached to them on both sides, and that it IS possible to keep them objective.

    And in that regard, a little humor and self deprecation goes a long way, especially with Troy, who after all is actually a gentleman, an Emersonian intellectual and a staunch advocate of personal liberty, even when he tries as hard as he can not to be.

  31. JohnSD, I'm glad my debunking of your error motivated you to do a little reading. I would suggest, though, that you look in a reputable place for information instead of a God-hating, merica-bashing website that can be counted on to distort any subject with liberal propaganda.

    I would also like to point out that you are either wrong or are intentionally misrepresenting me and everything I have said on this subject, in that I am not (and no one is, to my knowledge) trying to create a theocracy in the United States. We have never had one, and no one in their right mind wants one.

    At the same time, it is the height of ignorance or deception (you take your pick) to claim that our nation was not founded by Christians on Christian principles, and that these Christian principles guided both the foundation of our government and our public policy throughout our history.

    The U.S. Constitution says our government was formed to, among other things, "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Who provides blessings? Santa Claus? No, God supplies blessings. And as Thomas Jefferson affirmed, "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time."

    The Constitution also specifies that elected officials will be sworn into office. When one swears an oath, one does so in recognition of making a sacred promise in the presence of a deity, with the understanding that punishment from that deity is merited if the oath is broken. Since almost all of the founders were Bible-believing Christians, it isn't too hard to figure out what deity they had in mind.

    Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution specifies that, when counting the number of days a president has to sign or veto a bill, Sundays do not count. What is Sunday best known for? The Christian day of worship, set aside as a special day for honoring God, in accordance with the Bible.

    The U.S. Constitution states that it was finished "in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven."

    Not exactly a sanitized, secularist document, considering the founders intentionally prohibited a state church or state religion. (CONT)

  32. (CONT)

    One more error I'd like to point out: to your mistaken assertion that it is somehow wrong for a pastor to commend or condemn a candidate from the pulpit based on their promotion of or hostility to moral values, you could not be more wrong. While some pastors may be deluded into thinking their job is "keynote motivational speaker" or "CEO, Church" or some other nonmoral role, the job of a pastor is to be the moral teacher and leader of a church. He is not to be, as stated in 2 Timothy chapter 4, an "ear tickler" to make people feel good about their sin, but someone who holds "firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught" and "encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it" (Titus chapter 1). That passage also says those who mislead and deceive should be rebuked sharply.

    Christian doctrine teaches that God created the universe and everything in it, and he established the scientific and moral law which governs the universe and all people in it. There is no area of life where God is "off limits" and no area of our lives where God's moral law does not have something to say. The area of public policy is far from the least of these areas, as it affects the lives and property rights of others (murder, theft, rape, vandalism, injustice) and the policies elected officials promote or oppose in turn promote or oppose the moral fiber of our society. There may be a crop of candidates where there is no clear moral leadership or opposition to morality among the group; usually, however, there will either be one who stands out as someone who wills strengthen the moral fiber of a society, or one who will erode it...or both.

    This is something our leaders and the people alike understood from our founding until Senator Lyndon Johnson's self-interested and unconstitutional 1954 tax code modification. It was the act of an opportunistic politician, and a mistake we should correct.

    I asked the open-minded readers (however few there may be) at Madville yesterday to read some information I supplied which overwhelmingly and beyond any reasonable doubt that America was founded by Christians on Christian principles, and that the founders hoped and expected those principles to guide our nation--even and especially without a state religion or church.

    I again encourage you and everyone else to take the time to read what the founders said; not what some God-hating liberal makes up about them, but what they themselves said.

  33. Bob, I'll let language like "God hating liberal" pass if and only if you will concede that there are "God hating conservatives", and libertarians, and yes, even Christians too. I'd also like to hear you acknowledge that such epithets are, in the final analysis, unproductive and are more a function of your irrationally (and to my ear, childishly) venting your emotional spleen and flaunting your self-aggrandized ego. But first, let's be clear. I'm not looking for signs of shame from you, Bob, but rather emotional maturity and intellectual integrity. And get it that I'm only asking, not demanding.

  34. Bill, noted and thanks. You'd honestly never know judging what he's posted here...

  35. Hans, you're welcome, good sir. Hang in there with him a little. You'll see.

  36. Bill, I'm not concerned what you'll "let pass" and what you won't. I'm concerned with the truth, and concerned about those who may be misled and damaged by the absence of it.

    I can try to refute your error nicely, yet you and Cory and almost all of your fellow liberals, instead of being able to acknowledge the truth staring you right in the face, only respond with more defiant lies and misrepresentation. Lord John Maynard Keynes said, "When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?" Sadly, your pattern is instead to obfuscate and deny those facts all the more vehemently.

    Like your dodge about "God hating conservatives." For all I know there might be some God-hating conservatives (though by virtue of what makes a conservative a conservative, it's highly unlikely) and possibly some God-hating libertarians, but no Christian can, by definition, be a God-hater. One need only look in a newspaper or take a casual stroll around the internet to quickly realize that virtually every time animosity toward God and his truth rears its ugly head, it comes from a liberal.There have been a lot of comments here which reveal considerable animosity toward God and God's people, and they've all come from liberals.

    I was once extremely angry at God and wanted nothing to do with him. It wasn't until I faced up to the fact that I was the one who was wrong, it was I who was deluded by a head full of false expectations. It wasn't until I admitted how wrong I was and how broken I was that I could finally start to see the truth.

    It would probably surprise you to know that I have regular conversations with some liberals that remain quite civil and are, I believe, pleasant and enjoyable on both sides. One of the best friends I've ever had in my life was a bleeding-heart liberal. But the difference between most of Madville and these (admittedly rare) liberals are that they didn't deny or dodge facts when they went against their case, they didn't try to rewrite or sanitize a history they found unpleasant, and they could admit when their argument was weak or didn't bear up well under the facts. They are usually reluctant to abandon long-held misconceptions, as we all are, but at least they didn't continue shouting about how beautiful the emperor's clothes are. Unfortunately, that kind of intellectual honesty is extremely rare in the liberal blogosphere. (CONT)

  37. (CONT)

    As I've said before, I describe actions and attitudes.You know, kinda like Stephen did in Acts 7, the Apostle Paul did in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and Jesus did in Matthew 12 and Matthew 23, as well as any number of other places. God didn't tell his people to tickle people's ears; he said to refute and rebuke error, and to do it clearly.

    I know liberals hate that because they don't like to be identified with the darkness of their attitudes and the things they advocate. They would much rather have everyone pretend it's just a "different opinion" or "different interpretation" or some such pathetic pap. But it isn't. You'd rather people pretend that bad isn't bad, evil isn't evil, and deception isn't deception. That might fly in a shallow pop culture where people are more interested in having people like them than they are in upholding truth, but I can't look my Lord in the eye if I sugar-coat this garbage. It's not a game.

    If you're going to act in a manner which indicates animosity toward God, you ought to at least have the guts to own up to what you're doing. That goes for any other actions or attitudes. If you don't like the description, the rational thing to do is change what you're doing. I didn't like being identified as a drunk, so I quit being a drunk. If you don't like being identified as a God-hating liberal, stop displaying such animosity toward God and his people. Or at the very least, own up to it and wear the moniker proudly. A little honesty seems to be so tremendously much to ask of liberals.

    I know that in the liberal world, you get to have your cake and eat it too (if you're a liberal, that is--there's always a different standard for conservatives), but it doesn't work that way for grownups in the real world. Liars are properly called liars, fire fighters properly called fire fighters, criminals are properly called criminals, pastors are properly called men of God, and God-hating liberals are properly called God-hating liberals. We mislead when we refuse to call something what it is.

    Life would be a lot better for you and everyone with whom you come in contact if you would only start with being honest with yourself about yourself. We all have to start there before we can stop trying to deceive ourselves and others.

  38. Here are some of Hans' quotes:

    "There is no censorship of pastors. They can advise their flock to vote for anyone they like, they just simply lose their 501C3 status is all. Not a big deal and it's the law."

    But the question is whether or not this law is Constitutional. The tax-exempt status of religious institutions, while affirmed by Congress, is protected by the Constitution (the power to tax is the power to destroy) under the First Amendment.

    "Also, professors 'babbling nonsense' is continuing education where students are educated on new ways of looking at the world around them. They have freedom of choice to take that in after testing or not. No professor is linking different ideas to 'going to heaven or hell'. Please..."

    So basically, what is protected under Free Speech is based on what is said. Not a very civil libertarian perspective.

    "Clearly you never went to college Troy, that explains a lot."

    Can't address my arguements so you resort to an ad hominem attack. Very intellectual.

    "Obvious that you Christian Nationalists think you are above the law here and that this law doesn't apply to you."

    Please list where I claimed the law doesn't apply to me and I think it should be denied to another. I'm pretty consistent that Free Speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to assembly is pretty sancrosanct for all.

    A couple of points I made in my posts that you have never addressed except for your adhominem attacks.

    1) Freedom of speech has been liberally allowed for all and extended to Pastors to speak on political issues. Note: Martin Luther King's most common forum and recently Nancy Pelosi's call for Pastors to speak on immigration.

    2) Atheism has been interpreted to be a religion by the Supreme Court (and I agree), has ruled atheism is afforded protections as a religious belief under the First Amendment so there is nothing that prevents atheists from forming a tax-exempt "church."

    3) I think it more constitutional for atheists to form a church than atheists to attempt to suppress the speech of Pastors.

    4) I think preachers should exercise caustion and wisdom on any overtly political issue or candidate they discuss from the pulpit because their first mission is to lead people to Heaven and not change this world.

    5) There should be no legal limits to what they say from the pulpit with regard to politics and politicians as it is protected under the First Amendment.

    6) Your belief Pelosi is wrong with regards to Pastors speaking on immigration is an expression of a belief that some speech should be censored.

    7) Religion is defined in the dictionary as "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects." Atheism is a set of beliefs about God, etc. Atheism is a lack of belief in God but it IS a belief there is no God. To have a intelligent discussion with someone who makes up their own definitions is impossible.

    8) I would like to know the difference between a Pastor speaking on politics or politicians in his tax-exempt Chruch and a professor doing the same at a tax-exempt institution or a tax-payer institution.

    Your statement of "No professor is linking different ideas to 'going to heaven or hell'. Please..." just shows you believe only certain things said is afforded protection under the First Amendment. Not exactly my understanding of Free Speech. LOL

    Hans, you might not consider me intelligent enough to converse with you. But, unless you respond with reasoned responses, I suspect even those who disagree with me will find I spun you around like a top.

  39. P.S. Hans, I don't even know what a Christian Nationalist is, if I am one, but I do suspect it is just another "ad hominem abusive" attack so you can ignore my argument. Makes sense since you consider only some speech protected that you'd also consider only some sources to have protection as well.

    While I know you are a intellectual and know what an adhominem abusive attack is I'd like to give an example:

    "Why should I consider your idea about the Constitution, you are a Red Sox fan." (after last night, nobody is lower than a Red Sox fan)

  40. Gee Troy, you sure did! I'm spun all over the place!

  41. Cory:"Hold on, Troy: everybody has legal limits on what they can say"

    The constraints that the law may put on the people's speech in no way may prevent what they say. It may only prevent the manner and context that the speech is made. I have an inviolate right to state whatever opinion I choose but I don't have a right to do it in my senators living room, or even his public office. I don't have a right to bellow it from my balcony through a megaphone at 3 AM. The government has absolutely no power to control the content of my speech. Even a sequestered jury retains the right with the only consequence of violating a gag order being thrown off the jury, or contempt of court at the worst.

    Religion is defined as the belief in a God or gods, not simply a set of beliefs. Otherwise everyone who believes in evolution, or Climate Change, or Chaos Theory fits the dictionary definition and belong to religions. Atheism may worship science but it still falls short of being a religion. It also falls short of rationality as it fails to recognize the limitations implicit in science.

    JohnSD: The quotes are not out of context, but your interpretation of them is still wrong. The separation that did not exist in Europe was the power of the church and the power of the state which were melded together. It was never intended as a reason to suppress religious influence on the public mind. The country was not founded as a Christian nation but Christianity formed the basis of that founding. Of the ~250 'founding fathers' at the continental congress in 1776, only about 12 were -not- Christians of various branches, including Jefferson and Franklin. And it is clear that the founders believed:

    "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams

    " Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society." George Washington (Religious controversies he speaks of in your quote is addressed by protecting the various churches from government interference, never the chastisement of religion you imply)

    "[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. "Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness . . . it is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement thereof." Benjamin Franklin

    "[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be aid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind." Benjamin Rush(he wrote the final draft of the first Amendment 'separating' church and state)

    "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that their liberties are a gift of God?" Thomas Jefferson (Deist can also recognize the special importance of religion)

    When politics impacts morality, it is imperative that our religious leaders have the courage to lead. That had little to do with political endorsements of candidates, but everything to do with how voters should consider their political decisions.

  42. Oh, and Bill, no need on 'hanging in there' with Troy, I'm good. Danka anyway. Got the climate, and pass. Peace out, on doing this tight (not cool tight) thing you all groove on doing.

  43. Your call, Hans. But if you didn't see Troy smiling behind his comments, I'm afraid you missed all the fun.

    His argument in toto is ridiculous to the extreme, and he knows it. I think he's just checking to see if you can hand it back to him on the same silver platter he used to hand it to you.

    Try this.

    Okay Troy, got it. Since virtually every belief system can be considered a religion, and the power to tax is the power to destroy, all that remains is for those of us with various beliefs in whatever — "my cat is sacred," for example... just look at her! ...or "my wife is a goddess, don't you agree?" — to form churches around them and then nobody would have to pay any taxes. Perfect.

    In other words, attack the argument, not the person. And have a little fun while you're at it.

    Afterall, this is just a blog, right?

    Namaste, Hans.

  44. Here's a great piece from Mary Garrigan: http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/news/article_5b1845ec-65f5-11df-a5c6-001cc4c002e0.html


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