published Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

The Book Signing

The Book Signing
about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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nucanuck said...

Mike Huckabee is a gifted speaker with a religious agenda and a tendency to step in every cow patty along the way. Surely he is not THE ONE.

March 9, 2011 at 12:40 a.m.
bookworm said...

Just goes to show you how some will protitute themselves in the name of religion for political gain. How shallow these people are who feel that they have to advertise their faith and wear their religion on their sleeves.

March 9, 2011 at 4:31 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

As simple as these cartoons?

bookworm, how do we know if you';re a true believer in whtever you believe or if you're a political "protitute"? Do people act shallow when they wear irreligion on their shoulder?

nucanuck, how much of Governor Huckabee's agenda is religious? If he'd like everyone to act more like Jesus, Ben Franklin ("imitate Jesus and Socrates") and Thomas Jefferson ('the ethics of Jesus are the best every devised'), without being Christians, might agree with him. I myself think Jesus is libertarian, so my small-government political agenda is a religious agenda (as well as a practical one; big governments get too big to work--the US government cannot afford itself, even if all its 56 programs on financial literacy were worthwhile--source: WSJ article on recent GAO? report; Clay, is there are cartoon there?) But Governor Huckabee may not derive that much of his politics from his Christian understanding of reality (and he, and I, may be wrong about some of what politics are Christian.) www.lohr84.com for my views and some links to other postings.

I have not read the book. Clay, tell us if you have, or if not, how else you've researched this?

(I only saw 2 comments, though it said there were 6? Used to be able to scroll down...)

Andrew Lohr

nucanuck,

March 9, 2011 at 6:32 a.m.
woody said...

First..Bookworm, your comment might be just a tad bit over the top, but that's your right.. All I know about Huckabee is what I have read, and from all indications he is no better or worse than any other. In fact, Huckabee may well actually believe he is the "right man at the right time." Heaven knows he isn't the first person to be honestly sincere about his convictions, but if he actually believes he'll be the first to 'bring Washington to its knees' (in prayer or whatever) I'll volunteer to find him him a nice place to get some much needed rest. Honestly, his recent verbal exchange concerning Ms. Portman's pregnancy clearly indicates he is taking his own diatribe waaay too seriously. Keep writing governor..it may clear your head. Woody

March 9, 2011 at 6:36 a.m.
dude_abides said...

Huckabee's like an evil Gomer Pyle. He'd put a saddle on Jesus if he could, and ride him to victory.

March 9, 2011 at 7:31 a.m.
Francis said...

"the one"...as anointed by the liberal media in 2008..."the one" who sent tingles up chris mathews' legs...,,has revealed himself since to be the anti-american, socialist and authoritarian many of us thought he was. but mostly he's turned out to be just another political hack and whatever he needs to be to get his poll numbers up. obama sat in a church for 20 years run by a certified lunatic who spewed racism, anti-semitism and hatred for this country. somehow that's ok, but mike huckabee saying, and quite forefully, that it's a bad idea and immoral to just have a baby to have a baby with no father involved, is a dangerous thing....speaks to how wacked you libs are and our society has become.

when a christian just speaks his mind he's a threat...but radical islamists have to be coddled and understood......and any attempt to find a way to do something about radical islam is met with cries of "islamophobe"

mike huckabee states what he really believes, unlike the the cameleon we have in the white house right now.

March 9, 2011 at 7:45 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Mike Huckabee "really believes" that the earth is less than 8000 years old. That disconnect from reality makes him unsuited to govern, in my opinion, and therefore will never get my vote. I don't think he is unintelligent or dishonest, just deluded.

March 9, 2011 at 7:58 a.m.
Eddo said...

Were the book titled "The Audacity of Hope" it could bear the signature "Bill Ayers".

March 9, 2011 at 8:01 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

bennett's creativity has hit another all time low. Age must be chipping away at his mental capacities. He might as well start trying to sell his work as "art" because there is no meaningful thought that goes into this junk!

March 9, 2011 at 8:32 a.m.
fairmon said...

Why would anyone with the necessary intelligence for the job and in their right mind seek the office. How big does one's ego have to be to even consider the job?

Wait, it helps to see the question in writing, I think I just realized why we have what we have. And, why our choices are what they are as each party selects their candidate. Being of sound mind with the Knowledge, skill and ability to perform the job per the job description doesn't appear to be the criteria either party uses.

March 9, 2011 at 8:38 a.m.
moon4kat said...

If Huckabee says "what he really believes," then we are in for some hilarious statements...mostly detached from reality. For instance, Huckabee "states" that our President grew up in Kenya, although that's not true.
Huckabee is ignorant, and panders to the ignorant.

March 9, 2011 at 8:48 a.m.

THanks to lunatic evangelics like Andrew, Francis and others who share Huckabee's believe that the world was created 6000 years ago by an invisible father figure, who obviously does not give a sh-t about the world, somebody like Huckabee can even be a candidate for the presidency of the most powerful country in the world. This is sad.... no, it is actually disgusting..

You conservatives would even vote for a monkey if he could be taught to pray and speak out against abortion and gays...

March 9, 2011 at 8:50 a.m.
Facts said...

The disgusting thing about Mike Huckabee is that as the Governor of Arkansas he raised taxes, he accused a Republican state senator of being "un-American and un-Christian" and "against pro-life" for introducing a bill to require citizenship for state services.

Now, as a commentator and presidential candidate, he speaks as though his record is the most conservative and Christian.

March 9, 2011 at 9:01 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

Mike Huckabee is just a guy dumb people think is smart.

March 9, 2011 at 9:08 a.m.
fairmon said...

You never know who is electable. In recent history a paranoid crook, a peanut farmer, a b-movie actor, a sex feign, a cowboy and baseball team owner and now an inexperienced community organizer have been elected.

The current office holder promised health care for anyone within the boundaries of the U.S., A free education for every one's kids, to take wealth from the rich and give it to the poor, to increase taxes on the upper half and omit them for the bottom half, to kick the heck out of those big bad corporations and make them pay for their sins and to cut the federal deficit in half in his first term. Delivering on five out of six isn't bad. So what if the deficit has doubled and unemployment is still high, you can't have everything. What do the voters do? They take away a big portion of his support group even though he did and is doing as he said he would. We provide a congress with a lot of members whose IQ may not be much greater than congress approval ratings then expect outstanding leadership. It is difficult to understand.

March 9, 2011 at 9:16 a.m.
Musicman375 said...

Your misunderstanding of the religion makes some of your attempted insults merely pathetic, austrian. Case in point, "...an invisible father figure, who obviously does not give a sh-t about the world..." shows me that you've never taken the time to learn about the free will we are granted and God's promise never to intervene with said free will. It saddens me to read the hatred you spew in just about every post you put on this page.

I do agree, however, that Huckabee needs to cut it out with the nonsense such as claiming that Obama grew up in Kenya. I also don't think anyone needs to try to use his/her religion or religious beliefs as the driving force for any political campaign. The seperation of church and state means just that, the seperation of church and state. Of course religious people develop certain general moralities or ethical beliefs based on their religious teachings, but so do they develop those beliefs based on other family values and/or societal norms as all people do. How does anyone avoid that? You cannot expect them to, but I don't think anyone should ever try to envoke their religion directly upon the electorate. I don't see myself supporting the man in any political race.

March 9, 2011 at 9:43 a.m.
fairmon said...

Huckabee is like most good politicians. He will sing whatever song people want to hear and he can play a guitar while doing it. It may be time for an amatuer comedian that claims to be conservative but with strong liberal tendencies. The reason for the liberal position may not be the same as the typical liberal but the results would be the same. For example; He could be pro-life but realize the economics of paying for an abortion versus supporting the mom and kids for life. He could see the benefit of gay marriage since they will not proliferate and add to the population. In combat gays could provide each other companionship when in some remote battlefield and be highly motivated to defend each other. He could see that taking wealth from some and supporting others may reduce crime, if he doesn't confiscate it there are some that would rob them while others still did without. He would see the benefit of legalizing drugs so they could be taxed and possibly reduce crime. He could see the benefit of amnesty for illegals so some people could take advantage of them without breaking the law and Americans wouldn't be doing hard work. Yep, it will take a very different and unique candidate to unseat an incumbent that has delivered on a lot of his promises.

March 9, 2011 at 9:52 a.m.
limric said...

Mike Huckabee likes to use some pretty slick code words. Barack Obama- is a KeNyan RaIsed in Kenya by a Mau Mau Grandfather. Oops, ForGive me. It was IndonEsia that had MadRassas ** Thank you Matt Bors

March 9, 2011 at 10:03 a.m.
bret said...

I'd like to see a similar cartoon of Sarah Palin signing her book with her right hand while on her left hand is written "Sarah Palin."

March 9, 2011 at 10:18 a.m.

Musicman,

"Your misunderstanding of the religion makes some of your attempted insults merely pathetic, austrian. Case in point, "

I also grew up as a catholic, until I reached the age of reason when I no longer could buy the ferry tales about virgin mary, all the miracles, etc...

I know for most people in the south life is miserable, so they have to cling to guns, and religion, or the nonsense they call religion...

March 9, 2011 at 10:41 a.m.
Musicman375 said...

"I know for most people in the south life is miserable, so they have to cling to guns, and religion, or the nonsense they call religion... "

I sure would like to hear/read your definition of the word miserable, because the south I live in is known for being one of the most hospitable areas of our country, and I'm rather pleased with my life. But that's okay, go ahead and keep painting with a broad brush. This universe is just all figured out in your little head, or should I say your overly large head. How's the weather on your pedestal today?

March 9, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.
MTJohn said...

I am a practicing Christian. And, I say practicing because faith is a journey and I'm still learning.

That said, I think separation of church and state is an appropriate policy. I support/encourage people of faith (Christian or otherwise) to run for political office. When they do, I expect them to be candid about their faith and I expect that their faith will inform how the behave in office.

However, as a Christian, I have little patience for other Christians who embrace covetousness and bearing false witness as American values, while railing against the various manifestations of adultery.

March 9, 2011 at 12:27 p.m.
limric said...

MTJOHN,

Would you be accepting of a person of other than Christian, or no faith, holding political office? Would anyone posting here? If not, why not?

March 9, 2011 at 1:09 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Someone's religion or lack thereof is not an issue for me. As long as they don't try to impose it on anyone else. I'll elect someone who has a plan on how to address the robust problems in the country. (and no, praying about it is not a plan)

March 9, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
delmar said...

From harp; "a cowboy"

Blasphemy to all real cowboys everywhere. The measure of a real cowboy is the amount of bulls--t on their boots, not in them.

March 9, 2011 at 1:25 p.m.
Clara said...

I see postings here that sound very much like wanting a Theocracy in charge, each Theocracy with a different philosophy, and only their way of interpretation as being correct. That's Scary as a lot of them interpret for bloodshed, wrath, close-minded dialogue and a disgusting sense of rightiousness, trying to capture other believers into their narrow viewpoint. The hipocracy is manifest.

It appears as though these people want bad things to happen to other people for not thinking as they do.

Oh well! I'm too close to the end of my tenure on earth to fear what is going to happen to me. One way or tuther, I won't be able to communicate what I find out. Sorry...

March 9, 2011 at 1:26 p.m.
potcat said...

AUSTRIAN, I have lived in the South my entire life and i assure you that most people in the south do not cling to guns and religion. They are just the ones that get the most attention. My Mother's side are from Alabama,Daddy's South Carolina. My Mother is a Atheist,Daddys has never set foot in a church. My Two Brothers and three sisters were all took to Church by our Grandmothers. We were all Baptised at the same time in the Baptist Church. My oldest Brother is a complete religous republican nut.We have not spoken since the 2000 election.I am agnostic and liberal. My living Grandmother is religous and liberal as are my other brother and sisters. You do know that most people on this site are sensitive to being labeled that way and we are what we are... SOUTHERN and PROUD of it! Harp, George Bush was a MANUFACTURED COWBOY not a real one.

March 9, 2011 at 2:06 p.m.

Claydo... you need a long vacation to find whatever the TFP thought you once had. You're work is just enough to be qualifed as a Wisconsin public school art teacher.

March 9, 2011 at 2:51 p.m.
whatsnottaken said...

At least he's not signing Nancy Pelosi's Communist Manifesto with a hammer and sickle.

March 9, 2011 at 2:53 p.m.

Musicman, I take the "miserable" back. Life itself is indeed pleasant, and I somehow enjoyed. It is intellectually "miserable" in the sense that there is not much to do compared to big european cities. And it might be a miserable for teenagers, who need the car to go everywhere and meet at malls, instead of nice cafes and bars in walking distance.

potcat,

I had indeed also several friends in ALabama, who did not believe in woodoo and who where atheists. The main part of the neigborhood, however, were evangelical christians believing in Adam and Eve and considering Obama as kenyan muslim anti-christ, who caused the economic downturn... when I attack the southerners then I exactly attack these (estimated) 70 percent percent of the (white) population

March 9, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.
MTJohn said...

Limric -short answer, yes. Longer answer, yes and yes. Faith affiliation is not high on the list of criteria by which I evaluate candidates for public office. Congruence with my own world view is only somewhere in the middle. I tend to vote for those candidates who, in my opinion, have the better understanding of public service - especially the fact that, regardless of either affiliation or who contributed the most to their campaign, in a democratic republic, we elect people to serve the collective best interest of all society. I also tend to vote for those candidates whose actions are consistent with their rhetoric. Needless to say, too often I am disappointed because I only have two from which to choose.

March 9, 2011 at 3:22 p.m.

harp3339 said...

Why would anyone with the necessary intelligence for the job and in their right mind seek the office? How big does one's ego have to be to even consider the job?

~~~~~

It has to be something approaching Al Gore big. I’m still waiting for someone to run who hasn’t been planning to run since they were twelve – someone who has to be talked into it. I thought Thompson might be the man, but then we found out he was just running a flank maneuver for McCain. Woody’s right. Huckaby’s harmless. He wears religion on his sleeve, and he’s not likely to be elected. The theocracy hysteria is silly paranoia.

I’m sad but not surprised to see the bigotry trickling in on this one. I expect plenty more once the usual suspects weigh in. For what it’s worth, I didn’t grow up religious. I was turned off by the same crap that evokes the shrugs and the vitriol in this forum. Then I met the real thing. There may not be many of them, but they are out there. They’re serving people in need in thousands of ways, but you may never meet them because they shun attention and let others shine. They get along just fine with atheists, agnostics, homosexuals, … what have you. They don't at all fit the caricatures that populate the comments of present company.

austria-in-alabama, it seems that you’ve written us off and firmly closed your mind about it all. I can only imagine what you went through as a European scholar teaching in the deep south. I’m hoping that, as a liberal, you can pry open the door and read more of the great Christian scholars and authors, appreciate the art, architecture and music they produce, and allow that there may be more to it than you have observed thus far.

I found this.

March 9, 2011 at 4:02 p.m.
fairmon said...

wwwtw,

The founders left England, fought for and gained independence from excess taxes and an all controlling government. We are evolving back to be just like the mother country as we pass the throne to the next generation in congress and at times the presidency. I would like to see one of the really good CEOs that knows how to manage a large business run and be elected. However, they are too intelligent to get suckered into a job like that.

austria_in_alabama apparently spent some time at some rinky dink small town college in some hick town in Alabama and is now an expert on the entire southern United States and the habitats. It sounds like he may have been more pleased with Key West, Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte or Memphis where European style pseudo sophistication is evident in many areas. I am not religious but I know people just as those you describe and they are the real thing. I question the true intelligence of those that consider their intellect as superior and view those believing different than they do as ignorant.

March 9, 2011 at 6:24 p.m.
Robert59 said...

Wow, I thought the cartoon's point was straightforward enough, but it seems to have turned into a psychological test.

March 9, 2011 at 6:37 p.m.
fairmon said...

Limric,

We are electing a president not a new preacher, priest etc. Praying and hoping is OK but probably not the strategy or solutions we need. It seems those creating the best slogans do well. Bush was "I will fight for you" and "we will make sure no child is left behind" and he started going to church on Sunday instead of the ball game. Well, he did fight for us by starting two wars. Who could have guessed he would lower the bar and no kid is left behind but more are now less capable. Along comes Obama with hope, change, yes we can, We will take some of theirs you should have it you deserve it. It was like a cheer leader firing up the student body before the game. It won the election but we are still using hope as a basic strategy. I will try to see if any candidate knows what the issues are then what their plans are to address them. I am "hoping" such a candidate may show up, none so far.

March 9, 2011 at 6:46 p.m.
steve_smith_tn said...

I'm not a Huckabee fan. However, if people think this guy is theocratic or dumb, they must have some underlying fear of Christianity. Jesuphobic. I think that has a nice ring to it. Maybe some of you guys and gals should actually read the New Testament before you are so quick to malign those who profess to try and follow its tenets. A little tolerance goes along way.

March 9, 2011 at 9:07 p.m.
MTJohn said...

Steve - to be honest, to the extent that the conservative Republican agenda is drawn from Scripture, it reads a lot more like Leviticus than anything I have read in the New Testament.

March 9, 2011 at 9:23 p.m.
steve_smith_tn said...

MT - fair point. Not all Christians are republicans and not all republicans are Christians. My only point is that leftist intolerance of Christianity seems to be the intolerance du jour these days. Its pretty sad. Liberal used to mean something great.

March 9, 2011 at 9:33 p.m.
MTJohn said...

Steve - I don't think leftists are intolerant of Christianity. I do think they are intolerant of intolerance expressed by some conservative Christians towards those who do not share their faith. I think leftists are intolerant of conservative Christians who stand up for the second Amendment, while thumbing their nose at the establishment clause.

Speaking personally, as I posted above, I don't have any patience for conservative Christians who cherry pick the Ten Commandments. And, as a practicing Christian, I believe the the window in understanding Scripture is grace. From that perspective, I have a difficult time understanding how the conservative Christian sense of "family values" squares with the central message of Christianity that God is Love.

March 9, 2011 at 10:53 p.m.
blackwater48 said...

REALITY DOESN'T CARE WHAT YOU BELIEVE

Steve Smither declared, "...If people think this guy is theocratic or dumb, they must have some underlying fear of Christianity."

You are absolutely correct, and you should be afraid too.

Huckabee openly discusses his religious beliefs, so he IS theocratic, and he's said stuff about Kenya and Natalie Portman that makes him sound pretty dumb. I realize no one is that stupid, but you have to admit he's made some boneheaded comments lately.

You think he gets a free ride because he's a Christian! I hope you put a little more thought into selecting which candidate gets your vote, but I'm sure you see nothing wrong with a former Baptist preacher sitting in the Oval Office. Good for you.

What could possibly go wrong?

My concern - or fear if you prefer - is we end up with a sitting President with a conflicted moral dilemma in upholding The Constitution of the United States. I hear that phrase, 'I answer to a higher power,' all the time. Maybe said President decides to send troops into another Middle East country because he wants to bring back the Crusades.

Maybe said President decides to enforce the Fourth Commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," meaning no sports on Sunday, no businesses open on Sunday, no nothing but going to Church. Or maybe he takes a liking to the First Commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me," and tries to make his religion the law of the land.

We are a nation of laws. In the mean time, if you want to live in a theocracy move to Iran.

March 9, 2011 at 10:55 p.m.

hysterical

March 9, 2011 at 11:02 p.m.
trburrows said...

bw if you have a problem with people and religion, think about what this country was started on. your are ignorant to think a religious president is bad. you say go to iran, think about their religion. you can have it fool. if this usa was created on religious people and their beliefs then you must leave for iran. cant open your mouth without creating a fool, can you?

March 9, 2011 at 11:54 p.m.
trburrows said...

well now i see. this is the stage of the union people. this is not what was said last week. well, the only thing we can come up with is that we have a circle jerk here and a lot of sheep following the head circles. enjoy your destroyed jerk.

March 10, 2011 at 12:28 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

BURROWS STILL CAN'T READ

We've had these 'conversations' before. What's is wrong with you? Do you have a problem processing information? Do you need reading glasses? Do I have to use tiny words so you don't get dizzy? Okay, one more time genius, let me take your arguments apart for you one by one.

"if you have a problem with people and religion, think about what this country was started on."

First, I didn't say I had a problem people and religion. I have a problem with a former preacher who brags about his religious credentials running to be President. See a difference? Are you saying American was founded as a theocracy? No. Nation of LAWS. Freedom to worship at any church you want. I can't tell you where to pray and vice versa.

"your are ignorant to think a religious president is bad."

Jimmy Carter was religious. He even taught Sunday School. How'd that work out?

"you say go to iran, think about their religion. you can have it fool."

I don't want it, you idiot. The point was about theocracy. I don't want it here. I was telling SS that if that's the kind of government he wants he can find it in Iran.

"if this usa was created on religious people and their beliefs then you must leave for iran."

Again, THIS USA WAS NOT CREATED BY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE.

"cant open your mouth without creating a fool, can you?"

Right back at you ace. Now crawl back in your hole.

March 10, 2011 at 12:36 a.m.
trburrows said...

Again, THIS USA WAS NOT CREATED BY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE

bw you are the biggest fool i have ever heard. what do you think IN GOD WE TRUST means. its was written on everything/currency, documents, etc. just shut up and go away fool.

March 10, 2011 at 1:09 a.m.
trburrows said...

bw why do you think clay allows my posts to stay on? because i'm the teacher and your the student. i have to explain to you heads from tails. you have no clue till i explain to you. and everyone who agrees with you learns also. now, go stand in the corner till you grow up to......say......pint size.

March 10, 2011 at 1:43 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

MTJohn said: "I don't have any patience for conservative Christians who cherry pick the Ten Commandments. . . I believe the the window in understanding Scripture is grace."

Excellent points, MTJohn. There is some interesting history behind the 1st Amendment that goes back to a petition signed in 1657. It was signed by a small group of residents of Flushing, Long Island in protest of a Director General of New Netherlands’s order that barred Quakers from the town of Flushing. The colony had banned the practice of all religions outside of the Dutch Reformed church. The Flushing Petition is considered the forerunner to our First Amendment:

Remonstrance of the Inhabitants of the Town of Flushing

to Governor Stuyvesant, December 27, 1657

Right Honorable

“You have been pleased to send unto us a certain prohibition or command that we should not receive or entertain any of those people called Quakers because they are supposed to be, by some, seducers of the people. For our part we cannot condemn them in this case, neither can we stretch out our hands against them, for out of Christ God is a consuming fire, and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. . .

Wee desire therefore in this case not to judge least we be judged, neither to condemn least we be condemned, but rather let every man stand or fall to his own Master. Wee are bounde by the law to do good unto all men. . .

The law of love, peace and liberty in the states extending to Jews, Turks and Egyptians, as they are considered sons of Adam, which is the glory of the outward state of Holland, soe love, peace and liberty, extending to all in Christ Jesus, condemns hatred, war and bondage. And because our Saviour sayeth it is impossible but that offences will come, but woe unto him by whom they cometh, our desire is not to offend one of his little ones, in whatsoever form, name or title hee appears in, whether Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist or Quaker, but shall be glad to see anything of God in any of them, desiring to doe unto all men as we desire all men should doe unto us, which is the true law both of Church and State; for our Saviour sayeth this is the law and the prophets.

Therefore if any of these said persons come in love unto us, we cannot in conscience lay violent hands upon them, but give them free egresse and regresse unto our Town, and houses, as God shall persuade our consciences, for we are bounde by the law of God and man to doe good unto all men and evil to noe man. And this is according to the patent and charter of our Towne, given unto us in the name of the States General, which we are not willing to infringe, and violate, but shall houlde to our patent and shall remaine, your humble subjects, the inhabitants of Vlishing.”

http://www.queensbp.org/remonstrance/index.html

March 10, 2011 at 1:49 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Corresponding cartoon for our President would show him copying his mark off his teleprompter. For Sarah Palin, off her hand. :)

Have the people scared of theocracy heard of Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot? Might separation of atheism and state be a good idea?

March 10, 2011 at 6:39 a.m.
MTJohn said...

Andrew - how many libertarians do you know who are committed to the principle of selling everything they have and giving the proceeds to the poor?

March 10, 2011 at 7:45 a.m.

HARP,

"Austria_in_alabama apparently spent some time at some rinky dink small town college in some hick town in Alabama and is now an expert on the entire southern United States"

It seems you know NOTHING about colleges and universities. Small Colleges can not hire people from Europe, because to hire anyone from Europe without US-citizenship they have to make the case that the applicant is more qualified than all the US-applicants. You can only argue on research-basis, so only big universities can hire foreigners...

I want to make my point clear. I have nothing against religion at all, in particular as it is exercised in Europe, privately and hardly interfering with politics. But I despise the religious right who voted Bush, defend 2. amendment, repeal health care etc on the grounds of fake religious statements. And when students tell me that I should not worry about the energy-waste and pollution in the US, because because the messiah is coming soon anyway, then I get VERY nervous...if these people decide an election, as they did, then fun is over....

March 10, 2011 at 8:41 a.m.
mtngrl said...

MTJohn, your 10:53 post last night is so right, we are "intolerant of intolerance..."

As for Mike Huckabee and his "Obama grew up in Kenya" statements, it seems to me that he is intentionally bearing false witness - twice over. He said that Pres. Obama had grown up there with his Kenyan father and grandfather and that their view of the Mau Mau revolution probably explained his view of the British as imperialists, there is no way this works when you substitute Indonesia, which was not a British colony and had no Mau Mau revolution. So both his original statement and his attempted recant are false in ways way beyond a mere slip of the tongue.

As for his statements on Portman, does anyone else here see the similarity with Dan Quale and Murphy Brown?

March 10, 2011 at 9:12 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

IN GOD WE TRUST

Burrows, I bet you didn't know that 'In God We Trust' was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956. President Theodore Roosevelt took issue with placing the motto on coinage as he considered it sacrilegious to put the name of God on money.

What does any of that have to do with electing a Baptist Minister President?

I swear, if brains were dynamite you couldn't blow your nose.

March 10, 2011 at 9:35 a.m.
Musicman375 said...

MTJohn, I am having a bit of difficulty interpreting your somewhat cryptic messages. It's obvious to me you believe love, compassion, generosity, and understanding are some of the most key components for living in Christ, with which I agree completely. But in delivering your message, it seems you have somewhat of an aura of smugness surrounding your message. This confuses me. I don't say that to seem accusatory, hard as that may be to believe. Maybe I'm reading too much into your posts, but it seems your attitude may be contradicting your message.

"I don't have any patience for conservative Christians who cherry pick the Ten Commandments." Shouldn't you have the most patience for those people who behave differently than you believe, based on your message that God is Love? I would think it would require a great deal of patience to try to win those types of people over to Jesus' way of life. In fact, we all cherry pick the commandments God gave Moses, as there were hundreds of them, even though we only hold 10 of them up to such a high standard. I'm still not convinced we should be focusing on those rather than focusing on what Jesus taught, although some of his teachings agree with some of the commandments.

I am most definitely very far from perfect, as is evident in some of my posts, and I am in no way trying to judge you. But I am trying to get a better understanding of where you are coming from.

As for your mention of family values. Of course we all hear and see that term at various times. For me, the difference between that and Christian values is slim, as most of my family are Christian and therefore our family values are largely Christian values. But that is not always the case. Some secular family values for some families fall in line with Christian values, even when they aren't derived from Christian teachings. The golden rule comes to mind as an example. That can by no means be attributed soley to Christianity. It fits in line with the teachings of Christ, but I dare say there are many people who are in no way religious who try to follow that rule on a daily basis. I suppose you may have been referring to something regarding Huckabee when you brought that up though (family values, I mean)...

March 10, 2011 at 9:44 a.m.
canarysong said...

Blackwater, Thanks for beating me to the punch with this:

"Burrows, I bet you didn't know that 'In God We Trust' was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956"

That is also about the same time that "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. This was during the McCarthy era when many in this country were looking under their beds for those evil communists, when loyal US citizens were afraid to speak their mind against conservatives for fear of having their reputations besmirched and their careers ruined by being labeled a godless communist. You know...., kind of like now.

March 10, 2011 at 10:06 a.m.
limric said...

Huckabee has shown repeatedly that his ultimate goal is to turn the US into a Christian theocracy. He has no respect for the Constitution, and wants to change it to reflect his values, even if that means discriminating against others. Here is a Quote from one of his speeches “I have opponents who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards, rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.” Last time I checked, the US Constitution wasn’t exactly a “contemporary” document – granted some of the amendments aren’t that old, but the first amendment (which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”) was ratified in 1791. If Mike Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution so that it reflects the “word of the living God”, he would be violating the very first amendment to a document I consider nearly sacred. I doubt Huckabee would appreciate it if a Jew or Muslim (or any Christian denomination not fitting his narrow view of the world) tried to change the constitution to reflect THEIR specific religious values. This is exactly what the document is supposed to protect against – value what you like within your home, but don’t force your religious belief system on anyone else. (Golden rule, anyone?) Perhaps the real question, though, is whether Mike Huckabee actually wants to change the Constitution if ever elected President (which will never happen), or if he is merely pandering to a narrow Evangelical sect of our society in order to win a few votes? Either way, his words, while quite humorous - scare the crap out of me, and should scare a lot of Americans. Especially women and gays.

March 10, 2011 at 12:23 p.m.

NPR's view on public funding of religious propaganda:

March 10, 2011 at 1:48 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Limric said: " Perhaps the real question, though, is whether Mike Huckabee actually wants to change the Constitution . . . or if he is merely pandering to a narrow Evangelical sect of our society in order to win a few votes? Either way, his words, while quite humorous - scare the crap out of me, and should scare a lot of Americans. Especially women and gays."

Good Post, Limric. The bottom line is that Mike Huckabee does not respect the U.S. Constitution, which separates church and state. The U.S. doesn't need panderers. We need leaders who are proud to support our Nation’s founding principles.

But it’s not just women and gays who should be concerned about men like Mike Huckabee. If there is no separation between church and state, a national religion could be established, which I’m sure is the ultimate goal of some religious fanatics.

And what would that national religion be? If "christian," what kind? History has already shown us where this leads. In 1657, “christian” colonies like New Netherland in Flushing, Long Island were putting Quakers in prison for practicing their faith.

March 10, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.

"O’Keefe’s organization set up a fake website for MEAC to lend credibility to the fictitious group. On the site, MEAC states that its mission is combating 'intolerance to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world.' At their lunch, the man posing as Kasaam told Schiller that MEAC contributes to a number of Muslim schools across the U.S. 'Our organization was originally founded by a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood in America actually,' he says.

"[NPR's]Schiller doesn’t blink. Instead, he assumes the role of fan. 'I think what we all believe is if we don’t have Muslim voices in our schools, on the air,' Schiller says,'it’s the same thing we faced as a nation when we didn’t have female voices.” __

Be sure to check out Juan Williams' response.

March 10, 2011 at 2:04 p.m.
MTJohn said...

Musicman - My intention was to be forthright - my apologies if that came across as smug. My reference to "intolerance" was in a political context - it was a reference to how I think about public servants in office, how I think about candidates for office, etc., not how I think about people as potential converts. And, as this might relate to Mike Huckabee, specifically, I don't perceive him as a potential convert - I'll take him at his word that he is a person of faith. I'll also stand on my suggestion that his political speech does not square with his public confession. And, I make that comment as a judgment on his qualifications for the presidency, not as a judgment on his standing in the Kingdom.

As far as family values, I think about the instructions that the LORD gave the Israelites as they were about to enter the promised land, especially instructions regarding concern for widows, orphans, the poor and the foreigner; I think about the Sermon on the Mount (including the golden rule); and, I think about Ephesians and Colossians. I cannot get from that place to "family values", as referenced in the political agenda of conservative Christians.

And, as a footnote, there really are only two commandments - love God and love your neighbor. Both of those are more difficult to keep than the 10 or the long list that occurs at various places in the Pentateuch.

March 10, 2011 at 3:16 p.m.
fairmon said...

austrian_in_alabama,

I agree those ignoring facts because they expect the second coming are ignorant. I can assure you in my area of the south that is a very small number. I feel strongly that the separation of church and state should be absolute. I detest those clergymen that campaign for any candidate from the pulpit. Anyone doing that should lose their tax exemption as a religious entity. I am confident the framers of the 2Nd amendment had no concept of assault weapons and other destructive arms people can own today. However, considering some areas I have to travel I will not easily give up the small self defense weapon I have. I can't see how religious people can defend people having and easily obtaining any fire arm they want. The procurement and registration process is terribly lacking.

Health care. There is no doubt the U.S. must have something that provides reasonable care especially for children and those that can't procure or pay for it. You may not realize how many could but won't. I have read or attempted to read the bill which was posted on the Thomas Library web site. It may be one of the most poorly written, full of pork and special interest accommodation budget busting bills ever issued by the federal government. There is a much simpler and better way to accomplish the objective but neither party can benefit and gain votes with it.

March 10, 2011 at 8:40 p.m.

canarysong said...

"... the McCarthy era when many in this country were looking under their beds for those evil communists, when loyal US citizens were afraid to speak their mind against conservatives for fear of having their reputations besmirched and their careers ruined by being labeled a godless communist. You know...., kind of like now."

~~~

I'm inclined to agree. Except that, judging by some of the more hysterical comments in this thread, the shoe's on the other foot. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. Karma.


blackwater48 said...

"Huckabee openly discusses his religious beliefs, so he IS theocratic.."

~~~

“Obama National Prayer Breakfast Speech Addresses Faith” by JULIE PACE 02/ 3/11 05:17 PM AP

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Thursday that his faith has deepened during his two years in the White House, and he urged lawmakers to rely on their own faith to build a spirit of civility in Washington following the shooting of a congresswoman … "I pray that God will show me and all of us the limits of our understanding and open our ears and our hearts to our brothers and sisters with different points of view, that such reminders of our shared hopes and our shared dreams and our shared limitations as children of God will reveal a way forward that we can travel together," he said …

"We pray that violence in Egypt will end, and the rights and aspirations of the Egyptian people will be realized," Obama said …

“While Obama often speaks of his faith, he prefers to worship in private. He rarely attends church in Washington; the White House says his presence would be too disruptive to the congregation. Obama said Thursday that he starts his day with meditations from Scripture, and has pastors who often come to the Oval Office to pray with him.

“The president said he had prayed for God's intervention on any number or occasions – though not always on the weightiest issues of the day.

“At one point, the president said he has prayed, "Lord, give me patience as I watch Malia go to her first dance, where there will be boys. Lord, let her skirt get longer as she travels to that place." Twelve-year-old Malia is the older of his two daughters. Sasha is 9.”

March 10, 2011 at 9:31 p.m.

“President Gets Personal At National Prayer Breakfast” (NPR, February 4, 2011)

http://www.npr.org/2011/02/04/133497426/President-Obama-Gets-Personal-At-National-Prayer-Breakfast

“President Obama addressed the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC yesterday, as every president has done since the event's inception in 1953. But many faith leaders were surprised by Obama's personal tone.

“… [F]irst, to our Faith Matters conversation, where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality. And just yesterday at the national prayer breakfast, President Obama opened up about his faith. Every president has attended every year since the event began in 1953. But President Obama surprised some faith leaders with his unusually personal tone.”

President BARACK OBAMA: My earliest inspirations for life of service ended up being the faith leaders of the civil rights movement. There was, of course, Martin Luther King and the Baptist leaders, the ways in which they helped those who had been subjugated to make a way out of no way.

“And President Obama went on to say he found his faith when he was working as a community organizer in Chicago.”

Pres. OBAMA: And it was through that experience working with pastors and lay people trying to heal the wounds of hurting neighborhoods that I came to know Jesus Christ myself.

March 10, 2011 at 9:37 p.m.
Musicman375 said...

Thank you for the reply, MTJohn. That makes perfect sense, and Great post! I've really been realizing I agree with a lot more of what you said there than I did three, two or even one year ago.

March 10, 2011 at 10:01 p.m.
MTJohn said...

Musicman - thanks for the comment. I'm not surprised that you agree more with what I said here that with things that I said three years ago - if only because I don't think I have been posting on Clay's cartoons for three years. ;))

March 10, 2011 at 10:11 p.m.

Driven mad by critics, NPR compromises high ethical standards and unmatched commitment to objectivity:

March 10, 2011 at 11:14 p.m.
blackwater48 said...

REALITY STILL DOESN'T CARE WHAT YOU BELIEVE

Great research, Mr. World. You've uncovered the well hidden secret that President Obama is a Christian who finds comfort in prayer. Wait. No, I guess that would be news to a lot of posters.

Are you trolling, or are you trying to draw some connection to something. Are you trying to equate McCarthyism and 'the big scare,' to the make believe war on christianity?"

To sum up, one Christian says:

"I pray that God will show me and all of us the limits of our understanding and open our ears and our hearts to our brothers and sisters with different points of view, that such reminders of our shared hopes and our shared dreams and our shared limitations as children of God will reveal a way forward that we can travel together."

The other Christian says:

“I have opponents who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards, rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”

These are not subtle difference steeped in nuance.

Try to make your point in 25 words or less.

March 10, 2011 at 11:24 p.m.

They are, however, examples of cherry-picking. Why not just admit that you made a historically-uniformed overstatement? Or give an example of a president or a presidential candidate who hasn't "openly discussed his religious beliefs?" (your qualification for theocrats)

Huckabee's a little nutty, but your comment is reactionary in implying that religion has no place in public speech deliberations. Granted, most politicians and citizens do it poorly, but the alternative is not to muzzle it.

March 10, 2011 at 11:43 p.m.
blackwater48 said...

An historically-uninformed statement about what?

March 10, 2011 at 11:51 p.m.

That openly discussing one's religious beliefs constitutes theocracy. By your standard, no major political leader in our history, certainly not a President, escapes your label.

March 11, 2011 at 12:01 a.m.

I think there is a lot we can agree on about this. Politicians manipulate religion and religious people manipulate politics. It’s not right, but it’s nothing new, and it’s not limited to one party, candidate, or ideology.

I also think “this U.S.A. was not created by religious people” is a whopper, and “go to Iran” if you disagree with me is reactionary. It doesn’t advance the discussion.

March 11, 2011 at 12:17 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

GOOD GRIEF

WWWTW Claims I said that, "openly discussing one's religious beliefs constitutes theocracy. By your standard, no major political leader in our history, certainly not a President, escapes your label."

Never said it. Steve Smith made the statement, "I'm not a Huckabee fan. However, if people think this guy is theocratic or dumb, they must have some underlying fear of Christianity. Jesuphobic."

See? He's saying that if you criticize Huckabee you must be afraid of Jesus.

I replied: "Huckabee openly discusses his religious beliefs, so he IS theocratic..."

Nothing to do with 'Jesuphobia.' He talks about the bible all the time.

"...And he's said stuff about Kenya and Natalie Portman that makes him sound pretty dumb."

Nothing to do with 'Jesuphobia.' He just got caught saying stupid stuff.

I DID say we should all be afraid of Huckabee. I was referring to his statement about changing the Constitution to better reflect the word of God.


"I also think “this U.S.A. was not created by religious people” is a whopper." I appreciate the research you provided to make your point.

Thomas Paine: "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of...Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."

George Washington never declared himself a Christian according to contemporary reports or in any of his voluminous correspondence. On his deathbed, he uttered no words of a religious nature and did not call for a clergyman to be in attendance.

John Adams wrote that he found among the lawyers 'noble and gallant achievements' but among the clergy, the "pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces". Late in life he wrote: "Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, 'This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!'" It was during Adam's administration that the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which states in Article XI that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian." He also referred to the Revelation of St. John as "the ravings of a maniac."

March 11, 2011 at 1:13 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

GOOD GRIEF Part 2

James Madison wrote, "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

The Treaty of Tripoli, passed by the U.S. Senate in 1797, read in part: "The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." The treaty was written during the Washington administration and sent to the Senate during the Adams administration. It was read aloud to the Senate, and each Senator received a printed copy. This was the 339th time that a recorded vote was required by the Senate, but only the third time a vote was unanimous.

March 11, 2011 at 1:14 a.m.

I was given a 25 word limit. I'll assume permission to exceed that with a reply.

Volumes of scholarly works have been written on this subject. I've read many of the primary sources, and among the secondary sources, some are more balanced and representative than others. I'll bring some of both to the table.

Let me first say that I think you're doing what fundamentalists often do by cherry-picking passages out of context which support your worldview. The founders' views on religion were more complex than either of you allow. And, being thoughtful, intelligent humans, many of them changed their views over the course of time.

I have to get up early so I'll have to get you the bulk of the evidence tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll post some general thoughts on the issue of Huckaby's less-than-thoughtful remarks and the reactions to it.

March 11, 2011 at 2:08 a.m.

In the context of the other things I have heard or read of Huckaby’s views, it sounds like he’s trying to say to a group of Christians what some of his critics are saying here: We don’t have the authority to re-write religious literature whenever we find that it’s out of step with the popular culture, with some political or cultural issue, or with the political agenda (our own or some other) that seems to be winning the day. Huckaby’s critics and his fans simply disagree about which agenda, position on an issue, or cultural influence seems to be consistent or inconsistent with one’s attempt to be faithful to God. Both sides fall into proof-texting. Applying specific scriptural passages to specific issues or agendas is fraught with difficulty, and therefore, those who attempt to do so should be humble enough to allow someone else to challenge them on any given attempt.

We do have the freedom to amend the Constitution when we as a society determine that it’s out of step with our foundational civic values of liberty and justice. It’s the document that governs civil law, but it wasn’t a “word from on high,” an unalterable sacred text. As such, it had shortcomings that would need amending. Those who wrote the Constitution were religious, and so they knew that their task was not to play God. By allowing for amendments, they acknowledged the limits of their prescience and wisdom. They asserted that it shouldn’t be changed on a whim, or to suit the interests of a political faction, but it is amendable.

Looking to one’s sacred text for guidance on issues of public deliberation in no way constitutes imposing it on anyone or trying to establish a state church. This popular fallacy is enabled by our inability to set aside our personal biases against certain forms of religion and instead, allow the free exercise clause and the free speech clause to accompany the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

I’m sleepy. Later.

March 11, 2011 at 2:11 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Hmmmm . . . A Republican in the New Hampshire House of Representatives provides a little insight into the Republican perspective and their spending policies:

“DOVER — A 91-year-old freshman state representative has angered a Dover Community Partners staffer for his comments he doesn't support state funding for "the crazy people" who should be sent to "Siberia."

Martin Harty of Barrington made the comments to Sharon Omand, a program manager at Community Partners . . .Omand had called Harty and other legislators to discuss measures in the proposed House Republican state budget that would make significant cuts to mental health services.

Omand told Foster's that Harty told her he disagreed with her about the need for funds for mental health services and he believed in eugenics.

"The world population has gotten too big and the world is being inherited by too many defective people," he told her.

Omand said she asked him to clarify if he meant mentally ill and developmentally disabled and he responded, "I mean all the defective people, the drug addicts, mentally ill, the retarded — all of them."

"I asked what we should do with them," Omand said, and Harty said, "I believe if we had a Siberia we should send them to this and they would all freeze and die and we will be rid of them."

Harty confirmed his comments in an interview with Foster's Daily Democrat late Thursday afternoon.”

http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110311/GJNEWS_01/703119927

March 11, 2011 at 2:03 p.m.
canarysong said...

Mountainnlaurel, I had just read an article about the same incident on the Think Progress website. They also added this:

[last part of Harty's response to Omand] - “I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population.” Omand said Harty appeared to be serious. After Omand responded that his idea sounded like what Adolf Hitler did in World War II, Omand said Harty responded, “Hitler did something right, and I agree with (it).”

"Harty has not apologized for making his comments. Republican State House Speaker William O’Brien said that “at Harty’s age [90 years old], he has earned the right to say what he thinks...’”

DEEPLY disturbing that anyone like this is holding public office.....

Maybe even more disturbing that it is treated so lightly by a fellow republican. Does advanced age excuse evil?

March 11, 2011 at 4:11 p.m.
blackwater48 said...

EVOLUTION

Mountainlaurel & Canarysong: What's the problem?

This seems like the next logical step in the devolving Republican philosophy. Notice how House Speaker O'Brien refused to offer an apology? No explanation. No problem. Nothing to see here.

Not one Republican even raised an eyebrow when the senile old fart offered a tip of the cap to Hitler. Apparently the GOP and Fox"News" are allowed to make favorable comparisons to a Nazi, but they just resent the comparison from outsiders.

I'm shocked that Republicans haven't realized yet that we actually have our own Siberia. Thousands and thousands of frozen square miles where unworthy Americans could be dropped off to meet their maker.

It's called Alaska.

March 11, 2011 at 4:29 p.m.
canarysong said...

There's more....

Harty acknowledged he was having some trouble adjusting to his new role in a letter to the editor of a local paper.

"I'm a New Hampshire Republican representative. Got slid in during the Republican landslide last fall. So far I really don't know what I'm doing. The whole process is so alien to anything else. A new Rep really needs a coach along with him at first but there is no room for anyone to sit with him, and no way they could holler at him in a committee meeting. Am learning the hard way. Little by little. I think that a few of the other first time reps must be in the same boat with me. We're all sort of bluffing it out. The few votes I've made so far I really didn't know what I was voting for or against. Just looked at the people around me and went along with them."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/new-hampshire-republican-wont-apologize-for-saying-defective-people-should-die-in-siberia.php

This is what the tea party's hysteria swept into office, people completely incapable of doing the job for which they were elected. They are now in the position of deciding important issues that can have devastating consequences on real people's lives. Get ready for another pendulum swing come the next election, this time to the center-left.

March 11, 2011 at 5:15 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Blackwater48,

Yes, I suppose when you think about it the voting record of most Republicans has shown us over and over again that they’re opposed to “the strong helping the weak,” but it just never occurred to me that anyone would be thinking anything quite so radical - now I'm wondering how many more Republicans are out there that think like Martin Harty.

March 11, 2011 at 5:22 p.m.
canarysong said...

Blackwater & mountainlaurel;

I stopped by my favorite bookstore last night and these two books caught my eye; I thought they might interest you as well. I bought the first one. I'm not sure when I will get to it; I have a queue. Both are by Pulitzer Prize winning author Chris Hedges. Let me know what you thought if you've already read them. Forgive me for indulging in a little copying & pasting; I'm really tired today.

'Empire of Illusion - The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle'

[book description by Nation Books]

"The more we sever ourselves from a literate, print-based world, a world of complexity and nuance, a world of ideas, for one informed by comforting, reassuring images, fantasies, slogans and a celebration of violence the more we implode. We ask, like the wrestling fans or those who confuse love with pornography, to be fed lies. We demand lies. The skillfully manufactured images and slogans that flood the airwaves and infect our political discourse mask reality. And we do not protest. The worse reality becomes, the less a beleaguered population wants to hear about it and the more it distracts itself with squalid pseudo-events of celebrity breakdowns, gossip and trivia. These are the debauched revels of a dying culture. In Empire of Illusion, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author writes about professional wrestling, the pornographic film industry and America’s rampant militarism and moral decay. He exposes the mechanisms that divert us from confronting the economic and political collapse around us."

March 11, 2011 at 6:33 p.m.
canarysong said...

Continued...

'Death of the Liberal Class', by Chris Hedges

[excerpts from first chapter]

"In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue. It also serves as an attack dog that discredits radical social movements, making the liberal class a useful component within the power elite..."

"But the assault by the corporate state on the democratic state has claimed the liberal class as one of its victims. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And reducing the liberal class to courtiers or mandarins, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, shuts off this safety valve and forces discontent to find other outlets that often end in violence..."

"The liberal class refuses to recognize the obvious because it does not want to lose its comfortable and often well-paid perch... Politicians, like generals, are loyal to the demands of the corporate state in power and retire to become millionaires as lobbyists or corporate managers..."

"In the name of tolerance—a word the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., never used—the liberal church and the synagogue refuse to denounce Christian heretics who acculturate the Christian religion with the worst aspects of consumerism, nationalism, greed, imperial hubris, violence, and bigotry. These institutions accept globalization and unfettered capitalism as natural law...."

"Universities no longer train students to think critically, to examine and critique systems of power and cultural and political assumptions, to ask the broad questions of meaning and morality once sustained by the humanities. These institutions have transformed themselves into vocational schools. They have become breeding grounds for systems managers trained to serve the corporate state..." "...these universities, like the media and religious institutions, not only remain silent about corporate power but also condemn as “political” all within their walls who question corporate malfeasance and the excesses of unfettered capitalism."

http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/the_death_of_the_liberal_class_20101029/

March 11, 2011 at 6:37 p.m.
MTJohn said...

Empire of Illusion is worth the read...but, it will leave you depressed.

March 12, 2011 at 7:49 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Canarysong,

No, I have not read either book. Although I agree with Hedges on some issues and read his columns occasionally, I believe he make things more complicated than they really are, which means he makes the solutions to some of our problems more complicated than they need to be. For example, I believe politics in America would change dramatically if we were to follow Canada’s example and establish a law making it illegal to lie on the airwaves. Fraud is considered a criminal act in other areas so why should we allow fraud to be committed against the public on television etc? Anyway, let us know what you think after you've read the book.

March 12, 2011 at 9:41 a.m.
fairmon said...

Canarysong,

I understand the concern about media lying. But, who will decide when it is lying or when it is a bad source of information or a legitimate error? To open the door slightly is to risk future damage to freedom of the press and free speech. Would you think posting lies on the Internet to be unlawful? I get really upset when the media twist or even out right lies but it is a difficult issue. With opposing views and news which is available I may still opt for the buyer beware approach. If enough people are not smart enough not to believe something just because the media says it we may be beyond repair.

March 12, 2011 at 2:19 p.m.

blackwater48 said... "GOOD GRIEF"


At last.

Recap: The founders were neither fundamentalists nor secularists. Some were more orthodox than others, some more devout than others, but they were not irreligious.


Here's the passage for one of the John Adams quotes you took out of context:

"...The Parson and the Pedagogue lived much together, but were eternally disputing about government and religion. One day, when the Schoolmaster had been more that commonly fanatical and declared if he were a Monarch, He would have but one Religion in his Dominion. The Parson cooly replied 'Cleverly! You would be the best man in the world, if you had no religion.' Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, 'This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!' But in this exclamatic I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell..."


Here's another Adams quote:   “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the only principles in which that beautiful assembly of young men could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united, and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence. Now I will avow, that I then believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system.” John Adams, Letter to Jefferson (28 June 1813)


More to come.

March 13, 2011 at 1:42 a.m.

In the meantime, the Library of Congress has three pages that do a good job of summarizing the variety, nuances, and changes in the religious views of the founders:

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06.html http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel04.html

Two recently-published secondary sources which also provide a balanced account of the subject:

David L. Holmes, Religion of the Founding Fathers (Oxford University Press, 2003)

Thomas Kidd, God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution (Basic Books, 2010)

March 13, 2011 at 1:58 a.m.
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