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God for President
Posted: 06 December 2007 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Is it just me or has faith become a bigger issue then ever in this presidential election cycle?

I notice that it’s coming through on many levels of my media outlets. From stories in my local paper, NPR, national T.V. news broadcast, even in Free Inquiry.

To be quite honest the level of religious discourse on several fronts seems louder then I remember. I know many here realize my skepticism with some approaches found in the “atheistic” community and I realize it’s still early in the game, but I have to be honest and say just say that my concerns are going past not only trying to forward science and reason (which I think some approaches may be harmful), but now into what can seriously look like an inverse reaction. I’m not drawing a direct correlation here, just the idea that we may be feeding the animal by staking out an almost exclusively direct uncompromising apposing view with not much else which in turn looks like fodder to the faithful.

I actually don’t want to get into a debate over approach here, but I would like to get others opinions on whether they are seeing what I am.

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Posted: 06 December 2007 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Actually, I would say we ought to be doing more. If you look at the members of both parties, but particularly the Republicans, they are running on largely theological grounds—for God and Country, more or less.

The response to this should never be to pull in our horns and go away. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

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Posted: 06 December 2007 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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dougsmith - 06 December 2007 07:22 AM

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

That’s nice, Doug. Almost poetic… grin

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Posted: 06 December 2007 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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dougsmith - 06 December 2007 07:22 AM

Actually, I would say we ought to be doing more. If you look at the members of both parties, but particularly the Republicans, they are running on largely theological grounds—for God and Country, more or less.

The response to this should never be to pull in our horns and go away. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

If I may, what freedoms are you referring to?

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Posted: 06 December 2007 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Also, I want to make clear that in no way am I saying to “shut up” about our positions.

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Posted: 06 December 2007 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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zarcus - 06 December 2007 07:36 AM

If I may, what freedoms are you referring to?

Freedom from religion, in this case ...

Once we both agree that we shouldn’t shut up, then the question is what we should say. I certainly agree with you that it’s to nobody’s benefit to go around shouting about how stupid Christians are. (That may work in an audience of atheists, but it doesn’t work well generally).

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Posted: 06 December 2007 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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George - 06 December 2007 07:27 AM

That’s nice, Doug. Almost poetic… grin

Thank my man Thomas Jefferson for it ... I can’t take credit, he’s a much better wordsmith than I ...

wink

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Posted: 06 December 2007 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The one area that jumps out at me is the domain of scientific R&D. Then by extension the application which I think falls into questions of morality. I am also in support of Christopher Hitchens’ idea that religious beliefs should be open for questioning. He has been making this argument lately on cable news outlets that I’ve noticed. In fact I would go further and join with Harold Kroto who brought up Mormon’s beliefs about the history of this country. An easily understood expose on this belief is presented by Julia Sweeney in her work, Letting Go of God.

In fact, although it doesn’t appear to look this way (even though I am direct in my criticisms of religion), I can be easily swayed that raising the level of rhetoric that mirrors Harris’ and Hitchen’s is needed. But, I think this needs to be done with a complete understanding that no sacred cows are allowed. All claims are up for debate, including advocated approaches. To this end I just can not accept calls to “stand aside” and labeling freethinker’s “apologist” (lets fact it that’s how “belief in belief” is being used) without justification.

I am also concerned about many freedoms, including ones that are not yet fully in place getting trampled. These would include, sexual, privacy, the press/speech, womens, etc. I also go by, in a way, that all politics is local and by this I think groups such as CFI, AHA, American Atheist, etc. must start being openly joined. I know that recourses becomes an issue when many people chose one publication or organization to donate to, but in order to push a united front this must be done. I do not think Sam Harris’ approach to “go under the radar” is practical and monikers such as Humanist, Skeptic need defending when the fact remains the power is in numbers.

Also, I would like to see a more open expression of being able to work with certain religionist, or religious organizations when freedoms and rights are at play. This has been done to an extent with issues and organizations, such as Am. United for the Sep. of Church and State, and environmental concerns.

[ Edited: 06 December 2007 08:22 AM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 06 December 2007 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Not too lessen the problem of letting God into the government, but my jaded side senses the candidates are merely working for the vote of those people who think it’s important.  Once elected, in most cases the “I pray every day” rhetoric will fall by the wayside along with all the other campaign promises.

I think there is more chatter about it for this election because the Democrats feel they have a real shot at pulling these votes from the Republicans.

Remain vigilant, but take this campaign rhetoric with a lump of salt.

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Posted: 06 December 2007 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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PaineMan - 06 December 2007 10:01 AM

Not too lessen the problem of letting God into the government, but my jaded side senses the candidates are merely working for the vote of those people who think it’s important.  Once elected, in most cases the “I pray every day” rhetoric will fall by the wayside along with all the other campaign promises.

I think there is more chatter about it for this election because the Democrats feel they have a real shot at pulling these votes from the Republicans.

Remain vigilant, but take this campaign rhetoric with a lump of salt.

I agree totally. One of the reasons that this topic came to mind was because Mitt Romney is planing on making a speech about his beliefs - Governor Mitt Romney to Deliver Address Titled “Faith in America” - HERE

It’s being compared to John F. Kennedy.

Here’s a quote from NPR - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16965839

No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith,” Romney said. “For if he becomes president, he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths.”

Invoking past presidents John Adams, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, Romney said he shares “moral convictions” with Americans of all faiths, though surveys suggest that up to half of likely voters have qualms about electing the first Mormon president.

..
In a speech delivered at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, Romney hoped to put aside the issue of his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a religion that many Americans view as a cult.

..
Romney lashed out at what he described as an incorrect reading of the separation of church and state, saying there was a movement intent on establishing “the religion of secularism.”

“They seek to remove from public domain any acknowledgement of God. ... They are wrong,” he said.

I know this is more a response to Christians mainly, but it got me thinking that if you don’t approach these issues with tact you may allow for people to capitalize by appearing a victim.  There is a way of reading his remarks that strike me as a way to reframe the debate that is targeted at many who are secularist.

[ Edited: 06 December 2007 10:30 AM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 06 December 2007 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I agree that the rhetoric of religion has as much, or more, to do with being elected as with what these folks really believe. Still, the fact that the electorate cares enough for it to be seen as a vital element to one’s campaign strategy drives me crazy. As for whether there’s a backlash of some sort in response to the more outspoken “new atheist” public figures, as I think zarcus may be suggesting, I’m not convinced there is. Much as I think this is a possible problem with the antagonistic approach, my own recollections, for what they’re worth, contain lots of similar campaigning for god’s vote. The real test of tolerance for non-belief will be the day a candidate of real standing and otherwise potential electability has the nerve to say the subject has no place in the discourse about a person’s qualifications for office. I’m not asking for an agnostic or atheist to get elected, just someone who believes strongly enough in separation of church and state to regard personal religious convictions as irrelevant and to say so. But, I’m not holding my breath…

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Posted: 06 December 2007 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Brennen, thanks for that. I think you may be right and any concerns I have are simply not justifiable at this time. And as to your ideas here, I am in full agreement.

[ Edited: 06 December 2007 03:58 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 06 December 2007 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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You know, I’d vote for Stark, if he were running, faster than I would any of the canidates.  I’m really getting tired of these people trying to appeal to the Religious Reich, esp when many people- both religious and non-religious are trying to get them out of government.

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Posted: 06 December 2007 09:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Mriana - 06 December 2007 08:58 PM

You know, I’d vote for Stark, if he were running, faster than I would any of the candidates.  I’m really getting tired of these people trying to appeal to the Religious Reich, esp when many people- both religious and non-religious are trying to get them out of government.

You might want to turn away from ever watching Mitt Romney’s address he gave tonight on faith in America. It was some of the sleaziest pandering I’ve seen in some time, and yes I watched the entire thing right on his web site (sometimes I scare myself). I would quote you some, but it’s just to insane to bother with. Oh, what the hell, here’s a made for sound bite pander: “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.”

BTW, here’s the transcript - here

A much better way to spend viewing time is with the videos CFI posted. I spent about 3 hours tonight watching them, Barbara Forest is fantastic, Victor Stenger is excellent. And the philosophical naturalist are depressed LOL  (watch and you’ll see what I mean). But, the Secular Islam stuff is really great.

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Posted: 06 December 2007 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Oh brother!  rolleyes  Hasn’t he ever heard that you can’t have freedom of religion without freedom FROM religion?

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Posted: 07 December 2007 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Christopher Hitchens for President!  Vote the Atheist Party!!!  LOL

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