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The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger

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Posted on Jun 7, 2010
Truthdig collage based on a White House photo by Pete Souza

By Chris Hedges

Tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They are creating a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and shutting out all those they define as the enemy. This movement, veering closer and closer to traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before an imperial America. It champions the eradication of social deviants, beginning with homosexuals, and moving on to immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims and those they dismiss as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace their perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible. Those who defy the mass movement are condemned as posing a threat to the health and hygiene of the country and the family. All will be purged.

The followers of deviant faiths, from Judaism to Islam, must be converted or repressed. The deviant media, the deviant public schools, the deviant entertainment industry, the deviant secular humanist government and judiciary and the deviant churches will be reformed or closed. There will be a relentless promotion of Christian “values,” already under way on Christian radio and television and in Christian schools, as information and facts are replaced with overt forms of indoctrination. The march toward this terrifying dystopia has begun. It is taking place on the streets of Arizona, on cable news channels, at tea party rallies, in the Texas public schools, among militia members and within a Republican Party that is being hijacked by this lunatic fringe.

Elizabeth Dilling, who wrote “The Red Network” and was a Nazi sympathizer, is touted as required reading by trash-talk television hosts like Glenn Beck. Thomas Jefferson, who favored separation of church and state, is ignored in Christian schools and soon will be ignored in Texas public school textbooks. The Christian right hails the “significant contributions” of the Confederacy. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who led the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, has been rehabilitated, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is defined as part of the worldwide battle against Islamic terror. Legislation like the new Jim Crow laws of Arizona is being considered by 17 other states.

The rise of this Christian fascism, a rise we ignore at our peril, is being fueled by an ineffectual and bankrupt liberal class that has proved to be unable to roll back surging unemployment, protect us from speculators on Wall Street, or save our dispossessed working class from foreclosures, bankruptcies and misery. The liberal class has proved useless in combating the largest environmental disaster in our history, ending costly and futile imperial wars or stopping the corporate plundering of the nation. And the gutlessness of the liberal class has left it, and the values it represents, reviled and hated.

The Democrats have refused to repeal the gross violations of international and domestic law codified by the Bush administration. This means that Christian fascists who achieve power will have the “legal” tools to spy on, arrest, deny habeas corpus to, and torture or assassinate American citizens—as does the Obama administration.

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Those who remain in a reality-based world often dismiss these malcontents as buffoons and simpletons. They do not take seriously those, like Beck, who pander to the primitive yearnings for vengeance, new glory and moral renewal. Critics of the movement continue to employ the tools of reason, research and fact to challenge the absurdities propagated by creationists who think they will float naked into the heavens when Jesus returns to Earth. The magical thinking, the flagrant distortion in interpreting the Bible, the contradictions that abound within the movement’s belief system and the laughable pseudoscience, however, are impervious to reason. We cannot convince those in the movement to wake up. It is we who are asleep. 

Those who embrace this movement see life as an epic battle against forces of evil and Satanism. The world is black and white. They need to feel, even if they are not, that they are victims surrounded by dark and sinister groups bent on their destruction. They need to believe they know the will of God and can fulfill it, especially through violence. They need to sanctify their rage, a rage that lies at the core of the ideology. They seek total cultural and political domination. They are using the space within the open society to destroy it. These movements work within the confining rules of the secular state because they have no choice. The intolerance they promote is muted in the public assurances of their slickest operators. Given enough power, and they are working hard to get it, any such cooperation will vanish. The demand for total control and for a Christian nation and the refusal to permit any dissent are on display within their inner sanctums. These pastors have established within their churches tiny, despotic fiefdoms, and they seek to replicate these little tyrannies on a larger scale.


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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 16, 2011 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

I think we’re being trolled, although not very skillfully.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, December 15, 2011 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

Well Red_Crusader sounds like he is ready for a purge of those he and his ilk find distasteful. Violence only leads to more violence and an ugly place to live. So I’d say the first on on that death list could be you if others decide you are one of those not of the faith—-party faithful that is, you could end up murdered. That is what substitutes for the religion and you should be aware of that. So we have yet another blood-in-the-eye war monger. Nothing good there but to find a means of calming your R-complex blood lust and maybe help you to get away from the kinds of violence that differs little from the religions you have fixated on as being bad. Marx didn’t have a problem with religion, just that the poor he saw suffering was relying on it to get through each agonizing day. He wanted them to live well and not have to hope their god would help them in the terrible feelings, but not over coming the tyranny they were under. Just a thought if you allow it in your supposed “socialist world” you would like to build on a pile of skulls to sit on a throne of blood like you heroes, the butchers like Stalin & Mao more grotesque than Hitler, Mussolini,Tojo & Pol Pot because they survived longer to live out most of their lives being successful, and not one whit closer to Marx & Engels. You have an ugly dream that has already been lived and we know how such horrors turn out.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, December 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

Red you sound like a Republican with his wires crossed!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, December 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Yeow…after almost a year later!!!!
Red_Crusader, I suggest you take some deep breaths into a paperbag.

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By Red_Crusader, December 13, 2011 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What an eye-opening indictment of the current secular and socialist forces who the rest of us radical progressive socialists, secularists, and communists who truly want to our culture to evolve into a religion (mainly Christian) free zone, how they let us down, asleep at the helm! The time for compromise and talk are over! The REVOLUTION must be fought now at all costs! Just as our comrades in the Soviet Union, and later under the visionary Chairman Mao, and later, under the equally visionary Pol Pot, and now under the glorious banner of the Democractic Poeple’s Republic of Korea in Pyongyang, we must, as good socialists and atheists true to the principles of Chairman Mao, General Secretary Stalin, Chairman Kim Jong-Il, and other heroes of World Revolution, oppress, smash, and anihilate all forms of fascism, especially Christian fundamentalist fascism! BURN the churches, round up all of these delued religious morons as enemies of the people, and re-educate them, or eliminate them, like Comarde Stalin and Chairman Mao did for the good of the poeple! We will destroy facism and its ugly twin capitalism wherever it rears its ugly face, and bring about a world utopian society based on the principles of atheism and marxism, and bring about the New World Socialist Order…VIVA THE REVOLUTION!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, January 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, self-appointed Sandpaperer, you forgot to include something
very important…

The religion-hued Jews… who could be considered a conceited
people who claim ancient natural “special” selectivity by a fictional
supernatural, regardless of their long history of persecution.  The
usual invention and ascription of concrete reificated supernaturality
to a human conception that also could be called anthropomorphizing
gods, and the attendant religions constructed from such inventions,
lies partly at the root of humanity’s misfortunes, the rest being the
characteristics of conceit, stubbornness, the neurotic need for power,
and inability to apprehend reality.

I do not in any way sanction persecution, subjugation, nor murder
under any conditions.  And absolutely not in the name of any god.  As I
once said about the Palestinians, and was defensively hugely excoriated
for it verbally and would have been physically nailed to some pieces of
wood were it possible and was electronically, when I asked what is their
complicity in the brutality they have suffered throughout history?  And
asked of them as well, when Christians were persecuted at the time of
the early church,, and even now.  I shall be intrepid and ask are
religious Jews completely innocent?  I only ask for a complete and
objective observation when considering actions of humanity and before
assigning absolute responsibility when the actuality is murky.

And please…this is in no way similar to the circumstances where truly
innocent children or raped women are brutalized.

Extolling the virtue of one person, that is, one lunatic’s action, or a
lunatic group such as religious extremists of any stripe taking matters
into their own hands and assassinating or attempting to assassinate
anyone, even as shockingly and extremely unpleasant a one as was Gov.
Wallace, or attacking a nation mostly of innocent people, is in itself an
immoral sentiment.  It is odious to read such an attitude from those
who pretend to be rational.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, January 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

It is unconscionable that the government of the United States has been and continues to allow the sophistry tool of “military type propaganda” to be used against the American Populace by the Conservative Right-Wing and sanctioned by Moderate and Conservative Democrats, as if it is free speech.  It is a miracle more people have not lost their minds.

Jesse Jackson has a few words about “the heinous act has generated a good debate about the connection between the rhetoric of violence and violence itself.” http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/4572-hate-speech-in-arizona 

Gov. Wallace suffered the consequences of his actions and it was fitting, as also the conservative Right-Wing sophists and propagandists spewing all the vitriol against liberals and any kind of socialism for the populace, need to suffer the consequences of their actions as well.  Remember, remember, worse than Wallace,  Hitler and Mussolini suffered the consequences of their sophism and propaganda against their own country’s populace.

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Peter Knopfler's avatar

By Peter Knopfler, January 12, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

Christianity a wasteful disaster. Islam the land of the
dead. Imagine 2 billion Crazy Christians and 1.3
billion lunatic Muslims,  Happy New Year.

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Peter Knopfler's avatar

By Peter Knopfler, January 12, 2011 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Sorry Folks but got to sandpaper your brain get rid
of those dead cell thoughts.
Christianity will always be a tyrant ranting lies. As
long as Christians worship or pray to the Rabbi of
Nazareth-king of the Jews suggested by the Romans and
Hammered to the Roman Pagan Crosse. Until Christians
get the Rabbi off the cross they will always be
slaves to Jews. Christians get your own center piece,
leave to Jews to themselves, stop pretending, give
back the Rabbi to his own people find a new TOY. All
you have done with the Rabbi on cross is Kill Jews
and women, rape little boys, and scream that the Jews
are the Christ Killers and make lots of MONEY, Yes
the Rabbi, the Jew on the cross makes you money,
shameful liars Christians.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, January 8, 2011 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

What appears to be drivel and dross to some, may really be cake to others.

As I see it, the world of driveling drossness in this case, comes from a 3000 year old goat headers manual, which provides some sort of simple comfort to those who prefer or may not have the opportunity or even may be incapable of utilizing free thought.  My suspicion is associations and indoctrinations become what many people seem to accept without questions, because other options are not available to them?

Religion sort of appears to me similar to capitalism, where one has the opportunity to shop at their local bell tower tax free shelter for mind numbing indoctrinations and quaint ritualistic happenings, and social tea afterwards.  My inclinations seems to see all this choosiness depends on ones parents personal preferences or maybe just according to what bell tower happend to be in the neighborhood when growing up. 

What bothers me, is all newborns are not born of a religion, but are soon indoctrinated into one possibly like bigotry and hate?  I suppose different religions have different kinds of indoctrinations? Fortunately I was not indoctrinated in a religion and instead allowed to experiment and flow with the breeze.

Luckily I have found religion is not for me and find myself comfortable with my decision.  Sadly many people in this world do not have my freedom of options. The heavy hand of religion as seen in history has evolved into a cornucopia of choices today, though heavy hands are ready.

Religion would if it could and has in the past been a monopoly of the minds and still is in other parts of the world.  Fortunately for me where I flow,  indoctrination of the mind is highly completive, and find myself fortunate without a goat headers manual raising my own goats and kids.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, January 8, 2011 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

For all the bible thumping and the fusillade of bible verses shot at
the readers of the forum, it merely becomes an electronic tent show
that has no lasting gravity.  It is a barrage of words that has no
adhesive for thinking people. 

Religion is unable to guarantee that humans behave humanly and it
does not exempt humans from their duty to behave humanly.  The
duty to be human is the only essential duty humans have.  It is in
effect pragmatic, and is directed only towards survival.  This is the
intuitive part of being human and, in my opinion, is the only innate
imperative.  All after that and how it is accomplished is a function of
two things, serendipity or accident and conscious reasoning or
intentional deliberation. 

The seminal question, always, is whether religion is necessary, which
leads to another question that hasn’t it been the single most destructive
behavioral element in the history of all human society?  It is not so
much the question of whether something exists or not, such as God. 
The existence or the claim of the non-existence of a thing are both
unprovable because they are in themselves unknowable.  It would be
unavailing for either to attempt.  But with regard to religion, that is a
different story since all religions are created by man.  And man is
notorious for their self-serving and bloodthirsty nature using their
religions as an excuse to kill and subjugate their fellow humans at
every possible opportunity.  So maybe people ought to keep their gods
and give up their religions?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, January 6, 2011 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

Gebeebiz on a saltine cracker; where is Nemesis when you need him? With all these thousands of Christian interpretations floating around out there, it could be construed maybe one of them there interpretations may be right?  For me they all seems like those little balls flying around in the lottery ping pong pot!

Who knows maybe someone may get lucky, well maybe after another 3000 years of nonsense and ignorance!

Of course my own special interpretation is the only right one and I am enlightened enough to keep it to myself even though with absolute certainty I know for a fact everyone else is wrong!

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, January 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Only people practice morality. The problem is in its definition since to some morality includes murdering people who aren’t of your way and for others it is helping them to live free without fear whether they agree or not. Where are you Spitfireatme?

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, January 6, 2011 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

spitfireatme, January 6 at 11:50 am,

Page 2 of 2:

Who is spitting the fire?  Could it be you?  Is that like Christ?  You, being a supposed disciple of Christ should consider well the teachings of Jesus the Christ to his disciples relative to morality when you are considering the Conservative Christian Right as being morally Christian:

http://online.recoveryversion.org/bibleverses.asp?fvid=2019&lvid=2051&ol=on

“20 And He lifted up His eyes to His disciples and said, Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are those who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are those who weep now, for you shall laugh.

22 Blessed are you when men hate you and when they separate you from them and reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.

23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

24 But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation in full.

25 Woe to you who are satiated now, for you shall hunger. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you shall mourn and weep.

26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

27 But to you who hear I say, Love your enemies; do well to those who hate you;

28 Bless those who curse you; pray for those who revile you.

29 To him who beats you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.

30 To everyone who asks of you, give; and from him who takes away your things, do not require their return.

31 And just as you want men to do to you, do to them likewise.

32 And if you love those who love you, what thanks is it to you? For even sinners love those who love them.

33 For if you also do good to those who do good to you, what thanks is it to you? Even sinners do the same.

34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks is it to you? Even sinners lend to sinners that they may get back the equal amount.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, January 6, 2011 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

spitfireatme, January 6 at 11:50 am,

Page 1 of 2:

Who is spitting the fire?  Could it be you?  Is that like Christ?  You, being a supposed disciple of Christ should consider well the teachings of Jesus the Christ to his disciples relative to morality when you are considering the Conservative Christian Right as being morally Christian:

35 But love your enemies, and do good and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

36 Be full of compassion, even as your Father also is full of compassion.

37 And do not judge, and you shall by no means be judged; and do not condemn, and you shall by no means be condemned; release, and you will be released;

38 Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, they will give into your bosom. For with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you in return.

39 And He also spoke a parable to them: A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will not both fall into a pit?

40 A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who has been perfected will be like his teacher.

41 And why do you look at the splinter which is in your brother’s eye, but the beam which is in your own eye you do not consider?

42 How can you say to your brother, Brother, let me remove the splinter which is in your eye, you yourself not seeing the beam which is in your eye? Hypocrite, first remove the beam from your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the splinter which is in your brother’s eye.

43 For there is no good tree that produces corrupt fruit, nor again a corrupt tree that produces good fruit.

44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not collect figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a thornbush.

45 The good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth that which is good, and the evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, brings forth that which is evil; for out of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaks.

46 And why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?

47 Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and does them, I will show you whom he is like.

48 He is like a man building a house, who dug and went deep and laid a foundation on the rock. And when a flood came, the river broke out against that house, yet it was not strong enough to shake it, because it had been built well.

49 But he who hears and does not do is like a man who built a house upon the earth without a foundation, against which the river broke out, and immediately it collapsed, and the crash of that house was great.”—Words of Jesus the Christ as recorded in Luke 6:20-49 http://online.recoveryversion.org/bibleverses.asp?fvid=2019&lvid=2051&ol=on

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By Shenonymous, January 6, 2011 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

What drivel and dross.  If any more start sounding like spitfireatme,
humanity is truly doomed.  But as long as she doesn’t try to force
her gibberish on to me, she is welcome to believe whatever tripe
she wants.

BTW:  How does one “start” to “become” part of the “Christian Right?” 
What are the signs that the becoming one has ended?  Exactly when
does being one happen? Does the babble tweak more to the right
than when they were just becoming one?

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By spitfireatme, January 6, 2011 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

“If other belief systems, including atheism, have moral validity, the infallibility
of the movement’s doctrine, which constitutes its chief appeal, is shattered.”
^As one who is starting to become much more a part of this “Christian Right”,
I’m realizing that claims, as the above author makes, cannot hold. Atheism has
NO moral validity if you believe in God; from God is morality; morality is “loving
God with all your heart.” How, then, can atheism morally fulfill this
commandment? Answer: It cannot do so, for atheism is not a MORAL system.
Morality is the free choice of good or evil in service of God. Thus, there is a
struggle against what it means to be “moral”. Can’t morality be “just doing
good or bad”? Does it HAVE TO involve God? Yet, then, from where then do
atheists derive their morality? Yet, why are you trying to remove God from the
understanding of morality? Answer: To justify atheism, rather than to expose it,
crush it, and serve the truth. The atheist pirates knowledge of moral conduct
from theists and then tries to claim that atheism has its own morality which
either has equality with theism (since it took the theistic morality) or Superior
Morality. If it claims to have a Superior Morality, then it is inviting attack, since
competing moralities can’t both be superior. If atheism claims to have “true
morality” and pronounces theism to be “false morality”, it again invites attack.
These examples are just to demonstrate that faith is an active rhetoric of belief
and that there are competing claims to truth that cannot both be true at the
same time, thus leading to the unavoidable ridiculousness of the “Christian
Right” which is so often hated. I WISH that all claims to truth could be equal,
being highly versed in liberalism and having diverse friends and acquaintances,
though increasingly I am finding this belief to be dangerously destructive,
unrealistic, and untrue.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, August 24, 2010 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

The Fascism Propaganda Charge has arrived and is being led by the Australian U.S. Citizen Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and his Wall Street Journal on his Faux (fox) News Network with his Islam Mosque contrivances to cause controversy and deliberate chaos as much as possible.  Jon Stewart is absolutely correct, people should quit listening to Faux (fox) Conservative Propaganda Contrived News:

http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/08/24/daily-show-how-fox-news-is-bankrolling-terrorists/

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By Nora66, August 24, 2010 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”  This was written by Sinclair Lewis, the American writer and Nobel Prize winner for Literature, 1930. His words are as true today as they were when he wrote them. This country is heading in a particularly dangerous direction, and has been for some time now. We ignore it at our peril.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, June 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

azkmb, June 28 at 11:30 am,

I am certain you will have all of the false success of Martin Luther’s “Priesthood of the People” which, in fact, resulted in “The Divine Right of Kings” and that, as with the Protestant Revolution, when the “Enclosure Movement” metaphorically comes to the United States, as it did in fact with Britain, that YOU and others like YOU will not understand the oppression and tyranny that YOU yourself and others like YOU enabled, and will blame others and the Devil for what “you people” brought upon yourselves.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, June 28, 2010 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

Joan, June 21 at 3:33 pm,

As with all Right-Wingers, Joan is talking out of both sides of her mouth, both for me and for herself, without regard at all for anything I have posted on the Truthdig Forum; and,  like all Right-Wingers, will continue in support of her delusion without regard for anything other than the contentiousness of her false frames that she will defend without regard at all for objective facts or logic.

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By azkmb, June 28, 2010 at 7:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good article and Right on! I am one, and we will take this country over, you can bet on that!

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By Joan, June 21, 2010 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

ThomasG and ITW,

Sorry to take so long respond.

ThomasG,

If ever there was a smoke blower, it is you. Never have I seen such consistency and tenacity utilized to deflect from the weakness of your substantiated accusations against Christians.  There is a place for such talent. Have you considered a career at Foggy Bottom?

ITW,

Please follow the dots.

In response to ThomasG I said that the divine right of kings is no longer invoked.

You countered that the power hungry Edward VIII tried.

I responded that first, he had no need to invoke it to ascend the throne and second (here I defer to you because after a cursory search I could not verify your assertion that Edward ever invoked it/or that it was invoked in any serious way by Churchill) be all that as it may, whatever the case may be, whatever Edward did, British law is the law and it prevailed, no divine right of kings exercised, no throne even because Edward had to abdicate because he married Mrs. Simpson, fully cognizant that that act would deny him the throne. Your point at best is trivially true and certainly is not supportive of ThomasG’s innuendoes that fascist Christians invoke the divine right of kings to brutalize the masses. 

10-4 and all the best…

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 20, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

Yes, my comments on it below. Hard to find, never seen it repeated on cable or in truncated form on regular TV. Low budget (by Hollywood standards) but excellent actors, production values, writer and a faithful adaption of it. I recall when I saw it in limited release at least one man would laugh at various elements depicted on screen. He was the only one and it is hard for me to tell even now if it was nervous or mirthful. I didn’t find it funny at all. Still don’t. The book either. (The racial homeland system you can find variations of it in American Nazi/Confederate literature.)

The new book “Julian Comstock: A story of 22nd Century America” by Robert Charles Wilson is a sort of a sequel with the Dominion of Jesus Christ On Earth being the 3rd leg of a USA gov’t along with the military and Executive only recently put back together after the “efflorescence of oil, false Tribulation,” then the reconstitution of the USA with 60 states by 2160. (It resembles the 19th century but with hold overs from the “Secular Ancients”.) One can read it independently of “The Handmaid’s Tale” for it is a different book, by a different author, but with a similar jumping off point. But I must stress it is wholly different. You also see what global warming has done too to the world.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 20, 2010 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

If one is to propagate pettiness, it seems relevant
to accuse one first of being wordy then accuse them
of not knowing what they wrote then accuse them of
cut and pasting.

Really seems like juvenile jealousness to me?

Having not read the “Handmaids Tail”, nor do I plan
on reading it, but I recall a movie with the same
title?

Connotations seem personal opinions like any other
with nothing to support the opinion except personal
or a combination of other opinions. So this is what
the author is saying, as in the “Old Man and the
Sea!” “A story about a fish”!

If one disagrees with someone’s opinion, why in hell
not state what that disagreement is, instead of
doing what comes easy, petty moronic attempted
insulting?

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By elisalouisa, June 19, 2010 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

There are many, many critiques of this book out there. Amazon at one site has 629 reviews. That does not count the comments after each review. The Web also has numerous critiques which one can provide links to and one is prone to provide links that agree with one’s view. Nothing beats the real thing, like reading the book and then deciding for yourself. The lazy mind does not read a book twice to better grasp what a novel is about. There are no winners here as to who knows more or writes more. The heart within dictates for each person who has read
The Handmaid’s Tale as to what the message is.We need not try to convince each other for if truth be told art is never limited as to meaning.

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By Shenonymous, June 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

Because, el, you seem to have a bit of a lazy mind that doesn’t
usually check out what you talk about, or if you do, maybe not
deeply enough, and you don’t list your resources, and because
you also apparently have an enviously sharp tongue here are some
sites of articles that I’ve read that gave me material to write my
“original” comments about The Handmaid’s Tale.  As an academic
I have access to almost all journal articles and book reviews. Besides
I have the book, read it, and I have the film which I’ve watched a
couple of times.  Night-Gaunt has an excellent grasp of the intention
of the book and subsequent film.
 
http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/science_fiction/handmaid.html

Buy the book and read pages 498 to 500 of Sartre’s Republic of
Silence
. It is an excellent book in its own right about Nazi
occupation of France.  It is pertinent to Offred’s situation.

http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1021

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalism

You might learn something from this website as well:

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Dystopia

Most likely a college library would have this excellent article, ‘Just a
Backlash’: Margaret Atwood, Feminism, and The Handmaid’s Tale
by
Shirley C. Neuman, University of Toronto Quarterly, Volume 75, Number
3, Summer 2006, pp. 857-868.  And Brothers Judd provides an in depth
review of the book. 

If what I’ve provided so far is not too much of an overload for you (a
normal load for myself by the way) you might also look up the article
on suite101.com Dystopian Review - The Handmaid’s Tale by Jesse
Pohlman. This article does not give the plight of women as relevant to a
contemporary America which really is not on the brink of a distopic
condition as found in the book, but rather it offers an example of a
more contemporary religious fanaticism as found in Iran that is said to
be more comparable.

The Handmaid’s Tale is also referenced as further reading on the
Wikipedia article about the Taliban treatment of women, which is a very
enlightening article itself.

So much food for thought.  Now it’s time for food for the body.
Sayonara.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 19, 2010 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

One of the things Atwood was careful to do was not explicitly mention that the regime was Christian in its flavor. Though she needn’t had to anyway. Same in the film which is remarkably close to the source material for what it did use. [Worth watching, stars Robert Duvall & Fay Dunaway directed by Volkor Schlondorf from a script written by Harold Pinter.] The afterward in the book takes place in the year 2145 (the only date given) after the end of the theocratic republic of Gilead at a convention of scholars in their annual meetings to discuss and dissect the differing facets of the fallen American Empire. That year it took place in the sub-Arctic country of Nunnavit, enjoy the Arctic charr!

This was a personal tale told with a backdrop of a Christian based theocracy that had happened with violent overthrow (via the President’s Day Massacre of the top officials in gov’t on one day and blamed on Islamic terrorists) and subsequent alteration of the USA which she gives us flashbacks to when the changes started along with nuclear meltdowns and storms, floods, disease and martial law played their parts in removing those elements of the republic the new regime wanted changed. The secret Sons of Jacob think tanks that formulated all of it then implemented it. Interesting that Jacob translates as usurper or one who overthrows. There are hints in the book of the time period the unnamed protagonist is in—-I get 2011/2012 or 2021/2022. Alas I don’t have a copy at this time but I have read it over an over taking notes and dissecting it myself. You might call it our “1984.”

Women have every reason to be afraid because they still don’t have full rights and are always beset by those who would wish to limit them further. Christian men & women of the fundamentalist persuasion to be exact. Some will assassinate or bomb (terrorize), others will just take control of all medical facilities and forbid abortion along with any birth control (Catholics have done). Or write pernicious laws that de facto limit women’s right to control their body via lack of access. Yes it is a vast Reich wing conspiracy and it is working against women.

I believe that these Dominionist Christians are envious of all those theocratic based Islamic countries that have their religious laws as gov’t enforced laws. Such as Saudi Arabia and now Nigeria. Remember that the dystopia for us is a utopia for those who set it up and rule it. It happened in Rome, in Germany and it could happen here where a democratic gov’t was overthrown to become a dictatorship—-that isn’t fiction of any kind.

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By Shenonymous, June 19, 2010 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

You are an idiot.  I am a scholar and don’t have to copy/paste as you
might have to do.  Sorry elisalouisa if intelligence bamboozles you.

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By elisalouisa, June 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

On second thought, wanting to know your views, I did read your posts which to me have a pungent copy/paste flavor.  All things considered, one might even come to the conclusion that you never read The Handmaid’s Tale.

Shalom

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By Shenonymous, June 19, 2010 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

I hope you don’t think I care.

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By elisalouisa, June 19, 2010 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Critics disagree, whether amateur or professional. There is plenty of room for all opinions. Your input is appreciated but when such posts get too wordy I stop reading and that is what I now have done.

Ciao.

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By Shenonymous, June 19, 2010 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

”Atwood plays on women’s fears…” Can that really be a useful
criticism?  There are many factions that use fear to control
populations. All of the Abrahamic religions do, and political
ideologies.  If it is a valid criticism, then ought not the drama
to play on men’s fears as well? 

Not one who normally has much, if any, sympathy for Christian
fundamentalism, it seems the theatrical dystopian ambience of The Tale
was predicated on that kind of right wing authoritarianism that is not
exactly unique in America but actually is found in all dictatorships
around the world. But any excuse for it here is unconscionable.

Canadian Atwood’s personal antagonism towards American Christian
fundamentalism requires the question of why she poison pens the
evangelical movement she shows in the number of references to Biblical
passages that illustrate the religious attitude towards women since at
least the time of Moses and Abraham on up to today in all civilizations. 
But a survey of history would show it has been since time immemorial. 
Does its history mean, however, it ought to still be tolerated?  Does the
savage mind still have the right to rule?

What important signs should we look for in our society that says the
American people would capitulate to a strict theocracy?  Atwood once
made the observation that we readers of dystopic tales are to deduce
what a good and just society is by seeing what it isn’t.  Plato who was
more positively direct had his utopic society run by a totalitarian
despotic, putatively benign, king, where all children born were whisked
away from their natural parents and raised by the Guardians, a special
class from which the Philosopher King was selected.

Atwood’s is typical of literary dystopias in general are a kind of thought
experiment which isolates certain social trends and exaggerates them
to make clear their most negative qualities. They are not usually
intended as realistic predictions of a probable future so it is pointless to
criticize them on the grounds of implausibility.  Atwood examined some
of the traditional attitudes that are embedded in the thinking of the
religious right and which she found especially threatening.

Ask yourself whether events such as A Handmaiden’s Tale depicts are
likely to take place, and if the attitudes and values it conveys are
present in today’s society?  That should be a gauge of how far along
the implications have gotten.


It seems true that Atwood outrageously but dramatically extrapolated to
make a point, as is typical of dystopian writers: it is highly unlikely that
the puritanical religious right would ever adopt the sexual practices
depicted in her novel; but she is trying to argue that patriarchal
traditions which value women only as fertility objects can be as
demeaning as modern customs which value them as sex objects.  She
made perfectly clear that it is reduced to an absurdity, reductio ad
absurdum
, a theoretical exercise designed to stimulate thought
about social issues rather than describe a realistic portrait of a probable
future.  She can easily be compared to Jonathan Swift, who in his satire
A Modest Proposal that the Irish masses avoid starvation proposing
that they have and raise their own children to be eaten.

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By Shenonymous, June 19, 2010 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

Biblical references that show up in The Tale:  Genesis 30:1-3 is
one of several passages that make clear that in the patriarchal
Hebrew tradition it was perfectly legitimate for a man to have sex
and even beget children by his servants (slaves), particularly if his
wife was infertile.

Gilead is a direct reference to a rather ideal land written in Numbers 36
of the Bible. It is mentioned many other times in the Bible as one of the
twelve traditional divisions of the land of the Hebrews. However, the
Tales author was probably thinking of Jeremiah 8:22: “Is there no balm
in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the
daughter of my people recovered?” This verse is famous because of its
use in the old Black spiritual: “There is a balm in Gilead, to heal the
sin-sick soul.” In this context the Christian Gilead becomes the font of
healing: Jesus Christ.  Can anyone imagine a fundamentalist group
calling itself Gilead because of these associations?  The original context
in Jeremiah (the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians) causes
considerable irony since the handmaidens are not permitted to have
hand lotion (“balm”). Baptists have a long-standing tradition of local
control and individualism.  We have to ask as the story progresses if the
elimination of pornography stopped women from being regarded as sex
objects (tails)?  If not, then does that say men and women are meant to
be in an eternal combat?  Wouldn’t the implication be horrifying?  That
women will forever be struggling to attain human beingship? 

Why would the Tyrants of Gilead’s attitude toward education especially
higher education not be surprising? In the Biblical Garden the fruit of
two trees were forbidden to be eaten:  Only one was violated: “...tree of
knowledge of good and evil…” Genesis 2:9. - It is traditionally
translated that the tree imparts knowledge of tov wa-ra, “good and
bad,” but tov wa-ra is a fixed expression denoting “everything,“not
simply a moral concept.  Therefore, it is knowledge of everything that
eating the fruit (apples?) of this tree will provide.  From the beginning
knowledge is forbidden to humans.  And from the beginning both
female and male defy the God’s command.  The covenants are written
and because the written word is venerated humans without minds will
bow.

Since it is Father’s Day on Sunday, it occurred to me that Joseph, Jesus’
earthly father, is hardly mentioned anywhere in the NT and after a
lengthy Internet search, there is very little known about the man.  Isn’t
that odd?  Why then or how did he get to become a saint?

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By elisalouisa, June 18, 2010 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

Atwood plays on women’s fearsNightgaunt. This misogynist state that happens step by step is one can say unreal. The paranoia that exists concerning American fundamentalism makes them an easy target and the theme of control as in the Christian Right fits in well. The real issue to
me in this novel is women are characterized as victims and men portrayed as ill equipped in most ways, therefore the need to control; women are submissive and accept their fate. In real life we’ve come a long way baby and that ain’t fly as least not as it happens in The Handmaid’s Tail excuse me
The Handmaid’s Tale. grin
Added Note: The Canterbury Tales is but part of the reason for the title Nightgaunt. Atwood is quite skilled at combining the two themes of Christian Right Fascist control and misogyny but above all, she is a feminist at least as I see it. Writing is not always interpreted in a similar manner as where you are coming from makes a difference. The author is vague
in some issues and even the ending left to the reader. Thank you for recommending this book.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 18, 2010 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

It is also based upon Margaret Atwood‘s research into the American Christian Right. It prompted me to start my study of them in 1990. It is both not just one or the other. However we only see it from one woman’s perspective on a world changed so differently from what it was and yet retained many familiar aspects that just made it more surreal and horrible.

The title was influenced & echos “The Canterberry Tales.”

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By elisalouisa, June 18, 2010 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

To me Night-Gaunt A Handmaiden’s Tale is more about
the oppression of women than about government take over by the Christian Right.
Even the title A Handmaiden’s Ta— (choose your spelling) obviously has a double connotation. After revisiting this novel I finally understood why it was difficult for me to read. I as a woman identify with what is happening to Offred, the main character in the novel. The takeover of government by the Religious Right is but a backdrop to help further the message for what is really going on and that is the eternal theme, namely, subjugation of women.

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By ThomasG, June 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

call me Roy, June 17 at 7:32 pm & call me Roy, June 17 at 7:25 pm,

Propaganda is binary emotional rhetoric; these three words define all propaganda and allows propaganda analysis that can be comprehended by anyone and everyone, regardless of their level of education.

BTW, binary means two, emotional is self explanatory and rhetoric is language that leads others to a conclusion.

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By ThomasG, June 17, 2010 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, June 17 at 6:56 pm,

Might I suggest schizoid contentious dialogue with yourself that no one else has to play the victim in, both you and you can be both the victim and villain.  From my perspective it would be entertaining as the flip side of “A Beautiful Mind”.

Isn’t it about time to put the contentious frame of villain as victim to sleep and move on?  I would suggest that you do so if you do not want to be considered a Conservative Right-Wing EXTREMIST Republican because that script is their schtick.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

call me Roy you are full of hot air or you would have substantiated yourself by pointing out some of those “lies” you say there are in the article.

I would suggest “The Handmaid’s Tale” (1990) and the book of the same name (1986) by Canadian Margaret Atwood then start researching. Its much easier now than in the late 1980’s but you will see it.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 17, 2010 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

Very interesting, I did not know of this. A significant discovery I think. I will try to find the book. Indespensable.

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By call me roy, June 17, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

Chris, I have never read an article with so many lies. Are you one of those movie stars who played the terrorist parts in the “True Lies” movie. Your speech betrays you. Oh wait, maybe it was the movie “Black Sunday.” Or was it “A Son of the Sahara” or “The Black Stallion”, or maybe “Iron Eagle” or “Death Before Dishonor” or “Navy SEALs” or I know it’s “The Delta Force” or “Patriot Games” or could it be “Executive Decision” or many peoples favorite “Reel Bad Arabs.” Gee, there are so many to pick from. Anyway, you need to go out and rent these and I am sure you will enjoy watching yourself. If you find that these movies have helped you in any way, please man, for your own sake, go see if you can get some anger management help. There is help out there.

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By call me roy, June 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

Jeffrey Herf, a professor of history at the University of Maryland, has written an eye-opening book about the effectiveness of Nazi ideas in the Middle East during the Second World War called, “Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World.” In it, he describes the Nazi campaign for the minds and hearts of the Arab world in great detail—particularly the Axis radio programs that ran in Arabic around the clock from late 1939 until March of 1945.
These broadcasts spewed venomous anti-Semitism and pushed every demagogic button imaginable. They were also highly effective. In fact, long after the last vestige of Nazi rhetoric faded from consciousness in Europe, the poisonous seeds planted back then are still bearing deadly fruit.
The mind-set that gave way to the Third Reich is very much alive and well in the Muslim world of the Middle East.
When those two senatorial strange-bedfellows offered their visionary resolution in 1944 about a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the “Axis Broadcasts in Arabic” were way ahead of the story. Mr. Herf has accessed a significant cache of transcripts and leaflets produced by the Nazis during the war—materials that have not been adequately examined—until now.
So back in 1944, any hopes a couple of well-intentioned voices in Washington might have had to garner widespread national support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine were dashed by forces largely influenced by the hate-speak of Nazi propagandists. Berlin, broadcasting in Arabic, referred to Taft and Wagner as “criminal American senators,” while announcing, “a great tragedy is about to be unfolded, a great massacre, another turbulent war is about to start in the Arab countries.”
And in phraseology that sounds eerily familiar to what we still regularly hear from Islamists, the Nazis described the stakes as kill or be killed:
“Arabs and Moslems, sons of the East, this menace threatens your very lives, endangers your beliefs and aims at your wealth. No trace of you will remain. Your doom is sealed. It were better if the earth opened and engulfed everybody; it were better if the skies fell upon us, bringing havoc and destruction; all this, rather than the sun of Islam should set and the Koran perish…Stir up wars and revolutions, stand fast against the aggressors, let your hearts, afire with faith, burst asunder! Advance your armies and drive out the menace.”

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By Night-Gaunt, June 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

Same as before, you refuse to go off script. I just want clarification and why you play partisan. But I have hit your rock wall again and will stop.

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By ThomasG, June 17, 2010 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, June 17 at 2:25 pm,

If you are talking to me, you are excused as you requested of me, now—go away.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 17, 2010 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

Excuse me if I see things you ignore or are blind to. I pointed it out and you didn’t refute me, you just prattled on saying nothing and staying away from it. (Aversion and Evasion) I asked a question and you get hot-under-the-collar. It will happen to anyone who comes on an open forum and says something. You’d better get use to it, I have. [You act the way Rand Paul reacted when he was asked a question of clarification of his views. Chill.]

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By ThomasG, June 17, 2010 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, June 16 at 9:36 pm, Night-Gaunt, June 16 at 6:42 pm,

I will not discuss circular amorphous nonsense with you; if that is what you want to do by trying to frame what I say, then you can use an imaginary friend and do whatever you choose to do in my absence.

I have stated my position and that is enough, as far as I am concerned; if you choose not to accept my position in favor of your own pattern of perception that is your affair.

I really don’t want to get into another round of you or anyone else interpreting what I say differently than my own intent.  I am not at all reticent to declare my own intent and frame my own rhetoric.  It would be best if you would adopt the same perspective and speak for yourself and let me do the same.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 17, 2010 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

Joan, June 15 at 6:50 pm #

ITW,

I do not see any meaningful distinction between ruling and reigning in Britain.  The British monarchy is a unifying figurehead, symbolic, pretty much stripped of the power to govern, rule or reign. At best Elizabeth II presides over ceremonial activities. 
**************************************************

PLEASE stop explaining the succession of British Royalty! I know DAMN well exactly how Edward came to the Throne.  IT IS IRRELEVANT!

Let me put it in plain, simple terms:

Edward wanted to overthrow the power of Parliament and make himself, as King, absolute ruler, like Mussolini or Hitler.  He didn’t want to be a powerless “Constitutional Monarch” who reigns but doesn’t rule (check a dictionary).  HE SOUGHT TO OVERTHROW BRITISH DEMOCRACY AND BECOME AN AUTOCRAT!

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS LEGITIMATE SUCCESSION TO THE THRONE!

It was this desire to upset the system that had worked since William and Mary that put him at odds with Stanley Baldwin, and, with his love for Wallis Simpson (who was also bedding von Ribbentrop) Baldwin had his excuse to force Edward to abdicate.

Edward STRONGLY resented the “Constitutional Monarchy” and thought God’s will for him to actually rule, not just preside, was being thwarted.

I HATE when someone deliberately misunderstands me.

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By Maani, June 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

She:

Coffee it is!  I will raise my next cup of Joe (java, grains, mud, etc…LOL) to you.

Peace.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 16, 2010 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

You are the one who frames it, I simply made note of it and pointed it out to you. It is up to you to explore why you are blind to the obvious. Maybe you have formed and ideology that prevents you from seeing it.

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By ThomasG, June 16, 2010 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, June 16 at 6:42 pm,

I support the American Populace, the 70% Majority Common Population of the United States, Back Street America, not the Republican Party or the Democratic Party.

I am interested in the United States adopting a Multi-Party Political System where the American Populace can be represented in coalition governance and be a part of the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that is in the best interest of the American Populace.

Your post frames me as being in support of the Democratic Party, and I am not.  I will support individual Democrats as the best choice in rotten apples, I encourage voting in the Primary Election Process to improve representation of the American Populace and I am a member of the Democratic Party, so that I feel that I have a right to be critical of the Democratic Party as a party member.

However, the Middle Class Singularity Agenda of the Democratic Party is not something I endorse or support.

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By ThomasG, June 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Joan is talking about accusations because apparently that is the frame within her mind and all that she has patterns of perception to understand.

As I have said before in an 1897 quote from Leo Tolstoy:  “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man [or woman], if he [or she]  has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man [or woman] if he [or she] is firmly persuaded that he [or she] knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him [or her]”.

What Joan thinks she knows is preventing her from knowing and that is a problem Joan will have to work out for herself.

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By Shenonymous, June 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

I apologize for being somewhat errant.  I’ve had some real life things that
needed attending to and I’ve been preoccupied for a couple of days now. 
It has been exhausting and not much brain energy left to think cogently. 
I’ve appreciated all of your posts even where I disagree.

By the same token as Edward VIII, Joan, I will be brave to say that Christians are
not born: they are made by artificial hallucination, I am quite convinced.  Can
anyone convince me otherwise?  Perhaps I will convince you?

Indeed, ThomasG.  Your account of God’s Divine Will was pretty stunning.  I am
busy checking out the links and have not got through all of them.  Only a couple. 
Thank you for providing them. I am learning new things about The Divine Right
of Kings and how it has metamorphized politically in today’s world.  There is
much there to think about.

MarthaA, I indeed appreciated your use of the stats.  You appear to be right
about the ratios.  How does that help your argument?  I agree that the
Republicans are of a significant number and can affect the vote especially if they
can convince independents to side with them.  Even if their arguments are in the
realm of error, liberals must argue better than them!  Not reactively, but better. 
Show the American population how the Republicans are wrong and make it
grandly public.  Most of the Democrats on the news take a defensive attitude
which I think does not do them much good.  They must show just how wrong
the Republicans are. Actually hammer it home. 

Joan and Maani, I need to reflect more on each of your posts as well.  Hopefully I
can get to it this evening.  Maani, while I love the stuff, I cannot drink beer
either, I’m diabetic but I do enjoy a cup of good coffee!  I’ll raise a cup to our
continued conversation.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Just as a side note, ThomasG something I have pointed out to you before but you ignore it, Barry Goldwater for whatever his other faults was against these Christian fundamentalist fascists. He could see them starting to get into the party back in 1964 and thought poorly of it. Also in you list you play the partisan bunny and leave out the two Democrats who have helped facilitate and continue the Republican attacks on us & our doddering Republic. Namely Clinton & Obama so why don’t you open your other eye to see just how far the fascist rot has spread?

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By Maani, June 16, 2010 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

She:

You are correct: Christianity is an exclusivist religion.  But all faiths, religions and belief systems, including secularism, are exclusivist to one degree or another.

What matters is how that exclusivism is expressed in the temporal world.  And this can be broken down into how it is ACTUALLY expressed (regardless of whether its adherents actually live up to the foundational tenets of that system) and how it SHOULD be expressed (if they do).

Consider this (admittedly simplistic) “primer” on my understanding of the Christian faith.

If one self-proclaims as Christian, that de facto presupposes that one believes in Christ and His ministry, example, etc.

In this regard, the three critical underlying beliefs are: (i) Jesus was immaculately conceived; (ii) Jesus’ ministry represents God’s “wishes” re various virtues and behavior; and (iii) Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and the (genuine) honoring of His sacrifice (as well as honest and humble repenting for one’s sins) is how redemption, salvation and eternal life are obtained.  All the rest is details.

Re (i), this expresses the belief that Jesus was “fully God and fully human,” and thus had the “right” to take on “payment” for all sin for all time.

Re (ii), this is expressed in “living a Christ-like life.”  This includes everything from the 11 precepts of His ministry (love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, humility, patience, charity, selflessness, service, justice, truth), to the Sermon on the Mount (and other public teachings), to His “re-aligning” of certain Commandments and other Jewish teachings in order to bring understanding that the spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law, to His own personal example of clean, peaceful, peaceable living.

Re (iii), this is expressed in Romans 10:9: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

It is instructive to note that NOWHERE in ANY of this is there anything about politics - much less human efforts to enact “God’s Will” through any means other than personal example.

It is true that Christians are called to evangelize, and even proselytize.  But nowhere does Jesus (or any other Scriptural figure) suggest that this means ramming it down people’s throats, much less attempting to change socio-political systems.  Indeed, Jesus is clear about this: He tells the disciples to “go and preach the gospel” to every living being – but that if someone does not want to hear it, to simply move on.  Indeed, this was Jesus’ example: He taught and spoke to anyone who wanted to listen – but never condemned or aggressively solicited anyone who simply was not interested.

Finally, as for the exclusivist belief that anyone who does not accept Jesus will “go to hell,” even if we assume this to be true, it does not (or at least should not) have anything to do with Christians’ interactions with non-Christians in the temporal world – not if they are going to follow their foundational tenets re living by Jesus’ example: a loving, forgiving, humble, compassionate, peaceful, peaceable, non-judgmental and non-condemning life.  Thus, I may believe that you, as a non-Christian, will not be present in “God’s kingdom” (which you don’t believe in anyway…) after you die, but that has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with how I interact with you here, in the temporal world.  You are well aware of who I am and what I believe, so my “evangelism” and “proselytizing” re you (assuming they even occurred) are long over: I do not judge or condemn you for your secularism, and I would be pleased to have a beer with you (if I drank beer…LOL).

In all these regards, how the exclusivity of Christianity IS playing out vis-a-vis the RWCs, and how it SHOULD be playing out (according to its internal foundational tenets), are clearly two different things.

Peace.

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By MarthaA, June 16, 2010 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, June 12 at 10:28 pm

I answered, but did you miss my post? because you did not acknowledge my answer.  I thought sure you would have something to say, but since you didn’t, does that mean you are in agreement with the 2006 10/20/70 percentages that I posted from your 2006 figures as follows?


“Thank you for the 2006 figures:

Rep 32.29% -10% Elites ======= 22.29% Populace

Dem 41.64% - 20% Prof.Mid.Class= 21.64% Populace

Independents ===============24.8%  Populace

Others ====================00.79% Populace

Difference to Equal 100%========00.48% Populace
       
TOTAL POPULACE =============70.00%


There is definitely NOT a 50/50 Ratio from these figures between Democrats and Republicans as the media always shows, because these figures show 32.29/41.64, which is far from 50/50.

Nevertheless, these figures show 22.29% of the populace in the Republican Camp and that is too many voting against themselves.

***

Also on a different subject, Leefeller asked a question and then totally ignored my answer.  What’s up?

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By Joan, June 16, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

ThomasG,

“You, as a Christian seem to want to make everyone an adversary and contend over issues that are amorphous nonsense to objective understanding.” ThomasG

Playing on Christian guilt? Please don’t insult Christians and then counter that being Christian precludes an aggressive response to those insults…challenging you means I want to make everyone an adversary?  It shouldn’t unless I am correct…this is about prejudice. 

“…and contend over issues that are amorphous nonsense to objective understanding.” ThomasG

What does this mean? (“More matter, less art.”)

“Again, you misrepresent what I have said and respond with a frame that is NOT CONNECTED at all to what I have said.” ThomasG


How specifically have I misrepresented you?
In general, your posts refer to Christian Fascists, hardly flattering. You state that these people fail to abide by Christian morality (your term). Because they do so, these people are immoral.  It seems reasonable to ask you for some poof of your claims about Christians. So, I asked you what specific things these alleged fascists have done to violate Christian codes. No answer. I asked you what codes they violated.  No answer.

When asked for them, you offer no proof of your assertions. You deflect by saying I am misrepresenting you. If so, how, specifically? 

You say you don’t think I’m dumb (thank you) but I have intent. You’re right. Here’s where I’m coming from. 

Are Christians perfect? Of course, not. Are some even immoral? Absolutely. Do some violate their code? Yes. Are some fascistic? I suspect that’s true. But these are aspects of any population, striving to their own well- meaning/ not so well meaning ends, be they Christians, Jews, right- wingers, left- wingers, Muslims and secularists.

This is a de facto Christian based country.  The majority of people, Christians of one sort or another, are working day to day to make this country a decent place to live. I see them in the ER and medical facilities, schools, running into burning buildings, helping stranded motorists and at charity events.  Calling them Fascists with no specificity, you denigrate Christians and mock them…seemingly for sport.  That I stand against.

As for the disdain you post about capitalism, I can agree that unchecked capitalism like any economic system has its great dangers. Alternatively, in a few decades capitalism resurrected Japan, West Germany, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait etc. Even China is falling into the system. The people of these nations are living better then they ever have. Meanwhile, those nations under the charitable tutelage of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic,North Korea, Cuba languished.

Capitalism has allowed the leisure to develop the inventions and medical miracles from which we benefit daily and take for granted, like computers and keyboards, life saving drugs that BTW…were it not for insurance companies we could never have afforded and hence would probably never have been developed.  Nations world wide benefit from American capitalism. 

Capitalism was successful enough that combined with Christian generosity, American generosity, America could send tons and tons of grain to feed starving people in African countries. Of course, corrupt rulers let it rot in ports so their people would not be grateful to America, thereby highlighting their own failure as leaders. It is basically the Christian nations, pretty much capitalist ones that answer the world’s cries for assistance. 

For its varied sins, in the grand scheme of things, capitalism serves a purpose.  Like everything else, capitalism is a double edged sword…you exploit the good and must remedy the evils.

It’s easy to take shots at Christians and capitalism…neither is perfect but once you accuse, you have to be prepared to backup your accusations…nothing unfair about me expecting anyone who takes these shots to do so.

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By ThomasG, June 15, 2010 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, June 15 at 12:01 pm,

“Who are the people on this Truthdig forum trying to sustain a claim that they do not know the difference between right and wrong? Between what is moral and immoral? And based upon the tenets of what moral code?” —Shenonymous June 15 at 12:01 pm 

I do not believe in a binary argument, whether it be good or bad, right or wrong, or any other binary construct that is subject to emotional judgment and rhetorical contention for one side or the other of the binary frame; binary contention is propaganda and, as you know, propaganda is binary emotional rhetoric.

With regard to those who are trying to sustain a claim that they do not know the difference between right and wrong and good or bad, as you say in your question, are those who would disingenuously argue that a moral code cannot be separated from religious doctrine and would in the name of religious doctrine defend immorality as morality.

Truthdig as a forum has these disingenuous arguments available for all to see and I do not feel the need to say more.

With regard to Hitleresque behavior, from the time of Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I, Bush II and into the present with Glenn Beck, the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Media Echo Chamber has been using sophism, propaganda, and false Hitleresque rhetoric to demonize and frame the Political Left in the same way that Adolph Hitler framed the Political Left, socialism, and everyone that was not certified as an Aryan, as an enemy of the Christian Fascist State in Germany; to my mind those who defend others who perpetuate this type of a morally bankrupt perspective are empowering those who practice and glorify this type of Hitleresque framing.

For whatever reasons, we seem to be past continuing the use of Hitleresque framing as a movement activity to demonize political opposition and as a result we have had more substantive dialogue and so long as others can get by without mounting a defense of the movement activities of the EXTREMIST Right-Wing Conservative Christian Fascist Movement from Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, to the present activities of Glenn Beck that by way of sophism, propaganda and false rhetoric uses mass media to demonize the Political Left in the same Hitleresque way as was practiced by Adolph Hitler, I am content not to take an offensive posture and am hopeful that the practice will last here on Truthdig, although I am aware that people, like Glenn Beck and the Conservative Right-Wing EXTREMIST Christian Fascist Movement he represents, will continue their amorphous nonsense in a continuing effort to lead non-constituents against their best interests for political advantage.

Those who support Hitleresque behavior should know that I am still against Hitleresque behavior, but to the degree that Hitleresque behavior is not presently supported and proffered here on Truthdig at the present, I think that it has improved the prospect of understanding.

I am not prepared to tolerate the restart of Hitleresque framing and demonization without a response; this type of behavior cannot be left to flourish undisturbed without the same results that occurred with Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Hideki Tojo, and the Conservative Right-Wing EXTREMIST Movement here in the United States that extended from Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II into the present with Glenn Beck and resulted in the collapse of the U.S. Economy, two unnecessary wars, extraordinary rendition, the glorification of terrorism in the name of fighting terrorism, perpetual war, deregulation that led to financialization and deindustrialization of the U.S. Economy, and near takeover of the U.S. Government by a Fascist Christian Movement similar in nature to that of Adolph Hitler.

I like to be thoughtful and reasonable, but it is not a good policy to be thoughtful and reasonable with unreasonable people.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 15, 2010 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

Shouldn’t there only be one version of the Bible written by God himself?

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By Leefeller, June 15, 2010 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

3000 interpretations of the bible, we seem to be making head way, with only two left to the last Joan or Thomas standing.

I think it will end right here on Truthdig, holy moley!

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By ThomasG, June 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

Joan, June 15 at 11:29 am,

Again, you misrepresent what I have said and respond with a frame that is NOT CONNECTED at all to what I have said.

You, as a Christian seem to want to make everyone an adversary and contend over issues that are amorphous nonsense to objective understanding. 

I have nothing more to say to you because you have nothing to say, other than to contend for your beliefs and I do not want to contend with you over amorphous nonsense of your beliefs that are not grounded in objective reality.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

8)  Thomas Malthus’ Law of Population that
  underpins Privatized Capitalism represented
  as God’s Divine Will http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus

From what I see they ignore this all the time and condemn anyone who lnvokes it as a reason to stop the unlimited growth in a limited environment that they constantly propagate.

It is a natural thing that functions like a Dead Man’s Switch. It will only activate if we fail to produce enough food. Too much food gets us more babies and the need for more food. With climate change working against us we see food production falling all over the world as our population continues to grow. Catastrophic failure will follow along with maybe 1-2 billion will die over time. But they won’t go quietly into the night either. Wars and slaughter by those countries who don’t want to be overrun will use their weapons to survive, those who don’t will go down too. It will be an awful time. Far worse than the 20the century.

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By ThomasG, June 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

As I recall, someone asked where I got the eight examples of God’s Divine Planning as follows:

1)  The Divine Right of Kings represented as
    God’s Divine Will http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_right_of_kings,

2)  Laissez-Nous-Faire Privatized Capitalism
    represented as God’s Divine Will http://www.panarchy.org/keynes/laissezfaire.1926.html,

3)  Fascist Governance represented as God’s
    Divine Will
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism,

4)  Manifest Destiny represented and enforced
    as God’s Divine Will http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_Destiny,

5)  Right-Wing EXTREMIST Evangelical Christian
    Fascist Religious Movement’s representation
    of God’s Divine Will as their
    authority http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominionism,

6)  Christian Prosperity Gospel represented as
    God’s Divine Will http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology,

7)  Genocidal history of Christianity performed as
    God’s Divine Will http://freetruth.50webs.org/A4a.htm, and

8)  Thomas Malthus’ Law of Population that
    underpins Privatized Capitalism represented
    as God’s Divine Will http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus


I got them from where they were left laying around in history, made up by men to enforce man’s will on man’s fellow man.

Divine Planning by man in the name of God has been going on for a very long time.

The “Aeneid” written by Virgil was God’s Divine Plan for Rome and there were Divine Plans of God written by man prior to Virgil writing the “Aeneid” and reference to other Divine Planning is made by Dante Alighieri in his “Divine Comedy”.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 15, 2010 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Even in places that still have royalty like Japan, Spain, Sweden(?) have them all in lesser roles now. Only in the 700 years of Monaco do they have total rule. Or do they have a parliament too? But it isn’t a dictatorship there is it? If so it is one that the inhabitants seem to like. But then it is a casino for the wealthy after all. That is all it offers.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a minority ruled over a majority. But even so most of the people would go along with it if it gave them enough of what they want and are already familiar with.

The Dominionist mentality uses divine right to have a socially rigid hierarchy of society not much different from Plato. Or even like colony insects only for humans and of religious significance based upon how you are in it corresponds to how well one is within the religion itself. If you are well off God favored you if not then you are likewise damned by it. A self serving idea no different than Divine Right of Kings.

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By Joan, June 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

I do not see any meaningful distinction between ruling and reigning in Britain.  The British monarchy is a unifying figurehead, symbolic, pretty much stripped of the power to govern, rule or reign. At best Elizabeth II presides over ceremonial activities. 

Not a historical scholar by any means on the House of Windsor, here’s what I have learned and know. 

Again the right of succession had Edward VIII securely on the throne immediately after the death of his father George V, would Edward fulfill the requirement to sit as king, being married to a divorcee not being allowed at that time. So no need for divine right appeal there. 

Winston Churchill argued on behalf of Edward keeping the throne if he married Simpson appealing to the divine right of kings, ie authority from God, hence, kings can do what they please.

“The world had moved beyond Rudyard Kipling, and in some ways Churchill never did. And he defended Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson out of a romantic sense of the divine right of kings, when almost everyone else in Britain, from dukes to dustmen, wanted them gone.”

http://www.americanheritage.com/blog/20077_25_31.shtml

No matter his intention, and I will take you at your word about Edward’s power hungry ambitions, even though he did the one thing that would prevent him from ever realizing any of them for sure, marry a commoner divorcee, still no divine right could be invoked because Britain had laws that prevented him from using it. So, no matter what Edward may have wanted or pined for, given your thesis, Edward was not so divine but was subject to British law that required him to abdicate and obediently/graciously,upon making his choice, he did.

My point to ThomasG is that no one invokes the divine right of kings anymore. Stop grabbing at straws to make this case against Christianity.  We’re pretty much safe from that thinking.

Some quotes for Edward VIII

·  The foremost art of kings is the ability to endure hatred. (Edward VIII )
·  He is a king who fears nothing, he is a king who desires nothing! (Edward VIII )
·  Kings are not born: they are made by artificial hallucination. (Edward VIII )
·  Divine right of kings means the divine right of anyone who can get uppermost. (Edward VIII )
·  I wanted to be an up-to-date king. But I didn’t have much time. (Edward VIII )
·  It’s vital that the monarchy keeps in touch with the people. It’s what I try and do. (Edward VIII )

http://allmyquotes.com/quotes/kings/

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By Inherit The Wind, June 15, 2010 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Joan, June 15 at 11:33 am #

ITW: don’t get it…the divine right of kings’ claims that MONARCHS get their authority from God and essentially that has been transposed to mean that MONARCHS can do what they want without challenge…

Edward VIII was George V’s eldest son so the right of succession was straightforward, no need for a power grab. Edward then abdicated. I see no exercise of the divine right and/or any activity that permitted unrestrained power and authority over the minions the divine right permitted, which is why the Magna Carta was so vital. The House of Windsor is a mere figurehead held in check by Parliament whose lower house is elected.
****************************************

You are kidding, aren’t you?  The monarch of Britain reigns but does not rule.  Parliament rules.  You know that, I know that, Edward VIII knew that.

That was the problem.  He didn’t want to just reign, he wanted to rule and rule with ABSOLUTE power, like Mussolini or Hitler—and he saw THAT as his “Divine Right”.  Edward VIII was a dire threat to British Democracy.  He HAD to be desposed.

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By Leefeller, June 15, 2010 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Righteousness promoted with absolutisms by those who feel they are always and forever (a very long time)  right.

individuals who always know what would be or should be right, is what makes the terming of “self righteousness” real, ........or as I prefer to call them, the “self deludedness”!

I always suspected OM wore several tea bags from his ears, but it seems most surprising to hear OM is one of them Consecutive Christians…... Damn Om, you have been fooling Leefeller all this time.

My political leanings seem to me like a pendulum,  moving ever so slowly, back and forth.  Another way to describe my political leanings, would be to compare them to a dog marking his spot on fire hydrants as he wanders about life, but never ever going back to the same fire hydrants, because some clown has painted them a different color.

As I have stated many times , I find name calling a very important first resort, especially when ever I find another person seemingly so much smarter then me. Insulting is the only and bestist possible recourse or option available.  Resorting to a short list of sophisticated epaulets seems to work quite well and makes me feel so superior, which is most useful when drowning in my own stupidity, the idea is to drag others down to my sinking level.

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By edenseeker, June 15, 2010 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, you are correct that it seems so many
pastors and people in leadership (or at least the
public eye) follow some variation of dominion
theology. I think that is partially because First the
media does a good job of focusing on these leaders as
it’s good for controversy and ratings. Thousands of
unknown leaders will never see this attention.

Another factor is I do feel an inordinate number of
church leaders do subscribe to a light version of
dominion theology and are concerned that if this
country cannot correct it’s moral slide that we as a
nation are doomed to suffer God’s judgement. This
does concern me as the congregations that follow this  
will be more likely to side with the more radical
factions during the next crisis.

However, to counter the movement many evangelical
pastors, even those who decry the moral condition of
America, are screaming against the Dominion
Theologists. Further, we are witnessing an exodus of
members from these churches who are seeking non-
political movements like the “Emergent” Church, small
group churches, or did not return to church.

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By Shenonymous, June 15, 2010 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

That, ITW, was very mirthful.

Now ThomasG, not in the way that you are mirthful.  I
thoroughly appreciated the Wm Shakespeare and the ‘new’ you. 
Well, new from about six or so months ago when the fire you
showed kept me warm during the winter!  LOL.  That was mirthful
in a reverse kind of way.

I’m glad and grateful you are relieved these days to feel more
comfortable, for your posts are fathomable, instructive, and interesting
but I submit that there once was an equal exchange of fierce rancor, on
one side a suffocating offense and the other due to gasping defense.

I don’t believe, though sir, with all due respect, that N-G, nor OM, and
definitely not myself (or Leefeller) ever held a Hitleresque perspective. 
On reflection, and review, there was a lot of back and forth noxious
accusation as to who exactly furthered such a vile perspective.  I am not
Christian, nor conservative, nor a compatriot of the self-declared
Christian conservative OzarkMichael.  It has always been my demeanor
to look at issues from a neutral position, as do, I believe, Night-Gaunt
and even Leefeller who injects a provincial kind of humor into nearly all
of his comments.  Yet you took leviathan umbrage and threw us all into
a nefarious group contentious to your sentiments.  What is on record is
pages and pages of harangue such that we all took a strong defense
with counterattack over and over again, and I do believe that
counterattack was equal to yours.  Nothing was furthered on either side
except a bad taste in the electronic mouth.  Make no mistake I am not
defending OM.  But from my view he had not ever voiced a Hitlerian
philosophy.  His intent was to demonstrate that it was your and
MarthaA’s tactics that were more illustrative of the Hitlerian strategy.  I
believed neither of you.  If you want to descry him for aligning himself
with Christian conservatives that is ad hominem.  To what degree he
aligns himself is only known to himself, as we never had the chance to
find that out from his constant counterattacking defense.  It is a pity
that the two of you could not argue your own positions with clear
unemotional statements of what you believe.  For it is only colored
belief that drives both your sides whether or not the dark vial of lies
were poured into electronic ears or not.  The rest of TD could then
judge which has the better argument, the more strength and merit in
their opinion.  There are many TDers who are neither socialist minded
nor conservative.  While poles apart, they are not the only views to take. 
I have residing in my liberal self a generally bad opinion of the
conservative perspective, and I am interested if there were ever anyone
who could rationally explain what merits they see in it.  I have never
seen one, but I am not going to summarily believe there is none. 
Reason is there are too many who fall on that side.  I suppose the same
could be said of Christianity.  Could it be so wrong if so many believe. 
The answer might be yes, as Lincoln once said that all of the people
could be wrong some of the time, but I would allow the possibility that
a good argument could be made.  I don’ think so but that is
prejudging from prejudice.  It seems to me that rational people ought to
welcome opposite views if only to check themselves out for veracity. 

Julius Caesar was a metaphor Shakespeare wrote about the anxiety felt
by the English about the succession of leadership.  The queen had not
named a successor in the case of her death (which was impending due
to her elder status) and a civil war was threatened that was likened to
the civil war in Rome when Caesar was given an early death by
assassination.  The value of opposing views are expressed in this play.

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By Shenonymous, June 15, 2010 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

Because man’s nature is what it is and does not change even
through the millennia since the psyche of men have had no
evolutionary need to change with hegemony as the essential
rule, power of the strongest, nothing has changed and is
witnessed today in power politics.  Cassius et al and et tu, Brute,
used the fear of transforming Republican Rome (a democracy) into
a monarchy where Caesar would be the infallible monarch (similar
political dynamics exist in the regime of Hugo Chavez, and others
particularly in Africa, today! And yes, I realize saying no doubt will
bring an avalanche of criticisms on my head! Such is the nature of
truth that is painful to admit.  Rationalization is a form of defensive
argument. And I always look the ebony in the vial right in the eye!)

Does motivation count in a conspiratorial movement?  As Cassius’s
motives are completely different than Brutus’.  Does OM’s, does yours?
For yours is as much conspiratorial as OM’s when you attempt to sway
others to your cause however your approach, violent or benign.  No one
is simply hero or villain.

In Caesar, the conspirators made it clear that they committed this act of
assassination on behalf of Rome, not for their own purposes and they
don’t even attempt to flee from the murder scene.  The two speeches,
Brutus’ defense and Marc Antony’s psychologically skillful speech that
manipulated the minds of the populace are examples of speech and
counterspeech where Shakespeare offers opposing views for
consideration.  Brutus’ speech was completely rational, marc Antony
emotional. In the end, Brutus is lauded by Antony as the only Roman to
remain noble in his intention of the “good” of Rome.  Could this really
be a “good” reason?  The good of a society and was it really the ‘good’
of the society.  After the assassination of Julius, nothing much changed! 
Eventually the governing body decided on a course of general amnesty
for the assassins (or liberators as they and their supporters called
themselves). In this compromise, they were forced to uphold all of
Caesar’s laws and individual honors, including the concession that
Caesar’s soldiers would receive everything they were promised.  Rome
finally collapses in any event.  So what really was gained?  Is there really
any permanent gain? 

The Great Charter is a touchstone in the history of liberty, freedom. The
Magna Carta was the result of the Angevin king’s disastrous foreign
policy and overzealous financial administration.  In his feeble attempt to
recover his treasury from losing to Philip II, John by demanding a fee
paid by eligible men in lieu of military service was forced to sign the
document by the lords who had not participated in the war with Philip,
that would limit the king’s ability to obtain funds.  It is always about
money isn’t it?  After much wrangling and more rebellion the charter
was signed and the term Any Freeman came into the language of
politics.  The Idea of We the People popularized in America is a
descendent of that phrase. The seminal document for constitutional
law, democracy, and universal protection of “ancient” liberties,
inalienable, the document, the feudal document, meaning applicable to
tenancy of land and fees paid to property owners, protected really those
powerful families who held the highest position in the system.  Those
unfree laborers are hardly mentioned and only once concerning using
fines set by the courts to punish minor offenses.  Such was the morality
written into law.

Who are the people on this Truthdig forum trying to sustain a claim
that they do not know the difference between right and wrong? Between
what is moral and immoral? And based upon the tenets of what moral
code? 

The quote from Hamlet I am supposing illustrates the opinion of the
many (all of Denmark) who already had a bad opinion of the house of
royalty based on the actions of the one (Claudius).

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By Joan, June 15, 2010 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

ITW: don’t get it…the divine right of kings’ claims that MONARCHS get their authority from God and essentially that has been transposed to mean that MONARCHS can do what they want without challenge…

Edward VIII was George V’s eldest son so the right of succession was straightforward, no need for a power grab. Edward then abdicated. I see no exercise of the divine right and/or any activity that permitted unrestrained power and authority over the minions the divine right permitted, which is why the Magna Carta was so vital. The House of Windsor is a mere figurehead held in check by Parliament whose lower house is elected.

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By Joan, June 15, 2010 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

ThomasG,

With respect to muddle headed behavior, the only lack of clarity here is the smoke screen of fancy words and philosophical concepts you throw up to avoid meeting my challenge and actually substantiate your accusations that Christians violate their own codes and hence are immoral. “More matter, less art.” Lady MacBeth

It’s clear that from Paul of Tarsus, Augustine, Aquinas, C. S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, to a name a few, people have been trying to understand Christian morality and what it entails for 2000 years.

For instance, does “Christian morality” (your term) compel Bonhoeffer to assassinate Hitler, as he argued to his peril? The challenge is far from moot.

By not offering any specificity, your posts seem like prejudiced rants against one of the few groups that it is politically correct to malign these days, Christians. You can just rant on and on, firing at will at Christians, indignant at those who refuse to intuitively understand your accusations, insisting on some shred of evidence. Even criminals are told the specific charges against them…Absent any specifics, thus far what I see here is just good old redneck prejudice masquerading as enlightenment.

As the saying goes…put up, or shut up…gonna fish, or just cut bait here…I called your bluff…show me your cards.

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By ThomasG, June 15, 2010 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, June 15 at 7:17 am,

Do you suppose that the Divine Right of Kings ended with the Magna Carta, or that the Divine Right of Kings morphed gradually into Laissez-Nous-Faire Privatized Capitalism, that then morphed into the Divine Right of Privatized Capitalism and has in that way followed the American Populace as “that which passes show” and all that the American Populace can understand of the Divine Right of Kings is the loss of the trappings and the suits of woe as expressed by the Magna Carta?

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By Inherit The Wind, June 15, 2010 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

On a lighter note, I have not heard anyone invoking the Bible to justify invoking the divine right of kings since the Magna Carta was signed.
**************************************

Were you there?

J/K.  The Divine Right of Kings was still being (at least secretly) used as a justification for a planned grab for absolute power by King Edward VIII, which was why he was attracted to, and cozied up to the Nazis.  Wallis Simpson was a convenient excuse for Stanley Baldwin to force his abdication in favor of his brother, George VI. In addition, the FBI claimed while sleeping with Edward, she was having an affair with von Ribbentrop at the same time.

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By ThomasG, June 14, 2010 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

As of late I have greater mirth, because I feel far less like you and others on the Truthdig Forum are trying to hold me down with heavy handed words of sophism, propaganda, and false rhetoric, so that accursed ebony in a vial can be poured into my ears, and I do appreciate it.  I tend to lose my mirth, and man delights not me, when man or woman either tries to get me to hold still with heavy handed words, so that accursed ebony in a vial can be poured into my ears.

There is hope that what is rotten with the American reality of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all can be remedied by forthright fair and honest dialogue.

In the United States,  as a nation where Christians are a majority religion, time is out of joint with the practice of Christian morality that is not in accord with Christian “standards of morality”, accursed spite that Christian pastors from their church pulpits will not set it right.

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By ThomasG, June 14, 2010 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, June 14 at 7:37 pm,

Them’s mighty enlightened words there NightGaunt.  You appear to have come a long way from the time when you were in support of OzarkMichael’s Right-Wing Hitleresque perspective.

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By ThomasG, June 14, 2010 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Joan, June 14 at 3:28 pm,

You always equivocate and talk about something other than what I have said, and I have taken your actions as purposeful intent, rather than ignorance or stupidity.

Are you telling me that you are just too muddle minded to separate the moral doctrine of Christianity from the religious doctrine of Christianity?—if so, I understand your lack of ability forbids the necessary patterns of perception within your mind to understand the dialogue in which you have involved yourself.

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By Maani, June 14, 2010 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

CHRISTIAN FASCISTS ASIDE, WE INTERRUPT THIS THREAD TO BRING YOU A SPECIAL REPORT.  THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAS DROPPED ALL PRETENSE THAT IT IS NOT MOVING TOWARD PROTO-TOTALITARIANISM.  PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE AND NOTE THAT THERE IS NOT EVEN A SINGLE WORD ABOUT PRIVACY OR CIVIL LIBERTIES.  I HAVE ASKED TD TO POST THIS ARTICLE AS A NEW THREAD.  TAKE A DEEP BREATH!!

http://www.rr.com/news/topic/article/rr/9008/14001503/Feds_under_pressure_to_open_US_skies_to_drones

THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS ARE TRULY UGLY.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG for sociopath/psychopath the idea of “right & wrong” was made by people who are normal. So they could be labeled as amoral. By those who have empathy. In other words we are just marks, sheep to be fooled into helping the master manipulators who consider their lacking to be a superior trait. We must not try to emulate them as they continue to manipulate us to act as they do. In centralized forms of gov’t they can climb its ladder and take control. Very dangerous. Thom Hartman has written a book about how our corporate society and our gov’t and entertainment society have been changed to promote the behavior of psychopaths as a good thing. Though the knowledge of psychopathy they wish to keep secret or the cats out of the bag.

You would also find them in churches too. Though it wouldn’t be the first time that a church has been hijacked for nefarious self aggrandizing purposes. Like the “Prosperity Gospal” and “Free Enterprise Capitalism” is mixed with their religion.

The top strata of “earners” have it in for us. They liked the Guilded Age and the conditions in 1934 have been recreated for the express purpose of bringing down our (mostly) secular Republic. They are as Christian as the Nazis were. Only the kind of Christian that believes in power, mysticism, violence as holy, and crusades to evangelize the locals. A class conscious type too. Social hierarchy is also on their mind. Everyone in their (god given) places in society as they see it. A certain neo-Platonic influences in their mindsets.

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By MarthaA, June 14, 2010 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

Leefeller’s June 13 at 11:53 am thought of churches paying taxes is biblical ——would you believe that Jesus paid taxes? Jesus did not allow offense by not paying taxes.

Therefore, Jesus didn’t say the church was not to pay taxes, in fact, Jesus said in Matthew 17:24-27 to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s and Jesus had his disciples collect the money to pay the taxes from the mouth of the first fish that they caught, because Jesus is a Divine God.

The imperfect church is framing God as an imperfect God that needs imperfect Man’s support to effect God’s Divine purpose, this is not acceptable to frame God as not being a perfect God.

“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

He said, Yes.  And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon?  of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute?  of their own children, or of strangers?

Peter saith unto him, Of strangers.  Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money:  that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”—Matthew 17:24-27

In no way did Jesus say that churches should be tax free and beholden to the government through nonpayment of taxes.  Jesus said exactly the opposite.

God is able to supply taxes, and the church should be paying taxes, not be taking money from the government, based on the Bible.

The churches need to let Jesus be true and every man a liar.

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By MarthaA, June 14, 2010 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Leefeller’s June 13 at 11:53 am thought of churches paying taxes is biblical ——would you believe that Jesus paid taxes? Jesus did not allow offense by not paying taxes.

Therefore, Jesus didn’t say the church was not to pay taxes, in fact, Jesus said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s, and Jesus had his disciples collect the money to pay the taxes from the mouth of the first fish that they caught on a hook, because Jesus is a Divine God.

The imperfect church is framing God as an imperfect God that needs imperfect Man’s support to effect God’s Divine purpose, this is not acceptable to frame God as not being a perfect God.

“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

He said, Yes.  And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon?  of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute?  of their own children, or of strangers?

Peter saith unto him, Of strangers.  Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money:  that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”—Matthew 17:24-27

In no way did Jesus say that churches should be tax free and beholden to the government through nonpayment of taxes.  Jesus said exactly the opposite.

God is able to supply taxes, and the church should be paying taxes, not be taking money from the government, based on the Bible.

The churches need to let Jesus be true and every man a liar.

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By Joan, June 14, 2010 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

ThomasG,

Please study your own posts to understand what I am questioning you about…

Maani, Shenonymous and I, at one point or another, have told you you need to more specific about the Christian moral precepts you accuse Christians of violating. You decline to do so.  Hence, the discussion remains vague and your accusations about Christians remain unsubstantiated and your argument, circular. 

Nowhere have I defended Christianity or a Divine Being in my dialogue with you. Where did you get that idea? As Shenonymous has noted in several posts, points you make about morality are general not exclusive to Christianity.  Were I defending Christianity and/or God, my discussion would probably be quite different.

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By ThomasG, June 14, 2010 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

Joan, June 14 at 12:08 pm,

Study my two posts to Shenonymous June 14, 2010 at 1:23pm and 1:20pm and perhaps you can resolve your misperception; Shenonymous has indicated that she understands and agrees and if you choose to understand, apart from your defense of Christianity which God as a Divine Being does not need, and that you seem to want to frame as being an imperfect God by your requirement that your defense of God, as an imperfect human being, is necessary to maintain the Divinity of God; hopefully you are capable, otherwise you will not understand.

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By ThomasG, June 14, 2010 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, June 14 at 1:05 am,

(Page 1 of 2)

“I disagree, ThomasG, with nothing you’ve said.  I would only add that this is not a problem owned solely by Christianity.  —Shenonymous, June 14 at 1:05 am

Thank you for your agreement.  I agree, also, that “this is no problem owned solely by Christianity.”

However, the argument that the immoral behavior of the one is excused by the immoral behavior of the many,  that the immorality of the one excuses the intentional immorality of movements; such as the Christian Fascist Movement and the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Christian Movement is a false and invalid argument.

It is the job and responsibility of the Pastors in the Christian churches to preach Christian morality according to the “standards of morality of the Christian moral code” as expressed in their Bible and not allow Christian morality to be hijacked by the Right and replaced with immorality as an alternate frame; Christians should be concerned that this has happened and working to reverse the process, rather than going along to get along.

The moral and immoral attributes of both “people” and “movements of people” can be defined in words by definition and in deed by behavior, after all, as Shakespeare said, “a rose by any other name is still a rose”; and to paraphrase Shakespeare, immoral by any other name is immorality.

Moral being what is right by definition of a “moral standard” and immoral being what is wrong by the same “moral standard” of definition.

To say that people cannot define what is moral and immoral by both word and deed is saying that people do not know the difference between what is right and wrong as defined by a moral standard. 

It is up to people and their leaders to look to their moral standard and on the basis of that standard to define the difference between right and wrong,—what is moral and immoral;—to me this is only difficult if one chooses not to understand for purposes of claiming immorality by act and, at the same time, claiming morality for acts of immorality by definition——to say that this distinction cannot be made is to admit to a lack of understanding of right and wrong that defines a sociopath.

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By ThomasG, June 14, 2010 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, June 14 at 1:05 am,

(Page 2 of 2)

Are people on this Truthdig forum down to trying to sustain a claim that they do not know the difference between right and wrong, between what is moral and immoral, based upon the tenets of a moral code? —if so, the claim that is being made is a claim to legitimatize sociopathy, a claim of not being able to judge the difference between right and wrong and that to do so is right and thereby moral. Shakespeare makes reference to this in Hamlet:

Horatio.
Is it a custom?

Hamlet.
Ay, Marry, is’t:
But to my mind,—though I am native here,
And to the manner born,—it is a custom
More honour’d in the breach than in the observance.
This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us treaduced and taxt of other nations:
They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish
  phrase
Soil our addition; and, indeed, it takes
From our achievements, though perform’d at
  height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That, for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth,—wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin,—
By the o’ergroth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason;
Or by some habit, that too much o’er - leavens
The form of plausive manners;—that these men,—
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature’s livery, or fortune’s star,—
Their virtues else—be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo—
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault:  the dram of eale
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.” —Shakespeare Act I, Scene IV

It is also being claimed on this Truthdig forum that there is a legitimate comparison between the isolated acts of individuals and the communal activities of groups to perpetuate the aims of movements; this is also in line with sociopathic behavior that takes the initial disregard for right and wrong that is disregarded as individual activity and uses movement dynamics to empower and glorify that same behavior that is known to be immoral as defined by a known moral standard as a “frame of morality” that in deed is opposite of morality, as defined by their own freely accepted and glorified moral standard.

What I expect from Christians is that they take those that have hijacked the morality of Christianity and made it into a tool of immorality out of positions of leadership in their churches, and not allow their morality to continue to be hijacked as a self serving tool of Christian Fascists and Right-Wing EXTREMISTS.

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By Joan, June 14, 2010 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

ThomasG,

The thing about your thesis that is odd is the paradox. You seem to be berating them for both violating and accepting their code. 

You maintain that if one, a Christian in this case, violates his moral code, one is immoral.

You berate Christians for

-  for violating their code, and
 
-  then you list purported aspects of that code (the divine right of kings which perplex me…just what Christians are asserting the divine right of kings?) that Christians believe biblically justified, supposedly imposing on the rest of us and tell me they are fascists for accepting/imposing them… not good either…


Paradox: If Christians believe they are biblically or doctrinally justified in supporting the divine right of kings or capitalism and they are doing so, which I gather is your objection to their behavior, making them now Christian Fascists, how are they being immoral…you said that being immoral was violating their own code. Your standard of one, a Christian in this case, being moral is that he follow Christian guidelines. So if Christians follow these supposed Christian guidelines, they are fascists and if they don’t they are immoral. As I said earlier, Christians are damned if they and damned if they don’t.

I would conclude that in the context of your personal views of what Christianity entails, you would laud Christians for violating these onerous codes. They would seem more moral and enligthened according to your standards.

For the record, I do not carte blanche accept your depiction of Christianity as per your list.

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By Leefeller, June 14, 2010 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

She, the difference between the time of Plato and now is, today I do not have to try my hand at politics to know it is disgusting, actually this is true for many things which seem disgusting to me, from the pimp on the street, to the Pedophile in positions of opportunity, to Politicians on the take. Of those three the pimp may be the more honest. 

Judging others by or from what is not known of people, rather the judgeing seems to be by ingrained stereotypes, the accepted practice by most people today as I suppose has been throughout history. Even bigotry seems to exist without change, from religious to political, ethnic and societies interpretations of success.

For instance the common laborer is common to the elite who would portray their status in society as not so common, sadly the common accept this also.  Why cannot society appreciate the common with the same degree of afforded respect as the so called white collar professionals or elites?

Years ago I read that in Sweden the people appreciate with much respect, people who do the hard work and Swedish people did not look down their noses at people titled here as the common laborer.  Possibly this feeling of status entitlement may be what is programed to keep tensions between all the people all the time?

As usual I have more questions than answers, for I am not an expert and I know nothing, just like Sargent Schultz.

Chomsky’s use of the unpeople has merit, when looking at the whole picture. Plato had to try politics to discover it was disgusting, again I do not need to try politics to know it is disgusting.

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By MarthaA, June 13, 2010 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, June 13 at 11:25 pm,

I agree, churches that use their pulpits for politics should be taxed, and anymore, because of the Right-Wing Conservative Fascist Movement steeplejacking the churches, there are lots of churches being steeplejacked and because churches are being steeplejacked, pastors now have to talk about politics to avoid being steeplejacked by the Conservative Right-Wing Republican Fascist “steeplejacking” Movement in the churches.

In my city there is a pastor who pastors his church every Sunday, and doesn’t use his pulpit for politics, and has to pay taxes.  He told us that he has to pay taxes on whatever offerings he gets.  He said the more offerings he gets, it only makes him have to pay more taxes.  He doesn’t take money from the government as many of the churches do, and works as a teacher to feed his family and has to pay taxes on his teaching income as well as whatever he gets from the church.  He said the money he gets from the church puts him in a higher income bracket and it makes him lose money when people give offerings.

Since he has to pay taxes, all the Conservative Right-Wing Fascist political churches should have to pay taxes in my estimation as well.

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By Shenonymous, June 13, 2010 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, June 13 9:29 pm
I disagree, ThomasG, with nothing you’ve said.  I would only add
that this is not a problem owned solely by Christianity.  It is a
problem in any religion.  The Jews, however, have been very cagey
in giving up most of their commandments as morality rules of Judaism. 

Plato argued in “The Republic” for the necessity of the philosopher
king, the so-called benign dictator…” 

That was over 25 cenuries ago. While he imagined that the only
character capable of ruling a just society Plato thought he must be
someone with a passion for truth, and one who had achieved the
greatest wisdom or knowledge of the Good.  How many philosopher
kings have there been since Plato’s conception?

Just as a little fill in…
In that dialogue, he conceived them as the Guardians.  The Guardians
were a combination of protector and governor of the state.  They would
play the role of military, civil service, and government, being pitbulls
against the enemies of the state, but wise and gentle to its citizens,
and serve as teachers for all the children. To maintain these standards
the Guardians must live a monastic, military, life with no need of money
or family (representing the impartiality required of the final repository
of political and moral authority). They divide into the Philosopher Kings,
the rulers who represent the virtue of wisdom, and the concomitants,
whose main virtue is holding fast to the requirements laid down by the
wise.

To the question ‘who shall guard the guardians?’ (‘quis custodiet ipsos
custodes?’, Plato’s answer is their education and virtue alone do so.

However, there is a failure in Plato’s Republic’s utopian engineering of a
society.  In his The Poverty of Historicism, Karl Popper said it well,
“It overlooks the fact that it is easy to centralize power but impossible
to centralize all that knowledge which is distributed over many
individual minds, and whose centralization would be necessary for the
wise wielding of centralized power. But this fact has far-reaching
consequences.

Unable to ascertain what is in the minds of so many individuals, he, the
Philosopher King, must try to simplify his problems by eliminating
individual differences: he must try to control and stereotype interests
and beliefs by education and propaganda. But his attempt to exercise
power over minds must destroy the last possibility of finding out what
people really think, for it is clearly incompatible with the free
expression of thought, especially of critical thought. Ultimately, it must
destroy knowledge; and the greater the gain in power, the greater will
be the loss of knowledge.” 

Of course Popper was thoroughly criticized and Plato’s totalitarianism
defended by Levinson and others, but the criticism still held and many
applauded his rejection of Plato’s hypothetical Kings and Guardians.

Popper separated Plato’s ideas from those of his mentor Socrates,
claiming that particularly in his later years Plato intentionally
undermined the humanitarian and democratic proclivities of his teacher
but instead Socrates became a literary device,  a character in his
dialogue to give voice to his own totalitarian and anti-democratic views. 
Popper accuses Plato of actually betraying Socrates in the Republic
where Socrates is seen as sympathizing with the tyranny defined in the
Philosopher King.

While Popper lavishly praised Plato’s analysis of social change and
discontentment, calling Plato a “great sociologist,” he rejected Plato’s
solutions.  He viewed Plato as intensely afraid of the change that would
come from the open society that the liberal Athenian democracy would
bring.  He also thought Plato wanted himself to become the Philosopher
King.  He did enter politics but disgusted he quit.

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By Maani, June 13, 2010 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

Thomas:

“When one claims morality under a moral code and has accepted that code freely and if they glorify that code, it is for purpose, and out of purpose, if they disregard that same moral code, they are immoral.”

If someone claims a moral code and disregards it, they are hypocritical.  If someone claims a moral code and acts in ways that are antithetical to that code, only then might they be said to be “immoral.”

“Immoral people want to exercise power, control, and glory, and most generally they want a ‘standard of morality’ under which they can rule others that is accepted by those who are ruled; this is the problem with Christianity.”

Boy, you certainly do have a broad definition of “moral” and “immoral.”  LOL.  A person can be selfish, greedy and power-hungry - i.e., “want to exercise power, control, and glory” - without necessarily being “immoral.”  Are there selfish, greedy and power-hungry Christians?  Yup.  Yet even if selfishness, greed and power-hunger are antithetical to some of the 11 precepts of Jesus’ ministry, this still does not make such people de facto “immoral.”

“It is not a slur on Christian morality for Christians to accept that there are those who are immoral according to Christian moral standards, and want to claim Christian moral standards to disguise their own immoral and amoral behavior. It is a slur on Christian morality for Christians as a whole to allow those who are immoral and amoral to rule immorally and amorally in the name of the moral standards of Christian doctrine.”

I agree with this.  And you might be surprised that almost every Christian I know would agree with it as well.

“If their behavior is consistent with the moral code they have freely accepted, they are in general moral, and if it is not, they are in general immoral…”

Still with the “moral” and “immoral”...  If a person’s behavior is intermittently inconsistent with his/her moral code, that simply makes them human.  As I note above, it is only when their behavior is consistently antithetical to that moral code that they MIGHT be deemed “immoral,” depending on the frequency, degree, etc.

“I am a friend of Christianity and Christianity’s moral code as determined by Christian doctrine in the Bible, and it is beyond me why Christians defend those who behave immorally and amorally according to the Christian moral code in the name of defending Christianity, rather than simply condemning immoral and amoral behavior in the name of Christian morality as defined by Christian doctrine, and not give immorality and amorality cover and protection as legitimate Christian morality that is in compliance with the moral code of Christianity.”

Again, I agree.  As a related aside, I belong to an organization called Sojourners, which I think you might find interesting.  The founder, Rev. Jim Wallis, is a well-known “moderate” Christian who is as concerned about the “conservative Christian” movement as you and I (and virtually everyone here) are.

Peace.

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By Leefeller, June 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Holding ones face right, when preforming voodoo is important or it dost not work right. 

So I guess no one wants to see the Churches taxed, except me?

If one is going to whine about Corporations, why not Whine about the Pope and pals? Next thing we will see them swapping and handing out Watch Towers here, then we will move up to the Holy Underwear.  Now it seems to me Holy Underwear should be taxed, now most people throw away their holy underwear, but not the special people who buy them, guess it is like the new jeans thing, people pay extra for the holes becasue it is cool?

By the way, Sinbad I liked your joke, but it did seem a tad lop sided, considoring our history with humor.  Seems to me humor should be equal in presentation with no holds barred. One should be able to poke fun of everyone, do you have any Muslim or Arab jokes? 

When I made a joke about the Dog Barka thing on another post, it was received as insulting please accept my apolgiee.

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By Joan, June 13, 2010 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG,


Terms like “Christian morality”, “Christian fascists”, “Christian moral code” are broad spectrum terms such that any clever protagonist could categorize any moral code and baptized person as such. So they have no import…with the exception of “Christian Fascist” which is again a meaningless term but also is used disparage Christians across the board for sport. 

Regarding your belief that I am equivocating, I have consistently stated one position and only one position. Christianity is a religion, not a separate moral code. It was founded by Christ and there are many aspects to it which is why to determine if its code has been violated, details must be given; minimally what is the law broken and what the accused believes his Christian obligation entailed.  Any practicing Christian understands what I am talking about here.

Applying Christian teachings or any moral code is not as simple as following a recipe. It often engenders judgment.

As to your list… The divine right of kings may be the only one worth dissecting but as I said earlier, no one invokes it anymore. It’s moot but it is easy to argue that in a lawless world, there needs to be some facsimile of order and respecting a king is not necessarily off the mark, as the Bible directed. A king, banking on the Bible to justify his rule would also know about Christ and ought to be abiding by his teachings…not bad thing in and of itself. 

BTW: centuries earlier Plato argued in “The Republic” for the necessity of the philosopher king, the so-called benign dictator…

As to the other purported violations of Christianity as Christ taught it, what you have done here is use negative, emotively charged phrases to conjure up abject evil as being blessed by the Gospel carte blanche. I’ll again answer you simply. God does not bless or will evil…by a greedy capitalist or a greedy philanthropist etc, etc. 


1)The Divine Right of Kings represented as
  God’s Divine Will,
2)  Laissez-Nous-Faire Privatized Capitalism
  represented as God’s Divine Will,
3)  Fascist Governance represented as God’s
  Divine Will,
4)  Manifest Destiny represented and enforced
  as God’s Divine Will,
5)  Right-Wing EXTREMIST Evangelical Christian
  Fascist Religious Movement’s representation
  of God’s Divine Will as their
  authority,
6)  Christian Prosperity Gospel represented as
  God’s Divine Will,
7)  Genocidal history of Christianity performed as
  God’s Divine Will, and
8)  Thomas Malthus’ Law of Population that
  underpins Privatized Capitalism represented
  as God’s Divine Will.

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By ThomasG, June 13, 2010 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, June 13 at 7:03 pm,

It is not all of that difficult to determine whether or not a person has or has not disregarded their own moral code.  When one claims morality under a moral code and has accepted that code freely and if they glorify that code, it is for purpose, and out of purpose, if they disregard that same moral code, they are immoral.

I accept this means of determination of moral, as opposed to immoral, in general terms and I have openly and freely said so.

Once this means of determining what is Morally Right and Morally Wrong, according to freely accepted standards, one can use the moral code that one has freely claimed and accepted as a metric to judge moral behavior, and moral behavior will either be in accordance with the moral code they have freely accepted, or it will not be in accordance with the moral code they have freely accepted; thereby, it is relatively simple to determine from what one freely accepts as a moral code, whether or not specific aspects of their behavior is moral or immoral in accordance with that code that has been freely accepted.

Immoral people want to exercise power, control, and glory, and most generally they want a “standard of morality” under which they can rule others that is accepted by those who are ruled; this is the problem with Christianity. 

There are those who want to rule in the United States under the cover of Christian morality and their behavior is immoral and amoral according to the moral standards of Christian doctrine.

It is not a slur on Christian morality for Christians to accept that there are those who are immoral according to Christian moral standards, and want to claim Christian moral standards to disguise their own immoral and amoral behavior.

It is a slur on Christian morality for Christians as a whole to allow those who are immoral and amoral to rule immorally and amorally in the name of the moral standards of Christian doctrine.

It is nothing more than an exercise in “causality” to determine what one accepts in general as a standard of morality, and then determine by “cause and effect” whether or not their behavior is consistent with their claims.  If their behavior is consistent with the moral code they have freely accepted, they are in general moral, and if it is not, they are in general immoral; and by comparing specific aspects of their behavior and a considerable range of their behavior over a considerable period of time, it can be determined to what degree they are moral or immoral by their own compliance with their own moral standards of behavior as indicated by the moral code they have freely accepted and glorified.

I am not an enemy of Christianity.  I am a friend of Christianity and Christianity’s moral code as determined by Christian doctrine in the Bible, and it is beyond me why Christians defend those who behave immorally and amorally according to the Christian moral code in the name of defending Christianity, rather than simply condemning immoral and amoral behavior in the name of Christian morality as defined by Christian doctrine, and not give immorality and amorality cover and protection as legitimate Christian morality that is in compliance with the moral code of Christianity.

To paraphrase Shakespeare as follows, Christians must learn not to spread compost on the weeds to make them ranker:

“Lay not that flattering unction on your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness speaks;
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within, infects unseen.
Confess yourself to Heaven, repent what’s past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds to make them ranker.” —From Shakespeare’s Hamlet Speech Act III, Scene IV

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By ThomasG, June 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, June 13 at 7:03 pm,

It is not all of that difficult to determine whether or not a person has or has not disregarded their own moral code.  When one claims morality under a moral code and has accepted that code freely and if they glorify that code, it is for purpose, and out of purpose, if they disregard that same moral code, they are immoral.

I accept this means of determination of moral, as opposed to immoral, in general terms and I have openly and freely said so.

Once this means of determining what is Morally Right and Morally Wrong, according to freely accepted standards, one can use the moral code that one has freely claimed and accepted as a metric to judge moral behavior, and moral behavior will either be in accordance with the moral code they have freely accepted, or it will not be in accordance with the moral code they have freely accepted; thereby, it is relatively simple to determine from what one freely accepts as a moral code, whether or not specific aspects of their behavior is moral or immoral in accordance with that code that has been freely accepted.

Immoral people want to exercise power, control, and glory, and most generally they want a “standard of morality” under which they can rule others that is accepted by those who are ruled; this is the problem with Christianity. 

There are those who want to rule in the United States under the cover of Christian morality and their behavior is immoral and amoral according to the moral standards of Christian doctrine.

It is not a slur on Christian morality for Christians to accept that there are those who are immoral and amoral according to Christian moral standards, and want to claim Christian moral standards to disguise their own immoral and amoral behavior.

It is a slur on Christian morality for Christians as a whole to allow those who are immoral and amoral to rule immorally and amorally in the name of the moral standards of Christian doctrine.

It is nothing more than an exercise in “causality” to determine what one accepts in general as a standard of morality, and then determine by “cause and effect” whether or not their behavior is consistent with their claims.  If their behavior is consistent with the moral code they have freely accepted, they are in general moral, and if it is not, they are in general immoral; and by comparing specific aspects of their behavior and a considerable range of their behavior over a considerable period of time, it can be determined to what degree they are moral or immoral by their own compliance with their own moral standards of behavior as indicated by the moral code they have freely accepted and glorified.

I am not an enemy of Christianity.  I am a friend of Christianity and Christianity’s moral code as determined by Christian doctrine in the Bible, and it is beyond me why Christians defend those who behave immorally and amorally according to the Christian moral code in the name of defending Christianity, rather than simply condemning immoral and amoral behavior in the name of Christian morality as defined by Christian doctrine, and not give immorality and amorality cover and protection as legitimate Christian morality that is in compliance with the moral code of Christianity.

To paraphrase Shakespeare as follows, Christians must learn not to spread compost on the weeds to make them ranker:

“Lay not that flattering unction on your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness speaks;
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within, infects unseen.
Confess yourself to Heaven, repent what’s past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds to make them ranker.” —From Shakespeare’s Hamlet Speech Act III, Scene IV

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By Joan, June 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG,

Regarding purported “slave wages”: the term is again unexplained, highly emotive and prejudicial. Knowing a few small business owners, they like the rest of us are trying to put food on the tables and often feel badly if they have to let go of employees and/or cannot offer their employees benefits. They are definitely not slave traders.


Not well versed in economics, I was simply offering an explanation of the high percentage of corporations that are tax exempt. It may not be as sinister as the number indicates, not commenting in whether or not it is the right way to go, although it does seem reasonable to me. It affords some kid opportunity to open his dream music shop, work out studio or hairdresser to have her own salon.

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By Shenonymous, June 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

I find your eight examples, ThomasG,  of Christian moral practices
interesting as I have not heard these before.  Are they codified or
charged publicly somewhere?

I read your response meticulously.  It seems to me, ThomasG, the
adjective Christian can actually be discarded as essentially irrelevant
and only moral or immoral, morality or immorality are the concepts
really at stake.  Does it matter in the least if the CR-WER Movement
calls themselves Christians?  Wouldn’t the same problem hold if they
called themselves Hindus?  Or Muslims?  Or Jews?  Or Doorknobs? 

Being Christian is not the inherent problem as all religions have similar
rules or standards of morality.  It is whether the politicos are
hypocritical in pretending to be moral when they may not be.  If you
are going to say they have a moral standard based on their religion to
which they do not adhere that is one question.  It is a separate question
than the one about morality or immorality in the context of the larger
population who may or may not be Christian but still within the
context of society have a moral standard by which the religious political
group would be judged as moral or immoral.  Otherewise we are stuck
in judging from the internal tenets of the religion and if we are not of
that faith we cannot judge properly. 

There are a few beliefs that are considered universally moral and a
breach of these would make the action immoral.  Seems like these
universal morals exist cross culturally and among which a subset or all
could be included in a standard model for morality.  I will list them
then others can pick and choose which ones stay and which ones are
jettisoned for a Christian set, but we have to also say which ones would
be found in a non-Christian religion group as well so that a fair
evaluation could be made.

Starting with the distinction between right and wrong; seems like this is
a natural sense (as discovered to exist among very young children) but
seems this sense could be enhanced or regressed as we grow
depending upon the peer group we hang out with; empathy; taboos; 
sense of fairness; admiration of generosity (charity); rights and duties
(synonymous with obligations); censure of murder, rape, and other
forms of violence; reparation for wrongs; penalty for wrongs against
the community; shame.

I cannot argue that the Conservative element in politics, however you
want to characterize them, have not had a long and self-serving intent
on influencing the lives of the population.  When you are making
evaluations however, precision is required and such terms as moral
superiority, moral hazard, moral standard are ambiguous and are
therefore not able to be examined to the degree you seem to want. 

I understand your protocol of necessary process, but in order to have a
viable process the terms must be defined precisely.  I don’t see how it
is possible to get to the notion of sophism let alone see a remedy for it
without agreement of the language used.

I don’t mean to put you on the spot or cause you to be aggravated with
what you might think is my “thickheadedness.”  It is just that terms are
too often “assumed” to be understood.

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By Ephraiyim, June 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

///

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By ThomasG, June 13, 2010 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, June 13 at 2:10 pm,

“This is what I believe Joan has argued against, and I agree that the specifics have not adequately been presented.  I am not saying what you say is untrue, I am saying you have not shown it to be true.” —Shenonymous June 13 at 2:10 pm

Before the argument is made with regard to whether it is true or untrue, as you say, the specifics of what is moral and immoral must first be determined, and moral equivocation is delaying the determination of what moral and immoral is.

Once the standard for determining what is moral and immoral is determined, we can then determine the truth or untruth of moral and immoral behavior based upon an accepted “standard of morality”.

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By ThomasG, June 13, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Joan, June 13 at 1:23 pm,

(Quotes)

“I have noted that the 11 precepts of Jesus’ ministry are love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, humility, patience, charity, selflessness, service, justice and truth.” —Maani, June 13 at 3:03 am

“Your post contains a number of attributes that are a part of the “standards of morality” for Christianity.

How do the “Standards of Christian Morality” you have indicated in your post compare morally with the following list of Christian moral practices:

1)  The Divine Right of Kings represented as
  God’s Divine Will,

2)  Laissez-Nous-Faire Privatized Capitalism
  represented as God’s Divine Will,

3)  Fascist Governance represented as God’s
  Divine Will,

4)  Manifest Destiny represented and enforced
  as God’s Divine Will,

5)  Right-Wing EXTREMIST Evangelical Christian
  Fascist Religious Movement’s representation
  of God’s Divine Will as their
  authority,

6)  Christian Prosperity Gospel represented as
  God’s Divine Will,

7)  Genocidal history of Christianity performed as
  God’s Divine Will, and

8)  Thomas Malthus’ Law of Population that
  underpins Privatized Capitalism represented
  as God’s Divine Will.

Would you say that the eight examples I have given are moral examples of Christianity or immoral examples of the Christian Standards of Morality indicated in your post?” —ThomasG June 13 at 12:15 pm

(End of Quotes)

Again, you are making a false comparison between individual Christians and Christianity as a Fascist Movement.

As an individual, a Christian may disregard the standards of morality of Christian moral doctrine and, although to do so is immoral, it would have little effect on society; but, when a Christian Fascist Movement and the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Movement intentionally disregard the standards of morality of Christian moral doctrine and preach immorality in the Right-Wing Media Echo Chamber and the pulpits of the Evangelical Christian Churches as Christian standards of moral doctrine in order to lead Christians to follow immorality, as morality, that is another matter, and as I have previously said, this type of a comparison is a false comparison.

If Christians as a group equivocate and reject their own moral standards as indicated in the Bible, Christians that do so, as a group, are by so doing accepting immorality as the NEW moral standard of Christianity.

For my part I have no difficulty at all with acknowledging that by my own acceptance and glorification of my own moral standards that I would be immoral if I behaved contrary to those moral standards.  For my part, I also think that the moral standards of the Bible are good standards of morality, and I can easily accept without equivocation that, to the degree that I behave contrary to the Christian Standards of Morality, that I am an immoral person.

Why is that Christians, to the degree that they are immoral, according to their own standards of morality, do not admit their own immorality and try to be more moral than, in fact, they are?

Why do Christians behave as a group in the same manner as on this blog and try to equivocate their way out of their own immorality, rather than to make an effort to be moral, according to their own Christian standards of morality?

Immorality being preached as morality in the Right-Wing Media Echo-Chamber and in the churches of the Evangelical Christian Movement is not a personal thing.

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