Monday, October 13, 2008


Bruce Lawrence writes in his book, excerpted by the blogger Mudrake, Defenders of God: The Fundamentalist Revolt Against the Modern Age:

"Many, perhaps most members of the Christian Right feel that it is one thing to permit dissidents to live in peace, quite another to say that any set of values is just as good, or just as functional, as any other set."

Exactly right. We don't believe all sets of values are equally as good or equally as functional nor something to promote in public education and policy. E.G. polygamy, female circumcision and the Planned Parenthood theme: "sexual exploration is OK for unwed teens as long as they use condoms." The proof that all values are not equal is abundant in the results in peoples' lives. In the character of individuals and nations.

Christianity cultivates humaneness --compassion--kindness --responsibility --ethical behavior--morality--and CIVILITY in discourse. When we lapse, or sin, we know better and have repenting to do and amends to make. Yes, Chrsitians are blind sometimes, by the beam in their eyes --and they are known to yield to temptation same as unbelievers --but we believe there is a standard, the Word of God, to challenge us and to remind us of the right path. We know we must not justify our own sins.

But here follows the most dangerous conclusion for Christians stated by Mudrake himself:

"If Bruce Lawrence's expression is widely held, then indeed American democracy cannot abide such a sub-group in this nation.

ANd what do you propose, Mudrake, that you true democracy lovers should do to the religious right??? if you cannot abide them? Kill them? Imprison them? deport them? What is your solution for this intolerable sub-group?

The point of democracy was that majority would rule --while minority rights would have leeway.

You prove what I've always suspected with this article/book quotation -- that you and your democrat party are MOSTLY concerned about the Religious Right and their stands on gay rights and abortion --PERIOD. End of your concern. As long as we think public policy should restrain evil as defined in the Bible, we are the evil. And yet, this view that gov't should restrain evil has made America the best of nations--an exceptional nation.

The tactic of the left, to win public support, is to accuse the Religious Right of lacking compassion for the poor. Of being mere self-interested Capitalists. This is just a lie, to obstruct the fact that your real concern is our promotion of traditional moral values.

I assume this is your writing here, Mudrake:
"Cornerstone #3 sets Fundamental Christians into direct conflict with our democracy. This sentence [Lawrences' interp of a religious right attitude] is especially egregious: "Why should the irresponsible, the lazy, and the unpatriotic be rewarded by those same public institutions?" Why? Because it is a democracy."

A democracy is obligated to reward the lazy? Hmmmmm. I don't think we are obligated --except by the rule of compassion.

Out of Christian compassion, we believe in taking care of all the dysfunctional people, seems to me, whether they are just unfortunate, handicapped by their generations of dysfunctional upbringing, or by physical disability--or even if they are just lazy (which is a difficult judgment to make --it's only when you work one on one to help a lazy person keep a job that you realize that there ARE SOME lazy people.) And we really don't believe in letting anybody starve in our country --no matter what caused their hunger.

And these disadvantaged people can all vote too --so what's your gripe about democracy here, as it pertains to the Religious Right? I don't get your conclusion.

But I hear your message --we of the Christian Right must not be tolerated.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


kateb said...

He's not been too tolerant of Christian beliefs, not historically.

Also, completely out of step with reality. Because this country was founded, predominantly, by Christians and our founding fathers set up our country with Christian values - people are free to be as intolerant as this little nasty that's upset you Barb.

The majority of Americans (73%) during the last election cycle - identified themselves as Christians.

America is the land of the free, the home of the brave and it is a Christian nation.

And it is only by the Grace of God that we tolerate such people as mudrake. :-) Because he is so sadly outnumbered and uninformed.

Many people mistake kindness for weakness. This is simply one of those cases.

ShitSirrer said...

Speaking of what we're up against...

Here is something I read, which I think is rather neat.

Good morning boys and girls.

Just got this from my aunt. Have no idea who wrote it so I can't give credit, but it's pretty well said...
I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

* If you grow up in Hawaii , raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'

* Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

* Name your kids Willow , Trig, and Track, you're a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard Law School and you are unstable.

* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating and you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

* If you teach responsible, age-appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America 's.

* If your husband is nicknamed "First Dude," with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, didn't register to vote until age 25 and has been a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA , your family is extremely "patriotic."

OK, much clearer now.

I think we're in great shape as a nation.

Support a woman's choice in reproduction issues, while at the same time striving to reduce the (perceived) need for anyone to seek an abortion and you are a "baby killer"; seek to deny the option to terminate any pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest of a minor, and you are "family oriented." (Note: Alaska ranks among the top 5 states for rape, incest, and domestic violence.)

I'd go on, but it's too early to have to feel nauseated all evening.

Yeah, I know how you feel, dude.

Barb said...

SS, that was pathetic as political argument.

I don't know anyone who said it was "exotic" to be born in Hawaii. I'm more concerned that Barack may not be a legal candidate if he was NOT, in fact, born in Hawaii.

I don't know anyone who holds Harvard against Barack anymore than yale against Bush.

I see no connection between "maverick" and names of one's children.

I don't think stability and the number of colleges attended has anything to do with anything. Tell me what it has to do with what?

A DWI 20 years ago bothers you? I'm surprised.

An infidelity and divorce and remarriage 30 years ago bothers you? Again, I'm surprised. Neither of these would bother you about a Democrat, would they?
I think it is a strike against mcCain's character --and he has had the decency to look back and say he was wrong--but I don't know how that's supposed to make the
2nd wife feel.

what was brilliant about Obama's role as "community organizer" --besides the fact that he became well-connected with chicago liberals with terrorist sentiments expressed in this century, a radical minister with racist sentiments expressed this century, and a political machine with corrupt ties --who helped him disqualify ALL his opponents by questionable means --and helped him claim sponsorship of bills he didn't, in fact, author or work to pass--since they were already near passage without his help.

As for Obama's wonderful voter registration drive--are you talking about ACORN --which is known now for their fraudulent registrations of voters? being challenged in at least 13 states --for which agency he was the lawyer?

I know about Barack's sex ed support --for comprehensive sex ed K-12 which most parents do not want in K --but SEICUS and other supporters of liberal sex ed. do. He voted for a program that sensible parents did not want.

He also voted 4 times against helping abortion survivors--because the mothers' desire for the child to die was uppermost.
He heard the testimony of the survivors of abortion--and voted against their right to life 4 time.

Now what, SS?

Why do you and Mudrake choose such smelly names?? Seems fitting to your philosophies?

steve said...

Sorry to burst your bubble Kateb, but you're the one completely out of step with history. Most of the founding fathers were agnostics and diests who are on written record as having much doubt about the voracity of the Christian faith. I'm just saying, let's not distort history to support our narrow world view. The founding fathers based our government on the greek ideas of reason and humanism and nature. It's all there in black and white if you read a history book and not some trumped up propaganda put out by kooks.

I'm not casting judgement on Christianity, I'm casting judgement on the bastardization of history to support a narrow ideology.

You say that 73 percent of the electorate identified themselves as "christians" so what does that supposed to mean. If your not a christian then your a second class citizen or some crap. That might fly in Tehran but not here. Anyways, I bring you the founding fathers in their own words:


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

Thomas Paine


"The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ leveled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power, and pre-eminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained."

"You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."

Famous DIEST (code word for early American agnostic) Thomas Jefferson


"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."

James Madison


"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."

John Adams


"That Jesus Christ was not God is evidence from his own words."

I am denominated a Deist, the reality of which I never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian."

Ethan Allen


"As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion...has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble."

"My parents had given me betimes religions impressions, and I received from my infancy a pious education in the principles of Calvinism. But scarcely was I arrived at fifteen years of age, when, after having doubted in turn of different tenets, according as I found them combated in the different books that I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself."

"Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. "

Famous "diest / agnostic" Benjamin Franklin


Dr. Priestley, an intimate friend of Franklin, wrote of him:

"It is much to be lamented that a man of Franklin's general good character and great influence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and also have done as much as he did to make others unbelievers"


According to historian Robert Handy: "No more than 10 percent-- probably less-- of Americans in 1800 were members of any congregations."


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

Treaty of Tripoli

What I'm saying is that if the "Founding Fathers" were here today and campaigning for public office, you folks would be vilifying them as well, just like you would be vilifying Jesus Christ because he would be downtown helping crack heads and prostitutes. And preaching AGAINST the lack of love and generosity of the modern Christian faith.

Barb said...

For every anti-Christian quote from a founder, we can find the Christian-supporting/Bible supporting quotes. Many of the signers of the Dec. of Independence were members of the American Tract Society --an evangelistic publishing organization for Biblical teaching.

Even my agnostic liberal uncle, supervisor of ed. grad students at 2 universities, said the public schools were established first to teach kids to read so they could read the BIble for themselves --so they would NOT be tyrannized by a state church that would deny them TRUTH as in the WOrd of God --as happened with the Catholic Church and its corrupt clergy and theocracies who did not want the Bible in the laymen's hands --lest they see how unlike the NT Church the Catholic Church had become.

Thomas Jefferson WAS on the first public school board of Wash. DC and these were 3 of the textbooks: the Bible, the Isaac Watts Hymnal, and the Common Book of Prayer. So regardless of TJ's sentiments, majority ruled, evidently.

Anonymous said...

Wow! looks like Barb is getting her ass kicked in this thread!

Barb said...

Why don't you read a little, Anonymous? Then you'd know that I was not getting MY posterior kicked. There are well-defended positions on both sides here --what are YOU reading??

kateb said...

Steve - you're just wrong. And because you can google and come up with one quote to support your position is preposterous.

Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence? The collective effort of those men in such turbulent times?

Goes a little something like this:

"hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

They all agreed upon the existence of God in declaring independence from the greatest military force on the planet.

Most of them espoused Christian values and many of those families attended Christian churches.

Quit trying to poke me with a stick. You're ridiculous.

steve said...

"... and of NATURES GOD ... "

= Deism

Rob R said...

And more so Christianity. Let's see, basic deism speaks of a God who wound up the universe and walked off, but in Judeao-Christian thougt, God is still active sustaining the universe and is soverign over the laws of nature. Perhaps it'd be more accurate to say that the picture of Christianity is that Nature is God's, but in deism, nature WAS God's.

Ah, but of course you'd be thinking of those words as penned by Jefferson, but though the founders were a smart lot, they weren't always consistent. After all, someone had to point it out to Jefferson that if God created men all equal, that included his slaves as well. Gotta love the consistency of those Deists.

Barb said...

A deist is at least a believer in a Creator/Supreme Being, right?

That's much more logical than atheism.

We are not surprised that people in every generation have doubted Christ's Deity --so did Saul of Tarsus --and boy, did he have HIS eyes opened!!

I believe in the story of Paul 's miraculous encounter with Christ. I believe in Christ's resurrection.

The New Testament record is all I need for a foundation to my faith--but there is more to be experienced --in the presence of God through the Holy Spirit.

Christianity is an experiential faith. When we are willing to let Him make Himself real to us, and we seek --we FIND!

some have said that it is the desire to sin in our lives that starts us on the path to doubt. Just as the Serpent said, "Hath God said....?"

kateb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kateb said...

Lest anyone have been mislead by the very misleading postings here...I did take the time to organize the players and their churches, according to the founding doc's that they signed.

These are the signers of the Declaration of Independence and their congregational listing:

Samuel Huntington Connecticut Congregationalist
Roger Sherman
Connecticut Congregationalist
William Williams Connecticut Congregationalist
Oliver Wolcott
Connecticut Congregationalist
George Read
Delaware Episcopalian
Caesar Rodney
Delaware Episcopalian
Thomas McKean
Delaware Presbyterian
Lyman Hall
Georgia Congregationalist
George Walton
Georgia Episcopalian
Oliver Ellsworth Connecticut Congregationalist
Caleb Strong
Mass Congregationalist
John Lansing, Jr.
New York Dutch Reformed
Robert Yates
New York Dutch Reformed
William Houstoun Georgia Episcopalian
William Leigh Pierce Georgia Episcopalian
Luther Martin
Maryland Episcopalian
John F. Mercer
Maryland Episcopalian
Elbridge Gerry
Mass Episcopalian
George Mason
Virginia Episcopalian
Edmund J. Randolph
Virginia Episcopalian
George Wythe
Virginia Episcopalian
James McClurg
Virginia Presbyterian
William C. Houston
New Jersey Presbyterian
William R. Davie
North Carolina Presbyterian
Alexander Martin
North Carolina Presbyterian
Button Gwinnett
GA Episcopalian/Congregationalist
Charles Carroll Maryland Catholic
Samuel Chase
Maryland Episcopalian
William Paca
Maryland Episcopalian
Thomas Stone
Maryland Episcopalian
Samuel Adams
Massachusetts Congregationalist
John Hancock
Massachusetts Congregationalist
John Adams
Mass Congregationalist/Unitarian
Robert Treat Paine
Mass Congregationalist/Unitarian
Elbridge Gerry
Mass Episcopalian
Josiah Bartlett
New Hampshire Congregationalist
William Whipple
New Hampshire Congregationalist
Matthew Thornton
New Hampshire Presbyterian
Francis Hopkinson
New Jersey Episcopalian
Abraham Clark
New Jersey Presbyterian
John Hart
New Jersey Presbyterian
Richard Stockton
New Jersey Presbyterian
John Witherspoon
New Jersey Presbyterian
Francis Lewis
New York Episcopalian
Lewis Morris
New York Episcopalian
William Floyd
New York Presbyterian
Philip Livingston
New York Presbyterian
John Penn
North Carolina Episcopalian
William Hooper
North Carolina Episcopalian
Joseph Hewes
North Carolina Quaker/Episcopalian
George Ross
Pennsylvania Episcopalian
Robert Morris
Pennsylvania Episcopalian
John Morton
Pennsylvania Episcopalian
Benjamin Franklin Pennsylvania Episcopalian/Deist
James Wilson
PA Episcopalian/Presbyterian
George Clymer
PA Quaker/Episcopalian
James Smith
PA Presbyterian
George Taylor
PA Presbyterian
Benjamin Rush
PA Presbyterian
William Ellery
RI Congregationalist
Stephen Hopkins
RI Episcopalian
Thomas Heyward Jr.
South Carolina Episcopalian
Thomas Lynch Jr.
South Carolina Episcopalian
Arthur Middleton
South Carolina Episcopalian
Edward Rutledge
South Carolina Episcopalian
Francis Lightfoot Lee Virginia Episcopalian
Richard Henry Lee Virginia Episcopalian
Carter Braxton
Virginia Episcopalian
Benjamin Harrison Virginia Episcopalian
Thomas Nelson Jr. Virginia Episcopalian
George Wythe
Virginia Episcopalian
Thomas Jefferson Virginia Episcopalian/Deist

And then we have the signers of the Constitution of the United States of America:

Roger Sherman
CT Congregationalist
William Samuel Johnson
CT Episcopalian/Presbyterian
George Read
Delaware Episcopalian
Jacob Broom
Delaware Lutheran
Richard Bassett Delaware Methodist
Gunning Bedford Jr. Delaware Presbyterian
John Dickinson
Delaware Quaker/Episcopalian
Abraham Baldwin
GA Congregationalist/Episcopalian
William Few
Georgia Methodist
Daniel Carroll
Maryland Catholic
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Maryland Episcopalian
James McHenry
Maryland Presbyterian
Nathaniel Gorham
Mass Congregationalist
Rufus King
John Langdon
New Hampshire Congregationalist
Nicholas Gilman
New Hampshire Congregationalist
David Brearly
New Jersey Episcopalian
William Livingston
New Jersey Presbyterian
William Paterson
New Jersey Presbyterian
Jonathan Dayton
NJ Presbyterian/Episcopalian
Alexander Hamilton
New York Huguenot/Presbyterian/Episcopalian
Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr. North Carolina Episcopalian
William Blount
North Carolina Episcopalian/Presbyterian
Hugh Williamson
North Carolina Presbyterian
Thomas Fitzsimons Pennsylvania Catholic
Robert Morris
Pennsylvania Episcopalian
Gouverneur Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian
Benjamin Franklin Pennsylvania Episcopalian/Deist
James Wilson
PA Episcopalian/Presbyteran
Jared Ingersoll Pennsylvania Presbyterian
George Clymer
Pennsylvania Quaker/Episcopalian
Thomas Mifflin
Pennsylvania Quaker/Lutheran
John Rutledge
South Carolina Episcopalian
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney South Carolina Episcopalian
Charles Pinckney
South Carolina Episcopalian
Pierce Butler
South Carolina Episcopalian
James Madison Jr. Virginia Episcopalian
George Washington Virginia Episcopalian
John Blair
Virginia Presbyterian/Episcopalian

Now, as people will do, some belonged to more than one church and some had crisis of faith and were quoted during these times.

But when these men were asked to identify their religion - this is what they had to say.

If any of you know more than they about what their faith was - then have at it.

Barb said...

Thanks, kateb for the list. Respectors of the Bible, at least, in most cases. Church-folks.

kateb said...

Yes - it was nice to review the information. There are a couple of Deists. But like all of us - they were in flux and a work of progress all of their lives. But what accomplishments these men had.

Thomas Jefferson was quite an interesting man. On many levels. He answered a question once about his 'religion' by saying he was a 'cult of one'. He said that his relationship with God was private and passionate.

Later he said "The God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?"

And in another place in my old notes I found this quote by Ben Franklin,(Benjamin Franklin was also a Deist and sometimes Episcopalian) made this passionate statement: "Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature...I never doubted the existence of the Deity, that He made the world, and governed it by His Providence...The pleasures of this world are rather from God's goodness than our own merit...Whoever shall introduce into the public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world."

It really did me a world of good to read back over the history of their deeds and deep love for God. And the unashamed proclamations they made!!

Many times these men related that they were mocked for their faith and had outsiders try to make them think their faith and love of God was wrong.

Barb - we're in some mighty fine company.

Barb said...

Yes, thanks for the quotes. I have some, also , which I have used --like when Franklin called for prayer at the constitutional congress.