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Jenson71
12-18-2007, 12:07 AM
Think Religion Plays a Bigger Role in Politics Today? You're Right. Statistics Prove It.
By Kevin Coe and David Domke

Mr. Coe is a doctoral candidate in Speech Communication at the University of Illinois. Mr. Domke is Professor of Communication and Head of Journalism at the University of Washington. They are authors of the just-published book, The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America (Oxford).

The 2008 presidential campaign is striking in that it seems to be nearly as much about religion as politics.

Mitt Romney’s much-discussed speech on faith and politics is just one recent example of a trend that has stretched throughout the campaign and across both sides of the partisan aisle. During the seemingly endless string of debates, candidates have pondered what Jesus would do about capital punishment, raised their hands to deny evolution, considered whether America is a Christian nation, described the power of prayer, and eagerly affirmed that yes, the Bible is indeed the word of God.

There was a time when such overt religious displays from presidential hopefuls might have been surprising. Now they’re a mundane feature of every serious campaign. How did we get here? In a sense, it all began on July 17, 1980.

That evening, in Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, Ronald Reagan accepted the Republican nomination for president. Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals, newly mobilized through organizations such as the Moral Majority, had found their man.

For the previous four years this constituency had tried to like Jimmy Carter who, after all, was an openly “born again” Christian. But Carter had disappointed the political faithful with his insufficiently aggressive foreign policy, support for Roe v. Wade, and general unwillingness to make his faith demonstrably public. Indeed, Carter in his nomination acceptance addresses in 1976 and 1980 made no mention of God whatsoever.

Reagan had a very different strategy. Approaching the end of his 1980 acceptance speech, Reagan departed from his prepared remarks: “I have thought of something that is not part of my speech and I’m worried over whether I should do it.” He paused, then continued:

“Can we doubt that only a Divine Providence placed this land, this island of freedom, here as a refuge for all those people in the world who yearn to breathe freely: Jews and Christians enduring persecution behind the Iron Curtain, the boat people of Southeast Asia, of Cuba and Haiti, the victims of drought and famine in Africa, the freedom fighters of Afghanistan and our own countrymen held in savage captivity.”

Reagan went on, “I’ll confess that”—and here his voice faltered momentarily—“I’ve been a little afraid to suggest what I’m going to suggest.” A long pause ensued, followed by this: “I’m more afraid not to. Can we begin our crusade joined together in a moment of silent prayer?” The entire hall went silent, heads bowed. He then concluded with words uncommon at the time: “God bless America.”

How do we know that this moment marked a turning point? We ran the numbers.

Our analysis of thousands of public communications across eight decades shows that American politics today is defined by a calculated, demonstrably public religiosity unlike anything in modern history. Consider a few examples.

If one looks at nearly 360 major speeches that presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to George W. Bush have given, the increase in religiosity is astounding. The average president from FDR to Carter mentioned God in a minority of his speeches, doing so about 47% of the time. Reagan, in contrast, mentioned God in 96% of his speeches. George H. W. Bush did so 91% of the time, Clinton 93%, and the current Bush (through year six) was at 94%. Further, the total number of references to God in the average presidential speech since 1981 is 120% higher than the average speech from 1933-1980. References to broader religious terms, such as faith, pray, sacred, worship, crusade, and dozens of others increased by 60%.

Presidential requests for divine favor also show a profound shift. The phrase “God Bless America,” now the signature tagline of American politics, gained ubiquity in the 1980s. Prior to 1981, the phrase had only once passed a modern president’s lips in a major address: Richard Nixon’s, as he concluded an April 30, 1973, speech about the Watergate scandal. Since Reagan, presidents have rarely concluded a major address without “God Bless America” or a close variant.

Recent presidents have also made far more “pilgrimages” to speak to audiences of faith. From FDR through Carter, presidents averaged 5.3 public remarks before overtly religious organizations in a four-year term. Beginning with Reagan through six years of Bush, this average more than tripled to 16.6 per term. For example, since 1981 GOP presidents have spoken 13 times to the National Association of Evangelicals or the National Religious Broadcasters Association, four times to the Knights of Columbus, and four times to the Southern Baptist Convention. Clinton never spoke to these conservative organizations; instead, he spoke in churches. From FDR through Carter, presidents delivered public remarks in churches an average of twice per four-year term. In contrast, Clinton spoke in churches 28 times during two terms in the White House—10 more visits than Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. combined.

Wherever we looked, whatever we measure, we find the same pattern. Presidents and presidential hopefuls since Reagan have been afraid to be seen as the apostate in the room. They put religion front and center to show they’re not.

This new age is one that many past presidents would hardly recognize. One can’t help but wonder what would become of a candidate today who, like John Kennedy in 1960, “believe[s] in a president whose views on religion are his own private affair.”

http://hnn.us/articles/45469.html

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 08:51 AM
It's cyclical...religion, like many other aspects of life (vocation, education, income, even race and gender) plays a role in determining one's political attitudes and values.

There's nothing new or unexpected about that.

The only thing unusual about it, is that some would ascribe nafarious and dastardly motive to that development.

Adept Havelock
12-18-2007, 10:38 AM
The only thing unusual about it, is that some would ascribe nafarious and dastardly motive to that development.

Is it any more unusual than those who ascribe the same behaviors to those of us who don't believe? I think not.

Or do you not recall we Athiests being lumped in with the Communists and others during the red scare, for example? Now we're being singled out by major candidates (Romney) and told that we can't really know what freedom is as "freedom requires religion", or some such nonsense.

Given that, why would you find it unusual that some would "fight fire with fire"? JMO.

Bowser
12-18-2007, 10:40 AM
Yes I do, and no, I don't think that's a good thing.

bkkcoh
12-18-2007, 10:42 AM
It was a big deal that John F Kennedy was the first openly Catholic president elected.

I don't think it plays more of a role in politics then it has before, I think it is more widely known byt the masses because of the 24/7 news coverage. There has to be filler stories at times and this is the type of stories that would be used to fill the time.

I think most people who grew up in churc, regardless of which one, was molded by religion. They may not be a practicing Christian, Jew, or any other religion, but how they are is/was influenced by the previous experience with religion.

bkkcoh
12-18-2007, 10:43 AM
Yes I do, and no, I don't think that's a good thing.

Why do you think it isn't a good thing? Granted, anything taken to the extreme is bad, in moderation, how is it bad?

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 10:44 AM
Is it any more unusual than those who ascribe the same behaviors to those of us who don't believe? I think not.

Or do you not recall we Athiests being lumped in with the Communists and others during the red scare, for example? Now we're being singled out by major candidates (Romney) and told that we can't really know what freedom is as "freedom requires religion", or some such nonsense.

Given that, why would you find it unusual that some would "fight fire with fire"? JMO.

I don't condone that which you've described either. Both are equally idiotic, IMO.

Adept Havelock
12-18-2007, 10:46 AM
I don't condone that which you've described either. Both are equally idiotic, IMO.

Good to know.

Why do you think it isn't a good thing? Granted, anything taken to the extreme is bad, in moderation, how is it bad?

In moderation, I'm fine with it. However, when that moves to teaching Creationism in a Science class (I have no problem with it being taught in a philosophy or religion class..or a Science class, as soon as the ID folks cook up a theory that can be peer-reviewed not based on "Irreducible Complexity"), talk of restoring Blue Laws, "No Law but God's Law" and "Christian Nation" rhetoric and such, I get rather concerned.

Then there's the issue of candidates claiming (or implying) God wants them to win. For instance. Mr. <s>Scudder's</s> Huckabee's recent nonsense "There's only one explanation for it, and it's not a human one. It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people."

Implying God wants you to win is about as pathetic as it gets, IMO.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 10:46 AM
Yes I do, and no, I don't think that's a good thing.

Why?

Would the world be a better place, if we just kept to ourselves.....and allowed non-believers to run the world??? Because I for one, think that would really be disastrous.

Seriously? :shrug:


(FTR, I do accept the notion of "separation of Church and state"....but that, IMO is not what is really being discussed here....)

Bowser
12-18-2007, 10:49 AM
Why do you think it isn't a good thing? Granted, anything taken to the extreme is bad, in moderation, how is it bad?

The basic answer? I don't feel religion is a "moderate" issue, even if it is for the person running for whatever office. Even if that person doesn't make a big deal of it, someone somewhere looking for dirt will, and then the focus goes from being what the person is about to what they believe (or don't believe) religiously, and how that translates for the "greater good" of the people. A circle jerk, if you will.

Jenson71
12-18-2007, 10:51 AM
I don't think it plays more of a role in politics then it has before, I think it is more widely known byt the masses because of the 24/7 news coverage. There has to be filler stories at times and this is the type of stories that would be used to fill the time.

The how do you account for the increased mention of God or religious terms in the major speeches that the article counted?

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 10:52 AM
The basic answer? I don't feel religion is a "moderate" issue, even if it is for the person running for whatever office. Even if that person doesn't make a big deal of it, someone somewhere looking for dirt will, and then the focus goes from being what the person is about to what they believe (or don't believe) religiously, and how that translates for the "greater good" of the people. A circle jerk, if you will.

And that's different from non-believers, precisely, how? :spock:

:shrug:

Jenson71
12-18-2007, 10:53 AM
Would the world be a better place, if we just kept to ourselves.....and allowed non-believers to run the world??? Because I for one, think that would really be disastrous.


Why do you think that religious people can't keep their religion to theirselves?

Bowser
12-18-2007, 10:54 AM
Why?

Would the world be a better place, if we just kept to ourselves.....and allowed non-believers to run the world??? Because I for one, think that would really be disastrous.

Seriously? :shrug:


(FTR, I do accept the notion of "separation of Church and state"....but that, IMO is not what is really being discussed here....)

That quip right there speaks volumes. I'd rather have a "non-believer" who is intelligent with tons of common sense running the county/state/nation instead of a "believer" with limited faculties, smarts, and/or common sense stumbling through his term, but placating the religious masses with his powerpoint speeches.

Bowser
12-18-2007, 10:55 AM
And that's different from non-believers, precisely, how? :spock:

:shrug:

That's the point. It seems a person's beliefs have become as important as what they stand for politically, and I think that's a mistake. You're right - it goes both ways. And why?

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 10:56 AM
The how do you account for the increased mention of God or religious terms in the major speeches that the article counted?

I know you didn't ask me....but I ascribe that perception (I'm not convinced it's reality, especially in a truly historical sense).....to the secularization of American society during the 60s and 70s, in particular.

The pendulum has just swung back toward what, historically, is really more normal.

Kinda like distrust and cynicism toward government being the "norm" prior to the New Deal and the 1950s, and once the 60s-70s created an environment in which "distrust and cynicism" increased......well, it increased over the previous period, but the "new" attitude was/is actually, historically speaking, closer to the "norm."

Jenson71
12-18-2007, 10:56 AM
What if Deists ran the country? Man, we'd be ****ed up!

Adept Havelock
12-18-2007, 10:56 AM
Why?

Would the world be a better place, if we just kept to ourselves.....and allowed non-believers to run the world??? Because I for one, think that would really be disastrous.

Seriously? :shrug:


(FTR, I do accept the notion of "separation of Church and state"....but that, IMO is not what is really being discussed here....)


Yeah, it'd be horrible to see what kind of government a nonbeliever could cook up. :p
(Yes, I'm well aware that many Christians and Deists also contributed.)


"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

"...an amendment was proposed by inserting the words, 'Jesus Christ...the holy author of our religion,' which was rejected 'By a great majority in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and the Infidel of every denomination.'" From Jefferson's biography

"I never told my religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another's creed. I have judged others' religions by their lives, for it is from our lives and not our words that our religions must be read."

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.”

“It is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist.”



Yep, just horrible. LMAO ;)

I will throw you a bone and say even I wouldn't want Madeline Murray O'Hair running this outfit.

bkkcoh
12-18-2007, 10:57 AM
The basic answer? I don't feel religion is a "moderate" issue, even if it is for the person running for whatever office. Even if that person doesn't make a big deal of it, someone somewhere looking for dirt will, and then the focus goes from being what the person is about to what they believe (or don't believe) religiously, and how that translates for the "greater good" of the people. A circle jerk, if you will.


If the candidate isn't putting religion in the forefront of his campaign and someone is digging up dirt on that candidate and makes it seem as if religion is truly in the forefront, don't you think that the majority of the people can decipher the difference. That then would be the focus of the opponent, not the candidate.

I would agree that most people wouldn't be able to differentiate.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 10:57 AM
That quip right there speaks volumes. I'd rather have a "non-believer" who is intelligent with tons of common sense running the county/state/nation instead of a "believer" with limited faculties, smarts, and/or common sense stumbling through his term, but placating the religious masses with his powerpoint speeches.

The bolded portion of your post....speaks to your own, IMO....misguided perceptions.

That's the point. It seems a person's beliefs have become as important as what they stand for politically, and I think that's a mistake. You're right - it goes both ways. And why?

A person's "non-belief" also can have an important bearing on how THEY would "rule"....doesn't it???

And that, could....be a not-so-good thing, as well.


:hmmm:

Jenson71
12-18-2007, 10:58 AM
I know you didn't ask me....but I ascribe that perception (I'm not convinced it's reality, especially in a truly historical sense).....to the secularization of American society during the 60s and 70s, in particular.

The pendulum has just swung back toward what, historically, is really more normal.

Why is all the mention of God more normal?

and

How did American society become more secularized in the 60s and 70s? Specifically?

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 11:01 AM
Yeah, it'd be horrible to see what kind of government a nonbeliever could cook up. :p



Yep, just horrible. LMAO ;)

I will throw you a bone and say even I wouldn't want Madeline Murray O'Hair running this outfit.

I stand corrected, I meant....


"...COULD be really disastrous."

My bad; probably just a Freudian slip....heh. ;)

Jenson71
12-18-2007, 11:02 AM
Maybe this should be a topic for another thread:

But would America vote for a Deist today?

I don't think so. They would be attacked for not believing that Jesus is savior.

bkkcoh
12-18-2007, 11:04 AM
Why do you think that religious people can't keep their religion to theirselves?


Jimmy Carter was one of the more religious presidents that we have ever had and he was one of the worst ever. Is there a correlation? I don't know. Bill and Hillary were shown almost every Sunday either going into or out of church, did they make moral decisions based on their religious beliefs, I don’t think so.

Does a religious person make you a moral person? No. Does a moral person mean you have to be religious? No.

I think there should be some moral compass that directs a person, but that doesn’t mean that you are very religious.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 11:04 AM
Why is all the mention of God more normal?

and

How did American society become more secularized in the 60s and 70s? Specifically?

Read political speeches, the Congressional Record.....politicians, and people in society generally, were not nearly as restrained or "politically correct" about references to religion or God.

As to the second part of the question, your knowledge of history of that period should make it pretty clear.....but I'll try to get back to you later on it.

What if Deists ran the country? Man, we'd be ****ed up!

FTR, I consider Deists to be believers.

Because they are.... :)

Adept Havelock
12-18-2007, 11:05 AM
I stand corrected, I meant....


"...COULD be really disastrous."

My bad; probably just a Freudian slip....heh. ;)


Happy to be of help. :D

Maybe this should be a topic for another thread:

But would America vote for a Deist today?

I don't think so. They would be attacked for not believing that Jesus is savior.

I suspect Ronald Reagan himself would be considered "not religious enough" for a chunk of the Religious Right these days. He didn't hide his faith and reached out to the evangelicals, but (contrary to what some would claim) he didn't "wear it on his sleeve" IMO.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 11:07 AM
Maybe this should be a topic for another thread:

But would America vote for a Deist today?

I don't think so. They would be attacked for not believing that Jesus is savior.

I disagree. :shrug:

Adept Havelock
12-18-2007, 11:10 AM
I disagree. :shrug:

You really don't think the fundamentalist community and their candidates wouldn't use that as an attack point?

Even in the face of Romney and Huckabee trying so hard to "out-Jeezus" each other? Why not?

BucEyedPea
12-18-2007, 11:12 AM
... but (contrary to what some would claim) he [Reagan] didn't "wear it on his sleeve" IMO.

I would agree with your assessment.

Cochise
12-18-2007, 11:23 AM
I can't say how it affected me in the 70s or 80s because I wasn't alive/old enough to vote then.

For now though, I think religion is inexorably linked to your worldview. I don't vote for people just because they are the same religion to me, but I vote for people who espouse similar ideas. Often they happen to have the same idea about religion as I do as well.

Ultimately I'm voting for a set of positions on a certain number of issues. I don't care if the candidate is the same religion as me or agnostic or whatever.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 11:31 AM
You really don't think the fundamentalist community and their candidates wouldn't use that as an attack point?

Even in the face of Romney and Huckabee trying so hard to "out-Jeezus" each other? Why not?

A Reagan-type candidate could be embraced, just fine today IMO.

Nightfyre
12-18-2007, 11:35 AM
A Reagan-type candidate could be embraced, just fine today IMO.
Please clarify for me, what aspects of the Reagan candidacy would be embraced. Just curious.

Bowser
12-18-2007, 11:51 AM
Please clarify for me, what aspects of the Reagan candidacy would be embraced. Just curious.

I'd embrace a dollar for a gallon of gas. :D

Bowser
12-18-2007, 11:53 AM
Question for Kotter -

You have two candidates running for your party's primary. As far as you can tell, they are on equal footing with one another in every aspect, and you like the message they both convey. Candidate A is a practicing Catholic, very devout in his religion, and candidate B is an Atheist. Who do you vote for?

irishjayhawk
12-18-2007, 12:28 PM
Yes, it is. Yet people continue to say "it doesn't have any bearing on his ability to make decisions". Like, you know, asking about evolution and things.

It does. And that's what bothers me.


I'm pretty sure that if an Atheist was elected, the furthest they'd get is taking God out of the government. That is, off the money, out of the pledge, etc. It would be, essentially, as close to complete separation of church and state. Other than that, we'd see no difference.

And I might add that the "it makes no difference on his ability to make decisions" seems to be a hypocritical stance for most here. It seems like it matters if they're non-believers but not if they're believers.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 12:37 PM
Please clarify for me, what aspects of the Reagan candidacy would be embraced. Just curious.

:spock:

Pretty much ALL of it, IMO.

I mean, is there really any doubt he'd win the 2008 election....if he were alive, eligible, in good health, and running??? (of course, to reflect his stance on contemporary issues.)

:shrug:

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 12:45 PM
Question for Kotter -

You have two candidates running for your party's primary. As far as you can tell, they are on equal footing with one another in every aspect, and you like the message they both convey. Candidate A is a practicing Catholic, very devout in his religion, and candidate B is an Atheist. Who do you vote for?

Equal footing, it would be a tough choice....but ALL things equal? Including a reasonable understanding of separation of Church and state...with a philosophical approach toward what's best for the nation, not necessarily consistent with one's Church's teachings (al la, JFK)?

I'd probably lean toward Candidate A, because he would share a more similar set of beliefs and values with me, than Candidate B.

Having said that, I can't imagine such a scenario where two candidates would be truly equal though.

If you are asking, could I vote for an atheist/agnostic....with whom I agree on issues, the answer to that would be "absolutely." However, if it's a coin-toss....I'll go with someone "like" me.

:shrug:

irishjayhawk
12-18-2007, 12:49 PM
Equal footing, it would be a tough choice....but ALL things equal? Including a reasonable understanding of separation of Church and state...with a philosophical approach toward what's best for the nation, not necessarily consistent with one's Church's teachings (al la, JFK)?

I'd probably lean toward Candidate A, because he would share a more similar set of beliefs and values with me, than Candidate B.

Having said that, I can't imagine such a scenario where two candidates would be truly equal though.

If you are asking, could I vote for an atheist/agnostic....with whom I agree on issues, the answer to that would be "absolutely." However, if it's a coin-toss....I'll go with someone "like" me.

:shrug:

Based on all your other posts, I find this extremely hard to believe.

Nightfyre
12-18-2007, 12:49 PM
:spock:

Pretty much ALL of it, IMO.

I mean, is there really any doubt he'd win the 2008 election....if he were alive, eligible, in good health, and running??? (of course, to reflect his stance on contemporary issues.)

:shrug:
I was looking for something more specific. His campaign and his actual presidency differed significantly enough to warrant a distinction, imo. I was also looking for something more specific in the way of which aspects of his policies would be most highlighted or important.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 12:51 PM
Yes, it is. Yet people continue to say "it doesn't have any bearing on his ability to make decisions". Like, you know, asking about evolution and things.

It does. And that's what bothers me.

Ditoo, for an atheist/agnostic. :)


I'm pretty sure that if an Atheist was elected, the furthest they'd get is taking God out of the government. That is, off the money, out of the pledge, etc. It would be, essentially, as close to complete separation of church and state. Other than that, we'd see no difference.

And I might add that the "it makes no difference on his ability to make decisions" seems to be a hypocritical stance for most here. It seems like it matters if they're non-believers but not if they're believers.

:spock:

GMAFB.

That is complete and utter bullshit. First, removing "God" from government as you describe it.....would not have the popular support of the American people (today, at least,) nor is anything you mention "unconstitutional"--at least according to SC decisions, presently.

The hypocrisy cuts both ways---including you.

OTOH, I see that both do have some impact on "decisions" made....but, as long as they understand their proper Constitutional role, and the real definition of "separation of Church and state" (as opposed to the overly broad, and unconstitutional interpretation that secularist zealots like you advocate,) I'm sure EITHER could serve very well.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 12:57 PM
I was looking for something more specific. His campaign and his actual presidency differed significantly enough to warrant a distinction, imo. I was also looking for something more specific in the way of which aspects of his policies would be most highlighted or important.

He "ran to the right" during primaries and in his rhetoric; he "moderated" during the general election, and in his policies. It's a tried and true formula that works pretty well most of the time. His optimism and vision would be welcome too.

As for issues, emphasizing defense/national security, advocating a restrained growth and reduction (where possible) in the federal government, and promoting lower tax rates are still winning positions AFAIC. Hell, even Hillary talks that talk....depending on her "audience."

Today, I suspect immigration, health care reform (centered on market based solutions, tax credits, and government "incentives" perhaps?), and a responsible but balanced approach to energy issues.....might be second tier issues.

I think that platform would play very well. :shrug:

irishjayhawk
12-18-2007, 01:00 PM
Ditoo, for an atheist/agnostic. :)




:spock:

GMAFB.

That is complete and utter bullshit. First, removing "God" from government as you describe it.....would not have the popular support of the American people (today, at least,) nor is anything you mention "unconstitutional"--at least according to SC decisions, presently.

Right, it's not unconstitutional, and the courts are on the non-believer's side.


The hypocrisy cuts both ways---including you.

Whatever you say. Oh, and never include examples. Atheism is not a religion as you would like to sell or believe.


OTOH, I see that both do have some impact on "decisions" made....but, as long as they understand their proper Constitutional role, and the real definition of "separation of Church and state" (as opposed to the overly broad, and unconstitutional interpretation that secularist zealots like you advocate,) I'm sure EITHER could serve very well.

How exactly is separation of Church and state "overly broad" or "unconstitutionally"?

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 01:03 PM
Based on all your other posts, I find this extremely hard to believe.

Based on all your other posts, I find this extremely easy to believe.

It would require you to think past your own agenda and experiences, which you seem incapable of doing.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 01:08 PM
Right, it's not unconstitutional, and the courts are on the non-believer's side.

....Atheism is not a religion as you would like to sell or believe.

How exactly is separation of Church and state "overly broad" or "unconstitutionally"?

I presume you mean, "believer's side" in your first point.....

Atheism may not be a "religion" but it is....philosophically, and practically speaking, the same.....a system of beliefs and values upon which people choose to live their lives. If you cannot understand how religion is akin to atheism, then you really need to delve deeper IMHO.

The first amendment's religious provisions include the establishment clause (upon which the notion of "separation of Church and state" is based,) but also the free exercise clause. SC case law recognizes the importance of both, even if folks like you want to marginalize or erase the second part of it.

irishjayhawk
12-18-2007, 01:09 PM
Based on all your other posts, I find this extremely easy to believe.

It would require you to think past your own agenda and experiences, which you seem incapable of doing.

Now you can GMAFB.

You and you're politicky answers.

Well, if they're equal footing, I'd probably still vote for the Catholic. BUTTTTT that's not saying I WOULDN'T vote for a non-believer.

And then remarking that it probably won't happen and thus implying it's a stupid question. And blah blah blah.

Your answers always have the same rhetoric.

HolmeZz
12-18-2007, 01:10 PM
Atheism may not be a "religion" but it is....philosophically, and practically speaking, the same.....a system of beliefs and values upon which people choose to live their lives.

All atheists believe the same thing? What are those values that all atheists share, in regards to how they live their lives?

Nightfyre
12-18-2007, 01:11 PM
He "ran to the right" during primaries and in his rhetoric; he "moderated" during the general election, and in his policies. It's a tried and true formula that works pretty well most of the time.

As for issues, emphasizing defense/national security, advocating a restrained growth and reduction (where possible) in the federal government, and promoting lower tax rates are still winning positions AFAIC. Hell, even Hillary talks that talk....depending on her "audience."

Today, I suspect immigration, health care reform (centered on market based solutions, tax credits, and government "incentives" perhaps?), and a responsible but balanced approach to energy issues.....might be second tier issues.

I think that platform would play very well. :shrug:
It might run well with current republicans. I doubt his stance on FP would be well loved by the general population, as there is a strong war-weary sentiment. I personally would like to see a massive slash to the size and scope of the federal government, but that was one of the things Reagan left by the way-side during his actual presidency. Another important issue will be the economic health of the country. I think Reagan might reform healthcare and the welfare state some, but as I stated before, it was something he left by the way-side during his presidency. He also failed to maintain a balanced budget which I would view as a strong negative. America must attone for its worldliness and fiscal irresponsibility sooner rather than later, lest the consequences compound, imo.
So while I think Reagan would be well-received by the Republican party, I fear he may not match up well with the nation as a whole. On the other hand, anyone running against Hillary has a very fair shot. She is not as well respected as the media makes her out to be. In fact, I'd suggest she is borderline unelectable, depending on the Republican candidate.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 01:12 PM
Now you can GMAFB.

You and you're politicky answers.

Well, if they're equal footing, I'd probably still vote for the Catholic. BUTTTTT that's not saying I WOULDN'T vote for a non-believer.

And then remarking that it probably won't happen and thus implying it's a stupid question. And blah blah blah.

Your answers always have the same rhetoric.

Complexity of thought, and genuine and conscientious discourse cannot be reduced to black-and-white discussions....however conditioned we may be to such myopic and simplistic examination of the issues, by the short-attention spans of the era of sound-bites and video-games.

irishjayhawk
12-18-2007, 01:14 PM
I presume you mean, "believer's side" in your first point.....

ARe you really this dense? The pledge? Believers lost that one. If the money made it that far, they'd lose that one too. The 10 commandments in the court house lost too. Since when were the courts on the "believer's side".

Atheism may not be a "religion" but it is....philosophically, and practically speaking, the same.....a system of beliefs and values upon which people choose to live their lives. If you cannot understand how religion is akin to atheism, then you really need to delve deeper IMHO.

Technically, atheism wouldn't even be a belief either. It's the examination of evidence AGAINST a claim. So, it's really a LACK OF A BELIEF.

So, no, it's not really a system of beliefs and values upon which people choose to live their lives. That's close to dogma. Values are outside religion.

Seriously, the Atheism = religion argument is tiresome and flat out wrong.


The first amendment's religious provisions include the establishment clause (upon which the notion of "separation of Church and state" is based,) but also the free exercise clause. SC case law recognizes the importance of both, even if folks like you want to marginalize or erase the second part of it.

I have said NOTHING about either of these two things. So I don't get your point.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 01:14 PM
All atheists believe the same thing? What are those values that all atheists share, in regards to how they live their lives?

Of course not. Christians don't all believe the same thing either. There are common values, elements, and attitudes....that one can reasonable presume to be associated with either belief system though.

irishjayhawk
12-18-2007, 01:17 PM
Of course not. Christians don't all believe the same thing either. There are common values, elements, and attitudes....that one can reasonable presume to be associated with either belief system though.

Atheism is not a belief system. And values/morals, like I said above, are outside of ANY belief system.

HolmeZz
12-18-2007, 01:18 PM
Of course not. Christians don't all believe the same thing either. There are common values, elements, and attitudes....that one can reasonable presume to be associated with either belief system though.

No, you seemed to imply atheists have a system of values and beliefs. Outside of the one belief that there is no higher power, what do they have in common? What are their values?

Nightfyre
12-18-2007, 01:19 PM
And values/morals, like I said above, are outside of ANY belief system.
I think you have to qualify that, at least, for the heavy influence a belief system does have on values/morals.

irishjayhawk
12-18-2007, 01:23 PM
I think you have to qualify that, at least, for the heavy influence a belief system does have on values/morals.

Oh, belief systems no doubt have influence on outside morals and values. No doubt.

But they don't own a patent on them and they aren't exclusive to religion.

irishjayhawk
12-18-2007, 01:25 PM
No, you seemed to imply atheists have a system of values and beliefs. Outside of the one belief that there is no higher power, what do they have in common? What are their values?

I have to disagree here slightly. The belief that there is no higher power is not a belief. There isn't a belief that leprechauns DON'T exist. You don't take positions or form beliefs on what ISN'T but what is. Since the claim that a higher power exists, it is a belief on the believers. Those that choose not to buy into it aren't creating another "belief" or "claim".

Otherwise, I agree.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 01:28 PM
ARe you really this dense? The pledge? Believers lost that one. If the money made it that far, they'd lose that one too. The 10 commandments in the court house lost too. Since when were the courts on the "believer's side".

Technically, atheism wouldn't even be a belief either. It's the examination of evidence AGAINST a claim. So, it's really a LACK OF A BELIEF.

So, no, it's not really a system of beliefs and values upon which people choose to live their lives. That's close to dogma. Values are outside religion.

Seriously, the Atheism = religion argument is tiresome and flat out wrong.


I have said NOTHING about either of these two things. So I don't get your point.


The pledge.....that case was decided by the 9th circuit, and it WILL be overturned IMO. Money, that's already been decided....do your homework. Ten commandments? That was a "split-decision." Wow. O-3.

I'm not suprised that you are incapable of seeing atheism as system of beliefs and values, but it is you that is wrong about that.

And, finally, your lack of understanding of case law regarding the First Amendment's religious decisons and provisions....speaks for itself. Advocating the things you have, would require the SC to overturn previous decisions.....or issue more narrowly tailored decisions reflecting a much more broad interpretation of the "establishment clause" than we have, thus far, seen, and an much more narrow protection of the free exercise clause than has been historically recognized by the court.

Mr. Kotter
12-18-2007, 01:52 PM
No, you seemed to imply atheists have a system of values and beliefs. Outside of the one belief that there is no higher power, what do they have in common? What are their values?

Their beliefs and values tend to be rooted in one of many different philosophical schools of thought. The two obvious ones: secular humanism, and moral relativism which are rooted in existential/phenomonalogical/pragmatic etc schools of philosophy....

Of course the influence and implications of such beliefs on one's political opinions, opinions regarding public policies, and the role of government....are profound.

FTR, that is not, necessarily, a "bad" thing. Really. It depends on specific beliefs and the implications of those beliefs in the poltical arena that are fair game for discussion. Just as it is for "religious" candidates.

Adept Havelock
12-18-2007, 03:46 PM
Complexity of thought, and genuine and conscientious discourse cannot be reduced to black-and-white discussions....however conditioned we may be to such myopic and simplistic examination of the issues, by the short-attention spans of the era of sound-bites and video-games.

QFT.

irishjayhawk
12-18-2007, 03:57 PM
The pledge.....that case was decided by the 9th circuit, and it WILL be overturned IMO. Money, that's already been decided....do your homework. Ten commandments? That was a "split-decision." Wow. O-3.

I don't think the pledge will get overturned, especially since it was placed by Congress AFTER a long while without having it. Money has not been decided. If it has, please cite. Ten commandments was a split-decision? And it resulted in them taking it out. So, at worst I'm 2 for 3.


I'm not suprised that you are incapable of seeing atheism as system of beliefs and values, but it is you that is wrong about that.

Please, elaborate. How can we have a set of beliefs if we aren't buying into the CLAIM or BELIEF in the first place? I believe the sky is green. But are those people who claim the sky is blue automatically split into a group with a different belief system? No, they aren't. They're just people who analyze the evidence and decide that no, the sky is not blue. They choose not to believe. That is NOT a belief system. There is no belief system in something that DOESN'T exist. Like leprechauns. Those that don't believe they exist are NOT exercising a different belief system.

Where am I going wrong? Please, someone?


And, finally, your lack of understanding of case law regarding the First Amendment's religious decisons and provisions....speaks for itself. Advocating the things you have, would require the SC to overturn previous decisions.....or issue more narrowly tailored decisions reflecting a much more broad interpretation of the "establishment clause" than we have, thus far, seen, and an much more narrow protection of the free exercise clause than has been historically recognized by the court.

As would overturning Roe v Wade but people don't write that off. Second, I haven't said ANYTHING about the first amendment so I really can't have a "lack of understanding" about it.