Friday, December 7, 2007

Romney. Huckabee. Religion. America.

i'm not a skilled writer of politics. forgive me for writing only a tad on this personally, and then linking to a bunch of other sites, where far more intelligent words were typed.

so... Romney gave his speech yesterday. and the extremely religious right of america continues to scare the shit out of me. Mitt - a 2008 presidential candidate - said ""Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone." here is the entire transcript of the speech if you'd like to read more.

here's another quote: "The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation 'Under God' and in God, we do indeed trust."

and another: "Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government.

you get the point. it's the same ol' rhetoric that makes you humorously think about the moronic "go back to Russia, you commie, atheist pinko!" or "there are no atheists in foxholes!" but there is a obviously less funny side to this type of mindset. these types of right-wingers use this nuanced theocratric-speak quite often, and it's listened to en masse. (tis' the season for hearing talking heads go on and on about a fabricated "war on christmas" by the "liberal god-haters." who cares if the reality is that "Happy Holidays” isn’t about eliminating Jesus from public ears, and is simply the all-encompassing greeting during the season when more than one religious holiday is celebrated... the thing is, people EAT THAT STUFF UP. "let's hate some nonbelievers!")

day in, day out, i hear and read news items that show a segment of america creeping closer and closer to a complete distrust and sometimes disgust at agnostics, doubters, and atheists. sometimes it's subtle and comes from sleek politicians, and other times it's in crudely spelled out by some backwards rube; but it always scares me, because i smell a very slippery slope.

so anyways, i'm going to interject other authors' words here, to say some things more eloquently than i can at this moment.
have a good weekend.

Joe Conason, from salon dot com, December 7, 2007:

Phonies like Huckabee and Romney complain constantly about the supposed religious intolerance of secular liberals. But the truth is that liberals -- including agnostics and atheists -- have long been far more tolerant of religious believers in office than the other way around. They helped elect a Southern Baptist named Jimmy Carter to the presidency in 1976, and today they support a Mormon named Harry Reid who is the Senate majority leader -- which makes him the highest-ranking Mormon officeholder in American history. Nobody in the Democratic Party has displayed the slightest prejudice about Reid's religion.

Liberals and progressives have no apologies to make, or at least no more than libertarians and conservatives do. Cherishing the freedoms protected by a secular society need not imply any disrespect for religion. But when candidates like Romney and Huckabee press the boundaries of the Constitution to promote themselves as candidates of faith, it is time to push back.

entire article is here

Kevin Drum, from Washington Monthly, December 6th, 2007:

I can't tell you how much this pisses me off. I'm well aware that this is par for the course among Republican politicians these days, and Romney is doing nothing more than engaging in what's become routine conservative disparagement of those of us who aren't religious. But the cowardice and pandering here is just phenomenal. Not only does Romney not have the guts to toss in even a single passing phrase about the nonreligious, as JFK did, he went out of his way to insist that "freedom requires religion," that no movement of conscience is possible without religion, and that judges had better respect our "foundation of faith" lest our country's entire greatness disappear. And that was just the warmup.

I know, I know. He's just doing what he has to do. Evangelical base and all that. But I'm not religious, and yet, mirabile dictu, I still manage to support freedom, have a conscience, and understand the law. I'm tired of people implying otherwise.

(entire article is here )

and one last one - Joan Walsh, from Salon dot com, December 6, 2007:

I'm with Walter Shapiro on this one: The big headline on Mitt Romney's momentous speech Thursday morning has to be "Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom ... Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone." I happen to be a believer, and I found those words appalling.

Everyone knew Romney couldn't give a "John F. Kennedy speech" because Kennedy made a passionate, historic argument that the separation of church and state should be "absolute." No one quite knew that Romney's speech would represent an "obliteration of the separation of church and state," in the words of the Washington Post's Sally Quinn on MSNBC afterward (a remarkably critical statement from Quinn, given that she's a driving force behind the paper's "On Faith" project). As she noted, Romney's speech laid out a vision of America with no place for atheists, doubters or nonbelievers, and it chilled me.

(entire article is here )

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