‘Politics’ Category Archives


Meacham: Jesus started church-state separation

by PinPonPun in Church and State, Politics

Jon Meacham, Newsweek’s Editor and author of several tomes on American history, had a column in this week’s issue of the news magazine that took a look at the National Day of Prayer decision. He argues, like AU’s Rev. Barry W. Lyn, that there is a religious case and basis for the separation of church and state:

The idea of separation began, in fact, with Jesus. Once, when the crowds were with him and wanted to make him a king, he withdrew and hid. Before Pilate, Jesus was explicit: “My kingdom is not of this world,” he said. Later in the New Testament, Paul argues that God shows no partiality among nations or peoples, meaning nations cannot claim blessed status, and says that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” which means the Lord God of Hosts is concerned with larger matters than whether one is an American or a Norwegian. A Christian nation, then, is a theological impossibility, and faith coerced is no faith at all, only tyranny. If God himself gave human beings free will—the choice to love him or not, to obey him or not—then no believer should try to force another to confess a faith.

Meacham also quotes from the Treaty of Tripoli, mentioned earlier here.


Nation Day of Prayer: Unconstitutional

by PinPonPun in Church and State, Politics

Little late in posting this to the blog, but on April 15th U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that the federal law mandating a National Day of Prayer was a violation of the US Constitution.

You can read the full ruling here, hosted at the Americans United for Separation of Church and State website.

Ironically most of the people upset by this are the same folks that argue for small government; they don’t want the government interfering in our day-to-day lives, arguing that things like universal health care represent unwarranted governmental interference in our lives.

But a federal law mandating that one day a year we set aside time to pray to a mythical being that only some members of the population believe in? A very literal endorsement of religion?

This they find fine and think the decision to rule it unconstitutional is abhorrent.

Abhorrent? Seriously? People have the right, have the freedom, to pray whenever and wherever they want. This IS in the Constitution and is one of our most important rights. The government not endorsing that prayer takes no freedom from you, takes no rights from you while simultaneously not imposing a belief system on those that disagree or do not believe.

Americans United has a create page detailing why this is good for the country; in fact, they believe that it’s essential for the country — especially if you value your right to pray and worship as you choose.

And for those who haven’t already seen it, AU’s Executive Director Rev. Barry Lynn taking on Fox’s Megyn Kelly:


America: A Christian Nation?

by PinPonPun in Church and State, Politics

In short, no. Period. Keith Olbermann sums it up:

Our founding fathers deliberating excluded any reference to a god or gods or creator in our Constitution, the law of our land. They were heavily inspired by John Locke and his Two Treatises on Government who argued that an effective government must remove the supposed divine-appointed roles of most popular monarchies at the time. (His theories on structuring the government into three primary branches — judicial, legislative, and executive — as well as his belief that humans all have the right to life, liberty, and property may also sound familiar to anyone who as studied American government.)

For some reason, people forget this. Perhaps it is not explicit enough. What about the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by President John Adams in 1797?

Article 11 of the treaty reads:

Art. 11. 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 tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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.

Despite what the Sarah Palins of the world may say to rouse the crowd, the simple fact is that this country was founded on a basis of freedom for all, all faiths and non-faiths.

The references are numerous to support this, and nothing I’ve written here is new. So please. can we stop? Just stop the inane and insane repetition of falsehoods and misrepresented history?


Praying for a Bailout

by PinPonPun in Atheism, Church and State, Politics, Ponderings

The automotive industry is in trouble and it appears that a bailout plan may be decided upon by the end of today.

Surely the Rev. Charles Ellis at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple will believe that his actions yesterday were directly responsible for it as the congregation at one of Detroit’s largest choices gathered to ask God to have Congress deliver such a bailout. They actually had SUVs at the alter, as described in the Reuters article “SUVs at altar, Detroit church prays for a bailout” –

Local car dealerships donated three hybrid SUVs to be displayed during the service, one from each of the Big Three. A Ford Escape, Chevy Tahoe from GM and a Chrysler Aspen were parked just in front of the choir and behind the pulpit.

Ellis said he and other Detroit ministers would pray and fast until Congress voted on a bailout for Detroit’s embattled automakers. He urged his congregation to do the same.

How would praying and fasting accomplish help turn a Congressional vote, you might wonder? Well, apparently:

“It’s all about hope. You can’t dictate how people will think, how they will respond, how they will vote,” Ellis said after the service. “But you can look to God. We believe he can change the minds and hearts of men and women in power, and that’s what we tried to do today.”

I’m sure that, were there a God, he’d have better things to do than to monitor the United States’ Congressional decisions on the state of the automotive industry. Just a guess.

It amazes me sometimes what people think prayer can accomplish and the role they figure God will play directly in their lives.

UPDATE: The New York Times has an article as well, complete with photographs of the SUVs, adding this quote:

“We have done all that we can do in this union, so I turn it over to the Lord,” General Holiefield, a U.A.W. vice president for Chrysler, told the crowd. A vice president for the parts suppliers, James Settles Jr., asked those present “to continue your prayers, so we can see a miracle next week.”

Obviously we are a Christian nation if our Congress can create miracles! I wonder how Pete Stark feels about that?


American Idolatry

by PinPonPun in Atheism, Politics, Ponderings

First, a picture.

Worshipping the Golden Bull

I used to work down in the neighborhood, not far from Wall Street; it’s not uncommon to see people rubbing the Charging Bull for luck. In fact, so many people rub the bull that its testicles are quite burnished. Still, this seems like an unusually larger crowd than normal.

What could possible be going on? Oh.

It would seem that in January, God singled out one Cindy Jacobs and tasked her with this mission. Cindy, a “respected prophet who travels the world ministering not only to crowds of people, but to heads of nations’ of course had to adhere to the word of her Lord. So speaketh the prophet:

“We are going to intercede at the site of the statue of the bull on Wall Street to ask God to begin a shift from the bull and bear markets to what we feel will be the ‘Lion’s Market,’ or God’s control over the economic systems,” she said.  “While we do not have the full revelation of all this will entail, we do know that without intercession, economies will crumble.”

Wonkette provides some great coverage of this event (with additional photos and even a video) here and here.

Now, I’m not a regular reader of the Holy Bible but I sort of recall reading a similar tale within that tome; thankfully, PZ Myers has provided the tale for us, complete with picture!

The saddest part is that these folks seemingly do not even realize the irony in their actions; and while those who quote the bible are often not familiar with the work as a whole, cherry picking their quotes to support their arguments, the Golden Calf story is one tale I’d assume was fairly well known.