Wish I'd said that!

In recent decades, the ACLU has used its so-called "wall" to fight tooth and nail to prevent government sponsorship of the Pledge of Allegiance, memorial crosses, Ten Commandments displays, nativity scenes, Bible displays, and virtually every other acknowdgement of America's religious heritage.

At the same time, it is worthwhile to note that there have been some instances in which the ACLU has endorsed public displays of religion. For example, When New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani threatened to cut taxpayer funding from the Brooklyn Museum of Art for displaying a painting of the Virgin Mary with cow dung and pictures of female sexual organs pasted all over her body, the ACLU was first in line to defend the display. U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon ruled that New York City's elected officials were not allowed to place conditions on the museum's funding.

In another instance, the ACLU offered its support to the taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Arts, after the agency sponsored an art show featuring "Piss Christ" - an exhibit consisting of a crucifix submerged in a jar of urine.

In the ACLU's myopic world, it appears that the only permissible publicly-funded displays of religion are those which blatantly mock or disparage the Christian faith.

-- Indefensible: 10 Ways the ACLU is Destroying America, Sam Kastensmidt, 2006

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Whaddaya Think?

We have little over a week and a half until the mid-term elections. Everyone is giving you their opinions. I think it is only fitting that you should also have a say in what's going on. So, here's your chance. Do Not neglect to cast your vote, whichever way your conscience dictates. It is your duty as a citizen.  But think before you go into the booth, because so much is riding on your decision, and it should not be made lightly. Until then, hit the 'comment' button at the bottom and let me know what you're thinking about what is happening in America. Be polite, but don't be bashful...man (or woman) up, and sound off like you've got something to say, or ask your own questions.  Here are just a few suggestions to get the conversation flowing.

  • President Obama recently scolded the United States Chamber of Commerce for taking money from foreign companies and political action committees. Amidst all his and other Demoncrats' bellyaching about the GOP receiving money from "unknown foreign sources," they never seem to get around to telling their audience that their party receives almost twice as much in foreign contributions as the Republicans do.  Any thoughts on the hypocrisy? Do you even see any?
  • Under the heading of "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day," the president signed a law requiring new laws to be written in plain English.  A great idea? I think so, but apparently 80 Republicans didn't, because of "Senate modifications."  What were those modifications that prevented a unanimous vote for the elimination of legalese in writing our laws? And why couldn't it have been written more plainly as an example?
  • Why does it always come as a shock when there is a rash of teenage suicides? When we become adults, do we forget all the lonliness, the confusion over social roles, the feeling that "no one understands me" that goes through the heads of many teenagers as they struggle to understand the changes going on inside them, and their relationships to the world around them?
  • When Imam Rauf, the man pushing for the "Ground Zero mosque" complains that comments like Bill O'Reilly's "The View" statement of fact "only served to further fuel an irrational fear of Islam," is he being serious, or simply taking us for complete fools? Are we suppposed to forget the overwhelming hypocrisy of the Left when it comes to how Muslims are portrayed for public consumption?  In the words of O'Reilly; "What say you?"  And is fear truly irrational when there are literally millions of Muslims who want to kill us?
  • In a story that dominated the media for part of the week, what do you think of commentator Juan Williams' firing as a contributor at NPR simply for stating in a Fox News Channel debate that sometimes he feels a little uncomfortable when flying if there are people in traditional Muslim garb on board?  Was his firing justified? Was it wise of Fox News to afterward hire him full-time? More importantly, was he fired as part of George Soros' suddenly-public massive sponsorship of NPR and other Left-leaning propaganda organs, as he openly declared war on Fox and anyone connected with it?  Does it matter that Soros is using his vast (and increasing) wealth in an attempt to be the literal "man behind the curtain," the master puppeteer of the western world? 
  • Does it matter that the United States is in the midst of the steepest job decline in modern history? Or that government policies have been literally pushing manufacturing jobs overseas for decades, resulting in a higher level of unemployment than we've seen since World War 2, while simultaneously pushing us into a level of debt impossible to pay off?
  • Are you upset by the continuing revelation of military secrets involving the war in Iraq by Wikileaks? If so, why? Are you more offended by the exposure of military secrets, or by the abuses that may have occurred in our name?
As you can see, there are many things going on around us, and naturally I haven't even scratched the surface here. It is so easy to become overwhelmed by the events of the day.  Most people simply tune out, while others catch the ubiquitous sound-bite which becomes all they ever really learn (or at least, hear) about the subject at hand. These media fragments - which are always carefully chosen and sometimes manipulated to produce a desired effect on the listener, then become the foundation if not the entirety of the person's understanding of the issue. 

When soundbite-itis or apathy becomes the total view of a large portion of the population - and that population makes up a republic - there is great danger on the horizon. This is true because a republic absolutely requires the due diligence of the majority; the voters who elect people to oversee their affairs. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people who seek high office are persons of low character and an incredibly exaggerated self-esteem; more interested in the power of the office and the perks it brings than the principles that should be guiding their "enlightened rule."

What principles, you inquire? I could give you all sorts of stuff to look up: the  Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the ponderings of Frederick Bastiat (fast becoming a favorite of mine), and of course, the Holy Bible.  But perhaps that which gets the point across best and most simply is a brief list that has been making the email rounds, variously titled. For now, let's just let it answer the questions:

Which side of the fence are you on?
If a Conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn’t buy one. If a Liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.   

If a Conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat. If a Liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.   

If a Conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life. If a Liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.   

If a Conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A Liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.   

If a Conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.   

If a Conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A Liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If a Conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A Liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.   

If a Conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.  A Liberal will delete it because he's "offended."
So, now that you've got the guidelines, start noticing how your typical reactions match up (or not). Travel down that road to self-discovery. I think you'll find that most of us wobble back and forth over the line, especially when a particular issue confronts us personally.  For most of us it's a matter of degree rather than a strict division of reactions and preferences. One of the most difficult things for a lot of people is to admit to ourselves that we don't always behave as purely as we think we do.  As you think about these very simple examples, I hope you will come to a deeper understanding of yourself. Perhaps you will even find yourself becoming more pronounced - or at least stable - in your own beliefs and reactions to events.

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