Friday, December 03, 2004

Red State Conservative Christian Hypocrisy versus Blue State Virtue

OK, Andrew Sullivan’s post was more about the contradictions in American life than Christian hypocrisy, but it is the hypocrisy that stands out. On marriage for example:

Marriage was a key issue in the last election, with Massachusetts' gay marriages becoming a symbol of alleged blue state decadence and moral decay. But in actual fact, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country at 2.4 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants. Texas - which until recently made private gay sex a criminal offence - has a divorce rate of 4.1. A fluke? Not at all. The states with the highest divorce rates in the U.S. are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. And the states with the lowest divorce rates are: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Every single one of the high divorce rate states went for Bush. Every single one of the low divorce rate states went for Kerry. The Bible Belt divorce rate, in fact, is roughly 50 percent higher than the national average.

On Abortion:

America has an abortion rate of 21 abortions per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44. Holland has a rate of 6.8. Americans, in other words, have three times as many abortions as the Dutch. Remind me again: which country is the most socially conservative?

Conservative Christianity has foisted its values on America with a vengeance but if these values aren’t held by those who are imposing them why should any of the rest of us take them seriously? As a Christian I cannot help but find the Religious Rights rhetoric versus conduct gap depressing.

More “Stickers for Science”

The efforts of Cobb County school district in Georgia to place “stickers” on textbooks disclaiming Evolution is lampooned on this link from Swarthmore.

Seriously, to my conservative Christian friends I would remind you of the old saying:
“When the facts don’t fit the theory, the scientist rejects the theory but the theologian rejects the facts.”

Christians do little to promote their cause when they promote ignorance and falsehood. They do however draw much deserved scorn and ridicule upon their faith and do a disservice to their God.

Thanks to "Get Donky" for the link!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Arab Democracy – An Oxymoron?

Comments from some very brave Arab journalists noting the irony that the only place in the middle east where free elections are held is in "occupied" Palestine and "occupied" Iraq. It seems the only thing that scares the Arab league more than the "infidels" are there own people.

The money Quote:
It is sad and pathetic that the eyes of the entire world are upon the Palestinian and Iraqi elections that will be held under the lances of foreign occupation, while the peoples of the 'independent, free, and sovereign' Arab countries have no way of expressing their will. It is sad and pathetic that certain countries today are treating the Iraqis with the cheapest kind of political hypocrisy, even though no one heard any particular Arab protest during the time of the regime of the mass graves [i.e. during Saddam's rule].

Here's the link:

I was against the invasion of Iraq but now that we are there we must see it all the way through and that means leaving a democracy. As much as I disagree with Bush, the fact is there is no greater legacy that a President can leave than a more democratic world.

W. Versus Churchill - Its Obvious

Yes, I know I wrote a post stating the W. was smarter than John Kerry. Yes, I know taking cheap shots at W. only widens the great American divide (which was so skillfully created by W. and Karl Rove) but you know, comparing W. to Churchill just invites satire. Check out this link to “The Gunther Concept

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Macro Vs. Micro Ethics

One of things I chafe at is the conservative claim that liberals have no values or that our values are opposed to those of “Middle America.” The following is from an excellent piece on myths about Liberals and Conservatives on


Family Values Are Revered

Telling someone they are against "family values" is not far from telling them they’re bad parents. Most liberal parents (like most conservatives) spend most of their days thinking not about politics but about how to raise good kids. It’s probably not worthwhile to try to figure out who is better at it but these statistics ought to at least pour cold water on conservative self righteousness on this point: of the 10 states with the
highest divorce rates, ten of them voted for Bush. Of the 10 states with the lowest divorce rates, 9 of them voted for Kerry. And the state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation? Massachusetts.

Waldman does an excellent job of debunking a number of myths that liberals and conservatives have about each other. However, I would argue that liberals live out the very values that conservatives claim to cherish to a greater extent than conservatives. The difference is not who holds stronger values, the issue is whether I feel I have the right to impose those values on others using the force of law rather than by building a consensus. Liberals recognize that we are living in an increasingly pluralistic society. This does not mean that my morals or my family’s morals need to be compromised. It does mean that I must acknowledge and to some extent tolerate the values of others.

Conservative Christians, a group with whom I spend a great deal of time, are angered by the “Godless society” they live in and deep down are even angrier that they cannot make the case for imposing their morality on the rest of society. Culture War is not merely about the encroachment of a Godless Society, Culture War is over conservative Christianity’s failure to make a case for its values.

Moreover, conservatives are obsessed with personal conduct (divorce, abortion, homosexuality) while liberals lament more macro moral issues (hunger, war, injustice). Conservatives seem comfortable with the macro status quo but unsatisfied with the values held by individuals. Liberals take just the opposite view. For each group government seems to hold to key to solving the problem, be it micro ethics or macro morality and here in lies the rub. It is not so much a matter of which tool is to be used so much as a fundamental disagreement on the problems that need to be fixed.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Dennis Prager - An Odd Kind of Ethics

Let’s face it, I don’t write very well. My grammar and spelling are not the best and I do a lousy job of editing. Sometimes when I review my old posts and see just how poorly I have been communicating I get really depressed. When I am feeling down about my blog I just turn on the internet and read something by Talk Radio’s self proclaimed right wing scion of ethics and virtue, Dennis Prager. Dennis is loved by conservatives especially religious ones. For the most part, Prager’s ranting is no different than detritus spewed out by most talk radio hosts. Dennis hates Democrats and Liberals and wants you to hate them too. What makes Dennis so special is that he is an expert in religious ethics. That’s his shtick. Dennis talks ethics from a religious perspective. Let’s see what Dennis has to say.

Here is what Dennis says about Republican support for Saddam Hussein in the 1980’s:
Saddam was always a bad guy. We supported him when he fought Iran because at that time he was fighting a greater menace, Iran. Unlike most liberals, Republicans understand that sometimes you support a bad guy when fighting a worse evil -- just as America did when we supported the horrific Stalin against the more horrific Hitler.

Wow, hot stuff. So giving Saddam the means to manufacture and deploy weapons of mass destruction was OK. It was also OK for us to not raise any concerns over Saddam’s habit of exterminating thousands of people with said weapons. Some people would see Prager’s position as one lacking integrity. Still others would have you believe that Dennis has the ethical backbone of a banana slug and the moral depth and clarity of mud puddle. Crazy you say? Crazy like a fox I say! But wait, let’s see what Dennis had to say about coverage of the Nick Berg murder in Iraq:

On the day The New York Times reported the savage murder of Berg -- in the most subdued fashion of any major paper in America (just one column on the front page, with a photo, the smallest of three front-page photos, at the bottom of the column) -- its lead editorial was yet another in a series denouncing the Bush administration for prison abuses in Iraq.

Clearly the New York Times (Liberal scum!) doesn’t know how to portray (exploit?) evil. Imagine, page one with a small photo, what a bunch of slackers. You may remember that video of Nick Berg having his head cut off was placed on the internet. Dennis Prager, placed this video front and center on his web site. Dennis said he did this to point out the moral depravity of our enemies. I guess Dennis thinks that his listeners have difficulty distinguishing good from evil, so much difficulty that they cannot make the distinction unless they watch the video of Mr. Berg's execution over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Dennis promoted this video even though Mr. Berg’s father begged people, ethical people like Dennis we presume, not to show his son’s murder. Some people would say that Dennis placed the video on his site when he learned that Nick Berg’s murder video was the number one search topic on Google. People like to get mad and Dennis likes making people mad, that’s how he makes his money. Other people are sick and like to look at and listen to sick things. In all cases, Dennis Prager comes through for his fans. How’s that for ethics?

Monday, November 29, 2004

How to Eliminate the National Debt – A Modest Proposal

We all know, or at least should know, that the national debt is going through the roof and threatens our very way of life. Anyone who has done any amount of research must feel like a passenger on the Titanic. Honestly, blame must be placed where it is due. Ronald Reagan and Bush #1 added about three trillion to the debt and Bush #2 looks to be adding a trillion or two more. We Democrats did try to take the helm and did briefly stem the flow of water into the bow section, but alas, conservatives seized control and succeeded in flooding all of the forward compartments. We are doomed.

But wait, what of chivalry? The good people of The Vision Forum, who specialize in all manner of educational materials for indoctrinating aspiring religious right neocons have the answer in their “Women and Children First Collection!” In these books you will learn how the men of the HMS Birkenhead gladly gave up their seats in the life boats of their doomed ship to save the lives their women and children. We also read of the brave men of the Titanic who similarly gave their lives for the women and children of their stricken vessel (well, 1st and 2nd class women and children, steerage was apparently another matter). So here is the model, straight from the religious right’s own reading list, for eliminating the national debt. All registered republicans and conservative Christians will donate their entire net worth toward eliminating the crippling debt that was brought on us by their own sheer arrogance and incompetence. If this isn’t enough they can borrow the money and take the remaining debt on themselves. Further, they can put their children to work in coal mines and cotton mills just like their heroes did lo those many years ago. I would expect the good neocons to shun all offers of food stamps, temporary housing and other government assistance lest the evils of creeping socialism corrupt their now impoverished families.

In the mean time, I will happily take my place in the life-boat. Thanks guys!

What have liberals done for America? Plenty!

What have liberals done for America? Here are some items to ponder:
- Lead America out of the great depression
- Lead America and the world to victory in WWII
- Stood firm against communism in Berlin, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam
- Spoke out against racism and fought for the right of ALL Americans to vote
- Landed a man on the moon
- Negotiated peace between Israel and its former enemies Egypt and Jordan
- Gave America social security and Medicare to ensure that ALL Americans would have the right to retire without fear of living in abject poverty
- Elected presidents have balanced their budgets or at the very least reduced the deficits of their Republican predecessors
- Led the United States into becoming the most powerful political, economic and military power in human history

Homework for the five or so people who visit this blog on a daily basis: Create a similar list for conservative contributions to America and by the way, before you put down “ending the cold war” you might want to read my November 7th post on that topic.