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S0Noma
01-16-2008, 10:30 AM
What Religion's Blind Stranglehold on America Is Doing to Our Democracy

By Ira Chernus,

We've got to find a way to take the conservative symbolic message of faith talk out of American politics.

It's a presidential campaign like no other. The candidates have been falling all over each other in their rush to declare the depth and sincerity of their religious faith. The pundits have been just as eager to raise questions that seem obvious and important: Should we let religious beliefs influence the making of law and public policy? If so, in what way and to what extent? Those questions, however, assume that candidates bring the subject of faith into the political arena largely to justify -- or turn up the heat under -- their policy positions. In fact, faith talk often has little to do with candidates' stands on the issues. There's something else going on here.

Look at the TV ad that brought Mike Huckabee out of obscurity in Iowa, the one that identified him as a "Christian Leader" who proclaims: "Faith doesn't just influence me. It really defines me." That ad did indeed mention a couple of actual political issues -- the usual suspects, abortion and gay marriage -- but only in passing. Then Huckabee followed up with a red sweater-themed Christmas ad that actively encouraged voters to ignore the issues. We're all tired of politics, the kindly pastor indicated. Let's just drop all the policy stuff and talk about Christmas -- and Christ.


Ads like his aren't meant to argue policy. They aim to create an image -- in this case, of a good Christian with a steady moral compass who sticks to his principles. At a deeper level, faith-talk ads work hard to turn the candidate -- whatever candidate -- into a bulwark of solidity, a symbol of certainty; their goal is to offer assurance that the basic rules for living remain fixed, objective truths, as true as religion.

In a time when the world seems like a shaky place -- whether you have a child in Iraq, a mortgage you may not be able to meet, a pension threatening to head south, a job evaporating under you, a loved one battling drug or alcohol addiction, an ex who just came out as gay or born-again, or a president you just can't trust -- you may begin to wonder whether there is any moral order in the universe. Are the very foundations of society so shaky that they might not hold up for long? Words about faith -- nearly any words -- speak reassuringly to such fears, which haunt millions of Americans.


These fears and the religious responses to them have been a key to the political success of the religious right in recent decades. Randall Balmer, a leading scholar of evangelical Christianity, points out that it's offered not so much "issues" to mobilize around as "an unambiguous morality in an age of moral and ethical uncertainty."

Mitt Romney was courting the evangelical-swinging-toward-Huckabee vote when he, too, went out of his way to link religion with moral absolutes in his big Iowa speech on faith. Our "common creed of moral convictions? the firm ground on which Americans of different faiths meet" turned out, utterly unsurprisingly, to be none other than religious soil: "We believe that every single human being is a child of God? liberty is a gift of God." No doubts allowed here.

American politicians have regularly wielded religious language and symbolism in their moments of need, and such faith talk has always helped provide a sense of moral certainty in a shape-shifting world. But in the better years of the previous century, candidates used religion mostly as an adjunct to the real meat of the political process, a tool to whip up support for policies.

How times have changed. Think of it, perhaps, as a way to measure the powerful sense of unsettledness that has taken a firm hold on American society. Candidates increasingly keep their talk about religion separate from specific campaign issues. They promote faith as something important and valuable in and of itself in the election process. They invariably avow the deep roots of their religious faith and link it not with issues, but with certitude itself.

Sometimes it seems that Democrats do this with even more grim regularity than Republicans. John Edwards, for example, reassured the nation that "the hand of God today is in every step of what happens with me and every human being that exists on this planet." In the same forum, Hillary Clinton proclaimed that she "had a grounding in faith that gave me the courage and the strength to do what I thought was right, regardless of what the world thought. And that's all one can expect or hope for."


When religious language enters the political arena in this way, as an end in itself, it always sends the same symbolic message: Yes, Virginia (or Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina) there are absolute values, universal truths that can never change. You are not adrift in a sea of moral chaos. Elect me and you're sure to have a fixed mooring to hold you and your community fast forever.

That message does its work in cultural depths that arguments about the separation of church and state can never touch. Even if the candidates themselves don't always understand what their words are doing, this is the biggest, most overlooked piece in today's faith and politics puzzle -- and once you start looking for it, you find it nearly everywhere on the political landscape.

The Threat to Democracy

So, when it comes to religion and politics, here's the most critical question: Should we turn the political arena into a stage to dramatize our quest for moral certainty? The simple answer is no -- for lots of reasons.

For starters, it's a direct threat to democracy. The essence of our system is that we, the people, get to choose our values. We don't discover them inscribed in the cosmos. So everything must be open to question, to debate, and therefore to change. In a democracy, there should be no fixed truth except that everyone has the right to offer a new view -- and to change his or her mind. It's a process whose outcome should never be predictable, a process without end. A claim to absolute truth -- any absolute truth -- stops that process.

For those of us who see the political arena as the place where the whole community gathers to work for a better world, it's even more important to insist that politics must be about large-scale change. The politics of moral absolutes sends just the opposite message: Don't worry, whatever small changes are necessary, it's only in order to resist the fundamental crumbling that frightens so many. Nothing really important can ever change.

Many liberals and progressives hear that profoundly conservative message even when it's hidden beneath all the reasonable arguments about church and state. That's one big reason they are often so quick to sound a shrill alarm at every sign of faith-based politics.


They also know how easy it is to go from "there is a fixed truth" to "I have that fixed truth." And they've seen that the fixed truth in question is all too often about personal behaviors that ought to be matters of free choice in a democracy.


Which brings us to the next danger: Words alone are rarely enough to reassure the uncertain. In fact, the more people rely on faith talk to pursue certainty, the more they may actually reinforce both anxiety and uncertainty. It's a small step indeed to move beyond the issue of individual self-control to controlling others through the passage of laws.

Campaigns to put the government's hands on our bodies are not usually missionary efforts meant to make us accept someone else's religion. They are much more often campaigns to stage symbolic dramas about self-control and moral reassurance.

Controlling the Passions

American culture has always put a spotlight on the question: Can you control your impulses and desires -- especially sexual desires -- enough to live up to the moral rules? As historian of religion John F. Wilson tells us, the quest for surety has typically focused on a "control of self" that "through discipline" finally becomes self-control. In the 2008 presidential campaign, this still remains true. Listen, for example, to Barack Obama: "My Bible tells me that if we train a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not turn from it. So I think faith and guidance can help fortify? a sense of reverence that all young people should have for the act of sexual intimacy."

Mitt Romney fit snugly into the same mold. He started his widely-heralded statement on religion by talking about a time when "our nation faced its greatest peril," a threat to "the survival of a free land." Was he talking about terrorism? No. He immediately went on to warn that the real danger comes from "human passions unbridled." Only morality and religion can do the necessary bridling, he argued, quoting John Adams to make his case: "Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people" -- in other words, people who can control themselves. That's why "freedom requires religion."


All too often, though, the faith-talk view of freedom ends up taking away freedom. When Romney said he'd be "delighted" to sign "a federal ban on all abortions," only a minority of Americans approved of that position (if we can believe the polls), but it was a sizeable minority. For them, fear of unbridled passion is stronger than any commitment to personal freedom.


In the end, it may be mostly their own passions that they fear. But since the effort to control oneself is frustrating, it can easily turn into a quest for "control over other selves," to quote historian Wilson again, "with essentially bipolar frameworks for conceiving of the world: good versus bad, us versus them" -- "them" being liberals, secular humanists, wild kids, or whatever label the moment calls for.

The upholders of virtue want to convince each other that their values are absolutely true. So they stick together and stand firm against those who walk in error. As Romney put it, "Any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty has a friend and ally in me."

That's the main dynamic driving the movements to ban abortion and gay marriage. But they're just the latest in a long line of such movements, including those aimed at prohibiting or restricting alcohol, drugs, gambling, birth control, crime, and other behaviors that are, in a given period, styled as immoral.

Since it's always about getting "them" to control their passions, the target is usually personal behavior. But it doesn't have to be. Just about any law or policy can become a symbol of eternal moral truth -- even foreign policy, one area where liberals, embarked on their own faith-talk campaigns, are more likely to join conservatives.

The bipartisan war on terror has, for instance, been a symbolic drama of "us versus them," acting out a tale of moral truth. Rudolph Giuliani made the connection clear shortly after the 9/11 attack when he went to the United Nations to whip up support for that "war." "The era of moral relativism? must end," he demanded. "Moral relativism does not have a place in this discussion and debate."

Nor does it have a place in the current campaign debate about foreign policy. Candidate Huckabee, for example, has no hesitation about linking war abroad to the state of morality here at home. He wants to continue fighting in Iraq, he says, because "our way of life, our economic and moral strength, our civilization is at stake? I am determined to look this evil in the eye, confront it, defeat it." As his anti-gay marriage statement asks, "What's the point of keeping the terrorists at bay in the Middle East, if we can't keep decline and decadence at bay here at home?"

On the liberal side, the theme is more muted but still there. Barack Obama, for instance, has affirmed that the U.S. must "lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth." Apparently that's why we need to keep tens of thousands of troops in Iraq indefinitely. Clinton calls for "a bipartisan consensus to ensure our interests, increase our security and advance our values," acting out "our deeply-held desire to remake the world as it ought to be." Apparently that's why, in her words, "we cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran."

When words and policies become symbols of moral absolutes, they are usually about preventing some "evil" deed or turning things back to the way they (supposedly) used to be. So they are likely to have a conservative impact, even when they come from liberals.


The Future of Faith Talk

In itself, faith in politics poses no great danger to democracy as long as the debates are really about policies -- and religious values are translated into political values, articulated in ways that can be rationally debated by people who don't share them. The challenge is not to get religion out of politics. It's to get the quest for certitude out of politics.


The first step is to ask why that quest seems increasingly central to our politics today. It's not simply because a right-wing cabal wants to impose its religion on us. The cabal exists, but it's not powerful enough to shape the political scene on its own. That power lies with millions of voters across the political spectrum. Candidates talk about faith because they want to win votes.

Voters reward faith talk because they want candidates to offer them symbols of immutable moral order. The root of the problem lies in the underlying insecurities of voters, in a sense of powerlessness that makes change seem so frightening, and control -- especially of others -- so necessary.

The only way to alter that condition is to transform our society so that voters will feel empowered enough to take the risks, and tolerate the freedom that democracy requires. That would be genuine change. It's a political problem with a political solution. Until that solution begins to emerge, there is no way to take the conservative symbolic message of faith talk out of American politics.

web page (http://www.alternet.org/story/73764/?page=1)

Gayle in MD
01-16-2008, 11:58 AM
Good Article. Hard to believe, given our present circumstances, that any Americans would allow candidates to continue this ridiculous distraction of using religion, to distract the country from the many urgent issues which we must tackle, immediately, after over seven years of disaster and criminal governing.

Thanks,

Gayle in Md.

Deeman3
01-16-2008, 12:18 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote S0Noma:</font><hr> What Religion's Blind Stranglehold on America Is Doing to Our Democracy

By Ira Chernus,

Sometimes it seems that Democrats do this with even more grim regularity than Republicans. John Edwards, for example, reassured the nation that "the hand of God today is in every step of what happens with me and every human being that exists on this planet." In the same forum, Hillary Clinton proclaimed that she "had a grounding in faith that gave me the courage and the strength to do what I thought was right, regardless of what the world thought. And that's all one can expect or hope for."


<font color="blue"> So why don't these Democrats get the ball rolling and tell Americans that they are free from the constraints of religeon and faith and that notions of God are silly? Certainly, with the overwealming backlash against faith rearing it's ugly heade, they would benefit from the support of their constituients. That would be a brave moral stand to take and would show they are not hypocritical.</font color>

Gayle in MD
01-16-2008, 01:01 PM
As usual, you ignore the true subject of an article, and expand it into proof that all Democrats, are Godless athiests.

Are you ever able to contemplate issues, in their true terms, or is everything always digested under your extremist notions, and used to attack Democrats. The article is about religion, improperly being merged, with government, and politics. It isn't a commentary on the religious philosophies of Democrats.

Gayle in Md.

Drop1
01-16-2008, 01:46 PM
Not to mention a sure way to get their Butts kicked in the election. I can't think of a politician on either side,as though we had sides,that will not proclaim the wonders of their Faith,and their close connection to God. The job is to get elected.

SKennedy
01-16-2008, 01:59 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Drop1:</font><hr> The job is to get elected. <hr /></blockquote>

And we might add....."And get re-elected."

Deeman3
01-16-2008, 02:19 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> As usual, you ignore the true subject of an article, and expand it into proof that all Democrats, are Godless athiests.

<font color="blue"> I have not ignored the true subject of the article just because I did not cheerlead the proposition as presented. </font color>

Are you ever able to contemplate issues, in their true terms, or is everything always digested under your extremist notions, and used to attack Democrats. <font color="blue"> Is that not exactly what you do against the Republicans? </font color> The article is about religion, improperly being merged, with government, and politics. It isn't a commentary on the religious philosophies of Democrats. <font color="blue"> No? read it again, part of it is exactly about the hypocracy of the Democrats (the part I quoted, in fact!), but why should they get a pass on playing to the masses when their very own party is the one calling for such a separation of politics and religeon? I have always agreed that we should keep them separated in government and, to some extent, in schools. I don't see any reason that they should be abandoned in politics as there is absolutely no problem in electing people that share your values. Pretending that there is great harm even in that is just another attempt to weaken people of faith. So, if that is the agenda, why not have the people beleive in that step up and honestly claim it?

More left hogwash, as usual. The hypocracy is showing but these same politicians want it both ways, freedom from faith and the votes of the faithful. How silly....

color]

. <hr /></blockquote>

Qtec
01-16-2008, 02:20 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> As usual, you ignore the true subject of an article, and expand it into proof that all Democrats, are Godless athiests.

Are you ever able to contemplate issues, in their true terms, or is everything always digested under your extremist notions, and used to attack Democrats. The article is about religion, improperly being merged, with government, and politics. It isn't a commentary on the religious philosophies of Democrats.

Gayle in Md. <hr /></blockquote>


Gayle, what Deeman was pointing out was true. This Dem Congress got a mandate and have done nothing.

Q

S0Noma
01-16-2008, 02:36 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SKennedy:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Drop1:</font><hr> The job is to get elected. <hr /></blockquote>

And we might add....."And get re-elected." <hr /></blockquote>

Yep, and it's a job that makes whores out of them all - regardless of party.

I'm convinced that if the Dems successfully campaigned on a platform calling for daily oral sex for all Americans and won the election that in the very next election the Republican candidates would be extolling the virtues of daily oral sex and talking about how they gave better head as part of their platform.

It's not rocket science.

But, as Gayle pointed out, that's not what the article was about. The article is dealing with the dangers of imposing a strict set of religious moral views on the citizens of a democracy in an effort to control their behavior.

I particularly liked this quote:

[ QUOTE ]
In a time when the world seems like a shaky place -- whether you have a child in Iraq, a mortgage you may not be able to meet, a pension threatening to head south, a job evaporating under you, a loved one battling drug or alcohol addiction, an ex who just came out as gay or born-again, or a president you just can't trust -- you may begin to wonder whether there is any moral order in the universe. Are the very foundations of society so shaky that they might not hold up for long? Words about faith -- nearly any words -- speak reassuringly to such fears, which haunt millions of Americans.

These fears and the religious responses to them have been a key to the political success of the religious right in recent decades. Randall Balmer, a leading scholar of evangelical Christianity, points out that it's offered not so much "issues" to mobilize around as "an unambiguous morality in an age of moral and ethical uncertainty." <hr /></blockquote>

Without belaboring the obvious or trying to compare the religious morality of Christians too closely with those of their Muslim counterparts - can you see that the political and social pressure behind the return to fundamentalist Muslim beliefs has some of these same earmarks? &amp; that they are basically doomed to failure for many of the same reasons?

Pandering to a segment of our population based on their fears and uncertainties in an effort to assure them that they will work to 'return the country to moral control and social stability based on religious standards' may get a politician elected or re-elected but is the promise credible? &amp; furthermore, does it belong in the political process at all? Is there any other way that a politician can say, "hey everyone! I'm trustworthy AND I believe in all the same things you do!"

In practice can we legislate morality? I for one, think it has its limitations. If you make an action illegal based on however the Bible is currently being interpreted by the faithful, will it force everyone to cease that action? Or will it simply make criminals out of otherwise law abiding citizens who continue the behavior in spite of the laws?

As a non-believer I resent Christians trying to impose their vision of morality on the laws that govern me. If there was a Muslim majority in this country I would feel the same way about them - and I'm fairly certain that you would too.

At the same time I have few if any problems with any person of faith adhering to the articles of their faith as long as it doesn't include passing laws that regulate my behavior or harm others.

LWW
01-16-2008, 02:53 PM
Oh, the humanity!

LWW

Gayle in MD
01-16-2008, 03:19 PM
I think they have done a lot, q. They got rid of a criminal thug, Attorney General, and quite another cabal of criminal aides, and assistants. They would still all be in place, if we still had a republican majority in the Congress. They are calling for a Special Prosecutor to investigate the criminal behavior of this administration, and the abuse of power by Cheney, and Bush, (signing statements, destroying evidence, refusing to abide by Congressional law, against torture). They will soon be forcing this president to provide our troops with the proper amount of time at home, between deployments, and are presently investigatining the progress at Walter Reed. They passed the minnimum wage bill, and provided more financial assistance for our troops, and better medical care.

There are things, like the s-chip, which they do not have enough majority to overturn Bush's veto, people forget, it taked two thirds of each house, to overturn a veto, but all in all, we have had oversight from them, after six years of NO oversight, and although Bush has managed to tie things up in court, improperly claiming executive priveledge, and trying to use it as a means to keep his close WH circle from honoring subpoenas from Congress, there is presently a fight going on, and that would certainly not be the case if there were still a Republican majority present. I believe, as our economy worsens, there will be more public outrage, and with that, more pressure to end this war, from Congress.

As for Deeman's comments, I think it would be foolish of anyone to say that Democrats have exploited religion to the degree that Republicans have. while they may state that they are christians, they surely do not belabor the point. I didn't hear Religion even mentioned the other night. Hillary, for example, has stated that she has her faith, but views the subject of religion as a personal, private matter, not to be worn on one's sleve. I don't hear her touting religion, at every turn, claiming that it is the basis for freedom, or threatening to alter the constitution, to infuse more religious dogma into our secular principles of democracy, and the intended spirit which the founders believed was appropriate.

No, I think it is well known, that the Christian Coalition, (A very high profit corporation in disguise) belongs to the Republican party, both of which seek to alter the intentions of our founders.

Gayle in Md.
ps
There has been a call, this week, I believe, for Cheney's impeachment, which, btw, at the time, cheers rang out from the civilian audience.

SKennedy
01-16-2008, 03:38 PM
I may not agree with you on many points, but I always appreciate the manner in which you post and present your viewpoints without putting others down. You present your opinions in a clear and appropriate manner without being abusive or disrespectful. Thanks. I'm sure it is noted and appreciated by others as well.

DickLeonard
01-16-2008, 03:56 PM
SKennedy thank God getting re-elected has been taken out of mix. Unless Osama butts his head in this election and blows up Blair House. Giving GWB the excuse he needs to declare himself President for life.####

SKennedy
01-16-2008, 04:01 PM
I'm all for term limits. But to be effective they must be across the board and apply to all!

LWW
01-16-2008, 04:13 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DickLeonard:</font><hr> SKennedy thank God getting re-elected has been taken out of mix. Unless Osama butts his head in this election and blows up Blair House. Giving GWB the excuse he needs to declare himself President for life.#### <hr /></blockquote>
Do you have any clue how ridiculous ... much less impossible that this is?

Do you have any idea how the USC works?

Do you have any idea how our govt works?

Dou you have any idea who the US military swears allegiance to?

Do you have any idea what the UCMJ is, much less what it says?

Or, is it that you just don't care?

LWW

sack316
01-16-2008, 11:18 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> They passed the minnimum wage bill...
<hr /></blockquote>

I know it's straying off of the point of this thread, so my apologies. But why is a minimum wage increase looked at as a good thing when in reality it defeats the purpose of what it sets out to do?

For example, at my place of employment we are already planning for when the hike takes place. The first result (which is actually good for me personally, bad for those it is intended to help) will be that I, and other hourly management such as myself, will be asking for more money as well--- for various reasons.. Whether I (we) get it or not, is really irrelevant because it is already a given that A) we will have to fire a certain amount of people, and B)the people we do keep on will have their hours cut fairly drastically. The harsh reality of it is that the increase is a dramatic hit to already too high overheads, and the powers that be only see how to trim the fat immediately rather than more long term solutions. I'm not saying that's the way it should be... but that's the way it is. Bottom line is more work will be put on salaried employees and full time hourlies---as such they (we) will have to be compensated more, causing even more cuts to the payroll and more people losing their jobs. And the people that do get to stay on may be making more per hour, but the amount of hours they will get will equate to even less income than they recieve now.

And that is with an established national coorporation. The strain to small business will be far worse, likely toppling over business owners who are already just "getting by". Thankfully there will still be Wal-Mart to blame when that happens though.

Sack

nAz
01-16-2008, 11:22 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote LWW:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote DickLeonard:</font><hr> SKennedy thank God getting re-elected has been taken out of mix. Unless Osama butts his head in this election and blows up Blair House. Giving GWB the excuse he needs to declare himself President for life.#### <hr /></blockquote>
Do you have any clue how ridiculous ... much less impossible that this is?

Do you have any idea how the USC works?

Do you have any idea how our govt works?

Dou you have any idea who the US military swears allegiance to?

Do you have any idea what the UCMJ is, much less what it says?

Or, is it that you just don't care?

LWW <hr /></blockquote>


Bwahahahaha dude you are so easy!! lol

LWW
01-17-2008, 04:53 AM
Nah, he's really that out of touch IMHO.

LWW

LWW
01-17-2008, 04:57 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote sack316:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> They passed the minnimum wage bill...
<hr /></blockquote>

I know it's straying off of the point of this thread, so my apologies. But why is a minimum wage increase looked at as a good thing when in reality it defeats the purpose of what it sets out to do?

Sack <hr /></blockquote>
Because the poor and uneducated are just a prop.

The MW is a perfect sleight of hand parlor trick because:

1-It appears to be a good deal to the uneducated and/or inexperienced.

2-The promise of "MORE MONEY" is a sure fire way to win votes.

3-When it actually hurts the poor by raising their UE rate the left can and will in unison scream B-B-B-B-BUT BOOOOOOSH!!!!!! and their bots will again line up to protest a problem they have created.

LWW

DickLeonard
01-17-2008, 09:22 AM
LWW when u use the initals USC do u mean the UNiv of South Carolina because if you mean the US Constitution it doesn't apply to this Regime. So why would I think that they would start obeying it now.

Three equal parts Presidency,Congress,Supreme Court. the Supreme Court appoints the President not in the True meaning of separate but equal. The first break with the Constitution how can the Supreme Court make that judgement it leaves the people with no resort but revolution. It goes downhill from there.

If your a General and you don't support the administrations view on the War in Iraq soon your out of the Army. So how can the Military be separate and not a slug for the Commander in Thief.####


I thought only Congress could Declare War or was I mistaken.?

Gayle in MD
01-17-2008, 12:12 PM
I know it's straying off of the point of this thread, so my apologies. But why is a minimum wage increase looked at as a good thing when in reality it defeats the purpose of what it sets out to do?

<font color="blue">In the parts of the country where local government raised the minimum wage on their own, their economy grew. As far as discussing your experience with a National Corporation, I would have to say that if you read the book, Perfectly Legal, you would find the answers to your questions, regarding how the Corporation you work for should deal with a hike in the minimum wage increase.

As for Unions, I view them as I do the public School system, and the tax structure. Things that bacome corrupt, do not advantage the people. The remedy for corruption, is representation of the people, by the people, for the people. We do not have that scenario, which is why all of us should be forcing Public Financed elections. It is the only way we can ever maintain protection of the American Worker, without Unions, corporations, taxes, and other pressing issues, corrupting the system. What is the replacement, for example, for Unions? Should our workers have anyone at all speaking for their working conditions and their rights?

Corruption is the centerpiece of all of the problems we face.

When people throw up thier hands, and just say, do away with public schools, for example, they are extremists, who rather than solve what is wrong with the schools, just want to throw them away.

The same can be said for how corporations handle such things as minimum wage increases. If you looked at the salaries and bonuses that have been made by the CEO's who run that corporation for which you work, you're opinion on the subject might change quite a lot. </font color>

For example, at my place of employment we are already planning for when the hike takes place. The first result (which is actually good for me personally, bad for those it is intended to help) will be that I, and other hourly management such as myself, will be asking for more money as well--- for various reasons.. Whether I (we) get it or not, is really irrelevant because it is already a given that A) we will have to fire a certain amount of people, and B)the people we do keep on will have their hours cut fairly drastically. The harsh reality of it is that the increase is a dramatic hit to already too high overheads, and the powers that be only see how to trim the fat immediately rather than more long term solutions. I'm not saying that's the way it should be... but that's the way it is. Bottom line is more work will be put on salaried employees and full time hourlies---as such they (we) will have to be compensated more, causing even more cuts to the payroll and more people losing their jobs. And the people that do get to stay on may be making more per hour, but the amount of hours they will get will equate to even less income than they recieve now.

And that is with an established national coorporation. The strain to small business will be far worse, likely toppling over business owners who are already just "getting by". Thankfully there will still be Wal-Mart to blame when that happens though.


<font color="blue">When middle class people are trying to keep their heads above water, with soaring gas prices, and not enough money to pay for medical care, and haven't had a wage increase in years, to keep up with the higher prices, Corporations should take the increase in wages from the pigs at the top, whose salaries, and bonuses have been the highest in history over these past seven years. Such situations are best adressed by unions, which represent the worker, who produces the product, which provides such outrageous salaries and lifestyles for the wealthy CEO's at the top of the food chain.

Unions have a place in business. They have been weakened by Ronald Reagan, and those Repubs who follwed after him, IMO. the same is true of our manufacturing industry. Corporations are rewarded for sending jobs out of our country. Bush gives them all sorts of tax cuts and subsidies. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif</font color>
Sack

eg8r
01-17-2008, 12:19 PM
This should all be proof positive that there are more Americans looking for a "Godly", Christian leader, contrary to the anti-religious on this board. SONoma and Gayle can post all the negative stuff they want about religion and the "need" to remove the church from politics but they are simply out of touch with the majority of the voting public. If this statement was not true, you would not see all the politicians doing everything they can to grab these votes.

eg8r

eg8r
01-17-2008, 12:26 PM
I hope you don't mind me adding the text your forgot to the quote below.[ QUOTE ]
When middle class people are trying to keep their heads above water, with soaring gas prices, and not enough money to pay for medical care,<font color="red"> yet they continue to purchase brand new plasma tvs, new houses they cannot afford, new cars, etc, </font color> and haven't had a wage increase in years, to keep up with the higher prices, Corporations should take the increase in wages from the pigs at the top, whose salaries, and bonuses have been the highest in history over these past seven years. <hr /></blockquote> You like to continually talk about the abuses of the Corporations yet you never put any responsibility on the actual people. The middle and poor classes are out buying whatever their hearts desire and racking up debt they cannot afford and living beyond their means.

eg8r

Gayle in MD
01-17-2008, 01:06 PM
Spoken like a true NEOCON, Without Conscience And, according to the polls I've seen Ed, there is not a majority of Americans who think that there should be no separation between church and state, which is my only concern regarding religion. I'm not out to remove anyone's rights to worship, just not to use their faith to justify hurting people, killing people, meddling in private affairs, or removing Constitutional rights to self-determination, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Hence, if a man is gay, that's his business, not your pastors, unless ofcourse, your pastor is in bed with him. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
Other than that, Religious people should mind their own business. They have no right to dictate to others what is moral, or proper to do in their own personal lives and decisions. That is what our Constitution is all about. Tod bad that you, and the religious right, have no respect for it.
Gayle in Md.

S0Noma
01-17-2008, 01:24 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote sack316:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> They passed the minnimum wage bill...
<hr /></blockquote>

I know it's straying off of the point of this thread, so my apologies.

Sack <hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue">You're right, it is straying off the point. I appreciate your making note of that.

No big deal, Sack, but you should know that as of now, for all intents and purposes, this thread has been hijacked and turned into something entirely other than it originated. I see this happen here a lot and everyone appears to be comfortable with it.

Although I do not wish to complain too loudly, it tends to make reading the forum a bit more chaotic and confusing than it needs to be.

For future sake, please consider that it might make for a more coherent and cohesive topic if folks wishing to change the subject of a thread did so with a top post rather than interrupting a thread in progress or tagging a new thread onto one that may be dying on the vine.

Just saying. </font color>

eg8r
01-17-2008, 03:37 PM
[ QUOTE ]
And, according to the polls I've seen Ed, there is not a majority of Americans who think that there should be no separation between church and state, <hr /></blockquote> You can read polls till you are blue in the face but until you take a look at reality and see what the candidates are doing to get votes you never will have a true sense of the American people. Christianity is here to stay (especially in politics) whether you like it or not which is exactly why those politicians are bending over backwards to make sure everyone knows they are Christian.

[ QUOTE ]
They have no right to dictate to others what is moral, or proper to do in their own personal lives and decisions. <hr /></blockquote> Yes they do, and just so it rings loud and clear for you I will identify it here for you, it is the Right to Free Speech. Like it or not they can say what ever they want and you need to just turn your little ears away and close your eyes because they have every right in the world to do what they are doing.

[ QUOTE ]
Tod bad that you, and the religious right, have no respect for it.
<hr /></blockquote> I have a great respect for the Constitution which is why I don't allow you to remove my right to free speech to tell you how I feel things people do in their private space might be immoral. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

eg8r

Gayle in MD
01-17-2008, 07:14 PM
I'm not talking about free speech, I'm talking about a religious coalition, exempt from taxes, turning itself into a political organization, working to re-write the Constitution.

And no, they no NOT have a right to dictate to all others according to their personal religious beliefs. That is what the Constitution, our founders, sought to prevent.

BTW, only thirty percent, that's, 30%, of even the Republican voters, are Evangelicals.

Discussing things is a different issue from the phenomena of a religious tax exempt organization, infiltrating government for the purpose of legislating our laws, from their religious soap box.

eg8r
01-17-2008, 10:23 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I'm not talking about free speech <hr /></blockquote> When you tell me that a person does not have the right to stand on a corner and talk with women about having an abortion you are infringing on their right to free speech. When you say a religious person does not have the right to express their beliefs to others then you are infringing on their right to free speech.

[ QUOTE ]
And no, they no NOT have a right to dictate to all others according to their personal religious beliefs. <hr /></blockquote> It is perfectly within anyone's right to free speech to state their personal beliefs. I don't care if you like it or comprehend it, it is a fact and it will continue.

[ QUOTE ]
BTW, only thirty percent, that's, 30%, of even the Republican voters, are Evangelicals. <hr /></blockquote> You can state whatever stat makes you feel warm. You have zero grasp of the average American voter. It appears you might need to actually pay attention to what is going on around you rather than try and dictate your anti-religion/partisan views on everyone.

[ QUOTE ]
Discussing things is a different issue from the phenomena of a religious tax exempt organization, infiltrating government for the purpose of legislating our laws, from their religious soap box. <hr /></blockquote> Bring on the religious tax exempt organizations. They aren't infiltrating anything, they have been there since the beginning.

eg8r

Gayle in MD
01-17-2008, 10:48 PM
[ QUOTE ]
When you tell me that a person does not have the right to stand on a corner and talk with women about having an abortion you are infringing on their right to free speech. When you say a religious person does not have the right to express their beliefs to others then you are infringing on their right to free speech.

<hr /></blockquote>No, when I tell you that religious people have no right to invade another person's privacy regarding their personal private decisions, I am telling you how it is, and such people are out of line. You won't agree with that, because all you religious nuts think you are correct to spread the word of what YOU THINK is GOD. However, others look at you as a pure pain in the ass.
And, when I tell you that religious people who try to force their bullsh** down everyone else's throat are a pain in the ass, to others, it's the truth.

[ QUOTE ]
It is perfectly within anyone's right to free speech to state their personal beliefs. I don't care if you like it or comprehend it, it is a fact and it will continue.
<hr /></blockquote>

Really? Well news flash, people who loiter outside of Abortion clinics are breaking the law, FYI, and when they invade the space of women who are entering, or leaving, and annoy them in the process it is harrassment, and they are arrested, FYI.

[ QUOTE ]
You can state whatever stat makes you feel warm. You have zero grasp of the average American voter. It appears you might need to actually pay attention to what is going on around you rather than try and dictate your anti-religion/partisan views on everyone.
<hr /></blockquote>

LMAO, didn't get any last weekend, huh?

[ QUOTE ]
Bring on the religious tax exempt organizations. They aren't infiltrating anything, they have been there since the beginning.
<hr /></blockquote>

The begionning of what? Did you know they're buying plasma TV's, /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif and using charge accounts /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif...while they avoid income taxes, and produce absolutely nothing?

BWA HA HA HA, your rants are really illogical when you're horny, Ed.

sack316
01-18-2008, 02:01 AM
You are right Sonoma about the straying off the main topic of the thread. But as your note seemed to be directed towards me please take notice that the beginning of the stray was way before my post. I was simply the only one to point out and apologize for my part in going off topic.

Gayle, also please note that included in my post was "I'm not saying that's the way it should be... but that's the way it is". I actually do believe the hopes behind a minimum wage increase are genuinely paved with good intentions. And in all actuality it sounds like a great idea. The again, so does communism on paper... many things do sound good at face value- but are not so good in action. Something like a minimum wage increase CAN be a good thing IF everyone does as they SHOULD... but tell me how often that actually happens.

And yes my dear, I do know how a company SHOULD handle such situations such as this to their overhead. But you know and I know they don't see that part of the picture. Those at the top see with tunnel vision at the now... as in "how can I make our figures look good NOW... how can THIS annual report be spiced up a bit for shareholders... how can I make me look good NOW so I can get that fat bonus for all the money I saved us". Not the way it should be at all, but it's the way it is. And you're absolutely right, I've never seen a top level executive anywhere I've worked take a pay cut at the times when they feel it prudent to trim the payroll. I could go on and on about all that stuff, but I won't. I do feel you were mistaken, though, when you said my "opnion may change"... I don't think you want mine to as it is the same as yours on the matter /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

As far as unions go, I worked for one company (won't mention any names) that would likely kick you to the curb if you even thought too hard about the word "Union". Some places fight as diligently at keeping unions away as they do at getting sales. Again, not so much the right thing... but the reality.

And eg8r's addition was pretty accurate. I've pretty well been proof positive of that myself in the past. No need to cite any evidence on that point, as a simple look at the amount of credit card debt should suffice to back that up.

Again Sonoma, sorry for straying on this one and I agree with ya buddy. I'll personally in the future try to work on that in hopes others will do the same. But look at it this way, all the tangents have kept your thread up near the top of the page /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Sack

LWW
01-18-2008, 04:37 AM
Everybody get ready, grab your cameras, here it comes, the big KO, the heavy leather of truth ...
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr>No, when I tell you that religious people have no right to invade another person's privacy regarding their personal private decisions, I am telling you how it is, and such people are out of line. <hr /></blockquote>
... please cite us some instances where this has happened sweetheart.

LWW

eg8r
01-18-2008, 06:44 AM
[ QUOTE ]
No, when I tell you that religious people have no right to invade another person's privacy regarding their personal private decisions, I am telling you how it is, and such people are out of line. <hr /></blockquote> Out of line does not mean they don't have a right to do it. Free speech is alive and well no matter how many times you try to suppress it.

[ QUOTE ]
You won't agree with that, because all you religious nuts think you are correct to spread the word of what YOU THINK is GOD. <hr /></blockquote> Wrong, I don't agree because this is a right to free speech, this does not have anything to do with religion.

[ QUOTE ]
And, when I tell you that religious people who try to force their bullsh** down everyone else's throat are a pain in the ass, to others, it's the truth.
<hr /></blockquote> Strawman. No one is talking about being a pain in the butt. The issue is if they are allowed to exercise their right to free speech. You want to cloud the issue because you were caught trying to suppress that right.

eg8r

Gayle in MD
01-18-2008, 12:43 PM
[ QUOTE ]

Really? Well news flash, people who loiter outside of Abortion clinics are breaking the law, FYI, and when they invade the space of women who are entering, or leaving, and annoy them in the process it is harrassment, and they are arrested, FYI.

<hr /></blockquote>

LWW
01-18-2008, 01:01 PM
So, you agree then that thoses who shout down conservative speakers should be arrested for that same harrasment.

LWW &lt;---Proudly offsetting Gayle's vote since 1980. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

eg8r
01-18-2008, 04:02 PM
It is sad to see you support suppression of free speech.

eg8r

SKennedy
01-18-2008, 05:02 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> Spoken like a true NEOCON, Without Conscience And, according to the polls I've seen Ed, there is not a majority of Americans who think that there should be no separation between church and state, which is my only concern regarding religion. I'm not out to remove anyone's rights to worship, just not to use their faith to justify hurting people, killing people, meddling in private affairs, or removing Constitutional rights to self-determination, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Hence, if a man is gay, that's his business, not your pastors, unless ofcourse, your pastor is in bed with him. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
Other than that, Religious people should mind their own business. They have no right to dictate to others what is moral, or proper to do in their own personal lives and decisions. That is what our Constitution is all about. Tod bad that you, and the religious right, have no respect for it.
Gayle in Md. <hr /></blockquote>

That was a nice and reasonable post....except for the very last sentence, which incidentally ruins the whole thing.

Bobbyrx
01-18-2008, 06:06 PM
Where did the premise start anyway that religious people hate gays?? I don't know anyone at my church that hates gays. They may disagree with their life style or that they should be able to marry but they certainly don't hate them. Most probably have gay friends as I do. Just because some wacko TV preacher says something crazy , he certainly doesn't speak for the majority of religious folks in this country.

Drop1
01-18-2008, 08:29 PM
The Bible says Gays should be killed. It also says "Thou shall not suffer a Witch to live". I think the majority of Church goers use the Bible,as a basis for what they want.

LWW
01-19-2008, 05:34 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Drop1:</font><hr> The Bible says Gays should be killed.<hr /></blockquote>
Where?

LWW

LWW
01-19-2008, 05:39 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bobbyrx:</font><hr> Where did the premise start anyway that religious people hate gays?? I don't know anyone at my church that hates gays. They may disagree with their life style or that they should be able to marry but they certainly don't hate them. Most probably have gay friends as I do. Just because some wacko TV preacher says something crazy , he certainly doesn't speak for the majority of religious folks in this country.<hr /></blockquote>
That's a very easy answer.

It all goes back to a basic flaw in human psychology. We all subconciously think that everyone else operates under the same morals.

This explains why honest people get screwed constantly until they figutre life out ... they assume that the other person would be honest, just as they are.

It also explains why crooks treat everyone else like a crook ... since they would cheat me if the tables were turned then it figures to them that I must be cheating them.

Now, to tie it all together, a very high percentage of liberals HATE anyone who disagrees with them and the farther left you get the worse it gets ... hence the belief that everyone else must also HATE anyone they disagree with.

The idea that the religious right hates gays in mass is merely a confirmation of this.

LWW

Gayle in MD
01-19-2008, 09:30 AM
It is sad to think that you support people who loiter outside abortion clinics in order to harrass women coming in and out of them.

The police are called when they do so, and they are forced across the street, where they proceed to scream out insulting statements at every women who goes in or out. Harassment, and loitering, are illegal. Too bad you have no respect for the law.

Gayle in Md.

LWW
01-19-2008, 09:42 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> It is sad to think that you support people who loiter outside abortion clinics in order to harrass women coming in and out of them.

The police are called when they do so, and they are forced across the street, where they proceed to scream out insulting statements at every women who goes in or out. Harassment, and loitering, are illegal. Too bad you have no respect for the law.

Gayle in Md. <hr /></blockquote>
Too bad you believe that these rights only belong to people with whom you agree.

Some of these rants are sounding very Mein Kampfish ...

LWW

sack316
01-19-2008, 11:00 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote LWW:</font><hr> We all subconciously think that everyone else operates under the same morals.
<hr /></blockquote>

Ding ding ding... tell him what he's won, Johnny! Oh wait, my name is actually Johnny so I guess that would be my job too. At any rate, if only everyone (everyone= any group of people, that is not directed to anybody in particulr here) could figure out and accept that-- I think there's a CHANCE the world would be a much more open minded, forgiving, and understanding place. But alas, it is just not the way our (myself included) psyche works, and it takes some conscious thought to move beyond that little ideal within our brain. Which is probably what is really lacking in the world... actual real conscious thought as opposed to our normal, built in kneejerk reactions which we try to tell ourselves is us being smarter than eveybody else.

Sack

eg8r
01-20-2008, 06:45 PM
[ QUOTE ]
It is sad to think that you support people who loiter outside abortion clinics in order to harrass women coming in and out of them.
<hr /></blockquote> It is sad that you try to remove another American's right to free speech.

[ QUOTE ]
Harassment, and loitering, are illegal. Too bad you have no respect for the law. <hr /></blockquote> The next time you see me doing either one then you can say I don't have respect for the law, until then just keep the accusations to yourself. You are the one infringing on another's rights to free speech. Only an idiot thinks anyone on this board has been talking about people standing on street corners harrassing baby killers. You are the one that brought them up. You have been told countless times you are off track, yet you keep it up.

eg8r

Gayle in MD
01-20-2008, 07:09 PM
This is my last comment on the subject Ed. Free speech, has its limits. That's why you can't yell "FIRE" in a movie theater. Approaching women to engage them in a converstaion about your personal view, of their personal life, is harrassment, particularly when you do it as she is entering or leaving an abortion clinic. Peo0ple have been arrested and jailed for doing so, hence, it is against the law, and the law does not view it as your right to freedom of speech.

Also, a fetus, and a baby are not the same, in the eyes of the law.

Further, abortion is legal in this country.

Lastly, I couldn't care less what your opinion on the subject is in the first place, not yours, or any other mans. As far as I'm concerned, it's none of your business what someone else does, nor mine.

YOU, are off the track.

Gayle in Md.

eg8r
01-20-2008, 10:30 PM
[ QUOTE ]
This is my last comment on the subject Ed. Free speech, has its limits. That's why you can't yell "FIRE" in a movie theater. <hr /></blockquote> We are talking very different subjects once again. You don't have the chops to deal with what we are talking about and most of that stems from your chauvinistic know-it-all attitude. You might want to read a few of my posts to lww when he first got here, they will surely help you out.

You think you are the only voice here about the baby killers and I am telling that you are flat out wrong.

eg8r