The Religious Left, Dean & the DNC, and our Republic.

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Eschatos, Feb 13, 2005.

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  1. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    From the NY Times:

    Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers


    By JOHN C. DANFORTH

    Published: June 17, 2005

    St. Louis

    IT would be an oversimplification to say that America's culture wars are now between people of faith and nonbelievers. People of faith are not of one mind, whether on specific issues like stem cell research and government intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, or the more general issue of how religion relates to politics. In recent years, conservative Christians have presented themselves as representing the one authentic Christian perspective on politics. With due respect for our conservative friends, equally devout Christians come to very different conclusions.

    It is important for those of us who are sometimes called moderates to make the case that we, too, have strongly held Christian convictions, that we speak from the depths of our beliefs, and that our approach to politics is at least as faithful as that of those who are more conservative. Our difference concerns the extent to which government should, or even can, translate religious beliefs into the laws of the state.

    People of faith have the right, and perhaps the obligation, to bring their values to bear in politics. Many conservative Christians approach politics with a certainty that they know God's truth, and that they can advance the kingdom of God through governmental action. So they have developed a political agenda that they believe advances God's kingdom, one that includes efforts to "put God back" into the public square and to pass a constitutional amendment intended to protect marriage from the perceived threat of homosexuality.

    Moderate Christians are less certain about when and how our beliefs can be translated into statutory form, not because of a lack of faith in God but because of a healthy acknowledgement of the limitations of human beings. Like conservative Christians, we attend church, read the Bible and say our prayers.

    But for us, the only absolute standard of behavior is the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we find that the Love Commandment takes precedence when it conflicts with laws. We struggle to follow that commandment as we face the realities of everyday living, and we do not agree that our responsibility to live as Christians can be codified by legislators.

    When, on television, we see a person in a persistent vegetative state, one who will never recover, we believe that allowing the natural and merciful end to her ordeal is more loving than imposing government power to keep her hooked up to a feeding tube.

    When we see an opportunity to save our neighbors' lives through stem cell research, we believe that it is our duty to pursue that research, and to oppose legislation that would impede us from doing so.

    We think that efforts to haul references of God into the public square, into schools and courthouses, are far more apt to divide Americans than to advance faith.

    Following a Lord who reached out in compassion to all human beings, we oppose amending the Constitution in a way that would humiliate homosexuals.

    For us, living the Love Commandment may be at odds with efforts to encapsulate Christianity in a political agenda. We strongly support the separation of church and state, both because that principle is essential to holding together a diverse country, and because the policies of the state always fall short of the demands of faith. Aware that even our most passionate ventures into politics are efforts to carry the treasure of religion in the earthen vessel of government, we proceed in a spirit of humility lacking in our conservative colleagues.

    In the decade since I left the Senate, American politics has been characterized by two phenomena: the increased activism of the Christian right, especially in the Republican Party, and the collapse of bipartisan collegiality. I do not think it is a stretch to suggest a relationship between the two. To assert that I am on God's side and you are not, that I know God's will and you do not, and that
  2. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    ^Wow. This guy seems like my kind of Republican.
  3. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    The moderate ex senator is correct. It's clear the Right needs to move more toward the center, not the left.
  4. Special_Fred Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    They both need to move more toward the Constitution.
  5. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Objectively, don't you see the Republicans as the current destroyers of the constitution? The Democrats are seeking to uphold the constitution at this point.
  6. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    LOOK OUT!

    Here comes ROVE the attack dog!

    "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State.

    "Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year?" Mr. Rove asked. "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."


    On the next celebrity deathmatch: Karl 'Attack Dog' Rove vs. Howard 'The Scream' Dean

    Stay tuned!

  7. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Rove's comments make me think certain wacky members on this board may have a future career in politics.
  8. Special_Fred Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    Objectively, don't you see the Republicans as the current destroyers of the constitution? The Democrats are seeking to uphold the constitution at this point.

    Both of the major parties have been destroying it, and will continue to do so. It's easier to point fingers at the Republicans right now, because they hold most of the power at the federal level, but both they and the Democrats have a history of trampling liberty for political expediency, and if we keep re-electing them, that's not going to change. "We the people" cannot afford to tolerate the Republicrats' heinous actions any longer.
  9. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Democrats have a history of trampling liberty for political expediency

    I am open minded to what you have to say about the Democrats and expediency, but it would be helpful if you could give an example or 2. I really have only followed politics since 9-11. But if you're saying what I think you're saying, which is that you agree with Bush that we should not hold suspected terrorists under the laws of the Geneva Conventions because it would not be "expedient". Or that we should not have tried more diplomacy in the Middle East because it wouldn't be "expedient", then I disagree and think that Democrats' concern for lives and liberty is just fine in these regards.
  10. Special_Fred Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    I am open minded to what you have to say about the Democrats and expediency, but it would be helpful if you could give an example or 2.

    To start, the Republicans and Democrats have a history of continuously increasing taxes and government spending by obscene amounts in order to pay for things like welfare, social security, farm subsidies, the Department of Education, and the War on Drugs (just to name a few). Know how many of those things the federal government is allowed to pay for, according to the US Constitution? Zero.

    ...you agree with Bush that we should not hold suspected terrorists under the laws of the Geneva Conventions because it would not be "expedient".

    No, I don't agree with that. Suspected terrorists have the same rights as the rest of us.

    Or that we should not have tried more diplomacy in the Middle East because it wouldn't be "expedient"...

    Bringing American soldiers home and placing them along our borders will do more to diminish the Middle East's hatred of America than any amount of diplomacy.
  11. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Well, I can not agree with the Libertarian mindset, because our nation has worked best with some social programs and some healthy capitalism combined. That is what the good Liberal seeks to achieve, not the abolishment of all regulation and safety nets. Also, the Libertarians are very strict on sexual morality, which is a subjective thing at the level they seek to control it.

    The real thing that has destroyed America is the lack of morality outside our borders, and a continuation of abuse of power. This is not just a current events type of thing, but an ongoing problem that worked for us before, but not can only weaken us, because communication technology has become so advanced. We are a global community regardless of the Libertarian thrashing to contain us. We can't, and shouldn't get away with it anymore.
  12. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    Also, the Libertarians are very strict on sexual morality, which is a subjective thing at the level they seek to control it.

    I think you have the wrong idea.

    Libertarians thik there should be no regulation of sex or imposition of a sexual morality.

  13. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Maybe I got the wrong idea from the Libertarian poster boy's website.

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/analysis_baldwin.html
  14. Special_Fred Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    Yeah...that would be the Constitution Party, not the Libertarian Party. CP members suffer from the delusion that the United States should officially recognize the Bible as a legitimate source of US law. That sort of crap doesn't fly with Libertarians.

    EDIT: ...I can not agree with the Libertarian mindset, because our nation has worked best with some social programs and some healthy capitalism combined.

    Could you provide any factual evidence that we "work best" as a welfare state?

    The real thing that has destroyed America is the lack of morality outside our borders, and a continuation of abuse of power.

    Which isn't going to change as long as you keep voting for the Republicans and Democrats.

    We are a global community regardless of the Libertarian thrashing to contain us.

    I think you have the wrong idea about the LP. Libertarians support free trade and a peaceful foreign policy, not government-enforced "containment."
  15. Hungry_Ghost Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2005
    star 2
    BenduHopkins: If you're interested in reading some Libertarian news and views, I'd recommend checking out Reason.
  16. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Could you provide any factual evidence that we "work best" as a welfare state?

    Remember the great depression? And you twist my words. Some social programs and safeguards does not a "wellfare state" make. I understand the Constitution Party is different from the Libertarians now. So confusing with more than one party! :p

    I'm all for paying some taxes to keep people off the streets. I'm all for Government being allowed to rule some corporate policies illegal. I also know there will never be wide support for Libertarian values. It seems to be a pipe dream and a reckless experiment at that. There is no perfect world, so why not just let the government help people out of poverty. Seems callous not to do so, but I'm sure you think its callous to provide the money through government rather than charity. I don't think there would be enough charity to make up for the lack of wellfare and Social Security. I don't have faith in rich and successful people to give their money away all the time. Otherwise, why would most of them be Republicans?
  17. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I don't have faith in rich and successful people to give their money away all the time. Otherwise, why would most of them be Republicans?

    But hold on a second...Of the top 5 wealthiest members of Congress, 4 of them are democrats.

    1. Sen. John Kerry (D, MA) $675 million
    2. Rep. Amo Houghton (R, NY) $475 million
    3. Sen. Jon Corzine (D, NJ) $400 million
    4. Sen. Herb Kohl (D, WI) $300 million
    5. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV) $200 million

    HERE

    In fact, if one looks at the entire list, there is a good mixture of (R)'s and (D)'s dispersed throughout.

    I don't bring this up to slam the democrats in any way, because there is nothing inherently wrong about wealth. In fact, I don't even know if there is a direct connection between political affiliation and net worth.

    I bring it up to point out that in order for real dialog to start happening between parties, people have to stop stereotyping the "other side."

    It does absolutely no good to throw statements out there like "Otherwise, why would most of them be Republicans," especially when it isn't true.

    Or is Bendu's statement criticizing any wealthy person who doesn't donate large amounts to charity, even if most of the poilticians are actually democrats?

  18. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    Agreed Mr44, its a bad stereotype. As an example, Warren Buffet is a Democrat, but I do believe his partner at Berkshire is a staunch Republican.
  19. Special_Fred Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    Remember the great depression?

    No, because I wasn't alive during it. ;) But let me ask you this: what do you believe caused the Great Depression?

    I'm all for paying some taxes to keep people off the streets.

    Provide evidence as to how your taxes actually "keep people off the streets." Is it possible that there are more efficient ways to help the poor than forcing them to depend on the government?

    I'm all for Government being allowed to rule some corporate policies illegal.

    So am I, provided that those policies actually infringe upon the rights of others.

    I also know there will never be wide support for Libertarian values.

    If you really know that, I'd like to borrow your Time Machine sometime...

    ...so why not just let the government help people out of poverty.

    Why not provide some evidence that government bureaucracies can do a better job than private charities and religious organizations?

    I don't think there would be enough charity to make up for the lack of wellfare and Social Security.

    Um...you wouldn't have to "make up" for the elimination of Social Security. You would simply keep the money that the government would otherwise steal from you, and you would be free to use it however you want.
  20. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Do you honestly think people are generous enough to help the poor when they don't have to? Do you really think that it is human nature to keep people from starving, when they have everything they need and more? I am not cynical, but I have never seen evidence that the rich desire to give their money to people who need it. Why else would most rich people be Republicans? Otherwise, there would be no poor black communities. Are you telling me the rich don't give enough to charity to stop homelessness in this country because they have to pay taxes? I do not believe that for one minute.


    So am I, provided that those policies actually infringe upon the rights of others.


    So I take it you'll back me in a law abolishing standard national dress codes? I would love it if the supreme court outlawed the forcible wearing of ties. It is very degrading and pointless I think.
  21. Special_Fred Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    Do you honestly think people are generous enough to help the poor when they don't have to?

    Yes. Actually, I know it for a fact. Go to the biggest church in your town and ask them that question.

    Do you really think that it is human nature to keep people from starving, when they have everything they need and more?

    Yes. The people who give the most to charity in America are (get this) the wealthy.

    I am not cynical, but I have never seen evidence that the rich desire to give their money to people who need it.

    Google "bill gates donation charity" and tell me what you see.

    Why else would most rich people be Republicans?

    PPOR.

    Are you telling me the rich don't give enough to charity to stop homelessness in this country because they have to pay taxes?

    Um...no, I never said anything like that. The rich give plenty to charity, and I believe that if taxes were lower, you would see even more people donating even more money to the needy.

    So I take it you'll back me in a law abolishing standard national dress codes? I would love it if the supreme court outlawed the forcible wearing of ties. It is very degrading and pointless I think.

    If a company has a policy that employees must wear ties, then the owner of that company is well within his or her rights to fire you for not wearing a tie. If not, no big deal. Privately owned businesses may set whatever policies they wish, provided that said policies do not endanger employees' physical health. I do agree with you, though, that the government should not be forcing any dress code on anyone.
  22. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    http://www2.ari.net/home/poverty/mh9405.html

    There are facts on both sides of the argument. Of course I want what's best for the poor, but I do not trust the Libertarian ideology. It seems to stem more from an indignation of being forced to help the problem, rather than a true concern for people who have no opportunities in the near future.
  23. Special_Fred Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    That's not true. Libertarians do not believe they are "being forced to help the problem," because we believe that government welfare is the problem.
  24. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    People on welfare Florida stay on welfare an average of 4 years at around the age of 31. That's hardly a taking advantage of the system. This is from the article I posted above, which addresses the real source of the problem, which would not go away under a Libertarian totally free capitalism.

    If he were interested in getting at the source, Washington, DC, is a good place to start, beginning with the rich who look for cheap labor for domestic chores and other tasks. The money the poor receive for this labor and "cheat" by not reporting it as income is certainly more than the amount the rich "cheat" the government out of by not paying wage taxes, but then the rich aren't being questioned for what they do, or called cheats for doing it. Except, of course, the several appointees for high positions in government last year who were "found out".

    Another major source is companies who exploit the poor by hiring from "labor pools", often homeless shelters with residents who tolerate low pay and dangerous conditions because they see no other alternatives. Business owners and "recruiters" gain by not paying taxes or benefits, adding to their profits from what amounts to slave labor.

    American's of all classes stimulate this economy by using backyard mechanics for cheaper repairs on such things as vehicles, appliances, or for those less desirable and menial tasks like moving, lawn care, trash removal and a myriad of other chores that, for a few bucks to less fortunates, they get out of doing for themselves. This certainly isn't the job-of-choice for those so engaged, since it is unstable and generally not adequate to provide for even a meager existence.

    The poor do it to their peers, as well, one example being a small business owner who couldn't understand why an unemployed homeless person wouldn't take an eight hour job scraping paint from a wall. Certainly, he felt, this person should be grateful for the $5.00 he offered for a days work since he wasn't working anyway. Go figure.

  25. Special_Fred Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    This is from the article I posted above, which addresses the real source of the problem...

    I only saw two parts that so much as alluded to "the real source of the problem." Let's take a look:

    ...the rich who look for cheap labor for domestic chores and other tasks.

    This is not a problem, much less "the real source" of one, this is common sense...and it's not just the rich who do this. Any business owner's goal is to save money wherever possible. If one person is willing to do the same work as another for less money, what's wrong with hiring them?

    Another major source is companies who exploit the poor by hiring from "labor pools", often homeless shelters with residents who tolerate low pay and dangerous conditions because they see no other alternatives.

    Is it the company's fault that these people are homeless in the first place? I doubt it. Then how does this article "address the real source of the problem," as you said it did? All I'm saying is this: government programs like Social Security and welfare cause more problems than they solve. People, whether they're rich or not, are better off with less government and more control over their own money. Now, if you have convincing evidence to the contrary, please present it. I'm not as close-minded as some people on this forum would have you believe--I am willing to examine the opposition's facts (provided that they are, indeed, facts ;))...but this article doesn't convince me.
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