Saturday, October 17, 2009

The History of the Republican Party

Unlike today, the Republican Party from its conception was a very drastically different in their views than what it has become today. The extreme fanatical right political population of this country has taken over MY Republican Party and made it something that the founders of the Party would not like at all. The Neo-con, inaccurate, radio blowhards have these uneducated lemmings believing that the Republican Party has always been in the ultra-conservative view that they are presenting. I have taken it upon myself the give evidence to the contrary in the hopes that the progressive moderates still within the Party may purge this damaging aspect from MY Republican Party. Wish us all luck in this task.

An important aspect of Republican rule from its first president in Abraham Lincoln was the idea that the government, and especially the federal government, was an important tool to help protect and promote prosperity. If government needed growth to keep up with a nation changing at the societal and economic level, then proper growth was done. Lincoln presided over the National Banking Acts which created a national financial system and then saw to the creation of the Department of Agriculture. Later Republicanism success stories such as the Sherman Anti-trust Act were passed by a republican controlled congress and Republican President.

In the 1900 election the Republican Party with President McKinley as its leader, who was regarded as generally an economic conservative, pushed for a party platform that would establish a Department of Commerce in order to keep the public informed on the behavior of corporations. McKinley being a business republican nevertheless saw the threat to the free-market that bad corporations could do and set the stage for Teddy Roosevelt’s administration by setting up the United States Industrial Commission to investigate and recommend a course of action on these “trusts”. This same commission returned when Teddy Roosevelt had ascended to the presidency after McKinley’s assassination and helped recommend the course of action that would help lead Teddy down the road of trust-busting.

This was just one example of how common sense Republicanism was present even in the industry conservative faction, a faction that compared to today’s extreme conservatism would have been considered moderate. His view was that the GOP was represented the unifying nationalism that had kept the nation from breaking apart in the Civil War against the wishes of the secessionists and of being the party that had led the nation from this disaster to become an industrial power. It therefore only seemed logical that this party was a party that believed in Federalism where the balance of power was needed between local, state and federal governments and that made it clear where the final power lay, a point made clear by Lincoln and the Union victory in the civil war. This was not a state’s right’s party and he believed that it was only natural for Republicans to keep the principles of their party intact by having the government employed with vigor and purpose to ensure that the benefits of the industrial economy that was quickly growing be available to all of society. Even many in the pro-business faction of the Republican Party believed in some needed regulations or protectionism in contrast to the laissez-faire democrats, although they being more conservative were not quite as progressive as Teddy Roosevelt and likeminded Republicans.

Teddy Roosevelt believed that it was necessary to regulate corporations so as to keep the fundamental belief of a working free-market society. He did not seek to punish any company that reached monopoly status, as it was seen that if a company had been so successful then it should have the right to reach the top of success. But he realized that many of these corporations had been employing tactics and measures to ensure that no other startup business that had the potential to challenge their supremacy could be able to do so. It was these trusts that he believed were in the wrong and threatened the free-market itself and therefore hurt the average consumer.

His pursuit of fairness in dealings regarding labor and industry and competition and necessary regulation against any entity considered to be powerful enough to pose a threat to fair competition in the markets was the basis of both his brokered deals and general support from union and business as well as sometimes breaking up a corporation and/or union that was considered to have become too dangerous. This ability to see the necessity of industry and workers rights but also knowing when either one could become a monster would form an important part of his domestic policies.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal, which famously settled the Coal Miner’s Strike of 1902, would set the precedent that the federal government and the president should never remain detached during any type of crisis be it war, natural disaster, or any domestic economic crisis. Instead of sending troops to settle the situation he had both sides come to the bargaining table and push away both extremes and settle for a fair or as he put it “square” deal.

He was also a great leader of the progressive movement, which believed that government should evolve to meet the needs of a changing nation and world. It also believed strongly in using the sciences including social sciences to be able to find ways to make government run much more efficiently with less corruption and respond to the demands of the people, to help develop new ideas and techniques to help educate the public in the sciences and education in general, and sought to make social justice such as industrial worker conditions and environmental/conservation matters important to deal with.

Hence Teddy Roosevelt was in every regard one of the leaders in this new view of government as well as the Republican Party which overall welcomed the new progressive movement at both the state and local levels.

Teddy Roosevelt also had the belief that Americans were the stewards of the natural environment and that the federal government as the elected representative and unified arm of the people should lead the way in creating nature reserves and parks would also be a prominent signature of progressive republicanism in the administration of Teddy Roosevelt.

What is important to note however that while the progressive republicans were the leading faction of the GOP that the conservative wing of this time period, “The Stay Puts,” where becoming increasingly cozy with major industry at times, was nowhere near the lunacy of the far-right today in any issue.

The “Progressives” and the “Stay Puts” that split the party in the 1912 election did much to hurt the GOP as the party of practical or pragmatic progressivism as the fight between Taft and Teddy Roosevelt turned into a party split. Taft was in fact disliked by progressives due to his industry supporting rhetoric and industry itself as a result of trust-busting that was continued over from the Teddy Roosevelt administration. Taft considered himself a progressive but due to miscalculations and general tactlessness would wind up alienating all sides, especially the progressives. This split would pull away from the party many moderate to liberal republicans who had made up an integral and mostly leading faction of the party under the term progressive and would thus enable the industry oriented conservatives to gain and keep control of the party apparatus for the next 20 years, although there was still many remaining moderate and liberal republicans from the progressive era that would still make themselves an important part of the GOP and who would end up retaking the party after the later conservative defeats.

So to conclude, those whom do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it and we are again seeing it today, a 100 years later, where the “Progressives” and the conservative “Stay Puts” within the party are going to split the Party. Until my fellow moderately progressive Republicans can purge this cancer of the ultra-fanatical, non-factually based on reason thinking, religious right wing movement within the Party; we will not have any influence in the political process. A fact that I will securely stand by and vote against my Republican Party until they do.

"Evidence and facts aren't enough to deter the perseverance of false beliefs."

UPDATE 1:45 PM Saturday [below]

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Thursday spoke to his fellow Tennesseans about their ignorance. Well, actually to the ignorant Republicans of that state, although I would imagine that his concern about ignorance might tap the entire national Republican Party.

Frist addressed the ignorance of half of the Republicans in his state who 'believe' that President Obama was born in Kenya and is therefore not eligible to be president. The birthers, of course.
A recent survey conducted by Middle Tennessee State University demonstrates the extent to which "evidence and facts aren't enough to deter the perseverance of false beliefs." According to the survey, "34% of Tennessee adults believe that President Obama was born in another country. 47% of Republicans hold that belief. About a third -- 30% -- say Obama is a Muslim. 46% -- and this includes many Democrats and independents -- say he's a socialist."

"Evidence and facts aren't enough to deter the perseverance of false beliefs." Ain't that the truth?

Earlier in the month, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called the birthers "crazy" and told them to "knock the crap off." This past week, the South Carolina Republican was shouted down by town hall protesters for his position on climate change legislation. Sen. Graham remarked, "We're not going to be the party of angry white guys," Graham responded. "If you don't like it, you can leave."

Imagine that! Both Frist and Graham, along with numerous other GOP leaders, worry that their party has been essentially purged of level-headed, thoughtful people, and now is essentially a party of angry men who 'believe' what talk show hosts tell them.

"Evidence and facts aren't enough to deter the perseverance of false beliefs."

I could not have predicted, when I came of age back in the 1950's, that the Republican Party that I knew then, the party of Robert Taft, Nelson Rockefeller, Dwight Eisenhower, Everett Dirksen and Margaret Chase Smith, would shrink to the knot of angry dolts of today. Never!

In my last post, I showed the map of states [red] that did not give up their interracial ban on marriage until the Federal government forced them to do so. One clearly notes that these are the traditionally Republican states. The one to one correspondence begs comparison. What is it about 'The South' in general and 'false beliefs?' Do parents continue to teach their children these same 'false beliefs' from one generation to the next? Surely, the public schools do not spread such ignorant pap to the pupils.

Why can we peg so many Southerners with the statement, "Evidence and facts aren't enough to deter the perseverance of false beliefs." Two southern senators decry and confront the current state of their [southern] party.

I often bristle at the word, 'beliefs.' My mind goes directly to religion, to that list of 'beliefs' that churches demand of the congregation. A few days ago, I presented this piece by Sam Harris of the Reason Project that completed a study that shows people of faith take their "belief without evidence" as fact. The trite statement, 'don't confuse me with the facts,' comes to mind.

It may lead one to conclude that this southern dilemma that the GOP is currently battling may not, in fact, be solvable. Because the South is also known as the Bible Belt, the people there may be easily duped, bamboozled by shysters who know that these folks, especially, are essentially sponges for half-truths.

That's my conjecture and I have data to back it up. After all, one can correctly equate the statement in the title with religious believers, and it is one small step from there to the 'birthers' and 'deathers' and the grand Tea Party folks of this past summer.

UPDATE 1:45 Saturday

While noticing on the blogs at right, I clicked on Pharangula's post, "Believers in Holy Ghosts..." and found a link to the Baptist Standard, speaking on the topic of gullible Christians that says, David Gushee, a Baptist ethicist at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, agreed Christians who spread tall tales by e-mail reflect a significant slice of American culture and act out of deep emotion.

“Certainly, many Christians seem attracted to conspiracy theories and urban myths and these mass e-mails that propagate them,” he said. “But I am not sure if that is because they are Christian or because they are just Americans of a certain type—people who feel angry about the way the world is, who feel alienated from ‘elite culture,’ who feel embattled by cultural trends that they cannot control and do not at all like, and who often feel looked down upon by those with more education or higher social status.”

"But I am not sure if that is because they are Christians..." David Gushee said. Well, Mr. Gushee, I have an altogether different take on that statement which may be something that you would not care to discuss. I think it is their 'believing' brain that is ripe for rumor, innuendo, gossip and propaganda.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Miscegenation, Phinehas and the Bible Belt

Miscegenation is an interesting word in the English language which received much attention yesterday when a Justice of the Peace in Louisiana refused to marry a black and white couple. This is 2009, isn't it? No doubt Keith Bardwell, of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana is a Bible-thumper, perhaps his favorite passage being Phinehas.

There exists an amorphous group of 'believers' here in the United States referred to as The Phineas Priesthood. The 'fellowship' is named for the Israelite Phinehas, grandson of Aaron. According to Numbers 25, Phineas personally executed an Israelite man and a Midianite woman while they were in the doorway of the Tent of Meeting, running a spear through the two and ending a plague said to have been sent by God to punish the Israelites for sexually intermingling with the Midianites.

Wikipedia reports that the The Phineas Priesthood (Phineas Priests) is a Christian Identity movement that opposes interracial intercourse, the mixing of races, homosexuality, and abortion. It is also marked by its anti-Semitism, anti-multiculturalism, and opposition to taxation. Wow! Sounds like the Republican Party.

In fact, it sounds like the South. The map at the top represents the date at which a state rescinded Miscegenation laws; the red color represents 1967 when it became a Federal Law. Had that law not been enacted, one wonders if, today, some of those southern states might still have miscegenation laws in force.

The Bible Belt and the Miscegenation Belt. Quite the cozy relationship. For the Bible says...

In 1945, Germany was forced to nullify its Nuremberg Laws, the Gesetz zum Schutze des deutschen Blutes und der deutschen Ehre (The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour). It was enacted in 1935 as anti-Semitic propaganda. Yet, those same laws continued here in the land of the free and the home of the brave for 22 more years. Biblical mandate, you know.

How many more racial bigots, assured by the Bible that it is righteous, go about their daily lives 'believing' that biblical law, the Law of Moses, supersedes the laws of the United States Constitution? I am afraid that there are more than we ever imagined.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All Is Now Forgiven With The Irsay Family From A Childhood Baltimore Colts Fan

As a child I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore. I remember well the excitement in 1958 when the “Greatest Game Ever Played,” was unfolded before us all in Baltimore. This is when the underdog, “The Baltimore Colts,” beat the much favored “New York Giants,” for the nationally televised championship football game.

So many future Hall Of Fame players like Frank Gifford, Rosey Brown, Sam Huff, Don Maynard, Andy Robustelli, and Emlen Tunnell played on this Giants team. On the other hand Baltimore had only been in the league for 6 seasons as an expansion team. Coached by Weeb Ewbanks who had future Hall Of Fame players like the GREAT Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, Alan “The Horse” Ameche, Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, and Don Joyce. Football historians have given the credit to Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry for inventing the “2 minute drill.”

Yes in 1953 the Baltimore Colts, (who use to be the Dallas Texans and were moved to Baltimore), were now here in 1958 playing for the National Football League Championship. The Colts name came about because of the tradition of Baltimore’s rich history with racing, and breeding of horses. The obvious example of this history being the second leg of the triple crown, “The Preakness Stakes.”

The game was played on December 28, 1958 at Yankee Stadium in New York. The 1958 game was the 26th annual NFL championship game. To add to this drama, this was the first nationally televised Championship Football game and the game played out better than if someone had written a suspenseful script. The Colts beat the Giants 23-17 in overtime, earning their first ever championship. The game would later be known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played!” Then as if to prove that they were not just a fluke, there was a rematch between the two teams in 1959 and the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants again by a score of 31 to 16.

The Colts went on to play and win many Championships and later Super Bowls establishing many memories to the young “Engineer of Knowledge.” As a child playing quarterback in little league football teams in the area…I did not know any better than my heroes who played for the Colts….that they did not walk on water.

I remember all too well my father, a physical education major school teacher, surprised me one Sunday in 1967 and took me to Memorial Stadium to see the Baltimore Colts play the Minnesota Vikings. We sat on the 50 yard line, 6 rows back from the field, and I watched Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry work their magic. The tickets cost $7.00 each and I can say that this day was one of the best days of my life!

Well I can only say that it is hard to describe the feeling when Bob Irsay, with Mayflower moving vans, snuck away in the dead of that cold, snowy night; and stole my Baltimore Colts along with my fondest childhood memories, to Indianapolis. Little did anyone know on that December 18, 1983, the Colts would play their final game in Baltimore. Almost after the season ending win at Memorial Stadium; Colts owner Robert Irsay began talking to other cities about moving the club. On February 13th he toured the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis and the rest is history.

To this day football fans in Baltimore still burn in effigy the image of Bob Irsay. Even though we are now Baltimore Raven’s football fans, “named after the Edgar Allen Poe poem, “The Raven,” still will not forgive and move on past their distain and hatred of anyone with the Irsay family name.

By now you must be asking, “Engineer, where are you going with this story and isn’t your title, “All Is Now Forgiven?” My answer to you is “YES.” I can say today that on a personal level, I can forgive the son Jim Irsay for his father’s sins of stealing my Baltimore Colts and childhood memories because Jim, as the owner of the Colts and with the foresight of what is best for the NFL; VOTED AGAINST RUSH LIMBAUGH FROM OWNING THE ST. LOUIS RAMS!!!!!

I want to say to Jim Irsay that he has single handily with his vote restored my faith in professional football and enabled me to release my resentment and inwardly held anger after these so many years. In closing I want to say “THANK YOU” and may nothing but good things happen for you in the future.

Life as Delusion: The Neuropsychology of Religion

I borrowed the photo at right from Chuck O'Connor's blog, Battling Confusion. I would also quote from his most recent post, To the Brain, Faith is Fact. O'Connor cites a study conducted by UCLA titled, The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief. The study process was MRI imaging:

We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure signal changes in the brains of thirty subjects—fifteen committed Christians and fifteen nonbelievers—as they evaluated the truth and falsity of religious and nonreligious propositions

Questions such as these were given to each participant: 'Santa Claus is a myth; God is a myth. Jesus Christ performed miracles. Alexander the Great was a famous military leader.'

The MRI brain data clearly delineates the 'believer' from the 'non-believer.' The 'discussion' section of the article is most interesting and there is a plethora of linkable articles on the topic for those who care to read further.

Why do I bring this article to your attention? The simple answer is that it is a fascinating study of the human brain. Additionally, I have become interested in the brain-functioning of Fundamentalist Christians since the inception of this blog. As with head lice, I am infested with evangelicals and fundamentalist Christians and I wonder: exactly what is their 'draw' to my blog? This blog is like raw hamburger sitting out on a warm summer day. Or cooties!

Perhaps it is a bit of narcissism, but I rather gloat at the knowledge that so many of 'them' are attracted here. Even when I tell some of them- do not post comments on this blog, they do so anyway. Do you think that they are missionaries attempting to convert the pagan? Do they receive more 'heavenly points' if they convert someone? A higher place in heaven?

Or is it OCD? The OCD characteristic of 'checking' comes to mind- the need to check on things to suppress the uneasy feelings of disorder and disarray. My Sitemeter® indicates that this blog is 'checked-on' regularly. If it is not checked, I suppose, there could be angst, hand-wringing, diarrhea and other physical expressions of worry. It's a sad state of affairs, to be sure. Of course, a simple Rx taken daily could help manage this OCD condition.

Perhaps it is my laissez-faire attitude or my tongue-in-cheek humor toward those living in religious delusion that is an irritant, and like a mad hornet, a 'sting' is required to mollify the situation. Spitefulness and nastiness are often the 'sting' given for my wanton, irreligious postings. Curiously, un-Christlike.

How is life as delusion, anyway? I've often wondered about that. Of course, many Americans regularly take drugs or drink to enter that ethereal state of delusion where fantasy trumps reality. The schizophrenic, sadly, lives that state. Do do the severely autistic. Life as fantasy- spirits moving through time and space, visions of colorful bright lights, heavenly choirs of angels singing... LSD, I've been told, creates a similar notional state of mind.

Must be interesting. Escapism. Like lying on one's back in the grass looking at the clouds on a warm summer day. Or, just above the clouds, looking at the heavenly realm and wishing that you were there. Dreaming of 'eternal life,' marshmallow sundaes, wings to fly, and radiant white robes. Chocolate rivers, caramel apple trees, and sirloin steaks grilling on celestial fires!

I wonder though, would these 'saved,' these Jesus sheep be saddened to look down at those goats burning in the fires of eternal hell? Or would that vision be blocked, like the parental controls on a TV set? Curious stuff to ponder. But, what the hell, that 's the price they pay for their sinful time on earth! It's a damned shame that 'they' didn't come to the Lord and profess their sinfulness. They had the opportunity to get right with the Lord, but chose to turn their backs on him! They deserve to burn for eternity in the fire and brimstone!

Zot! Sorry about that last tirade- I got caught up in fantasy and delusion. Apparently it's easier than I 'believed.' Well, here I am on a cold, rainy Thursday in Toledo, wet snow on the way for tomorrow. Reality check. Bills to pay, furnace filter to change, car in for a tune-up, letters to write, project to complete, flu shot, rake the yard, take the screens down...

Oh, to live in delusion, but I haven't the time just now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Arminianism: The heresy plaguing the modern church of the 21st century.

Modern Christianity is clearly a mulligan stew- that hobo stew which consists of 'whatever else can be begged, scavenged, found or stolen.' Just look in the Yellow Pages under 'churches' and you would be amazed, perhaps baffled, at the many choices offered. A stew.

One comment I received today chided me for not knowing much of Calvinism; but then, why should I? I know that John Calvin was one of a bunch of men who decided to found a church in opposition to the Catholic Church. So did many others, the first, of course, Martin Luther. Since that heroic nailing to the cathedral door, hundreds of copy-cat churches developed across Europe, each one proclaiming that it alone held the secrets to immortal life. Like those awful pharmaceutical ads running nauseously on TV.

What great difference can there be in the interpretation of 'faith' anyhow? After all, it's really a con game based on some non-verifiable writings of zealots 20 centuries ago, is it not? Then there are those older writings, the tales of the desert-wanderers who created a god who would destroy their enemies if they supplicated themselves often enough. Generally, these tales are not fit for persons under the age of 18- like the 'R' rating of Hollywood.

Nonetheless, people identify with one of these stew-churches, like a badge of courage or a flag lapel pin, or and Ohio State sweatshirt. 'Go Bucks!' 'Go Calvin!'

I understand, upon further research on Calvin, that his nemesis was a man named Jacobus Arminius. Was he from Armenia? Just joking. So, what I get about this dueling pair of Protestants is one believed that, as God is omnipotent, He knew your destiny before you were a zygote. The other said, well, not so fast! Arminius figured out that if God already knew where you were headed at your last breath, then, what the hell would make you toe the line during your lifetime? Predestination, Calvin said. The game's been fixed.

Of course, if the' game was fixed,' then there would be no need for a church, a pastor, sermons, or the collection plate. Arminius figured out that such a scenario would lead to hedonism, humanism and humping. Bestiality too, perhaps. Those 'deadly' sins, of course. Like those barbarians or aborigines or atheists! Way too much sin [and fun].

Thus, Arminius won out, for the most part [as if we didn't already know that.] And so, we have sin and abomination and guilt. And sermons, and will the ushers pass the collection plate? The whole ball of wax.

But wait! There is salvation! Yes, you can be saved from your wicked ways and we know how! For $19.95 plus shipping and handling... Sorry, too much TV.

The title of this post, Arminianism: The heresy plaguing the modern church of the 21st century, is a piece on the website A Puritan's mind- that seems to be a narrow topic, but nonetheless, it presents a judgement of 'heresy' against Mr. Arminius. There is even a book about the heresy, The Pelagian Captivity of the Church, by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon.

Great reading material, no doubt, but just a bit too 'spicy' for my kind of stew. Who the hell cares about this doctrinal dustup anyway? And how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I think 666.

About those hedonist atheists- are they really the trouble makers that they are purported to be? Going to hell in a hand basket, for sure! Too bad they don't go to church where they can be 'saved!'

"Darwinopterus" Fossil Cements Piece of Evolutionary History

New pterosaur named to honour Darwin is the headline of this CBC News story. A new type of pterosaur has been found in northeast China and it's filling in some of the gaps in the evolutionary record of the extinct flying reptiles.
This drawing shows Darwinopterus hunting a small feathered dinosaur, called Anchiornis.
The fossil skull of the pterosaur Darwinopterus is about 19 centimetres long. (Lü Junchang) British and Chinese paleontologists found more than 20 fossil skeletons of the new pterosaur, which they've dubbed Darwinopterus, to mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, Darwin's founding book on evolutionary biology.

Darwinopterus, about the size of a crow, had long jaws with rows of sharp, pointy teeth and a long, flexible neck. The researchers said these features could suggest that it was a mid-air predator, catching and eating other flying creatures, such as other pterosaurs, gliding mammals and feathered dinosaurs.

The gap in the fossil record between these two types of pterosaurs was identified in Darwin's time, and the researchers were surprised to see Darwinopterus filling that gap.

"We had always expected a gap-filler with typically intermediate features such as a moderately elongate tail — neither long nor short — but the strange thing about Darwinopterus is that it has a head and neck just like that of advanced pterosaurs, while the rest of the skeleton, including a very long tail, is identical to that of primitive forms," David Unwin of the University of Leicester said in a release.

Unwin said the rapid evolution of groups of related features, or modules, seen in Darwinopterus support a controversial theory called modular evolution.

"Whole groups of features that form important structures such as the skull, the neck or the tail seem to have evolved together," Unwin said.

"It seems that natural selection was acting on and changing entire modules and not, as would normally be expected, just on single features such as the shape of the snout or the form of a tooth," he said.


Well, well, this important 'link' has been named for Charles Darwin. One wonders if the Creation Museum will be displaying this new fossil. Good joke, eh?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Creed of Christian Reconstructionism

UPDATE OCT. 14 below

In an earlier post, I pointed out that there is a group of fundamentalist christians who wish that the Constitution of the United States would be recalled and, in its place, the Mosaic Laws of the Old Testament. These right-wing christians believe in the philosophy of Dominionism, that is, to seek influence or control over secular civil government through political action—aiming either at a nation governed by Christians or governed by a conservative Christian understanding of biblical law.

The umbrella term applied to such a radical coup of the government of the United States is Reconstructionism. Many fundamentalist and evangelical christians either do not know or pretend not to know of the radical ends of this movement.

Rev. Andrew Sandlin, former executive vice president of Chalcedon and editor of the Chalcedon Report, was an important voice in Christian Reconstructionism. He wrote the following summary outline to help understand the idea of Reconstructionism. I find this piece quite enlightening and frightening.

The Creed of Christian Reconstructionism

Rev. Andrew Sandlin

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Calvinist. He holds to historic, orthodox, catholic Christianity and the great Reformed confessions. He believes God, not man, is the center of the universe--and beyond; God, not man, controls whatever comes to pass; God, not man, must be pleased and obeyed. He believes God saves sinners--He does not help them save themselves. A Christian Reconstructionist believes the Faith should apply to all of life, not just the "spiritual" side. It applies to art, education, technology, and politics no less than to church, prayer, evangelism, and Bible study.

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Theonomist. Theonomy means "God's law." A Christian Reconstructionist believes God's law is found in the Bible. It has not been abolished as a standard of righteousness. It no longer accuses the Christian, since Christ bore its penalty on the cross for him. But the law is a description of God's righteous character. It cannot change any more than God can change. God's law is used for three main purposes: First, to drive the sinner to trust in Christ alone, the only perfect law-keeper. Second, to provide a standard of obedience for the Christian, by which he may judge his progress in sanctification. And third, to maintain order in society, restraining and arresting civil evil.

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Presuppositionalist. He does not try to "prove" that God exists or that the Bible is true. He holds to the Faith because the Bible says so, not because he can "prove" it. He does not try to convince the unconverted that the gospel is true. They already know it is true. They need repentance, not evidence. Of course, the Christian Reconstructionist believes there is evidence for the Faith--in fact, there is nothing but evidence for the Faith. The problem for the unconverted, though, is not a lack of evidence, but a lack of submission. The Christian Reconstructionist begins and ends with the Bible. He does not defend "natural theology," and other inventions designed to find some agreement with covenant-breaking, apostate mankind.

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Postmillennialist. He believes Christ will return to earth only after the Holy Spirit has empowered the church to advance Christ's kingdom in time and history. He has faith that God's purposes to bring all nations--though not every individual--in subjection to Christ cannot fail. The Christian Reconstructionist is not utopian. He does not believe the kingdom will advance quickly or painlessly. He knows that we enter the kingdom through much tribulation. He knows Christians are in the fight for the "long haul." He believes the church may yet be in her infancy. But he believes the Faith will triumph. Under the power of the Spirit of God, it cannot but triumph.

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Dominionist. He takes seriously the Bible's commands to the godly to take dominion in the earth. This is the goal of the gospel and the Great Commission. The Christian Reconstructionist believes the earth and all its fulness is the Lord's--that every area dominated by sin must be "reconstructed" in terms of the Bible. This includes, first, the individual; second, the family; third, the church; and fourth, the wider society, including the state. The Christian Reconstructionist therefore believes fervently in Christian civilization. He firmly believes in the separation of church and state, but not the separation of the state--or anything else--from God. He is not a revolutionary; he does not believe in the militant, forced overthrow of human government. He has infinitely more powerful weapons than guns and bombs--he has the invincible Spirit of God, the infallible word of God, and the incomparable gospel of God, none of which can fail.

He presses the crown rights of the Lord Jesus Christ in every sphere, expecting eventual triumph.


Here is a bit more information about this 'secret' agenda of the Calvinist-Reconstructionists. It is from the essay, Dominion Theology: The Truth About the Christian Right's Bid for Power by Sara Diamond

Many Christian Right activists have never even heard of reconstructionism, whose advocates call for the imposition of an Old Testament style theocracy, complete with capital punishment for offenses including adultery, homosexuality, and blasphemy.

• Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns--and there is no consensus on when that might be. Dominionist thinking precludes coalitions between believers and unbelievers, which is why many Christian rightists will have a hard time compromising with some of the very same Republicans they recently helped elect.

• The idea of taking dominion over secular society gained widespread currency with the 1981 publication of evangelical philosopher Francis Schaeffer's book A Christian Manifesto. Schaeffer and his wife Edith ran a retreat center in Switzerland, where young American "Jesus freaks" came to study the Bible and learn how to apply Schaeffer's dominion theology to the political scene back home.

• Since humanists place human progress, not God, at the center of their considerations, they pushed American culture in all manner of ungodly directions, the most visible results of which included legalized abortion and the secularization of the public schools. At the end of A Christian Manifesto, Schaeffer calls for Christians to use civil disobedience to restore Biblical morality, which explains Schaeffer's popularity with groups like Operation Rescue.

• Christ will return only after Christians have been in charge for 1,000 years. The Coalition on Revival, founded by Jay Grimstead, consistent with post-millennialism, was the development of position papers, called "world view documents," on how to apply dominion theology to Christian Right activism in more than a dozen spheres of social life, including education, economics, law, and even entertainment. Grimstead and his colleagues advocated running stealth candidates in selected counties as early as 1986. [I know of one of those 'stealth candidates who ran for a school board position in the Toledo area]

• The Reconstructionists are theologically committed to Calvinism. They shy away from the Baptists' loud preaching and the Pentecostals' wild practices of speaking in tongues, healing and delivering prophecies. To secular readers, the minutiae of who believes what--or which group of characters likes to dance on one foot--might seem trivial. But some of the details and divisions of Christian Right theology are politically relevant.

• Reconstructionism's leading proponent has been Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, an obscure figure within the Christian Right. Born in 1916, the son of Armenian immigrants to the U.S., Rushdoony was strongly influenced by Westminster Theological Seminary professor Cornelius Van Til, a Dutch theologian who emphasized the inerrant authority of the Bible and the irreconcilability between believers and unbelievers. A recent issue of Rushdoony's monthly Chalcedon Report noted his Armenian background. Since the year 320, every generation of the Rushdoony family has produced a Christian priest or minister. "There was Armenian royalty in the Rushdoony blood, and a heritage of defending the faith, often by sword and gun, against Godless foes bent on destroying a people of faith and works."

• It was Rushdoony's seminal 1973 tome The Institutes of Biblical Law that articulated Reconstructionists' vision of a theocracy in which Old Testament law would be reinstated in modern society. Old Testament law classified a wide range of sins as punishable by death; these included not only murder and rape but also adultery, incest, homosexuality, witchcraft, incorrigible delinquency by youth, and even blasphemy. In the Reconstructionists' vision of a millennial or "kingdom" society, there would be only local governments; there would be no central administrative state to collect property taxes, nor to provide education or other welfare services.

• It is the Reconstructionists' religion of Calvinism that makes them unlikely to appeal to most evangelicals. Calvinism is the by now almost archaic belief that God has already preordained every single thing that happens in the world. Most importantly, even one's own salvation or condemnation to hell is already a done deal as far as God is concerned. By this philosophical scheme, human will is not involved in changing the course of history. All that is left for the "righteous" to do is to play out their pre- ordained role, including their God-given right to dominate everyone else.

• One of the classic works of sociology, Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, links the rise of Calvinism to the needs of budding capitalists to judge their own economic success as a sign of their preordained salvation. The rising popularity of Calvinism coincided with the consolidation of the capitalist economic system. Calvinists justified their accumulation of wealth, even at the expense of others, on the grounds that they were somehow destined to prosper. It is no surprise that such notions still find resonance within the Christian Right which champions capitalism and all its attendant inequalities.

• Calvinism is an essentially reckless doctrine. If God has already decided what's going to happen, then the Dominionists do not have to take responsibility for their actions. (They can kill abortion doctors "knowing" it is the right thing to do.)

• The Christian Right wants to take dominion and collaborate with the existing political-economic system, at the same time. Liberal critics, who also endorse the ruling system, can recognize only the Christian Right's takeover dimension. Radicals can see that the dominion project is dangerous because it is, in part, business as usual.

Federal Taxes

Basically, there are three federal taxes on
individuals: the payroll tax paid by most
U.S. families and which amounts to around
15.3% tax rate; the income tax which amounts
to about 10% on most families, except up to
30% for the very wealthy; and the inheritance
tax which is in remission under the Bush tax
cuts for the very wealthy until 2010 when it
is to expire and be reinstated affect at most
2% of tax payers.

Republicans always decry the burden of federal
income taxes. However, interestingly they never
call for lowering the payroll tax which falls
heavily on lowerclass and middleclass working
families. It is from this tax which pays for
Social Security and Medicare and has been the
way the Republicans 2001-2008 paid the off
budget monies for the two wars and the
prescription drug plan. You see, they used
up the Clinton surplus and saddled the government
with a trillion dollar deficit, let alone the
collapse of Wall Street, Banking, and the
national economy, using the payroll tax of the
underclasses to pay for their off-budget spending,
while giving the tax breaks to the wealthy.
Republican tax relief always benefits the affluent.

It is not class warfare to say Republican tax cuts
disproportionately benefit the very wealthy. Cutting
taxes on the rich does not lead to economic growth.
We know far to well how our economy grew in the
BushII years, the repeal of Glass-Stegall. It was
not the tax cuts to the wealthy.

We know BushII's tax cuts were dishonest. Now, my
question is how dishonest will be the Democrats
and Obama. How much are they misrepresenting their
spending bills, especially the health care reform?
How are 25 million added to health insurance and we
don't have to pay for it. Obama tells us it will be
done by eliminating fraud, deceit, and abuse. Sure
thing? HOw many times in the last 60 years have we
heard that refrain?

Moreover, the CBO gives its estimate for the 10 years
apparently beginning in 2010. Yet, the reform doesn't
go into effect until 2014. Yep, there is that Washington,
D.C. funny banking at work again. If 2014 is correct,
as of this moment with the Senate Finance Committee
reported out bill, it would be important to have the
CBO score it for 2014-2024. Three or four years of no
expense certainly minimizes the cost. What was it that
Obama and the Democrats campaigned on? Transparency,
wasn't it? Where does the money come from?

The Constitution and Bill of Rights are merely Addendums to Old Testament Biblical Law

I found the title of this post, "The Constitution and Bill of Rights are merely addendums to Old Testament Biblical law," while doing some research on the connection between evangelical, fundamentalist christians and the U.S. Government. Fellow contributor to this blog, UptheFlag, made a comment regarding christian fundamentalists, saying, "This is why I suggested that a book demonstrating their [fundamentalists] place in U.S. history and methods to prevent them [fundamentalists] from enlarging their adherents. Benign neglect will not work; neither will wishful hoping."

On a website called,, I came across an article that helps the non-fundamentalist understand the overt meddling in government by the so-called religious right. The author, Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates, speaks of the group of conservative Christians called Dominionists; he says that they are Christian nationalists. He goes on to say of them: They believe that Biblically-defined immorality and sin breed chaos and anarchy. They fear that America's greatness as God's chosen land has been undermined by liberal secular humanists, feminists, and homosexuals.

Clarifying the term further, he speaks of Hard Dominionists who want the United States to be a Christian theocracy. For them the Constitution and Bill of Rights are merely addendums to Old Testament Biblical law. They claim that Christian men with specific theological beliefs are ordained by God to run society. Christians and others who do not accept their theological beliefs would be second-class citizens. This sector includes Christian Reconstructionists, but it has a growing number of adherents in the leadership of the Christian Right.

Interestingly, many fundamentalists do not realize that they are, in fact, dominionists. In fact, they will deny that label while ascribing to the agenda above. Does it matter what they are called? I think not. The agenda is clear and frightening which is why my former post referred to them as 'treasonous.' I stand by that term more strongly now than ever.

New Perspective on Capital Punishment ran a story on capital punishment that really caught my attention. First, I liked it because the site itself is fascinating. I suppose it's aimed at Iranian Americans due to the bi-lingual presentation, but I couldn't tell for sure. Secondly, I found it fascinating because the sub title is "nothing is sacred." I'll bet they love that one in Tehran.

Today, October 10th, is the World Day Against the Death Penalty. Morbidly ironic, Behnoud Shojaee’s execution on this day is a stark reminder of the brutality of Islamic Republic of Iran’s policies in executing its citizens on a whole host of criminal and belief-based charges.

The judicial system in Iran has proven time and again to be unfair, discriminatory, and perversely criminal itself in dealing with social maladies inflicted upon its own society through implementation of barbaric laws.

It almost sounds like Texas. The judicial system is "unfair, discriminatory, and perversely criminal itself in dealing with social maladies," could easily apply to any jurisdiction in the U.S., but down Dallas way, this description fits to a tee.

Perhaps I'm being too flip, though. The graphic provided on the site is most illuminating for putting things into perspective. When turning the death penalty stats into per capita numbers, we see a very different story than what we're used to.

Recently we discussed a report from Amnesty International which put China on top and the U.S. fifth. That was total numbers of executions. The Iranian stats show that Iran is tops with Saudia Arabia a close second. China is much lower than both of those in a per capita comparison, and the U.S. much lower still.

I don't feel this information changes much, since of the countries ahead of the United States, there is not a single one that I'd want to live in. The U.S. is still associated with a group of countries that it should be ashamed to be aligned with.

What's your opinion? How do you feel about that company we're keeping in the capital punishment lists?

Please feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

America's Treasonous Christians

Fundamentalist christians are a threat to the security and functioning of this nation. They openly subvert the Constitution and many openly support a foreign government. Therefore, they engage in treasonous activities.

Julian Bond, civil Rights leader during the 1960's struggle for African Americans to attain their full rights under the U.S. Constitution, and a former Georgia legislator and history professor, said on CNN this morning that the gay and lesbian struggle for full equality is the same as his struggle some 50 years ago. "It isn't black rights or gay rights," he said, "it's civil rights." He was asked by CNN for his thoughts on President Obama's speech at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington last evening.

Obama promised to end the military's policy, 'Don't Ask Don't Tell,' and further promised to sign the Matthew Shepherd Act as soon as the Senate passes it. He received great applause for both commitments.

Back in the 1960's, opposition to black civil rights came from bigoted men and women who 'believed' that blacks were not equal to whites. Interestingly, many of these racial bigots quoted passages from the Bible's Old Testament as mandates for separating blacks from whites. Following the same pattern, these days the bigots [evangelical and fundamental christians] use the same Bible to deny gays and lesbians their civil rights.

Just find some fundamentalist blog [i can give you a few] and you will see these quotations from Genesis, Leviticus and Deuteronomy posted as 'proof' that God hates gays. Of course, some fundamentalist churches post these hateful passages on their marquee, warning gays not to enter. Reminds me of 'white only' signs in the South.

Yet surely, these homophobic christians 'believe' that they are doing God's will by their continual denial of civil rights to gays and lesbians. Surely, some of the white bigots in the South must have 'believed' the same. Isn't it curious that the Bible and God are used by bigots to mollify their obvious hate for another?

Naturally, those who have studied the history of the human race clearly understand how often 'religion' and 'beliefs' have been used to attack, subjugate, imprison, rape, and kill another tribe or group of people. Hundreds of bloody historical pages chronicle these sorry deeds.

Often we Americans point the finger of guilt at African, Asian and European nations who have used 'beliefs' or long-standing cultural traditions to deny the rights of those within their boundaries. Even today, those traditions continue.

Yet, here we are, in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, and there are Americans who 'believe' that other groups of Americans ought not enjoy the full and endowed rights of this nation. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness is openly and summarily denied to gays and lesbians by evangelical and fundamentalist christians because... because that ancient Jewish journal, that dossier filled with misogyny, bigotry, slavery, and disdain for neighboring tribes 'tells them to.'

Apparently, to the evangelical, fundamentalist christian, the Bible is a more valid document than the United States Constitution. In other words, these christian bigots 'believe' that they owe more allegiance to the Bible than to the Flag. Imagine that! Here in this nation there are thousands of 'citizens' who do not put country first! Should we alert Homeland Security? Are some of them working to subvert the Constitution of this nation? Do they wish to alter the structure of this nation so that the Bible replaces the Constitution. Might this be called treason? I think so.

Additionally, some of these treasonous christians are giving open support to another nation, promoting civil unrest within that nation and the agitation of its neighbors. It is the State of Israel.

An organization calling itself, Christians United for Israel, says on its website:

Israel’s time of need is now. There is a new Hitler in the Middle East --President Ahmadinejad of Iran -- who has threatened to wipe out Israel and America and is rapidly acquiring the nuclear technology to make good on his threat. If we learned anything from the Holocaust, it is that when a madman threatens genocide we must take him seriously. During the Holocaust, too many Christians were silent, and we were left to mourn the slaughter of 6 million Jews. Today, Bible-believing Christians must speak up and stand up for Israel. We must act to do whatever we can to protect Israel’s 6 million Jews from the second Holocaust. We must get it right this time. Our faith demands it. The times require it. Silence is not an option.

The infamous pastor, John Hagee, is part of this 'ministry.' Christians United for Israel has its own congressional PAC, helping to sway our congressmen and senators to direct our tax dollars to the State of Israel to defeat and dislodge Muslims from 'the Holy Land.' This is because Revelations demands that the landing pad for the second coming of Jesus be cleansed of the unholy infidels.

How many American chrisitans send money to this organization? Do they receive a tax-deduction for supporting the State of Israel? Is that constitutional and/or treasonous? The IRS ought to investigate and Homeland Security should be notified.

I repeat what I said at the beginning: fundamentalist christians are a threat to the security and functioning of this nation. They openly subvert the Constitution and many openly support a foreign government. Therefore, they engage in treasonous activities.

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