Don't vote for Dole in North Carolina

Every time I see the disregard the Democratic party shows for secular values — which is painfully frequent — I wonder why the heck I'm even voting for these addled con artists. But then the Republicans remind me by showing up and being even worse. The latest is from the Elizabeth Dole campaign in North Carolina, which has decided to vilify her opponent, Kay Hagan, because she dares to actually meet with atheists. How horrid! Hagan has probably got godless cooties now. Here's what a Dole press release says, expressing disgust that Hagan is actually going to meet with the Secular Coalition for America.

"Kay Hagan does not represent the values of this state; she is a Trojan Horse for a long list of wacky left-wing outside groups bent on policies that would horrify most North Carolinians if they knew about it," [Communications Director Dan] McLagan said. "This latest revelation of support from anti-religion activists will not sit well with the 90% of state residents who identify with a specific religious faith."

Fair enough, actually. It does represent a difference in values: that Hagan may not be an atheist but is willing to speak with them says one thing about her values, and that Elizabeth Dole thinks atheists are un-American says something else about her values. It also says a lot about Dole that she is willingly affiliated with the party of bigotry and incompetence, the Republicans. These are choices made by candidates that are legitimate issues to help voters decide who they should elect.

It says to me that people should vote for Hagan, or almost any other Democrat, over almost any other Republican.

More like this

As far as I can tell, North Carolina's no different from the rest of America when it comes to religion. About a tenth of the population is free of religious conviction. That's not a big slice, but it could, in theory, be big enough to cost Sen. Elizabeth Dole her re-election this November, if…
Politico reports (via Benen): Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s latest advertisement suggests her Democratic opponent, Kay Hagan, is a godless heathen. “A leader of the Godless Americans PAC recently held a secret fundraiser for Kay Hagan,” the 30-second spot says, showing footage of the group’s members…
I've written a couple of posts decrying the tactics of Elizabeth Dole — who uses the act of talking to atheists as a smear — and favoring her opponent, Kay Hagan. It seems Ms. Hagan doesn't like us very much, though. Democratic Senate candidate Kay Hagan angrily demanded Wednesday that incumbent…
Elizabeth Dole is continuing her campaign in North Carolina of smearing her opponent, Kay Hagan, for simply associating with atheists. We atheists are the "most vile, radical liberals in America," out to wage war on Christmas and stock boy scout troops with homosexuals, and we actively support…

Everyone should read Siamang's letter, which is in the linked friendly atheist article.

This latest wave of Democratic pandering to the religious is clearly a means to an end but absolutely infuriating. Almost every Democrat at the convention has seen fit to end their speech with 'god bless this and that'. Where is the candidate that represents all and not just most of the citizens of this country?

No one who was already planning to vote for Dole is going to change their mind over this. But it will probably make a few rural democrats think twice about supporting Hagan.

Every time I see the disregard the Democratic party shows for secular values

Does their temple-like stage help? ;-) Or maybe "Olympian" as some have called it. I keep telling people this is a huge messiah complex/mass hysteria thing happening.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/08282008/news/nationalnews/temple_of_dem_on…

Yeah, yeah, I know. The NY Post. It was a convenient link and there's a photo gallery.

By Quiet Desperation (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Good for Kay Hagan to meet with atheists, especially in a state as conservative as South Carolina.

I've had alot of issues with local politicians (especially Democrats, who don't want to come off as secularists) being far too Christian, and I live in California.

I just disgusts me, and I'm more than a little pissed off that my party nominated Bob Barr (a hard Evangelical) for their shot (however small) at the presidency.

The more I've watched videos of Obama, the more frustrated I've gotten with his religious pandering. (the Rick Warren crap didn't help)

We'll see. I'm having a hard time picking a candidate out of all the Bible beaters. Hopefully the sane ones will come out of the pack. We can only hope.

As much as people may be angry at the Democrats for being insufficiently respectful of secular interests, the undeniable fact remains that Republicans are actively hostile to those interests.

By Chris Crawford (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

We might need to cut the presidential-level aspirant a break - he is fighting the "secret Muslim" thing, after all!

Or, if you really want to upset the religioids, you could vote for our libertarian Senate candidate, who's a homosexual pagan.

http://www.lpnc.org/2008/us_senate.php

I am NOT making this up! His name's Chris Cole. I know him personally; he's cool with atheists. He's a great guy even if he does think that lightning is made by some dude with a hammer...

Quiet Desperation - This is one of the weirder memes I've seen in a while. You guys really are desperate, and not so quiet either.

Take a look at the stage set employed by the chimp in '04 and then get back to me.

Huh! As if I needed to be told.

(and as if I lived in NC)

I'm not a regular church-goer but people who make a point in saying they are atheists are strange to most people in the United States today. I think the best way to describe them is: the opposite extreme of so-called "bible-huggers". To have an agenda based around eliminating religion from public life is a fringe position.

Actually, the biggest problem I have with this is the continuing villification of the word "secular". Secularism is what we should all want, religious and non-religious alike. But the Christians who want control of everything are trying to make secularism into something evil.

I wasn't going to vote for her because she blatantly lies about how she protected NC military bases. This just adds fuel to the fire.

Ugh, I would vote for a squid before Dole! And that is probably insulting the squid just by being in the same sentence.

Not only is Dole Jesse Helms lite, but she doesn't do anything at all! She was ranked 93rd in effectiveness in the Senate and doesn't even live in our state. Dole only ever comes to North Carolina in order to raise money for herself or her Republican buddies.

This action by Hagan to talk to a secular group has raised her in my eyes. I voted for her opponent Jim Neal, a gay man, during the primaries and still think he would do better in the US Senate.

This is one of the elections I'm voting in. Heck, I used to live in Dole's hometown, and I still give blood at the Red Cross named for her father. I'm going to do my part to vote her ass out, too. She'll be the easiest to beat of the Republicans statewide, I think.

Now if we could get my Representative out, that I'd like. I've written him with concerns before, and he wrote back, not just to disagree, but to call me flat-out wrong. Of course, I've never voted for him, and never will. A rancid elephant turd would make a better legislator. But he didn't have to be a dick about it.

Mr Meyers, here's some advice from a simple Dutch guy who reads your blog; Try and get rid of the idea that you have only two choices (Rep or Dem), the world is bigger than that and so is America, if only people like you would start voting for third parties and people you can really support instead of always compromising between two evils, many more people will follow. I fail to see why-on-earth any American with a brain can vote for either one of those two parties, they are two brands of the same rubbish, their brands are environmental unfriendly and unhealthy for humans.

Anyway, a vote for any of those two parties is a vote against the world, seriously. Please think about it.

"To have an agenda based around eliminating religion from public life is a fringe position."

How do you define "public life"?

This does fit in with the Republicans' concept of Constitutional law though - do whatever you want, pretend it's legal, and laugh at Congress while it blusters (if it's against you) or smile at it while it helps (if it's for you). I guess that pesky 1st Amendment only applies to people you like.

The fact that people might vote for Dole because of this is a clear statement of our problems - we don't know history, or logic, and presumably have no idea why those might be important. I assume if history gets repeated as farce we won't be the ones laughing, though.

Man, could the Dole campaign be any MORE insulting to the people of North Carolina? To suggest that the mere thought of having the support of a secular group would be an affront to the people of North Carolina (including the theists) shows how little she thinks of their sensibilities. Does she really think that 90% of North Carolinians are this bigoted?]

I'm not a regular church-goer but people who make a point in saying they are atheists are strange to most people in the United States today. I think the best way to describe them is: the opposite extreme of so-called "bible-huggers". To have an agenda based around eliminating religion from public life is a fringe position.

My agenda is to keep your or anyone else's religion from interfering with my life. I could care less if you believe in magical bearded men on chariots racing to see who gets to send a new drought to Ethiopia next.

We saw what happened with third party voting in 2000. Politics is ALWAYS about the lesser of two evils. Voting for a third party candidate is the same as staying home.

#14
"To have an agenda based around eliminating religion from public life is a fringe position."

It's a fringe position to not desire government money to go towards faith-based programs when I do not share that faith? It's a fringe position to want representatives who are willing to _represent_ me?
If you had said 'eliminating religion from PRIVATE life' then maybe I could agree with you...

I read that Dole is already behind in the polls and will be goin down. They're sounding desperate.

Ferre:

While I understand your point, at the moment we go with the choices we have. If the US had a parliamentary system that allowed minor party candidates to still have a voice, I think the free-for-all would make the British House of Commons look like a pleasant dinner conversation, and I'd love it. Unfortunately, our elections tend toward winner-take-all propositions, and the winners are usually those who can raise the most money. It's rare to see an independent or third-, fourth-, or fifth-party candidate able to get a nationwide message out, and that's what is required. The nation is too big to win without money, and that's where other choices tend to lose out. A few wealthy people can self-finance a campaign, but they tend to be a little loopy, to say the least. That can also be said for a lot of the other non-mainstream candidates.

It's hard to break out of a system that values conformity. That's easiest to fix in the Legislative branch, because the races take less money, but it's still hard for anyone to fight the machine.

To have an agenda based around eliminating religion from public life is a fringe position.

Could you be a little more specific so we can see just how delusional you are?

These conservative generalizations are somewhat amusing, but watching conservatives flail around when trying to back up their talking points provides hours of hilarity.

By Hoosier X (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

When you live in the Bible belt, meeting with a atheist activist group becomes a negative political issue. However, Hagan wasn't meeting the atheist group for causal discussions, it was a fundraiser for her Senate campaign. So she is praised for meeting this atheist group, sounds like the main motivation for Hagan to meet them in the first place was actually money...If having discussions with a group because of money, one has to conclude, there is no real constructive dialog.

Adrian the Death cultist:

To have an agenda based around eliminating religion from public life is a fringe position.

Poorly made strawman.

The agenda for most seculars is to keep religious fanatics full of murderous hate with brains the size of walnuts from further wrecking the USA. This might be a strange agenda in Texas or N. Carolina but it is popular elsewhere with possibly a majority of the population approving it.

It was also the norm in the USA for over 200 years. It is written into the US constitution in several places, that separation of church and state thing.

When you live in the Bible belt, meeting with a atheist activist group becomes a negative political issue. However, Hagan wasn't meeting the atheist group for causal discussions, it was a fundraiser for her Senate campaign. So she is praised for meeting this atheist group, sounds like the main motivation for Hagan to meet them in the first place was actually money...If having discussions with a group because of money, one has to conclude, there is no real constructive dialog.

Fine. However you never seen Senatorial (or other viable candidates) in the south meeting with secular groups period. Campaigns are run on money, without it there is no campaign. I have no problem it being a fund raiser. Candidates rarely meet with groups in this sort of environment unless they are raising dough.

#23: We've had three semi-successful third parties in the last 100 years (Bull Moose in 1912?) - and none of them were close to getting elected. In Perot's case in 1992, it likely doomed many of his voters to get who they least wanted as President (Clinton, since many of Perot's voters were likely to have came from Bush rather than nowhere or Clinton). In 2000, Nader probably did Gore no favors (Gore could have helped his cause by winning his home state, and Bush's shenanigans and a complicit Supreme Court helped a lot), but again Nader's voters got probably the least preferred of their choices. History doesn't seem to support your contention much.

As a bonus, any party liberal enough to leave both parties' candidates looking the same would probably have to imposed externally (at least at first) - the parties aren't wandering rightward because they hate themselves, but because that's where they think the voters are.

I meant to address the above to #19. Sorry.

BTW. Why the hell did Hillary Clinton close with "Godspeed"? I almost blew snot. It's almost as arcane as "God's wounds" or the word it became - "Zounds". Maybe she'll open her next speech with a rousing "Ye Gods", as in: "Ye Gods, Liddy Dole can be a douchebag."

Chris Crawford, #7:

As much as people may be angry at the Democrats for being insufficiently respectful of secular interests, the undeniable fact remains that Republicans are actively hostile to those interests.

This makes it all the more important for us to convince the Democrats that they need to be respectful of secular interests. American needs an opposition to the Religious Party.

Kay Hagan does not represent the values of this state; she is a Trojan Horse for a long list of wacky left-wing outside groups bent on policies that would horrify most North Carolinians if they knew about it,"

Oh gee, what horrifying causes.

First amendment separation of church and state?
Freedom of religion?
Not stoning witches, wizards, pagans, and evolutionary biologists to death?
Competent government instead of morons who get elected by pandering to extremist lunatic fringers?
People who don't buy into a 6,000 year old universe, the Big Boat event, and think marrying your close relatives is stupid?

I'm not a regular church-goer but people who make a point in saying they are atheists are strange to most people in the United States today.

How about if we make a point of saying "You know how you think about people carrying rabbits' feet for luck or festooning their bingo tables with troll dolls? We think exactly the same about your god and your little god-appeasing rituals and we're tired of having to pretend that we don't."

Is that less offensive than calling ourselves atheists?

Ahh, the Brownian bitch slap. Well done.

Is there any serious movement to weaken the 2-party hold on American politics, such as through electoral reform? Instant run-off voting for the presidency (say) would free people unhappy with the two parties from having to always swing behind one of them to keep the worse lizards out.

Ferre,
"Try and get rid of the idea that you have only two choices (Rep or Dem),"
In the American system, third parties are pipe dreams and almost always unstable, electorially speaking. By that I mean that since third parties draw almost always from one of the two major parties more than the other, they split the electoral power of that party. As a result, both the 3rd party and the party from whom it primarily draws its support will have less political power than they would have had without the third party participating. This often permits the other of the major parties to win, even if its support is less than the sum of the other two.

In parliamentary systems, minor parties' voting strength can be added to that of their near-ideological rivals; not so in the United States. Here, third parties are more likely to cause the election of the party least like them politically (Cf., e.g., 1912, where Wilson won with less than the vote which Taft and Roosevelt, together, amassed.)

"Anyway, a vote for any of those two parties is a vote against the world, seriously."
Well that's just a stupid thing to say. Really.

By Woody Tanaka (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Thanks Brownian, your post has morphed in my head to a crucifix with a troll haired Jebus on it. Now people will be asking what I'm giggling about all day.

By Grendels Dad (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

If having discussions with a group because of money, one has to conclude, there is no real constructive dialog.

For starters, an atheist activist group could - and should - choose to withhold the money if they didn't feel the dialog was constructive. For good or ill, that is what political donations are all about.

Damn! It almost makes me want to move to North Carolina just to vote for her, even make the effort at campaigning for her hopeful election. It isn't too often that religion so blatantly intrudes into politics, and I have the feeling that it will do so more now that we are expressing our contempt for it in several ways. Take a hike Dole, and keep your religious insanity in your own house.

Sometimes secularists come off as petty whiners. I too am an atheist and I also practice a 'conversational intolerance' every chance I get, both on blogs and in everyday life.

But the secular whining is getting old. The majority of the people who vote democrat are also religious--it's not mere pandering. These are real beliefs that people really hold dear. This constant whining doesn't help your cause. From reading blogs like this you would think "Atheism" is the only real issue at stake, and other matters like national security, unemployment, and record deficits are afterthoughts at best.

This petty irreverence is only shooting your own efforts in the foot. The sooner you learn to realize that people with these beliefs aren't in fact pieces of software the sooner you'll start being effective.

Hap:

"the parties aren't wandering rightward because they hate themselves, but because that's where they think the voters are."

No, that's where they want US to think the voters are. There's a difference. It's all about marginalizing the right people.

The "Greek Temple" thing is deeply moronic. It looks like the either (a) every public building here in DC, or (b) the Lincoln Memorial, in front of which King gave his Dream speech 45 years ago today. I'd have thought this site's commenters were too smart to fall for Republican spin.

Also, OF COURSE they're pandering to the religious, you don't win elections by appealing to smart Americans. There aren't enough of them.

By John Robie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Is there any serious movement to weaken the 2-party hold on American politics, such as through electoral reform? Instant run-off voting for the presidency (say) would free people unhappy with the two parties from having to always swing behind one of them to keep the worse lizards out.

Matt - This comes up often. In practice it's very hard to persuade people that it wouldn't be too complicated to implement. (I don't know why. That's just an observation.) My general impression is that most politicians who understand the idea don't like what it would do to them.

These are real beliefs that people really hold dear.

Which have no place in the political process.

From reading blogs like this you would think "Atheism" is the only real issue at stake, and other matters like national security, unemployment, and record deficits are afterthoughts at best.

Then you need to read more.

Matt,

There was a Nader Rally last night in Denver that focused on getting third party candidates included in national debates.

They announced attendance of 4000 (I would have guessed closer to 2500). I'm not sure how serious people are about it yet.

By Grendels Dad (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

How about if we make a point of saying "You know how you think about people carrying rabbits' feet for luck or festooning their bingo tables with troll dolls?

Once when I was a small child I was given a 'lucky' rabbit's foot keychain by someone who extolled its fortune-enhancing powers.
A few weeks later it dawned me that the lucky rabbit's foot obviously hadn't worked for the rabbit ...

This North Carolinian is embarrassed that Liddy Dole is his senator. I've never voted for her for anything, and never will.

From reading blogs like this you would think "Atheism" is the only real issue at stake, and other matters like national security, unemployment, and record deficits are afterthoughts at best.

That may be the case for some "blogs like this", but a quick look back at many of the posts and their respective comments under the category of 'Politics' suggests much more nuanced views on a variety of political issues besides atheism.

Ending slavery was a fringe position too.

There's a reason some things aren't put up for a vote.

Disillusioned Atheist, #48:

The majority of the people who vote democrat are also religious--it's not mere pandering. These are real beliefs that people really hold dear.

If Democrats hold dear the belief that secular people do not deserve to be invited, we have a serious problem.

Thanks for posting this info P.Z. I live in N.C. and planned on voting for Hagan anyway. I would like to suggest that all the Pharyngula readers could help us bible bruised North Carolinian's by going to Dole's web site and leave her a comment of rejection and dissatisfaction. We need all the help we can get!!! There is literally a church on every corner in this state. Thanks again P.Z.!!!

By Another Primate (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Maybe it was "Godspeed" in the Conservapeadian sense of "fuck you".

Maybe. I keep thinking that's what everyone on the docks said to the passengers on the Titanic and we all know how well that turned out.

"Which have no place in the political process."

Agreed. But this petty irreverence won't help remove it from the political process. Besides, that's like saying gravity has 'no place' in mountain climbing. It's going to be there whether you want it or not. You can work to minimize and marginalize it, but this narrow focused whining won't help.

"Then you need to read more."

Reading more is what made me realize how petty a good chunk of this movement really is. So I read less now, and focus on issues that matter more.

craig:

Ending slavery was a fringe position too.
There's a reason some things aren't put up for a vote.

And in the US, when the Whigs refused to represent the abolitionists, the Whig party collapsed, and was replaced by the Republicans (such a different party in those days ...). But in these days, we don't have fusion voting.

Ending slavery was a fringe position too.
There's a reason some things aren't put up for a vote.

Slavery was ended peacefully in all of the northern states, and all the countries of Europe and South America. England, for example, ended slavery by an act of parliament and they didn't have a civil war over it.

I wouldn't point to ending slavery as a good reason to prefer war over voting.

-jcr

By John C. Randolph (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

#5

Posted by: Quiet Desperation | August 28, 2008 2:37 PM

Does their temple-like stage help? ;-) Or maybe "Olympian" as some have called it. I keep telling people this is a huge messiah complex/mass hysteria thing happening.

Um, an awful lot of Washington DC fits that description. Greek Revival was a popular architectural trend, and it has the added bonus of evoking Athens, the birthplace of democracy. I think that's what Obama and the Dems are shooting for, as Bush did. Most people just associate columns and pediments with government buildings. (or banks)This whole meme that he's trying to appear godlike is absolutely ridiculous and scraping the bottom of the desperation barrel.(Almost as bad as this, if it's real.) Unfortunately, it'll work to an extent. I've seen freepers and rapture nuts claiming Obama is the antichrist for a while.

"To have an agenda based around eliminating religion from public life is a fringe position."

So was believing in heliocentrism, at one time. So was believing the stars _might not be_ sparks on a crystal sphere.

By bernard quatermass (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

I live in NC, and will be voting for Hagan. I voted for her in the primary. Libby Dole IS an ineffective douchebag, and needs to be dumped. Unfortunately, I think 90% of North Carolinians may indeed be as bigoted as she hopes, and may cross party lines to vote against the "nasty atheist-friendly" candidate in favor of the "down-home good Christian" candidate. *barf*

Libby Dole:
Pro-family trophy wife.
Carpet-bagger.

Now I know why Bob Dole needed the Viagra. (He had an in to get the industrial-strength version.)

To have an agenda based around eliminating religion from public life is a fringe position.

It's the same agenda that our founding fathers had. But then they didn't have to reach back to ancient history to recall what the country was like when it was run by the religious.

Gee, I've never voted for a Republican. It's bad enough having to vote for Democrats!

By The Dancing Kid (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

@#61, that's BS. This country has oscillated in it's public religiosity and quite obviously our last president was the peak (and a complete and utter idiot as it happens). Most of our "founding fathers", and various presidents we've had would've been too unorthodox to be elected in the type of extremist religious environment we have now.

And before you or someone else starts with the straw mans - I'm not claiming that let's say Jefferson, or Lincoln were atheists. Just that their brand of christianity was far more unorthodox in the less-magic direction than what would be acceptable today.

And we can, and should, change that (back). While eradicating religion is probably impossible, taking it back down to sane levels, isn't. And what do you know, maybe one day we'll get to western europe on this issue. And I don't think we'll do that by being timid while we are ignored and vilified in such a blatant fashion as this example and too many others demonstrate.

"If Democrats hold dear the belief that secular people do not deserve to be invited, we have a serious problem."

I agree 110%. However, this does not address the pettiness of assuming democrats are merely 'pandering' to the religious, as though the democrats were a mere extension of atheism, which is in fact going outside these assumed boundaries to 'pander' to the religious. I am both atheist and democrat and the democratic party has been comparatively friendly to secularism. But this doesn't negate the reality that this party is also largely made up of religious people.

I'll go further: This obsessive 'godlessness' actually hurts the Democratic party as it makes it more difficult to convince conservative working class people that the Democrats can do a better job of addressing their financial situation than the Republican party. It only helps pin the "secular liberal" viewpoint they neither understand nor trust.

In other words, you're only driving these people back to the open hands of Republican party, which is only hurting your efforts when you end up with a Bush or a McCain.

It's the same agenda that our founding fathers had. But then they didn't have to reach back to ancient history to recall what the country was like when it was run by the religious.

Tom, are you living in some future era in which the years 2000-2008 are ancient history?

If so, can you tell me if I have any descendants? 'Cause these discount condoms seemed like a really good deal at the Dollarama, but now I'm not quite so sure.

hey everyone, i got corrected the other day, and i must share the info...

there is not any mention of separation of church and state in the constitution. it was actually in a letter written by jefferson. the constitution merely mentions freedom from persecution.

please someone correct me if i am wrong. i wish i were :(

We might need to cut the presidential-level aspirant a break - he is fighting the "secret Muslim" thing, after all!

Yup, which is of course their code for "he's BLACKBLACKBLACKBLACKBLACK and did I tell you he's BLACK?!?!"

Considering Obama's risking his life every day now, and probably for the rest of his life (as we were reminded yet again by the racist would-be sharpshooters gunning for him), I think he's being incredibly brave just for getting up in the morning.

I've been saying this forever. No matter how fundie you think any particular Democrat is, every opposing Republican is 1000x worse.

If you are atheist, agnostic, humanist, or, heck, any other religion that is non-christian and you value not having Christianity forced upon you, you will avoid republicans like the plague. This goes even if the opposing majority candidate (like Obama) is extremely religious, bordering on fundie. You may not like it, but it's the only way to protect your rights as an unbeliever.

If you want change, you have to start local. But avoiding the larger elections and letting a republican slide in because you feel "they are all the same anyway" will only make things worse for you.

#73: You have me confused. Are you thinking that Washington, Monroe, and Madison weren't deists and that Adams and Jefferson weren't Unitarians? You see, they lived when religious control of government around the world was still happening and in the colonies was recent history. The Puritans had been only out of power in Massachusetts about 30 years when Washington was born. The Salem witch trials wasn't a Broadway play to them.

What I find most amusing is how you Americans limit yourself to just Republican or Democrat. I know the independents never get as much election coverage as the big two, but they are still there.

If the figures are correct that between 5% and 10% of Americans are atheists, then if even just they got together and all voted for a third party's candidate, that party would easily get 5% of the votes and thus get Federal funding next election. How much you wanna bet *that* would make Washington sit up and take notice? Add on the politically like-minded theists and you'd probably get an increasing number of votes as more and more people stopped thinking of a third-party vote as wasted and you start getting third-party senators and representatives.

Posts like this one by Dr. Myers always seem (to me, anyways) as being written from the perspective that there are only Republicans and Democrats and nobody else. I feel that you Americans are doing youselves a great disservice by limiting yourselves like this.

I think all Brownian is saying, Tom, is that *we* don't have to reach back into ancient history to see what happens with crazy religion either. Not just the founding fathers.

Grendel's Dad @53: That sounds like a start. I think the trick is to convince one of the big candidates/parties that it hurts the other guy more. In this case I guess that would mean getting Obama's support (there's a an ex-Republican Libertarian and a Paleo-Con type running, right?).

In Britain there was something similar in the 90s. The Labour government got fairly close to trying to introduce proportional representation for the House of Commons. The thinking was that the Tories had no natural allies except far-right crazies so Labour would usually be able to form coalitions with themselves as the main party. In the end they decided they would rather have absolute power a bit less than half the time than share it with partners so they never brought the referendum.

John Robie:

"Also, OF COURSE they're pandering to the religious, you don't win elections by appealing to smart Americans. There aren't enough of them."

It's also easier to appeal to the less intelligent, especially when you have a position that isn't so easy to defend rationally.

John C. Randolph:

"Slavery was ended peacefully in all of the northern states, and all the countries of Europe and South America. England, for example, ended slavery by an act of parliament and they didn't have a civil war over it."

Interesting tidbit: The very first act of the new Congress of the United States (under the Articles of Confederation) was an act by Thomas Jefferson which would have completely eliminated slavery everywhere in the United States, in perpetuity.

It failed by a single vote.

Does their temple-like stage help? ;-) Or maybe "Olympian" as some have called it. I keep telling people this is a huge messiah complex/mass hysteria thing happening.

This is just Obama trying to deflect the closet moslem lie. He wants people to think he might be a closet Olympian gods worshipper. They thought about a Nordic god backdrop but that reminded some of the older people of another regime once in Europe

Disillusioned Atheist: "this petty irreverence won't help remove it from the political process. Besides, that's like saying gravity has 'no place' in mountain climbing. It's going to be there whether you want it or not. You can work to minimize and marginalize it, but this narrow focused whining won't help."

Ok, O Wise One, please tell us what will help. Ignoring overt expressions of bigotry against us?

Let me guess: we should be really really quiet about our non-belief, and stress our enormous respect for people of faith and our devotion to the principle of non-overlapping magisteria.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Secular Coalition for America about as far from us Mean Hateful Angry Militant Atheists as it's possible to get? They're not even an exclusively atheist organization. And yet they're still considered toxic.

By Screechy Monkey (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

I was going to suggest that Libby Dole doesn't get to NC as often as she should because Bob Dole discovered Viagra but varlo beat me to the punch. (Hey, maybe Libby puts it in his punch?)

I'll tell my friends in NC about this. Maybe they'll not vote for Dole. I know 4 people in NC and only one attends church, but she is pro-choice.

I think all Brownian is saying, Tom, is that *we* don't have to reach back into ancient history to see what happens with crazy religion either. Not just the founding fathers.

Coriolis read me right, Tom. I was implying that the last eight years of ShrubCo was a government run by the religious.

The scale isn't the same (thanks in no small part to those founding fathers who saw fit to write a pesky constitution preventing theocrats like Shrub from getting away with whatever they wanted), but given a few more years of fervent evangelical belief in key positions such as the presidency and who knows what future Giles Coreys will have to endure?

I'll go further: This obsessive 'godlessness' actually hurts the Democratic party as it makes it more difficult to convince conservative working class people that the Democrats can do a better job of addressing their financial situation than the Republican party. It only helps pin the "secular liberal" viewpoint they neither understand nor trust.

In other words, you're only driving these people back to the open hands of Republican party, which is only hurting your efforts when you end up with a Bush or a McCain.

Sorry, but if you think it's a valid strategy to accept disenfranchisement without a word, you are sorely mistaken. While it is true that there are strategic issues to be considered here, we need to stand up and be heard. It is completely unacceptable that the Democratic Party essentially refuses to acknowledge that atheists even exist. And that needs to be pointed out.

By Jason Dick (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Posted by: Tom P. | August 28, 2008 3:00 PM

We saw what happened with third party voting in 2000. Politics is ALWAYS about the lesser of two evils. Voting for a third party candidate is the same as staying home.

Running the government shouldn't be a "my team" vs "your team" thing. That it has become so has doomed us to shoddy, corrupt government for decades. Your solution: More of the same.

Which makes you, and your backwards "give up" thinking part of the problem, not the solution. Until entrenched politicians (a 95%+ re-election rate) face real challenge from a wide-open political process we'll have the politics of the Oligopoly - no real choice, no real accountability and plenty of corruption, both gross (Cunningham) and pathetic (FISA, etc.). Barely better than a single-party state.

Disillusioned Atheist says:

I'll go further: This obsessive 'godlessness' actually hurts the Democratic party as it makes it more difficult to convince conservative working class people that the Democrats can do a better job of addressing their financial situation than the Republican party. It only helps pin the "secular liberal" viewpoint they neither understand nor trust.

Stop talking about religious people as if they were children. That's the first step to getting their respect.

You are mixing together a slew of ideas here, and the result is a mess.

For starters, there is the notion that the working class is "conservative", which I would dispute. It's a GOP myth. Now, it is true that if you specify "white, rural working class", you get conservatives, but did you get that from "working class" or from "white, rural"?

Then you argue, via logic that I do not fathom, that because Democrats are not preaching their godliness, they cannot convince the white, rural voters that they can help them with their economic situation. You argue this flying straight in the face of the fact that FDR did exactly that back in the 1930s.

The reality of today's Democratic party is that they have not even been trying to use populist messages in rural areas. They've been quite content to be a party without a national identity for quite some time - the urban bits run themselves and the rural bits run themselves, and they never seem to agree on anything. And yet populism has been proven to work in rural areas just as well as in urban areas.

I find the last bit about 'secular liberal' being a notion "not understood" to be just simply offensive. People in rural America understand what the phrase means. They also get 24 hours of talk radio telling them that the Democratic party is run by liars and crooks. It is simply a mistake to think that the reason rural voters oppose the Democrats is because they are too religious to "understand" what it means to be a secular liberal. The reason is much simpler: Democrats have not been fighting for these votes. And to the slight extent that they have, it's been by adopting "me too!" politics like those of the Blue Dog Caucus.

Separation of church and state is a very good idea, and there is no need to be an atheist to think that. I really wish that people who purported to believe in the notion wouldn't waste their time and ours trying to convince us of their superior knowledge of the futility of selling the concept to rural America.

Disillusioned Atheist thinks that "liberal" is an inherently bad label to have in rural areas. This attitude bespeaks historical near-sightedness. Indeed, Kansas was a center of populist thought in the 19th century.

#49: It might be true - but that would seem to assume that they can effectively prevent other parties from entering (if they move right and their voters are left, they risk a party taking most of their votes from the left). I assume that at least part of the hindrance both to third parties and to a change in system (proportional voting, etc.) is based on this, but I thought the Republicans had (long ago) sprung from similar disenchantment, so it might yet be a possibilty.

Barely better than a single-party state.

I have to laugh at this. Do you really think that the GOP and the Democrats are the same? On the issues of women's rights, are they the same? Do both support a woman's right to choose? Do both think a woman should have freedom in the workplace? What about in dealing with poverty? Do you think the GOP and the Democrats have the same plan? Seriously, do you think the US would be the same today if Al Gore had been elected president in 2000?

there is not any mention of separation of church and state in the constitution. it was actually in a letter written by jefferson. the constitution merely mentions freedom from persecution.

"Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religion, nor preventing the free exercise thereof..."

No, it does not say "separation of church and state." However, it doesn't have to. As Jefferson explained, the first amendment CREATES a separation between church and state (and now with the 14th Amendment applies the principle to local government and beyond). You don't have to explicitly state that there is a separation if the separation is inherently built in. That is the beauty of the first amendment.

Indeed, it prevents persecution, but that's not all. It also prevents imposition (no "respecting the establishment of religion" - not "a religion" but "religion")

Bo, #75

the words "separation of chuch and state" don't appear, but the idea is in the establishment clause

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...."

Together with the Free Exercise Clause, ("...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof")

These are the clauses that come to allow tax write offs for churches and disallow mandatory prayer in schools. that type of thing.

The use of "wacky" in an official press release tells you enough already.

Quiet Desparation: Does their temple-like stage help? ;-) Or maybe "Olympian" as some have called it. I keep telling people this is a huge messiah complex/mass hysteria thing happening.

It's called a show, dumbass. The Dems have finally figured out that nominating conventions ceased to function as political events 30 years ago, and now function as simple show - so the rational thing to do is treat it as such. Think of it as a Superbowl half-time show, or the Olympic opening ceremonies: no one with any brains would mistake them for the athletic events themselves.

Now, the question why we've been watching these shows for 30 years when they basically lack any substance is a different question. But to care whether or not the dancing clowns are part of the show is just plain silly.

@93 techskeptic

thanks for the reply, that does make me feel a bit better.

therefore, 'no law respecting an establishment of religion' means they should never have anything to do with each other, therefore separation.

so, when even obama does things like pledge more money towards faith-based initiatives, he is not following the constitution. is this a correct evaluation of the situation?

Tom P. hmmm even IN one party states you fairly often get factions that would do things differently though. I suppose you could have said (shortly before the fall of the Eastern bloc) "Seriously, do you think the USSR would be the same today if [hardliner] had been elected in place of Gorbachev?".

This certainly isn't to say that the US system IS like a one party state, but I think you argument says WHY it isn't.

I too am sick of the ridiculous pandering and every speech ending with a god reference. However, I was at least a little bit happy to see the snippet below in "Barack's Faith Principles"
http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/ObamaonFaith.pdf

• We are a nation of many faiths and of those with no faith at all. The religious practices of all
must be respected.
"Given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been
greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a
Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers." - Call to Renewal
Keynote Address

I completely get that there is a lot to be terribly unhappy about in both the "Call to Renewal" speech and the "Faith Principles" but it is at least nice to see us nonbelievers mentioned as regular people. When I first read the Call to Renewal speech a few months ago (the speech is from 2006 but I didnt' read it until a few months ago), I thought that there was no way that he would leave any references to nonbelievers in his campaign material but there it is. It ain't much but in this political climate, it's more than I expected.

therefore, 'no law respecting an establishment of religion' means they should never have anything to do with each other, therefore separation.

Right and there's more to it because the intent of Jefferson and Madison is clear from their other writings what they wanted to accomplish.

so, when even obama does things like pledge more money towards faith-based initiatives, he is not following the constitution. is this a correct evaluation of the situation?

Some would argue that is exactly what he is doing.

so, when even obama does things like pledge more money towards faith-based initiatives, he is not following the constitution. is this a correct evaluation of the situation?

One would like to think so. However, a recent Supreme Court ruling throws a monkey wrench in the mix. The problem is to prevent the government from throwing money at "faith based iniatives" (by executive order) someone actually has to go to court to stop them to do it. The question is, who is going to do that? The court requires that only someone who is harmed by the action can bring a case to stop it. But who might that be? Could it be someone who didn't get the money? No, because they would have to make a case the money would have gone to THEM in order to demonstrate harm. In the recent SC decision, they ruled that citizens similarly do not have the right to sue on the grounds that it's public money, and using it for religious causes harms the public. So who is left to sue the government to get them to desist? No one.

I asked at the time, given the SC's ruling, the president could have an executive order proclaim Hinduism as the national religion, and no one could fight it (you'd have to show how it harmed you in some way - the fact that it is a blatent violation of the constitution doesn't matter)

This is just Obama trying to deflect the closet moslem lie. He wants people to think he might be a closet Olympian gods worshipper. They thought about a Nordic god backdrop but that reminded some of the older people of another regime once in Europe

Meh. Egyptian ones would have been cooler, especially the jackal headed guys (I love those!) and he could have borrowed the Stargate prop from the TV show.

By Quiet Desperation (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

I'm a Massachusetts transplant currently living in Asia, but my folks live in Mount Airy, and as such, I'm a registered voter in North Carolina. I'm happy to report that my family and I will vote what will probably be a straight Democratic ticket this November!

@100 thanks reverend. :)

so, based on this single issue, who would be a suitable vote for president? myself, as a democratic socialist still have brian p moore who is catholic and a progressive christian. its quite frustrating.

One of the main reasons "rural" America votes Republican is that rural folks want to be left alone. The federal government is seen as a usurper and a taker. They come in and take land from families who've had it in their families for generations. They tax rural folks heavily and then the rural folks see none of the benefits promised by the feds.

Rural folks like to know their local government and these folks complain often about the intrusion of federal mandates into their lives.

Here in rural Southern Oregon, the federal governement has actually been responsible for the closing of our library, the downsizing of an already small and kindly Sheriff's department, and the underfunding of just about anything you can think of. But then they send agents in and tell people how many trees they need to cut down in the surrounding hills to meet federal quotas... They tell the locals they have no choice.

Most of these folks aren't religious, but they despise the liberal view because it makes them poorer than they already are, and treats them like second class citizens.

Ron Paul signs are still up in every other yard around here, because it is central planning that is making them poorer than they need to be.

By Scott from Oregon (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Did anyone happen to hear how the Democrats are now FOR sending money and troups to help REBUILD Georgia? And I don't mean the one over Florida...

And MORE troups to Afghanistan...

And we'll leave bases in Iraq...

And we owe over 9.5 trillion dollars...

And we'll just start up the printing presses...

And inflation is coming like a hot air balloon over a distant hill...

And we have no more balloons to float the US economy along...

And we no longer produce much here in America...

And we all owe more than we have saved...

House of cards...

By Scott from Oregon (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

it will probably take along time for me to cease being amazed how intelligient a species can be and yet, how dumb it can be clinging to fable and fantasy.... JESUS, SWEET JESUS, send me a fricken email.

By genesgalore (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Scott from Oregon@107,
For the record - I agree with this comment (almost) completely.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

@106 - I would've thought the last 8 years would've served to finally disabuse people on the libertarian side of the notion that they have a place in the modern Republican party.

Republicans spend like drunken sailors, the difference is that instead of programs for the common good (or at least intended to help people or serve some public purpose) they channel public money to the cronies and defense contractors through shady no-bid contracts and sweet-heart deals.

Republicans do believe in cutting public programs, but only because it gives them more money with which to purchase gee-whiz weapons systems (which the military may not even want or need).

So the rural people you mention lose just as much out-of-pocket to Republican polcies as Democratic (one would think they'd have noticed this by now) only under Republican leadership, they get less personal benefit from the taxes they pay.

By John Robie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

@107 - Scott, again you seem angry about this, and it makes sense to be angry. The Bush Administration has driven this country off a cliff and are currently in the process of leaving a flaming bag of crap on the White House porch for the next president to deal with (a skyrocketing deficit at the very least).

What I don't understand is why you seem to be so angry at the Democrats. I myself am pretty annoyed with them for not doing more to stop Bush's 8 year path of destruction, but surely the majority of the blame should fall on the people who actually did it - Bush, Cheney, McCain and the rest.

By John Robie (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Scott from Oregon: Ron Paul signs are still up in every other yard around here, because it is central planning that is making them poorer than they need to be.

Bullshit. The net producer of taxes are urban areas, and the net consumer of taxes are rural areas. Many rural areas would be completely abandoned if it weren't for the constant influx of money from the "liberal cities". They just don't see it -- they assume it's their right to feed off the cities. Biggest welfare queens of all.

Without "central planning", those rural areas would revert to wilderness. The schools and libraries you say were taken by the feds, couldn't be there at all without all the funding that keeps those regions economically viable (Just think what most farming throughout the West would be without the federales giving away water!).

And it just takes simple logic to see that such a setup would be inevitable given our system of governance. Rural states get an oversize representation in the Senate, and usually the House; most states have the same layout, leading to rural areas dominating "central planning" at multiple levels.

I'm all for less central planning - I live in a city where I see my tax-dollars being stolen by rural areas, where my public schools are chronically underfunded because we pay more than we get, where the highways are crap compared to those in rural areas for the number of cars on the road.

Please, vote Ron Paul. It's in my interest to cut your subsidies. Let's also make it one man - one vote, where I'm not held hostage by some county with equal rep but only 10 citizens.

I have two words for anyone thinking of not voting Democrat in the presidential election: Supreme Court

"What I don't understand is why you seem to be so angry at the Democrats. I myself am pretty annoyed with them for not doing more to stop Bush's 8 year path of destruction, but surely the majority of the blame should fall on the people who actually did it - Bush, Cheney, McCain and the rest."

Only angry in the sense that I have family members directly affected by the current trend, and as a builder who saw this coming in '04 and couldn't do a thing to stop it (but managed to get out of holding real estate before the bust)...

The Bush administration is a GIVEN. I should not have to tell an intelligent person that they wrecked this country. But they didn't do it by themselves. The dems were like the kid who, while fighting his brother, blamed his brother for the breaking of the lamp when the parents looked in the room.

I just want it clearly known that the Dems were right there too, voting for war, voting for "reconstruction money", voting for more programs and more federal control, more of Fisa, the patriot act... bailing out the banks who already skimmed the profits out of the failing mortgage crises...

We have two parties pushing the dung pile from two sides of the same end. I just keep mentioning that and maybe people will eventually get it.

9.6 trillion in debt. 90 trillion in unfunded liabilities. a military that uses more fuel than many of the world's countries.

Closing down military bases here at home so that we can open shop in even more countries abroad... (Where do you think the soldiers are going to spend their paychecks on a friday night?)

Etc...

I suggest we cut the federal allowance by half, and make them behave...

By Scott from Oregon (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Must be something to the magical underwear after all. I don't have even one godless cootie.

"Without "central planning", those rural areas would revert to wilderness. "

Ummm, not hardly. I can't get into all of the details, but just imagine if the money that locals raise here doesn't get sent to CHina to pay off interest on loans taken out to bribe Musharref into "sheilding OBL" so that he doesn't face charges of killing 3,000 AMericans?

Rural areas, for the most part, simply need small rural governments. And they don't cost nearly what the feds take from them.

By Scott from Oregon (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

loans taken out to bribe Musharref into "sheilding OBL" so that he doesn't face charges of killing 3,000 AMericans?

So who doesn't face charges? Can you expand on that?

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

What I find most amusing is how you Americans limit yourself to just Republican or Democrat.

Many of us don't, and we've also had major parties fail and be replaced a couple of times in our history.

-jcr

By John C. Randolph (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Rural areas, for the most part, simply need small rural governments. And they don't cost nearly what the feds take from them.

I would say the same for urban areas, too.

Thomas Sowell's PHD thesis was basically an audit of a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, and he showed that people of that neighborhood, the poorest of the urban poor, were paying out more in taxes than they were getting from government relief payments.

I'd love to see a study of who exactly comes out ahead in the tax/welfare game. I suspect that the only net beneficiaries are either government employees or those who work for the major corporate welfare queens like ADM.

-jcr

By John C. Randolph (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

managed to get out of holding real estate before the bust

Good move. I've always been a renter, mostly because I just couldn't see tying up that much capital in such a highly-leveraged investment whose rate of return was completely out of my control.

One friend of mine who's financially independent, analyzed the bay area real estate market and decided to sell his house and rent for a few years. He sold about a year before the peak, and so far, it looks like he'd be able to buy that house back for about 20% less than he got for it.

-jcr

By John C. Randolph (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

One of Mike Royko's columns (in a collection put together after he died) was an open letter to George Wallace accusing him of being a hypocrite because, while loudly declaiming the federal government's donations to "welfare moms" and all that, his state was raking in the federal money - roughly 15% more than it was paying out. There should be better and more recent numbers, and they may change the balance, but it has been the case that rural districts can gain money from (rather than lose money to) the federal government.

#119: What do you think of Sowell's works? He seems to be the primary intro economics author I see, but the book I read of his (he wrote a set of introductory economics books with blue and red covers - I read the red one) I disliked a lot.

I used to live in Michigan's YooPee. Definitely a rural area, and half it was in the Lake Superior snow belt. The Yupers always felt that they weren't getting their fair share from Lansing, but studies by the economists at the colleges up there showed that they were getting three cents of state money for every cent of state taxes they paid. Occasionally there was talk of forming a 51st state, but once work got around that their taxes would treble to maintain present social services, which many of them used, the talk died away.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

As one of the left-wing outsiders from New York, I will be making a donation to Ms. Hagan's campaign

ScottFromOregon: Ummm, not hardly. I can't get into all of the details, but just imagine if the money that locals raise here doesn't get sent to CHina to pay off interest on loans taken out to bribe Musharref into "sheilding OBL" so that he doesn't face charges of killing 3,000 AMericans?
Rural areas, for the most part, simply need small rural governments. And they don't cost nearly what the feds take from them.

They may only need small rural government, but they do require a hell of a lot of infrastructure. Irrigation systems, highway systems to access them, landing strips. farm subsidies to even out the highly unstable farming economy, electrification. They're just not very profitable, and per-capita they eat up a huge amount if you want to keep them up at contemporary city standards.

It's the cities that the feds steal from - NYC for example keeps how much of the country going?

You're just in denial if you think that the irrigation systems of the West are self-funding. Look around the world at what happens to rural regions that don't have advanced cities funding them -- or just look at what the US rural areas looked like before the New Deal.

You are right that a huge amount goes into an imperial policy -- a policy that has been standard fair since the 19th century. But that bulk of that money comes from the cities. You'd still be eating at the "liberals" table even if we cut all of that -- 'cause in essence you don't pay taxes, we do.

For example: http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/266.html
What do you notice? The general trend is that the lightly populated states get more money than they pay, while the states with big cities pay out more than they spend. I'd bet it would be much more stark if done by county, where we could identify exactly which counties are welfare queens, and which ones have hard-working Americans ;)

Shane Killian wrote:

Or, if you really want to upset the religioids, you could vote for our libertarian Senate candidate, who's a homosexual pagan.

That's small comfort to those of us who would no more want to live in a libertarian utopia than we would in a theocracy.

By Tabby Lavalamp (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Frog@124,
Same is true in most if not all of Europe - the farmers, especially the big ones, get huge subsidies, and boast about how ruggedly independent they are. Scotland spends more per capita than England - simply because the population is sparser and more dispersed. Even with this extra spend, the remoter areas are still emptying. If people want to live at 19th century standards, sure they can be independent of cities and big government in rural areas. Mostly, they don't.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Just found this little gem on Christianity Today's website, regarding the (evidently abhorrent) lack of "God talk" at the Republican National Convention:

Still, away from the marquee acts, there's been plenty of God talk. Check out, for example, Sen. Elizabeth Dole's remarks, which didn't make prime time:

Two-thousand years ago a man said, "I have come to give life and to give it in full." In America I have the freedom to call that man Lord, and I do. In the United States of America we are free to worship without discrimination, without intervention and even without activist judges trying to strip the name of God from the Pledge of Allegiance; from the money in our pockets; and from the walls of our courthouses. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The right to worship God isn't something Republicans invented, but it is something Republicans will defend.

I wrote to Dole and Burr (Republican Senator #2) urging them to stop pushing for a flag burning amendment. I wouldn't vote for either of them, but Burr had the decency to respond with a polite "We disagree on this issue."
Dole also sent me a response "Thank you for showing your support for my position!" I don't really expect her to actually read my mail, but surely there is some intern for that right?

Amy #127, tell me how I can live without mention of god if I can't go a city council meeting without it opening with a prayer (which, by the way, contradicts Matthew 6:6). That is why the freedom of religion also means the freedom from religion. I don't have to follow or have imposed upon me any of your religion.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

NG: If people want to live at 19th century standards, sure they can be independent of cities and big government in rural areas. Mostly, they don't.

The delusionary libertarian talk always sticks in my craw. There are good arguments for trying to keep the country-side somewhat populated, for subsidizing local food production, avoiding the formation of impoverished nomads, keeping certain cultural traditions and so on.

But for the biggest recipients of government spending to say - "Yeah, it's my inherent right to get huge subsidies, while I used my outsized representation to strip you of basic protections" - to whine about some limitations when they are the ones who are getting the most benefits - well, it's just shameless.

It's the same folks crying about "immigrants getting benefits". They hate to give their tomato picker's children some schooling while they wallow in the benefits of the West's vast irrigation system.

It's why some decentralization is in order in the US - Southerner's and rural folks should see what the economic reality is, and what price they want to pay for independence. If they really want the Man off their back, I'm all for it -- as long as they give up the bennies as well.

frog, #124:

... farm subsidies to even out the highly unstable farming economy ...

In the new environment, global warming is likely to make the farming economy much less stable than it is now. For example - most of N. America and Asia south of 45N is already getting dryer, as global warming induces northward movement of the jet stream, which in turn induces northward movement of the mid-latitude cyclones upon which we depend for our rain. Agriculture in dryer climates is less stable. Further ... changing weather patterns are already requiring farmers to shift to new varietals every 10 or so years.

""The delusionary libertarian talk always sticks in my craw. There are good arguments for trying to keep the country-side somewhat populated, for subsidizing local food production, avoiding the formation of impoverished nomads, keeping certain cultural traditions and so on.

But for the biggest recipients of government spending to say - "Yeah, it's my inherent right to get huge subsidies, while I used my outsized representation to strip you of basic protections" - to whine about some limitations when they are the ones who are getting the most benefits - well, it's just shameless.""

I'm not even sure you know who are are talking about, but I sure don't.

Who asked for huge subsidies? (that would be the farming corps. that took over from the family farmers, many who lost their farms because they could not afford the taxes) and who is stripping who of basic protections? If this even made sense I might try and address it, but all I got out of it is something about Libertarian craw...

Also, as an environmentalist, I would say that federally funding the opening up of land that may not have recieved any developement otherwise was just more evidence the feds are BAD BAD people...

By Scott from Oregon (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Also, right now, 20 cents of every federal dollar is spent on interest paid on loans.

Then twenty percent is spent on overseas military adventurism...

Then Medicare and the drug benefits eat up the rest.

And those services we are talking about, come out of next years loans...

Libertarianism is not the end of the line, but it is the direction this country needs to tack, and it better tack fast...

By Scott from Oregon (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

ScottFromOregon: Who asked for huge subsidies? (that would be the farming corps. that took over from the family farmers, many who lost their farms because they could not afford the taxes) and who is stripping who of basic protections? If this even made sense I might try and address it, but all I got out of it is something about Libertarian craw...

Who asked for the huge subsidies? Well, yes, the farm corps. And the people who want highways to access the rest of the country. And the folks who wanted irrigation systems, and electrification (TVA??). And the Dust-bowl farmers who had stripped their lands (pre-big farm corps). Everyone, from unemployed local labor, to small farmers, to big farmers, to merchants and technocrats, all the way up to big corps. Everyone maybe except for some folks on the rez... and I'm not too sure about even the latter. "Development" has excited every new generation for a very long time.

In short, those very local rural governments that you speak so fondly of, those small town mayors and town commisions and county administrators who were trying to build up their counties.

Also, as an environmentalist, I would say that federally funding the opening up of land that may not have recieved any developement otherwise was just more evidence the feds are BAD BAD people...
Just read some history -- opening up land for development was the national destiny until very recently. It wasn't something that the "feds" imposed on rural folks -- it's how the rural folks got their in the first place. If rural folks have learned a lesson and would rather return to pre-industrial conditions, then they can agitate for it. Pull down the damns! Tear out the expressways! Live within your local means!

It may be a very good idea --- but I don't think you'll get support for it. Those "bridges to no-where" don't get built in NYC. They get built in rural areas, as a subsidy to the big developers, the local merchants and to local labor. The folks who want to develop the national parks aren't the "feds" but local folks who want to get cheap resources subsidized by the rest of the country.

What kills me about this is the overwhelming support the NC Atheists have for the candidacy of the Honourable Elizabeth Dole. Haven't they been supporting her for years now?

Scott From Oregon: Libertarianism is not the end of the line, but it is the direction this country needs to tack, and it better tack fast...

Not for everybody. What "this" country needs is to stop pretending it's made of rugged individualists who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, and face the bureaucratic, process oriented, corporate and oligarchical reality.

Then maybe those who want a sane libertarianism (including the price they'd have to pay) could have it, and those who want a sane socialism (including the price they'd have to pay) could have it. But this Big State stuff under a cowboy hat is just insane. And that applies particularly to "rural folks".

Until American's start fessing up to ourselves about who we are and who pays for dinner, Libertarianism is just another con job.

I just donated $50 to Kay Hagen, and sent this email to Liddy Dole's campaign:

Thanks for your excellent fundraising efforts

For Kay Hagen.

"Having read your rather un-American press release at , I have to say, as a veteran, a father, and a proud American that I was truly moved.

Moved to donate to Kay Hagen's campaign. You won't care, because I don't live in North Carolina, (I live in Tallahassee FL, hardly a liberal enclave), but I am appalled that someone whose husband fought, and was severely injured fighting for the rights of, in theory, all Americans, is so bigoted as to say the idea of Kay Hagen meeting with people with different religious beliefs, or a complete lack of religious beliefs makes Kay a bad person or a bad politician. I can tell you that when I spent years in the North Dakota winters, making sure a particularly recalcitrant B-1B was ready to do its job should it be called upon to defend our great nation, I wasn't just doing it for my friends. I wasn't just doing it for people who agree with me.

I did it for everyone in this country, regardless of beliefs, opinions or anything else. Everyone in this country is worth defending and everyone is just as much a citizen as the other. It's a shame Mrs. Dole has forgotten that.

A state senator represents her entire state. Including people with beliefs she doesn't agree with. More importantly, when in the senate, she must deal with issues that affect the entire country, sometimes even the entire planet. Even people who don't agree with her, who may even hate her. It takes a big person to represent and defend people who disagree, and even hate you. It is obvious that Elizabeth Dole is far too small-minded to shoulder that burden.

I don't know what Kay's religious preferences are, but I know that all North Carolinians, and the rest of the country, will be more fairly represented by someone who is willing to talk to people from all walks of life, rather than a narrow-minded bigot with a pleasant smile, who only wants to represent people with "approved" beliefs.

Shame on you Elizabeth Dole for approving that press release. Everyone born in this country is an American worth reaching out to, even if they're different. "

I love that I can play the vet card in such situations. Makes calling me unamerican just a little harder.

Nerd of Redhead @ #129 - Please read my post more carefully, as I introduce the quote as something I read on Christianity Today, and absolutely NOT something I agree with. (Sorry, I don't know how to quote on here.) I've actually donated my time and money to the Hagan campaign in an attempt to rid NC of Elizabeth Dole.

Dr D @ #135 - Please understand that NC atheists are the last voters supporting Dole, Helms, etc. Unfortunately the old christian white folks who love their tobacco and racism have kept them in office. I registered to vote as soon as I legally could just so I could attempt to get Jesse Helms out of office. Unfortunately I was never successful.

Correction: I think Hagan's just meeting with private citizens who happen to be members of the Secular Coalition's advisory board. Besides, if she wants to learn more about the SCA, she can just tune in to the Colbert Report tomorrow night and see its executive director, Lori Lipman Brown.

By Epistaxis (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

I wonder what poor ole Libby Dole feels about the parts in the bible where Jesus met with tax collectors, and had dinner with prostitutes.

Somehow I get the feeling her preacher just sort of skips over those parts.

By Blaidd Drwg (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

My apologies Amy... It's been a long day.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

...poor ole Libby Dole...

Actually, she goes by Liddy Dole. With 2 d's.

#137

Great letter, especially the parts about working for all Americans.

Also...

Duuuude! I was a B1B tech (MTS), but at Hellswor--er, Ellsworth. Small world!

And, yeah, it's always great to pull the vet card on bubble-haired bigots like Dole.

Screechy Monkey,

"Ok, O Wise One, please tell us what will help. Ignoring overt expressions of bigotry against us?

Let me guess: we should be really really quiet about our non-belief, and stress our enormous respect for people of faith and our devotion to the principle of non-overlapping magisteria."

You've answered your own question by implying that the only choices are petty irreverence and unrealistic expectations from a party, also largely comprised of religious people, and being "really quiet about our non-belief."

How about promoting humanistic efforts under the secular/atheist banner? Start a movement that does something other than say "we're atheists and religious people are stupid and the democratic party should bend to our will and ignore its religious majority."

Discuss these issues in a civil, reasonable, and most importantly, realistic manner. There are disenfranchised workers and families not sure about their future. There are more important things than bitching about religion.

Rick D,

"I find the last bit about 'secular liberal' being a notion "not understood" to be just simply offensive. People in rural America understand what the phrase means."

So you're saying 'secular liberal' really means a lack of ethics and hedonistic pleasures with no respect for oneself or of those around us?

Disillusioned Atheist,
At what point did the idea: that a political candidate being excoriated for meeting with a secular group may be evidence of unacceptable bigotry in those demonizing her,
become an example of a group of secular people trying to bend the Democratic party "to our will, and ignore its religious majority"?
I guess blacks should never have been so impertinant as to try and bend the will of the majority for their selfish sakes.
Being recognized as a full citizen, with all the rights attached thereto is, I imagine, what you describe as "whining"?
I have had innumerable people tell me, unsolicited, of their particular beliefs. In almost every case, this was merely a kind of introduction, and was never mentioned again. Were I to have introduced myself in a like manner to as many people, I assure you that I would have been refused service, kicked out of homes, and often beaten.
I suppose that asking not to be beaten is just an example of me trying to get others to "bend to my will"?
We apparently agree that there are no gods.
But I am still allowed to think that you are an insufferable asshat.
Autumn

You are so right, PZ. I was ready to give up on the Theo-Democrats, but the Republicans just won't stop out-idioting them. Are you aware that the new Republican platform includes banning ALL stem cell research, even that performed with private funding using embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization procedures and scheduled for destruction?

So many of us "moderate" Republicans have left (or been driven out of) the GOP that the extremist whackos are running the show unopposed. They actually think it's a good idea to oppose scientific research which is supported by the majority of Americans.

By Patrick Quigley (not verified) on 28 Aug 2008 #permalink

Patrick Quigley #148
Thanks for bringing that gem to my attention. As if I weren't already outraged enough by the Bush administration's insane prohibition against stem cell research. You can be sure none of those cretins have to watch a spouse die with exquisite slowness from Lou Gehrig's disease, as I do, every single day. No amount of current research is going to save him, but to slam the doors of possibilities for others who might someday be helped is unconscionable. What is the phrase from Law and Order? Oh yes, depraved indifference.

From another thread where I first saw the news about Kay Hagen: I had never even heard of the lady, but I sent her a small sum immediately, and wrote a letter to the Dole campaign, which I shall not reproduce as it lacked the eloquence of others' here. Of course, I got back the all purpose form letter from the Dole site which ended with a "God Bless......", the christian equivalent of "fuck you" to an atheist.

By Lee Picton (not verified) on 29 Aug 2008 #permalink

Don't just hate them for their anticonstitutional plotting, their delusional mythologies, and their pathetic old-world bigotries. Hate them for their lousy writing:

The proper but weird-sounding singular ('it' for 'list')--my sophomores would have worked around that one rather than sending alert readers hunting backward through the sentence.

And mixed metaphors...ugh. "Trojan Horses bringing lists"--that's the bad news, pagan people leaping out and slaughtering the righteous...but the good news: "Revelations (Our favorite book) sitting well"...you hear the hot-button-buzz-phrase-symbol words overpowering and bludgeoning the metaphors, you know you're in the land of the politically nasty.

Dole may have some issues...NC has had democrat leanings even in the recent past. Folks in Eastern NC are mad at her for supporting a military initiative (OLF, a practice landing field for carrier jets that are temporarily off off the carriers). Plus coattails for Barack among a large number of newly registered black voters...

Has anybody noticed that Elizabeth Dole, the republican Hillary Clinton, doesn't get any flack for having a presidential-candidate husband/senator? Almost seems like a double standard...

ice

ice:

That Liddy Dole get little flack is mainly due to the facts that her husband never managed to secure the Presidency, and that they have served entirely separate constituencies. She did run for the GOP nomination once, and had she became a serious candidate, the level of scrutiny would surely have been ratcheted up. Her serving in the Senate is really no different from the Rockefellers, Kennedys, or the Gores having familial political dynasties. Of course, theirs are all fairly far-removed from the Presidency -- Hillary's connection remains in the very recent past, and so is far more scrutinized.

Wouldn't you think that people who worship God the wrong way -- or worse yet, worship the wrong god entirely -- would be as big a deal as atheists?

I mean, I feel like I would be more offended if someone told me that the guy I worshipped was a false prophet and an evil sorceror than if they said he was a, you know, legend.

I find it hilarious that someone like Adrian thinks that something which is enshrined in the foundational documents of the USA is a fringe position! LoLoL!

'The big thing that I always harp on when it comes around election time is: the only way to waste your vote is to vote. I'm a big fan of people who choose not to vote, and I'm a very big enemy of the "lesser of two evils" school of thought. If you keep voting for the lesser of two evils things just keep getting more evil.'

Though I do vote every time I get the chance, this last line of a quote from Penn Jillette I can always hear. Political reality sucks.

Adrian wrote: "To have an agenda based around eliminating religion from public life is a fringe position."
Precision, it appears, is not just the enemy of the superstitious, but of all right-wingers as well.
"Public life"? What the hell does that mean? If "eliminating religion from public life" means that politicians should keep idiotic fantasies about magical, invisible friends to themselves, then that is merely a sensible position, not a fringe position. If it means that government should stay out of religion, then that is just what our Constitution says we should do, and it also is not a fringe position.
Why can't you fascists say what you mean, without a bunch of imprecise innuendo?

By Pierre JC (not verified) on 30 Aug 2008 #permalink

If DA is an atheist I'm a teacup.

By nanu nanu (not verified) on 30 Aug 2008 #permalink

People dump nearly boiling water in teacups, so it's a good thing DA isn't much of an atheist. :-}

By JohnnieCanuck, FCD (not verified) on 29 Oct 2008 #permalink