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Subject: The GOP platform on religious liberty rss

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Jon Badolato
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Yesterday the Republican Party at its national convention adopted its 2016 Platform (full text). This is the first in a series of posts that will focus on Platform provisions dealing with moral values and religious liberty. Note that the excerpt continues after the jump. Here is the Platform's lengthy section on Religious Liberty:

The Bill of Rights lists religious liberty, with its rights of conscience, as the first freedom to be protected. Religious freedom in the Bill of Rights protects the right of the people to practice their faith in their everyday lives. As George Washington taught, “religion and morality are indispensable supports” to a free society. Similarly, Thomas Jefferson declared that “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” Ongoing attempts to compel individuals, businesses, and institutions of faith to transgress their beliefs are part of a misguided effort to undermine religion and drive it from the public square. As a result, many charitable religious institutions that have demonstrated great success in helping the needy have been barred from receiving government grants and contracts.

Government officials threaten religious colleges and universities with massive fines and seek to control their personnel decisions. Places of worship for the first time in our history have reason to fear the loss of tax-exempt status merely for espousing and practicing traditional religious beliefs that have been held across the world for thousands of years, and for almost four centuries in America. We value the right of America’s religious leaders to preach, and Americans to speak freely, according to their faith. Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs, and therefore we urge the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.

We pledge to defend the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard religious institutions against government control. We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This Act would protect the non-profit tax status of faith-based adoption agencies, the accreditation of religious educational institutions, the grants and contracts of faith-based charities and small businesses, and the licensing of religious professions — all of which are under assault by elements of the Democratic Party. We encourage every state to pass similar legislation. We likewise endorse the efforts of Republican state legislators and governors who have defied intimidation from corporations and the media in defending religious liberty. We support laws to confirm the longstanding American tradition that religious individuals and institutions can educate young people, receive government benefits, and participate in public debates without having to check their religious beliefs at the door.

Our First Amendment rights are not given to us by the government but are rights we inherently possess. The government cannot use subsequent amendments to limit First Amendment rights. The Free Exercise Clause is both an individual and a collective liberty protecting a right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. Therefore, we strongly support the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their everyday lives.
We support the right of the people to conduct their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs and condemn public officials who have proposed boycotts against businesses that support traditional marriage. We pledge to protect those business owners who have been subjected to hate campaigns, threats of violence, and other attempts to deny their civil rights.
We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and further affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities. We assert the First Amendment right of freedom of association for religious, private, service, and youth organizations to set their own membership standards.


What's with their fixation on the Ten Commandments ?
 
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Pontifex Maximus
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jonb wrote:

Yesterday the Republican Party at its national convention adopted its 2016 Platform (full text). This is the first in a series of posts that will focus on Platform provisions dealing with moral values and religious liberty. Note that the excerpt continues after the jump. Here is the Platform's lengthy section on Religious Liberty:

The Bill of Rights lists religious liberty, with its rights of conscience, as the first freedom to be protected. Religious freedom in the Bill of Rights protects the right of the people to practice their faith in their everyday lives. As George Washington taught, “religion and morality are indispensable supports” to a free society. Similarly, Thomas Jefferson declared that “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” Ongoing attempts to compel individuals, businesses, and institutions of faith to transgress their beliefs are part of a misguided effort to undermine religion and drive it from the public square. As a result, many charitable religious institutions that have demonstrated great success in helping the needy have been barred from receiving government grants and contracts.

Government officials threaten religious colleges and universities with massive fines and seek to control their personnel decisions. Places of worship for the first time in our history have reason to fear the loss of tax-exempt status merely for espousing and practicing traditional religious beliefs that have been held across the world for thousands of years, and for almost four centuries in America. We value the right of America’s religious leaders to preach, and Americans to speak freely, according to their faith. Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs, and therefore we urge the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.

We pledge to defend the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard religious institutions against government control. We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This Act would protect the non-profit tax status of faith-based adoption agencies, the accreditation of religious educational institutions, the grants and contracts of faith-based charities and small businesses, and the licensing of religious professions — all of which are under assault by elements of the Democratic Party. We encourage every state to pass similar legislation. We likewise endorse the efforts of Republican state legislators and governors who have defied intimidation from corporations and the media in defending religious liberty. We support laws to confirm the longstanding American tradition that religious individuals and institutions can educate young people, receive government benefits, and participate in public debates without having to check their religious beliefs at the door.

Our First Amendment rights are not given to us by the government but are rights we inherently possess. The government cannot use subsequent amendments to limit First Amendment rights. The Free Exercise Clause is both an individual and a collective liberty protecting a right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. Therefore, we strongly support the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their everyday lives.
We support the right of the people to conduct their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs and condemn public officials who have proposed boycotts against businesses that support traditional marriage. We pledge to protect those business owners who have been subjected to hate campaigns, threats of violence, and other attempts to deny their civil rights.
We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and further affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities. We assert the First Amendment right of freedom of association for religious, private, service, and youth organizations to set their own membership standards.


What's with their fixation on the Ten Commandments ?


What unadulterated bullshit coming from the GOP. Practicing it in our "everyday lives" is code for discrimation against gay citizens. Nowhere does it mention "everyday lives" in the constitution.
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J.D. Hall
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The Republicans should just go ahead and admit they would much prefer a Christian theocracy in the United States. It's what they are asking for up there, because I can assure you once Muslim women start want to wear burkas to work and shop, the good Christians are going to lose their minds.

This, more than the abortion thing, is undeniably inane. Just how many churches (because we don't want no temples or no mosques!) do they want in this country? Is there a law somewhere that says people can't attend the church of their choice, worship as they see fit, pray whenever they want to? Sure, there are laws that you can't interrupt a class to begin praying as loud as possible, and there are laws that say regardless of your religious beliefs, you can't use that to discriminate against others who do not hold those beliefs, but what else? Nothing. Waste of time and effort.
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Jon Badolato
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Drew1365 wrote:
jonb wrote:
What's with their fixation on the Ten Commandments ?


I dunno, but it probably matches your fixation on religion.


This is their platform. Personally, if I was to write a platform I'd probably not even mention religion as everyone is free to worship as they see fit ( within legal limits of course ). It's the GOP that specializes in getting others to live as they see fit.
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Jon Badolato
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Drew1365 wrote:
jonb wrote:
It's the GOP that specializes in getting others to live as they see fit.


Quite a hypocritical statement coming from a Democrat.



I'm actually an Independent, although I do tend to vote Democrat in most elections.

And speaking as such ( just as a concrete example ), unlike the GOP platform I could care less whether gays want to marry and call it a marriage and legally allow it to be recognized as such. I could cite other concrete examples of where I differ from their platform, but why bother. You knew that already.
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Jon Badolato
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Drew1365 wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
The Republicans should just go ahead and admit they would much prefer a Christian theocracy in the United States. It's what they are asking for up there, because I can assure you once Muslim women start want to wear burkas to work and shop, the good Christians are going to lose their minds.



You know, if only someone actually upheld the Constitution, it would assuage your worries about theocracy in the United States. Unfortunately, you and your allies have spent the last 8 years ignoring all our Constitutional checks and balances.

Furthermore, I wish the left was as concerned about Islamist theocracy as it is fearful about Christian theocracy. Christian theocracy is not going to happen here. Islamist theocracy is spreading and we see its effects everywhere.

Fight the enemy that exists, not the imaginary one you fear.


I see you subscribe to the "activist judiciary" concept the GOP is fond of spouting. LOL.
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Drew1365 wrote:
Furthermore, I wish the left was as concerned about Islamist theocracy as it is fearful about Christian theocracy. Christian theocracy is not going to happen here. Islamist theocracy is spreading and we see its effects everywhere.
The reason there is no theocracy in the US. is because of the constant, seeminly never-ending, battle to keep theocracy extremists from legislating the Bible into our Government. When the time comes when we will have to fight the Koran being legislated we will fight it with equal fervor. As commanded by the Constitution.
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J.D. Hall
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Drew1365 wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
The Republicans should just go ahead and admit they would much prefer a Christian theocracy in the United States. It's what they are asking for up there, because I can assure you once Muslim women start want to wear burkas to work and shop, the good Christians are going to lose their minds.



You know, if only someone actually upheld the Constitution, it would assuage your worries about theocracy in the United States. Unfortunately, you and your allies have spent the last 8 years ignoring all our Constitutional checks and balances.

Furthermore, I wish the left was as concerned about Islamist theocracy as it is fearful about Christian theocracy. Christian theocracy is not going to happen here. Islamist theocracy is spreading and we see its effects everywhere.

Fight the enemy that exists, not the imaginary one you fear.

Oh trust me, I do fight the enemy that exists. And it resides in that platform plank.

How many Muslims are there in the US? 3-4 million out of 330 million? Not worried about them. How many Christians? 160 million? Probably 200 million? That's where I'm concerned.
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Christopher Yaure
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jonb wrote:
What's with their fixation on the Ten Commandments ?


Again, thanks for posting.

Assuming your question is not facetious, the reference to the Ten Commandments relates to court decisions that have required the removal of signs bearing the Ten Commandments from courtrooms, among other places.

I do agree with the implied objections to threats of violence. I'd like to see similar objections to actual acts of violence against Blac churches.

One problem with the objection to governement control of religious institutions. I am sure all but the most extreme would agree that the government is acting rightfully to prevent someone from burning down a religious institution with whose beliefs they disagree, or to kill or physically injure someone who is seeking to marry someone of the same gender (or to punish someone who successfully does so). Where is the appropriate line.

I also find the Constitutional intepretation that a later amendement cannot modify an earlier amendement misguided. See, e.g, Amendment XXI.
 
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Christopher Yaure
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Drew is not referring to concern about Muslim theocracy in the US. He is referring to its spread elsewhere. I do not agree with the typical neocon response, but I agree it is a concern.
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J.D. Hall
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Drew1365 wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
Drew1365 wrote:
Fight the enemy that exists, not the imaginary one you fear.

Oh trust me, I do fight the enemy that exists. And it resides in that platform plank.

How many Muslims are there in the US? 3-4 million out of 330 million? Not worried about them. How many Christians? 160 million? Probably 200 million? That's where I'm concerned.


Why? Because of the large number of Christian suicide bombers? Because Christians are noted for attacking train passengers with axes? Beheading women on the street? Because Churches are commanding their congregants to take up arms and slaughter the infidels?

So if Muslims peacefully instituted Shaaria law through elections, you're okay with that?

You have to keep in mind that I have a different interpretation of what terrorists do and what they are. ISIS, Al-Qaeda, et. al. do not represent Islam as it is practiced in the US and in most countries. They're sociopathic murdering con men who dupe young men and women into thinking they're some kind of idealistic co-religionists. Nothing is further from the truth.

Now, do Christians do any of that? No. Certainly not in America, right? After all, the shithead who shot up that black church wasn't a Christian, correct? And the man who shot to death my former pediatrician and his grandson outside a temple in Kansas City, he wasn't a Christian, correct? How about the two guys who murdered cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge, they were Muslims, right? Nobody ever bombed a church in Birmingham or raped 10-year-olds in Waco, right?

The Christian violence is diffuse and not tied to specific groups, true. But that's America -- we tend to be more independent actors.

The real issue, though, is that the radical Christian right can, with the right kind of gerrymandering and candidates, could push through a majority in the House and Senate to start promulgating pro-Christian legislation. If they could get enough seats on the Supreme Court, those laws might pass muster. And then the flood gates will open, and it won't be just school children who are required by law to pray every day openly, loudly, and in groups. Muslims, gays, Jews, Hindus, Wiccans, etc. will be shunned or outright criminalized.

That's what I'm worried about. We have enough domestic slaughter (Sandy Hook anyone?) that already looks like terrorism, and all people can worry about when those things happen is gunz.

Give me a break.
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jonb wrote:
Places of worship for the first time in our history have reason to fear the loss of tax-exempt status merely for espousing and practicing traditional religious beliefs that have been held across the world for thousands of years, and for almost four centuries in America.
A) It's funny that they aren't as concerned with being sanctioned for religious speech, rather what they're really scared of is... GULP... don't take away my tax breaks!!!

B) I also enjoy the airtight legal defense of, "Well, we've been doing it for a long time! You can't tell us to stop now!" Pretty sure that lovely chestnut has been utilized for everything from the promulgation of slavery to the continued restrictions of women's rights. Because apparently bigotry practiced over decades/centuries is totally cool.
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jonb wrote:

Yesterday the Republican Party at its national convention adopted its 2016 Platform (full text).

The Bill of Rights lists religious liberty, with its rights of conscience, BLAH BLAH discriminate against gays, Cuz "religious liberty" Ybba yabba right to buy off politicians and have a disproportion impact on national discourse, Bing-bang! minister doesn't have to pay taxes on BMW. Gays are an abomination *tweet*. Right to jamin' in the "10C" and prayer in the face of those it might be offended... Badda-bing.


The Cliff Notes version
 
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J.D. Hall
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Drew1365 wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
Give me a break.


Just as soon as you stop with your equivalency nonsense. Until then, I reserve the right to challenge you with your broad-brush approach.

The reason it reads "Congress shall make no law.." is that the Founders had had decades of experience with national churches. Christianity is the majority religion in the US. Ergo, I worry far more about Christians attempting to establish a Christian theocracy in the US than I do from 1 percent of the population (Muslims). The rest of the world? Don't give a crap. Besides, no matter what the Muslims do, eventually they will crash into 1.2 billion Indians and 1.3 billion Chinese, neither of whom will have the slightest compunction of nuking the Arabian Peninsula until it glows like a searchlight.
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Drew1365 wrote:

You know, if only someone actually upheld the Constitution, it would assuage your worries about theocracy in the United States. Unfortunately, you and your allies have spent the last 8 years ignoring all our Constitutional checks and balances.


You're going to have to explain this one to me, Drew.

The recent spate of conservative backed RFRAs are the biggest danger to the freedom of religion in this country. They are poorly written, loophole filled, blatant attempts to ignore the separation of church and state for the benefit of the religious.

It's only using these loophole that the conservative boogeyman of sharia law could make it's way into the US and actual law.

Your side is making the opening for a theocracy, Drew. And it doesn't matter which god is on top.

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remorseless1 wrote:
The Republicans should just go ahead and admit they would much prefer a Christian theocracy in the United States. It's what they are asking for up there, because I can assure you once Muslim women start want to wear burkas to work and shop, the good Christians are going to lose their minds.

This, more than the abortion thing, is undeniably inane. Just how many churches (because we don't want no temples or no mosques!) do they want in this country? Is there a law somewhere that says people can't attend the church of their choice, worship as they see fit, pray whenever they want to? Sure, there are laws that you can't interrupt a class to begin praying as loud as possible, and there are laws that say regardless of your religious beliefs, you can't use that to discriminate against others who do not hold those beliefs, but what else? Nothing. Waste of time and effort.


I will say that in my area I've seen plenty of hijab, and even a few burkhas, but then I live in a lefty commune in the middle of Rur'l Pa.
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remorseless1 wrote:
The Republicans should just go ahead and admit they would much prefer a Christian theocracy in the United States. It's what they are asking for up there, because I can assure you once Muslim women start want to wear burkas to work and shop, the good Christians are going to lose their minds.


Except that just isn't TRUE. Most USA Christians fully support religious freedom for ALL people, including those from other faiths.

You forget that the original uproar that got the first federal RFRA Passed was about smoking Peyote not anything at all to do with Christianity. And yet CHRISTIANS fought hard to draft and get the RFRA passed. It was such a political hot topic from all sides that it passed with broad support from BOTH parties.

We do not want a Christian Theocracy or any other kind of theocracy. We want a nation that allows for individuals to freely live out their faith though. Including Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Native Americans and just about any other genuine religion. Even the ones we think are Wackadoodle.



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Meerkat wrote:
Except that just isn't TRUE. Most USA Christians fully support religious freedom for ALL people, including those from other faiths.

Which candidate are most Christians supporting in this presidential election?
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The last lynching by the KKK is still fairly recent in the past

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Donald

The KKK is strongly associated with christianty.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/kkk-leader-were-a-christia...

Quote:
The president of a Virginia Ku Klux Klan group claims that the KKK is a faith-based Christian organization that does not condone violence.

"We don't hate people because of their race. We are a Christian organization," Frank Ancona, the imperial wizard of the Traditional American Knights of the KKK, told NBC 12, distancing himself from the Klan's violent history, asserting that he is seeking to "set the record straight."


Christian police officers pass around racist and sexist jokes because in their theology, white males should rule the earth. They have no problem behaving evilly while also being christian.

And... religious people tend to be more racist period.
https://mic.com/articles/29397/religious-people-tend-to-be-m...
Quote:
The study reported that "highly devout groups showed the greatest correlation between religion and racism." In my opinion, an affirmation of specific morality comes from John 14:6 - “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

More devout and strict adherents would likely hold that the "correct" morality is limited to their religion, thus increasing the exclusivity of the group's membership.



On the other hand...
The crazy people have seized control of the asylum over at the RNC.

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Pontifex Maximus
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Meerkat wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
The Republicans should just go ahead and admit they would much prefer a Christian theocracy in the United States. It's what they are asking for up there, because I can assure you once Muslim women start want to wear burkas to work and shop, the good Christians are going to lose their minds.


Except that just isn't TRUE. Most USA Christians fully support religious freedom for ALL people, including those from other faiths.

You forget that the original uproar that got the first federal RFRA Passed was about smoking Peyote not anything at all to do with Christianity. And yet CHRISTIANS fought hard to draft and get the RFRA passed. It was such a political hot topic from all sides that it passed with broad support from BOTH parties.

We do not want a Christian Theocracy or any other kind of theocracy. We want a nation that allows for individuals to freely live out their faith though. Including Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Native Americans and just about any other genuine religion. Even the ones we think are Wackadoodle.





You already have a nation that allows you to live out your faith. The nation, however, does not let you impose said faith on other. That is the all important freedom from having to live under the faith of others
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Ron Preisach
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Meerkat wrote:
We do not want a Christian Theocracy or any other kind of theocracy. We want a nation that allows for individuals to freely live out their faith though. Including Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Native Americans and just about any other genuine religion. Even the ones we think are Wackadoodle.


Could you explain the test for determining which religions are genuine or not?
 
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Meerkat wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
The Republicans should just go ahead and admit they would much prefer a Christian theocracy in the United States. It's what they are asking for up there, because I can assure you once Muslim women start want to wear burkas to work and shop, the good Christians are going to lose their minds.


Except that just isn't TRUE. Most USA Christians fully support religious freedom for ALL people, including those from other faiths.

You forget that the original uproar that got the first federal RFRA Passed was about smoking Peyote not anything at all to do with Christianity. And yet CHRISTIANS fought hard to draft and get the RFRA passed. It was such a political hot topic from all sides that it passed with broad support from BOTH parties.

We do not want a Christian Theocracy or any other kind of theocracy. We want a nation that allows for individuals to freely live out their faith though. Including Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Native Americans and just about any other genuine religion. Even the ones we think are Wackadoodle.





Agreed that most don't want a theocracy per se, but there is a sizeable subset that actually don't much care about the rights of other religious persons in this country. Or for that matter, other Christians that don't share their particular beliefs or Biblical interpretations. I don't know how else I can explain polls that say "61 percent said religious liberty was important for people of Muslim faith, though the number is dwarfed by the 82 percent who believe Christians’ religious liberty is important." I don't know why else Mississippi and at least one member of Congress have proposed bills that elevate Christian beliefs about same-sex couples and transgender persons over the beliefs of even other Christians.

The same people are those that rail about a war on Christianity, when the "war" often just boils down to the fact that their sphere of influence they've enjoyed in government for so long is slowly being eroded. They take for granted that God is on our money, people are still asked to swear on a Bible in court as the normal default, the Pledge of Allegiance still talks about God, most invocations at government events are done by Christians for example, etc. It leads to scenes like this. I reject the notion that those particular Christians support the rights of other religious persons.



RSP doesn't seem to want to admit that there are a sizeable number of Christians that want their beliefs elevated above others at least in small ways short of theocracy and who don't much care about the beliefs of others, no matter how shortsighted that is.
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jonb wrote:
Drew1365 wrote:
jonb wrote:
What's with their fixation on the Ten Commandments ?


I dunno, but it probably matches your fixation on religion.


This is their platform. Personally, if I was to write a platform I'd probably not even mention religion as everyone is free to worship as they see fit ( within legal limits of course ). It's the GOP that specializes in getting others to live as they see fit.


If you don't see the bullshit hypocrisy of "free to worship as they see fit" and "within legal limits" you don't get the purpose of the entirety of the first amendment.

People are constitutionally allowed to be asshats to one another. Definition of asshat varies from person to person and the govt. doesn't get to define it.

Some people's thoughts, speech and actions concerning religion, politics etc.. makes them an asshat to me, and I think the country is a better place for it then trying to shoehorn everyone into being "not an asshat" subject to someones whim of what "not an asshat" is.
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J.D. Hall
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Meerkat wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
The Republicans should just go ahead and admit they would much prefer a Christian theocracy in the United States. It's what they are asking for up there, because I can assure you once Muslim women start want to wear burkas to work and shop, the good Christians are going to lose their minds.


Except that just isn't TRUE. Most USA Christians fully support religious freedom for ALL people, including those from other faiths.

You forget that the original uproar that got the first federal RFRA Passed was about smoking Peyote not anything at all to do with Christianity. And yet CHRISTIANS fought hard to draft and get the RFRA passed. It was such a political hot topic from all sides that it passed with broad support from BOTH parties.

We do not want a Christian Theocracy or any other kind of theocracy. We want a nation that allows for individuals to freely live out their faith though. Including Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Native Americans and just about any other genuine religion. Even the ones we think are Wackadoodle.




The first RFRA came about in the 1970s, when American society was more liberal, more progressive. This is the 21st Century, where more Americans are conservative and there is a conservative-Christian political movement (evangelicals) that didn't exist before. I'm not disputing that the majority of American Christians, and the majority of Americans period, don't want any kind of theocracy. But the problem is not all of these people vote -- no motivation or concern. The nut cases who are motivated for certain issues (gay rights, Christian rights, etc.) do get out and vote, and they can in off-year elections pack Congress with people who think as they do.
 
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drew1365 wrote:

Meanwhile pop culture is soaking in leftism to the point where most Americans have accepted actual Marxist philosophy into their hearts.


Er?

Darilian
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