atheists, biblical studies, civil rights, Congress, Declaration of Independence, democracy, Democrats, enemy combatants, Evan Bayh, fundamentalism, Jefferson, justice, Miranda warnings, terrorism, theology, war on terrorism
I figured you should share in my nightmare too, so the picture at right, having little to do with the commentary which follows, only serves to seer your brain with an image that will haunt your peaceful sleep in ensuing nights.
You see, it’s all too apparent that I don’t belong here. I’m in the wrong century, on the wrong continent, and most likely I belong on Betelgeuse, a red giant star, found in the constellation Orion. Well, not actually ON Betelgeuse, that would be a short life indeed, but orbiting it at least, on a planet that is SANE.
This one, boringly named “earth” (why earth which is small in comparison to “water” I have no clue), is patently insane, and I have more proof for you today of that fact.
The uproar for weeks about where we can try a criminal, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has been ongoing. Of equal hue and cry is the correctness of interrogating Umar Farouk Abdulmutallub using civil criminal methods versus military methods. At the center of much of this is the god-awful horror of our having “read them their rights.”
Everyone on the far right, and heck, half in the moderate category suggest this is a no brainer. Not a citizen, not entitled to Miranda warnings. I cannot fathom why. Now before you start up all the usual enemy combatants garbage, its a bit more basic that all that.
Once upon a time, far far ago, a country was contemplated, a nation, a place of freedom and liberty for all. In fact, a document to those principles was created by a guy by the name of Thomas Jefferson. You may have heard of him. One of the things he wrote, and presumably believed, was something about freedom and liberty. He claimed that such rights were the “laws of nature, and of nature’s God.”
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Now, what it did not say, is that said rights only accrued to “American” citizens or those who were contemplated anyway. At the end, there are the signatures of a whole bunch of white men, who apparently all agreed to such a claim. We refer to them collectively as our “founding fathers.”
Historically, for several decades now, we have held ourselves out as that beacon of freedom, an example to the rest of the world. We have made awful attempts to export our “freedom” to others. We have encouraged revolutions to overthrow dictatorships and we have instigated wars to do the same.
Yet, we parse hairs here and claim that non-citizens in our custody are NOT to be beneficiaries of such GOD given rights? Explain this please? Oh and just for the record, should anyone ask, there is no such thing logically as a “war against terror.” Terror is a state of mind, and not an enemy. People who hold extreme views that cause them to espouse destruction without reference to the consequences to innocents are proper targets of efforts to put them out of business. Let’s keep things straight.
Evan Bayh comes off as Mr. reasonable in his decision to not seek re-election as Senator from Indiana. He seems reasonable. All that touchy feely, “I can’t stand the gridlock,” and “I love Indiana, but I don’t love Congress.”
Yes, but his timing was about as bad as it could be and Democrats are scrambling to even get a Democrat on the ballot now for next November, and Republicans now are starting to realize the impossible–control of Congress after 2010. Lots of time to go, lots can change, but the damage is huge.
And of course Bayh did NOTHING to help the Health care reform bill get through, and has been a whiny crabber about fiscal responsibility when we can’t afford to do anything else but pump the economy full and bring down unemployment rates for the working poor.
One could argue that Bayh was himself one of those obstructionists he condemns so loftily. That being said, I suspect what he has done is not so bad overall. The electorate, having an attention span that is over faster than the speed of light, is so fickle these days that what chagrins today, will be forgotten tomorrow.
There is something to be said, that democracy is wasted on those who have inherited it. Every where you turn, the far right makes it clear they would remove freedom in the name of freedom. Catchy huh?
The most idiotic post I’ve read in a long time can be found here. First I would say, that I don’t for a minute think the author believes what he says, namely that fundamentalists are more coherently theological than are liberal Christians. It’s the old, “I want to attack thoughtful rational Christians and the best way is to suggest that the most incoherent Christians are actually the most rational.” So I see this all as just that, shock value rhetoric designed to stick it to mainstream believers.
To suggest that fundamentalists have a coherent worldview and “live out” their theology accordingly with a faithful though wrong, consistent interpretation of scripture, is to be so utterly devoid of rationality as to be a joke. The writer cannot be serious.
There is zero coherence in fundamentalism, in fact its most noted element is the ability to hold diametrically opposite views at the same time. It’s followers are famous for picking and choosing what bits of scripture they will follow and which not.
Mainstream theology and biblical studies have an unbroken 2,000 year history of development, all placing the bible and its contents in proper prospective, as well as tackling the big issues, always conscience of how they impact on each other in a rational logical fashion. Fundamentalism is stuck in mud, having made no progress ever, since by definition it is dramatically cut and dried, once and for all, take it or leave it, archaic and primitive in its outlook.
But then, perhaps it was all done tongue in cheek and I missed somewhere the punch line.
No matter, I hear the moons over Sirius are particularly nice this time of “year” and I’m heading there in my ship now. Come along if you’d like. Make it so.
Mystical Seeker said:
Bayh traded on his father’s name to get where he was, and that is rather ironic because his politics are quite different from his father’s. In a way, the father and son together illustrate everything that has gone wrong with the Democrats in the last 40-50 years. Birch Bayh was a liberal at a time when his party was quite a bit farther to the left than it is today, and he fought the good fight for liberal causes. Since his time int the Senate the Democrats moved to the righ ever so steadily, and in the same way has the ideology of the Bayh family member who made it to the Senate also reflected this rightward shift in US politics. They say that Nixon was the last liberal president, and if you want to see how that happened, just look at the Bayh family.
The further irony is that Bayh has criticized Obama for not being far enough to the right!–despite the fact that Obama has governed from the center and strove to compromise with the wackos on the right and has rejected progressive ideals on a host of fronts (from selling out on health care, escalating the war in Afghanistan, support Bush era policies on executive power, refusing to prosecute Bush-era war criminals, supporting nuclear energy–the list goes on and on.) If this doesn’t summarize in a nutshell what is wrong with Democratic Party politics, I don’t know what does. Evan Bayh epitomizes the neoliberal consensus of the two major parties and the steady rightward drift of the Democrats over the last 40 years. Obama may be to the right of where Nixon was, but if Bayh is to the right of Obama, he may represent the future of the Democrats, since now that Obama has squandered the golden opportunity to move the country in a leftward direction with his inability to offer bold new ideas in favor of compromise with the wacko right, and voters who are tied to the two-party system will simply vote for the Republican sin disgust, and we will only see a continuation of this historical trend.
Oh do I ever agree with you. I have thought again and again how Birch must be so disappointed in Evan, who has proven to be a real right winger. How that happens I have no clue.
The Democrats continue to slide to the right, and that leaves progressives and liberals like me, feeling completely unrepresented. The rhetoric is still there, but the actions are cave ins again and again to the crazy right. I agree. Obama squandered an opportunity to really do something by trying to sincerely get bipartisanship. The Rethugs never will do that, they are so controlled by the neo con power people, K street and the religious nuts that they are willing to put party first and country second. A pox on both their houses is the place I’m finding myself in more and more.
great article, I think there is a big story to Bayh that time is going to unfold, maybe he is going to become a lobbyist and earn some real $$, and become a philanthropist 😉
All the issues and ideas and questions you have addressed here, have been on my mind for a couple years now. And I’ve been reading a lot to try to get grasps of the world turned on it’s head. I was born and raised in Iowa, Pentecostal charismatic, and even my family are pick and choosers when it comes to the bible. I’ve found some logical thought on this Political debacle in The Wrecking Crew, and Conservatives with out Conscience, John Dean in C.w/o.C. also explains the Authoritarian complex, which appears to tie into both religion and politics. The religious inconsistencies are explained in Thy Kingdom Come, and The Evolution of God, and The God Delusion… but the Evolution of God is amazing.
Darin, I agree. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop re: Bayh.
Frankly, serious atheists are interesting people and I have no desire to convert them, since I believe that conversion is quite a personal thing, and we do that better by living out our faith than proselytizing anyway. The post just ticked me off as totally idiotic and disingenuous to boot.
The Evolution of God is spectacular. I reviewed it here and you can find it under book reviews on the side bar.
Hope we can hear from you some more. Smart people are hard to come by in the US these days!
Betcha you’de miss those COLD Iowa Winters Real Quick, Sherry on Million Degree Betelguese! Think before you move….
Fundies think Science is Satanic, and Most Christians doomed to Hotter than Betelgues because we misread modern English Bible verses.
Winter Olympics are AWESOME (If house is warm!)
lol Tony, yes the star would be a bit too hot. And we are enjoying the Olympics for the most part, though I must say, I’m getting a bit ticked at Vancouver. It seems they have not done the best of jobs, even given the weather issues. The inside speed skating oval has been marked by issues with the ice as well, the half pipe is not very good I’m told, and that luge thing of course. I guess I expected a perfect venue from them.