The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 5, 2014: Tea Party Nonsense – Again

Two and a quarter centuries later and some people still do not understand the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment means that we have a Separation of Church and State in this country. And it’s important enough to capitalize it that way: Separation of Church and State. I don’t know how many people realize this but unlike many other countries (including some of our closest allies), the United States by design does not have an official religion. And that’s precisely why no one, not even the government, can force you to worship his God. That doesn’t make us Godless Communists; it means we have a diversity of religious thought in this country. (Which begs the question, “How could any of them be right?” But that’s a topic for another post, as my grandmother used to say. She was very forward-thinking for someone who died twenty years before Al Gore invented the internet.) So I get a little nervous when people start claiming that God is on their side. Because some of the worst atrocities in human history were committed by people who thought that God was on their side.

Howard Kooligan of the Tea Party Express is someone who makes me nervous. Not only does he claim that God is on his side (well, on the side of the Tea Party People), he also opposes the efforts of some of us on the Left to reduce income inequality. The thing is, not only is his rationale completely Biblical, it’s completely wrong.

I think it’s very important that churches get involved and that Christians follow the dictates of biblical principles in casting their vote. I think it’s clear that God has a position on many of the things we deem political today, from life to theft to the doctrine of covetousness, which by the way seems to be the promotion of the left. You know, they talk about ‘income inequality,’ well what is that but covetousness? So how could somebody support that cause if they’re biblical believing Christians?

He’s totally wrong. We don’t covet the wealth of the 1%-ers, some of whom pay a lower effective tax rate on their millions in unearned income than I pay on the money I busted my ass to make. We recognize that too much wealth accumulated in the hands of a few people is not only bad for the economy, it’s bad for Society. We feel that they should be taxed much higher on any new income they make, especially unearned income such as money from investments and stock trading. But we don’t want the money for ourselves, as Kooligan wrongly presumes. We want it used to help people less fortunate than ourselves. We want it used to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. We want it used to bolster our public education system, because why should knowledge only be for the privileged? Sure, we could all use the extra money (since we’re not the billionaires who don’t need the money), but we on the Left know that there are plenty of people out there who need it more than we do. But unlike many on the Right, we’re not greedy. Liberals believe in Cooperation over Competition. And many of us Liberals, including those who believe in God, believe that we must solve Humanity’s problems ourselves, and not wish for divine intervention. Did God ever stop a war started in His name?

That’s why Rick Scarborough of Tea Party Unity scares me. He has no interest in Humanity working out its problems. He wants help straight from the top.

If we do our part then I’m confident that the God of Heaven will intervene. This country has been on the brink of complete disaster and collapse in several occasions in our national history. During the Roaring Twenties, socially this country was on the brink and deserved judgment; go back during the pre-Civil War era when we were buying and selling human beings, we deserved God’s judgment. But there was always a thread of Christians active in politics who didn’t lose sight of the prize and did what they could and God intervened, and that’s what I pray for and work for in this latter period of our national history. No matter what we do, if God doesn’t intervene the country is lost. But I know this, all the prayers in the world won’t change this country and God’s not going to act if those of us who I call the remnant don’t get involved, pay the price, like you’re doing, so I encourage you to continue doing that.

First of all, isn’t “the God of Heaven” a redundant thing for a good Christian to say? After all, the First Commandment pretty much settles the issue of which God they worship. Do Christians believe in any other gods, that are located in places other than Heaven? They’re not supposed to, so why say it like that? Second of all, the Great Depression which followed the Roaring Twenties was not the judgment of God but the result of Conservative fiscal policies. And, third, how could anyone who supposedly read his Bible believe that God opposed the buying and selling of human beings? There’s all kinds of advice about slaves in the Bible including how to get them, how much you can beat them (if they survive a day or two, you’re okay), and how much sex you can have with your female slaves. Do we really want the Supreme Being who came up with that to be the one who “saves” us? No thanks. I’ll take my chances with the secular human crowd. They’re free on weekends.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss the idiots of the tea party, or any other topic you wish.

45 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 5, 2014: Tea Party Nonsense – Again

  1. Great post, Wayne.

    All this talk of God — more now than in any of my 70+ years of hanging around — is what puzzles me the most. I might be a little less puzzled if someone, anyone out there anywhere, could ever offer even one single shred of VERIFIABLE evidence that any such a thing has ever existed. And no, the bible does NOT count as ‘verifiable’ — the Higgs Boson “God Particle” is indeed verifiable, but offers zero evidence of any sort of supreme being, even though it does offer a path to the development of the universe in which we live.

    I have no problem accepting that others have their own beliefs, and I applaud them for it; I understand the concept of faith, and I respect those who have and live their faith . . . until the tactic of imposing a ‘belief’ on others. Then I get mad.

    Today’s fascist movement, the far right wing Republican party, will use any tactic available to force their greed and power quest on the rest of us, and in that regard “God” appears to be a fairly useful tool, as is more than a little visible in the quotes highlighted in the post above. And worst of all is the possibility that the Kooligans and Scarboroughs out there may even actually believe the bullshit they spout.

  2. cov·et ˈkəvət/verb
    1. yearn to possess or have (something)

    This definition shows that we do not “covet” the riches of the 1%, but by their words and actions, the 1% most certainly “covet” the pennies and possessions of the poor.

    • I don’t want the excessive wealth the Koch Brothers and Walton Children have, They can even leave themselves a billion or so (which ought to be enough for anybody). I just don’t want them to have it all. It’s not me being greedy, it’s me wanting our economy to function, which doesn’t happen if money doesn’t circulate. The super rich don’t spend their money the way it needs to be spent in order to help the economy. They spend it, often, in ways meant to benefit only themselves.

      I am not suggesting that the money they invest in businesses doesn’t help others at all, It’s just more focused in fewer businesses than it would be had it been in the hands of thousands of people, buying hundreds of thousands of different things for everyday living, like food, clothing and shelter.

    • Ah, but the 99%-er conservatives have been convinced that rich people clearly don’t have any greed or desire for more riches. How often have you seen comments similar to, “Why would a rich person cheat/steal/etc.? They have bunches of money. Why would they “x” just to get more.”

      They have been convinced that once someone is “rich” they no longer desire more money, and they suddenly become honest, ethical people who would never break a law or commit immoral acts in an attempt to gain more money (and that there is no way in Hades that they could have gotten rich by illegal or unethical means). To the 99%-er conservative, “rich = honest and moral”.

      Idjits.

      • Nailed it, cagey!

        The only other thing I would add is that “self-professed pious is not equal to honest and moral.”

        I swear, my church lady sister will instantly trust ANYONE who proclaims themselves to be a devout Christian (except for Catholics, of course). It’s no wonder so many of the devout fall victim to these phony TV evangelicals.

        “But he said he was a Christian…” SO!? I’m a fucking super model! 🙄

        • It has been my experience that should some one hand you a business card with a fish symbol on it, you should discard it as soon as possible.

  3. Christians practice monotheism, however the first commandment Wayne references does not state “I am the ONLY real God” — it just says, “I am YOUR god.” The ten commandments do not deny the the existence of other gods, just that his followers must place him first . The false idols line says to not worship false gods, but again that is not a statement claiming that there are no other gods, just that not all supposed gods are ‘real’. (I got in trouble as a child for bringing this up in Catholic school :] ).

    • I meant merely that saying “the God in Heaven” is as redundant as saying “the President of the United States in the White House.” Where else would the God they worship be? I wasn’t suggesting they believe there are no other gods, just that it wasn’t necessary to specify His location if none of the others are supposed to matter.

      BTW, it’s good to see you posting here more often lately. Always enjoy seeing friendly faces at The Zoo.🙂

      • Thanks. It’s nice to feel welcome. This is a GREAT group of critters.

        I was just spinning off your comment there. I agree with the redundancy point you made. Excellent post (I haven’t been able to “like” posts for some time now — the “like” section is perpetually “loading” — my 12 year old computer is a bit obsolete…).

  4. I’m amazed at the re-occurrence of situations in our history that continue to cause strife in our lives. In my continued research on Henry Flagler I ran across a resolution made at a meeting of an association of Congregationalists and Presbyterians that needs be adopted by society in general: “As a manifestation of the high regard entertained by the Association for the appropriate qualifications of those whom they should induct into the ministerial office, it may be noted at this first meeting that they resolved, that, extraordinary instances excepted, they would neither encourage, nor admit to examination before them, any applicant for a license to preach, as a candidate for the ministerial office, unless he had received a degree at some college, or produced evidence of having studied the language arts and sciences under some able teacher or teachers; nor unless he should be found, on examination, a good degree of knowledge of the Latin and Greek languages, English Grammar, Mathematics, Logic, Rhetoric, Geography and National Philosophy.”

    This concept should be required of preachers, politicians and pundits.

    I want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

    Isn’t it odd, that, while honesty is generally accepted to be the best policy too many of the 1% in this country feel they can’t afford the best!

    • The 1% does not believe they are bound by the same rules as the rest of us, and they are usually right. It would be great if we did what Iceland did, which was throw a few of the bankers who tanked the economy in prison. They even nationalized their banks. They’re happier now.

  5. Those guys might consider this:
    Woe to those who enact evil statutes And to those who constantly record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice and rob the poor of my people of their rights, so that widows may be their spoil and that they may plunder the orphans. Now what will you do in the day of punishment, and in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth?…
    when they plead for God to intervene.

  6. (a “pre-emptive strike”) I dedicate this to all RW trolls everywhere across the intertubes….

    “I Want A New Troll” (to the tune of Huey Lewis and the News’ “I Want A New Drug”)

    I want a new troll
    One that has half a brain
    One without piss filled pants
    One that doesn’t talk insane

    I want a new troll
    One that’s not too “concerned”
    One that answers questions sometimes
    One who’s not “home-skul lernd”

    (Chorus)
    One that won’t drive you crazy, whining all the time
    One that doesn’t only speak in partisan party lines
    …One with its own mind

    I want a new troll
    One that’s not too afraid
    One that tells facts from lies
    One whose arguments aren’t pre-made

    I want a new troll
    One that’s not so confused
    One whose brain ain’t so rotten
    From sniffing too much glue

    (Chorus)
    One that don’t talk in circles, whining all the time
    One that doesn’t move the goal posts every single line
    …One with its own mind.

  7. Among the immunities granted citizens, as protected under the 14th Amendment, is the freedom from being coerced into any religion. Therefore citing a religious belief as support for a piece of legislation is in contravention to the 14th Amendment. When the Supreme Court ruled in Everson v. Board of Education, it established that one of the liberties protected by the 14th Amendment was the Establishment Clause, and that it applied to all levels of government including the state and local level:

    “The establishment of religion clause means at least this: …Neither can pass laws that aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion… … In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’”

    Clearly, citing a religious belief to support a piece of legislation is an act that aids one religion, prefers that religious belief to any others, forces all citizens affected by that law to abide by that religious belief (thereby passively indoctrinating citizens into that religion), and enshrines that religion into the laws of the United States, setting precedent of utilizing that religion for the purpose of proposing and supporting laws.

    • This is exactly why we need an amendment to the first Amendment. Here’s how I would word it.

      1a. Any lawmaker who cites his/her personal religious beliefs as justification for public policy shall be immediately removed from office and forever barred from holding any position at any level of government be it local, state, or federal. And by immediate we mean that the Master at Arms of the involved body will escort him/her to their office, provide them with boxes for their crap, confiscate all keys, and escort the disgraced party from the building before the end of the business day. Furthermore; said ex lawmaker will have their pay revoked on the spot and be declared ineligible to collect a pension.

  8. Millions face hunger as deadly fungus Panama disease decimates global banana crop

    Scientists have warned that the world’s banana crop, worth £26 billion and a crucial part of the diet of more than 400 million people, is facing “disaster” from virulent diseases immune to pesticides or other forms of control.

    Everything I’ve read indicates this doesn’t affect bananas that have made it to the store already, and I hope it isn’t harmful to humans. The bananas rot in the field from the disease. You can bet if the price of bananas goes up, then apples and other fruit will too.

    • Why do they have that smiling Professor in an article about a severe disease decimating a crop?

      • Maybe he was the first investor to ‘short sell’ his Dole and Chiquita stock?

      • Because he’s saying to himself, “Why, yes, yes…. they ALL laughed at me when I said I was going to become a “bannanna expert,” well whose laughing now, eh!! Now you need a bannanna expert! Not so funny, now is it? Bwahahahhaha….

  9. A total lunar eclipse is well positioned for all the United States in April, but most people will have to set their alarms for the middle of the night to see it. The moon passes into the shadow of Earth and takes on a reddish hue overnight from April 14 to 15.

  10. Writer-environmentalist Peter Matthiessen dies

    Few authors could claim such a wide range of achievements. Matthiessen helped found The Paris Review, one of the most influential literary magazines, and won National Book Awards for “The Snow Leopard,” his spiritual account of the Himalayas, and for the novel “Shadow Country.” A leading environmentalist and wilderness writer, he embraced the best and worst that nature could bring him, whether trekking across the Himalayas, parrying sharks in Australia or enduring a hurricane in Antarctica.

    He also was a longtime liberal who befriended Cesar Chavez and wrote a defense of Indian activist Leonard Peltier, “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,” that led to a highly publicized, and unsuccessful, lawsuit by an FBI agent who claimed Matthiessen had defamed him.

    “In Paradise,” which he had expected to be his last novel, will be published next week. The book was inspired by a visit in the 1990s he made to Auschwitz.

    • He was also a close friend of one of my literary heros Jim Harrison. Sad. R.I.P. Mr. Matthiessen.

      • Also, it is also my hope that Prez Obama, before he leaves office, gives Leonard Peltier a Presidential pardon. Clinton dropped the ball. Free the man, a politcal prisoner of a occupying nation he was resisting.

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