The Watering Hole, Monday, January 25th, 2016: All-“Christian” Edition

Today’s offerings are from two sites whose only thing in common seems to be that they both have the word “Christian” in their names.

First, let’s look at a few things from the Christian Post website (the more ‘persecuted-RW-Christian’ site.)

The Christian Post has sent the 2016 Presidential candidates a list of 12 questions which they feel are most important for the candidates to answer. So far, only two Republican candidates, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, have responded.

Here’s Ben Carson’s responses, a few of which I’d like to comment upon:

2. What is marriage, and what should be the government’s interest and role in marriage?
Like many Christians, I believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman in the witness of God. The government’s interest and role in marriage should be to protect and sanctify this institution[emphasis mine] because it is the cornerstone of our society. Raising families with two parents is key to a child’s development, and marriage is a strong institution that solidifies this crucial social structure. Marriage combines the efforts of two people to provide for and raise children, and gives children two parental figures to love and care for them.

Okay – First, define “sanctify”. According to Wikipedia:

“Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy.[1] “Sanctity” is an ancient concept widespread among religions. It is a gift given through the power of God to a person or thing which is then considered sacred or set apart in an official capacity within the religion, in general anything from a temple, to vessels, to days of the week, to a human believer who willingly accepts this gift can be sanctified. To sanctify is to literally “set apart for particular use in a special purpose or work and to make holy or sacred.”

So Carson believes that the U.S. Government has role in every citizen’s marriage, and that role is to make it “holy or sacred”? Does that make the U.S. Government a god?   Doesn’t that conflict with the Establishment Clause?  If Ben Carson believes that marriage is such a strong institution, why not rail against divorce? Christians get divorced at the same – or higher – rate as any other group, not to mention that divorce is said to be a big sin in the eyes of Jesus. If Jesus thought divorce was so wrong, but didn’t mention homosexuality, why can’t the “key” two-parents-must-raise-a-child be in a same-sex marriage?

10. What are your priorities related to both protecting the nation’s natural resources and using those resources to provide for the nation’s energy needs?

Energy is the life-blood that keeps our economy growing. It fuels the tractors that plow America’s fields. It powers the trucks, trains and planes that deliver American products. And it drives the American people in their everyday lives. If we want to return America to its former prosperity, we need to ensure that America’s energy grid is not only reliable, but affordable. That means looking into all potential energy sources to find the most efficient, most effective and more reliable energy grid possible.

We can’t afford to mandate unrealistic fuel standards or price-inflating renewable mandates. But as these energy sources compete head to head, technological advancements and innovations will help drop costs and raise efficiencies even further.

[and the money quote]

When it comes to the environment, we should be good stewards of God’s resources, but the best way to do that is through market-based mechanisms and private efforts, not via government edicts that destroy businesses and intrude into citizens’ lives.

Yeah, because I’m sure that “God” was thinking of “market-based mechanisms and private efforts” when he told mankind to be good stewards of Earth. And wasn’t Carson just talking about how “government” should have an “interest” and “a role” in a couple’s marriage, i.e., “intrud[ing] into citizens’ lives”, and very personally, I might add? But the “government” shouldn’t be involved in determining how the entire country uses its natural resources, because that would “intrud[e] into citizens’ lives”?  Carson has very mixed, and incorrect, notions of what government’s priorities should be.

12. What caused the Great Recession, and what should be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again?

A number of factors contributed to the global financial crisis, but what became clear was that when bankers engaged in highly leveraged financial bets, ordinary taxpayers ended up footing the bill for the big banks’ bailouts.

I believe that certain types of regulations are reasonable for regulating financial markets. For instance, Glass-Steagall was a reasonable piece of legislation after the 1929 stock market crash, and perhaps should be re-imposed in a modified form.

This does not mean that the regulations imposed after the financial crisis were appropriate. In fact, Dodd-Frank is a monstrosity that does not address the root cause of the crisis, imposes heavy burdens on community banks, severely limits the freedom of financial institution to engage in ordinary business and saps economic growth with restrictive government controls.

I believe that when such government regulations choke economic growth, it is the poor and the middle class that are hurt the most.

Carson (or whoever wrote his ‘responses’ for him) must have just skimmed the “U.S. Economic History, Late 20th – Early 21st Century” Cliff Notes(TM), latching on to just enough topical buzzwords and meaningless phrases to put together a few sentences. Too many points there to elaborate on, I’ll let you all pick them apart if you wish.

And here’s Carly Fiorina’s responses. I’m just going to comment on one of them.

10. What are your priorities related to both protecting the nation’s natural resources and using those resources to provide for the nation’s energy needs?

Fiorina: As president, I will ensure that the United States is the global energy powerhouse of the 21st century.

That means reinstating the Keystone XL Pipeline that President Obama rejected. It also means rolling back the regulations from this administration that limit our ability to find resources by imposing regulations on hydraulic fracturing and our ability to be energy independent by regulating drilling on federal lands. As president, I will make America an energy leader through technology and innovation.

No, no, no! Fiorina is just so wrong, it’s hard to believe that she could possibly be serious. Keystone XL, fracking, and drilling, and on OUR federal lands, no less? How does one become an “energy leader through technology and innovation” while relying solely on finite, filthy fossil fuels? Aaarrgghhh!

Let’s turn to the Christian Science Monitor for a few things that are more reality-based and inspiring.

First, I’m sure that you’re all aware by now that Earth may have a new neighbor, as astronomers announced the possibility of a hidden ninth planet.

The evidence for the existence of this “Planet Nine” is indirect at the moment; computer models suggest a big, undiscovered world has shaped the strange orbits of multiple objects in the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy bodies beyond Neptune.

Next, we can once again thank the Hubble telescope and NASA for showing us the amazing beauty of space, in this article about the Trumpler 14 star cluster. Just don’t let Donald Trump know about Trumpler 14, he’ll probably think that (a) the star cluster is named for him, and (b) therefore he owns it.
Trumpler 14Source:

And finally, for our Zookeeper, here’s an article discussing why the zebra has stripes. While it appears that the idea that the striping is for camouflage may be incorrect, there is still no consensus on a proven biological reason.
brown striped zebra

This is our daily Open Thread–discuss whatever you want.

28 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, January 25th, 2016: All-“Christian” Edition

  1. My Q for Carson, for each and every religion-biased candidate for public office everywhere, is a simple one, but one I’ve never seen definitively answered by anyone who appears driven by religious belief/mandate:

    What is the source of the rumor that a particular religious belief — whatever it might be — enjoys even the barest vestige of Constitutional support, much less mandate, that allows it to supersede individual privilege? Please be precise and point to the definitive words in the Constitution body, as amended.

  2. Glenn Beck has endorsed Ted Cruz because Cruz is a ‘constitutionalist’ ergo the ideal Republican presidential candidate. He hopes the election will be a Cruz/Sanders contest because, as he puts it,

    “The real question that is before America is this: Do we believe in socialism or constitutionalism? Those should be the two candidates in the United States of America, and let the people decide.

    “Are we going socialist or back to the Constitution? That’s a fair and honest debate.”

    Where, in the Constitution, is Bernie Sanders-style “socialism” disallowed? We regularly hear, from the right, about the ‘evils’ of Socialism, but why? On what basis? Seems to me the Constitution was written so as to favor ‘we the people’ in every regard, and not ‘we the power hungry’ or ‘we the moneybags’ or ‘we the Christers’ or ‘we the _________’. What’s the constitutional basis for the “fear” of socialism, of equality for all, of common sense economics?

    • Well, keep in mind that people like Beck have no idea about the word “socialism’s” many meanings. (I can count at least four major trends, any one or combination of which could qualify, if taken far enough. Yet I’m still unable to give any account for anti-propertarian anarchists like Emma Goldman or the early Proudhon.)

      • Yes, I get the various ‘definitions’ of socialism, that it has in some quarters an “evil” reputation that’s presented as the equivalent, more-or-less, of Marxism/communism, that it’s anti-freedom, anti-American, even unconstitutional. Problem is no one has ever yet, to my knowledge, presented just how such things as “promoting the general welfare” and fair taxation and education for all is a violation of our constitutional privilege. Bernie Sanders, e.g., is clearly not a Stalinist or even Putinesque in his vision for this country, but yet he’s a “socialist” and therefore is considered by some to be “unelectable” and probably even anti-American.

        Where is it written — in the Constitution — that his views are wrong?

    • I wasn’t aware that America had abandoned the Constitution….

      Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter – like hookers who have been in it too long …. pulling the fishnets on one more time to try and make enough for the next hit of cigarettes and meth …. wobbling on too-high stripper heels down to the docks for the next Russian fishing boat to come in…

    • We need to start using the term “evil capitalist’ before names, as in the evil capitalist Wall St. bankers or evil capitalist lobbyists.

      • And esp. before Republican candidate names for most any office anywhere. I like it!

        BTW, note that neither the word “capitalist” or “capitalism” appears anywhere in the Constitution. Interesting that so many “Constitutionalists” see this country as “capitalist” by definition.

  3. For Ammo Bundy, his nutcase militia screwball criminals, and anyone else who thinks Federal and State lands/property are ‘unconstitutional’:

    Article IV., Section 3, Clause 2:

    The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

    • Sadness can be endemic, esp. when so many are faced with the realization that an extremely kind soul is forever gone from this existence. Still, at least everyone she touched will be forever better than before, and that’s a good thing.

      But still, the sadness . . .

      • Yes, the sadness stayed with me through work today. I had often shared some of the bird photos that Ebb posted with a few of my co-workers, and they, too were saddened by the news.

        I had started working on today’s post before we heard about Ebb, and I had a hard time going back to, and focusing on, a ‘normal’ Monday political post. And even the good news that our niece Emily and her longtime boyfriend Mike finally got engaged didn’t help a whole hell of a lot.

        • On May 31 last year, one of the best friends I’ve ever known died. He was “only” 88, but had been seriously slipping for the last four years. In short, we expected his passing, but the reality still hit home hard, and so it remains. And there’s nothing we can do to change the reality; he’s gone. But not the memories, the stories, the smiles, the undercurrent character that he spread to all who knew him. In my corner of the world, those things will live as long as I do — and hopefully I’ve transmitted some of same to others who will outlive me.

          Life is curious. Death is final, in a way, but lives of others are oft enriched by those who have left us, and so their essence lives on. I try to remember that, and — with luck — to carry the enrichment I’ve gained forward.

          Ebb clearly followed that same path. Her legacy of tolerance, of love of the earth, of ‘critters’, will carry forth — because she was here, because she was Ebb.

          The sadness of all who knew her will linger, of course, but so will the smiles of we who recall the grace that was hers. That in itself is a most worthy legacy, and far too rare.

        • Oh, so nice to hear of the joy for your family…. I know the world continues to turn…. 🙂 in lovely ways…. but I also know why the old people, they have their wrinkles…. there is one for each friend and family member they have lost on their way.

  4. In Snarly Fiorina’s own words, “As president, I will make America an energy leader through technology and innovation.”

    So, i.o.w., she’ll invest heavily in renewables — in solar, wind, and the means to store what they can produce. Maybe she’ll even see to the manufacture of, say, solar-powered vehicles? And maybe in the process of such high-tech development, renewables will completely power every aspect of the US by, say, 2050, and because of her stunning contrib. to renewable technology will become the world’s source for the means to completely divorce from fossil fuels and their destructive pollution(s)?

    Yay Snarly!

    Oh, wait. She plans on “reinstating the Keystone XL Pipeline that President Obama rejected. It also means rolling back the regulations from this administration that limit our ability to find resources by imposing regulations on hydraulic fracturing and our ability to be energy independent by regulating drilling on federal lands.”

    Hewlett-Packard revisited, sounds like.

    Boo Snarly!

    • Stunningly good news from 12 good people and true in Texas….. there is hope for rational and just thought in that state,

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