Conservatives Hate Freedom

 Culture, Economy, Featured, Politics  Comments Off on Conservatives Hate Freedom
May 162012
 

Michael Lind has a great story at Salon.com today about how conservatives say one thing, but do another. I know that will come as a shock. Despite their claims of being the people bent on protecting Americans’ freedoms, they are actually the people who have, over the past 60 years, most sought to curtail those freedoms.

Lind is careful to make the distinction between true Libertarians and conservatives, and points out that, since World War II, conservatives have opposed every expansion of personal liberty in the U.S.

In the ’60s, Goldwater and Buckley, along with their adherents, opposed every civil rights measure for African-Americans. As is so often the case, they claimed they weren’t segregationist, they were opposing federal government interference, but this made them OK with state government interference in personal lives.

Up until 1965 the use of contraception was banned for married couples, and when the courts struck that down, and made abortion illegal, they didn’t even pretend it was for Constitutional reasons, but opposed it based on their religious views. As Lind puts it:

In other words, the very conservatives warning us about the dangers of “mobocracy” when it came to the welfare state had no objection to using the power of government to force their fellow citizens to live their private lives according to the teachings of Thomas Aquinas or the Book of Leviticus, as interpreted by semi-literate Southern Protestant preachers.

We explore here often not only their attempts to not only subvert the inalienable rights of LGBT people, but to, by state constitution fiat, curtail the rights.

They’re not better on the rights of workers and debtors and the poor, All people clearly covered in the Bible to which they so vehemently claim to be their authority. They have worked aggressively to inhibit workers rights to unionize and bargain for a better life, they have opposed the minimum wage at every stage, and oppose all workplace safety regulations.

Despite the biblical admonitions against usury, they have opposed every effort to help families refinance homes in which they are underwater. They have opposed taxes on the rich to help support the social safety net, and in many cases have worked for its removal.

Lind ends his piece with a chilling look at America if the conservatives had won their battles:

Formal racial segregation might still exist at the state and local level in the South. In some states, it would be illegal to get abortions or even for married couples to use contraception. In much of the United States, gays and lesbians would still be treated as criminals. Government would dictate to Americans with whom and how they can have sex. Unions would have been completely annihilated in the public as well as the private sector. Wages and hours laws would be abolished, so that employers could pay third-world wages to Americans working seven days a week, 12 hours a day, as many did before the New Deal.

This really is an article you need to read, especially if you are a conservative.

Oct 262008
 

An article at the Florida Bilerico project points out the lengths to which the American Taliban will go in order to scare people. John Stemberger, lead proponent of Florida’s Amendment 2, is claiming that if Amendment 2 fails, the schools will have to indoctrinate children to gay marriage.

John Stemberger

John Stemberger

Failing to ban gay marriage in the state constitution could result in the indoctrination of schoolchildren into a gay lifestyle. Florida schools might have to teach that gay weddings are the same as traditional unions if the proposal fails at the polls.

In the first place, there remain four (one wasn’t good enough for the American Taliban) Florida statutes on the books which prohibit gay marriage, and they will still be on the books after this election. They have been challenged in court, and have, so far, stood a state constitutional examination.

In the second place, when the hell did any teaching of “marriage” enter the school curriculum anyway…straight or gay? I admit to forgetting a lot, and it’s been a long time since I was in school, but I just don’t remember ever being taught “marriage.” But hey, if you’re crazy and desperate, anything goes, right?

And on top of all that, despite being an attorney (or maybe because of it), Stemberger and Florida4Marriage.com are being accused of violations of campaign finance laws. It seems that political organizations must disclose from whence comes their funding. Well Stemberger, who incorporated Florida4Marriage, also incorporated Florida Family Action as a not-for-profit. As such Florida Family Action would not have to disclose their donors. Now it turns out that Ads being run in favor of Amendment 2 say they are paid for by Florida4Marriage, but it turns out they actually paid for by Florida Family Action.

In fact, Florida Red and Blue, who filed the complaints, has a memo written by Stemberger encouraging people to donate to Florida Family Action rather than Florida4Marriage. When he was asked about it, The Florida Times Union reported the following:

Stemberger said having donors contribute to the lobbying group is proper and understandable – especially considering past backlash against donors like Amway Corp. founder Richard DeVos, a major donor.

“Some people want to remain anonymous. It’s because of the intimidation of our opponents.”

This to me sounds like an admission of guilt. The law says you can’t hide contributions for this kind of activity, regardless of the reason. The GOP has often been a primary benefactor of these kinds of initiatives, and have been in Florida up to recently. People don’t take actions like this unless they have a good reason to hide something. So let’s make Mr. Stemberger disclose who contributes to both organizations.

May 272008
 

In the past couple of weeks, Ellen DeGeneres had John McCain on her show, and they discussed same-sex marriage. I’ve come realize that Ellen is a very smart person, capable of putting forth a very rational argument in a very concise way.

The good folks at Box Turtle Bulletin have made the transcript available here.

While I’m sure the krazy kristian kooks are reveling in the golden egg handed them by the California Supreme Court (“see, it’s just a matter of time before these ‘activists’ judges makes us let the queers here in Florida get married, and then all the heterosexual marriages will be destroyed”), here’s a little tidbit for them to get worried about.

For some years Gallup has polled Americans about what is moral. Since 2001 homosexuality has been on the list, and it seems that in this year’s poll in May things evened out. 48% of Americans believe homosexuality is immoral, but the same percentage say it’s not.

Gallop Poll ResultsUnfortunately, this means that the Republicans have lost the threat of communism, and now are losing the threat of faggots as a tool for their political gain. I think that’s why they’ve been trying make immigrants the next target of hate, but that isn’t catching on so well.

Rest assured though, they will milk the grave threats of the homosexual agenda for all they can.

Jerry Falwell is Dead

 Gay Issues, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on Jerry Falwell is Dead
May 152007
 

Jerry Falwell, the founder of the Moral Majority and the face of the Religious Right during the 80’s, is dead at 73.

Falwell was known for his opposition to gay rights and his harsh language towards gay people.  After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, he blamed the attack on “the pagans, the abortionists, and the feminists and the gays and lesbians”.

He supported apartheid:

In the 1980s Jerry Falwell was an outspoken supporter of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. When president PW Botha was elected President by the White South African minority, Reverend Falwell went to South Africa and made statements supporting the government there and urging American Christians to buy Krugerrands, a coin issued by the South African Government[17]. He drew the ire of many when he called Nobel Peace Prize winner and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu a phony. He later apologized for that remark and claimed that he had misspoken.

His views on Jewish people (of which Jesus was one I’d remind him) were not very flattering:

Falwell has asserted that when The Antichrist (“The Beast”) comes, he “must be, of necessity, a Jewish male.”

After Southern Baptist Convention President Bailey Smith tells a Dallas Religious Right gathering that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew,” Falwell gives a similar view. “I do not believe,” he told reporters, “that God answers the prayer of any unredeemed Gentile or Jew.”

He had no shame when it came to money: 

November 1997: Falwell accepts $3.5 million from a front group representing controversial Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon to ease Liberty University’s financial woes. The donation, and several Falwell appearances at Moon conferences, raised eyebrows because Moon claims to be the messiah sent to complete the failed mission of Jesus Christ, a doctrine sharply at odds with Falwell’s fundamentalist Christian theology. (In 1978, before the Moon money started flowing, Falwell told Esquire magazine, “Reverend Sun Myung Moon is like the plague: he exploits boys and girls, and he should be exported.”)

And don’t forget, this is the same guy who decided Tinky Winky must be gay.

However in his later years he did mellow some and in August 2005 he made some statements that seemed to endorse some limited protections for gay and lesbian citizens.  Falwell stated that equal access to housing and employment are basic rights, not special rights and said that he supported civil rights for gay people. Guess he was getting concerned about this day coming, and learning first hand that God considers everyone his child.

“I may not agree with the lifestyle,” Falwell said. “But that has nothing to do with the civil rights of that… part of our constituency.

“Civil rights for all Americans, black, white, red, yellow, the rich, poor, young, old, gay, straight, et cetera, is not a liberal or conservative value,” Falwell went on to say. “It’s an American value that I would think that we pretty much all agree on.”

I wish he and his family peace.

James Dobson Too Big a Coward to Debate Evangelical Agenda

 Gay Issues, Politics, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Science, Society  Comments Off on James Dobson Too Big a Coward to Debate Evangelical Agenda
Mar 132007
 

From LA Times

Evangelicals battle over agenda, environment

A struggle for control of the evangelical agenda intensified this week, with some leaders declaring that the focus has strayed too far from their signature battles against abortion and gay rights.

Those issues defined the evangelical movement for more than two decades — and cemented ties with the Republican Party. But in a caustic letter, leaders of the religious right warned that these “great moral issues of our time” were being displaced by a “divisive and dangerous” alignment with the left on global warming.

A new generation of pastors has expanded the definition of moral issues to include not only global warming, but an array of causes. Quoting Scripture and invoking Jesus, they’re calling for citizenship for illegal immigrants, universal healthcare and caps on carbon emissions.

The best-known champion of such causes, the Rev. Jim Wallis, this week challenged conservative crusader James C. Dobson, the chairman of Focus on the Family, to a debate on evangelical priorities.

“Are the only really ‘great moral issues’ those concerning abortion, gay marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence?” Wallis asked in his challenge. “How about the reality of 3 billion of God’s children living on less than $2 per day? … What about pandemics like HIV/AIDS … [and] disastrous wars like Iraq?”

A Focus on the Family vice president, Tom Minnery, said he would be happy to take up that debate. Dobson himself, Minnery said, is busy writing a book on child rearing.

“Without question,” Minnery said, “issues like the right to life for an unborn child concern evangelicals far more broadly.”

The public dispute began with the release of a letter signed by several men who helped transform the religious right into a political force, including Dobson, Don Wildmon of the American Family Assn. and Paul Weyrich of American Values.

The signatories — most of them activists, not theologians — expressed dismay that an evangelical emphasis on global warming was “contributing to growing confusion about the very term ‘evangelical.’ ”

In religious terms, an evangelical is a Christian who has been born again, seeks a personal relationship with Christ, and considers the Bible the word of God, to be faithfully obeyed.

But Dobson and his fellow letter-writers suggested that evangelical should also signify “conservative views on politics, economics and biblical morality.”

The letter took particular aim at the Rev. Richard Cizik, a prominent evangelical lobbyist who has promoted environmental protection as a moral imperative. Citing the creation story in the Book of Genesis, he has called the fight against global warming a directive “straight from the word of God … no doubt about it.”

The letter accused Cizik of “dividing and demoralizing” Christians by pushing this agenda and called on his employer, the National Assn. of Evangelicals, to silence him or to demand his resignation.

“This is, in some ways, a defining moment,” said Randall Balmer, a professor of religion at Columbia University in New York. “It’s the old guard trying to hold on.”

The renewed debate on moral priorities came as the National Assn. of Evangelicals – which represents 45,000 churches and 30 million Christians – gathered for a board meeting Friday in Eden Prairie, Minn.

The board declined to censure or silence Cizik. Moreover, it appeared to embrace a broad view of the evangelical agenda, endorsing a sweeping human rights declaration.

The board also reaffirmed its support for a 2004 Call to Civic Responsibility that urged evangelical engagement on seven key issues, including religious freedom, the sanctity of life, justice for the poor, and environmental protection.

Those advocating a broader agenda insist that they’re not trying to downplay – much less back away from – traditional evangelical positions on abortion and sexual morality.

White evangelicals are more united against abortion than any other religious group, including Catholics, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. A 2005 poll found 15% in support of a total ban on abortion and 53% in favor of only narrow exceptions. By contrast, global warming is deemed a “very serious” problem by less than 30% of white evangelicals, according to a 2006 Pew Forum poll. Less than 40% accept the scientific consensus that human activity, such as burning coal for energy, is responsible for the Earth’s rising temperatures.

“It’s a mistake to think that we’re all becoming liberal Democrats. That’s not true,” Wallis said.

But he asserted that his followers – especially young people – no longer want the old guard of evangelicals to define their priorities.

When he preached recently at a conservative evangelical college, Wallis said, he was besieged by students furious at the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who recently described global warming as a satanic plot to divert Christians from more pressing moral issues, such as spreading the Gospel.

“James Dobson and the religious right are outside the evangelical mainstream. That’s just a fact,” Wallis said. “That doesn’t mean they have no power…. But their monologue is over. Their control of the agenda is over.”

He and others have sought to re-brand traditional slogans of the religious right, such as “pro-life,” to encompass a range of programs, from working with AIDS victims in Africa to helping illegal immigrants achieve legal status so they can continue to live with their U.S.-born children.

The Rev. Jim Ball, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, has worked global warming into his definition of pro-life; he argues reducing carbon emissions will cut back on air and water pollution and that in turn will improve the health of pregnant women and unborn generations.

“We’re saying we can be pro-life and take care of global warming,” Bal said. “There’s a strong connection there.”

Friday’s board meeting advanced that view, but the debate is not over.

“The NAE is at a crossroads,” board member Jerald Walz said.

“You won’t find an evangelical who will say ‘I’m for poverty.’ Of course not,” Walz said.

But when it comes to helping the poor, ideas vary; some prefer to work through private charity, while others want government intervention.

Since there’s no consensus, Walz argued, “we ought to be reticent about speaking with force and clarity” on such issues.

Instead, he will keep pressing to focus the agenda on issues he considers “home runs” – namely, restrictions on abortion and bans on same-sex marriage.

Some on the board who share those views are already working on a second letter criticizing Cizik for his environmental activism.

Balmer, the religion professor, says he senses an unstoppable momentum for the new generation of social-justice evangelicals. But though he criticizes the traditionalists for “moral myopia,” he’s not willing to write them off yet.

Dobson and his allies still wield considerable clout; their radio shows, newsletters and e-mail alerts reach millions of conservative Christians.

“They’re still very powerful,” Balmer said. “And they’re not giving up.”

We can only hope these goobers break apart and wind up devouring themselves.