School Prayer

Decline Of Religiosity In America A Sign Of The Future In America

In the past few decades, we have seen the deleterious influence of the Christian Right in America, promoted in the 1970s and 1980s and beyond by the likes of the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

They and other preachers have utilized their influence to attempt to dominate American politics, and promote a right wing agenda that promotes intolerance and hate.

This includes opposition to women’s rights to control their own bodies (misogyny); opposition to gay rights and gay marriage; the repudiation of science for the teachings of the Bible; the rewriting of American history to make it seem that the Founding Fathers wanted a national religion and a theocracy to govern us; advocacy of war overseas against Islamic civilization; promotion of nativism on the issue of immigration; belief that school prayer will somehow change America in their direction; and attempts to legislate morality limits through control of government.

Originally known as the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition, many of these preachers have become super rich and gained the following of millions who have stopped using their brains, and just accept the unethical, hypocritical utterances of charismatic figures.

Despite this, there is now evidence that more Americans, particularly the young and disaffected, have abandoned organized religion and its narrow minded tenets. The Pew Research Center describes this group as the “Nones”, and they are 22.8 percent of US adults, up from 16.7 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, those who identify as Christian have declined nationally from 78 to 71 percent, including not only evangelicals but also Catholics and mainline Protestants and Mormons. There has also been growing disillusionment with the Catholic Church, mainline Protestant sects, and the Mormon Church.

The “Nones” outnumber Catholics (20.8 percent) and mainline Protestants (14.7 percent), demonstrating a constant decline in adults who identify as being Christians. “Nones” include those who have no religious affiliation, as well as those who say they are Atheists and Agnostics.

Evangelical Protestants still are the largest group at 25.8 percent, but they have declined, and it is clear that the “Nones” will eventually surpass them in the adult population of America over the next couple of decades, as many of the Evangelicals are older and will die off over time, as young Americans reject their divisive ideology!

The Tragedy Of The Republican Party: A Split Personality Outside The Mainstream!

Chris Matthews on MSNBC this evening summarized the tragedy of the Republican Party: that it has been “hijacked” by disparate groups that cause the party grief!

First, we have what Matthews calls the “Dixiecrats”, the Southern segregationists, who left the Democratic Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Then, due to the school prayer decision (Engle V Vitale) and abortion rights decision (Roe V Wade) of the Supreme Court, the “Moral Majority” or “Christian Coalition” or “Evangelical Right” went over to the Republican Party in the 1970s.

Finally, conservative “hawkish” Democrats, dissatisfied with the nomination of George McGovern in 1972 and President Jimmy Carter in 1976 also went over to the Republicans as the “neoconservatives”.

The result has been a “split personality” party which has marginalized itself more and more over the years, and moved away from the mainstream of America, as the Republican Party was until the mid 1970s.

Unless Jon Huntsman can, somehow, gain a surge and make a major fight for the GOP nomination, the Republican Party is going to remain outside the mainstream of America!

The “Social” Issues In The Presidential Campaign Of 2012: Are They Really Gay Marriage, Abortion, Affirmative Action, Gun Rights, School Prayer, And Immigration?

If you listen to Republican Presidential candidates and “social” conservatives, many of whom claim to be “good Christians”, one would conclude that the social issues for the nation in 2012 are:

1. Gay Marriage
2. Abortion
3. Affirmative Action
4. Gun Rights
5. School Prayer
6. Immigration

All of these issues are extremely controversial, but what are the REAL social issues in America?

1. Homelessness of so many Americans, including those once middle class citizens.
2. Hunger, where many Americans, millions of them children, have inadequate nutrition, which will affect them long term.
3. Unemployment long term of millions, many of them over 40 and through the 50s and early 60s in age, who will never be able to gain employment at all at any time, or at the most, never make anywhere near the same income they had been earning in good times.
4. The destruction of the retirement funds and plans of millions of senior citizens, who now have to work many more years than planned just to survive.
5. The lack of health insurance and coverage of many millions of people who cannot afford to go to a doctor or hospital, or afford extremely expensive medication that would prolong life.
6. The lack of educational opportunity for those who are in poverty stricken neighborhoods, and receive an inferior education due to local property taxes being the main source of educational funding.
7. The discrimination against the children of undocumented immigrants, who discover when becoming adults, that they cannot attend college or join the military, and are threatened with deportation, along with discrimination visited against them and their parents and family members in states, such as Alabama and Arizona, because of illegal immigration laws which are being challenged in the federal courts.
8. The continuing challenge for disabled Americans, whether from birth or as a result of accidents or health problems, who, despite the Americans With Disabilities Act passed under President George H. W. Bush in 1990, still face barriers to equality of treatment.

These eight problems listed above are the REAL social challenges, but the Republican Party and so called “religious” people totally ignore these issues, instead promoting a new version of the old Social Darwinism and Laizzez Faire Economics prevalent in the Gilded Age of the late 19th century!

In other words, they want to go back to the 19th century, wipe out the 20th century, and promote good old “Christian” and “Unbridled Capitalism” values, which made America a nation ripe for reform and change, including the Progressive Era, The New Deal, and The Great Society!

This attempt to return to the old conservatism is a great evil which must be defeated by all good, really “religious” people of all faiths, who believe in equality of opportunity and fairness and consideration of others less fortunate than those of us who are lucky and successful, and do not experience the hardships of others!

The past is the past, and we need to look to the future, and realize if one American is homeless, hungry, denied health care and education, or discriminated against, then we are all worse off because of those realities!

This must be a country of WE, rather than simply ME!

Margaret Hoover And The Future Of The Republican Party: Eliminate Social Conservatism And The Religious Right Influence

Margaret Hoover is the great granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover, and has written a new book entitled AMERICAN INDIVIDUALISM, in which she promotes the ideas of her great grandfather as the way for the Republican Party to grow and succeed in the future, by drawing the support of voters under 35 with their often expressed view of economic conservatism mixed with social liberalism.

Hoover says that social issues have damaged the Republican Party, and that they have become tied to the evangelical Right on such issues as abortion and gay rights and school prayer, and that these issues should not be connected to the party platform, as they cause the loss of support among those under 35.

Separation of church and state should be promoted, as it was until the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the party was influenced and captured by the Christian Coalition of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and other evangelicals who have become influential factors in Iowa and elsewhere, and have a tremendous influence on the Presidential nominating process and the Congress.

Even if one does not agree with Margaret Hoover’s promotion of economic conservatism, one can sympathize with her view that the Republican Party needs to stop being captive to the religious Right, liberate itself, and if it does so, it will have a better, long term future competing for the younger more socially liberal voting population, which has grown dramatically in recent years.

And as far as the evangelical Christian right is concerned, they have every right to run a third party candidate, but their influence over the major parties should be eliminated, and we should return to the concept of separation of church and state in American politics.

The Conflict Among Conservatives And Within The Conservative Movement

Conservatives argue that they are for smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, freedom and liberty.

They don’t like any type of economic regulation or redistribution of wealth.

And yet when push comes to shove, they are very willing to raise taxes on the average person and redistribute wealth to the top two percent, and destroy the middle class by their policies! 🙁

They are for freedom and liberty, and yet believe in a security state which can bug and wiretap everyone through the Patriot Act, and deny people privacy as to their library borrowing and bookstore purchases! 🙁

They are very willing to interfere in people’s social lives, including denying gays the basic freedom to serve in the military and marry the person they love; deny a woman the right to control her own body, even if a pregnancy is dangerous to her health; and impose religion on the population through promotion of a sectarian Christian prayer in public schools! 🙁

Even libertarian conservatives such as Rand Paul claim to want smaller government, and yet want to outlaw abortions from conception of the fetus, which is certainly government intrusion in private lives! 🙁

Conservatism claims to believe in individual rights, and yet constantly interferes with such rights in so many ways.

Conservatives wish to destroy the social safety net which has been with us since the New Deal of the 1930s, and this would create more poverty and deprivation and redistribute wealth further to the elite rich, and they have no conscience at all in doing this!

The Conservative Political Action Conference this Thursday to Saturday will showcase many of the potential GOP Presidential candidates, many of which conflict with each other about these different, competing and contradictory strands of the conservative movement.

With one year to go to the Iowa caucuses next February 6, most of the Republican aspirants for the White House shall appear and make speeches at CPAC, including Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John Thune, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour and Ron Paul.

But because of supposed scheduling conflicts, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin are not attending, which is very odd, as if they really wanted to attend this event in Washington, DC, they would find a way!

The competition among the attendees to win the straw poll vote and to appeal to the conflicting wings of the conservative movement should be very fascinating to watch this weekend! 🙂