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  1. #81  
    Romney, Religion and John F. Kennedy: Two Speeches, Two Different Viewpoints

    Barry W. Lynn Thu Dec 6, 7:06 PM ET

    I was disappointed in Mitt Romney's statement today on the role of religion in politics. It was billed in the press as Romney's version of the famous John F. Kennedy speech to the Houston Ministerial Association back in 1960.

    But the two addresses were not very similar. Kennedy said, "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.... I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish -- where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source -- where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials"

    Romney took a different tack. While he affirmed religious liberty in principle, he said we are in danger of taking church-state separation too far and that we are at risk of establishing a religion of secularism. I strongly believe that he is mistaken. The founders of our Constitution clearly meant for religion and government to be completely separate. That's the only way we can have real religious freedom in our incredibly diverse society.

    I was particularly outraged that Romney thinks that the Constitution is somehow based on faith and that judges should rule accordingly. That's a gross misunderstanding of the framework of our constitutional system. Judges should make their decisions based on civil and constitutional law, not religious concepts.

    I think it is telling that Romney quoted John Adams instead of Thomas Jefferson or James Madison. Jefferson and Madison are the towering figures who gave us religious liberty and church-state separation.

    I was also disappointed that Romney doesn't seem to recognize that many Americans are non-believers. Polls repeatedly show that millions of people have chosen to follow no spiritual path at all. Romney ought to have recognized that fact.

    I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and I believe in my faith. But I believe just as strongly that non-believers are good Americans too. I wish Romney had said so.

    My organization, Americans United, is nonpartisan and we take no position on candidates for any elective office. But I encourage all candidates to stand up for separation of church and state.
    Excellent points, all, whmurray. As the nation which was intended to be the home of the highest ideals of Liberty, the US must escape the reactionary tendencies toward prejudices we've historically encountered and too many times, been enabled by our own government.

    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    Sorry, Hobbes, it just does not wash. Islamic terrorists are to Islam as the KKK or Nazis are to Christianity, so rare that no question should arise. The fact that it does arise in your head is a "prejudice."

    "No religious test" means no de jure test but it is also a good ethical test. In an ethical sense it means that nice people do not ask "one additional question" of a candidate based upon his religious affiliation.

    There is raw evil in your position. It is an evil that pervades history. It is an evil the Founders recognized and spoke to. It is time for all men of good will to disavow it.
  2.    #82  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup View Post
    Being Jewish means being born from a Jewish mother. It's a genetic thing, not linked to a belief system, so trying to convert others doesn't make sense for Jews.
    clulup, allow me to remove my clerical collar for a moment to talk about this.

    Yes its also my understanding that technically only the child of a Jewish mother is deemed Jewish. i.e.: A child born of a Jewish father and a Christian mother would under strict interpretation of Jewish law, not be considered Jewish, even if raised as such.

    I believe this tradition had been relaxed in recent times within the least strict "Reform" branch of Judaism, and maybe even within the moderately strict "Conservative" branch.

    The "Orthodox" absolutely insist on that principle, but I know of a specific instance of an Ultra Orthodox man who was born to a non-Jewish mother, and raised Orthodox, -- and who was accorded all normal religious marriage rites within an Ultra Orthodox ceremony. (His wife came interestingly, from a family who were from the "reform" branch.) So there are exceptions, even within the Orthodox.

    Clearly it is also possible for a non-Jew to successfully convert and be adopted into the faith.

    The difference between it and most other religions though, is that there are very high hurdles for the convertee to overcome in order to become one of them.

    A convert -- even for example the Christian wife of a Jew who wants to join her husbands's faith -- needs to study with a Rabbi toward taking a fairly rigorous test.

    I've never seen this test, but I'm guessing that its maybe at least as tough as the NY Bar exam or even the football marriage test in "Diner" -- and certainly much harder than the test given to be a U.S. citizen.

    There are a variety of ways for any religion to grow their numbers:

    Moslems conquered people, and (unless they were Christians or Jews) the conquered were given the choice of converting to Islam or death (sometimes slavery was also an option).

    Christians grew by absorbing pagans and the traditions of pagans -- as well as by torturing and killing those who declined the invitation to join (South America, Spain...)

    The Shakers -- an industrious, sweet, utopianistic sect who "flourished" for a couple of decades at the end of the 19th century were based on a the principle of NEVER having sex, of never replicating themselves.

    They created beautiful furniture but no ugly human babies. They expected to expand exclusivey by recruiting new members through the strength of their message. The last of the Shakers died of old age maybe a decade ago.

    Then you have Mormons...

    Joseph Smith, Mormon's founder, clearly had the most creative religious marketing strategy of any religion I know of. Both Polygamy and the assigning very young girls as "brides" is a brilliant recruitment tool for horny men -- and it has the additional corollary benefit of facilitating the largest possible internal population increase from within its own members, without being dependent on the conversion of outsiders. (Though all of that, together with its aggressive recruiting and other issues were a part of why Mormonism was so unpopular among non-Mormons back in the 1840's ...)

    BTW, in my youth, when BARYE had more idealism and some vestige of compassion for mankind, I would sometimes go village to village, door to door, evangelizing about the good news of the coming arrival of rationality.

    Jealous of this inspirational message and fearful of losing congregants, the church's inquisitors created an enhanced therapeutic interview process for anyone potentially infected by BARYE's unbelieving virus.

    Their success is why today BARYE’s religion is so small. (I may have been somewhat responsible for the invention of waterboarding too...)
    Last edited by BARYE; 12/10/2007 at 09:04 AM.
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  3. #83  
    Quote Originally Posted by lifes2short View Post
    Romney, Religion and John F. Kennedy: Two Speeches, Two Different Viewpoints



    Excellent points, all, whmurray. As the nation which was intended to be the home of the highest ideals of Liberty, the US must escape the reactionary tendencies toward prejudices we've historically encountered and too many times, been enabled by our own government.
    We have not simply "encountered" them but tolerated, encouraged, and often insisted upon them. Many of them are so subtle that even the sophisticated elite that ought to know better cannot seem to recognize them when they fall over them. Even obvious ones such as the assumption that a candidate for president must be a white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, male are below the threshold of recognition. We seem to think nothing of asking a candidate about his ancestry, marital status, gender orientation, or religion as though these will tell us anything about whether he will fill his administration with cronies, take us into war, steal from us, create a police state, or torture people. A candidate can fail because he is not white enough, black enough, masculine enough, or Christian enough. The media focuses on these things to the exclusion of integrity, experience, competence, policy, program, party, or government. Is it just the media or are they reflecting us?
    Last edited by whmurray; 12/09/2007 at 10:02 PM.
    Up the next election, my citizens; always the next election.
  4. #84  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    Then you have Mormons...

    Stephen Smith, Mormon's founder, clearly had the most creative religious marketing strategy of any religion I know of. Both Polygamy and the assigning very young girls as "brides" is a brilliant recruitment tool for horny men -- and it has the additional corollary benefit of facilitating the largest possible internal population increase from within its own members, without being dependent on the conversion of outsiders. (Though all of that, together with its aggressive recruiting and other issues were a part of why Mormonism was so unpopular among non-Mormons back in the 1840's ...
    Rather transparently, the catholic church encourages internal growth by forbidding any form of contraception, despite the deadly effects this has in Africa.

    Surur
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    #85  
    Quote Originally Posted by tirk View Post
    No. No-one who believes in irrational fantasy should be trusted with anything more dangerous than a spoon.
    So sayeth the athiest who believes we casually came from a cosmic ball of mud.
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    #86  
    Quote Originally Posted by tirk View Post
    But with most religions, you can't be consistent in your beliefs and also "leave it where it belongs". It has to suffuse all of your life, and decision making.
    The same can be said of the atheist or the agnostic.

    And giving control of nuclear weapons to someone who believes in life after death is just plain dumb!
    Giving someone the ability to post on an Internet forum who has a nasty tendency to pigeon-hole the notion of an "afterlife" is also plain dumb - but none of us are complaining.
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    #87  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Rather transparently, the catholic church encourages internal growth by forbidding any form of contraception, despite the deadly effects this has in Africa.

    Surur
    I think you have also, rather transparently, ignored the notion of abstinence - which is also quite central to the faith.
  8. #88  
    Quote Originally Posted by gojeda View Post
    I think you have also, rather transparently, ignored the notion of abstinence - which is also quite central to the faith.
    Abstinence in Marriage? Is that a new catholic belief I have not heard of before? Shakers version 2?

    Surur
  9. #89  
    And what was that nonsense about religion and freedom?

    ""Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

    Yeah right! Tell that to the religious people of Saudi Arabia or any Islamic country, or Gujarat (India) or Ireland or Israel where religion has freed people to associate and express themselves or live their life as freely as they want <sarcasm off>.

    I don't buy that inevitable argument that religion is being "misused" by these societies and that it is a great thing in its pristine state. I define religion by its followers and its effect in daily life on this earth.

    No one would have been killed or oppressed in the name of religion if the role of religion was limited to the personal and private realm.

    One can make the argument that is opposite of what Romney said: (Public) religion and freedom go hand-in-hand, but in opposite direction.

    As secular society (where every religion is treated EQUAL) is the only one where EVERY person can practice their religion (or lack thereof) freely.

    There would be no discussion of the candidates religion is such a society, only his/her policy issues that relates to governance.

    Romney's belief in JC as a son of god and savior of mankind should have no relevance to his presidency. Alas, that is not the case in modern America, as this election makes it amply clear.
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  10. gojeda's Avatar
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    #90  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Abstinence in Marriage? Is that a new catholic belief I have not heard of before? Shakers version 2?

    Surur
    Yes. The notion of abstinence is considered essential both inside and outside of marriage - for the purposes of family planning....etc
  11. #91  
    Quote Originally Posted by gojeda View Post
    Yes. The notion of abstinence is considered essential both inside and outside of marriage - for the purposes of family planning....etc
    I find it difficult to believe you are being serious, but I am sure you are. Thats what you call setting people up to fail. At least the happily married couple can always have an abortion. Oh, I forgot they cant.

    Surur
  12. #92  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    I find it difficult to believe you are being serious, but I am sure you are. Thats what you call setting people up to fail. At least the happily married couple can always have an abortion. Oh, I forgot they cant.

    Surur
    Setting people up to fail is part of the system, like telling adolescents that erotic thoughts will land one in hell. That is where the power of the confessional comes from.
    Up the next election, my citizens; always the next election.
  13. #93  
    Quote Originally Posted by gojeda View Post
    I think you have also, rather transparently, ignored the notion of abstinence - which is also quite central to the faith.
    Please quote the scripture which forbids sex. Pick a Bible, any Bible.

    Who's faith? This deluded version of christianity you describe is not of christ, but of political special-interest groups.
  14. #94  
    Quote Originally Posted by lifes2short View Post
    Please quote the scripture which forbids sex. Pick a Bible, any Bible.

    Who's faith? This deluded version of christianity you describe is not of christ, but of political special-interest groups.
    He knows it. He has got his tongue in his cheek again. In any case, Gojeda is not talking about proscriptions. Rather he is talking about prescriptions, "increase and multiply." Of course, do so only within marriage between members of the tribe presided over by the priests of the tribe.

    That which is not explicity required is implicilty forbidden. Such a system!
    Up the next election, my citizens; always the next election.
  15. #95  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    I find it difficult to believe you are being serious,........
    Not really. He is stating fact but he is never really serious. He thinks that the universe is a huge cosmic joke and that he is the only one that gets it. He is laughing at all the rest of us. The more absurd the proposition, the harder he laughs. He has got a point; it is funny. Being able to laugh at it is essential to sanity.
    Up the next election, my citizens; always the next election.
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    #96  
    Quote Originally Posted by lifes2short View Post
    Please quote the scripture which forbids sex. Pick a Bible, any Bible.

    Who's faith? This deluded version of christianity you describe is not of christ, but of political special-interest groups.
    Who ever said anything about "forbiding sex"?

    Read what was said, not what you "think" was said.
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    #97  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    I find it difficult to believe you are being serious, but I am sure you are. Thats what you call setting people up to fail. At least the happily married couple can always have an abortion. Oh, I forgot they cant.

    Surur
    I take it by your comments that family planning is a four letter word and that we should, instead, spawn like trout. And if there is an "oopsie", well, we can just hit the clinic on the way to Walmart to "correct" the problem.

    Ridiculous....

    Your myopia regarding the notion that abstinence is just about "not having sex" precludes you from speaking on the matter in a meaningful way, so I will just end it here by saying that abstinence is about responsibility more than anything else.
  18.    #98  
    Quote Originally Posted by gojeda View Post
    ...Your myopia regarding the notion that abstinence is just about "not having sex" precludes you from speaking on the matter in a meaningful way, so I will just end it here by saying that abstinence is about responsibility more than anything else.
    abstinence: from the root abstain

    intr.v.
    ab新tained , ab新tain搏ng , ab新tains

    To refrain from something by one's own choice...
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    #99  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    abstinence: from the root abstain

    intr.v.
    ab新tained , ab新tain搏ng , ab新tains

    To refrain from something by one's own choice...
    That is right....and the reason for abstaining is what?

    Re----- what?

    Re-----spon----?

    Bueller?

    Anyone?
  20. #100  
    Catholics who use abstinence for family planning are like the Amish who use horses to plough - stuck in the past, and just as religiously fundamentalist.

    Surur
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