Conservatives Still Playing in the Planned Parenthood Sandbox

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The world is in disarray; our sworn enemies are getting stronger and closer; with the release of the billion$ to Iran (after our Jihadist-in-Chief worked his magic) we are now one of the largest financiers of terrorist networks in the world and, simultaneously, we are assisting our most diabolical enemy in the creation of Nuclear warheads that will be pointed at us; our national Debt is near the breaking point; we have millions of uninvited guest living and working here and using resources that were only intended for U.S. citizens; our unemployment rate is ridiculously and dangerously high.

With all this (just the tip of the iceberg) and even more going on and threatening our existence, the so-called Conservative Republican contenders for President in 2017 are still going to extreme, nauseating lengths, planning a war with Planned Parenthood.

I agree with the basic Conservative principle of limited government, I champion a free market, I oppose excessive taxes and unnecessary regulations on business and I champion a strong national defense, but I loudly and firmly oppose any connection between organized religion and organized politics (only because there IS NO CONNECTION and there should not be one).

Mr or Ms Conservative candidate proudly proclaim, on a near-daily basis, the purely moral position that they are “pro-life.” Does that make them better at making the right political decision when the good of the country is at stake? NO, of course not! Politicians (even Conservative ones) should do their jobs and make decisions on the bases of Constitutionality and relevant law. Yes, we are all moral beings, that’s just part of our better nature and part how most of us were brought up; with ingrained rules that say this is right and that is wrong. A politician who self-identifies as either “pro-life” or “pro-choice” brings NOTHING to the table when it comes to doing the jobs they were elected to do. Yet that seems to be the primary “credential” for many of them in this (and past) election seasons.

Here’s a news flash for citizen, non-politicians who have been drinking the Religious Conservative Kool-Aid for so long that they believe that they can’t call themselves Conservative without being devoutly religious and advertising it! You’ve been duped! If you believe, as I stated above that I do, in the core Conservative values of small government, less regulation and a strong free market a strong national defense and responsible levels of taxation you ARE a Conservative. Don’t let Sean Hannity, Mark Levin or any other Conservative talker tell you otherwise because you disagree with them on the LEAST IMPORTANT issues facing America and Americans.

The Website About.com has an excellent “Overview of Political Conservatism”. What is excellent about this particular definition of Conservatism is the fact that it correctly identifies Conservatism as a two-part philosophy:

Part 1 is identified as “core tenets” of Conservatism. For me, these core tenets define what I call “Secular Conservatism. The “core tenets” of Conservatism are the basic beliefs in three principles: (from the article): “1) Economic liberty and the central role of free enterprise in American society, 2) A small, non-invasive government, (and) 3) A strong national defense focused on protection and the fight against terrorism.”

Part 2 consists of the “Ancillary Principles & Ideologies” of Conservatism. These ancillary principles are the things that Religious Conservatives see as potential threats to their religious beliefs: Attitudes about “traditional family values”, marriage, the commitment to faith and religion and the assumed right to life for still un-born potential citizens. Even the strongest Religious Conservative would have to scratch pretty hard to find an “Ancillary Conservative Principle” that will help them do the main job they were elected to do.

Nothing wrong with morality or religion, but my point is, when these things become the focal point of an elected official’s political life the importance and connotations of the words ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ as they were intended by our forefathers can become too easily lost in admonitions from bible verse. Also, when Religious Conservatism is forced down the country’s throat as the ONLY alternative to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, it begins to ‘taste and smell’ like sour milk.

One more thing, all this ranting and raving against Planned Parenthood is based solely on some videos that were produced by a group whose primary (and perhaps ONLY) goal is to cripple Planned Parenthood. Sounds suspicious to me!

Recommended:

Washington Post: “Why the war over Planned Parenthood will hurt the GOP in 2016

Ding Dong the DOMAs Dead!

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DOMA
The BIG news today is, of course the Supreme Court’s ruling “overturning” DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act); it’s hard to understand legalese sometimes, but I think that means that they declared DOMA unconstitutional.

I don’t know how many times I’ve declared DOMA unconstitutional over the past years in this blog, but it feels good to be proved right.

The absolute foolishness of believing, as most anti-gay marriage activists apparently do, that a same-sex marriage in any way effects a traditional marriage, is mind boggling. Do they really think that every time a same-sex couple gets married, a heterosexual couple will get unmarried? Do they really believe that “straight” people will be lured into same-sex relationships simply by the legalization of same-sex marriage? If they do they are thinking stupid. Do they worry that their straight kids will all suddenly go against their natural attractions and suddenly become attracted to someone of the same sex? Apparently they do and that’s even worse than stupid, it’s illogical.

This whole anti-gay phenomenon is simply a reaction by people who have been raised with (and by)religion. The simple realization that all society is not ruled strictly by bible verse is driving them crazy. There are many wonderful lessons to be learned by the Bible but there are also many falsehoods (such as the basic falsehood, the inerrancy of the Bible) that have been taken for granted as true. To understand that the Bible was written by mortal men who inserted their own beliefs into what they felt to be “the word of God” is a very important understanding.

Back from the sublime: there will probably be more “Gay Pride” parades in the following days, with gay guys dancing around like a bunch of Disney fairies. News Flash! You have nothing to be proud of. You are what you are and antagonizing the rest of the population (the majority) will gain you nothing but more ridicule and more hate! Well deserved ridicule for acting like uncivilized children and understandable hate by people who refuse to believe that gay is NOT a choice — but a God-given (if you’ll allow me that phrase), inherent sexual preference.

References:

Politico: Justice Antonin Scalia brings drama to DOMA ruling

USA Today: How will same-sex marriage rulings affect children?

The Psychology of the “Fair-Weather” Believer

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Nigel Barber is an author, blogger and biopsychologist . . . wait a minute, what’s a biopsychologist? I looked it up and apparently it’s a real branch of psychology; it is: “The branch of psychology that studies the biological foundations of behavior, emotions, and mental processes,” i.e., how what’s happening in your life effects your thinking and your actions.

Nigel Barber has published an article in the “Huff Post” blogs titled: “Big Government Kills Religion.” I found this title particularly interesting because I’ve argued for years that Religion is the poison pill that has destroyed fair, equitable and rational government, but I had never really considered the effect of government on religion.

Mr Barber proves his thesis pretty well by citing statistics that show that, in his words:

“It seems that people turn to religion as a salve for the difficulties and uncertainties of their lives. In an earlier study of 137 countries, I found that belief in God was higher in countries with a heavy load of infectious diseases, making life difficult and uncertain. Moreover, fewer people believed in God in wealthy and well-educated countries where life is easier. Countries with a more equal distribution of income – and hence less social problems had more atheists. Atheism was higher for countries with a well-developed welfare state (as indexed by high taxation rates). [see *NOTE].

Assuming that Mr. Barber’s thesis: “Big Government Kills Religion” is 100% accurate what does that tell you about religious people. It is more of an indictment of religion than it is of government (large or small). It suggests to me that people use religion as a “crutch” not as a firm, honest belief. To them, the existence of their God, their religious texts and their belief in an afterlife are just medicine to see them through the “sick” times; but when ‘the “patient” is “well,” the “medicine” sits on the shelf over the bathroom sink, just as the ‘religious text’ sits in a drawer; until, that is, it is needed again at the moments just before death.

*NOTE: Mr. Barber, tends to prove his ignorance of Atheism with statements like this: “Countries with a more equal distribution of income – and hence less social problems had more atheists.” If anyone were to think about it, they would realize that social problems or the existence or non-existence of a welfare state have very little to do with true Atheists; these things might, however, effect how much supposed ‘believers’ bother to embrace their religion. People who go to church and pray during the hard times and forget religion during the good times are NOT Atheists, they are “fair-weather believers.”.

The BSA Motto Should Be: “Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world”

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The headline on the current NBC News blog reads:

“‘Gravely distressed’: Religion looms large over Boy Scouts decision on gays.”

That decision is supposed to be announced in the middle of this week.

There is no real need to specify who is gravely distressed, everyone involved in the situation is stressed.

The churches who sponsor boy scout troops are distressed to imagine that the Boy Scouts will be forced to accept gay scouts and possibly even gay scout leaders. It’s pretty obvious why the religious groups would be distressed and, if gays are allowed in scouting, the religious organizations might be forced (by their membership) to stop sponsoring Boy Scout Troops or if not, they will certainly go into overtime praying to keep their kids on the “straight” and narrow.

That possibility plus the possibility that many parents of Boy Scouts may pull their kids out of scouting altogether and make a big “stink” in the press while they do it is certainly stressing out the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) leadership.

Then there are gay kids who just want to be Boy Scouts: go camping, have fun and learn all the skills that boy scouting teaches. They are distressed that the churches and the BSA are attempting to reinforce their status as “social outcasts” based on nothing more than an unreasoned fear of their sexual preferences.

The false assumption that underlies all this is that gay kids who go into scouting and gay scout leaders are predators and will try to molest and/or convert straight kids. It’s as simple as that! To say that will never happen in isolated instances is being as naive as those who think that all gay scouts will be happy and accepted and not be routinely taunted, bullied and brutalized by the good “Christian” scouts.

Many kids have been brought up (by their parents and by religious institutions) to be intolerant and have little respect for those who have different beliefs and values than they have. If this were not true school bullying would not be the epidemic that schools are being forced to spend time and money trying to control and many gay kids would still be alive. The churches that sponsor scout troops, even if they sincerely try, will not have a major impact on that unfortunate situation; but continuing to deny straight kids the option of normal socialization with gay kids not only exacerbates that situation, it reinforce myths, rumors and misleading religious teachings.

Maybe the BSA and the religious groups should look at this entire situation as a challenge rather that a distressing problem. If the leadership of the BSA is up to the challenge of developing better leaders, and if the pressure being put on BSA leaders by the church are minimized, it’s very possible that current boyscouts may learn to truly accept the fact that there are many different types of people and social beliefs in the world. Who knows, a boy who learns that, may well grow up to become a tolerant, open-minded individual with a better understanding of how life really works and how the world in general works. That type of person may no longer be welcomed into the strict, narrow-minded world of some religious organizations but, if they are not, it’s a win for society and a loss for those religions.

It is said that scouting builds character! The title of this blog entry is taken from a popular quote about character building by ‘Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe:’ “Talents are best nurtured in solitude. Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.”

In closing, let me emphasize that in America the BSA, as a private organization, will not be forced by the government to accept gay scouts — nor should they be. Scouting has been going on for many, many years without being all inclusive. Over the years, time, attitudes and public pressure have changed their outlook and methods. In the 1970s there was a Nudist Resort that sponsored small troops of boy and girl scouts. That would probably be unheard of in America in the 21st Century but times change and attitudes change — sometimes for the better.

An Enemy of Intelligent Thought: Bryan Fischer

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Right Wing Watch is thankfully watching a dangerous man: Bryan Fischer.

The above linked article is filled with Fischer’s homophobia but there are two statements in particular I would like to point out:

“If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students.”

and

“Not One Loving Father Should Entrust Son (sic) to the Boy Scouts if Gays Are Included”

These statements are a clear indication that Mr. Fischer has lost his ability to relate to the world outside of his right-wing/the bible is the Word of God and is infallible cocoon.

Religion can be, as Brynn Tannehill said, in THIS article “either a benefit or a hazard.”

Religion is beneficial when it helps people understand that they are how “God” (I use that term because it is what most people call the universe’s creative force) made them, and not how extremely literal religionists paint them.

It is hazardous when it does not help people understand this.

If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, ALL children will have to be raised to understand that everyone is different and there is no “right” way to be.

THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN because there are too many parents like Bryan Fischer in the world.

The only antidote to student suicide then is the student’s self-acceptance combined with self-defense. That sounds ugly but it’s true. Self-defense does not necessarily mean “mortal combat” but in the case of physical bullying it may mean just that. In my view, every child should be taught some form self defense; it can help protect them from harm and will, if taught properly, improve his or her character.

In most cases, however, self-defense is education. A parent of a gay child is doing an injustice to the child if he/she/they do not give the child a complete understanding of the mental illness that the extremely literal religionists are suffering from, i.e. “ammunition” for their brain so they can combat ignorant religionist banter.

Know your enemy . . . and anyone who can make illiterate remarks like Bryan Fischer IS your enemy.

As to his other comment: “Not One Loving Father’ Should Entrust (His) Son to the Boy Scouts if Gays Are Included” it certainly sounds like he is afraid that the gay lifestyle may appeal to boys more than the hate speech of the Christian Right. I would go so far as to suggest that Bryan Fischer fears the gay life style because he knows that he himself is drawn to it by his own nature. That is, of course, clearly just conjecture but it is one of the few ways to look at and understand the motivation of an extreme homophobe.

Chick-Fil-A: Biblical Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom?

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Well if you been off-planet and haven’t heard, Atlanta based Chick-Fil-A’s president Dan Cathy has turned his restaurant franchise into a religious organization that just happens to sell chicken and this religious organization has sent out a loud, clear message of intolerance toward the LGBT crowd; this is triggering both an avalanche of support from other homophobes and many colorful protests from those who feel that who marries whom is a personal decision that can be easily reached without the advise and consent of the church or the government (or the corner Chick-Fil-A).

Such a furor arose that Chick-Fil-A’s vice president of public relations had a heart attack this past week and died. Not surprising considering that Dan Cathy ‘napalmed’ the restaurant’s community image while dropping a bomb on the PR department.

There was quite enough intolerance in this country before Dan Cathy, in his company’s name, decided to air his holy underwear — we really didn’t need more.

I understand the concept! The Religious Right feels that we can’t just have people willy-nilly falling in love with each other without the guidance of the church. That would almost be too . . . too American — and of course not at all compatible with far-Right Christian doctrine. To allow people to think and act for themselves is probably considered a sin . . . at least to those religious factions who have stopped reading the Constitution in favor of the Bible.

As I said, I understand the likes of Dan Cathy! These are insecure people with little real faith in God’s “plan”; this makes them (figuratively) reluctant to put their pants on in the morning without finding a supportive bible passage; these are people who try to make up for their lack of faith by acting so self-righteous that they have developed an actual addiction to the act of ‘straightening people out’ (even those who were born anything but “straight”).

Personally, I understand and support religious or other groups showing strong public disapproval of people who are doing harm to others — but to publicly disrespect a man or woman who has a legal, loving relationship with another person, really showcases the unhealthy, tyrannical attitude of many religious sects. If the torture rack was still an option it’s easy to picture attempts to ‘stretch the gay out of people’ in the basements of some churches.

Back to Dan Cathy; it tells a lot about him that it is much more important to him to bring his religion to work and mobilize the rest of the mindless, intolerant heard than it is to allow employees and customers to think for themselves. Independent thought can, after all, be dangerous to highly structured organizations.

I would be negligent if I did not point out that there are many good religious sects left in the world and many of them are Christian based. It’s all a matter of interpretation and realization — realizing the the Bible is a book of lessons, not a book of edicts; realizing that we human creatures have independent will, independent destinies and independent needs and realizing that the herd mentality may work for a while in human society but it slowly kills the human spirit and mind.

References:

CNS News: Hollywood’s War on Chicken

CNN’s Belief Blog: Chick-fil-A wades into a fast-food fight over same-sex marriage rights

Social Conservativism: Another Form of Socialism

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Social Conservatives (as opposed to Fiscal Conservatives who don’t make a big deal out of the “Conservative” label) are as much of a danger to freedom as is Socialism.

It appears that, to most Social Conservatives, America’s premier founding document should be the Christian Bible, not the United States Constitution.

From Wikipedia on Social Conservatism (just the opening paragraph):

Social conservatism is a political ideology that focuses on the preservation of what are seen as traditional values. Social conservatism is a form of authoritarianism often associated with the position that the national government should have a greater role in the social affairs of its citizens, generally supporting whatever it sees as morally correct choices and discouraging or outright forbidding those it considers morally wrong ones.

Please read that carefully and consider: do you want the government to have a “greater role” making decisions about how YOU live your life based on the personal views of politicians?

Another short discussion of Social Conservatism concludes:

“For somebody who is politically conservative, the idea of entrenching social mores into a constitution should be troubling.”

Everybody is “Thumping” a Bible!

Most disturbing is that Social Conservatism is hiding — it has assumed the deceptive name of “Conservatism” and it is everywhere. The most famous Conservatives, the ones you listen to every day on the radio and watch on TV: Hannity, Limbaugh, Levin, and a large cadre of others, are, in reality Social Conservatives who think nothing of fouling the spirit of the First Amendment with their anti-pro-choice rants and their assertions that an an amendment prohibiting any marriage that does not conform to THEIR personal religious beliefs is a noble thing for ALL Americans.

These two topics: pro-choice and gay marriage, should logically be, but apparently are not, outside the purview of any level of government in the United States.

What Was That About The First Amendment?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Granted, there is no law in effect that officially names Christianity as “America’s religion” but you will find very few who flaunt themselves as Conservatives, who do not believe in their hearts and minds that Christianity is indeed America’s religion! They believe that the Christian Bible is, or at least should be, the one and only social guideline for all laws passed in the United States and should supersede the U.S. Constitution wherever conflicts arise.

Am I Anti-Religious?

Definitely not! I understand and appreciate the facts that religion guides millions of people safely through their lives, it gives them strength to face hardships and it saves may lives every day through it’s perspectives and through it’s missionary work.

Also, it can’t be denied or ignored that every politician brings with him or her, into office, a set of moral values that has been formed by his or her religious upbringing, attitudes and, hopefully, through rational and logical independent thought.

Politicians, however, are not common citizens. They do not serve well unless they serve all of their constituents.

It is a politician’s sworn duty, when they swear allegiance to the Constitution, to maintain a distance in the relationship between organized religion, his or her own personal beliefs and the propositions he or she votes into the laws that govern all of us.

A Final Thought: What’s More Dangerous?

It’s clear that I think Social Conservatism is a danger to our freedoms as Americans but I need to clarify that Socialism (the road we have been traveling for the past 3-1/2 years) is far more dangerous.

Socialism will destroy America and if we continue on this road the America we knew since birth will be lost.

As destructive as Social Conservatism can be to our personal freedoms it poses no permanent danger to America as a whole. Legislation can be repealed and modified — but once our country’s economy is destroyed through socialist policies it’s too late to rethink the damage.

Gay Marriage in the spotlight

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The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince (pronounced: Rence) Priebus stated on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday:

“I think that most Americans agree that in this country, the legal and historic and the religious union marriage has to have the definition of one man and one woman.”

It seems to me that Mr. Priebus is being misled by his own prejudices and is misleading the Republican Party with those prejudices.

Obviously the legal definition of marriage does not HAVE to be one man and one woman. Several states have now proved that to be the case: States that allow Gay Marriage or some form of legal domestic partnerships.

This, of course, knocks the “historic” argument out of the box unless you don’t consider recent history to be part of history.

Even the “religious union marriage” argument is specious. Many religions and most individual churches have come to the unspoken understanding that marriage is not about procreation; if it was, post-menopausal woman and men with low or nonexistent sperm counts would not be able to get a church wedding. I’ve never yet heard of a church requiring a physicians certificate that states that the couple being married are ABLE to have children. Aside from that, basing marriage on the ability to bring a new life into the world discounts the fact that love and caring are actually the cornerstones of all successful marriages. That alone should be the deciding factor behind every church sanctioned marriage ceremony.

What Mr. Priebus is really saying is that HE doesn’t support gay marriage. That is, of course, his right and feeling like that, HE should never enter into a gay marriage; and if he has any children who turn out to be gay, it would be far better for he, she or them to be sent to live with a more understanding substitute parent; if not, they will be subject to a life of loneliness.

Gay is not a disease, not a disability, not a curse, not “curable” and not abnormal. Gay is the way that some people ARE and they can never be any other way! They were created by the same “force” (call it “God” if you like) that created everyone else. To deny a gay couple the right to marry and deny them the legal rights that go with marriage can be considered nothing but cruel.

Salt and Pepper: Religion and Public Education

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The Cheatham County Tennessee School District is being sued by four students who are protesting the District’s position that allows, and apparently encourages, religious activities in the district’s schools. According to an article in the Tennessean:

The lawsuit alleges: a planned prayer took place at graduation last spring; the Gideons International were allowed to speak to classes and distribute Bibles; a cross hangs in a classroom; and a history teacher taught that the United States is a “Christian nation” and decried the separation of church and state. The suit asks the court to stop the activities.

Now this may seem like a frivolous lawsuit to some — to those of you who believe that your own religious beliefs have no borders and should have no limits — as well as those of you who argue that no one forced the kids to pray at the graduation or accept the Bibles or look at the cross on the wall and you would be right — well at least partially right. But when we come to that situation where students in a classroom, some of who may not know better, have to listen to a Christian Evangelistic version of U.S. History and an abstraction of the Constitution we’ve reached an unquestionable limit and have begun to corrupt the educational process.

The broader picture is: The United States is not a “Christian nation”; it is a nation based not on religion but on morality, a basic morality that forms the basis of ‘civilization’ as we understand it and practice it — a morality that exists apart from any religion — a morality that is, by law, the basis of even the most ardent atheist’s behavior.

I realize, of course, that it’s human nature to want to share a good thing and religious people believe that they have not only a good thing to share — they feel that it is their duty to share it. I wish they would also realize that there are many people in this world who have their own “good things” going in their lives (their own religions and/or their own non-religious or quasi-religious belief systems) and that Christian (or other) evangelism is not only an intrusion into these other people’s lives, it is an insult to their intelligence and their choice of life style.

Thou Shall Not Govern

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Separation

When I ran across a recent article at “Air America” online titled: Abortion Restrictions In House Bill Show Power Of Organized Religion In Politics I broke into a sweat! (Well not literally!) However, how could it be that I, a self-professed proponent of Conservatism, could agree with ANYTHING that the “wacko Libs” at Air America propose. Perhaps I need to reevaluate my dedication to Conservative values as well as my blanket condemnation of “Libs.”

The Air America article begins like this:

The Catholic Church successfully helped deliver a crushing blow to the abortion rights movement on Saturday by insisting that abortion restrictions be inserted into the newly passed House health care bill. But this isn’t the first time that a religious organization has used its power, money, and influence to merge dogma with public policy.

Well, damn it all, they’re ALMOST absolutely right!

Two things: 1) Their naming of the “Catholic Church” as the culprit is a bit questionable — Evangelicals do deserve a big share of the credit; and 2) While they are correct that abortion restrictions ARE based solely on religious dogma and they are also correct that this isn’t the first time religion has influenced government actions; (same-sex marriage restrictions are now, thanks to religious influence on government, imposed by most states and are fully supported by federal fiat.) They are NOT right however when they suggest that the health care bill should have no restrictions on abortion. Taking religion out of the equation, abortion, in the majority of cases anyway, is a completely elective procedure and, as such, neither abortion or any other strictly elective procedure should be paid for by U.S. taxpayers. (Of course if sanity prevails, there will be NO Federal Health Care bill and this discussion will be moot.)

What about those Conservative values that deserve my reconsideration?

After just a bit of investigation I quickly discovered that I am not a textbook Conservative but I’m not far off. “Conservapedia” — the Conservative version of Wikipedia — lists 19 specific Conservative agenda items that a true Conservative is supposed is supposed to embrace:

– Classroom prayer *
– Prohibition of abortion *
– Abstinence education
– Traditional marriage, not same-sex marriage *
– Respect for differences between men and women, boys and girls
– Laws against pornography *
– The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms
– Economic allocative efficiency (as opposed to popular equity)
– The death penalty
– Parental control of education
– Private medical care and retirement plans
– Canceling failed social support programs
– No world government
– Enforcement of current laws regarding immigration
– Respect for our military … past and present
– Rejection of junk science such as evolutionism and global warming
– Low taxes, especially for families
– Federalism (less power for the federal government and more for local and state governments)
– A strong national defense

The four asterisked (*) items above are where I personally take my leave from this particular set of values; allow me to clarify my reasoning. Conservatism is, to me, a strictly political realm and while this list reflects a great set of personal values, those four asterisked items, IMO, have no place in the world of laws or politics. You may have also noted that these items are near the top of their list — a clear indication of how religion has already perverted political thinking.

My bottom line is this: Religious values are important to many (or most) people but they properly belong only where people willingly accept them: in the church, in the home, possibly in some microcosm of the community (where they are accepted by all members of that community) and, in general, in the lives of those who embrace them; they should NOT however have the force of law. Our great nation is NOT just populated by Christians or Jews or Hindus or Moslems or by any other single religious group and our laws should be strictly secular — not reflect the beliefs of any religion.

There are, of course, logical exceptions to a general statement like the preceding and they are, without exception, already codified into all of our laws: restrictions against causing physical harm, taking someone else’s property, etc. These may all be religious values, at least in most religions but in the context of law, they are the rules of any civilized nation.

One final note on abortion: My view, embraced by those people who are falsely label pro-abortion, is that an unborn baby is not subject to the laws of the United States (or any other entity) until it is born. People who believe this are pro-choice, not pro-abortion; they recognize that abortion does indeed terminate a potential life and that act (or “sin” for you religious folks) is the responsibility of and the rightful decision of the woman carrying the unborn child and the man who took part in the conception. That’s called “choice” and an individual’s choice is far more valuable than the religious proclamations of any religious or government body. You can “damn a woman to Hell” for her choice but arbitrary laws should never be able to prevent her from making that choice. That would be (or should be) completely outside of the realm of government.

We seriously need to keep the gate closed between the worlds of religion and politics — not doing that will, eventually, draw our system of government closer and closer to theocracy.