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Democracy is best served by strict separation of...

 
 
hyper426
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 May, 2005 09:54 pm
rosborne and c.i......

the theory that my friends formulated involved laying the blame on the hidden veto of the permanent U.N. members. By looking at the votes relating to the issues, every time that help really needed to go somewhere to stop war or genocide, the peacekeeping forces were not mobilized because of the hidden veto (specially the U.S.'s use of it, not that I am anti-American, I just think we abuse our privalege for our own private use). Anyway, any comments on this line of thinking?

oh, and sorry for hijaking the thread, I didn't feel like starting a new one, but if you think I should, just post so, and it would be no problem. I am still shocked that this post picked up so quickly after a long disuse.

hyper
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hyper426
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 May, 2005 09:59 pm
ohhh.....I got it!!!!!! What is the religions of many of the countries that have practiced (or are practicing) genocide, did the religion have anything to do with the genocide, what was the government type and did that have anything to do with it, would a democracy have worked better?, and should the religion be kept separate from the govenment in such countries.

there, happy? Laughing
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Ray
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 May, 2005 11:41 pm
Usually corrupt dictatorships are leading causes to major genocides. Nationalism and fanaticism too.

hyper, do you think we should keep these VETO thing in the security council? It's a really hard thing for an international body to operate where its members could be against each other... I'm not sure if I like the veto powers or not.
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 05:02 am
To you all:-

Your cynicism is but skin deep.That is not enough for a philosophy thread.

Oil as the BIG one begs the question.It is your dependence on oil.You,like us,are more addicted to oil than any heroin addict was ever dependent on a fix and you are in collective denial,again like us,of that simple fact.Your consumption needs hand power over to those who satisfy it and if you do something about those needs the Dow Jones crashes and your pension plans with it and a lot else.Mr Bush and his team have to deal with this problem whilst,at the same time,allowing the voters to posture around as sweet,virtuous innocents with no responsibility in the matter.In the last five years I have never been outside a circle of two miles diameter during my leisure time.I am quite content to sit in my rooms reading and dozing etc.I find it such a strain to even think of doing otherwise.If everybody did that the problem of oil would go away and the financial system would crash and Iraq would revert to a desert and we would all be in the sheep dip.

I do not see why a preacher or a clergyman or an internet threader should not be allowed to say anything legal.You are in danger of patronising the congregations by suggesting that they are making voting decisions based on what a preacher says and you are not all that far off recommending that congregations should be disenfranchised.
That is why you treat my posts so casually.They are an attempt to give it you straight and you don't want to know because you would have to do something about your personal contribution to oil consumption.

It really is just the same as the pub.Everybody running the country and none of them have the slightest idea whether what they suggest is of benefit to the nation or even to themselves because they simply do not have the information or the position to do otherwise.

My advice,here and in the pub,is to swallow it whole and let those who do have the information and the position get on with keeping our lovely lifestyle going and subject them to the voter's choice every now and again.Had Mr Kerry been elected it is pretty certain than nothing much diferent would be happening.
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Ethel2
 
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Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 05:10 am
Quote:
I am also quite certain they are rare and have almost zero impact on elections.


Foxfire, you crack me up!
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Foxfyre
 
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Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 05:29 am
I'm happy to be your entertainment for the day, Lola. I wonder though how you reconcile in your mind the fact that if conservatives blindly follow the dictates of politically active fundamentalist pastors, why those on the left don't blindly follow the dictates of politically active liberal pastors? And since I am pretty sure there are far more politically active liberal pastors than there are fundamentalist ones, it would seem that such blind following would ensure that the more liberal candidates would be a shoe in for election at all levels.

Or maybe Spendius is right and reasonable people give more credit to people to reason and think for themselves.

I think it is the same kind of phenomenon that you see in talk radio. It is largely conservative so conservatives are naturally drawn to it. The radio didn't create the conservatives. It plays to them. So it is also in the church. The conservative pastors don't create conservative parishioners. They draw a crowd because they speak to parishoners who are already conservative. To assume that those 'crowds' are incapable of looking at the issues and drawing their own reasoned conclusions without instructions from a politically active pastor is just...well....insulting.

And, using your rationale, I am in a denomination with an almost 100% ultra liberal clergy and a majority of liberal parishoners, and I should be out campaigning for the next left leaning Democrat as we speak. Yet I remain conservative.

I think reasonable people will agree that you can't blame conservative churches for the left's significant losses at the polls in the last decade or so. You can blame the failure of the left to understand how its own intolerance for the values of a huge segment of the country has alienated that huge segment. And as 85% plus of Americans do profess some version of Christianity, a substantial percentage of that huge segment will coincidentally have at least some kind of ties with the Church. I think the Left offends, disrepects, and shows intolerance for conservative values, including conservative Christian values, at a substantial cost.
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 07:14 am
I would prefer to keep matters of government and matters of faith separate. It has always bothered me to hear political ideas (whether liberal or conservative) advocated at my church. On the flip side, I don't like hearing issues of faith discussed in government.
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hyper426
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 09:48 am
I agree with that wandel.

spendius: I never said oil didn't have something to do with it. In the Rawanda genocide, for example, Britain and the U.S. vetoed sending UN peacekeeping forces in to help the Rawanda citizens (tutsi, right?) It is not a big stretch to assume that they were considering the cost compared to little oil in the country instead of the innocent lives being lost.

the CX topic this year had to do with peace-keeping, and my friends entire affirmative case had to do with abolishing the hidden veto. It was a great case that took them to TFA state, and 3rd in UIL state. If ya'll would like, I might be able to post it on her. Just tell me if ya'll are interested.
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Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 11:01 am
This is long, but if anyone is truly interesting in understanding the politicization of religion, read it all.

http://www.zionsherald.org/Jan2004_specialreport.html
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hyper426
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 01:49 pm
ha, that is fun. I am sorry, I laugh when i read material written so bitterly, even though the facts are bitter.
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Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 05:25 pm
The facts are bitter and also accurate. It is a bitter fight. Maybe you can understand the bitterness of the Methodist clergy.
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Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 05:49 pm
Special Report
"Follow the Money"
Documenting the Right's Well-Heeled Assault on the UMC
-Andrew J. Weaver and Nicole Seibert

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Six months ago, we reviewed in these pages an unsettling book titled United Methodism @ Risk: A Wake Up Call by Leon Howell (see Zion's Herald, July/August 2003). The book exposes an orchestrated attack by the American political and religious right on The United Methodist Church (UMC) and other mainline Protestant denominations that have been sufficiently vigorous, socially involved and politically effective to garner its wrath (Howell, 2003).

In response to the ensuing criticism of the book and our review, we organized a group of researchers to check the facts and found the volume to be well documented and reliable. In the process, we also reviewed hundreds of documents published by the key organization involved in the assault on the church, namely, the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD). Our findings as outlined below are very disturbing.

The IRD is affiliated with no denomination and is only accountable to its own self-appointed, self-perpetuating board of directors. According to public sources, the IRD focuses its principal expenditures and most of its efforts on The United Methodist Church. In 2001, it spent $358,667 (46 percent of its total program expenditures) on "monitoring" the UMC's activities, leadership and public policy statements. In 1999, it spent $337,636 for the same purpose - more than six times what it spent on its "religious liberty" program that it declares in IRS documents to be its primary purpose (GuideStar, 2002).

From its inception in 1982, IRD has been generously funded primarily by ultra-conservative organizations (Media Transparency, 2003). Records show that since it was founded, the IRD has received more than $1.9 million from the Scaife foundations, including an initial start-up grant of $200,000 (The Public Eye, 1989). The Scaife Family Foundations, managed by Richard Mellon Scaife, gave $225,000 to the IRD in 2002 for its "Reforming America's Churches Project" - among whose stated goals is the elimination of the UMC's General Board of Church and Society, the church's voice for justice and peace, as well as discrediting UMC pastors and bishops with whom they disagree by instigating church trials (Information Project for United Methodists, 2003). With respect to church trials, the IRD states the following in a fund-raising document to donors: "Over the next three years, we expect involvement in at least a dozen different cases around the country" (Institute on Religion and Democracy, 2001a).

The significance of the Scaife family's support of the IRD is best understood in the context of their foundations' overall pattern of funding. Richard Mellon Scaife, who controls the foundations' funds, is a billionaire who has subsidized many of the political right's formative institutions and organizations during the past 30 years (Rothmyer, 2000). His wealth was inherited from the Mellon banking and oil fortune.

In 1999 equivalent dollars, the Washington Post calculated that Mr. Scaife gave to conservative causes and institutions some $620 million during that 30-year period (Kaiser & Chinoy, 1999). In the 1990s, Mr. Scaife supported groups with millions of dollars to fund lawsuits against the Clinton administration on a multitude of issues. In a revealing interview in 1999 with John F. Kennedy, Jr., in George Magazine, Mr. Scaife claimed that the Clintons were involved in the deaths of 60 friends and employees - bizarre accusations that have never been taken seriously in a court of law nor been shown to have a basis in fact (Kennedy, 1999).

The Scaife family, however, is not alone in funding the IRD. California-based Fieldstead and Company is the conduit for the interests of Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson, whose father amassed a fortune in the savings-and-loan industry. Howard Ahmanson and his wife, Roberta, who serves on the IRD board of directors, have been key supporters of Chalcedon Inc., the Christian Reconstructionist think tank where Howard Ahmanson served on the board of directors for 23 years (Olsen, 1998). Christian Reconstructionism is a hard-line Calvinist movement that advocates replacing American democracy with a fundamentalist theocracy under strict biblical codes. For example, they would impose the death penalty "by stoning" on everyone from adulterers and homosexuals to incorrigible children and those who spread "false" religions (Robinson, 2002). Ahmanson gave IRD $58,960 in 1991 and $234,135 in 1992 (Howell, 1995) and according to an IRD disclosure recently made to the Washington Post, Ahmanson continues to give on average $75,000 a year (Cooperman, 2003).

Other IRD funding sources include the John M. Olin Foundation, whose namesake manufactured Winchester rifles; Olin has backed the IRD in the amount of $489,000 "to counter the political influence of the Religious Left." The Castle Rock Foundation, created by the Adolph Coors family in 1993, gave $90,000 to IRD to "challenge the orthodoxy promoted by liberal religious leaders in the U.S." The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, funded by a family with ties to the ultra-conservative John Birch Society, gave $1.5 million between 1985 and 2001 to IRD efforts (Media Transparency, 2003). The Bradley Foundation's stated objective is to return the U.S. to the days before government regulated business and corporations were required to negotiate with labor unions (Media Transparency, 2003).

How significant is the relationship between the IRD and this secular-funding base? Between 1985-2002, the IRD ranked 81st in money received on a list of 2609 recipients of funding from right-wing organizations (Media Transparency, 2003). The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy published a report in 1997 showing how a dozen foundations have prevailed in shaping public policy. It found that the organizations that fund the IRD (and a few others) diverge in their practices from the generally accepted social and ethical norms of the philanthropic sector (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, 1997). According to this report, the IRD-supporting foundations' agendas include the aggressive furthering of public policy that favors the wealthy and the use of government power to support corporate interests and laissez-faire capitalism (Media Transparency, 2003).

What does this all mean? At the very least, we can say that the IRD, by uncritically accepting funds from such organizations, tacitly approves of their agendas. Conversely, it would appear obvious that the IRD would not receive funding from such groups were it opposed to their objectives.

The IRD's stated goals, which consistently are at odds with the historic social witness of the mainline churches, include increasing military spending, opposing environmental protection efforts and eliminating social welfare programs (Institute on Religion and Democracy, 2001a). In this respect, it can be said that the IRD and its wealthy patrons are intent on derailing if not outright controlling the UMC's social witness. If that sounds implausible, one need only consider how right-wing groups during the last decade have done that and more in their take-over of the Southern Baptist Convention.

How do they operate in pursuit of their goals? The IRD's modus operandi is to vilify and ridicule UMC officials, organizations and programs that do not reflect its views. For example, in March of 2001, the IRD demonstrated utter contempt for United Methodist bishops in an assault on their collective judgment and integrity; this was published on the Good News Web site under the title, "The Methodist President and His Bishops" (Tooley, 2001a). Mark Tooley, executive director of IRD's United Methodist monitoring program, a former CIA analyst and a board member of Good News, called the bishops en masse "fatuous" and "pompous." According to Mr. Tooley, "statements from United Methodist bishops are often inarticulate and sometimes downright nonsensical." He was particularly agitated by their unanimous vote questioning the proposed expenditure of tens of billions of dollars by the Bush Administration on a "Star Wars" missile defense system that is without proven scientific merit (PBS, 2003). He also was scornful of the bishops when they expressed concern for "children and the poor," who, according to the bishops, are being impoverished as a result of excessive military expenditures (Tooley, 2001a).

The IRD hardly has a good word to say about any United Methodist leaders. For example, when Duke University adopted a policy (supported by both North Carolina bishops) that students and their families could use the university chapel for same-sex blessings by churches that permit them, Mr. Tooley and the IRD unleashed an attack on the Rev. Dr. William Willimon (Willimon, 2001). Dr. Willimon is the Dean of the Chapel at Duke and a widely respected leader within the UMC community and beyond. When he contacted the IRD to report that he and his secretary were receiving hate mail and pornographic materials in the name of the IRD's protest, Mr. Tooley wrote back saying, "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." Mr. Tooley stated that he had no interest in talking further with Dr. Willimon until he resigned from Duke (Willimon, 2003).

Dr. Willimon is in good company. IRD has attacked, among others, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, the evangelical leader Dr. Tony Campolo, the National Council of Catholic Bishops, the UMC's Igniting Ministry public relations campaign (Bowdon, 2001), the UMC's newest hymnal (McIntyre, 2001) and numerous other distinguished Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish leaders and programs (United Methodists Affirming Christ's Teachings in our Nation, 2003; UM Action, 2000).
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Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 05:57 pm
Howard Ahmanson, Jr. is listed second on the Council for National Policy membership list, (right under Jack Abramhoff). And the Coors family have three representatives, Holly, Jeffrey and Joseph Coors. FYI
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hyper426
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 10:19 pm
question posed:

would a strict separation of all church and state (even under consideration of the above instances) better serve democracy?
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 10:22 pm
hyper, Yes.
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 03:30 am
Oh dear.

Ostrich United 4 spendius 0.

Oil was worthless until it fuelled your habits.It is your habits.And ours.

This is a philosophy thread.You can't have issues that are shrunk from in philosophy debates.The whole shooting match is posited on our mainlining on oil.If Mr Bush or Mr Blair proposed cutting oil use to save the effort of going to war we would vote them out.The higher your standard of living the greater share of responsibility you bear for the war.It is simple.Passing that responsibility onto Mr Bush is nursery behaviour.Wriggle how you will.You are going to HAVE to be rationed by price.
The best thing to do is start getting used to it and,even more important,get your offspring used to it because if you don't you are breeding more demand.

I think it was Nietzsche who said-"the trouble with man is that he can't sit quietly in his room".He might have gone mad because his contemporaries wouldn't listen to so obvious a truth.

If I may be indulged in an opinion I would say that if you carry on regardless you will end up separating democracy from the USA.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 06:29 am
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 06:31 am
It is worth noting (and only in the context of this thread) that this: "The most prevalent denomination indicated would be the Episopalians [sic] who are definitely the most liberal of the heirarchal [sic] church groups."--is a statement from authority, that said authority has not been adduced by Fox, and that it quite pointedly ignores the Society of Friends and the Unitarians, to name but two "liberal" church groups.


(Edited to acknowledge the utter silliness of this thread.)
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 06:44 am
Nothing is worth noting on this thread.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 06:47 am
As much as it pains me to do so, i feel compelled to agree with you.
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