Spirituality is not Religion

Republican Party: Dedicated to Sabotaging the American Future

Frank Schaeffer is a well known public speaker. He often speaks at colleges, churches, business meetings and political gatherings.  Frank Schaeffer’s parents, Francis and Edith, were best-selling authors who were instrumental in linking the evangelical community with the anti-abortion movement.
     He recently appeared on CNN and began his discussion as follows:  You Republicans are the arsonists who burned down our national home. You combined the failed ideologies of the Religious Right, so-called free market deregulation and the Neoconservative love of war to light a fire that has consumed America. Now you have the nerve to criticize the "architect" America just hired — President Obama — to rebuild from the ashes. You do nothing constructive, just try to hinder the one person willing and able to fix the mess you created.  (You can watch or read the remainder of his talk below.)
     After coming of age as an evangelist and helping to organize religious fundamentalists politically, Schaeffer had a crisis of faith: Though he is pro-life, he decided that abortion should remain legal. Listen to his NPR interview here>http://www.npr.org/template s/player/mediaPlayer.html?a ction=1&t=1&islist= false&id=97998654&m =98006669

Shortly after the presidential election, Schaeffer wrote an open letter http://www.huffingtonpost.c om/frank-schaeffer/frank-as -a-former-pro-lif_b_119435. html
on the Huffington Post explaining his views and urging President-elect Barack Obama to support programs that provide care for pregnant women and reduce the number of abortions. In the letter, Schaeffer disassociated himself from his former politics, writing, "The pro-life cause poisoned many of us who were part of it. Me included. It led to self-righteous hubris that extended to a general attitude of hate toward the ‘other.’"

Schaeffer http://www.frankschaeffer.c om/ is the author of Crazy for God and Faith of Our Sons. (His son is a Marine corporal that served in Iraq.)

Dear Republican Leaders: The Republican Party has become the party dedicated to sabotaging the American future. Check out the sermon I just delivered about the Republican Party on CNN when being interviewed by D.L. Hughley —>

I used to be one of you. As recently as 2000 I worked to get Senator McCain elected in that year’s primary. (McCain and Gen. Tommy Franks wrote glowing endorsements regarding my book about military service, AWOL.). I have a file of handwritten thank you notes from Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush I and II. In the 1970s and early 80s I hung out with Jack Kemp and bought into his "supply side" myth and even wrote a book he endorsed pushing his ideas.) There’s more, but take it from me; my parents (evangelical leaders Francis and Edith Schaeffer) and I were about as tight with — and useful to — the Republican Party as anyone. We played a big part creating the Religious Right.

In the mid 1980s I left the Religious Right, after I realized just how very anti-American they are, (the theme I explore in my book Crazy For God). They wanted America to fail in order to prove they were right about America’s "moral decline." Soon after McCain lost in 2000 I re-registered as an independent in disgust with W. Bush. But I still respected many Republicans. Not today.

How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now? Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan defined the modern conservatism that used to be what the Republican Party I belonged to was about. Today no actual conservative can be a Republican. Reagan would despise today’s wholly negative Republican Party. And can you picture the gentlemanly and always polite Ronald Reagan, endorsing a radio hate-jock slob who crudely mocked a man with Parkinson’s and who now says he wants an American president to fail?!

With people like Limbaugh as the loudmouth image of the Republican Party — you need no enemies. But something far more serious has happened than an image problem: the Republican Party has become the party of obstruction at just the time when all Americans should be pulling together for the good of our country. Instead, Republicans are today’s fifth column sabotaging American renewal.

President Obama has been in office barely 45 days and the Republican Party has the nerve to blame him for the economic and military cataclysm he inherited. I say economic and military cataclysm because without the needless war in Iraq you all backed we would not be in the economic mess we’re in today. If that money had been spent here at home on renovating our infrastructure, taking us toward a green economy, putting our health-care system in order we’d be a very different situation.

As the father of a Marine who served in George W. Bush’s misbegotten wars let me say this: if President Obama’s strategy to repair our economy, infrastructure and healthcare fails that will put our troops at far greater risk because the world will become a far more dangerous place. So for all you flag-waving Republicans who are trying to undermine the President at home — if you succeed more of our troops will be killed abroad.

When your new leader Rush Limbaugh calls for President Obama to fail he’s calling for more flag-draped coffins. Limbaugh is the new "Hanoi Jane."

For the party that created our crises of misbegotten war, mismanaged economy, the lack of regulation of our banking industry, handing our country to rich crooks… to obstruct the one person who is trying to repair the damage is obscene.

Just imagine where America would be today if the 14 to 20 million voters — "the rube base" who slavishly follow the likes of Limbaugh — had not voted as a block year after year thus empowering the Republican fiasco. We would have a regulated banking industry and would have avoided our current financial crisis; some 4000 of our killed military men and women would be alive; over to 35,000 wounded Americans would be whole; we would have been leaders in the environmental movement; we would be in the middle of a green technology boom fueling a huge expansion of our economy and stopping our dependence on foreign oil, and our health-care system would be reformed.

After Obama was elected, you Republican leaders had a unique last chance to send a patriotic message of unity to the world — and to all Americans. You could have backed our president’s economic recovery plan. Since we all know that half of our problem is one of lost confidence and perception, nothing would have done more to calm the markets and project resolve and confidence than if you had been big enough to take Obama’s offered hand and had work with him — even if you disagreed ideologically. You had the chance to put our country first. You utterly failed to rise to the occasion.

The worsening economic situation is your fault and your fault alone. The Republicans created this mess through 8 years of backing the worst president in our history and now, because you put partisan ideology ahead of the good of our country, you have blown your last chance to redeem yourselves. You deserve the banishment to the political wilderness that awaits all traitors.

The Silent Minority  posted by Cenk  03/10/2009 12:15:31 AM PST

There is a minority group in America that is a bigger percentage of the country than blacks or Hispanics. But they are often ignored or derided in public. Almost no politician would ever admit to being one. And they are given no voice in the public arena.

They are the non-religious. A new comprehensive study by The Program on Public Values at Trinity College shows that this group is now a whopping 15% of the country. Mormons by comparison are a puny 1.4% of the population, and people can’t shut up about the Mormons. The Senate Majority Leader is a Mormon, one of the top Republican presidential candidates was Mormon and even HBO has a whole show devoted to them.

Even though the non-religious are more than ten times larger, other than Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), not one member of Congress would even admit to being in the dreaded minority of non-believers. They are almost never accounted for in any political discussion of religion in the country. The devout view them as amoral at best and destined for eternal damnation at worst. Yet, this kind of abuse and scorn is widely accepted and expected.

And, if God forbid, they should ever fight back and forcefully present their opinions, they are often considered rude and offensive.

I’ve always been amused at the idea that a religious person can say that an atheist will burn in hell as a result of their beliefs, and that is not considered offensive; but if an atheist says that believing in God makes no sense, that is considered deeply offensive. One person is charging the other with faulty logic; the other is charging them with a base immorality that warrants eternal torture. How is the former even vaguely more insulting than the latter?

I have a confession – I am in that 15%! Gasp, shriek. I, too, am in the unspeakable minority. The minority that is not silent by choice but by decision of the people in power. They say we don’t merit a seat at the table. That our views are offensive to the majority, so they cannot be countenanced in polite company, or more importantly, on the Sunday morning talk shows.

But we shall be silent no more! Rise up, my non-religious brothers and sisters. Agnostics, atheists, deists and the religiously indifferent can all join hands, stand up and be counted. Time for the silent minority to roar!

Or in lieu of that, can someone please just recognize that we exist, that we are a legitimate force in American discourse and politics? And for the love of God, stop ignoring us.

Watch The Young Turks Here

My reply:   by gatekeeper50 on 03/10/2009 12:38:15 PM PST
I have no religion —>

The scene:  Navy Boot Camp

The Place:  San Diego, CA

The Time:  May 1970

"Here, fill out this form.  It’s for your dogtags."  I filled in my name, date of birth, and then the space for religion: NONE.  Two days later, two petty officers approached me and one said, "You have to change this.  You can’t say none.  If you don’t care, you have to put No Preference."  "Why?"  "So if you die, they’ll know which kind of priest to say the final words."  "I don’t want any final words from a priest."  "Don’t make a case out of this, just put No Preference."

     So, to get along, I went along.  I had escaped the draft by running to the Navy, and I wasn’t going to make a federal case out of it.  After all, I had been selected as Recruit Chief Petty Officer (RCPO), and I was supposed to set an example after all.  The following Sunday, I did not attend either the Catholic or Protestant services.  The Company Commander asked me the next day, "why?"  "I didn’t have any desire to do so."  "You have to set an example," so I asked which one was earliest.  "Catholic," he said,  "why do you ask?"  "That way I can get to the basketball court an hour before the protestants."  Sundays were set aside for religious services and athletics, so I figured if I had to be bored to tears for an hour of mass I could at least get some extra court time in.  Once out of boot camp though, I was never harrased about not attending any services, and it wasn’t until I got out eight years later that I had to put up with an office fundy.  He hated my "socratic method" because he rarely could answer the questions I posed, so he often left after a few minutes quite frustrated.  He was later let go because of his child rearing methods; you know — spoil the rod spoil the child;  it reached the level of child abuse. 

     So what about now?  Agnostic is the closest I can come to looking at dictionary definitions.  If I were asked, "do I believe in god?", I would have to reply, "what definition of god do you ask?"  If you define god as infinite and therefore undefinable, both larger than possibly humanly conceivable while simultaneously smaller than the same; all knowing, omnipotent, omnipresent, not anthropomorphic (not speaking to humans or shaped like a human) as unknowable to a human as the flora inside your gut knows you, its host — then I might partially agree to a belief in that concept.  But, it would be the thought in my head which cannot be the same as the thought in yours, so it would not be a belief in what you may believe in.  It can’t be contained in the human mind because it is infinite, so therefore certainly can’t be contained in a book.  It is all that has happened, all that is happening now, and all that will happen in every universe and dimension that did exist, does exist, or will exist.

     Religion is a social control and churches are social clubs.  They are good for the weak of mind who need an external force controlling their actions and defining their morals, but human evolution has given each of us the ability to define morals, ethics, good and bad and structure our lives to live within a framework that works well for ourselves as individuals, together as families, tribes, communities, and nations.  Until the hand of religion is removed from the controls, humanity’s evolution will be thwarted and we will be mostly stagnate, waiting for that next punctuation of the equilibrium in a very small place in an infinite space.

About ItheMissingLink

Retired longshoreman at the Port of Seattle. US Navy veteran 9 patrol FBM nuclear submarines; married 29 years
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