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Showing posts from September, 2006

Senator, What About The Separation of Church and State?

How it not a violation of law for a dozen or so black ministers to call a press conference today at Brown’s Island, and with Senator George Allen, both endorse the upcoming marriage amendment vote AND stand before the press and endorse Senator George Allen in his senate race against Jim Webb?

How blatant does this have to become before the tax-exempt status of these churches are at risk?

I follow some Virginia conservative blogs, and because of that I got wind of George Allen’s news conference this morning at Brown’s Island.

It was scheduled for 10:00AM and I got there early. I went out of curiosity, I had seen Allen in person only twice before and as this was to be a news event following a prayer breakfast, I was wondering if this was to be about the marriage amendment. There were four TV stations and half dozen reporters, but except for me; I was not able to identify a single individual citizen who was at the event.

Allen arrived with about a dozen or so ministers all with Vote “YES” …

Come On America – Where Is Your Common Sense?

Just watched a news segment on CNN about bio terrorism possibilities on our food crop farms. An “expert” feigns concern over the accessibility of spinach fields from a public road and has the temerity to recommend that such fields be fenced and monitored by camera. And he then turns to a heftily chained and padlocked irrigation pump, frets over how easy it would be to bypass this security and contaminate a whole field.

For heavens’ sake – how alarmist can the media get? How disruptive of our free and open society will events, less threatening to the average American than a lightning strike, become? Can anyone in their 60’s, as I am, not look back to the good ole days when we never even locked our front door, had no idea where our kids were roaming (and learning about life and about risk taking), and certainly not concerned that someone was about to steal our identity, or put anthrax in our junk mail.

We all know that good news is not news – only the horrific, scandalous, and shocki…

George W. Wants To Eliminate Inheritance Taxes

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It seems that George Bush believes that taking away the privilege of passing on great wealth from generation to generation -- that to somehow impinge on this fortunate one percent of our wealthiest -- would bring a halt to investment in new enterprise, stifle entrepreneurship, and disturb the foundations of capitalism. And that he believes that this billionaire class is the wellspring of the American economy

It is significant that billionaires such as Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and George Soros disagree and oppose the elimination of the death tax.

I say Mr. Bush is merely catering to his patrician roots and to his moneyed supporters, and has not an iota of interest in the fairness to all Americans or to the growing divide between rich and poor.

And the Karl Rove type of disingenuous propaganda that says that elimination of the ”death tax” or the reinstatement of the inheritance tax, would destroy small business, destroy sub chapter “S” corporations, destroy family farms, has somehow beco…

Thoughts From a Recovering Southern Baptist

There is an interesting snippet and comments from Richard Dawkins new book The God Delusionon the BBC website, and I highly recommend that you give it the two or three minutes it takes to read. It follows a growing concern about religious fundamentalism in the world – in Muslim countries and in Christian countries -- and is certainly worth considering in these times where disparate religious armies again arise to spread terror or abuse in the name of God.

The Internal Inconsistency of the Righteous Religious Right

With the increased intrusion of the religious right into civic government, now is the time to ask who these people are. I suggest that they are authoritatively controlled conservatives who are basically hypocrites.

Hypocrisy: a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially: the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion

Is a Christian someone who tries to model their life after Jesus and who asks when making their choices in life, “What choice do I believe Jesus would make”? Should a Christian use their belief in the example of Jesus as a guide to how to live their life?

I ask the readers and posters visiting this blog to respond to the following hypothetical situations and answer as to how they believe Jesus would have them respond.

1) Would you, just after marriage, but before choosing to procreate, choose instead to adopt one of the millions of children in the world who otherwise would not have a chance at a healthy and happy life, with loving …

Allen Vs. Webb Debate In Fairfax

The debate between George Allen and Jim Webb moderated on last Monday in Fairfax, Virginia by George Stephanopoulos is available for viewing on this LINK.

A Call To Moderate and Tolerant Christians

Learned, scholarly, contemplative, and qualified Christian theologians have differing interpretations, even today, of various parts of the Bible. However, the overriding and foundation message that came from Jesus is more readily held in congruence. To imagine that the Bible, some text written a considerable time after Jesus, is inerrant and inspired, while not considering that God has continued to inspire men as to his will, is to diminish and second guess God.

And it would seem hypocritical to so attack homosexuality, using one’s interpretation of rigid reading, while at the same time not rigidly adhere to ALL of scripture (many examples are available, may I only give Sabbath laws as one). I suggest Matthew 7:1-3 be considered.

“Biblical scholarship can also be "critical" of the New Testament texts themselves in ways that the "historical-critical" model did not allow. It can be challenged morally, religiously, and theologically for its adequacy, consistency, and…

Why I Won’t Vote For George Allen

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Not too long ago I returned from 8 ½ years overseas and back to Virginia where I grew up, went to college, and where I hadn’t lived since 1968. It was like returning to a foreign country and there is still a bit of acclimation going on with me. But with far too much time on my hands, and a growing interest in the political dynamics of the region, I began a tentative journey into Virginia’s politics.

I went to the Shad Planking in Wakefield to see George Allen and Jim Webb in person, I attended local town hall meetings, I went to our local high school to see George Allen speak, I went to a local college to both see Jim Webb and to stand up and pose a question to him, I watched far too much C-SPAN, and my TV is routinely turned to any political pundit show that happens to be on – and I began to follow the emerging array of Virginia political blogs.

When I left the states for assignment abroad I was basically aligned to the Republican philosophy. I tended to vote Republican, had started…

Monday's Debate in Fairfax - Allen vs. Webb and Moderated by George Stephanopoulos

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For those who missed it -- the third debate between George Allen and Jim Webb, that was held yesterday (Monday) in Fairfax and moderated by George Stephanopoulos, will be rebroadcast today (Tuesday) at 5:52PM on C-SPAN.

Besides you political Junkies, all Virginians have a civic duty to know the candidates before the November election.

A Conversation With The Religious Right

As we, Virginia voters, approach the November marriage amendment ballot issue, I have attempted to have a discussion in my postings online with the religious right.

I’ve offered, time and again, to have a conversation that might lead to a mutual understanding – and time after time they only repeat mantra, like being stuck in a groove of an old vinyl record.

Yes, I do hear God’s voice in the Bible. And I also hear God’s voice outside the Bible -- to not would be to diminish God, to suggest that prayer is only a communication without a reply, that there are no other places in experience where God’s voice would not resonate with my moral fiber.

1 Corinthians 13:11-12 "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

To live my life in the context of my childhood …

Allen and Webb on Meet the Press

This morning George Allen and Jim Webb, in their run for U.S. Senator from Virginia, debated on Meet the Press.

This debate will be rebroadcast, and for those Virginia voters who missed it, I strongly recommend that you catch this rebroadcast tonight at 10:00PM on NBC – regardless of your political persuasion.

George Allen mentioned in the debate that Iraqis have had four national elections with 70% turnout and in the face of the personal threat that such participation entailed. At our last Virginia election we had an embarrassing turnout of 3 ½% of registered voters (and as an aside, administering this election cost my county of Chesterfield $80,000 – and only 3,000 votes were cast).

I did disagree with Allen’s remark that the Iraqis are “like babies” in that they must be nurtured into democracy and in the running of their country. Iraq is part of a civilization that goes back thousands of years, and until our invasion, had administrative professionals who were capable of managing the…

Virginia Marriage Amendment

If two people have an authentic and mutual and deep and abiding genuine love for each other, such that they wish to commit to each other and care and love each other “until death do they part”. Then that is wonderful and welcomed and sanctified by the church and afforded special rights and benefits by the state.

Unless those two individuals happen to be of the same sex.

This is a subject that intelligent and fair and thoughtful, and even good people of faith, are wrestling with in many western countries. And in some, civil unions and same sex marriage has been adopted – for example, countries in Europe, Canada, and in Massachusetts in our country.

Good and reasonable, even deeply religious people, are divided on this. There are good and reasonable and deeply religious people who can and do fall on both sides of this issue.

This, in a way, is a confluence of several very basic and deeply held feelings – the idea that although individuals are inherently different, that they are to be t…

A Fun Test - Are You Liberal Or Conservative?

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Click on the above image and it will expand to a large grid. And from top to bottom are gradations of AUTHORITARIAN to LIBERTARIAN personalities and left to right are LEFT leaning to RIGHT leaning personalities, or perhaps better phased, liberal to conservative. On the grid are 66 fairly well known individuals that I have attempted to place on the grid relative to each other and relative to these two dimensions of personality.

Now there is an online test where you can (for free) test where you land on a similar type grid. It only takes a few minutes and is easy to do and I think pretty interesting. So, if you are curious about how you might score, I recommend you try it.

Ever since this red/blue political divide came into focus, and especially since it has become a part of the poplar lexicon, I’ve been captivated by the question of, ”What Is the underlying causation that steers one person to be an authoritarian right winger and another to become a left leaning libertarian” – often w…

Hooray –The Marriage Amendment Is Going To Pass!!

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Check out the most recent Survey USA poll showing the amendment expected to pass by an overwhelming margin. So with that in mind I thought I’d suggest some of the benefits that will now accrue to the Old Dominion on the verge of it’s 400th year celebration.

What are the possible long-term implications to the State of Virginia?

• Some elderly gays may not get survivor benefits

• Some people or property may be injured in hate crimes, as fringe groups misconstrue this as permission

• Some hospital visitation may be more difficult

• Some estate fights may result in decisions against a life long same sex spouse

• This may signal permission for increased pressure for the religious right's social agendas

• Some gays may leave the state and break their ties to family and community

• Some businesses may leave and some may not arrive

• Some children may not get adopted or ever know loving parents

• Some negative effect on statistics on gay health may happen such as suicide, increase in STD’s, as gay…

When Do The Attack Ads Begin?

As we approach the November election, isn’t it time for a Rove type attack ad or smear campaign to start against Jim Webb? How are Republicans going to retain their hold on government without this tried and true strategy?

Remember these classics?

A whisper campaign about how Ann Richards was a lesbian and trying to stage a covert takeover of the Texas government by appointing "hundreds" of gays and lesbians into government.

Bush wins the Texas governorship

Ads attacking Max Cleland’s patriotism – check out this attack ad

Cleland lost

Whisper campaign in South Carolina during the primaries that John McCain was mentally ill from Vietnam and that he had illegitimate black children.

Bush wins the Republican nomination

Smear tactics against John Kerry attacking Kerry’s Vietnam War record.

Bush wins his second presidential term

Now Allen should be a shoo-in as only 3 ½ percent of the eligible voters even turned out for this year's Virginia Democratic primary.

After all, the electorate i…

Will Virginia Marriage Amendment Have a “Macaca” Moment?

Eight weeks – that is all the time left to convince the Virginia electorate to vote against the marriage amendment.

Opponents of this amendment, gay and straight, have organized and are working hard to inform the public.

Polls suggest that the amendment will pass, however, it’s not a slam-dunk and there exists the real possibility that the amendment could be defeated – and that would be the first defeat of a state initiated definition of marriage amendment in the country.

I’ve argued before that although I know the opponent organizations have a robust plan to fight, I’ve not seen the necessary plan to win. This fight has been a long one – decades long – of convincing the public that being gay or lesbian is NOT a moral choice but is a state of being, and as such these individuals should be afforded the same rights and benefits that straight citizens take for granted – and not be stigmatized and marginalized due to their sexual orientation.

The proponents often seem more dedicated and …

Is It Time Yet To Round Up The Queers?

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This is a continuing installment offered by the few of us against the tyranny of the majority. And this is a reply to a conservative Bible thumping Republican zealot who continues with his prejudice, ignorance, and hatred for homosexuals. If you plan to vote in November, I hope will take a minute or two to read the following:

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In their amicus brief this year (Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning), The American Psychological Association, stated:

The State’s official discrimination against same-sex couples harms the children being raised by these parents. Empirical research studies have consistently found that lesbian and gay parents do not differ from heterosexuals in their parenting skills, and their children do not show any deficits compared to children raised by heterosexual parents. It is the quality of parenting that predicts children’s psychological and social adjustment, not the parents’ sexual orientation or gender. If their parents’ relationships are legal…

It's Sunday - Take A Queer To Church

I've just about had it with the holier than thou far right religious conservatives and their crusade to force a marriage amendment on a small minority of Virginians -- especially when they do this in the name of Jesus and God and Holy Scripture. So if you are one of these so called Christians on your way to church I have this to say to you:

Matthew 19:9
“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

I think the good book makes it quite plain that divorce is adultery. And are adulterers less bad than homosexuals in your mind?

For you to be fair-minded and consistent, then as a Christian I would think you’d be equally as vociferous against adultery as you are against homosexuals. And as divorce is the real threat to marriage and the family, I would think you (socially conservative Republicans) would adjust your priorities to go after divor…

One Christian's View on The Virginia Marriage Amendment

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There will be on the November ballot an amendment proposal to insure that gays and lesbians in Virgina will NEVER EVER be granted equal citizenship rights in Virginia. And there are in the blogosphere ongoing debates about this proposed amendment by both sides of the argument. I direct you to one crusading Virginian who anonymously runs a blog called Virginia Conservative Analysis and let you, the reader, make your own conclusions. But the following is my response to his insistence that he knows "that marriage is a sacred institution bestowed by God, and I know what it was meant for".

This is too important a matter for the voting public not to be informed and I suggest readers share this post with Christian associates who may find that there is even very little Biblical basis for such outrageous legislation

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hr_conservative, I appreciate the verses you supplied. As a fellow Christian, I too read my Bible and I would like to share a ve…

Virginia at 400 Fades Into History

With the adjacent states of Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina being able to fend off this egregious legislation (definition of marriage amendments), Virginia becomes more than a bellwether for the red tide that is crossing America -- Virginia could be a tipping point, and signal a change in national sentiment.

The long and relentless march of conservative religious right zealots to blur the bright line between church and state looks to have another victory in the passing of the Virginia marriage amendment.

This amendment, the result of ignorance, homophobia, and political chicanery, will probably also drag along with it George Allen into another senate term – though his presidential aspirations may have been muted by his “macaca” outburst.

I submit that history will see this whole gay marriage period in our history as just another dark period, and it will fall into the category of other periods of intolerance and ignorance seemingly more pervasive in the South – slavery, segreg…

In Defense Of Family Values – X-Rated

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A friend who is a senior psychology major at VCU recommended this online video and after watching it, I thought it could be useful to those of you who are open-minded and who might enjoy a different point of view on the upcoming Virginia marriage amendment that you will be asked to vote on this November 7th.

Please know ahead of time that this is X-rated and also that this is not necessarily my point of view but it does give some food for thought – and it’s quite entertaining – so enjoy. Here is the LINK

Southern Baptists Are Destroying Virginia

Next year Virginia will celebrate the 400th anniversary of having the first permanent English settlement in America. We essentially had a head start on the other 50 states, but how is it that over time we have lost that lead - and failed to participate in the technological and cultural growth of the nation?

Was it our early dependence on tobacco and slavery? We did have almost a monopoly on one of the world’s richest estuaries. Was it for a lack of leadership? We did produce Washington, and Jefferson, Madison, Marshall, Patrick Henry.

No, in my mind it was a pervasive and insidious conservatism, that while masquerading as pious Protestantism, was in its underbelly a hypocritical and soul sucking cultural norm. It was a counter to progress and innovation, it was unrewarding of creativity, and many of Virginia’s best and brightest left for more open-minded geography. And those individuals and industries that looked for new geography – would overlook the bland and uninviting Virginia…