Political Identity: Secular-Conservative

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I used to have an internal debate going over my political identity. I’ve self-identified at times as a Republican, a Conservative,  a Libertarian and an Independent. I’ve come to the conclusion that, if I was forced to decide on an an official title it would probably be none of those, it would be hyphenated: Secular-Conservative really fits me. 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 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 procaim, on a near-daily basis, the purely religious position that they are “pro-life.” Does that make them better at making the right political decision when their political decision is required. NO, of course not. Politicians (even Conservative ones) 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 in their private life 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 an election season.

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.

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. To 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 is the “Ancillary Principles & Ideologies” of Conservatism. These ancillary principles are the things that only threaten Christian Culture: 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 job they were elected to do.

When you think about it, vocalizing their pro-life stance is just a way to coerce votes from the minority of religious people who have long since substituted religious texts for the U.S. Constitution and relevant law. Even the majority of the religious community must understand that the word “Religious” before the word “Conservative” is a ploy.

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Revisiting “The Homophobic Baker”

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Arizona Senate Bill 1062 was one of several similar bills in U.S. state legislatures allowing business owners to refuse service based on religious beliefs. The bill was passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and then, on February 26, 2014, unexpectedly vetoed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer.

Remember? There was a baker in Arizona who refused, because of his religious belief that homosexuality is a sin, to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. The lawsuit that arose out of that situation was one of the prime factors behind AZ SB-1062.

I posted an article on this blog last December “The Case of the Homophobic Baker”  condemning the baker based on Federal anti-discrimination laws that make it illegal and legally actionable for a business to discriminate against members of protected classes. “What Is, IS!” It’s a law and we have to follow it or face legal penalties.

What I didn’t realize at the time (and still do not understand why) was that every state has a different list of protected classes. Isn’t this Federal legislation? Doesn’t Federal legislation automatically trump state legislation?  Guess not! That teaches me to try and think logically about any aspect of the Federal Government. Just because LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgendered) individuals were added to the Federal ‘list’ of protected classes, it apparently does not mean that every state has to add them to their state anti-discrimination legislation. Arizona, at least at that point at the beginning of this year, does not have anti-discrimination legislation that covers LGBT individuals.

So, going back to the baker who I condemned as a law breaker; I was wrong! What IS in many states, IS NOT in Arizona.

I’m not saying that discrimination based on a person’s sexual identity is in any way right, or that this particular baker is not reprehensible but, at least in Arizona, it’s apparently perfectly legal and justified to be a religious bigot.

Governor Brewer faced a hail-storm of criticism because of her veto of SB-1062 and it primarily came from religious bigots who identify themselves (as most do) as Conservatives. Thanks however to Governor Brewer, as much as she may have wanted to as a Conservative politician, she could not bring herself to sign that legislation that would potentially allow uncontrolled religious discrimination. As part of her statement after the veto she said:

“Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination.”

Unfortunately Gov. Brewer made that good decision based on a common misconception. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was put in place not to protect citizens from unwarranted religious bigotry but to protect religions from government interference. All that, however, has nothing to do with anti-discrimination laws; they were put in place to protect citizens from racial, sexual, and religious bigotry. Either way, the “Homophobic Baker” comes out a loser (not to mentions being an incompetent businessman).

Read about the case:

CNN Politics: “Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes controversial anti-gay bill, SB 1062

In Defense of Children in Peril

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An article in the National Journal (http://www.nationaljournal.com/domesticpolicy/why-90-000-children-flooding-our-border-is-not-an-immigration-story-20140616) titled “Why 90,000 Children (per year) Flooding Our Border Is Not an Immigration Story”, provides a detailed look at the facts and background of the story you see almost nightly on the news.

My very first reaction to this scenario where all of these thousands of refugees are being snagged and then bussed to Arizona was that we should have secured the borders long ago, when it was being called for and when we were starting to understand what illegal immigration was doing to our country. But after reading this National Journal article I realized (as the Journal article’s title implies) that this is not a matter of illegal immigration, this is more correctly looked at as a refugee problem with a twist. These refugees are not adults looking for work, these are children, UNACCOMPINED children who were in danger in their home coutries. I’m inagining the heartbreak of the mother or father who realized that to save the son’s or daughter’s life they would have to send them away, to a different country, and perhaps never see them again. Most of these parents may not live long enough to see their children again. That’s an act of desperation AND an act of love.

The reason that this is happening is well beyond our direct control. These are impoverished Central American countries where the criminals and drug lords have taken over. It may be a terrible imposition on the generous nature of Americans to have to feed and clothe and medicate all of these childrens but it is what it is.

Had these refugees been adults I would opt for sending them all back to where they came from and encouraging them to learn to fight to defend themselves their families and their neighbors. There are no doubt more of them than there are criminals and they should have no qualms about killing the criminals before the criminals kill them. Hopefully it will come to that in ElSalvador, Guateala and Honduras, hopefully the people will rise up and take back their lives and neighborhoods.

The children, however, are another story. Frankly I applaud the common sense and courage of the parents or relatives of these children for sending them out of harm’s way. This is America and we will find a way to do what we have to for these kids, keep them well and keep them safe and make them feel like someone cares about what happens to them.

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‘What is this you’re saying,’ you ask! ‘Your an atheist, a godless personification of evil works and evil intentions.’

‘Don’t believe everything you read or hear,’ I answer. ‘Every non-Christian has a heart (“if you prick us, do we not bleed” (Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Scene 1, Shylock speaking); and this atheist will never harm a child or knowingly send a child into harm’s way.

The Corruption of a Political Entity

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Here’s some great advise for Conservatives (we need not use the term “Religious Conservatives” any longer, the word “Religious” is implied if not flat-out stated by virtually every Conservatuve I’ve listened to or read for the past several years. The very term “Conservative” has been corrupted and redefined; Conservative no longer stands for ‘smaller government and free trade, it stands for “In God We Trust.”

The following is is a quote from a Fox News opinion piece. The title of the piece: “Jesus hates religion. He really does” is rather shocking considering it was written by Dr. Alex Himaya, the founding and Senior Pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in America: theCHURCH at BattleCreek, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Here’s the quote:

“I think we as Christians have a reputation as conversation stoppers. When we engage people on the other side of an issue, most of the time, the conversation doesn’t end the way we want it to. It (either) gets stopped short or our side of the issue ends up being misrepresented. And that’s largely our fault.  We prefer to be heard, as opposed to actually listening. We want the benefit of the doubt, but we’re reluctant to give it. Instead, we lead with our idea of what’s right and wrong, in our belief, instead of leading with love.

The best way to stop a conversation short is by being judgmental and ‘religious.’ By that, I mean we come off as confrontational and condemning, rather than relational and loving.

It happened just the other day when Dave Bratt beat out Eric Cantor for his seat in the House of Representatives. Here’s the lead-in for information about Dave Bratt from the New York Daily News: “Bratt, 49, casts himself as a Ronald Reagan conservative with a deep suspicion of government power. He’s also a devout Christian whose win demonstrated how “God acted through people on my behalf.” (What a conceited, obnoxious statement!)

Apparently ‘Dave the Bptist’ feels that the secret to his success is Divine Mind Control: i.e., God’s will was to have Christian/Baptist Dave Bratt beat out the man who the Jerusalem Press (http://jpupdates.com/2014/06/10/breaking-news-jewish-republican-congress-defeated-primary/) pointedly calls “the only Jewish House Republican”, Eric Cantor. (Who would have thought that God would hold a grudge that long.)

Okay, I’m just having a bit of fun poking fun at Dave Bratt but I don’t want to get too far away from the point of this post and that is:
The apparent underlying message in virtually every Conservative speech in recent years seems to be: Only Christians have morals, only Christians ‘do the right thing’ in regards toward their actions and attitudes to their fellow man.

Here’s a News Flash: Morality came along centuries before Christianity and you can be sure that anywhere you went in those BC days you would find kind, gentle and honest people who happened to worship idols, superstitions, animals, trees and anything else you might imagine including rock formations. In spite of what Conservatives seem to insist, the Christian religion does not have a “lock” on morality.

I’m NOT saying that Bratt’s Christian morals will in any way make him less of a great public servant or that there is anything wrong with Christian morals, what I’m saying is it’s stupid for Conservatives to take a public stance that implies that only Christian Conservatives can be trusted or, beyond that, that there is any logical link between being a Christian and being a Conservative (or a Liberal for that matter.) Who or what you worship has no guaranteed effect on your behavior or attitudes; who you REALLY ARE under your ‘holy garment’, where the ‘rubber meets the road,’ is all that really counts.

It may be a cheap shot but I can’t help being reminded of the countless number of children who have been molested and corrupted by men and women who wear those ‘holy garments’ while publicly proclaiming that they are servants of God.

An Apology and Something to Consider

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When I posted my last article , the information about Bowie Bergdahl was still being held Confidential by our government. Imagine my chagrin when, the very next morning, I read that he is not only a deserter but a Taliban sympathizer. The action I proposed (a rescue mission) that never happened was apparently planned and rejected because the Joint Chiefs didn’t want to risk even one real American soldier’s life for a deserter and traitor. That was a GOOD decision and I apologize for the assumptins I made in my last post, assumptions based on the lack of information available.

The apparently politically disasterous decision to let 5 dangerous Taliban prisoners loose in exchange for this traitor was, from what I read, a decision made by none other than the Commander and Chief, Barack Hussain Obama. As dispicable as Bowie Bergdahl may be, he at least followed his conscience (as his father advised him to do). I firmly believe that President Obama (a phrase that has become an oxymoron) was also following his conscience; and that’s a scary thought.

The difference between a soldier who decided to go over to the Talaban and president who decided to free 5 dangerous “high value” America Haters for a no value deserter is so obvious that to dwell on it would insult your intelligence. The unanswered question is WHY did the President, in opposition to the vast majority of his own hand-picked advisors, go through with the prisoner swap.

There is no doubt an entire fat folder full of things we don’t know about the situation but from what we know about the president’s deferential decisions made in favor of our nation’s sworn enemies and from the the many, many other things President Obama has done to weaken our country’s military and it’s economy and forever change it’s very nature, it is painfully easy for me to assume that our president does not like the United States as it was since it’s founding up to his presidency and to assume he is working hard for the country’s eventual descent into oblivion.

We’ve all heard from personalities, groups and individuals that condemn President Obama’s policies and question his motivations but have we really listened and thought about it logically?

Have we seriously considered the direction this country is going?

I hope so!

Come on America, “Grow a Pair”

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I’m sure that millions of Americans are as pleased, as I am, to see Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an American POW, released from Taliban custody after 5 years of what must have been pure pain and misery.

The swap of Sgt. Bergdahl for 5 pieces of uncivilized trash does not bother me that much, it just gives us five more Taliban targets; and I sincerely hope we have snipers in position, ready at the first opportunity to blow the tops of the heads off of the released prisoners AND their Taliban escorts. These people, the Taliban and their sympathizers, are truly sub-human and need to be hunted like any other uncaged predator would be. That however is just a fantasy as long as we have eunuchs in the White House administration.

If the White House was staffed with real American patriots and not left leaning quasi-Americans, Sgt. Bergdahl’s rescue (or at least an attempt at a rescue leaving behind hundreds of Taliban bodies) would have taken place over 4-1/2 years ago.

Yes, Bergdahl may have been killed in an attempted rescue but, like every soldier in the past 40 years who volunteered to serve in the military (in July it will be 41 years since the draft ended) he must have realized (as I did in my day) that death is a very real possibility during an armed conflict with the many enemies of the United States. I hope every kid who is contemplating military service is MADE to be aware of that fact!

Quoting the Huffington Post : Since late 2001, “at least 2,169 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.”

It is interesting to note that in the world outside the military, during a shorter period of time (2000 – 2010)  there were over 165,000 murders in the U.S.. Based on these facts, it may be suggested that it’s safer to be in Afghanistan, in the military, than in many places in the U.S.. (Perhaps that is because, in the military, you are encouraged to carry a weapon! You think?) . . . but that irreverent supposition begs the question.

Is there a better way to face our enemy than putting “boots on the ground”? You bet there is. I know that with the technology available today, we could send a missile smack dab in the middle of any Taliban (or Al Qaeda) tent, cave, stronghold or training camp. That kind of approach, however, at least in the last couple decades, has it’s drawbacks. Mainly it encourages the powerful friends of our enemies to return the favor, and right now, due to the intentional erosion of our self-defense capabilities, put in place by those aforementioned eunuchs, it may be a very dangerous strategy that we are not prepared for.  We need to get prepared!

In the future, IF the U.S. military’s defense capabilities were to be restored by the American public and some real Patriots were put in place in the legislature, the White House and the Supreme Court, and if we could actually stand behind a firmly stated self-defense policy without the spokesperson’s knees knocking (a policy something like my personal “I Have No Other Cheek” Policy (see below)), we may be able, in just a few years, to instill an understand in our enemies that messing with the United States of America and our allies would be dangerous to the health of their nations.

I Have No Other Cheek, is such a simple and straight-forward self-defense policy, I reduced it to a Haiku (nonstandard):

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I Have No Other Cheek

I’m a simple man
With a simple belief
Do onto others
As they’ve done to you.
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Note that this is not a threatening policy that would encourage a “pissing contest” (excuse my language), it is simply a statement of personal intent and warning to those who would attempt to do harm to me or my circle of friends and family.

I repeat: Come on America, “grow a pair”

On a related note: every country in the world (not just the U.S.) needs to be rid of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. I don’t have any idea how that might happen but it MUST happen if the human race is to survive outside of remote caves and urban shelters. I’m too old to worry about the personal consequences of that NOT happening but those of us who have extended families with younger family members should, in the words of a Hollywood script writer for the movie “The Fly, “Be afraid! Be very afraid.”