Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Here We Go!!!

Today marks the first full day of the Obama Administration. It is typical for a new incoming president to issue executive orders and/or overturn some executive orders, and/or federal rules, by a previous president.

Slate has published a piece on the top ten Bush executive orders that they believe Obama should overturn immediately here.

Tomorrow marks the 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in the infamous Roe vs. Wade case which legalized abortion across the nation. As George Bush took office in 2001, he chose the 28th anniversary to reinstate the policy of Reagan and his father preventing federal funding to international family planning organizations involved in abortion support, either through performing the surgery, counseling on abortion as a family planning option or lobbying foreign governments on abortion policy. Clinton had lifted that ban in 1993. There is speculation that Obama may do the same tomorrow.

Many proponents for abortion rights commemorate and/or celebrate the Roe vs. Wade decision. I found a short article at which is located in Palm Springs, CA. Here is a portion of a comment that had been left:

Thank God we live in such a free society where a woman is allowed to make choices in her life free from shame and guilt thrown on her by centuries of religious practices. We are a shining beacon for the rest of the world because we let the Supreme Court define our freedoms and not a Pope or Caliphate or Patriarch. This does not make us evil or sinners for this.

As someone who is for limited government, I found this chilling. Those of us opposed to abortion are forced to participate in it through our tax dollars. If federal funding is released for international groups involved in abortion, we will be forced to support it not only here in our own country, but throughout the world. Anyone up for writing some legislation for a tax credit for those who are opposed to abortion?

Freedom of religion is in danger. More and more people are looking to our government to meet more and more of their needs... and to set the standard.

If you are like me, you have a hard time keeping up with who's who in Washington. I found this Obama appointees guide. It has pictures and a little blurb about each of them. Things of this sort really help me.


Two Dogs said...

Yes, freedom of religion is in danger ever since we allowed tribal mentality into law. The further that we move from the basic premise of individual rights, the more of our freedoms we surrender. The philosophy behind thinking that the federal government should have anything to say on matters that are not security issues is the cudgel that is destroying our country and its culture.

There is a way to stop this madness, but promoting individual rights and the responsibilities of those rights is the ONLY way that we can return to the premises upon which our country was founded.

I still cannot find "abortion" enumerated ANYWHERE in the Constitution.

BLBeamer said...

Where has the Church failed to allow things to get to this point?

BLBeamer said...

Just so it's clear, by "this point" I wasn't referring to the incoming Obama administration but to the anti-Christian sentiment quoted. I have heard those same sentiments used by folks who claim to be Christians.

United Church of Christ is still a Christian denomination, isn't it?

Roland Hulme said...

That's another fascinating post!

On the face of it, I'd agree with you. I think abortion is one of those topics in which it's totally fair to not ask taxpayers to give money to something they think is inherently evil. It's not religious freedom, it's moral responsibility.

But you could equally argue the same about, for example, the war in Iraq. I'm not happy that my tax dollars went towards a conflict which has seen the death of 4,000 US troops. It's not quite the same thing - as I said, I support what you're saying regarding federal funding of abortion. But you can see where the two are related.

As for 'religious freedom.' I think it's a misnomer. Nobody has the 'freedom' to do things which are wrong. I can understand 'religious freedom' when it comes to things like Catholic doctors and nurses not having to give abortions... But what about Catholic doctors and nurses not getting funding if they refuse to hand out contraceptives? In that, case, I understand the backlash. If they expect to do a job paid for by the taxpayer, by Golly they should DO IT. You can't 'pick and choose' what part of the job you want to do (unless you're dealing with a REAL moral quandary, like abortion.)

What would you say about Muslim workers being hired by the government, but having the 'religious freedom' to opt out of specific duties (like, I don't know, filing liquor licences.)

Also, religious freedom is one thing... But it's dangerous territory in regards to homosexuality, for example.

If you fight for the 'religious freedom' to refuse to hire your church hall out to a gay couple who's just got married, doesn't that grant white supremacist Christians the 'religious freedom' to refuse to hire out their hall to black or interracial couples?

'Religious freedom' often isn't about 'freedom' at all. It's about legitimizing the refusal to live by the same laws and expectations as the rest of society.

The problem with my country, Britain, is that we've established two tiers of law. The one British people have to live by and the ones Muslim people get to live by.

That's 'religious freedom' that's wrong and unfair - and it's based on the same concept as conservative Christians are fighting for.

Two Dogs said...

Roland said, "If you fight for the 'religious freedom' to refuse to hire your church hall out to a gay couple who's just got married, doesn't that grant white supremacist Christians the 'religious freedom' to refuse to hire out their hall to black or interracial couples?"

The answer is ABSOLUTELY and that is GUARANTEED by the Constitution. No one can come to MY church and tell me what I HAVE to do. Government has no control over my religion or my church UNLESS my church or religion is breaking the law.

Furthermore, government has absolutely NO PLACE at all deciding what is and what is not right between two consenting adults. Remove marriage from the government entirely by abolishing the "progressive" tax system. Roland, your ideological brethren are the ones that started government regulation over marriage and now you want MORE. Take it out entirely. Gay marriage problem solved.

What many anti-religious people fail to realize is that freedom of religion comes with a price tag. You cannot FORCE your religious freedoms upon me or there is NO limit to what churches or anti-religious people will be FORCED to endure, Roland.

That said, if we are talking about federal government, that is one specific thing, if we are talking about state government, that is another entirely. Federal government is growing to the point that the failing governments in Europe have reached.

Read the Tenth Amendment and understand completely what it is saying. Also understand that is NO PLACE does the Constitution say anything AT ALL about separation of church and state. That is a fallacy and the opinion of people that cannot determine for themselves without their master telling them what is right or wrong.

Coffee Bean said...

Hey BLBeamer!

That is a hard question for me. What is the purpose of the church? The purpose should be to reach out to the world with the love and forgiveness of Christ so that those people will in turn do the same. The problem is that the very word/idea of sin is now offensive. Taking responsibility for ones thoughts, actions and deeds is replaced by blame shifting and victimhood.

It is clear to me that the gay marriage issue could quite possibly be the end of religious freedom as well as freedom of thought here in the U.S. I can see a day coming when the rule of law overrides our ability to decide for ourselves what is right or wrong and our very objections are silenced through tyranny. The case in New Mexico of the Christian photographer who was fined $6,000 for refusing to provide services for a homosexual committment ceremony is a good example.

I'm a mom who has been pretty busy the last 20 years raising my family. It is very easy to just worry about the immediate things and kind of have your nose to the grindstone as you plug along. As a Christian, it is easy to surround yourself with others of like mind and concern yourself with the goings on at your church... and grow complacent. My life has been fairly easy. I've never worried about my husband losing his job. I've never worried that our true needs would not be met. I have sought to serve others... and more so than many people... but, it has always been at my whim. When I could work it in and I've always had the ability to go back to my safe home.

The vocal chord disorder I suffer from has changed my life drastically. I'm not able to do many of the things I used to. I've always been very busy with more on my plate than most people can handle. For me to be stuck at home with my main source of communication now being the computer has been very difficult, to say the least. However, it has allowed me the time to research and think about things.

The reasons I keep this blog are continually shifting. Sometimes, to be honest, I don't want to keep it up. The questions I ask of myself are hard and sometimes keep me up at night. I'm just one person who doesn't have all the answers and flounders around trying to figure it out.

I guess where I am at as I write this today is... all of the things happening are supposed to be. As a member of this society I feel it is my duty to do what I feel is right in as much as I am able. It is not so much about stopping things and trying to control what happens with our government as it is about sounding the alarm and reaching others who have grown complacent so that they can wake up... look around and do what they can to reach those in their sphere for Christ.

Are we in the end times? I don't know. I think every generation of Christians before us thought they were. I just know that the more I look at the changes in our government and in our society, the more I wonder.

Roland Hulme said...

"The case in New Mexico of the Christian photographer who was fined $6,000 for refusing to provide services for a homosexual commitment ceremony is a good example."

I already know what 2Dawgs answer will be, but I'll ask this one:

Would that refusal be acceptable or not if it was an interracial couple he was asked to photograph?

By two dog's admittedly irrefutable logic, this is America, and one can refuse to provide services for anybody you want, for any reason you want. In theory. Except you can't really.

But fifty or so years ago, conservative Christians considered interracial marriage a sin. Now they'd be prosecuted for saying so (and refusing to provide services for it.)

Is that a violation of their 'religious freedom'?

Two Dogs said...

Roland, you ask intelligent questions, but when the answer is irrefutable, you refuse to accept the answer. This renders your intelligent question moot. You only want your already determined answer. That is the sign of a passive mind.

"I think this is right, now tell me why I believe this and make me be right."

Government has overstepped its boundaries. No matter what you want to call it, when you are forced to do something against your will, it is a criminal act that is unconstitutional. You cannot have it BOTH ways and that is what the anti-intellectuals want. Contradictions cannot exist in reality.

You can accept that, or you can continue to try to make contradictions work, but thinking people do not do that.

You cannot FORCE me to act in a certain way toward behavior that I deem unacceptable. It does not achieve your desired result, it makes for more animosity. Intelligent people can see that when their kids do not want to eat broccoli and are forced to do so.

Why do you think that there is a rising tide of racism again in this country? it is because of FORCED equality of results.

If you take this to the most cruel ends, it is Constitutionally illegal to force me to install wheelchair ramps at my privately owned business. If I choose to disallow cripples to buy from me, that is MY prerogative, not government's.

Reality is a harsh mistress, but it is reality. Men desire freedom from other men. Simple.

Coffee Bean said...

Hey Roland,

Actually, the thing that gets me about that case is that it is just a business run by a husband and wife. We've not talking about a big outfit. From what I understand the photographer gracefully declined to photograph their event. When you are self-employed don't you have the right to take jobs or not?

What if the woman declined to photograph a group of pit bulls because she'd read they have a high rate of attacking humans. Could the family take her to court and have her fined because she refused them service because of a bias against their pet?

What if the woman was approached to photograph the wedding ceremony of a couple and the groom had previously been engaged to her sister and treated her badly. Could she be taken to court and fined for discriminating against them?

What if the woman was approached by a Wiccan group wanting her to photograph one of their ceremonies... could she refuse?

Maybe the answer would be to have only government run photography agencies so that all photographers could be monitored to insure they are not discriminating against anyone for any reason. If they have religious beliefs that conflict with the policies of the photography agency (the government) they have to keep them to themselves or be fired.

Christians aren't up in the legislatures in the dark of night trying to pass laws to prosecute homosexuals for believing homosexuality is natural, good and a gift from God.

Roland Hulme said...

Actually, Two Dogs, I think you're right on TWO counts. You're right about the answer and you're right about it for the right reasons.

I posed that question because I see the conflict between saying 'discriminating against blacks is wrong' yet 'discriminating against gays is merely my religious freedom.'

You are irrefutably correct that by strict interpretation of the constitution, an American has the freedom to discriminate against either.

I don't have a problem with that. I only have a problem with the whole idea of saying one form of discrimination is acceptable and another isn't.

I like CB's answer to the problem. SOCIALIZE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS!

My God, I think on this issue we're actually all kind-of agreed on it, although for different reasons.

Two Dogs said...

Roland, seriously, there is not a limit to how much I DO NOT CARE if homosexuals marry. I violently DO NOT CARE. I really care about the fact that marriage has ceased to be what it really is, a declaration from one individual to another, and has become a government contract between two parties, and the rest of the entire country. And we wonder why there is a disintegration of the family.

However, you cannot have FORCED equality of outcome and have freedom at the same time. They are diametrically opposed to each other.

Roland Hulme said...

Can't argue with that, either, Two Dogs.

If you keep this up, I shall be forced to become a disciple.

Two Dogs said...

The funny thing about that is that it actually made me cringe. Not because someone might see what I am saying, but that someone would think that they would want to become a disciple of mine. I realize that it was sarcasm, but it is exactly the opposite of what my philosophy is about, despite the sarcasm. People should get to the point of understanding and believing in their guaranteed right to individuality and protect it with their life.

That is why my kind do not have all the seats in DC, only around three, because we are too busy taking care of our own stuff to try to take other's stuff from them, illegally.

This whole past election made me realize that Republicans are simply the big government moral opposite of the anti-intellectual left at this point. And by that I mean, two sides of the same coin. Both have moral absolutes, just on different ends of the ideological spectrum. Both are wrong in respect to federal government.

The bad thing about McCain was that he was in the exact center. He believed neither, he just wanted more government with no purpose.

Coffee Bean said...

Hey TD,

I wonder what it would take to have the government back out of all marriage??? I don't need the government to validate the fact that I am married.

Do you know the history behind why government got involved in marriage in the first place? I'm assuming it has to do with what happens when a marriage disolves and making sure it is equitable... uh... wait, I know too many stories of people getting screwed in their divorce settlements.

You've said that before but I'm getting used to it and wondering if/how it would be possible to make that happen.

Two Dogs said...

CB, I really do not know, but the only reason that I can imagine is strictly because of the money. At one time marriages were promoted by allowing a "supposed" greater percentage of state deductions which achieved the exact opposite, then that passed to fed taxes as well as the fed's appetite for money grew. Bush did away with that marriage penalty tax with his "tax cuts for the wealthy."

By the way, married people make more money, so the "progressive tax" ideology penalized them for their success. Again, a philosophical contradiction.

If you will also think into it a little further, you will also see that divorces ROSE once the government took control of relationships and FORCED equality, that happened in the 1950s with the first "Civil Rights Legislation." And that was a failure as well. Hence, one result of CRL is bad divorces.

(By the way, there is no such thing as a good divorce, only a bad marriage and that is because one person did not honor the rite. Never has been, never will be. Sorry for my simple-mindedness.)

Coffee Bean said...

Oh... and Roland, I forgot to say that there is a difference between abortion and the soldiers that we've lost in Iraq. We do not have a draft. Our military force is voluntary and those brave men and women, many of whom joined the armed services wanting to go to Afghanistan or Iraq, should be honored. When people are having a fit about the war and calling the lives lost a waste... they are denegrating the service of those individuals and, in my opinion, besmirching their memory.

Disagree with the war, protest even. You can do that in this country. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say they just want the troops to come home... Yet, when you talk to the troops... yes, they miss their families, they do not want to die, and yet they ask to be able to finish the job. These are the people that are on the ground and see what is happening in Iraq with their own eyes... not through the view of a biased media with an agenda.

Roland Hulme said...

Q: "Why do divorces cost so much?"

A: "Because they're WORTH it!"

I don't really want to become your disciple, 2D, but I was shocked because for the first time, I was able to understand your point AND the logic of it and appreciate it.

Either this is the onset of a voracious brain aneurysm, or you're starting to rub off on me!

CB - this whole post has inspired me to write about the issue. Hope you don't mind ANOTHER link to your blog.

I seem to link to you more than anybody else!

BLBeamer said...

CB - As one raised in the Reformed tradition, I believe the purpose of the Church is primarily 1) the promulgation of the Gospel through the preaching of the Word (including the sending out of missionaries); 2) the exercise of discipline including excommunication; and 3) corporate worship.

In my opinion, the Church has deviated quite far from those three things. That's not to say there aren't still bodies who do them in Scriptural fashion, but modern American Christianity seems to me to be way too impressed with celebrity, wealth and/or politics to be of much use or interest, or to be taken seriously.

And the music! Oy, don't get me started....

BLBeamer said...

The bad thing about McCain was that he was in the exact center. He believed neither, he just wanted more government with no purpose.
I don't entirely agree. McCain believed he was in the exact center of the universe and the federal government should be returned to its ordained purpose: revolving around him.

Two Dogs said...

BLBeamer, I cannot disagree with that.

And I am Catholic, so you KNOW I don't like my church music other than the fact that it is reverent.