Posts tagged ‘Religion’

11/04/2012

Undecided Voters: Social Issues

The better choice on each issue is in the left column, indicated by a (D) for Democrat, (R) for Republican, or (N) for neither.

(D) VOTING RIGHTS AND ELECTIONS: Which party is more likely to promote a constitution amendment to remove money from campaigns, or appoint Supreme Court justices willing to interpret large contributions as bribery? Romney goes in the wrong direction as he suggests getting rid of campaign finance laws. (1-16-12). Who is more likely to promote and protect the right to vote by removing unnecessary obstacles, and yet preserve the integrity of the system? Democrats clearly win this one.

(D) MEDICARE: Although the nation must get Medicare spending under control, Romney has no solution, for he would block grant it to the states, which would effectively kill it. (10-18-11) (11-12-11) (2-22-12). Not changing things for current retirees is just a way of screwing those who’ll retire later (1-8-12) Romney wants a premium voucher program, which inevitably will not cover increases in insurance company premiums (1-16-12).

(D) MEDICAID: Romney would also effectively end Medicaid by sending it to the states. (1-16-12). As he put it, he would get the government out of Medicaid. (1-19-12). The problem is a large segment of the population will prematurely die off.

(D) HEALTH CARE COSTS: Health care needs tough federal regulation to control doctor and hospital costs, as well as drug prices, but neither party openly proposes a solution. Since regulation is the only answer, and the modern Republican Party never advocates price controls, Romney cannot be the solution.

(D) OBAMACARE: Romney was wrong when he thought Obamacare would be declared unconstitutional. (12-10-11). He repeatedly promised to repeal it. (10-11-11) (10-18-11) (1-7-12) (1-16-12) (1-19-12) (2-22-12). He posed a good question when he asked what we would be replaced with. (10-11-11). He alleged Obamacare raises taxes 500 billion, cuts Medicare 500 billion, and is a government takeover. (10-11-11). He thinks eliminating it would save 95 billion annually (11-12-11) (1-7-12). Romney would give states health care waivers (9-22-11), which effectively would repeal it. Since the current health care system is dysfunctional, the greatest problem with the Republican position is their failure to suggest a rational intelligent alternative.

(D) INDIVIDUAL MANDATE: Romney argued people need to purchase health insurance to show their personal responsibility. (8-11-11) (11-9-11). He said uninsured persons are going to emergency rooms and taxpayers end up picking up the tab. (9-7-11). Romney insulted those who cannot afford health insurance by calling them “free riders.” (1-26-12). He later contradicted himself saying he opposed the individual mandate (1-23-12). The problem is even with a government voucher program, health care providers and health insurance companies will continue raising costs and premiums, and most will be priced out of coverage. Deductibles and co-pays will continue to rise. Prices need to be controlled and regulated. Since Republicans will never regulate, the vote has got to go to the Democrats.

(D) PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Romney said he would not repeal the unfunded Prescription Drug Program started by Little Bush (9-12-11). The problem is we need drug price regulation, but the Republicans will never do it. Our only hope is with Democrats.

(D) SOCIAL SECURITY RETIREMENT: Social Security retirement should never be confused with Medicare, or other social welfare programs. The retirement plan, created in 1935, is the most successful and efficient program ever created by the federal government. It needs nothing, except to be left alone. While Romney called it an “essential program” (9-12-11), Republicans from Reagan to Little Bush have advocated phasing it out. So, even though Romney said we should save the retirement plan (9-7-11), he would be pressured by House Republicans to push a right-wing agenda, which is to privatize it. Although Romney said it would not change for current retirees (1-8-12), he would add a year or two to the retirement age (1-16-12).

(D) WELFARE: Romney would turn poverty programs back to the states (1-8-12), which would kill them. He thinks Obama is creating a welfare state (1-19-12), and the U.S. has become an entitlement society. (1-16-12). Romney would block grant Food Stamps (2-22-12), which would cripple the needs of the hungry.

(D) EDUCATION: Romney apparently thinks there is something wrong with teacher unions, as he said he would stand up them. (9-22-11) While he would test children in math and English (2-22-12), which is fine, too many Republicans push the idea of privatizing schools, a long range threat to our culture.

(D) EDUCATIONAL TV/PUBLIC BROADCASTING (PBS): In an shocking campaign promise, Romney said he would eliminate Public Broadcasting (11-12-11). At a time when more, not less, non-fictional programming on science is needed, why cut PBS? Personally, it’s the only benefit I ever received from the federal government. I can’t believe any candidate would eliminate it.

(D) ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: In Presidential elections, we don’t just elect a man; we choose a party to manage the agencies of government. If Romney wins, House Republicans will name the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Extremists like Republican Michelle Bachmann, who advocated abolishing it, will have influence. If Romney wins, we will have a weak EPA. We should prefer over-regulation, than the other way around. Although Romney said we can’t let pollution flow from one state to another (1-8-12), which implies a need for federal law, modern Republicans cannot be trusted to regulate.

(D) FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA) The storm that just hit the East Coast is a good reminder of how bad it would be if FEMA had been abolished, or privatized. We need to remember we all sink or swim together.

(D) SUPREME COURT: It is likely the next President will appoint one or more Justices. A Romney win would tip the court to the hard right. The Court currently has four right-wing Justices: Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts (on most issues). Reagan’s appointee Kennedy completes the usual conservative majority, which has existed since 1972.

(D) ABORTION: The secular right to “liberty” found in the 5th and 14th Amendments allows women to have an abortion in the earlier stages of pregnancy, when the fetus is incapable of living outside the womb. As a practical matter, attempts to outlaw abortion have been a waste of time. Even if the anti-abortion crowd had another Justice, who would ignore precedent, and reverse Roe v Wade, subsequent attempts to convict women and doctors would fail. Prosecutors will never get 12 jurors to convict women or doctors, and there would be hung jury after hung jury. We live in a free country which has no official religious creed. People disagree as to whether life begins at birth, or some other point before the fetus can live outside the womb. Romney, a missionary for the very conservative Mormon Church, will almost certainly appoint right-wing Justices. He changed his position on abortion. Most recently, he said he is pro-life (12-15-11) (1-19-12). He said Roe v Wade was wrong, it should be overturned, and the issue should be left to the states. (1-7-12). His stand would only give religious fanatics the power to impose their religious views on a secular society, filled with many who want to be free.

(D) CONTRACEPTIVES: Romney did not think any state wanted to ban contraceptives (1-7-12), but he is part of a right-wing Republican Party willing to turn back the hands of time.

(D) GAYS: Romney, whose Mormon grandfather fled the U.S. and moved to Mexico, because he believed strongly in the right to have more than one wife, ironically wants to amend the Constitution to limit marriages to one man and one women. Why the Republicans want to control the life of gays, who are genetically predisposed, is a mystery. We live in free country. It’s time to leave gays alone. Although Romney opposes same-sex marriage (12-15-11) (1-8-12) (1-16-12), and would amend the constitution to stop gay marriage (1-7-12) (1-8-12), the Democrats have the better position, as they believe in personal freedom.

(D) GUNS: Neither party is doing much to control hand guns in cities. Romney signed an assault weapons ban when he was Gov. in Massachusetts, but now he says he is pro-gun (12-15-11). The Republicans offer little hope to control firearm violence.

(D) RELIGION: Romney served overseas in France as a missionary for the Mormon Church. (12-10-11). He said he would seek guidance and providence in making critical decisions (1-26-12). He thinks Obama is somehow attacking religious freedom. (2-22-12). I have no idea what Romney is talking about.

Advertisements
02/25/2012

Founders’ Colleges Were Not Sectarian

Right-wingers like to promote the mythology that everything our Founders did was extremely religious, but the truth is, the colleges they founded, in the 26 states east of the Mississippi, from the birth of Harvard in 1636, through the next 200 years, were largely secular, or public universities, and not faith-based colleges.

Many States had only Secular Schools:

MASSACHUSETTS: Harvard (1636), our oldest university, was founded without religious affiliation. Over the following 200 years, Massachusetts witnessed the opening of four more private colleges: Williams (1793), Amherst (1821), Wheaton (1834), and Mt. Holyoke (1836). The first religious-based school in the Bay State did not appear until 1843, when Holy Cross accepted students.

CONNECTICUT: Yale (1701), a secular Ivy League school, was Connecticut’s only university for 122 years. Trinity (1823) and Wesleyan (1831), both private, were the next to break ground, followed by Central Connecticut (1849), a state school.

NEW YORK: Early New Yorkers introduced Columbia University (1754) to the Ivy League, without religious ties. It was followed by private colleges at Hamilton (1793) and Union (1795). After the U.S. created a public Military Academy (1802) at West Point, four more secular schools appeared: Colgate (1819), Rensselaer Tech (1824), Rochester Tech (1829), and NYU (1831). Not until 79 years after Columbia was first opened, did St. Joseph’s (1833), a religious school, begin taking students.

RHODE ISLAND: Brown (1764), an Ivy League university, was not connected to any church. 90 years after their chartering, the state added a public school named Rhode Island College (1854).

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Dartmouth (1769), another Ivy League college, was not faith-based. It was the state’s only university, until Colby-Sawyer (1833), a private school, appeared 61 years later.

MAINE in the early years had two private schools, Bowdoin (1794) and Colby (1813), and they gained no other, until Bates (1855), a secular university, was added just before the Civil War.

Public Universities founded before Independence:

DELAWARE: Our Delaware forefathers chartered the University of Delaware (1743), as a public institution. It remained the state’s only school of higher education for 98 years, through 1841.

NEW JERSEY: After Princeton (1746) opened, as a private Ivy League institution, the New Jersey Founders started Rutgers (1766), as a state-run college. It would be 90 years before students would be accepted at Seton Hall (1856), a Catholic school.

GEORGIA: Shortly after the Revolution, the Georgian Founders broke ground at the University of Georgia (1785), a public college. 46 years later, Methodists launched a school named La Grange (1831), followed by Baptists at Mercer (1833), private interests at Oglethorpe (1835), and Methodists again at Emory (1836).

Public universities under President Washington:

NORTH CAROLINA: Although the first in North Carolina was a small Moravian women’s school named Salem (1772), during President Washington’s first term, the state created the University of North Carolina (1789), as a public school. Baptists followed with Wake Forest (1834), as the Society of Friends founded Guilford (1834), and the Presbyterians opened Davidson (1836).

VERMONT: As Washington was in his third year, the Founders of Vermont molded the University of Vermont (1791) into a public school. Following appearances by secular Middlebury (1800) and Norwich (1819), Johnson State (1828) was added.

TENNESSEE: During Washington’s second term, the Tennessee legislature appropriated funds for the University of Tennessee (1794), as a public institution. Tuculum (1794), a private school, also took students that year. Sectarian interests finally broke ground at religious-based schools, when the Presbyterians opened Maryville (1819), and the Baptists founded Union (1825).

Public universities under Adams and Jefferson:

KENTUCKY: After private parties opened Transylvania (1780), and Baptists created Georgetown, KY (1787), the Founders of Kentucky voted, during John Adams’ presidency, to start the University of Louisville (1798), as a public institution. Early Kentucky was rounded out with a Catholic school named Nazareth (1814), and a private one called Centre College (1819).

SOUTH CAROLINA started with the private Charleston College (1770) and funded the University of South Carolina (1801), early in Jefferson’s presidency. Baptists added Furman (1826).

OHIO started with a private college named Marietta (1797). It was soon joined in Jefferson’s time, by the Ohio University (1804), a public school. When James Madison was inaugurated, Miami of Ohio (1809), another public college, was chartered. As James Monroe became President, the University of Cincinnati (1819) started as a municipal institution. Kenyon (1824) and Western Reserve (1826), both private, completed early Ohio.

MARYLAND: Two private schools, St. John’s (1696) and Washington (1706), were the first to open. 83 years later, the Catholics introduced Georgetown (1789) in Washington, DC, and St. Mary’s (1791) in Maryland. While Jefferson was still President, the state’s Founders launched the University of Maryland (1807), as a public school. Catholics soon followed with Mt. St. Mary’s (1808), and St. Joseph’s (1809), as other private interests broke ground at the George Washington University (1821), in the District of Columbia.

Public Universities under Madison and Monroe:

MICHIGAN: While James Madison was ending his second term, the University of Michigan (1817) appeared, as a public school. 16 years later, the Baptists first accepted students at Kalamazoo (1833), followed by the Methodists at Albion (1835).

VIRGINIA: A royal charter established William & Mary (1693), as a secular college. Washington & Lee (1749) followed, as a private institution. 83 years after William & Mary was first opened, the Presbyterians organized a religious-based school at Hampden-Sydney (1776). During James Monroe’s first term, Virginia appropriated funds for a ground-breaking at the University of Virginia (1819), a public school. Methodists next opened Randolph-Macon (1830), as Baptists gave birth to Richmond (1830).

ALABAMA: While James Monroe was still President, the Alabama legislature funded the University of Alabama (1820), as a public school. Northern Alabama (1830) followed, as Methodists launched colleges at Athens (1822) and Livingston (1835), and Catholics created one named Spring Hill (1830).

INDIANA: The Founders of Indiana organized the University of Indiana (1820) while James Monroe was still President. After Presbyterians introduced Hanover (1827), private interests started Wabash (1832), and Baptists accepted students at Franklin (1834).

Public universities under Van Buren, Tyler, Polk, and Fillmore:

WEST VIRGINIA remained a part of Virginia, until the Civil War. They had just two colleges before the split, namely Marshall (1837), and West Liberty (1837), both public institutions, which were chartered, while President Van Buren was in office.

MISSISSIPPI, a conservative place, started with Mississippi College (1826), a Baptist institution, before the state agreed in John Tyler’s time, to fund the University of Mississippi (1944).

WISCONSIN: Upon joining the union during the Presidency of James Polk, the Wisconsin Founders broke ground on a publicly-funded school named the University of Wisconsin (1848). Carroll College (1846), a Presbyterian school, also organized then, along with two private universities, Beloit (1846) and Lawrence (1847).

FLORIDA: The first universities in Florida, launched during the Presidency of Millard Fillmore, were Florida State (1851), and the University of Florida (1853), both public institutions.

Some had private and sectarian schools:

PENNSYLVANIA: The secular University of Pennsylvania (1740) appeared as a member of the Ivy League. Although a religious order founded Moravian (1742), the next four to break ground were private: Dickinson (1773), Washington & Jefferson (1782), Franklin & Marshall (1787), and the University of Pittsburgh (1787). Lyconing (1812), a Methodist college, was followed by three secular schools: Allegheny (1815), Pennsylvania Military (1821), and the Philadelphia Pharmacy College (1821). While the Presbyterians added Lafayette (1826), Lutherans opened Gettysburg (1832). Haverford (1833) became a private school. Public colleges were not chartered, until Cheney State (1837) and Bloomsburg State (1839) appeared.

ILLINOIS commenced with McKendree (1828), a Methodist school. They next added Illinois College (1829) and Knox (1837), both private. Four more secular colleges and six sectarian would follow, before Illinois St. (1857) would first break ground.

As the evidence clearly shows, the Founders supported secular colleges, and actually appropriated funds to create public non-sectarian universities. While some may have had religious beliefs, they were careful to separate church and state.

02/23/2012

Republican Debate in Arizona (2-22-12)

WAR: Paul correctly said a “pre-emptive war” is a “war of aggression.” We have been fighting offensive, not defensive wars. If we go to war against Iran, Paul said, it should be done properly, by first asking Congress for a Declaration of War. Gingrich foolishly said there are moments when you engage in pre-emptive war (also known as illegal aggression under international law).

DEFENSE: Paul predicted the Draft would be brought back, because we are in way over our heads. He said foreign aid ends up helping our enemies. Santorum thinks Defense Spending takes a smaller portion of the budget than in the past, and he would not cut it. Romney accused Obama of shrinking the Navy, Air Force, and active-duty personnel by 50,000 to 100,000. He would instead add ships, planes, and personnel by 100,000. He responded to Santorum’s problem with women in the military, saying they have the capacity to serve in responsible positions.

MIDEAST/SYRIA/PAKISTAN: Paul said Al Qaida is bankrupting us as they bogged us down in the Mideast, where we have spent 4 trillion in the last 10 years. We don’t have money for another war in Syria, he said. Santorum thinks Syria is a puppet of Iran. Romney said Syria shadows Lebanon, and threatens Israel. He wants the Alawites in Syria to abandon Assad. He is also concerned with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

IRAN: Paul said we don’t know if Iran has a nuclear weapon, but they cannot possibly attack anyone, because we have 45 bases, plus submarines, all around their country. All we are doing is making them feel threatened, and encouraging them to get a bomb. Sanctions are already backfiring, he said, because they cause Iranians to rally behind their leaders. We don’t have money for another war in Iran, Paul said. Gingrich accused Ahmadinejad of being a dictator, of denying the Holocaust, of wanting to push the U.S. out of the Mideast, and eliminate Israel from the face of the map. Romney wants crippling sanctions against Iran. He actually believes if Iran obtains fissile material, they will give it to Hezbollah and Hamas, who will take it into Latin America, where they will “potentially” bring it across the U.S. border, and then detonate “dirty bombs.” He thinks Obama told Israel not to take any action.

LATIN AMERICA: Romney thinks Hezbollah is operating in Latin America. He noted Northern Mexico is a problem.

IMMIGRATION: Paul wants us to forget about the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and deal with our own. We need to reward legal immigration, he said. He thinks the welfare state causes immigrants to cross over for benefits. Romney enabled his state police to take them out by enforcing illegal immigration laws. He fought for English emersion classes in schools. He said since e-verify allows employers to know who is here legally, illegals have dropped by 14%. Santorum would create a loophole in e-verify, by not requiring homeowners to use it. Gingrich said the failure to control our border is a failure of will. He wants a President who works with governors, not sues them. He said the fence between San Diego and Tijuana worked, even though it is in a densely-populated area. The further the fence was extended, the fewer crossed into California. He would move half the Dept of Homeland Security to border states to get the fencing done. He voted for a employer-sanction law in 1986, signed by Reagan, which was to have solved the immigration problem. He said people who do business in Mexico, do not want the border closed.

ENERGY: Gingrich does not want American Presidents to have to bow to Saudi Kings over energy. He believes Iran is partly responsible for what is going on at the gas pump, as one of every five barrels of oil goes through the Straits of Hormuz. We should get into the position where we could say we do not care what the Mideast does. If we opened up federal lands and offshore areas for development, Gingrich said, and replaced the EPA, the government would realize 16 to 18 trillion in royalties, and gas prices would drop to $2.50 per gallon.

BANKS: Romney said: “I didn’t want to save Wall Street banks.” He was worried the entire currency system would go down.

AUTO: Paul said the government should not be in the business of supporting auto labor contracts. He reminded the audience Santorum opposed the auto bailout. Santorum said he helped the airline industry after 911, because the government shut them down. He said Romney is not principled, as he was for the Wall Street bailout, but against helping Detroit auto workers. Romney admitted he wanted the auto companies to go through a “managed” bankruptcy, like the airlines did, to shed excessive costs imposed by the UAW. He took a contradictory position however saying: “No way would we allow the auto industry in America to totally implode and disappear.” Gingrich agreed a managed bankruptcy would have been best for the auto industry.

HOUSING: Paul said the government should not bail out housing.

HEALTH: Gingrich said when the government becomes the central provider of services, they inevitably move towards tyranny, as they force people to do things. Santorum promised to target Medicare for budget cuts. He pledged to repeal Obamacare. He said he always opposed Title X funds, but pushed abstinence-based program spending under Title XX. He accused the Mass health law of being the model for Obamacare. Romney said states have the right under the 10th Amendment to do what he did in Mass. He would repeal Obamacare, because he doesn’t think the federal government should cut Medicare by 500 billion.

EDUCATION: Paul said the Constitution gives the federal government no power in education. He said Santorum is a fake, because he votes for No Child Left Behind, but now he wants to get rid of it. Santorum said he is a home schooling father of seven children. When he voted for No Child Left Behind, it was a mistake, and he now thinks the federal government should get out of education. Romney agreed children should be tested in math and English before they graduate. Gingrich would shrink the federal Dept of Education down to nothing but research. He thinks teachers unions only care about protecting bad teachers.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Santorum said we need to “deal with” Social Security. He said “all” the seniors in Pennsylvania rely on it, because the rich ones moved to Florida and Arizona.

WELFARE: Santorum said poverty in single-parent households is five times greater than two-parent homes. His solution is to go after food stamps (to make sure hungry people go without). Romney would block grant Medicare, housing vouchers, and food stamps to the states.

GOVERNMENT: Romney would link government pay to private sector pay. Gingrich would repeal 130-year-old civil service laws.

BUDGET/DEBT/TAXES: Santorum said he was rated most fiscally conservative in his 12 years in the Senate. He explained earmarking is abused, and would oppose their use as President. We cannot default on the Debt Ceiling, he added. He said Romney is now suggesting raising taxes on the top 1 percent. Romney said the earmark process is broken, and he would ban it, because it opens the door to excessive spending. He supports a line-item veto to deal with earmarks. He would ask if a program justifies borrowing from China to pay for it. He claimed he balanced his state budget all four years. Santorum said the only reason Romney balanced his budget was his state constitution required it. Gingrich wants a balanced budget. He would eliminate capital gains taxes on more than just those earning less than $200,000. Paul said he never voted for a budget deficit, or an increase the National Debt. He said we pay gas taxes into a trust fund, and should get our fair share, but they spend it overseas.

CONSTITUTION: Paul said he is the defender of the Constitution and liberty, and his platform is the road to peace and prosperity. The Constitution does not provide “women’s rights or men’s rights,” There are no group rights. He said we take an oath to our office, not to a political party to vote the way they want.

RELIGION: Romney alleged we have never seen attacks like these against religious conscience, freedom, and tolerance.

ABORTION/CONTRACEPTION: Paul said the government should not spend money on abstinence. Pills don’t cause immorality, people do. Romney alleged Obama was trying to require Catholics to provide birth control, sterilization, and morning-after pills. He said he stood on the side of life, when his legislature refused to define it as starting at conception. He vetoed a bill regarding embryo farming and cloning. He said liberals go crazy over teaching abstinence. He denied requiring Catholic hospitals to provide morning after pills. He said the Mass. health law did not require contraceptive coverage. He said Santorum opposed contraceptives, but voted for Title X. Gingrich claimed state senator Obama voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived abortions. He wants Planned Parenthood to get nothing. Santorum said, if elected, he would talk about the “dangers of contraception.” He illogically added we have a problem of children born out of wedlock. He said this doesn’t mean he wants a government program to fix it.

ADOPTION: Romney sided with Catholic adoption agencies regarding their preference for placement in homes with a man and a woman. He wanted the Catholic Church to stay in the adoption business, as they were responsible for half of them in Mass.