When Religion and Politics mix…When the media fails to report…When we don’t understand why…

Media Coverage

I suppose the first thing to cover is the fact that no national American media source is willing to cover what is going on in today’s political arena with the audacity that, say, Walter Cronkite would be able to do. If you click the link you’ll find the story about how a single reporter changed the American perception (or at least the middle class’ perception) of the Vietnam War. It probably wasn’t a popular thing to do, but he had integrity and stuck with the truth.

I’m sure people will see this post as political pandering and demanding that the press acquiesce to my “liberal ideological demands.” Well, I suppose that could be the case, IF IT WERE THE CASE. But it’s not and I’ll lay that out here next.

Politics was not always so divided. In fact there was a time when there were liberal Republicans and Conservative Democrats. “Wha?!?” says the Fox News viewer. “Yes,” says I!

The Republican Party was founded in the late 1850′s because the Whigs were too cowardly to take on the fight to abolish slavery. The first liberal Republican elected to high office was Abraham Lincoln. A lot of conservative pundits will say otherwise, but if you follow Lincoln’s voting record (following that link will take you to the 1847 HOR votes – a year in which Lincoln missed 0 votes – and you can follow it all the way through 1859) then he most certainly would align his political ideology with a left of center liberal Democrat. (((interesting side note – Lincoln only missed 2.3% of votes his entire time in office – end side note)))

The Democratic Party of the 1850′s and prior was a strong conservative party comprised entirely of old white men (sound familiar?). Old white rich men (again, sound familiar?). They firmly believed in slavery, in which they used the free market as an argument in their defense – oh and also the Bible, because apparently the “negro” was created by God as an inferior being. I suppose God has evolved over time. Darwin must’ve taught him a thing or two…anyhoo

 The Democratic Party was so entrenched in the south that for many years there was only a single party system for voting in the south. There were the conservative Democrats and the liberal Democrats. That’s why when Rick Perry was running for high office he was accused of not being a ‘true conservative’ because he was originally a Democrat. Another political ploy to pull the uninformed voter. Perry was ALWAYS a conservative. There just wasn’t a Republican party in Texas for the longest time.

The big question is when did the polarization get this bad? Well there’s an answer to that too.

In 2009 there was a big buzz going on whether or not our government functioned, so a budding political scientist (who was a student at the time) Dan Poole did some extensive research into the voting trends of both political parties in both branches of the legislative government (that would be The House of Representatives and The Senate for the ill or under-informed voter who is attempting to educate themself). Here were the results of those studies:

 In the Senate, the most liberal time of voting was in 1879. If the liberal Senators of today were to encounter the liberal Senators of 1879 they would most certainly call them socialists. If the conservate Senators of any time frame were to encounter the most conservative Senators of today they would probably be looking into a mirror (this was prior to Ted Cruz and Co.). Interesting to note is that during the time of the Great Depression the “liberal” Senators were moderate by any and all standards.

 The House of Representatives shows a similar trend with the liberal party. They were slightly more liberal in the late 1870′s than they are today. Although, there is not much of an extreme as with the comparison of the Senate. The conservative party, on the other hand, shows a giant leap into extreme conservatism. They are even more radical than their conservative counterparts in the Senate and have gone on a giant ideological dive off the Cliffs of Insanity.

 Important to note: The second graph was updated to 2012, and both misrepresent the parties as “R” and “D” as opposed to conservative and liberal. The full switch from conservative “R” and liberal “D” happened around the time of FDR when people switched to parties based on ideology. Although there were anomalies such as the liberal Republican NYC mayor, John Lindsay, who switched parties as late as 1971.
 

Let’s be honest about the budget AND ‘Obamacare’

No one, not even the staunch Republican stalwarts, actually wants to cut the budget. To garner votes they say they do but once you break down the individual issues within the budget the answer is always “no”. Here is what lies within the budget that Republicans do not want to cut

  • Military
  • Intelligence
  • Counterterrorism
  • Law Enforcement
  • Social Security
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Highway and Transportation Infrastructure

Here is what they would go on record to actually propose cutting

  • Foreign Aid
  • NPR
  • Art
  • NASA

Here’s the problem: The first list makes up 99% of the budget! The things they are willing to cut….well I won’t insult your intelligence by breaking down the percentages.

And now to tackle The Affordable Care Act aka ‘Obamacare’. The staunch conservatives want to defund and rewrite the healthcare law in its entirety but broken down support these measures:

  • Ends pre-existing condition exclusions for children
  • Keeps young adults covered on parents insurance until they are 26
  • Ends arbitrary withdrawal of coverage by Insurance companies for no reason
  • Gives patients right to appeal companies for denial of payment
  • Ends lifetime limits on coverage
  • Forces companies to publicly disclose reasons in insurance hikes
  • Forces money spent to go towards coverage and not administrative costs
  • Covers preventative care at no cost
  • Protects Your Choice of doctors
  • Removes Insurance Barriers to emergency services

If you ask a Republican they support each and every one of these points. When you ask them what they disagree with they ‘politik’ and don’t ever give a definitive and specific answer as to what is wrong with the new system…just that it “needs to be repealed and replaced”.

Let’s be real. These people don’t know what they are talking about.

 What does this have to do with religion?

Everything, really. You see, there is only a small block of conservative Republican House members who control the fate of the entire country. They are the ideological block that has not allowed a budget to be passed in years, the lowest number of bills to be passed in congressional history, and have put the government in shutdown mode.

Here’s how religion has everything to do with it. The Tea Party are clinging to their religious base because, honestly, it’s the easiest way to get elected. Unfortunately, it’s tearing apart the country to do so. The man responsible for this shutdown is Congressman Mark Meadows from North Carolina’s 11th District. Mark Meadows is a Sunday School teacher who firmly believes the Bible outweighs the Constitution of the United States of America. He is an Evangelical Fundamentalist, one of the many, who believes that the military should be allowed to use its position to spread the message of Jesus Christ.

He also believes the same of the United States Government. Many of his fellow Tea Partiers do as well. What is anathema to that? Apparently the Affordable Care Act. It boggles my mind, too. So he has rallied 79 of his fellow Tea Party Evangelicals and they signed a letter sent to Speaker of the House John Boehner. The letter stated that Speaker Boehner MUST demand the full repeal of “Obamacare” or as it will be known in the future The Affordable Care Act or else force the government into default. Cuz, ya know…that’s the Christian thing to do…or something. At the very least it’s the thinking of the scientifically illiterate masses of the Evangelical Fundamentalist Tea Party. The Dominionist Christians who want to take over the country. They have been trying to take over the military for years (and still are – more on that a little bit later) and are now trying to take over the legislative branch of government.

Dominionist Christians do not represent all Christians.

Okay, so there are 80 Representatives that have pushed this letter to John Boehner. 80 out of 435 Congressman may sound like a substantial number so let’s break it down a bit. Currently there are 3 vacant positions in the House. There stand 200 Democrats and 232 Republicans. This means 150 Republicans were not involved in these egregious demands to shut down the government and force the poor to go without health insurance. In fact after the 2012 election and the Supreme Court ruling Boehner admitted that the ACA was the “law of the land”. Why has he suddenly switched? Because he is a coward. Plain and simple. He is a gutless turd that lacks intestinal fortitude. If he does not acquiesce to the demands of the 80 men who run these Congressional districts

 then he will possibly face the ire of the Tea Party. At any time a resolution can be put forward to demand a vote on a new Speaker of the House. That vote must be placed within 48 hours. John Boehner, already a weak coward as noted earlier, could probably be voted out of his position – the third highest in government. He IS in line to take the Presidency should anything happen to The President and Vice President. It’s a good thing a man like that never served in uniform…but I digress.

Back to the numbers

So these 80 Congressional districts are very narrow in diversity and ideology….and also in population! The white Christian ruling class of these districts make up a mere 18% of the population of the United States of America. The government is shut down (with the ACA up and running ironically) because a minority of regressive Evangelical Fundamentalist white folk have decided they are tired of other people being given the same rights as themselves. Sure, there are economic reasons…but let’s talk about those after October 17 when the shutdown REALLY starts to affect us. For those of you not following that is the date we run out of money and have to focus solely on paying the interest on the debt rather than any other bills.

and yet the headlines read that BOTH SIDES of Congress refused to compromise. Excuse me!?! Since when is a demand to repeal the law room for compromise? That was from both liberal and conservative news sources. When did we get to the point of political neutrality that we didn’t call bullshit? When something stinks, it stinks. Don’t spray it with Febreze and say it doesn’t smell but someone needs to clean it up. Who’s calling Boehner and Meadows on their bullshit? This guy:

What does it say about the state of our journalists when the only man who can call it like it is…is a professional comedian? Somehow, Jon Stewart has become the Walter Cronkite of our generation. He is the man people are turning to for the truth. Thank goodnews for Comedy Central!

Another small thing…The Tea Party and GOP care about their constituents? Did you know one of the DEMANDS for passing the budget was the destruction of protective acts placed against banks after the crises of 2008-10? These guys love their voters so much they want to put them at the mercy of the banking industry once again! Gotta love the GOP!!!

 The military…

The National Defense Authorization Act is coming up for vote soon. I don’t have the date yet, but I’ll stay glued to my sources until I find out when. And you better be damned sure I’ll let all of you know so we can get the word out to tell your representatives (if you’re fortunate enough to not have one of the 80 superstars) to keep the religious conscience clause out of the new act.

For those of you who haven’t been following the Tea Party/Evangelical Fundamentalist extremists are trying to pass legislation in the military appropriations bill (that would be money) that would allow service members to bully, harass, and degrade other service members based upon religious affiliation. Click here for more info.  The best part about this is they are claiming this is necessary because the population majority of Christians in the military are being discriminated against…including my fellow blogger JD – The Christian Fighter Pilot. In fact he has been discriminated against so much (he was forced by his command to take his blog down and remove any reference to homosexuality after he compared homosexuals to people that have sex with dogs) that he is…GETTING PROMOTED!

Congrats, Lieutenant Colonel! You’ve earned it. All that Christian discrimination against you has sure hurt your career. Semper Fi!

Liars for Jesus…

I’ve said it before and I’ll state it here again. The military is the test case for the US population. Many times before anything happens within the populace by the government we are used as the beta test model. Before we had a racially integrated society we had a racially integrated military. Before women were allowed into the work force en masse, they came to the US Military. Before there are new vaccines handed out by the CDC…they try ‘em on us first. Before the repeal of DOMA, they tested the repeal of DADT. The conservative evangelical fundamentalist tea partiers have figured this out and are trying it in reverse. Instead of using the military for a test-case on progression they are attempting to push us into a regressive religious state.

The theocrats are trying to Christianize the military through dominionist efforts. The fighting done by myself and MRFF is going very well but it’s not enough. If this National Defense Authorization Act goes through without changing the tone of religious rhetoric contained within it will more than likely embolden them to try it on the civilian populace. There will be a fight and there will be lots of backlash, but where there’s a will there is a way. Let’s imagine for a moment a Tea Party President – we almost had a Tea Party Vice President in 2008… What if he/she installs an activist theocratic judge to the Supreme Court? Unconstitutional laws could become the law of the land and withstand the highest court. It happened with Citizens United. It could certainly happen again.

 Attack of the Theocrats

They’ve entered the military. They are in Congress. We’ve kept them out of the Executive and Judicial Branch. And because of that they are going to ludicrous and bold extremes. This pastor (it’s been in the news, I know) is asking for a military coup. The problem is…there are a lot of evangelicals in the military that believe it is the right thing to do. In fact well over 70% of the Chaplaincy for the US Military are evangelicals. They believe the military should be used for spreading the message of Jesus (well conservative, gun-toting Jesus). What does that translate to if they see a leader of the country as “anti-Christian” – by that I, obviously, mean President Obama…which of course, he is not anti-Christian but pro-1st amendment.

For anyone who follows this show the opening segment with past clips has a recently retired Army General, William Boykin, in it because he is such a regular on the show. He is one of the major proponents of the hate bill going through Congress in the form of NDAA 2014. He is allies with Senator Cruz; Representatives Fleming, Huelskamp, Meadows, and more. All of those Senators and Congressman are a part of the Dominionist effort to overthrow the 1st Amendment of the United States of America. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s been following it. The same people who want to destroy the government and stop the implementation of affordable healthcare for all are the same ones that want to instill Christian Dominion over the land. God Bless America!

I hope we’re paying attention…because the Media sure isn’t!

If you don’t believe me, fact check me. I dare you!

About Paul Loebe
  • Paul Loebe

    I thought I would get at least one comment here. Call me a conspiracy theorist or something…

  • entelechize

    I’ll comment! Thank you! Seriously, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for this.

    • Paul Loebe

      I just want people to be informed and aware.

  • entelechize

    And you made it so. Clarity is a great and rare commodity.

  • Marian L Shatto

    Thank you. This is very helpful. I do wish you had put the explanation of the errors in the graphs above them rather than afterwards. It would have saved my staring at the R and D lines for several minutes thinking, “That can’t be right.” And just for the record, I may live in one of those red districts on the map, but JOE PITTS DOES NOT REPRESENT ME. Sorry for yelling, but I’m getting really provoked by all this b***s***.

    • Paul Loebe

      If you’re gonna curse go for the gold!

  • Jim Jones

    Step one: State by state, replace gerrymandering committees with groups who will draw electoral districts in more reasonable ways and so that elections become a real competition.

  • Msironen

    This kinda reads like several blog posts crammed into one, but awesome nonetheless. Kudos, Paul!

    • Paul Loebe

      I know. But it’s all intertwined. I wanted people to see the big broad picture.

  • Elliot A. Fisch

    Although I support your views in the rest of your article strongly, I’d like to point out that I thought the Republicans’ animosity toward Obamacare was based mostly on the mandatory concept involved. You didn’t mention this, and I think it’s important (even though I disagree with that position).

    • Paul Loebe

      That’s a part of it…or was. But since the individual mandate was their idea I discredit their animosity towards it.

      • Elliot A. Fisch

        I didn’t realize that. Thanks for the info.

        • Paul Loebe

          Yes, most of the Affordable Care Act was designed by Stuart Butler who is a senior official at the Conservative Think Tank – The Heritage Foundation. In 1989 he wrote a pamphlet titled A National Health System For America which pushed for an individual mandate.

          It’s a conservative idea the liberals stole because they thought it would draw conservatives to their side.

          • Rigel

            And not one republican voted for it.

          • Paul Loebe

            Bait and switch. The Republicans are the party of dumb now. They are nothing like real Republicans. It was refreshing to hear McConnell lambast the Tea Party, though.

            There is not one moderate in that party at the national level. Not one.

  • Y. A. Warren

    I don’t know who the killer “Christians” are following, but it sure isn’t Jesus. I don’t know who they really follow as their “Christ.”

    • Paul Loebe

      It’s the same Dominionist doctrine the Catholic church used to follow back during the “Dark Ages.”

      • Y. A. Warren

        Cardinal Ratzinger has been quoted as saying that the Christian church must go back to the ways of small group Christianity of the early church. I hope that this is the direction that Pope Francis is taking, possibly with Pope Benedict’s help.

        • Paul Loebe

          Most Catholics are liberal nowadays. I’m speaking specifically of the Dominionists and comparing them to Catholic Church of the Dark Ages.

          It had nothing to do with the Catholic Church of today.

      • Rigel

        That was when government took control of the church.

  • thrasymachus02

    The theocrats are leftist Christians like you. The story of the last 500 years has been leftist Christians getting more and more power, starting with Oliver Cromwell. The military is a liberal institution firmly under the control of leftists, you have nothing to worry about. The Air Force is disciplining airmen for refusing to publicly state they support gay marriage.

    • Paul Loebe

      Absolute bullshit. You made the claim now provide the evidence. I have almost 35,000 claims of evidence to provide you just the opposite of whatever BS you’re slinging.

      The vast majority of people under attack are liberal or moderate Christians who are being attacked by these conservative Dominionists for “not being Christian enough”.

      Show me your evidence, please. ;)

      • thrasymachus02

        Here’s the link from Fox News, which you will of course dismiss as evil lies-

        http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/09/30/airmen-say-air-force-is-punishing-evangelical-christians/

        Your own position is essentially dominionist- you’re going to make sure everybody thinks and believes the way you think they should, for their own good of course.

        • Paul Loebe

          Of course I dismiss foxnews. Most sane people do. They are liars. I don’t care what people think as long as they are not violating the Constitution of the United States of America.

          OH! MY! GOD!!! Did you just link Todd Starnes!?!? Bwahahahahahahahahahaha. Go back to your cave, troll!

          • thrasymachus02

            So people who say things you don’t like and don’t agree with are “liars”, people who listen to people saying things you don’t like and don’t agree with are “insane”, and people who disagree with you in your blog comments are “trolls”.
            You are under the common progressive fallacy that insulting people is a kind of superpower. Accusing people of heresy *is* a kind of superpower, so you would feed your ego more by finding servicemembers who aren’t sufficiently politically correct and getting them court-martialed or at least NJP’d.

          • Paul Loebe

            No, people who lie are liars. Like Todd Starnes, General Boykin, The Christian Fighter Pilot, and you (if you are rehashing what they say). I’d highly suggest you research what you are saying.

            Why do you think MRFF and I have been so successful at fighting this? Because we are on the right side of the law and the Constitution. This isn’t about inhibiting anyone’s right to believe. It’s about not letting the extremists force their positions on others. That is TRUE religious freedom. C’mon. Seriously, I urge you to do some research.

            Most Christians aren’t liars. Most Christians are good people. But Todd Starnes, Boykin, and others are liars that fool the rest of the good ones.

            People are not getting NJP’d for being Christian. It’s just not happening.

            For the record I also dismiss CNN and MSNBC. No American news media is worth their weight in dogshit.

          • thrasymachus02

            Let’s say I’m a service member. If I say “I think homosexuality is morally wrong” am I exercising freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or hate speech? If another service member ask me? If my commander or a representative of the command asks me? Am I subject to discipline? Should I be subject to discipline?

          • Paul Loebe

            Ok. Let’s say you are a service member. You say “I think homosexuality is morally wrong.” Fine. You can believe that. However, that doesn’t mean you can go around and preach it. That’s a violation of the regulations.

            Commanders need, above all else, morale and discipline of a unit. They have the authority to stop people. You are allowed to believe whatever you want. But when cross the line into speech and actions against another that threatens that good order and discipline you must be stopped. The mission of the military is to win battles – not degrade people based upon your religion.

            I can’t walk up to my commander and say “You are going to hell because you are gay.” That is not within my rights.

            I also can’t go to someone who is my subordinate and say that. It erodes trust in the chain of command and in the esprit de corps of the unit.

            You voluntarily sign away certain rights when you join the military. That doesn’t mean they disappear entirely. But sometimes they are restricted. I can’t disclose secret information because it could harm military members. I can’t discriminate based on my beliefs because it could also harm military members…just in a different way.

            I have yet to see a single case of someone being discriminated for exercising their religion. I have seen many cases of people being disciplined for discriminating against others who weren’t “christian enough.”

            Did you know of the almost 35,000 clients of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation 96% of them are Christians who were being discriminated for “not being Christian enough” by these Dominionists? That’s not a made up number….

          • thrasymachus02

            You sound like you’re happy to tell people that you’re an atheist, all about atheism and why they should be atheists, with little or no prompting. If you’re not inclined to proselytize, you can take issue with my presumption. Wise counsel in the military environment would be to keep your mouth shut, and if somebody asks you about Christianity ask them to meet you off base.
            But- if you ask me what I think and I tell you, is that wrong? If you then tell me you think I’m wrong and I try to explain to you why I’m right, is that wrong? Will you be reporting me?
            I can’t argue with you being an atheist- that’s an intellectually defensible position. The problem is your belief system isn’t derived from science and reason but from various liberal Protestant ideas, themselves derived from selective misquoting and creative interpretation of the Bible, and *only* defensible with reference to a deity.

          • Paul Loebe

            I don’t proselytize. I don’t advocate it. People in my command don’t have to come to my blog. I don’t force them to. This is something I do in my free time when I’m not at work. If they so choose to look into it, then good for them.

            People can have discussions at work about religion and whatnot. There is no problem with that. But there are certain procedures. You can’t pressure someone of lower rank or make requirements that personnel must attend religious services in order to get better reviews on their fitness reports. It has happened, though, and that’s why I fight it. I don’t make anyone come to the American Atheists convention with me. That would be ludicrous.

            It’s about the same as sexual harassment. When someone says “No, I don’t want to talk about that.” you shut up and walk away. If you don’t it’s the same thing as a person continuing to make unwanted sexual advances in the work place without reciprocation.

          • Paul Loebe

            As far as my belief system being derived from liberal Protestant ideals…blah blah blah…deity. You’d better explain that. Because I’m pretty sure that is an intellectually indefensible position I’m about to take a crap on.

          • Rigel

            Go back to your news sources that have to use stimulus money to keep the lights on. Maybe you should ask the 200 or so brass that have had to leave the military lately.. And I don’t use Fox news or any other cable source. You are clueless.


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