McCain The Dominionist

As McCain rises in the polls, and his adoring fans in the media begin painting him as a compromise candidate, as a maverick or a moderate, remember his words (CarpetBagger Report):

I’ve always thought the constitutional language was fairly straightforward: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Constitution is entirely secular — there’s no mention of God, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, or the Judeo-Christian tradition.

With this in mind, one wonders what Constitution Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been reading.

A recent poll found that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. What do you think?

I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation. But I say that in the broadest sense. The lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door doesn’t say, “I only welcome Christians.” We welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses. But when they come here they know that they are in a nation founded on Christian principles.

John McCain has been in Congress for several decades, and he’s sworn to uphold the Constitution on more than a few occasions. One would like to think he’s read it enough times to know this is nonsense.

One of the first moves he made after losing to George Bush, aside from kissing up fervently and often, was to start holding hands with the extremist religious right.  That bond, though the religious right may squirm a little, is a firm one.  In office McCain would prove himself to be  a fully social conservative Republican.  He’s a candidate who could comfortably make Huckabee his running mate.


Are NBC’s Debates Entertainment?

Ed Morrisey handily misses the point of Kucinich’s inclusion in the NBC debates:

A solution in search of a problem found a judge in search of some understanding of the concept of private property and free speech. Both converged in Las Vegas through the efforts of Dennis Kucinich to force his way into the NBC Democratic debate. A Las Vegas judge ruled in favor of Kucinich

You see, there is no problem at all in excluding a candidate on the ballot from the debates.  This is an issue of private property gosh darn it!  (Emphasis mine)

This won’t hold up, but it may not be worth it for NBC to appeal. It will cost them less in legal fees and headaches to simply re-invite Kucinich rather than stand their ground and insist on controlling their own content.

Well, is it their own content?  Is the debate mere political theater, an entertainment product designed chiefly to carry advertising?  Or is it a public service designed to help inform voters and complete the political process?

Can’t have it both ways.

If our Presidential debates (for both parties) are simply an early form of reality tv, then could NBC and the other networks have the decency to stop marketing them as serious political events?  That’s false advertising!  And would news organizations kindly ignore the outcome of the debates?  If debates are as substantial as an episode “Be a SuperStar Model Date a Millionaire: Desert Island”, then why cover it as though performances in any way matter?

On the other hand, if these debates have an impact on voters, and they are a cornerstone of the nomination process, then might one suspect that these events should involve every candidate on the ballot?

In this instance NBC is not controlling their own content, they are controlling the political debate and by extension the vote.  If a network thinks its unfair or in any way disadvantageous to air the debates because of this, then perhaps they should stick to their regular airing schedule, over which they have full control.  But offering to host a widely watched public service does not grant them the right to control the debate and the vote.

FBI: Helping Make Bombers, Not Bombs

The FBI appears to have crossed a very dangerous line. In their understandable zeal to take down violent neo-nazis and other criminals on the radical right, they appear to have used a well known NJ talk show host who was among the very worst at inciting violence. Here is some of the dirt via HateWatch (emphasis mine):

Turner, 45, has developed a reputation as one of the hardest-line racists on the radical right since starting up his radio show seven years ago. He has routinely ranted about such things as a “Portable Nigger Lyncher” machine and slimed those he hates as “savage Negro beasts,” “bull-dyke lesbians,” “faggots” and worse.

But it is his threats that are legendary.

In 2006, Turner told his audience to “clean your guns, have plenty of ammunition … [and] then do what has to be done” to undocumented workers. Around the same time, he suggested that half the U.S. Congress “may have to be assassinated.” A year earlier, he suggested “drawing up lists of yeshivas,” or Jewish religious schools. He once started a website called for the purpose of posting photos and names of those who marched in favor of immigrant rights. Hearing that anti-racist activist Floyd Cochran was visiting Newark, N.J., last June, Turner said he had “arranged for a group of guys to physically intercept” Cochran and added that Cochran would likely “get such a beating that his next stop is going to be University Hospital.” In a July letter, Turner wrote to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes the Intelligence Report: “If you do not change your stance soon, you will face a wrath of fury that you will never be able to defend yourself against. We have the ability to reach out and touch someone.”

This is a man who has advocated murder in broad daylight. If the FBI has indeed been using him, then we should all pay close attention to the alarms it is setting off (emphasis mine):

The apparent revelation set off a torrent of criticism from experts in criminology and the use of informants. “This is clearly over the line,” said James Nolan, an associate sociology professor at West Virginia University who is an expert in police procedure and a former unit chief in the FBI’s Crime Analysis, Research and Development Unit. “Informants may be involved in drugs, and you overlook that because of the greater good. However, these are viable threats — they could be carried out — that the FBI clearly knows about. I want to see the FBI stop it.”

Informants, of course, are commonly used by law enforcement agencies that have no other way of proving suspected criminal activity. “These are frightening groups whose members deserve to be investigated and infiltrated,” said Jack Levin, a criminology professor and expert on the radical right at Northeastern University. “My concern is that Turner’s methods actually are more dangerous and destructive than the evil they are seeking to cure. His threatening messages may actually inspire neo-Nazis to up the ante, to engage in even more destructive behavior.”

If this is true, then I hope at the very least investigations come out of this. The following quote by Hal Turner perfectly sums up the destructive rhetoric of the extremist radical right:

Turner described himself as the type to inspire “a whole slew of potential Timothy McVeighs. I don’t make bombs,” he added, “I make bombers.”

It is this rhetoric that we see seeping into the campaigns and talk shows of the mainstream right.

There is a positive point. Turner is quitting:

On Thursday, as the E-mail exchange was heatedly discussed on a major neo-Nazi website, Turner suddenly announced he was quitting political work. “I hereby separate from the ‘pro-White’ movement,” he said, adding that he was ending his radio show immediately. “I will no longer involve myself in any aspect of it.”

Consider asking your congress critter to make some noise about this.

Huckabee’s Lies on Marriage and Submission

Ladies and Gentlemen!  We have a wonderful treat for you tonight, a sparkling example of a man covering his bible beater with a rhetorical flourish.  An attempt, ladies and gentlemen, to hide the kind of President he will be.

The show begins with Huckabee’s masterful performance during the debate.  When asked (Sanctification) about his endorsement of a Southern Baptist Convention mandate on marriage, he responds with three main points.

  1. I’m proud of my faith, and every little piece of it, and will practice it no matter what.
  2. My faith will not inform how I govern.
  3. We were actually saying men and women are equal, and must submit themselves to each other (awwwwww).

Where shall we begin ladies and gentlemen?  I’m raring to tear into the fleshy parts of these arguments.  Let’s start by taking a look at the actual mandate Huckabee was asked about (Majikthise):

Here’s what Huckabee said the SBC was right about:

XVIII. The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society.

It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. [The Baptist Faith and Message]

Am I the only one disturbed from the segue from “the family” to “sexual expression” to “submission”?  If family the forum for Christian sexual expression, and wives are supposed to submit to men on “family” matters…

Frankly this piece “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.” really took me aback.  But this text is plainly not about the equality of men and women in a relationship.  When Huckabee stood up and said his religion views men and women as equals, he was bearing false witness.  It is about a woman’s place in a marriage, and the unbreakable nature of that marriage.  Which leads me to the lifetime aspect of marriage endorsed here.

Having scratched out point #3, let’s take a stab at point #1.  I will argue passionately that any religious belief that hurts people is something to be ashamed of, and more, something to stop practicing immediately.  We got beyond sacrifice people, why not other harmful practices?  Where, in that view of the lifelong covenant supported by God, is there room for divorce?  What about in the case of spousal abuse?  And then there’s Linday’s observation about the linking of sex to submission to the husband, and suddenly issues of spousal rape crop up.  This is not a life affirming aspect of the Christian religion.  It is the controlling and patriarchal dark underbelly.

Finally there is point #2:

I’m not the least bit ashamaed of my faith, or the doctrines of it.  I don’t try to impose that as a governor, and I wouldn’t impose it as a President.

Mike Huckabee opposes a woman’s right to choose, and gay rights.  He wants to introduce creationism into the schools.  The above statement, transcribed from his answer during the debate, is demonstrably false.  Huckabee is flat out lying.  His brand of Christianity will drive his Presidency, and he will most certainly work to impose his beliefs on the American public.