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← Romney Defends Conservative Values, Says Obama Has ‘Secular Agenda’

Romney Defends Conservative Values, Says Obama Has ‘Secular Agenda’ - Comments

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 1 by drumdaddy

Theocrats, and even those posing as theocrats to garner votes, are waging a loud war against American secularism, the modality which has protected government from religions while protecting religions from government. Religious agendas are filling state and national legislatures with steady streams of creationist bills, abortion bills, anti-gay bills and other holy favorites. The Republicans have shamelessly insulted President Obama for years and are now howling that he is anti-religious. Meanwhile, he bows to avoid offending and the media is never taking any of the zealots to task. They shout the false battle cry of "religion is under attack" and then they attack. They are putting all of their chips out there to be refuted, and nobody is refuting. Television clowns bring on bishops and evangelists to discuss the secular point of view. No rebuttal. The deck is stacked, the gullible are hoodwinked, and the multi-billion dollar god business is thriving. I only hope that all of this is angering as many voters as it is influencing.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 02:17:56 UTC | #920902

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 2 by NewEnglandBob

A 'secular Agenda" is a good thing, but 'Slick Willard" Romney is too slimy to realize it. Never trust anything said by a man who puts a dog in a carrier on the roof of his car.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 02:22:03 UTC | #920905

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 3 by Cook@Tahiti

And this guy is supposed to be the 'good' Republican, as in 'not a complete whackjob'.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 02:22:45 UTC | #920906

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 4 by Steve Zara

I am wondering if the right-wing (now the far right wing) in the USA has gone insane. There seems to be no connection with the mainstream views of the electorate, and claims to be defending American values while being as distant from the views of the founders on faith as it is possible to be. From here in Europe the Republican candidates could not seem crazier if they put on antennae and insisted that they were Martians.

If I give the impression that this seems amusing, nothing could be further from the truth. It's terrifying that the world's remaining superpower has a political system that could place someone like Santorum anywhere near power, someone who is a liar or mad or both.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 02:28:36 UTC | #920908

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 5 by Neodarwinian

This country was founded on a secular agenda, Mitt, and all the delusional beliefs you hold will not change that.

PS: Mitt, we are all pro life, it is for or against abortion that is the issue. By the way, that issue is none of your business, unless you are not telling us something about yourself.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 02:48:08 UTC | #920910

RW Millam's Avatar Comment 6 by RW Millam

@Steve Zara -- stop wondering. I'm pretty sure it's a fact.

But to the point, Romney knows what he's doing with this. If he's going to win the nomination, he has to win the evangelical nut-jobs that run the Republican Party. And, even though I think he probably knows what the word "secular" means, he has to play to that bunch who thinks it means "militant atheism bent on destroying all religion in America."

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 02:48:49 UTC | #920911

Sample's Avatar Comment 7 by Sample

Does anyone else contend that the untold story just beneath the surface of all this so-called religious attackery, is that there is a gargantuan fear within the Right about Romney's religion?

The absolute silence about the Mormon faith by the Right is deafening. They won't touch it. By creating a scapegoat in secularlism, they can circumvent their uncomfortability with Mormonism by wearing their True Christianity on their sleeve, indirectly isolating Romney, or so they hope.

Mike

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 03:25:28 UTC | #920914

RDfan's Avatar Comment 8 by RDfan

"Secularism is not an argument against Christianity, it is one independent of it. It does not question the pretensions of Christianity; it advances others. Secularism does not say there is no light or guidance elsewhere, but maintains that there is light and guidance in secular truth, whose conditions and sanctions exist independently, and act forever. Secular knowledge is manifestly that kind of knowledge which is founded in this life, which relates to the conduct of this life, conduces to the welfare of this life, and is capable of being tested by the experience of this life." George Jacob Holyoake, 1817 - 1916.

What's there not to understand, Mr. Romney?

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 03:39:45 UTC | #920916

zengardener's Avatar Comment 9 by zengardener

What frightens me is that it doesn't matter if these people are sincere or not. Whomever gets into office will be obliged to some degree to cater to the nutjobs. Even if there isn't a theocracy established in 2013. (there won't be) It still feels like my secular constitution is constantly under siege by those who would claim to defend it.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 04:07:00 UTC | #920920

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 10 by KRKBAB

Personally, I think Obama is a shoe in for a second term simply because of the fact that the economy is turning around, albeit as slow as molasses.

When the economy is either doing well, or on the upswing, the incumbent stays in.

That's why the republicans more than ever are focusing on faith. During most of Obama's term, the republicans have been attacking him on the economy. Now that it's slowly getting better, they can't use that any more- so......lets play the religion card! I think they're doomed, no matter who wins the republican primary.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 04:22:22 UTC | #920922

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 11 by Sean_W

Steve, you can't underestimate the Christian influence. As long as I can remember Christianity has been the biggest influence in the lives of lots of folks 'round here. The evangelical movement has owned every aspect of many peoples lives for some time now. Have your babies in a Christian hospital with good Christian morals, learn to raise your babies from parenting courses at your church--raise'em up in the Lord--let them learn arithmetic at the Christian school, and if they's giving you trouble let them find Christ in our youth camps--hell, drop the kids off at VCBS and rejuvenate your marriage buy inviting God back into the Holy Union, having intimacy issues, let the Lord into the bedroom--God knows sex--having trouble figuring out what to watch on TV, here's your Christian guide to wholesome television...

...hell, is it even possible to see another agenda?

And these guys are "worried"?

-lol-

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 04:38:40 UTC | #920923

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 12 by susanlatimer

having trouble figuring out what to watch on TV, here's your Christian guide to wholesome television...

A little OT, but I've been driving past a church in my neighbourhood (in Ontario) that's had a sign out front for months that reads, "The Bible is the best TV guide." and I've been trying to figure out what it means.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 04:44:43 UTC | #920924

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 13 by Sean_W

Comment 12 by susanlatimer

Wow, I hope his flock can afford cable. I don't think they allow those sorts of things on the other stations.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 04:59:56 UTC | #920926

ThisCanNotBeTheFuture's Avatar Comment 14 by ThisCanNotBeTheFuture

Comment 4 by Steve Zara :

I am wondering if the right-wing (now the far right wing) in the USA has gone insane.

Speaking as an American: Yes, they have.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 05:01:16 UTC | #920927

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 15 by susanlatimer

Comment 13 by Sean_W

Wow, I hope his flock can afford cable. I don't think they allow those sorts of things on the other stations.

The stuff on cable is pretty pale compared to a lot of what you find in the bible.

I honestly wonder every time I drive by who came up with the sign, what it's supposed to mean and why it's been up for months.

OT... off. (Sorry about that.)

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 05:25:25 UTC | #920928

RDfan's Avatar Comment 16 by RDfan

Comment 11 by Sean_W: Steve, you can't underestimate the Christian influence.

Sean is absolutely right. I would go further and say: we cannot underestimate the influence of religion -- of whatever kind! Atheists, agnostics and secularists are a tiny minority the world over. Most people are religious, and they really believe much of what they say they believe -- as Sam Harris would put it.

Anecdote time: I was talking to a god-botherer the other day. I sat there and listened quietly as he gave me the low-down of what's what; you know: how the Earth came about 6,000yrs ago; stuff about the pre-life period; heaven this and hell that. Now, as I sat there scrutinizing this otherwise "intelligent" man, as I scanned his clothes and face and mannerisms for signs of, I don't know, "madness", used-car-salesmaness, conman ship, as I did all this and saw no visible, outward signs of stupidity or duplicity, I finally had to admit to myself that: you know what, whatever is going on in this guy's head, he probably really believes this shit; he's not faking it; he really, really, genuinely buys in on all this crap. By the time he'd finished his little presentation and looked up at me with hope in his eyes, hope that I, too, would see the plain truth of the Word of God, by that time, I was simply deflated with sadness at the poor, benighted soul and couldn't bring myself to rip his silly arguments to shreds.

People like that, I would say, make up the majority of humans. People like that listen to the crap spouted by politicians like Romney. People like that vote for such politicians. That's worrying for minorities such as us who are non-believers.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 05:41:37 UTC | #920929

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 17 by Sean_W

After a little digging susan it appears that it may be something only those with the ghost know. I found it listed in two books of sayings and as a phrase used to roughly summarize Psalm 101:3:

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

Here's where the insider bit comes in as it's not immediately obvious how we get from the "best TV guide" to this, but we can allow that they probably mean that to find out what's best to watch on TV turn to the Bible.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 06:04:11 UTC | #920933

Quine's Avatar Comment 18 by Quine

Most importantly, we don't want any of these guys appointing judges to the Supreme Court. The Court decisions are what currently hold back the theocracy.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 06:07:18 UTC | #920934

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 19 by Steven Mading

Comment 4 by Steve Zara :

I am wondering if the right-wing (now the far right wing) in the USA has gone insane. There seems to be no connection with the mainstream views of the electorate, and claims to be defending American values while being as distant from the views of the founders on faith as it is possible to be. From here in Europe the Republican candidates could not seem crazier if they put on antennae and insisted that they were Martians.

The sad thing is that they're NOT crazier than the electorate. They act that way because it's what their voters want of them. It's not just the leadership of the right in the US that has gone insane. It's the bulk of the rank-and-file too.

I'm currently unemployed in the USA, and working on a grassroots political effort in Wisconsin to turn the tide on some of this, but if things go badly on that front I need to keep my options open and wonder if it wouldn't be better to seek employment in another country. If we don't get this turned around, we're finished.

If I give the impression that this seems amusing, nothing could be further from the truth. It's terrifying that the world's remaining superpower has a political system that could place someone like Santorum anywhere near power, someone who is a liar or mad or both.

They act that way because their voters like it. Their voters like it because they've been lied to about some very basic facts about most political issues. And there's a LOT of money behind those lies. When money buys media outlets, money equals propaganda.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 06:21:13 UTC | #920936

SuedeStonn's Avatar Comment 20 by SuedeStonn

Thankfully the religous con artists are few and far between... unfortunately the hoodwinked and inculcated are legion. The biggest problem is education, to which the US has fallen pathetically behind the rest of the world. Americans are also very disposed to following popular trends and icons, and religion has been around forever. Religion has also been pandering to people for the longest time with the best 'free lunch' deal ever, just wish for it, pray to God, and you too will live good or maybe even prosper. It's bullshit, but forget the all the times prayer doesn't work, that one in a million is proof it does. :P I think it's the bigger half of why people are religous, its wish fulfillment. The other big half is fear at the hands of God or Satan, take your pick. (I was watching a TV show where the preacher was talking about Original Sin... I can't believe people buy that crap. It's the epitome of faith-trapping people into believing in God, as immoral as it gets.)

I find it amusing Romney attacks secularism, as its the only reason he has his religion (Mormonism)... it never would've gotten off the ground here in the US had we not been secular from the start. :P

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 06:22:05 UTC | #920937

Karen Hill Anton's Avatar Comment 21 by Karen Hill Anton

This has got to be the scariest group of Republicans ever. They are making it hard to believe the coming election is about selecting a leader of a country, not a religious institution. I am hoping Americans will come out of their collective coma and say 'hell no!" to slime ball Newt, robot Mitt, and wish-I-were-a-priest Rick.

                 Karen 

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 06:49:51 UTC | #920942

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 22 by Sean_W

Comment 21 by Karen Hill Anton

That's not completely fair considering we've already elected Obama once.

----//----

I think I should point out that my earlier rant about Christianity and the evangelical influence in particular should be understood as a gripe against the machinery that creates and supports the wackier elements of the far right. It is not a statement about the US as a whole.

The evangelical influence is not without competition, and recent reporting has indicated the competition is growing.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 07:09:31 UTC | #920943

Magorian's Avatar Comment 23 by Magorian

Shouldn't the agenda of any public official in this country be secular? It is, after all, a secular nation.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 07:25:03 UTC | #920944

geraldseahawks's Avatar Comment 24 by geraldseahawks

Hello all, I have to say Richard Dawkins is a wonder of our ages. I truly love his books and television programs. Let me explain why I disagree about some of the posts here. First, I’m an atheist and I get jabs from my co-workers for being an unbeliever. Second, the co-workers (so called Christians) I work around tend to be more liberal and want to destroy the rich in the USA. Third, I hate the religious view of candidates; however, I tend to hold some conservative values. Let me explain, I’m not talking about bashing on gay rights or the other million crazy things weird religious conservatives tend to freak out about. Finally, I’m not rich but I make an okay income. I have been working for over 20 years and finally have reached a respectable income. I sometimes worked 16 hours a day and 7 days a week. I put in my time and became an owner. Now people like President Obama wants to take and take from hard workers like me and spread my hard earned dollar around. But what about what I gave up to attain my success? Does all my hard work have to go back to lazy liberal Christians’; they didn’t sacrifice their time and didn’t save their money? Most Americans’ can’t save a dime and expect everyone like me to take care of them. I’m just tired after over 20 years of working, sacrificing and investing in my future and now having a President tell me tuff luck buddy get back to those crazy weeks and long hours, because you have to give back. Well, I’m tired of giving.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 07:26:13 UTC | #920945

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 25 by Starcrash

It sucks to be our president... it must be hard to keep telling the public that you're a Christian and keep getting told back that you're not.

People may not like hearing that I'm an atheist, but no one ever accuses me of lying about it.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 07:43:05 UTC | #920948

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 26 by susanlatimer

Comment 17 by ManillaSean :-)

Thanks for doing some digging. I always wondered if that's what they were getting at but it's so flawed on so many levels. An entire (short) article could be written on why that sign doesn't work, even for (especially for) their purposes.

Comment 18 by Quine

Most importantly, we don't want any of these guys appointing judges to the Supreme Court. The Court decisions are what currently hold back the theocracy.

I've always wondered to what extent the U.S. constitution could withstand the presence of a purely theocratic Supreme Court. The founding fellers created a near work of art for the time but the enlightenment principles that were so hard won sometimes seem so tenuous and easily eroded. A dystopian game of snakes-and-ladders.

Comment 21 by Karen Hill Anton

This has got to be the scariest group of Republicans ever.

This is what the Republican party has become but there are probably hundreds of dead Republicans spinning in their graves right now and living, breathing Republicans who can barely recognize the party that claims to represent their values. I'm Canadian so I can't be a Republican and if I were an American, I probably wouldn't be a Republican but I'm not sure this batch of theocratic neo-cons necessarily represents what used to be "Republican" values.

It's hard to say. I'm an outsider and this is yet another area that lies outside of my expertise. What seems apparent is that powerful religious lobbyists are very organized on all levels, that their aim is power and that their most valuable weapons are lies, fear and manipulation.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 07:51:24 UTC | #920950

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 27 by Steve Zara

comment 19 by Steven Mading

The sad thing is that they're NOT crazier than the electorate. They act that way because it's what their voters want of them. It's not just the leadership of the right in the US that has gone insane. It's the bulk of the rank-and-file too.

But polls don't show that. For example, take Santorum's anti-contraception views. Well, it turns out 98% of Catholic women have used contraception. That's 98%! There is virtually no-one who supports his views on this. Then there is gay marriage. More than half of voters in the USA support gay marriage.

Whoever the Republicans are designing their policies for, it's not the voters.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 07:58:55 UTC | #920951

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 28 by susanlatimer

comment 24 by geraldseahawks

I'm glad to hear that you're not bashing on gay rights. I understand and respect that you've worked hard to get what you've got.

But what about what I gave up to attain my success? Does all my hard work have to go back to lazy liberal Christians’; they didn’t sacrifice their time and didn’t save their money? Most Americans’ can’t save a dime and expect everyone like me to take care of them. I’m just tired after over 20 years of working, sacrificing and investing in my future and now having a President tell me tuff luck buddy get back to those crazy weeks and long hours, because you have to give back. Well, I’m tired of giving.

I'm interested in some data. What has Obama done that means you have to go back to crazy weeks and long hours? Does this apply across the board to all hard-working Americans and benefit only lazy Americans?

How many Americans who don't save a dime have failed to do so because they didn't want to or because they didn't work as long as hard as you have? How many have worked as long and as hard and were unable to save a dime anyway?

I believe in the idea of meritocracy but that doesn't mean one exists. I know many smart, hard-working, rich people and many smart, hard-working poor people. I know dumb, lazy rich people and dumb, lazy poor people and everything in between. That's terribly anecdotal and true, but your comment is just as anecdotal and probably true.

The ideal of meritocracy is one thing and something to strive for. To assume that it exists inherently in a human society and that a few percentages of taxes here or there are the very thing that compromises our natural tendencies toward meritocracy is another.

Please understand that I'm not saying outright that you're wrong. It's just that I'm a little skeptical on these topics. So, some data would help things considerably.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 08:13:35 UTC | #920957

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 29 by Steve Zara

Comment 18 by Quine

Most importantly, we don't want any of these guys appointing judges to the Supreme Court. The Court decisions are what currently hold back the theocracy.

A short while ago I posted a blog entry wondering how it was possible in a secular constitution for the religious opinions of judges to influence their decisions, and that if that was the case then something must be seriously broken. I could not predict the hostility that this question provoked. But I got no clear answer.

If Supreme Court judges' religious views or backgrounds have any influence on their lawmaking then the Supreme Court is a failed institution.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 08:35:37 UTC | #920961

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 30 by susanlatimer

Comment 29 by Steve Zara

If Supreme Court judges' religious views or backgrounds have any influence on their lawmaking then the Supreme Court is a failed institution.

This has always troubled me. But then I think about laws and societies progressing and how laws are always open to interpretation. I'm not sure how humans can do much better. There is the ideal of "justice" and then there is law.

I'm not sure the Supreme Court is a failed institution if you consider the alternative. That it's a flawed institution, I'll agree with. My question is how can it be done better? If we were forming a government, how would we establish democracy with reasonable checks and balances and a legislative system that could allow things to evolve towards a better society? And how would we write that down? It would be flawed. It might even fail. So, all we could do is give it its best chance at succeeding. Because we would be humans knowing that humans would be running it.

I'm really not arguing. I just have a million questions on this one. This is the sort of stuff over which I've lost sleep. Probably because it matters and it's hard to design something that runs on the ground and is guaranteed not to screw up entirely. Nothing is sacred. But these things are very difficult.

(sigh) Humans.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 08:46:48 UTC | #920964