Peter Mains is a blogger, political activist and technology consultant living and working in the Phoenix metro area. In his free time, he enjoys writing music, reading voraciously, and trying exotic food.
Rick Santorum’s comments to George Stephanopoulos about John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Houston Ministerial Association are making the rounds. Apparently, the speech so unnerved Rick, that he wanted to throw up. He thinks you should be just as offended as he is, In the interview, Santorum encouraged people to look the speech up and decide for themselves. Having followed Santorum’s suggestion, I couldn’t disagree more.
The worst part is, I want to root for Rick Santorum. Recent revelations paint Kennedy as something of a moral monster. In contrast, Rick Santorum seems like a good family man. When it comes to religious matters, one might think that Santorum would come out on top. Nevertheless, JFK wipes the floor with Santorum — even from beyond the grave.
The one point where I am ambivalent in regard to Kennedy’s speech is his insistence that government not give any funding to religious institutions whatsoever. Bush’s faith-based initiatives and various voucher programs show that public funds can be redirected to religious institutions without creating a de facto established church or violating freedom of religious exercise. Nevertheless, such issues could be completely avoided if we were to reform education, healthcare and so on such that government gets out of those businesses altogether.
I wrote a couple weeks ago about the Obama administration’s mandate that contraception be covered by insurance plans provided by Catholic-associated organizations. The outrage on the right about the mandate was almost universally centered around the idea that it was an attack on the freedom of religion. As I argued in my previous post, these critics were missing the point entirely. Mandates like this one had nothing to do with religion, and were wrong regardless of whether they violated religious or secular liberty.
Now many on the right have inexplicably chosen big-government “conservative” Rick Santorum as their standard-bearer. Despite his awful fiscal record, being named something other than Mitt Romney has allowed Santorum his time in the spotlight. And he has enjoyed every minute of it, offering soundbite-worthy quotes at nearly every event. Many of these statements have brought to light his very extreme views on social issues.
Predictably, Santorum’s views on things like abortion, homosexuality, and contraception have caused an uproar amongst those who do not share his worldview. Santorum has been savaged for things he has said both recently and in the past. Whether or not you believe him to be a sexist or a homophobe, it’s clear that his opinions are not shared by millions of Americans, and in fact cause great offense to many.
Christianity was founded roughly 2,000 years ago on the shores of a big lake in the Near East that still exists today – the Sea of Galilee. It has its roots in a small town that still exists today in present-day Israel – Bethlehem. Its foundation was made permanent a city of much strife for thousands of years both before and after – Jerusalem.
It started out as a small sect of Judaism that most in its day found humorous at best, blasphemous at worst. A small group of fishermen, tax collectors, whores, and other assorted scum of the earth claimed to have met the Messiah, and that he taught that to live, you must die. He claimed he was God, a claim that makes him (paraphrasing CS Lewis here) either a liar, a lunatic, or LORD.
The Messiah had already drawn large crowds during during his life, but that was nothing new for the era. “Messiah”s of various forms had been rising up for hundreds of years before this one, gaining large crowds during their lives, only to die (usually by execution) and have their names be forgotten in the annals of history.
No, two things made this Messiah different: 1) After his extremely brutal -so brutal that he was no longer recognizable as human- and extremely public -so public that people from thousands of miles away saw it first hand- execution, he was seen by thousands living and breathing, with barely a scar on his body. 2) Because of this resurrection, this Messiah continued to draw large crowds after his death.
But 2,000 years later, his followers have devolved to where many of them – perhaps even most of them – have lost sight of the true Jesus Christ of Nazareth and what he did.
Christianity has become a cult.
A few weeks ago, I went to see “An American Carol” with high hopes for an atypical Hollywood film. It reinforced something I have been working on. When you look at the spectrum of topics I have written about, I am difficult to pigeon-hole by the average American. The two-party system forces people to consider politics in a linear manner, one is either a conservative Republican on the “right” or a liberal Democrat on the “left,” with no room for anything else. Interestingly, most Americans are not able to fit their beliefs into one of those two options, but they settle for the side they feel most comfortable with.
Welcome Instapundit readers!
During a speech on National Prayer Breakfast at the National Cathedral, President Barack Obama went partisan (shocker!) in what is usually a bipartisan event by invoking Jesus Christ to justify his push for higher taxes:
President Obama offered a new line of reasoning for hiking taxes on the rich on Thursday, saying at the National Prayer Breakfast that his policy proposals are shaped by his religious beliefs.
Obama said that as a person who has been “extraordinarily blessed,” he is willing to give up some of the tax breaks he enjoys because doing so makes economic, and religious sense.
“For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,” Obama said, quoting the Gospel of Luke.
I’ll admit upfront that I believe raising taxes is a terrible idea. It’s even worse of an idea in economy that just now seems recovering from an severe downturn, a point that the Congressional Budget Office recently echoed. But President Obama’s invocation of Jesus and religion to push tax hikes is sickening and it makes him no different from someone like Rick Santorum, who frequently uses his faith to justify authoritarian social policies.
In case you didn’t know from comments he made in earlier part of his campaign, Herman Cain doesn’t like Muslims. During a recent speech, which was covered by Chris Moody for Yahoo News, Cain explained his ease when his learned that his oncologist was a Christian, despite a funny sounding last name:
He begins with a story about how he knew he would survive when he discovered that his physician was named “Dr. Lord,” that the hospital attendant’s name was “Grace” and that the incision made on his chest during the surgery would be in the shape of a “J.”
“Come on, y’all. As in J-E-S-U-S! Yes! A doctor named Lord! A lady named Grace! And a J-cut for Jesus Almighty,” Cain boomed.
He did have a slight worry at one point during the chemotherapy process when he discovered that one of the surgeon’s name was “Dr. Abdallah.”
“I said to his physician assistant, I said, ‘That sounds foreign—not that I had anything against foreign doctors—but it sounded too foreign,” Cain tells the audience. “She said, ‘He’s from Lebanon.’ Oh, Lebanon! My mind immediately started thinking, wait a minute, maybe his religious persuasion is different than mine! She could see the look on my face and she said, ‘Don’t worry, Mr. Cain, he’s a Christian from Lebanon.’”
“Hallelujah!” Cain says. “Thank God!”
The crowd laughs uneasily.
Pamela Geller isn’t exactly a friend of Islam. She’s pretty well known for that. It’s not surprising that her name popped up in Anders Breivik’s manifesto either. Geller, however, isn’t going to sit quietly while some lash out and try and blame her for Breivik’s heinous act.
Conservative blogger and anti-jihadist Pamela Geller told The Daily Caller it’s “outrageous” that she’s been “assign[ed] blame” for Oslo shooter Anders Behring Breivik’s actions.
“It’s like equating Charles Manson, who heard in the lyrics of Helter Skelter a calling for the Manson murders,” Geller said in an exclusive phone interview. “It’s like blaming the Beatles. It’s patently ridiculous.”
In the manifesto, Breivik cites Geller and other anti-Jihadists as sources for his inspiration. The appearance earned Geller and company a lashing at the hands of The New York Times and many other mainstream media outlets. Reporters have scoured Breivik’s writings, in his manifesto and elsewhere, looking for a connection to anti-jihad activists like Geller.
Geller points out that while she and Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer appear in Breivik’s manifesto, so do several influential historical thinkers. For instance, the New Yorker reports that Breivik cites Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Adam Smith. “Are they responsible too?” Geller asks.
Last week, we were all saddened by the attacks in Norway. I usually don’t like speaking for people I don’t personally know, but in this case I don’t think it’s out of line. Innocent people, mostly children, were killed. Many people started with the belief it was probably an Al Qaeda attack, only to learn later that it was an anti-Islamist trying to make his sick point. This has had many on the left wagging their fingers at those on the right who believed it was part of the terrorist groups Jihad against the West.
The truth of the matter is that the attack mimicked, at least on some level, what Al Qaeda has done in the past. Multiple attacks, stacked closely together; it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that it was Islamic extremists. Why would we jump to that conclusion unless we have something against Muslims? Well, possibly because the attack mimicked their MO so closely. Car bombs are a long staple of the Jihadist arsenal (though in fairness, they’re not the only ones who use them), and the shooting was reminiscent of the Mumbai attacks in India in 2008.
So, folks jumped to a conclusion. Since counter terrorism experts seemed to have looked in that direction to start with, it’s not completely out of line. It just turned out to be wrong, which can happen.
I’m not a fan of many efforts to curb terrorism that seem to lump all Muslims into the same category. They’re not all terrorists or terrorists to be. Many of them are kind, loving people who are as upset at terrorists as the rest of us. The hijackers on 9/11 didn’t spare Muslims in the World Trade Center after all, they murdered everyone they possibly could, regardless of religion.
I’m not going to keep score, that will be decided by history, but am I right in assuming that Islam is opposed to Free Speech? We are seeing again and again how Muslims around the world threaten violence and take violent action when Westerners exercise Free Speech. I’d even go so far to say that it’s American to be offensive and get offended.
I wanted to share several quotes from a well written article on newsjunkiepost.com, where Liam Fox analyzes the offensive actions of Free Speech and their affects.
When demonstrations started in Indonesia, the President of that country, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, called President Obama and requested that he intervene and stop the planned burning of the Korans in Gainesville, Florida. American and NATO embassies were threatened by angry mobs. Rather than hold the protesters in his own country accountable for their violent and destructive actions, the chosen strategy was to ask the President of the United States to require one of his citizens to adhere to Islamic law. No one asked what President Yudhoyono did, or said, to have his citizens take responsibility for their own reaction.
The principle that offence trumps the right of expression is the foundation of the censorship that allows blasphemy laws. The fact that the restriction is imposed by society on itself, because of a sense of fear, creates an even greater chance that such an injustice may take hold and become institutionalized.