Big phony: Hoping religiosity will get points

Associated Press – May 19, 2007:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Liberty University’s graduating class Saturday to honor the spirit of school founder Jerry Falwell by confronting “the growing culture of radical secularism” with Christian ideals.

Gingrich, who is considering a 2008 presidential run, quoted Bible passages to a mournful crowd of about 17,000 packed into the university’s football stadium four days after Falwell’s death.

“A growing culture of radical secularism declares that the nation cannot profess the truths on which it was founded,” Gingrich said. “We are told that our public schools can no longer invoke the creator, nor proclaim the natural law nor profess the God-given quality of human rights.

“In hostility to American history, the radical secularists insist that religious belief is inherently divisive and that public debate can only proceed on secular terms,” he said.

Gingrich also decried what he called judges’ overreaching efforts to separate church and state.

“Too often, the courts have been biased against religious believers. This anti-religious bias must end,” he said.



  1. GregA says:

    #29,

    One of Dawkins highly controversial stances is that the religious should be condemned by the secular world for indoctrinating their children into the the religion. Because Dawkins correctly believes that if children are given a choice about religion, and it is not indoctrinated into them at an early age, they will wind up being weak atheists or agnostic. Basically a disaster for the likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Osama Bin Laden.

  2. ethanol says:

    Hey Bobbo (#29),

    Well, we have to defend the right of the Nazi Party to exist. I utter disagree with their racist viewpoints, but they have a right to exist as long as they commit no crimes.

    Now to your last paragraph, there are MANY religious people (myself included) in the USA that agree that creationism doesn’t belong in schools, stem cell research is a wonderful thing, asn the Schivo incident was ridiculous.

    So is your point that intolerance of all religion is okay due to people trying to change laws in their favor?!?

  3. grog says:

    we secularists believe that if you want me to be in your religion, feel free to ask me, but for god’s sake, please don’t force it on me.

    what exactly is radical about that?

  4. Jägermeister says:

    #26

    Kind of like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Osama Bin Laden, etc.

    I’ve NEVER heard Richard Dawkins preaching hatred and uttering death threats. Please prove this.

    …radical secularists, or secular extremists, exist and are just as intolerant as religious extremists.

    Again… I’ve never heard of a secularist who has killed someone to prove that they’re right. But Christians and Muslims have done and do it over and over.

  5. ethanol says:

    Misanthropic Scott (#30),
    Wow, you believe in Utopia, how naive. Communism, Marxism, etc. that tried to operate with no religion showed how fallible humans are. Naivete about humanity is no excuse for intolerance.

    GregA(#31),
    I actually have nephews who were brought up exactly as you described and are actually MORE religious than my other neices/nephews,etc. And are you saying atheists/secularists have no belief system?

    Grog (#33),
    Not radical at all…

  6. Jägermeister says:

    #27 – Nice that we agree on something. 😉

    #29, #30, #31, #33 – Good points.

  7. ethanol says:

    Jägermeister (#34),

    Intolerance and hatred are very closely related. Oh yeah, Mao Zedong and Stalin didn’t kill anybody, right?

  8. leaglebob says:

    #32 — Ethanol–Well can you be a good Nazi without breaking the law?

    Your second paragraph makes you sound like a good in that you are going against the grain of those in your group?==but maybe I am painting with the same broad brush Newt was using in the rabble rousing Nazi like speech quoted above?

    Your last paragraph is excellent.—I’m thinking—–being against religion or railing against it, is a waste of time, so I wouldn’t do it==unless I were paid to do so. I think the better effort would be to speak against the infringement of our constitional rights regardless of the source==avoid the ad hominem and go for the violation(s). So–I am against being intolerant of religion as I am against the intolerance shown by too many in the name of religion==as all too often done by Falwell,Newt,NeoCons—it makes Jesus cry to be taken so in vain. /// Bobbo.

  9. Rosebush says:

    Radical Secularism? No! What we have in this country is Radical Corporatism.

    Peace,

    Rosebush
    -America, home of the free and enslaved

  10. Jägermeister says:

    #37

    Mao Zedong and Stalin didn’t kill in the name of Atheism.

  11. traaxx says:

    Radical Secularist = Progressive = Liberal = Commie = Neocon = Globalist.

    That pretty much sums up the entire thing. They overlap so much in their beliefs that the difference is minor if not nonexistent.

    Secularist are intolerant, this can be seen in world history. Look at the NAZIs and Communist, both group are a logical progression of secularist thought and both were intolerant to the point of wiping out millions of people for their beliefs. How many dictators of the world have been religious, not any that I know of unless you count Islam { but we wouldn’t want to do that would we}. How many have been secularist, all most all of them.

  12. ethanol says:

    Bobbo (#38), we are in total agreement!

    Rosebush(#39), again total agreement! Back to Bobbo, we must fiercely defend our rights which were granted to INDIVIDUALS, not corporations

    Jägermeister(#40), nuance but you sure couldn’t practice any religion without getting killed…

    Thank you all for the excellent discussion!

  13. leaglebob says:

    #40–I think Dawkins said that Stalin, Hitler, Mao (in general described as “atheists”) were actually acting from the same impulse as the religionists do–ie–they raised a “concept” above the value of human life. So the impluse to exercise power over others takes many forms, from religious to atheism making them alike in that attribute.

    I have often thought that “religion” is that private relationship between one person and his/her god (or not!). Politics is when you talk about it with a second person. That would make all of us here politicians, and not very religious? /// Bobbo.

  14. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #8 – – Secularists have no beliefs…

    Well… That’s obviously not true.

    Statements like that come from the same school of logic that believes athiests must suffer from depression because they have no afterlife to believe in. Which, obviously, isn’t true either.

    #13 – Radicals from any group cause problems for the whole and generally smear the good an individual group provides.

    Comment by ethanol — 5/21/2007 @ 6:14 am

    You can say that a few times more. Truer words were never spoken. When I think of all the fucked up radicals in the past who screwed up this country, it makes me cringe…

    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, and the list just goes on… Radicals are useless and we surely don’t need them.

    #15 – Radical secularism appears to be the neocon term for antitheist.

    Scott… Obviously I really like you, but to have a term for another term, the other term needs to be in use by more than one guy. While I admire and agree with the sentiment, antitheist is not catching on.

    Maybe you could get Dennis Leary’s character from Wag The Dog to figure out a way to get it into the lexicon.

  15. ethanol says:

    Sorry, I guess I need to reword my post in #13 as OhForTheLoveOf (#44) pointed out.
    The word should have been EXTREMIST not radical.

    Thanks for pointing out my mistake.

  16. Mr. Fusion says:

    Stalin, Hitler, and Mao all set themselves up as gods. Their form of government became a religion requiring strict obedience or risk the punishment of hell, also known as a gulag, or death. Solid belief systems with the supreme being sitting in the Capitol city instead of floating on a cloud. Similar regimes happened in many countries. To dismiss them as “atheists” simply because they didn’t follow your “god” is disingenuous and wrong.

    #15, in response to #3.

    Yes, he elevated the debate from the low to the lower. Since most reli-cons like to stand on their heads, to get an enhance view of the world and because they like the feeling of the blood pooling in their skulls, this looks like he raised the level.

  17. Jägermeister says:

    #41 – How many dictators of the world have been religious, not any that I know of unless you count Islam { but we wouldn’t want to do that would we}.

    Hitler was Christian (he had a very good working relationship with the Vatican)
    Francisco Franco was Roman Catholic.
    Chiang Kai-shek was Christian.

    I’m sure there are more if we dig a little bit more.

  18. leaglebob says:

    I’ll add that Bush has “acted like” a dictator once in office. Here we are spending more than the next 10 countries in the world on our military and Romney says we have to rebuild our military in order to regain our greatness? War talk, religious talk. The same babblefest.

  19. Jägermeister says:

    #42 – nuance but you sure couldn’t practice any religion without getting killed…

    Did you get that from a TV preacher? Yes, they tried to stomp organized religion, but I’ve not heard anything about organized killing of religious people. Please prove this.

  20. John Paradox says:

    (46)Stalin, Hitler, and Mao all set themselves up as gods. Their form of government became a religion requiring strict obedience or risk the punishment of hell, also known as a gulag, or death.

    Shows that Politics and Religion (organized, not to be confused with what some call ‘spirituality’, which would include the non-deist Buddhism) are basically the same thing: a means of controlling large numbers of people with a reward (Heaven/ government contract(?)) and punishment (Hell/Gulag-Guantanamo) system.

    J/P=?

  21. leaglebob says:

    49–Jagermeister,

    I’ve googled your argument and can’t find anything directly on point. But it seems to me that Stalin did close all the churches and outlawed all religious practices and sent 50 Million people for various reasons to the gulags where they froze and starved to death. I think Stalin did unavoidably “target” religious folks as he did ethnic groups, political groups, the unhealthy, etc. all as “enemies of the state.” /// Bobbo.

  22. ethanol says:

    Jägermeister (#49),

    Interesting your thinking that Stalin didn’t kill anyone for their religion. Clinging real hard to defend yourself… Before Hitler, Stalin HATED the Jews and made every effort to destroy them. http://tinyurl.com/yo4ap2

    He hated all religion because it could corrupt his power.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COM.ART.HTM

    This is where all hatred and intolerance leads. Take a deep breath and let people have their beliefs, intolerance leads nowhere good…

  23. John Paradox says:

    (15)Personally, I think even the term atheist is a bad term. It defines one by their non-beliefs rather than their beliefs.

    Actually, I think it’s closer to what Humanists (did you know: the term was originally Religious Humanist?) and how they treat religion.. there is no need to call on a ‘god’ for any reason, we are responsible for our own actions, they are not excused because we are ‘told’ to do something. Essentially, We Are On Our Own, don’t expect some deus ex machina to come in and save us from our own stupidity/

    Unfortunately, the correct term for defining one who prefers science to mythology would actually be scientist, a believer in science.

    At least Scientologist isn’t mistaken for this…
    I still remember how stupid DIANETICS was… even after John Campbell (SF editor) endorsed it.

    J/P=?

  24. Misanthropic Scott says:

    #44 – BubbaRay,

    In general, you’re correct about a term for another term. However, when Eskimo is noted to be derogatory, we switch to Inuit. Radical secularism is an offensive term. It denies the possibility that someone could be reasonable and opposed to religion. In general, people choose politically correct names for themselves. People have politically incorrect names thrust upon them. This is why Bushman is offensive but San is not and Pygmy is offensive but Mbuti is not.

    This is also why I made a big deal a while back to find out what neocons would like to be called that they would not find offensive. I would hope that people would respect my right to choose my inoffensive labels in the same way.

    #35 – ethanol,

    Misanthropic Scott (#30),
    Wow, you believe in Utopia, how naive. Communism, Marxism, etc. that tried to operate with no religion showed how fallible humans are. Naivete about humanity is no excuse for intolerance.

    Perhaps you missed this line from my post:

    My personal belief is that religion, by the very nature of sectarianism, causes violence. There are other sources as well.

    I have stated repeatedly on this and other sites. Humans are a violent species. We find many reasons to kill each other. Religion is just one of many. It happens to be one with a very long and violent history. It also happens that the very meaning of the word sectarian reflects the nature of religion as narrow minded, bigoted, and divisive. (see #18 above)

    That said, after re-reading your post #32, I think we agree on the basics of keeping religion out of the public sector. So, our agreement is far stronger than our disagreement.

    What makes my blood boil is the likes of Newt, Falwell and the rest legislating from their religion. That is not OK. It is not as intended by the founding fathers, no matter how many people state otherwise. And, it is not about freedom.

    As an aside and example of the way our society is headed and the reason I have grown more and more antitheistic, note that the UN in their Millennium Development Goals wanted to put in a paragraph about limiting population growth (through voluntary non-legislative means, of course). Three “nations” vetoed it. It was removed. What three “nations”? Iran, The Vatican, and The United States. So, we lumped ourselves in with two theocracies. This scares me.

  25. bobbo says:

    53–Hey John==can you post an observed paradox from your perusals?

  26. Misanthropic Scott says:

    ethanol,

    One more point. You really should stop using Hitler as an example of an atheist. Certainly, the issue is unclear. As recently as 1941, he stated that he would be a Catholic until the day he died. He also made some very disparaging comments about Catholicism. He was sort of bipolar on the issue.

    However, one must note that the Nazi Bible he was writing had as its prime purpose getting rid of the Jewish influence in the Bible. So, one might argue that he was trying to promote a new theistic religion. I would not make that argument. However, I would also strongly argue that to call him an atheist is a mistake.

  27. Jägermeister says:

    #51, #52

    I’m not defending him or his gulags. But he didn’t kill everyone who had the slightest belief, because then he would have to wipe out most of the population. And the root of what I was answering was that he didn’t have them killed in the name of Atheism, but communism. Most forms of organized groups are threats to dictators (at least in their eyes).

    #52 – Take a deep breath and let people have their beliefs, intolerance leads nowhere good…

    Yes, I let people have their beliefs. Just don’t force it upon me in the public space. Keep it to yourself and we’re fine.

  28. Misanthropic Scott says:

    BTW, Godwin’s Law anyone?

    It’s sort of a gray area since mentioning Nazis and Hitler are OK in a conversation about Nazis and Newt just might qualify.

  29. John Paradox says:

    (30)My personal belief is that religion, by the very nature of sectarianism, causes violence. There are other sources as well. However, if we are to survive as a species, we must get rid of sects. We must recognize that we are all Us. There is no Us and Them. We simply cannot continue to spend the time, resources, and human life required to continue sectarian fighting. Sectarianism is inherently divisive both by its nature and its purpose.

    SF writer/ political observer (check out his Take Back Your Government, and old and often outdated work, but shows his grassroots basis for the U.S. Government) observed in the posthumous Tramp Royale “The customs of my tribe are not laws of nature”.
    All groups, be it Al Qaeda, a national government, a corporate ‘culture’ , an alleged ‘christian’ sect or whatever is still basically a ‘tribe’. Us and Them.. if you aren’t with me/us, you are against me/us….

    Also…. howcum these alleged christians haven’t read the New Testament… they were not only warned they would face opposition, they are supposed to REJOICE in being persecuted here?

    Most are what I refer to as Xians… (not original) or Pauline Yahwists, that is you will find quotes from the Old Testament and Saul’s letters, but NEVER a quote from Jesus.
    J/P=?

  30. bobbo says:

    54–Misanthrop–

    I agree with your sectarian concept. I also note that science (uniquely) over time tends to bring people together who initially have differing views on the naturalistic world. Religion, over time, tends to bring people to war and disagreement?

    Perhaps that supports why scientists “should be” or naturally are antagonistic to the religionsts. One can not be FOR that which brings us all together and support an idea that tears us apart? It sounds like a “paradox” but one cant be tolerant towards those who would be intolerant.

    By the way, add Chris Hitchens and myself to the list of those self-identifiying as anti-deist. Indeed, if god did exist, I would ask him to go away–atleast until he could demonstrate better design? //// Bobbo.


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