A sane voice: Arundhati Roy

arundhati roy
Image courtesy of cesr.org

This post begins a series to recognize people that speak about the world in terms of what they observe and what they can prove.  Their voices stand out in the crowd.  In their words, they speak not of fantasy, delusion and rationalization.  Instead, they utilize the gifts of human cognition, awareness to observe what is here in the world around us.  They are not dogmatic, but analytic and take in the world 'warts & all' for what it is and what it is not.  They do not separate humankind from nature in any form of grandeur.  In short, they look at things the way they really are and not what we would have them be.

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)

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Take back our government - tax religions!

Religious institutions have been attacking the Constitution and the people of the United States long enough.  I don't want their money, but it is the only way to get their goddamn mitts off of my government.

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)

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America, Islam and Pejudice

I recently was contacted by someone that asked me to check out Whitehouse2.com. I was thoroughly impressed with the site because of the simplicity of the premise that it incorporated in its design. It was a simple, straightforward way to make your priorities known to the incoming administration. The beauty of the concept was that if you had a concern that was not listed, it is possible to add it to the list of hundreds of actions the Obama Administration could take to make sure it is following the wishes of the people. Of course, it is very doubtful that the administration will follow the intentions and precepts of the website, but if enough people were to participate in this unique way to further the concept of direct democracy. This is something that is within our reach with the advent of instant communication along with broad access to almost everyone, courtesy of the internet which has become a virtual necessity in this new century.

While the National Initiative 4 Democracy is my desired outcome in the quest for a direct democracy that operates on laws proposed and enacted by the people, and for the people, as our forefathers intended, the Whitehouse2.com is a good step forward. I discovered that there was a particular issue that was not included in the hundreds of other goals that people had submitted. I was going to write an article on the subject anyway, but on the site, I found a perfect opportunity to make my opinion known.

I want to preface this with the fact that I am not a religious man, I subscribe to no particular view in regard as to whether or not there is a God, and if there is indeed a power responsible for everything, which most major religions profess to believe. I reject all of the precepts of most of them except maybe the Buddhist philosophy which is actually more of a self awareness than a religion in the Judeo-Christian tradition. In my view, I compare the belief in Moses, Abraham, Jesus and Mohammad to be no more or less credible than the ancient beliefs in Ra, Zeus, Jupiter and Odin among many other supreme beings. I believe that there is no human on Earth that can state with certainty who or what God is, or what God wishes. I realize that any belief in a God or a religion is in my opinion usually  predicated on what society someone is born into. Unless one is a convert later in life, faith in any particular philosophy is usually a product of nurture, not nature. A belief system in some kind of supernatural being is the result of indoctrination based on blind faith rather than logic.

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Council of Churches/ Episcopal Bishops sez overturn Prop 8

The lines often drawn on issues concerning gay rights is that all churches are against those rights. Indeed, you can regularly see posters here making such claims.

This is a simplistic statement that does not represent the reality. The real debate on the religious level is not between believers and non-believers. The debate is between those Christians who accept homosexuality and respect separation and church and state, and those churches that are theocratic. The later are the churches, which believe that they can legislate behavior based on belief. The later are anti-progressive.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/arti cle/ALeqM5gGRIalpVsv411_GOSMBWRdX-viBQD9 4H25U00

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Barack Obama outperforms Gore and Kerry among Protestants and evangelicals

I am currently working on a senior honors thesis about the religious right. I've seen several headlines today that say while Obama won the Catholic vote, Democrats didn't really make inroads among the evangelical community - but I disagree.  I've spent some time today looking at consortium and CBS exit polls from every presidential election since 1972, and a preliminary scan shows three very interesting findings:

  • Barack Obama received a higher share of the Protestant vote, 45%, than any other Democratic nominee since at least 1972, the earliest year for which I have data. By comparison, in 2004 Kerry received 40% of the Protestant vote and in 2000 Gore received 42%. The previous high was 43.7% for Jimmy Carter in 1976. The low is George McGovern in 1972 with 28.4%.

  • The general "Protestant" category includes the liberal mainline denominations. Unfortunately, voters have only been asked if they consider themselves white evangelical or born-again in 2008 and 2004. In '04, 23% of voters said yes, and in '08, 26%. Kerry received 21% of that vote, and Obama 24. (In 2000, voters were asked if they were part of the religious right, and only 14% said yes. The term "religious right" is likely seen as offensive, so fewer voters were willing to claim it as a label. Of those voters, 18% voted for Gore.)

  • Barack Obama outperformed both Al Gore and John Kerry in terms of church attendance. More than weekly - Gore 36%, Kerry 35, Obama 43. Weekly - Gore 40, Kerry 41, Obama 43. Monthly - Gore 51, Kerry 49, Obama 53.

I'm not going to read anything into these numbers tonight; that's what my thesis is for. But the raw data is interesting, and suggests that the Emerging Church movement (Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, etc.) may indeed be a strong ally for progressives, and that Leah Daughtry can keep on rockin'.

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