A Christmas Story, BB Gun, Psycho, Bonnie and Clyde, A Clockwork Orange, The Night Chicago Died, AFDC and Societal Decay

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 26th, 2013

Politics 101

(Originally published December 27th, 2012)

Kids playing with Toy Guns prior to the Sixties had a Moral Code and only Shot the Bad Guys

If you turned on the television on Christmas Eve you no doubt caught A Christmas Story.  The story of Ralphie’s quest for a BB gun.  Which wasn’t easy.  For the classic BB gun block was there at every turn.  From his mother.  His teacher.  Even from Santa Clause.  “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

This was everyone’s concern.  Not what the effect of playing with guns would do to Ralphie.  No one was saying playing with toy BB guns would make him take a real gun to school one day.  For that just didn’t happen back then.  When Ralphie fantasized about shooting people they were criminals.  Who he was protecting his family from.  And they were dressed up in classic criminal clothes.  Black knit cap.  Burglar’s mask.  Black and white striped shirt.  All comically exaggerated.  And when Ralphie shot them they ended up in a pile with an ‘x’ over each eye.  Almost cartoonish.

Before the Sixties this is how kids played with guns.  They pretended to shoot the bad guys.  Enemy soldiers.  Indians (back then it was okay to shoot them when playing make believe because they were threatening these kids’ families on the make-believe frontier).  Kids may have played with toy guns.  But they had a moral code.  Only shoot the bad guys.  Where the greatest concern of parents was voiced in A Christmas Story.  “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

Kids Playing with Toy Guns prior to the Sixties did not shoot Innocent Men, Women and Children

It was like that in the movies and on television, too.  That started changing in the Sixties.  Televising horrific war scenes from Vietnam into our living rooms.  Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) showing a brutal murder of a woman in the shower.  Bonnie and Clyde (1967) showed likeable bad guys unleashing horrific and graphic violence on innocent people as they robbed banks.  A Clockwork Orange (1971) showed young men in gangs having fun committing acts of ultra-violence including some very graphic and brutal rape scenes.

Contrast this to the earlier shoot-em up westerns.  On the lawless frontier.  Where everyone wore a sidearm.  And had a rifle on their horse.  When they drew their guns the lead flew.  A lot of people got shot.  And a lot of people died.  But throughout this violence it was always the good guys in their white hats fighting the bad guys in their black hats.  Their wounds were bloodless.  There were no squibs causing blood to fly to simulate real gunshot wounds.  And whenever these rough and tumble cowboys came into town and saw some lovely ladies what did they do?  They tipped their hats.

Kids grew up playing cowboys and Indians, soldier and cops & robbers.  But never did they shoot innocent men.  Or women and children.  They didn’t because no movies killed innocent women and children.  There were no video games where pimps shot prostitutes.  And there were no songs celebrating the shooting of cops.    The only song close to killing cops was Paper Lace’s The Night Chicago Died (1974).  A song about Al Capone’s gang wars and the cops fighting them.  But it’s from the point of view about a cop’s wife sick with worry until her husband comes home.

Gun Violence is a Product of Societal Decay created by the Political Left

While this rise in realistic graphic violence in movies was going on something else was happening.  We were losing our religion.  The Sixties had a catch phrase.  Sex, drugs and rock and roll.  It was the era of free love and expanding your mind with mind-expanding drugs.  Hallucinogens.   LSD.  Women started using birth control and abortion to facilitate that free love.  And did whatever felt good.  Abandoning the morality teachings of their parents.  And their church.  Turning on their religious past.

Radical elements of the feminist movement attacked marriage.  Calling all sex in marriage rape.  Demonizing men.  Encouraging women to raise their children without a man.  And the government stepped in to help.  With their Aide to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  Having the government step in to be husband and father.  Filling housing projects with single mothers.  And crime.  Which spilled over into the schools these kids attended.  Kids in gangs with guns.  Who didn’t play cowboys and Indians, soldier or cops & robbers.  But shot people for looking at them wrong.

Today gun violence is a product of societal decay.  But guns did not cause this societal decay.  The political left did.  They have long been desensitizing our youth to graphic violence.  And they have been systemically attacking religion and the conventional family.  Removing moral absolutes.  And making our youth incapable of empathy, allowing them to hurt others.  This is why people today can shoot innocent men, women and children.  When once upon a time people laden with firearms tipped their hats to ladies.

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A Christmas Story, BB Gun, Psycho, Bonnie and Clyde, A Clockwork Orange, The Night Chicago Died, AFDC and Societal Decay

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 27th, 2012

Politics 101

Kids playing with Toy Guns prior to the Sixties had a Moral Code and only Shot the Bad Guys

If you turned on the television on Christmas Eve you no doubt caught A Christmas Story.  The story of Ralphie’s quest for a BB gun.  Which wasn’t easy.  For the classic BB gun block was there at every turn.  From his mother.  His teacher.  Even from Santa Clause.  “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

This was everyone’s concern.  Not what the effect of playing with guns would do to Ralphie.  No one was saying playing with toy BB guns would make him take a real gun to school one day.  For that just didn’t happen back then.  When Ralphie fantasized about shooting people they were criminals.  Who he was protecting his family from.  And they were dressed up in classic criminal clothes.  Black knit cap.  Burglar’s mask.  Black and white striped shirt.  All comically exaggerated.  And when Ralphie shot them they ended up in a pile with an ‘x’ over each eye.  Almost cartoonish.

Before the Sixties this is how kids played with guns.  They pretended to shoot the bad guys.  Enemy soldiers.  Indians (back then it was okay to shoot them when playing make believe because they were threatening these kids’ families on the make-believe frontier).  Kids may have played with toy guns.  But they had a moral code.  Only shoot the bad guys.  Where the greatest concern of parents was voiced in A Christmas Story.  “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

Kids Playing with Toy Guns prior to the Sixties did not shoot Innocent Men, Women and Children

It was like that in the movies and on television, too.  That started changing in the Sixties.  Televising horrific war scenes from Vietnam into our living rooms.  Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) showing a brutal murder of a woman in the shower.  Bonnie and Clyde (1967) showed likeable bad guys unleashing horrific and graphic violence on innocent people as they robbed banks.  A Clockwork Orange (1971) showed young men in gangs having fun committing acts of ultra-violence including some very graphic and brutal rape scenes.

Contrast this to the earlier shoot-em up westerns.  On the lawless frontier.  Where everyone wore a sidearm.  And had a rifle on their horse.  When they drew their guns the lead flew.  A lot of people got shot.  And a lot of people died.  But throughout this violence it was always the good guys in their white hats fighting the bad guys in their black hats.  Their wounds were bloodless.  There were no squibs causing blood to fly to simulate real gunshot wounds.  And whenever these rough and tumble cowboys came into town and saw some lovely ladies what did they do?  They tipped their hats.

Kids grew up playing cowboys and Indians, soldier and cops & robbers.  But never did they shoot innocent men.  Or women and children.  They didn’t because no movies killed innocent women and children.  There were no video games where pimps shot prostitutes.  And there were no songs celebrating the shooting of cops.    The only song close to killing cops was Paper Lace’s The Night Chicago Died (1974).  A song about Al Capone’s gang wars and the cops fighting them.  But it’s from the point of view about a cop’s wife sick with worry until her husband comes home.

Gun Violence is a Product of Societal Decay created by the Political Left

While this rise in realistic graphic violence in movies was going on something else was happening.  We were losing our religion.  The Sixties had a catch phrase.  Sex, drugs and rock and roll.  It was the era of free love and expanding your mind with mind-expanding drugs.  Hallucinogens.   LSD.  Women started using birth control and abortion to facilitate that free love.  And did whatever felt good.  Abandoning the morality teachings of their parents.  And their church.  Turning on their religious past.

Radical elements of the feminist movement attacked marriage.  Calling all sex in marriage rape.  Demonizing men.  Encouraging women to raise their children without a man.  And the government stepped in to help.  With their Aide to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  Having the government step in to be husband and father.  Filling housing projects with single mothers.  And crime.  Which spilled over into the schools these kids attended.  Kids in gangs with guns.  Who didn’t play cowboys and Indians, soldier or cops & robbers.  But shot people for looking at them wrong.

Today gun violence is a product of societal decay.  But guns did not cause this societal decay.  The political left did.  They have long been desensitizing our youth to graphic violence.  And they have been systemically attacking religion and the conventional family.  Removing moral absolutes.  And making our youth incapable of empathy, allowing them to hurt others.  This is why people today can shoot innocent men, women and children.  When once upon a time people laden with firearms tipped their hats to ladies.

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FT148: “You only know what someone taught you.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 14th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

If we Grew up on a Deserted Island isolated from Hate we’d Probably Grow up Better Adjusted to live with One Another

No one is born a racist.  It’s something you have to learn.  Someone has to teach it to you.  If a parent is a racist chances are the child will be bombarded with racial slurs growing up.  And become a racist.  Just like his or her parent.  But if you raised a bunch of babies of different races together on a deserted island in isolation would any of them grow up to be a racist?   No.  For they wouldn’t even know what racism is.  Because the life they knew would be normal.  It would be normal for black, white, brown, red and yellow to live together.

Catholics and Protestants have spent a few centuries killing each other.  Ever since the Protestant Reformation in 1517.  People have been persecuting Jews since forever.  The Palestinians, Hezbollah and Hamas have been killing Israelis for decades.  Shiite and Sunni have also been killing each other for a very long time.  These people have hated each other so much that they just want to see the other dead.  Yet if you took a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Palestinian, a Shiite and a Sunni baby from their parents and raised them on a deserted island in isolation they wouldn’t grow up wanting to kill each other.  They wouldn’t even know they were supposed to hate each other.

Europe was just itching to go to war.  Nationalistic fervor was just bursting at the seams.  Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, French, Russians and British were ready and waiting.  Filled with nationalist pride.  Just jonesing to open a can of whup-ass on anyone that wasn’t from their own great nation.  Having learned nothing from the Crimean War.  Or the American Civil War.  Thinking they would march their magnificent armies onto the field of battle, fight a glorious battle and watch the enemy throw down their arms and run away.  Even though tactics hadn’t changed much from the Crimean War and the American Civil War.  Though the weapons were far more lethal.  Making World War I one of the bloodiest wars of all time.  But had you taken a German, an Austrian, a Hungarian, a French, a Russian and a British baby from their parents at the turn of the century and raised them on a deserted island in isolation they wouldn’t have grown up wanting to go to war with each other.  As they wouldn’t know that they were supposed to hate each other.

Of all the Things the State did Poorly perhaps the Worst was being Husband and Father

When our parents grew up they often went to bed without locking the doors to their houses.  Even during the days of Prohibition when armed gangs shot each other in the street with automatic weapons.  Today we have deadbolts and alarm systems.  And metal detectors at our schools.  For kids today are taking guns to school.  And they’re shooting people.  This didn’t happen during the days of Prohibition when gangs were armed with Thompson 45-caliber submachine guns.  Why?  Because during Prohibition there weren’t violent video games, graphic violence in movies & television and rap & hip-hop songs glorifying gun violence.  So even though we have less lethal weapons on the streets today we have more gun violence than before.  Because kids have been so desensitized to violence that killing people just isn’t a big deal to them.  Raise these kids on a deserted island away from this violence in our pop culture, though, and they’re not going to kill indiscriminately.  Instead they’ll stay innocent kids longer.

Add to this violence in our pop culture our secular progressive culture.  The Left’s quest to remove religion and God from as much of our lives as possible.  And their attacks on Christianity.  For imposing their moral code on people.  And opposing free love and abortion.  They have gone so far as to call for the removal of the Ten Commandments from our government buildings.  And our schools.  Because teaching kids things like ‘Thou shall not kill” is a bad thing.  Or any other morality lesson.  For who’s to say what is right and wrong?  Of course when we teach our kids growing up that there are no moral absolutes it sure weakens the argument for them not to do bad things.  It detaches them from society.  And makes them lack empathy for their fellow citizens.  Making it easier to hurt them.  If you pulled these kids out of our public schools and put them and their parents on a deserted island away from this secular progressive culture and filled them with the fear of God for misbehaving they probably could sleep at night with their doors unlocked.  For hurting one another would be the last thing on their minds.

When LBJ passed his Great Society legislation it included Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  An unmitigated disaster for poor people.  For it let men father and abandon their children.  Leaving women to turn to the state to act as husband and father.  And of all the things the state did poorly perhaps the worst was being husband and father.  It just decimated poor families.  Single mothers filled housing projects.  Their children, with no male role model, turned to the street.  Got into a lot of trouble.  And into drugs.  Even taking that behavior into their schools.  Which is part of the reason why metal detectors are needed today at our schools.  Forcing organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to pick up the parenting slack.  Had these deadbeat dads lived on a deserted island untouched by AFDC there would have been less fathering and abandoning of children.  Like there was before AFDC.

Keynesian Policies have Historically Resulted in High Unemployment and Painful Recessions

After World War II the world went Keynesian.  Classical economics (that favored savings over consumption, low taxes, the gold standard, little government intrusion into the private sector and responsible fiscal policy as in DON’T spend so much) that made America a superpower went out the window.  In came the disaster we call Keynesian economics (that favored consumption over savings, deficit spending, printing lots of money, high taxes and a lot of government intervention into the private sector.  Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge in the Twenties were the last of the classical economists.  Their policies gave us great prosperity.  JFK adopted policies of the classical economics variety to pull America out of a recession in the Sixties.  Nixon, Ford and Carter were big Keynesians whose policies destroyed America.  Ronald Reagan rebuilt America in the Eighties by returning to policies of the classical economics variety.  As George W. Bush did to pull us out of the bad recession caused by Bill Clinton’s dot-com bubble bursting.

So the record shows the success of classical economics.  And the failure of Keynesian economics.  Yet about half the population voted for the Keynesian policies of President Obama in 2012.  Why?  Why did they vote for more of the failed policies of the past?  Because most Americans learn only of Keynesian economics in their economic courses.  While politicians, economists and the mainstream media endorse Keynesian policies as if they have a record of success.  They do this because Keynesian economics does something that classical economics doesn’t.  Empowers big government.  Sanctions class warfare.  Giving them the moral high ground when raising taxes.  And printing money.  Despite these actions causing the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.

President Obama won reelection for one of two reasons.  Either people want more free stuff.  Or they don’t understand economics.  Or the consequences of handing out all that free stuff.  For if they understood economics they would not have voted for a Keynesian.  For Keynesian policies have historically resulted in high unemployment and painful recessions.  So even if you’re voting for the free stuff you’d vote for the classical economics candidate.  For without people working there is no income to tax to pay for all of that free stuff.  But few people understand economics.  Which is lucky for President Obama.  In fact, few people understand the disaster that has been the liberal agenda as the liberals control the public schools, our colleges, the mainstream media and the entertainment establishment.  So few are learning the long record of liberal failures.  Which helps liberals win elections.  For you only know what someone taught you.  And if the liars are in charge of teaching us the only things we will learn are their lies.  Unless, of course, we can find some deserted island to grow up on where their policies can’t reach us.  Then when we come back we can make the world a better place.  A place with sound economic policies.  With no racism, no religious intolerance, no blind nationalist fervor, no culture of gun violence and no epidemic of deadbeat dads.

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The Far Left Hates Christians more than Radical Muslims

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 26th, 2011

No Morality Police under 20 Years of Republican Presidents

The far Left hates conservatives.  And Christians.  They don’t want them shoving their morality down their throats.  Like conservatives do in some countries (see Iran’s Hardline Fashion Police by Babak Dehghanpisheh posted 6/24/2011 on The Daily Beast).

It’s that time of year again. As summer temperatures soar in Tehran and other large Iranian cities, the morality police, or gasht ershad as they’re called in Farsi, come out in droves to make sure the citizenry isn’t flashing too much skin or acting in other inappropriate ways. The activities of the gasht ershad ramped up after the election of hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005, but it seems this year they’re going for broke: since mid-June, 70,000 morality police have been sent out into the streets of Tehran alone.

Ronald Reagan was president for 8 years.  George H.W. Bush for 4 years.  George W. Bush was president for 8 years.  That’s three Republicans occupying the Oval Office for 20 years.  All the while the far Left was attacking them for being too close to the Religious Right.  Trying to scare everyone into believing that they would set up a Spanish Inquisition-like morality police to punish people misbehaving.  But in those 20 years let me ask you this.  Did any of these Republican presidents ever send 70,000 morality police to any American city?  No.  In fact, by my recollection, during those 20 years we still had pornography.  Women were still wearing bikinis in public.  Birth control and abortion were still available legally.  And guys were able to do whatever they wanted to with their hair.  Even wear gold chain necklaces if they wanted to.  But in Iran…

No more mullets (a move even some Tehran fashionistas applauded), ponytails, or a popular hairstyle called the rooster, which swoops up in a faux-hawk in the front and flares out at the back. And there’s a new restriction for men this summer: no necklaces.

During those 20 years of Republican presidents there was no morality police.  There was no one saying what fashion was and was not permissible.  As I think parachute pants and the mullet attest to. 

The government has not only spelled out the crackdown in legal terms, but has also tried to make the case that inappropriate clothing can be directly linked to damnation. Last week, an analyst named Ali Akbar Raefipour, appeared on state television and claimed that the word “jeans” actually comes from the word “jinn,” which are supernatural beings that can fly and take the form of animals. He took it a step further by comparing women’s high heels to the hooves of demons. And if that wasn’t enough, Raefipour said that numbers and symbols on some t-shirts can be read as “spells or satanic slogans.”

After only a week of the crackdown, Tehran police chief Hussein Sajedinia held a press conference and claimed resounding success, citing a 50 percent drop in the harassment of women on the streets (without a hint of irony)…

Who would have known?  That wearing blue jeans will send you to hell.  That high heels are the sign of the beast.  And writing on t-shirts is satanic.  If I’m not mistaken, though, during 20 years of Republican presidents I’m pretty sure I saw women in high heels, in tight denim jeans and in shirts with stuff written on them stretched taut across their bosoms.  Not that I looked.  I wonder why the Religious Right allowed this to happen during those 20 years of Republican presidents.

Anyway, it’s good to know that Iranian women are now safe.  Free to walk along the streets.  Without any men harassing them.  Just by exercising a little more modesty in their appearance.

For ordinary Iranians, the evidence of the crackdown is in plain sight. Checkpoints run by the morality police have mushroomed all over Tehran and, residents say, it’s not uncommon to see women getting stuffed into one of their ubiquitous vans…

Soheila, a 28-year old Tehran resident, has had enough. “I was even with my husband one time when a policewoman gave me a warning about bad hijab,” she says. “‘[I’m] going to start wearing the chador [a head-to-toe cloth covering] because [I’m] afraid of the morality police.” 

Exercising a little more modesty in your personal appearance.  And by living your life in absolute fear and oppression.  Again, I lived through 20 years of Republican presidents yet don’t recall any such oppression of women.  Guess there’s a difference between Islam and Christianity.  And women have more freedoms under Christianity.

One thing you have to say about Muslims living under Sharia law, though.  They must really love, honor and respect their women.

Al Qaeda has a PR Problem because they’re Killing Muslim Men, Women and Children

Actually, they don’t.  Which is really a puzzling thing about the far Left’s open hostility towards Christianity and absolute tolerance for anything Islamic.  Christians don’t physically and/or brutally oppress their women.   Or use them as suicide bombers (see Taliban say husband and wife in Pakistan suicide attack posted 6/26/2011 on the BBC).

A husband and wife carried out a suicide attack that killed eight people at a police station in north-western Pakistan, the Taliban has said…

The BBC’s Orla Guerin, in Islamabad, says that the use of a husband and wife suicide squad by the Pakistani Taliban is a new tactic, and a new threat.

Already, our correspondent adds, the militants have resorted to using children as human bombs. And a suicide attack in Pakistan’s tribal areas last December was blamed on a woman bomber.

I don’t think this is the kind of gender equality women living under Sharia law want.  To be sacrificed like men. 

You just don’t hear about Christians doing things like this.  Or Jews for that matter.  Judeo-Christian societies treat women better than this.  They can show a little skin.  Wear high heels.  Even smile at passersby.  Including men they don’t even know. 

With feminists populating the far Left it just boggles the mind that they fear and hate Christians.  While no such vitriol is ever directed against anything Islamic.  And yet it’s elements in Islam that are doing some of the worse things imaginable against women.  And children (see Afghanistan: Eight-year-old girl ‘used in attack’ posted 6/26/2011 on the BBC).

An eight-year-old girl has been killed after insurgents used her in a bomb attack on police in southern Afghanistan, the government has said.

The interior ministry said insurgents gave the girl a package and told her to take it to a police vehicle, detonating it as she approached…

Correspondents say insurgents have recruited both adult women and recently male children to carry out suicide attacks, though the Taliban denies recruiting children.

According to letters seized during the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda has a marketing problem.  For there was no religious element in the name ‘Al Qaeda’.  And they were losing the PR war with the Americans.  Because Al Qaeda was killing more Muslims than the Americans were.  So bin Laden wanted to change the name to stress the holy war element in the war against the Americans.  But that didn’t happen because of his ‘untimely’ death. 

Apparently he was alone in this view.  Because giving an 8 year girl a package and telling her to take it to the police station without telling her what’s in the package and then detonating the bomb in that package while hiding from a safe distance away doesn’t exactly help put a positive spin on the holy war against the Americans.  Especially when you’re killing Muslim men, women and children by blowing up a bomb being held by a Muslim child.

The Far Left Hates Western Civilization

Islam is a religion of peace that some twist the meaning of to do unspeakable things.  Christianity is a religion of peace, too.  And some may twist the meaning of it to do some unspeakable things.  But if you’re tallying these unspeakable things you’re going to see the tally far greater for one religion than the other.  Unless you don’t consider putting bombs on women and children as unspeakable.

Western societies tend to be Judeo-Christian societies.  And in these societies women have a lot of freedoms.  They can do anything they want.  Have a career.  Go into politics.  Become presidents.  Prime ministers.  Or be porn stars.  They can eat and drink anything they want anywhere they want.  They can go to a movie, a bar or a dance club.  Women have come a long way in Western Civilization.  Nowhere are they empowered more.  And nowhere are they empowered less than in Islamic society.

And yet, despite all of this, the far Left attacks Christianity.  They will say some of the most vile and vicious things.  Insult their institutions.  And openly mock them.  But they don’t do this with Islam.  In fact, if anyone says anything critical of Islam the far Left calls that hate speech.  While their criticism of Christianity is merely free speech.

This makes no sense.  Unless the far Left hates Western Civilization.  Then it makes perfect sense.  The far Left is the liberal Big Government left.  Who wants more government in our lives.  Telling us what’s best for us.  Regulating us.  Controlling us.  And this they have in common with radical Islam.  Because they, too, want to tell their people what’s best for them.  To regulate them.  To control them.

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Kennedy Wrong on Kennedy, the Constitution, Catholicism and Abraham Lincoln

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 4th, 2010

There’s no Separation of Church and State in the Constitution

Sarah Palin wrote about JFK’s Houston speech in her new book America by Heart.  I haven’t read her book but, according to Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, she doesn’t get JFK or his speech. 

Ms. Kennedy says JFK took a lofty stand to separate church and state.  Palin said JFK dissed the Founding Fathers (see Sarah Palin is wrong about John F. Kennedy, religion and politics by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend posted 12/3/2010 on The Washington Post).

Palin’s argument seems to challenge a great American tradition, enshrined in the Constitution, stipulating that there be no religious test for public office.

I gotta side with Palin on this.  For I know history.  And a little about JFK.

A lot of people get this wrong.  Especially those on the Left.  They don’t know America’s history.  Or the Constitution.

Briefly, then, here is some American history.  The English founded British North America.  The Church of England is Protestant.  At the time of our founding, the English (and Protestants) hated Catholics.  Americans, then, had a deep-rooted hate of Catholics.  They left England because they felt the Church of England was getting too Catholic for their liking (pick up a history of the English Civil War for more on this).  So they came to America and founded new colonies.  Christian colonies.  Protestant, Christian colonies (except for Maryland which was a Catholic colony.  Go figure.).

All right, long story short, the American colonies were religious colonies.  They had established religions.  And they didn’t want any new fangled central government infringing on their established religions.  The so called wall between church and state in the Constitution has nothing to do about separating church from state.  It was all about keeping the federal government out of the states’ religious business. 

To get the states to ratify the Constitution, the new federal government had to agree not to interfere with the religious business of the individual states.  Hence the ‘shall not establish clause’.  Because the states already had established.  Religions.

Catholics didn’t Feel the Love for a Long Time in America

George Washington was perhaps the first to break down the walls between religions.  He had Protestants and Catholics fighting side by side in his army.  And he was trying to get Catholic French Canada to join the American cause.  So he forbade anti-Catholic demonstrations.  To help serve the army.  And his vision of the new nation.  But it took a long time for Protestant British Americans to warm up to Catholics.

When JFK ran for president, many Americans were still not ready for a Catholic president.  And this was a BIG problem for JFK.  People were worried that Rome would be calling the shots in America with a JFK presidency.  Ergo the Houston speech.

My uncle urged that religion be private, removed from politics, because he feared that making faith an arena for public contention would lead American politics into ill-disguised religious warfare, with candidates tempted to use faith to manipulate voters and demean their opponents.

Yes, he urged this.  Because he wanted to be elected president.  Not because he believed in it.  JFK was pragmatic.  He did/said what was necessary.  Whether he believed it or not. 

The Kennedys were Catholic in Name Only

You know, it might have been easier to stress that JFK wasn’t a ‘good’ Catholic.  He was an adulterer.  A good Catholic doesn’t use birth control or abortion.  They only have sex to make babies.  You know, according to Catholicism.  An adulterer, then, is obviously not having sex to make babies.  They’re having sex only for a bit of fun.  And that just ain’t good Catholicism.  According to Catholicism.

Apparently, Palin criticized Nancy Pelosi in her book.  Pelosi, pro-choice (i.e., pro-abortion), is a ‘Catholic’ who believes in something very un-Catholic.

For instance, she criticizes Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), a Democrat and a faithful Catholic, for “talking the (God) talk but not walking the walk.”

Who is Palin to say what God’s “walk” is? Who anointed her our grand inquisitor?

Palin criticized Teddy Kennedy, too.

Teddy Kennedy believed that his stands were at one with his faith. He did disagree with the Roman Catholic hierarchy at times. But as we have seen, the hierarchy’s positions can change, and in our church, we have an obligation to help bring about those changes.

The Catholics have the Pope.  And he is infallible.  So, unless the Pope reports that God changed his mind on the abortion issue, God hasn’t.  You can still be pro-choice if you want to be.  But not in the Catholic Church.

Abraham Lincoln Based his Morality in Religious Beliefs

Abraham Lincoln was a very religious man during the Civil War.  In fact, he thought that the war was God’s punishment for the sin of slavery.  He observed that both the North and the South prayed to the same God.  And that they both couldn’t be fighting on the side of God.

Lincoln’s original goal was to save the union with or without slavery.  That changed.  Because of his religious beliefs.  When once he said a house divided could not stand, he spoke of two options.  All slave.  Or all free.  His religious beliefs changed those two options.  He saw a nation all free.  Or he saw no nation.

Palin, for her part, argues that “morality itself cannot be sustained without the support of religious beliefs.” That statement amounts to a wholesale attack on countless Americans, and no study or reasonable argument I have seen or heard would support such a blanket condemnation. For a person who claims to admire Lincoln, Palin curiously ignores his injunction that Americans, even those engaged in a Civil War, show “malice toward none, with charity for all.”

Many historians say the Confederate ‘high tide’ of the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg.  (Many other historians, myself included, believe the Western Theater was where the war was decided.  But that’s another story for another time).   After three bloody days, General Meade telegraphed Lincoln that the Confederates were repulsed from Union territory.  Lincoln was infuriated (that Meade let a beaten army escape).  For it was all Union territory.

(In Meade’s defense, he was the last general commanding the Army of the Potomac.  General Grant found him one of his more capable general officers.  He put him in the company of General Tecumseh Sherman.  High praise indeed.)

The war would go on for another 2 years.  In all, some 600,000 Americans would die (total North and South).  The Union prevailed.  But the cost was devastating.  There were some who wanted revenge.  They wanted to punish the South.  Not Lincoln.  With the war over, he wanted to bring the South back into the Union as quickly as possible.   There were to be no reprisals.  No trials.  No executions.  He wanted to heal the nation’s wounds.  Put that bloody war behind them.

Thankfully, he imparted this to Generals Grant and Sherman before his assassination.  They followed his orders and granted very generous terms of surrender to Generals Lee and Johnston.  And they in turn helped keep the Civil War from degenerating into a protracted guerrilla war.

When Lincoln said

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

he wasn’t saying ‘judge not lest ye be judged’, he was saying we suffered enough as a nation.  He was saying the war was over.  The healing was to begin.  And that God would help us find our way.

Distorting History to Protect Family

I can understand protecting family.  But when you’re protecting family against presumed misunderstandings of history, one shouldn’t distort history even further to protect your particular version of the facts.

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LESSONS LEARNED #18: “Man-given rights are only privileges allowed by the privileged elite.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 17th, 2010

GOD WAS HERE before the Marine Corps. So you can give your heart to Jesus, but your ass belongs to The Corps.

(From the movie Full Metal Jacket, 1987.)

In Roman Catholicism, this is the doctrine of the two swords.  The spiritual sword is the Church.  The temporal sword is the state.  Martin Luther had the doctrine of two kingdoms.  The religious and civil.  Going back to the source, Jesus Christ put it this way:

Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s 

The original separation of church and state.  Of course, back then, this was all intended to limit the state’s interference into spiritual matters.  Today it’s reversed.  It’s the state that is trying to hold the spiritual sword at bay.

THE FOUNDING FATHERS were gentlemen of the Enlightenment.  This makes them complex.  The Enlightenment was the Age of Reason.  And guess what we did during the Age of Reason?  We thought.  Rationally.  There was a philosophical revolution going on in Europe.  Simply put, things weren’t what they were because the Church said so.  There were other explanations.  Other laws.  And the Church could be wrong.

So, if the Founding Fathers had lived in the 20th century, they would have probably been fans of the rock group Rush.  And Ayn Rand.  Who influenced Rush.  Thomas Jefferson probably would have an iPod filled with their songs, including Tom Sawyer:

No his mind is not for rent
To any god or government

They questioned ALL authority.  And some may have been Deists.  But they were not atheists.  Even Jefferson.  He may not have believed in the Trinity or Christ’s divinity, but he still believed in God.  And he worshipped Jesus in his own way.  As the world’s greatest philosopher, with his Sermon on the Mount being the best philosophy man could ask for.

THE FOUNDING FATHERS were gentlemen of the Enlightenment.  Now the other part.  The thing that makes them complex.  The gentlemen part.  What did this mean in the 18th century?  Here are some adjectives that describe a gentleman.  Honorable.  Virtuous.  Reputable.  A gentleman strived to achieve moral excellence and righteousness.  He was ethical.  His life was a steadfast adherence to a strict moral code.  And when he served in public office, it was with selfless disinterest.  He would go out of his way to NOT gain personally from his time in public office.  Some did it better than others.  But all tried.  And when they fell short, they at least put on an appearance of disinterest.  It was that important.  And expected.

In a word, restraint.  This is what a gentleman practiced.  George Washington exercised this restraint to such a degree that many found him cold and aloof.  Few saw him smile.  Few saw public displays of emotion.  What they did see was an exemplary life of virtue, honor and moral excellence.  And they would forever look at him with awe and reverence.  We do to this day.

These students of the Enlightenment, then, espoused Judeo-Christian ethics.  They questioned all authority oppressing man, whether it be Church or state.  But they did not throw out the baby with the bath water.  They remained religious.  They just wouldn’t yield to it unconditionally.  Not to the Pope.  To a bishop.  Or any other tyranny of a minority, privileged elite.  Even after their Revolution.

And they would extend this restraint to the new nation they would found.  It would be a government that would govern with the consent of the people.  But it would not be mob-rule.  Not a true democracy.  It would be representative government.  The idea was to restrain the extreme passions of the people.  They would not exchange one tyranny for another.  There would be no tyranny of the majority.

FRANCE HAD PROBLEMS in the late 18th century.  The toll of war was bankrupting the country.  Their financing of the American Revolution didn’t help either.  Food was scarce and expensive.  Famine and malnutrition were commonplace.  Among the Third Estate (the poor).  The First Estate (the Church) was doing well.  The Second Estate (the nobility), too.  Unemployed and hungry, the poor looked at the clergy and the nobility who were not. 

The Church was largely exempt from paying taxes. And the Church was the largest landholder in France.  The Church levied a 10% tax (i.e., a tithe) on the general population.  A lot of that was collected in-kind (food crops).  So the Church had more land, money and food than the starving, suffering masses.  Who became an angry mob.  That demanded democracy.

The people stormed the Bastille.  Confiscated Church property.  Overthrew the monarchy.  And sent the king and queen, and many others, to the guillotine.  Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins unleashed the Reign of Terror.  They executed political enemies, including priests, and displayed their severed heads to the angry mob.  They de-Christianized France, destroying churches and religious symbols.  They tried to do away with the Church altogether and replace it with civic and community events and organizations.  It was a revolution against Church and state.  Against law and order.  Against restraint.  They would send Robespierre himself to the guillotine at the end of his terror.  Then another terror followed to avenge the previous terror. 

There’s more to the French Revolution.  But that should suffice for now. 

FRANCE WAS IN the epicenter of the Enlightenment.  Some of the great minds of the Enlightenment were French.  But France was older than America.  And more populated.  With centuries of wrongs to right.  It was anything but a blank canvas.  Egalitarianism soon devolved into angry mob rule.  Democracy.  They went from the tyranny of a minority to the tyranny of the majority without stopping in that fertile middle ground.  As was the case in America.  Why?

It’s that blank canvas thing.  We weren’t overthrowing our history to start anew.  We had little history.  Maybe a century or two of English colonists who literally started with raw earth.  There wasn’t a rich and privileged Church.  So there wasn’t a festering resentment against the Church.  No, the early colonists escaped religious oppression and came here for religious freedom.  Which they found.  And enjoyed.

The American Revolution was more restrained.  There were no bloody reprisals after the War.  There were isolated instances of mob violence during the War, but the ‘mob’ was never in control.  The ‘gentlemen’ were always in control.  Gentlemen steeped in Judeo-Christian ethics.  From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, the Founding Fathers built a new nation upon the Rule of Law.  And at its heart were the God-given rights enumerated in those documents.  That no man, or minority, or majority, or mob, could take away.

GOD WAS HERE before the United States.  So we can give our heart to Jesus.  But our ass belongs to the Rule of Law.

Or something like that.  We are a secular nation with a de-emphasis on the religious part.  Yes, legal punishment may dissuade you from doing wrong.  If you think the cops can catch you.  But it’s our morality that will keep us from doing wrong in the first place.  And the people at our founding were moral.  And Christian.  Or deists with Judeo-Christian ethics.

And to those who fear antidisestablishmentarianism, don’t.  I doubt the Catholics and the Protestants could agree on what an established church would be, let alone the myriad other religions peacefully coexisting with each other.  No, more religion would not result in an established church.  It may, though, result in government leaders who fear God and, maybe, they would be better leaders for it.  It sure beats us living in fear of them.

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