Saturday, May 07, 2005

A religious dot...

Hope this missive finds you all living well despite the times. I really believe the Buddhists have something in their teaching on emptiness. It helps put things in perspective.

Anyway, another dot. How about Pat Robertson? You know, the former presidential candidate, founder of the Christian Broadcasting network, and current all around shill for the GOP? He's a dot you ask? Yes, though I think he is a token dot. I'll explain why.

First, Robertson is a mouthpiece of the Religious Rite. He was the one who declared in January 2004 that Bush would win in a blowout that November. He's also the one that went on Fox news on March 31 of this year, and made some rather incorrect statements. Then recently, he decided that judges in this country were worse than Nazis. So let's dissect some of these events and statements, shall we?

First, the "blowout." Robertson made this comment on the 700 Club, a show on his Christian Broadcasting network that he hosted for years. He claimed he had been in prayer for several days in the end of 2003, and he believed the Lord had spoken to him that Bush would win in a blowout, and that no matter what mistakes Bush made, or what Bush did good or bad, he would always be picked up by God because Bush is a man of prayer. So let's examine this.

Certainly there was blowout is respect to certain voter groups, and in some states. Wyoming, a rural state, was a 40% blowout for Bush. Texas was another one. So was Kansas. The urban areas were the support for Kerry. I would be interested in knowing what percentage of the rural voters are family farmers . What percentage of the land in these three states is farmed by conglomerates? And how those family farmers now feel about Bush after his recent budget slashed subsidies for the small farmers. Remember, the big ones are corporations who get tax breaks. In contrast, Florida was a blowout of a whole 5%. Some of the other southern states ranged in the 9% area. When all was said and done, Bush's "blowout" amounted to a total of 3%. In football, that's be a 21 to 20 score, which is hardly considered a blowout. Considering that in Bush's first presidential election, he didn't win popular vote at all, his record hardly constitutes a blowout. So it raises the question of how well Mr. Robertson hears God, or whether or not what Robertson is hearing is "God." Both have serious consequences, and since what he told us he was told from the Big Guy didn't happen, it then opens up the possibility that "God" was wrong! On the basic level though, it seriously undermines the credibility of Pat Robertson, and one would then wonder how it is that Christians ignore these realities.

On to the next example. On march 31 Robertson appeared on a FOX news show. I want you to notice how FOX overlooked this announcement by Robertson of a blowout, and continue to broadcast Robertson's shilling. And on the 31st, it was quite the shilling. The context of the times was when Terri Schiavo was such a media maiden, though in a persistent vegetative state. The crux was the husband wanted to disconnect her from all life support because he claimed that she stated she did not want to live that way. Essentially, that's their business. Right wingers don't think so. And the case over the years had made it's way through numerous courts that refused to get involved. They recognized it was a family matter, and nothing that state legislatures or the courts should be involved in. The Supreme Court, with judge Greer finally heard it, and he made the final statements. Appearing before Judge Greer was a "self-promoting" Dr. Hammesfahr. This man claimed to be a Nobel nominate. He did however offer no proof from anywhere that this was true. So, back to Robertson. On said FOX show, Robertson parades out who, but Dr. Himmelfarb? Not once, but twice. I can overlook once, but to get the name wrong twice?! Where are the fact checkers for these supposed news people? Then Mr. Robertson goes on to exclaim that Himmelfarb won the Nobel Prize! Whoa Pat! Not true! Completely wrong! But was he corrected? No! More later....

So again we have to question this guy's credibility as someone who claims to tell the truth. He not only grossly distorts it, he can't even get the name right! As for this "doctor", who on other conservative jingoist radio shows was hailed a s a Nobel "nominate", let's look at this supposed nomination. For one thing, it was Congressman Bilirakis from Florida that Nominated Hammesfahr. Ooops! If you cruise over to you'd discover a few things. First, politicians can't nominate for the Nobel prize in medicine. There are only about 3000 people who can world wide. Second, the Nobel Foundation keeps these nominations a secret for 50 years. And yet the con jingos are trumpeting this all over the media. Or were, being that Hammesfahr is no longer pertinent to their issue drive ideology. So the credibility of all those echo heads on radio and TV is now easy to doubt. How could so many so-called journalists get these facts wrong? Especially a Christian like Robertson? Ah, and the caboose is yet to come....

On May 1, Robertson appeared on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. George was referring to Robertson's latest book, in which Robertson claims that the "out of control" judiciary was worse than the Nazis and Japanese of WW2, the Civil War, and al Qaeda. It is Robertson's opinion that the erosion of the consensus that has held America together is worse "than a few bearded terrorist that fly into buildings." Robertson went on to say that the recent tsunami in Asia was a result of the laws of nature, and God wouldn't reverse those, but that God said to him that He was removing judges from the judiciary. I wonder if that's blowout style. Oh, and that Robertson was worried about a tyranny of the oligarchy. Well, where does one start?

Let's start with this supposed consensus. What Robertson is referring to is the belief that America is a Christian nation. Or at least was meant to be one, and their invoking of the founding fathers is meant to imply that. However, the founding fathers, like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, were not at all like the fundamentalists like Robertson, Falwell, Dobson, Frist, and Scarborough. Their beliefs were what was called Deism. Which partly explains the lack of references to any form of god in the founding documents, save for the two references in the Declaration of Independence. Even there it is a reference to the "laws of nature" and "of Nature's God," and an equally "Creator." That's really rich and open phraseology. Not man's god. Nature's god. How many religions do you suppose have a creation/creator story? Most indigenous tribes do. In America that would involve at least several dozen potentially different stories and creators. Just what did they mean? Well, here's where the Religious Jingos (ReJings?) like to refer to, as Robertson did in the interview with Stephanopoulos, the "principles" of the Declaration of Independence, and the "principles that underlie" the Constitution. Robertson was saying that judges who believe like that should be in the judiciary. Later he contradicted his own book. His book states that he believes Christians are better qualified to serve as judges that Hindus or Muslims. When Stephanopoulos questioned him about that, he said he wouldn't make such a sweeping statement. Oh? Note where it starts though. Not the words or statements of the founding documents, but the very inferred and gray area "principles" of or those "underlying" the founding documents. In other words, they want the freedom to interpret the lives and writings of the founding fathers in their own way. To hell with what they directly said. One only needs to study the history of the Bill of Rights to see that the separation of church and state issue was one in which Jefferson and Madison were adamant. Keep them apart! This is the consensus that hold this country together. So let's step forward a bit in time. Lets look at the Barbary Treaty, specifically the treaty of Peace and Friendship of November 4 1796. In particular, Article 11. "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion," - Whoa! Hit the brakes! What was that?!

Let's see. The declaration was signed in 1776? And the Barbary Treaty is in 1796. A whole 30 years. Signed by President Adams after being ratified by the Congress, with this language,...Not founded in any sense on the Christian religion...." I suppose the alternative to that is a complete lie, and that the US was capitulating to the Moors. Uh huh. Right. That's reasonable. What happened in 30 years to produce that statement? Or, should we ask, what didn't happen in 30 years, or at all, to produce that statement signed by the President and ratified by Congress. I suppose one could theorize a conspiracy against the Christians of the land. Sounds like a good martyr complex fabrication. Something Robertson would definitely claim, as he is today anyway. Or can we just take it at face value as true? That this document was accurate. That the US government, as laid out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights was in no way founded on the Christian religion. Where do these guys come up with this stuff? Well, that's another dot.

For now we'll finish up with Mr. Robertson's comments. I suppose we don't need to spend too much time wondering how Robertson reconciles a God that allows the laws of nature to kill hundreds of thousands without lifting a finger, but Himself is involved in removing judges from the American judiciary. Remember, this is the same god that told Robertson that Bush would win in a blowout, a statement that Stephanopoulos brought up and Robertson altered. Altering the words of his God. Seems like a slippery slope to me. At what point do we know what words are Robertsons, and which ones are his God's? Are they literal? Apparently a blowout in an election is the same as victory after victory in legislative matters. Sure. I see the connection....(Call the guys with the straight jacket)... What it boils down to is that the religious jingos practice the same spin on language that the political jingos do. There are no standards of definition, and no accountability. Pretty strange practices for a group that supposedly has the truth, and has a God of judgment.

And Robertson is worried about a tyranny of the oligarchy. I wonder if he knows what an oligarchy is. What is a main conservative complaint about liberal government? That's it too big! Too many bureaucracies! So how can that be an oligarchy?! However, this current administration is really narrowing the field in terms of ideology, and if you look at the current cast of characters, there is one over-riding connection: their involvement in the Project for a New American century - the PNAC. A select group if ever there was one. Which is far closer to oligarchic than anything liberals have come up. And giving family and friends government jobs is a two party practice from the beginning. So it seems that Robertson is a bit drafty in his thinking, unless he's afraid the Kennedy's will take over America. Which still means his thinking is drafty, but hell, hasn't that become obvious by now?

So just what is the PNAC? Stay tuned!


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