Evangelicals and White Supremacy

There is still today a Southern Baptist Church. More than a century and a half after the Civil War, decades after the Methodists and Presbyterians reunited with their Yankee neighbors, America’s largest Protestant denomination remains defined, right down to the name over the door, by an 1845 split over slavery.

Southern states have never supported multi-party politics. From their founding, their white majorities have channeled virtually all “legitimate” political expression through a single, racially-aligned party. Over the past fifty years as the overt defense of white supremacy has become politically problematic, maintaining that monolithic political control has been a greater challenge. Religion has played a critical role in allowing white communities in the South to continue to wage a “culture war” that was lost under a different banner.

In 1956 there may have been no more influential figure in the Southern Baptist Convention than W.A. Criswell, the pastor of the enormous First Baptist Church in Dallas. The Supreme Court had recently struck down racial segregation in schools in the Brown v. Board of Education case. A conflict was building between the Eisenhower Administration and the Governor of Arkansas over a plan to desegregate Little Rock’s public schools. Dr. Martin Luther King was organizing bus boycotts in Montgomery. It was not certain where Baptist congregations would line up on the emerging movement for racial justice. Criswell took the opportunity to clarify the matter.

At a convention in South Carolina Criswell turned his popular fire and brimstone style on the “blasphemous and unbiblical” agitators who threatened the Southern way of life. Southern Baptists were not alone in defending segregation, at least not in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement. What made the Baptists unique in their long, stubborn defense of white supremacy was the relative independence from any centralized authority and the absence of any accountability to congregations and officials outside the South.

Baptists felt no such pressure and the independence of their congregations left them functioning very much like the entrepreneurial “evangelical” churches that dotted the southern landscape. These unaffiliated institutions, relics of the days when settlement, civilization, and accountability were very limited in the South, were the main competitors to the Baptists for attendance and money.

Instead of feeling pressure from Northern coreligionists concerned about the violence of Jim Crow, Baptist ministers and congregations mostly felt squeezed by competition from ever more radical institutions that popped up like hot dog stands whenever someone felt the “spirit” move them. Southern Baptists had nothing to gain and everything to lose from taking a courageous stand for justice. With very few exceptions, they didn’t. Those few congregations that did, like University Baptist Church in Austin, faced enormous difficulty and wielded no influence in the wider denomination, barely clinging to their place in the communion.

Criswell’s 1956 speech in South Carolina contained all the usual racist invective, but there is an element of his argument that was eerily prescient. He described an approach to preserving white supremacy which would outlast Jim Crow. In language that managed to avoid explicit racism, he built the primary political weapon of the culture wars.

Don’t force me by law, by statute, by Supreme Court decision…to cross over in those intimate things where I don’t want to go. Let me build my life. Let me have my church. Let me have my school. Let me have my friends. Let me have my home. Let me have my family. And what you give to me, give to every man in America and keep it like our glorious forefathers made – a land of the free and the home of the brave.

Long after the battle over whites’ only bathrooms had been lost, Houston’s evangelical community can continue the war over the “bathroom bill” using a rhetorical structure Criswell and others built. That same machinery is operating in other areas with explicit religious support.

That legacy continues to haunt the South. Criswell’s rhetorical framework, repeated over and over again by religious and political figures as the fight over segregation played out, retains a powerful pull. Separated now from its explicit racist origins it continues to provide leverage in the lingering fight to preserve what remains of white supremacy.

In August of 1980, Republican Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan visited Criswell’s church for a campaign rally. Reagan could not have anticipated what his opening to the newly rebranded Southern segregationists would mean for the country and the Republican Party. There were many Republican figures of different persuasions beginning to emerge in Texas. Reagan chose to honor Criswell. His short-sighted choice, like others made by national Republican figures, would influence the balance of power in a South struggling to determine what would come after segregation.

Texas’ new Republican Lt. Governor is a Southern Baptist talk radio host named Dan Patrick. He is also the state’s most enthusiastic proponent of privatized public schools. Patrick describes this idea as a move toward innovation, a means of liberating the education system to embrace new methods and technologies. Patrick’s innovation is actually very old, first introduced by a fellow Southern Baptist in 1953.

Patrick’s tuition voucher ideas were passed into law in 1954 under pressure from Georgia’s segregationist Governor Herman Talmadge. The purpose of the plan was to ensure that segregation could survive even if the Federal Government intervened. Georgia passed a constitutional amendment that gave the legislature the right to privatize the public school system entirely, replacing it with private, per-student vouchers to attend any institution they chose. The law remained on the books in Georgia until the new Constitution was ratified in 1982.

You can be confident that Patrick will never utter the word “segregation” in the fight to implement Talmadge’s Jim Crow Era plans in modern Texas. Thanks to Rev. Criswell and countless others who learned to cloak their arguments in constitutional and religious terms, he doesn’t have to. As the White Citizens Councils and other institutions of segregation-era political power in the South lost their official legitimacy, religious institutions were ready to pick up the slack.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Criswell’s rhetoric, adopted so broadly and consistently by Baptists and other evangelicals, helped build a new refuge for Dixiecrats. Deprived of the language used for more than a century to keep whites aligned under single party rule, religious institutions gave those frustrated Dixiecrats a bridge to somewhere, a place to go to be reunited under a new, old banner. Baptists and evangelicals gave white southerners their key to a new fortress in a new party. Evangelical religion has become the key to maintaining single party rule in the South after segregation.

Their rising power forced a rebranding of some issues and shifted the political emphasis on some others. On the whole, however, the Dixiecrat agenda has survived with its core intact. Today it is less explicitly racist and more explicitly theocratic, but the fundamental approach to government that evolved under slavery and Jim Crow continues under a banner of “religious freedom.” When Southern Baptist Reverend and Republican Presidential contender Mike Huckabee criticizes Beyonce’s assault on “holiness” it isn’t hard to hear what he’s really talking about.

In 1965, after Johnson’s landmark Civil Rights Act was passed, the Southern Baptists formally abandoned the fight against segregation with a passive statement urging members to obey the law. In 1968 they endorsed desegregation. That same year the Southern Baptists elected Criswell as their leader.

Southern Baptists, in a remarkable break with the past, renounced and apologized for their role in defending slavery…in 1995. The denomination issued an explicit endorsement of the Civil Rights Acts…in 2014. Southern religious fundamentalists, not just the Baptists, have held tightly to every element of white supremacy so long as it retained the slightest patina of credibility, only letting go when those positions became so utterly poisonous as to no longer serve their purposes.

As long as Southern white majorities can be frightened or cajoled into racial solidarity, those states will continue to be dominated by the same monolithic single-party politics that have prevailed from their founding. Decades ago it was blacks and Communists. Recently it was homosexuals. For a while to come it may be Muslims or atheists. Some fearsome alien has always been called on to separate Southern voters from accountable representation. There is no end in sight.

History is a powerful tide, especially when it runs unseen and unacknowledged. Many difficult years lie ahead before the Southern states join the union in a more authentic manner. In the meantime, the influence of the Dixiecrats will continue to drag the Republican Party and interfere with national efforts to embrace the 21st century.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Civil Rights, Election 2016, Neo-Confederate, Religious Right, Republican Party, Tea Party, Texas
250 comments on “Evangelicals and White Supremacy
  1. […] groups, making them a UNChristian political cult. This attitude of yours confirms that. Evangelicals and White Supremacy | GOPLifer […]

  2. […] isn’t a dispute about religious freedom. This is a dispute about cultural supremacy. That’s why the last, most bitter holdouts against gay marriage are the same institutions, […]

  3. […] South had lined up fairly consistently in favor of Civil Rights, Southern evangelicals, especially the powerful Southern Baptist congregations, had been solid defenders of segregation. Within a decade after their decisive failure to protect […]

  4. Turtles Run says:

    Completely on topic

    The President at the National Prayer breakfast spoke of Christianity and he had the audacity to speak the truth about the role of religion in violence through out history. He mentioned the role Christianity played in justifying Jim Crow and slavery in this country.

    Of course the usual suspects are outraged that the President pointed out the truth.

    “Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called Obama’s comments about Christianity “an unfortunate attempt at a wrongheaded moral comparison.”

    What we need more is a “moral framework from the administration and a clear strategy for defeating ISIS,” he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obamas-speech-at-prayer-breakfast-called-offensive-to-christians/2015/02/05/6a15a240-ad50-11e4-ad71-7b9eba0f87d6_story.html

    • way2gosassy says:

      Not really surprised are you?

      • Turtles Run says:

        I found this on a Fark.com post

        Is Segregation Scriptural?
        Address given over radio station WMUU, Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina, April 17, 1960

        “There is an effort today to disturb the established order [segregation]. Wait a minute. Listen, I am talking straight to you. White folks and colored folks, you listen to me. You cannot run over God’s plan and God’s established order without having trouble. God never meant to have one race. It was not His purpose at all. God has a purpose for each race. . . .
        I want you folks to listen – you white and you colored folks. Do not let these Satanic propagandists fool you. This agitation is not of God. It is of the devil. Do not let people slander Almighty God.

        Yes, Paul said, “God… hath made of one blood all nations of men…” All men, to whatever race they may belong, have immortal souls; but all men have mortal bodies, and God fixes the boundaries of the races of the world. Let me repeat that it is no accident that most Chinese live in China. It is not an accident that most Japanese live in Japan; and the Africans should have been left in Africa, and the Gospel should have been taken to them as God commanded His people to do.

        Wherever we have the races mixed up in large numbers, we have trouble. They have trouble in New York. They have trouble in San Francisco. They have had trouble all over California. . . .

        Let me tell you something. When it comes to the quality of races, all these races have quality. They have good qualities and bad qualities.

        If we would just listen to the Word of God and not try to overthrow God’s established order, we would not have any trouble. God never meant for American to be a melting pot to rub out the line between the nations. That was not God’s purpose for this nation. When someone goes to overthrowing His established order and goes around preaching pious sermons about it, that makes me sick – for a man to stand up and preach pious sermons in this country and talk about rubbing out the line between the races – I say it makes me sick. I have had the sweetest fellowship with colored Christians, with yellow Christians, with red Christians, with all sorts of Christians – the sweetest fellowship anybody has ever had, we have had. Christians have always had it. We have never had any trouble about that.
        The trouble today is a Satanic agitation striking back at God’s established order. That is what is making trouble for us.

        There has never been a time, especially in the last ten years, when the white people in the South were so eager to help the colored people build their schools and see that they get what they ought to have. All this agitation going on is not headed up by real, Bible-believing, Christian people.

        These religious liberals are the worst infidels in many ways in the country; and some of them are filling pulpits down South. They do not believe the Bible any longer; so it does not do any good to quote it to them. They have gone over to modernism, and they are leading the white people astray at the same time; and they are leading colored Christians astray. But every good, substantial, Bible-believing, intelligent orthodox Christian can read what the Word of God and know that what is happening in the South now is not of God.

        God gave every race something. He gave the Africans something. He gave the Chinese something that he did not give the Japanese. He gave races certain things. He chose the Jews. They are the most wonderful people who ever lived in the world. God chose them; and God segregated them, not because they were inferior but because He had a purpose for that race. . . .

        Yes, God chose the Jews. If you are against segregation and against racial separation, then you are against God Almighty because He made racial separation in order to preserve the race through whom He could send the Messiah and through whom He could send the Bible. God is the author of segregation. God is the author of Jewish separation and Japanese separation. God made of one blood all nations, but He also drew the boundary lines between races.”

        http://faithandheritage.com/2013/08/is-segregation-scriptural/

      • 1mime says:

        After reading the 1960s sermon on the purpose of the different races, I finally understand: segregation = established order. And, that is God’s plan. Don’t mess with it!

        Wow. Good research. Turtle.

      • flypusher says:

        And of course the purpose of the white race is to rule over all the others, right?

    • 1mime says:

      Well, we know “whose” moral framework Mr. Moore had in mind, don’t we! And, interesting that Mr. Moore is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church….Good for the President for speaking the truth. Glad he’s getting his “mojo” back…bout time.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Turtles- Do you think Obama would have mentioned violence by Christianity were it into for the current situation with ISIS?

      • fiftyohm says:

        ” not for” – not “into”. Autocorrect, I don’t need. I’d rather make my errors all by myself!

      • goplifer says:

        Of course not. We have a habit of not overreacting to violence by white Christians. We have a nasty habit of going to immediately to 11 over violence committed by Muslims.

        And incidentally, we also have a habit of yawning over similar violence when it happens in Africa. It’s a little strange actually.

        White Christian whacko shoots cops in Nevada or Pennsylvania – yawn.

        Muslim extremists kill some people – bomb the Middle East to glass

        African groups commit [fill in the savage outrage] – yawn.

        Not sure I can account for this pattern.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Look at the reaction of some in the GOP when Clinton wanted to intervene in Bosnia.

        “Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”
        -Governor George W Bush (R-TX)

        “[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation’s armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy.”
        —Sen Rick Santorum (R-PA)

        I do not remember these concerns for an exit strategy and costs when it came to invading Muslim countries a few years latter. .

      • 1mime says:

        Turtle – and neither W nor Santorum were much concerned about cost…..which is measured in far more than dollars.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Right. So the president was comparing present-day Christianity to ISIS – or at the very least, suggesting a parallel. Chris suggests some Christian nutball shooting a cop is somehow like Boko Haram. Others here, (now gone), compare the pro-choice movement to mass murderers.

        Humans look for patterns. It’s a survival strategy embedded in our brains. It’s often useful, but in many cases it’s not. In the cases above, I can imagine no way it’s the former.

        Oh – and measles is like Ebola. Well, it is in the following ways: It’s a virus. It can be spread by stupid, irresponsible behavior. It can kill people. But: There is no vaccine for Ebola. Ebola’s mortality is many thousands of times higher. So yeah – they’re the same, but different. Let’s act on that fact.

    • vikinghou says:

      While I agree with much of what the President had to say, I’m not sure this was the appropriate venue for such remarks. As I’ve understood it, the National Prayer Breakfast is an occasion for fostering some unity and fellowship among people of faith. I’m afraid Obama’s remarks had the opposite effect.

  5. objv says:

    Harry S. Truman – Southern Baptist
    Martin Luther King – Baptist
    Jimmy Carter – former Southern Baptist – still teaching Sunday School at a Baptist church
    Bill Clinton – Southern Baptist
    Al Gore – Missionary Baptist
    Jesse Jackson – Baptist

    Those crazy Baptist, racist, white supremacist, nut-jobs! They are ruining our country!

    • Crogged says:

      Tis true.

      Jimmy Carter, deranged liberal Baptist deacon, fortunately succeeded by the blessed, he saw a church once, twice married, Republican Ronald Reagan ……

      • objv says:

        Crogged, I love you, brother. Can I have a “Hallelujah”?

        Yes, that is terrible, but you’ve got to cut Reagan some slack since he was only a Presbyterian and not up to the high moral standards of William Jefferson Clinton.

      • Crogged says:

        I prefer a Halle Berry……but I do like a good Slick Willie joke.

      • Anse says:

        I’m still amazed that the fact that Reagan’s wife (and possibly Reagan himself) consulted a personal astrologer does not come up more often in discussions about his legacy on faith issues.

    • Anse says:

      It should be noted that slavers were careful to convert their chattel to the faith, and reinforce Paul’s edict that “slaves obey their masters.” So convert they did. But while white Baptists demanded that black churches be overseen by white ministers, after the Civil War, black Baptists separated into their own sect. They were not Southern Baptists. Neither are Baptists in the “National” sect.

      The Baptists have a pretty interesting history. They were key players in the formation and ratification of the First Amendment, surely our most sacred of the Bill of Rights. It’s too bad those of the South chose to go the route they did. But then both sides of the Civil War were certain their respective causes were ordained and supported by God, and both sides had Biblical justifications for their beliefs on the subject of slavery.

    • 1mime says:

      Objv – some, yes, all, no. But I continue to posit: look at where the majority of these wingnuts are coming from. They feel empowered to do so and they are using pulpits, legislatures, and other public platforms to preach their beliefs. I think this is a separation of church and state and it is a dangerous trend.

    • goplifer says:

      First, you’re latching onto an apples-oranges problem in a way that’s very common in a discussion about the characteristics of an institution. There is the institution, then there are the individuals who are associated with that institution. Two things which are not the same.

      One important point in that direction – an institution is not the sum of its members. An institution will influence its members, and to a certain varying extent the reverse is also true, but an institution has a life and character of its own.

      Second, regarding the individuals on that list. None of the African Americans were Southern Baptists. They would have been prohibited from being Southern Baptists until fairly recently. Frankly, trying to place King and Jackson in that list is a little galling.

      Carter, Gore, Truman and Clinton all left the Southern Baptist Church over the issues called out in this piece. Truman walked out in ’51 over the church’s hysterically bigoted language in the campaign to stop him from sending an Ambassador to the Vatican.

      That leaves a list of 0 Southern Baptists.

      The Southern Baptist Church, as an institution, was born out of a defense of slavery and white supremacy. It has tried over the past twenty years to move past that legacy without doing the hard work of honestly confronting it.

      So far it has failed. As a consequence, almost everything it attempts to do as an institution is still framed by a fundamentally bigoted outlook that it just cannot shake off. As a further consequence, the cultures that have been most deeply influenced by that institution are still burdened by a similar set of problems that skew efforts to reach better outcomes.

      This subject isn’t going to die. It’s just going to fester until we produce a generation willing to lay it all out in the open and deal with it.

      • objv says:

        Lifer: Truman, Carter, and Clinton were all Southern Baptists while they were president. Gore was a Missionary Baptist. All the links I found stated that Truman was a Southern Baptist. He may have walked out of a service. (I was not able to find any link to that incident) Did Truman ever state that he would not go to another Southern Baptist Church because of that incident?

        The only president who formally split from any Southern Baptist affiliation was Jimmy Carter – and that was not until 2000 – long after his presidency. He still remains active in a baptist church. Al Gore and his wife didn’t make as big of a statement as Carter, but Al Gore still remains Baptist. His family was originally Southern Baptist but switched to a Missionary Baptist Church.

        Bill Clinton was chastised by the SBC but remains a Southern Baptist at least according to this source: .http://hollowverse.com/bill-clinton/

        Again, I think that you may be overemphasizing the importance of the SBC on church membership since most Baptist churches are independent and may have more than one affiliation. A SBC church may be the only choice for a Baptist in some southern towns. In the two SBC churches I attended in Texas, the SBC had little influence on the actual running of the church. The only real signs that the churches were SBC were collections taken for missionaries and Sunday School/Vacation Bible School materials.

        As far as MLK and Jackson are concerned, they may not be SBC, but they were/are Baptists.Baptist churches are usually much the same as far as theology and there is more of an overlap in communications and fellowship than you would first think. The last SBC church I attended had a Hispanic minister and although most of the congregation was white (we lived in Katy), there were many Hispanics, and a few blacks and Asians that attended. Any nationality or race would have felt welcome entering the door. Our pastor communicated and met with clergy of other denominations as well as other Baptist ministers on a regular basis.

  6. way2gosassy says:

    This why we can’t have nice things in the South or do good things for our neighbors……

    “I’ve never really heard a prayer like this before. At the start of the state Senate’s business today, a guest of Sen. Frank Nicely (R-Strawberry Plains), June Griffin, offered the following prayer, with her voice sometimes breaking as she beseeched the Maker:

    Almighty God of our fathers, I thank you for this privilege of speaking before this august body, thou who didst lead John Sevier, Alvin York, Brownlow and those great men in our history, I pray that your spirit would be in this chamber. And I want to especially speak about our great heritage of standing up for God and the bible. I thank you that you have preserved us to this hour.

    I pray for the people of Tennessee who have been so downtrodden by the wicked courts from on high that they have been subject to tyrannical judiciary. And I pray that you would save Tennessee from the edicts of Washington DC that would go against the plain wishes of the people of Tennessee, particularly pertaining to the 9th and 10th Amendment.

    I pray that you would sanctify this state, that it would be holy and would be a leader among the other states. That they would see that there is a God that lives, that you love the people of Tennessee. That you gave your life that we might be saved from our sins. I pray that you would forgive the many sins of carelessness or lethargy or desperation. The compromises.

    Oh lord save Tennessee for Jesus sake, and I pray that your will would be done that you would be our coverage, that we would not be forced into these edicts from Washington DC or any other quarter, but let the people know that our coverage is the same as with Moses and the children of Israel when they went through the wilderness with only the divine providence of almighty God.

    So I pray that everywhere there are meetings, and there is considerations and deliberations, that you would give these men and women who have been elected, give them the backbone and the remembrance of the Tennessee Declaration of Rights, Article 1, Section 2 — we are ordered to resist arbitrary power.

    And I pray that this Bill Ketron would know your healing hand, that you would be with him and show him his responsibility. And show him that you are Jehovah Rapha, I am the lord thy God that healeth thee. I pray that healing would come to our state. That you would show that you favor us, because we love thee. Our fathers loved thee. And so we ask all of these things through our great and merciful high priest, who prays for us night and day. Save us from all of the enemies of our holy liberties. In Jesus holy name, Amen.”

    So in the name of religion screw you if you are not white, wealthy and “conservative”.
    More of this disgusting woman’s beliefs can be found here.

    http://www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2015/02/03/state-senate-trots-out-wingnut-to-pray-against-insure-tennessee

    • Turtles Run says:

      She should be reminded of Matthew 6: 5-7

      5 ¶And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

      6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

      7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

      https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/6?lang=eng

      or better yet just call her a WITCH feel free to replace the W.

    • flypusher says:

      I really do have to wonder if the only way to peacefully deal with people who are so theocratic in their thinking is to allow themi to have seggregated enclaves. And I’m speaking as someone who doesn’t like the concept of segregation.

      • 1mime says:

        Fly, it used to be that people with strong religious views stayed within their families, communities and churches to practice their beliefs. Today, those with strong religious views are no longer content within their core group; rather, they want to impose their views on other people AND in our government operations. They really do want a theocracy. I respect beliefs of others until they try to impose them on me because I disagree with them.

        I also deeply believe in separation of church and state, so the concept of theocracy is NOT one I can accept. Even though I tend to agree with Big Willy and Objv that we have been painting with a broad brush here, look at the church affiliations represented by most of the wingnuts. They are typically not Muslim, Hindu, Presbyterian, Catholic – to name a few (although each of these religious institutions have their own issues). Predominantly, the radical messaging is coming from right wing fundamentalists.

        Frankly, I don’t care what church one belongs to or what God they pray to. I care what you do in the name of your faith. When your actions are hurtful, derogatory or belittling, or incite dangerous acts, you have crossed the line. And, BW, we are all imperfect but we should strive to better ourselves and not at the expense of others.

    • 1mime says:

      I guess June was trying to one-up the TX muslim hating legislator. The fact that people with these kinds of beliefs are being so public in their statements IN OFFICIAL capacities reinforces Lifer’s message that this has become a political movement – far outside the privacy of the sanctuary.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Mime I truly love this place I have moved to. The people here are warm, accepting, hard working and generous in all things. But I cannot for the life of me understand how a small community like this one can support 15 churches 10 of which are Baptist, 1 Methodist, 1 non-denominational 1 Catholic and 2 that don’t list their denomination but are only open for services every other Sunday. My cousin belongs to the Methodist church and as far as I can tell is the only church that has public outreach programs like food banks or supports Scouting groups. Even the less crazy Methodists have members that want to pick and choose to whom they will offer help.

        I do not ascribe to any particular faith nor am I a church goer. When people show up on my doorstep to offer me their version of the word of God I do my best to offer my hospitality and thank them for the invitation to visit their church. The question I have asked that pretty much ends the conversation is “What kind of Christian are you”? I have even asked if they believe that all people are equal and perfect in the eyes of God. ( some of those answers couldn’t be repeated in polite company).

        I guess because I grew up in a pretty secular family that taught us kids to treat people as you would want to be treated, to always be truthful ( tact and diplomacy aside) to never take what is not yours, to be kind to those less fortunate…..you get the drift. I have less patience for those who preach do what I say do not what you see me do.

      • 1mime says:

        Yup, the Golden Rule is still the best way to live. With so many churches in such a small community it is important to understand that religion is becoming not only part of the social fabric but will politicize local governance. Maybe this little community of yours will be different, but, I’d keep the car in good working order if I were you.

      • way2gosassy says:

        It has been decided that unless they come after us with tar and feathers or torches and pitchforks, we are here to stay. I plan on killin em with kindness and gentle persuasion to win em over to my librul self!

      • 1mime says:

        Good for you, Sassy! Maybe you can out-influence ’em! At some point in life, we all have to find a place where we can be happiest. I’m happy for you that you are there.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Well I have been visited by the Democratic party chair for this county and was warmly welcomed. I haven’t heard from the other side…..yet.

  7. BigWilly says:

    Does Christianity differ in practice from the teachings of the Bible? What does that tell you, what does that tell anybody?

    Religion, in general, seems to make sense at some level to me. From a practical standpoint it fails, or has failed, me utterly. I still read my Bible and “Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.” (First person, singular)

    The Bible literally informs me. It does not, however, inform me to conform to the “Southern Baptist” interpretation of the Bible. I have my own, unique, understanding of the Word. I’m grateful that we live in a nation with a secular government. If religious faction were to control it I suspect that I would somehow become illegal. Perhaps I would be a thought criminal.

    On the other hand, gauging from some of the commentary here, I’m already guilty of thought crime. I am a homophobe. I could possibly be a racist, and a sexist. Undoubtedly I’m also the beneficiary of white privilege, and therefore my efforts and struggle are not legitimate.

    Bodhicitta.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      BW…I love you man, but this,

      “Undoubtedly I’m also the beneficiary of white privilege, and therefore my efforts and struggle are not legitimate.”

      Is some first class whiny bullshit.

      • BigWilly says:

        It’s also true. That’s what’s so alienating about the tactic. Selective empathy is not truly empathetic.

      • Crogged says:

        Not really, BW is merely tweaking of a common logical error. Generally it is better to be of white privilege, but such privilege is no escape from the reality of life’s struggles. When moving from the general to the specific, be careful. If empathy was deserved, none would have it.

        But what a fulsome load of bilge in that ‘prayer’!, Perhaps for a moment, the ghost of a legislator from 1859 possessed the speaker and she needs an exorcism.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Oh yeah Crogged she definitely does! I have been reading up on state politics and I fear she has lots of company in that squirrel cage. I’m not sure what I think about Gov. Haslam yet, he does seem to want to do the right thing for the people here but he has absolutely no support.

    • Anse says:

      If you think “white privilege” means white people have it easy, you don’t understand the concept.

      I have a couple of Bibles at home, and I enjoy perusing them occasionally. I was more religious when I was young, and studied them more in-depth until my early 20’s.

      I can honestly say that I get a lot more out of reading Fitzgerald’s translations of Homer than I ever did reading the Bible. In terms of “transformative”, emotional engagement, the single most profound passage that I have ever read in any book is in The Odyssey. Odysseus has been stranded on the island of Ogygia for seven years, held captive by the demi-goddess Calypso. “Captive” is perhaps a strong word here. He has enjoyed her wine and her bed for all that time, waited on hand and foot by beautiful nymphs on an island paradise surrounded by crystalline waters. But he longs to go home to Ithaca, to his people and his wife, Penelope. And it’s starting to eat at him to such an extent that all he can do is lament his situation. Finally, the gods send word to Calypso that she must release him. So Calypso decides to offer Odysseus a choice. Stay with her and enjoy eternal life, and her romantic indulgences and her luxury; he will never grow old, he will never die, and he’ll never want for any pleasure. Or, leave the island and endure hardships he cannot fathom, and suffering that is beyond his comprehension. This is Odysseus’s reply:

      “If any god has marked me out again…my tough heart can undergo it. What hardship have I not long since endured at sea, in battle! Let the trial come.”

      I can’t read those words without shivering. They are powerful, and they are entirely human. Only a mortal can so those things; only a mortal can grasp what is at stake. Odysseus cannot accept Calypso’s offer, because that is not the life of a man. That is the life of a pet. The life of a god, in fact. That is not his life. His life is one of conquering horizons and of conquering himself and his limits.

      That is heavy stuff, man. Heavier than anything I’ve ever read in the Bible. Christians and other religious people want the wrong thing. It’s like that Talking Heads song: “Heaven is a place/Where nothing ever happens.”

  8. johngalt says:

    Whomever painted Bobby Jindal’s official gubernatorial portrait used some mighty cheap paint, since it seems to be fading fast.

  9. flypusher says:

    The batshit crazy one-up-manship is going too damn far:

    http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/7/71/340808/thom-thills-doesnt-problem-optional-hand-washing-restaurant-employees

    WTF NC? Mandatory hand washing is NOT the slippery slope to tryanny. But I’m really starting to think we are going to have to require candidates to pass a basic scientific literacy test soon, or this country will be FUBAR.

    • fiftyohm says:

      I wonder how many restaurants would remove the signs were there no requirements for their presence? My guess is none. How many food service employees wipe their runny noses without washing their hands? Many. Is it possible, even in principle, to enforce all personal hygiene practices with the force of law? Of course not.

      A quick review of the virtual pandemic of pathogen transmission by hospital workers, (a professional group trained and educated not only in transmission mechanisms, but in the critical nature of hygiene), illustrates, glaringly I think, the utter folly of expecting legal proscriptions to be effective with pretty much completely untrained minimum-wage workers.

      A law that would require the posting of a notice that employees *were not* required to wash their hands would, IMHO, have a far greater impact. (This was suggested in the linked piece.) Would you eat at such an establishment?

      • flypusher says:

        That’s why there’s surprise visits from the health inspector- flout the rules too many times at your own risk. (Feeling nostalgic for Marvin Zindler now)

        But of all the battles to fight, and all the serious issues to offer up opinions on, THIS is what the guy picks? Hand washing rules?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Well, I rather doubt health inspectors sit stealthily in the crapper waiting to nab errant bus boys. They check to see that the sign is posted.

        As far as this guy’s priorities are concerned, I’d agree. But I’ll *never* miss Marvin!

      • johngalt says:

        My experience is that most hospital workers are quite cavalier about hand washing. It’s something they know they should do, but they run into and out of rooms so often, it gets lost. A few years ago I had a boil on a leg that I knew was MRSA (because a family member had a similar one and had been diagnosed). A resident poked around at it bare handed until I asked him what the hell he was doing. After getting over the shock of a patient talking back to him that way, he did sheepishly admit that perhaps he should put some gloves on. Really? You think?

        The worst perpetrators are surgeons. They scrub and scrub before going into an OR, then come out and leave on their hats, booties, and sometimes their masks dangling from around their necks no matter where they go. I will someday lose it in a hospital cafeteria and chew out some young surgeon for being so concerned that everyone knows he’s a master of the universe that he is willing to contaminate a public space.

      • Turtles Run says:

        So the point was to eliminate regulations on restaurants but in reality it just replaced one regulation with another.

        Here is one inventive way a restaurant got around the C rating they received from the health department. It is amazing the lengths some dirty establishments will go to to cover up their funk.

        But hey the free market will magically make sure these places clean their act.

      • 1mime says:

        OK, 50, you just tied Tex for “the best”….I immediately visualized the scene where the inspectors hang out to catch the bus boys! Made me laugh. And, your idea of requiring restaurants to post a public sign alerting customers that their employees “were not” required to wash their hands….brilliant!

        My brother, a DEMlifer (sorry Chris), has always told me when Repubs come up with something outrageous (refuse to allow the debt ceiling to be raised, no exceptions for rape and incest, vote to repeal ACA, etc), Dems should roll over and give ’em what they ask for. He believes they count on Dems to counter and save them from themselves. Maybe he’s right. Problem is, Dems care about the average person more than they care about setting an example. A strength in values, a weakness because it makes them predictable.

        And, Turtle – where do you come up with all your razzle dazzle! How fun and on point (for some blog or another (-:

      • lomamonster says:

        “We reserve the right to deny service to hand washing snobs”…

      • way2gosassy says:

        I doubt seriously that a law to post these signs was anything more than to remind employees to wash their hands as opposed to believing that this was enforceable in any realistic way.

    • 1mime says:

      For the second time today, Un-fricking-believable!

    • 1mime says:

      Fly, are you talking about our bats&*t Congress? I can’t help myself. I’ve got to post this from The Hill regarding the difficulty Repubs are having in funding Homeland Security:…

      “Congress has little time to find a solution, as lawmakers are only expected to be in session for two more weeks in February, with a week off for President’s Day.”…

      That’s right, folks! Only America’s Congress declare a holiday for President’s Day and give themselves a week off (-: (-: (-: You think your boss would go for that?! ‘Course the upside is, they won’t be in session…..

    • Anse says:

      Here’s my question for Thom Thills: if it is government tyranny to force a restaurant employee to wash his hands, why is it not government tyranny to force a restaurant to post a sign saying they don’t require employees to wash their hands? That’s not a free market solution. A free market would just let things go until customers get sick.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      I’m the de facto health and safety person at my employer’s (small company, generally OSHA et al don’t apply…)

      Coincidentally, last night, in my role as the world’s oldest graduate student, I finished a review of recent research on what motivates workers to engage in safe and healthy practices.

      After a lot of sloshing around regarding motivation that comes from inside a person, worker responses to questionnaires indicated that workers are motivated to safe practices by exterior pressures, such as regulations from government agencies. Period.

      Sounds to me like we are a determinedly unsafe species and things could be a lot worse without pressure from outside the company. And perhaps things could be a lot germ-ier, too, without those signs.

    • johngalt says:

      In our enlightened age we sometimes forget that we tried an experiment in unfettered capitalism. We tried what happens when there are no health inspectors, when there are no state licensing boards, when there was no antitrust legislation. What we got was child labor, overflowing, disease-ridden tenements, adulterated food, and Dr. Johnson’s Cure-All Tonic with a pinch of arsenic. Some of you probably read “The Jungle” in high school; it’s publication in 1906 crowned a series of high profile scandals and contributed to the passage of the Food and Drug Act that year (the precursor to the FDA). Except that wasn’t strong enough and people kept dying as a result of tainted products produced by charlatans, so it was gradually strengthened. The same progressions barred child labor, regulated abusive monopolies, and reduced pollution (anyone remember a certain river catching fire?).

      You may think that posting a sign requiring cooks to wash their hands before preparing my food is a step too far, but we know what happens when we dismantle these regulatory systems entirely, and that is not a societal end in which anyone but the new robber barons would be happy.

      • 1mime says:

        Excellent, JG. It seems to me, that anti-government proponents only want government protection after there’s a problem, which is, of course, often too late. We see FEMA scrapping for funding until the east coast floods (suddenly Congress allocated more money for their budget), or a “Katrina” happens and local capability is overwhelmed, or a Texas legislator feels threatened by gun proponents in their office and everyone’s offices are re-fitted for safety (but not our schools, right!), or a weakened bridge falls in and people drown, or, there’s an epidemic and the person in the apartment next door dies (DAllas, TX). The list is long.

        If we continue to cripple government through inadequate funding, under-staffing and infinite requests for information (which mostly harass rather than inform), it won’t be there when we need it. It will be like the vaccination you decided you weren’t going to get, until you or your child got ill, really ill,. As Lisa Falkenberg points out this morning in her excellent column in the Houston Chronicle, most of those who opt out of vaccinations have never seen a measles epidemic or a case of polio. Iron lungs and severely crippled children are seldom seen now due to the polio vaccine.

        If you or your child has a legitimate medical reason to avoid vaccination, please do so. Everyone else should protect themselves and others or go live in some other country. I’m tired of this. It’s absurd and it’s dangerous and it plays directly to the mindset of those who see government as intrusive and over-reaching while they “cherry pick” those services they need or like.

    • 1mime says:

      Fly and Lifer, the “batsh$% crazy gang are gathering momentum in Republican ranks. And, lest we forget Lifer’s topic, the recent action by the Indiana legislature continues to illustrate just how “out there” the GOP is becoming particularly where religion is concerned.

      Indianapolis Star reports that the Indiana Senate just PASSED a Republican bill “to allow some state contractors to discriminate in hiring based on religion.”

      If the House passes it next, SB 127 would officially condone employment discrimination against Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, or any other religious group – and taxpayer dollars would support it.

      Here’s the legislative digest: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/127#digest-heading

      • dowripple says:

        Wow, how can they do that with the CRA?

      • 1mime says:

        I would hope that there is a constitutional scholar somewhere beaming in on this one, but the very fact that it was passed by the IN Senate is amazing and a “tell” as to how far the GOP thinks it can push their agenda.

        What’s next?

      • dowripple says:

        Oh I see, it has to do with religious companies dealing with the state. So a Catholic school could refuse a state contractor who happens to be gay (and in violation of Catholic-ness). That’s SOP for nutjobs.

        Reminds me of being invited to play at a golf club here in Houston that didn’t allow women. (Relax, I only went once and I didn’t know the *rules* until I got there). There was a trailer up at the front of the property that looked out of place. I asked my friend why it was there and he said “Oh, they’re going through their annual audit and one of the consultants happens to be female.” Better the expense of renting a trailer and having couriers run back and forth than to violate the holy sanctimony of the man cave!

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        But it is a pretty nice course Dow.

      • 1mime says:

        Interesting article Crogged. Actually, we have a good example of voluntary vaccination in the U.S., it’s called the “flu vaccine”. I must have a mean streak in me because when someone comes down with the flu and feels awful, I find it very difficult to feel pity for them. Think of all the people they’ve exposed. As for me, I vaccinate because it’s smart to do so for my health and responsible as a member of larger society. America is becoming so fixated on individual rights that our collective sense of responsibility is being lost. And, that’s bad.

  10. Bobo Amerigo says:

    And with a new study showing that 60 percent of Affordable Care Act beneficiaries receiving subsidies from the federal exchange are from the South and 60 percent of them non-Hispanic whites, House Republicans would be casting votes to eliminate a program that to a large extent benefits their own constituents.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2015/02/03/383353930/milestone-house-vote-would-take-health-care-away-from-millions

    new study: http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/2015/rwjf417633

    I blame all the moderate Republicans. It must be hell, standing up to leave the fold.

    • 1mime says:

      I’m afraid there are so few moderate Republicans left, it won’t even be noticed. You do know that the GOP right now is planning their exit strategy if SCOTUS rules against the ACA? They know there will be “damage” control and they are plotting how to spin things to the benefit of the Republican Party. Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the GOP Health Care Plan……………………………….

      • way2gosassy says:

        Watching the debate going on right now on CSPAN. Have not heard a single plan to replace yet. Mostly the same old crap about “market based” solutions and “trickle down healthcare”.

    • texan5142 says:

      Sorry to go so far off topic Chris, I just could not believe what I just read.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Actually, I think it is on-topic. The same people that fought civil rights for minorities also fight the feminist movement. This decision was based on the same age old arguments used to marginalized women. Too many church groups support what they consider the “traditional” role of women in the family structure, which is a coded way to say “barefoot and in the kitchen”.

      • way2gosassy says:

        I would love to see a lactating male breast feeding his offspring!

    • Anse says:

      This stuff blows my mind. It’s the 21st f*ing century for crissakes.

    • 1mime says:

      Un-fricking-believable!

    • 1mime says:

      THIS type of SCOTUS decision is indicative of exactly what Lifer has been warning us about. When the basis for denial of a woman’s right to pump her breasts at work is that” men lactate too”….Are you watching Objv? This is where this nation is headed.

      I can’t wait to see which justices voted for this abomination. I can’t wait for the headlines tomorrow. I can’t wait for the outrage of mothers and women.

      I can’t wait until men not only lactate, they carry a baby for 9 months and deliver it. Fair is fair, right?

    • objv says:

      Nationwide is on your side? Cancel your policies quick!

      Here’s some of the back story:

      “In an unanimous decision that upheld a lower-court ruling, the Eighth Circuit concluded that Nationwide didn’t force her to resign but instead “sought to accommodate [her] needs.”

      Although Nationwide incorrectly calculated Ames’s [Family & Medical Leave Act] leave, it made efforts to ameliorate the impact of its mistake. . . . Furthermore, even though [Nationwide department head Karla] Neel discouraged Ames from taking unpaid leave up to August, Neel gave Ames an extra week of maternity leave, which gave Ames more than thirty days to prepare for her return to work. Rather than intentionally rendering Ames’s work conditions intolerable, the record shows that Nationwide sought to accommodate Ames’s needs…

      The Eighth Circuit also noted that by not going back to the wellness room to see if it were open or alerting human resources about her predicament, Ms. Ames “failed to avail herself of the channels of communication provided by Nationwide to deal with her problem.”‘

      http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2014/03/17/appeals-court-rules-against-breastfeeding-employee-who-claimed-discrimination/

      Question for you Texan – do you ever get your news from anywhere besides Raw Story? Turtles, really? My church provided an area for women to nurse. The only one that ever told me that my place barefoot in the kitchen was bubba! 🙂

      Nationwide is on your side …. Rats, now I’ve got that song stuck in my head.

      • 1mime says:

        Please provide a link to the opinion, Objv. I am interested and I will read it and get back to you.

      • texan5142 says:

        I get my news from all over the place, Raw Story is the only one so far reporting on it.

        More information

        http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/getDocs.pl?case_num=12-3780

        Did you miss this part OV,

        “That supervisor went on to dictate a letter of resignation to Ames that day, effectively forcing her to resign.”

      • texan5142 says:

        I just posted the link 1mime.

      • texan5142 says:

        Sorry, I just posted a link to the 8th court rulling.

        OV,

        Do you believe this to be gender neutral? When was the last time a lactating man was told this?

        “The Court also found that the dismissive statement that Ames should “go home and be with (her) babies” was in fact gender neutral and not directed at Ames because she was a new mother.”

      • 1mime says:

        I read your WSJ link, but have not been able to pull up the actual opinion. I remain unconvinced that the cooperation of Nationwide was as great as they stated, but not having read the case I can’t be certain. But, really, 3 days for “permission to use the nursing area”? Are we still having to ask permission to go to the john these days? That might work when you’re in kindergarten, but surely adults can be more flexible. Nationwide may have won the lawsuit but I’ll bet they lose the battle.

        If this woman had been insured under the ACA, her breast-feeding rights would have been protected. Guess it didn’t apply in this case. http://www.dol.gov/whd/nursingmothers/

      • texan5142 says:

        Objv,

        My problem is not so much with Eighth Circuit , but with the reasoning of the Supreme .

      • johngalt says:

        It appears the court has decided that Nationwide has acted within the law because they made “reasonable accommodations” for this employee. Indeed, how unreasonable is the employee for not being willing to wait three measly days to express milk? Plus, she could have used a “wellness” room that was routinely used by other employees. Sure, most of them were sick and the room had no lock, but the company is not required to provide any of that. There was definitely no problem in telling her she had two weeks to do two months worth of work that she missed during her legally mandated leave: they didn’t want her to miss out on any of the fun! And badgering an emotionally distraught woman into resigning is really in her best interests anyway.

        So, you see, all nice and legal. Cruel and vindictive, but legal.

      • objv says:

        Texan and mime, I just finished reading one of the opinions. It seems like Ames was having problems primarily with a FEMALE supervisor. Nationwide had policies in place for breastfeeding mothers and even had a lactation room on premises. Ames had neglected to fill out paperwork to use the room. (I’m guessing that the room needed some kind of key to enter and one had to be issued.) While Ames’ supervisor’s attitude certainly could have been more understanding, Ames didn’t utilize company resources available to resolve the conflict. Not all new mothers decide to breastfeed, so it would not have been automatically assumed that she needed the lactation room.

        Neither a lower court, the 8th District Court or the Supreme Court thought that her case had merit.

        Altogether,I breastfed my kids for over four years, so I do sympathize with the desire to provide breast milk to a baby, but the situation with Ames and her supervisor quickly escalated when there were other options.

      • 1mime says:

        Obvj,
        It appears the room did not have a lock; I don’t care if the primary hurdle was a woman (I’ll bet you have run into some really BAD gals when you were nursing); a 3-day permission requirement to use a lactation area is absurd; the supervisor had hired a temp to do the woman’s work – evidently didn’t get it done (who was supervising her?) – and it was all dumped on this woman fresh back on the job with a very short deadline; and was there documentation that notified the employee about the 3-day request? Then, upon realizing she hadn’t filed the requisite lactation application, her milk started to come in and They still told her she would have to wait?! There are so many things wrong with this that I just can’t believe that Nationwide didn’t have the better legal counsel. Shame on Nationwide for letting things escalate to this point. It used to be that management and employees worked these things out quietly, directly and WITHOUT paperwork. It’s Bulls%&% plain and simple. Who wins in a case like this?

      • texan5142 says:

        objv says:
        February 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm

        Altogether,I breastfed my kids for over four years, so I do sympathize with the desire to provide breast milk to a baby, but the situation with Ames and her supervisor quickly escalated when there were other options.

        Not many options when one’s supervisor dictates your resignation for you.

        Seems she did not know, or forgot about the need to apply for permission to use the room. A decent human being would have let her use the room, or at least a decent supervisor would have found a suitable place for her to use for a short time. I would not want to work with assholes that could not give up a private office for a few minutes so she could take care of business.

      • 1mime says:

        Tex, you’re the best!

      • objv says:

        Texan, It seems that Hallberg was trying to expedite access to one of the (locked) lactation room for Ames and to provide a temporary solution – in a (unlocked) wellness room. We do not know all that was said between Neel and Ames, but we do know that Ames had been off in April due to pregnancy complications and was returning to work in July. I seriously doubt that Ames was supposed to do ALL the work she missed during that time since there was someone that had been put in her job temporarily.

        From: http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/14/03/123780P.pdf

        “The only way in which Ames attempted to alert Nationwide to the problem was by asking Neel twice about obtaining a lactation room and by approaching Hallberg about the same problem, all on the morning that Ames resigned. Moreover, when Ames approached Hallberg about the problem, Hallberg suggested to Ames a temporary solution. Although this solution may not have been immediately available or ideal, Ames had an obligation not to jump to the conclusion that the attempt would not work and that her only reasonable option was to resign. See Trierweiler v. WellsFargo Bank, 639 F.3d 456, 461 (8thCir. 2011) (“Part of an employee’s obligation to be reasonable is an obligation not to assume the worst, and not to jump to conclusions too fast.” (quotingSmith v. Goodyear Tire& Rubber Co.,-8-895 F.2d 467, 473 (8thCir. 1990))). Ames also failed to avail herself of the channels of communication provided by Nationwide to deal with her problem. See Coffman,141 F.3d at1247-48 (reversing a constructive-discharge judgment in part because the employee had an avenue of redress within the company and failed to use it) .Nationwide’s Compliance Statement, of which Ames was aware, provides: “If you have reason to believe that Nationwide is not in compliance with the law, contact your local HR professional, the Office of Ethics, or the Office of Associate Relations to report the circumstances immediately.” By not attempting to return to Hallberg’s office to determine the availability of a wellness room or to contact human resources,Ames acted unreasonably and failed to provide Nationwide with the necessary opportunity to remedy the problem she was experiencing. We thus conclude that Ames has not met her burden of demonstrating constructive discharge”

      • objv says:

        Mime, no he’s not!

    • goplifer says:

      The case is a hell of a lot more subtle than the rawstory link lets on. Essentially, the court found that Nationwide took reasonable measures to accommodate her and she was pretty unreasonable.

      The pdf of the decision is here: http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/14/03/123780P.pdf

      Summary from the American Bar Association: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/8th_circuit_nixes_suit_by_breastfeeding_mom_says_employer_conduct_wasnt_con

      And more detail from Bloomberg Law: http://www.bna.com/eighth-circuit-dismisses-bias-claims-of-worker-told-to-go-be-with-her-babies/

      Oh and, “chicken parm you taste to good…” Gonna be stuck in my head for hours.

      • johngalt says:

        I’m sorry, but writing out a resignation letter for a woman on her first day back from maternity leave because of a simple problem that her supervisors seemed aggressively unwilling to help her solve is not reasonable. Have you ever seen a woman pumping? If not, then trust me that an unlockable common room used by many employees is simply not an option. Nationwide may have toed the letter of the law, but those supervisors still behaved like schmucks.

      • objv says:

        Interesting links, Lifer.

        JG: As much as I want to sympathize with Ames, she had many options besides quitting her job. She came in to work saying it had been three hours since she had breastfed and needed to pump her breasts right away since her baby was on a 3 hour schedule.

        Most healthy newborns only need to nurse every four hours or so and usually less than that at night. Her baby was eight weeks old and even if the baby was a bit premature, pumping her breasts at three hour intervals was not necessary. In fact, it would not be recommended. Even at five hours after breastfeeding when she wrote her resignation letter, her breasts would not have been “painful” – only starting to feel full. I know that women vary, but I’ve known a lot of nursing mothers and none had to pump their breasts every three hours with a two month old!

        As far as finding a place to pump, the company nurse was trying to expedite getting her into a lactation room as soon as possible.. If I had been in Ames’ place, I would have used the wellness room when it became empty and stuck a paper saying “Do NOT Enter” on the door.

        And, I do agree that the wellness room would not have been ideal, but it’s part and parcel of the nursing gig to sometimes have to make due. I traveled overseas and throughout the country with a nursing baby. An airport is not exactly ideal either. I was just glad I didn’t have any wardrobe malfunctions!

        I had to pump for the first 12 days after my daughter was born because she was premature, so I do know what it’s like. I was starting to feel like Bessie the cow. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, I appreciate the further insight into the breastfeeding decision, but agree with JG that this matter should have and probably could have been resolved at the local business level had common sense and compassion been present. There may have been unreasonableness on both sides, but it certainly sounds like Ames supervisor wanted her GONE.

        This just doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

      • dowripple says:

        With her short tenure and the type of job it is, I would lean towards the employer in this case. Of course, knowing what was actually said at the time could make a difference. IMHO, only a portion of these lawsuits are valid. Full disclosure, I may have been sued before 🙂

      • johngalt says:

        Perhaps, objv, this is a place where (some) men have more sympathy for what new mothers are going through than other women do precisely because we don’t know what it’s like. Having watched my wife breastfeed two, and pump routinely because she went back to work within weeks, the pumping looked uncomfortable and awkward. It is certainly not something you would want someone you worked with walking in on you doing (something that actually did happen to my wife, who was pumping in her private office when a maintenance worker unlocked the door. And I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but many women are not exactly fully with it on their first day back at work after maternity leave. They’re guilty, if only subconsciously, about leaving the baby with someone else, sleep-deprived, out of a routine again, and frankly just a little post-partum crazy. I’ve dealt with this as a spouse, a family member, and as an employer. Just give them a couple of days to get back in the swing of things. Hey, we can’t find you a key to the nursing room? No sweat, here’s my office, I’ve got a few things to do anyway. Need to go home an hour early today? That’s OK, I’ll see you in the morning. It’s part and parcel of treating your employees like human beings.

        And, for the record, Ames did not write her resignation letter 5 hours in. It was dictated to her and presented for her to sign. This is apparently not a disputed point.

      • 1mime says:

        Eloquently stated, JG. You must be a great boss to work for and sounds like you clearly understand the problems women face upon returning to work following childbirth. Had it been you who handled Ms. Ames situation, I have no doubt it would have ended differently.

        Kudos to you for speaking up and being understanding.

      • johngalt says:

        You’ll have to ask those who work for me about whether I’m a good boss or not, 1mime. I’m quite sure the answer would not always be yes!

      • objv says:

        JG, I want to work for you! You are a good boss and your wife is a lucky woman.

        It is not offensive to say that women can be emotionally volatile after a pregnancy. Many women become severely depressed. You are also right in saying that women can sometimes be harder on other women.

        However, Ames did not quit after five hours, she left after 2-3 hours – still in the morning hours. She came in to work three hours after nursing and wanted to pump immediately. Two hours later, after not being able to access a lactation room, she wrote the letter of resignation dictated to her by Neel.

        I may be living in the last century, but to me “dictated” means that Ames wrote or typed the words as Neel spoke. To me, that shows that Ames still had the discretion to write what she wanted, but may have been confused as to the proper wording.

        There is no doubt that Neel could have been more compassionate, but Ames could have tried to work something out with Nationwide after the incident instead of suing at a later date. I have a feeling that the case would have been settled early on if Nationwide had thought that their case was airtight.

      • 1mime says:

        Objv – “Ames still had the discretion to write what she wants…” Really? Can you imagine this woman’s emotional state within her first 3 hours of work? Lets paint a picture here: The woman is sleep-deprived getting up at 3 hr intervalsH; her milk was coming in; she is told she will have to wait until a place is available….however long that might be….her desk is full of uncompleted work DESPITE the fact that supposedly a temp was hired to maintain her work load while she was on maternity leave; she was given a two week deadline to complete everything or face penalties; her supervisor is standing over her making condescending statements and dictating her recommended resignation letter? ….all of this bearing down on this woman and you don’t understand why she folded?!

        Suffice it to say- we agree to disagree on this subject. Put me solidly in JG’s camp with saying it didn’t have to be this way. Now, I’m done with this.

  11. flypusher says:

    Christie just went down a few notches in my book with that comment on “parental choice” and vaccinations. No. Unless there is a valid MEDICAL reason not to, getting vaccines should be one of those duties of citizenship, just like paying your share of taxes.

    From the CDC website:

    “Nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles before there was a vaccine, and hundreds died from it each year. Today, most doctors have never seen a case of measles.

    More than 15,000 Americans died from diphtheria in 1921, before there was a vaccine. Only one case of diphtheria has been reported to CDC since 2004.

    An epidemic of rubella (German measles) in 1964-65 infected 12½ million Americans, killed 2,000 babies, and caused 11,000 miscarriages. In 2012, 9 cases of rubella were reported to CDC.”

    I think some of us here are of the right age to have been endangered by that rubella outbreak.

    As for the Evangelical resistance to the concept of evolution, as I’ve said before, there’s a big ego puncture in play. If you read Genesis literally, some of the take home messages are that humans are special, the pinnacle of creation (as God stopped after humans), and the universe was made for humans. Huckabee endorsed that with his “nature serves mankind” comments that I criticized in a previous post. Evolution says, no, you are just one twig of many on the tree of life, you are not the ultimate goal of the process (evolution continued even after humans appeared), and your twig could end up in the Halls of Extinction too.

    Humans in general get upset when they are faced with things (no matter how well backed up by evidence) that challenge their cherished beliefs/ tell them something they don’t want to hear. You can find that at the core of any of the types of science denial going on. Even scientists have to watch themselves for such tendencies.

      • 1mime says:

        Tex – It’s the GOP lockstep dance we’re seeing. Forget common sense and shared responsibility. I believe you meant Rand Paul, however, and I watched his CNBC interview yesterday. He was hostile and unbelievably defensive on health issues that he knows better than to dismiss. You’d expect this of Sarah Palin, but when the leaders of the Republican Party who just happen to be Presidential “want-a-bes” make such irresponsible statements, it’s unforgivable. This is the same logic Creationists and Evolution deniers use in their arguments. How very sad.

      • texan5142 says:

        Yes it was Rand, sorry.

      • texan5142 says:

        Do not trust a man who created his own self certification.

        http://www.salon.com/2010/06/14/rand_2/

      • texan5142 says:

        Here is all you need to know about the good doctor Rand Paul,

        http://www.salon.com/2010/06/14/rand_2/

        According to an amusing story in today’s Louisville Courier-Journal, the Kentucky Republican Senate candidate bills himself as a “board-certified” physician even though he is not actually certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology — the only recognized body that certifies doctors in his specialty.

        Paul’s only certification was provided instead by something called the National Board of Ophthalmology, which is very convenient because he operates that organization himself.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Isn’t Paul supposed to be a doctor as well? How can any medical professional every excuse the non-vaccination of anyone.

        Let the Pander Games begin.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s the Rand Paul CNBC interview. First part is on vaccination “parents own children”, but as the interview goes on, Paul becomes visibly agitated and snarky with the show host.
        Unimaginable to see how a man of this temperament could function with dignity in a Presidential capacity. Must be the perm…….

        http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000351424#.

    • texan5142 says:

      Ron Paul said,

      “I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,”

      Did you get that, he has “heard” of these things. Next thing ya know he will be using the Fox “news” tag line “some would say”.

    • fiftyohm says:

      A guy of my acquaintance, a PhD from Rice in a highly technical discipline, doesn’t vaccinate his kids because of a religious belief. Y’know what? He’s a dumbass, douche, and stupid as sin. I don’t give a rat’s ass where his doctorate came from.

      • 1mime says:

        Why don’t you tell us what you really think, 50! (-:

        I agree, BTW!

      • flypusher says:

        I’d agree with that assessment 100%. I’ve come to that conclusion that the degree means that a person was exposed to knowledge and had the opportunity to learn something, but I should reserve judgment on whether any of that stuck until I see said person in action.

        Also, it’s not all that uncommon to be quite brilliant at one thing, but a complete doofus about something else. I’ve encountered some pretty smart engineers who totally buy into intelligent design.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Your right to swing your arms ends at my nose. Measles is airborne.

      • 1mime says:

        The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

        Albert Einstein

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, I’ll bet your Rice acquaintance would be the first person in line if a case of Ebola was found in one of his associates.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Actually, he’d likely write it off to bad karma…

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, 50, but he’d be just as dead.

    • johngalt says:

      One of the very first issues of the New England Journal of Medicine, in 1812, listed the causes of death for 942 unfortunate souls who departed Boston the previous year. 482 died of infectious diseases, including typhus, tuberculosis (“consumption”), whooping couch, diarrheal diseases, and respiratory infections. In other words, more than half the deaths were infectious. There were 49 stillbirths and 14 women died in childbirth. In contrast, only 26 people died of “old age.”

      The reduction in the toll in infectious diseases since then has been the biggest win in medical history. It was accomplished by understanding the etiology of infectious disease (which led to massive public investments in sanitation), vaccines, and antibiotics. That people are forgetting one arm of this triple success is a sign of very short memories indeed. Christie and Paul should be ashamed of themselves.

      • flypusher says:

        And now we have so much misuse of antibiotics, which is weakening another leg of that public health triad defense.

      • johngalt says:

        Too true. XDR tuberculosis, vancomycin resistance is starting to leap to Staph, resistance is emerging to the artemisinins that have been revolutionary against malaria, not to mention that we’re presently really had at treating viral infections. Far more work should be done on antibiotics, but there is very little profit to be had from this, so the pharma companies are not deeply involved. It used to be that academia just provided the ideas and targets hat pharma developed. More and more, the drugs are coming directly from academia and their biotech spin-offs, funded by the NIH and organizations like the Gates foundation.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        I remember a grade-school science class in which a nun explained how vaccination works. I thought it was just neat that we could learn that and figure out how to use it.

      • flypusher says:

        JG, have you ever read any of the stories by James Herrriot about his veterinary practice in rural England? One thing he describes quite vividly is the impact of antibiotics on his work. It was not much of an exaggeration to use the word “miraculous” when animals that would almost always die from one of the familiar old scourges instead made a quick recovery.

        One of humanity’s unfortunate traits is how we can start taking even miracles for granted.

      • johngalt says:

        Indeed, Bobo. The technical details of immunization are complex, but the basic concept is grade-school simple: by using harmless parts of pathogens, we teach our immune system to recognize them, thus protecting us when we see the real thing.

      • johngalt says:

        I haven’t read Herriott’s stories, but in the 1940s, penicillin was a miracle. There’s no other way to describe it. There’s a great story about a woman, Anne Miller, who was the first civilian recipient of penicillin (1942). She had been in Yale’s hospital for a month with a raging Staphylococcal infection. Her fever had been as high as 107, and had been above 103 for most of the month. Merck agreed to give her doctors a tiny amount of the penicillin they were still trying to figure out how to purify in sufficient quantities and, in an experiment that probably wouldn’t be approved today, gave it to her. Her temperature was normal the next morning, she was eventually discharged, and lived until the age of 90.

      • objv says:

        I loved all of Herriot’s books. Thanks for bringing back some memories of his stories, fly.

    • 1mime says:

      Fly, welcome back! Are you officially retired?

      Count me in as a “twig”.

      • flypusher says:

        Retired? No. I appear here at the intersection of time to post and inclination to comment. Been busy for the last week or so.

    • flypusher says:

      http://www.vox.com/2015/2/2/7965885/the-research-linking-autism-to-vaccines-is-even-more-terrible-than

      Damn. So it looks like it would be quicker and easier to list the ethics rules that Wakefield DIDN’T break. For example it looks like he managed not to sexually harass anyone during those studies, and that may be the only good thing you can say for him!!

      • 1mime says:

        Fly, we don’t know for sure that Wakefield didn’t sexually harass anyone during the studies – only that it wasn’t reported ….. or retracted…How many times has something like this happened resulting in gullible (and ignorant, I have to just say it) people believing it without any hesitancy. THINK, PEOPLE!

  12. DivineMissM says:

    As a lifelong Southern Baptist, a graduate of a Baptist university and former Baptist missionary, I feel you are stereotyping us just a tad. I even love telling a good corny Baptist joke (like why wasn’t Jesus a Baptist? Because the greatest commandment isn’t don’t do something–it’s do something! Love God with all your heart.) But please don’t assume we are all segregated. My church is very multiracial; I’m actually in the minority in my Sunday School class and I love it.

    Oh, and BTW… those endorsements by the national convention?They really have nothing to do with the actual churches. As another poster mentioned, every church is self-governing. The convention can dictate whatever they want, but individual churches are generally under no obligation to follow it–we don’t really like anyone governing us (it’s part of our belief in religious liberty).
    Here’s the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.Sums it up pretty succinctly:
    http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.asp

    • goplifer says:

      I’m wondering if this is a fake comment because you left off the mandatory “bless your little heart.”

      The rest of it is absolutely authentic, like driving right past all the history in the article and waving it away without the slightest concern.

      • objv says:

        Lifer, Would it be safe to assume you are racist because your ancestors lived in the South and may have owned slaves or fought in the Civil War? How about some of the other contributors here? Should they automatically be considered racist because they are white southern males? Calling current churchgoers white supremacists because of events that happened in the past is unfair.It would be like calling you a white supremacist because of atrocities that your ancestors may have committed.

        I’m not trying to deny that slavery was horrible and wrong. Slavery was a stain on our nation’s history. Nor am I trying to say that racism doesn’t still exist. What I am trying to get across is that it is unfair to stereotype 16 million people as being white supremacists based on past history.

        I’d urge you to visit some Baptist churches before you pass judgement.My husband and I have visited many different kinds of churches because we have moved so often. We haven’t always chosen to belong to Baptist churches. Affiliation with the SBC doesn’t even register on our radar screen. We start by looking at the church’s statement of faith, we listen to a few of the pastor’s sermons and get to know some of the members before we consider joining a church.

        If you’d like to see some of the current media put out by the Southern Baptist Church visit the LifeWay site. I doubt you’ll find any white supremacist literature. The last Bible Study I went to featured DVDs and a book by this lovely lady and promoted and sold by LifeWay.

        https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A86.JyD59dBU7lMATyQnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTB0MzkwOG5yBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1lIUzAwNF8x?p=priscilla+Shirer&tnr=21&vid=FF24812BB6938F722DE2FF24812BB6938F722DE2&l=227&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DUN.608000497200203652%26pid%3D15.1&sigi=11rm3g0po&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D8c69xfpwWcc&sigr=11bfr8dr5&tt=b&tit=Priscilla+Shirer%3A+One+in+a+Million&sigt=112psh0q9&back=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.yahoo.com%2Fyhs%2Fsearch%3Fp%3Dpriscilla%2BShirer%26ei%3DUTF-8%26hsimp%3Dyhs-001%26hspart%3Dmozilla&sigb=12s037gcn&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-001

      • goplifer says:

        Again, driving right past all the history in the article. Acknowledging that history in an honest way, instead of just pleading persecution every time the subject comes up, would lead to very different outcomes and policies in the present tense.

      • objv says:

        Lifer, Read what I wrote. I said that slavery was a stain on our nation’s history. Sure, the SBC was wrong to split from northern Baptists in 1845. None of that is in question. Slavery and racism are abhorrent.

        But, do we judge 16 million people and call them white supremacists based on decisions they did not personally make? By using your logic, you could be called a white supremacist based on family history. Have you apologized lately for your own southern ancestors’ actions and taken the blame for them?

        We have to look at current attitudes. Baptist churches are independent and should be judged on their own actions and beliefs. Just because a church has a Lottie Moon Christmas offering for missions or buys materials from LifeWay Christian books does not mean members are white supremacists.

      • flypusher says:

        #notallsouthernbaptists?

      • johngalt says:

        There is a high degree of coincidence that nearly all white Baptist churches in the South made independent decisions to align themselves with an overtly pro-slavery movement that continued to support segregation for more than a century, well into the 1960s and 70s (in the lifetime of some current church members). To be fair, the SBC does seem to have recently made a real effort to apologize for past actions and to recruit minority congregations to the fold, but it is hard to rehabilitate the image of an organization whose raison d’être was that it was OK to own other human beings as chattel.

      • Turtles Run says:

        “But, do we judge 16 million people and call them white supremacists based on decisions they did not personally make? By using your logic, you could be called a white supremacist based on family history. Have you apologized lately for your own southern ancestors’ actions and taken the blame for them?”

        We can judge them by their actions which is the point of the whole blog posting. Nowhere is it written here that a person should be labeled a certain way because of the actions of others. That is your comments no one else.

        Putting things in their historical context means admitting some hard truths and when certain groups act in the same manner as their predecessors then it is entirely fair to use that history to properly understand the motivations behind their actions.

      • 1mime says:

        Objv – If the truth be told, we all have people in our gene pool who have done despicable things, but, that is different than knowingly joining an organization or church whose beliefs and actions defame, deprive, or hurt others. If one grew up in the South, somewhere along the way (as a white person), someone in your family may have been racist. That was then. This is now. The only thing we can control is what we believe and how we express those beliefs in our words, actions and associations. When personal beliefs begin to coalesce in a group of like-minded people, and those people are extremists, that’s when my rights are threatened.

        Any belief system based upon white supremacy, whatever the religion, is unacceptable and dangerous. You don’t need to look any further than some of the crazies out there RIGHT NOW to know this is a growing problem. It used to be that these people stayed to themselves. Now they are organizing and becoming more openly political. Remember Muslim Day in TX last week and our illustrious Legislator pandering to her base of haters? That’s what Lifer is documenting and forecasting as a growing White Supremacy movement in the South. If any of them are members of the Southern Baptist Church, that’s doubly unfortunate.

        Religious zealots quickly begin to connect irrational statements and irrational deeds. The political process has done a pretty good job of weeding out these people in the past, because they were the exception. But, assuming Lifer is correct, and there is a coalition of those whose fundamental belief system is based on racism and other narrowly held views, that is a problem we can’t ignore and can do a great deal of harm.

      • DivineMissM says:

        So, dear, bless your heart if it makes you happy.

        You can either live in the past or the present. I choose to live in the present and to go to a church that has worked and is working to make amends for the errors of the past, to create relationships with everyone around us (everyone!) and share with them the absolute, powerful love that Christ has for us. God takes us where we are, and redeems us. He does not want us to stay the same. Yes, the past is shameful. My God is much greater than man or the past.

        I care about the hurts of the past, but I will not be defined or labeled by them.

      • goplifer says:

        ***I care about the hurts of the past, but I will not be defined or labeled by them.***

        Or changed by them, apparently. By glossing over that history we bring it into the present in new, ever more persistent forms. It took the SBC fifty years to embrace the Civil Rights Acts. In the meantime it continued to use the same rhetorical and theological levers to create new bigoted embarrassments that new generations of grandchildren will eventually issue muted apologies (or outright denials) for.

        A more courageous examination of HOW we got here might help us stop creating these new miseries, but that would be uncomfortable. It isn’t going to happen.

        http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2012/08/chick-fil-a-gay-marriage-and-your-grandchildren/

      • objv says:

        Lifer, aren’t you “driving by” the fact that institutions can change over time? Many of the elite northern universities were religious in nature when they were founded.They did not admit women and some of the faculty and students owned slaves.

        Is Harvard racist and sexist? Going by history alone, you could make those assumptions.

        A study about Harvard, states that “three Harvard presidents owned slaves; that slaves worked on campus as early as 1639; that among the first residents of Wadsworth House (built in 1726) were two slaves, Titus and Venus; that slave labor often underwrote the success of Harvard’s early private benefactors; and that the connection between College donations and slave-related industries persisted until the Civil War.”

        http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/11/harvard-and-slavery/

        It is important to admit wrongdoing. The SBC has done that and denounced segregation and racism. It may not have been according to your timetable, but it was done. History has been acknowledged. Instead of insisting churches affiliated with the SBC are racist in membership,why not go to their web site, look at their literature and outreach efforts and make a more informed decision?

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, I somehow missed the whole Chick-fil-A debacle in 2012, but after reading your post on the subject, I dug a little deeper. Even though I respect the Cathys for closing on Sundays to respect family and church, I was unware that the patriarch had such strong ties to the Baptist Church. The links offer a little more information about some of the business’ donation history (Winshape) and the interesting meeting of Romney and Cathy at Jerry Falwell’s campus.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/05/12/romney-speaks-at-anti-gay-liberty-university-alongside-baptist-billionaire/

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/08/03/meet-the-cathys-your-guide-to-the-billionaires-behind-chick-fil-a/

      • 1mime says:

        Objv, you make a good point about not painting with a broad brush, but look at where this craziness is coming from.

        There aren’t really 16 million Baptists, are there? Tell me there isn’t. Please.

      • objv says:

        Mime, it’s worse than that. According to wiki there are over 100 million Baptists worldwide. Only 16 million of them are Southern Baptist.

        Most of the time, I do not like to bring up the fact that I am Baptist, because I fall so short of the ideal. However, having grown up in a Baptist church and having gone to numerous Baptist churches over the years, I disagree with Baptists being called white supremacists. Most of the Baptists I have met are very kind and accepting and definitely not racist.

        Well, there you go. I’ve admitted to being a bad Baptist.

        (Let’s dance.)

    • 1mime says:

      History is replete with the harm that has been committed in the name of God. This fact cannot be denied and sadly, is still part of our contemporary society. Religious intolerance and narrowness are shaping a political movement in America that goes far beyond the pews. That is the inconvenient truth that Lifer has recorded and we would all be wiser by thinking deeply on its consequences.

    • Anse says:

      It’s a little disingenuous to downplay the role of the Convention, though. The fact that Southern Baptists are not governed from the top down is not a point in your favor. The Convention is a reflection of every participating congregation.

      Case in point: there was a time when the Convention expressed a very moderate stance on abortion. In fact, by the standards of today’s debate, they were downright pro-choice, even supporting abortion rights for the “emotional well-being” of the mother, not just her physical health. That lasted only a few years before it took a much more hardline, anti-abortion stance, driven, no doubt, by ideologues representing individual congregations.

    • 1mime says:

      Justin Bieber is small potatoes. Didn’t you hear that it was Obama who let the air out of the Patriots footballs?! Man up!

      (Oh, I am sooo OT….sorry Lifer)

    • fiftyohm says:

      I’m sorry, but are we arguing degrees of ‘ nutballiness’? This is a perfect example of what I spoke of below.

      There is no “middle ground”, no matter how much we might wish there was. The sane course is to accept that wackos are wackos. They live amongst us, and we outta recognize them for what they are.

      • 1mime says:

        Not for me there isn’t, Fifty. But these wackos are running for office and getting elected and making wacko laws and revising our kids’ textbooks, and preaching to our young, and VOTING! That’s what concerns me.

      • texan5142 says:

        1mime,

        It does not concern me………it scares the living shit out of me!

  13. fiftyohm says:

    The following is neither snarky, nor trollish, nor intended to be insulting to anyone, but:

    The fact that a group which espouses an ‘evangelical belief system’, *of any flavor*, and behaves in a manner inconsistent with reason, is hardly surprising. Yes, we can discuss the history and the histrionics, the personalities and the politics all day long, but the simple fact remains that those who eschew reason as the foundational construct of their worldview are unarguably prone to do the same elsewhere.

    • 1mime says:

      Fifty – You’ve nailed it. If those who hold evangelical beliefs would be content to practice it within their own family(s), I might find them a little strange, but I would be disaffected. As you infer, they are not content to practice their beliefs in private; they believe they have a God-driven right and responsibility to convert or subsume everyone to their belief system. THAT’S what I find most troublesome. (You said the same thing much more elegantly than I but I wanted to reinforce your point of view.)

    • johngalt says:

      I think 50s point was a little different than the one you made, 1mime (though yours is a valid one too). I sometimes get in arguments with relatives about the science denial of GOP Politician X, whoever has been in the news recently. Evolution is a common, but not the only, thread. Yes, they agree, their support of creationism is silly, but I still trust them more on economic issues (or whatever) than the Democrat. “But,” I then ask, “if they steadfastly refuse to use their brains on this issue, what makes you think they will suddenly discover logic and reason on the issues you care about?” The argument never actually works, but it seems sound to me.

      • 1mime says:

        It is sound, JG. As 50 stated, “reason” has gone missing…..that’s why it’s important to be well informed and an independent thinker, even if it gets you in trouble! I don’t watch much TV, but The Charlie Rose Show is one of my favorites because of the diversity and quality of his guests and the excellent exchange. It ought to be mandatory viewing for everyone who thinks they have all the answers (-:

    • johngalt says:

      Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted a couple of days ago: “You can neither cajole nor charm the laws of physics into agreeing with you if your ideas aren’t based in objective realities.”

      Needless to say, I’m a fan.

  14. Anse says:

    I grew up in the Southern Baptist church, and I’m ashamed to admit that I had no idea of what inspired the founding of the sect, and only learned about it very late in my teens or early 20’s. I was shocked, not just at the history, but also in the way I was able to go so long without knowing this; it was NEVER discussed, ever. Which is maybe a part of the problem, not just with Southern Baptists but the South as a whole (and really, our nation, too). We cannot bring ourselves to confront the realities of the past. We will not hesitate to revisit the past as long as it is to praise or marvel over our Founders or some glorious event in our history, but we don’t want to look at the ugly side of it.

    Forgive me for going slightly beyond the scope of the discussion, but every time I hear an argument like “black people just need to move on”, I think of Jews. The Holocaust cut such a deep emotional scar on the world’s Jews that it has become a keystone in the Jewish worldview.They do not allow a Passover or a Yom Kippur to pass without remembering those who died. It has become a foundation from which modern Judaism views the world and touches on almost every aspect of Jewish life. How could it not? And yet when we talk of slavery or the brutalities of Jim Crow, we often act like it was a relatively minor event. We even justify it; “black people came to America thanks to slavery,” etc., as if black Americans owe everybody an apology for dwelling on the topic.

    • texan5142 says:

      Anse says:
      February 2, 2015 at 2:47 pm
      Forgive me for going slightly beyond the scope of the discussion, but every time I hear an argument like “black people just need to move on”, I think of Jews.

      Every time I hear “black people just need to move on”, I think of the idiots that say that and still fly the confederate flag, dress up in confederate uniforms and have a reenactment.

      • Anse says:

        That’s exactly right. They’re often the same people, and do not appear to be aware of the irony.

  15. AWJ says:

    Interesting new article at Salon by Michael Lind, who’s been writing for years about the same stuff as Lifer (namely about the essentially malign nature of Southern conservatism, and the dire effects of its takeover of the GOP over the last generation and a half)

    http://www.salon.com/2015/02/02/libertarians_hijacked_the_right_how_free_market_zealots_doomed_american_conservatism/

    • 1mime says:

      AWJ – The Salon/Michael Lind article has so much substance that it deserves reading more than once. I was struck by his observation that the Koch Bros, “have funded both the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute and the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation…..(and) may go a long way toward explaining why mainstream conservative economic thinking has become indistinguishable from libertarian voucher-worship, privatization and deregulation.”

      When you can commit almost one billion dollars to an election process, what you can’t outright buy, you can dramatically influence. The Kochs must see 2016 as a pivotal point in achieving their goal of domination. They’ve been called to task before -(http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-koch-brothers-exposed-20120420),
      but the power and reach of their money has solidified their king-maker roles, usurping the North vs South power struggle, making it an almost quaint sidebar.

  16. objv says:

    Am I the lone Baptist here? There are a few things about Baptists that need to be stressed. First of all, Baptist churches are autonomous and self-governing. They become affiliated with various Baptist conventions mostly to pool resources to support missionaries and seminaries and supply resources like VBS materials to churches..

    I decided to do a little research just because I knew so little about the various Baptist Conventions. I grew up in a church that was was affiliated with the North American Baptist Conference. This was a relatively small group of churches in the US and Canada with German Baptist roots. Since most of the adults in my church were German immigrants, the church was able to find ministers who spoke German. Later, when the older members became proficient in English, finding a German speaking pastor was not necessary, but the church remained with NABC to continue sending support to the same missionaries, a seminary in Canada, and Sunday School materials.

    There are more than sixty national Baptist denominations in the US and many more specific to various states. The Southern Baptist Convention is by far the largest. Some churches associate with more than one group. The church I last went to in Houston had multiple affiliations including the Southern Baptist Convention. My minister was Hispanic and he, like other Baptist ministers, preached according to how he was inspired – not according to anything required by the Southern Baptist Convention.

    The following link provides information on how the Southern Baptist Convention uses pooled resources:

    http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/acloserlook.asp

    • 1mime says:

      Objv, as Lifer pointed out in his preceding post, German immigrants were more likely to be social moderates, especially where slavery was concerned. I’m sure there are some very fine Baptist preachers in the Southern Baptist Church Organization, but it’s hard to ignore people like Criswell and Falwell….interesting, they both end with “well”…Odd. Then there’s the anointed one, Dan Patrick, who will bear watching. Closely.

      The Baptist faith lost me in our community when they preached against dancing. Dancing! Guess the pressing of flesh and having all that fun between genders just didn’t sit well (there’s that word again!) with their religious tenets. Their overt, aggressive involvement in politics offends my belief in separation of church and state. They are certainly not alone in this arena but they are pushing it to the max.

    • objv says:

      Good news, mime. Even Baylor University now allows dancing. 🙂

    • 1mime says:

      Objv, glad to hear Southern Baptists are kicking up their heels, with permission! (Believe me, it was happening all along, surreptitiously…)

      As Cajuns say: Laissez les bon temps roulez!

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Growing up in the bible belt, My mother would send us kids to the closest church as we moved around. Mostly fundamentalist churches. But some other brands. When I went into the service the recruiter asked my religion. I answered, “Episcopalian”. He said, “How do you spell that?”. I said, “make it Baptist”.

      Went to a few of “store front” churches and heard a lot of fire and brimstone sermons. And a some of preaching of, shall we say, intolerance. And even at a young age, it bothered me that the church was sending missionaries to some undeveloped country to “spread the faith”. The thought of someone from South America or India with their own spiritual ideas setting in a hot church for hours just made me sad.

  17. RobA says:

    Off topic here, but relevent to the discussion of Repubs denying scientific fact, here’s another example.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/02/02/christie-breaks-with-obama-over-measles-vaccine-calls-for-balance/

    Seems like it fits well with Lifers point: it’s nit that the GOP is stupud enough to actually BELIEVE this cap (Christie mentions he vaxxes his own kids) but they’re clearly and shamelessly pandering to the science truthers uninformed ideas, thus reinforcing and strengthening it.

    Vaccines should be as much about “parents rights” as all other basic health care issues. A parent doesn’t have the right to starve their child. Nor should they have the right to deny them vaccines when the overwhelming evidence points to them being hugely beneficial.

    But who cares about overwhelming scientific consensus when you have Jenny McCarthy?

    • objv says:

      Jenny McCarthy is a Republican? Who knew?

    • 1mime says:

      You vaccinate to protect yourself (or child) and to protect others. It’s a shared responsibility thing, Viking. Pandering at its worst.

    • objv says:

      Yeah, Viking, he’s talking to you. You got a problem with that? 🙂

      • vikinghou says:

        I’m just curious because I didn’t post a comment about vaccinations. I’m in favor of vaccinating all kids!

    • johngalt says:

      The vaccination issue is a strange one in which the far left liberal nut jobs wrap around the political sphere to meet the far right conservative nut jobs. Who’d think that Dallas megachurch congregations would have much in common with latte-sipping, Tesla-driving Marin County folks?

      • way2gosassy says:

        I had heard earlier that the polling suggests that to vaccinate or not is a bipartisan belief. About 21% of Republicans and 21% of Democrats believe it should be left up to the parents regardless of their reasoning.

        Reading the comments on the Chron on a similar story the nuts would have you believe that all manner of illnesses are being brought here from all those “people” crossing the border. They joyfully ignore the fact that Mexico has a 96% vaccination rate compared to the US 90% rate. Seems to me they are the ones taking the risk.

    • objv says:

      As a former RN I firmly believe that kids should be vaccinated. However, there are a few exceptions. One of my daughter’s teachers had a baby that died a few hours after getting her first set of vaccinations due to an allergic reaction.

      I still believe that parents should be strongly encouraged to get their kids vaccinated in almost all cases but please realize that that vaccinations are not without danger.

    • objv says:

      Interesting … Mississippi has the best vaccination rate in the country. Only one southern state is in the bottom ten. The worst state is Colorado.

      Check out the following:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2015/01/30/mississippi-yes-mississippi-has-the-nations-best-child-vaccination-rate-heres-why/

      • texan5142 says:

        Mexico more effective than U.S. at immunizing children
        Mexico’s paternalistic approach has led to a 96% vaccination rate for children ages 1 to 4, compared with 79% of American 2-year-olds.

        http://www.vaccinationnews.org/DailyNews/December2002/MexicoMore22.htm

        A little outdated but worth noting the next time some jack wad complains about the undocumented bringing diseases to the US.

      • 1mime says:

        Objv, I was amazed to learn from your WAPO link that 19 states (TX included…) allow vaccination exceptions for “philosophical” reasons. That would just about cover it all, n’est pas?

        Texan, Kudos to Mexico on their vaccination rate but, boy oh boy, do they need to do something about their water!

      • vikinghou says:

        Colorado’s status really surprised me. I did some research, and apparently they have lax rules that allow parents to refuse vaccines for “philosophical reasons.” As a baby boomer, I vividly remember being taken to a “measles party” when one of the neighbor kids had it. There was no vaccine back then and parents did this to “get it over with.”

      • 1mime says:

        Colorado is an interesting study in divergence of …. everything. It also has one of the best educated populace in the nation…so, go figure. You have liberal Boulder and ultra conservative Colorado Springs somehow co-existing. This may be an example of the Tesla factor alluded to earlier!

      • objv says:

        mime. I love Colorado. It’s about 30 minutes drive from my house but entirely different in culture from New Mexico. I had to laugh when I saw it at the bottom of the list. Southwest Colorado has quite a hippie, dippy, trippy vibe which I find appealing. Unfortunately, the trouble with an “all natural” philosophy is that it encourages some to think vaccines are not necessary. (However, marijuana is still good. 🙂 )

      • objv says:

        Texan, Mexico doesn’t get a complete pass since there are other health issues. When my kids were younger, I asked their pediatrician why they had to get TB tests. His answer was that TB was passing from Mexico into the US.

        http://www.wsj.com/video/us-mexico-border-hotspot-for-drug-resistant-tb/440B7D32-9E15-49C8-B63C-91C1878D0FF8.html

      • texan5142 says:

        Not giving them a pass, but It turns out that Mexico has a higher rate of vaccinations for TB also. As noted below, 25% of TB cases among foreign-born persons occurred in persons from Mexico. That means that there is 75% of TB cases among other foreign-born persons from other places besides Mexico.

        http://www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/guidestoolkits/ethnographicguides/mexico/chapters/chapter3.pdf

        In Mexico
        • In 2005, the estimated tuberculosis (TB) incidence was 23 per 100,000 (WHO, 2006b).
        • In 2004, 2.4% of new TB cases were multidrug-resistant (WHO, 2006b).
        • Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine coverage at birth is 99% (WHO, 2005).
        In the United States
        • In 2005, 25% of TB cases among foreign-born persons occurred in persons from Mexico
        (CDC, 2006b).

        http://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/vaccines/

        TB Vaccine (BCG)

        Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) disease. This vaccine is not widely used in the United States, but it is often given to infants and small children in other countries where TB is common. BCG does not always protect people from getting TB.

        http://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/globaltb/

        TB in the United States reflects the global reality. TB is one of the most common infectious diseases worldwide. While significant progress has been made toward the elimination of TB in the United States, this disease remains an urgent public health problem in many other parts of the world.

        In 2013, 65% of all TB cases and 90% of multidrug–resistant TB cases in the United States occurred among people born in other countries.

        http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/823170

        Foreign-born persons had a 13 times greater TB incidence than US-born persons and accounted for 64.6% of TB cases in 2013.
        More than half of these cases originated from 5 countries: Mexico (20.0% of cases [n = 1233]), the Philippines (12.6% of cases [n = 776]), India (8.0% of cases [n = 495]), Vietnam (7.4% of cases [n = 454]), and China (6.1% of cases [n = 377]).

      • texan5142 says:

        Forgot to mention, I am 53 and remember as a kid getting a TB test, so it is nothing new, most schools gave the test back in the seventies.

      • johngalt says:

        I work at a medical school and can assure you the Tb skin test is very much alive here. All new hires have to have one and it brings up a minor, but significant, problem with the BCG vaccine. In addition to not being nearly as effective as most of the other vaccines we get, recipients will be skin test-positive and then need chest X-rays to rule out Tb in the future.

      • objv says:

        Texan, Ha! You are OLD! I’m in my thirties – at least according to Dr. Oz’s “Real Age” test. 🙂

        Don’t hate me because I’m young and beautiful. (Being hated for being Republican is bad enough!)

      • objv says:

        JG and Texan, I grew up in Ohio, and I don’t remember having a TB test until I started nursing school. Personally, I’m glad testing has become common.

      • texan5142 says:

        I remember having to get a TB test and a health certificate to work in a restaurant in the 70’s.

    • 1mime says:

      Lifer must be pulling his hair out, we are so off topic! What’s the matter, none of us know any evangelicals or white supremacists? Ok, so none of us want to know any of these upstandin’ individuals…..

      Scroll through this recent large Gallup poll (177K polled) on Obama until you get to the percentiles and then the graphic. Note the southern states fall squarely in the middle of the polling range, with the exception of Alabama, which is not too happy with O. This poll is at least timely to our discussion of the monolithic south.

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/181463/majorities-five-states-approved-obama-2014.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_content=morelink&utm_campaign=syndication

  18. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Because we reference the south and the Civil War here frequently, I’m posting this NYT link to Disunion, a years-old examination of various aspects of the war. Most posts are by professors and/or others who have special knowledge of a related topic. Sometimes the comments are very interesting and knowledgeable, too.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/opinion/disunion.html?ref=opinion

    The most recent post (today) was about reconstruction.

    There’s even a 2011 post about Texas and Sam Houston.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/sam-houston-we-have-a-problem/

    • 1mime says:

      Good suggestion, Bobo! I subscribe to NYT digital and have read some of these articles but not nearly often enough. They are all excellent quality and a great resource for our discussion of the South and the Civil War.

  19. Griffin says:

    “In the meantime, the influence of the Dixiecrats will continue to drag the Republican Party and interfere with national efforts to embrace the 21st century”

    I think we have to ask ourselves if, at this point, it isn’t mearly the “influence” of the Dixiecrats but the utter domination of the party by them. I can’t think of any serious threats to them within the GOP, despite the fact they have almost no chance of actually winning on the national level against the wishy-washy but non-crazy, centrist “New Democrats”.

    • goplifer says:

      I expect that we’re going to learn a lot next year about the relative power of Northern v. Southern Republicans. In pure numbers, there are an awful lot of Republicans in the Northern states, they just aren’t as noisy or belligerent. My predictions about ’16 are based on my assumption that the Dixiecrats have effectively taken over, but I might be wrong.

      I pretty much agree with you. However, here’s good piece from the NY Times’ Upshot on why I might be wrong about the upcoming primary and the power of Southerners in the GOP:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/01/upshot/the-surprising-power-of-blue-state-republicans.html

      • 1mime says:

        Excellent analysis, Lifer. If nothing else, it proves that diversity balances extremism….one more reason to suppress Democratic voters by the right, and register them (and GOTV) for Dems. Democracy wins. I thought the SEC primary was an interesting new political strategem.

        In an earlier blog I questioned what changes the GOP might be considering in the electoral college so as to dilute the “blue wall”. In a link to a post on 2016 election dynamics by Larry Sabato, he addressed the issue. If the GOP continues to lose the popular vote, I would not be surprised if the leadership try to change the structure of the election process, the Constitution be damned, conveniently.

        There is a lot of GOP interest in the Presidency as evidenced by the sheer number of aspirants. I am already tired of the GOP debate process and it hasn’t even started. The “hardening up” the debates provide also provide valuable snapshots of the candidates, however. The phenomena of North vs South and the push by the Dixiecrat wing will roil the process, that’s certain.

      • vikinghou says:

        I’m not so sure about the moderateness of Northern Republicans. Look at Scott Walker, who has won repeatedly in one of the bluest states in the nation—WI. Also, governors John Kasich (OH), Rick Snyder (MI) and Mike Pence (IN). To me they’re all pretty “out there.”

      • johngalt says:

        The NYTimes piece mentioned an effort to set a “SEC Primary” (meaning all the Southern states) as one of the earliest in the country. A conservative candidate could get a lot of momentum from that to carry into primaries in less conservative states.

      • 1mime says:

        Viking – In comparison to some of the looney tunes in the Tea Party, the Northern governors you listed are more moderate. As documented in the NYT’s piece Lifer shared, this moderation (though not what Dems don’t consider “moderate” )is principally due to the large Democratic population in their states. They “need” to be more representative in order to be elected. I cannot abide Walker, think more highly of Kasich, don’t know enough about Pence & Snyder to have an informed opinion. The ultra-Conservative platform -(especially social issues), appalls Dems as well as does their myoptic focus on protecting the wealth of the wealthy at the expense of everything else. The “Don’t tax you; don’t tax me; tax the man behind the tree!” mentality is unrealistic for Dems and Republicans alike.

        As much as we all want to see the Republican Party move back to the center – for the good of the nation, Lifer is instructing us that that will be difficult to achieve due to the monolithic South. His “blue wall” theory will be tested in 2016, that’s certain. More hard work at the ground level to enlarge AND motivate the Democratic base is paramount going forward….understanding that the GOP will be doing the same with a far more highly motivated base.

    • 1mime says:

      Actually, Griffin, more and more of these fundamentalists are getting elected. You are witnessing in today’s Congress how a minority can utilize parliamentary procedure to exert influence. It’s already happening and their numbers continue to grow despite hearing others say they are just a small minority. They are doing real harm to America.

  20. johngalt says:

    The Georgia State Legislature is upset with the College Board, because it wants to teach AP American History as actual history rather than indoctrination. Some clever chaps have come up with a catchphrase for their tilt against this windmill: history in Georgia should be “Georgia-owned and Georgia-grown.” What a lovely idea! Stamping their feet and threatening to take their ball and go home, the legislators want to ban funding for AP classes they don’t like.

    In my private Catholic high school in Atlanta, I mostly learned about the Civil War as the “War for Southern Independence” and we spent vastly more time on the heroics of Lee, Jackson, and Beauregard than on the Union side. Can you imagine what the history lessons were like in Valdosta, Augusta, or Dahlonega? Yes, actually I can too.

    http://getschooled.blog.ajc.com/2015/01/30/georgia-picks-fight-with-college-board-over-ap-history-guess-who-loses-again-our-children/#__federated=1

  21. vikinghou says:

    This is an excellent piece but very disturbing to me. I knew that the Southern Baptist church and Evangelicals were mainly white and GOP, but didn’t know the history behind it all during the 1950s. Despite the demographic changes that are underway, it seems I will never see the South really change during my lifetime.

  22. johngalt says:

    Coincidentally, today, January 31, is the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th amendment (abolishing slavery) by Congress.
    http://www.history.com/news/congress-passes-13th-amendment-150-years-ago

  23. stephen says:

    Religion has also been a strong counter sink to slavery and oppressions of every kind. One of the reasons Mormons were so hated is that they were abolitionist and voted as a block. They are not the only ones persecuted as Catholics, Quakers among other groups have been against slavery and oppression. The church I attend made a concentrated effort to welcome and bring in diversity twenty years ago. Yes I live in Orlando now a diverse city but this local church was originally composed of old style rural Florida Crackers. The kind of Southerns you have been writing about.They made the decision to reach out when we were becoming diverse but not there yet. I get the feeling reading your blog you are anti-Christian Lifer. People of faith are a diverse group even in the South. We don’t all fit your profile. Southern Baptist might be the largest Denomination in the South but they are not the only one.

    The South is being assimilated by Yankees from the North and Latins from the South. About fifteen years ago I visited my Mom In-law in North Georgia. She took me to a flea market. I heard as much Spanish as English being spoke. So it is not just Florida being invaded. And there were Yankee transplants there too. The old South was defeated but it never really surrendered or was vanquish after the Civil War. Well I think that with the inflow of people from the North, and Latin America that will change. Over twenty years ago I was a Orange County Republican Committeeman. I warned that we needed to reach out to the the new groups coming into our area or we would be marginalize. That has happen for Orange County which is now Blue where once it was a bright Red. I was blown off. And while Florida State wide is still very Red in another twenty years it too will join Orange County changing to Blue unless the party reaches out to other groups besides old white people. I might still be blown off but I am still right.

    I think if the GOP does not change it’s tactics it will join the Wigs in extinction and the Democrat party will split with one piece of it taking over the old historic role of the GOP. I think I may of read that in one of your post. Orange County Florida is a minority majority county. I see couples of all ethnicities dating and marrying each other. It is hard to incite such a mix against their grandchild, mate , child, niece or nephew. The Southern Strategy is a death trap long term for the party. Where Orlando is now is where the Nation including the South is heading. If the GOP recognizes it’s error soon enough we can capture enough of the new demography to remain a viable national party. But if not even long term it will lose out regionally as it will lose out in the South and West it’s current strongholds.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      “I get the feeling reading your blog you are anti-Christian Lifer.”

      Why? Because pointing out the errors of some Christians makes the speaker an opponent of all of them? That’s the same kind of fallacy made by those nitwits who leap to the claim that all of Islam is our enemy, or that Blacks are all criminals, or that all Chinese are bad drivers. And I’m pretty sure Chris is too smart for such thoughtlessness.

      “So it is not just Florida being invaded.”

      What a simplistic way to express regionalism and racism. We are all Americans, those of us here for generations and those new-made. There is no “invasion”, except to those bumptious retrogrades who dream of the days of independent colonies rather than a unified nation.

      Perhaps the Democratic (note adjectival form!) Party will split. I’d rather the Republican Party reform itself to be a viable partner in the political debate, rather than continue to be yoked to the apocalyptic fantasies of those intent on building a bridge to the nineteenth century.

    • goplifer says:

      Couple of corrections.

      The Mormons made Utah a slave territory. Slavery was legal there until after the Civil War started. Brigham Young endorsed the property rights of slave owners. The black slaves in Utah (there weren’t a lot) were brought there by Mormon settlers. Not sure where you are getting your information, but the Mormons were not abolitionists as a group until the matter was settled nationally.

      And the Catholic Church was very sympathetic to the South in the Civil War. Most of the Northern resistance to abolition and the war came from the most intensely Catholic areas, New York City, Milwaukee, and the Upper Ohio Valley. The Catholic Church took no explicit position in favor of abolition. Pope Pius IX engaged in a very friendly exchange of letters with Jefferson Davis during the war which was interpreted as support. The Catholic Church was never at any point in its history a meaningful force for the abolition of slavery.

      • Turtles Run says:

        GOPlifer – The history of The LDS Church and slavery is a bit more complex. Joseph Smith was definitely an abolitionist and during his run for POTUS he had as a part of his campaign points the elimination of slavery. The approximately 100 slaves in Utah were from southern converts.

        Brigham Young ,though a racist was not pro-lavery or an abolitionist, created a system were the hundred slaves that existed in Utah from 1847 to 1952 would instead become indentured servants with more rights than slaves.

      • 1mime says:

        Turtle, the history of the Mormon exodus and settlement in Utah is very interesting. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were powerful, brilliant, domineering men. It is not surprising that Young saw black people differently than Smith – as “the seed of Cain”, and therefore, inferior. Never the less, his seventy-six years were marked by many achievements, especially the settlement of over 350 towns in the West and growth of the Mormon Faith. It’s unfortunate that his views of blacks was so negative as his influence could have made a huge impact on racism.

        As noted in Lifer’s post, America’s culture and history have been shaped by these strong religious leaders, for better and for worse, and the legacy lives on in the South.

      • stephen says:

        I got the notion about Mormons from middle school or maybe elementary school history class. And the notion about Catholics listening to historians lecturing in St. Augustine about Spanish history in that area and other areas. According to them the Church was a terror even to the ruling class and enforced good treatment of woman and slaves. They could arrest even high officials if they did not tow the line. A lot of our early ideas we think are English were borrowed from the Spanish. Things like homesteading, a citizen army ( militia )with the obligation to own the equipment for soldiering including fire arms. I have read in the past that while the Catholic Church recognized slavery it mainly did not encourage it. Found a time line concerning slavery and the Catholic Church on the Internet and it did show a on again off again pattern in opposing slavery. Reading Turtles Run was educational.I did not remember learning that Smith had ran for POTUS. One of main reasons I visit blogs is the opportunity to learn and test my own ideas. And I do not understand how the Owl of Bellaire could construe my post as supporting regionalism and racism. The point was that the those are being broke down and because of that the Southern Strategy will shortly fail miserably. And many churches are going with demographic changes and encouraging it. That includes my own Denomination and Catholics. As Turtles Run pointed out things can be complicated. Including how Churches are influencing our country right now.

      • 1mime says:

        Stephen, we all visit Lifer’s blog to learn and test our ideas (and, challenge others as the spirit moves us (-: ) It’s appreciated when ideas are presented without vitriol and with documentation, but – that isn’t always the case. It helps to not point fingers but stay on point with the discussion thread even as we all digress from time to time. There are excellent thinkers on the blog who will broaden you (and make you laugh, from time to time). Lifer puts serious time and effort into his post and that needs to be appreciated and respected but he would be the first to encourage different points of view.

    • Manhattan says:

      stephen, you’re not alone in the last part of the second paragraph. From all of the research I looked in regards to the Republican Party and the need to expand, newspapers and Republican politicians who want inclusion, reaching out was stressed for decades going back after the devastating 1964 Presidential election. From what I’ve researched too, moderate Republicans always tried to run on inclusion and won in blue states and with groups Republicans generally don’t do well with.

      But they’ve been marginalized by extreme right wingers. That too has been going on since the 60’s. I’d like to ideally think if moderate to liberal Republicans tried to keep from getting purged out and there were more, LGBT people would be easily accepted more and gay marriage would’ve been solved already. The party wouldn’t be in the demographic and ideological trouble it’s in.

      It took the 2012 Presidential election for the party leadership to realize “We should stop writing off demographic groups that don’t look white”. The progress of the party has given mixed signals at best.

      One example of a sign this goes back is a book I read by Thomas Kean Sr., former governor of New Jersey, his book was The Politics of Inclusion. It’s dated as it was written during the mid to late 1980’s as he mentions apartheid and him getting re-elected with 60% of the black vote. It was really interesting, he was conservative but reached out and didn’t come off as a wingnut. He downplayed social issues and ran on opportunity.

      But then are also signs that some conservatives don’t think it’s worth it to reach out. This article from 2012 came from The American Conservative, it’s older but still it shows conservatives don’t feel reaching out is worth it. It’s not all, but you can’t help but think some feel that way.

      http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/conservatism-and-black-folks/comment-page-1/#comments

      Anyways, end rant. Sometimes I feel the Republican Party needs a Pope Francis sometimes.

  24. johngalt says:

    Almost never has a mainstream political figure acknowledged the brutal truth of the GOP Southern strategy, but Lee Atwater, before he achieved real fame as a political operator (the Karl Rove of the ’80s), did in an originally uncredited interview in 1981. The operative part of the quote is the first one at this link:
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Lee_Atwater

    • goplifer says:

      Planning to write about that soon. Atwater may have given himself a little too much credit. I think the mythology of the Southern Strategy may be confusing correlation and causation. I think Atwater and the other Nixon strategists rode a wave, rather than generated a wave.

      • johngalt says:

        They were certainly opportunists, that’s certain. The GOP had always been the party more aligned with small government conservatism and, in the wake of the Civil Rights movement, they managed to market this philosophy in a way that was very salable to southern whites in a coded way. Whether the codes Atwater mentioned were accidental or intentional is probably arguable (likely a little of both), but it certainly worked.

        I worked out at one point when the Congressional delegations from the former Confederate states finally flipped. In 1962, it was something like 90-10 (D-R) in these states, today the ratio is almost completely opposite. The year that Republicans finally took a majority was 1994, with the Contract with American and a centrist southern Democrat in the White House.

      • goplifer says:

        Yes. They were right there ready and waiting.

  25. 1mime says:

    Good one, Lifer. It’s easier to understand the transition of the South from Democrat to Republican when viewed through Criswell’s lens and the Southern Baptist ideology.

    Repent, all ye who embrace diversity and freedom of thought. Get thee gone!

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