Link roundup, May 12

Here are a few highlights from around the web:

– A new Pew survey documents the continuing, steep decline of Christian denominations in the US.

– And a flashback to a 2011 GOPLifer post, on the rise of Disorganized Religion.

– As Mexico experiences a continuing economic boom, most new immigrants are coming from Asia.

– For those of you who, like me, are about to board a plane today, why is there a tiny hole in your airplane window?

– And in today’s edition of ‘crazy shit your Legislature did today,’ the Texas House is deciding whether to follow in the footsteps of our forebears and stand in the church-house door over gay marriage. House Bill 4105 would block local officials from complying with court orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. None of the state’s major news outlets are covering this. Details are available from the Texas Observer.

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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80 comments on “Link roundup, May 12
  1. flypusher says:

    Jeb really isn’t looking good here:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/5/12/8593983/jeb-bush-learned-the-wrong-lessons-from-the-iraq-war

    Yeah, I get that you don’t want to criticize your brother, but that was a major screwup.

    • Turtles Run says:

      How to lose an election before it even starts.

    • 1mime says:

      Especially with Jeb choosing the same advisors that W did…sure looks like he wants to learn from his bro’s experience, doesn’t it?

      • RobA says:

        I almost get the feeling Jeb does t even want to run.

        Even if he doesn’t, there must be some serious family pressure to do so.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Man, Jeb got owned by a 19 year old college Democrat.

      “She had heard Mr. Bush argue, a few moments before, that America’s retreat from the Middle East under President Obama had contributed to the growing power of the Islamic State. She told the former governor that he was wrong, and made the case that blame lay with the decision by the administration of his brother George W. Bush to disband the Iraqi Army

      ‘It was when 30,000 individuals who were part of the Iraqi military were forced out — they had no employment, they had no income, and they were left with access to all of the same arms and weapons,’ Ms. Ziedrich said.

      She added: ‘Your brother created ISIS.’

      Mr. Bush interjected. ‘All right. Is that a question?’

      Ms. Ziedrich was not finished. ‘You don’t need to be pedantic to me, sir.’

      ‘Pedantic? Wow,’ Mr. Bush replied.

      Then Ms. Ziedrich asked: ‘Why are you saying that ISIS was created by us not having a presence in the Middle East when it’s pointless wars where we send young American men to die for the idea of American exceptionalism? Why are you spouting nationalist rhetoric to get us involved in more wars?’

      http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/05/13/college-student-to-jeb-bush-your-brother-created-isis/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Politics&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body

      • flypusher says:

        This particular reply tells me that Jeb still doesn’t get it:

        “And we had an agreement that the president could have signed that would have kept 10,000 troops, less than we have in Korea, could have created the stability that would have allowed for Iraq to progress. The result was the opposite occurred. Immediately, that void was filled.”

        This is more of that delusional thinking that meddling with Iraq didn’t really require all that much time/manpower/$/effort/commitment on America’s part (“We will be greeted as liberators!”). You are talking about a country drawn up for the convenience of imperial European powers, with 3 main religious/ethnic groups that don’t like each other, forcibly held together by a brutal dictatorship. Holding that together and making it ready to someday function on its own would require a much larger American presence for at least a generation.

  2. Turtles Run says:

    Another example of limited government at work. The Texas House of Legislature in its infinite wisdom has just passed a bill that would require Health Insurance cards to indicate if the insurance was purchased on the health care exchanges and if the person insured received a subsidy. Apparently, this will let doctors know that they should remind their patients to pay their premiums.

    I guess the aim is to make government small enough to dictate the actions of peoples health care choices and shame them at the same time.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/texas-bill-label-obamacare-subsidies

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Oh hell, just drop all pretenses and make them wear a scarlet “O” or a yellow star when they see their doctors.

      • Turtles Run says:

        I never understood the desire to shame people on the conservative side. They pretend to be christians but they seek to punish the very poor and downtrodden that Jesus would help.

      • Doug says:

        I’m far from a religious scholar, but I believe Jesus promoted charity. Government handouts have nothing to do with charity.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes Doug, Jesus was a wingnut teabagging capitalist who believed in private charity only.

        Carry on Doug. Carry on.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Probably bad form to just drop a link without an explanation. Its Craig T Nelson saying “nobody helped me”. You do know “welfare” is in the constitution? Its in the mission statement.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Rob – It was priceless listening to Coach claim no one helped him after stating he was on welfare. The selfish worldview of these people never ceases to amaze.

        Doug – So your claim is that Jesus wanted to help poor people but only in certain ways. So if the Romans instituted a social safety net for the poor he would preach against it. Something tells me he was more interested in helping the poor versus the mechanism of doing so. Your claim is a reflection of the self serving view modern conservatives take to justify their “dickishness”.

        Tea Party Jee-bus

    • 1mime says:

      I would imagine TX is going to run into some privacy issues on the “subsidy” identification. At least, I hope so.

      • Doug says:

        ” You do know “welfare” is in the constitution?”

        Seriously? I’m getting the idea that you shouldn’t be arguing the Constitution. The phrase is “promote the general welfare.” The word “general” means something. As in, “generally, we’ll be better off if we do this thing.” There was no concept among the framers that the Federal government was instituted to take money from some and give it to others.

        ==============
        How about this, turtles:
        “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies…And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”

        Ashamed! lol

      • 1mime says:

        I believe I can speak with equanimity, that none of us here condone people not working who can work. But there are many who want work, can’t get work, or can’t earn a living wage for their families despite working more than one job, or through an accident or injury, or family situation, can’t work. These are the people who deserve a hand up.

        I am sorry for you that you are so fixated on a “charity as welfare” view. There is great joy in helping others, Doug. Properly focused government, charity and personal aide can do great things to help people through bad times. It shouldn’t be a way of life, but neither should it be eliminated because you consider it a hand out.

      • Doug says:

        “There is great joy in helping others, Doug.”

        Absolutely. However, I don’t enjoy using taking money from someone else to do it.

        “Properly focused government, charity and personal aide…”

        There’s the key. Or at least one key. The feds cannot properly focus it. They don’t even try.

      • 1mime says:

        You’ve really bought the “all government is bad” pitch, haven’t you? I emphatically disagree. I have seen government do good things. I’m sorry for you that you’ve never had a positive experience with government helping you. A government that is only focused on defense and roads is a cold place. America is better than that. One day, you’ll have a chance to see this for yourself. I have no problem with my tax dollars helping children without health insurance, or SNAP for those who are having trouble getting a job but trying, or disability assistance for our Vets and workers whose employer workmen’s comp has effectively abandoned them. There is a long list but I won’t bore you.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Doug says:
        May 13, 2015 at 8:05 pm

        “The feds cannot properly focus it. They don’t even try.”

        Then forfeit your Social Security and Medicare Doug.

        Crickets…

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Doug – Yes, you are correct. The Preamble to the constitution does not have a sentence with just the word “Welfare”.

        Trying to make the point that welfare is a dirty word to some. I was sort of playing with the concept of quoting incomplete parts of a document, like using 4 words out of a 27 word amendment. You know like, “shall not be infringed”

        For me, I hate seeing dirty unfed urchins running around causing a nuisance. I mean I don’t like to look at them, so I want the government to take my money to feed and clothe them and keep them from stealing from me. Mainly, just keep them out of my sight. Dirty little buggers. Oh, and I want the government to take some of your money too. And I don’t care whether you like looking at kids in poverty or not.

        However, I would seriously like to hear from you how a government does anything without taxing some and providing services to someone else.

      • Doug says:

        “Then forfeit your Social Security and Medicare Doug.”

        Write me check for all the taxes I paid, with interest, and I’d be happy to.

      • Doug says:

        “However, I would seriously like to hear from you how a government does anything without taxing some and providing services to someone else.”

        You say “a government” but I’m specifically talking about the federal government, which clearly was not designed to be involved with the lives of individual citizens. Of course, the idea that we’re bound by the Constitution today is laughable.

        http://www.learntheconstitution.com/social-welfare.html
        http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/history/the-general-welfare-clause-explained-by-the-framers-of-the-constitution

      • 1mime says:

        Doug, I’ve read your links, and this is what I’d like you to expand upon, if you will. How would you think the poor (who are certainly among us in millions) and disabled should be served? Not at all? By which means? And, the LTC has a very nice paragraph supporting the concept of “helping” people over rough times – as opposed to continual maintenance. I think there can be a case made for both types of help, depending upon individual circumstances, but, what is your view?

        What specific services currently provided by the U.S. federal government would you eliminate or alter? How does a country remain economically and politically and morally strong without safety net programs? What makes you think that states would do a better job? I can assure you, it ain’t happening here in TX. How would you keep politics from favoring some over others? What would “count” as a legitimate situation for eligibility for federal aide? Would you exempt certain people?

        This is a serious inquiry. I know you feel deeply about this and I want to believe that you are not an uncaring person. Help me understand how an America that functions as you would like it to based upon your beliefs and principles would look?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Doug says:
        May 14, 2015 at 7:19 am
        “ ‘Then forfeit your Social Security and Medicare Doug.’

        Write me check for all the taxes I paid, with interest, and I’d be happy to.”

        As long as YOU write a check for the amount of entitlements you receive beyond what you pay into it. Unless you die shortly after you turn 65, your paltry Medicare tax don’t pay squat Doug.

        Take your damn hate blinders off Doug. You are as much of the 47% of the “takers” you hypocritically despise.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Doug – I respect you for defending your point of view on this blog. You and I would probably be 180 deg. apart on just about any topic that comes up. You say “Of course, the idea that we’re bound by the Constitution today is laughable”.

        I’ll counter your links to conservative readings of the Constitution with a phrase from that classic movie “Meatball” .

        Thats right, it just doesn’t matter. It seems obvious that what we consider constitutional today was not true a generation ago and will not be the same a generation from how. Funny how it seems to reflect the feelings and opinions of the moment. How we NOW think voting rights are universal, blah blah.

        I think I know why the federal government is hated by some. I won’t articulate them. But I am with 1mime in wanting to know why state or local government can do things that the Federal can or should not. In common sense terms not in terms of your understanding of the Constitution.

        In some states, most of the schools are financed by real estate taxes. If you like I can tell you why that is a bad idea. Especially when a large industry moves out. This example is easy to see and explain. And it is easy to imagine why it wasn’t a problem a hundred years ago when students only needed readin, writin, and rithmatic. IMHO, the wider the area taxed for money spent on local schools the better.

      • Doug says:

        “dickishness” “hate blinders” “federal government is hated”

        You guys misinterpret. I don’t hate the federal government; on the contrary I believe the U.S. is the greatest nation ever created. I just believe that its powers should be limited. Just because something is “good” does not mean that it should be taken up at the federal level, just as everything “bad” should not be illegal.

        “It doesn’t matter”
        Unarmed, would you sign a long term lease if the other party had the power to change the terms at will? It matters a great deal, because if the Constitution doesn’t mean what it says it means nothing, and government is unconstrained. We’re pretty much there already. Maybe we should just trash it. If nothing else, that will stop the pretending.

        1mime, I’ll try to answer your questions fully in a few days. I appreciate your attempt at understanding.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Doug – I have to continue this, sorry, You say, “would you sign a long term lease if the other party had the power to change the terms at will?” Do you think that long term leases never change? Most have get out clauses, for example for “acts of God” and other reasons. And one party can just say “I can’t live with this” and take his/her chances in court.
        I was going to say the Constitution is different, but in a way it’s similar. How it works is a person or group challenge the laws and get a ruling that sometimes upholds the current interpretation and sometimes not.

        But you know that.

        Please forgive me for putting incorrect words in your mouth if I’m wrong but let me rephrase what you are saying.

        I think you saying that Obama is ignoring the Constitution and acting as an emperor. For after years of battling a righteous Republican congress, he is ignoring our beloved Constitution and doing as he pleases. I have heard this somewhere. Is that your general take?

        So to make your points, you arguing an unchanging, revered, document is being tattered by a irreverent…. But you also know the founding fathers started changing it right away. And that the founding fathers were some smart, well read dudes but they were not gods. And the people that have made or proposed changes until now were not infallible.

        And I think you know that executive orders are constitutional. And that many other presidents have used them. Check this out!

        http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

        May I suggest that you get rid of that cognitive dissonance to make your own arguments more streamlined. The argument that Obama is ignoring the constitution is fodder for the “the feds are taking over Texas” and “keep your government hands off my medicare” crowd.

  3. 1mime says:

    The conservative paranoia with cutting taxes at state and federal levels in such a way that basic services are jeopardized (closing schools early, allowing infrastructure to fail, etc) is inexcusable. Yet, as Fly pointed out before, the people of KS actually returned Brownback to office, so why feel sorry for the adults in the room?

  4. neko says:

    Off topic – Chris, what do you think about Nate Silver’s piece on the blue wall at 538?

    • 1mime says:

      Neko, I tracked down the Nate Silver piece and offer the link for others to read. It’s interesting and it shows there are no “gimmes” in the 2016 election.

      http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/there-is-no-blue-wall/

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Until Silver blows a set of predictions for a US election cycle, I’m not going to disagree with him and his gang.

        With that said, I’d rather be on the Democrat’s side of recent trends.

        One issue trend that may go against Silver’s historical look is the growth in Hispanic voters. While it is certainly not unchangeable, there is evidence to suggest that people generally lock in their voting patterns relatively early in their voting life. People also like to be on the same side as winners. A Democrat win in 2016 would mean almost an entire generation of Hispanic voters will have experienced nothing but Democrats winning the Presidency.

        The last time the GOP won three Presidential elections, it was built on a shrinking demographic (White dudes). If the Democrats pull it off in 2016, it will be based on the demographic groups that are growing.

        One Reagan-esq GOP Presidential candidate could turn it all around (not unlike Clinton in 1992), but I’m not seeing a Reagan or a Clinton in the current crop of GOP candidates.

      • 1mime says:

        Key to the Hispanic vote will be turn out. That has been the challenge. Also note that Republicans are keenly aware of this demographic and the Kochs are investing millions to bring Hispanics into their fold. Working against them is all the public vitriol spouted by conservatives about immigration, etc. Legal Hispanics live among other Hispanics who may not be legal. Their families interface. If not, their family histories usually started off the same way. So, I don’t think it’s going to be easy for the GOP to superficially bridge the “truth” divide.

        GOTV is so critical and this is a worry. Hillary’s ascendency doesn’t provoke great excitement . I hope this changes via the debate process. Until then, with the number of GOP candidates, they will own the news cycle. My hope is they will kill each other off while showing their true colors. We’ll see, that’s for sure.

    • goplifer says:

      A wise man is careful never to disagree with Nate Silver on questions of math. However, Silver knows and understands almost nothing about politics.

      Polling math will start to be relevant to this race sometime in the late Spring of next year. By September that math should be pretty reliable. Silver analyzes polling data. That’s where he lives. Until he has polling data that matters he will be blind to the ’16 election.

      I’m not looking at polling data. And I’m not looking at past results to necessarily predict subsequent results. I’m looking at the way politics is taking shape on the ground- public opinion, party positioning, demographics, turnout figures, and changes in geography – trends that in some cases have been in motion since the ’70’s.

      I’m predicting that Silver’s numbers are going to start lining up with mine by next summer when he starts getting some numbers he can use. Until then he is right to state that his methodology shows a race that anyone could win. That’s not a reliable prediction, it’s just a statement of the limitations of his method across longer time horizons.

      And by the way, if we get to next summer and Silver’s numbers do not line up with my predictions, you can expect me to start reviewing delicious home recipes for crow. By that time his methodology will be infinitely more accurate than mine.

      • texan5142 says:

        Crow can be very tasty when done right…….just saying.

      • goplifer says:

        I’m counting on it.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Normally I have great faith in Nate Silver’s analyses, but I’m wondering here if Nate is a little slack on how rigorous he is with his data for the sake of supporting a contrarian view from what has now become the conventional wisdom. Too bad he didn’t link directly to Chris’ Blue Wall post for a thrilla tête-à-tête.

        Nate displays a purported “Red Wall” prior to Clinton “smashing” it in 1992, but even back then, California and New Jersey locks for a Republican Presidential candidate? Really? Nate goes into detail about how close some of the margins are in the current Blue Wall but not the purported Red Wall. I’m guessing despite the string of Republican victories, CA and NJ were probably close in the most recent elections. And a quick Google search confirmed CA:

        “California has voted increasingly Democratic despite Reagan’s decisive wins in his home state during the 1980 and 1984 elections, Changing demographics made the state much closer and Michael Dukakis only narrowly fell short of winning California in 1988.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_in_California,_1992

        And I’m not so sure Clinton’s “upset” of the purported “Red Wall” is as dramatic if given a more nuanced look. Keep in mind Ross Perot muddied the waters with his 3rd party candidacy and Bush Sr’s popularity was down in the dumps for whatever reason despite his brilliant execution of the Desert Storm Gulf War. An ill timed relatively minor recession (in hindsight) apparently sealed the fate of George HW’s doomed election chances. None of that could be captured in the statistics of the margin of Clinton’s 1992 win.

        As Chris noted, hard past performance statistics are important, but as an iron clad predictor of the future? Not so sure. Especially when it appears that data wasn’t as rigorously vetted as he normally would.

        In my opinion, what is not captured in statistics is the liberal disenchantment/fatigue with a “not pure enough” Hillary. Ironic left teabagging doppelganger. If that narrative gains media steam and infects the ADHD “mainstream swing” voters, Ruh Roh. We might see the horrors of a Prez Jeb. The only real “pro-Hispanic” Republican contender. Whatever that really means relatively.

  5. flypusher says:

    Here’s an interesting (& disturbing) link to add to the list:

    http://news.yahoo.com/sign-times-employee-fired-removing-gps-tracking-app-155924671.html;_ylt=A0LEVz9jPVJVB.8AUt1x.9w4;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–

    Seriously, why should any employer even think they have the right to track someone in their off hours??? Your employees owe you an honest day’s work, not their souls.

    I can only do 1 link at a time with an iPhone, but there’s also the recent story of Elon Musk reprimanding an employee for daring to miss a work meeting for something really trivial like being present at the birth of his child. WTF Elon? I thought you were smart enough to realize that it’s really hard to keep the best talent when you act the part of a giant doosh.

    • johngalt says:

      My employer is trying to implement a tracking systems for mobile phones. The stated reason is a (semi-legitimate) paranoia about the clinicians losing devices that might contain protected health information (HIPAA data). They want to be able to remotely wipe lost devices. The claim is that the IT people will not use available features that allow them to track location, SMS/phone usage, and web/app usage, but we don’t believe them and they have gotten a good deal of blowback. They are choosing not to believe employees who have said they will give up work email and network access while at work rather than give that power to the tools in IT.

      • fiftyohm says:

        IT, (aka mis-information) – departments have always been about internal organizational influence, cantrol, and maintenance and of their petty fiefdoms by a bunch of paraprofessionals.

        Certainly the paranoia over data security by the means noted is *at least* as dire and scary as the Y2K disaster that never came, never could have come, and was hyped by misinformation departments to gullible, techno-barbarian management for no reason other than to feather their nests.

      • flypusher says:

        MD Anderson had issues with that, but with lap tops treated carelessly, not phones. This is undoubtedly completely naive, but couldn’t people opt out of having phones tracked in exchange for no patient data stored on them/accessible via them? I wouldn’t want to use a phone or even an iPad for that anyway.

      • Crogged says:

        Fitty–exactly. When you work at a large organization and they have a ‘facilities’ group–how else can they prove they do something other than move people around? One year at a prior job my department was moved FOUR TIMES in one year! Look at us-we get things done!

      • johngalt says:

        To be fair, there are serious liability issues when it comes to patient records and the docs are not supposed to store patient records on any mobile device (except properly encrypted laptops). Our policies are generally based on the assumption that they will break this rule.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s an ironic twist on the subject of employers tracking employees….moderate members of the TX Legislature are being “tracked” by members of the Tea Party with video and audio to gather ammunition for the next campaign. Turns out, TX law requires that only one person know about the recording, which, obviously, turns out to be the one “recording”….wonderful logic. But, faced with the fact that these recordings are happening to them, TX Legislators are upset. The shoe, she ain’t fittin’ so good……..Course, what does this really say about the tactics of the TEA Party who was outraged that the IRS segregated applications for 501c4 status, including theirs. Hmmm, could it be that the TP is guilty of some rather distasteful tactics of their own?

        http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/HoustonChronicle/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=SEhDLzIwMTUvMDUvMTI.&pageno=MTU.&entity=QXIwMTUwMg..&view=ZW50aXR5

      • fiftyohm says:

        Well then, everyone should be “pre-fired”.

  6. Anse says:

    I’m intrigued by what I perceive to be the eroding of doctrinal discipline among the various Christian denominations. The differences between Southern Baptists and Methodists and Lutherans were extremely important a few generations ago. To be a Catholic was to be a heretic and probably not even a true Christian. It definitely seems like these differences becoming less important, especially among Protestants. I imagine it must be the diluting influence of mass media and a kind of circle-the-wagons mentality among Christians who feel persecuted by a culture that is increasingly unresponsive to their influence.

    • RobA says:

      It is interesg Anse. My guess is its sometjing like this:

      When EVERYone had a faith, thw differences between them were huge. They were a big part of what defined your identity. It used to be “catholic or protestant” (or any number of variations among those). With the rise of non faith skyrocketing, especially among millenials (a very high 1/3 of all millenials don’t affiliate with a religion) the major break has become “faith vs non”.

      And when you have THT kind of dynamic, the differences between the denominations all of a sudden likely feel very minor for people of faith. They feel (rightly so, given the trends) like their in a battle for their very existence, so what used to be important is not so much anymore.

      How can you waste anytime hating someone merely because they practice substantiation When there’s all kinds of godless heathens to be worried about? At least they still believe in Jesus!

      It’s these crazy youngsters that reject the mythological dogma based on a 3000 y/o book written by goat herders that is becoming laughably obsolete in the world they grow up in that’s the problem!

      • fiftyohm says:

        If I may, the doctrinal differences between the various Protestant sects were, and remain so pitifully trivial as to be completely meaningless at the very best.

      • 1mime says:

        What I have never understood is why it matters so much to purported Christians “what” faith people believe in. Isn’t faith truly a matter of one’s relationship with their “god”? Who cares if they’re Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Jew, etc. Give people room to breathe. Tolerate others’ views. Stop judging. Live and let live. How hard is that?

      • Crogged says:

        I’m a ‘one shoe’ adherent….

  7. vikinghou says:

    Back in the 1970s, fundamentalist Christian churches made a deal with the devil for political power; as a result, they can no longer reflect the actual values of Christ—compassion, love, tolerance, hope. They’re reaping what they sowed.

    • Anse says:

      I think it’s more nuanced than that. The truth is Christian churches have long had a dominant influence on American political life. I think what has happened is a complex combination of things. First, at some point over the last half-century, American Christian churches developed a strong affinity for free market capitalism. I think it was an answer to the Red Menace, since communists in Soviet Russia were identified in part by their rejection of religion; it was a way to identify them as the evil adversary, and in response to that, an enthusiastic marrying of capitalism and American Christianity was inevitable. Over time, I think this has rotted the Christian church in America to the point of it taking some rather ludicrous positions on certain issues, especially those concerning poverty and welfare. It is just very hard to maintain a strict adherence to both the fundamental tenets of Christianity and to the profoundly amoral tenets of capitalism.

      Secondly, I think we’re just becoming a more diverse country. It’s harder for Johnny to grow up thinking non-Christians will go to hell, then go off to college, become friends with the Jewish guy across the hall, and come to terms with the idea that this good guy, this observant Jew, will go to hell one day. You put a face on it, and it’s harder to deal with conceptually.

      Lastly, we’re in the Information Age, and nothing kills faith quite like information. As a part of this and the second point above, it’s also much easier for disparate and formerly isolated pockets of non-believers to find each other on the Internet. Once you find out you are not alone, it’s a little easier to be a bit more open about who you are.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Anse, wouldn’t the importance of capitalism in certain Christian circles go back much further — to the idea of the Protestant work ethic?

      • flypusher says:

        The work ethic is one thing (and nothing wrong with it if not taken to fun-killing excess), but then you have the whole “prosperity gospel” concept, which is seriously messed up.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thrift and frugality have gone out the window (the little hole in the airplane window).

      • Crogged says:

        Anse, yes and no to how easy it is to come out, as it were, with rejecting the faith of your family. In large metro areas, it’s ‘easy’, in the smaller towns and rural areas, not so much. In the larger communities you still have villages of believers, Mr. Cruz attended private education in Houston and still believes in all of it, despite attending Ivy League Hell University. Are people who they are because of their faith, or despite it?

      • 1mime says:

        Actually, Tutta, thrift and frugality are in pretty good shape right now. People aren’t spending their “extra” dollars, they’re paying down debt or shoving it under the mattress….Not a bad situation for America. The economy is still sluggish enough for people to worry about their jobs – especially in energy related fields.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Miss Mime, thrift and frugality are wise choices in any situation.

      • Crogged says:

        Look up “The Paradox of Thrift”….

      • texan5142 says:

        Crogged, looked it up and it sure gives way to some deep thought.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Well said Anse. You hit it on the head with your comment on American Christianity and Capitalism. I came to the same conclusion but could not articulate it nearly as well. Again, well said.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Crog….I believe Mr. Cruz is as much a true believer as I believe Obama evolved in his position on gay marriage.

        It is a religion and belief system based on determining which position will garner a sufficient number of votes to further a political career….amen.

      • 1mime says:

        Sen. Cruz believes in one (1) god – 3 guesses……

      • Crogged says:

        Homer, I’m sure there’s some Elmer Gantry to his persona, but I think he believes in the truth of his convictions.

      • objv says:

        Tutt wrote: Thrift and frugality have gone out the window (the little hole in the airplane window).

        Tutt, you had me laughing – but not at the idea of thrift and frugality doing a disappearing act. While growing up in an immigrant community, frugality and penny-pinching were admired. Bragging about wealth was not.

        Living with an aim towards thrift and conservation of resources is a surprisingly satisfying lifestyle choice.

    • 1mime says:

      Yep, if Jesus Christ appeared on earth today, I doubt very much he’d be happy with those who profess to be Christians, following his teachings.

      • RobA says:

        And vice versa 1mime.

        The religious right would despise Jesus if he were alive today.

        Charity and compassion for the poor, questioning of entrenched power (in the form of the pharisees) Etc. Jesus would have LOVED Obamacare.

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, don’t forget the most objectionable thing about Jesus – He wore a dress (-:

  8. vikinghou says:

    With regard to the anti-gay legislation, it’s time for businesses to speak up and threaten economic consequences (a la Arizona and Indiana). There will most certainly be economic consequences in the form of litigation. Then again, the Christian Taliban might enjoy their martyrdom as they allow the Texas economy to further suffer.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Except for the going blind part, this reminds me of someone who used to post here.

    • flypusher says:

      “Lang, a smoker who admits he has been inconsistent in controlling his diabetes, said he has sought help from charities but found he was either too young or too old for most agencies.”

      Where’s that personal responsibility that I hear so many righties preaching about???

      I’m amazed he hasn’t blamed Obama for the diabetes. But he still has time.

      Also, perhaps the wife ought to be trying to find a job here? Since they’re all about paying their own way, right?

      • Turtles Run says:

        The pack of smokes in his pockets was a real classy touch. If he gets lung cancer I guess that will be OBUMMER’S fault too.

        Gotta love those personal responsibility type. Always quick to blame everyone else.

      • 1mime says:

        Maybe this is a perfect time for “big” gov’t to step in and help.

      • 1mime says:

        ““(My husband) should be at the front of the line because he doesn’t work and because he has medical issues,” said his wife, Mary Lang. “We call it the Not Fair Health Care Act.”

        There’s that “entitlement” thing rearing its ugly head……Obviously the man’s problem has been on-going, yet he waited until after the sign up deadline to reluctantly join up with ACA?

        Sometimes people make their own bad luck. It’s those who do so with arrogance and self pity that are the most difficult to feel sorry for.

    • RobA says:

      Typical conservative, can’t ever imagine what a situation could feel like…….until it happens to them.

      This theme is consistent throughout almost all con positions, from gay marriage to welfare to what’s going on between blacks and the police.

  9. texan5142 says:

    I am adding a link.

    “Despite early optimism by trickle-down adherents, tax cuts in Kansas have been disastrous, leading to revenue losses, cutbacks in education and health care, and sluggish job growth. In Minnesota, on the other hand, tax increases on the rich have led to higher wages, low unemployment, and rapid business growth.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/inside-the-billion-dollar-brain-how-the-warped-thinking-of-the-super-rich-is-screwing-over-america/

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