President Carter -The Presidency And Faith - Page 2 - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-12-2005, 05:07 PM   #16
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 24,974
Local Time: 01:54 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Otherwise, it becomes a subjective tool to say, “keep your religion out of politics” which seems to be the Carter’s statement.
My impression is that he's saying it's perfectly natural (and morally right in many cases) for one's religious beliefs to influence one's political decisions, but that a certain balance has to be maintained. You have to operate within certain constraints (and the law, the Supreme Court rulings, etc) while continuing to hold on to your personal beliefs. You are representing constituents and their views aren't always going to be yours. Of course individuals and individual politicians have varying ideas as to what a proper balance is.

I think he's also saying that it's important to look beyond your beliefs in some cases and find "creative" solutions to problems when the law conflicts w/ your beliefs-such as the adoption work he mentioned. You have to be flexible in that way or you'll get stuck so to speak. Some politicians can get so focused on their personal religious beliefs that they can't see the forest through the trees. I could say Rick Santorum is one example of that but I would never do that
__________________

__________________
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:16 PM   #17
Blue Crack Addict
 
nbcrusader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,071
Local Time: 10:54 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
My impression is that he's saying it's perfectly natural (and morally right in many cases) for one's religious beliefs to influence one's political decisions, but that a certain balance has to be maintained. You have to operate within certain constraints (and the law, the Supreme Court rulings, etc) while continuing to hold on to your personal beliefs. You are representing constituents and their views aren't always going to be yours. Of course individuals and individual politicians have varying ideas as to what a proper balance is.
Well, I think this is the real issue involved. When we say a "certain balance must be maintained," there are those who would say there is too much religious influence and those who would say there is too little religious influence.

We are still far far away from a "Church of England" in the US, which was the target of the Establishment Clause.
__________________

__________________
nbcrusader is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:27 PM   #18
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,473
Local Time: 01:54 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
My question was posted as my initial reply. Carter is making a statement, but does not explain why religious beliefs should be singled out for exclusion from the political process.


are they?

and do you not think that the secular state needs to defend itself from the undue influence of religion -- due to religion's thoroughly unique characteristics -- than it might from secular, distinctly political groups or affiliations?
__________________
Irvine511 is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:29 PM   #19
ONE
love, blood, life
 
melon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 11,781
Local Time: 01:54 AM
You know the rules. Muslim countries are supposed to be secular. Christian countries are supposed to be Christian. Don't rock the boat!

Melon
__________________
melon is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:33 PM   #20
Blue Crack Addict
 
nbcrusader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,071
Local Time: 10:54 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
and do you not think that the secular state needs to defend itself from the undue influence of religion -- due to religion's thoroughly unique characteristics -- than it might from secular, distinctly political groups or affiliations?
I'm not sure the "thoroughly unique characteristics" to the extent they exist would justify disparate treatment. Your statement could easily be viewed, as "I want my agenda to be heard, and yours to be silenced."

Could you explain the thoroughly unique characteristics and why they would justify different treatment?
__________________
nbcrusader is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:35 PM   #21
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,473
Local Time: 01:54 AM
i've said it before and i'll say it again -- there is something about the unique nature of religion that, to me, makes it far, far more suspect than ... i would say "it's equivalents" but there are no equivalents to religion. religion presents absolutes, right-and-wrong, death, god, life-after-death, and demands adherence to an authority that supercedes anything to be found on earth.

as such, it's influence must be kept in absolute check at all times. for it is the prevention of religion from taking over the state, or turing the state from a secular model occupied and organized by believers into a theocratic modeled occupied and organized by a particular brand of believers that maintains the richness and diversity of religious life in this country.

i will come out and say it: fewer things make me more nervous than religion, and the "full expression" of religion might, in some eyes, involve stoning me to death or chopping off my head (i.e., Iran).

and i don't think we're as far away as you think we might be from a theocracy, and i would argue that it would take the atheist or the agonstic or the religious minority to be the best judge of the theocratic impulses of any society rather than a member of the majority religion who sees so much in his belief system reflected so thoroughly in the everyday life of the country.
__________________
Irvine511 is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:40 PM   #22
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,473
Local Time: 01:54 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

Could you explain the thoroughly unique characteristics and why they would justify different treatment?

i just did below.

and, as always, i'll pull out my favorite quote:



[q]From the first moment I looked into that horror on Sept. 11, into that fireball, into that explosion of horror, I knew it. I knew it before anything was said about those who did it or why. I recognized an old companion. I recognized religion. Look, I am a priest for over 30 years. Religion is my life, it's my vocation, it's my existence. I'd give my life for it; I hope to have the courage. Therefore, I know it.

And I know, and recognized that day, that the same force, energy, sense, instinct, whatever, passion -- because religion can be a passion -- the same passion that motivates religious people to do great things is the same one that that day brought all that destruction. When they said that the people who did it did it in the name of God, I wasn't the slightest bit surprised. It only confirmed what I knew. I recognized it.

I recognized this thirst, this demand for the absolute. Because if you don't hang on to the unchanging, to the absolute, to that which cannot disappear, you might disappear. I recognized that this thirst for the never-ending, the permanent, the wonders of all things, this intolerance or fear of diversity, that which is different -- these are characteristics of religion. And I knew that that force could take you to do great things. But I knew that there was no greater and more destructive force on the surface of this earth than the religious passion.

My friends in the business, religious leaders, we all took to the streets to try to salvage something of it. Funny, suddenly every government official became a religious leader, reassuring us that all religions are for peace. I understand. It was embarrassing. And now I think we have a religious duty to face this ambivalence about religion, and to do something about it. To promote that which makes it a constructive force and to protect us from that which makes it a destructive force. ...

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl.../albacete.html

[/q]
__________________
Irvine511 is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:40 PM   #23
Blue Crack Addict
 
nbcrusader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,071
Local Time: 10:54 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
i've said it before and i'll say it again -- there is something about the unique nature of religion that, to me, makes it far, far more suspect than ... i would say "it's equivalents" but there are no equivalents to religion. religion presents absolutes, right-and-wrong, death, god, life-after-death, and demands adherence to an authority that supercedes anything to be found on earth.

as such, it's influence must be kept in absolute check at all times. for it is the prevention of religion from taking over the state, or turing the state from a secular model occupied and organized by believers into a theocratic modeled occupied and organized by a particular brand of believers that maintains the richness and diversity of religious life in this country.

i will come out and say it: fewer things make me more nervous than religion, and the "full expression" of religion might, in some eyes, involve stoning me to death or chopping off my head (i.e., Iran).

and i don't think we're as far away as you think we might be from a theocracy, and i would argue that it would take the atheist or the agonstic or the religious minority to be the best judge of the theocratic impulses of any society rather than a member of the majority religion who sees so much in his belief system reflected so thoroughly in the everyday life of the country.
I was hoping for a little more. The belief in absolutes crosses all groups, even those who declare that "all things are relative". Thus, it would not be appropriate to single out religion for the "must be kept in absolute check at all times". That sound like your own form of oppression. You would become what you are trying to prevent.

As for the best judge of a theocracy, I'm not sure an atheist or the agonstic or the religious minority would necessarily give the objective answer when they would have their own belief systems or political agendas to advance.
__________________
nbcrusader is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:43 PM   #24
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,473
Local Time: 01:54 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


I was hoping for a little more. The belief in absolutes crosses all groups, even those who declare that "all things are relative". Thus, it would not be appropriate to single out religion for the "must be kept in absolute check at all times". That sound like your own form of oppression. You would become what you are trying to prevent.

As for the best judge of a theocracy, I'm not sure an atheist or the agonstic or the religious minority would necessarily give the objective answer when they would have their own belief systems or political agendas to advance.


no. you miss the main point if you compare an absolute belief with belief in the Absolute.
__________________
Irvine511 is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:44 PM   #25
ONE
love, blood, life
 
melon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 11,781
Local Time: 01:54 AM
I also don't think that the Religious Right has particularly thought about the consequences if they get the "Christian country" that they desire. In every instance in Western society, a theocratic government inevitably gives way to an outright hatred of religion in a generation or two.

Why do you think Roman Catholicism is in a sharp decline in all of its traditional haunts? Because every government that shoved Catholicism down its throat has now created the most liberal and secular populations ever. The French have wanted absolutely nothing to do with Catholicism since the French Revolution. Quebec, as recently as the 1940s-1960s, was virtually controlled by the Catholic Church, and now the province is staunchly anti-religious. Spain, after Franco, has also rapidly retreated from Catholicism.

So, sure, groups like Focus on the Family and the Christian Coalition might be enjoying their grab at nationwide domination, but if history is any guide, this nation will become completely disgusted with Christianity and drop it completely. America certainly has done it before: following the fall of Puritanism and the aftermath of the American Revolution (with the disassembly of the Church of England), America was very hostile to conservative interpretations of Christianity. Maybe too much time has passed and too many lessons lost for us to prevent history from repeating itself. The allure of short-term gain always outweighs the wisdom of long-term stability.

Melon
__________________
melon is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:48 PM   #26
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
Utoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Lovetown
Posts: 8,343
Local Time: 02:54 AM
Nbcrusader, You make some very good points. I still disagree, however, with your thoughts on the "freedom from." Who knows--perhaps it's just semantics. See, I would say not that it's a dangerous principle if it's a guiding principle---rather, it's dangerous if it's theguiding principle. To be kept in check, the "freedom to" principle must be kept at an equal weight. The same is true the other way around. It can be just as dangerous to use "freedom to" as the guiding principle, rather than a guiding principle.

"Freedom from" is extremely important-----a "freedom from" persecution, bigotry, slavery, violence, etc., is imperative.

The example that you provided---"Do not steal"---is essentially rooted in a "freedom from." My freedom from losing my property overrides your freedom to take it. That is an example of a from/to imbalance that is necessary for practical reasons.

I think what may not have been made clear in my argument before is that both the from & the to are two sides of the same coin. My freedom to keep all my property = my freedom from you stealing my property. I'm not saying my freedom to practice my beliefs = my freedom from having to tolerate yours. Instead, I'm saying that my freedom to practice my beliefs = my freedom from having to practice yours.

It is that latter principle that is jeopardized with religion-swayed politics. Let's face it---the religious right isn't weighing in on issues like "do not steal." Things like that are practical issues, upon which, like you said, we can all agree. The religious right is weighing in on "moral" issues. Take, for instance, the issue of gay marriage. There is honestly no practical reason why two women or two men cannot have a piece of paper that says "marriage" on it. It's barely even a moral issue-----it's really a religious issue, painted as a moral issue by religious groups. In this case, a gay couple's "freedom to" get married has been quashed by religious groups' "freedom from" having to tolerate it. Ultimately, you could say the gay couple's "freedom from" having to practice someone else's beliefs---or their right to exercise their own "freedom to" practice their own beliefs and values---has been silenced.

This is what the religious right and other politically-oriented religious groups are doing. They're not weighing in on obvious, practical issues. Instead, they're greatly swaying choice issues---affecting people's "freedom to" do something, which is essentially their "freedom from" being forced to practice what the right believes.

Carter makes his statement because the United States was founded with the goal of preventing this very thing from happening. The founders, having been persecuted in Europe, wanted to be able to practice their own religion, their own beliefs. They wanted to exercise both their "freedom to" practice their own value system, as well as their "freedom from" being forced to practice others' value systems---a "freedom from" being persecuted. True, a politician as a person may act from his or her own religious viewpoint. But to have organized religious groups officially weigh in on "moral" politics, officially campaign for or against politicians (by sermons, money or othewise), and weigh in on laws that affect the moral values by which other people choose to live their lives----it is this that both Carter and the original founders of the US have worked to avoid.
__________________
Utoo is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 05:51 PM   #27
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Strong Badia
Posts: 3,429
Local Time: 06:54 AM
A fascinating discussion.

Irvine, it seems that the post you quoted (I'm not sure of the source) referred to both the positive and negative aspects of religion, insofar as religious passion can drive some to fly planes into buildings (or, to be fair, bomb abortion clinics), it can also drive others to feed the poor, rescue women from abusive relationships (my father, a pastor, used to help smuggle abused women out of the state)...or try to aid the continent of Africa. Bono for example cites a variety of reasons for helping Africa, but his Biblical one can't be ignored either -- and for many, the Biblical one has been the most profound.

So I'm not sure that the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater in this case. You quite candidly say that "fewer things make me more nervous than religion," and I can understand your personal reasons for saying so. All I'm saying is, religion has also been a powerful force for good, and we can't ignore that either.
__________________
nathan1977 is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 06:03 PM   #28
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,473
Local Time: 01:54 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
A fascinating discussion.

Irvine, it seems that the post you quoted (I'm not sure of the source) referred to both the positive and negative aspects of religion, insofar as religious passion can drive some to fly planes into buildings (or, to be fair, bomb abortion clinics), it can also drive others to feed the poor, rescue women from abusive relationships (my father, a pastor, used to help smuggle abused women out of the state)...or try to aid the continent of Africa. Bono for example cites a variety of reasons for helping Africa, but his Biblical one can't be ignored either -- and for many, the Biblical one has been the most profound.

So I'm not sure that the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater in this case. You quite candidly say that "fewer things make me more nervous than religion," and I can understand your personal reasons for saying so. All I'm saying is, religion has also been a powerful force for good, and we can't ignore that either.


i absolutely agree. what the quote is about is the unique power of religion -- because *only* religion posits connection to God, the Absolute, the Infinite, etc. -- it can move men to do great things, and abominable things.

essentially, religion and faith is the opposite of reason and rationality. which, i think, makes religion and faith part of being human. we are emotional beings as well, and i embrace that.

however, if we are to speak about how humans are to govern themselves, the mechanisms by which we do so must be created by reason -- after all, many will say that the ultimate achievement of the Englightenment was the US Constitution and it's separation of church and state containing the radical idea that men, themselves, were capable of governing themselves.

and they were capable of governing themsleves precisely because they came from a divine place of origin, a common Creator who had endowed them with these capacities, which is to say reason.

i am not for the removal of religion in public or cultural life. quite the opposite. but i am for the eternal vigilance of the encroaching of religious belief into the wheels of the political system and the decision making processes of government.

and on a side note, i find "God bless America" to be really distasteful coming out of the mouth of the president.

as if this country isn't blessed enough while 40,000 Pakistanis are freezing in refugee camps in the mountains ...
__________________
Irvine511 is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 06:04 PM   #29
Blue Crack Addict
 
nbcrusader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,071
Local Time: 10:54 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Utoo
It is that latter principle that is jeopardized with religion-swayed politics. Let's face it---the religious right isn't weighing in on issues like "do not steal." Things like that are practical issues, upon which, like you said, we can all agree. The religious right is weighing in on "moral" issues. Take, for instance, the issue of gay marriage. There is honestly no practical reason why two women or two men cannot have a piece of paper that says "marriage" on it. It's barely even a moral issue-----it's really a religious issue, painted as a moral issue by religious groups. In this case, a gay couple's "freedom to" get married has been quashed by religious groups' "freedom from" having to tolerate it. Ultimately, you could say the gay couple's "freedom from" having to practice someone else's beliefs---or their right to exercise their own "freedom to" practice their own beliefs and values---has been silenced.

This is what the religious right and other politically-oriented religious groups are doing. They're not weighing in on obvious, practical issues. Instead, they're greatly swaying choice issues---affecting people's "freedom to" do something, which is essentially their "freedom from" being forced to practice what the right believes.
You've made some excellent arguments here, Utoo. I'm not sure, however, that the gay marriage example supports the argument. I am well aware of the opinions on this subject and the Religious Right's championing of various legislative efforts (efforts I personally oppose and will block any effort to champion the issue through our church). But the support for these legistlative efforts goes far beyond the Religious Right. While it may make full sense to you that there is "no practical reason why two women or two men cannot have a piece of paper that says "marriage" on it," a contrary belief is held by a broader group for reasons not rooted in conservative Biblical theology. If the majority disagrees with beliefs held by the "Religious Right" - it is reflected in the law (such as abortion).

The best approach to counter a vocal or influencial minority is to have a better argument - not to stiffle one side's argument.
__________________
nbcrusader is offline  
Old 12-12-2005, 06:04 PM   #30
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
Utoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Lovetown
Posts: 8,343
Local Time: 02:54 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511

for it is the prevention of religion from taking over ...... modeled occupied and organized by a particular brand of believers
This is a key point. I was raised christian/catholic. But, having gone through years of exploration of other religions & personal reflection, I am not in any way the same brand of christian as the religious right.

Groups like the religious right have taken faith and spirituality and created "religion"---the human, social, political mutation of faith and spirituality. Such groups take their religious---political and social---views, and push to enact them into public practice/mandate under the guise of faith and spirituality. Morals and values---personal, spiritual issues---become marketed as social issues, even though not all members of society may subscribe to them.
__________________

__________________
Utoo is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com