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Old 12-07-2007, 11:31 AM   #81
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A couple of things to note:

This is an election campaign, so any judgment of "genuineness" needs to be tempered by the spectre of "pandering." In that arena, this speech is neither remarkable nor revolutionary, as it sounds like it just fulfilled a series of bullet points to appease his audience, anti-Mormon Christian conservatives. All of the points he stated, for instance, are the kind of things that we've discussed here ad infinitum. The kind of vibe I received from this speech was, "Accept me; I hate the same people as you!"

In terms of his command of U.S. and world history, it is as romanticist and revisionist as one would expect in a speech like this. Our Founding Fathers were not Christian conservatives, as evangelical Protestantism did not exist until around 1835--after they were dead. They were the kind of people that Romney and his target audience would probably think very little of: agnostics, deists, Unitarians. In fact, Romney's appeal "to the Creator" references Enlightenment-era deist vocabulary.

As for "empty" European cathedrals, Romney ignores the fact that Christianity, in Europe, has historical connotations of statist imperialism and oppression. The Vatican still does not have a great track record, as it was a strong supporter of Francoist Spain, and I just read recently that the Vatican and Iran, of all nations, have very strong relations. American Protestantism was, at the very least, designed to be decentralized and independent, but I get the sense over these past three decades that "the powers that be" in American Christianity would rather build a Catholic-style strong, centralized institution and risk being an instigator of the kind of abuses that they sought to distance themselves from.

On that note, let's get to the crux of his speech, where he applauded "people of faith" and basically states that they are the definition of "Americana." Frankly, if you really look closely at all of this, it is much ado about nothing. "People of faith," like any American citizen, are free to petition the government, and this has certainly been the case for centuries. What they don't like, it seems, is the fact that such petitions don't have to be enacted on demand. There still, at its core, is such a thing as "rule of law," and while many in this demographic might believe that the "rule of law" is "theodemocratic," it is simply--and matter of factly--not true. A student of political science knows that our government, by design, was based largely on Enlightenment-era secular philosophy, which purposely sought to create laws based on logic, reason, and fact, not the kind of arbitrary "faith" that many theocratic European imperials ruled upon. This is why we, today, enjoy such idea as universal human rights, democracy, and, yes, religious freedom (not just freedom of religion, but also freedom from religion; the former cannot exist without the latter).

In short, it's a "feel good" polemic based on very little substance. Sounds like a classic political speech to me.
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:40 AM   #82
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Originally posted by Irvine511
change around a few words, and it's an Al-Qaedian call to the fundamental overthrow of secularism for a new and divinely inspired Christ-centered government.
This has to be the most ignorant thing I've read in FYM in quite some time.

Are you really so blind to reality that you can't tell the difference between this speech and a jihadist call to action? Did he say one thing about Christ? About the founder of Mormonism? Or did he repeatedly call to the common threads of religion in this country?

ETA: this thread really astounds me in its utter disregard for people of faith -- who constitute the vast, vast majority of people in this country. You realize that you're disregarding the deeply felt perspectives and beliefs of about 95% of American citizens, right? Regardless of whether they're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.

BVS - just because you don't care about religion, does not mean it does not matter to others.

And the line about America being in the 11th century -- cute.
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:49 AM   #83
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Originally posted by nathan1977
This has to be the most ignorant thing I've read in FYM in quite some time.

Are you really so blind to reality that you can't tell the difference between this speech and a jihadist call to action?

For pity's sake, Irvine. You're smarter than this.
The larger question that unites the two, however, is what the role of religion should be in government. Practically speaking, should Saudi Arabia be a model, where those who don't follow the fundamentalist Christian interpretation of religious law get punished? Just to note, such "religious police" did exist in some parts of imperial Europe, so don't think that this phenomenon is historically related solely to Islam.

That's probably what's puzzling about all of this. We can make pandering statements that appease those elements of American society who believe that "their religion" should become law; and, yet, these same people would be outraged if a different Christian denomination was practiced in the public arena ahead of their own. Likewise, we're also busy trying to tell nations like Saudi Arabia that they need to be more tolerant of diversity.

So do "people of faith," as Romney would define them, truly believe in the larger values of freedom and diversity, or are they just being self-centered and selfish? That is, are they only looking for Saudi Arabia to be "tolerant," because they aren't Christian? A lot of people in the Middle East certainly believe that this is our true motivation.

I think these kinds of thorny questions are as to why we shouldn't be so quick to integrate religion into politics.
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:50 AM   #84
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They can endorse it in the sense that they can say Romney's faith shouldn't be an issue. It's scary that people are using his religion against him. I didn't know that Mormons believed that God had a wife!
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:56 AM   #85
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Originally posted by melon


The larger question that unites the two, however, is what the role of religion should be in government. Practically speaking, should Saudi Arabia be a model, where those who don't follow the fundamentalist Christian interpretation of religious law get punished?
Why Saudi Arabia? Turkey is a far better model, since they've been able to make it work.

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So do "people of faith," as Romney would define them, truly believe in the larger values of freedom and diversity, or are they just being self-centered and selfish? That is, are they only looking for Saudi Arabia to be "tolerant," because they aren't Christian? A lot of people in the Middle East certainly believe that this is our true motivation.
Yes, but interestingly, in certain quarters, Jewish secularists are aligning with Christian Zionists in their desire to protect the Israel/U.S. connection. People like David Brog are interesting individuals here. There is always a pragmatic approach to effectiveness, but why alienate people of faith by acting (ironically) holier or more enlightened than thou? Religion in the public square is always going to be a thorny issue, but what's the option? Eliminating it? How does that solve anything, except create a reverse fascistic nation? Romney had an interesting point about secularism being just as much a religion as anything else. (And I'm not even voting for him.)
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:57 AM   #86
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Originally posted by nathan1977


This has to be the most ignorant thing I've read in FYM in quite some time.

Are you really so blind to reality that you can't tell the difference between this speech and a jihadist call to action? Did he say one thing about Christ? About the founder of Mormonism? Or did he repeatedly call to the common threads of religion in this country?
Let's put this in context. There's a lot you can read between the lines here. This was definately a speech to Conservative "Christians". This was not a speech to all religions. Look how my question of putting Muslim or Scientology in the public square got ignored. The people he was making this speech to would shit bricks if Muslim symbols would be found in the courthouses or in the town square, but they scream at the top of their lungs to keep their 10 commandments and nativity scenes there. Don't kid yourself, this was not a speech about all religions.

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Originally posted by nathan1977

BVS - just because you don't care about religion, does not mean it does not matter to others.

When did I say this? Wow, talk about putting words in my mouth.
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:59 AM   #87
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Originally posted by nathan1977
ETA: this thread really astounds me in its utter disregard for people of faith -- who constitute the vast, vast majority of people in this country. You realize that you're disregarding the deeply felt perspectives and beliefs of about 95% of American citizens, right? Regardless of whether they're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.
Let's not forget, though, that "people of faith" has become a loaded term for "reactionary zealot." I, for example, in a connotation-free world, am a "person of faith" too. And in my studies of religion--which, in a decentralized Protestant mindset, are as equal in value as anyone else's beliefs--I believe it is gravely immoral to continue denying gay rights and gay marriage in our society. Likewise, I am not alone in this belief, as there are other religions out there supportive of both. And, yet, when it came to some key court cases in this nation, how did the government defend denying gay marriage? By bringing in "people of faith," and arguing that "all people of faith" are opposed to it.

I hope you can see the danger in all of this. American Christianity has thrived longer than European Christianity because of the fact that it existed wholly separate from politics. Now that we've come to equate "people of faith" with "far-right, anti-intellectual conservative Republicans," there is the very realistic possibility that future generations of Americans will reject religion en masse, because they will be unable to separate the political connotations of "people of faith" with the reality that religion, at its core, does not necessarily conform to any one ideology nor does it necessarily demand that one hold preposterous, anti-intellectual beliefs like "young Earth creationism" or "intelligent design."

At its core, American secularism has preserved and strengthened religious fervor in our country, rather than having weakened it. And for Romney to bring up spectres of "Europe" is completely dishonest, as far as I see it.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:10 PM   #88
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar

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When did I say this? Wow, talk about putting words in my mouth.
Sorry -- I was reading fast. You're right, my bad.

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Let's put this in context. There's a lot you can read between the lines here. This was definately a speech to Conservative "Christians". This was not a speech to all religions. Look how my question of putting Muslim or Scientology in the public square got ignored. The people he was making this speech to would shit bricks if Muslim symbols would be found in the courthouses or in the town square, but they scream at the top of their lungs to keep their 10 commandments and nativity scenes there. Don't kid yourself, this was not a speech about all religions.
If he wanted to, he could have referenced JC till Kingdom come, since statistically his biggest audience is Christians. If he had, your point would have been proven. I'm surprised (and pleased) that he didn't. His restraint seems to address exactly what you're talking about -- the need to recognize that we live in a pluralistic society where many different faiths are celebrated. And he specifically did reference menorah candles etc in the public square, so these cries seem to fall on deaf ears.

Here's a question -- is pluralism the same thing as secularism?
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:15 PM   #89
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Originally posted by melon


Let's not forget, though, that "people of faith" has become a loaded term for "reactionary zealot."
That's funny, since people like Obama, Hilary, Bono, etc seem to equate "people of faith" with progressive, compassionate, caring, active people.

In the common parlance that is developing, "fundamentalist" is a loaded term for "reactionary zealot." "Fundamentalist" and "people of faith" are very different from each other...as you yourself are an example of.

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At its core, American secularism has preserved and strengthened religious fervor in our country, rather than having weakened it.


I would say that this is the result of pluralism, as opposed to secularism. To answer my own question earlier, pluralism embraces religion in all its forms. Secularism denies it altogether.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:18 PM   #90
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Why Saudi Arabia? Turkey is a far better model, since they've been able to make it work.
Actually, Turkey is staunchly "secularist," due to the nationalist ideology of Ataturk, while having noted problems with both religious freedom (putting on lots of restrictions on the Greek Orthodox Church, and closing their seminaries, due to bans on private schools) and tolerance of ethnic minorities (fining Turkish Kurds for using the banned letter "z," which doesn't exist in Turkish, but does in Kurdish).

I don't support this extreme, which very obviously does not exist in the United States. That's why I tend to equate conservative Christian complaints about being "discriminated" in America to be the equivalent of "crying wolf," because they do not suffer from any legal discrimination at all.

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Yes, but interestingly, in certain quarters, Jewish secularists are aligning with Christian Zionists in their desire to protect the Israel/U.S. connection. People like David Brog are interesting individuals here. There is always a pragmatic approach to effectiveness, but why alienate people of faith by acting (ironically) holier or more enlightened than thou? Religion in the public square is always going to be a thorny issue, but what's the option? Eliminating it? How does that solve anything, except create a reverse fascistic nation? Romney had an interesting point about secularism being just as much a religion as anything else. (And I'm not even voting for him.)
In terms of acting "holier/more enlightened than thou," my recent hatred of relativism means that I will not grant credence to an idea, just because it "exists." And this is very much in keeping with the scientific method. Scientific hypotheses are created all the time, but only the ones backed up with logic, reason, and evidence are given credence. Yet, this doesn't stop people from choosing to advocate a certain hypothesis if they choose.

Likewise, this tends to be my view of the role of religion in society, which should neither be held in higher nor lower regard in terms of the public sphere. As we are a nation of a myriad of faiths, not just fundamentalist Christianity, we are all free to petition the government to do what we believe is right. However, the Constitution and Bill of Rights implore us not to institute laws that infringe on the larger rights of others.

This is why I state that much of this is much ado about nothing, except for those who want Christianity to take a higher place in American society tantamount to theocracy. And, as a matter of principle and pragmatism, I believe that to be a mistake.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:25 PM   #91
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Originally posted by nathan1977
If he wanted to, he could have referenced JC till Kingdom come, since statistically his biggest audience is Christians. If he had, your point would have been proven. I'm surprised (and pleased) that he didn't. His restraint seems to address exactly what you're talking about -- the need to recognize that we live in a pluralistic society where many different faiths are celebrated. And he specifically did reference menorah candles etc in the public square, so these cries seem to fall on deaf ears.

Here's a question -- is pluralism the same thing as secularism? [/B]
But if he referenced JC any chance of Jewish voters or non-believers would be out the door. So he played it smart. He said all religions but spoke in CC code. The Europe bashing the taking our nativity scenes these are all whinigs of the CCs.

Is pluralism the same as secularism? No but a truly pluralistic society would treat all religions equal and not treat them based on percentages. You honestly think those people who get pissed off at 'Happy Holidays' or 'Season's Greetings' want to live in a truly pluralistic society? Hell no. They want theirs and that's it.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:30 PM   #92
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


But if he referenced JC any chance of Jewish voters or non-believers would be out the door. So he played it smart. He said all religions but spoke in CC code. The Europe bashing the taking our nativity scenes these are all whinigs of the CCs.
Damned if you do mention religion, damned if you don't, right? And since I spend time in Europe every year, I think he described it quite accurately. Churches are empty. Christianity is on the wane. Islam is on the rise. It is what it is, but there are a large number of people here who don't want that. Are you going to tell them they can't?

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Is pluralism the same as secularism? No but a truly pluralistic society would treat all religions equal and not treat them based on percentages.
Welcome to the curse of representative government.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:39 PM   #93
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Churches are empty. Christianity is on the wane. Islam is on the rise. It is what it is, but there are a large number of people here who don't want that. Are you going to tell them they can't?
So is this more of an issue of nativism than anything else? After all, the "rise of Islam" in Europe is attributable to immigration, rather than "white Europe" converting to Islam.

For those looking to "keep things the same," it is always a losing battle. The nativist American "Know Nothing" Party in the 1850s tried to keep "everything the same" through virulently anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant polemics, failed miserably, and is a historical laughingstock today. Yet, nowadays, we look at all those descendants of Irish, Italian, German, and Eastern European immigrants today as "American" as anyone else. The same, rest assured, will happen for future generations of Americans.

Change is a constant, not a variable.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:39 PM   #94
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Originally posted by melon


Actually, Turkey is staunchly "secularist," due to the nationalist ideology of Ataturk, while having noted problems with both religious freedom (putting on lots of restrictions on the Greek Orthodox Church, and closing their seminaries, due to bans on private schools) and tolerance of ethnic minorities (fining Turkish Kurds for using the banned letter "z," which doesn't exist in Turkish, but does in Kurdish).


Turkey has its struggles, due to its geographical as well as political situation. However, it's a far better (and probably more realistic) goal than Saudi Arabia (or Iraq, for that matter) becoming a "democracy."

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I don't support this extreme, which very obviously does not exist in the United States. That's why I tend to equate conservative Christian complaints about being "discriminated" in America to be the equivalent of "crying wolf," because they do not suffer from any legal discrimination at all.


Those who grow more affected every year by being refused the free practice of religion would probably disagree with you. It's not just a Christian thing, either. In college I campaigned on behalf of Jewish and Muslim students to have prayer rooms and gathering places on campus, and the strongest opponents weren't Christians -- it was people who wanted to take away the chapel too.

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This is why I state that much of this is much ado about nothing, except for those who want Christianity to take a higher place in American society tantamount to theocracy. And, as a matter of principle and pragmatism, I believe that to be a mistake.
Here's the beauty of the thing. The enlightened few who would stop at nothing to create a Christian theocracy balance out the enlightened few who would stop at nothing to remove all religion from America, replacing pluralism with secularism. Thus the rest of us, somewhere in the middle, are allowed to live, work, and pray in peace.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:39 PM   #95
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Yes, and now they are even asking for building mosques and tomorrow they are taking us over!

Seriously, the reasons for why our churches are empty and religion doesn't play such a role anymore (and yet we oppose any kind of torture) are so many it would fill books easily.

I really wish to know what exactly Romney is trying to say there, but I guess the people this was aimed to did understand.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:47 PM   #96
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Originally posted by nathan1977


Damned if you do mention religion, damned if you don't, right? And since I spend time in Europe every year, I think he described it quite accurately. Churches are empty. Christianity is on the wane. Islam is on the rise. It is what it is, but there are a large number of people here who don't want that. Are you going to tell them they can't?
No. I think there have been many canidates that have mentioned religion without making people's skin crawl.

Am I going to tell them they can't what?


Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977


Welcome to the curse of representative government.
Oh please, do you really think Christianity is being represented properly in this country?

Why is it so hard for people to accept that if I ran for president next time around(for that's when I'd be elgible) and got elected, that they would have a president that believed in God, but:

wouldn't push for creationism being taught in science classes, because it's not a science.

wouldn't push ammendments denying rights to certain people because some people of my religion interpret that some people are sinners.

had no problem with nativity scenes on private property, but they don't belong in front of a courthouse.

All humanity is equal. I don't care if you are white, black, straight, gay, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, athiest, etc you will all have an equal playing ground and all have the same rights.

Why is that so fucking hard for people?
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:48 PM   #97
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Originally posted by nathan1977


That's funny, since people like Obama, Hilary, Bono, etc seem to equate "people of faith" with progressive, compassionate, caring, active people.
Right, that reminds me of this part of Romney's speech.

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I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs. I think he would be appalled, actually."
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:57 PM   #98
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar

No. I think there have been many canidates that have mentioned religion without making people's skin crawl.

Am I going to tell them they can't what?

Are you going to tell them that they can't want something different -- that they can't want (and vote) to have things like public nativity scenes, etc.

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Oh please, do you really think Christianity is being represented properly in this country?
By whom? Certainly not the government, but the whole point of representative government is that the voters have the right to elect the candidate that most aligns with their views. And until the Democrats' amazing turnaround after the spanking in the 2004 elections, where they all as one seemed to see the light and push religion back into their language, Republican candidates tended to speak the language of the majority of Americans.

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Why is it so hard for people to accept that if I ran for president next time around (for that's when I'd be elgible) and got elected, that they would have a president that believed in God, but...
Go ahead. But if your views don't line up with the majority of Americans, don't complain when they don't elect you. You have the right to run, to speak your views, etc. You don't have the right to have everyone agree with you.

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Why is that so fucking hard for people?
Because people have the freedom to disagree with you, BVS.
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Old 12-07-2007, 01:03 PM   #99
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Are you going to tell them that they can't want something different -- that they can't want (and vote) to have things like public nativity scenes, etc.
A mature democracy balances the interests of the majority, along with strong protection of minority rights.

Take that for what it is, but the majority isn't always right. That's usually where we end up with "democratatorships" and ethnic cleansing campaigns in certain nations.
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Old 12-07-2007, 01:14 PM   #100
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Originally posted by nathan1977


Are you going to tell them that they can't want something different -- that they can't want (and vote) to have things like public nativity scenes, etc.
You can put them in front of a church, your house, hell you can even put them on the roof of your car for all I'm concerned, but they have no place in a town square or courthouse.


Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977

By whom? Certainly not the government, but the whole point of representative government is that the voters have the right to elect the candidate that most aligns with their views.
Fine with me, but your "views" start screwing with my education and my rights, you are in the wrong and you views have no place in the political spectrum. If your religion says red-headed people are the devil's spawn and should have rights, so be it, believe that all you want, but you don't have the right to push it into legislation. I don't care if you make up 99% of the country.
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Originally posted by nathan1977

Republican candidates tended to speak the language of the majority of Americans.
And mostly in false tounges.


Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977

Go ahead. But if your views don't line up with the majority of Americans, don't complain when they don't elect you. You have the right to run, to speak your views, etc. You don't have the right to have everyone agree with you.
Who said I did?

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Originally posted by nathan1977


Because people have the freedom to disagree with you, BVS.
Of course they do, but you don't seem to understand something. You have the right to disagree all you want, but you don't have the right to not make another human being equal. You don't, I don't care what your views.
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