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Into the evangelical bear pit

Justin Webb | 22:04 UK time, Monday, 18 August 2008

As the dust settles on the Obama/McCain "what would Jesus do" showdown (and various aftershocks, allegations of cheating etc), there is a comprehensive and reasonable analysis of the whole shebang in the Chicago Tribune.

I must say, although I thought the whole thing weird in conception (why should the candidates be dragged into the evangelical bear pit at the very time that evangelical Christians are a fading force in US politics?), I did think it was a far better than that ghastly saccharine effort CNN put on when the candidates simply wittered on - in a manner criticised at the time by many and ultimately rather embarrassing to all concerned.

There's a fascinating and important new survey of interest to all of us who have views on anti-Americanism. It's here on a British-based website with worldwide importance and, it is to be hoped, worldwide reach. The finding that 31% of Brits think Americans without health insurance are turned away from emergency treatment (near the bottom of the findings) is hugely important because we often report (and rightly so) on the failings of the US system and the sense among many Americans that it has to change; but when I tell BBC audiences that large numbers of people are uninsured (which is true), what many Brits think is that those people will get NO treatment (which is, of course, not true).

I do think (as we discussed a few postings ago) that the US is on balance (and for better or worse) a more brutal place than western Europe - but the difference is far less marked than many Europeans would believe.

Comments

  • 1. At 10:59pm on 18 Aug 2008, Candace9839 wrote:

    Why agree to a forum to discuss religious views? Because it was to each of their respective advantages to do so. For Obama, he could explain his faith in personal terms and distinguish himself from McCain on issues like being pro-choice and choosing Supreme Court justices. For McCain, he could reassure his conservative base of his views and try to prevent Obama gaining their votes.

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  • 2. At 11:03pm on 18 Aug 2008, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    "Why should (they) be dragged into the evangelical bear pit"? Only because opting out would expose them to criticism on that account which would probably be more difficult to deal with than anything arising out of their participation.

    It's like going to the dentist, unpleasant but necessary. Just get it over with.

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  • 3. At 11:12pm on 18 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    The mixes two themes: health care and evangelicals.

    The evangelicals have made two significant contributions to American politics:

    1) Prohibition and the consequent establishment of large-scale organized crime.

    2) George W. Bush- the consequences of which America and the World are still suffering.

    The Saddleback Ministry is very moderate in comparison to the Southern Baptist Convention- which claims 16 million voters.

    This is a theme that deserves coverage.
    Many of these individuals are firmly convinced that Armageddon in the Mid-East will bring THE RAPTURE (q.v.) wherein the faithful will be swept up to sit naked at the right hand of the Lord and watch the unconverted writhe in agony below.

    [Thus Israel and war are to be encouraged].

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  • 4. At 11:15pm on 18 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    The very poor can get medical treatment, although it may not be very good care.

    It is those who have small incomes and cannot afford the insurance fees that may lose everything if they or a family member falls ill.

    There are many horror stories involved in this.

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  • 5. At 11:31pm on 18 Aug 2008, Cyril_Croydon wrote:

    Off topic, but Obama's Veep anouncement is imminent. Looks like Biden

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  • 6. At 11:43pm on 18 Aug 2008, mary gravitt wrote:

    Religion and politics in the Right-wing, What Would Jesus Do? mode is a crock. In the first instance the job of President of the the United States is a secular position. The US Constitution seperates Church and State. This was done so that America could shed the ties that bound the Founder to the Eurpean state where household items could be sold and people put in prison for not paying church taxes.

    Holy fathers always have an ax to grind whether it is overthrowing Roe v. Wade or some other ideas of spreading the religious franchise: Right Wing Christianity that only sees in terms of GOOD AND EVIL. A systematic judging of THE HOUSE SERVANT OF ANOTHER.

    If Fundamentalism is playing as great a role in 2008 as it did in 2000 and 2004, count me out of the vote. I have had enough buchwacking hypocrites to last me a lifetime. They practice a unity of fear.

    As long as organized religion takes priority over the US Constitution, we in America can never feel safe. What would Jeusus Do? He would tell them all to go to hell.

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  • 7. At 11:44pm on 18 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    So which one is the better Christian? So who cares? Since when is piety a requirement for the presidency. (Or if it is, it shouldn't be.)

    i did not watch that embarrassment, and I think Obama demeaned himself by taking part in it. All this nonsense about the evangelicals. I should they that by now they even they are ready to opt out.

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  • 8. At 11:51pm on 18 Aug 2008, GhetNormal wrote:

    I agree in part with Candace9839 and Gary_A_Hill, they were hardly "dragged" into this. It was a perfect opportunity for both men, who have moderate religious views, to frame their policies in a Christian perspective and introduce themselves apart from those policies.

    But, Cyril_Croydon, I wouldn't write off Tim Kaine. He would certainly be Obama's choice if he relies on gut instinct.

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  • 9. At 11:51pm on 18 Aug 2008, MagicKirin wrote:

    A few points:

    1. Obama lost and we now have another reason why Obama is avoiding debates.

    2. The cheating claim mmakes Obama campaign look like sore losers.

    3. There is no cone of silence or shoe phone

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  • 10. At 11:56pm on 18 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    "The finding that 31% of Brits think Americans without health insurance are turned away from emergency treatment (near the bottom of the findings) is hugely important because we often report (and rightly so) on the failings of the US system and the sense among many Americans that it has to change; but when I tell BBC audiences that large numbers of people are uninsured (which is true), what many Brits think is that those people will get NO treatment (which is, of course, not true)."

    "we?" When "we" report? So you mean British journalists only? Or do you mean American ones as well. Again I think it kind of you to defend us against misguided and irronious thoughts and perceptions of America abroad (odly enough seemingly most prevalent in our nation's closest ally!), but I must say, do you British journalists not think we Americans can criteaque our own failings by ourselves? Surely you know that we are perfectly capable of annalising ourselves right? We have minds of our own. And while we certainly welcom and need foreign thought and insite on us and our lifestyle (foreigners see things in this nation that an American never would notice), I must say I find it very, very incredibly frustrating indeed to learn of the overwelming attitude of many British reporters of '"O no that's wrong! You need to improve! You need to be a more prosperous nation for your citizens and the world! You don't want to let your citizens down do you? You should always leave this world better than it was a generation before. Fix your health care! Lose the guns! Abolish capitle punishment! Join the 21st century!" I mean come on! I don't know of many American journalists (and correct me if I'm wrong) who pick apart the NHS (or any other domestic issue in the UK) to the scrupulous digree that (many but not all, and certainly not you Justin!) Brits seem to do with ours! And I think that is partly because (some) Americans realise that there are certain domestic areas of other countries's make up that are just not to be mettled with! They perceve it to be rude and intrusive for one to comment on the domestic affairs of other countries!!

    And might I ask you Justin, why do so many Brits think this about our health care system? Is it because the reporting on our health care system is somehow lop sided or unfair? I'm not accusing I'm just curious! For there has to be an honest believeable true reason for this! Or are that many Brits "anti-american!" Let me tell you something. If there was something that I'm not sure about regarding the NHS, I certainly wouldn't asume the worst of the worst!! My God!! I even find it hard to believe those stories about dirty hospitles etc!! Why are people so negative regarding America abroad?


    I tell you Justin, I certainly do hope like you that this web cite gets world wide recognition, so that Americans can start to correct some of this anti-American sentament along side you!!

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  • 11. At 11:57pm on 18 Aug 2008, Marvin wrote:

    Why do they go? Beacuse Obama has to prove he's not a Muslim to some nutters out there.

    While it may seem disgusting, at least the religious right in the US doesn't encourage you to tear down somebody else's mosque like they do in India. Thank God for small mercies!

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  • 12. At 11:59pm on 18 Aug 2008, Iphegenia42 wrote:

    Justin, I have taken a look at the 'British based website with worldwide importance'. As an American, I'm always happy when people praise America. But I would prefer it be based on facts. Why are you quoting a Tory website as objective fact? The founders of this website are on the list of 25 most influential right wingers in the Telegraph!

    It is not too difficult to pick a number of things apart.

    Let's take your emergency treatment statement. Their heading is: "Every American has a legal access to health care." Yes, if you show up at an emergency room with what appears to be a medical emergency, the hospital is required by Federal law to stabilize your condition (note: ongoing treatment is NOT required). However, if you have no insurance: 1. You will be sent a hefty bill, and 2. they are NOT required to treat you if there is no emergency. If you have no insurance, and discover you have cancer (not an emergency), you either fund the treatment yourself, go bankrupt trying, or die.

    Then we have this: "Public health programs are robust and well-targeted
    The United States is home to over 1,000 health clinics that are federally funded". How does that work for the 45 million uninsured? You do the math.
    What is increasingly growing in the US is the underinsured, where only catastrophic loss is covered, and there are lifetime caps on coverage.

    And lets look at this: "more research and development goes on in America than anywhere else. Despite this, pharmaceutical spending as a percentage of overall health expenses is lower in the United States than the OECD average. " There is famous book in the US called 'Lying with Statistics'. Your website authors seem to have read it. The US spends more than 20% or ONE FIFTH of GDP on health care. So your pharmaceutical spending as a percentage of that isn't saying much.

    The US healthcare system is a right mess. People are going bankrupt or dying. The latest article on this ongoing debacle is one in the NY Times describing people who decide on marriage and divorce on the basis of who has health insurance ('Health Benefits Inspire Rush to Marry, or Divorce', August 12, 2008)

    Justin, you are there in the United States. Why don't you do some original reporting yourself? Ask the people at this website to give you the list of the 1000 clinics, and visit one. See for yourself what kind health care people are getting.

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  • 13. At 00:14am on 19 Aug 2008, SaintDominick wrote:

    The evangelical movement may have lost some ground in places like NYC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, but they remain a formidable force in the South and the Bible Belt. Republican candidates can not win a Presidential election without the support of that core constituency. Obama strategic attempts to make inroads in what has been one of the most loyal segment of the Republican party is doomed. His position on abortion and his moderate support to gay rights are enough to elicit the ire of evangelicals just as much as his proposal to raise taxes on the top 3% of Americans energizes the wealthy and business owners.
    The highlight of this campaign, however, has been the ability of the underfunded GOP propaganda machine to control the agenda. They consistently put Obama on the defensive, they successfully shift national attention to issues that benefit McCain, and they have successfully managed to shield their candidate from criticism while undermining Obama's credibility.
    While the amount of political donations and the high number of Democratic registrations suggest Obama has an advantage, his support appears to be soft in many parts of the country where McCain is considered a moderate, a man willing to compromise with the opposition, experienced and a war hero among other things.
    Unless something dramatic happens during and after the Democratic convention, we may be looking at four more years of Republican control of the White House.

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  • 14. At 00:16am on 19 Aug 2008, justcorbly wrote:

    My vote's for Obama, and I'd never consider voting for McCain unless he fitst abandoned the GOP. So, I didn't watch the thing.

    I've never been able to come to terms with these humongous evangelical churchs that are the size of shopping malls and attract thousands of people. It bespeaks an arrogance, a pride, and a lack of humility that are the antithesis of Christianisty, or any other religion, for that matter. At the least, the millions that it takes to construct and operate a megchurch like Saddleback might actually do some good if applied to something other than feeding the egos of the church leaders and parishoners.

    On emergency room care in the U.S.: No one is refused care at a hosptial emergency room. (But, most often, they will be billed.) However, if they need to be admitted to a hospital for treatment, they will likely not be admitted if they lack insurance and can't convince the hospital that they're good for the money. Too many people here still believe it's better to lay prostrate at the throne of "the market" rather tha doiong something rational and useful. Of course, "the market" barely exists in the world of American corporate health care.


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  • 15. At 00:32am on 19 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    Regarding the CNN and the Evangelical Christian fuss? You ask why drag the candidates through all this? The answer is that saposidly 1 in 4 Americans is a (conservitive) Christian. That is a huge voteing block and one that can't be ignored! Now personally I don't believe that that many people are Christans, and that that many people vote based on their faith (which I personally believe one should never do!!), but if the stats say it, then that is all that matters, and the candidates must at least make an attempt at wooing them in order to get the best chance of being elected.

    As you know I like CNN, and think that overall they do a rellatavely good job at covering the news (though I know you disagree Justin.) But I couldn't agree more with their pathettick attempt at moderating that faith forem a while back and especially that piece you linked to lambasting and firmly criticising them!! Since when does one have to be a "Christian" in order to be president? And since when does "faith" mean only Christianity!? And hellow!! Do people run for office on their faith or on policies? No wonder the Brits think we're all right wing religious zelots! O well. At least now that they have been thuroughly embarrissed, hopefully they will never do it again!! This is certainly not a positive reflection on CNN, nor is it a good reason to encourage those who are skeptable about CNN to give them a chance as a decent credible news source!! However that having been said, I will keep asking until I get an answer Justin. Why do you dislike CNN in general?

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  • 16. At 00:34am on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    A dialogue

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 17. At 00:39am on 19 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    "I do think (as we discussed a few postings ago) that the US is on balance (and for better or worse) a more brutal place than western Europe - but the difference is far less marked than many Europeans would believe."

    Or choose to. The truth could be staring them in the face, and they'll still deny it I bet. And again the question is...why? Also, I feel-as I have stated on here before as well-that we need to emulate the European wellfare system despritly!! But how does our nation having less of a decent wellfare system make it more "brutal" than Europe Justin? I don't understand. Will you please elaborate?

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  • 18. At 00:55am on 19 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    Iphegenia42 #12: writes '"Why are you quoting a Tory website as objective fact? The founders of this website are on the list of 25 most influential right wingers in the Telegraph!"

    Yes, but the Telegraph is (or has a tendency to be) a very left leaning paper, so I would causion you against believeing that so quickly.

    Otherwise wonderful facts you pointed out!! If Obama doesn't win I sware to God!!

    Equal opertunity yeah right!

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  • 19. At 01:02am on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    I wonder what the evanagelicals think about all these people who don't like them sucking up to them?

    I think I would be insulted.

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  • 20. At 01:11am on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    NoRash,

    "Yes, but the Telegraph is (or has a tendency to be) a very left leaning paper,..."
    HUH??? You are referring to the UK Newspaper called Telegraph? The one known as the Torygraph?...

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 21. At 01:24am on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Justin, I'm proud of what my country has
    done in its first 200+ years, but there are
    many ways in which it has gone backwards,
    especially in the last 8 years.

    I'm sure that there are many, easily proved
    misconceptions about the US by people who
    have never spent any time here, but our
    health care system is not exactly a shining
    light to world right now.

    I'm somewhat amused by the postings
    after the article to the effect that Americans
    are demonstrably ignorant about the world
    because many of us don't know the difference
    between "England" and "Britain." But, it's all
    your fault - you should just call everything
    "Britland."

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  • 22. At 01:44am on 19 Aug 2008, proles wrote:

    How can it be "better" to be a more brutal place? This is someting many Americans think too, although you'd never know it from this "ghastly saccahrine" blog. And yes, many do get turned away - but at least they don't get tortured like victims of America's brutal foreign policy. Not yet anyways, but stay tuned, that may not be far off either in the beastly brutal US and A.

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  • 23. At 01:57am on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    The power of the media and the payoffs to evangelical leaders have effected a change:

    The Bible Belt used to be composed of populists who thought any Republican should be hung.

    That the Southern Baptist Convention now becomes active in electoral campaigns for Republicans shows the effect of payoff and media control.

    Saddle Back and like churches are tending to read the message of their Christ and recognize that it is anything but Republican.

    Nearly all ministers seek to herd their members and cannot safely get too far away from the popular (media-defined) attitudes.

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  • 24. At 02:04am on 19 Aug 2008, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    Eddie baby,

    #20: That one I think depends on your point of view. When I lived in the Uk I was considered a rabid right winger. Even in NYC I am now a pinko leftie subversive. I read the Torygraph when I am in London (mostly because the Times went tabloid) and the Economist and NY Times in the states. To Decisions (I prefer to think of him with a Rash) I guess that makes them all leftie publications.

    #21: Britland - brilliant!

    Sam

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  • 25. At 03:59am on 19 Aug 2008, dervish132 wrote:

    American coverage as stated above is emergency care. 2 thoughts, First a client of mine who is German now working in America as a doctor for the much greater wages here has told me that many of the crises he sees are unknown in Germany because they are never left to such drastic developments. Second as for never being turned away from hospitals, My friend as a student was side swiped by a auto door being opened. Sadly the fellow who did simply left him bleeding on the road. Long story short, he had insurance but no card. He was profusely bleeding from the face. He was turned away from 2 hospitals at the door to the emergency room. Till finally the third took the time to check on his insurance claim. Still even with insurance it was expensive. So the poor in America often do not go to hospitals unless they absolutely must, it beggars you to go.

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  • 26. At 04:19am on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    You are all going to scream, but I am in favor of getting rid of all heath insurance. The main reason is that there is corruption on all levels and exhorbitant profit taking. We can't afford it.

    Without insurance our paychecks would be fatter. Without insurance the government would no longer tax us for health care. Without insurance the pharmaceutical companies would have to lower their prices to what they charge abroad. If there were no insurance doctors would not prescribe useless tests (for which which they now get a fee). If there were no insurance doctors would lower their fees.

    If there were no insurance we would not be treated as charity patients when we went for medical care - we would be customers.

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  • 27. At 04:25am on 19 Aug 2008, paulcrossley wrote:

    no10, norashdecisions, agreed overseas media does devote a lot (too much?) time to discussing USA internal issues.
    Why? I suspect it's because of the success of US tv shows and films (factual and none factual) that have a tendency to dominate the media. That along with the fact that our cultures do have a lot in common, and as the largest 'Western' country, we're always going to look at you guys to see what worked and what didn't!
    Whether you're interested in us or not, doesen't matter too much to me - but if it helps understanding then I'm all for it.
    Sort of the same subject ,wouldn't it be good to have a blog that wasn't election based? There must be something else happening in the USA right now (or maybe in China!).

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  • 28. At 07:12am on 19 Aug 2008, Scribesolomon wrote:

    What would Jesus do?
    When it comes to a question of earthly political power and religion, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had this to say, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's". We should not try to confuse our essentially spiritual religious obligations with the mundane political ones.
    However, Jesus had also taught us to consider truths in their proper context and not in isolation or in a hypocritical manner, as when He saved the woman caught in adultery from being stoned to death-mandatory under the law given through Moses-by saying, "He who has no sin in himself cast the first stone". The woman's
    accusers slipped away one by one as they
    themselves were guilty of the same offence
    (committed in secret).
    In the context of the Puritan heritage on which the American nation was founded, the Baptists, the Evangelicals and other mainstream Protestant traditions may lay
    claim to be the torch bearers of that early
    American Christian tradition. Thus while the
    constitution of U.S.A is ostentatiously secular-and not theocratic-church life invariably impinges on certain policies adopted by successive Governments even now. To that extent, the McCain/Obama debate orchestrated by the Evangelicals-in
    which McCain seems to have come off best-is like a defining moment.

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  • 29. At 07:33am on 19 Aug 2008, singinganimaltalker wrote:

    It is interesting that while Brits have a distorted picture of what America is like in terms of health care, so too do Americans have a distorted view of what health care is in England. Americans are sure that everyone in England gets care, but that it's a very cold and impersonal, take a number, see what ever doctor is up at that moment and if you need a specialist, well wait a year or two and hope you don't die before then. Really OK for colds and sniffles and scrapes and bruises but not much good for other things.

    I'm not saying that is how it is, but that's the impression people have of England.

    Just as Americans have an impression of England as a people who don't get what all the fuss is about that the presidential candidates went to a church because England is probably a country of Atheists and agnostics. Our impressions of the British are likely just as off-centered as the British are about us, afterall where do we get our ideas about each other from? the media!

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  • 30. At 07:54am on 19 Aug 2008, chancythegardener wrote:

    I am astonished that Justin gives such a puff to this (hitherton unknown) website. It just seems to be an extension of ConservativeHome and would seem to have a completely one-sided political agenda.

    It is amusing to see the Tories twist and turn over the US elections. First of all they crowed about their links to John McCain and were always inviting him to speak at their Conferences. Then when they saw the appeal of Obama they jumped on that bandwaggon and the internet was covered with invitations to view "When Dave met Barack"

    Justin should be careful about bigging up this piece of Tory propaganda on his website. It is not unbiased.

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  • 31. At 08:11am on 19 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:

    In reply to #19, allmymarbles :

    "I wonder what the evangelicals think about all these people who don't like them sucking up to them? I think I would be insulted."

    I know them, they live right next door, and you are right. They are insulted.

    Yes, evangelical denominations make up 28.6% of the population. Here are the US Census bureau's 2008 abstract -- http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/population/religion.html

    People obviously have prejudiced views on "evangelicals" as evidenced by some of the tripe already spewed into this blog topic. They don't all vote Republican, they are not ignorant, and they don't all swoon for the fakirs who parade on the TV. Even the so-called voting bloc is more of a predictive preference for Republicans, by either 60/40 or 70/30 depending on the "morality" and core planks of the candidate.

    "Evangelicals and Muslims are often viewed as aggressive communities bent on domination. Lord knows there are enough people in both camps who deserve the label. But it is both inaccurate and immoral to assume that every evangelical is Pat Robertson and every Muslim is Osama bin Laden." -- Eboo Patel, Newsweek, THE FAITH DIVIDE, Environmental Care: An Opportunity for Muslim-Evangelical Cooperation

    Let's get past the flagrant bigotry exhibited by some here on this blog. Regarding contributions of "Evangelicals", I would say that the "Society for effecting the abolition of the slave trade" was pretty important union of Evangelicals and Quakers.

    If you asked an Evangelical what their most important contribution's were, it would be related to saving souls and improving peoples lives, starting with their own.

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  • 32. At 08:36am on 19 Aug 2008, SilverSven wrote:

    Justin - I am fully supportive of Tim Montgomerie's renewed effort to fight Anti-Americanism in the UK. Ignorance does lead to mis-understanding, which, in recent years has turned to contempt by some.

    Of course the fight against Anti-Americanism is not helped by the activities of recent US news outlets. Many of them (CBS, CNN and Fox) are producing Olympic medal tables which place USA in the top spot with China second, and Russia third. At the time of writing GBR is in joint fifth with France.

    Is this because the US news corporations are suffering from poor arithmatic? Nope, it's because the USA is measuring success by the total number of medals won, rather than the officially recognised tally of gold medals which the rest of the world follows.

    This is typical of the sort of behaviour which does not endear America to the world: pretending they are winning when they are not. Give China their credit, they are the true champions of these Games.

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  • 33. At 08:47am on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    31, Real.

    The problem with evangelicals is their injecting religion into politics, and their attempt to enact laws that reflect their beliefs.

    I have no quarrel with any religious group, but I do resent those who would force their beliefs on others. The "I can't do it, so you can't do it" is bullying and narrow-minded. I would not force anyone to have an abortion, but I cannot accept that anyone would would try to take this right from me.

    I think that religion, if you have one, should be a personal matter, not a means of dominating others.

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  • 34. At 09:15am on 19 Aug 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To #26Allmy marbles

    I won't scream at all. I totally agree with your post. I am old enough to remember pre-HMO and all this insurance stupidity. Our doctor actually came for house visits when we were very sick. He was wonderful at diagnosis and did not require 500 tests to tell you that you had a cold!

    Health Insurance and drug companies are an enormous business industry that will not willing release the strangle hold that they have on the American people. So good luck to anyone who really believes that things will change very much.

    My advice is eat well, exercise, study herbal medicine and above all, avoid doctors!

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  • 35. At 09:22am on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #12

    The contrasts between the facts set forth by #12 and the impresions published by Webb show the need for more research and factual data on the part of the latter.

    Concerning fundamentalists/evangelicals:
    two study sites could be Nashville, Tennessee and the Augusta, Georgia area.

    In fact, they have been studied for a number of years. Again, there is a contrast to be found between the generalized assertion based on a tertiary published point and reality based on study.

    What is important for this election is that there is a shift toward the Saddlebacks and away from the Robertson/ Jerry Falwell type of obedience.

    Fundamentalists, everywhere, are reliably obedient authoritarians. In the USA, they are also manipulated through an intensely indoctrinated sense of guilt.

    In no wise should they be confused with Quakers, who have an entirely different way of thinking and do not have ministers or preachers.

    America has been swept by "Awakenenings"
    and George W. Bush claimed to be riding a Third.

    Abolitionists came from all walks of life and religious views.

    So far, the significant "contributions" of the evangelicals to America have been:

    1) Prohibition- with consequent permanent large-scale organized crime.

    2) George W. Bush- whose consequences the World is still suffering.

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  • 36. At 09:46am on 19 Aug 2008, Mark wrote:

    First of all, McCain did show bad faith by arriving gratuitously late, but the issue does not stop there. The assumption about 'cheating' is that he had to have HEARD the questions: all that was required was that an aise listened, wrote them down, and passed him a piece of paper as he went into his cone. he would then have had some reading matter and time for reflection.

    Second, I suspect there is another reason for Obama fronting up and it has nothing to do with the eangelicals, but with the far larger group who believe or prefer not to do so, and who simply wanted reassurance that Obama is sensible about these kinds of issues. To that group, his more nimble and thoughtful responses will have played well.

    Third, the real problem with the evangelicals is that they want to overturn the separation of church and state and make the US into as much of a fundamentalist republic as the muslim countries they despise. What they fail to appreciate is that the rationale for that separation was based on the rather nearer historical experience of the English Civil War and the consequent emigration to the US of the non-conformists.

    Fourth, and this is perhaps a more English viewpoint, at the heart of the evangelical movement is a fundamental theological fallacy that implicitly breaks the commandment on blasphemy because they claim to know divine will in terms of their own predestination; whereas they must 'with horror fall' and only be redeemed through divine mercy on the day of judgment: that act of divine will cannot be known before it is done. To claim to do so is to claim they know God's judgment. The reason this is important is that the mis-understanding drives so many other actions through a presumed self-righteousness. What has always troubled me about the Iraq war is not only the strategic and moral failure, but the social and religious profile of the ordinary soldiers who have been asked to do the job.

    By brutal, Justin, I assume you mean 'unforgiving', or perhaps more sharply 'ethically underdeveloped'. What, of course, you continuously point towards is the inherent contradiction at the heart of american society. At least some of the lack of generosity comes from the seventeenth century puritan traditions which were always a little short on accepting the richness and diversity of human failing; even though at the same time the US succeeds because it is so richly diverse.

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  • 37. At 09:47am on 19 Aug 2008, hms_shannon wrote:

    Dear sam tyler 1969,

    Sam, Brits defending america post 155.

    Thanks.

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  • 38. At 10:13am on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    We must recognise that Israel gave the evangelical leader Jerry Falwell a Learjet.

    Was this because the Israeli government wished to covert?

    Or did it have something to do with his political influence among those who believe advancing the interests of Israel furthers their personal salvation?

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  • 39. At 10:16am on 19 Aug 2008, nikki noodle wrote:

    The website you quote has the agenda to get the USA more 'liked'.

    As someone who has travelled widely in the USA, that is a goal I can understand, and have some sympathy with; this website is not, however - the survey asks leading questions, and the pages are full of half stats.

    One example: the page on China correctly states that China is the worlds largest producer of Carbon emissions; it does nowhere mention that the USA has 5 or 6 times the per capita emissions as China (source BBC Website April 14 2008).

    and re your penultimate paragraph: it is true for upfront payments, or for payments afterwards? for heart bypass surgury, or cancer? for Washington DC or for upstate New York?

    Less spin and more fact.

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  • 40. At 10:22am on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #36

    Years ago, Vance Packard wrote a book called "The Status Seekers" about American culture. In it was a chapter titled "From Pentacostal to Episcopal".

    The evangelicals are less educated.

    They may refer to the Puritans, but know nothing of Cotton Mather, the Salem Witch Trials, or the desire to establish a theological state in New England.

    [I question the idea that Calvinist Predestination is a essential part of the American fundamentalist/evangelical tradition. Salvation seems to come in a different manner in their indoctrination.]

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  • 41. At 11:15am on 19 Aug 2008, Byron1436 wrote:

    #9
    How does one win a debate on personal morality? Rick Warren himself compared those who deny Abortion is murder to those who deny the Holocaust. He describes abortion as a 'make or break' issue for some people, whereas even if on agrees with a candidate on every other issue, if that candidate is Pro-Choice, they are unelectable and intrinsically flawed/wrong. Simply put, this was a debate that unequivocally favored McCain in a way a debate hosted by the Teamsters would favor Obama. While Obama is doing much better than Kerry or Gore among so-called Evangelical Christians, McCain still has close to a 3 to 1 polling advantage in this group. At no point in the questioning was McCain required to stray from conservative orthodoxy. When does a baby get human rights? "The moment of Conception" (Ding! Right answer!) Define Marriage? "Marriage is between a man and a woman. Period." (Ding! Right answer!). The crowd and moderator AGREED with McCain because McCain parroted their own talking points back at them. If you feel this 'debate' wasn't tailored more towards whomever would have run as the Conservative, then you would have no problem with the National Organization for Women hold a 'debate' where they can ask McCain why he opposes equal pay for women, defining Birth Control as abortion, and overturning Roe v. Wade.
    Or do you think McCain would be too afraid to debate, like he was when HE refused to debate Obama after Obama accepted as long as it was Lincoln Douglas style unmoderated debate?

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  • 42. At 11:34am on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Singinganimaltalker (), You changed your tune halfway through! When did English turn into British? I don't know about England, but in Scotland, the health care I receive "free at the point of need" isn't cold or impersonal or inadequate or unduly delayed.

    Real cool (31), Well said! Well said! And Oxford Mark (36), too! Welcome to this fray, Nikki Noodle!

    Salaam, etc.
    ed

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  • 43. At 11:45am on 19 Aug 2008, Angleton04 wrote:

    White Evangelical Christians are an important electoral group because they tend to VOTE! Many other constituents of the US electoral community tend to have other better things to do than drive down to their election precincts. Thats too bad as these groups tend to make the most noise about doing good, i.e., saving some snail darters or saving the world from ozone, etc.

    The fact is groups that consistently vote are more important to candidates than large globs of individuals who could possibly be eligible to vote. The voting system in the US gets knocked primarily by those outside the system, i.e., Europeans, and those inside the system who are basically lazy.

    I live in a community south of Houston, Texas. My voting precinct is less than 2 miles down the road. It opens at 8am and closes at 7pm. I walk there when called upon to do my citizenship.

    While many white evangelical christians will never be convinced of Senator Obama's ability to lead, there are some who are truly considering him this year. I am a member of the dreaded evil Southern Baptist Convention. Which means I attend a church affiliated with it. I am not voting for McCain while my wife will. So at present both candidates have a 50 percent share of the white evangelical christian vote.

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  • 44. At 11:55am on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    NYT Backs Up NBC: McCain Was Not In "Cone Of Silence" Before Saddleback

    "Mr. Warren, the pastor of Saddleback, had assured the audience while he was interviewing Mr. Obama that "we have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence" and that he could not hear the questions... Interviewed Sunday on CNN, Mr. Warren seemed surprised to learn that Mr. McCain was not in the building during the Obama interview.....

    "The fact is that during Senator Obama's segment at Saddleback last night, Senator McCain was in a motorcade to the event and then held in a green room with no broadcast feed." That means that he was not in the cone of silence during the Obama questioning, confirming Mitchell's report."
    Not to mention that McCain also possibly plagiarised Solzhenitsyn ....

    I find it difficult to believe that McCain is actually taken seriously by any intelligent life-form..

    Salaam, etc.
    ed

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  • 45. At 12:03pm on 19 Aug 2008, SaintDominick wrote:

    While it is true that the evangelical movement has recently embraced many traditional democratic causes, such as protecting the environment, it is also true that most will not vote for a pro-choice and pro-gay rights Presidential candidate. Many evangelicals are likely to vote for progressive candidates to Congress and local governments, but they remain intent and focused on electing a President that will appoint Justices committed to banning abortion or, as a minimum, letting the States rule on that issue. With 3 or 4 Justices considering retirement within the next four year, this election is of the utmost importance to Christian fundamentalists.
    Obama should re-focus his attention on traditional Democratic constituencies, such as blue collar workers and senior citizens - where he is in trouble - rather than trying to get votes from the most loyal segment of the Republican party.
    The ability of the GOP and the McCain campaign to turn this presidential campaign from a referendum on Republican policies during the past 7.5 years, and its disastrous effects, into a referendum on Obama demonstrates not only the political acumen of the Republican party, but the weaknesses of the Democratic party.
    This election was for the Democrats to lose, and we are doing a great job at accomplishing that.

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  • 46. At 12:05pm on 19 Aug 2008, MagicKirin wrote:

    Why is there such an outcry on both canidates going to an evangilcal forum? Both are appearing at many special interest groups. This is nothing new. Both will go to forums where the orginizers will be hostile or bias in one direction

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  • 47. At 12:08pm on 19 Aug 2008, The Notting Hill Hammer wrote:

    NoRash decisions #17 wrote:

    But how does our nation having less of a decent wellfare system make it more "brutal" than Europe Justin? I don't understand. Will you please elaborate?

    The welfare system is only one example. The use of the death penalty is another, as is the much higher murder rate. As an example, if the UK population was the same as the US the murder rate in the US would still be 8 times higher.

    There are many wonderful things about the USA, but it is more brutal, and this is not a good thing.

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  • 48. At 12:09pm on 19 Aug 2008, hillsgreg wrote:

    Why does America get obsessed with unimportant sides issues? It scares me that McCain might become president, not just because of what he will do, but that America would choose him over Obama?

    McCain gives meaningless sound bites like I'll 'defeat evil'; a kid could say that? and McCain glibly saying 'five mil' as being 'rich', when the question was obviously a test of depth and how they think about important issues? Obama is so clearly the better man and leader. Can anyone explain why they are equal in the poles when one is so much better than the other? Is it America that cannot see it? If so then they have a huge problem with themselves.

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  • 49. At 12:15pm on 19 Aug 2008, Mark wrote:

    44, Ed.

    Yes, the McCain excuse is that he couldn't hear the questions because he was in a motorcade. Now it doesn't take a genius to have an aide in the audience writing the questions down, or indeed text messaging them to the motorcade: stuck in traffic is a very poor excuse. Further a text message did not even have to go to McCain direct (after all he's not the best with technology by his own account), one of his staff there with him is quite sufficient.

    The 'I did not HEAR the questions' is an evasion as obvious as 'I did not have sex with that woman': hearing is not the same as receiving them before hand and answering with foreknowledge.

    And while we are at it, what is his excuse for running so appalling late that he was only leaving the hotel as the programme began: does he intend to turn up to the Presidenttial debates half an hour late? He should be made to be doing an awful lot more apologising and explaining than he is.

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  • 50. At 12:30pm on 19 Aug 2008, Peter wrote:

    >Just as Americans have an impression of England as a people who don't get what all the fuss is about that the presidential candidates went to a church because England is probably a country of Atheists and agnostics. Our impressions of the British are likely just as off-centered as the British are about us, afterall where do we get our ideas about each other from? the media!

    No, actually that impression is entirely accurate. We are, and we don't. The default CofE upbringing acts rather like a vaccine against religiosity. Which isn't to say there aren't religious people around, but they get some funny looks if they make too much of it.

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  • 51. At 12:46pm on 19 Aug 2008, Simon21 wrote:

    Justin I am consistently surprised by the quality of the sources you use for informaton.

    The website you quote for this survey is patently ridiculous - signing a petition against anti-americanism - is this meant to be taken seriously? What about a petition against thinking woman was created from a bent rib?

    We are in the world of J Swift here, not common sense.

    Oh and for the record the US did supply weapons to S Hussein and, more importantly, it supplied precious military intelligence, allowing him to kill hundreds of thousands of Iranians - for which the US, disgracefully, has never apologised.

    No society in history has ever been so self obsessed as the US. This is partly due to the fact, of course, that its population is deeply divided by a whole host of factors and there is a continual drive for conformity.

    Information about the US is available everywhere, and, despite this survey, most Europeans are well aware of the country. Frankly it would be hard not to be.

    These people must restricted their survey to Carthusians in the Alps.

    Interestingly, going by this blog, many in the US have surprisingly little knowledge of their own history, politics or society.

    Far more serious then this bogus site is the woeful ignorance many in the US have about the outside world. The constant naivity upon discovering that other people value their lives and countries as much as those in the US and that many do not regard their country as an earthly paradise.

    Finally it is good to agree with you about this relgious nonsense. Christianity is declining in the US, slightly slower that it is elsewhere but even compared to the 1970s, the figures are shocking.

    Indeed Ford , Nixon etc would probably have regarded today's figures as a national disaster.

    When in fact they, are of course, something to celebrate.





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  • 52. At 1:01pm on 19 Aug 2008, Young-Mr-Grace wrote:

    Here's my take on a comaprison of the two health care systems......
    Let's imagine two aeroplanes - one from UK Airlines and one from AirUSA - collide while trying to land in Iceland. Medical teams from each country arrive to treat the survivors.
    The US medics sort their patients on the basis of their tickets. passengers in first class get treated first, even if they have just a scratch, then those in business class whose employers paid for their ticket and finally those who paid full ecomony fare. The 15% of passengers who were on cheap last minute bucket shop deals are told to go stand in a corner while the others are seen to regardless of the extent of their injuries. If any of the 15% fall to the ground bleeding and look likely to die on the spot then a medic will bandage them up enough to keep them alive but no more. In this way there are enough resources to give the remaining 85% good care. The benefits of this approach are quality care for the 85% the con is that this is at the expense of the 15% who recieve no or minimal care.
    The UK medics operate on a triage basis and treat all the passengers on the basis of their injuries. In this way some with minor complaints have to wait while the more urgent cases are seen to. This may cause them to wait in some pain and in some cases the injuries will become worse while they wait but they will be attended to. The benefit here is that all are treated and that the treatment is based on medical judgement but the con is that limited resources are spread out a wider area and so some will find that they suffer while they wait and their condition may deteriorate as they do so.
    Of course no analogy is prefect so feel free to comment on the above.
    Which approach is best?
    I suppose that depends on how you regard the question. Is it to regard the philosphy underlying each approach or to calculate which gives the greatest benefit to the greatest number at lowest cost?
    Neither is without cost. In the US many may rightly take a personal pride in being able to provide the care their family needs and will make an effort and sacrifice to do so. In the UK it is considered less a personal matter and more one for society in general and there is a discomfort with the idea that society should base life and death decisions by evaluating the worth of a persons life as measured by the thickness of their wallet.
    There is merit in both the personal and societal approaches. I don't know if one philosophy is good and the other bad - my own preference leans towards societal inorder to include everyone but I am aware that it's a far from perfect system.

    You're all doing very well !!

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  • 53. At 1:52pm on 19 Aug 2008, justcorbly wrote:

    #26:

    Don't be silly.

    Drug companies and doctors would not suddenly drop prices. They would simply stop selling drugs and providing treatment to those who can't pay.

    It seems you value imposing your view of a proper economic system more than you value a healthy population.

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  • 54. At 1:54pm on 19 Aug 2008, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 48

    In my opinion, McCain's momentum is due, mostly, to his new campaign manager, the new strategies adopted by his campaign team, and their ability to articulate solutions in terms understood by the average voter. It doesn't really matter if their proposals are realistic or sound, as long as people have the perception that they may improve their livelihoods and guarantee their security.
    Obama's most fundamental problem is that he is following the same strategy used by former Democratic presidential candidates. Solutions such as strengthening the value of the dollar to attract capital investment may impress Wall Street, but they don't resonate in mainstream America.
    Presidential elections are won based on perceptions, not reality; with economic and social issues often taking precedent over international concerns, and character and charisma trumping education and intellect.

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  • 55. At 2:37pm on 19 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:

    In reply to #14, justcorbly:

    "I've never been able to come to terms with these humongous evangelical churches that are the size of shopping malls and attract thousands of people. It bespeaks an arrogance, a pride, and a lack of humility that are the antithesis of Christianity, or any other religion, for that matter. At the least, the millions that it takes to construct and operate a mega-church like Saddleback might actually do some good if applied to something other than feeding the egos of the church leaders and parishioners."

    I wonder how those humble cathedrals ever were built? Before you judge them, look up their web site and see what good they do. I did. I saw that in the next few months they have no less than 11 mission trips to Rwanda alone(of the 33 on the page). Their mission's program is call Global P.E.A.C.E. That's something we can do without huh?

    Why is it that we accept economies of scale (efficiency) except for those things we perceive are best done quaint and small, like churches or farming. I'd say that if Saddleback "produces" efficiently and the congregation flocks to it, then who are we to judge them? What are you doing for Rwandans?

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  • 56. At 2:48pm on 19 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:

    In reply to #51, Simon21:

    Another fine post exhibiting your antipathy for anything American. You really despise them don't you? It is a curious thing then that you participate in a British blog dedicated to understanding America. You choose to come here and insult them. Very nice. Do you feel better?

    "No society in history has ever been so self obsessed as the US."

    None? Really? Not even the British Empire in it's glory, what? what?

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  • 57. At 2:49pm on 19 Aug 2008, neil_a2 wrote:

    To #33 allmymarbles

    You truly live up to your moniker.

    Whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Democrat, Republican, Socialist, Communist, Fascist, Sexual orientation, Environmentalist, Capitalist, ..., your line of thought holds.

    This blog reads like a fraternity.

    The "hate this"/"hate that" rants are tiring. It does not matter the blog topic. We have to hear how bad GW is.

    FYI: Nixon gave us the EPA. I am sure he will never be given credit. (He was an evil Republican, you know.)

    "What would Jesus do?" Probably be doing something, rather than just talking about it.

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  • 58. At 3:10pm on 19 Aug 2008, justcorbly wrote:

    #55, RealFrigid:

    Huge cathedrals are equally arrogant and represent a similar diversion of resources. A church is not a building.

    It's of little interest to me when churchs claim to "do good" outside the U.S. while they pursue damaging politics inside the U.S.

    Evangelicals are involved in politics because they want to impose their religious culture on the rest of us. What they choose to believe and how they lilve is none of my business, but when they decide to use the force of government to control how I live, in the name of their religion, then I am their enemy.

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  • 59. At 3:27pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 60. At 3:30pm on 19 Aug 2008, somnolist wrote:

    Not having health insurance doesn't mean I would be denied emergency services, true.

    It simply means that i have access to a doctor's office exactly 2 times in the past 15 years. Preventative care is non existant.

    If you were to try to pay out of pocket for hospital costs, you'd better be a millionaire: the prices are all based on the assumption that insurance is paying, and the ticket prices are not even what insurance companies pay. Each company negotiates prices with each hospital in complete secrecy.

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  • 61. At 3:30pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #58

    Another aspect of "Faith Based Initiatives" is that federal tax monies are allocated to such groups.

    So, their voting gets their faith activities funding.

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  • 62. At 3:35pm on 19 Aug 2008, CymroglanynyrUSA wrote:

    I disagree with the author about "evangelical Christians are a fading force in US politics." Apparently, they are a force enough to reckon with, if the two rival candidates scheduled a debate at a California "megachurch." The sad fact is, that many Christians are at a loss when it comes to traditional church roles. If the Anglican Church had a more prevalent, forceful role here in the US, perhaps the UK and US would share more common ground and thought on political and religious issues. Instead, what we get are misinterpretations, diverse thinking with no resolutions, and no common ground. If "evangelical Christians" are fading, then what's next? Islam? I seriously doubt you consider the piety of American people. What has kept us going for greater than two hundred years?

    It's funny how you mention the term "anti-Americanism," as if it's just a term to loosely banter about. There is really no term here in the US about "anti-British-ism" or something comparable. The sad fact is, that we like you people, having once had common roots. (We still, more-or-less, speak the same language.) But, if it comes to name calling, and labels, then it is our mistake that we liked you in the first place. (Not you only, others nations, too!) This, then, is our mistake to the rest of the world: we assume that you like us, trust you, and then that gets us into all sorts of trouble. (i.e., feelings of aggression, why do they like us, what is their ulterior motive?) Well, maybe it's time that we here in the US grew up a little bit, and were more cautious about the world, as everyone else seems to hold each other suspect, usually at the barrel of a gun. That's humanity. Unfortunate, isn't it?

    As for our medical profession, well, if you are a doctor, you have it made. You will have to wait on clients, and be quite busy, for that is the work "in the trenches," but when the day is done, you can count your pennies. Let's not put it all on them, however, they at least have to see a patient once in a while. The real money comes in with medical/professional devices and machines. The people who manufacture that equipment never have to see a patient - perhaps the easiest money in the medical industry. (Let's call it what it is). All this is under the nose and auspices of Congress, who either approve or ignore such (mis)deeds. Why? Because of the great American Medical Association and other lobbyists and hacks, who make sure they continue their share of the pie while ripping-off the American consumer and taxpayer. Will this change? Probably not. Too great of a lobby, and too great of a medical fraternity in collusion with Congress. It's a great collusion among the power elite.

    Now, with that said, what else can we argue about? We're only on this earth for a short while, and yet we will always have something to upset each other about. And that, my dear English friend, is what humanity is all about.

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  • 63. At 3:45pm on 19 Aug 2008, justcorbly wrote:

    #60:

    For an interesting little game, call hospitals and ask what it costs for different common procedures.

    Chances are they will say two things: Do you have insurance?, and, It depends.

    This flies in the face of the common advice to shop around for the best price for medical care. First, the price often does depend on things no one can control. Unexpected complications do arise in the midst of surgery or treatment. Second, if I have insurance with Company A and you have insurance with Company B, the hospital will bill differently based on their contracts with each company. (To be more exact, the personnel delivering the service will bill you, not the hospital. Nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists, etc., all likely work for different entities working under different contracts. The bill may arrive on hospital letterhead, but they're the people generating the charge.)

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  • 64. At 3:47pm on 19 Aug 2008, Mark wrote:

    58, justcorbly

    I agree with your over-riding sentiment, but I'm afraid you were a little too quick at the start:

    'Huge cathedrals are equally arrogant and represent a similar diversion of resources. A church is not a building.'

    First, a church is a building: certainly one dedicated to a purpose (ie. worship), just as a law court is dedicated to a purpose, but a building nevertheless.

    Second, it depends by what you mean about 'huge cathedrals': if you are meaning building them now, then I would tend to agree; most churches have an excess of property. However, if you are referring to Europe from 1000-1400 AD, then you are wrong. The medieval churches took decades, and sometimes more than a hundred years to build. They sustained entire communities, not only spiritually (and the medieval peasant could teach the modern evangelical a thing or two about piety), but economically and socially. The medieval church poured money into these projects not only for the glorification of God and the propagation of the faith, but as a way of supporting the faithful through their lives. There was only one church (the evangelicals would, perhaps rightly, have been regarded and treated as heretics), and that communal faith was based on notions of expiation, communion, and providence. The whole impulse behind the medieval church was fundamentally different to that of the modern evangelicals with their vast, quickly constructed halls and their facile notions of praise and salvation.

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  • 65. At 3:47pm on 19 Aug 2008, jcputn5349 wrote:

    Well, at least your honest about your liberal bias. Life is brutal if you don't want to live it or take responsibility for yourself. Socialism, on the other hand, is brutal if you want to live life to the fullest and take responsibility for yourself.

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  • 66. At 4:19pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    NEOCONS SET UP INVASION OF GEORGIA TO GET McCAIN ELECTED
    “Don't tell Dick I told you.”

    WORLD NEWS
    Musharraf to Resign as President of Pakistan
    To spend more time with his army.
    Iraq Reportedly Has $79 Billion Oil Surplus
    Raises prospect of another invasion.

    ALSO IN THE NEWS . . .

    Tinkerbell Detained at Disneyland
    She's flown to Syria for questioning.

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 67. At 4:26pm on 19 Aug 2008, TimothyR444 wrote:

    There are times when reading this blog is a bizarre experience.

    The "bear pit"? Do you reall think American Christians are some sort of vicious wild animal?

    The ugly stereotypes are rampant here, and it is ironic that they are promoted by a journalist who prides himself on understanding the US.

    And regarding health care: help me to understand this....

    People in Britain hate Americans because we don't have enough health coverage?

    This does not make even the most basic sense, even in terms of bigotry.

    Why would you hate people because they don't have enough money for health care?

    Compassion might be a reasonable response - or perhaps you might consider simply minding your own business (Now THERE is something to think about!!)

    But anti-Americanism based on THAT?

    What sort of people are you?

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  • 68. At 4:28pm on 19 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2008/08/14/coverstory.html

    so they get treated?
    Justin's little dream world of the rich and famous.

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  • 69. At 4:29pm on 19 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    2 gary I suspect they both had a long cleansing shower after

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  • 70. At 4:33pm on 19 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    no rash every time people talk of health care here in the states others go point out the failings of the british the french the canadian systems.

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  • 71. At 4:33pm on 19 Aug 2008, Simon21 wrote:

    "56. At 2:48pm on 19 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:
    In reply to #51, Simon21:

    Another fine post exhibiting your antipathy for anything American. You really despise them don't you? It is a curious thing then that you participate in a British blog dedicated to understanding America. You choose to come here and insult them. Very nice. Do you feel better?


    Do I? And how do you know how I feel to "everything American" . I actually like Bob Dylan - is he Swedish? "The Onion" is sometimes hilarious - but it is not published in Madrid. Doonesbury can be spot on, but Gary Trudeau is not Canadian.

    And many in the US are pretty free with their criticism of other countries including one frequent poster here.

    "No society in history has ever been so self obsessed as the US."

    None? Really? Not even the British Empire in it's glory, what? what?

    No not in the slightest. If you want to use history to make a point it is a good idea to learn some.

    Incidently when would you put the "British empire in its glory?"

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  • 72. At 4:36pm on 19 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    12. At 11:59pm on 18 Aug 2008, Iphegenia42 wrote: from the real world .

    thankyou

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  • 73. At 4:40pm on 19 Aug 2008, Simon21 wrote:

    67. At 4:26pm on 19 Aug 2008, TimothyR444 wrote:
    There are times when reading this blog is a bizarre experience.

    The "bear pit"? Do you reall think American Christians are some sort of vicious wild animal?

    The ugly stereotypes are rampant here, and it is ironic that they are promoted by a journalist who prides himself on understanding the US."

    Perhaps you can set the record straight? Wasn't there a US evangelical who openly called for the assassination of an elected president on national TV?

    Wasnt there another who announced himself the son of god and proceeded to try and stand seige against the law authorities, with women and children (some of whom he assaulted) until god could save him?

    Wasn't there another who adminstered Kool-aid + cyanide to 900 of his followers?

    Yes bear pit would a good description of these sort of people. Its certainly where they belong and those adults that support them.


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  • 74. At 4:42pm on 19 Aug 2008, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    TimothyR444 (#67), I think you are taking this all too seriously. Justin Webb, may, indeed, be a journalist (albeit a British one), but what he is doing here is not journalism.

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  • 75. At 4:44pm on 19 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    20 ed Glad you wrote that.
    I was beginning to think things must have really changed in the UK.

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  • 76. At 4:52pm on 19 Aug 2008, TimothyR444 wrote:

    "Perhaps you can set the record straight? Wasn't there a US evangelical who openly called for the assassination of an elected president on national TV?

    Wasnt there another who announced himself the son of god and proceeded to try and stand seige against the law authorities, with women and children (some of whom he assaulted) until god could save him?

    Wasn't there another who adminstered Kool-aid + cyanide to 900 of his followers?"

    Simon - This is helpful. Now I understand.

    These are cults you are talking about, and have no relation to the tens of millions of Christians in the US.

    Of course, there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for making this mistake.

    But it DOES explain it.

    There is a militant stupidity here that is impossible to fight. I used to give the people of Britain far, far more credit for intelligence, good sense, awareness and a sense of proportion and perspective. You used to be unique in the world in that way.

    After reading this lunacy, a more reasonable question might be: What on earth has happpened to the people of Britain?


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  • 77. At 4:52pm on 19 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    silver sven.
    nice thought, and true

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  • 78. At 4:52pm on 19 Aug 2008, Chicoan wrote:

    #53

    allmymarbles is not being silly. The biggest effect that the death of health insurance in America would have, is that modern medical institutions would loose their strangle hold on health care.

    Whenever we see health insurance providers pulling out of an area (as they did in the north state California for a time) alternative health care has flourished.

    We do not need and we cannot afford state of the art medical systems in the vast majority of cases.

    A second effect would be to reduce business opportunities for lawyers, who now practice in the medical industry in California in a ratio of two lawyers for every doctor.

    Looking at it this way, allmymarbles is not being silly.

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  • 79. At 4:55pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    Part of the discourse with which Americans are indoctrinated is to value things with dollars.

    Physicians, nearly all those whom I know, would continue to do their work as long they could feed their families. Their identity comes from treating patients well, not from conspicuous consumption.

    There is a percentage who were attracted by the money and who will chase dollars in whatever form.

    Pharmaeutical companies are another matter. We know that research has to be paid for, but the products developed and sold are market-determined.

    [Those who would count on the Food and Drug Administration to regulate matters in the interest of citizen's health would do well to research the activities of Donald Rumsfeld in connection with the additive Aspartame and the short-term replacement of the Head of the Food and Drug Administration!]


    The system can be improved!


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  • 80. At 4:58pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Obama To McCain: Dignify Your Campaign

    ""One of the things that we have to change in this country is the idea that people can't disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism," he said, to applause. "I have never suggested that Senator McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America's national interest. Now, it's time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same. Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country. I love America, so do you, and so does John McCain.""
    That's more like it!

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 81. At 4:59pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #73

    Check also the Rapture Index

    and those calling for Armageddon.


    For the indoctrinated, tolerance is error.

    Facts that do not conform to the ideology are automatically false.

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  • 82. At 5:05pm on 19 Aug 2008, justcorbly wrote:

    #64, MarkFromOxford:

    A church is a community of believers. They do not need any particular kind of building.

    I don't disagree that many people found employment in building medieval cathedrals. But, they would have found jobs in any entrprise of equal scale, however pointless. The salient fact is that they found employment building arrogant overblown shrines to the ego of the church. God can be worshipped, if you so choose, in a serf's hovel just as readily as in a cathedral. People may have taken comfort from and found pride in cathedrals, but that had everything to do with emotion and little to do with faith. Does anyone imagine that God pays more attention to people inside a cathedral, or Saddleback, than to those outside?

    The medieval church could have spent as much money and provided as many livelihoods by building something truely useful, like sewers, schools, and water systems.

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  • 83. At 5:06pm on 19 Aug 2008, TimothyR444 wrote:

    "Part of the discourse with which Americans are indoctrinated is to value things with dollars."

    Indoctrinated? Really?

    The fabulous arrogance of anti-American bigotry never fails to astonish me. The US has more than 300 million people, yet people who despise Americans come up with sweeping generalizations that they really seem to believe.

    What is so difficult about this is that it is impossible to fight hatred and ignorance with reason and discussion.

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  • 84. At 5:09pm on 19 Aug 2008, justcorbly wrote:

    #65:

    What has liberalism (the real thing, not the strawman invented by conservatives) have to do with socialism?

    Wake up. Liberalism stands for freedom and opportunity for all. Conservatism stands for enriching corporate America by allowing it to prey upon the rest of us.

    The link between corporate wealth and political power nurtured by conservatives is the greatest threat to our freedoms we've ever faced.

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  • 85. At 5:11pm on 19 Aug 2008, Simon21 wrote:

    76. At 4:52pm on 19 Aug 2008, TimothyR444 wrote:

    Simon - This is helpful. Now I understand.

    These are cults you are talking about, and have no relation to the tens of millions of Christians in the US.

    Of course, there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for making this mistake.

    But it DOES explain it.

    Is that so. I disagree. There are an awful lot of these lunatics, I have only mentioned the most extreme. There are dozens probably hundreds of others from Joseph Smith onwards (and before).

    They claim to be Christian, they live in the US, they claim the tax breaks. And they do not originate in Europe.

    And apart from the mass murderers and killers there are others who spout the most offensive, half-witted bilge who attempt to distort the teaching of children and intimidate pregnant women.

    The only saving grace is as I have mentioned earlier christianity (particuarly protestant) is dying in the US. Though before then it may end up being a catholic country, which given its location is what it should have been in the first place



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  • 86. At 5:18pm on 19 Aug 2008, AJAGUIRRE wrote:

    I had been skeptical of the Saddleback Civil forum from the outset. Rick Warren may be more moderate than Pat Robertson, but he is still right of centre. It was foolish to think that this venue would be fair and unbiased. Warren did not have to state his bias, his body language was much more affable towards McCain. Warren appeared annoyed with Obama's responses.

    Also, McCain may not have heard the questions on his way to the church, but I still think that he was briefed by someone present. I do agree that McCain had an easier time pleasing the audience, and had little need to cheat. However, McCain was awfully quick to answer, and it woulid not have been to difficult to cheat as he was not actually in a cone of silence, and was surrounded by supporters.

    All in all, this is not surprising. It is naive to think that politicians would not lie or cheat whether democrat or republican, we cannot simply take politicians at their word.

    Indeed, the most important lesson to take from the 'civil forum' was that evangelical christians are still driven by wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion. This group is more interested in appointed the Right kind of judges, than actually reducing the need for abortions. Now, this is upsetting.

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  • 87. At 5:19pm on 19 Aug 2008, TimothyR444 wrote:

    "Is that so. I disagree. There are an awful lot of these lunatics, I have only mentioned the most extreme. There are dozens probably hundreds of others from Joseph Smith onwards (and before).

    They claim to be Christian, they live in the US, they claim the tax breaks. And they do not originate in Europe.

    And apart from the mass murderers and killers there are others who spout the most offensive, half-witted bilge who attempt to distort the teaching of children and intimidate pregnant women.

    The only saving grace is as I have mentioned earlier christianity (particuarly protestant) is dying in the US. Though before then it may end up being a catholic country, which given its location is what it should have been in the first place"

    Simon:

    No, Christianity is not dying in the US - quite the opposite.

    If you are not able to tell the difference between Christianity and cults, why on earth are you discussing this?

    I am glad you have the internet to channel all of this anger.

    Have you ever been to the US? The portrait you create of Americans is a weird, evil cartoon.

    Onca again: it is impossible to fight bigotry on this scale.

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  • 88. At 5:29pm on 19 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    mr always with grace, nice story, better than the one justin is trying to push.

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  • 89. At 5:36pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 90. At 5:40pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #78

    Another aspect in Northern California was Kaiser Permanente.

    The idea is that people pay regularly to be kept healthy or treated when that preventive care may fail. Places in Latin America used to have the same system.

    I.e., you pay your doctor regularly, whether you are sick or well.

    Is that still in operation?

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  • 91. At 5:47pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain, by Dr Phillip Butler

    Read it for yourselves, since the Mods (who are as Gods) seem to object to the section I quoted...Dr Butler finished somewhat higher in the same class at Annapolis as John McCain, and also spent some years as a POW in Vietnam. I think his perspective on his College buddy is worth reading, but what do I know?

    Salaam, etc.
    ed

    P.S. Dr Butler is now described as a "Veterans for Peace activist", so some of y'all probably can't be bothered...

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  • 92. At 5:47pm on 19 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    this link Again
    http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2008/08/14/coverstory.html

    this is not just astory about a guy getting beaten up it is a story about trying to get health care , about loseing your home because some one attacked you,
    it is about trying to figure out which of the recomended doctors appointments you can afford.
    All because someone else attacked him.
    the victims fund is not helping because he owes some money somewhere?
    Irrelevent.Victims of crimes should not have to loose their housing because the rest of us are too cheap to pay for a national health system.

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  • 93. At 5:50pm on 19 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    btw I've met some nice christians from all camps and styles,EVEN here in america.
    but there is a marked difference to what God said in the eyes of christians in the US and Europe.
    In europe they Are almost universally against the death penalty.
    because God said Do not kill.
    In america the young evangelicals and some of the olders are against, but most are still for the death penalty.
    but it is not because america is brutal

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  • 94. At 5:51pm on 19 Aug 2008, timohio wrote:

    re: 14. At 00:16am on 19 Aug 2008, justcorbly

    "I've never been able to come to terms with these humongous evangelical churchs that are the size of shopping malls and attract thousands of people."

    Personally I find it grimly amusing that conservative evangelicals are part of a branch of Christianity that broke with the Catholic church over the authority of the pope and the corruption of the Vatican. It seems that the first thing one of their preachers does when he attracts a following is set himself up as a moral authority, build himself his own mini-Vatican, and proceed to live well off the contributions of his congregation. I know there are evangelical preachers who do good work and are not full of their own importance, but the ones who get the publicity lack only a papal crown.

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  • 95. At 5:55pm on 19 Aug 2008, MikeIL wrote:

    One reason why Obama's people are quick to claim "cheating" is because they know all too-well how to cheat. That is because Obama comes from the most corrupt political machine in all of the US -- the Chicago Democrat machine.

    This was also the case when Bill Daley, brother of Chicago's Mayor (King) Rich Daley was Al Gore's campaign Manager.

    Cheating is a long and even honored tradition in Chicago. The Daley brothers' father when he heard JFK was losing on election night is reported to have asked "How many votes does Jack need?" Cook County (Chicago) was one of the last to report their vote tallies that night.

    Quite often when someone is quick to claim irregularities, it is because they are guilty of the act themselves.

    Could it be Obama's people are just angry they "won" the toss and were not able to enact their own plan to circumvent the "Cone of Silence?"

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  • 96. At 5:56pm on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #26, allmymarbles, what you are suggesting is
    essentially the Republican idea that market
    mechanisms need to be used to lower health
    care costs.

    But, before we can get there, we need to address
    some basic problems which would still prevent
    our health care system from working:

    1. A patient should be able to sign a waiver,
    and accept health care without the right to
    sue for malpractice. Malpractice insurance is
    a very high percentage of health care costs
    in some states, because of legal awards.

    2. Drug companies should be slapped really,
    really hard because they undertook to make it
    illegal for Americans to buy drugs from abroad
    (including, apparently, "backward" countries
    like Canada) while simultaneously shipping
    offshore the jobs to design and manufacture
    these drugs.

    And, who voted for this wonderful rip-off?
    Somebody must have, or it would not have
    passed, and one or both of the candidates
    being put forth by our major parties may
    be guilty of this particular sin.

    Other observers who know far more about
    the system than myself can probably point their
    fingers at other forms of thievery. The point
    is that until such time as these abuses are
    corrected, the free market cannot work.


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  • 97. At 5:58pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Bill Clinton - Damning with faint praise?

    "John McCain has the best record of any Republican running for president on the energy issue and on climate change.”
    ;-)
    ed

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  • 98. At 6:04pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    I do not know which of Ed's quotes was censored, but I find the following pertinent:

    "..POW experience is not, in my opinion, something I would look for in a presidential candidate.

    Most of us who survived that experience are now in our late 60's and 70's. Sadly, we have died and are dying off at a greater rate than our non-POW contemporaries. We experienced injuries and malnutrition that are coming home to roost. So I believe John's age (73) and survival expectation are not good for being elected to serve as our President for 4 or more years.

    I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.

    It is also disappointing to see him take on and support Bush's war in Iraq, even stating we might be there for another 100 years. For me John represents the entrenched and bankrupt policies of Washington-as-usual.."

    The author of that comment also knows that McCain hates Bush, but notes that McCain hugged Bush, etc. This, I call the "opportunistic" aspect of McCain.

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  • 99. At 6:11pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    Our poster from Galveston, Texas, claims a split between McCain and Obama with his wife, his church being a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Does Texas still require that alcohol not be served?

    I note that the Texas textbooks are being censored for presenting modern math- the problem being that absolutes must be indoctrinated in children

    also, that "Creationism" should be elevated to science and that children should be indoctrinated with it.

    These people are seeking to fill the minds of the young with such beliefs

    for, when you are young, your indoctrination is not belief, it becomes your reality.

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  • 100. At 6:12pm on 19 Aug 2008, Mark wrote:

    82, justcorbly.

    We are getting off topic, and that is not helpful. However, there were a great many other medieval building projects, equally sublime: the Oxford and Cambridge colleges for a start; as well as palaces and castles funded by the kings and higher aristocracy: all provided employment for sustained periods and supported the agricultural community around them. What your comment fails to observe is that the distribution of wealth in a feudal culture dictated the priorities, and further these projects reflect the life of that society in its fullness.

    As for funding schools ... Literacy collapsed in western Europe following the fall of Rome in the sixth century. It was preserved through monastic culture, especially at the periphery in Ireland, northern England and southern Italy. When Charlemagne made Alcuin (who was English) his chief minister, Alcuin reformed scribal practices and the alphabet, and ensured the copying of classical as well as religious texts; but it was not until the stabilisation of the court in the thirteenth century, with the development of administrative government and the foundation of the universities, that scribal book production could move out of a monastic environment. Also in the thirteenth century we have the arrival of paper, and optics (hence glasses). Through the fourteenth century, therefore, we see the emergence of literacy beyond the religious and secular elite driven in part by the shift beyond feudalism and the development of notions of private property (you need to be able to read the deed). It is only following the fall of Constanntinople in 1454 and the arrival of print in 1455 that we really begin to see the development of schools and mass education amongst the gentry and mercantile classes, which is one of the dominant themes of the sixteenth century -- alongside religious schism, to which the modern evangelicals owe their anabaptist roots. Hence, whilst schools such as Eton and Winchester are the product of late medieval literacy, to suggest that the church ought to have done more shows a complete lack of appreciation of how those socieities functioned. Perhaps tellingly, it is that same historical blindness that justifies to the evangelicals their own peculiar understanding of history and grace (and the bible as text and object).

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  • 101. At 6:17pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    There is little doubt that the TV evangelists have been exposed as corrupt frauds, all (save Billy Graham) involved in financial or sexual corruption, or both.

    My favorite stunt is the evangelist pressing on both carotid arteries, watching the subject faint, and claiming "that's power"!

    As some of our posters indicate, theyare unaware of their indoctrination

    for, among the very young, indoctrination is not a matter of belief, it becomes, for them, reality.

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  • 102. At 6:18pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    McCain teased

    "... you might want to ask somebody -- somebody other than say, your Foreign Policy Advisor, Randy Scheunemann -- whether or not you are making a jackass out of yourself every time you bring up the conflict between Georgia and Russia.
    The Georgians have paid Mr. Scheunemann and his companies $800,000 over the last several years to lobby for them.
    It's pretty clear the Georgians have bought Mr. Scheunemann.
    And, Senator McCain, it sure as hell looks like the Georgians thought they had bought you.
    When you had the tastelessness to paraphrase the rallying cry of 9/11 and say that we are now all Georgians, that nation's President called you out...
    He said that your words were very nice, but he needed action -- not a verbal receipt from a lobbyist and his pet Senator!..."
    ;-)
    ed

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  • 103. At 6:22pm on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #98, Xie_Ming, it's really hard to tell what either
    candidate would do on some issues. We may only
    get a good idea when their cabinet choices are
    floated.

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  • 104. At 6:24pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ricter wrote:

    Regarding the "Evangelical Bear Pit" - it was the perfect situation for McCain to say exactly what the Evangelical base want to hear. It was a huge challenge for Obama to try to show that he is willing to seriously consider their opinions and issues without supporting their views.

    As for Health Care in the US - 50 million people without a health care plan and most middle-lower income Americans WITH a health care plan are one serious illness away from financial ruin and bankruptcy. In short, when it comes to medical care in the US, 90% of Americans live on a razor thin edge. In addition, we pay 3 to 4 times as much for presciption drugs as our Canadian neighbors.....and the insurance costs for employers makes US businesses less competitive. It's an all-around bad situation that needs to be addressed.

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  • 105. At 6:30pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Out of touch?Never!
    ;-)
    ed

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  • 106. At 6:43pm on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #105, what's to complain about? I want to
    be rich, too... Or, to quote Leona Helmsley,
    "Only the little people pay taxes."

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  • 107. At 6:55pm on 19 Aug 2008, Chicoan wrote:

    #96

    In the Federalist papers it is written that an unregulated free-market system is itself a tyranny. The great inventor, Madison, was in favor of regulating the nation's business activities, both public and private.

    The idea that market forces can be used to correct disparities is not an idea that originated with Republicans.

    It is my belief that many Republican leaders have cynically used the regulation of market forces to advance their private economic and political agendas at the expense of the nation as a whole, but this should not be an indictment of a free market, purposefully regulated, for the benefit of all parts of society.

    When I was fund raising for environmental causes in the nineties, I asked the President of the League of Conversation Voters what kind of sense it made to turn regulation of the environment over to the very people who oppose regulation of American business activities. I saw it as not an environmental problem but a political one. Much has changed since then and it is obvious now that it is in equal parts a crisis.

    No one should have to sign a waiver to get medical care, and health insurance companies should not be 'for profit' organizations, and doctors should not be held responsible when a person dies of natural causes.

    As for the drug companies, American taxpayers pay the research bill in the form of subsidies, and most of these companies aren't even American companies. Some of the most well-known, like Bayer, are Swiss or German. If anything, because we subsidize the research, we should be paying less than most in the western world, but I'm not holding my breath.

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  • 108. At 7:01pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Picture this

    " MCCAIN: "Our nation is sending $700 billion overseas every year to countries that don't like us very much. When I'm president that's going to stop. We're going to achieve energy independence, and we're going to do it by using every resource at our disposal to get the job done, including new offshore drilling."
    ...
    But if there's one thing that's plainly clear, it's that oil importation is not going to stop during a potential McCain presidency through new offshore drilling. As the DNC points out, "it took 10 years from the date oil was discovered until the rig [McCain stood] on today produced a single drop of oil."
    Don't make promises you cain't keep!
    ;-)
    ed



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  • 109. At 7:02pm on 19 Aug 2008, Chicoan wrote:

    #90 Xie-Ming wrote: Another aspect in Northern California was Kaiser Permanente.

    The idea is that people pay regularly to be kept healthy or treated when that preventive care may fail. Places in Latin America used to have the same system.
    I.e., you pay your doctor regularly, whether you are sick or well.


    With certain variations it is still that way, and we also see health service contracts. One chiropractor I saw for a shoulder injury insisted that I sign a two year service contract where I saw him twice a month and paid one hundred and twenty a month for the service. Needless to say, I walked out.

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  • 110. At 7:02pm on 19 Aug 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    #44Edinglehart

    What sustains your belief in intelligent life forms?

    I have often asked Scottie to "beam me up" because I despair of finding very many on this planet, especially during presidential elections!

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  • 111. At 7:05pm on 19 Aug 2008, KathyinTN wrote:

    Simon21:

    "No society has ever been so self-obsessed as the US."

    Simon, please state your case, and I don't mean opinions. I mean statistics starting with prehistoric times up through ancient Egypt, Babylon, Rome, China, Europe in the Middle Ages, etc.

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  • 112. At 7:16pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "statistics starting with prehistoric times"
    ;-)

    "If all the economists in the world were lined up end to end, they would not reach a conclusion."
    -- G.B. Shaw

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  • 113. At 7:19pm on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Simon21, we are indeed isolated, but not self-obsessed.

    The rest of the world does not affect us very much,
    unless our leadership blunders badly and gets us
    embroiled in some ancient and bitter old-world
    conflict.

    With wide oceans between us and other continents
    and a big navy, we want to keep it that way.

    One has to be aware of the rest of the world to
    be "self-obsessed." "Naive" would be a better
    term. You're giving the average American too much
    credit in that department.

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  • 114. At 7:24pm on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Chicoan, #107, I have to agree with you on your
    major point - there is no such thing as a "free"
    unregulated market. By "regulation," I think that
    we both mean objective regulation, such as
    anti-trust, which is free of political interference.

    It's too bad that the Republicans have forgotten
    this.

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  • 115. At 7:38pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    McCain's 'Judeo-Christian values' reference puzzles

    "On Saturday, in arguing for a strong defense of Georgia in its struggles with Russia, McCain twice noted that Georgia is a Christian nation - perhaps to distinguish it from other crumbling pieces of the former Soviet Union that are Muslim, such as Chechnya and Azerbaijan.

    Such comments may pass unnoticed by most American voters and may be reassuring to some religious Christians and Jews. They may even go over well with some secular Americans who are pleased that he is using more inclusive language than some members of the religious right.

    But his repeated invocation of "Judeo-Christian values" is sure to stick in the ears of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and people of other non-Christian, non-Jewish faiths. And they're sure to be asking themselves: Just what is McCain trying to tell us?"
    And, just in case we've forgotten, Judeo-Christian values underlie Islam too.

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
    ed

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  • 116. At 7:42pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    46, Magic.

    What bothers me personally is that both McCain and Obama are sucking up to a group that probably neither one of them can stand. I know that is politics, but I don't have to like it.

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  • 117. At 7:57pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    53, Just.

    I think you do not understand how business works.

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  • 118. At 7:58pm on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #115, Ed, this is like the case where a bunch
    of US congressmen went over to Iraq on a
    fact-finding mission during the height of the
    secular clashes there.

    One of them, and I can't remember which one,
    proclaimed, "Why can't they behave like proper
    Christians?"

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  • 119. At 8:00pm on 19 Aug 2008, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #37, ukwales.

    It's a total non sequitur for this thread but here goes.

    I'm no expert in social or political history as there is too much 'interpretation' involved for my taste. Military history is somewhat more concrete (so and so marched here with x men and trounced someone, preferably the French). But here goes.

    Yes. I think you have to look at what was happening at the time, a substantial population having their affairs impacted by a distant and seemingly uncaring elite typically grates on people. Particularly the local elite. As soon as that happened the door as opened up for the more extreme elements to agitate for change. With messages taking months to go backwards and forwards between the UK and North America it was difficult to damp that down. Once reasonable folks like Ben Franklin took up the cause war became inevitable. With the growth of the colonies economy and no representation in Parliament I honestly think it was inevitable. To look back now and say 'all would have been well' is to me nice to say, but the folks at the time could never have known that, they fought for the here and now.

    Another interesting question is that if Cromwell had stayed on that boat in London and left for the New World, would America have been independent 100 years earlier?

    Hope that helps,

    Sam

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  • 120. At 8:03pm on 19 Aug 2008, justcorbly wrote:

    #78:

    If people can't afford health care, they aren't going to get it free of charge. Whether through insurance, taxes, or whatever we all pay for health care.

    If health insurance disappeared, health care providers would still have every incentive (actually, a need) to make a profit. Those of us who could not afford to pay the prices established by those providers would simply not get the care they need. Those prices might settle at a different point than in an insurance-funded system, but the identical dynamic would be at work.

    Your argument about lawyers in California is not especially relevant. Doctors who worry about lawsuits should not make mistakes, and doctors who do make mistakes should worry a great deal about lawsuits.

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  • 121. At 8:06pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    78, Chicoan.

    If we didn't have to pay the exhorbitant fees for insurance, if the government stopped taking taxes for health care, if there were no co-pay, if our wallets were fattened by the employer not having to pay for health care, if the pharmaceutical companies were no longer allowed to profiteer with the implicit help of the government......

    We could afford to go to the doctor - any doctor - without permission from anybody.

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  • 122. At 8:11pm on 19 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    Ed Iglehart #20: Ok forgive me. I've read 4 articles from the Telligraph (not a very good gage of it I know and I'm certainly not judging it based on this experience!), but regardless, 3 of them were pretty left leaning, if not completely unfair regarding the US at least---and I am one of the biggest "liberals" (by European standards) that you'll ever meet! But I don't support baseless atacks on any nation, and those articles seemed to at times baselessly atack the US.

    SamTyler1969 #24: I agree that it depends on one's own personal political standing, but seriously? In New York people thought you were a rabid leftest? Really? In New York? No! Things can't have gotten that bad have they?

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  • 123. At 8:12pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    96, Guns.

    I large part I agree with you. However malpractice does exist and sometimes a law suit is justified. A doctor removing the wrong lung, or the wrong leg, for instance, requires redress of some sort.

    But a misdiagnosis is understandable, for instance, and should not be considered malpractice. In other words I am looking for a more stringent definition of malpractice.

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  • 124. At 8:15pm on 19 Aug 2008, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Ed (#115), the core principle of "one God" underlying them all is from Zoroastrianism, I think.

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  • 125. At 8:27pm on 19 Aug 2008, justcorbly wrote:

    #100, MarkFromOxford:

    I understand that the distribution of wealth, and power, in feudal society determined priorities, as still does today even in cultures with democratic political structures. And, I understand that modern assumptions may or may not be appropriate to the fedal age.

    But, that understanding does not prevent me from condemning many of those priorities and many aspects of life that were accepted as normal in feudal cultures.

    That's my point. I believe huge and ornate places of worship, in any age, are primarily testaments to the egos of those who wish them built. The job-creation function of medieval cathedrals would just as well have been served by constructing equally large and complex buildings of any purpose.

    So, I dont think the beneficial by-products of cathedral building -- or megachurch building -- are a sufficient counterweight to those things that actually motivated their construction.

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  • 126. At 8:32pm on 19 Aug 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    Judeo-Christian values, very interesting, since I feel a lack of that in most of what we do in this country.

    "Love one another. Do unto others as you want done to you. Blessed are the peacemakers because they will be called the children of God. You, who have no sin may cast the first stone. Protect children for they are first in the kingdom of heaven. Judge ye not lest ye be also judged etc., etc,. etc.

    I have paraphrased as best as I can, having read a lot but not being a 'Christian' I may not have gotten the words exactly but I think that I have understood the messages, at least I do try to live by them!

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  • 127. At 8:34pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    124, Gary.

    Zoroastrianism is thought to be the first monotheistic religion. I think some dispute this. However, around 1500 BC, when the Persians and Medes arrived in what is now Iran (having come fron cenral Asia) they brought this religion with them. So it is very ancient. The Medes were the priests (Magi).

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  • 128. At 8:40pm on 19 Aug 2008, Indian wrote:

    Chary8 #11:
    The religious right in the US encourages the decimation of nations in the guise of bringing democracy to them ?? Whose democracy are they bringing ?? Nobody sees the democracy in the US itself. The US is the new imperialist, just as the Brits were the old ones ... And to think that those who dealt in slaves and in the looting of the Orient are proselytizing Indians about what is right for them !?! ... you know it is hilarious ... the West lives a Middle Eastern religion (Christianity) every day, and fights another (Islam) ... we in India did that and more ... the Abrahamaic faiths are a travesty of spiritualism and philosophical thought ... and 2000 years of mayhem by them has not made India lose her "Sanatan" (eternal) religion ... if to preserve that we need to pull down the icons of imperialistic religious fervor ... so be it, we are then proud to be Indians.

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  • 129. At 8:45pm on 19 Aug 2008, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Here's a provocative essay on the subjects of monotheism and politics, by the always provocative Gore Vidal:

    http://www.isebrand.com/Gore_Vidal_Monotheism_1992.htm

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  • 130. At 8:48pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #127

    Our ideological miseries became acute when the Hebrews returned from the "Babylonian Captivity".

    They brought all sorts of new ideas (based on Zorastrianism) with them- the single, jealous, intolerant god, scripture, etc., etc.
    Jews, Christians and Muslims have been suffering the consequences ever since.

    Also, the concept of teleological "progress" leading to the Kingdom of God on Earth.

    [More civilized folk recognize that everything is cyclical and that the World exists only within the individual mind].

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  • 131. At 8:54pm on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:


    #128, pahadi, I think that perhaps you are overreacting
    a bit. There are plenty of Hindus and Muslims in
    the US, and we are probably more closely aligned
    with India than with any other great power in
    Asia.

    I think that if you checked, you would find that
    the US, like India, is a former British colonial
    territory which rebelled and set up its own government.

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  • 132. At 8:59pm on 19 Aug 2008, JDavidson49 wrote:

    Why agree to a forum to discuss religious views? I think that as have most of you commented, in this country it has become important . The right has made liberal a terrible label and furthermore has somehow aasociated liberal with not being spiritual. So I really think that Senator Obama in reaching across the aisle needed to do this. As someone who it seems has become liberal,although I really believe that the scale has slid beneath my feet to make me so, I find interesting that Senator McCain can go on a forum of church going people and promote yet another administration of U.S might in order to reslove conflicts. For someone who considers himself a rebel and yet has only distanced himself from the Bush administration on the issue of Katrina, and for that matter said very little at the time of that disaster, I fear for this country if he becomes our president. I guess a former POW is all the credentials one needs to be immuned to criticism hear in the U.S.

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  • 133. At 9:01pm on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Xie_Ming, what you have written is very depressing.

    Even though I am a scientist, I must admit that
    if there is no teleological progress, I shall have to take
    up drinking, whoring, and other forms of
    counterproductive behavior to console myself.

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  • 134. At 9:06pm on 19 Aug 2008, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    pahadi (#128), "sanatan" appears to be a Hindu term, is it not? Yet there are significant non-Hindu minorities in India, including Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs (and others). The question raised by Chary8 is how these minorities are treated. I have never been to India, and would not presume to lecture Indians on religious matters, but merely point out that Chary8 may have been refering to incidents such as these:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/rt_india.htm

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  • 135. At 9:16pm on 19 Aug 2008, Chicoan wrote:

    #120

    I agree that eliminating health insurance and replacing it with an unregulated, free market system would leave millions uninsured. I merely question whether private health insurance is the most cost effective way to provide the highest quality health care to the greatest number of people.

    I respectfully disagree on the effect of lawyers on the health care system.

    As employers who own a small business in California, our biggest outside expenses are taxes and insurance costs, both of which are beyond our control and almost impossible to budget for, yet we still must pay out of pocket costs even to qualify for a co-pay. In other words, we aren't just paying for the service once, we're paying for it twice.

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  • 136. At 9:17pm on 19 Aug 2008, JDavidson49 wrote:

    NoRashDecisions: I would like to respond to your comment about the British journalists reporting on healthcare in the U.S.. It is certainly ironic that they are, but even more ironic that you would defend our journalists on covering anything in this country. These days our media either has bias or lack of objectivity or just a concern over ratings. For the last almost 8 years this countries so called media has given this administration a free reign. If they had been doing their job of helping to speak for the regular citizens of this country, we most probably would not have gone to war under false pretenses. So I agree that if our media actually did their jobs, we would not need or hunger for questions about our lack of systems from outside journalists. Thank You BBC.....

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  • 137. At 9:19pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #133

    Take heart, for

    some claim the cycles are many eons

    others that all is change and synthesis

    One can say that technology has progressed,

    but has man?

    Have we still hunter-gatherer brains?

    Have our scientists studied history to say, 5,000 B.C.?

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  • 138. At 9:27pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    130, Xie.

    I think people can create their own miseries for any reason whatsoever. It must be genetic. I don't know much about Hinduism or Buddhism, but I bet their have created miseries too.

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  • 139. At 9:29pm on 19 Aug 2008, DougTexan wrote:

    Justin,

    Seriously, just got back from vacation and I find that I and my piers am no longer a viable voting block??

    "(why should the candidates be dragged into the evangelical bear pit at the very time that evangelical Christians are a fading force in US politics?)"


    If you take the time to notice, we still have 80% of the population.

    so sin to forget

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  • 140. At 9:33pm on 19 Aug 2008, Chicoan wrote:

    #130

    It has always been my understanding that a more proper view of the Zoroastrian God is one of a process rather than a person. In Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda, the Greatest God, is literally the spark, or breath, of life and his brother Ahriman, of whom so much is made of in Hollywood, is not actually a demon in the sense that Satan is a demon. Rather, he is an integral part of the dichotomy of good and evil and is to be tolerated.

    I would look more to the Roman Centurion's variations on Zoroastrianism, such as the Cult of Mithra, to explain the intolerance of many Christian beliefs.

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  • 141. At 9:34pm on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #137, Thank you Xie_Ming, I will now console myself
    in more productive ways.

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  • 142. At 9:40pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    139, Doug.

    Eighty per cent of what population? Certainly not national.

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  • 143. At 9:49pm on 19 Aug 2008, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    all..(#142), actually about 80% of Americans identify themselves as Christians of any kind. Here's a link to a report of a poll on the subject, for anyone interested:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/16519/US-Evangelicals-How-Many-Walk-Walk.aspx

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  • 144. At 9:53pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    138

    One complaint is that not accepting teleolgy provides no reason to strive for some "higher" goal.

    Chinese and (East) Indian philosophers have resolved this dilemma in various ways.

    To purvey hope and "Good News", may we suggest that man's brain is genetically determined, that our knowledge of the operative genes is increasing daily and

    that it is entirely conceivable that gene therapy may produce a better human.

    [but great controversy will arise over what constitutes "better].

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  • 145. At 9:59pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    # 140

    My point is not what Zoroastrianism was, but what the Hebrews brought back from Babylon to change their religion.

    Jews, Christians and Muslims are suffering accordingly.

    There was a World-wide flowering of thought around 500-300 B.C.

    Some might be curious about the factors that extinguished it.

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  • 146. At 10:01pm on 19 Aug 2008, DutchNemo wrote:

    I think John McCain will get the majority of the Evangelical Christian vote in November but I don't expect them to turn out in great numbers, unless McCain chooses Mike Huckabee as running mate (which isn't going to happen). Barack Obama is doing better among Evangelicals than Kerry and Gore did but not good enough to get them behind him.

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  • 147. At 10:06pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    130, Xie.

    Further to my former comment, 138.

    Religions seems to love misery. Some outlaw dancing, some force women to shave their heads, some force women to cover all portions of their bodies.

    And then there is the love of black. Priests wear black, ultra-orthodox Jews wear black, the puritans wore black, white or brown. These are colors of doom and death, and a deprivation of visual beauty.

    It seems the more restrictive the religion the more fanatical its adherents. (Does misery denote strength of character?) I will never understand how joy and beauty could be considered sinful. Maybe that's why I have no religion.

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  • 148. At 10:13pm on 19 Aug 2008, Candace9839 wrote:

    McCain appears to be seriously considering Lieberman and Ridge as running mates. So was the declaration at the religious forum just to appease the audience considering both are pro-choice?

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  • 149. At 10:14pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    143, Gary.

    Not according to the census of 2000. Seven per cent class themselves as atheists, and about 15 per cent (I think that's the right figure) claim to have no religion.

    That puts us at 22 per cent. Then there are Jews and Moslems to account for, plus other less populous religions.

    It should also be kept in mind that those who claim a religion may be claiming a religious heritage, rather than active practice, or may merely be declaring a vague belief in a god.

    As for active participants in a religion the figure is much lower than you think. Part of you acceptance of the 80 per cent figure may be due to where you live.

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  • 150. At 10:14pm on 19 Aug 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Xie_Ming, somehow I don't think that ethics are
    something that can be improved by gene manipulation.

    It's that pesky thing called "Free Will" that keeps
    getting in the way.

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  • 151. At 10:19pm on 19 Aug 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    Evangelical Christians are a minority that have been allowed too much political power because some people chose not to exercise their right to vote. McCain did not really 'win them all' by his comments. Many evangelical Christians may write in 'Jesus' when they vote for president rather than choose for either Obama or McCain.

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  • 152. At 10:21pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #143

    And if so many agree that the Rapture and Armageddon will some arrive, that makes it true, doesn't it?

    Now, if we could torture and kill the other 20% until they all agreed, that would certainly make for a better World!

    [Hasn't that been tried?]

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  • 153. At 10:26pm on 19 Aug 2008, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    Rash,

    #122. Yes I am a Leftie in NYC even compaed to the general population because I believe in universal healthcare, free University education based on merit, legalizing and taxing certain substances and professions, that the Bible is allegorical and has different meanings in different translations, that just because the two blokes next door sleep with each other it doesn't threaten my marriage and accept that the theory of evolution meets the scientific threshold of being a theory and that Intelligent Design, Creationism and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster do not (and as such should not be taught as science but should be taught as religion or philosophy).

    In the UK I am a righty because I believe in the free market (except for demerit goods such as schools and healthcare) and free enterprise.

    Ironically in the US the latter are taken for granted, in the UK the former are (except the legalization bit).

    Confused Sam

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  • 154. At 10:29pm on 19 Aug 2008, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    Xie-Ming

    #137.

    Yes, yes and yes.

    Sam

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  • 155. At 10:30pm on 19 Aug 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    Humans have ever sought a deity, something outside themselves to both propitiate and blame for life's problems. It is so much easier than taking personal responsibility.

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  • 156. At 10:31pm on 19 Aug 2008, DougTexan wrote:

    Blood types and fools!!

    Hunter / gatherer, farmer / industrialist, different eras, different make up. One is todays, though xing_ming will never know it.

    btw, No alcohol on election day has been history before Clintons first run at office. If anyone knows the year exactly, it would be nice to know.

    Probably ended when prayer was no longer allowed in school,.. unless you face east and use a rug.

    Different positions as Christians on the death penalty? Read a lot of posts getting here so forgive for not going back and knowing who.

    FYI, the commandment "do not kill", refered to obeying Gods Laws and not being a murderer. "Eye for eye" was for those who did not comply to Gods law. Thus the death penalty for those who kill. (for you in Rio Linda)

    True Socalist or Communist goverments do not co-exist well with a strong Christian base, and the public information systems (media) and schools educate "Christ" out of the system. Generally with slippery simple laws such as "teaching evolution alongside of Christianity in 1964" (allowed but disavowed by Christians) to not teaching Christianity at all in 2004, where laws have pushed even our say out of the schools

    It is simple to see the slide of public education with the removal of other Christian values such as, pride, morals, punishment (spare the rod, spoil the child,.. and I'm NOT advocating abuse), parental teaching, pledges and prayer. You may argue against me, but the 'private christian schools' have much higher grades, accomplishments by graduates and professionals because of 'standards based in the Bible'.

    And if being a McCain supporter, makes me a simple mind (ed), then so be it. I will not vote for everything I disagree with, wrapped in ending racism and repayment some ill perceived debt.

    BHO was a leftist for the last twenty plus years, we know his friends, family (wife) and pastor, and he cannot no more change who he is by being elected, then McCain.

    Indoor weather control, drinking water and sanitation, entertainment and travel, a book, a pen with paper, a mind to be thankful. I'll thank God for my blessings. An athist, thanks a monkeys nephew.

    peaceful on a mountain top in Nevada
    ()namaste

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  • 157. At 10:33pm on 19 Aug 2008, austinscot wrote:

    I am a Scot and have lived in the US now 27 years.

    Although the influence of the evangelicals is on the wain the need for religious endorsement is a key part of life here. In the USA religion plays a far greater role in politics than it does in Europe.

    It was not long ago when it was considered that a Catholic would never be President. This is still the land of the white protestant primarily.
    Many would say the the reason the Mitt Romney effort failed was because he is a Mormon.

    Barak has at least two problems to overcome, he is black and he is Catholic. He is addressing both issues head on and doing a pretty good job on both fronts. It may still not be enough to get him elected however and this is what Hilary Clinton believed was his main weakness.

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  • 158. At 10:51pm on 19 Aug 2008, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    Aqua,

    #126, I wade into this at my peril but your post reminded me of something an old friend once said in the middle of a very heated discussion with a born again, evangelical Christian.

    'You know, to call yourself a Christian you do actually have to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ? '

    His point was that there is a lot of literal interpretation of the Bible by 'Christians' on key issues such as homosexuality (Jesus was silent on the issue), abortion (Jesus was silent on the issue), gun and weapn ownership (Jesus was silent on the issue), taxes (Jesus said pay them) and so on that are inconsistent with the New Testament.

    He was also deeply concerned at the way other sections of the Bible are interpreted and found comical the fact that the King James Bible is that most often used by US based evangelical churches to support their view (The central theme of which is 'the Divine right of Kings', something which no American could ever support). Comically, he observed that the Bible also says slavery is OK and that the Sun goes round the Earth, a couple of positions most of us would find a wee bit silly now.

    But most importantly he (and I) was (and am) disgusted by the fact that many people who follow these relgious groups have an attitude to life of grasping every penny and denying those less fortunate than themselves help. And that divorce, with all it's harm to the family, is OK. Jesus talks endlessly about poverty and helping the poor and sick, never about abolishing taxes or ending welfare programs.

    Who was my friend? A Greek and Arameic scholar who had studied the earliest biblical texts in their source languages. More importantly, perhaps, an Anglican Bishop.

    So I think the question 'What would Jesus do?' is a good one. One that 'Values voters' should ask themselves more often and with perhaps a more informed perspective.

    Sickened Sam

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  • 159. At 10:54pm on 19 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:

    In reply to #71, Simon21:

    "Do I? And how do you know how I feel to "everything American" . I actually like Bob Dylan - is he Swedish? "The Onion" is sometimes hilarious - but it is not published in Madrid. Doonesbury can be spot on, but Gary Trudeau is not Canadian."

    I see. So, anything American that is self critical is acceptable. I would guess you also have synergy with self hating Americans like Chomsky.

    "And many in the US are pretty free with their criticism of other countries including one frequent poster here."

    Do you not risk being seen as the flip side of that denarius?

    "If you want to use history to make a point it is a good idea to learn some."

    As if I have not. But, how would we know if you have, when you make broad unsubstantiated claims covering all societies in all history? Has there been a survey of societal self absorption covering all history that you might reference? Perhaps the Romans, Picts, or the Ostragoths were more self absorbed.

    "Incidentally when would you put the 'British empire in its glory?'"

    I would say around the time when Sir John Robert Seeley wrote, "Expansion Of England". Or, as Lord Rosebery said of the British Empire, "The greatest secular agency for good that the world has seen".

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  • 160. At 11:02pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    58, Just.

    Re: Your comment on evangelicals. I couldn't have said it any better.

    "What they choose to believe and how they live is none of my business, but when they decide to use the force of government to control how I live, in the name of their religion, then I am their enemy.

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  • 161. At 11:08pm on 19 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    139, Doug.

    You are equating evangelicals with Christians. This is not valid. Evangelicals account for only a portion of the Christian population.

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  • 162. At 11:11pm on 19 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    Paulcrossley #27 wrote "agreed overseas media does devote a lot (too much?) time to discussing USA internal issues."

    Thanks for the responce and yes I think they do devote too much time! Surely they have problems of their own that need more urjant attention?

    "Why? I suspect it's because of the success of US tv shows and films (factual and none factual) that have a tendency to dominate the media."

    Of course one would have to be inhuman to not be influenced at least a little bit by our programs and shows, but come now!! You're not seriously suggesting that the media tells you how to think about us are you? Its not as if the media is holding people at knife point-so to speek-and insisting that they see America in "this" specific way and that's all or else!! Sure the media has an impact on how you view America and its people-as it does for the way in which Americans view the British. But you can get your impressions of us through other means as well you know. For instance look it up on the web, meet people, look at a Pue research pole etc. And the media (the fictional part of it) is showing the people what it thinks they want to see so its not entirely accurate on American life. I can't stand those foreigners who's reason for thinking that all Americans are gun-slinging cow boys is that that is what Hollywood portrays in its westerners!

    "That along with the fact that our cultures do have a lot in common, and as the largest 'Western' country, we're always going to look at you guys to see what worked and what didn't!"

    Understandable and by all means please look away! But do you have to have the attitude of looking over our shoulders all the time? Can you imagine what you guys would do if our journalists picked apart your domestic problems and dared to lecture you on how to change and improve? You would rightfully be upset! And that's all I'm saying! Give us suggestions! Write reports on our life until you're blue in the face! But just do it with fairness, respectfullness and with boundries!

    "Whether you're interested in us or not, doesen't matter too much to me - but if it helps understanding then I'm all for it."

    I am very interested as stated above and in post #10. I just believe there should be respect and humility thrown in the mix.

    "Sort of the same subject ,wouldn't it be good to have a blog that wasn't election based? There must be something else happening in the USA right now (or
    maybe in China!)."

    This blog does discuss several things outside of the election-although the election does dominate right now as it is in its throws. But there are other things happening in the US which are being discussed on this very entry! But if a topic is not mentioned here that you would like discussed, why don't you start a blog of your own!! Be sure to give me the web cite so I can check it out!

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  • 163. At 11:32pm on 19 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Let's throw this into the mix. My favourite

    Or is this my favourite?

    "Use TAO to help rule people
    This world has no need for weapons
    Which soon turn on themselves
    Where armies camp, nettles grow;
    After each war, years of famine.
    The most fruitful outcome
    Does not depend on force,
    But succeeds without arrogance
    Without hostility
    Without pride
    Without resistance
    Without violence.
    If these things prosper and grow old,
    This is called not-TAO.
    Not-TAO soon ends.
    Pu tao tsao i"
    Yet TAO alone gets things done

    Shanthi
    ed

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  • 164. At 11:35pm on 19 Aug 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    There should be no more worries about Evangelical Christians, for truly, the Mod Gods rule the world (or at least this small part of it)

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  • 165. At 11:48pm on 19 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #147

    As to wearing black and hatred of self:

    I would speculate that a religion that puts strong demands on a person, demands that are not comfortable to his nature,

    would induce feelings of inadequacy.

    Black dress could be to attempt the effacement of self and individuality and pride.

    As to American evangelicals, the inculcation of a feeling of personal guilt is an essential part of the indoctrination.

    For guilt is a powerful motivational spring. To aussauge it one will give money and project that guilt on whatever targets the minister wishes to focus-

    school teachers, unwed mothers, gays, "liberals", "humanists", "Darwinists", etc., are targets of choice

    the tagets chosen for projection are usually those who cannot strike back.

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  • 166. At 11:50pm on 19 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:

    In reply to #101, Xie_Ming :

    "There is little doubt that the TV evangelists have been exposed as corrupt frauds, all (save Billy Graham) involved in financial or sexual corruption, or both."

    Ah, kudos that you found one to exonerate. The Grahams are admirable people.

    There have been some notable scandals that have no doubt prejudiced your views. But, your broad sweeping generalities imply to me a bias bordering again on bigotry. Exactly what dirt do you have on Falwell? How about Robert Schuller? Joel Osteen? Rex Humbard? D. James Kennedy?

    Please refer to my previous quote of Lord Acton, only this time apply it in reference to the leaders of massive churches. There are just as many "Monica Lewinsky's" in large church hierarchy's who are attracted to charismatic power. Consider also, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak". That does not mean to excuse the use of TV evangelism to swindle people or the obvious largess of the "prosperity gospel".

    It is possible that some of these ministries are moral, and help people.

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  • 167. At 11:53pm on 19 Aug 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    The PTBs are overwhelmed!

    Perhaps posts should be allowed to stand until someone complained, which I am sure someone would.

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  • 168. At 11:57pm on 19 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    singinganimaltalker #29: And what Americans are these that hold this subhuman view of the NHS? I certainly don't! I know it has problems-what system doesn't? But the way you describe it? Come on now! You're being a little exaduratory don't you think? I personally think that whatever problems they have it won't take much effort to fix. Regarding faith. Yes its widely known that pretty much all the western Christians live in the US. But it is frowned upon to openly be a Christian in northern parts of the US just as it is in the whole of the UK (as another poster pointed out)

    chancethegardener #30 wrote '"I am astonished that Justin gives such a puff to this (hitherton unknown) website. It just seems to be an extension of ConservativeHome and would seem to
    have a completely one-sided political agenda."

    Are we looking at the same web cite? Yes, because correcting illadvised, baseless, unfair, and unkind thoughts toward a nation screams "political party propaganda!!" Fighting anti-Americanism or anti-any nationality knows no political party anywhere around the world!! Or at least it shouldn't, and it certainly doesn't in this case!! Thanks to those who are making this effort-it is nice to know that there are at least some rational thinking people around the world!

    "It is amusing to see the Tories twist and turn over the US elections. First of all they crowed about their links to John McCain and were always inviting him to speak at their Conferences. Then when they saw the appeal of Obama they jumped on that bandwaggon and the internet was covered with invitations to view "When Dave met Barack""

    I agree that they are flipping out over this a bit too much. But surely no right minded person would place scorn on a party of a nation attempting to learn of the leaders of the parties that may end up leading that nation in the near future would they? That's just good sence!

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  • 169. At 11:57pm on 19 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:

    In reply to #152, Xie_Ming :

    "And if so many agree that the Rapture and Armageddon will some arrive, that makes it true, doesn't it?"

    No. There was a time when everyone though the Earth was the center of the universe. That made it true, right? Do you really want to discuss Christian Eschatology, or was this bait?

    "Now, if we could torture and kill the other 20% until they all agreed, that would certainly make for a better World!"

    Wow. A 50 foot straw man!

    "[Hasn't that been tried?]" No.

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  • 170. At 11:58pm on 19 Aug 2008, justcorbly wrote:

    #117, AllMyMarbles:

    I understand that businesses can not stay in business if they fail to make a profit. That includes health care providers.

    Your argument presumes that the sole reasons for unaffordable health care are insurance and litigious patients.

    Health care costs would remain unaffordable for many millions if both insurance and lawyers vanished and we all had to pay for care out of pocket. Do you really believe that surgery that now costs $100,000 would cost $1000? Even at that, a one-hundred-fold decrease, many could not afford it.

    In sum, it is a moral imperative to provide adequate health care to everyone. The free market cannot do that. Therefore, those who argue for a totally free market health care system obviously value the health of business more than the health of the American people.

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  • 171. At 00:02am on 20 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    AustinScot,

    Barack ain't Catholic!

    United Church of Christ

    Salaam, etc.
    ed

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  • 172. At 00:09am on 20 Aug 2008, justcorbly wrote:

    The notion of being a Christian has been conflated recently with being an evangelical Christian. This would come as a surprise to many people who consider themselves Christians but wouldn't be caught dead in an evangelical church.

    Many people also, if pushed, would call themselves Christians even though they do not believe in one or more of central tenets of organized Christianity.

    Finally, there are many people who believe the wisdom of the words and action of Jesus to be as compelling as they would be if they believed he really was a divinity.

    And, Obama is not Catholic.

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  • 173. At 00:11am on 20 Aug 2008, oldnat wrote:

    If the mods ever let anything through tonight!

    Since sport is the modern religion, thought you might like to see the real Olympic Medal Table

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  • 174. At 00:14am on 20 Aug 2008, Peter wrote:

    >I've read 4 articles from the Telligraph (not a very good gage of it I know and I'm certainly not judging it based on this experience!), but regardless, 3 of them were pretty left leaning, if not completely unfair regarding the US at least---and I am one of the biggest "liberals" (by European standards) that you'll ever meet!

    sigh

    The Telegraph is the most right wing of the serious papers in Britain. Really. I think you are conflating "left leaning" with "hostile to the USA", when they are quite different things. The Telegraph is likely to take a narrow view of Britains national interest, buttressed by the intellectual arrogance of the writers. In US terms, think Buchanan, not Bush

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  • 175. At 00:15am on 20 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #150

    Can one reconcile a belief in "free will" with generall observed human behavior and still maintain an optimistic teleology?

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  • 176. At 00:23am on 20 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Exxon John
    McCain Traveling To Oil Rig (Partially) Owned By... Exxon

    ""For three decades, as our energy crisis grew, decision-making in Washington has been rigged against our national interests and the interests of American consumers," emails spokesman Tommy Vietor. "And for almost that long, Senator McCain has been part of the problem. For decades, he has stood with the big oil companies and voted against the development of the alternative energy we need. When a critical proposal came before the Senate late last year that would have provided tax incentives for the development of alternative energy by revoking $13 billion in giveaways to the oil companies, he was the only Senator who didn't vote - and we came up one vote short.""
    ;-)
    ed

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  • 177. At 00:23am on 20 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    SilverSven #32: You don't judge a nation and its people based on how some news TV station gages its nation's meddle count at an Olympic game. You just don't!! Yes our TV stations shouldn't do this, and it is just one more reason-as if we need any-why the US is the complete opposite of the rest of the world, but still one should't be this hardened toward it!

    Notting Hill Hammer #47 wrote "The welfare system is only one example. The use of the death penalty is another, as is the much higher murder rate. As an example, if the UK population was the same as the US the murder rate in the US would still be 8 times higher."

    Might I ask you how you know this? And even if it were true, it would probably only be true because your country has rightfully banned guns-something which we can never do (damn Jefferson and the 2nd amendment!!) The death penalty only applys to people who have commited murder in 37 states. I want it to be abolished as well and feel there is no place for it in the 21st century!! But its certainly not just willy nilly handed out every which way!! I don't think a foreigner should fear being handed it if they are prosicuted here and hope that the fact that we have it doesn't detur people from coming here!

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  • 178. At 00:26am on 20 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:

    In reply to #147, allmymarbles:

    "Religions seems to love misery."

    They do all these things in an attempt to become virtuous. I mentioned earlier in another thread the notion of strengthening the person versus removal of temptation. Another concept would be the removal of all things in your life that separate you from loving and serving God.

    Plato's philosophy of virtues (justice, moderation, wisdom ,courage, and piety) as explained in Protagoras was combined into Christianity by St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Ambrose, and Augustine of Hippo.

    You tend to see this also in Eastern religions where self deprivation is seen to be virtuous and a path to enlightenment.

    I agree about your general assessment that the denial of aesthetic joy is paradoxical. Certainly, a God that created aesthetic pleasures would have us appreciate and mimic them within reason, unless we do so without giving reverence.

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  • 179. At 00:30am on 20 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    Sam:

    You and your Biblical scholar would want to research the Gnostic Gospels a bit.

    It seems that the Jesus referred to here was an Essene and that much of what is taken as "Gospel" reflects political manuvering among Jewish sects at the time.

    Even if a minister were to understand the essential revolutionary message of Jesus (and, I suspect, many do) he could not present it to his Congregation and maintain his post and influence.

    We live in the midst of a "political discourse" and a "religious discourse". What the educated understand and what the common folk believe are two different things.

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  • 180. At 00:36am on 20 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    JDavidson49 136: O come now!! Every media source around the world has a bit of biasness and is concerned about ratings and/or news paper sales!! They would hardly be human if they didn't!! I am just as frustrated as you at our media's failer to criteaque Bush and its complicisity in his fancies!! But to claim that the British media (yes including the BBC) is somehow immune to the pull of being bias or nonobjective is just silly!!

    SamTyler1969 #153: Wow!! You learn something new every day! Might I just ask though, how does your government pay for everyone's university education? We could certainly learn some lessons from you on that front!

    Thank you

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  • 181. At 00:40am on 20 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    Sam...I still can't get over the fact that there are that many right wing evanjelicals in NYC!! My God!

    No wonder so many Brits think badly of us!

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  • 182. At 00:42am on 20 Aug 2008, Candace9839 wrote:

    Re:#157. Obama is a Christian, but he is not Catholic. He belonged to the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, but left it in May. Clinton had her own brand of religion that might have raised a few eyebrows
    Hillary's nasty pastorate

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  • 183. At 00:50am on 20 Aug 2008, tucsonmike wrote:

    For me, the entire visit was a non starter. I couldn't care less who the evangelicals back.

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  • 184. At 01:12am on 20 Aug 2008, wookiedookie wrote:

    Criticism of Justin from NoRashDecisions would carry more weight if it had a surer grasp on the language we share (or do we?!).

    At least Justin can spell!!!

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  • 185. At 01:19am on 20 Aug 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    #158Samtyler1969

    Wade in any time. You have made a good point. Anyone who is not willing to 'walk their own talk' should seek silence.

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  • 186. At 01:24am on 20 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:

    In reply to #158, SamTyler1969 :

    "His point was that there is a lot of literal interpretation of the Bible by 'Christians' on key issues such as homosexuality (Jesus was silent on the issue), abortion (Jesus was silent on the issue), gun and weapon ownership (Jesus was silent on the issue), taxes (Jesus said pay them) and so on that are inconsistent with the New Testament. "

    Generally, I agree on the notion that understanding context (scriptural, historical, cultural) and a just interpretation are an important part of understanding any historical writings. To assert theology on what is not written is a major reason why religion becomes perverse, just as another would be to myopically focus on one sentence to the exclusion of the greater meaning. Jesus also had little to say on thermonuclear weapons.

    To refute your claims of Jesus' silence regarding marriage, he was considered a Rabbi (trained) and did say Matthew 19:4-6 / Mark 10:6-9, and did not add new exceptions to the Judaic law which clearly forbade anything but traditional marriage.

    On that same vein, regarding Judaic blood law and the taking of life (even before birth), Exodus 21:22-25, Leviticus 20:2-5. This model is common also in the Code of Hammurabi, Middle Assyrian Laws, and Hittite Laws of the same period.

    Far from silent on taxes, Jesus said "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's"(Matthew 22:21). Of course, this was in response to a trick question meant to get him in trouble with Roman or ecclesiastical authorities. Also understood in early Christianity was that earthly riches were unnecessary(to be avoided even) compared with heavenly riches.

    As for Jesus and gun control... Heh. He did preach the path of non-violence. But, see John 18:10 -- "Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus." Ask yourself why one of Jesus' followers was armed, and inclined to defend his Rabbi.

    I'm no biblical scholar (just a normal scholar), but it would be interesting to debate your friend the Anglican Bishop. I think he risks taking Christianity to the point of vagueness.

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  • 187. At 01:43am on 20 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The Powers that Be

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
    ed

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  • 188. At 01:50am on 20 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:

    In reply to #179, Xie_Ming:

    "It seems that the Jesus referred to here was an Essene and that much of what is taken as "Gospel" reflects political maneuvering among Jewish sects at the time."

    Read Luke 7:31-34 -- The Jesus referred to here was not following Essene rules.

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  • 189. At 01:53am on 20 Aug 2008, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #181

    Upper East side. I never go there, except for the Frick and the Met.

    Sleep well,

    Sam

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  • 190. At 02:00am on 20 Aug 2008, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    Hi Xie,

    The problem with the Gnostic Gospels is that, while terribly interesting and awfully good fun in Tom Hanks movies, they were written somewhere between 200 and 300 ad and are of dubious origin, with no clear knowledge of who wrote them.

    Whereas the New Testament texts that are accepted, such as St Pauls letters, can at least be traced to a second hand experience of Jesus. To discount the one in order to support the other would be to discount Occams razor. We could yet be proved wrong, but the accepted New Testament, while politicised and diluted, when read in Aramaic or greek is the closest thing we have to the life of Jesus Christ, Our Saviour.

    Respectfully,

    Sam

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  • 191. At 02:08am on 20 Aug 2008, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #156

    Dougy,

    I should point out the Biblical verses you cite:

    a) Are old testament and therefore the domain of the Jewish Religion. Plus your interpretation of them is flawed and based on a deeply erroneous and perhaps willfull mistranslation

    b) Should, if you are Christian, be trumped by 'Turn the other cheek'

    You saucy lad!

    Sam

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  • 192. At 02:08am on 20 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    178, Real.

    Sorry I see it as a perversion. There is enough natural gloom and deprivation in life without having to manufacture it.

    No religion started out this way. The institionalization of religion corrupted its original purpose.

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  • 193. At 02:50am on 20 Aug 2008, RealFrigid wrote:

    In reply to 192, allmymarbles:

    "Sorry I see it as a perversion. There is enough natural gloom and deprivation in life without having to manufacture it."

    Odd. They would see it the other way around. The pursuit of pleasure, or earthly desires is a distraction from what is eternally important and their purpose. Also, perhaps they would see that to remain "faithful" within the struggle of this life justifies their next. Mother Teresa exemplifies this model of Christianity.

    Buddhism even denies the existence of the permanence of "I", but that we exist in only momentary elements of consciousness. The 2nd of the four noble truths is "The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things and the ignorance thereof." In simple terms, it is more the want of things that leads us to suffering, and if we trimmed our lives to "needs" we would be happier.

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  • 194. At 02:53am on 20 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #190

    One could start reading Elain Pagels, who writes in an easy-to-read fashion.

    The story is far more complex and antedates the Cruxifiction.

    Again, it is worth looking into, but this is not the place to get into the details.

    #191

    One should not underestimate the ignorance of evangelicals. Many are convinced that Roman Catholics are not Christians, for example.

    And, of course, they know nothing of the Essenes.

    #192

    The simplest reduction is that humans have a built-in desire to supply explanation of causality.

    When they do not know the cause, they project their political system and imagine that an anthropomorphic deity is responsible- "god did it"!



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  • 195. At 03:14am on 20 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    Here are some notes concering certain vectors that were comingling in Palestine just before the time of Jesus:

    The worst of fundamentalisms arose when Zoroastrian dualism (which was not present in Buddhism) was fused with the separation of the sexes (which was not present in Zoroastrianism), in a theology developed around Alexandria in the first century BC and the first century AD.

    This theology featured a cosmic war between Spirit and Matter (Body, Sex), the latter being evil. It is exhibited by the Essenes, and was current in Gnosticism.

    Various Christian writers attacked this theology, but it has nevertheless penetrated deeply into Christianity, perhaps through Paul rather than Jesus.

    Gnosticism was in part a Western form of Buddhism, but Zoroastrian ideas (such as its angelology) are also prominent in it - Alexandria was such a melting pot.

    Zoroastrian angelology has greatly influenced the Jewish Kabala, and through it remained an influence on the Western "occult" tradition, continuing into our own "New Age" movement.

    The Gnostic undercurrent kept surfacing within Christendom, e.g. in the Cathar "heresy". How different would Europe have been, if the Church had extended to others, when embraced by the empire, the toleration it itself had demanded when itself a minority.

    __________________

    Toleration is incompatible with fundamentalism- a fundamental problem!

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  • 196. At 03:28am on 20 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    And a goodnight to all!

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  • 197. At 03:31am on 20 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    wookiedookie #184 advises that "Criticism of Justin from NoRashDecisions would carry more weight if it had a surer grasp on the language we share (or do we?!)."

    I must be honest, I sometimes wish our nation adopted French or Spanish as its main language concidering how defencive, rigid, and uptight so many Brits are regarding its use in the US! And over the smallest differences too!! For example, one time on one of Justin's entries he used the word "dis" as in to insult or put down (I agree it wasn't very professional and sounded as though he were from the street!) But did the commenters on that particular entry point those reasons out for why they thought he shouldn't have used that word? Or heaven forbid did they let it slide realising that there were more pressing issues in the world to discuss? No! Not only did they harp on and on about it, but they all accused him of "going native" and either forgeting about, or atacking Britain! Things which had absolutely nothing to do with the incorrectness of that word's use! In short, all hell broke loose
    over one word!!

    "At least Justin can spell!!!"

    Might I ask you, what posts are you refering to when you claim that I can't spell? What specific words are you thinking of? And just so you know, I never "criticised" Justin on this specific entry!! Re-read my posts. If you are confused about one, I would be happy to explain my intentions in writing it.

    I'm sorry if I offended you and hopefully this apology is spelled correctly enough so as to not make you too ashaimed of me and the "language we share."


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  • 198. At 03:44am on 20 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    #174: I'm sorry if I offended you and/or your admoration of the Tellegraph. Again as I've stated before, may be the pieces I read were from editorials or something--it was a long time ago. And perhaps you're right. Perhaps I do confuse "left leaning" with "hostile to the US"
    But if this is true, aren't more right leaning people more accepting of the US?
    That's what I've always thought. Am I wrong?


    Again I apologise.

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  • 199. At 04:53am on 20 Aug 2008, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #194

    Xie,

    In turn:

    Yes, in the 1970's this was an excellent work, but early Biblical study has moved on since then.

    And they would be wrong.

    What?

    Sam

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  • 200. At 05:27am on 20 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    194, Xie.

    You said, "One should not underestimate the ignorance of evangelicals. Many are convinced that Roman Catholics are not Christian...."

    I had the unique experience some years ago of being cloistered with 13 evangelical ministers for almost three weeks. It was very enlightening.

    As to the Catholic Church they considered it "leftist." That came as a surprise, since the Catholic Church is operating somewhere in the Middle Ages. Another thing that surprised me was their emphasis on sex, presumably the avoidance thereof. But they spoke of it all the time and related it to things I did not consider sexual. Hmmm.

    Some, but not all, of those evangelicals had impoverished backgrounds and little education.

    For the first few days they kept their distance from me to avoid contamination. Ultimately curiosity got the better of them.

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  • 201. At 05:32am on 20 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    Further to 200 above. My comment has not been printed yet and I don't remember if I made it clear that the evangelicals were all ministers.

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  • 202. At 08:09am on 20 Aug 2008, Marvin wrote:

    @ #128:

    'Pahadi', I'm as proud as you are of the good things.

    Your neighbour's mosque is no more a sign of imperialism than your Hindu temple is to the millions of Adivasi people (indigenous tribals) whose original culture you have colonised. They are the real Indians - the rest of us are guests and should acknowledge that.

    As for Hinduism's supposed peaceful nature, explain Gujarat 2002 and Narenda 'Hitler' Modi!

    It's easy to talk big and act smart when you've never been a minority yourself.

    Anyway, this is a forum about the US - stay on topic.

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  • 203. At 09:56am on 20 Aug 2008, The Notting Hill Hammer wrote:

    NoRashDecisions #177 wrote:

    Notting Hill Hammer #47 wrote "The welfare system is only one example. The use of the death penalty is another, as is the much higher murder rate. As an example, if the UK population was the same as the US the murder rate in the US would still be 8 times higher."

    Might I ask you how you know this? And even if it were true, it would probably only be true because your country has rightfully banned guns-something which we can never do (damn Jefferson and the 2nd amendment!!) The death penalty only applys to people who have commited murder in 37 states. I want it to be abolished as well and feel there is no place for it in the 21st century!! But its certainly not just willy nilly handed out every which way!! I don't think a foreigner should fear being handed it if they are prosicuted here and hope that the fact that we have it doesn't detur people from coming here!


    I know it because I can analyse statistics and work out the comparative rates from that analysis. I also lived in the USA for 7 years and love parts of the country and some of the people. However it is true that most states have the death penalty and it is also true that murder rates are higher in the USA, regardless of the weapon of choice. I didn't fear the death penalty, although there are British people on death row, I despised it as a sign of a society in thrall to a macho ideology. There are 2 Americas in my mind, one is that of Jefferson, Keruoac, James Brown and Gore Vidal, the other is that of Pat Robertson, the KKK, Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. I love the first and hate the second.

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  • 204. At 10:10am on 20 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Some more Bible-Spouting

    "Emperor Constantine is usually said to have converted the Roman Empire to Christianity. What he actually did was convert Christianity to the Roman Empire. He gave Jesus the fourth century equivalent of a shot of anabolic steroids and transformed the Prince of Peace into the Prince of War and ally of the rich and the ruler."
    "Who would Jesus bomb?"

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 205. At 10:23am on 20 Aug 2008, The Notting Hill Hammer wrote:



    204. At 10:10am on 20 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:
    Some more Bible-Spouting

    "Emperor Constantine is usually said to have converted the Roman Empire to Christianity. What he actually did was convert Christianity to the Roman Empire. He gave Jesus the fourth century equivalent of a shot of anabolic steroids and transformed the Prince of Peace into the Prince of War and ally of the rich and the ruler."

    It's a bit simplistic Ed. Christians were warlike enough and aggressive enough before Constantine came along. Just think of all the battles between Arians and Orthodox and all the other sects. The notion of heresy and the persecution of heretics, and indeed the idea of the church being a temporal power were all firmly established before Christianity became a state religion.

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  • 206. At 10:33am on 20 Aug 2008, oldnat wrote:

    For those of you think that Creationism in Schools is only an American issue, Northern Ireland shows trhe same issue this side of the pond.

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  • 207. At 11:53am on 20 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Hammer,

    "It's a bit simplistic Ed."
    Not my words. Read the link.

    Salaam, etc.
    ed

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  • 208. At 12:18pm on 20 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    206, OldNat.

    That just goes to show that idiocy is international.

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  • 209. At 12:49pm on 20 Aug 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #208 marbles

    I agree, but I thought that it was worth posting that for others in the UK.

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  • 210. At 1:32pm on 20 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    A summary view of the "forum" from an obviously biased source, but still worth a quick scan...here

    Salaam, etc.
    ed

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  • 211. At 3:33pm on 20 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    In a 1995 review of Pagel's book, Norman Cohn claims the latest Biblical research backs the Zorastrian influence on the Hebrew religion after Babylon.

    He also notes that there were squabbling factions centered on the politics of the Essenes (we think Jesus was an Essene):

    "However, the Christian movement itself was anything but monolithic. In its early days, the apostle Paul already found himself confronted with rival teachers—and he dealt with them by calling them servants of Satan.

    It was the beginning of a tradition: more damnable even than hostile pagans were Christians with whom one disagreed. As the Christian movement turned into an institutional church, with bishops exercising authority over their congregations, it acquired an orthodoxy.

    When, around 180 CE, Irenaeus, bishop of the congregation of Lyons, wrote his very influential work Against Heresies, he had no hesitation in labeling all dissidents servants of Satan..."

    Have things changed much among the evangelicals?

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  • 212. At 3:44pm on 20 Aug 2008, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    The Notting Hill Hammer #203 wrote "I know it because I can analyse statistics and work out the comparative rates from that analysis. I also lived in the USA for 7 years and love parts of the country and some of the people. However it is true that most states have the death penalty and it is also true that murder rates are higher in the USA, regardless of the weapon of choice. I didn't fear the death penalty, although there are British people on death row, I despised it as a sign of a
    society in thrall to a macho ideology. There are 2 Americas in my mind, one is that of Jefferson, Keruoac, James Brown and Gore Vidal, the other is that of Pat Robertson, the KKK, Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. I love the first and hate the second."

    I didn't mean to insult your ability to annalise and compare statistics. I apologise if I did. I just find it hard to believe. 8 times? My God! We must be the most violent society and have the highest murder rate on earth!! This is so embarrissing! Why! Why is this so? Does anyone know? I'll have to do some statistics annalising and comparing of my own!

    No British person should be on death ro!! We have treaties with most countries around the world (since 95% of them don't have it anymore) to not sentence any foreign national to death if convicted of murder!! This is very shameful indeed!

    Again I am firmly against the death penalty! My God! This one stupid sentencing method makes the world hate us the most!

    As regards the two Americas, you do know that Dick Chaney, Rush Limbaw, the KKK etc are all right wing radicles, and in no way do they represent the majority of US citizens views right? I dislike them just as much as you, but to silence them is to silence freedom of speech. Please don't tar all Americans with the same brush!!

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  • 213. At 4:04pm on 20 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    no rash you should try reading the observer or the Independant.
    a little more left than the torygraph.


    153Sam
    but they did decriminalise,right?

    "A small step for mankind"




    177 no rash , my mother left this country and refuses to live here because she is a catholic and opposes the death penalty.

    I mention catholic because the UK catholic church actually opposes the death penalty openly,unlike america where they do but of course abortion is a higher issue.
    So it may not keep tourists away but it does keep a granny from ohio away.


    no rash I agree you are not to be tarred with any brush that has been near thw white house.
    we may disagree but you are reasoned and polite(better than me), even if I think you sometimes a little patriotic. Which is fine don't get me wrong, it's like religion.
    Fine but not for me.

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  • 214. At 4:14pm on 20 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    184. At 01:12am on 20 Aug 2008, wookiedookie wrote:
    Criticism of Justin from NoRashDecisions would carry more weight if it had a surer grasp on the language we share (or do we?!).

    At least Justin can spell!!!

    I wood fank you two giv mesom creddit.
    I 'fink 'at we britts can stoop triing to correct other abot speling on this sight.
    It is a interrnatonal sight ,wot is moor unlik me It mite not be theyre first languish.
    you gramer trol.

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  • 215. At 4:18pm on 20 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    btw is it beyond reason to expect the america page of the BBC to have some topics to do with america?

    some seem to think so.

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  • 216. At 4:20pm on 20 Aug 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    206 old nat
    that is funny.

    might that be partly because of the america- Irish connection?


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  • 217. At 6:31pm on 20 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #205

    After Constantine, they began burning heretics.

    Something that is not widely known: Constanine murdered all his rivals (mostly members of his own family) and kept a confessor with him

    because he believed that a deathbed confession would save him from punishment for his continuing evil deeds.

    Innocent school children are not taught this, but get a "in hoc signo vincerere" message of the righteous convert.

    Constantine also locked up all the bishops so that they would be forced to agree on something at the First Council of Nicaea.

    They did not agree on many things, including the alledged divinity of Jesus, but this is how the Nicaean Creed came about, which children must recite from memory to be received into the faith.

    Evangelicals have not the least hint of knowledge of these matters.

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  • 218. At 8:50pm on 20 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    In the "Evangelical Bearpit", it is time to note again that the leading evangelist, Jerry Falwell, happily received the gift of a Learjet from the government of Israel.

    This very expensive gift was obviously so that the efforts of the evangelist to convince his adherents that their personal salvation was directly linked to the well-being of Israel would be fostered.

    And, many fundamentalist/evangelicals have been so convinced.

    The AIPAC organisation arranges funding for US Congressmen and exerts a very strong influence on them, as documented by the Mearsheimer and Walt report.

    With such control over US politics, it is important that ethical US citizens become aware of the great influence over US politics exercised by the Israelis, through AIPAC and similar organizations, but most especially through the manipulation of the ignorant evangelicals.

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  • 219. At 9:36pm on 20 Aug 2008, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 220. At 11:24pm on 20 Aug 2008, nikki noodle wrote:

    All this really does make facinating reading!


    and it gives a hint into the 'more brutal' society

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  • 221. At 01:00am on 21 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Stuff you oughta know

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 222. At 02:52am on 21 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #200

    The have been serious psychological studies of funadamentalist ministers,
    even dividing them into "conservative" and (for them) "liberal".

    These are to be found in back issues of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

    Perhaps the key thing to know is that if you can get a person young enough, you can convince the child that the World is flat.

    For him, this will not be a belief, but a fact.

    This is something to remember when considering posters from the Bible Belt.

    [We can go into it more if you wish, since it has a bearing on the US election]

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  • 223. At 02:53am on 21 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #200

    There have been serious psychological studies of funadamentalist ministers,
    even dividing them into "conservative" and (for them) "liberal".

    These are to be found in back issues of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

    Perhaps the key thing to know is that if you can get a person young enough, you can convince the child that the World is flat.

    For him, this will not be a belief, but a fact.

    This is something to remember when considering posters from the Bible Belt.

    [We can go into it more if you wish, since it has a bearing on the US election]

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  • 224. At 05:25am on 21 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    222, 223, Xie.

    I don't think we operate on the same level. I look to personal exposure for my understanding. I think I learned more in those three weeks than I could have from a dozen scholarly dissertations, some of which undoubtedly have their own biases.

    What I do is listen. I don't criticize. I don't debate. I make no attempt to convert. People then become comfortable and talk to me as one of their own. That is how I learn - from the people themselves.

    And these were not terrible people. Some held to their beliefs as a lifeline. Others simply grew up around people just like themselves. The thing they had in common was that they were not intellectually honest. And some of them knew they weren't.

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  • 225. At 05:52am on 21 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    222,223. Xie.

    That said, they did sometimes act a little silly. There was an endless discussion about where Jesus really died. They settled on a site that now a bus station. ?????

    Others would not enter the beautiful mosques on the Temple Mount. I could see that most really wanted to, but their confreres were watching. So it was just myself and two others that went mosquing. (The two others were more liberal and much better educated.)

    There was only one true zealot in the lot. He was a rather sour old man who looked like he believed in fire and brimstone, and never smiled. He avoided me the whole time, seeing no doubt the devil that lurked inside.

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  • 226. At 11:21am on 21 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Ms Marbles,

    Thanks for sharing. And I mean that to cover all (or at least most of) your contributions..

    xx
    ed

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  • 227. At 2:26pm on 21 Aug 2008, The Notting Hill Hammer wrote:

    212 NoRashDecsions wrote:

    No British person should be on death ro!! We have treaties with most countries around the world (since 95% of them don't have it anymore) to not sentence any foreign national to death if convicted of murder!! This is very shameful indeed!

    Again I am firmly against the death penalty! My God! This one stupid sentencing method makes the world hate us the most!

    As regards the two Americas, you do know that Dick Chaney, Rush Limbaw, the KKK etc are all right wing radicles, and in no way do they represent the majority of US citizens views right? I dislike them just as much as you, but to silence them is to silence freedom of speech. Please don't tar all Americans with the same brush!!......


    I don't tar them all with the same brush and I hope after the next election the America I love will resurface. It appears to be doing so. Foreign nationals are not exempt from execution. A Mexican man whose case drew international attention has been executed in Texas for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in 1993.

    6 Aug 2008

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  • 228. At 2:29pm on 21 Aug 2008, The Notting Hill Hammer wrote:

    And from 2002:

    Tracy Housel has become the first British man to be executed in America for seven years.
    The 43-year-old was given a lethal injection and certified dead at 0028GMT on Wednesday (1928 local time) in prison in Jackson, Georgia.

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  • 229. At 2:42pm on 21 Aug 2008, The Notting Hill Hammer wrote:

    82# JustCorbly wrote:
    A church is a community of believers. They do not need any particular kind of building.

    I don't disagree that many people found employment in building medieval cathedrals. But, they would have found jobs in any entrprise of equal scale, however pointless. The salient fact is that they found employment building arrogant overblown shrines to the ego of the church. God can be worshipped, if you so choose, in a serf's hovel just as readily as in a cathedral. People may have taken comfort from and found pride in cathedrals, but that had everything to do with emotion and little to do with faith. Does anyone imagine that God pays more attention to people inside a cathedral, or Saddleback, than to those outside?

    The medieval church could have spent as much money and provided as many livelihoods by building something truely useful, like sewers, schools, and water systems.
    .............

    I find myself in the unusual position of defending the mediaeval church. For an atheist, thats rather ironic.

    First off, the cathedrals were not just about the church's pride, they were also about the pride and faith of the local community. The function of the cathedrals was also to provide an awe inspiring venue for the worship of god.

    Secondly the church did spend huge amounts of money on social welfare, providing sewers, schools and water systems. They also provided free food and shelter for travellers and hospitals.

    The mediaeval church was also at the forefront of opening up wilderness areas to civilisation, cultivating new land and building monasteries which became the focal point for new communities. The Cistercians were particularly active in this area.

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  • 230. At 3:14pm on 21 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Hammer,

    "The mediaeval church was also at the forefront of opening up wilderness areas to civilisation, cultivating new land and building monasteries which became the focal point for new communities."
    Whether this is a 'good thing' or not is, of course, a matter of opinion:
    "...the most striking and immediate effect of the spread of European settlement beyond the boundaries of Europe itself was its lethal impact on indigenous peoples and societies." -- Clive Ponting (A Green History of the World)

    I do agree, though, that the Church had many beneficial effects, along with many less admirable...and I'm not an a-theist, rather more a trans-Christian anarchist

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 231. At 3:25pm on 21 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #225

    I have spent some years talking with and studying such individuals.

    About seven percent of all (not the ministers alone as a sample) have a desire to manipulate and dominate others- the rest are obedient authoritarians.

    And, you are quite right- if you sit still and listen, they will assume that you share their attitudes (as all nice people must!).

    This applies to all who have been indoctrinated, in whatever ideology.

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  • 232. At 3:31pm on 21 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #229

    One architech claims that the most imposing builing in a city represents the god of the city at the time.

    For example, at one time it was train stations, in the socialist world, the principal administrative building, today, banks, etc.

    In many places the church group represents the non-governmental organization of the community- and people belong and tithe whether they believe in the religion or not.

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  • 233. At 4:35pm on 21 Aug 2008, The Notting Hill Hammer wrote:

    230 Ed Inglehart wrote:


    Hammer,
    "The mediaeval church was also at the forefront of opening up wilderness areas to civilisation, cultivating new land and building monasteries which became the focal point for new communities."
    Whether this is a 'good thing' or not is, of course, a matter of opinion:
    "...the most striking and immediate effect of the spread of European settlement beyond the boundaries of Europe itself was its lethal impact on indigenous peoples and societies." -- Clive Ponting (A Green History of the World)


    I do agree, though, that the Church had many beneficial effects, along with many less admirable...and I'm not an a-theist, rather more a trans-Christian
    anarchist

    .............................


    I agree with what he says, I was thinking about within Europe during the Mediaeval period. Just how much good work the monasteries did can be seen in the disintegration of society that occured in England after the dissolution of the monasteries. Starvation and homelessness increased because the monks were no longer providing the free care that they previously did. Many Evangicals saw the destruction of a 1000 years of monastic life as a godly act. They were wrong.

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  • 234. At 5:59pm on 21 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    231, Xie.

    Don't make the mistake of thinking me "nice." I am, in fact, a ruthlessly objective intellectual.

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  • 235. At 6:07pm on 21 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    226, Ed.

    I bet you say that to all the girls.

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  • 236. At 8:46pm on 21 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #234

    The point intended was that all ideologues assume that "nice" people share their views.

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  • 237. At 8:50pm on 21 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    231, Xie.

    ALL religions "have a desire to manipulate and dominate others...". This is not a trait peculiar to evangelicals. What makes the evangelicals annoying is that they make a lot of noise about it.

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  • 238. At 00:03am on 22 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    With the possibility of capping this thread off, I'll just note that religion, faith, church, reverence, and spirituality are all different things, and should not be conflated.

    Peace and respect to all
    ed

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  • 239. At 00:32am on 22 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    238, Ed.

    You got me, Ed. I never heard the word conflated before and had to look it up. I found it meant "fuse" or "meld." (The meaning seemed obvious because of the context, but who knows....) I promise never to use it. It is your word.

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  • 240. At 01:49am on 22 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #239

    Nor I. It has, for me, a connotation of "flatulence".

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  • 241. At 03:56am on 22 Aug 2008, AndreainNY wrote:

    What makes people who don't like Evangelicals just as annoying is the fact they make a lot of noise, too.

    Honestly, the carping about Evangelicals is so tiresome and displays an intolerance that's so ugly.


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  • 242. At 04:15am on 22 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    241, Andre.

    I am interolerant of any group that forces its religion on me through legislation. If the evangelicals kept evangelism to themselves they would suit me just fine.

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  • 243. At 2:25pm on 22 Aug 2008, Adrian_Evitts wrote:

    The next president of the United States will be doing just fine if he upholds the US constitution, including the First Amendment concept of separation of church and state.

    For example, in the Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687 (1994), Justice David Souter, writing for the majority, concluded that "government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion".

    Amen to that.

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  • 244. At 06:09am on 23 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    Ed,

    Do you have a special position on this blog that I am unaware of?

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  • 245. At 2:19pm on 23 Aug 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #244

    His courtesy makes him very special on this blog.

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  • 246. At 6:20pm on 23 Aug 2008, johnvic wrote:

    The US system provides a very high standard of care to those insured and also generally to those who qualify for federal systems, eg medicare/medicaid or the vetrans' system. However, it provides a very poor and at times nonexistant level of care, beyond basic emergency care, to those uninsured. Additionally those with pre-existing conditions have difficulty getting insured if they need a new policy, for example if they were covered by an employer's scheme and they change employment.

    If indicators of health such as infant mortality are examined the US often does very poorly when compared to countries with socialised systems such as Western Europe. However, generally, for those insured in the US they usually have better outcomes for specific illness measures such as survival rates in cancer than do countries with socialised systems.

    I suppose you take your pick, I prefer the compassion and equality of a socialised system like the NHS to the market led US system.

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  • 247. At 01:19am on 24 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Xie_Ming, Thank you. As the British say, "You're too kind."
    Ms Marbles, I have no special position. I'm flattered you might imagine so.

    Love and peace to you both, Namaste ()
    ed

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  • 248. At 04:30am on 24 Aug 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    247, Ed.

    I rather suspected you didn't because you are punished by the moderators more frequently than I am.

    Sometimes moderators decisions are incomprehensible. I can say the most horrible things to staphylococcus aureus (call it a hobby) - and there it is in print. I say something innocuous or playful - and bang! It's gone.

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  • 249. At 12:33pm on 24 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Ms Marbles,

    "
    Sometimes moderators decisions are incomprehensible."
    You can say that again! Most of the time I get moderated, it's for quoting too enthusiastically, or for being too frivolous or trivial...

    I don't mind.

    All the best to you. I feel I know you, and I like what I know.

    xx
    ed

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  • 250. At 9:06pm on 24 Aug 2008, coopakshakur wrote:

    "...the difference is far less marked than many Europeans would believe." Hmm...

    It is true that OFFICIALLY one won't be turned away from emergency services. However, there's been MANY reports here in California, even in my own town, of scared, obviously-illegal immigrants or obviously homeless folks in the emergency room being denied service because of lack of insurance or money. Not to mention the hellhole hospitals of south-central L.A., which has come under scrutiny for horribly dropping off homeless folks onto skid-row or free clinics just to get rid of 'em. Does one expect a for-profit hospital to provide adequate care for a patient when they realize they're not getting paid???

    As several folks have posted, preventative care is non-existent... something that national health-care would emphasize tremendously, and in the process make a healthier country and save so much money. Being an independent, working, non-insured college student, I have many friends in the same situation who have issues which ought to be checked-out and possibly fixed now before they get worse, but they have no "safety net" or enough money to make that doctor visit. That's not right when all these potentially healthy young adults end up in the ER due to lack of preventative care, and get harrassed later for obscene amounts of money. Recently a friend (her full-time job has no insurance) ended up in this situation, and started crying when the hospital corp. called demanded money... they felt bad and knocked off a few $100 off her bill. How generous of them!

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