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Member since: Sat Nov 29, 2008, 02:55 PM
Number of posts: 17,671

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What is the difference

between a politically active representative of the church and a lobbyist?

What is the difference between a politically active religious organization and a lobbyist organization?

Has there ever been a popular movement of any consequence that did not have a political objective?

I like history.

Like many white public figures, Graham had shown little concern for segregation until the civil rights movement began to take off in the early 1950s, and many of his early crusades were segregated. In response to the civil rights movement, Graham was inconsistent, refusing to speak to some segregated auditoriums, while speaking to others. In 1953 he dramatically tore down the ropes that organizers had erected to separate the audience; he recounted in his memoirs that he told two ushers to leave the barriers down "or you can go on and have the revival without me."

Graham became a regular in the Oval Office during the tenure of Dwight D. Eisenhower, whom he urged to intervene with federal troops in the case of the Little Rock Nine,[8] and it was at that time, on a Washington golf course, that he met and became close friends with Vice President Richard Nixon.[19] Graham was invited by Eisenhower to visit with him when the former president was on his deathbed.[44] Graham also counseled Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and the Bush family.

Please note, somebody shot MLK, while Graham went on to "advise" every president up to and including Barack Obama.

The phrase "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." implies a continuum. Here is a somewhat more expansive quote:

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.

And how has the Graham continuum played out?


"We're not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It's a different God, and I believe it [Islam] is a very evil and wicked religion."

"It wasn’t Methodists flying into those buildings, it wasn’t Lutherans. It was an attack on this country by people of the Islamic faith."

Members of the Pentagon's chaplain group issued a letter stating that: "...we are deeply dismayed and disappointed that the Pentagon Chaplain's Office has invited Mr. Franklin Graham, an extremely controversial and divisive figure, to perform the Good Friday Services at the Pentagon on April 18, 2003. Mr. Graham has made recent public statements that are not only insulting and offensive to Muslims but also to those who espouse ecumenism among the faith groups. Mr. Graham's negative statements concerning Islam and Muslims, which he has never recanted, fly in the face of what we stand for as Americans. By sponsoring and promoting a visit to the Pentagon by an extreme fundamentalist like Mr. Graham, the Pentagon Chaplain's Office is sending a message that it and the Department of Defense condone public displays of attitudes and thoughts that contradict not only Department of Defense regulations but also the American ideal of religious tolerance.

Religious influence and intolerance in the military has become a problem in this country the implications of which I should not have enumerate.

These people and more like them are the new Martin Luther Kings:

Identity politics brought long overdue social and economic justice to millions of Americans and that project isn't over yet. I doubt it ever will be. But it came at a price. It alienated millions of Americans who just didn't know what to make of all the women and minorities splashing around in their political pool. Not a few of them abandoned the Democratic party in favor of others who promised them a new morning in America through a return to the traditional values of white, male, christian privilege. These are their children:

It seems that Lyndon Johnson's observation regarding the south seems to have been optimistic. It probably has something to do with Richard Nixon's political acumen.

Too many liberals have misty eyed memories of Woodstock and daises in rifle barrels. That's not the kind of political reality we face today. It more resembles the circumstances surrounding the battle of Blair mountain.

Associations of people through religious affiliation are on the wane. Such associations are effective for conservative politics because of the traditional, one could say outright backward if not fascist, orientation of conservatism today. One of the primary pillars of that conservatism is it's reliance on religion for constituent cohesion. It makes no sense since the Republican party perpetrates the same political date rape of christian conservatives every four years and they just come back for more. But that dogged devotion to conservative ideology only serves to emphasize how completely the Republicans dominate the relationship of religion and politics. They own it. They own the organizational infrastructure, the most devoted believers, the language, and the ideological power of religion in this country. You take any sort or type of religion into a political fight with them and you will lose. I don't care how you reinterpret, spin, re-brand, or sell whatever new iteration of Christianity suits your fancy, it's over. This country is becoming more secular right along with the rest of the industrialized world. Liberalism is, by definition, an ideology of change. Clinging to the relationship of religion and government runs so against the progress made by mankind in the last three thousand years I quite frankly can't see how anybody who considers themselves a liberal could even countenance the notion.

Here's how it works: A religious leader goes to his flock and says, "There's a social injustice that needs our attention!" and they all trundle off in a group to speak out and raise consciousness to change the world. Everybody sees that particular flock and recognizes the righteousness of their concerns. The blog-sphere crackles, news anchors blather, pundits bloviate, and hopefully a politician will notice. S/he might even score a meeting with an actual elected public official. Thus, the sainted guru of spiritual enlightenment can go back to his or her flock and say, "Didn't we do good!" Everybody likes a winner and that puts butts in the pews. And money in the collection plate. And the flock looks to the guru to bird dog the next social injustice for them to attack.

So how do you distinguish a religious leader from a lobbyist? How do you distinguish a religious organization from a lobbying organization? Given the requirements of effective political action in today's world, how do you distinguish a religion from a media empire?

And another lamprey attaches itself to the ass of American politics.

I don't consider it stifiling at all.

It's half the human experience. Politics, religion, sports and the Pepsi challenge all originate from the same place. Faith of one sort or another has fueled our evolutionary success since the Oldauvi Gorge and shows no sign of dissipating.

In this country, at this time, organized religion whether it's fundamentalist Christianity or new age subatomic mysticism has to deal with capitalism and its attendant science of mendacity, marketing, in the "marketplace of ideas". I don't care what kind of religion you call it, when it tries to attach its brand to a political movement it is competing for political power. And that never ends well.

Make no mistake, OWS is attempting to exercise power to control some of the most powerful people and organizations in history. Any organization be it some "new Christianity" or some corporation that attaches itself to that effort is just doing disaster capitalism. The sooner we learn that, the sooner we'll straighten out this mess.

And to answer your question, I was raised southern Baptist and my brother, who I idolize as one of the finest men I have ever known, was a southern Baptist missionary for many years. For my part, I was once a frighteningly effective salesman until I discovered what a horse's ass I had become and became an artist. The subtext of most of my work these days is, "If you can afford this painting, fuck you". You might say I've spent the last three or four decades in the study of what motivates people.

It's relative all right.

Next time you're in Washington try counting all the Greek pediments and ionic columns. Ever heard of Aristotle? How about democracy? Sparta was a Greek city state organized around militarism. Sports was just military training.

The point is that liberal nationalism and theocracy cannot coexist together. You can't have a little of one and a lot of the other. And you certainly can't do it on the political left. The only thing liberals can agree on is economic parity. Beyond that, shit, we can't even agree on what dirty words to use.

Religion in politics is a two thousand year leap backwards.

Has there ever been

a successful civilization organized around sports?

Holy Roman Empire
Pharonic Egypt
Any number of divine Chinese emperors.
Aztec empire
Persian empire.

It took about two thousand years between the axial age (+-500BCE) to the enlightenment. (17th century CE) to supplant religion for nationalism. There is simply no comparison. We don't need to open that can of worms again.

And all of its power accrues to sports.

The problems of divided loyalties between religion and government are unique. We didn't use baseball as our primary means of social organisation for 6000 years. The horrible violence caused by the transition from religion to nationalism are why we have a First Amendment. We need to kick the rest of that camel out of the tent, not let him back in.

How many of the 99% are baseball fans?

The great cultural malaise of our times is anomie. The list of organizations and products that demand our emotional investment is endless. But when it comes to government, only one thing matters because government only really concerns itself with one thing - money.

Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's.

It won't work for us.

We don't have enough authoritarians. Shit, it's like herding cats now. Your average liberal will emotionally invest in a frigging doorstop. A political party is a religion. We run government with politics. The only tool we can use toward that end is a political party. You wouldn't emotionally invest in a third party candidate would you? Why would you want your religion sucking up the emotional limelight?

Only one religion is even remotely acceptable for politics, especially for Democrats: Liberal Nationalism. The 99% are citizens of the Unites States first, and we don't need anyone dividing our loyalties. Those rich fuckers stole our money and we want it back. It isn't about justice. Politics doesn't do justice. Politics is the art of who gets what. It is about the equitable distribution of resources, and when any other organization that runs on emotions gets involved, like religion, they are just there to feed off the emotional energy of people who should be focused on getting their money back from those fuckers that stole it. If we don't pull together we will fall separately fighting among each other in the culture wars.

Never play another man's game. You'll lose every time.


Occupy Wall Street. It is a group of people emotionally invested in economic parity. The richest 1% stole our money and we want it back. The only tool we have to achieve that goal is government. We run government through politics. A political party is a group of people emotionally invested in a common goal, just like a religion. A political party is just another religion.

Imagine a natural resource that is powerful, ubiquitous, inexhaustible, and free. And, if you need a spike in supply, you can gin one up almost at will. And this natural resource requires almost no capital investment to exploit and transport. That natural resource is human emotion. Both politics and religion run on the same natural resource. OWS is just a great big oil field just waiting to be drilled for emotional profit. A political party is no place for divided loyalties. Religion will bleed off the energy we need to invest in making the government work for us. Mixing religion and politics just won't work for Democrats because the Republicans have all the authoritarians. All it will do for us is form a gigantic circular firing squad. Geez, it's bad enough already.

Aw ellison, c'mon dude...

Do you think Democrats are immune to this shit? They aren't. Bring religion in and we will be pitting one faith against another. That's been tried before. It didn't work out so well.
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