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The National Day of Prayer

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As I was driving down the road today, my eye was caught by a colorful billboard announcing the upcoming National Day of Prayer on May 5th. I was surprised, because ordinarily I expect such a momentous event to be heralded by the whispering voices of saints and angels inside my head. Apparently I’ve fallen from their good graces, perhaps because I haven’t been praying enough.

The National Day of Prayer is brought to us by the National Day of Prayer Task Force headed by Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family leader Dr. James Dobson – the man who discovered that Spongebob was gay. Apparently this activity has been going on for some years on the first Thursday in May, but I had never picked up on the aetheric good vibrations of all that prayer until now.

The idea of the National Day of Prayer is that we should all get together on that one day and use our collective power of prayer to pray for our leaders and our world. It promotes organized prayer events for families, schools, businesses and everyone else to get together and pray our sinful world back to godliness. It’s all very positive and very patriotic and underneath it’s more than a little bit creepy.

According to Shirley Dobson, we need a National Day of Prayer becauuse “As a nation, we have rebelled against the Creator. Our culture is steeped in immorality and self-sufficiency and is growing increasingly hostile toward religious expression.” Well, based on what I read on the National Day of Prayer website I’m getting more and more hostile towards at least some forms of religious expression and more and more glad I’m self-sufficient enough not to be sucked into their morass of evangelistic fascism. If these are the people who speak for God then I’m glad to be on the side of Satan and the rest of the rebels.

At the philosophical heart of the National Day of Prayer is a document called the Lausanne Covenant, a truly scary sort of declaration of evangelical holy war on secular society. The scariest sections are section 9 on The Urgency of the Evangelistic Task and section 10 on Evangelism and Culture. In the first they raise the great lament that 2.7 billion people have been “neglected”, meaning that they have not yet had Christianity rammed down their throat along with a spoonful of rice in the hand of a missionary, a failure they’re very serious about remedying in a crusader-like righteousness. In the second they express their desire to free people from the bonds of culture and instead put them in bondage to scripture. Non-christian culture is evil – “Because men and women are God’s creatures, some of their culture is rich in beauty and goodness. Because they are fallen, all of it is tainted with sin and some of it is demonic.” So that’s the ultimate goal – destroy the demonic cultures around the world, purge the demonic from our own society, and bring the whole world to Christ whether it wants it or not.

The NDP is deisgned as an important step in purging the demonic from our society and bringing faith into every aspect of our lives. The NDP task force lays out everything to help you do your part. First, of course, we all have to pray. To simplify this – since you presumably can’t figure out who or what to pray for on your own – they provide a list of what and who to pray for. This list includes all of the Republican leaders of our nation and five key institutions – government, media, education, church and family. They call these the ‘Freedom Five’. Interestingly they don’t seem to want us to pray for any Democrat leaders. I guess they’ve decided the Demoncrats are so far into Satan’s clutches that no amount of prayer will save them.

The NDP program focuses on organized prayer activities. There are guidelines for organizing prayer sessions at your place of work, or in your neighborhood or in your school. This last is one which particularly caught my eye. It looks like the public schools are one of the most fertile grounds for missionary work among the corrupted children of our godless society. One of the prominent links on the main page of the NDP website is to a section on bringing the NDP and prayer in general to schools, which includes a 31 page PDF manifesto and guidebook called the School Events Guide which is all about absolutely filling your schools with godliness, from prayer in class to starting after school prayer groups, to starting christian athelete clubs, to sneaking prayer into every aspect of the school day. As far as the NDP itself goes, they show how you can make sure your prayer event is held using public school facilities and explain how the Equal Access Act of 1984 makes this legal. They also suggest literally plastering the school with detailed posters about the NDP and your bible or prayer group since that’s also protected, not to mention making sure your group announcements get broadcast to everyone on the school PA system. Ironically this program to fill the schools with God goes under the cynical title “Freedom: National Day of Prayer for Students”. Take time to read that PDF and look at the photographs. There’s something truly disturbing about the pictures of otherwise normal kids praying while surrounded by other kids engaging in their regular school activities. It brings to mind the idea of conversion by viral infection and a kind of environment of silent confrontation which could only be unhealthy for the learning environment.

The hidden agenda aside, what exactly is the National Day of Prayer going to do for us and for the nation? At a time when it’s so abundantly clear that what we need is greater self-reliance and a rebirth of personal responsibility – not to mention calling on our government to exercise responsibility and restraint – they want to urge us to look to a higher power for answers. They actually single out self-reliance in the Lausanne Covenant as the single greatest threat to society. People taking responsibility for their actions, solving problems for thenselves and working to make the world better is in direct opposition to their philosophy of turning to God for every solution and the church for every answer.

The problem with this sort of fundamentalist Christianity is that it hammers home a very, very negative message. It tells us that we aren’t in control of our own lives. When something goes wrong, blame it on the demonic forces in our secularized society. It tells us that we don’t need to take responsibility to solve our own problems and make our nation a better more responsible nation. All we have to do is turn to God and faith and prayer will solve all our problems. And if that doesn’t work, then government will solve them, so long as we make sure there’s enough godliness in the government. This is a sick, selfish and opportunistic abuse of Christianity and of those Christians weak enough to be sucked into it. It conditions them to look to God and prayer as a great escape clause and to church leaders for day to day guidance. It paints as acceptable the subordination of individual will and representative government to the rule of God and faith.

Bondage to a single, exclusionary, cult-like religious sect isn’t exactly what I think of when I see the word ‘freedom’, and it’s not at all what this country was founded on. In fact, many men of faith throughout history – like Martin Luther and John Wesley – argued that it’s not what Christianity should be about either. Their fanaticism makes people like Dr. James Dobson and his followers strong. They have no doubts, no questions, no consideration for anything but their agenda. While our minds boggle and we laugh off the idea of a concerted campaign to virally Christianize our children, they just plug ahead with programs like the NDP to make that plan a reality.

As you’ll see from their website and literature, the insidious thing about the NDP is that it’s so well presented, so effectively marketed, that otherwise rational Christians will feel motivated to join in and think that it’s just a harmless, feel-good event. They’ll be attracted to the superficial message and never look too deeply at the reality behind it. By joining in they lend the people behind the NDP legitimacy and encourage political leaders to take them seriously and tacitly endorse the many questionable activities and the truly frightening Christian absolutism which are the underlying heart of the NDP agenda.

So, why not do something different on May 5th? I call for a national day of self-reliance. Instead of praying, pick one problem in your life, no matter how troubling, and find a way to face up to it, deal with it and fix it. Or if you’re life’s going pretty well, look at our nation and the world and identify a problem where your efforts might help make things better. Write a check to a charity, volunteer your time for a good cause, or start speaking out about your issue of choice. And don’t look to me or your minister or God for the answers. Pick your own fight and work hard to win it on your own terms. You may be answerable to God down the road, but he’s not going to hold the good things you do here on earth against you.

Dave

(BTW, the photo at the head of this article shows what is apparently now the evangelically approved way to pray based on pictures from the NDP website)

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About Dave Nalle

  • http://www.taospost.com MDE

    Excellent post, Dave. My knees are too arthritic to pray like that … I guess that I’m damned. Keep you head down around this culture war within the Culture War.

    Mark

  • Ezra Pound

    If you have to ask the question…. I found this on another blog critics topic and thought it was interesting… we will have to join into the lengthy debate… but here’s a snippet.

    “[whomever] never said you had any faith. But you did talk about religion, while, perhaps being devoid of that.

    I can not understand how atheists can enter into discussions of faith, when they have none… but their religion is non-belief…. hmmm, do they believe in non-belief… perhaps I will go back to my study and ponder…

    I guess you can have religion (the religion of not believing), and you can have belief, in not believing… but you can’t have faith in God if you don’t believe, and religion might be a cover up for something other than what is really is… hmmm.

    If you wish to talk about God, don’t, unless you have God in your heart… it’s pointless to do otherwise. Seek the paraclete, receive the endument [indwelling] and then you will have reference.”

    I thought it was an interesting viewpoint. Which if interpreted from several angles talks to:

    Religion could have many ulterior motives (all faiths) as they are tradition based, and thusly are man derived.

    Belief is what you make it. You can choose to belief in God, or not. If you choose not to… you BELIEVE that God is a myth.

    Faith is the same (this is where I differ from the above quote), unless you are sure to include the caveat “God” either specifically or generally.

    David, if you haven’t already, you should enroll in a Theology Class, I’ll offer up a “Theology of the New Testament” as a good one. Why? Because it will show you what theology really is. Hint: it’s a science of antiquities related to written texts, and the relationships, if any, between them. You will walk away from that class disputing any scriptural reference, based on scientific fact, rather than gut instinct. Scriptures, especially NT, were heavily edited from centuries after the beginning of the Common Era. Additions, deletions… the establishment of the canon, gnostic purges, inquisitions.

    Martin Luther came around and tried to fix it up a bit, and was largely thwarted when the KJV project was pressured from Rome and “additional” renderings were added, and are now known to have no historical context back to the original renderings… it’s amazing stuff, with the added benefit of destroying the “myth” of God in the minds of many.

    But it still leaves us with questions, such as… what about miracles? They do occur, and they occur frequently, with no explanation other than from God. They do occur, I’ve seen ‘em, and if you live long enough and look around, you’ll see them too. That’s another one of those pesky gut instincts that you cannot prove or disprove.

    I’ll admit, I don’t have answers. But I look at it this way. There exists archaeological evidence of some scriptural history, there exists the presence of spirit, and the anomaly of miracles, and 12 dudes who were not the most educated people in the world, couldn’t have been working in a vacuum when this Jesus dude was walking the earth. Thousands and thousands of people actually experienced first hand the phenomenon of Jesus, and spread the news… something was happening.

    What was it, exactly? To have propagated from 12 poor, uneducated, fishermen from Judah, Nazareth and Galilee, throughout western civilization and western thought, through the Roman empire, to have been put through the test and the inquisitions, and the heavy handedness of the Roman system… Wow, it’s incredible it even survived, and flourished. Historically, alone, it’s amazing it still exists.

    How much historical influence actually remains in modern culture from 2000+ years ago; I contend — not much.

    Where does that put it? Phenomenon, passing something-or-other, or something beyond explanation. If one can’t explain it… it then becomes faith.

    What is faith? Something unexplainable to most people.

    And as the initial quote stated:

    “If you wish to talk about God, don’t, unless you have God in your heart… it’s pointless to do otherwise. Seek the paraclete, receive the endument [indwelling] and then you will have reference.”

    Best advice I’ve heard all day, and it’s early yet.

    EP

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Dave, I know what your true intent is. You see a coming backlash to the religious right, and so you want to separate the religious right from the Republican party, is that correct? If I were in your ideological shoes, that’s probably what I would be trying to do.

    What’s odd to me, is that the Republican party used the neo-con fundamentalist right to gain power, but now it’s the neo-cons who are doing all the political shenanigans, while the ‘moderate’ Republicans who want to distance themselves from this group that they gave so much power too, are doing nothing politically to stop it.

    Whether it’s amending the constitution or allowing pharmacists to dispense medicine based on religious belief, etc. there are dozens of things the Religious Right has done that are absolutely destructive to the principles of America, and they have done so under the banner of the Republican party.

    The Day Of Silence, is a nationwide event that schools do. All those who participate, take a day of silence to protest violence against gays and lesbians in school. This concept was created BY students, for students and is about students. This is true activism in action, and it has now grown to a large enough event that Maya Keyes was the closing speaker at this years event. It’s all about the students.

    Now, we have the Day of Truth. A counter protest. And Foxnews says this about it:

    “The Day of Silence was an event conceived of by students themselves in response to a very real problem of bullying and harassment they saw on their campuses,” Jennings said. “The Day of Truth is a publicity stunt cooked up by a conservative organization with a political agenda; it’s an effort by adults to manipulate some kids.” source

    It’s just enough. No, it has gone way beyond enough. If your Republican Liberation Front, or whatever breakaway group you are with, that wants to return the Republican party for what you believe it truly represents doesnt’ do something SOON, then many of us will have no choice but to condemn and label the entire Republican party as a theocratic nightmare undermining democracy, because that’s what your party is doing and nobody in your party is trying to stop it. The ability to separate theocracy from the Republican party isn’t going to be easy, if the Republican party doesn’t take more active steps in that direction FIRST.

    Throwing Frist and DeLay on the proverbial bonfire is the LEAST your party can do to make amends for all the disasters the party has done in the last 4+ years.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Ah, but I don’t have any intention of talking about God. My intent in the article is to talk about aggressive, intrusive proselytization and those who think that they should impose their view of religion on everyone in the world. That has nothing to do with God and everything to do with arrogant religiosity.

    Dave

  • Bennett Dawson

    GREAT POST DAVE!!!

    And a great follow up by Steve S.

    Thanks, both of you!

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    That picture looks kind of like the crouching position we were taught to get into to during those Cold War air raid drills. Back then, we were afraid of the “godless Communists.” How times have changed.

    “Throwing Frist and DeLay on the proverbial bonfire is the LEAST your party can do”…

    Actually, I think posts like this one are helpful too. Though I disagree with many of Dave’s political opinions, I’d much rather be battling it out with a party of freethinking Republicans than one dominated by religious fervor.

  • Ezra Pound

    Dave replies:

    “That has nothing to do with God and everything to do with arrogant religiosity”

    I can relate to that… religionism is, as stated previously, from and about man, and shares direct connection with the “traditions of man” (to quote an analogy). Believe it or not, the “the traditions of man” is a basic tenet that scriptural [Christian] references rail against.

    It is interesting how “religiosity” has missed that, and continues to hammer it into contemporary thought.

    Faith, is not about the traditions of man. Judeo Christian doctrines and the mis-application thereof, can’t seem to shake it… or has re-introduced the flawed concept back into the dialog.

    Thanks!
    EP

  • Wiley

    “Render unto Ceasar, what is Ceasar’s”

    While Jesus of Nazareth was holding up a Roman coin, when he coined the phrase, it has been limited to thoughts about money and taxes. It belongs to a broader translation.

    Simply put… if it belongs to the world (the natural world), leave it there. Let the “world” hash it out. Or, leave it there, we have other things to do, or think towards.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I had said:
    “Throwing Frist and DeLay on the proverbial bonfire is the LEAST your party can do”…

    Jon responded:
    Actually, I think posts like this one are helpful too. Though I disagree with many of Dave’s political opinions, I’d much rather be battling it out with a party of freethinking Republicans than one dominated by religious fervor.

    I agree, Jon. Although this post comes from Dave and not the Republican party. See the difference? With all due respect to Dave, one man trying to save his ideology from being dragged down with a sinking ship, he finds it got aligned with, is not the same as the Republican party making amends for all the zoo animals they let out of the cages.

    (how about that, a Titanic and a zoo analogy in the same sentence).

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    On the National Day of Prayer, I will pray for the end of “national days” of anything.

    But I don’t expect anyone to be listening.

  • JR

    Steve S: Dave, I know what your true intent is. You see a coming backlash to the religious right, and so you want to separate the religious right from the Republican party, is that correct?

    You’re a sharp dude, Steve S.

    If I were in your ideological shoes, that’s probably what I would be trying to do.

    And if I wanted to promote George W. Bush and his policies, I’d probably try to position myself as a political independent by highlighting my differences with Bush, even while I laud his major initiatives (Iraq, Social Security, No Child Left Behind). I might even point out weaknesses in said initiatives, but I’d make sure to emphasize the lack of any alternatives from Bush’s opponents. For every criticism I leveled at Bush and the Republicans, I’d demonize the Democrats ten times over. But I’d always be very careful to disguise my partisanship by trying to portray myself as ideologically independent of the administration so as to maintain some semblance of credibility.

    And if I were Karl Rove, I’d send checks to people to post on the internet, just like I’d send checks to columnists to write favorable editorials. And I’d encourage my internet posters to sound as independent as they could while still backing my policies – if they got too far off message, my administration wouldn’t have to disassociate ourselves from some random guy on the web.

    That’s what I’d do. I’d love to find out whether or not Rove and Co. have ever done this; but I suppose unless someone can follow the money, we’ll never know for sure.

    Sorry to get off topic; just ruminating apropos of nothing…

  • SFC SKI

    ” There’s something truly disturbing about the pictures of otherwise normal kids praying while surrounded by other kids engaging in their regular school activities. It brings to mind the idea of conversion by viral infection and a kind of environment of silent confrontation which could only be unhealthy for the learning environment.”

    Yep, you should be afraid that these kids might actually be good examples and others might consider living by those examples as well.

    While I think Dobson and his ilk would be better off doing a “National Ministry Day” and do good works as outlined in their Bible, I am always bemused that some are so afraid of anyone exercising their faith. Somehow, praying in public threatens those who don’t want to pray at all.

    Flip that argument, a person says that something non-religious offends them, and the usual response is to say,”Well, don’t look, or don’t go there, or change the channel” as it applies.

    The bottom line is, you are not required to believe anything. Dobson is not representative of Christianity anymore than the KKK is representative of conservatives.

  • Bennett Dawson

    Hey, Has anyone’s check from Carl arrived yet? I thought you guys said they would be here before the 15th!

  • http://www.taospost.com MDE

    re:” Dobson is not representative of Christianity anymore than the KKK is representative of conservatives.”

    Odd that you should write this. As a youth, I sat on porches through the deep south and heard stories of how (not long ago) being conservative did mean joining the KKK. Then came the civil right movement, and the Knights kinda went out of style.

    Dobson doesn’t represent Christianity, but he sure represents a bunch of Christians. This may become a real problem if he can focus this (now become) political power onto the judicial nomination process by claiming that the opposition is motivated by ‘anti-Christian’ motives. Per Rob Garver http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=9499

    (It is understood that the American Prospect is put out by a liberal group. Look beyond the messenger to the message. This is not to say that we will not hear about it if Garver is disinforming…)

    Mark

  • SFC SKI

    I can see where this would be a problem as outlined in the article.

  • http://www.taospost.com MDE

    re:”motivated by ‘anti-Christian’ motives”

    Geeze – Who wrote that? Was it me?

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    The expressions of wrath and the manifestations of theophobia only encourage the fanatics — the more power-hungry of whom are no doubt filled with pride at the very idea of having angered and frightened the “non-believers” — by convincing them that they are a force to be reckoned with when, in fact, they are actually nothing but a small (yet very noisy) fringe group of lost and confused souls (may god have mercy upon them) with savvy PR skills.

    And their pride will be their downfall for “Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18).

    And when the wages of greed and lust [for power] become due, the Republican Party will be joining the fanatics in destruction unless it starts putting some distance between itself and the dogma of that little fringe group it keeps milking for votes.

  • Bennett Dawson

    Gosh Margaret, I hope you are right. Unfortunately this little fringe group taps into your midwest “Church every Sunday” Christian base. It’s sorta like the Mullahs in Iraq and Iran, you wish they’d stop spouting all the incindiary rhetoric, but how do you get them to shut up already?

    I’m not afraid of the Christian Right, but if they continue to grab power (Supreme Court) over the next ten years I can’t imagine what we will be facing as a nation. Will more and more centralist legislators be driven from office by a wave of hyped up faith based voters? Will our personal freedoms be subjected to clerical approval? Will my self sufficient lifestyle doom my children to abuse at the hands of crusifix wearing zelots – in elementary school?

    Faith is a dangerous thing in the wrong hands, and we have half a nation here that believes I should be “born again” and establish a “personal relationship with Jesus” – in order to be “saved” from “hell”.

    Now that kinda scares me.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Dave, I know what your true intent is. You see a coming backlash to the religious right, and so you want to separate the religious right from the Republican party, is that correct? If I were in your ideological shoes, that’s probably what I would be trying to do.< <

    That would be fine with me, yes. But I'm also perfectly happy with the backlash smashing the party and achieving the same result when two parties emerge from the rubble - even if that means a longer recovery time. It would be nice if the real Republicans could keep the name, though.

    >>What’s odd to me, is that the Republican party used the neo-con fundamentalist right to gain power, but now it’s the neo-cons who are doing all the political shenanigans, while the ‘moderate’ Republicans who want to distance themselves from this group that they gave so much power too, are doing nothing politically to stop it.< <

    Not true, Tom Tancredo (R - Colorado) and several others have been very outspoken about Delay and about the Terri Schiavo business. Tancredo may run for president in 08, so keep an eye on him.

    >>The Day Of Silence, is a nationwide event that schools do. All those who participate, take a day of silence to protest violence against gays and lesbians in school. This concept was created BY students, for students and is about students. This is true activism in action, and it has now grown to a large enough event that Maya Keyes was the closing speaker at this years event. It’s all about the students.< <

    I feel only slightly less offended by the Day of Silence than I do by the National Day of Prayer. With the Day of Silence the cause is at least good, but I'd like ALL groups to keep their political gestures out of the schools.

    >>Now, we have the Day of Truth. A counter protest. And Foxnews says this about it:

    “The Day of Silence was an event conceived of by students themselves in response to a very real problem of bullying and harassment they saw on their campuses,” Jennings said. “The Day of Truth is a publicity stunt cooked up by a conservative organization with a political agenda; it’s an effort by adults to manipulate some kids.” source< <

    Oiks, fair and balanced coverage from Fox News - who'd have expected it?

    >>It’s just enough. No, it has gone way beyond enough. If your Republican Liberation Front, or whatever breakaway group you are with, that wants to return the Republican party for what you believe it truly represents doesnt’ do something SOON, then many of us will have no choice but to condemn and label the entire Republican party as a theocratic nightmare undermining democracy, because that’s what your party is doing and nobody in your party is trying to stop it. The ability to separate theocracy from the Republican party isn’t going to be easy, if the Republican party doesn’t take more active steps in that direction FIRST.< <

    I think you're overstating your case here, but there is a very real problem - I just don't think it's gone quite as far as you do.

    >>Throwing Frist and DeLay on the proverbial bonfire is the LEAST your party can do to make amends for all the disasters the party has done in the last 4+ years.<<

    I think Delay is probably toast. He’s lost too much support both in the party and among voters in his home district. The Schiavo thing is what killed him though, not the various ethics complaints.

    Dave

  • http://gothamimage.blogspot.com Gotham Image

    We think you are missing the point- The National Day of Prayer is not save souls or win converts to anything, since Dobson and Co. are smart enough to know that there are better ways. Rather , it is designed to draw opposition, so they can ambush critics.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>I agree, Jon. Although this post comes from Dave and not the Republican party. See the difference? With all due respect to Dave, one man trying to save his ideology from being dragged down with a sinking ship, he finds it got aligned with, is not the same as the Republican party making amends for all the zoo animals they let out of the cages.<<

    Well, I’m not entirely alone, Steve. There is the Christie Todd Whitman PAC and the Republican Liberty PAC and people like Schwarzenegger, Giuliani and McCain who are pretty damned prominent and definitely not on the god-train. If the party splits I really have to say that the quality leadership in the party will end up in the non-religious wing.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>And if I were Karl Rove, I’d send checks to people to post on the internet<<

    Well, George Soros does it so it must be a good idea.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Ya’ll are nuts.

    There are tens of millions of hard-core Christians in the US. And they VOTE.

    The Dems have basically labelled them as nothing more than idiots, terrorists, and bigots. So, they aren’t going to vote for the Dems…

    The GOP, OTOH, throws them the occasional bone in order to keep their support in the next election.

    We are NOT headed towards a “theocracy” anymore than we’d be headed towards a “communist utopia” if the Dems were in power.

    Politics is politics. The Dems throw a few bones towards the lunatic Left in order to keep the loyal. And the GOP does the same thing with the Religious Right. That’s about it.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Yep, you should be afraid that these kids might actually be good examples and others might consider living by those examples as well.< <

    A good example in school is set by studying hard, getting good grades, supporting your fellow students and not being distruptive. It's not set by falling to your knees, flailing about and chanting. That might be a good example at pentecostal bible camp, but it's disruptive and inappropriate in a school.

    >>Flip that argument, a person says that something non-religious offends them, and the usual response is to say,”Well, don’t look, or don’t go there, or change the channel” as it applies.< <

    If it's on the TV that kind of response is fine for religious and other potentially offensive programming. I can skip Skinemax and Trinity equally well. In school you can't change the channel when the offensive line of the football team want to pray in the huddle. Peer pressure dictates that you go along, and that's not a fair situation to put kids in.

    >>The bottom line is, you are not required to believe anything. Dobson is not representative of Christianity anymore than the KKK is representative of conservatives.<<

    An apt comparison.

    Dave

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    That midwest “Church every Sunday” base is about as fed up with the fanatics as secularists are.

    Don’t underestimate the free will of our faithful brothers and sisters as they are steeped in American principles, many of which are Christian principles. And they are the sort of Christians who actually read the Scriptures and try to understand and live by the teachings of Christ (Whom many modern conservatives would call a “liberal,” if they truly understood the Scriptures).

    Mainstream Christians — and there are lots and lots of them — are sick and tired of the politicization of their faith and they are feeling the backlash, some to the point where they have become apprehensive about acknowledging their faith to people outside of their own congregations (you didn’t think that metaphorical closet was the exclusive retreat of homosexuals, atheists and cigarette smokers, did you?).

    Just like an increasing number of traditional Republicans are getting worried about their growing reputation as a party of religious fanatics.

    It is not the Christian Right (may God have mercy upon their poor lost and tormented souls) who have engaged in the practice of “power grabbing,” but rather it is the opportunistic politicians who have taken advantage of the Christian Right.

    The Christian Right is nothing to fear and they deserve our pity, not our contempt. These are people who are frightened and confused by the troubles and temptations of the modern world and they seek grace and deliverance. They have been seduced by polticians who promise them salvation through political power (which these politicans have seldom delivered) and, as a result, they have been turned away from God.

  • SFC SKI

    You missed my point Dave, all these kids are doing is praying, so what. They are not making anyone else pray, or even asking anyone else to be quiet while they pray. THe example that I meant to emphasize was the example of living ones beliefs.

    As for the school prayer in the football huddle offending someone: what would be the response if someone were to say that a common pep rally shout or a cheerleading routine were offensive? Most people would use the response I wrote above. But if someone suggest that to the person who doesn’t like a voluntary prayer, all of the sudden religion is being imposed on a person. Tolerance and respect run both ways.

  • The Duke

    Hats off to Comment 23 from RJ.

    But I still think half of the “God is takin’ ‘merica to the woodshed” Hard Core Sheeple crowd are the idiots.

    If they would quite shaken’ hands with the preacher, listenin’ to sermons whilst watchin’ the clock to get home before NASCAR starts… and start gettin’ into the word… they would probably start seein’ that a bunch of prevalent leaders of the pack… are off base.

    The Dems cater to a lot of New Agers, and don’t dare profess anything remotely associated with Christianity… it’s their loss. Come to think of it. Them dems used to be KKK members and southern baptists, with a few masons thrown in for good measure with a pinch of episcapalian and a dash of methodist, oh yeah they Southern Dems were conservative, but that was not so long ago and not so very far and away. Times and culture changes quickly if you’re not observant. The Republican’s on the other hand are a mix of some of the Old Dems, some Non-Hamiltonian confederates. But comin’ from the south, I know more democrats than republicans… so the party of Daddy, is still the party of choice. It wasn’t until Klintoon and Algore disgusted them, that Republican’s had a hint of a chance… then the last 2 elections proved that the South really didn’t care for the Arkansas/Tennessee duo, and would probably rather forget them…. at least that’s what the polls indicate. Southern Florida is an abberation… it’s Jewish-Yankee-Cubano meta-culture are too convoluted to even begin to diagnose.

    So I’ll leave it at that. There are Christian, which you all know and love… and then there are the believers… which you probably don’t have a clue about, because they are dedicated and understand some concepts which will never come out in the mainstream.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>You missed my point Dave, all these kids are doing is praying, so what. They are not making anyone else pray, or even asking anyone else to be quiet while they pray. THe example that I meant to emphasize was the example of living ones beliefs. <<

    Ski, what I’m objecting to is prayer as performance art. It’s very clear from what’s on the NDP website that the purpose of prayer for them is not personal communiion with God, but proselytization. They want you to pray in a dramatic and ostentatious way to draw attention to yourself and make others wonder if they should be praying too. That’s not particularly Christian and it’s definitely not appropriate in school.

    Dave

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    Dave Nalle wrote: “…what I’m objecting to is prayer as performance art.”

    So did Christ.

    “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” — Matthew 6:5

  • Bennett Dawson

    Again Margaret, Great writing. I do hope you are right about this. I am not a member of any church, so I don’t have my finger on the pulse. My neighbors and fellow townspeople do not seem to be fanatical, although many are Christian and attend church.

    I have beliefs that coincide with many teachings of many of the world’s religions, but I am vehemently opposed to our country being run by an religious fanatic. Catering to any group with an agenda to dramatically change the progress of our nation toward a real and sustainable civilization should be shunned.

    Although our country has a dark history of hypocrisy and intolerance, I have hopes that America, and many other parts of the world, are starting to look beyond an age of world wars (or even unilateral invasions), toward a time with greater hopes for the individual, and less time for chauvinism or dogma.

    Hopes aside, I will monitor this situation and contact my reps in Congress and Senate to let them know how I feel about the upcoming issues.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    There are some great responses to my concerns of heading towards a theocracy. The quality of debate and exchange of ideas has increased 1,000fold since I first came here. There are a lot of perspectives for me to consider.

    I think what I should do, is write a blog tonight, rather than detract from a blog on prayer, about why I use the term theocracy often. I know the term conjures up images of women in veils or Islam or Salem witch trials, or the Inquisition, etc. but what people forget is that you can have even a futuristic America where our SUVs double as hovercrafts or whatever and still be oppressed by another’s religious belief. I’m not afraid of this country going back to a physically oppressive atmosphere when I use the term. A theocracy is a very real threat right now. The fundamentalists believe that a majority of the country already tried to vote one in, last election, and are acting accordingly. And as we see in the news, their legislation of faith in various areas of society are passing.

    Forget the iron maiden, the rack, and the hooded figures with torches, I’m not talking about that.

    Dave says:
    But I’m also perfectly happy with the backlash smashing the party and achieving the same result when two parties emerge from the rubble – even if that means a longer recovery time.

    Me too, from the Democrat side. I wish my party would fracture right alongside yours.

    RJ says:
    We are NOT headed towards a “theocracy” anymore than we’d be headed towards a “communist utopia” if the Dems were in power.

    I’ll remember those words the next time you go on about ‘socialism’ or ‘communism’ EVERY time you talk about Dean or Clinton or well, all of them.

    Margaret says:
    you didn’t think that metaphorical closet was the exclusive retreat of homosexuals, atheists and cigarette smokers, did you?

    True, there are people here who have said they are practicing Christians but they don’t usually like to say so because of all the attacks on Christianity. I can understand their closet in that aspect, but I wouldn’t want anybody to be under the impression that they are the equivalent in closet space. :-)

    The closet for orientation, which is part of your very being, as opposed to an ideology, leads to some severe negative consequences like higher rates of self-destructive behavior and suicide. I’ve never heard of a Christian in America committing suicide rather than admit their faith, certainly not at a rate that would end up being 5 times the national average. I don’t think people should think they are the same type of closet. Both are wrong, of course, though.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>A theocracy is a very real threat right now. The fundamentalists believe that a majority of the country already tried to vote one in, last election, and are acting accordingly.< <

    Then they're very confused. They should realize that most of us voted against Kerry or voted for Bush despite his association with the Neocons. Remember, Bush isn't really one of them and don't ever think that they don't know that.

    >>Me too, from the Democrat side. I wish my party would fracture right alongside yours.< <

    I can't imagine anything healthier for the country.

    >>RJ says:
    We are NOT headed towards a “theocracy” anymore than we’d be headed towards a “communist utopia” if the Dems were in power.

    I’ll remember those words the next time you go on about ‘socialism’ or ‘communism’ EVERY time you talk about Dean or Clinton or well, all of them.<<

    But just as you worry about the incrementalism of laws against gay marriage, and laws protecting prayer rights and laws protecting the ten commandments, etc., we have to worry about the incrementalism of the left. The concern over ‘creeping socialism’ is very real, because just like religion it has been gradually making its way into politics and policy little bit by little bit.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Then they’re very confused. They should realize that most of us voted against Kerry or voted for Bush despite his association with the Neocons.

    Well, apparently they are confused. If the Schiavo affair truly is DeLay’s downfall, then it’s clear he was not aware that jumping on the fundamentalist bandwagon is not a good strategy for a politican. Apparently they aren’t aware of it, although I do think if anything woke up a lot of them, it was the polling in regards to Schiavo. How quickly Jeb Bush changed his tone.

    The concern over ‘creeping socialism’ is very real, because just like religion it has been gradually making its way into politics and policy little bit by little bit.

    Granted. Hopefully if the two parties fracture, or at least if they just get their shit together, debate and political bartering can begin to get back to that middle. I don’t see anything that is the equivalent from the Left, but I have read about people who believe that a multi-millionaire CEO having to pay several million in taxes is just as oppressive as someone who lives in a world of violence and brutality as a result of prejudice.

    Not to make light of the concerns of the other side. I do think a communistic state where you are told what your career will be, and all your money goes to the state, etc. is a horrible thing. But like you all say, while the majority of Republicans don’t want the fundamentalists currently running the show, to go too far, I’m fairly certain Democrats don’t want their fringe element to ever really get a chance at control either.

    A socialistic society run by a theocracy. How chilling. What are we doing to ourselves? (And what exactly have we done that’s socialistic?)

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Granted. Hopefully if the two parties fracture, or at least if they just get their shit together, debate and political bartering can begin to get back to that middle. I don’t see anything that is the equivalent from the Left, but I have read about people who believe that a multi-millionaire CEO having to pay several million in taxes is just as oppressive as someone who lives in a world of violence and brutality as a result of prejudice.< <

    Differences of scale don't negate basic principles. It's wrong for someone to point a gun at a beggar who has two dollars and take one. It's just as wrong to use the threat of jail and property leins on someone who has 2 million dollars so you can take 1 million away from him. The scale is different, but the principle is the same.

    >>A socialistic society run by a theocracy. How chilling.< <

    Actually, historic theocracies tend to be very socialistic in structure.

    >> What are we doing to ourselves? (And what exactly have we done that’s socialistic?)<<

    Where to begin? Farm subsidies, social security, PBS, progressive and excessive taxation, condemnation of property for government use, government run schools, etc. Plus many, many plans and schemes which are waiting in the wings but haven’t made it into law yet.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    The scale is different, but the principle is the same.

    I agree Dave. True oppression is not limited only to the poor.

    Actually, historic theocracies tend to be very socialistic in structure.

    And history is what makes it chilling!

    It’s too late to respond to all those claims, but PBS is socialistic?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Sure, what’s more socialistic than government control of a media outlet?

    dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Okay, to me, government control would be furthering propaganda. But you are talking about government handing over dollars. From that viewpoint then yes, there is socialism in funded television. But if we look at the situation, let’s look at what is being funded….

    We watch PBSKids. Their children’s programming is great (although Barney is frowned on in this house), it’s extremely educational as well as fun. At night, dads here enjoy watching Nova.

    What we are doing with PBS is providing American citizens with a FREE and easily accessible source of education and knowledge. We are furthering the ability of our citizens to climb up the economic ladder ON THEIR OWN, knowledge is always a good thing to impart.

    I do not support government funded propaganda, and that could be narrowed down to specifics like television shows, not just channels. But I don’t see PBS as going down the road to Stalinism. Do you really see that, Dave? Honest to God?

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Clifford the Big Red Dog has a little clip at the end that says it’s funded by part of the No Child Left Behind initiative. Republicans use PBS too.

    There is benefit to us all to provide free education to everyone. We end up spending less on social programs later, that is already proven historically. And that makes for smaller government.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    final thought:

    and don’t suggest that the corporate alternative to PBSKids is a valid choice! The disney channel is nothing but commercials of their products, and all their television cartoons are just promotional vehicles for their movies (or vice versa?)

    Certainly not a valid alternative towards the concept at least, of providing all citizens with access to some sort of free education.

  • Shark

    JR thinking out loud in Dave Nalle’s voice: “…I might even point out weaknesses in said initiatives, but I’d make sure to emphasize the lack of any alternatives from Bush’s opponents.”

    JR, yer pretty sharp yerself: “…For every criticism I [Dave Nalle] leveled at Bush and the Republicans, I’d demonize the Democrats ten times over. But I’d always be very careful to disguise my partisanship by trying to portray myself as ideologically independent of the administration so as to maintain some semblance of credibility.”

    Nalle in a nutshell.

    re: Paid “debaters” – the GOP has done it since the early days of the web; in the early 90s, I used to tangle with a well-paid “pro” in the short-lived “Times Magazine” message board on AOL.

    And speaking of nutty conservative hyperbole…

    RJ: “The Dems have basically labelled them as nothing more than idiots, terrorists, and bigots. So, they aren’t going to vote for the Dems…”

    Idiots. Terrorists. Bigots, oh my!

    Let’s just hope the dreaded “Dems” don’t resort to equating their political enemies with Satan and/or the Eternally Cosmically Condemned like the Christoid-Republicans do. Can’t argue with God, now, can we?

    =========

    RJ, sounding a lot like a rich German Conservative in the film *Cabaret: “…The GOP…throws them [Christoid facists] the occasional bone in order to keep their support in the next election.”

    *Can’t shake the image of Michael York, who — after watching some Nazi tough guys in public — turns to the Rich German Conservative and says:

    “You still think you can control them?”

    Whatta you think, RJ and Dave Nalle: you still think you can control them?

  • Shark

    (Nalle, here’s a hint: I’m sending a copy of this anti-god, anti-religious, anti-Christian essay to Dobson and his Brown shirts squad.

    When the Four Horsemen of the Republican-Christian Apocalypse arrive in their Mercedes, I just wanna make sure they know your name and address.)

    heh.

  • http://www.taospost.com MDE

    re: Paid “debaters”

    Wait! You mean, all I have to do is spread GOP (or whoever’s buying) ‘talking points’ around the web using Coulteresque bizarre arguments, snappy language and searing logic, and they’ll pay me?

    Where do I sign up? Media Whoredom awaits!

    Mark

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Steve, I assume you have cable? Virtually everything that’s on PBS exists in identical or similar form for commercial profit on cable. There are multuple networks on our system which rebroadcast PBS material for profit. This suggests that if PBS did not exist these networks could pick up the slack. They are already producing similar programs of their own – some of them as good as or better than what you find on pbs. So why does PBS exist?

    I’m not suggesting that it’s used for government propaganda, but it’s an example of government money being used to fund something which private industry can do just as well or better. There;s no justification for it.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>and don’t suggest that the corporate alternative to PBSKids is a valid choice! The disney channel is nothing but commercials of their products, and all their television cartoons are just promotional vehicles for their movies (or vice versa?)<<

    The Disney Channel? I have about 15 different kids channels, including several with no commercials. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but PBS shows are just vehicles for commercial products too. Go to Toys R Us and look at the Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street and other PBS based products. Sesame Street, which originated on PBS is the single largest kids marketing franchise of all time.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Shark – no one has ever offered me money to blog. The only form I see this happening in is blogs which are clearly funded by PAC or other special interest groups associated with particular parties or causes. I’ve seen plenty of these funded on both sides of the political spectrum.

    I do see the accusation being thrown out a lot, but the next time I encounter someone who is paid covertly to comment on other blogs in support of Republican positions will be the first. And I’m damned sure no one is going to send me a check for my comments.

    Dave

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    In general, I think PBS has been a good thing for tv. But the government does do more than send tax dollars. It sends approval/disapproval of shows, by way of those tax dollars — threats of taking that money away.

    The “Postcards from Buster” episode that included lesbian mothers is a good example. The first thing the new Secretary of Ed. did this year was to criticize that show and say it was inappropriate, threatening to take funding away. That threat kept PBS from distributing the show and local stations from running it as they would any other episode. The DOE also dis-invited the producer of the show from speaking at a conference. I think someone at PBS has also resigned as a result.

    That’s government control, not just dollars.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Good point, BHW. I have no problem with the product which PBS has produced, but Steve S. asked for examples of socialism in our current government, and it fits the bill. As a matter of principle and for practical reasons like the one you point out, I think we’d be better off with PBS going to an entirely user-funded model. They almost make enough donation money to do that already. The government is only a small part of their overall funding.

    There was a logical justification for PBS when it was founded because networks were enormously expensive to start and there was a need for educational programming and cable didn’t exist yet. The lower cost of running a cable network has made educational programming enormously profitable – look at Discovery – so I don’t see a continuing justification for government funding of PBS.

    We certainly have wandered from the topic.

    Dave

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    Steve S, the general metaphor of the “closet” is having to lie about who and what you are because of social and other consequences for being who and what you are.

    Of course Christians have not suffered anywhere near the level of persecution that homosexuals have had to endure over the years. But the point is that moderate Christians have become yet another group of mostly good citizens who feel that they have to conceal a part of themselves because there are consequences for being who and what they are. And that is never a Good Thing in a supposedly free society that is supposed to embrace its own diversity — or at least recognize and guarantee the peoples’ human and civil right to be who and what they are.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Staying off topic….

    They almost make enough donation money to do that already. The government is only a small part of their overall funding.

    I wonder how much more PBS would need to raise to replace the government $$. NPR, too. The fundraising on my local NPR station is enough to drive me nuts as it is.

    I’m not completely against the idea of the government partially funding NPR/PBS, but I have to admit that I don’t like the fact that with the money comes an implicit government okay of which topics can be covered for which age groups. Also, the okays will change with each administration.
    There was a logical justification for PBS when it was founded because networks were enormously expensive to start and there was a need for educational programming and cable didn’t exist yet.

    I’ve heard people argue, pretty convincingly, that there’s no reason for a show like Sesame St. to get any public funding any more. It has a huge audience and it rakes in tons of money through merchandising alone — heck, it even has its own theme park.

    I wonder if a modified version of what we have now, particularly on PBS over NPR, would work. One where new educational shows can get start-up money from the government, but once thsoe shows have been on the air for X number of seasons or have achieved X amount of revenues from advertising, merchandising, whatever, that they be “forced” to go entirely private.

    I love my local PBS and NPR stations. I think that the quality of their shows is still higher than a lot of what’s available on commercial tv. So I’d hate to see those stations go away entirely or struggle for survival and have to cut corners because they had to go entirely private. But maybe the system could be tweaked rather than done away with.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Steve, I assume you have cable? Virtually everything that’s on PBS exists in identical or similar form for commercial profit on cable.

    Exactly, Dave. The Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel, etc. is for COMMERCIAL PROFIT. PBS is FREE. A big difference in helping the poor and downtrodden have equal opportunity to climb the big economic ladder themselves. Poor people cannot afford 30 bucks a month for the Discovery channel.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>I wonder how much more PBS would need to raise to replace the government $$. NPR, too. The fundraising on my local NPR station is enough to drive me nuts as it is.< <

    PBS fundraising is just as bad or worse. They set up a marathon of something really cool and then interrupt it endlessly to shill. I do like the auctions on the local channel, though.

    >>I’m not completely against the idea of the government partially funding NPR/PBS, but I have to admit that I don’t like the fact that with the money comes an implicit government okay of which topics can be covered for which age groups. Also, the okays will change with each administration.
    There was a logical justification for PBS when it was founded because networks were enormously expensive to start and there was a need for educational programming and cable didn’t exist yet.< <

    Given the left-leanings of PBS and the currently right-leaning administration I would think they'd actually want to initiate a split themselves, but old habits are hard to break.

    There are PBS products - like Sesame Street - which produce enormous revenues and share very little of it with PBS. It's scandalous that PBS gets virtually no merchandising money from Sesame Street, for example. If they took even a small cut of merchandising from their profitable products they could easily make the network independent.

    >>I’ve heard people argue, pretty convincingly, that there’s no reason for a show like Sesame St. to get any public funding any more. It has a huge audience and it rakes in tons of money through merchandising alone — heck, it even has its own theme park.< <

    Not to mention a touring show. The deal PBS originally negotiated with Sesame Street was terrible - with no merchandising percentage at all - and now they essentially have PBS over a barrel and are taking advantage of them horribly.

    >>I wonder if a modified version of what we have now, particularly on PBS over NPR, would work. One where new educational shows can get start-up money from the government, but once thsoe shows have been on the air for X number of seasons or have achieved X amount of revenues from advertising, merchandising, whatever, that they be “forced” to go entirely private. < <

    I'm not sure start-up money from the government is even necessary. The History, Discovery and Travel channels are putting up lots of money for what's basically educational programming, including documentary grant programs and original productions.

    >>I love my local PBS and NPR stations. I think that the quality of their shows is still higher than a lot of what’s available on commercial tv. So I’d hate to see those stations go away entirely or struggle for survival and have to cut corners because they had to go entirely private. But maybe the system could be tweaked rather than done away with.<<

    I think the local stations are the weak point. But you know, with their sponsorship system they’re already essentially running commercials, just every half hour instead of every 12 minutes. I’d rather not see them go to a fully commercial format, but I don’t see why they couldn’t get some sort of share in the profits of the central network.

    BTW, PBS does already have a cable channel for kids programming, and it seems to hold its own. They’ve also resold a lot of their programs to cable. Discovery carries Nova, one of the news channels carries McLaughlin and their kids shows are syndicatd all over the place.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Exactly, Dave. The Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel, etc. is for COMMERCIAL PROFIT. PBS is FREE. A big difference in helping the poor and downtrodden have equal opportunity to climb the big economic ladder themselves. Poor people cannot afford 30 bucks a month for the Discovery channel.<<

    That’s debatable, Steve. I know that lots and lots of low-priced apartment complexes here in Austin throw basic cable in with the package if you pay rent. Plus – just to be my callous self – most poor people seem to place a big TV and cable above things like paying for health insurance.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    yes, the government ‘control’ of what is shown on PBS is wrong.

    It’s my understanding that, that is a conservative tactic. Done by the same people who can’t sleep at night because they hate the National Endowment of the Arts so much. People who are VERY particular about what the government ‘endorses’ with it’s money.

    Yeah, I agree it’s wrong. I do feel that in order for a democracy to remain strong, some sort of education has to be available to the extreme poor, so that they can climb up the ladder if they want. Public libraries are the same principle as PBS. Public libraries can be censored all the time. In my town though Schwarzenegger has closed all the public libraries so that alternative for the poor has been closed down.

    The best way to get ME to support the government withdrawing from support of PBS, NPR, etc. is to come up with another viable alternative where education can be given to the poor.

    And don’t say public school, because everybody goes on and on about how horrible it is and that you don’t learn there and conservatives are too busy trying to divert money FROM the public school system deteroriating it further.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    most poor people seem to place a big TV and cable above things like paying for health insurance.

    yes, and further evidence that the tv is the best way to reach impoverished youth to give them the ability to learn.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I know that lots and lots of low-priced apartment complexes here in Austin throw basic cable in with the package if you pay rent.

    Discovery Channel, TLC, etc. are not included in basic cable.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Ah, I haven’t had basic cable in so long that I forgot that, Steve. That’s probably why they make enough money to do original productions.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Yes, and PBS and NPR lean left, because there is an element of socialism in trying to offer free services to the poor in order to give them equal opportunity. Leftists believe in that concept, so outlets that provide that service tend to lean toward their ideology. That would be a natural human trait, to have elements of your ideology in what you do.

    Conservatives do not like spending money on helping others via the government, so there probably aren’t many conservatives working with the public airwaves.

    This, in addition to the taxpayer revenue, increases conservatives disdain for this method of dispensing equal opportunity.

    In terms of the word ‘socialism’, one thing to keep in mind is that word can be applied to ANYTHING the government spends money on. It’s a neat little catch phrase with negative connotations that can be put upon anything the government does that we want to give a negative label to.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Excellent points about PBS serving the otherwise underserved community, especially children. Daytime TV on the networks . is directed at adults, usually adult women, so as far as free tv goes, PBS provides all the educational content to children.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I know this has gone entirely away from prayer, but this line of thought has got the rusty gears in my head turning.

    We cannot have a country of absolutely nothing that is socialistic in nature. The concept of socialism is taking money from the worker and using it for the good of all. Hell, that applies to road maintenance, so is the building of roads for the good of all socialism?

    How is building roads for the good of all, any different than using the public airwaves for the good of all? (the answer lies in the fact that roads don’t lean Left). By giving people free education, we decrease the number of people on welfare in later years. Why does that not make conservatives happy?

  • ron s.

    rj sez:
    “we are not headed towards a theocracy any more than than we’d be headed towards a communist utopia if the dems were in power.”

    uh, what have we here…a kinder, gentler rj elliott? rj, i think i liked you better when you used to come right out and call “kerry voters fucking communists.”

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Steve S: “This, in addition to the taxpayer revenue, increases conservatives disdain for this method of dispensing equal opportunity.”

    Conservatives don’t object to dispensing equal opportunity, the object to reallocating property directly. They want people to have the opportunity to advance themselves, they just don’t want to give out free advancement unearned.

    >>In terms of the word ‘socialism’, one thing to keep in mind is that word can be applied to ANYTHING the government spends money on. It’s a neat little catch phrase with negative connotations that can be put upon anything the government does that we want to give a negative label to.<<

    That may be true to some extent, but that’s not how I would use it. I’d never call the Army or the Court System socialist programs. Referring to government programs as socialistic should be restricted to those programs which could be done as well or better by private enterprise but are appropriated by the government by legal mandate. Schools being a perfect example of this.

    BHW: “Excellent points about PBS serving the otherwise underserved community, especially children. Daytime TV on the networks . is directed at adults, usually adult women, so as far as free tv goes, PBS provides all the educational content to children.”

    Of course, if they don’t have TVs to watch PBS they could check out books from the library for free and read instead. That’s what we did when I was a kid.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>We cannot have a country of absolutely nothing that is socialistic in nature. The concept of socialism is taking money from the worker and using it for the good of all. Hell, that applies to road maintenance, so is the building of roads for the good of all socialism?< <

    I'd say it's not, because no one has any interest in building private roads and if the government wasn't doing it then no one would do it and we'd have a big mess. That's exactly the role of government. There's a different between socialism and the social contract and between socialism and the basic function of government which is to provide those few services which only government can provide.

    >>How is building roads for the good of all, any different than using the public airwaves for the good of all? (the answer lies in the fact that roads don’t lean Left).< <

    No, the answer is that there are plenty of other people providing quality entertainment in a variety of formats but no one else can build a road system effectively.

    >> By giving people free education, we decrease the number of people on welfare in later years. Why does that not make conservatives happy?<<

    Because free education is not free. It’s paid for by everyone in society and the way which it is provided increasingly does not serve the best interests of many of those it’s supposed to serve. If public education was uniformly excellent no one would complain about it, but it’s of very uneven quality and it’s forced on you by the state. You can’t choose not to pay for it if it sucks.

    If you live in a poor inner city district and want your kids to be decently educated you pay for the schools but end up having to send your kids somewhere else to get a good education. The express role of government schools is to provide a good quality education for all. That is what justifies what they charge. If they don’t provide the product the promise then they shouldn’t be able to charge for it. Supporters of the public schools basically say “take your crappy education, pay us your money, and shut up”. That’s not acceptable from government.

    Dave

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Of course, if they don’t have TVs to watch PBS they could check out books from the library for free and read instead. That’s what we did when I was a kid.

    I did both, tv and library. So do my kids.

    But Steve just said that the public library in his town was closed by his governor. So that makes it more difficult for families in his town to get to a library.

    When I was very young, my town didn’t have a library, but the county did. They sent around a bookmobile so that it was easier for us to get books. This service was important because we lived in a developing suburban area with nothing within walking distance, and my parents had only one car, which my father used for work. The library came to us, which was a good thing.

    So, taking this thread even farther off course, are bookmobiles a thing of the past?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>But Steve just said that the public library in his town was closed by his governor. So that makes it more difficult for families in his town to get to a library. < <

    I don't quite understand how a governor closes a library. When I was growing up, and around here as well, libraries are run and funded by local communities. The small town I live in has a small library that provides basic needs and does it on the civic dime. In other places I've lived there have been libraries supported entirely by private donations. If a community needs a library the citizens ought to be able to provide one somehow - even if it's just a few shelves of books in the general store which everyone contributes to and borrows from, which I've seen more than a couple of times.

    >>When I was very young, my town didn’t have a library, but the county did. They sent around a bookmobile so that it was easier for us to get books. This service was important because we lived in a developing suburban area with nothing within walking distance, and my parents had only one car, which my father used for work. The library came to us, which was a good thing.

    So, taking this thread even farther off course, are bookmobiles a thing of the past?<<

    I remember bookmobiles. Haven’t seen one in years, though. Wonder where they went.

    Actually, I can guess. I suspect that between cable/satellite TV and the internet people like Steve’s governor have decided that libraries are becoming more and more obsolete, so we don’t need as many of them and access doesn’t need to be as frequent, so no more bookmobiles and no more rural branches with limited numbers of users.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Conservatives don’t object to dispensing equal opportunity, the object to reallocating property directly. They want people to have the opportunity to advance themselves, they just don’t want to give out free advancement unearned.

    Unfortunately, that is just semantics. I support public airwaves and don’t feel people need to earn access to it.

    Referring to government programs as socialistic should be restricted to those programs which could be done as well or better by private enterprise

    and that does nothing to address my ideology/concern about the poor having access to education to climb the economic ladder. Private enterprise works for a profit. Public airwaves are free. See the conundrum? As I pointed out with the Disney example, private enterprise makes for lousy education, a private school system of course entirely different. As for Discovery, TLC, while those are actually better educationally than the public airwaves, those are for profit and those are not for the poor and downtrodden. So the concerns of creating doors to the middle class are not there for private enterprise.

    no one else can build a road system effectively.

    Private enterprise can put a man in space, I think private enterprise could pave dirt. No, private enterprise doesn’t get into road building because no one directly benefits from it. We all do collectively, so no one wants to pay for it singularly, we all have to collectively. The same principle applies to social programs.

    You can’t choose not to pay for it if it sucks.

    If government only did things that everybody liked, nothing would get done because there’s always somebody who’s going to object to something. If you think it sucks, then you work to change it is my philosophy. Make it something you do like.

    Our libraries were closed because the Guv promised to balance the budget. Many social programs were cut, libraries were one of the first. There should always be concern when one of the rungs of the ladder of opportunity is removed because the consequences are long term and impact society over generations.

    Note that my town is primarily Hispanic and mostly field workers or walmart employees. Towns primarily white like LA or SF or Sacramento still have their libraries just fine.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S
  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    to address straying from topic. This all stemmed from my comments of ‘theocracy’. That was countered with keeping socialism in check as well, which I agree with, but then PBS was used as one example.

    Hopefully I’ve explained the purpose of public airwaves and how they do not equate with constitutional amendments of discrimination or medical practice contingent upon religious belief, etc.

  • Davis Davis

    What’s wrong wit’ a little “pound cake”?

  • SFC SKI

    Until then, we’ll pray for your hand.

  • Bennett Dawson

    Believe it or not. We don’t care.

  • Bennett Dawson

    Wait a minute, we DO care!

  • HW Saxton

    A few comments off the topic posted.Dave
    Nalle,I live out in Las Vegas and they
    still have a few bookmobiles.They are
    mainly used in lower middle class and
    hispanic neighborhoods although they
    also go to the far reaches of this here
    quickly spreading burg.

    Plus: No matter what Dobson and his ilk
    say SpongeBob is NOT gay. Squidward on
    the other hand does subscribe to the mag
    “Interperative Dance Quarterly”.You all
    can take it from there.Debate on.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “some sort of education has to be available to the extreme poor, so that they can climb up the ladder if they want.”

    Have you heard of public schools? Or the local library? Or Pell Grants?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “How is building roads for the good of all, any different than using the public airwaves for the good of all? (the answer lies in the fact that roads don’t lean Left).”

    Heh…

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    re: comment 73.
    Yes, I addressed those.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    You addressed Pell Grants and student loans?

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I addressed education.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Steve S:

    >>Unfortunately, that is just semantics. I support public airwaves and don’t feel people need to earn access to it.< <

    No, but the nature of public broadcasting is such that someone has to pay for it, either through taxes or through donations. Yet the potential is there for it to be commercially self sufficient, they've just never been pressured to make that move.

    >>and that does nothing to address my ideology/concern about the poor having access to education to climb the economic ladder.< <

    No one has suggested taking eduational opportunities away from kids, just trying to find ways to make them operate more cost-effectively, which ought to be of benefit to everyone including the kids..

    >> Private enterprise works for a profit. Public airwaves are free. See the conundrum? As I pointed out with the Disney example, private enterprise makes for lousy education, a private school system of course entirely different. As for Discovery, TLC, while those are actually better educationally than the public airwaves, those are for profit and those are not for the poor and downtrodden. So the concerns of creating doors to the middle class are not there for private enterprise.< <

    If Discovery and TLC can provide better education programming on a commercial basis, why wouldn't PBS also do a better job if they moved to a commercial funding model?

    >>Private enterprise can put a man in space, I think private enterprise could pave dirt. No, private enterprise doesn’t get into road building because no one directly benefits from it. We all do collectively, so no one wants to pay for it singularly, we all have to collectively. The same principle applies to social programs.< <

    The nature of private enterprise is to only do those things which can produce a profit. Building roads cannot, therefore it falls to the government. It's a perfect example of the kind of thing government should be doing. Social programs also fall under government's umbrella for the same reason. But PBS does not, because it's been clearly demonstrated - as you said - that it can be done better for profit and without government involvement.

    >>If government only did things that everybody liked, nothing would get done because there’s always somebody who’s going to object to something. If you think it sucks, then you work to change it is my philosophy. Make it something you do like.< <

    That's completely unrealistic. One person can't change an entire school district fast enough to benefit kids who are already in it. By the time your kids are old enough for you to care about the quality of the school district it's too late to do anything. The entrenched powers running the district are highly resistent to change, they're backed by powerful organizations like the NEA and they have all the administrators on their side. The only way to get a quick fix is to go over their heads to state government and get them to implement a system like vouchers which lets you get your kids out of that unacceptable situation.

    >>Note that my town is primarily Hispanic and mostly field workers or walmart employees. Towns primarily white like LA or SF or Sacramento still have their libraries just fine.<<

    I suspect that this is because they have the tax base for local government to provide the libraries rather than relying on state support.

    If I were in your situation where our town had lost it’s library I’d go to city hall or a local business or a local church and offer to gather donated books if they’d provide a bit of space to put them in so that people could check them out. I bet you could start a volunteer library that would do a fine job. That’s how local libraries got their start 100 years ago and there’s no reason why it can’t work now.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    If Discovery and TLC can provide better education programming on a commercial basis, why wouldn’t PBS also do a better job if they moved to a commercial funding model?

    I’m guessing if they moved to a commercial model like Discovery or TLC, then they would cost extra per month, which makes them unavailable to the downtrodden.

    But PBS does not, because it’s been clearly demonstrated – as you said – that it can be done better for profit and without government involvement.

    I’m not a policy maker, just a guy who believes in a principle. That principle is making doors open to the middle class for people in poverty. Free education does that. I’ve pointed out that while commerical tv might be better than government funded tv, commercial tv does not address the ‘free to the public’ aspect.

    So to answer your question, yes, PBS might be ‘better’ on a commercial level, but that does not address my concern of making it available for free. Are you talking about making it private and then letting them decide how much they want to charge or not, or making it private but mandating that it still be free to citizens?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>I’m guessing if they moved to a commercial model like Discovery or TLC, then they would cost extra per month, which makes them unavailable to the downtrodden.< <

    The four or five commercial broadcast networks seem to make it work

    >>I’m not a policy maker, just a guy who believes in a principle. That principle is making doors open to the middle class for people in poverty.< <

    This is a principle which I agree with. But at the same time I'd like not not force those already in the middle class into poverty from excessive taxation resulting from unnecessary government spending.

    >> Free education does that. I’ve pointed out that while commerical tv might be better than government funded tv, commercial tv does not address the ‘free to the public’ aspect.< <

    TV paid for by advertising is still free to the public. What I'd suggest for PBS is that it become a charity so that donations could be tax-deductible, and work on corporate sponsorship, merchandising profits and profits from reselling content to cable - which it already does. My point is that given the assets they have and the network they've already established, they OUGHT to be able to pay their own way.

    >>So to answer your question, yes, PBS might be ‘better’ on a commercial level, but that does not address my concern of making it available for free. Are you talking about making it private and then letting them decide how much they want to charge or not, or making it private but mandating that it still be free to citizens?<<

    I’d suggest making it just like a commercial network, but not for profit. There’s no reason that couldn’t work. Not taking profits should theoretically cut overhead a bit and let them keep advertising to a minimum.

    Dave

  • http://leoniceno.journalspace.com Leoniceno

    Frankly, PBS doesn’t cost anyone very much money, I like watching the concerts from Lincoln Center from time to time, and no one watches their ‘liberal leaning’ newsprograms. I loved Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood as a kid. That kind of ‘kinder, gentler’ children’s programming is simply not available on commercial networks because the focus is on keeping kids eyeballs fixed on the screen as well as edifying them.

    And really, how many ‘downtrodden’ are making time to watch Pavarotti on PBS?

    And to the person who posted earlier about Pell Grants and public schools: if you are not averse to these forms of government intervention, why are you averse to PBS?

    But right on to your post about the religious right, Dave. I pretty much agree.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “The four or five commercial broadcast networks seem to make it work”

    It’s 6, right? ABC, NBC, CBS, UPN, FOX, and WB…(and then PBS also has a signal that can be picked up for free with rabbit-ears…)

  • Kelly

    The article on the National Day of Prayer is way off base and cast to support the author’s point of view. The NDP is a religious activity to be sure, but it is also an American exercise in freedom of speech. It is like seeing a TV show, if you like it stay and watch, if not change the channel. Leave NDP alone. By the way Dave, although personal diatribes are rather immature you have every right to whine in public as other do to pray.

    Kelly

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Kelly, did you follow any of the links and look at the source material from the NDP folks? Particularly check out their manual for launching full scale conversion missions in public schools. If you an read that material and believe the NDP is harmless then you’re either in their camp or have never been exposed first hand to religious extremism.

    >>The NDP is a religious activity to be sure, but it is also an American exercise in freedom of speech.<<

    Your freedom of speech ends when it’s imposed involuntarily on my kids.

    I do think that it’s possible to have a national day of prayer which would be harmless and even beneficial, but this one, sponsored by these extremists, is anything but. It’s purely a pretext for proselytizing.

    BTW, for those who forgot, today was the NDP – I didn’t hear one word about it in the news media, at my kids schools or anywhere else. It might have been a bad idea to have it coincide with Conco de Mayo.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Wanting to pray is okay, it’s an American’s perogative. What is sad, dangerous and wrong is the need to have government endorsement of it.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Government endorsement has already been accomplished, Steve. What bothers me more is the need to impose what should be private prayers on the public in a ritualistic way.

    BTW, sorry for typing Conco for Cinco.

    Dave