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Posts Tagged ‘lying politicians’

Support religious freedom by defending rights of atheists

In Education, history, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, sociology, Uncategorized on September 3, 2014 at 11:24 pm

dih-logo-SEFor what is apparently the first time ever, an openly atheist candidate is running for United States Congress this fall. James Woods, an atheist Democrat, is seeking election in the Arizona 5th Congressional District, a region well known as strictly Republican. According to a CNN op-ed piece by columnist Carlos S. Moreno, Woods will be the only congressional candidate to ever run after outing himself as a non-believer.

As it turns out, under the constitutions of eight American states, atheists are banned from holding public office: Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas (Source: The Washington Post). More accurately, the restriction applies to those who deny the existence of, “a Supreme Being,” or “Almighty God,” the wording varies.

Regardless of whether people agree with it, such bans would seem to violate Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, which states, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” It’s probable that any related civil suit would eventually land at the feet of the United States Supreme Court which would undoubtedly have to rule these laws unconstitutional.

Even so, most atheists stay, “in the closet,” so to speak, to avoid social repercussions and public scrutiny and rarely do they attempt to run for political positions. It might be assumed that the anti-atheist rules were originally established to ensure that public servants would have a predictable moral fiber.

But, the very idea that the religious are inherently “moral,” is, in a word, ridiculous. History is full of religiously-sanctioned violations of God’s moral commandments, from centuries of open warfare to decades of child abuse. As usual, many of the devout try to pretend none of it ever happened. So, in a completely predictable act of contradiction, violations of God’s laws are fine so long as they serve a “higher purpose.”

Likewise, the moral character of a politician is supposed to be part of the reason why people choose to elect him or her to office. Sadly, a disturbing lack of morality is evident in many high-ranking politicians, who spend much of their time lying, cheating and stealing. These are the same men and women who, at some point, stood up in front of their God and everyone else and swore to their personal integrity and commitment.

Easy examples come to mind like John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, who were known to be serial adulterers, and it could be argued that the very definition of politician should include, “liar.” In any case, one needn’t be a Christian, nor a member of any other religion, to have a well-aligned moral compass.

Put simply, being frightened into morality by the threat of fire and brimstone only goes so far in keeping people on the straight and narrow, particularly those who crave power and believe themselves at some point to be above retribution. It seems like it would be better to have a public servant who has found his or her own moral direction rather than having it lorded over them by fear of suffering in the hereafter.

Regardless of how the devout are behaving when no one is looking, however, what Americans need to understand from all of this is that freedom from religion must be protected in order to preserve its uninhibited practice. The fine balance between freedom “from” and “of” religion is necessary to ensure every citizen can practice his or her faith openly, all while any other may enjoy none at all. It goes both ways.

Put another way, no one likes to have religious groups going door to door pedaling their ideology. So why is it alright for anyone else to do the same thing simply using more socially acceptable methods, such as being coerced into declaring a religion before qualifying for political office?

Up until now a great many public servants who have affirmed a religious affiliation and filled speeches with thanks to God for their success have managed to shame both their religion and their office with shaky morality. In the end, the most devout Christian can take the same oath as their atheist counterpart and guarantee no greater a moral platform. If history is any indicator, it might even be less.

 
Gery L. Deer is the editor and publisher of The Jamestown Comet.com and a syndicated independent columnist.

 

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Obamacare: Politicians lie to cover bad legislation

In Economy, Health, National News, Opinion, Politics, sociology, Uncategorized on November 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

DIH LOGOHow ever the White House and the Democrats want to spin it, President Obama lied about the Affordable Care Act – and he wasn’t the only one. But it’s “his” plan and legacy that are on trial now.

Denying that he ever said the line is ridiculous and just makes liberals look worse. It has been fact-checked repeatedly even by liberal news media. The first appearance of the empty promises came at a town hall on August 15, 2009 when the President said, “I just want to be completely clear about this; I keep on saying this but somehow folks aren’t listening — if you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan. Nobody is going to force you to leave your health care plan.”

Less than a year later, he said essentially the same thing at a speech on March 25, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Speaking of those who were skeptical and cynical of his health reform President Obama said, “They’ll have to finally acknowledge this isn’t a government takeover of our health care system. They’ll see that if Americans like their doctor, they’ll be keeping their doctor. You like your plan? You’ll be keeping your plan. No one is taking that away from you.” If you’re curious, none of this is out of context and full texts for these speeches are available at the White House website.

Without beating a dead horse, this is thoroughly inaccurate or, as the Democrats would say about a Republican president, he lied. There is no caveat stated in any of these remarks related to grandfather provisions or referring to existing medical plans that must meet some set standard required by the new law. It says, very clearly, no one would lose their existing coverage.

In a live address July 25th, President Obama urged Americans to pressure congressional leaders to move toward a compromise. (AP Photo)

So how can anyone say he did not lie about it? Making excuses for lying politicians – on either side of the aisle – does not an honest man make. It’s no secret I’ve never really been a fan of this president, nor the last one either for that matter. But regardless of your loyalties, to deny that he misled the public is just feigning ignorance. He didn’t misspeak or stumble on his phrasing, and leaving out a vital piece of information is a lie by omission, so Dems need to stop trying to defend it.

The Affordable Care Act is a badly written piece of legislation that was pushed through to meet a political agenda rather than to benefit the population as a whole. Overall, I agree with the concept that we need some way to cover those people who cannot afford health care. But at the same time, those already paying their own way shouldn’t be punished by having their current policies systematically cancelled just to meet a set of arbitrary requirements established to force enrollment in the government’s new insurance monopoly.

Speaking of monopolies, wouldn’t it have made sense to have something in the law requiring premium caps and policy cost regulations? What about some kind of legislation that would control the pricing of health care services and keep the cost lower in the first place? One would think our government is more concerned with the expensive cost of a pack of bubble gum than the outrageous price of a critical medical test.

Lobbyists from the medical and insurance industries are extremely powerful, far more so than the average small business owner or individual health insurance consumer. Since most legislators are in the pocket of some major lobbying group, it would be financial suicide for them go against anything as massive as the insurance industry.

The only practical solution to this issue is to correct the problems within the content of the Affordable Care Act; not by presidential mandate, but through the legislative system. Congress needs to re-open the letter of the law and grab an eraser. Force the insurance companies and hospitals to lower costs and let people keep their insurance. Bad legislation only gets worse and wastes taxpayer dollars instead of more efficiently allocating that money to more productive purposes.