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Old August 7th, 2008, 06:20 AM   #1
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Why I'm Proud to Be a Liberal

... from one of my favorite columnists...



By Wayne Besen,

08.07.2008 7:35am EDT

It is campaign season, which means conservatives will try to paint Democrats as “liberals,” as if it were a dirty word. I, for one, am proud to be a liberal and believe we should stand up against these conservative smears.



One of the great fallacies in modern lore is that liberalism stands for nothing and liberals have no core beliefs. The right wing, from the Pope to the President, has impugned the left by unfairly portraying it as a valueless movement mired in moral relativism.



This could not be further from the truth.





Indeed, the left is the backbone of freedom, the defender of personal liberty, the guarantor of free speech and religious worship and the nurturer of democratic movements across the globe. Far from believing in nothing, wherever liberal democratic values prevail, civilizations flourish and free people thrive.





The cornerstone of liberalism is the idea that each person is endowed with the precious gift of liberty and can freely choose his or her own path - for better or worse. We believe this is crucial to greater enlightenment, personal growth and ultimate fulfillment. It also offers the best opportunity for people to realize their dreams and achieve their spiritual promise.





Liberalism encourages exploration and education. It reveres science and celebrates the inquisitive mind. Indeed, liberal values are often superior to those held on the right, because they are tenaciously subjected to rigorous examination. Beliefs that are questioned and still prevail are the ones that stand the test of time.





Like conservatism, liberalism has very strong core principles. But unlike conservatism, liberalism is not afraid to question “the way it is.” The fulcrum of this philosophy is that all ideas will be constantly examined, scrutinized, studied and debated. If new information emerges to counter the culture’s prevailing values or understanding, it will be rightfully taken into account. Far from moral relativism, liberalism searches for the ultimate value in which to build a moral foundation: Truth.





Right wing movements across the globe often seem uninterested in truth if it contradicts their obdurate belief systems. Reality averse, they are woefully unable to adjust to new understandings, burgeoning ideas and cultural awakenings. For example, despite overwhelming evidence that women are the equals of men, they still can’t drive or vote in some Muslim countries. In America, gay people are still treated as second-class citizens, even though mountains of science and empirical evidence suggest that homosexuality is as biologically ingrained as eye color or handedness.





Liberals believe in the power of “reason,” while conservatives are often just plain reactionary. This is why the GOP is the party of the “southern strategy” and anti-gay subterfuge. Republican power is directly related to fertilizing fear and fomenting fanaticism.





Indeed, the great appeal of modern conservatism, or other forms of authoritarianism, is that people don’t have to think for themselves. They can mentally “check out” of this world and place their worries in the hands of a commanding politician or a higher deity.





Modern conservatives are often discomfited by the complexities of life and demand answers to the world’s many unanswerable questions. They arrogantly and disingenuously claim to have absolute truth, while liberalism boldly proclaims that it does not have such ubiquitous powers of understanding. Liberalism is for those who are unafraid to fully embrace the magnificent journey of life and tackle the great mysteries of our time.





If one looks at modern conservatism in the United States, it is easy to see that it is a movement of intellectual and spiritual atrophy. In the political realm, conservatives essentially call for judges who are “strict constructionists,” which is shorthand for saying “the Constitution is a dead document.”





What a monumentally ridiculous notion to put forth, that American jurisprudence has not evolved in more than two centuries! Do strict constructionists believe that women and African Americans should have their rights restricted because the nation’s founders treated women as second-class citizens and owned slaves?





Likewise, modern conservatives have also rendered the Bible (or Koran) “dead documents.” In conservative houses of worship, traditionalists put forth the untenable belief that holy books are literal. They call these books “God’s Plan,” as if the Creator hasn’t had a new thought in a couple of thousand years.





Modern conservatives will claim that liberals are sacrilegious for holding such beliefs. To the contrary, liberals are often extraordinarily religious or spiritual people. However, they diverge with conservatives in that they believe the strongest faith is one that is subject to healthy skepticism and painstaking examination. In encouraging people to explore all faiths — free of guilt, shame, coercion or fear - liberalism also offers people the greatest number spiritual options.





Many of my columns deal with gay themes because equality for gay men and women is the civil rights issue of the new Millennium. However, gay rights mean nearly as much to heterosexuals as they do for homosexuals.







The very peace and prosperity of nations can be easily predicted by looking at how they relate to their gay citizens.





If a country treats gay people with dignity and respect and offers them equality, it signals that the country bases its decisions on sound education, rationalism and science. This inevitably leads towards success in all spheres of life.





Countries that ostracize and penalize homosexuals tend to be superstitious, authoritarian and anti-intellectual. This almost uniformly leads to poverty, war, oppression and ultimately tyranny.





A cynic might argue that the United States is not as gay friendly as other countries, yet, it is the richest country in the world. True, but nearly all of America’s cities and states that are centers of profit and creativity offer acceptance for homosexuals. States most hostile to gay people are relatively backwards, with lower levels of education and income. Places that offer acceptance signal that they are open-minded and looking towards the future. Locales that reject homosexuals indicate that they are stuck in the past — at their own peril.





In essence, gay rights are the canary in the coal mine for freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately, the bird is hacking, signaling a period of increased oppression and a dangerous erosion of freedom. It is up to us to rescue this nation from the perilous path it is now on. It is time we proudly stand up for what we believe in. If we don’t defend our values, our opponents will define them.





Progressive does not mean passive. Our compassion does not mean that we lack passion. Our respect for other beliefs does not signify that we don’t hold strong beliefs of our own that we are willing to fight for. Indeed, our power comes from our ability to adjust to reality. We are secure in our values, yet humble enough to adapt if our viewpoints are proven obsolete. Wherever liberal democracy takes root, a strong and proud record of economic, moral, social and political achievement follows.





I agree with him wholeheartedly!




Besen: Why I’m proud to be a liberal | 365 Gay News
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Old March 4th, 2012, 07:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tristanrobin View Post
... from one of my favorite columnists...



By Wayne Besen,

08.07.2008 7:35am EDT

It is campaign season, which means conservatives will try to paint Democrats as “liberals,” as if it were a dirty word. I, for one, am proud to be a liberal and believe we should stand up against these conservative smears.



One of the great fallacies in modern lore is that liberalism stands for nothing and liberals have no core beliefs. The right wing, from the Pope to the President, has impugned the left by unfairly portraying it as a valueless movement mired in moral relativism.



This could not be further from the truth.





Indeed, the left is the backbone of freedom, the defender of personal liberty, the guarantor of free speech and religious worship and the nurturer of democratic movements across the globe. Far from believing in nothing, wherever liberal democratic values prevail, civilizations flourish and free people thrive.





The cornerstone of liberalism is the idea that each person is endowed with the precious gift of liberty and can freely choose his or her own path - for better or worse. We believe this is crucial to greater enlightenment, personal growth and ultimate fulfillment. It also offers the best opportunity for people to realize their dreams and achieve their spiritual promise.





Liberalism encourages exploration and education. It reveres science and celebrates the inquisitive mind. Indeed, liberal values are often superior to those held on the right, because they are tenaciously subjected to rigorous examination. Beliefs that are questioned and still prevail are the ones that stand the test of time.





Like conservatism, liberalism has very strong core principles. But unlike conservatism, liberalism is not afraid to question “the way it is.” The fulcrum of this philosophy is that all ideas will be constantly examined, scrutinized, studied and debated. If new information emerges to counter the culture’s prevailing values or understanding, it will be rightfully taken into account. Far from moral relativism, liberalism searches for the ultimate value in which to build a moral foundation: Truth.





Right wing movements across the globe often seem uninterested in truth if it contradicts their obdurate belief systems. Reality averse, they are woefully unable to adjust to new understandings, burgeoning ideas and cultural awakenings. For example, despite overwhelming evidence that women are the equals of men, they still can’t drive or vote in some Muslim countries. In America, gay people are still treated as second-class citizens, even though mountains of science and empirical evidence suggest that homosexuality is as biologically ingrained as eye color or handedness.





Liberals believe in the power of “reason,” while conservatives are often just plain reactionary. This is why the GOP is the party of the “southern strategy” and anti-gay subterfuge. Republican power is directly related to fertilizing fear and fomenting fanaticism.





Indeed, the great appeal of modern conservatism, or other forms of authoritarianism, is that people don’t have to think for themselves. They can mentally “check out” of this world and place their worries in the hands of a commanding politician or a higher deity.





Modern conservatives are often discomfited by the complexities of life and demand answers to the world’s many unanswerable questions. They arrogantly and disingenuously claim to have absolute truth, while liberalism boldly proclaims that it does not have such ubiquitous powers of understanding. Liberalism is for those who are unafraid to fully embrace the magnificent journey of life and tackle the great mysteries of our time.





If one looks at modern conservatism in the United States, it is easy to see that it is a movement of intellectual and spiritual atrophy. In the political realm, conservatives essentially call for judges who are “strict constructionists,” which is shorthand for saying “the Constitution is a dead document.”





What a monumentally ridiculous notion to put forth, that American jurisprudence has not evolved in more than two centuries! Do strict constructionists believe that women and African Americans should have their rights restricted because the nation’s founders treated women as second-class citizens and owned slaves?





Likewise, modern conservatives have also rendered the Bible (or Koran) “dead documents.” In conservative houses of worship, traditionalists put forth the untenable belief that holy books are literal. They call these books “God’s Plan,” as if the Creator hasn’t had a new thought in a couple of thousand years.





Modern conservatives will claim that liberals are sacrilegious for holding such beliefs. To the contrary, liberals are often extraordinarily religious or spiritual people. However, they diverge with conservatives in that they believe the strongest faith is one that is subject to healthy skepticism and painstaking examination. In encouraging people to explore all faiths — free of guilt, shame, coercion or fear - liberalism also offers people the greatest number spiritual options.





Many of my columns deal with gay themes because equality for gay men and women is the civil rights issue of the new Millennium. However, gay rights mean nearly as much to heterosexuals as they do for homosexuals.







The very peace and prosperity of nations can be easily predicted by looking at how they relate to their gay citizens.





If a country treats gay people with dignity and respect and offers them equality, it signals that the country bases its decisions on sound education, rationalism and science. This inevitably leads towards success in all spheres of life.





Countries that ostracize and penalize homosexuals tend to be superstitious, authoritarian and anti-intellectual. This almost uniformly leads to poverty, war, oppression and ultimately tyranny.





A cynic might argue that the United States is not as gay friendly as other countries, yet, it is the richest country in the world. True, but nearly all of America’s cities and states that are centers of profit and creativity offer acceptance for homosexuals. States most hostile to gay people are relatively backwards, with lower levels of education and income. Places that offer acceptance signal that they are open-minded and looking towards the future. Locales that reject homosexuals indicate that they are stuck in the past — at their own peril.





In essence, gay rights are the canary in the coal mine for freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately, the bird is hacking, signaling a period of increased oppression and a dangerous erosion of freedom. It is up to us to rescue this nation from the perilous path it is now on. It is time we proudly stand up for what we believe in. If we don’t defend our values, our opponents will define them.





Progressive does not mean passive. Our compassion does not mean that we lack passion. Our respect for other beliefs does not signify that we don’t hold strong beliefs of our own that we are willing to fight for. Indeed, our power comes from our ability to adjust to reality. We are secure in our values, yet humble enough to adapt if our viewpoints are proven obsolete. Wherever liberal democracy takes root, a strong and proud record of economic, moral, social and political achievement follows.





I agree with him wholeheartedly!



Besen: Why I’m proud to be a liberal | 365 Gay News
Sorry i got as far as Liberals standing for our liberties, freedom of religion? LOLOLOLOL, wow what are you smoking? Obama just FORCED every person of faith to pay for someone's else abortion. He just forced every american to buy insurance. He just forced every business to provide healthcare. Liberals have censored our schools no longer allowing freedom to say a voluntary prayer should the community so choose. They have censored our Christmas plays at schools to be called a more politically correct name. All under the guise of a lie. Separation of church and state(nowhere in the constitution). Talk about a corrupt government tramping all over the voice of Americans who by far wanted to keep Christmas in our schools our public squares, etc. Liberals want to take away our gun rights, our smoking rights, I could go on and on and on. GIVE ME A BREAK! Liberals are destroying the freedoms of this great land.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 07:36 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by concerned View Post
Sorry i got as far as Liberals standing for our liberties, freedom of religion? LOLOLOLOL, wow what are you smoking? Obama just FORCED every person of faith to pay for someone's else abortion. He just forced every american to buy insurance. He just forced every business to provide healthcare. Liberals have censored our schools no longer allowing freedom to say a voluntary prayer should the community so choose. They have censored our Christmas plays at schools to be called a more politically correct name. All under the guise of a lie. Separation of church and state(nowhere in the constitution). Talk about a corrupt government tramping all over the voice of Americans who by far wanted to keep Christmas in our schools our public squares, etc. Liberals want to take away our gun rights, our smoking rights, I could go on and on and on. GIVE ME A BREAK! Liberals are destroying the freedoms of this great land.


The words "seperation of church and state" do not need to be spelled out in the Constitution for the principle to be there.



The First Amendment prohibits Congress (and later the states, via incorporation by way of the XIVth Amendment) from making any law "respecting the establishment of religion". That doesn't just mean that Congress cannot enact laws that directly establish a religion...but that they can't enact laws that even indirectly establishing a religion.



As the Supreme Court ruled in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education.



"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another."



Beyond just prohbiting laws establishing an "official" religion of the United States....governments are not allowed to pass laws that further one religions view over that of another or even further the generic idea of religion over other ideas.



Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) set up the "The Lemon Test" when deciding whether or not a law violates the establishment clause...



The law in question:



1) Must have a secular legislative purpose.

2) It's principle or primary effect must be one that neither advances or hinders relgion.

3) It must not foster an excessive tanglement in religion.



These two decisions set up the "wall of seperation between church and state"...it doesn't matter if the actual words are in the Constitution or not.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 07:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Nwolfe35 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by concerned' timestamp='1330877610' post='387388

Sorry i got as far as Liberals standing for our liberties, freedom of religion? LOLOLOLOL, wow what are you smoking? Obama just FORCED every person of faith to pay for someone's else abortion. He just forced every american to buy insurance. He just forced every business to provide healthcare. Liberals have censored our schools no longer allowing freedom to say a voluntary prayer should the community so choose. They have censored our Christmas plays at schools to be called a more politically correct name. All under the guise of a lie. Separation of church and state(nowhere in the constitution). Talk about a corrupt government tramping all over the voice of Americans who by far wanted to keep Christmas in our schools our public squares, etc. Liberals want to take away our gun rights, our smoking rights, I could go on and on and on. GIVE ME A BREAK! Liberals are destroying the freedoms of this great land.


The words "seperation of church and state" do not need to be spelled out in the Constitution for the principle to be there.



The First Amendment prohibits Congress (and later the states, via incorporation by way of the XIVth Amendment) from making any law "respecting the establishment of religion". That doesn't just mean that Congress cannot enact laws that directly establish a religion...but that they can't enact laws that even indirectly establishing a religion.



As the Supreme Court ruled in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education.



"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another."



Beyond just prohbiting laws establishing an "official" religion of the United States....governments are not allowed to pass laws that further one religions view over that of another or even further the generic idea of religion over other ideas.



Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) set up the "The Lemon Test" when deciding whether or not a law violates the establishment clause...



The law in question:



1) Must have a secular legislative purpose.

2) It's principle or primary effect must be one that neither advances or hinders relgion.

3) It must not foster an excessive tanglement in religion.



These two decisions set up the "wall of seperation between church and state"...it doesn't matter if the actual words are in the Constitution or not.


......"or prohibit the free exercise thereof".



Those words are also in the constitution about religion.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tristanrobin View Post
... from one of my favorite columnists...



By Wayne Besen,

08.07.2008 7:35am EDT

It is campaign season, which means conservatives will try to paint Democrats as “liberals,” as if it were a dirty word. I, for one, am proud to be a liberal and believe we should stand up against these conservative smears.



One of the great fallacies in modern lore is that liberalism stands for nothing and liberals have no core beliefs. The right wing, from the Pope to the President, has impugned the left by unfairly portraying it as a valueless movement mired in moral relativism.



This could not be further from the truth.





Indeed, the left is the backbone of freedom, the defender of personal liberty, the guarantor of free speech and religious worship and the nurturer of democratic movements across the globe. Far from believing in nothing, wherever liberal democratic values prevail, civilizations flourish and free people thrive.





The cornerstone of liberalism is the idea that each person is endowed with the precious gift of liberty and can freely choose his or her own path - for better or worse. We believe this is crucial to greater enlightenment, personal growth and ultimate fulfillment. It also offers the best opportunity for people to realize their dreams and achieve their spiritual promise.





Liberalism encourages exploration and education. It reveres science and celebrates the inquisitive mind. Indeed, liberal values are often superior to those held on the right, because they are tenaciously subjected to rigorous examination. Beliefs that are questioned and still prevail are the ones that stand the test of time.





Like conservatism, liberalism has very strong core principles. But unlike conservatism, liberalism is not afraid to question “the way it is.” The fulcrum of this philosophy is that all ideas will be constantly examined, scrutinized, studied and debated. If new information emerges to counter the culture’s prevailing values or understanding, it will be rightfully taken into account. Far from moral relativism, liberalism searches for the ultimate value in which to build a moral foundation: Truth.





Right wing movements across the globe often seem uninterested in truth if it contradicts their obdurate belief systems. Reality averse, they are woefully unable to adjust to new understandings, burgeoning ideas and cultural awakenings. For example, despite overwhelming evidence that women are the equals of men, they still can’t drive or vote in some Muslim countries. In America, gay people are still treated as second-class citizens, even though mountains of science and empirical evidence suggest that homosexuality is as biologically ingrained as eye color or handedness.





Liberals believe in the power of “reason,” while conservatives are often just plain reactionary. This is why the GOP is the party of the “southern strategy” and anti-gay subterfuge. Republican power is directly related to fertilizing fear and fomenting fanaticism.





Indeed, the great appeal of modern conservatism, or other forms of authoritarianism, is that people don’t have to think for themselves. They can mentally “check out” of this world and place their worries in the hands of a commanding politician or a higher deity.





Modern conservatives are often discomfited by the complexities of life and demand answers to the world’s many unanswerable questions. They arrogantly and disingenuously claim to have absolute truth, while liberalism boldly proclaims that it does not have such ubiquitous powers of understanding. Liberalism is for those who are unafraid to fully embrace the magnificent journey of life and tackle the great mysteries of our time.





If one looks at modern conservatism in the United States, it is easy to see that it is a movement of intellectual and spiritual atrophy. In the political realm, conservatives essentially call for judges who are “strict constructionists,” which is shorthand for saying “the Constitution is a dead document.”





What a monumentally ridiculous notion to put forth, that American jurisprudence has not evolved in more than two centuries! Do strict constructionists believe that women and African Americans should have their rights restricted because the nation’s founders treated women as second-class citizens and owned slaves?





Likewise, modern conservatives have also rendered the Bible (or Koran) “dead documents.” In conservative houses of worship, traditionalists put forth the untenable belief that holy books are literal. They call these books “God’s Plan,” as if the Creator hasn’t had a new thought in a couple of thousand years.





Modern conservatives will claim that liberals are sacrilegious for holding such beliefs. To the contrary, liberals are often extraordinarily religious or spiritual people. However, they diverge with conservatives in that they believe the strongest faith is one that is subject to healthy skepticism and painstaking examination. In encouraging people to explore all faiths — free of guilt, shame, coercion or fear - liberalism also offers people the greatest number spiritual options.





Many of my columns deal with gay themes because equality for gay men and women is the civil rights issue of the new Millennium. However, gay rights mean nearly as much to heterosexuals as they do for homosexuals.







The very peace and prosperity of nations can be easily predicted by looking at how they relate to their gay citizens.





If a country treats gay people with dignity and respect and offers them equality, it signals that the country bases its decisions on sound education, rationalism and science. This inevitably leads towards success in all spheres of life.





Countries that ostracize and penalize homosexuals tend to be superstitious, authoritarian and anti-intellectual. This almost uniformly leads to poverty, war, oppression and ultimately tyranny.





A cynic might argue that the United States is not as gay friendly as other countries, yet, it is the richest country in the world. True, but nearly all of America’s cities and states that are centers of profit and creativity offer acceptance for homosexuals. States most hostile to gay people are relatively backwards, with lower levels of education and income. Places that offer acceptance signal that they are open-minded and looking towards the future. Locales that reject homosexuals indicate that they are stuck in the past — at their own peril.





In essence, gay rights are the canary in the coal mine for freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately, the bird is hacking, signaling a period of increased oppression and a dangerous erosion of freedom. It is up to us to rescue this nation from the perilous path it is now on. It is time we proudly stand up for what we believe in. If we don’t defend our values, our opponents will define them.





Progressive does not mean passive. Our compassion does not mean that we lack passion. Our respect for other beliefs does not signify that we don’t hold strong beliefs of our own that we are willing to fight for. Indeed, our power comes from our ability to adjust to reality. We are secure in our values, yet humble enough to adapt if our viewpoints are proven obsolete. Wherever liberal democracy takes root, a strong and proud record of economic, moral, social and political achievement follows.





I agree with him wholeheartedly!



Besen: Why I’m proud to be a liberal | 365 Gay News


Outstanding.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nwolfe35' timestamp='1330878997' post='387391

[quote name='concerned' timestamp='1330877610' post='387388']

Sorry i got as far as Liberals standing for our liberties, freedom of religion? LOLOLOLOL, wow what are you smoking? Obama just FORCED every person of faith to pay for someone's else abortion. He just forced every american to buy insurance. He just forced every business to provide healthcare. Liberals have censored our schools no longer allowing freedom to say a voluntary prayer should the community so choose. They have censored our Christmas plays at schools to be called a more politically correct name. All under the guise of a lie. Separation of church and state(nowhere in the constitution). Talk about a corrupt government tramping all over the voice of Americans who by far wanted to keep Christmas in our schools our public squares, etc. Liberals want to take away our gun rights, our smoking rights, I could go on and on and on. GIVE ME A BREAK! Liberals are destroying the freedoms of this great land.


The words "seperation of church and state" do not need to be spelled out in the Constitution for the principle to be there.



The First Amendment prohibits Congress (and later the states, via incorporation by way of the XIVth Amendment) from making any law "respecting the establishment of religion". That doesn't just mean that Congress cannot enact laws that directly establish a religion...but that they can't enact laws that even indirectly establishing a religion.



As the Supreme Court ruled in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education.



"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another."



Beyond just prohbiting laws establishing an "official" religion of the United States....governments are not allowed to pass laws that further one religions view over that of another or even further the generic idea of religion over other ideas.



Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) set up the "The Lemon Test" when deciding whether or not a law violates the establishment clause...



The law in question:



1) Must have a secular legislative purpose.

2) It's principle or primary effect must be one that neither advances or hinders relgion.

3) It must not foster an excessive tanglement in religion.



These two decisions set up the "wall of seperation between church and state"...it doesn't matter if the actual words are in the Constitution or not.


......"or prohibit the free exercise thereof".



Those words are also in the constitution about religion.

[/quote]



Absolutely, that's why the second part of the "Lemon Test" says that the laws should not advance NOR HINDER religion.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Many of my columns deal with gay themes because equality for gay men and women is the civil rights issue of the new Millennium. However, gay rights mean nearly as much to heterosexuals as they do for homosexuals.



The very peace and prosperity of nations can be easily predicted by looking at how they relate to their gay citizens.



If a country treats gay people with dignity and respect and offers them equality, it signals that the country bases its decisions on sound education, rationalism and science. This inevitably leads towards success in all spheres of life.



Countries that ostracize and penalize homosexuals tend to be superstitious, authoritarian and anti-intellectual. This almost uniformly leads to poverty, war, oppression and ultimately tyranny.



A cynic might argue that the United States is not as gay friendly as other countries, yet, it is the richest country in the world. True, but nearly all of America’s cities and states that are centers of profit and creativity offer acceptance for homosexuals. States most hostile to gay people are relatively backwards, with lower levels of education and income. Places that offer acceptance signal that they are open-minded and looking towards the future. Locales that reject homosexuals indicate that they are stuck in the past — at their own peril.



In essence, gay rights are the canary in the coal mine for freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately, the bird is hacking, signaling a period of increased oppression and a dangerous erosion of freedom. It is up to us to rescue this nation from the perilous path it is now on. It is time we proudly stand up for what we believe in. If we don’t defend our values, our opponents will define them.


Speaking as a straight guy, I completely agree with the entire article and with the idea that gay civil rights are the "canary in the coal mine" today. A generation ago it was women's civil rights, and before that it was the civil rights of racial minorities.



You can tell a lot about a state and a country by how it treats its minorities, and Besen is 100% correct that the homophobic states are the most backwards socially and economically. It's no coincidence that those same states are also historically the worst when it comes to the rights of women and racial minorities. They also tend to be the states which have clung to theocracy the longest, and where most of the court cases about church-state violations originate.
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Old March 18th, 2012, 06:45 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by knowuryder View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by tristanrobin' timestamp='1218118846' post='176056

... from one of my favorite columnists...



By Wayne Besen,

08.07.2008 7:35am EDT

It is campaign season, which means conservatives will try to paint Democrats as “liberals,” as if it were a dirty word. I, for one, am proud to be a liberal and believe we should stand up against these conservative smears.



One of the great fallacies in modern lore is that liberalism stands for nothing and liberals have no core beliefs. The right wing, from the Pope to the President, has impugned the left by unfairly portraying it as a valueless movement mired in moral relativism.



This could not be further from the truth.





Indeed, the left is the backbone of freedom, the defender of personal liberty, the guarantor of free speech and religious worship and the nurturer of democratic movements across the globe. Far from believing in nothing, wherever liberal democratic values prevail, civilizations flourish and free people thrive.





The cornerstone of liberalism is the idea that each person is endowed with the precious gift of liberty and can freely choose his or her own path - for better or worse. We believe this is crucial to greater enlightenment, personal growth and ultimate fulfillment. It also offers the best opportunity for people to realize their dreams and achieve their spiritual promise.





Liberalism encourages exploration and education. It reveres science and celebrates the inquisitive mind. Indeed, liberal values are often superior to those held on the right, because they are tenaciously subjected to rigorous examination. Beliefs that are questioned and still prevail are the ones that stand the test of time.





Like conservatism, liberalism has very strong core principles. But unlike conservatism, liberalism is not afraid to question “the way it is.” The fulcrum of this philosophy is that all ideas will be constantly examined, scrutinized, studied and debated. If new information emerges to counter the culture’s prevailing values or understanding, it will be rightfully taken into account. Far from moral relativism, liberalism searches for the ultimate value in which to build a moral foundation: Truth.





Right wing movements across the globe often seem uninterested in truth if it contradicts their obdurate belief systems. Reality averse, they are woefully unable to adjust to new understandings, burgeoning ideas and cultural awakenings. For example, despite overwhelming evidence that women are the equals of men, they still can’t drive or vote in some Muslim countries. In America, gay people are still treated as second-class citizens, even though mountains of science and empirical evidence suggest that homosexuality is as biologically ingrained as eye color or handedness.





Liberals believe in the power of “reason,” while conservatives are often just plain reactionary. This is why the GOP is the party of the “southern strategy” and anti-gay subterfuge. Republican power is directly related to fertilizing fear and fomenting fanaticism.





Indeed, the great appeal of modern conservatism, or other forms of authoritarianism, is that people don’t have to think for themselves. They can mentally “check out” of this world and place their worries in the hands of a commanding politician or a higher deity.





Modern conservatives are often discomfited by the complexities of life and demand answers to the world’s many unanswerable questions. They arrogantly and disingenuously claim to have absolute truth, while liberalism boldly proclaims that it does not have such ubiquitous powers of understanding. Liberalism is for those who are unafraid to fully embrace the magnificent journey of life and tackle the great mysteries of our time.





If one looks at modern conservatism in the United States, it is easy to see that it is a movement of intellectual and spiritual atrophy. In the political realm, conservatives essentially call for judges who are “strict constructionists,” which is shorthand for saying “the Constitution is a dead document.”





What a monumentally ridiculous notion to put forth, that American jurisprudence has not evolved in more than two centuries! Do strict constructionists believe that women and African Americans should have their rights restricted because the nation’s founders treated women as second-class citizens and owned slaves?





Likewise, modern conservatives have also rendered the Bible (or Koran) “dead documents.” In conservative houses of worship, traditionalists put forth the untenable belief that holy books are literal. They call these books “God’s Plan,” as if the Creator hasn’t had a new thought in a couple of thousand years.





Modern conservatives will claim that liberals are sacrilegious for holding such beliefs. To the contrary, liberals are often extraordinarily religious or spiritual people. However, they diverge with conservatives in that they believe the strongest faith is one that is subject to healthy skepticism and painstaking examination. In encouraging people to explore all faiths — free of guilt, shame, coercion or fear - liberalism also offers people the greatest number spiritual options.





Many of my columns deal with gay themes because equality for gay men and women is the civil rights issue of the new Millennium. However, gay rights mean nearly as much to heterosexuals as they do for homosexuals.







The very peace and prosperity of nations can be easily predicted by looking at how they relate to their gay citizens.





If a country treats gay people with dignity and respect and offers them equality, it signals that the country bases its decisions on sound education, rationalism and science. This inevitably leads towards success in all spheres of life.





Countries that ostracize and penalize homosexuals tend to be superstitious, authoritarian and anti-intellectual. This almost uniformly leads to poverty, war, oppression and ultimately tyranny.





A cynic might argue that the United States is not as gay friendly as other countries, yet, it is the richest country in the world. True, but nearly all of America’s cities and states that are centers of profit and creativity offer acceptance for homosexuals. States most hostile to gay people are relatively backwards, with lower levels of education and income. Places that offer acceptance signal that they are open-minded and looking towards the future. Locales that reject homosexuals indicate that they are stuck in the past — at their own peril.





In essence, gay rights are the canary in the coal mine for freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately, the bird is hacking, signaling a period of increased oppression and a dangerous erosion of freedom. It is up to us to rescue this nation from the perilous path it is now on. It is time we proudly stand up for what we believe in. If we don’t defend our values, our opponents will define them.





Progressive does not mean passive. Our compassion does not mean that we lack passion. Our respect for other beliefs does not signify that we don’t hold strong beliefs of our own that we are willing to fight for. Indeed, our power comes from our ability to adjust to reality. We are secure in our values, yet humble enough to adapt if our viewpoints are proven obsolete. Wherever liberal democracy takes root, a strong and proud record of economic, moral, social and political achievement follows.





I agree with him wholeheartedly!



Besen: Why I’m proud to be a liberal | 365 Gay News


Outstanding.
WOW! That is all I can say. The hypocrisy from the left is sickening. All those accolades of tolerance from the left for diverse opinions and lifestyles, open mindedness in the Large "more intelligent" cities, while those backward sates (that dare not THINK like these enlightened left wind Elete socialists) are backward thinking, actually looking back to a hideous time when most of our families were actually together with the kids having BOTH parents at home.(PERILOUS!)



WHAT POMPOUS ARROGANCE! For the last 40 years our culture has been moving in the Liberal direction and what do we have to show for it? Broken families, welfare roles exploding, bankruptcy looming,, etc.



In these large intelligent cities, where is this enlightened tolerance and open mindedness for people who dare express their faith? Whenever i see any American run for office such as Palin, Perry, Santorum, and they dare tell us they are Christians and how important their faith is to them, instantly they are attacked from the left wing media. It matters not what positions they hold on the issues. Liberals are Christianphobic and completely bigoted against Christians. The left ALWAYS use their bigoted disdain for Christians and bring out the attack dogs in the media putting fears in everyone's mind that these scary Christians will legislate moral laws and force people to be Christians. At work I hear it from fellow workers who after a debate on TV and the following commentary. They start their vicious remarks about any of the candidates who professed their faith.



You Liberals are very scary dangerous people. If we don’t think like you, believe in your evolution theories, support your free abortions, agree with Gay marriage, etc. then we are labeled fanatics, homophobes, Zealots, etc. You continually spread your propoganda that Christians are out to make moral laws and prevent you from your personal freedoms… HOGWASH! You Liberals are Christianphobes. Christians DO NOT want to force any laws on you. It is the Obama's and democrats who want to force their new age Socialist thought down your throats! Forced healthcare purchased, FORCED insurance coverage upon businesses, FORCED inclusion of Abortion pills in Religious institution insurance plans, FORCED gun control, FORCED taxes on cigarettes, I could go on and on. BUT NO, IT IS THOSE SCARY CHRISTIANS THAT WILL CONTROL YOU! LOL
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Old March 18th, 2012, 07:44 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by tristanrobin' timestamp='1218118846' post='176056

... from one of my favorite columnists...



By Wayne Besen,

08.07.2008 7:35am EDT

It is campaign season, which means conservatives will try to paint Democrats as “liberals,” as if it were a dirty word. I, for one, am proud to be a liberal and believe we should stand up against these conservative smears.



One of the great fallacies in modern lore is that liberalism stands for nothing and liberals have no core beliefs. The right wing, from the Pope to the President, has impugned the left by unfairly portraying it as a valueless movement mired in moral relativism.



This could not be further from the truth.





Indeed, the left is the backbone of freedom, the defender of personal liberty, the guarantor of free speech and religious worship and the nurturer of democratic movements across the globe. Far from believing in nothing, wherever liberal democratic values prevail, civilizations flourish and free people thrive.





The cornerstone of liberalism is the idea that each person is endowed with the precious gift of liberty and can freely choose his or her own path - for better or worse. We believe this is crucial to greater enlightenment, personal growth and ultimate fulfillment. It also offers the best opportunity for people to realize their dreams and achieve their spiritual promise.





Liberalism encourages exploration and education. It reveres science and celebrates the inquisitive mind. Indeed, liberal values are often superior to those held on the right, because they are tenaciously subjected to rigorous examination. Beliefs that are questioned and still prevail are the ones that stand the test of time.





Like conservatism, liberalism has very strong core principles. But unlike conservatism, liberalism is not afraid to question “the way it is.” The fulcrum of this philosophy is that all ideas will be constantly examined, scrutinized, studied and debated. If new information emerges to counter the culture’s prevailing values or understanding, it will be rightfully taken into account. Far from moral relativism, liberalism searches for the ultimate value in which to build a moral foundation: Truth.





Right wing movements across the globe often seem uninterested in truth if it contradicts their obdurate belief systems. Reality averse, they are woefully unable to adjust to new understandings, burgeoning ideas and cultural awakenings. For example, despite overwhelming evidence that women are the equals of men, they still can’t drive or vote in some Muslim countries. In America, gay people are still treated as second-class citizens, even though mountains of science and empirical evidence suggest that homosexuality is as biologically ingrained as eye color or handedness.





Liberals believe in the power of “reason,” while conservatives are often just plain reactionary. This is why the GOP is the party of the “southern strategy” and anti-gay subterfuge. Republican power is directly related to fertilizing fear and fomenting fanaticism.





Indeed, the great appeal of modern conservatism, or other forms of authoritarianism, is that people don’t have to think for themselves. They can mentally “check out” of this world and place their worries in the hands of a commanding politician or a higher deity.





Modern conservatives are often discomfited by the complexities of life and demand answers to the world’s many unanswerable questions. They arrogantly and disingenuously claim to have absolute truth, while liberalism boldly proclaims that it does not have such ubiquitous powers of understanding. Liberalism is for those who are unafraid to fully embrace the magnificent journey of life and tackle the great mysteries of our time.





If one looks at modern conservatism in the United States, it is easy to see that it is a movement of intellectual and spiritual atrophy. In the political realm, conservatives essentially call for judges who are “strict constructionists,” which is shorthand for saying “the Constitution is a dead document.”





What a monumentally ridiculous notion to put forth, that American jurisprudence has not evolved in more than two centuries! Do strict constructionists believe that women and African Americans should have their rights restricted because the nation’s founders treated women as second-class citizens and owned slaves?





Likewise, modern conservatives have also rendered the Bible (or Koran) “dead documents.” In conservative houses of worship, traditionalists put forth the untenable belief that holy books are literal. They call these books “God’s Plan,” as if the Creator hasn’t had a new thought in a couple of thousand years.





Modern conservatives will claim that liberals are sacrilegious for holding such beliefs. To the contrary, liberals are often extraordinarily religious or spiritual people. However, they diverge with conservatives in that they believe the strongest faith is one that is subject to healthy skepticism and painstaking examination. In encouraging people to explore all faiths — free of guilt, shame, coercion or fear - liberalism also offers people the greatest number spiritual options.





Many of my columns deal with gay themes because equality for gay men and women is the civil rights issue of the new Millennium. However, gay rights mean nearly as much to heterosexuals as they do for homosexuals.







The very peace and prosperity of nations can be easily predicted by looking at how they relate to their gay citizens.





If a country treats gay people with dignity and respect and offers them equality, it signals that the country bases its decisions on sound education, rationalism and science. This inevitably leads towards success in all spheres of life.





Countries that ostracize and penalize homosexuals tend to be superstitious, authoritarian and anti-intellectual. This almost uniformly leads to poverty, war, oppression and ultimately tyranny.





A cynic might argue that the United States is not as gay friendly as other countries, yet, it is the richest country in the world. True, but nearly all of America’s cities and states that are centers of profit and creativity offer acceptance for homosexuals. States most hostile to gay people are relatively backwards, with lower levels of education and income. Places that offer acceptance signal that they are open-minded and looking towards the future. Locales that reject homosexuals indicate that they are stuck in the past — at their own peril.





In essence, gay rights are the canary in the coal mine for freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately, the bird is hacking, signaling a period of increased oppression and a dangerous erosion of freedom. It is up to us to rescue this nation from the perilous path it is now on. It is time we proudly stand up for what we believe in. If we don’t defend our values, our opponents will define them.





Progressive does not mean passive. Our compassion does not mean that we lack passion. Our respect for other beliefs does not signify that we don’t hold strong beliefs of our own that we are willing to fight for. Indeed, our power comes from our ability to adjust to reality. We are secure in our values, yet humble enough to adapt if our viewpoints are proven obsolete. Wherever liberal democracy takes root, a strong and proud record of economic, moral, social and political achievement follows.





I agree with him wholeheartedly!



Besen: Why I’m proud to be a liberal | 365 Gay News
Sorry i got as far as Liberals standing for our liberties, freedom of religion? LOLOLOLOL, wow what are you smoking? Obama just FORCED every person of faith to pay for someone's else abortion. He just forced every american to buy insurance. He just forced every business to provide healthcare. Liberals have censored our schools no longer allowing freedom to say a voluntary prayer should the community so choose. They have censored our Christmas plays at schools to be called a more politically correct name. All under the guise of a lie. Separation of church and state(nowhere in the constitution). Talk about a corrupt government tramping all over the voice of Americans who by far wanted to keep Christmas in our schools our public squares, etc. Liberals want to take away our gun rights, our smoking rights, I could go on and on and on. GIVE ME A BREAK! Liberals are destroying the freedoms of this great land.
Hey, Obama is what your country needs and everything sucks because your too stupid to fix all the problems Bush started anyway, and nobody even lets Obama do what needs to be done. Only half his

ideas were even considered!!!! Everybody keeps just saying how terrible everything is because of Obama, but you shouldn't just say crude things about him!!! Help him, support him so he can actually fix your

pathetic country. Some "great" land, huh? Yeah, half your country is still racist!! Obama didn't force anything on anyone!!! No offense Concerned, but you need to stop whining and just at least think of what

was changed but what is needs to be changed and how to do it.
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Old March 18th, 2012, 08:16 AM   #10
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Sorry i got as far as Liberals standing for our liberties, freedom of religion? LOLOLOLOL, wow what are you smoking? Obama just FORCED every person of faith to pay for someone's else abortion. He just forced every american to buy insurance. He just forced every business to provide healthcare. Liberals have censored our schools no longer allowing freedom to say a voluntary prayer should the community so choose. They have censored our Christmas plays at schools to be called a more politically correct name. All under the guise of a lie. Separation of church and state(nowhere in the constitution). Talk about a corrupt government tramping all over the voice of Americans who by far wanted to keep Christmas in our schools our public squares, etc. Liberals want to take away our gun rights, our smoking rights, I could go on and on and on. GIVE ME A BREAK! Liberals are destroying the freedoms of this great land.


I don't support preemptive war, yet I'm forced to pay taxes to support it. I don't support federal giveaways - welfare payments - to corporations, yet I'm forced to pay taxes to support them.



I don't support the departments of education, agriculture, and energy, and I don't support paying hundreds of billions of dollars in interest to a private bank in control of our currency, but I'm forced to pay taxes to support this.
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