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Understanding the Republican Mindset

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    Mike Krechevsky Wrote: If there is a Calvinist core to the extreme wings of the Evangelical movement, then any social program designed to lift people up is seen as an attempt to thwart All Mighty God's will and must be stopped at all costs by this small cadre of the elect. Therefore, voter suppression efforts; anti-racial integration; anti-equality for women; blocking access to birth control and abortion(to name a few); are seen as an attempt to support Gods plan. Conversely any attempt to mitigate the harsh consequences of our economic and social order is seen as the work of the devil and must be stopped as though your eternal soul depended on it.

    Mike Krechevsky,

    I think that is a very astute and very accurate assessment. Thank you for sharing it.

    Regarding your discussion of the two distinct strains in Evangelical thought, in my view neither of the two strains of Calvinist theology and ideology are correct.

    Regarding the first strain, I believe our life and lot are not predestined. We are the creators of our own destiny, to the extent that our life is not altered or effected by forces outside of our control. And, if our life is altered or effected by such forces, they may not be just our family or environment or other forces in our world. They may be the spiritual, mysterious forces of the Universe that often come into play if our desires, words and actions are not productive and beneficial to other people and our world.

    Those forces work against us especially if our desires, words and actions are harmful and destructive. It’s how we “reap what we sow” in karmic consequences, putting it in negative terms. But of course, that is only part of the reality, because sometimes we are innocent victims of destructive forces (which proves that God is not the creator of all that is and everything that happens, because God is loving and merciful).

    Regarding the second strain of Calvinist belief, I believe faith alone does not bring salvation, nor does it “justify” a Christian. I believe what James wrote in the following paragraph:

    If a brother or sister is naked and hungry, and one of you who are warmed and filled says to them, ‘Depart’ and do not give them those things which the body needs; what does it profit you? Therefore, faith without works is dead, being alone. Yes, a man may say, you have faith, and I have works, but show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” – James 2:14-18 (Emphasis added.)

    As for your question regarding the book of Genesis, it’s a good one. My view is that biblical literalists fail to understand the meaning of allegorical and symbolic scriptures. The Creation story is an allegory written by a man (Moses) who also wrote "God is not a man, nor a son of man," and there is much symbolism within his writings that literalists do not understand.
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    Seperation of church and state originated from the fact that people FLED Europe to escape church persecution.

    I'll give you a different story line: people begun to perceive the Church's influence as a form of persecution. During, say, the Middle Ages, the Church's influence was deemed justified, legitimate -- and it's not out of blindness, stupidity or ignorance -- and, so, its authority was not peculiarly rivaled (if not to replace it with another form of the same thing). This sort of society, even if it might seem strange to you, "made sense." The Church's authority was the more general counterpart of people's identities as followers of the Christian dogma: one did not go without the other.

    What is new with modernity is that the institution which makes the link between society at large and individuals no longer is the Church, it's the State and the fundamental change here is the shift in legitimacy: the modern revolution occurs when people replace traditional authorities by that of a State. In the Anglo-Saxon world, it took the form of democracy. Authority was then legitimated by the notion of national or popular consent (the consent of the governed, to paraphrase John Locke). Want an example of that shift? Here's an American variant of it.

    During the Middle Ages, a King was King of a certain land strip. For instance, the King of England governed England -- he's attached to the land, not the population. During modernity, as explained above, the government belongs to the people and, so, moderns would say that King Georges III was viewed as the King of the English people -- including colonials. People would fight a monarch's authority during the Middle Ages (think of the Magna Carta which greatly limited the power of English Kings), but the opposition tries to replace a traditional ruler with another. The new thing during the War of Independence is that the LEGITIMACY of monarchy is challenged -- they want to institute a new system where the government belongs to the people, literally.

    Once you understand this, you can see certain things in a different light. This separation DID not originate from the fact that people fled Europe and Churches -- it has to do with how and why people no longer perceived their relationship to political authority the same way. Long before this, Shakespeare wrote a play about a man and a woman who CHOOSE their mate against the will of their respective families and Martin Luther claimed that every man was a priest and that each person should be seen fit for the interpretation of religious texts... people became individualists long before they begun to change their minds about the role of the Church.

    Besides, if you want even more historical perspectives, the first modern revolution occurred in England in 1688-1689, a full CENTURY before Americans gave it a go. The American colonials who rebelled against the King were full-pledged, state-of-the-art modern citizens. In 1771, they spent well over a hundred years in a very liberal culture, heavily "contaminated" that they were by the ideals of John Locke. Many of them grew in England where Democracy was a FACT. How do you think they react when Georges "abuses" of his power? They do what they just KNOW will work: they foment a revolution to institute democracy.

    Basically, I disagree with your analysis of the origins of this separation. For those interested, the framework I used comes from the works of Michel Freitag and Daniel Dagenais -- two sociologists who amply used the notions of symbols, legitimacy and authority in their respective works.
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    Jefferson clarified that the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution was to "build a wall of separation between church and state."

    Like other Enlightenment thinkers and most of the other Founders and Framers of the Constitution, Jefferson understood how and why the Theocracy of the Roman Church had caused so much havoc since the fourth century, and he understood how and why the Theocracy of the Anglican Church of England had been nearly as bad following the Protestant Reformation.

    Jefferson also understood that here in America in New England as well as in the American South there were theocratic clergy who believed that America should be a Christian Theocracy (as they still do).

    That's why Jefferson butted heads with the Theocrats, and it's why at one point he wrote: "They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me."
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    Have you notices that every Democrat from the President down keeps asking the same sort of question. If the Republicans have a better plan to help the economy, help the poor. increase upward mobility, insert your topic here, then why don't we hear it. This type of question always assumes the Republican's want to help the economy, help the poor, increase upward mobility, etc., etc., etc. In reality... they don't!

    They like things the way they are. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. Blacks and Hispanics are not getting ahead. People don't have health care, and they like it, because then they don't have to pay for it. They hate welfare for the same reason. They don't want people to succeed. Because right now they are at the top of the food chain, and they want to keep it that way. So if everyone else fails, they succeed by default. Of course they claim that not having money, or health care and such will make you want to work harder to succeed. So in some lame way they claim to be providing incentives for success. But in reality they just want to guarantee failure.

    Sadly the Democrats don't have anyone nasty enough to point out this truth. You can bet if Rush Limbaugh were a liberal, he'd be shouting it from the rooftops. Whats the matter with us?

    We Democrats constantly allow the Republican's to start every argument by claiming by saying "well everyone knows that" X or Y are true. And of course everyone doesn't know that, since its not true. But why don't we ever say that? Do we just assume everyone knows it? Well shame on us, cause apparently they don't. Sometimes we are just too darn smart for the room! Lets fix it.
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    Liberal/progressives are a bunch of wimps (as much as it pains me to say it)! One only has to read the whimpering and cowering on this, of all, websites.

    Conservatives may be wrong most of the time but they stick together (like lemmings). We progressives are always trying to find the "truth" and act "nice" two traits that are virtually unknown to Conservatives.

    There are no real differences between Democrats or Republicans it's Conservatives vs Progressives that are important. Today the Democrats are the Progressives and therefore the good guys but in the 60's the rolls were reversed. All those conservative (Southern) Democrats moved over to the Republican party but they didn't change their stripes.
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    I know something about the tea party!
    I am signed onto the tea party patriots and I am a registered Democrat. I was duped into believing the "living breathing constitution" and didn't realize that the legal document was meant to protect us from them. No wonder it is ignored these days. I am still a proud democrat but not many like me since the purge took place in 2010 with our congresswoman pelosi.
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    the republican base is a bunch of racist WASP croanies. Whitey's real mad that for so long he had it soooo gooooood.And now the tables have turned
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    This is what I heard once from a liberal:

    "Americans vote Republican, because they think their taxes will be lower. That might be true if they are in the top 10%. However, if they are middleclass, they will get screwed. Lower income and poor will never vote for a party that has much disrespect for the ordinary working class, and thinks profit is more important than the general welfare."

    This is what a conservative told me:

    "What's stupid is thinking you have a valid opinion on American politics. You don't have to live with the consequences of liberal ideologies. You don't pay our taxes. You don't own a small business trying to comply with thousands of regulations. You think yourself among the gods of Mount Olympus with your quotidian chattering about affairs that affect real people, just not you. Try living with the consequences of illegal immigration, your neighborhoods being shot up by gang members, your jails being filled with illegals at YOUR expense. You are ignorant of these realities because you live in a country not governed by lunatics who refuse to enforce immigration policy. Try talking about the gap between the rich and the poor in your country when the poor get poorer only because they hop the border illegally and work cheaper than anyone else."

    Which is a bit odd since I live in a very liberal democracy.