December 19, 2003

Season's greetings...

...from the American empire (from Sojourner's SoJoMail)

According to the Washington Post, the Cheney family holiday card this year features this quote from Benjamin Franklin: "And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?" A quick look at the full context of the original quote shows that Franklin, who was poetically calling for daily prayer at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, was in no way claiming divine sanction for military imperialism (of the sort that the new country had just thrown off). In fact, one of Franklin's worst fears is that humanity might "despair of establishing Government by human Wisdom, and leave it to Chance, War, and Conquest."

(I thought this quote about the dove was especially poignant and touching given Mr. Cheney's recent pheasant massacre. That certainly gave God a lot to notice, don't you imagine?)

George W. Bush's family Christmas card also carries an intriguingly out-of-context quote: "You have granted me life and loving kindness; and your care has preserved my spirit." This verse from Job (which the White House press release calls a "psalm") comes immediately before a 10-verse accusation that God is persecuting Job: "Yet...bold as a lion you hunt bring fresh troops against me" (Job 10:13-22).

Read more about the religion of the Bush administration in Sojourners:
Dangerous Religion: George W. Bush's theology of empire

The Project for a New American Empire: Who are these guys? And why do they think they can rule the world?

Posted by fred1st at December 19, 2003 06:32 AM | TrackBack

At the risk of being thought unprincipled (which I am not), I'll observe how discouraging is for me to see our country heading down the path to a religious state. Our constitution and its amendments are based on majority rule while watching out for the rights of the minority. I am afraid for the USA.

Posted by: Cop Car at December 19, 2003 05:54 PM

Not to be a nitpicker, but, our government is not based on majority rule, it's a Republic, not a democracy....the framers intended to protect the minority from the tryanny of majority rule.

How exactly is the US heading towards a religious state? I hadn't noticed any Religious Police stopping people and checking their theology. Perhaps they are only active in your area. Can you provide one example of the Feds enforcing a religious law? or religion on the unwilling?

To the contrary, all mention or depiction of a Judeo-Christian God, Jesus or Christianity has been removed from the public square and schools. it is only a matter of time before all reference to God is removed from all official documents...of course re-wording the Constitution may present a problem.

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I think Justice Ginsberg's recent comments about using "world law" or other government's judicial rulings instead of the Constitution and US law is much more worrying.

Posted by: feste at December 19, 2003 06:54 PM

Forgive me, feste, I thought it was the Feds who put "In God We Trust" on our coinage. LOL

Posted by: Cop Car at December 20, 2003 05:00 AM

Doomsayers that I know seem about evenly split between two opposing viewpoints - amusing to hear that the country is slipping down that ubiquitous slope toward (1) oppressive theocracy, (2) amoral anarchy. Quite a feat, that we're doing both at once.

Posted by: Lin B at December 20, 2003 07:15 AM

Well said, Lin. Quite a feat, indeed. But we've developed the gift of becoming our own worst enemy and our own savior now for some years. The snake seems poised to begin consuming its own tail any day now.

Posted by: fredf at December 20, 2003 07:30 AM

Cop car: that's your example of a state enforced religion?

Our national mottos (motti?) are part of our want to purge all historical references to God upon which our founding principals turned?

"WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- "

That is indeed a slippery slope.

You do recall that the many of the originial colonies were founded by religious groups fleeing state persecution and prohibition of their faith.

I'm not a religious person nor a practising Christian, I am not threatened or offended by the word God on our money, The Great Seal, The Pledge or in our founding documents.

However, I am offended when children can't wish each other "Merry Christmas" on the school playground but are given lessons in respecting Islam.

I am very offended when religion or the prohibition of, is used as a premise to further a political's against everything we've claimed to honor since we declared our independence and stated our grievences and remedies.

I'll worry about a state religion when the Feds are at the door demanding my family Bible, tithing my bank account and assigning me to a state run church.

Until that time let me wish you and yours a very,

Merry Christmas


Posted by: feste at December 20, 2003 02:22 PM

Fred -
I'm wondering about your decision to include so many "political" posts lately. not angry, not happy... just thinking about it (and would invite others to join in!)

Now, on the one hand, I feel I come here to visit Floyd County once or twice a day, check out what the weather's like, and see how you've been interacting with the landscape. If nothing else, seeing something "political" is a bit jarring and seems sort out of place from the rest of the stuff you usually post.

On the other hand, I'd hate to pigeonhole anybody; I don't want to be the city boy forcing the country Southerner to talk only about the rhododendrons and ice. ("Hey, you! You can't talk about the outside world! Get back up in the mountain!")

And, of course, in some ways I feel that the more places that post about what's going on with Bush, et. al., the better. At the same time, if I didn't agree with your politics, I wonder if I would be put off by it.

One more conflicting thought and then I'll stop: I guess part of me comes here because it's usually a place un-like 99% of the other sites I visit on a daily basis - it has no political flame wars. Generally, here and my Red Sox message board are the places where I find respite from a barrage of Bad Bush News that is necessary but very depressing. The other side of that is THIS IS YOUR WEBLOG. If that's what you're thinking, who am I to stop you?

I suppose I just wanted to sound out my thoughts on this and see if anybody else had responses (Fred, in particular). I guess the important question is: what does it mean to have a genred blog? If you've chosen to have a specific format (i.e. fragments from Floyd county), does that mean things should be somehow outside the realm of relevancy; and don't take that statement out of context... politics are, of course, always relevant. But are there things that aren't? Are there things you thought about posting and then decided didn't fit? I know, for example, that Marie over at the Blue Ridge Blog often mentions that there is a particular thing she wants her blog to be, and tries to avoid bringing other things into it.

[Oh, one last thing. These questions have nothing to do with the quality of the political posts, because it's always stuff I find fascinating.]

Posted by: tim at December 21, 2003 06:11 AM

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