Sunday, December 30, 2012

just shut up: Essential Recommended Reading from Tumblr

This past year or so, there were a few movies that connected with me but were very different from each other: CABIN IN THE WOODS, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU and, suprisingly of all things, MEN IN BLACK 3.  Where most everyone (possibly including the writers and director themselves) focused on CITW as a self-aware horror movie slightly spoofing the entire horror genre, I saw something much deeper.  Similar themes were noticed by me with TAB that may have been missed by those just intrigued by the love story and sci-fi/fantasy mind-bending adventure.  MIB fans were likely more fixated on the astounding performance of Josh Brolin channeling Tommy Lee Jones or distracted by how Will Smith never ages.

The aspects that I focused on infuse rewatching and deeper thinking about those movies, and that is that these films at their philosophical core deal with the nagging conflict between the competing worldviews of Calvinism/Determinism and Armenianism/Free-Will.  In other words, are we humans merely going through the motions predetermined for us by a higher power or evolution with free-will merely an illusion to keep from going crazy OR are we truly creating our path moment-by-moment with every single choice that we make?

When I make the effort of pointing these aspects out to people, I tend to get one of two reactions.  Either their eyes glaze over as if I am speaking Esperanto or they tend to want to know more and then their interpretation of the films takes on a new level of appreciation.  Or they may just be humoring me; which is fine also.  Anyway, my point is to lead into this reblog from Tumblr that I want to share here.  It involves taking a deeper look at a beloved Disney family film and shining a different light on it that brings a much darker message going out into our homes than the filmmakers probably intended.

The impact of these deeper aspects of film are not really quantifiable objectively, but because the impact is so subjective it is difficult to argue that these elements of philosophical or cultural conditioning do not have any effect.  Art (by way of film), even in commercial venues, is intended to connect with the viewer and entertain but it can also be used as a form of propaganda to push political, religious, and other worldviews and inadvertently perpetuate damaging examples of behavior to children.

So, read this piece from the not language but a map Tumblr blog and absorb the message.  Her words struck a chord with me and I felt a need to share them with my circle of readers.

The piece is called just shut up:
First, a story. So, my first semester of my freshman year of college, I took this Intro to Women’s Studies class. The class met for five hours a week, one two hour session and one three hour session, and the breakdown of students was what I eventually discovered to be the typical sampling in any Women’s Studies class with no pre-recs at my mid-sized, southern Ohio state school. There were a number of girls who would become, or were already part of, the feminist advocacy groups on campus; there were a number of girls who would prove themselves to be opposed to feminism in both concept and practice, one of whom I distinctly recall giving a presentation on the merits of the “Mrs. Degree,” while my professor’s eye twitched in muted horror; there were a handful of girls and at least one guy I’d come to know later through assorted campus queer groups; and there were, of course, the three to six dudebros, self-admittedly there to “meet chicks,” all but one or two of whom would drop the class after the first midterm. At eighteen, I was myself a feminist in name but not in practice—I believed in the idea behind feminism (which is, for the record, that people should be on equal footing regardless of gender, not that we should CRUSH ALL MEN BENEATH THE VICIOUS HEELS OF OUR DOC MARTENS GLORY HALLELUJAH), but I didn’t actually know anything about it. I could not identify the waves of feminism. Intersectionality and how the movement is crap at it were not things of which I was aware. Never had I ever encountered the writings of bell hooks. In a lucky break, you do not need to know about the waves of feminism, or know what intersectionality is, or have read bell hooks to read this essay! (But you should read bell hooks. Everyone should read bell hooks. bell hooks is FUCKING AWESOME.)  
The first couple of weeks of this class were about what you’d expect. The professor was fun and engaging, but she was not exactly pulling out the eye-opening stops on our wide-eyed freshman asses. There were handouts. There were selections of the textbook for reading. There was a very depressing class about domestic violence, abuse, and rape that was the typical rattling off of terms and horrific statistics that everyone winced at, but that nobody really internalized. The dudebros snickered in the back corner, grouped together like they would be infested by cooties if they spread out, occasionally chiming in with helpful comments like, “Dude, the lady on the back of this book is smoking,” and getting turned down by each girl in the class, on whom they were hitting in what I can only assume was a pre-determined descending order of hotness. The queer kids, myself included, huddled in the other corner making pithy comments. The up-and-coming active feminists glared at the bros, who leered back, and the Mrs. Degree-friendly crowd mostly texted under their desks and made it very clear that they were only there for humanities credit. Again, it was a fairly typical southern Ohio state school class full of fairly typical southern Ohio state school freshmen. Nobody was super engaged, is what I am saying here. Nobody, myself included, was really eating it up with a spoon. 
And then one day, my professor opened the class with, “So, who here has seen Beauty and the Beast?”  
Read More

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Facebook Breeds Overreaction.

We have all seen it.  It's the classic Facebook overreaction to something innocuous.  What follows is an exact one-sided exchange excerpted (without edit) from Facebook simply because I and others posted a funny meme that makes an admittedly non-nuanced point (but isn't that the case with all memes?).

I posted this image.

This was the reaction on the page of one of my FB-only friends:

I'm sorry, but comparing Food Stamps to feeding wild animals is pretty repulsive and finding it funny is horrible. I'd say "fuck you" but I'm not going to be so crude. Needless to say: it just shows how uncompassionate you are - which is especially weird if you consider yourself a "proud Christian." Because, as we all know, Jesus just told starving people to eat trash and all that multiplying loafs of bread and fish had nothing to do with it (though it did)! I suppose I take some offense because, when I was a child, my mother and I had to live on them for some time as she had medical problems and difficulty finding decent work due to it. I suppose, by your logic, we were just "wild animals" that shouldn't be fed because that'd make us reliant on the government...though we probably would've starved otherwise. Just keep that in mind when posting some "hilarious" pic or quip you heard...

Another fact: one of the reasons you are not to feed wild animals is because they are already capable of getting food on their own, in their particular environment. Food Stamps are usually given to those who due to long-term unemployment (which is more common these days for many reasons) and thus, were they not given such, would die of malnutrition or starvation. But I guess they're just "lazy" and should "look for a job"...even though a lot of jobs get a ton of applicants these days and thus far more difficult to actually get one. Again, are conservatives and libertarians stuck in the 1950's? It seems like they are with their reactionary attitude towards women and their dismissal of modern economic issues. Assuming that getting a job is as easy as walking up to a manager to chat with and then seal the deal with a handshake, apparently. It's particularly annoying given the same people who say this are already well-off and have work which they get paid for - it's like thinking that being lactose intolerant isn't a "real thing" because you don't have it. Having tunnel vision and unwarranted certitude doesn't make you superior, just self-involved and ignorant of your surroundings.
Don't tell me the be "open-minded" either because it is your ideology - that's not an excuse. I'd feel the same if part of your ideology involved racial segregation too, because "agreeing to disagree" means I find it sensible or valid. So, if someone isn't able to get food, they should just starve or resort to eating whatever they can find? Maybe you'll say "of course not" but what alternative do you have beyond "The Market will fix that" or "they just need to get a job"? If neither of those are possible, then the person still dies because they starved or ate rotten food from metal trash bins. I'm also quite bewildered that, though it takes up such a small percent of the budget, Food Stamps are demonized along with PBS as somehow being a "drain" on our economy. Oh, but not the over-bloated Defense budget that goes to waste anyway with things like Iraq? Not the totally ineffective and just-as-expensive "War on Drugs"? Not the bailout money to companies that failed miserably but still got them because they just so happened to be connected to Wall Street? Once you actually complain about the horrendous spending on those areas, maybe I'll take you seriously - instead of just imaging a spoiled child in a suit pointing and laughing at homeless people as he walks by and tells them to "get a job" though all they have are rags and their address is a box in an alleyway. 'Cause, y'know, that's "just sensible"... though it's really just dickish.

My short response is here on this blog.  Thank you for not saying "fuck you."  I might have been hurt by that, but at least you aren't that crude.  I would wonder when I've ever considered myself a "proud Christian."  Thanks for reading my mind and assuming all the things I would say to you if you had actually engaged me in a conversation.  I am sure they are just as accurate as any assumptions I might make about you.

As for dependency on Welfare.  Regardless of you or I and our respective experiences with it.  Here's some facts about it.  Read at your leisure.  Welfare dependency is a problem recognized by the government that issues the welfare or else we would not have report after report after report to Congress about it. Y'know.  Actually backed up with statistics and facts rather than just an embarrassing emotional outburst over a silly bumper sticker.

Friday, August 3, 2012

We Need to Get Over Ourselves: A Response to the Chick-Fil-A Response

My spicy hate-sandwich with a side of hate-fries.

As we come to the end of a tumultuous week regarding Chick-Fil-A and their hate sandwiches and their anti-paisley shirts philosophy, I wanted to wrap the week up by weighing in on it just a bit.  Primarily, I wanted to weigh in on it because the most recent blog that is lighting up the Facebook world is a very impassioned personal blog entry titled "The Chick Fellatio: stuck in the craw" by playwright Wayne Self.  Click here to read the full text.

Up front, I want to say I really respect what Wayne has to say here. I understand that he is coming from this as someone who does experience prejudice and discrimination.  It clearly can be a tough thing in this world to live life as a gay man, that is true.  I totally give him that and take none of his passion away.  What I do take issue with is that he is writing entirely from an emotional perspective.  I'm afraid that this inevitably leads to faulty reasoning, bad logic, and misleading information.  And since this thing has gone viral and is showing up everywhere, I wanted to bring just a little bit of facts to bear on it because I think nearly everyone seems to be missing the point -- including Wayne.

I am particularly focusing on just his first point.  I may, at a later time, address the other points but probably not since the other points all build on the faulty presumptions of the first point.

Wayne writes:

1. This isn’t simply about marriage. Shocker, right? It’s extremely frustrating that same-sex marriage is the great continental divide. People are judged according to how they stand on this issue, as if no other issue matters. Did you know that a person can be for same-sex marriage and still be homophobic? Did you know that a person can be against same-sex marriage and be gay? We all get categorized very quickly based on the marriage issue and maybe that’s not fair. But here’s what you should know:
In 29 states in America today, my partner of 18 years, Cody, or I could be fired for being gay. Period. No questions asked. One of those states is Louisiana, our home state. We live in self-imposed exile from beloved homeland, family, and friends, in part, because of this legal restriction on our ability to live our lives together.

No.  This is an appeal to pity, flawed reasoning and a twisted way of looking at it.  This seems to be a common refrain within the activist LGBT community  but it is based on a flawed worldview in the face of the “At-Will” employment doctrine – that is, states that allow employers to fire employees without cause so long as it is not for an unconstitutional reason, in violation of a contract, etc.

The leap that Wayne makes is that he takes that doctrine and twists it to be narrowly focused against him and his partner in that if there is not a law on the books that specifically grants special protection for gay or transgendered from being fired then he is being punished.  He does not point to any actual discrimination against him. He asserts that he lives in self-imposed exile that is entirely unnecessary and demonstrates a martyr syndrome.  There is no legal restriction in place that prevents he and Cody from living their lives together and openly.

Louisiana is an At-Will state.  He and Cody could be fired simply because the employer didn’t care for the way they combed their hair.   I have little sympathy for someone who takes something like an At-Will doctrine and personalizes it into a direct assault or imposition against himself. The courts have  consistently recognized that sexual orientation is not a Constitutional exception of the same level as race, creed, sex, etc.  The reason is that orientation is focused not on a state of being or a belief system, it is behaviorally determined.  And nowhere is the At-Will doctrine intended or implemented for the sole purpose of discriminating against gay people.  If an employer uses his own prejudice to do that, then he is a despicable person but he is within his rights to do so.

And I can’t imagine any gay person would want to continue working within that type of environment anyway.  In other words, it’s time to move on, but there is nothing and noone “exiling” he and Cody except his own figurative self-immolation.

Wayne continues:

In 75 countries in the world, being gay is illegal. In many, the penalty is life in prison. These are countries we can’t openly visit. In 9 countries, being gay is punishable by death. In many others, violence against gays is tacitly accepted by the authorities. These are countries where we would be killed. Killed. 

This may or may not be true.  Without citation to any source or authority, I have to take his word for this.  I will assume it to be true and agree that it is a horrible and inexcusable thing.  However, it is irrelevant to us here in the United States and I question the point of bringing it up except that I know why he brought it up – it is a fallacious appeal to the emotions of the reader so that he can then make an equally fallacious “Guilt by Association” leap to connect the Family Research Council and the Marriage & Family Foundation to these countries.

Wayne continues:
- Two organizations that work very hard to maintain this status quo and roll back any protections that we may have are the Family Research Council and the Marriage & Family Foundation. For example, the Family Research council leadership has officially stated that same-gender-loving behavior should be criminalized in this country. They draw their pay, in part, from the donations of companies like Chick-Fil-A. Both groups have also done “missionary” work abroad that served to strengthen and promote criminalization of same-sex relations.

The Marriage & Family Foundation is a foundation that is either defunct or so small and ineffective that I couldn’t even find a Wiki page on it.  It was allegedly founded by Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy himself as a part of some other ineffective and practically unknown group called the Marriage CoMission.  I did find a link to Media Matters that purported to have the “purpose” statement of the Marriage & Family Foundation but when I clicked on it, it was a dead link.  But there was a cached link to it still available and that is here.

So, I limited my research to the Family Research Council (FRC), simply because it seemed to be getting the most attention this past week or so.  First, let’s clarify a few things.  Yes, the FRC, for religious reasons, is a group that makes one of their missions to promote what they consider the “traditional” marriage (heterosexual) and to opine and lobby against efforts to implement “same sex” marriage and “educate” people as to what they perceive as the dangers to family and society of homosexual behavior.  (Read this link for info).

I do not support their efforts there but that is a great big leap to mention countries where the law demands the killing of homosexuals and connect it to a rather small activist group whose primary efforts are publishing position papers for and against different political and moral issues.  Position papers, editorials, and blogs do not equal legal killings.

Furthermore, the writer says that the FRC has officially stated that homosexual behavior should be criminalized in this country.  No, what the FRC has said is that states that already have “criminal sanctions” in place for homosexual behavior should be enforcing them.  There is a difference.  If you choose not to accept that difference, then you are contributing to the problem rather than fixing it.  In fact, FRC President Tony Perkins has stated officially that criminalizing homosexuality is not a goal of the FRC.  I also looked at a few different sites such as Ministry Watch and Open Secrets to see how the FRC spends its money and realized that it is a very ineffective PAC simply because it does not bring in enough revenue to really make much of a difference.  The flaw in the LGBT drawing all this attention onto the FRC this week is that it will probably cause a spike in donations the same way that Chick-Fil-A posted record revenue this week.  This is why boycotts never actually work but positive support for companies does.

Wayne concludes with:

Chick-Fil-A has given roughly $5M to these organizations to support their work.

Actually, Chick-Fil-A has given exactly $1,188,380 to the Marriage & Family Foundation and $1,000 to FRC.  There’s a big difference between spending $1,189,380 and “roughly $5M”.  That is intentionally inflating numbers to provoke people’s emotions.

Look, this whole thing has gotten ridiculous and I can only assume it is because this is an election year.  If this country is going to make it, we have got to learn how to disagree philosophically, religiously, sexually, morally, and politically without it turning into this insane spew of emotional bumper-sticker lines and propaganda.  Someone who supports gay marriage is not necessarily an evil person committed to the corruption of our children and the destruction of the family unit and committed to mocking all things Jesus.  Likewise, someone who opposes gay marriage is not necessarily an evil homophobic slobbering redneck committed to depriving gay people of happiness and destroying their lives.

There are extremists on all sides and they do not speak for the majority.

Stop taking offense because all it does it put everyone on the defensive.

Stop arguing all the time over the wrong thing.

In this case, it isn’t really about the morality or immorality of same-sex marriage or behavior.  That is legitimately an issue where people of differing religious, intellectual, and philosophical positions can disagree and should be able to express themselves without fear of reprisal.  The issue is over the fact that our government is unwilling to stand firm and outlaw all unequal treatment (in terms of medical issues, survivor benefits, insurance coverage, etc.) of committed couples who are same-sex.  That is a legitimate issue because it is discriminatory without justification.  That’s where our efforts need to be placed and not in another stupid boycott.  Anyone remember the idiotic boycotts of Ben & Jerry’s and Target  by conservative groups?  Those did as much good as this idiotic boycott of Chick-Fil-A over a $1,000 donation to a group whose only real accomplishments are publishing position papers.

How about we all move on now.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Should A "Christian" Vote for a "Mormon" President? (A Response to Dr. Norman Geisler)

Recently, Christian author and apologetics expert Norman Geisler published an opinion piece entitled "Should An Evangelical Vote For a Mormon President?".  You can read the full text here.

As a Christian, I feel the need to respond to Geisler's article in depth and this is as good a place as any to do so.

Before I get to Geisler's writing and my responses, let me set forth a few principles that guide me in my analysis and opinion regarding the upcoming presidential elections.  First and foremost, religious beliefs of the candidate are just one of many considerations that I use in determining who to vote for.  The most important thing to me is a demonstrated commitment to principles of limited government, free enterprise, individual free will, freedom of speech, press, and religion.  After that, I want to see whether the candidate demonstrates a proven ability to lead and a commitment to a morality base that I can generally agree with.  Finally, do I trust and respect the candidate -- an entirely subjective and intuitive rationale.

On this basis, I am going to generally lean more favorably towards a candidate that expresses Christian beliefs.  However, I certainly have no interest in supporting a professing Christian who does not understand the necessity of being able to exercise his powers of office in a non-Sectarian way that does not advance his faith system over and above all others (Rick Santorum, I'm looking at you).  On the other hand, I have no problem at all with a candidate like, say, Joe Lieberman who is of the Jewish faith but certainly has demonstrated a commitment to the governing principles that I need to see in a President.  Given an all-things-being-equal contest between a Santorum and a Lieberman, I would choose Lieberman every time and never think twice about it.

Norman Geisler has a different way of looking at it, apparently.  In fact, I would preface my response by stating outright that his article in total reads like a classic example of confirmation bias as a way of justifying a vote that is contrary to his belief system because otherwise the cognitive dissonance might actually shake his faith.

Geisler starts off nicely and intellectually by quoting the US Constitution (Article VI), "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." and setting up the point that being Mormon does not disqualify anyone from public office.  So far as I know, nobody of any intelligence has made that assertion, but that's how he starts off his opinion piece.

There are 7 points to Geisler's argument. I will present them in his order and respond.

1 Evangelicals do not have a good choice religiously.

According to Geisler, Barack Obama is a "liberal professing Christian...with Muslim leanings" and Mitt Romney is "a cultist Mormon who claims to be Christian." He further claims that not voting on Election Day throws your vote away and that a "liberal Christian" and a Mormon are equal deniers of the essential truths of the Christian Faith.

I was really curious to know what "essential truths" of the Christian Faith that Obama denies.  If one knows even a modicum of Mormon doctrine then I can't see how an intelligent Christian could make the claim that a professing Christian (even a liberal one) is denying as many "essential truths" as a Mormon.  Thankfully, Geisler has written about what the "essential truths" are for the Christian Research Institute here:
The essential doctrines of the Christian faith that emerge from this historical approach are those contained in the Apostles Creed and unfolded in subsequent creeds of the first five centuries. These include (1)human depravity, (2)Christs virgin birth, (3)Christs sinlessness, (4)Christs deity, (5)Christs humanity, (6)Gods unity, (7)Gods triunity, (8)the necessity of Gods grace, (9)the necessity of faith, (10)Christs atoning death, (11)Christs bodily resurrection, (12)Christs bodily ascension, (13)Christs present High Priestly service, and (14)Christs second coming, final judgment, and reign. Heaven and hell are implied in the final judgment and are explicated in later creeds.
Obama professes Christianity. He has never "leaned" nor professed to hold any other faith, including Muslim.  He has a given name that evokes Islam, but we do not choose our own birth names do we?  The Obamas were formerly members of the United Church of Christ but resigned membership when it became politically expedient to separate themselves from the obnoxious and racist ramblings of the pastor at their home church.  Since then, as with many modern presidents, the Obamas visit various churches without setting down a permanent membership.  A smart decision since the president's church could easily be perceived by our enemies as a source location for harm to him, his family, or others.  As it is, he seems to mostly frequent Baptist churches.  To my knowledge, most Baptist churches align themselves with the essential truths of Christianity and more particularly the Evangelical types.

The Mormon Church, on the other hand, while using language that sounds very Christian actually denies nearly every essential truth of Christianity or so greatly distorts the interpretation of it so as to make it unrecognizable.  Not the least of these is the fundamental Mormon doctrine that God the Father was once a Man himself and that Jesus is the example to us that we may become Gods ourselves after we exit this plane of existence (die).  If you need to be enlightened more as to the opposing truths of Mormonism versus Christianity I would suggest you visit the CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry) website here.

As to Geisler's assertion that not voting is throwing your vote away.  I agree. Not voting certainly is throwing your vote away.  However, it may also be a way of actively expressing your displeasure at the corrupt nominating system of the two parties that makes it practically impossible to position anyone not well-connected and well-funded within the party system.  If nobody rebels against this broken system how many ways can a message be sent to the parties that the people are tired of it?  Third party? Possibly.  I'll say more about that at the end of this piece.

2 Since Both Options Appear to Have Significant Evil, We Ought to Vote For the One Which Has the Greater Good.

This statement made me laugh out loud.  Geisler jumps through semantical hurdles to avoid the cliche of "voting for the lesser of two evils" and attempts to transplant it into an optimistic garden of unicorns and rainbows by spinning it as voting for the evil "which has the greater good."

A duck is a duck regardless of what you call it.

Geisler tries to sound fair by pointing out "there is both good and evil in each choice."  That's true.  However, that's true with any human candidate.  Further, he argues "even if one were faced with a dilemma between voting for a known Devil or for a suspected witch...[he] should vote for the suspected witch!"


By Geisler's own admission here he declares "For me, Romney wins on this criterion."

Do you see the flaw here?  Geisler has painted Obama as the "known Devil" and Romney the "suspected witch."  Following his own moralistic analogy, I think this would be the opposite because Romney's record as governor is practically indistinguishable from Obama in terms of social politics and both appear to be basically decent and moral people with strong family units.  So, I have to assume once again (given the subject of his article) that Geisler is falling back on their religious beliefs.  In this case, wouldn't it be Romney who is the "known Devil" since we know that his belief system is contrary to the essential truths of Christianity?  The worst we know about Obama in this area is that Geisler believes he "leans" toward being a Muslim.

Geisler, of course, never defines what he means by that term and leaves it up to his audience to infer what they want to.

Personally, I hate that sort of passive-aggressive writing.

3 It Would Be Better to Vote for a Pro-Life Mormon Than For a Pro-Abortion Liberal Christian

Geisler says "Martin Luther once said that he would rather be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian. Likewise, on the issue of life, it would be better to vote for a Pro-Life Mormon than for a Pro-Abortion Liberal Christian... Abortion has already taken some 50 million American lives and Romney is certainly a better bet to stop this continuing holocaust than Obama who favors even partial birth abortions."

I hate abortion. I really do.  However, it is legal. That is not going to change in our lifetime regardless of who sits on the Supreme Court and regardless of who sits in the White House.  The President has no real power on this issue and it is a distraction from the issues that a president can actually have impact on for any candidate to speak about changing it.  It is purely pandering to people who vote from emotion alone.  To spin a choice for president in 2012 as a choice that has any impact at all on stopping or continuing abortions is delusional or intentionally blind to reality.  Again, there are unicorns and rainbows waiting on the road to the voting booth for anyone who believes the president has any power or influence in this area in 2012.

4 Character Counts

Sure, character counts, but how does Geisler define "character?"  He lapses into ad hominems here by insinuating that Obama is an untrustworthy crook by calling him "an all-too-typical Chicago politician" and citing his "leftist leaning appointees and his questionable political tactics."  Color me shocked.  A liberal Democrat president appoints people to office who lean left?  Excuse me, but isn't that the perk of...oh...y'know...getting elected?  The president appoints people who align with his political perspective.  That's not a character defect.  It's a political disagreement twisted by Geisler into a moral failing.

His assertion that "Romney wins on personal moral character" is stated as an absolute without one iota of support.  As I said above, both candidates demonstrate commitment to family and are, by all accounts, fairly decent people trying to do the right thing according to their personal moral and political beliefs.

I'll tell you what, though, watching the slimy and shifty dealings that went on during the Republican nominating battle in which we watched the other candidates get taken down in ways (in my opinion) that indicated some behind the scenes shenanigans, I am a bit nervous about assigning moral superiority to Romney who rose to the top of a very smelly mess.

5 It's the Economy, Stupid

Geisler writes "Both candidates have considerable public records to review on these matters. Having done that, I believe hands down that Romney would fit the presidential bill best."  I would sure like to see what he looked at because from what I have seen of the public records to review, about the only thing that really distinguishes Romney from Obama is that he has a better smile.

6 It's ROE v. WADE, Stupid!

Yes. That's right. He already made Point 3 about the Pro-Life issue and now he makes the claim that the next president will be nominating justices to the Supreme Court and Romney would appoint Pro-Life justices and blah-blah-blah-blah.

Look...let's face reality.  If the recent Supreme Court legal gymnastics in which Conservative Republican Christian George W. Bush appointee Chief Justice John Roberts mangled jurisprudence to make sure that Obama's healthcare mandate would stand as Constitutional was not enough to drive this point home, then I don't know what else I could say to someone like Geisler.  ROE v. WADE is not going to be overturned.  There might be some slight modifications here and there on the jurisprudential down-line but it is not going to get overturned. It has been upheld ad nauseum and the Supreme Court is plain sick of entertaining the issue if we want to be brutally honest.  If George Bush appointees can't push the Court in any consistently Right-Wing direction, what makes anyone think that the moderately Conservative Romney appointees would be any better.  Not to mention that ever since the Bork affair, the Congress has had ever-increasing power in these decisions.  If any President nominates a hard-core partisan, then Congress will not affirm it.  So, every President has to nominate weak candidates who never take strong positions one way or the other and just hope that they will lean the direction the president wants them to lean.  But as it is an appointment for life, there's no reason to expect that they will anyway.

Let's get real about this and use some common sense before we go spouting the ROE v. WADE pablum.

7 I Am Proud to be an American!

Geisler basically says he's embarrassed by Obama as his president.  As he puts it "when I think of an American president, I think of someone who is 100% American. I think of someone who makes me want to rise and sing, “I am proud to be an American!” I would be less than honest if I said that I get this feeling when Barak Obama speaks for our country."

Well, I guess I can file this in my category of whether I trust and respect the candidate.  I don't understand Geisler's feelings here at all.  I think Obama makes a splendid public face for America.  He is attractive, smart, and well-spoken. He has the added visual as part African-American that immediately demonstrates that America as a whole has really put aside the racial divide to the point that he could be elected by a very healthy margin.  Obama has done nothing in office to indicate anything other than an attempt to do what he was elected to do.  He appears to be trying his best to do the right thing as he sees it and he has the mandate to try because he won the election.

Geisler is Wrong and Here's My Solution for the Christian Conundrum Here

While I respect Obama and believe he is doing his best, I think he is an ineffectual leader.  I think his abilities are more like a manager than a president and as a result the government has slid off the scales a bit because of lack of vision and leadership.  In fact, the few things that he has actually accomplished (on the domestic side) have exacerbated the economic harm started by Bush rather than healed it.  I also disagree with his liberal political philosophy nearly on whole.

As a result, there is no way I'm voting for Obama.

As for Romney, I think he is basically decent guy who also has a desire to do good and is largely driven by a conservative political philosophy that I am mostly comfortable with.  However, Romney is so caught up in the corrupt partisan system and demonstrated a willingness to compromise on principles when pressed, that I cannot trust him to really lead the country if he takes the oath.  I feel Romney is in the position that he is in not because the people find him to be the best man for the job so much as the Republican Party leadership propped him up as who they perceived as the best chance at beating Obama.

I never vote for a negative like that and it makes me immediately trust him less when I consider how many promises and corporate/political power-brokers he has got be beholden to for the position he now finds himself in.  It makes me very uneasy.

His Mormon beliefs come in dead last as a reason for why I would not vote for Romney.  But I would be lying if I didn't say that it would make me uneasy, as a Christian, to see my President occasionally give public prayers to a "God" who I knew outright was not my "God" -- actually one of many reasons why, in my opinion, the president shouldn't be doing that anyway but that's for another day.

So, what's a Conservative Christian to do?  My solution is simple.  Neither candidate deserves your vote.

The Republican Party has become a perverted shadow of what it used to be and shallow candidates like Romney are indicative of the corrupted system in which status quo loyalists who are willing to pander with abandon to get votes are all we get now.  Anyone who brings a true commitment to the Constitution, Free Enterprise principles and Individualism are thrown under the bus.

The best way to send a message and hopefully start getting the American train back on the right track is to cast your vote for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.  

I don't know what his religious faith is and I don't care.  He never answers those questions because they are irrelevant to the job and he recognizes that any answer he gives is simply pandering to those who agree with him. So, he just doesn't bother.  I do know he is committed to the Constitutional principle of Religious Freedom and that's how a president should be.  He has a solid record of commitment to Constitutional principles, true Conservatism, and practical governance.

But doesn't that mean Obama gets reelected?

It probably means that.  But that problem is easily rectified.  I say pull that lever for Johnson as President but then pull the Republican lever for every Senate and House seat up for grabs.  This would basically guarantee Obama a completely neutered lame-duck second term.  He would be able to accomplish practically nothing and the Republican party system would be sent a very strong message regarding the corrupt nominating process if Johnson could pull a substantial national percentage.  Then 4 years from now, both parties would have a free-for-all with everything up for grabs and maybe some real effective leaders jumping into the pool.

That might be the year when someone like Johnson might actually pull an electoral coup and get swept into office on a grassroots wave while the modern Republican party can disappear into the wisps of history like the Whigs before them.

That's my take.

You can take it or leave it.

Based on recent voting history....most people will choose to leave it.

Enjoy the government you deserve.