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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Why the GOP needs non-believers

    Why the GOP needs non-believers

    By Carrie Sheffield

    On paper, I should be a progressive voter. I am an agnostic. I am a woman in my 20s with an Ivy League graduate degree and liberal arts background.

    But I'm a conservative. I vote for Republicans because I believe they have the best strategies for where the country should be headed fiscally, militarily and culturally.

    Secular conservatives like me are in a bind. We want to work with religious conservatives because we agree with them on most issues. We respect the ethical contributions from many faith traditions, which inspire millions to seek the public good. But we're troubled by the religious right's dominance over the conservative movement, a trend that repels rational, independent-minded folks who see religious zealotry as anathema to the Founding Fathers' pluralistic vision.

    We secular conservatives are too often shoved into the canonical closet and forced to keep quiet about the fact that we don't want our politicians spouting off like preachers. We'd like to keep (and protect) religions in the private sanctuaries where they belong.

    After a bruising '08 presidential campaign that saw religious bigotry from a mainstream GOP candidate (i.e. when Mike Huckabee questioned whether Mormons, such as Mitt Romney, believe "Jesus and the devil are brothers") and some elements of the unofficial grassroots movement, there's no question that Republicans need to clean up their act on faith issues.

    Tolerating intolerance

    Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, likes to tout his non-traditional background as an African American and a Catholic — a far cry from the WASPy men who have stood at the party's helm since the Republican Southern strategy of the '60s and '70s.

    Earlier this year during a visit to Harvard, Steele told me he would play an active role this year and in 2012 to make sure any philosophical bias — whether anti-Muslim, anti-Mormon, anti-agnostic, etc. — would not be tolerated. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be happening. Cases in point: the forced religious confessions of Sikh-turned-Christian Nikki Haley as she successfully ran for the South Carolina GOP gubernatorial nomination, and the Muslim bashing surrounding the Ground Zero construction flap.

    Building a Muslim prayer center so close to Ground Zero is in poor taste and understandably chafes some victims' families, but there's no denying — as some Republicans do — that Muslims have the right to build wherever any other religious group can build.

    Disappointing data from a recent Pew survey show Americans' ignorance of President Obama's religious beliefs, with an increasing number of people incorrectly claiming that Obama is a Muslim. Interestingly, the Pew data show we unaffiliated folks are the least likely out of all the faith groups to incorrectly label Obama a Muslim.

    While I disagree with many of Obama's policies, it should be obvious that in the United States a candidate should not be rejected for his or her religion (or lack thereof). I believe Obama when he says he's not Muslim, but what's troubling is that the term "Muslim" has been used as a slur by many conservatives.

    As the GOP works to rebuild itself, party leaders need to acknowledge that solid family values can be taught in an atheist's home, a Buddhist temple or an Islamic mosque. Republicans must be more willing to accept, and promote within national party ranks, those from alternative religious groups (including seculars) who are proud to claim conservative values.

    A changing nation

    Someday, the Protestant/evangelical bloc dominating the Republican Party will be a religious minority because we seculars are increasing at a rapid rate, as are Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, etc. And when that day comes, you'll hear me arguing for tolerance of its minority backgrounds as well.

    Americans are becoming less religious and less rigid in their beliefs. According to The Washington Post, among millennials ages 18-23 in the National Study of Youth and Religion, fewer than 25% think it's important to marry someone of the same faith. The Pew study cited earlier shows that more people think churches should keep out of politics. If Republicans want to understand the rising generation, they should study these demographics.

    Earlier this month, Australians decided to keep an openly atheist prime minister. Julia Gillard has been in office since June, yet somehow the island hasn't imploded into the South Pacific Ocean. On Gillard's watch, Australia's unemployment stands at just 5.1%, border patrol funding has increased and a planned confiscatory tax on the mining industry has been pared down. Not too bad for a heathen seeking to appeal to moderate conservatives.

    Back home, Republicans should pay attention and put policy ahead of prejudice.

    Carrie Sheffield is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and former editorial writer for The Washington Times.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/fo ... 0_ST_N.htm
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    List of agnostics - Wikipedia
    Listed here are persons who have identified themselves as agnostics. Also included are those who have expressed the view that it is unknown or inherently ...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_agnostics

    List of atheists - Wikipedia
    This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for ...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    I reject this person's opinion. I believe that the battle is brewing, yes - Ideas that are Conservative, traditional, religious, Judeo-Christian, etc., - Ideas that are progressive, liberal, agnostic, atheist, secular, multicultural, socialist, globalist. People can be a combination of the above. No matter the party however, progressives want to drive the United States into a global society, far away from the intentions of the founding fathers. Take out the Judeo -Christian bedrock of our society, and in my opinion we no longer resemble the nation that the founders sought to build. We can never mirror a Muslim nation. We cannot absorb or accommodate all cultures, lest we lose our own culture and identity as a nation. The "salad bowl" theory does not work. Some things, some cultures are not compatible with a Constitution, with freedom, with law, with being American (Sharia). People either come to be Americans, or they come to live separate lives inside of America, as many illegal aliens and some legal residents do, never fully assimilating or even learning the language.

    People are welcome here, but we cannot keep our fingers in the wind.


    Someday, the Protestant/evangelical bloc dominating the Republican Party will be a religious minority because we seculars are increasing at a rapid rate, as are Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, etc. And when that day comes, you'll hear me arguing for tolerance of its minority backgrounds as well.
    Christians, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and others are pushing back against the secularists, the agnostics, the atheists, the progressives.

    I think that the Glenn Beck rally showed that there are many people still interested in issues of faith, and in restoring that within their own lives, and within the lives of their families.

    Americans are becoming less religious and less rigid in their beliefs. According to The Washington Post, among millennials ages 18-23 in the National Study of Youth and Religion, fewer than 25% think it's important to marry someone of the same faith. The Pew study cited earlier shows that more people think churches should keep out of politics. If Republicans want to understand the rising generation, they should study these demographics.

    Church kept out of politics. More churches are getting into politics, some now willing to stand against the government over the tax policy that tries to control them in their practice of free speech. This surge of activism within our nation, has also seen a surge in the numbers of Americans paying attention to textbooks, to what the church is teaching and saying (ex. social justice), to what progressives have been pushing, etc.

    More parents are recognizing the importance to their children of learning American history, of studying the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, original writings, the founding fathers, . They are also recognizing that they need to bring faith back to the forefront of their families.

    This commentary may be wishful thinking by a self proclaimed progressive secularist. I do not believe that the majority of Americans, or Republicans would stand along side her opinion.

    Psalm 91
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member roundabout's Avatar
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    Great post GeorgiaPeach.

    It seems to me that this very clever progressive tip-toed in a suttle manner around using the phrase "separation of Church and State" yet implied about the same twisted, deceitful intention that has been hung on this phrase.

    Separation of Church and State merely states and means no State sanctioned denomination of Christianity would be endorsed by the federal government. The states were left to act as they saw fit.

    If this person is supposed to be so enlightened, why such ignorance,.....or, is it deceptive in nature from the start?

  5. #5
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    roundabout wrote:

    ...
    or, is it deceptive in nature from the start?
    I believe that was the intention.

    Psalm 91
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
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