Separation of Church and State

Protecting America From Religious Zealots

Conservatives are looking in the wrong place.

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The number of judges who have rammed Sharia law down the throats of the American people is roughly equal to the number of legs on a snake. But that hasn't kept conservatives around the country from passing, or trying to pass, measures meant to stop it from happening. Eight states have banned Sharia law or "foreign law," the common euphemism. A measure to do so was vetoed in Missouri and the courts struck down another passed in Oklahoma. As of this time last year, 34 states had considered such measures.

Lately the Trump campaign has gotten out in front of the parade. The Donald has said he would bar entry to any foreigner who thinks "Sharia law should supplant American law," and one of his advisers, retired general Michael Flynn, has claimed that some states are already having to confront the imposition of Sharia law. Trump spokesman Katrina Pierson accused Gold Star father Khizr Khan of being a "strong proponent of Sharia law." Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump backer, has suggested that anyone who believes in Sharia should be deported.

(In this, as in so much else, Trump has been less than consistent. A few years ago he said nice things about Sharia in Saudi Arabia because men there "have the authority to divorce their wives without going to the courts.")

Yet while Islamic law is not exactly sweeping across the country, you can understand why some conservatives worry that it might. Though they miss the nuances of Sharia's meaning, they correctly point out that Islam as practiced in some countries is a brutal ideology that executes people for committing homosexual acts, cruelly oppresses women, punishes theft with barbaric amputations, and more.

And even more moderate forms of Islamic rule in the U.S. would be unwelcome, simply because a great many Americans do not subscribe to the Islamic faith, and the First Amendment protects their right not to submit to it. As Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said when North Carolina lawmakers passed an anti-Sharia measure, "No one has a problem with Muslims or anyone else living peaceably in America. But on U.S. soil, we must all embrace the freedoms and responsibilities assigned us via the Constitution."

Amen to that.

Hence conservatives should be as pleased as everyone else by the recent suspension imposed on Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Moore had instructed that state's justices to disregard the Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage and a federal judge's decision striking down Alabama's ban on same-sex unions. He said the state's judges had a "ministerial duty" not to approve marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples. The suspension lasts until the end of Moore's current term, and he is not eligible for another one.

This isn't Moore's first brush with a higher law. Back in 2003 he was removed from office for disobeying a federal court's order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Supreme Court building. In that case, as in this one, the vote on the nine-member Court of the Judiciary was unanimous.

Moore isn't the only public official who thinks secular law should bow down before his god. Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has said America's "civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God's law." Another former GOP candidate, Mike Huckabee, has said Americans need to "amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than trying to change God's standards." Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi, characterized her husband as "uniquely qualified to deliver" a "combination of law and religion." Cruz ratified the sentiment by launching his candidacy at Liberty University with a speech heavy in religious overtones.

And then there was Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who famously refused to issue marriage licenses for gay couples because of her religious scruples. For that, she earned the "Cost of Discipleship" award from the Value Voters summit and comparisons to civil rights heroine Rosa Parks.

Davis and Moore did precisely what proponents of anti-Sharia statutes claim to be alarmed about: They set aside "the freedoms and responsibilities assigned us via the Constitution" in favor of sectarian religious beliefs.

It's worth noting that there are numerous Muslim office-holders in the U.S., including two members of Congress and a majority of the members of the Hamtramck, Mich., city council. Yet no Muslim public official has set his or her religious beliefs above the civil law. Moore and Davis did — and in some quarters, they became folk heroes for it.

So conservatives are right: The U.S. does face a very real danger that religious fundamentalism could undermine the principles of American constitutional governance. They're just looking for the threat in the wrong place.

This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. This article is so full of stupid it’s hard to know where to start.

  2. The problem with this smug attack on fundamentalist Christianity is that while the fight over representation of the Ten Commandments is a religious one, it isn’t only religious on on side. The people who want the Ten Commandments removed are Atheists, and while they may vehemently deny it, Atheism is as much a religion as Christianity – a set of beliefs based on an unprovable assumption about a higher power.

    The thing is, Protestant Christianity – for all it warts (I’m looking at YOU Fred Phelps) – has a much better record as a social foundation than Atheism. Atheistical societies have a distressing tendency to descend into mass murder. In the twentieth century alone ostentatiously atheistical societies murdered something like one hundred million people (THE BLACK BOOK OF COMMUNISM, Harvard Press), a record that might well cause Torquemada to rear back and say “That’s a bit excessive!”.

    So it isn’t a case of Conservatives seeing a drive to impose an alien Religious law where none exists. It’s a case of their seeing ANOTHER such drive, when they are already fighting one.

    1. Not to mention…

      …”Establishment” not being violated, nor “shall make no law.” They are statues and symbols, not laws or an established religion.

      …The country was indeed founded on the idea of a higher power (that can be “nature” for all I care), and the natural law. To act as if there weren’t metaphysical implications in our founding is disingenuous at best.

      …Christians shouldn’t impose laws any more than Muslims should. However, the system allows for these people to vote, and their desires frequently end up as laws. That’s the system we live in, but it’s also what the Constitution should be protecting us from (assuming those laws take away from freedom).

      1. And the modern progressive dogma towards removing the concept of natural law and having all rights controlled and conferred by the state is far far more terrifying than Christians espousing their beliefs is….

        1. I don’t disagree with what the three of you are arguing for the most part. And I am most definitely not an Athiest, I have more gods than I can shake a stick at!!

          And it certainly that natural law was an important bedrock of the founding principles of our country.

          But let me ask a question, if my town voted to spend tax money on a statue of Odin hanging from the world tree, would that be less acceptable than your town voting to spend tax money on a statue of Jesus hanging from the cross? Or if you prefer, would it be ok if my town voted to erect a big Mjolnir, instead of voting to spend money on a cross?

          1. I would welcome that. Let the public square be filled with all manner of statues.

            1. Especially statues of Valkyries. With huge Scandinavian breasts.

              1. Hail the Valkyries!!

          2. Ok, I’ll bite:

            The ten commandments had an extremely obvious secular influence on the world. You don’t have to be Jewish to understand that the ten commandments provided a unique, easy to understand framework for how a people were to live. It may not have been the *first* such system, but it is almost certainly the most influential one. That’s why the whitewashing of the ten commandments is so ridiculous. Not because I think governments should have statues (they shouldn’t), but because people seem to think the ten commandments had a strictly religious use, rather than an obvious historical one related to law.

            So, in answer to your question: I’d prefer no statues of anything using government funds, but I understand the use of the ten commandments (not Odin, Mjolnir or even Jesus)

            1. Perhaps to some extent. However, (depending on the enumeration) the 1st through 4th commandments are explicitly religious. In Jewish tradition, the 1st commandment is “I am the Lord your God”. How about “No other gods before me (God)”? How about graven images? Is my statue of Odin that I use to help visualize my patron god a graven image? And why should I have to obey the Sabbath?

              Of course, one can reinterpret these commandments in many ways. For example graven images (or idols) can be considered putting things above people or god(s). The Sabbath can be merely interpreted as make sure you take a day off from work. But that is NOT what these were written to mean.

              1. I’m not saying it’s not religious. I’m saying it’s historically relevant. It can be both.

                Odin (as cool as that would be), doesn’t have a particular historical relevance to law, but if it did, I would understand its use.

                1. I appreciate your position. And it is a fair point. For example, the SCOTUS building has any number of lawgivers such as Lycurgus (the lawgiver of ancient Sparta), Moses, Confucius and Augustus. So if the 10 commandments are portrayed as an example of laws that were historically relevant to Western Civilization it is perfectly fair. Hel, I don’t even care if it is displayed as an example of religious views that the majority of Americans hold. As long as it doesn’t directly influence judicial or legal outcomes in favor of that religious view over another (or lack thereof).

                  And for the record, I am totally against sanitizing religious symbols from the public square, particularly those with historical relevance. And no, it doesn’t bother me that at Yule, the town puts a manger scene on a public park. I would prefer my tax dollars didn’t go to that, but there are a WHOLE lot of bigger fish to fry.

                2. Odin, or Woton, or however you want to spell it, was a conniving rat-bastard with the morals of a ten term senator.

                  1. Considering he gave an eye to see the future at Mimir’s Well, and hung from Yggdrasil for 9 days, pierced by his own spear to gain wisdom, it is a little unfair. And interestingly enough, I haven’t once insulted your god during this discussion.
                    He knows Ragnarok is coming, yet still gathers the einherjar to fight. He knows he will be killed by Fenrir, and still tries to fight.

                    I will follow Odin all the way to death before I would ever trust your fucking god who treats all of his creation as nothing but sheep. Who is more worried about whose dick is filling whose orifice than in being a strong, proud human. Who promises a heaven for those who “believe” correctly and a hell for those who don’t, rather than rewarding those who have acted wisely and bravely and punishing the cowardly. A god who wants his sheep to kneel before him and depend on him for every little thing, rather than standing the fuck up and facing one’s challenges head on.

                    And not to be all 4th grader or anything, but WTF:
                    Your god got nailed to a wooden cross. One of my gods carries a hammer.

                    1. I read downthread that Schofield is an agnostic, so I understand he don’t necessarily have a god.

                      And to those Christians whom I have had great conversations with today, my little rant was simply an emotional response. I let him bait me. My inner berserker got out for a little bit. I apologize. I try not to stoop to that level, but I have had a rather tiring week and I let it get out.

                    2. Well that was interesting to read, especially since I run a Norse-only Scion game.

                      I’m surprised to see anyone supporting Odin these days. It feels like, outside of Dresden Files, revisionist history has successfully turned Odin into a villain and Loki into a hero.

                    3. I know. It is like some peoples only exposure to Odin is from Neil Gaimans American Gods.

              2. Catholics, of course, have their own lineup of God’s Top Ten, considering the “graven images” thing redundant of #1 – the rule was not “do not make statues of people or things, period”, it was “do not carve a representation of your god and worship it directly”. So that fell under “no other gods before me” according to the Holy See, and they bumped up the others and split #10 into “don’t covet your neighbor’s house” and “don’t covet your neighbor’s wife or animals”.

                Other contested interpretations, of course, are: “You shall not kill” or “You shall not murder”? How do you define “honoring” your father/mother? How do you define “adultery”? (Just cheating on your significant other, or is it any sexual act that isn’t unprotected vaginal intercourse with your spouse?)

                And that is how we end up with umpteen thousand different Christian denominations and Jewish sects.

          3. So long as it’s TOWN tax money, and there is some history behind the statue. Settlers with strong ties to Iceland, or some such.

            See, I’m an agnostic, BUT I notice that (historically) Protestant Christianity does better as a social basis than anything else I know about. In particular; Catholicism, Buddhism, amd Socialism seem to produce societies full of peasants being told wha todo by their self-appointed betters.

            So, I tend to view self-rightious people suing over crosses on public land not as fearless individuals fighting against establishment of religion but as annoying Crusaders for the religion of Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressiveism attmepting to enforce public establishment of THEIR Faith.

          4. Voting to spend tax money is in effect a law (try refusing to spend the tax money as allotted and watch the lawsuits arise).

    2. Atheism is as much a religion as Christianity

      Absurd. There are an infinite number of sets of any arbitrary qualifications to which a person could belong. By your exceedingly loose definition of “religion”, any or every one of those sets that is not the specific religion you like is itself a religion. Then everyone belongs to an infinite number of religions, which makes following certain prohibitions of your favorite religion a little bit difficult.

      I define “not being an idiot” a religion. I’d even settle for “club” as long as I could figure out where the other members meet.

      1. Atheists always sneak God back into the universe. They just strip him of all the characteristics they don’t like and rename him “natural rights” or “justice” or “morality”.

        No one can reason without starting with a set of assumptions. And assumptions are not self proving. So every morning atheists wake up with a set of assumptions that are taken purely on faith and are no more or less rational than believing in a God. If you think otherwise and that there is some undeniable, self evident, and rational case for your view being an objective truth or that there even is such a thing, you are kidding yourself.

        1. Shots. Fired.

        2. So the only objective truth is that God exists? Is that really what you’re saying here?

          1. He’s saying that without a God, there can be no certainty. Without certainty, everything becomes a utilitarian decision.

            I don’t agree, but I believe that’s a more accurate description.

            1. I believe he’s saying that everyone actually believes in God no matter what they say about it. Because only God is real and everything comes from God.

              I think you might be giving John credit for more philosophical finesse than he actually possesses.

              1. I believe he’s saying that everyone actually believes in God no matter what they say about it.

                No.. he’s saying that people who don’t believe in God seem to have a genesis problem when it comes to their philosophical beliefs. Their beliefs tend to distill down to a core maxim (like the golden rule), but they can’t explain why that core maxim is true.

                1. but they can’t explain why that core maxim is true

                  But “because God” makes it OK? “God” is by definition unexplainable. God is not a reason, he’s an excuse.

                  1. But “because God” makes it OK? “God” is by definition unexplainable. God is not a reason, he’s an excuse.

                    TW: I’m not a philosopher, so I may butcher most of this.

                    It’s because we’re arguing from different philosophical tents. When you’re arguing from the purely rationalistic tent of materialistic atheism, having no basis for your core tenet puts the entire house of cards at risk. You have a rationalistic hammer, and you’re screwed (pun intended) when you come across a screw instead of a nail.

                    When I argue from a metaphysical position where rationalism is subservient to the metaphysical, I can simply pick up a theological screwdriver when I run across a screw.

                    1. As I said: “God is not a reason, he’s an excuse.”

                    2. When I argue from a metaphysical position where rationalism is subservient to the metaphysical, I can simply pick up a theological screwdriver when I run across a screw.

                      Not so. One can make far simpler arguments with simpler bases that are not theological.

                      For example: Thou shalt not steal. Someone asks for root causes for the belief and deduces that it is a question of morality. Since plenty of religions claim to be the source of morality and that it can come from nowhere else, case closed, right?

                      Not so. You are starving in the wilderness. You do not know how to construct a bow and arrow or how to track game and haven’t found any edible plant life. You come across a pack of wolves eating a deer. Do you attempt to steal meat from the wolves? When you realize that other humans may be just as dangerous (or more so) when you attempt to steal from them, it seems that the prohibition on stealing is probably a good idea, and perhaps you should teach it to your children.

                      You’ll argue it means “don’t steal from the weak.” The weak may have strong allies. Ok, amend: “Don’t steal even if you won’t get caught.” Stealing from your tribe rather than providing for yourself weakens the tribe. A strong tribe might keep your children alive after you die. It can be sensibly argued that “morality” is a method by which intelligent species improve the odds of passing on genes. Beavers build dams. Humans build dams and social mores.

                    3. Ah, but you just kicked the can down the road. A strong tribe likely will keep your children alive better than a weak tribe. But what do I care if my genes are passed on? Since there is no transcendent reality, I won’t be around to see it in any way. What if my tribe got strong from stealing from other tribes. Perhaps instead of teaching our children not to steal, we should teach our children not to be weak.

                      Understand, in the case of this discussion, I am not arguing any specific religious morality. I am actually just questioning premises.

                    4. You have a rationalistic hammer, and you’re screwed (pun intended) when you come across a screw instead of a nail.

                      No problem – just drive the damned screw Chicago style.

                  2. No. It’s just that “My reason tells me…” also doesn’t make it okay. There are underlying assumptions in both that can only be taken on faith.

                2. Their beliefs tend to distill down to a core maxim (like the golden rule), but they can’t explain why that core maxim is true.

                  And what does that have to do with believing in invisible men who live in the sky?

                  Believing that god is the basis for that core tenet is not the same thing as believing in a core tenet based upon reason.

                  Equating the two is simply a false conclusion. One is believing in magic. The other is basing your core tenet upon observation and a thought out estimation of how the universe actually works. The latter can change, for the better, when new evidence contradicts the original tenet.

                  One is baseless fantasy. The second is based upon known reality.

                  1. One is baseless fantasy. The second is based upon known reality.

                    The problem is that the second is just as baseless as the first when only using rationality for your philosophy. Rationality cannot, by its nature, make the leap from “is” to “should.” Therefore, rationality is merely descriptive, not prescriptive.

                    1. I agree with you trash. The fact is that at the core of the argument, an assumption has to be made:
                      There is some sort of creative force/consciousness etc. that started the universe (and/or life depending on where you want to start the argument) (Of course this in no way has to lead to Christian theology)
                      OR
                      There is no creative force that started the universe (or life), it was purely a random event.

                      There is no objective case, based purely on reason, which can show the superiority of either assumption. In other words, Occam’s razor doesn’t help, because you can’t objectively state that one position is “simpler” than the other.

                    2. There is no objective case, based purely on reason, which can show the superiority of either assumption. In other words, Occam’s razor doesn’t help, because you can’t objectively state that one position is “simpler” than the other.

                      Nah, not really.

                      Order has been observed emerging from randomness. As a concept, it has at least some evidence in its favor.

                    3. Yes, and many things that appear to have been created, were in fact, created by a creator. As a concept, it ALSO has some evidence in its favor.

                    4. The fact is that at the core of the argument, an assumption has to be made:

                      Of course.

                      But do you base your assumption on that which is observable and extrapolate from there, or do you base it upon stories that deviate from the known laws of physics?

                      AND, when more becomes known about the nature of the universe, are you “allowed” to change your assumption to fit the know reality or are you stuck with trying to force reality to fit your assumption?

                    5. Rationality cannot, by its nature, make the leap from “is” to “should.”

                      Says who? Give an example.

                      As I point out below, your belief system serves two masters, god and the NAP. My philosophical bent says that the only limit on “should” is that the action doesn’t harm others. Which conforms to my core tenet of maximizing liberty.

                      [And my core tenet is accepted as such from observation of reality and reason. When liberty is maximized the human condition is best served (economically, wrt justice, opportunity, wrt innovation…)]

                      The second is NOT as baseless as the first.

                    6. Says who? Give an example.

                      Best I can find from a quick google search:

                      Moral Sentimentalism

                      your belief system serves two masters, god and the NAP.

                      God and God’s law aren’t two masters. I’ll not go as far as to say that the NAP is God’s law, but to the extend I follow it, I believe it is so. Just because the king writes a decree doesn’t mean there are now two kings.

                      When liberty is maximized the human condition is best served (economically, wrt justice, opportunity, wrt innovation…)

                      Why is the human condition important? Why shouldn’t I care only for my condition? It has no direct effect on me if the downtrodden in Cambodia are ruled by a tyrant, so why should I advocate for liberty for them? In fact, it has no direct effect on me if the downtrodden in the US are ruled by a tyrant, as long as the tyrant’s ire is not directed at me. Why advocate for serving the human condition when it would be much easier to just support a crony tyrant who improves my condition alone?

                    7. I gotta go out. I’ll need to give attention to you example later. Check back, if you care to.

                      But I’ll hit the others before I go.

                      Why is the human condition important? Why shouldn’t I care only for my condition? It has no direct effect on me if the downtrodden in Cambodia are ruled by a tyrant, so why should I advocate for liberty for them?

                      Their liberty does affect me. Their liberty will allow them to efficiently produce wealth and to exchange value with me. We are all better off when freedom is allowed to prosper. This is an observable outcome, backed by economics.

                      Why advocate for serving the human condition when it would be much easier to just support a crony tyrant who improves my condition alone?

                      Because there is nothing to stop the crony tyrant from abandoning me whenever he desires. When all stand for liberty, there is security from the tyrant (strength in numbers) AND we all prosper.

                    8. I’ll try to check in later and give this comment the attention it deserves. I’m procrastinating from writing a law review article that is due on Friday, so I should probably spend some time actually getting some words on paper.

                    9. So other people have a claim upon your life and you are obligated to serve them?

                      By that logic, I can safely assume that you supported the war in Iraq. After all, the people there were downtrodden and oppressed, and others had a positive obligation to help them overthrow their dictator.

                      As for a tyrant in your own country oppressing only the downtrodden, it’s not hard to imagine that she will sooner or later oppress you, so it is in your own interest to prevent her tyranny. If you are focused only on your own interess, why would you be OK with someone holding arbitrary power that could easily be turned against you, even if it hasn’t already? It sounds very risky, and it is a bad way to look after your own interests.

                      Even if you accept the idea that other people have a claim on your life and you must serve them, even risking death, it’s problematic as to whether it will do any good. A lot of people in Iraq wish we had minded our own business and had not invaded them.

                      I hope I haven’t misunderstood your comments. Like Jeopardy! and Judge Napalitano (sp?), your responses are in the form of a question, which makes it a little harder to determine exactly what you mean.

                    10. I wrote “we” invaded Iraq. I should have specified the US government.

                    11. I think Trash expressed it quite well. But to simplify, there is still an assumption that maximizing the human condition is important? WHY? Objectively, I can posit any number of situations which would benefit me at the expense of others, that may very well be easier to accomplish.

                      You still have to pick what you use as a measuring stick of good and bad. There is NO way of objectively doing this. You have to make an assumption and go from there.

                    12. Spend a night at 7-11 and get back to me about this man as a rational animal thing. It’s pretty well known that when asked to explain many of our actions, the action precedes the explanation.

                      You can hearken to physics all you want, but what is the rational basis for believing the highest cause is improving the human condition? Do you have a test for whose foundational assumptions are rational other than whether they agree with your own?

                    13. My philosophical bent says that the only limit on “should” is that the action doesn’t harm others. Which conforms to my core tenet of maximizing liberty.

                      You don’t even understand what the NAP means sufficiently to describe which ideologies conform to it and which do not, as you demonstrated when you proclaimed that Objectivism does not subscribe to the NAP. Objectivism was never a real philosophy and you’re too intellectually shallow to even comprehend that. It would be amusing if you were a high school freshman instead of a middle aged asshole with only a chip on his shoulder to show for his abject ignorance.

                      Hint: what makes “maximizing liberty” better, from a rationalistic standpoint, than “maximizing utility” or “maximizing comfort” or “maximizing violence” for that matter? The correct answer is: absolutely nothing. What you mistake for “observation of reality and reason” is, in fact, your own subjective value judgment.

                    14. You don’t even understand what the NAP means sufficiently to describe which ideologies conform to it and which do not, as you demonstrated when you proclaimed that Objectivism does not subscribe to the NAP.

                      Yes, asshole. I’ve addressed this claim before. I spoke off the cuff and mischaracterized her position:

                      Objectivism: Ayn Rand rejected natural or inborn rights theories as well as supernatural claims and instead proposed a philosophy based on observable reality along with a corresponding ethics based on the factual requirements of human life in a social context.[15] She stressed that the political principle of non-aggression is not a primary and that it only has validity as a consequence of a more fundamental philosophy. For this reason, many of her conclusions differ from others who hold the NAP as an axiom or arrived at it differently

                      Which has no bearing on this conversation other than to show you are a vindictive cunt.

                  2. And what does that have to do with believing in invisible men who live in the sky?

                    Which religion, as defined by invisible men living in the sky, are you arguing against?

                    Sounds to me like you’re defining an arbitrary God that you don’t like so you can eschew him and substituting *The* Universe, which you will probably admit is just as unknown/unknowable/unfathomable, in his place.

                    One is believing in magic, the other is having no real idea how the magic is done but pretending you’re more enlightened because you *know* it’s not real.

                    1. Which religion, as defined by invisible men living in the sky, are you arguing against?

                      All of them.

                      Sounds to me like you’re defining an arbitrary God that you don’t like so you can eschew him and substituting *The* Universe, which you will probably admit is just as unknown/unknowable/unfathomable, in his place.

                      First, I’m not substituting the universe for god. One conforms to the known laws of physics, the other does not. We may have those laws wrong, and when that’s proven/shown in favor of god, I’ll reexamine my assumptions as to his existence. Until then, I’ll base my assumptions on what is known or at least highly probable, as to do anything but, is extremely speculative and likely harmful.

                      Second, the universe isn’t unknowable. We may not have all the answers yet, but, through science, we accumulate more knowledge all the time and adjust our beliefs based upon it.

                    2. When it comes to arguing about the existence of “miracles” or “ghosts” or “Valhalla”, you have a valid point. These don’t, necessarily, obey the laws of physics (at least as we currently understand them). But that is a different question than how the universe began (or for that matter, how life began). The laws of physics fail at the beginning of the Big Bang (and please, FFS don’t even get me started on Everett’s Many World’s interpretation.)

                      You can make whatever assumptions you wish. But, it is not fair to say your assumption that there is no creator of the universe is based on what is known and “at least highly probable”. I am not working backwards and using my theology to base my assumption of the creation of the universe. Many years ago, I simply chose to make the assumption that this whole big creation isn’t pointless and only exists due to random chance. The details of what followed has been a long and winding road to being a Germanic Pagan.

                    3. These don’t, necessarily, obey the laws of physics (at least as we currently understand them).

                      FdA’s argument is irrational because it’s based in the notion that the universe is completely knowable/rational and/or that the rational parts can somehow, magically, actively/forcefully contain the irrational parts. It’s really bizarre because both you and him keep repeating it. Like speaking with a Muslim who keeps saying things like, “I don’t mean to disrespect Allah but… the beard thing is goofy.” and then saying (praise be to Allah) under his breath.

                      The Universe *doesn’t* obey the laws of physics. It’s requisite and foundational to science. Even in the abstractions of mathematics the founders and elite practitioners repeatedly say things like ‘The model is not reality.’ and ‘This can only be described in aggregate.’ and ‘This is only defined over the dimensions we’re capable of explaining.’ Moreover Occam’s razor carries the presupposition that, given a finite set of data, there are untold numbers of equally valid explanations save however one chooses to define ‘simplicity’.

                    4. I don’t necessarily disagree with you in the larger sense, but I think there is a subtlety in your point that would have detracted from my overall argument.

                      We construct mathematically formulations to attempt to explain and predict the behavior of the universe. You are correct that all of these are merely models. Newton’s laws of motion, then Special Relativity, then General Relativity. Throw in Quantum mechanics, etc.

                      It is quite possible that Asgard simply exists in a different space-time, perhaps with its own consistent set of physics (ala Marvel version of Thor). Or it is completely made up, along with every other religious belief. Or there could be realms which aren’t accessible in life, but there is some essence (usually called the soul) that transcends this reality and goes “somewhere else”.

                      I simply didn’t want to go down that path, as it is almost a whole other argument.

                      However, your post reminds of the old physics joke:
                      “I got it! But the solution only works for a spherical chicken in a vacuum.”

                    5. The Universe *doesn’t* obey the laws of physics.

                      All, and I mean all, evidence to the contrary. Please provide one, single, actual occurrence of magic. When you can, you’ll have disproved the laws of physics and I’ll start over with a new hypothesis.

                      There is a difference between not yet understanding all the physics and claiming the universe doesn’t obey the laws of physics.

                    6. All, and I mean all, evidence to the contrary. Please provide one, single, actual occurrence of magic.

                      I’ll give you three: singularity, the big bang, and inflation.

                      ALL are theoretically assumed based upon deductive reasoning only; so no factual proof.

                      First, let’s take the point of singularity: it breaks all known laws of physics. Followed by the big bang, an explosion for which we don’t know how, why, or really even if this happened.

                      And if those two things are put together, it still cannot model the universe without including inflation which is an unknown force which seaperated all early matter in the universe faster than the known physical laws allow.

                      Having said all of this, like you, I agree there are scientific answers to all these questions for which magic/god isn’t a required part of the solution, but we’re not there yet. And for those things that we cannot yet prove, we take on faith what we believe is true.

                      Additionally note that we may never be able to prove exactly how the point of singularity came into existence nor what started the “explosion” as this is also when time started. IE – It may be forever impossible to prove the state of the universe prior to the existence of time.

                    7. which is an unknown force which seaperated all early matter in the universe faster than the known physical laws allow

                      Small point.

                      Inflation occurred prior to the first matter forming. So it doesn’t technically break the known laws.

                    8. which is an unknown force which seaperated all early matter in the universe faster than the known physical laws allow

                      Small point.

                      Inflation occurred prior to the first matter forming. So it doesn’t technically break the known laws.

                  3. About that them thar God v/s atheism v/s agnosticism thang?
                    I used to wonder a lot, but I had my agnostic friends convince me that God, if He does exist, does NOT want us to worship Him, because He does not believe in Himself (He needs self-esteem counseling, I was told. Else He’d make Himself far more visisble). If God doesn’t believe in Himself, then we obviously shouldn’t, either. I was left to wonder, well then, WHO in the Hell is qualified to give self-esteem counseling to God Himself?!?! Never got an answer?

                    1. Then my devout atheist friends convinced me, that to get to Athiest Heaven, one had to NOT believe in God, and do that non-believing thing in JUST the EXACT right way? As for example, they’d say, “See, Madeline Murray O’Hair, SHE is the ONLY one who REALLY quite properly, understood EXACTLY how God does NOT believe in Himself, and only SHE in Her Divine (Anti-Divine?) Perfect Understanding, was fit to be “Ruptured” through the space-time vortex portal, straight to the Athiest Heaven that She deserved, and all the rest of us? Even the less-than-perfect atheists? Are “Left Behind” after the “Great Rupture”. And since Madeline Murray’s body was never found, I had to accept their argument, She was the PERFECT atheist, and only SHE, in Her Perfect Disbelief, had been Ruptured? Her and Her alone? to be continued?

                    2. ?BUT THEN THEY FOUND HER DEAD BODY!!! The arguments of my atheist friends were utterly crushed! I had just BARELY started to think that maybe they were correct! Now, I just dunno WHAT in blue blazes to think any more!!! What do y’all say, especially you atheists? PWEASE advise me, ah ams ignernt?

                3. Well, they can, and have, repeatedly, it’s just that certain people don’t listen very well.

            2. Basically if you are a Libertarian and you don’t believe that natural rights are granted by God, you mush still believe that natural rights are conferred to all persons.

              If you do not believe in natural rights you are a godless progressive/socialist/commie.

          2. Maybe it’s that no objective truth exists. As a Christian, I’ll believe in my God. An atheist will believe in assumptions emanating from his subconscious and his formative experiences, convinced that his intuition about the nature of the universe is superior to my intuition that the world was made by a God. But neither of us have an authority to appeal to that is legitimate in the eyes of the other.

            The atheist who says things should be X because of reason and the Christian who says things should be X because of what Jesus taught are both going on faith that their foundational assumptions are correct.

            It takes a moderately strong ego and a good bit of social conditioning to believe you’ve picked the right God. I’m not sure how much ego it takes to believe that a species that has created men who believed in gods somehow finally got it right in creating a man who realizes that the highest god is rooted in his own perception.

        3. John|10.5.16 @ 12:59PM|#
          “Atheists always sneak God back into the universe.”

          Bull
          .
          .
          .
          .
          .
          shit.
          Quit listening to the voices in your head, John.

        4. No one can reason without starting with a set of assumptions. And assumptions are not self proving. So every morning atheists wake up with a set of assumptions that are taken purely on faith and are no more or less rational than believing in a God. If you think otherwise and that there is some undeniable, self evident, and rational case for your view being an objective truth or that there even is such a thing, you are kidding yourself.

          Reason starts out with certain assumptions that not only are not self-proving, but don’t require proof. They are so elementary and self-evidently true, that any attempt to prove or disprove them must first accept them as true. And it is not a matter of “faith”. Look, if you are in a conscious state and someone walks up to you and whacks you up the side of your head with a stick, do you have faith that it happened – or do you know that it happened? Do you have to prove it to yourself? It’s like asking someone why he “thinks” he can think.

          cont.

          1. You believers can not say the same about the existence of your “God”, because the word doesn’t have any definite meaning – indeed, you do not want it to have. You don’t define it except as that which is non-everything else. If it has no objective meaning, then it has no objective existence outside of your own personal head. For most of you it doesn’t seem to have even a subjective meaning; it is just a substitute for the phrase “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand” when used as the subject of a sentence.

            In the phrase –objective truth – the word objective is superfluous. Truth by definition is objective else it isn’t truth. John, if you really think there is no such thing as objective truth, then you really ought to sit down and be quiet, because you’ve just contradicted yourself by claiming one. Unless, of course, you claim that what you are saying is not objective truth – in which case it isn’t truth but only your very flawed personal opinion.

      2. How about this then: Atheism is a metaphysical belief, if not a religion. Atheism is an answer to a metaphysical question that cannot be proven any more than theism.

        1. Perhaps this:

          Absolute certainty about God, either “yes” or “no”, requires faith, because neither answer can be proven scientifically. God is an a-scientific proposition.

          Because atheism posits an absolute “no”, it is a faith-based position in its own right.

          Agnosticism is not faith-based. Both belief and atheism are faith-based.

          1. yes….this: “belief and atheism are faith-based.”

            Many atheists behave toward their ‘faith’ with a fervor on par with some of the most religious among us.
            They rant and rave at anything that pokes at their ‘faith’ and actively attack and denigrate other faiths.

            I say “many”, but it may be fair to say “most” here. I think the large number of people who when asked a question, describe themselves as atheist, but are more accurately agnostic. They don’t go to church, they don’t practice a faith, but they know enough rational theists that they aren’t willing to make a firm stand that its all fantasy.

            1. Get off your high (flying) horse.

            2. Atheist/Agnostic aren’t either or.
              Atheist: I don’t believe in god (I make no claims about knowledge)
              Agnostic: I don’t know if god (I’m not stating belief)

              It is possible to not know if god exists, but choose to believe.
              It is possible to not know if god exists and choose to not believe.
              It is possible to know that god exists and choose to believe.
              I’m not sure it would be possible to know god exists and not believe, you might choose to not worship/practice.

              1. Atheist: I don’t believe in god (I make no claims about knowledge)

                Could be an atheist or an agnostic.

                I am classifying as atheists those who say “I don’t believe in God, because God doesn’t exist”.

                Agnostics are “I don’t believe in God, because I don’t know if he exists and don’t have faith that he does.”

                1. Define God.

              2. Theist: person who asserts belief in god.

                Atheist: person who does not assert belief in god.

                Agnostic: person who is avoiding question of belief or lack thereof, either through ignorance, or through trying to disingenuously assert that lack of knowledge comprises a middle ground between belief and non-belief, which it most certainly does not. Belief is either there, or it is not. Belief, or we can say faith, does not require knowledge (in fact, a cogent argument can be made that in matters of faith, knowledge is irrelevant.) Bottom line: You’re either theist, or atheist. You may additionally incorporate views about knowledge as to why you are theist or atheist, and that’s fine. But you’re still either theist, or atheist.

                > It is possible to know that god exists and choose to believe.

                Only if there really is a God. And that has yet to be demonstrated. So I’m going to have to go with “you made that up absent any proof.”

          2. RC hits the nail on the head.

            That is the core problem with Atheism; in that it manifestly claims there is no god and can be no god which is inherently unknowable. It’s only a problem if you’re a theist, since by-and-large it’s been discussed the most among that camp (I know, ironic) but if you claim anything along the line that ‘you know for a fact’ you’re acting on faith.

            Then, there are the agnostics, which are of course by far the majority of non-theists. They just give the matter so little thought, which is their right, that they don’t realize that there are alternative terms beyond ‘atheist’ and ‘theist’. Why should they, when it’s not a concern of theirs?

            I try to only interject on the issue because I like words to have meanings, and it irritates me when someone says they’re an atheist because ‘there can’t be a god stupid’. It raises an eyebrow.

            1. You are inventing claims about what atheists claim. Some atheists may claim that there cannot be a god. But the core definition of being an atheist is: Someone who does believe in a god. Not that god is impossible, but that they have not been moved by the evidence, such as it is to believe in one.

        2. This is the classification that philosophy uses for it in any case.

          The concept of standards of proof is itself a philosophical question. As all things philosophical, whether anything has ever been proven at all is debatable.

          Regardless, I think the argument (if one can call it) revolves around an even simpler issue than even philosophy. Language is often a blunt instrument. We can say things like “faith is belief absent evidence” and an awful lot of people do. “Religion is built upon faith.” It also seems noncontroversial. It gets messy when we try to reason with both of those definitions. Suppose that I say that I do not believe in good ends of taxation if collection is compulsory. Furthermore, suppose I say that there is no way to construct a just system of taxation from which all outcomes are good if use of force is required to compel people to pay. The statist smugly says “how can you know if you never tried all the ways?” Proving a negative is impossible, of course. Is the belief in the non-aggression-principle when applied to taxation in that manner an article of faith by previous definition? It would take infinite evidence to “prove” the belief. If so, then is it the foundation of a religion? We could go back to amend the definitions so that the absurd result is not the outcome, but plenty of people never think to do that. From a nebulous concept like language, we can obtain all sorts of idiocy.

          1. Regardless of our personal positions or religions, very eloquently put!

          2. The statist smugly says “how can you know if you never tried all the ways?”

            A good, somewhat related read

      3. They call religion dumb. No they dumb. Me smart.

        1. Tell us more about how you are moral because you just know its the right thing to do!!

          1. Tell us more about how the only reason you don’t kill people is because you need a fake god to tell you not to.

            1. Tell me about you how know it is even wrong to kill people? Did a little voice in your head tell you that? Right after he gave you the Gospel of the Non Aggression Principle?

              You do realize all of that is just pulled out of your ass and is no more categorically true or compelling than the people over in Iraq burning the non believers alive? You don’t like aggression. That is nice. Others apparently disagree.

              1. I don’t kill people so they won’t kill me.

                But that sort of rational decision-making and bargain is beyond you, apparently.

                1. So, would you kill someone if you knew you’d never get caught?

                  1. No, it’s a courtesy I extend in the expectation is will be extended to me in turn. I don’t need Daddy Sky Police.

                    It’s almost like people can act like adults if they try.

                    1. it’s a courtesy I extend in the expectation is will be extended to me in turn.

                      What’s this reciprocity bullshit? Egalitarianism is a philosophical construct whose roots in Western culture come from…. you guessed it… Christianity.

                    2. I find the idea that the only reason I can treat other people ethically is because, despite my silly protestations, that I really believe in God way down deep inside to be a terrifying case of projection.

                    3. I find the idea that the only reason I can treat other people ethically is because, despite my silly protestations, that I really believe in God way down deep inside to be a terrifying case of projection.

                      I wouldn’t necessarily say this. I would be curious, however, to hear what your ethical beliefs are: Do you believe in virtue ethics? Natural law? Hedonism? Deontology? Utilitarianism?

                      After that, I’d be curious to hear what your underlying reason is to support that theory.

                    4. I find the extremes of deontology and utilitarianism to be incompatible with individualism and self-ownership. I’m probably a hedonist in practice with a strong overlay of NAP.

                      But really… Don’t hurt people and don’t steal their stuff. Does it really have to be more complicated than that?

                    5. Does it really have to be more complicated than that?

                      Haha, I’d argue it does, but it’s probably an argument not worth having. Thanks for the good discussion though. This subject tends to get touchy for everyone.

                    6. Egalitarianism is a philosophical construct whose roots in Western culture come from…. you guessed it… Christianity

                      It’s as if Ancient Greece wasn’t a thing.

                    7. It’s as if Ancient Greece wasn’t a thing.

                      Yes, the bases for Western Culture existed in Ancient Greek philosophy. However, western culture doesn’t exist without the Christian embrace of that philosophy and the Christianization of Europe in the middle ages. The root of the concept is Greek. The root of the concept in Western Culture is Christian.

                    8. However, western culture doesn’t exist without the Christian embrace of that philosophy and the Christianization of Europe in the middle ages.

                      “doesn’t exist”?

                      That is an utterly unproveable assertion, especially as you readily admit the roots of the ideas exist long before then.

                      All the ingredients already existed, but only Jesus can make the recipe work?

                      Come on, man.

                    9. All the ingredients already existed, but only Jesus can make the recipe work?

                      All the ingredients except for the one that created a largely homogenous culture across a continent. I’m saying that without the Hellenistic influences on Christianity and the Constantinian conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity, Ancient Greek philosophy would have been stuck in Greece.

                    10. Believe what you like, you can’t know that, and asserting you can is silly.

                    11. you can’t know that, and asserting you can is silly

                      I’m putting forth an argument for saying that Christianity was instrumental in establishing egalitarianism in Western Culture. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. I’m just defending my premise.

                    12. Christianity, like it’s brethren, Judaism and Islam, is hierarchal.

                      The idea of egalitarianism was grafted in.

                      One can see it in the lack of holy wars among the pre-Christians. Gods were added and subtracted from pantheons depending on their usefulness. The Romans wanted to simply add the Jews’ god to the rest–as they’d done with so many others–but the Jews–and later the Christians–would have none of it.

                      Their god must be first–and no others allowed.

                    13. No, it is still Greek, brought to you courtesy of Saint Thomas Aquinas from Aristotle and other classical Greek thinkers. Before Saint Thomas you got Plato’s mystical bullshit.

                    14. That is in answer to Trshmnstr smells of Lo Mein|10.5.16 @ 1:35PM|#

                    15. it’s a courtesy I extend in the expectation is will be extended to me in turn.

                      If your expectation is unfounded, what then? And it’s not some ‘daddy sky police’ at work, it’s an idea incorporated into the law of damn near every society that believes in the rule of law. Somewhere, some time, for some reason, people decided that killing another person for no rational reason is a bad thing.

                    16. If your expectation is unfounded, what then?

                      Then somebody might kill you for no good reason. Luckily that never happens.

                      people decided that killing another person for no rational reason is a bad thing

                      Apparently this decision is only possible because of the existence of the Christian God. After all, those old timey Sumerians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Egyptians didn’t believe any such thing. Especially those dudes who based arguments on morality to specifically rule out interference from whatever pantheon existed at the time.

                    17. Luckily that never happens.
                      I have to assume this is sarcasm. Otherwise, you are insane.

                      Apparently this decision is only possible because of the existence of the Christian God.
                      Things I didn’t say for $800, Alex. I was clear about saying that any society grounded in the rule of law founded murder without bona fide justification to be a crime. Did you miss that part or ignore it?

                    18. I have to assume this is sarcasm. Otherwise, you are insane.

                      Congratulations, your sarcometer is working.

                      Ok, so what argument are you making about why murder is bad? Given the context of the conversation you jumped into, you appear to be refuting SugarFree’s belief that people can manage to not kill each other without having to believe in a God.

                    19. I was clear about saying that any society grounded in the rule of law founded murder without bona fide justification to be a crime.

                    20. If it is justified, can it still be murder?

                    21. “If your expectation is unfounded, what then?@

                      Then I have the Second Amendment.

              2. You do realize all of that is just pulled out of your ass and is no more categorically true or compelling than the people over in Iraq burning the non believers alive

                You do realize that Christianity was just pulled out of somebody’s ass, right?

                1. All I know is Plato’s ass must hurt because people keep reaching up there.

            2. You’re free to answer the question yourself. But, you cannot pretend that you aren’t answering a philosophical question to which there is no definitive answer.

            3. You know that saying “the truest test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching”? Well, based on that, it’s pretty apparent that Christians have no character.

              1. huh?

              2. That’s why we have Santa Claus.

          2. “Tell us more about how you [SugarFree] are moral”

            The thought of a world where what SugarFree does can be considered “moral” fills me with dread.

            1. It’s not so much that he does any immoral acts himself, unless the inability to metabolize sugar is an ethical failing. It’s that his writings remove morality from existence.

            2. I don’t believe in morality. Either you have ethics or you are just a mad dog that hasn’t yet snapped its leash.

      4. Atheism is the belief, unprovable, that there was and is no Creator. Like all other major Religions there are all kinds of splinter sects.

        1. Burden of proof my man.

    3. Wow, you managed to read back the playbook like a good little boy.

    4. You don’t seem too clear on what a religion actually is. Not every belief or even collection of beliefs constitutes a system of beliefs, and not every system of beliefs constitutes a religion. Atheism needn’t be any more systematic than the lack of belief in a certain creature from the D&D Monster Manual.

      1. No believing that Zeus is throwing lightning bolts during a thunderstorm is also a religion.

        1. Fuck Zeus. IT IS THOR!

          (Just teasing, Thor is the god of thunder, not because all thunder is created when Thor swings Mjolnir. But because when he hits a giant with Mjolnir, it sounds like thunder.)

      2. Respectfully, you’re wrong about that. Atheism is not the same as Agnosticism. Atheists (if the label is properly applied) actively believe there is no god(s). that is not the same thing as not believing (and having no opinion on the matter). One has done the metaphysical/philosophical/theological legwork and the other hasn’t.

        1. So active disbelief is religion.

          1. No, that’s not what I said. I’m pointing out that Atheists, properly understood, do have a system of beliefs. I don’t care if that’s called “religion” or not.

            1. Apparently someone does care that it’s called a religion. Every single person on Earth has a system of beliefs. A system of beliefs is not automatically a religion.

              1. And a collection of beliefs is not automatically a system.

              2. It’s a distinction without a difference. The point is that you (I’m assuming) have answered the metaphysical question “Is there a God” with “no.” That’s fine, but we shouldn’t act as if this answer doesn’t have real world implications and less than my answer of “yes.”

                1. *any less

          2. So active disbelief is religion.

            If one makes worldview and lifestyle decisions based upon the theological stance of active disbelief, yes.

            1. The key word here is “active”.

              Self described atheists will often go out of their way to denigrate and tear down other religions. They have an firm faith that other religions are wrong and active practice preaching their beliefs to the world to bring others into the what they consider, “the light of reason”.

              It almost every aspect, atheism is a religious system of beliefs.

              Agnostics are noticeably different. They have no faith, but really don’t give a flying shit if other people do.

              1. There is no God or Satan. There is only the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and he’s angry about the Lasagna Heresy. And deep-dish pizza.

        2. Have you considered the possibility that I’m not conflating atheism with agnosticism, but rather that you’re splitting hairs over the difference between “I don’t believe in X” and “I believe not-X”? You may invest a lot of gravity in that distinction, but there are plenty of people who would describe themselves as atheists that say they don’t believe in god.

          1. That’s fine, and right. But there are very many people who simply don’t care and don’t claim to have an answer to the question… something along the lines of: “There may be a God, but probably not. It doesn’t really matter to me though.”

            My point, ultimately, is that Atheists (the hardcore Richard Dawkins types), deny that they have any “belief” whatsoever; that they only care about what they can prove empirically, and that they’re certain there is no god. That is contradictory though, because one cannot empirically prove that there is no god. It is a metaphysical question. The conclusion “there is no god” comes from some form of belief (system or otherwise). It would be another thing if people said, “I only believe what I can prove, therefore I’m agnostic about whether or not there’s a god.” That position I have more respect for.

            1. I like Dawkins for giving the religious fruitcakes what they deserve- ridicule.

              1. That’s a nice ad hominem you left there. There’ s no need for vitriol. Constructive arguments are welcome.

        3. With respect, agnosticism can be a philosophical/rational choice. There are those agnostics who simply don’t care about the topic, and those who have considered the question and decided that is unknowable.

          1. While I have no beef with agnostics, I really don’t see atheism as a positive belief system. Saying that you don’t believe in something for which you find no proof for is not some huge leap into a metaphysical quagmire.

            Not too many people feel the need to be agnostic about leprechauns or Quetzalcoatl or lichs, they just say they don’t exist and go about their day.

            1. I see it as an acknowledgement of that which is unknowable in general. Specific religions/mythologies provide ample opportunity for being disproved.

              And what’s your beef with leprechauns?

              1. Bitches are stingy with their Lucky Charms.

          2. I completely agree! See my post above.

      3. They’re not real?

        *cry*

      4. To my mind, and feel free to disagree with me, Religion is faith in the unprovable, particularly regarding the Creation. Thus, there are a great many Religions that are not recognized as such. Minor Religions may not,concern themselves with Creation – the various sports followings come to mind – but Atheism certain nly does. As such it has no more right to demand a superior punlic position than does Christianity.

        Full disclosure; I regard myself as what used to be called a Crank.

    5. My, the socons are screechy on this thread.

      1. ace should be along shortly

      2. “Screechy.” Feel free to engage in the discussion without the insults.

        1. So being accused of complicity in mass murder isn’t an insult?

          1. Not sure what you’re talking about. I’m certain I didn’t do that, and my arguments are available for discussion, without lumping everyone together as “screechy.”

            1. That’s how this sub-thread started off.

              1. Ah, I see. I would agree that was not fair.

    6. “…they may vehemently deny it, Atheism is as much a religion as Christianity – a set of beliefs based on an unprovable assumption about a higher power.”

      Woefully wrong.

    7. “Atheism is as much a religion as Christianity”

      Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    8. As usual, facts mean nothing to the devout.

      Communism has about as much to do with atheism as it has to do with physics.

      In America, atheists have fewer divorces, commit fewer crimes and have longer lasting marriages than their fundamentalist brethren. They also tend to be wealthier.

      If you use church attendance as a proxy for religiosity, then you’ll find that states with the highest church attendance tend to have the highest murder rates, highest crime rates, highest divorce rates and highest incidence of teen pregnancies.

      You might argue that with so many bad things happening these people need to go to church more often but that’s a hard cause-effect argument to make.

      While these facts may not prove that piety leads to crime, they certainly don’t establish that religion makes life better.

      1. Communism has about as much to do with atheism as it has to do with physics.

        Marxist communism requires atheism, so they’re at least tangentially related. Randian Objectivism also requires atheism. So it’s not mutually exclusive.

      2. Also, your crime stats are bullshit.

        1. In which way? I feel like I’ve heard this argument before, but the problem with the argument is that when devotion was used as a factor, there was a clear difference between the ‘nominals’ and the ‘faithful’, the latter had a lot of good going for them, while the former dragged down the numbers.

          Here, Bob doesn’t make that distinction and just compares Atheists and ‘Christians’, so that’s why I’m wary of the argument here. Furthermore, there might be a class distinction here too, if the wealthy bit is accurate, that needs to be accounted for.

          In other words, I’m not sure there’s a proper ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison going on here, much like how many LGBT ‘studies’ focused exclusively on a small pool of respondents that ensured it showcased the LGBT population in the best (biased) light.

        2. You’ll find this hard to believe but I actually wish this wasn’t true. It would be nice if church attendance actually decreased the tendency to anti-social activities but facts are facts. If people became better people by attending church (and some do, just not enough) I would advocate it for believes myself.

          If you doubt these relationships, go to the Pew Research website and download the list of church attendance by state. Then go to the FBI website and download the list of murder rates by state. Load them both into Excel and do a correlation.

          I didn’t believe this when I first heard it either so I did the research myself. The correlation is about 0.6 or at least it was for the year 2009 when I did this.

    9. The Treaty of Tripoli was negotiated in Washington’s final term, and ratified under Adams. It includes this statement

      The United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
      http://www.usconstitution.net/tripoli.html

      The Treaty was ratified — unanimously — by the Senate, 6 years after they ratified the Bill of Rights. Now add Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. That means the first three Presidents and a unanimous Senate (still mostly original founders) guaranteeing Separation. Thus, there can be no honest claim that the Founders did NOT intend Separation.

      I’ve only heard one challenge to that, claiming that phrase was badly translated. This requires believing the Senate ratified a treaty written in Arabic. How the text was translated is quite lame, because of the unanimous ratification

      For context, the Inquisition was still thriving in Euroipe, plus the Salem Witchcraft Trials on our own soil, were then quite central concerns for our Founders.

      1. The Arabic version of the treaty was meaningless because it was the English version that was voted on. The English version was very clear and Adams made the point that he agreed with every section of the treaty.

        1. Sorry if I was unclear on that same point. But thanks for clarifying anyhow!

        2. Also, about Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. Every one likes to cite his letter but no one ever cites the letter that the Baptists wrote to Jefferson asking for help.

          The Baptists were being forced to pay taxes to support the Congregationalist Church of Connecticut and had to get permission from the Congregationalists to open a Baptist church. At that time, most states had state churches supported by taxes and that were highly influential in making laws. “Religious freedom” meant the freedom of one sect to oppress other sects. Some people want to reinstate the old meaning of religious freedom.

          1. Thanks again! I was going for the variety of people here.
            I usually just say the asked TJ because they WERE being persecuted.
            I also like — versions vary slightly — that TJ showed his draft several folks to comment on. Why do I suspect that’s the only time he ever did that? 🙂

  3. Since the main purpose of gay marriage seems to be to bully and coerce anyone who disapproves of it, I’m against it too.

    1. Certainly, those of us who supported gay marriage didn’t do so with the intent of violating anyone’s First Amendment religious rights.

      A majority of Christians in this country have supported gay marriage for a long time. If they knew gay marriage would be used as an excuse to use government to violate someone’s First Amendment religious rights, they might have thought differently.

      . . . not that gay people’s rights should be subject to a popularity contest anyway. Other people’s religious rights shouldn’t depend on a popularity contest either. If the courts embraced their legitimate purpose in protecting people’s rights, they’d be the solution to these issues rather than a source of problems.

      1. The hand writing was on the wall for everyone to see. The other thing that should have tipped you off was that for decades the Left hated marriage and did everything they could to discredit and destroy it. They didn’t suddenly embrace gay marriage out of some deep change of heart. No, they embraced gay marriage after they figured out it could be used as a weapon to restrict religious freedom. Why anyone thought otherwise or that the left could somehow be dissuaded from using gay marriage for that purpose is beyond me.

        1. The hand writing was on the wall for everyone to see.

          Yup. It shouldn’t have to be the case that supporting gay marriage meant facilitating bullying by the State, but in fact, that’s the way it worked out. As predicted. The predictions were disregarded, and, to be fair, we haven’t seen the kind of legislative activity granting gays full privileges like other protected groups that I thought we would. We are, however, seeing the feds go forward without the benefit of legislation.

          The only federal statutory protection is for “sex”. “Sex” is not gender or sexual preference. Yet the feds have implemented numerous regulations on the premise that a prohibition on sex discrimination includes prohibiting gender or sexual preference discrimination.

      2. Democratization of religious ceremony and private contracts is, as it turns out, pretty dumb.

        1. And it was ultimately decided by the courts anyway.

          Ultimately, I think they’ll probably get it right. Just from a layman’s perspective, though, seems like the courts are both too quick to change and don’t change quickly enough.

          We can revolutionize the concept of marriage in eight years, but Filburn is sacred because of the house of cards built on top of it?

          1. Yep. Meanwhile the Controlled Substances Act is a cash cow, which makes Big Pharma, Big Prison Inc. and police/prison worker unions all Hindus.

      3. Certainly, those of us who supported gay marriage didn’t do so with the intent of violating anyone’s First Amendment religious rights.

        A majority of Christians in this country have supported gay marriage for a long time. If they knew gay marriage would be used as an excuse to use government to violate someone’s First Amendment religious rights, they might have thought differently.

        So, wait are you acting like you didn’t know?

        You’re really going to pretend you weren’t told, daily, by people who you should have listened to, that exactly what has happened would happen?

        No, you were told. You dismissed it as breathless hyperbole.

        1. No, actually, not wanting the government to discriminate against gay people doesn’t mean you want the government to discriminate against religious people.

          The courts refusing to protect the First Amendment religious rights of Christians was not an inevitable consequence of Christians supporting the marriage rights of gays.

          In fact, ultimately, public opinion shouldn’t have mattered–and it didn’t. Are we clear on that? If marriage rights are the law of the land in California, it’s in spite of the voters here amending the state constitution to prohibit it. It is not because I or anyone else voted to support gay marriage.

          Ultimately, the issue wasn’t decided by voters. It was decided by the courts. And if the courts are abusing the rights of religious people in the meantime, then I”m not sure what elections are supposed to do about that either.

      4. I knew, as did many libertarians (and most of the non-libertarians who post here too), which is why I always liked the Full Faith and Credit argument over the Equal Protection argument. Although, even that wouldn’t have been a guarantee against leftist lunacy.

        1. We get to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution to follow or reject. On what basis?

          guarantee against leftist lunacy.

          Does “lunacy” include choosing which parts of the Constitution to accept or reject? Or does it mean choosing different parts of it than you?

    2. Screechy and intellectually dishonest.

    3. That is a dim view of the real motivations of people who want it, and not even remotely true.

      The reason is quite simple: it hijacks legal language already put in place to enfranchise a subset of the population with plenty of benefits “married” couples enjoy.

      There isn’t anything nefarious about it. Being married magically sorts out issues like next-of-kin inheritance of one’s estate. If someone is married and dies, property goes to the surviving spouse absent a will. If a married person gets into an accident, then medical decisions default to the spouse, absent contrary legal documents (a living will, power of attorney, DNR forms, etc.).

      The alternative would be to go back through the entirety of written law and add language to extend the franchise to gay couples.

      The only reason anyone gets upset is because the word “marriage” carries religious connotations. That’s easily sorted when you realize that no church has any obligation to recognize “marriage” any other way than they define it and the secular concept isn’t at all the same thing.

      1. That’s easily sorted when you realize that no church has any obligation to recognize “marriage” any other way than they define it and the secular concept isn’t at all the same thing.

        Religion isn’t just what is contained within a church. When a Christian person’s baking company is forced to recognize a “marriage” differently than they believe, they’re under just as much obligation as when their pastor is forced to marry gay people in their church.

        1. Religion isn’t just what is contained within a church.

          Who suggested that it was?

          You’ll get no argument from me that the use of force by government is often abused and those abuses are dangerous to a free society.

          I disagree with your notion of “obligation.” Your church can tell you to do all kinds of things. Each individual makes the decision whether or not to comply.

          You may say “I disagree with the law on religious grounds that my company should have to provide health insurance because my employees can use it to get contraception.” The former is a statement in-line with Republican views. If you claim to be a libertarian, you could much more easily say “I disagree with a law that forces my company to provide health insurance.”

        2. they’re under just as much obligation as when their pastor is forced to marry gay people in their church.

          Why do you demand they be treated as a special class?
          This is the point Gary Johnson raised. Why is religious belief the only allowed exception?
          A blatant violation of equal rights (my words not his)

        3. “…as when their pastor is forced to marry gay people in their church.”

          Where, in America, was a church (as in established religion, not a chapel run as a business) forced to perform a wedding or recognize a marriage that goes completely against their tenets?

          And how do you think that’s gonna fly with the mosques on American soil?

      2. The only reason anyone gets upset is because the word “marriage” carries religious connotations.

        Yup. And compromises that gave full legal recognition to gay partnerships under a different name were rejected by the gay activists.

        We are now at a point where employers will recognize unmarried gay couples and give them the same benefits as married couples, but not unmarried straight couples, even though gays and straights both have exactly the same access to marriage. Weird.

        1. partner benefits have been around for a long time, RC. Duke University was doing them in the 90s, before any serious talk of gay marriage was heard. Other employers followed suit. At that time, the rebuttal was “what about unmarried straight couples?” and the answer was “they can get married” as if that was a substantive answer.

          1. partner benefits have been around for a long time, RC.

            I know, but at this point, they are an anachronism whose purpose evaporated when gay marriage was legalized.

        2. And compromises that gave full legal recognition to gay partnerships under a different name were rejected by the gay activists.

          Practically speaking, I never understood why – It’s what has exited in NJ for as long as I can remember and I can’t recall anyone ever saying boo about it. The mood of the public changed on the issue though so they would have been stupid to not try to get their cake and eat it too, much to the detriment of social stability.

          I’ve always thought that the best way to handle gay marriage would be to simply change the word marriage to civil union before opening the institution up. Man and woman? Here’s your civil union license. Man and man? Same thing. Do that and you undercut half of the opposition by removing the religious overtones.

          1. the issue was never practical, it was political. The practical aspects are crystal clear but ‘civil unions’ does not carry the perceived gravitas that ‘marriage’ does among the activist crowd; it is seen as a lesser thing, even though any number of non-religious straight couples would likely go that road themselves.

            1. Not to mention, a portion of the activists aren’t primarily interested in legal equivalency, but moral equivalency, ultimately. So, a different name would never do.

        3. “The only reason anyone gets upset is because the word “marriage” carries religious connotations.”

          Yes, this. This is a prime example of the beauty of our Founders when they strove to separate Church and State. This whole issue is the direct result of the State co-opting Church language on the union of man and woman.
          To facilitate gay marriage, the non-statist approach would have been for the State to say “yeh, we aren’t in this business. We will recognize contracts between private parties and provide legal protections that facilitate societal function, but beyond that….we’re done.”
          But no…that would have relinquished power, so what we have is the Progs using a wedge issue to beat social conservatives into submission on the backs of gay couples across the country who now have to deal with massive societal baggage.

        4. And compromises that gave full legal recognition to gay partnerships under a different name were rejected by the gay activists.

          So…

          …separate but equal.

          1. So?

            If equality is the goal, why is separate a problem?

          2. The original knock on “separate but equal” was that the segregated black facilities weren’t really equal.

            When it comes to the law, you actually can have separate but equal.

            I don’t recall if any of the compromise proposals would have changed the terminology for straight marriages.

        5. And compromises that gave full legal recognition to gay partnerships under a different name were rejected by the gay activists.

          Law lives on definitions of words. They likely realized that there was probably never going to be an end to their need to litigate over every single written law in order to be included in it, and the maliciously inclined within government (i.e. most of them) could forestall any sort of progress through legal procedures indefinitely. Add to that the obvious motivation to continue to produce new laws using language to exclude them from the franchise, and they’re given a Sisyphean task meant to wear them down and make them stop trying. That is stupid.

          It’s a childish solution to childish behavior on the part of legislators, but why should that bother a libertarian? When we recognize the futility of fighting a childish state, we can still support a dumb solution that leads to greater equality. It’s a poor substitute for freedom, but better than the alternative. Squabbling over dictionary definitions in this case is a thin gauze over the old “tyranny of the majority” problem and designed to harm some group in the minority.

      3. The only reason anyone gets upset is because the word “marriage” carries religious connotations.

        Even though marriage was not a sacrament until 1500 years after Christ.
        At the time of Moses, “marriage” meant agreeing as individuals and no more, kinda like a handshake with a much greater commitment, or negotiating with the woman’s father,

        And, of course, no level of our government has ever been delegated any power regarding marriage.
        Marriage includes many special privileges by the state, under the bedrock guarantee of equal rights for all .
        Open and shut to any sincere constitutionalist.

        1. At the time of Moses, “marriage” meant agreeing as individuals and no more, kinda like a handshake with a much greater commitment, or negotiating with the woman’s father,

          No, not really at all, in any way shape or form, actually. At that time it was an acknowledgment before the community, especially the community elders, which carried many legal implications, including inheritance rights, property rights, and adultery laws that carried the death penalty. It’s true that it was primarily governed by the civil rather than religious law (property distribution and inheritance) and was commonly negotiated between the groom, or groom’s family, and the woman’s (or more usually the girl’s) father.

      4. That’s easily sorted when you realize that no church has any obligation to recognize “marriage” any other way than they define it

        The several churches being sued for employment discrimination and being forced to provide spousal benefits to gay employees will certainly be glad to hear that.

    4. I think that the Gay community is going to regret that.

    5. Since the main purpose of gay marriage seems to be to bully and coerce anyone who disapproves of it, I’m against it too.

      On the evidence, the bulllies are obviously the fascist wing of “traditional marriage”‘ — a minority of traditional-marriage supporters.,

      Which group wields state power? Simple enough?

      1. The SJWs.

  4. Refusing to grant marriage licenses is like throwing people off of buildings because they’re both anti-gay?

    I don’t think so.

    1. The point of the article is “which is a bigger threat here in America”??

      Chinese restrictions and government control of religions are more dangerous to religious freedom then public accommodation and anti-discrimination laws. But we don’t put the focus on Chinese nationalism of religion over forced association laws because there is no current threat of having Chinese-style religious policy in America. No politician is advocating that, whereas many favor “anti-discrimination”/forced association laws. So it is more pertinent for Americans to discuss forced association laws and why those are bad rather than discussing Chinese faith nationalization.

      There are Christians and Jews in Africa who believe killing gays is right thing to do, but we don’t care about them because they aren’t represented in our nation’s politicians. African-style Christians aren’t big enough of a voting block to make their beliefs a threat to the freedoms of people in this country. What’s more relevant to discussing American politics, African Christians who want to kill gay people or Christian politicians and government employees who think their religious beliefs should mean they can refuse to do their government job for which they are paid.

    2. There’s no equivalence like false equivalence, like no equivalence I know

  5. My, but the commentariat is cranky today.

    I approve.

    1. FUCK YOU RC DEAN

      1. Yesss. Let the crank flow through you . . . .

  6. Yeah Bart the real threat is some clerk in a place you will never live refusing to give a marriage license to a gay couple not a group of people who view burning gays alive as a moderate position.

    You called it dude.

  7. Moore isn’t the only public official who thinks secular law should bow down before his god. Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has said America’s “civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God’s law.” Another former GOP candidate, Mike Huckabee, has said Americans need to “amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards.” Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, characterized her husband as “uniquely qualified to deliver” a “combination of law and religion.” Cruz ratified the sentiment by launching his candidacy at Liberty University with a speech heavy in religious overtones.

    This shows how little some people understand about religion. As a devout Christian (a zealot, in modern parlance), the philosophical and metaphysical basis for my political libertarianism is my Christianity. I was a conservative agnostic, but found my politics changing toward libertarianism as my Christian faith developed.

    As such, the Constitution and American secular laws DO have to comport with God’s law, or else I feel no need to follow them (there are some nuances here not worth getting in to). I also agree that the Constitution should be made in line with God’s standards whenever possible. From a religious point of view, that’s not very controversial. It’s the political equivalent of saying that my bathroom scale should be calibrated such that a pound is a pound.

    1. I also agree that the Constitution should be made in line with God’s standards whenever possible. From a religious point of view, that’s not very controversial. It’s the political equivalent of saying that my bathroom scale should be calibrated such that a pound is a pound.

      So, Mr Trashperson. Please answer the following question for me.

      Do you or do you not believe that it’s okay to use government force to prevent homosexuals from marrying or prostitutes from selling sex?

      1. Do you or do you not believe that it’s okay to use government force to prevent homosexuals from marrying or prostitutes from selling sex?

        I don’t believe it’s okay use government force to stop either. I believe that both activities are immoral, but that I do not have the moral or legal authority to force somebody to stop doing immoral things that only harm themselves and consenting others.

        1. ^This.

        2. I think this post answered my question below. And I appreciate your point of view. I think a majority of Christians in America would tend to agree with this in general. However, the catch seems to be that many of them tend to jump to the conclusion that things like homosexuality and prostitution DON’T just harm the consenting adults engaging in it. That these types of behaviors cause harm to society.

          1. When “society”, apart from the individuals living in it, can file a lawsuit, then I’ll listen.

            Society is the aggregate of individual relationships. It has no existence apart from those individuals. Saying that some activity harms society yet no harm is involuntarily forced upon anyone, makes no sense. Society cannot feel pain or joy or love or even have a solitary thought of its own. Values do not apply to society because values apply to living beings and society is not alive.

            “Harm to society” usually means “I really don’t like seeing people do this”. My life is not affected by people I don’t know having sex, doing drugs, praying to gods or saying crude things. Would I better off if most people, even those with whom I will never have any direct contact, were friendly, polite and productive? Yes, but I have no right to force people to be that way.

            A person’s life is theirs to do with as they please, not as pleases me.

        3. So you do place libertarian ideals above those of Christianity, unlike those Sharia-like Christians that Mr Hinkle writes about above.

          Fair enough. I have no quarrel with you.

          But where we differ is that I define morality based exclusively on “not infringing upon the rights of others (the NAP),” and you define it based upon your religion. I don’t have two masters.

          Our views are not incompatible, so long as you don’t wish to create restrictions to liberty based upon religion.

          1. I don’t want to speak for Lo Mein, but I do not believe he’s placing libertarian ideals about Christianity… I think he’s saying Christianity is consistent with libertarian ideals. At least that’s what I believe.

            1. *above* Christianity

            2. I think he’s saying Christianity is consistent with libertarian ideals.

              So then, what you’re saying is…

              All the Christians who are for using government force to prevent prostitution, have Christianity all wrong?

              I would disagree that Christianity (as I interpret it) and libertarianism are completely compatible. There is a shit-ton of overlap, certainly, but there are many places it’s not. Part of the problem is that the Bible is riddled with inconsistencies, allowing followers to pick and choose their positions.

              Like I said, as long as you don’t wish to limit my freedom based upon anything other than “doing harm to others,” believe anything you want. It’s only those who wish to impose restrictions based upon religion (or anything else) I have a problem with.

              1. All the Christians who are for using government force to prevent prostitution, have Christianity all wrong?

                Yup. I think modern American Christianity sucks pretty bad. In fact, Christianity has been used for evil means throughout the last 2000 years. However, I see that as an indictment of humanity rather than of Christianity.

                1. ^THIS^

                  (In response to Trshmnstr)

                  If Christians were really being honest, Jesus said fuck all about pretty much every single issue that socons/progressives like to beat. One of his most important sermons was the ‘Golden Rule’, which is perfectly cromulent with the NAP.

              2. All the Christians who are for using government force to prevent prostitution, have Christianity all wrong?

                So all I have to do is produce one atheist who supports laws against prostitution to prove that atheism, or at least your “oh my god dad it’s not a phase this is who I am!” version of it, is incompatible with libertarianism? Because I don’t think that would be too much trouble.

                The NAP is compatible with any and all religious ideologies. Islam included.

                1. Anyone who supports laws against victimless crime is not complying with the NAP. Has nothing to do with whether they are religious or not.

                  The NAP is compatible with any and all religious ideologies. Islam included.

                  Yep. As long as you don’t promote the initiation of force you can be a libertarian Christian/Muslim/bricklayer, hell even a lawyer.

                2. What’s NAP?

                  1. Stalwart: Non-Aggression Principle.

                    Prostitution is, unfortunately, something that both sides of the aisle agree on that it should be outlawed. For the conservatives, because morality. For the progressives, because objectification and human trafficking. Which leaves the poor schlub that just wants to get laid (and has the money to pay for it) facing a huge risk of jail time and possibly the “S-O” scarlet letters.

          2. I’d also add that, in my opinion, the “Sharia-like Christians” are doing it wrong. Christianity shouldn’t be about controlling others. Quite the opposite, really.

          3. So you do place libertarian ideals above those of Christianity

            I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler?not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

            – 1 Cor. 5:9-13

            If that’s not a basic exposition of libertarianism coming from the Bible, then I don’t know what is. Paul says not to associate with immoral brothers (members of a voluntary association) and to shun them, but that associating with outsiders and not judging outsiders is important.

            My faith informs my politics, not vice versa.

            1. In all fairness, I am not sure that the verse in question is, strictly speaking, libertarian. It certainly is not a prooftext of statism in the NT either. It seems rather, that it is silent on the question of who decides.
              In a country with separation of church and state, then this indeed an example of free association. The membership of the club gets to decide the rules for being in the club. But, there is nothing in the text that addresses not to force this on anyone, or that there is anything inherently wrong with the secular government working with the church to decide who is to be shunned.

              1. But, there is nothing in the text that addresses not to force this on anyone, or that there is anything inherently wrong with the secular government working with the church to decide who is to be shunned.

                Those issues were covered elsewhere by Paul and by Christ himself:

                Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

                They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”

                They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied.

                Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.

                Particularly in context, those verses are important in that the government in authority at the time was secular and even hostile to religious minorities.

    2. I am honestly curious about how you interpret “God’s Law”. I am not trying to be argumentative. I have very strong feelings of what my gods expect of me. And obviously if secular law requires that I do something that is against what I believe in, I may choose not to follow that law. And if secular law forbids me from doing something, I may also choose not to follow it. But, that isn’t the same thing as saying American secular law should have to comport with the wisdom contained in the Havamal, or that secular holidays should be based on Germanic gods.

      So if you are saying that the Constitution and secular law should comport with “God’s law” in the sense that we all should be free to follow our conscience (as long as it doesn’t impede another person doing the same), than ok. But, if you are saying that secular law should correspond to the 10 Commandments, or Church canon law, or should be primarily based on Jesus of Nazareth’s teachings, than that is where many of us would have a big problem with that.

      1. But, if you are saying that secular law should correspond to the 10 Commandments, or Church canon law, or should be primarily based on Jesus of Nazareth’s teachings, than that is where many of us would have a big problem with that.

        This is probably going to be a jumbled mess, but I’ll try to explain my thinking.

        I’m approaching it less from a lawmaking view and more from a law abiding view. In that sense, there are three types of laws, Just laws, Neutral laws, and Unjust laws. I am morally compelled to follow laws that are passed that accord with the above teachings, the Just laws. I am also morally compelled to follow laws that are neutral up to a point where it interferes with my ability to live out my faith.* I am morally compelled to violate laws that are unjust because they stand in contract with the above teachings.

        As I personally apply this to my view of lawmakers, I want people who will get rid of laws I am compelled to violate, which is all of the neutral and unjust laws, and enforce the Just laws in a Just manner. That would, by its nature, bring our secular laws in line with God’s laws.

        Theocracy is on a whole different level of thought than I’m operating on. Legal enforcement of morality is frowned upon in the New Testament.

        *I personally believe that all neutral laws interfere in some small amount with my ability to live out my faith, but most do not rise to a level where I need to violate them.

        1. I agree 100%. This may be the way I frame my thinking from now on. The only thing I’d add is that the revealed character of the God of the bible tends to be on the side of freedom (physical freedom for the Hebrews and spiritual freedom after). Obviously some will argue that faith is the opposite of freedom, but I would disagree.

          1. Obviously some will argue that faith is the opposite of freedom, but I would disagree.

            It’s fascinating to see how slavery is used metaphorically in the NT. Physical freedom from bondage was recognized as a good, if unattainable, thing by the 1st century audience of the scriptures. However, more than once faith is described as a less burdensome slavery. The premise was that your soul is perpetually enslaved, so you should flock to the best master.

            1. I appreciate both of your points of view. Although, I personally wouldn’t agree that our souls are perpetually enslaved, but so what! Whether you choose liberty because that is the best way that you can freely obey your god’s commands, or I choose liberty because my gods want men to be strong and rise to their potential, we still agree that we don’t want other men (whether they be a tyrant, or the majority) to dictate how we live our lives, provided we don’t dictate to others.

            2. Just as an aside, one of the things that always bothered me about both Jewish and Christian teachings, was the reliance on the analogy of people being sheep. And that God (or Jesus, or your preacher, etc.) is the shepherd leading his flock.

              There is a reason my screen name isn’t Sheep Jesusson…….

              1. I think that is precisely the point of using sheep as the metaphor. Anyone with any experience with sheep know that they are stupid to a fault and unruly. It is an exercise in humility to see yourself that way, one that would have been especially understandable as shepherding was much more of a commonplace profession back then.

      2. But, if you are saying that secular law should correspond to the 10 Commandments, or Church canon law, or should be primarily based on Jesus of Nazareth’s teachings, than that is where many of us would have a big problem with that.

        That “many” includes Presidents Washington Adams and Jefferson, plus the entire US Senate in the ninth year of our Republic. Beyond that, how could any sincere constitutional conservative or libertarian NOT support the requirement to amend our Constitution to do otherwise?

  8. *slow clap*

    Awesome job, Mr Hinkle.

    Conservative principles seem to vary depending on which foot the shoe is worn.

    1. Have you noticed the similarity between Christian and Muslim fundamentalists?
      Both seek to impose their values on everyone by force.

  9. The delicious irony here is that the people who are screeching the loudest about Sharia are people who routinely condemn homosexuals and homosexual behavior. Yes, the hypocrisy here is obvious, but not surprising.

    1. Yes, because killing gays and being opposed to homosexuality is the same thing. Just like killing IRS agents and being opposed to the current tax code is the same thing.

      1. I kill everyone. Softly. With my song.

        1. It’s not your song that’s killing us.

      2. Something something every law passed is ultimately enforced by threat of death something something libertarian buzzword something

      3. People who are “opposed to homosexuality” are already making a category error in thinking that other peoples’ sexuality is any of their concern.

        1. Why? People can find something immoral or whatever without demanding that the state step into the mix. And it would seem that if other people’s sexuality is no one’s concern – and I agree with that – forcing people to make it their concern through wedding cakes or bathroom pissing contests is also wrong.

          1. I didn’t say anything about the law or wedding cakes. How can you read between the lines when there’s only two of them?

            1. because your “category error” aspect runs both ways. A person believing homosexuality is wrong but leaving it at that is a little different from one who supports it and wants to marshal the state to force you to support it, too. You sound like one person butting his nose into another’s business is new.

        2. That’s your worldview (one I understand), not mine. I believe in helping people. The key here is that I don’t believe force should ever be used, and that obviously would preclude using the government as a tool to enforce my beliefs about helping others. Instead, I believe my tools are my voice, my money, and my time, and the same of anyone who’d like to join me.

      4. Hating vs killing is secondary to the totally arrogant denial of equal rights. Or ignoring the “inconvenient” detail that no level of government has ever been delegated any power at all regarding marriage itself.

        1. the totally arrogant denial of equal rights. Or ignoring the “inconvenient” detail that no level of government has ever been delegated any power at all regarding marriage itself.

          Which side are you yammering at? The people who wanted to expand government power over marriage to gay couples, or the people who wanted government to get out of the marriage business? I can’t recall a single time that anybody on H&R argued for keeping only straight marriage. Maybe John did, but I thought he was for getting government out.

          1. the totally arrogant denial of equal rights. Or ignoring the “inconvenient” detail that no level of government has ever been delegated any power at all regarding marriage itself.

            Which side are you yammering at?

            Does boldface help?

            The people who wanted to expand government power over marriage to gay couples,

            Again : ” no level of government has ever been delegated any power at all regarding marriage itself”

            or the people who wanted government to get out of the marriage business?

            Which ones? Ron Paul and others say the words but mean the opposite. Ask what happens UNTIL government is out of it, and they want government to stay out of … granting equal rights. Totally unacceptable.

            I can’t recall a single time that anybody on H&R argued for keeping only straight marriage.

            I have no idea what H&R means. Sorry, I don’t know how to be more clear:
            Hating vs killing is secondary to the totally arrogant denial of equal rights

            I was responding to your own yammering. Forget?

            Yes, because killing gays and being opposed to homosexuality is the same thing. Just like killing IRS agents and being opposed to the current tax code is the same thing.

            As a libertarian, I favor neither. The rights of Life and Liberty are both unalienable … thus precisely equal. I assume Jefferson knew the meaning of the word.

            1. they want government to stay out of … granting equal rights.

              Probably a good idea since rights aren’t granted by governments. Loving the new handle btw.

    2. Islam also turns them into strident feminists.

      1. How can you observe this phenomenon and then deny that there are miracles in the universe?

        1. Self-serving hypocrisy is not a miracle.

          1. Whatever. Next you’ll tell me that John can’t actually read minds.

      2. There is a proper and improper way to keep your women obedient Sugarfree. This is known.

        1. +1 Strong Pimp Hand.

      3. doesn’t this assume that feminists give a shit about women in non-western countries?

    3. So one cannot have an opinion that homosexual relations are morally improper without it veing equivalent of thinking that gays should be killed? Does that mean if you think theft is wrong you might as well advicate for chopping a thief’s hand off?

    4. It was the Liberal Part of America in its 1931 platform that denounced Mercenary Religion, offered to dissolve the Ku-Klux Klan and scolded Henry Ford’s National Socialist attacks on all things jewish. The platform went on to promise repeal of the Volstead act and lead the fight for repeal of the 18th Amendment. To this day American Nazis identify themselves by their salivary vituperations against undefined “liberals” (meaning free-market beer-legalizers). Only in AmeriKKKa does Conservative identify nationalsocialist throwbacks to Positive Christianity and girl-bullying.

  10. So conservatives are right: The U.S. does face a very real danger that religious fundamentalism could undermine the principles of American constitutional governance. They’re just looking for the threat in the wrong place.

    This is a point well taken. Free people cannot allow someone else’s religious affirmations become public policy. For instance, I am sure the whole Reason staff will be there besides the rest of us, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, steadfast, while we fight the public policies that the Volcano God Activists (a.k.a. Climatey Changey-mongers) want to impose on us on totally religious grounds, as in “We’re all sinners [we use fossil fuels to improve our lives] and we must ATONE for our sins [we should go back to the caves whence we came]!”

  11. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore[…] had instructed that state’s justices to disregard the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage and a federal judge’s decision striking down Alabama’s ban on same-sex unions. He said the state’s judges had a “ministerial duty” not to approve marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples.

    That sounds lovely except that the obligatory nature of marriage licenses necessarily means everyone is entitled to a marriage license providing certain unlawful conditions do not exist, and they do not exist thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. This means that regardless of Justice Moore’s motivations, he was completely wrong, both legally AND morally.

    1. and Moore was suspended, effectively finished as a state justice. Just like I’m sure happens to the various imams and clerics advocating violence against gays, women, and assorted infidels.

    2. Moore isnt even wrong.

      Old Mex…Roy Moore, while chief justice of the Alabamy state supreme court, accepted this argument –

      Alabamy outlawed vibrators/dildos. When that law was challenged and brought before the ASC the challengers had medical doctors, psychiatrists, sex therapists and all sort of qualified experts testify that not only were such sex aids not harmful but they were quite helpful and were often used to treat all manner of sexual disfunction both physical and psychological.

      Word for word, I will never forget it, the state argued back “Sure, these sex aids don’t cause any physical harm. They don’t cause any psychological harm. But, what about the moral harm they cause?!”

      That was the sum total of their argument and Moore found it sufficient.

      Good riddance to Roy Moore.

      1. Any judge that rules in favor of state regulation/banning of sex toys should be soundly *redacted* until *redacted*.

        (Don’t mind this post Mr. AG, it’s all juvenile bluster and flim flammery.)

  12. Damn Zealots. Lol

  13. I see you guys started without me.

    Well, I’ll just leave this out there: Certain key tenets of radical Protestantism are codified in the U.S. Constitution.

    I refer to the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibits slavery or involuntary servitude (except for convicted criminals).

    This is a blatant establishment of Quakerism and various forms of radical Northern Protestantism, imposed by force.

    The fact that people other than Quakers and radical Northern Protestants oppose slavery, too, is a pure distraction – anybody who wants to abolish slavery *must be* a Quaker or radical Protestant, QED.

    1. Oh, and also, if you’re going to claim that *real* Christianity supports polygamy, then you can’t turn around and say that the 1-man/1-woman definition of marriage is a Christian imposition.

  14. Republican Prohibition Conservatives were the purveyors of Mohammedan law in These States, as pointed out by apostate Pauline Sabin in 1929. Henry Ford, Herbert Hoover and a host of other national socialist zealots made light beer a federal felony and set swarms of dry killers to gunning down the populace, padlocking businesses and conducting asset forfeiture raids rubber-stamped in kangaroo courts. It was Pauline Sabin who remarked that Mohammedans have had prohibition for 600 years, yet do not own the world. This was in reply to dry taunts that prosperity had resulted from feeble pre-1929 enforcement. By 1933, “repeal parties” were celebrations of the repeal of prohibition AND THE DEPRESSION. Back then the causal connection was clear to all but prohibition-conservative religious fanatics.

  15. Reason’s silence on religious liberty, save for Stephanie Slade, and then this hyperbolic ‘fear mongering’ (look out- there’s a christian behind you that isn’t checking his privilege!) is truly telling. Two level incidences of Justice Moore and Kim Davis (both of which was quickly resolved) pails in comparison to a concerted effort by the federal government to violate the rights of conscience of religious groups (those evil nuns with their damn ‘helping people’ and stuff).

    But, it’s not surprising. So-called ‘libertarians’ are always looking to sell-out principle if it makes them look good for Leftists. Hell, look at ‘Libertarian’ vice presidential candidate Bill Weld. Interesting, how Reason has not yet reported how he has announced to spend the rest of the election campaign attacking Trump to ensure that Hillary is elected.

    Libertarian=coward

    1. “…(Bill Weld) has announced to spend the rest of the election campaign attacking Trump to ensure that Hillary is elected.”

      Cite?

    2. a concerted effort by the federal government to violate the rights of conscience of religious groups (those evil nuns with their damn ‘helping people’ and stuff)

      Examples? The contraception thing was shot down.

      he has announced to spend the rest of the election campaign attacking Trump to ensure that Hillary is elected

      :Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

      But, it’s not surprising. So-called ‘libertarians’ are always looking to sell-out principle if it makes them look good for Leftist

      We usually hear that bullshit from extreme social conservatives (statists)
      Libertarians have been fiscally conservative and socially liberal since … 1969. So you’re critiquing a movement you know little or nothing about.

  16. I guess it depends if you’re using Shariah law literally or euphemistically.

    Because in the case of the latter, it ain’t conservatives forcing Shariah law on folks.

    1. I was gonna say, isn’t it progressives whose language is indistinguishable from Shariah?

      1. It’s anyone who attempts to impose a strict set of beliefs upon the greater population. I’ve seen conservatives and progressives do this.

  17. After flirting with political relevance for the better part of a year, nice to see Libertarian’s reverting back to the tried and true “Democrats who hate God and get 0.7% of the vote” method of engagement.

    Seriously, this country has bigger fish to fry.

    1. But even most conservative Christians believe in Separation. Almost all denominations have been persecuted by church/state power, including their own … worst of all, the (un)Holy Inquisition, which committed the First Holocaust (mass slaughter of Jews) Google “Rhineland Massacres.” They even did it on German soil!

      Few people know the Inquisition was still committing moral atrocities at our founding, until roughly our Civil War. The Founders also knew about the Salem Witchcraft Trials. And we all learned that “religious liberty” brought many to our shores. … which is why the Founders INTENDED Separation in the First Amendment. Per Jefferson, who has NEVER been challenged by anyone of with any credibility.at all. At the time, “religious liberty” MEANT freedom from church/state power (somewhat obviously)

  18. Goodbye Roy Moore. Good riddance.

    This guy has been a stain on the legal system for decades. I thought the last time they tossed him off of the court he was gone for good. No such luck. This is long past due.

  19. Most of the atheists I know fall into the agnostic category (myself included). I don’t have enough evidence to say one way or the other whether a god exists. I will say that anyone who claims to have this evidence is completely full of shit. So really, when I reject your silly religion as false, I’m not diametrically opposed to it as many theists seem to think. I’m not saying “There is no god”, but rather, “your (and my) feeble minds couldn’t grasp it if it does exist”.

    1. Maybe, but again, the assumptions you have to make for your last statement to be true are quite unproven themselves.

      1. They don’t have to be proven. Logic 101. Cannot prove a negative.

        1. A) Though I appreciate your folksy, talking point “logic”, you CAN prove a negative, evidence of absence for example. In fact, one of the actual rules of logic – the law of non-contradiction, is itself a negative.

          Also, hilariously, “Cannot prove a negative” is a negative statement, which if it were true, would mean it was proven, which if it was proven, couldn’t be true. Congrats on your paradox.

          B) Even if your blathering was correct, I was referring to the assumptions made that underpinned his final statement, (which is a positive statement, btw), not the statement itself. You don’t get to make statements based on unfounded assumptions and just shrug it off when someone questions their validity.

    2. Speak for yourself. Atheist is a fairly recent epithet mystics made up to tarbrush freethinkers and flatter communists.

  20. . . . they correctly point out that Islam as practiced in some countries is a brutal ideology that executes people for committing homosexual acts, cruelly oppresses women . . .

    S’funny, Christianity used to do a lot of that, and not too long ago. Calls for these things to return are still heard even here in the US. In fact, a lot of the people fighting (the currently non-existent push to implement) Sharia would be perfectly happy to enshrine Christian law into, uh, law and take us back to the days of ‘homosexuality is an intolerable abomination’.

    1. How can Sharia Law be adapted without amending the constitution?
      And if the Constitution could be so amended,. and ratified by the states, who are you to overrule our Founders?

      And last I checked, Christian conservatives say homosexuality is an abomination … AND tried to enshrine that in law (but failed) … based upon a rather shameful misreading of Mosaic Law in the Old Testament. I strongly suspect that God did not intend his followers to pick and choose which of his Laws to obey and which to ignore?

      If we are to honor the Bible on homosexuality … when do we start stoning to death all infidels and non-virginal brides?

      1. based upon a rather shameful misreading of Mosaic Law in the Old Testament.

        Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

        -1 Cor. 6:9-10 (New Testament)

        I really don’t want to get into the whole “two laws” discussion today, but you’re rather misinformed.

        1. If we are to honor the Bible on homosexuality … when do we start stoning to death all infidels and non-virginal brides?

          But you’re rather misinformed.

          Only if you TOTALLY ignore my point.
          Because you proved me correct, precisely.
          Selectively quoting the Bible is like choosing which of God’s laws to obey and which to ignore.
          On what basis do you place your own will above the Will of Almighty God?

          Please tell us how well you obey God on THESE commands. Have you …
          1) Immediately killed all infidels, including one’s own brother spouse, child or friend? (Deuteronomy 13)

          2) Stone to death all women who were not virgins on their wedding night. (Deuteronomy 22)

          3) You’re allowed to marry ONLY a virgin from your own clan (Leviticus). That one won’t earn you a stoning, but if you have a wife of a different nationality you defy God;s Will there ALSO.

          If you follow the homosexuality law but refuse to follow any of those (there are many more), how much of a blasphemer are you?

          but you’re rather misinformed.

          I’m also not a moral hypocrite. Lesson: NEVER snow somebody who knows the Bible. Anything else?

          1. Yeah, you’re ignoring the New Testament. The ‘New Contract’ which God has established with his people.

            So, no, you’re not a moral hypocrite, just ignorant.

            1. Yeah, you’re ignoring the New Testament. The ‘New Contract’ which God has established with his people.

              (laughing) Selecting parts of the Bible.like I said! Cut the crap. I taught Bible studies. VERY few Christians deny the entire New Testament.

              So, no, you’re not a moral hypocrite, just ignorant.

              Repeat: NEVER snow somebody who knows the Bible.

              Sorry, that may be unfair. You may have been the victim of manipulation, not the manipulator

              1. My point is that the verses you pulled up were all from the Old Testament, specifically the Mosaic Law that you pointed out. That law applies Judaism. The Mosaic Law was replaced by Jesus’ teachings and his sacrifice. So, Christians aren’t the ones picking and choosing which of the laws we follow. God himself has established two different contracts, the first with the Israelite of the Old Testament, and then the new contract given by Jesus in the New Testament, which completely overhauled the law, while ‘fulfilling’ its original purpose.

                So, you’re original claim: “I strongly suspect that God did not intend his followers to pick and choose which of his Laws to obey and which to ignore?”

                It is wrong because God specifically canceled the old contract (Mosaic Law) to establish the new contract. That’s why, I, as a Christian, am allowed to eat what I want because the dietary restrictions were eliminated at God’s command. Furthermore, the penal code was for the Israelite nation, whereas Christians in the new covenant are no longer tied to any one nation, hence, nullifying the three verses you mentioned.

                I’m surprised that you taught Bible Studies. Were you not taught about the differences between old and new covenants? I know there’s a verse where Jesus says that not one dot of the old law would pass away, is that what’s confusing?

          2. This is what I get for not looking at the author of the comment I’m replying to.

            Sorry Hihn, I’m not interest in engaging you in sophomoric banter and passive-aggressive troll baiting. G’day.

      2. Don’t ask me – I’m not a seriously Fundamentalist Christian.

        1. Don’t ask me – I’m not a seriously Fundamentalist Christian.

          You’re not the one I was baiting .,.. and caught!

  21. And yet, states can and do refuse to honor permits from other states to exercise the second amendment. Last I looked, the constitution specifically allows keeping and bearing arms, but does not mention marriage at all.

    1. . Last I looked, the constitution …. does not mention marriage at all.

      Which is exactly why government was NEVER delegated any power regarding marriage. Delegated powers, eh?

      And, well known to those of us who KNOW the Constitution, RIGHTS need not be enumerated at all. Read the Ninth Amendment. It explicitly and intentionally defends all fundamental rights not enumerated in the Constitution.

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

      Can you list for us what those rights are? I didn’t think so. That’s what “unenumerated” means. Precisely as Jefferson did in the Declaration. Recall he LISTED only Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness … but only REFERENCED all the others, which are also unalienable.

      In a government of delegated powers, rights overrule powers. That means (also called fundamental) rights trump the 10th Amendment entirely. The 10th does NOT reserve powers ONLY to states. Intentionally The founders weren’t crazy enough to permit UNdelegated powers by the states … a principle ratified by the states.

  22. A Barton Hinkle is an appeaser for islam………….

    1. So, in your bipolar world, one either hates or appeases.

  23. Are you including ‘man made global warming’ believers and Bernie Sanders socialists in your definition of Religious Zealots? If not you should.

    1. Ron Bailey is a religious zealot? The Koch brthers? (google their Niskanen Center)

    2. Why not? Petr Beckmann surprised me by naming communism and antinuclear nihilism as religions. Mystics agree that you need to be forced at gunpoint to obey stuff they up and believe is true based on no evidence whatsoever. The very idea of verifiable evidence is an insult to Faith itself. This programming exploits a social pressure vulnerability in human nature to whip up Klaverns, Jihads and Crusades of cyanide-guzzling sacrificers to the Higher Goods of altruism, superstition and ignorance. Even Richard Dawkins, who inadvertently put objectivist ethics on a scientific footing, was surprised and caught off-guard by the shrieks of protest from all versions of the altruist credo.

  24. We all know — right? — that Chief Justice Moore’s position on marriage equality is identical to Ron Paul’s. Ron’s may be even worse because he says “rogue judges” had no power to strike down part of DOMA … despite having sponsored a (failed) bill to forbid the Court from even hearing any challenges to DOMA … a power they don’t have anyhow! (You may need to read that again!)

    It’s rather bizarre when a purported libertarian says judges have no power to defend us from legislative abuse of our fundamental rights … based on a false reading of the 10th Amendment, and entirely ignoring the “libertarian amendment” (9th) which cant be defended ONLY by the judiciary.

    And, how is it “federalism” for Ron to defend an otherwise “intrusive” federal government overruling state laws?

    Aw geez, I’ve been Politically Incorrect. What will happen to me?

    1. Ron and Randall Paul are antichoice republicans. Pediatricians like women barefoot and pregnant. It’s a crony thing…

      1. (smile)

      2. I could have sworn that I’d read somewhere that Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist, not a pediatrician.

  25. Alright, I’m hitting my limit. I’m a conservative who has been visiting Reason for a few months now. While I don’t see eye-to-eye with Libertarians on everything, there are many similar principles that, such as limited government, that I do agree with and am happy to see defended here. Not to mention the entertainment value of the comment sections, which is sorely lacking elsewhere.

    I am seriously considering voting for Johnson, but I want to vote for an actual Libertarian. I’ve heard enough that Johnson isn’t that much of a representative, while Weld seems to be Liberal-lite. While I find great value in reading the comment sections here, the same can’t be said of the actual articles. Some of the aim Left, sometimes very Left.

    So, I ask, is there an actual Libertarian to support right now, or is it simply Liberal-lite?

    1. Some of them* aim…

      Sorry about that.

    2. While I find great value in reading the comment sections here, the same can’t be said of the actual articles

      People actually read the articles? 😉

      Seriously though, I skim the articles and read the comments much more deeply. I’m a former conservative turned libertarian, and I’m not voting this fall. I’m not holding my nose for the lesser of two evils, and Johnson/Weld is a bit too far from my ideology to warrant rolling out of bed to vote for.

      Some people like Darrell Castle, but I found him a bit too so-con for my tastes. I would’ve voted for Austin Petersen if he were on the ticket for the LP.

      1. Yawn… another antiabortion Tea Party infiltrator. Go ahead and vote Teatotalitarian, and they might get lucky and have Austin as one of their candidates in a couple of years.

      2. I too was rooting for Austin Petersen and was dismayed when Johnson won. That said, I thought, given how horrible Clinton and Trump was, it’d be easy to vote Libertarian this year, but Johnson and Weld continually make what I think are bad calls and drive me away.

        And yeah, I think I’ve started to just skim the articles now, though I try to read them, to kinda ‘earn’ the right to read the comments. Or make sure I don’t miss anything and come off like an idiot.

    3. So, I ask, is there an actual Libertarian to support right now, or is it simply Liberal-lite?

      For President? You’re SOL. Johnson’s the best we’ve got. Rand is better – but he ran as an R and didn’t take the nom so he’s out of the running. Maybe for the best, as I think he’ll do better for ‘the cause’ in Congress than in the White House.

      The case for voting for Johnson, liberal-lite that he is? Well, mainly its that I don’t actually expect him to get elected but he’s the one guy who’s gotten the closest. He’s made not just libertarianism but *third parties themselves* almost relevant. He’s an incremental vote – I don’t expect him to get elected and I don’t actually expect him to shift the nation away from the ‘statist’ side of the spectrum, but I do expect him to make the next libertarian candidate more viable.

      A vote for him is a force multiplier – not much use itself but makes other things more effective.

      1. Johnson’s the steer the cowboys chase into the river below the fording shallows. While the piranhas attack him we herd across a mess of congressional, senate, gubernatorial and state regulatory, municipal, county and bureaucratic candidates. Every spoiler vote we get scares the bullshit out of large packs of predatory looters. To keep their jobs they will cut spending, regulation and throw taxes under the train. When the People’s Party got a huge multiple of the gap btwn winner and loser those hornswoggling Republicans and Democrats fell all over each other to pass an income tax “BOTH” parties had repudiated as nonsensical and German. When the same thing happened again in 2000 the Dems began militantly defending the entire econazi platform, making the Green party the dead letter it is today. Spoiler votes are what change the law of the land, and don’t you ferget it!

      2. I can understand the incremental argument, even if I think it’s stupid that any national parties inherently get more advantages than others just because of the size of voter rolls.

        My issue with that argument is that I don’t want to encourage the Libertarian Party going further to the Left by thinking Johnson’s version of Libertarian is what’s actually needed instead of realizing that what support he is getting is simply the disgust with the current candidates.

      3. Rand is better – but he ran as an R and didn’t take the nom

        He ran what MAY be THE moist God-awful stupid campaign I’ve seen in 50 years. He also proved his dad’s quirky coalition cannot be expanded.

        Seriously, how can a sentient being go to Berkeley to recruit liberals (good) … then TOTALLY piss it all way with the wacky call for religious tent revivals? WTF

    4. Stewart, there are VERY few libertarians here (fiscally responsible and socially tolerant). Mostly EXTREME social conservatives. Some history for context.

      We’ve always had two factions, pro-liberty and anti-government. Liberty lovers and government haters. Work toward a free society or anarchy. An estimated 40-50,000 liberty lovers are in elected office, active in their communities, thus expanding acceptance of libertarian values.

      he latter have no interest in governing. Many say only statists care about policies and getting elected, which they call compromising with the debbil state. They have no interest in evolving a free society for everyone. Most are about moving somewhere they can dominate. Like Moonies to Oregon, Davidians to Waco, People’s Temple to Jonestown. What cults do.

      Gary is a pussy because he wants to govern, propose and pass laws to expand individual liberty. Most Americans are NOT open to anti-gummint purists. They ARE open to providing everything we have now, better or cheaper, with or without government. Our challenge is to SHOW how and why private solutions would be best … or weaken state power until people are ready for greater change. We cannot adopt solutions until AFTER we change the culture. Common sense? Anarchists don’t give a shit.

      On social issues, hold whatever personal values you want . Liberty defends all PEACEFUL values, leaving people to do their thing.

      Cont’d

      1. Part 2

        The limited government you want means government defends individual liberty, instead of imposing the values of some elite. Or instead of imposing your values. In a free society we all defend each other’s values, even ones we disagree with. Without force.

        Freedom also has a price, if you choose to live in a society instead of on a desert island with anarchists. Give and take. I’ve worked with perhaps hundreds of new libertarians coming in from the right and left. Unless you HATE social tolerance, many new libs swallow a “dislike” for social issues, as the price of joining the ONLY defenders of economic liberty. Think about it. That’s the only way to respect EVERYONE’s values, in an actual society. Or go live with the hermits. Or support what we see as a police state.

        I believe those are your options,bin principle, based on what you’ve said. We’ll support whatever you do, unless you want government to impose values instead pf defending them. Then you would be the enemy. Because we really do defend each other ..,. to death if needed (unlike the anarchists)

        I hope this helps. It’s a short version of conversations I’ve enjoyed sharing for over 40 years.

        1. Well, it was a fascinating lesson about context, but it doesn’t help with my current predicament on who to vote for this presidential election.

          My problem is that I was willing to vote Libertarian because I view that as more conservative than outright liberalism, which is why I valued Johnson over the actual liberal (Clinton) and the fake conservative (Trump). Except, as the campaign went on, Johnson made it clear that he was more interested in attracting attention from the liberals (e.g. Bernie Bros) over the conservatives (Never Trumpers) as opposed trying to appeal both equally.

          Throw in Weld, who is definitely more Liberal than Libertarian, and I started doubting that the LP ticket was worth it. In comes the VP debate, and Pence shows that there’s at least one conservative in the race.

          So, while I was willing to vote for a Libertarian, I’m not willing to vote for a LP ticket that’s essentially two Liberal-lites, when I can vote for a fake conservative and a real conservative on the GOP ticket and that be ultimately more conservative than liberal, even with Trump on top of the ticket.

          1. We’re going to disagree on Weld, possibly because he’s the one who speaks most on social tolerance. His governorship was in Massachusetts, so he dealt with it more than Gary did in NM.

            For me, if I look from the negative side, which candidates pose the greatest threat?. I see Trump and Clinton as being much worse than a Weld VP. But all of us have different “passionate” issues.

            I came out of Goldwater, voted for him. So I’ve been where you are. For me it was easier perhaps because I’d read Ayn Rand and my social views were probably set by civil rights activism. That gave many of my classmates a strong sense of tolerance. At the same time, my wife’s “best friend” was a gay guy, (a masculine one) so my first exposure was all positive. Unheard of in 1961!

            I do admire the attention you’re giving this. Pence shows far superior to Trump. Some say the debate was his opening for Pres in 2020. I agree. But for me, his LGBT kills it totally. For the reason I stared, imposing one set of values.

            I did say I’d walked with maybe hundreds of libs just starting. I’m seeing you as voting Republican this year, definitely evolving into libertarianism, when you’re ready. Still having some issues with us. Take your time. I’d bet big money that you already ACT fairly libertarian. But that’s private. Thanks for sharing.

            1. Really? I thought Weld’s biggest ‘sin’ here was that he was anti-2nd Amendment until his ‘conversion’ to the LP as opposed to social tolerance.

              So, given that reaction, I decided to give a quick look at On the Issues, not a strong source, but I figured it’d give me a better idea of his stances. I would assume Libertarians would take issue with the support for affirmative action, welfare programs, and climate change policies. While I would also take issue with his abortion, immigration, and LGBT stances. Really, the only thing he seems to have going for him is his economic policies, which are definitely good. But that’s a lot of bad to go with.

              Of course, that’s half of my logic, ideology. If I went realpolitik, then the answer is Trump because of Clinton. I don’t view this election as a proper election but as a law enforcement event. Clinton has been allowed to corrupt the Departments of State and Justice. How much more damage could she do as President?

              In that vein, I would vote for whoever could stop her, which, unfortunately, would be Trump. I was really hoping for a while that Johnson would rise in the polls to be able to challenge either of them.

              And thanks for the admiration. Ever since this election started, I’ve become quite politically active, and it’s good to know that I’m keeping a level-head. Not sure if I act libertarian or will become one proper but will see.

      2. pass laws to expand individual liberty.

        Bombing for peace… fucking for virginity…

    5. Another fumbling life-begins-at-erection agitator fumbling and grubbing for antichoice votes. The Antichoice is back to 3 to 1 odds that youse guise lose and the dames win (see Paddypower). Libertarians aren’t stupid enough to give up a chance to cast law-changing spoiler votes worth 6 to 30 times their weight in votes in order to waste ballots on girl-bullying losers.
      Try the Tea or Consta-to-shun bums down the street… Maybe Lyndon LaRouche?

  26. you conveniently ignore Judge Moore’s basis for his stand, just as you did in the monument issue.

    A quick refresher for you:

    FedGov have NO AUTHORITY to meddle in affairs not assigned it per the Constitution. Thus the SCOTUS, nor any other Fed court, can even take up such a case. ALL those issues renain with the states, or their people. What is at issue is not sodomite marriage, or any facsimile thereof, but an unlawful usurpation of authority not granted FedGov. Too bad no one in California had the spine to get in FedGov’s face when they “overturned” the clearly expressed will of Californians on this issue: the issue of FedGov stomping on the constitutional RIGHT of the people of California or any other state to determine what goes down in their state.

    The worst of it began with the Lawrence “decision” some years ago. Don’t know what that is? Shame on you. Find out. And read the SCOTUS majority decision and learn its bases. That “decision” violated the Constitutioin on several fronts. Including the FACT that NO Federal level court had any authority to take that case up in the first place. Nor should they have taken up California’s Prop 8 or Obergefell. Its not about who pokes what where, unless we’re talking about Feds poking their noses where they are prohibited poking them. And that mainly includes issues reserved to the states or the people. READ your copy of the Constitution. You do have one, don’t you? If not, shame on you. Get one and read it

    1. FedGov have NO AUTHORITY to meddle in affairs not assigned it per the Constitution.

      (laughing) Where does the Constitution assign ANY power regarding marriage, at ANY level of government???

      What is at issue is not sodomite marriage,

      Bigot on the floor! Cleanuo on aisle nine

      an unlawful usurpation of authority not granted FedGov.

      When you reach high school:
      We have three co-equal branches, each provides a check an balance over the other two.
      Judicial defends fundamental rights from abuse by ANY level of government.
      DUH

      Too bad no one in California had the spine to get in FedGov’s face when they “overturned” the clearly expressed will of Californians on this issue:

      READ THE CONSTITUITON! This is not a Democracy!!!

      READ your copy of the Constitution. You do have one, don’t you? If not, shame on you. Get one and read it

      Shame on WHO???

      Ninth Amendment
      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      REPEAT: Where was the state of California — or ANY level of government — EVER “assigned” even one ounce of power regarding marriage?

      NO state has ANY power to hold an election ? on an issue they have NO POWER over!. (OMG)

      Your version is identical to the KKK, also to justify bigotry. Shame on you.

      1. I’m pretty sure Mickey Finn is a time traveler and is speaking to us from the year 1995 via his dialup account. I’m getting a weird vibe like he’s stuck in the past when libertarianism was a cool underground hipster thing and he was the 33rd-Level Dungeon Master who got to school the young’uns with his deep knowledge of radical new concepts like the Non-Aggression Principle.

        Wake up, McFly. It’s been part of the national conversation for decades.

        1. Wow. Sick. Most likely the Paulista Cult. Ron too claims the Judiciary has no power to defend individual rights, denies checks and balance, lies about the tenth Amendment and denies the 9th.

          Speaking of time travel, he’s stuck in 1957 … with the KKK, George Wallace, Orval Faubus and you. Faubus had activated his state’s militia, armed force against 9 skids, denying their constitutional right to register at Little Rock’s Central High School. Eisenhower sent in federal troops … ordered to use armed force if necessary. Faubus caved to a greater show of force. He later justified his action as defending Arkansas voters against an intrusive federal government.

          Ron Paul stands with Faubus, defying God-Given rights. Calls it federalism but it’s States Rights tracing to Jim Crow. An excuse to bypass the Constitution and deny fundamental rights guaranteed to ALL Americans. Leaves us defenseless against government abuse. Originally denying equal rights to blacks, now to homosexuals.

          Many also claim to be devout Christians, no doubt causing Christ to weep in silent shame. They deny what THEY call; God-given rights, here and on many other issues (like abortion)

          Thinking through this and focusing, I didn’t catch your hippie delusions at first — or how fundamental truths about the Constitution could launch your rant. Then the light flashed and it became crystal clear I’d seen so few of you since 1957.

        2. Yes, please tell me the fairy tale about how the wise federal government guaranteed everyone’s fundamental human right to an education. Which actually means the right to be FORCED to attend a school you didn’t choose, with classmates you didn’t choose, to learn what the government wants you to learn.

        3. In the Little Rock case, the parents did NOT want their kids attending the same school with black kids. In light of the facts about race and crime, their attitude is starting to look less like racism, and more like common sense.

          What about THEIR rights? Do they not count because they’re “racists”? Should we apply the “separate but unequal” argument to housing as well, and force people to live in integrated neighborhoods?

          You’re about as “libertarian” as Hillary Clinton.

  27. More Tea Party indoctrination, anyone?

    1. Try the Flavor Aid, it tastes great AND it’s less filling!

  28. take a long hard look at the UK and Europistan….

  29. Great article. Islamic fundamentalists in this country don’t have anywhere near the influence that Christian fundamentalists have.

    The Christian conservatives in this country are not advocates of limited government. They’ve had a long history of wanting to use government to impose their religion on everyone else. They’ve wanted to ban the teaching of evolution as well as mandate school prayer and bible readings in public schools. After those failed, they wanted to require equal time between evolution and creationism’s watered-down cousin “intelligent design”, and mandate moments of silent. They’ve never liked the competition of other ideas. Instead of debating them, they demonize them. And they’ve always been at their loudest when laws restricting individual freedom, like laws against birth control and same-sex relationships (sodomy), are struck down.

    They yearn for the days of yester-year when LGBT individuals stayed in the closet, and non-Christians (Jews, Moslems and atheists) just kept quit while governments advocated Christianity. While they demonize Islam, they’re probably quite envious of the influence and control Islamic clerics have in the Middle East.

    Now they’re saying laws recognizing same-sex marriage and restricting discrimination against LGBT individuals are a violation of religious freedom. Their rhetoric is no different from the religious arguments used to justify racism and religious harassment. They’ve only changed a few words in an old playbook.

  30. This notion that the Ten Commandment are the moral foundation of our society is nothing but a myth. The first 4 of the Ten Commandments — (1) I am the lord thy god, and thou shalt have no other god, (2) No graven images, (3) No taking of my name in vain, (4) Honor the sabbath — have nothing to do with individual moral conduct. Mandating them would be a clear violation of religious freedom.

    As for murder and theft, there has never been a society — Roman, Greek, Egyptian, secular, Buddhist, Jewish, Confucian, Christian or Islamic — that has not had laws against these acts. To say that the Ten Commandments are the source of these morals is to say there was never a civil society before the mythical Moses brought them down from Mt. Sinai. Most societies have also frowned on perjury (bearing false witness), and adultery. Today, though, adultery is usually a matter of divorce law rather than criminal law.

    Honoring your parents is a harmless rule but clearly unenforceable by law. The “do not covet” Commandment basically means don’t even think about it. Sounds almost totalitarian.

    The same bible that contains these Ten Commandments has also been used to justify slavery, censorship, racism, war and the subjugation of women. But that’s another story.

  31. my friend’s mom makes $67 an hour on the internet . She has been fired for five months but last month her pay check was $20360 just working on the internet for a few hours. view….
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  32. Such facile equivalence arguments are truly juvenile and ignorant. A few points for the dipshit who wrote this article to consider:

    1. Guess how many Jihadi attacks against innocents were committed globally (not counting any of the wars/combat with western or other troops) by Muslims screaming Allah u Akbhar (means “my god is greater than your’s” not, god is great, fyi) since 9/11/2001? Answer: over 28,000, with hundreds of thousands dead and many more maimed. Guess how many Christians did the same in the name of Christ and screaming “Jesus is lord”? ZERO…

    2. Has the author actually studied any of the Islamist Jihadi doctrine? Does he realize that there is certainly an element of Muslim population that adheres to that doctrine? Does he see how that doctrine was executed in Europe after large scale immigration of Muslims? In many countries in Europe Sharia courts operate. This is a harbinger of things to come and we are trying to nip it in the bud.

    3. We are a Christian society historically, numbnutz – whether you want to admit it or not. We are always going to be more culturally sensitive and tolerant of Christian sensibilities than Muslim ones. Why does this bother you? What on earth is wrong with you?

    I’ll debate this creep anywhere, any time, any fora…

  33. Such facile equivalence arguments are truly juvenile and ignorant. A few points for the dipshit who wrote this article to consider:

    1. Guess how many Jihadi attacks against innocents were committed globally (not counting any of the wars/combat with western or other troops) by Muslims screaming Allah u Akbhar (means “my god is greater than your’s” not, god is great, fyi) since 9/11/2001? Answer: over 28,000, with hundreds of thousands dead and many more maimed. Guess how many Christians did the same in the name of Christ and screaming “Jesus is lord”? ZERO…

    2. Has the author actually studied any of the Islamist Jihadi doctrine? Does he realize that there is certainly an element of Muslim population that adheres to that doctrine? Does he see how that doctrine was executed in Europe after large scale immigration of Muslims? In many countries in Europe Sharia courts operate. This is a harbinger of things to come and we are trying to nip it in the bud.

    3. We are a Christian society historically, numbnutz – whether you want to admit it or not. We are always going to be more culturally sensitive and tolerant of Christian sensibilities than Muslim ones. Why does this bother you? What on earth is wrong with you?

    I’ll debate this creep anywhere, any time, any fora…

  34. Such facile equivalence arguments are truly juvenile and ignorant. A few points for the dipshit who wrote this article to consider:

    1. Guess how many Jihadi attacks against innocents were committed globally (not counting any of the wars/combat with western or other troops) by Muslims screaming Allah u Akbhar (means “my god is greater than your’s” not, god is great, fyi) since 9/11/2001? Answer: over 28,000, with hundreds of thousands dead and many more maimed. Guess how many Christians did the same in the name of Christ and screaming “Jesus is lord”? ZERO…

    2. Has the author actually studied any of the Islamist Jihadi doctrine? Does he realize that there is certainly an element of Muslim population that adheres to that doctrine? Does he see how that doctrine was executed in Europe after large scale immigration of Muslims? In many countries in Europe Sharia courts operate. This is a harbinger of things to come and we are trying to nip it in the bud.

    3. We are a Christian society historically, numbnutz – whether you want to admit it or not. We are always going to be more culturally sensitive and tolerant of Christian sensibilities than Muslim ones. Why does this bother you? What on earth is wrong with you?

    I’ll debate this creep anywhere, any time, any fora…

  35. my friend’s mom makes $67 an hour on the internet . She has been fired for five months but last month her pay check was $20360 just working on the internet for a few hours. view….
    >>>>>>>>> http://www.Reportmax20.com

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