where religion and politics meet

Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is what one believes about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Countries also have a worldview, a way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Ours used to be Christianity. Now it is secularism, which is practical atheism.

Some of us are trying to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

A religion is not a culture, though it creates one. It is not what you prefer, like your taste in music or your favorite movie. It is what you believe to be true. Because it deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, but the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation and critical thinking.

Every human being has the duty to search for and learn the truth about life. Education and science used to be valuable tools in this search, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

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Thank you.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Why I Think Climate Change is a Lot of Hot Air, and Why This Issue Matters

The issue of climate change is quickly becoming one of those issues where any discussion of it is immediately cut off, because the matter is considered to have been settled.  That is a possibility, but anyone who has taken Politics 101 knows that the quickest way to silence the opposition and prevent a debate is to act as if the issue has already been settled, and there is nothing really to discuss.  If some people didn’t get the memo, that just shows how little they know.

I question the claims of climate change for a number of reasons.  The first two reasons come from my graduate studies.  My work was not in the physical sciences, but there are certain common features in most or all fields of higher learning that are relevant here.

My first reason comes from the fact that science, like almost all intellectual disciplines, values the latest research and findings over that of the past.  You wouldn’t teach a class on chemistry with a textbook written in 1940.  You wouldn’t even want one from 2012. 

Scientists today can measure the temperature anywhere on the planet at any time and derive an average global temperature.  They could not do this prior to the age of satellites.  In fact, prior to the use of satellites, the concept of deriving an average global temperature was wishful thinking.  Global temperatures would need to be taken almost simultaneously in order to derive an average, and this was impossible before the use of satellites.

I have no doubt that if this issue had contrary political implications, all pre-satellite global temperature data would be deemed inconclusive.  And this matter of political implications is the second reason I question climate change.   

For many questions posed to researchers in any field, there are usually not enough facts to fill in all the blanks, and the presuppositions of the researcher generally provide the framework with which to interpret the facts. 

Facts can answer simple questions, like what was the high temperature in Chicago on July 1, 2014, but they are like dots on a sheet of paper.  How they are connected to form what picture depends on the person viewing the dots.   

The prevailing narrative in Western civilization right now is political correctness.  This was birthed in secularism, and other expressions of this worldview include environmentalism and globalization. 

Environmentalism is about a lot more than recycling and getting emissions tests for your car.  The planet has become an object of reverence, and most industry is now seen as harming the planet and reflecting human disregard for it. 

Globalization is political correctness on a worldwide scale.  It isn’t just about free trade, but it says in part that all nations are equal, one culture is as good as another, and rich nations became rich at the expense of the poorer ones.  There shouldn’t be rich nations and poor nations.  It’s not fair.  The wealth should be distributed, as though wealth were either an accident or the result of greed and exploitation.  The United Nations wants rich nations to share their wealth with the poorer nations, because the richer nations are primarily at fault for climate change. 

Unfortunately, we no longer have rich nations, except maybe Germany.  All the other Western nations are essentially broke from keeping up with all the other politically correct mandates.

Since most scientists who worry about global temperatures rely on government funding for their livelihoods, and the government is known to use that funding to discourage dissenting views, and the government has shown itself to be untrustworthy more often than not, and for the other two reasons I noted, I don’t trust the hysteria that is now common with regard to the climate.

In fact, I have learned to beware, be very afraid, whenever the government says these is a crisis that we have to act upon immediately.  That is a sure sign that the government will ask for a huge spending bill that will reward their donors and further bankrupt our country.  And their haste in doing this is meant to keep anyone from finding out all the ways they are going to screw us, even those who will be voting on it.

One More Look at Obamacare

A lot of people are praising Obama and Obamacare for providing them with health insurance at an affordable price.  What we must not forget is that other people are paying for that insurance or at least paying the interest on the borrowed money that is paying for that insurance. 

The best and cheapest insurance has always been employer provided group insurance plans.  But our government sent millions of those jobs overseas through their free trade agreements and high corporate tax rates.  And many companies that have remained here find their insurance costs exploding from ever increasing government mandates.

So Obamacare is a government fix to a government created problem.  And, like bad medicine, it tries fix one problem but creates more and worse problems.

The party that gave us that fix has now locked up several million people as lifetime voters, because they are dependent on the government for their health insurance.  Watch for this pattern in all new government programs.  The government will offer a benefit to a group of people, and it doesn’t matter what it costs, how it will be paid for, or what effect it has on everything else.  The party in power has now locked up their votes for life.

The loss of jobs creates demands for government money, which means higher taxes and interest costs for borrowed money.  The higher insurance costs for everybody else dampens the economy by taking billions of dollars out of people’s pockets. 

If you want the government to help you, the economy, and the American people, tell them to bring these jobs back home.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Doesn’t the FBI have more important things to do? The Dennis Hastert fiasco

I find the whole Dennis Hastert trial a sham and a shame on our country.

Dennis Hastert is a flawed man.  But he is not on trial for his flaws.

Dennis Hastert behaved inappropriately a long time ago, but he is not on trial for behaving inappropriately.  And, apparently, nobody brought charges against him in the last 30-40 years for this behavior.

Dennis Hastert made a lot of money, and a lot of people are wondering how he got all that money.  But he is not on trial for how he made his money.

Dennis Hastert used his money to pay somebody not to talk about his misconduct in the past, but he is not on trial for paying somebody not to talk.

He is on trial for taking his own money out of the bank.  The government wants to know if you take a lot of your own money out of the bank, because some people who take a lot of money out of the bank are crooks.  But he is not on trial for how he used his money, but just for the fact that he took it out of the bank.

He is also on trial for lying to the FBI.  That never would have even happened if the government minded its own business about what people do with their money.  If Hastert did something illegal with his money, then charge him for that.  But his crime was just taking his own money, and then essentially telling the FBI that it is none of their business what he does with his own money.

Doesn’t the FBI have more important things to do?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Difference between Public and Private Sector Jobs

Jesse Jackson lamented the loss of public service jobs, because they were high-paying jobs that many minorities were able to get (June 2).

But there is one difference between public and private sector jobs that we must never forget.  Private sector jobs are paid for through the profits that a company makes.  Public sector jobs are paid for by us.

Say, for example, we have a society of 1000 people, and everyone made a $1000 a week.  There is no government, so this is what their take-home pay is.

They decide to have a government, so they enlist 200 people to run it.  They want the best and brightest, so they pay them $1200 a week.  So that’s $240,000 a week to run the government just in payroll.

If everybody paid at the same tax rate, it would take 23% of their paychecks to pay for the government payroll alone.  So where their take-home pay was $1000 a week before, it is now $770.  The public sector employees would take home $924. 

So the smaller the government, the more money that people get to keep of what they make. 
Government jobs are good for those who have them, but they are a burden on everyone else, so government must be as small as possible if it is to benefit us, just like you don’t want to pay more for a car or an appliance than you have to.

Our focus should be on bringing American jobs back to the States.  When we made all of our own stuff, we had jobs for everyone.  We need to admit that we were wrong on free trade.  A country has a responsibility to provide jobs for its own people.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Problem with Trade Agreements

Senator Mark Kirk (May 27) makes the case that we should ratify the new trade agreement with the Pacific Rim countries, because this is supposed to be good for American jobs; and nations, and people, who would not want such an agreement are isolationists, protectionists, have their heads in the sands, and pretend that the world is flat.

That’s enough to shut down any debate with opponents who should feel embarrassed to raise any objections.  But if anyone had the courage to challenge this thinking, this is what they might say:

A nation has a responsibility to take care of its own people first.  We are not doing that, because we cannot provide enough jobs for our people.  So they rely on the government for assistance, and this takes enormous amounts of money from everybody else to pay for this.

The only way we can provide good jobs for all of our people is to make all of our own stuff here.  We used to do this, and jobs were always plentiful.  As the population increases, demand increases, and so do the jobs. 

But now our politicians are trying to sell us the idea that the key to jobs and our prosperity is in exports, selling our goods to the whole world.  However, there are a number of problems with this thinking.

First, it takes the control of our country’s prosperity out of our hands and puts it in the hands of everybody else.  If other countries are in an economic downturn, then we will be too, because they won’t be buying as much of our products. 

Secondly, for years we have known of other countries manipulating their currency to make their goods cheaper relative to ours.  We haven’t been able to stop them then, and we won’t be able to stop them now.

And, thirdly, treating the world as one large economy essentially makes all nations equal.   By that I mean that all standards of living will gradually meet somewhere in the middle.  Rich nations will become poorer, and poor nations won’t get much richer.  The jobs will gravitate toward the countries with the lowest labor costs, regulations, etc.  Competing with 200 nations is like flooding the labor market with workers.  Those who get the jobs will be the ones who pay the least.

Kirk believes that without free trade our exports won’t be bought by other countries, even though our products are the best in the world.  Not quite.  When we used to make all of our own stuff, we always had the opportunity to buy foreign products.  They were always more expensive, but nobody minded paying a little more if they thought the product was better than ours.  So if our products are indeed better than others, there will always be a market for them. 

Our country is in a deep economic crisis.  The biggest single reason for this we don’t have enough jobs for our people, because we sent so many of them overseas.  All this increased the cost of social services, and in our search for the money to pay for all this, we take more money from our companies, making overseas locations looking even better.

This trend can and must be reversed.  Our national debt can cause our economy to collapse.  And what drives the debt the most is the amount of people dependent on the government, because there aren’t enough good jobs here for them.

All imports should be taxed.   A trade agreement is not forever.  We made a mistake. 

In our nation’s history, we have gone through periods of taxing imports and periods of not taxing imports.  In the 1920s, we probably led the world in exports, and imposing and raising tariffs dampened our economy at a time when we sorely needed jobs.

The fact is that since we started free trade agreements in the 1990s, we have sent millions of our jobs overseas, and we are no longer able to provide good jobs for the people of our country.  Our trade deficits run into the billions of dollars every month, and this hurts our economy even more. 

Taxes on businesses need to be reduced.  Say what you want about greedy corporations, but if it is cheaper to make widgets in China, they will make them in China.  And taxes on profits and taxes on imports all enter into the decisions on where to make things.

And all the rules we put on corporations make a difference too.  If you’re worried about climate change, it doesn’t do any good to try for cleaner air here by making manufacturing increasingly more costly.  They all just go somewhere else where the standards are far worse than ours were 20 years ago. 

Trade discussions will always use such terms as isolationism and protectionism in pejorative ways to shame people, and countries, into what they call free or fair trade.  The fact is that ultimately we can only control what happens in our country, if control is the right word.  Just like our Representatives and Senators are there to act on behalf of the people of their districts and not on behalf of the people of other countries, we must make decisions in international matters on what is best for us. 

What I am suggesting is not selfish or harmful to other nations.  If every nation made their own stuff, they could provide their people with jobs and a good standard of living.  If they need to import things, they don’t have to tax them.  They wouldn’t be losing any jobs.

Exports are great when you can get them.  To rely on them for jobs and prosperity is a mistake.  You need other countries to prosper before you can.  If we make all our own stuff, we will have jobs for all of our people, because people will be competing for the needs of everyone around us.  Most of us can’t see what is going on in a foreign country else to try to compete against them.  As our population grows, demand grows, and so will our jobs.  And they will be good jobs too..

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Right and Wrong Way to Fix Gerrymandering

When we think of gerrymandering, we think of political parties forming legislative districts based on voting patterns, such that the party drawing the boundaries gets the maximum numbers of candidates elected. 

But the fact is: the same principle of designer voting districts can be used with a number of other criteria, like age, religion, ethnicity, wealth, education, immigration status, divorce rate, views on social issues, etc.  Political parties, foreseeing future political battles, could just as easily draw districts to strengthen or dilute the political voice of voters to suit their party’s platform.

The courts have already recognized the need and right for districts to be drawn to create majority minority districts.  The thinking is that this would ensure that the minority group would elect a representative of the same group, and this would ensure better representation for them. 

Actually I believe this hurts minorities more than it helps them.  If you concentrate all the members of a group into fewer voting districts, the number of representatives who have their particular interests in mind are also fewer.  But if you have sizable minority groups in more districts, there are more representatives who have them in mind, because they are dependent on their votes to stay in office.

But if you then allow and justify demographics of any kind to be used to draw district boundaries, you won’t know where else it is used when the distinctions are not as obvious as they are for racially based districts.  That is, you wouldn’t know as easily if a district were drawn to favor or disfavor seniors, the poor, the wealthy, the religious, the socially conservative or the socially liberal. 

The only criteria that should be allowed to those drawing up districts are population and geography.  Boundaries should follow natural geographical boundaries, including municipality boundaries as much as possible.  Anything beyond that has potential for abuse.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Presidency of Hillary Clinton compared to President Obama

My response to a question regarding the Presidency of Hillary Clinton compared with President Obama:

I believe that Hillary Clinton will run on a platform of equality: racial, gender, and income.  She will paint minorities, women, and poorer people as victims who have been taken advantage of and whom she will help by her policies and priorities.  She won’t have the affinity with the Muslim community that the President has, but she will see Muslim-Americans as another disenfranchised demographic that the government needs to protect. 

As Commander-in-Chief of the military, I believe she will be quick to use military action when our interests are at stake and when the public expects it, but I believe she will also not use them effectively, so that the public will tire of U.S. casualties and see the ineffectiveness of military force to solve our problems.  She will want us to rely more on negotiations and compromise to achieve peace and stability in the world.

I don’t know if she will lie as much as the President does.  She just won’t say anything, and the people will stop asking the questions.  Better or worse?  Would you rather die by hanging or firing squad?  Ultimately you end up in the same place.