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.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues,

For now I want to focus my writing now articles specifically addressed to Christians. So most of my new posts will be on my other website listed below. I will continue to write and post short responses to newspaper columns and letters and even other articles as the inspiration hits me.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-RztuRKdCEQzgbhp52dCw

If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Five Things to do between elections

Five Things to do between elections  

People usually think of elections as the way to fix things.  They hope they can get the right people elected, and then things will be better.  The problem is that a lot of things that ordinary people think are problems, politicians find them good, just, and even necessary. 

Politicians, who make the rules, find it is too easy and tempting to bend and play the rules.  They confuse something being legal with something being right.  As long it is legal, it is okay.  A lot of these things you can’t really expect politicians to change or correct.

So, if things need to be changed, in most cases it will depend on people banding together, signing petitions to get referendums or constitutional amendments to change things that politicians won’t, or otherwise put pressure on them to make the necessary changes. 

And these changes should be done between elections, because every law that tries to fix something ends up in court, so that anything that can affect an election’s outcome won’t be valid in the next one.

I have identified five issues that I believe need correcting and that will take public initiatives to bring about any change. 

1)  The first change is the end of the two party system.  Wait.  That sounds too extreme.  But actually there is a problem here that stifles our entire political system. 

A two party system makes an election simple.  The winner not only has more votes than the loser, but he/she also has a majority of the votes cast.  A clear winner.

But enter an independent candidate. 

Now the winner may have the most votes of all the candidates, but he may not have a majority of the votes cast.  In a three way contest, the winner could have as little as 34% of the vote.  In fact, independent candidates are discouraged from running, because they are generally seen as taking votes from mostly one of the parties, and thus almost giving the election to the other party.

It is not right for any candidate to win any election without getting a majority of the votes cast.  The Presidential election is an excepetion in that there it is the states that elect the President and not individuals. 

Independent (or third party) candidates are needed to provide more choices.  Frankly, I only vote Republican now, because there is no other alternative to the Democrats.

So what we need are either runoff elections for every race without one candidate winning a majority of all the votes cast (expensive), or an option on the ballot for second choice candidates if there are more than two.  This is especially important in primaries, where it is often tough to choose between candidates and there are often a lot to choose from. 

Far too often voters feel they cannot vote for the candidate they really want, because it would be considered a wasted vote.  They are told to vote for the candidate most likely to win rather who they really want.  This would enable us to finally vote our consciences.

2)         The second issue is gerrymandering.  Every ten years the majority party of a state is allowed to redraw the representative districts of the state to reflect shifts in population.  So the majority party takes this opportunity to draw boundary lines that dilute the voting power of the opposing party and thus keep more of the majority party in power. 

This is broadly accepted by politicians, because the other party can and will do the same when, or if, they ever get in power.  So what is wrong with this, if everyone does it?

With the advent of the computer, strategists are able to know quite a bit about the people who live in any particular place.  They know the voting patterns for every precinct in the country.  But they also know the ethnicity, religion, educational level, wealth, age, lifestyle, homeownership, and private vs. public employment as well. 

We may assume that all gerrymandering in the past has been to dilute the voting power of the opposition party.  But depending on what issues are pending in a state at the time of redistricting, what is there to prevent drawing boundary lines to dilute or maximize the voting power of any other identifiable group?  It need not be just Republican or Democrat.

No.  This is wrong.  If you think it is right, I am not sure if any words will be able to convince you.  But I think most people will see this immediately.  There is an initiative now in Illinois to put an end to this.  And, no, it did not start with the legislators. 

I live in a town of 30,000 people.  For a while, our town was represented by 4 different Congressmen.  This is wrong.

The most logical, fairest way is geography, keeping those in the same communities in the same districts as much as possible.  Politicians should not have access to personal information when determining legislative boundaries.

3)         The third issue is the repeal of the 26th Amemdment.  This is the Amendment that lowered the voting age to 18. 

The only reason that the voting age was lowered to 18 was that, at the time, our nation had a military draft, and we were fighting a war that wasn’t really a war, because we didn’t declare it one, and so we weren’t really trying to win it. 

So we had 18 year olds fighting and dying, and if that is the case, they should he allowed to vote and have a say in how our country is being run.  Now we have 25 year olds still on their parent’s medical insurance and living at home.

Voting is considered a right today, but it is also a privilege and a responsibility.  Most states bar felons from being able to vote.  So few political leaders would regard it as an inviolable right, one that cannot be taken from someone.

But there is another, bigger question floating around. 


Five Things to do between elections  (Part 2)

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship."

Alexander Fraser Tyler, "The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic"

Many of the biggest problems our country faces are not ones that we can rely on politicians to fix.  The reason is that they often benefit from them.  Ordinary people need to work between elections to change many of these.  We need to do it between elections, because everything that tries to fix a problem ends up in court, so any successes won’t materialize until after the next election.

We mentioned a bigger issue with regard to voting in the last article.

Is voting a right that belongs to everyone (citizenship is assumed), or is it a privilege with restrictions?   Only two states allow felons to vote, so it is generally recognized that voting is a privilege, not an absolute right.

Originally in our country the basic principle was that voters should have a “stake in society. 
The basic principle that governed voting in colonial America was that voters should have a “stake in society.  Leading colonists associated democracy with disorder and mob rule, and believed that the vote should be restricted to those who owned property or paid taxes. Only these people, in their view, were committed members of the community and were sufficiently independent to vote.”

These restrictions were gradually eliminated in our country, but our country is now experiencing something unthought-of in American history.  About half of our country receives some form of government assistance.  And just about half of our country does not pay any income taxes.   

As people receive more things from the government, they become more dependent on the government.  If it is a natural human tendency to go from accepting help to expecting help, how are people in this situation able to vote in a way that is best for the entire country? 

Margaret Thatcher said that socialism doesn’t work, because you always run out of other people’s money.  We are not officially a socialistic country, but we are gradually relying on other people to take care of us rather than taking care of ourselves. 

So when these people vote, they vote to benefit themselves at the expense of others.  This will hurt our country in the long run.  The issue of 18 year olds voting is the first step in insuring that voters are givers into the system rather than just takers. 

I would even say that voting should be reserved for taxpayers period.

The fourth issue is voter ID laws.  The only reason I can think of why people oppose this is that they know their party is benefitting from illegal votes.  Do a google search for the things that require a photo ID in our country.

1)         buy alcohol
2)         buy cigarettes
3)         open a bank account
4)         apply for food stamps
5)         apply for welfare
6)         apply for Medicaid/Social Security
7)         apply for unemployment or a job
8)         rent/ buy a house, apply for a mortgage
9)         drive/buy/rent a car
10)       get on an airplane
11)       get married
12)       purchase a gun
13)       adopt a pet
14)       rent a hotel room
15)       apply for a hunting/fishing license
16)       buy a cell phone
17)       visit a casino
18)       pick up a prescription
19)       hold a rally or protest
20)       donate blood
21)       buy an “M” rated video game
22)       purchase nail polish at CVS
23)       purchase certain cold medicines
24)       cash a check

How do people even get along without a photo ID?  How have they made it this far? 

I don’t think it coincidental that every state that had voter ID in the last national election voted the same way.   The outcomes of our elections are far more important than any item in the above list, and there are huge incentives to be less than totally honest here. 

Demand voter ID laws.

One more matter.  Consider this very common quote from John Adams, our second President.

“ . . . we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Just as in our first quote, people in a democracy (or republic) can vote the country broke for their individual gain, so too the leaders in a democracy (or republic) can vote themselves privileges and benefits that can ultimately harm the public good.  Our government as set up requires a moral and religious people, because the temptation for personal gain at the cost of everyone else is enormous.

A good example of this was with Obamacare, which Congress essentially exempted itself from and exempted others from in the attempt to gain votes.  Cities and states are going broke over the benefits given to public sector employees. 

When lawmakers make laws pertaining to themselves, experience has shown that the public interest is rarely served.  They make laws for the rest of us, but they routinely exempt themselves from the laws’ effects.

There is an online petition going around today for a Congressional Reform Act of 2013.  I think it is too encompassing, not allowing for unforeseen circumstances, but the point is valid.  Laws should apply for everybody, including those who make them.

We can’t rely on our elected leaders to solve all our problems, especially when they are the cause of many of them.  Ordinary people need to do more, say more, and act more to bring about these long needed changes.

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