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.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ten Things Lawmakers Do

Ten Things Lawmakers Do
any of which should be grounds for losing their job
I thought about doing a top ten list where these would be ranked by how bad they were, but then I think all of them are betrayals of the public trust.  There should be consequences, but the only recourse it seems these same people have left us is to vote them out of office, and they pretty much rigged that as well.
1)         They gerrymander the districts.  I know, gerrymandering has been around since the early 1800s, but then we still have laws against prostitution, and that’s the world’s oldest profession.  So the prevalence of an activity is not an indicator of its morality or its legality.  Besides, if prostitutes wrote the laws, do you think prostitution would still be illegal?
But they can do things now with computers that nobody would have imagined back then.  Districts can be drawn now by almost any demographic you can think of: voting patterns, age, race, ethnicity, religion, education level, wealth, government dependency.  Districts can and are drawn to maximize or minimize the voting power of any number of groups, though, of course, everyone thinks it’s all about political parties.  I’m not so sure.  Are all, say, Democratic voters the same in their eyes?  Perhaps it would be more advantageous to put more poor minority voters in one district or maybe spread them out over several. 
The fact is that districts are put together for the sake of the political parties and not the voters.  I live in a town of 30,000 people.  For a time, our town was divided into 4 Congressional districts.  That has since changed, but you can’t look at the maps of the Congressional districts in Illinois, or just about any other state, without seeing clearly that these districts are drawn for political reasons and not the benefit of the constituents. 
The reason that representatives are elected every two years is to keep them close to and responsive to the people they represent.  The Founders saw this as the people’s way to express their approval or disapproval of the way they were being represented.   All this has essentially been nullified by creating districts based on voting patterns to favor their own candidates.
Representative districts should be drawn by people who have no access to any demographic but where people live.  Having any other information available will only lead to abuse, if not now, certainly in the future.
2)         They spend money they don’t have.  They see their roles as helping people by spending money on them, but they only look at how much they want to spend and not whether there is any money actually there for them to spend.  But more than just helping people, they see this as the way to ensure their future.  The recipients of these favors become loyal voters, and that’s the important thing.
3)         They make laws that don’t apply to themselves.  This was seen in full display with Obamacare, where waivers were traded for votes.  This was supposed to be one of the safeguards that was to prevent Congressmen from corruption: they would soon return to normal life and live under the laws they made.
4)         They make their own rules.  This is similar to the last one.  I have often asked: who makes the laws for the lawmakers?  Who set their pensions? Who crafted their health plans?  Who decided their pay levels?  Who decides if a law should be debated, and how long?  Who decides if the details of a law are made public before passage of the law?
The majority party in the Senate recently voted to change the rules so that the minority party couldn’t stop the majority party from confirming the President’s appointees for various judgeships.  Now who was being irresponsible here?  The minority party or the majority party?  Depends who you ask.  But who loses?  Ultimately we do.
5)         They essentially exclude third party possibilities.  They would love to have only one political party (their own), but they will settle for two.  But not more than two.  When you have only two, the country will swing from one to the other as it reacts to the failures of the party in power.  But a viable third party could force some real change. 
Under current election rules, a third party only reduces the number of votes needed for victory.  Which means actually that a person can win an election without getting a majority of the vote.  In recent years, this has been more of an advantage to the Democrats rather than to the Republicans, but changing the rules could lead to some unintended consequences, like neither Republicans or Democrats winning, so better to leave well enough alone.
What is needed is either to have runoff elections when no one receives more than half the votes, or in elections with more than two candidates, voters should be able to rank their choices.
6)         They write bills that people don’t or can’t read.  Our Founders didn’t intend that Representatives had to be lawyers.  Just good, decent, smart people who would serve for a few years and then go back to their regular lives. 
The bills are just too big and cumbersome to read.  The people who write them don’t want them to be read.  That way people would find out what is actually in them.
Obamacare was over 2800 pages long; the recent appropriations bill was over 1500 pages.  We were told we had to pass the bill to find out what is in it.  The person who said that should be removed from office immediately.


Ten Things Lawmakers Do
any of which should be grounds for losing their job  Part 2

7)         They put too many things in a bill so that they can’t all be debated. When a bill is 2800 pages long, like Obamacare, how many issues do you think need to be debated or discussed?  I know some of them were discussed in committees, but if I am the representative of my district, I have a responsibility to know what I am voting on and to have my questions answered.
This is one reason why the immigration bill is taking so long.  There are too many big issues involved, but those who are in favor of it want to keep it that way.  Why?
8)         They put too many things in a bill so that you have to take the bad with the good.   Some people call this necessary compromises.  But they misrepresent the case, so they can continue their underhandedness. 
Why should anyone accept things they don’t like or want, if there was a way not to do it?  The reason, of course, why they do this is that these matters would not pass on their own.  So they stick it with something else and hope you either don’t notice it, or you feel you can’t reject the whole thing just for this one little thing over here. 
But then it’s not usually one. 
Now this certainly includes earmarks, where, say, someone puts in funding for a local park in a health care bill, but the intention is to make the bill as long as possible.
9)         And, of course, they vote on bills they haven’t read.  They may know the major parts of the bill, the broad outline of what the bill does, but there could be dozens of items they don’t know about or would rather weren’t there.
10        They then rush votes on bills to avoid debate and public comment.  Everything is always a crisis that requires immediate action.  The debt ceiling agreement is hashed out the day before the ceiling is reached.  Obamacare was passed in the middle of the night during Christmas week, I believe. 
And these people are representing us? 

I close with a quote from the Federalist Papers that shows a little how lawmakers were expected to think.

“(T)he House of Representatives is so constituted as to support in the members an habitual recollection of their dependence on the people.  Before the sentiments impressed on their minds by the mode of their elevation can be effaced by the exercise of power, they will be compelled to anticipate the moment when their power is to cease, when their exercise of it is to be reviewed, and when they must descend to the level from which they were raised; there forever to remain unless a faithful discharge of their trust shall have established their title to a renewal of it.  I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measure, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society.    This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together.  It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny.  If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society?   I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.  If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.”

Federalist no. 57




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