Hijacking Christianity

And God said, “Let There Be Rick Santorum in 2012”

Back in June I wrote a post about Rick Santorum and his “interesting” views on public education.

The original post did not include the fact that Santorum’s children, while living in Virginia between 2001 and 2004, attended an online charter school that cost of the Pennsylvania taxpayers $100,000.  You can read about that in detail here. (I am sure God was happy to overlook a little white lie about state of residency for someone as devout as Santorum.)

At the time I wrote, “Santorum’s poll numbers are so low that hitting 5% would likely send him into a Bible-beating-God-praising frenzy.” I never thought he would still be relevant in March. Obviously I underestimated Santorum, which according to Santorum himself, means I also underestimated God, who apparently wants Rick Santorum to be president.

This week Santorum told a Louisiana church group, “One of the great blessings I’ve had in every campaign is people underestimate me. People underestimate what God can do.”

Santorum is the latest conservative politician trying to claim he is on a divine mission, while simultaneously validating his political aspirations with the (demonstrably false) claim that the Founding Fathers intended to create a Christian nation.

Four different Republican presidential candidates claimed to be running on God's directive, yet only Rick Santorum is left. Maybe God started throttling the others to improve Santorum's holy bandwidth.

In 1986 Pat Robertson distributed a memo directing Republicans to “Rule the world for God.” Santorum is just another one of Robertson’s holy warriors.

The end result of this worldview is a Christian theocracy–one that looks a lot more like Iran than America.

 

 

From Americans United Wall of Separation blog: Indiana Creationism Bill New Amendment Exposes Unconstitutional Religious Agenda

This article appears on the Americans United Wall of Separation blog today. Find the full text here.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.

 

 

Update on How Kentucky Is Subsidizing Creationism With Your Tax Dollars

In August I wrote a post about how Kentucky was giving tax breaks to a Creationism Theme park.  Keep in mind that Kentucky is one of the poorest states in the country. The rest of us indirectly subsidize this Creationism Theme Park by filling the gap for the tax revenue Kentucky doesn’t get.

As if that wasn’t enough, Kentucky is now giving the same creationists  a 75 percent property tax discount…good for the next 30 years.  Read the full story on Alter Net here.

How Your Tax Dollars Are Bringing Creationism to Kentucky

How many of us believe our tax dollars, federal or state, should be used to fund a fundamentalist Christian theme park?

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has done just that by giving a Creationism-themed amusement park called the Ark Encounter Project tax incentives worth between $37 and $43 million.

If the state government of Kentucky is going to forgo all that revenue, it will have to cut spending or fill in the gap with federal dollars. Especially since Kentucky is also planning to spend an additional $11 million tax dollars to improve the access roads leading to the park.

Gov. Beshear claims there is nothing “remotely unconstitutional” about this. Really? Nothing “remotely unconstitutional” about funding a Christian theme park with tax dollars? Imagine if the state legislature of California gave tax incentives to an American Muslim group for a Muhammed theme park to educate people about Islam. Fox News would erupt in outrage.

For those who are tempted to stop reading because Creationism is “so 1925,” consider the fact that nine bills have been introduced by seven states seeking to introduce or expand creationism curriculum in public education in 2011. Kentucky is on that list, as is Texas, home of Presidential contender Rick Perry.

Is Gov. Beshear merely carrying out the will of the people? Kentucky already teaches creationism in school. It is home to the Creation Museum, which opened in 2007 to, in the words of Vanity Fair’s A.A. Gill, “square off with geology, anthropology, paleontology, history, chemistry, astronomy, zoology, biology, and good taste.” Perhaps a Creationism theme park fits right in with Kentucky’s radical Christian agenda.

The Creation Museum offers visitors a chance to "experience the Bible and history in a completely unique way " including an exhibit that offers the view that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

While I do not think Creationism advances Christianity or the spiritual well-being of the nation, I do recognize the rights of individuals to build and patronize a Christian-themed fun park.

I certainly do not think $50 million of our tax dollars, state or federal, should be used to facilitate its construction.

Some Americans might question the wisdom of a country falling farther and farther behind the rest of the world in science teaching creationism irrespective of financing.

Kentucky is a Beneficiary State

Senator Mitch McConnell has a reputation for being a "master of the pork process." McConnell has redistributed millions in earmarked federal money to Kentucky, which allows the state to provide services and cover state costs with federal money.

Those who are not Kentucky residents may well wonder why they should care what Kentucky does with its tax dollars. Here is why you should care.

Kentucky is one of the poorest states in the country. The median income in Kentucky is $40,061, which is over $10,000 below the national median income. The poverty rate is 18%, which is above the national average. For every $1.00 the citizens of Kentucky pay the federal government in taxes they get back over $1.50 in federal spending.

The Tea Party tell us when government spends money to subsidize heat and food for poor people it is bloated and needs to be drowned in Grover Norquist’s bathtub. Yet the same Tea Party is strangely silent when government supports the radical Christian agenda.

If the people of Kentucky want a Creationism Theme park they should pay for it themselves. As the Rev. Barry W. Lynn said, “The state of Kentucky should not be promoting the spread of fundamentalist Christianity or any other religious viewpoint. Let these folks build their fundamentalist Disneyland without government help.”

But shouldn’t someone from the Tea Party be saying that?

Conservatives Oppose Vegetables, Online Poker and Ideological Consistency

The combination of unadulterated hatred of everything Obama with self-righteous morality has conservatives twisted in ideological knots.

We are broke. Well, as I have previously mentioned, some of us are doing just fine, but “We the People,” are broke.

Federal and state governments need to save money and raise revenue. There are only so many police officers and teachers we can lay off,  so perhaps we should consider other options. Here are two ideas that should not offend Grover Norquist.

According to the CDC, obesity costs American families, businesses, and government approximately $117 billion a year.

We could save money simply by making ourselves healthier. Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign encourages Americans to do just that. Healthier people would enjoy increased longevity and improved quality of life, while the “system” would save millions of dollars on obesity-related illnesses. Everyone wins. Conservatives vehemently oppose this, protesting Obama’s “Nanny State.”

Fine. They don’t want the government telling people what to do. Here is a way we can increase revenue without the government playing nanny. Congress is debating a proposal to legalize and regulate Internet gambling. Online winnings, like regular gambling winnings, could be taxed. Proponents estimate this measure could bring in $42 billion over 10 years.

Small government conservatives should be enthusiastic about a way to raise revenue while getting government out of the way of hardworking Americans and their enjoyment of online poker.

Small government conservatives are opposed to both of these ideas. Their utter lack of consistency is galling.

Mandating fast food restaurants to post calorie counts so individual consumers can make informed choices is Obama’s Nanny State. Yet Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl “protecting” people from the evils of online poker is justifiable?

No one likes being told what to do. How many of us have, at one time or another, ignored good advice because we didn't like the way our parent, spouse, sibling or friend offered it. But disliking Michelle Obama doesn't change the fact that encouraging Americans to make healthier choices is a good idea as obesity rates and related healthcare costs skyrocket.

 

Kyl , who recently made headlines with his “Abortion is 90% of what Planned Parenthood does” comment, justifies government intrusion into people’s right to gamble because gambling can lead to “possible addiction, bankruptcy, crime, and even suicide.” Baconators only lead to diabetes and heart disease.

In case Kyl's government is not up to the task, the Christian Right is. Moral Majority leader James Dobson says, "Gambling destroys marriages, undermines work ethic, increases crime, motivates suicide, destroys the financial security of families and is related to any number of other social issues." Why do conservatives think we have the right to McDonald's but not online poker?

Michele Bachmann summed up this way:

“For (the “left”), government is the answer to every problem….clearly they’re wrong.”

Unless you like to play online poker in which case apparently government is the answer.

So how are we, the American people, supposed to know when we are capable of exercising free will and when we need government to tell us what to do?

I guess opposing anything either of the Obamas support is a good place to start.