Sunday, August 17, 2008

Whose values?

A story in the Boston Globe the other day said former Republican presidential candidate and current Southern Baptist minister and Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee appears to be working to block the possibility of Mitt Romney being named John McCain's running mate on the GOP ticket. The reason? It seems that some "conservative" Christians aren't buying Romney's late-in-life opposition to abortion, and others believe Romney's Mormon religion is a cult. Sure, it's a cult, but the people who are most concerned about that should remember that their religion is built on fanciful tales that include people living to be 900 years old and a guy sauntering out of a cave after being dead for a couple days. The term "pot calling the kettle black" comes to mind. As for the abortion question, I think most of us hope for a world in which abortions are kept to an absolute minimum, but if you would deny a 13-year-old rape victim access to the morning-after pill and would require her to carry and deliver a child resulting from that rape, then I consider you a vile, barbaric and reprehensible person. What really sticks in my craw is Huckabee's statement that McCain could find running mate choices other than Romney who would be more fully embraced by "values voters." Guess what, Mr. Huckabee. A lot of us in this country don't share your "values." We want that 13-year-old to be able to quickly end a pregnancy resulting from rape. We want a woman who could very well die from a pregancy to be able to end it. We don't want you inserting your religious agenda into our public schools. My wife has an automobile bumper sticker, shown above, that sums up some of the things that are important to me, and I'd think very few people would disagree with those sentiments. Though I am an atheist, I have great respect for people of faith. I just don't want to live under a theocracy.


Blogger pastormike said...

Some of Huck's Army has gone rouge., theyve started a petition asking Huckabee to leave the GOP, and start a new party.

August 17, 2008 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Captain said...

Brant, you hit the nail on the head here. No matter your religious beliefs, I support a persons right to have it.

I also agree your position on a 13 year old or anyone of any age to abort due to a rape or incest etc. And for the woman who may die giving life, those families should have the right to decide just as they had the right to have a baby.

There is supposed to be a separation of church and state. Why is it that church always dives into the "state" but the State better never even consider diving into the church? Hypocrites in my opinion.

As for Romney, he has some good ideas and bad ones too. As for Mormonism, if it was such a great religion, then why is not all of mankind LDS? I know they are trying and their core values are very consistent with the rest of mainstream religions. The difference WAS bigamy. With that gone (from public view) they are just another of many in the role of morality.

If Romney were to be nominated, and if he could apply some of the financial options to this country, we may have a chance of fiscal responsibility.

As for theocracy, would it be considered American Talibanism or Huckabeesms?

August 17, 2008 at 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Captain said...

By the way...where can i get one of those bumper stickers??

August 17, 2008 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

There are a ton of stickers like that at Cheers, Captain.

August 17, 2008 at 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huckabee's statement that he'd like to alter the US Constitution to align with his god's rules blew away any respect I might have had for him. With liberty and justice for some,I guess.

August 17, 2008 at 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look just as people are allowed to have religious beliefs, that means by their nature people will disagree and fight to avoid power to those in the other camp.
It means that to truly respect their right to have it, you have to accept their right to stand up for it, proslyetize it (yes I butchered that spelling) and be a pain to you. Jesus was such a political pain, they killed him.
There are more differences with Mormonism than bigamy btw.

August 18, 2008 at 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Captain said...

I agree their are others...but thats the one most associate with and know about. Living in the Southwest (Vegas & Phoenix) I have been fortunate to know many LDS and have had numerous conversations with them. They may take it to an extreme but those who are sincere and maintain the integrity of the faith have my utmost respect. They truly are great people individually no matter what we may think of their religion.

August 18, 2008 at 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most objectionable thing about Mitt Romney isn't the religion he was brought up in - that's neither here nor there - but his smarmy personality. I think he's a corporate drone and an empty glad-hander with no understanding of how people live in this country outside the boardroom or country club.

--Brad Hundt

August 18, 2008 at 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care what you believe--just don't get elected president and change the Constitution so that everyone else has to fear being different. As much as we damn state religions in this country, there sure are a lot of people bent on installing one.

August 18, 2008 at 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, since Huckabee's values are not your values he is wrong. I have no more desire to live under your "values" than his. Who do you think you are that makes your values the right ones. Since you are an athiest, where do your values even come from? A bumper sticker?

I can tell how much respect you have for people of faith by your comment that Christianity is "built on fanciful tales that include people living to be 900 years old and a guy sauntering out of a cave after being dead for a couple days". You cannot respect people at the same time that you are mocking them. Just by saying that you respect someone does not make it so, it just helps you not feel like a bigot.

You are certainly entitled to express your opinion, so I wonder why you don't publish your comments in the pages of the paper you work for and represent. That way we can all at least understand the bias of what you put before us everyday. You are trying to impose your values on us the same way Huckabee is. Problem is that he is doing it very publicly, you do it behind the scenes in the stories and headlines we read every day.

Sorry for sounding harsh - I just get mad when you use your bully pulpit to put down the believers because they are different than you.

August 19, 2008 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Right on. Too many times, people SAY they respect something or are being FAIR, but the reality is their own beliefs and bias are just as present.
Freedom of religion includes the right to be governed individually by that faith. It means that Huckabee has a right politically to oppose Romney based on faith. It does not make him wrong, it makes him FREE!. To say he cannot or to attack his RIGHT to do so is control imposed on the believer. You have the RIGHT to DISAGREE.
Brant, you are normally fun to read, but your bias against Christianity grows tiresome at times.
Aside question, why are some many atheists so angry at those people of faith?
BTW this is the best part of the Observer-Reporter and the only place in it that honest discussion happens.
The lack of courage in the rest of the paper is staggering...

August 19, 2008 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Honestly, the vast majority of my friends are people of faith. My wife is a Christian education director who has a very strong, deep and abiding belief in God and the Bible. I agree with the poster who said people have the right to be governed individually by their faith. It's when they suggest that the entire country be governed by their particular set of beliefs that I have a problem. No one has any real evidence that, say, Christianity is the right path to salvation and Buddhism is wrong, or vice versa. I just try to live my life on the basis of being kind to other people and sympathetic to those who are struggling in life. Just like everyone else, religous or not religious, sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, but I keep trying to be a better person. And just because I don't subscribe to a particular religion doesn't make me a bad person, in and of itself. Also, the reason my opinions are confined to this blog is that my opinions very often would be 180 degrees opposed to the prevailing opinion of those who own the newspaper. They have every right to determine what stances are taken on the opinion pages of the newspaper, but they have been gracious enough to give me this platform to express what, in many cases, are opposing and sometimes controversial views. And whatever I may believe and espouse in this blog, when I am working on the newspaper, I assure you that I make every effort to play it right down the middle, making sure that opinion does not creep onto the news pages and that both sides of an issue get their due. We're all imperfect, but that is what I try to accomplish. And, as always, I don't expect all of you to agree with everything I have to say. That would be awfully boring. I really do appreciate the opposing viewpoints and the free and open sharing of differing ideas. Cheers to you all.

August 19, 2008 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Just about every religion I have come across has had a lot of stuff in it that is ridiculous... but I am certainly capable of respecting a person, even if they believe in crazy stuff... There are a lot of nut-job atheists out there, too...


August 19, 2008 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

It's amazing how religion brings out the bloggers and the opinions. I read Brant's original post three times. I didn't comment. And then I came back a day later and read some of the responses and I was amazed.

The funny thing about religion is that most people aren't willing to compromise on it. I am willing to do so in many ways. For instance, I was raised in a Catholic home and those values were instilled in me from a very young age. Catholics are adamantly opposed to abortion, yet I'm not. I don't think it should be used at will, nor as a method of birth control. But Brant brought up a couple of examples that sum up my theories on abortion.

If you look through the responses here, many of them are attacks on Brant. Brant made what I thought was a rather humorous summation of some Biblical stories and he's admonished for not respecting Christians! Why??? He didn't say that those who believe in Biblical stories are stupid or anything else disrespectful. All he said was that when you look at it logically, these are tales of fancy. I'm not a fundamentalist. I surmised many years ago that the Bible is a series of stories designed to convey a message, to put something in perspective for the reader. I firmly believe in God, but you have to admit that some of the stuff in the Bible is a bit of a stretch...unless you take it as it is: an example or a lesson.

Brant also responded and said, "I just try to live my life on the basis of being kind to other people and sympathetic to those who are struggling in life. Just like everyone else, religous or not religious, sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, but I keep trying to be a better person." It's been a while since I sat in a church pew, but tell me, isn't that the Golden Rule, albeit stated a bit differently? And isn't this what we all should be striving to do?

So to attack Brant and make him seem like Mephistopheles isn't fair. He sounds like a decent person. Read his comments carefully. He never attacks any particular PERSON. He addresses ideas, opinions, stories, theories. And if you read enough of his material, you should be able to tell that he is both intelligent enough and ethical enough to put his personal views aside when it comes to his job as an editor. A blog is a forum to express opinions, and that's all he's doing, as are the rest of us. But I think we should back off the attacks on character and stick to the issue. I don't want to live in a theocracy either.

August 19, 2008 at 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one attacked his character, but stated that he has a bias against religion. There is a difference. No one attacked his character, but instead his bias.
This is part of the problem. Person 1 writes about religion. Some people of faith point out the bias. Next they are condemned for not being "open minded enough.

August 20, 2008 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

1. Since you are an athiest, where do your values even come from? A bumper sticker?

2. You cannot respect people at the same time that you are mocking them.

3. That way we can all at least understand the bias of what you put before us everyday. You are trying to impose your values on us the same way Huckabee is. Problem is that he is doing it very publicly, you do it behind the scenes...

4. - I just get mad when you use your bully pulpit to put down the believers because they are different than you.

These comment were cut and pasted from one of the many anonymous posters on this blog. They are attacks on character.

Why can't an atheist have values derived from something other than the Bible? If you read some of his posts, you'd notice that he has a wife he adores, he's a grandfather, he has dogs, he cares about others. Sounds to me like the man has a heart, and things mean something to him...ergo, values.
This poster is implying that Brant can't and won't do his job objectively because he disagrees with someone's beliefs.

He doesn't have a bully pulpit...we're all using the same pulpit.

He's not mocking the people. He's mocking Biblical stories.

And these comments are from just one post. This is supposed to be an open-minded forum ripe with the exchange of ideas, so let's use it that way.

August 20, 2008 at 6:28 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Would you point out his bias if it had been the other way... like "Brant, how can you present an evenhanded account of news when you believe that a man was the son of god, was executed, and then returned from the dead to rise bodily to heaven?"

Religious belief goes either one way or the other... Agnostics are like leprechauns...


August 20, 2008 at 6:28 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

ellipses, who is this "Agnos" you mention??? Yet another deity?

You've summed this up nicely, though. Turn Brant's comments around and it would be different. Of course, then he'd be hit with a barrage of anonymous comments condemning him for that stance.

August 20, 2008 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I don't know, Priguy... I am happy to point out that wafers and wine don't ACTUALLY turn into the body and blood of a man who has been dead for 2000 years... that Mohammed didn't ACTUALLY ride a flying horse to heaven... but if someone makes a statement referring to their faith, I won't jump in and start ripping every logically flawed part of their religion to "prove" the fairy tale... I don't get angry with people when they profess a belief in God... I would have to be angry with between 85-93% of the population of EARTH. I find it much more effective to suggest an alternative, yet just as fanciful, belief... and justify someone's right to adhere to that, rather than simply denounce faith as "stupid." Example... when people inevitably turn to the bible to justify banning gay marriage... it's a lot better to ask "Can my straight, muslim neighbor marry his hindu girlfriend?" than to just say the bible is a storybook.

But I ramble... The OR serves a rather conservative market... they seem preposterously even handed...

I love yinz all. Have a nice wednesday.


August 20, 2008 at 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Captain said...

Of this entire blog what frustrates me is not attacks on Brant (which by the way are typically absurd for people who are closed-minded accusing others of the same) -- what I should say annoys me is the pure lack of faith of people. Priguy and Ellipses said it right - Brant, having his viewpoint is allowed on his blog, his forum and his opinion. We can agree and/or disagree with it but the bottom line is it is his blog and we all should use it to provide our opinions.

I would rather sit and discuss in earnest the views of an intelligent, open, sincere man/woman than to have such with even family memebers who not only sound idiotic with their words but prove such with the hatred they spew to differences.

Going off center a bit, I suppose with the same blindness many people in the area still discharge racism as legal and reasonable they also think religion is oh so perfect as it is written. In other words a crock of fecal matter!! My mother always told me "tis better to be a good human being than to be a Sunday Christian."

E, Priguy and Brant have it right here. A choice that differs from ours/yours doe not make it right either way. As Brant said, trying to be a better person and help others as possible is the right way to be. Brant even admits his wife's religious support and yet to his/her credit they navigated those treacherous waters probably because he is flexible and open-minded enough to allow an exchange of ideas not a dictatorship regarding religious education either direction.

We collectively offer our hands to you (the anonymous' of the world)to help you see your way through the muck and mire of your limited views. And in return, we welcome your perspective to what may be limited view in your opinion.

Dont attack because we differ from you. Embrace us because we may have a broader lense with which to see ourselves.

Last thing. I hate anonymous postings. Not because they are anonymous but I never know if it the same or a different one. Can you at least use your intials forward, backward, or mixed up? Come on help another human being take notice of who you are and not simply a blog.

I will catch hell for this overall comment. and I welcome it. I do not know personally any of the players here but I am glad they sieze the chance to enhance my perspective whenever possible.

August 20, 2008 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Oh crap... I just remembered something I thought of a while ago...

People of faith, if truly believers in their God and the stories that prove His glory, are perfectly justified in being irrationally intolerant of people with differing views. The reason is that our earthly existence is trivial compared to eternity. They may chastise you and berate you and try to convert you... And it's annoying and pointless from your point of view... from theirs, they are trying to save your soul from eternal damnation... kinda worth pissing someone off on a blog, right? This is the card that religion can play at ANY time... I say "hey, I don't adhere to your beliefs, leave me alone." "I am trying to save you from the fires of hell FOREVER."-they say.

It's almost like the Christian who is tolerant of Muslims is doing Muslims a disservice by "tolerating" their beliefs. The christian KNOWS the muslim is going to hell for not accepting Jesus Christ as his savior, yet he does nothing to try to SAVE the muslim.

I would prefer we live in a world governed by logic and reason... but I am going to spend eternity in torment and agony because I don't believe, and therefore, don't accept that the absolution of my sins is contingent on my asking for forgiveness from a Rabbi that was executed 2,000 years ago.

Now, I'm not a journalist, nor do I work for a newspaper, but I DO fail to see how that impacts on my reporting of a car accident or a mayoral election or baseball scores...

So... I understand the proselytizing... it annoys me... but Jesus would hate you if you didn't do it.


August 20, 2008 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

And as we saw in the Old Testament, God can be one vengeful, hard-core mother ... WATCH YOUR MOUTH ... Hey, I'm talking about God.

August 20, 2008 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Reminds me of Carlin... something to the effect that God is watching you, criticizing you, testing you... if you fail, he will send you to hell where you will be tortured and burned and tormented forever... and he LOVES you!


August 20, 2008 at 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. Those that argued for "tolerance" then resort to making fun of people's beliefs.
What drives one to anger over religion? If it does not exist, why are you so desiring to attack it?
More interesting is the total hypocrisy in calling for " an open mind" and then attacking.

August 20, 2008 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Who's angry?


August 21, 2008 at 6:28 AM  
Anonymous Captain said...

Another anonymous apparently.

August 21, 2008 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Maybe it is the splitting headache that I have right now... I don't know... but I'd prefer we could just kiss and make up...


August 21, 2008 at 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Captain said...


xoxoxooxx feel better now? LMAO

August 21, 2008 at 10:15 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Isn't it interesting how something that's supposed to be about love can bring about such vitriol?

And just a thought to all of the anonymous posters...what gives? Having screen names gives you no more knowledge of who I (we) are than you provide by remaining anonymous. All I know about ellipses, roger and captain is that they're intelligent and express themselves well. By posting anonymously, the whole process becomes disjointed. We can't tell whom we're debating with. Heck, I could be sitting right next to you and you'd never know it's me. So how about a screen name? As Belushi put it in "Animal House," - "it don't cost nothin'."

August 22, 2008 at 6:23 AM  

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