Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Quick Look Back, A Big Look Forward

Nearing the end of blog I have observed a trend in American Politics and Religion; that there has been a long tradition of separating church from state, but an equally powerful inclination to mix the two together. The nations great political and social movements have been driven by these two forces and in recent years I have noticed that religion has been woven more deeply into the fabric of partisan politics than ever before. Because of this I've realised that I can't have my way where where religion is completely separated from religion and that I would have to work hard if I want them to stay as separate as possible. In the 2004 presidential campaign candidates openly discussed their religious beliefs, churches became increasingly active in political mobilization and voters sorted themselves out not just by their policy preferences but also by their religiosity. From this I believe that for the 2008 campaign whether a person regularly attends church would be as important in determining his or her vote for president as standard demographic characteristics as gender, and race. At my political table is what I see as the 3. The truly religious Huckabee, the Female Clinton, and the Black Obama. Whoever wins, I hope will keep religion a private matter.

Less Ranting, More Substance

Most of my blogs have been rants against the mixing of religion and politics. Now I will calm down and try to better convey the reason why the two things should not be mixed. As I learned from my philosophy of religion class, I believe that religion is a private matter and should stay that. As I read the story of Abraham, I learn that religion can be irrational, but that is not the point I care about. What I learned from the story is that a private relationship with god where rationality is ignored and absolute faith given utmost dedication like Abraham's can be the right thing. Being guided by the bible and God for policy making is fine, but when someone takes this guidance into the public square and try to impose it on others, I get mad. The status of the Bible and a relationship with god cannot be debated in politics and the state cannot take sides in how the Bible and god should be interpreted. Such issues, I believe are subjects of private religious faith, not public reasoning. This is the real reason why I believe mixing religion and politics must be avoided.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Many More Should Just Come Out of the Closet

To conclude my blog, I will list the reasons I am not so friendly towards religion mixing with politics and why I believe and want to be someone who can keep religion away from controlling politics. First off, it is hyprocrisy. There is just too many cases of religious people making morally righteous claims and then doing something contradicting it. The most recent and hilarious example that I can think of is Senator Foley and his explicit sex talks with a child, after he had introduced a bill that would punish those who harm children. And who can forget Senator Craig and his airport restroom controversy. Why would any one criticize and forbid other people from doing things, and do it themselves. It seems to me that these political hypocrites and others like them should just come out of the closet and accept their inner selves instead of attacking other people who share the same inner-self. This leads me to be especially critical of those political figures who claim to be religious. I believe most of them are just using religion and that some may even be atheists.

Fighting Back Against Popular Culture

For previous posts I mention some of the more popular religious/political leaders of the world and explained why they might have near celebrity status. Now I will dive into why do the Conservative Christian leaders are not so popular and looked upon negatively. I believe it is because, not only are they not mainstream and are intolerant, they are fighting against the mainstream. They seems as they are militant towards anything mainstream. As abortion clinics made their way through and gain some acceptance from women and men they bomb it. And now as gay marriage rights are being fought on the coasts of America, the Christian conservatives are attacking the gays again. This time they are doing it by going to the teens and young adults who are so involved with popular culture. I consider this move brilliant, because instead of trying change the culture, they are getting rid of it and setting up a new one. I also consider this move to breed intolerance and hate under religion.

The Asian Occasion

We've talked about the white religious/political figures in class and I've mention the black leaders. Now I would like to introduce another figure whose position has brought him near celebrity status and given his voice a strong political presence. The Dalai Lama, is the reincarnation of the Bhudda and was head of the Tibetan government in the past. but i recent years, the current reincarnation Tenzin Gyatso would have to live in exiled. During this period of exile he has gain wide praise for his political movements to protect Tibetan culture. From wining the congressional gold medal to the Nobel piece prize he is known around the world for promoting peace and tolerance. But the question rises, why are some religious figures more famous than others? In addition to what I've said before about them focusing more on the political issues, I also believe that a history of having to struggle also plays a big role in how the world perceives them and their political views. For the Christian religious/political leaders they seem to have never had to struggle for their faith or politics. Thus when they get political, the world seems to not look so kindly at them and consider their political values religious ones.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Reverends in Popular Culture

Why is it that some Reverends get more national attention than others and are better known by the general American public? I believe it is completely due to the fact that these reverends focus more on the political than religious issues. Who are these people? They are what many people call the christian left, people who hold Christian values and traditions along with left wing ideals. They are Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson. Both have achieved near celebrity status and have become completely driven by civil rights and politics. They seem to have forgot their religion in the sense that they do not mention or talk about it much anymore. And even when they do talk about religion, they seem to contradict what almost every other Christian conservative would believe in. Pro-abortion, pro- gay rights, and pro-animal rights, they support them all and do so as political and religious leaders. However, I see it differently, these guys are just really politically leaders who are black and believe in very liberal values, and that the only way for these liberal black leaders to gain the support of white liberals and black conservatives is to pose as religious leaders.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

True Religion Brand Politics

I find it funny how a denim brand can raise such a strong question or make such a strong religious statement through fashion. I believe that religion is much like jeans, that no particular one "brand" or "fit" of religion that will fit any particular person, that there is no true religion in the world, and that wearing "jeans" is not the only option for a someone. Despite my belief, the many nations of this world still claim a true religion. In America, I believe that Christianity/Catholicism has claimed itself America's true religion. Every presidential candidate I see seems to claim that they have a relationship with Jesus and God. This somehow shows to me that America has a dress code where only Jesus and God as "tailors" can sew clothes that make an individual fit to be president. To me this is a religious test for presidency, and I strongly believe that the over a True Religion should be completely ignored, and instead search for the True separation of church and state that the Constitution wants.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Politically Religious and Religiously Political

What does it take to make it in the mainstream media and Politics? From my observations. it seems that to make it in mainstream media, as in having your own show or many show appearances, one must be religiously political. That is, taking and making strong religious positions as Bill Maher and Ann Coulter do. The reporters who cover religion objectively with not much bias do not get much attention, instead the religious stories they cover get the attention. Even then, these stories do not get as much attention when compared to the attention that the religiously political would get if they made a strong political statement about the religious story. For politics on the other hand, one must be politically religious, that is being religious for the sake of political means. Polls and surveys show that Americans do focus on religion as a major factor in deciding who to vote for. Thus even if one is not particularly fond of a certain aspect of religion, it is best to just support religion rather than criticizing it and consequentially alienating oneself from the voters.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

State and Religion: The Case of Islam

Islam being the fastest growing religion in the world has reached far beyond the Middle East, emigrating it self to all the corners of the world settling especially in France, Turkey, North Africa, and Indonesia. Surely, Islamic radicalism has only reach a small number of individuals and do not reflect Islam. However, what has reached a large part of the non-Middle Eastern Muslim is that of Islamic fundamentalism specifically Shariah Law or Islamic Law. In these cases such as in local Nigerian law, instead of separating church and state the church is the state. Although Shariah law looks backwards to western culture, for some countries it is the best way to deal with local minor offenses. In addition, full blown Islamic law has not hit Nigeria as its federal government can control all local law. In Indonesia however the story is different, its Constitution accepts that there is a supreme god, but promises religious freedom to all. For this case, however, the population is majorly Muslim and its fundamentalists have pressured the government to install traditional Islamic law into its Constitution. Because the majority of these Muslim are moderates, shariah law has only been adopted in one remote area of Indonesia. From this i find that Islam's emigration will only take a moderate stronghold in countries outside the Middle East.

Separation of Church and State Abroad

Living in the US for the entire of adult life, I do not get to see what other countries have to do when dealing with church and state. From what i read in the news papers there seems to be a lot of countries in the world which have a separation of church and state. However the one general pattern i see from these countries and even the few countries which do not separate church and state is that they are more tolerant, liberal, and have fewer problems withe church and state than does the US. Everywhere I look, it seems as though countries are more series about separating church and state. Australia opposes faith based organizations and Belgium supports eliminating religious signs and symbols out of public places like the courts, both of this in much difference to the US. In the EU efforts to bring God in to the Constitution is faced with much opposition from Britain, France, Denmark, and Sweden, all this in deep contrast to America's Constitution which mentions god several times. Even in a country like Denmark, where church and state are not separated, the do not face the problem that America has with religion; that is religion overstepping its bounds. The key to nations outside the US, is that they are able to keep religion from interfering with politics and instead drawing a line making religion know its place in society.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Consequences of War and Religion

In today's world of multi-faith nations, an action of another country can turn another country off from support to criticism. Even countries who have showed a long history of support would turn its back when another country's action is not sensitive to its people.

Immediately after 9-11, in addition the solidarity of all faiths in America there was also strong support from multi-faith nations like France and Great Britain. But when Bush, through his religion would export American security and democracy. Many countries suddenly turned their support into criticism, mainly because the US's action seem questionable and went against the UN's advice, but for France i believe their large Muslim community had to do something with the rise of criticism. To this growing community it appears as though the US's decision was not about security or democracy but about changing Islam. I do not blame them for believing such, I blame Bush for it all. His political agenda is praiseworthy, and i would support it if it was better planned out and most importantly presented in such a way that was not open for criticism about its "neo-messianism". However, because the war itself seem impossible to exclude religious elements out of it, I did not ever see my self supporting it or religious backlash not happening.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A New Era in the World and Religion

I have seen read how religion took its hold in American politics since Carter, but it seems to me that America, pretty much had never taken its religion and apply it to international politics. That was until 9-11, that I began to see a transformation, a transformation which i understood and expected to stop at an early point. The terrorist attacks was a tragedy, and i understood that American religion would be used as a means of comfort and security. What I continue to not understand is how American religion continued to play an even bigger role in international relations as time passed. The most shocking thing for me was how America's diversity of religion melted together into a uniform religion/political sentiment on US foreign policy; a foreign policy argued under theological premises. From all this it seems as if American religion was use not only as a means of bringing comfort and security, but also a platform for revenge. This is contradictory to what American religion has taught and because of this i believe that a new era will emerge in which people will shy away from religion in matters of international relations.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Religion and International Politics

In America, the only thing I know about international relations and religion is the war on terrorism and what i believe is Bush's Christianity and radical Islam. When ever I see the news on TV it seems as the world of international relations and religion is one of a cultural war. I have always thought that in international relations, all that matters is economics, the politics over economics, and war. But as I further watch the war on terror continue, i now strongly believe that international relations is also about religion and culture. In today's world, there seems to be a certain culture that each country has about religion and international relations. Certain countries like Vietnam, China, and India seem to have no care about religion and have certain mindset on economic development. This kind of culture seems to me, makes these countries do all they can avoid conflict. In other countries i see a culture to have all the care in the world about religion. In countries like the US and from the Middle East, it seems that they are either self-righteous in their religion and choose to act on that or they fear that if they do not so call "do God's work" they will suffer. Growing up in a non-religious family i understand why the Asian countries have such a culture, but for the culture of the other countries I will continue to study them.

Friday, November 9, 2007

My Predictions For Women, Religion, and Politics

This triangle has occupied a large chunk of the American political landscape and human nature itself. The fact about the American political landscape is that women are becoming increasingly more powerful in politics as Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi are demonstrating. Women's politics goes well beyond debates over abortions and traditional families and religion must recognize this. If religion continues to ignore and offer no new choices for women in politics, I see religion loosing some political clout to women politics. For women politics to advance and gain equality, it must act in the same way men do. Right now, religion is considered an enemy of women politics, and like men it must make it a ally instead. Despite their polarizing morals, women politics must somehow find a way to use religion as a platform to launch their causes and believes. If women do not find some way to do this I do not ever see women politics getting close to men's. In other words, women must learn to appeal to and compromise with other things that they are usually not comfortable with.

The Not So Great Rise of Religion Into Women Politics

Why is it that religion does not get women politics. Women politics, to me, is a struggle to gain the rights and equalities denied them for centuries in America. Yet when the ERA was gaining support from both Democrats and Republicans, it was struck down. The opposition to the ERA were religious conservatists', both men and women, who argue against the ERA in support of the woman's traditional role. Never before have i seen a group deny itself of rights and liberties that other groups and countries have fought and died for. It is as if they want to make into law, the fact that women and men are different and must be treated differently, as if equal work does not equate to equal pay and that political involvement for women is not an option. As women are rising in politics and voting influence, religion instead wants women to live in a separate political world. As far as religion has tried to rise into women politics, they focus on the specifically gender driven politics of abortion and traditional families. They do not care about what women are thinking about and believe in the political world, they only care about how and what women should believe and think about.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Race Over Gender

Over the years, I have realized that race is above gender when it comes to politics and religion. Men, has and will always have religious dominance over men and I do not think women can do anything about it. Because of this I believe that women are more likely to vote Democrat; because the Democratic platform allows and promotes their advancement. As far as politics goes, race has always gain political influence before gender. Race has gain the right to vote, seats to office, and ultimately political influence before women. It was only until the 19Th amendment and Roe v. Wade would this political gap be brought closer. From this right to suffrage, they would bring the political clout of nearly half the voters in America, yet there is still a lack of women in political seats as well as religious seats. I do not see more women in religious seats of authority until I see many more in political seats, most nearly even to the number of men.

Mixing In a New Factor.

Politics is a hotly contested matter, but when religion and gender are thrown in to the mix, it becomes a recipe for intense impact. Each ingredient has its own interests and neither can take from what the others have. No matter how religious a feminist is, her feminist values will likely overpower her religious one, no matter how feminist a woman of religion is, her religious views will stand proud. As each ingredient tries to mix itself with politics they will likely fight each other in order to incorporate more of themselves with politics. This struggle demonstrates a breakaway from the general culture war, in which stereotypes would not fit. Research shows a strong correlation between religious people voting Republican and secular people voting Democrat. The fact is that more woman are more religious than men, yet some of these religious women are voting for the democrats. From this, i conclude that although religion does have a direct influence on politics, religion and politics itself does not have as direct of a influence over women, but instead more subtly.

The Uncommon Triangle

When I look at the world of religion, politics and women I see a very uncommon triangle develop. In this triangle, it rests on one corner and women are at this point, while politics and religion are at the top points and are dominated by men. To me I see that neither religion nor politics on their side but instead it is above them. For them to get any thing or become anything they must choose sides and demonstrate competence in either one. They can not simply claim to be an important part of politics but, they must demonstrate it. They can not claim to be religiously blessed, but must demonstrate a miracle or religious act. Women must walk up the two sides of the triangle to gain influence from religion or politics. For men they stand atop the triangle and can simply use gravity and fall into politics and religion.

The Media, the Best and Worse of Both Worlds.

In assesing religion and politics, I left out what religion has done. To me, the media is the best and worse of both worlds. Like religion and politics it influences how we think and just really care about money, albeit in a different way. They show us and frame images and sounds in way so that our perception of a certain issue is affected. In its best light, the media has done good in exposing the wars, tragedies, and scandals of religion, politics and humanties so that the people are informed to make and demand change, like the exposure of the Vietnam War and Catholic preist scandals. However I see it in the shadows when they are willing to ignore all of these things. When tragedies like Darfur and Rwanda are taking lives of innocent people, the media ignores or cover alittle of such events. Instead of showing or even exposing the evils of the world, the media would only do so if it would make money. Where as politics and religion would try to solve this, the media can just look away consequently have the public nearly oblivious to such tragedies. This is where the media is worse than religion and politics, but its good, is that it strives to expose the truth. Where as religion and politics would try to cover up the evils that they have done, the media would try to expose this, and would even be willing to expose the evils that they have done.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Best of Two Goods?

Is religion or politics better? I believe it is politics which is the better of the two when assessing the goodness that each does. We go to both for help and guidance religion specifically for spiritual guidance and government for mostly everything else. I see miraculous things that religion can do, and affect people in which politics have failed. Politics, I believe, fails a lot because it has too many people asking it for help and many more demanding it. Religion is more successful at turning things around for people because people who come to it have no other choice or politics have failed and refuse to help people any further. Furthermore their is just too much compromises and arguing when they want to get things done. Religion is willing, open, and quick to act and help people out. Because of this there is a stronger loyalty to religion than politics. Thus religion seeminly does good out of its own good will, whereas polictics does it because it wants to keep its job.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Lesser of Two Evils?

I am not too fond of either religion or politics. I consider them both evil, and that their main goal is money and power. Both of them want to tell how people should live, and both need people's money to do so. In assessing which one is the lesser of two evils I look at how much money each takes in, what they do with that money, and ultimately how much damage each has done. Government forcefully takes considerably more money from the people in a promise that it will provide services back. Religion asks for money from people promising and in my opinion "fooling' people into believing that it will do god's work. When politics does something wrong with this money, it is accountable to the people it took money from, they know who to blame. But when religion does something wrong, not only is it not accountable for its actions, but the people who it took money from has no one to blame and instead are "fooled" into giving more money to fix the wrong done by religion. As far as spending for the good of humanity, both do the same thing, try to feed and help the people who need it most. I do not see either one as less evil than the other, but together these things seem to be better for the world.

Why Do People Fall For It?

Looking at the cartoon from my previous post, I wonder why do most religious people fall for and support religious people on TV, but only a small number of people would ever fall for what a politician says. I believe it is because politics does not offer what religion does, eternal happiness. Instead politics offers things that are more immediate and practical like health care and security. I see little difference between politics and religion; both have been corrupt since their birth, many many wars have been fought over them, and many many more wars will be fought over them. I see that politics and religion are as inseparable as politics and economics. But what stumps me is that in the relationship between economics and politics attention and support for either side is pretty even and concerted, but in the relationship between politics and religion, people would rather choose something so impractical and not immediate, that they can never control or experience over something that they can easily and practically decide over and would have a more immediate and important on them.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Media and Political Data

The media constantly throws polls and surveys around and often fail to see what the consequences are. People say that the media is presenting political polls and surveys deliberately for a political cause but I believe they are only do it because the people want to see it. When religion does get involved in politics it tells what and how people should vote, but the media very rarely does this. Instead, they just present the data suggesting to people who to vote for. This data very often ignores the issues and stance that politicians stand for but just suggests who are the viable choices. Religion on the other hand, tackles the issues and the stance politicians more thoroughly. Doing this may make people more informed voters, but at times these informed voters do not see the big political picture and often do not get they voted for.

What Can We do Without You?

I do not think we can do much without the media. Without the media i do not see how journalists can bring forth important information, specifically about the government, to a wide range of audiences. I only see the Internet, specifically through blogging, as their only viable option. The Internet however, is the ultimate narrow casting that exist and that only the people who want to be told these things will want to see the information. Another main problem about the Internet being so narrow, is that it leaves room for people to make up much of the stuff and not be accountable. I thus conclude that media, however censored or not, must play a crucial role government. Without the media, America would be full of secrecy and anonymity, which furthers the lack of accountability and who is to blame.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Exceptions for Censorship

Before, I said that private groups should be allowed to censor the media in the name of decency. Other than this, i believe that the media should be allowed to air what ever they see fit. I see that it s the media's duty to exposed what is not known to America. No matter how absurd or shocking it is, it must be exposed. If the media is not oblige to do this I believe that the tragedies of this world will never be known. Other than for decency, I believe that it is also the duty of religion and politics to help push the media to exposed the wrongs of the world. No matter how much harm this exposure can do, if it is harming the offenders of the world (religion and politics included) then the world is better off. Even if this exposure can bring conflict or shame as it did in the Catholic church and the political cartoons about Muhammad, the world is better of knowing that it happened than to not know that it took place.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Relationship Part II

The media is at the center of life, but what does religion and politics do on the outside to the media. This relationship of the FCC and religious watchdog groups try to control the media from the outside. The watchdogs use the FCC to filter out what they consider obscene and the FCC administers fines to the media outlets who violate their rules. I believe that religion should not play a role in government, but for the case of the watchdogs I support what they do. The FCC alone can not keep the airwaves under control completely by themselves, for this reason alone, any group, religious or not, should be aloud to bring some decency to the airwaves. If that means that the media must lose some of its freedom of speech rights so be it. Somethings are just not meant to be said.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Relationships I

America's government is built on and dependent upon compromises and accommodating each other. Without such things pretty much, nothing will get done effectively. The three branches of government must compromise between each other and between themselves. However what is the relationship between religion, politics, and the media? In my earlier post i mentioned that the media is all about money and doing business with religion and politics, but that assumes that the media does not care all that much about religion or politics. I still stand by this but would add that politics and religion do matter to media for reasons other money. There people of the media who religious and politically motivated, and for the media to not be politically motivated or religious is just bad business. The media can show us what we want to see and what is entertaining, but if they can not relate to us politically or religiously they will quickly find a drop in their viewership.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Life in America

Having lived in America for many years now, I have discovered that taxes and death are not the only unavoidable things in this world. Everyday I can not escape religion, politics and the media. Much like the three branches of American government I want to see who exerts what force between these three unavoidable things in my life. To me the media is at the center of everything broadcasting or more specifically narrowcasting to the public, what they want to see. On the outside I see religion and politics using the media for its advantages. From what i observe all three things are just really trying to make money. The media sells a service while religion and politics use this service for money or to make money. Politics and religion may also have other issues they want to tackle but does the media have any other issues to tackle or, do they just want to make money. I believe on the most part the media only covers what it thinks will make it money. Because of this, there is an economic bias in news stories which makes certain situations for certain religious and political figures worse off.

Schools and Religion, Why Should Politics Care?

Why should school boards even be allowed to force schools to include creationism in the school's science curriculum. I care for both religion and science and for their sake I believe that politics should be allowed do all it can to limit or eliminate religion from schools. These evangelist and fundamentalists Christians read the bible so literally that they want to translate their beliefs onto all of society as a whole. I belief that religion is wholly based on faith, and that if you have faith in your beliefs, no matter what is taught to you at school your beliefs stay strong. If you fear that teaching evolution can hurt society then you are not all that religious because you do not have much faith in your beliefs. This lack of faith translates into a need to defend your believes and force it onto others. Attempts to use the law to limit evolution from schools are pathetic. Society, even the evangelists and fundamentalist, are relying on science more than ever and will only rely on it more. For the sake of science and society everyone should at least learn science for the sake of having a proper grounding in science education because it is part of being a well informed and to limit this for religious matters would be to limit society.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Religion, Evolution, Schools, and Politics, ITS NOTHING NEW

Much protest has arisen out of teaching evolution versus teaching creationist science in the recent years, but this fight over religion schools and politics is nothing new. The scopes trials following the civil war was over movements to ban teaching bible-threatening science in the south. Sure, Scopes did violate a Tennessee law at that time prohibiting teaching creationism, but i believe justice truly prevailed when the decision was overturned on a technicality. Despite this guilty plea, the evolutionist would win a major victory and slowly cause other states to repeal "monkey laws". What before was the religious side attacking science, and now that they do not have their way they have to reverted to a kind of hypocrisy calling their bible beliefs "creationist science". When they can not get evolution out of the schools they would try to put creationism science along side evolution to be taught together. I see this as there weakest attempt to promote the teaching of their views in school. This is nothing more than sore losers who wont give up and accept that it is the law for church and state to be separated.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Larger Look at Education, Religion, and School Boards

Having looked closely at the Westminster school board, i will now look at the larger picture of school boards and protesters who demonstrate over praying in school, bible classes, and teaching creationism. Georgia's state school board has approved bible classes in high school but only some schools are actually offering these elective classes. There were many schools across the country having such classes, but the difference remains, that those schools used local public funding while in Georgia the state is funding such cases. I whole heartedly disagree with having bible classes in public school. The supporters would argue that understanding the bible is fundamental to fully understanding politics and history, which is a moot point, but I see these classes as another way of the religious right to reinforce their religion and political leanings on to students. The reason that only some schools in Georgia has offered such classes is that the line between teaching and preaching the bible is so short that they do not dare take the chance of possibly being sued for having a teacher become a preacher.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Students, Teachers, and Rights

What are the rights of students and teachers who are gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender(GLBT) at public schools and how do the law and school boards deal with this. At the problem of all this controversy is the board of education, the Westminster school board, and AB537 which sets rules against discrimination of GLBT's. The dispute centers on the board of education ordering the school board to clearly define gender so that no interpreting of terms can be used to justify discrimination. The media claims that the school board has a religious slant, citing a statement from a school board member saying that their resistance to AB537 will bring "great benefits in heaven". This statement surly says alot about the board's believes but is the media spinning this out of hand by claiming that the school board makes their decisions on a religious slant? I believe so, such a claim does not have much legitimacy if it is based on one statement. Furthermore, I believe that the school board, although religious, does not dare break laws for fear of getting funding cuts, but they are just expressing their opinions and dissatisfaction by using controversy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Look at Home

Having lived in Westminster for as long as i can remember, i was surprised to hear that my small little hometown was involved in another controversy. I knew about Mendez v. Westminster, and the school board's segregation of Mexican students which would lead to Brown v. Board of Education. But when I heard Mr. Lobdell mentioned Westminster multiple times in his lectures, I felt like going home and researching this controversial school board in my town. I knew that there were many Vietnamese and Mexicans in Westminster, but was surprise to see that the 2000 census showed an equally large White population of whom are mostly Christian. I was also surprised to learn that this controversial school board was also mostly Christian. From this discovery, i hypothesized that the school board's controversies were indeed probably religiously motivated. When i looked at the controversies at hand (family values in school, religion in school, and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender rights for students and teachers) I only leaned towards my hypothesis more. But now as I continue to ask some teachers I'm beginning to question if all of this is just a matter of spinning on the part of the media and all who are involved.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Other Side in America

I have give much attention to the extreme right, and now i will focus on the other side. On the extreme right the political actions taken are often motivated by religion and race, but on the extreme left i see that their actions are motivated by the same thing. The extreme left do all that they can, mostly through legal means, to protect religious and racial equality. The most recent case of extreme left political action was in San Francisco, where a father, on behalf of his daughter filed a lawsuit to remove the requirement for school children to recite the pledge of allegiance because it contained the words "under god". Where I stand on the political spectrum i view that the extreme right's political actions are violent and really just a bully tactic that they often justify using the bible. I believe that the extreme left's political actions, although noble and legal, are not needed, and that they should instead focus more of their time on controlling the extreme right and what the do.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Non-Mainstream Extreme Right?

The extreme right is in no way close to or representative of the mainstream right and religious right, but is there such a thing as an non-mainstream group within the extreme right? I think so, and i believe these groups are those renegade mormon sects whose social and political pratices are too much to take in even for the extreme right. These sects, most notably the one lead by Warren Jeffs, step past Evangelical beliefs and also Mormon beliefs. The crimes they comitt step over even extreme right beliefs of the Aryan nation. What these groups do are considered so taboo that when mentioned to society, most are reviled that the government has not completely banned it. Polagamy, rape, and forced incest are the common pratices of these renegade groups. These groups defend their pratices politically, arguing that it is their religious right to do so. It took a case on child abuse to get Warren Jeffs convicted. No matter how important the freedom of religion is, I want the government to stop any such religion or cult which permitts such pratices.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Extreme Right and the Future

Surely, extremist like these guys will never turn America into such a white society, but the can and have been able to paint parts of America so that other races are bleached out. Gary Miller, a california representative, is one of these far right politicians who has used the immigration crisis to support his right-wing extremism which got him 62% of the votes in California's 42nd district. Although the district he runs in, does have people of other races and religions, there have been little to none challengers to his seat in congress. I believe this phenomenon has been caused by Miller's strong influence on what people consider important. With time i believe he can make his constituents consider race and religion as important issues as well. If right wing extremism, supported by the immigration crisis, takes a hold in more districts, I see that those districts and its constituents may possibly and slowly support issues among the right wing agenda like religous and cultural issues as well. There are parts of America which are already white, not because it was painted white, but because its inhabitants were white. What I do not want to see is a part of America where there are people of other colors be painted white.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Youth in the Extreme Right

Much attention has been given to the religious right, its older leaders such as Pat Robertson and James Dobson, and their tremendous influence on religion and politics. Much like how these two leaders use religion to justify getting involved with politics, leaders of the Aryan Nation and the their Ku Klux Klan use religion as a basis to justify their racial separatism. These groups attract many youths and instill in them that they are the supreme race over lesser races. They are often inspired and instigated into criminal behavior ranging from hate crimes to acts of terrorism against abortion and homosexuality. I believe they take such actions because they believe they are defending their christian identity as god's chosen race. The media does not cover much of these stories, except in mostly local news. If more people were aware of the violence and hate promoted by these groups, they would see that they are incompatible with the traditional American principle of equal representation for all people, and that they are actually anti-government. Because these groups are a very small minority and have little media coverage i do not see much political action to be take against them. Much like gangs in America, I believe more action needs to be taken against them.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Extreme Right, but an Extreme Left?

Having been raised in an liberal family and watching the "liberal media" I see and hear many stories involvong religious/political extremists. The one theme i see in most of the stories is that an extreme right is involve and often the conflict involve religion. Most people know that the right opposes many social issues such as abortion, gay marraige and evolution, What most people do not know is the extreme right and what they are willing to do to get their message across on these issues. I see their tatics as terrorism, for when the law does not bend their way, they resort to cowardice like Al Queda and take the law into their own hands for religious reasons. I hear the right say alot of things about abortion, gay marraige, and evolution, i often do not hear them condemn the extreme right and their violent attacks and ambushes on abortion clinics and its patients. I do not hear them condemn gay bashing and threats of death. I just do not hear alot of these things. All that I hear about the extreme left are tree hugging animal loving hippies who protest what society does. I want to learn more about the extreme left and any cowardly and violent things they have done, tell me what i do not hear.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Dividing America

Having compared the different faiths in America and its relationship with politics and the media, i have come to reach a conclusion that America is much more divided amongst religion than i have ever thought. Although race, gender and equality has pretty much been settle constitutionally with the 13, 14, and 19th amendments, the issue of god in the Constitution remains. Each different faith claims that the "god"
that the Constitution refers to is theirs. Even the atheists are involve in this issue and want god to be completely removed. Being religiously apathetic(nearly atheist) i tend to side with the atheist and would rather have god removed from the constitution. If i had my way with the constitution and other American documents and pledges, I would much rather keep "god" but would remove "indivisible", because it would best describe the political and especially religious climate in America.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The other faith

The news stories covering the Muslim and christian faith depicts more violence, terrorist, and overzealous religious behavior and gets most of the attention because there is a larger audience for stories on such religions. I often find the coverage on other faiths such as Buddhism only appear when monks are protesting some government. Recently, the protests led by monks in Myanmar, the self-conflagration by monks during the Vietnam war, and the Tibetan independence movement have gain the most coverage. From these news stories i feel as though the Buddhist faith is constantly in a political struggle for rights and freedom. I also feel as though the media will only cover the Buddhist religion when there something shocking happens or if it involves someone famous. =

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Whole New Crusade?

Now that information regarding child sex abuse in the boy scouts, much like that of the catholic church, has been revealed, i believed that the right has lost a strong voter base; as trust in the boy scouts have been loss and I believe that children for the boy scouts will have less dedication to conservative values and less likely to vote for the right. This is why i see the media covering a possible "new crusade", a christian youth movement called "Jesus Camp" where kids are seemingly in a religious trance and are praying to Bush. Where as the media covers the Muslim faith in stories involving terrorism and civil rights. The media covers the Christian faith in stories involving overzealous and intolerant people. From these news stories that I see from the media I get a feeling that there will be a whole new generation of voters who will be completely inflexible on political/religious issues such as gay marriage and abortion and any secular movements.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

How the media portrays muslim/christian conflicts in america

Why is it that the media portrays the Christian-Muslim conflicts in America with such a cynical view. The Christians are portrayed with an anti-Muslim point of view, where they consider the faith to always have some kind of support for terrorism. The Muslims are portrayed as Muslims first and Americans second, where they are considered to have less rights and are in a constant battle for their civil rights. The Muslims are portrayed as though they believe America is at war against Islam. I believe it is all due to 9/11 , and America's mob mentality, where only a serious event or natural disaster can motivate an entire nation to voice there emotions and demand action.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Comparing different religions with politics and the media

Having studied comparative politics, i would like to examine different religions and how each religion is portrayed by the media and how political events enter the mix.

The American media has two ways of portraying Muslims and Islam. The Iraq War, Muslim against Muslim, and Muslim against Jews, are extensively covered in international news, where Muslims are involved in conflicts with themselves and others. The other way that the media portrays Muslims is that of Americans vs. Muslims and Christians vs. Muslims. Most domestic news stories often portrays Muslims as struggling to fit in with Americas and often undiverse. Incidents involving Christians and Muslims portrays Christians as ignorant and fearful of the Muslim faith and Muslims as possibly threatening to the status quo.

The media often leaves out or ignores many stories in international news involving Muslims, often just focusing on violence and the war much in the same way that they ignore the African Muslim population in America and stereotyping them as Nation of Islam.