This, That, and Other Things

Just a few thoughts/questions that recently came to mind …

Does anyone else think the U.S. should offer fire-fighting assistance to Australia in the wake of the terrible wildfires that are literally destroying parts of that country?

*******

I’m not at all versed in the financial end of politics; however, Keith and Scottie recently had a brief conversation related to government economics. I found the following comment by Keith a learning moment.

Obama did not reduce the debt and Clinton only impacted it in a small way for a short time. BUT, they did reduce the annual deficit, the annual accounting of revenue and expenses. In fact, Clinton handed a small surplus budget to Bush which was a huge statement of accomplishment. Bush then gave it a way with an ill-advised tax cut which his Secretary of the Treasury argued against doing and was fired. Obama’s reduction in the deficit was largely due to the sequestration due to the impasse on the debt ceiling. They put something in place in case no deal could be reached. No deal was reached and cuts were made.

While all of this was going on, the debt continued to climb. So, yes Clinton made huge strides to reduce the deficit. Obama made some strides, but could have done more. What should be noted about Clinton’s changes is more jobs were created under his watch than any other president by far. Yet, it is clear, both Bush and Trump have done very little to impact the deficit and debt. 

*******

Does anyone else agree that there will be some notable repercussions (possibly within our borders) from the recent killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic?

*******

Why is it OK for Christians to try and pass laws to prevent abortion (which is a woman’s liberty) but they get very angry when they feel their “religious liberties” are being threatened?

*******

P.S. Comments are also open to discuss issues that you may be wondering about. 🙂

*******************
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Whose Religious Liberty?

Leading sentence in our local newspaper …

Under pressure from a conservative advocacy group, the Hallmark Channel has pulled ads for a wedding-planning website that featured two brides kissing at the altar.

The conservative group that insisted the ad be pulled was the “One Million Moms,” part of the American Family Association, a fundamentalist Protestant organization that opposes LGBT rights and expression, pornography, and abortion. The Association  defines itself as a “Christian organization promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society.”

Regrettably, the CEO of Hallmark’s parent company buckled under the pressure from this group and stated the ad was “aired in error” and that the “Hallmark Channel will continue to be a safe and family-friendly network.”

I can’t help but ask … whose family are they being “friendly” to?

Interestingly, at the end of the article, it mentioned that Hallmark had actually been considering more same-sex themed content.

In fact, in mid-November in an interview with “The Hollywood Reporter,” the CEO was quoted as saying the company was “open to really any type of movie of any type of relationship.”

Hmmmm. Can’t imagine what changed his thinking.

I could say more … much more … on this topic, but instead I will simply refer readers to the quote I used in this post:

Religious liberty is the freedom to believe in anything you like, or to believe in nothing at all. But it certainly does not carry with it the right to force others to live by those beliefs.


UPDATE:  RollingStone.com reported that the Hallmark Channel has apologized, saying (after facing a wave of criticism) “this was the wrong decision.” They have since reinstated the four previously-pulled commercials that featured two brides kissing.

YES! True religious liberty reigns!

*****************************
Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

Religious Liberty

I recently came across an article entitled, “The Continued Threat to Religious Liberty is Undeniable.”

It was difficult for me to read because the writer seemed to overlook the fact that “religious liberty” is not limited to a particular faith. In fact, as I was reading the article, I was reminded of the slogan on the Gadsden Flag — “Don’t Tread On Me.”

Let me explain.

The phrase was originally on a Revolutionary War flag and was intended as an historic expression of American patriotism. Over time, however, the words became associated with a more general expression of personal freedom and individualism. Unfortunately, in the 2000s, the phrase became associated with a variety of libertarian, conservative, gun-rights, and far-right political groups as a way to express their beliefs.

Nonetheless, for me, the phrase clearly means … Don’t trample on my personal freedoms and I won’t trample on yours.

Back to the article — it’s apparent the writer supports his version of “religious liberty” because he cited the couple who was asked to bake a custom wedding cake and refused because it violated their faith. He also mentioned the instance of a coach who was fired for kneeling in silent prayer at midfield after a high school football game. Further, he praised certain judges who were willing to reconsider the Free Exercise Clause* (which he indicated has been dormant for decades).

He was also quite excited that Justices Bret Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch were confirmed, along with the confirmations of several (Trump-appointed) federal judges to the District and Circuit Courts of Appeal since, in his opinion, this indicated a “renewed respect for the text and original intent of the Constitution” and promised more protection of “religious liberty.”

There’s little doubt that one person’s definition of religious liberty is not always the same as another. For example, an individual left this comment (which I agree with) related to the article:

Religious liberty is the freedom to believe in anything you like, or to believe in nothing at all. But it certainly does not carry with it the right to force others to live by those beliefs.

Even so, we continue to see those on the religious front trying to hijack the phrase “religious freedom” and assign to it a meaning that supports their viewpoint.

Sidenote: While searching for a picture to accompany this story, I typed in the word “religion.” The extensive choice of images confirmed that the word is not confined to one particular faith. And, IMO, this is something that many who advocate”religious liberty” often overlook.


*The FreeExerciseClause of the US Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees the right to hold religious beliefs and engage in religious practices that are part of a person’s religious beliefs. (See LawShelf.com for a more detailed discussion.)