10 Things Traditional Christians Got Terribly Wrong

Christian Wrong

The Article: 10 Things Traditional Christians Got Terribly Wrong by Amanda Marcotte in Alternet.

The Text: When Christians get political, they often do so because they believe that they have God on their side. This is true whether they are progressive or conservative, and throughout most of American history there have been both. (You’d think that the conflicting claims about what God wants would lead to more doubting, but here we are.) Looking over the long history of people claiming to be speaking for God’s wishes, it quickly becomes evident that Christians are frequently on the wrong side of history. Here are 10 things that American Christians of the conservative stripe got completely wrong when they were so sure they were speaking on God’s behalf.

1) Slavery. Both sides of the American slavery debate claimed to be speaking from profound Christian conviction. The Bible clearly has a positive view of slavery, something pro-slavery Christians routinely pointed out. Abolitionists took a broader, less literal view of the Bible. Unsurprising that this divide led to the South being, to this day, home of the most people who take a literalist, fundamentalist view of Christianity.

Of course, nowadays you can’t find even the most literalist fan of the Bible who is willing to agree with their predecessors in the 19th century who believed the Bible endorsed slavery. Of the many things conservative Christians have gotten wrong over the years, the pro-slavery argument is probably the one that is least likely to be revived by modern fundamentalists.

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Social Media, Actually An Instrument To Take On Lobbyists?

The Article: Colorado Rejects Fracking: The Money’s Not Talking; Social Media Is by Richard Levick in Forbes.

The Text: Colorado was ground zero in the hydraulic fracturing debate on Tuesday, as four local municipalities voted on moratoriums or outright bans. In Boulder, 76 percent of voters favored extending a moratorium already in place. In Fort Collins, 55 percent supported a freeze on the practice. In Lafayette, 58 percent voted for a charter amendment that will ban fracking permanently. Only in Broomfield, an area that traditionally trends Republican, did voters reject the environmentalist agenda. It’s five-year fracking ban failed by the slimmest of margins (50.51 to 49.49 – or just 194 votes).

After grinding the Keystone Pipeline to a halt, it’s clear that activists have zeroed in on their next target – and they are influencing the conversation with stunning effect. Ahead of yesterday’s referendums in Colorado, we had already seen fracking moratoriums and bans established in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and a numerous other states, municipalities, and countries.

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The Agnostic’s Guide To The Botched Obamacare Rollout

Agnostic Obamacare

The Article: The Agnostic’s Guide to the Botched Obamacare Rollout by Kurt Eichenwald in Vanity Fair.

The Text: There isn’t a lot of honesty when it comes to discussing Obamacare. Too many Republicans lie about the implications of the health-insurance program and dismiss out of hand the reasons a massive overhaul of the long-time system is necessary. Too many Democrats dismiss the challenges that the program faces, its potential shortcomings, and the flaws in its design. Then, on both sides, there are the absolutists: conservatives who say the uninsured are just a bunch of lazy takers, and the liberals who say that only a single-payer system can solve the problems we face.

Small wonder it’s virtually impossible to get a clear understanding of how to look at the bumpy start to the Obamacare rollout.

I’ll give it a shot. While I’ve been writing about Obamacare of late—attacking the G.O.P. lies and explaining why an overhaul of our system is necessary—folks seem to have missed that I’ve never said whether I believe the president’s signature legislative victory is any good. There’s a reason for that: I don’t know. I am an Obamacare agnostic—if it works, as I hope it will for the good of the nation, then it’s a great thing. If it doesn’t, then that is a disappointing thing and we need to try something else. Unlike too many, I don’t believe pretending to be a soothsayer—“It will destroy America!” “It will save the world!”—is anything more than ideologically driven sophistry.

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Time For A Moratorium On The Word ‘Racist’?

Moratorium Racist

The Article: It’s time to put a moratorium on the word ‘racist’ by Reniqua Allen in The Guardian.

The Text: In the late nineties, conservative John Bunzel, a former member of the US Commission on Civil Rights, wrote that President Clinton’s Advisory Board on Race should call for an end of the “corrupted usage” of the word “racist” especially when used as an “accusation” or “smear word” because:

[It] breeds bitterness and polarization, not a spirit of pragmatic reasonableness in confronting our difficult problems.

While I agree with little else that he said in that article, 15 years later, the sentiment is hitting home. It’s time to put a moratorium on the word “racist”.

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Paul Krugman On The US “War On The Poor”

War On Poor

The Article: A War on the Poor by Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

The Text: John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, has done some surprising things lately. First, he did an end run around his state’s Legislature — controlled by his own party — to proceed with the federally funded expansion of Medicaid that is an important piece of Obamacare. Then, defending his action, he let loose on his political allies, declaring, “I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That, if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”

Obviously Mr. Kasich isn’t the first to make this observation. But the fact that it’s coming from a Republican in good standing (although maybe not anymore), indeed someone who used to be known as a conservative firebrand, is telling. Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate has now reached such a fever pitch that the party doesn’t really stand for anything else — and only willfully blind observers can fail to see that reality.

The big question is why. But, first, let’s talk a bit more about what’s eating the right.

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