The Immigration Fallacy

the_week_11920_27Will Wilkinson of “The Week” uses Toronto, where 47% of the population was born outside of North America, as a wonderful example to counter the fears of Anglo-Saxon’s that dilution of the WASP strain will wreak havoc in all of North America.

In his 2004 book ‘Who Are We?: The Challenges to America’s National Identity,’ the late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington warned that “the United States of America will suffer the fate of Sparta and Rome,” should its founding Anglo-Protestant culture continue to wane. Commenting sympathetically on Huntington’s argument, conservative writer John O’Sullivan asserts that if traditional patterns of national life are “removed or destroyed, then anomie, despair, and disintegration tend to be among the consequences.” So we must take care to protect our precious cultural patrimony from the acid of “denationalizing” economic and cultural globalization. We must keep outsiders out.

I remember John O’Sullivan from our days contributing to Margaret Thatcher’s speeches, in her successful run for the British Conservative Party leadership in 1975.

Even then, we all recognized that there was an unhappy marriage between the libertarian economists (who included me), who supported Maggie for her desire to get the country’s public purse in good order, and the social conservatives (who included John), who wanted to keep the UK white, God-fearing and firmly rooted in the Victorian Era.

The fact is that, after the rush of immigrants from East Africa and the Caribbean, during the Sixties and Seventies, the focus shifted to the Asian Sub-Continent – Pakistan, India and, most recently, Hong Kong.

All we tend to hear about, on this side of the Atlantic, is how discontented second and third generation radical British Muslims, primarily originating from Pakistan, have become some of the most harmful of the followers of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Yet overall, the influx of immigrants has added great richness and diversity to Britain’s country. We have descendants from the West Indies running for us in the Olympics; Asian descendants in our Cricket team; successful Asian millionaires grace the benches of the House of Lords; and curry, not fish-and-chips is now the most beloved national dish.

There is nothing wrong with this. Any student of British history will know that there is no singular British racial strain. Over the centuries, we were invaded many times, and forcibly or otherwise, room was always found for the new conquerors – don’t ask me why, but none of ’em ever wanted to go home!

Indeed, the very nomenclature ‘Anglo-Saxon’ is made up of two different groups: the Saxons and the Angles, both invaders; both absorbed into British cultural heritage.

It is, therefore, something of a cruel irony for Brits or Yanks to hold on so desperately to a racial strain which represents the very epitome of foreigner.

America has nothing to fear from new immigration. They want to come here to succeed, not to live on welfare. Our national heritage is more than strong enough to absorb the new cultures of Asia and Central America, and then to grow and blossom with their input.

I pity John and all those seeming cynics who feel that good was only ever in the past, and who fear whatever the future may have to bring.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Can You Make Money At Political Blogging?

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Hands up. Be honest. I’m not the only person who is thinking he’d like to try and make money at politically-based social media and citizen journalism. Right?

Well, read the articles linked to below. They are an eye-opener:

No: http://dennisthepeasant.typepad.com/dennis_the_peasant/2005/11/why_political_b.html

No: http://www.newsweek.com/id/183666

Maybe: http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2008/11/can-british-bloggers-make-money-out-of.html

Bottom line: I’m just going to start enjoying what I do, and let the world take me where it will…

Published in: on April 25, 2009 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Torture: Obama’s ‘Nixon Pardon’? (II)

03Is it fair to equate the potential decision by President Obama not to prosecute those responsible for torture in the Bush Administration with President Ford’s pardoning of President Nixon?

In 1974, America had, in the previous eleven years, been shaken by the assassinations of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

We had suffered the long nightmare of Vietnam; the horror of the illegal incursion into Cambodia, and all the atrocities that followed; culminating in the same of our final retreat from Saigon.

To cap all this, we then had to suffer the indignity of a criminal President, getting caught, wriggling, lying, sacrificing his staff, and then finally achieving historical stature as the only President to resign his office.

America was baying for blood. It wanted Richard Nixon’s scalp. Not just for Watergate. But for the war crimes committed in Vietnam and Cambodia. And for the reign of domestic terror and surveillance he had overseen in the US itself.

So, yes. I see an equivalence between those times and the period we find ourselves in today, where many in America want George Bush and his cohorts to pay a visible and terrible price for what has been done in the name of the War on Terror and the War in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for the many abuses of power he perpetrated on US soil.

The question once again is: will the price to be paid be more terrible for the American people than it will be for Bush and his cronies?

Make no mistake, once we start down this path, it can only end with Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, among many others, standing trial for war crimes.

What will that do for the American psyche and for our standing around the world? Is there not a better way – as, in fact, I argue in the first article to bear this title?

Back in 1974, President Ford took a momentous decision. I believe it was the right one. and it cost him his Presidency. He determined that the nation had suffered enough. That it would cause more trauma to put a President on trial that it would cause to hold him legally accountable for his alleged crimes.

I strongly believe that, by making this decision, President Ford began the process of healing the nation’s spirit. This continued under Jimmy Carter, and even under Ronald Reagan.

Whatever one may think of his policies, Reagan’s grandfatherly demeanor helped to restore our faith in ourselves and our stature around the world.

Our nation has just been through another nightmare. I’m guessing that many of those calling for prosecution now did not experience the similar nightmare of the Seventies, and may, therefore, not see the advantages of restoring spirit over the short-term retribution of legal proceedings. But I do. And I’m hoping that President Obama will, too.

Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Torture: Obama’s ‘Nixon Pardon’? (I)

torture_02161The national psyche of America, over the past few generations, has been defined less by Presidents, programs or –isms, and more by a succession of seminal events, which traumatized the consciousness of our people:

The assassinations of two Kennedy’s and a King. The unseemly retreat from Vietnam. The resignation of Nixon. And, more importantly, his subsequent pardon.

Presidential pardons are beginning to develop a life of their own. Just when we thought the tabloid history of Clinton’s Presidency might have reached its apex with Monica, along came his weird pardon of Marc Rich, fugitive tax-dodger and oil-sales middleman for Iraq.

Even Bush, at the end, managed to surprise us with some of the folks he did not pardon, including ‘Scooter’ Libby (who, coincidentally, had advised Denise Rich to approach Clinton to pardon her former husband).

Notwithstanding the historical magnitude of the challenges facing President Obama, and the magnificence (yes, I’m biased), and some might add munificence, of his response, could it be that his young Presidency might yet be defined by a decision not to bring legal sanction against any of the players involved in the torture saga?

Would such a decision have the same impact on his chances of re-election, as it did with Ford’s pardon of President Nixon? And might it permanently taint his Presidential legacy?

Contrary to what you might think might be the answer to this impressive build-up, my view is that, even if it costs him the Presidency and his legacy, Obama should stick to his current stance that we admit mistakes, and move on.

Yes, the American people deserve accountability. Certainly, we must prove to the world that we believe in justice. But before I give my opinion on the sort of accountability and justice that might work best, there are other points to consider.

I have been involved in the political process, at the highest level – in the UK. I stress the political process, as distinct from the elective or government processes. I mean, being a part of the machine that, day after day, week after week, year after year, has to consider, warplan, forecast, spin and control the political fall-out of decisions made by political leaders.

It is something I now refuse to be a part of. Why? Because it corrupts. It always corrupts. Not because people are bad, or less good. But because the very nature of the job requires a ‘corruption’ of the thought process.

Your contribution is not what is best, in a given situation, for the country, or a policy, leave alone the world at large. Your job is to decide what is best for the leader you serve. And that viewpoint is always cast on the assumption that what is best for your leader is, in fact, what is best for everyone else.

How can that not be the case? You just spent one, two, six years, whatever, producing scenario after speech after TV ad stating, as Papal Authority, that the nation, the world, and at least half the galaxy depends, for its continued sanity, on electing your man. Not a policy. Your man. Not an Administration. Your man.

Your guy is the Administration. He is the national security. He is the best interest of the nation. Whatever he is. He is all of that.

That is a natural result of being a political operative at the highest level. It is an inevitable consequence. And it requires inhuman effort to resist its seduction. That’s why I now limit my role in the political arena (aside from running for office itself) to the less dangerous waters of political communication.

Now, it is my opinion that, in the highly-charged atmosphere after 9-11, everyone in Government, from Karl Rove to the person who opened the jail cell doors at Guantanamo was, by emotional investment, a political operative. And anything they did should be judged and sanctioned within the context of the political process.

I’ll cut through all the crap that will now undoubtedly occupy our nation’s hungry press for the best part of however long it is to come.

I’ll accept as a given that there were innumerable instances of CIA Officers exceeding the limits of the legal advice given about torture. I’ll accept as a given that those perpetrating such illegal excess knew they were doing it.

I’ll accept that those who gave the legal advice did so in the certain knowledge that the advice was given in bad faith, in the also certain knowledge that the acts supposedly being given legal sanction were, in fact, wholly illegal.

My position remains the same. There should be no legal prosecution. The appropriate forum is not the legal or military one, but the political one.

Every single person who was involved in these activities, legal or illegal, did so with the knowledge that they were carrying out the wishes of their President. Therefore, all of these activities fall within the political process. The buck resides not with the protagonists, but with the President, and with the President alone.

That is a function of working for a President. You don’t blame the operatives. You blame the President, or you blame the system. Or, if you really want to get existential, you blame humanity.

The time for blaming the President was when he was in office. And don’t give me bull that Congress, et al, did not know what was going on. Either they did, in which case they are as much to blame. Or they didn’t, in which case, they need to beef up their investigative techniques, or we need to change the system of checks and balances.

In my opinion, there should be a statute of limitations on actions committed during an Administration, by that Administration. And that statute should end when the Administration is over.

I do not go as far as Nixon and say that an illegal act committed by a President and those who serve him is not illegal. But I do say that the time for bringing charges for the illegality is while the Administration is in office.

We create a boiler-room situation in Presidential operations, where we know there is a better than evens chance operatives are going to step over the line. We then wait until its all over, and then we nab ’em. This is not only unfair. It’s unreal. And it’s going to result in repetition – over and over and over. And what’s more, it’s going to lead to political retaliation when the next lot get into office.

This could result in paralysis in Governmental decision-making, which, for example, in the intelligence or military arenas, could be fatal. No. I say Government operatives are all part of the political process. We nab ’em during their time in office. If we don’t or can’t, then when the political process brings the Adminstration to an end, that also is an end to any witch-hunt.

As to the rest of the world looking for accountability. What about balancing that ambition with concern for those who may watch with horror as we eat our own?

Like it or not, we are the only superpower in the world today. The only true military strong man. Good people, running important allies, look to us for support. Very often, it is that friendship alone which keeps the wolves at bat. Or the absolute certainty, in the minds of those wolves, that we will be steadfast, strong and discrete in our positions.

What happens when we say to the world’s villains, you can count on us to keep you at bay. Well, unless we’re mean, by mistake. When we’ll back off. Or, we think we might have been mean. So, could you hang on, while we have a bit of an investigate to see…oops…you were right, sorry.

Or, even worse. We decide that we need to reveal everything that might have happened. And maybe, inadvertently, we let slip the name of a secret foreign ally. Or, that ally thinks we might slip up?

Balance against the deserved plaudits we might get from the world’s media for being transparent, the sense of trust that we might lose among the leadership of our allies. Allies who might then have to choose compromise with their unacceptable enemies, over a relationship with a now erstwhile champion.

We have a system for electing our leaders to do a job that is pretty clearly defined. We have a system of checks and balances. If it doesn’t work, change it. But when their period of office is over, we don’t second guess the decisions made.

It was a political process that put those leaders in place. It is political process that shapes the context in which decisions are made. It should be the political process that judges those decisions – not a legal process. It should be political sanctions that punish any offenders – not criminal prosecution. And the ultimate political sanction is electoral defeat. The Republicans just suffered that.

Now, that does not mean that is an end to political justice.

President Obama has released documentation. I’m not sure I’m fully in support of voluntarily releasing documents from a previous Administration, but I can see his rationale for so doing coming from a desire to move on expeditiously.

I might now go further, and suggest a Presidential Commission, along the lines of the 9-11 Commission. But only within the proviso that there is to be no prosecution; only revelation, which does not disturb the future functioning of our Government, nor harm our genuine national security interests. Exposure on its own should be the only sanction against wrong-doing.

When I was undertaking the private investigation which led to my book (http://www.lulu.com/content/384105), I tried on several occasions to make contact with senior levels of British Intelligence.

I wanted them to understand that I appreciated that it might never be possible for the truth of my friend’s death to become public. But I did at least want private and discrete reparation for his family, since my friend had died as a consequence of unofficial actions approved by the then Prime Minister of Great Britain.

There is much that even a Presidential Commission may not be able to publish. But part of its remit could be private recommendations for discrete reparations to injured parties.

Then again, we could even hold our noses, and follow the lead of Gordon Brown and the Northern Ireland, and simply give a set sum to all those who were held or interrogated.

There will be unbelievable pressure on President Obama to give in, and allow sanctions to be brought against acts of the previous Administration.

I believe that if he succumbs, or worse, does a Henry II, and looks the other way, as Knights slay the modern equivalent of Thomas a Becket, then it may seriously damage the ability of future Governments to receive confidential advice, make and execute sensitive policy, and govern effectively. And further, it may do more damage to our standing around the world than the original acts of torture.

Even if it is perceived now as a failing, to be ranked along with Ford’s pardon of Nixon, I believe that history will show that Obama will have made the right decision if he sticks with his first instincts simply to admit mistakes, and move on.

Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Goldman Sachs: Financier of Terror?

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Have Goldman Sachs in the US and the Royal Bank of Scotland in the UK been shown favored treatment by their respective Governments because they are the clandestine, Government-sanctioned financiers and launderers of top-secret and officially-deniable aspects of the US/UK War on Terror?

What follows is based on the 20-year research and investigation that forms the basis of my book, “Dead Men Don’t Eat Lunch”: http://www.lulu.com/content/384105.

Beginning in the Second World War, financial trading circles in New York and London forged behind-the-scenes alliances with intelligence agencies and shadier figures from the international criminal world to help to finance and organize special operations against the Japanese and Germans.

This unholy cabal continued during the Cold War, reaching its apex in the Eighties, when vast sums of money were literally looted from industry and financial houses and banks around the world, and shoveled into Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in a successful bid to buy off communism.

Forget all the talk about Velvet Revolutions and Gorbachev and Yeltsin. The Wall came down and the Soviet Union split up because hundreds and thousands of communist officials had quite simply been bribed to stand aside when the time came.

This effort was merely the largest program in a series of interconnected clandestine activities, co-ordinated by then Vice President George Bush (Senior), through an off-the-books intelligence operation known as ‘The Enterprise.’

The intention was to allow for activity that Bush and Reagan deemed necessary to meet their foreign policy goals, without the need for oversight by Congress: arms sales to Iran; hostage negotiation in the Lebanon; support of the Contra’s; the secret war in Afghanistan; and so on.

As part of this circumvention of Congressional oversight, Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, pimped out her funds-starved military and intelligence services to do the ‘wet’ work for ‘The Enterprise.’ From arranging assassinations in the Lebanon to shipping arms into Afghanistan and shooting down Soviet Hind helicopters.

Obviously, since ‘The Enterprise’ did not officially exist, funding had to be arranged through nefarious means. Thus it was that ‘The Enterprise’ became a criminal trading organization, with the Vice President of the United States at its head.

Drugs from Central America to the West Coast; drugs from The Lebanon to the East Coast (and the bomb which brought down Pan Am Flight 103 – bearing several senior CIA officers and a suitcase they thought was filled with drugs, but which had been replaced by a bomb provided by Ahmed Jibril, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, at the behest of Iran, through Syria, in retaliation for the downing of an Iranian commercial airliner by the USS Vincennes, in 1988).

Arms to Iran. Arms to the Contras. Money to the Contras from Saudi Arabia. The IRA using their bases in Northern Ireland to do deals with Palestinians for arms, while allowing drugs to be shipped through Northern Ireland in return. Everyone and their auntie selling arms to the Iranians and the Iraqis, in contravention of UN sanctions. Got a headache yet?

What happened in the Eighties was that, led by the US and the UK, all sorts of semi-official Government agencies, criminals and terrorists found that it was in their interest to set up an unofficial international trading network to allow for the unobserved exchange of all manner of illicit products and services: hostages, arms, drugs, cash, you name it. In my book, I give this network the rather cute, if unoriginal, name: InTerNet (International Terror Network).

Of course, all of this activity needed careful arranging by people steeped in the execution of clandestine operations: intelligence agencies. It required funding by those who understood it. And it required Governments to look the other way, usually in return for a pice of the action.

What you found at the end of the Eighties was a series of scandals involving financial institutions that had become involved in this underhand activity, as financiers and money-launderers: BCCI and BNL, to name but two. Yet there were others. Those that were exposed were those that were ‘let go.’ Investigators were getting too close to the truth, so there were sacrificial lambs.

One of the larger British institutions which was heavily involved, the Royal Bank of Scotland, is still being protected. There are regular features in the UK press as to why RBS is being shown favored treatment in the UK’s version of the bank bail-out. This is the reason.

Well-known figures on both sides of the Atlantic were also sacrificed, in order to hide the wider network and its continuing profitable activities: former Chancellor Kohl in Germany; former Italian Prime Ministers Giulio Andreotti and Bettino Craxi, again, to name but a few. Never forgetting, of course, Oliver North in the US.

This deadly trading game led to the death of Princess Diana. Her boyfriend, Dodi, was the son of a notorious arms dealer, Mohammed al Fayed, who also owned the Ritz Hotel, in Paris.

In a bid to unseat the then Conservative Government of Great Britain, which had refused Mohammed British citizenship, Mohammed had threatened to reveal the dirty arms deals of the Conservative Government, and the secret commissions that had been paid to senior Conservative politicians.

The trouble was that revelation would have involved naming the secret Arabian arms middlemen, the details of whom Mohammed knew because the deals had been arranged in his hotel.

Again, since the Second World War, the Ritz Hotel had been recognized by all concerned as a safe house in which to conduct all of these nefarious goings-on. The rule was the same as for Vegas: what happens…

Not liking that sort of attention, the arms middlemen arranged to send Mohammed a message he could not ignore. In time-honored Middle-Eastern fasion, they decided to kill the person Mohammed loved the most. His son. And threw Di into the bargain to underline how untouchable they were.

The closest all of this has got to revelation in Great Britain is an investigation by “The Guardian” newspaper into arms deals by British Aerospace and the Saudi Arabians, in particular. As hard as they have tried, the investigators at the newspaper have been unable to tie commissions paid by the Saudis to any British politician.

My research has uncovered the money trail to those politicians. But, being as my resources involve one man and a dog – without the dog – I have been unable as yet to confirm the information to the necessary satisfaction of law enforcement and newspapers – although both have shown support and interest.

What I will say is keep your eye on Peter Mandelson, the new Commerce Secretary for Gordon Brown. On Geoffrey Robinson, former Paymaster General under Tony Blair. And on Alan Duncan, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, on David Cameron’s Conservative team.

But I’m getting a little distracted here. To get back on course. When communism collapsed, and when the lucrative Iran-Iraq War ended, when Saddam was blunted by the First Gulf War, InTerNet became dormant, although it did not completely disband.

Attention focused in the Nineties on providing security for mineral operations in Africa and oil drilling in the Caucasus. Then came 9/11 and the clandestine War on Terror. InTerNet was back in business, with a vengeance.

In the late Eighties, when I was painstakingly piecing together my research, I went a-looking for large holes in financial institutions. At the moment, we have some of the largest holes seen in history. Of course, that of itself means nothing.

What I also looked for was those financial institutions with holes that seemed to be under the protection of their Government. This again brought me back (in the Eighties) to BCCI and BNL.

BCCI were in deep financial trouble, long before the UK Government finally closed them in the early Nineties. Later, it was determined that the UK Government had deliberately held off action against BCCI, not least because they were using certain informants and triple agent clients of the bank (including the notorious Palestinian terrorist, Abu Nidal) to monitor the activities of InTerNet.

Which brings me to two articles, that I read to day, that suggested we are once again seeing tell-tale financial holes in institutions, which may well be being protected by the US and UK Governments.

One article talked about Lehman Brothers being in possession of large amounts of uranium, in which commodity it had been trading. I wondered why on earth a Wall Street financial house would be trading in a nuclear building block. Others had already been wondering why Lehman had been allowed to fail. I have begun to wonder if Lehman is a modern sacrificial lamb? did it know too much? Did it have assets that were too ‘toxic,’ in more ways than one?

Then, I read an article wondering why Goldman Sachs had been shown preferential treatment by the US Government (much like RBS had been shown favored treatment by the UK Government). Much was written about the connections Goldman has with Robert Rubin (Treasury Secretary under Clinton), Henry Paulson (Treasury Secretary under George Bush the Younger) and Tim Geitner (Obama’s Treasury Secretary).

What I’m beginning to wonder is if this is, in fact, because Goldman is the current chief financier and launderer of the US end of the revived InTerNet?

Does our new President know about all of this? One of my sources told me of the weekend when John Major, the new British Prime minister, was told by his Government’s ‘Gray Men’ of the unsavory activities of his Government and country – back in 1990.

John was horrified. It began a reaction on his part, honorable man that he is, that led to three separate commissions, investigating arms sales to Iraq, political fund-raising and political donations by corporations. Those investigations, in turn, led to clandestine action to undermine his influence, which was the primary cause of his General Election defeat in 1997.

I explain in some detail in my book my circumstantial reasoning for believing that much the same conversation was held with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. They proved to be less honorable, and in my informed opinion, they did a ‘dirty deal’ with their own intelligence agencies, whereby they agreed to give their intelligence agencies and military a free hand to continue their funded support for American adventures, in return for those same intelligence agencies not undermining them, in the same way they undermined John Major.

I suspect President Obama knows all of this. We will have to wait and see what history says of his reaction.

In the meantime, I accept that my views about Goldman Sachs (not the rest) is speculation. But if I were a well-funded investigative reporter, I would certainly be marching down the money trail, to what I am sure will be the next international ‘-gate.’

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

The End of Christian America

post-christian-america-na01-vl-verticalNewsweek leads with an article suggesting that the number of people saying that religion can answer all or most of the problems in the US today has fallen dramatically in the past few years.

Leaving aside the obvious cheap funnies, this goes all the way back to the founding days, when those who came over on the first little wooden ships were pretty much split between fundamentalist Puritans, seeking a New World to allow for the expression of their strict Protestant religious views, and a bunch of wayward adveturers, looking to make a buck.

This is what led to the ideal of a separation of church and state. It was less to do with some high-minded philosophy about the dangers of religion interfering with the state, and much more to do with the fact that Mammon wanted to be left the heck alone, and the fundamentalists had already fled one society of religious oppression, and wanted to be sure that it was not replacing it with another. Less accommodation, and more a balance of mutual terror. And it is why we enjoy today the cultural dichotomy of “God Bless America” living alongside Las Vegas and Larry Flynt.

The creative tension, even societal schizophrenia, that has existed between the two opposite national character traits, has defined us as a society ever since. There is a constant jostling for influence between the desire to be moral and the freedom to earn money any which way that we can. It’s why we have the expression “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, and the phrase “one nation, under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s why Oliver North took a Bible to Tehran, while selling TOW missiles to Iran’s Islamic leaders.

Religion found itself on the rise in the Eighties, in response to permissive social reforms of the Sixties and the economic difficulties of the Seventies. People from all sorts of different social backgrounds, who might previously have been on opposite sides of the political divide on economic matters (conservative Southerners and blue-collar Northerners), suddenly found themselves beating the same drum on issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

Those beating the drum loudest, of course, were the Christian Right. The Evangelicals. The Southern Baptists. They probably had their greatest victory, not in the Eighties, with Reagan, but with Bush in 2004. Then, even with a still doddery economy, and a deeply unpopular war, they helped to underpin a close Election win for Bush. I remember telling my disappointed Catholic and liberal uncle that the remedy in 2008 lay not in winning back the Democratic Party from the political cynics, but in winning back the Catholic Party from the religious cynics.

I believe that what we are seeing now is a reaction against the meddling of the Christian Right in the past couple of decades. A realization that the Bible calls as much for social justice as moral adherence. This began to be seen in 2006, saw further expression in 2008, and deepens every day with growing disenchantment with supposedly caring religious types who call for the failure of a President whom most see as one who is trying to help the nation.

So, I’m not surprised by the Newsweek poll. But, I further believe there is a danger embedded in the poll which activist progressives ignore at their peril – whether the peril is morally altruisitic or politically expedient.

I sense that people generally are fed up with the problems of society and the solutions being cast in any sort of religious context. If we spend too much time wrapping up the activism of President Obama in the moral cloak of the religious and moral calling of Jesus, then, if that activism is less than miraculous, we may be setting up the legacy of Obama for further religious backlash down the road.

By all means, allow our own religious and moral beliefs to inform our own personal desire to help. But let’s mirror the separation of church and state in our own efforts. Let’s leave religion out of governmental good works. I remember a friend telling me how, as an avowed atheist, she happily worked alongside Republicans and Christian Evangelicals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, because everyone agreed to leave their political manifesto’s and Bibles at home.

In this way, religion can be allowed to re-discover its natural and separated role in society, and ordinary folks are left to judge the activism of their Government on its merits, and not by some blind adherence to an irrelevant moral belief – a confusion between practicality and religion that we observe and fear in societies like those of Iran and Northern Ireland.

Published in: on April 8, 2009 at 10:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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