Tag Archives: Constitution

By the Book

In this age of social media and networking, we are deluged with information daily. We talk, text, tweet and email back and forth, then on top of that we join organization and list serves that forward their news. Sometimes we get forwarded stuff that we don’t like. The following is a forwarded message I received and the response I sent back:

ONE MINUTE EACH NIGHT

This is the scariest election we as Christians have ever faced, and from the looks of the polls, The Christians aren’t voting Christian values. We all need to be on our knees.  Do you believe we can take God at His word? Call upon His name, then stand back and watch His wonders unfold. This scripture gives us, as Christians, ownership of this land and the ability to call upon God to heal it.

I challenge you to do that. We have never been more desperate than now for God to heal our land. This election is the scariest I remember in my lifetime.

2 Chronicles 7:14.
“If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray,
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from
heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

During WWII, there was an advisor to Churchill, who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute, to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace. This had an amazing effect, as bombing stopped.

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America .

The United States of America , and our citizens, need prayer more than ever!!! If you would like to participate, each evening at 9:00 P.M. Eastern Time (8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific), stop whatever you’re doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, for peace in the world, the upcoming election, that the Bible will remain the basis for the laws governing our land, and that Christianity will grow in the U.S.

If you know anyone who would like to participate, please pass this along.  Someone said if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.

Thank you. Please pass this on to anyone who you think will want to join us. God Bless You!!!

(end email forward)

So this kind of thing gets my blood boiling. 90% of it is either good hearted or at least a harmless exercise (if you don’t believe in prayer or God). I can’t think of a good reason for anyone – atheist, Muslim, or Hare Krishna – to begrudge a group of people from praying if they choose too. The remaining 10% though (which I believe is the whole reason the email forward piece was created), crosses the line from a commendable suggestion for solidarity to a subversive play to push the Bible as a founding document for the nation. As Lakoff taught me, simply getting these words to the eyes of thousands of people (via “viral” email) turns our brains on and normalizes the concepts presented. Seeing them, thinking them, and hearing them makes the reality a bit more possible – even if there isn’t a huge action item around it.

Here is my response to the email:

The power of love, people pulling together and God, is awesome. I can get on board with that. I would add something about helping all of the people of the world to find peace and feel secure. However, there is one part of this suggestion that I feel is dangerous, “the Bible will remain the basis for laws governing our land”. The Bible has never been the basis for laws governing our land, The Constitution is the document that is the basis for governing our land; it was the only document agreed upon by the founders.

If I thought that everyone would interpret the Bible the same way that I do, in a way that promotes Christ-like unconditional love and acceptance of your fellow human, I could get behind a push to change our founding documents. However, we all know that there is no one way that people interpret the Bible (nor any hope or effort at consensus). There are a whole lot of folks out there talking about the Bible that do not promote Christ like love, they use the Bible as a tool to get what they want and to persecute others. I find that extremely offensive. I would never want someone to be in power that used the Bible for their own personal agenda or power plays.

This is very difficult to write because I know many people I love very much might disagree with me and are on this list. I purposefully don’t engage in politics with much of my family because emotions run high and I would rather spend the little time I see my extended family doing more joyful things (like loving them unconditionally!). I feel very strongly that there should be a separation of church and state, the first amendment establishes that. While we might be a nation chock full of Christians, we’ve gotten there without having a national religion and we are not a nation governed by Christianity.

Any leader or citizen can use the Bible and their spiritual beliefs as a template for life, no one is saying it cannot be included as a personal guide. If you like how a candidate is guided by the spirit, by all means, vote for them! Work to get the principles that motivate and inspire you to be implemented into our laws, but please, please, please keep the roulette wheel of Biblical interpretation out of our laws (it’s hard enough to deal with interpretations of our secular documents). I would never want a “Fred Phelps” kind of Christian anywhere near a governing body (his church’s website is here).

I believe there is a faction of people out there that want an audience of good hearted Christians to be on their side – which for the most part, they are – but their real agenda is to change the foundation of this country’s laws to be religious laws. As an American and as a Christian, I have to stand firm and say “NO!”

I love many of you, don’t know some of you, and this is in response to someone I love and respect very, very much. Most importantly for me, I love God, Jesus, and I do try to pattern my life after his. That is why even though my fingers are a little shaky and my stomach is churning a bit, I’m still going to press send.

Peace to us all,
Amy Meier

(On a personal note, this is where the rubber meets the road for me. I am the most liberal person in my large extended family; if there are other liberals in my family, they keep it on the down low – my family culture does not take kindly to liberal rhetoric and is not afraid to say so. I was born in the heartland of the country, in the bible belt and feel like a bit of a “black sheep” when I am there because the conservative Christian culture pervades life at every facet. I also kept most of my views on the down low to keep the peace. I love my family. They are kind, loving, generous, and accepting of me and all of my personal faults. They are the real reason I am so passionate about having civil discourse – but it is still exhausting to get into political battles with them when I’d rather just enjoy time together. The conservative Christian culture is so pervasive that I am often included (though I don’t think it is a secret that I am a liberal) in an assumption that things are, or should be, a particular way. Today is the day I publicly “outed myself. The gloves are off… but it’s because I want to shake hands (or hug) and start this election season with a respectful, meaningful exchange.)

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NDAA Isn’t Nada

The National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 was signed into law on the last day of 2011. This is the act that the President must approve every year so that the military can receive their budgeted funds. Arguments around the military budget aside, the hot issue of this act is the provisions around military detentions. This issue didn’t really get the attention they deserve in the media, and is confusing when you try and find more information. Matter of fact, if you search CNN’s homepage for the act or NDAA, as it is know, you will find zero. Literally it will ask you-as if you made a typo – if you were searching for nada. (Shame on you CNN).

The contentious language of this bill has been tinkered with to walk the finest of lines to appease civil libertarians (fail). An article from Mother Jones reports: Continue reading

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We the People

Our Founders were clear on the role of government in the United States:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the People are the government. If our government is bad, it’s because We the People created it or were apathetic while someone else was participating. Demonizing the government is the same as demonizing We the People. Democracy allows that if we don’t like an aspect of governing, we can work to change it. Many times that work requires money, so the logic is that those with the most money can influence the government the most. What we have now with runaway campaign spending, unlimited corporate contributions, lobbyist domination, and media moguls is a case of money trouncing We the People (that is the real flesh and blood humans that populate the country).

The government exists to protect our rights as well as a whole host of other charges. The government seeks to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure liberty for now and the future. These are the ideas our constitutionally limited, democratic republic are founded on and those in office should be held to.

I appreciate the comments being made in response to my post yesterday about being unemployed. It is hard for me to keep framing in mind, I want to support or dispute so many points that are made. Continue reading

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The News that Wasn’t

Camera crews are apparently not allowed at some of our so-called “public” hearings in Congress. Yesterday a journalist was arrested for doing nothing but standing by a a taping device. The arrest can be seen here. The chairman of the committee ordered his removal and the removal of all video cameras.  Apparently the reporter, an Academy-Award nominated filmmaker for the film “Gasland”, a film about fracking, was ignored by Congressional staff and therefore denied credentialing to get into the hearing. This might not be unusual, but the actual denial of entrance, the arrest, and the overt way in which the Chairman Andy Harris (R-Md.) avoided accountability and transparency is rare and another blow to the American dream. Here is what some Dems had to say about it in the report by Huffingtonpost:

“I was chair of the Subcommittee for four years, and we frequently had people show up the day of a hearing to film,” Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) told HuffPost. “We asked for their name, but they were told if they would not disrupt the hearing, they were free to record. A couple of times staff said, ‘You’re getting in the way, don’t stand there,’ but other than that, I do not ever recall anything like this. We certainly never turned anyone away for not providing 24 hours’ notice.”

“It’s an outrageous violation of the First Amendment,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) told HuffPost. “Here we’ve got an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, and it’s an important subject and the subject that he did his prior film on for HBO. And they put him in handcuffs and hauled him out of there. This is stunning.”

“I found it ironic that there was not a flood of cameras there,” noted Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.). “There was the one camera and then before that, the ABC camera … if you have a camera there to bring the issue home to the public, that’s a good thing.”

This does not look good for Republicans they want to discuss fracking, or as they might prefer it to be framed, “hydraulic fracturing”, without being transparent. Continue reading

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Changing the Frame

The right to bear arms

The last two posts have related to Gingrich’s surge in popularity lately and how he has positioned himself – or been positioned by advisers – to achieve that surge.  No doubt that the Republican establishment could teach the Democratic establishment a bit about good messaging and effective communication. Whether that communication is authentic is another matter and part of another post. Today I’d like to use another Gingrich moment as a jumping off point. He recently used a key tactic when framing an argument – changing the frame.

A few nights ago, the first question at the Republican debate was directed at Newt and it was a personal question relating to the bombshell interview with Newt’s ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich . She had said that Newt asked her for an open marriage and she would not grant it. Obviously this issue is explosive for the social conservatives that make up one of the three factions of the Republican base. As mentioned in Monday’s post, Gingrich and the Ladies, he is painfully aware that his reputation as a cold hearted womanizer does him no favors when running for office. The last thing Newt wants is to headline a Republican showcase with an airing of his dirty laundry. So what did he do? He did the only thing that might divert attention, he changed the frame.

One minute the audience was waiting to see if he would confirm or deny his ex’s story, the next we are hearing about the problems with our news media. Sure enough, most of us realize that there are plenty of problems with mainstream media in America, but the timing of his indignant response served little purpose other than pushing the current issue out of our minds. It reminds me of the comedic “look over there” schtick  – followed by running the opposite direction. However put-on his indignence might be, he did somewhat successfully execute a change of frame.

When a discussion leaves you no room for a position at all – the equivalent of “how long have you been beating your wife?” – it is time to call attention to the corner you’ve been put in and get yourself out of it. It may mean leaving some accusations unanswered, some questions hanging, and not feeling satisfied, but it is necessary to move forward.  The reason you let those unanswered feelings drop is because at that point you are not only spinning your wheels, but you are spinning your wheels while your opponent enjoys controlling the conversation.  Whether Gingrich should be held accountable for his personal life in a public forum is beside the issue; he got himself out of a jam to raucous applause. It is a good technique to know. Continue reading

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