Oneproblem

It is so turned around these days.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I will bash but I will not blog

Last night I went to the blogger bash with CJ Summers. Although I felt somewhat guilty doing so since I have not blogged in almost a month. But it was fun meeting some of you all. On a personal note I am fine, just extremely busy. Along with work, which is busy, I am currently producing an album for a local band ASLANas well as remixing Grace Family Christmas for the television broadcast. Sometime during all of this I have to do Christmas shopping and go to office parties. Anyway, so what has happened since my last post.....lets see..

Michael Richards flushes any chance of a career resurgance down the toilet.

Britney Spears flushes any remaining vestige of dignity down the toilet.

Millions of people have gone bonkers for the Playstation 3.

Millions more people have gone bonkers for the Nintendo Wii.

Kevin Federline sells only 6500 records the first Wii... oops, I mean week.

My personal favorite Dennis Prager has created a mini national firestorm over an article over Keith Ellison taking the oath on the Koran.

Pam Anderson and Kid Rock help contribute to making a mockery of the institution of marriage by getting a divorce. Were you as surprised and saddened as I?

I strongly considered getting a "myspace" but resisted.

Two of my good friends played (drum and bass) for Mat Kearney on Conan O'Brien.

I made my first pumpkin pie.....it was "glorpy"

The Midwest gets a butt-load of snow causing major havoc.

A tornado blows through North London...tea was still served.

That's about it.

24 Comments:

At 11:02 PM, Blogger knight in dragonland said...

Do you agree with Prager?

 
At 5:46 PM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

I agree with Prager over the principle. I believe that this tradition, that was established by George Washington, should be upheld. I do not feel it is biggoted or closed minded to want to see "tradition" carried through. The tradition is to take an oath on the Bible. If you feel that that position is intollerant then we probably need to do do away with the whole taking an oath thing. But the principle of the tradition is to recognize that this country was founded on the Judeo-Christian values that are found in the Bible. We as a country decide what book the elected will take the oath on.... not the elected. I can't even imagine the number of Jews, Morman, agnostics and people who don't rever the Bible who have taken the oath and not have made a stink about it. I feel that this issue is not even a Christian vs. Muslim debate. It is weather or not you are going to recognize the set of values that the majority *still* of us ascribe to. And thus serve accordingly. Would you have a problem if somebody wanted to take the oath on a copy of Dianetics? You should.

 
At 8:26 AM, Anonymous knight in dragonland said...

So did Washington take his oath on the King James bible, or the version Thomas Jefferson edited because he, like many of the founders, were deists and weren't even sure if Christ was divine or not? Just checking.

Our country was founded on a hearty suspicion of organized religion and dogma that arose in the aftermath of the 30 Years War and other religious wars in Europe that encouraged much of the early migration to this country. And there is certainly NO requirement to swear the oath of office upon anything.

The Constitution specifies in Article VI, clause 3:

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

If you were a Christian politician elected to the legislature of a Muslim-majority nation, would you swear your oath of office on the Koran because it was "tradition"??? Your demand for tradition asks Mr. Ellison to foreswear his own religious beliefs. If I was elected to anything, I'd want to take my oath on a copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. This is not an unreasonable demand, and Prager is the one making a fuss over it.

Islam is one of the major world religions with over a billion practitioners and 1400 years of history. The comparison to Dianetics just doesn't play.

Would I have a problem with someone taking an oath on Dianetics? Yeah ... I think Scientology is pure loopy. It demands conformity without question and sends "minders" around with its more public converts so they don't cross the dogmatic line. It's a fundamentalist religion, and I don't like fundamentalists. I wouldn't vote for the person the next election cycle. That's how democracy works.

I'm sorry ... the United States does not have a state religion, and Prager's rant was vile bigotry, not a defense of tradition.

 
At 2:10 PM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

Knight,
You are not ignorant, but I think some of your last comments are. Come to the next blogger bash and we can respectfully discuss this. In the mean time just because somebody wants to uphold a tradition does not make him or her a bigot.

First, your are correct in the idea that Jefferson was a deist. But most people who say that don't even know what that means. They hear their professor or liberal guru say that and repeat it as a defense. The truth is that Jefferson may not have claimed to be a Christian he did however write letters as to how he believed that the teachings of the Bible should model a society. I suggest people start to really look into the life of Jefferson before they try to prop him up as some advocate for an antichristian movement.

Two, you are completely missing the point. We are not talking about establishing a religion. We are talking about continuing a tradition that was established by George Washington. Like I said, I have no problem if they want to rid of the tradition entirely. This country was founded on the hearty notion that religion was essential and the freedom to express that religion. This even includes the lack of religion but not freedom from religion.

If you were a Christian politician elected to the legislature of a Muslim-majority nation, would you swear your oath of office on the Koran because it was "tradition"???

Yes. Absolutely I would because I respect the culture and traditions of those who elected me. It is a ceremony, it is not a religious act.

Islam is one of the major world religions with over a billion practitioners and 1400 years of history. The comparison to Dianetics just doesn't play.

What difference does that make. Equal protection under the law. Or, excuse me, Knight thinks it's loopy so therefore it is not legitimate. Please... even if there is one practitioner of "Uni-cornarianism" they should still be afforded the same legitimacy.

I'm sorry ... the United States does not have a state religion, and Prager's rant was vile bigotry, not a defense of tradition.

The United States is identified as a Christian nation and the majority of its people still cling to the truths found in the texts of the Bible. These people elect its' officials. That's how democracy works. With that being said that does not imply that I even consider that to mean that there is a state religion.

Knight, whether or not you like it, the Judeo-Christian set of values were fundamental in the founding of this nation. Paying homage to our history in this sense is not establishing a state religion. Your assertion of Prager's article being vile and bigoted is unwarranted and I suggest you fully understand the principles of what being a bigot are before you start throwing those words around.

And as far as which version of the Bible? Please, why would that make a difference. I think “Love thy neighbor” and “Love your neighbor” pretty much mean the same thing.

 
At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

If you were a Christian politician elected to the legislature of a Muslim-majority nation, would you swear your oath of office on the Koran because it was "tradition"???

Yes. Because I am swearing to uphold the law that had been established under the guidance of the Koran. Like B.J. said, its not a religious act, its a political ceremony.

That being said, there is a part of me that would rather a Muslum take an oath on the Koran because it would be more meaningful to that person.

Either way, I don't think I really care enough about it. As long as the history books don't try to remove the importance our founding fathers placed on the teachings of the Bible. Oh wait...

 
At 6:47 PM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

That being said, there is a part of me that would rather a Muslum[sic] take an oath on the Koran because it would be more meaningful to that person.

I would not have a problem with Ellison if he swore on the Koran and the Bible. I think my (and Dennis') problem is the replacing the Bible with something else.I feel he could at least respect the culture and people who elected him while at the same time remaining true to his Islamic beliefs by swearing on both.

 
At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

agreed. It makes sense.

 
At 10:23 PM, Blogger C. J. Summers said...

It's too bad this discussion is buried here in the comments section. BJ, why don't you put your Prager defense on a separate post? That way, more people would see it and could comment on it. It's a very interesting issue!

 
At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Jo Ann said...

"With that being said that does not imply that I even consider that to mean that there is a state religion.

Knight, whether or not you like it, the Judeo-Christian set of values were fundamental in the founding of this nation."

Sounds to me like we do have a state religion here in the U.S since we have to accept the Judeo-Christian set of values whether we like it or not, since most Americans think that this set of values is fundamental to the founding of this nation.

I feel that I have very little say as to what goes on in my country and that Christians are so powerful as to drown out other points of view. The MSM is all about prayer, and God bless, etc etc. Thank goodness for the internet as it is the only place where I can meet other people like me who are atheists.

 
At 10:30 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

"Sounds to me like we do have a state religion here in the U.S since we have to accept the Judeo-Christian set of values whether we like it or not, since most Americans think that this set of values is fundamental to the founding of this nation."

I think you have a misunderstanding. Just because the Judeo-Christian values were fundamental does not mean that you have to accept them. It just means that the set of values found in the Bible helped to form our founding documents. You know the whole certain "unalienable rights" 'n stuff. Life liberty and pursuit of happiness....stuff like that. In fact it even allows for the free practice of your atheism.

I feel that I have very little say as to what goes on in my country....

Do you vote?

and that Christians are so powerful as to drown out other points of view.

I guess that explains why every sort of public display of Christian symbolism is slowly being eradicated from our society.

"Thank goodness for the internet as it is the only place where I can meet other people like me who are atheists."

If thats the way you feel then start a church.

 
At 10:31 AM, Anonymous knight in dragonland said...

If this were the first time Prager made blatantly anti-Muslim commentary, I would happily retract my call of bigotry. However, I'm afraid it's #1001, not #1.

I have a lot of respect for you, BJ. Your answer to my hypothetical situation has intellectual honesty that I think Prager lacks. I don't agree, of course. I think if you're going to take an OATH on something, it should be something of great personal meaning to yourself. I think that's more important than tradition.

Regarding Dianetics and Islam ... I get your point (Unicornarianism … hehehe), but my point still stands as well. I'm free to think Dianetics is a loopy thought control cult and to vote against anyone who participates in it, and I’m pretty sure you agree with my assessment. I’m also free to believe that Islam has as much validity as a religion as Christianity. You're free to disagree and put it in the same category as Dianetics if you wish. Sam Harris, whom you often quote, feels that ALL religions are loopy thought control cults, and he’s entitled to his opinion as well.

I do not doubt the fact that our Founders were either Christian or Deists born out of a Christian tradition. They were of European ancestry, and Europe was dominated by Christianity … because anyone who expressed a different set of beliefs was usually MURDERED. There is equal evidence of their respect for the ideals of the Enlightenment, their strong suspicion of dogmatism and their desire for separation of Church and State (even if that phrase isn't specifically written in the Constitution or Declaration of Independence). To REQUIRE that the symbols of one particular religion be used while swearing an oath of office violates those founding principles. Also, as I quoted, any requirement of a religious test for office is expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

Prager's rant is barking and howling dogmatism. He's saying that the ACT of laying one's hand on a Bible while taking the oath of office is MORE IMPORTANT than the SPIRIT of conviction that is supposed to be behind that oath.

Tell me, BJ, as a Christian … is it more important to say the right words when reciting the Lord’s Prayer – to EXACTLY quote whatever version of the Bible your particular Church holds dear – or to believe in what you’re saying?

 
At 10:35 AM, Anonymous knight in dragonland said...

I guess I should say "Scientology" instead of "Dianetics." Dianetics is the book, Scientology is the "religion."

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

"Tell me, BJ, as a Christian … is it more important to say the right words when reciting the Lord’s Prayer – to EXACTLY quote whatever version of the Bible your particular Church holds dear – or to believe in what you’re saying?"

I'm not sure I understand where you are going with this question but here it goes..... As far as practical Christian living is concerned it is more important to beleive what you say. But then the fullfilment of our religion (or any religion for that matter) is to turn that belief into action.

I don't think Pragers comments are anti-muslim. I think you are making the mistake of thinking that our elected officials can come in and take an oath on whatever they want. I don't think this should be the case. They should take the oath on what ever it is that the voting public wants. And at this time it is still the Bible that is widely accepted. If public opinion changes on this then I will not be the one to stand in the way. Also, since I am running to Prager's defense, I have never heard Prager criticize Muslim's who didn't deserve it. He does the same for radical Christians and Jews. Does that make him a bigot? Having the testiclular fortiude to say that he doesn't agree with the dogmas of radical Islam? Is this the world that we live in now? I know it is hard for most on your side to accept that there are religious positions on some of these issues that are not at it's core bigotted. But it is not bigoted to want somebody to respect the country and the traditions that play a part of our society. Yes I want Ellison to not swear on the Koran. You disagree. Am I right or wrong for wanting that? Maybe I am wrong. But to just blanket that as bigotry does not make sense to me. And to me that seems to be what has happened.

 
At 8:07 PM, Anonymous knight in dragonland said...

The line of mine that you quoted was an analogy of the Bible for the oath of office debate. I think the spirit of the oath is more important (analogous to believing in what you're praying). Prager thinks that following the tradition of using the Bible is more important, i.e. adhering to dogma (analogous to just reciting the words correctly, like reading a script).

I want Congressmen to take an oath that MEANS SOMETHING to them. I don't want hollow conformity with tradition. The Koran is meaningful to the Muslim Ellison, so he should take his oath on the Koran. Any oath he took on the Bible would be empty ... meaningless.

I also don't recall voting on the book to be used for Congressional oaths of office. Yes, the majority of Americans declare themselves as Christians of one flavor or another, but a good number of those people also believe strongly in Church / State separation. I think if this issue were put to a vote, it could go either way. I could be wrong, but I think it would be close to an even split.

If you think there is broad rightwing support for Prager on this issue, think about this ... even VONSTER disagreed with Prager. Yes ... Vonster. I about soiled myself when I read on his blog that he actually disagreed with a rightwing pundit. If VONSTER disagrees, I think you might be hard pressed to conjure up a majority that agree with you on this issue.

Not that this issue will ever come to a vote, but one of your points is that Ellison should follow the will of the majority. I think there's a good chance that he IS following the will of the majority in using the Koran for his oath.

 
At 9:52 PM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

Are you saying that the majority of people don't care what people take the oath on? And that the majority of our country would want someone to swear on the Koran over the Bible?......

I had another post earlier but somehow it got lost in the ether....but it basicly said that I understand that my position may not be popular but that does not automaticly qualify it as bigotry.

 
At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Jo Ann said...

Jo Ann says.. "I feel that I have very little say as to what goes on in my country....

BJ responds "Do you vote?"

What a disingenuous response. Yes, I vote, but as I said, "Christians are so powerful as to drown out other points of view."

To which you responded "I guess that explains why every sort of public display of Christian symbolism is slowly being eradicated from our society."

And what kind of response is this when you even admit yourself the power of Christianity in this country by the following statements:

The United States is identified as a Christian nation and the majority of its people still cling to the truths found in the texts of the Bible.
And at this time it is still the Bible that is widely accepted



Jo ann says "Thank goodness for the internet as it is the only place where I can meet other people like me who are atheists."

To which BJ responds , "If thats the way you feel then start a church."

Here's another disengenous response.

This situation with the Koran and Prager is yet another example of how Christians like to force their religion on others. Anyway, I thought that there was supposed to be separation of church and state in this country. I can't understand why the Bible is used in the first place.

The establishment clause of the first ammendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Forcing someone to take an oath on the Bible violates this clause.

 
At 6:18 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

Jo Ann,
The Bible is used because that is what George Washington used. He probably didn't mean for it to become the established tradition that it is today. But that is my WHOLE argument!!!! To keep it going for traditions sake, not for religious. I could care less if the first oath was taken on a piece of tin foil. If that was the tradition then by golly lets honor the tradition of our forefathers regaurdless of how silly it is. I think they at least deserve it. I mean at least they were real people. Not an imaginary, made-up, sin hating fear inducing God.

I don't see how you can even infer that since most people in America (still) believe in the Bible that that means they are sooooo powerful. I don't know what it is that you really are trying to get at. Do we then just deny the fact that so many people have this faith and listen to the minority of athiests like yourself? Do we just capitulate to your collective voices and and let you direct policy? How is that even democratic? When liberal, progressive atheism becomes the majority worldview in America I will have no choice but to live with the society that we create. Much like your situation now. You can make the change by being vocal and voting. But there is no more power to us Christians just because America is identified as a Christian nation. We are also identified as an English speaking nation. Does that mean that those who speak English are the power mongers? My responses before were not disengenous but short and to the point. I guess Jo Ann right now you are in an uncomfortable situation. You live in a society which, for the most part, doesn't relfect your views and share your values. You live among a majority of people who you probably deem intellecutly embarrassing. But yet you wish to impose your set of values by being vocal and voting just as we do. Who then is in the wrong? I say neither. We are just different. Not better or worse. When your way of life becomes the norm around here I will have to go bedrugingly through my day but yet happy to still be in the most free society in the world. All I can say is that for now it would be wise for you to do the same. Accept the fact that you do not live in your ideal country and then make an effort to change that. Happy Holdays to you as well.

 
At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Jo Ann said...

Hi BJ.

Something which is a tradition should not violate the Establishment clause of the First Ammendment. It used to be a tradition to have slaves, but that didn't make it right.


Yes, I do indeed have no other choice but to accept and yet do what I can to change the country that I live in. There are a lot of things that I love about the U.S. but when you said "but yet happy to still be in the most free society in the world", I have to ask you what it is about the U.S. that makes it a society which has more freedoms than say, Holland, Germany or France?

Regards,
Jo Ann

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...


Something which is a tradition should not violate the Establishment clause of the First Ammendment.


I understand what you are saying and I am not fully dissagreeing with you. But how can you control whether or not an old established tradition violates the establishment clause? I feel that tradition and ceremony are little things that make our culture and history great. France and Germany have no problem celebrating their history.

It used to be a tradition to have slaves, but that didn't make it right.

No, it used to be accepted not tradition. But this great nation that we live in took great strides to abolish it. In fact it was bold Christians who stood up and called for change. I think we would both agree that that is worthy of recognition regardless of who started the abolition movement. If we had some sort of tradition that honored that with a federal holiday we could not because we would then be honoring Christians. What about the federal recognition of Christmas? Is that in violation of the establishment clause?

Maybe my use of "most free" country was incorrect. I would say "one of the most" free countries.

All the best,

BJ

 
At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Jo Ann said...

Hello Bj

JB asks "But how can you control whether or not an old established tradition violates the establishment clause?"

An old established tradition violates the establishment clause if it respects an establishment of religion. Forcing someone to swear on the Bible is clearly forcing someone to respect a particular religion. No gray area there.

What is the difference between something that is accepted and something that is a tradition? Are there any traditions which we may not want to accept and why?

Christmas does not necessarily have to be a Christian tradition. Many people view Christmas as simply a holiday which different people celebrate in their own inimitable way.

You said, "But there is no more power to us Christians just because America is identified as a Christian nation"

Do you honestly feel this way? Do you not think than Muslims have more power in Muslim countries?

You ask "Does that mean that those who speak English are the power mongers? "

Well, of course! If someone in the U.S. does not speak English, they're not going to wield much power, now are they?

You said, "You live among a majority of people who you probably deem intellecutly embarrassing"

Well, I don't know what the percentage is, but yes, there are many here who are intellectualy embarrassing.

"When your way of life becomes the norm around here I will have to go bedrugingly through my day".

I don't want my way of life imposed on anyone. I don't want anyone else's way of life imposed on me. That's the beauty of separation between church (way of life) and state.

Best,
Jo Ann

 
At 7:28 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

An old established tradition violates the establishment clause if it respects an establishment of religion. Forcing someone to swear on the Bible is clearly forcing someone to respect a particular religion. No gray area there.

I think you need to go past the surface on these issues. We are not forcing any religion on anybody. If anything we are stating that we endorse the set of values found in the Bible. There are similar values found in other religious texts and even secular documents, but this nation was founded on these specific ones. I don't see what is so threatening about that. A good set of values is a good set of values no matter where they come from. To do away with innocuous ceremonies such as this is the same as unwittingly re-writing our history. I know that may seem utterly ridiculous, but slowly ridding of these things will leave us with no celebration no ceremony no outlet for this nation to unify.

Well, of course! If someone in the U.S. does not speak English, they're not going to wield much power, now are they?

You are correct in saying that Christians hold a certain amount of "power." But I would contend that liberal secular progressives have an equal amount, given that they have about 95% of the entertainment industry. But what you want is really unlivable and unrealistic. With a majority of people who still believe in God it is going to be hard to have a society void of its' influence. No matter how much we try to legislate it out.

Christmas does not necessarily have to be a Christian tradition. Many people view Christmas as simply a holiday which different people celebrate in their own inimitable way.

But Christmas is a Christian holiday and our government acknowledges it. Now we could just call it “Winter Holiday” or “Santa Fest.” But then we get into the whole re-writing history thing again. Our words and our traditions have meaning and significance, just because you may not ascribe to them does not mean that they are not valid. I think this would be a wise lesson for progressives to learn. But you (they) are so allergic to this sort of thing (even patriotism) because it comes too close to simulating religiosity. And for some reason that strikes, not fear, but terror into your souls…..for those of you who acknowledge your soul.

I don't want my way of life imposed on anyone. I don't want anyone else's way of life imposed on me.

That is not being completely truthful. You do want your ideas and values to be the norm. It is just a secularized worldview. That is an imposition to me. But the difference is that sometimes progressives are too arrogant to realize their own imposition. But here is the thing. It's O.K. You think I am wrong and I think you are wrong. SO WHAT!!! At least we now know and we can discuss it. And that is what we are doing.

Peace.

 
At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Jo Ann said...

BJ said //We are not forcing any religion on anybody. If anything we are stating that we endorse the set of values found in the Bible.//

'Well, you are not allowed to force religion on anybody because there is no law requiring that one take an oath on the Bible. For now, there is still freedom of religion in the U.S.

Endorsing a set of values found in the Bible is not allowed. Have you ever heard of the Establishment Clause BJ? Do you believe in separation of church and state?

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

Endorsing a set of values found in the Bible is not allowed. Have you ever heard of the Establishment Clause BJ? Do you believe in separation of church and state?

To be honest I do not believe in "seperation of church and state" because those words do not exist in our constitution. They are found in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson. But if that is the basis for our law then there are plenty of letters that George Washington wrote endorsing Christianity. I believe that endorsing a particular religion is not right. But to say that we can not endorse a set of values just because they come from the Bible? Why? Do you really believe that we should deny our history becasue it doesn't jive with our secular society?


Is there a set of values worth endorsing? Is there anything out there that you hold in high regard worhty of endorsement? The establishment clause was not written with the notion of banning everything religious. Those who wrote those documents overwhelmingly recognized the rights afforded to our lives are "endowed by our Creator." Do you think they wrote that line in there for poetic flourishment? No! These men were not idiots. They realized that a certain reverance to a higher being is essential for a soceity to propperly function. These men did not write these documents with the intent to abolish God. They wrote them with the idea that God is real and should have public acknowlegement. I knkow that that may be a hard pill for our secular world to swallow, but those are the facts. Look at just about every patriotic symbol we have. It is usualy complemented by Christian themes. For example the Liberty Bell has a Hebrew verse on it. This was not put on there to honor Jews as the founders of The United States. It was put on there to recognize how important these Judeo-Christian texts are to our freedom. We can not dispute the facts. We can not go back and re-write the purpose of these things. Our opinions, on the other hand, can be disputed and even changed.

Here is the bottom line.....brace yourself. Our Constitution was not written to be put into practice in a secular society. This is an almost 100% undisputed fact from just about every left and right pundit out there. The problem is, if you really want to see the changes in this country that you desire, the constitution will have to be rre-written for a secular society. I feel that this small but significant fact is what is missing from our college campuses today.

 
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