ELECTION 2008: Analytical Scope of the Canidates in relation to Separation of Religion & Government Issues.

BY: JEFF WISMER - March,2008

Thesis: Can’t We all just get Along??? NO we can’t all get along. – Barack Obama


Thesis: You can't have your cake and eat it too.-John McCain




First I will talk about Barack Obama: (John McCain starts half way down)



Just for the record, I agree with Rev. Barry Lynn, in that I don't see any IRS violations, and upon reviewing the speech Barack made, it is still bothersome, but his campaign nor Barack, made a concerted effort to use this as a campaign event, or an official endorsement.  Also one must look at the IRS with suspicion the same way the timing of the New York Times article about John McCain was looked at, and the IRS must be held accountable any bias or political motives it may or may not have.


As a federal government employee myself, I would be deeply troubled if the IRS was merely looking for a headline, and trying to making political "hey" with this story.  So far it doesn't seem to have any legs with the Main Stream Media.


From a Separation of Religion & Government perspective I see a sermon from the pulpit, something Barack is good at (preaching), and where his connection to Pastor Jeremiah Wright is most evident.


au.gif picture by jdwismer922




IRS Investigation Of United Church Of Christ Will Be Closely Watched, Says Americans United
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tax Agency's Action Reminds Religious Leaders That Candidate Appearances Can Be Problematic, Says AU's Lynn

An Internal Revenue Service investigation of the United Church of Christ will be closely watched by religious and political leaders around the country, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State

UCC officials announced yesterday that the IRS is investigating the denomination for hosting presidential candidate Barack Obama at its 2007 national convention.

Church officials say Obama, a member of the church and U.S. senator from Illinois, was invited to speak to the June gathering in Hartford, Conn., before he announced his candidacy. They say Obama, as the highest ranking UCC person in public office, was asked to talk about the role of faith in public life.

Americans United has waged a national campaign to educate religious leaders about the rules governing election involvement and, on occasion, has filed complaints with the IRS about apparent violations of tax law.

"We did not file a complaint with the IRS about the Obama appearance," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "We looked into the situation and did not see a violation of IRS rules. We saw no evidence of UCC officials seeking to appear to endorse his candidacy.

"The IRS has indicated," Lynn continued, "that public officials can appear at religious gatherings to address issues even if they are candidates. However, the sponsoring group may not use the occasion to officially endorse or otherwise support the candidate's campaign."

Lynn, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, said the investigation is a clear reminder that the IRS is aggressively looking into allegations of political activity by tax-exempt groups.

"Candidates love to take their campaigns into the church sanctuaries," Lynn noted, "but clergy should be very wary of allowing this to happen. Candidates have nothing to lose, but houses of worship do."

Americans United has filed 11 complaints with the IRS about electioneering by religious institutions since January 2007. They include the Catholic Diocese of Providence (R.I.) for opposing presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, Liberty University (Lynchburg, Va.) for endorsing presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ (Las Vegas, Nev.) for endorsing Obama.

The IRS is currently investigating First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, Calif., for electioneering. Americans United filed a complaint with the tax agency last August after Pastor Wiley S. Drake used church letterhead and a church-based radio program to endorse presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.



Allow me to take this time to repost a few things I have written, and others have written on this subject...


Before I proceed, I'm not interested in starting a political debate...I don't care who you're voting for, that's a personal choice bestowed upon us by our founders, and the men and women who died defending this country (you know when it actually needed defending).


Also, I realize that Obama is a  wonderful speaker, and he's attracting a great many folks from differing political parties, social groups, and demographics. 


With that said...I shall proceed, thank you.



Written: 7/8/06


Barack Obama & Jon Meachum...brothers in mind & spirit...

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Barack Obama says:

Concerning the proper role of religion in politics, Mr Obama cautions against extremism of both stripes. Believers cannot abandon what they believe. Nor should they follow Robertson's or Falwell's evangelical right.

Jon Meachum says:

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On April 17, on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" Jon Meachum said "The Evangelic Right is wrong for wanting a Christian Nation, but so are the secular left, who want a godless nation" . Jon Meachum tap danced around the "in God we Trust" and "One Nation Under God" question that was posed to him by Jon Stewart.


If you don't remember who Jon Meachum is, the managing editor of Newsweek, and recent author of the Book, American Gospel and a contributing editor of The Washington Monthly, Meacham is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a communicant of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, where he serves on the Vestry of the 180 year-old Episcopal parish. He is also a member of the Board of Regents of University of the South, the Vestry of Trinity Church Wall Street, the Leadership Council of the Harvard Divinity School, and the National Advisory Group of Washington National Cathedral. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University in 2005...

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(photo of Jon Meachum recieving his degree from Divinity School)

Jon Meachum wants you to think he's a "middle ground" man, or a "centrist" but that's anything from the truth...

1. Hawking his new book, Newsweek's Meacham joined O'Reilly's ACLU-bashing Summary: Appearing on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham agreed that the founding fathers would have disapproved of -- as host Bill O'Reilly termed it -- the ACLU's opposition to the "Pledge of Allegiance ... God, Christmas icons." Further, Meacham did not dispute O'Reilly's characterization of the ACLU as engaged in a "jihad ... against Judeo-Christian tradition in this country."

2. Meacham vs. Meacham: Is there or is there not a "secular battle" against Christmas and Easter? Summary: On The O'Reilly Factor, Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham echoed Bill O'Reilly's previous assertion that secular forces have declared "war" on the Christian observances of Christmas and Easter. But on CNBC's Tim Russert, Meacham apparently backtracked, stating that he found it "hard[] to understand" the complaints of those who say that "[t]here's a war on Christianity in this country."


Barack Obama, also toeing the middle ground, and "centrist" position, is also letting us know that the preacher man outweighs his legal common sense.

Barack Obama has again made it abundantly clear in a recent interview in the Economist Even if all Americans were Christian, it would not be easy to decide which passages of scripture should guide public policy. Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? he asks. Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mounta passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defence Department would survive its application? His elegantly non-committal answer: Before we get carried away, let's read our Bibles.

Which fits in with what Brack Obama just said Sen. Barack Obama chastised fellow Democrats on Wednesday for failing to "acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people, " and said the party must compete for the support of evangelicals and other churchgoing Americans. "Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation. Context matters, " the Illinois Democrat said in remarks to a conference of Call to Renewal, a faith-based movement to overcome poverty "It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase `under God, '" he said. "Having voluntary student prayer groups using school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats."

"Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square." As a result, "I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people and join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy."


Quoting the late Saul Alinsky, who was renowned for his community organizing skills, Rudin noted that it only takes 2% of society to make change if it is a well-organized, fully committed cadre. "The other 98% is pretty inert."

According to Benjamin Franklin, if a particular faith needed the help of the government to preserve it, "it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."



Also let's not forget that Barack Obama STILL has close ties with this man...

Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.




Relationship with Barack Obama

The title of Senator and Presidential candidate Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope was taken from a sermon written by Wright.[5] Obama first met Wright and joined his church while he was working as a community organizer prior to attending Harvard Law School. Obama's connection to Wright first drew attention in a February 2007 Rolling Stone article which described a speech in which Wright forcefully spoke about racism against African-Americans.[6] Citing the article and fears that any further controversy would harm the church, Obama scrapped plans of having Wright introduce him at his Presidential announcement. [7]

This only drew further interest into Wright's preaching of Black liberation theology which some conservative critics say promotes "a sort of racial exclusivity".[8] Wright has rejected this notion by saying that "The African-centered point of view does not assume superiority, nor does it assume separatism. It assumes Africans speaking for themselves as subjects in history, not objects in history."[9]

During the course of the campaign, Wright has also attracted controversy for his association with Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.[10] Wright travelled to Libya with Farrakhan in the 1980s. In 2007, Wright addressed this by saying "When [Obama's] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli to visit Colonel Gadaffi with Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell."[11] In 2007, Trumpet Magazine (published and edited by Wright's daughter) presented the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to Farrakhan, whom it said "truly epitomized greatness."[12] Wright is quoted in the magazine offering praise of Farrakhan "as one of the 20th and. 21st century giants of the African American religious experience" and also praised Farrakhan's "integrity and honesty."[13] In response, Obama noted his disagreement with the decision to give the award to Farrakhan; his statement was praised by Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League.[14]

In addition, Wright has said that Zionism has an element of "white racism", and that the attacks on 9/11 were a consequence of violent American policies and proved that "people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just 'disappeared' as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns."[15]


Ralph Dumain wrote this on 2/21/2007:

I always thought Obama was full of shit; this clinches it:

>I came to realize that without an unequivocal commitment to a particular
>community of faith, I would be consigned at some level to always remain
>apart, free in the way that my mother was free, but also alone in the same
>ways she was ultimately alone.
>In such a life I, too, might have contented myself had it not been for the
>particular attributes of the historically black church, attributes that
>helped me shed some of my skepticism and embrace the Christian faith.


>It was because of these newfound understandings--that religious commitment
>did not require me to suspend critical thinking, disengage from the battle
>for economic and social justice, or otherwise retreat from the world that
>I knew and loved--that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of
>Trinity United Church of Christ one day and be baptized. It came about as
>a choice and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically
>disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I
>felt God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and
>dedicated myself to discovering His truth.


>In a sense, my dilemma with Mr. Keyes mirrors the broader dilemma that
>liberalism has faced in answering the religious right. Liberalism teaches
>us to be tolerant of other people's religious beliefs, so long as those
>beliefs don't cause anyone harm or impinge on another's right to believe
>differently. To the extent that religious communities are content to keep
>to themselves and faith is neatly confined as a matter of individual
>conscience, such tolerance is not tested.
>But religion is rarely practiced in isolation; organized religion, at
>least, is a very public affair. The faithful may feel compelled by their
>religion to actively evangelize wherever they can. They may feel that a
>secular state promotes values that directly offend their beliefs. They may
>want the larger society to validate and reinforce their views.
>And when the religiously motivated assert themselves politically to
>achieve these aims, liberals get nervous. Those of us in public office may
>try to avoid the conversation about religious values altogether, fearful
>of offending anyone and claiming that--regardless of our personal
>beliefs--constitutional principles tie our hands on issues like abortion
>or school prayer. Such strategies of avoidance may work for progressives
>when the opponent is Alan Keyes. But over the long haul, I think we make a
>mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the
>American people, and so avoid joining a serious debate about how to
>reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy.


>To begin with, it's bad politics. There are a whole lot of religious
>people in America, including the majority of Democrats. When we abandon
>the field of religious discourse--when we ignore the debate about what it
>means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion
>only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced,
>rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our
>obligations toward one another; when we shy away from religious venues and
>religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome--others
>will fill the vacuum. And those who do are likely to be those with the
>most insular views of faith, or who cynically use religion to justify
>partisan ends.
>More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of
>religiosity has often inhibited us from effectively addressing issues in
>moral terms. Some of the problem is rhetorical: Scrub language of all
>religious content and we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which
>millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social
>justice. Imagine Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address without reference to
>"the judgments of the Lord," or King's "I Have a Dream" speech without
>reference to "all of God's children." Their summoning of a higher truth
>helped inspire what had seemed impossible and move the nation to embrace a
>common destiny. Of course organized religion doesn't have a monopoly on
>virtue, and one not need be religious to make moral claims or appeal to a
>common good. But we should not avoid making such claims or appeals--or
>abandon any reference to our rich religious traditions--in order to avoid
>giving offense.
>Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the
>nation is not just rhetorical, though. Our fear of getting "preachy" may
>also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in
>addressing some of our most urgent social problems.
>After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the
>unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect
>10-point plan. They are also rooted in societal indifference and
>individual callousness--the desire among those at the top of the social
>ladder to maintain their wealth and status whatever the cost, as well as
>the despair and self-destructiveness among those at the bottom.
>I am not suggesting that every progressive suddenly latch on to religious
>terminology. I am suggesting that perhaps if we progressives shed some of
>our own biases, we might recognize the values that both religious and
>secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of
>our country. We need to take faith seriously not simply to block the
>religious right but to engage all persons of faith in the larger project
>of American renewal.

Obama, however, has overlooked the fact that religion was not a matter of
public discussion for presidential candidates before the Reagan reign of
terror, except for JFK's insistence on the separation of church and state.

>What our deliberative, pluralistic democracy demands is that the
>religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than
>religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals must be
>subject to argument and amenable to reason. If I am opposed to abortion
>for religious reasons and seek to pass a law banning the practice, I
>cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or invoke God's will and
>expect that argument to carry the day. If I want others to listen to me,
>then I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is
>accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

This much is true.

>For those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals
>do, such rules of engagement may seem just one more example of the tyranny
>of the secular and material worlds over the sacred and eternal. But in a
>pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Almost by definition, faith and
>reason operate in different domains and involve different paths to
>discerning truth.

A diplomatic way out.  As opposed to telling the truth, that the exercise
of public reason must exclude faith.

>  And yet it is fair to say that if any of us saw a 21st century Abraham
> raising the knife on the roof of his apartment building, we would call
> the police; we would wrestle him down; even if we saw him lower the knife
> at the last minute, we would expect the Department of Children and Family
> Services to take Isaac away and charge Abraham with child abuse. We would
> do so because God doesn't reveal Himself or His angels to all of us in a
> single moment. We do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham
> sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in
> accordance with those things that are possible for all of us to know,
> understanding that a part of what we know to be true--as individuals or
> communities of faith--will be true for us alone.

Which is to say, that supramundane excuses have no place in rational social
life and should not be recognized by the state.

>This is not to say that I'm unanchored in my faith. There are some things
>that I'm absolutely sure about--the Golden Rule, the need to battle
>cruelty in all its forms, the value of love and charity, humility and
>grace. . . . How could they endure the anguish unless they were certain
>that some purpose lay behind their children's murders, that some meaning
>could be found in immeasurable loss?

It makes me physically ill to read this tripe.

Well, if you're going to be a politician, you have to talk some shit.


Say what you will about Ralph, he makes excellent points here. 

One of the goals of this board is to look deep into current issues that effect atheists all over the world, and moreover to throw out information (sometimes good, sometimes bad) so we can discuss it openly.

Let me reiterate my previous point...this is not about politics, this is about how a potential powerful person looks at the secular world.  Obama has numerous times said he is in favor of separation of religion & government, so I think that helps us.  I'm still skeptical however, and will continue to watch has this and other stories develop over time.

Thank you.

On 2/28/08, Jeff Wismer <jdwismer922@gmail.com> wrote:




The Associated Press

Go to Google News

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at a rally Monday, Feb. 25, 2008, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

IRS Investigates Obama's Denomination

By RACHEL ZOLL – 1 day ago

NEW YORK (AP) — The IRS is investigating the United Church of Christ over a speech Sen. Barack Obama gave at its national meeting last year after he became a candidate for president, the denomination said Tuesday.

Obama, an Illinois Democrat, belongs to the 1.2 million-member Protestant group through his Chicago congregation.

In a letter the denomination received Monday, the IRS said "reasonable belief exists" that the circumstances surrounding the speech violated restrictions on political activity for tax-exempt organizations. The denomination has denied any wrongdoing.

Obama, a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, spoke about faith and public life at the denomination's June 2007 General Synod in Hartford, Conn.

The IRS said in the letter that it was concerned about articles posted on the church's Web site and on other sites stating that Obama had addressed nearly 10,000 people at the event. The agency also said Obama volunteers had staffed campaign tables "outside the center to promote his campaign."

The Rev. J. Bennett Guess, a spokesman for the Cleveland-based denomination, said a group of Obama volunteers was outside the Hartford Civic Center, where the event took place, but that they were told they could not enter the meeting.

The UCC had invited Obama to speak a year before he announced he was running for president because of his involvement in the denomination, Guess said.

Church leaders consulted with lawyers before the event on following IRS rules. Before Obama spoke, a top church official told the crowd that the senator's talk was not a campaign-related event and that no leaflets or other signs of political support would be allowed.

Nonprofits are barred from endorsing candidates or providing support for campaigns, although groups are allowed to invite candidates to address them and many do so. Guess said no other presidential candidates were invited because Obama was the only one active in the UCC.

The Rev. John H. Thomas, president of the denomination, called the inquiry "disturbing."

"When the invitation to an elected public official to speak to the national meeting of his own church family is called into question, it has a chilling effect on every religious community," Thomas said in a statement.

Amy Brundage, an Obama spokeswoman, insisted the speech was not a campaign event. In the address, Obama spoke about his personal spiritual journey and had said that faith had been misused in the past to divide Americans, partly because of the Christian right.

The IRS has stepped up its monitoring of the political activity of nonprofit groups during the 2008 election. It is more common for individual congregations to be targeted, not entire denominations, but very large ministries have been investigated in the past.

The inquiries can take years. Punishments can range from a financial penalty to loss of tax-exempt status — an outcome that church attorneys call the "death penalty" for nonprofits.

The IRS does not comment on investigations because tax information is confidential.

J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, which defends religious groups against government interference, called the timing of the investigation "peculiar." But he said he generally has found the IRS to be nonpartisan.

"They have not gone after the left or the right or one party over another," Walker said. "Both sides have accused the service of doing that, but my impression is that they've done a pretty good job being nonpartisan."


United Church of Christ, link to IRS letter:





And now John McCain:



So as predicted McCain isn't even in the General Election yet and he's started a war between Evangelicals & Roman Catholics.  Super SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!


Your Honors...if it would please the court of public opinion I would like to start of with my opening remarks


But First Ripped from the Headlines:




McCain Faces Fire Over Minister's Views

Presumptive GOP Nominee Faces Questions Over Rev. John Hagee's Provocative Preachings


(CBS) Today, it was Republican frontrunner John McCain's turn to answer mounting questions about one of his supporters, Rev. John Hagee, a San Antonio pastor with a worldwide broadcast ministry, reports CBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield.

Hagee has offered some highly provocative views on a variety of subjects.

For instance, he linked Hurricane Katrina to the gay rights movement: " … All of the city was punished because of the sin that happened there in that city."

He has also denounced the Roman Catholic Church as "the great whore of
Babylon" and "a cult." He blames it for the Holocaust and predicts its imminent demise.

"This is the apostate church," Hagee said. " … this false religious system is going to be totally devoured by the anti-Christ."

In a statement, Catholics United said: "We hope Senator McCain will take the principled position of publicly and unequivocally distancing himself from Pastor Hagee's anti-Catholic comments."

And Bill Donahue of the Catholic League offered a tougher view: "I do want a clear-cut statement from McCain saying that he knows Catholics have been offended, when this man hagee calls my religion the great whore and a false cult system."

Today, Sen. McCain offered carefully measured words: "I don't have to agree with everyone who endorses my candidacy," he said. "They are supporting my candidacy. I am not endorsing some of their positions."

The question is whether Pastor Hagee's view on the Catholic Church constitutes "a position" or a view that the presumptive Republican nominee has to address head on.

This dust-up may also make it a lot tougher for Republicans to criticize Barack Obama for some of his more controversial supporters.




What the F#$%! McCain is this really the same man who is his Presidential Campaign in 2000 called Falwell & Robertson "Agents of Intolerance" http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0002/28/se.01.html????


In one week John McCain has gone from standing up to a NEO-Con Hate-Fear Mongering Lunatic Radio Host in Bill Cunningham and then in the same week cozies up next to John Hagee?  Are you kidding me?  Who's running the John McCain campaign?  Rick Davis http://firedoglake.com/2008/02/21/mccains-cronies-rick-davis-uber-lobbyist-at-the-helm/ was McCain's campaign manager when he ran for president back in 2000 and now again in 2008.  Rick Davis is a millionaire lobbyist and cares nothing about social issues, only making more money for the rich people.


Early last week it was inspiring to see a Republican stand up to a whack-job Neo-Con like Bill Cunningham.  And I thought to myself, here we go John, that's the man I started to like back in 2000 when he took on the "Agents of Intolerance" and told of his hero stories of torture in a Vietnamese POW camp and a NAVY guy who was humble and was against all forms of torture and reached across the aisle (i.e. McCain - Feingold).  A "maverick" who reminded me of TOP GUN. 


I even found myself arguing that McCain might be the best person for the job of President (b/c I pride myself by sitting on the impartial divide).  My thinking here is that we as humans don't ever listen to people we fundamentally disagree with, nor would we ever take any constructive criticism or act upon any advice from those people.  For instance, would I actually listen to George W. Bush IF he came to my house and advised me on let's say how to make a speech?  LOL.  No I wouldn't.  But I would listen to someone like Daniel Dennett tell me I was a Jack-ass Chatch-bag (which I am) and that I needed to change my ways immediately. 


So following that line of reasoning, my philosophy would lead to one of their own (Conservative) cleaning house in the Republican party, and throwing out the garbage (Hagee, Robertson, Dobson, Coulter, O'Reilly, D'Souza, Buchanan...etc etc etc).  I thought John McCain could be that man, based on his "maverick" style, his calling out of those scum-rockets in 2000, and recently tearing Bill Cunningham a new one on National TV.  Here's a man who would stand up to this sphincter spankers and be his own MAN.


The F#$%! if I wasn't dead wrong on this one.  It's clear to me now that McCain is now the ultimate flip-flopper, no offense John Kerry.


Exhibit A:




John McCain has a carefully cultivated image as a Senate maverick, a man who talks "straight" and is willing to support unpopular positions if it is in the national interest. Much of that characterization is essentially bogus, with McCain trimming his sails on a regular basis to make himself more electable in his bid for the presidency. In 2000, his depiction of the confederate flag flying over South Carolina's capital shifted from "very offensive" to "a symbol of heritage." McCain attacked Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson of the religious right in the same campaign, calling Falwell an "agent of intolerance," and accurately describing Bob Jones University as anti-Catholic. He paid the price in South Carolina and elsewhere in the south and felt compelled to make his own walk to Canossa, giving the 2006 commencement speech at Falwell's Liberty University to establish his born again credentials. On the issue of immigration, McCain supported a guest workers' scheme coupled with an amnesty mechanism similar to the unpopular program being promoted by the Bush White House, but he now insists that he would unleash the army to seal off the Mexican border if elected president. On tax cuts, McCain opposed Bush's Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 because the benefits went disproportionately to the rich, but he now supports making the cuts permanent.


McCain's flip-flop on torture is perhaps his greatest hypocrisy, particularly because he was himself a victim at the hands of the North Vietnamese and because he has often spoken out forcefully against it. He has also bared his scars in support of his political ambitions, featuring in his campaign photos and commentary relating to the physical abuse that he suffered for his country. Citing his time as a POW, McCain has frequently taken the high ground on the detention and interrogation of detainees in the White House's so-called War on Terror. On October 3rd, 2005, he introduced the McCain Detainee Amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill for 2005. Two days later the United States Senate voted 90-9 to pass the amendment which prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, by limiting interrogations to the methods detailed in the US military's Field Manual 34-52 on Intelligence Interrogation.




Exhibit B




March 1, 2008, 2:58AM
McCain abides controversial endorsement


PHOENIX — John McCain is refusing to renounce the endorsement of a prominent Texas televangelist who Democrats say peddles anti-Catholic and other intolerant speech.

Instead, the Republican presidential candidate issued a statement Friday afternoon saying he had unspecified disagreements with the San Antonio megachurch leader, John Hagee. Hagee endorsed him at a news conference Wednesday in San Antonio.

"However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee's views, which I obviously do not," McCain said in the statement.

His campaign issued the statement after two days of criticism from the Democratic National Committee, the Catholic League and Catholics United.

Democrats quoted Hagee as saying the Catholic Church conspired with Nazis against the Jews and that Hurricane Katrina was God's retribution for homosexual sin, and they recited his demeaning comments about women and flip remarks about slavery.




The Reality of Recent Religious Endorsements

By Denise Williams
Mar 1st 2008 2:30PM

While we contemplate the actual efficacy of any endorsement conferred on any candidate, one thing is for sure - if it prays it brays. Not much has captured the American media quite so much this past week as the endorsement by the hateful Louis Farrakhan of Barack Obama. An endorsement, I might note, that was not sought by the candidate and was quickly denounced and then rejected.


On the other side, which I'm sure you've heard much less about, are two recent religious community endorsements received by John McCain that not only were not rejected, renounced and denounced, but actively sought.


You may remember McCain's difficulties with the Religious Right during his 2000 presidential bid. His issues with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson may have helped kill his campaign. This was McCain in 2000:


I am a pro-life, pro-family fiscal conservative, an advocate of a strong defense, and yet Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and a few Washington leaders of the pro-life movement call me an unacceptable presidential candidate. They distort my pro- life positions and smear the reputations of my supporters.


Why? Because I don't pander to them, because I don't ascribe to their failed philosophy that money is our message.


Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right. [emphasis mine]

As you can imagine, that did not go over too well. Part of McCain's transformation to butress his conservative bonafides has been to renounce his previous statements and cozy-up to those he formally denigrated.


Just this past week, McCain has appeared with two agents of intolerance - John Hagee and Rod Parsely.


John C. Hagee, founder and pastor of the megachurch Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, has drawn the ire of conservative Catholic groups Catholic League and Catholics United. Here's Catholic League President Bill Donohue reaction:


There are plenty of staunch evangelical leaders who are pro-Israel, but are not anti-Catholic. John Hagee is not one of them. Indeed, for the past few decades, he has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church. For example, he likes calling it 'The Great Whore,' an 'apostate church,' the 'anti-Christ,' and a 'false cult system.' To hear the bigot in his own words, click here. Note: he isn't talking about the Buddhists

Here's a video of Pastor Hagee explaining said Catholic Church whoreishness. I also find it strange that Bill Donahue, once a staple on MSNBC, hasn't been seen there lately.


Senator McCain, sensing an "uh-oh" moment, attempted to distance himself from some of Hagee's more inflammatory remarks saying, "However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee's views, which I obviously do not". But no renunciation has been forthcoming to date.

Rod Parsley, founder and president of "The Center for Moral Clarity" and leader of the right-wing "Patriot Pastors" (via PFAW) has graced our discourse with these moral nuggets:


-called hate crimes legislation a "deceptive ploy of [the] liberal, homosexual agenda."
-advocated criminal prosecution of adulterers.
-compared Planned Parenthood to the Nazis.
-declared "I came to incite a riot! Man your battle stations! Ready your weapons! Lock and load!" at a "War on Christians" conference.
-urged voters to "let the Reformation begin! Shout it like you're going to carry the blood-stained banner of the cross of Christ the length and breadth of the
Buckeye State!" at a political rally.


Now John McCain has appeared on a stage with, and has excepted the endorsement of, a man who would see him imprisoned (see second bullet point above) - and that's aside from the the other hatefulness.


I question why these endorsements have not been on the news anywhere near as much as the Farrakhan endorsement of Obama. There is no shortage of hate speech and advocating violence in these two men - what makes them different? Is it because they're white Christians?


I liked John McCain much better in 2000 when he WAS a straight talker. I don't know what kind of a talker he is now. I understand he has some problems with conservatives that he needs to overcome - but at what price?



Yeah I liked him better back then too...What the F$%@! Happened to the Straight Talk Express??? Jebus Crust!


This is a sad day for all secularists...b/c I still believe that the Republicans/Conservatives have to clean up their own messes, and we can't and are practically speaking unable to do that for them.  We may be able to vote them out of power, but as we've seen before and thanks to FUCXS NOISE will only rebuild their bigoted & fear mongering base b/c it becomes them against the world that hates them for being bigots and fear mongerers.  Yeah it's a vicious cycle that will ONLY STOP when someone on their own elk stands up to the rest of the garbage and says GET THE FUCK OUT! 


I have said time and time again that it's not worth reaching across the aisle from our perspective to the so-called "moderates/centrists" of the conservative party b/c most if not ALL of them would never totally boycott, rebel or reject the establishment, and they look at us as crazy, and people like John Meachum and John Prothero think they have the monopoly on good ideas and only the "moderates/centrists" know what's best for this country.  We've run into this sentiment within the secular ranks, you know the people that are blind to the "IT TAKES ALL KINDS" reality of how any grassroots movement starts and grows & thrives...and that as we say in the business...the PROOF is in the PUDDING.