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-   -   Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=4095)

rfrobison 10-11-2009 09:21 PM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 133290)
I didn't mention a legal test. I said I believe he's unfit to serve, and I said why. What I did talk about was his failure to distinguish between the religious and secular - something that is enshrined in the Constitution.

You are, of course, free to support or oppose whichever candidate you like on whatever grounds you like. But (from what little I know of him) I don't think Jindal is any more likely to run afoul of the separation of church and state than any other likely candidate.

Question: Was Obama's celebration of the breaking of the Muslim fast of Ramadan with some imams in the White House a violation of the Constitution, in your view? Or is it only Republicans who honor America's religious traditions who present a clear and present danger to democracy?

AemJeff 10-11-2009 09:26 PM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rfrobison (Post 133291)
You are, of course, free to support or oppose whichever candidate you like on whatever grounds you like. But (from what little I know of him) I don't think Jindal is any more likely to run afoul of the separation of church and state than any other likely candidate.

Question: Was Obama's celebration of the breaking of the Muslim fast of Ramadan with some imams in the White House a violation of the Constitution, in your view? Or is it only Republicans who honor America's religious traditions who present a clear and present danger to democracy?

Rob, do you see a difference between signing legislation and religious practice or don't you?

Added: And, to be sure, if a Democrat gives personal credence to exorcism, or faith healing, or sťances, or anything like that - I'll vote for his Republican opponent in a flash.

rfrobison 10-12-2009 03:38 AM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 133293)
Rob, do you see a difference between signing legislation and religious practice or don't you?

Added: And, to be sure, if a Democrat gives personal credence to exorcism, or faith healing, or sťances, or anything like that - I'll vote for his Republican opponent in a flash.

In answer to your question, sure I do. And if any public official advocates passing laws promoting any particular faith, or--though I'm less adamant about this--religious belief in general, I'm against it. Nothing has done more to neuter Christianity in Western Europe, in my opinion, than to bring churches under the wing (or is it the thumb?) of the state, as is the case in some Scandinavian countries, for example.

But I'm not convinced that the legislation you refer to qualifies. I admit to not having studied the matter in any great detail. But for better or worse, education is primarily a local matter in the U.S. and as such will reflect to some degree, for good and for ill, the values of that community.

My own position, my Christian beliefs notwithstanding, is that teaching the biblical account of creation in science classes or "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution in the interest of "equal time," or what have you, is a bad idea. Such ideas are not, whatever their advocates may claim, science qua science.

As to the larger question of whether belief in the supernatural in general, miracles, demonic possession and the rest should bar one from office, I'd have to say no, since I believe in them myself. On the other hand, if someone were to suggest a specific course of action with respect to public policy based on such belief, that would give me great pause, to be sure.

What I have trouble accepting is the idea that religious belief is never and can never be a valid impetus for any public act. What the militant secularists are demanding is not just a "wall of separation" between church and state, but to drive questions of faith out of public discourse entirely. Such a state is not merely secular institutionally, as the U.S. has always been, but an anticlerical state, a la France.

Faith is but one source of inspiration for law, policy, art, life itself. If some choose to see it as nothing more than childish superstition and therefore reject it out of hand, so be it. But since believers don't ask nonbelievers to divorce their values from their politics entirely, I don't see why they should be asked to do so.

AemJeff 10-12-2009 10:59 AM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rfrobison (Post 133309)
In answer to your question, sure I do. And if any public official advocates passing laws promoting any particular faith, or--though I'm less adamant about this--religious belief in general, I'm against it. Nothing has done more to neuter Christianity in Western Europe, in my opinion, than to bring churches under the wing (or is it the thumb?) of the state, as is the case in some Scandinavian countries, for example.

But I'm not convinced that the legislation you refer to qualifies. I admit to not having studied the matter in any great detail. But for better or worse, education is primarily a local matter in the U.S. and as such will reflect to some degree, for good and for ill, the values of that community.

My own position, my Christian beliefs notwithstanding, is that teaching the biblical account of creation in science classes or "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution in the interest of "equal time," or what have you, is a bad idea. Such ideas are not, whatever their advocates may claim, science qua science.

As to the larger question of whether belief in the supernatural in general, miracles, demonic possession and the rest should bar one from office, I'd have to say no, since I believe in them myself. On the other hand, if someone were to suggest a specific course of action with respect to public policy based on such belief, that would give me great pause, to be sure.

What I have trouble accepting is the idea that religious belief is never and can never be a valid impetus for any public act. What the militant secularists are demanding is not just a "wall of separation" between church and state, but to drive questions of faith out of public discourse entirely. Such a state is not merely secular institutionally, as the U.S. has always been, but an anticlerical state, a la France.

Faith is but one source of inspiration for law, policy, art, life itself. If some choose to see it as nothing more than childish superstition and therefore reject it out of hand, so be it. But since believers don't ask nonbelievers to divorce their values from their politics entirely, I don't see why they should be asked to do so.

I think there's a clear distinction between "public" and "official." If GWB and Jimmy Carter want to claim to be "Born Again," that's not my business. If they facilitate legislation forcing science teachers to tell children that geology is a lie, that's something else entirely. In that case I have an issue with their understanding of the fundamental laws of this nation - and I believe that ought to be disqualifying.

On the personal level - I make no distinction at all between beliefs in ghosts, demonic possession, faith healing, reincarnation, Transubstantiation, crystal power, pyramid power, spoon bending, Pareidolia, personal messages from God, etc... The greater the public manifestation of magical thinking that an official, or a candidate, displays, the greater my discomfort with their fitness to govern. At a point somewhere between a Catholic receiving the Eucharist (which I have done) and publishing a seriously intended essay asserting the reality of demonic posession, I, personally, find a line to have been crossed.

There's probably an analogy between the feeling I just expressed and the reasons behind the difficulties presented when Atheists run for high office in this country.

rfrobison 10-12-2009 12:47 PM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 133316)
I think there's a clear distinction between "public" and "official." If GWB and Jimmy Carter want to claim to be "Born Again," that's not my business. If they facilitate legislation forcing science teachers to tell children that geology is a lie, that's something else entirely. In that case I have an issue with their understanding of the fundamental laws of this nation - and I believe that ought to be disqualifying.

On the personal level - I make no distinction at all between beliefs in ghosts, demonic possession, faith healing, reincarnation, Transubstantiation, crystal power, pyramid power, spoon bending, Pareidolia, personal messages from God, etc... The greater the public manifestation magical thinking that an official, or a candidate, displays, the greater my discomfort with their fitness to govern. At a point somewhere between a Catholic receiving the Eucharist (which I have done) and publishing a seriously intended essay asserting the reality of demonic posession, I, personally, find a line to have been crossed.

There's probably an analogy between the feeling I just expressed and the reasons behind the difficulties presented when Atheists run for high office in this country.

Hmm, well, as I said, you are perfectly within your rights to oppose anyone you wish for any reason. Speaking strictly for myself, I would have few problems voting for an avowed atheist as long as he or she promoted policies I support, and did not use the power of office to disadvantage theists like me.

It's a waste of time and effort, in my view, to delve into the motives for people's public actions. Such things are between the believer and God (or, conversely, between the nonbeliever and the electrochemical reactions, external stimuli, genetics, social conditioning and the like, the sum total of which he calls his "conscience").

What matters is the soundness of one's actions, even if the reasons for taking them are faulty. You may support gun control (or not) as a matter of public health policy; I may do so because "Thou shalt not kill," (or because "I came to bring a sword.") The end result is the same.

Starwatcher162536 10-14-2009 03:19 PM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Anyone touted as the Anti-Palin deserves a serious look in my view.

I do not know any specifics, but I have heard the Louisiana public school system has improved significantly in the last few years, and Governor Jindal shares some responsibility for that. (Admittedly, I did hear this from a partisan source)

As a former participant in the Louisiana school system, I am more then willing to look the other way when a wacky belief is identified, if it means that the current improvements in education continue.

Starwatcher162536 10-14-2009 03:34 PM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 133284)
You mean from the guy who wrote this? I hope he's a has-been, before he screws up science education is his state and elsewhere completely.

I think you vastly underestimate how bad the Louisiana school system is. Honestly, I find Jindel's supernatural beliefs laughable*, and some of his religious motivated school policies contemptuous, but even I have to admit that science education should not be a priority for Louisiana right now.

Louisiana has much bigger fish to fry. I remember the majority of my Louisiana public teachers were not certified teachers, they were the school's janitors (Why would a teacher stay when he/she could move to Texas and get 10-15k more annually?), I remember half of my 6th grade class were a bunch of 17 year olds just hanging out till they drop out, I remember there not even being classes for science or history (Every day, all day, was spent on the vain attempt to teach the children arithmetic and get them to read above a 2nd grade level).

The Louisiana public school system is a classic example of what happens when you let all the high achievers and kids with educated parent opt out of the public school system and go to private schools. All that is left in the public schools, is a very quick race to the bottom.

(I am a big fan of busing, make it so the rich and poor kids are not so segregated from each other)


*(Though I am suspect if he is sincere in those beliefs, as the qualities that would predispose someone to Bible Thump is a rather profitable attribute to have in Louisiana politics)

AemJeff 10-14-2009 08:28 PM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 (Post 133503)
I think you vastly underestimate how bad the Louisiana school system is. Honestly, I find Jindel's supernatural beliefs laughable*, and some of his religious motivated school policies contemptuous, but even I have to admit that science education should not be a priority for Louisiana right now.

Louisiana has much bigger fish to fry. I remember the majority of my Louisiana public teachers were not certified teachers, they were the school's janitors (Why would a teacher stay when he/she could move to Texas and get 10-15k more annually?), I remember half of my 6th grade class were a bunch of 17 year olds just hanging out till they drop out, I remember there not even being classes for science or history (Every day, all day, was spent on the vain attempt to teach the children arithmetic and get them to read above a 2nd grade level).

The Louisiana public school system is a classic example of what happens when you let all the high achievers and kids with educated parent opt out of the public school system and go to private schools. All that is left in the public schools, is a very quick race to the bottom.

(I am a big fan of busing, make it so the rich and poor kids are not so segregated from each other)


*(Though I am suspect if he is sincere in those beliefs, as the qualities that would predispose someone to Bible Thump is a rather profitable attribute to have in Louisiana politics)

Frankly, I have no basis at all for an objective assessment of LA's school system. But, legislation favoring mixing the details of some people's religious beliefs into primary and secondary science education is not something designed to improve the quality of education in the state. However bad things are, already, this will, by definition, make it worse.

Starwatcher162536 10-15-2009 02:58 PM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
You cannot look at that one policy in a vacuum, which your statements seem to imply you are doing. Is Jindel as a whole, good or bad for education?

Starwatcher162536 10-15-2009 03:07 PM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rfrobison (Post 133319)
What matters is the soundness of one's actions, even if the reasons for taking them are faulty. You may support gun control (or not) as a matter of public health policy; I may do so because "Thou shalt not kill," (or because "I came to bring a sword.") The end result is the same.

I disagree. When judging the potential worthiness of a candidate for higher office, you are not merely making a checklist of said candidates positions and comparing them to your own, you are also trying to get a feeling for said candidates overall philosophy and outlook at life, as a way to try and gauge how said candidate will react to unforeseen things in the future.

Suspecting that Jindel is a true believer to some rather wacky beliefs, is indeed a negative in my book. That being said, its a comparatively small negative, compared to other negatives I find in many politicians.

AemJeff 10-15-2009 04:08 PM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 (Post 133564)
You cannot look at that one policy in a vacuum, which your statements seem to imply you are doing. Is Jindel as a whole, good or bad for education?

I don't see any ambiguity in my POV. Creationism in Public Education = complete failure.

bjkeefe 10-18-2009 03:57 PM

Re: Ezramesh Strikes Back! (Ezra Klein & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 133189)
Regarding Ramesh's puffery of Mitch Daniels (the hilarity of which was diluted only by the preceding, even more outlandish, puffery of Willard "Mitt" Romney), there is a valuable resource out there for an alternative perspective -- let us say somewhat less convinced of the notion that the Hoosier governor and former Bush 43 budget director "radiates competence" -- long-time Indiana resident Doghouse Riley.

See especially his posts tagged "Midwestern States Governed By Surly Megalomaniacs With Napoleonic Complexes."

P.S. Today's edition now available! Opening paragraph:

Quote:

YESTERDAY Indiana Governor, 2012 Republican Presidential nominee, and ill-tempered card cheat Mitch Daniels was forced to announce that he'll terminate the state's ten-year experiment in seeing whether anybody would give a shit if the destitute and the disabled were handed over to the familiar tender, still-dryer-warm-blankie ministrations of the average ad hoc business consortium given a $1.3 billion government contract. Terminate early, that is. Like seven years early. Though in fairness, the other three years were merely disastrous.
Enjoy, Blackadder!


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