It’s Election Day……

Well folks, it’s election day. We finally get an end to all of the annoying political TV ads. Hubby and I are both Democrats, so I’ll give you one guess who got our vote for president. I hope you take the time today to vote, regardless of who you decide to vote for.

The main point of this post is to encourage you as an American to help stop the hate and vitriol seen in our politics. This country is great because it is composed of a wonderful variety of people. I really didn’t understand this until I moved out of the South. Ever since living in Maryland, I’ve come to hold many people near and dear to my heart who are and aren’t like me–African American, Indian, Muslim, Caucasian, Jewish, Christian, Pakistani, Atheist, Homosexual, Hispanic, Agnostic, Asian, Secular Humanist–and I’m sure I can continue to add to this list.

While these folks may be different from me, and I may not necessarily agree with them on everything, the one thing I have for them is respect. And I think we as Americans have lost a lot of that for each other, especially when it comes to elections and politics. It is really upsetting to see people name call and belittle someone just because they do not hold the same political beliefs as them. What is amazing about our country is that we have the freedom to hold democratic elections. We are allowed to vote for who we want to. But every election when I look around on Facebook, I see what boils down to just plain bullying.

How can we as Americans expect our lawmakers to act civilly towards each other when all we do is feed their hatred of the other party through our own actions? Each party blames the other for the lack of progress in Washington D.C., but both parties are to blame. We will never move forward in this country if we ourselves and our politicians can’t see past the extreme ideologies of our two political parties and learn to find some middle ground.

So please, on this election day, take the time to be respectful of all your fellow Americans, regardless of their political beliefs. And if you engage in conversation, do so in a manner that is not demeaning.

I visited Mount Vernon this past weekend and paid my respects to our dear first president, George Washington. I can only imagine that he and the other founding fathers would be extremely disappointed in the behavior exhibited today during elections. They fought so that we could be a free country. And while they disagreed on topics such as the strength of the federal government, they still came together to found this great nation of ours, that welcomes all regardless of race or religion. Early in our history as a country, the person who got the most votes was president, and the second most was vice president, regardless of political party. I wish that we could revert back to this system so that we would be forced to collaborate and work together instead of remaining ever divided.

Democrats remove specific reference to ‘God’ from official platform but retain numerous references to “faith,” “religion,” and “church.”

CNN Political Ticker

(CNN) – Democrats omitted the word “God” from their 2012 platform, a change from the party’s 2008 document and a noticeable split from Republicans, who mention God ten times in their official party stance.

In 2008, Democrats wrote, “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”

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From Franklin to . . . Bachmann. Sigh.

Earlier today I wrote about Benjamin Franklin and his practical view of religion and rejection of unreasonable dogma. Reading Franklin gives me hope that it’s possible to elect brave, reasonable people — after all, this is the man that seized lightening from heaven.  But then I open CNN and am reminded of what kind of people we elect instead.  At an event for the Florida Family Policy Council, Bachmann linked weather to religion (again):

“At this moment in time we’re quite literally looking at a hurricane here in Florida. We’re looking at a political hurricane in this country. We are looking at a spiritual hurricane in our land. And it is time for each one of us to show up and suit up and stand up and realize that in this time and in this day we pour it out for Him.”

Someone’s walking in a fog, but it’s certainly not Franklin. Sigh.

Laws Block the Study of Gun Violence

Violence happens.  People use guns to kill other people, and if not guns, then some other weapon.  Murders are so common, in fact, that homicides claim roughly 1,000 victims everyday and images of guns and violence fill our TV screens.  Although mass-killings like those in Columbine and Aurora continue to horrify us, they no longer surprise us.  We understand that humans kill others and that violence is just one aspect of human social behavior that we sometimes accept — think war — but often reject — think bullying, fistfights, and Aurora.

But why?  Why do will hurt, hit, and occasionally murder one another?  Social scientists could shed light on the causes of gun violence and means of preventing it.  But, unfortunately, politicians and lobbyist have stymied research into both the social sciences and gun violence.  In a new op-ed for the Washington Post, Jay Dickey and Mark Rosenberg lament the dramatic cost of gun violence — over 30,000 deaths a year, more than those murdered on September 11th and almost as many that die each year from car-crashes — and their own failure to fund research into its causes. Continue reading

Mormonism is a cult. All religions are.

Recently, several people have criticized Robert Jeffress, a Texas pastor,  for calling Mormonism, the religion of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a “cult.”   Jeffress added, “Those of us that are evangelicals have every right to prefer and select a competent Christian over a competent non-Christian.”  You might be surprised if I said that I agree with Jeffress, at least on one point: Mormonism is a cult.  But then again, that’s only because all religions are. Continue reading

Book Review: The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

Last week I finished reading The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie.  The book is Rushdie’s fourth novel, and largely deals with the issues of isolation and integration among Indian-born immigrants in England.  However, the book also includes two sections that depict the prophet Muhammad.  Some considered Rushdie’s depiction of Muhammad blasphemous, and as a result,  in 1989 the Supreme Leader of Iran issued a death sentence against him.  If you pick up this book hoping to learn more about this controversy, you’re bound to be disappointed.   But you should pick it up anyway, because this is an amazing — albeit daunting — read. Continue reading