Religion

Will Obama Leave Me Out?

Congrats to all fellow Obama supporters, and thanks for helping stop bigotry in Minnesota.

In his victory speech President Obama said:

…I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where [sic] you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

This sounds all inclusive: a statement of total equality.

But it isn’t.

Photo by Andrew Aliferis

In listing virtually every sort of minority that exists, President Obama conspicuously left out religious minorities. This is not a mistake; it echoes his words at his 2009 Inauguration. He took pains to call out all other disadvantaged groups, even many that normally get no attention at all. But still no love for minority religions and atheists.

Our president then invoked God and gave God’s blessing to all of us, whether we follow that deity or not.

His supporters’ cheers rose louder—this was the climax. The crowd didn’t notice that my people were left out, or they didn’t care.

It’s risky for an American politician to help non-Christians. I still had high hopes. Four years ago President Obama had to think carefully about his political future; now, as a second term president, he has a freer rein. He can choose to reach much further.

I’d like that.

I would like my President, for whose election I worked tirelessly, to remember that there are many gods blessing America—and that there may be no gods at all.

I would like my President Elect to reach out and help disadvantaged Muslims, Jews, Pagans, Polytheists, Hindus, and the non-religious in the same way he wishes to help gays, lesbians, hispanics, blacks, and all the other groups he took the time to call out.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I campaigned for him, no matter how much he needed my vote in undecided Wisconsin, he is not likely to fulfill that wish.

President Obama is not the candidate of religious freedom. Everything that gays and lesbians needed before Obama, non-Christians need still.

Consistent with my stated policy on voting, I voted for him anyway—and I would do it again if he could run for a third term.

But do you think a president will ever stand up up for my faith?

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48 thoughts on “Will Obama Leave Me Out?

  1. Drew, I don’t want to seem disrespectful at all but I want to be sure that I’m capturing the heart of your concern or complaint, so I’ll ask a couple of questions: In what way(s) do you see your faith (and/or non-Christian faiths more generally) in need of something? What sort of protection or assistance do you have in mind and why isn’t the blanket protection afforded by the Constitution sufficient?

    • Well, because people blatently ignore the constitution. Faith based charities are currently being funded by the government, and many of these so called charities are actively trying to convert people to christianity. The vast majority of the funding for faith based charities goes to christian organizations, some of which are adoption services which refuse to allow gay couples to adopt, some others of which refuse to hire anyone who isn’t christian, straight, and cis. Hell, even the catholic church is getting funding from the government for its charities. A group that is funding campaigns for measures to prevent me from having equal rights and protection against discrimination.

      • I suppose it’s true that the vast majority of this funding goes to Christian organizations, but that’s because the majority of the organizations are Christian. This isn’t necessarily nefarious. And, indeed, there are plenty of Christian organizations doing a lot of good for people, including non-Christian people. In the end, I suppose I’m not going to take a black/white stance on this issue. A group that discriminates against anyone shouldn’t be eligible for funding, but there’s no reason (to my mind) that a Christian organization that runs a soup kitchen open to all (without any sort of prosletyzing) shouldn’t be assisted in its mission of helping people.

        • …but there’s no reason (to my mind) that a Christian organization that runs a soup kitchen open to all (without any sort of prosletyzing) shouldn’t be assisted in its mission of helping people.

          I think there’s a good reason, and it’s the lack of compartmentalization.

          I can’t imagine a religious organization that does not have a religious purpose to it. They may run some programs, such as a soup kitchen, that are not overtly religious, but necessarily they also run some other programs that are religious — such as ceremonies, missionary work, catechism, etc.

          So this leads to two main problems, in my mind.

          First, bleed. I don’t believe that a religious organization staffed by religious people and supporting religious work is going to somehow not be religious while doing the charitable work that their religion calls them to do. It’s going to bleed in. There’s no oversight making sure that, say, people receiving food aren’t also being given conversion tracts, or people receiving beds at a shelter aren’t also being pressured to attend Sunday service. I can’t imagine how the government would possibly ensure that. (I also don’t trust the average well-meaning Christian to have a good sense of what’s appropriate and what’s not; cf. prayer in schools.)

          Second, soft money. If a church splits its own budget among several concerns — let’s say church services, anti-choice protesting, and a food drive — then it needs to fund all of those concerns from the donations of its members. They have to decide among themselves which is more important to their faith, feeding the poor or stopping abortion. They only have a limited pool of dollars to put in any program. But when the government offers to contribute money to the food drive, this obviously frees up organizational monies to go toward the services or the protests. The church has a larger budget to potentially spend on abortion protests, because their other expenses were relieved by taxpayer dollars.

          It comes down to the phrase “unnecessary entanglement.” The courts have ruled that these programs are okay as long as they don’t create unnecessary entanglement between church and state; I agree, except my “unnecessary” bar is much higher. Any government money going to organizations that do missionary work unnecessarily entangles the two.

          (Said as a priest and the former director of a medium-size temple with several social programs.)

          • exactly, and some soup kitchens and shelters which work on limited resources and don’t have enough for everybody give priority to people who profess their faith.

          • I suspect we’re just going to be on two different sides of the fence on this one. I wasn’t thrilled about Bush’s faith-based initiatives, or that they’re still going on, but I don’t have the same sorts of concerns at the same level.

              • Like you, I’d just as soon have the government disconnected from religious institutions entirely. But the faith-based initiatives are just the latest, really; tax exemptions, for example, have existed for some time now. To my mind, the relationship between the government and religious institutions in this country goes back to the very beginning of colonial settlement and that makes it essentially enmeshed in the fabric of the country. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be pernicious. The question at hand needn’t be how to entirely disconnect the two, but how to ensure that no harm is done to anyone as a result of the connection.

                • Those are good points.

                  I’ve never felt uncomfortable about the tax exemptions, because all not-for-profit organizations (religious or otherwise) are granted those in our country. Temples don’t pay taxes on their land; neither do museums. Tithing is tax deductible; so is donating money to a secular homeless shelter.

                  I’ve always taken that as a sign that America values voluntary associations, which we certainly do historically, and been confused when atheists or secularists want to take those exemptions away from churches (but not other non-profits), which would in fact be actively legislating against religion and thus unconstitutional.

                  If you meant a different sort of tax exemption or I’m missing something, please let me know.

                  • Personally, I think all non-profits should be taxed. But I know that is fringe position. As far as churches being taxed, the law of the land is that if they don’t endorse candidates, they don’t have to pay taxes. Most of the time when atheists are complaining about churches who should be taxed, those churches are breaking that law and the IRS is letting them.

                    • A 501(c)3 status organization cannot legally endorse a candidate. However, churches are not required to carry that status. Some, in particular fundamentalist churches, operate without a corporate status. This is legal.

                      Additionally, even a 501(c)3 can go right up to that line. I worked at an environmental nonprofit in 2004 which did everything shy of saying “Vote for Kerry.” If a conservative pastor, for example, talks about the positions that Obama holds on abortion and then asks people to pray and think carefully before deciding how to vote, that is — believe it or not — legal.

                      I’m not suggesting that zero churches break the law around endorsing candidates, but I think it’s exaggerated; in any case the solution would be to punish those churches with existing sanctions, not rob all religions of their right to operate as a nonprofit.

                    • Under the current law, I beleive that the law should be enforced. My position on churches and non-profits being taxed accross the board is based on a completely different arguement. I don’t think the public welfare should be privatized.

    • I feel that the Constitution’s blanket protection is not enough for religious freedom in the same way that the Civil Rights Act is not enough for race equality. Despite the law, minority religions and atheists routinely face discrimination. In the past I have faced workplace discrimination. I have volunteered in prisons with polytheist inmates who were not given the same resources as Christian inmates. My understanding is that religion becomes a factor in child custody cases. I could go on.

      I think that Muslims in particular have a terrible time with religious discrimination right now.

      Like anybody who has seen discrimination, my ideal is a nation where people can be very open about their identity (sexual, racial, religious, etc.) and face neither institutionalized punishment – thank you Constitution! – or subtle or overt mistreatment.

      And, of course, I realize that is very unlikely to happen in its entirety, and even less so anytime soon; but it would be nice if our Democratic president at least publicly recognized it as a problem, as he recognizes (apparently) ablism, agism, racism, and homophobia as problems, when he sounds his rallying cry of equality.

      • OK. Now I see the issue more clearlt, thanks. I guess I’m of two minds. The first thing to say is that I’m obviously in complete agreement with you that no one should face discrimination as a result of his or her religious faith (or lack thereof). As a member of a minority faith myself, I like to think that I’m sensitive to this issue. The second thing to say, though, is that I think a word or two from our president isn’t likely to do nearly as much as a lawsuit. All of the problems that you mention are actionable, aren’t they? I mean, if some inmates aren’t accorded the same rights as others because of their faith, there’s a lawsuit there; if someone is discriinated against in the workplace, there’s a lawsuit there. That’s what I had in mind when I brought up constitutional protection.

        Obviously, subtle mistreatment is much more difficult to deal with because it’s more difficult to demonstrate. We all feel, at one time or another, that we’re being treated differently or unfairly. But how to demonstrate it in order to deal with it? That’s far more challenging.

        The reason I say that I don’t see a word or two from President Obama about minority faiths making the same sort of splash that you might is that, as another one of your commenters has suggested, he has — in the past — made such comments. Simply saying, “People of all faiths or no faith” might indeed make you (and many others) feel better … but I don’t know that it actually moves the conversation forward in the same way that legal challenges to discriminatory behavior would do.

        • I agree, but I think it’s a step forward to have the issue on the lips of the president. I can’t imagine any of our past presidents openly speaking of equality for homosexuals in their victory and inauguration speeches; Obama has changed that. And I’m really happy about that. But it does sting to have my own concerns left out.

          I should also add that lawsuits aren’t always possible, especially when an issue is invisible. In my circumstance of workplace discrimination, there was no documentable evidence; a lawsuit would have failed. And that’s me, someone with the combination of recklessness/determination to actually pursue a lawsuit. If it had been someone with a family or another reason not to stick their neck out, even a winnable lawsuit might not be an option.

          Again, I agree with all of your points. I certainly don’t think a word from President Obama would have changed the landscape. But the lack of a word hurts — and it seems pointed.

  2. No, I don’t think that it is possible to be elected to high office in the U.S. without pandering to Christianity. Sure there are a few exceptions, but for the most part, even the non-christians have to speak the language of Christians to get elected. Obama is also not that great on seperation of church and state by continuing government funding of Faith based charities. However, Obama is still one of the most friendly politicians to people of minority faiths and atheists that I have ever heard. He may have left it out in this particular speech, but he has made remarks about minority faiths in the past, and he is one of the first presidents to actually acknowledge the existence of atheists in a positive light.

    There are many other groups that Obama left out of that speech. Non-monosexuals, Gender minorites, and women. It doesn’t mean that he hasn’t done anything on their behalf, even though he could be doing a hell of a lot more. I have many problems with Obama, but I voted for him, too. I’m Just glad that Romney got defeated.

  3. Drew, I hear you. But things are changing. In his 2008 inauguration address, Obama said: “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth…” More importantly, he followed up with action: the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been transformed under the current Administration to be much more inclusive…Hindu, Muslim, Native American and Pagan leaders have, for the first time in our nation’s history, taken part in meetings and have direct access to Administration officials. My experience as a Hindu leader working with the White House has been extraordinary. But, one problem for smaller groups that is they have to be organized and cohesive in order to gain access to and interact within this system. This alone may present a barrier to smaller faith groups.

    A lot of this does not get into the news, so people might not be hearing about it. But it’s happening.

    Like you, I’ll work for and look forward to the day that there is more awareness, inclusiveness and protection for those of all religions (and no religion).

  4. It is, in my experience, that those of the political Left in America fall into one of two categories: Nominally Christian, or Atheist.

    Neither group has much room for Pagans, no matter how hard most Pagans cling to the political Left and incorporate its ideologies into their religion. The Atheists (at least those politically active) tend to view religion as the cause of every ill and evil in the world and would see it done away with completely. One god is horrific to them. Imagine the terror of many gods, all bickering, fighting, and insisting on throwing their power around. It is the thing their nightmares are made of. Christians think theirs is the only god in existence, and will not allow for another.

    No matter how liberal they are. Remember that most of those who are Hard Core Christian in the Democratic party fall into two groups. The Hispanics, who are largely Catholic, and the African Americans, who tend to be (when religious) rather…hard core about Jesus.

    In such a realm, what place is there for other gods? To be honest, there isn’t much of one. At best we Pagans are freaks, loons, or idiots who can be counted on to hold the cause while they care less about our rights.

    No prayer in the schools means no Pagan prayers too. Clamping down on the religious freedoms of others invariably will lead to a clam down on all religious freedoms, including ours, as we seek the “balanced equality of secularism.”

    Did you know that Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor is considered a racist symbol by the Southern Poverty Law Center? Not when just in the hands of Racists, or even those labeled “racists” who in fact aren’t. In the hands of anyone. I have seen what happens when you have that kind of mentality spread about a symbol. I had an African American teacher at university who liked me and who I liked. One day I saw her at school and said hi, because she’d saved my bacon in class a couple of times where innocence brought rage from others. I will never forget the look of disgust and fear on her face when she saw the Mjolnir about my neck.

    I had only acted in honor and honesty, and yet because some group run by those who belong to the “Left” have declared a symbol of my religion, of my people, of my heritage, to be only a symbol of hate, I was to be treated as evil.

    You ask if we will be left out? We already are. They Mjolnir, they symbol of Thor, who was friend to all mortals, who defended us, is treated as a sickness and a hate. They do not care that four thousand upon thousands of years this was a symbol for goodness and nobility. They care only that there is political power to be had upon the denigration of our symbols. All forms of Heathenism, Odism, Asatru, Troth, etc, are treated as racist hate groups by not just the SPLC, but by most other Civil Rights organizations as well.

    The people who are supposed to protect our civil rights, look upon me and mine as if we are as bad as the Nazis and should be crushed out of existence!

    The Pagans had to fight for how long to get one symbol, the Pentagram, authorized for Military markers. We still have virtually no clergy in the military. And who should be fighting for it if not the LEFT? But who is silent? If the Pentagram took this long, imagine how much longer to get the Valknut or the Mjolnir approved, especially when they are labeled as symbols of hate? What about all the others who are treated much like we are?

    Jews can count on the support they need. So many of their race/religion walk the halls of wealth and power that they need have but little fear. The Muslims have the wonderful three punch of being a minority, using our freedoms to protest any foul treatment their way, and the threat of violence around the world to make sure everyone toes the lines of their “rights.” Buddhists, Sikhs, and others have world wide populations who can bring to bear international pressure for their rights.

    But we? WE have Nothing.

    It’s time we faced it. Obama has left you out. And me out. And all the others like us. We don’t have power. We don’t have violence. We don’t have numbers. We are, possibly, the only minority out there who is the most excluded, most looked down upon, and the most powerless.

    They’ve shut the door on us. If we’re lucky, maybe in a few generations, we’ll wise up, have enough members, that maybe we can have a voice. If we’re not, well that door will open. But it won’t be in welcome. It’ll be open with either the Cross, the Moon, or the Void. Not friendship and care.

    Hope and Change was never in his cards for us.

    • Beth says:

      I have to disagree on one point, for the sake of my own underrepresented group: it is not true that all liberal Christians are only “nominally” Christian. I may not follow conservative Christian theology, but that doesn’t make my commitment to my faith any less strong than anyone else’s. I’m a resident of Minnesota, which just became the first state ever to defeat an amendment against gay marriage. I can guarantee you, that amendment would have passed if not for the work of very committed liberal Christians of all denominations, including Catholics, as well as people of other faith traditions. I don’t disagree with the rest of your points necessarily…just don’t let one loud group of Christians fool you into thinking the rest of us don’t exist.

      • Very good point Beth, and thank you.

        In the context of the current issue, however, it’s important to remember: funding liberal Christianity with tax dollars is just as problematic (from a separation of church and state point of view) as funding conservative Christianity.

        I want liberal Christians to continue to score big wins against fundamentalism, but I understand it’s unfair for our government to put soft dollars toward that, or for people served by government-funded charities to feel pressure to support liberal (or any) Christianity.

        • Beth says:

          Totally understand, Drew. I didn’t mean that liberal vs conservative Christianity would make any difference to your larger point, I was just reacting to Lucius’ idea that if you are liberal politically, you are by definition only “nominally” Christian.

      • I was speaking, mainly, of those in power. i.e. the politicians. While your faith may be no less strong for your being left rather than right, it is the leaders you elect, who I look to as an example of what it means, as they are the ones with the power, who legislate, and who decree what it is the “left” stands for.

        And as a rule, they are Christian when they need to be, and not when it suits them. Hence the fact that despite the fact the black and Hispanic communities are devout Christians, it is the leaders who still (and against the desires of their Christian constituents,) support gay marriage where the Hispanic Catholic, and Black Baptists, do not. So while I applaud your efforts to pursue the rights of your gay citizens, I must ask, Christian, left, or what have you, what have you done in equal measure to support the rights of Pagans? To further the cause of their equality?

        What have your leaders done?

    • If you don’t want to be associated with racists maybe you should tone down the anti-Semitism in your comment. Jews, “walk the halls of wealth and power.” Gee, where have I heard that before? Muslims use their minority status and our freedoms for their advantage and are inherently violent. Really? And you wonder why you are perceived as being a racist?

      • How is it racist to say that Jews walk the halls of power? Are not most of those in Hollywood of Jewish ancestry? Seriously, listen to Adam Sandler’s Hanuka song. People you never knew to be Jewish are Jewish, and lots of Jewish people work as high level economic people, not to mention a lot of them are in politics.

        How is it racist to call a Jew a Jew, or to state that a lot of Jews work in influential places? I make no disparagement against them, merely state a fact. A fact, that when I was studying Judaism, they took great pride in.

        And I didn’t say that Muslims are inherently violent. Merely that they can use the threat of world wide violence to influence policy. Or did you miss the world wide riots when any video about Mohammed comes out, or the knifing and killing of cartoonists and other artists who draw their Prophet. Is it now racist to speak of facts that have already happened? And there are many times where I have heard Muslims themselves speak of how because they are a minority, that anyone who opposes them is a racist, despite the fact that Islam is not a ta race, but a religion.

        So if I am racist for speaking the truth and facts that both groups freely admit, maybe you need to look over what it means to be a racist…

        • I’m embarrassed to even be commenting on the same blog post as someone like you, who feels so comfortable in his anti-Semitism that he posts it publicly and then defends it … and in the context of arguing for the need for better protections for his own minority religious faith no less. Disgusting.

          • I am not anti-semitic. I am, however, rather insulted that you feel the need to call me such simply because I say something that makes you feel uncomfortable. I bear no ill will towards any man, regardless of race. I do not care that they have a population that is skilled and uses these skills well. In fact, I admire them. Rather, I wish more people of all races and ethnicity would emulate them.

            Which, is really, the opposite of racism.

            Now, if the only difference between me saying that there’s a lot of Jews in hollywood and say…Adam Sandler saying it, is the fact that I am a “White” person, and where in his voice it is something awesome because he is Jewish, and in mine it is something “racist” perhaps you need to look better at just what standards you judge speech to be held. Because in that case, you are allowing race to effect yourself in a way I never do.

            • Oh, well as long as you say you’re not an anti-Semite then by all means let’s continue having this conversation about how “the Jews” have no need to fear anything because they “walk the halls of wealth and power.”

              Maybe you just don’t understand what it means to lump millions of people into a single group, as you have done in your comment with group after group. Maybe you don’t understand that your comments about Jews perpetuate stereotypes that have been used to murder Jews for hundreds of years. Maybe you don’t understand that a song listing a few dozen Jewish actors isn’t the same thing as what you’re doing.

              And I’m not even going to get into the comments about Muslims, which are also self-evidently Islamophobic. Or your excellent rejoinder about how the only difference between you and Adam Sandler is that you’re a poor “White” man who is always being put down when someone who does the exact same thing is considered to be so awesome.

              After having been told all of these things by multiple commenters here, when you still refuse to understand the problem with what you’ve written, I’m not sure what else to conclude about you … perhaps *especially* because you’re insistent that race doesn’t have any impact on anything you do. Perhaps if it had *some* impact, you’d think more carefully about the things you write.

              • First off, I am not a “poor white who is put down” just because I say the same thing that someone else says (and I said it was “awesome” ie regarded as “cool” when they said it) I merely stated that you were taking a fact that was the same, and judging it as racist merely by who was saying it.

                And I didn’t say the Jews had no need to fear. Only that they had less to fear, than say, a group that has no political or economic influence. I see politicians on both sides of the isle courting the Jewish vote, which speaks to at least some political power. Getting back to the original premise of this article, before you hijacked it with cries of “racism” and “racist” is that no one courts the Pagan vote. Now, if you can come up with some other reason that politicians seek to appeal to Jewish voters other than economic and political power, by all means, do so. But it is hardly racist to state that a group has access to political or economic power. Now, if you wanna go on about how the Nazis kept talking about how the Jews had all this power, by all means, go ahead. But I am not a Nazi. The Nazis have nothing to do with my people or our religion, and I would kindly thank you to not declare any relation between me and them without proof, or else I shall become rather sore with you, rather than engaging in neutral debate.

                As for my “Islamophobia” I am willing to admit that perhaps I am rather concerned over the actions of some Muslims all over the world. I am concerned, as a Heathen, over a religion who declares that it is the sole truth of the universe and that all must bow to it or be slain. Because I learned well the lesson of my ancestors when the Christians came with the same agenda, and there were a lot less Christians back then. Also, I see plenty of people who scream whenever a Christian passes out a bible on the street, so I see no reason why I should be silent when a Muslim screams Allah Ackbar and bashes someone’s head in with a glass bottle, or stabs a man just because he drew the Prophet Mohammed. I don’t care what race a Muslim person is. I do care, however, when he takes his religion to Extremes.

                I wonder if you call your fellow Jews over in Israel Islamophobes because they fear suicide bombers everyday?

        • The part that’s bigoted is the part where you feel entitled to say “Muslims” carte blanche in regards to actions that very few Muslims support; and where you ascribe the qualities of a small few as qualities of the group overall, which is by definition stereotyping.

          • I’m not saying, Muslims “carte blanche.” But there is the matter of the whole “if you do not speak up, you are complicit in the actions of those you refuse to protest.” I’ve spent a fair bit of time looking into the matter. I do not speak with ignorance. I am not, by nature, much in the way of a fool. It brings dishonor to all to speak falsely. If I say something, it is because, to my knowledge and often large scale research, to be truth.

            And we can hardly deny that while only a “few” engage in these actions, These supposed “few” are the same populations who are apparently leading large scale attacks on the Coptic Christians to the point where they are becoming in danger of an ethnic/religious cleansing, Jews and Christians in most other Islamic nations are facing stations just as bad, and the majority stand silently while a “few” go riot over a cartoon, a movie, or for some unknown reason.

            If you do not stand against the evils of a few, are you not also complicit in their actions? And are there not a number of Islamic clerics, both here and abroad, who do threaten that there will be violence in the streets if a “dishonor” to Islam is committed? I have seen dozens upon dozens of reports that such is the case, and even seen some of the videos myself. Not to mention seen the reports of major cities in Europe where already Police and Emergency Workers will not go because they will be beaten, shot, and even killed, by a “few.”

            Or how about the reports in Dearborn where Christians who were standing about silently with their bibles and such, were harassed and assaulted by Muslims, and were then told by the police that they were to blame. Now, I’ve gotten up and argued with a street preacher in my day (and even blessed on in the name of the Odinson), but that’s a far cry from throwing glass bottles at them. And the rest of the Muslims…good people…did nothing.

            Yes, Drew, it is the actions of a “few” who do these terrible deeds, but it is the many that stand by and profit from it, or suffer by it, yet continue to do nothing. So If I make a blanket statement, it is because, in my experience and research, most Muslims stand silent in the face of these few. And to me, all it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing. And so far…there’s a lot of “good people” who are doing a lot of nothing. :(

            And that brings great sorrow to my heart. Regardless of their race or their religion.

            • I can’t imagine how you would know what the average Muslim feels about these events, or what data you base your belief on that most of them do nothing.

              But I do know you seem very unaware of the very real efforts that many Muslims make to counteract such hatred, precisely because they do feel it violates Islam.

              • I didn’t say I knew how they feel. I just said that they appear to stand silently, regardless of their feelings Drew.

                As for the reports where they appear to do nothing? Well, most of the reports I read, based in Egypt, Europe, or the US? Well, no one reports any Muslims standing in the way of these acts.

    • Because I have no common sense, I’m going to put aside the bigoted language in your post and address your main point. You appear to be saying that because the political Left, broadly speaking, won’t actively support minority religions, that us minority religions should not actively support the political Left.

      That is nonsense, unless literally the only social issue you care about is religious freedom. And even then, it’s still mostly nonsense.

      Let’s take an extreme example. Let’s say I have a choice between living in one of two worlds, both of which treat my religion poorly. One of these worlds has a clean environment; aid programs for the poor and disadvantaged; active measures against racism; better healthcare; sensible foreign policy with an emphasis on diplomacy and foreign aid over war; regulations on greedy corporations; and little special privilege for Christianity. The other world has none of these things, and allows Christian “morality” to be legislated.

      I know which world I would live in. The political left does not throw me — or you — under the wheel of the bus; it improves our life and our community every single day, and if it’s weak on one of many issues I care about, well sir, that’s politics.

      And since I’m also a liar, I’ll address the bigoted language anyway. I want to believe that you really don’t bear ill will toward Jews, liberal Christians or peaceful Muslims. If that is the case, Lucius, learn how to choose your words a lot more carefully.

      (If you had said: “Judaism, for example, is a larger minority than Paganism, is more organized, and has been around longer; they have a stronger lobbying effort than Pagans do and are somewhat successful, but Pagans are still left out” — I don’t think anyone would have called that anti-Semitism.)

      • Well, a lack of commons sense is good, it means there is room for uncommen sense. :D

        Or as Thor put it, Heroes have an infinite amount of “stupidity” so they never believe anything is impossible. I think there are worse things to live by.

        But to my point, Yes, I don’t think we need to support the left, or the right. I think we need to support ourselves. So yeah, I suppose my biggest social issue is Religious Freedom. Because, like it or not, Religion is the basis of our society, in one form of another. It’s the basis of most societies. Can you honestly tell me that if Pagans had more religious freedom, many of these social issues we are fighting over wouldn’t be solved? Certainly, race, gender, etc, would hardly be much of an issue in a land where Paganism had more say. But since we are fighting the small issues, while trying to restrict the religious freedom of say the Christians, we are battling the whole of society, and trying to force it to do what we think is right. But trying to build freedom by restricting freedom doesn’t work, because once you lay the ground work for suppressing one group that isn’t acceptable, well…

        We’ve seen where that road leads. We’re trying to leave it behind.

        So yeah, I think Religious Freedom is the most important thing. If, as I believe, Religion (even atheism) is the foundation of a person, and then of society, it is more through granting more Freedom that we can create the most freedom.

        It maybe foolish, or non-sense, but that’s that. Now, does the Left as a whole throw us under the bus? No idea. They haven’t yet, but I think most of them ignore us. Of course, considering the fun they had with Witchgate back in the election before, and how that Heathen politician up in NYC is constantly having to fight off attacks from the Left about his religion, I certainly don’t get a sensation of respect from those who act as the voice of the Left. Certainly, the picture you paint of the “left” world is far more attractive than that of the “right’ world But, well, I see shadows in both worlds that mean they wouldn’t be so great to live in. I’ve lived on both sides of the isle, I know the darkness within both.

        Of course, your original question was will Obama leave you out, which is slightly different from the left as a whole.

        And perhaps I should have stuck with the man himself, rather than the political alignment.

        And it is cool to be a liar, because lies often reveal truths. Here is my truth, my words were not meant to be bigoted. But I am middle wise, and not gifted with a silver tongue. You said much better than I what I was trying to drive at, so I thank you for your silver words that captured what I was trying to do.

        Though I lack your optimism about me not being called a racist. :P

        • Can you honestly tell me that if Pagans had more religious freedom, many of these social issues we are fighting over wouldn’t be solved?

          Yes, I can honestly tell you that.

          Pagans are less than 1% of the population; they already have the right to vote on their issues; and they have a hard time organizing on any issue. The idea that Pagans are somehow going to do more for the environment or women’s rights than actually voting for positive change on those issues is such bad reasoning that it actually makes me think you don’t care about those issues, and use “religious freedom” as a way to excuse yourself.

          • Ah, but if we had more freedoms, if we were not better heard and better understood, would we not grow beyond a mere less than 1%?

            I think, in a world where people weren’t scared of religious intolerance, they would be more interested in our religions and those numbers would grow rapidly. Paganism is already one of the fastest growing religious groups in America, and that’s when we’re practically unheard of, and people constantly have to worry about being fired, losing their families, etc. Imagine if we were Known, and there was no Fear of reprisals…

  5. President Obama showed that he has a heart and compassion for people. The biggest problem is that people have to start accepting the fact that Obama is the right person for the job.

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