3 Reasons I Disagree with Mike Huckabee

204x204-mike-huckabeeCirculating through the blogosphere and social media is Mike Huckabee’s response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. He did not blame the shooting on guns, or attribute it to a crazed individual, but instead, blamed it on a lack of “God” in our society. An honest explication of his position is he feels America has gradually shifted away from a religious nation and into a more secular one. And as the teachings of God become less prevalent in our culture, our culture has become more violent.

A lot on the right have taken a liking to this line of thinking. It skirts the issue of gun control and advances the Evangelical agenda – one where religion has a larger role in the public sphere. But quite honestly, it is illogical and misguided.

First, it assumes religion, and particularly western religion, is the sole arbiter of what’s right and wrong. It assumes only God knows what’s moral, and without him, we are left with an amoral society. In his monologue, Huckabee cites the 10 Commandments, specifically the 6th; “thou shall not kill” as evidence that if only we followed Christianity more closely we would not have nearly as many murders. Do we really believe we need religion or God to know killing is wrong? Are we as a society reliant on God to tell us where our moral compasses should point? Or is it more plausible that religion just reiterates what we already know to be right or wrong. The 10 Commandments are pretty much commonsense (except for the 2nd – not sure why an all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing being deals with problems of jealousy, but that’s a separate issue). Removing religion from public facets of society isn’t depriving or dismantling our moral beliefs. We can have morals without religion.

Second, his argument assumes the more widespread God is in our society the more peaceful it will become. Let’s not forget, people have been killing in the name of God for centuries. Religion doesn’t promote peace, if anything it has caused senseless and unnecessary death. The teachings of religion may not promote killing, but the practice of religion has without a doubt prompted murder. 9/11 was killing in the name of God. Those who blow up abortion clinics are killing in the name of God. Hate crimes against gay and lesbians are violence in the name of God. Religion has the unique ability to instill hatred in people without any rational backing for that hate.

Third, Huckabee’s position is so American centric, it becomes illogical upon actual analysis. 15 of the 25 most deadly mass shootings occurred in America. (Finland came in a not-so-close second with 2 entries to that list.) Yet, America is by no means the most secular nation. Many European countries are far more secular with much greater populations of atheists, but they do not have anywhere near as many violent acts as we do. They do have stricter gun control laws though. It’s worth noting, the most violent region in the United States is the South, also referred to as the ‘Bible Belt.’

Instead of blaming too little religion, or not enough God as the problem;  let’s look at solutions that actually make sense e.g. banning assault weapons or increasing funding for mental health diseases.  I’m not condemning religion, or those who practice religion, but what Mike Huckabee is purporting is disconnected with reality. It is comments like his that slow the process of actual and meaningful legislation concerning gun control. By making gun control a non-issue, he is dismissing the actual issue at hand in order to appease the gun-wielding portion of his base and advance his agenda of making us a more Christian nation.


Stop Denying Science You Don’t Like

When the weatherman predicts rain, do we assume he is just making it up for a good laugh? When a doctor prescribes us medicine, do we not take it due the dubious nature of doctors?  When we walk into a building, are we terrified the building is going to collapse because the engineers who designed it know nothing about structural integrity?  When an astrophysicist discovers a new planet, do we just chalk it up to a speck on the telescope? When a chemist discovers a new life-saving compound, do we brush it off as some scientist trying to make a name for him/herself?

The answer is no.

Whether it is something as simple as listening to weather reports or discovering galaxies far, far away we trust what the scientists tell us.  We trust science when it comes to everyday aspects of our lives like assuming medicines will work, or the internal combustion engine in our car will start.  We trust science on issues we don’t have a direct connection with like the discovery of new planets or the discovery of new species.  We trust science on issues both big and small.

What’s interesting though is some people, like Republicans, accept all science except when they don’t like it.  They accept all science except when it comes to things like climate change and evolution.

Republicans have a strong religious base that believes God created the world. So Republicans deny evolution. A politically convenient move.

Similarly, accepting climate change means accepting the fact that burning fossil fuels is bad for the environment. This means billion dollar subsidies for big oil becomes a little sketchy.  This means lessening regulations on oil companies can’t simply be justified in the name of ‘job creation.’  Denying climate change, denying that one area of science, is much more convenient for them considering many of their major campaign contributors are big oil.

As Upton Sinclair put it, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Basically, Republicans accept science, with one caveat; they deny it when it is politically inconvenient.

Skeptics argue climate change is not an exact science, and yes, science evolves and it can change, but these climate change deniers have offered zero valid counter-evidence.  They have come up with nothing debunking climate change; actually scientists have disproved all their claims.

They point to the fact that it was cooling in the 1970’s, well that was due to particulate pollution that blocked the sun’s rays.  The EPA has since banned those types of pollutants because they caused cancer. They point to sun-spots as the problem, which I debunk here. They point to inaccurate temperature measurements, which was found to be untrue by a Koch-Brother funded study (they were not happy about the results).

The list goes on, but in reality over 97 percent of scientists agree climate change is real and it’s man-made.

Creationists are even worse.  They’re just sticking to the story that God created the world with the only evidence being that the Bible says so.

The evolution deniers in the Republican party do not bother me as much as the climate change deniers. Climate change has real consequences. We are already seeing the devastating effects of a warming planet and it’s only going to get worse.  Solving climate change is going to be difficult in its own right; the last thing we need is to have one political party deny its existence.

So Republicans need to stop denying sciences they don’t like.  At some point real-world problems have to take precedent over appeasing campaign contributors.



Should We Really Strive for a Religious Nation?

Should we really strive for a religious nation?

Religion causes hate.  Without it we wouldn’t have the Israeli, Palestine conflict, nor would we have the Taliban nor would 9/11 have ever happened.  Throughout history religion has pitted people against one another. Many of America’s conflicts are driven by religion.

Should we really strive for a religious nation?

Without religion there would be no marriage debate.   The LGBT community has been denied basic human rights because religion has deemed it as yucky.   Gays have been cast as outsiders because religions’ holy books, sort-of, some-what vaguely denounce gay marriage. Simplistically put; Gays are less important because religion has decided to make it so.

Should we really strive for a religious nation?

Our religious nation has put women’s health issues secondary to Catholic Church issues. Birth Control, which has been available since the 1950s, is being reconsidered because of our religious nation.  The women’s rights movement is going in reverse because of religion.

Should we really strive for a religious nation?

I am not here to denounce religion.  I am here to denounce those who believe one particular religion is essential to our country and to our government.  Religion does good things for people but it also leads to people holding incredibly strong beliefs, which are fortified by their god.  This is problematic for a society that allows for various faiths.  Religion does have a place in society, but it has no business in government.

Our Constitution believes this as did our founders.

So, should we really strive for a religious nation?

The Absurd Debate Over Birth Control

The outrageousness of this birth control debate being deemed a war on Christianity is just getting annoying. It is so obvious that women should have access to birth control, in part, because it is just basic healthcare, and because women have had access to it for decades now. Why are Republicans determined to rehash this issue as not about women’s right but about religious freedom? How is giving women access to birth control an attack on religious freedom? No one is forcing Christians to use birth control.  As John Stewart put it, people “are confusing a war on religion with not getting everything you want.”

Republicans seem to think the practice of one religion, namely that of Christianity, is of higher importance than basic women’s rights. I ask, “why?” The distinction is between a real attack on women’s rights and a perceived attack on religious freedom.  The former actually takes away a women’s ability to take care of her body and the latter is religious groups trying to ban something they do not like.  So when conservatives argue that requiring businesses to provide women access to birth control is an attack on religion, remember:  the real attack is on women’s rights. It makes no sense for government to cater to one religion, (when there is no national religion) at the expense of women’s rights.

One Nation, Under some Creator, Who has no effect on our lives…

With Santorum now leading in multiple polls and his strong Christian beliefs I feel it is time to dispel one of the common myths that circulates within conservative circles: America was founded on Christian principles.  The fact is the country was not founded on Christian principles, but throughout the twentieth century Christianity has worked its way into our political system.  Some argue our currency says “In God We Trust” and our Pledge says “one nation under God” as proof that Christianity is a staple of our country.  The problem is  “under God” wasn’t added to the Pledge until 1954 and “In God We Trust” wasn’t added to currency until 1957.

Also, the Constitution , whom Republicans claim to strictly adhere to is void of any mention of God, Lord, Creator or Jesus. So the document on which our entire political and legal system is based lacks any reference to Christian principles.  It would seem if a country was truly born from Christian ideals then God would be mentioned somewhere in the country’s most important document.  Besides that, the Treaty of Tripoli, which was ratified by the Senate in 1797 says, “The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on Christian religion”. Here we have, early in America’s history, Congress explicitly stating Christianity is not a part of the U.S. government.

Many times conservatives refer to the Declaration of Independence, which says, “We are endowed by our Creator” as proof that America is a Christian nation.  The problem is the Declaration of Independence, although an important document in our history has no bearing on our government or our political system.

Finally many of the founders, like Jefferson, were not Christians but Deists. Deism believes there is a creator but he has no affect on people and does not intervene with human affairs.  This is in stark contrast to the Christian God.  So not only do many of our founding documents make no mention of Christianity, many of our founders did not even consider themselves Christians.