Faith and Politics in America

If politics in America means nasty, lurid analysis of a cancer victim's "evasion" of mentioning God in her public farewell, politics in America deserves a thousand Julian Assanges.


  1. I say this sincerely and with respect due him as a human being, “Fuck off, Donald Douglas. No one asked you. She was free to believe in whatever she chose to believe and your commentary is neither welcome nor appreciated.”

    1. True dat.

      The religious fanatics can have their sorry, warped belief systems, their bearded skyfriends, their abiding faith in the power of lies.

      What someone else does or does not say, living, dying, or otherwise, is none of their damned business. And it’s time for them to butt the bloody hell out.

      1. “What someone else does or does not say, living, dying, or otherwise, is none of their damned business. And it’s time for them to butt the bloody hell out.”

        Indeed, a good statement of what I consider one of the most important, yet one of the most recent rights: the right to be left alone.

  2. My patience with the American political scene is just about gone. Screaming heads, poll junkies and sowers of division – I’m over you.

  3. What a terrible way to treat someone with cancer.

    This is a horrific display of a serious lack of human empathy.

    1. you make “a thousand Julian Assanges” sound like a bad thing!

      I was thinking basically the same thing. I’m not sure many Americans deserve even one Assange and I’m frankly surprised that the rest of the world hasn’t given up on the American public entirely.

  4. I’m not surprised by the far right being, as usual, insensitive and unthoughtful. However, after the articles, I am mildly surprised that she did not mention God. Her comments in the middle of the article seem remarkably faithful. If saying so isn’t too presumptive of me, it seems remarkably Christian, especially compared to her detractors’ understanding of religion. It might just be the article’s slant, but eh.

    1. The irony is that she did claim to be a Christian, and did claim to believe in God. But because she didn’t give him a shout-out in her goodbye statement, she’s an apostate. The bottom line here is that Donald Douglas doesn’t care what she believes. He cares that he can count coup on her.

      Mr. Douglas has pretty openly and boldly repudiated the basic tenets of Christian faith, such as compassion, generosity, and not parading your faith in public. Whatever he is, he’s not a Christian, and has no business criticizing others for any lack of faith he perceives in them.

  5. I’m not a christian (I don’t believe in god at all) but sometimes I’d like for it to be all true, just so that I could see the reaction of all these “evangelicals” when their Jesus comes back and shoo them away.

    I can’t see no relation between this judgmental assholes and a man who consorted with prostitutes and tax collectors, who despised the hypocrites (“whited sepulchers”, anyone) above all and who used to tell its followers to pray in secret and not to exalt themselves in front of the others.

  6. this makes me feel physically ill. at the time of a persons passing someone–a human being–passes judgement on them because of what they didn’t say? because it’s ‘cool’ (that’s from the article, apparently being atheist is cool)? i may be an idealist tool much of the time, but seriously, can’t we all just get along?

  7. So she didn’t ask God to cure her cancer, so what. How many of you wear glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, wigs, toupees, dentures,creams for wrinkles, washes for that horrible feminine odor, antibiotics and makeup to cover blemishes? Shame on all of you for giving up on God! And shame on you for altering what the bible calls “perfect” the human body. Oh no, humans are not satisfied with even that and choose to cut off a piece of a mans anatomy; what a way to tell God to fuck off!

  8. Actually, I think that’s great. The WBC & Douglas are the perfect kind of religious extremist: loud and vile, so oblivious they even pour their shit over funerals, but still not criminal. What a great example of where religion leads us, without being vulnerable to the “these are just crazy terrorists!”-defense when somebody mentions the murderers of abortion doctors…

    1. The fact that you think that it’s great that people are harassing the bereaved at their loved ones’ funerals because it furthers your anti-religion agenda puts you squarely in the same camp as the Westboro Baptist Church.

      1. Personally, I have an anti-religion agenda because I believe that religion primarily hurts people and society. The Westboro Baptist Church is a great example of this. But I don’t go around cheerily giving myself points for such occasions.

        Honestly, I want to be proven wrong. I cheerily mark down points when religious people help others and make the world a better place. But lately the main purpose of religion seems to be to draw idiotic tribal boundaries that allow for ostracizing/murdering certain people, to trick the ignorant into following leaders who only want to screw them over, to decry science and reason because they get in the way of 1,000-year-old dogma (that again is mostly about screwing people over), and to molest little boys.

        Like I said, I want to be proven wrong on this, but it takes a whole lot of Church Bake Sales to equal eight years of George Bush style ‘religion.’

        1. What, really, are you railing against?
          I’m not trolling. I’m asking in earnest.

          People can throw out figures like, “26% of Americans identify as evangelical Christians,” but you must ask what that means. To say you are part of a group, that you share their beliefs, does not mean you necessarily live the message.

          You can find good people who find hope, meaning, and a call to action in any religion, any ethical society, any humanist organization. Likewise, you will find the self-centered, the self-assured, the obnoxious, and the evil. Somewhere in the middle are most people, who are — as stated in the observations of Bender Bending Rodriguez — jerks.

          All people cling to ideologies and all people identify with groups. Any group that is politicized — that is, a group that positions itself in order to obtain power and influence within a society — will be predominantly led by people who, on some level, are deluded and, on some other level, believe themselves to be outside the realm of rules meant for the plebes. (They’re meant to _make_ the rules, not follow them, doncha know.) They will use the basic rules of propaganda to demonize anyone with a point who is outside the spectrum of their group and to energize their base. This has _nothing_… not a _thing_… to do with belief, non-belief, or what have you. It has to do with maximizing power and influence, and bugger all the rest.

          The more people remain fragmented, the more segmented they remain, the easier it is to make us ineffectual slacktivists. So yeah, sit on your high horse and blame a straw man “religion” you’ve invented to make yourself feel superior, ever-complaining about your trampled rights and the awfulness of those “religious types.” Use your point system to judge up and down groups of _millions_ based on whether or not you see circumstantial evidence of “good deeds” in your day-to-day. Acting in that way is just as weak-minded and morally vapid as what these jokers in power, using religion as a whitewash for their turpitude, are doing.

          1. Well stated.

            IMHO, if any religious precept or rule of conduct is not found to be already written in the human heart, it’s not worth much.

        2. Aelfscine, before wikileaks, there was Beacon Press.

          Maybe you’ve heard of them? They published the Pentagon Papers when everyone else was too cowardly to do it? They’ve also published books and essays about women’s rights and gay rights that nobody else would touch, and made these books available all over the world.

          Beacon Press is the publishing arm of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

          You might also have heard of something called the Underground Railroad. It was run by people of faith, primarily Quakers and Unitarians, who felt their religion called them to help the oppressed – despite laws, customs and threats to their lives.

          How about Habitat for Humanity? The Heifer Project? These are both religious organizations (christian, in fact) although they do not proselytise or discriminate against the non-religious.

          Your overly-broad condemnation of religion is very much in the same vein as Donald Douglas’s condemnation of Elizabeth Edwards. It’s grandstanding and bigotry masquerading as a principled viewpoint.

          You can’t be bothered to pick out the religions that actually have offended you, so you’ll just throw mud at any and all religions, including those that have fought discrimination and injustice for longer than you’ve been alive. That’s not really a principled stance; it’s rhetorically firing on a crowd.

          Call out the bad stuff you see. That’s righteous. But don’t blame it on religion in general if it’s caused by some specific religion. And realize that when you say “oh but they are all bad” you sound exactly like this Douglas clown. Maybe you are not really like that, but it’s what you sound like. Someone who doesn’t care about hurtful rhetoric towards those who don’t deserve it, as long as it advances the hate agenda.

          OK, I have to go do something useful now. That’s part of my religion.

        3. OK, I guess I came across pretty harsh there, but Douglas and the commentator Antinous responded to got my dander up, and I guess I let some spill on you.

          My apologies; the feelings are sincere, the ire was fleeting… I need to learn to type more diplomatically.

          1. ito, i wasn’t responding to you, or him, but fuck that guy too (one UU to another, we are SO allowed to be righteously pissed and shame people for being willfully ignorant douches. Supposed to be, i think)

  9. Donald Douglas is getting soundly thumped in the comments. I was going to put my two cents in, but comments are now turned off for that post. May have to e-mail them to him directly now.

  10. It isn’t just Douglas. Check out the reference to Christianity Today, THE leading Evangelical Christian publication. They not only reference Douglas’s article, but others that take the “OMG she didn’t wave the ‘I <3 God' flag!!1one'" approach.

    The Evangelicals make up >26% of the U.S. population.

        1. I’m kind of disappointed that I went to the CIA world factbook hoping to find a solid reference for that, and their information has less granularity than someone else was able to find in Wikipedia.

  11. Who would have thought that neo-con filth would talk smack about a dying woman?
    They are generally the classiest of people.

  12. Lol, comments disabled on the original post. But no reason people can not comment on other posts in that blog, of course.

  13. The Founding Fathers exhibited a lot of the racism and sexism of their time, but whoa-daddy, they understood how important it was to separate private faith from public affairs.

    These days, we’re being steamrolled by people who dream of a return to the hierarchical society of our government’s founders without any interest in rising to their highest ideals.

    This reminds me that starting this week, I get to spend multiple holiday “celebrations” with various sides of the extended family. They all agree with this sort of hateful prejudice, despite having benefited from (in most cases) a good education. Sheep need to be sheep.

  14. I suppose Mr Douglas thinks HIS choice of god makes him somehow different to the most hateful fundamentalist muslim extremist.

    He’s wrong.

  15. “Being anti-religion is cool, so Edwards’ non-theological theology gets props from the neo-communists,”
    Yeah, neo-communists like that guy who said “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

    “Elizabeth Edwards couldn’t find it somewhere down deep to ask for His blessings as she prepares for the hereafter?”
    Given that she’d be meeting her/him soon enough she’s probably saying it to her directly, and having a good laugh.
    That same dirty neo-communist said “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

  16. Superstition has hammered our civilization for centuries, and it is only recently that mankind has been able to escape the whips chains fires and other implements of torture by which its tyranny was enforced over the bodies of men and women.

    Now if only we could release men and women from the grip superstition yet has upon their minds.

    1. You’re right Adam, sometimes I feel dirty being introduced to people like this. If he were a stranger on the street I would get the willies and walk around him. I get tired of the media forcing me to know someone. Donald Douglas in flashing lights gives me a Japanese Seizure.

    2. He seems to be a Professor of Politics. That’s really quite disgusting. He’s also “pro-victory.” Glad to see he took *that* principled stand.

  17. It makes just as much sense to think of this as an indictment of political-science professors as an indictment of conservatism.

    1. What are the proved theorems of political science anyway?
      or is it like math, axiomatic?

      And how does political science differ from political economy?

      I freely admit that I am unlearned in these subjects.

  18. Politics for me is basically sorting things out with other folks.

    Hey! I have formulated a political hypothesis:
    if someone insults people, the people insulted will resent it.

    And I have found it to hold up very well when subjected to experimental proof, too!

    A robust hypothesis!
    Am I now a political scientist too?

  19. I don’t think the behavior of the Westboro people has much to do with belief. I think it has to do with purely emotional pathology: people indulging their sadistic impulses, and then, in a wholly cowardly way, excusing it with religious rhetoric. It’s evil thrice over: 1) self-indulgence 2) of sadism 3) that makes excuses for itself.

    Indeed, I think an awful lot of what’s called “conservatism,” all too often, analyzes down into the negative version of the above: an unprincipled disinclination to make extra effort, that seeks excuses for itself. “I just don’t FEEL LIKE doing this or that extra thing (take an interest in the less fortunate, quell my violent satisfaction in the death penalty in favor of a more abstract and hence less viscerally satisfying relationship to punishment and justice, make the attempt to see experience from the woman’s point of view, etc.), but I also don’t want to make the extra effort of changing myself from this fundamentally lazy position, so I’ll do the slightly less laborious task of casting about for belief systems that will define my indulgence of my own inertia as a virtue.”

  20. “I do not have an intervening God. I don’t think I can pray to him — or her — to cure me of cancer.”

    There is nothing new in that statement, or odd, except to those Americans who believe that God is an American, a capitalist, belongs to either the Republicans or the Democrats, and like Santa Claus, listens to their every wish and responds according to how naughty or nice they are. To imagine a non-intervening God is not so difficult when you consider the opposite proposition: that every good that happens in your life is God rewarding or blessing you, while every bad that happens in your life is punishment for your sins or a “lesson” from Him.

    There is no lesson for Mrs. Edwards in her husband’s philandering, nor her son’s early death, and presumably she hasn’t committed a sin worthy of such punishment. So how to reconcile this other than to presume a non-intervening God? How is it nihilistic to consider that rather than intervening in our day to day lives, that God instead is the force that animates the qualities of resiliency and hope which Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards held so dear?

  21. The Westboro Baptist Church can probably thank Larry Flynt for not getting their asses sued to the ground.

    I’m proud my country has assholes. Not proud of the assholes themselves, but proud we are diverse enough to generate them (you can’t have diversity of thought without outliers on both ends) and tolerant enough not to beat them to a bloody pulp. As Larry said, if our system can protect scum like him, it can protect everyone.

    Me, I take a karmic view and tend to pity WBC for what it has coming to it.

  22. I was raised with religious influence (though I am what some call a spiritual coward… agnostic), and I have known more than one religious person who I held a great deal of respect for. The baseline for that respect was/is them never bringing their belief structure into our relationship. Ever.

    Same as sexual preference. I am not gay, and have no interest in being so. The history, culture and mechanics involved do not interest me in any way. But I do not judge someone if they roll that way, nor do I find my preference (or beliefs in the spiritual context) better than anyone else’s. Sure, I will laugh at a good off-color joke, but thats as far as I let myself fall.

    That rigid philosophy of tolerance and acceptance comes to a screeching halt when preferences or beliefs are used as an excuse/segway to be invasive, intolerant and/or hypocritical. Way too many religious folks do this, and were I to have my way… well, I’ll stop right there.

    As was said in the beginning of the thread… “Fuck off, Donald Douglass”

    1. Tolerance stops once physical violence commences.

      But it really ought to also stop once emotional violence commences.

      For me ,it does.

  23. This is pretty amazing, considering she was clearly held some flavor of Christian belief. There were three points that really stood out:

    That he considered a “non-intervening (i.e. non-cancer curing) God” to not be God at all. So all the Christians who have cancer are what? Divinely despised?

    That he saw her statement that, “… I don’t that believe we should live our lives that way for some promise of eternal life, but because that’s what’s right. We should do those things because that’s what’s right.” as worthy of attack. She’s clearly saying that we should do the right thing not because we expect to be rewarded, but because it’s the right thing to do. Oh no! What a terrible attitude! Obviously Christians should only do the right thing if they’ll be rewarded for it!

    His central grievance that, “Elizabeth Edwards couldn’t find it somewhere down deep to ask for His blessings as she prepares for the hereafter?”
    This was a message on Facebook. What, the only way to communicate with God is via Facebook? Who knew? What a shock it would have been to all the people over the last couple thousand years who were just praying, to find their messages weren’t being heard. Although perhaps what he *really* means is that he’s the yardstick by which Christian behavior is measured, and anyone who differs in their reactions from his is clearly not a “real” Christian.

    1. Bob, I wrote a college paper on altruism and I never made the connection until you restated her beliefs on doing things out of caring for one another and not out of a promise for everlasting life. Her statement was truly altruistic. There can be no better epitaph.

  24. So all this guy cared about was whether she said the word “god” or not? Not about whether she was a good person, not about anything she may have done in her life? If she was a Republican would he have nit-picked about the word “god” not appearing?

    It’s all so phony, like those American flag lapel pins every politician is practically required to wear (I noticed the NFL commentators on TV all wear them too, wtf?); it’s false. Whether someone says the word “god” or not in their final statement does not mean they don’t believe in a god (or the God, whoever that may be), just like a spy can wear an American flag lapel pin as easy as any patriot.

    Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Matthew 7:16

    1. “I noticed the NFL commentators on TV all wear them too, wtf?”

      Not lately they haven’t: they’ve all taken to wearing pins I haven’t been able to figure out yet: they kinda look like a tree in silhouette, but I just don’t have a clue.
      Can anybody help me out?

      Oh please God help me out!

        1. No. that’s not it…my description was not very good.
          More like a curve representing a horizon(?), with a whole tree in silhouette – or something – rising from that “horizon”, on the right end; on the left end, there’s something smaller that appears: but I can’t make out what that might be.

          They’ve worn these pins for a while now on the CBS, or is it on the Fox, pre-game show. I think it has to do with some charity or other, but I really have not a clue.

          I’ve been trying to figure out what it represents without turning on the sound. No success so far!

  25. Good for Ms Edwards. My respect for her increases on reading this. And of course the idiotic “righteous” spew their venom and who gives a shit? It sounds like she was being polite when describing her “belief” in a God who fails to intervene. That sounds suspiciously like the god I believe in, who does not exist. Oh wait…

  26. Someone needs to make a database of faces of those who protest at other people’s funerals. So that when their funeral comes, someday, they can get a taste of their own medicine. (Errrh wha?)

  27. So does anybody else hear Chris Cooper in Robert Hanssen mode when they read that editorial, or is it just me?

  28. and the christian right calls Islam extreme… religion is and should be a personal experience between a person and his or her creator/god/goddess/universe or even nothingness. too many evangelicals want to proselytize you to death. have your religion, keep it personal and private and “judge not, lest ye be judged”

  29. Man, eternal damnation if you don’t kiss the ass of the invisible sky fairie. And the right sky fairie at that.

    If Phelps and Douglas really do speak for Jesus, all I can say is, Christ. What an ASSHOLE!

  30. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

  31. She probably had opiates to mitigate her pain, but a smart woman like Elizabeth didn’t have use for the opium of the people.

  32. “extraordinarily radical”

    That’s the problem (from the ‘American Power’ blog-original link to content). What the rest of the Americas would see as the far, far right considers itself slightly right of center and what is center therefore shifted way over to the Radical Left in people’s appraisal. How the hell could a capitalist be far left, people? Christ. And I think the democrats are losing power and members because they keep sliding further and further to right-of-center, every time they are attacked by what I call extremists. Who’s left to stand up and tell ’em all off?

  33. Maybe she just wasn’t the kind of “christian” who pimps their deity for their own self-aggrandizement.

    Modern “christians” have simply edited Matthew 6:5-6 out of the bible entirely.

  34. LOL, “american power blog”, where did you dig up these guys? Did you google “progressive outrage magnet”?

  35. I just trolled this guy’s comments on his blog quite hard. He won’t approve the comments, but at least he’ll read them XD

  36. Picking on a very recently departed cancer victim is a vile act of cowardice. What a disgusting waste of skin, this Donald Douglas.

    May you rest in eternal peace, Mrs. Edwards.

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