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Unread December 26th, 2004, 11:02 PM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 174
Cool The middle is for roadkill ... and me.

Mike, thanks for your response list. It's good to hear honest complaints, they give me a better sense of how people think.

Originally Posted by Mike Phillips
Hello Todd,
You grasp my viewpoint very well I do support freewill, and the right to believe in one's particular faith and pursue it in peace.

But who have to admit, the minority I happen to belong. Has received the short-end of the stick for quite some time and to be frank, We sort of expect the line to be drawn by the "secular world" but it really doesn't bother us.
It seems to me that evangelicals continue to be negatively stereotyped by the political activists on the left, and that this is part of what stimulates supposed "backlash" that Republican politicians and corporate political action committees have been exploiting to garner populist support.

Everytime some extremist brings a suit somewhere against something Christian in the public sphere, it is is exploited all over the media for its dramatic effect as if "liberals" are all ACLU members or atheists or multiculturalists. Most people on the left are not trying to ban the Bible, and don't care about displays of the Ten Commandments. Most secularists have no interest in such things one way or the other, until the issue becomes polarized and we have to choose sides because someone is forcing a "culture war" unneccessarily on us. Most people in Tennessee didn't care one way or the other about evolution until the drama of the Scopes Trial made it an issue.

Unless they continue to teach 1st graders homosexual lifestyles are okay and how to be one, it does bother us.
My feeling is that if there is any teaching to be done about people living together and the sanctity of marriage that we should be teaching people about love and commitment first and then worry about who they are choosing secondarily. My experience is that regardless of whether the couple is heterosexual or homosexual, our biggest problem with the sanctity of marriage is people giving up their commitment, not people choosing someone of the wrong "type." I understand that such things go against the grain of the implicit natural order for many people, but the problems I've seen with heterosexual marriages are so much worse than those with homosexual ones
that I can't believe it is really as big a priority for all of us as political activists have made it seem. I haven't been in public school for years, but when I was there, they didn't teach us to be homosexuals. My kids go to parochial school, so I don't have a recent personal reference.

Rewriting our country's history to appease 10% of the population, it does bother us.
Not sure what exactly you're referring to here. I'm not a historian, but I suspect that there is indeed a slant to historical interpretations in most places because of the natural tendency for communities of scholars to share a common tradition of interpretation and the difficultly corroborating historical facts the way we do with physical ones. Have you ever read British conservative historical Paul Johnson's history of the United States? I think he fills in some of the gaps in places by showing among other things the role that religious traditions played in history, as well as the role of secularism. I think conservative scholarship may have an important role in understanding history because it reveals things that an alternative bias may blind us to.

Teaching witchcraft (a religion) in schools and not allowing the Bible to be taught, bothers us.
We probably differ fundamentally over what makes sense to be taught because we come from very different traditions. The Western liberal individualist tradition that is the basis of much modern scholarship is "pagan" in its roots, (as is much of Christianity!). It could well be part of your "witchcraft." But philosophy is not religion and is not taught as such. I don't see a justification to stop teaching everything that is opposed by fundamentalists who are particularly selective about what their religion is comprised of. They have a legitimate claim to their own tradition of interpretation, but they don't represent either the majority of scholars and historians nor the majority of the population. Their viewpoint should be taught along with the others in a pluralistic curriculum regarding religious traditions.

This also cuts right to the reason for secularism. The history of public schools is a history of division between different Churches in the way they want to teach the Bible (and which Bible they want taught). The compromise here was to teach religion in a comparative way, it's sources treated as literature rather than Scripture. If they refused to teach the Bible as literature, I would strongly agree with you that its omission would be unfair and unrepresentative. However I have to agree with the principle that we shouldn't teach Scripture as such in public education, but that this should be done by parents and local communities.

Not allowing Creation equal footing with a religious atheistic format of evolution, bothers us.
These are different traditions and can reasonably be taught as such. Most people wouldn't deny this. The tension is not over "equal footing" it is over whether science classes are a place for equality of different traditions as well as different theories. Science classes are for most of us a place for teaching the scientific tradition and its theories. We don't expect theology classes to teach the methods of scientific inquiry or to teach materialist philosophy except as a rather bleak alternative, and we don't expect science classes to teach the metaphysics of Creation or the theological methods of inquiry.

The tension is over the widespread perception (or fear) that science is a "better authority" and therefore that teaching theories that seem to presume naturalistic metaphysics will corrupt the minds of people against Creation and its perceived natural and moral order. I don't know how to resolve that tension, since naturalized ethics are far from compelling to most people.

Teaching islam in public schools (California) a religion that is proven throughout history to be hostile (even "peaceful" Islam) towards Christian and Jewish Faiths, bother us.
I'm skeptical that California public schools are practicing Islam, but if they are, I'm with you against it.

Removing the Ten Commandments (our Judaic/Christian) heritage and foundation of our laws from the public arena is scary, and it does bother us.
I would agree with you that removing symbols of common heritage that have been there for generations is pointless and disruptive.

Not saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school, bothers us.
I grew up during the Cold War, we said the pledge every day and every Tuesday we huddled in the hallways pretending there was a nuclear attack by the godless commies. It was an important source of unity and comfort. I feel the same way about this as the other symbols, I think removing them to suit militant atheists is pointlessly disruptive and defeats the purpose of secularism, which is to help foster peaceful national unity in our diversity.

Liberals that want to sell our sovereign right as a country to protect ourselves, to the united nations, bothers us.
I can understand that, although we disagree fundamentally here as well. Until recently, most Americans felt that we were part of an alliance with Europe. It isn't just liberals, many conservatives agree that the idea that we should act unilaterally on the basis of our "moral leadership" is actually fairly radical. It requires a rather extreme religious viewpoint about the U.S., that not only are we are chosen by God to lead the world but that working together with our allies is akin to "asking permission." It seems to many liberals and conservatives alike that we are pointlessly alienating our own allies out of an excessive sense of moral superiority to them.

and these same liberals that want gun control for every law-abiding citizen accept criminals.
That's silly, they would prefer to disarm the criminals first, then the rednecks. They may be unrealistic about whether it can actually be done, however, and wrong about whether it would improve things all over.

Murdering the unborn, breaks our hearts.
and our tax money paying for it, bothers us.
It saddens me as well.

Or we can blindly appease everyone and be politically correct while some people on the far-left want to blot out all morals & ethics, freedoms & rights from society, including yours. I am talking about the ones that want to destroy our Constitution & Bill of Rights.
When I was in school, the establishment clause and the right to due process were part of the Bill of Rights. It is the Republican politicians and judges that have been working to repeal them, not the left. The ACLU is, if anything, an overzealous defender of our rights.

And this sort of balancing act of staying in the middle will eventually cause you to either make a stand or be steamrolled.
I'm usually steamrolled, no doubt about it. I still try to get up again and stay true to my beliefs. When a fight starts, you can pick a side or you can recognize that the fight itself is stupid and try to stop it. You can recognize what each side gets right and what each side gets wrong. That's something I am fairly good at and temperamentally well suited for. I have been a very competent facilitator and negotiator in situations where most people can't even figure out what the sides are arguing about and can only pick a side.

I value intelligent reflection, which means recognizing what truth and legitimacy is in different viewpoints, and where each of them gets things wrong. It means being hard on important principles and important shared values, but flexible about people and their different ways of reasoning.

The middle is the only honest place for someone like me to be, even though people often see it incorrectly as weakness.


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