Message: we is not them

For well over 20 years, conservative voices have dominated radio. Their message has not been “conservatism is good”. Their message has been “liberalism is bad“; it’s anti-American and will destroy the Republic. I finally lost a brother to this near-seditious drumbeat and that hurt a lot. It still does. Then, FOX News joined the noise machine in 1996,  just in time to leap into the relentless drumbeat against Bill Clinton.

Now conservative media figures claim that the ‘mainstream media’ is liberally biased and that’s why they had to come into being. I guess they see themselves as out of the mainstream of American life, fighting the mainstream,  since most Americans turn to newspapers, magazines, local TV, network news, public radio and TV for their information. In other words, mainstream Americans turn to the mainstream media. And since those media are not liberal bashers (except maybe the Wall St Journal editorial page!),  conservatives say they therefore are liberal. This is nonsense of course. 

Nevertheless, when Keith Olbermann showed up on MSNBC a few years back, it was pretty exciting for this liberal. I hadn’t heard that kind of talk anywhere outside the pages of liberal magazines (and maybe on Bill Moyers – who speaks, however, in soft and even tones). So it was a thrill.

And he brought many of the bright emerging stars from the blogesphere into the conversation. That made his show fresh and dynamic. Worst Person in the World was fun. The very earliest ‘special comments’ were water in the desert. They were ‘yeah, yeah’ moments, especially when he said the things about Bush we all wanted to hear said publicly. For a change. And he made Rachel Maddow a liberal star.

He mocked Fox News relentlessly, especially Bill O’Reilly. And then, he became Fox News.  Now liberals like me aren’t listening anymore. Thehe Fox style is not our style. (I know he’s going after Dems too. It’s the consant outrage that’s wearisome.)

Today, the LA Times tells us (rather jubilantly) that Keith’s number are slipping. He’s losing his audience. I wonder if he knows why. I wonder if he’ll figure out that we is not them.

58 responses to “Message: we is not them

  1. I suppose one should make a distinction between news reporting and what O’Reilly, Hannity, Olbermann, and Maddow do. None of them report the news; they’re commentators, not reporters and shouldn’t be thought of as such.

    Fox actually has the best track record for balanced news reporting, but it’s overshadowed by their partisan commentators. Many of the other news outlets are in the same position.

    MSNBC – as opposed to its parent NBC – is the exception. They have very little news at all (by their own admission) and are primarily commentary.

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    • Stipulated. These are opinion shows – including Olbermann and Maddow. I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. What I’m lamenting is the deterioration of those ‘liberal’ opinion shows. They copied the format – the outrage, the paranoia, and they don’t even know it.

      MSNBC began as a news channel. Their first anchor was Brian Williams and they came on the air exactly the day that the first Iraq War began. Talk about a hell of a news day! I remember it in great detail. I think they stayed pretty much news – with Matthews as their noisemaker – until Olbermann.

      Now it’s your shouter or my shouter. I have stepped out of that thank you very much!

      CNN of course is entirely a news operation. As are the pathetic little half hours on networks – although they’re not doing much original reporting any more. Things like The News Hour are the real McCoy. And that’s pretty much my only TV source for news anymore.

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  2. Fox and MSNBC have a much different audience demographic. Fox viewers are less educated, older, and tend to watch a lot of TV. They are also more likely to be religious and ideological. Fox panders provide the news spun to fit their ideology, which is something they don’t get with mainstream media.

    There is also the issue of reality having a liberal bias. Fox provides a balance with a right-wing spin on the facts.

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  3. First off, in all fairness, I do not know if I could be considered a full-blown liberal, as I am only slightly liberal when it comes to “The Biblical Issues”. With that said, I totally know what you mean. I almost feel that any kind of Partisan Reporting violates our Freedom of Press, lest agendas be forced on the public. Fox News is a joke. Although one of my guilty pleasures is watching Beck work himself into a frenzy over absolutley nothing! 😉 Olbermann and Maddow are OK. I hate The Ed show (Schultz is angry and ugly.). I will tell you who I REALLY like, although I don’t always agree with him, Chris Matthews. He just seems very soft spoken, and smart. Anderson Cooper-CNN-is a good example of a Liberal media person who is fair. And lately, O’Reilly has been somewhat fair. Beck is never fair. If it came down to it, I hate to admit it, but Fox is actually less partisan. If for no other reason then Geraldo. Who is your favorite? Mine is Huckabee, although he is my political opposite.

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    • Texan, with all due respect . . . [I almost feel that any kind of Partisan Reporting violates our Freedom of Press, lest agendas be forced on the public.]

      Actually, that is the whole point of the First Amendment. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having agendas or bias. My problem is, as always, with hypocricy. It’s not being forced down anyone’s throat either.

      That being said though, 24 hour news and 24 hour talk radio are so much more influential than anything we ever imagined before and accessible to everyone. They don’t try to convince people of anything of substance, they just point fingers and tell people who to blame.

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      • They don’t try to convince people of anything of substance, they just point fingers and tell people who to blame.

        To be fair, that statement describes our current President exactly!

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  4. Ben Hoffman: You are an ass. Way to prove her point, genius. You come on here with your rant about Fox and simply miss the point. You are no better, with a blatantly partisan post like that. You did not even mention MSNBC being good, just Fox being bad. Therefore, you are no better. Also, you have no right to say what reality is. Maybe YOUR reality. And to say what kind of viewers Fox News targets is pure speculation(one could say MSNBC viewers are tea sipping fags.). There are two sides to every argument, jackass. Oh, and I am a liberal.

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  5. [Also, you have no right to say what reality is. ]

    That was a joke you moron. 🙂

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  6. How was I supposed to know that you were joking? Especially in light of all the other wild, baseless assertions that you made in your silly little post. 😉

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    • Ben is actually a very nice guy with a mordant sense of humor. And Texan, what he said about Fox’s demographic is quite true – it’s been measured a number of times by pretty reputable organizations.

      The station is owned by Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation, the largest media organization in the world – he’s on every continent, but mostly English speaking media. He specializes in sensationalizing the news and playing to base instincts. The fact that Fox does do its fair share of straight news reporting – and the do – doesn’t change the network’s basic mission which comes from the parent company – squash anyone who can get in the way of Rupert Murdoch’s endless quest for media control.

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      • I disagree with you Moe. Ben isn’t a ‘very nice guy’. He’s insulting. Very quick to call people names when he, as most liberals have no argument…ie…”you moron” and 99% of the time has absolutely no basis for his off-the-wall comments…ie…”Fox viewers are less educated, older, and tend to watch a lot of TV. They are also more likely to be religious and ideological”. Jesus, Joseph, and Mary Lou! What a profound statement, that has nothing to back it up. (nothing factual, just some one leaning far left that, as usual, thinks they’re smarter than everyone else)… Ben’s talking down to others does not elevate him. It makes him look stupid.

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        • Steve, you’re older, have no higher education, you’re religious, ideological, and you watch a lot of TV. Correct? So where’s the problem?

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          • Ben, I’m 60 years old, (I have young blood, just the container is old) I’m not religious beyond having read the Bible in its entirety more than once. I haven’t watched 2 hours of television … total combined, in about 5 years.
            I’m just a regular guy, with a cool dog.

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  7. Hello Moe,
    Change who hands out their paychecks and they change their voice.
    Gerardine Baugh

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  8. I may be wrong, (but will investigate) but I believe that Bilderburg (sp?) actually owns both FOX and MSNBC… I need to check on this, but if that is the case, who benefits from the constant back and forth?

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  9. I am sorry Moe. I should not be attacking your regulars. It was just that one of the things that really upset me, was that he had to mention “religion” as one of the negative traits of Fox viewers. It is sometimes lonely on the far left as a christian. 😦 I will agree that Fox News is ridiculus, but only in their ideology. I would never advocate personal attacks on a network or individual, for being on the political opposition. And that is something that liberals have become notorious for. That was, if I remember, the point of this thread. And then comes Ben spouting out false data. And even polls are partisan these days, come on Moe, you know that. Just look no further than Rasmussen on the right. I, however, refuse to make assumptions on the sociological make-up of the opposition to fit my ideological worldview. Because at the very least, there are exceptions. Lets keep an open mind, okay? After all, that is what it means to be a liberal. 😉

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    • Texan, open minds is us! And yes, that is a very core part of being a liberal. We keep embracing new ideas and welcome change. Conservatives by nature aren’t too fond of change and try to protect the status quo. This is not meant as any kind of judgment for good or bad, it just is what I’ve always understood to be the basic differences. And I guess we need both of us to keep from going off the rails entirely.

      [And then comes Ben spouting out false data. That isn’t false data – he’s basing it I assume on a serious series of polls done by serious organizations, like Pew and Gallup. They can combine polling data with TV audience measurements and demographics and there it is. I’d be glad to dig up a link for you if you’d like to see it for yourself.

      And in any case, TV news is losing everyone under 40 anyway, so within a short time, it’ll all be moot. I think.

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  10. Now conservative media figures claim that the ‘mainstream media’ is liberally biased

    So, there was a study done in 2004. The idea of this study was to measure bias in the media. The idea was to generate a “score” for each outlet; the lower the score, the more conservative—higher, more liberal. Further, the researchers calculated the average voter’s score as a reference. Turns out it is 50.06. The results of the various media outlets are below. They are listed in order of bias, that is, the least biased first and the most biased last. Again, the higher the score, the more Liberal the outlet.
    Rank News Outlet ADA Score

    1 Newshour with Jim Lehrer 55.8
    2 CNN NewsNight with Aaron Brown 56.0
    3 ABC Good Morning America 56.1
    4 Drudge Report 60.4
    5 Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume 39.7
    6 ABC World News Tonight 61.0
    7 NBC Nightly News 61.6
    8 USA Today 63.4
    9 NBC Today Show 64.0
    10 Washington Times 35.4
    11 Time Magazine 65.4
    12 U.S. News and World Report 65.8
    13 NPR Morning Edition 66.3
    14 Newsweek 66.3
    15 CBS Early Show 66.6
    16 Washington Post 66.6
    17 LA Times 70.0
    18 CBS Evening News 73.7
    19 New York Times 73.7
    20 Wall Street Journal 85.1

    Of the twenty outlets listed, only 2 are more conservative then the average voter. The other 18 are more liberal. FoxNews is the 5th most biased news outlet. Even the conservative Washington Times is only the 10th most biased outlet, more Fair and Balanced than NPR.
    Perhaps Fox isn’t biased. Maybe you are.

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    • FoxNews is the 5th most biased news outlet

      Sorry. Fox is the 5th LEAST biased outlet. Newshour is the most balanced; though even it leans left.

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    • Pew Research also did a study on the bias during the 2008 presidential elections and found Fox News to be the least biased in their coverage and MSNBC the most biased.

      BEST (Fox News)
      Positive Obama Stories 25%
      Positive McCain Stories 22%
      Negative Obama Stories 40%
      Negative McCain Stories 40%

      WORST (MSNBC)
      Positive Obama Stories 73%
      Positive McCain Stories 10%
      Negative Obama Stories 14%
      Negative McCain Stories 43%

      Aggregate Coverage ( 2,412 stories from 48 outlets)
      Positive Obama Stories 36%
      Positive McCain Stories 14%
      Negative Obama Stories 29%
      Negative McCain Stories 57%

      It does, however, go along with some of Moe’s assertions as to the media. Fox was the least biased, but the most consistently negative in their coverage of both candidates!

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      • [Pew Research also did a study on the bias during the 2008 presidential elections and found Fox News to be the least biased in their coverage and MSNBC the most biased.]

        I believe that was a poll of how people view different media outlets. That doesn’t mean one is factually more or less biased than another.

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        • As usual your beliefs have nothing to do with reality.

          Pew Research’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, compared the actual tone and substance of 2412 stories from 48 different outlets and measured them upon positive v. negative content, not how people felt about them.

          In other words, it DOES mean that one is factually more or less biased than another, despite your feeble attempt at Leftist apologetic.

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      • McCain is a case all by himself. Do you know he has been the single most frequent guest on the Sunday shows? He’s was on Meet the Press eight times in 2009 alone. The press loves them some McCain because Tim Russert loved him and they’re nothing if not derivative.

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    • Pino, I’m just getting back to this thread after a day away and haven’t read all the way down, but:

      First, how can you compare an average voter (singular person) to a media outlet (multiple persons inside an organization)? Doesn’t sound right to me.

      Second, define bias? Does that mean what they report or don’t? What they say about what they report? Who the newsreaders or commenters are in their personal lives?

      Third, as far as the network news, it makes no sense to compare NBC Nightly News (half an hour a day) with Fox, 24 hours a day. Or compare websites with TV. It just doesn’t compute. Or newspapers with radio. These are not valid comparisons. And therefore have no real meaning.

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  11. Moe, I’m staying away from the squabbling on this one, because, frankly, it’s pathetically predictably.

    My dad has been watching Olbermann for years (and for some reason, he calls him “Keithy”), but, like you, I’ve grown tired of the Olbermann-style rhetoric. I watch him when something big happens, because sometimes it’s just fun to hear him go after the right-wingers, but for actual, intelligent political commentary, I prefer Rachel Maddow. Not only does she explain each issue in an intelligent and pretty darned fair way, she brings on experts and political adversaries to contribute their viewpoints. She welcomes dissent, so instead of watching Olbermann trash the right with his friends (he has the same folks on every night), you’re watching an actual exchange of ideas and viewpoints. And unlike the freaks over on Fox, the doesn’t simply talk over people who disagree with her (Hannity especially does this). So ends my shameless Maddow plug. 🙂

    This “us vs. them” style of politics is so tiring and worn-out. It doesn’t accomplish anything and just encourages hostility. The habit of calling people who disagree with you “stupid” or even “dangerous” is just so….stupid and dangerous. LOL!

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  12. Typical Texan said: […] was that he had to mention “religion” as one of the negative traits of Fox viewers.

    Subscribing to what is essentially myth will not earn you many points intellectually speaking.

    Saying ‘I believe in pink unicorns’ or ‘I believe in jesus’ has about the same amount of truth value.

    To hold delusional beliefs, is to invite criticism.

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  13. This “us vs. them” style of politics is so tiring and worn-out. It doesn’t accomplish anything and just encourages hostility.

    Agreed. On the other hand arguing constructively takes time, dedication and effort.

    It is much easier to just call someone an asshat and move on.

    It is though much more satisfying to argue charitably with an opponent, as both sides might gain something from the exchange.

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    • [This “us vs. them” style of politics is so tiring and worn-out. It doesn’t accomplish anything and just encourages hostility.]

      Couldn’t agree more. It makes us tribal. Yelling leads to hitting leads to . . .

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  14. The Abourist : Anyone can hassle someone who holds to something which they don’t hold to, by throwing out what they believe to be equally untrue in comparison. For example: “I believe that The Holocaust actually happened, and I believe in Santa Claus, has the same truth values…” Anyone can throw out wild comparisons to try and make people look foolish. If truth was limited only to what individuals believed, then there would be chaos. I know that God exists, because no matter how far back you go, eventually something would have to come from nothing. Unless Something Self-Sustaining, Standing outside of Time IS. And from that “Something” we have Truth, and Order. Not Chaos. Absolute Truth Is. Order Is. Law Is. God Is. You, on the other hand, have not always existed. And someday you will be no more. What is from you can not be absolute. So that which is absolute can only come from HE who Is Absolute. And because Truth is Absolute, and The Creator MUST BE be Absolute, therefore, God Is True. You are not. HA!

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  15. Typical Texan said: I believe that The Holocaust actually happened, and I believe in Santa Claus, has the same truth values…

    Comparison fail. One can be proven, as it is part of the historical record; the other is a myth used to coerce children(see religions in general).

    Typical Texan also said: Anyone can throw out wild comparisons to try and make people look foolish.

    Or they can make themselves look foolish.

    My point in comparing jebus to a pink unicorns is that rationally speaking, the evidence that either exists is the same.

    I know that God exists,

    Fantastic, send him an email and tell him to get an interview on CNN, the righteous flock would then would be vindicated. Show those atheists and all their silly demands for evidence exactly how wrong they are…

    eventually something would have to come from nothing.

    So who made God? Arguing in logical fallacies does not add weight to your case.

    What is from you can not be absolute.
    2 + 2 = 4. It always shall, and always will. Of course, if you take your statement at face value, then perhaps you can provide an example of when 2 +2 will not equal 4? Perhaps when ‘god’ says so?

    And from that “Something” we have Truth, and Order. Not Chaos. Absolute Truth Is. Order Is. Law Is. God Is. So that which is absolute can only come from HE who Is Absolute. And because Truth is Absolute, and The Creator MUST BE be Absolute, therefore, God Is True

    Did you get the xtian guide on how to make confusingly bogus circular arguments?

    Lets stop this gish gallop of faulty reasoning with the initial premise: Something cannot come from nothing.

    Actually, if we look at quantum physics, we can actually get something from nothing. It is highly unlikely, but statistically, it can happen.

    So with that assumption proven wrong, the rest is, at best, mere hand waving.

    Again, the point of my post was to say that one should not be surprised when criticized for holding delusional beliefs.

    Furthermore, as the previous post said, the case for believing in Pink Unicorns (as cute and rambunctious as they are) is as strong as the case for believing in jebus. Holding either belief should be a source of criticism, as both statements are quite irrational.

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  16. 2+2=4 That is true. Math is an absolute truth. It is Law, not Chaos. You may have spoken it, but you did not CREATE it. Just because you, or anybody, says something, does not mean it has to be true. What God Says Is Absolutely True, all of the time. It is by this Authority, His Word, that He spoke all that we know into existence. All of our Laws, are based on His Law, The Ten Commandments. Without an Absolute Standard, Lawlessness and Chaos rule, as everyone has an opinion. If Man could sustain order independently, then Man would be Self-Sustaining; as that which is absolute, can only come by He Who Is Absolute. God did not have to be created, because He is THE CREATOR, not The Creation. Time was created by Him, therefore, Time is not His Master. He stands outside of Time. That which we know as Law does not apply to Him, as He created Law. “I AM THAT I AM” – He always existed. And you, who cannot add or take away one inch to your height, have the audacity to speak in place of God. That is funny. 😉

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    • Why bother arguing with one of the Godless? They’re not salvageable and you’re just wasting your time and setting yourself up to be frustrated.

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      • Why bother arguing with one of the Godless?

        I think it’s noble to argue with the Godless. What I don’t find useful is denigrating them for their non-belief. Happily, for our honor, it is normally not us that is denigrating, it is the other side.

        The frustration is not so much the non-belief as it is the mockery that accompanies it.

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        • [All of our Laws, are based on His Law, The Ten Commandments. ]

          Speaking as a fully secular being, I must ask what did humanity use for laws before Moses went up the mountain?

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  17. […]It is by this Authority, His Word, that He spoke all that we know into existence. All of our Laws, are based on His Law, The Ten Commandments. Without an Absolute Standard, Lawlessness and Chaos rule, as everyone has an opinion.[…]

    So rather than argue any particular point you decide to talk in magical circles again. Fantastic.

    de⋅lu⋅sion–noun
    1. an act or instance of deluding.
    2. the state of being deluded.
    3. a false belief or opinion: delusions of grandeur.
    4. Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact: a paranoid delusion.

    Point four sums up where we leave this particular conversation. 😉

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  18. Jonolan:Why bother arguing with one of the Godless? They’re not salvageable and you’re just wasting your time and setting yourself up to be frustrated.

    I agree, trying to counter logical rational thought with magic stories and mythical books must be very frustrating indeed.

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  19. Texan:[All of our Laws, are based on His Law, The Ten Commandments. ]

    Moe said: Speaking as a fully secular being, I must ask what did humanity use for laws before Moses went up the mountain?

    As an aside, I also missed the thou shall not rape commandment somewhere in in there as well. Or the I shall not enslave other sentient beings commandment either….huh… one would think the omnipotent,omni-benevolent, omnipresent being would have something to say against rape and slavery.

    I guess raping and enslaving for jebus is a okay.

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    • At the The Ten Commandments were enshrined into Jewish law, slavery was perfectly legal and normal. Men took multiple wives. don’t know about rape, but I think it was a crime then as now.

      They didnt write those things into the law because they didn’t think there was anything wrong with them.

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  20. Before Moses? “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”Romans 1:20, and this describes atheists…”They exchanged the truth of God for a lie(atheism), and served the creation(science) rather than the Creator-who is blessed forever.” Romans 1:25, and “The message of the cross is foolish to those who perish, but to us who are saved it is the power of God.” and “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-19, and social liberals… “Although they know God’s Law, they not only continue to do such things, BUT ALSO APPROVE OF THOSE WHO PRACTICE THEM.” Romans 1:32… Anyway… I know I am a liberal, as I have argued against some on this blog. But only when it comes to the poor. And I try to keep an open mind, as I believe in choice. But when it comes to The Word of God, I make a stand. Peace.

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    • Typical Texan said: And I try to keep an open mind, as I believe in choice. But when it comes to The Word of God, I make a stand.

      Which is fine, and I am happy you have shared your opinion on this thread and others. The idea of separate dual magisteria is not new, and it is a viable strategy for behaving rationally in some areas and not in others.

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    • Texan – I don’t mock your beliefs, I was raised Catholic and have a brother who was once a priest. (Now a grandfather!)

      I once believed but I don’t anymore. Belief requires faith; it is core.

      For me, ‘god’s will’ was never enough to cover the victims of the horrors we do to each other.

      With you, I am profoundly committed to social justice – but not because I believe in god, just because my human self knows its the right thing.

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  21. Yep, I am a liberal, as I am also committed to social justice. Many on the Christian Right demonize me, as they are far too narrow-minded to know that The Person they worship, Jesus, was also a liberal. I could list several sources to show it. And the disciples were commies! Also, many on the left demonize me also. Some may say that I cannot be a liberal, as I have my values. But here is the difference… I believe in freedom of choice. I will not be gay, but I will not judge them. And I would fight for their freedom to live as they choose. If I were a woman, I would not have an abortion, as I do believe it is wrong. But it is THEIR BODY, not mine, and I will not judge them, and I will fight for their right to choose. You see, too many christians today fail to realize that how they choose to live, is just that, a choice. Even God, in the Bible, gave Adam and Eve a choice, He did not block the way to the tree, the way many christians want to block the door to the local women’s center. See the difference?

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  22. Pingback: It. is. not. the. same. « Whatever Works

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