I would like to do a piece on my blog, Releasing Religion, regarding mixing God & government.  And I'd like to know what opinions people have here about doing such a thing.  Some points to mention are:

Glenn Beck is well known for arguing that we have misunderstood that founding fathers & their desire to keep church & state separate.  Holding his rally on 8/28, he gathered 150.000 people to hear him talk about bringing out country "back to God".  What do you think it would do to our country to "get back to God"? 

The Tea Party has been called racist Chrisotcrats. In their recent convention, most conference sessions began with prayers.  What do you think of the Tea Party?  Do you know very little about them?  Do you know a lot?  Please share your thoughts here.

The piece will be posted on www.releasingreligion.blogspot.com

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Okay, I just want to say this... 103 comments on this. ONE HUNDRED AND THREE. This one will make 104. I am just so amazed at how many people not only have a viewpoint on this subject, but are willing to take the time and share it. I've read through every comment... every opinion. So many of you are coming from such different backgrounds, but you are all bringing up such valid points. What started as an attempt to get a few different viewpoints is vastly turning into a novel.

And I'm not complaining. It's a key example of how passionate people can be in their knowledge, and it's refreshing to see that folks are willing to stand up for what they believe in. And thoroughly explain why. So I joined Atheist Nexus only recently, but I am stunned and impressed by the knowledge shared on this site, especially on this particular message thread. It gives me MUCH to think about, and I promise that once I have collected all my thoughts and yours, I will post the finished article up here and would love to hear your comments.

I suppose I should not be surprised that a venue such as Atheist Nexus breeds such fearlessness in expressing informed opinions. It's another example of how educated Atheists really are.

By no means does this put a stop to the conversation. Indeed, there is so much more to share on the topic. I encourage everyone to continue commenting. It's thought-provoking and like some of you said, it's how we raise awareness... a little bit at a time.

Until my Tea Party article is posted, I'll leave you with my most recent post (which I'm pretty proud of, actually). The title sort of speaks for itself. And there is a little taste of the Tea Party in it as well. Come read for yourself. It's called "Glenn Schmuck".
It is a great discussion Maia. You did a nice job of keeping it going with the probing questions - that is an important and effective technique to really get to the bottom of an issue. Well done.

Re AN, I share your appreciation. The level of intellect, the diversity of thought and the willingness to challenge the views expressed takes this board to a level that I certainly have not seen elsewhere.

again, well done (well, except for minor transgression of the bad link on your "Glenn Schmuck" post - you have an extra http//)
Ha! Well, it seems I'm having trouble adding the link. Anyone can just go to www.releasingreligion.blogspot.com and check out the Glenn Schmuck post.
Interesting TPM piece on the Tea Parties distorted views of existing laws vs the Constitution
I am also hearing that the Tea Party is counterproductive to the Republican party as it's taking votes away from them. Are they an extension of the Republicans or are they a more extreme version of them?
Interesting. Park, what would you say is the stigma of the Republican Party and how is the Tea Party differentiating themselves? Is it just that they're new and shiny?
I'm not at all a Tea Partier. But I like to hear different angles on many subjects, which is probably why you see me asking questions about the TP that might seem like I'm part of that group. No, it's simply that if I'm going to grasp a subject and especially write an article about it, I want to make sure I understand all points of view. The questions I'm asking are points that conservative republican or pro-Tea Party friends have brought up to me, which I in turn bring up in this forum.

I have always had a deep rooted need to understand what motivates people. So in understanding the Tea Party, it's important for me to understand their views from their perspective, and why they may or may not work. Perhaps they have some points to make. Or perhaps they are simply ludicrous. I just don't want to jump to the latter conclusion without more research.
Agreed, Park. It is important to take the valid points of each party and see how we can make them work. I do think too many people get tied up in labels.

What initially intrigued me about the Tea Party was it's religious ties and the fact that so many people seemed to flock to it, in part, because of that. And I wondered, "Why is that? Why is this such a huge political factor for so many people?" The problem is that I can't seem to find a clear viewpoint on the Tea Party from articles I'm reading. One source says one thing, another source says something entirely different.

I think I am getting a clearer view on the Tea Party-as clear as one can have, I suppose. I don't think they're totally clear on all their issues. As to the God element, that is something I plan on following closely, as I am obviously a big advocate for separation of church and state.
Eh. At this point, the GOP/Teabaggers/Libertarians are one big blob with two and only two central (and mutually antagonistic) tenets: God and personal liberty. There is the added wrinkle that the super-rich have managed to convince the libertarian poor that extreme wealth is a well-deserved natural consequence of individual liberty, nevermind the fact that the super-rich got that way by convincing the government that corporations are persons and then getting corporate handouts from government, customers, shareholders, employees, and the communities they operate in, under the dubious theory that corporate subsidies create jobs.

In short, the right in the US has collapsed into a libertarian wing and religious wing, variously represented by the three parties. When the GOP was a bigger tent party, the factions could co-exist more peacefully within it. Now they are splintering, with a last-gasp attempt to seize power as a multi-party coalition. But of course, plutocrats and libertarians really don't have any use for religion, and religion can't long abide the elevation of wealth or individuality above church hierarchy. The purging and infighting has been going on since at least 1994, and is escalating with the Teabaggers accusing the GOP establishment of being Wall Street stooges and the GOP establishment trying to co-opt the Teabaggers at the same time it regards them as nuts. As usual, the actual Libertarian Party is just sitting off to the side, pissed off that the schism created the Tea Party instead of just swelling its own ranks.

The two-party system in the US is widely derided as undemocratic and as the root of the divisiveness in our politics. I'm not convinced of that. The reason we have a two-party system is because almost all voting systems in the US are winner-takes-all, unlike the parliamentary systems used in other democracies. This inexorably leads to the brutal third-party-as-spoiler effect--unless a third party manages to displace one of the majors overnight, all it can do is throw the election to the top two party that it is most opposed to. This is always self-defeating.

In effect, all this means is that coalitions must be formed within one of the two major parties, rather than amongst two or more smaller parties, as happens in other countries. If you want a seat at the table, you just have to join the Democrats or the Republicans and work to influence that party from within. You can't pull a Nader or Perot and hope to succeed.

This strategy of co-option worked for the Religious Right in the 80s and 90s. Too well, it seems, given the incredible shrinking tent that is the GOP. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, is currently expanding its tent; it has accepted the Blue Dogs and is now walking the tightrope of trying to keep them and the progressive wing happy at the same time. I think this actually has a shot at working, since Blue Dogs and progressives both believe that government is worthwhile, as opposed to the insanity of the Republibaggertarians who are all convinced that government itself is evil, corrupt, and hopeless.
i have a very negative view of the Tea Party. They claim to be so concerned about government debt, which is a legitimate concern, but they only seem to have developed this concern after Obama was elected. They seem to exempt aLL "defense" spending from their concerns over big government spending. I think they want to destroy important social programs like social security but they have no objection to any form of militarism. Their use of the word "socialism " is usually inaccurate and they demonize the word. The Tea Party is being funded bty reactionary billionaires who object to paying taxes.

If the Tea Party gains political power, I dont foresee anything good happening. I doubt if they will reduce big government since the military budget is off limits but they may achieve a secondary goal of electing an all-white president.
I really don't think race has anything to do with all the Tea Party activity. If Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry or any other white male Democrat was in the office instead of Obama, we would be in a similiar state of affairs. Sure, there wouldn't be any claims about the president being from Kenya, but the Kenya claim would just be replaced with another outragiously false claim (Kerry's Swiftboat attacks come to mind).



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