Link to KansasPrairie.net

1/31/2009

IS KANSAS REALLY PURPLE?

Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, print news — Peg Britton @ 4:53 pm

Gallup released poll results today that may surprise you.  It is the first in a four-part “State of the States” to be released this week on gallup.com. The series examines state-by-state differences in party affiliation, religiosity, consumer confidence, and employer hiring and letting go, based on Gallup Poll Daily tracking data collected throughout 2008.  It should be very interesting to follow.

An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from 2008 finds Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Hawaii to be the most Democratic states in the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are the most Republican states.

These results should be extremely encouraging to Kansas Democrats. Just two percent more of Kansas adults identify themselves as Republicans than as Democrats.

Democrats 41.4%
Republicans 43.4%

This number indicates that Democrats have a huge potential for voter registration and party growth.  If ever there were a year to do something, this is it.  Most county Democratic parties are just sitting on their thumbs doing nothing. Unfortunately, Ellsworth County is one of them.

And, there must be a large number of people who call themselves Republicans, and are registered as Republicans, but who think and vote like Democrats.  Maybe more than half of the the unaffiliated voters in Kansas are really closet Democrats.  Something’s up with these numbers.

This should be good news for Democrats who are running for office as people of this state identify with Democrats almost the same and as often as they do with Republicans.

Democrats can win with smart, well-financed campaigns and honest, good ideas.   Think how long, if ever, Kansans have elected a right-wing conservative Republican for Governor. Off hand,  I can’t think of one in my life time.  They have all been moderate Republicans or moderate Democrats who were not attached to the uber conservative element.

Which reminds me:  there isn’t a more right-wing, conservative evangelical Republican than Sam Brownback who is about to announce his candidacy for Governor.  He showed his true colors and extreme conservatism during his campaign for President where he hardly made a ripple and withdrew early.   He will have to do his chameleon act again (he did it when he was first going to run for Governor then switched to run for the Senate) and remake himself into a moderate to ever have a chance at winning the Governorship.  My take, and hope, is that the people of this state are smart enough to not be won over by his constant change in feather colors to win elections when he is what he really is…way too conservative for most Kansans.

Here’s the method behind Gallup’s poll.

In 2008, Gallup interviewed more than 350,000 U.S. adults as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. That includes interviews with 1,000 or more residents of every U.S. state except Wyoming (885) and North Dakota (953), as well as the District of Columbia (689). There were more than 15,000 interviews conducted with residents of California, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida.

This large data set provides the unique ability to give reliable estimates of state-level characteristics for 2008. Each sample of state residents was weighted by demographic characteristics to ensure it is representative of the state’s population.

In order to rank the states on partisanship, Gallup analyzes “leaned” party identification by state. This measure adds partisan-leaning independents to the percentage who identify with either of the parties. Thus, the Republican total includes Republican identifiers and independents who lean Republican, and the Democratic total likewise includes Democratic identifiers and independents who lean Democratic.

This helps makes the state data more comparable because the percentage who identify as political independents varies greatly by state, from a low of 25% in the District of Columbia to a high of 53% in Rhode Island.

The accompanying map shows party strength by state for 2008, ranging from states that can be considered solidly Democratic (a Democratic advantage in party identification of 10 percentage points or more) to those that can be considered solidly Republican (a Republican advantage in party identification of 10 percentage points or more). States in which the partisan advantage is less than 5 points in either direction are considered “competitive.” (The full data for all states appear at the end of the article.)

You can sign up on the gallup site for a free newsletter, if you like.

NELSON WITH CHEF PIERRE WAS HERE AGAIN TODAY…

Filed under: prairie musings, Deli — Peg Britton @ 4:09 pm

If you happened to visit Gene’s grocery store today, you couldn’t miss the pie-tasting table that Nelson had on display.  He had three pies today to sample…Dutch Apple with a crumbly topping, pumpkin with pecans, and southern pecan pie.  All are excellent.

Nelson will be back next week with at least nine different pies, again for sampling in a Valentine’s Day “showing”.  I’ve tried a lot of the Sara Lee/Chef Pierre pies and they are all very, very good.  I didn’t know it, but in several areas of the country, they have Sara Lee home delivery similar to the way Schwan’s deliver their products.

Now, on the other side of this coin, one of my guy friends has on many occasions made 80 pies in a day….and I can guarantee you they would be top of the line.  He’s been asked to bake pies for one of the restaurants in Hutch, but I don’t know when he’d find the time.  Oh…he would. He’s a miracle man.

The wind stopped blowing a gale out of the northeast late yesterday afternoon so I went to fill my car with gas.  Had I gone earlier, I would have had gas sloshing out of the tank it was so dang windy.  Today  is a repeat of yesterday only the wind is out of the southwest and  I had one heck of a time getting my car door open at the grocery store.  I should remember to park with the driver’s side of the car down wind next time.  If it ever stops blowing, I’ll fill Brit’s gas tank in case I want to use his truck again.

I’m getting some good leads on advertising…some very positive ones that I need to check out.  I have a friend whose daughter is in that business in Connecticut and just may have some leads for me to follow.  One of my fellow bloggers is doing quite well with it so it would help me a lot to be able to increase my bandwidth.

Thanks for tuning in….

1/30/2009

THE NEXT KRIS KOBACH

Filed under: political musings, print news — Peg Britton @ 8:30 pm

The Next Kris Kobach
January 29, 2009 at 6:18pm -

Kansas Republicans are gathering to elect a party chairman this week. It looks like Sam Brownback has a favorite:

“Here’s the bottom line: In 2004, when my career was on the line during a re-election, I trusted Amanda to run my campaign. The campaign Amanda designed and led yielded over 780,000 votes — the most votes ever received by any candidate in any campaign for any office in Kansas history. Those are the facts.

“I trusted Amanda to win for me. You can trust her to win for you.”

That last part isn’t exactly accurate. In the last sentence, replace the last “you” with “me again in 2010.”

Wasn’t this person an out-of-state lobbyist? Nothing wrong with that, it’s just odd that she would want this job.

The above was taken from bagyants.com/  Artur Bagyants grew up in Overland Park, Kansas. He is a graduate student at the University of Kansas.

You might want to take a look at the interesting post he wrote about a bill by Rep. Geraldine Flaharty that would create a non-partisan commission to handle redistricting reform for Kansas. We’re scheduled to redraw our districts in 2012. Check it out here.
Thanks Artur….

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT BLOGGING?

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:22 pm

Did you ever wonder about blogging software?

Well, I’ve used Blogger and Graymatter (and outgrew those) and there is Moveable Type and others.  I’m using WordPress and hope never to change.

While still in Katy High School in Texas, Matt Mullenweg started working on blogging software he thought would be easier and prettier to use. Six years later his WordPress, has become the second biggest blogging platform and is signing up 10,000 new bloggers daily.

Mullenweg attended the University of Houston for two years then quit when CNet offered him a job in San Francisco and said he could continue working on WordPress on the side.  He left CNet when the work of WordPress became too demanding.

Many of the biggest bloggers on the net use WordPress…CNN, Fox News, The New York Times, Nancy Pelosi, Coca Cola and GE.

Many people start with Blogger or LiveJournal or Moveable Type…and others…but eventually move up to WordPress.  WordPress hosts 12 million blogs which attracted over 12 million readers in December. Daily Kos uses Scoop while the Huffington Post, Gizmodo, Boing Boing and Lifehacker use Moveable Type.

WordPress is free to use on your own, but if you want technical support it costs a bundle through Automattic, also founded by Mullenweg. Many thanks to Mackenzie and Dave Leiker who have kept me going since I started using it.  So far, so good.

ANOTHER REASON TO BAN PRAYERS IN LEGISLATIVE BODIES

Filed under: political musings, print news — Peg Britton @ 12:54 pm

Here’s a good post by “mousiecat” on Evolving in Kansas. Tuesday Jan 27.  I could not say it better.

In the story below, a legislator disapproves the Catholic prayer offered, saying the prayer should be one everyone can pray. In fact, what sort of prayer would that be? Can agnostics and atheists, Hindus and Buddhists, Muslims and Zoroastrians all pray the same prayer? The answer is: no. That is why prayer does not belong in the public’s taxpayer-supported institutions. Therefore, we have no need for chaplains or guest chaplains in these secular chambers.

Write your legislator (svaty@house.state.ks.us) and suggest in these trying economic times, whatever public money is spent on chaplains could best be used elsewhere.

Prayer in Kansas House Decries Abortion
LJ World - January 22, 2009

Topeka — A guest chaplain upset some Kansas House members Thursday with a prayer remembering millions of children that he said were “legally exterminated” by abortion and decrying a national “culture of death.”

The Rev. Brian Schieber, pastor at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, gave his prayer on the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion across the nation.

“We remember the over 53 million beautiful, innocent unborn children who have been legally exterminated in our land,” he said in his prayer. “By Your grace, guide us to transform this culture of death into a culture of life and a civilization of love.”

Legislators who support abortion rights complained afterward, saying the prayer opening the 125-member House’s daily session is supposed to be nonpolitical.

“Prayers ought to be more ecumenical,” said Rep. Tom Sawyer, a Wichita Democrat. “It’s supposed to be a prayer that all 125 people will feel comfortable praying.”

WELCOME TO ELLSWORTH

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 9:40 am

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These pictures were taken by Art and Kathy Kohls.  See how nice the Drovers building is looking?  We have a lot yet to do, but it is now enclosed  and safe from further damage from the weather.  Come visit us…

1/29/2009

SOME INTERESTING RACES ARE BEGINNING TO UNFOLD…

Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 9:30 pm

People are vying for position for Sen. Sam Brownback’s seat now that he’s publically stated he isn’t going to run again.  Although he hasn’t officially filed, no doubt Brownback will be running for Governor along with a host of other wannabees including Ron Thornburgh and possibly Dennis McKinney.Kansas Republican Congressmen Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran have filed for the Senate seat to be vacated by Brownback.

The only possible Democratic candidate for Brownback’s seat seems to be  Gov. Kathleen Sebelius should she elect to run.  There hasn’t been a Democrat to win a Senate seat from Kansas in over 70 years.  The Governor is likely the only one who could win and she’d be an excellent choice.

There are a few decent candidates who could run for the Tiahrt’s seat - brilliant State Rep. Raj Goyle is a likely choice.  Jim Ward and Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer are also being mentioned. Tiahrt’s district is pretty inhospitable territory for Democrats.

Some interesting races are slowly unfolding before us in the Big First, but no one to equal the likes of Jerry Moran.

Stay tuned…

WOMEN TAKE NOTICE OF THIS….

Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 2:38 pm

The entire Republican delegation from Kansas voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which was signed into law today by President Barack Obama. The bill, opposed by every Kansas Republican in congress, ensures that all American working women receive pay equal to that of their male colleagues.

Democratic Congressman Dennis Moore voted in favor of the measure in both instances.

Brownback, Roberts, Jenkins, Tiahrt and Moran voted against Kansas working women.

Kansas Republicans have betrayed not only their mothers and daughters, but the very principles on which our state was established.  This vote shows that the state’s Republicans in Washington are out of touch with the needs of working Kansans.

The Kansas Republican delegation unanimously opposed The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2007 when it was defeated in the Senate and received a veto threat from President Bush.

Tuck this in the back of your mind, ladies, when you go to the polls to vote.

1/28/2009

MORE ABOUT RYON’S CHICKENS….

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:54 am

The chickens should keep 9-12 months in a good freezer.  They will weigh between 3-4 lbs, but you can order larger ones if they want nice baking chickens.

He also has fresh country yard eggs for $1.50 a dozen.

Allergic to chicken eggs?  He also has duck eggs.

TODAY’S DELI DEAL

Filed under: prairie musings, Deli — Peg Britton @ 10:50 am

Homemade chicken and dumplings…$3.99 a pound, so says Ally.

CHUCKLE FOR THE DAY

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:56 am

You are on the bus when you suddenly realize … you need to fart.

The music is  really loud, so you time your farts with the beat.

After a couple  of songs, you start to feel better as you approach your stop.

As  you are leaving the bus, people are really staring you down,  and that’s when you remember, you’ve been listening to your ipod.

I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE YOUR OPINIONS ABOUT THIS….

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:20 am

Short statistics for January 2009 (updated more frequently)

Month                   Hits

January 2009          759,384
December 2008       506,954
November 2008    1,451,218
October 2008          828,029
September 2008      467,551
August 2008           680,095
July 2008                570,706
June 2008               734,329
May 2008                513,462
April 2008               573,819
March 2008             755,252
February 2008         653,860

Total                      8,494,659

Average                 707,888

Registered Copy. • 378AZEHZ1348023AB352211A1C99

I’ve had 2,945 hits so far today. Before the month is over, I’ll be about where I was in October.

As you can see, the numbers aren’t doing what I predicted.  I thought that after the election, things would die down but the very fact that I’ve been at this almost as long as anyone on the net, more and more people are googling for information and finding resources on my blog. My numbers tend to gradually increase over time.  November was an incredible month with nearly a million and a half hits.

And that presents a problem as I know I’m going to have to go with more bandwidth at some point as my provider is the kindest man in the world, but he has a system to run and my presence on it comes close to crashing it.  That’s not good.  I don’t want to find a new provider…in fact, I’m not sure I could.

With that in mind, you can see that it would be very helpful to me to add some advertising to my blog to have some income to help support it.  Widows and orphans need some help here.  It’s a costly hobby, but one I enjoy and hate to give up.  Mackenzie and another of my web designers have both said for years I need to add advertising to my blog…along the left side, or however it can be managed best.Now Ryon is singing the same song.

This is something I’ve resisted since the beginning, almost seven years ago, but I’m at the point where I need to reassess my options.  I’m open to suggestions.  What do you think?  Please put them in the comment section, if you don’t mind.

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THE SUN IS SHINING TODAY AND IT’S ALREADY UP TO 14 DEGREES

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:49 am

If you haven’t tried the food at the Bread Basket in Salina on East Iron, I think you’ll find it is very good.  Yesterday I had lunch there for the second time with a friend. It’s small, quiet and everything is fresh.  They bake bread on Tuesdays and rolls every day.  They have an assortment of sandwiches, cookies, coffee, breakfast rolls and desserts. I chose a cup of veggie soup and a French dip sandwich on Hoagie bun with beef au jus.  Everything I’ve had there has been very good.

The Crystal Queen told me a cute story.  It seems she overheard a conversation a married couple was having about their up and coming retirement plans with some stranger.   The woman was telling about what she planned to do after a lifetime of eight to five working and how much she was looking forward to it.  She rattled off a long list of things she wanted to do that were in her future.  Turning to her husband, the stranger asked him what he planned to do.  His sole project, he said,  was to restore an old car, a very special car.  And what made it so special, the stranger asked.  Well, he said, smiling toward his wife, I proposed to her in that car and it holds lots of memories for me so I want it to be just like it was way back then.  Front or back seat, the stranger asked. Isn’t that cute?

Ringo gets to go with me after the mail today.  He had to stay home alone yesterday and will be quite excited, as usual, about his outing today.

There were still embers from last night’s fire, so I piled some logs on it this morning and got it going again.  Randy came yesterday and fixed the upstairs furnace that apparently hasn’t worked all winter.  I thought Brit just had it turned down because he didn’t want the additional heat, but it hasn’t worked all winter, according to Randy.  No wonder the living room was cold enough to hang meat.

The stack of papers that has filled the dining room table for the last couple months is dwindling down to manageable piles.  I’ll soon have most of it out of the way…and that will be a relief.  Some of it has been exasperating, but mostly because of the enormity and sudden onset of the work. Now it will only be a matter of taxes, bills and paying the rent.
Thanks for tuning in…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MACKENZIE BAKER BRITTON VAHALIK

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 8:37 am

Fave granddaughter Mackenzie turned 26 on the 27th and that hardly seems possible.  The years do fly by.  I wished her many happy greetings yesterday so this post is only slightly late.  She’ll understand that.

1/27/2009

FRESH COUNTRY CHICKENS FOR SALE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:25 pm

My friend Ryon Carey is taking orders for farm fresh fryers.  They are antibiotic free and pasture raised.  $2.00/lb for Cornish cross, $2.50/lb for Heritage breeds.  Email or call for more information:  785.227.2557 or sandzen@sbcglobal.net.

These are whole chickens…the kind where you get the liver, heart and gizzard and have the flavor of the chicken you ate at grandma’s house.  The Heritage breeds take slightly longer to fry….and have an excellent flavor as well.  These are nothing like the bland chickens you buy over the counter.

Give Ryon a call…or call me and order what you want.  I plan to order a few for the freezer.   We can arrange for Ellsworth County folks to pick them up at my house.   Or, he can deliver them as well.

1/26/2009

NATIONAL DROVERS HALL OF FAME. ISN’T SHE A BEAUTY IN THE MAKING?

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth Sites — Peg Britton @ 5:36 pm

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You remember what this building looked like before the restoration began.  Look at it now.  What a transformation.  When you enter downtown Ellsworth,  this no longer stands out like a sore thumb….it’s a beautiful building and the single landmark that identifies Ellsworth as being different from any other town in Kansas.

Now, all we need is money to complete the restoration.  Any donation is welcome and can be sent to the president of the Drovers Foundation, Mark Roehrman at 210 North Douglas Ave., Ellsworth KS 67439.  If you want to contact Mark, his number is 785.472.4659.

Being chilled to the bone most of the winter finally got tiresome so I kicked up the furnace today to 68 and Ally built a fire for me.  Now the living room is very comfortable.  It’s snowing and 14 degrees outside.  After getting my teeth cleaned and checked, picking up the mail and “hitting” the bank, Ally and I met for lunch at Paden’s then called it a day.  I’m holed in and not venturing outside again….except for maybe some wood for the fire.

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Yesterday a large flock of “flittery” birds were around our house.  Every time I’d get close enough to get a good picture, they’d flit away. Some hung around for the picture so you can get the idea.  I’m not sure what kind they were, but they were same as you see in large flocks out in fields gobbling seeds and never staying put…up and down, up and down. One flies away and the rest follow.  By the time the last one lands, they’re taking off again.  You’re inclined to tell them to slow down and enjoy the day.

Check here for the “hottest” politicians in Kansas. Guess who?

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Hits are going crazy again this month…715,118 so far.

Thanks for tuning in…

1/25/2009

PRAYERS FOR BOBBY

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:47 pm

This is a true story of Mary Griffith, gay rights crusader, whose teenage son committed suicide due to her religious intolerance. It’s based on the book of the same title by Leroy Aarons.

I saw this last night on Lifeline and I understand it is to be shown again tonight…I think at 7:00 Central, but I’m not sure. It stars Sigourney Weaver and it’s very well done.
If you haven’t seen this, I strongly recommend it simply because I know from personal relationships with people in town there are those who believe you can choose your sexual orientation as that is taught in their churches along with hatred of homosexuals.  it is believed by some that one can pray to change sexual orientation.  Parents send children to Jesus Camp and get it changed through prayer….but it only brings about guilt and depression…not change.  Homosexuality is not a chosen lifestyle and cannot be changed with prayer any more than someone with blue eyes can change their eye color to brown through prayer.  There is a lot available on the subject for those who want to learn.  This movie is a good beginning.
In “Prayers for Bobby,” Mary Griffith is a devout Christian who raises her children with the conservative teachings of the Presbyterian Church. However, when her son Bobby confides to his older brother he may be gay, life changes for the entire family after Mary learns about his secret. While Bobby’s father and siblings slowly come to terms with his homosexuality, Mary believes God can cure him of what she considers his ’sin’ and persuades Bobby to pray harder and seek solace in church activities in hopes of changing him. Desperate for his mother’s approval, Bobby does what is asked of him, but through it all, the church’s apparent disapproval of homosexuality causes him to grow increasingly withdrawn and depressed. Guilty over the pain he is causing Mary, Bobby moves away, yet hopes that some day his mother will accept him. His subsequent depression and self-loathing intensifies as he blames himself for not being the ‘perfect’ son and is driven to suicide. Faced with their tragedy, Mary begins to question her faith when she receives no answers from her pastor concerning her devastating loss. Through her long and emotional journey, Mary slowly reaches out to the gay community and discovers unexpected support from a very unlikely source. The film is based on the 1995 Leroy Aarons book of the same name.  Written by Louie Neira

MORE ON THE MEXICAN RESTAURANT IN LYONS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 2:09 pm

I think I have it right this time.  Here’s a note from Teasha and her information and the name of the restaurant sound right to me.  Somewhere there is an echo saying the name is similar to Los Potrillos in Salina.  Maybe it’s a branch of the same family running the one in Lyons.

Hi Peg!  Just reading your blog.  Dave mentioned something about your bad mexican food experience in Lyons.  I drive to work there everyday and I’m sure the place you were looking for is El Potrillos.  It is down the road a bit further and on the north side of the street.  The motel is next door, and it used to be another restaurant that was shut down (I think by the state…maybe you heard about or remember the story?  2-3 years ago)  I think it was called the ranch house or something like that.  Anyway, they do have good food.  When they first opened, my friend and I couldn’t get enough.  We’ve since paced ourselves!  Hope you get a chance to check it out if you decide to venture that way again.   Teasha

Maybe the next folk who go there to eat can give me a run down on the quality of the food and the cleanliness of the place.  Pulleze?

Is it true they don’t have a phone or is that also a rumor?

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG….AGAIN…BUT RIGHT ABOUT MO’S PLACE.

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:14 pm

My friends “The Crystal Queen and her assistant, Cindy”, need to get their ducks in row. (Big Smile!)  They have burned the phone lines lately trying to figure out where the GOOD Mexican food restaurant is in Lyons.  It’s not in any of the three locations I have posted, and according to their information they gave me.  I think there is a conspiracy afoot.

Speaking of restaurants, and maybe the smallest brew-pub in the U.S.,  friend Teasha sent me the following that she found posted on a blog.  It references “Mo’s Place”, the famous little restaurant in Beaver, a town of maybe 100 people with only one other operating business…a grain elevator. I’ve blogged it before but this entry provides a little more information to mull over.

An excerpt:

Secondly, while it wasn’t the smallest brewpub I’ve seen in physical space or numbers of brews, it was the smallest I’ve ever seen in terms of brewing capacity. He operated a half-barrel system, which he is able to squeeze approximately 20 gallon batches out of it. It looked like an oversized homebrewing kit with plastic fermenting tanks and brew kettles that looked like something you’d cook with at resident camp.The best thing was seeing the locals and the guys who were out working the oil wells come in. All of them were choosing pints of Mo’s Brews over the commercial products (Bud, Coor’s, Michelob, Miller, etc.) Len told us he keeps his beers unfiltered for better flavor and low in alcohol (everything is under 4% ABV) so that patrons can drink more beer without getting drunk.

You’ll want to read more about  Mo’s Place and Birding Quivera.

Tonight we’re invited to the farm for dinner.  The Deli manager just can’t stay out of the kitchen so she’s fixing something especially good for family and friends, Cathy and Bob.  It will be fun.  All I have to take is a box of wine!

If you want to see herds of white-tail deer, venture out to Kanopolis Lake in the Venango area.  They just stand there while you look at them as they aren’t afraid of cars, you know. It’s difficult to take pictures as they are the same color as the grass they are feeding on.

Thanks for tuning in…

WHY INVOKE GOD AT A GOVERNMENT EVENT?

Filed under: political musings, print news — Peg Britton @ 11:54 am

I could not say this better than did my friend, Liz, on Evolving in Kansas. Word for word, here is what she has to say, and I could not agree more:

As a staunch defender of the wall of separation between religion and government, I find it incredible that pastors are invited to give religious invocations at government ceremonies.

Why did we have an invocation and a benediction at a secular event: the inauguration of the President of the United States?

For that matter, why do we have a Chaplain of the Senate? Is there one for the House, too? Both of these bodies are taxpayer-supported, and both should be free of religious influence.

It goes without saying that all of these religious messages and personages we see and hear in politics are of the Christian faith. And most of the evangelical Christian faith. Does the favoring of evangelical Christian religious messages mean that only evangelical Christians are “Americans?” How about mainstream Christians, Jews, Catholics, Christian Scientists, agnostics, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Baha’is and Muslims? Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the U.S. But it’ll be a cold day in hell, I imagine, before you hear an imam giving a religious invocation at a public ceremony.

I say, rather than slight or favor any one religion, let philosophers, ethicists and historians provide perspective on the event at hand. Nobody — especially non-Christians — needs a church service at a public event. If we want religious messages, we can go to church or tune in dozens of evangelical Christian preachers’ shows on TV.

The Founders did not mean for any one religion to be favored over others. That’s specifically why the First Amendment protects believers and non-believers alike from having some “government religion” foisted off on them. So let’s carry out the Founders’ wishes and cut out the prayers at government-sponsored events. As a taxpayer, I don’t care to pay the fee of some preacher who voices sentiments to which I object, and I shouldn’t have to. Neither should you.

Posted by Mousie Cat at 11:30 AM 2 comments Links to this post

And, in addition, I believe the very presence of religion in politics makes for a toxic mess, with policy debates based not on observable evidence, but on unsubstantiated dogma.   How do you make arguments to people who think tradition and authority and personal feeling are more valid than reason or critical thinking? How do you provide counter- evidence to people who aren’t all that interested in evidence?

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