Feb 112014
 

Dale Hansen has been the sports reporter on our local ABC affiliate, WFAA, for as long as I can remember. He goes ‘unplugged’ every once in while. He did that last night while discussing Michael Sam, the star collegiate football player and prospective NFL draftee who recently announced to the world that he is gay…

Remember, this is in Texas. Brave words, Mr. Hansen. You have earned my respect.

A transcript of Mr. Hansen’s remarks follows the break.

UPDATE: Ellen invited Dale Hansen to her show yesterday, February 14. Here’s what happened…

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 Comments Off on Celebrating our differences  Tagged with:
Nov 262013
 

This blows my mind…

Supreme Court to take up Obamacare contraception case

Washington (CNN) — The high-stakes fight over implementing parts of the troubled health care reform law will move to the U.S. Supreme Court in coming months, in a dispute involving coverage for contraceptives and “religious liberty.”

The justices agreed on Tuesday to review provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers of a certain size to offer insurance coverage for birth control and other reproductive health services without a co-pay.

At issue is whether private companies can refuse to do so on the claim it violates their religious beliefs.

Oral arguments will likely be held in March with a ruling by late June.

I simply cannot wrap my mind the fact the business owners may soon be able to impose their religious beliefs on their employees. Remember that this conservative court has already ruled that corporations are citizens and as such are entitled to free speech. It isn’t much a stretch to imagine to they will also declare that businesses are entitled to religious freedom.

Separation of church and state no longer exists in the United States of America. As much as I hate to admit it, it is not hard for me to imagine a time in the not too distant future when religious extremists will completely and openly rule this country just as they do now in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. I hope I do not live to see that day.

Jun 142013
 

Texas governor Rick Perry signed the “Merry Christmas” bill recently passed by the Republican-controlled Texas state legislature yesterday. The new law states that students and school officials have the right to use religious greetings like “Merry Christmas” and display various religious holiday symbols on school grounds. In his remarks at the signing ceremony, Perry stated that the First Amendment guarantees Americans freedom of religion. It does not grant them freedom from religion.

Watch and listen for yourself (if you think you can stomach it)…

It’s a shame that a bill like this one I’m signing today is even required, but I’m glad that we’re standing up for religious freedom in this state. Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion.

In other words, if we want to shove our religion down your throats we are going to do it and there isn’t a dang thing you can do about it.

I’ve often heard the Republican party referred to as “the American Taliban.” I have resisted that label because I felt it was kind of harsh, even for our Republicans. I’m beginning to change my mind.

Oct 112011
 

This cartoon landed on my desk this morning. Given what is going on in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, it is just too good to hold until Friday. If you need some background, please take a moment to watch this video. The cartoon will be right under the video.

bagley101011.jpg

My belief in the separation of church and state just grows stronger by the day.
 

Jun 052011
 

The Bible, King James version, Book of Matthew, chapter 6, verse 6:

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.

It would appear that Texas governor and aspiring Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is not very up on his scriptures. Either that, or he doesn’t take the word of his Lord Jesus very seriously…

Texas Gov. Rick Perry invites other governors for day of prayer at Houston event

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry has invited the nation’s 49 other governors to join him at “a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our troubled nation.”

Perry, who says he’s considering running for president, has been critical of Obama administration policies on spending, health care and immigration.

A spokesman for the Republican governor said the Aug. 6 event in Houston will be nonpolitical, featuring religious leaders and others in a daylong session to pray for the country…

East Texas evangelical leader and Perry supporter Rick Scarborough said the governor has support among religious conservatives, an important constituency in picking the GOP nominee.

“Once the word gets out that he’s doing this, evangelicals and anybody with the same moral perspective will be on his bandwagon,” Scarborough, president of Vision America, said, referring to the Houston event.

The Mississippi-based American Family Association is paying for the event. The group is a leading opponent of same-sex marriage and a source of funding for pastor conferences in several states that have encouraged religious leaders to get involved in politics.

“I would not characterize it in any way as a political event merely because people who hold political office are participating,” said Eric Bearse, a spokesman for the American Family Association and a former Perry aide. “It really is a spiritual gathering to pray for the health of our nation.”

You may take my word for it – nothing Rick Perry does is “nonpolitical.” Nothing. This latest stunt is political pandering to the so-called religious right. Nothing more, nothing less.
 

Teachable moment

 Posted by at 13:26  Politics, Religion
Sep 102010
 

President Obama held a news conference in the East Room of the White House this morning. It was a lengthy presser (over an hour) and quite a lot of ground was covered. At the end, the president was presented with what is often referred to as a “teachable moment” and he took full advantage. It concerned the Islamic community center currently planned for lower Manhattan…

(Full video and transcript is at the bottom of this post.)

With respect to the mosque in New York, I think I’ve been pretty clear on my position here, and that is, is that this country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal; that they have certain inalienable rights — one of those inalienable rights is to practice their religion freely. And what that means is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site.

Now, I recognize the extraordinary sensitivities around 9/11. I’ve met with families of 9/11 victims in the past. I can only imagine the continuing pain and anguish and sense of loss that they may go through. And tomorrow we as Americans are going to be joining them in prayer and remembrance. But I go back to what I said earlier: We are not at war against Islam. We are at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam to engage in their destructive acts.

And we’ve got to be clear about that. We’ve got to be clear about that because if we’re going to deal with the problems that Ed Henry was talking about, if we’re going to successfully reduce the terrorist threat, then we need all the allies we can get. The folks who are most interested in a war between the United States or the West and Islam are al Qaeda. That’s what they’ve been banking on.

And fortunately, the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world are peace-loving, are interested in the same things that you and I are interested in: How do I make sure I can get a good job? How can I make sure that my kids get a decent education? How can I make sure I’m safe? How can I improve my lot in life? And so they have rejected this violent ideology for the most part — overwhelmingly.

And so from a national security interest, we want to be clear about who the enemy is here. It’s a handful, a tiny minority of people who are engaging in horrific acts, and have killed Muslims more than anybody else.

The other reason it’s important for us to remember that is because we’ve got millions of Muslim Americans, our fellow citizens, in this country. They’re going to school with our kids. They’re our neighbors. They’re our friends. They’re our coworkers. And when we start acting as if their religion is somehow offensive, what are we saying to them?

I’ve got Muslims who are fighting in Afghanistan in the uniform of the United States armed services. They’re out there putting their lives on the line for us. And we’ve got to make sure that we are crystal-clear for our sakes and their sakes they are Americans and we honor their service. And part of honoring their service is making sure that they understand that we don’t differentiate between them and us. It’s just us.

And that is a principle that I think is going to be very important for us to sustain. And I think tomorrow is an excellent time for us to reflect on that.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Here is the video of the entire press conference:

Full transcript follows the break.

Continue reading »

Freedom of religion

 Posted by at 15:41  Politics, Religion
Aug 142010
 

Last night, President Obama continued the White House tradition of hosting an Iftar – the meal that breaks the day of fasting – celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room. During his remarks at the Iftar dinner, President Obama indicated his support for the controversial mosque being proposed for lower Manhattan…

Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities -– particularly New York. Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of Lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. And Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.

But let me be clear. As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.

Watch the video:

Read the transcript of the President’s remarks following the break.

Continue reading »

Jun 072010
 

In the United States of America, we pride ourselves on “free speech.” It seems you are pretty much free to say whatever you want about Hispanics, Arabs, homosexuals, blacks, whites, or just about anybody else. However, you are not free to say what you want about Israel. Just ask veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas. She spoke her mind about that group of people and it cost her a career that had spanned over half a century…

Veteran reporter retires over Israel comments

Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas is retiring in the wake of controversial comments she made about Israel.

Hearst News Service, for which Thomas is a columnist, reported her retirement announcement Monday.

Her retirement is effective immediately. She began covering the White House in 1960.

Thomas has apologized for the comments, which were captured on video by an interviewer for the website “RabbiLIVE.com.”

On the May 27 video, Thomas says Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine,” suggesting they go to Germany, Poland or the U.S.

Those remarks drew sharp criticism from the Obama administration earlier Monday, as well as the cancellation of a high school graduation speech she was to deliver.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked at his daily briefing with reporters about President Barack Obama’s reaction to Thomas’ remarks. Gibbs called them “offensive and reprehensible.”

“She should and has apologized,” Gibbs said. “Because obviously those remarks do not reflect certainly the opinion of most of the people here and certainly not of the administration.”

Fair-weather friends Helen Thomas and Barack Obama
Fair-weather friends Helen Thomas and Barack Obama

Watch what you say.

P.S. I have to believe that at nearly 90 years of age, Ms. Thomas was probably approaching the time when she was going to start thinking about retirement anyway.
 

Wrong

 Posted by at 15:14  Politics, Religion, Republicans
Mar 302010
 

Activist judges…

Marine’s father ordered to pay Westboro’s court costs

Lawyers for the father of a Marine who died in Iraq and whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters say a court has ordered him to pay the protesters’ appeal costs.

On Friday, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered that Albert Snyder of York, Pa., pay costs associated with Fred Phelps’ appeal. Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, which conducted protests at the funeral of Snyder’s son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, in Westminster in 2006.

Lawyers for Snyder say the Court of Appeals has ordered him to pay $16,510.80 to Phelps for costs relating to the appeal, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the Court of Appeals’ decision.

They say that Snyder is also struggling to come up with fees associated with filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are extremely disappointed,” said Sean E. Summers, an attorney for Snyder. He added that the U.S. Supreme Court will likely hear the case during its October term and make a decision in June of next year.

“The Court of Appeals certainly could have waited until the Supreme Court made its decision,” Summers added. “There was no hardship presented by Phelps.”

Summers said there is no timetable for when the costs must be paid, but if his client doesn’t have the money when Phelps requests payment the matter would go into collections. Snyder could lose his property or his wages, Summers said.

Summers added that if Snyder pays Phelps’ court costs and then receives a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court, “imagine him trying to get money back from Phelps.”

The high court agreed earlier this month to consider whether the protesters’ message is protected by the First Amendment or limited by the competing privacy and religious rights of the mourners.

phelps.jpg