General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

What would be wrong with this anyway?

Asked by AstroChuck (37438points) October 24th, 2008 from iPhone

Lately many McCain supporters have been throwing accusations around about Barack Obama. They’ve said that he is a Muslim and a socialist. Although Obama is neither, my question is why would either of these things be considered such a negative? I mean, I must admit I’m as terrified as the next person that we could be attacked at anytime by the likes of Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Cat Stevens(Yusuf Islam), and Mos Def. Also, look at all those horrible socialist governments such as Sweden and how they force their citizens to have free health care, free college, equal rights to all; hell, those evil bastards even make certain their elderly are well taken care of. And remember that awful Helen Keller? Another Goddamn socialist, of course.
Anyway, how is it that, we as a nation, have vilified people just because of their religious and/or political philosophies? I have to admit that this is a complete loss to me.

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94 Answers

loser's avatar

Me too!

asmonet's avatar

There will always be ignorance somewhere, sadly.

P.S. You were the cutest damn kid in the effing world.

AstroChuck's avatar

asmonet, tell me something I don’t know.

asmonet's avatar

@astrochuck: Ooooh! A man with modesty! How refreshing. :)

Nimis's avatar

Astro, you were such a cute kid. What happened?
(I’m just full of the nyukety-nyuks, aren’t I?)

squirbel's avatar

I love you, AstroChuck.

AstroChuck's avatar

But seriously, why not attack policies? Why is socialism such a bad word? Most people know that being a Muslim doesn’t mean you support terror, right? I mean you don’t have to follow Islam to be a terrorist, just as the Spaniards or the Brits..

asmonet's avatar

It hooks those people living in fear and who haven’t been taught tolerance.. Cheap and dirty. It’s a pull for those who don’t know any better and it helps to reaffirm what they’ve been shown.

It disgusts me, honestly.

loser's avatar

I love you too Astrochuck!

janbb's avatar

I’ve thought the same exact thing, Astrochuck.

After all, look where capitalism has gotten us!

basp's avatar

Looks like the republican have accomplished their mission of instilling fear and promoting propoganda.

hoosier_banana's avatar

A la Wikipedia-
“The scapegoat was a goat that was driven off into the wilderness as part of the ceremonies of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in Judaism during the times of the Temple in Jerusalem. The rite is described in Leviticus 16.

Since this goat, carrying the sins of the people placed on it, is sent away to perish, the word “scapegoat” has come to mean a person, often innocent, who is blamed and punished for the sins, crimes, or sufferings of others, generally as a way of distracting attention from the real causes.”

Conflict Theory completes the picture for me. Oil companies want to invade the Middle East, and crooked politicians are afraid of Socialism because every bit of power WE have THEY don’t. So getting people on board with these ideas is kinda crucial for them to get away with it.

jvgr's avatar

Very simple really. If you’re not for us, you’re against us, and us is the pro-american, right-leaning, rural dweller who believes that christian fundamentalism is the only religion.

stevenb's avatar

Sadly some of it is taught is school too. I had a teacher in Montana who taught that General Custer was an american hero. He kicked me out several times for asking questions. He simply searched for books that leaned the way he wanted to teach. Awefull man. Both of them. Media might be blamed, also, though it is probably the people who sometimes believe everything they see and hear. I try to take it with a cup of salt, but it is sad that so much disinformation is out there with people trying to represent it as truth. It is hard to believe anything these days. Makes me doubt a lot I hear and see. Everybody has an agenda.

AstroChuck's avatar

I meant to say: Just ask the Spaniards and the Brits.
(Both the ETA and the IRA aren’t Muslim)

syz's avatar

I will bet you a million dollars that not even half (I’m sure it’s lower, but I’m hedging my bet) of the residents of this country could even define socialism.

Emilyy's avatar

I like this Colin Powell quote:

“I’m also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said such things as: “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is: he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is: No, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she can be President? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion: he’s a Muslim, and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.”

Trance24's avatar

Its purely ignorance. People do not know what they are talking about.

galileogirl's avatar

When they started tossing “socialist” around a 70-something friend and I had a good laugh. Back in the 50s Socialist was used interchangeably with Communist. Joe McCarthy and the John Birchers and the right wingers painted Communists in the same colors we use for Al Qaeda an the ‘axis of evil’

“Better dead tha Red” It just shows how out of touch the McCain campaign is. Nobody under the age of 65 sees Socialism as a threat and most people over 65 are so over it. Boomers saw the threat discredited and anyone uner the age of 45 probably doesn’t even know what the big deal is.

critter1982's avatar

@astrochuck: I absolutely agree with you but I think you partially answered your own question in your question. People profile each other all the time. Ever since 9/11 muslims have had a bad rap in America. It is extremely unfortunate but in todays world muslim is synonomous with terrorism. I have a muslim friend who I would consider the nicest and dearest person I know have issues with this.

I think Socialism has been thought bad ever since the fall of socialism in 1989. It only took 72 years for the Soviet Union to fall. The US democracy has been going strong (well strong until late :) ) for about 200 years. People see socialism not as the ideology itself where everyone is equal with equal rights but as an economy that struggles for growth.

All this said IMHO

AstroChuck's avatar

Under the Soviet system the USSR was a socialist dictatorship (and were never true communists), but that’s using the word socialist very loosely. You can be a socialist and a democracy and it works quite well. We have many socialist ideals here in this country (USA) actually. Look at the public schools, military machine, roads, libraries, police, fire dept., etc.
Incidentally, I wouldn’t call myself a socialist, but I would like to see this nation go further in that direction.

Adina1968's avatar

AstroChuck for President!

dalepetrie's avatar

The problem is not what the words mean, but what people associate them with. For the older generation “Socialist” carries the connotations of the Iron Curtain, the Reds, the Ruskies…they’re what the older generation thinks of as the most threatening thing there could possibly be.

To the younger generation, Muslims are synonymous with 9/11, terror attacks, blowing up the WTC, they are the worst threat we face.

These are generalizations which fortunately the majority of people don’t necessarily think so black and white about, but there is a huge swath of America that these words can be used to strike fear into the hearts of.

At the heart of the current McCain campaign is an effort to paint Obama as “the other”, one you can’t trust, not one of us, not a regular Joe Sixpack or Joe the Plumber…it’s essentially a convenient way to say we can’t trust him because he’s black, without actually coming off as racist.

What’s wrong with it, is ignorant rednecks hear those kinds of words and take them for code to mean it’s OK to be racist because this nigger is a threat which must be neutralized. So people end up getting hurt, like the lady who was punched in the face by a McCain supporter. And it leads crazy right wingers to carve backwards B’s into their faces and blame it on 6’4” black guys who support Obama. That’s what’s wrong with using those words….the fact that they use them out of context in a hateful and incendiary way.

If they would instead educate people about how many Muslims in the world and how there are as a percentage of all Muslims no more crazy zealots than there are in any other religion (see: Evangelical Christian = 10% of US population). Or if they’d say that you know what, some things we HAVE to socialize…we do it with our libraries, our schools, our post offices and no one complains about THAT. The reason we socialize things is for the common good of our society, so what’s wrong with that? And acknowledge that for 95% of everything that goes on, Obama is a capitalist, just like al the rest of us, whether we live in Sarah Palin’s “Real America”, or whether we are latte sipping liberals who want to redistribute the wealth and keep Joe the Plumber from owning the most successful plumbing business in the history of man.

sndfreQ's avatar

in two words: fear mongering.

AstroChuck's avatar

No, thanks! That’s one job I wouldn’t touch!

MacBean's avatar

That’s the sad thing about the presidency. Pretty much anybody who’d be any good at it is smart enough to say, “No way!”

stevenb's avatar

Who would want a job that hard, that will make half of the world hate you, and will age you ten years in four, for less money than most CEO types in the world make in a year? I don’t know what makes someone want that job.

augustlan's avatar

I’m very, very saddened by the way this shit is going down. I truly wonder what the climate of America will be after this election, regardless of who wins. I have never seen such a divisive time (I know there have been others, but at 41, I haven’t witnessed it firsthand). In addition to Muslim and socialist, add to the list: educated, elite, and community organizer. What the fuck is wrong with people who consider those traits negative? I feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, and things will never be quite the same.

stevenb's avatar

Try “working man” too. I have had kids actually ask me “Are you a worker?” with a look of awe. What is wrong with working with your hands, doing an honest days work, and living off of your body and minds skills? I guess that is the other word these days, “Entitled”. Used to describe the new younger generation, and their lack of wanting to work.

watchman220's avatar

Rome lasted over 400 years, but it fell apart from corruption on the inside as well. What form of government would you consider Rome to have been, with a Cesar worshipped as god half the time?
A Monarchy? A Dictatorship? It had many successions of emperors.
The sad truuth is, no form of government can legislate the good qualities of hope, peace, freedom, hard work, patience, kindness. They can not control which religion people will live under.
The problem I see with Muslim faith as defined by it’s Holy Book, The Quran, is this religion preaches the destruction of the infidels which is all people who are not muslims. But more specifically it preaches the destruction of the Jews and CHristians. I am a christian. I have a problem with that. So if you are a muslim that believes peace is the way, and non-violence is the way….then why are you a muslim at all? Or perhaps you do not read your own holy Quran? If they did not agree with killing the infidels, then perhaps they should educate themselves and change their religion.
That is the problem with Islam. Islam will always have the potential to educate it’s masses through the Quran to hate and kill the infidels.
Violence and destruction is the way that Islam was originally established as it took over city after city and country after country. Slaying men or forcing them to convert.
Do a little study on the birth of Islam sometime and see for yourself. Look up the verses about killing the infidels and christians and jews. THen ask yourself…does christianity preach the personal destruction of non-believers? No…it instructs us to pray for our enemies and let God be the judge.
Islam is dangerous, and it will contimue to grow. It is Islam that perpetrates fear on it’s people, it imposes the sharia law on societies that previously were free.
It punishes those who do not believe the islamic way. That is not American and I want nothing to do with it.

squirbel's avatar


I called it first!!!!


galileogirl's avatar

Watchman: Sorry but you represent part of the problem. What do you know about Islam and the Koran? It does not call for the destruction of nonbelievers any more than the Bible does. It has always been more tolerant than Christianity toward others. Today Muslims are not the proselytizers that Christians are. Have you ever been backed into a wall by a stranger asking why you won’t accept Allah as your personal savior?

Al Qaeda has more in common with destructive Christian cults like the Peoples Temple, Branch Davidians, Aum Shinrikyo and numerous white supremecist and militia groups than they do with Islam.

As far as Islam’s history of violence, have you forgotten the Crusades, all the European religious wars, forcing Christianity on American and African indigenous groups at the point of a gun, the Protestant British attempted holocaust against Irish Catholics in the 1800s or even 2000 years of Christian violence against Jews. I’m hearing pots calling kettles black all over the place. The major difference is that Islamic terrorists are splinter groups and Christian violence has historically been government sponsored.

There are 2 causes that contribute to religious violence today. The people who engage in violence in order to achieve political power, wrapping themselves in the cloak of religion. More dangerous though are the people who act as apologists either due to their own religious intolerence or sheer ignorance.

chutterhanban's avatar

I see much more legitimacy in the “socialist argument” rather than the “Muslim argument.”

The religious accusations are ridiculous. Even a religious man doesn’t have the balls (and probably shouldn’t in a religiously free nation as this) to pull his religion into the oval office. Someone as pious a Christian George W. never did anything directly because he is a Christian. To think that Obama is somehow less capable because he “is” a Muslim would be ignorant.

However, even though socialism has been proven to work in countries like Sweden, most people in this country would hold economic freedom (among other things that are not completely compatible with socialism) as one of their values. Notice how I say most. That doesn’t mean that the majority is right and that socialism is bad, but it is still the majority and that’s why the majority fear the word “socialism.”

jvgr's avatar

@watchman220: Rome was politically a republic. You do know that the Quran and the Bible have the same roots don’t you? It is not founded on violence and destruction of any specific race and it is no less violent than the Old Testament.

Reread this from galileogirl

Vincentt's avatar

@chutterhanban – but, seriously, when Obama is labeled as Socialist, that’s to provoke this effect:

Person A: Obama is a socialist!
<Person B’s thoughts>: What’s a socialist exactly? Ah well, they’re warning me for it, so it’s probably bad. And he’s a Muslim too. Muslims were bad, weren’t they?
Person B: Oh no! Let’s vote McCain!

chutterhanban's avatar

That’s why political advertising works—the uneducated. It works both ways. Just because Person B doesn’t know what a socialist is doesn’t mean someone won’t accuse a candidate of being so. Just because another person doesn’t know that McCain doesn’t actually hate poor people doesn’t mean that someone won’t accuse him of it.

We all know that Obama is not a terrorist and that McCain isn’t mentally handicapped, but there are plenty of people who don’t know that and can be convinced that it is true!

It’s sad, but true.

critter1982's avatar

@jvgr: Yes they have the same roots in Abraham but that is where the similarities stop. I’m not sure how you can compare the 2 and say that they are similar?

BTW, Christians study the new testament not so much the old testament anymore.

AstroChuck's avatar

@watchman- Rome actually lasted over 1200 years. And if you count the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine) then you have to add another thousand years to that.

chutterhanban's avatar

@ Astrochuck: good point.
@ critter: I am a Christian. The Old Testament is in fact studied just like the New Testament. It may be true in a few rare denominations that the OT is dismissed, but the vast majority of churches treat the OT and NT equally.

I promise I’m not saying this just for the sake of argument… I just thought I’d offer the answer since I have an extensive background in the subject!

watchman220's avatar

@ galileogirl.

Right…how could I have missed the obvious connections of Al Qaeda and the Taliban with Branch Davidians in Waco? You must be right. LOL. Silly me.

But for real. What multiple and fractious splinter groups do you find now in christianity callign for Holy War against Islam. I don’t call for war, I just see it coming. You all can stick your head in the sand if you want.

As for the relation of Islam to Judeo-Christian roots. I will give you this much, that Abraham had a son by his maid-servant Hagar because he was too impatient to wait for the promise of God to his wife Sara, that she would bear an heir for Abraham.

The child’s name was Ishmael. And God was faithful to bless this child as well. The bible says that God said He would make Ishmael a father of many nations, but that his people would live by the sword. Guess what, Arabs in general descended from Ishmael, and guess what they are doing? Living by the sword. Enforcing Old Testament style punishments on their faithful believers. They have not progressed past old testament style life.
Jesus Christ became the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and law. He completed the atonement for sins once and for all. This is why we live in an age of grace where people do not get stoned to death for fornication and adultery or for being gay. All of you that fit into those categories, myself included…as a fornicator and adulterer, can thank Jesus for taking that sin for you so your society does not kill you.
Neither do I as a real christian seek to kill people who do not believe my way.


“Strike off their [infidel’s] heads. Strike off their finger-tips! … because they defied God and his Apostle [Muhammad].” (Sura 8:12–13)

“Make war on them [infidels] until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme.” (Sura 2:193)

“Seize them and put them to death wherever you find them.” (Sura 4:89)

“Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you.” (Sura 9:123)

“When the sacred months [Ramadan] are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them; besiege them; and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent [convert to Islam] and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way.” (Sura 9:5)

SO we convert or get killed? Is that the message? hmmm…no thanks.

hoosier_banana's avatar

If you were born an Arab would you have converted? And are you looking forward to the end of the Earth?

AstroChuck's avatar

What’s up with cheeb? She’s been composing now for about 24 hours.

galileogirl's avatar

watch man: I wasn’t linking them I said Al Qaeda is to Islam as armed Christian cults are to mainstream Christianity. Did you forget your SAT exam? Sock is to foot/glove is to hand doesn’t mean a sock is a glove.

Actually it doesn’t say WE convert or get killed. Jews and Christians of that time were given the option of paying a tax. And on the Crusades the Christians stopped off in several European cities to kill the Jews just because they could. Once they passed Constantinople they killed a lot of local Christians because of the way the dressed and talked-too Islam-y

By the way Pope Urban II did call a bellum sacrum in 1095 against Islam, promising total remission of sin for joining in this war.

Of course, it isn’t in the Bible because the Bible pre-dates Islam. But 500 years of European inquisitions not only killed 100’s of thousands of people who were not Christians but even more Christians whom the Church labeled heretics ie Joan of Arc, Galileo, and many thousand Iberian conversos and 10’s of thousands accused ‘witches’, And these are only a fraction of those killed for not being the ‘right kind’ of Christian even in the 20th century. Murderers and terrorists do not represent any religion. They represent the avarice and unholy seeking of political power by evil men, sometimes even those who are leaders within their religions. It is certainly not limited to Muslims, in the US there is not a lot of turning the other cheek, forgiving those who offend us, caring for the weakest or any other Christlike virtues.

jholler's avatar

the difference is that Christians who practice atrocities are radicals, Muslims are
Fundamentalists following the teachings of their holy book. The bible says to love and forgive, the koran says to kill and force submission. Read them and compare.

hoosier_banana's avatar

Or you could read neither and just enjoy life.

critter1982's avatar

@chutter: Yes, the whole Bible is God’s Word and every part of it has lessons to teach us. The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

At the same time though, Christians have always believed that many of the laws of the Old Testament no longer apply the way they once did, the reason is because Jesus Christ has fulfilled them. The old testament pointed forward to the coming of the Messiah, and once He came they were no longer needed. I’m not stating that Christians dismiss the old testament but MOST Christians follow the rules of the new testament, not the old since the coming of Jesus Christ.

critter1982's avatar

@hoosier: It is not necessary to have faith to enjoy your life. People have faith and read the bible or Koran because of eternal life so that they may have another life in heaven. IMO though life would be so pointless if you were here only to enjoy it.

hoosier_banana's avatar

So how do you feel about enjoying the afterlife, is that all fighting and suffering too?

critter1982's avatar

No according to the bible and my particular belief there is no fighting or suffering.

hoosier_banana's avatar

If it’s good enough for God it’s good enough for me, hope I don’t lose the right to enjoy life here on Earth so other people can get to heaven.

critter1982's avatar

I’m not sure I understand what you are saying?

hoosier_banana's avatar

I’m afraid of Christianity dominating the US like Islam dominates Iran and Judaism dominates Israel. I’m afraid my opinion will not be respected because it may not jive with an ancient text. I’m afraid the people around me on the street don’t see things for what they are. I’m afraid that Christians will chop down all the trees, junk up the oceans and blow up other countries because they think they are just using up the world so Jesus will get back sooner.

watchman220's avatar

Since we are defining what christian means:

The catholic church which was responisble for the crusades, was more a political entity then a christian entity. They did not and still do not represent what I would call a true christian. Though the catholic church proclaims the central doctrine of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, they believe so much other dogma, that the message gets polluted. This is the fault of COnstantine the Emperor of Rome, who mingled paganism with christianity and ended up with a state religion that persecuted people throughout the ages.

As Jesus said in the new testament, the 2 most important laws are:
Love the Lord your God with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength.
Love your neighbor as yourelf.

The rest of the law is summed up in these 2 laws.

The mosaic law, which required sacrifice, and such things as death by stoning to atone for sins was fulfilled completely by the sacrifice of Jesus as the perfect sinless sacrifice.
The “type” was many times previewed in Old Testament scriptures like Abraham willing to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain because GOd said so. Isaac was a “type” of Christ, the man who would come as fully man, fully God, sinless and born of a virgin to die for the sins of the whole world.

The letter of the law, was abolished. And replaced by grace. We still keep the spirit of the law. Those things which abide in grace, have been atoned for by the blood of Jesus. This does not mean we have free license to sin whenever we want and then go to confession like the catholics would have us believe. And any real christian in the catholic church would tell you the same.

However. I prefer a more pure form of christianity. One uninhibited by the traditions of a corrupt institution and blinded leadership, as such in the catholic church. Why continue in such an institution except for pride?

Regarding Islamic taxes.
Ok…pay us or convert or we will kill you. Oh yes this is much better.
The other noteable difference is that Islam is killing people today. The catholics and christians? not so much.
The major threat in the world from terrorists, originates with hostile, (you guessed it) Arab nations that are predominantly (you guessed it again!) Islamic. Hmm…why is that?
Could it be because radical Islam is on the rise?

Why would anyone stick their head in the sand and allow a consistently violent movement to spread over the entire globe. Oh wait wait…me me me…I know…for money. Yes it’s all about money. Global markets require trade and dealing with nations of all kinds, especially ones with oil. On and on it goes.

Regarding hoosier_banana’s fears. It is not just christian that will destroy the planet. Your knee will bow and your tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…but not because we as christians will force you to confess upon penalty of losing your head. You will have the choice to believe when you begin to see prophecy fulfilled regarding Israel. When you see a 7 year treaty of “peace” brought on by a mysterious world leader, know that it is nearing the end.

THat’s all I have to say this evening.


AstroChuck's avatar

Help! My thread has been hijacked by religious zealots!

Nimis's avatar

I love me some AstroChuck.

galileogirl's avatar

critter: Proving the Bible is the word of God with a quote from the Bible saying that it is the word of God is circular logic. I’m sure a Muslim could find a passage in the Koran that says the Koran is the true word of Allah, too. What’s the diff?

Watchman: Since the Catholic church was the only game in town in 1095, saying it was responsible for the Crusades is the equivilent of saying Christianity is responsible for the Crusades. In fact if you claim to be a Christian and not a Catholic then you belong to a splinter religion that broke with Catholicism centuries after the Crusades.

BTW the definition of small-c catholic is universal, if you mean the religion use big-c Catholic

Malakai's avatar

@ watchman— Well holy war is a popular idea with some of our mainstream media…

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”
(I hate that horrible, spiteful woman…)

@jhollar— sounds like you need to do some reading…

1) If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7–12 NAB)

2) Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2–5 NLT)

I could continue…

critter1982's avatar

@galileogirl: The purpose of that statement was not to PROVE that the Bible is the Word of God, I understand circular logic doesn’t prove anything. The reason for the statement was to note that the whole Bible (old and new testament) are both useful in teaching. I was agreeing with Chutter but my point was that Christians follow guidelines set forth by the new testament not the old. They don’t dismiss the OT but rather point to the old testament as useful before Jesus Christ.

Sorry Astro I don’t mean to take over your thread but when Christian related questions/insults/concerns are asked I feel the need to comment.

jholler's avatar

Yes, you could continue with quotes from the old testament. Move on to the new testament in Matthew chapter 5 and see what Jesus has to say about violence. Old testament law was changed by Jesus. Islam uses similar principles of abrogation, the term is “nasikh”, I believe. Basically, when the koran contradicts itself, whatever was written chronologically later cancels out whatever contradictions were written earlier. This is why the verse of the sword negates all the peaceful verses…they pissed mohammed off when they drove him from mecca to medina, and the parts he wrote after that time are much different than when he started writing the koran.

Malakai's avatar

“It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid.” (Luke 16:17 NAB)

Judi's avatar

With all due respect, the old Testament law was not changed, when Jesus came, it was fulfilled.
Matthew 5:17 NIV
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

critter1982's avatar

@Judi: were you talking to me?

Judi's avatar

@ critter, I’m trying to scan right now to find where I read that someone said that Jesus coming somehow changed the old Testament law. I should have addressed it when I posted it. You and I are probably in sync spiritually, just not politically.

Judi's avatar

@critter, it was jholler’s post that I was referring to.

shilolo's avatar

[Fluther moderator] This question is about the role of religion in American politics. It is not about (nor is it meant to be) debating the relative virtues of various religions. Further comments about the role of religion in the political arena are welcomed (i.e. getting back to AstroChuck’s original question). However, any further comments that are purely arguments about religion will be removed.

jholler's avatar

I stand corrected, Judi. As to the original question, first, I don’t think Obama is a muslim. I also don’t think he’s honest. You can’t attend a church for 20+ years and not be influenced by the pastor. I do think he has socialist tendencies, but socialists have as much a right to try for office as do the communists who run every year. I personally don’t agree with socialism OR communism, as I think they devalue individual achievement in favor of the welfare of society as a whole. If we all receive the same benefits regardless of individual contribution, what incentive is there to excel, or even to contribute at all? Why not just sit on my butt and let society support me? We have too many people like this already, and I am tired of my tax dollars supporting laziness instead of genuine need.

chutterhanban's avatar

@ jholler: I thought I was the only one… Capitalist Flutherites Unite! lol

jholler's avatar

We’re definitely a minority here, I think. I’m secretly studying tolerance among those who claim to be the most tolerant. :-)

mote's avatar

Yes, it is true. Unrestrained capitalism and free markets are the solution to everything.

chutterhanban's avatar

I don’t know about you guys, but I sure love it when people put words in my mouth and make hyperbolic claims just for a couple of “Great Answer” clicks and a generous dosage of sarcasm appreciation!

hoosier_banana's avatar

@jholler So you are telling me someone born poor, who barely scrapes by making your sandwiches for $8 hr. contributes less than a wall street broker who was born into that game. People do the best they can and since everyone can’t be rich we should strive as a society to ensure that no-one is so poor or un-educated they never get a chance to help others out because they can barely take care of themselves. How are these poor lazy people gonna make millions when the likes of you is standing on their heads?

By the way, I don’t think you’re honest.

jholler's avatar

“Born poor”...we don’t live in the middle ages where you were not allowed to rise above the station of your birth. Sam Walton was born to a farming family during the great depression, and he did better than “scrape by”. If an American works their tail off to succeed and excels at it, they should not be forced to support someone who does no more for society than have as many children as possible to max out their government check. Folks who need help through no fault of their own are one thing, but laziness and suckling from the government teat until death are not to be rewarded from the industrious.

hoosier_banana's avatar

So your plan is for everyone to be Sam Walton, is that right? And when we are talking tax-payers there is no support going to people, the uber rich will pay a higher percentage and be fine, while the poor will get a paycheck that is enough to get by, so they won’t need foodstamps, you’ll see.

jholler's avatar

Not following the second part of your answer there, but why shouldn’t everyone try to succeed like Walton did?

dalepetrie's avatar

For every Sam Walton who has managed to start with nothing and end up with billions, there are millions of people who were born poor, worked as long and hard as they were able their entire lives, and still died in an economic circumstance not far from where they began. You can’t just pull up the few notable rags to riches examples that actually exist and expect that everyone is going to be able to replicate that success. Walton could have fallen flat on his face like everyone else. How do we know that there was not one particularly lucky turn of events for him where he was in the exact right place at the exact right time, vs. him just having such great natural skills that he couldn’t help but succeed? Even with equal effort, failure is always going to be a far more common occurrence than success.

And let’s not forget how Wal-Mart made its billions. Let’s see, they have used their size to dictate the prices their suppliers can charge them. They have forced millions of workers to put in extra unpaid hours. They have been the single most anti-union business in the world. They have paid their cashiers a wage that they can’t live on. They have restricted hours of their employees to just under the point where they could qualify for health benefits. They censor the media that they sell because they are a better judge than the consumer of what words people should be allowed to hear apparently.

Everyone should try to succeed, but just because they don’t doesn’t mean they haven’t tried, which is the inherent flaw in the whole trickle down economic theory to begin with…the presumption that only personal skill and effort determine your success in life. And no, not everyone should try to succeed in a manner which forces their values on the rest of the world and exploits those who are less fortunate.

jholler's avatar

Dale, I call great answer except for one thing, “They have paid their cashiers a wage that they can’t live on.” I have been a WalMart cashier before, amidst a few other minimum wage jobs, and yes, you CAN live on the wages they pay. Granted, you won’t have the standard of living that television shows have got us thinking is the norm, but you can live in the dry, and have food to eat and a car to drive. The trick is to adjust your spending habits, and if possible, live somewhere where the cost of living isn’t stupid-high. I used to live in SoCal, and I know the $115,000 I spent on a 2400 sqft house on 4 acres where I live now wouldn’t get me an apartment there.

dalepetrie's avatar

Yeah, theoretically you can live on no money if you want to be a squatter and a freegan.

As an aside, here’s my take on Wal-Mart from a satirical article I wrote in March of 2004:

and proving great minds think alike, here’s an article The Onion posted 9 months later:

cyndyh's avatar

@jholler: If WalMart has stores in those places where the cost of living is high, and they do, then they have cashiers that aren’t making a living wage. Do you really think everyone on minimum wage can live in the dry, has food, and seriously a car to drive? Really?

watchman220's avatar

Back to the issue at hand. Is it a problem for Obama to be a socialist and / or a muslim?

If he is a socialist…which seems to be the case, than yes it is a problem. This new information has surfaced from an interview in 2001 about his beliefs on “redistribution of wealth” ANd in this case it is not anyone putting words into his mouth. He said the very things that everyone has accused him of. In 2001 he did an interview, and the audio is out in the news.

Here is the core of what he Obama said.

Barack Obama, in 2001:

*You know, if you look at the victories and failures of the civil-rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be okay, but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

And that hasn’t shifted, and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was because the civil-rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that.*

A caller then helpfully asks: “The gentleman made the point that the Warren Court wasn’t terribly radical. My question is (with economic changes)… my question is, is it too late for that kind of reparative work, economically, and is that the appropriate place for reparative economic work to change place?”

Obama replies:

*You know, I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way. [snip] You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues, you know, in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time. You know, the court is just not very good at it, and politically, it’s just very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard.

So I think that, although you can craft theoretical justifications for it, legally, you know, I think any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts.”*

The entire article is found at this link.

This is serious stuff gang. Obama is still talking about it now, as he described to Joe the plumber.

I for one do not want a redistribution of wealth, and neither would you if you finally made it to the top after a life time of hard work.

This does not dismiss the necessity for christian principles of helping the poor and the widow. But this is not forced giving, it is giving based on moral instruction from God. It is not even compulsory giving, through guilt. It is simply the normal morally driven impetus to take care of the less fortunate.

The same way we can not legislate the moral choice in abortion or life. We can not legislate Joe Schmoe to get so many tax dollars from Mr. Successful Smith.

You can not have it both ways democrats. Big government needs to go away, and morality needs to restored to this nation so we will act in the compassion of God, not in the contraints of government.
But our compass is so off track morally.

Bri_L's avatar

Without having read the entire thread, because it was nutzo-coocoo for a while.

Aren’t we a bit socialist already? I mean we all pay taxes which are then put into a general bin and distributed to benefit the masses?

We still have filthy rich, some of who managed to be greedy enough to ruin the economy.

We still have wofully neglected poor, some of which are so poor they have no idea anything has even happened.

Or do I not understand socialism. Seems like a nice tweak to our current “state of socialism” is what is called for.

galileogirl's avatar

Re: Walmart and other minimum wage payers

Nickl’d and Dimed by Barbara Eihrenreich. I assign it to my seniors so they are very clear about getting more than a high school diploma.

AstroChuck's avatar

@watchman- “If (Obama) is a socialist…which seems to be the case…”
I suggest that you read up on what socialism truly is and not just mindlessly repeat what right-wing talking heads spew out. Barack Obama is more or less a centralist that leans leftward. I wish that he was more of a socialist. It’s the only way I see for us to back off the path we are currently on. That would be a path towards fascism.
Wal*Mart would love that.

watchman220's avatar

Ok @AstroChuck…lets define socialism.

Wikipedia content defines socialism as follows.

Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society[1][2] Modern socialism originated in the late nineteenth-century working class political movement. Karl Marx posited that socialism would be achieved via class struggle and a proletarian revolution which represents the transitional stage between capitalism and communism.[3][4]

Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and creates an unequal society. All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved.[1]

Socialism is not a discrete philosophy of fixed doctrine and program; its branches advocate a degree of social interventionism and economic rationalization, sometimes opposing each other. Another dividing feature of the socialist movement is the split on how a socialist economy should be established between the reformists and the revolutionaries. Some socialists advocate complete nationalization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; while others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy. Social democrats propose selective nationalization of key national industries in mixed economies combined with tax-funded welfare programs; Libertarian socialism (which includes Socialist Anarchism and Libertarian Marxism) rejects state control and ownership of the economy altogether and advocates direct collective ownership of the means of production via co-operative workers’ councils and workplace democracy.

In the 1970s and the 1980s, Yugoslavian, Hungarian, Polish and Chinese Communists instituted various forms of market socialism combining co-operative and State ownership models with the free market exchange.[5] This is unlike the earlier theoretical market socialist proposal put forth by Oskar Lange in that it allows market forces, rather than central planners to guide production and exchange.[6] Anarcho-syndicalists, Luxemburgists (such as those in the Socialist Party USA) and some elements of the United States New Left favor decentralized collective ownership in the form of cooperatives or workers’ councils.

Here is the link to the whole encyclopedic entry.
Read my above post and compare Obama’s WORDS with this defintion.

Well hot damn…sounds like socialism to me!

Readers you be the judge! I just read up on “what socialism is” @AstroChuck.



hoosier_banana's avatar

I hope you payed attention to this part-
“Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and creates an unequal society. All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly.”

Unequal Society, who would want that? -“Individuals with conservative ideologies are happier than liberal-leaners, and new research pinpoints the reason: Conservatives rationalize social and economic inequalities.”

“The rationalization measure included statements such as: “It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others,” and “This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are.”

If your beliefs don’t justify gaps in status, you could be left frustrated and disheartened, according to the researchers, Jaime Napier and John Jost of New York University. They conducted a U.S.-centric survey and a more internationally focused one to arrive at the findings.

Our research suggests that inequality takes a greater psychological toll on liberals than on conservatives,” the researchers write in the June issue of the journal Psychological Science, “apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light.”

So is that you or not?

jholler's avatar

life is full of inequalities…my chickens have a pecking order. The rooster gets to peck all, the biggest hen gets to peck everyone but the rooster, and it keeps going down to the little speckled one who doesn’t get to peck anyone. Nobody said life was gonna be fair, cause it’s not supposed to be.

watchman220's avatar

No, this definition is not me. I believe that everyone has an equal chance in this country. But I also believe that not everyone will fulfill that opportunity.
Because your success depends on your character, not on being born into a low income circumstance.

Get a vision. Get some motivation. Take control of your future.

You know who I am?
35 year old male, husband of 14 years. Father of 4 children. Lived in a poverty mentality in a small town, on foodstamps, and government health insurance for the last 15 years of my life.
Tried to start my own computer consulting business after going into debt for Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems.
Struggled financially all my married life.
Finally got tired of foodstamps and health insurance handouts…cause we should be able to make it on our own…with all the hardships and difficult circumstances.
I moved 2000 miles across the country for a job…because God called me to have faith in His plan.
I live in a basement of a large house with my whole family, at the generosity of extended family. I got a great job in Columbus Ohio, which will help me get out of the debt that I caused by my own irresponsible use of finances and credit cards.
And guess what…it is my responsibility to work my own butt off to pay for my own debts and make my own way. This country is the place where that can happen. We don’t need the government to tell us what to do.
Really..we don’t.
Redistribution of wealth = socialism.

I am the poor lower class! And I do not want the handouts. But if I make it to a better place financially I sure don’t want some one else telling me how to give to the poor and the less fortunate. I think I understand how that is, and I love helping people when I have the chance too.

If we are willing to help people when we have very little.
Then God will trust us with very much.
The blessing of finances comes from God’s hand.
It is GOd’s to give, and our responsibility to be wise stewards of what he allows us to have.
If we give with the heart of God, then the poor, the widow, and the orphan will be taken care of.

jholler's avatar

watchman, you’re what this country is about, the OPPORTUNITY to succeed, and the pursuit of happiness. You inspire me, sir, and your children are lucky to have you.

galileogirl's avatar

watchman: Re-The blessings of finances coming from God’s hand….OY VEY!!!

How did Blessed are the Poor morph into you are poor because God thinks you aren’t good enough?

Real Christianity vs Capitalist Christianity


hoosier_banana's avatar

So you hate foodstamps and healthcare because they kept you and your family healthy for 15 years so you could find (or be granted from god) better work. What if you had no help, would your kids be alive? If you think you are going to land a job that brings in 250k you are kidding yourself, although you do remind me of a televangalist.

jholler's avatar

Who the hell needs $250k a year??

jholler's avatar

When I got out of the Marine Corps, I came home to look for a job. I went to the employment office, cause I figured that’s what they are there for. The veterans’ rep there spent the whole time trying his best to convince me to draw unemployment…when he wouldn’t listen to me saying that I was able to work, and didn’t need government assistance, I left and found my own job. Help is great for those who need it, but way too many people depend on it, and think they are entitled to it. You’re entitled to opportunity, not prosperity. God helps those who help themselves. (Ben Franklin)

watchman220's avatar


Thank you sir. I begin to think I am the only one left. But I know I am not.
If they force a redistribution of wealth once it is attained then the OPPORTUNITY dissappears. So why aspire to attain this goal.
I think that you will agree jholler.

The quote you are thinking of would be from scripture as the sermon on the mount. A portion known as the Beatitudes.
And it actually says,

“Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:3

This is not speaking of being financially poor.

I. What it is to be poor in spirit.

1. To have a realizing sense of our spiritual state. In this it is implied that we understand our own guilt and helplessness, and realize as a practical fact our own utter emptiness by nature of every thing good, and of any tendency to that which is good. It is one thing to hold this in theory, and another thing to be heartily sensible of the humbling fact. Most professing Christians admit in words that they are in themselves wholly helpless and destitute, but to know and feel as an abiding practical conviction that this is their true spiritual condition how few are able!

2. Being poor in spirit implies that we see in its true light the tendency in us to every thing evil—that we understand that the habitudes of our minds, that our appetites and propensities, that nearly the whole power of the sensibility continually tends to selfishness.

If there was not foodstamps, or government health care, than I would have been forced to learn to deal with life in a different way. Perhaps I would not have sat on my ass for so long waiting for my ship to come in! Cause it never came. I just sat on the “proverbial” shore…wishing…and eating “coconuts” cause they were the only thing to eat.

This brings an interesting point…just noted by jholler as well…that we should not depend on it.
But the interesting thing is…for those who are truly poor because of legitimate circumstances…there is a cutoff…financially, that defines you as poverty level. And they take care of you at that point.
We already have what we need to be basically supported. If you want more than lazily subsisting on government checks then get off your asses and work hard. Get educated. Take some responsibility for your own life.
The answer is not for government to give us more equality…they already make it possible for the lazy to stay lazy and pathetic. I speak from experience.

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