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

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

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

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









Tags: 8/28, Beck, Christocrats, Glenn, Honor, Party, Rally, Restoring, Tea

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Jo,
Frankly, I was using myself to come up with my numbers. I'm in the top 10% of income earners (barely). After all my deductions, and the expected refund, my effective federal income tax is 5 or 6% compared to my GROSS income. Yes, my tax rate is higher than that on my taxable income, but I think the gross income comparison is a more accurate representation.

I'm also done paying FICA for the year. Frankly, while I like the bigger take home pay, it's a little embarrasing.

I ran some numbers on this the other day. The REALLY high income earners, like professional athletes, are done paying FICA on their first paycheck of the year.
Overall, I think their rally cry of fiscal conservatism carries enough weight in a lot of american's eyes to do very well in 20 days, but I hope their real platform of social conservatism backfires in their face.

I think it may be falling into the Dems favor because I think most voters aren't on the fringes of social and economic lines and the tea party comes across as extreme.
And yet with this upcoming election, they are stating that the Republicans will reclaim much of the government. The Tea Party must be carrying some weight in this. You mention that the Tea Party "comes across" as extreme. Do you think that's accurate? Do you think they're getting treated unfairly by the media?
Traditionally, the minority power almost always does well in the midterms. So either way it would/will take a small miracle for the Democrats to retain control of both houses.
I don't know any Tea Partiers personally. From what I've gathered from all of the news media is that the Tea Party is irrational, unreasonable, delusional, racist and slightly insane. It bothers me that this many people might think in those ways. It's insane! Their message is very mixed. The parts of their message about government seem to follow basic Republican lines with a heavy Libertarian bent. The underlying theme of Christian unity to take America 'back to god' is an attempt to change history. Which is again ridiculous because the rest of the entire known world knows the truth. It could never work. The separation of church and state is pretty clear in the constitution. The Supreme Court would smack down any overtly religious amendments.

As to Glenn Beck, he is obviously either delusional and unable to reason or he is a liar. There is nothing about our founding fathers that was devout or fundamentalist. The ones I learned about in school were part of the Enlightenment. Liberty from government forever was their number one agenda. That is why we have the Bill of Rights. It is called the bill of RIGHTS because we have the right to not have some religious authority make the laws for the rest of us people. No church in government. What kills me is that government officials are citizens and as such have the right to not have any religious authority over themselves as government officials and they refuse to exercise it. Government officials have all the authority they need and they don't need religious authority on top of what they have. Our founding fathers saw that one coming.

Glenn Beck is a morally bankrupt human being. The worst kind. I don't understand how anyone can believe anything he says.
So Jacob, I hear the same things about the Tea Party (irrational, racist, unreasonable). Do you think those are true portrayals of them, or is the media portraying them in a negative light?
It depends on which media you are talking about. I'm sure FOX news is very favorable to the Tea Party.

It does appear that they do not think things through. For example, my small town has a mayor and a city manager. The city manager really runs the city. He does the budget, handles, hiring and firing, etc. The mayor is more of a figurehead. In recent years, we've spent a lot of time dealing with the city counsel and the mayor, so we understand how things really work around here. Our current mayor is a huge Tea Partier and extremely vocal about it. The counsel works hard, but this new mayor is barely there. He's really not worth his paycheck. He even skips a lot of the counsel meetings and they are only held twice a month!

A few years ago, we had a commission come in and study our town to see how to improve the economic situation, reduce government costs, and so forth. One of their main recommendations was to get rid of the mayor's position since it is redundant. Our current mayor constantly blasts government spending at the state and federal level. However, he's done very little in his position as mayor to save money at the local level. And if he really wanted to do what the commission said needed to be done, he would fire himself and save the town his salary.

That's what I mean by stupid. I understand why the small business owner is a Tea Partier. I do not understand why the mayor (who is a retired teacher) or the teachers I know are Tea Partiers, because one of the main things that is sinking the state government is paying huge teacher salaries and their pensions. Teachers make around $15,000 to $20,000 more starting salary than people in jobs with the same amount of education who are established in their field. If the state really wanted to save money, they would get rid of some of these teachers and close some schools. Why keep a school going with less than 20 students?

Since education in this state is so bad, we have a lot of homeschoolers. I (along with a parents consortium and a business action group) suggested making online public school available as an alternative to the public schools since our schools are terrible. Obama was willing to give the state money to make this happen, but the teachers' union forced this one down. The state is getting no money from homeschooling students now, if online public school was available, they would get less, but still some. But the teachers (many of whom I know are Tea Partiers.) are fighting this tooth and nail.

These Tea Party teachers are screaming about reducing taxes - never intending for it affect them. Most of the other government agencies are working with bare bones staff already and make a ton less money than the average teacher.

If the state really wanted to save money, it would get rid of some of these useless teachers who are some of worst in America (many don't even have a license) and close some of these schools with only a handful of students. This would be the money saving thing to do. But no, these Tea Party teachers don't want that. The highway department is one of their big targets and the state depart of culture and history. I used to work in the state archives. Hello, an archivist makes about $20,000 while the starting salary for most teachers is $50,000. So fire all the archivists (about 10 in all) to save money and keep every teacher including ones without a college degree. Okay, that makes sense... Not! *roll eyes*
I can understand getting rid of unlicensed or just bad teachers. But I also think that is a profession that needs more salary, as what they do is so important. I'd rather see high-paying doctors lose money than a good teacher.
50/50. Some of the media portrays them as patriotic citizens rallying to defend their freedom (Fox News) while the rest of the media shows them waving poorly written signs and spouting ignorant bullshit about muslims and government takeovers. As usual it depends on what channels you watch. I don't think it can be one way or the other. The most likely scenario is that there are elements of patriotic fervor mixed with a lot of stupid with a sprinkling of common sense that never gets heard. It's a shame because the liberty side of the libertarian message is one that supports the rights of people to do what they want provided they harm no one in their pursuits. Right now in America with the ability of people to get their news from preferred sources it is nothing but preaching to the choir across the board.
Jacob, I agree that the tailoring of news to bolster people's preconceived notions is a kind of rot. I'm not sure I'd go with 50/50, though. It's too easy to guess at something close to equality when we don't have a handle on the real numbers.

And I do appreciate the libertarian desire for maximum personal freedom, but I think that ends up being fairly myopic and self-centered in practice. Libertarians have a hard time noticing when a whole bunch of uncoordinated exercising of personal freedoms adds up to something bad for everyone (the tragedy of the commons), or sometimes even when their personal freedoms negatively impact just one other person.

And it assumes that everyone will play fair and not be malicious, power-hungry, or otherwise evil. I do believe that most people are good, fair, and decent, but it doesn't take much for a few thugs to ruin things for everybody. Ultimately libertarianism is the elevation of the individual over the community, and that just misses a huge part of the picture.
Here's an article in the October issue of Rolling Stone I found interesting. The author talks about the Tea Party being another example of a populist movement which are always co-opted and taken over by the major political parties; in this case by the Republican Party.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/210904?RS_show_page=0
That is a fantastically well-written article. Thank you so much for sharing.

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