Libertarian Commentary on the News #14-46D: Religion, public life, and government

By Nathan Barton

Good morning!  Let us start by looking at some stories about religion, public life, and government.

Colorado Springs School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing GraceChristian students at a Colorado public high school were told they could no longer meet to pray, sing religious songs or discuss religious topics during free time – because such activity violated the U.S. Constitution, a lawsuit filed in federal court alleges. Scott (who provided this story to me) points out: I’d wear costume jail suit and shackles, and a yellow Magen David to school.

Would modern school students in government-run, tax-funded schools do this? I bet that some would, and I bet the stink would be nationwide.  Most would not, and many who did would be condemned by the very people who should support them and their liberty.  It is amazing that this is in Colorado Springs, home of Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, and the Air Force Academy.  There are literally tens of thousands of people who have extensive training on the Constitution and know that this claim by Pine High School is bogus.

In many American cities (and around the world), the Islamic Shi’a sect celebrated the Ashura holy day by beating themselves with knives, chains, and swords to remember the assassination of Mohammed’s (peanut butter und honig) grandson in AD 680.  This includes children (male only), who are in public beating themselves bloody and in some cases being cut to cause bleeding.  Now, if this were just happening in the streets of cities like Atlanta, the child welfare cops would be out in force, and if this were a band of Penitentes flagellating themselves on Good Friday, in New Mexico or Colorado, much less in public and a big city, they’d be arrested for offending people and creating a public health hazard and nuisance.  Indeed, such things were outlawed both by the Roman Catholic church and many municipalities in those states.  Nice to be a special and privileged group like Muslims, isn’t it?

NBA player refuses to stand during National Anthem because he’s Muslim. It’s not a prayer, it’s the national anthem, but that’s the point. Hugh Fitzgerald explains here, “Islam teaches — inculcates, rather — the notion that Muslims do not owe any allegiance to non-Muslims, not to their countries, not to their homeland.

Mama’s Note: Forget religion, for a minute. I am not “Muslim” and I don’t have any use for the “national anthem,” the flag or any other nonsense that goes along with nationalism. I do NOT “owe” any allegiance to a flag or a “country” or its government. I love my “homeland” because I live here, but it does not own me. That is the crucial difference.

Though Pamela Geller claims that Islam is unique in this, the Jehovah’s Witnesses ALSO preach and practice this, and have for years.  Wikipedia states: They do not salute or pledge allegiance to flags or sing national anthems or patriotic songs. You can read in their own words: they do show respect for others, by standing, unlike Fitzgerald.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses, which I’ve studied extensively in recent months, is usually considered a “christian” sect although some classify them as a Jewish sect because they do not recognize the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth.  There are many other christian groups, considered far more mainstream than the Witnesses, which preach and practice something similar, have been condemned for decades if not centuries.  And one UK Muslim makes a few valid points including this old saying, “Being born in a barn does not make you a horse.”

It is not the patriotism of ANY religious group that should be of primary concern, but what they teach and practice regarding other people.  Do they teach and follow the “zero aggression principle” (ZAP – perhaps better known as the Golden Rule) of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you?”  Or do they proclaim love and universal brotherhood while busily killing each other and those of other religions, committing aggression against others, and turning them into the authorities?  Do they try to force people (directly or indirectly) to follow the tenets that they preach and do?

On to other matters:

According to a new study from ICF International, American consumers saved somewhere between $63 and $248 billion thanks to horizontal drilling and fracking technologies. NCPA’s headline was somewhat misleading: a rare problem with them.  But the basic truth is, technology improves our lives, saves us money, and helps (somewhat) overcome the evils of government regulations and government induced inflation.  Fracking and horizontal drilling are just two of many ways.  Consider that in 1973, gasoline cost about $1.00 a gallon.  Gold was $35.00 an ounce, so gasoline was 0.029 AuOz a gallon.  Let us suppose that improved refining, elimination of lead, and putting all those neat (and good) additives DOUBLED the price of gasoline to 0.058 AuOz a gallon.  Jump forward 31 years to 2014.  The dollar has been so debased that gold is now about $1150 an ounce, or 32.86 times as much.  Gasoline COULD be selling at a staggering $65.72 a gallon, because that is what 0.058 AuOz is worth in 2014 play money.  But a combination of technology and efficiency means that we are paying around 1/20th of that, and less.

Imagine what it would be like if inflation really were eliminated? We’d be buying gas at about five cents a gallon, INCLUDING taxes.  But of course, if we still had to pay taxes, we’d still have a government that steals from us in many many other ways, like inflation.

Fear mongering at its best!  Cannabis shrinks brain? A study says pot abuse damage IQ.  Shucks, in today’s world, who can tell?  Especially among politicians – even those who “didn’t inhale,” let alone those who were part of a choom gang.  Or for that matter, the guy driving down the street in front of you.  Of course, doesn’t alcohol ALSO damage the brain, not just the liver and kidneys?  And lets not start on the “benefits” of fructose and sucrose and all that wonderful stuff!  Honestly, though, the real threat is not cannabis shrinking our brains, but failing to USE our brains.

Well, enough for this short edition!  Have a great weekend and stay warm: remember, you can think “global warming” for all this!

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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