Archive for ‘politics’

May 29, 2022

American Evangelicals

by Neil Rickert

I grew up in Australia, and I was a member of an evangelical church there. I later moved to USA as a graduate student in mathematics, and I left Christianity after a few months there (at around age 23). I originally saw “evangelical” as a theological term, referring to particular theologies — particularly those that arose from Luther’s reformation. At the time of my youth in Australia, that made sense.

In America, I made similar assumptions about the meaning of “evangelical”. But experience has shown me that this was a mistaken view. It turns out that it makes more sense to think of “evangelical”, at least in the USA, a referring to a political and cultural identity. For example, I often hear the news media distinguishing between “evangelicals” and “mainline protestants”. Yet many of the “mainline protestant” churches would fit my original Australian understanding of “evangelical”.

Are evangelicals Christian?

What I see coming from American evangelicals does not fit the understanding of Christianity that I had in my youth. Yes, they call themselves “Christian”. But what, exactly does that mean? To me, it meant following the teachings of Jesus, such as “love thy neighbor”. And that’s where American evangelicals seem to fall short.

Here’s a post written by Rodney Kennedy, who is apparently a progressive Christian in America:

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December 13, 2021

Two trials

by Neil Rickert

I don’t normally comment on trials, though I did in a recent post. And now I’ll comment again on another two somewhat high profile cases. These are the case of Josh Duggar and the case of Jussie Smollett.

Duggar

The Duggar family is known for their roles in the TV reality show “19 kids and counting”. That TV show came to an abrupt end, when it was found out that Josh Duggar had been molesting his younger sisters. And then, more recently, Duggar was charged in connection with child pornography. On Thursday, a jury found him guilty.

We do not know what sentence he will receive, though this was a serious crime. I do not rejoice at the idea of him spending a long time in jail. Yet it seems that Duggar needs to learn some lessons of life. He had the opportunity to turn his life around after the molestation became known. But apparently he failed to do that.

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November 29, 2021

Two recent jury trials

by Neil Rickert

This past week we saw the conclusion of two high profile jury trials. They were the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse and the trial of those accused of murdering Ahmoud Arbery. I’ll offer my comments on both cases.

I’ll file this post in “politics” because these cases became very political. However, the cases themselves really had more to do with law and justice than with politics.

Kyle Rittenhouse

We first heard of Rittenhouse, when news reports described him as travelling from Antioch, Illinois to Kenosha Wisconsin, carrying an AR15 style weapon, and killing two people and wounding another at a Black Lives Matter demonstration. He sounded like a vigilante, meting out vigilante justice to the demonstrators.

That was roughly the picture that I had going into the trial. That he had traveled some distance (I estimate 40-50 miles) to show up at the demonstration was consistent this picture.

As the trial got under way, we began to hear a different version. The defense lawyers were arguing that this was a case of self-defense rather than the actions of a vigilante. Of course we expected the defense team to have a different story from what we had heard. But then one of the prosecution witnesses, the man that Rittenhouse had wounded, admitted that he had threatened Rittenhouse before he had been shot. This was beginning to support the claims that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense.

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November 15, 2021

CRT; what’s all the fuss?

by Neil Rickert

We have been hearing a lot about CRT. Those initials used to be short for “Cathode Ray Tube”, which we were using for television sets and computer monitors. But, these day, the initials stand for “Critical Race Theory”.

Critical Race Theory, itself, comes from legal scholars. And I doubt very much that it is being taught in the elementary or high schools. Yesterday I saw a blog post by Brian Leiter, about what CRT actually is. And I thought it would be useful to provide the link.

What is being taught in the schools does not appear to actually be CRT. But because the name CRT seems to connect to Critical Theory which in turn seems to have Marxist connections, the critics apparently think they can use “guilt by association” to make part of the school curriculum look Marxist.

Part of the fuss has been about the books “White Fragility” (by Robin DeAngelo) and “How to Be and Antiracist” (by Ibram Kendi). I have not read either book, though I have looked at reviews. As best I can tell, those books are not books about CRT. Rather they are responses to CRT — perhaps misguided responses.

System Racism

It is one of the tenets of CRT, that some of the racism we see is systemic rather than due to bad behavior by individuals. Part of what bothers me about those two books, is that they seem oriented more toward fixing individuals than toward dealing with systemic racism. However, keep in mind that I have not read the books, so I might be misjudging them.

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January 22, 2021

America is really, really back

by Neil Rickert

I guess I was a little premature in my earlier post (“America is back“). I knew that Trump could still cause problems, but I was not expecting an attempted coup — or whatever we call what happened on Jan 06.

Biden has now been in office for two days. And already, things seem to be moving in a good direction. It’s not that Biden has great expertise that Trump lacked. Rather, the difference is the Biden has the good sense to seek advice from experts who understand the problems. Trump was never willing to take advice, and that was the real cause of his downfall.

The deep state

The Trumpians, and other right wing reactionaries, have long complained that there is a “deep state” that actually decides what happens. They are right about that. The deep state is just us, the American people. And the deep state — that is, we — defeated Trump’s attempts to change the nature of America.

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November 8, 2020

America is back

by Neil Rickert

It’s been a while since I last posted. And I rarely post on politics. But it was good to see the election of Biden/Harris.

For the last four years, it has somehow seemed as if I were living in The Banana Republic of America. And it may continue to feel that way until inauguration day in January. But the old USA will be back as Joe Biden attempts to re-unite the nation.

I guess I’ll keep this short and sweet. And this is my first post with the wordpress Block editor — which greatly dislike.

February 18, 2018

Guns don’t kill people

by Neil Rickert

Republican politicians kill people, with their failure to enact sensible laws

It is time to put the lives of our children ahead of the profits of the gun merchants.

It is well past time for politicians to stop accepting blood money from the NRA.

September 3, 2017

National Day of Prayer

by Neil Rickert

President Trump has declared that today (Sep 3, 2017) shall be a national day of prayer.

I pray that Donald J. Trump resign from office, or be removed from office by impeachment.

August 16, 2017

Trump must go

by Neil Rickert

This brief post is quoting a portion of an article in The Washington Post: President Trump must go.  I recommend reading the full article.

There is only one conclusion that any American patriot of either party can draw. Trump must go.

It has been perfectly natural during the first few months of this presidency for commentators and political leaders to treat Trump, his statements and actions like those of his predecessors. But in the past week, the dangers of his reflexive behavior have become even more crystal clear. In a matter of days, the president’s reckless remarks have triggered fears of nuclear war with North Korea, he threatened military action against Venezuela, he continued his quiet war against the environment and the U.S. public health system and then, in response to Charlottesville, he revealed his true colors and that he is not preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution as his oath requires. Rather, he is at war with it and its values — from a free press, to an independent judiciary, to equal protection for all under the law.

I fully agree with that assessment.

November 9, 2016

The election results

by Neil Rickert

When a heavy snow storm dumps two feet of snow, some people blame on abortion; some folk blame it on sexual promiscuity; some folk blame it on global warming; some folk blame it on scientific experiments gone awry.

Me?  I just start clearing my driveway.  The blame game doesn’t achieve anything.

I won’t try to place blame for the election results.  I’ll just work on how best to cope with the world that we find ourselves in.